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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 7, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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03/07/19 03/07/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! of attacks, killing and maiming thousands of civilians and destroying key infrastructure. remnants from these airstrikes. many are likely war comes. every single one destroyed innocent lives. amy: as yemen faces the world's worst humanitarian crisis, a new study shows u.s. and british bombs have killed and injured
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over 10 yemenis ring the saudi-led war. we will speak to a leading yemeni human rights activist who just testified on capitol hill. then we look at how the u.s. is also arming the united arab emirates, saudi arabia' is ally in the war. arms, the biggest arms supplier. the uae is in gauged in torture, mercenaries, malicious, putting u.s. arms even in hands of al qaeda, even the who the opposition. a responsible partner and partner in crime in that war. amy: but first, the senate hold a confirmation hearing for retired general john abizaid to become u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia. this comes just days after jared kushner travel to the kingdom for sigrid of meeting the saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman , th man accused of ordering the murder of "washington post"
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columnist jamal ashoggi. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen defended the trump administration's immigration policies wednesday, telling lawmakers border officials were on track to detain more than 900,000 migrants at the u.s.-mexico border this year. nielsen push backs and they routinely denies migrants a chance to apply for asylum in the u.s., claiming no one would be turned away adding was or to been true. the claim prompted democrats of the house homeland security committee to reply "you're either lying to this committee, or you don'know what is happening at the border." asked how many children are detained at the border, nielsen replied she did not have the number handy. and she denied migrant prisoners are being held in cages.
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this is new jersey congressmember bonnie watson coleman questioning nielsen. fence, is a chain-link enclosed into a chamber on a concrete floor represent to you? is that a cage? that is a detention space has existed for decades. >> does it differ from the cages you put your dogs and when you let them stay outside? is it different? >> yes. >> in what sense? >> it is larger. it has facilities. it provides them to sit, to stand, to lay down. >> so did my dogs cage. amy: nielsen's testimony came as u.s. customs and border production reported its agents arrested over 66,000 people crossing the southern border between legal ports of entry in february, the highest number for a single month in nearly 10 years. a new report finds the investigative arm of the immigration and customs enforcement agency, ice,
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maintained a secret list of new york city activist groups that protested trump administration policies. a four-page document obtained by "the nation magazine" titled "anti trump protest spreadsheet" shows homeland security investigations kept tabs on a series of protests held in new york over a 17-day period last summer targeting white supremacy, deportations, and the national rifle association. none of the demonstrations appear to be linked to homeland security's mandate to investigate cross-border criminal activity. one of the protests surveilled by hsi was a rally responding to a neo-nazi group's display of a racist banner organized by congressmember adriano espaillat. he told "the nation" -- "i would like to find out why our event was on that list, and whether it was surveilled or infiltrated, and why the racist, anti-semitic group was not on the list." meanwhile, in san diego,
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california, newly revealed documents show the u.s. government created a secret database of activists and journalists who were documenting the trump administration's efforts to thwart a caravan of migrants hoping to win asylum in the u.s. last year. an investigation from san diego's nbc7 revealed the list was shared among homeland security investigations, ice, customs and border protection, and the fbi. it included the names of 10 journalists, seven of whom were u.s. citizens, along with nearly four dozen others listed as organizers or instigators. some of the journalists and at least one immigration lawyer had alerts placed on their passports that prevented them from entering mexico. others on the list reported they were stopped by mexican police or were subjected to lengthy interviews and searches when reentering the united states. president trump revoked a rule wednesday requiring that the director of national intelligence report annually on civilians killed by u.s. drone strikes outside of official war
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zones. the trump administration was already in violation of the reporting requirement, which the white house ignored as a deadline came and went last may. the bureau of investigative journalism reports president trump has further accelerated the u.s. drone assassination program, with over 2200 drone strikes during trump's first two years in office, more than occurred over eight years under president obama. in news from yemen, a major new report from several human rights groups details the role that the u.s. and europe have played in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in the u.s.-backed, saudi and uae-led war on yemen. the report found that between april 2015 and april 2018, 27 coalition attacks killed at least 203 civilians and injured at least 749 people. at least 22 of the attacks likely involved weapons produced in the united states. we'll have more on the report later in the broadcast. in syria, kurdish-led forces backed by the united states say
