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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  September 2, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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09/02/21 09/02/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] this amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> our goal is to seek justice for elijah mcclain, for his family and friends, and for our state. amy: in a major development in the movement for police accountability, three colorado police and two paramedics have been criminally charged in the death of 23-year-old elijah mclean. they beat him, put him in a choke hold as he pleaded for his
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life, then injected him with a large amount of the powerful sedative ketamine. his death prompted nationwide protests. then the u.s. supreme court response minutes before midnight last night, refusing to halt the texas law that bans must abortions, ruling 5-4 the ban can remain in effect. we will get response from nancy northup, president of the center for reproductive rights. in afghanistan, the taliban say women may not be able to hold senior positions in the new government. we will go to kabu to speak with mbouba seraj, president of the afghawomen's networ and we look at the role of women in the push for the united states to attack afghanistan with author rafia zakaria. in her new book, she calls afghanistan the fir feminist work. >> local groups and the gran
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and afghanistan, feminist groups were protesting the invasion and the occupation and askg for peace. all of ts forces were mowed downy the sort of whe and western hegemonic, feminist industrial complex that had decided th were going to essentially sport the ivasion of afghastan and export their version of feminism. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the u.s. supreme court on wednesday refused to halt a texas law that bans most abortions, ruling 5 to 4 the law must remain in effect even while legal challenges against it continue.
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the ruling is the court's biggest break yet from the landmark 1973 roe v. wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. chief justice john roberts joined the court's three liberal justices in their dissent, with justice sonia sotomayor writing -- "the court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law." all five of the justices who allowed the ban to stay in effect were appointed by republican presidents, three of them by donald trump. president biden said the texas law "blatantly violates" the constitutional right to abortion enshrined in roe v. wade. it's the most restrictive anti-choice law in the nation, barring abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy -- before many people even know they're pregnant.
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there is no exception for rape or incest. the law also allows anyone in texas to sue patients, medical workers, or even a patient's family or friends who "aid and abet" an abortion. this is alexis mcgill johnson, president of planned parenthood. >> it is incentivizing really bad behavior. we are people outside of clinics documenting license plates, taking pictures of people going into clinics. it is having its intended effe. it is trying to sow chaos and fear. amy: texas clinics say they've had to cancel most of their appointments since the law took effect wednesday. abortion providers say at least 85% of abortions that were performed are now outlawed. the remnants of hurricane ida swept across the northeastern u.s. overnight, bringing torrential rains, flooding, and even tornadoes to pennsylvania, new jersey, new york, connecticut, and massachusetts.
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at least nine people were killed, adding to at least six reported deaths in the south where ida strike as a category 4 hurricane over the weekend. the governors of new york and new jersey declared states of emergency. here in new york city, subway service was halted and non-emergency vehicles were banned from streets overnight amid heavy flooding. the national weather service said over 3 inches of rain fell in central park over just one hour wednesday night, likely a new record. while a tornado warning was issued for manhattan and the bronx. meanwhile, over one million people in louisiana and mississippi still had no power as of wednesday evening, and one million residents either had no running water or were a boil-water order. louisianans are also facing increasingly desperate shortages of fuel, food, and other essential goods. this is a new orleans resident
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who survived the hurricane >> i have been a resident here all my life. i have not seen any change. every time a disaster comes, we are the last one to be served. we need ice water right now. we are barely surviving through the heat. the gas lines are ridiculously long. we need our leadership to take control. amy: president joe biden is set to visit louisiana friday to tour storm damage. the world meteorological organization reported wednesday that the clite crisis has spawned extreme weather that's killed more than 2 million people over the last 50 years, with over $3.6 trillion in economic damage. researchers found a five-fold increase in the number of extreme weather events compared to 1970. in afghanistan, the taliban celebrated its victory over the united states and its nato
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allies with a military parade wednesday that featured dozens of u.s.-made armored vehicles and a black hawk helicopter. just days after the last u.s. military transport plane left the kabul airport, the by the ministrations that it is exploring ways to evacuate hundreds of remaining u.s. citizens and tens of thousands of afghan allies, including thailand routes. thousands of refugees gathered at the border with pakistan, overwhelming local resources. those who have been able to cross are begging for international aid. >> we are 150 families. it was tough for us to cross the border. we were very impressed and many families are stranded there. we were unemployed and hungry. we migrated here because of poverty and we have to be helped because we do not have tents and food. have mercy on us. amy: u.s. general mark milley,
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chair of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters wednesday it is possible to united states will coordinate with the taliban in the fight against the islamic. we will go to kabul later in the broadcast for the latest. the united states recorded more than 210,000 coronavirus cases wednesday as covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise. here in new york, lawmakers have extended an eviction moratorium through january 15. new york is the first state to enact renter protections since the u.s. supreme court last week threw out a nationwide eviction moratorium ordered by the centers for disease control. in arizona, more than 1000 health care workers have signed an open letter to the maricopa county board of supervisors, pleading with them to mandate masks in k-through-12 schools. this week schools in and around phoenix reported 227 active outbreaks, with nearly 1700 students and 450 school employees infected.
