tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 27, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
10/27/17 10/27/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is dedemocracy now! >> w we are disappointed by what we are seeing. this isn't what we thought we were investing in. what we thought we were investing in was a free, fair society where people could be safe. and south sudan is t the opposie of that. as united nations ambassador nikki haley troubles in africa where 6000 american troops are stationed, we will look at u.s. operations across
the continent. niger, five nigerien soldiers and quarter u.s. special forces soldiers were killed. we will speak with reporter nick turse who says "u.s. military activity in afririca is a recruiting tool for terror groups." >> most americans to understand niger is one small part of something akin to a a u.s. shadw war on t the africanan continen. that the united states is running about 10 missions per day all across africa. amy: we will talk about nick piece. new then as president trump declares the opioid crisis a public health emergency, we will speak with columbia university psychology and psychiatry professor carl hart. his new piece for scientific
americanpeople are dying , because of ignorance, not because of opioids." >> if we are really concerned like the opioids and heroine, we need to tell people how to stay safe. if we are worried about overdose death, about 13,000 people die relatedar from heroine overdoses whereas 35,000 people die from automobile accidents. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump announced that he was directing the department of health and human services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. walking back his plans announced in august to declare it a more serious national emergency. the shift means the federal government will not as of now direct any new federal funds to address the opioid crisis, which killed 64,000 americans last year.
pres. trump: drug overdoses arae now ththe leading cause of unintentioional death i i the united states by far. more people are dying from drug overdoses today than from gun homicides and motor vehicles combined. amy: we will have more on trump's announcement and the opioid crisis later in the broadcast with dr. carl hart. on capitol hill, the house narrowly approved a budget plan that will allow republican lawmakers to push through president trump's tax bill without the support of a single democrat. trump's proposed tax overhaul would shower billions of dollars in tax cuts upon the wealthiest americans, including president trump's family and members of his administration. republicans are now vowing to introduce the tax bill as eaeary as november 1. meanwhile, congressional democrats are pushing legislation that would prevent president trump from launching a preemptive strike against north korea. the "no unconstitutional strike against north korea" bill would bar trump from ordering an
attack against north korea without first seeking congressional authority. the bill comes amid mounting tensions between the u.s. and north korea, with president trump repeatedly threatening to totally destroy all of north korea, a country of 25 million people. the federal government has just released thousands of formerly secret cia and fbi files on the assassination of president john f. kennedy in 1963. historians arere now pouring -- reviewing the documents. some of the preliminary revelations include a 1975 document that details multiple cia plots to assassinate cuban leader fidel castro under the kennedy administration, including working with mobsters to poison castro with a pill. the federal government was expected to release all of the unity assassination documents as of midnight last night, but in a chaotic late not move, trump and it up blocking the release of a number of the documents under
pressure from intelligence agencies. other parts of the released files ended up being reductive. the final files are expected to be released in april. president trump reportedly intervened to instruct the justice department to lift a gag order on an undercover fbi informant who investigated the sale of a uranium mining company to russia's atomic energy agency, rosatom, under the obama administration. this sale is facing increasing scrutiny after it surfaced recently that the fbi was investigating a u.s. subsidiary of rosatom for racketeering and extortion at the time the obama administration approved the sale. secretary of state rex tillerson said thursday y that the united states is seeking a future syria without syrian leader bashar al-assad. speaking after his talks with u.n. special envoy for syria staffan de mistura, tillerson said -- "we do not believe that there is
a future for the assad regime and assad family. the reign of the assad family is coming to an end." another round of u.n.-backed peace talks on the syrian conflict are slated to resume next month.. spanish prime minister mariano rajoy is calling on the spanish senate to approve his plan to seize direct control of the northeastern region of catalonia and fire its leader, carles puigdemont and all regional ministers. if the senate approves the use of article 155 of the spanish constitution, spain could also take over catalonia's police, public media, and finances. on thursday, catalan leader carles puigdemont ruled out holding snap elections to diffuse the crisis. this is 16-year-old paula perez, speaking thursday. >> we don't know right now what is going to happen because the situation we're living is very chaotic. we will continue to wait to see what happens.
