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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  April 19, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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04/19/18 04/19/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! to the historic decision by president trump recognize jerusalem as our capital and a move the embassy there of the world's biggest power. thank you, mr. president. thank you, america. amy: as israel begins to mark the 70th anniversary of the country's founding, is really troops crackdown on protests in gaza. over the past three weeks, israeli forces have killed and wounded nearly 43 hundred. we will speak with palestinian-american professor
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rashid khalidi of columbia university. then to syria. of there very much aware delay the regime imposed on that delegation, but we are also very much aware of how they have , usingd in the past chemical weapons. in other words, using the pause after a strike like that to try to clean up the evidence before the investigating team gets in. it u.n. is unfortunate they were delayed. amy: as u.n. inspectors attempt to reach the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack, we look at the escalating crisis in syria. we will speak with moazzam begg who is traveled to syria to investigate the u.s. rendition program as well as speak with former prisoners of the al-assad regime. then we will look at why america's black mothers and babies are in a life or death crisis. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump said wednesday he is looking forward to plan talks with north korea leader kim jong-un is that he is prepared to walk away from the table if he is not happy with how they are proceeding. trump's comments came as u.s. and north korean officials solidified plans for an unprecedented summit between the two leaders, likely to be held in mongolia's capital. on wednesday, trump took to twitter to praise his ca chief mike pompeo for secretly meeting with kim jong-un easter weekend. the praise was widely seen as a bid to boost pompeo's bid to become secretary of date as the senate foreign relations committee is poised to reject his nomination. president trump demurred wednesday when asked if he was moving to fire special counsel robert mueller even as he called
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the investigation into alleged ties between the trump organization and russian officials a hoax. trump was speaking in a joint news conference with japanese prime minister shinzo abe at trump's mar-a-lago resort in palm beach, florida. pres. trump: this is a hoax. as far as the investigation, nobody has ever been more transparent than i have instructed our lawyers be totally transparent. i believe we have given them 1.4 million pages of documents, if you can believe this. of haven't used, that i know or for the most part, presidential powers or privilege. so we are, hopefully, coming to the end. it is a bad thing for our country. very, very bad thing for our country. but there has been no collusion. amy: trump's comments came as iowa republican chuck grassley, the chair of the senate judiciary committee, said he would move ahead with hearings on bipartisan legislation that would protect special counsel mueller. the senate's republican majority
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leader mitch mcconnell vowed he would not bring the measure to a vote in the full senate. this comes as police in at least one major u.s. city are preparing for possible riots if president trump fires robert mueller. a memo from pittsburgh police commander victor joseph reads -- "beginning april 19 all major crimes detectives are required to bring a full uniform and any issued protective equipment, riot gear, with them to work until further notice. we may be needed in the event that there is a large scale protest." the senate moved wednesday to end an obama-era policy that warns auto lenders against discriminating against people of color by charging them more on auto loans. west virginia democrat joe manchin joined republicans in a 51 to 47 vote to overrule the policy by the consumer financial protection bureau, an agency that's been assailed by republicans since its creation in 2010. the house is expected to approve the bill and to send it to president trump for his signature. the rule was adopted after a 2011 report by the center for
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responsible lending found african-americans and latinos disproportionately received interest rate markups more frequently and to a greater degree than their white counterparts. the senate has approved a rule change that will allow nursing mothers to bring infants to the senate floor during votes and to breastfeed them inside the chamber. the rule change comes after illinois democratic senator tammy duckworth became the first u.s. senator to give birth while in office. duckworth has not been present in senate votes since the birth of her daughter, maile pearl bowlsbey, earlier this month. in puerto rico, most of the island's 1.4 million residents are without power after an excavator downed a transmission line wednesday, blacking out the entire electrical grid for the u.s. territory. the latest blackout comes after hundreds of thousands of residents went for months without power. more than 800,000 americans were
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temporarily without electricity. in syria, a u.n. security team with the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons has delayed its inquiry into an alleged chemical weapons attack in douma after members of the team were shot at by unknown assailants as they approached the site. the latest delay to the inspectors' mission came amid competing claims about whether chemical weapons were to blame for the deaths of at least 40 people in the damascus suburb on april 7 and over who was responsible. president trump cited the alleged attack as his rationale for a coordinated u.s., british, and french attack on syria last friday. we'll have more on syria after headlines with columbia university professor rashid khalidi. in the israeli-occupied west bank, press freedom groups are expressing alarm over the arrest of a journalist early wednesday by palestinian security forces. relatives say the officers presented a search warrant and arrested hazem naser without mention of what charge he's being held on. naser works for the najah broadcasting channel, which
