tv Democracy Now LINKTV April 4, 2022 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
04/04/22 04/04/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> what jeff bezos for going to space. amy: after a david and goliath battle, amazon warehouse workers in staten island, new york, vote of form the first amazon union u.s. history, overcoming a multimillion dollar unionbusting campaign by the retail giant. we will speak with christian
smalls and derrick palmer, the two best friends who helped launch the newly formed amazon labor union after the company cracked down their grassroots organizing for better working conditions, firing smalls and he let a walkout at the height of the pandemic will stop pmer still works at t warehouse. >> organizing come along with the other organizing, to win this election. it ia monumental moment in the labor movement. hopefully continue to unionize more ithe united states. amy: ukrainian officials are accusing russia of committing war crimes for killing civilians. >> amnesty international researers have just returned from ukraine where we documented a pattern of indiscriminate attacks by russian foes that have killed and injured civians in a string of cities across the country, from every pull to kharkiv.
-- mariupol to kharkiv. amy: we will speak to amnesty international about their new report "ukraine: russia's cruel siege warfare tactics unlawfully killing civilians -- new testimony and investigation." all that in more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. ukraine is accusing russia of committing war crimes for killing civilians. over the weekend, ukraine regained full control of the kyiv region after russia troops retreated, leaving behind widespread devastation. a warning to our audience, some images of what happened maybe disturbing. in the town of bucha, dozens of dead bodies were found in the streets, some with their hands and feet bound. ukrainian officials say they also believe hundreds of more people have been buried in mass graves. this is anatoly fedoruk, the mayor of bucha. >> corpses of executed people
still line the streets in jfk8. their hands are tied behind their backs. there were shot in the back of their heads. you can imagine what kind of wild listeners they perpetrated here. amy: on sunday, u.n. secretary general antonio guterres said he was "deeply shocked" by the images from bucha and called for an independent investigation. ukraine has asked the international criminal court to visit bucha to gather possible evidence of war crimes. ukrainian prident volodymyr zelenskyy also called on western leaders to impose tougher sanctions in response. russia has denied killing civilians and claimed th footage and photographs from bucha are a "staged performance" by kyiv. meanwhile, on sunday, russia launched missile strikes from the sea and air on sunday targeting an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities in the southern port city of odesa. in other developments, the united nations says russia's invasion, which is now in its 40th day, has displaced over
10.5 million people in ukraine with over 4.1 million leaving -- fleeing the country. on sunday, pope francis that he is willing to travel to ukraine if it would help bring about peace. lithuania has announced it has cut off imports of russian gas becoming the first country in the european union to do so. the eu has pledged to reduce russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year. meanwhile, "the washington post" reports 30of the g russia sells to europe is still going through pipelines located inside ukraine. while ukraine has urged european countries to cut off russian gas imports, it has decided to allow russia to keep using its pipelines. one ukrainian official defended the decision saying it provides a terrent against more rsian bombing and destruction inside ukraine. two more journalists have been killed while covering russia's
invasion of ukraine. the ukrainian military said the award-winning lithuanian documentary maker mantas kvedaravicius was killed in a russian attack while he was trying to leave mariupol. he had spent years covering ukraine. he did a film about mariupol. meanwhile, the body of the ukrainian photographer and videographer maksim levin was found on saturday near kyiv. he was a longtime contributor to reuters and other news outlets, including the bbc and associated press. the united nations has brokered a two-month truce in yemen, the site of the world's worst humanitarian crisis. the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition and houthi rebels both agreed to halt all offensive operations inside yemen and across its borders. fuel ships are now being allowed to enter into hodeida ports and the airport in sana'a is reopening. over the past six years, the
u.n. estimates the war in yemen has killed nearly 400,000 people, many from hunger. residents in yemen have welcomed the halt to the fighting. >> we are very optimistic about the truce. but we suffer from a dire economic situation. the price of oil derivatives, the price of food commodities. with ramadan, their families who cannot even provide the necessary food. amy: covid-19 has reached record levels in the united kingdom as the omicron variant ba.2 rapidly spreads. government data show nearly 5 million people in the u.k. had coronavirus last week, higher than any previous time during the pandemic. this comes as china reported 13,000 new cases on sunday, the country's highest one-day since the pandemic's first peak over two years ago. about 70% of the cases were in shanghai where most of the
