Skip to main content

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

8:00 am
07/08/22 07/08/22 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> we cannot accept this violent act during an election, the foundation of democracy, under the strongest terms condemn this act. amy: japan's former prime minister shinzo abe has been assassinated while giving a speech in western japan. we will go to tokyo for the latest. then the detained wnba superstar
8:01 am
brittney griner pleads guilty in russian court as pressure grows on the biden administration to help secure her release. >> i am frustrated 140 days have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family, and to her friends. i am frustrated that my wife is not going to get justice. amy: then we look at the killing of al jazeera reporter shireen abu akleh in the occupied west bank in may. this week the u.s. state department said she was likely killed by israeli military gunfire, but the u.s. found her death was the result of tragic circumstances not an intentional killing. the u.s. is being accused of helping israel whitewash her death before biden's visit.
8:02 am
all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. japan's former prime minister shinzo abe has been shot and killed by an assassin wielding what appeared to be a homemade gun stop he was campaigning for a parliamentary election friday morning and essential japan when two shots rang out. images of the attacks aftermath shows security officials tackling a man in a gray t-shirt . they later named the suspect, former member of japan's maritime self-defense force. footage from the scene shows what appears to be an improvised double barrel gun. japan's strict gun control laws prevent almost everyone from possessing guns.
8:03 am
in 2021, there were 10 shooting incidents in japan, just one gun death. by comparison, the u.s. typically records 45,000 gun deaths each year. shinzo abe was airlifted to a nearby hospital with injuries to his neck and heart and pronounced dead earlier today from blood loss. he was 67 years old. he was the longest running prime minister of japan when he stepped down in 2020 citing poor health. over nearly eight years in office, he remained pro-nuclear despite the 2011 fukushima knelt down following an earthquake and tsunami. he tried unsuccessfully to do away with article nine of japan's pleased -- peace constitution which renounces war and bars japan from using or threatening to use military force. we will have more on shinzo abe 's assassination and legacy after headlines when we go to japan. ukraine's government says at least four people have been killed and several others founded by russian rocket fire
8:04 am
in kharkiv and kramatorsk. elsewhere, russian warplanes bombed snake island early thursday just after ukrainian troops landed on the black sea territory and hoisted blue and yellow ukrainian flags to celebrate russia's withdrawal from the island. in moscow, president vladimir putin said russia's military operation in ukraine has yet to start in earnest more than 130 days after he launched russia's invasion. >> we amy: are hearing they want to defeat us on the battlefield. what can i say, let them try. we have heard the west wants to fight us. it is a tragedy for the ukrainian people but it looks like it is headed in that direction. everybody should know we have not even yet started anything in earnest. amy: in kyiv, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy met thursday with visiting u.s. senators lindsey graham and richard blumenthal. the pair are promoting bipartisan legislation that
8:05 am
would see the u.s. declare russia a state sponsor of terrorism, joining a list that includes cuba, iran, north korea, and syria. senator blumenthal spoke to reporters after the meeting. >> i was shaken to the bone at the mass graves today and that of photographs of innocent people with their hands tied behind their backs slaughtered outside their homes. and the destruction of nursery schools and civilian targets, innocent people killed. if that isn't terrorism, i don't know what is. amy: on capitol hill, progressive democrats mark pocan and barbara lee have proposed slashing the pentagon buet by $100 billion. their proposed amendment to the national defense authorization act comes after democratic leaders agreed to add up to $45 billion to president biden's already-record-breaking request
8:06 am
this year for $813 billion in military spending. meanwhile, public citizen reports members have received over $10 million in campaign contributions from weapons manufacturers during the 20 election cycle. in russia, wnba star brittney griner has pleaded guilty to charges that could bring her up to 10 years in prison after officials found less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage as she passed through customs at a moscow airport in february. griner's russian lawyer spoke to reporters outside a moscow-area courthouse thursday. >> our defendant has pleaded guilty. she drew the courts attention to the fact she did what she did inadvertently without intent. amy: brittney griner's guilty plea added to speculation that the u.s. may be negotiating her release as part of a prisoner swap with russia. we'll have more on brittney
8:07 am
griner's case later in the broadcast. president biden is signing an executive order to protect abortion rights two weeks after the supreme court overturned roe v. wade. the order directs health and human services secretary xavier becerra to submit a report within 30 days on how to safeguard access to abortion medication and emergency contraception while maintaining patient privacy. residents of akron, ohio, were ordered to spend another night under curfew thursday as protesters continue to demand justice for jayland walker, the 25-year-old black man killed in a hail of police gunfire on june 27. walker was unarmed when akron police officers fired about 90 rounds at him after he tried to flee a traffic stop. his body was still handcuffed when it arrived at a coroner's office for an autopsy, which showed he was struck at least 60 times.
