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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 21, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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03/21/19 03/21/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york this is , democracy now! >> what are these two people in there to do? their only experience is working for their parents. it seems to me, it is all about self-interest. they're not qualified to do anything else. amy: "kushner, inc.: greed. ambition. corruption. the extraordinary story of jared kushner and ivanka trump."
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we will speak with investigative reporter vicky ward about her new book detailing how the president's daughter and son-in-law have used their white house post for personal gain and how jared kushner almost started a war in the middle east after a coveted real estate financining deal fell through. but first, amnesty international accuses the united states of possibly committing war crimes in somalia by killing civilians in the secretive u.s. air war. we will get the latest on the ongoing protest in haiti where a team of american mercenaries were recently arrested. >> the mercenaries who were arrested last month have been revealed to have been involved in a bank heist to the tune o of $80 million. there is an ongoing uprising threatening to remove the president and the prime minister has then thrown out. amy: all thahat and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. six days after new zealand suffer the worst mass murder in its history, new zealand's prime minister jacinda ardern announced thursday her government will crack down on weapons of mass murder like those used by a white supremacists gunman in attacks at two mosques in christchurch that left 50 people dead and four dozen others injured. >> today am announcing that new zealand will ban on military style semiautomatic weapons. we will alsoban all assault rifle's. we will ban all high-capacity magazines. parts with the ability to convert semiautomatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semiautomatic weapon. amy: the weapons and will take
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effect immediately to prevent from from -- buyers hoarding outlawed weapons. ardern said her government would launch a buyback program t to allow gun n owners to surrender now-outlawed weapons for cash. the announcement came as funerals continued for victims of the march 15 massacre. on thursday, mourners buried 14-year-old sayyad ahmad milne and 24-year-old tariq rashid omar at christchurch's memorial park cemetery.y. mozambique has declared three days of national mourning, as it struggles to recover from what the world meteorological organization is calling the sosouthern hemisphere's worsrst tropical cyclone on record. rescue workers in the flooded city o of beira struggled to reh survivors who clung to trees or pleaded for help from rooftops after cyclone idai destroyed 90% of the city, h home to a half-millioneoeople. the death toll f from the storm rose to more than 200 in
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mozambique and nearly 100 in neighboring zimbabwe wednesday, with dozenens more dead in mala, but those numbers are expected to rise. flooding has disrupted the lives of millions across southern africa, with the world food programme warning of a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour. this is wfwfp emergencies direcr margot van derer velden. clclick severe flooding and cyclone effectsts. 600,000 people affected, possibly even going up to onee millioion people. communication completely brorok. infrastructure severely damaged. also, all of the roads have been cut off. amy: cyclone idai dropped more than t two feet of rain in parts of southeastern africa, nearly a year's worth of rain in just a few days, an extreme weather event that climate scientists say is consistent with models of climate change. in the united states, authorities have declared states of emergency in missouri, nebraska, and iowa for communities along the missouri
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river as warming temperatures have melted snow from last week's storms, causing the river to breach levies and overflow its banks. the floods have killed four people over the past week and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage. the extreme weather comes as a federal court has temporarily blocked oil and gas drilling on 300,000 acres of federal land in wyoming, saying the interior department failed to take the impact of climate change into consideration when issuing leases. in his ruling, u.s. district judge rudolph contreras of washington, d.c., wrote -- "given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling." in the hague, the u.n. war crimes tribunal l for the former yugoslavia r rejected an a appey former bosnian serb leader radovan karadic wednesday and
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increased his sentence to life ininrison, calling hisninitial sentence too lenient. in 2016, karadic became the highest-level figure to be convicted by the tribunal for crimes committed during the 1992-1995 bosnian war, which left more than 100,000 dead. karadic was convicted of genocide for the 1995 srebrenica massacre, in which bosnian 8000 muslims were killed during a campaign to kill every able-bodied mamale in the town. he was also convicted of crimes associated with the four-year siege of sarajevo. back in the united states, the interior department's newly appointed top spokesperson is under fire for her past islamophobic comments and her denial of climate change. faith vander voort said in a 2017 episode of the podcast "the word" that the national security agency was justified in spying on americans' phones and messages because of the threat posed by muslim communities.
