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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 17, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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04/17/17 04/17/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in syria and afghanistan. north korea would do well not to or the strength of the armed forces of the united states in this region. amy: vice president mike pence travels to the border of north and south korea as tensions escalate between washington and pyongyang. will anyone listen to china which is urging both sides to , de-escalate their rhetoric and actions? then to the state of arkansas. >> nobody in the modern history
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of the united states death penalty is attempted to carry out two sets of back-to-back executions within the same week, let alone four sets within the space of 11 days. amy: arkansas's plan to carry out an unprecedented series of executions has been thrown into chaos after a judge ruled friday to temporarily halt the state's plan to kill eight men over the next 11 days. the state have been rushing to carry out the killings before its execution drugs expired. we will get the latest. and we will look at rising in turkey where president tayyip erdogan has declared victory in a referendum to vastly expand his powers. but turkey's main opposition party says the results should be tossed out. they claim widespread fraud. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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vice president mike pence has made an unannounced visit to the demilitarized zone separating north and south korea following north korea's attempted missile launch and a massive military parade celebrating the birthday of the country's founder on saturday. speaking at the border, vice president pence warned that the u.s. will consider a military response to north korea and said the recent u.s. strikes in syria and afghanistan show the strength of president trump. gov. pence: since 1992, the united states and our allies have stood together for a dean incorrect korean peninsula. we hope to achieve this objective through peaceful means , but all options are on the table. weeks, the past two world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in syria and afghanistan. north korea would do well not to test his resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the united states in this region.
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amy: vice president pence's visit comes at a time when tension between the united states and north korea is quickly ratcheting up. a u.s. armada, including an aircraft carrier and multiple warships, has been deployed to the korean peninsula. last week, nbc news reported the trump administration is prepared to launch a preemptive attack on north korea if it proceeds toward a nuclear weapons test. hours before pence arrived in south korea, north korea attempted to test launch a new ballistic missile, but the test failed as the missile blew up almost immediately. it is unclear if the u.s. had any role in the missile's failure. the "new york times" reports the u.s. has a covert program to sabotage north korea's missile program using cyber and electronic strikes. north korea is vowing to retaliate against u.s. military aggression. this is the state-run television station reading a statement by the north korean army. >> the trump administration, which made a surprise graded cruise missile strike on syria april 6, has enter the path of
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open threat and blackmail. our toughest counteraction against the united states will be taken in such a merciless manner as to not to allow the aggressors to survive. amy: turkish president recep tayyip erdogan has claimed victory in sunday's referendum over whether to give sweeping powers to the president, even as the turkish opposition says they've received widespread complaints about voting fraud and that the referendum was held in an atmosphere of fear and repression. the referendum would allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to seize full control of the government, dissolving the post of prime minister and allow the president to issue decrees, declare emergency rule, and appoint ministers and top state officials. critics say the constitutional changes will allow erdogan to rule until at least 2029, if not longer, and could turn turkey into a dictatorship. on sunday, president erdogan announced the referendum had passed, even though all the votes had not been counted. a historicook
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decision on a 200-year-old discussion on its constitutional system. this decision is not an ordinary event. this is the day on which a very important decision on the constitution has been decided. amy: the electoral commission says support for referendum is currently leading 51 to 48%, with 99% of the votes counted. but the opposition says they've received thousands of reports of voter fraud, including some alleged instances caught on camera. thousands across turkey's mostly kurdish southeast were also unable to vote because they didn't have an address after having been displaced from their homes by the ongoing government offensive, which has destroyed whole villages. on monday, hundreds of opponents of the referendum marched through istanbul in protest, while in ankara, some residents spoke out about alleged voting fraud. >> almost feels like saying farewell to the republic system. i believe our votes are stolen. i think the electoral board's decision to count on stent yes votes.