8:08 am
on thursday, akron officers arrested prominent family members of police shooting victims and charged them with rioting. bianca austin is an aunt of breonna taylor, who was shot and killed by police officer brett hankison in her own home in louisville, kentucky, in 2020. also arrested was jacob blake sr., whose son was left partially paralyzed after he was shot by police in kenosha, wisconsin, in 2020. >> to take a stand because enough is enough. if this was white america and a white in smoke. but because he is brown and looks like me, 60 shots -- what did he do to provoke? nobody can provoke someone to shoot them 60 times. no one. amy: a federal judge has sentenced former minneapolis police officer derek chauvin to 21 years in prison for violating the civil rights of george floyd. as part of a plea agreement, chauvin also pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of
8:09 am
john pope jr., a black teen who was just 14 years old in 2017 when chauvin grabbed him by the throat, hit him repeatedly in the head with a flashlight, and pressed his knee into the boy's neck while he was prone, handcuffed, and not resisting. derek chauvin will now be moved to a federal prison to serve his sentences concurrently with his 22.5-year sentence on state charges of murder and manslaughter for killing george floyd in may 2020. the wisconsin supreme court is allowing sex trafficking survivor chrystul kizer to argue in court that she was justified in killing her trafficker. the ruling argued a 2008 state law that protects trafficking survivors from criminal liability for any acts committed as a result of trafficking extends to first degree murder. chrystul kizer is accused of killing her white sex trafficker randall volar in 2018. she was just 17 at the time. he had abused her since she was 16. court records show kenosha
8:10 am
police knew volar had a history of sexually abusing underage black girls and was under investigation for sex trafficking but he remained free for months. kizer says she shot and killed volar in self-defense after he drugged her and tried to rape her. in haiti, protesters took to the streets of port-au-prince thursday marking one year since the assassination of president jovenel moïse. people denounced haiti's worsening political and economic crises since moïse's killing and the lack of process in his murder investigation. >> it seems many officials from the justice ministry are involved in the president's murder. we cannot say who they are but we are waiting for justice to be done. we are worried since there are plenty of official said to be involved in the murder. amy: in texas, republican governor greg abbott has ordered state national guard soldiers and state law enforcement officers to apprehend and expel asylum seekers who cross the
8:11 am
u.s.-mexico border, a move many immigrant justice advocates have denounced as illegal. this comes as propublica and the texas tribune report the justice department is investigating alleged civil rights violations under operation lone star, a multibillion-dollar immigration and border crackdown enacted by -- ordered by governor abbott last year. the program has seen thousands of asylum seekers arrested and jailed, sometimes for weeks, and often without charge. california governor gavin newsom has approved a budget that allocates some $100 million for the state to manufacture its own insulin at a cheaper price. this is in response to the skyrocketing costs for the life-saving medicine that have made it inaccessible to many diabetes patients. governor newsom made the announcement thursday. >> nothing at the devices market failures -- epitomizes market failures more. many experience anywhere from $300 to $500 per month for this
8:12 am
life-saving drug. california is taking matters into our own hands. the budget i just signed, $100 million but we can contract to make her own insulin at a cheaper price close to at cost and to all. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show in japan where japan's former prime minister shinzo abe has been shot and killed by an assassin wielding what appeared to be a homemade gun. abe was campaigning for a parliamentary election friday morning in japan when two shots rang out. images of the attacks aftermath shows security officials tackling a man in a gray t-shirt. they later named the suspect, a former member of japan's maritime self-defense force. japan's prime minister condemned
8:13 am
the killing as his voice cracked. >> we cannot accept this violent act took place during an election the foundation of democracy. in the strongest terms, i condemn this act. amy: footage from the scene of the assassination shows the assassin wielded what appears to be an improvised double barrel gun. japan's strict gun control laws prevent almost everyone from possessing guns. in 2021, there were 10 shooting incidents in japan, just one gun death while the u.s. typically records 45,000 gun deaths each year. shinzo abe was airlifted to a nearby hospital with injuries to his neck and heart and pronounced dead earlier today at 67 years old. abe was the longest running prime minister of japan when he stepped down in 2020 citing poor health. over nearly eight years in office, he remained pro-nuclear
8:14 am
despite the 2011 fukushima knelt -- nuclear meltdown following an earthquake and tsunami. throughout his career, abe tried unsuccessfully to do away with article nine of japan's peace constitution which renounces war and bars japan from using or threatening to use military force. we go now to japan where we're joined by koichi nakano, professor at sophia university in tokyo. we last spoke to in 2014 when we broadcast democracy now! from japan. welcome back under extremely difficult circumances. >> of course everybody was caught by surprise and we're all appalled and in shock.