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in central texas, the connally independent school district near waco has canceled classes after two teachers died of covid-19 in the same week. sixth-grade social studies teacher natalia chansler was just 41 years old. she died on saturday, just days after her colleague, 59-year-old andy mccormick, succumbed to the disease. their school does not require students or teachers wear masks. in colorado, three police officers and two paramedics have been criminally charged in the death of 23-year-old elijah mcclain in the denver suburb of aurora, which prompted nationwide protests. mcclain, who was african-american, was walking home from a store in august 2019 when someone called 911 to report a suspicious person, although he was not suspected of a crime. the three aurora police officers
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who answered the call tackled mcclain to the ground and placed him in a chokehold as he pleaded for his life, and medical responders who arrived then injected mcclain with the powerful sedative ketamine. he suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died several days later. colorado attorney general philip weiser announced the charges wednesday. >> our goal is to seek justice for elijah mcclain, for his family and friends, and for our state. in so doing, we advance the rule of law and the commitment that everyone is accountable and equal under the law. amy: we will go to colorado later in the broadcast for an update on the elijah mcclain case. in nigeria, officials in the northwestern state of zamfara have closed schools and imposed curfews after gunmen abducted 73 high school students on wednesday. kidnappers have seized more than 1000 students in northern nigeria since december, usually demanding large ransom payments
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from the children's parents. a u.s. bankruptcy judge has approved a settlement that will dissolve purdue pharma, maker of the highly addictive opioid oxycontin, while ordering the sachler family to pay more than $4.5 billion over the next decade. the agreement shields the sachlers from future litigation over their role in fueling the opioid crisis, which has killed over a half million people across the u.s. in a statement, public citizen blasted the settlement saying -- "allowing the billionaires at the root of the opioid crisis to walk free while thousands of its victims are in prison is a catastrophic injustice." president biden welcomed ukrainian presidenvolodymyr zelensky to the white house wednesday, warning russia against further military incursions into ukraine. pres. biden: united states remains firmly committed to
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christ sovereignty and territorial just ukraine sovereignty and territorial and our support ukraine's aspirations. amy: president zelensky's first white house visit came two years after then-president trump dangled the prospect of an oval office visit in exchange for political dirt on then-candidate joe biden and his son, hunter biden. trump's offer of a quid pro quo led to his first impeachment. hoe minority leader kevin mccarthy warned tech and telecommunication companies not to comply with requests from lawmakers investigating the deadly january 6 insurrection at the capitol, saying republicans "will not forget" if they do. the house select committee has requested the companies preserve records related to the attack, which mccarthy said was illegal although he did not offer any legal backing for his claim. here in new york, the director of security and the controller for the trump organization are expected to testify before a
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manhattan grand jury today as investigations continue into financial crimes at the former president's businesses. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. i am joined by my co-host nermeen shaikh. hi, nermeen. nermeen: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: we are beginning with the major news from the u.s. supreme court, which on wednesday refused to halt a texas law that bans most abortions, ruling 5-4 the law can remain in effect, even while legal challenges against it continue. the ruling is the court's biggest break yet from the landmark 1973 roe v. wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. chief justice john roberts joined the courts three double justices and their dissent with
