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tv   [untitled]    November 21, 2021 4:00am-4:31am AST

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is small, but news of the algae bloom has affected seafood trade is in the area ah . ready hello, i'm down jordan dough. how about the tall stories here on al jazeera, there's growing anger against new cobit 19 measures across europe. the netherlands is seeing a 2nd light of writing with people throwing stones and fireworks at police in the hague. 3 protest is being treated in the hospital after officers open fire, letting baba report ah, gathering in vienna to say things have gone too far. as governments around europe try to limit rising cove in 19 infection rates. austria's bringing in a 3 week national lockdown from monday, and it's making vaccinations,
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compulsory for everyone from next february, with fines for people who don't comply. 2 thirds of austrians are fully vaccinated . that's one of the lowest rates in western europe. vaccine skepticism has been encouraged by the far right freedom party, the 3rd biggest in parliament, which organized saturdays protest. you can see absolutely clear that where her right or guest room is a strong ah let people are election aid it and what people get ill. so you see that they have some direct influence on either the level or of the panoramic situation. the netherlands is also now in partial locked down with bars and restaurants, closing at 8 in the evening. on saturday, they've been demonstrating against the measures in amsterdam on friday night there was rioting in rotterdam where hundreds of protest as gather to show their anger at the cove. at 19 restrictions, one commentator told al jazeera he's not surprised at the protests, citing general skepticism of the previous government fell following
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a child benefit scandal. people simply don't trust the government and, and that is a cause, a huge, huge challenge for the dutch government to overcome. it seeks to convince people to have vaccinations when it seeks to convince people, well the need for a lot down in bavaria in southern germany. it's the last weekend before a local lockdown for the on vaccinated. the countries health minister says a 4th wave of infections is so serious that a national lockdown can't be ruled out. bennett, police just at 1st click the alice dick it had the politicians organize this more strictly, we would have avoided this worsening situation with intensive care units being isolated. i think it's absolutely right in high time to react mental get with the put under pressure now. and ultimately we're no longer free honesty. if you ask, i am convinced. mandatory vaccinations will be introduced while in northern italy. 3 ski slopes have opened up for the 1st time since march 2020. everyone has to show a so called green pass a digital certificate showing some one's been vaccinated,
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tested negative will recover from covered 19 o saturday. i also saw a protest against the pass in rome, a reminder of the tensions existing around attempts to fight the pandemic. nadine baba al jazeera. meanwhile, the french caribbean islands of guadalupe had been put under a curfew after 5 days of violent protests against cope 19 restrictions. no one's allowed on the streets between 6 pm and 5 am. france ascending special police and counter terrorism officers in response to looting an assman. chileans are heading to the polls on sunday. millions are choosing a successor to sebastian panera elections being held in a new political landscape after the explosion. and social unrest began in 2019 rebels in ethiopia, northern to grier regions say, federal forces of carried out a drone strike targeting a residential area in may calais, government, and to brian forces have been fighting since november last year. a police stations been set on fire and sudan during the latest round of demonstrations. people are
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demanding justice for those killed during protests and the hand of of power to civilian rule. humans who the rebels say they've targeted bases oil facilities and an airport, a number of cities across saudi arabia. the coalition has neither confirm nor deny the attacks. it says it's hit more than a dozen who he targets across the border in yemen. video apparently showing the missing chinese tennis player. peng chalet at a restaurant has been posted by the editor of state one global times newspaper. the woman's tennis association says the video isn't sufficient evidence of her safety. the tennis star hasn't been seen since accusing a high ranking chinese politicians of sexual assault. for those of the headlines, the news continues here now to 0 after the bottom line statement. thanks so much bye for now. ah
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hi, i'm steve clements and i have a question. how can americans or the world trust the pentagon that embraces cover ups and lies when it makes mistakes? let's get to the bottom line. ah. can there be accountability in the fog of war? and what does that even mean when you s forces bomb civilians from the skies in far away battlefields, and then wilfully cover up their mistake? that's exactly what my guest today have written about in an explosive investigation by the new york times. it's about a 2019 us bombing and assyrian border town named bach goos, which was one of the last hold outs of the islamic state fighters after a massive bombing campaign where at least 80 civilians were reportedly killed. everything was bulldozed over and the file locked in a deep lock box in statements it now remind us of the type of distorted official
