tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 9, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
11/09/17 11/09/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: frorom pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: right now, unfortunately, it is a very one-sided and unfair one. but -- but, i don't blame china. amy: on a five-country trip to asia, president trump p is now n china. after lavish welcome billed as a "state visit-plus," trump focused on the trade deficit with a country he once accused of raping the united statates ad called for china to sever ties with north korea.
chinese president xi jinping said he is open to dialogue. >> both sides will continue to strictly and act all humans secured council resolutions. and at the same time, we are committed toto continuing to soe the north koreanan nuclear issue through dialalogue and talalks. amy: then to the famine in yemen. blockading ships. >> they are exterminating the yemeni people. this.lim should be doing these are unjust operations. but it is that unexpected for those who kill children. amy: we will speak witith yemeni journalist afrah nasser, facing death sites, she is in exile from human the continues to report on human n rights violations, women's issues, and press freedom. she is here in the u.s. to receive international free press award fromom the committee to protecect journalists. all thatat and more, coming up.
welcomome to democracy nowow!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump has begun talks with chinese leader xi jinping in beijing following a lavish welcome on wednesday that was billed as a "state visit-plus" and included the first state didinner for a u.s. president inside the forbidden city. the welcoming ceremony outside beijing's great hall of the people was broadcast live on state television, unprecedented treatment for a visiting leader. trump used the talks to call on china to sever ties with north korea. pres. trump: the united states is committed to the complete and permanent denuclearization of north korea. so important. china can fix this problem easily and quickly. and i am calling on china and your great president to, hopefully, work on itery hard. i knowow one thihing about your presidident.
if he works on it hard, it will happen. there is no doubt about it. they know. amy: china insists it is already fully enforcing u.n. sanctions. human rights activists and even trump's fellow republicans have urged him to use his trip to challenge china over its crackdown on dissidents and call for the release of political prisoners. trump is on a five nation tour in asia and will next head to vietnam where he is expected to meet with russian president vladimir putin. trump will wrap up his asia trip in the philippines. after headlines, we will go to beijing for more on his visit to china. the senate foreign relations committee said wednesday it will hohold hearings to review president trump's power to start a nuclear war. the committee's chair, republican senator bob corker, says next week's hearing will be the first time since 1976 that the house has examined the president's authority to launch a nuclear first-strike. the planned hearings come after senator corker repeatedly questioned whehether donald trtp is mentally fit to be president.
trump has repeatedlyly threatend to totally destrtroy north korea and to unleash fire e and fury n the e nation of 25 million peop. the trump administration has slapped tough new restrictions on u.s. citizens visiting cuba, barring americans from staying at scores of hotels while blacklisting dozens of cuban businesses. the move reverses much of president obama's thaw in relations with cuba. the restrictions won't end direct flights between the u.s. and cuba, but will make it extremely difficult for americans to travel individually to the island. the sanctions were immediately condemned by cuban officials. this is josefina vidal of the cuban foreign ministry. >> unilateral sanctions do not work. they affect people. they hurt people. so we are very opposed to unilateral sanctions, see will never see the cuban government adopting these kind of sanctions
against other countries. other people, including the united states. amy: in washington, d.c., the labor union representing foreign service employees warns the trump administration is undermining u.s. diplomacy at a dizzying speed, as it reduces the number of senior diplomatic positions while pressing a hiring freeze across the state department. since trump took office, three of the state department's five career ambassadors have retired or quit, and nearly half of career ministers -- the next rank down --have also left. in a letter to members of the american foreign service association this week, ambassador barbara stephenson writes -- "the talent being shown the door now is not only our top talent, but also talent that cannot be replicated overnight. the rapid loss of so many senior officers has a serious, immediate, and tangible effect on the capacity of the united states to shape world events." a new report on u.s. inenequaliy finds the nation's wealthiest three men hold more wealth than the bottom half of americans,
more than 160 million people. the report from the institute for policy studies titled "billionaire b bonanza 2017" fis bill gates, jeff bezos, and warren buffett hold a combined 249 million dollars, while the lowest 20% of u.s. households hold zero or negative wealth. report authors chuck collins and josh hoxie warn -- "over recent decades, an incredibly disproportionate share of america's income and wealth gains has flowed to the top of our economic spectrum." the findings come as senate republicans prepare to unveil their plan to cut taxes -- a bill that's expected to balloon the national debt while slashing taxes on corporations and inherited wealth, showering most of its benefits on the wealthiest americans. in texas, vice president mike pence met wednesday with the families of victims of sunday's massacre at a church in the town of sutherland springs, in which shooter devin patrick kelley used a semi-automamatic assault
