tv Democracy Now LINKTV July 26, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
[captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! separating children from their parents is a form of trauma that we call toxic stress , when you have such an early childhood trauma that it actually disrupts your brain development. harm.ses irreparable these children will suffer from long-term mental healthh conditions that may be
impossssible to fix later on. the over 900, that is number of migrant children who remain separated from their parents despite today's court-ordered deadline today for -- to reunify all the families separated by the u.s. government at the u.s. border. we will head to the u.s.-mexico border for the latest and then speak to dr. mona hanna-attisha, the flint michigan pediatrician who helped expose the dangerous levels of lead in the city's drinking water. we will talk to her about the trauma of child separation, the muslim travel ban, and the flint water crisis. it is athe word lead, call to action. it is probably one of the most well studied narrow toxin known to man. the entire life trajectory. hadkids and flint already higher levels, just like in
detroit, chicago, and philadelphia. it impacts them forever. when i heard that there was potential lead in the water, that started my quest. amy: weevivils big to her as a w report finds the d death toll fm the water crisis may be higher than officials acknowledged -- we will speak to her as in the report finds the death toll may be higher than officials acknowledged. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. at least 900 children forcibly separated from their parents at the u.s.-mexico border have yet to be reunited, as the trump administration faces today's deadline for family reunification set by a federal judge. federal officials say some 463 separated parents have been deported since trump launched the zero-tolerance border policy, even as these children remain in u.s. detention
centers. administration officials say the parents voluntarily agreed to leave their children behind. but in court papers filed wednesday, the aclu argued many parents say they were coerced or misled into signing forms they could not read and were confused about what they were agreeing to. after headlines, we'll speak with two immigration lawyers who've been representing immigrant parents separated from their children. in new york city, eight people were arrested as protesters targeted the manhattan home of jpmorgan chase ceo jamie dimon in a nonviolent civil disobedience action. the protesters attempted to deliver a petition from more than 100,000 immigrant rights advovocates, calling on chase to divest from for-profit prisons and detention centers. >> the separations are not just happening at the border. they are happening here. we need jamie dimon to divest from this.
amy: jpmorgan chase has invested tens of millions of dollars in both corecivic and geo group, for-profit prison companies that also operate immigrant detention centers. at the white house, president donald trump said wednesday he's reached a deal to halt a burgeoning trade war with the european union. this i is president trump speakg in thehe white house rose garden after a memeeting with european commission president jean-claude juncker. presidentt trump: we agreed today, first of all, to work together towards zero tariffs, zero nontariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non- auto industrial goods. thank you. amy: trump had few details on his agreement with juncker, but claimed the eu would buy more u.s. soybeans and said he would work to reverse tariffs he put in place on imports of european steel and aluminum. wednesday's surprise joint appearance by trump and juncker in the rose garden came after the white house banned cnn correspondent kaitlan collins
from the event. collins says earlier wednesday, she was summoned to the office of bill shine, a former fox news executive who was recently named white house communications chief. collins says shine accused her of shouting and asking appropriateate -- in questions during an earlier joint appearance by trump and juncker. this is an excerpt of that appearance. president trump: thank youou. -- tapes, mrmr. president? [inaudibible] amy: the white house correspondents' association strongnglyondemned collilins' exclusion from the trump's appearance in the rose garardens inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak. even fox news weighed in, with network president jay wallace saying, "we stand in strong solidarity with cnn for the right to full access for our journalists as part of a free and unfettered press."