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justice sonia sotomayor writing -- "the court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law." all five of the justices who allowed the abortion ban to stay in effect were appointed by republican presidents, three of them by donald trump. president biden said the texas law "blatantly violates" the constitutional right to abortion enshrined in roe v. wade. it is the most restrictive anti-choice law in the nation, barring abortions about six weeks into a pregnancy -- before many people even know they're pregnant. there is no exception for rape or incest. the law also allows anyone in texas to sue patients, medical workers, a cabdriver, or even a patient's family or friends who "aid and abet" an abortion. texas clinics say they've had to
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cancel most of their appointments since the law took effect wednesday. providers say at least 85% of abortions they performed are now outlawed. for more, we go back to nancy northup, president and ceo for the center for constitutional rights. nancy, we spoke to you yesterday. welcome back. talk about the significance of what came down, once agai just before midnight last night. >> well, we got the order from the court, which he summarized, which was a 5-4 decision allowing this law in texas to stay in place. we are absolutely devastated. the inaction of the court not stepping into block this and constitutional law means it will be in effect in texas for the foreseeable future. yet the litigation still goes on. unfortunately, the court -- u.s. court of appeals fifth circuit
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deny our request to hear an expedited way the states appeal to that court so we are stuck in this limo. you know what? people in this country, we should not be stuck. you know who could fix this? the united states congress can fix this. the women's health protection act has been introduced in every congress since 2013. and rightow the house of representatives has enough votes to pass it. 48 senators are on it in the senate. it is time to say to congress the court has let us down, you need to step in. the women's health protection act. that is what needs to be on the list of everyone who supports abortion rights in this country because we can fix this. amy: we don't hear nermeen. let me ask a question and we will get hermic going. can you talk about the role of chief justice robts?
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>> it was so important that chief justice to join the three other liberal justices in the dissent. he was clear the status quo should be maintained, that tas ' law should not go into effect while legal issues are being worked out. heid not go as far as the other justicesho talk about how clearly unconstitutional this law is, but he was very clear the right thg to do here is to keep the law from going intoffect while legal goal -- legal battle goes on. nermeen: can you explain what the legal challenges are to the van at the moment and what prospects you think those legal challenges hold? >> absolutely. the law is clearly unconstitutional because every court who has looked at the six week and has stopped it. the supreme court has been clear for more than 50 years what texas did was sneaky.
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as justice sotomayor work but so welcome back in her opinion, they tried to evade court review by deputizing people in the state, basically, antitrust activists, to enforce the ban themselves through suing doctors, suing clinic workers, swing ople who support people who have an abortion by driving them or loaning them money. so that issue is the 1 -- i would say very disingenuously, the majority of his of room said, well, these are complicad legal issues we have to work through. they're not complicated. the law denies women in texas the ability to get an abortion and that was granted in 1973 in case from texas and has been the law ever since. but that is what texas by say we are not enforcing the law, we will give it to individual citizens to be vigilantes, that is what the court is saying is a complicated, unsettled case and
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why they did not issue the injunction. again, as the chief justice said, you keep things in place by looking at those legal issues and while other justices said clearly it is an unconstitutional law. they basically just rewarded texas were doing something sneaky. amy: if you can expect once again, she did yesterday, for those who are not on this law, the significance -- what they did, how they debated the state and who now can sue and who can be sued? close it is frightening. texas that we are not going to enforce the law because they knew it would be struck down in a nanosecond. they said any person can sue an individual who assists a woman are pregnant person having an ortion after six weeks, which is when most of the abortions, 85%, 90% take place in texas.
