tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 14, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
08/14/15 08/14/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> more people will travel, the robie more exchange, more families will be reconnected. and hopefully, the government of cuba will itself make decisions that will begin to change things. amy: today the united states and -- john kerry is an havana presiding over the raising of the flag over the u.s. embassy in cuba for the first time in 54 years.
we will get reaction from former and speak with peter kornbluh co-author of, , "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." then swedish prosecutors have dropped part of their sexual assault inquiry against wikileaks founder julian assange, but the most serious part of the investigation remains in place. though he has never been formally charged. now britain has announced plans to challenge ecuador's decision to provide him asylum in its london embassy. the statute of limitation has run out. it is regrettable it is come this far and raise questions about how the prosecution is dealt with the case. amy: we will look at how u.s. army whistleblower chelsea manning could face indefinite solitary confinement of poor leavenworth for having an expired tube of toothpaste in an issue of "vanity fair" featuring
caitlyn jenner. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today the united states and cuba are taking the next step in restoring diplomatic relations with each other. secretary of state john kerry arrived in havana this morning to attend a ceremony marking the re-opening of the u.s. embassy there. joining him are three marines who lowered the flag at the embassy in 1961, after the two countries cut off ties when fidel castro toppled the u.s.-backed government of fulgencio batista. the same marines will raise the flag over the embassy. we will have more after headlines. the greek parliament passed a daybreakon deal around this morning after contentious all-night debate. the draft terms of the agreement include harsh austerity
measures. it does not include any debt relief. widerogram passed by margin. the prime minister tsipras faced a growing rebellion within his own left-leaning cerise a party which came to power promising to fight against austerity. nearly a third of syriza lawmakers voted against the bill, including former finance minister yanis varofakis, who blasted the vote as "humiliating" and "non-viable." officials say tsipras is planning to hold a vote of confidence next week and some suspect the government could be toppled. one of the dissenting syriza lawmakers criticized his own party during the debate. izaand what is the syr government doing echo their now introducing another lovely bailout. what kind of government is this? for whatever the greek people vote for, no matter what they fight for what the outcome of referendums is, it is still the bailouts always win. it is and then, the annulment of
democracy, the dictatorship of the eurozone over the neo-colony called greece. amy: meanwhile, the terms of greece's bailout, which will be the third in five years, are also facing growing criticism from european institutions, who say they have "serious concerns" about greece's long-term sustainability. in a new analysis, both the european commission and the european central bank advocate for debt relief measures, which have been opposed by germany. meanwhile, economics nobel laureate joseph stiglitz has spoken out about puerto rico's debt crisis, as dozens protested in new york city in the latest action against hedge funds that have bought up the island's debt. and then op-ed in "the wall street journal," stiglitz compared the crisis in puerto rico to that in greece, writing -- "greece chose to join the eurozone; puerto rico never chose to become an unincorporated u.s. territory. the u.s. must take responsibility for its imperialist past and neocolonial present. at a protest thursday outside the manhattan offices of hedge fund paulson & co, protesters echoed the call for the united
states to acknowledge the role of colonialism in puerto rico's debt crisis. >> pretty regard as an economic crisis with a $72 billion debt being charged to puerto rico come to the people come despite puerto rico being a colony of the united states and the debt is owed u.s. operations. we're here to protest the actions of shareholders such as paulson, who is one of the major shareholders taking money from puerto rico today. amy: britain has announced plans to challenge ecuador's decision to provide asylum to wikileaks founder julian assange in its london embassy. on thursday, hugo swire of the british foreign office said in a statement -- "ecuador must recognize that its decision to harbor mr. assange more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice." in response, ecuador's foreign ministry released a statement saying it is saddened assange's confinement has lasted so long, adding that its government had offered 31 times to facilitate an open judicial process in sweden. this comes just a day after swedish prosecutors dropped part of their sexual assault inquiry
against assange, but the most serious part of the probe remains in place. although, the swedish government has never charged him with a crime. we'll have more on julian assange later in the broadcast. japanese prime minister shinzo abe has expressed profound grief for japan's actions in world war ii. echoing apologies made by previous japanese leaders, his remarks were closely watched by china and south korea which , endured japanese occupation and colonial rule. as japan marks 70 years since it surrender following u.s. nuclear bombing of a russian a and nagasaki, abe pledged japan would never wage a war again. quick never again repeat the devastation of war, aggression, war, we shall never again resort to any sort of threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. we shall abandon colonial rule forever and respect the right self-determination of all peoples throughout the world. amy: despite his pledge, prime minister shinzo abe has pushed
