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tv   Democracy Now  KCSM  March 20, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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03/20/18 03/20/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! hour, american forces are in early stages of military operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from great danger. amy: 15 years ago today when the u.s. invaded iraq. the war would go on to destabilize the middle east and continues today. the invasion's will be felt for generations. iraq remains a shattered country. we will speak with an iraq war veteran turned peace activist and a sociologist who studied
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the impact of the war on iraqi women. undocumented and unpaid. we go to texas six months of hurricane harvey flooded houston. faced rampantave -- >> did you ask them for the overtime? >> no. there are lots of people who don't say anything. they are afraid of stirring things up. amy: a new report by the intercept documents how two houston day laborers fought back and won after they worked weeks without pay for a major disaster recovery firm. we'll also look at fema's response to immigrants in houston with u.s.-born children. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new channel 4 news investigation has revealed executives from the company
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cambridge analytica boasting about entrapping politicians and launching fake news campaigns in order to sway elections around the world. the revelations come only days after it was revealed cambridge analytica harvested the data of more than 50 million facebook users, without their permission, in efforts to sway voters to support president donald trump. cambridge analytica was founded by billionaire robert mercer. and steve bannon of breitbart news. on monday, channel 4 news broadcast videos it secretly recorded of the executives talking about entrapping politicians by sending women to seduce them or sending people posing as developers to propose a bribe. this is a clip of the channel in whichnews report the reporter went undercover posing as a potential client in order to reveal cambridge
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analytica tactics. the video features cambridge next and ceo alexander executive mark humboldt, but it begins with narration. >> it seems to run their clients opponents through handouts and honey traps. and spies., secrets, tactics. >> [inaudible] the x was a comes as facebook stock plummeted monday following the revelations about how cambridge analytica harvested its data in order to launch target of political ads in the caring of robert mercer's far right political agenda in helping president trump when the 2016 election. the reports have spurred calls
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for increased regulation of facebook. a top executive is leaving facebook amid an internal dispute over how much to disclose to the public about how russians used the platform to spread propaganda ahead of the 2016 election. alex stamos is facebook's chief information security officer. the news of his impending departure this august comes as facebook is now confronting a new firestorm about the cambridge analytica data breach. president trump again called for the death penalty for drug dealers during a speech in manchester, and a hamsher, monday. pres. trump: the ultimate penalty has to be the death penalty unless you have really, really powerful penalties led by the death penalty for the really bad pushers and abusers, we are going to get nowhere. i'm telling you, we're going to get somewhere. amy: preliminary data from the centers for disease control and prevention says more than 67,000
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people died from drug overdoses last year. during trump's speech, he also attacked the sanctuary city of lawrence, massachusetts, blaming the city for the spread of fentanyl in new hampshire. a package destined for austin exploded at a fedex facility in schertz, texas, northeast of san antonio overnight. the package was filled with nails and pieces of metal. early reports indicate no fedex workers were seriously injured in the explosion. authorities are investigating whether the failed package bomb is related to the serial bombings across austin, which have killed two members of prominent black families and injured six others since the first bombing on march 2. authorities said monday that the fourth explosion, on sunday night, was set off by a trip wire, indicating a higher level of sophistication. police are investigating whether the bombings are hate crimes. to the people killed were
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members of prominent african-american communities in austin. a 17-year-old teenager and a 39-year-old man. in washington, d.c., activist have laid 5000 flowers onto the lawn of u.s. capitol to symbolize the 5000 yemeni children who have been killed or injured in the ongoing u.s.-backed saudi-led bombing campaign in yemen. the protest comes as the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman is slated to arrive in washington, d.c., today to meet with president trump. on monday, activists called on lawmakers to support a new bipartisan resolution, senate joint resolution 54, to end the u.s. military involvement in yemen within 30 days unless congress formally authorizes the military action. this is activist iram ali. >> this is one of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now and it is still
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ongoing. it could be stuffed with just passing this legislation and allowing humanitarian aid in. amy: the bipartisan legislation was introduced by vermont -- the bipartisan legislation could be voted on as early as today. in syria, residents are continuing to flee the northwestern city of afrin, amid reports of widespread looting by turkish and turkish-backed troops who seized control of the syrian kurdish city on sunday. turkish president recep tayyip erdogan has now vowed to continue the turkish military offensive against other kurdish-controlled areas in northwestern syria. >> after controlling the city center of afrin yesterday, we completed the most important phase of operation olive branch. now we will continue this with others until we remove all of this corridor.
