tv Democracy Now PBS October 30, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
10/30/14 10/30/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. the completely understand purpose is to protect the state of maine. i have worked in public health for many years, and that has all was been my purpose as well. we have to make decisions on science. i am completely healthy. >> showdown over ebola. there's kaci hickox vows to fight the second state over its decision to quarantine her and other health care workers who don't test positive for ebola returning from west africa. then, the red cross's secret disaster.
>> all these people making these big salaries, should be out there on the front line. i and disappointed. my advice to the people, do not donate to the american red cross. they can get there many elsewhere. >> on the second anniversary of superstorm sandy, an exposé taste on internal red cross documents finds the relief agency bungled its response to the storm caring more about its image and reputation of providing service to those in need. forlly, "is your judge sale?" hustle for campaign cash. how does that affect judicial decisions? all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
the world health organization says liberia, the country , rise of over 30%. the rice has been a treated to underreporting. but the world health organization also says liberia, the country worst hit by the epidemic, may be seeing a decline in the virus. world health organization assistant director general dr. bruce aylward said he is cautiously optimism. >> the actual number of newly reported cases is beginning to decline in liberia and the government is really driving a multipronged investigation, looking at multiple strands of evidence to try and understand is this real, is this a reporting phenomenon, or is it even a case -- you know, a care seeking phenomenon that is changing. so far, based on the information received today, and again most of you somewhat are aware of this, it appears the trend is
real in liberia. >> a nurse who was quarantined in new jersey after returning from sierra leone has said she will not obey quarantine restrictions in her home state of maine. state officials are seekg a court order to force kaci hickox to remain in her home even though she has tested negative for ebola. speaking to uncle today" she said she would go to court to fight for freedom. >> i remains appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though i'm an perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom-free. i am thankful to be out of the tent in newark, but i found myself in yet another prison, just in a different environment. >> a u.s. drone strike has killed four people in the pakistani village of nargas in south waziristan, near the afghan border. security officials said the target was a militant compound
and the dead were fighters. in sri lanka, 190 people remain missing after torrential rains caused a massive landslide that hit a village in a tea-growing area. at least 10 bodies have been recovered. an official told reuters there are likely no survivors. in the west african nation of burkina faso, protesters have set fire to parliament to protest a possible extension of the president's rule. parliament was set to consider changing the constitution to let president blaise compaore run for reelection. he first took over in a coup in 1987. israel has completely shut down the al aqsa mosque compound in occupied east jerusalem for the first time in at least 14 years following the shooting of an israeli far-right activist. palestinian president mahmoud abbas condemned the the closure as a "declaration of war on the palestinian people." the site, known by jews as the temple mount, houses both the
mosque and the dome of the rock, and a resident of jerusalem said he was turned away after arriving for his morning prayers. quirks this is a punishment for something with nothing to do with. fear government here. justice should be the basis of government but there is no justice here. they closed the mosque here but the problem happened over there. why is it ok for the jews to pay -- pray at the wailing wall without any problems but every day it palestinian is killed. why are we the ones being punished? >> on wednesday night, u.s.-born activist yehuda glick was shot and wounded outside a conference promoting jewish access to the site, where he and others want to build a jewish temple. hours later, israeli police shot and killed a palestinian suspect in the shooting, whom they said resisted arrest. the tensions came as the united
nations held an emergency meeting on israel's plans to build 1,000 new settlements in east jerusalem. the settlements in an area which palestinians seek as part of any future state are considered illegal under international law. earlier this week, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu vowed to press ahead with construction. sweden has officially recognized the state of palestine, becoming the first member of the european union to do so. in a newspaper op-ed, swedish minister of foreign affairs margot wallstrom called the move "an important step that confirms the palestinians' right to self-determination," adding -- "some will say today's decision comes too soon. i'm afraid, rather, that it is too late." nobel peace prize winner malala yousafzai has promised to donate $50,000 to rebuild schools in gaza that were damage during the recent israeli offensive. after receiving the world
children's prize in sweden, yousafzai said she would donate all the prize money to the u.n. agency for palestinian refugees. quirks this money will totally go to the rebuilding of schools for children in gaza assad think it will definitely help those children to continue their education to get quality education, and it will help them to continue their life and to know people are supporting them and they're not alone. i'm really happy that this funding will help the rebuilding of 65 schools in gaza. >> the company sodastream has announced plans to move its factory out of an israeli settlement in the occupied west bank following an international boycott. sodastream said its move was "purely commercial." but supporters of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement have claimed the move as a victory, saying their efforts caused sodastream's share prices to drop as retailers were pressured to abandon their products.
