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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  December 5, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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12/05/18 12/05/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! protests are continuing in wisconsin agagainst what many se
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as a legislative coup, as republican lawmakers are orchestrating an u unprecedented power grab to weaken incoming democratic governor tony evers before he takes office. we will get the latest. then as a national day of mourning is declared, the late president george h.w. bush, we look back at the invasion of iraq in a propaganda effort wawaged to build support for it. >> the second we got invaded, i volunteered at the hospital. while i was there, i saw iraqi soldiers come to the hospipital with guns. they t took the babies out of left t the children to die on the cold floor. amy: president george h.w. bush went on to cite a year's testimony at least 10 times as he made the case for war with iraq. after claims turned ouout to be falslse.
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in fact, nayirah was the daughter of the kuwaiti ambassador to the united states. she had been coached by the public relations firm. we will speak with harper's magazine's john macarthur, author of "second front: censorship and propaganda in the gulf war." all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. cia director ga a haspel briefed a group of senators tuesday on the murder of saudi journalist jamal khashoggi. after the closed-door meeting, republican senator and chair of the foreign relations committee bob corker told reporters he holds crown prince mohammed bin salman directly responsible. >> i have zero question in my mind that the crown prince mbs order the killing, monitor the killing, know exactly what was
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happening, planned it in advance. if he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes, guilty. amy: republican south carolina senator lindsay graham also also condemned the crown prince and called out the trump administration's handling of the case. >> mbs, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball. i think he is complicit in the murder of mr. khashoggi to the highest level possible will stop i think the behavior before the khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing. i cannot see him being a reliable partner to the united states. secretary pompeo and mattis are following the lead of the president. there is not a smoking gun, there is a smoking saw. amy: the "smoking saw" refers to the bone saw that was reportedly used to dismember khashoggi's body by saudi hit men in the saudi consulate in istanbul.
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cia director haspel's briefing on tuesday for small group of senators came a week after the white house reportedly blocked her providing background to all the senators. this comes as the senate is gearing up for a debate over whether to halt u.s. support for the saudi-led war on yemen after senators voted last week to advance a bipartisan resolution on the issue. it sparked with the u.n. is calling the worst humanitarian crisis with half of yemen's 28 million people on the brink of famine. to see our conversation with senator bernie sanders about yemen and his bill, go to in a sentencing memo filed tuesday evening, special counsel robert mueller said he is not seeking jail time for former trump national security adviser michael flynn, citing substantial assistance given to the ongoing probe into russian meddling in the 2016 election. and at least one other investigation. large portions of the memo were heavily redacted, meaning mueller's team is continuing to
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hide details of what it has uncovered. the memo also references flynn's cooperation in a separate, unidentified criminal investigation, details of which were blacked out.. politico is reporting the email accounts of four senior aides at the national republican congressional committee were hacked in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections. the accounts were reportedly surveilled for several months. the nrcc first learned of the possible attack in april. they informed the fbi and launched an internal investigation, but senior republican house leaders were not notified. party officials believe the hack was peperpetrated by a foreign agent. in georgia, republican brad raffensperger has won the runoff to become the next secretary of state, filling the seat left vacant by brian kemp. kemp, who was declared the winner in georgia's contentious gubernatorial race, oversaw the state's controversial voting
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practices which included efforts to suppress votes through the exact match system, which resulted in putting over 50,000 voter applications on hold because of minor discrepancies. raffensperger is likely to continue many of his predecessor's practices. last week, groups tied to kemp's former opponent, democrat stacy abrams, filed a federal lawsuit aiming to overhaul the georgia elections system. meanwhile, in wisconsin, the republican-led legislature has been in session all night in an attempt to pass a series of bills to weaken ththe power of inincoming democratic governor . we will go to wisconsin after headlines. 15 congress members are calling for a probe into labor secretary alexander acosta after an explosive report by the miami herald detailed his role in getting billionaire serial sexual abuser jeffrey epstein a plea deal in 2008 when acosta was a u.s. attorney in florida. the deal allowed epstein to avoid a federal trial and possible life in prison, and effectively ended an fbi probe into the case which alleged epstein sexually abused and
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trafficked dozens of underage girls. epstein settled a defamation lawsuit against the lawyer of some of his accusers today, avoiding testimonies from survivors who were expected to take the stand in the coming days. a separate case to overturn the original 2008 plea deal is still pending. meanwhile, an inspector general report at the justice department reveals that a senior official sexually assauaulted, sexually harassed, and coerced multiple fefemale sububordinates and lied about it. the unnamed d official w was not prosecuted and was allowed to retire. president trump has designated today a national day of mourning in honor of president george h.w. bush. the federal government will be shut down, including the post office. trading on the u.s. stock exchange will also be suspended. funeral services will be held at the washington national cathedral. the united states is re-establishing a permanent diplomatic presence in somalia nearly 30 years after it shut its embassy in mogadishu in 1991 as the central government collapsed amid a bloody civil war.
