tv Democracy Now PBS July 28, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> from pacifica, this is democracy now. >> we are mindful of ethiopia are mindful of ethiopia's history. it has been recently in which the constitution that was formed and elections put forward a democratically elected government. amy: months after ethiopia's ruling party won 100% of seats in parliament, president obama faces criticism for describing ethiopia as a democratically elected government. we will speak to professor horace campbell about obama's historic african trip, then we will hear from a swedish
journalist who was jailed in ethiopia on terrorism charges for over a year. >> it was supposed to be about oil and freedom. we slept on the concrete floor with 8000 inmates. we did not go home. we stayed and stayed. amy: and as over 10,000 protest in honduras, we will speak to former president manuel zelaya about the growing protests and hillary clinton's role in the 2009 coup that ousted him from power. >> on one hand, they condemn the coup, on the other hand, they were negotiating with the leaders of the coup. secretary clinton maintained that ambiguity.
amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in yemen, the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition launched a new wave of airstrikes monday, despite the 5-day humanitarian truce that went into effect sunday night. meanwhile, human rights watch has said friday's saudi-led bombings of the western port city of mokha, which killed at least 120 people, appear to be a war crime. the continued fighting comes as oxfam warns that yemen is facing quote the highest ever recorded number of people living in hunger. in news from libya, muammar gaddafi's son and 8 others have been sentenced to death for committing war crimes during the crackdown against the 2011 revolution, which ultimately toppled the gaddafi regime. the former prime minister and head of intelligence are also facing the death penalty. in news from turkey, the police have detained more than 1,000
people in the ongoing crackdown on suspected militants from the self-proclaimed islamic state, as well as members of the dissident kurdish workers party, known as the pkk. meanwhile, at an emergency meeting in brussels today, nato offered support for turkey's escalating military actions which include air strikes against isil in syria and attacks on pkk camps in northern iraq. they have called the assault on pkk camps a dangerous development that will create more terminal -- more turmoil. in germany, an explosion in dresden struck the car of a leftist politician who has been advocating for refugees. the explosion comes one day after dresden residents smashed windows in a hotel that is being converted into refugee housing. asylum applications to germany are expected to double this year as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee syria, iraq and the balkans. no one was hurt in monday's explosion. the boy scouts of america has ended its nationwide ban on gay adult leaders. the move follows the boy scouts' decision to open its ranks to gay scouts two years ago.
monday's policy shift, which takes effect immediately, still permits local church-sponsored troops to discriminate against gay leaders. a federal judge has issued a harsh condemnation of the obama mass detention for immigrant women and children. us district judge dolly gee's ruling gives the department of homeland 90 days to either release the more than 2,000 women and children held in two texas facilities, or show just cause to continue holding the migrants. immigration lawyers in texas have said the ruling has already a groundbreaking impact as judges have started ordering women and children's release without bond. in the latest news from waller county, texas, a team of outside lawyers will be assisting in the investigation of the death of sandra bland, who was found dead in a jail cell two weeks ago. texas state trooper brian encinia forcibly removed bland from her car after she objected to putting out her cigarette when he pulled her over for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. authorities say she killed herself in jail.
it is a claim her family disputes. the lawyers will have access to evidence, the ability to subpoena witnesses and the power to recommend criminal charges to waller county district attorney elton mathis. if mathis fails to take up any possible recommended charges the committee of lawyers can instead present their recommendations to a grand jury. so far, two lawyers have been appointed to the panel. both are african american. bree newsome, the african-american activist who scaled the flagpole and removed the confederate flag from the south carolina state capitol after the shooting of nine african-american churchgoers has been scheduled for a trial in november. newsome and jimmy tyson, the white activist who helped her, have been charged with defacing state property, which can carry three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. they had their first appearance in court yesterday and a trial date was set despite the fact that south carolina lawmakers have voted the flag down, and it no longer flies on the grounds of the capitol.
