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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  May 15, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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05/15/15 05/15/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> what happened here in this accident today is that chicago finally confront its past and come to terms with it. and recognize when something wrong was done and be able to be strong enough to say something was wrong. amy: as chicago approves a landmark $5.5 million
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reparations package for survivors of police torture, the city is rocked by another police scandal. more victims have come forward to talk about recent abuse inside a secret detention center at homan square. >> they handcuffed me to the bar and the bench that was there. when it happened, i was are ready pretty shaken up. a kind of pushed me over into my eyes off it was sitting on me. they were playing tug-of-war with me. they were kind of throwing fake punches at me so i would hit the back of my head when i flinched. amy: we will speak to guardian reporter spencer ackerman as well as flint taylor, attorney and darrell cannon who was tortured by chicago police in 1983. 20 people are arrested after
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forming a human barricade at a natural gas storage facility in upstate new york near seneca lake. >> it makes no sense for a place in new york to be allowing fracked gas from other states to be stored underneath this incredible 600 foot deep lake source of drinking water for 100,000 people. amy: josh fox will talk about his arrest and sure his most recent documentary short on the fight to save seneca lake. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the death toll from an amtrak train derailment in philadelphia has risen to a pen with all passengers now accounted for after another body was discovered in the mangled wreckage. the news comes as the new york times reports the train was already equipped with technology officials say would have prevented the crash, but the system was not yet active, due
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to budget shortfalls and other hurdles. congress mandated the installation of positive train control technology in 2008, but failed to grant access to the wireless frequencies needed for it to work. that meant amtrak was bogged down in negotiations with private corporations to gain use of the necessary airwaves. on wednesday, just hours after the crash, house republicans rebuffed attempts to fund the speed-control technology, and voted to cut a fifth of amtrak's budget. on president obama called for thursday, investment in infrastructure. >> and to we know for certain what caused this tragedy, i want to reiterate what i have are ready said that we are a growing country with a growing economy. we need to invest in infrastructure that keep just that way and not just when something bad happens i can bridge collapse or a train derailment, but all the time. that is what great nations do. amy: the amtrak ceo says he
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expects positive train control technology to be in service in the northeast corridor by the end of the year. video shows the train sped up as it approached a curve in the tracks. the engineer has agreed to be interviewed by investigators. his attorney says he does not remember what happened. environmental groups are raising concerns about the proximity of the train derailment to tanker cars which may have been carrying crude oil or other flammable materials. earthjustice sued the obama administration, calling its recently announced rules on so-called oil "bomb trains" inadequate, and citing the tank cars a philadelphia shown in photographs just yards away from the crash site. officials say the tankers were into it the time. more than 700 migrants from bangladesh and burma reportedly have been rescued from a sinking boat off the coast of indonesia while thousands remain adrift in the region. indonesia and malaysia have been turning away vessels laden with starving and dehydrated migrants, many from burma's persecuted rohingya muslim minority, who are not considered citizens in burma, and are
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effectively stateless. between 6,000 and 20,000 people are believed to be at sea in the region rejected by countries and what advocates call a deadly game of ping-pong. in burundi, president pierre nkurunziza has returned from a trip to tanzania and says his authorities have arrested three leaders of an attempted coup. an army general had claimed to have ousted the president after more than two weeks of deadly protests over his bid for a third term. but the president now appears to be back in control of the country. in iraq, the self-proclaimed islamic state has launched a major assault on the key central city of ramadi in a bid toramadi is just 70 miles west of baghdad. president obama has wrapped up a camp david summit of gulf nations to allay concerns over a nuclear deal with iran. speaking after the meeting obama vowed to use military force to defend gulf allies from "external attack." >> we discussed the conflict in
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syria. we discussed the situation in yemen. we discussed countering violent extremism and specifically, what additional work we need to do with respect to dash. i was very explicit, as will be reflected in a joint statement we release, that the united states will stand by our gcc partners against external attacks and will deepen and extend the cooperation that we have when it comes to the many challenges that exist in the region. amy: and what is seen as a snub over displeasure with the arena negotiations king salman of , saudi arabia did not attend the meeting, nor did bahrain's king hamad bin isa al-khalifa who instead attended the royal windsor horse show. likely republican presidential candidate jeb bush has said he would not have authorized the 2003 invasion of iraq presided over by his brother, former president george w. bush reversing a stance he took just days earlier.
