tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 28, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
12/28/16 12/28/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we are here today because president-elect trump owns or has a controlling interest in more than 500 businesses, foreign and a mistake. we don't even need to know the nature of his financial holdings due to like of transparency of what businesses he owns. what we do know is these businesses post a massive conflict of interest. amy: donald trump could be in
violation of the constitution his first day in office. that is the conclusion of some law experts. we will be quit richard painter, george w. bush's cheief eththics lalawyer. cacan north carolina stilill be consididered a democracy?? the answer is no according to onone study. we look back at saddam hussein, 10 years after hisis execution. >> year after year, saddam hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spending enormous sum, taking great risks to keep weapons of mass destruction. amy: we will speak with the cia saddam who interrogated hussein. what he says s may surprise you. at the time of the u.s. invasion, he said saddam hussein was s cused morere on writing a novel than bracing for war. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report.
i'm amy goodman. russian officials are condemning a move by the united states to speed the delivery of weapons to syrian fighters, calling it a hostile act that threatens russian forces and could lead to terrorist attacks on airplanes. the criticism follows president obama's signature of a massive pentagon spending bill, known as the ndaa, which eases restrictions on weapons transfers to syrian opposition groups. russia says that will allow for the u.s. to arm rebels with shoulder-mounted anti-aircraft missiles known as manpads. at the state department, spokesperson mark toner said the obama administration is opposed to such a move. >> we have seen this before, this language before, this rhetoric. our position on manpads has not changed. we would havave a very deep concern about that type of weaponry getting into syria. amy: despite those comments, the incoming trump administration could choose to arm syrian rebels with manpads.
crcritics say the weapons coulde used to down commercial jet liners. last year, amnesty international reported that much of the arsenal held by isis comes from u.s.-made weapons acquired from the iraqi army and syrian opposition groups. meanwhile, the united states topped the list of global arms merchants in 2015, driving about half of all weapons sales worldwide. a new report from the congressional research service finds that despite an overall drop in the global arms trade, u.s. arms exexports inincreasedo about $40 billion in 2015, and the u.s. appears on track toto post similar numbers in 2016. among developing nations, saudi arabia was the leading buyer,, purchasing over $93 billion in arms since 2008. most of those weapons were made in the u.s., and i included f-15 fighter jets, abrams battle tanks, and cluster bombs. u.s. arms were used in attacks on yemen, whwhere u.n. offfficis hahave called fofor an internatl probe into possible war crimes by the saudi-led coalition.
donald trump has selected tom bossert as his top adviser on homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity. bossert previously served as deputy homeland security adviser during the last year of george w. bush's presidency. bossert is a staunch defender of the u.s. invasion of iraq, which he has called a just war. donald trump has tapped his company's top lawyer, jason greenblatt, to fill the newly-created position of special representative for international negotiations. greenblatt is an expert in real estate law, with little foreign policy experience. the trump transition team said greenblatt's new role would be to assist on "international negotiations of all types, and trade deals around the world." during the campaign, greenblatt defended trump against charges of anti-semitism, serving as his adviser on israel. last month, greenblatt said he doesn't see israel's consnstruction of settlements on occupied palestinian lands as an obstacle to peace.
in hawaii, the japanese prime minister abe visited the u.s. naval station at pearl harbor on tuesday, expressing regret for japan's attack on the base 75 years ago. abe was welcomed by presidenent barack obama, and the pair laid wreaths at the site and offererd prayers for the dead. as expected, abe did not issue a formal apology. >> as the prime minister of japan, i offer my sincere and everlasting condolences for the souls that lost her life here as well as the brave men and women whose lives were taken by a war that commenced on this very place and to the souls of the countless innocent people who became victims of the war. we must never repeat the horrors of war again. this is a solemn vow that we have taken full amy: chinese officials blasted the japanese prime minister's comments at
pearl harbor, calling a unrepentant for war crimeses committed by japanese soldiers in china and korea before 1945. the comments came amid mounting tensions in the western pacific, where china recently steamed an aircraft carrier and other warships near the southern coast of taiwan. in north dakota, water protectors fighting the dakota access pipeline say police arrested four people near a construction site where workers with energy transfer partners hope to drill under the missouri river. water protectors say the four were taking part in a peaceful prayer walk and encountered police armed with a water cannon riot gear, and armored , vehicles. meanwhile, the companyny buildig the dakota access pipeline suffered another setback k this week after a a pair ofof major investors held off on a purchase of a $2 billion stake in the project. a filing with the securities and exchange commission shows enbridge energy partners and marathon petroleum corp. won't meet a previous deadline of december 31 to complete a sale. the companies will now have until march 31 to consider whether to walk away from an
investment in the pipeline. oil and energy analyst antonia juhasz called the filing very bad news for energy transfer partners, writing -- "if enbridge and marathon thought that completion of the pipeline was a done deal, the money would have been a done deal, too. this means they are worried and are not feeling secure enough to turn over their cash, putting even more financial pressure on energy transfer partners." in cuba, president castro said tuesday his country's economy contracted in 2016 as its meter -- as s its major trading partnr venezuela suffered an economic crisis. castro said cuba's gross domestic product shrank by almost a percentage point over -- but he promised the economy , would recover in 2017 without major reforms. we should shake off fake fears about foreign capital. we are not headed, nor will we had toward capitalism. we can dismiss that completely.