united nations general a simile has voted nearly unanimously to condemn u.s. embargo on cuba the 23rd year in a row. like last year, the vote was 188 to 2 with just only israel joining the united states. three countries abstained: palau, micronesia and the marshall islands. mexican president enrique pena nieto has met with the parents of 43 students who have been missing from the state of guerrero for more than a month after a police ambush. authorities suspect police turned the students over to a local drug gang with close ties to the fugitive mayor of iguala and his wife, who are accused of ordering the attack. another mass grave has been found in the area but the remains have not been identified. human rights activists say the united states has fueled the problem by spending an estimated $3 billion on the so-called war on drugs in mexico over the past 14 years, much of it going to corrupt police forces. maria luisa aguilar called for
the u.s. to act more responsibly. quirks the problem is lack of accountability. what has happened with all that money that we have invested in the police, the federal level, the state level, at the municipal level? after the training come after the substantial investment in the security forces, who is making sure there will be accountability, that their work is lawful within a framework that respects human rights? >> in northern mexico, four bodies have been found near the border city of matamoros. the remains could belong to three american siblings from texas who went missing from the area. they were reportedly captured by armed men identified as members of a matamoros police unit. the mexican president is in greek opinion?. the federal reserve is ending the economic stimulus program known as quantitative easing. since 2008, the fed has spent trillions of dollars on mortgage and treasury bonds in a bind to
boost the economy. but the fed said it would now end the program, citing improvements in the economy. the number of billionaires worldwide has more than doubled since the financial crisis. a new report by oxfam international finds the richest 85 people saw their collective wealth increase by nearly half a million dollars a minute from 2013 to this year. hundreds of millions of people meanwhile live without access to clean drinking water and sufficient food. a woman who appeared in a viral video documenting street harassment in new york city has begun receiving rape threats online. shoshanaoberts experienced more than 100 acts of verbal street harassment over a 10-hour period while being filmed with a hidden camera. the video, posted as a psa for the anti-harassment group hollaback, received more than 11 million views on youtube, where some users began posting rape threats in the comments section.
college students around the world carried mattresses on wednesday in a global day of action against sexual assault and in solidarity with columbia university student emma sulkowicz. earlier this year, sulkowicz vowed to carry her mattress everywhere on campus until the student who she says raped her in her dorm room is either expelled or leaves of his own accord. to see our interview, go to democracynow.org. in denmark, the founder of the video file-sharing website the pirate bay has been found guilty in the biggest hacking case in the country's history. gottfrid svartholm warg, known as anakota, and his danish co-defendant, were found guilty of hacking computer mainframes run by the u.s. it firm csc. warg has already been imprisoned for 11 months after being extradited from sweden. and in a follow-up to our story from yesterday, a jury in texas has found antonio buehler not guilty in a case that centered on the right to film police officers. antonio buehler used his phone to take photos of a woman crying
out for help as police arrested her on new year's day in 2012. police then arrested him, and he was ultimately charged with failing to obey their order to put his hands down as he took photos. after more than five hours of deliberation, a jury acquitted buehler on wednesday evening. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the world health organization says liberia, the country worst-hit by an ebola epidemic, may be seeing a decline in the spread of the virus. while the number of burials and new admissions had fallen in liberia, who assistant director general dr. bruce aylward warned the international community must continue to step up its response to the virus that has killed around 5,000 people in west africa. >> huge mistake for anyone to
think, great, we are getting in front of this virus, we can scale back on some of the investments plan. these are verses waiting for you to make that kind of a mistake. as you have seen in places in guinea, this thing will go for a very, very long time at lower rates of transmission, so you have to exploit those opportunities as they arise, step up your game and if anything, this should be really a sign that, look, make those investments because this can be turned around, this virus can be stopped eventually, but it will take a very, very impressive program of work to capitalize on those opportunities. this comes as a debate intensifies in the united states over quarantining health care workers return from west africa, but don't show signs of ebola. on wednesday, the governor of maine said he would seek eagle authority to enforce a 21-day home quarantine on kaci hickox,
