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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 17, 2022 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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03/17/22 03/17/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> as the leader of my nation, i am addressing biden biden president, you're the leader of the nation. i wish you to be the leader of the world. being the leader of the world
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means to be the leader of -- amy: ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky calls on the united states to support a no-fly zone in a virtual address to congress. hours later, president biden announced the u.s. would send another $800 million in arms to ukraine, including 100 drones. we will look at the u.s. response to russia's invasion with phyllis bennis of the institute for policy studies. we will also talk to human right watch about the use of cluster bombs in the war in ukraine. >> russia has been using cluster munition since the beginning o its full-scale invasion. on february 24, russian forces launch a cluster munition ballistic missile that struck near a hospital in the donetsk region, killing four civilians and woundin10. ur days later, where heads rained submunitions in kharkiv. amy: and we will talk to a syrian filmmaker about how many
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of russia's military tactics in ukraine resemble what she witnessed in her home city of aleppo. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. ukrainian rescue crews have begun pulling survivors out of the wreckage of a theater in the besieged ukrainian city of mariupol after it was hit by a massive explosion wednesday. the theater was being used as a shelter by hundreds of civilians who have endured more than two weeks of near-constant shelling, with no water, heat, or electricity, and dwindling food supplies. satellite images clearly show the word "children" written in large letters on the ground on two sides of the theater. another blast in mariupol hit a swimming pool where pregnant women and young children had gathered. elsewhere, russian forces have
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been accused of killing at least 10 people standing in line for bread in the northeastern city of chernihiv. russia has denied responsibility for the attacks on civilians. the united nations development program on wednesday estimated russia's assault has already caused over $100 billion in damage to ukraine's infrastructure. ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky addressed a joint session of the u.s. congress by video wednesday, thanking the united states for its military and humanitarian aid but aing for more help in defeating russia's military onslaught. zelensky spoke in ukrainian thugh an interpreter. >> this is a tear that europe has not seen come has not seen for 80 years, and we are asking for a reply, and answer to this terror frothe whole world. is that a lot to ask for to create a no-fly zone over ukraine to say people? is this too much to ask? amy: u.s. officials continue to
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rule out a no-fly zone, which could lead to a direct military confrontation between the u.s. and russia. two nuclear powers. but on wednesday, president biden announced $800 million in new military aid for ukraine, including over 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 drones, 2000 javelin antitank missiles, and 800 stinger into aircraft systems. made headlines when he called vladimir putin a war criminal, charges the kremlin calls unacceptable and unforgivable. the financial times reports ukrainian and russian delegates have discussed a 15 point deal under which russia would withdraw troops in exchange for ukraine renouncing its ambitions to join nato and agree not to host foreign military bases or weapons. the world health organization is warning of an unparalleled
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health crisis in ethiopia's tigray region, where 6 million people have been sealed off from the outside world for 500 days as separatists battle government forces. who director-general tedros adhanom ghebreyesus, who is from tigray, said wednesday about three quarters of health facilities in the region have been damaged or destroyed by fighting. >> there is a must know fuel, no cash, and no communications. no food aid has been delivered since the middle of december. just 3% of the population is food insecure. our partners are running out of what food they have and their fuel to transport it. amy: the united nations expressed disappointment wednesday after a conference of international donors raised less than a third of the money needed to prevent a widening humanitarian catastrophe in yemen. the u.n. had hoped to raise $4.3 billion.
