Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  September 2, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

3:00 pm
09/02/15 09/02/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! ,> today, right here, right now in solitarys confinement after decades in isolation, the thousands will begin to be treated as human beings. we look at this as this is only just the beginning. amy: in a major victory for prisoners' rights, california has agreed to greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement following years of litigation and prisoner hunger strikes.
3:01 pm
we'll speak with the lead attorney for the prisoners at california's pelican bay state prison, as well as the mother of a man who has been held there in solitary confinement in for more than 14 years. then, to guatemala. a normals moment is citizen, although he still the president of the republic. he has lost immunity. as a consequence, there could be criminal prosecution against the president. amy: we'll speak with journalist allan nairn about the guatemalan legislature voting to strip president otto perez of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for his impeachment. and then to a new account of one of america's most controversial statesmen. in a fascinating new book, historian greg grandin argues that to understand the crisis of contemporary america, we have to understand henry kissinger. >> henry kissinger is the author today's permanent national
3:02 pm
security state in the united states and endless war. this can betrays a direct line from a secret, illegal bombing of cambodia, straight to iraq and beyond. on: historian greg grandin kissinger's shadow. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. two more democratic senators have backed the iran nuclear deal, meaning the agreement is all but certain to gain passage through congress. on tuesday, pennsylvania senator bob casey and delaware senator chris coons came out in support of the historic accord between iran and six world powers. obama has said he will veto any resolution by congress to block the deal. the white house is now only one vote short of the 34 required to uphold the veto. in a major victory for prisoners' rights, california is expected to dramatically reduce the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement after it reached a landmark legal
3:03 pm
settlement with a group of prisoners at the pelican bay state prison on tuesday. we'll go to california for more after headlines. we will speak with the mother of a prisoner in solitary confinement for more than 14 years. president obama continues his trip to the arctic just weeks after his administration permitted oil giant shell to begin oil drilling in the remote arctic waters off the coast of alaska. on tuesday, obama toured a glacier and spoke about the already visible impacts of climate change. >> you guys have been seeing these signs as we walk that mark where the glacier used to be. 1951. this glacier has lost about 1.5 miles over the last couple hundred years, but the pace of the reductions in the glacier are accelerating rapidly each and every year. and this is as good of a signpost of what we're dealing
3:04 pm
with when it comes to climate change is just about anything. amy: obama's remarks come as the environmental group and the european green party launch the "divest for paris" challenge, calling on institutions, individuals and governments to divest from fossil fuels ahead of the climate summit in paris this fall. in guatemala, authorities have barred president otto perez molina from leaving the country, after the guatemalan commerce decided to strip him of immunity from prosecution. perez molina has faced months of massive demonstrations over a corruption scandal that has led to the resignation of the majority of his cabinet and the arrest of top officials. that includes his vice president. we'll go to guatemala to speak with journalist and activist allan nairn later in the broadcast. in lebanon, riot police have forcibly removed more than two dozen protesters from the environmental ministry building in the capital of beirut after the demonstrators occupied the building tuesday to demand the minister's resignation over the
3:05 pm
heaps of trash from the streets. the occupation was part of the growing "you stink!" campaign protesting government ineptitude. pakistani officials say a u.s. drone strike has killed at least six people after it struck a house in north waziristan on tuesday. officials say the compound belonged to suspected militants. the identities of the victims have not been determined. in news from europe, hundreds of people are protesting outside a budapest train station over hungary plus decision to bar people fleeing violence in their home countries from boarding westbound trains headed to germany. the move has led thousands of people stranded outside the station in 104 degree heat. meanwhile, at least 11 people have died and five more are missing after two boats headed to greece sank off the coast of turkey on tuesday. among the dead were a woman and her three children. meanwhile, in the united states, the immigration and customs enforcement agency has arrested nearly 250 people during raids targeting undocumented
3:06 pm