8:15 am
gun violence is an extreme rarity in japan in itself but also the fact this took place against the sitting member of the parliament and former prime minister with a lot of influence over the government policies. the fact this happened during the campaign as he was making a speech in favor of a candidate of his own party explodes the vulnerability of the politicians and the candidates during the time of the election in particular. mr. abe is not an ordinary candidate. he was not running, he was just cheering for another candidate from his party. but he was escorted by a group of security police, which is not usually the case with other candidates or politicians in the
8:16 am
campaign. this is something that i think we are still sort of trying to figure out and understand how this happened. amy: official said he had the absolute highest security. but guns are such a rarity in japan. the picture of this gun, it looks like two pipes taped together. it looks like the assassin who they tackled was a member of the maritime forces of japan, maybe 20 years ago. can you explain what that is? that goes to the issue of what one of the reasons prime minister abe was so controversial as he tried to chan the peace constitution of japan. >> yes, i mean, we still don't know in great detail and maybe we will never fully understand what was the motive behind the killing, but what we do know is
8:17 am
the men served in the maritime self-defense force, which is japan's equivalent to the navy. although, japan, according to the constitution as amy explained earlier on, article nine stipulates japan from banning potential and therefore it is strictly supposed to be for individual self-defense. esther abe -- mr. abe lifted the ban on elected self-defense in 2015 and -- of course, the man was serving in the self-defense force way before that. according to the reports, he seemed to have served for three years and left the self-defense force sce. we don't know if there's any kind of meaningful connection
8:18 am
between his experience in the crime that he committed today. so i think at this point, it is very difficult to make the connection. though of course, maybe it is related but we just don't know yet. amy: and the significance of what abe was trying to do, what he never succeeded in doing -- ultimately, he stepped down both times he was prime minister because of health reasons? he has ulcerative colitis or something like that. but he attempted to defend -- this is the u.s.-written japanese constitution after world war ii, but it was i think with some officials in thu.s. government attempt also supporting abe in removing that from the constitution? >> right. abe tried to overcome what he saw as the constraint,
8:19 am
reasonable constraint in his view of article nine on japan's self-defense capabilities by taking different routes. one was to seek to formally revise the constitution which he never got around to do. in fact, it is somewhat ironic he was at the heart of the ruling parties campaign to secure a two thirds majority in the upper house elections so that parties in favor of reviving article nine will now -- instigate a referendum to that effect and essential sort of pillar of the proposal was to include the term "self-defense force" into article nine as abe claimed in the absence of such stipulation, self-defense was suffering from the lack of legitimacy -- an argument many
8:20 am
people in japan were not quite convinced because a lot of people in japan accept the existing self-defense force. within the boundaries of article nine, concentrating on narrow individual self-defense and spending most of the time and effort to rebuild and rescue at the time of disasters. but having failed to do that, mr. abe has even more controversially taken the shortcut and instead of formally revising article nine, he has resorted to government offering reinterpretation of the same text of the article. this happened in july 2014, exactly around the time when amy had a chance to visit tokyo at the time -- in japan at the time.