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secretary of state mike pompeo gave russia a 60-day deadline to start complying with the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty, known as the inf, before the trump administration follows through on their plan to withdraw from the agreement. russia has also previously accused the u.s. of not complying with the treaty. the u.s. withdrawal was set to go into affect this weekek but german chancellor angela merkel and other european leaders reportedly convinced the u.s. to temporarily delay their plan. the inf was sisigned in 1987 and banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges. mamany fear the u.s. withdrarawl could spark a nearmsms race. last w week, "the washiningtono" reported national security adviser john bolton sisied a memo o ordering the pentntagon o "d"develop and deploy groundnd-launched missililes ate eaearliest possible date." in the west bank, israeli forces killed a man during an overnight raid in the city of tulkarm tuesday. local media reports that 22-year-old muhammad habali was disabled and was walking with a cane at the time of the
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shshooting. surveieillance footage appea t o shshow habali walking away from the soldiers. anotother man was s wounded and4 people were rounded up in the raids. in geneva, united nations-brokered talks open today between the kingdom of morocco and the western saharan liberation movement known as polisario front, aimed at resolving the 43 year old conflict. morocco has occupied western sahara since 1975, and no other country in the world recognizes its sovereignty over the territoror thousands of western sahara's indigenousus people, thehe sahr, have sincece been torturured, imprisoned, , killed, dd disappeared while sisisting e moroccan occupation. this week's talks alalso include representatitives from mauaurita and algeria. they are the first direct negotiations between the parties since 2012. sahrawis are demanding a referendum on the status of the territory. democracy now! was able to break the moroccan media blockade and report from western sahara;. you can go to our website at to watch our
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speciaial report "four days in western sahara: africa's last colony." in libya, 15 migrants died in a boat after spending 12 days at sea without food or water. 10 migrants survived. this is one of the survivors, from egypt. we were 25 migrants on a boat. our town. from everything was fine for about an hour, but then the boat started to malfunction. we drifted for about 12 days without food or water and about 15 people died. there were only 10 people left when someone finally saw us near the shore. we spent 12 days without anything. amy: migrants and human rights advocates have condemned libyan authorities for gross human rights abuses against migrants, including torture, imprisonment and slavery. last month, a group of over 70 migrants refused to leave e a docked ship in the libyan port of misurata before they were forcibly removed.. the attorneys general of the district of columbia and maryland, the state of maine, and five federal agencies sent
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subpoenas to the trump organization for financial documents relating to president trump's businesses interests. the trump organization is accused of violating the foreign emoluments clause of the constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments through the trump international hotel in washington, d.c., and other establishments around the e wor. in missouri, springfield police chief paul williams s issued a a vivideo apology toto rape victis after a damning cnn investigation revealed that his police department routinely pressured survivors, neglected to interview suspects, and destroyed or left untested rape kits in cases that could have been prosecuted. williams said he would make changes to the department's handling of rape cases, including halting the practice of having victims sign prosecution declination waivers. the new york police department announced it will begin using drones. the nypd says the drones will be used for search and rescue missions to investigate hazardous materials and to access crime scenes in tall buildings.