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they captured 400 isis fighters wednesday who were fleeing the group's last stronghold in eastern syria. their reported capture came as 2000 civilians fled the town of baghouz, near the iraqi border. meanwhile, president trump has reversed his promise made in a tweet last to withdraw u.s. december troops from syria. in a handwritten response to a february 22 letter from senators requesting the u.s. keep a contingent of hundreds of troops in syria, trump wrote "i agree 100%." back on capitol hill, arizona republican senator martha mcsally revealed wednesday that she was raped by a superior officer when she served in the u.s. air force. senator mcsally, a former air force colonel in the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat, made the disclosure during a senate armed services committee meeting aimed at combating rampant sexual assault in the u.s. military. >> the perpetrators abusive
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position of power in profound ways. in one case, i was preyed upon and then raped by a superior officer. i stayed silent for many years but later in my career as a military grapple scandals and the wholly inadequate responses, i felt the need to let some people know that i, too, was a survivor. myas horrified at how attempt to share generally my expenses were handled. i almost separated from the air force and 18 years over my despair. like many victims, i felt the system was raping me all over again. amy: pentagon figures show that in 2017 -- the most recent year for which data are available -- there were nearly 6800 reports of sexual assault involving members of the military, though sexual assaults are still dramatically underreported in military ranks. a 2011 survey estimated 26,000 people were sexually assaulted
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in the military that year alone, with women soldiers far more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than killed in combat. a second federal judge has ruled against the trump administration's decision to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census, setting up a likely challenge at the supreme court. u.s. district judge richard seeborg of california ruled wednesday that the move is unconstitutional because it prevents the government from carrying out its mandate of conducting the census every 10 years. in january, a federal judge in new york also ordered a halt to the census's citizenship question, ruling u.s. commerce secretary wilbur ross violated federal rules and "alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him." voting rights activists say the question is meant to deter imgrants from participating in the nsus, leading to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. this would impact everything from the redrawing of
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congressional maps to the allocation of federal funds. president trump's former personal attorney and fixer, michael cohen, was back on capitol hill wednesday for a fourth day of congressional testimony. cohen and his legal team were photographed lugging several suitcases and briefcases into a closed-door session with the house intelligence committee, suggesting cohen provided congress with hundreds of new documents detailing his dealings with the trump organization. cohen reportedly provided evidence showing white house lawyer jay sekulow edited cohen's false 2017 testimony to congress about the trump organization's plans to build a skyscraper in moscow. texas officials and the environmental protection agency barred nasa scientists from studying the release of toxic chemicals in and around houston in the wake of hurricane harvey in 2017. that's according to "the los angeles times," which reports nasa scientists were stunned after they were barred from flying a jet over houston
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equipped with sophisticated air samplers that would have helped to identify areas where toxic releases posed a threat to human health. hurricane harvey inundated the texas coast with record rainfall, dropping more than 60 inches of rain over the course of a few days. the area is home to thousands of oil refineries and petrochemical plants, as well as over a dozen superfund sites. to see democracy now! coverage of that hurricane and the aftermath, go to the trump administration is proposing ending endangered species protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states. critics say the move would endanger the estimated 5000 gray wolves currently living in the continental united states, excluding alaska. in a statement, the western environmental law center said -- "allowing people to kill wolves in idaho, wyoming, and montana has already stunted recovery in those states. applying this same death-sentence to wolves throughout the contiguous u.s., would nationalize these negative effects, with potentially
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catastrophic ripple effects on ecosystems wherever wolves are found today." the food and drug administration has confirmed that makeup products from two popular brands of cosmetics contain the carcinogenic substance asbestos. fda tests of three powdered makeup products from claire's -- and one from the brand justice -- tested positive for asbestos, which can cause lung disease and cancer. americans spend some $60 billion a year on cosmetics, though the industry is largely unregulated. congress last approved regulations on makeup in 1938. in chicago, police arrested r&b singer r. kelly wednesday, charging him with failure to pay more than $160,000 in child support. kelly's arrest came less than two weeks after he was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault against four women and girls, three of whom were under the age of consent at the time.