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we all remain silent in the face of this. amy: we'll have more on the turkish referendum later in the broadcast. the syrian observatory for human rights says at least 126 people were killed, including 68 children, in a bomb attack targeting a convoy of busses filled with civilians being evacuated from besieged government-held areas near aleppo. no group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. the attack occurred during a planned evacuation in which thousands of civilians trapped in both rebel-held and government-held areas were supposed to be guaranteed safe passage out of the besieged towns. national security adviser general h.r. mcmaster met with afghan president ashraf ghani and other top afghan leaders in the country's capital kabul over the weekend, only days after the u.s. dropped its most powerful non-nuclear bomb on afghanistan. the attack was carried out with a 21,600-pound bomb called the massive ordnance air blast, or moab, nicknamed "the mother of all bombs." afghan officials say it killed
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nearly 100 isis militants when it was dropped on achin district in nangarhar province. the guardian reports, however, that parliamentarian from nangarhar says explosion killed at least to have civilians, a teacher and his young son. over the weekend, afghanistan's former president, hamid karzai, called president ashraf ghani a "traitor" for coordinating the attack with the u.s. military. he also criticized thursday's attack saying -- "this is not the war on terror, but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons." tens of thousands of people took to the streets nationwide on saturday's tax day to demand president trump release his tax returns. crowds gathered in more than a dozen cities from coast to coast, including washington d.c., new york city, chicago, seattle, and in south florida, where activists marched to trump's private mar-a-lago resort where trump was staying over the weekend. trump has refused to release his tax returns, becoming the first u.s. president in more than four decades to do so. this is comedian sarah
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silverman speaking at the new york city protest. >> we are living in a time when honesty has no currency. and i think because of that, it is kind of all we have. and the only way to really penetrate this administration is to take to the streets and to be relentless. amy: president trump responded to the demonstrations tweeting -- the white house said friday it will keep its visitor logs secret, meaning the public will not be able to know who the president and other top officials are meeting with. in response, the american civil liberties union said -- "the only reasonable conclusion is to believe the trump administration has many things it is trying to hide." the white house announcement came the day before tens of thousands of people marched to demand trump release his tax returns. in berkeley, california, at least 21 people were arrested as
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fights broke out between trump supporters and anti-fascist protesters during competing rallies on saturday. photos show some of the trump supporters posing with the nazi salute. journalist shane bauer reported on twitter that some of the trump supporters were members of armed, right-wing militias. police say at least one person was stabbed during the clashes. arkansas' plan to carry out an unprecedented series of executions has been thrown into chaos after a judge ruled friday to temporarily halt the state's plan. hundreds of death penalty opponents rallied at the state capitol in little rock on friday, as state judge wendell griffen issued a temporary stay of the executions over concerns the state used false pretenses to obtain the drug vecuronium bromide, which is one of a cocktail of drugs slated to be used in the execution. the following day, federal judge kristine baker also temporarily blocked the state's execution plans from proceeding over concerns about another one of the execution drugs, the sedative midazolam. arkansas is appealing the
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rulings. if arkansas it prevails, it's slated to execute two men today, don william davis and bruce earl ward. they are the first of eight prisoners arkansas is vowing to execute this month. no state has ever sent as many prisoners to the death chamber in as short a period of time. arkansas is rushing to carry out the executions before the state's supply of the sedative midazolam expires. but midazolam has been linked to painful, botched executions. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor has described it as "the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake." as many as 700 palestinians imprisoned in israeli jails have launched a hunger strike, with the strike expected to spread. the prisoners, who are sometimes cut off from seeing their family members for years, are demanding more visitation rights and increased access to telephones. the family visitations are impossible because palestinians living in the israeli-occupied territories must apply for a permit to even enter israel in order to see their imprisoned family members, and these permits are often rejected.
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the strike coincides with palestinian prisoners day, which is today. migrant justice activists are searching for hugo castro, a u.s. based immigrant rights activist with the group border angels, who disappeared in mexico thursday. he disappeared after posting a facebook video asking for help thomas saying his life is in danger. he had previously received death threats for his work to support refugees traveling through mexico on route to the united states. he disappeared while traveling to join the caravan of central america refugees heading to the u.s. to apply for asylum. in georgia, two police officers have been fired after cell phone video emerged of them punching and kicking an african american student who was handcuffed. the cell phone video shows them kicking 21-year-old african american student demetrius hollins in the head as he was handcuffed on the ground after they stopped him while he was
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driving. in new york state, nine peace activists were arrested on friday outside the hancock airbase in syracuse, new york. they blocked the entrance to the air base by tying themselves to crosses resembling drones. this is charlie bowman. >> good friday commemorates the crucifixion of jesus. recognizing that 70% of our , weon identify as christian come to the gates of the hancock drone base to make real the crucifixion today as jesus and others were crucified by the roman empire, drones are used by the u.s. empire. in roman times, crosses loomed over the community to warn people that they could be killed whenever the empire decided. so, to come are drones fly over many countries threatening extrajudicial killings of
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whoever happens to be in the vicinity. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. vice president mike pence has made an unannounced visit to the demilitarized zone separating south and north korea. speaking at the border pence , warned that the era of strategic patience with north korea is over and that all options are on the table. >> just in the past two eggs, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in syria and afghanistan. north korea would do well not to test his resolve for the strength of the armed forces of the united states in this region. amy: vice president mike pence's visit comes at a time when tension between the united states and north korea is quickly ratcheting up. last week, nbc news reported the trump administration is prepared to launch a preemptive attack on north korea if it proceeds toward a nuclear weapons test.
