tv Democracy Now PBS November 28, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
11/28/17 11/28/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> there are two members of congress, republican and democrat, right now who served who have been subject to review or not have been subdued to review that having gauged in sexual harassment. amy: what happens to a congressmember when someone just to come forward to report them for sexual assault or harassment? .ictims have 180 days they face up to 30 days of mandatory counseling, a cooling-off period before they
decide to file a claim. only the congressman's lawyer is paid for by taxpayers. we will speak with an attorney is represented multiple congressional staffers pursuing harassment claims. 1075 years in prison. that is what more than 200 people face as they go on trial is protesting on j20 -- that january 20, trump's inauguration day. i was peacefully demonstrating. although i did not engage in any ask of vandalism, the next thing i know, police were firing pepper spray and tear gas everywhere most of they never warned us or told us to disperse. amy: we will speak with one of the defendants and get an update on the trial. then floating guantanamos. >> the coast guard has been operating deep into the pacific andn interdicting cocaine
detaining suspected drug smugglers aboard their cutters, often for weeks or months in what one former coast guard official called floating -- onnamos on these this the pacific. amy: we will speak with the stor the reporter who broke the story. and john kelly, while he was the head up south comb. all of that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy! now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump is heading to capitol hill today to promote his proposed tax plan, which would shower billions of dollars worth of tax cuts upon the wealthiest americans, including president trump's own family. the congressional budget office says the senate's version of the tax bill would hurt people making less than $30,000 a year, while giving major tax cuts to those making more than $100,000 a year. a provision of the senate bill would also eliminate a key part
of the affordable care act -- the requirement that americans have health insurance or pay a penalty. as republicans scramble for enough votes to pass the plan, they are considering tacking on even more tax breaks for wealthy business owners. have health insurance or pay a the senate budget committee is slated to vote on the bill today, and lawmakers are pressing for a vote in the full senate this week. the the showdown at the consumer financial protection bureau continued monday as two dueling leaders, one named by president trump and one named by the agencies former head -- both battle for control. the chaos began on friday, when former director richard cordray resigned and appointed his former chief of staff leandra english to be his successor. but then president trump appointed his budget director mick mulvaney to head the agency. while serving as a south carolina congressman, mulvaney voted to eliminate the agency entirely. the consumer financial protection bureau was created in the wake of the 2008 financial
crisis. on monday morning, trump's budget director mick mulvaney arrived at the cfpb with the back of donuts incident email telling the agency's staff to disregard all orders from english. he also said he was freezing all hiring and all rulemaking. leandra english, meanwhile, also showed up to the office on monday, welcomed the staff back from vacation, then met with lawmakers on capitol hill. later in the day, english and mulvaney appeared before a federal judge, arguing each was the true head of the agency. the judge, a recent trump appointee, refused to rule immediately, meaning the showdown continues into today. in the midst of the battle at the consumer financial protection bureau, president trump attempted to insult massachusetts senator elizabeth warren by calling her pocahontas. trump did this during a white house ceremony honoring navajo code talkers, native americans who served in the marines during
wwii and used the navajo language in order to transmit encoded information. pres. trump: i just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. you were here long before any of us are here. although, whatever representative in congress who they say was here long time ago. they call her pocahontas. but you know what? because you are special. you are special people. amy: president trump has frequently attacked senator warren by calling her pocahontas. warren says her family is part cherokee. trump held the ceremony aimed at honoring the navajo military veterans in front of a portrait of former president andrew jackson, who was called "indian killer" by the cherokees. jackson signed the indian removal act, leading to the forced displacement and death of tens of thousands of native americans, a march that became known as the trail of tears. this is senator elizabeth warren
speaking later monday. >> had to throw out a racial slur. he seems to think that if he keeps doing that, somehow he is going to shut me up. it has not worked in the past. it is not going to work in the future. and whether he likes it or not, i'm going to be out there and i'm going to keep talking about what he's tried to do to the consumer protection bureau. amy: yet another top official at the state department has resigned. maliz beams was serving as a special adviser to secretary of state rex tillerson. she was overseeing tillerson's reorganization of the state department, but served only three months before leaving the state department this week. more than 100 officials and career diplomats have left since president trump took office. congressman luis gutierrez is slated to announce today he is retiring from congress. he is a member of the judiciary committee and the co-chair of the immigration task force of