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instead, donors pledged just $1.3 billion. aid agencies warn more than 17 million people in yemen are in need of food assistance and more than 160,000 could soon experience famine. this comes more than seven years into the saudi-led war and blockade on yemen, supported by the united states and its allies, including the united kingdom. to see our interview on the issue yesterday, go to > on wednesday, british prime minister boris johnson traveled to the saudi capital where he met with crown prince mohammed bin salman as the u.k. and its allies search for alternatives to russian oil and gas. johnson spoke to reporters in riyadh after the meeting. >> i raised human rights, as i'm sure you would expect, but we also talked about what we can do to stabilize oil prices, to
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fight inflation, help consumers, to help people at the gas pumps. amy: newly released fbi documents reveal a california-based saudi spy assisted some of the 9/11 hijackers in finding housing in san diego and that there was a 50/50 chance he had advanced knowledge of the attack. omar al bayoumi had claimed he incidentally befriended the two hijackers but was not involved in their planning. the fbi report found bayoumi regularly shared his intelligence with saudi arabia's u.s. ambassador prince bandar bin sultan al saud -- who was so close to former president george w. bush, he earned the nickname "bandar bush." the report was written in 2017 but only declassified last week. the biden administration has granted temporary protected status to afghans in the united states, shielding them from deportation for the next 18 months. the move affects an estimated 74,000 afghan refugees who fled to the u.s. during the taliban's
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rapid takeover last august, plus thousands more already in the united states. advocates for refugees welcomed the move but called on congress to pass the afghan adjustment act, which would grant afghans a pathway to lawful permanent status. u.s. coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to fall, though more than 1200 people continue to die of covid-19 on average per day. on tuesday, vice president kamala harris skipped an equal pay day event at the white house after her husband, second gentleman doug emhoff, tested positive for coronavirus. the news came just days after former president barack obama also reported a positive test. both men said they were exriencingild sympms. meanwhile, irish prime minister micheál martin has canceled a planned visit to the white house today after he tested positive for covid-19 at a gala in
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washington, d.c., that had just been addressed by president biden. the federal reserve voted wednesday to raise the benchmark federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point, the first time the fed has raised the interest rates since 2018. chair jerome powell signaled he expects the fed to raise interest rates six more times by year's end in order to combat high levels of inflation blamed on the pandemic and rising energy costs. the colorado house of representatives passed a bill monday codifying the right to an abortion and contraceptive care in colorado. the measure is also expected to pass the democrat-controlled senate. the move comes as republican-led states around the country are attacking reproductive rights and criminalizing abortion and as the supreme court is weighing a case that could essentially overturn roe v wade. in japan, a powerful
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7.4-magnitude earthquake off the coast of fukushima killed four people and injured 100 others wednesday. a tsunami i alert has been lift. the tokyo electric power company says the quake forced cooling systems at the fukushima daiichi and daini nuclear power plant off-line for several hours. the cooling systems are important. in haiti, thousands of health workers, including doctors and nurses, held a three-day strike this week to protest a surge in gang-related kidnappings, shutting down hospitals, clinics, and health centers other than for emergency care. kidnappings in haiti increased 180% in the past year, though the true number of cases is unknown as many go unreported. workers with the association of owners and drivers in haiti are
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-- said there launching their own strike to protest paying theft of vehicles and attacks on public buses. i new mexico journalist armando , linares was shot dead. just six weeks ago, he denounced the murder of his colleague roberto toledo, who also worked at the monitor michoacán news outlet, saying at the time his team had received death threats. >> today, the threats were ultimately fulfilled. one of our colleagues lost his life at the hands of three people who shot him in a mean and cowardly manner. we are not armed. we do not carry weapons. our only defense is our pen. amy: two high profile british-iranians prisoners have arrived back in the u.k. after being released from an iranian prison wednesday. nazanin zaghari-ratcliffe had been fighting her detention for six years, denying accusations
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she was plotting to overthrow the iranian government. anoosheh ashoori was arrested while visiting his mother in iran in 2017 and accused of spying for israel and acquiring -- "acquiring the legitimate wealth." charges he denied. ashoori said he was subjected to torture while in prison. d puto rico ficially exited bkruptctuesday ar six yes after ngress iosed an outsi controloard, knn as pmesato run t isla's economy. in theargest dt reructurinplan iu.s. hiory, prome reducedhe biggt chunk puerto co' debto $7.5 blion froan origin $33 bilon, but e board's planequirean upfro cash paynt of $7illion t thosbondholds anit als inuded a sp for $1billion in n bonds. ill to bresolveds the fa ofther porons of prto rico's masse debt, cluding some9 billioowed by its electr power ahority a $6