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his arrest wednesday came just hours after he was seen screaming and cursing during an interview with gayle king broadcast on "cbs this morning." >> i did not do this stuff. this is not me. i'm fighting for my life. y'all are killing me with this. >> robert. >> 30 years of my career y and'all are tried to kill me. amy: after months of mounting criticism about facebook's lack of privacy protections, ceo mark zuerberg announced wednesday that he will be shifting the social media giant from focusing on publicly sharing information to private communication. zuckerberg said that he would do this in part by integrating instagram, whatsapp and messenger -- which are all platforms that he controls -- and by allowing communication to be deleted instead of remaining on the internet permanently. lawmakers have introduced legislation to restore obama-era net neutrality rules that were
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gutted by the trump administration. the changes, approved in 2017 in a 3-2 vote by republican commissioners on the fcc, paved the way for internet service providers to throttle internet traffic speeds according to how much customers pay or based on the websites they wish to favor. the save the internet act, introduced by congressional democrats wednesday, would bar telecom companies from blocking, throttling or otherwise interfering with internet access. this is new york democratic congressmember yvette clarke. >> republican fcc has dismantled net neutrality, saddling consumers with higher costs and less choice. throttling competition and punishing entrepreneurs, small businesses, communities of color, and other americans who are vulnerable and disenfranchised. this is the 21st century issue of equity. amy: and house democrats have delayed plans to vote on a
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resolution condemning anti-somebody is him. the resolution is seen as a direct rebuke of recent comments by minnesota congressmember ilhan omar questioning u.s. relationship with israel come even of the draft resolution does not explicitly name the freshman congress member. it was announced after comments by omar last week and what she called out the political influence in this country that says it is ok for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country. referring to israel. omar has condemned anti-semitism repeatedly. the vote has been indefinitely a revoltednesday after from progressive democrats. the statement to the hill, senator bernie sanders wrote -- and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners
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and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin with a number of recent developments in u.s.-saudi relations. on monday, the trump administration gave a private briefing to senators on the investigation into the murder of "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi who was killed inside the saudi consulate in istanbul in october. senators slammed the briefing for providing no new information. lawmakers have accused the trump administration of covering up the role of saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman in ordering the killing. a number of republican senators criticized the briefing. lindsey graham called the briefing "worthless." marker review it "not the right approach." "not therubio said right approach." the briefing came just days after president trump's advisor and son-in-law jared kushner made a secretive trip to saudi arabia to meet with king salman
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and the saudi crown prince. "the daily beast" reports officials and staffers in the u.s. embassy in riyadh were not told the details of kushner's givennd no one was information about the meetings. meanwhile, "the new york times" has revealed new details about the jailing and torture of a doctor with u.s. citizenship in saudi arabia. walid fitaihi is a harvard-trained doctor who has been jailed without charge since 2017. he was first detained alongside hundreds of other prominent saudis at the ritz carlton in riyadh where he was reportedly electro-shocked and whipped. amy: this all comes as the senate foreign relations committee held a confirmation hearing for retired four-star general john abizaid to become u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia. the u.s. has not had in ambassador there for two years. abizaid, who is of lebanese descent, served as the head of u.s. central command from 2003 two 2007, overseeing much of the first four years of the u.s. occupation of iraq. abizaid's first combat experience took place in 1983 during the u.s. invasion of the tiny caribbean island of
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grenada. during wednesday's hearing, abizaid defended the u.s. relationship with the saudi kingdom. >> it is difficult to imagine a successful u.s. effort to undercut sunni extremism or keep iran in check without engaging in partnering with the kingdom. this is not to say i am unaware of the challenges facing the u.s.-saudi partnership today, the war in yemen, the senseless killing of jamal khashoggi, rifts in the gulf alliance, alleged abuses of innocent people to include an american citizen and female activists, all present immediate challenges. yet in the long run, we need a strong amateur partnership with saudi arabia. nermeen: during the senate hearing, republican senator marco rubio directly attacked saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman. >> how do we balance all of this
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with this important room -- regional and strategic partnership? this guy is making a harder. he is gone full gangster. it is difficult to work with a guy like that no matter how important relationship is. amy: to talk more about the u.s. alliance with saudi arabia and the nomination of general john abizaid, we are joined by two guests. in washington, d.c., retired colonel and vietnam war veteran, andrew bacevich. he recently wrote a piece for le monde diplomatique headlined "abizaid of arabia." he's the author of several books, including "twilight of the american century." he is professor emeritus of international relations and history at boston university. and here in new york, william hartung is the director of the arms and security project at the center for international policy. we welcome you both to democracy now! begin bacevich, let's with you. this hearing yesterday and come again for the first time in two years, the possibility of having a u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia post up your assessment of john abizaid? >> first of all, the fact we
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have not had an ambassador for two years i think suggests how important it is to have ambassadors. they don't make policy. general abizaid won't make policy. u.s. policy toward saudi arabia is made in washington. more specifically, it is made in the white house. or specifically still, it appears to be made by the president's son-in-law. very successful career as a u.s. army officer, finishing up four-star general, command at central command. i think the highlight of his tenure as commander of central command occurred soon after he was appointed to the position -- this is the summer of 2003, just the fall of baghdad, as resistance to u.s. occupation is beginning to form. in the line offered by secretary of defense rumsfeld at that time was that the resistance was of no consequence. it was a few dead-enders and things were on truck.
