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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 16, 2018 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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03/16/18 03/16/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> my father wwho was in his 8's was injured. i laid very still in the mud as if i was dead and i glanced at him. i saw him, but i'd cannot speak to himim in fear they might hear me and shoot me. i wanted to yell at him to lay down and maybe they won't shoot again, but they noticed him and shot half of his head away. amy: 50 years ago today on march
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16, 191968, u.s. soldiers slaughtered 500 vietnamese women, children, and old men. one soldier said he was ordered to kill anything that breathed. we will look back at this horrific day and speak to an american peace activist and two vietnam war veterans who have returned to vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of my lai and to remember the role of gi resistance in stopping the vietnam war. >> we want to commemorate and to respect the terrible, terrible massacre and the sacrifice that the vietnamese suffered those years ago, and to come as service people, as veterans to sorry, we take responsibility, and we will continue to work for peace. amy: today, a democracy now! special. my lai sorry, we take responsibility, and we will massacre remembered.
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all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. special counsel robert mueller has subpoenaed the trump organization to hand over documents -- some of which are related to russia -- as he widens the scope of his investigation into alleged ties between top trump officials and russia. the revelation indicates that mueller's probe is likely to continue for at least several more months. last summer, president trump told "the new york times" mueller would be crossing a red line if he investigates trump family finances. this comes as democrats on the house intelligence committee said thursday the trump organization is actively negotiating a deal with a sanctioned russian bank during the 2016 presidential campaign. the charge stands in stark contrast to a conclusion reached by republican leaders of the committee earlier this week, who declared they found no evidence of collusion between trump's campaign and thehe russians. meanwhile, the trump administration placed new sanctions against russia thursday, , accusing moscow of launching cyber-attacks that
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compromised security at facilities critical to u.s. infrastructure, including water supplies, aviation, the electric grid, and nuclear power plants. the administration says russian hackers gained access that could have allowed them to sabotage or shutdown facilities at will. the new sanctions come amid rising tensions between russia and the u.s. and its allies. this week, britain accused russia of launching the first chemical weapons attack on european soil since world war ii, over the alleged poisoning of russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter in salisbury last week. russia said today it's prepared to retaliate against western sanctions, saying it will expand a blacklist of americans and will expel british diplomats from embassies and consulates across russia. in miami, florida, authorities say at least six people have died after a pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed onto a busy street below, crushing vehicles and trapping victims under huge piles of
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concrete. at least nine others were injured in the collapse of the nearly 200 foot-longng bridge under construcuction under the campus of flororida internationl university. police say they don't know the cause of the collapse and are enlisting the help of engineers as they y investigate the disasr as a possible homicide. in syria come over 10,000 civilians have fled the damascus suburb of eastern ghouta over the past as syrian government 24 hours forces continued a bloody offensive against the rebel-held territory. syrian ground forces have split the territory in three, with many observers predicting a government victory over the rebels is imminent. the offensive has killed well over 1000 civilians in less than a month. among the latest victims were 12 civilians who reportedly died in a russian airstrike today. as well as photojournalist bashar al-attar, who died from injuriries he sustained in a mah 12 airstrike. meanwhile, human rights groups say residents have fled from over 10,000 homes in the
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northern syrian city of afrin in recent days, as the mostly-kurdish population flees an offensive by turkey's mililitary. in brazil, tens of thousands of people filled the streets of rio de janeiro thursday to p protest the apparent assassination of 38-year-old city councilmember and human rights activist marielle franco. franco died d along with her driver wednesday not after a pair of gunmen riddled her car with bullets. franco was a fierce critic of police killings in brazil's impoverished favela neighborhoods. the night before her death, franco wrote on twitter -- "how many more must die for this war to end?" in january alone, state government figures show popolice killed 154 people e in rio stat. franco's murder came a a month after presesident michel temer ordedered brazil's military to assume control of police duties in rio. in massachusetts, civil rights groups filed a a petition thursy
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asking the court to stop immigration agents from arresting peoeople at courthous, saying it viololates the rightsf defendants, victims, and witnesses, as well as the accused. the case is the first of its kind, and comes as legal aid societety attorneys protestedd thursday in new york city. this is jared trujillo. >> i am an attorney at the legal aid society. internees courts with something called administrative warrants. they are not issued by a judge. there issued solely by ice. ice is effectively writing their own warrants to come into the courts. what we are asking is that they not be allowed to come into the court withthout a judicial warrt signgned by a judge.e. amy: philippines president rodrigo duterte says he will pull his country out of the international criminal court. the announcement came just after the icc opened an investigation and accusations he is committed crimes against humanity by overseeing the killing of up to 8000 people in his so-called war on drugs.
