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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  November 16, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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11/16/18 11/16/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is democracy now! >> i have said many times before we were to his low just bought russian interference, too slow to get on top of it. and we certainly stumbled along the way. but to suggest we were not interested in knowing the truth or that we wanted to hide what we knew or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue. amy: a bombshell "new york times" investigation reveals
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facebook executives, including mark zuckerberg and sheryl sandberg, new of a russian misinformation campaign on the facebook and took a series of extraordinary actions to reserve the e company's reputation, including hiring a republican opposition research firm to discredit critics and spread disinformation, linking critics to the billionaire liberal donor george soros. we speak with rashad robinson, president of color of change, one of the groups targeted by the firm. and we speak with siva vaidhyanathan, the author of "antisocial media: how facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy." plus, we will look at how the justice department has inadvertently revealed it has prepared an indictment against wikileaks founder julian assange . we will speak with wikileaks atattorney jenninifer rorobinsoi london. then to o california, where the
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death toll from the camp fire has risen to 63 people with more than 600 missing. we speak to the hidden heroes on the frontlines of california's raging climate-fueled wildfires, prisoner firefighters. you are risking your life here. >> that is exactly what is going on. amy: how much do you make? an hour.llar amy: some call that slave labor. what you think of that? >> no matter if we are incarcerated or free, we are getting paid one dollar an hour. amy: at least 60% of the firefighters -- 16% of the firefighters battling the california's wildfires are prisoners, paid a dollar an hour, saving the state up to $100 million a year. is this a modern day form of slave labor? we go to a california prison camp to speak with incarcerated firefighters. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the death toll from the northern california's camp fire has risen to at least 63 and authorities are now saying over 630 people are missing, double the previous count. the wildfire has grown to 141,000 acres and destroyed a total of nearly 12,000 structures, including almost 10,000 homes, mostly in the decimated town of paradise. evacuated residents now face the challenge of finding shelter, as hundreds have taken to camping out in a walmart parking lot. the camp fire was 40% contained by thursday. meanwhile, the woolsey fire in the los angeles area is now over 60% contained. a massive cloud of smoke hangs over parts of northern california. one environmental monitoring group says the region now has the worst air quality in the world. residents and workers in butte
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county and surrounding areas have been urged to remain indoors, as schools in butte county have remamained shut sine the fire started. dozens of schools across the bay area will be closed today due to the poor air quality. the justice department has inadvertently revealed it has prepared an indictment against wikileaks founder julian assange . in an unusual development, language about the charges against assange were copied and pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. in the document kellen dwyer writes -- "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that assange has been charged." the news broke on thursday night just hours after "the wall street journal" reported the justice department was planning toto prosecute assangege. we will have more on this story later in the show. we will speak with julian
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assange's attorney jennifer robinson. in florida, the senate race is headed to a manual recount after a machine recount ended republican governor rick scott's thursday. narrow lead over democratic incumbent bill nelson. but the margin between the two candidates is still less than .25%. several counties missed the deadline for reporting recount tallies, including palm beach and broward county, which missed the deadline by 2 minutes. the florida gubernatorial race has republican ron desantis ahead of democrat andrew gillum by 0.41%, making him the likely winner, though gillum has vowed to keep pushing for all votes to be counted, including a number ofof ballots rejecteted due to signature or other discrepancies. in maine, democrat jared golden beat out republican incumbent congressmember bruce poliquin after the state's new ranked-choice voting system put
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him ahead by a thin margin. the race was the first to use ranked-choice voting for a federal election after maine voted to implement the system in a 2016 ballot measure. to rankem allows them their preferred candidates in order of preference. poliquin with the last republican congressmember representing new england. in california's traditionally conservative orange county, scoredt katie porter has an upset, beating out republican incumbent congressmember mimi walters and flipping another house seat for the democrats.. porter is a consumer law expert and a protege of senator elizabeth warren. democrats have so far picked up 36 congresessional seats, with a handful of races still uncalled. the trump administration announced sanctions against 17 saudis on thursday over the murder of journalist jamal khashoggi, who entered the saudi consulate in istanbul, turkey, on october 2 and was never seen again.
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the sanctions did not include the crown prince or any top saudi intelligence officials. this came as saudi arabia's public prosecutor announced indictments against 11 saudi agents, saying it would seek the death penalty against five of them. meanwhile, reports emerged thursday of efforts by the trump administration to extradite exiled turkish cleric and opposition figure fethullah gulen in order to placate turkish president recep tayyip erdogan and reduce possible turkish pressure on the saudis. he lives in the poconos in the united states. more migrants from several central american caravans have been arriving at the u.s.-mexico border. one of the first groups to arrive at the border was a splinter group of lgbtq migrants who say they left the main caravan after facing discrimination and harassment.