the incident came just one day after trump drew comparisosonso george orwell's dystopian novel "1984" with these remarks to a veterans of foreign wars convention in kansas city. in pakistan, vote-counting is underway after wednesday's general election, with early returns showing former cricket star imran khan building a commanding lead to be the next prime minister of pakistan. opposition groups, including the party of former prime minister nawaz sharif, are rejecting the results, alleging vote rigging and saying pakistan's powerful military unfairly sided with khan. wednesday's vote proceeded amid heavy security after a string of attacks on voters left scores deadad, including a bombing in e northwestern city, quetta,a, wednesday that killed 31 people
and a attack on a polling station in balochistan that killed four others. in syria, a series of gun attacks and suicide bomb blasts claiaimed by isis killed at leat 216 people wednesday in one of the group's worst assaults yet inside syria. the violence was centered in syria's southwest, where isis launched an offensive on villages surrounding the city of sweida before suicide attackers targeted a crowded marketplace inside the provincial capital. the isis attacks came amid a syrian military offensive that's brought most of daraa province under government control. saudi arabia has temporarily suspended oil shipments through the bab al-mandeb strait separating the red sea from the indian ocean after houthi rebels in yemen reportedly launched attacks on a pair of tankers, causing damage to one. the state-owned saudi aramco oil company said no one was injured in the attacks and that no oil spilled, but the halt in
shipments caused oil prices to increase worldwide. this comes as the u.k.-based charity, save the children, warned yemen is likely to see a spike in cholera cases as hot summertime conditions favor a resurgence of the water-borne illness. at least 3,000 new cholera cases were reported in the first week of july alone after more than 1 million people contracteted cholera last yeaear. yemen is e experiencining the world's worst humanitarian crisis in the world as a u.s.-led coalition bombing campaign has devastated yemen's infrastructure and helped push millions of yemenis to the brink of famine. in the gaza strip, a tentative ceasefire broke down wednesday, as israeli airstrikes and tank fire killed three palestinians and injured one other. the assaults came after israel says a palestinian sniper injured one of its soldiers at a post along israel's heavily militarized border in southern gaza. meanwhile, the u.n. agency assisting palestinian refugees, known as unrwa, said wednesday it's laying off 250 workers after the trump administration slashed $300 million in funding.
the announcement set off protests by trade unionists, who said as many as 1,000 people could ultimately be let go. in one incident, bystanders intervened to stop a fired unrwa employee from setting himself ablaze after he doused himself in gasoline in an apparent attempt at self-immolation. this is lalaid-off unrwa emplole amal al-batsh. this is a humanitarian disaster, disrespectful to the people and to the workers who provide these services tiered the services are also under threat. what kind of services will unrwa give after it fired workers? amy: the white house said wednesday that president trump's planned meeting with rusussia president vladimir putin this fall will be delayed until at least next year. that is after the midterm elections. trump's national security adviser john bolton said the administration would wait until special counsel robert muller contemplates his i investigation
ininto russian interference in e 2016 election, which bolton called a witch hunt. meanwhile, secretary of state mike pompeo defended president trump's july 16 helsinki summit with president putin, refusing to say what they discussed behind closed doors with only a pair of translators present. this is new jersey's almond anad does from m the senate foreign relations committee questioning pompeo. >> we do not know what the truth is. the only way we will know what the truth is, what happened over those two hours, and amazing amount of time to spend alone, 101, is my understanding that, at least if you are briefed by the president, what he told you. >> senator, presidents are pepermitted to have conversatios with their cabinet members that are not repeated in public. owe the president to have
conversations with him and have the best foreign-policy advice that i canan. amy: a federal judge ruled wednesday that a lawsuit charging president trump with violating an anti-corruption provision of the u.s. constitution can proceed. the lawsuit, which was brought by the attorneys general of baltimore and the district of columbia, contends trump violated the constitution's emoluments clause by receiving payments from foreign governments through the trump international hotel in washington, d.c. it was the first-ever ruling by a federal court defining emoluments and could bolster two similar lawsuits targeting trump's business dealings. in mexico, press freedom groups are calling on the government to thoroughly investigate the death of a journalist and media owner, whon packed, -- ruben pat, was fatally shot six timeses on tuesday in the southern state of quintana roo. the assassination came even though pat was enrolled in a journalist protection scheme organized by the mexican government. he's at least the seventh journalist killed in mexico this year.
