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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  February 18, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST

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02/18/16 02/18/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! for law a big problem enforcement, armed with a search warrant, when you find a device that cannot be opened even of the judge said there is probable cause to open it. it affects our counterterrorism work. san bernardino, very important investigation to us. we still have one of those killers phones we have not been able to open, and it is been over two months and we're still working on it. amy: apple vs. the fbi. a major debate over privacy and online encryption erupts after
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apple announces it will fight a the fbi breaking into the iphone owned by one of the san bernardino shooters. edward snowden has called this the most important tech case in a decade. if apple gives the fbi a way to access user data, who else could use the backdoor to hack into your phone? we will speak to the aclu's alex abdo. then to utah. >> your great-granddaughter, your great-granddaughter, your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. amy: more than 100 protesters disrupt a federal auction of oil and gas leases spontaneously bursting into song until they were forced to leave. one activist, the famous author terry tempest williams registered as bidder 19, , successfully bidding on 1750
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acres of land to spare it from fossil fuel extraction. she will join us from salt lake. then will south dakota become , the first state to ban transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity? all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in turkey, a car bomb has killed at least 28 people and injured more than 60 in the capital ankara on wednesday. 20 of those killed were turkish military personnel. the turkish prime minister spoke out. >> we believe that both civilians and soldiers lost their lives in the attack. we will continue to give information to the people as the bodies are identified. 61 citizens have been injured and are being treated at various hospitals. amy: no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
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turkey has blamed the kurdistan workers' party, known as the pkk, but a ppk leader says the group was not behind the attack, and does not know who is responsible. despite the fact that no one has claimed responsibility, turkish warplanes began boing northern iraq within hours after the attack. turkish authorities say the strikes are targeting pkk camps. the white house is slated to announce today that president obama will visit cuba in the coming weeks. the trip would make president obama the first sitting us president to visit cuba in nearly nine decades. this comes amid the normalization of relations between the two countries. earlier this week, the united states and cuba signed an agreement to restore regular u.s. commercial flights to cuba for the first time in more than half a century. the obama administration has approved the first u.s. factory in cuba in more than 50 years, allowing an alabama company to assemble tractors there. pope francis wrapped up his visit to mexico with a mass in the border city of juarez, where
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he spoke out against the "humanitarian crisis" caused by u.s. immigration policies. he spoke near a cross erected in memory of the thousands of people who have died trying to cross the u.s.-mexico border. step, a path filled with terrible injustice, enslavement, kidnappings, extortion. many of r brothe are the fruits othe busiss of hun trafficking. we cannot deny a humanitarian crisis, which in recent years, as in the migration of millions of people. amy: pope francis also criticized the role of capitalism in u.s. border policies saying, "the flow of capital cannot decide the flow and life of people." in texas, u.s. marshals have arrested a man over his federal student loan debt. the federal government has contracted student-loan collections to private debt collectors, who have the ability
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to deploy u.s. marshals. houston resident paul aker says that last thursday, seven armed u.s. marshals arrived at his home, arrested him, and placed them in gel over what was initially a $1500 student loan debt that has been outstanding since 1987. paul aker spoke to fox 26. >> they took me downtown to the federal court, where they put me in a 4 x 4 cell for about an hour, then an hour later, i was taken before a judge, surrounded by seven marshals. >> for a payment agreement? >> absolutely. just totally mind-boggling. i could not believe i was standing before the court with no rights read to me, no legal representation, and i have been told that i/o $1500. the u.s. marshals confirmed arrest, saying the agency has been trying to collect the loan for the past three years. approximately 40 million people in the united states currently have student loan debt. a yemeni journalist with the
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independent news outlet and the state-run yemen tv station has been shot to death. journalist ahmed al-shaibani was reporting on the fighting in the city of taiz. a photographer who was reporting th al-shaibani says he believes the journalist was purposefully targeted by pro-houthi rebels. the two were in taiz to report on a fire in a plastics factory that had been hit by a shell from pro-houthi fighters. meanwhile, also in yemen, a drone strike killed three people in the southern city of huta on monday. the attack also badly damaged the offices of public water and telecommunications utilities. here in the united states, two los angeles police officers have been charged with forcible rape and sexual assault of four women. prosecutors say the attacks primarily occurred while the two officers, james christopher nichols and luis gustavo valenzuela, were on duty. the four women had been arrested by the officers for drug-related crimes. the los angeles police department has been aware the
