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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  September 19, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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09/19/19 09/19/19 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> the strike led by our children -- the climate strike led by our children is a wake-up call to all political and business leaders that we are running out of time. amy: as more than a million students prepared to walk out of class on friday in a global climate strike, we speak to kumi naidoo, the head of amnesty international. he is urging schools across the globe to allllow students to skp
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school on friday without facing punishment. then to the african nation of gambia, where an ongoing public truth and reconciliation commission is investigating the atrocities of former dictator yahya jammeh. we wl l speato a a gbian beautyueueen w hasas plicly accused jamm o of ra. re.ody discusses ye i am scared. i want the next person after me to be a little less scared than me. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. secretary of state mike pompeo is blaming iran for weekend attacks on saudi oil facilities, describing them as an act of war. pompeo was speaking from jeddah,
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where he met with saudi crown prince mohamed bin salman to discuss the attacks, which left heavily damaged one of the world's biggest oil-processing facilities. pompeo's visit came as saudi military officials in riyadh showed reporters remnantnts of what they described as iranianan drones and cruise missiles, saying they could not have been launched by yemen's houthi rebels, even though the houthis have claimed responsibility for ththe attacks. iran has denenied responsibilil, bubut foreign minister javadad f told cnn his nation was prepared to defend itself against any attack by the u.s. or its allies. >> what would be the consequence of new market and saudi military attack on iran now? >> an all out war. >> you make of your serious statement. >> i make a very serious statement about defending our country, that we don't want war, we don't want to engage in a military confrontation. we believe a military confrontation based on deception
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is awful. we will have a lot of casualties. but we will not blink to defend our territory. amy: senate democrats have warned trump against any attack on iran, saying he would need authorization from congress. president trump said wednesday he has imposed new sanctions on iran, though the white house, treasury, and state department haven't released any details. "the washington post" reports that a conversation between president trump and a world leader disturbed a u.s. intelllligence official so much that the person filed a whistlebeblower complaint, l leg to a showdown between lawmakers and u.s. intelligence agencies. according to "the washington post," trump's interaction with the foreign leader included a promise that was regarded as so troubling that it prompted the unnamed official to file a complaint with michael atkinson, the inspector general of the intelligence community. atkinson reportedly agreed that
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the concern was credible and troubling enough to alert congressional oversight committees, but acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire has refused to share details of the complaint with lawmakers. atkinson is scheduled to answer questions in a closed-door session of the house intelligence committee today. it's not clclear which worldd leader's conversation with trump prompted the complaint. "the post" reports trump spoke with five world leaders during the time period covered, including russian president vladimir putin and north korean leader kim jong-un. president trump has named robert o'brien as his fourth national security advisor after ousting john bolton from the role last week. o'brien is author of the 2016 book "while america slept: restoring american leadership to a world in crisis," a collection of essays promoting hawkish u.s. foreign policy. o'brien is a long-time associate of secretary of state mike pompeo and previously served as the top u.s. hostage negotiator. in july, president trump sent
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o'brien to sweden to win the release of a$ap rocky after the 30-year-old rapper's arrest for allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old man in stockholm. he's previously worked as a national security adviser to the presidential campaigns of republican candidates ted cruz, scott walker, and mitt romney. in afghanistan, at least 30 civilians were killed and 40 wounded late wednesday after u.s.-backed afghan security forces launched an air raid on farmers in eastern nangarhar province. a local official said a drone attack was aimed at a hideout used by islamic state fighters, but instead killed farm workers who'd finished a hard day's labor harvesting pine nuts. elsewhere, the taliban has claimed responsibility for a truck bomb explosion in the southern city of qalat that killed at least 20 people and wounded 97 others. a local official said the blast ripped through a gate to a hospital, but the target was likely a nearby training base for afghanistan's powerful security agency. elsewhere, in eastern afghananistan, a suicide bomber
