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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  December 29, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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12/29/16 12/29/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! mr. trump: all of this with the global warming -- a lot of it is a hoax. it is a moneymaking industry. amy: with just three weeks before climate change denier becomes president of the united states, scientists are scribbling to preserve decades of government studies on global warming. we will speak with a member of project at the university of pennsylvania and the founder of the internet archive's, brewster kahle. the archive just announced plans to near its site in canada to protect itself from the new administration.
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then to donald trump and the bomb. will the president-elect start a new nuclear arms race? we will speak with arms control expert joe cirincione, author of "nuclear nightmares." plus, we look at what was once called the crime of the century. >> someone had passed america's atomic bomb secrets. the federal government had laid the crime at the doorstep of two new yorkers. amy: more than 60 years after the execution, the rosenberg case is still stirring controversy and debate. ethel's sons are asking president obama to exonerate their mother as a new report shows ethel was executed because she refused to cooperate with the government doubt convict her husband. -- to help convict her husband. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman. in breaking news, russian president vladimir putin said today syria's government has agreed to a cease-fire with rebels said to begin at midnight tonight. putin said russia and turkey would guarantee terms of the truce and that the deal excludes fighters with isis, the so proclaimed islamic state. it was not immediately clear which of the dozens of rebel groups fighting the regime of syrian president bashar al-assad would take part in any truths. claims of a truce came as the syrian observatory for human rights said 40 people, including children, were killed in air strikes. amateur video purports to show the aftermath of the attacks with children and adults seen fleeing through smoke-filled streets. in washington, d.c., secretary of state john kerry blasted israel's government, saying in a
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address the relentless expansion of jewish settlements in the occupied west bank has all-but-ended the prospect of a two-state solution with the palestinians. >> despite our best efforts over the years, the two state solution is now in serious jeopardy. the truth is that trends on the ground, violence, terrorism, incitement, settlement expansion, and the seemingly endless occupation, their combining to destroy hopes for peace on both sides and increasingly cementing in a reversible one state reality that most people do not actually want. amy: secretary kerry's speech followed intense israeli criticism of the u.s. for refusing to veto a u.n. security council resolution earlier this week. the measure condemns israel's expansion of settlements a flagrant violation of
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international law. john kerry insisted the u.s. had not abandoned its longtime ally, but said israeli democracy will not survive under a single state. realityis a fundamental . if the choice is one state, israel can either be jewish or democratic. it cannot be both. and it won't ever really be at peace. amy: in the west bank, palestinian president abas said he was willing to talk in exchange for settlement construction. this is the chief negotiator erekat. >> he has the choice. settlements or peace. he can't have both. settlements are illegal under international law. settlements are the antidote for the two state solution. amy: bitumen netanyahu's reaction to the speech was swift
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and harsh. >> now i must express id disappointment with the speech today of john kerry. a speech that was almost as unbalanced as the anti-israel resolution passed at the u.n. last week. israel looks forward to working with president-elect trump and with the american congress, democrats and republicans alike, to mitigate the damage that this resolution has done and ultimately to repeal it. amy: donald trump took to twitter to blast john kerry's speech, writing in a pair of tweets -- on capitol hill, lawmakers in both parties blasted john kerry's address. lindsey graham called it
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delusional, while new york democratic senator chuck schumer said john kerry had "embolden extremists on both sides." donald trump's transition team said wednesday it was considering whether to begin privatizing the veterans a administration. the so-called public/private option would allow veterans to skip treatment at va hospital's, giving them funds to visit private -- private sector hospitals and clinics instead. veteran groups say they will oppose any efforts to privatize the v.a. in washington, d.c., the obama administration is expected to announce new sanctions against russia today over its alleged role in hacking u.s. institutions, including the emails of hillary clinton's campaign manager. lawmakers and u.s. intelligence officials have repeatedly said russian hackers helped donald trump's campaign defeat hillary clinton, but have not provided specific evidence. in iraq, u.s. warplanes launched
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airstrikes on mosul today as the iraqi army fought to reclaim the city from isis. hundreds of residents poured out of the city's eastern neighborhoods to escape the violence. we fled the neighborhood to escape the mortars, mortars that would constantly fall on us. the situation was difficult. everything is expensive. we were starving. amy: iraqi security forces are screening the displaced residents and busing them to camps east of mosul. for many residents say cold and wet weather has made conditions so miserable, they're desperate to leave. as many as one million people remain trapped inside mosul with limited access to food and .rinking water ful in colombia, lawmakers have approved a law granting amnesty to some members of the farc guerrilla group. this is fernando cristo, colombia's interior minister. >> it means the path is clear to
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guarantee that the mobilization of disarmament of farc members in the first quarter of next year. it is no more and no less than the end of a 52 year conflict with the farc. of arms's abandonment is down hands of the united nations, so the entire situation can begin. amy: the law will not protect farc members who committed war crimes or human rights violations. it follows a historic peace accord that formally ended a civil war that left a quarter-million colombians dead. in new jersey, an eight-year-old boy is fighting to rejoin his cub scout pack after he was kicked out because he was born a girl. the case of joe maldano of seacaucus appears to be the first to challenge a ban on transgender boys joining boy scout troops. the case follows years of resistance by the boy scouts of america to allow gay and lesbian adult leaders, before the organization finally dropped a blanket ban in july of 2015.