the congressional hispanic caucus. he's been a longtime pro-immigration advocate, arrested multiple times at protests against deportations. he has also been a fierce critic of president trump. "the washington post" reports it appears to have been targeted for an undercover sting operation by a right-wing organization seeking to discredit "the washington post" reporting on multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment by alabama senate candidate roy moore. moore has been accused of sexually harassing or assaulting at least nine women when they were children or young adults. "the post" reports that a separate woman approached the "washington post" with a dramatic but invented story about roy moore impregnating her as a teenager. "the post" says it conducted a series of interviews with the woman, in which the reporters found inconsistencies in her story. then on monday, the reporters saw her walk into the new york headquarters of project veritas,
a right-wing group that often sets up sting operations targeting the media and journalists by recording covert videos. project veritas' founder, james o'keefe, refused to answer questions about whether he was working with roy moore's campaign or other republican strategists in order to discredit media reporting on roy moore. on monday, roy moore spoke publicly for the first time in two weeks, once again claiming he did not know any of the women who have accused him. meanwhile, one of his campaign coordinators physically attacked a cameraman outside a campaign rally in alabama on monday night before moore arrived. this all comes as president trump is now attempting to claim that the infamous 2005 "access hollywood" tape in which he brags about sexually assaulting women is fake. this is a clip of the tape. amy: after the tape first
resurfaced during the 2016 presidential election, president trump did not dispute the tape's authenticity but instead said his words were locker room talk. his words were locker room talk. but now he is claiming the tape is fake. this is "access hollywood" host natalie morales responding to the news reports about trump's claims on monday. >> we wanted to clear something up that has been reported across the media landscape. >> according to "the new york times" president trump told two people the tape is fake. >> let us make this clear. the tape is very real. amy: we'll have more on sexual harassment, the media, and congress after headlines. in more news from washington, d.c., former national security adviser michael flynn met with
special counsel robert mueller's team on monday. mueller is investigating possible collusion between trump campaign and russia during the 2016 election. flynn's meeting monday is the latest indication that flynn may be close to accepting a plea deal, which would see him likely testify against president trump or members of trump's inner circle. the u.s. navy has identified three sailors who went missing after their plane crashed in the philippine sea southeast of okinawa in japan, on the navy wednesday. called off its search and rescue mission on thursday. weretate -- the sailors steven combs, matthew chialastri, and bryan grosso. in honduras, progressive presidential candidate salvador nasralla has declared victory as he continues to hold an unexpected lead in sunday's election results. his challenger, president juan orlando hernandez had been widely expected to win, despite increasing concerns about the conservative presidents authoritarianism and consolidation of power. but by monday evening, nasralla was leading hernandez by 5% of
the vote, with nearly 60% counted. this is nasralla. >> as you all know, this has already been won. don't be swayed by what the media as saying. we're broken a regular plan by which for the first time it was the people who voted for their president. this was the people's choice. amy: 60% of the vote has been counted in honduras. in indonesia, 150,000 people are under evacuation orders on the island of bali, as the mount agung volcano has begun erupting. the island's main airport has been shut down because of ash fall. the last time mount agung erupted, in 1963, more than 1000 people died and several villages were destroyed. in vietnam, a 22-year-old blogger has been sentenced to seven years in prison for reporting on a chemical spill that contaminated a 120-mile stretch of central vietnam's coastline last year. nguyen van hoa was convicted of spreading anti-state propaganda
by reporting on the protests after the spill, which was one of the worst environmental disasters in vietnam's recent history. in australia, six peace activists have been arrested after protesting. to peace activists face up seven years in prison. the trials have put a spotlight on the secretive military base known as the joint defense plan cap for which the u.s. got a satellite information used to launch u.s. airstrikes around the world. and in an update to a democracy now! story last week, california congressman ted lieu has sent a letter to secretary of defense james mattis demanding the pentagon respond to a "new york times" expose that revealed the u.s. military has killed many more civilians during its war on isis than the pentagon has admitted. in an expose entitled "the uncounted," journalists azmat khan and anand gopal revealed the u.s. is killing civilians in
up to one in every five airstrikes -- a figure 31 times higher than the pentagon admits. in his letter, congressman lieu demanded the pentagon investigate "the times" reports of civilian casualties, writing -- "if the findings are accurate, the coalition's conduct not only may violate the law of armed conflict, it may also help isis in recruiting efforts. " and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show looking at sexual harassment in washington and what happens to a member of congress when someone dares to come forward to report wrongdoing. on monday, senator al franken returned to congress in the face of allegations from four women now that he had groped or inappropriately touched women.