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billion ed by ithighway authorit in addion, theommonweah govement haslready h to pamore than $1illion i lel and pressionalees relateto bankrtcy, mosy to u.s. fir. itics saausteritmeasures impod byhe fiscacontrol board ll make y onomic coverympossie. those asuresnclude a nearly 50% cuin the aual budg of the main pubc unersity a a requement th puerto co spend upo $2.3 blion annually to shore up its public system, will make any economic recovery impossible. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined remotely 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: as russia's invasion of ukraine enters its fourth week, president biden had announced
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$800 million in new military aid for ukraine. according to the white house, the package will include over 20 million rounds of ammunition, 100 unmanned drones, 2000 javelin anti-armor missiles, and 800 stinger anti-aircraft systems. biden spoke at the white house wednesday. pres. biden: our new assistance package also include 9000 anti-armor systems. these are portable, high accuracy shoulder mounted missiles that ukrainian forces have been using with gat effect to destroy invading tanks and armored vehicles. it will incde 7000 small arms, grenade launchers, to equip ukrainians, including the brave women and men who are defending their cities a civilians and around the countryside as well. and as well as the ammunition, artiery and mortar rounds to go witmall arms, 20 million rounds in tal. 20 million rnds. this will include drones which
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demonstres our cmitment to sending our most cutting edge systems to ukraine for its defense. amy: biden's remarks came hours after ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky gave a virtual dress to congress. while repeating his call for a nato no-fly zone, zelensky invoked the attacks on 9/11 and pearl harbor. while most of zelensky's speech was in ukrainian, he delivered part in english. directly to president biden. >> as the leader of my nation, i am addressing president biden, you are the leader of the nation . i wish you to be the leader the world. being thleader of the world means to be the leader of peace. amy: while the vita administration so far has
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rejected calls for a no-fly zone, more details are emerging of how the u.s. has covertly aided ukraine. yahoo! news reporting a small group of veteran cia paramilitaries helped train ukrainian special forces to prepare for fighting against russian forces. as the united states is pouring arms into ukraine, there are signs that progress is being made on the diplomatic front to end the war. "the financial times" is reporting ukrainian and russian delegates have discussed a 15-point deal under which russia would withdraw troops in exchange for ukraine renouncing its ambitions to join nato and agreeing not to host foreign military bases or weapons. to remain neutral. to talk more about these latest developments, we are joined by phyllis bennis, author and fellow at the institute for policy studies. her recent piece is headlined "the best way to help ukraine is diplomacy, not war." phyllis, thank you so much for rejoining democracy now! to talk
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about this issue now. can you respond what is happening on the ground in ukraine and what president biden announced ysterday, the massive infusion of weapons to ukraine? >> you know, amy -- and good morning to you both -- the $800 million of new weaponsomes on top of an hont $15 billion aid package that has much of what -- much of which will go to ukraine for a combination of humanitarian and military support. this is something that has been going on foreveral months now. the massive arming of ukraine in this war. i think what we're seeing in terms of the diplomatic possibilities is very much a way to see, the term they like to use is in a offramp, and offramp or russia but also for the ukrainian authorities to get out
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from under this concept escalation that we are saying, the cost on civilian lives is horrific. although we don't have good numbers, it does make clear the numbers of russian troops that are being killed is also rising at a very, very fast rate. both of these leaders are going to have a hard time continuing that level of casualty. so the question of whether this will be the beginning of an actual diplomatic solution becomes very, very important. new weapons obviously could shift some conditions on the ground that we've all seen, the russian military assaults have not played out the way biden -- sorry, the way putin intended it to. the russian troops have been bogged down, physically bogged down in a number of parts of the convoys trying to get to take over kyiv. but on the other hand, the attacks continuing, bombings,
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missile attacks has created enormous civilian casualties and the ability of the ukrainian forces, both the military and the volunteer forces, to protect civilians is somewhat limited in that context. so the deal becomes very, very important. what we are hearing about this deal is not different in what has been anticipated in recent days, that a deal would have to include a russian withdrawal, a cease fire, that ukraine would have to give up its claim to the intended to join nato, the language we are hearing now may be included is some definition of a separate protection, ukrainian protection alliance which would sentially allow an official legal treaty to be signed between ukraine and a number of other countries -- probably including the u.s., the u.k., turkey, maybe a couple of
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other european countries -- who would agree if ukraine were to be invaded or threatened again, they would come directly to the aid of ukraine. so it would almost be sort of like nato countries-like, without official political consequences being an official member of nato. the theory is, and ts may well work, pretty political goal that putin has had, he would be able to say, "i won. i got what i wanted when i sent in the troops. this is what they were sent in a ford to be sure that ukraine does not join nato. the question of ukraine the question of ukraine being neutral is apparently on the agenda. it is not one of the items reportedly saying ukraine has already agreed to, but it is a likely possibility. there are different versions of