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hours before pence arrived in south korea, north korea attempted to test launch a new ballistic missile, but the test failed as the missile blew up almost immediately. juan: it is unclear if the u.s. had any role in the missile's failure. according to the "new york times," the u.s. has a covert program to sabotage north korea's missile program using cyber and electronic strikes. during his trip to north korea, pence also announced the u.s. would move ahead with deploying the thaad missile defense system in south korea despite opposition by china. this comes as china is urging the united states and north korea to deescalate the conflict. >> we have reiterated many times of the situation on the peninsula is highly sensitive, complex, and risky. we have insisted parties concerned should exercise restraint and to dedicate themselves to efforts that will help reduce the current tension
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on the peninsula so as to create the necessary conditions for them to come back to the table and resolve the korean peninsula issue in a peaceful way. amy: to talk more about north korea, we are joined by two guests. in chicago is bruce cumings, professor of history at the university of chicago. his recent piece for the nation headlined "this is what's really behind north korea's nuclear provocations." he is the author of several books on korea, including "korea's place in the sun: a modern history" and "north korea: another country." and joining us by democracy now! video stream is christine hong, associate professor at university of california santa cruz and an executive board member of the korea policy institute. she has spent time in north korea, including a visit to the country as part of a north american peace delegation. professor, let's begin with you. the significance of what has taken place in the last few days starting with today, the surprise visit of vice president pence to the demilitarized zone? >> you know, i think what we are witness to is a kind of
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revisionism, both with vice president pence and secretary of state tillerson. they have made comments that strategiclicies patience is a thing of the past. i think the fundamental in misconstrues what it was. as you mentioned in your opening description obama waged a campaign of cyber warfare against north korea. and so, far from being a kind of kinder, gentler or even softer policy toward north korea, obama's policy toward north .orea was one of warfare the other thing i would mention with regard to this is, even the possibility of military action against north korea and military option, if you will, that -- it would be inconceivable if the obama administration had not
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made the militarization of the larger asia-pacific region one of the topmost foreign policy objectives. and under the obama strategic pivot to the asia-pacific region , the u.s. concentrated its naval forces to a tune of 60% to 40% in the atlantic and the pacific region. right now we have the situation in which the obama administration is stating all options are on the table. i would want to remind your listeners and viewers, the united states performed the largest worker aims -- war games in the world with it south korean ally twice annually. in the course of performing these military exercises, it actually rehearses a number of things. it rehearses the decapitation of the north korean leadership, the
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invasion and occupation of north korea, and it also performs a nuclear first strike against -munitions. with demi we have as one of the possibilities, a nuclear -- a preemptive nuclear strike against north korea. that is the nature of the unhinged foreign policy that we are saying on the part of the trump administration. i would also say that even serves as a korea convenient foil,, bad guy for u.s. foreign-policy within the larger asia-pacific region, we have plenty of reason to be frightened of donald trump's america first foreign policy, which does not serve americans, much less anyone else around the world. , you raise cumings the issue that the media treats every crisis with korea separate
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and apart from the previous crises that have occurred. could you talk about that? >> that's right. it is not only that, but each crisis is treated as if it has really no background. the fact is, american nuclear intimidation of north korea goes back to the korean war. after the korean war in 1958, we installed hundreds of nuclear weapons in the south. bringrst country to nuclear weapons onto the peninsula. and north korea has essentially, since the late 1950's, had to find a way to deter the u.s. from using those weapons. for decades, they built underground. they have something like 15,000 of aground facilities national security nature. but it was inevitable that when threatened with nuclear weapons -- president obama threatened north korea with nuclear weapons many times by sending the two
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bombers over the south, dropping dummy bombs on islands and so on. it was just inevitable north korea would seek a deterrent. what is so insane to me it about particularly this last weekend when someone purposely leaked to nbc the u.s. was considering a preemptive strike, what is so terrible about it is you essentially get a standoff with north korea having nuclear weapons, the u.s. having nuclear weapons, north korea not being able to use them anywhere without being turned into a charcoal briquette. that was general colin powell's reference to what would happen if north korea launched a nuclear weapon in anger. so somehow, i think the trump administration ratcheted up quite purposefully the attention. a week ago it was talked of assassinating kim jong-un.
