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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  March 30, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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03/30/17 03/30/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: we're doing very well in iraq. our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before. the results are very, very good. amy: 14 years after the u.s. invaded iraq, the war shows no signs of letting up. so far this month the u.s. has , dropped over 2000 bombs on the city of mosul. in one strike, up to 200 civilians were killed. hundreds more have died in other u.s. strikes in iraq and syria. meanwhile, the pentagon is also expanding its role in the saudi-led war in yemen. we will get the latest on iraq and yemen. then to a historic debate at the
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united nations. >> the doomsday clock indicating how close the humidity is to at 2.5ophe has been set midnight, the worst since 1953. worse than the other time, even at the height of the cold war. amy: more than 120 nations have begun drafting a u.n. treaty to ban nuclear weapons but the united states is leading a boycott of the talks. we'll find out why. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a federal judge in hawaii dealt another blow on wednesday to president trump's attempt to ban refugees and travelers from six majority-muslim countries. district judge derrick watson
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extended a nationwide halt on trump's executive order, which would bar citizens of iran, libya, somalia, sudan, syria, and yemen from entering the u.s. for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days. in his ruling, judge watson said trump's executive order ran afoul of the first amendment's establishment clause, which bars discrimination on religious grounds. in north carolina, state republican lawmakers say they've struck a deal to overturn a law denying transgender people the use of the bathroom, changing room or locker room that matches , their gender identity. but lgbtq groups say the planned repeal of hb2, the so-called bathroom bill, will not end discrimination. the deal would allow the state to continue regulating bathrooms while barring local governments from enacting their own anti-discrimination laws until late 2020. human rights campaign said in a tweet -- "any north carolina lawmaker who supports this bad hb2 'deal' is
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no ally of lgbtq people & will have planted themselves on the wrong side of history." the deal came hours ahead of a deadline set by the ncaa to repeal the law or face an end to collegiate athletic tournaments, including lucrative men's basketball games, through 2022. it's not clear whether the compromise will prevent an ncaa boycott. on capitol hill, the senate intelligence committee is set to hold its first hearing today on alleged russian meddling in the u.s. election. on wednesday, republican committee chair richard burr promised a thorough investigation. >> tomorrow's hearing, which will be the first public during we have held, is to examine , their capabilities capabilities to influence elections globally, what russia has done in the past -- which is important for us to bring to
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light for the american people -- what they're doing today both here and throughout the world. amy: the senate intelligence committee plans to question 20 witnesses about russia's role in november's election and alleged ties between top trump aides and russian officials. the senate investigation came as an investigation in the house intelligence committee ground to a halt after committee chair republican devin nunes refused to step down amid charges he colluded with the trump administration to undermine the investigation. the white house said wednesday president trump's daughter ivanka will officially join the administration as a federal employee and unpaid adviser to the president. the move came after ethics groups blasted the administration for arranging a west wing office and security clearance for ivanka trump, who previously had no official role in the administration and had not signed an ethics pledge required of federal employees. this month, ivanka handed over holdings, butpany
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did use her position in the white house for personal gain. ivanka trump will work alongside her husband, jared kushner, who serves as senior adviser to the president. meanwhile, kushner's real estate firm on wednesday said it had ended talks with a chinese company to develop a manhattan high-rise at 666 fifth avenue. the deal would have seen a $400 million payout from a firm with deep ties to the chinese power structure. the talks collapsed as the senate intelligence committee prepared to question kushner about meetings he arranged at trump tower last december with the russian ambassador and the head of the u.s.-sanctioned russian state bank. the meetings came before donald trump's inauguration. it was after he was elected. the white house sent mixed signals wednesday about whether president trump will try again to revamp the nation's health care system following the collapse last week of a house bill that would have repealed parts of the affordable care act. this is president trump speaking tuesday night at the white