8:21 am
also passing legislation that enabled the government to exercise collective self-defense. so in that sense, i guess he left somewhat frustrated but at the same time, he has pushed through fundamental change in japanese security posture. amy: we are showing images of prime minister abe with president obama. he stood with president obama at hiroshima. president obama, the first american president to go to hiroshima, the u.s. dropping the nuclear bomb on hiroshima, nagaki, and they stood together at pearl harbor. >> that's right. that's right. in terms of gun violence, even though it is a rarity, in fact,
8:22 am
the mayor of the city of nagasaki -- two different mayors have been shot and one died consequently of a gun shooting. so in that sense, it is a rarity but it is not entirely unheard of. it usually is committed -- a crime committed by the right-wing. amy: when we were in tokyo broadcasting from there, a member of the major protest around nuclear power because of fukushima nuclear meltdown, abe was well known at the time. he was prime minister for supporting nuclear power. horrifically, ironic, the head doctor where he was brought at the medical university hospital, his name is after fukushima, but the significance of abe's pro-nuclear stance? >> i guess one of the missions
8:23 am
that abe embraced was to try to push back nuclear power generation on its track after he took power back from the democratic party of japan government between 2009-2012, which happened at the time of the fukushima disaster. while the party that was in government at the time has since tried to stay away from nuclear power generation, the ruling -- today's ruling party from abe's time onward has made significant efforts to restart nuclear power plants or try to sort of regain legitimacy to nuclear power. with only limited degree of success. amy: professor, you wrote a
8:24 am
piece that was headlined "the leader who was trump before trump." this was a few years ago in "the new york times." explain. >> this was actually kind of intended praise by steve bannon that mr. abe was trump before trump. well, fanon is not the only person to take that view, either. mr. abe returned to power in 2012, campaigning on the slogan "taking back japan," which is close with "make america great again" from mr. trump. the two famously got along. esther abe went a long way to please donald trump. i guess he really prioritized the relationship between him and
8:25 am
the president of the u.s., be it obama or trump, so that japan can strengthen its alliance with the united states. under the name of the rule of law and the defense of natural order worldwide, it is ironic that in an attempt to do so, as i mentioned to do so, he is lord the constitutional constraints and reinterpreted article nine to fit his purposes. and so even though he is regarded sometimes by the west and by the american leaders, quite often he is the champion of the democratic world and a great statesman, domestically, a much more controversial figure, as divisive as mr. trump in many ways. the liberal left has been looking at him as the person who really put -- endangered democracy as we know it today
8:26 am
and in terms of suppressing press freedom, in terms of suppressing academic freedom, and also ignoring the constitutional rules and also often stepping away from accountability in parliament. amy: the application of shinzo abe's assassination, are you concerned this will push japan to the right? >> yes. in fact, that would be something that many of us on the left of the political spectrum are worried about at this moment. this is an attack on democracy, not so much because mr. abe w a champion of democracy in japan in itself, but rather because this is struck at the heart of the democratic process when the election campaign was at its
8:27 am
fullest operation. and the voting day is -- only one day left. tomorrow, saturday, would be the last day of campaigning. but now the television is airing continuously tributes to mr. abe, ignoring the fact he was rather controversial figure. i guess it is hard to be critical of him openly at a time like this when he died a tragic death, but even though the television has been rather -- because they've been trying to keep the balance of trying to sort of not offend the government by two aggressively reporting on the past policy failures and scandals, now the media, looks like it is a must hijacked by his party's and
8:28 am
analyze were not so much analyzing the political way. so this could quite possibly lead to a landslide by the ruling party and its allies on sunday, which might hand them sort of a check that they will be able to utilize for the next years to come. amy: koichi nakano, thank you for being with us, professor at sophia university in tokyo and director of the institute of global concern at the university. next up, brittney griner please guilty in a russian court she was carrying cannabis oil in her luggage in russia as pressure grows on the biden administration to help secure her release. we will get an update. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
8:29 am
8:30 am
