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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  September 30, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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♪ >> from pacifica this is democracy now! >> i was there when they shot. these were harmless people. they were using umbrellas to protect themselves. >> thousands of protesters take part in an effort to occupy central hong kong demanding greater political freedom from china. we will go to hong kong for the latest. then, as afghanistan swears in its new government, we will look at the rise one of the country's most notorious warlords, abdul rashid dostum. >> the village might be looted. your family will be in danger. they will be killed.
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they will be ripped. .here will be no safety i am telling you straight. you must be honest. i am being honest with you here. in 2001 dostum was accused of -- >> in 2001 dostum was accused of orchestrating the killing of up to 2,000 taliban prisoners in what became known as the afghan massacre. on monday he was sworn in as afghanistan's new vice president. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. hong kong is facing its largest political unrest in decades as pro-democracy protesters have refused to leave the streets. tens of thousands of people have defied a police crackdown to continue their calls for greater political freedom. the protests began last week over china's recent rejection of free elections for hong kong. we will go to hong kong for more after headlines.
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afghanistan is expected to sign an agreement to keep 10,000 us troops in the country after inaugurating its new president on monday. --the deal came after a day came one day after. hamid karzai, refused to sign. white house counselor john podesta praised the new afghan government on monday. >> i encourage all afghans to corporate with the new government. the united states looks forward to supporting the unity government and the afghan people. to that end, we look forward to the signing of the agreement, an important step in strengthening the strategic agreement between the countries. the united states remains committed to a stable, sobran, unified afghanistan, responsible for its own security. -- sovereign, unified afghanistan, responsible for its own security. >> the new vice president of afghanistan, abdul rashid
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dostum, is one of afghanistan's most notorious warlords who was once described by now-president ghani himself as a quote "known killer." we'll have more on the story later in the broadcast. the islamic state has released a third propaganda video of british hostage john cantlie. cantlie, a photojournalist whose work appeared in getty and other outlets, is shown seated at a table in an orange jumpsuit. he recites what appears to be a prepared script criticizing u.s.-led airstrikes on isis in iraq and syria, saying quote "air power is good at taking out specific targets, but it is not much use at taking and holding ground." violence is continuing in eastern ukraine despite a ceasefire between pro-russian rebels and ukrainian troops. on monday a military official said nine ukrainian soldiers had been killed, while city officials in donetsk reported at least three civilians had been killed by shelling. a new report finds more than 3,000 migrants have died crossing the mediterranean sea to europe this year, more than twice the previous high from 2011.
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globally more than 4000 migrants have died this year trying to reach wealthier or safer countries, including more than 200 on the mexican border. frank laczko, said the issue is unveiled the findings. we now have a estimate that issues that we are dealing with global problems. 4000 migrants we believe have perished since the year 2000. this is a long-term policy issue that has not being properly tackled. >> spain's constitutional court has suspended a referendum on independence for the region of catalonia. hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets to support the referendum planned for november, but the court has suspended all campaigning while it considers the spanish government's legal opposition.t's
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in the mexican state of guerrero, more than 50 students from a teacher training college have been missing since friday following violent clashes with police. according to human rights groups, police and unidentified gunmen opened fire on students in separate incidents near the city of iguala, killing at least two and leaving one in a vegetative state. a third student was found dead -- reportedly found dead with signs of torture. more than 20 police have been detained in connection with the incidents. the scores of missing students include many detained by police and others who scattered during the violence. a u.s. judge has held argentina in contempt of court over its refusal to pay u.s. hedge funds that are seeking to profit off the country's debts. argentina has moved to repay its debts domestically in order to avoid the judge's decision which barred them from repaying any creditors without also paying the so-called vulture funds. argentine foreign minister hector timerman condemned the judge's latest move.
