tv Democracy Now PBS April 6, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
04/06/18 04/06/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! a judge has ordered former brazilian president luiz inacio lula da silva to report to jail today to begin serving a controversial corruption conviction, effectively removing him from brazil's presidential election this year where he was the front runner. is the is behind that interest in a part of the brazil,l elite of together with a part of the press, reinforced by the role of
the judiciary in preventing lula from becoming a candidate in the 2018 election. amy: we will play excerpts of our exclusive interview with lula and get an update from mark weisbrot. then today we speak with a reporter who exposed the trump administration lie about his first military engagement last year. we will speak with iona craig, who is winning the george coco war today for her investigation. >> the civilians that i spoke to a know it to the village had that same question, why? why did the trump administration choose to carry out this raid? for what reasons? and what are they going to do about it now? amy: we will also speak with iona craig about a new 1.3 billion other weapons sale to saudi arabia, which human rights groups one can make the united states complicit in the saudi-ld bombing campaign in yemen.
then a judge in new york suspends the parole of elderly prisoner herman bell, the former black panther convicted of killing two police officers. mr. bell has taken responsibility for his actions, has expressed genuine remorse. he is 70 years old and has been in prison for 45 years. in these times of increased hate, we need more compassion and forgiveness. signed by waverly jones. amy: we will get an update from bell's lawyer and look at parole reforms in new york. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. former brazilian president luiz inacio lula da silva has been ordered to turn himself into police today to begin serving a 12-year prison term for corruption.
lula has proclaimed his innocence saying the corruption charges were filed in an attempt to prevent him from running in this year's election. lula supporters say his conviction is a continuation of the right-wing coup that ousted his ally, president dilma rousseff, from power in 2016. we will have more on brazil after headlines. in oklahoma, schools remain closed for a fifth day in the state's two largest school districts as teachers remain on strike, demanding better pay and increased funding for their schools. on thursday, thousands of teachers packed the oklahoma state capitol again to push lawmakers to approve a new revenue package to fund the schools. in other education news, puerto rico's department of education has announced it will close 283 public schools due to the island's economic crisis and
dwindling population after hurricane maria. the announcement comes just weeks after governor ricardo rossello signed a bill opening the door for charter schools and private school vouchers. the new york police department has agreed to to stop suspicionless surveillance on the basis of religion or ethnicity as part of a settlement to a federal lawsuit over the new york police department's spying on muslims. the lawsuit was filed after the associated pres revealed the nypd had spied on at least 20 mosques, 14 restaurants, 11 retail stores, two grade schools, and two muslim student associations in new jersey. the in white -- nypd had a massive surveillance program targeting muslim organizations in new york as well. in addition, the police department has agreed to pay 10 businesses, mosques, and individuals impacted by the surveillance. in environmental news, 14 states have sued the environmental protection agency, accusing the
epa of failing to issue regulations for curbing emissions of methane from existing oil and gas operations as required under the clean air act. this comes as epa had scott pruitt is facing a growing number of ethics scandals. "the new york times goes what revealed at least five officials of the epa work reassign or demoted or requested new jobs in the past year after they raised concerns about the spending and management of prewitt. he has faced a number of scandals in recent weeks over his renting of a d.c. condo from an energy lobbyist. his first class travel arrangements and his role in securing massive raises for to close aides at the epa. during an address in west virginia thursday, president trump through his prepared speech into the crowd, then made a series of false claims. speaking about the 2016 election, trump repeated his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people illegally voted. pres. trump: in many places,
like california, the same person votes many times. you probably heard about that. they say, oh, that is a conspiracy third. not conspiracy theory. millions and millions of people. amy: trump also repeated his claim that mexico sends rapists to the united states which he often talk about on the campaign trail. ," remember my opening remarks at trump tower when i open. everybody said, oh, he was so tough. i used the word "rape." yesterday came out for this journey coming up, women are raped at levels that nobody has ever seen before. they don't want to mention that. amy: in media news, a prominent latino journalist in memphis, tennessee, has detained a immigration officials after he was arrested while covering a protest against immigration detention outside a county jail. manuel duran, who was born in el salvador, is a well-known reporter on spanish radio stations in memphis. he also runs the online site memphis noticias.