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and gunmen attttacked a governmt building in jalalabad thursday, injuring at least nine people at a distribution center for national identity cards, which voters need to cast ballots in afghanistan's presidential election, set for september 28. this follows a pair of attacks on tuesday that killed 48 people and wounded dozens of others. the taliban promised to step up attacks after president trump abruptly canceled peace talks on september 7, declaring the negotiations dead. in indonesia, massive forest fires have spread toxic haze over the islands of sumatra and borneoeo, sending residenttoto hohospitals, shutting down airports, and closing schools as far away as singapore and malaysia. on wednesday, military pilots began seeding clouds above the fires with chemicals, hoping to produce enough rain to douse the blazes. indonesian officials estimate about 80% of the fires were deliberately set in order to clear land for palm oil plantations. in bermuda, more than 28,000 homes and businesses lost power
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overnight as the outer bands of hurricane humberto brought down trees and power lines. but the british territory was spared a direct hit from the dangerous category 3 hurricane. this comes as a record-tying six named storms churned in the eastern pacific and atlantic basins. climate scientists say warmer ocean temperatures driven by greenhouse gas emissions are making hurricanes and other extreme weather events more destructive. on capitol hill, swedish climate activist greta thunberg pleaded with a congressional committee to listen to climate scientist'' wednesday warnings about catastrophic climate change. in a short opening statement, the 16-year-old youth climate leader said she was not submitting testimony but instead would enter a report by the u.n.'s intergovernmental panel on climate change into the congressional record. the report calls on world leaders to take rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented action to avert a catastrophe. >> i am submitting this report as my testimony because i don't
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want you to listen to me. i want you to listen to the scientists. and i want you to unite behind science. and then i want you to take real action. amy: more than a million students are expected to walk out of classes in over 150 countries friday in a global climate strike, with more than 800 actions in the united states alone. youth leaders are also billing friday's strike as a day of action for puerto rico. september 20 marks the two-year anniversary of hurricane maria's landfall on the island, which led to thousands of deaths, destroying homes and businesses and knocking out electricity for months. we'll have more on the climate crisis after headlines with kumi naidoo, amnesty international's secretary general. the university of california has voted to divest from fossil fuel companies. writing in "the los angeles times," two top uc investment officials said it was the long-term risk posed by fossil fuel investments, rather than
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concerns over the environment that led them to pull some $150 million in fossil fuel assets from the universrsity's endowme. nonetheless, climate activists are hailing the move. 350.org founder bill mckibben tweeted that the presidents of harvard, yale, stanford, the university of michigan, and others should follow suit, adding -- "if the biggest system in the country has decided it must sell its oil stock, the pressure on these guys will go way up." in israel, the party of election challenger benny gantz has rejecteded an offer from prime minister benjamin netanyahu to join him in the unity governmentnt. netanyahu surprised offer came after tuesday's election provided no clear winner. both netanyahu and gantz rental platforms to take harsh measures targeting palestinians and have called on israel to annex much of the ossified -- occupied west bank. in japan, a court has found three former executives at the tokyo electric power company not guilty of professional neglgligence over their role in
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the multiple nuclear meltdowns at the fukushima power plant in 2011. the three had been indicted for failing to safeguard against the magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami that brought power at the nuclear plant offline, leading to explosions that spread radioactive fallout over parts of northern japan. they were the only people to face crimiminal charges fofor te nuclear disaster. back in the united states, democratic party donor and political activist ed buck was arrested in los angeles tuesday night and charged with several felonies, including running a drug house following the overdose deaths of at least two black gay men at buck's home in the past two years. buck's arrest comes after a third man overdosed on methamphetamine at buck's apartment last week. the man survived. black lgbtq activists and the family members of the two men who died in his house have been calling on prosecutors for months to file criminal charges against buck, accusing him of being a sexual predator.
