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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  November 18, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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11/18/14 11/18/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. prepared going to be from a law-enforcement standpoint to make sure people and properties are safe as well as the protesters, demonstrators who will have an opportunity to express their first amendment rights and protest in a peaceful way. at the same time, we want to make sure that we're going of the resources necessary in the event there is any kind of violence. >> as ferguson awaits the grand jury's decision in the michael brown shooting, the governor of missouri declares a state of emergency and prepares to send in the national guard warning of
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"the possibility of expanded unrest." we will go to ferguson for the latest. then 50 years ago today, fbi director j. edgar hoover called the rev. dr. martin luther king, "the most notorious liar in the country." >> dr. king, what is your reaction to the charges made by j edgar hoover? >> well, i was quite shocked and surprised to learn of this statement for mr. hoover questioning my integrity. frankly, i don't understand what motivated the statement. >> as martin luther king prepared to go to oslo to received the nobel peace prize 50 years ago, the fbi ramped up its efforts to discredit the civil rights leader. we will speak to the yale professor who uncovered an unredacted copy of the fbi's so-called suicide letter when -- to king.
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the letter threatened to expose king's alleged extramarital affairs if he did not commit suicide. and then, no debate and the new war. one in 89. that is number of antiwar voices indicted on the high profile sunday talk shows to talk about u.s. attacks on iraq in syria. all that and more, coming up. welcome to dem, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. missouri governor jay nixon has declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury's decision on whether to indict a white police officer who killed unarmed african-american teenager michael brown. brown was shot dead by officer darren wilson in ferguson on august 9. since then, mass protests against police brutality have erupted in missouri and across the country. on monday, nixon issued an executive order to activate the
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national guard in response to what he called "the possibility of expanded unrest yuriko -- unrest." the grand jury has been meeting in secret for nearly three months and several groups have vowed to escalate protests if they choose not to indict. a decision could come any day. we'll have more on the situation in missouri after headlines. the parents of a u.s. aid worker executed by the islamic state have spoken out for the first time since the death of peter cassock. peter. hearts are battered, but they will mend. the world is broken, but it will be healed in the end. as the onell prevail god of many names will prevail. rahmanse, pray for abdul if that is for you
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know him. pray for all people in syria and iraq and around the world. >> a monitoring group says the islamic state has killed more than 1,400 syrians in non-battlefield incidents. according to the syrian observatory for human rights, most of those killed were civilian. u.s. airstrikes against the islamic state have continued with more than 30 since friday. in jerusalem, two palestinians wielding a meat cleaver and a gun attacked worshippers at a jewish synogogue, killing four people, before the attackers were shot dead. six people were injured. it was the deadliest such incident to hit jerusalem since 2008. israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu has vowed to wage a "harsh response," while secretary of state john kerry condemned the attack as an "act of pure terror." the killings came a day after a palestinian bus driver was found hanged inside his vehicle.
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israeli authorities said the death was a suicide but the man's relatives say bruises on his body show he was murdered. a surgeon brought to the united states over the weekend after contracting ebola in sierra leone has died, marking the second ebola fatality in the united states. martin salia was a native of sierra leone and a legal permanent resident of the united states. his wife, who lives in maryland, reportedly paid $200,000 to fly him to the united states, but by the time he arrived, he had been sick for nearly two weeks. dr. dan johnson, director of critical care at nebraska medical center, said salia was admitted in very critical condition. kidney function. he was working extremely hard to breathe. he was unresponsive. within the first few hours of his arrival, we started running .ontinuous dialysis within the first 12 hours, he progressed to complete respiratory failure requiring
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intubation and mechanical ventilation. >> doctors said salia received the same treatments as other ebola patients treated in the united states, included a dose of the extremely rare experimental drug zmapp. a new report accuses police in the democratic republic of congo of summarily killing at least 51 youths and disappearing 33 others during an anti-crime campaign launched last year. human rights watch says the police operation saw uniformed police dragging unarmed suspected gang members from their homes at night and killing them. the latest round of nuclear talks between iran, the united states and five other world powers have opened in vienna, austria. the talks are aimed at reaching a deal over iran's disputed nuclear program before a deadline next monday. you can go to democracynow.org to see our broadcast from vienna talking about the nuclear talks. in the united states, senate lawmakers are set to vote today on whether to advance a measure
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to rein in the nsa's dragnet surveillance programs. the usa freedom act, sponsored by vermont democratic senator patrick leahy, would curb the bulk collection of telephone records by requiring the nsa to make specific requests to phone companies for a user's data, rather than vacuuming up all records in a given area. it would also create a panel to advocate for privacy rights before the secret foreign intelligence surveillance court. major tech companies including facebook, google, and twitter have backed the bill, saying it would let them provide more transparency about government demands for user data. privacy groups have also backed it, despite seeing it as a compromise that could still leave room for abuses. the senate is also set to vote today on a bill to approve the keystone xl oil pipeline after the house approved a similar bill last week. president obama has signaled he may veto the measure, which is backed by lousiana democratic senator mary landrieu, who is
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facing a tight runoff for re-election. on monday protesters rallied outside landrieu's home holding a sign that read, "sen. landrieu: if you're not a climate denier, don't vote like one." the pipeline would carry carbon-intensive tar sands oil from alberta canada to the u.s. gulf coast, passing through states including south dakota, where the president of the rosebud sioux tribe, cyril scott, has vowed to defend the reservation's borders against the pipeline, which he calls an "act of war against our people." in britain, a law student has been convicted on a terrorism charge following a trial that was largely conducted in secret. erol incedal was found guilty of possessing a bomb-making document last tuesday, but a judge barred the media from reporting the verdict until monday. much of the evidence against incedal was heard in secret after prosecutors cited national security concerns.
