tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 3, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT
06/03/15 06/03/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the residential school experience is clearly one of the darkest, most troubling chapters in our collective history. in the period from confederation until the decision to close the schools was taken in this country in 1969, canada clearly participated in a period of cultural genocide.
amy: canada's truth and reconciliation commission concludes the country committed cultural genocide by forcibly removing over 150,000 indigenous youth from their families and sending them to christian schools. we will go to canada for the latest. then sepp blatter announces he will step down as fifa president just days after being reelected amidst a growing corruption scandal. >> although the members of fifa have reelected me president, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of soccer. supporters, clubs, players those who inspired life and soccer. amy: as interpol adds six people with ties to fifa to its international most-wanted list will sepp blatter be arrested next? we will speak to an australian soccer official who blew the whistle on fifa as well as the head of the national whistleblower center in washington, d.c. then we will go to texas where the town of denton finds itself
in a showdown with big oil after it tried to pass a ban on fracking within its city limits. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has signed into a law into measure ending the mass phone surveillance program exposed by edward snowden two years ago. the senate passed the usa freedom act on tuesday with a vote of 67 to 32. the law stops the bulk collection of telephone records. it instead requires the nsa ask companies for a specific user's data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. it also appoints a civilian advocate to represent the public interest before the secret fisa court that approves government spying requests. the nsa will still retain wide surveillance powers, including over internet data. in a statement, the american civil liberties union said --
"this is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check. still, no one should mistake this bill for comprehensive reform." more than 400 people remain missing after a cruise ship capsized in china's yangtze river. just 14 people have been saved , while seven bodies have been recovered in the rescue effort. china says it is in a "race againt time" to find survivors. the head of the international soccer governing body fifa has resigned over a growing corruption scandal. sepp blatter's announcement follows last week's indictments of 14 people on corruption charges, including two fifa vice presidents. blatter had vowed to stay on and was reelected to a fifth term on friday. but in a dramatic reversal blatter said tuesday he will step down. >> i decided to stand again to
be elected because i was convinced was the best option for our institution. elections are closed, but the challenges that fifa is facing have not come to an end. fifa needs of profound restructuring. all of the members have given me a new mandate, have reelected me president, this mandate does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of soccer. supporters, clubs, players, those who inspired life and soccer. amy: jerome valcke allegedly made $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal. u.s. officials have confirmed blatter is the focus of a criminal investigation, with investigators hopeful those already charged will cooperate. blatter's resignation won't take effect for another four months. we'll have more on this story later in the broadcast. we will speak with an australian soccer official who is a whistleblower. the u.s. says isis has lost over
10,000 fighters since coalition air strikes began in iraq and syria last august. deputy secretary of state antony blinken made the claim after attending a meeting of the entire isil coalition in paris. the group of western and arab states voiced support for iraq's plan to retake territory from isis control. blinken said washington is confident isil will be defeated. >> it is clear every single day that it stands for nothing and depends on people who will fall for anything. i emerge from this meeting confident we will defeat them through our unity, our determination, and our commitment to create a future of opportunity and peace for people in iraq. amy: israel has labeled the boycott divestment and sanctions movement "strategic threat" from its new efforts to combat its presence on college campuses. the billionaire casino magnate sheldon adelson is reportedly
set to host a conference in las vegas this weekend on how to counter bds and universities nationwide. this comes as president obama has warned israel risks losing international credibility the prime minister benjamin netanyahu continues to reject a two state solution. obama made the common in an interview with israeli television. >> i think subsequently his statements have suggested that there is the possibility of a palestinian state. but it has so many caveats, so many conditions that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met anytime in the near future. and so the danger here is that israel as a whole loses credibility. already, the international community does not believe that israel is serious about a two state solution.