a nurse who has tested negative for ebola after treating patients in sierra leone. hickox said she would challenge maine's restrictions just as she did in new jersey where she was held in a tent outside a hospital. she said she would challenge maine's restrictions just as she did in new jersey. last night, she spoke outside her boyfriend's home in maine. >> i completely understand the state's purpose is to protect the state of maine. i have worked in public health for many years, and that has always been my purpo as well. but we have to make decisions on science. i am completely healthy. you could hug me, shake my hand. there is no way i would give you ebola. if i developed symptoms, and there is even some evidence that in the beginning there's not enough virus in your blood, that you're shutting virus. it is still not perfect signs because we don't know everything that we need to know about ebola because it is a rare enough disease, but, you know, i don't
want to hurt anyone in the public, but i don't think this is an acceptable line be drawn. >> as she spoke on her boyfriend's doorstep, he had his arm around her whole time. maine health and human services commissioner mary mayhew said the state is filing a court order to keep kaci hickox isolated at home until november 10. >> we will make it mandatory. it is certainly never once best interest to just cooperate and work with us to minimize contact. it is very difficult outside of that voluntary agreement to stay at home to monitor someone who may come into contact with many individuals, that if that individual can become symptomatic, we will have to work with everything one of those individuals to quarantine those individuals. on wednesday, president obama honored doctors, nurses, health
care workers returning from west africa. >> like military men and women to point to west africa, they do this for no other reason than their own sense of duty, their sense of purpose, their sense of serving a cause greater than themselves. call them what they are, which is american heroes. they deserve our gratitude. and they deserve to be treated with dignity and with respect. >> to talk more about the ebola outbreak and the debate over quarantining healthcare workers we are joined by lawrence gostin, university professor and faculty director at the o'neill institute for national and global health law at georgetown university. he is also the director of the world health organization collaborating center on public health law. you are one of the leading experts, dr. gostin, on the issue of quarantine. the showdown is only getting hotter in this country, and it is not just about this one crusading nurse kaci hickox.
but can you talk about what it is she is saying, why she objected to being held in the hospital in new jersey, and then went home to maine and was told she had to stay there, why she feels she should not be there for 21 days? >> well, i really don't think she should be there for 21 days. her, believe -- i spent my entire life defending the public health. if i actually thought she or any of the other health workers coming from the region were a risk to the public, i would support a quarantine. but the supreme court has said that if you can find somebody who has committed no crime, it is called a massive deprivation of liberty. it is not a trivial thing. we have to make sure we balance civil liberties with public health and in this case, all of the public health experts are telling us that it is unnecessary. the cdc, the world health organization.
there is no organization that i know up that believes it is right to quarantine for three is,s somebody that really as president obama said, a hero. they have sacrificed and done things that most of us would not do. they have put themselves at risk, gone in a compassionate way. and i do think we need to treat them better than we are. this is self-defeating. we think we are actually decreasing our risk by quarantining her, but actually, we are increasing it because if we impede people from going to the region, then the epidemic there will spin out of control and that is where our risk lies. i want to turn to comments made by ashoka mukpo. he was asked about this being a and alsoaci hickox
talked about dr. craig spencer who have been treated for ebola in new york. he was speaking on cnn. right tos earned the have a sense of her own safety and her own risk factor to others. i don't think dr. spencer danger to anyone. my feeling is, again, i'm not an expert, this is just my own view on the exposures to ebola, i think governor chris christie's -- playingcs politics in an effort to work with public opinion rather than listen to the advice of the experts. i think it is cap productive. these are people who have gone and endanger their lives to work with people have very limited resources and are dying and relatively large numbers. to make it more difficult and a treat them as if they are potential problem as opposed to a public asset, i just think it is a shame. i don't think it is the right way to act. >> that was ebola survivor ashoka mukpo speaking on cnn. lawrence gostin, canoe explain why does people are so fearful, have been so critical of kaci
and dr. craig spencer, for what they claim was endangering the lives of the public? can you explain why that has really been the case. >> it really isn't the case. we know from science and epidemiology that if a person is completely symptom-free, if they haven't had any known exposure with their skin or anything else, they have no temperature, and it the health department would proactively monitor them, i'm all in favor of that, then if they want to get in their car or if they want to have a walk on the street come at they are endangering no one at all. law say, from the matter of , the doctrine of quarantine requires that you have an individual assessment a significant risk. and it doesn't exist here.