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this week, talk of a preventive strike. i don't think vice president pence is right that what president trump has done shows strength and resolve. it is one of the easiest things to fling 59 chris missiles into syria. apparently, the military has wanted to test this moab, mother of all bombs, for some time and went ahead and get it. it is not there with the outcome of either strike is and it seems that mr. trump, who ran on anti-interventionist platform, is actually enjoying the toys that the military can provide to him. and perhaps using them in korea, which would be a complete disaster. juan: i want to ask about the historical record. a lot of people forget the severe crises that have occurred between the united states and north korea over the years. back in 1968, for example, korea seized the pueblo, which was a
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surveillance ship right off its shores and held more than 80 u.s. sailors prisoner for a year before the united states apologized as part of a settlement. in a year later in 1969, north korea shut down a u.s. surveillance aircraft where more than 30, i think, u.s. air force members were killed in that incident. so there has been a historical brinksmanship situation between the u.s. and north korea, especially with the u.s. constantly, as christine hong said, displaying aggressive military actions and surveillance over north korea. >> that is right. i was in seoul when the pueblo was seized in january 1968. i was in the peace corps at that time. .hat created an enormous crisis lyndon johnson wanted to hit north korea in retaliation, but was informed our bombers in south korean bases, our bases in
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south korea, only had nuclear weapons. but i think the crisis that most clearly resembles the one over the weekend or the one we are in the middle of now is in june 1994 when bill clinton nearly launched a preemptive strike at the plutonium facility. you may remember that former president jimmy carter flew there, had a discussion with kim il-sun. out of that came in eight year freeze on the plutonium. in easy way to solve this problem would be to revive direct talks with north korea. normalize relations with north korea. assure them we don't plan to attack them. and just through those means, bring down the really terrible tension that existed over the weekend. amy: during his trip to south korea, vice president pence announced the u.s. would move ahead with deploying the thaad
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defense missile system, despite opposition by china. >> we will continue to deploy the thaad missile defense system as a defensive measure, called for by the alliance and for the alliance. we will continue to involve a comprehensive set of capabilities to ensure the security of south korea. as our secretary of defense made clear here in south korea not long ago, we will defeat any attack and we will meet any use of conventional or nuclear andons with an overwhelming effective response. amy: if you could talk about this, professor cumings, as well as the failed missile launch this weekend of north korea, what it is about, and their parade where they have thesetwo huge --it is not to what was in them, missiles -- talk about each of these. >> the thaad installation is
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completely clinical. antimissile system does nothing to stop north korean icbm. furthermore, it is not clear that it works. anyway, south korea has been under threat from north korea short and medium range missiles for decades. it is political in the sense they shoehorned it in their between dust before the may 9 election. and return to a policy of engagement with north korea. there will be a lot of seoul andent between washington of the trump administration of that election comes out as most people predict. on sundaye launch morning apparently was a failure to did has not been reported what kind of a missile it was. david sanger of "new york times"
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has been writing several articles, very interesting ones, about the u.s. using cyber warfare against north korea. and it might be that they succeeded in sabotaging that launch. but of course, by doing that, you're playing with fire because the north koreans are capable of their own cyber warfare. in 2014, they took down 70% of sony's computers in response to lm about killing kim jong-un. as for the parade, the same thing they do every april 15. we pay taxes, they honor the founder of the country. they parade vote the latest military hardware -- both the latest the ledger hardware and cool for experts by bringing these tubes out with a may or may not have an icbm inside. that was classic north korean showmanship. abouti want to ask you
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about bringingg north korea under control. your sense of what are the options and the policy of china right now. >> i think we should all be mystified that successive u.s. administrations in the post-cold war period have attempted to outsource the north korea policy to china as though the united states and china maintain the withinrategic interests the larger asia-pacific region. you know, bruce, apc mentioned in the opening, he pointed out north korea recently timed one of its missile test to coincide with trump's dinner with the japanese prime minister abe and this missile was figuratively and at mar-a-lago. more recently, donald trump also
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responded in kind. so it is not simply his tweets we have to attend to come it is these shows he is putting on during dinner. he was having a meal -- many people reported this -- of dry aged steak and chocolate with xi jinping. over this beautiful piece of chocolate cake, as he described know heet xi jinping has struck syria with approximately 60 tomahawk missiles. i can only imagine that this must have been indigestion-inducing, indeed. the message seems to be pretty straightforward. the messages, china, you either rein in north korea or the united states will take unilateral action. i think there's a bigger