the statement the premised are made compounded that desk prime minister made compounded the belief that there is not a commitment there. amy: a victim whose torture is documented in last year's senate report is accusing the cia of more abuses than previously disclosed. guantanamo bay prisoner majid khan was among those subjected to rectal feeding. but according to reuters, khan has also told lawyers "interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked and repeatedly touched his genitals." khan says he suffered hallucinations and wished for his interrogators to take his life. boston police have shot dead a man they say was being monitored for terrorism and who tried to attack two officers. police say they approached 26-year-old usaama rahim for questioning when he lunged at them with a knife. a relative has disputed the account, saying rahim was talking on the phone to his father when officers shot him in the back three times. announcing the killing, boston police commissioner william
evans said the officers were forced to open fire. >> we have video showing this individual coming toward officers. he has what is described as a large military knife. the officers retreating, and that is some video we have available as well as witnesses account, and they kept retreating verbally giving commands to drop the weapon, drop the weapon. and at some point, the individual's proximity can close that officers were in danger, their lives were in danger. when two officers discharged their weapons. amy:rahim was killed by a net guy agent and a police officer. the u.s. government probe has found wide security lapses at u.s. airports. checkpoint screeners failed to
detect fake explosives and weapons and 95% of tests carried out by undercover agents. the acting head of the transportation security administration has been reassigned as a result. at the white house, press secretary josh said steps are being taken to address the issue. >> the president does continue to have confidence that officers at the tsa do very important work that continues to protect the mecca people and protect the american aviation system. what is also true is that there were specific concerns that were raised by the the classified report conducted by the independent inspector general and in response to that report the director of homeland security directed the tsa to undertake seven specific steps to try to address those concerns. amy: the associated press has revealed the fbi is operating a civilian air force made up of scores of low-flying surveillance planes which are concealed behind the names of fake companies.
the ap identified more than 100 flights in 11 states and washington, d.c. over a 30-day period ending last month including parts of boston, chicago, dallas, houston minneapolis, phoenix and southern california. the aircraft are equipped with high-tech cameras and some can also carry devices that mimic cell towers and can identify thousands of people below through the cell phones they carry, even if they're not making a call or in public. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. the truth and reconciliation commission in canada has concluded the country's decades-long policy of forcibly removing indigenous children from their families and placing them in state-funded residential christian schools amounted to "cultural genocide." after a six-year investigation
the truth and reconciliation commission report concluded -- "the canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to aboriginal people and gain control over their lands and resources. if every aboriginal person had been 'absorbed into the body politic,' there would be no reserves, no treaties and no aboriginal rights." amy: the first schools opened in 1883. the last one closed in 1998. during that time, over 150,000 indigenous children were sent away to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream canadian society. many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs. the report also documents widespread physical, cultural , and sexual abuse at the schools. it was based in part on testimony from 7000 survivors.
this is justice murray sinclair, chair of the truth and reconciliation commission. >> the residential school experience is clearly one of the darkest, most troubling chapters in our collective history. in the period from confederation until the decision to close residential schools was taken in this country in 1969 thomas canada clearly participated in a period of cultural genocide. [applause] we are for the effects of over 100 years of mistreatment of more than 150,001st nations, and you would, children placed in the schools. remove from their families and home communities, seven generations of aboriginal children were denied their identity. we heard how, separated from their language, their culture, their spiritual traditions in a
collective history children he came unable to answer questions as simple as, where do i come from? where am i going? why am i here? and, who am i? juan: justice murray sinclair chair of the truth and reconciliation commission also said he suspects as many as 7500 indigenous children died at the residential schools, but the exact figure may never be known. the canadian government stopped recording the deaths in 1920 after the chief medical officer at indian affairs suggested children were dying at an alarming rate. to talk more about the truth and amy:to talk more about the truth and reconciliation commission's findings, we go to winnepeg, manitoba in canada to talk to pamela palmater, associate professor and chair in indigenous governance at ryerson university. she is a mi'kmaw lawyer, an idle no more activist, and author of, "beyond blood: rethinking indigenous identity and belonging." welcome back to democracy now!