amy: but the spanish senate and the combo -- catalonia parliament are in session. the senate is expected to approve the central government's takeover of the region and the catalonian parliament to declale independence simultaneously. in kenya, at least four people were killed amid clashes during thursday's contested presidential election rerun. incumbent president uhuru kenyatta is expected to win the reelection after his opponent, opposition leader raila odinga, boycotted the vote when his demands for changes to the electoral process were not met. this is joseph ouma, whose brother was wounded in the clashes. >> we were not being violent. we just barricaded the road to prevent ballot boxes from getting to the polling center. we decided to protest because we did not want voting to take place. then the police came and shot my brother. they were shooting live bullets into the crorowd. amy: after selma blair has accused james toback of threatening to kill her if she
publicly accused him of sexual harassment. more than 200 women including blair, have now accused him of sexual harassment. blair says toback harassed her in 1999, trapping her in hotel room than masturbating in front of her. afterwards, she said he told her "there is a girl who went against me. she was going to talk about something i did. i am going to tell you, and this is a promise, if she ever tells anybody, no matter how much time she thinks went by, i have people who will pull up in a car, kidnap her and throw her in the hudson river with cement blocks on her feet. you understand what i'm talking about, right?" the director of the office of scotte resettlement, lloyd, testified before a house subcommittee thursday where he was grilled by lawmakers about his move to personally intervene to try to unsuccessfully stop an undocumented teenager from having an abortion in texas. the teenager was only able to
access the abortion this week after suing the trump administration and fighting for a month. this is lloyd being questioned by washington congresswoman pramila jayapal. >> do you believe a a woman''s constitutional right to abortion depends on her immigrationon status? think any e entrant into thee ununited states -- > it is a yes or no question, mr. lloyd. do you believe a woman's constitutional right depends on her immigratioion status, yes or no? >> a number of r rigs -- >> that is not a yes or no answer. >> any number of rights to be on -- depenends on where they stand in terms of our immigration system. > is thatat a yes or r a no? no.ll take thatat as a so do you believe that immigrants have constitutional rights? ma'am, ifagagain,
somebody wants to come io the united states s -- >> i will take that as a no. do you have medical training of any kind? >> if i need advice regarding any medical situation regarding -- i've been sosolta medical -- >> so the answer is, no. mother's to many immigration authorities release her daughter, a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy, whose to pain by control agents -- was detained by border patrol agents after undergoing surgery on tuesday. the girl, rosa maria hernandez, has been living in the united states since she was three months old, when her parents moved the family to the u.s. in order to access better medical care for rosa. on tuesday, she and her cousin were traveling from laredo, texas, to a hospital in corpus christi, when they were stopped at a border checkpoint. border patrol agents then traveled with rosa to the hospital and then detained her
-- at the hospital -- once the surgery was over. she is currently being held in a children's shelter in san antonio, texexas. and award-winning indigenous journalist mark trahant has s qt his teaching job at the university of north dakota after the university blocked him from teaching a lecture series on the indigenous-led resistance to the dakota access pipeline. professor trahant is the author of multiple books on indigenous history and resistance and has been a finalist for the pulitzer prize. he's a member of the shoshone-bannock tribe in idaho, and the former president of the native americacan journalists association. he says he quit after r his two separarate proposals to focus on the professional and social media coverage of the resistance movement were rejected by the ununiversity. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on thursday, republican and
-- the senate foreign relations committee held a classified briefing with pentagon officials on the deadly ambush in niger earlier this month when five nigerien soldiers were killed, meanwhile, the pentagon separately confirmed for the first time that a second u.s. military team was involved in the operation and was "involved in the same timeline." the associated press reports the patrol that was ambushed had been asked to help a second team of commandos that had been hunting for a senior member of al-qaida. there are about 6000 american troops operating in africa, with at least 800 in niniger. meanwhile, somalia contitinues o recover a massive bombing in mogadishu that killed at least 358 people and wounded over 400 more, and a roadside bomb exploded on sunday killing 11 people. the explosions come after the trump administration stepped up a u.s. campaign against al-shabaab in somalia.