and contrite franken vowed "this will not happen again." >> i just want to say a few words before i get back to work. i know that i have let a lot of people down. people of minnesota, my colleagues, my staff, my hasorters, and everyone who counted on me to be a champion for women. i just wantf you, to, say i am sorry. i know there are no magic words that i can say to regain your trust, and i know it is going to take time. juan: the law on house minority monday, leader nancy pelosi said she spoke to and believed one of the women who has accused accused michigan congressman john conyers of sexual harassment. conyers reportedly settled the
complaint in 2014, paying out $27,000 to a woman who alleged she was fired from his washington staff because she rejected his sexual advances. conyers has since stepped down as the top democrat on the house judiciary committee. for lizzie issued a statement saying -- "this afternoon, i spoke with melanie sloan who worked for congressman conyers on the judiciary committee in the mid-1990's. ms. sloan told me that she had publicly discussed distressing experiences while on his staff. i find the behavior ms. sloan described unacceptable and disappointing. i believe what ms. sloan has told me." amy: pelosi went on to criticize the process for reporting sexual harassment in congress, saying -- "i have not had the opportunity to speak with the other women, one of whom cannot speak publicly because of the secretive settlement process in place. that ridiculous system must be ended and victims who want to come forward to the ethics committee must be able to do so." this came one day after pelosi called congressman conyers as an
icon who deserves due process during an interview on nbc's "meet the press." >> we are strengthened by due process. just because someone is accused, is it one accusation or two? john conyers is an icon and our country. he is done a great guilt to protect women, violence against women act that the right wing is now quoting him and praising him for his work on that and he did great work on that. amy: so congresswoman pelosi has called for due process for her colleague congressman conyers and also called the process that a "ridiculous system" that must be ended. that system gives sexual harassment victims in congress have 180 days to bring a claim to the congressional office of compliance, which handles workplace complaints. victims are then subject to up to 30 days of mandatory counseling. they then have a cooling off period to decide whether to bring claims to mediation. if they don't want mediation, they are out of options. for more, we go to washington,
d.c. where we're joined by alexis ronickher, an attorney with the firm katz, marshall & banks, who has represented multiple congressional staffers pursuing harassment claims through congress's office of compliance. welcome to democracy now! let's start by you laying out, alexis, the process, which is being disputed now, legislation is being written to change it, the process a person has to go through who works on the hill to bring a charge of sexual harassment or sexual assault against a congressmember. >> absolutely. a staff member who finds themselves in a situation where they're facing sexual harassed went, even sexual assault, the process for pursuing a claim would be within 180 days. they would need to go to the office of compliance, which is a small agency that is part of the legislative branch, and file what is called for request for counseling.
counseling is somewhat of a misnomer. it is more of an intake process. that counseling period is 30 days and by statute it is strictly confidential. then the staff member, should they choose to proceed and want to continue with their claim, they follow request for mediation. the mediation period is 30 days and it is mandatory. that means a staff member, even if they know they want to go to dissipate in this mandatory mediation in which they have to in good faith -- they have to sign an agreement saying in good faith they're going to attempt to resolve this dispute with the employing office. if that mediation -- amy: are they mediating with the congressmember at that point? >> the civil action is not against the congress person, it is against the office. there's no way to bring a claim directly against the congressmember who is harassing the staffer. so they are actually mediating against or with the office.
now whether the office chooses to bring the harasser, whether it be a congressperson or chief of staff, that is actually up to the office, not the person who is bringing the claim. juan: last week, dined a getty of colorado told msnbc -- diana degette of colorado told msnbc she is among many women who've been sexually harassed while serving in congress. >> a lot of my colleagues and others have said this is going on, but they seem somehow reluctant to say who did it. some years ago, i was in an elevator and then congressmember bob filner tried to admit to the door of the elevator and kissed me. i pushed him away. of course, some years later he left congress and he became the mayor of san diego and then he had to leave that position for harassing younger women. one coat an aide to representative degette told the denver post she did not file a complaint or take official action in the incident she described.
