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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  April 26, 2022 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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04/26/22 04/26/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> we understand migration is a huge issue for the united states . in the case of cuba, have agreements from decades ago in the trump administration chose not to comply with them and the biden administration has continued the same approach. amy: the u.s. and cuba hold high-level talks for the first time in four years the focus on
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migration. we will speak to cuba's deputy foreign minister. in the world's richest man, elon musk, has reached a deal to i twitter for $44billion. >> musk or no musk, twitter and other social media platforms have a rponsibity to ensure that they are not amplifying hate and disinformation, conspiracy theories, and bigotry. amy: we will speak to jessica gonzález and evan henshaw-plath, a.k.a. rabble, the first employee and the engineer of the company that created twitter. plus, we talk to steve donziger, the environment a lawyer who sued ecological devastation after chevron was ordered to pay billions on the company when after him personally. after nearly 1000 days under house arrest, donziger is a free man today. we will speak to him for the first time in a studio.
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all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. united nations secretary general antonio guterres travels to moscow today to meet at the kremlin with russia's foreign minister and its president vladimir putin. his trip comes as the u.n. struggles to bring humanitarian relief to civilians trapped by russia's assault on eastern ukraine. guterres will again press russian and ukrainian troops to silence their guns after his previous calls for a ceasefire were ignored. after the secretary-general's visit to moscow, russia's deputy ambassador to the united nations said a truce was unlikely. >> we don't think the cease-fire is a good option right now because the only advantage it will give is a possibly for ukrainian forces to recoup.
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amy: moldova's president has convened an emergency meeting of her nation's supreme security council after a series of explosions rocked a region near ukraine's southern border that's home to a pro-russia separatist movement. early this morning, twin explosions destroyed a soviet-era radio tower that was used to broadcast russian radio programs across moldova. elsewhere, unknown assailants fired grenades at a state security building in the provincial capital of transnistria. the region in eastern moldova is home to pro-russia separatists, and russn troops he been permanently based there since the collapse of the soviet u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin is visiting germany's ramstein airbase today, joining officials from more than 40 countries for u.s.-hosted talks on providing military support to ukraine. russian foreign minister sergei lavrov responded by accusing nato of fighting a proxy war
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against russia. on monday, three nato warships arrived at a port in southwestern finlandess than 200 les from rsia's border sweden and fland have reportedly agreed to submit simultaneous membership applications to join nato as early as the middle of next month. in norway, police arrested 20 protesters monday after they blocked a massive shipment of russian oil from reaching shore. members of greenpeace held signs reading "oil fuels war" as they chained themselves to the chain -- to the anchor chain of the massive ust luga oil tanker, which was waiting to offload nearly 100,000 metric tons of fuel to a terminal operated by exxon mobil. this is frode pleym, head of greenpeace norway. >> this oil tanker is fully loaded with russian oil, for a short here in norway. greenpeace is demanding from the
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norwegian government to ensure this russian oil is not imported to norway. amy: in more climate news, about 4000 protesters rallied in the village of lützerath in western germany over the weekend, seeking to halt the expansion of a massive open-pit coal mine. the village is set to be demolished to make way for the nearby garzweiler mine, which produces brown coal, or lignite, one of the world's dirtiest fossil fuels. the world's richest man elon musk is set to become the new owner of twitter after the company's board agreed to sell the influential social media platform for $44 billion. the deal is expected to close later this year pending regulatory approval. the watchdog group media matters criticized musk's takeover of twitter saying it will be a "victory for disinformation and the people who peddle it." at the white house, press secretary jen psaki said
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president biden was concerned about musk's hostile takeover. >>, who owns or runs twitter, the president is concerned about the power of large social media platforms, the power they have over our everyday lives have long argued tech platforms must beeld, for the harms they cost. he has been a strong supporter of fundamental reforms to achieve that goal, including reforms to section 230 come in acting antitrust reforms, and more. amy: we'll have more on elon musk's takeover of twitter later in the broadcast. we will speak with the first employee of the company that created twitter, as well as jessica gonzález of free press. nicaragua has withdrawn from the organization of american states and has expelled oas representatives from the country. the oas says the move is a "violation of the most basic international norms" and that nicaragua cannot leave the organization until 2023. nicaragua has long accused the oas of being a tool for u.s. intervention. this is nicaragua's foreign
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minister. >> ratify our unwavering decision to leave the organization of american states as expressed on a never write 192021 -- november 19, 2021. by confirming our revocable to enunciate and resignation this calamitous and line dependency of the state department, of yankee imperialism. amy: el salvador has extended a state of emergency that was imposed a month ago by another 30 days despite reports of serious human rights violations. the crackdown was enacted due to rising homicides attributed to gangs. the order suspends freedom of assembly, weakens due process rights for those arrested, and extends the time people can be held without charge. the salvadoran president nayib bukele says over 18,000 accused gang members have been detained. residents of the capital san salvador say everyone is being targeted.
