tv Democracy Now PBS June 9, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
06/09/15 06/09/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> he is charged with murder. in south carolina, we don't have murder in caring degrees. although we do have murder involuntary manslaughter, you will hear other states talking about murder one and murder to, that sort of thing. amy: as a grand jury charges former south carolina police officer michael slager with murder for the shooting death of unarmed african-american walter scott, hundreds protest in mckinney, texas against a white police officer who an african-american bikini-clad teenage girl to the ground and pointed his pistol at other blacks youths at a pool party. we will speak with cheryl dorsey, a former sergeant in the los angeles department. then as the obama adminiration oks shell's plan to drill for oil in the arctic, we look back
at the arctic 30, the greenpeace activists jailed in russia for trying to stop arctic drilling. >> we are on a peaceful voyage in order to protest against [indiscernible] amy: we will be with ben stewart, author of the new book "don't trust, don't fear, don't beg: the extraordinary story of the arctic 30." and we will speak with the ship's captain, peter willcox, a legendary figure in greenpeace's history. 30 years ago, he was the captain aboard the rainbow warrior blown up by the french government in new zealand. one man died. all that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the families of an anti-al-qaeda cleric and a police officer killed by a u.s. drone strike in yemen have filed a lawsuit asking a u.s. court to acknowledge their deaths were "unlawful." salem bin ali jaber and waleed bin ali jaber were killed in august 2012 in eastern yemen during a meeting with three strangers suspected of being al-qaeda members. yemen paid the families of salem and waleed a total of $155,000 in compensation for their deaths, which the families believe came from the united states. but unlike the families of the two u.s. and italian hostages mistakenly killed by a u.s. drone strike in pakistan, the yemeni families have never received an apology or explanation. alka pradhan, an attorney representing the families with the human rights group reprieve said the lawsuit seeks to clear the victims' names, not obtain monetary damages. >> this is a huge point of honor for the family.
being who he was, being a well-known imam who preached against al qaeda, to have his name tarred as a militant, to have a policeman who enforced the rule of law, tried to enforce the rule of law in yemen, to have these two tarred as militants, the families really cannot live with that. they're not asking for money. they want an acknowledgment that this is not the case. amy: an airstrike by the u.s.-led coalition in syria has reportedly killed seven members of a family in the northern province of aleppo. the britain-based syrian observatory for human rights said the strike wiped out the entire family. meanwhile the observatory also , reported airstrikes by the syrian regime killed at least 49 people in idlib province including six children. in ukraine, hundreds of firefighters are battling a massive blaze at an oil depot outside the capital kiev. at least one worker and several firefighters have been killed and 16 fuel tanks reportedly remain on fire. video shows a huge column of black smoke billowing into the air. in the united states, the supreme court has struck down a law which would have let americans born in jerusalem list
their birthplace as "israel" on their passports. in a 6-3 decision, the court ruled the law infringed on the president's right to make decisions about recognizing foreign nations. while israel has occupied east jerusalem since 1967 palestinians claim it as the -- it is the capital of any future palestinian state. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon has left israel off its list of countries which kill or injure children during conflicts. the decision defies the recommendation of it u.n. special envoy and follows intense pressure from israel and the united states. it comes despite the un's conclusion last summer's israeli assault on gaza killed about 540 palestinian children, making it the third deadliest conflict for children included in the report, after afghanistan and iraq, and ahead of syria. meanwhile a report by the israeli newspaper haaretz reveals israel recently detonated a series of so-called dirty bombs laced with nuclear material, purportedly to test the potential impact of a radioactive attack. the so-called green field project involved 20 detonations, most of them in the desert, over four years, ending in 2014. a grand jury has charged former
south carolina police officer michael slager with murder for the shooting death of unarmed african-american walter scott. slager had stopped scott for a broken tail light when scott fled on foot. eyewitness video shows slager shooting scott in the back eight times as he runs away. the indictment came as hundreds of police rallied -- of people rallied in mckinney, texas to protest a new video showing police officer eric casebolt wrestling an african-american teenage girl in a bikini to the ground, pulling her hair, and sitting on top of her. casebolt also pulled his gun on another teen. we'll have more on mckinney and police abuses nationwide after headlines. officials in boston, massachusetts have released surveillance video of a boston police officer and fbi agent fatally shooting usaama rahim last week.
