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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 21, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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♪ ♪ amy: from new york this is democracy now... >> the investments i and talking about will create an average of 2 million additional jobs per year. good paying jobs. it is transformative. [laughter] amy: as president biden visits his hometown of scranton, pennsylvania, key parts of his domestic agenda are in jeopardy. from critical climate
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initiatives to voting rights due to opposition from two senate democrats, kyrsten sinema and joe manchin who are pushing to scale down what was a $3.5 trillion spending bill. we will speak to congressmember ilhan omar. then to egypt to look at the case of alaa abdel fattah who spent much of the decade locked up after playing a prominent role in the peaceful egyptian revolution of 2011. >> not out of desperation, but out of a clear sense that it is possible. amy: a new book has been released titled, "you have not yet been defeated." we will go to cairo to speak to
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alaa's mother. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. all 50 republican senators voted to block debate on a voter rights bill that will rain in suppression laws passed by republican led legislatures. it is that third time senate republicans have used the threat of a filibuster to block voting rights legislation. the freedom to vote act was already a compromise that scaled-back voter protections under the for the people act after conservative democratic senator joe manchin said he would oppose that bill. the latest move by a republican to stonewall voting rights renewed calls to abolish the filibuster. senator manchin wednesday dismissed a report published by mother jones that claimed the west virginia and was considering dropping out of the democratic party, calling the report b.s.
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on wednesday, the white house signaled president biden was removing many of his top legislative priorities from the build back better act and would offer a massively slimmed down bill amidst opposition from republicans and democratic senators joe manchin and kyrsten sinema. president biden touted his plan during a trip to scranton, pennsylvania on wednesday. pres. biden: i think we will get a deal. amy: we will have me on the fight over voting rights and the build back better act after headlines with congressmember ilhan omar of minnesota. the food and drug administration wednesday granted emergency use authorization to booster shots of moderna and johnson & johnson covid vaccines. the fda also approved a mix and match strategy for people to get a booster shot that wasn't in their primary series. meanwhile, the white house on
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wednesday laid out its plan to vaccinate millions of children between 5 and 11 years old, once the pfizer-biontech vaccine is approved for emergency use in younger children. white house coronavirus response coordinator jeff zients said the biden administration is ready to move quickly to distribute smaller doses to children in pediatricians offices. >> we have more than enough vaccine for every child aged five to 11. that is 28 million total. as soon as the vaccine is authorized by the fda. amy: the white house anticipates younger children could receive their first shots of pfizer's covid-19 vaccine in early november. here in new york, mayor bill de blasio said wednesday that nearly all municipal workers must get vaccinated against covid-19 by the end of the month. new york city's police and firefighter unions promised legal action to stop the vaccine mandate. this comes after a viral video
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showed a pair of new york police officers forcibly ejecting a subway rider from a station after he asked the officers to comply with a city ordinance requiring them to wear masks. nypd's commissioner on wednesday called the incident "absolutely inexcusable" and said the two officers would be disciplined. in chicago, a judge has rejected a bid by the fraternal order of police to temporarily halt chicago's vaccine mandate. the same judge has ordered union president john catanzara to stop talking about the mandate on social media, after he urged officers to define chicago's vaccination rules. >> do not fill out important information. yo are under no obligation to do that other than the city's demand. i have made my status clear, but i do not believe the city has the authority to mandate that to anybody, let alone information
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about your medical history. amy: in august, officer catanzara came under fire for comparing chicago's vaccine mandate to the actions of nazi germany. on capitol hill, the senate foreign relations committee held a confirmation hearing wednesday for rahm emanuel, president biden's nominee to become the next u.s. ambassador to japan. emanuel served as president obama's chief of staff and was mayor of chicago during the police killing of laquan mcdonald, a 17-year-old african american who was murdered by white police officer jason van dyke in 2014. rahm emanuel's nomination drew fire from progressives. missouri congresswoman cori bush tweeted, "in case you're wondering how much the senate values black lives: they're holding the confirmation hearing for rahm emanuel on the 7-year-anniversary of the police's murder of laquan mcdonald. a murder that he helped cover up as mayor. a disgusting disregard for black lives."