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she went on to say that muslims pose a far greater threat than climate change, citing terrorist attacks in manchester and london. >> the left is so upset because they genuinely believe that "climate change" is the biggest threat to our society, which to me is ridiculous. look at manchester, look in london. that is the biggest guy to our society, not climate change. amy: faith vander voort previously said a muslim person can never be president. she's worked for a number of republican lawmakers, including iowa congressman steve kining, o has openly professed white nationalist views. the trump administration has denied visas to dozens of women scheduled to attend a united nations women's conference this month. campaigners say at least 41 women were denied entry to the u.s. to attend the annual commission on the status of women, most of them from nations blacklisted under trump's travel
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ban. the move is an apparent violation of a 70-year-old treaty which obligates the u.s. to allow entry to people attending the united nations headquarters in new york city. president trump claimed wednesday he would welcome it can special counsel robert mueller's report public. he made the claim even though he spent months assailing the program to russia's role in the 2016 election as a witchhunt and tweeting just last week there should be no mullah report. pres. trump: it is interesting that an man gets appointed d by deputy, he writes a report. never figure that one out. man gets appointed by deputy and writes a report. i have the greatest electoral victory, one o of them in the history ofof our country, tens f millions of voters, and now somebody is going to write a report. who never got a vote. amy: trump also lashed out against george conway, the
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husband of counselor to the president kellyanne conway. george conway is a longtime critic of trump who's accused the president of having a mental illness. pres. trump: i don't know him. he is a whack job, no question about it. but i really don't know him. i think he is doing a treremends disservice to a wonderful wife. kelly and is a wonderful woman. i call him mr. kellyanne. he is doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. she is a wonderful woman. amy: on wednesdaday, kellyanne conway d defended president t tp against her husbsband's critici, telling polititico -- "you thinknk he shouldldn't resd when somomebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder?" presesident trump's comments cae ahead of a trip to o ohio, where he held a re-election fundraiser at the brookside country club in canton. trump also toured the joint systems manufacturing center, which produces m1a1 abrams tanks for the pentagon. during a speech, trump attacked the late senator john mccain. over his decisisive vote against
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republican bill to repeal the affordable care act without a replacement. the pentagon's inspector general has launched a probe into whether acting defense secretary patrick shanahan unfairly favored the weapons contractor boeing, where shanahan spent over three decades as an executive. the inquiry comes a week after the watchdog group citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington filed a complaint alleging shanahan "praised boeing in discussions about government contracts, said that boeing would have done much better than its competitor lockheed martin had it been awarded a fighter jet contract, and repeatedly 'dumped on' the jet lockheed produced." shanahan's ties to boeing face -- faced renewed scrutiny after the company's 737 max jets remain grounded worldwide following deadly crashes in indonesia and ethiopia. meanwhile cnn reports the , justice department has issued multiple subpoenas seeking information on boeing's safety and certification procedures, as well as how the company marketed its 737 aircraft, as part of a criminal investigation.
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in m media news, the walt disney company has closed a $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st century fox, cementing the corporation's status as the largest entertainment: -- conglomerate in history. it will reshape the media and entertainment industries and could spawn a wave of new mergers as smaller studios struggle to compete with disney. kazakhstan's long-time authoritarian leader has announced he'll step down as president after three decades in power. nursultan nanazarbayev has led e central-asian nation since its independence from the soviet union in 1991, ruling it as a one-party state. nazarbayev's government says it will renamame kazakhstan's capil from astana to nursultan to honor the 78-year-old leader, whose 55-year-old daughter was just elected speaker of the upper house of pararliament, making her a possible successor. the united nations has convened a new round of talks between the kingdom of morocco and the western saharan liberation movement, known as the polisario front, aimed at resolving the
