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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  October 31, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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with european officials. the damage for the united states is so high. something needs to be done. we hope that will be successful because we need messages to our thise that we cannot have with citizens. an italian magazine reported wednesday the national security agency has died on vatican phone calls, including when the successor to pope benedict was being discussed. magazine" said that listened in on the pope. kathleen sebelius faced a grilling on capitol hill wednesday over the technical failures plaguing the rollout of the new health care law. panel,ing before a house
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sebelius said the government has spent $118 million on health and $16 million on tech support. she was not able to dig knowledge how many people have enrolled, but she did say that given the problems, the launch will be a small number. >> i am as frustrated as anyone with the launch of healthca let me say to these americans, you deserve better. i apologize. earning yourd to confidence back by fixing the site. we are working day and night and will continue until it is fixed. sebelius also faced questions over an internal thernment memo obtained by associated press which shows officials concerns about a high security risk on the site due to's -- insufficient testing.
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waslius said the website secure and expressed confidence it would be optimally functional by november 30, two months after its launch. president obama defended the health care rollout wednesday during an appearance in boston, but he was disrupted by protesters urging him to disrupt the construction of the keystone xl pipeline. >> [chanting] >> ok. we are talking about health care today. no, that is ok.
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that is the wrong rally. [laughter] we have the climate change rally in the summer. this is the health care rally. >> president obama cited problems faced in the rollout of the massachusetts health reform law signed by mitt romney in 2006. romney rejected the comparison, tweeting -- the protest against keystone xl came amidst reports that a pipeline in texas owned by the spilledeline company 400 barrels of crude oil near austin. the subsidiary of koch industries says that the brothers could win $100 billion
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in new profits if the keystone pipeline is completed. the federal reserve says it will continue it economic stimulus program, citing high unemployment and slowing recovery in housing sector. fede september 2012, the has been buying $83 billion in bonds every month in a bid to encourage spending. in a statement on wednesday, officials said they would wait for more evidence of sustained growth before adjusting the purchases. the senate has confirmed president obama's nominees for posts on the fcc and national relations board. the senate also confirmed tom wheeler as the next fcc commissioner after ted cruz lifted his blockade on the nomination.
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obama is nominating two other top fundraisers to serve as messengers. robert barber is his pick for ambassador to iceland. regulators in japan have given final approval to move more than 1500 fuel rods from a cooling pool at the fukushima daiichi nuclear plant. the process is set to begin next month but the nuclear regulatory chair has warned of a potential disaster if the fuel rods are damaged or break in the removal process. antinuclear activist harvey wasserman says --
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a group of protesters gathered outside of barneys department store here in new york city wednesday to condemn the retailer's alleged reform -- racial profiling. new york attorney general eric schneiderman has launched a probe after african-american customers said employees alerted police after making a racially biased assumption that the shoppers could not afford their purchases. especially as a teenager, when i walk into a store like barneys, there is a lot of attention on the because i am a black african-american teenager. therefore i feel like i should stand up for myself. looking at me you do not know who i am. american,i am african- there were a lot of eyes on me. i am used to that. money, i me spending should not be treated like that.
