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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  July 12, 2017 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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07/12/17 07/12/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the emails, which have been verified by the trump campaign itself'by the presidents son himself, make clear government officials within the russian government had information that got was damaging to secretary clinton that they wanted to share with the campaign, and toy made arrangements provide a channel to do that. amy: if it is what you say, i love it. those are the words of donald trump, jr. after learning russia wanted to share incriminating information about hillary clinton in an attempt to help
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trump when the election. what does this mean for the future of the trump presidency? a shocking spy scandal in mexico. >> this is an operation by the state, were the agents of the utilized our have resources, our taxes, our money to commit seand make a we will w the mexican government used an israeli made spy software to surveil a team of international investigators who had been dispatched to mexico to investigate the high-profile disappearance of 43 students in 2014. we will look at some recent major news from the united nations that has received little attention. 122 countries have approved a global treaty to ban the possession and use of nuclear weapons, despite the u.s. leading the opposition to the treaty. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house is in crisis mode following revelations that donald trump's own son openly embraced an effort by the russian government to peddle information incriminating hillary clinton in an attempt to help trump win the election. on tuesday, donald trump jr. personally released a series of emails dealing with a meeting he had in june 2016 at trump tower with chaired kushner and paul manafort and a person described to trump jr. as a "russian government attorney." the meeting has been the focus of a series of articles in recent days by the "new york times." trump jr. released the emails shortly after the times told him they were about to publish the content of the emails. the explosive emails begin with a message from music publicist rob goldstone about how the crown prosecutor of russia had offered to provide the trump campaign with "some official documents and information that would incriminate hillary."
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goldstone went on to say -- "this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump." minutes later trump jr. replied, "if it's what you say i love it especially later in the summer." within a week, on june 9, trump jr. met with a kremlin-connected attorney natalia veselnitskaya at trump tower. the meeting have been kept secret until kushner recently made reference to it in a a form torsion of obtain a security clearance. this is donald trump, jr. speaking out about the meeting that he had with the lawyer, kushner, and manafort on tuesday. >> in retrospect, i probably would've done things differently. this is before the rush of mania, before they were building it up in the press. tuesday, trump junior his father knew nothing about it. >> did you tell your father
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anything about this? >> it was such a nothing -- there was nothing to tell. i would not even have remembered it until you start scouring through the stuff. amy: but many are questioning trump jr.'s claim reporting to remarks donald trump made on the campaign trail just hours after trump jr. confirmed the meeting with the russian attorney. pres. trump: i am going to give a major speech on probably monday of next week, and we are going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you will find it very informative and very, very -- amy: that was candidate donald trump speaking june 7 only hours after his son confirmed the meeting with the kremlin linked lawyer. the meeting took place june 9, two days after the speech. earlier this week, trump jr. hired a personal attorney. the attorney began his career as a top defense lawyer for the mob. the white house has been almost entirely silent amidst the
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growing scandal. white house press briefings have been off-camera this week. on tuesday during another off-camera press briefing, deputy white house experts in their huckabee sanders read a short statement by president trump and which she said -- "my son is a high-quality person and i applaud his transparency." president trump has been out of the public view for the last three days. he is flying out to paris tonight for a trip to france for bastille day on friday. vice president mike pence is publicly trying to distance himself from the scandal. on pence's spokesman said the tuesday, trump jr. meeting took place before pence joined trump's campaign. meanwhile, behind the scenes, republican operatives have reportedly launched a campaign to discredit the journalists reporting on donald trump jr.'s meeting. that's according to the "washington post," which reports the effort includes scouring through the reporters' previous work, demanding corrections, and blasted any errors on social media and on right-wing news outlets.