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duterte has repeatedly boasted he has personally murdered drug dealers. president donald trump has expressed admiration for duterte, saying he has done a "unbelievable job on the drug problem." this comes as politico reports that trump is expected to formally call for capital punishment for drug dealers when he unveils his plan for combating the opioid epidemic during a a planned trip to new hampshire next week. president trump boasted to wealthy republican donors on wednesday that he made up a claim about trade deficits during a recent private converersation he e had withth cananadian prime ministeter jusn udeau. in an audio recording obtained by "the washington post," " trup is reportedly heard telling g te donors that he insisted d to trududeau that the u.s. has a trade deficit with canada, even though he was completely unsure about whether the statement was true. in fact, the u.s. has a trade surplus with canada. on thursday, trump repeated the lie tweeting -- , "we do have a trade deficit with canada, as we do with almost all countries, some of them massive." the white house is denying media reports that president trump is poised to fire national security
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adviser lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster ahead of a planned u.s.-north korea summit in may. trump is reportedly considering with johnmcmaster bolton. bolton is a foreign policy hawk who suggested the u.s. military should directly engage iran and north korea. he once said if the yuan headquarters lost 10 stories, "it would d not make it bit of difference." the position of national security adviser does not rerequire senate confirmatation. in an update to o a story we covered on tuesday about president trump's pick to head the cia, gina haspel, roku book a -- propublica has retracted part of its reporting, which we cited, about haspel's role at a secret cia black site in thailand where prisoners were tortured. propublica is now reporting haspel was not yet based at the site when abu zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times d d did
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nomockck t prisonewhilile was being tortured. but according "ththe w yoyork timeme" haspelid oversee the waterboarding of anoerer prisoner, abd al-rimim -nashiriat the sect prison gina haspel also later advocated for destroying videotapes of zubaydah's waterboarding. in new york, former black panther herman bell has been granted parole after 44 years in prison for the killing of two police officers. bell pleaded not guilty at trial and has said witness coercion and prosecutorial misconduct led to his conviction. his expected release date is april 17. in their decision to release bell, who is now 69 years old, parole board members cited a noteworthy letter from it and in person -- an un-named person -- likely the son of one of the victims, officer waverly jones. he wrote of bell's release -- "the simple answer is it would bring joy and peace as we have already forgiven herman bell publicly.
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on the other hand, to deny him parole again would cause us pain as we are reminded of the painful episode each time he appears before the board." in new york city, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of manhattan thursday in support of farm workers with the coalition of immokalee workers, who are demanding that fast food giant wendy's sign on to a worker-designed code of conduct that includes a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and abuse in the fields where they pick tomatoes. the marchers passed outside manhattan office of billionaire nelson peltz, the board chair and largest shareholder at wendy's, before rallying near the united nations building, where workers broke a five-day fast. this is immokalee worker and hunger striker nely rodriguez. thatat we're asking is nelson peltz promises that wendy's will join the fair food program, which is a progrgram recognized for ending sexual violence and slavery in the agricultural fields of florida. another thing we would like to say to nelson peltz and wendy's
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is that we are not doing this for the money. do notan association, receive a bonus. the money spent from the corporation to the farmers in the farmers are responsible for distributing the extra sent to the farm workers. we're not doing it for the cent. wendy's is lying somewhere doing this for the money. they are lying to the false good of conduct that does not include the voice of the wororkers. amy: and in mexico, thousands of women from across the woworld cocoerged in zapatista territory in the souththern state ofof chs over the w weekend for t the fit internationanal political,l, artistic, , sports and c culturl gathering of women ttt strule.. th is a a zatista wowon delivering a collective ssssage at the closingng ceremony. >> this little light is for you. take it, sister. take it to the women who are disappeared. take it to the murdered. take it to the in prison. take it to the raped. take it to the beaten. take it to be abused.