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subtext. it goes to the question of. there is no way that china and the united states are going to see i die on the controversial desk going to see i die on the thaad.ersial even the cia official, former cia official greece klinger, , north koreadation watcher, he basically stated is achina regards thaad dagger aimed at the heart of china. basically what you have is the united states attempting to get china to rein in north korea, but the fact of the matter is, if you even look back to the previous administration, the obama administration, every single weapon, every single acceleration of the thaad
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missile-defense system, every single amplified war game with different regional allies was justified in the name of a dangerous and unpredictable nuclear north korea. but china understood full well what was happening, which was encirclement of china. so north korea has served as a very convenient ideological ruse for the u.s. military industrial complex, when the real target is china. , thefinally, bruce cumings national security adviser mcmaster said the problem is coming to a head. and then you have pence talking about the bombings of , clearlyan and syria suggesting this was a message for north korea. but you say that direct talks could happen. how could they happen? >> well, china is trying to get
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u.s. and north korea back to the table. they sponsored six party talks for a number of years during the bush administration. i think that is probably their preferred venue. and the fact is, four countries there do not really count. the teedo that count are north korea and the u.s., talking to each other. as i said earlier, direct talks have shown north korea willing to completely freeze their nuclear program. it is certainly worth a try. it is a lot better than rattling sabers and making into threats. we're not going to attack north korea because it might set off the second korean war, which would be just catastrophic for the region. amy: bruce cumings, thank you for being with us, university history at the university of chicago. we will link to your piece in the nation "this is what's , really behind north korea's nuclear provocations." and we want to thank christine hong for joining us professor at
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, university of california santa cruz executive board member of , the korea policy institute. when we come back, we look at arkansas in the number of people who are set to be executed because execution cocktail is set to expire. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "generals and majors" by xtc. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: the state of arkansas plans to carry out and am president series of executions has been drawn into chaos after judges ruled to temporarily halt the state's plan. on friday, state judge wendell griffen issued a temporary restraining order halting the executions over concerns the state used false pretenses to , one of a drug cocktail of drugs slated to be used in the execution. the following day, federal judge kristine baker also temporarily
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blocked the state's execution plans from proceeding over concerns about another one of the execution drug, the sedative midazolam, which has been linked to painful, botched executions and other states. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor has described the drug's as "the chemical equivalent of being burned at the stake." arkansas is appealing the ruling's. amy: if arkansas prevails, in the slated to begin executions today. execute, they plan to eight this month in its rush to carry big executions before the state supply of midazolam expires. no state has ever sent as many prisoners to death chamber in such a short time. on good friday, hundreds of death penalty opponents rallied at the state capital and called on a side just sent to stop the executions. this is actor johnny depp. seize,le suffer and they 15 ampoules into an have to
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three hours of utter agony and burning. for people's egos, political ambitions, for anything under there is a wrong thing to do and a right thing to do. the right thing must be done. juan: governor asa hutchinson has continued or has continued to defend the execution plan, despite mounting criticism of legal challenges. >> there's always going to be last-minute test. in essence, all of these have had reviews by the courts from the state court, federal court, united states supreme court, and all of the appeals have been exhausted. it is been a 25 year nightmare for the victims that it had to deal with this. and now it is time for that justice to be carried out. so i expect that to happen, but you don't know with the court reviewed that is ongoing. amy: well, for more, we're joined now by three guests. in little rock, arkansas we're joined by lee short, a criminal
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defense attorney involved in the lawsuits that won the stay over the weekend. he is representing death row prisoner ledell lee. and we're also joined by furonda brasfield, executive director of arkansas coalition to abolish the death penalty. here in new york city, we're joined by damien echols. he was freed from arkansas' death row in 2011. over the weekend, he returned to arkansas to protest the state's rapid-succession execution plans. echols was on death row with many of the men the state plans to send to the death chamber. he was one of the west memphis three, the young men in west memphis, arkansas, who were imprisoned for the 1993 slayings of 38-year-old boys after an investigation largely fueled by unsubstantiated rumors of a satanic ritual. he ultimately was freed. we welcome you all to democracy now! begin witha list you. you are a lawyer for one of the prisoners slated to be killed, involved in the lawsuits that