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if convicted, buck faces a maximum of five years in prison. canadian prime minister justin trudeau apologized wednesday after a photo emerged showing him in brownface. the 2001 photo, published by "time magazine," was taken from a vancouver high school yearbook where trudeau was then a teacher. it shows him wearing a costume turban with his face and hands covered with dark makeup. speaking to journalists wednesday, trudeau said he had dressed up as aladdin as part of an arabian nights-themed school gala. myi take responsibility for decision to do that. i should not have done it. i should have known better. it was something that i did not think was racist at the time, but now i recognize it was something racist to do. i am deeply sorry. amy: the photo's publication comes just one week after prime minister trudeau launched his reelection campaign. it drew condemnation from
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leaders of all of canada's political parties. this is jagmeet singh, leader of the new democratic party. >> what is troubling -- it is hear ofg anytime we brownface or blackface, it is making a mockery of someone i what their lived experiences are. i think he needs to answer for it. i think he needs to answer the question why he did that. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. nermeen: and i'm nermeen shaikh. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. more than a million students are expected to walk out of class on friday in a global climate strike. more than 800 climate strikes are scheduled in the united states. strikes are also being organized in 150 other countries. on wednesday, 16-year-old swedish climate activist greta thunberg, who inspired the movement, testified d before the u.s. congress. thunberg. is greta
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i have not come to offer any prepared remarks at this hearing. i am instead attaching my testimony. onis the ipcc special report global warming of 1.5 degrees's celsius released on october 8, 2018. i am submitting this report as my testimony because i don't want you to listen to me. i want you to listen to the scientists. behind want y you to unite science. and then i want you to take real action. thank you. amy: amnesty international's secretetary general kumi naiaido has urged scschool districts across the globe to allow students to skip school on
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friday without facing punishment. in an open letter to school leaders, naidoo writes -- "children should not be punished for speaking out about the great injustices of our age. in fact, when it has fallen on young people to show the leadership that many adults who hold great positions of power have failed to, it is not young people's behavior we should be questioning. it is ours." kumi naidoo joins us now in our new york studio. he became the secretary-general of amnesty a year ago. he previously served as the international executive director of greenpeace and was also involved in the anti-apartheid movement in his home country of south africa. he was also kicked out of school there for protesting. kumi naidoo, welcome back to democracy now! >> it is good to be here. amy: it is interesting your titles. now you are at amnesty international. you are the head of it. you are the head of greenpeace.
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you are here in new york. you will be part of the global climate strike that you are also at this unprecedented meeting of environmentalists and human rights activists pulling together all of your activism in your life. >> i think one of the catastrophic mistakes we made in 1992 when the earth summit f flaming a response to the threat of climate change solely or primarily as an environment issue. i think we needed to do then what we're trying to do now. it is late, but utterlyly that never which is to ensure we are doing a crosscutting understanding of climate change and a more human, centric approach to addressing climate change. the summit we are having is primarily non-environmental activism coming together and asking ourselves the question, what can the human rights movement bring to ensuring this
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urgency on the climate question? basically, climate change today is a death penalty on the entire population of our planet. nermeen: could you talk about that a little bit? who are the populations most affected? >> the sad reality is ththe peoe that are paying the most brutal impacts of climate change are those that actually are the least responsible for it. so these are people in mozambique where we saw -- i grew up in southern africa. that is my home. i dodon't have anyny recollectif cyclones ever. and then mozambique has two cycles into weeks, wiping out almost an entire city with hundreds of people's lives being lost. we look at the disproportional -- it is the impacts
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not as if there is no impacts in rich countries, there is, but in comparative terms, it is the poor coununtries that are suffering. in my opening address to o the climate summit, the people's summit, i said, just because it n north, you can be assured it is coming to a theater near you quite soon. and the reality is, we have to get this right. the rich and poor countries working together and secure the future of our children and their children. if we continue to be as divided as we are, p people in poor countries arare paying the fifit price but people in rich countries need to know that they are not sanitized on a long-term basis s from the impacts of climate change. nermeen: it seems the differential impact is not just now between rich and poor countries, but also between the rich and poor within countries. ur on.n. specialrappoteru human rights warned the unequal
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distribution of these impacts could lead to climate apartheid whereby he said "the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger, and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer." could you say a little bit about the ways in which you see both wealthy countries and the wealthy within all countries shielding themselves from the worst effect and how so many people are left out of that? >> absolutely. when you think about the climate crisis, can think about the sinking of the titanic. drugbody in the titanic that iceberg -- struck that iceberg was under threat. but we know based on your wealth, you had different opportunity of succeeding or not. even in the united states, if in look at hurricane katrina