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they basically said if you drove someone to a clinic in texas, i could sue you, i get a bounty of 0,000, plus you're going to pay my attorneys feeslus even if y drove someone to an abortion and dallas, i can sue you and harass you by suing you in houston and make you appear inourt in houston or el paso or the rio grande valley or wherever i feel like suing you, even though you never stepped foot in those areas. amy: and you have nothing to do with the pregnant person perhaps who was going for an abortion. you come in person, who decides to sue. >> oh, yeah, you don't have to know who they are. you could just be a person who everyday goes outside the clini yelling and screaming and tries to stop women from getting an abortion. at whole women's health,
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their clinic in fort worth on tuesday not when you're providing services up until the deadline, there were anti-choice activists outside the clinic. when it got dark, they were shining their lights into the parking lot. very intimidating behavior. and these are the people who are now in power to harass and sue all over the state of texas. it is absolutely an abomination. provide justices of the supreme court to act like this is business as usual, we have procedural issues, come look, we're not going to decide -- it is as if texas decided to not give women the right to vote but won't enforce it, let individuals say you drove me to the polls or you told her where the polling place was and the supreme court says, "we can't side this issue because maybe yocan or can't do that." it is the same thing, deny on the right to vote. de someone the right to have
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an abortion. they're both constitutionally protected and the supreme court has stood by to do nothing. amy: nancy northup, thank you for being with us. later in the show, we will look at how the taliban treats women and also how the u.s. invasion and forever war affected women's lives in afghanistan. next up, we go to colorado for a major development in the movement for police accountability. three colorado police officers and two paramedics have been criminally charged in the death of 23-year-old elijah mcclain . stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we look now at a major development in the movement for police accountability. in colorado, three police officers and two paramedics have been criminally charged in the death of 23-year-old elijah mcclaithat prompted nationwide protests. elijah mcclain was a young black
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man walking home from a store in the denver suburb of aurora in august 2019. he had bought some ice cream. when someone called 911 to report of someone looking weird, although he was not suspecd of a crime. the three aurora police officers who answered the call tackled mcclain to the ground and placed him in a chokehold as he pleaded for his life. a warning our viers and listeners, this footage is extremy graphi >>y name is elijah mlain. i was just going home.
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i'm so sorry. amy: "i don't eat flies. i don't eat meat. i'm a vegetarian. -- i don't kill flies, he said. you could hear elisha say, "i am an introvert. i am different. i am different. i'm so sorry. i have no gun. i don't do that stuff. i don't do any fighting. why are you taking me?" he said. that is police body camera footage of officers tackling and arresting elijah mcclain as he walked home in august 2019.
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medical responders who arrived then injected mcclain with a large amount of the powerful sedative ketamine -- enough to sedate a large 200-pound man, even though elijah was just 5'6" and 140 pounds. he suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died several days later. weiser speaking wednesday after -- this is colorado attorney general philip weiser speaking wednesday after announcing the charges against those involved in elijah's death. >> the grand jury returned a 32 count indictment against aurora police officers, former aurora police officer, and aurora fire and rescue paramedics. for their alleged conduct on the
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night of august 24, 2019, that resulted in the death of mr. mcclain. amy: the charges, for the local district attorney decided earlier not to file criminal charges citing lack of evidence. but protests and an online petition that gathered more than 5 million signatures prompted -- this all happening after minneapolis, what happened there with the murder of george floyd, those protest prompted the colorado governor jared polis to re-examine the case. this is how elijah mcclain's mother sheneen mcclain responded to news of the 32-count criminal indictment. >> i am thankful. i am grateful they sawhat i saw, that he never should have been stopped. they'd he never should have been brutalized for handcuffed forgiven ketamine.