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43-year conflict. morocco has occupied western sahara since 1975 and no other country on earth recognizes its sovereignty over the territory. thousands of western sahara's indigenous people, the sahrawi, have since been tortured, imprisoned, killed, and disappeared while resisting the moroccan occupation. on wednesday, moroccan authorities assaulted a peaceful assembly of women in the streets of the western saharan capital laayoune as they demonstrated in favor of a referendum on the status of the territory. two years ago democracy now! was , able to break the moroccan media blockade and report from western sahara. you can go to our website at democracynow.org to watch our special report "four days in western sahara: africa's last colony." in costa rica, hundreds of protesters marched wednesday in the capital san jose, demanding justice after unknown assailants shot and killed an indigenous activist who led a campaign to defend the lands of the bribri people. sergio rojas was found dead at his home in southern costa rica monday, prompting speculation he
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was assassinated by non-indigenous ranchers resisting the repatriation of land by indigenous groups. this is human rights activist gustavavo cabrera. >> it is a crime that t threate, that tries to scare offff social movements, particularly indigenous movements, so they do not keep on fighting and recovering theirir land. guatemala, -- 63 old who was currently out of the country has denied charges of embezzlement, line, textron, alleging the case is politically motivated. she was the winner of a 2018 right livelihood award for her work with the u.n. supported anticorruption commission. and in massachusetts, the descendant of two enslaved people who were capturured in
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mid-19th century photographs has sued harvard, accusing the university of unfairly profiting from their images. tamara lanier of connecticut argues in a lawsuit filed wednesday that she and other descendants of renty and delia, two people held in bondage 169 years ago, should hold the rights to their photographs, not harvard. renty and delia were forced to pose for the photographs in 1850 by a harvard professor. their images were used in a recent harvard conference titled "universities and slavery -- bound by history." this comes after administrators at harvard and other elite universities have admitted they were founded largely through the labor of enslaved african people and profits generated by the slave trade. 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. amneststy international is accusing the united states of
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covering up civilian casualties in a secretive air war in somalia targeting the militant group al shabaab. the u.s. has carried out over 100 strikes in somalia -- in somalia since 2017 as part of a military campaign involving reaper drones and manned aircraft. for years, the pentagon has claimed no civilians were being killed in the air strikes, but a new report by amnesty has found at least 14 civilians were killed and ate more injured in just five of those airstrikes. the overall civilians up toll is likely to be far higher. amnesty says the airstrikes could amount to violations of international humanitarian law and even constitute war crimes. amy: u.s. africa command is disputing the new report saying in a statement, "our assessments found that no africom airstrike resulted in any civilian casualty or injury." "the new york times" reports data shows about 550 people have been killed in u.s. air strikes
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in some isis the start of 2018, but the pentagon has claimed only militants died in the strikes. we go now to washington where we are joined by brian castner, amnesty international's senior crisis advisor on arms and military operations. he helped write the new report titled "the hidden u.s. war in somalia." brian castnener, lay out whahatu found. >> thank you for having me. so we found, as you point out,, that in five of the strikes of the 110 africom is claiming, we found 14 civilians killed and eight injured. we did this through a variety of inteterviewsws, analysisis, corroborating the information through a variety of open-source investigation techchniques, speaking to doctors, etc. and in 2017, or i i should say from 2017, the africom did a report to congress that they killed zero as the official number. in 2018, they said that was true for that year as well. 110 s strikes, 800 terrorists
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killed,, zero civilians. we would m maintain and war, nothing g is perfefect. it is not a reasonable conclusion. it means investigations, thorough investigations are not being done as opposed to just having a perfect record. nermeen: you say in the report that of all of the civilians you have spoken to, none of the civilians had spoken to either somalia or u.s. government officials about what had happened in the wawake of those attacks. >> that is right. i and several colleagues went to mogadishu for a few weeks. it is very difficult to speak to people in these areas. obvivisly, all of the attacks are happppening in auch about cocontrolled areas. we had to invite people to take what could be a dangerous .ourney to mogadishu we spopoke to them either in person or were able t to speak securely with h them through the group did apppp on their smartphoness -- encrypted at on
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the smartphones. the 150 interviews we did come every single one said they had not spokoken to a government official from the u.s. or somalia.a. to nof them had spoken onone else e about this. it was a struggle e to find thee wiwitnesses and survivors. it is a struggle to g get theheo mogadishu. wewe admit iis h hard work. just because it is hard work does not mean the u.s. government should not be doing it. amy: president trump declared somalia a zone of active hostilities soon after coming into office. why did he do this? to whahat extent has this contributed to increased civilian casualties, brian? a hugeink it is made difference. in march 27,7, presintnt trump signed saying the laws of were that t guy the u.s. in syra