the u.s. state department has upgraded malaysia's human trafficking rating, despite protests from human rights groups and lawmakers who say the step was taken to ease passage of the transpacific partnership trade pact. monday's announcement came one day before a fresh round of tpp talks in hawaii. malaysia, one of 12 countries involved in the secretive trade pact, was previously given the worst trafficking rating, but a new measure bars the united states from negotiating trade deals with the worst-ranked countries. in response to a reporter's question, undersecretary of state sarah sewall denied the tpp influenced malaysia's rating. >> this has been questioned by groups and members of congress. did that come into play at all? >> no. it reflects the assessment of foreign government assessments to comply with minimum standards
to the elimination of trafficking. those standards are spelled out. those are the standards applied based on reporting gathered during the course of the year. amy the united states also : upgraded the human trafficking rating of cuba. amnesty international says mexico is facing a crisis of enforced disappearances. the statement came after the associated press reported authorities have found at least 60 mass graves with 129 bodies in the southern state of iguala since the disappearance of 43 students there 10 months ago. anti-choice hackers have reportedly released planned parenthood's website databases and employee email addresses in a targeted attack. the hack comes after anti-choice activists released edited videos that appear to show planned parenthood doctors discussing the practice of sharing fetal tissue with researchers. in an interview on abc's this
week, planned parenthood president cecile richards said the donations are never done for profit. >> doctors said planned parenthood does not profit from fetal tissue donation. what is not told is these are highly edited. the folks behind it are behind the bombing of clinics, the murder of doctors and burning of churches. amy republican presidential : candidate donald trump, who called mexican immigrants rapists, has been accused of rape in the past by his ex-wife. the daily beast reports ivana trump made the accusation in a 1989 deposition, and later softened her language, saying she felt violated during an encounter where trump reportedly held back her arms pulled out fistfuls of her hair. the assault was described in the 1993 book lost tycoon.
michael cohen, an attorney at the trump organization incorrectly told the daily beast quote you cannot rape your spouse, and then threatened the outlet, saying quote what i'm going to do to you is going to be disgusting. democratic presidential candidate hillary clinton has outlined her plan to address climate change, calling for a sevenfold increase in solar panels, and for a third of the nation's electricity to be produced by renewable sources by 2027. the announcement comes after the huffington post revealed earlier this month nearly all of the lobbyists bundling contributions for clinton have worked for the fossil fuel industry. the u.s. olympic committee has dropped boston as its proposed bid city to host the 2024 olympics following mass resistance by city residents. amid protests over the high cost to taxpayers and the mass displacement seen in other olympic host cities, the olympic committee acknowledged in a statement quote we have not been able to get a majority of the citizens of boston to support
hosting the 2024. -- the 2024 olympics. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to president obama's trip to africa where he is set to become the first u.s president to address the african union. on monday, obama made history by becoming the first sitting u.s. president to visit ethiopia. he is facing criticism after twice describing ethiopia as having a democratically elected government despite a recent parliamentary election when ethiopia's ruling party won 100% of the country's 547 parliament seats. obama made the comment monday during a news conference in addis ababa, alongside ethiopian president prime minister hailemariam desalegn. >> we are mindful of ethiopia's history.
the constitution that was formed, and the election put forward a democratically elected government. as i indicated, there is more work to do. amy: human rights groups widely criticized the recent ethiopian parliamentary elections as a sham. human rights watch said authorities use politically motivated prosecutions to silence bloggers and protesters. during the press conference, obama praised the fight against the somali-based military group, house shabbat. >> ethiopia faces threats. they have reduced areas under al-shabaab control.
they have to be stopped. we have more work to do. we have helped retake two major strongholds. amy: to talk more about the significance of obama's visit, we go now to syracuse to talk to horace campbell, professor of african american studies and political science at syracuse university. he has written extensively on african politics. his new piece for counterpunch is called obama in africa. overall, can you start off by talking about the significance of the trip? the first time a president has gone to ethiopia. it is the first time a u.s. president is addressing the african union.
