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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  October 25, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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100 groups, companies, and public figures. in a statement, edward snowden urged supporters to attend, saying -- president obama is renewing a push for immigration reform in the aftermath of the government shutdown that dominated capitol hill. speaking in washington, president obama urged congress to take action. >> what we can't do is just sweep the problem under the rug one more time. leave it for somebody else to solve sometime in the future. know, rather than create problems, let's prove to the american people that washington
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can actually solve some problems. this reform comes as close to anything we have got to a law that will benefit everybody now and far into the future. so let's see if we can get this done. and let's see if we can get it done this year. >> contractors involved in the troubled rollout of the nation's new health care exchanges appear before congress thursday to face questioning from lawmakers. the online portal for uninsured americans and 36 states has been marred by crashes, glitches, and system failures since it went live earlier this month. cheryl campbell of the cgi federal about improvements in the coming weeks. >> the system will continue to improve. from our perspective, as painful as it sounds, i know the experience has been a difficult experience. the system is working. people are enrolling, but people will be able to do so at a
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faster pace. the experience will be improved as they go forward. byple will be able to enroll december 15 time frame. >> we will have more on thursday's hearing later in the broadcast. two members of the national guard were wounded on thursday when a subordinate open fire at nab facility in tennessee. the gunman, a national guard recruiter, was been relieved of his duties he retrieved the weapon from his car. the lincoln police chief announced the shooting. about 12:33 we responded to a 911 call at the ra national national guard unit. when officers arrived, we had to individuals that had been injured, one suspect who is in custody at this time. >> a 13-year-old boy has been shot dead in california after police mistook the public and he was caring for an assault rifle. andy lopez was bringing the plastic replica weapon to her friends house he was spotted by
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police. believing the pellet gun was real, lopez was shot dead within 10 seconds. the two officers have been placed on leave. 125 groups of over led by the aclu is seeking a justice department probe of the new york police department spying on muslim communities. the nypd's demographics unit, as it was known until 2010, has secretly infiltrated muslim student groups, sent informants into mosques, eavesdrop on conversations and restaurants, barber shops, and gems, and built a vast database of information. the program was established with the help from the cia, which is far from domestic spying. in a letter, the coalition says -- two african-american customers
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have accused the high-end new york department store barney's new york of racial profiling after they were detained for making expensive purchases. rayon christian, 19, was arrested moments after buying an expensive else. despite showing his id and debit card to undercover officers, christian was told the purchase was suspicious because he cannot afford to make it. lawsuitn has filed a against the store. another african american chopper has come forward saying she endured a similar experience earlier this year. the national action network has vowed to picket barney's alessi alleged racial profiling stops. two people were arrested the city college of new york and the protest at the closing of a hub for student activism. the student and community center was abruptly shut down last weekend after school officials said they needed the space to expand the campus career services offices. student activist said they
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believe the center was targeted in retaliation for the recent protest against the hiring of former cia director and military general david petraeus to teach a course. the chair of the center, sheppard mcdaniel, said student activists are being silent. thanis is a lot bigger just the administration here at city college. we know this is coming from the federal government, particularly with the petraeus demonstrations going on and organizing for those took place in that center. it has been a target. at this point, that is really trying to silent student rights in terms of first amendment, in terms of a neville to organize against dissent and so forth. protesters held signs condemning the killings of children and other civilians as they stood in front of the entrance to handcuffed -- hank
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hatfield near syracuse, new york. calling the drone strikes illegal, the activist had argued in court their intent was to uphold the law, not break it. and the former head of the national security agency has been subjected to some unwanted eavesdropping of his own. achael hayden was riding train from new york to washington, d.c. on thursday, giving an off the record phone interview as an anonymous former official. he did not realize who is sitting close to former moveon tog director who proceeded live tweet his account of heyns phone call. ie says heyns comments included harsh criticism of the obama administration as well as bragging about the cia renditions program under president george w. bush. those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world.