authorities say they had been monitoring rahim as part of a terrorism probe when they overheard him talking about beheading an officer. they say he lunged at officers with a knife. boston police commissioner william evans said the video supports the police account. >> their questions asked about why did the officers use any other force? this guy had a malicious intent and officers were really faced with that, both the fbi and the boston and the video will speak for itself. amy: but rahim's family has disputed the police version, and saying the man was not the aggressor. the grainy video makes it difficult to see exactly what happened or even whether rahim has a knife. a federal judge has ordered the immediate release of lousiana prisoner and former black panther albert woodfox, the longest-serving u.s. prisoner in solitary confinement. earlier this year, a lousiana
grand jury reindicted woodfox for the 1972 murder of a prison guard, a crime for which he and his late, fellow angola 3 member herman wallace maintained they were framed for their political activism. herman wallace died on october 1, 2013 just three days after he was released from prison. on monday, federal judge james brady not only called for woodfox's release, but also barried a retrial, citing -- woodfox's two previous cases were overturned. new york city mayor bill de blasio says a young man who committed suicide after he was imprisoned for three years at rikers island jail without charge did not die in vain. kalief browder was just 16 years old when he was jailed at rikers without trial on suspicion of stealing a backpack. he maintained his innocence and was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed.
the case was finally dismissed. on saturday, kalief took his own life at the age of 22. speaking at a news conference de blasio mourned browder's death. >> there's just no reason he should have gone through that ordeal. and it is a tragedy and it has cut so many of us. it will be to change. i wish we had not lost him. this is a tragic loss, but once his story became public, a caused a lot of people to act. and a lot of the changes we're making at rikers island right now are the result of the example of kalief browder. i deeply wish we had not lost him, but he did not die in pain. amy: you can go to democracynow.org for our discussion of kalief browder's life and death. we had a segment yesterday and have continually covered his case. an immigrant teenage mom who attempted suicide at a private texas family detention center after being denied asylum is being deported.
nineteen-year-old lilian olia yamileth has sought refuge with her four-year old son in the south african authorities say olympic and paralympic athlete oscar pistorius is set to be released from prison in august after serving exactly 10 months for killing his girlfriend reeva steenkamp. pistorius claimed he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder when he shot her through a bathroom door. prosecutors will challenge his acquittal on murder charges before an appeals court in november. last month was officially the wettest month ever recorded in the united states. despite a record drought in california, states across the midwest were hit by heavy rain in may, a pattern which has been linked to climate change. the news came as the leaders of seven wealthy democracies known as the g7 wrapped up a summit in germany with a call for "decarbonization of the global
economy over the course of this century." the plan contains few binding provisions or concrete details. as about 20,000 police kept protesters at bay, greenpeace projected its demands onto a mountain near the castle where leaders were meeting. the message read, g7 go for 100% renewables. the obama administration has announced it will forgive the federal loans of tens of thousands of students who attended schools run by the for-profit chain corinthian colleges, which shut down last month amidst scrutiny over fraud and predatory lending. the move follows protests by hundreds of former corinthians students who refused to pay back their loans. student activists had sought blanket relief of the loans, but the education department's plan will instead force students to seek out and apply for debt forgiveness. kentucky democratic governor steven beshear has signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for employees of the state executive branch to
$10.10 an hour. the order will raise the salaries of nearly 800 state workers beginning on july first. governor beshear said the current us minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is "simply not enough to support a family." folk music fans are mourning the death of singer ronnie gilbert one of four founding members of the weavers, who helped popularize folk music and bring its message of social change to the world. in a documentary called "the , weavers: wasn't that a time," ronnie gilbert recalled the period around the weavers' founding after world war ii, saying -- "we still had the feeling that if we could sing loud enough and strong enough and hopefully enough, it would make a difference." the weavers were targeted by anti-communist fervor, investigated by the senate internal security subcommittee and blacklisted. fellow weavers member peter seeger, who died last year praised ronnie gilbert during an interview on democracy now! in 2004 as he remembered the founding of the weavers. >> we were fortunate to run into
one of the world's greatest singers, ronnie gilbert, in her early 20's, beautiful voice. in a strong alto voice. i would have to be two inches from the microphone, she could be two feet from the microphone and she would drown me out. amy: ronnie gilbert died on saturday at a retirement community in the california bay area suburb of mill valley at the age of 88. her death was confirmed by her partner donna korones, whom she married to us it -- earlier attempted suicide after being denied asylum as we will bring you that story later in the broadcast. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and i'm amy goodman. peace report i'm amy goodman. i'm amy goodman. aaron: we begin with the latest in police abuses, including cases where video could prove the difference between accountability and impunity. on monday, a grand jury charged former south carolina police
officer michael slager with murder for the shooting death of unarmed african-american walter scott. slager had stopped scott for a broken light when scott fled on foot. slager explained the shooting by saying he feared for his life and claiming scott had taken his taser weapon. but eyewitness video shows slager shooting scott in the back eight times as he runs away. prosecutor scarlett wilson said slager was charged with the single murder charge allowed under south carolina law unlawful killing with malice for thought. >> in this case and cases involving murder, what we're talking about is unlawful killing with malice of forethought. and malice of forethought, yes is a form of premeditation, but there is no time limit or time requirement improving malice of forethought. it can be seconds before. as long as malice exists in the heart and mind at the time
