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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 18, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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04/18/18 04/18/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: that system, $13 billion, the airplanes, the hercules. great plane. , the tanks,cles $1.2 billion. , $1.4 billion.s amy: meet america's number-one weapon salesman, donald trump. we will look at how the president is personally intervening to push u.s.-made
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weapons and how he is loosening rules to allow for greater arms exports. plus, hot bipartisan senate bill may expend the authority in president trump and all future presidents who engage in worldwide war without limits. then we go to detroit where a young african-american activist has been jailed for brandishing a gun to defend her mother and young child. although no shots were fired, siwatu-salama ra has been sentenced to two years in prison. fighting against the way the world views what black fear looks like. -- ink that amy: all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump has confirmed that cia director mike pompeo held a clandestine meeting with north korean leader kim jong-un in pyongyang over two weeks ago. the secret meeting came as president trump and kim jong-un are preparing for a possible face-to-face meeting, which would be the first time a sitting u.s. president has met with a north korean leader. mike pompeo is president trump's nominee to replace rex tillerson as secretary of state. critics are asking why the cia to rector was chosen to carry out the clandestine talks and whether the leaking of the story is related to the increasing resistance of his confirmation from lawmakers on the senate foreign relations committee to be secretary of state. connecticut democratic senator chris murphy, kentucky republican senator rand paul, virginia democratic senator tim kaine, and new hampshire democratic senator jeanne shaheen have all said they will
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vote against recommending pompeo to the full senate. which mcconnell could still bring pompeo's confirmation vote of the senate floor, although it would be the first time for a secretary of state nominee to be rejected by the senate foreign relations committee since 1925. "the new york times" is reporting president trump launched airstrikes against syria on friday despite opposition from his own defense secretary james mattis, who wanted trump to first get congressional approval. trump has faced backlash from lawmakers, who have described the strikes on syria as illegal since trump did not seek congressional input or authorization. this comes as congress is considering rewriting the war powers granted to the president after the september 11 attacks, what's known as the aumf, or authorization for use of military force. on monday, senate foreign relations committee chairman bob corker, a tennessee republican, and democratic committee member senator tim kaine of virginia introduced legislation to replace the aumf's with a new one. critics warn the proposed
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legislation would actually expand the authority of president trump and all future presidents to engage in worldwide war without limitations. we'll have more on the -- this after headlines. u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley has launched a public rebuke of the white house after national economics adviser larry kudlow tried to claim haley had been confused on sunday when she announced the u.s. would impose new sanctions against russian companies linked to syria's chemical weapons program. >> so you will see that russian sanctions will be coming down. sector mnuchin will be announcing those on monday, if he hasn't already, and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with increment related to assad and chemical weapons used. amy: but then on monday, the white house said the u.s. would not impose the new sanctions, contradicting haley's comments one day earlier. on tuesday, after larry kudlow try to clean the reversal had
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been her error, haley hit back, telling fox news in a statement -- "with all due respect, i don't get confused." in a victory for the immigrant rights movement, the supreme court has struck down a law requiring the mandatory deportation of lawful permanent residents who are convicted of some crimes, saying the law was unconstitutionally vague. trump appointee neil gorsuch sided with the liberal justices, writing "vague laws invite arbitrary power." the case centered on a filipino man named james garcia dimaya who had been a lawful permanent resident of the united states since 1992. after being convicted of residential burglary, the obama administration sought to deport him for having committed an aggravated felony under the immigration and nationality act. tuesday's supreme court ruling will mean that lower-level offenses are less likely to trigger the automatic deportation of lawful permanent residents. in cuba, the national assembly is meeting today to elect a successor for president raul castro, who has announced he's stepping down this week.