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the new york civil liberties union said in response -- "the nypd's drone policy places no meaningful restrictions on police deployment of drones in new york city and opens the door to the police department building a permanent archive of drone footage of political activity and intimate private behavior visible only from the sky." an investigation ordered by cbs reveals new details in the long-running sexual abuse committed by disgraced former ceo les moonves. the revelations include at least one board member's knowledge of sexual assault allegations against moonves, and an employee who was "on call" to perform oral sex. the report also says that a resignation letter was drafted for moonves by cbs' head of communications but was never signed. moonves resigned in september after "the new yorker" published an article detailing a slew of previously unreported sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations. meanwhile, "the new york times" is reporting invest lied to investigators to protect h his reputation and a hefty severance
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package. in texas, a salvadoran mother and her four-year-old son were reunited under court order eight months after immigration agents separated them at the border. the pair entered the country earlier this year seeking asylum from extreme violence and persecution but were soon separated. four months ago, they were deemed ineligible to reunite due to a supposed arrest warrant in el salvador. recent reports reveal families are still being separated as they enter the u.s., months after a judge ordered a halt to the trump administration's zero-tolerance policy. and students at the university of north carolina chapel hill are protesting the school's plan to relocate the confederate statue known as "silent sam" to a new $5 million campus building. on monday, unc-chapel hill student and activist maya little was charged with two misdemeanors -- inciting a riot and assaulting an officer -- after a campus protest. earlier this year, little poured her own blood and red paininon the statue. to see our interview with maya little, go to our website at
4:15 pm and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show in wisconsin, where republican lawmakers are orchestrating an unprecedented power grab to weaken incoming democratic governor tony evers before he takes offifice. in an extraordinary move thatt some are calling a legislative coup, republican legislators have worked throughout the night to pass a sweeping package of lame-duck bills to give power to the republican-controlled legislature before republican governor scott walker leaves office in january. republicans in both houses worked throughout the early morning to gather enough votes to pass the bills. both houses are still in session in now. at 7:00 a.m. eastern time, the associated press reported that the republican-controlled
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wisconsin senanate passed a measure to limit the power of the demomocratic governor and attorney general-elect and restrict early voting periods. earlier wednesday morning, the senate and assembly passed a bill enacting a medicaid work requirement and lilimiting the incoming governor's ability to that requireds able-bodied adults without children to work in order to receive public benefits. on tuesday, protesters took to the state capitol in madison for a second day to oppose the power grab. >> protect our vote. protect our vote. amy: t the legislature is also considering measures to move up the 2020 presidential prprimary election to help a far right judge remain on the state suprememe court and allow the legislature to sidestep wisconsin's incoming democratic attorney general an in certain
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legal battles. this is democratic state representative chris taylor speaking monday. >> ever in the history of the state of w wisconsinin has thehe been an extraordary sesession convened to take away the powers of a newly elected governor and a newly elected attorney general. amy: republican lawmakers are making a similar push for power with lame-duck bills in michigan. these actions are in part modeled after republican power grab in north carolina two years ago when the republican-controlled legislature weakened the incoming dememocratic governor y cooper's ability to appoint cabinet members, among other actions. well, for more, we're joined by ruth conniff, editor-at-large of the progressive magazine which is based in madison wisconsin. her most recent piece headlined "wisconsin republicans make , unprecedented power grab. the people push back." welcome to democracy now! i assume you have been up all night, at least the legislators have. what is happening in the wisconsin legislature?
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continues happening to unfold. but as of 4:00 this morning, the legislature had managed to pass the first of this raft of bills to grab power from incncoming governor tony evers before he takes office. the bill that is going to go to scott walkerer's desk nextt is e bill that insists on work requirements for medicaid recipients and more broadly, it gives the legislature the power to review all federal waivers that the governor might want to seek to get out of, that scott walker sought. that is significant. it is putting the legislature in charge of everything related to health c care that might involva federal waiver. that is a large, broad array of possible acts the governor might want to take. the background, though, what is important to understand, here in wononsin in 2018, democrats
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erything a a statewide race. it is still republican dominated because it is the most set up gerrymandered districts in the united states of america. it has been found unconstitutional. the map was drawn in secret to lock republicans in power in the state legislature. it went to the supreme court and was turned back on a technicality. the supreme court found the plaintiff in the case did not have standing. this is going to continue to be litigated. the republicans have held onto power in our state legislature even as they have lost power at -- in every statewide office. they have called this extraordinary lame-duck session in order to ram through a series of measures that basically decapitate the executiveve branh and get the legislature ititself ofer over an enormous number things, whether it is agencies, whether it is making the attorney general come to the to alature, specifically committee with a republican
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dominated committee within the legislature to get permission to pursue lawsuits, whether it is --tlement money and lawsuits that is all controlled by the legislature now. and limiting early voting, which is very significant. wisconsin had record turnout in 2018. because of early voting, which the legislature had try to cut off and then a federal judge intervene and said that was unconstitutional, there weren't enormous number's of wisconsin citizens who voted early. enormous numbers of wisconsin citizens who voted early. votingve limited early to two weeks. instead of six weeks as it was were we have presidential level turnout, they're going to have two weeks. it is an effort to suppress the will of the people and a concentrate power in the state legislature. juan: in terms of the limits on the governor's appointment powers, can you go into some of the spececifics of what is actually happening with some of these agencies?