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>> the people are being affected and only the bad guys, but also good people. children are being frisked. i think this means rights violations. >> they arrest anyone. they arrest people because of the way they dress or their hairstyle. it is a matter of luck. they have even detained elderly people. amy: a federal judge in louisiana has temporarily blocked the biden administration from ending title 42, a trump-era policy that's allowed the u.s. government to expel asylum seekers at the u.s.-mexico border without due process. the biden administration planned to end title 42 by next month, facing backlash from both republicans and democrats. since title 42 was first invoked in march 2020, over 1.7 million asylum seekers have been expelled from the u.s. and returned to places where they face kidnapping, torture, sexual assault, or threats to their lives. chinese authorities have ordered 3.5 million residents of beijing's most populous district to undergo mass testing for
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covid-19. the order set off a run on grocery stores as residents fear they may soon suffer the same fate as shanghai, where some 25 million people have been shut in their homes for eks. another 30 million people in chinese cities outside shanghai and beijing are also on lockdown. china recently reported its highest rates of community spread since the start of the pandemic, as it struggles to enforce its zero-covid strategy. in hong kong, the foreign correspondents' club has postponed its annual human rights journalism awards over concerns the event could violate a sweeping national security law imposed by chinese authorities in beijing. "washington post" correspondent shibani mahtani resigned from the correspondence press freedom committee in protest. she told the financial times -- "it is emblematic?of the self-censorship many institutions feel forced to subject themselves to in today's hong kong?and entirely indicative of how the national security law has changed the landscape for all."
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in turkey, a court has sentenced businessman and civil society leader osman kavala to life in prison without the possibility of parole in a decision condemned by human rights groups. seven co-defendants each received 18-year prison terms. kavala has been jailed in pre-trial detention since 2017 after he was arrested on charges related to the 2013 gezi park protests. he was also accused of organizing a failed coup against president recep tayyip erdogan's government in 2016. kavala's supporters gathered outside a courthouse in istanbul monday as his life sentence was handed down. >> if this was a lawful decision, we would be able to comment on it but it is not. this is a culmination of the government's revenge against the protesters. this is the execution of orders coming from the turkish president. amy: amnesty international condemned the harsh sentences for kavala and his co-defendants.
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the group said in a statement -- "today, we have witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. this verdict deals a devastating blow not only to osman kavala, his co-defendants, and their families, but to everyone who believes in justice and human rights activism in turkey and beyond." a new york judge has found donald trump in civil contempt of court for faing to full comply with a subpoena from attorney general letitia james asking for records on the trump organization's business dealings. the court ordered trump to pay $10,000 each day he fails to turn over the records. trump's lawyers have promised to appeal the order. new york state attorney general james has been investigating whether the trump organization inflated the values of its properties to obtain loans and then reduced them to evade taxes. a new study finds prosecutions of corporate criminals has hit a record low under president joe biden, worsening a trend that saw corporate impunity set records under president trump. public citizen reports the
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number of corporate prosecutions in fiscal year 2021 dropped to just 90, or less than half the average rate over the previous quarter century. meanwhile, human rights and environmental lawyer steven donziger has just been released from nearly 1000 days of house arrest. donziger's legal ordeal began after he successfully sued chevron on behalf of 30,000 ecuadorian amazonian indigenous people for dumping 16 billion gallons of oil into their ancestral land. we'll speak with steven donziger later in the broadcast. and the texas court of criminal appeals has granted a stay of execution for melissa lucio and ordered a lower court to consider new evidence of lucio's innocence in the death of her two-year-old daughter mariah. lucio was scheduled to die on wednesday. now she may get a new trial. her attorneys say lucio, who is a survivor of a lifetime of abuse, was pressured to make a false confession and didn't get a fair trial.