immigrants across southern california. the agency says 56% of those arrested had past felony convictions and that the rest had past misdemeanors. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell has acknowledged anti-choice lawmakers do not have enough votes to defund planned parenthood, despite a renewed push following the release of heavily edited anti-choice videos. mcconnell told local news station wymt defunding planned parenthood would have to wait until obama is out of office. >> we just don't have the votes to get the outcome we would like. the president has made it clear he is not going to sign any bill that includes defining a planned parenthood. that is another issue that awaits a new president, hopefully, with a different point of view about planned parenthood. amy: senator mcconnell's remarks come after planned parenthood gave lawmakers a detailed analysis debunking the heavily edited videos that had renewed lawmakers' calls to defund the organization. the secretly recorded videos, released by an anti-choice group, show planned parenthood employees discussing the sharing
3:07 pm
of fetal tissue with researchers, a practice planned parenthood has maintained is performed legally and never for profit. an analysis commissioned by planned parenthood confirmed the videos contain intentionally deceptive edits and missing footage, including 30-minute-long gaps. researchers also found "substantive omissions" in transcripts of the videos provided by the anti-choice center for medical progress. the analysis concluded the videos "have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries." on tuesday, the center for medical progress released its latest secretly recorded video, targeting a tissue procurement company that has worked with a planned parenthood clinic. as in the other videos, none of what's discussed appears to be illegal. planned parenthood noted -- "multiple times in this video, staff from independent health care firms appear to say that planned parenthood is not interested in any financial gain and adheres to ethical standards." in illinois, a massive hunt is
3:08 pm
underway after the fatal shooting of a fox lake police officer. lieutenant charles joseph gliniewicz was found shot after telling colleagues he was responding to suspicious activity. the suspects have been described as three men, one black and two -- one african-american and two white. in texas, the fbi has opened a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting by sheriff's deputies of a man who appeared to have his hands in the air. gilbert flores was shot by bear county sheriff's deputies responding to a report of domestic violence. the full version of a bystander's video released by a local abc station appears to show deputies opening fire after gilbert raised his hands. gilbert's left hand is obscured by a utility pole but his right , hand is in the air. in georgia, police who entered the wrong home while responding to a burglary call shot and injured one of their colleagues and the innocent homeowner and killed the homeowner's dog.
3:09 pm
investigators say three dekalb county officers entered the wrong home through an unlocked backdoor. initial reports suggested the homeowner shot and wounded the officer, travis jones, who is african-american. but authorities now say it's unclear if the homeowner even had a gun. in new york, newly released video shows the final hours of a diabetic prisoner at rikers island jail who was reportedly deprived of his insulin medication and left to slowly die. mercado was arrested two years ago for attempting to sell a small amount of heroin to an undercover officer. he died at rikers 15 hours later after guards apparently ignored his pleas for medical help. surveillance video released by the "new york times" shows corrections officers left him on the floor for three minutes after he collapsed. he is also seen reeling and carrying around bags of his own vomit before he dies. and in kentucky, a county clerk has continued to deny marriage
3:10 pm
licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of the supreme court. kim davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses following the landmark supreme court decision in june, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. on monday, the supreme court denied her appeal that the court grant her asylum for her conscience. on tuesday, same-sex couples confronted davis at her office. >> the supreme court denied your stay. >> we're not issuing marriage licenses today. >> why are you not issuing marriage licenses today? >> because i'm not. >> under whose authority? >> under god's authority. >> i don't think god is telling you to do this. >> i have ask you all to leave. you're interrupting my business. amy: county clerk kim davis risks jail time and fines if she continues to refuse to provide marriage licenses. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in a major victory for prisoners' rights, california
3:11 pm
has agreed to greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement as a part of a legal settlement that may have major implications in prisons nationwide. on tuesday, california reached a landmark legal settlement with a group of prisoners held in isolation for a decade or more at the pelican bay state prison. california currently keeps nearly 3000 prisoners alone for more than 22 hours a day in windowless cells. human rights advocates have long maintained the practice of solitary confinement is both inhumane and counterproductive. after yearsnt comes of prisoner hunger strikes and sustained protests by prisoner'' loved ones. in 2011, democracy now! obtained a recording of one pelican bay prisoner on hunger strike, todd ashker, who was being held in prison's secure housing unit, which is referred to as the shu. listen closely.