the cdc itself does not put her in a category that would warrant quarantine. they have guided the states in that way. they have asked the state to purports a way that with science. unfortunately, we're coming up to elections. politicians are wanting to follow the polls. they're basing their decisions on fear, rather than science. while sometimes that might be an ok thing to do, not if you're depriving somebody's liberty. not if you're really making the situation worse than it is. >> the main governor is one of the most conservative in the country. as health and human services secretary spoke yesterday. what they did not explain, they have police outside of the home where kaci is staying. they have not directly said what they're going to do to her if she goes outside. but if they're saying she is
jerseyous, the new governor chris christie, said she is obviously ill, which is obviously wrong, are they going to be wearing moon suits and tackle her? they will not explain what they're going to do to her. >> no, in fact, unless they have issued a formal quarantine order under the states public health law, the police actually have no authority or per her dish over her. she is committed no crime. there has been no assessment that she actually, from a scientific point of view, poses any risk to anyone. i don't see they have any authority. if they get a court order, they're going to have to convince a judge that their decision is based upon a rationality and science. and i don't see how they can do that when the entire scientific community disagrees. feigning the fear in
the public. the public are wondering, why are we getting all of these confusing messages? the president saying one thing, i governor saying another, the who and cdc have their own positions. we have to have a consistent position. >> dr. gostin, there are six messages. >> chuck hagel announced all u.s. treasury turning from the ebola zone in west africa must spend 21 days in quarantine. let's go to a clip. >> what i decided this morning was a memorandum to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in otherse to the memorandum recommendation i received from the chairman of chiefs yesterday to go forward with a policy of essentially 21 days incubation for our men and women who would be returning from west africa. >> that was defense secretary chuck hagel speaking on wednesday. larry gostin, can you explain
the discrepancy in policy? on the one hand, the obama administration seems to be saying quarantine is not required for health workers and now we have chuck hagel, the defense secretary, but sang for the military, it is. presumably, health care workers proximity toloser the suffering from ebola in west africa. >> it is a complete contradiction in terms. i was very proud of the united states for sending military troops into west africa. i actually wish the military troops could provide direct patient care. a president obama ruled that out because he did not want them to forxposed to any risk -- political reasons. i can understand that. but now when they have not had any patient contact, they have had no exposure whatsoever, and then come back and every single one of them will be quarantined 21 days -- it defies
rationality. why would you want to do that? the other thing is, we have people coming and going to west africa all the time. we have you in diplomats, high-level american officials, high-level world bank officials coming to and from new york city and other places. do intend to quarantine them all? >> u.s. ambassador to the united nations samantha power just went to all three nations that are hardest hit and said she will abide by the law. this goes beyond ebola. i want to turn to the attorney for the nurse kaci hickox. >> there is no basis to arrest her or detain her. such action would be illegal and unconstitutional. we would seek to protect her rights as an american citizen under the constitution. the fact is, she seems to be doing well. she is now serving better than
she was when she was in the isolation tent, courtesy of governor chris christie of new jersey. she is feeling fine. hopefully, she stays that way. as -- monitoring herself complying with the protocols, and sting in touch with the public health officials. there is no legal basis under the main law or the u.s. constitution to restrain her because she went to africa to help people get better. >> and this is what else kaci hickox's attorney had to say. >> the aids crisis, they were try to do the same thing. people were supposed to be isolated because of aids and the fear that ran through the community. and that proves to be totally wrong. people were subjected to the same thing that is happening to kaci by this hysteria that
somehow [indiscernible] as to how it is transmitted. >> the attorney for kaci hickox. i want to ask you, dr. gostin, i was just watching mount sinai hospital doctor, infectious disease doctor come on television. he was responding to the question, more than 80% of americans want people quarantined, so how do you do it that? he said, if you ask them if they want ryan white, the boy who had aids, if you wanted him quarantined, not to go to school, they would've said the same thing. that doesn't make it right. how do you deal with this, dr. gostin? >> i think you need to deal with it with clear information. in the end, he did not quarantine people with aids, thank goodness, but we did harass them, discriminate against them. ryan white, a poor little young
infection wasv embarrassed, kick out of school. ,hese are not humane compassionate ways of dealing with things. unfortunately, epidemics, particularly fearful ones, bring the worst out in society and civilization and humanity, but we need to find a better parts of ourselves and treat human beings with compassion. and only restrict them if it is absolutely necessary for the public welfare. in this case, it clearly is not. >> on wednesday, representatives of the centers for disease control joined health officials from 31 other countries from the americas in cuba for a conference on ebola. the meeting was convened by alba, a regional alliance of latin american and caribbean countries. this is cuban health minister roberto morales. >> we hope this meeting creates