do you have any sense of how often people do not actually file complaints even though they were subjected to harassment? >> there's no numbers on congress, per se, except there was a survey conducted by roll call in which one of six women said they had been sexual harassed. what we saw by the numbers publicized by the office of complaints in 2016 only eight senate and house staffers came forward with any request for counseling about anything. we don't know how many of those are harassment. and those twotomy sets of numbers show that most are not coming forward. how different is the process that congress uses compared to private industry or even other local state and city governments? >> the most significant
difference between a process that congress has created for itself and private and federal is the confidentiality requirement through the counseling and mediation period victims ofolates the sexual harassment. and also this mandatory mediation, which forces a victims or person who has been sexually harassed to sit down at the table and attempt to resolve the dispute even if they would like to move forward. amy: let's be clear. at the moment of mediation, both sides can have a lawyer? who pays for these lawyers? >> yes, both sides can have a lawyer. attorney is paid for as part of the administrative path of the house or senate. they have their own in-house employment lawyers. for the victim, they have to procure their own attorney a figure out a way to pay for it. and because of the congressman has taxpayer-funded lawyer and the plaintiff has to get her own lawyer. this nondisclosure
agreement is in this period at the beginning and how many days does it go on for? can the person tell contemporaneously, you know, when it happens, people, can they tell their therapist, etc.? yes, let's break this down. there's a nondisclosure agreement that is subject -- agreed to as part of the settlement process. but the actual whole process of counseling and mediation has to be strictly confidential by statute. that being said, a person who has been sexually harassed can always -- there's nothing preventing them from being public about what has happened to them. what they can't speak about is pursuing legal action while they're going to this counseling and mediation stage. that is important because that is very isolating for the person, but it also prevents them from telling other people that they are moving forward, encouraging other people to move forward with them . and it prevents multiple people
coming forward and also the person just being able to verify that not only am i saying that this happened, but i am taking action. juan: we have seen the reports of the $17 million figure of settlements on capitol hill, but that doesn't just deal with sexual harassment complaints. it could also be other types of complaints and doesn't necessarily deal with members of congress per se, could also mean capitol hill staffers. could you talk about that? of those,t majority just based on the numbers put out by the office of compliance, a request for counseling involving capitol police. the employees for the -- the architect of the capitol. very few of those are congressional staffers from the house and senate. there is no -- at this point, the office of compliance has not ether they are for discrimination, harassment, or
orkplace issues like osha disability accommodations. right now we have no way of knowing what portion of those complaints or requests for counseling and what portion of that settlement is for harassment. but in my experience, the number that was put forward with representative conyers, the case involving representative conyers, was a little under $28,000, it's much more indicative of the settlement range than camino, $17 million. amy: alexis, can you talk about the case of conyers? a lot is being made about the fact he paid it out of his office ajit, $27,000. as opposed to, what? both are taxpayer-funded, his office budget and this office that the vast majority of people don't know about where the $17 million came out of, right echo also, if you can talk overall of out this
case, your response to the wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired when she did not accept commerce men conyers sexual advances. >> this case is very concerning. an employmentas lawyer who represents people both in the private sector a congressional staffers, that being able to come forward with 14 affidavit from witnesses that corroborate what you say and witnesses who work there is relatively rare. people are not usually willing to risk their jobs and careers to do this. so the fact that this complainant was able to do that and then the result of that was a settlement of three months severance is a travesty, really, and it shows the environment that women who are coming forward with sexual harassment claims on the hill in door -- which is, it is your career on the line and no one believes you
. and if you decide to go public, it is going to affect your career more than the person who harassed you. that is very troubling. but to speak about what the dichotomy of whether it comes from the members allowance or the fund that was set up by congress, i think that too much is being made about taxpayer dollars being used for this. quite frankly, taxpayer dollars are used for sexual harassment claims that are settled on the executive branch site, the department of interior, homeland security. that is how employees who have been discriminated against in the federal workforce, that is how their settlements are paid. i think what is critical in this circumstance is that the settlements require strict confidentiality, that the statute outlines a way that they are supposed to be paid -- which
is through the special fund. members have gone around that. to access that fund, you have to go through several steps which would disseminate the information that they have been accused of sexual harassment, so members have on around that and used their member allowance. after carefully reviewing the statute, i believe it is contrary to the statute. juan: also this issue of when the settlements are done in secret that other women on the hill have no knowledge of the history of some of these legislators that they are working around were for. >> absolutely. like we said, there's a string confidentiality -- strict confidentially of the process. important.t is people -- young women, and also men, some in our sexually harassed as well, become to the hill and are often very young
