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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  January 9, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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01/09/13 01/09/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> i have come to tasmania for one purpose, and that is to say to the people that the nation is standing with them at this very, very difficult time. we will be standing with them in every way. >> australia is on fire. with the second week of record shattering heat, two new colors have been added to australia's weather maps to show it temperatures exceeding 122
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degrees fahrenheit. wildfires raged through five of australia's six states. meanwhile, the united states records its hottest year ever. we will go to australia for report. three men of somali descent are arraigned in new york. president obama continues the controversial practice of rendition, secretly detaining, transporting, and holding prisoners overseas. part two of our exclusive interview with sami al-hajj, the of jazeera journalist imprisoned and tortured at guantanamo for six years. >> when i was in guantanamo, i asked myself maybe it is a good chance for me to be a journalist in guantanamo to be a witness.
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[indiscernible] >> we speak with the al jazeera journalist at al jazeera headquarters in doha, qatar. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. new figures have confirmed 2012 was the hottest year on record for the continental united states. on tuesday, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration announced an average temperature for 2012 of 55.3 degrees, one degree above the previous record and 3.2 degrees more than the 20th century average. temperatures were above normal in every month between june 2011 and september 2012, a 16-month stretch that has not occurred since the government began keeping track in 1895. among a number of other milestones, 2012 also saw the second most extreme weather on record. the news comes as across the
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globe, australia is dealing with record shattering heat. we will go to australia for more on this story after the headlines. the obama administration has launched a review of offshore oil drilling in the arctic following a cascading series of blunders and mishaps by the oil giant shell. shell's recent troubles culminated when its drill rig ran aground last week off the alaskan coast, sparking concerns of a potential spill. past problems have included safety and environmental violations on its vessels and the failure during a test of a device meant to control a gushing well. government officials said the new 60-day review could potentially limit or halt shell's ambitions for arctic drilling. the escalating issues have followed repeated warnings by environmental groups that shell is unprepared for the harsh and dangerous conditions associated with arctic drilling. greenpeace to the new york times --
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the coast guard has launched a separate investigation into the grounding of shell's drill rig last week. alleged u.s. army whistleblower bradley manning has had his potential sentence reduced should he be convicted for the leaking of classified documents to wikileaks. on tuesday, the judge overseeing the pre-trial hearing said manning is entitled to 112 days less in prison due to the unlawful conditions of his imprisonment and marine corps brig corn, -- in quantico, virginia. manning's ordeal included being held in a six by 8 foot cell for a least 23 hours a day and being banned from lying down or even leaning against the wall unless was sleeping. his attorney argued his imprisonment was so harsh and inhumane, that either his charges should be dropped or he should be given 10 times credit for the nine months he spent there in any sentence he received. in her ruling, judge lind agreed with the allegations of unlawful abuse, but said manning will only get one to one credit in
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the reduction of any sentence. in a statement, the bradley manning support network said -- a u.s. military contractor has agreed to pay a more than $5 million settlement to 71 former prisoners who suffered torture at the notorious abu ghraib prison in iraq. engility holdings becomes the first u.s. corporation involved in the abuses at abu ghraib to compensate its victims, eight years after the scandal first broke. filed in 2008, the suit accused engility of -- one of the plaintiffs, an iraqi
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farmer, alleges he was caged, beaten, threatened with dogs, and given electric shocks during more than four years in u.s. detention. a case against another contractor, caci, is set to go to trial later this year. the obama administration has left open the possibility of removing all u.s. troops from afghanistan once combat operations in 2014. on tuesday, deputy national security adviser ben rhodes told reporters the white house has not ruled out a zero option policy, rather than other proposals to leave up to 20,000 troops behind. president obama is scheduled to discuss post-2014 troop levels with afghan president karzai later this week. the united nations' world food program continues to warn its been unable to meet the demands of the millions of syrians who require assistance. the u.n. is currently feeding some 1.5 million people in syria, but around 2.5 million are believed to be in need.