city's 25 million people remain under lockdown. here in new york, employees of the retail giant amazon have voted to join a union in a historic victory for organized labor. workers at amazon's jfk8 warehouse in staten island overcame a multimillion dollar union-busting campaign and voted decisively in favor of joining the newly-formed amazon labor union. the effort was led by christian smalls, who was fired by amazon in 2020 after he organized a strike demanding better worker protections at the start of the pandemic. smalls is now president of the -- interim president of the amazon labor union. >> i can tell you now, we got the jugular. we went for the jugular. we went for the top dog because every other industry, we want every other business to know we
are going to unionize. we're not going to quit our jobs anymore. this is a prime example of the power that people have when they come together. amy: we will speak with christian smalls about the labor victory at amazon after headlines. the biden administration has finalized fuel efficiency standards that will require new cars and light trucks to average 49 miles per gallon by 2026. the tougher regulations come after the trump administration rolled back fuel efficiency standards put in place by president obama. this comes as the united nations intergovernmental panel on climate change is set to release its third and final report on the climate emergency today, a day later than planned after major fossil fuel producers fought to water down scientist'' findings. the report is expected to call on countries to rapidly shift away from coal, oil, and gas er the next eight years in order to limit global
temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius. countries, including saudi arabia, fought to include a role for fossil fuels in the document, while others called on the u.n. to promote unproven technological solutions like machines that capture carbon dioxide directly from the air. meanwhile, hundreds of activists with the group extinction rebellion have blocked oil terminals across the united kingdom in nonviolent protests demanding action on the climate crisis. pakistani prime minister imran khan dissolved pakistan's national assembly and called for new elections on sunday to block an attempt to remove him from power. opposition mp's were planning to hold a no-confidence vote in parliament, but allies of khan blocked the vote from happening. opposition lawmakers are accusing imran khan of carrying out an "open coup against the country and the constitution."
meanwhile, khan has accused the united states of being behind a conspiracy to remove him from office. pakistan's supreme court is holding a critical hearing today to help resolve the constitutional crisis. hungary's right-wing nationalist leader viktor orbán has been re-elected to a fourth consecutive term as prime minister as his party increased its parliamentary majority. while hungary is a member of nato, orbán has maintained close relations with russia. in recent weeks, orbán has refused to join other nato nations in sending arms to ukraine. orbán's chief rival peter marki-zay criticized the fairness of sunday's election. >> although there is no democrati hungry, stealing public money forever.
we do not acknowledge this at all. amy: meanwhile, in neighboring serbia, incumbent president aleksandar vucic has declared victory. he has vowed to maintain serbia's close economic and military ties to moscow. serbia recently voted at the united nations to condemn russia's invasion of ukraine, but it has refused to impose sanctions on russia. sri lanka is facing a mounting political and economic crisis. on sunday, every member of sri lanka's cabinet, except for the president's brother, offered to resign. this came a day after sri lanka's president declared a 36-hour state of emergency to quell growing street protests over skyrocketing prices and dire shortages of food, fuel, gas, and medicine. over the weekend, thousands took to the streets to protest. >> there is no gas. there's no petrol. there is nothing to eat.
there is no medicine. what can we do? if this continues, we will have to jump into the sea. amy: police in sri lanka arrested over 650 people for violating the curfew, which ended earlier today. in costa rica, former finance minister and world bank official rodrigo chaves is the projected winner in sunday's presidential runoff election. his opponent, former costa rican president josé maría figueres, conceded defeat. both candidates were embroiled in scandals. chaves, a member of the right-wing social democratic progress party, was demoted from a senior position at the world bank in 2019 over several accusations of sexual harassment. he then left the world bank and returned to costa rica after years of living abroad. a honduran court has authorized the seizure of properties, bank accounts, and other assets belonging to former president juan orlando hernández. hernández faces extradition to the united states on drug trafficking and weapons charges.
the key u.s. ally left office in january and was arrested the following month. the honduran supreme court recently upheld hernández's extradition order. an algerian man who was jailed at guantanamo for 20 years without facing trial has been sent home to algeria. sufyian barhoumi was ruled eligible for release in 2016 but was locked up for over five more years. there are now 37 men still being held at guantanamo. most of them, without charge. in california, a mass shooting left six people dead and 12 injured just blocks from the state capitol building in sacramento. police believe at least two shooters opened fire at around 2:00 a.m. on sunday as a number of bars and nightclubs were closing. this is community activist stevante clark, the brother of stephon clark who was killed by sacramento police in 2018.