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communicates from places like china in iran or russia. the pentagon said that just 4 civilians were killed, but journalists found eternal pentagon reports that talk about many more killed, possibly, and even probably violations of the law of armed conflict. in other words, war crimes bag whose is where tens of thousands of isis families, refugees, and prisoners were staying in camps a few months after the bombing there. the islam state which was once the size of tennessee crumbled and the president at that time, donald trump announced its leader abaca alba dadi, was killed. so what do we know now and what are the implications not only about this case, but about how the pentagon does business and communicates? joining us today are the reporters who uncovered the pentagon. cover up dave phillips covers the military for the new york times and is the author of alpha, eddie gallagher and the war for the soul of the navy seals and eric schmidt, who covers terrorism and national security. and is a former pentagon correspondent for the new york times. he's the author of counter strike, the untold story of america's secret campaign against al qaeda. gentlemen,
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thank you so much for joining us. this is truly an explosive report as i read it. and david, why don't you describe to our audience what the underlying incident was that led to issues which we'll get into, but tell us about the underlying incident. right, so like you said, this is at the very end, i years long war against isis. and what was left of the caliphate fighters were basically trapped, corralled into a area, maybe a square mile against a river. and it was just a chaotic seam with, with lots of vehicles and makes shift tents and the hand dug bunkers. and there were thousands and thousands of people and they're certainly many fighters, but also lots of women and children there. and we have to remember that some of them were probably there willingly, but a lot of them probably were not. so at the very end of this chaotic situation and there's some sort of skirmish going on, we don't have
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a whole lot of details about it. but a secretive special operations group and american ground unit called in an air strike. and what they say is, is they were targeting about a does in fighters on the ground out. but what ended up happening is, is to f 15 e fighter jets come over and they drop really massive bombs on this area. and what they hit instead is dead center on a large group of women and children at somewhere between 50 and 70 people and, and right away. and as you can imagine, because this is the last stand devices there's, there's drones overhead watching this whole thing. and right away drones see what has happened, and people in the air force command center in, in to tars se, holy smokes, ah, this was
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a really bad strike. we need to figure out what has happened here. and so they immediately preserve all the evidence, the video, the chat logs of what people were seeing, radio communications, and they reported up their chain to say, hey, we want you to know this happen. it might have been a war crime. we're not sure. and we need to do an investigation. well, david, i just want to emphasize something that you just said so that our, our viewers understand one ah, branch of our military services. that does geo spatial intelligence that has, you know, eyes in the skies was watching those, those are, you know, 7080 people, women and children. they had view of them. i. and then at the same time, a, another branch of the military flew in and they watched it like it was on tv and saw these people get killed, not only the dropping of one bomb, but just to report your reporting. that those that had escaped, that were surviving,
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were then bombed again to make sure they were wiped out. i just want to make sure that's right, to understand. you know that the scaffolding of what you reported. right. and what was fascinating about this when we tried, when we started to unfold, it was that i at the operations center and could tar, like you said, you have this, this, it looks like a mission control at nasa. you have this big room with lots of screens and they've got access to satellites and drones and, and they are watching from a drone that flying above the vin, the isis hold out. they have no idea that another american military unit, a special operations unit called task force 9. this is a very classified unit that we had trouble even getting people to tell us the name of at the same time that the command center is watching. task force 9 has its own drone up, decide is going to target this, this group, and launches this airstrike task force 9. so classified that the operation center has no idea that this is coming. so they watch
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a strike coming in real time that they never knew had even been authorized. so eric, let's take the next step. the pentagon has admitted killing 4 people for innocence as casualties. in this case, tell us what the real story is and tell us what some of the folks who observe what happened tried to do. well, it is dave is pointed out in the investigation. we found out you have the initial strike and then you have the investigation to that it starts this is dave said at the chaos this air command center and car where a legal officer by the name of dean cor stack, takes it upon himself. says look, what i've just seen, we've just witnessed through these drawn beats could well be a law of armed conflict, violation basically a law war violation and people need to know about. and so what he does is he tries to push this. i'm excuse me, up the chain at his command, both the his is boss, the top legal officer of the chaos, as well as to the generals who run the run,
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the operations there. he got nowhere. so what he does next is he reaches out to basically what's the investigative body of the air force, the officer, the special investigations presents them with the evidence and allegations that he has. again, it goes nowhere. he finally turns to the overall watchdog and pentagon, the defense department inspector general, which is basically charge. we're looking at this kind of fraud, waste abuse, other things, the military commands either are looking into or glossing over, or trying to cover up. and that's where i want to turn the story back over today because it was fascinating how one complaint led to a very important player on the invest inspector, general staff who just happened to be looking into the broader issue of civilian casualties on the battlefield. right. so the, so this is at this army or sorry,