on thursday, the state dropped criminal charges against duran but he was then detained by immigration and customs enforcement agents. he now faces deportation. local immigrant groups are calling for his release. in gaza, palestinians are staging another round of protests near the israeli border a week after israeli troops opened fire on a peaceful demonstration. over the past week, israel has killed at least 21 palestinians including a gaza man on thursday who died in an israeli airstrike. while israel's actions have been widely criticized internationally, the united states has condemned palestinians for protesting. on thursday, white house envoy jason greenblatt said -- "we condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protestors - including children - to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed." greenblatt's statement made no reference to israeli forces who
opened fire on those protesters, including children. new details have emerged about a secret program by turkey's intelligence agency to seize turkish critics of tayyip erdogan across the globe. a top turkish official has revealed turkey has seized about 80 turkish citizens in 18 countries. the program has been compared to the u.s. extraordinary rendition program after 9/11. the new york state attorney general's office has announced it will investigate the fatal shooting by police of an unarmed african-american man who was bipolar. police officers shot saheed vassell after mistaking a metal pipe he was holding for a gun. over 1000 protesters gathered at the scene of the shooting on thursday. >> my name is maria will step a friend of mine was shot down, shot 10 times by the cops. he was very caring. i felt very comfortable. i would come home from work at 2:00 in the morning and feel so comfortable when i would see him because i knew he was going to protect me and walked me all the
way to my door. without being afraid of him. i was not afraid of nothing. i knew him all my life since he was a little kid. >> i am a long-term resident of harlem. this is my home. we have been seeing shootings happened too much. and something that is really important we heard today, folks talking about community accountability. the cops do not protect as. we need to come together and figure out alternative ways to protect and care for our own communities. amy: voices from last night's in brooklyn, new york. a dutch news organization has published a trove of internal documents from the oil giant shell showing the company knew about the link between fossil fuel and global warming as far back as the 1980's. despite their own findings, shell, like other oil companies, publicly dispute the climate science for decades. confidential 1988 report from ell was titled "the greenhouse effect." it read -- "although co2 is emitted to the atmosphere through several
natural ocesses, the mai cause of incasing co concentrations is considered to be fossil fuel burning." friends of the earth netherlands is threatening to sue shell less it increases efforts to comply with the pas climate accord. the state of michigan has approved a controversial permit to allow nestle, the largest water bottling company in the world, to expand its operations in the state. michigan department of environmental quality has given the ok to nestle to withdraw 400 gallons a minute from the state's groundwater table despite receiving over 80,000 public comments against the project. nestle is not required to pay anythingo extract e water, besides a small permitting fee to the state and the cost of leases to private landowners. according to one count, the price of ntle's bottle wer is more than 7000 times more expensive than what nestle is actually paying for it. critics say nestle shouldn't be allowed to profit fromhe state's natural reurces at a time wn michig cities like flint are still facing a crisis over contaminated water.
to see a report on nestle and flint, you can go to democracynow.org. in louisiana, to activists were arrested after they chained themselves inside barrels along the pipeline route of the proposed 163-mile bayou bridge pipeline. the pipeline is being built by energy transfer partners, the same company behind the dakota access pipeline. and the visionary jazz pianist and composer cecil taylor has died at the age of 89. he is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. he helped reshape the sound of jazz and improvised music. ♪ amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,
democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show in brazil, where a judge on thursday ordered former brazilian president luiz inacio lula da silva to turn himself in to police within 24 hours to begin serving a 12-year sentence for a controversial corruption conviction. the supreme court's rejection of lula's bid to stay out of jail while he appeals effectively removes him from brazil's presidential election later this year, where he was the front-runner. lula is a former union leader who served as president of brazil from 2003 to 2010. during that time, he helped lift tens of millions of brazilians out of poverty. his supporters say the ruling against him is a continuation of the coup that ousted lula's ally president dilma rousseff from power last year. on thursday, rousseff continued to defend lula. >> they want to turn off brazil's history, to gloss over what we did the last 13 years in our terms in office. amy: early today, lula appeared at his party's headquarters and
briefly waved to his supporters, but made no comment. during an interview on democracy now! last month, president lula said his prosecution is part of an attempt to criminalize the workers party. the accusersiting -- for the accusers to show at least some piece of evidence that indicates i committed any crime during the period that i was in the presidency. is thet is behind that attempt to criminalize my political party. what is behind that is the interest in a part of the political elite of brazil, together with a part of the press, reinforced by the role of the judiciary, and preventing
