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12/04/18 12/04/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> last night i ordered u.s. military forces to panama. no president takes such action lightly. amy: as the nations remembers former president george h.w. bush, we look back at the defining moment of his first year in office, the 1989 invasion of panama all, whwhich killed some 3000 panamanians. we will speak to thehe historian greg grandin. >> a took place a month after
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the fall of the berlin wall and said that terms for the future interventions in a number of ways. it was unilateral. it was a violation of national sovereignty. and it was a preview to the first gulf war. amy: the inter-american commission on human rights has just called on washington to pay reparations for the invasion of u.s. to panamama. we will speaeak with one o of te atattorneys who broughght the ee and talk t to the celebrated chilean writerer ariel dorfman. his latest piece headlined, "george hw bush thought the world belonged to his family. how wrong he wasas." all that and more,e, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in wisconsin, protesters took to the state capitol monday evening to oppose republican state is to oppose republican state lawmakers to push through a series of bills to stririp power from incncoming democratic
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gogovernor tony evers before he takes office. protesters flooded the capitol bubuilding chanting "r"respect r vovotes!" and "shame!" the bills s aim to limit the por of the democratitic governor and attorney general-elect, , restrt the early voting periods. the republic instructed the legislation after republican governor scott walker lost a close race to tony evers in november. in north carolina, election officials are investigating possible fraud in a tight congressional election that remains uncalled nearly one month after the midterm elections. unofficial results have republican mark harris leading democrat dan mccready by just over 900 votes. the investigation centers on a number of absentee ballots, which appear to have been signed by witnesses who have ties to leslie mccrae dowless, a north caroline republican operative who worked for mark harris. dowless pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in the 1990's after he took out a $163,000 policy on a dead man, according to court records. additionally, a disproportionately high number of requested absentee ballots
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were not returned in a county that favored harris in both the primary and general elections. the north carolina elections board may decide to hold a new election if they are unable to declare a winner. president trump lashed out at special counsel robert mueller in his own former personal lawyer, michael cohen, on twitter monday. trump responded to cohen's lawyers' request for prison time served by tweeting he deserves "a full and complete sentence." last week, cohen pleaded guilty to lying to congress to help cover for trump. trump also praised his long-time adviser roger stone for having "guts" for agreeing not to testify against him. some experts, including george conway, litigator and husband of white house counselor kellyanne conway, have said the tweet amounts to witness tampering, which is considered an obstruction of justice. special cocounsel mueller isis expected to file a sentencing memo today for michael flynn, and sentencing memos for michael cohen and paul manafort in the coming days. cia director gina haspel is set to brief senators on the murder
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of saudi journalist jamal khashoggi today. she will reportedly meet with top mbmbers the arm serves committee, foigign relations committe a and t inteigence cmittttee lasteeeek, hpel l wareportrtly blocked from a conesession brieng, prprpting ououage from senators, who instead had a closed-door meeting with defense secretary james mattis and secretary of state mike pompeo. haspel is the only known high-level u.s. official to have heard the tape of khashoggi's murder after other members of the administration, including trump himself, refused to listen to it. in spain, the far-right vox party won multiple seats in a regional parliamentary election in andalusia sunday, the first successful election for the far-right in spain since the country returned to democracy in the 1970's after the death of military dictator francisco franco. former trump adviser steve bannon threw his support behind vox earlier this year and has apparently been advising the far-right party. vox campaigned on an anti-immigrant, anti-abortion
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platform, and has many worried about the rise of far-right political populism in spain.n. in france, p prime minister edouard d philippe has suspended the foreign minister -- the foreign minister has suspended fuel tax hikes in an attempt to quell the growing tension between president macron's government and protesters. an 80-year-old woman reportedly died over the weekend after a tear gas canister flew into her home, hitting her in the face. more than 400 protesters were arrested across france over the weekend. in paris, cars and several buildings were set on fire, and windows were smashed. police fired tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannons at protesters. multiple journalists have reported being attacked by protesters since the demonstrations started, both in person and online. qatar announced plans to withdraw from the organization of the petroleum exporting countries, known as opec, after over 50 years of membership. several opec members, including saudi arabia, have cut off trade with qatar since 2 2017, accusig the country of supporting