employees of the intercept have ratified the first-ever union contract. the deal has unanimous support of members of the writers guild of america east and guarantees pay increases s and paid parentl leave. and a first of its kind provision, the deal guarantees future interviews for job openings must include at least about candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups and journalism, including women, people of color, and members of the lgbtq community. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it has been nine weeks since the trump administration sparked a national crisis by forcibly separating more thanan 2500 migrant childrdren from their parents at the u.s.-mexico border. most were seeking asylum from violence in their home countries of el salvador, honduras, and guatemala. instead, the parents were charged in federal court with a crime for illegally crossing the border, then held in jail and detention. the children, some still breast-feeding, were sent to
shelelters around the country. today is the deadline federal district judge dana sabraw set to reunite these families. but the process has been chaotic, and the government admits that still at least 900 children have yet to be reunited and some 463 separated parents have been deported, even as their children remain in u.s. detention centers. officials say the parents voluntarily agreed to leave their children behind. but in court papers filed wednesday, the aclu argued many parents say they were coerced or misled into signing forms they could not read and were confused about what they were agreeing to. most of the parents are held at the port isabel detention center in south texas as they wait to reunite with their children. many have their requests for asylum heardrd by an immigraratn
judge at a court inside the jail. on wednesday, cnn published audio of a a mother plpleading h judgdge robert powell.l. this is an excerptpt. >> to plelease give me an opportunity to r remain here in this countryry. lifeant, i need, to save ththe of myself f and my sonon. i cannot go back to o my cououn, because when i went to the police over ththere, they did nothing to helelp me. >> have yoyou considered a the evidencece? amy: for more, we are joined by two immigration lawyers who have been representing and providing pro-bono assistance to parents separated from t their childrer, some of whom have still not been reunited by today's court-imposed deadline. in washington, d.c., ofelia calderon is with us. she has a client who was reunited with her daughter, b bt they are now b being held in a
family detention center. she is on the advisory council of legal aid justice center and on the board of the dulles justice coalition. and in mcallen, texas, we are joined by carlos garcia. of his two clients, one was reunited with her six-year-old son earlier this month. the other was reunited wednesday at port isabel just hours ahead of the deadline. as we speak, a march of immigrant children and families is on its way to the u.s. capitol where they plan to hold a sit-in to o demand all of the families be reunited and released. we welcome you both to democracy now! carlos garcia come a can you give us an update on your client brenda and her daughter? >> brenda is from guatemala, and her 13-year-old daughter has been detained in arizona. they have been detained collectively for over a month and two weeks. yesterday afternoon, when i found out that brenda's daughter was on a flight from arizona to
south texas to meet her mom, i dropped to port isabel detention center hoping i woululd not actually able e to e brenda becauause i wanteted hero bebe on the way out of the detention center. unfortunately, i was able totoee her, but that gave me hope because i talked to h her and se felt positive. i came homome and that a phone call at night frfrom a person wh theshararing cell i inside detention center with b brenda, abouout 7:30 p.m. last night, indicating the government had taken brenda out of the detention center. that is as far as i havee heaea. i i am hoping that this morning, when i go o check in the shehelr here where a lot of pepeople are being dropped off and being housed at catholic charities, that i will find her there. amy: can you tell us how these reunifications happen? they happen in the parking lot? >> when i was leaving the detention center yesterday, i walked out and to my right,
there was a big bus, and i saw walking, moms and dads, into the bus. presumably, they were headed down to the shelter where they are staying. those are occurring red outside in the parking lot.. amy: i want to bring ofelia into the conversation in washington, d.c. can you tell us the stories of kids who are reunited with their parents and some of whom still that have not been reunited? >> thank you for asking the question. most of my information right now is very up-to-date to the extent that my own client, one of them, was also detained at port isabel and then transferred to the south texas detention center that is also an adult facility. a number of other mothers and
fathers from port isabel were transferred up to that san antonio facility, i believe because their children must have been in shelters or foster care situations nearby. were a few days, they transferred to the south texas family residential center, and that is where my client was reunited with her daughter. so her daughter was actually not in a shelter. she was in a foster care situation. they reunited. my understanding is that that happened for a large number. there are still people we are in contact with, parents we are in contact with, in san antonio and also port isabel who are still awaiting reunification, sadly. obviously, this is a situation where all monitoring to figure out when and how the reunification's will occur. amy: can you talk about your client that he -- you say she what?essured by ice to do
>> they did appear for some amount of time that she was being pressured to sign a document that would authorize her deportation. let me say this, but he is not the only person who brought this piece of paper to my attention and to the attention of other media outlets. of time wheneriod many parents were being shown a piece of paper, and their options were basically -- i think this is where the confusion lies, because most of them said to me, and i did not see the piece of paper, they were telling me this -- option one was, do you agree to be deported and reunited with your child outside? option two was, do you agree to be deported but reunited with your child before? option three was, do you want to speak to your lawyer? this is how it was explained to me. the questions that arose from that are the parents were, ok, if i sign this this as i agree, will i be reunited with my child or not? and it seemed to be the oma