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amy: former french president nicolas sarkozy has been taken into police custody for questioning amid an investigation into whether he received millions of euros in illegal campaign financing from the late libyan dictator muammar gaddafi in 2007. sarkozy has repeatedly denied the allegations. back in the united states, vermont senator bernie sanders, massachusetts senator elizabeth warren, and other experts hosted a livestream town hall on "inequality in america: the rise of oligarchy and collapse of the middle class." during me discussion, economist darrick hamilton spoke about the intersections of race, education, and class. >> we know you are the head of household and you are black and graduated from college, your family's wealth is lower than the of a white family with head that dropped out of high
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school. this feeds into the narrative of, can we simply work hard, study hard, and address inequality? the answer is no. education is important in its own right, so when the standards proposes we should have tuition-free public education? absolutely. [applause] as an end unto itself, we exaggerate the economic returns to education, particularly for marginalized groups. would we start getting into these narratives of a post-racial's excited, we're not there. we can come up with conference of programs that include everybody, but we need to do it differently this way so that we make sure nobody is left the hind. amy: monday night town hall came as a landmark new study shows rich white boys are likely to remain rich as adults, but that rich black voice are more likely to become poorer middle-class as adults. the study, led by researchers at stanford, harvard, and the
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census bureau, debunks widely held ideas about income inequality and race. it shows that racism still deeply affects african american men's lives, even if they grow up in the country's richest neighborhoods and have similar levels of education. the study also shows the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on even the richest black men -- showing how black men who were raised by millionaires are just as likely to be incarcerated as white men who were raised in poor households. the supreme court has rejected a republican appeal to block the redrawing of pennsylvania's congressional map. the pennsylvania state supreme court ruled the congressional map unconstitutionally favored republican candidates and ordered it redrawn. the new, more equitable map is expected to offer a boost to democratic candidates during the 2018 midterm elections. in arizona, a self-driving uber car killed a pedestrian on
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sunday night in tempe, leading uber to quickly suspend its self-driving tests in tempe, pittsburgh, san francisco, and toronto. sunday night's fatal crash occurred despite the fact that there was an emergency backup driver -- a human -- sitting behind the wheel. the pedestrian is believed to be the first person to be killed in association with new, self-driving technology. cynthia and the and has officially entered the race for governor of new york. she will be challenging new york governor andrew romo in the democratic primary later this year. in mississippi republican governor phil bryant has signed into law one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country, banning abortions after 15 weeks even in the case of rape or incest. the center for reproductive rights has sued mississippi over the ban, calling it unconstitutional. lawsuits by the center have
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blocked similar laws in arizona, north dakota, and arkansas in recent years. 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. it was 15 years ago this week that the u.s. invaded iraq on the false pretext that iraqi president saddam hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. the attack came despite worldwide protest and a lack of authorization the u.n. security council. at around 5:30 a.m. in baghdad on march 20th 2003 air raid sirens were heard as the u.s. invasion began. within the hour, president george w. bush gave a nationally televised speech from the oval office announcing the war had begun. coalition forces in the early stages of military
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operations to disarm iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger. amy: six weeks later on may 1, 2003, president bush landed on the deck of the uss abraham lincoln of the coast of san diego and declared the end of major combat. >> my fellow americans, major combat operations in iraq have ended the battle of iraq, the united states and our allies have prevailed. the fighting is yet to end the death toll may never , conservative estimates put the iraqi civilian death toll at 200,000. but some counts range as high as 2 million. in 2006, the british medical journal lancet estimated 600,000 iraqis died in just the first 40 months of the war. the u.s. has also lost about
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4500 soldiers in iraq. just last week, seven u.s. service members died in a helicopter crash in western iraq near the syrian border. the war in iraq is to stabilize much of the middle east. former united nations secretary-general kofi annan and others have directly blamed the u.s. invasion of iraq for the rise of isis. amy: to talk more about the 15th anniversary of the u.s. invasion of iraq, we are joined by three guests. zahra ali is a sociology professor at rutgers university. her forthcoming book is titled "women and gender in iraq: between nation-building and fragmentation." she grew up in france. matt howard is co-director of "about face: veterans against the war," the organization formerly known as "iraq veterans against the war." he served in iraq once in 2004 and then again in 2005. we welcome you both to democracy now!