before and during the killing the state has proven malice of forethought. amy: if convicted, slager faces anywhere between 30 years to life in prison without parole. walter scott's brother, rodney scott, and scott family attorney, chris stewart, welcomed the indictment. >> in this case, ending cases involving murder, what we're talking about is unlawful killing with malice of forethought. in this case, ending cases involving murder, what we're talking about -- >> the grand jury made a decision to indict mr. slager for murder and we're very happy and pleased about that right now. today was just an example that if you just keep the faith even in the darkest times, you'll see the light. but this is just up one. we're going to patiently wait for the criminal trial in this case in the family will patiently wait to see if the city and the police department and the chief is going to accept
responsibility in the civil suit because entire situation never should have occurred with officer slager. amy: the indictment comes as a new incident caught on tape in texas has sparked national outrage. a mckinney police officer has been put on leave after video emerged of his aggressive handling of african-american teens. the officer, eric casebolt, was responding to complaints about a pool party the teens were attending. several witnesses say a dispute only broke out after local white residents voiced anger at the presence of african-americans and hurled racial epithets. on the video officer casebolt is seen wrestling a teenage girl to the ground, pulling her hair and slamming her face down. he then sits on top of the girl, who is only wearing a bikini, burying his knees into her back as she weeps. casebolt also pulls a gun on another african-american teen who voices concern. sergeant cheryl dorsey spent
over two decades at the los angeles police department. we welcome you to democracy now! can you tell us -- start here in the mckinney case. hundreds of people rallied yesterday in protest of what took place. can you talk about the -- this officer's actions as he went after this 14-year-old girl? >> yes, and thank you for having me on the show. for me, as i watch officer casebolt, what i see is a bully. i see someone at was totally out of control, that was similarly focused on every african-american youth that he encountered. and then he paid particular attention to this young woman. why you go because she failed to follow his orders. and what we see is what i like to refer to as contempt of cop. when you don't do what an officer says, there's a price to pay. we've seen it over and over.
generally, we have seen that price is death. thank goodness no young person lost their life in this incident, but he punished her. he sat on top of her with the full weight of his body to make a point. in it was unnecessary. it was over-the-top, outrageous, and he needs to be fired. aaron: we also see him pulling his gun. he rolls on the ground. what do you make of the behavior and what does it indicate to you? >> it indicates to me this is how the officer purports himself. i would venture to guess if we would to look into his history, we will see there probably are other incidences of people have complained about excessive force, overzealousness on his part, and i would bet that department does what a lot of police departments do, minimize and mitigate that bad behavior. they circle the wagons. they shield the officers, and the net officer lives to offend again. and that is what happened here.
this is not the first time that this officer has pulled his weapon out and used it as a bullying tool, as an intimidation tool to compel these children to come here, to sit down to don't move to shut up. a weapon is drawn in immediate defense of your life or the life of another. and none of that was going on when he pulled his weapon out of his holster. amy: you said he should be fired. should he also be charged? think about it. a man with a gun is pushing a young woman to the ground, jumping on top of her as she screams, telling her to put her face in the ground. i mean, isn't this outright assault? >> it seems very criminal to me. because citizen was acting the same manner, they would be charged with a litany of criminal violations. assault, assault with a deadly weapon which is a felony, brandishing a firearm. i mean, there's a plethora of
things he could be charged with criminally and then let's not forget that there were other police officers there who also, i think hold some culpability in the actions of this officer. although he is senior, certainly, if you see your partner officer doing something that is out of policy, outrageous, and could be deadly, you have an obligation to stop that officer, to pull him back to rein him in. and that did not happen. aaron: let's turn to an eyewitness describing what happened in mckinney. >> police came, and the one that attacked my friend, the 14-year-old, he attacked her. he just came and he was out of control. he came to these group of young men and just out of nowhere put them in handcuffs for no reason. and then we were just standing, me and my friends, were standing on the side and he told us to back away, and that is what we
did. and my friend, the one that got attacked, said, she said, as i " this isn't right to go i guess he did not like it and took it as disrespect. he took her by the wrist and took her from the group we were in and dragged her and pushed her into the ground and put his knee in her back so she would not move. aaron: video of the incident has been viewed more than 7 million times on youtube. on monday, protesters rallied in mckinney to call for the firing of officer casebolt. this is reverend ronald wright. >> we're here today because of the unethical misconduct and racial misconduct of a police officer here in the city of mckinney. it is our hope and prayer the chief of police, the mayor of the city, handle this situation by not only firing this officer, but taking his license. this was simply based on race. aaron: cheryl dorsey, the issue of how this incident started the teens were at a pool party. apparently some -- there was a
dispute between some white residents and some of the black teens with the white residents for link epithets at the black teens and now so-called disturbance that spurred this officer's response. >> right. with that as a backdrop, when he comes in, he should have contacted the reporting party interview that person to find out what was going on, and then attempt to locate and identify the person was hosting a party to for the conduct an investigation. none of that happen. it seems as though he merely took the word of the white residents, that the black teens were not there legally permissibly am a and then just went about corralling them and caressing them and talking to them in a way that was profane and offensive. since he is a training officer, i am concerned because we also see him on video barking orders to the junior officers, go get that mf-er.