that is what is in our constitution and it will maintain it. amy: last year, the obama administration restored u.s. diplomatic ties with cuba and began easing travel and investment restricictions, but a decades-old u.s. embargo remains in place. many c cubans blame the embargo for widespread poverty on the island. meanwhile, donald trump has vowed to terminate the obama administration's improved ties with havana unless cuba offers what trump calls a better deal. members of congress who stream video or hold sit in protests on the house floor could suffer fines and ethics inquiries. this under new rules proposed by house speaker paul ryan. the move come in response to a demonstration held by democrats last june, when lawmakers held a 25-hour vigil to call for new gun control measures in the wake of the mass shooting in orlando. when speaker ryan called the floor into recess, c-span's cameras went dark, prompting lawmakers to stream video of their action on social media sites.
under house speaker ryan's new rules, such behavior could incur fines of up to $250000 per violation. in buffalo, the former new york state co-chair of
donald trump's presidential campaign refused calls on tuesday that he step down from the buffalo school board after he was quoted wishing president obama dead, and comparing first lady michelle obama to a gorilla. carl paladino submitted the comments by email to "artvoicec" an alternative weekly newspaper in buffalo. paladino is quoted saying he hopes barack obama would have sex with a cow and die from mad cow disease. of first lady michelle obama, paladino wrote -- "i'd like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with maxie, the gorilla." in a statement published tuesday, paladino insisted he was s not a raracist and said he meant t to forward the commentso friends, rather than submit them to "artvoice."
paladino is a long-time ally of donald trump. earlier this month, he met with the president-elect for one hour at trump tower in new york city. in montana, a neo-nazi leader has promised a march of heavily armed white supremacists in the city of whitefish in january, continuing a campaign of intimidation against the community's jewish population. andrew anglin said on the neo-nazi website daily stormer that at least 200 people will march next month carrying high-powered rifles. earlier this month, anglin called for online attacks against jewish residents of whitefish, listing their names and pepersonal information. whitefish is the home town of richard spencer, a prominent white supremacist who has drawn favorable coverage from breitbart news. that coverage came while white house chief strategist stephen bannon served as executive chairman of breitbart before he joined the trump campaign. in philadelphia, pennsylvania, a professor of history at drexel
began using the word "genocide" to describe the killings. under emerging details of the agreement, germany won't pay direct reparations to individuals, but will instead set t up a foundation for youth exchanges and will pay for new infrastructure. a formal apology is expected by june. and carrie fisher, who catapulted to stardom as princess leia in the "star wars" film franchise, died tuesday morning at the age of 60 from complications following a heart attack. after balancing her film career with struggles against drug and alcohol addiction and bipolar disorder, fisher helped to break down stigmas over mental illnesses. this is a clip from carrie fisher's one-woman performance, "wishful drinking," which debuted in 2006. > oh, this willll really imis you. i am in thehe abnormal psysychoy textxtbook. hohow cool is that? pez in mind, i am the dispenser and i am i in t the
abnormalal psychology textbook. who says you can't have it all? amy: most recently, carrie fisher was a fierce critic of donald trump. after trump denied sexually assaulting one of his many accusers by implying she was too ugly, fisher wrote -- "so you have to be attractive to be groped uninvited by trump. finally! a reason to want to be ugly!" carrie fisher was the daughterer of the actors debbie reynolds and eddie fisher. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i'm juan gonzalez. welcome to all of our listeners and viviewers from araround the country and around the world. could donald trump be in violation of the constitution on his first day in office? that's the conclusion of some leading g constitutional law expeperts. the constitution prohibits office holders from accepting any present emolument, office, , or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state. law experts say trump's personal
businesses are benefiting. kuwait, for example, recently moved its national celebration day from the four seasons in georgetown to the trump international hotel instead. according to think progress, kuwait faced political pressure from the trump camp to move the location. other diplomats s have been reportedly urged to hold events at the trump hotel. amy: on the international front, trump broke protocol by speaking to taiwan's president marking , the first communication between leaders of the united states and taiwan since 1979. the call came after representatives of t the trump organization recently traveled to taiwan to explore possible deals, including building luxury hotels near taiwan's main airport. trump and his family also have holdings or projects in argentina, brazil, georgia, india, ireland, japan, philippines, and turkey. trump's businesses also owe hundreds of millioions of dollas to foreign banks, including ubs,
bank of chinina, and deutsche bank. earlier this month, protesters gathered this month in front of trump hotel in washington, d.c., to express c concerns about trump's alleged conflicts of interests. this is paul ryan of common cacause. >> we're here today because president-elect trump owns or has a controlling interest in more than 500 businesses, both foreign and domestic. we don't even know the nature of his financial holdings. we do not have a clear picture do to a lack of transparency of exactly what business is he owns. what we do know is these businesses pose a massive conflict of interest also exhibit a, the trump hotel. this is a building owned by the federal government. on the day that president e elet trump is s sworn in, he will be serving as the landlord and tenant in federally owned property. amy: last month donald trump said he would be holdiding a mar news commerce decembeber 15 to discuss his plans for businesses, but that press conference was later canceled. for more we are joined by