a concerted course of action to continue perfecting our national plans and ratifies the commitment we have towards vulnerable people as an expression of the visible's of solidarity, genuine cooperation, and integration between our countries. >> the u.s. presence in cuba was the latest show of cooperation between the two countries on the ebola crisis. this is nelson arboleda of the cdc. >> i think this is in an international emergency and that we must all work together incorporate in this effort. , accoing totin the world health organization, cuba is by far the largest provider of doctors and health care workers to west africa in dealing with this ebola crisis. could you talk about what you think the u.s. ought to be doing more to deal with the crisis there in west africa? that, --the for i do
before i do that, as i just said epidemics bring out the worst in us. here's a case were epidemics can bring out the best in us, where it can bring us together. we should be a democrat, republican -- it should not be a democrat/republican issue or a cuba/american issue. it is global for all humankind. what america needs to do is really ramp up the response in west africa. reserveto be training a war core of experienced doctors and nurses, putting them into the region, supporting them, treating them with respect, and we need to be providing money and more than anything, we need to mobilize international community, at least the u.s. has troops there. there are a lot of countries that don't. i really astounded at the delay and the lack of attention that is been given to what is really one of the worst crises i have seen since the aids epidemic.
doctors without borders is really suffering now. they are saying because of this controversy, over the quarantining of healthy people, that it means they're getting less recruits, fewer doctors, nurses, health workers offering to go abroad. insident obama was had tears his eyes yesterday as he surrounded himself -- i think the visual was more important than anything he said, being very close to hugging people who had been in west africa. what is the single most important thing you feel needs to happen right now as the u.s. focuses on this debate over local quarantine? what has brought liberia's infection rate down? >> we have to stop being so insular and just thinking about ourselves and our own -- we have . few very isolated cases
in west africa, they will have tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people with ebola. we have to put it in perspective. we all have to come together as americans and as an international community, and put our focus in west africa. if we don't and for some reason it jumps to another popular city , we couldng or delhi have a global catastrophe, something that will really come back to haunt us. this is in our self interest but in our shared humanity that we really needed to focus our attention, resources, human resources, and engineering to ,eally build up hospitals doctors, and public health systems. and we have to learn from this lesson. we have to learn what to do in the future. and what that is, is to build the health systems up and low
middle income countries so that these things don't spin out of control. >> lawrence gostin, thank you for being with us. university professor and faculty director at the o'neill institute for national and global health law at georgetown university. when we come back, we're going to be looking at the red cross, not around the issue of ebola, but is is the second anniversary of superstorm sandy. where were they, people asked, all over the east coast. we will look at their own internal documents to find out why they were not present. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
shaikh. >> this week marks the second anniversary of superstorm sandy hitting the new york region, becoming one of the most destructive storms in the nation's history. after first pummeling cuba, jamaica and the dominican republic, sandy made its way up the east coast. on october 29, the hurricane blasted new york city with a record storm surge as high as 13 feet. the storm also heavily hit the jersey shore and parts of new england. sandy ultimately killed 159 people along the east coast and damaged more than 650,000 homes. the storm caused $70 billion in damage across eight states. millions were left without power, some for weeks. well, a new investigation by propublica and npr says there were actually two disasters during sandy. the hurricane itself and the ensuing relief effort by the red cross. this is a clip from a video accompanying the investigation, "the red cross' secret disaster." is october 2012,
superstorm sandy barreled up the eastern seaboard from florida to maine. the storm leaves millions in the cold and dark, dozens die. a star-studded relief effort helps the red cross rake in more than $300 million in donations. thatis the untold story of red cross relief effort. how one of the nation's most revered charities bungled its mission and misled the public. are near flawless so far in this operation. i'm just so proud of everything that we're doing on the ground. incredible. >> the confidential documents and insider accounts paint a different picture. >> they lost confidence in their ability to do the right thing, so it'd the next best thing, which is, what can we do to make people think we're doing the right thing? >> a clip from a video accompanying the new joint investigation by propublica and npr called "the red cross' secret disaster." the report contends the american red cross bungled its response