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2005, the wealthier folks were able to jump in their cars and drive away. the poor folks were left stranded in hospitals and prisons and communities and so on. so when we look at this challenge, we need to recognize that climate change is also at its heart, what of its biggest problem is our consumption material -- benefits of the world are distributed. the bottom line is, if we do not address as part of our climate solution deep structural inequality that exists in the world, we are never going to get to a place of really addressing climate in a long-term basis. there is no question those of us who are at the top end of society, who actually lead lives of over consumption, need to recognize the poor are actually subsidizing our lifestyle by the pain they have to take. this is an uncomfortable thing
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to accept. there are a lot of well-meaning people around the world say how they are opposed to poverty and so on, but we need to understand ,hat the scale of poverty inequality, therefore and sustainanability practices is there because a relatively have led people in the world insist on living a particular lifestyle, which is actually so unequal and so indefensible. yes, we need to understand this problem is between rich and poor countries, but also wiwithin individual countries. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to this discussion with kumi naidoo. we will be joined then by the gambian beauty queen who says she was raraped by the former dictator. we will talk about the truth and reconciliation commission that is going there now and her bravery in saying she will return to confront him. this is democracy now! we will bebe back with kumi naio in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democrcracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. our guest is kumi naidoo, secretary general of amnesty international. previously the head of greenpeace and longtime south african human rights and climate justice activist. the first african to lead
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greenpeace. you are here in new york. can you talk about the climate strike that youth are leaving on friday? tomorrow we will have a roundtable of youth discussing this. it is something you know well from anti-apartheid days in south africa. at 15.lked to school it is a little bit of deja vu. let me say these kids are much more smarter and strategic -- amy: you got thrown out? >> several of us were expelled. nermeen: and your 15.. amy: you have asked schools around the world to do the opposite. >> i would argue my act together with my fellow young people in south africa at that time was actually an educative act. we learned from try to shape the history of our country. these people are shaping the world. democracy now! has been covering climate activism for a lolong te intensively.
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i'm sure you will agree with me this is the most powerful, energizing moment in our struggle in the climate catastrophe. i think while on the one hand we are facing a situation where we are so close to the cliff because we are running out of time, on the other hand i think the young kids have actually shown courage. i wrote to principals and teachers and someone not to punish kids for doing what their parents should be doing and political and business leaders should be doing. the reality is, the kids are being the adults and some of our politicians, including the guy that sits in the white house, are behaving like a spspoiled brat. amy: they kids are saying all people should walk out, not just children. walk out of the workplaces, come from home, to join in the streets. >> you been using the figure of one million people. i am cautiously optimistic this is going to be the largest climate protest and potentially one of the largest protest ever
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happen in the world. yesterday in terms of the website, must double the number of events within 48 hours. there is a moment and picking up. i hope parents in particular will honor their children. those parents are able to participate and join wherever they are in the world. we encourage them to do that. what is at stake is not saving the planet, it is securing our children and their children's future. therefore, it is right that children are on the front line when all editions are not willing to protect their futures. nermeen: even as these young people, and many other climate justice activist are rising up as the ones who can potentially bring leaders and as you say parents around to understanding how huge this climate crisis is, there is also an unprecedented attack on climate and environmental activists. earlier this month, u.n. commissioner michelle bachelet
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condemned it, including greta thunberg. >> the office on special noted a number of attacks in every region, particularly in latin america. i am disheartened by this violence. and also by the verbal attacks on young activists such as greta thunberg and others who harmnize support for the their generation may bear.r. it is compelling. we should respect, protect, and fulfill their rights. could you talk about what is happening to climate activists around the world? >> this is the conversation we had with the u.n. secretary-general yesterday, where we pointed out according to global witness, last year for example, every week three environmental activists on murdered.re
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every week. the statistic inin previous yeas or the last several years were two murdered. per week. since therked bolsonaro election in brazil. itis a global average, but is a disproportionate number of people being killed in the amazonian area, and latin america, but it is important we recognize it is not only about murder, but the attacks and terms of online attacks -- and terms of online attacks as it was just shown, there is a disproportionate level of abuse against women and a disproportionate level of abuse against women of color. and now we are seeing young pepeople are particularly also n the front line of the attacks by usually politicians come a handful that are still denying climate science. amy: let's talk about the destruction of the amazon, the
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worlrld's largest rain forere. the uniteded nations calling for the protection of the amazon amidst fears that thousands of fires raging across brazil are paving the way for a climate catastrophe. environment laissez most of the fires were deliberately set by illegal miners and cattle ranchers. meanwhile, as the fires continue to rage, the far-right brazilian president jair bolsonaro pinned blame on non-governmental organizations. >> regarding the fires in the amazon, i am under the impression it could have been set by the ngos because they had asked for money. what was their intention? to b bring about problems for brazil. amy: and then i want to turn to in indigenous activist, and indigenous actors from brazil travel to the u.s. from brazil for friday's climate strike actions. i territory in brazil is in the dry highlands.