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a texas-based migrant rights group provided buses to help bring the lgbtq group from mexico city to tijuana. this is lgbtq migrant cesar rico. >> we don't want to jump over walls. we don't want to violate u.s. law. we are group of around 70 people from essentially diverse lgbtq community. fleeing from discrimination. we, fleeing from a lot of violence in honduras and central america. we plead, help us. open your doors. we don't come to do evil. amy: north korea announced it will deport an american citizen who has been detained for over one month for entering the country illegally. the release is seen as a sign of good will from the north koreans who have previously held u.s. prisoners for much longer periods, often using them as pawns in political negotiations. in more news from north korea, leader kim jong un has reportedly supervised a test of
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anan advanced, high-h-tech weaen according to north korean state media. in bangladesh, plans to forcibly repatriate rohingya refugees back to burma were suspended after hundreds of refugees protested the plans, voicing fear of further persecution and killings by the burmese military. this is one of the protesters. >> we will not go there until they recognize our community. they must return our land. we will not stay in camps. the military kicked me, killed my child which i was caring, and shot and killed my son. we will not receive any myanmar national verification cards. they must recognize us as rohingya. if they force us to go, i will die along with my children under the wheels of a vehicle or we will take poison to die. amy: earlier this week, the u.n. called on bangladesh to delay the planned repatriation. over 10,000 rohingya were
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killed, while more than 700,000 fled burma from august 2017 to august 2018, according to u.n. numbers. in more news from bangladesh, jailed photographer shahidul alam was granted bail thursday after more than 100 days behind bars. the renowned photographer and activist was arrested in august on suspicion of engaging in "propaganda and false infoformation" aftfter giving an intervrview to al jajazeera abot the ststudent protesests in bangngladesh. > this has s been going o ona vevery long time.. they did not really hahave a mandate e to r rule, but they he been taken obyby bruteorcece. the loototing of the bank come t the jackcking of the media. the e extrajudiciaial killings,e disapppprances. briberery at all levels. corrrruption.
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it is a never ending list. amy: press freedom and human rights groups have called out the bangladeshi government's crackdown on journalists. dozens of journalists and hundreds of bloggers were prosecuted last year for publishing content deemed to be blasphemous or defamatory. in the democratic republic of the congo, militias killed at least seven ♪ [music break] u.n. peacekeepers during an operation targeting rebel forces in the city of beni wednesday. multiple congolese soldiers were reportedly also killed in the fighting. beni is currently at the center of the country's worst ebola outbreak, which has killed arouound 200 people.e. back in the united states, seven women are suing dartmouth college over sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination. three male professors -- todd heatherton, william kelley, and paul weiland -- are accused of creating a "21st century animal house."
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the three men allegedly coerced women into drinking, groped, leered at, and in some cases sexually assaulted the women. the lawsuit alleges that a "predatory boy's club" culture made female students feel trapped and forced into unwanted acts for fear of risking their careers. reports of the professors' conduct were reportedly ignored by dartmouth for sixteen years and the university allowed the men to either retire or voluntarily resign rather than face legal or disciplinary action. in kentucky, the white man who shot and killed two african-american customers at a grocery store last month has been charged with three hate crimes and three firearm offenseses. before the deadly shootiting, gregory y bush w was captured oa surveillance camera trying to force open the doors of a predominantly black church, the first baptist church of jeffersontowown, before turnrnig his attetention to a nearby kror
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supermarket where he opened fire and killed maurice eugene and vickie lee joneses. bush could face the death penalty for the hate crime charges. the food and drug administration has announced it will restrict the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes to businesses where minors are prohibited in an effort to combat the surge in teen vaping. many expected the fda to announce a full ban on flavored e-cigarettes. fda commissioner scott gottlieb was questioned about his investments in a chain of vaping lounges during his senate confirmation hearing, but has denied this had any bearing on the recent decision and said he is no longer an investor. the fda is also seeking to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. in m maryland, journalists from the baltimore sun, the capital gazette, and the carroll county times have moved to unionize. the papers are all owned by tribune publishing.