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or i iraq, those roles be applid to somalia.. when previously, under previous rules, it would be some light was treated like other countries where president obama had a new certainty s standard for a strie was carried d out. that civilians would not be harmed. after the e new declaration, , t standard was lowered to reasonable certainty, as in you're p pretty susure there art civilians around. from agadier geneneral former deputy in the operations center in africom, he e said wht this does effectively "open the aperture." it allllows them to take strikes they would none of taken before. so maybe when civilians are nearby, but also i it increases the number of people or the type of people that they are striking. one of our major c concerns from our researarch is afriricom oftn says there are striking not just
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al-shabaab, , but the network ad affiliates. anand who was in the network and whwho is in the affffiliates anw much support do you need to be doing, what actitivities you ned to take to be considered by the u.s. to be a lawful tararget is not clear. so in seveveral of our cases frm our report, africom says they did the strike. we say four people died. they say four people died. what they will call those al-shabaab or al-shabaab affiliate members. sure, but we would count three cicivilians because theyey wewere well l diggers and d a mo worked for the mobile telecommunicatioions company, tt they were not actually active al-shabaab participating in hostilities. nermeen: u.s. africa command rejected the findings of the report. i want to o read more of its statement. they wrote --
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"during research, amnesty international submitted 13 2018 andns in october february 2019. our assessment found that no africom airstrike resulted in any silly and casualties or injury. our assessments are based on post-wreck analysis using intelligence methods, not available to nonmilitary organizations." to say --ent went on john "al-shabaab and isis somalia have a history of placing their forces and facilities in and around civilian location to conceal and shield their activities." ryan, yourur response to that? >> i was a few t things. we did investigate more than these five strikes that we wrote up in ththe report. we investitigated 15 total. in the other 10, though strikes did not t rise to the e evidenty threshold for us ththat we were really confidedence that civivis died and in some caseses, we believe only al-shabaab died in
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thosee struck so we did not t we them up. in others, w we did notot have sufficieient corroborating evidence. i memention that bececause i wao stress t the fivstrikes s we wre up, we are very confident or we would not have published thehem. the other thing i would say is it is true the u.s. militaryry s lots of f informatation we do nt hostst up w we spent months tryg to figure out exactly when the stririke happened, where i it happened, what the targeget was, what w weapons were used. this is information the u.s. military already has and they have video we do not havave, but ththe military itself knows aprl 2017 dod report on civil he and casualties that they really struggle with misisidentificati. if you u use video for a s strio ththink someone is al-shabaab, there's a pretty good chance they will look like al-shabaab afterwards.. ifif you do not do any more investigation n and just look kt the video or rely on the inititl intelllligence you hadad, then you're absolututely going to mes civilian casualties -- miss
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civilian casualties. we thinknk we provideded credibe evididence that memeans they shd go back and take a second look, interview survivors and provide justice to the families where appropriate. amy: at a congressional hearing, africom commander general thomas waldhauser said if the u.s. is at war with somalia -- he responded by saying," i would not characterize we're at war. it is specifically designed for us not to own that." what does that mean? the u.s. ----means there's a lolot of political pressures for africom to not appear at war. some of those arere from the amamerican people after 18 yeae. the country's war weary. it does not want to hear it. it also memeans the u.s. is tryg to rely on thehe somalia government and say that everything that is being done is at the request of the somalia
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government and while that may be true, if you are launching 110 airstrikes -- we just investigated the airstrikes. there are a also advise and asat missions going on the ground, raids going on where u.s. marines and seals and soldiers are advising somali units and participatating in those activities as well. it surure l looks likike a war . there is pololitical pressure to not use that word, but we asked africom in the office of secretary of defense if the u.s. was at war in somalia. i promise it is not agogotcha question. they tell us they're using the laws of war. that is the manual the refer to for what guguiding legal princiciples are being used i i somalia. if you're using the manual of war, the laws of war, is that mean you are at war in somalia? they would not answer. nermeen: i want to ask about the graphic novel by mike e dawson that was released in conjunction with the amnesty report.