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professor, let's begin with you. 15 years ago today the u.s. invaded iraq. talk about what happened then and the repercussions. >> first of all, i would like to say as a daughter of an iraqi political exiled family, i was 16 years old at the time of the war, and i refused this. linda -- either you oppose the regime or either you oppose the war. i post the regime and we had to flee iraq because of it and i also got involved in the antiwar move in france. we also have to name the war. we have to name it as a criminal war. we have to to find it as -- define it as an operation of the destruction of iraq as a functioning state in society. this authorization started
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before 2003, it started in 1991. if we talked about u.s. influence in the region, we can go back to the 60's, but at least for this specific operation, we have to talk about 1991 host of u.s. led coalition bombing -- terminal bombing of iraq that were described as surgical strikes, but it targeted water and electricity schools, bridges, hospitals, left the country and humanitarian crisis. after this terrible situation, the un's sanctions that were terrible for the iraqi population and pushed by the u.s. administration at the time. a country that needed to be reconstructed was plunged into a deep humanitarian crisis that destroyed its middle-class, weakened to an extreme level its infrastructures. before the ascension, with a free and strong education system, good health care system
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for functioning states. this is the situation that characterized iraqi in 2003 when the invasion happened. the iraqi society had a ready been brutalized -- had already been brutalized by violence, repression of the different uprising in the north and south. in social and economic and humanitarian crisis. the u.s. invasion exacerbated this situation, this crisis. first of all, in destroying what was left of the states, its institution and services that provide basic human needs to the society, that makes a functioning society -- access to running water, electricity. it disbanded the army. and also something that is very important and that we have to
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remind ourselves to understand what is going on today, the rise of isis, etc., is the u.s. administration created a political system based on what i called in my research -- in other words, the u.s. administration has institutionalized racism in iraq. they have created a political regime that relies on communal-based identity. in iraq in 2003, since 2003, you're not just a political leader defined by your beliefs are you are a kurdish political leader, arab sunni, shia, or christian. this is what provoked the social, the, sectarian war in the country. as well we have to say that the u.s. in administration brought to power political elite that mainly had lived in exile, for some of them, since the 1980's.
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so very much disconnected with the realities on the ground. even for those who had some political legitimacy inside the country, i mean, they have less legitimacy because they happen to be extremely sectarian, extremely conservative, and extremely corrupted as well. juan: i would like to bring in the founder and director of the muslim peacemaker teams in iraq. he lives in the iraqi city of najaf. he moved back to iraq in 2004 after living abroad for nearly 30 years. he left iraq in the late 1970s and eventually moved to the united states and settled down in minneapolis. welcome back to democracy now! could you talk about your afterts now, 15 years president bush declared mission accomplished, what the situation in iraq is today? me onnk you for having the show.
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15 years and the tragedy continues to unfold. disasters and adversity keep trapping us. asking whether we have learned anything from that tragedy. was one of thesh today,residents, but yet some people think what we have currently is really bad and george bush in comparison, better. entered -- in 2003 with no end from the
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invasion to occupation to and we should notrom forget about the iranian expansion in iraq. [indiscernible] another conflict between the north and south. [indiscernible] security --quality,
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army is not yet credit -- the keep iraq safe iraqi army is not yet credible to keep iraq safe. unfortunately, the iraqi people are paying a heavy price. we're not going to continue to -- peacemaker team working [indiscernible]
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factions, regardless if they are shia, muslims, or christians. right now [indiscernible] the project is called english for reconciliation. six months ago, trying to bring [indiscernible]
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according to the american mainstream media. to break bread together. that they'rend out nothing but brothers and sisters , striking agreement by ,stablishing lasting friendship mutual understanding, and trust. are having a little trouble understanding you, but i want to thank you for being with us from iraq. sami rasouli was an institution in minneapolis growth on the cover of minneapolis magazine. loved everything to return to his country at the height of the war to be with his countrymen
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and women and family. sami rasouli am a founder of muslim peace maker teams in iraq was speaking to us on the anniversary of the u.s. invasion. when we come back, we will continue with professor zahra ali and matt howard, served in iraq in 2004 and 2005. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: in that piece you hear medea benjamin of codepink interrupting congress, protesting the war. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. as we continue our look at the 15th anniversary of the u.s.
