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02/10/15 02/10/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now! >> if in fact diplomacy fails what i have asked my team to do is look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's cap kilis and the possibility of defensive weapons is one of those options being examined, but i've not made decision about that yet. >> as president obama considers arming ukrainian soldiers to fight russian-backed rebels, german chancellor angela merkel warns there is no military solution to the crisis. >> i have always said i don't
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see a military solution to this conflict, but we have to put all our efforts into bringing about a diplomatic solution. >> should the united states intervene by arming ukraine? we will host a debate between retired air force general charles wald, the former-deputy commander of u.s. european command, and university of chicago professor john mearsheimer. then to ferguson, six months after the police shooting of michael brown, more than a dozen st. louis-area residents have filed lawsuits accusing ferguson and a neighboring suburb of creating an illegal debtors prison scheme by targeting african americans with arrests and fines. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama says he has not yet decided yet whether to send arms to the ukrainian military to fight russian-backed rebels.
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obama criticized russia's role in the conflict during a joint news conference at the white house with german chancellor angela merkel. >> unfortunately, russia has made a decision that i think is bad for them strategically, bad for europe, bad for the world. and in the face of this aggression in these bad decisions, we can't simply try to talk them out of it. we have to show them that the world is unified in imposing a cost for this aggression. >> on wednesday, chancellor merkel will travel to the belarus capital of minsk for talks with the leaders of russia, ukraine, and france in an attempt to end the crisis which has killed over 5,400 people. we'll have more on ukraine after headlines. syrian president bashar al-assad has said his regime is receiving
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updates on u.s.-led airstrikes against the islamic state in syria. assad told the bbc that while there is no direct cooperation with the u.s., other countries including iraq, have been supplying syria with information. assad's force have been conducting strikes against both isis and the anti-government rebels supported by the united states. in niger, lawmakers have voted to send troops to fight the nigeria-based militant group boko haram. the decision came after boko haram set off a deadly explosion in the niger town of diffa. the group also attacked three towns in cameroon, kidnapping over 30 people, including 20 who were on board a bus. a nato drone strike in afghanistan has killed several people including a former guantanamo prisoner suspected of ties to the islamic state. mullah abdul rauf was killed along with his son-in-law and others in the southern province of helmand. rauf, a former taliban commander, had reportedly pledged loyalty to isis.
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u.s. officials confirmed the attack killed eight people accused of posing a threat. at least 29 african migrants have died of hypothermia after they were rescued from the frigid mediterranean sea near libya. the migrants were among over 100 people rescued from an inflatable boat by the italian coast guard. they died en route to the italian island of lampedusa. in egyptian court will try to imprison al jazeera journalists this week, despite hopes a least one would be released. last week, canada announced the release of mohammed fahmy was imminent. he was egyptian canadian. but both he and his colleague face a retrial on thursday. fahmy's family has launched a social comedic campaign going on stephen harper to intervene. alabama has become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage after the supreme court rejected
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the state's bid to block the unions. same-sex couples lined up to tie the knot across the state, including the cities of huntsville, birmingham and montgomery. but about 50 counties reportedly refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses after sunday's conflicting order from an alabama supreme court justice. chief justice roy moore ordered judges and officials not to issue or recognize the licenses, arguing the local courts are not beholden to a federal court ruling that struck down the ban. the largest oil strike to hit the united states in decades has grown larger. union workers at two bp refineries in indiana and ohio have walked off the job, joining colleagues from nine other sites across the country. in total, more than 5,000 workers have joined the strike to demand safer conditions higher pay, better healthcare and an end to unsafe staffing levels. a british court has ruled the spy agency gchq acted illegally
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when it accessed data gathered by the national security agency through mass surveillance. the investigatory powers tribunal, which oversees british spy agencies, ruled the secrecy surrounding the data-sharing program broke british human rights law. but the court found the program is now legal, because more information has emerged since civil liberties groups filed suit. the case marks the first time in its 15-year history the court has ruled against the spy agency. a team of argentine forensic experts has cast doubt on mexico's claims about the disappearance of 43 students in september. mexico's attorney general has said local police in guerrero state turned the students over to members of a drug gang who killed them and incinerated their bodies at a garbage dump. but reports by the mexican magazine proceso have implicated federal authorities, accusing them of torturing local police to force them to confess. the argentine investigators say