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in a statement, a spokesperson for the boy scouts said -- "no youth may be removed from any of our programs on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. gender identity isn't related to sexual orientation." in texas, a fort worth police department faces new charges of racism and excessive force, after the release of a video showing an officer shooting a black man in the back. 33-year-old david collie was left paralyzed after the encounter in july. collie's lawyer, nate washington, released a copy of a dashcam video on wednesday, showing a fort worth police officer and a local sheriff's deputy opening fire mere seconds after leaving their car. this is nate washington. >> we know that the officers indicated that they were telling mr. collie to come to them, two walks to them. they were telling him to take your hands out of your pockets,
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things of that sort. as he attempted to comply, raised his hands as they told him to, they shot him. amy: collie spent 61 days in a hospital handcuffed to his bed and was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down. washington said the officers were off duty at the time of the shooting. police initially accused collie of pointing a box cutter at the officers, but the video does not appear to back up the claim. a grand jury declined to indict collie on aggravated assault charges. a fort worth police spokesperson says an investigation remains ongoing and a case against the officer has not yet been presented to a separate grand jury. the release of the video came less than a week after a viral video showed an african american mother and her teenage daughters being violently arrested by a white fort worth officer after the woman herself had dialed 911 to report an assault on her seven-year-old son.
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in florida activists opposing , construction of the sabal trail natural gas pipeline are holding a series of protests across the state today. environmentalists say the $3 billion, 500-mile pipeline threatens the florida aquifer, which supplies drinking water to about 10 million people. water protectors have set up four camps along the pipeline's route from which they're organizing resistance to the project. meanwhile, in west texas, activists say they're preparing to establish a protest camp in the path of the trans-pecos pipeline, which would carry natural gas under the rio grande river on the u.s.-mexico border. it is being built by energy transfer partners, the company constructing the dakota access pipeline, which has faced months of resistance from the standing rock sioux tribe and over 200 indigenous nations from across the americas. president barack obama wednesday created a new national monument in the southwest. the order will preserve some 1.3
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million acres in utah that are home to native american sacred sites. in a first, the monument will be co-managed by the federal government and five tribes. obama also set aside 300,000 acres of desert in nevada. the land abuts the ranch of cliven bundy, who led an armed standoff against u.s. agents in 2014 after he allegedly allowed his cattle to graze on federally-managed land without paying grazing fees. and famed hollywood actress debbie reynolds died wednesday of a stroke, just one day after the death of her daughter actress carrie fisher. reynolds was 84 years old. in 1952, debbie reynolds had her breakout role in the musical comedy, "singin' in the rain." she was nominated for an academy award for her work in 1964's "the unsinkable molly brown." reynolds's son todd fisher said his mother was heartbroken over sister carrie fisher's death on tuesday. he reported reynolds's last words as, "i miss her so much, i want to be with carrie."