for a rewriting of japan's pacificist constitution to allow japanese troops to fight abroad for the first time since world war ii. in germany, migrants are experiencing an increasing number of hate crimes. in the first half of this year, the interior ministry recorded more than 200 attacks on the housing of refugees who are seeking asylum in germany. activist groups say there have also been nearly 50 attacks on individual migrants. nearly 180,000 people have applied for asylum in germany this year, with the largest group being syrians. the interior minister has called the pattern of crimes unacceptable. cox at the same time, we also know there is a growing number of attacks against asylum-seekers and institutions for asylum-seekers, less so -- but in other places. that is undignified for our country. we will work against this with all the strength of the rule of law and political power that we have. amy: in texas, police are
investigating the murder of a 22-year-old african american transwoman. her decomposed body was discovered in late july in a field in northeast dallas. it has taken police two weeks to identify her. schuler is at least the 13th transgender woman to be murdered this year. in ohio, a new video has surfaced of 37-year-old african american woman ralkina jones pleading with cleveland jail authorities to administer her medication only hours before she was found dead in her cell. jones was arrested after a dispute with her ex-husband in late july. when she entered jail, she told authorities she needed to take her three medications -- the generic version of the sedative xanax, the adhd medicine adderall and the anti-epilepsy drug. she was found dead in her cell two days later. in the video released tuesday, ralkina jones tells a jail guard it's important for her to have her medication administered correctly because, "i don't want to die in your cell."
>> i'm not asking for an exception to the role. i don't want to die in your cell. >> [inaudible] >> i have a brain injury. amy: california governor jerry brown has signed into law two measures on police accountability introduced earlier this year. the first measure bans the use of grand juries in deciding whether to indict police officers who kill people while on active duty. the second measure affirms people's right to film the police. other measures such as the use of police body cameras are stalled in the state legislature. meanwhile, the connecticut supreme court has declared the death penalty unconstitutional. in 2012, the governor signed legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state. but the law exempted inmates who were already on death row. on thursday, the state's supreme court voted 4-3 in favor of a
an argument that executions carried out after the abolition of the death penalty represents cruel and unusual punishment. the decision spares the lives of 11 people currently on death row. in ecuador, indigenous groups organized nationwide strikes and demonstrations thursday to protest president rafael correa's efforts to change the constitution so he can seek a fourth term in office. leader of the protest rop protee out. >> we will defend ourselves will stop this has been resistance and today have come together under the flag of resistance. amy: meanwhile, in paraguay, an 11-year-old girl has given birth after she was denied an abortion at 10 years old. her pregnancy drew international attention after paraguay, which bans abortion except in cases that endanger the life of the mother, refused to allow her to have the procedure. her stepfather has been accused of raping the girl, resulting in
the pregnancy. the nonprofit behind the beloved children's program sesame street has announced it will be airing the program on the premium cable network hbo for the next five seasons. after 9 months, the episodes with be re-aired on pbs, which has been home to the show for the last 45 years. in news from the campaign trail, former vice president al gore is reportedly considering joining the 2016 presidential race. gore lost the 2000 election to george w. bush, despite winning the popular vote. the speculation about a potential run in 2016 surface as both democratic and republican candidates are soapboxing at the iowa state fair today and into the weekend. and 21 youth in the united states have sued the obama administration over climate change. the federal lawsuit argues climate change violates the public trust doctrine, requiring the government to protect resources essential to the survival of future generations.
in the suit, the 21 youth demand the court order federal agencies to develop a plan to decrease concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million by the year 2100. renowned scientist james hansen, who is a co-plaintiff on the suit, argues that it is essential to reduce carbon levels to this target in order to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. today, the united states and cuba are taking the next step in restoring diplomatic relations with each other. secretary of state john kerry arrived in havana this morning to attend a ceremony marking the reopening of the u.s. embassy there. joining him are three marines who lowered the flag at the embassy in 1961, when the u.s. cut off ties to cuba after
fidel castro toppled the u.s.-backed government of fulgencio batista in 1959. these same marines will raise the flag over the embassy. ahead of his trip to havana, john kerry appeared on the spanish-language tv network, univision, and said the united states will continue to push for changes in cuba. >> i think that as we begin the process compared to the 54 years of what has been going on, which is no progress, we will begin to .ee transformation take place more people will travel, the rowley more exchange, more families will be reconnected. and hopefully, the government of cuba itself will make decisions that will begin to change things. i don't think you can measure a month and a half since we conclude of the agreement to actually open the embassy to 54 years. that just doesn't work.