3:12 pm
being subjected to these conditions for years without 21 years in pelican bay shu where every single day you have staff in a minute straight or's who and it is their job -- administrators who feel it is their job to punish the worst of the worst as they put out that propaganda or 21 years that we are the worst of the worst and most of us have never been found guilty of ever committing again related act. we are in shu. appeals,r 602 numerous court challenges have gone nowhere. therefore, our backs up against the wall. any code that was one of the pelican bay prisoners todd
3:13 pm
, ashker, speaking about his participation in the 2011 hunger strike. well, for more, we go now to los angeles, california, where we're joined by dolores canales, the co-founder of california families to abolish solitary confinement. her son, john martinez, has been held in solitary confinement at pelican bay for more than 14 years. dolores herself spent time in an institute for women in 1999. and in pittsburgh, pennsylvania we're joined by jules lobel, the president of the center for constitutional rights and a law professor at the university of pittsburgh. the lead attorney representing prisoners at pelican bay in the lawsuit challenging long-term solitary confinement in california prisons. we welcome you both to democracy now! jules lobel, lay out what this decision, with the settlement means. >> up until now, california has put thousands of prisoners in solitary confinement simply because they have some association with a gang or
3:14 pm
alleged association with the gang. often simply for artwork for political literature which the official said were gang related in some way. under the settlement, california will no longer do that. in addition, when california put these alleged gang affiliates and to solitary confinement, they did it for an indefinite term. really, for life. there was him is no way out. that is why people like todd ashker have spent over 20 years in solitary confinement. under the settlement, people will only be put in solitary confinement if they commit some serious offense after a due process hearing, a serious offense being assault, murder, something like that in prison. and they will only be put in for a definite term. after that term ends, they will get out. their abolishing essentially indefinite, indeterminate solitary confinement.
3:15 pm
they are abolishing solitary confinement simply for gang affiliation. and drought the day, there are about 80,000 people in solitary confinement. many of whom are in for minor offenses or because they are mentally ill or for not any good p no logical reason. in california, through our lawsuit and hunger strikes, they realize this is a wrongheaded policy, even from the perspective of good prison management, apart from the human rights problem. in addition, california has recognized for people who are in solitary confinement for a very long time, it is cruel and inhumane. to put somebody in a small little box with no windows, no phone calls, no ability to contact other people -- they could get written up and discipline for even communicating with other prisoners -- it is just an inhumane way to run a prison. and for everybody who is there for more than 10 years, they're going to get them out of solitary confinement.
3:16 pm
in fact, they're going to go through all of the prisoners who are there simply for gang affiliation. and if they don't have a serious misconduct in two years -- in the last two years, they're going to put them into general population. california estimates that over 95% of all the prisoners they have there now for simply gang affiliation are going to be released into general population. amy: how many people are we talking about? >> we're talking about probably approximately 2000 people. there are 2000 people in now simplein the shu for gang affiliation. there are 1000 people in the shu out of the 3000 people you mention that are there because they committed some serious offense. and this is it really going to affect them. we still have a long struggle down the road to get rid of solitary confinement totally in this country, but this is an important first up. , what doess canales
3:17 pm
this mean for your son, john martinez, who is been a solitary for 14 years now? >> well, for my son john martinez, it means he will be released in the security housing unit and will be placed on a yard where, hopefully, he will begin on the opportunity to participate in vocational training and programs. i am very excited about this. and for the many family members that up and waiting for this moment as well. amy: can you talk about what his life is like in solitary confinement? >> well, i know he sleeps on the floor because mattresses that they have are very thin and he is concerned about his back. so i know he sleeps on the cement floor. i know he has an exercise routine. he does a lot of legal work. we're provided his education out here. we were able to support him in his education, so he has received certificates in paralegal studies and civil litigation, so that occupies a
3:18 pm
lot of his time. there have been times he has written me saying he is no doubt in his mind that pelican bay security housing unit was designed solely to drive men mad or to suicide, because that is his existence. amy: have even able to visit him? >> yes, i have. i try to visit at least every six to eight weeks, especially because of his conditions. i'm going to be up there to see him on saturday because i am just so excited at this moment. although, i will say this is very, very bittersweet. because in my advocacy, working with numerous family members as we organized together, there have been family members that are not here today to share in this moment with us as they have chanceaway with a last of ever seeing their loved one, distantly behind an image behind a glass or holding onto a cold phone. but always believing there would be change. i hold themnd then
3:19 pm
in my heart as well. dolores you talk about, , the kind of organizing that went on outside the prison, people like you organizing for family members, and inside a prison. your son, john martinez, participated in all three hunger strikes that began in 2011? >> yes, he did. he gave us notice prior to the first hunger strike july 1, 2011, he wrote as an asbestos in his letter to over 200 organizations and to the governor and various administrations and zuckerman so. thed not even realize circumstances of solitary confinement, the depth of the isolation. i did not give it too much of a second thought. i guess it is something you block out. after that i could not stop thinking about it. what the family members begin to do, even as i am sitting here, i
3:20 pm
would not even be here at this moment if it were not for the hundreds of family members that have come out and every hunger strike they had was during the summer, july, august, september, these warm months. yet family members would be outside every other day dressed in orange jumpsuits or orange, carrying chains or bullhorns, just to get attention, to draw attention of society, conducting numerous panels at universities and churches -- just organizing and mobilizing across the state of california, raising awareness to these conditions that our loved ones were enduring. amy: corrections officials and guards have come out increasingly, is this true, against solitary confinement? were there guards or official supporting you in your activism? >> some more. some in comments, maybe not found in the open, but someone may comments that it was time for change. while others, there is
3:21 pm
resistance and they don't want change. and i just recently heard yesterday that the ccpoa is very much against this change because they're concerned about violence. but one thing the men did you was major up an agreement to end all hostilities. and that is something the family members and the advocates have been attempted to promote and spread the word that it is time for change and just come together in unity. what my concern is, if there is such a big concern that there is going to be violence, it would seem like cvcr would be corporate of and helping to get this word out and has this out and promote this and of all hostilities. amy: dolores canales, you yourself are in a separate good unit in 1999. explain how that compares to solitary confinement? is a solitary? how did you end up there? we are talking no more than 15 years of activism.
