tv Democracy Now PBS March 31, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
03/31/17 03/31/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy:from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> in addition to what we know, in a full accounting must find out what if any contacts, communications, or connections occur between russia and those associated with the campaigns themselves. i will not prejudge the outcome of our investigation. we are seeking to determine if , but is an actual fire there is clearly a lot of smoke. amy: 10 weeks ago today, president trump was sworn in as the 45th president. he faces a growing crisis today over allegations his campaign colluded with russia ahead of the 2016 election.
this comes as his former national security advisor michael flynn is reportedly seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony to the fbi and congressional investigators. we will speak with professor robert david english, who wrote a piece for foreign affairs. then u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson is meeting with nato after his visit to turkey yesterday, despite concerns turkey is sliding toward a dictatorship. >> i am deeply honored and proud as a representative of the american people to pay my respects to the turkish nation and to this great leader. amy: finally, our immigration agents targeting a document it organizers for their political work? that is the question many are asking after three prominent immigrant rights activists in vermont were jailed by ice. we speak with two of them after their release. i am sure they sought me out
because of the work i am doing to defend human rights, and not for anything else. what they wanted to do was get into the community and intimidate us that way. amy:ll that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. donald trump's former national security advisor michael flynn is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony to the fbi and congressional investigators probing the trump campaign's alleged ties to russia. that's according to the "wall street journal." nine in a statement flynn's lawyer , thursday saying -- "general flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit."
general flynn was fired from his cabinet post in february for failing to disclose talks with russia's ambassador before trump took office. he's also accused of being paid $65,000 by companies linked to russia in 2015. flynn's bid for immunity follows his remarks last september blasting clinton campaign staffers for accepting immunity in exchange for their testimony to the fbi about clinton's use -- hillary clinton's use of a private email server. >> five people around her have been given immunity, to include her former chief of staff. when you're given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime. amy: news of flynn's bid for immunity came as the senate intelligence committee opened hearings on russia's role in the thursday 2016 election and its alleged ties to the trump campaign. this is virginia democrat mark warner, vice-chair of the committee. >> in addition to what we already know, any full accounting mt also find out
what if any contacts, communications, or connections occurred between russia and those associated with the campaigns themselves. i will not prejudge the outcome of our investigation. we are seeking to determine if , but is an actual fire there is clearly a lot of smoke. amy: thursday's hearing focused less on the trump campaign's alleged dealings with russia and more on how russia used what one lawmaker described as propaganda on steroids to influence the election and to undermine the u.s. media. meanwhile, the "new york times" reports two white house officials met secretly with republican house intelligence chair devin nunes last week on the white house grounds to show him secret u.s. intelligence reports. nunes said the documents indicated trump or his associates might have been incidentally swept up in surveillance carried out by american spy agencies as they conducted foreign surveillance. on the day after the secret meeting, nunes, who served on
trump's transition team, held a news trump's transition team, -- held a news conference and then traveled back to the white house to supposedly brief the president about the documents the president's own staff had given him. on thursday, the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee, california's adam schiff, responded to the revelations about the documents shown to nunes. >> erased the profound question why they were not directly provided to the white house by the national security staff and instead were provided through a sick -- route including the chairman. if that was designed to hide the origin of the materials, that raises profound questions about just what the white house is doing. amy: nunes is facing increasing calls to recuse himself from the house intelligence probe. we will have more on the investigation into alleged ties between trump officials and russia after the headlines. secretary of state rex tillerson is in brussels today for talks with nato officials, one week
after reversing a decision to skip the negotiations. the nato trip comes on the heels of tillerson's visit to turkey, where he heaped praise on turkish president recep tayyip erdogan. >> in the united states, the people of turkey have a trusted ally and a partner who is committed to its safety and security and advancing economic opportunity. we look for to approaching these challenges together, and the trump administration will continue to build ties with this long-standing ally and our friend. amy: tillerson's praise for turkey comes as the nation is set to hold a referendum on a constitutional overhaul that would give sweeping powers to president erdogan and extend his presidency to 2029. the measure would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials, and dissolve parliament.