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some of them are packing with more members that the legislature would have say over? >> yes. example, the wisconsin economic development corporation, which has replaced the commerce department under governor scott walker, it is a scandal-plate agency that hands out gifts to corporations that promise to create jobs. the legislature has taken away the governor's power to appoint the head of that agency. they're still working this out. it's so needs to be side by scott walker, but this is where they're going. there was debate on it as i walked into the studio. they plan to pack the board so that until september -- this is a recent redo. they plan to pack the board with republican-chosen members so that the governor can't appoint the head of the board anymore and republican legislature controls the makeup of the board. after september, they say it will be b balanced. but what they're fundamentally doing is undoing tony evers
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campaign promise to get rid of this agency altogether because it has hananded out t tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer moneney to corporations that hae failed to create jobs. juan: one of those corporations was foxconn? >> foxconn, which is a big company that our state has given enormous amount of subsidy money to and was a major issue in the campaign because it is a gigantic subsidy for this corporation that is not creating a lot of jobs and hiring people actually from illinois to make big flat screens that will probably be obsolete shortly. there are a number of corporations that have received tens of millions of dollars in wisconsin. in this bill they're pushing through right now, they remove the requirement those corporations even demonstrate they are creating jobs. that was the requirement they were failing to meet and the reason the public is so up in
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arms against this wisconsin economic development board. it will continue to exist. the republicans are going to pack the board and now take the that thent corporations show their even doing anything in exchange for that money. amy: could f foxconn will be the reason why the governor of wisconsin was scott walker, lost? i mean, the touting ofof foxconn coming to wisconsns and then people recognizing how much it would actually cost them. not, for people who are familiar with wisconsin politics -- we were there in 2011, the againstprotests held scott walker going against the public unions -- the significance of what walker is doing in just having been defeated in his race? >> yes. it is really a replay of 2011 when we saw those historic protests. similarly, the public is shocked
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to find out our legislature, in the middle of the night, is ramming through a series of anti-democratic measures. a lot of people have come out to the capital. there were more than 1300 members of the public who would a found out late on friday afternoon that this series of bills is going to be pushed through in this lame-duck session to limit the powers of the governor attorney general before they could even take office, turned out of the capital, registered against the bills. out,f the people who came alall 1348, registered against e bill except one. testified all night in dramatic hearings. and when thehey were locked outf the chamber by republicans who wanted to keep the public out, were cntnting on the doors and chanting. there was a huge rally. it was reminiscent of 2011. the same thing is at stake. it is a cabal of people in our state legislature trying to seize power and consolidate power for themselves, and
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override basic democratic processes. in 2011, they ignored the open meetings law and ram through legislation without giving democrats time to consider it. and now what is going on is similar. 80 a point with. governor scott walker has made 80 appointments in this extraordinary session since monday without any public hearing and without any disclosure of their financial interests. the universityg of wisconsin, board of regents, packing the public service commission, packing wisconsin economic development board with his friends and cronies before the new governor can come in. and this is expressly against what was discussed in the campaign. the people of wisconsin elected a democratic governor who was clear he was going to eliminate the economic develelopment board and was going to expand access to health care. one of the things the legislature has done is make sure the new attorney general does not have the power to withdraw wisconsin from federal lawsuit, that opposes the affordable care act. so there is a huge effort here
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to prevent the will of the people from being enacted by this new administration. juan: what is happening in wisconsin is not just happening there. in michigan, legislatures have also introduced bills designed to clip the powers of the governor attorney general, secretary of state after democrats took all three offices in the midterm elections. one bill would allow the state legislature to get involved in any state legal proceedings which historically fell to the governor and state attorney general. succeeds,f wisconsin there are going to be other states following in its footsteps. and even in addition to that, awould add that it is national strategy. what we're seeing an wisconsin and michigan is a national strategy by republicans who are losing their hold on power after the 2018 election. kind of pushback
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test see a way to push back. the responses to limit voting, to very specifically bring in private attorneys. this is happening in wisconsin and michigan. bring in private attorneys to replace the attorney general who represents the public. in wisconsin, this is an issue. in michigan this is an issue because they're going to bring these prprivate attotorneys anda quarter represesent the legislature, which is republican-dominated, instead of allowing the democrats to pursue those lawsuits that they always have to make decisions about which lawsuits to pursue and to show up in court. and just now in the wisconsin legislature, there was a republican senator standing up and say, they ought to be able to hear from both sides. attorney is arguing against the states position in the same courtroom, which is chaotic. once i've represented by two opposing points of view.