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satellite images show fires at the garbage dump years ago, and human remains found at the site include dentures, which none of the students wore. they also say authorities left the site unsecured for weeks and made errors in genetic profiles from the students' relatives. only one student's remains have been identified. felipe de la cruz, a spokesperson for the parents of the missing students, said the findings bolster claims the students are still alive. >> today we can say to the world that we are not wrong. we always said that until it was proven scientifically with elements of truth that is credible for us, we would not believe the student steps. >> the office of mexican attorney general jesus murillo karam has disputed the findings as speculation and questioned the expertise of the argentine team. meanwhile, an activist who organized protests over the students' disappearance has been
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found murdered in the neighboring state of morelos. labor and land rights activist alejandro salgado delgado was reportedly found with his head and hands cut off. authorities have detained four suspects, but salgado's supporters blame the state government for targeting him over his activism. the president of east timor is set to choose a new prime minister this week following the resignation of former guerilla leader xanana gusmao. gusmao helped win independence from indonesia and spent seven years in an indonesian prison before becoming east timor's first president in 2002. he has been prime minister since 2007. the city of boston massachusetts, has shut down its public transit system amidst record-setting snowfall across the new england region. two feet of snow fell monday in parts of massachusetts, marking the state's third major snowstorm in two weeks. governor charlie baker says workers have removed enough snow to fill 90 football stadiums.
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scientists, meanwhile, say the trend of increased snowfall and stronger storms is fueled by global warming. the obama administration has pledged $3.2 million to help save the monarch butterfly which has seen its population plummet 90%. research has tied the butterfly's decline to the rise in industrial agriculture and genetically modified crops which destroy milkweed, the monarch's food source. police in gastona, north carolina, shot and killed a 74-year-old african american army veteran after his family asked the police to check on him. relatives of james howard allen asked police to check on him because he had recently undergone heart surgery. police first arrived at about 10:20 at night, but allen did not answer. they returned about an hour later with the fire department and forced his door open. police say allen pointed a gun at officer josh lefevers, who then opened fire. allen was reportedly hard of
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hearing. his sister mary battle told local news station wsoc her brother likely thought someone was breaking into his house in the middle of the night. >> i am so hurt that he had to die like this. maybe the pleas were frightened. maybe they were. i don't know. but he would not hurt a fly. >> the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by police and the state bureau of investigations. at guantanamo, a pre-trial hearing for suspects accused of helping plot the 9/11 attacks was halted monday after prisoners recognized the courtroom interpreter from a cia black site. one prisoner said he couldn't trust the man as an interpreter because he worked with the cia. a second prisoner also recognized the interpreter, whom he accused of participating in his torture. in a statement, amnesty international called the
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allegations "deeply unsettling," adding -- "the courtroom at guantánamo bay is piling further injustice on top of impunity for torture." and a group of 150 journalists academics and activists from ferguson and the peace movement, have arrived in havana as part of a delegation with the group codepink. the delegation plans meet with government officials and members of the cuban 5 who were recently released from u.s. prison. they have called for congress to lift all travel restrictions and return guanatanamo bay to cuba. codepink co-founder medea benjamin said cuba should also be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, where it stands alongside iran sudan and syria. >> we also think it is important that we work only go back to push the cuba be taken off the terrorist list. there's a state department report that is supposed to come out in march that is supposed to advise president obama on whether cuba still belongs on that terrorist list. and we want to be ready for when
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that report comes out by putting out educational work in organizing and lobbying for cuba to be taken off the list. >> and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin in ukraine. as fighting continues in ukraine, president obama said the united states has not ruled out sending arms to the ukrainian military to fight russian-backed rebels. obama made the comment during a joint press conference at the white house with german chancellor angela merkel. >> now, it is true that if in fact diplomacy fails, what i have asked my team to do is to look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's calculus? and the possibility of lethal
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weapons is one of those being optioned. i've not made a decision. i have consulted with not just angela but will be consulting with other allies about this issue. it is not based on the idea that ukraine could defeat a russian army that was determined, it is, rather, to see whether or not there are additional things we can do to help ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatist aggression. but i want to emphasize, a decision has not yet been made. >> german chancellor merkel reiterated her opposition to arming ukraine saying the conflict could not be resolved militarily. >> we continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, even though we have suffered a lot of setbacks. these days, we will see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to a negotiad settlement. i've always said i don't see a military solution to this conflict, but we have to put all our efforts into bringing about a diplomatic solution.