amy: "evening wind" by the japanese composer joe hishaishi. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we turn now to the growing push to free u.s. basketball superstar brittney griner from detention in russia amid concerns her case could drag on due to her fame and also her status as an african-american lesbian. in an effort to clear a deal for her release, brittney griner pleaded guilty thursday in a russian court to what her lawyers say are trumped up charges of "large scale drug possession" and "drug smuggling." this comes after russian officials at the airport arrested the t-time u.s. olympic basketball gold medalist and eight-time wnba all-star in february at a moscow airport and alleged they found two vap cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage. she had just arrived in russia
8:31 am
to play basketball nearly half of the players in the wnba do in order toupplement eir income since the base salary in the league is capped at about $230,000. griner's trial begalast week. russian officials have said they willnly negotiate in her case aftethe trial is over. griner told the court through an interpreter that she had no intention of committing a crime and had acted unintentionally because shhad packeder luggage a hurry. griner still faces conviction and sentencing and is set to appear in court again next thursday. as brittney griner was escorted to the courtroom in handcuffs, she held a photo of her wife cherelle. this is cherelle griner speaking wednesday at a "bring bg home rally" on the home court of the phoenix mercury, griner's team. >> what and how i feel today is a deeper emotion then hurt. i am frustrated. i am frustrated that 140 days
8:32 am
have passed since my wife has been able to speak to me, to our family, and friends. i am frustrated that my wife is not going to get justice. i know you all are frustrated, too, that why yo're here. this easily could be anyone of us. so tonight i ask for your help and continuance to fight for bg's safe and quick home. let's make sure this administration knows they have our support to do whatever is necessary and that we are not going to ever be quiet until she is home safely. amy: this week president biden and vice president harris spoke with cherelle griner in their first one-to-one contact after griner wrote a letter to biden pleading for him not to forget about her. the call came more than two weeks after the state department botched a plan to have the
8:33 am
couple speak by phone on their fourth wedding anniversary. white house press secretary karine jean-pierre was asked about griner's case thursday. >> we believe that the russian federation is holding -- is wrongfully -- has wrongfully detained brittney griner and she is an intolerable circumstances right now and we're going to do everything we can. the president has this type of mind to make sure we get brittney home safely and also paul whelan, in important priority of the president. amy: in april, russia released of trevor reed, a former u.s. marine, as part of a prisoner exchange with russia. after thursday's court appearance by griner, the wnba players association said in statement that "the wnbpa stands with brittney griner" and griner also got support from u.s. women's soccer star megan rapinoe thursday during the presidential medal of freedom ceremony at the white house.
8:34 am
as rapinoe received the award, she wore a blazer with the initials "bg" embroidered on her lapel alongside stitched flowers. rapinoe shared the image online, writing, "the most important part of today. bg we love you." for more, we're joined by two guests. dave zirin is a sports editor for the nation magazine and host of the edge of sports podcast. his recent article is headlined "brittney griner's show trial begins." also with us, maya goldberg-safir, independent writer and audio producer and the co-director of the third coast international audio festival. her recent article is "brittney griner and the labyrinth of wrongful detainment." first, let's start with maya. your response to this trial and the trial's end with brittney pleading guilty to carrying these vape cartridges and cannabis oil, ich would not be illegal in the united states,
8:35 am
and what this means? >> first, i think this incredibly important every time we talked about brittney griner's case first talk about the big issues at play and we need to be blunt she is wrongfully detained. it has been 140 one days. what that means is this case is political. this is not about justice. this is a case that is decided from above the court, from powers that be. the outcome of this trial is going to be whatever outcome is most favorable to russia right now and the demands they are making on the u.s. and one of the ways we know that this is a wrongful detainment is because these charges are very clearly trumped up. you mentioned that the charge she is facing for up to 10 years in prison is large-scale possession of cannabis and drug trafficking. the prosecution themselves have reported they have found a fraction of a gram of cannabis
8:36 am
in her luggage. how is 10 years in prison a deserved sentence? it is really clear here the legal system is actually being used as a weapon of the state. this is a state-sponsored hostage situation. as you said, they guilty plea could be a strategic move in an attempt to hasten the negotiations between the u.s. and russia. what we know is no matter what, the outcome will be political, not legal. amy: dave zirin, have often written she is a political prisoner. the state department is saying she is being politically detained. cherelle and the family thinking her case was not top priority. you have this failed call that was supposed to go through, set up by the u.s. embassy but they did not staff the phone so brittney called it 21 times and cherelle did not get the call.