can you start, pamela, by talking -- by responding to the commission's report? were you surprised by what they found? >> no, i wasn't surprised. i mean, is it something that indigenous peoples have known since the inception of residential schools. the federal government wasn't surprised. everybody in a position of power has long known about the crimes and abuses that happened at residential schools. we are quite thankful for the bravery of the survivors to come forward and make sure that it was documented. this is a critical piece. and the truth and reconciliation commission did in incredible job in the face of many barriers put forward by the federal government to make sure that their stories were heard and that as much as him it did evidence was contained in the report -- documented evidence
was contained in the report. it is important for canadians because we know what happened to us, but canadians don't know what happened and they don't understand the culpability of the federal government and churches in this regard. juan: and the issue of the conclusion of cultural genocide, do you have any concerns about that specifically? >> yeah, well, i mean, i think the truth and reconciliation commission went about as far as they felt comfortable in naming it cultural genocide. it is just genocide through and through. if you look at the u.n. definition on genocide, it meets every single one of those factors. there's nothing cultural about it. they weren't killing us because of our culture, they were killing us because we were indians and we stood in the way of accessing all of the lands and resources and settlement in this country. think about it. all of the overrepresentation in this country in prison, some have as high 60% indigenous peoples. that is not because of our
culture, it is because we are indians and we have rights and aboriginal rights that still stand in the way of unfettered resource development. why are our kids overrepresented in child and family services to the tune of 30,000 to 40,000 in canada? here in manitoba, 90% of all kids in care are indigenous. not because of their culture but because of who they are as indians. we have rights to protect this territory. we are essentially the last stand against complete unfettered development here in this country. if you look at it across the board, while they may have characterized it in terms of assimilating culture, you would not have a death rate of upwards of 40% in some of those schools if it was just about coulter. it would have been more aggressive education tactics both in those schools and in the community. if you have a death rate that is higher than those who enlisted in world war ii, this wasn't about culture.
amy: i want to turn to survivor testimony recorded by the truth and reconciliation commission in canada. this is william nelson describing his experience being sent to a residential school. >> we arrived to the dorm in the middle of the night. the supervisor for the junior boys showed me my bed. rows of beds or other boys were asleep -- where other boys were asleep. i thought they were asleep, but once the supervisor closed the door, all of the heads popped up. and the boys all stood around to look at the new kid. that was me. around the second night or so the supervisor opened the dorm
door. he caught me sitting up in bed. he says, we have rules here. if you're caught sitting up in bed, you should be sleeping. because i was sitting up, i had to be punished. the punishment was getting strapped and whipped with a belt. i believe it was about seven times that i was whipped in the back. amy: that is why am nelson. another survivor of the residential schools named mariane also spoke at the truth and reconciliation, sharing circle. >> from my experience while i was at the residential school my sisters and i were led to believe our mother was killed in a car accident.
but that was not true. she was in the accident, but the ministry and families had taken us, hit me and my sisters for years. when my mom was well enough to care for us again, she searched and searched for us. we were once again reunited. she returned us home a single parent. and again, her struggle provided us to love and respect others. it was then when we returned home that we were brought to the day school again with priests and nuns. so we thought this was the way of life. but we enjoyed where we were back with our community, family internet we knew. but the experience here
[indiscernible] not to use our language or cultural ways because that is not who we were. and my community was the mothers who fought for our school and went about to teach our link which and culture. amy: that is marion speaking at the truth and reconciliation sharing circle. professor, she says, my sisters and i were led to believe our mother was killed in a car accident, but that wasn't true. respond to what both william and she were saying. >> well, i mean, these stories are quite common in stories even worse than this are quite common . the amount of intentional lying and deception and keeping parents away from children. so it wasn't like parents were just enrolling these children
there were going to school, and there were some isolated incidents of bad things happening. we're talking about whole scale festive children from communities, in large part against the will of the parents and parents were kept away from those schools and even children who ran away were brought back oftentimes by the royal canadian mounted police, despite the allegations of what was happening in those schools. and that is the real crime here. because whether or not people agree that this is genocide, it was always against the law to kidnap children, to assault them, to assault them with deadly weapons, to rate a mentor to them, use electric chairs on them, to deny them food and water, to beat them to such an extent that some died, to starve them until some died. all of these things were crimes then, just as it is now. and nobody was prosecuted, despite the fact the rcmp, the
federal government, and the church's new exactly what was happening. i think really illustrative of that are the governments of documents. you had doctors coming to the federal government saying, you have extremely high death rates in the schools. in the federal government's response was well, that doesn't justify a change in our policy because the overall object of his "the final solution." and we have heard those words before. so we know exactly what the intention was. and i know there was a focus on coulter and the people were abused and beaten for speaking the language and culture and the were clearly denied their identity. but for many of these children upwards of 40% they were denied their right to live. and that goes far beyond coulter -- culture. think of the forced sterilizations that were happening against indigenous women and little girls all across the country. sterilization is nothing to do
with ones culture, but in essence, the ones right to continue on in their cultural group or nation-based group. the objective was to get rid of indians in whatever way possible. culture was one aspect but denying procreation was a central part of this. what is really import for people around the world to understand is that residential schools did not really stand in isolation. it was in addition to the forced sterilization, the scalping bounties, all of the over representing our people in prison, stealing them and putting them in china family services, the thousands of murdered and missing indigenous women in this country that go unresolved and no steps taken to prevent these actions. in this is ongoing. it would be a terrible mistake to the store size this and say well, this happened a long time ago, we now know what happened let's apologize and move on. it is ongoing.
