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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  December 29, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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12/29/14 12/29/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> [indiscernible] >> but the war is not over. u.s. plans to leave more than 11,000 troops in afghanistan and last month, president obama took really extended the u.s. role in afghanistan that ensures u.s. troops will continue to fight.
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they will be accompanied by jets, bombers, and drones. we will speak with kathy kelly of voices for creative nonviolence, just back from afghanistan and with journalist matt aikins. his recent piece is headlined, "afghanistan: the making of a narco state." the country produced about 90% of the world's supply of opium in 2014. then, back in new york some 20,000 police officers attended one of the largest police funerals in new york history. to honor one of two officers murdered in the last weeks. hundreds of police turned their back outside the church as mayor de blasio delivered his eulogy inside. we will speak with the police officer who says those officers with their backs turned on the present the feelings of many police. >> i guess the main question is where do we go from now? where does police and community
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decide to come together to see how we're going to move forward after this tragedy? >> we will speak with adhyl polanco. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a search is continuing in indonesian waters for a missing passenger plane carrying 162 people. airasia flight 8501 was en route to singapore when it lost contact with the ground after requesting a new flight plan due to poor weather. indonesian officials say they believe the plane crashed and is now at the bottom of the sea. the u.s.-led nato occupation has formally ended its 13-year combat mission in afghanistan. the move leaves afghan forces in charge of security, though more than 17,000 foreign troops will remain. this includes more than 10,000
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u.s. troops, who will continue to see a combat role despite the nominal change. the transition follows the deadliest year in afghanistan since 2001. according to the united nations, almost 3,200 afghan civilians have been killed. more than 5,000 members of the afghan security forces have also died the highest toll since 2001. we'll have more on afghanistan after headlines. at least 7 people were killed friday in a pair of u.s. drone strikes in pakistan. the victims were described as islamist militants in the north waziristan region. the strikes come as pakistani forces have killed dozens of fighters as part of an intensified offensive following the deadly school attack in peshawar that killed nearly 150 people, most of them children. the u.s. continues its bombing campaign targeting the islamic state in iraq and syria. the pentagon says u.s.-led forces carried out eight strikes in syria and five in iraq on sunday.
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meanwhile, a new tally says the islamic state has killed nearly 1,900 people since declaring a caliphate in parts of syria in late june. according to the syrian observatory for human rights the toll includes more than 1,100 civilians. thousands of people including a sea of uniformed officers gathered in new york city on saturday for the funeral of officer rafael ramos, one of the two killed in a targeted ambush one week before. the funeral was said to be the largest in the nypd's history. speakers included vice president joe biden and mayor bill de blasio. courts i believe this great police force, this incredibly diverse city, can and will show the nation how to bridge any divide. you have done it before, and you will do it again. >> their dream, that he would one day be a police officer and he worked
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for that dream and he lived it and he became it. he could not wait to take that test. he could not wait to put on the uniform. he believed in protecting others. and those who are called to protect others are special breed. >> as de blasio spoke, a large group of officers outside the queens church turned their backs to the screen projecting his remarks. it was the second time officers have turned their backs on de blasio since the officers' killing. the nypd union has criticized him. on new york city commissioner sunday, bill bratton criticized the officers for turning their backs on de blasio, calling their act of protest "inappropriate." a funeral service for the other slain officer, wenjian liu, will be held on sunday. we'll have more on this story later in the broadcast. los angeles police have been caught on video mocking slain
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ferguson teenager michael brown. a video obtained by the website tmz shows officers at an lapd gathering listening to a parody based on the song, "bad, bad leroy brown." it includes lyrics the "michael looked like some old swiss cheese / his brain was splattered on the floor." >> ♪ looked like old swiss cheese, his brain was splattered on the floor. dead dead, michael brown. >> the singer of the song has been identified as former federal investigator gary fishell. the lapd says it's investigating. meanwhile in ferguson, a spokesperson for the police department has been suspended without pay after calling the roadside memorial to brown a
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"pile of trash." officer timothy zoll initially claimed he was misquoted before admitting that wasn't the case. zoll was responding to a question about a motorist running over the memorial, which stands in the exact spot where michael brown was killed. local residents have since restored it. protests against police brutality and racial profiling continued this weekend across the country. on saturday, demonstrators gathered for a march in los angeles. >> we are marching today to bring awareness about the injustice happening around the nation. that being the things happening in new york, ferguson, and happening in l.a. >> the national security agency has released internal oversight reports showing violations and errors over a 12-year period. the practices include sharing americans' emails with unauthorized recipients and wrongfully gathering private information. most of the violations appear to have come from human error as oppose the american civil liberties
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union has criticized the nsa for releasing the documents on christmas eve, saying the timing suggests officials wanted to minimize their impact. protests were held across mexico this weekend to mark three months since the disappearance of 43 students in the state of guerrero. authorities say the students were seized by local police and handed over to a local drug gang, who reportedly executed them and burnt the remains. among thousands marching in mexico city this weekend was adán cortés, an activist who interrupted the nobel peace prize ceremony in oslo this month to call attention to the students' case. cortés told democracy now! said the disappearances have taken a toll on the students' families. >> i feel careless. i would love to hand the children over to them if they're kidnapped, turn them over a life. and if they are dead, at least handover their bodies so they can pray over them.