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during wednesday's hearing, emanuel stopped short of an apology but said he was regretful over mcdonald's murder. >> i said then i am the mayor and i am responsible and accountable for fixing this so this never happens again. to be honest, there is not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years i have not thought about this and thought about the what if's and the changes and what could have been. amy: in syria, at least 11 people were killed in a shelling by the syrian army in idlib's rebel-held city of ariha. four children and a teacher were reported among the victims. the shelling followed a roadside bomb attack inamascus, which killed at least 14 military members, according to state tv. amid the ongoing conflict, human rights watch is urging countries not to return refugees to the war-torn nation due to ongoing human rights abuses by the syrian government. this is hrw researcher sara kayyali.
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>> people who are stopped at checkpoints or kidnapped from their homes or subjected to extensive torture, even alleged sexual violence in detention facilities only for returning to syria. the stories we heard really show how the issue of security, the issue of arbitrary detention, and the issue of torture are still front and center. amy: the ethiopian government launched two air strikes in tigray on wednesday. multiple civilians were treated for injuries. the strikes were not the first to hit the northern region this week as the conflict stretches toward one full year. thousands have been killed and more than two million displaced amidst a mounting humanitarian crisis. a federal court has ruled the detainment of a guantanamo bay prisoner's unlawful a week after he was cleared for release by 6
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the court granted asadullah haroon's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. he is is the first guantanamo bay prisoner in ten years to win such a case. asadullah is represented by the group reprieve, which says he has suffered severe physical and mental torture during his 14 year behind bars without charge for trial. one of his lawyers said, "this is a landmark ruling. for 20 years, successive u.s. administrations have asserted their right to imprison people indefinitely, without charge or trial. guantanamo was built on the shakiest of legal foundations." in nigeria, demonstrators took to the streets to mark one year since 2020's is storage and deadly protest against police brutality. the marched past -- the march passed over the highway.
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12 protesters were killed that night. this is civil rights activist yemi adamolekun speaking on wednesday. >> nothing is happening. all we want is justice. the police cannot continue to kill the citizens. it can never be ok. that is all we are asking. amy: back in the united states, republican congressman jeff fortenberry of nebraska stepped down from his house committee assignments wednesday, one day after a federal grand jury in california indicted him for lying to fbi agents who were investigating alleged illegal contributions to his 2016 campaign. fortenberry pleaded not guilty to the charges during an arraignment wednesday and was released on $50,000 bond. and in los angeles, protesters gathered in front of the netflix headquarters, as a group of employees from the streaming giant staged a walkout wednesday
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amidst the ongoing controversy over comedian dave chappelle's new special, "the closer", which features anti-trans jokes. in the show, chapelle likens being trans to blackface and jokes about killing a woman. trans employees issued a list of demands to netflix, including the recruitment of more trans workers into leadership roles, the creation of a fund to develop trans and nonbinary talent, and the addition of disclaimers before transphobic and other hateful content. this is television personality david huggard, also known as eureka. >> people are not getting visibility or respect in the entertainment industry to begin with and to have something like this special not be noted in promoting discrimination and hate conversation is very hurtful to the activism and the cause we are trying to progress ourselves in the industry. amy: and those are some of the headlines.
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this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. joined by cohost nermeen shaikh. nermeen: welcome to our viewers across the country and around the world. amy: we begin by looking at how key elements of president biden's domestic agenda are in jeopardy. on wednesday, senate republicans blocked passage of the freedom to vote act. not a single republican support of the bill. senate democrats could pass the sweeping legislation, but only if they voted to end the filibuster. two conservative democrats, senators joe manchin of west virginia and kyrsten sinema of arizona, oppose doing so. manchin and sinema have also forced president biden to radically scale back the build back better act, which began as a proposed $3.5 trillion spending bill over 10 years to vastly expand the social safety net and combat the climate crisis.