will step they are bright eyed. they want to be making a change in affecting policy and then they find themselves in an environment where they're being abused and harassed and there's no place to turn to. had there been any public light instances of sexual harassment, they would be able to know not to go to those positions. amy: a bipartisan resolution introduced friday in the house would require all members, congressional staff, interns and fellows to receive anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. "the washington post" reports -- "each member and employee would receive training within the first 90 days of each session of congress, or within 90 days of becoming a member or an employee. each member office would be required to display a poster created by the office of compliance that outlines employees' legal rights and protections and how they can report allegations of workplace violations." alexis ronickher, do you think
this is what needs to happen? there's also legislation changing the law. it went into place in 1995. if you could talk about that and what you feel needs to be changed? >> this member training and poster band-aid is not going to change things. for the last 20 years, private employers have used training and notifying employees how to report, and it has not reduced sexual harassment. it is certainly not going to do that on the hill. is it a good step? it is good to notify people of how to move forward, yes, that is a good step. but that is a very small step. what needs to happen is a legislation to representative spears and comstock and gillibrand have introduced the need to congress bill that will revise the process. it gets rid of the congress of someone having to go to the
counseling and military mediation. it gets rid of the required constant -- coveted yellow the. theakes any settlement that rest person doesn't have to sign a confidentiality agreement if they don't want to. it really takes care of a lot of the systemic hurdles of the law. it is not going to change the overwhelming environmental problems that create such hospitable environment for sexual harassment but it at least gets rid of some of the legal hurdles to remedy those when it happens. amy: and a names the congressmember? >> say that again? >> it allows for the naming of congress members? >> my understanding is it would allow the person sexually harassed to be public about it. theirf they settle matter. amy: if you just want to find out what congress members have had to pay out money or have been charged, can you find that out as a member of the public? >> i believe it starts the
beginning of this year. this is a point that lawmakers are still debating. i have to say, i am concerned -- i've representated prior staffers and part of the reason they resolve their claims as they did not want to be in the public eye. these offices are very small. it is a concern for these individuals that once information comes out so going e -- if someone knows a thing that it actually -- is the way to go, but i do have concerns about retroactively having that happen. amy: you can name the person who -- where this agreement has been made, the commerce member, without naming ever the person who made the claim. >> that is absolutely true. amy: alexis ronickher, thank you for being with us, lawyer with katz, marshall & banks who has represented multiple congressional staffers pursuing
trial of the nearly 200 people arrested during president trump's inauguration. 15 andal began november washington, d.c., and evolved six people, including one journalist, alexei wood, a freelance photojournalist and videographer based in san antonio. the defendants were charged under the federal riot statute and face multiple felony and misdemeanor charges, including inciting or urging to riot, conspiracy to riot, and multiple counts of destruction of property. evidence against the defendants has been scant from the moment of their arrest. as demonstrators, journalists, and observers gathered in northwest d.c. after the january 20 inauguration, some separated from the group and broke windows of nearby businesses and damaged cars. police officers then swept hundreds of people in the vicinity into a blockaded corner in a process known as "kettling," where they carried out mass arrests of everyone in the area. amy: officials seized trump protesters cell phones, cracked
their passwords, and attempted to use the contents to convict them of conspiracy to riot. court filings reveal that investigators have been able to crack into at least eight defendants' locked cell phones. prosecutors want to use the internet history, communications, and pictures they extracted from the phones as evidence against the defendants in court. the american civil liberties union has filed a lawsuit which charges d.c. police mistreated detainees, including using sexual abuse as a form of punishment. a complaint by four plaintiffs charges officers used excessive force, denied detainees food, water, and access to toilets. the d.c. police department has defended its officers' actions, saying all arrests on january 20 were proper. well, for more, we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by two guests. jude ortiz is a member of the organizing crew of defend j20 and the mass defense committee chair for the national lawyers guild. elizabeth lagesse is a defendant in the criminal case against participants in the inauguration
day protests, a plaintiff in the aclu lawsuit against the city of washington, d.c., and the police department. welcome to democracy now! jude, the trial has been going on for a week now. can you explain exactly what has been happening and what these first set of defendants are charged with, what they face? >> yes, good morning. just to clarify, i'm a legal worker, but not a lawyer. i have been in court since the beginning of the trial so far with the six defendants who are on trial. the state has opened its case, including witnesses from the police. there's a helicopter pilot for the department of homeland security in different managers and employees of businesses that were in the vicinity. the testimony so far and the evidence provided has shown how the police decided from the outset -- this was an audio recording from the police radio that indicated as soon as the protest left logan circle in