they follow him blindly. i'm wondering if this is a problem that is maybe systemic throughout the department. if this is your police officers are training younger officers, is this condoned? is this behavior appropriate? i think not. amy: in a video posted to youtube on sunday, an african-american teenager named tatiana said her family was hosting a cookout for friends when a racist woman began insulting them. this is tatiana describing the incident. >> this lady was saying racial slurs to some friends that came to the cookout. >> what was she saying? >> she was saying things such as black effer living in section eight homes. there was a male that was saying rude things. this 14-year-old girl named grace, my brothers friend, took up for a saying, that's not right, should i do that, that is racist. then they started verbally abusing her, saying that she needs to do better for herself
be better fathers of, cursing at her. i'm saying no, that is wrong. at 14, you should not say things like that. the 14 year old. they're like, well, you need to go back from where you are from. amy: that is tatiana describing what happened. loss of seal large white man wearing away shirt and blue shorts who keeps standing over the girl, sort of preventing other people from getting their her, not stopping the cop -- near her, not stopping the car from what he did to her. do you know who this man is? >> i don't know. he looks like a resident from the community. he may very well have been part of the group of white residents who thought those kids had no place there and was doing his part to ensure that the officers did their bidding, which was caused those kids to leave, and then punish those who didn't. we have also seen video of two white women, two adult women fighting, i believe it was, and we have heard nothing in terms
of any assault charges against these two women for fighting this young woman. it just seems like it is totally one-sided and to the benefit of the white residents. aaron: what do you think has to change inside police departments, if you could design training policies? what would you advise? >> what i would advise is that officers should be psychologically evaluated intermittently. police officers are put through a battery of tests initially when they come on the department . psychological testing is one of the test that are given. that is it. i think it is based on what officers are exposed to in patrol on a day-to-day basis. it makes sense to me that every so often we should just pull those officers to the side and just make sure their head is on straight, make sure they haven't become jaded. i think police departments should not be too quick to promote officers based on time on the job versus common sense and a demonstrated ability to
show compassion and empathy for people. if a trainer, such as casebolt is given the charge of teaching other officers, this is the kind of thing that he will teach. and then it becomes generational. you wind up with a police force that has a cultural system of problem, which is what we have right now, where some officers are behaving badly because it is learned behavior. and in some officers, i think come to these positions with a bias. we need to identify those officers and when they are found to be ill-suited to be a police officer, they should not be given the gift of resignation. they should be fired. they should be terminated so there's a record for their bad behavior unlike officer timothy lohman who was allowed to resign from independence pd and then move on to cleveland and ultimately killed tamir rice. unlike darren wilson he was
fired from jennings pd and went on to ferguson, pd and ultimately killed mike brown. officers should get one bite at the apple. if you mess up, then your band from that position for life. amy: sergeant cheryl dorsey, you sent over two decades at the los angeles police department. he wrote an autobiography -- you wrote an autobiography. the you experience when you are out on the streets with other officers, incidents like this or worse than this? and what role can you play if you see this happening? >> certainly, i did. i spent years in patrol. i worked south bureau crash, which is our community resources against street hoodlums our gang detail. i worked the crash unit during the late and middle 1980's and gangs were very prolific in los angeles. i understand that a lot of what we see is inherent to police work. bad guys run from us. people are dishonest because
they don't want to go back to jail. that is why police officers receive an inordinate amount of training so that when you find yourself in that situation, you just revert back to your training. you do that thing that you learned. and it is important for officers to have common sense. but unfortunately, that is not something you can teach someone. when you identify an officer who is either incapable or unwilling to look at someone that they and identify with that person is maybe that to be my son, to be my daughter, to be my sister, and treat them accordingly, if you make those kinds of observations, if we see red flags a bad behavior, overzealousness, excessive force, that officer needs to be removed from that situation, retrained if possible, and if not, removed from office. just that simple. amy: is there an issue, and did you find this, but right now with the many people, soldiers coming back from iraq and
afghanistan, a number of them going into police departments how is the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder dealt with for those that suffer from it? and also, making that transition from a war zone to being a peace officer? because that is what police officers are supposed to be. >> i don't think there is much emphasis given to officers who struggle on many levels whether it is aggressiveness because of anger management, whether it is stubs -- substance abuse, maybe apple is him. suddenly, police officers have been known to get in trouble for drinking off-duty, involved in instances where there are bar fights and drunk driving. we are not immune. i think unless and until police department chiefs and commissioners and sheriffs admit there's a problem, then there is nothing to fix. and what we hear and what we see are police chiefs saying