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the obama administration drone and targeted killing policy will come underscore need today at the united nations. the u.n. special repertory human rights and counterterrorism is scheduled to present a report that concludes at least 400 pakistani civilians have been killed by u.s. drone strikes over the past decade. victims have been deemed probable noncombatants. the report also looks at u.s. drone attacks in afghanistan, iraq, libya, yemen, and somalia as well as israel's use of drones in gaza. the u.n. report comes at a time when u.s. drone policy is facing unprecedented public criticism. earlier this week, amnesty international said some drone killings in pakistan may amount to war crimes. human rights watch criticized u.s. drone strikes in yemen. on wednesday, and pakistani prime minister nawaz sharif urged u.s. president barack obama to end drone strikes in pakistan. >> pakistan and the united
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states have a strong counterterrorism cooperation. we have agreed to further strengthen this cooperation. i also brought up the issue of drones in our meeting. emphasizing the need for an end to such strikes. >> during his public remarks with nawaz sharif, president obama did not directly address the u.s. drone war. >> we talked about security and the concerns that both of us have about senseless violence, terrorism, and extremism. we agreed we need to continue to find constructive ways to partner together, a way that respects pakistan sovereignty, the concerns of both countries. i am optimistic we can continue to make important strides in theng forward because both
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pakistani people and the american people have suffered terribly from terrorism in the past. >> one day after the pakistani leader met with president obama, the "washington post" reveals how the u.s. and pakistan communicated about, and in some cases coordinated, dozens of drone strikes in pakistan from late 2007 to late 2011. to talk more about this growing debate, we're joined by ben emmerson, the united nations special repertory human rights and counterterrorism. he will be addressing the u.n. general simply today. welcome to democracy now! talk about your findings. >> the first point to make is this is not a final report. findings is perhaps putting it too high. this is a process of dialogue which will involve a number of reports, but the general simply in the human rights council. what i am presenting to the general simply this morning as an interim report. in terms of the key issues, what we sought to do was take an overview of the use of deployment of armed drones both
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by the u.s. and the united kingdom in afghanistan and other parts of the world, and by israel and gaza as well. and to get a sense of the difficulties involved in assessing civilian casualties. there are real practical problems in that process from a partly due to the lack of transparency from the states and gauged in these counterterrorist -- engaged in these operations. and partly because of the sheer topographical challenges involved in conducting investigations in these largely ungoverned or poorly governed spaces. so at this stage, the principal recommendation of the report, where states have a credible information from any source, including sources like amnesty and human rights watch, as civilians have been killed or injured, then they are under an obligation, of course, to conduct their own investigations
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toand no doubt, all states conduct their own investigations wind up on this technology. the for the public process, more and partly, the results of this investigation should be disclosed. we have seen in afghanistan, a couple of instances where the u.s., in one case the u.k., have released investigation reports or the summaries of the findings. drone strikesg were civilians have been killed. that type of transparency goes an awful long way to a link people's concerns -- allaying people's concerns that there is a this portion at risk of civilian casualty. matter, do you see problems with the u.s. in were of recognizing seeking to report civilian casualties? principal historical problem, clearly, is that somebody in the earlier
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administration, the bush administration, thought it was a small -- smart idea to hand control of what amounts to the delivery through the air in an act of war, to organization, the ,ia -- which by its own terms as with all secret intelligence organizations, cannot either confirm or deny the existence of its operations. operating essential corequisite for clandestine intelligence organizations and exactly why i destined -- clandestine organizations are not the right body to the carrying out acts of insurgency warfare. obviously, one of the principal tenets of the president's speech in may was that the use of drones would migrate away from cia and into the hands of dod, and that is certainly heart of what we would see as a
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development toward transparency ethic and ability. >> going from cia to pentagon. the stateis week, department spokesperson suggested amnesty and human rights watch were overestimating the number of civilians killed by u.s. drones, but offered no facts to back it up. she was repeatedly questioned about why the administration has refused to release the information about civilians killed by u.s. drones. >> do you counter with your own figures? --we do certainly have >> could you tell us what these figures are? >> i knew that is where this was going. i think i make a point when we make determinations about issues like this one that substantial information concerning u.s. counterterrorism strikes is collected through variety of sources and methods. in order to protect these sources and methods, we cannot make much of this information
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publicly available because we want to have access to that information in the future. a full, holistic picture of what happened before and after such operations to make determinations about these things. so it is a much more complete picture than anyone nongovernmental organization would have on the ground. >> but these are two organizations which you have held up in the past as conducting accurate and credible things like syria. >> every situation is different. xo they just don't know what they're talking about -- >> we don't make link it statements before seeing them. that would seem unreasonable. >> ben emmerson, your response? >> well, first of all, the core of the problem with u.s. government's refusal to identify its own estimates of civilian casualties lies in what we just heard. the justification this would compromise sources and methods. obviously, i am not privy to the
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details of that justification, but what i do know is that the director of the central intelligence agency, john brennan, during his confirmation hearings himself suggested transparency and accountability calls for the release of --cisely the information being suggested the information cap be safely released. one would have thought before making that statement, to stir brennan, who knows a thing or two about intelligence risks and the need to protect sources and methods, would've had those considerations well in mind. the basic position that my report takes on this question is that considerations of national security may, in certain circumstances, may justify withholding limited information about particular strikes.