in march, president trump declared somalia a so-called zone of active hostilities, giving wide latitude to military leaders to launch airstrikes and ground assaults. in may, that led to the first u.s. combat death in somalia since 1993. in august, a raid by u.s. soldiers and somali troops on a village outside mogadishu left 10 civilians dead, including three children. the guardian reports the suspected d bomber in the mogadidishu ssacrere is from the specific community targeted by the raid last august, a village near the capital mogadishu. the mogadishu massacre killed more than 300 people. this week u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley became one of the highest-ranking officials in the trump administration to visit the african continent. haley traveled to ethiopiaia, south sudan, and the democratic republic of congo, where she arrived after she was forced to
evacuate while visiting a refugee camp in south sudan when a protest erupted against president salva kiir. during her visit haley said the , u.s. relationship with south sudan is "at a crossroads." what we areted by seeing. this isn't what w we thought we were investing in. what we thought wewe were investing in is a free, fair society where people could be safe. and south sudan is the opposite of that. amy: well, to talk more about u.s. operations on the african continent, we are joined by reporter nick turse. he is a fellow at the nation institute and contributing writer at the intercept where his latest story is headlined "it's not just niger -- u.s. military activity is a 'recruiting tool' for terror groups across west africa." also his piece, the "u.s. will invade africa after an attack in new york according to pentagon wargames."
waging a massive shadow war in africa." he is the author of "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa" and his latest book is "next time they'll come to count the dead: war and survival in south sudan." welcome back to democracy now! >> thank you for having me on. amy: let's begin in south sudan. why did nikki haley go there? talk about the protest that occurred there. dispatchedley was they're basically as the result of a speech last month that president trump gave to african leaders at the united nations. it was a very tone deaf speech whwhere he and fact lauded the achievements of an african country that doesn't exist, nambia. in the speech, he also mentioned that there were conflicts in the democratic republic of congo and especially south sudan that needed tending to that he was dispatching nikki haley to do
something about it. what it was was never exactly clear. she was on something of a fact-finding mission. she met with south sududanese refugees in ethiopia. as you mentioned, she went to one of these protection civilian sites in south sudan where there had been internal -- internally displaced people basically stranded there for years since the civil war broke out in 2013. things got heated and she was escorted out of the camp. amy: so explain the situation in south sudan. >> in december 2013, the president a south sudan launched and ethnic lensing campaign. amy: one of the newest countries in the world. >> yes, the youngest natation on earth. this was in many ways a u.s. nationbuilding project. the united states spent somewhere around $11 billion bringing south sudan into
nationhood. the south sudanese fought and died for their independence, but the u.s. is really the back of this project. .t all fell apart in 2013 the country has been in the state of civil war since then. the government has been carrying out ethnic cleansing campaigns across the nation. amy: against who? >> it started out against the largest of the ethnic minorities. this is carried out by president kiir who is a member of the dinka, the largest ethnic group in the country. since then, the civil war has spread. most recently, it is been affecting the deep south of south sudan where there are somewhere around 10 to 20 of the minorities. they have been targeted. they have been leaving the country in droves, mostly to uganda. about one million refugees across the border since the late summer of 2016.
was nikki haley, when she in south sudan, said that president kiir could not claim his soldiers weren't committing thesese atrocities. but in fact, that is what kiir has been doing for months now. claiming that fake news and social media drove these people across the border. i was there earlier this year. i talked to refugees who had left the country. i spoke to people displaced in the country. i saw be burned villages. these people ran because of the government run at the cleansing murders, massacres, village burnings. that went on then and it goes on today. amy: what is the u.s. interest? now? think i'mted states i especially -- it was a bipartisan effort. there are a lot of people in congress that believe the united states has an ongoing role to play in n south sudan.
what the white house things should be done is very unclear. before ambassador haley left, she was talking tough about cutting off u.s. aid as a way to leverage u.s. power against the government of south sudan. but since she arrived there and saw the refugees, she said that she now understands that cutting off u.s. aid would hurt the most vuvulnerable south sudanese. it is difficult to figure out exactly what the united states can d do and what nikki haley's mandate is. amy: on tuesday, the u.s. ambassador to the human nikki haley visited gambella in western ethiopia, where nearly 350,000 refugees have flflooded across the border from south sudan amid t the country's civil war. >> this is an international crisis. this is not just ethiopia's problem. this is an international crisis. when you look at the thousands of people here and you see
they're supposed to have one health clinic for 10,000 people and our6,000 people and one clinic? it is wrong. i mean,hey're trying to make the foodby wororking off shortages, but as a point you to say, noah deserves to live like this. amy: she said the united states is considering how to pressure south sudan's president salva kiir into peace, but withdrawing aid may not work. >> yes. the united quandary states has been in. at one point they were giving south sudan millions and millions of dodollars for the military, to train politicians there. nonow it has been rereduced babasically to aid. that is the leverage the united states has. but cutting that off means so many people in need will be without. amy: we are talking to nick turse, the author of several africa. his latest book "next time they
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we talk about the u.s. presence in africa, i want to turn to republican senator lindsey graham of south carolina, member of the same -- senate arms services committee who spoke after secretariat of the james mattis's of the military shifting its counterterrorism strategy to focus more on africa. >> the counterterrorism rules under president obama i thought were overly restricted.