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i feel a sense of impotence and i also feel empathy for their anger. just imagine what they must feel to not have any news about their children for three months. we're not talking one week or one month, it is three months and they know nothing about their children. anger in solidarity is all that i can feel in this moment. >> today marks one year that three al jazeera journalists have been imprisoned in egypt. peter greste, mohamed fahmy and baher mohamed were convicted on terrorism charges including spreading false news in support of the muslim brotherhood, deemed by the government a terrorist group. speaking in australia, greste's brother, andrew greste said the international campaign for the three journalists continues. >> we have never given up fighting for justice because we, obviously, believe as do the majority of the world, believe he is done nothing wrong. he is remarkably tough guy. again, it has been along 12 months.
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the conditions have not been all that easy to endure. you know, he is as good as he can be, i guess, given his been there for 12 months and locked up on some pretty flimsy evidence. >> an egyptian court will hear the group's appeal on thursday. in another case involving a government crackdown, an egyptian appeals court has upheld the convictions of 23 pro-democracy activists for rallying against the government's anti-protest law. the group took part in a june demonstration calling for the release of political prisoners and the annulment of a law that only allows government-approved demonstrations. on sunday, the activists' convictions were upheld but their sentences were reduced from three to two years. the 23 protesters include yara sallam and sanaa seif, deemed by amnesty international to be prisoners of conscience. the sentencing comes just days after the u.s. delivered ten
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apache helicopters to the egyptian government as part of the military aid that resumed this year. cuba has rejected calls to extradite exiled black panther assata shakur back to the united states followi the historic resumption of diplomatic ties. shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in 1973 after being pulled over on the new jersey turnpike. the encounter left both the officer and a fellow black panther dead. assata shakur has said she was shot by lice with both arms in the air, and then again from the back. she was sentenced to life in prison but managed to escape and flee to cuba, where she has lived since 1984. new jersey chris christie has called on president obama to demand shakur's extradition. but in a statement, cuba's foreign ministry said the two countries don't have an extradition treaty and political asylum is not up for negotiation, saying -- "every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted."
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an oregon woman wrongly jailed in east timor has been released after over two months behind bars. stacey addison, a veterinarian was arrested in september after sharing a taxi with a stranger who turned out to be carrying illegal drugs. addison was freed on christmas day after an international campaign for her release. she is now awaiting the return of her passport so she can return home. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the american-led coalition in afghanistan officially concluded its combat mission on sunday, 13 years after it started in 2001 ending the longest war in u.s. history. the commander of the international security assistance force, or isaf, general john campbell announced the end of formal combat operations. >> today marks the end of a narrow in the beginning of a new
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one -- end of an era in the beginning of a new one. [indiscernible] >> but the war is not over. the obama administration said earlier this month it would leave a residual u.s. force of about 11,000 troops in afghanistan for at least the first few months of 2015 to assist afghan security forces under the mission known as resolute support. last month, president obama also secretly extended the u.s. role in afghanistan. according to "the new york times," he signed a classified order that ensures american troops will have a direct role in fighting. the order reportedly enables american jets, bombers and drones to bolster afghan troops on combat missions. under certain circumstances, it would apparently authorize u.s. airstrikes to support afghan military operations throughout
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the country. afghanistan's new president, ashraf ghani, who took office in september, has also backed an expanded u.s. military role. this comes as 2014 marked the deadliest in afghanistan since 2001. according to the united nations, nearly 3,200 afghan civilians were killed in the intensifying war with the taliban -- a 20% rise from 2013. the national army and police have also suffered record losses this year, with more than 4,600 killed. for more, we're joined now by two guests. kathy kelly is co-coordinator of voices for creative nonviolence, a campaign to end u.s. military and economic warfare. she returned from kabul last month and is soon heading to prison over drone protest in missouri. she recently wrote an article headlined, "obama extends war in afghanistan: the implications for u.s. democracy aren't reassuring." and matt aikins is a journalist based in kabul and joins us now from halifax, nova scotia in canada.