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staffers cite job cuts, low pay, and lack of resosources as reass for their organizing drive, calling out poor decision-making from distant corporations. organizers are asking for voluntary recognition of their guild from tribune publishing the capital gazetttte in annapos was the site of a deadly shooting earlier this year, when a gunman shot and killed five journalists. and in new york city, hundreds of housing rights activists and members of the democratic socialists of america came out in the freezing rain and snow thursday night calling for universal rent control. protesters marched on wall street and in front of the nearby real estate board of new york. democracy now! spoke with some of the protesters. ofi'm executive director tenants and neighbors. what we're seeing is companies like blackstone, for example,
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and what they're doing is buying up as much affordable housing as they can in new york and across the country. they by this housing with people living in it, and they do that not for the intention of making the housing better for the people who live there, their business model is predatory equity. it is to displace the tenants who were there so they can get more money. >> i'm a member of the democratic socialists of america. we're calling for universal rent control, which would help the .eople of queens this is to regulate all housing in new york to keep housing affordable for people so people can keep living in their homes when big corporations come in and try to push them out. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the justice department has inadvertently revealed and prepared an indictment against wikileaks founder julian
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assange. in an unusual development, language about the charges against him were copy and paste it into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. in the document assistant u.s. attorney kellen dwyer wrote -- "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that assange has been charged." the news broke on thursday night just hours after "the wall street journal" reported the justice department was planning to prosecute assange. julian assange has been living since 2012 in the ecuadorean embassy in london where he has sought refuge and political asylum. it's unclear what charges may be brought against h him. the justice department has previously considered prosecuting him over his role in the release of hacked dnc emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as over the release of the so-called iraq and afghanistan war logs, shared
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by u.s. military whistleblower chelsea manning. the assange case has been closely followed by advocates for press freedom. kenneth roth of human rights watch tweeted -- "deeply troubling if the trump administration, which has shown little from a government official and publishing classified information -- exactly what journalists do all the time." we go now to london where we are joined by human rights attorney jennifer robinson. she has been advising julian assange and wikileaks since 2010. welcome back to democracy now! can you talk about this of thetent revealiling intent to arrest julian assange? >> this is confirmation of what we have been concerned about and talking about since 2010. it is the reason that julian assange sought asylum and
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granted asylum inside the ecuadorian embassy and the reason he remains there today. this concerns what we have been saying, that there is a very real risk the united states is going to seek to prosecute him for his publishing activities and seek to extradite him. and if there was to be in indictment, it would be sealaled and sigrid and we would not know it existed until as which time he was in custody. this is what we have learned from the u.s. department of disclosure overnight and it granted of why he was asylum in the first place. amy: can you talk about his reaction? have you spoken to him inside the ecuadorian embassy right now? >> i have not yet been able to speak them personally. i am going into the embassy shortly to discuss it with him. of course we are concerned. there have been rumors over the past two weeks about what might happen.. we musust remember this didiscle ofe from the district virginia. this is a criminal investigation started in 2010 in relation to
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disclosures made by wikileaks and "the new york times" and other major newspapers around the world which revealed evidence of u.s. war crimes, evidence the united states had not been honest with the american public about how many civilians have been killed and the iraq and afghanistan wars. these are important public interest disclosures. and that a publisher could face accusations is a a concern not just for us and julian assange, which is what we will be discussing l later today, but also a concern for all of the press come all of ththe domestic press in the u.s., but also what it says about what the united states is doing in terms of exercising jurisdiction in terms of publishers all over the world. does this mean the u.s. could seek to prosecute a pubublisher policy information from abroad about material about the united states? will russia, will saudi arabia, will china start to follow suit? i think this raises questions not just for julian assange, but
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journalists and publishers in the u.s. and everywhere who are publishing material about other states around the world. amy: i want to reread the tweet from kenneth raab, of human rights watch, who said -- john "deeply troubling if the trump administration, which is shown little regard for media freedom, would charge assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information exactly what journalists do all the time." agree with them anymore. as we have said since 2010, investigating or criminal -- a criminal investigation into wikileaks sets a dangerous precedent for all of media. this is what "the new york times" general counsel has been saying for many years, that he does that see how the u.s. government can distinguish between what wikileaks does and what "the new york times" does. this was started under the obama administration. as we warned, this is a precedent that is dangerous and now we're president trump who is
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called the press in america people. he is been openly hostile toward "the new york times" and other mainstream media organizations. i think everyone ought to be concerned about with this potential indictment means. .e are concerned it is why julian assange sought asylum. but this has implications for all media in the u.s. and elsewhere around the world. amy: i want to turn to former nsa is very director michael hayden who appeared on cnn this morning. fast-forward to sending an agent of wikileaks to hong kong to assist edward snowden in the flight from u.s. justice? you then later have the release of cyber hacking tools, apparently stolen from the united states government. i'm not even up to the question of the american election in 2016 yet. i think there is a reason why he stayed in the ecuadorian embassy in london for so long.