it denied as the ability to -- the war engage in is morphing. you're going to see more actions in africa, not less. you're going to see more aggression by the united states against our enemies, not less. you'll have decision stop made in the white house, but in the field. i support that construct. amy: we continue our conversation with nick turse, author of "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa," and his latest book is "next time they'll come to count the dead: war and survival in south sudan." respond to what lindsey graham has said. talk about what the u.s. is doing in africa. is doing a lot. he talked about restrictions during the obama era. era this past year, i have to say, jump to another level. u.s. troops are now conducting, according to the commander in
u.s. africa command, 3500 exercises, programs, and engagements per year. that is nearly 10 missions per day onon the afrfrican contitin. something that i think most amerericans are completelyly une of. i think lindsey graham states that he was unaware of f the extent of this activity. it is a massive increase as of late. when a africom began, was runnig about 172 exercises and missions per year. so this is almost a 2000% rise in u.s. military activity on the africa continent. this runs counter to what africom was originally sold at, the american people and the world at large. it would be something like the peace corps in camouflage. that there would be humanitarian operations, building up orphanage and digging wells. but it is a fully militarized u.s. geographic combatant command where you have troops running missions that are often
sold as traiaining and advisory, done in a training advisory capacity. but really are indistinguishable from combat. amy: the discussion this week on capitol hill, keep hearing many senators talking about giving more money to the u.s. military. that the death of the four special forces soldiers in niger means the u.s. needs more money and that africa is the place where u.s. military action will be focused. now, your story, one of them explain.wrote, >> this is something a number of experts told me. the united states has been pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into counterterror programs since just after 9/11. in west africa, manager, mauritania. this entire region. the idea was to o make this regn
a bulwark againsterrorism.. the thinking just after 9/11 was that weak states, fragile gogovernments, these were places that terror groups could proliferate. at the time, the united states did not recognize any transnational terror groups in the region. after all of this u.s. activity, after running one special ops mission after another year after year, now there are proliferation groups across the region, depending on how you count them, maybe six to 10, including the islamic state inn the greater sahara, which iss proof that reportedly conducted this ambush that killed the quite to american green berets. amy: not all of them were green berets, but they were special forces. on that issue of the special forces, 800 soldiers in niger? what is the drone base? why was it being built there?
>> in 2013, the u.s. began drone operations there. 100 u.s. personnel dispatched to the capital of niger. the base was designed for ,roviding what they call isr intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, over the niger and greater west africa region. since then, the united states struck a deal with niger to build a much larger base. u.s. africa command says -- they call it something like a temporary contingency location, which sounds like in a strip with a couple of tents around it. but declassified secret document i obtained show this is a $100 million drone base they are building. they chose niger, thesee documents a,a, because the gogovernment there was open to them bringing in reaper drones, which are the larger newer
variant of the drone will stop a much more lethal drone package. originally, these were to be carrying out isr missions, but now in the wake of his attack, there's a major push on them to arm these drones and have them fly over the region. this is something else i find the documents. niger was the only y country in ththe region open to h having ad drones based there. amy: and both the u.s. and france are active there. >> yes. this is because of the collapse of niger's neighbors, one of its neighbors, mali. of.s. trained officer, one the officers trained in the u.s. counterterror programs after 9/11, overthrew the government because there was an insurgency in northern mali this officer did not think the government was taking on in the correct way.