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even the young can see this highland disappearing and are david -- are native plants are dying due to lack of water. if it goes on like this, 20 years from now by people will be at risk of becoming history. right now the amazon, home to millions of my relatives, is burning. there inwas washington, d.c. come at a news conference standing next to senator markey and greta thunberg and others. very important as we bring the powerquote from bolsonaro but the elevation of the voices of these activists and how much threat they face. the areas that protect are not on fire when you look at the map from above. and the other areas are the ones on fire come the threats that you have been continue to talk about. >> one of the key points that came out of the first day of the people sumummit was that we owea major r debt to indigenous p pes around the world.
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it is sad that we did not listen to their wisdom's about how .umanity should coexist we have seen how that indigenous knowledge has actually saved parts of the amazon, as you say. right now we actually need indigenous knowledge in the global conversation around addressing climate catastrophe moving forward because there is a deep intelligence and history about how we live in the most sustainable way with resources that humanity needs. is, there are rich countries in the world who historically -- like in europe -- go on to develop themselves. what bolsonaro does is uses the range of false narratives to actually sort of say, well, oh those people e chped the forest,
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therefore we should do the same. that is ridiculous. brazil and other countries around brazil with the amazon, people are the possessors and the holders of the most precious assets, andtural that value is gone once you chop it down. that is why in the climate negotiations, for example, we say we want significant resources, the green climate fund so countries can be supported as indonesia was supported previously with serious support from norway not to further do forest by getting a big support to actually cover whatever they might've lost. amy: that the second largest rain forest. nermeen: if you could give us the sense. you have dissipated in climate negotiations for very long time -- you have purchase a paid it in, negotiations for a long time. we have been talking about jair
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bolsonaro in brazil and trump here in the united states who raises questions about whether climate science is accurate. china, meanwhile, is reportedly planning to use funds intended to support clean energy to fund so-called clean coal instead. these are major countries that are responsible for large amounts off emissions. if you could give us a sense of where they stand, big polluters. how does this compare to other countries around the world? but it thunberg, one of the points she made when she came, the conversation in sweden is so radically different than from here. and what can be done about the fact that the heads of state of these large countries responsible for the majority of emissions are not doing what is required? >> i think it is scandalous, irresponsible, and it is shameful. ,n africa, morocco and gambia
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these are two countries that are basically on track to fulfill 1.5 degrees sort of obligations. we are seeing other poor countries making a lot of effort , but we can do everything in smaller countries but it is the big countries who are the biggest emitters don't change radically now, then these emissions don't respect boundaries. right? they are up in the atmosphere and it will i impactn everybody. of urgency i think has to be named as a mental condition that our political leaders are facing. amy: your political leaders saying it is too expensive and the wealthiest countries and in the poorest countries taking major ststs to a aress climate chanan. in july, volunteers in ethiopia in 12d 350 million trees hours?
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it was part of a national campaign to tackle the climate crisis. 80% of ethiopia's population depends on agriculture for its livelihood. ethiopia suffers from soil erosion, deforestation, flooding, and howard drought conditions. a study released earlier this year found planting 1.2 trillion 10 yearsld cancel out of c carbon dioxidide e essions meanwhile, england has f flen over 7 7 short o of its governrt targeteting for treree planting. >> absolutely. ethiopia, the example tells you it is a question of political will. our leaders need to understand that nature does not negotiate. you cannot change the science. all we can change right now is political will. thankfully, political will is a renewable resource, if you know what i mean. citizens need to be asking as citizens around the world asking different countries, how are the leaders going to act? five years ago we were not
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getting that kind of pressure on our political leaders to act on climate. now, even in the u.s., a majority of citizens are saying they want climate action. so i think right now we must ask the question, why our political leaders are not acting? we have popular opinion behind them. the reason is very clear. there are people in the current energy system, in the current economic system that are making truckloads of money every second of every day that are going to defend the system until it kills our children and their futures. and that is why we have to take on the collusion between the fossil fuel industry and governments because too many governments have been captured and bought out by the fossil fuel industry and other polluting industries. nermeen: as you know, one of the issues that repeatedly has been pointed to in discussions about climate change is population growth. of course, the countries where the population is growing are largely developing countries.