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frequently covers israel's demolition of palestinian homes, the arrests of palestinians, and the condition of palestinians held in israeli prisons. in a statement, the committee to protect journalists said -- "the authorities must explain immediately on what grounds they snatched this journalist away from his home in the middle of the night." in cuba, president raul castro is stepping down today and will hand power to his handpicked successor, miguel diaz-canel. castro will remain head of cuba's ruling communist party. the 57-year-old diaz-canel comes to power as the trump administration seeks to reverse a thaw in relations between the u.s. and cuba begun under president barack obama. in kansas, a federal jury convicted three white male militia members wednesday of plotting to massacre somali immigrants at a mosque and an apartment building in garden city. gavin wright, patrick stein, and curtis allen were found guilty
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of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass distraction after an fbi informant said they were plotting to use guns and car bombs to mass murder somalis. the three belonged to a militia called the crusaders. at trial, their lawyer admitted the trio referred to muslims as cockroaches but argued they hadn't meant to go through with their plot. in minnesota, an fbi whistleblower who leaked classified information about how the bureau aggressively targets potential informants pleaded guilty tuesday to charges of unauthorized disclosure. terry albury, who was the only african-american agent at the fbi's field office in minneapolis, called his leaks an act of conscience aimed at calling out racism at the bureau. he faces up to 10 years in prison, but is likely to receive less than five under a plea deal. in georgia, immigrants imprisoned at a for-profit detention center have filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming they were forced to work for $8 a day -- or less -- in violation of u.s. labor law.
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the suit alleges that prisoners at the stewart detention center in lumpkin, georgia, who refuse to join so-called voluntary work programs face retaliation by guards, including threats of criminal prosecution. one former prisoner says he worked eight-hour shifts in the prison's kitchen for up to seven days per week, earning just $4 per day. he says when he refused to work, he was put in solitary confinement for 10 days. the prison is operated by corecivic, formerly known as corrections corporation of america. new york state will restore voting rights to thousands of felons on parole under an executive order signed by governor andrew cuomo on wednesday. civil rights lawyer myrna perez of the brennan center for justice welcomed the order, writing in a statement -- "new york state's disenfranchisement policy is rooted in historical racism, a shameful extension of 19th century efforts to intentionally block black men from casting ballots. and today, depriving americans on parole of the right to vote
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continues to have a drastic impact on people of color." in poland, environmentalists are celebrating after europe's highest court ordered an immediate halt to large-scale logging in one of the continent's last pristine forests. tuesday's ruling by the european union court of justice found poland violated eu laws by allowing as many as 100,000 ancient trees to be logged in in the bialowieza forest. following the ruling, greenpeace and other forest protectors have demanded poland's government drop charges against 300 activists arrested during protests against the illegal logging. in great britain, protesters blocked entry to canada's main embassy in london on wednesday, erecting mock oil pipeline marked with the words "crudeau oil." the protest came as canadian prime minister justin trudeau arrived in london for talks with prime minister theresa may. the demonstrators want trudeau to end his support for an
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expansion of the trans mountain pipeline, which would accelerate oil shipments from canada's tar sands region to a terminal near vancouver. this is u.k. greenpeace program director pat venditti. >> tar sands oil is amongst the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet. dirtier than cold. while mr. trudeau is your lender to talk about climate responsibility. our message to mr. trudeau is that climate leaders don't build pipelines. and those are some of the amy:and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. palestinian protests against the israeli occupation are continuing this week as israel begins to mark the country's 70th anniversary of its founding in 1948. according to the palestinian ministry of health in gaza, israeli forces have killed 33 palestinian protesters over the past three weeks since the great march of return protests began.
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commemorating the mass expulsion of palestinians during israel's establishment. the ministry estimates nearly 4300 palestinians have been injured in the peaceful protests, many shot with live ammunition or rubber-coated steel bullets. gaza authorities have also accused israel of directly deliberately targeting journalists and medics. since the protests began, one journalist, yasser murtaja, was killed and 66 journalists were injured. in addition, 44 medics have been wounded and 19 ambulances were reportedly targeted. amy: the protest marches are set to last until may 15, recognized at the official israeli independence day. palestinians mark the date as nakba day or "day of the catastrophe." when hundreds of thousands of palestinians, their works. began. on wednesday, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu began celebrations of israel's
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70th independence day at a ceremony in jerusalem with a nod to u.s. plans to move its embassy there from tel aviv. >> we all praise the historic decision by president trump to recognize jerusalem as our capital and to move the embassy world's biggest power. thank you, mr. president. thank you, america. amy: on wednesday, trump tweeted -- "best wishes to prime minister @netanyahu and all of the people of israel on the 70th anniversary of your great independence. we have no better friends anywhere. looking forward to moving our embassy to jerusalem next month!" for more, we're joined by rashid khalidi, edward said professor of arab studies at columbia university. the author of several books, his most recent is titled "brokers of deceit: how the u.s. has undermined peace in the middle east." talk about what is happening right now in gaza. it is almost getting no attention in the united states. but this period of time leading up to march 15. >> may 15.