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in athens, greece, tens of thousands of people marched to oppose austerity and commemorate the 41st anniversary of the student uprising against the military dictatorship. the demonstrators, policed by some 7,000 officers, marched on the u.s. embassy to protest u.s. backing for the dictatorship, which lasted from 1967 to 1974. protester dimitris papoulias said for decades later, the legacy of the student protest continues. >> some 40 years later, the message is still alive. today, we are in prison by the euro, european union, imf, and all these unpopular measures that have degraded the middle youth.nd the use -- >> colombia has suspended talks with farc rebels and launched a massive search after the rebels kidnapped an army general. the kidnapping over the weekend marks the first time the farc has taken a general hostage.
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the general had reportedly entered the area in civilian clothes to visit an energy project. talks aimed at ending the 50-year conflict with the farc were due to resume today, but colombian president juan manuel santos suspended them and ordered the rebels to release the general and two other people who were captured with them. the environmental group greenpeace says one of its activists had her leg broken and three others were also injured after a confrontation with the spanish navy during a protest against oil exploration off the the canary islands. video footage shows spanish navy vessels ramming into the greenpeace dinghies. greenpeace spokesperson julio barea said the navy's response shows the power of oil firms like the spanish company repsol, which is exploring for oil in the area. >> it was disproportionate. we did not expect that from state forces. a repeat, shows how the
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government supports the interests of a multinational like repsol and disregards the activist groups in the canary islands, environmentalists, the government of the canaries, and the spanish society in general. >> a new report finds the number of homeless children surged 8% last year to a record high of 2.5 million. that means 1 in 30 children in the united states are homeless. the national center on family homelessness says child homelessness has reached "epidemic proportions," fueled by factors like racial inequality, domestic violence and a lack of affordable housing. in philadelphia, an undocumented mother of two u.s. citizens has taken sanctuary from her federal deportation order inside a church. angela navarro, whose children are eight and 11, is among millions of people who could potentially benefit if obama issues an executive order to end his record deportations. according to the faith-based group new sanctuary movement, she is the ninth immigrant nationwide to take sanctuary in a church after receiving a final deportation order, and the first
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on the east coast. "time magazine" has apologized for including the word "feminist" on a poll of words to ban in 2015. "time" included feminist apparently in response to a growing number of celebrities, from beyonce to taylor swift, who have embraced the term. "time"'s suggestion the term should be banned sparked massive protest, prompting their managing editor nancy gibbs to isssue an apology, saying -- "while we meant to invite debate about some ways the word was used this year, that nuance was lost." and the pioneering transgender activist leslie feinberg, author of the groundbreaking novel, "stone butch blues," has died at the age of 65. according to an obituary by her partner and spouse, minnie bruce pratt, feinberg died at home in syracuse, new york, after a decades-long battle with tick-borne infections including lyme disease. her last words were "remember me
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as a revolutionary communist." and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron mate. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin in missouri where governor jay nixon has declared a state of emergency. this comes in advance of the grand jury's decision in the michael brown case, expected any day. on monday, nixon issued an executive order to activate the national guard in response to what he called "the possibility of expanded unrest." nixon cited the protests in ferguson and the st. louis area since brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by officer darren wilson on august 9. the grand jury has been meeting for nearly three months and protests are expected to escalate if they choose not to indict. on monday, st. louis mayor francis slay said the state of emergency is necessary to prevent violence. >> we're going to be prepared
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from a law-enforcement standpoint to make sure people and properties are safe as well as the protesters, demonstrators will have an opportunity to express their first to mimic rights and protest in a peaceful -- first amendment rights and protest in a peaceful way. at the same time, we want to make sure we going have the resources necessary in the event there is sydney kind of violence or anything of that nature. >> but while state officials say they fear violence, protesters say they fear a return to the crackdown that turned their community into a war zone. the deployment of the national guard in august came amidst a militarized police response that included armored vehicles, assault rifles, and other army-grade equipment. in anticipation of new unrest, more than 1,000 officers have recently undergone some 5,000 hours in training on crowd control. the st. louis county police department has also stocked up on over $172,000 worth of riot gear including tear gas, grenades, pepper balls, and plastic handcuffs. >> but the threat of a police
