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tv   RT News  PBS  September 6, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT

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>> coming up on rt washington is becoming a political battle ground. congress is still debating intervention in syria. we will tell you more next. the violence has reached a small town near the nation's capital holding one of the oldest christian minoritieses in the world. the growing concerns coming up. and don't forget to put your best face forward. the department of homeland security is putting together a huge data face for facial recognition. does it help law enforcement? more on that in today's show.
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>> you are watching r.t. we begin today with syria as the debate for and answer a military strike continues in congress. president obama cleared a major hurdle by gaining approval from the senate foreign relations committee as they voted 10-7 on their own version of military authorization but it hasn't been easy for the administration to continue that momentum. giving a full breakdown on the numbers behind the fight is our chief political commentator. >> i have long believed our power is rooted not just in our military might but our example as a government of the people by the people and for the people. that is why i have made the second decision. i will seek authorization for
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the use of force from the american people's representatives in congress. >> with that, president obama dispatched his top secretaries to congress to make the case for military intervention in syria. but today after a week of hearings both open and classified in the house and senate, the president's plans to get congress on board are falling apart. on wednesday the senate foreign relations committee moved forward an authorization of force on syria and a vote is scheduled next week. but the senate is not where the president's problems lie. it is in the house. republicans and democrats are lining up together to oppose any military intervention in syria. r.t. has been on the hill all week and here are some responses we received. >> unintended consequences were the results of the united states getting involved in this civil war is my concern as a member of congress. >> i came here with an open mind
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to hear the argument of why we need to strike syria and still today this administration has failed to show me the direct threat to the united states of america. >> the question is what is best for us. what is best for americans. we are not under attack. none of our allies is under attack. there is a reason we call the department of defense the department of defense. it is meant to defend us and our allies against attack. that hasn't happened. >> we have no guarantee it won't expand or no guarantee of peace in the region. a lot of american money spent, some american blood and maybe american lives. we have no guarantees that we will be successful. >> based on what you heard there is not much of a surprise that early whip counts in the house of the authorization going down. here are the numbers out of the house so far. there are 173 lawmakers still undecided. those who have made up their phaoupbdz or are close to it,
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only 26 support strikes and 18 are leaning toward a yes vote on strikes. on the flip side, 85 members plan to vote no and another 132 leaning no. that is 217. the resolution is defeated and the president stymied. president obama announced he would address the american people tuesday to make his case. he's got his work cut out there, too. as a reuters policy showed 56% of american people opposed strikes. only 19% support strikes. what is going to happen? what will the president do if he can't get congress on board? this morning his deputy national security advisor told npr strikes are off the table without the go ahead from congress. he said the president of course has the authority to strike but
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intention it use it object sent congress backing -- absent congress backing him. but when asked specifically if that is the case the president today refused to limit his options? >> i did not put this before congress -- just as a political ploy or as symbolism. >> the deputy national security advisor said it is not your intention to attack if congress doesn't approve it. is he right? >> i don't think that is exactly what he said but i think i have answered the question. >> the president refuses to rule out going alone in striking syria. yet under his own admission he was elected to stop wars, not start them. and now as he is reversing his position in light of what he believes is a moral imperative to act he is losing international support, congress and he's losing the support of the american people. so is there war really worth it?