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on tuesday, a spokesperson for u.n. secretary-general ban ki- moon said aid workers have been unable to reach less than half of those requiring food aid. >> humanitarian partners continue to reach hundreds of thousands of people in syria. road closures, fuel shortages, and lack of access to conflict affected areas. since the beginning of january, the world food program has reached 800,000 people, and hopes to reach 1.5 million people with food distributions in syria this month. it is estimated 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance in syria. >> venezuela has delayed the third term swearing-in ceremony of president hugo chávez as he continues to receive medical treatment in cuba. chávez has been in cuba for nearly a month undergoing and recovering from his fourth surgery for cancer. on tuesday, the head of an as
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well as national assembly confirmed chávez is not well enough to make it back in time for thursday's swearing-in. >> the commander president has asked me to inform you in accordance with recommendations of the medical team that is taking care of reestablishing his health, the process of post over to recovery will extend further than january 10 of this year. because of this, he will not be able to appear on that date in front of the national assembly. >> the delay has sparked a heated dispute between the venezuelan government and political opposition, with chávez's foes arguing that cabello should assume the presidency as head of the national assembly should chavez fail to be sworn in. new york governor andrew cuomo is reportedly preparing to unveil what is being described as one of the toughest gun control laws in the country. it reportedly includes new restrictions on assault weapons, harsher sentences for gun claims.
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gabrielle giffords of arizona has announced a new initiative to take on gun violence. she suffered major head injuries and nearly lost to life in the tucson shooting rampage that killed six people in 2011. on tuesday, the two-year anniversary of her shooting, she and her husband announced a new group called americans for responsible solutions, which they said will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby. they said that in the aftermath of the newtown massacre in connecticut -- the insurance giant american international group, for aig, is sparking outrage over reports it is considering joining a shareholders' lawsuit against the u.s. government. they add to's board is said to be weighing whether to join former ceo greenberg in accusing
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the u.s. government of shortchanging investors and violating their fifth amendment rights in the company's 2008 bailout. the move comes just to mix after aig finally repaid the $182 billion in federa keep it from collapse. greenberg himself has come under wide criticism for running aig when it helped create many of the complex financial instruments that helped cause the current economic collapse. in a statement, democratic senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts said -- a new report says the obama administration spend more money on immigration enforcement in the past fiscal year that it did on all other federal law for the agencies combined.
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immigration policy institute says the u.s. spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs, surpassing the combined budgets of the fbi, bureau of alcohol, tobacco crossfire arms and explosives, drug enforcement administration, and secret service. the number criminal prosecutions for immigration related violations has skyrocketed, now accounting for more than half of all criminal prosecutions of the federal level. the report's authors conclude obama's top priority when it comes to law enforcement. illinois is said to become the latest to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. the governor has pledged to sign a new bill that will allow about 250,000 immigrants to become licensed drivers. only washington and new mexico currently allow licenses for undocumented people while utah allows driving permits. connecticut recently announced young immigrants who qualify for the obama administration's deferred action program to apply
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for driver's licenses. a federal judge in manhattan has dealt a major setback to the stop and frisk. tuesday, the judge of u.s. district court for the southern district of new york ruled police are not allowed to routinely stop pedestrians outside a private residential buildings in the bronx. the so-called clean hall's program has prompted allegations of police harassment by residents who say there been accosted outside the buildings in which they live. in a statement, the center for constitutional rights said -- and the lgbtq rights activist jane manford has died at the age of 92. she founded the group pflag, parents, families and friends of
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lesbians and gays. in 1972, manford made headlines after denouncing police for failing to protect her days son when he was attacked at a protest of the gay activist alliance. in a letter to the new york post, manford wrote "i have a homosexual son and i love him." those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin our show in australia for hundreds of bush fires continue to rage amidst the country's fiercest heat wave in more than 80 years. it's so hot, the australian bureau of neurology has taken the unprecedented step of adding two new colors -- deep purple and pink -- to its weather maps to show to ventures between 122 and 129 degrees fahrenheit. on monday, the australian prime minister toured fire ravaged
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tasmania where some 50,000 acres of forests and farmland were destroyed in fires. we live in a country that is hot and dry and where we sustain very destructive fires periodically. so there is always going to be risk. while still would not put anyone down to climate change, the weather does not work like that, but we do know over time, as a result of climate change, we are going to see more extreme weather events and conditions, so we live with this risk and we need to have the best systems to manage it. >> while australia is suffering from record shattering heat, in the united states the national oceanic and at miss barrett administration announced that 2012 was by far the hottest rear on record -- hottest year on record. the average temperature was 55.3
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degrees, one degree above the previous record. for more we're going to sydney, australia where we're joined via "democracy now!" videostream by anna rose, the co-founder and chair of austrian youth climate coalition as well as the author of, "madlands: a journey to change the mind of a climate skeptic." anna rose, welcome to "democracy now!" what is happening in your country, this record shattering heat, it is being described as a dome of heat. your country literally on fire. for people around the world to are not following this, just describe what is happening in australia. >> right now in austria, we're having record-breaking heat waves. there are fires in almost every single australian state and territory. people have been evacuated, some have lost their homes -- lost everything.