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take it to the women who face violence in all forms. take it to the migrants. take it to the exploited. take it to the dead. take it until it in every one of them that she is not alone, that you're going to fight for her, that you're going to fight for the truth and for the justice that her pain deserves. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war r and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today we begin a special series looking back at 1968, a pivotal year in modern american history. it was a year that saw the assassination of dr. martin luther king and robert kennedy, historic student strikes from columbia to san francisco state, the soviet invasion of czechoslovakia, the chicago democratic convention protests, and the escalation of the vietnam war. 50 years ago today on march 16, 1968, u.s. soldiers attacked the vietnamese village of my lai. u.s. troops arrived at 7:30 a.m.
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even though the soldiers met no resistance, they slaughtered more than 500 vietnamese women, children, and old men over the next four hours in what became known as the my lai massacre. the soldiers raped women. they burned their houses. they mutilated the villagers bodies. one u.s. soldier said he was ordered to "kill anything that breathed." memorials have been held today in my lai to mark the 50th anniversary. survivors gathered to describe the horror of what happened on 1968. 170 people and they shot them all dead. they shot them all. they shot once. they took one minute break and the second him of any third time. my father, who was in his 80's, was injured in tomlin and then crawling. i lay very still in the mud as the second him of any thirdif i was dead. i glanced at him. i saw him, but i dare not speak
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to him in fear they might hear me and shoot me. i wanted to yell at him to lay down and maybe they won't shshot again. but theyey noticed him and shot half of his head away. amy: after the massacre, the u.s. military then attempted to cover up what happened. but in november of 1969, a young reporter named seymour hersh would reveal a 26-year-old soldier named william calley was being investigated for killing 109 vietnamese civilians. in 2015, sy hersh appeared on democracy now! and discussed what the u.s. soldiers did on the day of the massacre. >> that morning they got up thinking they were going t to be in combat against the vietcong. they were happy to do it. they wanted payback. they been taking it out on the people. they had been in country for three or four months without ever havaving a set piece war. that is the way it is in
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guerrilla warfare, which is why we should not do it, but that is another story. and they went in that morning ready to kill and be killed on behalf of america, to their credit. they landed. there were just nothing but women and children doing the usual, as you said in your intro -- cooking, warming up rice for breakfast -- and they began to put them in ditches and start executing them. calley's company -- calley had a platoon. there were three platoons that went i in. they rounded up people and put them in a ditch. the other companies just went along. they just killed and raped and mutilated. it went on until everybody was either run away or killed. 400 and some odd people in that or 600 alone of the 500 people that lived there were murdered there come all by noon, 1:00. at one point, one helicopter pilot, a wonderful man named thompson, saw what was going on and actually landed his helicopter. he was a small combat -- had two gunners. he just landed his small helicopter, and he ordered his gunners to train their weapons
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on lieutenant calley and other americans. and calley was in the process of -- apparently going to throw hand grenades into a ditch where there were 10 or so vietnamese civilians. and he put his guns on calley and took the civilians, made a couple trips and took them out, flew them out to safety. he, of course, was immediately in trouble for doing that. amy: that was seymymour hersh on democracy now!. his reporting altered how many americans viewed the war in vietnam. he would win the pulitzer prize for his reporting. soldier was convicted for the mass killings, lieutenant william calley. he was initially sentenced to life in prison, but only served 3.5 years under house arrest. this is an edited excerpt of the vietnamese documentary "the sound of the violin in my lai." >> the only and the e can cacasuty on n at day was a black soldier who coul not stand such lllling. he shohimself the foot so he could not have toakake pa
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inhe masascre. herbert later related, i saw an old n n stanng i in e middle of theicice field wavavg at u in arienendl manner, that they sh h him. ii saw poor fararmers runng away from thehe burng huts and then theyhohot th dead. mr lee is lucky. shshe waone e of the rare suivors of theassacre. this is the memorial for 102 peoplemomostlyomenen a chchdren, who were killed algg this road that day. nervous stem mushave bee madef steel be ableo t te these picteses. baby was killed comes still hangg g on i dead mother'ss east. the sisleyhe and h son were spar bause they very themselv u underhe bodieof the or fou villagers. nearby, the chop was lang o on top ofis brother to shield him from t b bulle. bo of them were killed.