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house. pres. trump: i know we're all going to make a deal on health care. that is such an easy one. i have no doubt that will happen quickly. i think it is going to happen because we have all been promising -- democrat, republican, we have all been promising that to the american people. amy: on wednesday, press secretary sean spicer said president trump was joking when he made those remarks, adding that another effort at passing healthcare legislation remains an ongoing discussion. meanwhile, the president is calling for even deeper cuts to the national institutes of 20% cutfter proposing a to the agency in his budget proposal earlier this month. on tuesday, the president suggested slashing $1.2 billion from the agency immediately. the cuts would halt medical research already underway, end the state department's global health security fund, and shave tens of millions of dollars from programs combating hiv/aids and teen pregnancy. a new gallup poll shows president trump's approval rating has fallen to 35%, the lowest level ever recorded for a president this early into a
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first term. trump's approval rating is now lower than president nixon's during the watergate hearings, president reagan's during the iran-contra investigation, and president george w. bush's rating after hurricane katrina. on capitol hill, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has scheduled a vote on april 7 on whether to confirm neil gorsuch as a u.s. supreme court justice. senate democratic leaders have vowed to filibuster the vote, setting up a confrontation with republicans, who've threatened to change senate rules to allow gorsuch to be confirmed by a bare majority, rather than 60 senators. in iraq, a suicide truck bomb struck a police checkpoint south of baghdad wednesday, killing 17 people and wounding about 40 others. meanwhile, fighting raged in western mosul where civilians remain trapped amidst fighting by u.s. backed iraqi forces and isis. on wednesday, the head of u.s. central command committed to a house committee the united states probably played a role in
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the deaths of as many as 200 civilians in an airstrike on mosul on march 17. at the whi hou, president trumsaid tuesday eveng the battle to retakeosul was going well. pres. trump: we're doing very well in iraq. our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before. the results are very, very good. amy: meanwhile, amnesty international continues to criticize the army for having full civilians to stay in mosul amidst the months long ongoing offensive to my rather than to flee. we will have more on the crisis in iraq after headlines. the state department told congress wednesday that human rights concerns should not hold up a proposed $5 billion sale of f-16 warplanes to the kingdom of bahrain, despite a record of torture and killings by the security forces. the move by rex tillerson reverses an obama administration policy tying weapons sales to improvements in bahrain's human rights record. bahrain is a close u.s. ally in the gulf, home to the navy's fifth fleet. the westinghouse electric company filed for bankruptcy
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protection on wednesday in a major blow to the nuclear power industry. the chapter 11 filing came as westinghouse reported huge cost overruns in its efforts to build new nuclear reactors in south carolina and georgia. regulators are now questioning whether the plants will ever be completed. westinghouse technology is used in more than half the world's nuclear power plants. the company's bankruptcy comes as the cost of electricity from solar and wind farms continues to drop. in california, hundreds of protesters confronted the head of u.s. immigration and customs enforcement tuesday as he appeared at a town hall meeting in sacramento. ice director thomas homan was invited to the forum by sacramento county sheriff scott jones, a trump supporter who backs cooperation between police and ice agents. among those protesting was bernard marks, an 87-year-old holocaust survivor who compared ice's actions to those of the nazis.
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>> when i was a little boy in , for no other reason but for being jewish, i was hauled off by the nazis. and for no other reason, i was picked up and separated from my family who was exterminated -- with -- and are schwinn's. i'm a survivor. we stand up here, mr. jones. don't forget. history is not on your side. amy: one protester was escorted out of the town hall after director homan insisted his agents do not target immigrants at churches and is. in tacoma, washington, undocumented dreamer daniel ramirez medina was granted bond wednesday and released from an immigration detention center after six weeks in ice custody. ramirez was arrested in february along withis father, who's an
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undocumented mexican immigrant. ramirez's case drew alarm in immigrant communities, since the 23-year-old has permission to live and work in the united states under president obama's daca program. employees at the department of energy's office of international climate and clean energy were warned this week not to use the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction," or "paris agreement" in official communications. that's according to politico, which reported wednesday that a is supervisor prohibited the terms as president trump signed an executive order tuesday dismantling a number of climate rules established by president obama. on capitol hill, the head of the corporation for public broadcasting defended the federally funded nonprofit wednesday against president trump's call to eliminate funds to the agency. this is maryland republican congress member andy harris, who accused the corporation of political bias after the documentary "the new black" by director yoruba richen aired on