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meteorology is in these are the heat waves that are unprecedented in our history in terms of the direction, a ferocity, and it is expected to continue to get worse. >> anna rose, can you say something about how these fires follow on all that happened in climate terms in 2012 in australia? there were extreme floods, much of queensland was submerged. can you talk a little about that? >> the last two years have been wrapped in terms of extreme weather events. in queensland, we had floods cover an area bigger than the size of france and germany combined. we had entire towns that were literally destroyed by flooding. i come from a farming background we're seeing the impact and agriculture all over the country. farmers will tell you it rains less often, but when it does rain, it comes down at once.
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essentially, we are messing with the water cycle with our climate system. we know warmer air holds more water vapor, meaning there is less vapor in the soil. when it comes down, it comes down all at once. we're seeing huge drops in china, massive floods in pakistan. there was hurricane sandy in the u.s. all around the world, a couple of years back in the kremlin, they had to ban wheat exports because they're having such extreme heat waves the could not export it anymore. we saw the price of grain go up threefold around the world. the message from all of this and what our weather agencies have been telling us, this is the new normal. this is not some freak extreme weather event. we have seen a trend over the past few decades of extreme weather events on the rise, getting worse and worse as we put more carbon pollution into the atmosphere and make climate
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change worse. >> you're just in antarctica. can you describe going from australia to antarctica and back? >> i just got back to australia yesterday from antarctica, where i was talking to people there about the impacts of climate change. western and predict that is still very cold, but it is actually the most quickly warming land mass. west antarctica has more than three times the global average -- has warmed more than three times the global average. it is having an impact on marine life and ocean acidification. we can see what is happening on land and the air, but other changes are in our oceans, particularly with the formulation of carbon which is a poisonous substance for marine organisms which the provide protein for much of the world. when it comes to climate change, sometimes you hear people talking about rainforests, but
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really we have seen the impacts for a while on human health, human and infrastructure, food security and our day-to-day lives. that is certainly what is happening here in australia. people are starting to see the impacts in a very scary way in our everyday lives. >> the u.n. climate summit just concluded last month in doha. given what you have outlined of what we have seen of extreme weather events, can you give us your assessment of that conference and how the world body is dealing with this problem? >> the united nations climate conference will never and higher than what the government demands. those governments will never and higher than what the people demand. i don't believe we will have particular progress at these national levels until we're able to build an even stronger movement in australia and
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america and around the world. that movement has certainly begun. there is enormous, justice movements all over the world, particularly the youth, which is what i've been working with the past two years, has grown exponentially. in australia, we have a current price. we are investing $10 billion in renewable energy to shift away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy, like wind and solar, but we still have a lot of work to do, particularly on coal exports from queensland. i know in the u.s. be of similar issues with the power vested interest in politics. the u.n. climate talks will continue, countries will continue to make incremental steps, but we will not achieve the really genuine significant deep cuts in carbon pollution until we are able to get to work to do an even stronger movement for climate justice in 2013.