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this air force lawyer calls in to their hotline and says, this thing happened. i believe it's getting covered up. you need to take a look at it. and that report lands in the lab of a guy who had already been looking at this. there was a whole team over at the office of inspector general who had already been spent. i think that spent months already looking at problems with targeting and civilian casualty reporting in syria and iraq. and so right away that these evaluators were really receptive, they said great, let's go talk to this guy. they get on a plane, they go and talk to him in a secure location, and they come away with the same conclusion that the air force lawyer did, which is, holy smokes, something really bad here happened. it may have been a crime. and so regulations require that that if we have any, any indication that it might be of the crime, we report it, we report it to the top, lawyers are that all the top authorities at the pentagon and we also report it to
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criminal investigation authorities. so he tells his bosses, hey, this happened were required to report, let's go forward and he runs into the same kind of road blocks, people stall, people, equivocate. and essentially, no one tells anyone anything. i got the sense from your reporting that there was sort of of fatigue. they are that it's so big, so voluminous, so much reporting people just didn't care anymore. is it? am i getting that right? i think you're right. i mean, i think what we've seen is kind of a numbness is set in over the 20 years of these kind of forever wars in place like a dentist in iraq and syria. one of the other things we came across in the reporting was that the chaos level back again, the air command center and cut tar. they were very suspicious of this task force. this task force 9 that the dave described, this special operations task force and included elements of the army elite delta force, as well as the 5th special horses group. and i started actually making
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a spreadsheet of some of these suspicious strikes that seem to involve civilian casualties. and this, this unit gain such notoriety on the ground that even the ca weighed in and complained about some of their strikes. so it took a lot even to overcome some of the numbness that i think is set in on the battlefield over all these years where the military basically says, look, we are, we're trying our best. we're trying to use weapons that mitigate the risk to civilians. but you know, what, in a case like this from are battling isis when they're intermingled in a dense urban area like they were here. and unfortunately, sometimes casualties will happen. and that's kind of the mentality that's i think, set, hold in the military. but it's a different thing to say, casualties happen and you had recorded statements from official saying we regret the loss of life. we will investigate. we will look into it, which sounds like something out of
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a routine playbook. but i think the bigger issue is the heroes inside who tried to do the right thing and ended up fired, ended up having their careers ended. so david, is this the meal i of this generation? well actually like with the key thing about how similar it is to me lie because meal i happened and it was immediately reported. but the american public didn't learn about it till years later, because the military covered it up through the exact same type of official pencil whipping that we kind of saw in this area. they created reports that found that, you know, witnesses were, were not credible and things like this that eventually made it disappear. and i think that there is a certain amount of fatigue in, in this war. and i heard it from people i talked to who worked in the air force command center that they said, hey, look like civilians were getting killed. and, and, you know, if it was one or 2 deaths that were unfortunate in this,
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this war that we really felt needed to be prosecuted quickly and aggressively. we were okay with that. and i think it was the scale of this problem. and that something like this would not, you know, even be looked at, that was a red flag that you could make a mistake like this in the same military that was assuring the public, hey, we investigate these, we report on them. we'll let you know when we grew up and no one was actually doing it. eric, you know, washington very, very well. and i said, david, you do too. but i know eric walks the hall to congress. i see him around. you know, these folks is the oversight function of congress, culpable in this story? you know, you end the story with this tale of this mr. tate, who was trying to all different kinds of courses. and he sort of sitting there as you and waiting for trying to get a phone call from senator jack reeds office in the and he said, i'm still waiting for that call. i just be interested from your set an oversight
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side of this has them has at, you know, i are, is the u. s. senate is the us house of representatives. part of the cover up i don't know if they're part of the cover of steve, but certainly they could do much better in digging into this. i think on the hill, of course we're, we're doing the incredibly polarized environment. just as we are, as a nation as a whole, and i think the committees are focused in much, much of their kind of routine business. and so when something like this comes along and the senate armed services committee did interview some of the sources. we talked to, but it is we reported they really haven't followed up very aggressively office. and so i think they are couple culpable in this because congress plays in essential role. not only in financing the defense department, but in providing oversight for incidents just like this. and if they can't follow up when people have the courage, like dean course anchorage in order to come forward and make these allegations with credible evidence that and preserve than shame on them,