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and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. in just over three weeks, donald trump will be sworn in as the next president. according to the sierra club, trump will be the only world theer who still denies science behind climate change. during the presidential campaign, the sierra club produced this ad highlighting some of trump's comments. mr. trump: all of this with the global warming. a lot of it is a hoax. it is a moneymaking industry, ok? >> they said you called climate change a hoax. is that true? mr. trump: well, i might have. i believe that climate change is not man-made. we are going to cancel the paris climate agreement.
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our president is worried about global warming. what a ridiculous situation. nermeen: donald trump has nominated a number of climate change deniers for top post. including exxon ceo rex tillerson secretary of state, oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt to head the environmental section agency, former texas governor rick terry to head the energy department, and congressman ryan's inky to become interior secretary. now scientists have -- a federal agencies are expressing growing concern the new administration may attempt to destroy or bury decades of scientific studies on client change. bob walker has already proposed stripping funding of nasa, research, describing it as "politically correct environmental monitoring." amy: in a scramble to protect data, protecting data of
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, research, a guerrilla archiving event was just held at the university of toronto in an attempt to save the climate studies on servers outside the united states. organizers in the u.s. are planning additional events in the coming weeks to archive vulnerable government websites and databases that contain climate research. this comes as the end of term web archive, a project administered by the internet archive, gets underway. the project captures and saves u.s. government websites at risk of changing or disappearing altogether at the end of presidential administrations. in the wake of trump's election, the internet archive has announced it will be moving a copy of its archive to canada. for more we're joined by two , guests. laurie allen is assistant director for digital scholarship at the university of pennsylvania libraries and a member of the data refuge project to rescue climate and environmental data. and brewster kahle is a computer engineer, internet entrepreneur, activist, and digital librarian. he is the founder of the internet archive.
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we welcome you both to democracy now! laurie allen, why don't you start out by explaining what you are doing to preserve climate change research and why you're so concerned it might be you raised from government websites. >> thank you. so what we are doing is a really large collaborative effort, including the internet archive, and as you mention, the folks in toronto as well as researchers, scholars, librarians, citizens, scientists from many different places basically creating safe channels for data that is currently stored and made accessible through federal websites and through the federal government to move to new locations so it can -- so began continue to ensure access to these facts for research. it is also to raise awareness of the value of this data and have
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preserveda is today. we're holding events, one in philadelphia chen were 13 and january 14 where we will use protocols that are appropriate to the data that we are trying to save. so as much as possible, we will move to the internet archive. for other kinds of data, we will move to trusted repositories here in the u.s. and around the we continuee sure to provide access to them. nermeen: laurie allen, could you say more about the kind of data you're looking to archive? the main concern is not documents, but rather the analytic software that may become obsolete with disuse. could you explain the significance of such software to climate research? >> absolutely. as we have talked to scientists and researchers who rely on
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federal climate data, so many of them use a variety of sources. challenges is in figuring out ways to preserve -- continue to provide access to the data themselves, but also the software used to analyze the data. scientists rely on data multiple forms, so we are -- we are identifying protocols that we hope will be appropriate to each of a you know, whether it is the software used to create derivatives versions of the data that are more useful for other purposes, or if possible, to save the software themselves or -- it is ae itself really sticky problem. to the extent, i think, we can work with the internet archive, we are. but as you mentioned, there are data that just cannot be scraped, they cannot be copied
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using web archiving. for those, it is basically going up to be a case-by-case basis, which is why so many of the events are engaging with developers and software engineers in collaboration with scientists and librarians and archivists to identify those materials that are most vulnerable, valuable, and take those one at a time and figure out how we can continue to provide access to them. amy: i want to bring brewster kahle into this conversation, founder of the internet archive, which is such an important public resource. everything to the way back machine, where you can find a previous iterations of websites. every presidential term that is over have been running the end of term archive to archive and -- the information of a
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presidential administration is preserved when it changes over, like we see from obama to trump. but what about obama to trump? do you see a special threat now when it comes to preserving information? >> this administration or upcoming administration has promised radical change, even potentially canceling old apartments. the services -- hold apartments. the services that the departments have traditionally served are now online and could be deleted, changed, modified in ways that we really don't know what is coming up. where we have always gone and preserved paper records, which is providing some level of preservation, is a new aspect. previousuch beyond speaker does said, beyond just recording webpages. we need the whole databases and the structures that science now depends on.