he proved incompetent and taking on the insurgency as well. his army was pushed back for the capital. there was a fear that mali would be overtaken by islamist rebels. so france intervene with the backing of the united states. now france has been stuck in a counterinsurgency there t that seems is also interminable and the french cannot find a way to extricate themselves from. amy: where else does the u.s. have drone bases across africa? >> there are drone bases that pop up all across the continent. the u.s. builds them and shut them down depending on need. in the past, they've had drone chad, alsohiopia, in in kenya. i think the drone base of recent vintage that is been most important t to the u.s. is in te tiny nation of djibouti and the horn of africa. there is a major u.s. space
they're called camp lemonnier. it is a satellite facility. the united states has run missions there that target the african continent. also they run drone missions that fly to yemen. then it was used for engagements against the islamic state in iraq and syria as well. a very important centrally located drone base. amy: so you have 6000 u.s. troops. do you think that is the correct number? >> on any given day, somewhere between 5000 and 8000 u.s. troops on the continent depending on the missions going on at the time. troops cycle in and out. at 6000 is a reasonable number. amy: in sum, what, 50 coununtris in africa. >> the united states is in 49er so african countries, at least over the last couple of years. they're conducting training missions, exercises, and in some
cases, commander rates and drone strikes. amy: i want to turn to professor horace campbell, currently spending a year in west africa at the institute of african studies at the university of ghana. a peace and justice scholar. he spoke on democracy now! earlier this week about u.s. forces in africa. aboutt we must be clear to the f forces in the united states of america, that neither france n nor the uninited staten have anyny political legitimacyn africa went on the streets of the united states ofof america, fascists arere walking around wh massive flags and police are killing black people. i want to go back to the point from the beginning. the united states has no legitimacy for fighting terrorism in africa becausee it cannotot fight to defend black
lives in africa when black lives are not important in the united states of america. amy: your response to what he says, nick turse? >> it makes a strong point there. i might add come into something in my recent pieces, that the united states counterterror activities in africa seem to have the opposite effect in many ways, that the u.s. was supposed to be building up counterterrorism capabilities but we have just seen aa proliferation of terror groups all l across the continentnt. so the legitimacacy is lacking. also the execution has really gone counter to what the unitetd states namames have been. amy: in your piece in intercept, "the u.s. will invade west africa in 2023 after an attack in new york according to pentagon wargame." what is this wargame? >> it was a work in carried out
over several weeks last year. the ackerman was -- this was conducted by students at u.s. militaries were colleges. i should say west point cadets. these are g generally colonels n the army, navy, air force, marines. best up-and-coming strategic thinkers in the u.s. military. people that lead generals running warsrs in the comingng years. they ranan a very y intricate wargame. this was one part of it. a pivotal part. the wargame posits will be a terror attack in new york targeting the lincoln tunnel. it will be the largest terror attack since 9/11, the most casualties since then. and it will be carried out by a west african terror group. one of these groups that has cropped up in the region since 9/11. because of this attack, the united states decides to invade west africa starting in
mauritania. and it will be a surprise to anyone that has watched u.s. wars since done 11 that this quickly becomes a quagmire that the united states goes inn thinking it isis going to be a short campaign, that we can eliminate thee terrorists there and what's wrong quickly. it is soon turns into a conflict for the united states has to surge in forces just to maiaintn its occupation, and there seems to be no way to get out of it.t. amy: and what is the significance of a pentagon wargame? >> it is not an intelligence estimate. this is something that shows what the united states is thinking about. where is these threats coming from. what it sees as the reasonable u.s. response -- "reasonable" the u.s. response to i it. i concert we see something like this happening. and the results are chilling, especially given what we're seeing now, talk coming out of
congress about increasing u.s. military operations in africa. it is a sobering account of what this might mean for all of us here in ameririca and especially in africa. amy: what about somalia? the timeline was, what, october 4, that was the time of the niger killings, of thehe ambushf the u.s. and a jury in forces. 10 days later, october 14, though a lot of people learned about what happened in niger and truck did not reveal would happen in niger until after somalia, but 10 days later, this double bombing in the capital,, what they're calling the mogadishu u massacre, over 350 people killed, 400 people wounded. and the guardian reports that the suspected bomber is from the specific community targeted by a u.s. raid last august in a village near mogadishu that , amongsome 10 people
them children. can you talk about what is happening in somalia and the u.s. presence there? a the u.s. has had long-standing presence in somalia. this has been one of the places where u.s. counterterror references -- there have been other largest in africa. it is cited by some of the government as a success story. al-shabab has come in many ways, theirushed back but continuing -- there is a continuing terror campaign from al-shabab that doesn't seem to be able to b be solved through military means. but this is the way the united states has chosen to deal with it and chosen to deal with what it considers threats all over the continent. that it is a sort of counterterrorism welcome all exercise. amy: what is a mean that trump called it a so-called zone of active hostilities? >> this allowed for a loosening of bonds on the us military
activities there. it allows the u.s. to pursue a more vigorous military campaign and because of that, there is a much greater chance of civilian casualties and a chance of just continuing the cycle. this is something experts have told me again and again, that u.s. operations on the continent in many ways are fueling terrorism. that these u.s. military operations are causing killing,t and invite you know, innocent civilians, that you're just breeding more terrorists country after country. amy: during a news conference last month, president trump congratulated african leaders for helping make his fririends rich. pres. trump: africa has tremendous business potentialal. i have s so many friends going t your couountries trying to get rich. i congratulate you.