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i expect prison for my son's murderers and their accomplices because that is exactly what they did. they are accessories to a crime. i don't think it should be anything less than that. they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. amy: we are joined in denver, colorado, by state representative leslie herod, who has spoke with elijah mcclain's mother and played a key role in criminal justice reforms since his tragic dth, incling spearheading a bill to ban police use of ketamine. leslie herod is also the first lgbtq+ african american to hold office in the colorado general assembly. welcome to democracy now! can you start off responding to the indictments? two years after elijah mccla was killed by police and paramedics? >> yes. good morning and thank you for having me. what i would say, one, i echo this mcclain sentiment of being grateful these indictment have
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come down. i think they are a true statement that colorado believes in police accounbility and reform and that we will hold officers and first responders accountable when they harm someone in our communities. but it was sheneen's voice and her work that led to colorado passing the most largest police cut ability l in the country and working on three bills that allowe thisate happ, that called -- insured we could he special invesgations when someone dies at e hands of or at the directionf law enforcement. we banned chokehold's and into qualified immunity. it sheneen and her worwas central to all of that. makeup what are the next steps for the attorney general's office after this 32 count indictment?
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>> the attorney general will take his fight to district court where he will have to plead the case that elijah mcclain was murdered unjustly and that the officers and the first responders used their authority in a way that was deadly. so he will have to prove this case -- it won't be easy. it is important people who are engaged now to continue to b engaged, continue to call for justice because this is just one step. we have not reached justice yet for elijah. amy: it is amazing the progress of these indictments, what this means. after elijah mccin was killed by the police, i mean, he is walking home sort of dancing, wearing headphones, listening to music. a violinist who played violin for cats and dogs at a local animal shelter. as he said, "i'm different. i don't kill flies.
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i am a vegetarian." he kept apologizing saying, "i'm so sorry. i. i can't breathe." after this happened come even local reporters said they did not pay attention to this until george floyd was killed. that is when a mass protest happened. can you talk about that, leslie herod? >> absolutely. colorado, denv specifically, was at the center of the protest, just like many other cities across the country. i remember introducing bill the first day we got back around police accountability. i'm sorry, from the covid session. when we gave our first rally and talked about the police accountability bill, the small, quite woman stepped up from the crowd. i handed her the megaphone. she looked at me and looked at the crowd and said, why were you there for my son?
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why are you here for one who died states way but when i called you for support, people in colorado support for my son, no one showed up? it was interesting because the crowd turned to me and the emcee was like, do you want me ttake the microphone back? i said, no, i want this conversation. i asked her who her son was. when she said elijah mcclain, i knew her voice needed to be center in this conversation. from that moment on, we were in lockstep to pass police accountability, three bills, over the course of the year and a half to make sure what happened to her side never happened again. also raise our profile are met her case in a way that gave us international attention. he put pressure on the governor of colorado to act, to tell the attorney general to act. we put provisions in our bill that specifically related to elijah mcclain's case so we can get complete body camera
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footage, we could prosecute the case. all of these things were related to elisha and the other black and brown men, women, and gendered on binary people in colorado that have been murdered by the police. amy: finally, the response by the colorado police to the protests once they actually happened, after george floyd was killed as you pointed out, then talking about elijah mcclain, one of the most moving scenes was the violent vigil -- violin vigil, people playing violence in his honor. and then beaten by police. how has this change the way the aurora police behave, leslie herod? >> let me tell you one thing we put in our bill was a pattern and practice investigation. the attorney general mentioned this yesterday in his press conference, that they are under investigation by the state because of the bill we passed. and if they don't change their practices, they will be sued by
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the state of colorado. they are under deep investigation, not only for the treatment of elijah mcclain, but the treatment of 70 of colorado citizens and visitors and the harm they cause people at the heads of the aurora pd. the aurora police department quite frankly under previous leadership is a deadly department. if you look at the cases in aurora, they have far more excessive abuse cases that even denver and they are a suburb of denver. quite frankly, they need drastic change. what is happening now is that change is happening. they have a new chief. but there is a lot more work to be done. i will note, because of the police accountability bill, we have been excessive use of force or misconduct as a law-enforcement officer in colorado, you actually lose your post certification. you can never be a law-enforcement officer again in the state. that is happening not only to these officers, but the officers
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that mocked the death of elijah mcclain. there were police officers that mocked his death. those officers are no longer on the fourth, either, and won't be able to be law-enforcement officers under the state of colorado again. so this case has made sweeping changes but i could tell you, it would not have happened if it were not for the protests, specifically sheneen mcclain stepping up and asking colorado and the rest of the country to speak out and they did. initially, she was told that elisha's murder was justified and there was no evidence they could even do a grand jury to bring the debits or do a special investigation. it was not until the protest we were able to make thathange. shis a soldier for continuing to fight and stand up for justice. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, colorado state representative for the eighth district and the first lgbtq+ african american to hold offic in the colorado neral assembly.