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but it is now within an administration we are not really sure what is coming up. nermeen: brewster kahle, could you explain what exactly happens when there is a change in administration? your end of term archive keeps all of the information that was previously in a particular administrations website, but what exactly changes? is everything from dot-gove sites removed? >> whitehouse.gov disappears. anybody accessing any of the press releases or any of the information that used to be on that will get broken links. some of the browser manufacturers are starting to point to the way back machine, which we encourage, to be able to continue to find information that used to be on those sites. it is now beyond just that. it is also social media feeds that can be manipulated and changed retroactively, which is done all the time now by a very
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media-savvy upcoming administration. i think we will see more control of the message, especially through the digital channels, and that makes archives, libraries, permanent access even more important. amy: explain what the wayback machine is. >> it operates by crawling the world wide web and with many, many partners, crawling the world wide web and adding those into the internet archive's collections. those collections become something that from archive.org, you can type in a url or search to find a website to be able to see the web as it was and surf the web as it was. you can see president-elect 2008 and 2012 election websites or hillary clinton's old senate websites.
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these websites are now available again as they were. but they are just pictures of webpages. they're not the databases that climate scientist need that are currently being used. noaa, nasa's data sets that have services on them. we would love to go and make it so -- not taking snapshots, but whole web services get archived such that they can be used as they were in 2016. so we are calling out the federal website masters, webmasters, to go and work with as to archive the whole working systems themselves in snapshot form. amy: in this whole issue of climate change and the trump administration, donald trump a climate change denier, what in particular are you doing? and if you can talk about moving -- well, not moving, but moehring internet archive's in canada, what you're doing that? >> their groups collecting the
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web ftp sites. they're going to go in and trying to download all of the different data records that are in these databases. there are groups in toronto, there will be a hack-a-thon on january 7 to try to help tour through the important parts of the federal record that we can then make a record outside of the government to make sure it is permanently available. beyond that, we need to move it to other countries. the ministry of libraries is one of law. usually libraries are burned, like in ancient times, and they are burned by government. the new guys do not want the old stuff around. they are often sorry about it tens or hundreds of years later, but if you do not make a copy, then it is just gone. so the idea of having multiple copies keeps stuff safe. nermeen: laurie allen, during the last climate change denying
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administration, that of george bush, has some of the changes that occurred are that the state department removed climate change from its list of global issues and the epa's pages on global warming and climate change research stopped being updated. now, do you anticipate worst happening under the trump administration? -- i will also point out the bush administration did also close or attempted to close some epa libraries all over the country. i think we know that people are concerned. there is good reason to be tremendously concerned. havertners in this project been talking to so many scientists who are deeply concerned. i think the important point is better to be safe than sorry. as brewster just said, lots of
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copies keep stuff safe. it is a good rule. it is the role of all of us to make sure this material continues to be available. yes, we are concerned, but more than that, it is just wise to take steps to make sure that whatever happens, these important facts remain available for future researchers. amy: brewster kahle, if you could go back to nearing your website, why you have chosen to go there -- canada has just announced access to high-speed .nternet is a fundamental right and also, how do you stop euro databases now, your own servers from being hacked? >> so how do we stop things from getting hacked. i think it is copies, really, and putting them on other sides of fault lines, whether it is earthquakes or hard drives failing or institutional failure
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of law changes, regime change. to digitalarm libraries in many ways that the united states is becoming potentially less so. so the idea of having multiple legs to the stools. we looked at the television archives to find out what the trump campaign promises had been. things like closing part of the internet up or threatening freedom of the press actively saying, hating journalists -- all of these are things that libraries are built on. did you have having ongoing access to information, historical information -- these are what makes libraries work. let's just plan for whatever might happen. who knows? maybe it is going to be just a
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dry run and we never needed to do it, but it is a good idea in any case. nermeen: thanks to the wayback machine, we can still read the mike pence for congress site from 2001 which is available via the public web. in one section, it reads -- brewster kahle, could you talk about that and other comparable
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sites that would no longer be available if this resource were not there? >> certainly. the campaign promises that have been made in the past were policies and the like can be changed pain one who controls the current websites. so those who control the present control the past. as orwell warned, they control the future. we really need to make sure there is a record of these things. pence has made those go away. there have been trump -- within a day of getting control of dot-gov, they put up websites trumpeting trump properties that were taken away very quickly. isactively managing what it people can see on the world wide web. archive.org is a free resource for being able to see what was