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officers may have been sexually assaulting women for nearly three years. back in 2013, lapd detectives sought a warrant to confiscate e men's computs and phones. the warrant alleged that the officers repeatedly threatened women with jail in order to get them to enter an unmarked car the two drove while on duty. the warrant went on to accuse the two officers of driving the women to a secluded area, where they would demand sex. "the los angeles times" wrote about these allegations against the two officers in 2013. yet it wasn't until tuesday that officers were filed against the two officers. in new york city, a new report filed by a federal monitor appointed to oversee reforms to the new york city police department has found many officers have failed to comply with rules for stopping and questioning people on the street. in more than a quarter of cases, of stop and frisk police failed , to document their initial
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reason for stopping someone. officers rarely documented stops that led to arrests. the monitor found, "many appear not to understand what is expected of them." a landmark 2013 ruling found the new york city police department's stop and frisk policy unconstitutional. in kentucky, democratic state representative mary lou marzian on has introduced a bill that would place significant restrictions on men with erectile dysfunction who are seeking treatment, such as viagra. the bill, introduced last week, would require men seeking erectile dysfunction treatments to first have two doctor visits, provide a signed consent letter from a current spouse and make a , sworn statement that he will only use the drugs for sex with his current spouse. the bill would also make all unmarried men ineligible for the treatment. representative marzian, who is also a nurse, introduced the legislation after kentucky govern matt ben signed bill requiring women to consult
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a doctor at least 24 hours before an abortion. marzian spoke to tv station wdrb. >> when we start invading's desk invading peoples private lives and medical decisions, to me, it is, what is next? there are six or seven anti-joyce bills filed to rerict access to women's reproductive health. i am appalled that the kentucky general assembly, which very few have any medical degrees, feel that it is important that they insert themselves between a woman and her physician. amy: the number of hate groups rose considerably across united states last year. under report by the southern poverty law center found the number of hate groups rose 14% last your, bringing the total number of hate groups in the u.s. to nearly 900. the report found the number of klu klux klan groups more than doubled. it also documented 34 anti-muslim hate groups, and 48
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anti-lgbtq hate groups. report author mark potok pointed to the presidential election cycle as one of the primary reasons for a rising number of hate groups across the u.s., saying last year was marked by -- "hate speech in mainstream politics to an extent that we have not seen in decades. white supremacist forums are awash with electoral joy, having dubbed trump their 'glorious leader'." in bolivia, six government workers have died of asphyxiation in a suburb of the capital la paz, after city officials reportedly refused to let them leave a building in advance of a demonstration that ended with the municipal building being set on fire. city workers say they asked to leave before the demonstration arrived, but that the human resources director told them they had to remain inside the building. the demonstration was organized to protest of the conditions of local schools. organizers say the building was set on fire after protesters dispersed, and that infiltrators were to blame for the blaze. in libya, thousands took to the
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streets in the capital tripoli wednesday to celebrate the five year anniversary of the uprising that toppled long-time dictator muammar gaddafi. the uprising, known as the february 17 revolution, ended with a 2011 u.s.-led military intervention that helped oust gaddafi. libya slid into conflict soon after. the country currently has two competing governments. in january, the chair of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff, general joseph dunford, says he wants to begin taking decisive military action against the self-proclaimed islamic state in libya. ahead of the republican south carolina primary saturday, ted cruz and donald trump are feuding over a cruz campaign tv ad that accuses trump of having been pro-choice in the late -- in the past. the ad, airing in south carolina, features a clip from a 1999 trump interview on nbc's "meet the press." in the interview, trump says he is "pro-choice in every respect." in response, the trump campaign sent a cse and desist letter to the cruz campaign.
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trump has also threatened to sue cruz for defamation if the campaign continues to air the ad. a recent bloomberg poll shows donald trump with a 19-point lead over cruz in south carolina. in more news from the campaign trail, the biggest labor federation in the united states, the afl-cio, says it is withholding an endorsement for an individual candidate, a move that's being seen as a victory for democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. the afl-cio was expected to announce its endorsement next week after a vote by the executive council at the annual winter meeting. but in an email, afl-cio president richard trumka says the executive council will not be voting at the meeting, saying -- "i have concluded that there is broad consensus for the afl-cio to remain neutral in the presidential primaries for the time being." the afl-cio endorsement is by far the most significant labor endorsement for a presidential candidate. former secretary of state hillary clinton has won the majority of labor endorsements to date, although national nurses united has come out endorsing bernie sanders.