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amid the widening white house scandal, senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has delayed the senate's august recess by two weeks. mcconnell is vowing to unveil a new version of the republican healthcare plan on thursday and says he's pushing for a vote on the legislation next week. that, news of the day is as i think you already know, will be on health care next week. revisedbe laying out a version of the repeal and replace effort, the text of that, on thursday morning. we hope to have a cbo score by the beginning of the week and a motion to proceed that bill next week. amy: multiple previous republican efforts to repeal and replace the affordable care act have failed after republicans failed to muster enough votes from their own party. the latest senate republican healthcare plan would cause 22 million people to lose their health insurance over the next decade. russia is ramping up its threats of relation if the united states does not lift sanctions imposed by the obama administration in
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december over the alleged russian hacking of the u.s. election. this is russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. to your question about the russian real estate in the united states, we are closely following the situation. we are still hopeful the u.s., as a proponent of the rule of law, will respect their international obligations. if this is not the case, if washington to 5 -- decides not to solve this issue, we will have to take retaliatory measures. amy: amnesty international says the u.s.-led coalition and the u.s.-backed iraqi forces violated international war and may have committed war crimes during the battle to seize control of mosul from isis. international found both isis as well as iraqi coalition forces inflicted massive harm on civilians during the battle for west mosul. on the one hand, isis was systematically moving thousands of civilians into the fight and
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then they trapped them there. then on the other hand, iraqi coalition forces bombarded the same areas with a relentless series of attacks that killed and injured thousands of civilians. amy: lieutenant general stephen townsend, who oversees the campaign against isis in iraq and syria, denied the u.s.-led coalition broke international law, claiming instead the campaign is the "most precise campaign in the history of warfare." thousands of civilians were killed during the nine-month battle in mosul and nearly one million residents were forced to flee their homes. the united nations is expressing concern for syrian civilians trapped inside raqqa amid an ongoing u.s.-led coalition air strike and ground offensive by u.s.-backed troops to seize control of the city from isis. >> the u.n. estimates between 30000 and 50,000 people remain trapped in raqqa, although,
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certainly, getting the precise numbers is difficult given the lack of access. availability of food, water, medicine, electricity, and other essentials has been dwindling with the situation rapidly deteriorating. it is imperative the trapped civilians are able to secure safe passage out, to reach safety, shelter, and protection. amy: in a report released today by the journalistic monitoring group airports says civilian by the u.s.y caused coalition or other highest level since the coalitions bombing began in 2014. air wars says a record 4400 munitions were fired into raqqa in june by the u.s. led coalition, over four times more than in may. this urine observatory for human rights as it has evidence that isis leader abu bakr al-baghdadi has been killed in deir ezzor province in eastern syria. it's the latest report of baghdadi's death, which has not been confirmed by isis. last month, russia claimed it may have killed baghdadi in an airstrike on the outskirts of
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raqqa in northern syria. unnamed u.s. officials say the trump administration may be planning to significantly ramp up its military involvement in libya. the plan could include reestablishing a permanent u.s. presence in libya, which the u.s. has not had since it shuttered its embassy in tripoli in 2014. it could also include deploying a rotating team of u.s. special operations troops to libya. the u.s. marine corps says it's sentenced a marine to a reduction in rank and 10 days confinement after he pled guilty to showing naked images a fellow female marines in a private male-only facebook group. as many as 30,000 male marines were members of the invite-only facebook group called marines united, in which they shared thousands of naked or sexually suggestive photos of their fellow female marines, along with a barrage of misogynistic comments, including some saying the women should be raped. the pentagon says it successfully tested its thaad anti-missile system for the 14th consecutive time on tuesday. the scheduled test in alaska comeas tensions continue rising between the u.s. and
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north korea. the u.s. has deployed a thaad anti-missile system to south korea amid the rising tensions, despite widespread opposition from south koreans, including the current president. in north carolina, the state medical examiner's office has confirmed a white north carolina state trooper shot 31-year-old african american willard scott in the back, killing him in february as he was running away from the trooper after a traffic stop in durham. prosecutors have not yet charged trooper jerimy mathis. the case is reminiscent of the police killing of walter scott, who was fatally shot in the back eight times while he was running away from white police officer michael slager in south carolina in 2015. meanwhile, a third mistrial has been declared in the murder cast involving a white former oklahoma police officer who fatally shot his daughter's african american boyfriend, reportedly firing multiple shots when the boyfriend reached out to shake the father's hand.