rifle to kill 26 people while wounding 20 others. kelley was able to purchase his rifle even though he'd been convicted by a military court on domestic abuse charges. pence blamed mental illness and bureaucratic failures for the assault. >> just a few moments we will meet with families of the fallen. them andrms around assure them that every amemericn has them in their hearts. it was a crime that the assailant was ever able to purchase a firearm in the first place. he lied on his application. .ad a history of mental illness and there were bureaucratic failures. amy: vice president pence is a long-time nra member with an "a" rating from the gun lobby y gro. as a congress membmber, he voted to block individuals from suing gun manufacturers, loosened rules on interstate purchases, and voted for national legislation that would have allowed gun owners to carry
concealed weapons. spain'n's governrnment s said wednesday it will consider constitutional changes that would allow for regional governments to hold referendums on independence, like a banned vote on that sparked a p politil october 1 crisis in spain's catalonia region. the apparent olive branch came as pro-independence activists called a general strike wednesday. in barcelona, riot police arrested students who stormed a train station and shut down high speed rail service. police also removed demonstrators who blockaded roads and highways across the city. this is adriana, a barcelona student who said the protesters are demanding the release of catalan political leaders who've been arrested on charges of rebellion and sedition. >> in order to break with the picture of normalcy, as if nothing was happening here, demand o of freedom of political prisoners and to keep on taking the e streets because the
republic, which has been declared, needs to be defended. we need to keep demonstrating. amy: egypt's highest appeals court has upheld a sentence of five years in prison and five years' probation for alaa abd el-fattah, one of the country's most prominent pro-democracy activists. the ruling is final and cannot be appealed. he has served 3.5 years of the sentence already so will spend the next year and a half years in prison. the probation means he will have to spend up to 12 hours a day in a police station for another five years once he is released. el-fattah was convicted of inciting a 2013 protest that broke a law barring public gatherings without government approval. he is also on trial in another case of insulting the judiciary, with a verdict scheduled in december. according to human rights watch, the u.s.-backed government of president abdel fattah el-sisi has arrested or charged at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, handed down preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, and sent more than 15,000 civilians to military courts.
back in the united states, a black lives matter activist and citizen journalist whose protest photo went viral has been elected to serve on the city council of charlotte, north carolina. the photo of braxton winston from last year shows him raising a fist in front of a line of riot police as he joined protest against the killing of keith lamont scott, an african-american father who was shot by charlotte police officer who was later acquitted over the killing. winston has promised to focus on economic development and police accountability. voters in northern virginia have elected 30-year-old democrat and marine veteran leigh carter to the state house of delegates. carter identifies as a democratic socialist. he defeated longtime, republican jackson miller, the state's majority whip. in texas, 47-year-old mexican citizen ruben ramirez cardenas
died wednesday evening after prison officials injected him with a single, lethal dose of the drug pentobarbital. cardenas's execution came two decades after he was convicted of murdering his 16-year-old cousin. the execution came over the strong objections of mexican diplomats who say texas violated cardenas's due process rights, failed to consider conflicting testimony by witnesses at his trial, and refused to allow new dna testing. in indndiana, the university off notre dame has reversed a plan to stop covering birth control for faculty, staff, and students following protests at the catholic university. notre dame's attempt to restrict contraceptive coverage came less than one month after the trump administration sharply limited birth control coverage under the affordable care act. inin hollywood, , more than a dn men have stepped f forward accusing actor kevin spacey of sexually harassingng or assaultg them. the latest allegations came wednesday as boston tv news heather unruh said spacey
sexuxually assaulted her son lat year in a nantucket bar. >> it happened late night insnse car restaurant and bar on nantucket island. the victim, my son, was a starstruck, straight, 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was oralleged sexual predator that he was about to become his next victim. amy: on wednesday, director ridley scott said he's removing actor kevin spacey from the finished film "all the money in the world" and will re-shoot his scenes with christopher plummer taking spacey's roro. an asylum seeker at a private all women detention center said she was sexually assaulted by a guard and feels retaliation -- fears retaliation for speaking out. the woman alleges a female guard who worked in the recreation area groped her on repeated occasions.