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>> the u.n. climate summit will be taking place in poland, and massive -- the country massively reliant on coal. australia is the world's largest exporter of coal, the most carbon in tins of fossil fuel. the guardian rights, australians for an average of slightly more carbon per capita than the citizens of the u.s. and more than twice as much as the people of the united kingdom. anna rose, talk about the state of the environmental movement. as you say, nothing will happen until the people push their so- called leaders, but has this massive catastrophic heat wave in australia, bringing you to temperatures to more than 122 degrees fahrenheit, how has it changed the movement? >> some parts of the media that are connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change, and certainly as climate
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campaigners and people who try to help others understand what is happening to our planet with climate change, we have been trying to encourage the movement to have those conversations to be able to connect the dots. but of course we have other elements of the media who simply are not making the link at all, and that is where we need to come and remind people that this is a tragedy what we're seeing here in australia, and we need to be able to come to gather as a community not just to deal with a short-term impacts, but also to look ahead at what australia is facing in terms of the extreme weather events, our health, infrastructure, food security, and what we can do to reduce our carbon pollution's. australia is the highest per- capita out of all of the countries. right now, the climate movement in australia is focusing a lot of attention toward the coal exports issue, particularly in queensland. we have two mining billionaire''
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who want to export huge amounts of coal through our great barrier reefs. what we need to be doing instead is developing clean technology and exporting that to the rest of the world. >> quickly, could you talk a little about your book, "madlands: a journey to change the mind of a climate skeptic." it documents your journey around the world trying to persuade the former austrian finance minister of climate change science. financeok our former scienc minister around the world read only for started, he said humans were not responsible and was opposed to any action on climate change. we traveled for four weeks. i took into the u.s., the u.k. by the end, i got him to a point where he said, "climate change is happening and humans have probably cost part of it." i was able to convince him somewhat of the need to switch
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to renewable energy. we need to make these transitions right away toward wind and solar, clean energy, because if we don't, we are going to see more and more of these devastating extreme weather events that occurred not just australia, the people all around the world. >> anna rose, how sycophant is the position of the u.s. on climate change >> -- how significant is the position of u.s. on climate change? >> it is extremely significant countries like the street and around the world. the rest of the world has started to act around the world. the europe has been doing it for those big stepsad will not happen until we get the united states to put a price on carbon and significantly invest in renewable energy and move away from fossil fuels. >> anna rose, a 32 for being with us. author of, "madlands: a journey
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to change the mind of a climate skeptic." speaking to us from an extremely hot country right now, the highest in 80 years, we're talking to her in sydney, australia with record shattering temperatures. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> protesters calling for the closure of guantanamo have entered their fourth day of a hunger fast and washington read the activists from witness against torture planned a protest outside the supreme court on friday. the 11th anniversary of the opening of the military prison read today we turn to our part two of our exclusive interview with sami al-hajj, the al jazeera journalist who was held without charge at guantanamo for six years. on tuesday, he described being arrested in december 2001 and pakistan was traveling to afghanistan on a work assignment. he was then transferred u.s.
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custody. he was first held at u.s. prisons in kandahar and bagram. six months later he was taken to guantanamo bay. in u.s. detention, he says he was repeatedly beaten and tortured. dogs attacked him and he was prevented from sleeping for days. >> an january 2007, sami al- hajj began a hunger strike to protest his imprisonment. it continued for 438 days until his release in may 2008. when we were in doha for the climate change summit, at a changchance to conduct a rare interview with sami al-hajj at al jazeera's headquarters. in this part of the interview, i asked him to describe how officials at guantanamo force fed him with tubes in his hunger strike. >> they did not bring a small tube. >> they brought a tube that was too big to go up your nose and down to your stomach.
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>> they take it by force. >> they jerked it out of your nose. >> yes, with blood coming. >> they used the to the had from the person seated next to you and put it into your without cleaning it. >> without cleaning and. >> they would take a tube of the man next to you and shove it down through your nose into your stomach. would you say something? did you ask why they're doing it? >> yes. they wanted us to break our thunderstrike. -- hunger strike. [indiscernible] until you break your hugner
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strike. >> why did you go on hunger strike? >> for many reasons. we are in guantanamo without charge. without court. they did not give us a chance to go to court and talk about our case. they put something in our way. also, they killed three guys at guantanamo. three people they killed in guantanamo. they said they killed themselves. >> they said they committed suicide? >> we said, you should tell us how they killed themselves.