lula from becoming a candidate in the 2018 election. amy: well, for more, we go to washington, d.c., for an update from mark weisbrot, co-director of the center for economic and policy research, and president of just foreign policy. weisbrot's new book is called, "failed: what the experts got wrong about the global economy." mark weisbt, first, can you talk about -- respond to the supreme court ruling, explain what it is, and what this means if lula or to go to jail today. >> yes, well, the supreme court ruled he could be imprisoned while his appeals are pending, even of the constitution says pretty clearly that no one will be considered guilty until all their skills have been exhausted. course, with amazing speed, the trial judge went back to the lower court and in the child judge within hours
-- trial judge within hours yesterday and the trial judge ordered he surrendered to authorities today by 5:00 brazilian time. amy: can you explain this case? that heiggest thing is was convicted without material evidence. lula wasaccused -- accused of accepting a bribe in the form of remodeling an apartment. and the big problem -- lula mention this in his interview on democracy now!, which i think was really important in a hope people read that transcript because he explained a lot of this. but basically, they did not have material evidence that he ever accepted the apartment, that he ever stayed in it, that he did not have title to it -- in fact,
he didn't, any of those things. the evidence that they had was really just one witness who was a construction company executive who had already pled guilty and was plea-bargaining. he had his sentence reduced to something like 16 years to two years in exchange for implicating lula. in fact, according to press he -- theybrazil, actually cut off his plea-bargaining because he richly told the story similar to lula's and they cut off his plea-bargaining until he said what they wanted to hear, that is, implicated lula. that is the evidence they have for the so-called crime. inis kind of miss reported the press because they say he was convicted of taking a bribe and money laundering, but that is all the same thing. money laundering just means he took -- supposedly took this apartment instead of cash.
and if i want to turn back to lula. he was speaking last month on democracy now!, describing the federal judge presiding over his case, sergio mauro. isnow if my innocence proven, then judge moro should be removed from his position. pronouncing someone guilty who knows is innocent. he knows it is not my apartment. he knows i did not buy it. he knows i did not pay anything. he knows i never went there. he knows that i don't have money from petrobras. the thing is, because he ,upported himself to the media i said in the first hearing with , you are not in a position
to acquit me because the lies have gone too far. is that the one who tells the first like continues lying and lying and lying to justify the first life. and i'm going to prove he is been lying. amy: mark weisbrot, can you respond? >> i think this is very important because you don't see this really -- you can search the media coverage. you almost never see anything worthy evidence of the case is discussed, even though it is all on the web. there's a 238-page sentencing document from this judge that discusses all of the evidence and all of the things that lula just mentioned and i just mentioned. just treat it as though it is a fact. he is guilty. and that is all there is to it. so i think that is very important. the judge sergio moro's prejudice is evident. for example, here to apologize
to the supreme court for having released illegal wiretaps of lula's conversation with dilma and his lawyer and his family. release this to the public. and he did other things as well to try the case in the media, for example, having lula arrested at his home with a lot of police where he it always volunteered for questioning. there was no doubt he was available for questioning. they had it taken away them from of the cameras and notify the media in advance. thatere are so many things show he really is political, that the investigation is political, and that everything he is trying to do is political, including the latest order of lula surrendering. amy: i want to go back to lula speaking on democracy w! when i asked him about the press acting as prosecutor in his case.
>> i was president for eight years. dilma was president for four years. , all the presss did was to try to destroy my image and her image in the image of my party. -- and the image of my party. i have more negative subject matter about me in the leading television news program of brazil than all of the presidents in the whole history of brazil. words, it is a daily attempt to massacre me, to tell untruths about lula, lula's family, and the only weapon that i have is to confront them. and they are irritated because after they massacred me for four
, any opinion poll by any polling institute shows that lula was going to win the elections in brazil. amy: during my interview last month, i asked him if you would consider stepping aside running for president if his case did not go well in the supreme court. of all, amy, i have very optimistic. very optimistic. now if that were to happen and i to be a not able candidate, if my name is not on , and i think that the party would call a convention and discuss what to do.
i am going to require and call for justice to be done in the country. amy: that was president lula speaking on democracy now! just a few weeks ago. mark weisbrot, what will happen now? do you expect lula to turn himself in today and what does this mean for the presidential race in brazil, one of the largest countries in the world? >> i do want to say how important what he said about the media is. if we had a media like this in the united states, barack obama never would have been elected because most of the country would have believed he was muslim and not born in the united states. this is the kind of media you have there. the impeachment of dilma, for example, i don't think what have happened without this kind of constant barrage of media against both of those leaders and against the workers party.