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this is the third time a jury has deadlocked over whether to convict former tulsa police officer shannon kepler for killing 19-year-old jeremey lake. police say they did not find a gun on lake or at the scene, contradicting officer kepler's claims he was acting in self defense. tenants and housing rights activists are converging on washington, d.c., today for a national tenant march. the march is protesting president trump's proposed $7.4 billion cuts to hud, or the department of housing and urban development, which oversees public housing in the united states. nearly 70,000 websites and organizations are slated to take part in a massive day of action today aimed at saving net .eutrality for dissipating websites are display messages on their homepages and encouraging users to take action to save the internet as we know it. supporters of the day of action include twitter, amazon, facebook, google, and. ajiter this year,
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outlined his plan to dismantle the roles despitepai polling that shows most americans support a free and open internet. and in mexico, protesters gathered outside the attorney general's office tuesday to demand justice amid a growing number of femicides in the state of mexico. this is activist marta avalos. >> we are protesting because of the lack of attention and follow-up the authorities give in the country. because the government does not support us. they give us false figures and we want them to take into account all of the disappearances and homicide and punish them, reaching the final consequences. amy: we will go to mexico later in the broadcast to look at the mexican government's widespread surveillance against mexican activists, journalists, and human rights workers. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the white house is in crisis mode following revelations that donald trump's own son openly embraced an effort by the
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russian government to peddle information incriminating hillary clinton in an attempt to help trump win the election. the smoking gun comes in the form of a series of emails donald trump jr. personally released on tuesday dealing with a meeting he had in june 2016 at trump tower with a person described to him as a "russian government attorney." the meeting has been the focus of a series of articles in recent days by the "new york times" donald trump jr. released the emails shortly after the times told him they were about to publish the content of the emails. the explosive emails begin with a message from music publicist rob goldstone about how the crown prosecutor of russia had offered to provide the trump campaign with "some official documents and information that would incriminate hillary." goldstone went on to say -- "this is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of russia and its government's support for mr. trump."
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minutes later trump jr. replied, "if it's what you say i love it especially later in the summer." within a week, on june 9, trump jr. met with a kremlin-connected attorney at trump tower. also at the meeting were his brother-in-law jared kushner and his father's campaign manager paul manafort. they were both included on the email chain made public by trump jr. on tuesday. the meeting had been kept secret until kushner recently made reference to it in a revised version of a form required to obtain a security clearance. to help make sense of these recent developments, we are joined by marcy wheeler. she's an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website welcome to democracy now! >> thank you for having me. amy: can you talk about this latest series of emails that
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have been released by donald trump, jr., but only because "the new york times" was about to release them itself? >> right, so the email as a bunch of remarkable new details to what we know. most importantly, that the trump campaign knew that russia was trying to get donald trump even therobably before intelligence community. we had known the cia had gotten a tip from a foreign partner sometime in june that even today, nsa still does not think was that great of a piece of intelligence. but meanwhile, we learned in early june, don jr. was getting this female saying there is an effort on the part of russia to get your father elected. as part of that, we're joined us in this dirt on hillary clinton. don jr., having read that you know, said, "great, bring it on, give me that information.
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amy: talk about what happened next. was the meeting. as you said, both paul manafort dnd jared kushner were also cc' on the mill. they both knew, at least from reading the subject line, this was from russia. this was about information from russia. so the lawyer came in, there was a conversation -- i mean, everyone is providing their version of what happened at this meeting. these versions keep changing. you know, i was joking yesterday, i expect the "new york times" to come out with what really happened by the end of the day today. they claim is the dirt the lawyer had to offer was not all that interesting and don jr. says, he kind of tuned out. the reason the lawyer was there was she is trying and she has long tried to get rid of the sanctions against a bunch of oligarchs for human rights violations.
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he claims he tuned out that portion, which would be a quid pro quo. it was a just, if we give you dirt on hillary, will you get rid of the sanctions that putin and all of his buddies have been try to get rid of for some time? we need to see what happened with this meeting. last night on hannity, don jr. was like, well, yeah, i talked to some other russian -- it will be interesting to see both what the prior conversations to this he now where because as you said, don jr. said, "oh, if it is what you told me -- which makes it clear that he had rob goldstone were having conversations before the melt, thereat kind of follow up was. it will be interesting to see, don jr. was like, last night, he is just an acquaintance, rob goldstone, which i think will make goldstone be a little more chatty about what went on. amy: it is an just concerned about was it a quid pro quo. there are those lawyers who are
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raising the issue of federal finance laws being broken because you are breaking the law if you're getting something of value from a foreign national. you know, for a campaign. >> as you said, jared kushner did not disclose this until a couple of efforts to fully disclose his meanings with foreign government people on his secret clearance form. so there is the says that everyone was trying to hide this. one subtext to this whole thing is that jared kushner has very competent lawyers. one used to work at doj. another is one of the best defense attorneys in the country. as you said, don jr. and the rest of the trump family keep glorying up with mom lawyers are totally inappropriate. and are not doing what kushner's lawyers seem to be doing, which is getting ahead of the issues.