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>> this new attempt of judicial aggression against argentina is an act of desperation on behalf of the vulture funds. they know that the impunity of their actions at the international level has its days numbered. >> new reports reveal a man armed with a knife who jumped a white house fence earlier this month made it deep inside the -- managed to run across the main floor. officials previously said omar gonzalez, a former army sniper, was caught near the main entry, but he actually managed to overpower a secret service agent and run through the east room. secret service director julia pierson faces questioning from congress on the incident today. the supreme court has delayed early voting in ohio hours before it was due to begin today. the decision stays lower-court rulings which had blocked state attempts to slash early voting. the aclu, which challenged ohio's bid to restrict voting,
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said that in the 2012 election, more than 157,000 ohioans voted on days that have now been cut, a disproportionate percentage of them low-income and african-american. a judge overseeing detroit's bankruptcy has ruled the city can continue shutting off water to residents who have fallen behind on payments. judge steven rhodes ruled there is no quote "enforceable right" to water. detroit began cutting of water to thousands of households several months ago, prompting protests from residents and the united nations. california has passed a landmark bill to address sexual assault on college campuses. the so-called "yes means yes" law is the first in the country to require schools to adopt a standard of affirmative consent when adjudicating sexual assault cases. it defines consent as quote "affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity," meaning lack of protest or physical resistance do not qualify.
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more than half the world's population of wild animals has disappeared in the past four decades. scientists at the world wildlife fund and zoological society of london say human-caused pollution, over-hunting, devastation of habitats and climate change have combined to cut wildlife populations by 52% since 1970. meanwhile another study confirms the link between human-driven climate change and record heat in australia. researchers found the heat wave which made last year the hottest on record in australia would have been virtually impossible without climate change. black panther sundiata acoli has been ordered released on parole by a state appeals court in new jersey after more than four decades in prison. acoli and fellow black panther assata shakur were both convicted of killing new jersey state trooper rner foerster in 1973 in a shootout that left both the officer and a fellow
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tivist dead. shakur has said she was shot by police with both arms in the air. and again from the back. she later managed to escape from jail and flee to cuba. last year she became the first woman added to the fbi's most wanted list last year. sundiata acoli is now 77 years old. on monday, the court ordered his release, finding the parole board had quote "acted arbitrarily and capriciously" by -- when it previously denied him parole. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. >> and i am an attack -- aaron mattei. we begin in hong kong, which faces its biggest political unrest in decades. tens of thousands of protesters are in the streets defying a police crackdown on their
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pro-democracy movement. this new round of protests began last week when thousands of college students launched a boycott to oppose china's rejection of free elections in 2017. the protesters want an open vote, but china's plan would only allow candidates approved by beijing. after a three-day sit-in, police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. but that only fueled a public outcry which brought even more residents into the streets, with numbers growing to the tens of thousands. thousands now remain in the streets, blocking key roads in the downtown core. the government claims it's pulled back its riot troops and has urged protesters to leave. on monday, hong kong's second top local offical, carrie lam, rejected the demands. >> it remains the objective during the election of 2017 and we will work according to that
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objective. it will not be realistic to expect us to reverse the whole position. >> protest leaders have vowed to remain until the resignation of hong kong city leader, leung chun-ying, and a free vote for his successor. originally organized by the group occupy central, the protests have also taken on the name of the umbrella revolution, for the umbrellas protesters have used to protect themselves from the tear gas. the police crackdown is the harshest since china re-took control of hong kong in 1997 after 150 years of british rule. since then, it has operated under different economic and political systems than mainland china as part of a policy known as one country, two systems. the crackdown is being felt in mainland china, where the government has blocked the mobile photo-sharing app instagram and heavily censored references to hong kong on social media. for more we go to hong kong where are joined by tom
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grundy. a journalist and blogger, he was tear-gassed over the weekend while covering the protests. tom, why don't you lay out the scene for us. describe what happened, how people gathered his weekend and what has happened since. >> well, on sunday morning, it seemed the movement lost some momentum. students gathered around the closed off area around government headquarters, but as the day progressed people were watching scenes of them at home being crap -- pepper sprayed and tear gassed. the buildingg area. by the next day, it seemed the police presence had almost disappeared and you began to see waves of protesters coming into