, richard painter, professor of corporate law at the university of minnesota. he was the chief white house ethics lawyer for president george w. bush from february 2005 to july 2007. professor painter, welcome to democracy now! can you start off by explaining, what are the laws, rules, and norms that govern the issue of conflict of interest? courts well, there are several laws. i think the most important, for purposes of president-elect trump, is the monument cause of the constitution, which is one of the most critical conflicts of interest revisions for all u.s. government officials. nobody holding a position of trust with the united states government can receive payments from foreign governments. whether gifts or a salary, or profits. that is what you monuments are emoluments are.
if you have companies controlled by foreign governments, that person must not be able to receive that money while holding any position of trust in the united states government. that applies to every u.s. government employee, including the president. what this means is for donald trump, if he is one of hold on to these business enterprises, which present a whole range of other conflicts of interests, to satisfy the constitution at a bare minimum, he is going to have to get the foreign government money and money from foreign government controlled corporations out of his business enterprise. this includes foreign diplomats staying at the hotels, at the government expense, foreign governments having big parties .n his hotels all of that is unconstitutional. the banknk loans and
of china, which is controlled by the government of china. some foreign government owned -- in the trump office building. that all has to be taking care of before he takes office. the founders did not want government officials to be beholden to foreign powers. the governments were a lot richer than ours. there's no point having a revolution and fighting for american independence if european powers, through payments -- which they cannot college militarily on the ground . the founders were very cognizant of this problem. for government trying to manipulate our political system and low, here in 2016, we have
concerns about foreign governments. at leaeast the clauseses there. the bottom line, no payments from foreign governments to the united states government officials. then we have a whole range of other roles ranging from bribery and gratuity, which are criminal, and that would come into play if anyone started mixing discussion of trump's miss with u.s. government business in a way that implied, well, if you do this, i will do that. the problem is, the president is going to be responsible not just for his own conduct, but all of the people working for him in the u.s. government. if he chooses to keep these business enterprises, over in the trump organization. anyone going around the world trying to cut deals with the trump organization, implying they may get some paper from somebody from the u.s. government is the deal gets done, that is exactly the type of thing that could lead to an investigation of bribery, solicitation of bribes, an accusation that someone is
soliciting a bribe on behalf of the president of the united states. even if the president didn't want any of it going on at all. that is one of the risks. juan: professor painter, what is donald trump divests, but maintains the ownership of is current empire under one of his children who does not get appointed to some kind of government position? would that be sufficient, in your eyes, to eliminate -- the legal requirements in terms of any potential conflict of interest or the emoluments clause? >> giving it to his children or selling ownership to his children, i believe that with all the emolument clause issue. there's some debate whether the government official coululd receive the emolument through his children. if it is his children's business and they own it and they operated and they are receiving the payments from dealing with foreign governments, probably the emoluments clause would not apply. with a need to own it, not just
run it. that is critically important. he would have to pay to get tax. i'm not sure he wants to pay the tax. he could sell it to them, but that might have to be done through a leveraged buyout. there are a range of options that can be explored. he could sell the hotels to a third-party and simply keep the cash and put it in conflict free assets. i think he needs to turn a lot of his business enterprise, stop all, over two in independent trustee who would function as a blind trustee. presidentst past have done. i think that would be very effective here. amy: let's talk about his children. when you say his children, i think it sounds very innocent. clearly, his children are adults who are his business partners. as you talked about, well, if he had of things over to his children, but his children are playing a key role in the government. he has said ivanka trump would take over the first lady's
quarters in the first family would take over those quarters. a lot of controversy around trump's children attending a meeting trump held with tech executives. not just tech executives, they are attending and vetting cabinet picks, professor painter. >> yes. i think they need to figure out who in the trump family, who on team trump is going to be playing for the u.s. government site and who is going to be involved in the business enterprise. those with u.s. government need to be subject to the ethics rules. they should be appointed formal position. there's an issue under the nepotism statute as to whether the president can do that. the problem is, if the president decides to allow them to carry out governmental functions without a formal appointment, that is muchch worse than a ,iolation of nepopotism statute