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terrorists after it reestablished diplomatic ties with iran. newly inaugurated mexican president andres manuel lopez obrador is following up on a campaign proromise to create a truth and justice commission to investigate the 2014 disappearance of 43 students from a teachers college in the town of ayotzinapa in guerrero. the students were attacked by local police as they headed to a protest and are presumed dead. international experts say the mexican military and federal police also played a role in theieir disappearance. in news from the philippines, the founder of the independent news site the rappler has returned to the country despite facing an arrest warrant on tax evasion charges. maria ressa had been in the united states where she received multiple press freedom awards when she and her organization were indicted in what is widely viewed as an against the press by the authoritarian philippines
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president rodrigo duterte. on mondaday, ressa posted bail t vowed to continue reporting. >> i' not a criminal. i have been a journalist my entire life. i will continue to hold the government accountable. amy: maria ressa is due to appear in court later this week. visit democracynow.org to see our interviews with her. a u.s. admiral found dead at his home in bahrain over the weekend reportededly died by suicide. vice admiral scott stearney oversaw u.s. naval forces in the middle east. back in the united states, calls are growing for texas to halt its executions after buzzfeed revealed the state buys its lethal injection drugs from a houston pharmacy whose license has been on probation since 2016. as they were dying, five of the 11 prisoners texas executed this year said their bodies felt like they were burning after they were injected. the process is supposed to be painless. two more executions are scheduled this month, including one tonight. gloria rubac of the texas death penalty abolition movement protested monday outside greenpark cocompounding pharmacy
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and gifts. >> let us know now that you will lethalking, compounding injection drugs. if you do not, you will face an international campaign to boycott your business. we will shut you down. amy: in st. louis, threeee polie officers were indicted last week in the assault of an undercover police officer at a 2017 protest. the undercover officer, who is black, was at a demonstration protesting the fatal police shooting of 24-year-old anthony lamar smith when officers dustin boone, randy hays, and christopher myers violently attacked the veteran police officer, kicking and beating him with a baton and causing serious injuries. a fourth officer, bailey colletta, was indicted for her role in helping to cover up the attack. before the attack, the officers exchanged messages suggesting
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they "whoop some ass" and "grab" and "toss around." in alabama, and not toxic of the man shot dead by police thanksgiving day after reportedly being mistaken for a gunman, revealed that he was shot three times in the back. 21-year-old emantic fitzgerald bradford, jr. was killed by police after they responded to a shooting at a mall in suburban birmingham, where two teenagers were injured. a lawyer for bradford's family says the autopsy confirms that the victim was not a threat and that he was moving away from the police. nexstar media group announced it will acquire tribune media for over $4 billion, making it the largest provider of local television stations in the u.s. in august, tribune media pulled out of a proposed merger with right-wing sinclair broadcast group. the fcc had expressed concerns about the merger with sinclair despite rolling back rules that prevented consolidation in local media markets in 2017. and in canada,a, indigenous activists s haveeeeen phicalally blockinghe constction ofhe
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largest acking proct in th country's history. members of the unist'otenlann stopped tranananada rpororatn woers from enterinththeir teititory novovemr 20.. the nd, on t westernoast of canada, is inhehe patof t the planned $4.7 blilion cstalal g li pipelin last week, tracanada alied for injunctn againsthe indigeus comnity in an attetempt to gain access to th this is freda hueson, a spokesperson forhehe camp. >>he project will impapactur wars, , ouberries, our medicine, everything thatt is or critical infrastctcture at sk if the court grants them atat injection the gives the injunction the giveshehe police are rito do a rate and take a step, which thewowould trtoto take u uout of her own home, which havnot committed no crim we're jt t livi on ououland. we have never seeded or surrrrdered our land.