in north carolina, republican lawmakers moved rapidly thursday to repeal hb2, the so-called bathroom bill, replacing it with a measure that lgbtq groups blasted as wholly inadequate. under house bill 142, transgender people will be able to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. but the law prohibits municipal governments from enacting anti-discrimination ordinances through 2020, and denies employment and housing protections to the lgbtq community. democratic governor roy cooper quickly signed the legislation thursday, calling it an imperfect deal. >> in a perfect world with a good general assembly, we would fullyepealed house bill 2 today and added full statewide protections for north carolinians. unfortunately, our super majority republican legislature will not pass these protections. amy: in a statement, mara
keisling of the national center for transgender equality said -- "the story of hb2 and its disastrous consequences started with former governor mccrory, but the way it continues is on governor cooper's shoulders. unfortunately, his decision to sign hb 142 today was a turn in the wrong direction." the north carolina governor's signature came on thursday's deadline, set by the ncaa, for the repeal of hb2. the collegiate sports association said its governing board was reviewing the new law and would soon decide whether to extend a boycott of tournaments worth billions of dollars to north carolina's economy. president trump is scheduled to sign a pair of executive orders today. one aims to establish a commission to study the causes of u.s. trade deficits. the other is aimed at tightening anti-dumping laws that restrict foreign manufacturers from undercutting the prices of u.s. goods. the orders are largely aimed at china, and come as the white house announced president trump will host chinese president xi
jinping next thursday and friday at trump's resort in mar-a-lago, florida. the meeting is unlikely to include any tee time on trump's mar-a-lago golf course. as president, xi has closed over golf courses across china, where 100 the communist party officially bans its members from playing the game. president donald trump lashed out thursday at right-wing publicans who voted against his healthcare legislation, saying he was prepared to support primary challengers to house freedom caucus members in next year's midterm elections. in a tweet, trump wrote -- "the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. we must fight them, & dems, in 2018!" on capitol hill, house speaker paul ryan said he was sympathetic to trump's view. >> look, i understand the president's frustration. i she frtratn.
abt 90of o conrence is andthis bill to repeal replacobamacare. about 10% are not. that is not enough to pass a bill. we are close. amy: members of the freedom caucus shot back at trump. they accused him of siding with the d.c. establishment and failing on a campaign pledge to drain the swamp in washington. on capitol hill, vice president mike pence cast a tie-breaking vote in the senate thursday to undo a rule set by president obama prenti stas fr withholdg feral funds women's health clinics that provide abortions. all but two republicans, susan collins of maine and lisa lisaski of alaska, -- murkowski of alaska, voted in favor of the measure, but few republicans joined senate debate over the rule change. this is democratic senator patty murray of washington. >> the silence of most all meals to make it harder for women to get the health care they need. not one spoke today to justify this vote. where are thoseepublican
senators, mr. president? why did they feel so entitled, not just to interfere with women's health good decisions, but to do so without explaining themselves. amy: in iowa, republican state lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. during a house committee debate wednesday, republican shannon lundgren answered "yes" when asked if the legislation would require a woman to carry a dead fetus to term if she miscarries after 20 weeks. iowa's house republican caucus later said lundgren misspoke and that the bill allows for an abortion under such circumstances. meanwhile, in arkansas, a bill signed into law wednesday by governor asa hutchinson will require doctors to try to interrogate patients about the sex of their fetus before they're allowed to have an abortion. doctors will also need to attempt to obtain a woman's medical records before proceeding. the law is ostensibly aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions, but pro-choice groups say it's aimed at adding more obstacles to abortions.
in pakistan, a blast tore through a mosque today in a remote part of the countries northwest or the afghanistan border. of attack killed scores people and left 60 others wounded. there was no immediate claim of responsibility, though past attacks by sunni extremists have targeted shia worshipers in the region. venezuela supreme court says it will take legislative power away from congress, ruling late wednesday that opposition lawmakers are contempt of court for swearing in three lawmakers banned over charges of voter fraud. the ruling consolidated president nicolas maduro's grip on power and drew outrage from opposition lawmakers. in caracas, the president of the national assembly, julio borges, tore up a copy of the supreme court's order, calling it trash. >> it is a coup in every possible way. it is a dictatorship, in the entire world needs to help venezuela right now. sound the alarm in every democratic nation of the world.