as i interpret it. the problem is, you cannot have people who are not government employees, who do not have a conflilict of interest, running around setting policy, influencing other people in the u.s. government. i have the same concern about carl icahn and some other people . that is an and run round -- end run around the ethics rules. with respect to the children, figure it out. who is going to play on u.s. government side and be subject to the rules as everyone else and he was going to be involved in the business rules doing business deals whether it is for the trump organization or anything else? it is one way or the other and there is been a lot of confusion on that. i don't think that is helpful. juan: it is shocking to me given the amount of time that donald trump spent running for president, that nobody in his campaign sought to t think t the things out b before the elecect.
this is a very c complicated entanglement of this empire that they now have to figure out what to do with him just a few week's. >> i think most of us thought he was going to lose this election. i don't know how confident he was he was going to win the election. i believe they made some preparations for a transition, dawn think it started to on him and the family that he will indeed be president of the united states on january 20. this is a fundamental change in his life. he is been a successful businessman all his life. he is 70 years old. he is going to have to look away from much of that success. he can keep the money, but there is going to have to be divestment and other major changes so he can become president of the united days. he has a new job to do. ages a career transition at 70. he, like many other americans, can do it, but he needs to make absolutely sure that he divests from conflicts of
interest or we're going have four years of controversy surrounding all of these distances, whether it be investigations are bribery and gratuity laws. his lawyers are going to be nipping at his heels. states attorney general's. even in new york, he wants to close down the foundation and the state attorney general saying, not until i've finished my investigation. we will have more and more of that unless he divests the businesses -- i think that would be the right thing. the charitable solicitation, shut that down. focus on being the president. amy: professor painter, in our headlines today, donald trump capped his company's top lawyer jason greenblblatt to fill the newly created position of special representative for international negotiations. he is an expert in real estate law. he has little foreign-policy experience. he will be advising on all international negotiations. does that raise concern for you? >> well, we will see how he
does. we have had many people come out of the business world and going to government positions that are not related. we will see how that -- amy: but this goes to him being a lawyer for his real estate empire, now dealing with trade. thatead into this, we said kuwait, for example, recently moved its national celebration day from the four seasons in georgetown to the trump international hotel in d.c. instead. accordining to think progress,s, kuwait faced great liberal pressure from the trump camp to the location. other diplomats report leaving urged to hold events at trump's hotel. on the international front, a number of different examples, the first conversation he had with the taiwanese president ass the trump organization was to build one of the largest development projects in taiwan. >> all of that has to stop. lots ofing to create
,onflicts, lots of controversy big distractions for the president for the next four years. that has to stop. mr. greenblatt anyone else using for the us government should be conflict -- subject to conflict of interest rules. any client relationships with the trump. in the other client relationships that create conflicts of interest. those types of transactions with foreign -- whether foreign business leaders or foreign government officials, all of that has to stop or these businesses need to be sold to somebody else who can engage in those transactions and not have to focus on the duties of being president. you cannot have the president of the united states or other people on behalf of the president of the united states running around trying to cut deals all over the place. imagine if in world war ii in 1941, president roosevelt had a tower in berlin and frankfurt, and several hundred million
dollars outstanding in deutsche bank, how would we have responded to the crisis in europe? we cannot have a president who is conflicted by his own holdings outside of the united states. critically important. that is the point of the emolument clause. the rest of it also creates serious conflicts of interest. steps need to be taken t to deal with that. maybe mr. greenblatt and others can help president elect trump when it becomes president quickly moved for divestment. amy: professor painter, we do not know -- we do not have donald trump's tax returns. the significance of this? i mean, breaking with 40 years of tradition of releasing these tax returns, where he is getting his money from, even knowing the basics. >> we need -- i think the president should disclclose his tax rereturns. evevery other president has disclosed his tax returns. if he has not paid a lot of
taxes because of the tax loopholes, just come on out and say it. fair, let's disclose it. he needs to disclose his taxes. so the american people can see where he is been making money around the world or in the united states, that is critically important. we do not see from the financial disclosure forms that the president filed another government officials filed the geographic source of the income, for example, new york, limit liability partnership that has dealings in turkey or some other country. we need to have that information. you should disclose the tax returns and i hope you will. amy: and even the trump name on buildings around the world comes as u.s. governmenent have to protect those buildings? >> i think we should take the trump name off of buildings -- at least in those countries that risk.ignificant terrorism we have seen it in paris and many western cities as well.