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amy: may 15. >> it is remarkable it has gotten as little attention as it has in this country because this is a new phase. it islamist entirely nonviolent. i trys to focus on other issues, claiming it is violent or people are throwing things or whatever, but you have literally tens of thousands of people walking to the fence, camping along the fence, carrying out protest activities which are then met with a hail of hundreds of thousands of bullets. the numbers speak for themselves. the hundreds -- thousands who have been wounded, the dozens who have been killed. what it shows is i think the israeli security establishment is terrified of palestinian nonviolence. any narrative in which the palestinians use violence is easy for them to master. but a near divan which the palestinians walk towards the fence and ask for their rights is one that they are very uncomfortable with.
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nermeen: this is not the first protest of its kind in israel-palestine, but isn't the first one in which the israelis have responded so disproportionately? >> it is not the first of its kind. the most underreported story in the area is the noncoverage of the protests. the first intifada was nonviolent. for three or four years they were engaged in massive nonviolent protest which were met with systematic repression. saying "break their bones." that was his order when he was defense minister. it is that the first time the israelis have used this kind of violence. i don't think they've ever gotten to the point of literally shooting down thousands of people in this way, so maybe that is unprecedented. nermeen: what do you think accounts for that? >> they're very worried about two things. the fact the palestinians might realize that nonviolent action is smarter and might be more effective and secondly, they don't like one of the demands of this protest movement.
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it is the issue of return. it brings up the issues the israelis hoped had been buried from 1948 onwards, which is to say their expulsion of the palestinians back in april, may, so forth. the confiscation of their property and the refusal to allow them to return. that is what this march of return is about. nermeen: are there additional demands? >> that is the main focus. homes the entire population of gaza are refugees. they are living in this cooped , rightarm us prison camp across the board from the lands that they once owned and cultivated. amy: explain the organizing that went into this mass nonviolent protest that is happening particularly on fridays after prayer. >> this turned off as a civil society initiative, which is then picked up, cynically, by hamas, which has realized its bankruptcy of its approach
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and its unpopularity with palestinians. but it started off as a movement by young activists who wanted to do something. they are living in this pressure cooker of gaza. amy: describe it. >> they can't get out. they can't go anywhere. it is the highest population anywhere. a permit to study abroad or visit your family and was bigger georgia psalmist impossible. they are in prison in gaza. their suffering without enough electricity. there is sewage. amy: let's go back to some of the incidents that have taken place full stop earlier this month, a palestinian stepped forward to say he was the unknown man who was shot by israeli sniper in a gun sight video recorded last december that went viral. the video captures the sound of palestinian man falling to the ground, then a voice celebrating in hebrew and
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cursing the sniper spectrum. he says he was shot in the leg without warning as he stood about 200 meters from israel's fortified border. he told al jazeera he posed no threat to israeli troops. some young people near the border were lying on the ground. they could not get out. i can to protect them and ask them to go back. then the israelis shot me. how am i a danger to the israelis? we were on our land. we did not cross. i was in the buffer zone. i had no weapons in my hands. i had nothing. amy: israel's military has criticized the soldiers who shot abu daka for cheering, but has defended the shooting itself, with defense minister avigdor lieberman saying the sniper deserves a medal. not only set it for the sniper who shot him last december, but saying that no gaza and is innocent. explain the significance of avigdor lieberman's statement. lieberman and the
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security establishment is essentially saying is the palestinians are terrorists people and whatever they do is the on the pale. i think the thing to focus on is the use of snipers. to gun down people at a sufficient distance from this you can see in the video we just saw, that is impossible that they could cause any harm to the israelis themselves. heavily armored israeli soldiers with sniper rifles that hundreds of meters are picking up systematically those who try to approach the fence or whatever. this is a policy that the government is proud of, that lieberman is praising the snipers who shot down literally thousands of people? i think it tells us a lot about israel's attitude toward palestinians, that they are subhuman. nermeen: i think one of the perceptions that is quite common, i mean you said earlier that palestinians are increasingly is an chanted with
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hamas and have mass is not very popular in palestine and with the residents of gaza. can you explain why people still have the sense that the majority of palestinians are sympathetic with or support hamas and how that since kind of emboldens israel to carry out the kinds of -- the disproportionate violence of which we have been seeking that go >> if you go and look at the way israel has dealt with the whole issue of palestinian movement, they always demonize whatever appears to be the leading movement. whatever they were terrorists, they were beyond the pale and you cannot talk to them. the same is true with hamas. not just hamas, all of the political parties are discredited in the eyes of most palestinians. a policy or so-called policy of resistance, which in fact is a sham. for mass presents -- prevents people from firing rockets of the gaza strip.