amy: opposition parties are planning mass street demonstrations across venezuela this weekend to protest the court's ruling. the head of the organization of american states called the ruling a self-inflicted coup. the ruling comes as venezuela grapples with a high inflation and deep recession, which has led to shortages of food, medicine and other necessary , goods. in south korea, ousted president park geun-hye was arrested friday and jailed while she awaits trial on charges of bribery, extortion, and abuse of power. park was removed from office earlier this month after an impeachment fight that spawned massive protests across south korea. and washington, d.c., police have charged two members of an anti-arab extremist group with hate crimes after they were captured on video brutally beating a palestinian-american school teacher. the assault occurred last outside a conference center aipac, the american
israeli public affairs committee was holding its annual meeting. , in the video, members of the jdl, the jewish defense league, are seen waving yellow flags as they surround 55-year-old kamal nayfeh before kicking and punching and beating him with a flagpole. the assault left nayfeh hospitalized with a badly bloodied eye. the southern poverty law center says the jdl has a history of bombings and was a classified as a right-wing terrorist group by the fbi. in the israeli-occupied west bank, palestinian scoring rocks clashed with israeli soldiers thursday for respondent with volleys of tear gas and rubber coated bullets. the protest came on land day, marking the 1976 killing of six palestinians protesting the israeli confiscation of arab land. this is a palestinian activist. land day should be like this, resistance against the settlers,
resistance against occupation. they tried to arrest to protesters, but we were able to arrest them. land day defense a land. it is about planting and resistance. as israelcomes security cabinet vote in late s first new settlement in the occupied west bank in over two decades. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. 10 weeks ago today, president trump was sworn in as the nation's 45th president. today he is facing a growing , crisis over allegations his campaign colluded with russia ahead of the 2016 election. on thursday, there were a number of developments. trump's former national security adviser, general michael flynn, is seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his testimony to the fbi and congress. flynn was fired from his cabinet post in february for failing to disclose talks with russia's ambassador before trump took office. flynn is also accused of being paid $65,000 by companies linked
to russia in 2015. meanwhile, the "new york times" has revealed one of flynn's former aides was one of two white house officials to secretly meet with republican house intelligence chair devin nunes last week on the white house grounds to show him secret u.s. intelligence reports. nunes said the documents indicated trump or his associates might have been incidentally swept up in surveillance carried out by u.s. spy agencies as they conducted foreign surveillance. on the day after the secret meeting, nunes, who served on trump's transition team, held a press conference and then traveled back to the white house to supposedly brief the president about the documents the president's own staff had given him. "the new york tis" identified nunes' sources as ezra cohen-watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the national security council who once worked for michael flynn, and michael ellis, a lawyer in white house counsel's office who was previously counsel to nune'' committee. while nunes is now facing calls to recuse himself from the house
intelligence probe into trump's ties to russia, the senate intelligence committee held its first public hearing thursday on the issue. the hearing focused less on the trump campaign's alleged dealings with russia and more on how russia used what one lawmaker described as propaganda on steroids to influence the election and to undermine the u.s. media. during the hearing democrat , senator mark warner said -- "we are seeking to determine if there is an actual fire, but so far there is a great, great deal of smoke." to talk more about these developments and what it means for u.s.-russian relations, we are joined now by robert david english, a professor of international relations at university of southern california. he recently wrote a piece for foreign affairs called, "russia, trump, and a new detente." professor english is the author of "russia and the idea of the west." professor english, talk about what is happening right now in washington, d.c. >> i cannot speak in great .etail about the allegations
trump administration officials had improper ties or colluded with the russian government or russian intelligence in meddling in the election. i await these investigations in washington turning serious. so far as one of your commenters said, there is more smoke than fire and we see the committee members fighting with each other and a lot of partisanship in washington, so we're not any closer to the truth. what is distressing and concerning is this is a show instead of a serus discussion of u.s.-russian relations, and how we might improve them. things that candidate trump, back when he was the candidate for president and campaigning, fairly reasonably outlined that he sought better relations, that the u.s. and russia could cooperate on a broad range of issues, and essentially that we would meet them halfway. this is now vanished in this political haze and infighting in washington.