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the assembly is widely expected to choose current vice-president miguel diaz-canel to be cuba's next leader. raul castro is the younger brother ofidel castro, who led cuba f decades flowing the 1959 revolution. the transition will mark the first time in more than six decades that cuba will blead by someone outside the castr family. starbucks says it will close more than 8000 stores nationwide for a one-day anti-racial bias training in response to protests and boycott threats after two black men were arrested inside a philadelphia starbucks. their lawyer says the two men were waiting for a third person to arrive for a business meeting when a starbucks employee called the police and claimed the men were trespassing. after a video of the arrests went viral, protesters took over the store in downtown philadelphia during two straight days of protests. in new york city, authorities have removed a statue from
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central park of 19th century gynecologist j. marion sims, known as the father of gynecology, who repeatedly performed painful non-consensual scientific experiments on enslaved black women without anesthesia. the removal of the statue comes after repeated protests last year amid a nationwide wave of demonstrations against confederate monuments and other racist statues. this is author harriet washington speaking on democracy now! about j. marion sims back in 2007 when sheeleased her book "medical apartheid." >> he bought and otherwise acquired a group of black women who he housed in a laboratory. and over the period of five years and approximately 40 surgeries on one slate alone, he sought to cure a devastating complication of childbirth. this cure in tilt repeatedly -- incisionsatedly doing
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on the genitalia. very painful and very emotionally difficult as you can imagine. in the end, he claims to have cured one of them. amy: new york city says it will relocate the statue to a cemetery in brooklyn where sims is buried. meanwhile, activists and educators are organizing to raise money to erect a monument in chicago to celebrate famed journalist, abolitionist and suffgist ida b. wells. people have already donated tens of thousands of dollars to the fundraising effort, which was launched by ida b. wells' great-granddaughter, michelle duster. graduate students nationwide are ramping up demands for the right to form a union. at northeastern university in boston, about 100 graduate students and their supporters marched tuesday to demand the university allow them to hold a union election. this is phd student alicia verticelli. many campuses fighting for justice. strong because we are
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many. we are here and we won't be gone until we get our dignity and respect. thank you. amy: students at harvard university are scheduled to begin voting on unionization today. in new york, columbia university's graduate student union has announced plans to go on strike next week unless the university agrees to negotiate a contract, which it has refused to do for more than a year. the right of graduate students to unionize could be under threat after the u.s. senate confirmed trump nominee john ring to the national labor relations board last week, giving the board that enforces labor law a three-to-two republican majority. and former first lady barbara bush has died at the eight of 92. she is one of only two women in u.s. history to both be the wife of a u.s. president and the mother of another. she has been a champion of literacy and a recent critic of president trump who attacked her son jeb who ran against trump for the republican party presidential nomination. barbara bush died tuesday evening at her home in houston, texas.
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a correction, the republican senator who says he will vote against recommending mike pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state is kentucky senator rand paul. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, 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. "the new york times" is reporting president trump launched airstrikes against syria on friday despite opposition from his own defense secretary james mattis, who wanted trump to first get congressional approval. meanwhile, a number of lawmakers have described the strikes on syria as illegal since trump did not seek congressional input or authorization. this comes as congress is considering rewriting the war powers granted to the president after the september 11 attacks -- what's known as the aumf, or authorization for use of military force. on september 14, 2001, the current aumf passed
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the senate 98-0 and 420-1 in the house, with california democrat barbara lee casting the sole dissenting vote. since then, it's been used by presidents bush, obama and trump to justify at least 37 military operations in 14 countries, many of which were entirely unrelated to 9/11. a second aumf was passed in 2002 ahead of the iraq invasion. amy: on monday, senate foreign relations committee chairman bob corker, a tennessee republican, and democratic to midi senator tim kaine of virginia introduced legislation to replace the aumf's with a new one. corker and kaine claim their legislation would strengthen congressional oversight. but critics, including the american civil liberties union, warn the proposed legislation would actually expand the authority of president trump and all future presidents to engage in worldwide war without limitations. well, for more, we're joined by faiz shakir, national policy director for the aclu.