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maryland pbs stations. >> it is called "the new black." it says -- i'm going to get to be agenda issue. this has this documents the political race for marriage equality maryland from the perspectives of lgbtq african-americans, supporters, and those against marriage equality. i know a lot of people who don't like the term marriage equality. amy: cpb president pat harrison warned that president trump's proposed cuts would "destroy public media's role in early childhood education, public safety, connecting citizens to our history, and promoting civil discussions." trump has also proposed zero-funding the national endowment for the humanities and the national endowment for the arts. in mexico, journalist armando arrieta was hospitalized wednesday with severe injuries after he was shot four times as he arrived at his home in the state of veracruz. the shooting came less than a day after an unknown assailant shot and killed a bodyguard for
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another mexican journalist, julio omar gomez, after his home in baja, california was set on , fire. there have been at least five attacks on mexican journalists so far this month, and mexico's human rights commission says over 120 journalists have been killed since 2000. and in puerto rico, thousands of students at the territory's largest public university launched one-week strike tuesday. the students are protesting plans by a federally appointed oversight control board to cut $450 million from the university's budget to help pay the island's debt to bondholders. this is psychology professor mary olga reyes cruz. >> but really, the only ones to have been able to stop us and make us to think and address the crisis have been the students. a shutdown this done only a reaction to the situation, but it is also necessary to be outside of our daily routine of business as usual so we can have conversations and take on
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concrete actions. amy: the striking students are demanding reforms, including an and to budget cuts, no tuition increases, and an independent audit of order rico's debt. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the iraq war started 14 years ago this month and it is showing no signs of letting up. since president trump took office, the u.s. military has expanded its aerial bombing campaign targeting areas held by the islamic state. on tuesday night, trump briefly talked about the war in iraq. pres. trump: we are doing very well in iraq. our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before. the results are very, very good. nermeen: this comes as the air force times is reporting u.s.-backed military aircraft have dropped over 2000 bombs on the isis-held city of mosul so far this month. according to the journalistic
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outfit airwars, almost 1500 civilians have reportedly been killed in iraq and syria this month in u.s. airstrikes. on march 17, a u.s. airstrike in mosul reportedly killed up to 200 civilians. the pentagon is now admitting it carried out an airstrike at the location where the civilians were killed but u.s. officials , are placing part of the blame on isis. on wednesday, the head of u.s. central command, army general joseph votel, testified before the house armed services committee. >> there is a fair chance we may have contributed to this so now we have moved to the investigation phase. it will be a more formalized approach to really look into the details of this as much as we can to establish what happened, establish what the facts are, identify accountability, and then certainly identify the lessons learned out of that. amy: meanwhile, amnesty international is reporting that hundreds of iraqi civilians have been killed by u.s.-led
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airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge following iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of mosul. this is wa'ad al-tai speaking about his family members who were killed in november after they followed the iraqi government's instructions not to leave the city. >> my son, age nine, my daughter age three, my brother, his wife, and their son and my other niece . amy: we are joined now by donatella rovera, senior crisis response adviser in the crisis response program at amnesty international. she is joining us from london. she was in mosul two weeks ago. welcome to democracy now! can you tell us what you found? tell us what happened on march 17 and about the iraqi government telling people not to leave their homes, then bombing
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them. >> with regard to the strike that happened on march 17, the details are really not known as yet. there are allegations, there are reports. we had amnesty international have not had a chance to investigate that particular attack on the ground as yet. the united states has promised to carry out an investigation. the iraqi authorities initially denied that the alleged strike was the work of the coalition, but rather it had been an isis attack. now there seems to be admission that that strike was indeed an airstrike from the coalition. however, what i would like to draw your attention to is the fact that civilians have been killed in their homes from the very beginning of the operation to recapture mosul, which
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started in october of last year. all of the cases that i investigated during my time on the ground in mosul -- we are in east mosul between the end of october and late january, when that part of the city was completely recaptured by iraqi forces. and family after family i spoke to, the sites i visited, were all civilian homes that had been struck. and their residents come or the people who were sheltering in those homes, were killed. forcest was after iraqi dropped leaflets telling people, advising them to remain in their homes. civilians for residents of mosul were in their homes, was very well known prior to the beginning of the military campaign.