in a letter given to an advocate during visitation hours, the woman wrote that the guard "took advantage of every moment she could to touch my breasts or my legs" and "what she did with me, she did with other residents." the group grassroots leadership reports the woman was treated with suspicion when sheriff's deputies interviewed her this week as immigration authorities looked on. about 500 women are held at hutto, a jail run by core civic, formerly known as corrections corporation of america. and a federal judge says one of the first dreamers to be arrested during an immigration raid under president trump has the right to challenge the government's actions. daniel ramirez medina had permission to live and work in the united states under the daca program. but authorities revoked his legal status after the raid in february. the government argued it can terminate someone's daca at any time for no reason. but ramirez claims his due process rights were violated. on wednesday, judge ricardo martinez refused to dismiss the case, saying -- "the representations made to applicants for daca cannot and
do not suggest that no process is due to them, particularly in ramirez's case where benefits have already been conferred." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in beijing, where president trump is in talks with chinese leader xi jinping, following a lavish welcome on wednesday that was billed as a "state visit-plus" and included the first state dinner for a u.s. president inside the forbibidden city. the welcoming ceremony outside beijing's great hall of the people was broadcast live on state television, unprecedented treatmtment for a visiting lead. trump used the talksks to call n china toto sever ties with north korea. pres. trump: the united states is committed to the complete and ofmanentt denuclearization north korea. so important. china can fix this problem easily.
in quickly. and i am calling on china and your great president to, hopefully, work on i it very h . i know one t thing about y your president. if he works on it hard, it will happen. there is no doubt about it. they know. nermeen: before arriving in beijing, trump used an address to the national assembly in seoul, south korea, to deliver a stern message to china, north korea's biggest tradade partner. north korean state media responded in a statement wednesday saying the united states should "oust the lunatic old man from power" and withdraw its "hostile policy. -- hostile policy in order to get rid of the abyss of doom." meanwhile, on wednesday, china insisted it is already fully enforcing u.n. sanctions. this is chinese presidenent xi jinping. >> regarding the korean peninsula nuclear issue, we reaffirm that we are staunchly
committed to realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula and upholding the international nuclear nonproliferation system. both sides will continue to struggle he an act all u.n. security resolutions and at the same time we are committed to continuing to solve the north korean nuclear issue through dialogue and talk. amy: during trump's china visit, the leaders of the world's two largest economies discussed their trade deficit. on the campaign trail, trump bashed c china's s policies once accusing them of riripping ourr coununtry. pres. trump: we have -- - we're going to turn it a around and we have the cdsds. don't forg, wewe're like ththe piggy y bank that is b being ro. wewe have a lot of p power with chchina. when china doesn't want to fix the p problem in north korea, we say, sororry, folks, yet to fix ththe problem because we can'tt continue a allow china to rate r country. and that is what they're doing. amy: that wawas president trumpn
the e campaign trail when he was candidate trump. on wednesday in beijing, he struck a more conciliatory tone. pres. trump: right now, unfortunately, it is a very one-sided and unfair one. but -- but, i don't blame china. [applause] pres. trump: after all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for the benefit of its citizens? i give china great credit. [applause] trunk open in actuality i do blame past administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place and to grow. amy: roughly $250 billion in deals with u.s. companies are expected to o be announced durig trump's visit. human rightsts activists and e n trump's fellow republicans have urged him to use his trip to challenge china over its
crackdown on dissidents and call for the release of political prisoners. senator marco rubio and congressman chris smith issued a statement urging him to to raise the forced isolation and ongoing surveillance of the wife of late nobel laureate liu xiaobo. since arriving in chinina, where twitter is banned, trump has tweeted at least five times. a white house official said trump would "tweet whatever he wants." trump is on a five-nation tour in asia and has already visited south korea and japan. he goes next to vietnam and the philippines. we're going out to beijing, china, where we're joined by joanna chiu, china correspondent for agence france-presse, or afp. joanna, can you talk about the significance of trumps trip to china and also talk about the reaction of the chinese people to the american president? >> thank you for having me. it seems like trumps a visit, his first visit as resident to