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they need to be doing more. david, one of the things i felt reading through this piece, and i really highly recommended to every one i know, and i could feel how hard this piece was to report. this is not casual reporting, this is not opinion. this is deeply reported material in the national security space with lots of dimensions. i sort of felt like you had to sort of the woodward and bernstein of telling us, you know, very complex story. but i'd like to know and have our audience understand what the tectonics of this kind of reporting were. what came together, you had video, parts of this story that i thought were very interesting that were brought in. can you give us some of the topography of what you needed to do to report this story? sure, i, i mean, it starts as a lot of reporting does with a tip from somebody on the inside who had witnessed on some of the stuff that took place and was outraged by it. and from there, of course, you face a lot of barricades because everything's classified as the freedom of information
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process doesn't really work. and no one will even tell you that certain things exist, let alone that you can't have them. and so a lot of it's very unsophisticated shoe leather reporting, trying to identify all of the people who might know something and, and approaching them all, you know, dozens and dozens of people come out to try and figure out sometimes someone would only wouldn't say anything to you but might confirm information to you that you might have figured out and so it was piecing that together. but then as you mentioned, we all, we have this amazing visual investigations team at the new york times. and i essentially went to them and said, here's where this happened. here's the coordinates in the time of the strike. tell me what you can tell me. and they came back with with you. they had found footage from that day that appears to show the very striking question. they were able to
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pinpoint it using their own process. and it just led to sort of the immediacy of the, the reporting that you could see it. and in a lot of these images, you can see women and children are in the area before the strikes happen. i mean, it is amazing to sort of look at the, those clouds rising in the videos a lot. you know, just, you know, choreographed along with the writing as you told the story. what happened on eric, when you, when someone write a piece like this in drops, you know, essentially a journalistic bomb. as you have my, my experience is that lots of other stories begin to come in. other pieces, either that corroborate or are in conflict with the stories begin to come in and help fill out a broader context to the do degree. you're able, can you talk about other people within either the pentagon or the national intelligence establishment or broadly out there that have able to bring you either, you know, more on this story or on other stories. will steve,
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you're right. obviously when you have a story like this, one of the goals is obviously to choose expenses to expose what happened initially, but then hope it emboldens others. we may have contacted to may not who may be reading about this for the 1st time to come forward. and all i would tell you, steve is stay tuned. i think there will be more in the story. so what are the next steps now? have you heard from senator jack reed, whom you've referenced in the piece, other senators are members of congress about what they are now going to take action . i guess the, the side piece is that is what are the implications if you need the mighty new york times to tell the story to get them to do their job. i, i just want to be in, in what kind of interaction you've had with these folks. well, we're still waiting for more reaction from the hill. a senator read staff. it's is standing by the statement that they gave us for the original story. they're about to start work on their big defense policy bill to day in washington. so they're a little bit preoccupied that tell me with that. but there will be other investigations as well, going on,
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no doubt inside the inspector general's office. and of course, the pentagon, now we'll have to answer some questions from other members, the media as well as the new york times and what steps they're taking, both of the military command level, but also the pentagon. again, this is the different administration. this all happened on the trumpet ministration, so the civilian officials are different, but they still need to be held accountable for the policies and practices that are carrying over from the last administration. david, i want to ask you a question, hoping get it outright, but sort of a chain of command question. you wrote about any gallagher and in for audience eddie gallagher. i'll let you tell his story briefly, but as a complex guy, and you know that the, the system of justice within i of the navy, was not allowed to carry out what they thought was the appropriate punishment for some of his alleged war crimes. i happened to be with former secretary of the navy, richard spencer the weekend. he was essentially fired. he had made a statement that a tweet from president trump didn't constitute