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aikins is currently a schell fellow at the nation institute. his recent report for rolling stone magazine is titled "afghanistan: the making of a narco state." welcome both to democracy now! kathy kelly, you were just in afghanistan. what is the significance of saying the formal war is over but in fact, the formal work continues with u.s. troops fighting? >> i think the united states doesn't want to knowledge that what went on over the last 13 years at a cost of one tree and dollars is not only been -- one tree in dollars has not only been a defeat, but also the extent of expending $80 billion under the obama administration that feels corruption and did not improve the lives of people in afghanistan in any measurable way like never ever to be held up as some kind of a success story. i think the united states wants to walk away from
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responsibilities within afghanistan, is certain he doesn't talk about paying reparations. >>a, talk about officially what this means. you have lived in afghanistan for a long time covering it. how is this seen in afghanistan? >> well, it really isn't going to change today. the war continues. you 11,000 u.s. troops with new combat authorities, rising levels of violence, the highest ever casualties both for afghan security forces and civilians. so in no sense but the semantic can this war be said to be over. if we have the formal and of a war, that means beginning of an informal war, which is troubling. >> on thursday, president obama addressed troops gathered for a christmas dinner at a marine corps base in hawaii. he spoke about the end of the u.s. combat mission in afghanistan. >> we of been in continuous war
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now promised 13 years over 13 years. and next week, we will be ending our combat mission in afghanistan. obviously -- because extort new service the men and women and the armed forces, afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country. we are safer. it is not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again. we still have some very difficult missions around the world, including in iraq. we still have folks in afghanistan helping afghan security forces. >> the outgoing defense secretary chuck hagel announced the united states keeping an additional 1000 troops in afghanistan on top of the nearly 10,000 already committed to remain beyond this year. he announced the move during a visit to afghanistan.
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>> president obama has provided u.s. military commanders the flexibility to manage any temporary for shortfalls that we might experience for a few months as we allow for coalition troops to arrive in theater. this will mean a delayed withdrawal of up to 1000 u.s. troops. so that up to 10,000 -- 10,800 troops, rather than 9800, could remain in afghanistan through the end of this year and for the first few months next year. >> hagel said the change is temporary and will not change the long-term timeline for withdrawing troops. the announcement came midst a surge in taliban attacks over the past several months. the new president of afghanistan , kathy kelly, has lifted former president karzai's ban on night raids. the significance of this? >> using the night raids, which
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is their means of surprising the taliban by bursting in a homes at 3:30 in the morning, by wresting people, possibly disappearing them over a period of months or longer, is a despised tactic. they say it is a way to recruit more to tolerate or support the taliban. the decision on the part of ghani shows the continuation of the u.s. military presence in afghanistan. i think he is try to make some changes, for instance, going after corrupt figures within kabul, but why is he so reluctant to disobey any orders from the united states or disability -- disobey the orders of the united states? even britain now is saying they've seen themselves as being an insubordinate roll to the
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united states and now look back with a great till of remorse on the disgrace of the war brought on by -- brought on by the war in britain. >> at this sort of point, 13 years in, what has been the effect on afghanistan? >> the last point about president ghani's corporation with u.s. military, one of the results has been an extremely dependent state, perhaps the most a dependent large state in history. the afghan government can't possibly pay for its budget expenditures, can't pay for the overlarge army and police force that we of created for it. it is billions of dollars in excess of its revenues. there really is no choice. i think president ghani recognizes, but to cooperate with u.s. military because the government would collapse swiftly international support were withdrawn. on a number of other indicators you have mixed results.