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biden has reportedly lowered the topline price tag on the package to $1.75 trillion, half of the original bill. manchin wants the bill to be even smaller, pushing for $1.5 trillion over 10 years. initiatives that could be dropped include free community college, extended paid family leave, and an initiative to lower prescription drug prices. manchin has also demanded democrats strip out funding for the clean electricity performance program - a critical climate initiative to replace coal and gas-fired power plants with renewable energy sources. democrats are also moving away from proposals to increase the tax rate on the rich and corporations. on wednesday, mother jones magazine reported manchin has been privately telling associates that he is considering leaving the democratic party and declaring himself an "american independent" if he doesn't get his way in slashing the size of
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the build back better act. mansion rejected the report. we go now to washington where we are joined by congressmember ilhan om of minnesota who has been a vocal critic of senator manchin's efforts to obstruct passage of both the build back better act and the freedom to vote act. after the voting rights bill failed in the senate wednesday, congressmember omar tweeted, "the filibuster and the democratic senators who are continuing to uphold it are killing our democracy." congressmember ilhan omar, welcome back to democracy now. if we are talking about president joe biden or president joe manchin, he is one senator that holds so much power out of those $3.5 trillion spending bill talking about scaling it back to $1.7 trillion. that is only a bit over the $1.5
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trillion that this one senator has demanded. can you talk about the significance of his power and also how it is related to him being the number one recipient of oil, gas, and coal money in the u.s. senate? rep. omar: thank you so much for having me. i think it is really important for people to uerand just the level of obstruction that this one senator is causing to the agenda of the president and everything we are trying to accomplish as democrats on behalf of the american people. for so long, people have said washington is corrupt. they are not watching out for the interests of the people and what is playing out right now with these senators really is giving people a front-row seat
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to whathey have always talked about and we have to get past this we have to be able to bring these senators on board. we have to be able to accomplish this agenda because truly, what is on the line? it is investment in childcare, investment in expanding paid family leave, an agenda to try to get vision dental and hearing paid for for niors. it is trying to address the climate crisis so that there is something for the future generation. it is trying to do everything that we can so that people in our communities can feel the impact of their government. as you said, all democrats are essentially on board, exceptor these two who are essentially doing the bidding of big pharma, big oil, and wall street.
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nermeen: how do you think that these senators, you said it is essential to bring them on board. what can democrats do to persuade them to get on board? rep. omar: we have to continue talking. this agenda is too big to fail. we have made these promises to the american people for a really long time. investment in childcare, paid family leave in home and community-based care, these are things that are not just going to help particular communities, but it will help all communities across this country. if we do not continue to have this conversation to move them along so that we can get it done, then we will not only failed to get our agenda done, but we would have failed the american people. amy: congressmember omar, i
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wanted to continue on this issue of senator manchin's power by talking about his business holdings. "the intercept" recently published a report headlined "joe manchin's dirty empire." the senator says his ownership is held in a blind trust. between the time he joined the senate and today, he has personally grossed more than $4.5 million from those firms according to financial disclosures. he also owed stock options in the larger of the two firms valued between $1 million and $5 million. maybe this is not a matter of ideology, but also -- straightforward the amount of money that he spends to make --
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stands to maker lose based on this build back better act. he has demanded the stripping out of the section on renewable energy. can you talk about this and if this is raised in dealing with him and what it would mean if he did leave the democratic party or do you think it is an empty threat? rep. omar: i think it is important for these connections to be made and certainly for his constituents to recognize this. we have a representative democracy where we elect someone to represent your interests, not the ierests of corporations and not their own interests. this sounds like legalized corruption and if it were happening anywhere else in the world, we would be appalled by it. but the fact that it continues to happen to so many others, begs the question how are we
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able to continue to have the kind of democracy that we n be proud of and talk about transparency, accountability, and anticorruption in other parts of the world when we allow it to happen in our own country? the devastation economically that is visible in west virginia when you talk about all kinds of measures, it is the bottom of the 50 states, almost always. and to have a senator that is not focusing on creating the kind of investments that will uplift the communities that he represents is something that we need to seriously address. amy: let's talk about what is in the act and what is not in the act and what are lines in the sand. you have cutting free community
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college for two years, cutting the clean electricity performance program, reducing paid family leave. now at the federal level, there isn't paid family leave but it would go from 12 weeks to four weeks. child tax credit, funding for home care. can you talk about those that are now threatened, but also what remains, like universal pre-k, like medicare expansion, etc., and what you think is significant and how much power the progressive caucus has. you are the largest caucus in congress. rep. omar: i will say it is not done until it is done. nothing has been agreed to by all parties. i cannot really say what is in and what is out at the moment. we are obviously still negotiating. we are still having these