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and it is in europe and north america where birthrates have gone down. but i want you to comment on the differences between consumption levels of people who live in the north and people who live in the global south. a recent report found the average american generates the same amount of carbon dioxide inssions as 583 people would a rudy. in the case of saudi arabia, the number is greater. carbon dioxide emissions for an average saudi resident is the ine amount as 719 people randy. >> let me just say that it is an important question for us to talk about population growth in the intelligent formality. i think there is a simple strategy which the women's movement has told us multiple times to address the question of rapid population growth.
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an unsustainable growth. and that is gender inequality. we have seen were gender , family levels picks up sizes go down. to all of the politicians in the world and all of those concerned about population growth, become a gender activist now and, famiy sizes go down. push for 100% gender equality. i think given the way the resources are in the world right defensible to check population growth. however, that statistic is absolutely right. i have been quoting this, different versions, over time to the unequalnt that consumption in the world is what is driving this problem. and unless we also begin to understand what constitutes a happy, meaningful life, we have
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to break this idea that happininess comes from more and more and more consumption because it clearly is not what gives you happiness. amy: the climate strike is friday. saturday u.n. youth summit at the united nations, and monday the 23rd, the u.n., action summit, the big -- before the big one in santiago, chile, where we will be in december. what are you expecting? what do you want to see come out of it? what did the u.n. sesecretary-general say to you when you met with him? >> the good thing is the secretary general did for the summit, said each country gets three minutes but you're not coming here to give a speech about the problem. you're only coming here to announce your plans. -- sorry, japan japan, australia, south africa are not speaking because they're their to talk about coming with coal.
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the u.s. is not there because they pulled out of the paris -- that is a no-brainer, sadly. so what we have is a secretary-general at the moment on climate is pushing really hard. we hope governments actually catch up with ways and the proof in the pudding will be there on monday. having said that, we come as we said before we went to the paris agreement, we did not say road to paris, we said road through paris. all of these moments, yes, they are important, but it is yakkity and the young kids are saying, time for talking is over. our political business leaders must hear from the people at the summit taking place and multiple conversations. we are not going to put all of our eggs in the negotiating basket. we will not put them all in the u.n. ascot. we will take the struggle into the streets come into communities. so we're going to open up a
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whole range of other struggles that have been going on, including strategic litigation in the philippines right now. they are taking part of the legal process to go after the top fossil fuel companies to hold them accountable amy: university of california entire system just divested.. >> we had a conference in cape town just last week to look at where the divestment movement were and we completely overshot the targets in terms of we are hoping for 10 trillionon, hoping holding with 11 trillion. people will see even if you have little money in the bank account, we have quite a lot of power to put pressure on thehe banks. those that h have money to invet should be pulling out their money and putting it into clean energy if they care about the children and their children. amy: kumi naidoo, thank you for being with us secretary general , of amnesty internationonal. previously the head of greenpeace. he is a lifelong south african human rights and climate justice activist. who we come back, we go to
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gambia, where an ongoing truth and reconciliation commission is investigating yahya jammeh. we will speak with a gambian beauty queen who has publicly accused him of rape. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. nermeen: we turn now to gambia, where an ongoing public truth and reconciliation commission is
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investigating the atrocities of former president yahya jammeh, who ruled the west african country of 2 million people for 22 years before his regime ended in 2017. in -- during the hearings, members of his death what have admitted to killing migrants, journalists, and civilians during the president's reign. survivors of the regime have also testified during the hearings, which have been live-streamed across the country. the investigation is part of an ongoing process to reckon with the horrors committed during yahya jammeh's rule, including killing and disappearing hundreds of people, torture, unjustified jailings, and sexual violence against women and girls. but the perpetrators of this violence have never been brought to justice, including yahya jammeh himself, who fled to equatorial guinea in 2017 after losing the 2016 presidential election. hehe refused to cede power for weeks before leaders in the region helped arrange his exile.