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similarly, the isis militants used civilians as human shields in addition to carry out countless other crimes. that, too, was well-known, both forces into the members of the coalition, the u.s.-led collision that is taking the lead in the air campaign. so provisions should have been made to take into account that particular fact in order, you know, after deciding what kind of military strategy to pursue to recapture the city. what i have seen on the ground is entire homes was sometimes two or three houses, one next to the other, having been completely destroyed, reduced to rubble. and of course, though civilians were in those houses -- those civilians were in those houses
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really had no chance of coming out alive. in most of those cases, the residents and the survivors themselves toldresidents and ths themselves told me -- isis militants could have been targeted with conditions that have a smaller blast radius. and that create less collateral destroy aher than whole two or three-story house full of civilians because of two or three isis militants on the roof. nermeen: donatella, one republican representative here in the u.s. from arizona has questioned whether the high standards for avoiding civilian casualties should not be met. in fact, "ridiculous" because
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they allow isis militants to use civilians as a defense so that ices can "live to fight another day." do you think this policy by the u.s. to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible is likely to change or indeed has it already changed? privy to that level of details, you know, to the details of the exact rule of engagements. we are aware there have been discussions in the media and elsewhere about possible relaxation of the rules of engagement of recent -- in recent weeks. i don't know whether that is the case or not. but certainly, even if the rules of engagement have not changed and remains what they were at the beginning of the operation, what i have seen on the ground
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in east mosul suggests and strongly indicates that not everything that could and indeed should have been done to spare civilians, to protect civilian life has been done. at amnesty international, we are not naive to the fact that urban warfare inherently carries risks for civilians, and that it would be naive to hope that a war in the middle of the city like moselle could happen -- bozo could happen without any civilian casualties. those are part of that particular equation. alone and thefact fact that ices uses civilians as human shields do not in any way relieve the fighting parties in this case, the u.s. led coalition as well as the iraqi
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forces were doing the fighting on the ground. do not relieve them of their obligation under international law. it is plainly clear that it is additional take measures to protect civilians. as i said earlier, the choice of munitions when fighting in a densely populated urban area is paramount. a margin of error or even of just a few meters, using ernitions that have a much wid blast radius, will ultimately put a greater risk to civilians who are in the vicinity of the target itself. munitions are available. missions are available. they have been used in iraq as well at other times. minimizecould help to
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civilian casualties. amy: this is what james mattis said this week when he was asked about the increased number of silly and casualties in and around mosul. >> there is no military force in the world that has proven more .ensitive to celine casualties we are keenly aware that every battlefield where an enemy hides behind women and children is also a humanitarian -- we go out of our way to always do everything humanly possible to reduce the loss of life or injury a month innocent people. the same cannot be said for our adversaries. that is up to you to sort out. amy: if you can respond to that, donatella rovera, and clearly, it took a lot for the u.s. to say that they were going to investigate, the mounting evidence of what happened on march 17 alone where it looks like possibly over 200 civilians were killed. >> first of all, i would
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certainly concur with the statement that isis hides behind civilians and that isis does not care about respecting international law -- in fact, it does everything it can to so veryit, and does openly. but that has been known for a long time. it should have been taken into consideration when planning the campaign. as for the other part of the statement that every measure is taken to minimize civilian casualties, i would find it difficult to agree with that because of what i seen on the ground. as i said, residents in mosul were very open about the fact positionsisis -- stivers on the rooftops, or that isis fighters were going in and outof houses, hanging people's gardens. nobody has been doing that. the fact is the kind of measures
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have been taken when targeting those isis militants, what kind of measures were taken to protect the civilians around them? the kind of scenes that i have seen in mosul is entire houses collapsed, brought down by airstrikes in order to target one or two or three individuals on the rooftop. every military expert knows that there are other means available, other types of munitions available that will not bring down an entire building but will take out legitimate targets. we have seen, even in mosul at times in the past, isis fighters being taken out while driving on a motorcycle. there is no dispute that more precise munitions than large bombs that bring down an entire building are available and are being used in other theaters. to minimized help
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civilian casualties for sure. the investigation that is going on according to statements made by u.s. personnel that -- about the attack of march 17, obviously, that is a good thing that there should be an investigation. the investigation should be independent, should be thorough. it also come the same kind of investigation should be conducted and should have been conducted earlier into the kind of casualties that have resulted from other strikes that have been taking place earlier on in , from october. perhaps, if that kind of investigation had been done at the end of or during the fight in east mosul, it might have informed become a strategy to be used in west mosul. there was about a month pause
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between the fighting in east mosul and the renewed fighting in west mosul. perhaps if that had been used to conduct a proper investigation and review of civilian casualties that occurred in the hundreds in east mosul, it might have informed the strategy to pursuing west mosul, and perhaps , incidents such as that reported on march 17 with a very large loss of civilian lives according to reports, perhaps those incidents might have been avoided. nermeen: before we conclude, could you tell us what the situation is of civilians trying to flee west mosul? , fleeing the fighting is very difficult, but we are seeing civilians fleeing west moselle and much, much grter numbers than the numbers that fled from east mosul. partly perhaps because the
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message has gotten through to civilians that staying in your homes, as they were advised to do, is not necessarily the safe option. -- safest option. many more people are taking the risk to try to flee with their families. it is risky for them to remain and it is risky for them to flee. we are seeing a much larger number of civilians fleeing west mosul than was the case for the east part of the city. amy: donatella rovera, thank you for being with us senior crisis , response adviser in the crisis response program at amnesty international. the organization released a report this week, "civilians killed by airstrikes in their homes after they were told not to flee mosul." this is democracy now! when we come back, we look at what is happening in yemen and the famine that is threatened there, not to mention the escalation of bombings. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "baghdad" by aida nadeem. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to look at yemen where the u.s. is also rapidly expanding military operations. the u.s. has reportedly launched more than 49 strikes across the country this month. according to the "new york times," that's more strikes than the u.s. has ever carried out in a single year yem. while the u.s. airstrikes have en targeting suspected al qaeda operations in yemen, the "wall street journal" is reporting the u.s. is now offering even mo logistical and intelligence support for the saudi-led war against yemen's houthi rebels, who are accused of being linked to iran.