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three different areas of the city. causeway bay and another shopping thoroughfare. in the absence of any police now, there is somewhat of a more jovial and festive atmosphere. things were peaceful. there was even a dj and barbecues. some bosses have been caught up -- auto buses have been caught up in the drivers have had to abandon them. they have been decorated by some of the protesters. at the moment, there are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in these three areas. instead of goggles and face masks, they are generally dawning black t-shirts, mournful black, with yellow ribbons for universal suffrage. you explain what set
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off the elections? there were supposed to be a elections in 2017, and china recently changed the rules saying they must approve the candidates. supportrotests have the of the broader public, or is that still in flux? well, the joint agreements, the handover agreements between britain and china, were put down about 30 years ago this month, and since then there has been a debate about universal suffrage, which china promised would be limited in hong kong under one country, two systems, but it seems beijing has constantly redefined or moved the goal posts. i think there is a lot of frustration, and the occupy movement here, occupy central -- essential being essential business district -- central being the central is this district -- has all but fizzled
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out. there have been multiple democracy protests over the years, but it seems that things began to come to a head with the .tudent strikes last week people were witnessing how they were treated. now, that occupy central plan was brought forward to sunday. it was originally going to be a modest sit in in the central business district starting tomorrow. that began sunday. the students and the occupy movement began to merge under this umbrella movement, umbrella revolution, and as we go into two public holidays now, it seems the omentum will continue every night. more protests will come onto the street. hong kong is late to rise, late to bed, so the rhythm seems to be similar every day. as people finish work and school they pour onto the streets. it still seems it is being led
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by young people, but i imagine with a being national day tomorrow, a public holiday, you begin to see even more from hong kong expressing dissent. , can you give us a history lesson -- for those not focused on hong kong and its relation to china -- the o country, two systems philosophy -- go back to britain, what happened with the transfer, and int exactly those people hong kong who are protesting are calling for today. in 1984 it was negotiated between britain and china that the territory would be handed over to beijing, and it would be especially ministered region, so the way of life would be maintained. monetarys own
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policies. there is no censorship. it is quite separate to the mainland in many ways. since 1997, when the handover happened, people felt there has been a slow erosion of civil liberties, and although approval of beijing was perhaps at an all-time high in 2008 during the olympic's, it has slowly declined to an all-time low now, particularly under the current leadership in hong kong. it has come to a climax, i suppose, with these annual , where peopleests are asking beijing to fulfill its promise of than the one country, two systems agreement of one person, one vote. at the end of august, the national people's congress and beijing said an election committee of just over 1000 people would be selecting two or three candidates from which
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everyone could choose from, and occupy central said as a protest of last resort they would stage the sit-in that you are now seen all over the city. i think some people find occupy central quite controversy of. it is obviously illegal, civil disobedience methods. they do not have permission. you need to have prior permission to protest in hong were the many see how they treated by police, so most people basically believe in having some degree of democracy its 50s was promised in years of autonomy agreement with beijing. it is not clear when that whether hong47 kong will look more like the mainland or whether the mainland will look more like hong kong,
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but there is a freedom of protests in hong kong and they are certainly expressing it right now. >> hong kong has a poverty rate of 20% and a surging number of millionaires and billionaires. how does inequality fit into these protests? >> hong kong has actually the widest rich-poor gap in the developed world. the economist had topped on their crony capitalism index. the capital of capitalism, if you will. the poverty gap is visible on the streets everyday. you have the highest concentrations of millionaires while at the same time you have elderly people picking up boxes in the streets to recycle and people living in cage homes or subdivided flats, tiny boxes that they take quite a premium for, actually. there has been criticism that
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the occupy and pro-democracy movement over the years have failed to identify with the social issues and link them to democracy. some people feel, perhaps, the occupy movement is a little high-headed with its constitutional reform kind of language, but i think it is true that it people are properly represented, -- that if people are properly represented, they might have more of a say in the lack of social welfare, for instance, in hong kong and the --r-increasing poverty draft poverty gap. >> we are losing the satellite about a crackdown on social media and the overall police response. >> police are catching a lot of criticism for how they acted with pepper spray and tear grass -- tear gas. the police themselves have been