so i don't -- i assume he is going to do what he said and surrender to the authorities. now, we don't really know what is going to happen from there. he said he is going to continue to run for president. theoretically, he could even win from jail. that is not likely because there is another court having to do with the electoral decision that would probably say that -- or possibly say -- i think probably say that he is not eligible to run. the whole point of this is to keep them from running because he is the front runner and he would probably win in october. and that is largely because of what he and the workers party have accomplished in their 14 years in power. and that is what really this is all about. it is about the traditional elite taking what they could not win at the ballot box for 14 years. we will see what happens.
i don't think it is over yet there are -- i mean, millions and millions of people in brazil. in fact, there was a poll last two days said 41% of the public thought he was being railroaded by the media and the judicial system. they will see him as a political prisoner and they will see any election that is held without him in october as illegitimate not i think there is going to be a continued fight either to elect him, or if that is not possible, to elect someone else from the workers party. amy: i asked lula about the candidate polling second in brazil's election, the far right-wing congressman, former soldier who has been called the "brazilian trump." he is a member of the federal congress. he was an army captain in the brazilian army. the information we had is that
he was expelled from the brazilian army. is far behavior right-wing, fascist. prejudicedmuch against women, against blacks, against indigenous persons, against human rights. he prejudiced against women, against believesn .e resolved with violence so i don't think he is a future in brazilian politics. amy: mark weisbrot, as we wrap up, if you can comment on jair bolsonaro and the current president michel temer, and in the role he may be playing in all of this. >> this is a real threat, not only of jair bolsonaro himself, but also the violence that has , as happening, threatened you reported and lula talked about in his interview. you had the assassination on
march 17 of marielle franco, the afro brazilian activist in rio march 27, lula's caravan was shot at. and you have two army officers just in the last few days saying very threatening things. the first one saying if lula were eventually elected, there would have to be some kind of military intervention. and then the head of the armed forces appearing to endorse that by saying the day before the supreme court decision that, you know, he made a speech against impunity, indicating that the side the military was on. it mayit may have influenced the supreme court. you have a lot of things that
bring to mind the 1964 coup and the dictatorship that lasted until the late 1980's. it is very threatening and buried dangerous situation. we willk weisbrot, continue to follow it. thank you for being with us, codirector of the center for economic and policy research, and president of just foreign policy. his new book "failed: what the , experts got wrong about the global economy." this is democracy now! if you want to see our full hour with lula, with a former president of brazil, you can go to democracynow.org. when we come back, the investigative reporter who exposed the first lie about military intervention during the trump era. she is winning a george polk award today. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on thursday, the trump administration told congress it has approved a $1.3 billion artillery sale to saudi arabia. this is the second weapons deal between the u.s. and riyadh in as many months and has sparked concern from human rights groups who warn the deals may make the united states complicit in war crimes committed in the saudi-led bombing campaign in yemen. lawmakers have 30 days to act before the sale is final. the announcement comes as crown prince mohammed bin salman wraps up his whirlwind tour of the united states where he reportedly met everyone from president donald trump to microsoft's bill gates to amazon's jeff bezos. "time magazine's" cover features a photo of bin salman's face with the words "charm offensive." the magazine notes that by the end of his visit, the 32-year-old prince will have visited five states, plus the district of columbia, four presidents, five newspapers, numerous business tycoons, and celebrities such as oprah winfrey. one topic that has received relatively little media attention during his trip is his role in escalating saudi arabia's military involvement in
yemen. last month marked three years since the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition began its military offensive in yemen, leading to one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. during a cbs "60 minutes," host norah o'donnell briefly questioned prince mohammed bin salman about yemen. >> do you acknowledge it has been a humanitarian catastrophe? 5000 civilians killed and children starving there. >> it is truly very painful and i hope that this militia ceases using the humanitarian situation to their vintage in order to draw sympathy from the international community. they block humanitarian aid in order to create famine and committed during crisis. amy: the u.s.-backed saudi-led airstrikes and naval blockade have destroyed yemen's health, water and sanitation systems, sparking a massive cholera outbreak and pushing millions of yemenis to the brink of starvation. more than 15,000 people have died since the saudi invasion in