now, our spokesperson for the state department spoke out publicly from the podium of the state department criticizing those people that move on sunday, and we will continue to speak out. our preference is for a democracy, for a full embrace of the freedom of the cuban people to choose their future. and that is what we stand for. juan: also set to speak at the u.s. embassy in havana today is openly-gay cuban-american poet richard blanco, who read a poem at president obama's inauguration after the 2012 election. cuban dissidents will not be at the flag raising ceremony, but kerry says he will meet with them separately this afternoon. "the new york times" reports a second flag-raising will take place at this reception which will take place at the official residence of jeffrey delaurentis, the top american diplomat in cuba until an ambassador is nominated and confirmed. republican presidential candidate and florida senator marco rubio called the decision not to invite dissidents to the
embassy a "slap in the face." he said in a statement -- "cuban dissidents are the legitimate representatives of the cuban people and it is they who deserve america's red carpet treatment, not castro regime officials." amy: meanwhile, on thursday, cuban revolutionary leader and former president fidel castro celebrated his 89th birthday. he met with two close allies, bolivian president evo morales and venezuelan president nicolas maduro, as celebrations were held throughout the country. has been a father for cuba in the entire world. historically, he has been a man since he was born. today he turns 89 years old. he is been an honest man. and all that he is done has been for the social well-being of cuba and the rest of the world. amy: well, for more, we go now to havana, cuba, where we are joined by dr. carlos alzugaray treto, a former cuban diplomat
who served as ambassador to belgium and luxembourg, and head of the cuban mission to the european union. scholar and writer and former havana university professor. in washington, d.c., we're joined by peter kornbluh, director of the cuba documentation project at the national security archive at george washington university. co-author of the book, "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." mother jones has just published the epilogue to an updated version of his book to be -- which includes the secret story of how obama used back-channel diplomacy to normalize diplomatic relations. welcome both of you back to democracy now! let's begin in havana. about the talk reaction right now in havana to this day of the u.s. embassy raising the u.s. flag over the embassy for the first time in more than half a century.
>> amy, they keep are having me. it is great to be once more with democracy now! i think how we are looking at it is trying to get an answer to the question is, what kind of change this represents. is this only a change of tactics to can it does to continue to try to overthrow the cuban government by different means? the roberta flack "killing me softly with your song." on the other hand, we are seeing an important change of strategy by which the u.s. now is saying, ok, there is a legitimate government in cuba, everybody in the world has no more relation with cuba, we should go for that because that is how we best serve american interests in cuba in terms of trade and changes and even the interest of the cuban-american community. and saying the american government by sending mr. kerry to cuba, he is an important
political figure, to raise the flag, i think they are pointing in a second direction, the direction they want normal relationship with the cuban government. and this is welcome news. flag could have been raised on july 20 when the american embassy started to become an embassy. they could've sent an undersecretary, but they prefer to say, ok, let's wait until secretary kerry's very tight schedule permits for him to go to havana and do it. and i think we appreciate in cuba he is doing it. this is, in a want to address the criticism from marco rubio, i think this is an eminently intergovernmental affair. and what this situation we, thets is that now embassy, the relationship with the cuban government, the american relationship with the
becomes centerrnment stage, which is how it should be in the world. representing the country, not the whole civil society. they have the right to talk to the civil society, but they don't have the right to prioritize civil society or position civil society. there is a difference on how do we perceive civil society. but what is happening now, is in the past, the u.s. pro or ties -- prioritized dissidents, i don't like the name, and the cuban government was not a legitimate government. what they're saying now is, yes, the cuban government is a legitimate government and we have to talk to them. that is reasonable and pragmatic in the way to go, even of the differences will remain. ton: peter kornbluh, i want ask you, people tend to forget that when president obama was running for president in 2008, he was criticized then, talked
about the need for the united states to talk with its traditional enemies, negotiate with them. and now we see the breakthrough in terms of iran and the situation, the change of relations with cuba. you talk about the back channel talks that when on, carefully, for years to get to the point that we are now. could you talk about some of that, especially the role of pope francis and you mentioned a group that most americans have not heard about. >> let me just say, could not agree with carlos moore. he is right on point when he says john kerry's presence in cuba today is an extraordinary important gesture by the obama administration. there's a little nuance which is that john kerry had broken his leg and fallen off his bike in europe. he wanted to go to cuba and you a cubantually walk down