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asked by the commissioner to remain unified. they disappeared seemingly completely from the streets today and yesterday. they were in full riot gear sunday. hong kong is a city of protests. it is how people express themselves politically because they do not have a voice at the ballot boxes. for being renowned professional, and we have not seen clouds of tear gas like this since the 2005 wto protests. i think it really shocked hong kong. everyone was changing, i suppose, there images to yellow ribbons, showing solidarity with the prisoners. you see that tends come perhaps hundreds of thousands sitting down in the street in these three key areas all over hong kong. most seem to be arriving just as i was leaving the area. >> is it a rejection of chinese
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rule, or a modification of how china is willing hong kong -- ruling hong kong that they are calling for. >> could you repeat the question? a rejection of chinese rule or a modification of how china is ruling hong kong that the protesters are calling for? >> some people feel what has happened is somewhat of a modification itself. people are not anti-china. what the protesters are calling for is for the leader of hong kong to step down. he is deeply unpopular. approval ratings are at an all-time low. they want the constitutional package to be revised so that people have more of a say in his a get to vote for. at the moment, for instance, the functional constituency system, which is quite complicated, gives corporations thousands of
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votes that would normally go to people. the system gets tens of thousands of votes and it is actually quietly owned by the government, so you have an absurd system whereby the government is voting for itself. the chamber, the legislative council here, is dominated by pro-asian figures. china fears if more pro-democracy politicians are allowed into the legislative council, they would somehow declare independence or something like that, but i think that is unfounded. china is also concerned about its own situations in places , and how these protests might spread. they are very much in the tradition of civil disobedience, citing nelson mandela, and martin luther king, and it is a textbook example of how people
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are helping each other. there are boxes and boxes of supplies. people could probably hang around for days. people are giving out free meals, sharing food, putting signs onto clothing, businesses, .nd abandoned cars they are apologizing for the inconvenience. they are probably the most polite protesters in the world. >> do you think these protests could possibly spend -- spread, for example, to beijing? >> it is hard to tell. people often under tiananmen breath, and isame do not think there will be similar things in hong kong, but perhaps china is concerned about similar things emerging in the mainland and that is you have censorshipcial media efforts by beijing and its
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complete blackout. i was told today that young people in the mainland are certainly aware of what is going on. as to what will happen next, there are a couple of public holidays. i imagine this will just continue until the government makes more of a concession. i think it is not beyond feasibility in the 2003 you had almost one million people on the streets and they managed to oust the first leader of hong kong and we could see a repeat of that. these protests are certainly broader. we will see what happens tomorrow. , thank you for being with us. he is a hong-kong based journalist. he was tear-gassed over the weekend while covering the protests. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. back, we will look at the new vice president of afghanistan.
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stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> "no government" by nicolette. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. >> we turn to afghanistan, which has inaugurated its first new president in a decade on monday, swearing in ashraf ghani to head a power-sharing government. during his inaugural speech the former world bank executive appealed to militants to join peace talks. >> we are tired of this war. our message is a message of peace, and the message of peace does not mean we are weak. i call on afghan government enemies, particularly the taliban and to prepare for political negotiations.
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>> afghanistan's new president ashraf ghani speaking monday. joining him on stage monday was abdul rashid dostum, afghanistan's new vice president. dostum is one of afghanistan's most notorious warlords who was once described by ghani himself as a quote "known killer." dostum's rise to the vice presidency comes despite his involvement in a 2001 massacre that left up to 2,000 taliban -- that killed up to 2000 taliban pow's. the prisoners were allegedly shot to death or suffocated in sealed metal truck containers after they surrendered to dostum and the u.s.-backed northern alliance. the dead prisoners, some of who had been tortured, were then buried in the northern afghanistan desert. dostum, who was on the cia payroll, has been widely accused of orchestrating the massacre and tampering with evidence of the mass killing. >> for over a decade human rights groups have called on the united states to conduct a full investigation into the massacre including the role of u.s. special forces and cia operatives. the bush administration blocked three investations into the
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alleged war crimes and the obama administration quietly closed its own inquiry last year without releasing its findings. after the massacre, dostum left afghanistan for many years but returned in 2009 to help hamid karzai win re-election. since then he has served in the largely ceremonial role as commander in chief of the afghan national army. we are joined now by two guests who have closely followed the story of the 2001 massacre as well as the rise of abdul rashid dostum. jamie doran is an independent documentary filmmaker who directed the 2002 film, "afghan massacre -- the convoy of death." in 2003, democracy now! became the first u.s. news outlet to air the film. he joins us by democracy now video stream from england. and with us in boston is susannah sirkin, director of international policy at physicians for human rights, the group that discovered the site of the mass graves of the taliban pow's. susannah sirkin, let's start with you.