when they closed residential schools, their very next policy was known as the 60's scoop or they took more children from first nations and during the residential school period at which is why we have now 30% to 40% of our children in care. they are still taking our chairman. they are still trying to raise them in nonindigenous families. and many of these children end up as murdered or missing indigenous women or end up in a prison system. that is the legacy of the residential schools which is ongoing. it is for a much and the present. you can track the survivors of residential schools to kids in care to people in prison, to those who are homeless, to those who have poor health. all of these things are very much in the present. so we have to take action now to address the ongoing problems that were started by the residential school and have never stopped and continue to this day in just different
terminology and in different policy. juan: paula palmater, i want to ask about the role of the churches in this. which churches, what specifically did they do, and what has been their admission -- their own admission of their culpability in this cultural genocide or this general genocide, as you say? >> well, i think it is varied. all of the churches that were here were involved in this. it looks like the majority of these schools were run by the catholic church. i understand at a local level, there's been difficulty in obtaining records. often churches did not make note of the children who died in those schools. so we don't even have a complete record of how many that did die. we know for sure it is at least 6000 to 7000 but it could be even higher. many churches had unmarked graves. we're in a situation now where
many residential school survivors and first nations are demanding that churches come forward and give us all of the documentation at every level, no matter where the documents have been kept, about who knew what and when, who was involved -- and primarily, to bring closure for many of these families, to know where their child last spent their days, where the remains could possibly be. and all of that information has not been forthcoming from the churches, especially at an administrative or national or international level. at the local level however, you do see local churches trying to take steps to make amends, to try to have a better relationship with indigenous peoples, and trying to work together to support different initiatives on the truth and reconciliation commission. so we have cree people walking
across the country for the truth and reconciliation commission events. but at an institutional level the churches have a lot more work to do and they need to make some very specific and targeted apologies, and make amends because as we know, an apology means nothing unless you're going to try to make amends to right the wrongs that happened in the past. so they have a clear responsibility in addition to the federal government to support things like indigenous languages and coulters and education and trying to find a way to both identify these children and return them to their families and communities. that is incredibly important. amy: last year the royal canadian mounted police revealed that at least 1181 native women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. the new truth and reconciliation commission report made a link between the residential schools with the missing and murdered women. the report states -- "the available information
suggests a devastating link between the large numbers of murdered and missing aboriginal women and the many harmful background factors in their lives. the complex interplay of factors -- many of which are part of the legacy of residential schools -- needs to be examined, as does the lack of success of police forces in solving these crimes against aboriginal women." paula palmater, can you talk about what is being planned now? that is a government commission. what is the follow-up at this point? >> there is no follow-up. and probably one of the most insulting shameful things that happened yesterday was when the truth and reconciliation commission or got up and said there is a clear link between what happened in residential schools and the vulnerability of our indigenous women and girls that go murdered and missing and that he recommended and supported all of the calls for a national inquiry.
everyone stood up, gave him a standing ovation -- except the minister of indian affairs. that is extremely significant. if the minister of indian affairs can't be supportive of finding justice for indigenous women and girls, who go murdered and missing at an externally alarming rate -- here in manitoba, it is 50%. they only make up 4% of the population, but 50% of all indigenous women were of all women and girls that go murdered or missing are indigenous. we have some significant issues across the country. again, it is not just about our culture. our very lives are at stake will stop to the minister of indian affairs that she did not clap or give a standing ovation and this is in line with what the prime minister is said. you said time and time again in inquiry into why indigenous women go murdered are missing is not high on our radar.
