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tv   Consider This  Al Jazeera  October 21, 2014 1:00am-2:01am EDT

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>> we are trailing the states in our region >> can governor brownback win again? >> i think you spend your money better than the government spends it.. >> america votes 2014 battle for kansas only on al jazeera america u.s. military in syria. will the weapons be used against the people they're designed to help? also the cdc makes changes to its ebola protocol to protect health care workers. is it too little too late? and the mentally ill may be unfairly targeted in the efforts against gun violence. i'm lisa fletcher, in for antonio mora. those and other stories straight ahead. >> the u.s. resupplied kurdish
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fighters with. >> weapons ammunition medical supplies. kobani. >> if the city is overtaken, the kurdish forces will be slaughtered. >> the 21 day qua quarantine period duncan. >> this is the booze scene at a pumpkin festival. >> i had a bottle thrown at me and i lost consciousness. >> serial killer. possibly bringing an end to a string of murders that stretch back decades. >> apparently received social security benefits. >> vehicles whose air bags can cause serious injuries. >> instant blindness and followed by gushing blood.
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>> we begin with strange bed fellows, the in the fight against syria and iraq. kurdish forces struggling to push i.s.i.l. out of the syrian city of kobani. brian wilson, fighting alongside syrian kurds, say they have been struggling for weeks against the better weaponed i.s.i.l. fighters. >> they just need more help. if they had better technology better weapons they could finish on their own. >> meanwhile, turkey made a surprising announcement. the country would allow peshmerga to travel through their country to help their fellow kurds in kobani. secretary of state john kerry acknowledged the pkk it considered terrorists. >> we talked with turkish authorities, i did, the president did, to make it very, very clear this is not a shift
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of policy by the u.n, it states it is a crisis moment, an emergency where we clearly do not want to see kobani become a horrible example of the unwillingness of people to be able to help those who are fighting i.s.i.l. >> it was just a week ago that secretary kerry played down the significance of kobani. >> kobani does not define the strategy of the coalition. it is going to take a period of time to bring the coalition thoroughly to the table, to rebuild some of the morale and capacity of the iraqi army. and to begin to focus where we ought to be focusing first, which is in iraq. >> but in iraq monday i.s.i.l. launched more than a dozen near simultaneous attacks in the north including an attempt to retake the critically important mosul dam.
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joining me is john nodle, author of knife fights in modern theory and practice. he co-authored the counterinsurgency manual with are general petraeus. >> the major turning point is the turks overcoming their concern about the kurds and allowing not turkish kurds but iraqi kurds cross their borders to continue in the fight. so turkey becoming more involved in the fight assisting the syrian rebels is i think absolutely historic. it's hard for turkey to go back and turkey really matters. >> is this enough reinforcement that you think will really change things? >> i think that the combination of turkey's assistance and the
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united states also taking an important step moving to physically drop arms weapons equipment ammunition, to the rebels who have been suffering from a lack of that again because the turks had the border closed, the combination of these two things is important both in terms of the fight on the ground in kobani which i think will go better for the rebels now but also for the broader war as both america and turkey recognize what a significant threat i.s.i.s. poses and that we need to take action now to prevent i.s.i.s. from gaining more ground. >> let's talk about that weapons drop a little bit. the pentagon came out and said i.s.i.s. is not a fractionalized disorganized force, they operate like a sophisticated army. the u.s. does the weapons drop, what's the risk that these weapons are going to be taken against them and used against the very people they were
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dropped to protect? >> although the kurds aren't that dedicated on the ground they are getting better, one of the 24 or so pallets did go astray, there was a self-destruct mechanism on it and it was destroyed. at least at this point, all the arms and ammunition reached the people we wanted them to reach. that is as important psychologically, thinking that these groups were hanging out on their own, thinking that the world's greatest power is stepping in to help them are as important as psychologically as the weapons themselves. >> the u.s., is scrapping helping the free syrian army and
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training one themselves. how is that going over? >> we missed an opportunity back in summer of 12, summer of 2012, when secretary of state clinton, cia director petraeus, the president made a different decision in that election year now sadly a lot of those guys are gone. the free syrian army has been infiltrateby i.s.i.s. affiliates and we have decided we just need to start over from the ground up and vet everybody. that's really going to setback progress on the syrian front in the long term. >> you still have to control the group's influence. how do you do that? >> my own recommendation has long been that we put american advisors on the ground first with the iraqi forces, the iraqi army, the iraqi police and the kurdish forces, the iraqi kurdish forces inside iraq.