>> the thing is, we don't have nothing. there are a lot of guns on the streets. there are too many damn guns on the street. amy: sacramento's mayor darrell steinberg also spoke out on sunday about gun violence. >> as a state and as a nation, this senseless epidemic of gun violence must be addressed. how many unending tragedies does it take before we begin to cure the sickness in this country? amy: the senate judiciary committee is voting today on president joe biden's nominee for the supreme court, judge ketanji brown jackson. the full senate is expected to approve her nomination later this week. jackson is set become the first black woman on the supreme court. last week, republican senator susan collins announced she
would support jackson becoming the first republican to back her. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. when we come back, we speak with two best friends w helped launch the newly formed amazon labor union. on friday, workers at the amazon warehouse in staten island voted to form the first amazon union in u.s. history, overcoming a multimillion dollar unionbusting campaign by the retail giant. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
[cheers] amy: workers at amazon's jfk8 warehouse in staten island celebrating friday after they overcame a multimillion dollar union-busting campaign and voted decisively in favor of joining the newly-formed amazon labor union, the first amazon union in u.s. history. more than 8300 workers at the warehouse were eligible to vote. the effort was led by christian smalls, who is not interim president of the amazon labor union stop >> we want to thank jeff bezos for going to space because when he was up there, we were signing people up.
amy: smalls will join us in a moment. amazon responded to the union vote in a statement, saying -- "we're disappointed with the outcome of the election in staten island because we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees. we're evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the nlrb that we and others, including the national retail federation and u.s. chamber of commerce, witnessed in this election." the victory in staten island comes as a redo of a union election led by amazon warehouse workers in bessemer, alabama, is still too close to call. the second vote in alabama comes after the national labor relations board found amazon unlawfully interfered with the first bessemer election last year by the retail, wholesale, and department store union. rwdsu tweeted after friday's vote in staten island -- "history was made today. huge congrats!
solidarity with amazon workers from staten island to bessemer and beyond!" for more, we are joined by the two best friends who played a key role in this historic labor victory after amazon cracked down on their grassroots organizing for better working conditions. christian smalls is president and lead organizer of the amazon labor union, representing the jfk8 amazon warehouse workers in staten island, new york. he was wrongfully terminated from his job there two years ago after he says he organized a walkout over covid safety conditions at the height of the pandemic. joining other workers, he wore a mask and carried a sign that read "our health is just as essential." at a victory party for the unions in, christian smalls was presented by his younger brother but they -- with a friend a version of the sign. he is joining us from staten island. with us in elizabeth, new jersey, is derrick palmer, vice president of organizing for the amazon labor union and employee
at the amazon jfk8 warehouse in staten island. and in brooklyn, josefa velásquez is a senior reporter for the city, a nonprofit online news site based in new york city. her latest piece is headlined "a cinderella story: how staten island amazon workers won against the multi-billion-dollar company." we welcome all of you to democracy now! christian smalls, why don't we begin with you. can you respond to this victory and what it took to get here and specifically, organizing at the same time your own union, the amazon labor union? >> good morning. thank you for having me. wow. every time i hear or see the videos, i still take -- it takes a lot out of me becau it is unbelievable what we accomplished. we started 11 months ago. grassroots, worker-let movement post of amazon workers, former and current like myself, just trying to do the right thing.