street, which you will be filmed doing, i believe, so there was a delay in his ability to go beyond his busy, busy schedule, which involved of course the very intense negotiations over and of course with iran. of course, barack obama ran for 2007-2008 on ain platform of having a dialogue with our closest of enemies. at that point, cuba and iran, north korea, he was basically saying, letting gauge rather let's engage-- rather than progress. he is really followed you on that. the secret history of his efforts to negotiate with cuba is now coming out. we have an extensive he's just piece that is arriving at holmes
and his online of mother jones.com and it tells the story of a commitment by president starting back in 2010 when secret talks began with hillary clinton staff, two members of her top aides meeting with cuban diplomats for a two-year period and bars in new york city and hotels in santo domingo and in haiti to talk about a prisoner exchange, deal -- a deal with spies that were in prisons. those talks did not result in that exchange, but obama tasked two top aides at the white house in 2013 after he was reelected to move forward. these negotiations were deep back channel and they really did involve some extraordinary creative initiatives, including the artificial insemination of
the wife of one of the spies as a tone setter, he will, doubt these negotiations go forward. amy: this is one of the wives of the cuban five. >> yes, of the cuban five, addrianna perez. the cubans actually came to the state department with a diplomatic note saying, could you help this woman get pregnant as she approaches the age of 40 because we don't see how her husband, who is serving two life sentences for spying in the united states, is ever going to get out? of course, he did get out. when he came back to cuba december 17 of last year, his wife made a public appearance. she was nine months pregnant. the world saw for the first time what had happened. and the story continues to come out of how the united states and cuba negotiated that particular dialogue.this ongoing
the pope got involved. the secret communications with him were extraordinary. it is a really fascinating story. it gets down to one issue, the commitments on both side to arrive at this point a day in which flags fly above the cuban embassy in washington and the u.s. embassy in havana. they fly on what i like to say are the winds of change in the u.s. relationship with cuba. juan: peter, could you talk about that group and its role in this? change doesn't come to washington easily. there is all sorts of creative lobbying forces they go on here every day. unknown to most people, an extraordinary cuban-american patty, who was in cuba on a people to people delegation and she was restricted -- she had grown up in cuba and was
restricted, even on this , from going around to zero house and find old schoolmates. she and her husband donated money to a denver-based philanthropic goal/lobbying organization which pairs deep-pocketed donors who care about social issues with kind of a political strategy a political effort to change social policy. in this case, it was foreign-policy. and she set out to support efforts to lift the ban on travel to cuba, which, by the way, is still in place and still needs to be lifted in its entirety. washington.me to they became part of a network of advocacy groups who been working on changing cuban policy for many, many years. the latin american working
group, i mean, organizations here in washington that have been working conscientiously to change this policy for many, many years. with a new kind of player in town, new strategy, access to the white house that money brings. there was a whole set of initiatives that did not really push obama to change his mind, but gave him the kind of political cover that he believed was needed in order to take this momentous step. into the credit of all of the players involved, and they all deserve credit, and hope we all give them credit many epilogue channel to "back cuba," this is an extraordinary story. indon't see changes intractable foreign-policy issues like the one with cuba very often. and this one is going to go down in history with china, the caribbean -- the it really marks in some ways the end of the cold war overall, and hopefully, new beginning not
just in u.s.-cuban relations, but u.s. foreign-policy overall. to: peter kornbluh is author "back channel to cuba" and we will be back with them as well as dr. carlos alzugaraytreto, former given diplomat who is with us from havana or at the moment of this broadcast, we're just about an hour away from the by theag being raised three marines who 54 years ago took that flag down in the early eisenhower -- in the final days of the eisenhower administration. we will be back with them in a minute. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. dayguests on this historic when the u.s. embassy raises the u.s. flag over its havana embassy are dr. carlos alzugaraytreto, former cuban diplomat, with us from havana, and peter kornbluh, co-author of "back channel to cuba" is with us in washington, d.c. i want to turn to two former revolutionary combatants who say socialism will live on in cuba as the country normalizes relations with the united states. >> we think rapprochement with u.s. is a success of cuban policies. they have been unable to destroy us, now they will use the second main come as they say. it's fine. they will come your precisely use in the economic problems we have. they will use them, evidently, there will try to capture people, but we can also teach them many things. >> we're prepared for that for long fight, and to finally overcome all these difficulties.