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--: he went on to talk about comparing him to a journalist, speaking to john berman, saying because journalists curate information. any started talking -- by talking about helping edward snowden in hong kong, sending another person's from wikileaks to help snowden leave hong kong. 'slk about julian assange history and hayden saying these are the reasons you should be arrested even outside of whatever the mueller inquiry iss about. questionse those two separately. we have the fact that we can assist snowden asylum and the fact that wikileaks published ca materials. wikileleaks has done what other media organizations can and should develop time, which is receiving classified information and publishing it in the public interest. that information was verified
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and shown to be in the public interest and wikileaks has done no different than any other media organization of publishing that material. with respect to assisting edward snowden. he is been granted asylum. the disclosures made by snowden have been demonstrated to be in the public interest. we're seeing decisions on americans constitutional rights to privacy, showing the conduct of the american government was unconstitutional. import information. i think the world has been grateful for the information that edward stone has made. that he is now protected from extradition and prosecution for having made those disclosures is important, and wikileaks is to be thanked for that. should someone face prosecution for having assisted whistleblower, for having published information in the public interest? behink americans ought to asking themselves those questions. what does it mean for american democracy? amy: let me go to mike pompeo. last year just after he became , and pompeo's first
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major address, he blasted wikileaks. looks it is time to call out wikileaks for what it really is, the nonstate hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like russia. they champion nothing but their own celebrity. their moral compass is nonexistent. their mission, personal self aggrandizement or destruction of western valulues. amy: that was pompeo. what his boss,st president trump, headset. i believe in a camampaign in a month or two. he raised wikileaks, praised wikileaks well over 100 timemes. let's s go to o one of those moments. presestrump: this s just came o. th just came out. wikileaks -- i love wikileaks. go. there you jennifer robinson, if you could talk about pompeo and trump? statements as the
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head of the cia demonstrate the fervor within the cia and certainly to be seeking wikileaks prosecution. but to say receiving a publishing information is an attack on western values is frankly wrong in a dangerous statement to be coming from the head of the cia and someone who is been very senior in the trump administration. this cuts at the heart of constitutional protections for free speech. it is protected under the u.s. constititution to receive and publish information that is in the public interest, even classified information. in any publisher could be called a hostile intelligegence agency when media organizations around the world all the time, including "the new york times" and "the washington post," receive classified informatioion and publisish it when is s in e public interest,t, to sasay thas a a attack on western values is very dangerous statement that ought to be investigated. speaking to trump's statements during the election, it is important to note wikileaks has
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been doing the same thing it has always been doing, which is, again, receiving a publishing information in the public interest. if we look back to 2010, the cable gate material, the iraqi and afghanistan war logs demonstrating human rights abuse and corruption by the american government around the world, at that time, wikileaks was lauded by the progressive left wing press and by the liberal establishment. on fox news, people like sarah palin were calling for him to be killed by drone strike. politicsard and the cuts in different ways but the principle of what they'd remains the same. to publish information that is been verified to be correct and in the public interest. and now that the u.s. is taking such an approach toward possibly extraditing a publisher raises serious concerns about u.s. press freedom for all publishers and all journalists in the united states. about thet to ask you
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mueller inquiry, and i want to turn to a moment on democracy now! when we had journalist allan nairn on debating julian asassange on democracy now! >> first, i've a bririef questin for julian assange. said you did not get the leaks directly from the state. do you know that russia didid nt give you the leaks through an intermediary? > i'm m not gogoing to be plg 2020 questioions on our soururc. i'm sure you undnderstand. we're not going to be in scribing circles around who o or sosources are, how we communicae ththhem. any properties that might be usus t tarrest them or criticize them in some future process. >> so it is possible that russia
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gave you the leaks through an intermediary? >> and simply not going to comment. amy: that was julian assange and allan nairn. can you talk about what julian and what youere know of the mueller investigation, investigating links between president trump associates and russia's 2016, whether they were interfering with u.s. elections and what wikileaks had to do with that? as julian assangege said, wikileaks has made very clear they did not receive the information from a state source. -- they're careful about their sourcing and protecting the resources, which is why the organization continues to receive such sensitive, public interest in formation. there have been no information further from, at least that we
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received, but any indication of potential charges. i think it raises questions about sourcing and the protection of publication -- publisher's ability to be able to publish. in our view, there's no connection between wikileaks and any kind of conspiracy. there's no evidence even in the dnc suit that has been publicly there isinst wikileaks any indication of any prior arrangement or conspiracy that wikileaks has received information from a source and published it, information shown to be in the public interest which demonstrated corruption democratic party. this is important public interest information and "the new york times," would have published it had they received it. publishers have the right to receive and publish information in the public interest, and that is what wikileaks does. they should not be prosecuted for doing so. amy: how is julian assange in embassy? he is been there for more than six years. it is a tiny embassy. what is his condition? >> he has been inside the
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embassy now for many years. indeed, over the past six months, he has been in there without access to the internet and my phone calls, or visitors. week, he started to have visitors this week, which is a good development. his health is deteriorating. this is something we have been concerned about for a long time. he does not have access to outdoor area. he doesn't have the ability to seek proper medical l treatment. it is incredibly difficult situatioion and nonot one anyone shoulde forced to be in this position. the confirmation we have had today shows his decision to seek asylum was the correct one and a quarter's decision to grant it was the correct one. -- ecuador's decision to grant it was the correct one. i think he is in as good of spirits as you can expect.