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welcome to democracy now! explain your concern. most people may be very surprised right now saying congress wanted to take the control back from the president. otherwise.s aumf >> if you look at the language senators kaine emcor group proposed, they're offering a limited war to the president of the united states. under this president, we should all be concerned. the specific language says the president may designate various groups to engage in wars against and they can proceed in any country around the world without congressional authorization. the president would not need to go to commerce to seek authorization for any of his expansions of the war effort. unlike the 9/11 aumf, it constrains the president's ability to let say send ground troops into libya under president obama who try to carry the 9/11 aumf to
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out that war. under this authorization, the president could just send ground troops and expand the war in perpetuity without congressional authorization. juan: there would be no time limit on this legislation as well, right? it could potentially be limitless for years to come? doesn't that abdicate the responsibility of congress to be the part of government that actually declares war? >> that is exactly what is happening. this legislation is abdicating congressional responsibility. to give senators kaine and corker credit, they're coming with good intention. they have recognized the 9/11 abused and it is an embarrassment to congress that it has done nothing while the president and the executive branch expand worldwide operations under that now 17-year-old authorization. they are saying, ok, congress should wait into this and create a new aumf. in doing so, they're saying
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we're going to justify all of the current ongoing operations and just give to factor authorization from congress and go carry it out for as long as you would like. amy: i want to turn to a tweet by tim kaine, cosponsor the legislation. he said -- "for too long, congress has given presidents a blank check to wage war. it's time for that to stop. we've introduced a new plan -- democrats and republicans -- to reassert congress' authority to authorize where, when, and with who we are at war." after the u.s. strike on syria last week, kaine tweeted -- "trump's decision to launch airstrikes against syria without congress's approval is illegal. we need to stop giving presidents a blank check to wage war. today it's syria, but what's going to stop him from bombing iran or north korea next?" why does tim kaine seem to think the corker aumf will check the president's authority to start a war? >> the syria authorization come in the syria war would have been authorized under the kaine legislation.
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he is not doing anything to constrain the president's power, just putting into place that it is permanent law. and giving congressional stamp of approval for anything the president wants to do. there's no check on them whatsoever, it is just that congress will modify the 9/11 aumf to include some of the isis, and willa, name them specifically but granted president whatever authorities and powers he wants to carry out war against those groups wherever they may go. i think senator kaine is trying to say congress should act and congress should deliberate and congress should have debate and argument over the president scope and power and authority, which is right, but what they should do is retract and repeal the aumf of 9/11 and then have specific, targeted authorization if and when they want to carry it out. syria, for instance, if you feel very comfortable with carrying out operations against a brutal regime who is carried out
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illegal activities, then have the confidence of your convictions, make the argument of the american public and get specific authorization for that -- amy: that is what mattis recommended. >> of course. the american public should have a role in this conversation. they should be told by the president, here's the argument, here's the intelligence that we have, and this is what we would like you to do. , wenow under the 9/11 aumf have been allowing the president to carry the strikes and authorizations out without any kind of deliberation whatsoever. juan: this month to rewrite the aumf, corker started it last year after the debacle that occurred in niger where sergeant johnson died and most members of commerce did not even know that there were all of these american troops in niger. how does a get to the point where congress does not even know what the military is doing around the world? >> they've decided they're not going to have any role in foreign affairs. that is tim kaine's argument,
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that we should have a role -- they have a role under article one of the u.s. constitution. the congress is supposed to be the body that declares war. reassume that responsibility and start having a deliberation. unfortunately, we had an abuse under president obama. he carried out a war in libya, and air war, and they said, you know, it is just an air war so we can do it under the 9/11 aumf . nonsense. it was the wrong choice then and unfortunately, that precedent setting a dangerous precedent under president trump. amy: i want to go to barbara lee who voted against the aumf after 9/11. she spoke on democracy now! a few years ago. >> i voted against that resolution 15 years ago because it was so broad that i knew it was setting the stage and the foundation for perpetual war. that is exactly what it has done. i actually asked the library of congress to conduct a study and
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to present to us the unclassified version of how many times and where it has been used. it has been used over 37 times everywhere the world. it is time that we repeal that blank check, amy, otherwise we're going to continue in this state of in less war. amy: that was barbara lee, faiz shakir, talking about how this aumf has been used scores of times, 37 times. >> i think there are number of options here for congress. first, i would ask them to .epeal the 9/11 aumf start with that. if the president is taking about carrying out war in syria, north korea -- there is plenty of time to deliberate over those. the 9/11 authorization was intended to be responsive to an immediate attack, something that needed to be done with urgency. we are not in that context right now. i think there is opportunities for congress to reassert its