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response, and the increasingly cold weather, hasn't stopped protesters from hitting the streets. on sunday, a few hundred activists blocked a major intersection in st. louis to call for officer wilson's arrest. >> for the injustices we have suffered due to the oppressive over hundreds of years, enough is enough. it into your with us here in ferguson. the point will be made until justice is served, until we can stop the number of black men laying in the streets. that is when our point will be made. >> well, as the grand jury nears a decision and all sides prepare for the unknown under a state of emergency, we are joined by two guests. here in new york, jeff smith is an assistant professor of urban policy at the new school and a former missouri state senator from st. louis. his new book comes out this week as a kindle single, titled "ferguson: in black and white." and joining us from st. louis is montega simmons, chair of the st. louis-based organization for black struggle, and a key organizer in the movement that has emerged since michael
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brown's killing. the organization for black struggle is one of around 50 groups in the don't shoot coalition, which has just proposed new "rules of engagement" for st. louis police. montega simmons, what are those rules of engagement you have proposed? with basically treating the protesters as a human. actually confront us, that they respect our actual rights for civil disobedience -- which means while we engage them in nonviolent direct action, we expect communications -- to be arrested, but when they're standing on the sidewalk and not breaking the law, unprovoked harassment,ovoked unprovoked intensification of those engagements is unwarranted. there is a list of engagement that we have proposed. so far, they have been amenable to most of them.
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we are actually pressing for a level of accountability. and more so from the police, we're looking for it from elected officials. money response you got was a state of emergency from governor jay nixon. let's go to a clip of him. matt sledge asked if he was responsible for how police respond should protests erupt after the grand jury. nixon struggled with his answer. >> you have to clear the state of emergency, but the highway patrol on the unified command. does the buck stop with the when it comes to how many protest are policed? -- it, uh,u know, it our goal is to -- is to, you know, keep the police and allow folks voices to be heard. -- in a balance, that they
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am using the resources we have to marshal to be predictable for both those pillars. more't -- you know, i am -- i just will have to say i don't spent a tremendous amount of time personalizing this. >> that is governor jay nixon. he went on to say, prefer not to be a commentator on it. your responses, to governor nixon's answer not wanted to take responsibility to the police response and his overall state of emergency that he has just imposed? >> it is disturbing, but it is consistent both for his behavior in the governor's office and for all elected officials. and this first started off he initially declared a state of emergency, he had the power then to change the way that justice could play out by pointing -- appointing a special independent prosecutor. when we were about to call them to do that at a press conference the same morning in response to
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our letter, he shut down the state of emergency. everyplace return as far as elected officials, they should be actually holding officers in the department accountable for the behavior not just to me protest, but before this in terms of profiling and harassment, everybody has remained silent. everyone wants to duck responsibility and point to someone else. disturbing, iry cannot say i'm surprised because it is consistent with what we have seen. talks last week missouri , governor jay nixon said he's prepared to redeploy the national guard after a grand jury reaches its decision in the michael brown case. nixon said guard members will be on standby should protests erupt. >> officers from the missouri state highway patrol, st. louis county police, and st. louis city police will operate as a unified command to protect the public. the national guard has been and will continue to be part of our contingency plan. the guard will be available when
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we determine it is necessary to support local law enforcement. quite simply, we must and will be fully prepared. >> that is the next on in response to the possible -- whichever way the indictment comes down. i want to bring jeff smith into this conversation. you were a missouri state senator. can you give us a little background on who governor nixon is? can. thank you for having me. about an hour away from stateless city. the county a lot of white people fled to in the 1950's, 1960's, 1970's. it is seen as the prototypical white flight county in st. louis. he was a conservative democratic state senator in the 1980's, pro-gun, strongly pro-life. when he ran for attorney general
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in 1992, he actually ran as a candidate who opposed the school desegregation programs that allowed for voluntary busing of students from st. louis city to st. louis county, black students to mostly white schools. he is a history of being a very conservative democrat, strong law and order by. 16 years as the attorney general. they used to call him the eternity general instead of the attorney general. he has always been a strong lawn order guy. that is been his posture. what we are seen over the last few months has been consistent with that. >> you are former missouri state senator. what kind of political reform do you think is needed there in the aftermath of michael brown's death? >> there are many reforms needed. the first thing needed is some new statutes that reduces the percentage of invisible revenue -- municipal revenue that can be brought in from traffic stops. right now, a lot of the minas