have -- in the committee's opening remarks, mark warner saying russia sought to hijack our democratic process . he described it as russian propaganda on steroids designed to poison the national conversation in america. your response? >> i think that is somewhat overstated. based on what we know publicly, at least, again, what do we have? we have the hacking into the to credit national committee and release of some emails that contain nothing classified. but were embarrassing because they exposed some kind of internal corruption or misdeeds in the democratic party. we also have, of course, what he is going propaganda on steroids. that would be russian state tv, rt networks as well as various internet sources, that
certainly, our propagandistic. the problem for me in warner's remarks committees vehicles reach so few people. school or snow the television market. same with the others. this kind of propaganda can be as high on steroids as it wants to be, it is just not having much impact. i wish the committees would get past this rehashing of what has are ready been set a dozen times in various intelligence reports and exaggerated and get to the heart of the matter. was there illegal collusion? was the cooperation between the trump administration, campaign, or future officials and the russian government? right now it is sort of a lot of and inflaming smoke, but still very little fire. amy: i want to turn to comments by florida republican senator marco rubio who revealed during
thursday's senate intelligence committee hearing that he was the target of russian hacks. he and his former presidential staff. shortly after i announced i would seek reelection to the united states senate, former members of my presidential campaign team who had access to the internal information of my presidential campaign were targeted by ip addresses within a known location within russia. that effort was unsuccessful. i would inform the committee in the last 24 hours, 10:45 a.m. yesterday, a second attempt was formergain, against members of my presidential campaign team who had access to , again,rnal information targeted from an ip address from an unknown location and russia. that effort was also unsuccessful. amy: professor robert david english, can you comment on this? >> know, i cannot possibly know
what that consisted of. it may be true. there are a lot of explanations for false flags or ip addresses that leave a trail in one place when it is coming from another. inon't know what information marco rubio see no or those of his staff would be of interest to this or that hacker. i sadly cannot comment on the details -- i simply cannot comment on the details. if it is part of a broad pattern, of course it is disturbing. turn the election. it was one of many factors. maybe this is a moment. maybe the real conclusion here is, let's step back and consider russia meddling and our politics and our meddling in their politics of which there is also plenty. and address the sort of brave new world of cyber threats and this kind of intersection of propaganda and news, public
affairs, secrecy surveillance, in a more comprehensive way. we have the best cyber war capabilities in the world. believe me, we are not pure as well. as far as rubio, who knows? havef these investigations to get to some substance and not just momentary allegations. ,my: let me go to general flynn the former national security advisor. his bid for immunity following his remarks last september blasting clinton campaign staffers for accepting immunity in exchange for their testimony to the fbi about hillary clinton's use of a private emails server. >> people around her have been given immunity to include her former chief of staff. when you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime. amy: also at one of donald trump's campaign rallies, trump himself referred to claims clinton a been granted immunity by saying "the reason they get immunity is because they did something wrong. ifhey did not do anything wrong, they don't think in terms
of immunity." flynn significance of appealing for immunity, if he is to speak to congress or the fbi, and what you think what he has to say and then we will talk about this bigger picture of what a number of people are calling russian hysterics. >> i can't possibly know. we cannot know what it is a general flynn may be worried he would be liable a prosecution for. based on what is publicly available, likely as not, it has to do with moneys he received, consulting fees, payments for appearances from russian state television or for other services. as it does to sort of political collusion. we know he was a guest of russian state television and had given various addresses, received various consulting fees. it could simply have to do with improper use of money. again, how can i possibly know?
what would really matter to us is if there was what some suspect collusion, right, that the trump campaign people, future in ministration officials like flynn, new about the you know hacking, actually coordinated in the release of those enough to maximally embarrass hillary clinton and took the campaign. that is the smoking gun. that is the real crime if it is there. if there was improper use of money, you know, if paul manafort, if you worked or others took fees for consulting for some shady oligarchs, that is a different matter already. that says a lot like halliburton and other oil many in the george w. bush administration. not nice, but not extraordinary. the political collusion that we cannot know about that is the real bombshell, is indeed, it exists. amy: professor, you wrote "russia, trump, and a new detente." you start by saying, in his
first press conference, donald trump said no fewer than seven times it would be positive, good, even great if "we could get a long with russia." you say, in fact, for all of the confusions of his policies toward china, europe, in the middle east, he is enunciated a three-part division with russia which contrasts strongly with most of the u.s. political elite. can you talk right now as we , rex tillerson, former ceo of exxonmobil, now secretary of state, is in brussels for a major nato meeting. he honest was not there. it was announced he would not be attending nato, but would be going later in the month to meet with russian officials. that disturbed many and so he ended up in brussels. at the significance of nato, donald trump's relationship with nato, and what the u.s.-russia relationship can be that you perceive? >> there is a lot in that question.