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side represented by two opposing points of view. amy: in michigan, to note, all three leaders, incoming democratic leaders in michigan, are women, which is a first for michigan. governor-elect, the secretary of state, and the attorney general, one of the first times i think in the country anywhere that the top three leaders of a state are going to be women. wonon by healthy margins. and all are pushing back against the same wisconsin agenda which is the disempowerment of unions and the interest of the wealthy represented by republican legislature that is pushing through major tax cuts for corporations and very wealthy frorom also part of the package in w wisconsin we ae seeing right now, and subvert public education, pouring public money into private schools. that is a major issue in wisconsin and michigan.
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concentrating power and cutting taxes for the wealthy. you see the public's response. look at what has happened. in wisconsin in the last eight years, we see our roads crumbling, people losing access to health care, our schools suffering from massive budget cuts. the public has spoken on this. they have asked to remove scott walker from office. they have elected democrats at every level. they are ready for a more humane state and a better future. instead, we are getting an enormous number of private attorneyss the republicans and the legislature now want to hire to represent committees and members of the legislature and legislative staff to do their business in secret, to hold negotiations that could be subject to attorney-client privilege when it comes to lawsuits filed against the state or decisions the attorney general would want to make, have to consult. and a see this secrecy
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lot of public expenditure on private attorneys in order to concentrate power for these republicans and their wealthy friends. juan: in terms of public expenditures, could you talk about the effort to add another primary in 2020, change the date of the presidential primary and what the meaning of that is? one piece of this package of legislation that did not make it out of committee. it seems the republicans have been shamed into dropping their effort to change the date of wisconsin's presidential primary. what is interesting about it is, there is a republican incumbent judge on the state supreme court -- and we elect our state supreme court justices in wisconsin -- he was appointed by scott walker and he will have to face the public in an election that will come up at the same town where holden a presidential primary. what the republicans did was propose moving the election for the state supreme court off the
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date of the presidential primary so they would hold to elections at enormous expense with potentially overlapping boating. -- overlapping voting. was so much news about this and so much protest that it never made it out of the joint finance committee. that dodoesn't mean it won't coe up again on the floor. it is starting to get light outside, so maybe they won't try to include that in the package now. i think what that shows, first of all, they were willing to spend $7 million over the objections of nearly every single local election official in the state to separate these elections for no reason except to protect a republican justice from facing a high tururnout electorate. i think what it really shows is public pressure and really bad national headlines shamed the republicans into ramping that
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back. what we're seeing now -- they have been readjusting these bills as they work through the night. they were still writing, rewriting bills and trying to get the caucuses together at midnight and at 4:00 they begin to bring out new versions of these bills. for now, it seems like wisconsin is going to go ahead and have won election this spring that will include the presidential primary and the supreme court race. amy: these are legislators voting, so in the new session, a new set of legislators can vote. is there any way this could be turned back? this isepublicans -- what yet understand about wisconsin. the republicans, although they lost overwhelmingly, lost every single statewide race in 2018, they held on to power in the legislature. there has virtually been no change in the makeup of both houses of the wisconsin state legislature. the reason for that is all the votedonsinites -- many more
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democratic than republican, the republicans picked up some seats in the legislature because they have drawn a map in which they have gerrymandered their district so they have packed all of the democrats together in one spot district and stretched out republican districts to include every public and they can in their area -- republican in their area. this has been the subject of a federal lawsuit. the federal judge that it was unconstitutional. the supreme court on appeal turned it back to the federal court. this will come up again. repepublicans for in wisconsin is in 2020 after the census, they're going to have to draw new maps. those new maps are going to have to pass an executive who is a democrat. so they will not be able to do what they did in 2010, which is to go into a back room in a law firm that was friendly to scott walker, draw secret maps, then ram them through only to be found they are unconstitutional. think all ofhere i the things the republicans in wisconsin are doing now will
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come back to bite them. just like republicans across the country, they're facing a demographic wave against them. they're facing popular opinion against them. they're doing everything they can to hold onto power at the last minute. ultimately, they will have to face the voters. this legislature is not going to change in the session. there went to try to take powers away from the governor. but it is a bad, long-term strategy. i spoke to many rerepublicans so came out to the capital to say they would never vote republican again after watching this kind of self-serving behavior. they are losing their own constituents with these maneuvers. for ruth conniff, thank you being with us, editor at large at the wisconsin-based magazine the progressive. her most recent piece is titled, "wisconsin republicans make unprecedented power grab. the people push back." when we come back, rick macarthur, author of "second front." we look back at george h.w. bush's legacy when it comes