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also, they did not allow for us to call our family or to do any communication. >> and the seven years you were detained, did you ever see your wife? >> no. not my wife. i did not even see my child. when i get my release after seven years, my son, he had become a eight or nine years. the first one i saw in the hospital. he is my son. even later, they -- >> the censored your letters. what did they sensor? >> kasich your son reached this
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year and he gets this mark in school. >> what to the month terry sensors cross out -- what did the military censors crossed out? >> the mark of my son. >> that would cross out the great he got in school? >> yes, yes. they said, he asked about you. the also crossed the out [indiscernible] sometimes they bring for me the letters "by has been, at last, goodbye, or wife." >> the whole letter was censored. >> i have the letter. >> you have it now? >> is in my home. "> it just said, "dear sami
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and the rest of the letter is crossed out? did you ask your wife what was in the letter? >> she said, i told to our family is -- nothing more. >> describe the day you were released. what day was it? >> the first of may. >> the first of may? >> may 1, 2008. >> did you know you're going to be released? >> yes. [indiscernible] a group of people coming from the government of sudan, also a group of qatar's government. >> and they came to you in guantanamo? >> yes, they also tell me the
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red cross. they said, the have any objection to go to sudan? i told them, no. i don't know when it will be, but they said, we are deciding to release you. at last they came and took me to some military court. they said, we decide to release you and send you back to sudan, the eu are still our enemy. you should sign the paper you never leave sudan, never travel out of sudan, and never [indiscernible] and i did not. >> he refused? >> i refused to sign it. >> we still on the hunger strike? >> yes. >> they put in a feeding tube for you? >> [indiscernible]
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after i arrived in the sudan hospital. >> the ticket onto an airplane at guantanamo? they put you on a plane on guantanamo? >> yes. me and to the people from sudan -- two people from sudan. >> did they put back on your head? >> people from afghanistan. they took us from guantanamo and landing in baghdad, iraq. then they changed the aircraft and set me to sudan. we had another guy from morocco to sudan. >> when you landed in khartoum, was your family there? >> my family at that time was in doha, but they came to me. when i came to sudan, because i
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sat too long, but did not understand where i was. i did not feel anything. i opened my eyes and i find myself in the hospital in sudan. after five or six years, my wife and my son. >> did you recognize your son? >> of course. of course. by feeling, not by his face. from feeling i recognized him. >> how long were you in the hospital there? >> about two weeks. >> an you resumed your work at al jazeera?
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>> yes. al jazeera established a new department that takes care of human-rights and also makes training for our people from al jazeera about human-rights and also helps with organization like the national red cross and the u.n., and also we have an agreement with them. >> sami, how do you cope with what you have been through? >> winnows in guantanamo, i asked myself, maybe it is a good chance for me to be a journalist inside guantanamo to be a
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witness of such horror. and when i get my release, i will tell the house had people about that. -- i will tell the outside people about that. for that seven years, i find some positive things. i believe in journalism. after that, i am also believing now in human rights and leaving and freedoms -- the leading in freedoms. i know institutional people who are losing their freedoms. i am happy when i get my release and get back to my family and my al jazeera family.
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i want to help the people were looking for help for freedom. >> do you suffer from flashbacks? >> of course. of course. it is not easy to forget everything. i still dream. i wake up in the middle of the night i still am in guantanamo. also because i miss my family for so many years, the relationship between me and my wife and me and my son is not like normal people's. still i like to be sitting in place, quiet. because for seven years we are under the light.