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on those websites before. we have seen press releases change. george w. bush announced from an aircraft carrier in the headline that conflict hads ceased. and days later a change. a couple of years after that, even during the still some administration, the removed the press release altogether. i'm not sure what is more orwellian, not telling you a changed or making it go away altogether. if we do not have library's, we would not know any of that happened. and go shortly after michael flynn was nominated to be security adviser, he deleted a tweet he posted referring to false allegations about hillary clinton. however, between from november 2 was preserved on the internet archive and reads -- amy: you decide. nypd blows whistle on the ."intons emails
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explain how this is a new area for you. archiving have been tweets, youtube, different platforms. facebook, makes it very difficult, unfortunately to record what it is that has been said. and now potentially later deleted. all of these things are deleted at some point. companies go under or whatever. going and keeping a record of these pronouncements, there are now 10,000 official government twitter channels. we archive those. but we also do the ones from the campaigns and surrogates and the like to be able to make rich data sets in making those available. researchers, so we can know what it is that was promised, television, for instance, is very difficult to access.
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but on another free resource, you can search based on what people said, including democracy now!, and retrieve clips and put into your blogs and be able to think critically about what has happened. if you cannot quote, compare, and contrast, then it just flows over. you say, i think i remember, but you don't really remember. the key thing is to be able to quote, compare, and contrast. libraries provide permanent to things that are often ephemeral. , to use ther kahle an existential threat, unique threat to the information on the internet today? and to your own internet archive, which is really everyone's? >> the internet is an amazing experience -- experiment ensuring mutual trust. people are putting their ideas out there in the very public form.
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unless we go and ensure that trust is warranted, if we don't see true much spying so people will run away from it thinking they're going to get in trouble for it, these are very important things that made the world wide web possible in the first place. it may be hard to remember, but he's to be very difficult to get this type -- it used to be very difficult to get this type of information. intonment records michael the national archives after an administration change, and then you do have to wait six months, 12 months, to even make a request for one document at a time. but now we have the opportunity of being able to see what has changed, what the developments are, but also enjoy the benefits of enormous taxpayers funding toward building databases around climate change, about the weather data, much more available than it ever was before. let's keep that going. let's continue to build on the trust that has been the hallmark
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of the world wide web. we just need libraries and archives, academics, people working in federal websites that may be displaced as changes in the administration happen to work together to make permanent what it is the taxpayers have paid for. amy: we want to thank you very much for being with us, brewster kahle, founder of the internet archive. allen.rie up next, we look at donald trump and the bomb. is he starting a new nuclear arms race? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: a leading arms control organization is calling for president obama to take u.s. nuclear missiles off high alert before president-elect donald trump assumes office. the ploughshares fund has circulated a public petition urging president obama to place restraints on the incoming president's ability to launch a nuclear attack. last week, president-elect trump alarmed nuclear weapons experts when he raised the prospect of a new global arms race on twitter saying he would increase the size of the u.s. nuclear arsenal. trump's tweet read -- "the united states must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." the united states and russia account for 93% of the world's nuclear arsenal. following trump's tweet, his spokesman sean spicer tried to
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clarify trump's position in an interview with cnn. he was speaking to alisyn camerota. >> he is going to do what it takes to protect this country. if another country or countries want to threaten our safety or sovereignty, he's going to do what is safe. >> but he is not waiting until another country threatens us -- >> but he is making it very clear that other countries and other companies -- you've seen with others, he is when a make it clear that he will be an active president that will get things done. >> meaning he will use nuclear weapons if need be. >> he will not take anything off the table. amy: trump's spokesman sean spicer speaking last week. well, to talk more about trump's comments, we go to washington, d.c., to speak to joe cirincione, president of the ploughshares fund, which has circulated the petition urging president obama to take u.s. nuclear missiles off high alert. jo, welcome to democracy now! what do you mean that president
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obama, before he leaves office, should take nuclear weapons off high alert? what does this mean and can trump reverses immediately on the first day? >> donald trump a policy can million. with the exception of a few issues, you really don't know what he thinks. when he tweets he wants to expand u.s. nuclear capability, when he tells a network correspondent, let it be an arms race, you have to worry that he means what he says. you have to worry that a man of this temperament, of this character might be more willing to use nuclear weapons than any previous president. so there is something that president obama can do about this to buy us some time. he can end the cold war practice of keeping our nuclear missiles on high alert ready to launch with a few minutes notice. this is something he pledged to do when he was campaigning, said he would do when he took office.