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if you do that would compromise an individual source or an individual operation. but that in general, statistical and methodological information can safely be released and should be released. and by that i mean explaining how and why the position has been taken to calculate a particular strike, the number of civilian casualties. because there is a big dispute about who is a civilian in this context. >> i would like to ask you about the actual legality or illegality of the drone strike. we have seen in many of these countries this dance of the one hand of the leaders of the countries condemning the strikes while on the other hand are getting reports among journalists close to power sources in the u.s. that this is merely the local public consumption, the leaders are really supportive of the strikes. this whole issue of how you see the actual legality of the strikes? all, they are two
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separate questions. first is the issue of consent to the use of force on the territory of another state. and although -- i take the description you give. in reality, the allegation is only the level that pakistan, or the was saying government was sam public for public consumption it was opposed to the use of drones strikes while in private consenting to continue the operation. i indicate in the report that air is pretty clear evidence that was the position in the past. we have seen some recent weeks and "the washington post" it was president musharraf himself indicated that was the position in the recent interview during the pakistani presidential elections. the governments of change and situation change in the 2012 pakistani parliament passed a resolution, the effect of which was to rescind all prior consent and to require consent to be
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done about order, to be done in writing can't to be provided to the relevant committees, to be approved during debates on the floor of the house of parliament. but that hasn't been done. therefore, whatever levels of cooperation they may continue to be at the intelligence level. the elected representatives of the people in pakistan unanimously have adopted a position the government cannot, lawfully consent other than by doing so through a prescribed procedure. the short answer to the question is, my view, certainly on the information i have received from the government of pakistan over and extensive period of time, is -- this is not by any means a statement as to the position in the past -- but currently pakistan does not give valid consent to the use of
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force in its territory. >> i want to ask you about israel's use of drones in gaza. what did you find? withe of the difficulties analysis on the position in israel is that, currently, israel has suspended its relations with the human rights council. the consequence of that is that israel is not formally cooperating with this process so far -- >> and have done this because? >> suspended their relations with the human rights council? it is in relationship to settlements, not the drones. that is the position as we sit here today. i think all of us within the u.n. are optimistic that israel will shortly reestablish its relationship with the human rights council and the high commission has called on israel to effectively reengage. and that is in fact part of the
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reason, by no means the only reason, but part of the reasons why this process needs to take place over a period of time. i hope those who have been following this process will see from the content of the report that i have tried to do justice to the position of all sides in this debate. i make it absolutely clear that i would not want his report to be held up as though it were a condemnation of the united states. we are nowhere near that position at the moment. what we're seeking to do is encourage states to engage constructively. you ask about law. the fact of the matter is, there are many crucial areas in this debate on which the international lawyers disagree. and states disagree. the u.s. has an analysis which in some parts of the world is regarded as legally unsustainable. but in other parts of the world, regarded as credible and realistic. and as a modern adaptation of the geneva convention, where one
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party to a conflict is a nonstate armed group enables a terrorist position. >> you also raise questions about how the u.s. defines associated forces or co- belligerence as a rationale for some of these. could you expand? one of the lessons of the past decade since the crime against a minute committed in 2001,rk and washington in is that attacks that have been mounted were destroyed al qaeda central have been significantly successful, but the consequenc has been like the hydra where the head is cut off. italyve someone pledge allegiance to the same -- fudging allegiance to the same philosophy of all violent extremism under the name of