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on monday, the texas tribune recorded as state representative jeff leach spoke by phone with lucio to break the news, talking to her on death row. >> you have heard the news yet? the court of criminal appeals issued a stay of your execution for thursday. >> are you serious? [crying] when did this happen? >> we just got word about 15 minutes ago. >> oh, my god! [crying] that is wonderful. oh, my god. amy: i monday, members of melissa's family gathered at the
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prison north of austin where they celebrated the news of the reprieve. this is melissa's son john. >> it is been 15 long years. we set at our, god forbid, if it takes another two years, for years, doesn't matter, we're going to hug her regardless. you have more physical contact. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined by democracy now! co-host juan gonzález in new brunswick, new jersey. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: the united states and cuba held their highest level talks in four years last week in washington. the talks focused on the soaring number of cubans arriving at the u.s.-mexico border. since october, u.s. customs and border protection has arrested over 80,000 cubans.
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that's double the number in 2021 and five times the total of 2020. cuban officials blame the growing number of residents trying to leave the island in part on the u.s. economic blockade. meanwhile, cuba has accused the biden administration of pressuring allies to block cuba from participating in the upcoming summit of the americas, which is scheduled to take place in los angeles in june. cuba took part in the last two summits, in 2015 and 2018. we are joined now by carlos fernández de cossío, cuba's deputy foreign minister, the former cuban investor to south africa and canada. he is joining us from washington, d.c., were he participated in the talks with the u.s. last week. this was the first time in years -- it is good to have you with us. can you talk about what is at issue and what you feel needs to happen?
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>> good morning. i'm glad to be here. the relationship in terms of migration between cuba and the united states is governed basically by agreements we signed during the years. that established a mutual commitment to ensure we can avoid irregular, insecure, disorderly migration between the two countries. but if you fail to implement the agreements, and it is not implemented comprehensively, and you don't achieve the gl we set mutually between the two countries. the gures you have today, some of which you mentioned, and also the threats of an irregular and uncontrolled migration through the florida straight in the coming months, are issues that need to be discussed. you need to put an end to what u.s. calls full effect, which is incentives for cuba to believe if they do reach the border of the united states, almost automatically will be accepted. as a difference to migrants from
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any other country in t world. privileged treatment for cubans at the border. grading only cubans the possibility of permanent residence within a year. that is an incentive to cubans. in addition to that if you do not process and do not great pieces normally and legally in the u. embassy in cuba, the people have no legal avenue to migrate to the unite states and to follow the incentive to migrate to this country. since 2017, the u.s. shut down the processing of visas in havana and since then has not fulfilled its commitment to grant a minimum of 20,000 legal migrant visas to cuba. when you became like that during the years, up to understand there is the potential to migrate. if in addition to that, you apply against cuba and econom blockade, a maximumressure
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since 2019, then you have the perfect conditions, the perfect recipe for irregular migration to the united states, something ba wants to avoid anwe understand the u.s. alsoants to avoid. it increases problems in countries concretes an incentive to use people -- not only by cubans but migrants and other nationalities that want to enter the united states. from other regions of the world. if u.s. politicians believe as they state to tackle migration come irregular migration, you need to address the economic conditions of the countries of orig, it is contradictory to the fact against cuba what is being applied is a policy of making life as diffilt as possible for the people of cuba, to diminish standard of living, to make them in many cases want to go to another country to seek their aspirations of prosperity.
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that is the issue in place today and that is part of the issues we discussed on the meeting we had last week. juan: deputy minister, i want to ask you in terms of the surge in migrants from cuba, especially -- because most of that migration attempts in the past have come directly over the straits but now we're seeing a significant number of cubans trying across cross at the mexican border, fourfold increase this year compared to last fiscal year. why is that happening? especially this direction, trying to get in through mexico? and you mentioned since 2017, legal visas have not been provided by the united states in heaven itself. why that? >> first, this is not a new process. in the past few months it has grown with this is been going on for several years now.