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never did it. yes 22 days to try and correct that mistake. yes, president mr. trump: then come in and reverse it, but that is much harder to do. it would be difficult for president trump to put nuclear missiles on high alert. why you doing that? what is the justification? this is one of those policies that has survived because people have not looked at it, not questioned it. why does anyone have the ability to launch nuclear weapons so quickly? in 22 days, donald trump will be able to launch nuclear missiles as quickly as he now tweets. four minutes after he gives the order, those missiles will fly. no one can stop them. no one can reverse those launches. nermeen: i want to go back to comments trump made earlier this year on the risk of nuclear proliferation. during the republican presidential town hall in milwaukee, trump talked about the possibility of other countries acquiring nuclear weapons. he was questioned by moderator, cnn's anderson cooper.
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mr. trump: at some point we have to say, you know what? we're better off if japan protect itself against this maniac in north korea. we're better off if south korea is going to start to protect itself -- >> saudi arabia? mr. trump: absolutely. >> nuclear weapons? ,r. trump: not nuclear weapons weapons, but at the pay is. japan, that the pay as or they have to protect themselves. >> you say japan and south korea, ok. mr. trump: it is going to happen anyway. it is only a question of time. amy: that was president-elect trump speaking earlier this year. joe cirincione, can you respond to that, not only the question of high alert taking u.s. nuclear missiles off high alert, but also trump's position on other countries acquiring nuclear weapons? >> he is wrong on so many levels.
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but take it apart. first of all, it is not inevitable. there's nothing inevitable about nuclear clear for rations. for the last 40 years, democrat and republicans have had a concerted policy to reduce nuclear weapons in the world. guess what? it has worked. there are far fewer nuclear weapons in the world than at the height of the cold war. we have cut the arsenals by 80%. more countries have given up nuclear weapons and nuclear programs over the last 30 years that have tried to acquire them. we're down to one rogue state, so-called rogue state, north korea. that is it. there is nothing inevitable about this. number two, the idea that he would encourage other countries to get nuclear weapons, flies in the face of 70 years of u.s. policy. no u.s. president has ever encouraged any country to get a nuclear weapon. not the united kingdom, france, not israel. we did not want our allies to get nuclear weapons. it is insane.
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it is starting an arms race. can you start an arms race with a tweet, with this unclear rambling kind of discourse he has? yes, you can. president trump will be able to do this with the stroke of apen , with a side comment, with another tweet. that is what worries so many people about his adding control of the most capable, the most destructive death machine on the planet -- the u.s. nuclear arsenal. nermeen: the u.s. and russia between them have 93% of the world's nuclear arsenal. so if he does accelerate the arms race, what are the prospects for other nuclear weapon states -- china, india, pakistan -- who in relative terms, have virtually none? >> when you do bar graphs, you see the u.s. column the way high, russia's call him the way high, the other countries with 100 or so nuclear weapons barely
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register. it when the big guys start talking about building new weapons and the u.s. is are ready on a path to spend $1 trillion on new nuclear weapons over the next 25 years, and then expand those arsenals, they are basically telling the other countries, start your engines. what is china going to do? they have about 200 nuclear weapons now. won't they feel pressure to expand? india and pakistan? you can see the chain reaction this sets off. that is why reversing this three decades long u.s. policy of reducing nuclear weapons is so dangerous. you should not be making new care policy on twitter. it is not a responsible way for any president or any individual to behave. amy: i want to turn to comets president obama made when he was the democratic presidential nominee in september 2008. the arms control association asked him about his nuclear policy. among other issues, obama addressed specifically the risks involved in the u.s. being able