3:22 pm
>> i do believe i was in solitary confinement when -- i .as doing a shu term in ciw i had a window in myself. and pelican bay, there are no windows. not only did i have a window, i went outside to your activity and i was actually outdoors. i could see the sun, feel the wind when i went out to stop but yet when you are in that cell and surrounded by that brick and the only thing you experience, you don't experience human contact other than being handcuffed and escorted places. my visits were noncontact. they were behind the glass. there would be times i would wake up at night because the cells are so small, i felt like i could not breathe. i guess that is why once i really did start thinking about the situation of solitary confinement for decades on and, -- on end, that is why i
3:23 pm
organized with such passion. i did not realize california left people for 20, 30, 40 years and then i am in really realized that no intentions of letting my son out and that we had to do something. obama addressed the naacp in july and spoke out against solitary confinement. >> i've asked my attorney general to start a review of the over use of solitary confinement across american prisons. [applause] shows anl science environment like that is often ,ore likely to make enemies more alienated, more hostile, .otentially more violent do we really think it makes sense to lock so many people alone in tiny cells for 23 hours a day for months, sometimes for years at a time? that is not going to make us safer. that is not going to make us stronger. and if those individuals are
3:24 pm
ultimately released, how are they ever going to adapt? it is not smart. amy: president obama addressed the naacp in july. , where does solitary confinement stand across the country, outside of california? and how will the settlement affect that? >> a couple of things, one, i want to point out one thing about what happened at pelican bay. when dolores visits her son, she cannot hug him or have any human contact with him. she visits him with a glass in between them. so we have clients who for 20 years have not hugged their loved ones. i think this is an abomination. in addition for many years at pelican bay, they had no phone calls. until our lawsuit. and of it was even allowed to make a phone call to their loved ones.
3:25 pm
amy: aside from the morality of that, jules lobel, and humanity or lack of humidity of that, talk about how that actually makes prisoners -- makes the situation worse for prisoners, can make them more violent, less able to rehabilitate when they are so cut off from human contact. >> it obviously makes them very angry, frustrated, hopeless -- which all of our guys have experienced. and in addition, a great what social science is -- scientists call it social death. people lose their ability to relate to other people and have a lot of difficulties relating to people in the normal world. and most of these people are going to get out of prison. we are creating a situation where we are releasing people from solitary confinement who cannot possibly have the ability to relate to the outside world in a normal, human way.