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>> after rob brown, who stars in said he wastreme" profiled law shopping in new york, he told the new york daily news that he was paraded through macy's in handcuffs and detained for one hours as police accused him of using a fake card to buy a watch for his mother. the store alleged racial profiling has been dubbed shop and frisk. stop and frisk faced its own challenges at brown university this week. commissioner ray kelly was about to deliver a speech on so active -- so-called proactive policing, when protesters shut down the event. racism is not for debate. >> we ask that you let him speak
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and you make your comments part of the question and answer program. stop are asking that you stopping and frisking people. the new york city council has approved a measure raising the age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21. michael bloomberg has pledged to sign the bill. new york is the first major city to take action following similar measures in smaller municipalities. the council also approved setting a minimum price of $10.50 per pack. those are some of the headlines. democracy now!,, the war and peace report. >> i am juan gonzalez. killeda drone strike three people in northwest pakistan earlier today, marking the first such attack since prime minister nawaz sharif publicly called president obama
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to end the strikes. just last week amnesty international said the united states could be committing war crimes by killing innocent pakistanis to billions in drone strikes. study twoort, amnesty drone strikes in 2012, including one that killed a 68-year-old woman in north waziristan who was picking the balls in the field with her grandchildren. >> on tuesday, the woman's son and her grandchildren, who were with her in the field, spoke at a congressional hearing at .ashington, d c. nine-year-old nabila ascribed how she was injured while working with her grandmother when the drone hit them. had asked mether to come help her outside as we were collecting okra. then i saw from the sky a drone -- heard the noise
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noise. everything was dark and i could not see anything but i heard a scre. i was very scared in all i can think of doing was running. i felt something in my hand and i look down and there was blood. i tried to bandage my hand but the blood kept on coming. nabila was nine-year-old ur rehman. her brother, who was injured with shrapnel roads told congress that my grandmother was nobody's enemy. it was the first time congress had heard directly from drone strike victims. lawmakers,ly five all democrats decided to attend. to be increased oversight about flying dangerous weapons over another nation and killing innocent people.
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we should never accept that children and other loved ones in a faraway land are acceptable collateral damage. we will in the program, speak to members of the family in the studio. we begin with a new documentary called "unmanned: america's drone wars," by filmmaker robert greenwald. it looks at drone strikes with interviews of more than 70 survivors, a former operator, military officials, and more. the film opens with the story of tariq aziz who lived in a pakistani village who had been hit many times. he attended an anti-drone conference in islamabad. through treacherous terrain, potential, then hot spots, and of course, under drone surveillance.
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>> it was the first time that the international media, the drone victims, tribal elders, and the general public came together. it was held in a five-star hotel. they spoke about the political implications and the drone victims spoke about personal stories. >> it was a gathering to get the voices of the attacks out to the public and the rest of the world. use there going to
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media to try to establish who had been killed and also why, where, and how. of theuse inaccessibility of waziristan, it is hard to compile any kind of credible evidence, evidence that others would see as credible. that was why we organized this conference. a jerk is a traditional tribal gathering. >> this is simply indiscriminate bombing. at one stage, i came across one young boy, tariq aziz. one of the first things he did was hand made his cousins student id card. i looked back and i noticed he was crying. he started to tell me the sty of his cousin who had been killed from a drone strike. to informe to merrily us more about what had happened
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to his cousin, two people in his local village, and how to find out how to stop the killing. we ate together at lunch time, we laugh together, we became friends. tariq was extremely intelligent, funny to be around. he had a nice sense of humor, was fascinated by photography, western music, mentioning artists. one that sprang to mind was lady gaga. about dronetalk strikes, high he was unable to sleep at night, scared, worried about his family. tariq was traumatized. >> he wanted to talk about how he was affected by drone attacks and to give the message that the people of waziristan want justice about the killings of innocents. >> i was taking pictures and took >> the people gathered there
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adopted a resolution, condemning this. the outcome was a big success. it allowed people to come together and listen to stories and come to a common resolution. then we went together to a rally and tariq aziz traveled with us. we travel toward the rally and he sat next to me, he was relaxed, was laughing with his friends.
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everyone got out and they went to the rally. >> thousands of pakistanis came to support a giant rally on sunday. >> after that, tariq aziz and the other attendees returned to their homes.
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>> two days later i got the call. i had heard about tariq a few
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days later. >> i got an e-mail. four days after the jirga, i received an e-mail. out tariqk, i found had been murdered by a drone strike. >> that was a shock. what was he doing? it was completely unbelievable. >> my initial thoughts were, this is not happening, this is a dream. tariq, whoot think wanted to talk about football, would be killed in a drone
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attack the same week that we met him. >> an excerpt from the new film "unmanned: america's drone wars, " from robert greenwald. he will be with us after the break, as well as jennifer gibson. then we will speak to the pakistani family who lost their grandmother in a drone strike and came to washington to testify before congress. the brother, sister, and the son of the woman killed.