8:37 am
finally you get brittney griner begging president biden in a personal letter that was handed to him saying she is terrified she will be in russia for the rest of her life. talk about the significance of this and also the possible prisoner exchange. >> let's talk about those things. credit to maya who has been on this story from the beginning. what we have to understand is the sports world -- there were two wings when brittney griner was first found to be effectively disappeared by the russian criminal justice system. there was a wing that loved brittney griner so much around the wnba investable circles are generally that they listened to the state department give them awful advice to just be quiet for months. not only not say word, but to tell others to be quiet. i spoke to so many people in and around the wnba w wanted to comment about brittney, to call for her to come home, but were
8:38 am
told silence was the best option for negotiation. it clearly was not. another when did not let brittney griner nearly enough, and i'm talking out the mainstream sports world that would have raised heaven and hell if it had been tom brady or steph curry who was behind bars facing 10 years in russian prison. that reveals the tremendous sexism and homophobia inside mainstream sports media. you asked about the idea of a prisoner exchange. the main that -- the namis an arms dealer in u.s. custody that has nicknames as the merchant of death, which is iron because that phrase comes -- it's roots are in u.s. manufacturers from the 1930's. amy: i think it is viktor boot. >> the issue is there. -- their people in the bad men who think the trade is too much for written he cried and -for
8:39 am
brittney griner and are trying to slow it. he was an arms dealer for the u.s., and played a big role in the air after 9/11 and terms of transporting army contractors in the middle east. perhaps they don't want him speaking about what he knows. to me, this will be an easy decision in terms of trading victor booth and getting brittney griner home. but there are conflict and the biden administration about whether they want to do it. amy: the significance, maya, of who exactly brittney griner is? her power in sports right now, she herself, and you talked about this in our previous conversation, wrote a bookbout her own life, life out loud as an athlete, as a lesbian come as an african-american lesbian. talk about what that means and to have her held captive and the
8:40 am
reason she has played in russia for so many years -- what, more than eight years now -- because of the lack of pay equity. >> brittney griner is truly an trailblazer in sports. i think her story oftentimes goes overlooked. she was the first openly gay number one draft pick in the wnba in 2013 and she really changed the game. she has fundamentally change the way the league relates to it it's que playerser, fans, coaches. she is made an incredible impact on sports. now as she is been detained, i think we can't separate this case from the russian war in ukraine or from the fact she is a black lesbian being held by a prominently anti-gay regime. and she faces dangers and i think has a specific target on her back because of that.
8:41 am
we see this i think when we see her paraded through the courthouse with multiple guards -- there was a police dog at one point -- handcuffs. we also see this even in the u.s. media coverage that is really narrowing in on the possibility of her guilt or hashing out the alleged crimes according to russian media, reprinting their claims. i think this is not a fair or safe position for brittney griner to be in. what is most important for u.s. reporting as well is to upfront talk about the fact she is wrongfully detained and what is most important in the situation, someone being held hostage by a state in order to extract demands from the u.s. will and that the government do everything in its power to bring her home. and like dave mentioned, when there is the possibility of a
8:42 am
prisoner exchange on the table but we know there are people in d.c. who are opposed on principle and in policy, informal policy opposed to that kind of prisoner exchange, we have to wonder, they really doing every thing they can to bring americans wrongfully detained home or are they actually holding up the process and contribute into the detainment of more than 60 americans who are wrongfully detained right now around the world? amy: griner's detention in russia linked to the issue of pay equity, which came up thursday when megan rapinoe became the first soccer player to receive the presidential medal of freedom. a longtime member of the u.s. women's national soccer team who helped it win two olympic medals and two world cup championships. she also joined with other members of the team in suing the u.s. soccer federation for gender discrimination in pay, medical care, and workload, leading to a landmark $24 million settlement in february and the federation's pledge to give the women's national soccer team equal pay to the men's team
8:43 am