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neutrality. there is the existing european versions in finland, switzerland, norway, and they all differ somewhat in what kind of militaries they can have, what kind of relationships they can have with other military forces. the ukrainian authorities who have been involved in the diplomacy have said that the issue of maintaining a separate, independent military is not up for grabs, that that is a definiteommitment that they will have, that they will have a ukrainian military. and the question of not allowing any foreign bases or foreign troops to be stationed in the country's not an issue because those are ready prohibited under the ukrainian constitution. so what has changed is not so mu the terms of a possible agreement, but the fact that both sides -- most notably russia, which has been more resistant to a diplomatic solution -- appears to be moving closer to that possibility. nermeen: phyllis, could you
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respond specifically, to go back to the question of the u.s. sending arms to ukraine, the provision in particular of these 100 so-called killer drones, switchblade drones. this is the first time since the russian invasion that the u.s. will be providing drones, though ukraine has been using, apparently, to great effect, turkish armed drones -- armed drones provided by turkey. could you speak specifically about these drones the u.s. is ing to supply? >> this is a sears escalation of what the u.s. is sending. as you say, the turkish drones have been in use by the ukrainians for some time now but these drugs are significantly more powerful and the expectation is they would be used against groupings of russian soldiers on the ground.
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and they could result in the deaths of large number of soldiers if they were used effectively. the question of drone extension, where drones are being used, is a very serious global question as we look at the militarization that is increasing in the context of this war. counies across europe are talking about we militarizing mmit germanyn particular saying they are going to spend a lot more money on the military, that they're going to start spending 2% of their gdp on military forces, something that has been a goal of nato that so far has only been reached by about 10 european countries, not including germany -- which is the wealthiest country in europe. so this is a very serious level of escalation. whether it will have a qualitativ shift in the battlefield situation in terms of balancing forces, we don't
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know yet. but it does represent a serious u.s. commitment. it is important to keep it in the context of what we are so far seeing as a continued commitment by the biden administration to say no to the continued called for a no-fl zone. this is important because after president zelensky's speech yesterday at the joint session of congress, that was a major focus of his demand. his lguage i think indicated some recognition that he is really not likely to get that. but it is something that he has called for continuously, and i think he presumably felt he had to continue to call for this kind of support for a no-fly zone because it is such a popular demand inside ukraine. and that is absolutely understandable. people in ukraine are desperate with these attacks from the air. most of the attack so far have not come from russian planes. some have. and a no-fly zone in theory would be able to stop
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some of that. but most of the air attacks are coming from missiles and rockets that are coming from other ground launched and other russian military forces. the other thing that we have to keep in mind here is what the cost would be of a no-fly zone. this is something that i think sounds so intriguing, says like such a great idea, sounds like something out of "star wars" this magical shield that will protect people on the ground. and it leaves out the reality of how does a no-fly zone start? we can remember back a decade ago in the libya crisis when the u.s. diplomats, centered in the state department, there was a call for a no-fly zone. the opposition came from secretary of defense, from the pentagon, ironically enough, saying -- this was secretary of defense robert gates saying we should be clear a no-fly zone in libya starts with attacking
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libya. it starts with you have to take out the air to -- antiaircraft forces on the ground, take out the russian come in this case, planes flying around potentially dropping bombs. it is a major attack by the united states directly on russia. the two most powerful nuclear armed countries going to war with each other. that is the beginning. that is just the beginning of a no-fly zone. so it is very, very important pressure remain on the biden administration to maintain the opposition to a no-fly zone. it is going to be increasingly difficult because in congress, there is certainly not a majority but there are increasing members of congress that are calling for a no-fly zone. some of that is presumably political posturing. but if that rises and there is a public call because there is a sense of, let's just do at, let's have a no-fly zone as if it was this magical shield,
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think it will become increasingly difficult that -- for the biden administration. it is taking place. the debate is taking place in the context of what i mentioned earlier, the increasing militarization tt is one of the consequences of this war. we are seeing is certainly across europe, but also in the new united states. the new $800 million, parts of the $14.5 billion -- sorry, the $800 million for the new package , the $14.5 million package that has already been underway for ukraine. the arms dealers arehe ones who are thrilled. they are the ones making a killing. that will continue. that will continueith a newly militarized europe in the aftermath of this war. so the consequences are going to be very severe. the potential is there for