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if the united states would have fulfilled its commitment of granting 20,000 visas a year, it would perfectly have avoided thousands of cubans reaching the border of united states to ent mexico. if they have an establisd leavthat is -- contrary to the rest of migrants around the world that, because there cubans, what have our privilege possibility of entering the united states then people would believe it is possible. yet difficult economic conditions above all since 2019 when the trump administration started to live with a call maximum pressure to make life difficult in cuba as a way to overthrow the goverent or we can the government. the current goverent continues to apply the same policiess the trump administration so people have no aspiration or no hope as well change. the economic conditions are
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difficult if they have no way to legally migre to the united states, if they have fami at the other side of the florida strait, and they use whatever means. they are convinced they will be accepted. juan: i wanted to ask you about another question apart from migration. the war in ukraine. cuba has been one of russia's key allies over the years. your government has criticized the united states and other western powers are involved in this crisis. could you talk about why your government has taken the position it has an so many other governments in latin america have actually sought not to directly condemn russia? i'm talking about mexico, or even brazil. could you explain the perspective of cuba on what is going on in ukraine? >> i will do that, yes. the position of cuba, we stated this war could have en avoided.
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we spoke about this in 2014. he said it s irresponsible for the u.s. government to continue to push nato on the borders of russia, that russia would naturally feel threatened, that russia would want to avoid a position in which it is surrounded by nato and having to take aion against the nato country to protect itself. we have been saying that for years. it is not now. we say the is a responsibility of the u.s. in pushing nato towardhe border of russia. in addition to that, we sent as a matter of principle and a matter of our conditional respect of international law, we oppose any transgression, intervention fm one nation against another. the transgression of the border of a sovereign country. russians know that, the international community knows that because that is a standing position of cuba. he said from t very benning,
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from when this conflict began, that talks needed to take place and assurance needed to be given so each couny in europe could live in pea and not forced to war becausef wanting to push war against the borders of russia. that has beethe cuban positi. we also follow the positions of countries of latin america. they can sak for themselves and one would understand not all nations around the world see they tend to push nato can stretch as a good idea. they have seen that for years as a threat. amy: let me ask you, carlos fernández de cossío, china, cuba, iran, and three were among the 24 nations that voted against installing russia from the u.n. human rights council but cuba abstained when it came to criticizing russia rather than voting for russia. what was your reservation
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instead of standing directly with them? >> there were different resolutions and different contexts. in the resolution of expelling russia from the human rights council, we set it was a double standard. for the reasons explained committed take that decision, should have expelled the united states every year that it has been in the human rights council because of aggression, because of massive -- all over the world, including the united states, constantly and every day. there was a total double standard and we do not support that. in the case of the resolution at the general assembly in which we abstained, it is a resolution thatontains many principles that cuba has espoused, many principles that cuba has promoted -- by the way, against the will of the united states for decades. so we could not vote against a resolution that stands for the principles we have against aggression toward
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any country in the world, therefore, we had to abstained because it put us in a difficult position to have to take up a vote on something that is not standing with cuban principles. amy: you are deeply concerned about the sovereignty of nations, like your own, like cuba, fiercely opposed to the u.s. sanctions that have so hurt cuba. do you feel the same about ukraine? are you concerned about the brutality of the russian invasion? >> we are concerned about the brutality about everybody at war , not only russia. i will leave it at that. we have been very careful trying to avoid -- we have a very good relationship and traditional historic relationship with the people of ukraine and russia. we have visited, people who have studied in both countries. we are visited by people in both countries. we have a relationship with both countries and we abstained from
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making pronouncements. juan: i wanted to ask you about the biden administration's relationship to cuba. clearly, as vice president, joe biden was part of the obama administration that sought to normalize relations with cuba. donald trump refused does reverse that and there were many expectations that i would follow the obama path when he came to cuba. what has gone wrong and what -- how do you see the biden administration, the reasoning y it has not gone back to the obama policies? close to relevant question and i do not have an answer. in practicalerms, the livelihoods of the people of cuba, the current policy of the u.s., of the biden government is exactly the one from the trump administration. the impact of economic measures is not short of criminal against
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the people of cuba today. r cases of covid, not much contact. americans would understand e differen today than what we'd spirits in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 2017 in termsf our economic output and standard of living's e measures applied by the starting in 2019 escalated the blockade to a different dimension and has a huge impact on people of cuband remains in place. it was based on excuses fabrated by e trump administration that are not repeated anymore, at the measures are still i in place. the question is very relevant. what we find in washington, what w'reold is it is a matter perception, a matter of politicalisk -- i'm talking about domestic politics. that is the only excuse that is truly presented to us. thtrump administration, for example, and it cuba in the state departmentist of