topped in for reunification, some form of deportation, either before or after. that was very confusing for them. that he would obviously check off the boxes that i want to speak to my lawyer, and when an officer would return, the officer with a, don't you want to be redefined with your child? of course, she does. but she also did not understand what choosing one of these options would mean. frankly, neither did i. garcia, what does it mean when the government says hundreds of people are not eligible to reunite with their children? >> right, there is so much confusion about that. as of friday, i was in touch with a couple of lawyers who were litigating these lawsuits, and they indicated that perhaps my client was identified as a person not eligible for unification, so i was very worried. but the reality is, who knows
basedt was true or not on any kind of definition, because we're not getting any kind of information as to what that means. i i sh we knewew so there wass a way we could address that and a way we could advocate for our identifiedthey were as not eligible for reification. so that is a definition the government has not provided to us. amy: carlos, can you talk about your client lucy who you successfully got released earlier this month and has been reunited with her six-year-old son? the personal impact this crisis has had on you, your mother inviting lucy to her house after she was released, cooking her dinner. you are at ground zero of this, and it is really what many are immigrant kidnapping
crisis, and the kidnappers are the u.s. government. lucy justd to yesterday afternoon, and she was with her son in the dallas area. they were coloring, doing some readining. when you ask me to talk about it felt likewhat to be able to share this moment touchingom, it is very because the stories lucy was telling us were horrific. the treatment she received when she entered the united states was just devastating. she had just fled from a country with her son seeking good opportunities from a country which she felt was going to afford that. unfortunately, our government ended up takingg her child away from her and she was not able to see him for approximately a month. she was not able to talk to him
for about 20 days, which was also devastating for her. it is just very exhausting emotionally, and where lucky and fortunate to have been able to help her. amy: what has lucy told you about her son adapting now, her child? we have heard psychologists putting up groceries on the effect of the trauma of separation. >> you know, when i met this little six-year-old boy and he exited the shelter where he was detained, he was really strong, very optimistic. get someif we could pizza, so we did. he was very upbeat. to lucy sinceked then, and she said that he has been talking now about his experiences being in a detention center, and he is remembered ine of the things that were
-- that occurred while he was in missing hisially mom and not being able to communicate very well with his mom, and that has been extremely sad for him. she is glad he is getting it off his shoulders, off his chest, her voicen tell, changes when she starts talking about that because it is very sad. amy: i want to go back to the audio cnn published of a mother pleading with an immigration judge at a court inside the jail. she requested asylum but was denied. data shows judge powell denies new 80% of the asylum claim he hears, well above the national average of about 50% denials. this is an except of the mother explaining to the judge that she was distracted d during her intervrview about her requesestr asylylum. >> i want to say also that when i have the interview, someme questions i did understanand and
others i d did not. f feeling very i was desperate because the officers first asked me about my son. i was separated d from him. my son remains back at the atbox herere and he was left the floor. i did not know anything about my son when they interviewed me. amy: in that case, judge powell denied the motother's asylum reququests and ordered h her toe deported.. ofelia calderon, can you elaborate on this? >> on the process, i mean, this is something that we need to beware of in terms of how that process works. that is exactly right. the process when you come to the united states is you go through interview andr demonstrate there is a significant possibility you will be subject to prosecution. once you pass that interview, you go on to apply for asylum, for which the standard is essentially, to break it down,
you need to demonstrate there is 10% possibility that you are going to be persecuted on one of the five grounds. when you are at that level, honestly, the fact that you are able to articulate that persecution and a reason why should be sufficient to pass. seemed toabel, there be a blanket negative across the board, and that was shocking. that happened to my own client betty, who had good claims. subsequently, if you do not pass that interview, you have the opportunity to have your case reviewed by an immigration judge . that is what we just heard. we heard an immigration judge not really thinking about what that really meant. that is what i saw when i was in port isabel and in the cases where i represented people. i did not see real review or real process, and that is terrifying for our system as a whole. amy: i want to thank you both
for being g with us,s, immigratn lawyers representing and providing pro bono assistance to parentnts separated from their children, some of -- some of whom still have not been reunited at more than 900 children still separated from their families. this is democracy now! stay with us. ♪ [music break] amy: "freedom is free" in our democracy now! studios.
this is democracy now!. as more than 900 children reremn separated from their parents, we turn now to dr. mona hanna-attisha, a pediatrician from flint michigan who hehelped expose the dangegerous levels of lead in the city's drinking water after testing blood lead levels in children. in 2016, time magazine named mona one of the 100 most influential people in the world. the iraqi-american doctor has jujust published a newew book td "what the eyes don't see: a story of crisis, resistance, and hope in an american city." later in the show, we will discuss the flint water crisis with her. but i first asked her about the health impacts of migrant children being separated from their families. >> as a pediatrician, i applaud mike he did trish and colleagues who have been vocal on this issue. separating children from their parents is a form of trauma. we call it toxic stress, when you have such in early childhood trauma, index we disrupts your brain development.