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it will be interesting to see how the tensions in the white house play out as kushner fall lows a cop legal strategy and trump and his father just stick to twitter. amy: a lot of questions being asked if christer is a person of interest and being investigated in all these to for ways, how he maintains the top security clearance a person can have at the white house. >> well, unfortunately, clearance in this country ultimately comes from the power of the president. been heldent has not to account for a number of things, including all of its financial conflicts. i think the clearance form is another side of this. i think we will see more pressure from the intelligence what kushnerut gets included in and what he doesn't get included in. he is central to this purported peace plan in the middle east, which is more like an effort to start a war against iran. so taking him out of that or
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taking him out of any kind of cleared efforts would be central to what the trump campaign is trying to do on a larger foreign-policy issue. it is a big question. we really have heard crickets from most republicans about what is now, i think, real evidence that trump was working with the russians to get elected and that he was happy to collude with them or to cooperate with them fortis amy: during the interview you referred to with did you tell yr anything about this? >> it was such a nothing, there was nothing to tell. i would not even have remembered it into you start scouring through the stuff. it was literally just a waste of 20 minutes. amy: that many commentators have questioned his claim, pointing to remarks donald trump made on the campaign trail the just hours after trump junior confirmed the meeting with a russian attorney. mr. trump: i am going to give a
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major speech on probably monday of next week and we're going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the clintons. i think you'll find it very informative and very, very interesting. amy: marcy wheeler, the timing from june 3 to june 7, that was, i think, june 7 that speech, june 9 was the meeting, and it went on from there? >> june 15 is the first day that leaked dnc emails came out. shortly after the meeting, trump started emphasizing more and more the 33,000 alleged emails that were floating out there on the internet. there is a oto suggest that the trump campaign and trump himself were acting on the hope or the expectation that they would get this dirt on hillary clinton. there's another reason to doubt
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thisin the milk, goldstone, whot up the meeting, said "i could go to your father through his assistant, but this is so sensitive, i'm going to go through you first." it is clear that goldstone have the intent of bringing trump himself into the loop. and the first pushback strategy on this meeting where don jr. came out and kind of did a half admission at the meeting happened, that was approved by trump himself. trump w the looprom th beginning based on the email we saw yesterday. and trump is okaying the response we are seeing today. amy: of course trump was friends with, had worked with the musician, the russian musician in thedstone represented first part of the mel --
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those but the musician himself as well as his russian developer father. but i want to go back to donald interviewedeing in by jake tapper in july 2016 from just weeks after he met with a russian attorney. >> i don't know if you're hearing earlier, but the campaign manager for secretary state hillary clinton robby mook , i asked him about the dnc leaked and he suggested that experts are saying that russians ofe behind both the hacking the dnc emails and their release. he seemed to be suggesting that this is part of a plot to help donald trump and hurt hillary clinton. your response? >> it just goes to show you their exact moral compass. they will say anything to be able to win this. this is time and again ,lie after lie. he won't say "i said this." you know, his house cap one said, this is what happened with the russians.