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in the cities and places like kabul, significant of elements from education is been a success story. if you travel outside the capital, [indiscernible] because of the rising security you will find there are things like food insecurity, growing opium production -- which we will talk about in a minute, i guess. and just increased level of violence and insecurity that pays a very stark divide between urban and rule parts of the country. >> what about women's rights? >> women's rights have made a lot of gains in urban areas like kabul, specially symbolic ones. at the fact is, inrural areas there hasn't been a lot of change. in any case, change is not going to come at the barrel of a gun so the question now is whether the gains that have been made in urban areas will be rolled back.
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not just for women's rights, but things like free speech, the rule of law, corruption, human rights abuses of the afghan security forces. whether these are going to be areas where we will see a retreat in progress, especially as the mission and becomes one per merely focused on counterterrorism and military goals. there needs to be pressure not just from the administration, but all in afghanistan to make sure this hard-fought gains or games that were hard fought not just by internationals, but mostly by the afghan people themselves, are not lost. >> the significance of the pakistani military and the role it plays now in afghanistan after the army public school massacre by the taliban earlier this month in peshawar, pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif pledged solidarity with his afghan neighbor in fighting terrorism. the attack killed 152 people including 133 children.
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>> pakistan will not tolerate these militant elements on its territory. if our territory is used for any activity against afghanistan, we will deal with the strongly and take action against those elements. in the same way, if anything like this happens on the afghan side, it will also deal with it in a strong manner. >> matt aikins, if you can talk about what is going to happen with the pakistani military's relationship in afghanistan with the military and the taliban. >> well, you have to remember we're seen this kind of rhetoric from the government before after similar shocking incidences. there was an attack in 2011 against the pakistani naval base in karachi by the taliban attack of the general headquarters in 2009, the whole incident of the siege in 2007 the assassination of bhutto.
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after each one of these watershed moments, yes in the same can of rhetoric, there is going to be no more distinction between good and bad tell a ban, going to go after the sanctuaries in the tribal areas are not going to support militants in afghanistan. but the fact is, the relationship -- complex relationship between very smelting groups are tied to much deeper strategic and structural interests of the military and of pakistanis central government. it remains to see if this represents a fundamental shift. certainly, one incident isn't going to solve it. there been plenty massacres of children in pakistan, of innocents. this is not going to change their calculations all of the sudden. >> kathy kelly, in addition to u.s. troops staying, 11,000 troops staying in participating not only in operation resolute support, but fighting themselves directly, they will be supported
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by bombers drones. you have participated in the drone strike and you're headed home to chicago, then to prison. talk about this drone strike and why you chose to get arrested. >> i think it is a good time to be very uncompromising with regard to the united states and war. these wars are murderers. their killing civilians and has been happening in the united states since world war ii. now 90% of the people killed in wars are civilians. this is true certainly with the drone strikes. for every one person who selected as a target for assassination am a 28 civilians are killed. even just three nights ago there was another targeted assassination in which they hit two homes and six people were wounded, four people were killed, all of them civilians. i crossed a line at an air force base.
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a squadron operates weaponize drones over afghanistan. a good symbol for people in afghanistan is breaking bread. they carried a loaf of bread and a letter to speaker the commandant. books where is wightman? >> in missouri. >> what is its relationship with afghanistan? >> the weaponize drones are flown, once their airborne there operated entirely by people in the united states air national guard bases and air bases, so wightman air force base won't disclose neither will the cia disclose information about the results of these killings, but this is what people in the united states stated no. we have a first amendment right to seek redress of grievance. having been in afghanistan living with young people who are too frightened to go back to visit their own relatives, who see for themselves a feature that could be prolonged
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exacerbated war, there is a grievance and they wanted to bring that to the commandant at that particular base. >> i said you participated in a strike, i meant to say participated in a drone protest. >> i think i stepped one or two steps over a line -- >> holding a loaf of bread and an indictment? >> and so the military prosecutor said, ms. kelly is in great need of rehabilitation. this is an important time to connect these oppressive issues. we're spending $1 trillion on warfare in afghanistan and looking at another $120 billion that will be spent. $57 billion for this year alone. resources are being squandered. undermining solving extremely serious problems. >> how long will you be going to prison for?