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it is carrying out the same kind of role of protecting israel that the palestinian authority is carrying out with the security agreement. palestinians see that. they see the cynicism of that the pa that both sides, and hamas in gaza -- amnermeen: what are they doing it? >> out of fear of retaliation. amy: is the peace agreement fracturing? >> it doesn't tend to be going anywhere. it is the domain of the people that these useless people get together and in this meaningless let's of the weaker party, the house demand, can present a unified front. amy: let's talk about the journalist, the palestinian journalist yasser murtaja who was fatally shot by the israeli army while covering the protests along the israel-gaza border. photos show the 30-year-old or list wearing a flak jacket clearly marked press.
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this is his mother and brother speaking at the time of his killing. >> i was next to him at the protest, targeting the journalist was very clear, to the point they targeted the two of us directly using snipers and gas bombs. got it was just an injury and he would be injured for a while and god will heal him and he will come out of it like the rest of the injured people. i did not expect him to die. amy: that is what happened in gaza. then you have today's headline in west bank, press freedom groups expressing alarm over the arrest of the journalist early wednesday by palestinian security forces. relatives say the officers presented a search warrant, arrested and without charge of what he's been charged with. he is arrested in the middle of the night. yasser murtaja was killed. >> the thing to say about the
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murder of this journalist and many of these people is that there is a policy of targeted assassination. it is not just snappers randomly shooting people. it is an intelligent system in which collects information on everyone who is in activists and the people are being targeted. they are murdering specific people, not just shooting at random. they're doing that as well. this is a wonderful book on the history of israel's targeted assassinations. this is a policy of killing palestinian leadership. they have been doing it for decades. now they realize some of the most dangerous people are not people who are flying rockets, but organizing -- firing rockets, but organizing nonviolent action. nermeen: do you see any intensification of that policy on israel's part as a consequence of trump's election and -- one of the many steps he says he is when it take is to move the capital from tel aviv to jerusalem. so what kind of message is that giving to netanyahu and those who support him? always had they've
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coverage from washington for whatever they did. your question points to a reality, which is they have even greater impunity with a president like trump who will give them complete carte blanche for whatever they want. amy: and is moving the u.s. embassy. significance of that, the u.s. saying it is doing that right around the 70th anniversary? quad him allah says it will follow suit. important. jerusalem is the most important of all of the issues of the palestine-israel conflict. the trump administration's decision that it recognizes, but from what they've said, the entirety of jerusalem and sovereign israeli territory has implications for the entire conflict, implications for the rest of the occupied territories and israeli annexations, not just jerusalem. of golan heights and other areas they may choose to annex. them, basically,
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open season in terms of further annexations, further expansions at his jerusalem thing. it is not them, just recognizine capital or moving the embassy. it has other implications. amy: what will happen may 15? >> the consulate and west jerusalem will be turned into an embassy. amy: what will happen at the wall am a the gaza-israel wall? >> i have no idea. at the rate at which things are going, unfortunately, we're probably likely to see even more savage, vicious, brutal murders repression. amy: rashid khalidi we want to ask you to stay with us as we move on to syria. rashid khalidi, edward said professor of arab studies at columbia university. he's the author of several books, his most recent is titled "brokers of deceit: how the u.s. has undermined peace in the middle east." when we come back, we will also be joined by moazzam begg who was held by the u.s. military for several years. he also spent time in syria over the last few years, and we will
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talk to him about what he found there. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "i don't have freedom" by palestenian hip-hop group dam. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: we turn now to syria. international chemical weapons inspectors are still attempting to enter the town of douma where an alleged chemical gas attack killed dozens people earlier this month. inspectors with the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons arrived in damascus on saturday, but have been unable to reach douma and have accused syrian and russian authorities of blocking access to the town. on wednesday, gunshots were fired at a u.n. security team in douma. this comes days after the united states, france, and britain carried out airstrikes against two chemical weapons storage facilities and a research center in syria. in response to the u.s.-led strikes, russia announced it may supply syria with a state-of-the-art care defense