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abizaid have the courage to say, no, we're facing the beginnings of an insurgency, which was a correct assessment. the problem is, over the remaining course of his tenure as commander of central command, little of what he did resulted in an effective response to that insurgency. things just kept getting worse. to him for a moment of honesty, but if we judge him against great captains of history, he does not rate very high. nermeen: bill hartung, your ,'sessment of abizaid record, and trump's decision to nominate him as the next ambassador to saudi arabia? >> i think the fact that he was head of central command at the height of the iraq intervention alone should disqualify him from being ambassador. it is not a powerful post, does
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not make policy, but i think it is the wrong signal, present military phase on u.s. foreign policy that is already over militarized. i think his testimony recall things like the yemen war and the murder of khashoggi challenges, those are not challenges, those are crimes. i think the fact he has pretty soft pedal that does not bode well for how he would serve as ambassador. nermeen: i would like to go back to 2003 when then-president bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a giant "mission accomplished" banner and declared the end of the war in iraq. pres. bush: my fellow americans, major combat operations in iraq have ended in the battle of iraq, the united states and our allies have prevailed. amy: that's bush's so-called "mission accomplished" speech in may of 2003, just weeks after the u.s. invaded iraq. andrew bacevich, in your recent piece for le monde diplomatique headlined "abizaid of arabia,"
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you point out that the following year in 2004, john abizaid coined the term "the long war" suggesting that the mission was far from accomplished in iraq. abizaid also said early on that the real threat to the u.s. in the region comes not from iran or yemen or iraq but from salafist jihadists, whose ideology both originates in and find support from none other than saudi arabia. you go on to say -- "there is more than a little poetic justice -- or is it irony? -- in general abizaid's proposed posting to riyadh. the one senior military officer who early on demonstrated an inkling of understanding of the long war's true nature now prepares to take up an assignment in what is, in essence, the very center of the enemy's camp." so given what you have said, given trump's extremely close alliance with saudi arabia, why
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do you think he has chosen to nominate possibly the one senior military figure who has identified saudi arabia itself as the source of so much conflict in the region itself an opposition to the interest of the u.s.? >> i think that based on general abizaid's testimony at his confirmation hearings, he has abandoned the analysis that he had made back in 2003, 2004. just the clip you played showed him basically reciting what has been the standard line with regard to the u.s.-saudi arabia relationship going back decades. that is to say this partnership, as he called it, is of great strategic importance to the united states. and then he when on to recite in a notably passionless way the
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complaints that we have about saudi policies and promising to give them due attention. what is so striking, i think, here we are in 2019, so many years after the debacle that 2003, w. bush launched in and the conversation, the debate such as it is, still remains superficial. and i think it avoids confronting some of the basic contradictions. the center of the contradiction, really, is the conviction that somehow or another the united states has a vital interest in maintaining a partnership with saudi arabia. within thenobody foreign-policy establishment is ,illing to examine that notion and it is past time that we did examine it critically.
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amy: in 2008, general abizaid made headlines for comments he made about the middle east at a conference at stanford, he admitted iraq war was over oil. he said -- your response, andrew bacevich? coming astly forgotten that commentary because he is now basically reciting the line again, with regard to saudi arabia, that this is strategically iortant country. what he said in 2008 is clear in the implication -- and this is simply factly correct -- that the american way of life that we once thought was dependent upon having access to persian gulf of oil -- persian gulf oil, is not.