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-- to the stays of execution at least for a few days. explain what you sued over. >> there were numerous issues in the complaint. the primary issue everyone is aware of is the state's expense did -- expected use of midazolam in the problems associated with it another executions and its inability to do essentially what it is prescribed to do in this case. there are other issues inside the complaint stemming from the execution protocol and its failure to allow for multiple attorneys to witness the execution, to allow for any last-minute phone calls that need to be made if there is a problem. there is also a claim the evolving standards of decency would render this an eighth amendment violation based on the schedule, having eight executions in 11 days, as well as the use of midazolam. juan: damien echols, you served
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time when you are on death row with all of these men. could you talk about them and life on death row? >> absolutely. some of these guys i knew for as long as 18 years. the entire time was on death row. others came in later. but these are men -- i try to explain to people that are just realizing what is going on, these are not people i read about in newspapers or saw in tv. these are people i knew on a personal everyday basis. these are people that have an iq of 70. these are people that some of them are mentally insane. a couple of them are believed to be innocent. there are good chances that if the state does force these executions through, which they're still trying to do, there's a very good chance they will be executing innocent people as well as mentally handicapped people. amy: you wear sunglasses because? >> i started losing my vision
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while in prison. one reason, i was in solitary confinement for the last eight years i was in and i did not see some light for the entire time. the other reason is because the same thing happens to people that have been a horses. if you put a horse and a stall and never take it out, its ability to shift its i focused diminishes. the same thing happened to me. without his glasses, i can see perhaps a couple of inches in front of my face. juan: furonda brasfield, the significance of what arkansas is trying to do? summon executions in such a short period of time, unprecedented in the country's history? >> absolutely. this is unprecedented in this country's history. this is a world away for arkansas to make history. i talked to people from all over the world about this. what people know about arkansas is a little rock nine, the horrible moment in history where we did not want to integrate our schools. now people are talking about the little rock eight and 10 where
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arkansas is attempting to kill eight and now seven and then six men within a matter of 10 days. this is a horrible way for us to go down in history. amy: can you talk about the drug cocktail that is being used and the reason that all of these men are slated to be executed so fast? because the drug will expire? would that mean it would kill them or it would not kill them? >> i'm sorry, i did not catch that? expiring,midazolam that is why they are rushing in these executions, to get the member for the drug's execution date. does that mean the drug will kill them or would not kill them after it expires? essentially,m is, they're going to feel the effects of the other drugs because midazolam is not going to do what it is supposed to do. essentially, it is not an
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analgesic. it cannot induce general anesthesia, which is what it is supposed to do. it is supposed to make sure the inmates do not feel pain when the other drugs into their system. they just does not have the capability to do that. not to do that, in fact. the state of arkansas decided, well, maybe if we just give them e lot of it, a can do something it is not supposed to do. but that isn't going to happen. i think the expert testimony in arkansas as well as ohio made it very clear that that is not going to work. the state is rushing to use it, obviously, because they don't feel they're going to be up to get midazolam or any other proper drugs in the future. they have made that claim many, many times before, and have always found a way to get the drug. there is certainly some skepticism as to whether that is
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a valid claim by the state. juan: i want to turn to recent comment. what's arkansas has a supply of the drug midazolam. that supply expires on april 30. think of it as -- if you're shopping in the supermarket and there is a used by date. what arkansas has essentially done is taken the concept of the used by date and converted it to a killed by date. juan: that was --furonda brasfield, your response? >> sure. this is just another in a long line of issues and problems with the drug that this state is planning to use for execution. we have passed secrecy law in the state of arkansas that cloaks all of this in secrecy. just this weekend, a claim from a drug manufacturing company has come in saying the state of
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arkansas has obtained our drugs in an unethical or and positively illegal -- possibly illegal way and they should not have them to use for executions. in one is just a another after another after another issues with these drugs and with the way arkansas is planning to try to carry these executions out. i think i heard in the hearing the state is trying to equate expiration dates with, oh, it is ok, we can use the drugs after expiration dates. they're just advisory day. i'm wondering how far our state will go to try to kill these men and what unethical means we will take to do that? you are backchols, to arkansas for the protests this weekend. >> i did. amy: were you notice going back to the state that had held you -- you are on death row for 18 years? years, 76 days. going back was probably perhaps the second-most traumatic thing