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the novel begins by telling the story of a u.s. airstrike carried out in november 2017 and then chronicles the rise of such strikes, together with the violence inflilicted on somali's civilian population by the militant group al shabaab. could you talk about mike dawson's novel and why it was released with the amnesty report? and also, the fact that as you document, strikes against civilians by al-shabaab often increase following u.s. airstrikes. >> absolutely. the people bearing the brunt of the tragedy in the war in o onia is not soldiers either side. it is the e civilians who arare trapped on o one side - -- al-shabaab on one side, airstrikes and other military opererations o on the other. they are stuck in the middle. we struggle atat amnesty -- we want to be able to present a a
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compelliling case of what is gog on. in a place like syria or yemen oror other locatioions, we can a lot of phototos and videos. alal-shabaabab has bananned a smartptphones in their areas, at leleast for civilians. we are very few phphotos andnd y few videos. everyone we spoke e to was absolutelyererrified of al-shabaab andnd would not let s take their phobia -- - their pho or video or even use their names. to the able toto explain average reader or the e average viewer who is not t going to red l 80 pageses of our report --- mikeke dawsoson i think did in incredible job laying out exactltly the chalallenges for andlians living in the area what they arare stuck in bebetw. amy: brian castner, thank you for being with us amnesty , international's senior crisis advisor on arms and military operations, and one of the lead authors of the report "the hidden u.s. war in somalia." we will link to it at democracynow.org. when we come back, we go to
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haiti and then speak with investigative reporter vicky ward about her new book "kushner, inc.: greed. ambition. corruption. the extraordrdinary story ofof jared kushner and ivanka trump." ♪ [music break]
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amy: performing in our firehouse democracy now! studios. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to the ongoining protests in haiti were people have been taken to the street since july to demand president kim ives --jovenel
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moise's resignation. nearly $4.3ed billion from venezuela over the span of 10 years as part of an oil subsidy program. the agreement ended in early 2018 point haiti central-bank stop paying central-bank due to u.s. entrance on venezuela and the haitian government's mismanagement. protesters in haiti are demanding jovenel moise step down reporting lanes of dollars from the oil fun or embezzled by the government. this comes as haiti's parliament throughout prime minister in a no-confidence vote earlier this week failed. amy: haitian president jovenel moise faces further scrutiny after five heavily armed americans s were arresested last month near the cenentral b bankn port-au-prince where a cache of weapons claiming to be on a government mission. the e group included two formemr
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navy seals and a former blackwater-trained contractor. but the mercenaries were quickly sent back to the united states without facing criminal charges in haiti, sparking outrage and mounting demands that the government explain why the men had been at the central bank in the e first place. an explosive new investigation by haiti liberte and the intercept has found the american mercenaries were at the central bank on a mission ordered directly by the embattled president. their goal was to escort a presidential aid to the haitian central bank as s he transferred $80 million from a government oil account to another account control by the president jovenel moise. kim ives and matthew cole write in their investigation -- "what at first resembled a comedic plot about a group of ex-soldiers looking for a quick and easy mercenary score was in fact a poorly executed but serious effort by moise to consolidate his political power with american muscle." for more, we're joined by kim ives editor of haiti liberte and
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, co-author of the joint investigation. >> there is an uprising going on. it is a very chaotic situation, similar to the uprising against the leader 32 years ago. and these mercenaries arrived at the tail end of the latest spasm, which have been basically from the seventh of february 2 the 17th. they flew in and ended up being onested at the central bank sunday the 17th. everybody was wondering what they were up to, what they were doing, who was behind them. they had semi-automatic weapons, drones, satellite phones, you name it. up theystigation turned were there on behalf of president jovenel moise to
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transfer $80 million from the pressure korea t the account, which all that is left in it, to an account he controlled. we don't know what he was going to do with it, what he was going to s split town orr try to stabilize the situation, but in short, that is what their mission was, but they did not get very far. they went about it in a very clumsy way. amy: how do they get identified and how do you know the connection to blackwater? arrestedhe people were , we got all of their information, their passports and everything went immediately upon social media by police will stop -- by police putting it up there. was there were -- there were two navy seals, blackwater contractor, and a number of other former military
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people, a marine, a pilot was a leader. they ended up being caught in front of the bank because they had no license plates on their cars. they were also apparently byrted by bank personnel,l, the security guard. they tried to get into the bank to do this transfer, but they could not get in because the security guard wouldn't let them in. basically, they got rolled up, taken to the police station, but the u.s. embassy immediately weighed in and made sure to get them out. nermeen: but they were not all u.s. nationals. >> there were two serbs. nermeen: how many mercenaries were there? >> a total of seven. nermeen: and were not u.s. nationalstwo. >> there was a guy named annual port who ended up just he was an electrical contractor, some sort
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them.nslator for he was speaking french. you is from louisiana. he ended up being the guy who try to negotiate them out of the two-hour police ststandoff. any go how to the u.s. explain how they got them out of the country and why they are not facing charges. >> the u.s. is not explain that. it was completely illegal what they did, completely. first it was not even a judge that release them. minister who wrote a letter to the head of the police station where e they were being held. and then they just was them out of the country withoutut the jue releasing them in any way. when they came to the street -- to the states, t they should hae been charged with illegally exporting arms because they took their weapons on a private jet, which flew from baltimore to port-au-prince on february 16.