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apologies in north st. louis county -- municipalities in north st. louis honey are bringing in up to 50% of their annual budget just from stopping people and getting fines from that. that is ridiculous. >> ferguson show this chart that they are off the charts in the entire country on this. >> there are huge outlier in that and in the number of warrants they have outstanding. a lot of these north county municipalities such as ferguson, there are more weren't outstanding than there are residents living in these towns. ridiculous. we need to reduce the percentage of revenues that can be garnered from traffic stops. second, we have to make sure these police forces look like the people they are policing. right now, people of sunni statistics, just 6% of the police force and ferguson is black. really 70% of the population. you have a huge disconnect between the power structure and the people enforcing the laws
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from the resident to actually live there, and that is a recipe for disaster. >> i want to go to the militarization of the police. last week, i spoke to a retired three-star u.s. general who helped command the troops in iraq and afghanistan. i asked the general his thoughts about the militarization of the police, particularly front and center now with ferguson. >> as an american citizen and a soldier, it is disturbing. tradition of our country is that we want police to do police work. if dress summit he like a soldier and equip some of you like a soldier, he might begin to act with population like a soldier. most law enforcement experts will tell you that the way to work in a commity is the police officer has to be on patrol, on foot, and known in the community. people have different relations with the police but surly a man or woman on foot in a police uniform, you know who that person is. they know the people are around them. you put people in goggles and
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helmets and give them heavy weapons, they begin to treat the population as if they are the enemy because that is what soldiers do. >> that is general daniel bolger. montega simmons, i want to get your response to his critique of using police as soldiers. he has commanded many in his lifetime. he said this is a key error in ferguson. >> for a long time, we talked about policing in st. louis. we talked about it as a situation where folks felt like they are under occupation. yeah, i think his analysis is dead on. of the 5000 hours of training that they did this past week, how many of hours of that will -- were focused on community engagement, identifying a recognizing people in the community? >> this is a key, key point when you talk about these 5000 hours
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where they were training. by much effort has been made the mayor of ferguson, by the governor, by the police to reach out to community and community leaders right now in this very critical, 10th time? ime?ense t >> very little. we've been working hard as we build for the actual verdict that we are engaged and we are done several levels about feet with -- outreach with very animal response. quickermes they respond through the media than they do to us directly. it is an unfortunate truth, but this has been the way it has been even prior to august 9. it is like when there has been police brutality or someone has been executed, it has taken massive amounts of time and effort just to get legitimate response. part of what we're fighting for
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is a different kind of engagement in policing. that interweaves civilian accountability through at least all five areas from recruitment, hiring, training, to their account ability mechanism and their ability to advance, there have to be some levels of actual community engagement. >> as we await this grand jury decision, protests have continued and you have been preparing for more. can you walk us through how you organized, what these meetings look like? >> there have been a couple of different types of meetings because this weekend, we just passed 100 days. remember, this is a community that is still in mourning. this is a community that is lost a child. for many folks, they haven't had a chance to verbally express what they have experienced or what the death means to them or whether ongoing expense has been
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with police. the mass meetings give them a space to both express that, but to also engage in some form of understanding of what can happen when the verdict comes down. and where they can go for safety, what this could look like. but the other side of that is, since this has begun, we have trained hundreds of people in theiolent direct action, so conversations have been both about the tradition itself of what civil disobedience looks .ike, what it means and really disrupting saying nonviolence and civil disobedience or not resistance. that is exactly what they are. for many folks, they have been politicized by this moment and they really need waste actually channeled this rage. the idea of being able to engage in ongoing protest is something that has become very, not only
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attractive, but it is needed in this moment. this moment did not begin and it andt end with this verdict what just happened with michael brown. michael brown, and this case, was a spark some of that we know not only from our own experience here in st. louis, but nationally, michael brown and ferguson is everywhere from new ,ork to john crawford in ohio this is a national phenomenon. i think you'll see protest not just in st. louis, but dropped the country. >> the parents of michael brown spoke friday after they returned to the united states from a meeting with the united nations committee about their son's death, and community relations with police. this is father, michael brown, sr. and then we hear from brown's mother, lesley mcspadden. >> i think the world understands my pain.