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system, a move likely to anger the united states and israel. israel has carried out more than 150 bombing raids in syria since 2011. just last week, israel bombed an iranian air-defense system at a syrian base. amy: to talk more about the crisis in syria, we are joined by two guests. still with us in new york is professor rashid khalidi, edward said professor of arab studies at columbia university. and joining us in london is moazzam begg. he is a former guantanamo prisoner, held in extrajudicial detention by the u.s. government from 2002-2005, first in kandahar then at bagram airbase in afghanistan for approximately a year before being transferred to guantanamo. in 2011 and 2012, begg made several trips to syria where to investigate reports of u.s. and british rendition operations and to interview former prisoners of the assad regime. moazzam begg works as outreach
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director at the london-based organization cage, which advocates on behalf of victims of the war on terror. moazzam begg, it is good to have you back on democracy now! we interviewed you when we were in london and then again on various issues over the years. but right now as the situation in syria and 10 is to deteriorate, can you talk about, one, what is happening now and your response to what is happening in douma, the allegations that syria was involved in the chemical weapons attack on the people. others saying it was not syria and others saying the chemical weapons attack did not happen at all. >> first of all, amy, it is good to be back on democracy now! i think what is happening in syria right now is one of the march periods of our time were we will recognize that the denial letter taking place in relation to the massacres, not just in good to or douma, but
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what has been going on since the outset of the assad regime and russia and iran have been doing literally the deaths of half a million people to date is 70 years after world war ii, still the concept of somebody who denies the war crimes that took place at that time, the holocaust or the genocides, will and can be prosecuted. but as we did today, people are incomplete denial of what is -- if place live, though we were to put aside one moment what took place in eastern ghouta, that still leaves approximately half a million people dead. so is in chile, with the usage of these chemical weapons, everything is being -- essentially, with usage of these chemical weapons, everything's been turned on its have. one thing i have to say, whether it is the united states, whether it is russia, whether it is the
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gulf states or britain or france, all have taken part in what i call the aerial gang rape of syria. everybody has bombed the opposition. it is only now twice that the united states government has positionsian military in this latest one with the chemical facilities. completely against western intervention because i have tasted firsthand what that can do and what it has done. strikes,ok at the literally, i think it is the first time in history the americans have bombed over 150 missiles together with the u.s. and france and killed nobody. that is great, but perhaps they could extend this kind of deathless aerial bombing campaign to everybody else that they have been bombing because the us far, it is only the side of the rebels that the americans have hit. they have hit isis, who are in atrocious organization that have committed war crimes, but they also hit, by extension, anybody that fought alongside isis or
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other groups connected to them against the assad regime. there is never been an accountability for that. all of this hype all of a sudden that america has come in on the and so the zionists forth. one thing i found strange happening was when i tweeted out about the ghouta massacre was nick griffin, of all people, the former head of the bnp, racist organization, openly anti-must own racist organization and the u.k., which has not dissipated, but he said to me "shame on you for pushing the propaganda of these honests what your brothers are being killed in palestine." here we have the far right racist, neil not the almost, who is speaking on behalf of the assad regime -- in fact, in 2015, he went to meet with the assad regime to go and show his open support. what you have is a completely
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unbelievable scenario of people who call themselves on the one ,and anti-imperialist leftists on the other hand far right extremists who converge on this point in syria and call any response, muslim based to people like assad terrorism. so everybody calls as terrorists now. it is not just the right, but people who claim to be on the left. the united, in this view, and i think that should be the litmus test now. the language of the war on terror, whether it is china or area or the united states the united kingdom or great britain, the entire anti-terror legislation and language has been formulated based upon your position on syria. if you support the syrian opposition, then at some point you're going to be regarded as a
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terrorist either by the assad regime or even by the west. and that is a paradox if i've ever seen one. nermeen: you have spent time in syria and receivers in 2012 and 2013, and you remain in touch with those in syria notably in idlib. can you tell us what they of been telling about what the situation is on the ground and who they see as complicit in, let's say, the majority of war crimes commission say, that are being committed? amy: and the significance of idlib today. >> i am in communication with aid workers and doctors working day-to-day and have been there for several years. some are actually british citizens who have been living there at least five years. i speak to them quite regularly. my view and opinion is based not only on their experience, but my own, as you rightly pointed out. what they're telling me now is neither isis has desk now that