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talk about what happened in 2001, why you are so deeply concerned about the new vice president of afghanistan. >> a large group of fighters, mostly taliban, surrendered to the northern alliance, which was working at an al -- as an ally in the united states when u.s. special forces were on the ground. prisoners wereed loaded like sardines into trucks according to testimony and evidence that we have, and transported across the desert. many of them suffocated, probably within days, because they were not given water. they were locked up in these, essentially, coffins, packed in. we have reports of gunshots being fired into the trucks, possibly to create air holes,
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werendeed, the way they fired indicates they were fired straight into the trucks, killing some of the surrendered prisoners. reportedly, they were all brought across to this area now known as -- near the prison. rights cameor human upon this site when we were visiting the horrific conditions or discover the horrific conditions neither the northern capital, and away from the prisoners were dying, dozens a day, for lack of food, illness, horrible sanitation. we noticed there were bodies on , bones,ace, remains etc., and within a month or two, under united nations auspices, massing of this grave
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and exempt bodies and -- exhumed bodies and found that they were commencement with suffocation. it appeared u.s. forces were certainly cognizant of these deaths. we know this because physicians for human rights actually filed a freedom of information act query. we have reports from u.s. officials that indeed they know that as many as 2000 surrendered prisoners had died in what we call a convoy of death, and also that witnesses were reportedly tortured and executed -- eyewitnesses to these crimes. we have been advocating for a full out investigation by the international community and the united states, and of course the afghan government itself, ever since.
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now it is 12 years and counting, and we still do not know what really happened. lay out how these investigations have progressed in terms of how this went down under the bush administration, and then when obama took office, calling for an investigation, one concluding next -- last year, but not being made public. >> physicians for human rights and other human rights groups have repeatedly called for investigations. uncoveredhen we evidence that there had been a parent tampering of the site -- apparent tampering of the site, we were able to capture satellite imagery that had shown pieces of the site had been destroyed, and when that was pulitzerby the
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prize-winning journalist jim rise and in a front-page "new cnn'simes" story, anderson cooper asked president obama if the u.s. government was going to investigate this apparent, major war crime, and president obama said if this had happened, we will certainly find out the facts, and we must, if there are allegations of serious crimes in which i or -- our forces may have been involved, and certainly our allies. weave to say that since then have absolutely no evidence of any serious investigation conducted by the administration -- the obama administration. "new york times" piece also revealed is that under the bush administration three separate investigations were shut down, and that includes fbi agents on guantanamo who were interviewing
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detainees who had been brought from the prison to guantanamo and who had started talking about this massacre. pursuere told not to those queries any further and not to gather that information. the war crimes ambassador at the state department also wanted to prevented from doing so. the senate investigation was also stopped. that was under bush. the president, the current president, basically a year ago said they completed an investigation, we are satisfied the u.s. was not involved, and of story, full stop. in 2009, you said james risen , who is now being prosecuted by the obama administration for theher story, spoke about findings on democracy now!
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responsibility of the bush administration to look into this or push for international investigation because abdul rashid dostum had been on the u.s. payroll and was part of an alliance that had taken over afghanistan, and what i found was time ter time in different agencies, and the white house, bush administration officials repeatedly ignored evidence or discouraged efforts to open investigations into the massacre. report after james risen was published in "the new york times" in 2009, cnn's anderson cooper asked president obama about opening a new investigation. >> it seems clear that the bush administration resisted efforts to investigate abdul rashid dostum, who is on the cia
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payroll, would you support or call for an investigation into possible war crimes in afghanistan? this haddications that not been properly investigated just recently was brought to my attention, so i have asked the national security team to collect the facts for me that are known, and we will probably make a decision terms of how to approach it once we have the -- gathereded up, up. >> you would not resist, categorically, the investigation. obligations all nations have, even in war, and if it appears our conducts a dutch conduct violated -- , we wouldolated war investigate that.
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in ghana.s actually , you are in afghanistan. your response to abdul rashid dostum becoming vice president of the country. man, as you said at the beginning of your program, the new president described him as a murderer, and then appoint him at his -- appoint him as his vice president simply to get her teen percent of the vote. felt that ashraf ghani needed abdul rashid dostum . jim risen, -- on
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the show, he was skeptical the u.s. special forces were involved in the massacre. reported agent findings from guantánamo to his bosses in washington, and was told do not continue investigations, do not file reports. he refused to buckle, and the system finally gets another report, even under threat from superiors. i feel it is a great shame that obama -- we thought we understood bush would want to hide as much as possible. be fresh. obama might it does not been the case. he, too, has not gotten involved . abdul rashid dostum is now the vice president. it is quite bizarre. he actually apologized for his war crimes last year in the
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run-up to the election, an example of pragmatism. he apologized, but was not specific. he tried to give a general apology for all the terrible things he has done and the afghans seem to have bought that. >> in 2011 wikileaks published a classified cable from then u.s. ambassador to afghanistan karl eikenberry about dostum's return to afghanistan. eikenberry wrote in the 2009 cable quote "dostum's return would endanger much of the progress made in afghanistan over the past five years, create a source of friction in the afghan government's relations with the international community, and could well cost karzai's government the continued support of the united states and most of the international community." your response. for thetill waiting massive road tests.