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and in new york city, a protest against beyonce's politically charged super bowl performance turned into a pro-beyonce, anti-racist demonstration tuesday after beyonce's supporters vastly outnumbered her opponents. the event outside the nfl headquarters was billed as a protest against "race-baiting" by beyonce, whose superbowl -- super bowl performance invoked the black panthers, black lives matter and malcolm x. but only about two or three people actually showed up to criticize beyonce, while dozens showed up to defend her. this is an exchange between a beyonce critic and two supporters. >> can you go back to when you were telling us -- meit just came across to that it was a political statement. listen, which is fine. but this is a football game. let's keep it light. >> why was it a political
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statement? >> have you seen it since? >> i've seen it on the news. >> you know it is on youtube. toyou cannot speak as whether or not it was a political statement. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a major debate over privacy and online encryption has broken out after the computer giant apple announced it will a resist a court order to help the fbi break into an iphone recovered from one of the san bernardino shooters. federal prosecutors requested the court order citing an 18th-century law to compel apple to assist the investigation into unlocking the phone of syed rizwan farook. in farook and his wife killed 14 december, and injured 22 others in san bernardino. the two were killed in a shootout with police. fbi director james comey recently revealed the agency has been unable to access the data on farook's phone.
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>> it is a big problem for law enforcement armed with the search warrant and you find a device that cannot be opened even know the judge said there is probable cause to open it. it affects our counterterrorism work. san bernardino, a very important investigation to us. we still have one of those killers phones we have not been able to open. it has been over two months and we're still working on it. amy: tuesdayight, ape ceo ticook pubshed an en letter to customers. he announced apple's decision to fight the court order. cook wrote -- "we are challenging the fbi's demands with the deepest respect for american democracy and a love of our country. we believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications." tim cook went on to write -- "up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. but now the u.s. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. they have asked us to build a backdoor to the iphone."
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to talk more about the dispute between apple and the fbi and the larger debate over encryption and cybersecurity, we are joined by alex abdo, staff attorney at the national security project at the american civil liberties union. welcome to democracy now! so will the fbi, will the government take a bite out of the apple? >> that is the question. i think the courts are going to ultimately side with apple. what the government is asking for is too far. it is not enough resident a demand that apple give information that it has, but write software that happened to one of its users phones. that is an unprecedented authority the government seeks and not an authority you can limit to just this case. it is not just about this one phone, but every phone. amy: explain how it works. is it true or the government cannot break into it is because of a change that apple made just in 2014? >> this is an old phone, so it
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is anchored to the people in the outside, the relationship between this phone and more recent changes apple has made. basically, the phone is locked using a passcode. there protections built into the device to prevent people from trying every password under the sun to try to break into it. the government wants apple to write software that would have those protections, that would undermine them, so the government can break into the phone. that is what is different about this case than anything before the government has asked from the tech companies. the government has rightfully asked for companies to hand over information they have that is important to their investigations. apple and other companies have complied with those requests. this time they're asking for the company to build a backdoor. apple's job is to secure the data of its customers. these are customers who trust their private information to the phone's made by apple. instead, the government once apple to break those security features. that is a dangerous precedent the government is setting. rejected earnest
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claims that they're asking apple to create this backdoor to its products. >> i think it is important to note what the department of justice is requesting. they're not asking apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to one of their products. there simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device. again, for the merits of that why the department of justice has concluded that is important, i would refer you to them. obviously, the department of justice and the fbi can count on the full support of the white house as they conduct an investigation to learn as much as they possibly can about this particular incident full stop the president believes that is an important national priority, but it is ultimately the responsibility of these independent law enforcement professionals to do that. is what they're trying
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to do. amy: that is white house spokesperson josh earnest. in his letter to customers, tim cook said -- "the government is asking apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers -- including tens of millions of american citizens -- from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. the same engineers who built strong encryption into the iphone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe." so how do you compare, alex abdo , the safety of millions of iphone users with the safety of people? that is what the government is saying, that this whole group of people were gunned down in san bernardino and the government wants to find out, you know, who was involved, is there anyone else. >> i think that presents a false choice. the government has an extraordinary ray of tools to investigate terrorists like the