he does not consider it to be an issue. and he is really out of touch with all of the research. there's been at least 50 reports with over 700 recommendations on how to deal with this. and the united nations, various human rights bodies, including -- have come out with reports which have researched and studied this and said, this is a problem. the police are not taking action. there's lots of socioeconomic conditions of poverty that make our indigenous women and girls vulnerable, some stemming from residential schools and some standing desk stemming from the targeted racist and discriminatory laws and policies in canada. international inquiry is recommended to get at the root of it so that we can come up with solutions to prevent it from happening to begin with. it is no good that a police force who is now willing to take action to investigate murders we want to stop those from happening in the beginning and i think it is critical that this
truth and reconciliation report tied all of these things together, that residential schools did not just happen at a moment in history. it is ongoing legacy. and that is also in line with some of the other recommendations around the overrepresentation of our people in prisons. justice sinclair recommended that action be taken right away to look at all of the criminalization data and take action to stop this from happening. the same with child and family services. the same with all of the socioeconomic problems that make our people vulnerable to begin with. amy: paula palmater, thank you for being with us associate , professor and chair in indigenous governance at ryerson university. she is a mi'kmaw lawyer, an idle no more activist, and author of, "beyond blood: rethinking indigenous identity and belonging." thank you so much for joining us from winnipeg, manitoba. when we come back, sepp blatter
amy: "wavin' flag" by k'naan featuring akon. a special shout out to the students from wayne, new jersey who are watching democracy now! today here at our studios. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: the beleaguered head of the international soccer governing body fifa resigned tuesday, just three days after he won a fifth term amidst a corruption scandal in his top ranks. sepp blatter's move to step down brings an end to his 17 years in
office, and follows last week's indictments of 14 people on corruption charges, including two fifa vice presidents. earlier today, interpol put two top former officials on its red notice them wanted list at the request of u.s. authorities. on monday "the new york times" reported blatter's secretary general, jerome valcke allegedly transferred to lean dollars in 2008 from fifa to two other accounts. blatter made his announcement at a press conference in zurich. >> i decided to stand against a be elected because i was convinced it was the best option for our institution. elections are closed, but the challenges that fifa is facing have not come to an end. fifa needs a profound restructuring. although members have reelected me president this and he does
not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of soccer. supporters, clubs players those who inspired life and soccer. amyjuan: blatter's resignation will not go into effect immediately. fifa rules call for at least four months notice before a meeting of member nations to elect a new president. amy: well, news of fifa's corruption comes as no surprise to our next guest who is watching this story closely. bonita mersiades was head of corporate and public affairs with the football federation of australia during australia's bid for the 2022 world cup, which ultimately was awarded to qatar. she was let go from the bid team after disagreeing with a policy to influence the vote of fifa's executive committee members with money for pet projects, and testified during fifa's own investigation into corruption in the 2018 and 2022 world cup bidding process. she joins us via democracy now! audio stream from coolum beach in australia. welcome to democracy now!
can you first respond to sepp blatter staying for his election as last week, being elected, and now saying he is stepping down? and then talk about what it is that you found, what you experienced, and how you were let go. >> sure, hi, amy. i guess the only way to explain sepp blatter is to say that is so typical of sepp blatter. he is not a person who necessarily behaves in the same way that we would be used to with people, for instance, from corporate organizations or the public sector. he doesn't necessarily have a good understanding or good sense of what governance is. that was made clear i think last week when loretta lynch sent out what the charges were against some of the fifa -- amy: we lost you. go ahead. >> have you got me again? amy: we hear you now. >> ok.