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that will increase the effectiveness of those forces, allow us to push back i.s.i.s. more rapidly. the state of maryland that i.s.i.s. has seized over the course of the last year. the long term answer has to be a local solution for governing the territory there. and iraq i'm pretty confident that the iraqi government under prime minister al abadi, can do that once we pushed i.s.i.s. out. i'm not confident who we want to rule syria once we push i.s.i.s. out. >> your book knife fight, you talk about irregular warfare. define that for us. >> regular warfare is tank on tank, uniform against uniform, easily identifiable. in unconventional warfare, one side chooses not to use uniforms. they
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are fish swemg in th swimming ie sea of people. you can't identify the people you can't figure out who your enemy is, you take casualties without ever knowing who it is irregular warfare is far more difficult than conventional warfare is. >> does conventional strategy work that way? >> you need all the skills required for conventional warfare, you need to call in artillery, air strikes but you have to be an anthropologist, an intelligence officer, understand the local culture and the power structure of the society you're working in. so this is the essence of counterinsurgent strategy, that requires a deeper understanding of the human terrain and not just the physical terrain. >> is the dod adaptable enough? >> a landmark public works of the count insurgency field
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manual which i had the privilege to rep write, published in 2006, one of the big concerns we have is that the other agencies of the u.s. government, the state department, the agency for international development all also need to adapt to this new world in which we're not fighting enemy armies anymore. we're fighting substate groups, tribes, multinational jihad groups like i.s.i.s. which challenge. >> thank you, for being with us. >> good to be here. >> while syrian kurds continue to fight against i.s.i.l, some accused of ethnic cleansing by their former arab neighbors in iraqi kurdistan. recently returned from iraqi kurdistan where she wrote about the impact of i.s.i.l. advances
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and what those advances are having on kurds and airbus in the region. alia thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> turkey's president erdogan has compared kurdish to their enemies in turkey. >> we should probably lay out the landscape. the syrian kurds who are fighting are affiliated with the pkk a party founded in turkey and has been seeking for over three decades now trying to establish self autonomy for the kurds. they have long been good friends and allies and partners with turkey, that turkey after germany, the karigee is turkey's second based trading
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partners, $8 billion in trade between the two countries. leading in the peshmerga is a way to undermine the pkk and for the tork have their kurds on the ground there. >> you wrote a powerful article neighbor against neighbor, and you talked about the division between arabs and kurds. what was it like before i.s.i.l. came in? >> they would have told you that they were pretty good. the towns i've written about were disputed areas long disputed between baghdad and erbil. there was an arabization kind of policy, they tried to move kurds out and arabs in. when fortunes changes in the '90s, people had navigated a kind of co-existence that i wrote in the story. people took picnics together,
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celebrated kurdish holidays together. in a second because of fear and suspicion and heightened sectarian divisions, that can kind of fall apart. >> speaking of fear and suspicion, you talked to some kurd who were collaborating with i.s.i.l. any evidence to that end? >> it is interesting there are people from the surrounding villages did participate and help out i.s.i.l. but what i found, one of the things we tried to track in this article, we did one block of one street and they said we heard this man came the mayor of mahmour and handed out pastries to everybody on the streets. we were able to more or less kind of debunk them, but it's not fair to say, that there were people from villages, not untrue, other people participated but as so often the problem in the region everyone asked they be judged as individuals. this idea of collectively
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looking at people and assign ing guilt would be something that beyond. >> do you see a moment of reconciliation between arabs and turks? >> that reconciliation could be difficult by thrur but kurds that are part of i.s.i.l. in moments like these you see people polarize along these lines. >> is there a respect building between the peshmerga and the pkk behind the scenes,. >> officially, the ruling party kdp will say no we're not officially coordinating, they have to remember and keep in the back of their mind they have
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these relationships, other european nations, a lot, there's a lot to be lost for them if they are seen to be too much as allying with the pkk. but in terms of street credibility and their own domestic constituency, mutually beneficial for the peshmerga forces the iraqi kurdish forces to be heading towards kobani, finally it looks like they're doing something against i.s.i.l. >> speaking of that street credibility, the pkk seems to be gaining in popularity. be is this a different generation of pkk from 20 or 30 years ago? >> it's funny when you ask it that way. i feel like when i sit with the pkk leaders, it's like when you're in a time warp, it's a dogmatic discussion and the things they say, it does seem like they're living in another
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era. that's in jeopardy right now. what is new is that iraqi kurds who have never been fighters with the pkk are joining and signing up and they seize them as the more valiant fighters and the ones they want to fight with. in terms of whether that will translate politically that will be a little more difficult. the pkk is still a guerilla movement and they haven't had an opportunity to govern. they have a marxist leninist type of perspective and they are richer so like the appeal of the ideology of the pkk is probably a lot less. but right now in terms of like bravado and going out there and standing up there for a military sense, that's where the appeal is. >> all right. ali malik, thanks so much for joining us. now for more stories from around the world .