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anything remotely resembling a no-fly zone, not only the threat of escalation up to and including a nuclear exchange -- not something i think the main forces on either side want -- but it is something that might be impossible to prevent if there were to be an escalation in a direct conflict between the u.s. and russia all stopped and in that context, again, the call may return for european countries to want u.s. nuclear arms in their countries. right now there are four -- five nato nations that host new their weons that are under the control of the united states. that is a complete violation of the nonproliferation treating. none of the nonproliferation and abolition treaty acrossurope are working right now. there needs to be do arms control treaties. and right now the trajectory is in the opposite direction. nermeen: phyllis, on the question of you said increasing pressure, that there may be
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increasing pressure on the u.s. to impose a no-fly zone, one question, is it possible for the u.s. to become involved in opposing a no-fly zone without the consent of nato countries? because so far, it is not just the u.s., the biden administration that has ruled that out, but also the eu, nato countries. and second, despite the fact there may have been progress in these negotiations between russia and ukraine, there has been a simultaneous escalation of rhetoric with biden calling putin a war criminal and putin in televised speech yesterday talking about traders in russia those who are pro-western, who are not patriots, and booting them out. could you talk about both of these issues? >> yeah, under first point, the question of could the u.s. do
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something that the other nato members don't like? the answer is, of course they could. they are by far the most powerful part of nato and the notion that nato members are somehow equal in nato is almost as aurd as the notion that members of the when security counselor somehow equal or members of the general assembly are equal. the realities of world politics, including military strains, clout, of those things obviously play a role here. the question of what the u.s. engage in creation of a no-fly zone with the significant opposition other allies? i thinkt is unlikely but unkely the u.s. wants to do it anyway. i think people in washington, particularly theentagon, realized the dangers. but it is certainly possible the u.s. could move unilaterally to engage in ukraine. ironically, presumably could
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have the permission or even a requt from t government of ukraine, so the governments of surrounding countries would not be in that position unless the repair -- they were prepared to say they were going to dy their airspace to the united states, which simply not a reasonable thing to anticipate. i don't think that na opposition in the face of a u.s. determination is liky to work. but again, i don't think the u.s. at this stage is intending to move towards a no-fly zone. i'm sorry, i'm forgetting the second question. nermeen: negotiations to succeed given the rhetoric. >> on thone hand, this would not be the first time that escalations, both unfortunately on the ground and we are seeing this horrific attack on the theater in ukraine. eslation in force before --
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escalation and rhetoric before negotiations succeed is even more common. on a certain perverse level, this might be a good sign. one of the challenges we are facing is these negotiations that are underway are direct bilateral talks between the two major parties. russia and ukraine. russia has not engaged yet saying explicitly what they would be willing to accept in a deal, what they would be willing to give up. the u.s. has said in the past that it wants ukraine to be a member of nato. it has -- government officials have said quietly, privately, that they have no intention of allowing ukraine to become a member of nato because they know what a provocation that would be on russia. but they have not said explicitly, "we are taking that off the table." are they prepared to do that? are they prepared to back the ukrainian concession on that
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issue? that would be very important for the biden administration to make clear what the u.s. is prepared to give up in its own positioning and, crucially, what it is prepared to accept from ukraine. is it prepared to accept all concessions that are made by ukraine whether it involves ukraine as a neutral country, ukraine permanently staying out of nato, the possibility that two tricky issues i would say that are not yet -- there's not even a report they might be resolved. they might be put off, is a recognition of crimea as belonging to russia -- russia says it is insisting in the past the ukrainian government has said that is not acceptable. and also the question of the status, whether independence, autonomy, or something else of the eastern provinces in donbas. both of those seem to be unresolved but there is an indication they might agree to put those off and not resolve
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those in the midst of a broader 15 point agreement we are hearing about being underway that would crucially begin with a cease fire and the withdrawal of russian forces. sohose remns uncertain, but they may not uimately prevent some kind of an agreement from being reached, hopefully, soon. amy: phyllis bennis, thank you for being with us, author and fellow at the institute for policy studies. we will link to your piece "the best way to help ukraine is diplomacy, not war." coming up, we speak to a ukrainian filmmaker. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: john lennon's "imagine" covered by russian nailskey.