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there a lot of people that went to the same situation that voices have not been heard. i speak for everyone, the police , just everyone to can't speak that doesn't have a voice. next this is not a year or two years, but hundreds of years this has been going on. i hate that it happened with my son, but it must stop with my son. >> that is michael brown's parents in geneva as they spoke before the human council against torture -- u.n. council against torture. jeff smith, human to high school with michael's mother? >> yes, and her older brother as well. >> can you talk about the community you both came out of echo >> we came out of the community called olivet, which is one of the few relatively integrated communities in san luis county. over the last
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decade or so, has been relatively integrated community. it is been unique in that it is one rare area where a lot of whites tried to stay in sort of take a stand against the white flight that i characterized most of st. louis county. unfortunately, did not work very well. the population of ferguson went 1990 twot 75% white in about 70% black in 2010, and that flight helps account for this huge disconnect in the power structure in the actual residence because the political representation just hasn't caught up with the rapid demographic changes. >> how will that change now? >> it remains to be seen. there are few reforms that could help. number one would be changing the municipal elections from the springtime to the fall and turnout is much broader. number two, you're going to have to get everybody in these communities registered. you have this demographic change
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means a lot of the older people in this community are white, the younger people are black. it doesn't matter whether you're white, black, green or purple, older people are much more likely to turn out than young people. that is another structural issue they are dealing with. >> it just came out in the past of thiss the issue no-fly zone. local authorities and ferguson have privately conceded they sought a no-fly zone to limit media coverage of the protest that iraq did after the killing of michael brown. the federal government granted the request to bar all flights around ferguson, including news helicopters, on safety grounds. at a new audio recordings obtained by the associated press a federal official says "they finally admitted it really was to keep the media out." about thelearn this no-fly zone. i want to put this question to montega simmons. but we also have other video that has come out that has selectively been released. stories about mike brown and
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then darren wilson, this video that has come out at him leaving the police station and going to the hospital. released footage. -- newly released footage shows him threatening and arresting a resident for filming him last year. the video posted to youtube shows wilson after he arrived at a home to serve a summons. the resident asks his name and wilson threatens to "lock [his] ass up." listen carefully. >> what is your name, sir? >> [indiscernible] i'm not taking pictures, i am recording this incident, sir. do i not have the right to record? >> come on. >> sir, you just asked -- >> the resident, mike arman, was then arrested. the st. louis post-dispatch meanwhile has released audio of police radio calls from the day michael brown was shot. it shows the fatal shooting took place in less than 90 seconds. the paper also released
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surveillance footage which shows wilson leaving the police station for the hospital two hours after the shooting, then returning a few hours later. montega simmons, he doesn't seem to be injured in the way the police have said. your response to all of these different revelations in this lead up to the decision by the grand jury? surprised, even as this -- ms. mcfadden said, this is part of a continuing that is .appen for generations at one point it was characterized as lynching. i don't think it is very different now. part of what happens is, one, use the authority figures begin to paint the victim with criminal behavior, with malevolence, with them becoming a threat. and the other side is, they paint whoever the officer or whoever after did the killing as
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defending themselves. we've heard report after report of not just aaron wilson, but the way police have engaged residents and people visiting the area for years. it is not a surprise. -- we havesed witnessed reporters been arrested and harassed just like protesters on the street. the harassment was directed at their ability to begin to report what actually happened in the community. if we had not actually lived in it, outside of would be shocked and amazed, but the idea that folks who live here don't want to expose the reality of life and what it means to be in a relationship between the black community and police officials is not surprising. it is not unique to ferguson. you can go a mile one direction and you get the same experience. a melon the other direction, you
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may deal with the same thing. or further out, st. louis city, pine lawn -- there are departments that are notorious for doing that and worse. we have caught them on camera. you have -- new stations have done reports on people trying to file complaints and see them being violently run out of the station for doing it. this is endemic to this area, part of the culture. it is just at this point, all eyes are here. people are watching. no one wants that to be seen. >> in august, bob mccullough responded to calls for him to step down from the michael brown case. he said the decision has to come from missouri gov. jay nixon. he made his comments during an interview on ktrs radio. >> we are going to proceed, as i laid out to people, until i am told, if i'm told by the governor that i can't and the most devastating thing that can happen is if the week from now or month from now he decides that he is taking me off this