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speaking at a town hall meeting in tempe, arizona, bush said he would not have invaded if he had known former iraqi president saddam hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. his comments come after bush told fox news' megyn kelly he would have authorized the war, despite that knowledge. >> on the subject of iraq, very controversial, knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion? >> i would have, and so would have either clinton and so would have almost everybody that was confronted with the intelligence they got. amy: jeb bush spent the rest of the week trying to walk back those remarks, first saying he misunderstood the question, then refusing to respond to hypotheticals, and finally saying he "would not have gone into iraq," given what we know now. on wednesday, in reno, nevada, jeb bush was confronted by ivy ziedrich, a 19-year-old college student who argued today's rise of the self-proclaimed islamic state resulted from his brother president george w. bush's decision to disband the iraqi army.
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"your brot"ur other created isis," she said. last week, jeb bush privately told a group of high-powered investors his brother is his top advisor. on u.sisraeli policy. former wisconsin senator russ feingold has announced he is running to retake his senate seat in 2016. feingold lost the seat he held for 18 years to millionaire ren-bl1010101010101010 after johnson spent some $9 million of his own money on his campaign. feingold, who was seen as one of the senate's most progressive members, was best known for working with senator john mccain to pass the mccain-feingold campaign finance law to restrict money in politics. in chile, two students have been shot dead in the port city of valparaiso amid mass protests demanding a greater voice in education reforms promised by president michele bachelet. chilean media reports the students were spraying graffiti and putting up posters when they were shot and killed by the property owner's son. police say they have arrested
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the alleged shooter and chile's interior minister has denied police played any role in the killings. the protests are part of a ars-long campaign to end the privatized education system imposed under the u.s.-backed chilean dictator augusto pinochet. in the capital santiago, organizers said 150,000 people took to the streets, while police fired water cannon at protesters. shell oil rig bound for drilling in the arctic has docked in seattle, washington. dozens of activists staged an unwelcome party paddling out in kayaks and bearing signs reading "shell no" to arctic drilling. despite opposition by the city seattle has become a base for shell's supplying of oil rigs bound for remote and pristine arctic waters. the obama administration granted shell conditional approval for arctic drilling this week in a major blow to environmentalists. they warn the drilling will be catastrophic for the climate. the move comes as nasa has
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confirmed the first four months of this year were the warmest start to any year in recorded history. a third-grade teacher in orange, new jersey has been fired a month after she was suspended for letting her students write get-well cards to imprisoned journalist and former black panther mumia abu-jamal. marilyn zuniga said her students wanted to send letters to abu-jamal after she shared one of his quotations with them, and later told them he was ill. abu-jamal was convicted of killing a philadelphia police officer, but amnesty international has said he was deprived of a fair trial. zuniga's firing comes after she received a wave of support from educators across the country and from her own students including eight-year-old , cashmere jones. >> she is been a great teacher to me and all of my other classmates. and they all really, really want to see her again. amy: newly released video has revealed the dying moments of an
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african-american active duty soldier who checked himself into the el paso, texas county jail and died while in custody nearly three years ago. sergeant james brown reported to jail for a two-day sentence for driving while intoxicated. his family said brown informed jail he had a history of post-traumatic stress disorder after two combat tours in iraq. local news station kfox14 said they fought all the way to the texas attorney general to obtain video of the 2012 incident. the video shows something happened which caused brown to bleed in his cell. when he refuses to speak with guards, a team in riot gear storms in and swarms on top of him, while he repeatedly says he can't breathe and appears not to resist. his condition deteriorates, as he is carried to an infirmary, and has a mask placed over his face.
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towards the end of the video after brown has said he can't breathe at least 20 times, he is left naked in a cell, not blinking or responding, his breathing shallow. attorneys say an ambulance was never called. brown was eventually brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. authorities claim he died from natural causes after an autopsy report cited a "sickle cell crisis," but his family says he died as a result of his treatment in jail. their attorney bj crow spoke to kfox. when a 26 euros active duty military person checks into jail for court imposed sentence on a friday and he leaves sunday in a casket, something went horribly wrong. he was bleeding out the ears, nose, mouth. his kidneys shut down. his blood pressure dropped a very dangerous level, and his liver shut down. amy: james brown's family has filed a lawsuit against el paso
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county saying his constitutional rights were violated. and the legendary blues singer and guitarist b.b. king has died in las vegas. the king of the blues was 89 years old. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. more details have come to light about a secret compound used by chicago police for incommunicado interrogations and detentions. the guardian first reported on the homan square facility earlier this year. some have described it as the domestic equivalent of a cia black site overseas. now the guardian has obtained exclusive video from inside the site. the footage shows a chicago man named angel perez being taken inside a "prisoner entrance." in 2012 chicago police sought to compel the 33-year-old perez to cooperate with a drug sting.