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politics and within anti-u.s. agenda spreading from central north africa right away to the middle east in syria. we hear the stories every day. states were tod take the position that it remains in a state of armed to alct -- in relation qaeda -- with all of these organizations, wherever they are, then of course the united states would be in dimming itself to a permanent state of war. -- in dimming itself to permit a state of war. yemen ands at war in region ofin the fatah pakistan because it considers itself to being gauged -- engaged in a war with the al qaeda-related groups in those areas. is,answer to your question i think there is a real realization within the administration -- you see hints may speech from
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the president, but we also see marks possibly in some of the speeches that have been made by former officials like jeh johnson. a real realization that in order to bring this conflict to an end, the effective way to do that is not to have an ever- expanding list of so-called co- belligerence organizations. ,> in everson, --ben emmerson you have called on britain and the u.s. to release confidential reports into the countries involved in the kidnapping and torture of terrorism suspects. accusing them of years of official denials. can you expand on that? >> yes, i presented in my last report to the human rights council, series of principles on accountability for what i described in international law as grows or systemic human rights violations. i think there is no doubt the conspiracy that involved the ,ommission osecret detention
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torture, and rendition under the constitutestration gross and systematic human rights violations. the international law is clear on this. there is no superior defense. there is no principle that would justify -- just as in the nürnberg trials their workers nothing. -- just as in nuremberg there were nothing to justify. it requires there to be a system of achieving accountability. we know the feinstein senate committee report into the activities of the cia, said to be a very thorough and copperheads of analysis, and to identify who made the decision, who committed the acts alleged, and where and how and why. a crucial part of the duty of the accountability under international law is the so- called right to truth. that is a right not just belonging to the victims, but to society at large.
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time hasefore, the come, unequivocally, per the release of the feinstein reports. the key findings of the feinstein report and of a parallel report commissioned and prepared and provided to the british prime minister in relation to the united kingdom's involvement in these activities must now be made public. and we will not stop calling for the publication of the spencer real until at least a sufficient amount of it is produced. >> ben emmerson, thank you for being with us, the u.n. special andorteur on human rights counterterrorism who has issued an interim report on its investigation into u.s. drone strikes entered the killings. his findings will be debated today at the u.n. general assembly. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back, a drone
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operator. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn now to look at how the u.s. uses drones, and their
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impact -- this time, through the eyesf one of the first u.s. drone pilots to speak out. former air force pilot brandon bryant served as a sensor operator for the u.s. air force predator program from 2007 to 2011. he manned the camera on the unmanned aerial vehicles, tom and known as drones. after he left active duty air force, he was presented with a certificate accredited his quadrant for 1626 kills. said total, brandon bryant he was involved in seven missions in which is predator fired a missile at a target, and about 13 people died in the strikes. he describes the grisly scenes he watched unfold on this monitor as an air force drone operator in a new article in gq .agazine he joins us now in our new york studio. welcome to democracy now! and 27 withthe room your first strike, describe what
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happened. >> it was roughly around january 26. i used to be what they called a controlled sensor operator, which is where a pilot controls multiple drones and then sensor operator controls one drone. so you have sensor operator basically control of the aircraft until the pilot decides to take over. and was my typical mission usually result in no shots being fired. the day of my first shot i was told -- >> where were you? >> i was in nevada. >> which base? >> niooah. >> what did the room look like? >> it is not necessarily a room,
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it is a trailer, eight by 20 trailer, kind of the same size as the formula racing car. i was told to go in there and do this. we came across -- guys were firing from the top of the hill to guys on the bottom of the hill -- >> in which country? >> afghanistan. the guys at the bottom of the hill were u.s. forces. they needed air support. we were about to fire on the guys on the top of the hill and told to back off. f-16 was going to drop. the f-16 came across three individuals a short distance away and they wanted us to fire on those guys because they thought those guys were coming in to reinforce. >> this was a nighttime operation? you are dealing with infrared as you're looking at these figures? >> correct.