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>> three months? >> where? >> i don't know yet. >> comedy times have you gone to prison for protesting war? >> this will be my fourth time in a federal prison. i've been jailed in various county jails and other kinds of lockups more times than i can count. >> kathy kelly him a thank you very much for being with us, co-coordinator of voices for creative nonviolence, a campaign to end u.s. military and economic warfare. she just returned from kabul afghanistan. we will link your recent piece "obama extends war in , afghanistan: the implications for u.s. democracy aren't reassuring." matt aikins, please stay with us, we want to talk about your latest piece "afghanistan: the , making of a narco state." stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> "military madness." this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as the us-led coalition in afghanistan officially concluded its combat mission sunday, 13 years after it started in 2001, ending the longest war in u.s. history, we continue speaking with matt aikins, a journalist usually based in kabul, but speaking to us from halifax nova scotia in canada. his recent article for rolling stone magazine is headlined,
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"afghanistan: the making of a narco state." why don't you lay out for us what has happened in afghanistan around the growing of heroin. >> today, afghanistan produces twice as much opium as it did in 2000. this spring, i traveled to helmand province in southern afghanistan to witness what would be the largest harvest of opium in afghanistan's history. it is a record year. and all over the south east, west, and north of the country hundreds of thousands of people were taking part in this labor-intensive opium harvest. what is happening in afghanistan over the last 13 years has been the flourishing of a narco state there really is without any parallel in history. it accounts for 15% of the gdp which is more than double what cocaine accounted for at the height of escobar-era colombia.
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this is something that is extraordinary, that is catastrophic, that has grave danger for the future and yet there's been virtually no discussion of her recent years. >> who is growing it? who is profiting? >> everyone. it touches all levels of afghan society. both sides of the conflict, the television and the government. the television is definitely involved. they profit by taxing the trade by taxing growers in their area. at the government is even more involved. government link officials are believed to earn even higher piece of revenue from the opium trade. >> talk more about the involvement of the afghanistan government. again, quite an amazing fact that afghanistan provides 90% of the opium in the world. >> what is important to remember is the history.
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after 2001, the u.s. in its quest for vengeance against the taliban and al qaeda, partnered with the very warlords whose criminality and human rights abuses had created conditions that led to the rise of the taliban in the first place. in many cases, these are the same individuals who were responsible for bringing large-scale opium cultivation to afghanistan during the war against the soviets when they were backed by the cia and pakistan's military. they became involved in heroin trafficking in opium production. so for example in helmand, the most or the largest opium producer and province in afghanistan, they brought back a member of a family who is appointed by karzai. this is the same guy responsible for bringing opium production to afghanistan. the reason opium has flourished in afghanistan is because we have brought in, supported
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tolerated figures who were involved in very grave criminality and human rights abuses and torture. we have done this because it has been deemed military expedient. the generals and diplomats have decided to pursue these narrow goals of defeating the taliban and, we needed to support these criminals. >> talk about going from poppy-free to what it is today. >> you probably remember marja is the site of one of the largest battles of the war where the marines air assaulted into the stretch of irrigated canal land actually ironic twist of history, been built by usaid funded projects in the 1950's and 1960's as part of the cold war rival with the soviet. they built the stone west of helmand that brought -- zone
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west of helmand that brought irrigation to the desert. that turned into poppy cultivation. a bash and of the taliban, by the mid to thousands. the marines air assaulted in. there was a very televised battle. they threw the taliban out. for a few years, the area was poppy-free. since then, as the marines have left in the afghan government has become very distracted by the elections farmers had taken to poppy cultivation again. it was a general trend that was small gains had been made were being reversed. they had largely been driven by short-term incentives. i went to marja and hung out with these farmers and saw the opium harvest and it was really remarkable because i was sitting in living rooms with this kind of brings out of basketball sized lump of opium. i asked him how much was thinking he would sell this for. he said, he hoped to sell it for
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$600. i said, to you know how much this would be worth on the streets of europe? he said he didn't. i did a quick calculation and it worked out to over $100,000 if it was converted into heroin and sold by the grammar. $100,000 sitting on the floor of this guy about plumbing or electricity gives you a sense of how afghanistan is just one end of this vast local economy that is the international drug trade. >> you also write about the history of u.s. involvement and cia involvement. with drug traffickers in afghanistan. can you talk about that? >> the cia dirty wars fought in afghanistan and involve patronizing mujahedin commanders who in many cases, were directly involved in the narcotics trade. like one man responsible for the flourishing heroin laboratory