they are spending a lot of money. amy: "they are spending a lot of money," president trump said. nick turse? >> i think trump has viewed africa may be in two ways. some sort of transactional economic zone where the united states can extract and make as a theater of war. that speech was exceptionally tone deaf. it was the first time he really addressed what his africa ststrategy might be. as youou might e expect, after e wos, it became more and more muddled. it is very difficult to understand exactly what the trump a administration sees for the future of africa. they haven't really even staffed up with experts on it within the administration, at the state department. so it seems to be an ad hoc policy. i think you'll see a lot more military engagement,t, specially after niger. i'm not sure about the economic
empowerment that trump is talking about.t. amy: you talk about t the shadow war in africa. what do you mean? >> these campaigns have been going on in africa for years. but it is largely unknown to the american people. abouten you ask africom what is happening on the continent, there are was talking about training missions. this is exactly what the mission in niger was billed as. this was working with local forces in an advisory capacity, but we see that an advisory or training mission can quiuickly become combat. i think more using agent you see, the greater the chance will have more and more catastrophes like this. amy: is there anything else you want to add that you think people need, the united states, certainly the corporate media really focuses on africa. i mean, when you have the attack, the mogadishu massacre,
358 people dead. almost no attention. of course, right away there is a mention of it. but in the aftermath, the devastation, the loss of life. what should people understand across africa right now and be looking for? important to is keep an eye on places like south ofan, democratic republic congo, central african republic. these are places where the uniteded states had a more robut diplomatic ever before, but has -- the united states has pulled back in many ways. and these are places where the the united nations has one of potential genocide, of at the cleansing campaigns. i think these are stories that under andtely sometimes uncovered in the united states, but i think there are places that will be making the news in the future for all of the wrong reasons. amy: as president trump expresses, to say the least, a tremendous bellicose intent in
various areas, are you concerned what that will mean as he focuses on africa? >> i am. i think that t this is the primy u.s. been on the continent. while a country like china has promoted economic engagement, the u.s. has releasing africa as a counterterrorism problem. and the way to deal with that in the u.s. thinking is to deploy more military forces, build more bases, deploy more troops. amy: this goes to a piece he wrote a few months ago, looking at what has happening cameroon. cameroonian troops tortured and killed prisoners at bays used for u.s. drone strikes. this was a report that came out right amnesty i international. >> yes, i worked with the intercept, amnesty international, and a group called forensic architecture. what we found is there is a small, one of several small u.s.