everything is ok. that this really isn't what it appears to be. and so if everything is ok, there's nothing to do, there's nothing to fax, and officers are allowed to fester, allowed to stay in office for their allowed to offend again. aaron: i want to ask about the role of the federal government. the obama administration has been very active in going after police departments entering into a number of different consent decrees. the most recent case was cleveland just last month cleveland agreeing to a series of reforms. how effective can the federal government be in reforming police? >> it is effective only as long as the consent decree is in place, right? we had a consent decree on lapd when i joined. that is one of the reasons i was able to get through such a the process. they were ordered to hire more women and minorities. cleveland is under a consent decree and they will behave for a while, but if you don't change the system, if you don't change
the mindset of the officers, if you don't change -- and it is top-down. if you don't change that mindset, if you don't change that coulter, there really is no teeth behind consent decree because if there's no count ability am a if there is no consequence for the bad action, then how do you deter it? is great to make a recommendation great to have an observation about what should be done, but when that is not done, and there is no consequence there's no accountability, how do you deter it from happening again? amy: sergeant cheryl dorsey thank you for being with us, spending over two decades at the los angeles police department, the third largest police department in the country. this is democracy now! democracynow.org. when we come back, we look back
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. aaron: we turn now to the arctic, the center of one of the world's great environmental battles. as temperatures rise in the region, the worlds largest oil companies are eyeing vast new untapped reserves once covered year-round by ice. environmentalists are pushing back in an attempt to save the pristine arctic and keep the oil in the soil. protesters in seattle recently staged days of action against royal dutch shell's plan to resume oil exploration in the arctic. last month the obama , administration gave conditional approval to shell's
resumption of fossil fuel exploration in the arctic. but today we look back at a 2013 protest that caught the world's attention. that's when activists from greenpeace attempted to board a russian oil drilling rig owned by the russian state oil company gazprom. what happened next is chronicled in the documentary "black ice." >> we believe that your platform activities carried out preparations [indiscernible] represents a real immediate threat to the environment both here and globally. >> we started being chased everywhere we went, everywhere we tried to get a lineup. we only had a few minutes to get climbers up. but there was a chase, and we were losing time rapidly. >> and managed to get a rope up and i started to climb up on it
but that is when i was attaching myself to the rope that the coast guard boats came and started pushing our boat away. >> a realized we were going to continue, we're going to try our hardest to get a climber up to that rig. and they admitted decision that was not going to happen. and they drew guns and pointed it straight in my face. >> when i saw this aggressive soldiers, i knew >> [indiscernible]
pointed the gun at the greenpeace activist. >> it was a bizarre thing to see a gun pointing at you that i could not even take it seriously because it just felt so wrong. we were there during a peaceful protest. we were not threatening anyone or anything, and they come there with their guns. aaron: two of the greenpeace activists were detained on board the russian oil rig. a day later, russian special forces raided the sunrise. this is another excerpt of "black ice." >> i think we were just finishing up lunch when i heard a lot of screaming and running around in the corridors outside. people shouting, helicopters are coming. helicopters are coming. i went out on the deck and from that moment on, as in the middle of a james bond movie. >> i was down on an exercise mission and a herd the engine
stop -- and i heard the engine stop. about a minute later, dependent a panic stricken crew member came running, "oh, my god, they're jumping out of a helicopter." clicks i went out on the deck and i spoke first of this masked from heavily armed troopers slide down the wire onto the deck of the arctic sunrise started shouting at us in russian, telling us to "get down on the deck." guns were being pointed more or less in the direction of the people. i turn around and iran for the bridge. as i was running up the steps, i saw frank. i saw him being pulled back and thrown down to the ground by another trooper. i stopped in front of his body and i felt hands on my shoulder
pulling me back and shoving me forward, and i stumbled and fell . i feel onto frank's prone body. amy: in total 28 greenpeace activist and journalist were charged with piracy and held for two months. they faced up to 15 years in prison. they became known as the arctic 30. today, we're joined by two guests, peter willcox was the captain of the greenpeace ship the arctic sunrise. he spent two months in a russian jail, legendary figure in the environment for world was also captain of greenpeace's rainbow royer -- warrior, which was blown up by the french government. to do french secret service agents, 30 years ago killing a photographer. also with us, ben stewart longtime member of greenpeace, who led the first greenpeace expedition to challenge to oil drilling off the greenland coast. he is author of a new book "
"don't trust, don't fear, don't beg: the extraordinary story of the arctic 30." he was a leading figure in the campaign to free the arctic 30. peter willcox, talk about what happened next. we see what happens on the boat. talk about what happens when you're taken off to prison. how are you taken? >> we arrived late one afternoon, met by a number of embassy officials and then we were told -- amy: how many different countries? >> 18 different countries that we represented. i'm not sure if everyone's counselor or official was there. mine was there from saint petersburg, the u.s. counselor. amy: from florida? >> i guess so. i can't for member. but he was worried. at that point, i was like, look, we have been arrested -- in a cup your consulate was from st. petersburg, russia. it was u.s. counselor. >> the council it is in st.