it is a serious concern. you don't put the name that you do not put obama on top of a tower in downtown johannesburg or paris or someplace, then worry about protecting it. the problem is, the foreign governments may have to protect it. that brings back the issue of the emolument clause. is this a subsidy of trump by foreign government? if they don't protect the building, we can have a tragedy on our hands. we don't want that. that is a very important step, to get the trump name off of these buildings. amy: and donald trump's relationship with banks? what i is owed, where his debt ? >> many real estate people have significant debt. the buildings they own. i don't think donald trump is an exception to that. some of the debt will see in the financial disclosure form, the debt he personally owes.
there will be a lot more the corporate level that you do not see on the financial disclosure form because he does not owe it, it is owed a corporation which owns a building. the problem here is it is going to be difficult for the president to regulate, supervised and regulate the banking, lending practices, much of the lending is secured by real estate, so it will be difficult for him to deal with those issues if he himself is indebted to the large banks. so i think it is going to be very important for him to try to deleverage, sell off the building, pay down debt, or figure out some other way where he is not going to be carrying large loans from the banks while his administration is supposed to be regulating the banks. in: and his hotel washington, d.c., and violates the lease that he is both the landlord and the tenant and says that cannot be. you cannot give public official and have the lease to this
hotel, which is a government building. anothernk he has got place to live in washington, d.c., for the next four years, so it is a good idea for him to give that hotel to his children. better yet, find a buyer for the hotel. the president of u.s. is not an innkeeper. he does not need a whole lot of that -- to hold onto that hotel. he is plenty of other things to do. it is not necessary. it will create a lot of problems because of the foreign diplomats, the lease with the gsa come and all sorts of other problems. i think you should sell the hotel or give it to his children or somebody. you should not be holding on to that property. amy: richard painter, thank you for being with us professor of , corporate law at the university of minnesota. he was the chief white house ethics lawyer for president george w. bush. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. is north carolina a democracy?
amy: "i need a dollar" by aloe blacc. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: in north carolina, a new report finds the state's democratic institutions are so flawed, the state should no longer be considered a functioning democracy. the report by the electoral integrity project, or eip, points to extreme gerrrrymandering, voterr suppression of communities of color, and the recent stripping of power of incoming democratic governor roy cooper's power by republicans. erp gave north carolina a score of 58 out of 100 points -- similar to the scores of cuba, sierra leone, and indonesia. for more we're going to durham, north carolina, where we're joined by andrew reynolds professor ofof polititical sciee
, at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. his new article for "the news & observer," is headlined, "north carolina is no longer classified as a democracy." reynolds has consulted in over 25 nations on issues of democratic design since 1991. his latest book "the arab , spring: pathways of repression and reform." reynolds is the director of the university of north carolina's lgbtq representation and rights research ininitiative. welcomee to democrcracy now! why do you say north carolina is no longer a functioning democracy? >> i think if you look at north carolina's alleged woworld procs and you lolook at some of the me recent activities of the legislature in suppressing accecess to the pololls, t takie executive power back to the legislature after republicans t thehe governorship in
last elections, and alsoso to systematic way in which redistricting and carolina has reremoved competition frfrom the electoral process so incumbent state legislators now are beholdenen to their party leade. the more extreme wings of their party membership and not the voters themselves. when you add all of these issues and elements together, we see north carolina as anan atrophyig democracy, a semi-democracy, pseudo-democracy, plays were democracy is on the decline. the vibrancy of institutions getting weaker. the population is more exasperated and alienated from the political process because they feel it no longer reflects there will or their opinions abouout issues on a day-to-day basis. so we're certainly not saying north carolina is an
authoritarian state. we are saying if you can parent against many other democracies in semi-democracies in the world today, carolina has become onee of that middddle tier types of nationstates or statates that is struggling to have a democratic policy and is on the decline. and if we ranked north carolina blindly, like a final exam were you did not look at the student's name at the top, it would get ranked alongside some of these states that we certainly look down upon as nonondemocratic. so the electoraral project is a nice neutral and nonpartisanan y ofof measuring the metrics of te electionon process. but my article w was more about saying, let's have a moment t of selflf reflection here. let's not presume that we in america were we in north carolina are invulnerable to democratic declined because it is been going on for many, many years at a low level, now over