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next up, afghanistan. the taliban say women may not be able to hold senior positions in the new government. we will go to kabul to speak to mahbouba seraj. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. as we turn to afghanistan, where the taliban held a parade in the country's second-largest city wednesday to display the american-made military equipment they've seized or that was left behind after the withdrawal of the u.s. troops. pentagon press secretary john kirby responded by claiming the u.s. has deactivated all of the gear u.s. forces abandoned at the airport. meanwhile, general mark milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters wednesday it is possible the united states will coordinate with the taliban in the fight against the islamic state. he declined to say whether the u.s. would collaborate with the new taliban government. >> we don't know what the future
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of the taliban is, but i can tell you from personal experience that this is a ruthless group from the past. and whether they change remains to be seen. amy: the deputy head of the taliban political office in qatar told the bbc women may not wednesday be able to hold senior positions in the new government. >> i cannot say women will be at the top. in every department of the government, you can see almost half the workers were women. so they can come back to their work and continue, but in this new government, and the cabinet, they may not be women. amy: the taliban have also said women can go on to higher education, university, but they
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have to be in separate classrooms front man and type i women or the elderly. -- taught by women or the elderly. for more, we're joined in kabul, afghanistan by mahbouba seraj, who is the president of the afghan women's network and a longtime advocate for women's rights. welcome to democracy now! thank you so much for being with us. you have said it is a relief the u.s. military is gone. can you talk about what is happening in the streets right now and what has happened women over these last 20 years, for the united states, the longest war in history? >> thank y most of first of all, going to the part of your question that i said it is a relief thathe united states left because especially if you are in afghanistan in the past two years and then when they started making the deals with the taliban as far as the peace agreement was concerned, and then in the specifically the
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last two months of it, with the way -- you know, because the way the united states made this agreement with the taliban that we are going to -- as long as you got hurt any americans, you can go right ahead. although, they were helping the military of afghanistan from the air. but the rest of it was like they were just spectators and the war was going on. the last two months, the situation got a lot worse. the soldiers of afghanistan were dying left and right. i mean, everybody was. it was such a disaster. and then there are all of these -- kabul kabul all over and there was dancing and it was chaotic. when they left, i said, think i this is over because it was very
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hard on all of us. it was very hard specifically because of the deal that was made that we never knew how it was, why it was made like that. because the united states had an agreement with afghanistan to be with us until 2024. and then they didn't. it was very disappointing and it was extremely upsetting. for me. nermeen: you have also said that what is happening in afghanistan now could set the country back 200 years. could you explain what you mean by that? >> the thing is, afghanistan in the past 20 years when u.s. and the world was in afghanistan, the attention, more than anything else, purposefully and deliberately and for all the
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good intention, was given to the men of ahanistan. the women of afghanistan actually advanced trendously during this time. the education of women, from the health point of view, from the point of view from mother and child that increased so much. from the women taking place in the government and having a high position. from the parliament of afghanistan, which 30% were women. all of these were achievements for the women of afghanistan. the way the taliban have started with the afghan women, especially with education -- you see, the same wordshat are being said right now as an excuse for the children, for example, for the older girls to not to school, excuses given at the university -- we don't have
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enough teachers to teach at the university. all of this was said years before in 2004 and 2005 when the taliban were here in afghanistan. it is a repeat of the same thing, honestly. that was very disheartening. that is why if it continues like this, it is just anotherxcuse afghanisn will go back. the population of afghanistan, half of it right now are women. the same way or that 50% of the world 52% o the world a women. youannot say they don't exist. the advancement of the country, for the economy, for the work of every single one of t ministries, for the whole machinery of the government to