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we've ner l losit through treaty or y otothemeanans. we havave never gin up our decisi-making per to an outse entiti. amy: a a correion to a earlr sto, edwardully as the pre minist of fran. anthose arsome of e helines. thiss democry now!, democrynow.orgthe war d pee report i'm amy goman. ju: and i'm juanonzalez. welcomto all oour listers d viewerfrom arod the country d aroundhe world we beginoday's show b contuing to ok back the gacy of orge h.wbush, th nati's st presint. he died friday the agef 94. his bodys now lyg in resat e capito funeral rvice wi be held washingn nation cathedr onednesday rmer predents back obama bi clintonjimmy caer,nd bu's n george. bush wl atnd, as wl presidt trump who wasot invit to spea a cond funal will held on thsday in uston whe he wille buried amy: wle predent bu's
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death has dominad theews for days, little attention n has ben papaid to the defining eventnt f bush's first year in office, the invasion of panama. on december 19, 1989, bush sent tens of thousands of troops into panama, extensively to execute an arrest warrant against its leader, manuel noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. generaral noriega was s once a e ally to washington a and on the cia payroll. internationally televised -- in a nationally televised address, bush claimed the invasion was needed to defend democracy in panama. >> last night i ordered u.s. military forces to panama. no president takes s such action ghtly. th mornining, i want t to tell u what i did a and why i did it. for nenearly two years, the unud states, nations of latitin amera and the caribbean, have worked together to resolve t the crisis in panama. the goals of the united states have been to safeguard the lives of ameriricans, to defend
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c cbat drug pananama, trafficking, and to protect the integrity of the panama canal treaty. juan: during the attack, the u.s. unleashed a force of 24,000 troops eququipped with highly sophisticated weweaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the new york city police department. an estimated 3000 0 panamanians died i in the attack. but the wawar was highly sanitized in the u.s. media. this is part of the trailer for the oscar-winning documentary "panama deception." >> one year ago, the people of panama lived in fear r under the thumb ofof a dictator. today, democracy is restored, pananama is free. >> i i don't knowow how americas can be so stupid. how c can they be so stupid? > the performrmance off the mainstreamam and new media in te
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coverage of pananama has been jt about total collaration witith the administration. not a critical perspective. not a second thought. our regret is that we were not able to use the media pulled more effectively. >> you w would think from thee video clips that we've seen that ththis wholele thing was just a mardrdi gras come a that the people in panama were just jumpinup and dowown with glee. >> the exclulusion of what was happened to the panamanian people, to the exclusion of the bodies in the streets, to the exclusion of the number dead. >> the truth of the matter is that we don't even know how many panamanians we have killed. >> pana is another example of destroying a country to save it. the united states has exercised a doctrine among the smaller countries of the third world to invade thesese countriries, gett we want, and leave the people
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ththat live there to kind of ro. >> the invasion sets the stage for the wars of the 21st century. amy: the trailer for "the panama deception" directed by barbara trent. it won an oscar. last month, the inter-american commission on human rights called on washington to pay reparations to panama over what was widely seen as an illegal invasion. for more on george h.w. bush' us legacy and the lasting impact of the panama invasion, we're joined here in new york i greg grandin, prize-winning author and professor of latin american history at new york university. his forthcoming book is titled, "the end of the myth: from the frontier to the border wall in the mind of america." his previous books include "kissinger's shadow: the long reach of america's most controversial statesman" and "empire's workshop: latin america, the united states, and the rise of the new imperialism." his latest piece for the nation headline "george hw bush: icon
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of the wasp establishment and brutal u.s. repression in the third world." welcome back to democracy now! tell us about the panama invasion. >> it was consequential in that deployment of u.s. troops since vietnam war and that in spectacular fashion. it was calculated to overturn what bush said, clearly, was the vietnam syndrome. it was the turning point in international law in the sense that it overthrew the doctrine of s sovereignty, which had been the bedrock of the international system since at least the 1930's, 1940's, the idea that countries cannot invade or intervene in another country's politics without multilateral consent, the oas condemned the invasion. the u.u.n. did not support the invasion. as georgeried out h.w. bush said, the name of democracy, which is another important significant motive, can just a couple of weeks after
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the fall of the berlin wall. had justifiedtes its previous interventions, either in the name of anti-communism or national security or hemispheric security, this was a return to a certain kind of moralism to justify u.s. militarism. and in all of those ways, it set the stage for the w wars to com. the legal doctrine, the way it was executed, the spectacular nature of shock and awse by sending 30,000 troops into panama. just compare it to maybe kissinger secret bombing of cambodia. it had to be done off the books because the u.s. public was opposed to war, for the most part. so this was a real turning point. the public's acceptance of the war, the executive branch to justify and wage war was -- it led directly to the catatastrope
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that we are in today. the historicalof significance, there had been a prior even smaller invasion when bush was vice president and reagan was president of grenada, a country of less than 100,000 people. but this was actually a more substantial station, panama the time had about 2.4 million people. set a lot of is the direction in terms of media cover the war. i remember there was a big uproar among the press in the united states becaususe initialy the governmement was in alallowg any press to cover the war. that after much protest, they agreed to send one plane of reporters on the second day. "the dailyorter for news" and partrticipated in th. we were held, the press was actually held by the military on one of the military bases until several of us protested were able to actually break free. we had to escape the american military base to actually be
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able to go out and cover the war. but most of the press treated this illegal invasion as a liberation effort. >> part of the remedy to overcome the vietnam syndrome was trying to figure out how to control the press. there was an analysis the press had gone off reservation in vietnam, that they had developed their independent sources, that they were not listening to the pentagon, that they were critically analyzing the war. a whole cohort of investigative journalists. cut 13th innel her vietnam and were critical of u.s. foreign-policy. that was a problem that needed to b be solved. and pananama allow them to try t different ways. you experienced it directly when you covedd panama, and they just got better at it anand tell they got to the e first gulf w r and the second gulf war wheree kept in embedded coverage and all that.