d.c., the police at that point were to do mass arrests and that led up to the current situation where almost 194 defendants who are facing trial. juan: what about the prosecutors conspiracy claims? they you talk about how are alleging that and how the defense is countering that in the trial? thehe prosecutor -- this is third superseding -- sorry, second superseding indictment. thathird indictment defendants are facing at this trial. the prosecutor amended it twice ine initial indictment order to have the current charges. initially, put out the conspiracy charge as a felony as well as engaging in a riot as a felony charge. the judge has since rolled those potentially not even felony charges and are only misdemeanors. the time theyd
are facing from 75 years down to about 60 years, which is really what most of the defendants are facing. there's a trial for december scheduled where those defense charges dropped from felonies to only three misdemeanors. amy: i want to bring elizabeth lagesse into this conversation. you are part of the protest. explain why you went out to protest that day, where you came from, and what happened to you. >> let me first say that just because of the way that our legal system works, the way our criminal system works, i can't actually talk about the events of the protest itself from the moment i arrived to the moment we were arrested because of concerns for preserving my fifth amendment rights. this possible they could force me to testify under certain circumstances, so like most criminal defendants, that is what my lawyer has recommended. i will, however, speak to why i
was there. i was there to express my concern with the way our political landscape was developing. i think that a lot of people can sympathize with that motivation. amy: can you talk about the aclu lawsuit that you are a part of? can you talk about what happened when you were jailed? for example, do you have your cell phone now? >> i do not have my cell phone. the aclu lawsuit is basically alleging that the police did not handle themselves very well on inauguration day. both in the choice to make those arrests and the way they made the arrests, and in the way they treated prisoners after they had been arrested. ed,ically, everyone was kettl which is a fairly controversial technique and policing that really it is currently sweeps
people up in a way that troubles civil liberties activists and really anyone who is concerned about, you know, making the arresthoice from an perspective. because people are swept up as a group rather than individually. on top of that, they left us out on the street for many hours. it was a slow walk arrest. stops cold and raining for people had no access to bathrooms, food, water, medical care. then once they had us in custody, various people have really negative experiences with the way the police treated them. in the process of being arrested, they took everyone's phone. to this day come as far as i know, none of the defendants have gotten theirs back, which is been a financial hardship and , as you can imagine, a privacy
issue. , i would asktiz about the seizure of the phones, the efforts police may to break into the phones to somehow or other traits that communications of the different protesters. and i guess prove conspiracy was a foot? >> some of the phones that were haded like in the cattle inclusion of various sorts. some of the pass or protections, some might be full encryption. a lot of the phones today come out of the box with full encryption. to the best of our knowledge, the government has now been able to get past the encryption technology on phones, but some phones were unlocked. it is important to note many protesters who were arrested did not have phones at all. the government has also gone after electronic data in various other ways. immediately after the mass arrest, the government was or sent letters of request or request to apple icloud for user
data. that was for some of the people who were arrested and at least one person was associated with one arrestee not even present and not part of the case at all. amy: were people questioned about the social media they used? >> i am not aware of any particular questions they were asked by officers, like, to protesters or arrestees directly. if the government has gone off to her a wide swath -- but after a wide swath of data including trying to get about 1.3 million ip addresses and identify information from the web host of distro j20 which was prior to the inauguration as well as try to get information from they spoke accounts from several activists and the d.c. area and the ouster a search warrant. any company talk about the two freelance journalist arrested wood myone was alexei
trying to use his video footage in the case against him and the others. was one of a handful of journalists arrested that day. many had charges dropped or were never filed. andaron are facing the same charges that everyone else in the case except for the december group i mentioned earlier. that means they're facing 60 years. alexei was out in d.c. on june 20 as a freelance journalist who was live streaming the events and that livestream is available publicly and being used as evidence, not only in this trial that the prosecutor indicated that would be used as evidence in every trial said to happen all the way through 2018. >> is seems like it is really a problem of independent too, because people
associate with major outlets had their charges dropped. independent journalists have had a harder time with that. juan: elizabeth, and many of these mass protest situations, authorities may round of people initially but either drop the charges or lower the charges by the time they come to trial. i am wondering your response to how it appears, at least, under president trump, the police and washington are determined to continue to prosecute these allegations and get maximum convictions possible? think that is a fair characterization of the situation. and i don't pretend to be able to read our minds. i don't pretend to be able to tell you exactly what their plan is or why they're doing what they're doing. but it is certainly true that they have worked very hard to pressure people into accepting pleas. they have offered many people
various pleas come as little as a single misdemeanor charge. it really makes it seem like their goal is to get convictions for rioting. like an unusual coincidence that happens as someone is getting inaugurated who in some of the first public statements say things like, you know, we're going to restore the rule of law and so on and so forth. think there is likely connection there, even if it is just as simple as people feeling more emboldened now that that kind of person is in office. amy: jude ortiz, can you talk about the so-called independent dc,stigation, washington, that hard an organization called the police foundation to launch an independent investigation into how the protest was policed. who are they?