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>> on wednesday, angela merkel will travel to the belarus capital of minsk for talks with the leaders of russia, ukraine and france in an attempt to end the crisis that has killed more -- killed thousands and displaced 1.5 million people over the past year. sergei lavrov accused the west of helping to escalate the conflict in eastern ukraine. >> unfortunately, at every stage of development in the ukrainian crisis, our american colleagues in under the influence, the european union as well, made steps leading to escalation of conflict. it is happen so when the european union refused to discuss with russia's participation the consequences of putting into effect and economic block the association agreement with ukraine. then there was a direct support from the state through them before that, antigovernment protests. the same happen when our western partners again and again found excuses, instead of launching dialogue, started widespread military operations in called
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terrorists, their own citizens who did not agree with the regime change in the rise of ultranationalist. >> to talk more about whether the united states should arm the ukrainian military we are joined by two guests. joining us from chicago is john mearsheimer, professor of political science at the university of chicago, the author of, "the tragedy of great power politics." his most recent piece ,"don't arm ukraine," was published by "the new york times." in washington, d.c. is general charles wald, retired four-star air force general and the former-deputy commander of u.s. european command. co-author of a new report titled, "preserving ukraine's independence, resisting russian aggression: what the united states and nato must do." it was published last week by the brookings institution, the atlantic council and the chicago council on global affairs. he now works as a consulting firm where he serves as vice chairman of the federal practice senior advisor, leader of
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deloitte's department of defense practice. general wald, let's begin with you. with this report you put out these three major think tanks why you feel the u.s. should arm the craning government? >> thank you. the report talks about how we can get to an end state or at least move the ball down the court on the negotiations for a removal of the russian military from eastern ukraine and go back to minsk. i heard the discussions. i agree with a lot of what has been said, but i think the difference for us and others maybe john will talk to this, is that we don't believe just a single path -- in this case diplomacy -- without other consequences, will make a difference. our belief is, number one, i think ukrainians have a right to defend themselves.
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number two, we need to make sure that russia find some consequence to the fact they are attacking ukraine. nobody in our ward police the military solution is the best in-state or that ukraine can defeat russia, but we do believe ukrainians defend the right -- have the right to defend themselves and make it difficult for the russians to move forward. >> general, do believe all diplomatic options have been exhausted? people living in eastern ukraine, the ethnic russians who identify more with russia than ukraine and the west, would say they have the right to defend themselves against the west because their president was ousted a year ago. do you believe their concerns are being sufficiently not addressed to the point where a diplomatic solution isn't possible at this point and one has to escalate the fighting as arming ukraine would suggest? >> absolutely not. i believe, first of all, jan ago which left ukraine, not
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necessarily through force. it was through a diplomatic means. number two the minsk agreement has agreed to cease-fire line that allows for lands in the eastern part to be an autonomous region. they are defending themselves, not initiating fighting. i think the argument made by russia is not correct. i think it class the issue. >> professor, you say the u.s. should not arm ukraine. why? >> the basic game plan here is to drive the cost of for the russians. as the general said, there is no way we can create a situation with ukrainian military can defeat russia so we are going to try to significantly drive up the cost for vladimir putin and we are assuming he will then throw his hands up and quit.