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it is disgusting. think of bigger lies. that goes to show you what the dnc and what the clinton camp will do. they will lie and do anything to win. amy: that was donald trump, jr. speaking to jake tapper in july 2016, just weeks after he met with the russian attorney. marcy, i would like you to comment on that. but also, your thoughts before that you mail trail was released -- you know ultra was released. an interesting piece you wrote this weekend, though your views have changed once you see the email. >> with regards to the don jr. isment in july, i think he luckier than kushner in that is earlier statements about whether or not he met with russians are just puff statements. they're not legal documents that
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carry penalty of perjury. it is clear he was lying. so that behavior -- kushner's behavior, also manafort did not disclose this stuff and has since had to officially disclose it to congress, it is clear there hiding this meeting. it is clear there were all hiding this meeting. i think that raises the importance of it. you referenced my comments before the email came out. i raise this question about what the difference is between meeting with a lawyer -- at that point, we knew she was a lawyer with a bunch of oligarch clients. we did not know she was introduced to don jr. as some of the with the russian government. and as i hillary surrogate. somebody degrees separate from learned. killers circuit paying -- killers i think it is a fair question. we have a lot more evidence that
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don jr. knew this was at least informed that this was tied to a russian government effort. we know it was tied to this kind of quid pro quo, which was never the case for this field dossier, tape is where the p supposed to come from. our politics have become such that both sides spent a lot of money and a lot of effort to find dirt on their opponents. where i think that crosses a come and don jr. pretends to be naive, well, you know, this happens all the time. where it crosses the line is where the dirt is being dealt in the context of things like policy changes on sanctions release. amy: marcy wheeler, we're going to take a break. when we come back, i want to quickly ask you about a hearing not getting much attention at all because this is taking up all of the, does a the least, is media attention, and that
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the hearing for the next director of the fbi. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "deny" by the clash. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the senate judiciary committee is holding a confirmation hearing today for fbi director nominee christpher wray. he served as assistant attorney general under george w. bush time when2005 at a the justice department's office of legal counsel signed off on the use of torture against detainees in cia and military custody. still with us, marcy wheeler, independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. the significance of christpher wray, what you think he needs to be asked and who he is? >> people are most aware of the fact that he represented chris christie on bridgegate. there are questions whether he was forthcoming on that.
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his defense attorney, everyone deserves a defense attorney, that will get a lot of attention om democrats today most up there are things that happened when he was a doj that both help and hurt his case. he was one of the people who in 2004 when jim comey stood up to dick cheney and threatened to resign if stiller when was not on better framework was one of the people reportedly going to resign. he gets a lot of credit for that. what thate i really means. i'm more concerned about other things, such as in the early days of the investigation into who outed valerie plame, he continued to brief john ashcroft about the investigation generally, but also karl rove's role in the investigation. that was really inappropriate because he was informing ashcroft about stuff that had gotten ashcroft into that position. that is directly analogous to where we are today. would christpher wray brief
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trump on what is happening on the investigation into trump? that question needs to be asked and answered. you mentioned torture. he is known to have gone to gitmo. he is known to have been involved in torture. but the details about his role in torture are all still redacted. we don't know what the substance of it is. finally, during the period he was the assistant attorney general for criminal division, he oversaw a deal with chiquita, the banana company. chiquita had been maturely supporting characters materially supporting terrorism. the company itself paid a penalty, but no chiquita executive was held accountable for that. ofit is this classic case
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double standard of justice. as a young muslim and had been found to have done the kind of material support for terrorism that chiquita did, that young of would be facing 30 years prison time. but when they are white republicans, they end up facing no punishment at all for knowingly supporting terrorism. he was very much involved. amy: heading up the justice department's criminal division from 2003-2005 under george w. bush, wray responsible for investigating a abuses of prisoners, cleaning the deaths of two men in afghanistan and iraq. what about that? >> so there is one case where under wray they charged a guy who was a cia contractor, david pizarro, for assault in a case where an afghan detainee was killed.
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going to say, are look, he is opposed to torture because he prosecuted the only guy tied to the cia who got prosecuted for torture. that is a false claim. if you look at pizarro's case, because to be that -- there were dod people involved in the interrogation as well. it looks to be sort of dod saying cia is finally going to be held accountable for all of .heir abuse a bunch of key dod witnesses were withheld from pizaroo while he was being tried. more importantly, just as they were about to charge david pizarro, they took a bunch of documents away from him, which there is good reason to believe that david pizarro who about the george tenet that had signed off on torture and others. those documents -- i don't know
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whether he had those documents, buta a bunch of documents were taken away from him. he was given misleading information about what the standard for interrogation was at the time he was in afghanistan. that was all then not included in his trial. had it been, then i think it would've been a lot more likely to blowup the fact the entire off. of command was bought supporters are going to say, look, he is anti-torture. that is not the case. they needed a scapegoat. they went after this guy pizarro. as they was as guilty claim, but i don't think he got a fair trial. more in portland, it was not a case of justice being served in the way it should be. amy: finally, i want to go back to one issue regarding what is enveloping the white house now,