onin, i cannot comment whether he went to moscow first or brussels first and exactly what secretary tillerson is planning. my larger point was, in simple terms, trump had said -- again, i outline it very simply -- three things that made sense with regard to russia. right? that the bad relations we have right now that we've had for some years are not solely russia's fault, but u.s. mistakes have played into it as well. that is first. second, he consequently should meet russia halfway. and thirdly, that if we do so, then there is a great possibility of cooperation that will benefit both parties come a that will benefit the entire world if we can cooperate on issues such as fighting terrorism, a transition in syria, de-escalating conflict in ukraine in central europe, possibly even cooperating on the arctic where very intriguingly, president putin of russia
yesterday seem to propose a meeting in helsinki in may with donald trump. kind of a summit centered around the arctic council. my way of thinking, that would be a great venue for a fresh start. but we're not going to get there so long as we have -- we continue to fight internally over who knew what, who took what in theo did campaign period. we need to get that out there stop we need these investigations to get to the heart of the matter and not see congressmen and women fighting with each other. and then move past. take whatever corrective or punitive action is necessary. but then get on with foreign policy and not fighting about foreign policy. amy: professor english, you write few russian surrender this corruption humiliation have much to the four u.s. anger over russian meddling in the 2016 election. with any perspective on the 1990's, it is hard to fault them. can you elaborate on what the u.s. has done in russia?
>> sure. now we're going back 20 years or more. but what i wrote in part about in that article was if we want to understand russia's point of view, president putin and those around him, and of course we do, whether or not we agree with it, we need to understand how our adversaries see us, how all other nations see ushrough their eyes. and if we do that, we realized very quickly that their frame of reference has a lot to do with u.s.istakes and, yes, the interference in russian politics in the 1990's when we directly intervened in a presidential election to boost a losing candidate into a winning position, that was boris yelton. and even earlier when we meddled a parliamentary elections and constitutional referendum. one way or the other, the u.s. interfering role in russian politics at that crucial
junction in the 1990's that is far greater than what the russians are alleged to have done now in the 2016 election. two wrongs do not make a right, but we need to understand why putin and whether political elite in moscow kind of sees us acting under a double standard in a lot of the progress he. when we object to their meddling in our elections. amy: professor robert david english, thank you for being with us, professor of international relations at university of southern california. we will link to your piece in foreign affairs "russia, trump, , and a new detente." professor english is the author of "russia and the idea of the west." stateed to secretary tillerson in brussels today at nato having just come from turkey. many are concerned turkey is -- with its new referendum, is leading to dictatorship.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. state rex tillerson is in brussels for major meeting on nato. the meeting follows tillerson's visit to turkey yesterday where he tried to bolster relations with turkey come despite concerns it is sliding towards a dictatorship. so far during his trip, tillerson has made no mention of mass arrests of protesters, a purge of opponents that followed last year's failed coup attempt, and a crackdown on the news media.
tillerson's visit comes as turkey continues to express frustration over u.s. support for kurdish forces in syria and iraq, at the same time it says kurdish militants are waging an insurgency inside turkey. this is tillerson speaking yesterday in ankara. >> the united states and turkey share many broad goals for the region. reducing iran's ability to disrupt the region, finding a settlement in syria that allows syrians to return home, and supporting iraqis to build a strong and independent and inclusive government in baghdad. in the united states, the people of turkey have a trusted ally and a partner who is committed to its safety and security and advancing economic opportunity. we look forward to approaching these challenges together and the trump administration will continue to build ties with this long-standing ally and our friend.
amy: tillerson's trip to turkey comes as an executive of the country's state-run bank was accused in the united states of conspiring with a turkish gold trader to evade u.s. sanctions on iran. the banker may have ties to the turkish cleric fethullah gulen, who lives in exile in pennsylvania and is blamed by the turkish president tayyip erdogan for the failed coup. erdogan has pushed to have gulen extradited. back in turkey, u.s. officials say tillerson met with the wife of an american pastor who has been jailed since september on terrorism charges related to his alleged links to gulen. meanwhile, on april 14, turkey is set to hold a referendum on a constitutional overhaul that would give sweeping powers to president erdogan and extend his presidency to 2029. the measure would enable the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, appoint ministers and top state officials and dissolve , parliament. erdogan became president in 2014 after over serving a decade as prime minister. turkey is also in a dispute with germany and the netherlands over their refusal to allow campaign
appearances by turkish officials seeking to raise support for the referendum among turks who live there. nearly 1.5 million turks who live in germany can vote on the measure. erdogan has called the dutch "modern-day nazis" and accused germany's chancellor of islamophobia and harboring terrorists. on several thousand people, saturday, including kurdish protesters, joined a rally in switzerland's capital, bern, calling for a no vote on the referendum. protests were also held over the weekend in germany. on sunday, erdogan lashed out at the protesters. >> we call the turkish republic dictator. they're annoyed when we call them fascists and nazis. are you the one drawing swastikas on the walls of our mosques? amy: for more, we go to washington, d.c., where we are joined by kani xulam, director of the american kurdish information network. welcome back to democracy now!