in all games and tournaments, including the world cup. the u.s. women'soccer team has won four world cup titles, while the men's team has won none. keep in mind, megan rapinoe is wearing a white blazer with white letters emblazoned on them "bg" for brittney griner. this is president biden. pres. biden: megan helped lead the change for perhaps the most important victory for anyone on her soccer team or any soccer team, equal pay for women. [applause] amy: we're going to switch gears a little because among the other people who received the presidential medal of freedom thursday during a ceremony at the white house was seven-time ympic gold medalist simone biles, the most decorated american gymnast of all time. this is president biden. pres. biden: today she adds to
8:44 am
her medal count of 32 -- i don't know whe you will find room. 32 olympic and world championship metals. [applause] at age 25, the youngest person ever to receive the medal of freedom. [applause] amy: simone biles has also spoken out about mental health and sexual assault and is part of a group of some 90 women, including her u.s. fellow olympic teammates, who have sued the fbi for $1 billion in damages over its mishandled investigation into sexual abuse by the former u.s. olympic team doctor larry nassar. most of the women say he abused them after he'd already been reported to the fbi in 2015. dave zirin, you have also been
8:45 am
following simone biles and the women's gymnastics team for years. talk about the significance of this, simone biles, she is recognized, and at the same time she has this massive lawsuit against the fbi. >> first and foremost, simone biles is the greatest athlete of her generation and the last century. she does things gymnastics at other people simply do not do. she has moved named after her that other people simply do not do. she is beyond the parameters of the sport itself. that being said, she is a person of profound principle. i really do believe from everything i know about simone biles, she would give up that congressional medal that she received or the presidential medal, i'm sorry, that she received in a heartbeat if it means the justice departmt would do its job and go after the members of the fbi who let larry nassar perform acts of sexual abuse and sexual assault
8:46 am
with impunity. that is what the u.s. gymnastics women want. they want justice. the only reason they're going to civil court is they are not getting it through the justice department. from everything i know about simone biles, i guarantee she probably did not bite her tongue about that when she was around biden officials the other day. america we will continue to cover that case as well. dave zirin, thank you for being with us, sports editor for the nation magazine, host of the edge of sports podcast. and maya goldberg-safir, recently wrote "brittney griner and the labyrinth of wrongful detainment." coming up, the united states is being accused of helping israel whitewash the death of reporter shireen abu akleh, shot dead in the occupied west bank in may as the israeli military raided a military camp. stay with us.
8:47 am
♪♪ [music break]
8:48 am
amy: "shireen" by western massachusetts singer and songwriter tom neilson. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as president biden prepares to visit israel and occupied west bank, the united states is facing accusations it is whitewashing the killing of palestinian american journalist shireen abu akleh. on monday, the state department announced it had concluded that the bullet that killed shireen likely came from israeli military gunfire but stopped short of saying investigators had reached a "definitive conclusion" in her killing. the state department also said her death was not an intentional killing but the result of "tragic circumstances." shireen abu akleh was shot in the head on may 11 as she reported for al jazeera on an israeli army raid in the
8:49 am
occupied west bank even as she wore a flak jacket and helmet clearly marked "press." palestinian groups and several media organizations, including cnn, "the new york times," and al jazeera, have determined abu akleh was killed by israel's military. so has the israel human rights group b'tselem, which accused the biden administration of whitewashing her death. shireen abu akleh's niece lina abu akleh responded to the state department's findings monday. >> we were expecting an investigation would actually rule the perpetrators accountable and would carry out the transparent investigation that is free from any political pressure. however, that was not the case. we will continue to call for justice. we will continue to call on the u.s. to carry out a transparent investigation by an independent body. in addition, we continue to call on the u.n. and icc to carry out investigation and hold israel
8:50 am
accountable and put an end to this grotesque impunity that israel continues to endure. amy: we are joined now by the dutch-palestinian analyst mouin rabbani, who is the co-editor of the online journal jadaliyya and hosts the connections podcast. he is the former senior analyst middle east and special advisor on israel-palestine with the international crisis group. thank you for joining us. talk about the significance of what the u.s. found. in fact, they are pointing the finger at israel but it comes to the issue of accountability, not to mention they are coming after "the new york times," cnn, and a number of news organizations and the israeli human rights group b'tselem has said this was israeli gunfire. >> yes, the significance of the u.s. so-called investigation is not what they found but what they chose not to find.