petersburg. the embassy is in moscow. as far as we were concerned, was all business as usual. we are been arrested in russia before. my first campaign there was a 1983. it is all going to plan. things did not start to get exciting until we got into the investigator's office that evening. and they said, well, you're not going back to the boat. you're being arrested and sent to detention for two months. and we are charging with piracy, which is 10tle disconcerting. amy: so you are watching this, ben. you are not in this action of your the communications director. what are you thinking at this point? where were you? >> the same as what pete said, without this was a standard -- it'd been pretty good. there is in some footage and media attention. the presumption was those guys would get kicked out of the country and be telling their stories in a bar in norway by evening.
we got the news when dennis, who is just on a film, went to court. it was a shock to him and to all of us. they were being charged with piracy. min among 10 years and a country where 99% of people that go to trial get found guilty. and suddenly, this became a humanitarian crisis. we had 28 activists and to journalists and we thought we were going to lose them into russia's new good luck system for the next 10 to 15 years. aaron: on that point, can you talk about the conditions for the activists? >> for the book, i interviewed about 16 or 17 of them when they got out. the truth is, they did not have it as bad as many of the russian prisoners. i think putin realized it these guys were maltreated, it would be bad for russia's reputation. are things happen. i spoke to one who told me how effectively the arctic 30 were taken under the wing of some of the prisoners.
a couple who control the place decided it arctic 30 up in the subject of a gross injustice by putin. in a sense, they were kind of protected. they were given access to this extra nuclear dictation system in the jail, which translates as the road, which is a is an just prison -- present internet. they would create a grid system and put socks on the rope and exchange with a cult e-mails which were messages. they would exchange sugar and cigarettes and all these kinds of things. and this is how the boss is dispensed justice. amy: you describe this at the beginning of the book, the piping system within the jails how it is used to commend kate. >> it is used as a prison telephone system. i was told how one man was lying there and one of his cellmates called him off his bunk and frank went down and the guy
pulled off the band from the toilet. amy: the height. books he hurt his friend saying freight mckinney hear me? that a conversation and realized this is how the prisoners communicated. it shows how important human contact is to people to survive. lots of these guys and there had done very bad things on the outside, but those human beings, and their way of living was to communicate. it was as important as food and water to them. >> remember, too, in the detention, you're in isolated in your cell for 23 hours a day. amy: how many people were with you? >> one, sometimes none. some people had two cellmates. you are taken for an hour to a bigger cell to get to walk around and get a little exercise. it really was isolation. you did not eat with your other prisoners. you did not see your other prisoners. so the communication that night was a fundamental thing.
>> there were eight women in the arctic 30 and there were kept in solitary confinement. they worked out how to indicate by developing code. they would tap on a radiator pipe that went to all of their sales with a spoon. one cap meant a, three, c, and they show me their notebooks when they got out of jail. they were full of these conversations, but it would take 20 minutes to tap it out. and by the end of it, they knew each other so well. they had really been with each other 11 or 12 days on the ship. when they got out, there were so close because they knew every thing about their families, boyfriends, merely by this code tapping away. it shows something important about the importance of communication by using that spin on the radiator. amy: we're going to go to break and come back to the discussion about why you were doing, what you're doing, peter and ben.
amy: revised for peter willcox was our guest today. we're joined by peter willcox and ben stewart who wrote "don't trust, don't fear, don't beg: the extraordinary story of the arctic 30." aaron: as we turn to some of the voices, these are exurbs of letters they wrote while in prison. greenpeace produced this video featuring a dramatic reading of their letters. >> dear, james. >> dear, supporters. it is been over a month now the special forces dropped by helicopter and took over our ship. it was a terrifying moment. surreal. since then, life has been quite difficult. >> we were told to report under arms guard -- armed guard.