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i will wait to see him later this afternoon and have a discussion with him. amy: the ecuadoran embassy cut off his access to internet or does he have it now? have restored his ability to be able to have visitors. in terms of the internet restrictions, there's a range of protocols in place. r restrictitions have been lifted in terms of visitors, and it has made a difference for him, certainly, the past week. amy: does julian assange feel he can walk outside? have the british government say they will arrest him if he does? >> the british government has hee very clear if and when walks out of the embassy, he will be arrested to face potential prosecution for breach of bail and seeking asylum inside the embassy. we believe he has a just excuse for having done so, having sought asylum particularly in circumstances where the u.s. has a sealed indictment. whetherns to be seen there is an indictment and
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whether they will seek his extradition. as we heard from the confirmation overnight, we won't know that until he is in custody. we very much expect there will be in a tradition request. request.ition so should he walked out, he will be arrested, face the proceedings, and likely in extradition request. amy: jennifer robinson, we want to thank you for being with us, human rights attorney, advising julian assange since 2010. to see our series of interviews with julian assange, both inside the ecuadoran embassy in london only traveled there and are interviews with him when we were here just talking to him, you can go to this is democracy now! back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. that is johnny cash. delay. deny. deflect. that's the name of a new bombshell investigation by "the new york times" revealing that facebook executives, including ceo mark zuckerberg and chief operating officer sheryl sandberg, were aware of a russian misinformation campaign on the social media network, and
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took a series of extraordinary private actions to preserve the , whose reputation, launching an -- preserve the company's reputation, launching an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat critics and spread misinformation. "the new york times" investigation reveals facebook hired the republican opposition-research firm definers public affairs to discredit critics of facebook, linking them to the billionaire liberal donor george soros. facebook also allegedly lobbied a jewish civil rights group to condemn criticism of the company as anti-semitic. since the publication of the investigation, facebook has announced it will cut ties with definers. during thursday's press call, zuckerberg dismissed claims facebook ignored russia's election meddling or undermine investigations. >> said many times before that we were too slow to spot russian interference, too slow to get on top of it.
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and we certainly stumbled along the way. but to suggest we were not interested in knowing the truth or that we wanted to hide what we knew or that we try to prevent investigations is simply untrue. amy: zuckerberg dodged questions about anyone being fired in light of "the new york times" revelations. he said facebook plans to institute an independent oversight board. for more, we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by rashad robinson, president of color of change, one of the organizations targeted by definers public affairs, the pr company facebook employed. and in durham, new hampshire, we're joined by s siva vaidhyanathan, the author of "antisocial media: how facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy." he is a professor of media studies and director of the center for media and citizenship at the university of virginia. this new article is headlined "facebook is a normal sleazy
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company now." we welcome you both to democracy now! "the can you summarize new york times investigation and what most surprised you and concerned you about t what it revealeded about f facebook?k? > sure. look, this investigation tookk more than six months.