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that we will be up to get him to do what we want him to do. that is not going to happen for one simple reason. he considers to be what is happening in ukraine to be a vital should you took interest to his country -- strategic interest to his country. this is the equivalent of canada or mexico to the united states. he sees nato and the eu marching up to his border, trying to peel ukraine away from russia and make it a western bulwark. this is unacceptable to him. when states can in a situation like that were there -- core strategic is at stake. the fact is, he will not throw his hands up. this is why the sanctions have it work so far and why arming him is not going to do the trick. let's assume i am wrong. let's assume we really drive the costs way up and putin's in a desperate situation. the question what ask yourself
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do you want to put a great power that sees its vital interest at stake and has thousands of nuclear weapons in a situation where it is desperate? i do not want to do that. i think this is playing with fire. for this reason, i think there is no military solution to this crisis. it has to be solved diplomatically. >> general wald? >> first of all, it is great to hear somebody articulate what seems to be a logical argument on why we should not go down the path of arming the ukrainians. first of all, if canada or mexico had an election tomorrow in a different government was put in place, i don't think we would feel threatened. number two, nobody is arming putin. putin has armed of the rebels. they have at least 1000 russian officers in eastern ukraine today. the argument that we are going to somehow make putin feel
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threatened as a country by arming the ukrainians is almost laughable. but i think the big issue again, first of all, our report emphasizes the fact the best outcome and the preferred outcome and the only outcome frankly, is a diplomatic outcome. the issue is, you can't have a single prong approach to this problem with person like putin. he does not listen to international norms. the fact we are trying to impose the way we wish rings would be in the world on a world that isn't how we like it am a doesn't make any sense. and we do that and verbally in areas like this. -- invariably in areas like this. we need to have a sophisticated approach. there are many parts of the policy or diplomacy or the strategy, if you will, one primarily, is diplomacy, which we are involved with. president obama said monday, we are to wait to see how the discussions on wednesday go.
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number two is, our logic in the west -- i mean, i would think we would say, let's have a diplomatic approach. let's come to a solution and get it over with and go back to some common of normalcy within -- some kind of normalcy within ukraine. but the fact of the matter is, putin will not go down that path unless he see some kind of consequence. i do not think we should get into a large international military conflict with russia. but putin has to have some kind of penalty and price to pay to get to where he needs to go. >> this go back to professor john mearsheimer, this argument that putin has to pay a price for supporting the rebels as the old which resolve the crisis. >> again, the key point you want to understand is that putin thinks his core vital interests are at stake. ukraine is a country that has great geostrategic importance for him.
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he is going to pay an enormous price to keep nato and to keep the eu out of that area. he has made that clear since 2008. the russians have been against nato expansion from the beginning. they have said this was going to lead to a strategic disaster. we're basically on the precipice of that. i would ask the general this question -- do you believe in the monroe doctrine? do you believe that president kennedy was correct to force the soviets during the cold war to get their missiles out of cuba? if 20 years from now i'm a china were to try to form a military alliance with mexico and canada, would you say, that's ok, the government in canada and the government in mexico want that in the have a right to have whatever they want? i think the answer is categorically no. i can't believe a former general doesn't believe in the monroe
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doctrine and doesn't think it is in our interest, america's interest, to make sure no distant great power comes into our backyard with military forces. what is going on -- >> let's put the question to general wald. >> i get it. first of all, if you want to do a history lesson, that is probably a different show but yes, i believe in the monroe doctrine. no, i don't believe the soviets should have invaded cuba. no, i don't leave russia has the right to invade ukraine. if china and canada want to have an alliance, that is their problem. i don't think that is an issue militarily. you are mixing up several situations to make a point. the fact of the matter is, russia has invaded and helped to invade -- they have people there, equipment there -- a sovereign territory. i don't care if ukraine is part of nato or the eu, for that matter. as a matter of fact, president poroshenko has agreed publicly
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to swear it will not go toward membership in nato as part of the agreement. he has said they will not do that. he is said probably they won't go to the eu, although economically, i think what ukraine needs more than anything is a good economy. i think this idealistic misplaced argument that everything is similar in the world, the monroe doctrine, the invasion or the moving of russia into cuba, are similar is an argument for people that haven't studied history, frankly. >> when i was a little boy, my mother taught me that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. and if it is ok for us to have a monroe doctrine, as it makes perfect strategic sense for us to not want to have distant great towers on our borders, it should make equally good sense for the russians to think that way. by the way, for the chinese to think that way. that is the way great powers behave. the problem in washington is that people and not put