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conversations. some of the things that you mentioned would be some redlines for some of our members within the progressive caucus and they have raised those concerns. we are still at the drawing board and trying to finalize a deal that can get the support of the progressive caucus and can have the support of these senators so that we are able to actually pass this piece of legislation. what we are arguing for is that four principles should be used by congress and the final package. we want to make sure that there are transformative invesents, that whatever piece of legislation we end up voting on touches people's lives immediately, that they provide universal benefits, and that
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they keep the president's commitment to racial equity. whether we end up cutting the duration of the investment or not, we will see. rit now, things are still up in the air and conversations are still taking place. i would not say this is out, this is in just yet. nermeen: we would like to move onto t freedom to vote act. on wednesday, senate republica blocked debate on the freedom to vote act and you tweeted, "the filibuster and the democratic senators who continue to uphold it are killing our democracy." can you elaborate on what you said? rep. omar: yeah. we know that our democracy is under threat and if we do not address the kind of challenges
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that are opposed to our democracy with legislation, we are going to fail our democracy and we are seeing democrats in the senate not understand that urgency. we have these two senators that are beholden more to the filibuster that is senate procedure and not codified in our constitution, that are willing to uphold that and not uphold the resiliency and health of our democracy so that it can continue to flourish. rmeen: another issue on which you have been vocal has to do with the increasing ports of what is being called modern day slavery in libya. the widespread abuse of migrants
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in detention centers. you wrote in a press statement, "the u.s. needs a comprehensive strategy to address the ongoing human trafficking and modern-day slavery crisis in libya". could you talk about what you know of what is happening and what strategy you are proposing the u.s. pursuit? -- pursue? rep. omar: thank you for that question. what is happening in libya is truly heartbreaking. as someone who comes from one of the countries in africa where people are being enslaved in libya, i and so many others have personally been touched. we know family members. we know friends. we know people who are personally impacted in libya. we have seen routine reports of abuse, torture, sexual violence,
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extortion of migrants in libya from sub-saharan african countries. it is really painful that it is not getting the attention and response that it needs. instead of welcoming thousands of refugees fleeing violent instability, the libyan coast guard hands migrants over to militias who systematically torture, rape, abuse, and enslave them. the european union is making it worse by turning away migrants and instead, arming these same militias that are committing these abuses. the united states has a strategy to engage and addresthis ongoing human trafficking crisis and this modern-day stay very -- modern-day slavery. i have met with representatives
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from united nations orgs dealing with this situation and what they are asking for is for the united states to step up, for us to help create a strategy and for us to have a conversation with the european union. what is taking place in libya is a human rights crisis. it is a human tragedy. it is not something that we should allow to happen today. it is something that needs the attention of the united states and other countries as well. amy: two questions. one about vaccine equity in the world, as you heard in our headlines, the fda is quickly approving vaccines for children and also boosters to people as young as 40 years old.
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can you talk about the issue of vaccine availability in the world while the western nations are massively vaccinating their populations. in some places, particularly africa, we are looking at one -- 1% and 2% and 5% of the population vaccinated. not because of choice, but because they do not have access. while president biden has supported the waiver of the wto, it is a question of extending political capital to force other countries like germany and britain where the pharmaceutical companies are based that are making billions do the same. can you talk about what has to be don rep. omar: you are right. we do have to spend political capital on this. this is a catastrophe.
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vaccine apartheid is real. there are so many people across the world who are celebrating 5%, 10%, 20% vaccination. not doing their part and providing not just overall vaccination, but even boosters, which is happening here in the united states and which will expand. booster shots will not just be available for those who are at risk and older than 40. we are going to provide it to everyone soon and we are even providing vaccinations to young children now when so many people around the world cannot even vaccinate their most vulnerable
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members of their communities. yes, it is the right thing for the united states to spend political capital, to say let's come together as the world and address this pandemic that has been recognized -that does not recognize boundaries and does not recognize that someone is wealthy and someone is poor. as you know, i lost my father to covid-19 there are so many people who have been tragically touched by this pandemic and we are now at a moment where we can help those within our borders and extend that aid to others in different countries. amy: and our deep condolences again on the loss of your father. do you think the u.s. should be requiring moderna to release its
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recipe given how heavily subsidized, publicly subsidized their research was? rep. omar: yes. i have said that from the start. at this moment, it is going to take a long time for that recipe to be utilized in -- and a lot of these countries do not have those resources. what we are asking for is for the excess amount that exists in the wealthiest countries, including the united states, to be donated and for that transfer to happen in an urgent matter to every corner of the world. amy: finally, you are calling on president biden to intervene in the construction of the enbridge line 3 pipeline in northern minnesota and to protect indigenous sovereignty and the environment.