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shooters in san bernardino, and they should be using those tools. technology has made our lives more transparent than they have ever been in the past, allowing government access to information that never existed before. what apple is trying to do with the iphone is restore some sense of balance to user privacy. the government once apple to run roughshod over even that last protection apple has built into its devices. i think that is a bridge too far, because it affects all of us. cybersecurity from the same intelligence officials criticizing apple, have warned us, it is one of the looming disasters of the 21st century. we're all portable when it comes to our -- vulnerable when it comes to our devices. amy: in december, tim cook spoke to charlie rose of "60 minutes" and defended his company's stance on encryption. >> in the government, they say it is like give a search warrant, but you cannot unlock the trunk. >> on your smart phone today, on your iphone, there is likely health information, financial
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information, intimate conversations with your family or your coworkers, probably business secrets. and you should have the ability to protect it. and the only way we know how to do that is to encrypt it. why is that? because if there is a way to get in, then 70 will find a way in. there have been people that suggest we should have a backdoor, but the reality is, if you put a back door in, that is for everybody, for good guys and bad guys. i don't believe that the trade-off here is privacy versus national security. i think that is an overly simplistic view. we are america. we should have both. appleo that is the ceo of . during a recent event hosted by the "wall street journal," general michael hayden, former
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director of the cia and nsa, says he disagrees with fbi director james comey that the government should have backdoor access to encrypted files. >> the issue here is, and to end, and breakable encryption. should american firms be allowed to create such things? you have james comey on one side saying, -- >> the fbi director. >> i'm really going to suffer if i can't read tony soprano's e-mail or if i have to ask tony for the pin number before i get to read tony's e-mails. and jim comey makes that complaint. i get it. that is right. there is an unarguable downside to wriggle encryption. on the other side, the argument, the question you ask, on balance is america more or less secure with unbreakable india in encryption regardless of whether jim can read tony's e-mails? >> you were the head of the nsa, what is your position? >> i think jim comey is wrong.
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go back and run the tape back seven or eight minutes, and i told you about -- jim's logic is based on the belief that he remains the main and you should accommodate your movements to the movements of him, which is the main body. i'm telling you, with regard to the cyber domain, he is not. amy: that was michael hayden in a recent event hosted by "the wall street journal." alex abdo, is there a division within the government over encryption? >> there is, and it comes down to the fbi on one side and just about every cybersecurity professional on the other side, which is a remarkable aspect of this debate. there is uniformity when it comes to the people were best at securing mobile devices, securing our communications, that it is a disastrous idea to build a backdoor into these products that the director of the fbi once. amy: talk about how it works.
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you have, for people who have the iphone, you have the icloud. and if you know with this san bernardino shooters, is it stuff yes, then the icloud, government has access to, but if they do not allow it to go into the cloud, if it is just on the phone, that is locked. is that true? >> it is true as a general matter. if you have a passcode enabled on your phone, in theory, everything on it should be protected by the strong encryption apple has built into the product. this is really no different than havebusiness men and women benefited from on their laptops for many, many years. there is encryption built into those laptops so if you accidentally lose your laptop, your business secrets are not exposed. apple has simply brought that mainstream protection to the mobile devices, which is now where people are storing most of their private information. so: people find the icloud
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convenient because of they lose or have their phone stolen, just get another one and they download everything. but if you do that, you're much more vulnerable. >> your subject to legal demands to apple. that is why think the government is presenting a false choice. it is not about access to everything versus access to nothing, it is about coming up with the right balance between securing people's information and making sure law enforcement can do its job. amy: if apple were to agree, though it looks like they're not now but they're going to court, what does this mean internationally? >> it means apple will have a very, very hard time resisting similar demands from repressive regimes. if apple allows the government to force it to build one of these backdoors, every government in the world is going to come knocking. it is not just when to be apple and iphones, but every major --rican tech producer tablets, laptops, all of the smart devices we now have on our
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phones that we have built-in video cameras or built-in microphones. it will allow the government to turn every american company into a tool of government surveillance. i think that is a bleak future in a particularly, the think about the sorts of countries that will come knocking on these and it can tech company stores. amy: what is going to happen? explain the court process and explain the many companies that are siding with applelike google , but other companies that are siding with the government? >> i'm not aware of a single company that has. this is not the first time this debate has occurred. there was a similar case, not quite as contentious, in new york raising similar issues. in that case, the same happened as here, tech companies -- amy: explained that case. >> they wanted apple to help unlock the phone. it did not involve the san bernardino shooters so did not have the same media coverage. it involved a similar request.