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authority to authorize war. hopefully, i think, the american public understands that tim isne and bob corker approach not the way to go. raise your voices. build a movement that is concerned about war expanding around the world without authorization. juan: i want to get your comment on these words by the secretary of state nominee mike pompeo at his confirmation hearing last week. new jersey senator corey booker asked him if he thinks president trump has the power to launch airstrikes against syria without congressional approval. this is what pompeo said. >> i believe he is the authority he needs to do that today, i don't believe we need aumf a new aumf for the president to engage in the activity described. this is our nominee for secretary of state. >> i think the nominee -- i
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think there's a real danger that pompeo is simply going to go along for the ride whenever donald trump asks him to do anything. that is why i think at this e,rticular moment in tim commerce has the most important role to force deliberation. they're not interested in not engaged and i think that is up to we, the people, the american public to raise our voices and say this is nonsense, we cannot allow this to continue. for faiz shakir, they can joining us. we will continue to follow this. faiz shakir, national political director for the aclu. number one arms salesman, donald trump? we will bring you of your interesting expose from reuters. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: she was just inducted into the rock 'n roll hall of fame. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to a new expose that reveals how the trump administration plans to make the u.s. an even larger weapons exporter by loosening restrictions on the sale of equipment ranging from fighter je and drones to warships and artillery. reuters reveals that the new initiative will provide guidelines that could allow more countries to be granted faster deal approvals and will call on cabinet officials to help close deals between foreign governments and u.s. defense contractors. in one example, reuters reveals president trump himself urged
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the emir of kuwait in a telephone call to finalize a $10 billion fighter jet deal with boeing, the country's second largest defense contractor. the expose details the role u.s. cabinet officials may be asked to play in pushing arms exports abroad as part of the new initiative, which will call for the "whole of government" approach from the president and his cabinet to military attaches and diplomats to help draw in billions of dollars more in arms business overseas. the trump administration is expected to announce the new rules as early as thursday. amy: to talk more about the trump administration's arms sales initiative, we're joined now by two guests. in washington, mike stone stone is a reporter on the arms industry for reuters. he co-authored the reuters expose headlined "arming the world: inside trump's 'buy american' drive to expand weapons exports." william hartung is the director of the arms and security project at the center for international policy. his recent piece for the nation is headlined "donald trump is america's number-one weapon salesman."
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we go first to mike stone. lay out what you found. signal to the embassy in kuwait that it wanted to get this transaction through, what it occurred was in november of 2016, right around the time of the election. the state department approved this arms transfer. 40 f-18s for total of potential cost of $10 billion. what was occurring was kuwait was slow to finish the contract negotiations, slow to send the check, as it were. so over the course of the year, boeing pressed and then this pressure moved up the chain of command throh the white house through various offices at the white house until it finally reached the oval office. january 17 telephone call between the president and the president pressed on a
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few different issues. in a way that has been to be by my sources, he really liked -- the president really likes to talk about specific arms deals on calls and have that feeling of just the touch, just getting it over the line. that is what happened in this case. a month later, rex tillerson -- a month later rex tillerson said that deal was finalized, but only a few days after the call in the localmir reporting the deal had come to completion. after being stalled for more than a year. amy: mike stone, in terms of the changes in policy now, could you talk about the significance of possibly moving the approval or oversight of arms sales from the state department to the commerce department? >> there's a variety of things that are going to come out in what is anticipated to be a thursday rollout. it will be a conventional arms transfer policy that gets signed
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-- there are several aspects of that. commerces will go to eventually from the state department, but oversight for four military will remain at the state department and no sales in years past have been $42 billion just for the fms heart. this is separate from direct commercial sales, which is when an arms manufacturer goes straight to a close ally like britain or france. not many things in this rollout will go from the state department over to commerce. that is really a different thing that will happen later. how differente, is president trump from, well, president obama, for example? >> what is quite interesting about this specific presidency is obama would go and push foreign leaders to buy
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commercial things more, but president trump is very much interested in having a role in expanding the reach of the lethal weapon. having foreign leaders really those from u.s. manufacturers. that is a great big difference. amy: that picture of him with the saudi prince with a weapon sales. talk about trump meeting with the saudi arabian crown prince mohammad bin salman at the white house, the two leaders finalizing this $12.5 billion weapons deal. during the meeting, trump holding up posters of recent saudi weapons purchases from the u.s. and saying "we make the best equipment in the world." pres. trump: saudi arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment and lots of other things. some of the things that we are now working on and have been ordered and will shortly be
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started in construction and delivered, that system, $13 billion. hercules,nes, the great claim, $3.8 billion. the bradley vehicles, that is the tanks, $1.2 billion. , $1.4 billion.ns so we make the best equipment in the world. there's nobody even close. saudi arabia is buying a lot of this is equipment. juan: that was president trump talking in terms of sales to saudi arabia. will hartung, you have written in your nation piece recently ,hat 25 of the past 26 years the united states has been a leading arms dealer in the world. you say the arms race isn't really between the u.s. and other countries, it is between various u.s. presidents as to who will sell the most arms to the rest of the world.