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president trump did not have a public event in the last three days. he heads off to paris tonight, invited by the french president for bastille day. he will hold a brief press or tomorrow. that "the washington post" reporting on a deserted effort to go after journalists right now from the white house. i was just watching a discussion with the head of the white house correspondents association, the white house had approached him just -- the head of the white house correspondents association with reuters, two criticized another journalist's work. specifically going after journalists, going back through their past to discredit journalists as they themselves at the white house are embroiled in this scandal, marcy. >> part of me says good luck because these are great journalist, the ones -- the four by-linedho buy line --
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the story of people who have taken on dick cheney in the past, have exposed some real intelligence scandals in the past. the two who expose the nypd spying scandal. so they are good journalist's. what you're going to find if you go into the background is they have a history of telling really important stories, in fact, doj has gone after the two before on another story that raised questions about the cia's counterterrorism program. you know, i don't think that is going to help the white house, especially given that in this case, the key smoking gun, as you called it, is that you know that don jr. released himself. i mean, how are you going to go after the journalists yourself when your son is the one to release a key piece of evidence? amy: marcy wheeler, thank you for being with us, and independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. she runs the website
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when we come back, we go to mexico city and we go to canada to learn about a surveillance program that the mexican government is using to go after those investigating the killing or the disappearance of the 43 students in 2014. this is democracy now! back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "paloma negra" by chavela vargas. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to mexico, where a
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new report by the citizen lab has revealed that the mexican government used an israeli-made spy software to surveil a team of international investigators who had dispatched to mexico to investigate the high-profile disappearance of 43 students at the ayotzinapa teacher's college in guerrero in 2014. the targeted individuals included some of latin america's most prominent lawyers who have been granted a form of diplomatic immunity to carry out their investigation. the citizen lab has also reported that the mexican government also used the spying software called pegasus to spy on mexican human rights activists and journalists. some of the targeted activists and journalists are now suing the mexican government after learning they had been surveilled. this is award-winning journalist carmen aristegui. >> this is an operation by the state where the agents of the mexican state, far from doing what they should do legally, have instead utilized our resources, our taxes, our money
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to commit serious crimes. has to be relies the head of the mexican state, the president of mexico, that is the first. amy: citizen lab reported that the infection attempts took place in early march of 2016 shortly after the international investigators had criticized the mexican government for interference in their investigation, and as they were preparing their final report of their findings about the students' disappearance. the israel-based nso group, the maker of the pegasus spyware, is backed by the united states private equity firm francisco partners. for more we're joined by two guests. ron deibert is director of the citizen lab at the munk school of global affairs, university of toronto. and in mexico city, we are joined by stephanie erin brewer. she's a human rights attorney and the international area coordinator for centro prodh, which represents some of the families of the 43 ayotzinapa students who disappeared in 2014. she and centro prodh were targets of the nso group's pegasus spyware attack.
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we welcome you both to democracy now! i want to begin with ron deibert . explain what citizen lab is and what you found, what exactly was done with this spyware and what it is. cook citizen lab is a research group at the university of toronto. we combine a mixture of methods from different disciplines from political science, computer science, and engineering, to examine cyber security issues or digital security issues that arise out of human rights concerns. so we have done extensive research and reporting on targeted digital attacks on civil society groups, effectively cyber espionage campaigns, and as part of that, we have uncovered many cases of marshall spyware companies like nso group and others where their technology is being used by governments to target civil society groups. amy: how did you find this out,
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the mexican government was using it says and how they were using it. explain how it went into the phones they were using. is wewhat happens here have a variety of technical indicators -- essentially, you can make an analogy to digital fingerprints, maybe domain names from other technical indicators that are part of messages that are sent, text messages received by targets. had they clicked on them, the infecteduld have been by them. they would have been able to listen in on phone calls, track geolocation's, turn on the camera, audio, etc. using those digital fingerprints and working with our partners in we areand elsewhere, we able to find targets who have received these sams messages and
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we examine the content, look at the links they are sent, messages received, and are able to verify that these are part of group's infrastructure. amy: explain exactly what happened. you had a key investigator who had his phone infected and many of the other investigators were using his phone. is that right? explain what the phone was doing and where it was transmitting to. >> ok. actually, to really understand this, you have to go back. this is the latest in a series of reports we have done over the last several months. going back to our first report, which found that advocates for sugary -- a tax on beverages, three health scien had received messages. following that, we found a number of journalists and human rights activists and lawyers, including the other guest on your show, had received messages
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containing the same type of links with domains associated with the nso group infrastructure. a few weeks ago, we published another report about mexican opposition politicians. the latest one i think is the most egregious. it is a phone belonging to the international investigators into the 2014 mass disappearances in mexico of students. so this was a phone handled by one of the people involved in this international investigatory group. they received two messages just prior to the release of their major public report. the group, it should be said, had a kind of public falling out with the mexico attorney general. the report was quite critical of the mexican government. so all of this together is adding up to a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to some agency within the mexican government or an individual associated with the mexican government responsible for the targeting.