>> one we were taken off the ship to be arrested, if it like a scene from a cold war. it was dark. i was scared. >> the hardest moment was the first night in prison, being shown to my cell and introduced to a couple of strangers. it is frightening, to say the least. the cell is about eight meters long, four meters wide, and six meters high. i spent 23 hours a day in here that nothing but the occasional book and my thoughts. what's the weather is turned to winter. >> everyone sleeps with their clothes on. but i heard from december, it gets dark for six weeks. god, i hope i know by then. aaron: forces of the arctic 30. ben stewart, do you think greenpeace adequately prepared for the potential of this harsh russian crackdown? how degree views respond after it was discovered the activists were not going to be released. >> were they naïve to go up there and not imagine that
region judicial system would come down really hard? i think the opinion is split. something that greenpeace really should have known, should have predicted it. others say no, that is not true, greenpeace would appear before a did a similar protest and did not get this kind of reaction. amy: we had to mean i do on the phone here in the democracy now! broadcasting live as he was being pummeled by the arctic water but they were shooting at him in canon's hanging off the set of the ship and he is that of greenpeace. >> and now was just a year before. the year later, this huge reaction -- overreaction. the second question, what was greenpeace's reaction? we immediately went into crisis mode. everybody in the organization was put on the job of getting these guys out of jail. we immediately realized that we were in some kind of geopolitical chess game with vladimir putin. we felt out of our depth.
we were advised by senior analyst that say don't make putin the focus. he will feel cornered and his pride won't let him release them. that is the mistake they said that the lawyers of pussy riot made. we made gazprom the focus of the campaign. in a sense, a proxy for putin. when against gazprom and kick them as hard as we could. amy: explain what gazprom was doing. >> they were in the arctic, with this rig. they were trying to be the first company to pump oil from the icy waters of the arctic them and therefore, spark a new arctic oil rush. greenpeace's position was that we have to keep the oil in the ground, we cannot be looking for new sources of oil and exploiting them. it was the most controversial oil rig in the world, and that is why these guys plan to hang a pot off of it and focus attention on that rig by having people who live in the pod for days, maybe weeks.
then we saw the events use on the film come the massive overreaction, shots fired and being dragged off to prison for 15 years. aaron: the issue why the focus on the arctic? this is 13% of the worlds untapped oil. can you give us a layout of just what is at stake here with the risk of drilling and how much energy we're talking about? >> two things. supreme irony that as the ice melts, well companies, instead of seeing it as a profound warning to vanity -- humidity they're saying, we have our right to get our hands on the ice oil. when they burn it, it will cause more melting. is a vicious circle and greenpeace was there to try to break that circle. as well as that, it would be impossible to clean up and arctic oil spill. you saw what happened with the deepwater horizon. it took 500 votes to clean that up. you can't get that kind of response in the arctic. >> and didn't clean it up.