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i have expressed in my life after being sent to death row. two weeks before i went, i started having panic attacks. when furonda brasfield approached us, my immediate response was, i can't go back. these people tried to murder me. but then i would think, i can't just let them kill these guys without ever raising a hand because that is the kind of thing you would remember for the rest of your life. i would go back-and-forth. i would tell my wife every day, ok, i've got to go back. every night i would have a panic attack and say, i can't go back. havefinally, i realized, i got to do this. i still don't know if i would have been able to do it if johnny would not have went back with me. he was a huge security blanket and source of comfort. amy: johnny depp? >> johnny depp. initially years ago, he took an interest in my case and did everything he could to help out while the state was try and
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execute me. over that time, we became really close friends. this time i told him, i just texted and said, they are about to kill these guys, would you help me bring attention to this in hopes of putting a stop to it? he said absolutely, i'll be there. amy: can you briefly tell us your story? >> in 1993, was convicted of 3000 capital murder when 38-year-old boys were found mutilated. i sat on death row for years. in 1993, they cannot do the same kind of dna they can do now. i sat there for years before they can do the dna testing. after the dna testing came out that excluded me and the other two minute convicted of the crime from the crime scene and implicated a family member, i still sat on death row for two more years while the state of arkansas tried to figure out how they could cover this up and kill me anyway. amy: how did you get off ultimately? >> people like johnny, peter jackson, joe ballenger who made a documentary or three
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documentaries about the case. the only thing they cared about was the fact people in the outside world outside of arkansas was thing attention to what they were doing. people think just because you have evidence you're in a sealed it off death row, that is only 50% of the fight. the other 50% is getting outside world to care and take notice. juan: lee short, what happens from this point on in terms of the legal challenges to the planned executions? >> well, there is a number of legal challenges and i think the one that you're probably speaking most director is the ruling from judge baker they .ame down recently we filed our response to the state's motion to vacate the stay of execution and a culinary injunction. we file that 1:00 this morning. we expect the eighth circuit court of appeals to rule sometime today. we expect they will rule in time to allow either side to then ask
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the us supreme court to decide the issue. so certainly, it is far from over. if we unfortunately are not successful today, the department of corrections is moving forward with the executions planned for today. , thefuronda brasfield organizing you're doing on the damien to come back, johnny depp, the response in arkansas -- and have you spoken directly to the governor assad jensen? -- is a hutchison? >> our job in all of this is to educate the public. ,here are far too many people especially arkansans, that don't know the implications of the death penalty and they don't even know this is happening. we are on the ground every day, getting this message out, asking people to call on the governor, to call on public officials, to talk to attorney general
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rutledge so that they can know how arkansans feel about this issue. amy: we want to thank you all for being with us. damien, we will continue our conversation after the broadcast and post it at democracynow.org. the attorneyst of who filed a lawsuit that has prevented the execution of the eight men, at least for now, for the expiration date of the drug midazolam. furonda brasfield, arkansas coalition to abolish the death penalty and damien echols, freed from death row in arkansas in 2011, 1 of the memphis 3, 18 years on death row. we will be back in a moment and talk about what is taking place in turkey. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "ellis unit one" by steve earle. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: turkish president recep tayyip erdogan has claimed
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victory in sunday's referendum over whether to give sweeping powers to the president, but turkey's main opposition party is calling for the referendum results to be tossed out, citing irregularities. according to unofficial results, just 51% of voters approved the sweeping change. turkey's three largest cities all voted against the referendum. amy: the opposition says they have received thousands of reports of voter fraud, clean some alleged instances caught on camera. thousands across turkey's mostly kurdish southeast were also unable to vote because they didn't have an address after having been displaced from their homes by the ongoing government offensive, which has destroyed whole villages. critics had a constitutional changes will allow erdogan to rule until at least 2029, if not longer, could turn to get a dictator. joining us now is bilge yesil associate professor of media , culture at the college of
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staten island, city university of new york. she is author of "media in new turkey: the origins of an authoritarian, neoliberal state." professor, welcome to democracy now! your response to what has taken place in turkey? >> this outcome has not been very surprising for me and for a lot of turkey watchers and observers. yesave been expecting a vote. what has surprised me is how the naysayers in this campaign turned at the polling stations. because as you mentioned earlier, there have been another level playing field. just moments ago, i was following the news. there was a press briefing in turkey and they called it an unlevel playing field. this referendum has not taken place under fair conditions. it has been under a state of emergency that has been in effect since the aborted coup attempt in july 2016.