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case. everybody is starting over. so stand up. man up. stand up and take, i have this authority, i'm not removing mccullough, i am removing mccullough, and let's get on with this. this family deserves nothing less than that. >> that is bob mccullough telling governor jay nixon to man up. jeff smith, can you talk about whom a call an comment on the nature of this grand jury? very unusual for them to be meaning for a month and hearing evidence that makes it seem like a trial. >> it is rare. llamas think they're deciding guilt or innocence as opposed to sibley deciding whether there is probable cause to indict. i agree, it is unusual. you ask you is bob macola. he is an interesting guy. he has a father who was shot and killed in the line of duty by a decades ago.eral a lot of people in the black community feel that colors his opinion and if you look at his history, i think there's some
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evidence that was suggest they are right. i believe there was a case in 2001 where undercover cops shot and killed to drug suspects. one of them, there is no evidence that he was involved in anything. i believe there were 21 shots that killed this man. said thecover cop suspected drug dealers were driving a car at them and threatening them, that the forensic evidence did not bear that out and even other police on the scene said that wasn't true and yet mccullough did not prosecute that case. that is really the root of a lot of the distrust that a lot of people in the black community have for him. ,> finally, montega simmons preparations for both sides for if there is an indictment against darren wilson as well as if there isn't, do you think there is that possibility? us at thisit -- of
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point, and you refer to the way held out,jury has don't believe there will be an indictment. i think our preparations have to be the same even if there would be. we're in a long-term struggle for systemic change and transformation. we need something very different than the type of policing we have right now. what we have seen is there's no place inside the system to turn from justice, not even from our elected officials. the only way we have been able to receive a response, let alone the opportunity for change is nonviolent direct actions. so in any case, we're going to pushingining and keep the streets and pushing until we see something different. montague simmons, thank you for being with us, speaking to us from st. louis and jeff smith here with us, but in new york, souri state senator of urban from st. louis.
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his new book comes out this week as a kindle single, titled "ferguson: in black and white." when we come back, it was 50 years ago today that the head of the fbi j edgar hoover called dr. martin luther king the leading civil rights activist in this country, a liar. today we are going to bring you professor who found something, to say the least, cremating evidence about the fbi in a standard search she did of j edgar hoover's files in his office. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> it was 50 years ago today that fbi director j. edgar hoover made headlines by calling rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. the "most notorious liar in the country." hoover made the comment at a press conference for female journalists ahead of king's trip to oslo to receive the 1964
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nobel peace prize. while j edgar hoover was trying to publicly discredit king, the agency was taking covert action. the fbi sent king an anonymous letter threatening to expose the civil rights leader's extramarital affairs. it was written in the voice of a disillusioned civil rights activist. it is believed to have been written by one of hoover's deputies. the letter concluded by saying -- "king, there is only one thing left for you to do. you know what it is you are done. there is but one way out for you. you better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation." one paragraph of the letter hints that an audiotape accompanied the letter. it reads -- "no person can overcome the facts, not even a fraud like yourself ...you will find yourself and in all your dirt, filth, evil and moronic talk exposed on the record for all time." >> the existence of the
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so-called "suicide letter" has been known for years but only last week did the public see the unredacted version. our next guest found the full letter while researching hoover's personal files. beverly gage is a professor of american history at yale university. she is working on a book about j. edgar hoover called, "g man." her recent piece the new york times magazine is headlined, "what an uncensored letter to m.l.k. reveals." she's joining us from yale university in new haven, connecticut. welcome to democracy now. and howwhat you found you found it. looks as you mentioned, i'm writing a biography of j edgar hoover and the summer, i was in washington doing some research at the national archives. at the national archives, they now have a pretty full edition or copies of hoover's official confidential files, which were sort of a secret file he kept in his own office. most of them are about major public figures.