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it should be said also that this type of technology is restricted to government clients. the nso group itself says that they only sell to mexican -- to government agencies and restrict the use of the technology to anti-terror, national secure to come or criminal investigations. i think under anyone's reasonable definition, these targets could not fit into that category. amy: so pegasus could record anything picked up by your phone microphone or even its camera even when you are not using the phone it can be transmitting audio and video back to the government. >> absolutely. is effectively a powerful wiretap. it can also be used to sppf messages, to read encrypted messages. a lot of the inspiration or the driving force for this type of service, this type of technology, comes from the fact a lot of people are using
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cryptic -- encrypted messages. that drives those that want to intercept those given indications to try to get inside the device. so this spyware has become very popular, very lucrative for the companies that sell it to government agencies. amy: i want to bring in stephanie erin brewer in mexico city. you are a human rights attorney at centro prodh. explain what the case is that we are talking about, for those who are not familiar with the case of the 43 students from ayotzinapa teacher's college who were disappeared in 2014, and then how pegasus spyware affected your work. september of 2014, a group withlice in collusion organized crime in the southern mexican state of guerrero forcibly disappeared 43 students
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-- students who are training to be teachers, three other students were killed and there were a variety of other human rights violations committed the night of september 26-27. it is important to say this case is -- on one hand, of the phenomenon of forced disappearance, we're talking about a country where more than 32,000 people are currently missing or disappeared. it is also parity o-matic of a phenomena and we call macro finality, which is to say the people who participated in these disappearances were not simply organized crime or simply private actors, but police and officials from all three levels of government. municipal, state, and federal level. this case remains unsolved. it remains unpunished. the families of the 43 students have spent the past now almost three years tirelessly searching for their children.
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and because of the scale of this disappearance and the outrage that provoked nationally and internationally, the commission on human rights, our regional human rights commission, named a group of international experts -- some of the best-known human rights investigators and lawyers and prosecutors from different crunchies in the region -- to come to mexico. is important say the mexican government accepted and even invited this group to come and to help in the investigation. it is only thanks to the investigation carried out by the international investigators that we were able to learn some of the facts of what happened that night, that we were able to learn the mexican federal government -- specifically, the mexican attorney general's office -- had put forth a completely false version of the case saying that all of the students had been killed and burned, cremated that night along with all of their
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belongings. we were able to show that was scientifically impossible thanks to the work of this group. as we have been discussing on the show, what we have now is proof that the mexican government, instead of investing it time and resources in clearing up this case in finding the students and explaining what happened and punishing those responsible, has instead invested its resources -- we're speaking of hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars -- and spying on the lawyers who represent these .amily members and also on international experts who came here with diplomatic immunity to aid the mexican government in clearing up this horrendous crime. on? how you were spied explain how you were spied on. >> so in my case, i received the , which in may last year
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fit exactly into the pattern that has already been described .ike citizen lab what this tells me is a careless, the mexican government feels that it's enemy is someone like me who is a human rights lawyer who is representing not only the families in this case, also people in other cases that are being litigated including in the inter-american court of human rights. so someone who is speaking to strengthen the rule of law, seeking justice for people who have been victims and survivors of some of the most serious and terrible crimes that can be imagined, apparently, i am the one -- and my colleagues -- thing identified as a problem or as enemies of the administration instead of the human rights violators or instead of the organized criminal groups against whom the software is meant to be used when it is sold to the government and who are responsible for mexico's warlike
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levels of violence in some regions of the country. , it is harddeibert for people to grasp all of this, lay people, especially when there is a lot of alphabets soup involved. you mention the nso group, the company behind the pegasus technology. if you quickly can talk about who some of their clients are and the majority owner of an is so group, francisco partners. nso group, you ask about their clients, i mean, that is part of the question of the research that we are engaged in citizen lab was to find out precisely that. what we find is a pretty disturbing picture. i should underline first of all the sellersers -- of this type of technology can be likened to the arms trade or private military contractors. so they don't advertise their clients. they don't even advertise their products.