it causes irreparable harm. these children will suffer from long-term and mental health conditions that may be impossible to fix later on. recommendedtely not , not only speaking as a pediatrician, speaking as a mom, speaking as a human. this is the same kind of toxic stress we have framed our water exposure to all of this adversity and each from a the crisis, being betrayed by government. it is the same kind of texas stress children who are in schools with active shooter's feels -- this is the same kind of stress children who are in schools with active shooters feel. kids a part ofg the border, exposing them to toxins and communities, have high rates of childhood poverty, the highest of all industrialized countries, and look at our gun violence, i think this is a reckoning for
many of us, especially pediatricians o know the science. amy: separating children of the border is really intimately linked to the travel ban that president trump has imposed. over a year ago, you wrote an op-ed piece in "the new york times" with headline, will we lose the doctor who will stop the next flint? you wrote, i discovered that the untreated tap water corroding the city's plumbing was poisoning our children with lead. state officials called my science faulty and accused me of creating hysteria. but i was right and persisted, and with brave parents, pastors, journalists, and scientists demanded answers until this continuing public health disaster was finally acknowledged. you go on a few paragraphs down to say, but as a first-generation iraqi immigrant and as a doctor whose job is to train other doctors, many of them immigrants
themselves, i fear that the american dream is corroding. i worry about the impact of president trump's travel ban, for the moment blocked by court order, and how the republican congress will handle immigration issues. take it from there. personalt your own experience, how you ended up in this couountry. a bigs i is the nightly part of my book, my immigrant story. we came to this country when i was four. we are iraqi-american. i was born in the u.k., but my parents were fleeing iraq. it was at the time saddam hussein were -- was rising and power. my parents saw what was happening to their country. they knew if they went home, they would face a very different future. so we came to this country fleeing dictatorship and tyranny and fascism. we came to this country looking for democracy and freedom and opportunity, and that american dream was absolutely realized for me and my family. lady liberty opened her arms,
and we were welcomed into this country. and i grew up coconfident and competent and committed to service and committed to being part of this country and serving this country, recognizing the privilege i have of being in this country every single day. that i see the lens the world and of how i do my work and how i am committed to this work. and it makes you wonder of those other four-year-olds, those other little kids who we're literally closing our doors upon , what are we going to miss out on? how many nobel prize winners from the u.s. of been immigrants recently? the majority are immigrants. we are all essentially immigrants except native americans. it is absolutely frightening to withhat our future holds this policy. amy: finally, you also give as major history lessons in your eyes don't "what the see."
you talk about the sit-down 1930's in flint in the another collective actions. >> there is quite a bit of history in my book because we have to anand do not see that history as we walk through the places we live. yet, they frame our actions and our current state. flint is the birthplace of the middle class, the birthplace of the american dream. not only was general motors born there, but it was the actions of brave, he wrote, disobedient workers who demanded their fair share of the economy and set down for 44 days in car plants and burst the uaw. it was there brave actions that worked for wages across the country. at one point, flint had the highest per capita income in the country. some of the best public health indices and lowest unemployment
rates because of the actions of these workers. we need to know that history. but itrms flint, informs really all of our actions. public health history, evil lead history. amy: and continuing on the public health h history and activist history of thee 1930's, you yourself have a personal code that -- personal connection. >> my great uncle was a freedom fighter who came to cambridge in the 1930's, to m.i.t. engaged in the resistance that was happening at cambridge. he came on a scholarship. he lost the scholarship because involved in activism, and he went back to iraq and started a left if -- leftist organization in iraq. he went to palestine to fight for independence from england.
ben he went on to spain to one of the freighter fighters in the international per grade, fighting fascism. his work was all about a borderless cause. he would go anywhere to fight for freedom. this was amazingly my great uncle. definitely some genetics at work. amy: we will be back with dr. mona hanna-attisha in 30 seconds. ♪ [music break]
amy: a performance from the democracy now! studios. i am amy goodman. a new report by "pbs frontline" has found the death toll from the water crisis in flint may be higher than michigan officials have acknowledged. the state has admitted 12 people died following an outbreak of legionnaires' disease after the city switched its water supply to the flint river in an attempt to save money. but according to "pbs frontline," the city also saw a spike in pneumonia deaths during the water crisis. some of these deaths may have actually been caused by legionnaires. between april 2014 through october 2015, 119 people died of pneumonia in flint, a jump of 46% from that same time period a year earlier. more than a dozen state and city officials are facing criminal charges, in part for failing to alert the public to the risk of legionnaires' disease during the water crisis. on wednesday, nick lyon, the former head of the michigan
department of health and human services, was in court for a hearing to determine whether he will stand trial on manslaughter charges. well we spend the rest of the , hour with dr. mona hanna-attisha, the flint pediatrician who helped expose the dangerous levels of lead in flint, michigan's drinking water after testing blood lead leveles in children. in 2016, time magazine named mona one of the 100 most influential people in the world. her new book is titled "what the eyes don't see: a story of crisis, resistance, and hope in an american city." she recently came to our studios tiered at we sat down for an interview, and i asked her to describe the situation in flint today. isour water quality definitely improving, absolutely getting better. certainly after we released the findings that children's blood levels were elevated it we switched back. but the 18 months we were on that corrosive water, it ate up our pipes.