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these have been turned over from the fbi to the national archives, so you have been sitting there now. i was going through them really as part of my research for hoover, not expecting this letter would be there. i of course do about the letter. it is one of these really famous documents from both the civil rights movement in the history of the fbi, so my job dropped -- jaw dropped. courts tell us what it said. >> it is a very threatening letter, sort of two pieces to it. what are these kinds of they threat that you mentioned. you are to take action, a fraud, take yourself out of public life. in the most of it is actually about his sex life and about these kind of over the top really racially charged, very graphic accusations about extramarital affairs, about or geez, and the implication is that all of this is on the tapes
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that accompany the letter and that whoever is sending this letter has more information were all of that comes from and their threatening to expose it. >> can you talk about the context, why the fbi, hoover especially, was targeting king and was surveillance tactics they employed in going after him? thehis letter is probably most notorious symbol of a much wider campaign against king and against the civil rights movement, the left in general and the 1960's. but for king in particular, the fbi had started wiretapping several of his associates, well before this letter -- mostly people who are suspected of having ties to the communist party in the 1950's. and so that really was the beginning of their kind of getting closer and closer to king himself. by 1963 right after the march on washington, the bureau had grown very alarmed about king's growing influence and they began to bite his hotel room while he
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was on the road -- bug his hotel room while he was on the road and wiretap his home and office. hoover held this press conference. they had been wiretapping king, had enormous amounts of information about king, about his personal life, about his political activities, and have been watching many people in a circle as well. >> i want to turn to an audio recording of president president john f. kennedy talking about dr. martin luther king. he made these comments during a meeting about the civil rights movement on may 20, 1963. >> i think we should have some of these other meetings before the king, otherwise it will look like they got me to do it. [indiscernible]
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>> it is hard to hear, so just to repeat some of the keywords, kennedy says the trouble with king's everybody thinks he is our boy. king is so hot these days, it is like marx coming to the white house. j edgar hoover is sort of the face of it and it is justifiable, but yet authorization from president kennedy -- but he had authorization from president kennedy and the attorney general who signed the wiretap order. can you talk about how the kennedys were involved in targeting king? >> there was a lot of back-and-forth between the fbi and the kennedy white house. they were certainly sharing the fruits of what they found both before and after the wiretaps. it is quite clear at this point, though he denied it at certain points in his life, that robert kennedy did authorize the wiretaps on king and on his associates. it is a little less clear if you know about the bugging of the
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hotel room. he certainly authorized the wiretaps. the fbi was quite openly sharing a lot of this information with the white house and the kennedys really were responding to it, so well before kennedy in the middle of 1963 came out sort of fully in support of some sort of civil rights act, he had been having aids and he himself had excellent cold martin luther king aside and warned him to separate himself from people in his orbit it once been associated with the communist party. the fbi thought some of them are still secret members of the party in the kennedys were very responsive to that sort of information. in the kennedys were also part of a democratic party that was very reliant on the vote of the solid south. they were very politically cautious at this point around civil rights. between these kind of secret information that is being passed
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and these political concerns, they were really very cautious about their relationship with king. >> moving on from kennedy to johnson, a journalist writes about this time in november 1964 when this letter came out that was written in his book "enemies: the history of the fbi." he writes -- expressed a professor gage? >> hoover and lyndon johnson have been good friends, were neighbors and lived on the same street in the 1940's. they were both people who loved
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to trade in secret information. you have this very odd situation in which lyndon johnson is simultaneously kind of publicly championing the civil rights act, publicly championing a lot of civil rights activism in the middle of 1964, but it is much more private conversations there making jokes about king, particularly about his extramarital affairs -- which the fbi had started finding out about in 1963, 1964. this is the kind of gossip that certainly lyndon johnson and hoover himself liked to share. you have a real disconnect both on the part of the fbi, but also on the part of the white house between what it is they are saying publicly during these years and what it is they're talking about in private. >> after j edgar hoover called dr. king "the most notorious liar in the country," a reporter asked him for his response. this is a clip.