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this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. this week marks 11 years since the start of the war in syria. the fighting has killed hundreds of thousands of people and left the nation devastated. half of the country's 22 million residents were displaced. today, 60% of the population, some 12:00 a.m. people, facing hunger. the war began as an uprising against syrian president bashar al-assad but evolved into a multifaceted war involving the islamic state, russia, turkey, iran, and other countries. the united nations said syria is teetering on collapse. many syrians said the devastating images seen in ukraine suggest russia is using the same tactics now as it did in syria. we're are joined now by waad al-kateab, syrian activist and filmmaker. award-winning director with edward watts of the critically acclaimed documentary "for
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sama." she took part in a protest earlier today to demand that russian forces stop bombing hospitals. in fact, you had any organization. talk about it name and the significance of what is happening in ukraine and how you connected to what happened to your country, syria. >> thank you so much for having us. as you just mentioned, what is happening today in ukraine is something like what we have been talking about the last 11 years from the start of the syrian revolution. it is just very sad and interesting really to hear on this conversation about no-fly zones, arms, what other countries can do, and just to take one step back and think about what is happening. it is not about ukraine.
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it is not about syria. this about russia and what they're capable to do. there are so many questions, but negotiating the details and the deals d how this could be solved. the main question i think should be about russia's position. the u.n. these organizations and governments responsibilities and rules towards not just ukraine today, not just syria, not even afghanistan, it is about all of our lives, about what is next. even if ukraine today was part of nato or not, like, this is not about ukraine today. i really, really hope people can take it as an overall conversation, more than what is happening exactly today. and what the world is waitin for, calling for a no-fly zone may make things worse with
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russia, but it is coming tomorrow and a more brutal way, doing more crimes and breaking laws and having people more killed, attacking more hospitals? it is reallyrustratingll of this conversation happening around the world. nermeen: can you talk about your own experience in aleppo? your husband was a doctor who worked in a hospital in aleppo when hospitals were being attacked. he said at the time that if you want to be safe, should go to the front line. that is the safest place in aleppo. in other words, safer than being in a hospital. could you talk about wt the effect was then on the civilian population of these attacks on hospitals and whether you think that the situation today, for
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example mariupol mariupol in, is comparable to what happened to the siege of aleppo? >> not a single picture came out of ukraine without really affecting us deeply. all of those people going out to fight against what is happening in their country, being bombed, people trying to escape after their house was attacked. all of these pictures is exactly what we have been through. for a second, we felt like we might be numb and unaffected by what wasappening, t it is deeply affecting us and deeply -- like, i think we were very disappointed by the whole international reaction to syria. we were fling a little better because thought people were
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mae caring. but at the same time, we are worried how long this would take to take a reaction. my daughter and husband, the whole film explains a lot of this experience. we have been under attacks by the syrian regime. people are arrested and kidnapped and disappeared in syria by various forces, mainly the syrian regime. all of this now is happening again in ukraine. i am just really, really shocked what the world is waiting for. what more do you need to s? how many more should be boed? 11 years now i in syria and the whole world sees and knows all of this. as syrians, we are now across the whole world. today in front of the russian embassy, we tried to stand.
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i made this as a statement three years a, tried to make the film before and tried to make it after. i can't reallyelie howong the world needs to wait until more people will be killed, until more children will be -- like, their lives are as our lives are. nermeen: you mentioned, as we did, too, this month marks the 11th anniversary of the war in syria. first of all, you insisted the war not be called a civil war as many still refer to it as. could you explain why? and then second, what the humanitarian situation in syria is now like. % of the population now reportedly face hunger, with the average price of food higher than at any time in the last
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nine years. >> i think what we are going thugh now is 11 years of what we call a revolution in syria. what was happening on the floor was a revolution. on the ground, thousands of syrians were protesting in 2011 trying to end al-assad's control of syria, corrupt systems. what is still happening today. i refuse to call it a civil war because it is not a civil war. it is not syrians from difrent visions or gups fighng each oer, it is the regime supported by russia, ira hezbollah -- which is not surprising what is happening in ukraine. i was so happy to see people and jourlists and ople reporng
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not likes of war in ukraine, it is rsia. that ia huge difrence. ev how we deal, react to what is happeni. the suation i syria, 11 years, very, very bad. al-assad regime, aer all t crimes his committed, is still controlling syria, still corolling ov 80% of syria. economically, securit, like basic life is not existed anymore with over hundreds of thousandof people o are in asd's prisons with their loved ones don't know if ey are alive orot. hospals and buildings are being atcked by thassad regimeupported b russia. i don't know where we are going.