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after agreeing to meet with police officers, perez was handcuffed and taken to homan square. what happened next may be disturbing to many in our audience. angel perez says police handcuffed his right wrist to a metal bar behind a bench in an interrogation room. two officers stood behind him and reportedly threatened to send him to infamously violent cook county jail if he didn't cooperate. then perez says, one of the , officers proceeded to sexually assault him with a metal object, believed to be a handgun barrel. >> he sang, when you're in jail in new get penetrated by an african-american, it feels just like a gun going up your rent, while he is doing all of this pulling down my pants. he gets near my rear end, i guess you could say, and that is when i just felt something cold and hard i guess penetrate me. that is when i jerked and
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freaked out. i went into full panic attack. i could not even talk. amy: angel perez says the -- when on to describe what happened. >> they handcuffed me to the bar in the bench that was there. when this happened, i was are ready pretty shaken up. my eyes were watering. they kind of pushed me over and pushed his hands into my eyes while he was sitting on me. he was like him he better learn to cooperate. they were playing tug-of-war with me. they were kind of throwing fake punches at me so i would hit myself when i flinched. amy: angel perez says the officers also threatened to also go after his family members, including his father who is battling cancer. angel perez is now the 13th person to describe his detainment at the secret police site to the guardian. like many prisoners he , apparently was never formally arrested -- so he was neither booked, nor permitted access to an attorney, nor charged. now, angel perez and four others have filed a lawsuit against the chicago police department
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seeking justice from the city. well, for more, we're joined now by spencer ackerman. he is the national security editor at the guardian where he has published a new article on police abuse in chicago called "homan square detainee: i was sexually abused by police at chicago 'black site'." we'll link to it at our website. spencer ackerman, welcome to democracy now! so tell us more about angel perez. >> this all happened, allegedly, and lets a allegedly upfedntpfront -- these are allegations perez, so we are not insistently using that were throughout and interrupting the story. on october 21, 2012,ice, who it are ready contacted perez the day before him a sought to have him -- helped him buy drugs to control operation from a dealer they been monitoring. he went under his own free will to an agreed-upon meeting place, thinking it would basically have a quick conversation. they asked him to get there to
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make sure, in their words that his car was impounded. when he goes there, surveillance camera footage from outside that lot shows he extends his hand of uffed him, and take him to homan square. the video footage we published is, if not the first, extremely rare footage from inside the facility that appeared to show a more brutalized operation in the chicago police had said publicly in response to our reporting. from there, when perez demonstrates his reluctance to cooperate, he's afraid, really doesn't want to be wrapped up in all of this, he is worried about retaliation, the police to escalating things. according to perez, they're talking a lot about retaliation not just against him, but against his family. waste of a plan evidence not just on him, but on his family. they start getting violent according to perez. one officer sits on his chest
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inserts pressing his homes into his eyes. he describes himself as expressing this kind of aggression for the first time in his life. he is freaked out. they bend him over what he describes near where his handcuffed, they pull down his pants. they use a metal object, he says he feels the coldness a metallic aspect, as they start tracing it down his back and saying some really volcker and racist things in his telling about what is going to happen to him when african-american inmates in a jail in cook county get a hold of him. they start saying, if you'll excuse the lineage, that he is going to feel really like a sexy bitch, so they're using a lot of insults at him. at which point one of the officers, allegedly, uses this metal object directly penetrate -- rectally penetrate.
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he said immediately afterwards he agreed to do whatever the police wanted him to do. in this case, make a controlled buy of $170 worth of heroin. that is one of the most shocking aspects of this case, that all of this happen not just a man who police were not looking at who never charged, who they never charged, who wasn't implicated in the crime itself -- and that would be no excuse, even if he was -- but nevertheless, as a peripheral figure in order to compel him to make a $170 controlled purchase of heroin. amy: the officer, he said said to him, as he did that, "i am mostly your brains out." >> that's right. leaving angel perez to think he's the object -- the object used to penetrate and was the barrel of a gun. amy: what is angel perez doing right now? >> in 2013, perez filed his lawsuit initially, making the claim of the sexual abuse.
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what he did not know at that point and would come out later all of this happened at homan square, the warehouse on chicago's west side, home to chicago narcotics uniand tactical u amy: he did know because he did not know his name. >> in his telling, jostled him in the car, could not see, the cops were doing a kind of wild ride. it sounded in some cases because he wasn't shackled in, somewhat similar to the rough ride of freddie gray and baltimore and other places. he was not hurt, nevertheless in that ride. he had been taken to an actual police station nearby homan square. initially, he assumed he was back there. but they take him to this warehouse. they go through a kind of war and of different rooms. amy: for people were just hearing about this for the first time, it has become a big issue since the guardian started exposing it even before the reelection of rahm emanuel.