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we don't need persian gulf oil. and yet that fact has not yet sunk in with the foreign-policy establishment and provided a basis for fundamental of ouration -- not only relationship with saudi arabia, but a reevaluation of the larger assumption that the persian gulf really, really matters to the well-being of the united states. it does not. and were we to accept that fact, then the possibility of rethinking u.s. policy in the region would become evident. not simply reevaluating the relationship with saudi arabia, but reevaluating the assumption that iran is somehow the great enemy that now threatens stability in the region. the real threat to stability in the region has been misguided u.s. policy over the past two decades. nermeen: do you see the focus at all shifting, andrew bacevich,
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if his nomination, abizaid's emanation is confirmed given his positions in the past? >> no. i suppose he could become ambassador. i don't think ambassadors have all that much inuence. i suppose he could become ambassador and forget what he said yesterday in his confirmation hearings. but my expectation is whoever he spoke to in the administration in order to get this appointment, that he assured the administration that he was going to play the game. now, is there a possibility of change? i think so. yesterday, if i can change the topic slightly, i participated in an event sponsored by congressional progressives to talk about the possibility of creating a progressive framework for u.s.-foreign-policy. this would be a rather large project, maybe it will never occur, but the participants -- i
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was struck by the extent to which the participants in that event are completely open to asking fundamental questions about some of these deeply embedded assumptions that guide u.s. policy. and one of those has to do with the relationship between the united states and saudi arabia. so there are people on capitol hill in washington who are .illing to ask those questions whether or not they can forge a sufficient group to make a difference, i think remains to be seen. amy: it is very interesting, to have a u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia, given many people might confuse jerry christopher that are perhaps secretary state or perhaps national security advisor, because at the height of the split screen news events a few weeks ago were michael cohen was testifying in the public hearing in congress, the north korea summit was happening in vietnam, jared kushner slipped into saudi arabia, as we
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just set at the beginning of the segment, without consulting the u.s. embassy there, etc., and has this private meeting with the saudi king and the crown , who are currently he is very close to. the significance of this new york developer, who like his father-in-law a developer here a new york, who becomes senior advisor, apparently was president trump himself who defying intelligence recommendations gave him top security clearance, and he goes and has whatever conversation he has with the crown prince -- that first face-to-face meeting since the murder of khashoggi. i wanted to ask if you think anything will change? you write in your piece about this relationship the u.s. has with saudi arabia. you write --
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explain what you mean. >> well, this is well-known i think that the saudi royal tempt downorder to -- tamp down internal resistance to its rule, has played to clericsservative muslim by investing enormous sums in exporting ultraconservative islam in other parts of the world. and in a fact, underwriting organizations that end up conducting terrorist attacks not only against the united states, but against other countries and other regimes. now, there is some evidence that
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in recent years they have backed off from this tendency, but nonetheless, if we try to understand the origins of a radical islamism in some parts of the muslim world, we have to recognize the important role that saudi arabia has played in creating this problem. and further, we have to recognize that the u.s. efforts to respond to that problem by invading countries and bombing countries and overthrowing regimes has not dampened the problem down, but has actually worsened it. so in that sense, the u.s.-saudi relationship is at the very next is one of the principal sources of the instability that plagues the region at the present moment. these soas you say, office groups that saudi arabia
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has supported, of course, many of those groups have come to attack the u.s. and europe, but of course the principal victims of those groups are muslims and the muslim world and the arab world. could you elaborate on what some of the effects of these groups and this violence has been on the region itself, the ongoing afghanistan, what has been folding in yemen? if you could say little bit about the role -- >> i wish i had come armed with statistics because they are depressing. as thewe would take 2003 ,tart date -- 2001, perhaps when we invaded afghanistan, as the start date for this destabilizing military project that we have been involved in ever since, we have killed hundreds of thousands of people. we have displaced millions, creating huge refugee problems.