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what i reallynow, we really see what is happening today is a crime. shou be, like, a whole framing foall the wld system for t future. the u.n. security council should have russia out as a permanent country but also all these crimes should be accountable. the russian and the syrian regime and all other countries who committed crimes, they should be stopped. amy: finally, if you can respond -- if you feel there is a difference between the way ukrainians are seen in the world, particularly ukrainian refugees -- right now, what, one ukrainian child every second is being made a war refugee. i mean, your country, syria, the
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millions of refugees that have been created over this last more than decade. do you think there was a difference in the world's response and the media's response? >> absolutely, a very clear difference today. but what i really want to say, we lived through this. i don't want to say it was different and they should be dealt with as we dealt with it. i don't anyone around the world to live through what we live through. i don't want anyone to feel like being rejected or escaping war and bombs and being n welcomed yplace. i ink we shod look at all of our judgment about so many things and thinking about others and just try to live in this world. because refugee orar and what happened in ukraine or syria before, it is n who you are. it is something that happened to you.
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this could be in anyplace around the world. we have to be more human with each other, with oselves, and try to help as much as we can. amy: i want to thank you so much for being with us. waad al-kateab is a syrian activist and filmmaker. award-winning director with edward watts of the critically acclaimed documentary "for sama." she was part of a protest this morning outside the russian embassy in london to demand that russian forces stop bombing hospitals. in fact, she founded the campaign stop bombing hospitals. next up, we speak to human rights watch about the use of cluster bombs in the war in ukraine and why did the u.s. ambassador to the u.n. cdemn russia's use of cluster bombs in ukraine and then delete the tweet? stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "flight."
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this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. president biden called russian president vladimir putin a war criminal wednesday for atrocities in ukraine. he made the comment after question by reporter at a white house event. listen closely. there is a crowd. >> after everything we have seen, are you ready to call putin war a war criminal? pres. biden: no. you asked me whether i would call -- >> [indiscernible] pres. biden: chi zinke is a war criminal. amy: cluster bombs explode in mid-air and spew hundreds of smaller "bomblets." this is bonnie docherty, senior researcher ithe armsivision at human rights watch
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testifying. >> russia has been using cluster munitions since the beginning of his full-sle invasion. on february 24, russian forces launched a ballistic missile that struck near hospital in the donetsk region, killing four civilians and wnding 10. fo days later, russian rockets raining submunitions down on thee arrheads inharkiv. one redent said "the bank lasted for about two minutes. when i went out, i saw three covered bodies lying in the street and one wounded person being taken away by emergency services." amy: on friday, a spokesperson for the u.n. high commissioner for human rights said the use of cluster munitions in ukraine may amount to war crimes. this is liz throssell. >> due tohe use of cluster mutions inopulated areas, is it comtible with international
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human law? amy: this comes as the biden administration's mission to the united nations amended remarks made by u.s. ambassador linda thomas-greenfield's to the u.n. general assembly last week in which she condemned russia's use of cluster munitions. >> we have seen videos of russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weapon tree into ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. that includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs which are banned under the geneva convention. amy: within hours of those remarks, the u.s. mission to the u.n. edited ambassador thomas-greenfield's transcript, changing her comments to read that the weapons have no place on the battlefield if they are directed against civilians. the united states fought against the creation of the convention
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on cluster munitions and is not among the 110 nations that have ratified the treaty. the u.s. has repeatedly used cluster bombs throughout its history, dropping them over vietnam, laos, cambodia, iraq, and elsewhere. undepresident barack obama in 2009, a u.s. cluster bomb attack in yemen killed 55 people, the majority of them women and children. russia and ukraine also have not signed on to the convention on cluster munitions. for more, we are joined by steve goose, director of human rights watch's arms division and co-founder of the global campaign to stop killer robots. steve, welcome back to democracy now! if you can start off by talking about why cluster bombs are so heinous. what this treaty is about, and the fact the u.s. has not denied it, that they had to amend the comments of the u.n. ambassador