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turn, afghan women are neither. if they're not going to be there, who is going to do the job? who will be taking their place? that is why i'm saying it will go back if they are not allowed to take their full part and participate in making afghanistan a better place for everybody to live. nermeen: could you talk about -- respond to those that state in fact it was really only in urban areas the situation for women, minorities, journalists, the etc. improved, whereas in rural areas, there wasn't so much improvement in the last 20 years and the war was much more visible there? could you respond to that and explain what you know of the differences between rural areas and urban areas here, of course, the focus is principally, if not exclusively, on kabul? >> yeah stop well, you know, to a point, that was the truth. the reason for being -- i will
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explain. the reason for being [indiscernible] everything was concentrated in kabul. but this also throughout the years change. other big cities, they all started taking apart. then the situation really changed. women started taking their place even in all of the provinces of afghanistan. ice more than before. of course, never as much as -- that was the truth. i believe when it comes to the question of development, that is the truth anywhere in the world because it takes a long time for the whole system to be adjusted and to be planned so that
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everybody a two z in a takes advantage of it. nothing done purposefully, nothing done keep the women of the provinces of afghanistan in the dark, but that is how it has happened and it took a while. if we go back to the situation, it is going to be a lot worse because the provinces, you know, they're all going to be completely forgotten. it will make it a lot more difficult. so that is where we are right now. amy: president of the afghan women's network, mahbouba seraj. we also want to bring in rafia zakaria, author and columnist who has written a new book called "against white feminism: notes on disruption" and several other books. welcome to democracy now!
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you've called u.s. war in afghanistan the first feminist work. if you can go back in time and elaborate. take us through it. >> first of all, thank you. it is a pleasure to speak with you and be on democracy now! story of this war, which i call the first feminist war, begins obviously in the years before 9/11 happened when feminist organization called feminist majorityas running a campaign to end gender apartheid in afghanistan. and toward the end of the 1990's, this campaign really gained traction because -- she attracted a lot of celebrities like meryl streep the cause.
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we 9/11 happened, the u.s. wa looking -- in a lot of cases, revenge, but also for an argument that would justify the vision of afghanistan given that none of the 9/11 hijackers were actually from afghanistan. so they kind of latched onto this program that was already part of the feminist majority. in the leaders of theeminist majority actuay consuld with the state department and with the white house before the invasion was announced. they were present when colin powell made the announcement for the invasion. and the rean i call it a feminist war, the first feminist war, is because until then, u.s. feminists at least had function as a checkn the state.
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they were against war. they were against unjust invasions and interventions. but when this happened, you know, the large feminist organizations and prominent feminists including gloria steinem, supported the incursion into afghanistan saying this was established democracy, which ultimately would be good for women's rigs. and that is what they did. they essentially allied with the u.s. strategic interests in afghanistan and allowed for feminism to be used essentially as a cover story for what was a strategic intervention based on u.s. national interest. so the consequence, of coue, is what we see today, we heard our previous guest speak about, feminism has been delegitimized in afghanistan because it is
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associated with an occupying force. and i would say the recent afghan women setback 200 years is because of that, is because this sort of misuse of feminism, largely led by white d western women who wanted to sort of modify afghanistan in their own image in ways which they saw test, has completely failed. and now afghan women are left to pick up the pieces and deal with the taliban and, hofully -- i mean, i don't argue with the fa that changes haven't happened for women. the part i really get upset about is, you know, all those changes took place because of
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this fragile aid economy that the united states created. that is -- put a lot of money into an economy and creating this sort of an geo-level workforce of afghan that caters to the western presence. now that the u.s. -- house of cards has collapsed. all of those people that were serving ngos or various government arms of u.s. are essentially -- i mean, they don't have jobs. the vast majority of them are not going to be able to leave. i pinned this to white feminism because they absolutely refused -- because as you have been showing on your program, there were people saying this for over a decade. well, for me, two decades.