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througher went immigration in haiti. they never went through customs. in the end, they ended up not being charged either in haiti or the u.s., so they have gotten off sky free -- until now, we hope.. theeen: can you put this in broader context of the ongoing protest in haiti and the connection to what the crisis in venezuela? through as going terrible uprising, a great uprising maybe we could say, in large measure because the support that venezuela provided haiti, $4.3 million of cheap oil and cheap credit from basically of8 to 2017 were beginning 2018, has finished. nermeen: $4.3 billion? >> in oil. as we have talked about on thatracy now!, at t the time
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we broke the story about that and the u.s. opposition to it thanks to wikileaks documents we the program provided this money on very favorable terms. to pay 60%had upfront and 40% went into a thing called the petrocaribe fund, which was repayable after 25 years at 1% interest. this money was u used -- was supposed to be used for hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, any social benefit projects. hugo chavez was to give haiti to develop itself so it would not have to constantly turn to usaid or imf, etc. this money was largely plundered by primarily the government of 2011 to 2016,y of
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basically brought in through the conservative -- good services of ben secretary of state hillary clinton. demonstrations began asking what happened to the petrocaribe money? where did all of this money go? in july of last year, they tried to raise the gas prices and the imf said, you got to raise the prices if we're going to give you any more loans. when they trtried to do it, the people went ballistic. they were in the streets for three days. haiti was basically shut down. jovenel moise had to bring in a new prime minister who was just now ousted. so that mobilization continued september, fall in october, november, huge
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demonstrations. then it began again in february, basically after jovenel stuck a knife in the back of the venezuelans after their exemplary solidarity by voting against nicolas maduro saying he was illegitimate as part of a oes organization of american states, vote on january 10. until then, haiti had not gone along with the u.s. campaign to oust maduro. but they basically sided with washington. now washington is doing everything to keep -- nermeen: why did they make that decision? >> they were between a rock and a hard place. washington was sort of sitting back. helphad not come in to line up maduro or against maduro. but when they did, the u.s. began to support them in some way. we see tomorrow jovenel moise
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will go to florida to meet with and willmar-a-lago probably be asked to not only lineup more with some sort of increasedvention were campaign against venezuela, but also to project china -- which is trying to make overtures to haiti. haiti is one of the last 18 countries that recognizes taiwan and china has offered haiti $4.7 billion to overhaul port-au-prince, but taiwan remains giving small corruption bribes to the government. amy:y: how lonong will moise la? >> that is the $64,000 question. nobody knows, but he is definitely on the ropes. this uprising looks like it will
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continue, despite the fact moise has effectively neutralized the prime minister, who he was basically at odds with. the opposition was -- part of the opposition was trying to work through the prime minister out.t jovenel but now with this report about what has happened with the mercenaries and with the contininuing crisis of oil in te country, he probably won't last. amy: kim ives, thank you for being with us, editor of haiti liberte. co-author of a joint investigation with haiti liberte and the intercept titled "u.s. mercenaries arrested in haiti were part of a half-baked scheme to move $80 million for embattled president." when we come back, vicky ward on ."kushner, inc stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: house democrats are continuing to probe how president trump's son-in-law and advisor jared kushner received a top-secret security clearance despite concerns from the cia. "the new york times" recently reported trump ordered then-chief of staff john kelly to grant kushner the top-secret clearance despite the judgment of intelligence officials. then white house counsel don mcgahn argued kushner should not have been granted access to top-secret documents. kushner failed to report over 100 foreign contacts on his initial application for clearance, which was denied by the fbi after a background check
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into his financial history and contacts with foreign investors . kushner later revised his application three times and was ultimately granted permanent security clearance last may. amy: well, a new book uncover details about how jared kushner has continued to let the financial dealings of his family impact the policy decisions he promotes overseas. in one case, this almost led to a war in the middle east between qatar and saudi arabia. we are joined now by investigative reporter vicky ward, author of "kushner, inc.: the extraordinary story of jared kushner and ivanka trump." welcome back to democracy now! let's begin there. it may sound a little odd to talk about the senior advisor the president trump jared kushner and now he almost started a war in the middle east by asking you about a new york city skyscraper, a new york city building. 666 fifth avenue. >> you are exactly right to make