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invasion of iraq. we are joined here in new york by two guests. is a sociology professor at rutgers university. her forthcoming book is titled "women and gender in iraq: between nation-building and fragmentation." matt howard is co-director of about face: veterans against the war, the organization formerly known as iraq veterans against the war. he served in iraq once in 2004 and then again in 2005. i would like to begin withmatt. talk about your first employment, your sense at the time of what the iraq war was about and your own evolution in terms of your understanding of the war. was -- first off, i watched the invasion from okinawa, japan, when i was stationed there and had a real sense of dread that we were making a decision we could never step back from. a year later, i was stationed in iraq outside fallujah in support
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of helicopters casualty evacuation. experience crystallized forexpee where i really went down a path of challenging everything that i have been told to me was when we were guarding iraqi men who were laborers coming onto our base who basically spelled out everything zahra said that the quality of life had taken a dramatic hit and that everything we were being told in terms of our hearts and minds and how we were going to make this place better is far from the truth that possibly be. amy: why did you end up going to iraq? where did you grow up? >> portland, oregon. i joined the marine corps when i was 17 -- before i finished high school. that was before september 11. i deployed or went to boot camp about a month after september 11. juan: the casualty numbers for
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iraq, given the length of the war, don't appear -- on the american side -- to have been a great. 4500 soldiers. it when you think about the 22,000 who were injured as well, many of those soldiers injured would have in previous wars died but not for the miracle of science and medicine, but many have survived with lifelong injuries, amputated limbs, traumatic shock and brain damage will stop can you talk about the impact on the soldiers for this constant warfare? obviously, they were never able to win the hearts and minds of the iraqi people. >> there's something that would talk about at the hallmark of this war which is both the way occur many time for some folks and sometimes as many as 10 times, and also the invisible wounds of the war as you're mentioning, whether that is post-traumatic stress, germanic brain can or military sexual trauma that are often not tallied in the kind of figures that we have are these things.
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i want to make it clear that if that goes for the military, that definitely goes for the iraqi civilians that are continuing to deal with the aftereffects of this war. i think one thing we have noticed is that people are also coming home to an underfunded v.a. and a v.a. under attack now that the trump administration that there is a mission to privatize it. so all of this rhetoric of taking care of our troops is very quickly diminishes depending on people's political priorities. amy: when did you make your about-face, matt? >> good question. i joined about-face when it was ivw in 2008. when i came home. it was an antiwar protest. the winter soldier hearings. amy: if you could explain what they were? >> the winter soldier hearings
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were a moment when our community got together to really testify to the cost of war, both in afghanistan and iraq, and to let the american people know what was being done in our name. juan: professor, and the terms of the cost of war, last took we had a segment on the vietnam war were we talked about the long-lasting damage in vietnam from agent orange, from the birth defects that occurred as a agent of the war orange. that thet in iraq civilian population still dealing with? >> thank you for asking that. fallujah.ention uranium wasown the used in fallujah. it was a dirty war. amy: white phosphorus.