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>> while top administration officials try to convince congress here at home that military strike is necessary, president obama is seeking out the support while in syria the battle has continued. government troops with alleged al qaeda linked rebels fought for control of one syrian christian town north of damascus. there have been a series of strikes and attacks on the village which holds one of the oldest minority syrian populations. the residents speak the ancient language which some believe was the language of jesus. the attack highlights fears among syrian christians and other minorities that an alternative to assad's regime would not tolerate religious minorities. earlier today i spoke with a
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archbishop and asked him to give me an answer of how the town fits into the demographics of syria. >> it is a very ancient town northeast of damascus and it is on the list of the heritage. it is made of mainly christian and some muslim families that have lived together peacefully centuries. it is one of the few towns and cities in syria where aramaic is spoken. the inhabits originally come from the aramaic people of syria which was dominant race in syria before islam. now, many around the town have become arabized through language and other things but the town kept its identity. in addition to the syria
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population of the northeast of syria, and two villages around it, they are the only places where aramaic in different die elects is -- dialects is. >> i want to tphknow what you tk of the christians who have been targeted? >> it is no different than other christian enclarifies -- enclaves. they have always felt that what is happening in syria right now is against their own interests as citizens of syria and as christians. as it is well known and documented, christians under the assad rule have lived relatively very peaceful conditions. and the government and the syrian population have really nice to the christians because the christians after all are the
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inhabitants of syria, the original inhabitants of syria. so keeping the christian peace in the middle east is enriching the syrian society so they always stood with the country. i cannot say with the government because they love the country. that is why they think the current regime is good for christians. it is a secular regime and they are very much afraid of what comes after if this regime is overthrown. >> how would christians be affected by u.s. military intervention in syria? >> they will be affected quite badly. let me give you some examples. so far we have lost quite a few priests. we have two archbishops, prominent church leaders. since april 22 we have no word about them.
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we are lopi hoping and pray ini are still alive but they have been kidnapped by elements affiliated with al qaeda. what happens if syria is ruled by groups tied to al qaeda. will we have another afghanistan? let's look at iraq? although the government there is not affiliated with any muslim regime, the christians have been driven out of iraq by the hundreds of thousands. >> i wanted to ask you, syria does border iraq and there has been a lot of sectarian violence. do you think what is going on in iraq is instigating what is going on in syria? >> i don't believe so. i do believe that there are elements in iraq who are making things much worse for the syrians. there are, as we hear from the news, there are people coming
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through iraq, through turkey, through jordan and lebanon. there are elements of extremists who come from afghanistan and other countries such as saudi arabia and qatar and doing their jihad in syria. they do not understand the syrian society. they do not know how syrians live together peacefully many centuries. they come there blinded by their hatred and convictions and they want to extreme efforts in syria. my theory is one day will come if this government is toppled we christians will have to make a choice to leave the country or be converted or otherwise be killed there. >> i know that your fear is
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shared by many, many syrians, particularly christians in syria. we will keep our eyes peeled and we hope for the best. we thank you so much, archbishop, from the syrian church for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you for having me. >> just this year we commemorated the 10th anniversary of the u.s. led invasion of iraq and 12th year of u.s. occupation in afghanistan. while president obama was once a critic of the officials who led us into these wars his rhetoric on syria is sounding awfully familiar. we have more. >> nobel peace prize recipient president obama is calling for military action in syria. this is the same former senator who spoke out against the war in iraq. now obama is pursuing military intervention in the sovereign country that borders iraq. >> i do think that we have to a
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act. because if we don't we are effectively saying that even though we may condemn it and issue resolutions and so forth and so on, somebody who is not shamed by resolutions can continue to act with impunity. >> ring a bell? president george w. bush went to the u.n. security council to co-elect the international country to invade iraq on the assumption they had weapons of mass destruction. we now know there were no weapons of mass destruction. today obama is calling on the global allies to intervene in syria because of the alleged use of chemical weapons by bashir assad. his calls are similar to his predecessor who he heavily criticized and was awarded the peace prize. >> the iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons. >> we have released our
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assessment dealing with high confidence that the syrian regime carried out a chemical weapons attack. >> with states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil arming to threaten the peace of the world. >> there attack threatens our national security interests by violating well established international norms. >> their military approach in the middle east is in lock step. again we can hear president obama and bush using the same tactic to win over the public. using language that would pull on the coldest person's heart to trigger an emotional response and moral obligation to capitulate their support of military effort. >> this is a regime that has always used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens. >> a government close to deploy these deadly weapons on savannah populations. >> leaving the bodies of mothers