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in the san bernardino case, the government has gone a step further, they want apple to write specific software, which is a different sort of step, but the legal issues are largely the same. what will happen next, apple has a few days to respond. there will be any number of tech companies and civil rights organizations lining up behind apple, including the aclu, and then a court will decide. this will go through the court process. amy: this is a 226 old law they are using, and 18th-century law? >> yes, called the all writs act, designed as a fill in power for the courts to allow them to give meaning to other orders. it has been used in the past to allow government to get access to information that people have in their possession so they can turn it over in response to a valid search warrant. what it has never been used for up until recently, is forcing companies into governmental service as government spies.
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amy: here we have a situation where the government wants to know something. i want to turn to another situation where the government wants to keep something from the public, not get something from the public. i wanted to ask about another case you're working on, alex abdo. earlier this month the pentagon , released nearly 200 photos relating to the abuse of prisoners by u.s. military personnel in iraq and afghanistan. the american civil liberties union has been fighting for nearly 12 years to win release of photos related to the bush administration's torture program. the pentagon is still withholding 1800 images. alex abdo, explain what it is the public is not being allowed to see. >> thousands of photos that depict some of the worst misconduct by u.s. military servicemembers in iraq and afghanistan. these are similar to the abu ghraib photos we have been told in terms of the gruesome this and brutality of what they depict, but they don't just come from one facility, two dozen.
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the reason why this so important the public can see these photos is not just because we have a right to see evidence of government misconduct, although we do, it is because the bush of administration and now the obama administration have taken the position that abuse at abu ghraib was an aberration, the result of a few bad apples. president obama himself has embraced the narrative, and it is a false one. these photos would give life to it. amy: could the public demand a backdoor on the government to get these photos to be able to see it in the public interest? >> you would think that is what the freedom of information act was designed to do, designed to make government more transparent. and when president obama was inaugurated, he committed to becoming the most transparent administration. amy: i want to go back to 2009 when president obama announced he would block attempts to release the photos of detainee abuse sought by the aclu. the allegedtos are
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abuse to chinese and our ongoing war effort. i want to emphasize that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from abu ghraib. but they do represent conduct that did not conform with the army manual. that is precisely why they were investigated. the most direct consequence of releasing them, i believe, would be to further inflame and time eric and opinion and to put our troops in greater danger. moreover, i for the publication of these photos may only have a chilling effect on future investigations of detainee abuse. in: that was president obama 2009, right about the time you're describing, right when he became president that he said they want to be the most transparent government in history. >> and shortly after, he commits to withholding these photos from
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the american public and he embraces the false-negative the bush and administration had for story,, maybe official that this was an aberration, this did not conform with policy when in fact this abuse was a function of policy, a result of a climate created by senior officials in the bush administration that tolerated abuse and encouraged interrogators to take the gloves off. that is the phrase that dick cheney used. amy: in the last days, didn't the pentagon agreed to release 198 photographs? >> they did -- amy: as a result of the aclu. >> and they are disturbing images, but what is most disturbing is this is just the tip of the iceberg. the ones they have released are the least gruesome, the least troubling of the other 1800 that they are withholding. amy: have you seen any of them? >> no. upon people -- but some people have an have spoken about a publicly and say they are gruesome. amy: where did the torture take
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place and what do they show? >> they show detainees and about 24 different facilities throughout iraq and afghanistan who are being mistreated by interrogators and by other service members abroad. what they would show is they have a consistent pattern of abuse across facilities, across two separate theaters of war and a i think would provide unmistakable proof to the public that this was the result of a policy. thes important to distract justification being given by the administration for withholding these photos. they're not saying releasing them would endanger anyone in particular or cause a specific threat to national security, they are worried they will be inflammatory because they so powerfully document government abuse. but that is the argument for releasing them. that should not be the argument for withholding them. democracies confront her misdeeds, don't run from them. that is what the obama administration is doing. amy: when seymour hersh released
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the photos that i'll be grave, and enormous effect, impact it had on people in the united states and around the world. it led to a massive debate around what the u.s. represents in the world. these photos, some of which we are showing now and our radio listeners can go to, are terrifying. there were a few low-level .oldiers who were jailed prisoners with bags over their heads. >> that's right. they are disturbing, as they should be. hours are uniquely powerful and moving public opinion, and provoking a response. you don't have to look back to the abu ghraib photos to realize not too long ago, the public saw video of the tragic death of eric garner at the hands of police officers that provoked outrage and provoked a national conversation about racial equality in this country. that is why these photos are important and that is why we're going to continue to push for
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another 10 years if need be for the release. amy: thank you for joining us, alex abdo. alex abdo is staff attorney at the national security project at the american civil liberties union. will he come back, we go to salt lake city, utah. terry tempest williams, what will she doing at an oil and gas lease auction? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "the message" by m.i.a. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to utah, where more than 100 protesters disrupted a federal auction of oil and gas leases on tuesday, spontaneously bursting into song until they were forced to leave. this was the scene at the salt palace convention center in salt lake city. >> your great-granddaughter.