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we begin in indiana, where police are still interviewing a man they suspect to be a serial killer. 43-year-old darren van confessed to strangling a woman. and he led police to locations of six other women, some of the murders he's suspected of committing could go back 20 years. national highway traffic safety administration urged owners of 4.7 million vehicles to get their air bags repaired immediately. according to the agency, inflaters could rupture causing metal fragments to fly ought when the air bags are deployed in crashes. warnings from 2002, from a wide
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range of manufacturers, toyota, mazda, bmw and general motors, at least four people have died from faulty inflators. and we end literally around the world. according to noaa, a full 1.3° higher than 20th century average of 59. it appears to be a continuing trend. so far the first nine months of 2014 are tied with 1998 for the warmest on record and scientists expect the hot trend to continue through the end of the year. and in case you were wondering the last time earth set a monthly cold record was december 1916. that's what's happening around the world. new ebola cautions for hospitals by cdc. and more than 34,000 new yorkers are deemed too mentally unstable to have a gun.
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is this new partnership from mental health workers and the state wrong ly traumatizing and stigmatizing people who are mentally our social media producer, hermela aregawi, what's up? >> violent protests over the weekend. what do you think? join the conversation, @ajconsiderthis and on our
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>> late monday the cdc announced new guidelines to protect health care workers from contracting ebola. they announced enhanced protective gear that leaves no part of the body exposed and trained monitors to oversee the doning and removal of that
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gear. two health care workers contracted ebola while treat ing thomas eric duncan who died of the disease. the two workers are in fair condition and anthony fauci is hopeful. >> my intention is in the somewhere distance future walk out of the hospital with her. >> 21 day monitoring period on monday without showing any symptoms of ebola. they are now free to go about their lives. for more from new orleans, i'm joined by robert gary, a serologist, who has worked with international experts to identify cases and train workers and is currently developing a rapid diagnostic test.
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no part of the body is expose exposed. trained monitors to supervise the doning and dovin dove doffing of gear. >> better training is what you need for health care workers to put equipment on properly and even more importantly than that, to take it off safely. and there are some of the other guidelines that are also good too. the buddy system is what we would call it in africa but you need to have trained people to help the people put the protective equipment on and then again take it off. some of the other things that have been implemented like no skin exposed, those things are perhaps less important than some of the other things with the training. but you know, we would not necessarily require that in africa because it's so hot there. and you know if you completely seal the body up, you can only
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be in that suit for a few maybe 30 minutes at the most. to is face shield is-- so the face shield is good. i've been told they're not going to require goggles. i would have to see what they're recommending but there are other things i would look at too. they are trying to disinfect the equipment before it's taken off. we would use a sprayer, kind of like a lawn sprayer you would spray your rose bushes with. i don't think they've recommended that. i'm sure they've thought it out pretty good. >> robert why do you think they didn't initially take their cue from the folks like you organizations in africa, doctors without borders, folks who have been dealing with ebola for decades? >> they've had these recommendations in place for quite many time. the cdc guidelines were not that guidelines.
