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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 18, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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04/18/16 04/18/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: on the road in san francisco, this is democracy now! >> we can never forget that every right to vote has been signed in blood. and we are here to say to america, wake up. can't you see that it is a desecration to the memory for the voting rights act to be gutted by the supreme court? amico from democracy spring to democracy awakening, more than 900 people have been arrested
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over the past week on capitol hill in a series of unprecedented protests against the influence of big money and the curtailing of voting rights. we will speak to the reverend william barber of the naacp in north carolina just before he takes part in another act of mass civil disobedience. then, was your seafood caught by slaves? today, a shocking expose. >> men who were on boats are captive on an island as we found. the goal from the beginning was to find people who were actually captive slaves, to trace that fish back to the american dinner table, and most important, to name names. amico we will speak to two of the associated press reporters. today, the pulitzer prizes will be announced. will they win? all of that and more coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. brazil's lower house of congress has voted to start impeachment proceedings against president dilma rousseff. 367 to 37 for was impeachment. jose guimaroes, the congressional leader of roussef's workers' party, accused opposition lawmakers of waging a coup. >> the coup has won in the lower house, but the fight has not ended. no matter if it is in the streets, lanes them or the senate, we will arouse the masses and communicate with the senate. we believe the senate will eliminate the a of the people involved in the coup, which is manipulated by someone with no morals.
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amy co brazil has been engulfed in a major corruption scandal, but rousseff herself has not been accused of any financial impropriety. however, 318 members of the brazilian congress -- including many who backed her impeachment -- are under investigation or face charges. leading the impeachment process has been brazil's speaker of the house eduardo cunha, who has been accused of squirreling away $5 million into swiss bank accounts. prior to the vote, rousseff said the charges against her were false. >> the complaint against me that is und analysiin the tional cgress was a fraud. the biggest judicial and political fraud in the history of our country. without this, impeachment would not be voted upon. brazil and democracy do not deserve this farce. amy: in ecuador, rescuers are still attempting to pull survivors from rubble after the strongest earthquake to hit ecuador in decades killed at a least people and injured more 272 than 2500 others. the death toll from saturday's quake is expected to rise as
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more bodies are uncovered. a series of earthquakes have also hit the japanese island of kyushu, killing at least 42 people and displacing about 110,000. u.s. defense secretary ash carter has arrived in baghdad as the obama administration prepares to widen its military presence in syria and iraq in its fight against the self-proclaimed islamic state. according to the "new york times," the obama administration is preparing to send as many as 200 more special operations forces to assist syrian rebels, in addition to sending more army attack helicopters to iraq. meanwhile, human rights watch has accused turkish border guards of shooting at syrian refugees fleeing fighting in northern syria. in other news from syria, the united nations is warning as many as 10,000 civilians living in a palestinian refugee camp near damascus are trapped in their homes and are facing starvation and dehydration.
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on saturday, pope francis traveled to the greek island of lesbos to meet with refugees who have fled war and poverty in syria, iraq, afghanistan and other countries. refugees living in lesbos described dire conditions on the island. -- it is very hard. life is very hard. the policeman are very good. the people are very good, but the situation is very hard. we are like in jail. . amy co pope francis called on european nations to do more to help refugees fleeing war. >> to be truly united with those forced to flee their homelands, we need to eliminate the causes of this dramatic situation. it is not enough to limit ourselves to responding to emergencies as they arise. instead, we need to encourage political efforts that are broader in scope and multilateral. it is necessary above all to
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build peace where war has brought distraction and death and to stop this scourge from spreading. amy: at the end of his trip pope francis took three families of syrian refugees, including six children, aboard his flight to rome. he said -- "it's a small gesture, but one which we all need to offer to give a helping hand to those in need!" bernie sanders and hillary clinton spent much of the weekend campaigning ahead of tuesday's primary in new york. on sunday, sanders spoke before a crowd of over 28,000 in brooklyn's prospect park in what the campaign described as sanders' largest rally ever. on friday, sanders took a break from the campaign trail to fly to the vatican where he addressed a conference on social justice. >> rather than in the economy aimed at the common good, we have been left with an economy operated for the top 1% who get wealthier and wealthier as the working class, the young, and
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the poor, fall further and further behind. amy: senator sanders and his wife jane briefly met with pope francis on saturday morning. while sanders was at the vatican at the that can friday -- was at the vatican on friday, hillary clinton spent part of the day campaigning in the bronx where she addressed the financial crisis in puerto rico. >> we need to tell the hedge funds and the other creditors who are just trying to make a profit off the misery of the puerto rican people to go to the back of the line and a stop blocking us from making a fair resolution of this crisis. amy: on friday night, clinton flew to san francisco for the first of two fundraisers hosted by george and amal clooney. tickets at the head table went for over $350,000 per couple. on saturday, protesters in los -- in california threw dollar bills at clinton's motorcade as she drove to one of the dinners. during an interview on the "meet the press," george clooney admitted the amount of money he