cameroon -- and cameroon would use contractors are flying drones. on the same base, cameroonian forces were torturing and sometimes even killing prisoners . people that were suspected of supporting boko haram but in most cases were completely innocent and had no ties to the group. one, it is legal. two, it is building discontent and cameroon. amy: this is at a u.s. base for drone surveillance as it strikes -- >> surveillance. u.s. contractors flying drones out of this base and u.s. special operations forces that cycle in and out to work with as another training mission for u.s. troops. but our allies are committtting gross atrocities on a large scale. this doesn't go unnoticed by people in cameroon. people in the u.s. don't know
about it, bubut we m might not t the backlash to it in the coming years. amy: three u.n. peacekeepers from chad were killed and two others injured when their logistics convoy was attacked in northern mali according to the united nations. un security council condemned the attack on the road. the 12,000 strong u.n. peacekeeping mission in mali has become the most dangerous in the world as islamic militants routinely attack u.n. convoys across the north. mali, a neighbor of new chair. >> after the u.s. trained governmentrthrew the in mali, a really destabilized the entire country and because of that in the north and even central part of the country, there have been militant groups operating ever since. they've really carved out strongholds. you have french and african forces backed by the united
states conducting counterterror campaigns, but this is an ongoing insurgency and it shows no sign of slowing. amy: nick turse, thank you for being there. we will link to all of your pieces with different news organizations. nick turse is a fellow at the nation institute. author of "tomorrow's battlefield: u.s. proxy wars and secret ops in africa," and his latest book is "next time they'll come to count the dead: war and survival in south sudan." nick turse is also a contributing writer at the intercept. we will be back in a minute with carl hart. we will talk about the national health emergency that president trump has declared around opioids. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
walking back his plans announced in august to declare it a more serious national emergency. ththe shift means the federal government will not as of now direct any new federal funds to address the opioid crisis, which killed 64,000 americans last year. pres. trump: as you all know from personal experience, families, community's, and citizens across our country are currently dealing with the worst ,rug crisis in american history and if you thihink about it,t, d historory. this is all throughohout the world. the fact is, this is a worldwide problem. ,his causes of drug use addiction, and overdose deaths in many years, it has just been so long in the making. addressing it will require all of our effort. and it will require us to confront the crisis in all of its very real complexity host of amy: president trump also said
he would consider bringing lawsuits against bad actors in the opioid epidemic. well for more we are joined by dr. carl hart, chair of the department of psychology and a professor of psychiatry at columbia university. his new piece for scientific american is titled, "people are dying because of ignorance, not because of opioids." dr. hart is the author of "high price: a neuroscientist's journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society." dr. carl hart, welcome back to democracy now! explain what you mean the mac people are dying because of ignorance, not because of opioids. >> well, you just played trump and what the people just heard was ignorance. that is why people are dying. we are not really addressing what the real issues are. it is really simple. we think about the opioid deaths. number one, i think the number was 64,000. that is not opioid deaths only. there other types of deaths occurring. that is all drugs, including
antidepressants, including all of those other drugs. so we have to be careful about inflating these numbers, one, but the fact that people are dying because of opioids, that is real problem. when we think about the deaths themselves, most of the people are dying in large part because they combine opioids with another sedative. -- that is a like venus something like xanax. does it combine them with older in histamines. those sorts of things, the associatede risk with opioids. but a major -- another major problem people are dying is because they think it may have something like heroin when in fact have something like sentinel. much of the heroin on the street is being tainted with this drug called fentanyl. it is about 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin. it means less of the drug is needed to reduce the required
effect. takensuspecting users may the amount they usually take what heroin thinking it is heroin when in fact it is fentanyl. how do we fix this? this is really simple. what we can do, we can simply set up free drug purity testing sites. they do this in spain and the netherlands and switzerland. it is really simple. that way when people understand what is in their drug, they can scale back their use or not use it. free drug purity testings would tell you the complete composition of the drug you have. so if you want to save lives, you can set that up easily. it doesn't cost that much money. people are talking about, we need more money. maybe you need some more money, but let's use it smartly. i'm concerned if we add more money, we will send most of the money to law enforcement. when we do that, we know what happens will stop we saw it with
crack and opioids before in the 1960's. what happens is more black and brown people will be arrested will stop do not forget that. another thing that happens is we -- i worry that people who need prescription opioids for their pain will not be able to get their prescription opioids because we are getting crazy about opioids in general. opioids are excellent medications to treat pain. we can't forget that. we also have seen, even before this, we know that, for example, black people are less likely to be prescribed opioids even when they need it.. less likely than their white counterparts. so all of these sort of unintended consequences, they always happen when we get crazy about drugs. and we don't even save people. amy: yorkies, carl hart, and the scientific american starts of a goat recently driven largely by opioid related deaths predominately by our white sisters and brothers, president
trump proclaimed the opioid national."best you sasay this is false. and also by talking about our white sisters and brothers. talk about race and the racial component of this. people in more white the country. sewing we have these kind of issues going on, of course that will be more white people affected. there are more white people dying because of the opioid crisis. that is a fact. as a result, you people who represent us are largely white people. areaspeople from rural and that sort of thing. and they have brought this to the attention of the american public in part because of our white brothers and sisters. that is a fact. that is how it has always been. i want people to understand this clearly. i wrote a piece in august in
"the new york times" where i pointed out this isn't new. even with crack, there were more what users and they got treatment whereas the brothers and sisters, black brothers and sisters, went to jail. of thing ist happening in this case. it is percent of the people who work early being arrested for are black and latino, even though they don't use those drugs at rates higher than their white brothers and sisters. this is just the american pattern of dealing with drugs will stop it is not new. we continued the same thing. not getng people, let's crazy. let's focus on the real problems. another concern, too, another way we can deal with these sort of deaths. for me, that is the root concern. only think about drug addiction, the number of people who become addicted to opioids are considerably lower than your making it out to be. only about one quarter of the people who use something like heroin will become addicted.