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not allow for us to close the light at night. even the shouting. some things [indiscernible] for myself, if i compare myself with other detainees, i find i am very better than the other people. i found my family are ok and i care about them. i find a job. other detainees, they do not find a job or their family. i know one from nigeria, the keep him in guantanamo for six years. he came back to nigeria and he is free, but he is far away from his wife. his wife is in pakistan, and he
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does not see his family until now. they did not find someone to help them. many of them do not have jobs. some of them would be locked again in jail and their country. we have a petition for them, not completed until now. nobody wants to help them. they said, those people are coming from guantanamo. nobody allows for them to travel. they do not have a passport or some way to leave their country or to go somewhere. they still continue -- think of them as terrorists. >> to you plan to sue the u.s. government? >> of course. i will try to open a case
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against the bush administration and bush himself. there is an organization in geneva called the guantanamo's center. >> guantanamo's justice center. >> the freedom to help people still locked in guantanamo current time to find another country to accept them. to make the judges for the people by following bush and his demonstration. we hope the case against bush in geneva when he is trying to visit geneva. he canceled in 2011. >> he canceled his trip. >> we tried to make for his case when he went to visit canada but
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canada it does not accept our case. now have a case against canada also. we tried to open a case for him with pakistan, now in london. we tried to open a case against him. but also me and other people, they understand that what has happened for us and guantanamo does not mean all americans are like bush and his in ministration. there are some people that are good. they come to help us. they did not give any payments. they believe that strong. many of them -- i met him after
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i get my release. they said, we are against what is going on in there at guantanamo. but i am surprised at times when obama becomes president. he promised to close guantanamo, but he does not keep his promise. i wish he would keep his promise this year. >> what else do you have to say to president obama? >> i asked him to keep his promise to close guantanamo. guantanamo is a shame for usa obama has come clear to the bush and ministration. i expect the was it because i believe the usa is a democracy and they are fighting for democracy. the people who are created in
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the u.s.a., they created it for freedoms. i read the history of the usa of four guantanamo and after guantanamo, but i think -- before guantanamo and after guantanamo, but i think what the bush a ministration did [indiscernible] olbermann tried to clear things. he promised to close guantanamo, but he does not. >> sami al-hajj, the only journalist detained at guantanamo spent six years there without charge. he now heads the human rights department of jazeera in doha, qatar. for part one of the interview with the al jazeera journalist, go to this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh.
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>> we turn a look at the use of torture and rendition techniques under the obama administration in light of this week's nomination of john brennan as director of the cia. brennan, who is currently obama's top counter-terrorism adviser, withdrew from consideration for the same position in 2008 amidst protests over his role of the agency under george w. bush. brennan had publicly supported the cia's policies of so-called enhanced to arrogation techniques and assure their rendition. -- enhanced interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition. on the front of a for the christmas long weekend, three european men of somali descent appeared briefly in newcourtroo. two were from sweden, the third man was a longtime resident of britain. their whereabouts have been unknown for months. according to the washington post, the men were arrested in the east african country of djibouti on a "murky pretext" in
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august. there then questioned by u.s. interrogators before secretly being indicted by a u.s. grand jury and flown to the u.s. for trial. >> the men are accused of supporting the al-shabab militia, which the u.s. considers a terrorist group, despite admissions by u.s. officials that most fighters are not terrorists but simply fighters in somalia's civil war. their appearance in a u.s. court offer new evidence about how president obama is quietly continued the controversial practice known as rendition. to talk more about the significance of this case, we're joined by ephraim savitt, a lawyer representing one of the three accused men. and joining us via democracy now that a string, clara gutteridge, a human rights investigator and director of the equal justice forum. talk about the significance of these three men, who they are, ending up in a new york court
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over the holidays. >> what these cases released show above everything else is rendition is alive and kicking under the obama administration. over the past few years, they have been focusing on targeted killing and the drone program and we in the human-rights heavily forgotten about rendition but what we can see from these cases is the secret detention and rendition are absolutely on going and something we need to focus on. >> who are they? tell us who these three men are. >> i think it is far better for the lawyers to describe the man. to my knowledge, these men were being detained incommunicado in djibouti for several months without any access to lawyers or to any kind of due process. when there started to be some
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media focus on the factors of their disappearance and the tension, what then happened was they were taken to the u.s., rendered their with no judicial oversight and brought before a court in the middle of the holiday, which in terms of timing, is quite suspicious because it looks as though it was done to increase -- to keep them under the radar, if you like. >> can you talk about the significance of them have been picked up in djibouti, which is a longtime close ally of washington and home to a key u.s. military base in africa and also the hub of counter- terrorism operations there in drone attacks? >> right, to be the hosts a major -- djibouti hosts a major operation.
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it has long been associated with renditions and detentions going back to a least 2002. over the past few years, it has quietly become the largest hub of u.s. drone operations outside afghanistan. it is a key location for the united states and its war on terror, both in africa and yemen -- which is just across the water. >> ephraim savitt, can you tell us about your client mohamed yusuf, what you know about how he as been treated since he has been in u.s. custody? >> good morning. i came across the case because i was appointed by the court and eastern district of new york to represent this particular defendant. the two other detainees also
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received lawyers that were appointed by the court. at present, now that we're under the court's jurisdiction, he is being treated humanely, being treated well. but that was not always the case. in fact, he was arrested with his co-defendants and others in djibouti by djibouti authorities. they were not treated with kid gloves. let's put it that way. initially. and some point, american authorities got involved in interrogating these three men. so things got better for them now that we're no longer under the radar. >> tell us to your client mohamed yusuf is. >> his approximately 27, 28 years old. he is of somali descent. he comes from sweden.