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in fact the w.h.o. guidelines are still a little bit more lax than what the former cdc guidelines were. but you have to remember that they were dealing with ebola outbreaks in middle africa and smaller outbreaks many fewer patients. so what worked in those situations doesn't work when you have overcrowded facilities, lots of patients coming in. and a disease that you know has a lot of vomiting and diarrhea maybe that's a little bit different too. >> it's interesting bass thomas duncan's fiancee and son released a statements saying they were clear of quarantine and they were close contact with duncan, that's good news but we still don't know how the two nurses contracted it, which makes people nervous. what do you think happened, was it the protective gear or lack of? >> taking the protective gear off is a very hazardous thing. if there is a little virus that gets off the sleeve or some other place on the gear that you're not aware of and you
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touch that and then touch your eye or your mouth after you've taken the face shield off or the goggles off, then that's a good port of entry for the virus. that would be the first place to suspect that there was an accident, when the gear was taken off. >> so duncan's fiancee and son are among 43 people who are now officially out of quarantine after a 21 day monitoring period but some my goodnes members of congresses who are saying that that's not enough. based on outbreaks in 1976 or 2006 in uganda, tom frieden said they are confident of the incubation period. >> that would be a rare occurrence. the incubation period for this disease is pretty well-known.
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and so the time to illness is between, usually between six and 12 days. that. if you get a big exposure to the virus you can show symptoms to the virus in just a couple of days. i personally think the 21 day period is enough. if there's no transmissions in the household or the close contacts, 21 days is enough. if there's another transmission of course you have to start the clock again so that might be 42 days for example. >> so i know this is something you're working on. how close are we to developing a rapid diagnostic test for ebola? >> i think we believe that a rapid diagnostic could make a difference if you could tell a person on the spot whether or not they have been infected with the virus it is possible to get that person out of the transmission chains into treatment and that could make a big difference.
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>> the lab technician who had contacted duncan 's labs was isolated, leave america with your thoughts, is that an overreaction? >> well i don't want to tell parents, when they are dealing with their children, what's too much of a risk or not. i mean the risk is very, very small. is it zero? is it totally zero? i can't tell you it was zero. so i'd have to go with the parents on this one. >> robert gary, thank you so much for joining us. has the mission to get guns out of the mentally ill gone too far? the new york times reported that more than 34,000 people have been added to a list of new yorkers deemed too dangerous to handle a firearm. the risk is from the wake of the newtown massacre. drawing the question, where do
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we draw the line and who draws the line? dr. richard allen freedman, thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> first let's define the terms of this list. how has new york gone about picking who was on the list? >> right. so the way the state designed the law basically was to tell mental health professionals that if they are concerned that somebody is at risk, of hurting themselves or hurting somebody else, then they belong on this list of people who are potentially dangerous to self or others. and should not be able to get a fireman. - firearm. >> more than 34,000 people are on the list, you're against the list. why. >> well i think it's a well intentioned law with undesirable consequences. patients know when they talk to their psychiatrist or mental
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health professional that they're likely to be reported if they reveal that they're thinking about hurting themselves or hurting somebody else, it might discourage patients from being frank or honest with clinicians and it might discourage people from seeking help in the first place and that's not a result people want. >> you think about the groups we hear after columbine or the santa barbara shooting or the newton massacre. is the system so broken does it fish that issue? >> the answer is the system needs to be fixed but fixing the system will not fix the cycle of violence, 97% of the violence in the country is perpetrated by those that are not mentally ill. >> do they account for the most violent instances of crime?
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>> no they count .1% for mass killings, which actually are the most spectacular and horrifying of all homicides but they get a lot of media attention. so the mentally ill account for a very, very small portion of voyages iviolence in this count. >> seems like they're damned if they do damn fed they don't. people are going to say look you had this information right under your nose, and you chose not to use it. civil liberties groups are saying you're unfairly targeting these groups. what is the state to o? >> the problem is not a medical or science problem, when you say what is the country to do, or what is the state to do, it is very hard to control human behavior and very expensive to do it. it's probably a lot easier, not politically but it's probably a lot easier to limit the expression of human behavior by having sensible gun control.
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>> you know this number 34,500 on the new york list, it last a lot of people -- it has a lot of people saying that's a giant number that's too many. but i did a little math, the population of new york 19.5 million, that is only .6% of the new york population. when you look at it in those whack. >> if you were to ask a question, what fraction of those people who are on that list are actually a danger, it's probably very, very small. and i think the reason is the law has many clinicians worried and so they're practicing defensive medicine. nobody wants to be said after the fact that they missed a potentially dangerous person and since mental health professionals are bad at predicting violence, no more than a toss of a coin, what it does is encourage clinicians to over-report.