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homan square is? >> homan square is a warehouse complex on chicago's west side. it is secretive, but the chicago police like to point out that non-theme, not a secret complex where a lot of plainclothes operations happen, the vice squad is there, narcotics unit is out of there. it is a place where we now have accounts from 17 people, 13 of whom i personally interviewed, from between 2005 and 2015 have been taken there, held incommunicado, meaning is no contemporaneous lee available to the public record of their whereabouts. no one knows where they are, in other words. jpirs shackled with no access to legal counsel, often while police try and pressure them in order to either become informants, provide them with drugs and increasingly from the stories we have accumulated, provide them with guns. amy: i want to go to two other men who are now suing the city
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of chicago after being detained. this is josé garcia. >> took us in the building. when you hear them say, dead man walking, you hear doors closing, i mean, your hair is standing up. what are you going to do? you're thinking you're going to get beat up. so we were just scared. amy: another plaintiff john , vergara, described the conditions of his confinement at homan square. >> it kind of looks like a cage for a dog. it is just a bench. a bar on the wall, no toilet, no sink, no nothing. amy: talk more about this, spencer ackerman. >> they described in their case being at a sandwich shop in chicago a couple of years ago when masked police busted in and arrested both customers there arrested kitchen staff, took them to homan square and tried to shake them down as they're
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all shackled. some of them shackled to each other and then shackled to a bar in a sort of cage-like holding area in order to see about an aquatics arrest. in the case of john vergara and has a garcia, john starts same to the officers that he knows his -- a civil rights attorney in his going to contact that attorney and let people know what is happening inside homan square. the cops made a deal to him to say, we will let you out -- after several hours of being detained and not being able to access or being denied phone calls and not being able to call families or lawyers anyone and all totally the cops make a deal and say, if you don't tell this lawyer or anything else, we will let you go right now. that is what happened. amy: as one of them said, "dead man walking"? >> a lot of intimidation moves by police to make people feel like they are entirely under the control of the police captain. emiko and lest anyone think we're talking about decades ago
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though that is extreme the significant today, can you tell us the story of calvin coffee that happen a couple of months ago? >> just in february, basically less than three weeks before we published our first story from inside homan square, according to the lawsuit, he was picked up for narcotics or for some sort of -- it is unclear. drug delivery issue. take up off the street, taken to homan square am a confined for a long t without a bathroom break. he ultimately, while he is held there for a long time, has to answer a call of nature. he defecates on the floor where he is shackled. police allegedly make them clean up his own feces with his school cap -- skull cap. amy: i want to turn to victoria suter who traveled to chicago on may 12, 2012 to attend the nato protest. on may 16, she and 11 others were taken to homan square in chicago after police raided the apartment where they were staying. suter spent 18 hours in solitary
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confinement before being allowed to speak to a lawyer. earlier this year, suter described her experience on democracy now! >> when we arrived it was dark. i could not see the outside of the building. but we went into a garage. there were really large like military vehicles. they were black. absolutely massive. one of the other people arrested in that raid with me, they took him in first and let me outside with another officer and then they took me inside. i was taken to a room, not particularly big. no windows. they put ankle shackles on the at that point and cuffed my right arm to a bar that ran behind the bench. where i stayed for 18 hours prior to being able to see an attorney. amy: victoria also said an
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officer told her "we are going to give you a tour of hell on ho man." you can see the whole interview at spencer? >> with angel perez, there's a legacy of not just police abuse, but sexualized police abuse in chicago. darrell cannon, a man who in 1983 was coerced into falsely confessing for murder that would have landed him or landed him on death row and would've had to be executed if illinois governor had not cleared out death row had a shotgun barrel shoved in his mouth. it was empty, but police pulled the trigger three times. that got him to falsely confess to a murder. it sounded very reminiscent to me of what angel perez went through, again, allegedly in 2012. so basically over three decades later. amy: in just a minute, we will have darrell cannon join us live from chicago.