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has helped clinton raise was obscene. >> i think -- we had some protesters last night when we pulled up in san francisco. they are absolutely right to protest. it is an obscene amount of money. the sanders campaign when they talk about it is absolutely right. it is ridiculous we should have this kind of money and politics. i agree completely. amy: in other campaign news, bernie sanders has released his 2014 tax return. the senator and his wife jane made $205,000 in the entire year. that's less than what hillary clinton earned for giving single speeches. according to the hill, clinton was paid $280,000 in 2014 for a speech to deutsche bank, $325,000 for a speech to the national automobile dealers' association, and $225,000 for addressing general electric. in one of the most closely watched legal cases of the year come the supreme will hear arguments today on whether president obama overstepped his authority when he took unilateral action to protect
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millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. the case pits the obama administration against 26 states led by texas that filed suit to block his 2014 immigration plan. saudi arabia is threatening to sell off in u.s. treasury $750 billion securities if congress passes a law to allow the families of the victims of the september 11 attacks to sue the saudi government for any role it may have played in the attacks. the kingdom's threat comes just ahead of president obama's trip to saudi arabia on wednesday. the obama administration has lobbied congress to block the bill's passage. the pentagon has transferred nine guantanamo prisoners to saudi arabia, bringing the total number of remaining prisoners down to 80. one of the nine men who were released was tariq ba odah, who has been on hunger strike to demand his freedom since 2007. during his hunger strike, his weight dropped to only 74
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pounds, and he was repeatedly force fed by guantanamo guards. after the 9 men landed in saudi arabia, one of the former guantanamo prisoners spoke out. >> as soon as the plane landed, i did not feel i was at an airport. i felt at home. thank god. it is as if i arrived at my home amidst my family. thank god. from the first hour we arrived, we have been received and away we could not imagine. i think all of those who wanted to make this happen. amy: in news from afghanistan, the "wall street journal" is reporting 12 people including , three children, were killed when afghan and u.s. forces conducted a night raid on the house of a suspected al qaeda member in east afghanistan. ethiopian officials say more than 140 civilians died after gunmen from south sudan opened fire on friday in the border region of gambela. the region is home to thousands of refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in south sudan. officials say the armed men also abducted 39 children.
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security forces have killed at least 60 of the attackers. and today is tax day, the day americans must file their personal tax returns. the national war tax resistance coordinating committee is organizing a number of protests today across the country. according to the war resisters league 44% of all federal tax , income goes to fund current and past military operations. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in our 100 city tour, headed to salt lake city tonight and then on to colorado. the right now in washington, more than 900 people have been arrested over the past week on capitol hill in a series of unprecedented protests against the influence of big money and corporate lobbying in politics. more civil disobedience is scheduled for today. the arrests began last monday during an event organized as part of a wave of actions dubbed democracy spring.
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another protest began on saturday under the banner of democracy awakening. one of the key organizers of democracy awakening is the reverend william barber, president of north carolina chapter of the naacp. >> i come from the south, from north carolina, where we have seen the worst coordinated attack in this country will stop at the very time african-americans are voting at 70%, and we're building fusion with progressive whites and latinos, we're seen an extremist governor and legislature vote to put in place apartheid voting districts. we have seen them shorten the early voting period by four weeks ago 70% of those who use the first week are african-american. we have seen them eliminate same-day registration because 43% of those that use same-day registration are african-american. voter idthem pass
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that negatively impacts 300,000 voters. racial and class attack on our democracy. amy: that was reverend william barber speaking in washington on sunday at an event organized by democracy awakening. he is planning to risk arrest during an act of mass civil disobedience today on capitol hill, but first he joins us from a studio in washington, d.c. reverend barber, welcome back to democracy now! explain why you have come to the nation's capital. >> first of all, i thank you so much. the naacp along with the democracy initiative and 200 other organizations have called for this democracy awakening today, the congress of contents. i'm here today not only as the naacp president, but as a pastor . i believe these are deeply, deeply moral issues. when you look at the fact that what this congress that we have now and its current extreme
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leadership, over 1000 27,000 days, has refused to do what the 15th the memory required the congress to do, and that is to fix the voting rights act. 1020 seven days, they refused to reinstate section 5. that act has allowed states like north carolina and others to engage in the worst attacks on voter rights and voter suppression that we have seen since the 19th century because preclearance has been basically nullified. we see the extreme amounts of toey, $10 billion expected be spent in this election alone, and the fact that they have refused to even hear the hearings on the supreme court nominee of president obama. this is notive says the awakening. the awakening as a ready happening in the country whether you look at the moral mondays, more than 1000 people were arrested as well, 80,000 people showed up on one occasion.