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if you google nso group, you will likely find links the citizen lab reporting rather than anything from the company itself. they operate beneath the surface in this kind of shadowy market to intelligence and law enforcement agencies. what we have been able to determine based on our research looking at technical indicators that we are able to gather them is that they are selling to some governments like mexico and other governments that are either flawed democracies, authoritarian regimes, government that lack public accountability and oversight. the majority owner, francisco partners, they are an investment company that owns quite a few technology companies. not all of them are in this category, but at least a couple of others certainly are. i would say for certain technologies, a company that has surveillance technology was
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recently implicated in the abuse of surveillance in turkey. overall, this marketplace -- this case we're seeing here in mexico is symptomatic of a much larger global problem where you have this type of very powerful, highly invasive technology being sold by companies for tens of millions of dollars to government that are using them without checks and balances, typically targeting opposition members, lawyers, even in this in anhealth advocates international investigation. there really needs to be a concerted global effort to better control and regulate the market for commercial spyware. amy: ronald deibert, thank you for being with us, director of the citizen lab. we will do part two after the show and post it at to see were pegasus is used around the world in places like the united arab emirates and other places. and stephanie erin brewer, thank you for being with us from mexico city, human rights attorney at centro prodh,
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involved in the case of the 43 ayotzinapa teacher's college who were disappeared in 2014. she herself was spied on. on the this conversation day of action around protecting the internet to keep it open and free. as we wrap up today, talking about what happened at the united nations headquarters in new york this past weekend, countries have approved a 122 historic global treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons. confirm that votes are accurately reflected on the screen will stop the voting has been completed. the machine is locked. [applause] and make a under the new treaty, signatory states agreed to not develop, manufacture, test, or possess nuclear weapons. they also vowed not to threaten to deploy nuclear weapons, or even permit any nuclear arms to be stationed on their territory. the historic vote on friday came after months of talks in which
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the united states led the opposition to the treaty. in the end, all countries with nuclear arms ended up boycotting the negotiations. in these last few minutes, we are joined by ray acheson, director of reaching critical will, which is the disarmament program of the women's international league for peace and freedom. she represents her organization on the steering group of the international campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, or ican. ray acheson, welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of what took place. >> so this was a long effort to get countries to come together to develop new international law to prohibit nuclear weapons. we are working in the context where the nuclear arms states are investing billions of dollars into modernizing their arsenals. we're in the midst of a new arms race. boycotted these negotiations. they boycotted all of the processes leading up to these negotiations. the united states try to encourage its allies around the world, particularly in nato, to boycott the talks.
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but despite all of that, 122 countries, as you saw, voted yes for this treaty and came together at the u.n. over the course of four weeks to negotiate it. amy: what does it mean they have voted it yet though it is done of the nuclear powers. what does that mean? the treaty's design not junk with the necessarily -- it would've been great if they had come along and it would have looked like a very different treaty. a given they were not engaged in the negotiations and that they are not interested currently in disarmament, we needed to create something that could attack the system of nuclear weapons. sort of indirectly stuck getting run different economic, political, legal statures that keep the practices and policies of nuclear deterrence going currently. amy: while this happened under the trump administration, didn't the obama administration even vote against convening the talks that led to this treaty? absolutely correct.
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the obama image to russia and also sent a memo to its nato allies telling them to vote against the start of the talks and to boycott these talks. amy: what happens now? the treaty is signed. what does this mean for these 122 countries and for the world? >> the next process is going to be signing on to the treaty. he will open for signature at the u.n. in york september 20. after that it will have to go through a national edification process in order for it to enter into force. that should happen in the next year or two and then it will be international law that is binding on all of the countries that have a deer to it. in some cases, they will have to change their practices and policies that may enable or facilitate the use or the possession of nuclear weapons. amy: in what way? there could be economic divestment from nuclear weapons producing companies. there could be changes of national law that currently permit transit of nuclear weapons through territorial waters.
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there could be different shifts and policies and practices around military training exercises that currently involved the preparation used nuclear weapons. it will also be an iterative process of building up to signatures nation and the norm against nuclear weapons through the public policy, through parliaments and through national amy: i want to thank you, ray acheson, director of reaching critical will, which is the disarmament program of the women's international league for peace and freedom. also represents wilpf on the steering group of the international campaign to abolish the greer weapons. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to 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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