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amy: juan, what it was like on a plane and was holding you at the military base. was already occupied by the united states. there were several military bases in the canal zone because it had not yet been returned to panama. the u.s. military was already there. at once the plane of the press landed on the secondnd day, december 20, we were basically held on the base. they would bring out prisoners for the press to interview that they had captured -- detainees, they call them -- that they had captured, but they were not allowing the press to go out and city.the attack on panama there was a must rebellion of the reporter saying, no, we have to go out and see what is going on. they finalally allowed some peoe --go out in b buses, all with driven by the military, with military escorts, and then a handful of us managed to
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actually escape the buses. we demand of we be let out and let out into the city am a so we could go out and cover what was going on. >> panama, 1989 and through the 19 80's, the u.s. was watching. they applied the critical skills learned in vietnam. amy: the massacre in el salvador. >> there were ways in which reporters were developing their own independent sources. there were two autonomous. there were too critical. and all of that had to be controlled. it had to be controlled and reestablished as a pillar of the national security state will step weather as cheerleaders or critical commentators and catalogers of what was happening. juan: and the issue of noriega's
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prior relationship to the cia and george bush having been thte cia directorate one-time was well aware of noriega's role? >> yeah, he was the key asset in the iran-contra, the iran-contra not being just one scandal, but abroad policy of cultivating anti-communist allies within the region, whether ththey be drug runners or dictators, anybody they could use to create this the just network too supupport e contras and anti-communist force. and noriega was a key ally. that changes in 1986, icicicironically, cy hersh publa story in "the new york times" that details his connections with drug running and his deep .ninvolvement in drug traffickig so he became too much of a liability. he wasn't high on the agenda of removal in the last years of the regular administration, or even in the first years of the bush a
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administration. the wish of administration kind of f fell into t the invasion of panama. amy: how? >> pushed domestically. their social movements in panama for r democracy thatat h had ben repressed. in domestic politics within the united states was pressing the white house to do something. do whatever. and said,y appeared we're not in the business of democracy promotion. what was he in bush? secretary of defense. he said, we're not in the business of democracy promotion. we're going to let this play out. he got criticized. the bush administration's on opportunity and it immediately escalates, moving quickly from an effort to stop drug trafficking to the democracy -promotion justification moves high up on the justification within a couple of days until bush appears on tv and says, that is the reason why we are invading amlo --panama invading.
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amy: we're going to come back to this discussion with greg grandin, prize-winning author and professor of latin american history at new york university. his forthcoming book is titled, "the end of the myth: from the frontier to the border wall in the e mind of america." we will be back with him and others in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: as we continue to look back at the legacy of former president george h.w. bush in the 1989 u.s. invasion of panama all, i would like to go back to the 1992 award-winning documentary "the panama deception." leader clip, community and investigative journalist robert knight talk about u.s. military atrocities in panama. line >> thet -- remaining panamanian troops at the balboa concentration camp. they did not seem to know what was going on.
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they werere sitting on the grass with their arms and feet tied with plastic bands. i, along with many other people from l cheerio, witnessssed the executioion right in front of us will stop eight of the soldiers at the entrance were executed by u.s. troops. >> a spanish news photographer who in the early moments was able to get a picture of bodies lined up in the morgue, was subsequently shot under very strange circumstances. there was not a conflict, but according to the reports of colleagues, and a mac and soldier just took aim and shot him down. >> what happened in panama is a hidden horror. many of the bodies were bulldozed into piles and immolated and norms were the were collected -- in lummis were they were collected. other bodies were left in garbage chutes and poor projects
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where they died from the artillery, from the machineguns, from the airborne attacks. others were said to have been pushed into the ocean. amy: that was robert knight, late reporter for wbai in the documentary "panama deception." last month, the inter-american commission on human rights called on washington to pay reparations to panama over what was widely seen as an illegal invasion will stop where it joined now by international human rights attorney jose luis morin, who has been working 1992 for reparations. he is a professor at john jay as well as we're joined by greg grandin. jose luis morin you get a job at the center for constitutional rights in 1990.