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too. hey groups andnd political opoperatives is thmomore mainstream. facebook w we know has been scrorolling toto make see ofof t and dedeclaring itself ininnocet and ignorant for months and years. mark zuckerberg has seemed stunned by this cognitive dissidents that -- this thing that he created that was supposed to unify the world and make us treat each other better has turned out to do just the opposite. ist "the time school group showing is that mark zuckerberg times" shows is mark zuckerberg has checked out. he is let other people handle the reactions to those revelations and those other people include his chief operating officic sheryl
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sandberg. butt there''s a whole team of people, including a number of lobbyists who either work correctly for facebook or contracted for facebook wiwill start and they had been -- this is what is mind blowing -- they have been distribibuting the sae kinds of propaganda thatt h have been underermining faith i in amamerican institutionons a and american democcycy, the same kind of propagaganda that t have been d distracting, ththe same d of p propaganda ththat it generd violence in other parts ofof the world, the same kininds of propaganda thahat link critics o gegeorge soros. facebook i is basically employ a compmpany to engage in the veryy sorts of propaganda a anti-semic and oththerwise against its crititics. critics on the hill l in the publicic sector, critics i in te techchnology world, its competititors like twtwitter and google. it is really stunnining that facebook was so foolish and clueless. more than ththat, it shows how desperatate the leadership of facebook i
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while zuckererberg has been checked out, doesn't know what is goioing on, sandberg g has bn enengaged in allll sorts o of nefarious machinations leveragiging her political and cultural capapital, , which is substantial. she onene of thee m most conned people in america corporate life, , having workeked in the treasury departmtment of the clinton administration, worked for r larry summers, having word at googlgle, haven't writttten severaral best s selling b book- having wriritten sever best selling books. shehe is tremendous pull. the person she is most poll with it seems is chuck schumer, the senanator from new yorork on the most powerful democrat in the senate. the secocond revelelation was shockingng, chuck schurr approached my senatator mark warner andnd said, you need to backff o of facebobook. facebook is a friend of the demomocrats, sandberg g is a frd of t the democrats, you needed o easysy. fortunately, my senator cares more about t the publilic than donatitions fromom facebook. he is been able to make a stand and ignore chuck schumer.
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not every senator is willing to dodohat. i think we can safely assume because of schumer's implicications, hi connections with facebook, his dependence on facebook and the fact that chuck schumer's daughter works for facebook, we probably can't count on reasonable legegislati, regulation coming out of the u.s. senate anytime soon. amy: well, rashad robinson, you're president of cocolor of change. talk about how your group fits into this picture. your response to the news that facebook hired a pr firm trying to discredit its critics, a part of a group you were part of. >> i mean, "the new york times" story does have some inacaccuracies and l links us to this group freedom from facebook, which color of change isn't and has never been a member of come although we do know some of the work they're doing. for the last several years, color of change as an independent black political civil rights organization, has pushed facebook around its wide
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range of civil rights practices, around a w wide range of violations. everytything from the e way that raise was weaponize on their platform during the 2016 election, facebook pages and groups were created to drum up hate, to the ways in which certain practices on their platform circumvent civil rights law. you can use algorithms to market housing to certain communities and cut certain communities out of it, sort of avoid public accommodation laws. there is ways in which some of the issues around safety and attack hate language targeted black activists have not been debt with. we called for an letter campaign to demand facebook -- led a campaign to demand d facebook oa civil rights audit of a all of e practices. we won that campaign. facebook agreed. over the last several months, we
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have been in deep conversation back and forth as they pursued the civil rights audit. and to be sitting across the table with facebook may be pushing them around, everything from how they think about the election and voting rights and how voter suppression could be drummed up on their platform, to racial justice issues on their platform and hate speech, to have all of that sort of happen while at the same time they hired a firm that really sort of put out this anti-semitic and anti-black narrative, anti-semitic sort of narrative that this jewish billionaire controls the w world, that jews control the world is deeply troublesome. it has deep historical challenges. undermineo seeks to social movement. the idea that as a black civil rights organization founded in the aftermath of hurricane katrina when black people were literally on their roofs
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demanding the government do black readerstwo can together to build color of change them a force to channel the presence that what people have in the world because power to make real change -- that our victories, our strategies, our visions for how wehththt fight r liberation for black people is somehow controlled by some white liberal billionaire who decides to give us some money and we , ist have our own ideas deeply troubling and deeply anti-black. the fact of the matter is, george soros is not our biggest donor. he is not evil one of our topp five biggest donors. if you wanted to be and give us a lot more money to fight the causes that we fight every day, we would take that money. we don't as an organization racially profile or profile by religion are donors. we doo not accept money from corporations. we do not accept money from governments. what we do every single day is try to work to build power and to change the rules that whole
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black people back. rightin this conversation now is deeply troubling. to have facebook to employ these tactics, which are being deployed around the world, especially in this moment where we have seen such an uptick in anti-semitic hate and uptick in anti-black kate, s seeing the consequences of thahat and realy starark ways with deep violets happening to communities that facebook would do that -- and has yet to apologize for the hiring of this firm, for these tactics. at the endnd of the day, facacek is an incredibly powerful platform, the most powerful communication platform in the world. we recognize as a civil rights organization that sits across the table from facebook and refuses to take money from them, we recognize that we have to do the work to hold them accountable. that is part of what we have to do to move independence. it is just going to be harder over these next couple of
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months, recognizing that these are some of the tactics that they a are willing to deploloy. the final thing i will say about this is, we have noticed an uptick over the last several months of people can of journalists asking us if we had money from george soros. we have noticed an uptick in attacks on her website. personal threats against me as the leader where we had had to hire an engage a secret expert. this has real consequences for the safety, for the well-being for our ability to express our will for a better future. you may disagree with our tactics, but to attack us and make us unsafe simply because we're trying to push you on a set of civil rights issues is shameful. we hope facebook addresses this. we put out a set of domains for them. and there is really work that has to be done now to not just repair the relationship, butut o
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move us forward with the concrete changes that have to be made. amy: what do know about the finest public affairs, this republican lobbying from in washington? >> we don't know a lot about them. they are a firm said to be made up of a whole set of veterans from republican campaigns. one could imagine the way that we source or tactics deployed in this last election, we saw the new minority leadeder for the house of representative m mccary tweet out shortly before the election that we can have our election but i george soros, michael bloomberg, andnd tom stier. mentioning three jewish donors. he actually pulled that tweet down after the jewish synagogue in pittsburgh was shot up by the terrorist action.