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>> that's correct. trump is racing with obama at this point. we did a report for the security systems monitor, my office, and found in his first year, trump approved $82 billion in arms offers versus $76 billion in the last year of obama. obama t a record of $102 billion during his administration. down to obama, trump is going to have to has all. that is what he is doing. amy: the same question of mike stone, what makes them different? aboutis much more blatant it. he's shouting from the rooftops. using a personal role. make clear in clip, but he held up a chart that showed 40,000 jobs and showed the states and there were all the swing states, pennsylvania, ohio, michigan, florida. among other things, not only is this a business proposition for trump, but a blatant political move to shore up his base. juan: there's a former lockheed martin executive john rood now
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trump's undersecretary of .efense policy clearly, the arms manufacturers are even more deeply rooted in the new administration. >> well, yes. a lot of people talked about trump's generals. mcmaster, kelly, mattis. .e is even more arms executives the top through the pentagon, national security council, and rood refused to say whether he would recuse himself from arms deals related to lockheed martin , which led to push back from elizabeth warren and others. nonetheless, he was approved 81-7. congress has really not played's oversight role in terms of the arms industry infiltrating our government. amy: mike stone, i want to ask about what is happening in these next few days, the trump administration unveiling plans to loosen the restrictions even further on u.s. arms exports. explain what is proposed. >> it will be a couple of different signings.
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one will be a national security policy memorandum. many presidents sign these. that will be an over arching document. then the world be a thing called the conventional arms transfer policy. throughs is is the lens which all foreign military sales are observed. the current lens is the obama lens. a veryights has been important part of that. my sources tell me that human rights will remain a very important part of the trump-era cat policy, but we're also hearing that business will have a much more substantial role in the evaluation of a policy. so if a sale is good for jobs, if a sale is good for the trade deficit, those things will have a greater weight than under the obama policy. if you look around the table and say, how does the human rights
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person feel about this? how does the business person feel? those two power structures will struggle in the evaluation of each deal. juan: one of the points the trump administration makes the loosening of these restrictions will make the u.s. more the chineseagainst and russian manufacturers of weapons. your response? >> it is an interesting dynamic that the state department has to wrestle with. under the obama administration, as built rightfully pointed out, weapon sales went up. secretary clinton used weapon sales as an instrument of soft power. or is a greater relationship that happens with a u.s. ally with the ally purchases that weaponry. this is only going to expand. therefore, if you think of the world as zero-sum game, russian and chinese influence through their weapon sales would therefore shrink.