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black lives matter fights for the deal with environmental justice, women's rights, lgbtq rights. what this is signaling is kind of a coming together and recognizing, and i believe, amy, that we are right in the adolescent stage of the third reconstruction. where people are saying, it is not about democrats and republicans or liberals versus conservatives, but about how do you address the extremism that is constitutionally inconsistent, morally indefensible, and economically insane? the fact that we have less voting rights today -- and the attorney general has less power to enforce voting rights today -- then we had in august 1965 when voting rights act was passed is a travesty. and the fact that neither party in 16 or 17 debates have focused on that issue. have staked themselves out on where they are on the restoration of the voter rights act and specifically, the fifth
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part of it that allows for clearance -- preclearance. amy: we are talking to reverend dr. william barber, president of the north carolina naacp who is been participating in the democracy awakening mobilizations. i wanted to turn right now to a woman named alberta currie and others like her in north carolina. lead plaintiff in the southern coalition for social justice's legal challenge to north carolinas to voter id law. she has voted in every election since 1956. but she was unable to get the photo id required by the new law to vote last month in the north carolina primaries. she only has an expired driving license from virginia because she no longer drives. she also doesn't have a birth certificate as she was born at home to a midwife in the segregated south. she is speaking here to e southern coalition for social justice. >> the way i see it is him a they keep us -- the way i see it
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is, they keep us from having a right to vote and keep us from inting the right person election. that is a step backwards. ,ell, the last time we voted they tell us, don't come back. n come baus becausi did nohave no ght toote. i would need and i do. amy: that is alberta currie. reverend barber, how does this work? >> is deeply troubling. we have another plaintiff, over 90 years old, who had to actually recite the preamble to the constitution, who could not read. she was also impacted by this law.
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great points. two number one, the voter id is bad enough. and people need to understand that when she'll be happened after june 25, 2013, 1 of our legislators said coming out of the headache has been removed because preclearance was no longer part of the law, they didn't. just do voter id. they tried to end same-day registration. they cut early voting. all of the tools that were being used, particularly by african-americans, latinos, and poor people that had north carolina go from in the bottom of voting to the fourth highest increase in voting. they even stopped allowing outer precinct voting and made it easier for people to be challenged while they were in line. some say it is the worst attack in the country since shelby. they began with the redistricting earlier, which allowed a super majority not to get elected but to get put in office because they cheated, by creating these are part-time
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districts -- apartheid voting districts that are now being challenged in court. we're challenging the law in the court and we are beginning to win in the court. the fourth circuit said many of these things were unconstitutional. what we see happening is the playing there struggling strategy again. they know if they can lock up 13 -- 13 southern states, that gives them 135 members of the house of representatives, 26 or 13 governors who control boards of elections and the state legislators. and 160 electoral votes, which means a person running for president if they lock up the south, they only need 102 electoral votes in the other 37 states. this is a game to try to hold onto the solid south. at the very time that black and white and latino coalitions heavy build to break open the southern south that was created by the southern strategy.