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pulled that down bececause it ws very clear that that type of folksive about jewish sort of controlling and dictating the terms that which people raise their voices, make their voices heard in our democracy, fight for a better fufuture, is this old trope. and the fact they would take it down, recognize ththat they knew they had a problem. but we've seeeen these tactics deployed across the right wing. and to see an organization that occupies such a mainstream space, sort of move to these types of tactics, also shows the ways in which this -- these larger sort of strategies of donald trump in this era have become mainstream. the margins as mainstream. we at color of change have had to actually work to force credit
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card companies to stop processing fees on white nationalists sites. we at ago site looking at sites for folks like richard spencer. you could go on the site and for your credit card number in or put your paypal number in. a year goingrally back-and-forth with these companies. after charlottesville, the companies that were once upon a time telling us we had to go talk to the banks and the banks telling us we had to go talk to the credit card companies, we actually started to get them to make some headway. sites no longer are allowed to process fees were no longer able to get funds from visa, mastercard, american exexpress. some of those sites and organizations have claimed they shut their d doors as a result f as cutting off their money. we're very familiar at color of change of being sort of in the middle of trying to hold accountable the enablers of white supremacy, the enablers of white nationalism, and
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preventing mainstream forces from being able to allow these institutionsns to grow and floos and raise money. and so "the new york times" story for us is really important. it speaks to the importance of investigative journalism, the importance off independent journalismsm, the importance we have in this c country of havina free preress that will digig i n all ththe ways even which facebk creates challenges to our ability to get sort of the information that we need to be good citizens in our democracy. amy: siva vaidhyanathan, what do you make of zuckerberg saying facebook plans to institute an independndent oversight boardrd? great., i mean, five years too late? these prproblems have been building foror five e years. they have known about many of thesprproblems f for longer.
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social media scholars like myself have been traracking many of these problems since at least 2011. taken itk has never seriously. we know now w from "the times" article that facebook has put a tremendodous amount of energy io distracting us and confusing u s and muddying the mededia ecosysm with more top again to to get us all messed up about what is really happening. an independent reveview boboard, yeah, , it will probably be as effective as the independent review board that was supposed to clean u up uber. the fact is facebook cannot fix itself. it i is too big. 2.2 billion p people post things to it regularly and more than 10100 languauages. if you're going to host 2.2 billion people, a good number of them are going to meme to do ham to othther people, rightht? we don't have that many great people in the world. what is facebook going to do about that? it is too big. they can't filter or edit post of a just can't deal.
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then you have the algorithms which are explicitly designed to amplify things that generate strong emotion like hate speech, lilike calls to genocide, like conspiracy berries, right? if y you argue with anany of tht stuff -- if you go on facecebook and see something wacky telling you vaccinate or's cause autism or something and you argue back and say, oh, that is wrong, it will hurt children that you're spreading this news and here are some real scientific sites. the very act of arguing w with crazy things o on facebo makeses it go fartheher. the cacan't t argue wiwith crazy y on facebook. it, the algorithm amplification, the fact it has this powerful advertising system that can target and put messages does all kinds of messasages - n front of just the right people, the suscsceptible people w whetr that is sellining shoes, s sellg tires, selling polititical candidates or selliling bigotry, it is so p powerful. launching ay who is
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nationalist movement, a bigoted movement, , a hate movement, orn auththoritariaian movemement kw. you cocould not invenent a bettr propaganda macachine for t that process and facacebook itself. therere is no way to fix facebo. there is no way to fix it internally without completely undermining everything that it is. the p problem with facebook is facebook. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us. siva vaidhyanathan is the author of "antisocial media: how facebook disconnects us and undermines democracy." to see are more extended discussion with him, you can go to professor at the university of virginia. and rashad d robinson, president of color of change. when we come back, the firefighters on the front lines in california. are prisoners.em stay with h us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. death toll from california's cap far continues to rise, we end today's show with a hidden heroes on the frontlines of the raging climate field wildfires are prisoners firefighters.