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your first day on the job, you're on a flight to panama on? >> my first day on the job was to get on a plane to be part of on civiliangation victims of u.s. invasion. this was a delegation n of the national l lawyers guild. among g the persons ththat joins was an attorney who is continued to be the attorney for the victims after i left the center for constitutional rights. juan: it has taken almost 30 years for judgment on whahat happened in panama to come out from international bodies? can you talk about why it took so long to be able to get this? >> when you're going against the most powerful country in the world, they are -- there is going to be pushed back, including the united states at every stage of this case
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attempted to claim that inter-american commission did not have the competency, that we had not exhausted all remedies as required under international law and the procedures of the commission, and so at every stage, the united states -- and it continues to deny its responsibility. amy: talk about the community, the neighborhood that was hit the hardest. we are talking a bomb every few minutes, massive bombing. >> it was a poor neighboborhood located in panama city. it is also the site of the headquarters of the military. claimed united states is it was doing a surgical strike. it became very obviousus that a whole neighborhood was put up in flames and was beingng destroyed in the invasion. that meant that civilians were being targeted indiscriminately.
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and that is what is important about the commission's findings, they did find civilians having been targeted indiscriminately and that the united states was not taking the prececautions necessary. it was acting in a very reckless and arbitrary way and how it was trying to meet its military objectives.. under international law, that is criminal. juan: hannah montana --panama became the place where the u.s. tested weaponry. the stealth bomber was first used in combat in panama as well? >> that's correct. thatat struck fear in the populatition because there was l of this unusual weaponry being used. it was t the first time the hume was being used as well to replace the military jeep. there were also to of ways in which the population was being intimidated as part of ththis prprocess. and because so mamany of these neighborhoods were thehe poores,
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the places where black and brown panamanians lived,d, they coulde igignored and d marginalized. amy:et's go back to the ososcawinninindocumenty "the panama deption." the pentagon used panama as a testing ground for newly developed high tech weapons, such as the stealth fighter, the apache attack helicopter, and laserguided missiles. that are also reports cannot be explained indicating the usee of externrnal an unknon weaponry. >> we have testimony about combatants who died literally melteded with their gunsns as rt of a laser. we know ofof a automobiles thate , ofin half by these lasers
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atrocities committed by weapons that fire poison darts which produce massive bleeding. amy: that clip from "the panama deception" ins with professor simon for step jose luis morin, tell us who he is, the named person in the file. >> the lead petitioner in this case.. cases thattal of 272 were filed with the commission. his case was quite compellingg because that only did he suffefr injuries, but his wife, who was at home at the time in a shown as a 1 15 story building, was struck with artillery fire. she was in the kitchen at the time. her body was destroyed, literally destroyed in that attack. while she was at home. and in ways that were just
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indescribable. herle described, because remains were scattered in the kitchen, had to be shoveled into a body bag. the other family members also in that attack alsoso suffered injuries, and they are part of the case. juan: greg grandin, i'm wondering your assessment on the impact of the panama invasion on battlingpresidency? criticism he was a wimp, that he president, andbe how this affected him? >> he was. he was constantly fighting the image of being a wimp, in effect living in the shadow of ronald reagan. he was called reagan's lapdog. yet a long history of violence in the third world, starting texasrom his days in west , and oil, and he, involved at the cia which they helped run logistics in the bay of pigs.