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-- protest. it is that simple. everyone knows what abdul rashid dostum did. most had relatives in that convoy and died. one of the questions that does not seem to come up too often is why were they there for up to 10 days question mark my information is that americans on the --days? my information is that americans on the ground had to make sure that no al qaeda slipped through, so they were forced to stay in those containers for all of those days in searing heat, suffocating, lighting into each other's limbs trying to get fluid because the americans needed to know. chevron prison
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where john walker lindh was discovered. andyou explain who he is the significance? was a surrender. and went to a place that is actually controlled these days my abdul rashid dostum. most of them were killed. forces, british special forces were involved. john walker lindh was one of the survivors. this officecame to to see me to ask whether or not i had come across them. he then showed me footage. that is where they were shooting from.
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the fact that they were directly involved -- [indiscernible] break andgoing to come back to this discussion, and come back your film, a remarkable film "afghan massacre -- the convoy of death." we are also speaking to susannah sirkin. this is democracy now! back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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music by naseer shamma. >>music by naseer shamma. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. >> we are going to play a clip of your film, "afghan massacre -- the convoy of death." can you set the same about how about how the scene you came to your story? >> the press corps was fascinated by the taliban and were following that story, and
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at the same time we had been told on the ground in afghanistan that something bad had happened, some were tortured. we ended up basically being the only journalists going in that direction. will we manage to do was get the who had, first of all, traveled throughout, to actually talk to us on camera, and to tell us -- including those that admitted shooting into the containers to kill the prisoners -- they told us the information, and naturally, it was over a year that investigations were carried out. >> we will continue to attend -- talk about afghanistan's new vice president abdul rashid dostum. his rise, despite the 2001 massacre that killed 4000 pows.
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we turn now to an excerpt of the documentary "afghan massacre - convoy of death" by the award-wining irish filmmaker jamie doran, who traveled to the site of the massacres and the mass graves in 2002 in afghanistan. the soldiers have their faces obscured. two of them are now dead. the clip begins with general abdul ramatullah of the northern alliance explaining what happened to the taliban members captured at kunduz in november of 2001. >> many are put hundreds at a time into the containers. after around 20 minutes, the prisoners began crying out for air. >> the weather was already hot. there were too many people inside of the containers. many died because there was no air. >> how many containers were
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there? >> the conditions were very bad. the prisoners could not breathe, so they shot into the containers, and some of them were killed. us to stop the trucks, and we came down. after that, they shot into the containers. blood came pouring. >> one pleaded that he murdered prisoners. >> i hit the containers with boats to make holes for ventilation, and some of them were killed. >> you shot holes. who gave you those orders? >> my commanders told me to hit the containers for ventilation. >> this was no humanitarian gesture. rather than shooting into the roots of the containers, the
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soldiers fired at random, killing those nearest the walls. had calledi driver in at the petrol station on the road. >> i smelled something strange and asked the attendant where the smell was coming from. "look behind you." there were three trucks with containers. blood was running from the containers. my hair stood on end. it was horrific. >> whether or not the prisoners were really destined to reach the prison must be open to question. the jail was full, and those already incarcerated were facing hardships of the different kind of the hands of american soldiers. they were reluctant to talk, particularly when the public --
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prison chiefs hovered close by, listening to our conversations. one taliban, who had been filled during the surrender, was more forthcoming when we interviewed him out of earshot of the prison guards. >> they were searching for bin laden, and questioning us about al qaeda. they were cool. toy took some of our men kill them, and they did a lot of things in here which scared us. beate american commandos many of us and get us into talking. -- one confirms the story. >> they cut their hair. sometimes they chose one for pleasure, took them outside, beat them, and returned them to
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the prison. sometimes they were never returned. they disappeared. the prisoners disappeared. i was a witness. they came after two or three days. they broke some prisoners next and were beating others. they were crying because everyone ignore them. >> these things you saw specifically yourself? >> yes. but for those prisoners crammed inside of the containers, a quick death would have come as a blessing. some of them remained in the four days in the deserts before reaching the prison, and survivors talk about licking the sweat off of their fellow bodies g eachen writing -- bitin other to get liquid in any form. aboutay they knew nothing
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the convoy. >> the americans where in charge. where were they, on the walls, or on the gates of the fort? prison, there the were some americans and some afghan soldiers. they wanted to unload the trucks, and they were taking charge of the area. >> how many american soldiers were there? -- 150 to 160. we did not count the number. >> what were the americans doing in the prison? >> they were there to make sure the prison was secure. there were so many americans, and they were all armed and wearing their uniforms. >> as the containers were opened, the full extent of the carnage became apparent.