the last couple of years, we have seen that decline rapidly speed up. juan: or festa reynolds, to some who take a more historical look at north carolina with a, the state has always had a low blow when it comes to democracy. i'm thinking, for example, the of 1898 wilmington coup when i think i it was the on the succesulul armed coup in american histoto when a cocouple of thoususand of was supupremacs seized armed control of wilmington and removed at gunpoint all o of the elelected black officials o of the town ad killed about 60 african-amerericans, drove hundreds out of the town, burn down the l local black newspape, and installed former confefedere officer as ththe new m mor of wilmington. that was a complete authoritararian armed coup that by theer beaten back federal government.
so north carolina,a,speciallyy over t the issue of the raciaial compositioion of the state and e rirights of afrirican, has alwls had sort of a checkered history when it comes to democracy. >> and i think that is true and i think what it demonstrates, that for a long time, north carolina has been emblematic of the struggle for the american the, the struggle for reformation of the american policy. north carolina often plays out in a very visible way s some of the big clashes between the forces of progress in the forces of the status quo, the forces of the past and ththe forces of the future. in the 1950'0's s and 1960's, clearly, north carolina was one of the main battlegrounds for civil rights over race in america. and today, north carolina has become the battleground for the new civil rights frontier, w whh is lgbt and transgender and gender variant rights in the treatment of our citizens who identify as lgbtq.
there is also huge i issues ofof race and marginalization of african-americans and latinos in the state of north carolina. but at the same time, north carolina has a huge progressive, quite radical and innovative, community as w well. it realllly is a battleground. it is a front line. after my article came out, a lot of news outlets said to me, is north carolinana unique? is it distinctitive? is it unlike the rest of america? >i was repeating my view that north carorolina is not unique,t is just emblematic of some of the challenges that are facing many american states today. amy: can you talk about states you thinink are highly democrat? >> nationstates? amy: no, nationstates in this country. what would you see as a model? >> at the e end of the daday, 's talk about t the elements that o
into a vibrant democracy. that meansns there is competitin at election time. gerrymandered into safe districts where they never have to listen to the voters. it means that access to the vote him to the polls is as easy andd as accessible as possible. so what it means is that people are able to register, that they have the ability to vote whether they're from rich or poor communities, majority or minority communities, urban or rural. it also means government is responsive in the way that it runs the state government. it puts together the public affairs legislation, the public interest legislation, the issues that affect day-to-day people's lives. so when n you're looking at a vibrant democracies in america,
you're looking at states that do facilitate as much voting is possible a and have a degree of competitition. so i would immediately identify the states that have independence, neutral, nonpartisan commissions that are drawing the lines in a way that allows for a degree of competition at election time. there are a number o of states that have done that and are moving toward independent and nonpartisan commissions. it has to be said that outside of america, , there is n no democrcracy in the world that allows politicians to draw the lines themselves. i remember a few years agogo working in pakistan, and the pakistanis being quite appalled at the fact that america allowed politicians to draw the rules of the game that they were being elected under. the pakistanis felt this was inherently undemocratitic. of course, pakistan has serious
democratic problems, but they were looking at t some of f the faililures in america. so there are states in the u.s. that do a much better job of providing competition, and they do a much better job at facilitating everybody's right to vote. sometimes mail in voting, sometimes electronic voting is important. but at the end of the day, the federal -- the natural nstitutionon is also going to consnstrain andd craft the rulef the game. , every state isse sitting under a national constraint, which actually makes it more difficult for them to be vibrant democracies. juan: you mention mail in voting. there are three states, colorado, washington, and oregon, all of which use voting by mail exclusively. they rank among the best states in terms of greatest democracy. this would seem to go completely counter to the trend in states like north carolina, which not only require you to vote in person, but also has stringent id requirements as well.