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last week, over 600 people overwhelmingly indigenous were arrested in washington, d.c. in this american-led climate protest. you also have the guardian newspaper revealing that enbridge paid minnesota police $2.4 million in reimbursements, all costs tied to the arrests and surveillance of hundreds of water protectors. can you talk about this and what needs to happen now? rep. omar: the president has to intervene. i have called on the president to intervene, to stop this pipeline. just yesterday, the president addressed waters and talked about tribal sovereignty and treaty rights. it was astonishing to hear these statements coming in regard to the wilderness and the boundary
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waters when we are not using a similar statement in regard to pipeline three and what it means for the -- for northern minnesota and our indigenous brhers and sisters and what it means for their political sovereignty, what it means for the treaty rights which are preme laws in this lamb -- in this land and what it means for their livelihood, what it means in regard to their wildlife. the communities in minnesota say it is their culture, that they were told to go where food grows on water and wild rice is their life. it is their culture. it is their tradition. it is basically their existence and we do not have this president addressing the urgency of stopping this pipeline that
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will essentially destroy their land and ultimately pollute everybody who has access to the mississippi. amy: congressmember ilhan omar, we want to thank you for being with us, representing the fifth congressional district. her memoir is titled, "this is what america looks like." you can go to he is the guantanamo prisoner, the first in 10 years to win a habeas corpus argument. next, we look at virginia
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senator joe manchin's dirty empire. stay with us.
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"johnny sunshine." we turn now to look at "joe manchin's dirty empire." reporter daniel examines how manchin profited from a series of coal companies. senator manchin continues to earn millions from the firms. he is now demanding democrats strip funding for the clean electricity performance program, a critical climate initiative to replace: gas-fired plants. investigative journalist daniel boguslaw joins us now from portland, oregon. layout for us, on the one hand you have senator manchin, the largest recipient of oil, gas, coal money in the senate. but what is not talked as much
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about is that he is making millions off of his own companies in west virginia, even if somof that money is in a blind trust. layout the empire. daniel: thank you for having the. -- thank you for having me. in the late 1980's, he started coal brokerage firm. he was a middlan between suppliers and buyers. from that time, he built out the empire, brokering coal between all of these plants. today, that is largely focused on the grant town powerplant, which at one point had became the main supplier of. the biggest issue to understand heres the way that that impacts the air, the soil, and the water in west virginia. the way thathe call that he is
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supplying inns o impacting the environment -- ends up impacting the environmenin a number of ways. nermn: utah in the piece about how during the obama administration -- you talk in the piece about how during the obama administration, manchin was one of the largest voices opposing. subsequently, he reversed his position under the trump administration. could yoexplaiwhat happened? daniel: respectively, these rules were seeking to limit imposed regulations on the way coal, fire plants could release mercury. this would work great -- but create a requirement to use
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expensive technology and sthe industry was opposed to anything that could cut into their profits. once the technology was already installed, suppliers were able to increase their rates which are passed on to consumers. during the trump years when parts of the industry were looking at that overturning by these regulations, companies had already incorporated the cost into their grades. removing them could have also forced them to lower the rates they were being charged, having already suffered a loss from installing this technology. manchin went from decrying the regulation of these extremely dangerous production facilitie to turning around and saying that mercury is a stream we dangerous for children -- extremely dangerous for children , a complete 180.
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amy: can you talk about the extent to which he and his family, his brothers, his son have profited so enormously to this day to continuation of the coal industry, even though he recognizes it as a dying industry? daniel: what you are seeing is prioritizing a dying industry that he is making millions of dollars off of. on the table, in biden' package , we are seeing all of these incentes to completely modernize that industry, to invest in cln energy technology. unfounately, that is not manchin's business. his business is coal. amy: we will continue to look at this issue. investigative reporter well linked to "joe manchin's dirty
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empire." next, we go to egypt to look at the case of alaa abdel fattah who spent much of the past decade locked up. stay with us.