of course we do not expect the u.s. to become a socialist country in the long run. nor do we claim that, either, but they should at least until it civilly with us who have never caused any harm to the u.s. amy: and former president fidel castro wrote in a newspaper column that the u.s. owes the island country millions of dollars as reparations for its decades-long embargo. fidel castro wrote -- "cuba is owed compensation equivalent to damages, which total many millions of dollars, as our country has stated with irrefutable arguments and data in all of its speeches at the united nations." let's go back to havana, to dr. carlos alzugaraytreto, former cuban diplomat. if you can respond to what the former president fidel castro has said, the issue of reparations and in the concerns of the former revolutionary combatants in cuba. upamy, i would like to pick
before answering that, pick up where peter left post of by the way, congratulate peter and bill for the recent article in mother jones, excellent. and the book itself. the obama administration is doing this with a small country, not with a big power like china and russia. and this is significant. this gives to the cuban -- a special flavor. we got the united states to accept that a small labor deserved to be treated that way. and when people compare previous visits, i was trying to search previous visits of secretaries of state to cuba, and there are very few. back in the 1940's. it seems the united states did not consider cuba an important diplomatic place he was in the secretary of state. so that is why kerry plus visit is important. the other point is, most important american leaders that
came to cuba before 1959 was richard nixon when he came to cuba during batista possibly regime.- batista's thatg said that, i think fidel is right. as i said in the beginning, i was one of the officials who was .nvolved back in the 1990's to answer the question, how much the economic sanctions have many years.over the we came up with this figure. i can to you the cuban side has made a very serious study without, let's say, over blowing the data -- you must remember, there were 3000 -- at least 3000 cubans killed by terrorist acts carried out by cia-trained
elements in the 1960's. so cuba is right in demanding compensation for the damages caused, because let's face it, the embargo -- the so-called embargo, was carried out under -- and this is a direct quote from state department documents -- to bring about hunger, desperation, and the overthrow of the cuban government. cuba is right when they're demanding, when we are demanding that we be compensated for the mages. that is part of something that we have to do when we start negotiating compensation for american properties. that is our side of the issue. juan: peter kornbluh, i want to ask you, one part of this whole equation that has not been part of the negotiations has been the
status of guantánamo and the united states kept insisting, according to your article, that guantánamo was not to be discussed in the process of normalization. good you talk about cuba's position on guantánamo? >> well, if you look at the whole issue of talks between the united states and cuba going all the way back to secret talks to the kennedy administration, you see the secret negotiations became serious and u.s. officials put issues like compensation for extra grated properties and guantánamo kind of at the bottom of the list because they were the biggest and hardest issues to resolve. during previous talks, there had been an idea that these issues had to be resolved before we could arrive at normal relations and diplomatic relations. that would be after all of these other issues were resolved. to its credit, barack obama and said, let'sically
normalize diplomatic relations. then under the realm and under the new umbrella of normal, civil relations, let's address these big issues such as nationalized expropriated properties, such as guantánamo. those are very difficult issues. guantánamo obviously will eventually he returned to cuba because it is cuban sovereign property. some people in the united they say we should just leave the base and leave the torture center there and give it to cuba and let them deal with this problem. they probably will do with it much more effectively than we have. cuba will be returned to cuba the same with animal canals and was returned to panama. it is cuban property, still part festering issue for the region does he the united states occupy that particular part of cuba.
what raul castro said repeatedly, for us to have truly were normal relations with the united states, we need to be able to exercise control over our sovereign property of guantánamo. eventually that will happen but it won't happen anytime soon. i'm glad the two sides did not decide to head resolve this issue before we arrived at today. and i think it will be easier to resolve over the course of three or four or five years in the future, depending on who the next president of the united states is, under this new kind of regime of better relations that the two countries now have. amy: it has always us down to me that what the u.s. has done with guantánamo, because the u.s. has criticized cuba for not being democratic and yet they have this sort of beachhead there and what do they use it for? a showcase of democracy? they use it for more than a decade now to hold well over 100 --actually, hundreds of men
many of them have been cleared for release, a number have been tortured by u.s. soldiers. that is what they're showing the people of cuba a government should really be doing. it is quite something. will raisey kerry the issue today when he meets privately with the foreign minister rodriguez about the situation of human rights in cuba. and i'm sure foreign minister rodriguez will say, well, there's a human rights issue right down the road at guantanamo, which you are involved in, and you need to address. , these point is discussions are now going to take place in a much more formal way -- hopefully, under a different kind of framework of relations. i'm waiting for the day when dr. carlos alzugaraytreto another toan officials are able basically have the confidence that the united states is no longer involved in regime change efforts toward cuba.