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if americans care about it, we have spent trillions of dollars of american taxpayer money. we have, of course, lost thousands of our own soldiers and there are ns of thousands of veterans who have had their as a shattered irreparably result of their military service in places like iraq and afghanistan. i have to say, one of the things at i find so disturbing about the present political moment as we have says about donald trump of reasonre is plenty to obsess about donald trump -- is all of the rest of this sequence of events somehow gets lost, doesn't find any purchase in the american collective consciousness. and i think that failure, that toal failure on our part
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take measure of the evil that we have perpetrated over the past couple of years is a judent on the part of the american people. bluntly care, to put it , the collective "we" about the havoc we have caused in a large part of the world. and we are too easy to forget and move on or to turn our attention to other issues like donald trump. amy: very quickly, before you leave, andrew bacevich, i am wondering if you could weigh in as you talk about progressive foreign-policy meeting you are having yesterday, on the battle royale that is being waged in congress right now around and anti-semitism resolution with a lot of first-term congressmember's, younger,
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progressive congressmember's really pushing back and saying if we are going to have this kind of resolution, it has to be against racism, against islamophobia as well. it apparently is targeting ilhan omar, the congress member from minneapolis, questioning the u.s. relationship with israel who said last week political influence in this country that says it is ok for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country, referring to israel. she has said she calls out the fossil fuel industry, the an and the lobbyra, for right-wing israel right now is for a powerful. what is your take on this? bernie sanders being critical of israel. he of the prime minister who is about to be indicted. bernie sanders says, being anti-semitic. your thoughts?
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>> well, it has not been possible to have -- it is not impermissible to have an honest conversation about the u.s.-israeli relationship and about israeli policies, particularly with regard to the west bank and the gaza strip, to insist on having that honest conversation is to invite punishment. and we're seeing that again today. this inagain, i since this forum that i participated in yesterday in the house of representatives. i sense that something may be be --g, that there may there is an inkling of a on thesety of openness matters. and i would argue that honesty is greatly needed.
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not just u.s. relationship with israel, but on a whole host of issues to include the u.s. relationship with saudi arabia. so one of the ironic a fax of -- effects of the trunk moment and policyarre approach to undertaken by the trump administration may be to further that opening. we will see what is going to happen, but it does make for an interesting time. amy: we want to thank you very much for being with us, andrew .acevich, retired colonel william hartung will be staying with us to report on the arming of the saudi uae bombing campaign in yemen, weapons provided by the u.s. and britain, among others. this is democracy now! we will be back in a minute. ♪ [sic break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: as yemen faces the world's worst humanitarian crisis, we turn now to a major new report documenting the role that the u.s. and europe have played in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in the u.s.-backed, saudi and uae-led war on yemen. a group of organizations, including the yemen-based mwana for hun rights, released the rept on wednesday. claimingetween apr 2015 and april 2018, 27 coalition attacks killed aleast 20civilians and injured at least 749 people. the report found that 22 of the attacks likely involved weapons produced in the united states. the other five attacks were carried out with weapons either produced in the united kingdom, or with parts produced in both the u.s. and the u.k. radhya al-mutawakel, chairperson of mwatana for human rights,
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the yemeni group that helped write the port, testified wednesday before a house subcommittee on the report's findings. >> document at hundreds of attacks killing and maiming thousands of civilians and destroying key infrastructure. we found u.s. bomb remnants and dozens of these airstrikes. many are likely war crimes. every single one destroyed innocent lives. using16 saudi bombing u.s. missions, killing and maiming hundreds, should have been a turning point. should have stopped arms sales and unlawful attacks ended and were criminals were held accountable. and instead, the u.s. accepted saudi and him roddy promises to in violations and investigate. two years later, there is been no accountability as airstrikes on yemeni civilians continues. amy: the human rights groups
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radhya al-mutawakel representative documented 128 apparently unlawful coalition airstrikes killed 418 civilians, including 181 children. according to the report, armed houthi rebels continued to commit violations including laying landmines, shelling civilians, and arbitrarily detaining scores of people. the report warns -- "despite ongoing coalition abuses, the u.s. continues to sell saudi arabia and the uae weapons for use in yemen, in violation of domestic and international law. the u.k., too, continues arms sales in violation of its obligations under the arms trade treaty and eu common position on military exports." well, for more, we're joined by radhya al-mutawakel chairperson of the mwatana organization for human rights, which published the report "day of judgment: the role of the u.s. and europe in civilian death, destruction, and trauma in yemen." welcome to democracy now! can you start off by telling us the message you conveyed to
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congress yesterday? what is most import oppressed understand about your country, yemen, where you live in the capital? >> first of all, i want to the congress to know they can change the fate of yemenis. they can play a positive role to end the war. but instead of this, their emiratesg saudis and by military and political support. i wanted them to try to shift positive roley a to in the role in yemen, which is very possible. it just needs a word from the congress and the international community in general. amy: can you talk about some of the questions you were asked during the hearing? and also, you live in yemen. ,re you able to convey to them spammers who were present at the hearing, what conditions there are like? >> yemenis are surrounded by this every day.