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countries that sponsor terrorism. nobody in washington has been able to tell me with a straigh face they honestly believe cuba sponsors terrorism. no american that i talked to ken put an argument -- talk to can put an argument whcuba is on that list. that list has a huge impact in the with international community , banks, financial institutions, trading copies, private companies trade with cuba. they fear they will be punished, they feel a backlash from the u.s. if they engage with countries on that list even though they don't believe country should be on the list. that is a reality we face today. when trump put cuba on that list, it was firmly criticized by the democratic party. yet we still remain on that list with the consequences and the punishment it entail amy: can you say what that punishment is? for an audience who is not
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familiar with what is going on in cuba, the effect of the sanctions that have been imposed on cuba for more than half a century -- if you have any indication from the biden administration that they will lift some of them? >> that me give yoone example. within 30 to 40 days after cuba was included on the list, over 30 fancial institutions, not american financial institutions, shut down their relationship, commercial relationship with cuba because of fear of u.s. sanctions. you have a practical impact on that which is based on nonsense, based on fabrication with the trump administration at the end of his term. but the implications of economic measures are huge because cuba annually, some $5 millioin a country of the size of cuba, imagine that impact. the worst case is it was during the covid pandemic. the u.s. ever found covid was an
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ally in its attempt to punish cuba, and that is wt they did. they applied extreme pressure so it was difficult for us to cope with the pandemic, to cope with our economic needs, and economic international crisis that came out of the pandemic. that is what describes cuba's economic position in the last two years. we spoke with people of the democratic party before they went to office and they were highly critical of what was happening, but yet they are in government now and no change has taken place. the reason again, would have to ask the white house. amy: we want to thank you so much for being with us. juan, you have one last question? juan: i want to as the foreign minister, mentioned the covid pandemic. cuba quickly developed five different covid-19 vaccines. could you talk about the success cuba has had in combating the
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pandemic compared to many other countries, including our own united states? >> the success was based originally under the robust nature of our health system, which is unique, worldwide, and we had the capability of immediately taking measures so the spread was not -- there was a very early decision led by our president that we needed to velop vaccines. there were questns in our scientific community. i would we do that? others will produce vaccines. he said, when there produced, cuba will be the last one to get them. and that is been the tree. thanks to that, we were able to develop five vaccines, fully vaccinatedur population. if you looat the figures, we have led the process well. above all, in terms of debt but also n a people -- deaths, but also the amot of people infected, allowings to recover
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normal life in the country to try to push the economy back forward but it has bn a huge success. some of these vaccines have been shared arod the world. but also from the early moments, our doctors went arod the world to spain, to sever countries in latin america, to help cope with the vaccines. not only with their professional capability, but with the methods and procedures and protocols we have in cuba that have bruising -- proven to be successful. amy: we want to thank you for being with us, carlos fernández de cossío, cuba's deputy foreign minister. next up, the world's richest man has reached a deal to buy twitter for $44 billion. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: charlie haden and the liberation music orchstra's
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"song for che." this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. the world's richest man elon musk is set to become the new owner of twitter after the company's board agreed to sell the influential social media platform for $44 billion. the deal is expected to close later this year pending regulatory approval. the watchdog group media matters criticized musk's takeover of twitter saying it will be a "victory for disinformation and the people who peddle it." media matters and other groups have expressed concern that musk will allow donald trump to resume using the platform. twitter permanently banned trump shortly after the deadly january 6 insurrection. former labor secretary robert reich also criticized musk's move, saying -- "unlike his ambitions to upend transportation and interstellar flight, this one is dangerous. it might well upend democracy." musk, who describes himself as a "free speech absolutist" tweeted
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-- "i hope that even my worst critics remain on twitter, because that is what free speech means." we are joined now by two guests. jessica gonzález is co-ceo of the media advocacy organization free press. she is also a founder of the change the terms coalition. and we are joined by evan henshaw-plath, who is also known as rabble. he was the first employee and lead engineer of that company that created twitter. he is now working on blue sky, a twitter-backed project to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. he is the founder of planetary, a decentralized social media app. he is joining us from wellington, new zealand. we welcome you both to democracy now! evan henshaw-plath, you have been described as twitter's first employee, at least the employee of the company that started twitter. can you respond out to the richest man in the world taking
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over one of the most powerful social media platforms in the world that you helped start? >> it is a bit disturbing because we don't know what is going to happen. we don't know where he is going to take it. under the current administration of the company, had commitment to things like moderation policies [indiscernible] we can see where it goes. elon musk has advocated for some things that are big and great and some things that are really terrible and will harm it. we simply don't know anymore where he is going to take it but we do know that he has spent a bit of an abusive crypto bro on twitter and is that the kind of person we want?