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there was -- even up to 2011, 2012, there was no room at all within the american public sphere, democrat or republican, to say that this is actually hurting afghans. nermeen: mahbouba seraj, could i ask you to respond to what rafia zakaria has said, the way in which women were used as a pretext for the u.s. invasion and the fact that the advances that have been made in afghanistan for women he largely been as a result of the foreign aid economy? could you respond to that? >> i mean, i believe rafia is being a little unfair. i know it did happen in afghanistan, no doubt about it. but at the same time, it did not
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only as a result of it stop it is not like that. the women of afghanistan, first of all from the point of view from education alone, there are so many more girls right now that have gone to school and graduated from schools and they are ready to take their lives and keep on going. there are so many the same way teachers and doctors and nurses and engineers. these are all because the universities were open, because men were allowed to go to a part of their higher education -- not necessarily to the u.s. or europe and other countries in asia to go and complete their education. so that whole thing really, really changed, was changing. and we would be given a little mo of a chance, sure this would have taken root in afghanistan and what have become
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the majority that we needed in order to really bring about a change in the whole life of afghan women. i know did not happen that way because it was cut short. but at the same time, the taking apart of what she is saying in her beliefs. to me, also, it is when you show me as an afghan and i hope to all of my sisters that they are here in afghanistan or the ones outside for us to see what we're going to do from here on. you see, afghanistan, educated women and so far -- not all of them left afghanistan. not all of them can leave afghanistan. so there is going to be the second category of people that they are educated, that hopefully, education is
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something will fight for and continue. he will be interesting to see what will be happening without the push of the west and the won in the money of the ngos and all of that. amy: i want to go to this past july when the former republican president george w. bush, responsible for the u.s. invasion of afghanistan, responded with a rare criticism of u.s. policy and afghanistan today during an interview with the german news outlet deutsche welle. >> i'm afraid afghan women and girls will suffer unspeakable harm. i am sad. laura and i spent a lot of time with afghan women and they are scared. amy: here he refers to first lady laura bush. in november 2001, right after the invasion, laura bush delivered the president's weekly radio address. the first time the first lady took over the president's weekly radio address. an excerpt. this isan excerpt.
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>> i am laura bush and i'm delivering this address to kick off a worldwide effort to focus on the brutality against women and children by the al qaeda terrorist network and regime's support in afghanistan, the taliban. amy: it was not just the first lady. of course, republican. in october 2001, democratic congas member carolyn maloney of new york were a burqa during a 2001 speech to congress on women's rights. >> anyone who is familiar prior to september 11 with how the taliban treat women should have recognized the taliban are capable of doing just about anything. the taliban have controlled 90% of afghanistan since 1996 when they unilaterally declared an end to women's basic human rights. the restrictions on women's freedoms in afghanistan are unfathomable to most americans.
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women are banished from working. girls are not allowed to attend school. amy: so that was carolyn maloney on the floor of the house wearing a full burqa, her face covered as well. rafia zakaria, you document this. if you can talk about the significance of how this was used immediately as much or more than going after osama bin laden and a justification of u.s. invasion and then what is happening as mahbouba seraj says, looking at today, what has to happen. >> first of all, i would like to respond somethinmahbouba seraj said that this kind of thing, education "wl take root" in afghanistan. i think that is the problem of the approach, that it is a top-down trickle-down approach which was devised by white, middle-class western feminists and then kind of delivered to
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afghanistan rather than indigenous feminism and afghanistan. i think the failure is that, ye afghan women might be educated but they don't have the political capacity to safeguard the rights they have one in the past 20 days. and that is the reason for that is this idea of empowerment as something excised from political, radical struggle. women and afghanistan were never able to do that in the past 20 years. amy: we have 20 seconds. >> net terms of the burqa, those are the theatrics of the west. it is this wearable equation that if you are wearing the burqa, you are oppressed. if you subtly take it off, you are free. it is truly tragic to see that repeated again 20 years after
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the initial invasion and as the u.s. draws down. the burqa is not an indicator -- amy: we have to leave it there. thank you for being with us, rafia zakaria's new book is called "against white feminism: notes on disruption." thank you to mahbouba seraj
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