>> and as the ice returns in the winter, it would stop them drilling a relief well, so that oil would come, if there was a blowout, for months after month collecting under the ice and then circulating around the pole. we got shells oil spill response plan or freedom of information. it showed one of the methods they had planned for cleaning up and oil spill was to deploy a collar that would remove the icebergs and melt them on land. this is a fantasy. that is why there is a big focus on seattle at the moment where there are plans for shelter send a rig up to the alaskan arctic. america is the focus of this arctic campaign. amy: the g7, which is came out of it, your assessment as people hailed this as groundbreaking around the issue of climate change? >> they say their point of font -- phaseout also fuels, grade
about 70 years too late. amy: peter willcox, the issue of seattle right now, the kayaks that are coming out, the politicians, greenpeace is also at the center of this, the protesting of sheltering the arctic. >> i think it is becoming obvious to more more people that if we burn even one quarter of the fossil fuels we have in hand now we will push global warming up as the two degrees celsius mark, which some scientists say is just a recipe for disaster. we have already changed it .8 degrees. if we stop burning off also feel tomorrow, it would still go up another point a degrees. so we're sniffing two degrees celsius change and people are dying from mobile warming. india has just built a massive electric fence between itself and been with us because they don't want people from bangladesh try to get into india when the waters rise. it is a huge problem. there is no excuse for oil companies to be looking to make
more profit from something that we can never use. it is a huge waste of energy. aaron: what is striking about the show decision, the reason approval the interior department a few months ago says there is a 75% likelihood of a spill of 1000 barrels or more in the offshore region. the government's own assessment says 75% chance of spill, yet that is reasonable risk. >> and part of shells plan for cleaning up a spill as these and more dispersants, which were so destructive in the gulf of mexico and did not help matters. it just forced the oil to settle on the bottom, mixing into the environment. amy: next month marks the 30th anniversary of a turning point in the history of greenpeace. it was july 10, 1985, the greenpeace flagship rainbow warrior was bombed by french secret service agents and sunk and harbor in new zealand. the ship was preparing to head to see to protest against french
nuclear bomb test in the south pacific. he is photographer does a greenpeace photographer was killed in the attack. our guest, peter willcox, was the captain of the ship, on board the boat and it was blown up. this is an from "bombing of the rainbow warrior. >> the rainbow warrior is welcomed by a flotilla of small boats. it is the time of french nuclear testing in the pacific and some of these clan -- plan to a company the greenpeace mothership to protest. greenpeace photographer fernando had waved goodbye to his family in amsterdam. >> a remember me saying, i don't know why but daddy don't go because if you leave, you're not coming back. and, of course, him telling the child, no, dear, i am coming home. >> i think the idea was to hit
greenpeace hard, hopefully, in their mind, hard enough that we would not come back. >> steve sawyer, worldwide director of greenpeace. he lost a ship and a friend fernando. >> they make a great show about how it was not designed to cause any loss of life, which is total rubbish. we're very lucky that a lot more people were not killed. amy: you were there, peter willcox. you are actually on board? you were sleeping? it was the middle of the night as was fernando? >> just to echo what steve said, the bombs were so powerful, it was just amerco we did not lose more people. if they had gone off half an hour sooner, we could have lost 10 more people. amy: it wasn't just one bomb. >> no, there were two. the first ball put a six by seven foot hole in the engine room. the second one was placed on the propeller shaft. it went off maybe a minute after the first bomb. i was standing right over it when it went off. it was that bomb that trapped
fernando in his cabin and he drowned. amy: he had run back in to get his camera. >> yes. amy: so 30 years later, you are still at it, captain wilcox. is this really worth the risk? >> oh, the alternative for me is not leaving my children a place where they can safely bring up her own children. i think that is how critical it is. i have two daughters in their 20's. i think they're both really nervous about the future, and for very good reason. we know it climate change is doing. look at the drought in california. we're the richest country in the world. we can support a drought. countries like east africa and other places in the world, bangladesh where it is going to displace millions of people they cannot deal with it. and it is coming. it is only coming because we're not willing to change the way we produce energy. we make energy.
we have the technology, we don't have the will. and that is just ridiculous. amy: do you have plans for another journey? >> sure, i'm going out in three weeks to new zealand. maybe australia. there is a thune campaign. amy: i want to step back for a second. how is it proved it was the french secret service agents that did this? >> they were caught red-handed. they were caught 30 hours later returning a camper van to auckland, to a man and woman pretending to be swiss tourists. the police interrogated them all day. took them to a hotel that night and said look, we're sorry we arrested you, we will take you to the airport tomorrow. use the phone, call room service, don't leave the room. they got on the phone and called up dias jihad quarters in paris and said, we did the job, it will be delayed a day. within hours, they found out the passports were fake from switzerland. they went back into it --
amy: so france took this possibility? >> never apologized. amy: the 30th anniversary is a good time. >> i'm not waiting for it. amy: why this title? >> it is a russian phrase that the prisoners were told when they were told how to survive jail so the fellow cellmate said, don't trust because don't trust the prison officers, don't fear because they get to newark, don't bet because no one ever bagged their way out of jail. amy: i want to thank you for being here. "don't trust, don't fear, don't beg: the extraordinary story of the arctic 30." ben stewart peter willcox and are our guest. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
(music playing) ♪ as a young chef when i moved to the south of france i fell in love right away with the wonderful flavors particularly all the citruses and lavenders growing on the hillside. all those flavors from the south of france are what you'll find in these nice little tartlets that we're serving at fleur. they're topped with a golden meringue with lavender and are citrus flavored. on today's show, i will show you how to make these orange tartlets with a pate sucree, or cookie dough
crust, a fragrant citrus filling and a light fluffy meringue perfumed with lavender. i'm also making a squab breast en crepinette with a juniper berry and red wine sauce that i learned from the time i apprenticed at l'auberge de l'ill. it's got some great techniques that you don't want to miss. so come with me in the kitchen and let's get cooking! ♪