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huddled over their dead children. >> when those videos first broke and you saw images of over 400 children objected to gas. >> obama's efforts to gain international support have not been as successful as president bush, however. only 9% of americans surveyed by reuters think president obama should intervene. today military intervention is harder to sell because the public is not behind it and maybe that is because they heard the same story before. >> president obama is on day two of the g-20 summit taking place in st. petersburg, russia. today 11 countries including the united states have issued a joint statement on the syrian crisis in response to the use of chemical weapons it says we call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world's rules and
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conscience that will sends a clear message that this kinds of atrocity can never be repeated. those who perpetrated these crimes must be held accountable. our correspondent brings us the latest report from st. petersburg. >> i was elected to end wars, not start them. >> u.s. military intervention in syria dominated the g-20 discussions. he didn't get support in st. petersburg. >> there is no unitary solution to the syrian conflict. >> there is no military solution. >> we will not participate in military action. >> aside from france, turkey and saudi arabia few countries faced outright support for obama's proposal of a military strike. in a joint statement they condemned the use of chemical weapons blaming the assad government and called for some response but stopped short of
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backing a u.s. attack on syria. putin accused the rebels being behind a chemical attack in august that he said was carried out to discredit syrian authorities in the eyes of the west. >> i view everything that happened with the so-called use of chemical weapons as a provocation by the rebels who count on help from abroad from those countries that originally supported them. that is the reason for the provocation. i want to remind you the use of force against a sovereign state is acceptable only for sever defense and we -- self-defense and we know syria hasn't attacked the u.s. as one of the participants put it those who do otherwise put themselves before the law. >> became continues to insist assad was behind the attack and he will wait for the u.s. to response. >> assad regime using chemical
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weapons is not just a syrian tragedy. it is a threat to global peace and security. >> the u.s. president is due to address the american public on tuesday and try to make his best argument for an attack on syria, one that failed to convince global partners at the g-20. just to give you a better idea of who exactly is opposed to military action in syria along with russia you have china, india, nearby indonesia, brazil, south africa. others did sign a joint statement condemning the attacks in august. they do believe that assad was behind it and the joint communique' goes to lint they also support -- hint they support the countries bypassing the u.n. russia and many other partners believe that is a dangerous precedent and what will lap to smaller -- lap happen to small countries and how will north
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korea see this brazen overstepping of international law? what kinds of precedent will that set up in terms of trying to convince new york to get rid of -- north korea to get rid of their nuclear programs. so hot debate the last two days but leaders are leaving st. petersburg with no solution on how to move forward with syria. >> that was our r.t. correspondent. still ahead, if you thought your online encryption was locked down the n.s.a. can crack most codes feel that --. that and more after the break.
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>> do you know the press is the only industry mentioned in constitution? that is because a free and open press is critical to a democracy. in fact, the single biggest threat facing our nation today is the corporate takeover of our government an press. we have been hijacked by a handful of powerful transnational corporations that will profit by destroying what our founding fathers once built up. on this show away reveal the big picture of what is actually going on in the world and go beyond identifying the problem and try to fix it. rational debate and discussion on critical shs facing -- issues facing america. ready to join the movement? welcome to "the big picture." >> one of the only ways to shield against government
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surveillance is to use online encryption tools that help users communicate securely. but the national security agency has seemed to crack the code and have been doing so at least since the year 2000. this according to the latest secret documents leaked by edward snowden. we now know that both the n.s.a. and its british counterpart the gchq has made millions of attempts to gain access. >> a huge breakthrough in 2010 a way was made it monitor large amounts of data flowing through the fiberoptic cables. the spy agencies found ways to again access through virtue private networks which are frequently used by businesses and privacy conscious users to conceal i.p. addresses. that means the digital scrambling used to protect trade secrets, medical records and
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more have been unscrambled by the n.s.a. and the spying organization has been covertly working to get access to data. both the n.s.a. spends more than $250 million a year on its enabling project which actively engages the u.s. and foreign i.t. industries to covertly influence and leverage their commercial product designed to make them exploitable. it is unclear which technology companies are working with the n.s.a. but snowden said encryption works but that users would have to use strong systems to make sure software is properly implemented. >> if you thought that license plate readers were invasive wait until you hear the latest scanner. it is the biometric optical surveillance system and the government's newested a is vent in facial recognition software.