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>> and the effect for the iraqi -- it goes even for generations. all you think of the use of of the chemicals etc. u.s. soldiers can go back to their country, but we are still in the middle of the war. we live the war. i don't know any iraqi household , including my household, that has not been directly affected explosionessed a car or lost a member of the family. is the current reality. and now when you think about the invasion of isis and the very militarization of the society and the militarization of the public spaces, for example, if you take baghdad, the capital of iraq. we have to have this image in mind when we talk about it is
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the capital is divided, fragmented by checkpoints and walls that divide the neighborhoods according to sectarian religious, ethnic belongings. i talk about it when i talk about women and human rights in general and my research in iraq. when you -- every kilometer, you have to pass through an armed male soldier, checkpoints. even the population of baghdad, 65% of the population itself has been displaced either in baghdad worked iraq or outside iraq. amy: professor, you write in your piece about a proposed constitutional amendment which would have a massive effect on women. article 41 is in the constitution. what happened is since 2003, there have been several attempts
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made by sectarian conservatives, islamist parties i came to power with the u.s. army, to question a long text terry lines, the basis of women's legal rights. sectarian lines, the basis of women's legal rights. family law. it gathers old laws, legislations related to marriage, divorce, inheritance, cut cities. -- custody. it is important to recall it is the political culture of the time that was eliminated by the imperialist left. progressiveost groups in the region. the participation of women's rights activists for the first iraqi and arab woman minister
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participated. the second dimension that is reported to understand what is stillon now is it gathers [indiscernible] it has a unifying dimension. is, i think, the political legacy that is being questioned since 2003. now we have it in the article 41. and thanks to feminist, women's rights, society mobilization, the article 41 is still not implemented but still in the name of this article, we have so many the proposition made by conservative, sectarian, islamist parties that are in power since 2003. law in 2014.e amy: in the jaffree law? >> it is a proposition that existence fore -- so law based on the
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school of law. among the things that are problematic, progressive thing for women's rights, that it allows very informal forms of unions in which women do not have legal protections. if ever implemented, it can the age ofw marriages as early as nine years old. this is the kind of questioning of women's legal rights that is made. i also want to make a point that we tend to approach women's rights in a very simplistic manner. as if it was very abstract just as -- it is very concrete steps when you talk about the right to vote. if you think of the right to vote, of course it is essential for women and also the sense. you also have the have the
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structural context that last people to vote to the voting sites without being scared of being shot or kidnapped, right? for women, yet the have a functioning state, childcare, health care, education, access to the job market. as well, when we talk about the situation, all of the militarization had already started under the regime with a different wars in the 1980's. it now we have really rich and extreme. militarization really defined gender norms and relations toward masculine ways of defining malehoods the fact that women need protection and men are the protectors of women. these are very important dimensions to keep in mind. juan: i want to ask matt, many people we're mentioned have blamed, especially in the latter period of this u.s. intervention in iraq, the rise of isis as a
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direct result of the u.s. invasion and especially the attempt of the initial administrators of a rack, the coalition, in terms of reaching leaders andhe moving them from civil service, dismantling the military, basically destroying the existing institutions of iraq. i'm wondering your thoughts on that? what you saw directly? and 2005.here in 2004 august the, the rise and the emergence of isis was significantly further down the line. but it is pretty clear all blame that can be laid to is the u.s. government and u.s. military really laid into his lap around the emergence of isis. part of that is for the pure simple fact the leadership met coalition prison run facilities.
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they essentially cut their teeth during the occupation of iraq, fighting u.s. forces, occupiers there, and were politicized and found themselves, obviously, in positions in syria and other places. i think, if anything, it points to the u.s.'s role in stabilizing the region and the aftereffects addressing right now and throughout the middle east and central asia. amy: i want to turn to tony blair. october 2015, the former british prime minister speaking to cnn saying there were "elements of truth to the claim that removing saddam hussein played a part in the creation of isis." >> you can't say those of us who removed said am that there no responsible for the situation in 2015. it is important also to realize that, one, the air of spring which began in 2011 would also
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have had its impact on iraq today and, two, isis actually came to prominence from a base in syria and not in iraq. amy: another world leader responsible was president george w. bush. in 2010, in his first major interview since leaving office, bush spoke to nbc's matt lauer before he was fired about the iraq war. >> by the time you gave the order to start military operations in iraq, did you personally have any doubt, any shred of doubt about that intelligence? pres. bush: i didn't. >> that everybody thought you should go to war. pres. bush: i was a dissenting voice. i did not use of force. >> you still have a sick thing feeling most of what is there