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that woman's story and many other stories are what we're talking about, and why we are fighting so hard and why we see this also as a matter of -- i am a christian has tpastor. ofryone is created an image god. voting was denied in this country was the because people were considered 3/5 of the person not in the image of god. it is not only bad constitutionally, but theologically. it is literally suggesting a person does not or is not created in the image of god and therefore, they can be rendered to second-class citizenship. amy: i want to ask about the recent controversy around house bill 2 or hb2 in north carolina. to "meet theay press" republican governor pat mccrory defended his decision to sign a state law restricting protection for gay and transgender people. he said it was passed to fight "
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"government overreach." >> it was a left that brought about the bathroom bill, not the right, and the city of charlotte, like to see if used and try to do and was rejected by 61% of the vote. the city of charlotte past the bathroom ordinance mandate in every private-sector employer in charlotte, north carolina, one of the 15th, 16th largest city in the united states. i think that his government overreach. it is not the governments business to tell the private sector private-sector weather bathroom, locker room, or shower practices should be. amy: that is your governor, governor pat mccrory of north carolina, reverend barber. your response? >> yes, he is my governor, but he is wrong. he is lining himself up on the government of the past. segregation and discrimination. let me be clear, they are shrewd. this is not really a bathroom bill. that is the part we have to get to the public. this is a hate bill where the
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transgender community is being used the same way that jesse helms used gay people and race in 1984 when he was 40 points down in the polls and it was running against jim hunt. this is a -- white southern strategy politics. governor mccoury is not faring well in terms of his numbers and his positives. people see him as having been a very bad governor. he is presided over the worst voter suppression laws, the worst redistricting laws, the worst attack on unions, the worst attack on same-sex marriage. he got more money from public education than any other governor before him and put north carolina lower than mississippi. he is denied 500,000 people threeid expansion, hundred 46,000 are white. the only state governor to cut the earned income tax credit and even ronald reagan supported. he is not really a republican,
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but an extremist. inside that bill, section 2 denies a municipality or a city the ability to raise a living wage, require contractors to pay a living wage, to basically paid vacation and have minority set aside. this is an anti-family, anti-labor, anti-worker bill as well. in the third section, this bill is allowed citizens of north carolina from filing employment discrimination cases in state court. this is a trick bill and the transgender community is being used the same way like people were used in the past are latinos. they are being scapegoated in order to pass all of the anti-property or anti-labor and anti-living wage parts of the bill. amy: we have less than a minute. restricting canceled a concert in north carolina, paypal and deutsche bank said they would scrap plans for north carolina expansions. another singer whose transgender announced they will play in
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north carolina as a form of protest. explain what you're going to do after you leave the show today. a we have a major city in on bill to bang on april 25. you can go on the naacp website. we want people to come. we are doing a sit in. this is fusion politics in reversed. this is stepping that race baiting and sex dating in the middle of an election season. we are fighting hard in the south. i'm leaving on a revival tour across this country declaring that we need a revival. it is time for a moral revolution of values. amy: reverend william barber, thank you for being with us, president of the north carolina naacp, and moral monday leader. he is headed to the capital to the democracy awakening mobilizations. participating in massive will
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disobedience. over 900 people have been arrested in the last week. when we come back, could the seafood you eat have been caught by a slave? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are on the road in san francisco. is seafood on the menu tonight? well, there's a chance it might have been caught by a slave. that's what the associated press uncovered when reporters traveled to the remote island of benjina, indonesia. they found workers trapped in cages, whipped with toxic stingray tails for punishment, and forced to work 22 hours a day for almost no compensation. this video is part of the ap's groundbreaking report on slave labor in the seafood industry. >> some of the slaves are kept in cages, sitting on concrete floors, flies buzzing. he just wants to go home. >> i am not said enough. i feel so sorry. it is not only me.
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it is everyone that people are sad. >> another man says he was shifted with fake documents against his will. >> they tricked me. they put me on the vote. >> they are to a potentially hundreds of modern slaves in indonesia, forced to work votes bet supply fish that can sold in the united states. they are forced to work at times 22 hour days with no days off and little or no pay. some claim they are our beatings -- there are beatings. amy: according to the ap, some of the seafood caught by slave laborers winds up in american grocery stores, restaurants, and even cat food. the ap dug into customs records and found that u.s. recipients of slave-labor seafood include walmart, kroger, albertson's, safeway, and others. as a result of the ap investigations, more than 2000 trapped fishermen have been freed more than a dozen alleged , traffickers arrested, and millions of dollars' worth of seafood and vessels seized. this is the story of one of the frd men, me-yen nah.