>> this was a liberating trip for president obama and from the news coverage of his trip to kenya, one can see this is liberating. he called himself an african-american for the first time. he was dancing. he was compromised because of the footprints of the united states, especially in kenya and ethiopia and somalia, in this mission that the united states has been on. it has led to the militarization
of eastern africa with the epicenter of the war against the people of somalia. the people of kenya have been brought into this war. the people called for demilitarization of this region. on sunday morning this is something that the left in the country should agree on. in every aspect of the relationship we have the united states having the history of its military involvement and history of counterterrorism unleashing, forcing that which cannot be controlled.
all of the leaders, the foreign minister of sudan, the president of uganda, all have been involved in this militarization of the region. we need conscious, clear guidelines and pathways how we are government bring peace to this region. i am glad you pointed out the compromise of the u.s. government with ethiopian leadership. it is a leadership that is violated the rights of the millions of ethiopian people nearly one million ethiopian women are sold or sent as domestic slaves to saudi arabia.
if you open the government to the people, it is one of unbridled repression. amy: on monday, president obama talked about the conflict. >> we can encourage the government to end the violence and move towards a peace agreement. the situation is deteriorating. the humanitarian situation is worsening the possibilities of renewed conflict in a region that has been torn by conflict for so long.
it has resulted in so many deaths. it requires urgent attention from all of us. amy: the ethiopian prime minister also addressed the situation. >> i cannot agree more with the president. this process has taken -- the people are suffering on the ground. the meeting we are making this afternoon has a strong message that has to be passed to the parties in south sudan.
amy: professor, your response? >> we have a government that blocked the report. one of the tragedies of the south sudan situation, the way in which the organizations, and people around barack obama like dale smith. susan rice. they have been involved in this disaster from the beginning. what one needs is to step back from the height about how to go forward and look -- step back from the hype about how to go forward.
this report that was done last year was supposed to be tabled in the african union summit. the ethiopians blocked the report. it was only last week, on the 24th, before the meeting of obama that the report was presented and was not presented to the heads of state as it was supposed to be. downgrading the importance of this report, which has far-reaching recommendations about how to demilitarize south sudan and the support of the united nations, the ngo's, that they neither transition the government, that they need five years of these.
of all the persons sitting at the table with obama, the only person not compromised was the head of the african union. we need to get this information out there, debated at great length in africa. it is comprised of the best brains in africa. we need to have a clear roadmap of how to demilitarize the situation in south sudan. president obama his advisers, like gayle smith, should not be -- the demilitarization of the situation south sudan.
it is difficult to compare. the case of the chinese, the chinese are bringing concrete support for infrastructure development. the chinese have the capacity and the financial level to invest in infrastructure. what the united states has invested in is at the cultural and ideological level. the chinese can never compete in the cultural level with the advancement of the group -- the born-again religious forces
through these are the forces that are spewing hate around africa and spewing hatred for same gender loving persons. what one needs is for the progressive forces in the united states to be able to push an agenda so the united states china, and the progressive forces can work for the rights of women you use, and entrepreneurs, that this is not for the entrepreneurs. amy: thank you for being with us. we will link to your new piece. this is democracy now. when we come back, we speak to a journalist recently released from maine -- from an ethiopian jail.
ethiopia is one of the leading jailer of journalists. today, we turn to the story of two swedish journalists who traveled to report on the actions of the swedish oil company, london oil. london oil is well known in sweden. five days after crossing the border, the journalists were shot and captured by the army. they spent over a year in prison, which they chronicle in their book, "438 days." i interviewed martin schibbye last year in sweden.
i asked him to describe what happened to him. >> i was jailed for doing my job. the longer version we were supposed to investigate a swedish oil company. in the oil company swedish foreign minister had been on the board. there are reports of gross human rights violations. there were two sides to this story. exploring oil would benefit the region, oil company say it makes the situation worse. we wanted to see for ourselves what is true and what is not.