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seen in pakistani tribal areas in the 1980's. another, who minority mentioned a major drug baron in southwestern afghanistan. these men supplied -- received u.s. supplying of weaponry and funding. >> the one has estimated the taliban makes hundreds of millions of dollars from taxing opium and other illicit activities. but in the summer of 2000, the country's fundamentalist leaders actually announced a total ban on opium cultivation. what changed? >> the taliban's decision to ban poppy cultivation in 2000, which was remarkably successful, the only poppy really cultivated was in a corner of the country still controlled by the northern alliance. later became our ally. so tre i sti a lot of
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debate about whyhe taliban made that decision. probably, it was just a rash one based on ideological beliefs. they were against opium as an intoxicant being permitted in islam. whether they were seeking to brk their inrnatnal isolation d get despately development needed aid. any new in any indication, not just being involved in drug trafficking but all sorts of illicit activity like contraband, timber smuggling. e taliban were definitely involved in the drug trade and that is another reason why it is so cancers for the region. it funds all sorts of militant groups. it should not be forgotten. it was as much of the doordtepstep of the afghan. >>? >> the u.s. had been supporting specialized counter narcotics unit within the ministry of the interior and hopes this would provide the seed for afghan
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efforts to go after drug trafficking because the resort of a decision made at the interagency level not to directly prosecute corrupt afghan officials because that would he to harmful to our war effort. in 2012, major drug kingpin have been designated as a foreigner kartik's kingpin by president -- narcotic schema by president obama, have been living openly for years. he was actually arrested by this afghan commando unit with international advisors, according to court documents allegedly, managed to escape when the raid was happening and went nearby to kandahar' as governor. a wiretap told just to sit tight and you a call president karzai and see what was happening. based on a phone call, they tracked him to a second occasion
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location. he was successfully prosecuted convicted, and went to the appeals court and given 20 years in prison and then chain of events occurred that for man people highlighted just how deeply the narcotics indusy breach at the highest levels of the executive and judicial branches. at the supreme court, his sentence was reduced 15 years in prison. he was then transferred aft an order from the presidential palace back to kandahar toerve time there. there, a local court with the criminal code that was outdated that allowed for release for good behavior after nine months for sentences that were 15 years or less, ordered him to be released in the fled across the border -- and he fled across the border to pakistan. it surely seemed to many observers like an orchestrated conspiracy to free powerful drug traffic or who allegedly was making payments but to the afghan government and the taliban in order to facilitate his heroin business. >> do you see the opium economy
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changing with the u.s.' is changing role, though it's early has not pulled out entirely? >> it seems like it is increasing year after year. at this point, given how catastrophically and sevcon, of course, opium was a deeply entrenched problem in the year 2001, but for it to have gotten twice as bad would require some remarkable failures in policy over the last 13 years. given we have gone to that point, any reductions of topical division would be incremental -- poppy cultivation would be incremental. it should be remembered, one, afghan farmers only touch 1% of the value of the global opium trade. this is a world problem. it has to do with the fact the world desires, people desire millions of people desire to consume illegal drugs. we have made that illegal and waged a war against it so there were always be narco states. and, two their huge segments of the afghan population that is dependent on poppy. these are impoverished farmers
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in many cases. if we pursue some brutal campaign against them, it will devastate the rural population. >> matt aikins is a journalist based in kabul and joins us now from halifax, nova scotia in canada. his recent article for rolling stone magazine is headlined, "afghanistan: the making of a narco state." when we come back, we will be joined by new york police officer who said the hundreds who turned their back on mayor de blasio as he gave his eulogy at the funeral of a slain police officer, don't represent most police officers here in new york. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to new developments since two new york city police officers were gunned down in the line of duty, at the same time the nation has begun a dialogue over the police killing and targeting of unarmed african-americans. on saturday, some 20,000 police officers from around the country attended the funeral for officer rafael ramos, who was ambushed in his patrol car, along with officer wenjian liu, just over a week ago. their killer, ismaaiyl brinsley, had a history of mental health issues and multiple arrests. officer ramos's funeral may be
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the largest in the history of the new york city police department. a series of officials addressed the grieving city at a church in queens, beginning with vice president joe biden. >> this is a city of courage and character, having faced and overcome the toughest challenges and, i'm absolutely confident as you are, that spirit is still alive and well in the city. and i'm absolutely confident it will guide you in the days and weeks ahead. i believe this great police force, and is incredibly diverse city, can and will show the nation how to bridge any divide. >> rafael ramos and wenjian liu are the first new york city police officers to die in the line of duty since 2011. amongst saturday's most anticipated speakers was new york mayor bill de blasio. while dozens of the church applauded him, video shows hundreds of officers outside turning their backs to a video monitor as de blasio spoke, in protest of his earlier response to the movement against police brutality and a new york city officer's chokehold killing of eric garner.