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>> this is the homecoming. he has been waiting for this all of his adult life. tricked into becoming a slave on a fishing boat as a teenager, he had not seen his family in myanmar for 22 years. until now. sister, who was just 10 when they last saw each other. moments later, he sees his mother. the emotions are overwhelming. for his mother, it is too much. she collapses and has to be revived. i'm so very, very happy that i am able to see my mother and my own siblings again. amy: democracy now! recently spoke to two of the reporters who broke this remarkable story. robin mcdowell is the associated
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press burma correspondent. martha mendoza is the pulitzer prize-winning associated press national writer. we caught up with them in los angeles just before they headed to the university of southern california to receive the 2016 selden ring award for investigative reporting for this remarkable series. it is also a contender for this year's pulitzer prizes, which will be announced today at 3:00 p.m. eastern time. i began by asking robin mcdowell how she discovered this slave island. >> i have been living in southeast asia for nearly two decades together with a colleague. we had been hearing for years him as many had, about the use of forced labor on fishing travelers in the thai fleets. it was something that was reported largely, that point, for people who have been either rescued or had run away off of shifts. no one had actually spoken to men who were on votes or captive
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on islands as we had found. the goal from the beginning was to find a way to find people who were actually captive slaves, to trace that fish back to the american dinner table, and most important, to name names. amy: how did you do it? >> it took about a year of networking, scrolling the internet, going through documents. it really was -- every place we went, people told us basically, yes, others have tried this, it is daily a possible. documents are regularly falsified, people live. trans-shoulds, in other words, clean fish, fish that is caught legally, is mixed with slave caught fish. fish is applied by companies that don't know, that point, that there is absolutely no trace of what fish has been
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caught by forced labor and what fish has not. it was something that was so murky, we had to get it piece by piece. we really did not know what we had until we were told that there were some men who had been abandoned on islands in indonesia. so it was basically going there and finding and hearing their stories. amy: tell us what you found there. on theially on arriving island, it looked like a huge fishing company. things did not go quickly. we did not find immediately or did not realize immediately this was an island of slaves. amy: this is benjina, indonesia? >> yes, the village of benjina is on one side of a large canal, about 200 meters away is the other part of the island. and that is where the factory was with the fishing travelers, the men. for the first day or two, you're
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mostly looking across that waterway trying to figure out how we were going to find out what was going on. initially, the first clues came from the side of the village. it turned out, speaking to them, they were servicing mostly burmese fishermen at the brothels and is at dozens, maybe hundreds. that is what we really got a sense, ok, this is a big operation. two or threetil days later when i was able to get in touch with our burmese colleague, also a member of the team, and she embarked on the 30 hour journey by boat, biplane, and arrived on the island -- by plane, and arrived on the island. when those men first saw a burmese compatriot and she told them, we're here to tell your story, they just could not wait to talk. they took tremendous risk. they would chase us down
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pathways, jamming paper into her hand saying, "please, tell our family we are alive." telling much horrific stories that we had heard from others in where most of the abuses had been reported up until then. amy: you found men in cages? >> yes, we did. we knew before we got there, we saw the day before we arrived, a picture of a man in a cage. so we knew that was really the goal at that moment. we knew there was someplace and the factory grounds that men were being held. we told our photographer in our videographer, this is the goal for you. you need to prove this is enhappg. when they found it, it was somethinthat the comny was not even ashamed of. they showed the videographer and the photographer what was supposed to be a tour of, this is our fishing industry.
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it'd been going on for such a long time, they have been operating with impunity. they had no fear at that moment -- before they realized we were doing an investigation, they just kind of skirted near the cage, which was basically a company jail with concrete floors. they go to the bathroom inside this makeshift prison. they got a couple of glimpses of the camera before they were ushered away. amy: robin mcdowell, how did these men get enslaved? >> well, it has a lot to do with poverty. in the case of myanmar, many were recruited during the days of dictatorship. there were no jobs and their villages. they went to thailand in search of work. usually with the help of a broker or agent who would tell them, ok, there's a job i have, something in a plantation were a clothing factory.