we wanted to go into this region and see how the situation was for the civilian population. amy: i do not think the conflict is very well known and can you explain what the region is? >> it is east of ethiopia. it has been debated and fought over between somalia and ethiopia. currently, the region is within the borders of ethiopia. and they feel it is misrepresented within the system. there is a guerrilla movement fighting for independence, attacking foreign oil companies. the region is closed. they do not love journalists to enter. the red cross has been kicked out. doctors without borders has been
kicked out. few reports get out on what is really happening. it was important to give people a voice. amy: explain who the oil company was and its connection to the current foreign minister. >> lundin petroleum is the company. at that time, when we went to do the story, he was not on the board. amy: why was he on the board? >> after -- many people believed
he left politics. i think you will have to ask him about that. it is a special company. it is known for being non-ethical. they were kicked out of congo by the u.n.. they were doing business with south syria. it is a very special company to be the board -- to be on the board of. they did not take us to an embassy, they did not give us medical care. we were both shot. we were kept in the desert. they brought in the vice president of the region, who made a mockumentary of what we
had done. it was supposed to be shown on television and used in court to show support of terrorism. amy: describe how you were arrested. how you came into the country and what happened next. >> we met up with a guerrilla group who were supposed to be our guides. the first days and nights are quite airy. we passed refugees freeing. weassed surrendered huts. we passed people subjected to torture. we feel the conflict level is high.
after three days, we were ambushed. we are shot. i am shot through the shoulder. we raised our hands in the sky and shouted media, media international press. we were arrested. we thought we would he kicked out. ethiopia wants to make an example and scare off other journalists from entering the region. look what we can do to these two swedish guys, imagine what we can do to you. we are led through this four or five horrible days where they fabricate.
to make us cooperate they stage a mock execution, where we are forced to walk towards the horizon and there is a firing squad behind us. i am told to stop, turn around. he says this is your last chance. admit you are cooperating with the terrorists or you will be shot. then, they fired into the bush next to me. from the sounds, i fall down. the film camera comes up and another interrogation takes place. it was a violation of the legal protocol. amy: did you say what they wanted you to say? >> no. e to support the rebels. we said we were swedish
journalists and we were there to do our job. just talking to this group was enough. it was clear, when we were brought to the station, who was in the neighboring cells, no criminals. they were young journalists activists, politicians. we ended up in something that was much bigger than two swedish journalists violating a visa. amy: the fake documentary, when they were filming you and said they would shoot you if you did not say you were working with terrorists -- did you say you were working with terrorists? >> no. amy: what did they do with this
film? >> they made a mockumentary about it and showed it in court and said the people in the film are the people that we walked with. they were not. the people we walked with ran away. they sentenced these rebels to prison. it was used as fabricated evidence in court. amy: what happened to you in person? >> the first month before we were -- they were the most difficult. you had to win the battle
against yourself every day and take a teaspoon of cement every day and try to think -- they may take my physical freedom, my shoelaces, my shoes, my belt, pen and paper, but there is one thing they cannot take from me and that is to decide who i am. i am a journalist. it is another day at the office. i tried to live in that bubble and tried to start communicating with the other prisoners and try to never give up that core thing within you. i survived and was able to communicate with other journalists and they gave me a lot of strength and explained what was going on in ethiopia.
you had syria. qaddafi had not fallen yet. a country that has 99.6% of the seats in parliament, they would look to north africa with fear. we ended up being a crackdown against free speech. >> were you able to communicate with your cameraman? >> no. amy: you had no idea what was happening to him. >> they were trying to play us against each other. we were denied proper medical care.
we had a way to communicate after a while, a certain way of knocking. it was like this. he would answer like this. i would know he was alive. i am not alone. amy: the video that was made to falsely implicate you was shown in sweden, as well? what was the response? >> in the beginning, it was a lot of confusion. they would see the information as a reliable source in the beginning. after a while, these things changed.
one of the people responsible for making the video, he felt that this was wrong. he was working for the president of the region for the vice president. he decided to become a whistleblower. he took the original film with a lot of other materials, which shows atrocities, torture. he left everything and went to kenya and managed to get in contact with a journalist at the swedish television. after our release, the whole material was shown. you could see how everything was rigged. amy: can you talk about when you learned you were going to be freed out what that was like for you?