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>> dr. king, what is your reaction to the charges made by j edgar hoover? >> well, i was quite shocked and surprised to learn of this statement in mr. hoover questioning my integrity. very frankly, i don't understand what motivated the statement. >> so that was dr. king. professor, can you talk about what king did when he received this letter? it was actually after he came back from also, right? was he alarmed by it? did they understand who it was from? >> so the press conference that you were showing king's response to was 50 years ago today, so november 18. right after that is when the fbi actually sent off the letter and the tape. however, king did not get it until about a month and half later. between at moment, there are couple of things that happen. the first is, hoover and king had sort of a public "oh, sorry
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about that, really, we're getting along now" public meeting and hoover's office. received the nobel peace prize. and when he came back, he found this letter and this tape waiting for him. he knew all must immediately when he received it that it was not just some anonymous person sending him this package, but he recognized pretty quickly, as did an inner circle of his cop at arms, that this had come from the fbi. he understood it as a threat. this amuite alarmed by a but that it actually sank them into certain amount of depression and alarm about what was going to happen next but the action he never spoke publicly about the letter, about the package. and it wasn't public knowledge until the 1970's after king had been assassinated and after hoover had also died. >> we will in with the words of dr. king when he was in oslo.
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i was just in oslo last weekend talking about this 50 year ago moment. dr. king was the youngest recipient of the nobel peace prize at this point. he comes to oslo and delivers his address. you get a sense of the horror that is going on in this country from his first words, this and up from his nobel acceptance speech december 10, 1964. >> i accept the nobel prize for when 22 a moment million negroes of the united engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. i accept this award on behalf of of the civil rights movement
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which is moving with majestiction and a scorn for risk and danger. to establish a reign of freedom and rule of justice. yesterdayul that only in birmingham, alabama, our children crying out for brotherhood were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs, and even death. >> dr. martin luther king 50 , 1964,go, december 10 delivering his is corrupted speech in oslo, norway. , thank you for being with us, is working on a book about j. edgar hoover called "g man." she wrote in the new york times magazine about finding the letter to king during her
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research, in a piece headlined, "what an uncensored letter to m.l.k. reveals." when we come back, the new war and old fuse continuing being expressed on television. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> "freedom," a song heard in the film "king: a filmed record, montgomery to memphis." this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman aaron maté. >> a new analysis of mainstream tv news has found there was almost no debate about whether the united states should go to war in iraq and syria. the group fairness and accuracy in reporting, or fair, found that of the more than 200 guests who appeared on network shows to discuss the topic just six , voiced opposition to military action. on talk shows, out of 89 guess, just one antiwar voice -- katrina vanden heuvel, editor of the nation. >> to talk more about the report, we're joined by peter hart, activism director at the media watchdog group fairness and accuracy in reporting, or fair. he's the author of the new report titled, "debating how--not whether--to launch a new war." >> these are the wars in iraq and syria. the debate sometimes looked and had theonate
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appearances of a real debate. what they were really debating was the the of war, whether we should drop bombs just on iraq war on iraq and syria, whether obama was aggressive enough. there were critics of the white house, but her critics that were pro-war, people like john mccain who were adamant whatever obama was doing was not nearly enough and the answer to this was to inflict more violence in iraq and syria. that was the spectrum of debate from henry kissinger to samantha power. but it is interesting you found overwhelmingly, pro-war opinions voiced on television and also the majority democrats. >> yes. give the democratic arty in the person of barack obama and then his affiliates inside the white house were on tv to make the case for war, but there was never a consideration to present antiwar opinions to oppose those ideas. as chris matthews said on msnbc,
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everyone is for drone strikes and airstrikes with this war. there is an acknowledgment. there's no need to have a debate about whether the country should go to war. it is a decision about what kind of war we should be waging. >> we still see on corporate television this preponderance of voices who supported the iraq war. his or any effort to engage the networks on why they keep having these guests back? >> people asked this question all the time. you had phil donahue sitting right here just a week ago saying were explaining what happened in the run-up to the war in 2002, 2003. >> when he was fired -- >> when he said dissent was basically eliminated from mainstream media. has anything changed? study is, in the absolutely not. if anything, the debate is more restricted. >> how did you do the study? >> is our guest that showed up for debate and discussions that were not invit on one-on-one interviews o the sunday shows
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and a couple of high profile cable shows with blitzer, special report on fox news -- >> your activism of -- you are activism director of fair. , and we are going to war congress is going to debate the war this week, have people who oppose the war. i know it sounds like a radical idea, but antiwar activists are more than happy to show up on television and debate this. >> if you look act of 2002 and 2003, was the view peace activists use on television who ultimately were correct that there were no weapons of mass distraction. >> absolutely. right nowt a question about wmd's, it is, is violence the answer to this political problem we have? you would think the lessons from afghanistan and iraq and libya would be, there is a need to have this debate but the big media doesn't. >> peter hart, thank you for being with us, activism director of fair.
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