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your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. your great-granddaughter. amy: the protesters, from a coalition of environmental groups that included canyon country rising tide, elders rising, and the sierra club, called for an end to fossil fuel development on public lands as part of the keep it in the ground movement. noted utah author and activist terry tempest williams attended the auction in support of the groups. she registered as bidder 19 -- a move that raised suspicion among federal officials, who warned that she could be arrested if she had misrepresented herself. she successfully ended up buying rights to over 1700 acres of land to spare it from fossil
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fuel extraction. climate activist tim dechristopher spent 21 months in prison when he posed as a bidder in a similar move in 2008. talk about what happened next, we're joined by terry tempest williams herself and so lake city. welcome to democracy now! it is great to have you with us. explain what to place and what it meant to be bidder 19. >> first of all, it is great to be on your show, amy. thank you for all you do. as you mentioned, i was there with over 100 other protesters in so lake city -- salt lake city, part of the movement of to keep it in the ground. what was it like to be bidder 19? i can tell you i don't have the courage of bidder 70. i think each of us in her own into the open space of democracy and i think what
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was interesting was to see the protesters and the impact that they had on the auction. they did disrupt the auction. amy: terry, just to take a step back, and bidder 70 was tim dechristopher who ended up in prison for close to two years, but for a lot of people, as city dwellers, we don't even understand what these options are. so expin whatt is that you went into that the protesters disrupted and that you ended up beg a veryarge lan owner o least ser by the time you lked out klux utah is 6 publicands. half of e remaing fossil fuels inhis couryxist below our public lands american public lands. every so often, the bureau of land management conducts an oil and gas lease that is open for
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bid. these lands go up for lease option that gives the -- auction that give the highest bidder the opportunity to speculate, to drill for oil. and to make an enormous profit as we know. it is a secret society and i think that was the thing that was so stunning, sitting the as bidder 70, oil and gas companies, it is very secretive. if you talk to them, they won't tell you who they are representing. begins. auctioneer a parcel is shown. it may be, in our case, 800 acres, and the bidding begins at two dollars an acre. i think the thing that was so heartbreaking for me and shocking is you hear these lands go up and there commodities, they are a piece of meat.
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they are our public lands. one of the auctioneers said, two dollars, but he want to dollars, two dollars? then he says, come on, men, this is a lot of scenery going to waste. $3? anyone going to $3? at that point, it becomes very emotional for me because as one who has love the public lands, for those of us who see them as the public commons, to be thrown iso the public auction, it not public at all by a secret society for oil and gas companies is disheartening, to say the least. amy: explain what they do with this land when they bid on it and get it. >> well, we will find out. you are given this lease for 10 .ears and through good faith and by compliance to the law, you are
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expected to develop this land and produce oil or gas or fracking or coal. agents so i was there, was a process of intense intimidation saying, if you have misrepresented yourself, you will go to prison, are you aware of this? and if you're not a legitimate energy developing company, then you are misrepresenting yourself . and i said, but i am an american citizen, don't i have the right to be in this public auction? and he just said, are you aware of what you have signed and if you are misrepresenting yourself you will go to prison? at that point, agent love, who was at tim dechristopher trial, said, terry, we don't want you to get et into trouble. i said, i can be of the public auction, correct? he said, correct. i bore witness and held that
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space with the other protesters until they were asked to leave because of singing. amy: explain what property you got, the 1700 acres that you bid on and won. >> it is so interesting to actually participate in the process. i can't tell you what i have learned. any united states citizen 18 years or older with a credit card and a drivers license can purchase our public lands in a fire sale for $1.50 an acre. so my husband, we went into the blm office with a broker who, in our case happen to be david terry who was director of the school trust lands, and we sat down and got out maps. we looked at the parcels that were remaining -- the root 25 remaining in a fire so. my husband and i chose to purchase 800 acres in gran kania -- just outside castle valley.