i was talking about how mr. blatter doesn't have a very good understanding of governance at all and that was evidence in the comments are were made by loretta lynch last week in which she talked about the issues that fifa faced been long-standing and over decades, not just in recent years. it is hardly surprising that mr. blatter with a last friday he was [indiscernible] four days later he said, i'm going to resign because i don't have your confidence. but at the same time, he is not going to resign straightaway. it could be performance or even as long as 10 months. he is asked a going to have he and his close associates set out a program for reform, a program for reform of which he has been spectacularly unable to implement over 34 years in the top job or the second top job. that is the first part of your question. the second part relates to what i saw. it was more about the way fifa
which about doing its business. it is exactly how loretta lynch described it. and that is that decisions were made on the basis of what went on in back rooms. there were deals, counter deals double deals, subterranean behavior. there was no transparency whatsoever. if the bids had been considered on their merits on the basis of basic criteria, it is unlikely that qatar and russia would have ended up winning 2022 and 2018. but in fact, we don't really know what went on in how those decisions were made. and so we have the outcome that we did in relation to those bids. and while these issues around fifa are long-standing and have been going on for decades, there is no better example than those two decisions. juan: what about the potential for real reform him and not just a shuffling of the people at the top? for instance, prince ali, a
potential replacement as head of fifa. do you think he offers any real possibility for reform? >> i think honest anyone -- almost -- amy: we just lost all of what you are saying. but almost anyone? >> ok. amy: sorry, repeat what you are saying. >> would be an improvement on who is been there for the past 34 years. amy: bonita mersiades, can you talk about what happened to you? >> what happened to me was i was working as part of the bid team and then i wasn't. [no audio] amy: we're going to try to fix your audio. meanwhile, we will go to michael kohn, head of the national
whistleblower center in washington, d.c. michael, usually deal with people who are, oh whistleblowers on the fbi or the cia or police. author of "whistleblower law: a , guide to legal protections for corporate employees." why is the fifa store internationally so relevant to what is happening in this country today? >> well, thank you. international whistleblowing is critical right now. the united states falls of the gold standard. we of the best whistleblower laws that protect international that have international reach. our laws also provide recovery for was a lowers which makes them very unusual. and strict anonymity. you can go with allegations of fraud and corruption under the foreign corrupt practices act provide the information to the u.s. government officials, and have strict confidentiality when
no one will ever know you were the source of the information. additionally, our laws provide a recovery of whatever is recovered of the fraud can be paid to the whistleblower as a reward. this is a state-of-the-art whistleblower protection program that no other country has. and our laws are long reaching. for nationals are as free to file these claims is anyone else . and tens of millions of dollars have already been paid out to foreign nationals to address corruption occurring around the world. so this is the state-of-the-art whistleblower protection available, and it is no surprise that you see the justice department of the united states leading the charge against this type of massive fraud. as whistleblowers around the world come forward, the information will end up being filtered into the appropriate u.s. investigative agencies and corrective action can occur. juan: michael kohn, doesn't that
raise certain concerns about the spreading of the u.s. legal system worldwide, in a sense, in terms of being able to prosecute crimes that may not necessarily have been committed in the united states itself? >> not at all. these are international crimes. in order to get jurisdiction in some form, the tentacle has to have occurred or touched the united states. this is -- in order to bring a fair playing field around the world to ensure that bribes are not the driving force behind large contracts -- it is the only regime out there, the state-of-the-art. what should be happening, other countries should be developing similar type of laws. what you have and a lot of these jurisdictions, there just isn't the opportunity to create such forceful powerful laws because
institutions -- yet internal corruptions within certain government institutions. you are afraid if you bring the information forthcoming your identity will be revealed and your life could be in danger. that won't happen with the united states program. and that is why it is really the guiding light and, hopefully, i think the goal of these programs is to get the entire world to enact similar legislation. juan: why do you think it is taken so long in the case of fifa, for example, because there have been all kinds of investigations? some actually started by fifa itself that went nowhere, and yet it is been -- it has been known for years that there is some level of deep corruption in this international body. >> well, the internal investigation by fifa, i think they were aimed at hiding the truth. the individual who conducted the
last investigation renounced fifa's summary of his report. i think it is pretty clear the intent is to cover up. so if you want to have true whistleblower protection and you want to be able to get to the truth as quickly as possible, you're really going to have to work through the u.s. legal system, the foreign corrupt practices act, the dodd-frank act, tax laws. these laws provide meaningful relief. they provide punitive measures that are in line with what is necessary to have meaningful change around the world. amy: i think we have bonita mersiades on the phone from australia. we really want to hear exactly what happened to you when you tried to blow the whistle on fifa.