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to the gulf war. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: a national day of mourning has been declared following the death of former president george h.w. bush who died on friday at the age of 94. the post office and other federal agencies are closed for the day. a funeral service for bush is being held today at the washington national cathedral. former presidents barack obama, bill clinton, jimmy carter and bush's son george w. bush will attend, as will president trump, who was not invited to speak. former florida governor jeb bush explained why president trump was not speaking by saying "it is because we have a unique circumstance here. my brother was president. first gives, as we say." a second funeral will be held on
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thursday in houston where george h.w. bush will be buried. well, we continue now to look back at the e legacy of f the 4t president. bush only y served one term in e oval office but the blowback frfrom his 199991 invasion of iq is still being felt today. although the g gulf war technically ended in februruary 1991, the u.s. war on iraq would continue for decades, first t in the form of devastating sanctions, and then in the 2003 invasion launched by george h.w. bush's son george w. bush. thousands of u.s. troops and contractors remain in iraq today. amy: we look back now at a largely forgotten aspect about bush's war on iraq -- the vast domestic propaganda campaign that occurred in the united states before the invasion began. the story centers on a young kuwaiti woman named nayirah. on october 10, 1990, the 15-year-old gigirl gave riveting testimony before congress about
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the horrors inside kuwait after iraq invaded the country. > mr. chairman and members of the commitittee, my name is nayirah and i just cacame out of kuwait. mymy sister with my nephew traveled across the desert to safety. there was nono milk k availabler the baby in kuwait ththey barely escapeped when h r was stucuck in the desertt sandd help came from saudi arabia. i stayed b behind and wanted too something for my country. after the w week invasision, i volunteteered at e hospitital with 12 otheher womeo wanted to help as well. i was the youngest volunteer. the e other women were from 20 o 30 yearsrs old. while i was there, i saw iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with gununs. they took the e babieses out of
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and lefeft the childreren to die on the cold f floor. it was horrifyining. i i cannot help but think of my nephew. juan: nayirah's testimony was rebroadcast across the country and marked a turning point in public opinion on going to war. president george h.w. bush repeatedly cited her claims. >> they had kids in incucubators and they were thrown out of them so that kuwait could be systematically dismantled.d. systematically dismantled. amy: three months after nayirah testified, president george h.w. bush launched the invasion. but it turned out nayirah's claims were not true. no human rights group or news outlet could confirm what she said. it also turned out that nayirah was not just any kuwaiti teenager, she was the daughter
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of the kuwaiti ambassador to the u.s., saud nasir al-sabah. she had been coached by the publblic relatations firm hill d knowlton, which was working for the kuwaiti government. we are joined now by the journalist who first revealed nayirah's identity, rick macarthur, the president and publisher of harpers magazine. he is author of "second front: censorship and propaganda in the gulf war." as we said, this is a turning point. you have this teenager, this girl saying she witnessed this, that iraqi soldiers came into kuwait and ripped babies out of incubators. if she was only referred to as nayirah at the time of the testimony? , the daughterirah of the kuwaiti ambassador, who also testified at that hearing? >> that is all part of the propaganda plan is to maintain her anonymity to protect her and in family against reprisals
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kuwait. that was the cover story. but of course, nobody bothered to try to find out who she really was. they just bought the story hook, line, and sinker. even at the time there were a couple of human rights investigators who were becoming suspicious. i got onto the trail after the war, unfortunately, and was able to run down what had really happened, which was that she was selected as a persuasive witness to this atrocity. it was all part of a campaign to turn saddam hussein, at least in the public consciousness, into adolf hitler. the feeling was they could not sell the gulf war without this. in other words, they had to cheat to win. that is what interested me about the eulogies for george bush. he is being presented now as this paragon of wasp
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respectability and integrity, old-school. when in fact, he was that she had a violent side to him, a very angry and violent and ruthless side to him. when you see him doing the propaganda, using ththe hill and knowlton disinformation, you see a side of a politician that is kind of ugly. said, we're still living with the consequences of our having placed troops in saudi arabia. that is what sets off bin laden, finally. peoplee -- most people don't recall the climate then, but there was significant public opposition to the u.s. going and the vote to approve the military action was very close. so this was crucial, this testimony. >> precisely.