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. continue the special on drone strikes in pakistan, we are joined by two just. filmmaker robert greenwald, filmmaker of the documentary "unmanned: america's drone wars ." you can watch the film online free for a limited time. he is the founder and president of brave new films. we are also joined by jennifer gibson, staff writer for reprieve. she traveled with the family from pakistan to the united states. gibson is also co-author of "living under drones." jennifereenwald, gibson, thank you for joining us.
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aziz,ragic story of tariq shortly after attending a conference on the very issue of drones homeland and being killed. could you talk about the impact of that and also more about tariq and his life? >> it was devastating for everyone involved. it was mentioned in the clip, he irga,elped to organize a j a traditional dispute mechanism. to the we could not go trouble area, so we decided to bring the elders to islamabad. everyone knew it was going on. the idea that the u.s. could not have known that this person was at this hotel, blocks from the .mbassy, is unbelievable as you saw in the clip, many people spend time talking with
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him, spent time getting to know him, and to our dismay, three days later, he is dead in a drone strike. he was talking about his friends being killed. >> he was talking about his cousin, other family members, his friends. he had accompanied a local elder to the event, was not part of the discussions, per se, but was an observer. he was like any other 16-year- old boy you might know here. he talked about his love of cricket and football and hopes and dreams for the future. those hopes and dreams, nobody could have imagined, would have been cut short so quickly. >> has the usaid knowledge why they have killed him? >> they have not acknowledged why they have killed anyone in
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the program. we have now reached a point where the administration is acknowledging the program exist but refuses to acknowledge the criteria for who is being killed or even dealing with the follow- up investigations when there are these claims of civilian casualties. there is no response. >> what was the response of the pakistani government? >> they also gave no response to the family about the killing. in the case of the rehman family, there was any knowledge meant that it was a drone strike, they wrote a letter back saying that we found it was a drone strike. eight children were injured, but it is not our problem. we did not fire the drones. >> who said that? >> the pakistani government. they acknowledged it was a u.s. drone, and the u.s. government said nothing.
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>> robert, talk about the making of "unmanned: america's drone wars." >> it started when i went to pakistan and began interviewing the family members. upsetting anddly infuriating. i made the decision when i was there investigating, after i saw the family -- i have three daughters myself. sitting with the family, i immediately felt a strong connection and said not only would we tell their story in the film, but if we could bring them to the united states, how powerful that could be so that they could see human beings paying this extraordinary price for this policy of hours that is morally wrong and is not making us safer. >> this issue in pakistan, unlike afghanistan or iraq, where the u.s. does not acknowledge the actions it has
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, atn, responsibility for it least in afghanistan or iraq there is some sort of compensation to civilians who are killed as a result of being collateral damage. your sense of the reaction in congress as you put together the film and attempted to have a hearing about the issue? strong, action was very emotional briefing. generally they are pretty boring, but people were moved, there were tears flowing. i think the congress people, staffers, and thanks to many in the media, more are aware that this is a policy that you cannot hide behind classified information. it makes no sense. the cia says you are wrong in your film. we know the real information that we are not going to give it to you. codepink, they wrote an
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interesting piece headlined " $40 million allocated for drone victims never reaches them." can you explain what this fund is? >> i am not sure anyone can. i think that was part of the point of what they released. they discovered all of these calls for compensation, there have been $10 million every year for the past four years earmarked by the foreign affairs budget to pay compensation to victims. >> the cia is not acknowledging their engagement. nobody is in knowledge and that they are carrying out drones tracks, so when you see news reports like this morning,