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so the system is going to be flooded with false positives. >> clinicians are no better able to predict violence in their patients without than a toss of a coin? how is that possible? >> the risk factors associated with violence, even if you can get people who have all the associated risk factors, many of them will not turn out to be violent. being young, being male, having a serious mental disorder, history of violence. those are the biggest epidemiologic risk factors. most of them will not turn out to be violent. >> the watch list came out after the safe act in newtown. do you think someone is doing something that's working? >> it's hard to know, because it's like looking for a needle
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in a haystack. to find out whether an actual measure works you need a lot of time to go by. so the answer is nobody really knows. >> how do you see it playing out in the next few years? >> i think sadly what's going to happen is, we're going to have more of these last killings. because the real problem is the easy access to firearms. we're never going to be able to really identify who's most at risk of committing violence. it's just the state of the science. >> so unless a person has been involuntarily hospitalized or in a mental institution there's probably no way of preventing a mentally ill person from buying a gun. so there has to be some sort of mechanism earlier on that helps these risk factors appear. what is that mechanism? is that in the schools? conversation? >> that is a critically important question and i think
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you know we need to do a better job as a society educating the public about what those risk factors might be. for example, when you are talking about young people, when you see a young person who's suddenly very interested in violence, spending a lot of sometime on the internet, socially isolated, bullied and tortured at school and sunlt acting in a way that's-- suddenly acting in a way that's not characteristic, where people pay attention to these things - >> but the logical follow up is somebody reporting it. are they in any better position to be reporting it, than the clinical people who are reporting it? >> statistically no. the people who commit mass killing which is a very, very small fraction of overall violence in the country, because most of those people have severe
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mental illness they tend to shun the mental health system. mental health practitioners never see them. they avoid the mental health system, that's why we will never see them. >> dr. freeden, thank you for joining us. >> my pleasure. >> hermella. >> continuing to make headlines, at least 80 people were arrested and 30 injured after hundreds of college students spilled out of house parties and onto the streets on saturday. the chaos started at 1:00 a.m. people were throwing beer bottles and rocks at each other. started fires and damaged several vehicles. police responded in riot gear. they said the rioters turned on them once they showed up beginning a confrontation that lasted several
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hours. keene police chief said we were faced with the same type of behavior, people were throwing rocks and bottles now at police. the riots took place at the pumpkin festival. called on new hampshire colleges and universities to take swift action to hold students involved cannable. local law enforcement announced that they are setting up a task force to investigate the incident. scouring social media for more information about those lisa. >> thank you, harm la. ermella. why are some nazis collecting social security from our government? the guggeni'm.
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>> america votes 2014 >> the race is still a dead heat >> filmmaker aj schack turns his camera towards elections in the swing states >> it shows you who these people are... in ways that you don't get to see from the short appearances >> unconventional... >> if i can drink this... i don't see why you should be able to smoke that... >> unscripted... >> we gonna do this? >> ...and uncensored... >> are you kidding me? >> america votes 2014 midterms the series continues only on al jazeera america
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>> an american votes 2014 special report kansas >> in our state, government is broken >> a republican governor has made drastic changes >> the highlight of this is... eventually doing away with income taxes... >> the democratic challenger says, these policies aren't working >> we are trailing the states in our region >> can governor brownback win again? >> i think you spend your money better than the government spends it.. >> america votes 2014 battle for kansas
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only on al jazeera america >> a disturbing report from the associated press is casting light on an ugly episode in u.s. history that is still going on. the ap says that since 1979 at least 38 of 66 suspected nazi war criminals who came to america after the war used a legal loophole to collect millions of dollars in social security benefits, apparently in return for leaving the country. at least four of the suspects are still alive and receiving benefits including former guards who served at auschwitz and other concentration camps. for more i'm joined by richard lardner who piece. thank you for being here.