8:51 am
in my view, it was a foregone conclusion that the u.s. would find a way to give israel a pass on the summary execution of the legendary palestinian journalist -- palestinian-american journalist, i should add, shireen abu akleh. what is was this was not an intentional act and a result of tragic circumstances. in other words, what the u.s. has done is attempt to throw sufficient doubt on the facts of the case and thereby ensure that israel will not be held accountable for his actions with respect to the murder of shireen abu akleh. i think that is a long and short of it. i would also add anyone who
8:52 am
expected a serious investigation of this case has -- limited understanding of u.s.-israeli relations because in my view, it was always a foregone conclusion the u.s. government would put israel's political interests ahead of justice and accountability for a murdered u.s. citizen who is also a palestinian journalist. amy: on tuesday, nap price was question. this begins with the state department spokesperson price. >> given the facts that became available in were made available to the a security coordinator and his team, they found no reason to believe it was an intentional killing but rather the result of tragic circumstances in the course -- >> how do they come to a determination that they could not include -- that there was
8:53 am
intent or lack of it? how did they come a conclusion -- i mean, they basically did not come to any conclusion. >> what they did -- can you explain w it is you are able to say there has been no evidence of intent no matter who did the shooting? >> that is what they found her precisely what they did not find. >> found nothing. >> they found no reason to believe this was intentional -- >> but didn't find any reason it wasn't -- >> the fatality of the circumstances based on the two investigations to which they were granted access, based on the site visit to the site of ms. abu akleh's death, this was a tragic circumstance. amy: mouin rabbani, if you can
8:54 am
respond to this? you also had the funeral for shireen attacked by the israeli military where the casket almost fell to the ground as the pallbearers were attacked. >> pallbearers were physically assaulted by the israeli police and security forces during the funeral of shireen abu akleh in east jerusalem. it was just one of a number of incidents by the israeli forces on the day of her funeral. i should add, matthew lee has been on the state department's case when it comes to matters israel-palestinian for years. so credit to him for following this one as well. can one imagine ned price responding similarly if ukrainian american journalist had been shot by a russian military sniper in eastern
8:55 am
ukraine? it is inconceivable. again, what is happening is the u.s. is making very clear the only definitive conclusion they can reach is that israel is essentially innocent of the murder of a u.s. citizen. that is the outrage. but that is also the nature of u.s.-israeli and u.s.-palestinian relations and policy. amy: talk about the upcoming visit a president biden to israel and the occupied territories and the significance of this, how -- what they're saying about shireen abu akleh plays into this? >> as the political analyst and writer tria parsi recently wrote, when it comes to the middle east, biden's first term
8:56 am
is identical to obama's second term and the policy has been to maintain the status quo to deepen the initiatives that were undertaken by trump and the sorcerer's apprentice aired kushner during the last administration. the emphasis of the biden administration is very much one of furthering the normalization of diplomatic and economic security relations between israel and conservative arab monarchies with saudi arabia being considered the big prize. and with specific reference to shireen abu akleh, it seems to me fairly self-evident that what antony blinken and other u.s. officials told the palestinian leadership is that unless you hand over the bullet that killed shireen abu akleh and allow us
8:57 am
to put this matter to rest by essentially saying that no conclusion can be reached, we are not going to throw you abound of a presidential visit to the palestinian authority leadership. that is essentially what happened. amy: i want to get your response to what is happening now on wednesday the is really military conducted large-scale raids across occupied west detaining at least 42 palestinians. shooting dead a 20-year-old man during a raid near jenin. this coming just three days after the israeli military shot dead and 18-year-old palestinian and it is same village. these are the areas that shireen covered for so long and these kinds of actions. >> yes. i mean, it is par for the course. you cannot have a military occupation without consistent
8:58 am
violent repression to maintain that occupation. history over the past few thousand years demonstrates that colusively. what you have here is the israelis focusing in particular on the northern west bank and jenin and its environs because that is an area under somewhat less from control of the palestinian authority and its circular forces have been working hard to ensure peace and quiet for the maintenance of the israeli occupation. it is in that context that you are seeing these constant raids. it is quite likely the military -- the murder of shireen abu akleh was in part to scare off the media from that area so that israel could have a freer hand in conducting activities that you just mentioned.
8:59 am
amy: mouin rabbani, thank you for being with us. we will continue to cover this issue. he is the co-editor of jadaliyya and hosts the connections podcast. that does it for our show. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] democracy now! is looking for ■í÷í÷í÷í÷■p
9:00 am


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on