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themselves in the shoes of leaders and distant capitals. we have to appreciate how putin thinks about this thing. you don't have to like putin. putin may be a thug, but the fact of the matter is, he and all most all of his colleagues in the russian leadership believe that nato and the west, more generally, are a threat to russian interests. and here -- >> here's the answer to that. first of all, you are mixing up the situation again. the united states is not going to occupy ukraine. nato is not going to occupy ukraine. nato has said ukraine is not going to be part of nato. >> it has not said that. >> hold on a second, they just said it with the agreement of poroshenko in negotiations with putin. poroshenko said we're not going to, ukraine in this case, and
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the western powers, not nato but germany and france in this case, have agreed that as part of the minsk agreement, the resetting of the minsk lines, the removal of russian troops from ukraine, that ukraine would not pursue a nato membership. that is a fact. it is on public record. two, the united states has no intention whatsoever of occupying ukraine. three, the united states would like to see ukraine be treated as a sovereign nation and have their economy come back to health. four, we don't want russia invading and occupying ukraine are going further. five, we don't want russia threatening the other nato nations that would possibly be a threat. that could be poland, the baltics, and not being part of nato, but the frozen conflict. the argument that we are making, this idealistic intellectual argument, comparing this to the monroe doctrine, is basically
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unfortunate. i think it is a smart argument that a professor would make, but it is wrong. >> we have to go to break, but we will come back to get professor mearsheimer's response. you also speak with general wald. the debate should the u.s. arm ukraine? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. our guests are general charles wald, part of three ring tanks that issued a report on the arming of ukraine. we are also joined by university of chicago professor john mearsheimer. >> on saturday, russian president vladimir putin said
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russia will not accept a world order where one leader dictates what others will do. >> it is a fact that there clearly is an attempt to restrain our development by different means. there is an attempt to freeze the existent world order, which formed in the decade which followed the collapse of the soviet union. with one incontestable leader who wants to remain as such. thinking he is allowed everything, while others are only allowed what he allows. and only in his interests. this world order will never suit russia. if someone likes it, if someone was to live under conditions of semi-occupation, let him. we will never do this. >> that is russian president vladimir putin. professor mearsheimer, there was some debate before the break about the issue whether ukraine has disavowed joining nato. dealey restaurant -- the only thing of seen recently, it would be put off for several years during which time ukraine would
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elaborate this will stop the can you explain the history behind putin's fear, why he is upset about what he says that to be nato encroachment on russia? >> nato expansion started in the late 1990's. the initial tranche, the first wave of expansion, including countries like poland and czechoslovakia in 1999. dinners a second big trenton in 2004, which included the baltic states. all along, the russians screamed out loud that this was unacceptable. the expansion was at a distance at that point in time and they were week. in april 2008 at the bucharest summit, the nato bucharest summit april 2008, a communiqué was issued that said both georgia and ukraine would become part of nato. and this, by the way, is what precipitated a large part the
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war between georgia and russia in august 2008. the russians made it very clear at the time that nato expansion into georgia and into ukraine was categorically unacceptable. what has happened since 2008, is relations between the russians and the americans and the west europeans, more generally, have gone south, in good part because of nato expansion. but not only because of nato expansion, also because of eu expansion. furthermor because of the west interests in facilitating the spread of democracy in eastern europe, maybe even in russia itself. because the russians see democracy promotion by the west as basically an attempt to overthrow pro-russian leaders are russian leaders themselves, and put in their place leaders who are pro-western. so the russians are very sensitive about this, therefore it is no accident this whole crisis started last february
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when there was a coup in kiev where pro-russian leader, yanakovich, was overthrown, with help from the united states. this is something the russians considered to be unacceptable and led to the present crisis. >> i want to ask general wald about how military contractors in the united states feel. you are a retired four-star air force general. you're the former deputy mmander of u.s. european command. you're also currently department of defense practice leader. with the weapons industry in this country benefit from arming ukraine? >> first of all, i'm not a weapons dealer and i don't represent the light in this discussion. number three, i doubt seriously if logic and all with think this is a good idea that we could