to superstorm sandy by caring more about its image and reputation than providing service to those in need. it alleges the organization diverted vehicles and resources to press conferences instead of using them to deliver services. and it estimates the red cross wasted an average of 30% of the meals it was producing in the early days of its sandy response effort. >> for more we're joined by two guests. here in new york is justin elliot, he's a reporter for propublica and one of the lead authors of their new investigation, "the red cross' secret disaster." and in santa fe, new mexico, we're joined by richard rieckenberg. he is a former disaster expert with the red cross. he oversaw aspects of the organization's efforts to provide food, shelter and supplies after the 2012 storms. justin elliot, layout your findings. >> this investigation is based on the red cross is internal documents and after action reports, e-mails from the time, and also interviews with a lot
of officials that were involved in the sandy response as well as victim in new york and new jersey. we found -- first of all, the red cross botched key elements of its mission to provide relief after the storm. i think most disturbingly, we found one of the reasons for that was the red cross's leadership has become so assessed with burnishing the brain of public relations that it has undermined the disaster relief effort and undermine some of the people on the ground ike richard who were trying to ask delivering aid. >> could you give us an example of how it is the red cross diverted resources to maintain its image or for public relations purposes for rather than providing resources to those in need? >> one example after sandy hit new york a couple of years ago,
several officials on the red cross -- red cross officials on the ground told us they were issues with the red cross emergency response vehicles, where there is a window and very used to deliver food and relief items to people in affected areas, or diverted by leadership to instead be backdrop that press conferences and in photo ops. this was done at a level that was actually hurting the relief effort. this is not just drawn from the kinds of people at the time, we also published on propublica a lessons learned presentation by the red cross where there is a slide that says "hindrances to service delivery" in the first bullet point is national headquarters. under that it says, "national headquarters diverting assets for public rations purposes." >> you talk about hurricane isaac before sandy.
when red cross ordered 80 trucks and emergency response vehicles to leave the lot empty, drive around mississippi to make it look like they were doing something. >> that's right. we talked to multiple people who observed rackley took part in that incident. i spoke with one of the emergency response vehicle drivers who was a volunteer, ,ike most red cross workers driven from north carolina to respond to isaac, which hit the gulf coast a couple months thate sandy, and told me the red cross effort was actually worse than the storm. in particular, there was this incident where he was told to take his emergency response vehicle out and drive around to make it look like they were doing something. talks yesterday, democracy now! spoke with laura howe, vice president of public relations for the american red cross. we asked her if they diverted these vehicles to be the
backdrop instead of using them to deliver services. this is how she responded. >> this is patently and true. the red cross did not host any press conferences in tiririrhe t month of sandy. we participated in a limited number of press events hosted by other people, most took place for about 15 minutes or so. the important thing to remember, they took place in places were service delivery was already happening. our trucks and people were already there and there was a response happening in those locations. we had hundreds of requests for media outlets to see our services. we have to inform the public about how to get help from us. it stands to reason we would do that. >> that is laura howe for the american red cross. we hoped she would be on with our guest today, but they refused. also joined by richard rieckenberg in the former disaster expert with the red cross who oversaw aspects of its efforts to provide food during
-- after the storms. your response to the red cross, richard rieckenberg? whatsponse specifically to laura howe said? >> yes. >> i can understand laura's position that public relations is important. the issue that i saw in isaac and sandy for the first time i worked with the red cross is that public relations became more important than mass care. i would like to paraphrase something the senior mass care chief in the country said, is it more important to feed a person or more important to tell the world that you fed a person? disaster my 26th relief and isaac and sandy are the first time that i worked with the red cross that i felt it was more important for the
red cross to tell the world they fed a person that it was to feed them. >> richard rieckenberg, what do you think change for the accounts in the focus of the work of the red cross? 26th emergency worked with the red cross. isaac and sandy were the first time you witnesses emphasis on public relations rather than the provision of services. what accounts for the shift? a couple of things. the restructuring of the red cross really hurts the ability of the red cross to do disaster relief. closing down a lot of the small local chapters around the country. when you start to do that, consolidating into bigger chapters and also consolidating , when you start to do that, you start to lose your expertise and your contact with the local community. volunteerso lose the