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amy: this is "democracy now!" we turn now to egypt. the book had him -- the biden administration said it would withhold about 10% of annual -- mounting concerns over human rights abuses by egyptian president abdel fattah al-sisi's government will lead the u.s. to withhold about 10% of annual military aid. this means nearly $1.2 billion in military assistance will continue to flow to egypt, even as a new report by human rights watch finds egyptian interior ministry forces have killed perhaps hundreds of secretly held dissidents in extrajudicial executions in recent years. it is estimated egypt holds about 60,000 political prisoners.
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this comes as prominent egyptian activist and blogger alaa abdel-fattah appeared before the emergency state security court in cairo monday to face charges of spreading "false news" on social media, and belonging to terrorist groups. he's charged along with his lawyer mohamed el-baqer, and another blogger mohamed ibrahim, known as "mohamed oxygen." abdel-fattah was imprisoned since his arrest in september 2019 following a rare protest over revelations that sisi used public funds to buy for lavish palaces for himself. on monday, abdel-fattah's trial was adjourned until november 1st, meaning he will be held even longer, after two years of pre-trial detention. his 2019 arrest came just six months after he was released from prison after serving a five-year term for his role in
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the peaceful egyptian revolution in 2011. we want to turn to 2011 after he was first arrested, then briefly released before being imprisoned again. >> i am optimistic about our chances, but it is very difficult to predict when we are going to make more winds. it will be a lengthy process. the price is going to be very high. the recent crackdowns that happened in the past few weeks, there is a sense that they are targeting deeper, that the killings are not random, that they are picking who do kill. i think the whole world has seen how they have tried to use sexual violence specifically against women and in public to strike some fear into us.
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what comes next might be even tougher and even more difficult. but i do not think that this revolution is going to end without completely renegotiating the order of power in egypt. amy: that was alaa abdel fattah speaking to "democracy now!" in 2011 before he was sent back to prison. this week, a collection of his prison writings was released titled, "you have not yet been defeated." for more, we are going to egypt where we're are joined by a correspondent reporter based in cairo. and by alaa abdel fattah's mother. we welcome you both to democracynow.
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professor, let's begin with you. when did you last see your son. talk about what happened in court on monday and the significance of why he is in prison, his writings being released. prof. soueif: on monday in court , basically we had a chance to see him. he has a chance to talk to the judge about the conditions of incarceration. he is in jail on pretrial demand for more than three years. two years he has not been allowed anything to read. not even an official newspaper. he is locked in his cell without
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any means of passing the time and he only gets out of his cell for a family visit, which, because of corona, our only once a month. is he hath -- if he has a hearing, a distinct prosecutor will take them to court. he talks about that and the fact that the persecution is claiming that he made false claims about someone who died in jail in the same prison where alaa is and he accused the same officers who now have power over him. he says it is completely irresponsible of the persecution to put him in this position. the judge listened.
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he also listened to mohamed, who said that they had not been spreading false news. then he remanded them in custody until followed -- until the first of november and he only allowed the lawyers to look at the files. he did not give permission for the lawyers to photocopy the files. amy: professor laila soueif has frozen for a minute. her video is skyped, but she is back. nermeen: professor, could you talk about, you mentioned that now because of covid restrictns, alaa is only able
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to have one visit per month, which is apparently only 20 minutes long. can you explain the conditions under which those visits are held and the significance of him being held at this present? prof. soueif: alaa is held in a high security prison in te hran. the only prison that is worse is high-security one where they do not allow them anything at all. high-security two is just a little bit better in that they are allowed visits, but our visits are in a class cabin -- glass cabin and he talks to us through a mouthpiece and everything we say to each other is recorded.
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i cannot hug him. i cannot touch him. the visit is now once a month for 20 minutes for one family member only. before covid infections, we got one hour every week. anyone who lives in egypt knows there are restrictions. i have been teaching at the university. the elections are no longer online. there are no more restrictions on anything except the prison. you can draw your own conclusions from that. rmeen: if you could talk about the broader context in which alaa's arrest and imprisonment is taking place.