3:26 pm
they could function, but their basic human need of social interaction has been taken away from them. the basic human need to touch another person. if your listeners could imagine living in a world where for 15, 20 years you have not been able to hug another person, touch another person, had very little contact with other people, and then get thrown out into the street. it is a very, very difficult situation. and it is contrary to any notion of prison replicating people. amy: and what this means globally -- i mean, nationally? >> around the country, as i said, there are 80,000 people in solitary confinement. as president obama said, most are there without any real necessity. so with this settlement, what i think it will mean, it will give evidence to the movement in colorado -- evidence to the movement in colorado and mississippi and other states to dramatically reduce the number
3:27 pm
of people in solitary confinement. california now is going to dramatically reduce the number of people and california has been a major state using solitary confinement. that i think will give impetus to reform around the country. in addition, the settlement has done another thing, which i think of a major impact around the country. there are some prisoners who commit murder in prison were sold in prison who obviously need to be aggregated from the general population, or don't have to be treated in a cruel and inhumane way. they don't have to be put in cells with no windows, they don't have to be cut off from phone calls or family. in telephone and, as part of the settlement, has agreed to create a special unit for people they who willdangerous but be given contact visits, will be given small group recreation so
3:28 pm
they don't recreate in the big yard what we as seen in movies and "shawshank redemption" were something like that, but can recreate with other people as opposed to totally alone. they will be able have educational programs. we're hoping this unit could be an alternative model around the country for segregating people, but not isolating them, not treating them inhumanely. our prisons have to realize that every prisoner is entitled to human dignity, entitled to basic human needs. and the way our prisons have been running, has not been in accordance with that. and finally, i think there is another key thing about the settlement which could be a model in other states which is that in our whole litigation, we incorporated the prisoners into the -- the prisoners came up with the demands, we had a number of group meetings with the prisoners. we had the prisoners ratifying
3:29 pm
this agreement. and the prisoners are going to be meeting with prison officials, helping to implement this. so it is not just like the lawyers did this. to treat people with some human dignity, you have to allow them to participate in the things that govern their own lives. that is a basic democratic principle, and it should not be abolished simply because some but he goes to prison. and i think that is critical to rehabilitation in critical -- and critical to allowing a prison to be run with some kind of dignity and some kind of hope for the prisoners. so i do think the way this litigation and the settlement was conducted really could be an alternative model for prisons around the country. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us, jules lobel, the president of the center for constitutional rights. and dolores canales is the co-founder of california families to abolish solitary confinement.
3:30 pm
her son, john martinez, has been held in solitary confinement at pelican bay for more than 14 years. she protests of -- he participated in all the hunger strikes and may now will be released from solitary confinement. because of the settlement that has been reached this week. when we come back, we go to guatemala city. the president of guatemala has been stripped of immunity by the guatemalan congress. that means he could be arrested at any moment will start unless he resigns -- he could still be arrested, even then. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
3:31 pm
amy: "son de la catarina," luis juárez quixtan. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. to guatemala city
3:32 pm
where the legislature has voted , unanimously to strip president otto perez molina of immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for his impeachment. -- his arrest. the ruling echoes the decision by the country's supreme court last week and makes it possible to prosecute perez as part of a corruption investigation that has sparked protests calling for his resignation. carlos herrera, an official of the guatemalan congress, announced the results of the vote. >> votes in favor, 132. votes against, zero. dip is absent, 26. and so having majority, approved the measure advancing the pretrial process against otto perez molina. amy: perez molina is now prohibited from leaving the country and a warrant could be issued for his arrest. this is guatemalan attorney general thelma aldana. >> at this point he is a normal
3:33 pm
citizen, a normal citizen for the justice system. he is lost immunity. and as a consequence, there could be criminal prosecution against the president. amy: well, for more, we're joined by allan nairn, longtime journalist who has covered guatemala since the 1980's. welcome back to democracy now! you were outside congress last night when congress stripped the guatemalan president of immunity. can you talk about the significance and the reaction? were cheering, crying, setting off fireworks -- which is an example for the world. this is a general we're talking about. one of the u.s. backed generals who carried out massacres that devastated the mayan population. i met him in the highlands as he was doing that. and he described how they strangled, executed civilians
3:34 pm
and threw them into mass graves. you can became president. private that, -- prior to that, he was on the payroll. now he's going to be treated like a citizen, perhaps like a common criminal. he could be taken at any moment by the authorities. last night, i walked by the presidential house, the white house of guatemala, and spoke to a soldier outside who is a corporal of the presidential guard. and i asked him how his unit would react if the justice department comes and tries to arrest the president. he said they would not resist. they take their orders [indiscernible] remarkable in guatemalan history. outside that very building we
3:35 pm
were standing outside of, premiered the national torture chamber of guatemala. people would be dragged their the criticized the army, if they criticized -- if they were seen to the organizing indigenous population, and they would be chopped up. they would be electroshock. -- theiries would be hands would be cut off. the military intelligence service had actual american cia agents inside it. and now soldiers from the presidential guard, from that very place, are saying they're not going to stop -- one of the generals who carried out these atrocities is arrested. if he's arrested, you'd only be on corruption but it opens the door to bring him to trial for the mass murders.