no rources, no major backing, just a bunch of ornary people coming together from all over the country. we had different people flying in to help us out. some of the comments i traveled the country with come advocating with. 11 months ago, we started something we really did not know what we were getting ourselves into. the new it was working for us -- we knew it was working for us. consistently talking to our workers every single day. me, and porcelain, not being able to go inside the building, it was a combination me and derek on inside come outside thing. yet the bus stopped connecting with workers, building relationships. derrick inside, taking over his department, things like that. it helped us get to this point. i am excited to lead us this victory. wonderful to see. i am happy to share this
experience with the entire world. amy: christian, can you go back two years ago to march 2020 when new york city shut down and talk about what you did? talk about that first walkout and how you ended up being fired. >> well, i wouldn't have been able to do it without derrick. at that time i had no vehicle -- me and derrick lived in close proximity in the same neighborhood and we arrived at work every day and every day i noticed somebody in my department was coming ill. whether it was dizziness, vomiting. something was wrong. it was a very eerie situation. we did not have any cleaning supplies, social distancing. amazon was not really enforcing
any guidelines. everything was just hearsay. we tried to move to the proper channels. by the end of the week, after going to the general manager's office every single day voicing our concerns, they only decided to quarantine just me and nobody else, not derrick, the person i ride to work with. i knew something was wrong. nobody read or seen or even heard of policy to silence me from organizing the workers. so i decided to take action. break the quarantine, hold walkout on march 30. two hours after the walkout, that is when i was terminated over the phone. amy: just to be clear, they were quarantining you but you had not tested positive for covid. >> absolutely not. knock on wood, i haven't tested positive to this day. amy: derrick palmer, you were
coworkers, which work every day, best friends. christian is fired. can you talk about your decision to stay inside? >> yeah. at fit it was very disturbing. i am hearing chris got fired for doing the right thing, standing up for all of us. i had a tough decision to make. at the time, there were no other jobs available so i said, you know what? i think i'm going to make it my business to organize from within at jfk8. i feel like that played a vital role. a lot of workers were talking about chris, being scared out the coronavirus, and ultimately speaking up about the coronavirus is what happened to chris and other organizers tha were terminated. i made it my business to talk to them, to keep the attention and
still let them know what i feel was not legal. so organizing within, building relationships with other workers, making them comfortable, and just playing that role until we were ready to unionize. i think that played a key part to our victory. amy: i want to go to this leaked audio recording obtained by the city newspaper from the meeting last tuesday when amazon workers met with an amazon workforce staffing manager named eric, and an employee relations manager who presented slides on the "reality of dues and the subject of union life." this is a short clip from the recording. >> [indiscernible]
>> that's not true. amy: that was a worker sign, "that's not true." derrick palmer, it was not clear to hear. if you could talk about the main points that management was presenting and what this was all about. >> these captive audience meetings, they are pretty much designed to discourage workers from signing up for unions. what i witnessed at most of these meetings, the message they are trying to relay is you can't speak to your manager once you become -- once a big -- building becomes unionized, you can lose certain benefits, joining the union, the alu is an experienced . all different types of things they try to convey to these workers, which ultimately scares them, so having myself and other
organizers on the inside pretty much counteracting all the messages that they are trying to present to the workers, you know, played a vital role. they have had so many different -- the other thing they were talking about as well, saying your personal time, you can lose pay. threatening things they were trying to do. amy: i want to bring josefa velásquez into this conversation . you got this leaked audio. can you talk about the significance of this victory? >>, and, i don't think we can really understand how big this is. these guys, to their credit, really where this grassroots movement. they took on amazon, which is a behemoth, and bezos is the second richest person on earth. they really did it through their
connections with the people in the facility. i think both chris and derrick have worked at multiple amazon sites in the last two years and they know the people they work with, understand the company. a lot of times when you see antiunion messaging, it is always these outsiders are coming in, they will threaten the way your work is done. these are two individuals and many other organizers who know the nitty-gritty and the details of how amazon works. sometimes that would explain things to me and i would just derek and mike, what the -- with a blank expression because it was so wonky. the fact that only they understood the company and the work that was been done behind it, they looked like the people who work there. amazon thrives on high turnover among its employees, so you do see a lot of people who are very young. it is very quintessential new york with these captive audience meetings that you have heard leaked obvious -- audio previously from innings down
south but in new york where you hear people pushing back. new york is a union town. these guys really did not have much additional backing or support. it is the ultimate cinderella story. amy: you talked about, to say the least, amazon is large. it is the second largest private employer in the country, right behind walmart. jeff bezos, the second wealthiest man on earth. i want to go back to 2018 when then amazon ceo jeff bezos said amazon believed its woers did t need a union. >> very good commucationwith our emoyees. don't believwe need union be anntermearyetween u andurmployees but of course,t the en of the day, it always e empyees' choice that ihow it suld be. but for sure, we woulbe very ïveo belve that we are not ing to bcriticiz. that ijust par oth
terrai u have tccept th. one ing i te pple, if you're goingo do anying new or innovative,ou he to be willing to be misunderstood. amy: that was 2018. "you have to be willing to be is understood." i want to go back to christian smalls. there was an internal memo that waseaked saying you are not very smart and so they would make you the face of the movement, a challenge he took up in a big way saying, "ok, if i am the face." , i am the face." >> absolutely. when that memo came out, that motivated me to continue advocating workers rights across the nation. me and derrick, we protested in front of jeff bezos' mansion, from the east coast othe west ast. we decided to go back home to staten island. once again, we were invested in this company. derrick is over six year vet.