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these two are alssusurvivs ofof the mamaacre, but the survival wasomewhatpecial. theyerere sad by the hehelicoer cre. we survived becausehehese ererican waived to us and took us on thrr helelopter. thanks t the i am still aliv toda thth shot like madmen. helicopterananded ar u us. men wad and we came out. they pushed us oand took us. w were ad s scad. were they going tororop usntoo the sese after some time they landnded ad signed for us toto run away.y. it was o only then that we knewe hahad been saved. >> there's a lot of a anger.
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irected at the vietmesese pple, i iis directed a my fellow soldiers who wencrcrazy at day. i'm just real rrrry th m my cw cod not have donmore. and extremely sorry for my fellowmemerica f forhat happed. it w w not right. itit was n war. i pretty got something like this never happens again. amy: an excerpt from the vietnamese film "the sound of the violin in my lai." -- film was directed by another veteran who returned to vietnam for this 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre. >> sorry is just not adequate for what happened in vietnam due to america's but whatever you call it here, invasion.
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it is wrong. it is just wrong. it was deeply, deeply, deeply wrong. i don't think we have acknowledged it. amy: vietnam war veteran eric herder speaking today on this 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre when u.s. f forces slaughtered more than 500,000. the date march 16, 1968. the war would continue for another seven years. some scholars estimate as many as 3.8 million vietnamese died during the war. up to 800,000 perished in cambodia, another 1 million in laos. the u.s. death toll was 58,000. when we e come back, we will s k to two vietnam war veterans and a peace activist who have traveled back to vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "universal soldier" by buffy sainte-marie. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today marks the 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre, when u.s. forces slaughtered more than 500 vietnamese women, children, and old men. a group of vietnam war veterans and peace activists have traveled back to vietnam to mark today's anniversary. juan gonzalez and i recently spoke to three members of the vietnamon that are in totoday. vietnam veteran paul cox, who later co-founded the veterans for peace chapter in san francisco, susan schnall, former navy nurse who was court-martialed for opposing the vietnam war, and longtime activist ron carver, who has organized an exhibit honoring the gi antiwar movement at the war remnants museum in ho chi minh city. i began by asking ron n carver about what happened d 50 years o today in my lai. >> well, 504 civilians,
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noncombatants, were mowed down by soldiers -- as you said, it was horrific, but it was not an isolated incident. it was part of the culture of the war that had been created and fostered and was largely a product of the pentagon's insistence on high body counts in order to justify their continued war effort and the continuingng escalatating insise that the u.s. congress give them ever more money and ever more troops. this is what led to these kind of massacres. the significance to me, however, is people like hugh thompson who, at great risk, landed his helicopter, had his crew train
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whor guns on the soldiers were committing this massacre and telling them that they had to stop or they would be shot themselves. ledthat is part of what has to the development of this exhibit that will be held in saigon, which immensity today, on the 19th of march, three days after the anniversary of the my lai massacre, cacalled "waging peace." honor,o give credit in the folks who took great risks to oppose a war. some of them went to jail in this country, like dr. howard leavy, who refuse to train green beret troops in medical techniques.
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there are people in this exhibit, honor those who refused to deploy to vietnam, like jj johnson and the two others who made the four foot three, people who went to vietnam like paul but then confronting the horror of what they were doing, stopped going out and engaging combat. some of them like bill schwartz ended up being charged with conspiracy to meet me because he refused to engage anymore in combat and was sent to the stockade in vietm. others who deserted. a lot of these folks will be on the tour in march from hanoi to my lai and then to saigon. the exhibit will have photographs of them from
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information that they said, and feature the underground papers that they produced telling other soldiers about what was going on, exposing the horrors and the injustice of that war. enlisted incox, you the military during the vietnam war. can n you talk aboutut your perl experience, why you decided to enlist, what the consciousness of the soldiers were? >> i joined in 1968. had got my drafnonoticeor a a two-yeye draft enlnlistmt in the army, but i wound up -- i had no cociciousns ababouthe war you know, against it or for it, but i thought i had a duty to my country so i joined the marine corps for four years. not a deep thinker, but that is what i did. i spent 18 months in vietnam. most of that time i was up on areasz in a populated
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fighting north vietnamese regulars. but with no contact with the vietnamese civilians. the last six months of my tour, i was down in the rice paddies and gotd west of danang a much, much different view of to war and saw how poorly, put it mildly, we were treating our so-called allies, the south vietnamese whose hearts anand minds we were e supposed to be winnnning. doings not what we were atat all. we'rere operating in free fire zones. i was involved in a small massacre of about 15 people in may -- i'm sorry, april 1970. my entire view of the war. amy: can you talk about the massacre you said you were involved with? >> we were running what the pacificationed programs. essentially, we would go out from our base and sometimes only for a few hours, and we would sweep into a village and round
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of everybody and put them on trucks or helicopters and evacuate them to the strategic hamlets. we did that many times. this particular incident, we had been out for four days an old abandoned rice paddies that had been overgrown in elephant grass. we stomped down the elephant grass and created a company sized perimemeter. we just sat there for four days running a cloverleaf of patrols in each of the four directions. in the same patrol each day on the same route, which is not smart, eventually on the fourth day, the squad that was in charge, that was doing the northern loop, somebody sniped at them. nobody got hit but the squad unwise the decided to pursue the sniper. they had not gone far until they found a booby-trap located it.