3:36 pm
there is still a long way to go. it would be a big surprise if congress strips his immunity. the men was vote was in -- the unanimous vote was in some ways deceptive because the big blocs encompass that are controlled by the oligarchs and the drug lords them of they did not want to open the pandora's box of looking into the crime of the army and the oligarchy, but they felt the massive public pressure and had no choice. amy: you talk about otto perez molina being involved in murder of indigenous people in northwest highlands, allan nairn , but what these protests are about our corruption, why his vice president has now been arrested as well as other officials. so do you see this possible indictment getting larger?
3:37 pm
and our people calling for that -- and our people calling for that? >> corruption has kicked open the door. is mass could follow murder. prosecution for mass murder. just about everyone i talked to on the streets raises that issue. and under guatemalan law, in ordinary citizen can go to a court and file a criminal case. and now that perez molina has been stripped of immunity, anyone can step forward and file criminal charges against him for in 1982.hter i was there talking to perez molina, talking to his troops. so the now becomes a possibility.
3:38 pm
forward,oes [indiscernible] reaction of state prosecutors, if the state prosecutors go forward, i would also urge them to look at charging not dressed theust perez molina, but u.s. responses. the americans who worked as military intelligence within the guatemalan army, and also washingtonficials in can be charged as accomplices to murder. president george w. bush said, if you arm the terrorists, if you fund the terrorists, you're a terrorist. i think president bush had a point. and he should be subjected to that same principle. and now that guatemala has kicked open the doors, set an example for the world, this
3:39 pm
trail of blood can be followed wherever it leads, including back to washington. amy: jules lobel amy: allan nairn, thank you for joining us. allan nairn, longtime journalist who has covered guatemala since the 1980's. for transcript, i know the phone line was difficult to follow, you can go to you can also see his interviews in spanish on our spanish website. back, kissinger's shadow. we will be joined by the historian greg grandin. stay with us.
3:40 pm
♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. it's been nearly 40 years since henry kissinger left office but his influence on the national security state can still be
3:41 pm
widely felt as the united states engages in declared and undeclared wars across the globe. kissinger served at national security adviser and secretary of state in the nixon and ford administrations and helped revive a militarized version of american exceptionalism. during his time in office, henry kissinger oversaw a massive expansion of the war vietnam and the secret bombings of laos and cambodia. in south america, declassified documents show how kissinger secretly intervened across the continent from bolivia to uruguay to chile to argentina. in chile, kissinger urged president nixon to take a "harder line" against the country's democratically elected president salvador allende. on september 11, 1973, allende was overthrown by the u.s.-backed general augusto pinochet. in jakarta, indonesia kissinger , and president gerald ford met with indonesia's dictator
3:42 pm
general suharto in jakarta to give the go ahead to invade east timor. which indonesia did on december 7, 1975. the indonesians killed of the one third timorese population. kissinger also drew up plans to attack cuba in the mid 1970's after fidel castro sent cuban forces into angola to fight forces linked to apartheid south africa. while human rights activists have long called for kissinger to be tried for war crimes, he remains a celebrated figure in washington and beyond. ,oining us now is greg grandin author of the new book "kissinger's shadow: the long , reach of america's most controversial statesman." he's a professor of latin american history at new york university. his previous books include, "fordlandia: the rise and fall of henry ford's forgotten jungle city," "the empire of necessity: slavery, freedom and deception in the new world," and "empire's workshop."
3:43 pm
we welcome you back to democracy now! ong, why did you take he isger? >> i felt like 92 years old, there's been a really location of henry kissinger and supposedly what he stands for, not just by the political right, but across the political establishment. hillary clinton embraced kissinger last year in review and "the washington post" of his last book. samantha power went to a baseball game with him. a liberal hawk who wrote and came -- who made her name writing about genocide, including three genocides that kissinger is implicated in. and they came together at a yankee-red sox game. i feel there is a way in which kissinger embodies the national security -- let me say, obviously, there is another critique of henry kissinger based on all of the acts.