can you talk about tillerson's visit in the midst of these mass protests around the world on the referendum erdogan is pushing that would give him enormously expanded power and enormously extended reign as president of turkey? >> tillerson went to turkey to base can bee air used against the islamic state. but turkey has a different agenda. turkey once the cleric in pennsylvania to be extradited, and turkey wants u.s. not to join forces with fighters inside syria against the islamic state. tillerson says, you know, we want to fight against daesh, i sis, what economic progress in turkey, what stability. the problem in turkey is, as it was once put, for our country to endure, doesn't just need commer and security.
it also needs civic for a trinity. and turkey does not have that. you have turkey at war with one quarter of its population called kurds. since the coup attempt, turkey has dismissed over 130,000 people from their jobs and filled over 6300 academics that have been dismissed from their jobs, 50 universities have enclosed. turkey now has more than half of the worlds journalists in jail. tillerson did not even bring these things up. interestingly, tillerson, to say the least, greatly reduced power as a u.s. secretary of state. has appliedpartment a president trump's proposal to cut the state department. it still is messages are important from today and nato to yesterday in turkey. you mentioned ypg.
for people who are not familiar with turkish kurdish politics, explain what you are talking about in syria with the u.s. working with kurdish forces to defeat ices, something erdogan is not very happy about. >> ypg is a kurdish militia that is part of or the backbone of the syrian democratic forces. that the u.s. has found to be the most effective boots on the ground against the islamic cutthroats. turkey has allowed its border to be used as a way station for 35,000 foreign fighters to cross it into syria with the hopes of toppling al-assad, with the hopes of turning it into a satellite state. the plan did not work out. then there was this monstrosity called the islamic state, and u.s. found out that turkey was not really serious. freey was supporting
syrian army, whose forces are -- and then ices fighters shout. you cannot have two groups fighting each other claiming god is great. the u.s. physically found out you cannot really accomplish this goal. the ypg is fighting and is because daesh islamic state has been kidnapping kurdish women, selling them as sex slaves. for the kurds, it is an existential war. the u.s., to its credit, during obama supported them, during trump the support level has gone up, actually. and was -- wants the islamic state to be destroyed and thinks ypg is a force to do it. amy: and this referendum, what it would mean for erdogan in increasing his power? >> for example, there are 28 important judges. erdogan would be appointing 18
of them in the remaining would be appointed by parliament. if erdogan doesn't like the parliament, he can run the country by decree. for example, erdogan would have the power over the budget process. erdogan would basically be a an absolute ruler. if the opposition doesn't like him, the parliament does not like him, he could just dissolve it. amy: very quickly, we have 30 seconds, can you talk about the case of the kurdish artist arrested last week for her or art -- for her art? >> last year the city was totally destroyed. the turkish military took a photo of it, almost like an aerial photo, and this -- issued it on it twitter feed. this woman downloaded it and then made a painting of it.