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finally, the chicago police continuing to insist they do not use violence with interrogations. though they have admitted homan square exists. >> they have admitted homan square exists. they continue to nonspecific canals. at this point, they don't even respond to my questions when i asked them. they don't even acknowledge receipt of my e-mails. but it is supposed fact she they put out on march 1 to attempt to refute some of my reporting, they took great umbrage at the suggestion that anyone would be physically abused. they acted as if that had never happened in chicago, that there is no history, and a legacy there. amy: we will talk about a multimillion dollar fund that the mayor and others have set up to deal with police torture in chicago. spencer ackerman, thank you for being with us, national security editor at the guardian where he has published a new article on police abuse in chicago called "homan square detainee: i was sexually abused by police at chicago 'black site.'" we will link to that at
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we will be back in chicago in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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amy: bb king died at the age of 89, born on the confrontation a sharecropper parents in mississippi. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. earlier this month, chicago city council approved a $5.5 million dollar reparations fund for victims of police torture. more than 200 people, most of them african-american, were tortured under the rein of chicago police commander jon burge from 1972 to 1991. tactics included electric shocks and suffocation. the reparations package will provide free city college tuition for victims and relatives, counseling services a memorial to victims, inclusion of burge's actions in the school curriculum, and a formal apology. many torture victims were present when city council unanimously approved the reparations package last thursday. they were recognized by chicago alderman joe moreno.
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>> we have some victims of torture here today and their families, and if they would rise when i called their names. darrell cannon, anthony homes prince weimar clemens, romney kitchen, gregory banks, willie porch, lindsey smith, george howell riley, merritt johnson who is a mother of torture survivor michael johnson, a mother of ms nick and the mother marcus wiggins. thank you for your leadership. thank you for continuing to fight, even though you are outcome you're fighting for those who are still suffering. thank you so much. amy: chicago mayor rahm emanuel then apologized to the torture victims and their survivors, and thanked them for their efforts to demand justice. >> disdain -- this stain cannot
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be removed from the history of our city, but it can be used as a lesson of what not to do and the responsibility that all of us have. amy: for more we go to chicago where we are joined by two guests. flint tayl is a founding partner of the people's law office. for more than 25 years he has represented survivors of police torture, including darrell cannon, who also joins us. police tortured cannon in 1983 and forced him to confess to a murder he didn't commit. he spent more than twenty years in prison, but after a hearing on his tortured confession prosecutors dismissed his case in 2004. he was released three years later. since then he has focused on the , roughly 20 men tortured during the burge era who remain behind bars. welcome both of you to democracy now! darrell cannon, can you talk about being in the city council chamber, the chicago city council chamber as you are
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recognized and thanked by city councilmembers as they voted on a police torture fund of what was a, $5.5 billion? >> correct. can you talk about what happened to you? >> november 2, 1983 about 15 all white detectives invaded my apartment, terrorized me and my common-law wife and my cat. and during that day, i was tortured in despicable ways from them using electric cattle prod to shocking the my genitals and in my mouth. they tried to hang me by my ankles which were cuffed behind my back. they try to play a game of russian roulette on me with a shotgun. they ended up chipping my two front teeth and splitting my upper lip.
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amy: and then what happened? >> from there, by the time they finished with me that evening, i was ready to say that my mother committed a crime if they tell me that was the case. the type of things that they did to me, i have never in my life experienced and i never in my life will forget. it was something that you could not even conjure up in a horror movie because you don't think that chicago police officers would stoop this low in trying to obtain a confession. it didn't matter whether or not i was guilty or innocent. in their minds anytime they pick a black man up, he is guilty. amy: flint taylor, give represented darrell cannon as well as other pple who were the victim of police torture.
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how is this $5.5 million fund arrived at and what did it take to get the city council of chicago and the mayor rahm emanuel to talk about this as a police torture fund? >> well, there's a long history as you mentioned of fighting against police torture in this city. starting decades ago. and there has been tremendous movements, generational, intergenerational, interracial movements that have fought first to get burge fired many years ago, later to get him indicted in 2008 for perjury and obstruction of justice, and to get him convicted and sent to the penitentiary, federal can a church -- federal penitentiary. in this particular movement was a wonderful coming together of young people and older people, called the torture justice memorial. another young organizations, black lives matter, we charge
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genocide and all of that came together politically to deal with demonstrations, to marches. there was a great woman not uprising but an uplifting experience that ultimately led in the middle of what appeared to be a tough election cycle to the mayor and his people and the majority of other men dealing with -- alderman dealing with this issue some decades after the torture took place. and that really is the reason that we were successful in getting this unique and historic reparations package. to answer your other question, there were about 55 living men 55 or 65 we estimate, who were tortured who will be eligible for the reparations. we felt symbolically and in a real way that $100,000 per
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person would be something that would be meaningful. although, certainly, does not fully compensate anyone for being tortured, but there was no legal recourse for these men. the statute of limitations had run out. so the entire package, as you mentioned, not only the money, but the services for psychological counseling for family members and the men who have been tortured, the education -- not only for the men, but in the public schools to have it taught, the have a narrative, the narrative we been fighting for about police torture all these years that was disbelieved and laughed at and denigrated in the same way homan square is denigrated and lapped at by the city and the police. now the narrative has changed and will be taught in a different way. amy: former chicago police commander jon burge served a short prison sentence for
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perjury and obstruction of justice before his release last year. statistics compiled by your office, the people's law office, show chicago was paid at least $64 million in settlements and judgments in civil rights cases related to burge's police abuses alone. reporting some of his techniques may have been learned in vietnam were he served as the military policeman. -- where he served as a military policeman. how long did john burge served? there are cannon, did you meet him at any point when you are being the man tortured? >> no, ma'am, i did not personally meet him. he was at the station that day and he assigned his own personal hand-picked soldiers to come and get me. the most vicious detective out of all of them, he is the one that did all the announcing of john burge, anytime they did a fundraiser, he took him to his
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house on holidays and sat with his family, etc. as far as i'm concerned, he wasn't directly there but indirect the, oh yes ma'am, he was there. amy: darrell cannon, will you benefit from this $5.5 million police torture fund? >> yes, ma'am. but the thing that i am most proud of is the fact that the curriculum in schools will be taught now from eighth grade through 10th grade, something that is never been done in history of america. and because of this, i played a small role in trying to bring positive change to the police department. and i will continue to work on behalf of those who are still in prison. amy: you even offered -- you are offered money before a settlement? >> yes, ma'am.