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ever any consideration of apologizing? bush: apologizing for asically say the decision was wrong decision, and i don't believe it was a wrong decision. >> if you knew then what you know now you would still go to war in iraq? pres. bush: first of all, i did not have that luxury. you don't have the luxury when you are president. i will say deftly the world is better off without saddam hussein in power, as are 25 million people who now have a chance to live in freedom. amy: that his former president 2010. bush speaking and you return home to a rack a couple of times a year, zahra ali, your character political dissenters -- your parents are political dissenters. your response, both to bush and to blair? terminology, this
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vocabulary in the u.k. and the u.s., it was a mistake, whatever. it was a crime, come on. it is a criminal war and these people have to be judged for their crimes, right? but also, i want to say something about this narrative proven to betic -- very antidemocratic. when we think of the context of the invasion of isis and what happened around it, we also have to talk about the fact that in iraq, despite the very terrible situation, we do have very strong social movements. , morehave citizens recently since 2015, we have very strong grassroots popular movement that questioned the very legitimacy of the 2003 regime, women's rights activists involved in that movement. but the situation is that, in a
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way that is kind of comparable to here, is that this war on terror narratives is really used to justify any kind of repression, any kind of silent -- silencing of radical in theal activism country. amy: we want to thank you both for being here. matt howard of about face: veterans against the war, and also zahra ali, sociology or pfizer at rutgers, french-iraqi woman who is writing a book right now on iraqi women, her forthcoming book, and feminine activists. "women and gender in iraq: between nation-building and fragmentation." she grew up in france. her parents are political exiles. when we come back, what has happened to the undocumented workers who are rebuilding
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houston? undocumented and unpaid. will bringee feltz us report. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "yellow ribbon," by emily yates, a member of iraq veterans against the war. she says she wrote the song after speaking with fellow veterans about the yellow ribbon magnets people put on their cars. yates was deployed twice to iraq, where she served in the 3rd infantry division as an army public affairs specialist from 2002 to 2008. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we turn now to houston, the nation's fourth largest city, where hurricane harvey dumped more than 50 inches of rain six months ago. after the storm, tons of moldy debris had to be removed. now the city is beginning a multi-year rebuilding process. much of the work is being done by undocumented immigrants, who make up at least half of the texas construction workforce. but even as their work is in high demand after the storm, many are facing widespread wage theft. few of them report the abuse because they fear deportation if they go to police. just last week, the u.s. fifth
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circuit court of appeals upheld much of the state's so-called "show me your papers" that allows police to ask anyone in their custody their immigration status. this is a houston day laborer named adrian who spoke to the intercept. he is a mexican immigrant who was says he worked 60 hour weeks, but only got paid for 40 . >> they divided my check in a three to avoid paying me for overtime. >> did you ask them for overtime? >> no post of people are afraid of stirring things up. a lot of immigrants are reporting. amy: undocumented immigrant workers like adrian lost thousands of dollars due to wage theft after hurricane harvey. but some have fallback and won
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their paychecks by pressuring one of the nation's largest disaster recovery firms with help from labor advocates. to learn more, we're joined by two guests. in houston, mauricio iglesias is the community organizer for the workers defense project in houston. and here in new york, renee feltz is a longtime democracy now! producer and award-winning reporter. her latest story for the intercept is headlined, "amid rampant wage theft in post-harvey reconstruction, immigrant workers take on disaster recovery giant -- and win." last november, she reported on how "immigrant day laborers confront a perfect storm of exploitation in hurricane harvey cleanup." welcome both of you to democracy now! renee, you're recently back from houston. describe what you found. renee: i was curious to find out about the conditions for people who are rebuilding houston. 60 inches of rain fell on the city. first, a lot of the buildings had to be cleaned out, the mud, debris, mold. than they had to be rebuilt and
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that process will take a long time. i wanted to see who is rebuilding and it is mostly undocumented immigrant laborers. what i found to be especially interesting is laborers is in high demand. we also know there were storms in florida, puerto rico, fires in california -- a lot of reconstruction to be done. yet these workers who jobs were everywhere, were often not getting paid for the work that they did. part of the reason for that, as we mentioned in the introduction come is because texas has what they call a show me your papers law. when people go to police, they might be afraid that police can ask them about their immigration status. notven though it is a crime to pair worker even if they are undocumented, these workers were not going to police to report it. we called this undocumented and unpaid, but another way to say it is undocumented and unpaid --
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until now. when it went to houston recently, i was interested to learn of some sort of good news. two workers i met with chele named carla and hector were working on rebuilding and apartment complex in houston and ended up working several weeks and not seeing a paycheck. they inquired about it and asked, when i going to get paid? cash.ere getting paid in even carla was injured at some point. when she went to the hospital, she needed that cash from what she it worked to help pay for her bills. the subcontractor was not paying her. they sought help. she sought help from a lawyer who said, i can't do anything for you. essentially, she felt like she had no rights. even though she had just work all of these weeks. maybe chele can pick it up to tell us what happened when they turned to a new foothold in houston of the workers defense project. -- go ahead chele.