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isis has started to disperse, though not completely defeated, they're feeling the push once more. the doctor was begin to tell me the majority of casualties they had coming into their hospitals were actually retreating isis fighters trying to force themselves and impose themselves into these other rebel held territories. they would not accept that. at the expense of having their unguarded and open to attack by the assad regime, and now they tell me they are treating wounded and internally displaced people who are coming region, evacuated from douma and eastern ghouta. they believe idlib will essentially be a place where all of these aerial -- the powers of these governments that have air forces, russia and of course the assad regime and the iranians, will all gather for the final
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battle. and that will be a massacre, they believe post up i believe, and if we base it upon everything we have seen happening in aleppo and in eastern ghouta, we thought would happen now was bad enough, what will take place in idlib unless there's some sort of corridor that allows the evacuation or no-fly zone, i think will be a massacre of unprecedented proportion. if this was not already bad enough. and make about the significance of idlib today, where it is geographically and in relation to the opposition and the assad regime. >> when i was in syria in 2012-2013, idlib was still in the hands of the assad regime. it is in northern syria, not too far from the border with turkey. the opposition, with a mixture of different groups, eventually took over and captured idlib and
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it has been in the hands for a while. they are bombed regularly by the regime, the people i've been speaking to told me it has updated a little bit over the past few weeks, but it has been regular, at least three to four bombs land every few days. of course the effect of that is the deaths of the civilian population. refugee camps are bursting at the seams. there simply is not enough to provide for everyone. many people are trying -- the largest number of refugees exist now in turkey, lebanon, and in jordan also and all have tried to absorb these millions of refugees both internally and externally. the situation is dire. i spoke to a doctor yesterday. he told me, i don't on how long i will be here. i am not going to leave this place because i've come to save life, however and whenever i can. many of my colleagues under the
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same. but it is just a question of time before one of the regime bombs, one of the russian bombs, one of the american bombs, one of the french bombs, the british bombs, or anybody else who happens to be taking part in this aerial gang rape of cereal, his us and kills us. amy: what do you think has to happen? >> my view is within the kurdish region, for example, there were no-fly zones. i was in bosnia during the war and it was bad enough, but a no-fly zone at least stopped those who have air forces to carry out even further killing with mass casualties. one of the things people need understand, and modern warfare by any army, any air force that is operative against an enemy that does not have an air force will inflict far more damage. you take america in vietnam or ussr in afghanistan or america in afghanistan or iraq and so on. you will always find this.
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whoever has airpower must be brought at least a position whereby they are pressured by other nations into not being able to drop bombs, which by definition are indiscriminate, other than the recent ones fired by america on the chemical facilities that actually did not kill anybody. that only happened, by the way, because america coordinated, orchestrated, and scheduled those trucks at 2:00 a.m. with words,sian -- in other i've never come across this before that you coordinate with your enemy in order that you can strike them so there are no castle tease. nermeen: let's bring in rashid khalidi. do you agree with what moazzam begg said about what needs to happen? first, your response of the u.s., british, and french strikes. and then what you think needs to happen. >> the important thing that needs to happen, this is a civil war in a proxy war. exactly as moazzam begg said, the most lethal part of this is the proxy war by these air
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forces. whether we're talking about the united states, turkey, emirates, saudi arabia and so forth on one side or russia and iran on the other side. the on the way to deal with this is to both address the political issues and get a proper regime in syria and a place -- in place of the assad. thisimportantly, to end external intervention. that will require a completely different approach. not just by the u.s., but the countries up to the ears in it. the syrian war was not just a civil war. it was like the lebanese war, but what is going on in lemon an libya. -- 11 of the most lethal part of that intervention is fight air forces. my view it is not just a
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matter of a no-fly zone, but figuring out a way to deescalate's conflict, get these external powers out, and have a proper political process whereby this atrocious regime can be replaced. one of the other problems is, it is not just that millions of people who are refugees and who are terrified of going back because they are afraid of the regime, there are millions of people on the other side who are terrified of the opposition. a political process is not going to be an easy business. but that is where we should be focused. amy: and your response to the debate over the authorization for use of military force, the aumf that will be taking place in the senate in the next few days? >> in the instruction to the untrammeled power of an imperial executive in this country is, in my view, a good thing. i think the debate might lead to approval of the use of force. should bee president restricted as much as possible. the u.s. is fighting wars all over the world. and countries where i cannot see any possible interest for the united states or world peace.