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1991, only 15 years after vietnam. there is still this very, very thateeling in the country is represented in congress by senators like john kerry that we was conned into vietnam, it an undeclared war, and we were not going to get conned into a phphony pretext. it was clear that bush was going to have to get congressional authorization for liberating kuwait. the vote was going to be very close. it ended up being 52-47. it would have beenn 52-48 if aln cranston, the senator from california, had come back to washington to vote. he said he would have voted if it was close. he was undergoing chemotherapy in california. it is clear that numerous representatitives and senators cited the incubator atrocity, which was false. it never happened.
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it was as a reason for voting for the gulf war resolution. these people said, we could figure out other ways to get saddam hussein out of kuwait -- economic sanctions, negotiations . ththere was a feeling this was about oil, it wasn't about principle, even though bush posted as a matter of international law. people said, finally, look, if he is really fit look, capable of having an army that slaughters -- it got to hundreds of babies for the time amnesty international gave it official seal of approval to the story. was inflated. amy: that is very, very important about amnesty international and the roller plate. it was not just nayirah. >> human rights watctch fell for it. they were neutral officially, but amnesty international actually put the number over 300 babies. there were not that many incubators in kuwait city
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hospitals. if you want to go back over the record, you will see how badly the media, how badly the press failed in all of this. "the new yorkaper daily news" had a front page. "they killed a baby." so the media accepted the story without any kind of check. >> if he is a baby killer, well, reasonable people can disagree about how to enforce international law, how to prevent countries from invading other countries, but we have to draw the line at baby killing. after the war, it is not just me, it is john martin who did the really good reporting. he went around to all of these hospitals -- for abc news. did what reporter should do, unfortunately too late. interviewed doctors, staff. nobody could cite one instance of a baby being pulled from incubator by iraqi soldiers and killed.
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there were babies killed because of neglect and because of the american bombardment of kuwait and iraq, because a lot of hospital personnel fled. there wewere casualties. there were infants who died. but there were no babies killed by being pulled from incubators. it never happened. the beginningote, of a new effort or increased effort at the propaganda campaigns of our government to justify war. >> right. this is something that has not been explored enough. we go back to george bush's integrity and respectability. he is also the father of george w. bush, who took the propaganda campaign a couple of steps fakether with saddam's atomic bomb program. it never happened. it never existed.
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washe time that we said it going on. he may have had ambitions before, but there were certain we know atomic bomb program in 2002, 2003. but we have now gotten so used to debating whether we should go to war or not based on fake nenews, i'm sorryy to quote dond trump, but false information that we don't know how to discuss these subjects anymore. and the warmakaking power has bn taken out of the hanands of the people come almost taken out of the hands of congress. earlier, said to me why did bush bothered to ask congress for permission to invade iraq in 1991? well, back then we were still a little more of a constitutionally ruled country. and there was this bitter memory of the vietnam. the fact we fought in a declared
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war on false pretext. amy: we are talking to rick macarthur, publisher of harper's "second, author of front: censorship and propaganda in the gulf war." the beginning of your book is -- the first chapter is called "cutting the deal." sayingrt with a quote "summit are pleased to give orders. summit are pleased to take orders." it is really the beginning of the embedding process. talk about this highly unusual meeting august morning in 1990, eight days after iraqi forces invaded kuwait. of the four, at the time, the media landscape is so different, the four washington bureau chiefs of the major u.s. television networks presenting themselves where? >> at the home of the prince who is the saudi desk fixer in the
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united states, this major film all of everything that happened saudi-related in the united days. he is the guy that the reporters have to ask for favors. that is to you go to for help. the white house and the pentagon hadd decided from the beginning, we're not going to have another cnn. we're not going to have another situation where reporters are permitted to go anywhere they want, take pictures of cocorpse, take pictures of buburning buildings or helicopters crashing. , these the belief was revisionist belief was, we lost vietnam because the american public was demoralized thahat al of the bad news coming back on cbs evening news and in newsweek. so we're not going to let this happen again. the decision was made to pull reporters and censure them. using groups of five to the
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front, wherever the pentagon decided the front happened to be that day. they would take pictures and describe things in theory. to bereport would have shared with everybody else. there were be no competition, and it would have to be vetted by pentagon censors. the american people saw nothing. the reporters were permitted to see nothing. it was a kind of comical, finally, to see hundreds of reporters where the press center censored reports from the front, which showed nothing. there were two or three honorable reporters, chris cbs, whoob simon of went off the reservation, so to speak, and saw a little bit. but these were the exceptions. susan sachs from the state try to do a good job. amy: didn't they go to the saudi
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ambassador's home, sent by the bush and administration, even of the bush and administration was sending soldiers into saudi came -- when it came to the press getting permission i said, you have to get permission from saudi arabia. folks this was the way to cooks the feeling wasn't among the networks, if we can g get te prints to cut us -- givive -- do customs like,or us, d maybe he can use his influence with the bush and administration for us to get better competition. this brings us back to the present day. we are bed with the saudi arabians, going back a long way. the idea of the american media begging for favors s from the saudi prince,e, well, it is an ugly image. it also speaks to the hypocrisy of the american media back then
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and stilll today about the first amendment. there were a group of us that over this.ntagon we lost. over the censorship plan. but for the most part, wolfsburg the graham, t the heads of network, they did not do anything. that is also in my book. you can see what they y said abt it. amy: we're t talking to rick macarthur, publisher of harper's magazine, author of "second front: censorship and propaganda in the gulf war." we will be back with him in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: a shout out to today's class visiting democracy now!