2015. last month, back-to-back airstrikes from a saudi-led military coalition tore through a residential neighborhood in the coastal city of hodeidah, killing 12 civilians, including seven children. this is mohamed al-helleisy, who was injured in the attack. >> we were sitting down and the planes were flying above us. as soon as i decided to go to sleep, a rocket hit us. i only gained consciousness with whole building was collapsing on as. i started digging in the rubble and burned up my leg in the second rocket hit us. last month, 10 senate democrats amy:last month, 10 senate democrats joined a majority of republicans in a 44-to-55 vote that rejected a bill seeking to end u.s. military involvement in the saudi-led war. well, for more, we're joined now by iona craig, a journalist who was based in sana'a from 2010 to 2015 as the yemen correspondent for the times of london. she joins us in new york as she is in town to receive the george polk award for documenting, in a story for the intercept, the
destruction and civilian casualties of a covert u.s. navy seal raid on a remote village in yemen. it was last year. it was when the trump administration first came into power will stop iona craig, welcome to democracy now! it is not to have you in studio. congratulations on your george polk award. the wood to start out talking about the latest news. i am not sure where mohammed bin salman is in houston or hollywood as he continues this what is called the charm offensive. and the lack of critical media coverage of him. but talk about saudi arabia's role in the catastrophe that is yemen today and the u.s. role. >> the war in yemen started back in 2014, but it escalated s gotvely once the saudi involved, over three years ago now. as a result of that, the import
restrictions they have imposed on the country, the bombing campaign that has destroyed the infrastructure across the country, the economic collapse that has followed that now means that 22 million people are in need of humanitarian aid. according to u.n. figures, the majority of casualties in the war have been down to the saudi -led bombing campaign will stop yet 8 million people facing famine. the humanitarian situation is disastrous. there is no immediate prospect to even political talks going on or a solution to this conflict right now. u.s. involvement that we've seen in the last few days is the continuation of supporting the saudi coalition, particularly by western sales. the latest is artillery. it is for the ground role. part of that has been a continuation of selling bombs for the air campaign and ,efueling the fighter jets helping with intelligence to select targets in the bombing theregn whether -- where
have been many claims a violation of humanitarian law. there was this one brief period at the end of the obama administration with her was the suspension of precision guided weapons, but that was quickly lifted. despite the fact lawmakers have been trying to put more pressure on the issue of their support for the saudi coalition -- and there has been more public awareness. this does not seem to materialize in any indication either the u.s., british, or the french are going to draw the support or even question the saudis heavily were put pressure on them heavily about the conflict in yemen and the impact they have been having. amy: one me people are believed to have cholera? >> over a million suspected cases. more than 1000 deaths. when was in yemen, those numbers were still growing, but the rate of cholera was reduced because of the intervention by you and agencies and ngos in yemen. diphtheria has become an issue were recently.
less than 40% of the hospitals are now operating in the country. several -- many have been bombed . the people cannot access health care. you have issues of people dying from preventable diseases. when you talk about 15,000 deaths in the war, that is in the violence, the conflict. many, many more people are dying as a result of the health care collapse, from the humanitarian crisis, and starvation amongst children and the very old as well. the u.s.head of central command recently nottted the pentagon is fully aware of what exactly saudi arabia is doing with u.s. bombs in yemen. he made the omission during a hearing of the senate armed services committee last month. your response? >> the use of these weapons. when it comes to issues of violations of international humanitarian law, when you have mass sibling casualties where we
know u.s. bombs have been used because you can take up the remnants on the ground. i have been into a house that was a residential home were two children were killed and found the bomb remnants there, traced the serial numbers, and they were american-made. it is very easy now for people on the ground to do that. they know where these weapons are coming from. for the u.s. not to know what is the uses, -- end use makes the u.s. complicit. people should be deeply concerned about that. have saidhe saudis they will carry out their own investigations into the strikes where there have been claims of violations of international humanitarian law, there have been no real independent inquiries now on to what is going on on the ground. for the u.s. to not know where their weapons are ending up when quite clearly they have been killing civilians, should be a big concern for everybody.
amy: you come here soon after the senate vote took place. 55 to 44 rejecting a bill seeking to end u.s. involvement in the saudi led war. among those leading this were chris murphy of connecticut's for senator sanders of vermont. how much responsibility does the u.s. have here in this humanitarian catastrophe go >> the real issue of the war powers resolution are the was involved in active hostilities in yemen or are they involved in potential active hostilities? i think the issue is, from what --ave seen, yes, as for his the u.s. navy warship [indiscernible] they see the u.s. as belligerent. down inrone was taken yemen. the u.s. is heavily involved in the bombing campaign being able to operate because of the refueling of the fighter jets that the u.s. is responsible for.