>> high. a couple of things. one, i was in my job and i raised my concerns about the reputational risks that australia ran with some of the practices that i could see. and that became very comfortable for my employers. amy: you are concerned about the australian football federation the football federation of australia giving money to fifa in the bid? >> it is not so much that. it is about the whole environment around the bidding process. it was clear that, as i think i may have been touched on earlier, decisions were not made in any sort of transparent manner. it was clear decisions were going to be made behind closed doors. therefore, the bidding process was never going to be considered on the merits, whether it was australia's merits, the u.s. merits, or whoever. that was my concern.
it was some of the favors we were doing for some of those fifa executives -- for example to were of concern to me. juan: and what were those favors? >> one good example is one whereby, for instance, australia decided to fund the upgrade of a stadium in trinidad. that might be a worthwhile project in an of its own right but the question has to be raised, did we think there was a vote attached? to it everyone can answer that for themselves, but in light of what we now know about jack warner, you are led to perhaps a conclusion, but the key thing is that the half $1 million that was given to upgrade that stadium or to upgrade the center of excellence ended up in the personal bank account of mr. warner, according to an expert committee of inquiry.
so it is not saying that is where the money was given but it is certainly worth the money was received. it is just a small example of the types of things which loretta lynch was talking about last week, which has gone on in the large-scale with fifa. amy: what needs to happen now? >> i think billy thing that can happen with fifa, dealey way we can have confidence going for is to get a complete room through it having sepp blatter in charge for another performance or 10 months or whatever it is designing reform program after he is been spectacularly unable to do so for 34 years, is just not going to work. new fifa now group i'm involved in, would like to see a person come in and completely overhaul the organization, everything about it, basically, start again. amy: we're going to wrap up here. we want to thank you very much, bonita mersiades, for joining us, head of corporate and public
affairs with the football federation of australia during australia's bid for the 2022 world cup, which ultimately was awarded to qatar. she was let go from the bid team after disagreeing with a policy to influence the vote of fifa's executive committee members with money for pet projects, and testified during fifa's own investigation into itself into the 2018 and 2022 world cup bidding process. and thanks also to michael kohn the executive director of the , national whistleblower center and co-founder of one of america's leading was a blower law firms. and then we go to denton texas with fracking. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: "the death of democracy" by the frackettes. the lead singer is our next guest. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we turn now to texas, where a small town finds itself in a showdown with big oil after it tried to pass a ban on fracking within its city limits. on tuesday night, residents of denton, about 30 miles north of dallas-fort worth, packed a city council meeting to oppose a vote to repeal the ban. the vote was ultimately tabled. the move comes after texas lawmakers passed a new law that prohibits such bans. the measure went into effect on monday. that same morning, three protesters locked themselves to the entrance of the first fracking well to reopen. a police sergeant thanked the three and shook their hand before putting them in handcuffs. amy: it was just this past november that nearly 60% of denton texas residents supported the ban at the ballot box. but they were immediately threatened with lawsuits by the
texas oil and gas association and the texas general land office. those same interests worked with lawmakers and the american legislative exchange council known as alec to pass this new ban on fracking bans known as house bill 40. now residents could consider their own legal tactics. they are represented by the same lawyer who successfully defended a constitutional challenge to a fracking ban in dryden, new york. all of this comes as oklahoma became the second state to ban fracking bans on friday. meanwhile, maryland became the second state, after new york, to ban fracking. well, for more, we go to fort worth, texas, where we are joined by tara linn hunter volunteer coordinator for frack free denton. she was one of three people arrested monday, another three were arrested tuesday. welcome to democracy now! so explain where didn't stands right now. >> well, right now what we're seeing is that our vote has been disregarded and overturned with
the passage of house bill 40. so that nullifies our van and makes it unenforceable. what we're seeing now is that residents are willing to go out every morning to the frack site and put themselves on the line to enforce their ordinance and make the vote of the people heard. juan: the lawmakers can even make this ban on the ban retroactive? >> yes, that's right. our ban was completely legal. we went to the citizens initiative to get that on the ballot. the petition process, will need a 560 -- signatures and we got 2000. we put it to a vote. the overwhelmingly voted to fracking -- ban fracking. they passed house bill 40. they basically had to change the law in order to beat us will
stop amy: tara linn hunter, talk about what you got involved in this issue. >> i got involved because i moved to denton to study music specifically singing. we are known for our music and art in our town. while i was there, i developed debilitating idol asthma. i started looking into our air qualities and realized gimmick and lung association has given denton "f" quality air. i came across fracking pretty quick. juan: the legislature in texas ask even after news coming out recently of the huge increase in earthquakes linked to fracking wells in nearby oklahoma. what has been the public response to this kind of information getting out throughout texas? >> people are very concerned.