who have a lot of experience in disaster relief. >> amigo back to laura howe who talked directly about you, richard rieckenberg caressing at a limited review of the view of the red cross' response to hurricane sandy. >> he was one of 79 chief that served in a similar role on sandy operations. given that, hit a very limited view of the operation and that lasted just a few weeks. he reported to a much larger, broader chain of command and the people above him, the people who spoke to propublica and spoke to npr on the record on behalf of the red cross, had a much, much broader view of what was happening within the organization. >> that was laura howe of the red cross. richard rieckenberg, your response? >> my response is always the chief andplanning
i was a senior mass care person at the scene. laura's is right that i can only speak about mass care. it mass care is the bulk of what the red cross did or what they do for all -- for the beginning of all disasters. the bulk of the red cross workers there are mass care one thatand i'm the was planning the mass care efforts. >> justin elliot? >> i think it is sad that the red cross's position is trying to sort of cast doubt on richards accounts. first of all, the point he made is true. our reporting shows he was a high-level person responding to both isaac and sandy. but also, everything we reported that richard told us was andirmed by other officials in all most all cases, exactly also corroborated by red cross documents that we encourage
people to look at on her website at propublica. cross -- it is called a lessons learned presentation -- that says, hindrance to service delivery, national headquarters, diverting truckserting assets like for public relations purposes. that is in black and white red cross document that came out of headquarters. as we were doing our reporting and interviewing richard and several other officials who were on the ground, they all said that was totally true. one point in the press conference, there is actually pictures of the ceo of
the red cross gill mcgovern giving a press conference on staten island a few days after sandy. again, publish on our website. we can see in the background emergency response vehicles being used as backdrops. just like richard says. one other point, since the story
was published yesterday, i've since heard from another person who was involved in that effort who confirmed the entire -- what we knew was true. >> talking about the ceo mcgovern. she went on nbc's response was near flawless to sandy. minutesut your meeting that you got from the red cross. talks in some ways, this is one of the most shocking things we found. or threentioned, two weeks after sandy, the ceo of the red cross went on national television, nbc thomas since there were questions and it totally on the ground
as to where was the red cross. she said, our response effort so far has been "near flawless." just a few weeks later, there was a meeting of red cross executives, the vice president level, which is the highest position in the organization below ceo, and they're just
painting it totally, starkly different picture saying things like, we did not have the specification for this size job, multiple systems failed, our biggest challenge is the skillset possessed by our workforce -- which gets at something richard mentioned, which is a little bit of a backstory, there has been restructuring and layoffs in recent years and a lot of experienced disaster responders have left. the sort of public version of what happened that was given by the ceo compared to just a couple weeks later behind closed door version which is at odds with each other. >> richard rieckenberg, when he first noticed the feelings of the red cross, you raised some of your concerns with your colleagues and your superiors. could you explain what you did and what kind of response, if any, you received? about theery upset
response to hurricane isaac because i think we made some very important decisions that were fundamentally against our principles. in my mind, there were fundamentally immoral decisions. -- bob and i,i, we really weren't prepared for hurricane that we should of been prepared for in mississippi. contacted the vice president of the red cross and i sent him an e-mail and sent him my trouble said, we are very upset about what we saw there. we asked to meet with him and two other vice president's and washington, d.c., which he agreed to do. so we ended up flying to
washington, d.c. in october and presenting them with our concerns. >> this goes back -- i mean, you can go back before, but justin elliot, for example, hurricane katrina. what most shock to in your reporting? tough red cross has had a past decade and a half. there were scandals involving financial mismanagement after september 11. i believe they raised over $1 billion. after katrina, when is your sting thing about the red cross, it is created by congress so there is some congressional oversight of congress forcing overhaul after katrina. the new ceo was brought in, gail mcgovern. likeof publicly is seem rings had stabilized a little bit. in general, the thing that was most surprising is, behind the those who used
to work early work at the red cross, have lost faith in the leadership and part of that has to do as basic issues of confidence in response to disasters, but also the sort of values of the management that at this point, prioritize public relations and sort of the brand above the actual hard work -- >> they get $300 million from superstar concert, and he have occupy sandy. and whatt that happened on the ground with people who had a must nothing. , overall0 million fundraising for sandy, part of which was from the celebrity concert, but yes, there were some volunteers, groups, including occupy sandy -- which was an offshoot of the occupy wall street that spring into action after sandy.