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as moazzam begg has said, killing people because that is what happens in aerial bombardment. i was in beirut in 1982. you bombed buildings, you kill people. whatever your objective is. nermeen: i want to ask about are.u.s. interest in syria there is an article published earlier this week in the boston globe by stephen kinzer who writes a quote -- "the specter of a peaceful and prosperous syria under assad's leadership terrifies them. they believe that until is gone, it is in america's interest to keep syria divided, unstable and impoverished. according to the logic behind american strategy in the middle east -- and the rest of the world -- one of our principal goals should be to prevent peace or prosperity from breaking out in countries whose governments
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are unfriendly to us." from what we know, do you think that is a determinant of u.s. policy in syria? if so, is it likely to change echo what interest does the u.s. have in syria? >> i hate to say this, but i really think american policy in syria has been totally incoherent. it has had some of the effect that stephen kinzer talked about, but i don't think that was the result of serious planning. i think, frankly, one of the most disgraceful episodes in american history the way they've treated syria. yemen ands true of libya. the u.s. has done acted in anyway way responsibly. these are conflicts that should the u.s.t to an end in is feeding. in syria, it is participating. in the case of yemen, the u.s. is arming the saudis and their allies are causing one of the greatest humanitarian disasters outside of syria in the region. i would say that the effect is
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actually as stephen kinzer said. we have 3.5 dysfunctional countries in this region, largely as a result of external intervention. libya, yemen, syria and to a certain extent, iraq. all of these places by the u.s. and allies and foreign powers have metal. they have created an unholy mess. want to ask begg i about the us military prison at guantanamo were your help. open by president george w. bush when he was launched its so-called war on terror. president obama pledged to close the prison as one of his first acts after taking office in 2009, but republicans repeatedly blocked his efforts. this is obama speaking in 2016 there's this is president trump speaking. trumka secretary mattis, during a great job. thank you.
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to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep facilities intion guantanamo bay. i am asking congress to ensure that in the fight against isis and al qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists wherever we chase them down, wherever we find them. and in many cases, for them it will now be guantanamo bay. amy: moazzam begg, as you listen to president trump, scores of prisoners are still held at guantanamo. you were released in 2005. guantanamo,ance of not only just what it is doing to the prisoners there now, but what it means as a symbol around the world? >> i think if you remember
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recently, there were a couple of ice is prisoners captured, two british guys, apparently, who are now in custody of the syrian defense forces. these two individuals are accused of being involved in the execution of others, including american citizens, people like james foley who was a journalist documenting the oppression against the syrian people. what they're accused of having done to him is beheading him, while dressing him in an orange jumpsuit. a what perhaps people don't know, what they did him before that and to others, was they waterboarded him. it is important we understand this because the president of the notices of america has said openly he will waterboard and he would do a lot more than that. he believes torture works for stuff you said, as he said, will keep guantanamo open and signed
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an order to that effect. let's backtrack a little bit. the u.s. invaded iraq as a result of torture of a man bi to give a false confession that he and al qaeda were working with saddam hussein on obtaining weapons of mass destruction used as justification to invade iraq. al qaeda did not exist in iraq until the invasion and they came in with no weapons of mass destruction. the u.s. military then set up prisons like abu ghraib where they essentially guantanamo-ized the prison system. yet general miller, who i met personally, was responsible for my detention at guantanamo. he went on to practice the techniques that he perfected in guantanamo on all the great. in abu ghraib and kim booker, whohad 17 of the leaders later became isis leaders of the 25 liters, graduate through the prisons of america. lo and behold, they come out and started to practice the same torture techniques that were practiced upon them. isis was born in the prisons of the united states of america
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that was result of from the torture that donald trump now says works and he believes in and his testimony, living testimony to that is, to great applause, he says that he will keep the facility open. guantanamo has only destroyed whatever little reputation the united states had in terms of human rights. there were countries chiding the united states of america from developing countries of africa and elsewhere saying what is right the united states has to talk to us about detention without trial when it has guantanamo sitting at its doorstep near miami? obama, with trump, yes somebody who says what he believes in. part of this year the bush administration who said her we even call it torture, saying enhanced interrogation techniques. the obama administration said we
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won't torture anyone, we will stop torture, but he ensured anyone involved in the torture would be prosecuted and that is why now today you have a president who feels it is fine to endorse were crimes because he knows there is no precedence for prosecution for saying this. whichever administration i think torture is as american as apple pie. amy: we believe it there. i want to thank you for being with us, moazzam begg, x guantanamo prisoner speaking to us from london, now outreach director at cage, released from guantanamo in 2005. torture by the u.s. military in bagram in afghanistan, before that was brought to conduct our. i also want to thank professor , edward saidi professor of arab studies at columbia university. this is democracy now! stay with us.