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when we came across these guys, the two individuals in the front were having a heated discussion and you could see they were talking about something. the guy in the back was kind of watching the sky. they weren't really in a hurry to do anything. and so we got the confirmation they had weapons, and we were told to fire. in that situation -- >> does this confirmation come from troops in the field? >> no, it came from somewhere else. you got to understand the whole operation procedures is like a web. you are dealing with people from multiple locations from all over the world. >> your hearing them in headphones and watching them on a computer monitor. .> yes, there is a chat program that is the easiest way to communicate because of the satellite today -- satellite
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delay. we were in radio communications with anyone except for the guys on the ground and we heard them asking for air support. we got confirmation the fire on these guys. the way they reacted really made me doubt their involvement because the guys over there, the locals over there have to reject themselves from the taliban just , as u.s.s we do military personnel. i think you're probably in the wrong place at the wrong time. and the way -- i've been accused of using poetic imagery to describe it but i watched this guy bleed out, the guy in the back. his right leg above the knee was severed in the strike.
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he bled out through his for artery.tery -- femoral >> use all that on your computer screen? it's that detailed? >> it's pixelated, but you can see that it was a human being and you can see what he was doing and you could see the crater from the hellfire missile and you could see probably the body pieces that were around this guy. >> and the other two in the strike? >> they were completely destroyed. >> blown apart. >> so you watched this guy bleed out for how long? >> it was cold outside, wintertime, it seemed like forever to me but -- as the predator drone can stay in the air f 18 to 32 hours, so they
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just had us watch and do damage assessment to see if anyone would come and pick up the body parts or anyone really cared who these people were. we watched long enough the body cooled on the ground and they called us off target. you thoughtlater you killed a child. >> yes. >> can you talk about that particular day? >> i was still feeling the effects of my first hellfire shot. you have to understand what we did over in afghanistan and iraq, it is constitutionally viable. we were given permission by the american public to go to war with al qaeda and the taliban and. specific hellfire shot, the intel we were given is
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that there was this commander and some of his people inside this building and they have been watching it for multiple days. they have been keeping track of people going in and out. they had made the determination those were the only people in theire. something ran around the corner and it looks like a little person. it made me realize we could have all the intel in the world and it still not going to be perfect. and as clean as these types of strikes can be, in reality, they are really dirty. ella terry operations, being part of the military operations -- the military operations, being part of the military operations, that is just the nature of what it is. the real debate should be about places other than where we went to war and violating the
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constitutional rights of an american citizen who was in another country who was killed without due process, and that type of thing. my goal in all of this is to talk about, like, these aren't killer robots. they are not unfeeling people behind this thing. there are some people who are extremely scary when talking to them, and there was one individual who got the word infidel tattooed in your book in arabic on his side. >> who you worked with? >> right. that is an extreme personality. -- those is a lot of people are so few in the community, so few in the military that -- but there looked at like that is who
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everyone is. that is not the case. there are people behind their. >> rain and, in this case were you believe you'd build a child, ,he report was --brandon bryant in his case for you believed you killed a child, the report was it was written up as a dog? >> no, it it was written up as executed to standards. that is what the actual report said. very antiseptic. help me understand this. when you are doing these drone strikes, is a basically were on duty for a set number of hours or oneling one predator drone that is over a particular area? or are you assigned to particular missions? >> there is a shift that goes on. in a are multiple ships day. typically, you are assigned a mission on that shift because
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crew continuity is so viable. they want the same people on the same missions because that means less explanation has to happen between the crews and there is more accountability there, internal accountability. shifts typically were 11.5- our ships with a small break in the middle where you're flying 4.5 hours with a small break, or even longer depending on how many people we had available to fly that day. >> why have you decided to speak out? >> because there is so much misinformation out there, so much speculation, and it is wrong. the united states government hasn't really done a good job of humanizing the people that do it . everyone else thinks the whole program or the people behind it are a joke, that we are videogame lawyers, nintendo
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warriors. that is not the case. the people that do the job are just as legit and just as combat-oriented as anyone else. i am not their official spokesperson. in fact, i'm probably the most hated person in the entire committee right now. >> why? >> because i have spoken out and they are hurt. they feel like i'm trying to hurt them. that is not the case. i'm trying to give them credence. like, again, we are going back to the constitution and what is viable and what is not inside and outside of war zones, with the people of america -- what they have given us. >> i want to ask about a certificate in which your credited for 1626 kills.