>> we were called on the loudspeaker. the swedish ambassador was there to meet us and take us out of prison. there was one hurdle left. ethiopian state television wanted us to make an interview. an interview they did not succeed in doing in the desert. we could have said no to that go back and take our 11 years. we would not have survived that. or we could say we apologized and accepted guilt. we were released and sent back to sweden. i am free from the prison, but not from the memories, the
sounds. there is not a day i don't think of all the colleagues who are there. especially the sounds, the screams. the first screams, you remember. those are always the worst. eventually, the abused prisoner was always silent. the first screams, those you never forget. those will haunt me for the rest of my life and be a part of me. this experience makes me better. usually, you do a story and you go to a hotel and you take your beer and that is it. now, we did a story which was supposed to be about oil and it turned about -- and turned into
being about sleeping on a floor in a prison with inmates and we did not go home. and we stayed for 438 days. we were always somehow tourists in that environment. i went from being someone standing and looking at something and i was participating in something. those experiences, seeing the conditions of those prisoners and talking to them and sharing life stories with them, it makes me a better journalist. amy: since you were freed, have you spent time with the foreign minister? >> i met him briefly.
we are working for the release of others jailed in the prison. we have been encouraging h to raise that issue. amy: what were they investigating? >> just writing about their reality. it does not take an investigative report to get into jail in ethiopia. one of them is suffering from cancer in one of her breasts in the prison. at one point i was able to read a small note she sent us. she wrote her name, why she became a journalist, that she wanted to write about the
injustice that she saw. that had led to prison. she said please, if you are released before me, tell the world i am a journalist, not aid terrorists. -- not a terrorist. doing that is the only way to live with this experience. to try and put the spotlight on the prison in the colleagues that are still there, and who art -- their only crime is courage. amy: they wrote about their jailing in ethiopia in a book titled "438 days."
amy: we turn now to honduras where as many as 25,000 people marched friday night to demand the resignation of president juan orlando hernandez. thousands carried torches during the protest, which is the latest in a months-long campaign to demand an independent investigation into a $200 million government corruption scandal. the protests come six years after a coup ousted honduras's democratically-elected president manuel zelaya. at the time of the 2009 coup democratic presidential hopeful hillary clinton was serving as u.s. secretary of state. while the united states publicly supported zelaya's return to power, newly released emails show clinton was attempting to set up a back channel of communication with roberto micheletti who was installed as honduran president after the coup. in one email clinton referenced lobbyist and former president clinton adviser lanny davis. she wrote quote can he help me talk with micheletti? at the time davis was working for business council of latin america. in another email, thomas shannon, the state department's lead negotiator for the honduras talks, refers to manuel zelaya
as a failed leader. juan gonzalez and i recently interviewed manuel zelaya from a studio in tegucigalpa. i began by asking him about clinton's role in the 2009 coup. >> i interacted with secretary clinton publicly on several occasions. the decrees against cuba were repealed on that was the beginning of getting rid of the blockade. it began in honduras. secretary clinton had many contacts with this. she is capable and intelligent, but weak in the face of pressure. the most extremist sectors of right-wing government, she bowed
to those pressures. on one hand, they condemn the two. secretary clinton lends herself to that. and has resulted in a process of distrust and instability in relation to u.s. foreign-policy. amy: can you talk about what is happening today? the massive protest are unprecedented. wire people in the streets? >> we can say honduras is a country with out reconciliation and justice. the problems have worsened instead of being worked out.
a government assaulted public funds for its own campaign. the president has acknowledged it, that he used public funds earmarked for the help of the elderly, children, sacred funds. his party used them for his election campaign. his victory was seriously questioned. he has recognized this crime. david romero published the checks made out to his party. it appears this was a plot a conspiracy to pillage these funds. this has caused a big nation -- this has caused indignation in the people.