>> the police foundation is a very biased organizations that has been contracted or otherwise brought into the office of police complaints inquiry into police abuses and brutality. like on january 20, inaccurate should they. earlier this year, there is an initial inquiry into allegations of police misconduct and brutality and initial findings indicate there was justification for it, full investigation, and subsequently, $100,000 was earmarked for that. that became available october 1 and so the investigation had begun. the police foundation is the body that is doing the investigation. supposedly, and unbiased, nonpartisan organization. but it's website indicates it is a very much thin blue line, very pro-police organization. a lot of the statements and
characterizations that has on its website indicate its extreme bias in favor of the police. the bias calls into question any kind of impartiality or any type investigation" into the actions of police that day. when you have that in conjunction with evidence that has been presented so far at trial that shows the wanton use of pepper spray, weapons, the police commander saying over the that the intention was to arrest everyone, those things and commendation, and is very unlikelyf. there will be fair and impartial inquiry and any kind of legitimate findings of actual police abuses and misconduct that day. amy: this is the first trial. jude, you call this case the canary in the coal mine. what do you mean? >> i that i mean the implications for this case and
how this trial goes are something that will have echoes all across the country. if the prosecution is successful in calling political organizing and association and resistance to overt whites permitting a neofascism under trump, then that is something other prosecutors and other police across the country can try to replicate this prosecutors attempt to call organizing conspiracy and threaten people with decades in prison. if people want to find out more, they can go to the defend j20resistance.org. , thank you for being with us member of the , organizing crew of defend j20 lawyers guild. and elizabeth lagesse is a defendant and the lawsuit. when we come back, floating guantanamos? stay with us.
love in the heart of the city." to see the full performances and interview, go to democracynow.org. if you want to sign up for our daily headlines and news alerts, you can just text democracynow to 66866. with juanoodman gonzalez. juan: we end today's show with a shocking new expose that reveals how the u.s. coast guard is detaining suspected thousands of drug smugglers they arrest in international waters, and keeping them jailed at sea for up to several months before they are charged in a u.s. federal court. many of the suspects are low level smugglers from impoverished fishing towns in latin america. during their imprisonment at
sea, they are shackled on deck, exposed to the elements, and denied access to lawyers and their families. amy: the increased detentions began when general john kelly headed the pentagon southern command from 2012 to 2016. kelly is now president trump's white house chief of staff after briefly serving as homeland defense secretary. the report in "the new york times magazine" is headlined, "the coast guard's 'floating guantanamos'." and for more, we're joined by the journalist who broke the story, seth freed wessler, who is also a puffin fellow at the investigative fund at the nation institute. welcome to democracy now! floating guantanamos. describe what they are. >> the coast guard has been a plaintiff into the pacific ocean to pick up drugs being moved from south america, clutter, and ecuador to central america, mostly cocaine. in the process of that introduction were, their detaining hundreds of suspected smugglers every year and then chaining those men aboard coast
guard cutters by short chains, chains around their ankles, chained to the decks of the ships or along the side of these ships, and holding them aboard coast guard cutters for weeks or months while the ships continue the drug interdiction patrols and eventually transferring these men back to the united states to face prosecution here. the numbers of detainees over the last six years have increased dramatically. and even more dramatically, the numbers of people being prosecuted. stateslly in the united for this activity that is happening in international waters, often aboard foreign flagged ships, has increased dramatically. this past year, 700 men were detained aboard these boats. i spent a good part of the last year talking to many of these men, talking to coast guard officials and trying to figure out what is happening. juan: is their presidential executive order? how is the policy developed to