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cia, he presided over the head of cia in 1976 during the height of operation condor, which kind of organize national death squads in latin america and coordinated their activity. the single largest run of bombingsgs and executions carrid out by condor happened while bush was the head of the cia. iran contras as vice president. iran contras as vice president. amy: we say iran contras, if you could expand on that, especially for young people who don't understand what this was? >> iran-contras was a scandal that involved selling high-tech weaponry to iran, diverting the provost is for the anti-communist countries in the corolla. amy: in violation of u.s. law. >> but also in my gesture to limit it suggegest -- supportetd the worst kind of death squad, assassins and fascists in central america throughout the 1980's, and bush was deeply
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involved in that as vice president and coming out of it, having his work with the cia. bush had a longistory of violence in the third world as a way of establishing himself, which obviously continued with the first gulf war. juan: and a key part of that contras, once bush becomes president, he pardons all of the people who were involved with it. >> when he is leaving. one cut when he is leaving as vice president. >> christmas eve, he pardoned six. the independent prosecutor says this completes the cover-up of iran-contra. so in some ways, it is a precedent for current politics in terms of the l limits and limitlessness of presidential to sweep scandals that they are involved in under the rug post of amy: president bush defended his decision to issue the pardons. he issued a statement saying in part --
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"first, the, to mama later of their motivation, whether their actions were right or wrong, was patriotism. second, they did not profit or seek to profit from their conduct. third, each has a record of long and established service to this country." this is casper weinberger speakingng shortlyly after h hes pardoned b by george h.w. . bus. >> i'm completetely confifidentt i would haveeen n acquitteted ia reall trial with i am a a attorneys, whoho a think a t the finest in ththe country, would e participants. they w would present r real evie to a real jury. i'm very pleased, howowever, and rerelieved that my family and i have been spared this terrible ordeal of a very long and unjustified trial. amy: lawrence walsh, so utterly frustrated by this, said this was the decapitation of the investigation -- he had come out of the eisenhower
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administration, actually. talk about -- this was casper weinberger -- and the other defendants, who had the records wiped clean. >> went down the memory hole. iran-contra was consequential in the sense of brought together a lot of the different coalitions that made up the reagan administration. the end is a local right, me -- evangelical right, the anti-communist,d and gave t them central americao run, basically, funding the contras, seeking to overthrow the sandinistas. once brenda by the u.s. officials as the world's most violent and powerful drug trafficking organizatation, mada $10 million contribution to the u.s.-backed contra guerrillas fighting during the 1980's to overthrow nicaragua sandinista government, former cartel leader testified. >> i think they rather that through manuel noriega.
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that is how i got to the contras. all of the worst elements. of overcoming the vietnam syndrome. it is not the executive branch figuring out how it can reassert and project military power, free from all of the stem accredit oversight. the congress have prohibited aid to the contras, annette was the main kind of prompt that forced the reagan administration. amy: and run through vice president george h.w. bush's ofoffice? >> and oliver north. oliver north was the point person. legacy.bush's it is a continuation. if you look at his work in the 1960's with the oil company, it is all the same -- the point is to show the sociological overlap between these different -- juan: if you could expand because clearly, even though people say he was the director of the cia for only about a year, but he had a long-running relationship with the cia.
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oss, wenther was the to yale, skull and bones. amy: the secret society at yale. >> the secret society was skull and bones with millions of dollars budget. again, it is not conspiracy. people are obsessed with the bush family. but the point is, there was a a close relationship between the kind of wasp p my pureblood, eat coast establishment that the bush family represented in the intelligence community. and bush represented some ways its radicalization after the cuban revolution in texas and then iran-contra. there is a line through bush's life that is being ignored in the remembrances of bush. and that line is the easy resort to violence in the third world.
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note in your piece for "the nation," it was not prescott bushher who was a senator, but even his grandparents. talk about his grandparents. >> he comes from the bluest blood. samuel bush, prescott bush, uncles. he comes from a family that occupy the highest echelons of episcopalian capitalism in its most expansive period, when finance, industry, and energy extraction and militarism were interlocking and fusing together. bush was born into that in 1924 in connecticut. he was sheltered during the great depression. he went to phillips academy and yale. is interesting sociciologically about bush, is his move to west texas. that move represents the broader shift of american capitalism from the east coast to this new
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center of gravity, more ideological, hostile, which becomes the basis of the new right amid the basis of ronald reagan and george w. bush and even a lot of the forces that back trump. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion. we will be joined by ariel dorfman, celebrated chilean writer. our guests are greg grandin and jose luis morin, one of the first lawyers to bring a lawsuit against the bush administration for the u.s. invasion of panama back in 1989. stay with h us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. coverage ofue our the death of president george h.w. bush, particularly looking at his involvement in latin america. we're joined by their claim novelist, playwright, human rights activist ariel dorfman. in 1973, he served as a cultural adviser to chilean president salvador allende's chief of staff.