then put it on her instagram. guess what, the judge just gave her two years -- two years, 10 months, 22 days in jail for making propaganda. this is a picture they took. she just simply painted it. for that, now she is in jail. amy: we have to leave it there, but we will continue to follow all of this. kani xulam, director of the american kurdish information network. thank you for joining us. when we come back, we speak to two immigrant justice activist in vermont who were just released after more than a week held by ice in jail. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. are immigration agents targeting undocumented organizers for their political work? that's the question many are asking after three prominent immigrant rights activists in vermont were jailed by ice in what local organizers are calling a clear case of political retaliation. 24-year-old enrique balcazar and 23-year-old zully palacios were freed on monday after spending 11 days in jail. both are leaders of the group migrant justice. they were arrested by undercover ice agents in burlington, vermont, earlier this month as they were leaving the migrant justice office. balcazar, who is known as kike, serves on vermont attorney general t.j. donovan's immigration task force, which was created to respond to the trump administration's
immigration policies. a third activist with migrant justice, 23-year-old cesar alex carrillo, remains jailed. he was arrested by ice outside a courthouse two days before zully and kike were arrested. in a moment, we'll go to boston tuesday quit their lawyer matt cameron. but first, let's turn hear from kike and zully themselves. on thursday, i sat down with them two days after they returned home to vermont. i began by asking zully palacios about how long she spent in jail. >> 11 days. of my the 11 longest days life. i will never forget it. amy: can you describe the conditions of your detention? where you are held the longest and what it was like in that jail? methe first time they took to the jail in vermont, it is a beingwhere no human should be because you're
completely enclosed. it was a very small space. and it was practically torture. psychological torture. i had no contact with anyone. i was there by myself. just me and the darkness. it was horrible. i could hear the doors slamming all of the time. i could not see the other prisoners. i was without communication of any type. kike, your held separately from zully? >> yes, unfortunately, it was an ,ttack against the communities the new administration of donald trump. he is really attacking the immigrant communities. what happened to zully and myself and alex, who is still in gel, was a very sad experience. the way they are persecuted in the community and people who have no criminal records who are
merely defending our rights, we believe in the values of the united states. we believe in this country, and we have a beautiful community in the states. from the moment they detained us, we were very nervous. we at no idea what was happening . at first, we did not know who these people were. we were terrorized, really. then they separated us. swanton,6 hours in where i had no contact. they would not let me make any phone calls until i could finally contact my lawyer after demanding it. i was not able to get through to him. everything we went through there was very sad for zully and myself. it was basically torture for us. it is really said what they're doing to innocent people there. amy: can you talk, kike, about the milk with dignity campaign that you cofounded two years ago? how are you organizing? what have you been organizing around in vermont?
>> in vermont, there is a united community. we work and the dairy industry, and we know they are all over the world, violations of human rights. things we really do not want to endure. so we organize and we meet in the community, talk about the problems we are facing and issues of health and so on. so now we are in a campaign which started based on community priorities after having had meetings and doing inquiries in community. about -- we created the milk with dignity campaign, which is the guarantee of our human rights. to get human rights for dairy workers. in terms of wages, workers and living conditions. we do hold the big companies responsible because they are getting rich off of us. immigrants in that state. amy: one of the companies that
you have targeted is ben & jerry's based in vermont. what has been their response and what are you demanding of them? >> after we learned about the successful model of the program in florida, which guarantees human rights, which has won human rights for the workers, we identified with that. so we were able to identify the big companies in vermont. then injuries is a big company. an ice cream company. it was founded in vermont and known all over the world. they have a philosophy of social justice. which is good. but there were no protections for dairy workers. people working with cattle. so two years ago, we started talking with them and we had a
meeting. in the beginning, it was really difficult to get them to the table. we started talking about immigration, worker, and labor issues. eventually, we had a campaign where we got them to sign an agreement to make a program of human rights a reality. it took two years, and we were still negotiating. but we would like them to sign a contract with us and to finish this and guarantee our human rights in vermont. amy: do you feel, zully, your targeted because of your organizing or simply because you overstayed your visa in the
united states? i am sure that they sought me out because of the work i'm doing to defend human rights, and not for anything else. what they wanted to do was get into the communities and intimidate us that way, but they are not going to succeed. we will never stop defending human rights. amy: there is discussion in vermont of using prisoners to work on dairy farms is immigrants like yourselves are being targeted. can you respond to this? can you tell us what the situation is, kike? it is really sad. everything that this a administration has brought to the table. talking about having prisoners
work in the dairy farms is completely unjust to the people. they do not deserve that. that is labor exploitation. and that is returning us to the times of slavery. so when we talk about protecting people, we have been working for years to keep this industry completelyit is a unjust idea. amy: you are both now in removal seedings. will that affect your organizing in vermont while you remain free? let's begin with zully. earlier, this experience has made me stronger. working, keepp moving forward for all of us so that we can stay and be part of this community in the united states and this community and vermont.