3:44 pm
i think that is useful, but i think focusing on kissinger as a war criminal misses the larger importance in the endurance of the national security state and the continuity from cambodia and vietnam, laos, to iraq and beyond. amy: explain what you mean. what exactly does it miss? >> i think there are ways in which kissinger came to power, took office in 1969 at a very vulnerable moment for the national security state. wasold imperial presence cracking up. from the 1940's to the 1966 was breaking apart as a result of vietnam, as a result of economic issues and race issues in the united states. and kissinger was very instrumental in figuring out not only presiding and in some ways accelerating the crackup because the bombing of cambodia and all
3:45 pm
of his illegal activities the furthered polarization hastened the unraveling of that consensus, but i think it was also instrumental in reestablishing the national security state on new footing in to a to move forward post-vietnam war. entryways in particular. one, i think he's instrumental in rest of us in covert activities and clandestine activities in figuring out ways to bypass a lot of the focus that reporters, critical report such as yourself and allan nairn in the critical congress begin to place on the presidency -- i think you can see a continuity between what he was doing in southern africa, for instance, supporting -- using third-party mercenaries in order to wage an illegal war with what comes later under reagan, iran-contra. i think is very important in emphasizing the need for
3:46 pm
spectacular actions in order to demonstrate credibility will stop not just credibility to the world, to a war where citizen at home. i think him a nixon also very good at leveraging domestic dissent and polarization and using militarism and war in order for political gain at home. so we all know about nixon's southern strategy, an attempt to win over seven democrats biplane to racism at home. -- southern democrats biplane to racism at home. the southern policy -- kissinger would go and use the fact they were bombing a country to destruction, to placate, a blood tribute to rising new right. ronald reagan as governor of california and said, look what we're doing, we would not have had laos, we would not have had cambodia if we don't have nixon as a way of kind of paying tribute to that militaristic right. to kissinger in
3:47 pm
his own words. >> the average person thinks applied asity can be directly to the conduct of states to each other as they can to human -- that is not always the case because sometimes statesman have to choose among evils. amy: henry kissinger featured in the documentary "the trials of , henry kissinger." >> quotes like that when kissinger is talking about the need to downplay and not use morality or idealism in foreign policy is often used to mistakenly described members -- those who believe in realpolitik. i argue if we take realism as a believe that the material world exists, that the truth of that world is evident in the facts of that world -- and kissinger is not a realist. he comes out of a certain kind of german irrational kind of
3:48 pm
will to power idealism. use free much influenced by as those who believe that human beings don't have access to reality, that their understanding of reality comes through their action. as that relates to foreign-policy is that kissinger is open -- this is something's been saying since the 1950's forward. world, oneact in the has to act in the world in order for one to have an understanding of the world. he has told us the great powers are always gaining or losing influence and then one has to basically create reality. amy: you quote him from 1963. i'm sure you know it by heart. there are two kinds of realists, those who manipulate the facts d those who create them. the west requires nothing so
3:49 pm
much as men able to create their own reality." >> fast for to the bush of administration, one of his staffers now believed to be karl rove said, we're an empire now, when we act we create reality. and that was taken as an example of neocon hubris and neocon arrogance, certain kind of irrational idealism that believes reality is created through military power. and oftentimes kissinger is set a as the opposite of that, as sober realist. the fact is, he is not. it is true the first neocons came up attacking kissinger, thought he was a loser for vietnam and a sinner because he did not believe in american idealism. but the fact of the matter is, kissinger kind of lays the groundwork for their extreme subjectivism. you can see a strong continuity between, for example, dick cheney plus 1% doctrine where he says we can't wait for all the
3:50 pm
evidence to become, with the treat a 1% intelligence as if it was 100% certainty, and that as justification for why we have a warrant to go into iraq and afghanistan, to go into wherever. kissinger said all of that 40 years ago. and kissinger, what you -- what is unique, every other post were realist -- george kennan, arthur's lessons are -- arthur's assange or, breaks with national security over vietnam, over the arms buildup. kissinger, with every lurch to lurches with it.ked us from nixon to reagan, from reagan to the neocons. so i don't think kissinger creates the national security states, but i think as long career illustrate it and shines a light on it like nobody else. amy: earlier this year, activists from the antiwar group codepink attempted to perform a
3:51 pm
citizen's arrest of kissinger when he arrived to testify on global security challenges at a senate armed services committee meeting in january. let's go to a clip. [chanting] arrest henry kissinger for war crimes! arrest henry kissinger for war crimes! >> in the name of the people in timorand vietnam and east , in the name of the people of cambodia, and the name of the people of laos. amy: senator john mccain lashed out at the protesters and called on the capitol hill police to remove them. >> i've been a member of this committee for many years, and i've never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last to mr. nation that just took place
3:52 pm
about -- >> [inaudible] >> you're going to have to shut up or i'm going to have you arrested. get out of here, lowlife scum. amy: thirty minutes later, two more members of codepink interrupted henry kissinger's testimony before the senate armed services committee. >> is look around the world, we encounter of people in conflict -- of people in conflict and chaos. >> arrest henry kissinger for war crimes will stop vietnam, 1969 to 1973, kissinger oversaw the slaughter in vietnam, cambodia, and laos that led to the death of millions -- many thousands more died from the effects of agent orange and unexploded bombs to cover the countryside. chile, henry kissinger was one of the prince of our text of the september 11, 1973.