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juan: you mentioned the issue of crypto currency, there are some who believe ts is an attempt for him to be able to spread his support of cryptocurrency in establish worldwide structure. what is your sense of his support of cryptocurrency and twitter? >> we don't know. he believes in open source, open protocols. that is what the blue sky project has been working on but he also believes it should all be monetized. in some ways, that is not a huge change from the previous two ceos who are also pro-crypto and advocate for cryptocurrency. whether or not this means
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cryptocurrencies will be more deeply integrated into twitter, we just don't know. he says he wants to do it but the current twitter management -- juan: jessica gonzález, what are your concerns? you urged the shareholders of twitter not to approve this takeover attempt? what are your main concerns about elon musk? >> good morning. my main concern is that musk has demonstrated no commitment to helping to protect our democracy and civil and human rights. musk orono musk, twitter has work to do to ensure it stops amplifying bigotry, cost of violence, hate speech, and conspiracy theories. it also needs to do much more to protect its users across geographies and across languages. so while there may be a couple of things like around
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transparency, we have seen musk demonstrate time and again he does not really have a commitment to protecting our democracy. his number one objective is to protect himself and advance his own interests. when we hear musk san, i am a free speech absolutist, everything goes, that means also that hate and harassment goes, the kind that shouts down wome and people of color. that is not how we achieve balance of free speech. moreover, musk has also really not lived up to his self-proclaimed free-speech salute is values. he called on the chinese government to censor folks who were criticizing tesla. this is not the sort of steady, reliable hand that we want making decisions about how our communications infrastructure works. amy: jessica, can you explain
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the fix the feed campaign that you're not involved with? you have just announced this campaign. >> yes, i would love to. thank you. i am working with over five dozen partners in the chae the terms coalition, a coalition that was built by and serving women and people of color who are more likely to face hate and harassment campaigns online. i head of the midterms, we're calling on not just twitter but also tiktok, youtube, meta, and other social media platforms to stop amplifying conspiracy theories, election interference, and disinformation that have targeted women, people of color, and others on the margin. we are calling on them to do that across languages. you see time and again social media, as poorly as the moderating content and english, even worse in spanish and other non-english languages, and we're
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calling on them to be much more transparent about their content moderation practices. juan: evan, this whole issue of the responsibility of these platforms, content moderation versus the imperative to protect free speech. how do you feel musk-led twitter will resolve this issue? clearly, there are major, major problems. government attempts now to hold the platforms responsible for their content and threats of more legislation in that vein. what is your sense of how musk will deal with it? >> my sense is musk has no idea what he is getting into, no idea the complexity of it, and sees just a few examples of it so he says, ban the box and verify the name without understanding the harm it will do.
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he does not know the perspective of people who are marginalized because he is the son of a man who owned in emerald nine in south africa. he has not experienced what people who experienced just having attacks on these platforms face. yes, lots of critics and everything else, but what he does not realize is these moderation systems and problems, they make mistakes. it is hard. there's a process by which it needs to be approved. but simply removing moderation, that does not help the problem. that is actually going to make entire space much more toxic. we will see whether or not he even actually wants to do that given the fact when it is criticizing him, he has no problem of silencing speech. payment to rabble, i want to ask about the early routes of trader
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-- amy: rabble, i would ask about the early routes of twitter. helping to organize the protests against republican national convention that were taking place here in new york city, also used in the democratic convention of that year in boston. can you go back then and the just give us a trajectory of what twitter came out of? >> sure. the company that created twitter was originally a podcasting company. a bunch of us who have been active within an immediate and in collaboration with democracy now! build a text alert system, groups of people could text either news or updates to each other in the streets of the protest. that was successful in 2004 and we used it again for the may 1 immigrant rights general strike. because we were building that and working out of the office,