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♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: tuesday marked the end of the inaugural black maternal health week, a campaign founded and led by the black mamas matter alliance. the effort was launched to build awareness and activism around the state of black maternal health in the u.s. here are a few sobering statistics that underscore the need for such a campaign. the united states ranks 32nd out of the 35 wealthiest nations in
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infant mortality. black infants are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants, a disparity greater than existed in 1850- 15 years fore slavery ended. each year, an estimated 700 to 900 maternal deaths occur in the u.s., which is one of only 13 countries in the world wre the rate of maternal mortality is worse than it was 25 years ago. and according to the centers for disease control, black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts. amy: black women and babies make up a significant number of cases of infant and maternal mortality in the united states. these statistics were reported in a powerful new investigation in the "new york times " magazine called "why america's black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death crisis." even more shocking is that, according to the report and contrary to widely accepted
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research, education d income offer little protection. the answer to the disparity in death rates has everything to do with the lived experience of andg a black woman in america. "new york times magazine contributingriter lind villarosa. she directs the journalism program at the city college of new york. welcome to democracy now! what are america's black mothers and babies in a life or death situation today? >> when you go through the research, and i'm very interested in data and research, first, you to look at all of the things that it is not. so you start to think, well, is it because black women are not taking care of themselves? but then there are studies that say, oh, even when prenatal care still black then women have low birth weight babies. then it is, is there some kind of genetic component?
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then there are studies that say no. when immigrants come here, their babies are equal to white babies in size. after a generation, and they start to look like african-american babies, even when they are from the poorest countries. so after a while, it starts to just say, well, there is something else going on that has to do with america. amy: talk about what "it close " is. >> the lived experience of what happens to black women in the country has a physiological effect. there's a wonderful researcher in the university of michigan who coined the term "weathering." i love the term because it is very poetic. it is like the weathering of a rock by the ocean. but it is also like the weathering a storm by house because it also speaks to
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resilience and resistance. but it is -- there's a physiological effect. stressed out -- and i don't mean, oh, i'm so stressed -- but repeated insults to your psyche over and over and over again, he rose up your system so that it actually starts to wear you down. the internal systems of your body. that is part one of this. the lived experience of being a black woman in america. the second is the way black women are treated in the health care system. i say black women, but i mean black people. this has been something studied and nausea him. .t is hard to get this across a lot of people will say, oh, the tuskegee experiment. that is what it is about. but that was years ago. we're talking about people who are being mistreated, ill
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treated right now. if you combine the two and you take a woman who is essentially herng a stress test to body, which is pregnancy and childbirth, and you put her in this volatile situation where she is weathered and worn down by the repeated insults, and then she is in a system that may be is not out for her best interest, you get a volatile next. nermeen: that would explain why neither education nor income substantially impacts maternal health. >> i think what really explains it is -- what really puts it into stark focus is what happened to serena williams. serena williams had her baby in september. after the baby was born, she started complaining about having shortness of breath. she had a history of pulmonary embolism's, which is a blood clot in the lungs. she was ignored.
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her concerns were not taken seriously. it led to a crisis. presumably does this is one of the richest women in the world. and onof the most proactive and one of the most powerful. as hill her legitimate concerns were ignored at hospital. amy: and she traveled the nurse what she needed. she knew it she had. she said she needed a ct scan contrast, blood thinner. the nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. she insisted soon enough a dr. was performing an ultrasound on her legs. you have the ultrasound revealing nothing, so they sent for a cd. small blood clots had settled in her lungs. she was right. minutes later she had the drip and she said, i was like "listen to dr. williams." know best. nermeen: you talk about your own expense. could you tell us what you experienced?
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>> i had read a study about college educated women who have high rate of infant mortality. 75% related to low birth weight. i'm thinking, ok, i did not believe it at first because i was still under the assumption that this was tricky a problem of poor women -- which is wrong and terrible, but i still thought, well, ok, i can see this. but then when i got pregnant, my baby was not progressing -- was not large enough to make given her gestational age. my wonderful gynecologist said, you need to go on bed rest and go to a specialist. i would to the specialist and the specialist was grilling me with all kinds of do you use i'm the drink yucca health editor of "essence" magazine so i am very into fitness and trying to be a role model for good health and take care myself and my baby. i was really insulted. you have all of these different
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kinds of illnesses. unlike, no, i am fine. then i looked up what i had called intrauterine growth restriction and it is something that is associated with women who are not taking care of themselves, smoking, drinking, using drugs. i thought, what is wrong with me? it turned out my baby was better not inside of me but on the outside, so i had her induced at term. she was low birth weight will stop low birth weight is 5.5 pounds. she was four pounds, 13 ounces. she is fine now. she's a healthy, smart, athletic college student. but i thought, is this because of my lived experience of being a black woman in america? amy: we will do part two and posted online at democracynow.org. linda villarosa directs the journalism program at the city college of new york and is a contributing writer for the "new york times" magazine. we will link to her piece "why america's black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death
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crisis." that does it for our show. that does it for our show. [captioning
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