it affects me, but in a positive way. i'm stronger for having been through this. i'm not afraid. and i feel stronger and i'm going to keep fighting until we win. amy: your feelings when you were freed, zully? >> i felt very happy at that moment to be able to see my friends again and see daylight again, but i also felt very sad -- in jail. i thought about all kinds of great people, innocent peoplewhs and months who don't know what is going to happen to them. so i felt sad for them because i got out, but they are still there. , i wished left there
they could have gone with me. so that makes me sad. i felt a mixture of sadness and happiness. because a lot of innocent people cannot see mothers their children and separating a family is terrible. they need to be free. amy: kike, if you could share your final message with people, especially other immigrants who might be watching and listening right now about what this means and how people can protect themselves yucca also, if you could comment on the solidarity that was expressed in your cases, both for you who are both freed, you and zully, and for alex who is still behind bars? first of all, i want to give
the number of ben & jerry's. we still have not signed an agreement with them. i invite everyone to call ben & jerry's and tell them that they have to sign that agreement for the dairy workers. i insist. 802-846-1500. so we would be a great show of solidarity with us if you would call ben & jerry's and tell them to sign an agreement with us. for my community come all over the country, fear is not an option. this administration is trying to for says back into the shadows. their intimidating people. they're trying to make police collaborate with immigration. it is completely unjust for us. so i ask the community, don't give into fear. let's not be afraid. let's defend our rights. we want to be part o this community all over the country and defend our rights always.
let's not lose faith. let's not lose hope. that is my message that i want to send to all of the latin americans all over the world. we are confronting very bad times in this country. and for sure, fear exists. but that inot a barrier for us defending our rights. amy: that is enrique balcazar, his nickname is kike, and zully palacios. we spoke to him on thursday, just days after they were freed monday after spending 11 days in jail. as we go right now to boston to speak with matt cameron, immigration attorney and managing partner of cameron law offices in boston. he's representing migrant justice organizers. matt welcome to democracy now! ,explain what they have been charged with ny cesar alex carrillo is still in jail.
amy: it is important understand current there is no crime here. they have been charged with respectively in zully cost case, overstaying a visa and kike plus case, being here without permission and the same with alex. alex does remain in jail with no bond due to a case that was dismissed in vermont. the vermont state's attorney's office did not seek the to and withheld prosecution that allowed him to go free. our government immediately picked them up and he was denied any -- any bond after that. of thelk about the cases three and their arrest. isaac spokesman said -- "ice does not target individuals based on political beliefs or activism. the reasons for the recent arrests in vermont have already been addressed publicly. on march 15, ice officers arrested a 23-year-old mexican national who was charged locally with a dui and self-admitted to federal authorities that he
unlawfully entered the united states. two days later, ice arrested a female foreign national who surpassed the duration of a lawful visit by nearly a year; and another individual who was with her in the vehicle at the time, and who also has an active immigration violation. these were lawful arrests and conducted completely within ice's legal authority under federal law." that is the statement of ice. matt cameron, if you could respond? ,> that is the statement of ice the deaf it's a long, long history of political targeting of noncitizens and these of the deportation system to achieve our ideological and political means. you can hear -- my clients are perfectly capable of advocating for themselves. what we heard is why they were in custody for 11 days, because of a very powerful message for their fellow workers, fellow undocumented, and for the country. i think that is what brought them to the writer of immigration. amy: can you say how this meshes with president trump saying he is going to go after drug gang
members and terrorists, and basically come as he says, bad hombres, but not talking about the status violations. >> in no way -- trump has broadened the enforcement priorities so they can catch anyone in the field they encounter, but i've seen the arrest reports and are the government's argument in court. these two were hunted down by immigration. this was a long investigation. they work surveilled, harassed, followed. they were arrested. there's a five page arrest detailing each. i don't understand how this is inappropriate use when they're and 12,000ce agents to 15,000 undocumented. why would you start with for mark farmworkers and especially those fighting for better working conditions and safety standards? amy: what tends to they have of remaining in the u.s. and alex getting out of an ice jail?
>> i don't what to comment too much on what is coming. we have a lot of questions the government needs to answer. alex qualifies for a marriage visa. he will have to go back to mexico to process that. it is a very long road. there's nothing quick about it. there's a misconception just because he is he a citizen wife and child it should be easy or fast, but that is not the case. amy: matt cameron, they contribute with us, immigration attorney in boston representing migrant justice organizers. this is democracy now! that does it for our broadcast. happy birthday to mike burke! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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