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once theygot there, got to thailand, they were often tricked, sometimes kidnapped, sometimes drugged and brought to rooms or buildings where they would be held until they can get enough fishermen and then put them on the votes. amy: usually men? >> always men. amy: why? >> i think they're better workers. they are stronger. it is very labor-intensive job. they're really working 22 hours straight, sometimes longer itending on how many -- if is high season or low season. i think most of them cannot tolerate it for a woman as hard as well. amy: talk about how this investigation unfolded. had you intended to do this long thees on, well, perhaps fish you buy may have been caught by slave's? >> we deftly intended to find men who were captive and tractor product back and figure out
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where it went. but once that story broke, the authorities went back to benjina happens that never happens in journalism. they began freeing the men. it was like a neck that is. it was unbelievable. amy: explained that moment to us. >> nine days after the story was published, the indonesian government wanted to go to the island to investigate on their own. they went -- they brought us with them. they started interviewing the company site manager, financial chief, and others. translator, they took aside about 20 burmese fishermen and started interviewing them and asking them about their experiences. they were horrified by what they were hearing. not only were they hearing about abuse of captains in the waters,
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but also beatings when they returned to land. because the thai captains could not be the month indonesian soil, they would hire somebody they call the enforcer and they would bring them up and march them to the top of the hill your flagole within indonesia hanging, handcuffed them and beat them until they could not stand any more. in some cases, put them in a hut up there for month or two. amy: what would they gain? >> termination. it was often people they saw as troublemakers, threatening to go home. amy: some were whipped by stingrays? explain. >> it was the tale of the stingray and a gives a little shocked. not only does it break the skin, it numbs the skin and adds to the misery. ,my: when the men were released the moment. >> the officials were speaking
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to about 20 men. when they realized it would be dangerous to leave the island and have those men be with their m,users, they told the we're taking you home. i asked him, do you mean these 20 guys or everybody? everybody come a we can't take them. i don't think they realized how many men were on that island. first it was the 20, and then as work started does word started to spread the surrounding hills and the woods that people were going to get to go home, more and more people came out. reason, there were 50, 100, 200, 300. and everybody, as soon as they realized, ok, you're going home tonight, they start running to their boat and they would leap over the rails of the boat and through the windows and grab their belongings, whatever they could find -- shirts, t
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toothbrush -- run back to be counted. it was really remarkable. amy: did you hear from them once they went home? they had not seen family members sometimes and how long? >> the longest that we found, that our colleague found was 22 years. amy: i want to go to one among those kept in cages on the remote indonesian island village migrantna, one of the fishermen rescued during the associated press investigation into slavery in the seafood industry. let's go to an excerpt of an ap report. >> it was a day he fear would never happen, reuniting with his brother in a small village he left years ago. just days earlier, he and seven other men flew home to myanmar after being used as slaves on thai fishing boats. >> there are no words to describe my happiness. >> late last year, he was discovered by the associated
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press in the remote village of benjina. he had been locked up or asking to go home because he could no longer live the heavy nets. >> there were people who died on the boat, but i want to say the priority was pulling out the fish. because the owners wanted fish, they had to give their lives. for owners, the fish were more valuable than us. amy: this return home to his native burma. how many slaves were freed as a result of the ap investigation? >> there were more than 2000. amy: how many still exist today? >> we believe most of those who were on the islands in eastern indonesia are now home. amy: how did you track the boats? talk about the technology used. >> the boat that we actually tracked from benjina to the thai port town was done with the
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satellite tracker that was on the boat already. this is something that most boats have when they're in international waters am obligated to turn them on. they did not realize that we were tracking them. we were aware of this boat and these companies and have been kind of watching them on the internet beforehand. we knew what the process was. after we saw the fish being loaded onto these refrigerated cargo ships, when a particular silver see line, we watched that and tracked it. three of us basically, as a crossed a 15 day journey to the thai port town. >> when we found out the boats had fled with more slaves on board, robin began pressuring me to find the boats. we asked a satellite company if they could cast a camera on a region of a pop at a guinea and take a large photo and try to actually find the boats.
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and they did. they found more votes amy: they could find them because of these trackers on them? >> the second batch of those that fled benjina did not have trackers, but simon had escaped and some of the owners of these boats had also gotten fishing licenses beneficiary area near papua, new guinea. camerasglobe test their and shot a huge swath of ocean. when they zoomed in, we saw more votes that look like ours. we share these photos with some of the escaped slaves and freed slaves who confirmed those were the boats. the military, the navy moved in and seized them and more slaves were freed and more people were arrested. martha mendoza and robin mcdowell, ground breaking
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"seafood from slaves." we will be back with them in 30 seconds. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. was the fishing eight caught by a slave? you eight caught by slave? we continue our conversation on slavery in the seafood industry.
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i asked martha mendoza where she tracked where the slave labor seafood ins up here in the united states and what she found. >> a fish can change ownership 30 times from the time it is caught until the time we are eating it. so we knew it was going to be a major challenge, but when robin contacted us from this island and said, you would not believe what we're seeing here, i priority was to follow those fish. we need to meticulously figure out where they end up so there's don't or generalizations of consumers or sellers in the united states saying, oh, it is not our fish. the way we did it was when the boatload of seafood from benjina arrived at port, staked out the it,ks there were loading and followed it to factories. every shipment from an international company to the united states comes with us got -- custom bill of lading which are digitized.