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more than 10,000 people have been killed since the u.s.-backed saudi-led bombing campaign in yemen began two years ago this month. meanwhile, the "new york times" is reporting today the trump administration has approved the resumption of sales of precision-guided munitions to saudi arabia. president obama froze some of these weapons sales last year due to concern about saudi -- civilian casualties in saudi arabia's expanding war in yemen. amy: this comes as the u.n. has warned the country is on the brink of famine. this is stephen o'brien. >> is not just the number of ,eople who are food insecure which represents about 40 million out of the 26 million or so yemenis, which is an and norma's number for any nation to have to bear, it is the fact that we have seen an increase in severe acute honor schmidt particularly in young children and and lactating mothers. we have seen a very severe deterioration in the number of
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patients needing dialysis services, access to oxygen, and where we need to see more antibiotics and medical facilities made available. these are seriously deteriorating. amy: to talk more about the situation in yemen, we go to london to talk to iona craig, a journalist who was based in sana'a from 2010 to 2015 as the yemen correspondent for the times of london. she was in yemen again last month, where she reported on january's navy seal raid that left 25 civilians and one u.s. navy seal dead. welcome back to democracy now! talk about the situation on the ground in yemen right now. >> as you mention the humanitarian situation is really getting worse. i went to several of the remote areas where some of the internally displaced people, finding it increasingly difficult to get access to food and even water. on the military front, there is
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a stalemate on a lot of the dust on t side of t grod wa also u.s. offensi was launched on the red sea coast while i was in yemen in january that then pushed a lot of the civilian population into these incredibly remote areas where there are no aid agencies to support them and to provide shelter and to provide food. so across the country, really, it does not matter which side of the frontline you are. if you're civilian, people are finding it increasingly difficult to both access food and to be of low test to be able to afford to pay for food. many of the employees have not been paid for more than 6, 7 months. that reduces people's capacity to even purchase goods even when they are available in areas where they are not affected by the conflict. amongstwar weariness the population. people are desperate for this war to come to an end.
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on the political side, there is no indication that is about to happen. in fact, the warring parties are not even willing to even engage or speak with the u.n. special envoy was charged with trying to find a political resolution to the conflict. both on the military front, things are shifting slightly or have done, but certainly, on the humanitarian side, things are getting worse with the prediction now of wheat supplies soon to wear out and perhaps the coming weeks or certainly in the next two months, that that is only going to get worse as well. nermeen: as the humanitarian situation is worsening, the trump administration is reportedly planning changes to the u.s. policy in yemen. could you tell us a little bit about the kinds of changes that are being considered and what their impact would be if they are put into place? >> so one thing that appears to have already been changed from
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what we have heard is yemen now or parts of yemen, anyway, being regarded as areas of active hostility. essentially what it means, those a wared areas are put on footing the same as iraq and afghanistan. previously under the obama administration, yemen was considered an area outside of active hostility. there were different protocols put in place to ensure the prevention of civilian casualties. it meant when drone strikes or airstrikes were raids were arried out, there had to be near certainty there were no civilian casualties. that did not always work. i spent many years covering yemen and that includes covering incidents of mass civilian has ortiz under the obama administration. but now when that changes to put in parts of the country into areas of active hostility, that new certainty basically gets chucked out the window and means those civilian casualties are kind of allowed anil he have to
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be proportional. that is concerning for the civilian population in yemen. we've seen more military activities, as you mention, in the form of airstrikes. that is more military activity, less oversight because of the way the come in structure is now or appears to have been changing as well in that sense the military will be allowed to take more decisions on that level without the kind of micromanaging the obama administration was always accused of, as well as moving -- removing these protocols that were supposed to come anyway, protect civilian life. in addition to that now, there is talk of the u.s. wanting to become more involved on the side of the saudi led coalition. carrying out this aerial roaming campaign against the houthi forces were predominately in northern yemen and have been carrying out this bombing campaign against them and ground wars since march 2015. now the u.s. has been -- put in
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request to become more involved, particularly in an offensive the uae, part of the saudi led coalition, are looking to launch on the red sea coast, particularly on a port that is a vital supply line for the northern yemen, which is the most asleep populated part of the -- most densely populated part of the country that relies heavily on that route for the import of food. the most troubling part of this request to become more involved with the saudi-led coalition appears to be because there has been, from the white house spokesman, this sense of conflating the houthi rebels with a ran. have had support from a ran, and that appears to be increasing with specific military assistance and western to the houthis over the last nine months.