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therefore special operation spokeswoman belena marquez responded. she wrote -- the think that is misconception. i've never taken credit for these kills. they are not my kills. i did not drop the bombs were shoot people on the ground. -- or shoot the people on the ground. those who have perished in the operations that i was told i were dissipated in over the 5.5 year period actually operated. it is a completely viable number if you look at it. some people could be surprised it is not larger. not the number solely specialto the third
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operations squadron -- in the first place, i don't know why they gave that certificate or whatever it was to me because i never cared about it in the first place. do you feel you suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder? definition ofl ptsd is an anxiety disorder associated with witnessing or expensing a traumatic event. -- or expensing a traumatic event. it is such a blanket term. some and people are like, you can't get ptsd from this or that. -- a widerely phenomenon that i think a lot of people realize. injury is more moral like think of it -- think how you would feel if you're part of something that you felt violated the constitution. i swore an oath.
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how do you feel -- you can't use .i obeyed orders," as an excuse it's "i obeyed the constitution regardless of lawful or unlawful ,"ders her c i was really unprepared for it. i tried to get out old couple times into a different job and was consistently told it is the needs of the air force come first and so i did it. i buckled down and i did it. i did the job. i did it as best i could because i was scared that someone would come in and they would not do it very well. i paid a spiritual and mental price for that. i think that is something that people really discount because i didn't take any physical injuries through it. , thank, brandon bryant you for being with us. when asked earlier about the
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dog, a child being identified as a dog, though did not appear in the final report, it did come out and the chatter as the killings were happening, right? >> right. the person -- there are multiple people who reveal the feed and the person in the chat said upon further review it was a dog. i want to thank you for being with us. you're going to speak today also at the united nations. >> i have been given a little time to address the folks there. a pretty big responsibility i think. >> thank you for talking to us here at democracy now! , man the camera on the unmanned aerial vehicles commonly known as drones after he left the active-duty air force in 2011, he was presented with a certificate that credited his squadron with 1626 kills. we will be back in a moment.
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♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. the problem plagued rollout of president barack obama signature health care policy has undergone congressional scrutiny for the first time. panel onhouse thursday, lawmakers questioned technology contractors about them. of defects with website. the online portal for uninsured americans is -- in 36 states has been marred by crashes, glitches, and system fell years since it went live earlier this month. he websites launch began a six-
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month enrollment period that is expected to draw an estimated 7 million people to sign up for federally subsidized private insurance for 2014. during the hearing, republican representative tim murphy of pennsylvania qs the obama administration of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. >> we were promised a website where people could easily compare plans and costs. find theion later, we american public have been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers. except, they had to pay the cash and still got the clunker. >> lawmakers questioned executives of two of the lead contractors behind the website -- cgi federal and quality software systems incorporated. they both lay and demanding deadlines, higher than anticipated website traffic, and a last-minute registration system they say may have overloaded the system. for more we're joined by clay johnson, former obama innovation
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expert who founded the company that obama's 2008 site, ceo, department of better technology. , "thehe author of information diet: the case for conscious consumption." what you think happened? why his this website not worked? >> well, government doesn't have a lot of people to choose from when they're looking for contractors to build this stuff. i think part of the problem is the same people that are building drones are building websites. when government is building a website like this, that these a system called procurement, which is about 1800 pages worth of regulation that all but ensures the people who are building this stuff are the people with the best lawyers, not the people with the best programmers. and so you have this sort of fundamental lack of talent amongst the contractor ecosystem that is building this stuff that
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it is bound to be bad work. that combined with the fact in 1996, congress lobotomized itself by getting rid of its thenology think tank called technology assessment office. so when they're writing bills, they don't understand the technology they are requiring in their laws. this is what you get whenever congress that is basically brainless on technology and government who can only pick from a few old stodgy contractors. you're bound to have this result. in fact, the standings group came out earlier this week and pointed out for all procurements over $2 million, 94% of them fail. >> that is what i wanted to ask you about. we have seen and not only at the federal level with the health- care rollout, but local government levels, this huge technology contracts that promise the moon and stars and then when they actually are rolled out, have major, major problems. what about cgi, the main