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the 94001500 of firefighters currently battling fires in california are incarcerated. they make one dollar an hour battling on the frontlines, but are rarely eligible to get jobs as firefighters after their release. cal fire reports five firefighters were injured during the camp fire's first 24 hours, two of them prisoner firefighters who suffered burns. according to some estimates, california saves upp to $100 million a year for using prison labor to fight its biggest environmental problem. earn titimeighters off of their sentences for good behavior, typically two days off for each day they fight fires. the critics of the program said the state is exploding prisoners eagerness to earn time for early release. in september, we travel to the delta conservation camp about an hour north of san francisco, to a low-security prison where more than men are imprisoned. 100 we interviewed incarcerated firefighters who had just returned from a 24-hour shift fighting the snell fire in napa county.
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i spoke to a prisoner firefighter under the close surveillance of prison administrators. >> we cut line together. we are not split up from them. is not like that. we all out there together. we're all helping each other. if i walk by one and i see a cal fire or any firefighter benny's hehelp with a hose or something like that, i help them because they help us, too. we all here to help each other and make sure everybody is safe. amy: how much money do you make? >> one dollar an hour.r. when you're fighting a fire, one dollar an hour. amy: last that, how long refightiting the fire? >> probably twentysomething hours. so probably made $22, $24. amy: what do think of that? anybodynk -- of course has a job, you think you should make more. thoughtays thought -- i
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we were getting two dollars until i came to fire camp. but it is cool. we are making money for something we would probably do for free anyway, just for the time cut. so it's all right. i would prefer we get more money, of course. anybody in a working position would want to make more money. amy: so you're saving the state, to say the least, a lot of money. some say it is like $100 million year. >> i don't know. of course, i'm sure. some people -- we look at it as getting the time. the time cut is more than the money to us. we wouould rather make the money for sure because we could still send money to our fafamilies. we still send money home. who would only make one dollar an hour on the fire. amy: i spoke with another prisoner firefighter. do you think of yourself as a hero? >> i like to look at myself as somebody that i want to be heree for whoever -- whoever needs me, i want to be there for them.
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just last night on this fire we had some of came bacack not toto long ago where the terrain of where e it was climbing up with cutting line, there were too many loose boulders. we always try to do what we have to do, but still provide safety while doing it. it is just one of the situations where it is no one's fault, but it happens. while there is cututng line,e, a boulder fell and hit h and he popped sometething in his knee d it just swelelled up. itit came to a point where we dd not really have no answer to what we were going to do and how we were going to get thehem out. it is night. they do not do air lifts at night. they don't want anything in the air at night. it led to the possibility of us down at the bottom of the crereek and wait until morning. it was just something where it is a natural thing about me, i want to be there for people. said, me,red and personally, i don't feel like it
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is relevant for us to stay down here. i volunteered to take my pack off and carry him up the mountain. amy: so you carried him up from bologna the creek? >> yes. ththe first part was they be the worst part. it was real steep. a lot of people did not think it would actually happen like that. it was something i just pushed myself to say i was going to do and got it done. we went going straight up killed having to go side hill, which that was another cautious area because the road was probably two feet wide. it was something -- it took its time. it went from 2:00 in t the morng to almost 5:00 in the morning, but we got him up there and now he is back here. amy: you are risking your life here. >> that is exactly what is going on. everything we do, you know, no one is really promised to come back. amy: how much do you make? >> one dollar an hour. amy: we are fighting a fire? >> one dollar an hour.
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amy: some have called a slave labor. what do you think of that? >> i don't really want to call the work slave work, but i feel like
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man: i remember years back talking to my dad and saying, "at some point in my career, i'd love to do a deli." and i remember him looking at me in a surprised way like, "really? why? you've spent all this s time in fine dining and trtraveled the world d and traid yourself. why the ... do you want to do o a deli? [bell d dings] i think i was ultimately drawn to the deli because spending so much titime in delis as a kididt was sort of attached to my soul a little bit. it's so part and parcel of my culture and myy growing up and the jewish story across america, but my jewish story in los angel


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