that means the vast majority are not addicted. one way we can deal with the deaths another way we can deal, is making naloxone, and opioid blocker, more available. pharmaceutical companies in recent years have jacked up the price of naloxone. an old drug that is been here since the 1960's. if congress really wanted to do something, the president really wanted to do something, he would hold those pharmaceutical account will for increasing the price of naloxone when it should be really cheap. but people are focused on the moneyy and not focused on being smart. amy: earlier this year, jeff sessions vowed a major revival of the so-called war on drugs. this is sessioions speaking at e department of justice headquarters as he rescinded two
memos.ra >> going forward, i have empowered our prosecutors to charge and pursue the most serious offense, as i believe the law requires, most serious readily provable offense. it means we're going to meet our responsibility to enforce the law with judgment a and fairnes. it is simply the right and moral thing to d do. and we k know that drugs and cre go hand-in-hand. they just do. the factsts prove that so. nearlyafficking is been dangerous and violent business. if you want to collect a drug debt, you can follow a lawsuit in court. you collected with the barrel of a gun. amy: is jeff sessions, the attorney general of the united states w was dubbed dr. carl ha, your response? hard to come up with a response to such ignorance. well, i guess "saturday night
live" as a best. i don't know what to say. this kind of ignorance takes us back to the 1980's. we are all concerned about mass incarceration in the country today. if you want to know how we got there, right now what we're doing with people like jeff sessions and that guy in the white house is how we got there. they're trying to ensure we go back there, in part because it is going to affect primarily negatively affect black people and brown people in this country. frustrating that we have sucuch remarkably ignorant people and mean-spirited people and racist people. i don't use that word lightly. i'm hesay "racist," when could lose the haters and policies in such a way one group disproportionally is unjustly treated. and that is what we have going on right now.
when we have just session saying this sort of thing, the racialences will be discrimination. and he is supporting that kind of policy or that action, that makes him a racist. i don't use that term lightly, as i said. i am outraged by him. i hope the american people are outraged by him post up i thought we were better than that. amy: in baltimore, a group of high school students are tackling the drug overdose epidemic by building a cell phone out that alerts people when a toxic batch of heroin is the disputed in the area. the students, who are mostly african-american, helped design it which s since text memessageo alert baltimore residents when people in the area are overdosing at a higher rate, likely from a tainted batch of the drug. the app also allows users to for -- to text for help, allowing drug users an alternative to calling 911 in the event of an overdose. this is bad batch co-creator davon harris. >> you know it i is a proboblems
that helelp me fix it. [indiscernible] most people have a phone. text message is, like standard. it is morere versatile. --using that amy: that was done on harris, the cocreator of the bad batch text alert system. have one minute. dr. carl hart, if you could respond to this and then overall i this day after president trump as declared the opioid crisis national public health emergency, walking back the
national emergency which would have meant more money devoted to this. your thoughts you want to leave people with? to the high school students were trying to do something in their community. it as a nation, we should be embarrassed. first of all, you have higigh school students trying to contribute to this problem. where you have many people who've gone to school many years specifically for pharmacology and these sorts of things. we know some things and we have some answers for this. wouldy our government seek out people who actually know what they are doing is the as opposed to us relying on high school students. that mad props for them for even trying. as i think overall about how we should deal with this thing i will start the overdoses. again -- make sure we warn people not to combine opioids with another drug. set of free drug purity testing sites. people who are addicted to opioids and are having a problem