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somehow the thing went off, killed one man, wounded ththree others. that was it. that was done - -- that was deal the action we had. the next day, we were going to pull up stakes and we were going bridge, liberty bridge, and be taken back to the base. but ticket to liberty bridge, we had to go through a village. the rest of that afternoon afore we left, there was piper cub flying over this village with loudspeakers yelling at them in vietnamese, presumably telling them they needed to evacuate because this was, after all, a free fire zone. commander -- this was in bravo covered, first battalion fifth marines -- did an unusual thing. you told our lieutenant he wanted the squad that had lost mandate before to walk point --
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men the day before to walk point. these men were very angry. they should have been angry at themselves for finding the booby-trap and then being so silly as to set it off, , but ty were angry at the vietnamese. they walk point. when they got into the village, they passed the word back to my squad, are there any friendlies in this area? the company commander responded up the line, no, this is a free fire zone. immediately afterwards, there was some firing. as i got to the first hut, there was an old woman who had gotot shot who was dying. the second hut we went to, there was a pile of six or eight people. these wewere children and women and an old man. in the third had, there's another pilot people who had been shot dead. passed throrough the corner of ththe village.
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everybody in the whole coveted walk past the same scene i did. willll we got to the other side, the company commander as for other people to go back and search the rest of the village. none of the officers volunteered. there's a chain of command. you should've said, lieutenant, take a squad, or whatever. volunteers. for a staff surgeon and others volunteered to go in. there was a little more shooting. most of us were in shock. these people have been gunned down. this was not a battle. none of us participated in my squad in that. back. squad came we left. they called in airstrikes on the village -- which is not the way you're supposed to use tactical air. a few days later, apparently, some of the survivors of the massacre had carried the body of a child and a woman to a nearby base and filed a formal complaint. there was anof --
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investigation. nothing happened. neither the man who pulled the triggers on those folks were relieved of duty. the company commandeder whose of ththe whe ththinup wasasot relieved o duty. life just went o but that turned my hd d abou the war. to i was not going partrticipate in that any longe. i left vietnam in august 1970 very, very angryt mysel at e marine cor, the amican pple, at e u.s. govement. d reallyeterminei was ing too what i cld to lp end the war i still hatwo yearleft tdo in t marineorps, so was a bit of latecer to th antir movemenand thg.i. moment, but i ied to me up for it by rking ve hard. i wastatione atamp lejee rhe past o years my ur. put outn undergrnd wspapepecalled "ge."