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to conflate them with a ran, and now appears this all must and mounts to the u.s. wanting to start a proxy war with iran in yemen. that is incredibly dangerous. it is incredibly dangerous for the civilian population who are already facing famine at the moment and incredibly dangerous because we don't know what the reaction will be from iran. that reaction may not just be in yemen. it may be elsewhere in the region where there are also involved in wars, for example in syria, and that is an unknown quantity. the known quantity is the civilian population in yemen will certainly suffer as a consequence of that if the americans become more involved. , i would askiona craig about the navy seal raid, the white house warning journalists and lawmakers last month against criticizing the botched raid by u.s. commandos on a yemeni village that left 25 civilians and one u.s. navy seal dead.
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the bureau of investigative journalism reports the january 28 assault killed nine children under the age of 13 with five other children wounded. among those critical of the raid was arizona republican senator john mccain. >> when you lose a $75 million airplane, more importantly, and life is lost and wounded, i don't believe you can call it a success. amy: white house press secretary sean spicer lashed out at senator mccain and journalists for criticizing president trump's decision to order the raid. >> it was absolutely a success. i think anyone who would suggest it is not a success does this service to the life of chief 01. he fought knowing what was at .ay -- stake in that suggestho would
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otherwise does not fully appreciate house accessible that mission was. with the information they were able -- apologyof that owes an and a service to the life of chief owens. .my: so that is sean spicer president trump, when he addressed a joint session of congress, brought in the widow but ryan owens father refused to meet with president trump when his son's audit was brought to over -- dover air base. saying, why did he have to do this now? in his so quickly administration? that was one abc will, and then you have the number of civilian casualties, women and children. what did you find? >> the civilians i spoke to when i went to the village had exactly that same question, why? why did the trump administration tuesday carry out this raid? for what reasons? what are they going to do about
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it now? because not only did they put the lives of navy seals at huge amount of risk, which was highly predictable if you had even a big understanding of the local politics in that area of yemen at the time, but obviously, caused massive civilian casualties. over 26 people of that village were killed. many of those were women and children. that village has essentially been abandoned now because not only after that raid happened, not only was the entire village strike and more than 120 livestock were killed, but the u.s. went back months later at the beginning of march and bonded for four consecutive nights with drone strikes and helicopter gunfire and killed two more children and several more adults. the last person i spoke to who was living there then left the severaland is living miles away. the impact on the local
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population who were essentially on the same side as u.s. in the civil war at the moment, they were fighting against the houthi s, which is what the u.s. has been doing over the last two years. only alienated the entire local population around there, but cause to huge amount of anti-american sentiment and tribesmen are now quite willing and wanting to fight the americans as a result of this in a result of them killing their children and their wives. quite clear was before they even went in there was, and what actually happened, was the fact all of the local tribesmen in the area came to defend the village when the u.s. navy seals went in. that was because they thought the village was being raided by the people they had been fighting for the last 2.5 years, which is the houthis. they had no notions it was
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americans coming into attacked the village and it. that was clearly a huge risk when the americans went in there to carry out this raid, that that would happen. it is the middle of the civil war. that village is right behind the front lines. they have been receiving rocket fire, mortar fire from their opponents in the civil war in the days and weeks before the raid. of course it was the resumption that their village was being rebels by the houthi whom they have been fighting for so long. so every man within hearing distance of gunfire came running. i spoke to a man who drove 45 minutes from his neighboring village when he got the call to come and help defend his neighbor's area. so i think the risks of the navy seals was massive before they even went in there. from knowledge within the village, they were in fact coming as well. reasons, theose navy seals being put under huge amount of risk, and it was
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highly likely somebody -- one of their team was going to get killed, not to mention the fact they inevitably got pinned down by fire and then had to call in air support and basically decimate the entire village in order to be able to extract themselves safely from that situation. from what i saw and talking to people, most of that was predictable before they even went in there. nermeen: iona craig, as you report in the piece, sean spicer said the purpose of the raid was intelligence gathering and not specifically targeting anyone. and that initially, the u.s. central command posted a video backing spicer's lane, but a video was subsequently removed what was proven it was 10 years old. >> two things on that front. from what i was told and in addition to statements appears to have come out from the