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someone arms to nato or ukraine in this case. it is the wrong argument. let me go back to professor mearsheimer's last discussion. great synopsis of recent history. i could not agree more. the part i take a little bit of exception with is the last part, and implication that expecting nations in the world, the world order today, the model which is being pressured a little bit today, national sovereignty, but the fact of the matter is, the implication that we shouldn't expect governments to treat their people with dignity respect, and have human rights in mind, to me is unfortunate because that is really what this is all about. going back to the nato implication of ukraine joining nato and ukraine, personal opinion, this is not representing any particular
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organization or group, but i think nato overstepped their bounds a little bit, particularly after the bucharest statement that we're going to try to see if ukraine and georgia could then become members of nato. i think that was a mistake. i think the issue should be, our people, our countries in this case and europe, going to abide by international law, have governments that treat their people with diity and respect and the fact of the matter is, present has no claim to any spare of influence, whatsoever in your, other than russia, over and out. to keep comparing us to what he is doing as a counter that we actually have done the same thing, i think is an incorrect argument and actually, puts a lot of good people in america in a position that makes us compared to is -- compared to
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putin is wrong. do they have a right to invade a sovereign territory because they don't like the government's action from the standpoint of sovereignty? i think it is as simple as that. itis the rest of the world going to stand by when you have a thug like putin basically intervening, invading a sovereign territory in just standby say, maybe we can talk about it until you get what you want, mr. putin. that is a big mistake. to compare russia to nato and those objectives, i think intellectually is interesting, but totally incorrect. >> professor mearsheimer, your response? is the rest of the world just standing by? >> first of all, the united states sometimes violates international law when it thinks it is in its interests. the war in iraq was a clear violation of international law. the war against serbia over
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kosovo in 1999 was a clear violation of international law. the idea the united states opens international law and the russians are simply an outlaw state is not, in my opinion, a correct argument. furthermore, with regard to democracy promotion, i'm all in favor of promoting democracy around the world. but the u.s. has a rich history of overthrowing them are critically elected leaders. and furthermore, when it comes to democracy or motion especially in places like ukraine, you want to understand we're not simply interested in promoting mocracy because it represents our best values, we are interested in promoting democracy and in many other places because we think it will end up putting in power leaders who are pro-american. by the way, when that doesn't happen, we then overthrow those leaders which contradicts the basic assumption that underpins the policy to begin with. so the united states doesn't have a particularly good record with regard to either international law or democracy
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promotion. with regard to putin and what has happened in ukraine, the fact is, he is now in ukraine or his military forces and however many numbers are in ukraine. the question is, how do we get out of this mess? i would argue that using big stick diplomacy is not going to fix the problem. we're been using the big stick in iraq and afghanistan and libya, and we have made a mess everywhere we have gone. it will be the same story again if we do arming of the ukrainians. it is not going to work. it will just escalate the violence. more ukrainians are going to die. the russians are going to redouble their efforts, and the crisis is going to escalate. as i said early on, you want to remember, you're dealing with a country that has thousands of nuclear warheads and thinks its core strategic interests are at
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stake. if you put that country and a precarious position, you put putin in a situation where he feels desperate, it is not clear what he will do. and given has nuclear weapons, i don't want to go down that road. >> we only have a minute to go but since you both are also have spoken out on the issue of iran and israel, i want to ask about this controversy around the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu's plan to address the was congress next month about iran at of israel's election. reuters is reporting israeli officials are considering whether netanyahu should speak to a closed-door session of congress rather than in a primetime tv address. yahoo! was invited by house speaker -- netanyahu was invited by has bigger john boehner. president obama said he won't speak to them so close to israel's elections. president obama is for the nuclear deal, netanyahu is against it. general wald, your position on this? >> that is about a three-hour
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discussion, but i think would be wise for president netanyahu not to come under the conditions that are currently in effect. there is no doubt that the iranians issue with their possibility of having a nuclear weapon is a serious threat to the middle east and israel, but i think it would show -- it would be wise for president not yahoo! two not coming to the speech -- netanyahu to come and give a speech at this time. >> professor? >> i think prime minister is between a rock and a hard place. he made a really big mistake agreeing to come to washington to give this talk without consulting with the white house and now consulting -- without consulting with the democratic leadership in congress. it is having a huge uproar affect. powerful incentives not to come.