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amy: how much? >> we can't disclose exactly how much, but less eight was over $1 million. but i refused to accept it. because as far as i was concerned, this was hush up money for me to go away, to be quiet, and to speak no more about it. but the picture has a was been bigger than darrell cannon. what about the other darrell cannons who are not as fortunate as i was to have a supporting system on the streets as well as to have competent lawyers that stood with me through decades in litigation and we finally achieved victories that we wanted on that level. but as said before, the case is not over. the glass is only half full. amy: and the other darrells those that are still in prison what is happening to them? >> oh, yes, ma'am. we're hoping now that the litigation that has been slowly
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dragging out through the judicial system will now be stepped up, seeing how the city council as well as the mayor has come to grips with this horrible tragedy. i'm hoping the judicial system will also take a leading role in speed up all of the hearings into the police brutality for those that are still in prison. and in doing so, let the evidence speak for itself. if the evidence shows these sadistic vicious individuals posing as cops did in fact torture them, then give all of those men new trials in front of a fair and impartial judge. amy: we have 30 seconds. flint taylor, do you see that happening? an overall do you see what has happened in chicago as a model for other cities? >> it is deftly a model, not only for other cities, but all across the world, i would think. it happened here in chicago. if there are movements to take
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it to other cities, as we see there are across the country, that they can demand same kind of things that the movement here demanded. in terms of hearings, we're very hopeful that people who are still in prison after all these years and decades will get fair hearings and the judge has ordered that they be appointed lawyers to look into their cases and a bring them back to court. so we are hopeful on both fronts, but the message has to get out, as you are taking it to the country for us, so that others can see the examples set here and that reparations can be a word that is broad and accepted across this country when it comes to police violence and police brutality. amy: attorney flint taylor thank you for being with us, one of the founding's of dust founders of people's law office and darrell cannon, one of dozens torture by police, now out of prison. when we come back, upstate new
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york, there's a struggle going on. we will speak with a filmmaker josh fox,, one of 20 people arrested this week at seneca lake. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: a shout out to the students from bayside high school in queens who are here watchi democracy now! live inin studio in new york. this is democracy now!, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to a new short film by josh fox, director of "gasland," the academy award-nominated documentary that exposed the harms of the fracking industry. fox himself will join us next in our new york studio. but first, in this video he explains why he arrested wednesday along with 20 others who formed a human barricade at a natural gas storage facility in upstate new york. the action was part of a long-standing campaign against plans by crestwood midstream to expand gas storage in abandoned salt caverns at seneca lake, a drinking water source for 100,000 people. >> when governor cuomo band fracking in new york state on
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december 17, 2014, a lot of fracktivists in new york thought their problems were over. it was a tremendous victory, president for other states, a landmark decision for public health and for the science on fracking. but not every decision about fracking in new york was being made. at the state level. ferc federal energy registry commission, decides about pipelines, storage facilities, and other interstate oil and gas infrastructure. because it is in charge of so many projects, they been heavily criticized for having a lack of public and foot -- input. one of the decisions that they have under its control is the fate of seneca lake, new york. seneca lake is 600 feet deep, home to nearly 100 wineries, breweries, distilleries. a tourist destination and drinking water for 100,000 people.