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amy: among those demanding he be tried in criminanal cot for hi crimes, is gambianeauty queen who says the psisident raped r when s was 18 ars old. fatou "tfafah" jlow w habecomeme leading ice agait the rmer predent. in this human rirights watch video, she tellserer sto. face yahya to jajammeh w 18 year old wn he raped men 2015. years spent the last fo -erase, toa race, hi t that didid n happepe it happened. he is nlonger psident. my famy is fine. let goes on. pret easy, rht? was.h that is wh i it
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the pageant is a competioion of men eowerment. the messag was to empower wome t to gi thehem platform to compete and talk abou issues that affect eieir counititie ananalso hava scholahip for rls so they c go and study road andome back to the counyy andontribute. >> and the winner -- >> wow1 i was so proud of myself. i am a crowned queen, ghght? and i'm gog g to sdy a abroa time meeting th presenent wain 2014. it was the end of the yeaafter the paant. were inted to t statouse.
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>>ahya jamhsed stat chanls to abuseomen. he claim intest in fatou "toufah"alallow's communyy rvicice ojecect. cooks onday he asked that he wantntedo marry me. but i told him, i'm not planning to. i i d't wa to get mried. i want too and sty. th ithe reas why i got into ts pagean cooks a few wes s late jamamme inted touf t the statehouse. >> all s saw w a s sen of angeat the fact at i would have the aacacity somehow to say no to him, e presidt.t. o.id whahehe wand toto at some point i could t hear my scrm anymore. told me no o was going to heare e anyws.
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s sayhe storyg to ts and i'm gointo own sty. los toufah decid to teller storto the tth and reconciaiation reparation commissi.. ey c canecommeme that jammeh prosecuted. includes aortantly olole syem change so that we can prosecute this man, have our day court. .obody dcusses rape yes, i am scare i want the next peonon aft me to be a littlele less scared that be. .my: that is toufah two other women have also come forward to accuse the former president of gambia of rape and sexual assault stop human rights
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watch says yahya jammeh " " handpicked" women and girls to rape or sexually assault while president, requiring so-called "protocol girls" to be on call for sex. he denies the claims. well, toufah joins us in our new york studio come along with reed brody, currently leading the prosecution of former gambian dictator yahya jammeh. welcome to democracy now! isfah, your bravery ununbelievable what you went through. we did not want you to have to describe this again, your assault, but this is only a part of the story. you then had to escape from gambia. explain what happened next. >> thank you for having me. leaving the country was very prompt. it happened a week after the incident because i received a
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call again from -- to go back to some event and i realized it is not a life i would want to lead, to be called and picked up by the president anytime he wanted. i remember waking up in the morning and deciding to go to the market. that on the muslim attire only my face or eyes would show. i put the passport right by my waist and walked to the market to do grocery shopping. when i realize that whoever is following me at this point is convinced and actually buying groceries, i jumped into a cab that was going to the capital where you had to cross a border to get to the other side of the border into senegal. i got onto a boat, fishing boats because i could not take the ferry. i crossed with the boat. right at the border, i realized i could not take the formal route because i additional paperwork. i joined in a big truck that carried livestock like cows and goats. i squeezed in between two guys
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in the front seat of the truck and that is how i found myself in senegal. nermeen: we mentioned this briefly and you have just said in part,t you fled obviously, because you were called again by protocol officer to go back. who were these protocol girls? why are they called protocol girls? and the fact that after you came out with your own story, the government actually asked for other people to come and testify as well about their experiences? can you talk about whether you met these other girls, girls who were also assaulted for the former president and the women who have come forward after you have spoken out? weree protocol girls, they very unclear to the rest of the population but they worked at the statehouse to do paperwork. nermeen: the statehouse is where he lives? >> yes come in the presidential
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palace. that is where the incident happened. the protocol girls did work there. one of them in particular was the one who kept in contact w wh me and invited me to the event and tried to get as close to me as she can. the rest of the other girls, i was not very well known to them or i did not know them because we did not interact a lot. some of the girls i have met, as you can see the report, two other women that accuse him that they've decided to remain anonymous. i have met one of them and i have met other women in private. again, within the culture we is not something you want to own publicly. amy: what gave you the courage to say your name? >> because it is my story. it is my truth and nobody can tell it better than i can. it is time for someone to own it. it is someone to start ash time for someone to start the
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conversation. i did not want to be part of the people who would protect my perpetrator who i believe has tended to so many other people. knowing the consequences of it, i wanted to say my name e becaue there are faces an actual human beings find these stories. amy: you charge former dictator with rape? >> i did. nenermeen: the other two women you mention come are they still in gambia? >> one is not an one is. amy: this is part of being raised in the truth and reconciliation commission. i wanted to turn to sergeant a member of the junglers. oftestified on the killing 56 w west african migrants in 2005.. cooks when we arrive at the the headhthe order from of state, the former president
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yahya jammeh, they're all to be executed. amy: that is sergeant omar jallow, no relation to t toufah. reed brody, put this story --toufah is astounding in her bravery and the wherewithal to escape the country and then toto speaeak out. and you're planning to return. >> next month to the truth and reconciliation commission. amy: put gambia in a geopolitical context. where it is ,reed, and the significance of this commission, what it took to get to this point. >> yahya jammeh was the ruler of gambia for 22 years. gambia is a tiny country must totally surroundeded by senegagl with the exception of the mile atlantic front. yahya jammeh lost an election. he firirst accepted the reresult ththen refused to accept them.