i think that will take time. it depends on who the next president of the united states is, how fast that ms. forward. i think the obama administration is saying again and again, we are no longer in the business of regime change in cuba. juan: dr. carlos alzugaray treto , i would like to ask about the domestic impact of these changes in cuba. obviously, after raul castro seceded fidel as president, there was a move toward liberalization of the economy. what do you think you would see after potential changes in the cuban revolution and in the cuban socialist model in the coming years? i see three major transformations taking place in cuba. right now the same time. although, the three of them began at different moments. -- thes the test economic transformation.
you will have the centralization in the economy in general, and you will have a larger nonstate sector. so these two changes will lead to political changes to adapt the political system to the way the economy works. but at the same time, raul castro, in different locations, said, we have to advance and our democracy, we have to have a better democracy, a more persistent democracy. i invite everyone to disagree. and he is even said, the best decision comes out of a broad and profound discussion of different policy options. you cannot have anything more democratic than that. and at the same time there's this transformation which is the normalization of relations between cuba and the u.s. remember, in this is something confuse,le have to not the political changes in cuba began before. for example, 2013, there was an
immigration reform. immigration reform allows every cuban to travel outside cuba whenever they want with only a passport. this is a major change, very important. secondly, there's an opening of the public space, the introduction -- one of the television companies that is watched in cuba. it also internet. internet, the cuban government has pledged to provide for every cuban home internet by 2020 at an affordable price. now all of these things are happening not because the united states is pushing or pressing cuba to do that, it is because there is a political will inside the government to do this. if the government of cuba would be a difficult position, it se threet allowed the major transformations. this is a government sure of what they're doing. i think most cubans are happy with that. we are trying to do it. i work for a journal that has a
public debate every month, public issues. we discussed practically everything that is in the minds of cubans. if you go to facebook, twitter, you have more and more cubans who are revolutionary and socialist, yet they don't hesitate to criticize the government for its policies. this is the normal way of doing. this could not be done in the past because we were under siege. peter'sthink -- and book proves it -- i don't think you can emphasize how much the u.s. did to bring about a regime innge in the 1960's and even the 1970's. that started to change a little bit with the carter administration. at the u.s. was back at it in the 1980's. it was ahead of the intersection in cuba who came here and spent a month meeting with dissidents and people of the opposition -- again, i don't like the term -- and he did not even go to the minister of affairs to introduce
himself to the cuban government. that is not the normal diplomatic procedure. the first thing any ambassador or does is go to the ministry of foreign affairs and say, i am here to work for better relations. amy: there were the repeated attempts to kill u.s. government involved with the cia, involved with the attempts to assassinate fidel castro. the unitedo visited states in 1959 and actually met with then vice president richard nixon before diplomatic relations were cut off in 1961. now there is some talk that fidel's brother, raul castro, could come to the united states. i wanted to ask you, will he be coming to the u.s.? there is talk also that kerry being in havana is setting the stage for president obama to go to cuba before the end of his term. discard that might
happen. i don't think it will happen soon. but that is an interesting question. one interesting thing about raul castro is that he doesn't attend very many international events. he rather likes to be here in cuba working for the changes that are taking place. he is not a big traveler, if you compare him with fidel or with some other heads of state who travel a lot. he likes to be here, and that is good. the perception is he is taking care of the problems we have, which are big. if president obama comes to cuba, i think he will be welcome as we welcomed the pope. and nowelcomed two popes third pope is coming. the president of france was here. those are possibilities. in my view as an elder diplomat, let's say, it will take some time but it will be good for both sides to start normalizing relations and visits of heads of