can you talk about this whole issue, is mail in voting really safe from possible abuse? is as safe certainly as a any other voting system, precludiding possible abususe. no s system is entirely invulnerable to voter abuse. that we actually find vovoter abuse and voter fraud is very low in most establisheded democracies underer any system that they use. and we also saw that in the u.s. in november. so we're not really talkingg about problems of voter fraud. that is often just a skate note issue for other power grabs. what we're talking about are the broader rules of the game. and do the rules of the democratic game allow everyone to vote equally to give everyone the same chances getting to the
polls on election day, or before electionon day that go now if there are requirements for voting, which may seem logical and rational and fair, such as identification or any other mechanism the statete wants to use, that isis fine. targeted atannot b be anyone group in society. anyone majority or minority population. we have seen that in the worst authoritarian regimes in the countries that have lost their democracies. -- target certatain groups to marginalize them from their ability to vote. they do it in quite sophisticated ways. that is what we're talking about in north carolina, and that is what we're talking about in other comparable ststates. there has been an explicit attempt to use vototer requirements to marginalize the votes of people who might vote for one party and oftentimes that is the democratic party.
so we haveve even heard republicans explilicitly say thy wish to increase requirements on voting to stop black voting, to voting.rer communities sometimes republicans in north carolina have an quoted aboutt saying why they're doioing it fr what is the rationale behind it. so mail in voting is important and can be useful as can electronic voting be useful. but at the end of the day, ththe are pieces of a much larger puzzle. therere are so many democratic issues that need to be addressed. and all of them must be moving in the same direction to really bring back the vibrancy of democracy. amy: andrew reynolds, thank you for being with us professor of , political science at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. wewe will link to your a articlr "the news & observer" is titled, "north carolina is no longer classified as a democracy." when we come back, you may be shocked what this cia analyst will tell us about his interrogation of the president.
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: juan: 10 years ago this week on december 30, 2006, former iraqi dictator saddam hussein was executed. hussein was toppled soon after the u.s. invasion began in 2003. u.s. president george w. bush launched the invasion on the false premise that hussein had stockpiled weapons of f mass destruction and had ties to al qaeda. the invasion destabilized iraq and the region, leaving over a million n people dead. the fighting continues in iraqq and syria. a stunning new book about the iraq warar has just come out frm a perspective we have not yet heard from. it is written by john nixon, the cia analyst who interrogated saddam hussein after his capture
13 years ago. nixon reveals that much of what the cia believed they knew about saddam hussein at the time of the invasion was wrong. during his interrogation, hussein revealed that by 2003 he had largely turned over power to his aides so he could concentrate on writing a novel. there was no program of weapons of m mass destructction. amy: saddam hussein was also deeply critical of al qaeda and other islamist groups inspired by wahhabism. in fact, hussein told nixon that he felt the united states and iraq were natural allies in the fight against extremism. during the interrogation, saddam hussein also had a warning for the united states about iraq. he said -- "you are going to fail. you are going to find that it is not so easy to govern iraq. you are going to fail in iraq because you do not know the language, the history, and you do not understand the arab mind." well joining us now is , former cia analyst john nixon, author of the new book, "debriefing the president: the interrogation of saddam hussein."
what you write in this book is quite stunning. you are the first person that went to interrogate saddam hussein. you had studied him for years, yet what you found when you met him shocked you. >> yes. yes, you know, it is one thing to see some of the on a tv screen or aa film or in picture, but when you meet them up close and you start talking to them,m, it i is an entirely different thing. instead of finding the butcher of baghdad, i found myself talking to this aging iraqi grandfather and one of the things that really struck them and talking to him, he said to me, you know, i have been working on this novel. the delegation of power was somethining that we at the cia really had not been aware of. we still thought of saddam as a master manipulator, someone always pulling the strings. he had given up the power in the
day-to-day running of the country to some of his more senior aides. juan: set the scene for us. how were you chosen for this mission a and how did youou carry y it out? what were the dynamics? had studied saddam hussein ever since joining the agency in 1998. i think a lot of people knew me in the intelligence committee as sort of a goat to person on saddam. when i went to buy -- that dad, i was asked to fill in. we had an analyst in the station and their job was to work with the military in trying to locate him. amy: do you speak arab? >> no. i have smattering here and there that i picked up over time. i replaced them and began working with the military. i began to despair we would never find him. right around thanksgiving time, things started to hit up.