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was ne an ample ofigh journalism, but it was the best we could do and we were really working hard to tell the truth about the vietnam war and about militarism. reaction ofas the the base commanders and authorities to your publication? as bestre underground we could be for a very long time. i don't even have a photograph of that period because we were afraid. i do have copies of the newspaper we put out. we used to distribute the newspaper in the middle of the night. we would get 3000 copies made and bring them o onto base in a couple of cars. we would go through the barracks -- camp lejeune is an infantry base. we would just walk through the barracks at 3:00 a.m. . and drop off these papers on people's racks. after three or four or five of these, suddenly we with the mp's
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swarming toward where we have been earlier and decided, ok, thatat is enouough for tonighthd we would leave. it freaked them out. was notsomething -- it something that were willing to tolerate. whenever they get caught on base. juan: i want to bring in susan schnall to the conversation. talk about your situation as a nurse and as a lieutenant in the navy. what happened with you? you are court-martialed? >> yes. i went into the navy to take care of the wounded, to help them heal and get back to their families and to their communities. i sawart of the navy, what was going on and i heard stories from the guys who came back. i was stationed in oakland, california, and took care of the casualties and heard their stories. i did not hear them in quite the same detail that pop has related because at that time, i think the war was to freshen they did
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not want to talk explicitly about what they had seen. but i heard their nightmares and the middle of the night. i heard them yelling and screaming and yelling out to their buddies. i saw some of the guys who had open wounds having their arms and legs held up by butcher-like contraptions with infection coming out. as i said, i heard them in the middle of the night. i heard some of the stories that way. i went in as a healer and i felt at one point, it was after about a year in the military, that i had become a part of the united states military and i had helped perpetuate the war in vietnam. i just thought i had to live with myself and speak out against the war. i had heard about the united states dropping flyers on vietnam, on the vietnamese urging them to go to protective hamlets to get away from the spring, which we now know is
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agent orange, and to get out of harm's way. organizing awere march for peace in the san francisco bay area. we had difficulty getting publicity out. we posted flyers. we put posters up and they were torn down on t base. soso i tught, if the united states can drop these yeyers on the peoplef f anotr cntry, why coul't drop flys on litary bes publicizi the g. and verans mah for ace in t san fraisco bay area? i had a friend who was a pilot. we rented a single engine plane and loaded it with flyers announci t theemonsttion. we drop th othe nava hospal where i was workingn --are iand, on e video presidio, and then we flew into the alameda naval air station because the uss ranger was docked there and we drop the
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flyers on the deck of the aircraft carrier. i wore my uniform and i had a press conference afterwards. amy: you are a navy lieutenant. >> i was lieutenant junior grade, yes. amy: were you afraid? >> it was -- yes. i was concerned about what the military would do to me. but i looked at that in proportion to what was going on with what we were doing with young american soldierers and hw we were sending them in harms way. to hurt and to kill and destroy people from another country thousands of miles away, and i thought about the terrible destruction and damage being done to vietnam. for me, it it was an issue, as i said, of living with myself and just saying i am in the military. i stand against e e war. ththerare mama, many thousands sailors soldiers, manes, who wl stand with me.
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so we dropped the flyers and had the press conference. i was issued this order to not wear my uniform in a public demonstration, expressing my partisan views publicly. i thought, general moreland goes in front of congress asking for more men and more armaments and more money to fight this war, why can't i i wear my uniform aa member of the military and stand up for peace? uniform and antiwar demonstration and spoke out against the war. juan: you are court-martialed. and what happened? >> that was six months later. i actually worked full-time in the military, had an article 15, the captain's mast, went on to a full general court-martial, was tried for two charges. one was intent to destroy the morale of the united states troops and the other was disobeying a general navy regulation and conduct unbecoming an officer.
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i was given a sentence, six months forfeiture of all pay and allowances. to be confined. the trial counsel one of five years confinement and hard labor and the court-martial board gave me six months confinement. and dismissal from service. amy: where you can find it to and what did you have to do? >> i was sent back to full duty because at that time am a the military also had a regulation that said if a woman received a sentence of under a year, she did not necessarily have to serve it. and since i received a sentence of six months, which i think was deliberate -- we had a lot of publicity abouout the case -- i was sent back to the hospital to full duty and reported and was then assigned to the women's unit and the children's units, and we put out an underground newspaper, but handed out from person to person on the base. amy: susan schnall, former navy nurse who was court-martialed
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from dropping antiwar templates -- pamphlets. we will return to our conversation with her, paul cox, and ron carver. all three are now in vietnam to mark the 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "i-feel-like-i'm-fixin'-to-die rag" by country joe and the fish. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue to mark the 50th anniversary of the my lai massacre and we return to the conversation juan gonzalez and i had with three longtime peace activists who went back to vietnam to mark the anniversary, vietnam war veterans paul cox and susan schnall and longtime organizer ron carver. i asked ron to talk about the gi coffeehouses which became a hotbed of gi resistance duringng the vietnam war. supportives who were of the soldiers in the effort to