and intelligence, which is an essential part to select targets in the air campaign. the u.s. did provide the saudis with a no strike list, if you like, targets they should not be hit. there have been cleared cases where that has been violated, if you like, where targets have been hit which have been on the no strike list. at the -- the bombing campaign would not be able operate without the u.s. support . but it is really unclear as well how much the u.s. is involved in the blockade aspect of it in the import restrictions because you have u.s. warships in the red sea now, where they were stationed before. -- where they were not stationed before. where there were targeted by the houthis was where the imports need to go into the country in order to bring commercial goods into the even inwhen yemen,
peacetime, imported 90% of its food. that raises real questions about the u.s. involvement in us to factor blockade, and import restrictions that are having such devastating consequences on the silly population. amy: talk about mohammad bin salman. talk about the media fawning over the man who has really been in charge, now the crown prince of the attacks on yemen. what is the media missing? >> i think the media is helping in this fight for support of the saudi led coalition. doing very little critical reporting. very little questioning of both mohammad bin salman and the coalition at large. mohammad bin salman was the administer of defense -- minister of defense and launch this campaign into yemen and the first place back in march of that year. there has been committed peers, reluctance both diplomatically and politically to put serious
pressure on the saudi led coalition in order to maintain both strategic alliance with saudi arabia but also the financial benefits that come out of the weapons sales. the media has been part of that. without being seriously critical in interviews with bin salman, without pushing him for the saudi coalition on those aspects of what is happening on the ground in yemen, it is this continuous cycle of very rarely pushing the saudi coalition or in saudis on their activity yemen. where helping that non-critical aspect of support for the saudis intervention in the ongoing war. amy: mohammed bin salman in hollywood, in houston. >> it was interesting when he was in new york at the u.n. because that came as the same time as the anniversary come if you like, of the saudi's intervention. on that day the houthis fired
multiple ballistic missiles into the kingdom. when they have done that in the past, the saudi's responded retaliation.ith that did not happen this time. i think my perhaps skeptical assessment of that was once he was in new york, he is not want to have an issue of mass civilian casualties in yemen or any airstrikes like we've seen in the past few days whilst was either in washington or new york publicly pushing for this pr campaign he has been doing over the last few weeks in the u.s. amy: i want to talk about this report you did last trip that exposed the trump administration lie about its first military engagement. you are here in new york to win the george polk award today for documenting what you revealed at the time, the destruction and civilian casualties from a remoteu.s. abc late on a village in yemen that left 25
civilians and one u.s. soldier dead. we know his them, william ryan allens. -- william ryan owens. then white house spokesperson sean spicer speaking last february about the objective of the raid that had taken place a month earlier. >> the raid that was conducted in yemen was in intelligence gathering raid. that is what it was. it was highly successful. his save the loss of life and injuries that occurred. >> reporting was the target? raid wasal of the intelligence gathering. that is what we received and that is what we got and that is why we can deem it a success. amy: iona craig, you reported .therwise in a story headlined " you are now receiving the george polk award for this. talk about this discovery you
made in this trip throughout credit territory to get to the truth of what the trump administration did. >> i was in yemen at the time when this happened. i was due to leave a day later. it was white clear from social media and local media in yemen a number ofad been sitting casualties. it was not quite clear how many and to what extent. i have been to the area before the obama administration that had been a drone strike on a wedding convoy not far from the same place where 12 civilians were killed. i traveled down there at that time. i contacted people in the area to try to confirm or find out more about these reports. they said, yes, there was a number of civilian casualties. because of the civil war, was on the wrong side of the country, if you like, so i do due to sides of the tribal, over 1000 miles, to get to where the raid happened. in an extremely remote part of yemen. it is right on the front lines.