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he went into exile. salvadoreath of allende. his to appease for the guardian is titled, "george h.w. bush thought the world belonged to his family. how wrong he was." he teaches at t duke university and joins us from north carolina. as you watch the reporting onn geororge h.w. bush, as he lays n state and washington, the major funeral will be tomorrow in washington then one in houston on thursday before he is laid to rest. can you talk about the corporate media's assessment of him and your experience of him, ariel dorfman? >> welcome a first, i'm very glad to be with you again, amy and juan commitment or friend and former colleague greg grandin. i'm glad to be participating with him in this. are so inat we
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despair because of donald trump that there is a tendency to say, oldmy gosh, oh, if only bush were in charge of this, things would be different. so there is a sort of nauseating nostalgia for the past, which ends up being amnesiac about the past, as you have just so brilliantly exposed. -- on the george elder bush is a very special one because i had a very special experience, which is what i speak about in my piece in the guardian. it turns out that i spent with my wife angelica, two nights in very close proximity -- in fact, just a wall away -- f from formr president bush was sleeping. i was in sydney, australia, in the end of october, 2001, just
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six weeks after 9/11. i was given this -- i was giving this lecture. they had given us the best room overlooking the bay, looking at the opera house. we were asked the day after we arrived if we would not mind changing our room for security reasons. we said, no, we of the best room, why would we possibly give it up? was georgened out it w. bush -- george h g w bush, bush senior, who was there for the carlyle group, this enormous group of international capital, which was a meeting thehere were holding in austrtralia. ladent, to divest the bin family of everything in the carlyle group. we would find that out later. but when we heard that george bush was the one who was trying to get our room from us, my wife and i were just t filled with
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glee. we were saying, oh, boy, we are taking the room away from george w. bush -- from amy: george h.w. bush. >> bush sr.. we have reasons, some of which have just been explained for protesting him, but in particular, because of our chilean connection we thought this is a little bit of ironic history because here is the man 1977, presiding over the cia when the following thinings were happening - -- opereration cocondor, whihich gg grandin just mentioned, which is basically a series of death squads. but he was also presiding over chet hadwhen pino concentration camps openn, torturing people, execututing people, persecuting people, and killing people overseas. one of t those persons was in
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they were blown up by actually and death squad. it turns out bush sr., president bush, the one we're talking inut, he was complicit leaking information saying to chileess that pinochet of had nothing whatsoever to do with this. and only was he complicit, he was trying to steer the press away from the chileans who had perpetrated this terrorist act in washington, d.c., and blamed the cubans for having blown up -- there are many reasons why we were so happy to be taking the room away from bush, right? we felt, a tiny victory against him. a very strange coming together. afterwards, i was a bit worried because as my wife told me, what if something happens to the sky?
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who are they going to blame? the chileans havave all of the reasons, these revolutionaries have all of the reasons to have perpetrated some sort of assault upon him. the next day i saw him walking along the marina, and i have an anecdote about that as well, if you want me to tell it to you. amy: g go ahead. yes, go ahead. >> i was sort of doing the yoga exercises in the morning. the reason why it matters is i had not seen bush until that moment. but i was sort of looking at the bay and enjoy myself fairly in the morning. all of a sudden, he appears with an entourage of people around him. all of them sort of around him. therere was this bedecked mility men. yet so much medal i thought he was one of falling to debate it was so heavy. bush comes along with his golfing things. he is walking. and all of a sudden, he does the following gesture for the general or whoever this officers behind them, he goes like that.
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he snaps his finger in the air like that. this military man, this officer, takes out a little piece of cream and hands it to him. bush does not say thank you or anything like that. against to lather himself like that and hands it back to him. and i have been haunted by that imperial gesture. that sense of arrogance, that , and that "i own the world i can do whatever i want." sense. there is that they speak about his decency and civility. i have no doubt he was decent and civil to many, many people. certainly much better than what we have now. "thehere was that sense of world is mine. i do with it what i want. i will squeeze panama like i squeeze this. i will squeeze chile like i squeeze this. i own n the world."
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the irony is his son then went on to destroy the world,d, righ, with the iraq and afghanistan invasions, then with the destruction of the u.s. economy. of course, that ended up somewhat softening my image of the elder bush because i said to myself, at least he is not his son, right? then w when trump p came along e say, least tea isn't trump. bush did s some thingsgs that we really appraise. the terrible things did -- the american disabilities act, he lowered the threat of nuclear war, and there are some other things, but basically, we should remember the terrible pain that he wrought. he's not really dead. he is alive in its sense that so many of his victims are alive, including myself and many other people. juan: of course, you gave us -- he gave us clarence thomas as a supreme court justice. >> please, don't start -- one: i want to ask greg grandin
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-- >> very strongly. juan: i want to ask -- >> and let's don't even speak about his attitude toward eggs. he told gays that they should change their behavior as if they were to blame for the fact that aids was decimating them. don't forget that he was the vice president of reagan. my gosh, that would be enough to condemn him to the hall of infamy. juan: i want to ask greg grandin , the issue of the sector of the republican party of the american elite that bush represented were was essential to, vis-a-vis the trump administration and those who are in power in the republican party today? iel pointedy, as ar out, there's a lot of nostalgia and your earning and the praise of george h.w. bush has to do with the politics today and bush seen as the opposite of trump will step there is a
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continuation. , the rock that george h.w. bush represented. cia, coming to power in 1988, was a big deal a cia director -- this was like a fulfillment of the national security state taking power. nobody even tatalks about that anymore. amy: the first, cia director became president. >> the rock that bush represented -- it delivered us to trump. there is a tendency to posit these two people as opposites am a trump's grass thing and is grotesque for this whole shtick. but inin some ways, the mirror image of each other. you go back to the bush family, in two grandfathers embedded brown brothers. their economic deals with foreign countries, including russia, would just -- were just as sketchy and unaccountable and corrupting as what trump is accused of.