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bring them home alive came up with the idea, started with fred gardner, who was in alameda, california, who opened up the first coffeehouse called the ufo .nd clinic a place ins to have these army towns that were filled with exploitive businesses trying to just police the soldiers, sleazy bars, jewelry stores, or houses. up ad the idea of setting nonprofit coffeehouses where gis could come, listen to rock 'n roll, watch movies about vietnam come and talk with each other. particular, soldiers back from vietnam who were feeling bitter
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and betrayed that the war was not what they have been told it wereoing to be and resentful. they could come and talk to the recruits who were not yet -- had not yet been sent to vietnam. it also they could write their stories and create these underground newspapers that we civilians within take to have printed, bring back to the coffeehouses. thousands of copies of these, which the soldiers within smuggle back onto the base at great risk to themselves, therefore, spread the word. in many ways, those underground papers were the equivalent of the social media today. they were a method where the soldiers who knew the truth about the war in vietnam could pass that along in pretty close to real time. they would also talk about the
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burgeoning protests by soldiers at other bases, leading peace involved inerting, acts of sabotage, and other end the war. juan: i want to turn to a clip from the 2005 documentary "sir, no server." >> phenomenon has crept up his army bases. so-called underground g.i. press, which possess large live antiwar newspapers. military authorities are clamping down hard on the papapers. >> published by group of radicals station of his army base. >> wheeze to distributed clandestinely on the base. we would be bunches of them and
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barracks and leave them in footlockers. if you are caught distributing literature on base, that was a court-martial offense will stop >> despite the military's best effort, the underground press became the lifeblood of the g.i. movement. as the armies on recruiting slogan fun travel and adventure turned into the popular g.i. army.sion -- [bleep the >> papers written and published throughout the world. wherever there were american gis in the world. juan: that was a clip from the 2005 documentary "sir, no sir." a lot of attention has been devoted in studies and reminiscencess of the antiwar movement in vietnam, but not as much to the resistance within the military, of the soldiers themselves and to what degree that affected the decision of the u.s. government and he could
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no longer continue to pursue the war in vietnam. i'm wondering your thoughts on the impact of that g.i. resistance? >> you can have my thoughts, but the army's own internal studies noted the breakdown in morale, the breakdown of discipline, the large number of frontline soldiers who were refusing to fight or would go out but found ways not to engage with the so-called enemy. antiwar every major the unitede march in states, was led by active-duty soldiers and veterans. and by 1971-1972, it became clear that the united states no longer had the capacity to continue the ground war.
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and that led to the pentagon says it and to move toward an air war that was not dependent on ground troops. and then soon after that, you then to see sailors on destroyers, i'm sorry, the aircraft carriers refusing to board are beginning to sabotage their own ships. you saw air force navy highlights -- pilots refusing to continue going on bombing missions. not enough to bring the war to a halt just yet. they continued until 1975. movemently, the g.i. of active-duty soldiers, backed up by veterans and in the general peace movement, was a key factor. along, of course, with the incredible spirit
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and determination to fight for the liberation of their country. but i believe, and a lot of the story and snow are beginning to believe, that this movement was a key factor in ending the war. the problem is that today, most people don't even know that there was a g.i. antiwar movement. film justey can burns glossed over this as they thought an insignificacant part. bubut it was a major reason that the e u.s. had to pull out. amy: paul cox, talk about how the g.i. resistance materialized for you in vietnam while you are fighting. what were you seeing around you? how reorganizing? ofi did not do a lot organizing. basically, we were trying to stay alive. we used to stand back controls. that wasn't term we ususe for wt
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we were sent out a patrol, might have 10 checkpoints. we wouldld go out to checkpoint one and sit there all day and they go to checkpoint 10, which was on the way back in and they come back in at the end of the day, not having actually gone down the trails that we were supposed to control. managed to get sick now and then and not go out into the field. they were fraggings. not a lot, but some that i knew about. in the last unit i was in, w whn we came in from the field, they took all of our grenades away from us. amy: explain why they would take the grenades away in the whole issue of what fragging is. >> a study was to buy the army and they admitted to 1600 fraggings, attempts are actual murders of officers or senior enlisted men by the lowewer ranknking troops. becauselled a fragging
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a common tool of a murder of an officer would be to throw a grenade under his rack. fragmentation grenades. whether they would shoot the men during a battle or shoot him in the middle of the e night or frg him, that was a all the same thing. the army admitted to 1 1600 of ththose. of them in myof two last period of time there. they got paranoid. they did not trust the troops and a longer, so they took our grenades away from us. it is reminiscent of what we hear in afghanistan, supposed soldiers kamal is of the troops, turning on the u.s. troops, supposedly their allies. i want to turn to a clip of john kerry speaking in 1971. at the time, he was a member of vietnam veterans against the war . he was testifying before t the senate in 1971 when he discussed the atrocities honor in the
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winter soldier investigation were over 150 veterans testified to war crimes committed in southeast asia. stories ofd the times they had personally raped, offoff ears, cut heads, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at d villages,raze shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of south vietnam, in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is that by the applied bombing power of this country. juan: that was john kerry speaking in 1971 to the united states senate.