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to so swiftly launch a nuclear attack. he responded -- "keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment's notice is a dangerous relic of the cold war. such policies increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation. i believe that we must address this dangerous situation -- something that president bush promised to do when he campaigned for president back in 2000, but did not do once in office." that is what the candidate obama said. the president obama do this and what do you think should happen right now? >> he did not, but he still has time. he is been making significant policy changes up until this morning. either statements, for example, on israel or executive actions to put arctic drilling sites off-limits for new exploration. he can do this. if he is protecting part of the environment, take a step to protect the entire planet. that is why we put this petition up on change.org as one small
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step, people can go and sign and build public pressure. we're trying to communicate to take this step. this relic of the cold war is so totally unnecessary. there is no reason for the president of the united states to be able to push or to give in order -- there isn't actually a button -- to give an order and four minutes later, the nuclear weapons will fly. this was done we were afraid of a bolt out of the blue attack from the soviet union. hundreds of warheads streaking over the polls, an extremely unlikely scenario. there is no reason to have this policy now. even if that were to happen, we have our sufferings, bombers that could retaliate. you do not need this for any reason. having this kind of policy greatly exacerbates the risk of an accident. my friend and colleague eric schlosser has a brilliant essay this week in "the new yorker" about all of the accidents we
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have had. how so often we came very close to accidentally launching our missiles because of a computer glitch, a misunderstanding, a misreading. there is no reason to put the world in this kind of apparel. amy: joe cirincione, thank you for being with us, president of ploughshares fund, a global security foundation. author of "nuclear nightmares: securing the world before it is too late," and "bomb scare: the history and future of nuclear weapons." we will link to your huffington post article "keep donald trump's finger off the nuclear button." when we come back, a cold war story and a request for a pardon of outgoing president obama. we will talk about the rosenbergs. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: lewis allen was the name --
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the actual name of able meeropol , the adopted father of our next guest. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: two brothers are making a last-ditch appeal to president obama to clear their mother's name. michael and robert meeropol are calling on obama to posthumously exonerate their mother ethel rosenberg. she, along with their father, julius rosenberg, was charged with sharing nuclear secrets with the soviet union and executed on june 19, 1953. at the time, fbi director j edgar hoover accused the couple of committing the crime of the century. this is a clip of a newscast after the rosenberg's execution. >> summit have passed america's atomic bomb secrets to russia. the federal government had laid the crime of the doorstep of two native new yorkers.
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to the end, they both are tested or innocence. the federal court of judge found the pair guilty as charged and sentenced them to death in the electric chair to pay for the crime of treason. amy: the government alleged the couple along with morton sobell helped the soviet union acquire the secret of the atomic bomb. but supporters say there's no evidence that ethel rosenberg took part in espionage. a new report by the seton hall school of law suggests ethel was used as upon for leverage in its attempt to build a case against her husband julius. meeropol, now, robert six years old at the time of their execution. he is author of the autobiography "an execution in the family: one son's journey." he is also the founder and executive director of the rosenberg fund for children. meeropol robert, it is great to have you back on democracy now! i'm sorry, i said that michael
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was coming in. her older brother. i'm glad you both get along. what exactly are you asking for? >> we're asking for an exoneration as opposed to a pardon. first of all, a pardon implies a somebody is guilty. it is a forgiveness for something they did. kgb files in other places that ethel rosenberg was never given a code name, so we know the kgb did not consider her a spy and she wasn't a spy. we're not asking for a pardon. instead, what we are saying is the trial, the entire trial was a perversion of justice. the judge and the prosecutor secretly communicated. the prosecution developed this aan to use my mother as hostage, basically, to use her as a lever to covers my father into saying what the government wanted him to say.