state are part of normalized relations. even know they would say, this are freely countries, not unfriendly. amy: peter kornbluh, the pope is going to becoming to the united states, but first he is going to cuba in september. is going to cuba. there will be quite a bit of coverage. i think you'll get a sense today of the coverage of kerry's the visuals involved. in the culprits going in will be massive coverage of that. he will certainly talk about the need to lift the embargo. will kind of give his blessing to those advocates are pushing encumbers to lift the embargo and truly normalize u.s. economic ties with cuba. but i think, and on the private agenda of john kerry and his meeting this afternoon with the foreign minister of cuba bruno rodriguez after the flag is raised, i think on that agenda
is a discussion of the conditions and circumstances and logistics of a presidential visit to cuba early next year. barack obama has not only made no secret he's interested in going to cuba, but he is kind of gone out of his way data spokesman plant the idea that he wants to go and in some ways, intends to go. he understands that his going to cuba would create visuals of normalcy, of diplomatic interaction, of a head of state visit just like carlos pointed out, other heads of states go to cuba, that would consolidate these changes and add momentum andully normalize trade travel ban with cuba. this is part of his legacy to have a nixon-in china-moment. it will certainly be extraordinary for the public to see their president on a beautiful island. amy: we want to thank you both
for being with us, dr. carlos alzugaray treto, sticking to us from havana, cuba, former cuban diplomat and, peter kornbluh, , author of "back channel to cuba: the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana." when we come back, the case of julian assange and chelsea manning. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: britain has announced plans to challenge ecuador's decision to provide asylum to wikileaks founder julian assange in its london embassy. on thursday, hugo swire of the british foreign office said in a statement -- "ecuador must recognize that its decision to harbor mr. assange more than three years ago has prevented the proper course of justice." swire also said the $18 million price-tag for policing the ecuadorian embassy during assange's residency is "unacceptable" to the british taxpayer. in response, ecuador's foreign ministry released a statement saying it is saddened assange's confinement has lasted so long, adding that its government had offered 31 times to facilitate an open judicial process in sweden.
the statement noted ecuador "deplores the continued inaction of british and swedish authorities over almost 1,000 days." amy: this comes just a day after swedish prosecutors dropped part of their sexual assault inquiry against assange, but the most serious part of the probe remains in place. even know he has never been formally charged. -- even though he is never been formally charged. the announcement was made as the statute of limitations ran out on three parts of the investigation. on thursday, assange's swedish attorney, thomas olsson, welcomed the news, but criticized how the prosecutors have handled the case. >> the decision was expected since the statute of limitations has run out. it is regrettable it has come this far. it raises a lot of questions about how the prosecution has that with the case. the reason we're in the situation is the prosecutors for several years have a accepted his offer to be interviewed at the embassy in a reasonable reason is been given for their position. according -- the pulmonary investigation -- according to
the defense, the preliminary investigation should of enclosed a long time ago. amy: julian assange has been holed up in the ecuadorian embassy in london for three years, where he's received political asylum. he fears he will be extradited to the united states to face prosecution for his role at wikileaks if he leaves the embassy. but ecuador and sweden accuse the other of delaying a possible swedish police interview with assange inside the embassy. sweden has never charged him with any crime. well, for more, we're joined now by carey shenkman, a first amendment and human rights lawyer. he, along with michael ratner and the center for constitutional rights, is representing wikileaks' founder julian assange. can you explain the latest? first, that a number of -- you can say charges against assange have been dropped, because he is never been charged, but that these charges -- that the allegations have expired.