they don't realize who we are to this company. we understand the warehouse more than just bezos do. it is funny he said,you're going to be misunderstood," we were counted out. people did not believe in us. people thought this was not going to happen. they never thought -- expected we were going to be here. it is not just jeff bezos, his general counsel did not want us to get here. it is a lot of other people as well that claimed to be on the same side that did not believe we would be here. for us to be here at this moment, it is once again surreal for us. amy: now, you went out to bessemer -- i remember when we were doing aps, we heard you were down there. bessemer union organizing effort was run by rwdsu, the retail wholesale and department store union. we're still waiting to hear the results now on the second vote,
the nlrb said amazon had to have -- allow for a second election because they had interfered with the first one. why did you go with rwdsu or the teamsters, for example, the teamsters union crazed the worker -- praised the workers for your victory and the ongoing for bessemer, saying "amazon workers won a unit. the workers in bessemer and staten island don't have to wait for the government or anyone else to tell them they have power. they're taking a stand and amazon can't skirt the law indefinitely. the teamsters are excited to continue this fight against amazon -- on the shop floor, at the bargaining table, and on the streets." but it is amazon labor unit that actually won this battle and the first against amazon to win. >> right. right.
once again, these established unions, with the resources and the money they have volunteers they have, i tell everybody, they had 28 years. we did something unprecedented. onlyhat donda bessemer, we psalmist opportunities with the campaign the first time -- we saw missed opportunities with a campaign the first time, saw things that did not fit with what amazon workers represent. i felt water to take down the machine, they have to become -- it has to come within. it has to be the workers organizing themselves. that is what we did with the ale you. we created something that resonated with the worker we are the workers. know the ins and outs of the compan we live the grievances. we understand the concerns. we know the language. we look like amazon employees, especially here in new york, so bringing inhe union, that would have took so much time
away from campaigning toward an election bause we would now have to educate the union on what amazon is and how to connect with workers. i think amazon uses that against us. even with the alu, they claimed we are third party. we listen to captive audience and they say they are going -- they try to separate us but they can't do that because we said we are all the union, together are the union. and together, we are going to make these decisions. that is how we were able to be successful against amazon. amy: i wanted to ask josefa velásquez about what is happeng in besmer. you have a very close vote, i think 993 no votes, 875 yes votes, more than 400 contested ballots. according to the nlrb, the national labor relations board, there will be a hearing within a
few weeks to decide if the challenge ballots will be opened and counted. talk about the difference you see in strategizing between what happened in staten island and what is happening in bessemer right now. >> it is what chris said, that these are amazon workers who are unionizing and organizing within their ranks as opposed to what is happening down south where you do have a major labor union that is helping organize. the first time around but the vote in bessemer, they got a lot of heat because they were bringing in celebrities, high-profile politicians. that is not the people who work at amazon. so the people order from amazon, but not the people inside packing up orders, shipping them out, putting in 10 to 12 hour days. so there was a disconnect. they had a second chance. you cannot discount the fact new york is typically prounion and union-friendly.