some of those people are quoted in my piece where those groups were, for example in the rockaways, one of the most devastated areas in queens, and they did not really see the red cross until a couple of weeks after the storm. sort of operating on a shoestring budget. i think one of the reasons we thought this was so important to do is, as you say, when there is big disaster, just americans are seeing these terrible images on the television screens and they want to do something and they give money to the red cross. to be clear, i believe it is incredibly important institution and there are a lot of good people that ha worked in there and do work there like richard who are trying or are real experts who are trying to do disaster relief. -- a very unfortunate that lot of that money was squandered. >> we want to thank you and will certainly into your reports at propublica, justin elliot, one
of the lead authors for the new investigation "the red cross' secret disaster." , oversawieckenberg aspects of the red cross efforts to provide food, shelter, and isaaces after hurricanes and sandy, speaking to us from santa fe, new mexico. when we come back, money in judicial elections. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> we turn now to the 2014 midterm elections which take place tuesday, and the increasingly outsized role played by groups that don't disclose their donors. a new investigation zeroes in on this year's judicial races, which have drawn unprecedented attention from dark money donors that seek more influence, for less money, than bankrolling legislative campaigns. >> the story is headlined "is your judge for sale? thanks to karl rove and citizens united, judicial elections have been overtaken by secretive interest groups, nasty ads, and the constant hustle for campaign
cash." we're joined now by its author, andy kroll, senior reporter for mother jones magazine. welcome back to democracy now! you only have a few minutes. lay out what you found. >> what we have seen is judicial anothers have become playground for the same kind of business interests in huge spenders and anonymous donors that we are seeing and presidential races and congressional races up and down the ticket. our judicial elections used to be a more sleepy corner of american politics. obviously, the dynamic is different if we are electing the arbiters of the law, but times have changed and citizens united has really begun to change the landscape in this place. theseld you explain why judicial races -- races are so important? >> there's a lot at stake. the supreme court justices and other state-level justices decide judgments against
business interests. they have a role in social issues like marriage equality. and as large forces from corbett america, u.s. chamber of commerce, for instance, have gotten more involved and have in a to tilt the courts way that are or pro-business to avoid the multimillion dollar or billion dollar judgments that can be handed down against businesses around the country. >> talk about the role of karl rove. >> karl rove is one of the pioneers, if you will, when it comes to judicial elections in texas. nearly 1980's and 1990's, he helped flip the texas up in court from being a democratic bench to a fervently republican one. he was also sort of the mind behind the so-called reform saying plaintiffs were
sort of out of control, the hot coffee incident, which has become more of myth than reality. he helped create that model and show how business interests could flip the supreme court in texas and then exported to alabama some years later and has since become a playbook around the country. >> what most shock to you in your reporting if you can give us a few quick examples of the role and money in judicial races? >> one example, in 2004 in illinois that sticks out, the insurance company state farm is it with more than $1 billion judgment in the years that follow, the company and its allies, it's poor reform -- again, allies -- allegedly, appeared to have vetted the candidate for illinois supreme court race and funded it to the tune of millions of dollars. this candidate got him elected and then when state farm's appeal of this billion dollar judgment gets to the supreme court, the justice cast the vote
overturning that incredibly bad judgment. another finding that really stood out was, how we're seeing or potentially seeing the use of soft on crime attack ads in judicial races. is a commonhis bludgeon against candidates in races, even when the business interests are the main players. soft on crime, we, death penalty. what we're seeing them was -- what sony set of mayor has written about, perhaps this is having an effect on judges gone states around the country who are more inclined to say overturn jury ruling like in a state like alabama and approve the death penalty and less inclined to overturn the death penalty judgment. thinking about, they will be weak on crime solely apple does cover with death penalty. >> andy kroll, we have to leave it there. oslo, be speaking in norway saturday.