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military since then, they were going after the leader of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. is extremely unlikely they would have been carrying out such a high risk mission in order to gather laptops, cell phones, or intelligence as they suggest. he was not in the village. in fact, released an audio statement mocking both trump and the raids several days later. although, there were some low-level al qaeda militants there and what particular house, because of the situation of how the navy seals came under fire, that house was bombed by an airstrike before the seals could get into it. whatever intelligence they claim to have gather from there would have come from other buildings where there were no al qaeda militants present. that video you mentioned, it would it was first posted, was labeled as al qaeda arabian peninsula video of how to make bombs. as you say, it turned out was 10 years old and have been already
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available on the internet. 10 yearsnot even exist ago as it does now. so to release the video was kind of -- if that is the best of the intelligence that came out of there, then it seems that was a very high risk undertaking for very little gain if that is the best they can show for it. as i mentioned, certainly, the people i spoke to on the ground when i asked about what house is the navy seals got into or perhaps access to the dead bodies who may have been carrying that say cell phones or electrical equipment, they could not even clarify to me that the navy seals had got inside buildings or had actually had access to the dead. they cannot say either way because of the chaos of the situation in a it was extremely dark and they did not have night vision goggles like the navy seals would have. think that is highly disputed, that intelligence. it certainly, some of the claims
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being made over the last few days that the whole laptop and was linked to intelligence gathering from the yemen raid do not add up at all from what i have seen being written in the media on that. amy: iona craig earlier this month, amnesty international urged trump to block future arms sales in a writing -- "arming the saudi arabia and bahrain governments risks complicity with war crimes, and doing so while simultaneously banning travel to the u.s. from yemen would be even more unconscionable." front page story in the "new times" -- quickly talkry about the role of u.s. weapons in these conflicts? >> in yemen, it is huge. u.s. is the biggest exporter to saudi arabia and it is big business for the u.s.
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we don't the majority of civilian casualties in the war in yemen have been caused by saudi-led airstrikes. the u.s. has a huge influence over this. those precision guided weapons were suspended at the end of last year and now we're looking at a resumption of that, where the u.s. does have influence over saudi arabia come and not just over saudi arabia, but also the continuation of this war for the weapons that it sells to them and to the adjustable support against the saudi-led coalition in the terms of refueling and targets as well. peopleorrying for those and campaigners who have been trying to prevent the cell -- sale of weapons. there are indications those weapons may be sold under commercial terms rather than under military, which also been does not attach the same and use issues with them. there is not so much scrutiny with the use of those weapons in
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a warlike yemen. that is also deeply concerning. we are now at a stage where the attempt should be made to deescalate the conflict, all indications are now that the war in yemen will be escalated by the activities of u.s. government. nermeen: one last, very quickly, as we said in our introduction, there have been more airstrikes carried out since the start of 2017 then there were in all of 2016. but you pointed out in a recent interview there were more run strikes in yemen over the space were inurs then there all of 2016. were in all of 2016. >> those airstrikes have been in several provinces
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in the last 24 hours, and also earlier on in march. it is not just the surge at the beginning of march where we saw that 36 hours of airstrikes happening very rapidly, but that has been a continuation as well now. as i say, it is not just run strikes, it is airstrikes from fighter jets and also coming from the scene. amy: iona craig, thank you for being with us, freelance journalist who was based in san'a for years. thanks for joining us. when we come back, the u.s. is leading the boycott of u.n. talks on a nuclear ban. we will find out why. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,
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democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we turn now to historic debate at the united nations. some 120 countries gather this week to draft a treaty to ban nuclear weapons. the united states did not take heart. in fact, the u.s. led a boycott of the talks. this is u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley. >> you are going to see a list 40 countries that are not in the general assembly today, and that is 40 countries that are saying in this day and time, we would love to have a ban on nuclear weapons. but in his day and time, we cannot honestly say we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them. amy: u.s. ambassador to the u.n. nikki haley was joined by envoys from britain, france, albania, and south korea in opposing the u.n. talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty. russia and china have also declined to participate in the conference. we are joined now by zia mian, physicist, nuclear expert, and disarmament activist.