at the same time, to the alu's positioning, it is organizing within the ranks and understanding how the company works. the intricacies of it. for us at the user facing platform, three clicks and you have your product. for the workers themselves, it is all of these different steps, all of this jargon, you understand -- at least in new york, sometimes to get facility in the northwest corner of staten island, yet to take a bus come yet to take a train, and then another buzz and it is a two hour commute each way. so they understand who are the workers behind this organization. a lot of the times you get the word "grassroots gross oh thrown around -- "grassroots" turnaround but these are people who truly understand. derrick still works inside the facility. chris worked as a supervisor and
has trained people, so they know exactly who the workers are and the grievances and how the unit can help make things better. amy: derrick, what are your plans now? alu has won this enormous victory. what are your demands? >> well, just having better benefits, better pay like sick time. those are the basic things. also, job security posted amazon has 150% turnaround at jfk alone. some people that come and commute from all these different boroughs, their jobs should be secure. it takes them three hours to work and they get there and they get there, could be possibly fired. the possibilities of that are very high. so we have to make that change. also, including more workers to get involved with the union,
become shop stewards. so we can have shop stewards in different departments so we have workers representing other workers, that we can create an environment for our demands and the workers' needs. if you have workers on the inside being more involved, then now you create a powerful force that amazon has to abide by the rules. amy: chris, do you plan to organize other warehouses? i mean, you actually have 1 -- yos is 85 hundred people. you have one right across the street. >> absolutely. we have another election in a couple of weeks that we are already comparing ourselves or we are right back out there. i was at the bus stop yesterday. we are back to the same thing we were doing. we absolutely got contacted b
thousands of workers in the last 48 hours from all over the country. absolutely this is just day one for alu. myself and derrick between us, we open up several differe buildings. we want to absolutely organize those. we have people reaching out that watched and pay attention. i am ecstatic about what is next. this is a catalyst for the revolution. amazon, the same way it is been happening with starbucks. we will have the same effect. amy: josefa velásquez, if you can talk about the comparison of what is happening with amazon now and with starbucks, what we're seeing all over the country right now? >> i think it all goes back to the early days of the pandemic where everyone was lauding a central workers, people who still had to work while some of us had the luxury to work from home. these 7:00 p.m. clap outs we had, all of these people had to work through the pandemic and
from 1/8 to the next, we forgot about it and it became the back of our minds. getting a people more conscious of the working class people who keep us fed, the people who deliver our packages. they created this moment in history where people started recognizing the working class more so than before, especially when it comes to tech and big companies where now you are seeing amazon and starbucks having major profit margins, while the workers are struggling to pay rent, to keep themselves fed, and are getting sick and dying from this virus. so it created this moment where everyone was looking around and saying, we have an immense amount of power because people are no longer putting up with some of the work situations, they have other alternatives. at the end of the day, dying over starbucks is not worth it so let's create something
different, let's organize. there is power in numbers. i think there are two very clear things happening here where these worker-let movement in a very big generational shift is to the feelings towards unions. jen z and millennials do nott have the same into the -- antipathy that general x and baby movers have. if you're able to grab a union job, great. these are very rare. it is this idea of organizing and behind-the-scenes look through social media of how my coffee gets made in the morning and all the stf behind it. the same thing with amazon. how does my package actually get from point a to point b? because this moment of revelation for everyone that, you know, it is not ok how people are treated. amy: chris smalls, your final message as we wrap up this conversation, to workers around
the country? also, what are the next steps right now for alu when it comes to this warehouse? when you commence contract negotiations? >> to answer the first one, we started already. we already dropped off letters to our general manager. i released a statement two days ago and we are already talking with lawyers who will be bringing in more legal representation. the message to the workers across the country and even across the world, do not quit your jobs. that is the simple thing you can do. everybody say, quit your job if you don't like it. you're jumping from one fire into the next. we need to stop doing that. nothing gets changed. the system remains in place if we continue to do that. i think we proved it is possible
, no matter what industry work in, what corporation you work for, we just unionized amazon. if we can do that, you can unionize anywhere. i've seen emails coming in, for example,he guy reached out to me from walmart stop whatever we can do, whatever advice we can land, we are here for you guys. very accessible. please reach out and stay connected, support us. if you are in the new york area, volunteer, foam baits, donate. once again, we are grassroots. we're ordinary people tryg to do right thing and protect one another. this is improving everybody's quality-of-life forming a union, so i include -- encourage everyone to do it. follow us on our social media. twitter, facebook, instagram. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, christian smalls,