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the u.s. never comments. it is always an anonymous figure. an anonymous source from the pakistani intelligence, american intelligence, anonymous source from the administration. these sources just say yes, militants were killed. of thenew report pakistani government downplaying the number of civilian casualties, any coincidence that this hearing in congress was happening this week? >> that is a question for the pakistani government. what is shocking about the numbers is it contradicts everything they have been saying for the past two years. they gave secrets to the high , citing a much higher number of civilian casualties. recently in march, they gave the specialto the un's
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representative, telling them there were at least 400 casualties. needs pakistanhe to explain why the numbers have gone down. of course, this is right after nawaz sharif met with president obama in washington. >> right after he reportedly told him to end the drone strikes. this revision of numbers coincidentally makes them closer to the cia numbers in terms of civilian casualties as well. >> let's go to another clip from your film, "unmanned: america's about the attack on a tribal meeting known as a jirga which was held in datta khel. you will also hear a stanford first, ansor and
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explanation of what happened that day. >> there were more than 40 people. >> they held the jirga at a bus depot in broad daylight. they had informed the military. the brigadier knew about the jirga 10 days in advance. his own army camp was 10 kilometers from the site of the jirga. was an open, public event that everyone in the surrounding area new about. so it begins in the morning at about 10:00. --er 20 minutes or so
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>> there is smoke and debris and chaos. people amounts of rushing to the place from nearby shops.
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>> that was another clip from "unmanned: america's drone wars ." could greenwald, if you comment on that segment we just heard. >> this was something about signature strikes. literally, these are guesses
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about what people are doing, based on their behavior, not who they are or what they have done, not that we have any information on them. some bureaucrat someplace is guessing that they might one day possibly do bad things and people are being killed. this was the leadership of that community. 45 people decimated. again, based on no hard information. ofn if people are in favor drone strikes, signature strikes are beyond outrageous and they can be legislative solutions to that. this also created the direct line to the president in terms of him having to approve them. >> the president approve the so- called kill list. the signature strikes, which they are supposedly moving away from, it is not clear who decides that. what we understand is it is the cia who now believes they are so wise they can see thousands of
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miles away people sitting in a circle with guns, they must be bad guys, let's kill them. >> before we move on to our final story and our guests who came from pakistan, jennifer gibson, they were supposed to come to the united states with their lawyer. instead, their lawyer was denied a visa and you had to fly from britain to islamabad to pick them up to come back here. explain what is happening with people trying to speak out. an amazing individual who should be here today. he has been working on investigating drones for more than three years. he has amazing connections with the communities. ,ver since he started working he has been unable to get a visa to come to the u.s.. it should be noted that he used to come to the country all the time with no problems. the last time he tried, it took
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14 months to get a visa. this time he applied in august and he was told, you have a history with us, it needs to go through d.c. he has not been able to get an answer and his application is in administrative processing. video are making your available online for free. >> yes, we have a wonderful daughter that wants to see thousands to see it. we want people to see it and then, importantly, to get other people to see it. that is the wonder of the school and being able to operate this way. you were instrumental in putting together the hearing from congress. only five members attended? >> we are told that that is a
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good number for congress. of course, i was disappointed, hoping for hundreds. they did show up, and i think they were affected. we hope it will be the beginning of momentum. few times have victims of themselves -- victims themselves come to testify. robert greenwald and jennifer gibson, thank you for being with us. when we come back, you will need family -- rehman family. [♪]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we continue our special on u.s. and drone strikes and return to the killing of a pakistani grandmother last year.
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in a moment, we will be joined by her son and two grandchildren, nine-year-old nabila and 13-year-old zubair. first, another clip from "unmanned: america's drone wars ."
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>> the attack was october 24, i came from islamabad and came to interview the family. had hade was the family a traumatic experience, were very upset.