that area was densely populated with fighters who were on the side of the saudi coalition come the same side as the u.s. in the war, who had been fighting me houthis. they have been fighting the houthis since 2014. the village had received incoming missiles sometimes from the houthis. they assume the village was under attack from the houthis. it escalated quickly into a firefight. yes, there was a low-level presence on the edge of the village. but what happened was the main part of the village, which was all civilians, mainly women and children asleep in their beds at night, was destroyed in this operation. once the navy seals came under attack, the helicopter then came in, drone fighter jets them in every thing else, they pretty much razed the entire village,
and that included the death of tension woman under the age of 13, and unborn child from a was ant woman, and it pretty devastating scene. most of the villages ended up being displaced. the helicopter gunships, the fighter jets, the drunks came back and repeatedly bombed that area and the village at the beginning of march, the rates having happened at the end of january. i kept in contact with people in the area. they are still being targeted around there now. themare still, some of having to live in tents on the side of mountains because they cannot go back to their homes because they have been repeatedly targeted in that way. i would have literally for a day to tell that story, but the story has not ended for them. they are still struggling. the government has been the most heavily bombed under the trump administration where we've seen this huge escalation in drone and airstrikes in u.s. operations that has not really been reported on much.
in peacetime -- if we assume is huge escalation in u.s. operations in her strife in yemen when there was not a civil war, i think it would have gathered more attention. it is that because of the civil war happening on top of it, so the americans, have been able to get away with carrying out this large escalation in strikes, the majority of which has happened with very little attention on what has been going on. amy: i thank you for stopping by the studio on your way to receive the george pulled toward , so critical to understanding what is happening today in yemen. iona craig, journalist who is based in sana'a from 2010 to 2015 as the yemen correspondent for the times of london. today she receives the george polk award for documenting, in a story for the intercept, the destruction and civilian casualties of a covert u.s. navy seal raid on a remote village in yemen. to see our coverage speaking to iona previously and also our link to that piece for which she
1960. he died on thursday the age of 89. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we end today's show in new york, where a judge has suspended the release of a 70-year old prisoner who has been granted parole after 45 years in prison. herman bell was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the killing of two police officers in 1971, joseph piagentini and waverly jones. at the time, bell was a member of the black liberation army and a former black panther. since then, he has mentored thousands of young men while behind bars and kept a clean disciplinary record -- even after guards brutally attacked him in september. state-mandated tests show he would pose the lowest possible risk if he is allowed to re-enter society. in march, the new york parole board granted bell parole, noting he had expressed remorse and was likely to lead a law-abiding life. state law requires commissioners
to consider such factors, but they've only recently started to comply after a campaign for reform. a "new york times" editorial hailed bell's release in an editorial, saying -- "the process worked as it should if parole is to amount to more than an empty word." it its decision, the parole board cited a letter from the namesake son of one of the victims, waverly jones, jr., who wrote that he and some members of his family supported bell's release, saying -- "the simple answer is it would bring joy and peace as we have already forgiven herman bell publicly. on the other hand, to deny him parole again would cause us pain as we are reminded of the painful episode each time he appears before the board." again, the son of the slain police officer wrote. but other family members of the slain officers, as well as the police union known as the patrolmen's benevolent association, have called for the
board to reverse its vote, along with new york mayor bill de blasio. then on wednesday, a state judge agreed to hear a challenge from the widow of officer piagentini, who says the board violated procedure in its decision. a hearing on the petition is set for april 13, a week from today, just days before bell's earliest originally scheduled release date. for more, we are joined by herman bell's lawyer, bob boyle, and by jose saldaña, who was formerly incarcerated in new york state prison and was released by the parole board earlier this year in january after 38 years inside. he knew herman bell, and is now an organizer with the group rapp, release aging people from prison, which has helped push for parole reform. welcome both of you to democracy now! bob boyle, welcome back. talked about herman bell's case today. >> herman bell, as you said, served 46 years in prison. he was granted parole on his
eighth appearance before the parole board where he satisfied all of the criteria. just a couple of days ago, the petrolin's benevolent association confusing, i would say, the widow of officer piagentini, filed a suit in state supreme court in albany to block his release. it is really an unprecedented action. although it has been tried in some cases before and failed, in that the petrolin's benevolent association is exercising, i would argue, undue influence over the criminal justice process. and they're bringing this lawsuit to block the release of someone who satisfied everyone's criteria for parole. it really shows their power that they could influence even mayor bill de blasio to come out with a statement saying herman bell , whichnever be paroled
is contrary to the law. because he satisfies all of the criteria for release. this was done by a parole committed -- parole , which is contrary to the law. commissioners who spent two hours with him, reviewed mountains of material, and finally on his eighth appearance, granted him parole. amy: this is new york state senator marty golden speaking on fox & friends, back in march, about the new york parole board's decision to release herman bell. appropriately and this is why we believe that this board should be taken apart. fired. one of them is that they have to consider when the climate is -- crime is so heinous that the release would undermine respect for law. guess what? they did not do that. said thevious boards release would depreciate the severity of the crime. so how do seven boards come up with that? and this board comes up with
their decision. amy: that is near state senator marty golden. did they break the rules or follow them? >> they follow the rules. the point he is making, the seriousness of the offense will never change, but people do were behind the wall. herman bell has shown he has changed. so on his eighth appearance after 46 years, the board recognized this and did what they were supposed to do by releasing him him a ordering his release. justjose saldaña, you're recently released from prison and you are involved in working the particularly for elderly prisoners. talk about what herman bell did there. >> he was a great influencer. he transformed my life. literallytransform thousands of other people's lives. thesee now a lot of formerly incarcerated people doing very positive things, serving the community.