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as we mentioned in our introduction, 60,000 political prisoners in egypt. could you talk about the way in which these people are being detained, the fact that they all seem to be, or many of them seem to be accused of the same thing, spreading false rumors, being involved with terrorist groups, etc.? >> the vast majority of political prisoners are not convicted of a crime. they are being held in pretrial detention. we have heard about mohamed el-bager and so many others. all of these people e being held in pretrial detention, which gets renewed every 15 days or 45 days. often what happens after the legal two year limit, people who cross that under the former
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presidential candidate, they just launch a new case against you. it restarts the clock and you reenter this labyrinth of pretrial detention for another two years. almost everyone is charged with these two identical charges, which is publishing false news or belging to an outside gro or terrorist organization. we have seen hundreds upon thousands of people being held in this way. with what happened on monday, there are two year limit expired in late september. they are being held. we found out just last week, that they were being, they had been transferred to trial in this emergency security court,
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which this court's ruling cannot be appealed. atever sentence is handed down, the only way to challenge them legally, there has to be amnesty by the president or something like that. this comes in a larger context of a crackdown on any and all voices who speak out and we have seen a crackdown on the media, a crackdown on doctors who speak out against how the government is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, and much more. i have to say also that in the last few months, alaa has been experiencing increasingly harsh conditions. they hav emptied the cells around him to isolate him. when he is transferred to y judicial proceeding, he has not taken with other prisoners in the regular trends in her -- regular prisoner transport truck. they take him alone this will have a very deep effect on him. he is slipping into despair.
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his sister who has the last visits with him for the court trial on monday, she asked him about his physical health because she saw that his hands were pale and shaking and he apparently exploded at her and said, stop being concerned with my physical health just like th. i am physically well. i eat, i sleep, and i do the same thing every day. as long as i have nothing for my mind, nothing that works here, i will not survive this place. he said, i wish that i were not well. i wish something would happen to my body so that i would die and put an end to all of this. this is a spare -- this is the despair alaa is being driven to. they are trying to destroy him. amy: at the same time, you have this incredible collection of essays, prison writings, interviews, writings called "you
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have not yet been defeated. naomi climb wrote a beautiful forward that begins, "the text you are holding his living history. could you read a bit since alaa is imprisoned from his own work? sharif: this is a piece titled "a portraitf an activist." it was written in march 2017 and published in later months. "it is over. we have been defeated and meaning has been defeated with us. just as we were in every step affected by the world and affecting it, so was our wider war on meaning, a war on the crime for people searching for a public sphere where they might find intimacy, exchange,
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communication, even quarrels that allow a common understanding of reality and multiple dreams of alternative worlds. i am imprisoned because the regime wants to make an example of us. so let us be an example of our own choosing. the war on meaning is not yet over and the rest of the world. let us be an example, not a warning. let's communicate to the world again, not toend stresssignals n two draw lessons, summarize experiences, and even observations. may it help those struggling in the post-truth era. siding with a stronger party is not useful. the powerful need nothing from you. the weak often cause as much trouble as they suffered. their arguments are often as brittle as their positions in society and there are diminishing chances of survival. taking their side, even as an
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experiment, stimulates deep reflections, investigation, analysis, and imagination. we were and then we were defeated and meaning was defeated with us, but we have not perished and meaning has not been killed. perhaps our defeat was inevitable. but the current chaos that is sweeping the world will sooner or later give birth to a new world, a world that will be ruled and managed by the victors. but nothing will constrain the strong nor shape the marches of freedom -- margins of freedom and justice, nor defined spaces of beauty and common life except the weak who clung to the defense of meaning even after defeat." that was written in 2017 from prison. amy: thank you, sharif. given the situation of aa as well as tens of thousands of others, the biden administration
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said earlier in september that it would cut just 10% or a condition 10% of its annual military aid, that is $130 million out of $1.3 billion, on certain conditions that the gornment fulfills with resct touman rights abuses in egypt. do you know what some of those conditions are, specifically having to with prosecutions in case 173? amy: and we just have 30 seconds. sharif: according to "the washington post" and human rights officials said ending this decades long prosecution of the leading human rights in egypt as well dropping charges and releasing 16 individuals, we do not know the names of these individuals or their identities and they remain classified. amy: we will leave it there. if you can both stay on, we will do a part two of this
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conversation. we have been speaking with sharif abdel kouddous, correspondent in cairo. and laila soueif. óov
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i grew up in nth alaba. we lived in an old log cabin. and all i wanted to do was be outside. we moved out to the west, and i remember these expanses of places where we were free to go rock climbing,


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