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it has been renewed every three months. crackdownbeen a media with dozens of journalists imprisoned. the yes campaign run by the akp government and president erdogan has almost drowned out any dissident voices and the general public and media. what has pleasantly surprised me and perhaps others is how high the naysayers turned out at the polls. it is very close. with the serious allegations of fraud, the fact the margin is very close, i think, it gives, you know, a hope in terms of the likelihood of oppositional voices in turkey. so they have not been repressed completely. juan: and what about the media
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climate? i think turkey has more journalists prison than any country in the world? >> yes, unfortunately, we hold that record as the country that has the largest number of journalists in jail, which is currently at 150 eight. turkey also hold another notorious world record in terms andontent removal request accounts and request for closing accounts on social media. the request made to twitter and facebook and others. juan: more than 100 television and radio stations closed? >> that has happened in the aftermath of last years he would attempt, more than 100 media outlets including radio and television stations, publications, periodicals and news agencies have been closed. is this media repression really nothing new. it is been going on for some
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time. i can trace that back to at when there were political investigations going on into, like, high-level military generals, ngos, activists, journalists, and academics. so this has been going on for quite some time. but it has taken -- it has .orsened after 2013 amy: earlier today, hundreds of opponents of the referendum marched through symbol in protest while in ankara, some residents woke out against alleged voting fraud. >> this almost feels like saying farewell tthe republic system. i believe our votes are stolen. i think the electoral board's decision to count on stamped yes votes as valid upon ak party's proof quest is a big scandal. we all remain silent in the face of this. amy: bilge yesil, what happens
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now? the vote has taken place and as you said, the naysayers, the people who voted no against erdogan, came out. you have countries, the netherlands turned back the foreign minister because people in other countries were turkish good vote and they would not let him go to the rally to rally people for this vote. what happens with erdogan, what happens with the opposition? how many people has he imprisoned? >> the latest number as far as i know, i think it is about 40,000 people have been arrested. this is after the coup attempt. another 130,000 people have been andissed from their posts say brock received him you know, civil servants. bureaucracies, you know, civil service. hundreds of academics and public universities. the purge that started as an
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attempt to eliminate the mastermind of the coup has turned into a broader initiative to purge all dissidents, especially the leftist socialists and pro-kurdish voices. what happens now it is -- i don't think that things will down.im down -- calm i think the polarization and political division that has been going on since at least 2013 protest is going to stay with us for much longer and these restitution of amendments and an executive presidential system will not take effect immediately. it won't happen at least until 2019. and because erdogan and the akp, although they declared a victory in this referendum because they won with a very slight majority, i think they will continue to consolidate their response to
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any challenges to their legitimacy in any way they can. be it political, economic, social, and cultural. juan: i want to ask you, your book, "media in new turkey: the origins of an authoritarian, neoliberal state." in turkey, it is basically an islamist government battling secularists. i am wondering, your sense of how erdogan is pursuing a neoliberal policy and turkey? >> the neoliberal project undertaken by the akp is really nothing new. in the book, i trace this back to the post 1980 era when turkish economics structure was -- it was restructured along the lines of neoliberalism and market policy. with the ak p has done is take that neoliberal economic initiative and those
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trajectories and continued that tradition, along with, you know, along with status of an turkish nationalism and mixing it with its own vision of islamism and religious conservatism. i see the akp's come post 1980 right after, and the arab spring, turkey was hailed as a model country from middle eastern countries because it married market economy, global capitalism, and islam. and so we have to leave it there but we will continue to cover what happens. bilge yesil associate professor , of media culture at the college of staten island, city university of new york. that does it for our show. we will begin our democracy now! tour. check democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to
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democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning ma ♪
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