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who first said something logical, there is no place for cluster bombs, but then had to remove that tweet. >> yes. thank you very much for having me on. the u.s. has had sort of ar. jekyllnd mr. hyde approached a cluster munitions, where it is going to criticize other people's use but insists on the right to use them itself, as you say, in multiple locations around the world for decades now. the convention on cluster munitions now has 110 states, parties most of the u.s., russia , are not among them, but international law still applies to the use of cluster munitions. this is an inherently indiscriminate weapon. you ask what is particularly heinous about it, it kills civilians at the time of attack because of the widespread indiscriminate nature of the weapon, and then it also kills civilians for years to come as
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many of these submunitions come the little bomblets he described, don't explode on contacbut remain armed and act like little landmines that could sit there for days, weeks, months, years to come. amy: if you could comment on why the u.n. ambassador, why she had to delete that tweet? >> this is why i say dr. jekyll and mr. hyde approached. what she said is not in keeping with the u.s. generally says about cluster munitions. she said the truth come these weapons have no place on the battlefield. the powers that be overrode that assessment and said you should not use them against civilians. well, that is true, but you should not use them at all. that is why there internationally banned. nermeen: steve, we were just speaking to our syrian guest waad. according to the cluster edition
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monitor -- in addition monitor, they found 2012, 80% of the casualties from pentax and unexploded munitions, cluster munitions, were in syria. as we mentioned, you did, too, only 110 countries are signatories to the convention on cluster munitions and among them, the ones that are not siatories are russia, u.s., and ukraine. could you explain why there are 195 countries in the world, why 70 have refused to sign? >> most of those who sign -- who have not signed, still opening the international norm that is emerging against these weapons. you don't see widespread use of these weapons like you did in the past. it is only those who are willing
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to withstand the international condemnation that rains down these weapons are used. 110 is a pretty good number. the degree to which it is recognize that these weapons should not be used anywhere, anytime by anybody is quite impressive. nermeen: could you talk specifically about the use of cluster munitions by russia in ukraine? >> it started immediately upon the invasion. you heard my colleague talk about her very 24th that hit a hospital. they have continued to use cluster munitions throughout the fighting. we put out a report does this morning documenting repeated attacks of cluster munitions in a major city in southern ukraine which killed any number of
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civilians and injured many more. this is not an isolated incident that we have seen, but a pattern of use. amy: and there is use by all three parties -- ukraine, russia, and the united states. if you talk about the strike document about human rights watch that took place in the ukrainian government-controlled donetsk region in february 21, the first day of the invasion, the attack killing four civilians and injuring another 10? >> you captured it there. when you are striking near -- in civilian areas, almost always going to have multiple casualties that arise. using them your hospital is particularly heinous. they are protected body under international law. so the fact that you are willing to use a band weapon against a protected place is really
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egregious. amy: at this point, steve goose, as we wrap up and as we move into the fourth week of this invasion, if you can talk about the importance of countries signing onto these international treaties? whether we're talking about international criminal court -- which the u.s. is talking about a lot -- but in fact has not completely endorsed, has not ratified? >> that's right. the u.s. sortf a treaty phobia approach that was particularly noticeable under the trump administration but still part and parcel of the u.s. international approach. it is very busy right now trying to build international coalitions against russia, but at the same time, he refuses to join most of its allies in joining important treaties like the invention on cluster missions and the mind ban treaty that banned antipersonnel mines.
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these are life-saving conventions. these are conventions that are in keeping with the desire to protect civilians both during conflict and for years afterwards. amy: we have to leave it there, steve goose of human rights wañ■?áaa)aaaa
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>> today on "earth focus," neonicotinoids. is the world's mostidely used pestici destroyinthe base o the food chain? coming up on "earth focus." >> they're a mutagen. >> they're extremely persistent and extremely mobile. >> they are now found routinely in stream samples as well as well samples across the united states. >> if it's going to affect everything from honeybees to earthworms, uh, that is serious in and of itself. >> neonicotinoids are among the most widely used pesticides in the world. they bring in billions in profits th


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