china has gone on without a hitch. get a lavish welcome. he was the only foreign leader in recent history to dine in the for beenen city palace. today he is wrapping up another state dinner with president xi where he showed a video of his granddaughters singing and -- in mandarin chinese.e. that went over well. as far as we c can tell, the vit is successful. trump's counterparts seem to on itemssme consensus that were of contention. i think the highlight was trade. some reporters were surprised at the tone trump gave during his remarks. while he was s softened from wht he was like during the campaign trail, it was quitite tough. at the same time, he also toished a lot of praise on jim king. they seemed comfortable around
each other. it seemed like it went well. as he said, human rights was not brought up as a focus, neither was the climate. so it seemed like the talks focused on trade and what china and the u.s. could do on the north korean nuclear peninsula issue. as far as the reception from the chinese -- ask you,sorry, i would to put this into some context, why is it that china has granted trump such an extraordinary, in fact, unprecedented welcome, including a state dinner in the for been city, the first time a u.s. president has received such treatment? that asked that question yesterday to the foreign ministry in beijing, and they said it is what a host country should do. they said trump received similar lavish welcome from the japanese before he came to china. so that is how they addressed why he got this big welcome. amy: explain what the for bidden city is. >> the for been city is in the
center of f beijing, and the center where emperors for different dynasties had the center of power. it is a very symbolic place. it is unprecedented they would shut up whole thing. it is a big tourist attraction to host the presesent and melania. amy:y: to say the leleast, it ia different tone that he is adopting. it is not just tone. he talked about china raping the u.s. on the campaign trail. fiercely when after china. is not actually china's fault. he understands why a country would take advantage of another country on behalf of its own people. he blamed past administrations, clearly, the obama administration. can you talk about your thoughts -- to a good deal of applause when he said that. >> that was quite unexpected and cheeky statement. it was not as harsh as he was earlier, but he was quite tough.
, but in an clapping awkward way. they were surprised by the tone he had. amy: trump has repeatedly attack "i'm by one point thing going to instruct my secretary treasury to label china a currency manipulator." what does the trade talks mean right now? what is trump trying to get -- trump who seems to be of his biggest level in this year in terms of popularity in the united states -- >> [indiscernible] power.nd consolidating >> as much as $350 billion. in the $250 billion u.s.-chinese business deals that .ere assigned today analysts say they will not do much to reduce this really big trade deficicit. amy: i was just asasking a questition about trump a at his lowest popularity in the united states now at a time when
president xi has consolidated power. if you can talk about president xi in china, how he is seen and him being at his point of greatest strength right now is all about? we're talking to joanna chiu who is the china correspondent for agence france-presse. can you hear me now? joanna? we will go to a break and come back. we're talking to joanna chiu in beijing, china, the china correspondent for the agence france-presse. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amamy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we are speaking about president trump's visit to china right asianart of his five nation trip. he is that it ought to vietnam where he may be meeting with russian president vladimir putin and then to the philippines. we're joined from beijijing by ,oanna chiu and rajan menon professor of political science at the powell school of the city of university york senior research fellow at columbia university. professor, let me put that question to you about xi at his latest strength right now, the president of china, and trump at his weakest point in popularity and how he is seen within his
own party. the election is just took place, referendum on trump and he lost badly. >> it is quite a contrast. xi came out in a very powerful position. there is now something called xi jinping thought. the last i looked, mr. trump's popularity ratings were around 40% will stop the russia controversy continues to dog him. there is no legislation he has gotten through congress. it is a significant difference am in no doubt. amy: trump when he was speaking in seoul, said the u.s. stands ready to attack north korea over its nuclear weapons program. the question is, and he is just been in china, how much leverage does china have on north korea and what does trump expect from china? >> dear mr. trump say it you pickedhink if xi jinping up the phone and called kim jong-un and said, a way to dismantle your nuclear
facilities, he would do it. that is a myth. there's an enormous amount of bad blood between north korea and china. and the tougher china is and we are on north korea, the more likely they are to hang onto their nuclear weapons. that is the first thing. the second thing is, the chinese already voted for the very tough u.n. sanctions in august and september. 96% of north areas trade is with china, but the chinese d do not want to choke the regimime to death for fear it will collapse. that collapse would have immediate consequences for them economically and strategically. the chineseterm, cannot exclude the possibility that a collapse of north korea would mean down the line a unified korean peninsula aligned to the united states. amy: j joanna chiu, you are speaking to us from beijing, covering x visibly president trump's trip. how is the president seen in china? >> the chinese see north korea as their neighbors.