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not only the saudi and emirates airstrikes, there is one very important thing, but it is much more than this. it is a very preventable war. yemenis hillside because they feel -- feel sad because they are dying for nothing. millions of yemenis now are not receiving your salaries. in some areas, they are controlled by the armed groups called who these in a very difficult situation but also in there is controlled by the government and coalition, people are living in very bad situations and facing lots of violations. -- there is no peace plan, no war plan. amy: can you talk about how yemenis come to understand who the u.s. is?
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can you talk about finding the weapons parts, the bomb ordinance, and what they say on them? know the u.s. are involved negatively in the war in yemen. in the cases we have documented and we found u.s. remnants yemenis yemenis -- many have never been to america. really sad, america reaches them through the weapons that destroy their lives and killed her families. america should reach yemenis with education, with technology, positive ones, not with weapons. at what is happening is they are receiving america just like weapons. nermeen: i would like to bring ruhan nagra into the conversation to talk about one of the incidents that the report documents. in april 2018, a coalition
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airstrike tore through a wedding party killing at least 21 people in northern yemen. the bride was also among those killed. almost 60 children were injured. at the scene of the bombing, one man lashed out at saudi arabia. >> they always target weddings. they kill children and innocent people. we can only complain to god, not to any human rights or any country in the world. amy: we're also joined now by ruhan nagra, executive director of the university network for human rights and co-author of a report. the bomb used on the attack of the wedding party was u.s. made. the mother of the groom is cited as saying -- "the blood was everywhere. fingers and intestines were in all directions. body parts were on trees and rocks and people tried to collect as many of them as possible and the remaining body parts were eaten by dogs."
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what kind of bomb was used in this attack? it was a u.s. bomb. how common were these incidents and how were you able to confirm the origins of the bomb? in which 118k civilians died, including nearly half of them children -- this attack happened at the hands of a u.s.-made pay boy bomb. the 27 incidents that we have documented in this report involved u.s. made pay boy bombs. the congressional notification a proposed weapon sales to saudi arabia included nearly $300 million a proposed sales of pay boy bombs. in this particular incident, there was a joyous wedding celebration happening. there were about 150 to 200 wedding guest gathered.
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there were dancers dancing. there were drummers drumming. and all of the sudden, this u.s.-made bomb explodes on the scene and wreaks devastation. the mother of the groom who you cited also said after the attack, she collected the garlands made of jasmine flowers that some of the guests had been wearing. they were angled with human flesh and blood. another guest described collecting body parts from the multiple people who were killed and bearing them and not knowing which audie part belongs to whom. speakscident very much to the pattern of u.s. involvement in unlawful coalition airstrikes we have documented in the report. of the 27 attacks documented, although two of them involved like the u.s. made weapons. there's been a lot of talk in the last couple of years without
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the risk of u.s. weapons being used unlawfully in yemen. this report presents the most comprehensive evidence to date that this is not a hypothetical risk, that use weapons are actually being used in apparently unlawful collision airstrikes. amy: can you talk about the use of cluster munitions? giving an example, the effects of these weapons in five of the 27 incidents you document, five used u.s. made cluster munitions. talk about the legalities. >> that is exactly right. five of the 27 attacks we document it, u.s. clusters were used. these are highly lethal weapons. there is a growing international consensus around a ban on cluster munitions as exemplified by the convention on cluster munitions. afortunately, the u.s. is not party to that convention. however, u.s. transfer of cluster munitions to saudi arabia and the uae is still unlawful under u.s. -- under the
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u.s. domestic policies on cluster munitions exports. cluster me nations are inherently indiscriminate weapons. it is truly difficult if not impossible for them to be using up was with international human interior law because they release some munitions, which disperse widely d with indiscriminate effects. some of them release some munitions over areas that spans about five football fields. so it is virtually impossible to constrain the effects these weapons have, especially when used in populated areas. in the five attacks we documented in this report where -- in which cluster munitions were used, they were all used in populated areas where high civilian casualties were an extremely likely outcome. just to give you one example of the five, a u.s. made cluster munition was dropped on a civilian household in one of the strikes we documented.