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approximately 14 miles northeast of a national park. i just think it is stunning to realize that in our centennial year, celebrating our national parks, our public lands, america's public lands, being sold for $1.50 an acre. we were excited about exploring the energy on these 800 acres. there are white tell prairie dogs, which i happen to c are enormously about. sage, rabbitway, brush. we're so excited to explore and see what kind of energy development, including the development of the movement can create. we intend on complying with the law, and we have this lease for 10 years. we have created an llc tempest
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exploration, and we're excited that many of our students in the environment will committed his program at the university of utah beat on our board of directors. amy: terry tempest williams redefines energy. last month, utah congressmen are rob bishop and congress member jason chaffetz, but republicans, released a draft public lands bill that if passed would affect 18 billion acres of public lands in eastern utah. critics say the measure would create new oil and gas drilling zones that are exempted from environmental protections and hand over large areas of national park lands to private and state control. in a statement issued after releasing the bill congressman bishop said -- "our goal has always stayed constant. we will conserve areas worthy of conservation. we will guarantee outdoor recreation for all utahns. we will enhance economic development to fund utah schools and create good jobs. we will provide certainty by ending the litigation and mindless debates. that certainty will allow
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everyone to plan for the future without outside groups imposing their misguided will." terry tempest williams, what is your response to the legislation? >> it is a fraud. what is so ironic, an american -- zen can apply amy: it looks like we have just lost terry tempest williams. we will go to break for the moment. terry tempest williams is a famous author who became bidder 19 this week. she is the author of more than a dozen books on incremental issues -- environmental issues and a professor of environmental humanities at the university of utah. her latest book is, "when women were birds." we will be back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. like terry tempest williams in salt lake city will not be reconnected by satellite as we move on to our next segment. south dakota could soon become the first state in the country to ban transgender students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. on tuesday, the south dakota state senate passed a measure mandating that restrooms and locker rooms used by public school students "shall be
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designated for and used only by students of the same biological sex." the bill defines biological sex as "the physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person's chromosomes and identified at birth by a person's anatomy." under the measure, transgender students could seek a "reasonable accommodation," such as the use of a single-occupancy restroom or controlled use of a faculty bathroom. the bill's proponents say it's about protecting students, but opponents, including the american civil liberties union, say the measure ostracizes transgender children who already face a high risk of harassment. south dakota governor dennis daugaard has signaled support for the measure, but has not said for sure if he'll sign it. the bill is just one of many anti-lgbt measures that have been making their way through state legislatures across the country.
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to talk more about it, we're joined by chase strangio, staff attorney at the aclu. chase recently wrote a letter to south dakota lawmakers, which reads in part, "if i were a student in south dakota right now, chances are i would not survive into adulthood." chase strangio, welcome back to democracy now! >> good morning and thank you for having me. what we're seeing in south dakota and across the country are really unprecedented measures to target the transgender community and obviously, harm and incredibly vulnerable population. but we're also seeing legislation and proposed legislation that could really open the door to also unprecedented privacy intrusions into our students that i think we should all be concerned about. amy: what it do right to legislators you don't think you yourself would make it to adulthood if you were in south dakota right now with a law like this in place? >> i was sitting there letting
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-- listing to legislators say for buildings -- send verbal things and what it would be like for myself going up and getting the messages that you are so disgusting, you're so freakish that others have to be protected from you. for me, with someone with a platform who has survived into adulthood and am proud of who i am, it felt absolutely and credit to share my own story and say, listen, lawmakers, if you're going to be other talking about this group of people, should know the consequences of your actions but i also want to's the directly to the transient people who inevitably are going to be so harmed by what they're hearing from the people in power that -- to say we need you and we will keep fighting for you. amy: talk about your on story. >> i am a lawyer at the aclu and identify as a chance tender man. i grip like many people not income people with who i was. the reality is, some of the people go through high school and middle school feeling uncomfortable and if we're going
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to start legislating around likes to private spaces bathrooms and locker rooms were students are already uncomfortable, people already you're so, and say, shameful that you should not fear around her peers, we're going to contribute to the are ready epidemic of violence that the transgender community faces. 41% attempted suicide, unprecedented murder of trans women in the last year. this is the culture we are contributing to. we're also saying, i have a daughter, for example, who is honest four years old. she has short hair. everyone thinks she is a boy. what does it mean if she goes to school in south dakota? are they going to check her genitals to make sure she goes into the right restroom? we're going to have very little certainty about someone's genitals, someone's chromosomes. if we're going to open the door to state lawmakers trying to sort out people based on private medical information and their bodies, we are going --
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authorized intrusions into deeply personal information with our kids. amy: during his weekly legislative press briefing last governorth dakota dennis daugaard fielded questions from reporters about the bill on transgender accommodations. one reporter asked the governor if he had ever met a transgender person and what affect that may have had on his decision. >> i have not met a transgender person that i am aware of. bill -- is on the have just looked at it briefly. it is, as i mentioned, a very highly personal thing. i don't pretend to understand the emotions and the motivations of those who choose to change their gender identifier other self identification with one gender or another.