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a command in the chain of command. and then he called me later that night and said, steve, i guess i was wrong, a tweet is a command and, and he was fired. and so i'm interested in the wobbly ness of the chain of command . i knew the eddie gallagher story. this is another chain of command story. we see stories about sexual assault against women and being told, hey, let the chain of command what are the problems as you see it in the so called chain of command narrative from the pentagon. right, so the story, eddie gallagher is the story of one, a navy seal chief who's accused of killing women and children, and a and a p o w. while he was in iraq fighting isis. and that may seem like a very different story from an area ground strike that are airstrike, that, that hit, you know, hundreds of miles away. right. but in a lot of ways, they're very similar because they reveal this cultural clash on any gallenger's men
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. decided to turn him in and report what they had seen and there were several steps along the way where the chain of command it seemed like tried to, to covered up not reported as required, quietly. so we've been under the rug and something similar is happening here. so you, you have these, these 2 classroom philosophies. one is, hey, look, we, we should wage war by no means that may go beyond what the regulations say and, and that's just life and, and when someone notice is it don't say anything or other people who say, wait a minute. if, if we are not standing up for the rule of law, when we engage in this type of armed conflict, like what are we standing up for? and those 2 different world views, i think right, will probably be at loggerheads forever. let me assess you finally eric, the implication the article as you wrote it was that i secretary lloyd austin. i
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said it does was not aware of this that his deputy secretary, other folks at the highest loves of the pentagon, had not been reported to now it's in the new york times. is there any action on that highest level there? are you still waiting to hear what the reaction from general austin is, or i should say, secretary or well? again, what they'll say is this was, this did not happen on their watch, their civilian watch. and what they'll also say is that the, for any type of civilian casualties and they do whatever they can to mitigate the loss of civilian life on the battlefield. the secretary austin has just gone through his own episode, dealing with the findings of the august 29th strike drone strike in kabul. afghanistan that killed 10 civilians including 7 children. and again, thanks to our colleagues in the visual investigations department, other reporting revealed that everything the military said about that strike is proved to be false. the assumptions they made about the driver being associated with isis about where he stopped in an ices, a safe house about water canisters,
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in his car, been bombs. everything has been proven false about this and yet. and yet, secretary austin so far has basically signed off on a subsequent review that basically said, you know what, this was a strike, much of the strike was done in self defense under extenuating circumstances. they did their best, but under pressure they made some mistakes. and so far, no one's been held accountable. no one was held accountable in the march 18th, 2900 strike either. and so i think we get to this issue, steve of accountability. yes, the accept responsibility? yes, they ex, express regret for these casualties. but where's the accountability down the road? very infrequently the military hold, somebody actually accountable in that sense of punishment. some kind of reprimand or rebuke for an incident like this. and so will be interesting to see what happens
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going forward. in terms of how the pentagon, the leadership treats this issue more broadly. thank you gentlemen, new york times reporters david phillips and eric schmidt. thanks so much for being with us today. thanks. thanks. so what's the bottom line? the post truth era for the u. s. military and national security apparatus really came years ago, ushered in by wiki leaks, and chelsea manning and edward snowden. before this decade, americans were raised to believe in the righteousness of the american military. other military is like in russia or china or iran, treat the truth like it's optional, but not in america. but today, no one is under the illusion that lies in cover ups don't happen all the time. instead, what stands out in the reporting of my guest today, or the heroes inside the pentagon, who tried to do the right thing. the more they sent their concerns up the chain of command, the more they were punished while their bosses chose to hide the truth. but the more the military wing feels that it doesn't need to be bothered with pesky little things like the truth and moral responsibility and accountability and
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a rules based order. and the more it openly lies, the us citizens and members of congress who were supposed to have oversight. the more that democracy is a losing cause in america and around the world. that's the bigger problem. and that's the bottom line. ah ah, meets the minimum a top is helpful and the daughter decide to quit the rock race, the thing to live better with less. let's just throw everything away out there will expose the simple living movement aimed at reducing personal consumption projects and plots, and i hope to be happier. as a result, a simple life on al jazeera. there are some of the media stories
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a critical look at the global news media spread on al jazeera government shut off, access to social media. ah ah. hello, i'm darren jordan dough with the top stories head on al jazeera, there's growing anger against you cobra 19 measures across europe. the netherlands, you're seeing a 2nd night of writing with people throwing stones and fireworks of police in the hague. 3 protest is being treated in hospital of the officers open fire the french caribbean islands of guadalupe. i've been put under a curfew after 5 days. a violent protests against cobra. 19 restrictions. no one's allowed on the streets between 6 pm and 5 am. france is sending special police.


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