they are taking to the streets to asked the president to be accountable, to submit to an investigation and resign. this has brought about another position on the part of the people who are desperate. they are calling for an international commission against impunity under the direction of the united nations. >> do you have no hope the justice system can resolve these problems and bring charges against the president, given that he has admitted wrongdoing? >> a very good question. judicial officers have lost all credibility since the coup d'etat. they are practically the same ones who conspired to bring it
about in the first place. the justice system is manipulated by the current president. a short time ago, he moved members of the supreme court and installed people he found suitable to maintain his corruption in the country. similarly, he removed two prosecutors and in his -- and in their place, he put his friends. he has created a military police force and we regret the united states is supporting policies of repression that the u.s. is recognizing it and remains silent. he has created a police force for himself and he has changed the country's laws. people can be arrested and taken to prison without due process.
the justice system, with it is totally politicized, not impartial. it goes out after the opposition. the president today is sacrificing key parts of his administration to cover himself so he is not investigated. it is like a smoke screen. amy: you see this as a continuation of the coup that goes back six years when you are our -- when you were outed. can you explain what happened in june 2009, how you were forced
from office. >> when the right wing movements, because this is a conservative restoration of the right wing movement as of 2009, supported by the hawks in washington, who used arms and force, there was a coup attempt in ecuador. this process, the same right wing movement thought it was going to improve this tuition of our people, of our countries, to bolster trade, industry, to improve the levels of poverty. what has happened was the opposite. this has destroyed the institutional framework that we have. the debt has grown. poverty has grown. crime and violence have expanded.
the problem is that the united states does not want to hear these calls of protests. just like the people of guatemala. the people of honduras, this is not being directed by anyone. it is spontaneous. the state department is deaf and mute in response to the voice of protest. the coup d'etat was a failure. the policies of repression that the united states is ordering provoke indignation in the people in light of this reality. they demand a rectification of the international positions of states the study -- vis a vis honduras.
they bring pressure to bear on the stability of the united states. it is because of the failure of the policies here. i could say the same of the new initiative of president obama, who is talking about $1 billion of finance thing -- of financing. money alone is not enough. we need a government that respects the rule of law. we need justice. we need respect for a democracy and our country so people can have jobs, generate wealth, attract national and international investors. we need citizen security. one must be concerned with the
situation in our countries. >> you mentioned the mothers and children who have been fleeing into the united states. here, we only hear about the rise of crime and violence in honduras. what is the government there failing to do about the flight of so many people to the united states? >> measures of repression have been adopted. closing the borders militarizing the borders preventing persons from migrating. it is a human right. all of our countries emerged from migration. it must be regulated and have a legal framework. instead, you see soldiers
stopping children who are looking for their mothers in the united states or young people looking for a job because this capitalist this -- the capitalist society does not offer them opportunity. these societies are run by large , transnational corporations large transnational banks commercial concerns, oil companies. these are governments of the transnationals. here, the state is small and corrupt. it creates problems for the neighboring states at the borders. the government has increased poverty and corruption. >> you have talked about the
movement of opposition by the people in your country. you have talked about what she would like the united nations to do to step in and to investigate the corruption. what would you like the united states and the obama administration to do at this moment? >> perhaps honduras is not one of the president's priorities. events should draw the attention of the democratic party. he came into office in 2008. the coos began. the attempts to destabilize began. we recognize that president obama has acknowledged the blockade as a genocide. instead of isolating cuba, it has isolated the united states from latin america. that was a good gesture for
latin america. we do not accept him unfolding policies that affect under us. this is the tip of the iceberg. social security, the funds of the national congress have not been invest gated. the funds of the ministry of the finance has not been investigated. everything may used to stage a fraud and to defeat the favorite in opinion polls. president obama has not want to hear our peoples. he has turned a deaf ear on the cry of the people.
we protested in the opposition. a few months ago, they moved me from congress because our party mounted a peaceful protest. the military removed us using tear gas and congress. they expelled us, beating us with batons and beating us into the streets. this is the government president obama supports. a government that is repressive and finally its human rights. it has shown this to be the case. amy: to see the whole interview, go to democracynow.org. happy birthday to rob young. thank you for joining us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from (music playing) ♪ let
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