the chinese have a pretty favorable view of people they share a border with. there is a lot of concern about all of this nuclear rhetotoric. china has said repeatedly in response to criticisms from the u.s. and other international bodies that it is completely does implement the resolutions including sanctions. the sanctions has increased in the past year. what we don't know because there are no independent checks at the border is how will china really is reinforcing these sanctions. i visiteded the border with north korea a couple of months ago and people tell me they still get gold and silver from north korea, even though it has been long band in the u.n. sanctions. if you ask ago, i would do some north korean restaurants in beijing and asked about their business. they said every day they get
food imports. that is also against sanctions. itit is unclear how well chinese and forcing, but definitely china is doing all they can. there t tone is they shshould ne thehe ones who shoulder all of e blame. they want the u.s. to reduce its more inflammatory againstst kim jong-un and his regime in order to bring all parties back to the negotiating table. nermeen: j joanna, you have been writing about this. the human rights situation in china right now under president xi jinpiping? >> it is quite severe. xi jinping' us first five years as president, we are an unprecedented crackdown on people in civil society from lawyers to bloggers to journalists to primary school teachers. it is ironic that trump is tweeting while inside china's firewall that people in china have been arrested just for social media posts they y put on social media t that are critical
of t the government. just this week on tuesday, famous veteran pro-democracy writer passed away of brain cancer. he was still in police custody. this is a pattern we have been seeing that dissidents are being jailed -- amy: joanna chiu speaking to us from beijing, china. we just lost her satellite. agenceorrespondent for france-presse. rajan menon is still with us, professor of political science at the powell school at the city university of new york. it is interesting that here is president trump lauding president xi in china while at the same time the trump administration has just cracked down on cuba and made it extremely difficult for individuals to visit cuba, in relations thaw
of president obama had initiated. >> there's a very big contrast between the tone and the demeanor that trump struck in japankorea and in compared to china. he clearly does not want to do anything at all to embarrass mr. xi. he did not bring up the issue of human rights. he soft peddled, as you noted earlier, to trade deficit. so i would save in the chinese standpoint, the summit has gone very well for them. for mr. trump. amy: and the significance of mr. trump going to vietnam tomorrow and if they work out the framework, i think that is the terms there using, he will be meeting with the russian president vladimir putin in vietnam? >> right. amy: and the role russia could also play with north korea will stop >> the russians can play a role, but much less than china as i pointed out, 96% of the trade that north korea does is with china. the russians do have residual
influence, but much more poorly, russian and chinese views are closely aligned. but it is to china he is looking. finally, the significance from your perspective of this trip the president trump has made? we know when president xi was in florida, he made a deal with trump, daughter, ivanka giving her exclusive copyrights on various of her products being sold in china. the significance of any kind of business deals being made? we know trump famously yesterday in the middle of his address to the south korean assembly where he was talking about taking on north korea -- of course, the threat of war with north korea is more extreme than it has ever been. courseed about his golf in bedminster, new jersey.
>> there are business ties between the trump corporation and the chinese. you mentioned ivanka trump. the trump corporation itself has about 23 trademarks. there is a building in new york which mr. trump is part t owner with the chinese national bank has lent about $950 million. those are not the things that are driving trump. i think he wants progress on the trade front. he wants progresess on the north kokorean frontnt. he has gototten really -- not mh of either. amy: is there anything you would like to add, professor, on the significance of this overall asia trip that he is taking? >> yes. one of the things that was interesting to me is he was much tougher on the japanese would he can to trade deficit. their trade deficit with the united states at the end of last year was about $70 billion. with china, 350 billion dollars. that is five times as much. yet he treated the china with kid gloves.