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>> thanks for having me. i appreciate it. >> why did the u.s. government agree to these deals? >> you got to go back and there were many nazi persecutors is the terms they used, ss guards, suspected war criminals who came to the united states, and quite a few of them got in by lying about their service and ss is a disqualifier for getting into the country. if you said you were part of the german army or you down played the role that you had, you could get in. and as many as 10,000 according to one estimate did come in the country. once they were here they worked, they sort of blended into the communities and neighborhoods that they lived in. they paid their taxes. and eventually many of them became u.s. citizens. when you fast forward to the 1970s, it, a couple of cases sort of jumped to the public consciousness and people realized that there were quite a
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few of the former quote unquote enemies in the country now. so congressional pressure led to the office of special investigations whose sole mission was to find these people and to remove them. trouble was, once they found them nobody wanted them so they had to come up with ways to get them out of the country. >> richard, seems like their sole purpose i'm guessing here would have been justice. why were they interested in just getting these suspected war criminals off our soil? >> well you got to remember we had no basis to prosecute them. whatever crimes they would have committed were committed against nonamericans outside the u.s. the only basis the united states had for removing them from the country is they lied or concealed their former location on their entry paperwork, if you
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send them to whatever country would take them to or would get them to they would be prosecuted there. it turns out there were only about ten prosecutions altogether. >> your reporting showed that the state department objected to what justice was doing as did the social security administration and foreign governments who as you mentioned earlier had to receive these former nazi officers. what happened? >> you can imagine some of the blow back when someone unwanted would show up in another country unannounced. the first call the foreign minister would make would be to the tain state department or toe ambassador. they voiced their objections and oarch over time the justice department backed away from what was called nazi dumping. they backed away from that. but what didn't change was the
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law which still allows benefits to be paid to individuals who have left the country under means other than deportation. deportation is a very -- it is a high threshold. >> speaking of those benefits the your investigation show roughly how much money has been paid out in those benefits? >> no. we estimated based on the records that we were able to get through foya and other sources the social security administration refused our request to receive the total amount of people receiving those pavements and the total amount of those payments. we were told that the privacy act does not make exceptions for excused that thecy war criminals and they simply don't track the cases with that kind of granularity, and under what circumstances. >> one of the prominent nazis arthur rudolph was also an
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important scientist. >> this is a pretty open, the fbi records released over the last decade or so show that the fbi in particular protected a number of nazi war crime suspects from prosecution because they found them to be extremely useful in the united states, keeping an eye on immigrant communities, reporting back to the fbi, to hoover in particular, about what they were learning. so a calculation was made that their value was such that they would look the other way, because they were delivering information that the fbi found useful. >> richard at least four former nazis are getting social security benefits. doe does congress look to change these laws? >> carolyn maloney says she desires to change the legislation, it would no longer
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be deportation it would be lowered down to something like denaturalization when a citizenship is revoked and that's a much lower threshold than deportation but her bill has not yet been introduced. >> associated press investigator richard lardner. thanks for your time. coming up, the state of national art. a quarter of a million viewers to the whitney. but many are questioning its artistic viability. the guggenheim is celebrating an anniversary. our data dive is >> pain killer addiction on the rise >> i loved the feeling of not being in pain >> deadly consequences >> the person i married was gone >> are we prescribing an epidemic? >> the last thing drug companies wanted anybody to think was that, this was a prescribing problem >> fault lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas
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at us... award winning investigative documentary series... opioid wars only on al jazeera america
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>> america votes 2014 on al jazeera america focusing on what matters to you >> what are the issues that americans need to know about? >> everybody needs healthcare... >> lower taxes... >> job opportunities... >> reporting from the battle ground states... >> alaska... >> kentucky... >> iowa... >> local elections with national impact >> we're visiting with the people making the decisions... >> covering what it all means for you... >> ...the mine shut down, it hurts everything... >> i just keep puttin' one foot in front of the other... >> we're fighting for the future of our state >> for straight forward unbiassed political coverage... stay with al jazeera america >> now available, the new al jazeea america mobile news app. get our exclusive in depth, reporting when you want it. a global perspective wherever you are. the major headlines in context. mashable says... you'll never miss the latest news >> they will continue looking for survivors... >> the potential for energy
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production is huge... >> no noise, no clutter, just real reporting. the new al jazeera america mobile app, available for your apple and android mobile device. download it now >> today's data dive visits a museum. tuesday marks 55 years since new york's guggenheim museum opened in 1959. it's one of the wealthiest museums devoted to modern art. known for as much its installations of contemporary art as its shape, frank lloyd wright took 16 years to build it, from the cost of materials after world war ii to five major design changes. it took so long that wright and samuel guggenheim died before it opened. museum attendance is on a
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decline in america. the national endowment for the arts reported a drop. the biggest decline came among adults ages 18 to 24 and what's worse, more museums reported economic stress in 2012. one in 4 that suffered stover very severe financial strain. still, museums are nt going anywhere. far more americans attended museums each year than the four major sports combined. and many museums are spearheading programs to help boost visits. some like the metropolitan museum of art have put their works online. others have added education programs from kids to seniors. some offered nonart education, such as english language programs and computer training. coming up, a massively controversial exit at the whitney.