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one soldier, who has since fled from afghanistan, describes the scene in an interview with a pakistani newspaper. >> i shall never forget the sensation as long as i live. it was the most revolting and powerful stench that you could possibly imagine. it was feces, rotten flesh -- a smell to make you forget all other smells you ever experienced in your life. >> for 10 days, the red cross try to get access but were refused. they were told they could not enter because american soldiers were working inside. the picture taken during period when the containers arrived at the prison confirms their presence. soldiers speak of u.s. searching the dead fortification before insisting that the
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afghans remove the bodies from the prison. the pentagon, however, will not comment. a really important to find any identification on these bodies because they were desperate for intelligence on al qaeda. they underestimated the strength of al qaeda, and it spread. they knew very little about it, so human sensibilities that go out of the window. >> the healthy captives were let into the prison, and the dead packed into single containers. many of the prisoners had not died. some were so badly wounded, they were thrown back into the containers with the dead. others were simply unconscious. using a small tourist camera to avoid detection, we traveled to the deserts, just 10 minutes from the risen with you below drivers who agreed -- with two drivers who agreed to show us
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where they were ordered to take the containers. >> some of the taliban were injured, and others were so weak that they were unconscious. we brought them to this place, and they were shot there. there, and over there. >> another eyewitness. >> they took my truck and loaded them toner, and took where they were shot by the soldiers. i made four trips backwards and forwards with the prisoners. the mounds of sand show clearly where many of the bodies lie. human bones and a few pieces of clothing with pakistani labels
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are all that remain of those buried near the top of the piles. asked how many people were you carrying? -- >> on many people were you carrying? 150 each time. quick read you bring them here? >> yes -- >> did you bring them here? >> yes. >> what was done with these people? >> they were shot. >> were they alive? >> some more alive. some were injured, and the rest were unconscious. >> when you brought the prisoners with you, were they with you? >> yes, they were. >> on the american soldiers were with you -- how many american soldiers were with you? >> lots of them. they be 30 or 40. they came the first two times, but i did not see them on the last two to "trips. -- last two trips.
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>> if american soldiers were present, it would border on war crimes. if they did not intervene, it was possibly criminal, but could the united states argue they were not in a responsible position? >> they would not have taken orders from afghans. in charge have been of security, therefore it is an american command, and ultimately american responsibility for whatever went on under the eyes of american soldiers. >> that was analyst robert fox. >> because you have evidence of a mass grave, that american american,s, being afghani, or international, must conduct an investigation. thank you -- you have identified bodies. it is clear that they could identify the cause of death and then who these people are because their families have the
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right to know. they have been disappeared involuntarily and murdered. film, "afghan's massacre -- the convoy of death ." the film looking at how abdul rashid dostum will distribute 4000ng of 2 -- up to taliban pows. abdul rashid dostum was sworn in as vice president yesterday. jamie doran, what does this mean for afghan relations with the united states? a bilateral security agreement will be signed today, something that will keep soldiers there, something that, karzai will not -- was not willing to sign. they want him on board is largely the vote, and also his representation in the north. ashraf ghani is well-known among the past few population --
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passion population. in that way, he has very little choice. the real power in northern afghanistan [indiscernible] abdul rashid dostum is a middleman that can keep it together. shocking state of affairs when a man who has been accused of being a murderer by his own president is now vice president. it is beyond my own understanding. jamie doran, thank you for -- >> jamie doran thank you for being with us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. email your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to: democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, ny 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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