they are being replaced, but that does not happen overnight. we have abouout 9000 to go. until those pipes are all replaced, people still need to be unfiltered water or bottled water. back to theo beginning. some people have heard about floodwater, maybe others have not. tell us the story of what actually took place. >> michigan has a c crazy law tt if you are in a near bankruptcy state, the state can swoop in and usurp democracy. flint has been an financial crisis for decades with disinvestment, unemployment, racism, poverty. 2011, there was a state appointed emergency manager they came in with one person, and that was to save money, save money, save money, really no matter the cost. they decided the water we had been getting from each word, fresh great lake water, for half a century, was too expensive for
this minority city that was never bankruptcy here instead, we started drawiwing water to a local flinint river into a new pipeline was to be built. the critical error came where the water from the flint river was not treated properly. the flint river water may have been ok, but it was not treated with the necessary corrosion control. without that medicine, i think of it, that you put in the water treatment that prevents the lead to come out of the plumbing and go into our drinking water. amy: so the corrosive water supply leached out the lead in the pipes. >> absolutely, so we were slow as a nation to look at the science. the lead industry was and continues to be absolutely evil. we still have regulations in serviceat allowed lead lines and to 1986, but not until 2014 at we take it out of brass fixtures. of ourave lead in all
instrument -- infrastructure. new york city hahas the most in lines in the country. but if it is treated, it minimizes it. the corrosive water really just ate up the scale and those pipes already ind the lead the plumbing into the drinking water. amy: it is not as if people were not aware. we went to flint and met with people marching in the streets who said the water smells funny and looks funny. describe the water and what it took, especially what you did. >> the heroes of the story are the people of flint. they were heroic and brave and loud, incredible activism. right when the water switched, they said, hey, the water looks gross, istastes brown, smells like sewage, kids getting rashes. there is bacteria in the water and then chlorine to kill the bacteria.
they felt like they were drinking a s swimming pool. the chlorine caused high levels of chlorine byproducts, which are carcinogens the cost cancer. a few months into the waters which, general motors, which was born in flint, stopped using this water because it was corroding their engine parts. mya full year before research -- amy: this is an amamazing story. we went to the house of one of the union workers in flint who worked at the engine plant, and theygot a waiver because were getting corrosion on their engine parts. they said we cannot sell these engines. so clearly, the city and state news there was something wrong with the water, and the flint workers at the plant were saying, weights, if it is corroding ourur engines, what is happening to our bodies? boggling.ind the state said to relax. they said if you have any in thes about lead
water, you can relax. i heard about the bacteria, the high levels of chlorine, but the state was reassuring everybody. who does not believe that the water that comes out of your tap in the 21st century is ok? michigan, we're literally in the middle of the great lakes. in the middle of the largest source of fresh water in the world. amy: you are holding up your hands, showing flight right below, right there. flint, literally in the middle of the largest source of fresh water in the world. who would believe that, and the 21st century, and the middle of the great lakes, that you turn on your tap in your water is not fine? amy: dr. mona, talk about where you were working. i am a pediatrician and medical educator at our public children's hospital here at families would come see me and would be worried about the water, and i was reassuring families, telling them it is ok,
don't waste your money on bottled water, the state says everything is ok. i was not tipped off until he has go girlfriend came over who happens to be a water expert. at my home, not at work, with a nd, andf wine in my ha she tells me, hey, the water is not being treated properly. i am like, what are you talking about? she said there is no corrosion control, and if you are missing that ingredient, there is going the water.in amy: is she from flint? jerkingrom flight, a water expert, formerly with the epa. so that is when i heard about the possibility of -- a drinking water expert, formally with the epa. so that is when i heard about the possibility of l lead in the water. it was a call to action. it impacts commission and alters a child's entire life course trajectory. form ofready a
environmental racism. our kids in flint already had higher lead levels, just like in detroit and philadelphia. when i heard there was potentially lead in the water, that started my quest to see if it was getting intnto the bodies of our children. i tried to get the data from both the county and the state. theirs something that surveillance programs are for. the levels go to a surveillance system, just like we have surveillance for the flu and hiv. but id to get that data, was blocked in every direction. i did my own research in our hospital which sees the most flint kids. pulled up those labs as quickly as possible and compared children's blood levels before the water switched to after. i noticed that, contrary to every trend happening at the national level, state level, and even our city level where lead levels had been going down for years because we got lead out of
paint a and guzzlining, there wn increase. even if it had stayed the same, it w would be alarming. it was a massive underestimation of exposure. amy: talk about what happened as he gathered the information. you had people with rashes and hair falling out. out, worriedalling about their children, all kinds of nondescript symptoms. the hard thing with environmental health exposure, especially lead, if you cannot rerely 10 poinint it, if it does not have one symptom -- i wish it had purple spots, but it is known as a silent pediatric epidemic. consequencese the until years after exposure, and then it is too late. when wee knew we had this data s all the increase in children's blood levels and it was in the same geographic areas where the water lead level was the highest, we tried to alert local officials who were not interested in listening.