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this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we look at president george h.w. bush's legacy, when it comes to war, particularly the iraq war. juan: following up, what we were talking about about the agreement, many of the major media companies to go along with the censorship protocols of the , ironically,he war this was the first televised, live, televised war. and those of us who remember the pictures of the bombers hitting different parts of iraq and so you had his irony, on the one hand, there's censorship and control and on the other hand, it was a televised war so the mecca people got this idea of these precision guided bombs that the u.s. was unleashing on the iraqi
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forces. >> it is not the first televised war. you could say vietnam was the first. live televised war, yes, in the sense you have these long press conferences, if you can call them that, run by norman schwarzkopf, the commander -- the overall commander of the allied forces, as they were quickly called. turns out to be a brilliant pr man. what he understood was, it is better to talk over through porters at the press conference and show pictures in real time if possible. sometimes in real time, sometimes they were videotapes. to show what the army was allegedly doing before anybody could check it out. -- he looksantly very old-fashioned. he is a television set set up on the stage showing allegedly precision guided -- precision
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missiles hittingng their targets every time to give people the feeling that the american army is invincible. amy: let's turn to general norman schwarzkopf. during a news conference january 31, 1991, he explains how the u.s. has been targeting iraq's scud missiles. >> last night a western iraq, we also attacked and destroyoyed ireree scuds with f-15's and feelel we printeted a misisle ak on isrsrael last night. i certaininly cannot say ththere will bno m more scud watches. you can n never say thatat. but i have a high degree of confidence w we're g getting ber and betttter at our ability to find them and i think this tape speaks for itself in our ability to find them and destroy them. amy: that is general norman schwarzkopf. >> right. ththe day before, they showed pictures of the u.s. air force allegedly blowing up scud -- momobile scucud missile lalaunc.
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at t that point people were ups, frightened the iraqis were going to hit tararge in israel.. they do o get a couple of scuds through, the defenses come inino israel. they had to have results. they had to show they were taking out the scud missile launchers. they claimed to have knocked out 11 of them. after the war, there was good reporting and it was refuted, sayingmissile launchers were blown up. mobile scud missile launchers. the point is, in real time, the press, the media could not challenge anything that was set. here's the video. here are the generals with their pointers. how can you argue with this? and there is nobody on the ground, no reporters in the field, who can verify anything or contradict anything. it is not easy even under the freest circumstances in wartime to confirm or refute what the
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government says. but there is zero chance in this war. the american public gets the impression that it is a clean war, sanitized war, hitting every target. one of the great statistics to know is that 93% of the tonnage dropped on iraq in kuwait was conventional dumb bombs, most of them from vietnam-era. fired orr the tonnage laserguided missiles, which is what they're talking about here. juan: it is possible to say under george herbert walker bush that the united states government perfected the propaganda control of media coverage of the war? >> yes. none of these things are new. you go back to world war i, you have built and babies were being bayonetted by the germans. it is an old propaganda trick.
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killing babies has been used before. it in technical sophistication, using the latest media technology to subvert democracy and manipulate people and make them feel good about the war, , petetely, schwarzkopf williams at the pentagon, and
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[screaming] [music] hello and welcome to our discussion of the tragedy of macbeth, one of shakespeare's most famous plays.


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