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co-director of the program on science and global security at the woodrow wilson school of public and international affairs at princeton university. he is co-author of "unmaking the bomb: a fissile material approach to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation." what is happening here? why is the u.s. leading this boycott? >> the news is not that the u.s. is leading a boycott, the news the united states was not going to participate and it has been trying to force its nuclear nato allies also to not participate, the news is that after 70 years, the vast majority of countries in the world have decided that had enough of waiting for the united states and the other countries with nuclear weapons to keep the promise that they would get rid of nuclear weapons and said, enough is enough. we're now going to create an international treaty that will ban nuclear weapons and you're going to be nuclear outlaws. you're going to have to deal with this new reality. nermeen: how do these nations come together now? >> it has taken years and years
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of effort to build the kind of coalition that it has taken to bring a resolution to the united nations last year, in which 123 countries voted in support of the beginning of talks. the united states tried actively to block that resolution being passed. it sent a classified memo to all of the nato allies that u.s. protect circuits nuclear weapons saying, don't support this resolution of the united nations. if the resolution passes, do not go or else. it was actively threatening its own allies to make sure they would not participate because they know in many of the countries in europe, in particular in countries like japan which are protected by u.s. nuclear weapons, public opinion and many parliaments are actually in favor of joining the process to ban nuclear weapons. it has taken a lot of effort by the u.s. to keep them out of the process.
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saying, had nikki haley sure, i would like a nuclear ban, but what about north korea? what has to happen? >> you cannot wait for the worst actors in the world before you pass laws about what is right and wrong. if that was the way the world worked, we would never have ban ned slavery. if you had to wait for slaveowners to agree that slavery is bad. they're laying down a market come just like we did with chemical weapons, biological weapons, landmines, cluster munitions, and creating the laws of war that simple human a terry and principles apply. there are limits on what states are allowed to do no matter what. you don't commit genocide. you don't use chemical weapons, biological weapons, and you should not use nuclear weapons. we're going to pass a law that says having nuclear weapons and threatening to use it clear weapons and using nuclear weapons is forbidden under international law. if you're going to keep your weapons, then you will be on the outside of what the international community
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considers what is acceptable. nermeen: what about other nuclear weapons states? did the issue any statement about why they would not participate? >> them not said why they would not participate, but what happened when the u.n. was passing the resolution last are that the u.s. try to block, was that china and india and pakistan abstained. they did not vote no, unlike the united states and russia and britain and so on. atre was a possibility that some stage in the future, they may think about joining the negotiations, even if they're not ready right now to sign the treaty. it is hard to imagine countries like china, which have 250 nuclear weapons, are going to agree on a process to ban nuclear weapons were the u.s., which has 7000 nuclear weapons, is going to sit outside this treaty falls of amy: president trump has proposed cutting the budgets of the nih, the same time proposed boosting federal spending in the production of nuclear weapons by more than $1 billion. your final response? >> the trump administration is
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planned to increase spending is in line with what president obama's administration was doing. there is a shared commitment by the u.s. policy making process on spending $1 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize the nuclear weapons, the submarines, the bombers, and every part of the nuclear weapons production complex to get ready for 100 more years of nuclear weapons. this is part of what this u.n. process is joined to block them at which is that we are not willing to live with nuclear weapons for another 100 years. amy: we will do part two of our conversation and post it online as a web exclusive at democracynow.org. zia mian physicist, nuclear , expert, and disarmament activist. co-director of the program on science and global security at the woodrow wilson school of public and international affairs at princeton university. he is author of the book "unmaking the bomb: a fissile , material approach to nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation." that does it for our broadcast.
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on this episode of "eat! drink! italy!" i go to tuscany to learn how to make a great whole-wheat pasta. tony verdoni and i help demystify aged grappa, a surprising alternative to cognac. and i'm in friuli, to help make a very local and delicious delicacy. my name is vic rallo, and i love to eat and drink italy. follow me and i'll prove it. "eat! drink! italy!" is brought to you by wine enthusiast, magazine and catalog, for wine storage, glassware, and accessories. the asaro line of sicilian extra-virgin and organic extra-virgin olive oils, tomatoes, olives, and more. from the asaro family to yours. martin-scott wines,

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