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the rest of the team got excited about it and we taught jack dorsey how to send sms messages and the entire team spent a week using text mob and did an analysis of what worked and did not work in that system. that come in looking at blogging and status update systems were sort of combined together to create twitter. the activist roots behind twitter were very much part of it. the entire team that created twitter spent an entire week just using the activist platforms to understand how they work and did a design analysis of how to make them better. that political vision and energy is part of why twitter is such an effective organizing tool. juan: has disheartened you to see what has happened in the years since the fact now
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celebrities can basically buy twitter followers or vox can have such enormous influence on people's thinking is what is real and not, given the fact the entire business model came out of a resistance and a pro-democracy movement? >> you know, there are parts of it that i am incredibly proud of and stunned by most of the way in which black lives matter has used it for organizing, the way in which people in the arab spring used it to communicate their movements to the outside world and things that are completely depressing. the byline for indymedia is you should be the media. at the time, passing like a radical statement. now that we have being their own media, we see there is a whole other side of albums we need to face. -- whole other set of
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problems we need to face. we have used it to change the world. unfortunately, it empowered a bunch of people who had views that were right-wing authoritarian, racist, homophobic views that have been silenced by the mainstream media , a bunch of conspiracy theories, and will give everyone a microphone. we need better tools to counteract that. amy: let me ask jessica gonzález about president trump who was famously thrown off twitter after the january 6 insurrection. he has said he has no plans to rejoin twitter. but your thoughts on that and just overall musk saying that he has used the platform to say shelter-in-place orders because of covid or fascist, he also once tweeted the coronavirus panic is dumb.
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does this make you concerned about -- there's nothing wrong with saying those things as he has his opinions -- but at this whole issue that media matters and others are raising of going down a path of misinformation that has massive effect around the world? >> yes, i am concerned, amy. listen, individuals have the right to say whatever they want, right? but when you combine that with power, money, presence, that is something we ought to be concerned about. can musk take over twitter and do what he wants with it? sure, he can. but he shouldn't. it can be very dangerous for our democracy. the fact he has regularly spread covid disinformation is extremely concerning. in my opinion, twitter has a responsibility to protect public health and safety. and if the person running twitter is a regular purveyor of
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false information, that gives me greatpause. as for donald trump, i don't trust for a minute he wouldn't jump right back on twitter if you could. i think twitter makes the right decision to take him down. he was inciting violence. he was using the platform to amplify conspiracy theories and bigotry. that was the right move. i don't think you should return to twitter. we saw study after study after he was taken down that disinformation went down markedly after he left the platform. so i hope that he will remain off twitter. that is yet to be known. juan: i wanted to ask you, jessica, just quickly if you could, joe biden nominated to do some to fill the fed and tie-brking seat the federal, occasions commissioned in
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october but she has not been confirmed by the senate. what is your sense of what is going on there? close gg has been targeted by right-wing conspiracy team plain and simple. they have been trimming up false information, painting her integral light. i know her personally. she is a good friend of mine, responsible steward of the publ interest d i hope the senate will confirm her without further delay. this is really slowing down our ability. press has important policies to get people online and ensure the internet is a portable and to reinstate net neutrality principles. amy: evan, what you make of elon musk's statement he would like to make twitter's algorithm open source? >> i am an advocate of open source. i think opening so as i people can analyze how it works and understand it will be powerful
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for users and powerful for researchers. the fact it has been a black box has been a major problem. whether or not that really improves things is a good question because part of the reason companies don't publish their algorithms for timelines and who they connect to is that opens up people to game the system even more effectively. the minute you know exactly how it works, you will tweak the way in which you publish stuff to do that. normal users who are not try to manipulate the system won't able to s that, won't be able to take advantage of the loopholes, whereas people who have intentional teams set up to figure out how to many believe these things either for advertising or disinformation, they're going to be able to use that information about the algorithm to more effectively dominate the platform. that is a major problem.