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it was a second time officers have turned their backs on de blasio since the two officers were killed. before the killings, the head of new york city's largest police union: officers to request that the mayor not attend their funerals if they were to die in the line of duty. this is the next of mayor de blasio's remarks at the funeral of officer rafael ramos. >> the threats against new york's police are in insult to the law-abiding new yorkers and they will not be tolerated. they will be investigated and they will be prosecuted. >> that was actually governor andrew cuomo. this is mayor de blasio. >> he was so committed to the nypd. it meant so much to him to be a member of the finest police force in this country. he always wanted to join the nypd. it was in his first career. he started out as a school safety officer, protecting our kids. he was much loved in that role. that dream that he would one day be a police officer, and he
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worked for that dream and lived it and became it. he could not wait to take that test. you cannot wait to put on that uniform. he believed in protecting others. and those who are called to protect others are special breed. those who stared down danger, those who sacrifice for all of us. >> all of this comes as new york city's police commissioner bill bratton said sunday that it was wrong for police officers to turn their backs as mayor de blasio spoke at the funeral of officer ramos. bratton called for "ess rhetoric and a lot more dialogue to defuse the tension between police and the people they are meant to serve and protect. a funeral service for the other slain officer, wenjian liu, will be sunday. today we hear directly from a new york city police officer member of the largest police department in the country. adhyl polanco joined the nypd in 2005. when i interviewed him last year, he described how in 2009 he became critical of the nypd's stop and frisk policy when his superiors told officers to meet a quota of stops, or face
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punishment. he made audio recordings of the quotas being described during meetings in his precinct, and brought his concerns to authorities, but he said he was ignored. he then took his audio tapes to the media, including the village voice, where reporter graham rayman wrote a series called "the nypd tapes." for several years, officer polanco was suspended with pay but he has since returned to work on the police force. you went to the wake of officer ramos. can you talk about the reaction of the police to the mayor? >> good morning. first of all, i have to say on not here on behalf of the police department but here on my own as a citizen, a concerned citizen of new york. i'm not speaking on behalf of -- >> first, your reaction to the killing of these two officers? >> it is an act of barbaric coward. this is not something that anybody can say we're happy for this. we have lost a brother. we have lost a citizen. i went to the wake. to see the family the way they were speaking, the church, and the people who are supposed to
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be angry -- his family, his wife, the people that are affected the most, they are calling for unity and peace. how come we cannot honor what they're calling for? >> your reaction to your fellow officers turning their back on mayor de blasio, not in the church, but outside? >> absolutely wrong. mayor de blasio came to the police department and they had a lot of issues before he got there. he came with the attitude that, i can fix this police department. it is police department has a culture that is going to make whoever tries to change that culture's life and, including the mayor. it is wrong to turn their back on the mayor. this is not what we're made of. this is -- this does not represent the police department. this does not represent how when a family calls for peace and unity, you're going to have 100 officers doing the absolute opposite. >> two other officers feel this way? >> there are many that feel this
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way. >> last week, the president of the largest police union, your unit the patrolmen's benevolent association, said the mayor's office should be held accountable for the deaths of officers ramos and liu. this is patrick lynch. >> there is blood on many hands tonight. those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests that tried to tear down what new york city police officers did every day. we tried to warn it must not go on. they cannot be tolerated. that is blood on the hands that starts on the steps of city hall in the office of the mayor. >> on friday morning the day , after christmas, many new yorkers saw a plane flying a banner above the hudson river that read -- "de blasio, our backs have turned to you." former nypd officer john cardillo wrote on his blog that the officers behind the act felt
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that -- "mayor de blasio's dangerous and irresponsible comments about his and his wife's concern for their son's safety at the hands of the nypd fueled the flames that led to civil unrest, and potentially to the deaths of wenjian liu and rafael ramos as well as the , continued threats against nypd personnel." well, let's turn to mayor bill de blasio's remarks, which were made earlier this month amidst protests over lack of police accountability in the eric garner case. he said and his wife, chirlane who is african-american, fear for the safety of their teenage son, dante. >> we have had to talk to dante for years about the dangers he may face. good young man law-abiding young man who never think to do anything wrong, and yet because the history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face, we've had to literally trained him as families have all over the city for decades, and