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will come in your article you write, selling weapons to dictatorships and repressive regimes often fuels instability, war, terrorism as the american war on terror has visibly demonstrated for the last 17 years. >> there are a couple of examples. in the quit may given and sold to iraq, much of it ended up with isis because the iraqi basically collapsed when isis invaded the north of iraq. if you look at yemen, saudi arabia is using u.s. fighter planes and bombs and missiles to commit harangued us war crimes endous were crimes, resulting in famine and major disease outbreaks. there are cases where obama should not have sold -- or trump certainly should not sell, the case of yemen, obama finally held back on a scale of precision munitions bombs and trump and merely reverse that and there was resistance in congress. 47 senators voted to block the
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deal. nonetheless, trump is moving full speed ahead. he entered kushner have a very tight relationship with the saudi crown rents. juan: didn't they restrict sales to bahrain but trump is loosening it? >> bahrain, nigeria, were obama held back on human rights grounds and trump immediately waived those and moved forward with the sales. amy: and restricted weapons and saudi arabia. >> yes. basically anything obama had done to rein in any kind of weapon sales, trump immediately reversed. amy: there was just a month ago after his election in 2016, trump took to twitter and criticized the country's largest defense contractor. i want to put this question to mike stone, lockheed martin. he tweeted -- "based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the lockheed martin f-35, i have asked boeing to price-out a comparable f-18 super hornet!" talk about trump's relationship
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now with lockheed martin and boeing. >> there were several tweets that were very surprising to the business community. everyone did not know what to do at the time. however, here we are a year out and what those tweets were, criticizing carrier for moving jobs to mexico, criticizing boeing for the cost of air force one, criticizingrtin for the cost of the f-35. these tweets became strawmen. and now these ceo's have falls criticism of the president and have been given this victory over that strawmen. the relationship looked very difficult at the time, but here we are a year on and he is about -- he is literally picking up the telephone and closing deals and becoming the high tech sales
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person that the art of the deal president wants to be. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us, bill hartung of the center for international policy. mike stone with reuters, your piece "arming the world: inside trump's 'buy american' drive to expand weapons exports." we will link to that. william hartung, we will link to your piece for the nation "donald trump is america's , number-one weapon salesman." william hartung's latest book "prophets of war: lockheed , martin and the making of the military-industrial complex." this is democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: nina simone. she was inducted into the rock 'n roll hall of fame this weekend. 15 years after she died. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to an environmental activist and young black mother in detroit who may be forced to give birth behind bars after standing her ground during a frightening encounter. since she was 19 years old, siwatu-salama ra has fought for environmental justice. she campaigned against the marathon oil refinery and the detroit renewable power trash incinerator. she represented detroit at the paris climate summit. she's also worked to engage kids and educate young mothers about nutrition. now at age 26, siwatu has been sentenced to a mandatory two years in prison following an incident in which she brandished
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her unloaded -- and legally registered -- handgun, while defending her mother and two-year-old daughter. amy: in this video provided by her support team, siwatu and her mother describe the verbal between siwatu and a neighbor. rammed here neighbor car. fearing for her, her child, mother's eyes, siwatu brandished a gun. she is a licensed concealed gun owner, hoping to prevent the neighbor from running her over. the weapon was not loaded. >> she had come to our house upset, very upset, very angry. she started yelling at me, screaming at me, cursing at me. in the myths of this, i'm asking the woman to leave. i'm asking her to just go. she would not. the next thing she did was rant her car into my car. plus my baby was in the car.
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that shocked fear in me and i jumped, got my baby out of the car. so she is literally going back and forth with his car, putting it in reverse and threatening to come at us again and go after my mom. my mother come who was also standing very close to me, wasn't able to run. >> she is using her car as a weapon. , that isuld not move when i was the most frightened. she was so close to hitting me, that i could feel the car on my clothing. >> that is when i made the decision to reach for my firearm. it was unloaded with no bullets. i was afraid. and i told her, you have to to leave now. juan: even though no shots were fired and no one was harmed in
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the incident, siwatu was convicted of one count of felonious assault and given a mandatory two-year minimum sentence. she is now fighting to be released before the birth of her second child in june. >> something we're fighting against is the way the world views what black fear looks like. i think that if i was somebody maybe, ite, just would have identified when i said i was afraid. my name is siwatu-salama ra. i'm a mother, an organizer, a daughter, a wife. i have dedicated my life to serving others. my entire life.