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we were able to search through those records and find where those companies were shipping there should food -- seafood too. that was the beginning. they're disturbed her's in the u.s. who will not tell you what brand or label is going on their seafood. we went back into this later with shrimp and was much easier because brands of the major companies, including places like whole foods and walmart, red lobster, were being put on the shrimp in thailand. we went right off the brands. we ended up having reporters in all 50 states go to supermarkets and identify, take photos up and identify fish that came from the supply chain -- amy: how do you do that from taking pictures of shrimp or fish. >> so they follow these trucks to these factors, we use the bill of lading's, then we called went through business records and went through lawsuits and went through buyers and sellers and actually went to several
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major seafood conferences to find out where the top distributors of seafood in the u.s. are selling their seafood too. if you go in a supermarket, you will your fish with a plastic wrap on it. it will not say, this is a product of thailand that came through such and such company in the u.s. you don't see that chain. because these companies and the u.s. -- we asked them, talk to people buying and selling from them, and found out where their fish went. amy: name for sb restaurants, name perez the grocery stores that carry slave labor seafood. the pointgetting to were everywhere we looked, we could find it, from the smaller localized chains like piggly wiggly to the major sellers like our sense, safeway, kroger, the star redt chains lobster and olive garden. and then there are distributors like cisco, the largest food distributor in the u.s.
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amy: not costco, but cisco. >> you will see their trucks on the road and they're selling to all of the different supermarkets as well as to amy: walmart? >> absolutely. fish and shrimp tracked record to walmart and the response immediately was they deplore this in their supply chain. amy: how to president obama's recent ban on slave hyper and produced goods, without -- slave-produced goods come about and how does it affect what you have discovered? >> soon after we published our first story and we're showing here is a guy in a cage and here is walmart, it ends up there and we have the goods, we have walked you through it as a reader, there was a congressional hearing. at the congressional hearing, there were discussing, why does this happen? a member of the state department was put on the spot as well and she said, we don't allow this to
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happen. there is a law that says slave produced items are not allowed in the united states. i asked, when are you enforcing this law? they said, there's a loophole, a term consumptive demand. if there's a consumptive demand, even if it is slave hyper produced, it can be allowed in. after we published the story, the entire congress agreed to change the loophole. about a month ago, obama signed that includedsure a provision closing that loophole. amy: i went to turn to gavin gibbons, spokesperson for the national fisheries institute responding to the associated press's findings about slave labor in the seafood industry. >> it is not only disturbing, it is disarming because our companies has zero tolerance for labor abuses. talk are things people about like boycotts and i say, why don't we just not buy
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seafood? if you don't buy seafood from there, you're not only not in the conversation anymore about labor, you don't have an ability to fix it. , there is acdowell spokesperson for the national fisheries institute saying boycotts would be counterproductive. what is your response to that and what affected your report have on their industry? >> i think it is a difficult question. i will say when you're doing human rights reporting, it seems like it almost doesn't matter to a degree what governments are groups what labor rights are saying, what human rights organizations are saying. it is when -- i won't say it doesn't matter, but it is really when the businesses that are buying and the consumers start screaming that things start to change. i really believe the voice of the american consumer is the biggest change for these thai
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seafood companies. amy: let's turn to george champlin represents the shrimp industry worldwide. chamberlain told the ap the problem is with third-party suppliers, not processing plants. >> processing plants are well controlled and certified and what happens if they contract to a third party who doesn't follow the rules? amy: martha mendoza, respond. >> the buyers in the u.s. said we will not buy shrimp from any company that is using a third-party processor. we do know in thailand, about 2000 people who are in those processing facilities have now been employed. they have jobs, money, some protection, and their kids are no longer being forced to work. amy: the indonesian government has called for a temporary moratorium on all foreign fishing. this is the director of
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indonesia's ministry of marine affairs and fisheries. he is followed by the indonesian minister of maritime and fisheries. >> the government has allowed the policies to crack down on illegal fishing vessels. >> thinking of what slavery is happening on those boats, i lost my sleep. amy: martha mendoza, can you respond? >> the indonesian authorities are really concerned about this. they don't want to see it happening. they have brought all of the boats in a short and trying to inspect them and find out who is working on them. there has been eight people now sent to jail over human trafficking because of our reporting there. amy: i want to turn to the ambassador at large for the office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons at the u.s. state department. she is speaking to the associated press. >> consumers should inform