interim president of the amazon labor union, and derrick palmer is vice president of organizing for the amazon labor union and a amazon worker, both 31, best friends. josefa velásquez is a senior reporter for the city. we will link to your coverage come including her latest piece "a cinderella story: how staten island amazon workers won against the multi-billion-dollar company." next up, ukrainian officials are accusing russia of committing war crimes and genocide for killing civilians. we will speak with amnesty international. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we to ukraine. ukrainian officials are accusing russia of committing war crimes for killing civilians. a warning to our audience, the images of what happened are very disturbing. over the weekend, ukraine regained full control of the kyiv region after russia troops retreated, leaving behind widespre devastaon. in the town of bucha, dozens of dead bodies were found in the streets, some with their hands and feet bound. ukrainian officials say they also believe hundreds of more people have been buried in mass
graves. this is anatoly fedoruk, the mayor of bucha. >> corpses of executed people still line the bucha streets. their hands are tied behind their backs. there were shot in the back of their heads. you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here. amy: on sunday, the ukrainian foreign minister dmytro kuleba said the massacre of civilians in bha was the "most outrageous atrocity of the 21st century." >> it is the most outrageous atrocity of the 21st century. and byaying we refer to bucha, but we should not forget about other towns and villages in the kyiv region which also became the crime scene for russian army. without an exaggeration, by what we have seen in bucha and the
vicinity, we can conclude russia is worse than isis in the scale and ruthlessness of the crimes committed. amy: the united nations secretary general antonio guterres said he was "deeply shocked" by the images from bucha and he called for an independent investigation. ukraine has asked the international criminal court to visit bucha to gather possible evidence of war crimes. russia has denied killing civilians and claimed the footage and photographs from bucha are a "staged performance" by kyiv. for more, we are joined in london by joanne mariner, the crisis response director at amnesty international. co-author of the new amnesty report titled "ukraine: russia's cruel siege warfare tactics unlawfully killing civilians -- new testimony and investigation." welcome to democracy now! could you start off by responding to this latest news that is just being exposed as russian forces pull away from
kyiv and the surrounding areas, moving in on the east? what is being shown right now? what is been discovered with these mass graves? >> absolutely. we are as shocked as everyone at these reports of mass graves, of civilians being found with their hands and feet tied -- obviously, extrajudicial executions -- and other work crimes. we are looking to investigate these crimes by interviewing witnesses and family members of those who are killed. we also think it is really important to clarify the circumstances of these killings. we would like to see forensic investigators deployed, people could examine the bodies in a medical way and assess whether people were shot while captive at close range or whether they were shot in the crossfire and the kind of indiscriminate attacks we have seen that are
characteristic of the warfare we have been seeing. certainly, the evidence we have seen so far is extremely disturbing and merits the most serious investigation. amy: and the response of russia saying that these are staged events, that they did not kill civilians? >> that is a textbook denial. we have seen perpetrators in many instances make those kinds of denials falsely, but it is also worth noting there have been staged incidents and other conflicts so that is why you don't immediately jump to conclusions and say this is absolutely a war cry. you need to analyze the evidence [indiscernible] holy reach a conclusion that will stand up in court. i was the, the kinds of -- not
just what we're seeing over the weekend, but what has been going on during the entire more than a month now of conflict merits series investigation and accountability for the perpetrators. so that is why you have seen the international court saying specifically that it is investigating these crimes. amy: can you talk about the results of your study that you did? what did you find? >> yeah, i'm sure youviewers know russian forcehave been laying siege to a string of ukrainian cities over the past 40 days, including variable, kharkiv -- mariupol, kharkiv. we cross checked testimonies using satellite image you and other digital investigative techniques. we documented a pattern of discriminant attacks that have killed and injured civilians. we have documented in discriminant russian attacks that have struck schools,
hospitals, shopping centers, areas were civilians typically gather and have a civilian function, even cilian passion or cars of people trying to flee these cities under sie. given the really overwhelming evidence we have collected, we concluded -- they discriminate attacks a defining feature of russia's cruel approach. this siege warfare, even though they have withdrawn from [indiscernible] amy: i want to go to ukraine's defense minister oleksii reznikov speaking sunday about the massacre in bucha. >> this is not a special operation. these are not police actions. these are our new racists /fascists who committed crimes against humans.