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and so i am not speaking of myself when i heard that verdict. i could do it. i thought of my children. , to have mypain to not be with him for the first two years. theme have this baby on outside with my family, with my community. amy: for more, we go to detroit where we are joined by attorney victoria burton-harris, who is seeking siwatu's release during the appeal of her case. also in detroit is amy doukoure, staff attorney for the michigan chapter of the council on american-islamic relations. today she is filing a civil rights lawsuit over how siwatu has been treated in prison. and in los angeles we are joined by patrisse cullors, a co-founder of black lives matter, founder of dignity and
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power now, and a fellow at momsrising. she was one of the first to call attention to the case in a story for the grio headlined, "black lives matter co-founder seeks justice for pregnant mom incarcerated by stand your ground law." we welcome you all to democracy now! let's begin with victoria burton-harris. lay out what happened. i think a lot of people are scratching their heads right now. talk about the day that the last whatent took place and transpired next. how did the detroit police get involved? >> thank you for having me. on atragic story started sunday evening in july in family homeiwatu's where her mother, sister, brother, and nieces resided. siwatu a herothewere sittg onhe fnt pch wn the colaing wnessropp
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hedauger off and her daughter attended school with siwatu's niece. prior to the sunday evening in girls whotwo teen attended school together and there was testimony at trial that the complaining witnesses nieceter beat up siwatu's and the girls bathroom. after that incident, the family naturally said this young lady is not a friend of yours. so when her mother dropped her off at the house, siwatu and her mother sat on the front porch and look to each other puzzled and confused and wondered why this young woman was at their home, where she was dropped off here. so siwatu went inside the house and asked her knees up or mother knew that this young lady was at the house visiting. siwatu called her sister herlf and found out from her sister
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there was no permission given for this young lady to be at the family home that day visiting. therefore, siwatu informed the and later she needed to call her mother to come pick her up. the unweighted protested. she did not want to go home. niece did not want her to go home. apparently these generals had hatched up their issues as young girls do. however, the family did not think it was appropriate for this young lady to be there. the mother arrived about 10 minutes later to pick the child up it was very upset. i rate, even. irate she started yelling, using profanity even. . to my homehas come over the last two weeks. i don't understand. she testified at trial that she thought she had a right to be on that property and to demand
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answers as to why her child was not welcome there. and that is where this incident started. siwatu asked this woman to go. her child had done into the car. there was no reason for this woman to still be on the property or in front of that house. the woman refused to leave. her to leaveasked multiple times, the woman became even more upset. she wasn't getting answers to the questions she had. so she decided at some point to escalate the situation and drive her car into siwatu's parked car on the street in front of the house. inside a parked car was siwatu's two-year-old daughter behind the steering will playing with the wheel on summer days. when this woman rammed her car into the driver side door siwatu 's toner, siwatu
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changed. he went to "oh, my god, you're crazy, what is wrong with you?" she retrieved her child so she could be safe. she went back to, you have to leave, please, leave, go. by this point, siwatu's mom had come off the front porch and she was again or she also was asking this woman to leave. mom was attempting to the escalate the situation. the woman then decided she was going to attack siwatu's mom inserted using her car as a battering ram. forward andgoing then reversing, going forward and then reversing. cellist hit siwatu's mom. at that moment, siwatu became even more afraid and that is when she went to her parked car,
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retrieved her firearm, and pointed it in the direction of this woman and said, you need to leave. the woman still did not leave. , as some me ask you point, clearly, the woman then went to the police department -- and this is clearly a dispute reallycalated into dangerous territory. the key thing here is, what was the response of the police department? did the interview all of the people involved to find out who was in the right or who was in the wrong? >> i really wish they would have. siwatu, after she pointed a firearm at the complaining witness and her daughter, the complaining witness snapped three photographs and said, "oh, you are a cpl holder. i have something for you." she snapped the three photographs and immediately drove to the nearest police report.and gave a false
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in this report, she did not mention that she attempted to mother.tu's in this report, she neglected to mention she even hit siwatu's car, which he later admitted to in a subsequent police report. the police listed this complaining witness and her daughter as the victims in this case, victim one and victim too. and siwatu was noted as the aggressor. amy: after having interviewed them both? >> no. siwatu made a police report a few hours after the complaining witness and her daughter. by this time, she has early been deemed the aggressor. theas testified at trial by investigating officer, the officer in charge, that their practices when a report is made and someone is noted as the aggressor, they are not allowed
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to speak to that person. there is no interview that is had with that aggressor. so when siwatu made a police report, she was never considered a victim. her police report went nowhere because it was made second. she was already, by the time she made her report, deemed to be the aggressor so no one followed up with siwatu. no we did an interview with siwatu. toatu was not called back get a written statement. opportunity to provide her version of the event and that was when she made her report a few hours after this mother and child. the next thing that she knew him as she was being contacted by the police not for an interview and follow up an investigation, but because swat was outside of her home to arrest her. amy: two weeks later?