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its beauty is breathtaking. it's what a resource, and valuable. it is one other fairly unique physical feature. under the lake, salt caverns were salt has been mined for decades. huge underground hollow expanses. a company called crestwood is eyeing the salt caverns to stuff natural gas down as a kind of natural storage facility as a way station, a hub, port for fracked gas from other states drought the region. one of the founders of new yorkers against fracking and in a credibly influential and outspoken fracking critic is working with a group called we are seneca lake. since october, they been blockading the crestwood facility with protests that are both colorful and imaginative. with over 250 arrest and counting, we are seneca lake is becoming one of the largest empire metal civil disobedience protest in new york history. >> we're doing these themes brought kay's, cut 13 on
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anti-fracking movement and only to turn around to see we're getting fracked was due infrastructure projects that are being decided in places like the federal energy regulatory commission in dcn local people have no control over that. they see that as an absence of democracy. civil disobedience often is a tool throughout history that when people have lost their voice and all other legal avenues and rejoices have been exhausted, that you can turn to this. >> new york state policy is now know fracking. fracked gas is bad, but it is coming in this way. that has got to be one hell of a contradiction. >> it is. everything we have learned about fracking, we still carry that knowledge around. so we know what you can do to public health. we know it is inherently
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leaking. it makes for mel to hide. we know how to do research now. we can get on a website and look at what they are telling investors, which is their chosen this place, the finger lakes, to become the hub for the storage of frack gases throughout the entire northeast. that is not how we see ourselves. that is the battle between the past and the future that has been played out. >> so you're getting anything about the fracking accept the drilling. >> that's it. >> this is a little bit like -- ok, yet this giant lake with all of these people's water that depends upon it. all of these wineries, a microclimate, a tourist location. and in these rickety salt caverns underneath the ground. it sounds like some kind of dr. evil plan. like, i know, i will put asked
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explosive gas, and toxic things underneath. it kind of sounds kind of insane to me. >> it sounds insane to us, too, to put so much at risk and a risk that would all be borne by us. i am a mom who spends -- since my child to camp every summer at the hidden valley 4h cap located right near the facility. it is my job as a mom to make sure my kid isn't blown up. but more than that -- wait a minute, it is your job as a mom to make sure your kids don't get blown up? >> that is how i see it. >> i know sounds far-fetched but these gas storage facilities to blowup. it was one of the first things i ever felt. in 2008, a storage facility in pennsylvania burned for three
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weeks. the clip did not make the film but i'm taking it out of the vault now to show one of the consequences of underground gas storage gone awry. >> i stopped at a gas station asked people if they knew where the fire was. they pointed at a paper. >> trying to film the fire? >> they're not going to let you in. >> they're not going to let me in? you're not going to come talk to me? all right. hi, how are you doing? there's no problem, was interested to see if i could choose some of the fire.
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>> we're not to let anybody in. >> but there's no way to even get a photograph or anything? >> no. >> all right. >> i will remind you the state police are considering any activity -- criminal act. >> you are running down my license number? >> yes, i am. >> you have the authority to take my license number? i drove 3.5 hours to get here. >> you will need to leave the area now. how did you get in, by the way? >> after they told me to get the hel author mountainl, they major i did. they followed me all the way down at 30 miles per hour. for some reason, looking through the rearview mirror, looking through the camera, try to negotiate my way down this mountain, i realize just how close i was getting to actual power, just how close i was getting to being arrested, just how close i was getting to being
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threatened, just how close i was getting to something that everyone wanted to hide. so he ended up back down at the gas station and talk to my newfound friends. again, none of them wanted to be interviewed for the films so i ended up taking pictures of a lot of people's feet. finally they say, you know what? there's another mountain, there is a clearing in the forest. from there you can see the fire. so i drove up there. now i realize [indiscernible] now i realize what they were so scared of. what they said it would take at least three weeks to put this fire out and they had employed a special contracting company that had expertise and putting out these kinds of fires. you might remember those ones from kuwait, the ones you could see from space.
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something tommy, you could probably see this from space. so that about covers the explosive possibility. but what about the actual stability of the salt caverns themselves? dr. stein graber says that is also a potential problem. >> the cavern where they want to store more methane it has collapsed and forms a huge polyp rebel on the bottom. we believe this is an inherently unsafe situation. we don't know of in you have a situation where solution salt mining in interbedded caverns is happening on the shore of a lake that is the source of drinking water for 100,000 people and is also -- this body of water is so vast that it actually controls our whole microclimate here. the only reason we can grow wine grapes here and agriculture is the basis of our economy, and also so beautiful. it brings in all these visitors and tourists.