3:53 pm
who overthrew the democratically elected government of allende. amy: the protests of the senate armed services committee testimony of henry kissinger. greg grandin? >> just a fact he is still being called to give testimony, you can look at one disaster after another, cambodia, southern africa, he instigated in certain counterinsurgency's that caused the lives of millions of people -- that cost the lives of minds of people. amy: you have students, see you know when you say this is obvious it is a long career, many people really know nothing about this history in latin america. explain. he supportedmerica operation condor, instrumental in organizing the coup not just in chile, bolivia, argentina. moralher brought
3:54 pm
legitimacy or was involved. once the region fell to right-wing anti-communist governments, he was instrumental in supporting operation condor, which was a kind of transnational consortium of death squads they carried out international terrorist -- amy: broader than chile. >> broader than latin america. amy: why did he support pinochet ? >> in general because allende was a marxist but an elected marxist and incredibly elected marxist. an indication that allende scared kissinger more than somebody like castro did. easily dismissed or contained as a dictator. kissinger's fear was that allende would actually allow for transference of power, and that
3:55 pm
is kind of -- and is propagated a this bipolar world between the soviet union and the united states. amy: i want to go for a moment to another clip. this is a clip of well-known tv personality who is coming back on the air in just a few days. this is stephen colbert. stephen colbert, who is dancing in the center's office. ♪ >> security. amy: that was kissinger calling security. but of course, was all a joke. >> that is part of the river location, someone responsible directly or indirectly in a number of genocide and mass murder turning into a comic kind of figure that we can make fun of.
3:56 pm
at the same time, people like cement the power and hillary clinton, they seek out his advice and they banter with him. it is ritualistic. it is a way of invoking purpose or -- i think things have gotten so bad and the foreign-policy establishment and things have gotten so bad for u.s. strategy a broad that there is a nostalgia for what kissinger represents, but nobody quite knows what kissinger represents. he kind of represents purpose. what i try to argue in the book there is a hollowness to the purpose that leads to circularity, and escalation causing more escalation causing more escalation. amy: israel and palestine. >> he was deeply involved in the middle east, particularly after the u.s. was defeated in southeast asia. and he was instrumental in blocking in the impasse. there are historians that write about this. one talks about how kissinger kind of locks in the current
3:57 pm
stalemate. he commits the united states not to recognize palestine until palestinian authority recognized the legitimacy of israel, but he doesn't demand any such -- he doesn't demand any such conditions on the support the u.s. gives to israel. but beyond israel-palestine, his support for the shaw -- amy: in iran. >> prior to the revolution, using the duopoly of iran and saudi arabia prior to the revolution as guardians of the gulf, was disastrous. kissinger kind of using petrodollars, the increasing rise of oil prices and energy cost, funneling it back to the u.s. defense industry and selling weapons to the shaw. anything he wanted, the shock. anything they wanted, saudi arabia got. it is created the infrastructure of permanent crisis that we see in the middle east.
3:58 pm
only think about the rise of the michigan in the 1980's against the soviet union, we did a focus on the cia support for what eventually becomes al qaeda will step but it is back in the 1970's when kissinger urges pakistan to move into after anna stan -- afghanistan, to try to destabilize the country is a pond in the cold war. amy: do you think henry kissinger should be tried as a war crime and all -- criminal? >> yes. it there ways in which the language of prosecution and war crimes kinds of -- kind of eclipse a deeper historical understanding. and if we want to understand the mess we're in now, we have to -- the on the moral outrage and understand kissinger's role in rebuttal attending the national security state. amy:g, they could for being with us professor of latin american , history at new york university. his book, "kissinger's shadow:
3:59 pm
the long reach of america's most controversial statesman." that does it for our broadcast. 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
4:00 pm
>> it's invisible to most of us, but there is a crime wave going on unprecedented in human history. it's everywhere, in every country, on every continent, and it affects virtually everything. the goods we buy, the kind of jobs people do and where they do them, the safety of our homes and families. it's theft on a colossal scale. >> you could say that it's the crime of the century because you'd always be foolish to try any other kind of crime. if you're organized and you know what you're doing,


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on