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the connection. the kushners have this all the trust around them. fifth book, i say 666 avenue is like the maltese falcon. it is almost always there and all roads lead back to this money pit, this disastrous alone, $1.4here billion is coming due in february 2019. itamerican lender will touch with a 50 foot pole, which means the kushners need foreign investment. tricky when it is a family business and theson is now senior advisor to the president. in qataris told the kushners the spring 2017 when jared kushner is already in government , charlie kushner asked over $1 billion, they turned charlie
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kushner, jared kushner's father, down. jared hasat in mind, a new best friend in the middle east who also has money, mbs, the future crown prince -- he was not crown prince yet -- a saudi arabia. these two former -- form a bond that really alarms rex tillerson, secretary state, and the secretary of defense, because they cut out all of the national security officials who should be looped in onto their communications, cut out everyone in the state department. these systems we had a place to protect our security and our government for decades. who was very, experienced in the region -- amy: a former secretary of state. >> before that, he ran -- he
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knew a little bit about mbs's brutal track record and really concerned about this. jajared sees an opportunity for money for investment in mbs and subsidizing his piece turn. so he pushes the president to make the united states first official visit overseas not to a country with shared democratic values such as britain or france, but to the kingdom of saudi arabia where they have this summit that is supposed to be all about cooperation in the region. later orys thereabouts, rex tillerson and james mattis are at a conference in australia. to their astonishment, they saudis and a group of middle eastern countries to blockade qatar where america has
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a near base. an air base. they had no prior knowledge of this. tillersoson immediately knew the agreement, the saudis would never have done this without support from the white house, it came from jared. to -- hewanted was wanted to invade qatar. it was worse than that because he wanted the qataris resources, which is what -- what he could not get a hold of those, that is what leads him to round up six of the seven ruling branches of the saudi royal family later in november. it is all about money. rex tillerson such a jared --hner, how do notice that that were seven ruling houses and saudi arabia. the only branch that mbs has not rounded up is his own.
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statistically unlikely that they're not corrupted? jeer did not want to know and tillerson told him how dangerous this was. whatlly what jared did was mbs wanted him to do, which was fire rex tillerson. there is an ironic twist to this tale. in the spring 2018, mbs arrived in washington. the president asks him for $4 billion to help rebuilding syria. mbs says, i don't have that kind of money. this atrocious war in yemen has cost the saudis a lot and oil prices fell. listened.p and jared the qatarisis then arrivedd in washington. strategically, they offered trump and jared, they said, we
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have plenty of money for whatever you want to do but you need to end the support of this blockade. period,ly the same time 's6 fifth avenue, the kushner trouble building, gets an extraordinary deal that makes absolutely no sense. a canadian firm, whose second-largest investor is a qatari investmtment authority, says it is going to leaease this building, someone who is been involved with that said it would be more viable if it was just a pile of dirt, they're going to pay $1.3 billion, 99 year lease, and they're going to pay that all -- all of that lease upfront. this is a deal that stinks. at the same time, the u.s. changes its policy toward the blockade on qatar. rightly is now quite
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invevestigating this. nermeen: that is one of the incidents, one of the principal incidents that you cite in the know,s a conclusion, you my surprise people, which is jared and ivanka are trump's greatest liability. there are a number of contenders for that position. has seen, particularly week, jared and ivanka in plain sight. he is not holding back on anything, unfortunately. all of the inappropriate things that have come out of his mouth or twitter feed in the last week , illustrate that. jared and vodka would never say
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that, which means i think there are more dangerous and away because they are in disguise. what i have just described you i think also diplomacy in the dark, the idea that jared is running around doing all of this and nobody knows anything about it, not even our state department, not national sesecurity councilil. that is horrifyingng. amy: so moving from jared trump, seniornka advisers t to president trump, last may president trump announced he would save chinese electronics company from collapse just two days after beijing invested $500 million into a trump development project in indonesia. a week before that, ivanka trump's fashion business one approval for trademark in china than in october and november, chinese trademark right leaders ordered preliminary 430 for trademarks covering everything