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22 people were killed. 22 civilians were killed. half of them were children. who washe children injured in the attack was a 10-year-old boy. he lost his mother and all of his siblings in that attack. if you can just imagine a ten-year old boy with no mother, with no brothers and sisters come all at the hands of a u.s.-made cluster weapon that never should have been manufactured in the first place, let alone then sold to a brutal, murderous regime with fish horrendous human rights record. amy: we are going to go to break and come back to this discussion and radhya al-mutawakel ruhan nagra. their report is "day of judgment: the role of the u.s. and europe in civilian death, destruction, and trauma in yemen." bill hartung will also joined us about his report.
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stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. the ring code as we continue our conversation with the u.s.-backed, saudi and uae-led war on yemen, i want to bring in william hartung, the director of the armed security budget for the center of international policy. your silly wrote a report titled -- -- he recently wrote a report titled "'little sparta': the united states-united arab emirates alliance and the war in yemen." why is the uae referred to as little sparta and by whom? >> people li jim mattis have called them that because he is akin to the greek city state, which is a warrior state, so he is saying good warriors but putting the royer skills to very devastating results, which none of us should be supporting. i should point out we could stop this. next week there is a vote on the sanders lee amendment to stop
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your support for both the uae and saudi arabia. so i think there are still some people on the fence about that. i think that is important push forward both in its own right and put leverage on the peace process. and saudi of the uae arabia, congress has in its hands to play a role in stopping it, which i think is important. amy: it is amazing what is happening. you have nick turse reporting for yahoo! news, despite denials, documents report u.s. training, uae forces for combat in yemen." uae and saudis relationship? and the power of the military contractors benefiting from all of this. having their heyday under president trump? >> on the uae side, the us has applied $27 billion in weapons of the last decade, trained 5000 troops, including those pilots for combat. our special forces work closely with them on the ground.
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the uae has engaged in torture, hired mercenaries and child soldiers, including from sudan. come to his like lockheed martin, raytheon, boeing are profiting directly from these wars. even after the khashoggi murder. profit. is there is criminal activity. there is an unswerving support for the trump administration. it is up to the activists, who have done a terminus job, for congress to live up to the responsibilities, if we're going to overcome this. nermeen: the iolvement of the united arab emirates, a tiny little golf state, how it came to occupy this oversized ?osition in the region and also the number of european countries that have now either suspended or canceled arms sales ,o the uae and saudi arabia following khashoggi oppressed yes murder and the continuing devastation of yemen at their
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? >> first, the united arab emirates, they have a very big control in the south areas. what is really strange, as i -- extremist groups. they also control what is called the security and of the security groups. they are just doing a very whole of violations. asy are dealing with yemen if there are no people. they have their own project. there dealing with us like a lead with the people. they did not even try to provide the services in the area that they're controlling. and they can do it for people, but they don't care. have alreadys stopped selling weapons to saudi arabia and united arab emirates, even before, like the netherlands and germany. is still one of the countries
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releasing weapons is france. they did not stop until now. call in your final congress yesterday, radhya al-mutawakel, to be there from a woman from sun all, if you could explain what you said of the congressmember's? was -- it was strange to me that many members of the congress were just focusing on the humanitarian access. it is important, but why we're in the congress, we can talk about how to stop the wars, not only how to make humanitarian access easy -- even humanitarian ngos are saying humanitarian aid will not solve the problem in yemen. in 2018, there were 22 million humanitarianeded assistance. and now in 2019, the number increased to 24 million.
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nation.annot feed the i'm so scared to be here in 2020 saying the number increased. this should stop. i tried to explain to congress that they can do a lot to stop the war in yemen. it is a few monetary disaster that they have the power to stop. can get benefit from the power they have to do this. , thankdhya al-mutawakel you for being with us, chairperson of the mwatana organization for human rights and ruhan nagra, executive director of the university network for human rights and piece. link to your thank you bill, we will also link to your report. william hartung is the director of the arms and security project at the center for international policy. that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693
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