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at first blush, it seems this bill accommodates both the transgender person, gives them an opportunity to have facilities. it also accommodates those whose alsocy concerns are appropriate to consider. amy: so that is the governor of south dakota, governor dennis daugaard. chase strangio? >> the thing that is remarkable, there are so many brave transgender's, young people, older people who are speaking out against this bill and it is clear the governor -- a week ago, wasn't interested in meeting with those individuals. i think what we need to be doing is continuing to regrounthe exriences transgeer peop and makpeople aware o their tual peoe who ar going to be targeted by this action. amy: the bill's sponsor for south dakota state senator brock
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greenfield, said -- in response to the bill, democratic state representative troy geithner said -- "when does the discrimination stop? is it just transgender or next year is it -- i don't like blonde hair, blue eyes, or i go like natives, we're going to tread down a very serious path will stop this is exactly how it starts." chase? >> absolutely. we should all be concerned when our lawmakers are encouraging discrimination. we live in a country, in a historical moment and we are seeing unprecedented violence against communities, unprecedented efforts to
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marginalize our young people. what this bill does and what the senator's, and say to us all is, are we really willing to accept the governments intruding upon the privacy and the rights of our most vulnerable and wheis it gng to st? how ny youngeople ha t die bere we arreally srked anaction t say no this pe of haful lislation amy: can youalk abou where se this nd of lislations bein considered, and how likely do you think it is the governor will sign it? >> the south dakota bill is one of -- this morning i counted at least 26 bills targeting transgender individuals that has been introduced across the country, then a host of other bills -- at least another 20 targeting the lgbt community as a whole in states ranging from washington to tennessee to south dakota and i think what we're seeing is an effort to say publicly and make a look statements that in many places,
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the lgbt community is not welcome and i think it is important to continue to fight back against those messages. dakota,s bill is south unfortunately, one of four anti-trans bills and this one is headed to the governor's desk step we continue to fight to make sure he does veto this bill. if it does happen, i think we have -- we need a national outcry, people to be concerned about what message we are sending to vulnerable young people. amy: i want to turn to state said,r david omdahl who "i'm sorry if you are so twisted you don't know who you are. a lot of people are and i'm telling you right now, it is about protecting the kids." implying transgender people are mentally ill, he then said "they're treating the wrong part of the anatomy. the out to be treating it up. " gesturing to his head. by the way, we did invite senator omdahl to join us on the program today, but he declined, saying -- "thanks for the offer. however, i will be in an appropriations committee at that time."
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i think his remarks have been very telling and very disturbing on a lot of levels. he sent the message to the trans people of south dakota that they are not welcome and there not represented by the government, but he has also contributed, like i said, to unprecedented intrusions into the privacy of all students. if we are concerned about protecting students, we should be very concerned about legislation that authorizes genital checks and chromosomal checks and really have no method of enforcement without intruding upon the privacy of many young people. and the idea of accommodation is just a way of sending the signal to the entire community, encouraging bullying, and telling transgender students that you are so freakish, you are so abnormal that you use a bathroom separate from your peers. i don't think that is a message we want to be sending to our young people. amy: is there a group behind introducing this legislation around the country?
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>> there are many groups who are standing by his legislation and pushing it out, including the alliance defending freedom who are telling lawmakers that they are willing to defend school districts against lawsuits and take on the legal representation of school districts who are sued by transgender students. i think that is obviously a part of the national narrative and encouraging this type of legislation. but more so even in the alliance defending freedom, is the reality that we live in a time where we continue to feel it appropriate to target and discriminate against the transgender community. we are all complicit in the culture that tells trans women they're not real women, that tells trans men they are not real men, and that is the paradigm that allows this to happen. amy: chase strangio, thank you for being back with us. he recently wrote a letter to south dakota lawmakers, which reads in part, "if i were a student in south dakota, chances are i would not survive into adulthood." we will link to it at democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or
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