i attended a town hall meeting in irving that was packed. hundreds and hundreds of people poured out after feeling there homes shake. there are injection wells near there. people are very concerned, very upset. amy: so right in denton and the surrounding area, how much fracking is going on? what are the oil, is involved? is it any connection to elected officials? >> absolutely. in denton alone, we have 300 gas wells in our city limits. they're less than 250 feet from homes. some of the neighborhood signs actually wraparound the walls that surround the frack wells. this is really -- it is dear our hospitals, our schools, so forth. some of the companies that are operating there, one of them is the integer. one of them is eagle ridge. eagle ridge was caught dumping chemicals and hickory creek a few weeks ago vintage had one of
their wells explode just outside of the neighborhood. that fire went on for about seven hours. evil rich had a blowout near our airport. homes were evacuated. the blowout did not stop for 14 hours. we found levels of benzene when we did air samples. these are some of the companies operating in our city. juan: you have said you're supposed to elected officials have sold you out. could you talk about those officials and their connection to the oil and gas industry? >> yeah, absolutely. our representative conover and our senator estes really disregarded their own constituents and voted for house bill 40. the texas tribune has an wonderful job of laying out potential conflict of interest. they show how many of our politicians, including these two, a really oil -- they have
direct investment in oil and gas. they receive attributions, campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. amy: three days later after texas lawmakers voted to prohibit city bans on fracking lighting struck a frack well in denton and set it on fire. resident leah strittmater lives near the well and describes what she saw. >> i saw out of our kitchen window orange reflecting off of our children's playset. i said, john, lightning struck somewhere. i thought it had struck their in our yard or the playhouse. we ran outside and the heat from the immense flames just smacked as in the face. it was so hot that the flames that were coming off of the compression station was massive. i kept calling to try call 911 in a cap going to a fast busy signal. amy: the well is operated by vantage, the same company that opened new fracking sites in denton this week after texas
lifted city bans on fracking. just last month, a vantage gas wellhead malfunctioned and began leaking fracking fluid in nearby arlington, where dozens of homes were evacuated after the company took two hours to notify officials of the emergency. in december, the company agreed to pay a nearly $1 million fine after it violated waste disposal regulations at one of its oil wells in franklin township pennsylvania. tara linn hunter, as we wrap up, can you talk about your arrest on monday? presumably, the police come from your area. the police shook your hand and then handcuffed you? >> that's right. they were thanking us for our community service as they were arresting us. when we got to the station, they let us out on personal cognizance, saying we are not a threat to the community. i think they're very sympathetic to the cause. if you live in denton, you are where the effects of fracking in daily life.
we hope this input the continues as we move forward. it was a very civil exchange. juan: what are your next steps now, given that the state legislature as well as oklahoma's legislature has banned the bans on fracking? what do you hope to do next? >> i think that our residents are very interested in seeing the city up old a vote of the people. last night we packed the city council meeting and unanimously requested that they not be the ones to repeal the ban themselves. we're looking at the best strategy moving forward. how can we fight house bill 40, and on a larger scale, how can we really continue to tell our powerful narrative of a small texas town standing up to a billion dollar industry, really david and goliath story. on the ground, we're continuing our -- amy: we have to leave it there.
thank you for being with us volunteer coordinator for frack , free denton, she was arrested on monday as part of protests to stop the first new fracking well since denton residents voted to pass a fracking ban last november. she is losing her with the frackettes [captioning made possible by democracy now!]