in the first week of december, became clear we're going to find him. the night of the capture, i was brought into the station chief's office and asked how i would identify him and then i was asked to identify him. i said i would look for certain markings, certain tribal tattoos. i was brought out there. yet understand, the u.s. government was under a lot -- we were under a lot of pressure from washington to find him and also to verify it was him because we did not want to then say we have caught him and find out it wasn't him. there was this persistence about body doubles, which were never really true to begin with. i went out there and despite the fact it was looking for these markings, i have to admit the first time i even laid eyes on him, i knew it was him. one of the interesting things about that first time was, saddam was sitting with the military around him and he acted like he was the host, he was the person -- he can hear every saturday night and had an
audience for people and d that e were just guests. confrontational interrogation that night because it was about identifying him come although in my head, it was clear. began debriefing him. that is when one of the surprising things about saddam was he was one of the mosos charismamatic individuals i have ever met in my life. status ass diminished a prisoner, when he walked in a room, you could feel a change. in the beginning, he was very smart, very polite, very nice. self-deprecating in his humor. juan: did you conduct most of these interviews through an interpreter? >> yes. in the room, it was myself, a calligrapher, an interpreter or vita by the army -- joint amy: a calligrapher? he was taking a polygraph? >> no, he served as a
facilitator, someone who would start off the conversation. in the beginning, we were not sure if saddamam was going to cooperate and we had no way to kind of get him to cooperate. so we appealed to his vanity and we also appealed to his sense of history. we said to him, this is your opportunity to set the record straight, to take all of the live set about you and what you say will be read by the highest levels of government. amy: what did he say about weapons of masss destruction? >> he said he stopped his program years ago. one of the things with the dam, he was one of the most suspicious people i ever met. he also answered questions with questions to his own. one of the problems with that, when we would ask about weapons of mass destruction he would say, oh, i stopped that in 1999. then he would say, up until the gulf war, we found yet a program
close to being near completion. he said, yes, but after the gulf war i stopped it. we would say, what about 1995? you shows those documents? he said, of course, ofof course. butt afterer 1995. so you're never sure sometimes what he was saying was the truth or not. , talkingtalking to him to a number of his advisers and alall of the capture documentatn and the e fact we nenever found anything, i came to the conclusion that he was not going to start another program. juan: you also asked him about chemical weapons being used on his own people. you were surprised and later confirmed what he said. >> yes, i did. that was shocking. because one of the arguments made for the war was that he had used weapons of mass destruction on his peoplple. when i talk to him to he got very upset, probably the angriest he ever got with me during my time w with them, he said he did not order chemical weapons to be used against the
kurds. notve to admit, i did believe him at the time. i went back to washington, i started looking into it more deeply and reading some of the debriefings of other senior government aides. they corroborated that story. we found documentation from the iraqis that also corroborated that. it was a battlefield decision made by an iraqi commander at the scene. saddam was actually angry at the commander for having made thahat decision, largely because the use of chemical weapons was in puk territory. he was afraid around would make hay out of this with the inteternational media. danica saddam hussein said the u.s. and iraq would be allies in the fight against extremism and al qaeda. >> yes. he thought we were natural allies in this. he thought that 9/11 was going to bring the united states and
iraq closer together. youu know, at one point he said to me, didn't you read the letter i sent to you? i said, what letter? he said, the letter will stop didn't you read it? i said, you sent a couple of letters. he said, this one e went to ramy clark. i told him a lot of people in the media tend to dispel what ramsey clark says in the fact was coming from you may have been even harder for people to believe. saddam hussein did not have a good understanding of america. he did not have a good understanding of the national relations. amy: before e we wrap up, the response of the cia in the information that you gotot, the response of president bush? >> all they really wanted to know was aboutwmd. when we did not have the answer that they wanted, they kind of lost interest.
that is all it was about, i think. it was very disappointing and disillusioning because we could have learned a great deal more from saddam and about his country. i felt i did when i was talking host of amy: this undercut president bush's justification for this war. >> absolutely. amy: so they just did not release or work with this information. collects it is him is like in january 2004, president bush's attitude, i'm done with iraq, let's move on, this is a solved problem. amy: clearly, it isn't, more than 10 years later. we will do part two and post it on democracynow.org. john nixon is a former cia senior analyst author of the new , book, "debriefing the president: the interrogation of saddam hussein." that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.