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>> his mother had been killed in
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the attack. they were angry and very upset. >> you have people living in constant fear they are not safe in their homes or on the streets or in their locality. ful that they
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could be attacked, that there land could be seriously affected. >> an excerpt from robert greenwald's film "unmanned: america's drone wars." we are joined by the rehman family who have traveled from pakistan. they have come to address members of capitol hill. we are now joined by rafiq ur rehman and his 13-year-old son zubair and nine-year-old daughter nabila. for our tv viewers, we are showing some of the pictures that nabila drew of the drones flying above her home in pakistan. both children were wounded in the attack that killed their grandmother. their translator is michelle khilji. welcome to democracy now!
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your reaction when you first heard of the attack on your mother, your children? >> i have gone to buy some things from the bazaar. ,hen i returned, i had noticed in the graveyard on the outskirts of the village, they were preparing for it were real -- a burial. >> i had asked some children, who they were preparing the burial for. rafiqaid it was for
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rehman's mother. are 13.r, you you were picking okra with your grandmother. describe what happened. >> i had gone to school that day, and when i came back, i had a snap, offer my prayers. my grandmother asked me to come outside and help her pick vegetables. >> you are hit by this drone that kill your grandmother? >> yes, i had seen a drone in
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two missiles hit the ground where my grandmother was. she was blown to pieces and i was injured in my left leg. nabila, you two were not the only ones injured in your family. could you talk about what happened to you, what you recall, your reaction? >> it was the day before, so i was outside with my grandmother, and she was telling me the difference about how to pick
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okra that was right and which was not. i had heard a noise and everything became dark. i saw two fireballs come down from the sky. >> you all testified before congress. you are some of the first to do this. rafiq rehman, what is your message to america? >> what i would like to say to them is to please find a way to end the drones. it is not only affecting me and my children, not only because they were injured, but it affect their future.
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i am worried that their education will be disrupted and that they will not want to continue. you ever been contacted by u.s. government officials or by the pakistani government officials to explain to you why this attack occurred? >> i did communicate with a local political officer of my village to find an answer, but he was unable to give me an answer. >> have you been compensated for the death of your mother, the children's grandmother? no one has given me anything.
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>> zubair, what did your grandmother mean to you? >> there was no one else like her. she was full of love. when she passed away, all my friends told me, you are not the only one that lost a grandmother. we all lost a grandmother. everyone knew her in the village. are nine years old. how have things changed since the attack? do you go out into the fields, do you fear another attack?
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>> ever since the strike, i am always scared. all of us kids are scared to go outside. >> do you fear another strike, zubair? you have been numerous operations on your leg. your message to america? >> i am scared because of what happened to me ever since. i do not understand why this has happened. i have done nothing wrong. america?essage to
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>> what i would like to say to the american people is to please tell your government to end these strikes because it is disrupting our lives. >>
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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with j.j. abrams. he is one of the most are living writers today whose work can be seen in tv series such as "revolution" and "person of interest." he is about to take over "star wars." he has found the time to complete and interactive novel. we are glad you joined us. a contribution by author jj abrams coming up right now.
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jja conversation with author abrams coming up now. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> jj abrams has conquered television with a string of series and the upcoming "almost
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human." has just taken over "star wars" from george lucas. somehow he found the time to complete and interactive novel. it is being described as an interactive puzzle between two readers sending messages in the text. let's take a look. >> he arrived knowing nothing of himself. who is he? know, because what begins at a water shell and there, and what and there shall once more began -- shall and there shallhat ends
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began. this is what happens when men reborn. jjt -- tavis: you are the best at intrigue. abrams could do a trailer for a book. to do something that makes people wonder what it was. is valid.a book how, so ion't know
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didn't attempt to describe what this is. i am glad you are here to describe it. >> 15 years ago i was at lax and i saw a book on the bench. novel.a robert ludlum i opened it up, and somebody read the book and brought me to -- it said, somebody read this book and brought me to lax. please pick me up and take me somewhere else. i thought, that was such an optimistic thing. it made me think of when i was in college and people would underline text. i would think, why is that important to