so i had a press conference, and this is definitely not something doctors do. it is actually kind of a form of academic disobedience. you are supposed to release your research in journals and publications, and it is supposed to go through a peer review process, which takes time. our kids in flint at no time. amy: described what happened when you got the numbers back, before the news conference at what d did you see? >> i was in my office at the hospital with what if my co-researchers, another young woman, a young mom, and we got the data back that showed the increase of lead levels. i tried every which way to prove i was wrong. be a statistical devil's advocate. i did not want to be right. to be right, to have seen an increase of blood levels, was children.ur that is not what these flint kids need d who are already struggliling with every o obstae toto their success.
amy: so then you decided to hold his news conference. >> right, decided to hold a news conference. literally walked out of the clinic and enter this conference room, a press conference. amy: i want to go to a clip of that news conference. >> the percentage of children with elevated blood lead levels has seen the most striking increase in zip codes with the highest water lead levels. amy: so that is dr. mona hanna-attisha at a news conference announcing the results of the study she had done based on the kids of flint. dr. mona hanna-attisha is a pediatrician and flint, michigan . talk about the response to this news conference. >> i should not have been surprised, because everybody in the story who had raised the flag had been attacked, the inlude herbal moms, activist just the incredible moms, activists, scientists, everybody was denied and attacked.
when i should evidence, facts, proof that there was an alarming increase in children's blood lead levels, i was also and attacked, called an unfortune researcher that was causing near hysteria, which is blatant sexist, and that i was slicing and dicing numbers. and that the state's data was not my data. when the state attacks you, you feel like crap. i doubted myself, second-guessed myself, maybe i was wrong. i quickly realized that every single kid in my data, every number, every statistic was a child, a child that i had probably cared for within the last year or so. and they gave me the strength to fight back, because this was not about numbers, this was about kids and their futurure. amy: talk about your data versus the state's data. so if you were not wrong, they were wrong. >> they were wrong.