he was much tougher on the japanese. he told the japanese, why don't you just -- whitey import cars to the u.s.? what i just make them here? that about 24 manufacturing plants. the contrast between how he dealt with the japanese on the trade issue and the chinese i thought was veryry telling. amy: also solely billions of dollars of weapons on this trip. >> correct. correct. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, rajan menon professor of political science , at the powell school at the city university of new york. senior research fellow in the saltzman institute of war and peace studies at columbia university. when we come back, humanitarian crisis in yemen. cholera, famine, war. we will speak with a woman who founded a news agency there but had to leave because of death exiles and now reports in about her home country. and we will talk about what is happening in saudi arabia as the prince consolidates power as
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to yemen, which united nations officials say will face the world's largest famine in decades if a saudi-led coalition refuses to lift its blockade on deliveries of aid. on monday, the coalition shut air, land, andnd sea routes inio yemen after houthi r rebels fird a missile that was intercepted near the saudi capital riyadh. saudi arabia says its blockade
is needed to stop iran from sending weapons to the rebels. u.n. aid chief mark lowcock warned that if the blockade is not lifted, the resulting famine will claimim millions of lives. he was speaking to reporters after a briefing at the u.n. security council. >> there will be a a famine in yemen. it wilill not be like the famine that w we saw in south sudan earlrlr in the year wewere tensf thousands of people were affected. it will not be like the famine whichh cost 250,000 people thehr lives in somalalia i in 2011. it will be thehe largest faminee the e world has seeeen for many decades with millions of victims. said -- the. aid u.n. says aid agencies were gigiven no prioror notice of the saududi decision to shut down al land, air,r, and seaports in yemen. the world food p programam said monday that out ofof yemen's population of 28 million people,
about 20 m million "do not know where they're going to get their next meal." meanwhile,e, medical experts wan the clampdown n will worsen yemen's cholera epidemic, which has sickened more ththan 900,000 people. for more, we are joined by two guests. afrahgoing to begin with nasser, an award-winning independent yemeni journalist. she is the founder and editor-in-chief of the sanaa review. she is in the united states now to receive the international free press award from the committee to protect journalists. welcome to democracy now! i was wondering if you could start by talking about this blockade, talking about war, famine, and cholera in your country to yemen. an extremely dire situation. like even before this total blockade, there were many reports that every 10 minutes, there is one child getting
killed because of the implications caused by the war such as -- the total collapse of the health care system, already there was a partial blockade imposed a many entries in yemen for more than one year that really exacerbated the human a train situation because of the lack of access for humanitarian operations to operate in the country and dissent humanitarian .id and said medicine and food even before the total blockade, there was s a partial blockade that impmpacted all asaspects of life. recent, like, over the weekend, the decision by saudi arabia of the saudi-led coalition to impose a total blockade means a death sentence that will kill all yemenis.
if we used to one about a looming famine, it is already there. now we will not even hear or listen or know anything about what is happppening on the grou. the journalists are behind jail. international journalists are not allowed access to the country. it is beyond traragedy. because of the blockade in the impossible access for journalists to report from there. nermeen: on monday, you tweeted -- "i woke up reading a message from my family in sana'a, 'all entries to yemen are closed. we will die, we will die.'" your own mother is in san'
na'a. what do hear from them? >> it is the new norm in yemen, every household has been impacted by the war. they one cousin or one brother becauseelative who died if it is not under the saudi led airstrikes or the shelling of the houthi and other forces in disputed areas, the shortage, the extreme lack of medicine and -- i've health care lost count of how many relatives that i know or friends of friends and relatives of my friends who died because of the implicatioion caused by y the conflict. two yearslost m my aunt ago. just last week i lost also another two relatives, distant relatives.
all were not victimsms of the aitrikikes, t ththey were vivictims of the blockade in the shortage off medicine and thee total collapapse of health care. when i got -- when i got that message from my mother, it was like a pleading message to the world. she knows that i gain access to strict international media. she wanted to tell the world that nobody will know what is happening to us and we will die in a silent death because of this total blockade. nermeen: since you have been here, yesterday you met with senator chris murphy of connecticut. you have been meeting with officials here in the u.s. what are you telling them? what should the u.s. position be? >> i thihink the u.s. a honest,ration -- to be it is hopeless with the white house and her only hope is with congress and the senators will have better sympathy to with the situation in yemen.