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>> on al jazeera america, >> a team of scientists are taking their inspiration from nature. >>'s a vital part of who we are >>they had some dynamic fire behavior... >> and what we do.... >> transcranial direct stimulation... don't try this at home! >> tech know's team of experts show you how the miracles of science... >> this is my selfie... what can you tell me about my future? >> ...can effect and surprise us... >> sharks like affection >> tech know, where technology meets humanity... only on al jazeera america
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>> protestors are gathering... >> there's an air of tension right now... >> the crowd chanting for democracy... >> this is another significant development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... >> jeff coons is among the most successful artists alive today. his exhibition was so successful that the whitney extended it. his most famous pieces are giant club
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sculptures of balloon animals. the answer has only grown more complicated. let's bring in our al jazeera culture critic bill wyman. joins us from phoenix, arizona. among the highest attended showings at the whitney. what is it about his work that attraction -- attracts such huge crowds? >> the speblg cal of i spectacl. let's remember it is part of museum marketing, two, jeff coons has been pushing people's buttons for over a decade now. remember the venerable building is moving down to the meat packing district in a couple of years so these all came together
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and made it one of the biggest event art shows we've seen in a while. >> coons has been pretty interesting, some of his expositions, were pretty pornographic, and whether it is art at all, is this beauty in the eye of the beholder thing? >> to really understand him you have to understand he doesn't really have a medium, he doesn't do a particular thing. every five years or so he comes out with something new, completely different approach, materials and concept. so one year it may be the stainless steel balloon dogs, some paintings, quasipornographic, some with blow-up pool toys on top of them, sometimes
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porcelain kitschy figures. he is sitting around with his 150 person staff thinking about what is going to be art. that brings in the crowds and the notoriety because of those high auction prices. >> coons isn't the only one. andy warhol, painting of a can of soup and today he is enshrined among the greatest artists in history. will that same thing be said about coons? >> it is going to be hard to say. andy warhol was a true artist, coming out at a really weird time and he fought his way to public acclaim.
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and his movement parallelled the rock movement. ir i.t. changed the world. coons isn't anything like warhol, he does anything he can to market his work, and that's why he's so controversial, that people are afraid what to think it would mean if he does become the defining artist of our age and what that says about our age. >> there is this big debate pop art over fine art. why is pop art distinguished from more sophisticated art? >> rock music is popular music, there's always been popular music right? there's always been controversial people, even frank sinatra in his day was thought of a radical presence in the music scene.
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there was something about rock music, wasn't there, something that changed society and i think pop art did the same thing, it expanded our minds as to what art could be, art could be something we said it was, something made not by high fal falluting people. there's this thumb your nose at society ways that pop art has stayed with us for 50 years or so. >> one of those balloon dogs went for $60 million, the highest fetched by an abstract artist. or to the millionaire collector who puts up $60 million for the balloon art animal. >> right. because they're sort of two things going on and sometimes when people talk about coons and write about him they don't make this stings. there's the world of fine art
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and jeff coons could in fact be a fine modern artist. but the art market has become absolutely insane with prices going higher and higher betting that their five, six, seven, $10 million investment in a jeff coons work, could be worth $20 million from now. right? he is the master, unquestioned champion of all time in the latter world. that's a market not art. again people seeing the show are looking at i sort of for the spectacle and not because they're fans. >> bill wyman, thank you for joinings us. coming up tomorrow, the teens and texting, a professor who missed the warning signs with his own daughter. and some say most urban planners don't care what you or the middle class wants. and the conversation continues
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