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themselves so they can speak to the places they shop in the things they buy so they can speak to their wallets. and tell companies that we don't want products that are made with slavery. amy: martha mendoza? >> and the european union, they of the what is called the yellow card on all thai seafood and weighing whether not to put a red card with the soccer analogy being they will ban thai seafood of the situation does not improve in terms of human rights. u.s. way of putting pressure is a little more diplomatic and political, but the united states is also putting pressure on thailand to claim that their human rights records. amy: last year in california, law firms filed a class-action lawsuit against costco and its thai seafood supplier, arguing the company has knowingly sold shrimp who's harvesting relies on rampant human trafficking of forced labor. men who have escaped from both the supply chain have testified to beatings, torture, execution style killings and grueling 20
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hour shifts. costco fromblock selling these shrimp unless they are labeled as a produce of slavery. how do they get labeled? this is all associated press is reporting. >> you can see a product today that says it is a product of slavery. there's a lot of different avenues to resolving this. yes, class-action lawyers are taking these civil litigation route and the cost good lawsuit is one of several filed in the past year related to this. productive that is or how effective that is. i know what lawsuit was dropped. i should point out that nestle initiated their own investigation and did something very remarkable about eight months later. they revealed their findings and said, indeed, we do have labor trafficking and slavery in her own supply chain and we need to do better. amy: and that was in terms of -- >> around seafood in thailand. they brought in outside auditors
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after our investigative report. those auditors did find problems and typically what a company does is keep that in house. what they did was publish it and come up with a working plan to do better. amy: how do you know if this is ending? >> i don't think it is ending. i think it is an ongoing problem. we intended to put a spotlight on it and show what was going on in as clear away as possible. because so many people have been saying on the consumer side or the business side, you can't prove it, we realized it might be happening, but nobody has .eally proven it conclusively that is what we set out to do. it is still going on. some of the boats that were in fish incontinue to waters as far away as africa. some recruiters and brokers who are short of men have started going around, we understand, and trying to find more men. it is an ongoing problem, and that is what we were trying to show.
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amy: this issue of thirds parties -- third-party supporters. what do you say? if these men are slaves, certainly we don't condone that, but how would we know? >> we are a couple of mothers. we are news reporters and we found this. i don't buy it. a major corporation that really cares and is really committed to keeping human trafficking out of their supply train -- chain can get meticulous. they can get on the ground, talk to people, figure or the products come from. it may be a little more expensive and profit margin may be smaller, but it is entirely doable for them to follow the product from the producer right on to their store shelves. amy: now, what you have accomplished and what you hope to account bush still. more frustrated and gratified. this is an ongoing problem. it stems from the fact there is
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been overfishing close to shore. so fishing now takes place further and further from shore. as a result, it is a very unaccountable industry and we know there are abuses at sea probably all around the world. we want to see industrywide awareness and change. >> it is not just the thai fishing industry. taiwanese, korean, chinese. we focused on one particular industry, one company, and followed that chain, but it is to illustrate a much bigger problem. amy: what do think now when you your cells each seafood or feed it to your children? >> i don't. i don't eat seafood and i don't feed it to my children. amy: robin? >> i don't really either. for me, it is a bigger problem. i feel like in this global industry, slavery touches on most every product, everything
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we wear, the things that we eat. reallyeally -- it is disheartening. amy: when you say that, can you elaborate on what you learned about what is produced by slave labor? >> it is not just what we learned. what we learned just showed how horrible it can be. when you hear it could be the tip of the shoelace is made by -- with children with tiny fingers, but you hear about it and every instance. companythe head of one said after our investigation and was not tied to our investigation, every product is touched by slavery. martha, whowe end, is the team that made this investigation? >> we ara four wan reporng team of journalists. robin mcdowell myself, margie mason and esther tusan. our editor also a woman.
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amy: what do you think it is about women and exposing slavery? >> i think that we were very persistent. i think that we were very dogged in this investigation, but i also think we were not abrasive. competent. we were pursuing. amy: martha mendoza and robin mcdowell, co-authors of the ap on seafoodng series slavery. they're a free pulitzer prize today. we're on the road for a 100 city tour. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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