>> i want to take a step back because i think doing a lot of these interviews -- it is always tough for us on the legal team to committee kate this case because as you pointed out, it is so complicated. if sweden and the u.k. and ecuador in the united states and assange's been in the embassy for over three years. the situation is completely of president. but i think -- actually, the case is very simple. the reason it is simple is because assange has been offering a simple solution for nearly five years, and that is, one, question him. he has been saying that for years to the swedish prosecutor, while in sweden and then upon , to comethe u.k. question him. , -- amy: and these are around
issues, allegations of sexual assault. in the case of the allegations of one woman, there were two women, one has been dropped entirely now. >> that's right. amy: and now a more serious assault isexual continuing, the inquiry is continuing, though he has not been charged. hasn't been charged. like i said, first, he has been asking to be questioned in the prosecutors firmly refused to do so. and second, he has been asking for civil promise from the u.k. and sweden, to promise to not to extradite him to the u.s. where he bases the most unprecedented attempt to prosecute him in u.s. history under the espionage act. yesterday, the united kingdom made a statement criticizing ecuador, basically blaming them for the situation, which is
completely outrageous because ecuador has every right to give assange asylum. the institution of a song is as old as civilization itself. and the u.k. and sweden both recognize diplomatic asylum when it benefits them. there's precedent for this. it is outrageous for them to say they don't recognize his asylum. juan: what are the implications for his possible freedom in the future in terms of this last remaining allegation that still must have a run of its statute of limitations? >> our position is all along that this allegation needs to be dropped once and for all. positive that three of the four dropped yesterday, but that wasn't because of anything the prosecutor did. it was because the prosecutor was literally forced to. that has been the trend in this case. every bit of progress has been the prosecutor being forced into by a court, now by a time limit. at the swedish courts were criticizing the prosecutor, that was nine months ago, asking, what are you doing with this case? one of the watch
allegations, now there is just one. ultimately, this case is about the united states. there's an active and ongoing prosecution against assange and wikileaks on account of publication of classified materials since 2010. this was confirmed in march by u.s. federal court. it has been widely criticized by free speech and human rights organizations. in the last year, over 50 organizations criticized his justice department for continuing the investigation because it threatens the very freedom of the press. so going after wikileaks would set precedents that would have devastating effects on the newsgathering process and first amendment freedoms. amy: i also want to ask you about u.s. army whistleblower chelsea manning. it was five years ago that she was arrested in kuwait and charged with leaking classified information. weeks later, wikileaks published tens of thousands of internal logs from the war in afghanistan.
manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail. now lawyers say she could face punishment of indefinite solitary confinement for having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of "vanity fair" in which transgender celebrity caitlyn jenner describes her new life as a woman. the u.s. senate report on torture and other prohibited property in her cell at the military prison at fort leavenworth. when the "guardian" newspaper inquired why these publications are considered violations of prison rules, it received no response. manning is also accused of "showing disrespect" for asking to see her lawyer in a discussion with a prison officer. manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking u.s. government cables to wikileaks. on thursday, an army spokesperson said it is committed to "a fair and equitable process" in manning's case, which is now pending before a disciplinary board. can you explain, and expired
tooth toothpaste and the "vanity fair" issue of caitlyn jenner? >> it is amazing that manning is being threatened with what is recognized as torture. there's an international consensus that in -- involuntary confinement is torture for a tube of toothpaste. our hearts go out to manning as you pointed out, there's a review on august 18 and manning has an outstanding defense team that can hopefully deal with this, but the fact that this is even being considered is completely unacceptable. the fears all along of assange being extradited to the united states -- we saw in the court hearings have chelsea manning, there attempt to link manning to assange under conspiracy theory. assange's name was brought up over 20 times in some arguments
alone. we see this over and over. one man does, the expert on torture, found that manning was subject to inhumane treatment while in u.s. custody and manning actually got sentencing credit as a result of that. juan: what are the rules in terms of, especially of literature yucca would exhume -- i would assume it has to be reviewed if it comes in the mail by prison authorities before manning would even get this literature. do you know what the rules are? >> based on the reports i've read, "vanity fair" came through like normal mail. there's no reason it seemed to do this. in fact, manning was asking for lawyer when these charges happened. so it is really unacceptable. is: do you see these cases intimately linked, the cases of julian assange and chelsea manning?
>> and the perception of the u.s. government, absolutely. manning is an alleged source of wikileaks. one of the major theories in the manning case was trying to link assange to manning. so we see, i think, based on what is happening now with manning and the risk of torture, to fearhas every right being extradited to the united states. , we willy shenkman continue to follow both of these cases. carey shenkman is a first amendment and human rights lawyer. he, along with michael ratner and the center for constitutional rights, is representing wikileaks' founder julian assange. that does it for our show. very fond farewell to renée feltz. her humility, her brilliance, her dogged determination to unmask the truth have made democracy now!ette a bnews organization. we look forward to future collaborations with you sitting at the table bringing us your
- hello. i'm john cleese. it seems that beneath all the apparent differences that separate the world's religions, there's a deep undercurrent that points towards what is called oneness or unity consciousness, the single indivisible essence of all creation. to get some further understanding of this, we're going to explore the concept from both the mystical and the scientific perspectives with an east indian physicist and a british mystic. so settle back, take a slow, deep breath as we join our trusted guide and host, phil cousineau, on this fascinating episode of global spirit,