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was this two weeks later? >> this was a few weeks later my yes. juan: i would like to bring in patrisse cullors, cofounder of black lives matter. your response, what you felt this was so important and to your knowledge, has the nra stepped in to defend siwatu because she stood her ground? know, when i heard about this case, the first thing i felt was an immense amount of grief. i was thinking about what this young black woman was feeling like sitting in a jail cell pregnant. she and i been convicted yet. i felt like it was incredibly important that black lives matter get behind this issue. we have seen this time and time again. black women not to be seen as victims, but end up inside jails, inside prisons, and a pregnant thing shackled. has had tont, siwatu
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endure so much, has had to face so much. clearly was out of order, out of line, who clearly is racist, gets to be free once again we're seeing this. matterk of black lives has been to really uplift the story and follow the lead of folks in detroit. but this was an incredibly important opportunity for us to talk about how black women are criminalized. amy: do you fear, patrisse khan-cullors, if she gives birth in jail in june, that she will give birth in shackles? she will. she has been shackled several times at doctors visits, shackled so badly that she can't -- her legs go numb. this practice has been stopped
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and some states, but obviously, not all. yes, she will be shackled while giving birth. and it is devastating. for any person who is pregnant and giving birth, to have to go through anything but the labor, anything extra and he was outside of the labor, so to be shackled is just disturbing and barbaric. why has yourkoure, organization got involved and what is the nature of the civil-rights lawsuit you are filing? practicing muslim woman. since in joke, she is not been accommodated. she requested a traditional head buried so she could make her five daily prayers. as of today, she still has that received the head covering she needs muslim woman. since in joke, she is not been accommodated. to pray. she is now been given food accommodations. some of the food served at the prison has pork product in it.
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as muslims, we cannot eat pork product. she's had to abstain from eating meals at times and protein while she is 6, 7 months pregnant, resulting in weight loss because the prison has not accommodated her religion appropriately. -- what arecould you asking for, amy? >> what we're asking for is the wish in department of corrections to follow the policy directives they already have in place. there are policy directives that require them to provide religious meal accommodations for people that are being housed in their facilities to allow them to have appropriate materials necessary for the reasonable practice of their religion, including, for muslim women, a headscarf, a prayer rug, and a koran. these policies are in place for reason. in his case, they are not following them -- in this case, they're not following them.
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amy: victoria burton-harris, siwatu was convicted. can you explain what happened in the trial? point, as youn had a juryiwatu trial and a jury of her peers decided the facts of this case. they do so in seclusion in a jury room and we are not allowed to go in that room while they are deliberating. this particular jury did not want to speak with the defense attorneys after they render their verdict. so we will never really know how they decided the facts of this case and how this verdict was reached. but i can tell you that we spent five days trying this case over two weeks. when we initially started picking a jury, which are a selection lasted about two days or took place over the span of two days. the jury pool was told that this
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was going to be a two day trial. had, a lotol that we of them were unable to sit for jury duty and were unable to be selected simply because even a two day trial post a hardship to some of those folks. we had one juror in particular who needed to drive her uber in order to provide proper or adequate income to pay her bills. that is important to note because it did not take two days. it took five days to try this case. so i believe that that fact alone was considered in the deliberation. during the trial, there was very little evidence other than the testimony that was provided. we told the jury that this is not a trial you would see on television. there was the fingerprint evidence. there was no dna evidence. there was simply the word of
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this complaining witness and her daughter versus the word of my client and her mother and her niece. there were civilian officers who testified. each officer who took a report from my client and from the complaining witness. the officer in charge testified all stop juan: victoria burton-harris, we have less than a minute, but we want to get your response to the issue of why you want her out i june and the situation with her pregnancy. >> prison is no place for pregnant woman. it is hard enough to carry a child, to carry a child full term. siwatu did not carry her first child to term. she had an early pregnancy or she had an early delivery date with her first child. she had serious complications with the pregnancy. she is clearly showing signs and symptoms of the same complications now with the second pregnancy. so we are working diligently to
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get her released on an appeal bond so that she can deliver her child -- amy: we just have 15 seconds. i want to ask the jury was not told that she faced a mandatory minimum of two years in jail for the judge had no leeway here, is that right? that is absolutely correct. it was a jury instruction register jury that you are not to consider the penalty for the charges. that is for me to decide. and that is actually not true. judges the time, the have the discretion. with mandatory sentences, they do not. amy: we want to thank you all very much for being with us. michael brune has also called for the release of siwatu. 'sctoria burton-harris, siwatu lawyer, amy doukoure of cair, and patrisse khan-cullors, cofounder of black white smile
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less matter.
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