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how to take special care in any encounter he is with a police officer -- with police officers who are there to protect him. and that painful sense of contradiction that our young people see first, that our police are here to protect us and we honor that and it the same time, there is a history we have to overcome because for so many of our young people, there is a fear and for so many of our families there is a fear. >> that is mayor de blasio speaking amidst the protests around eric garner. >> how can a parent who has a black child, how can a pair who has seen millions of kids be stopped by stop and frisk, how can the parents of black kids get killed by police over and over, how can parents that see kids do so much illegally being arrested in their own building for trespassing and the
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treatment they get from the police department -- not from all officers because not all officers are the same. how can you not responsively have the conversation with your son? >> you brought your son today. have you had that conversation? >> absolutely. and i am a police officer. i've been thrown against the wall off-duty. the mentality that patrick lynch a mini officers don't want to hear about, they don't have to speak to their kids. they don't -- if my kid and patrick lynch's son walked the streets right now, chances are the conversation i have to have with my son, he doesn't. >> thrown against the wall by who? >> fellow officers. stop and frisk. walking to my another's neighborhood. >> worry out of uniform? >> i was out of uniform. 50%, 60% of the population of the police department is hispanic, diverse society.
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but we are out there. when we take the uniform off i'm them. i'm back to the civilian. unfortunately, not by this a administration because we cannot citizen administration is doing it, but by the 12 years of dictatorship that we had under bloomberg kelly to arrest people -- >> to you feel the policy is changing under mayor de blasio and police chief bratton? >> absolutely. i welcome commissioner bratton. de blasio made a mistake. i think the way he responded to the incident that happened over the bridge, it was not accurate. i don't think it was appropriate. when the two lieutenants got assaulted. he said -- >> during a police protest. >> i think that was a mistake. and he is human. but i think that was provoked. this union has been fighting
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this mayor since before he became mayor. and this mayor made his whole campaign around fixing the police department. bringing changes to the police department. and people heard him. i think was the one who has separated him from the other candidates. his approach of how he needed to change the police department. voters came out. >> what you feel about the police protests taking place? i mean, the protests against police violence? >> people are not protesting against police. they're not protesting ramos and people who go out there and do their job every day. they're not saying these officers should not be in the streets. people are protesting about policies that a been in this country for many, many years. >> do think the protests dishonor the slain officers? >> not at all. the protests were there before the officers. the issues we have to resolve, we cannot deny they've been there before the officers were there. i think they should have held the protest until after the wake
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of my may be shown a little more respect, but there is an issue and that cannot be ignored. you cannot tell people they don't have the right to protest. i want to ask everybody, and i see mayor giuliani and many others stepping up now. i don't know for what reason. they want to say everything was mishandled, that every thing was -- that the mayor did a terrible mistake. take a picture of ferguson missouri when the decision of michael brown came over. take a picture of the gas station on fire. take a picture of the police cars on fire. then take a picture of new york when the air garner decision came out. which one would you rather have? which one would you rather have? you have to give this mayor some credit, if not all, for the way they handled it. >> i want to thank you for being with us. that ends our show.
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emerald garner, the daughter of eric turner, laid a wreath at the officer's memorial. adhyl polanco is a 10 year veteran of the new york police department. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who
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- ♪ i think i'm home, i think i'm home ♪ ♪ how nice to look at you again ♪ ♪ along the road, along that road ♪ ♪ anytime you want me ♪ ♪ you can find me living right between your eyes, yeah ♪ ♪ oh, i think i'm home ♪ ♪ oh, i think i'm home. ♪ - today on cook's country julia shows chris how to make the ultimate new orleans bourbon bread pudding. then jack challenges chris to a tasting of grits. next, adam reveals his top picks for sugar shakers.
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