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there might have been a moment of reform that separated those two that makes trump seem unacceptable, but in some ways, there is a continuation. and certainly, the catastrophe that the first gulf war, the second gulf war, that his son diluted on to us, has laid the groundwork for the complete debasement of american politics. it is not a question of this or that, comparing these two things as if they are separate, but understanding how this led to that, how bush led to trump. juan: jose, in terms of the impact of the panama invasionn how u.s. policies regarding internationally in terms of the ability of the united states to act in such a unilateral form, to just come in and invade a country? >> one thing that happens almost immediately, the international ,ommunity rejects the invasion the united nations said this was
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a flagrant violation of international law. the oaoas also condemn it. and yet t the united statetes proceeded as if it t had all authority to go ahead and do something like this. it was really continuatition of that long history o of u.s. intervention in latin america. looking at latin america as its backyard, and in panama, of course, we know it was the united states that helped even create the country. the hannah montana that created treatyntry -- ththe panamama that created thehe country did t even -- mccook the inter-american commission decision that just took place, what doeoes it mean for papanamanianans echo will reparations be paid with -- will the u.s. is in respect -- >> i recall distinctly the victims s telling me, one of the things we need is an authoritative d decision by an
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internationally respected body that could say, yes, the united states has violated the human rights of civilians in this invasion. i thought that was the most imimportant thing. they knew from the very beginning, any reparations from the united states -- getting reparations from the united be very unlikely. now we have a decision. amy: greg grandin, i want to ask about mexico and what is happening today. the new president andres manuel lopez obrador was sworn in saturday. tens of thousands gathered in the central square of mexico city. the first leftist president in decades. in his inaugural speech, amlo addressed security and vowed to end corruption and impunity in -- and you are at the introduction to his book? you wrote a blurb for it? talk about the significance of where mexico is today. >> it is historic for mexico and
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for the region, historic in terms of u.s.-mexican relations. i was the, the crisis on the border that has been prompt and by the trump administration, but also has deep structural roots will play out with this hope thatat amlmlo repepresents. latin american left has been defeated everywhere else. amlo is isolated. brazil, colombia, argentina, these are all major countries that are ruled by right-wing governments. in some ways, it reminds me when travis conduct power and was elected in 1998 and 1999. there was nobodydy else. it was not until lula was elected that chavez had an ally. amlo stands alone on the hemisphere. yes, to the north and these rabid right-wing countries too the south. so i think there is room for maneuver is greatly curtailed -- he is room for maneuver is greater curtailed. he has an ambitious agenda but also known as a pragmatist and
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realist. is going to decriminalize a lot of low-level criminal categories commode just great, the promising to get tough on violent crimes. that he i is and a cabinett is 50% womomen. >> y yes. what he can do in terms of the mexican oligarchy, and its deep ties with the c cartels, , and e military and security forces, we will see how much room he has to maneuver. won withlection -- he an overwhelming mandate, never certainly something. amy: ariel dorfman, we're going to give you the last word. >> i just wanted to say that the problem with bush and how he's being treated d now is the incapacity of most americans to look at themselves in the mirror and recognize what they have done to thee world, which is one
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ofof the things ththat bush was doing to the world. and i think that is the main problem. the main problem is, we need to be able to look at ourselves and say, well, what was done there, what was that gesture, that imperial gesture -- which he does like this, snaps his fingers in the air -- and thinks there is impunity in relation to that, he can do it everyone's. we cannot live with a country that does that, because that country ends up having somebody ke trump, which is the -- president bush. amy: ariel dorfman, best-selling author, playwright, poet and teaches at duke university. professor, and jose luis morin is a professor at john jay college of criminal justice. democracy now! is grilli accepting applications for full-time social media manager. details at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for
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