allow the coast guard to go so far afield from the u.s. coast? >> the coast guard has long been in the business of interdicting contraband. it is the only branch of u.s. military that is also a law enforcement agents the for it several your -- several hundred years history that it has engaged in this drug interdiction work. what changed in the 1980's is for the first time, the act of smuggling drugs in international waters became a u.s. crime. then in 2012, southern command, the department of defense, launched a program called operation rto to shut down smuggling routes between south america -- ha to shutdownmmer. >> in the transit zone. we started to flood the pacific with coast guard ships and began to prosecute yearly everyone we picked up rather than returning them to their countries or to central american countries for prosecution. amy: tells about the man you
profile. tells about the night jonny was taken, where his from, and what is happened. >> he's a fisherman from the central coast of ecuador. he has been a fisherman for more than 20 years. he came on sort of hard times and made a fairly rash decision to take a drug smuggling job moving cocaine off of the northern coast of ecuador to central america. on that trip, this 1000 mile trip, he was spotted by u.s. navy airplane that flew off of the central american base, interdicted, picked up by the coast guard, and then brought aboard a coast guard cutter. he and the six other men was smuggling drugs with were held for 70 days aboard a series of coast guard and navy ships until we eventually, they were transferred to the u.s. and prosecuted criminally. while for 70 days aboard they were abe ships, they were shackled at all times except for a moment to be brought to the toilet -- which
was often a bucket on the deck of the ship. they describe this sort of terror of not knowing where they would be taken. they were not allowed to call their families. they were not provided attorneys while they were on board these ships. they were not put in contact with her consulates. amy: their families thought they were dead? cases, theof the relatives really believed them to be dead. in one case, a guatemalan man i spoke with his family actually held a funeral for him, expecting he had died. fisherman diocese. that is what happens. they assumed they would be receiving a waterlogged body back in their town. instead, they got a call within 70 days later, in the case of johnny come from a florida jail saying here then brought to the united states. juan: you mentioned they're not given any legal representation
or read miranda rights. but what about the issue that if the coast guard is arresting people they know are from other countries, they have some responsibility to the governments of these countries to notify them that they are seizing their subjects? >> the u.s. is notifying the aretry that the boats registered to. in this case, the united states contacted guatemala where the boat that johnny was aboard was registered. guatemala gave the u.s. permission to board and detained the men on the ship. on this speedboat. there were seven men in this group of people. several of them were quite a mullen. several work ecuador and one was colombian. there were all brought to the united states after guatemala signed off. the u.s. has agreements with dozens of central and south facilitateuntries to this boarding process. as result, has been able to prosecute hundreds of people every year in u.s. court for this activity that is happening
in this sort of legal gray zone of international waters. juan: what u.s. court? >> they bring nearly all of them to courts in the 11th circuit in florida because the left circuit prosecutors and judges there have experience in these cases. there are task forces set up in florida to take on drugs. and because the ninth circuit, the california court, have actually put some restrictions on the kinds of cases that can be prosecuted. so instead of moving people of the west coast to san diego, which would often be much easier, these men are held aboard these cutters, many brought to the panel mocon now or flow from central america come to florida. amy: john kelly, his involvement, now the chief of staff or president trump? >> between 2012 and 2016, john kelly was the head of southern command -- amy: under obama. >> the obama administration.
southern command is responsible for managing the war on drugs in latin america [captioning made possible by democracy now!] under his command, the numbers of people detained by the coast guard, which is formally under the department of homeland security go the number of people detained by the coast guard grew dramatically and even more so, the number of people prosecuted started to spike. kelly is long been a proponent of this idea that to keep the u.s. say, we need to push our border outward. we need to operate law enforcement and military activity far, far away from the borders. and that is been the strategy to coast guard has been pulled into. to operate deep into the pacific , sometimes thousands of miles from the u.s., and hold people aboard these cutters for weeks or months at a time. amy: john kelly expended a program? it was under his watch at southern command that this group. amy: we will leave it there but continue to pursue the story. linkfreed wessler, we it will to your "the coast guard's