these very same people were influenced by herman bell. i would like to address this problem that we are facing right now is a variation of the problem that i thought was corrected by the government. for years, i was part of a group that called for parole reform. we say the composition of the parole board needs to be changed because you had a large majority of parole commissioners with certain backgrounds that did not allow them to consider rehabilitation. they were systematically denying persons convicted of violent crimes, especially when the victim was a police officer come a parole. it was based on a personal beliefs. last year, the governor appointed 60 parole officers with backgrounds on behavioral sciences. and these backgrounds allow them to consider rehabilitation. in this is exactly what happened. so the problem was being corrected. now they're trying to come around the back door and do the
same thing. amy: bob boyle, good herman bell still get out? >> yes. the lawsuit that was filed was frivolous. because the board, in fact, considered everything they were supposed to and made the right decision. and so it would from today, we hope that the judge will dismiss the suit so he will be released as scheduled. amy: what is the broader purpose of parole? >> it is to recognize that someone has in fact changed and will lead a law-abiding life and contribute to the community. this is what the purpose of parole is. in the words of the new york statute that it is reasonably probable that the person will lead a law-abiding life. that is the standard. in herman bell, for years, has satisfied that's angered. son can you talk about the of the slain police officer also named waverley, writing this letter, saying that they support
the parole of herman bell? jr.?ly jones, >> he has supported parole since 2004. as has his mother and his sister. they wrote to herman bell connection header correspondence with him. they have urged the parole board to grant parole. what i would like to add to that is while that is very important, it is not the definitive thing. it is not a debate between families of the victims. satisfiesf someone the criteria for parole, they should get parole. it is wonderful he did that, but it is not determinative. and the geoeye want to read the tail end of what he wrote, again, the son of the slain officer. saying "the fact is mr. bell has taken responsibility for his actions, has expressed genuine remorse for seven years old, and is been imprisoned for 45 years. in these times of increased hate, we need more compassion
and forgiveness." as you hear that, jose saldaña, your response? >> i greatly admire his sense of justice and i greatly admire the fact that he allowed himself to against a racist, political agenda. amy: the next date is april 13. >> april 13 we will be in court and hopefully the earliest release date is april 17 and we hope to welcome him home on that succeedingne of the days. amy: we want to thank you both for being with us and continue the conversation after the show with a web exclusive that we will post online. bob boyle, lawyer for herman bell. jose saldaña, formerly incarcerated in new york state prison and new rebel well, now with the group rapp, release aging people from prison. happy birthday, matt ealy! democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now!
>> colameco: so, anybody that's been watching this show for any length of time knows i love wine. i love food and wine together. we were at the beaujolais harvest in 2005. we were at albariño for the harvest in 2010. we did wine shows in portugal, in sicily, in bordeaux years ago. and i love champagne. i adore it. so i've always wanted to do a show on champagne. there's a couple ways you can do that. you can hop around, visit different producers, visit chateau, taste, taste, taste, or you can just pick one and bore down deep, and i think that's what we're gonna do. who did i pick? laurent-perrier, one of the big major houses, big major players in the u.s. and france and britain. and they're not part of lvmh. i like that. they're privately owned. one family, the nonancourts, have them for a long time. they're a great story. we're gonna spend a few days with them in champagne. we meet the wine maker, meet the staff, walk the vineyards, pair it with foods. of course, we're gonna visit some great restaurants along the way. so, champagne 101 for the next 26 minutes and a lot of good food with it, too. ♪