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>> good morning. what happened is that hector reached out to me through social media. he wanted to know what we can do to help him. he was not getting paid for several weeks. at first, he talked to me. he did not trust me at first. but then when i spoke to him and we met and told him what we are, what our organization is, he became acquainted with us and gained -- regained his trust. we were able to help hector and eventually filing liens
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against the apartment building and we were able to recover their wages. amy: amazing success. i want to return to a related report that was produced about how fema responded to immigrants in houston after hurricane harvey. renee: half-year after hurricane harvey, many homeowners who faced heavy flooding are still recovering with little or no help from fema am especially immigrants. to talk to some of them, i met up with an organizer with the workers defense project, chele. >> you can still see a lot of mud on the streets. renee: he takes me to a working-class neighborhood built near the intersection of the waterways of two bayous. in lake down streets forest boulevard and lake park drive. >> most of the homeowners here are construction workers are
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working general labor. .any are undocumented the price is low. but now they are going to sink and be under the water. some of the houses to look destroyed with visible water lines. they're interspersed with fully restored houses and than others in very states of repair. one of the first residents we meet is an immigrant from mexico who shows us her house that flooded with three feet of water during the storm. >> everything got damaged. , the living stove room. everything. we had a throw everything away. renee: is the house still damaged? >> so-so. we just fixed two bedrooms. in the kitchen.
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renee: we're curious if people have heard from fema and what that experience was like. yes, they did help us, thank god. the inspectors were nice. the use to gift card from her church to buy drywall and insulation so her husband could turn to repair the house before their fema check arrived. cook he spoke a little bit of spanish, but not much. down the street, we stopped to look at one of the houses that appeared to be abandoned. >> this home was missing part of , now looks like od.is covered by wo i looked inside and there are no walls. four's.e just two by it looks like someone is living there according to fema, they
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are saying that these homes are habitable. the way they look, they don't look habitable to me or to any human being. street, wess the meet ricardo, a mexican immigrant who is unloading construction materials from his van into his house, which flooded with more than a foot of water during hurricane harvey. i asked him what was damaged. >> practically everything. can you tell us what happened when fema came? >> really, they never came. i only spoke with them once on my phone and they asked a for my sosa security. they said there is no help for someone with those is a security. renee: can you describe the impact of not having fema help? >> he says for him, it feels like it will be the same because there are other people who are much worse than him and have
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gotten aid and they are still not fully recovered and there in a worse state. economically.rt saying he spent many of his savings recovering. doing the work himself. renee: we go around the corner and me an immigrant from el salvador who moved back into her house not long after it suffered heavy flooding from harvey. she lives there with her husband, to relatives, and her children. her daughter has special needs. joslin said fema helped pay for hotel room but the family had to move back into the house before it was repaired. we then came back to the house the way it was. much of an kept getting sick a
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lot because my baby girl suffers from asthma and her lungs do not work optimally. my eight-year-old son also has asthma. i had to bring them to the doctor very often. even gave me letters to take the fema because he says our house was not livable. i spoke with fema and they told me they could not pay for the hotel because my house was livable. did the inspector come to the house? >> yes, he did come to inspect but only for five to 10 minutes. he was only here a few minutes. he was american and did not expanders. so he came and only checked the front of the house. he did not go to the bedrooms or bathrooms. he did not go anywhere. renee: when she shows us the progress she and her husband of may so far, each room in the house looks about half ready to live in. many windows are still being installed, including in the bedroom her children share. i asked her if she plans to keep
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living here and she answers -- close yes, of course, i need to keep working to make money and to keep going because we came here from our country that are not as good as here. find a better future here. it is difficult, but not impossible. renee: i am renee feltz for democracy now! fema across this response to these immigrant homeowners from a number with u.s. born children? it still smelled like mold when i went there. the mold is going away, but many do not have windows installed in their bedrooms. other posts storm situations, these are long-term residents. some have lived five to 20 years in houston. it is something that needs to be addressed. and thank you for that excellent report. chele iglesias.
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