they said our numbers don't show this, it is not consistent with your findings. week, twoabout a weeks of this back-and-forth, comparing data, fighting, and in the media. finally, the state's medical doctor called me and said, tell me how you did your research. let's have a physician to physician conversation, so cut the crap. what did you do? that forced the state to go back and look at their data. when they did go back, they saw the same thing that i had s see. amy: so you are at the governor's office, the governor of michigan, and he is attacking you. and then the next thing we see is a news conference of governor schneider, and you are standndig at his side. let's go to o that news conference. >> our most recent data indicates 43 had elevated blood levels since october 1,
including c children n under te agedf six, seven childrdren six to 17, and 13 adults. once a child had an elevated blood level result, we are working with the health department to provide case mananagement. amy: described what happened next. anybody whork with is willing to work for children. that is the constituency that i respond to. it was the governor's first visit in flint, and a new mayor had just been elected. they were discussing the situation and d what needed to e done. amy: that was dr. weaver, the psychologist, who almost ran a single plank and i am goining to deal w with the water ofof flin. absolutely, a pediatric psychologist well aware of the consequences of the crisis. i was standing at this press
conference with the new mayor, the governor, many cabinet members, and they had acknowledged the crisis but were continuing to downplay it. although i was standing there and was asked to be there with them, i could not agree with what they were saying. they were saying only a few children were exposed in that it fault thatool's there was high levels in the schools, not the corrosive and untreated water. so i shook my head, this is not right, in opposition to what they were saying. amy: so they cherry picked their data. it is not a matter of they happened to have different conclusions than you and call you to say we should do it another way. this had been developing for a few years people have been raising many concerns. so what did they leave out that you found? all these emails that
came out, the state health department had actually looked levels of previous summer. so in the summer of 2015, they analyzed levels from the summer of 2014 and actually saw a spike in children's load lead levels that did not share that information. was another missed opportunity where this crisis could have been averted. happened next.at governor rick snyder is still the governor of michigan, but a number of his top aides have been indicted. >> there have been o over 15 criminal charges. in addition to a lead crisis, we had one of the largest outbreaks of legionnaires disease, which causes pneumonia and fatality. people died from legionnaires disease, which was also from the untreated water. there was an uptick in ammonium here at homicide charges come
with that. there have been charges against the water quality, water treatment folks, people at the health apartment, emergency managers, city officials. there have been many investigations and ongoing accountability issues. amy: talk about the role of the epa, the environmental protection agency, which is extremely relevant today with the rollback of regulations, but this was not during the trump administration. >> this was during the obama administration. the head of the epa region five had resigned because of this crisis. the epa did their own internal report with their inspector general and noted that they should have acted seven months sooner. there were he rohit brave, defiant folks at the epa who were raising the alarm bells about what was happening and flint, but they were also silent. now, becauseing
the epa is further beingng emasculated, almost being permanently dismantled with regulations and cuts, so it is even more concerning. amy: there was an epa whistleblower. you had the head of the epa stepping down, but there was someone who was willing to share his data with residents of flint so alarmed by what he saw. >> his name is miguel del toro, and he came to flint after an called him. leann walters said, hey, i think something is wrong with my water. he used his own money to do testing and flint. he inspected her own house, and he wrote a damming report and mirror in july of 2015, really early on, with alarm bellsls everywhere saying, hey, there is lead in flint's water and wee
need to look into this. he was silenced. the state called him a rogue employee. he had to kind of apologize for his behavior. michigan department of health and huhun services direct n nick lyons facing manslaughter charges. >> bececause of the legionnaires ououtbreak. amy: what should they have done at the time, aside from not having switched the water supply? >> absolutely. i wish they never would have switched this water supply, because it was all preventable, all man-made. but when we knew the elevated saw aof lead levels and few cases of legionnaires disease, people should have been alerted, providers alerted. hehealth advisories shouould hae gone into effect. it should have been a red flag. there were so many missed opportunities. for 18 months, people remained on this water source and suffered the consequences.
amy: you talked about the city managers. >> the emergency manager was indicted. amy: you had the city council of flint voting overwhelmingly to return to the original water elected and the un manager saying, how dare you do this -- it,ecause we cannot afford because poor people evidently are not good enough for clean water. is this how our society is supposed to be? shouldn't public welfare benefit all? amy: so you have the crisis of floodwater, and then you have the state of michigan now approving a controversial permit to allow the largest water bottling company and the world, nestlé, , to expand operations n michigan. the department of environmental quality has given the ok to nestlé to withdraw 400 gallons a minute from the state's
groundwater table, despite receiving over 80,000 public comments against the project. nestlé is not required to pay anything to extract this water besidedes a small l permitting e to the statate and the cost of leases to private landowners. 7000é's bottled water is times more expensive than what nestlé is actually paying for. critics say nestlé should not be allowed to profit from the state's natural sources at a titime when cities like flint ae still facing a cririsis over contaminated water. when we wewent to flint toto tak about the poisoning of american went to the also source of nestlé's water. when we were in n flint, we were being handeded bottled water everywhere. companies were giving truckloads of bottled water to people, which was also great advertising for them. more importantly, where was this water coming from? the issue of this bottled water,
talk about it. >> this is unreal. the same week the state granted nestlé this permit for $200 a year for unlimited access to the great lakes, it was the same week they cut bottled water for flint. there are people in flint who still cannot afford water. they are getting shut off because they canannot pay theier bills for water. they still need to use a filter to drink from, and we grant a corporation unlimited access to the great lake water. it is mind-bogoggling, tone dea, unreal. amy: flint, michigan, pediatrician dr. mona hanna-attisha. her new book "w"what the eyes don't see." if you would like to go back to the documentary we did and flanked when we were there during the height of the crisis, you can go to democracynow.org