no question that the u.s. has its and in what is going on in yemen. they are a participant in creating the world's largest humanitarian crisis. they are participants in creating the largest famine that we will see, that the u.n. officials was talking about earlier. i think the u.s. administration has to admit that it is giving its political backing to the saudi have had led coalition. -- saudi-led coalition. it is giving support with arms sales a and the intelligence and majestic assistance to the military operation. plus, even with a total blockade, the u.s. navy has ports80% control over the to yemen. so absolutely, this is what is going on in yemen is absolutely
relevant to the u.s. administration. from my meeting so far, there have been some positive feedback. as a journrnalist, i was able to meet a and talk anand report li, firsthand to them. a privilege that other journalists get. if it were not for the support of the committee to protect journalists, i would not have that chance to give, like, a first-hand narrative to what is going on to my family and friends and everyone that i know in yemen. , on the afrah nasser question of arms sales, the independent newspaper in the u.k. reported recently this week and in fact, that the country's sales of bombs and missiles to saudi arabia have increased by since the saudi bombing campaign of yemen began. the u.s. and u.k. remain the
largest suppliers of arms to saudi arabia. could you talk about that and what you think the u.s. and the u.k., what can be done to stop these arms sales or at least to limit them? >> that sounds really shocking. but to be honest, i was not surprised when i read the report . just like one or two weeks ago, there was the report about the -- stateral secretary a talk atwas giving the hearing saying, our criticism to saudi arabia human rights record we definitely harm our arms sales to them. standardis a double from western governments like the u.k. and the u.s. and others that, you know, once their ally has the money in the cash, they will have disregarded the human cost that these weapons or how
these weapons could be used to commit war crimes. this is absolutely like a double standard that yemenis themselves know or understand better than everyone that blood costs nothing. their lives don't matter and face of the cash coming from saudi arabia or the other members in the saudi led coalition such as the united arab emirates. i was in sweden. i'm working right now on an article that exposed the arms sales from sweden to the united arab emirates. believe it or not, there is like inilitary weaponry office the united arab emirates. i can imagine living in, you know, thinking about western countries, there are a lot of
lecturing about the human rights and respect for democracy values and so on. that -- it is a country there is disregarded the human cost such i'm still could you know accomplish on the ground. amy: let''s go to a clip of an outage is a reporter questioning the u.n. secretary general's spokesman on the saudi blockade. >> does the u.n. believe that by its actions, this blockade that saudi is in breach of international planetary law? >> i'm not in a position to issue legal ruling. what we do know is the blockade of ports and airports and land tremendously netitive impact onon a situation -- which is already catastrophic. amy: afrah nasser, your response to the u.n. general secretary spokesperson?
>> i'm not surprised. i'm sorry. amy: do you think you should have named saudi arabia specifically in said saudi arabia was responsible for the devastation of yemen today? >> actually, there are many participants in what is happening in yemen. absolutely, it is saudi arabia and the members of the saudi-led coalition. and also other western countries that are directly involved in the military operation. so all of these countries have the responsibility to, you know, well-beinghe human before the political and military gains they're looking for. it has been more than three years now with no military gains the by either one site from boring part. this war sounds insane, actually. amy: i want to go to the blockade happening this past
weekend and write about the same time, well, last week, jared kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior advisor who is now with him in china went to saudi arabia. afterwards, saudi authorities arrested scores of prominent officials over the weekend including 10 princes, four ministers, and dozens of former ministers in a massive shakeup by king salman aimed at consolidating power for his son, crown prince mohammad bin salman, the main architect of the kingdom's war in yemen. among those arrested was prince alwaleed bin talal, one of the world's richest people, with an estimated net worth of at least $17 billion. talal has investments in many well-known u.s. companies, like apple, twitter, citigroup, and rupert murdoch's media empire news corp. the arrests, on unspecified corruption charges, came just hours after the crown prince convened a new anti-corruption committee with wide-ranging powers to detain and arrest
anyone accused and to search their homes and seize their assets. the arrests came as the white house said president trump called king salman to offer thanks for the kingdom's purchases of billions of dollars in u.s. weaponry, while praising what it called the kingdom's modernization drive. after these arrests and the consolidation of the prince's power, trump tweeted his support for the saudi arrests, writing -- "i have great confidence in king salman and the crown prince of saudi arabia, they know exactly what they are doing. some of those they are harshly treating have been milking their country for years!" jones,to turn to toby who is associate professor of history and director of middle eastern studies at rutgers university co-author of "desert kingdom: how oil and water forged modern saudi arabia." inis joining afrah nasser this conversation. toby, what is happening in saudi purge? and how does this
and consolidation of the prince's power who runs the war in saudi arabia, relate to this into the vacation of the war and blockade in yemen? >> let's start with a basic argument that i've made and others have made over the last couple of years and that it is clear from the previous commentary as well as saudi arabia's extensive intervention in syria, attempt to destabilize politics more recently, occupation and bahrain, as was the mobilization to consolidate salman's power at home which is really part of a two-year project, the saudi arabia is the most dangerous actor in the middle east. it is also clear from the very -- the steps that have been taken over the weekend, that bin salman is attending to legitimize himself as next in line. he is young. lightly -- will likely abdicate. and he is weak am a vulnerable,
sees the singer princes as economic rivals or potential problems. he is cleverly using the liquid of modernization, anticorruption, reform, even feminism to situate himself as a progressive thinker. these are all masks to mystify his efforts to good holiday power and to purge potential libels. -- rivals. amy: right before this they send women in saudi arabia will now be able to drive. >> he also announced the end or at least the lifting of certain restrictions on guardianship around women. we think about the way that americans and others in the west consume news out of saudi arabia, in particular, one of the third rails of western politics when it comes -- this includes liberals and others alike -- is that we really make sense of saudi politics through the lens of gender and gender politics. the oppression of women, their apartheid status in saudi arabia, rises to the top of how we think about, at least critically, saudi politics.