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he was a bus driver in sweden at one point. he comes from a very close-knit and supportive family. he was one of the many people who were recruited through websites advertisements as well as other approaches to join the al-shabab movement as a revolutionary group against what they considered the oppression other african invaders. >> they were fighting africom. >> there were fighting the african troops. it is a religious-based organization. mohamed yusuf join the organization. >> why does the u.s. consider it a terrorist organization? >> as i understand it, because they are aligned with al qaeda.
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they allegedly were involved in the bombing inuganda and a soccer stadium that killed a number of ugandans as well as foreigners, as i understand it, some americans. >> yours in your client or the group? >> my client was not involved in anything having to terrorism. the group, according to reports, was involved in terrorism. there are some other reports put the price on the president's head based on a number of sheep and camels, which seems a little odd, but it does not seem like a very serious threat. my client was a combatant in somalia, southern somalia. so were his co-defendants. they were involved in military operations. there was no allegation either officially or even unofficially,
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as i understand it in my discussion with prosecutors, that they were in any way involved in targeting, and certainly or attacking american interests or american personnel. >> first, you said your client mohamed yusuf was not treated with kid gloves. what kind of treatment precisely was he subjected to? no. 2, given what you've said, why is your client being tried in u.s. court? >> the first question is easier to answer. mohamed yusuf, as he put it, was slapped around by djibouti authorities. they threatened to use electrodes if he did not start talking. he heard the shrieks and screams of others from other rooms, and was very clear to him -- >> where was he being held? >> an aide to the prison. >> buy? >> djibouti authorities. he was arrested with his co- defendants in an apartment
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djibouti. there were no americans involved initially in the rough he made certain statements to the authorities of djibouti. after that, agents of the fbi, agents of other agencies who did not identify themselves clearly interrogated him. but they did so gently. on the other hand, the to the people who slapped around -- djibouti people who slapped him around for city did in the same room with their arms crossed across their chest. it was quite clear these djibouti police were proxies for the american authorities. >> when was he held there? when did his family lose contact with him? >> his family actually lost contact with him sometime in 2008 when he was recruited to join the al-shabab insurrection in somalia.
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he was arrested some time in the beginning of august this past summer. he was held incommunicado. nobody knew about his existence until mid november when he was brought into the eastern district of new york. i and my fellow council or pointed to represent -- were appointed to represent the three defendants. you asked why he is being tried in a brooklyn federal courthouse. that is a good question. i don't have a good answer. these folks were involved, for better or worse, in a military campaign in eastern africa. now they have become criminal defendants in the eastern district of new york. there first and only contact with the eastern district or with the united states is when they were brought here in chains. under an accusation of being terrorists. they never targeted or hurt
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civilians. i don't even know if there were able to hurt any of the enemy soldiers. but they were combatants, that's true. >> clara gutteridge, can you talk about the significance of john brennan's nomination to cia chief? this is someone who in 2005 said conditions were an absolutely vital tool of u.s. intelligence. >> it is extremely worrying me will be thehn brennan cia chief. as a counter-terrorism adviser, he is the architects in many ways of the drone program as we know it and responsible for something possibly even more sinister, which is -- which will probably be open his legacy to the war on terror. and that is what was previously
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excess of practices that are arguably developed in the heat of the moment after 9/11 in the months and years following that, under obama have become [indiscernible] what we have with the systems that obama and brennan have martialed through his a kind of composition of this idea the u.s. is indefinitely at war. and everything we have seen with the renditions and detentions and drone attacks is something that flows from that. while the united states ceases of perpetually at war, these things will go on. people are likely to be regarded as being within the jurisdiction of the u.s. and in the enemies of the united states. there will befor recreation for
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people who have been wronged, tortured, wrongfully rendered. >> we have to leave it at that. clara gutteridge and ephraim savitt. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]