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according to recently released foia documents we now know that the department of homeland security is making considerable progress on a face scanning tool. the system works by using video cameras to scan people in public and identify them based on the characteristics of their face. the technology operates by cross-referencing state and federal data bases of driver's license photos and mug shots. while the technology will aid law enforcement agencies privacy and civil liberty advocates are cautioning the ways in which the system can be abused. to discuss this i was joined earlier by our r. tfpt. produced asked her about the system, the f.b.i. is separately developing and what the difference is between that system and the homeland security tool. >> the short answer is not much. because facial recognition works
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around the same way which is you take a picture of your face usually head on, it scans and cross references with a data base that actually goes and measures different points on your face to make an i.d. the only difference is the department of homeland security has a much bigger area in order to be able to cull the data and cross reference it. as you pointed out earlier, d.h.s. has driving records and different places for being able to compare data. 37 states already have their own sort of state system and they are all incorporating features of facial recognition software. so, how exactly -- what is the plan here? are they going to be working independently or is there a plan for the states to work with them? >> the key to any of the programs being able to key, or the key to success, is cooperation. none of the states are an island
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of itself. to be able to get that data and for that data to be valuable in any way, they have to be able to identi identify, you know, different red flags in different areas to better safeguard from any criminal activity, any active of terror, so on and so forth. so, different faces of law enforcement have to work together in order to just be able to identify these things before tragedies or crimes are committed. >> so, this has to exist beforehand? >> right. and law enforcement agencies claim there is going to better help their operations, help them catch criminals. but why is there going to be such a threat to our privacy? >> what is interesting is that it all boils down to how this is going to be used. it is only -- you only expect this to happen that technology would modernize in order to catch up with the way the world works today, right? but the problem always lies in how it is being used and
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gathered and how at the end of the day, how is it going to affect our daily lives. that is when this problem comes into play. it is when we don't know exactly how and why and when this is going to be used. and defenders will say, well, i mean, we have no reasonable expectation of privacy when we are in the public. >> that is interesting, because we live in a society where everything is posted, everything is uploaded. you like and dislike. but in that situation there is an actual situation where they are choosing to share that information. in there case, however, that sort of, you know, that sort of agreement doesn't exist. in other words, you are not willingly giving up any information, not willingly giving your consent for there to be gathered or to be used. that is again where privacy advocates sort of come in and
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say, hey, we don't know the extent of this. that is why we are worried right now. >> what about legal oversight? is there any -- are there any regulations or does the government have free rein? >> with all the disclosures thanks t latt from snowden they continue to roll out every couple weeks almost, we see that essentially there isn't any oversight. that is the big problem. or the oversight that exists is secret so we don't know exactly how things are being taken into account and being monitored, if they are being monitored in which way and how violations are occurring. we don't know because that information is not available to the public. that is a big part of this conversation. to be able to create mechanisms nor to exist and all of this to co-exist. >> finally i want to ask you, in the case we willingly do give up our information and post our
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pictures of our family, ourselv ourselves, is that all just fueling the fire? >> what is interesting is in the case of facebook we also know due to disclosures these companies are working together with the government. and they have to, obviously work with the government to share information. so, it would make sense that the information that you would see would be used in some way, shape or form to correlate and just paint a picture, a bigger picture, of what is happening. so, it only makes sense. >> i wish we had more time to talk about it. that is all we have. thank you for joining me. little girls around britain are throwing away their barbies and grabbing holds. strict dance holds several hundreds youngsters are estimated to attend pole dancing or fitness.
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those numbers are growing. to critics who say it will encourage young girls to use their bodies in a sexual matter one mother said it is just gymnastics on a pole. it has nothing to do with sexy strip clubs. so, perhaps it is all part of a pole dance craze. after all there is a highly cover vetted -- coveted competition in the u.k. is it me or could this be pageant of the future? for more on the stories we covered go to youtube.com/rt america and you can phone me on twitter and i will see you back here at 8:00.
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welcome to "newsline." i'm keiko kitagawa in tokyo. the leaders of the g-20 nations have wrapped up their summit in st. petersburg, russia. they entered the talks with profound differences over a u.s. push for military intervention in syria. they're heading home just as divided. nhk world's akihiro mikoda reports. >> reporter: the situation in syria dominated the agenda. u.s. president barack obama tried to drum up

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