when salman lifted restrictions on women and finally said women would be allowed to drive either later this year or early next year, it was celebrated in the west. i think salman was calculating and both when he made the decision and why he made it. it was an effort to create base for him to behave in a more authoritarian manner. nermeen: toby jones, you do said saudi arabia is the most dangerous actor in the middle east. of course, that is not the position that the trump administration takes. when saudi arabia recently released documentation showing that a missile launched into the country in july by yemen's houthi rebels was an iranian time, nikki haley issued the following statement -- "by providing these types of houthi militias in yemen, iran's islamic revolutionary guard corp is violating two u.n. resolutions simultaneously. we encourage the release of any information that will help to hold iran accountable for its
support of violence and terrorism in the region and the world. the united states is committed to containing iran's destabilizing actions and will not turn a blind eye to these serious violations of international law by the iranian regime." toby jones, can you respond to that and the relative role that iran place in the region versus saudi arabia? >> let me start with the second question. there was little evidence before 2015, 2016 that iran had much of an influence in yemen. it is part of the narrative here and elsewhere that the houthis, melting the most resistance to the southern iranian, our iranian backed. there's flimsy evidence for that. recently, iranian weapons have made their way to yemen and the war there, but it is unlikely are taking marching orders from tehran.
visit to legitimize their terrible war. on the question of saudi arabia invoking the link which of terrorism to fragrance meddling in the danger that iran poses in the region, it is pretty rich coming from saudi arabia which did everything it could to sustain'syrias civil war including al qaeda linked militants in a campaign against al-assad. it is also pretty rich that the saudis would wage a war against yemen for over two years and then expressed both shock and outrage and invoke international law when they're sort of realizing the yemenis are fighting back. arnie isretty -- perhaps not the right way to make sense of saudi politics, but there is certainly ambitious embolden trying to read direct -- redirect with the underlying forces are. , we're talkinger about your country. you would need to exile in sweden, facing death threats, about to win a major award from the committee to protect journalists for your bravery in
reporting in yemen. your mom and a number of members of your family are still there. what is your reaction to the consolidation of power of the crown prince of saudi arabia, who is in charge of the bombing campaign in yemen? and particularly being here in the united states right now, which is providing so many of the weapons and president trump making his first foreign trip was to saudi arabia? >> yeah, yeah. for a lot of yemenis, they understand the policies by the crown prince salman had disastrous impact in their country. even, you know, yemenis also understand -- this leadership, the saudi leadership thinks it is losing face because it has been three years without any
military gains or political gains. in such moves, yemenis understand that such moves like the women's rights, the allowance, and also the economic building cities, you know, also there was a wasonal saudi robot that does report that was reported on one week ago. yemenis understand that such pr moves from saudi arabia and the crown prince policies are only just to hide the failure unfolding in the war so far. this should also, like, make a world really understand no such pr move from the saudi leadership should ever ever get
our focus away from the tragedy and saudi sharing response ability on the tragedy unfolding in yemen. so yemenis really understand they are facing a disastrous foreign-policy from saudi arabia that they have never, never seen before from their neighboring country. jones, before we conclude, 20 seconds, is there now a risk of a direct confrontation betweeeen iran and saudi arabia? failed largely in the yemen war. they were either mount -- the may try to stabilize it. they sure would like others to do it for them, including the u.s... amy: toby jones, thank you for being with us, directotor of middle eastern studies at rutgers university. and afrah nasser from independent exile yemeni journalist.