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through some and wine agriculture, those are the colors of our economy. it is all made possible -- this whole region because of the unique microclimate that seneca lake creates. >> the salt caverns has been drilled into, has it ever collapsed in the whole lake? well, yeah, actually. to give incident that happened in louisiana in a place called -- again, salt caverns were being eyed a lake. it popped the bottom of the lake and drained down like you're pulling the plug on a bathtub. 11 barges, take her trucks, and huge sections of jefferson island were sucked down into the hole as if they were 20 boats going down the drain. >> when we treat seneca lake water, we literally arsenic a
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let. we're standing up not just for the beautiful place, but for our actual [indiscernible] >> what we're seeing is a whole new frontier of an terminal activism in america. civil disobedience protests against critical oil and gas for structure like the keystone xl pipeline, the constitution pipeline, and now the gas torch facility at seneca lake are gathering more and more popularity as an environment lists are calling not only for the banning of fracking or tar sands oil, but for the banning of the infrastructure that transports them so they can make their way towards renewable energy economy. i made my decision to join the seneca lake protests not only because seneca lake is beautiful and not only because these were fellow fromtivists in new york state, but from the same way i joined civil disobedience action in front of the white house for keystone xl, i felt this was a nationally symbolic moment.
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we can't sacrifice anymore seneca lakes. time is up for the fossil fuel industry. we catch lock ourselves and to decades more of fossil fuel expansion, whether that be pipelines, power plants, storage facilities front gas wells, tar sands fields, deepwater drilling. we have to start to bind these together. i'm very grateful to the crew. i really hope you join us. any code that is "we are seneca lake," a new short film by josh fox, director of "gasland" and "grassland 2." welcome back to democracy now! >> this was a fire that nobody reported on and burned for 3.5 weeks. i think these are routine. when you're talking about gas storage, your stuffing huge amounts of methane into underground formations.
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these are not steel tanks. these are actual geological formations. this is one of the reasons people and seneca lake are incredibly concerned. amy: and place it for us? >> the finger lakes region of new york state, there are hundreds of wineries distilleries, breweries. it is credibly beautiful area. seneca lake itself is in central upstate new york, the source of drinking water for 100,000 people. famously, as we now know, new york has banned fracking, incredible victory for both the people's movement -- amy: you are an essential part of that with your fellow " gasland" and fracking -- >> injecting high-pressure water and chemicals and sent to break apart rock formations to release gas and oil trapped there. frack gas is huge environmental issue right now as well as fracked oil. new york has banned this because it contaminates water supplies
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and air increase the public health crisis, but here in new york state, we still have tons of infrastructure projects. pipelines, compressors stations, power plants. seneca lake gas storage facility fits in with a national crisis right now. we have the federal energy regulatory commission, five member body, basically usurping state and local authority and saying, it is totally ok, let's build a huge liquefied natural gas storage facility here. let's take over this port, like in maryland, for example. ferc is not accountable to democracy. nobody really knows who these people are. they're not famous, they're not senators, they're not the president, yet there is -- controlling all of these projects and you are seeing incredibly frustrated people that put themselves in harms way -- in seneca lake, now almost 300 arrest over the course of six months -- amy: and you are one of 20 this week?
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>> blockading the front gate. when people feel they don't have representation in a democracy this is nonviolent civil disobedience, one of the last recourse as you can have to appeal to a higher sense of justice. and people are putting themselves in harm's way because a sense that the harm is greater if they don't. that is motivated both by the local issue of seneca lake and how beautiful and important it is for the microclimate and drinking water but also because of climate change. we can ban fracking extraction but unless we start to take on the pipeline, the power plant the basic infrastructure that delivers oil and gas that creates carbon, we're going to be in deep trouble with climate change and lock ourselves into decades more fossil fuel. josh fox amy: i want to thank youjosh fox,, for being here, director of "gasland," the documentary which first exposed the harms of the fracking industry. it was nominated for an academy award. he also made "gasland 2" which aired on hbo. that does it for our broadcast.
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democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. asking you to make the call that makes link tv possible. the number to call is 866-359-4334. we are going to continue with josh fox. we have brought you shows that included many different voices. whether we are talking about darrell cannon, who was falsely put in prison in chicago and tortured by the chicago police.
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now the mayor himself, rahm emanuel, announcing the decision for a $5.5 million police torture fund for victims of police torture. to hearing josh fox, who was arrested at seneca lake in upstate new york where environmentalists who took on the issue of fracking, hydraulic fracturing are taking on the underground storage of liquefied natural gas. we urge you to call and become a member of link tv. it is not brought to you by weapons manufacturers or gas companies, but by viewers like you. as we turn to the groundbreaking oscar has been nominated documentary "gasland>." called one of the most


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