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contractor here? have you had any experience with their track record in the past? i have never worked with them directly, but i can tell you from watching the hearing yesterday that from a technologist point of view, ot questions from congress -- both the questions from congress were absurd and not particularly helpful, and the answers from the contractors were also just demonstrably ignorant of the technology they were managing. so you have these bizarre exchanges where a member of the presidentking of cgi federal about code inside of the website that isn't even being displayed and isn't even relevant to the user, and the vp of cgi federal not even recognizing it is not displayed and not relevant to the user. really baffling set of
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exchanges. it is like watching my one-year- old argue with my cat. issuet about this whole -- many of these contractors insisting on developing proprietary software for many projects like this, what is the impact of that not only on cost, but on the ability to hold contractors accountable for the kind of product they produce? is not just about accountability, it is about security. the constitution says government can't hold a copyright. i understand the government needs to be able to buy commercial software, needs to be able to buy a coca cola if it needs to. and the recipe for coca-cola ought not to be posted on the internet as a result. but when government is building software like this, it ought to be built in the open, built with a licensing system called open source so that the public truly
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owns it. my tax dollars are going to something, then it ought to belong to the public. that is the only thing that open source can afford. the other point about contractors developing out in the open and using open source technology is that it makes websites more secure. it makes it so security holes are easier to find. that is why you see i think lots of companies moving toward open source infrastructure because you have many eyes on problems. in the case of federal contracting, it is not just about a move to open source, it's also about moving from these large stodgy old vendors who basically haven't had to compete in the past couple of morees to smaller, innovative businesses who are more competitive. and what the obama administration needs to do not to fix, but if -- to fix the next
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from happening, is to open the doors to the smaller businesses who have more experience in delivering. >> so what would it mean right now, clay johnson, how could this idea about open source technology be incorporated into what everyone is experiencing right now? >> i think it would be a great thetion to this problem for cms and hhs teams to really start developing out in the open. i think part of the reason why the white house in this administration is suffering from kind of a pr disasters because they're not being open and transparent with how the stuff canorking and when people be expected -- i shouldn't be talking to you. it should be people from cms and hhs talking to you about what is going on, what is happening on a regular and daily basis in development cycles and programming.
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you have these things called release notes. the lease notes are you send out very short notes about what has changed in the software so far and what progress is being made and what is left to do. i think the american public would love to see what is going on with in that regard. >> what are they hiding? we have 20 seconds. >> i have no idea what they're hiding. i think it is a procurement system that is broken and needs to be fixed. >> clay johnson, thank you for being with us, former member of president barack obama's technology team unfounded the company that built obama's 2008 site called department of better technology. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with one the world's most acclaimed .onductors, esa-pekka salonen he is also the conductor laureate of the los angeles philharmonic. an ongoing part of the 10th anniversary celebration of disney hall. are glad you have joined us. a conversation with esa-pekka salonen, coming up right now.
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>> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: conductor and composer esa-pekka salonen was the artistic leader of the l.a. philharmonic before turning over his duties. he has now returned to the l.a. field for a series of concerts, including the premier of frank zappa's 200 motels. yes, you heard that right. plus his own violin concerto. let's take a look at esa-pekka
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salonen as they play his violin concerto. ♪ tavis: you really consider yourself a composer more than a conductor, yes? it started out like that. conducting is something that happens. fluke. i wasns by
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studying composition, and we had a group of composers back in the 1970s, and the real conductors, we felt that we had to have one conductor in the group to do all that, so i was kind of voted to be that one. i realized it was actually something i like doing, so it started like that. anever thought i would have international career as a conductor. it was not part of my plan. tavis: what is the joy, the difference between the joy that composing brings you and the joy that conducting brings you? >> conducting is intensely social. you work with a hundred people collaborate, you try to focus their thoughts, you try to give them a concept, you
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try to inspire them, and it's actually exhausting. [laughter] energy.there is so much you get back a lot of course, but you also have to give a lot. things,of high-energy we rehearse for a few days are sometimes a week and then the concert, and then it is over. whereas composing is the total opposite of that. if you would like to describe composing as an act with one w" would be the word. sometimes you spend nine months, 10 months, a year composing, you never see anyone. it is very sort of metabolic.