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from the ivanka trump branded veterinary service, nursing homes, sausage casing, handbags, shoes, even voting machines. vicky ward, explain. >> this issue of the trademarks is something that appalled ,veryone who worked with ivanka should appalled all of us. it was another thing that rex tillersoson, i mean, found a bhorrent. calls -- notget on just with the chinese, but all sorts of foreign leaders -- india, japan -- get on calls or put her self in meetings in quite a subtle way. not ask directly in front of people -- oh, by the way, can you now boost my business? which needed desperately
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foreign support. it was not doing well at all domestically. we h have firm laws about this. you cannot stand on white house grounds and ask for money. that is just flat out illegal. and the people in the state department watching all of this, they would be on some of these calls, were absolutely horrified at how completely inappropriate it was. it just seemed like such blatant self-dealing. amy: what about the middle east peace plan of jared kushner can't to the shock of many, not secretary stager krishna, not national security advisor jared kushner, but from son-in-law's so-called senior adviser who apparently now we have just learned was trump himself who intervened about the intelligence services to get his top security clearance. >> one of the strong scenes in netanyahu.
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very, very old family friend of the kushners. a child,when jared was netanynyahu slept in his bed. charlie kushner went to bed. onone of the county playeded guy to was campaign finance fraud and that involved cutting the wrong way for b bb'ss many visis to charles kushner''s local jewish community. netanyahu is like the grarand chess master. he may as well have been our secretary of state these last two years. amy: the current prime minister who looks like he is about to be indicted for corruption of israel. >> exactly. jared's peace plan is plan andly bb's peace involves everyone else doing things and paying for it except
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-- i think you cannot underestimate the e influence of bb here. u.s.s bb's i did have the soften its attitude toward russia because he thought it would be hopeful and batting down iran and syria. this is not a view shared byy many off our or any security analyst who deal in the region. he was very supportive and decided and --jared and mbs should form an alliance of the saudis could s sort of subsidize jared's peace plan. nermeen: one of the things that has been pointed out by critics of the book is stephen bannon seems to be one of the principal sources, though you never said explicitly whether you interviewed him or not, and apart from the problems with
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stephen bannon, he is not a disinterested party. he h has always been critical oj and ivanka trump. did you interview him? >> know, i've got to protect my sources, but i would point out, chapters,k, 25 stephen bannon appears in six. so the idea that he would be a principal -- nermeen: i think that -- >> the book k is sort of six bos in one. it is very dense. we actually start in belarus come a move to new jersey, new york, then washington. we go from washington t to the middle east. moreen: it is probably striking because -- >> steve bannon -- nermeen: there not many people cited by name. he interviewed over 300. >> steve bannon was in the campaign and in the white house
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for six months. the reveal i think is interesting in the book about bannon is he was the one who brings them in. it was not actually trump. it was steve bannon. went on again, the white house chief counsel, comes in with a draft of an opinion from the justice department, saying, look, everyone is a bit overriding the nepotism laws that we have in place saying, look, no one really wants to do this, to bring jared and then ivanka in, but we can if you think it is absolutely necessary. mcgann did not to do it -- amy: the white house counsel. >> the white house counsel, because of worries about competency. how does anyone know these two are going to be confident? that is a good question. he pose this to reince priebus and bannon and bannon said,
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think back to billy bush when the president was so upset when the onlyes leaked and person could really call him down was ivanka, i think we might need them. as six weeks later, bannon is pushed out. i think given the scope of this period ison's time very limited. amy: ultimately, your conclusion about the power of jared kushner and ivanka trump in the white house? >> that is a complicated answer. they are still there. the body count that they have caused is up in the 30's. but i think the book shows at the end of the day, she can't speak candidly to her father. in the end, he is going to do what he is going to do. although, again, it is complicated. that security
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clearance. amy: and ivanka trump? we have to leave it there but we will do part two and posted online. vicky ward, author of the new book "kushner, inc.: the extraordinary story of jared kushner and ivanka trump." democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to ououtrea
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