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and then the prosecution encouraged the chief prosecution witnesses, the only people who gave information against my mother at the trial, all oral, to invent a story of my mother typing up certain notes from david, which never happened. so when seton hall took a look and destructive -- the constructed this trial in a 26 page very painstaking report that we did not commission -- this was independent, but they basically said, she was used as an afterthought. she was there to coerce cooperation from my father. it is the only reason they did it. what is particularly dangerous about this, not just about my personal desire to exonerate my mother, to have president obama before he leaves office essentially nullify the verdict in that case against my mother, but instead to demonstrate that
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if the government is going to create evidence and facilitate the conviction of someone in a capital case for political purposes -- this is a threat to civil society. this is the way the judiciary is used in authoritarian societies. it is incompatible with the free and open society. so we're not just doing this for ourselves. we are doing it to preserve, i would say, freedom in this country in general and the right to dissent because the courts committees as devastating -- instruments of repression as they were during the mccarthy period and fear in the coming years that this could happen again. nermeen: there is a direct link between ethel rosenberg and incoming donald trump. trump's longtime lawyer and mentor roy cohn was a member of
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whoprosecution team pressured ethel's brother to make a false testimony about his own sister. there was reportedly no other evidence to convict her. he also apparently colluded with the trial judge to predetermine the outcome for both julius and ethel, the death penalty. in 1951, roy cohn was interviewed. >> the one thing that understand at the outset, the communist party is not a political party. it is a criminal conspiracy. it's object has been established by the verdict of a jury, the overthrow the government of the united states by force and violence. in the meantime, plans are being .ade the most important work is that of espionage on behalf of the soviet union, which means it infiltrates our government, defense plans, every important
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place possible in order to steal information from us and give it to the soviet union. nermeen: that was roy cohn speaking in 1951. robert meeropol, could you talk about the role roy cohn made during your trial and what his role has been in trump's administration or incoming administration? >> i'm really glad you asked that. there is actual television footage -- i mean, one of the notgs about this, it is just our claims. we's all of the government's material in order to destroy the governments place. the roy cohn kreis, there is a television interview in which he talks about how he covers david greenglass and the making of this testimony about my mother's typing. roy cohn can be said to be one of the principal architects of my mother's execution. he did represent both donald trump's father and donald trump and donald trump has said this
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is my mentor. he taught me how to respond to attacks. so it is one of the reasons we are pushing obama in the last days of his a administration because we know once his administration is over that president trump is not going to admit that his mentor executed someone who was not a spy for spying. connection. we don't think -- this is our last chance, at least, for the next four or eight years. , you're notmeeropol asking for your father to be exonerated. talk about this. codefendant -- i can't codefendant in 2008 essentially said, hey, julius and i did it, we were engaged, it was of the secret of the atomic bomb, but we were engaged in trying to help the soviet union defeat the notches in
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world war ii. it was electronics another military -- information. wasat the trial, julius accused spying. we now know he did spy. it is true the trial was just as unfair in his case. he was executed for a seat -- stealing the secret of the atomic bomb, something he didn't do, but it is a much more subtle claim, a much more difficult situation than with my mother who, again, perhaps the most powerful and simple evidence is the fact she wasn't given a code name. david greenglass had a code name. ruth greenglass had a code name. please rosenberg had a code name. ethel rosenberg had no codename. we know she wasn't a spy. we know the kgb did not consider her a spy. anybody who claims that she was a spy is essentially saying, we know better than the kgb who was
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a kgb spy, which is a laughable claim if it weren't so tragic. nermeen: your brother actually said your mother, speaking in an interview with "60 minutes," that your mother ethel was collateral damage of mccarthyism. >> and that is right. he used family members to hold them hostage. it is actually what terrorists do. as one of former secretary state, rogers, was quoted as ultimately saying, "ethel rosenberg called our bluff." in other words, the whole thing was a bluff. that is outrageous. we can't allow the judicial system to be used in this manner. i do want to urge -- one thing i want to emphasize, we are somewhere between 47,000 -- 45,000 of 47,000 people in our
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online petition urging obama to do this. i would love to get to 50,000. big numbers are symbolically important. amy: michael moore, even flirt, noam chomsky, michael dukakis, the former presidential candidate. >> in some ways, the inspiration for this campaign because it was his proclamation about the italian anarchist who were executed in the 1920's of the commonwealth of massachusetts that could be a model for this presidential proclamation. it is at the rosenberg fund for children. if you go to their website ,rfc.org, you're going to go right to the petition. amy: you have raised too much in history, so we have to do part two. helping children of imprisoned people. thank you so much in a robert meeropol.
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i am amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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