the whole world needs to know about this. amy: that is going back to bucha , the latest that is happening there. joanne mariner, if you could continue with what you found and also the issue of humanitarian corridors, what that means and if ukrainians have succeeded in establishing them and russians respecting them? >> i mentioned we document it and discriminate attacks. one of the key columns is russian forces are using inherently indiscriminate weapons. customer munitions which are widely banned, and explicit weapons with wide-area effects such as so-called dumb bombs, unguided bombs, multiple launch rocket systems. those weapons are absolutely not appropriate for use in densely populated areas.
there predictably going to kill civilians and russian forces use them in the knowledge that civilians are going to be killed. in doing so is a war crime. just to cite a few examples, in kharkiv, we have our crisis evidence lab that uses investigative techniques and we documented 22 separate incidents in rent weeks that have damaged civilian infrastructure from schools to clinics to ambulances. we documented the use of dumb bombs in a civilian neighborhood in an attack that killed an estimated 47 people, including a number of people who were just standing in line for bread. given this relentless bombardment of civilian neighborhoods and districts, we are calling for the establishment of safe humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to escape and allow
humanitarian aid to come in for those civilians who choose not to or are unable to escape. even though the parties to the conflict have agreed in principle to establish these corridors, in practice, they have violated -- they have not been protecting these corridors from the effects of warfare. so the icrc, the red cross has on multiple occasions now try to establish a humanitarian corridor into mariupol and have failed. most recently is weekend. in the absence of such a corridor, seeivilians rking their ves trying to escape civilian convoys coming out -- we've interviewed those who have witnessed people being killed in such convoys. amy: you also have the situation -- >> just another problem with the use of these corridors that we want to highlight is there really needs to be an effort
made to rescue and protect particular vulnerable groups. older people, people disabilities, anyone with injured or limited mobility. we have interviewed a number of these people. they're pretty much all trapped in basements facing shortages of food, of clean water, of heat. they are facing literal starvation. they don't have access -- many of them don't even have access to information to know how to get out, let alone have the ability, happy mobility that would allow them to get out. so these vulnerable people that are most likely to be the victims of the ongoing russian attacks. amy: you also have the ukrainian government saying there investigating a viral video circulating on social media that appears to show ukrainian soldiers shooting people in the
legs and beating them, i think on the outskirts of kharkiv. can you talk about -- did you find anything like that? >> absolutely. we have seen the video. the video shows the beating and shooting of captured combatants, people that legally should be considered prisoners of war and should be treated humanely. that absolutely needs to be investigated. and if confirmed, the responsible soldiers should be prosecuted. we are also concerned that the ukrainian authorities have posted videos showing captured russian soldiers, describing the encirclement since -- circumstances of how they ended up in the conflict. this is also because you're not supposed to expose prisoners of war to public curiosity. these people when and if they return to russia could face
quite serious repercussions for appearing in these kinds of videos. amy: you talk about antipersonnel landmines, cluster bombs. all of these that ukraine has raised, the u.s. has raised, western countries have raised, is a violation of international law. the u.s. has not signed onto the anti-landmine treaty, for example, or the cluster bomb treaty. do you think this could lead to a change in the u.s.'s attitude international law, actually endorsing it, even the icc, and international court? >> i hope so. amnesty international has documented u.s. killing of civilians, destruction of civilian neighborhoods in syria, in particular the city of raqqa, which if you look at photos of it, buildings were completely destrod. so i think everyone should be learning lessons. it is not one set of rules for
♪ ♪ hello and welcome back to nhk "newsline." i'm takao minori in new york. people around the world are seeing evidence of what many believe is an atrocity. they're recoiling from images of russian attacks in suburbs of the ukrainian capital. some believe troops attacked civilians purposely and indiscriminately. president volodymyr zelenskyy visited the site about 40