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something we need to address. one thing when trump was elected, actually sat down with jack dorsey and that a conversation about deleting the account in 2016. my answer that's what i said was come he should have deleted before he ran for president when he was doing abusive things. if you did it after that, the stock market and investors were going to claim he was not following fiduciary responsibilities so the market was going to overwrite him if he deleted it. that is why i think he had to wait until it got too bad. that is the problem with running public spaces on the market. amy: abend, is it accute to say you were the first employee of twitter? >> i was the first employee involved with creating twitter. twitter the company was actually created about a year after twitter, the service was
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launched. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us evan , henshaw-plath, also known as rabble, was one of the founding member of twitter, and jessica gonzález is co-ceo of the media advocacy organization free press. founder of the change the terms coalition. next up, we go to steven donziger. he has just been freed from house arrest after almost 1000 days. back in 30 seconds. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: an excerpt of odetta's "freedom trilogy." this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we end today's show with human rights and environmental lawyer steven donziger, who has just been released from nearly 1000 days of house arrest as part of a legal ordeal that began after he successfully sued chevron on behalf of 30,000 ecuadorian amazonian indigenous people for dumping 16 billion gallons of oil into their ancestral land. in 2011, ecuador's supreme court ordered chevron to pay $18
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billion in a landmark ruling seen as a major victory for corporate accountability. but chevron refused to pay or clean up the land. instead, it launched a legal attack on the ruling, targeting steven donziger. last year, the judge in the case found donziger in criminal contempt of court after he refused to turn over his computer and cellphone, sentencing him to six months in prison for contempt of court -- a misdemeanor. in an extremely unusual legal twist, the judge had appointed a private law firm with ties to chevron to prosecute donziger after federal prosecutors declined to bring charges. after 45 days in prison, he returned to house arrest -- until monday, when he finished his sentence and was released. after about 1000 days after house arrest. last night he had a block party in manhattan, celebrating his freedom. we welcome you to democracy now! how does it feel to be free?
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>> thank you, amy, for that introduction. it feels wonderful. honestly, i did not really understand freedom until it was taken away. we take it for granted. what happened to me, more and rtly the people down and ecuador who i represent who are still suffering tremendously from toxic pollution caused by chevron, it was just something i think was entirely inappropriate and unethical but i don't think i should have spent a day in detention. there was a retaltion played by chevron and some of its allies in the judiciary. i dealt with that. we build our campaign even stronger during my time in detention. it was painful for me and my family, but we are thrilled that phase of this battle is over and we are ready to move onto the next part, which is really try to get the judgment the people of ecuador won so they can clean
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up the toxic pollution on their ancestral lands. that is where we will focus now. juan: are you still a prisoner of chevron? you have been disbarred from prticing law in new york and the law firm can still come for you? >> i don't know. i just want to be clear, i have been disbarred. it was all based on this chevron retaliation case, carried out by the gibson dunn law firm that was largely based on the testimony of admitted lying witness that chevron paid a bunch of money to and coached for 53 days. the judgment and ecuador has been validated by multiple appellate courts, including the supreme court's of ecuador and canada for enforcement purposes. chevron still faces enormous risk. my disbarment was based on a finding of one judge here in new york who contradict the findings of 28 appellate georges and ecuador and canada. but on that basis, i have my law
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license taken without a hearing. one of the things i will be focusing on is getting my law license back. i still am in a position to advocate to help my clients. thr other members of our legal team to play that particular role but it is important to establish the principle that a human rights lawyer who does this kind of frontline important human rights work and birth defense work not be jailed, disbarred for doing his or her job. that is what happened to me. the larger issue -- this case goes well beyond me. chevron tried to use me as what i would say a weapon of mass distraction. some people -- focused on the environment of crime. this goes beyond me. if we low this type of private prosecution -- the u.s. government rejected the charges against me.
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a private law firm has chevron as a client and that was my prosecutor, which explains this extraordinary length of detention for a misdemeanor. i was in detention 993 days for a misdemeanor crime. i assert my innocence, but even if i were guilty, the maximum sentence is 180 days. there were a lot of irregularities that we plan to challenge to try to correct. ultimately, this was really about corporate capture, i believe, of an element of our federal judiciary in retaliation for my work. that is a playbook i think the industry, the fossil fuel industry that is, plans to continue to use against lawyers and activists who are a little too successful [indiscernible] amy: we're going. to leave it there because we have come to the end of the show and the end of your zoom capacity it sounds
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like. steven donziger is a human rights lawyer who successfully sued chevron in ecuador for dumping oil and toxic waste in the amazon. just off house arrest after nearly 1000 days. democracy now! has an immediate opening for a news writer producer.÷÷ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■ñ■■
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. ♪ hello. welcome back to nhk "newsline." i'm takao minori in new york. russian forces are fighting to solidify their control over southern and eastern ukraine. they've been pounding targets in the region even as they've withdrawn from other areas. but they're facing a ukrainian army that is increasingly well equipped. residents in the eastern city of kharkiv have been with one


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