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he only left the country after gambian's actually rose up in gambia has decided movement host and other west african countries who were fed up with yahya jammeh, fed up with this interference with landmines in senegal, the drug trafficking, corruption. it forced him to step down. two years ago. then the government decided to establish this landmark truth commission, which is like a soap opera. people are coming on live tv -- you get into a taxi and go to a home and people are watching ese peoplele testify. they're going to have a special hearing on sexual violence next will testify.ufah in our report, we show jammeh had an entire system of bringing women to his office to visit him. he would see women in crowds and tell his assistance to bring them.
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he sexually abused them. we are also hearing witness after witness, jammeh's ownn hitmen confessing to havaving participated on jammeh's orders and the killing of distinguished journalist and editor come in the killing of two gambian-american citizens who were ordered to be andndho work chopped to pieces. amy: let's go to a bit more of a testimony to staff sergeant, another member of the so-called junglers, which was the name for yahya jammeh's elite hit-squad during gambia's truth, reconciliation commission, he testified on the killing of two gambian-americans. >> he said, let's kill these people and cut their flesh into pieces. cooks cut them up into pieces. like they would do meet? amy: this is broadcasting live throughout gambia. >> right.
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and people are watching this. this is the topic of conversation in gambia. and also in ghana. interestingly, the 56 migrants who were assassinated, these were 56 west african migrants who were trying to get to europe. their canoe was beached in the gambia. they were all arrested. 55 of them were killed. one of them escaped to tell the tale stuff and because of him, we are able to see the junglers killed not just gambian's, but 44 people from ghana. nine people from nigeria. togo. ivory coast. senegal. jammeh is accused not just of murdering and raping gambian citizens, but also murdering the citizens of five other west african countries. amy: where is he? >> jammeh is in equatorial guinea, one of the long standing dictatorships in africa.
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as part of the deal to finally get -- as the gambian people were surrounding him and trying to get him out, he fled to equatorial guinea, which is ruled for over 40 years by the same man. he has vowed to protect u.n.. we're hoping the testimony of people like toufah, the testimonies of the victims are going to build a political will so that all of africa come all of west africa comes together to request that yahya jammeh be delivered to justice. , you're going to testify next month as part of the truth commission. talk about what you're going to say. >> first of all, i want to be at the truth and reconciliationon commission becauause i want the issue of sexual assault to be part of what we write as a history, what we count as a history. i'm going to talk about my story and the stories of other women
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and the two women that are also tothe report to put a face the atrocities that have been committed on gambian women. sometimes it is often forgotten how the women have really suffered under jammeh, how they were used as pawns and tools politically and in the bedroom and in the state house like the protocol grows themselves. sometimes i see them as victims because they were used as machine for yahya jammeh. used the for him. were not given the opportunity to take important roles in society. i wish to be there to express these sentiments and tell my story the way it is to m make ia national conversation. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us. we will be doing part two and posted online at democracynow.org. toufah jallow is a gambian feminist and anti-rape activist. returning to gambia to tell her story. she has taken refuge in toronto, canada. reed brody is a counsel and
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spokesperson for human rights watch. he is currently leading the prosecution of the ex-president yahya jammeh. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, ne
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