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paul cox, i'm just wondering, he was a member of the same g.i. resistance movement against the war that you were a part of. >> john kerry? juan: yes. >> at that point he was a veteran. he was out of the military. so i don't know he took actions while he was in the military, but the veteran's movement was very important. certainly after i got out some a i i was active in n the veterans movement in support of the g.i. movement for a number of years after i got out. working on additional paper called up against the bulkhead they came out of the san francisco bay area. i told you the story of my one horrific day. the kerry was relating winter soldier to congress of numerous g.i.'s talking about what have happened to them at their time.
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when you put them all together, howally formed a pattern of shabbily we treated them enemies who are our allies anand he also made a very important point which was the airpower. not considered or crime such as cutting off an ear might be, but certainly did tremendous damage to the vietnamese people in the countryside and the environment, along with agent orange -- which continues, as a legacy in vietnam today. in the unexploited ordnance, which is a tremendous problem in vietnam. as ron pointed out, can burns just glossed over it and said, the land and vietnam is largely healed itself. well, it has not healed itself. they will never get rid of the unexploded ordnance.
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these things continue -- is the gift that keeps on giving. >> we talk about everything happening 50 years ago as though it is the end. what paul has just mentioned is the issue, continuing issue of agent orange the continues to contaminate the land and the peopople in vietnam. we have both been on a couple of trips to visit the people and to see the children who were born with these terrible birth defects w who will l never be ae to lead any kind of normal lives. and the issue of that war 50 years ago is that that legacy continues and that death and destruction continues today. paul mentioned the continuing problem of unexploded ordnance. children and farmers who are trying to till the land, if they come upon a scrap of metal, that can explode, kill them, maim them for life. that were 50 years ago continues to harm.
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i will mention also that we know that the children of american servicemen who were in vietnam have also been born with very thoser broke the facts to of the children of vietnam. the worst part for the vietnamese is because the land is contaminated with dioxin, babies continue to be born and to be affected by this problem. we want to commemorate and to respect the terrible, terrible massacre and the sacrifice that the vietnamese suffered those years ago, and to come as service people, as veterans to say we are sorry, we take responsibility, and we will continue to work for peace and we will continue to work with you to try to heal some of these wounds of war. cox, how would the veterans that you have known after you came out of the military, how have many of the
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veterans of vietnam dealt with these issues of their in what most of the rest of the world continues an unjust, imperial war, but still regarded as a tragic mistake by many leaders in this country? a r range ofere's responses. my own response to witnessing such a thing was to turn against the war, and i have been an activist ever since. other people probably haven't talked about it at all. some people have drank themselves to death, shut themselves, jumped off off bridges. other people have just shuhut it down. and then the few probably are still proud of what they did in vietnam. the vast, vast majority of gis that went to vietnam either witnessed or participated in anything such as t this. theough, you have to say pilots that wereren those b b-'s
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and they got a push the button that ope the bombay doors an drophehe bombs did far more damage tn any indidual wh looked h victims in the eye whilhehe sho them. s anhe war ielf indictment of ou country. uch.should be seen as d the aiwar and the artillery in the naval fire should all be seen as equally herdis and as criminal -- rent is and is criminal and inhumane as those men that pulled the trigger in my lai, the ones in my unit that pulled the trigger on those civilians. amy: that was vietnam war veteran paul cox, susan schnall, former navy nurse who was court-martialed for dropping in to work hamlet's from a plane over u.s. military bases around san francisco bay, and longtime activist ron carver.
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all three are in vietnam today to mark the 50th anniversary of the my laiai massacre. that that's it for today's special. if you would like a copy, go to our website at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to dedemocracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. will be inow! washington, d.c., march 24 for live multihour broadcast from the march for our lives that by student survivors of the valentine's day massacre at the marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida. tune in then. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] happy birthday ariel boone!
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