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but at the same time, if you were to back down, he would end up looking like he had egg on his face. i did no matter what he does, he loses. the simple question is what is the least bad alternative? what they're trying to do now is find that alternative by finessing the situation, maybe having a closed-door session or having him talk for the annual apec conference. this is a real mess. netanyahu bears useful responsibility for allowing himself to get into the situation. >> we nt to thank you both for being with us, john mearsheimer professor of political science at the university of chicago, is the author of, "the tragedy of great power politics." his most recent piece, "don't arm ukraine," was published by "the new york times." and thank you also to general charles wald, retired four-star air force general and the former-deputy commander of u.s. european command. co-author of the new report, "preserving ukraine's independence, resisting russian aggression: what the united states and nato must do."
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this is democracy now! when we come back, we will be talking about ferguson, the six-month anniversary of the death of -- well, in ferguson, mike brown. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> monday marked six months since a white police officer killed unarmed black teenager michael brown in ferguson, missouri. the shooting sparked protests over brown's death and the broader racial divide it came to symbolize. now, half a year later, a major legal action is taking that divide head on. on sunday, more than a dozen st. louis-area residents filed class-action lawsuits against ferguson and another suburb, jennings. the residents accuse local officials of creating a "modern debtors' prison scheme," that targets african americans with arrests and fines and then locks them up when they can't pay. this is how one resident, george fields, described it to democracy now! outside of michael brown's funeral in august. >> i'm here for mike brown and mostly all-black been walking down the street, not being able to go out in the county.
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with ticket values and stuff, we have just been ticketed so much over there and these other crimes. a ticket cost you $50 a ticket, but you have to pay bond, be in jail three days and stuff like that. it is too much. and pass the city lines, they tell your car automatically. they don't have no leniency in the county with the county police at all. if you check the records everybody that has good fellow at the city line gets pulled over. it is a push off against systematically against blacks if you look at the statistics. it is just a little too much when you get pulled over for menial things, have to go through too much to get out and you lose your job and what not for a $50 ticket and a pullover. i am fearful of the county. i been stuck in the city for six or seven years because the county has been that bad. my kids stay in the county, and i have to sneak to see them. i have to sneak to see my kids
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because my plates might be better something. i'm poor in china drive around to get better. what they want to ticket you. they take your stuff immediately. >> that was george fields one of , the st. louis area residents who attended michael brown's funeral, speaking right before he stepped into the church. a study last year by the archcity defenders found a large part of the revenue for several st. louis counties comes from fines paid by african-american residents disproportionately targeted for traffic stops and other low-level offenses. in ferguson, fines and fees were the city's second-largest source of income in fiscal year 2014. ferguson issued on average nearly three warrants per household last year -- the highest number of warrants in the state, relative to its size. the targeting may have had deadly consequences. according to the new class-action lawsuit, four area residents unable to buy their freedom have committed suicide
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in local jails in the past five months. others allege indefinite detention and various denials of due process. the suit claims the debtors' scheme has -- "devastated the city's poor trapping them for years in a cycle of increased fees, debts extortion, and cruel jailings." the plaintiffs want an end to the targeting as well as compensation for its victims. well, for more, we are joined by three guests. michael-john voss is the managing attorney at archcity defenders, which is one of the groups that has filed a lawsuit accusing two st. louis suburbs ferguson and jennings, of creating illegal debtors prisons. and we are joined by allison and herbert nelson. jr., two of the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuits. allison and herbert nelson are siblings. we welcome you all to democracy now! why don't we begin with michael-john voss. explain how the system works. >> what we have in st. louis is
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a modern debtors prison. basically, our study committee referred to earlier, showed that individuals who are african-american are disproportionately targeted by police and the municipalities as well as their also exploited because of their financial inability to pay certain fines related to that traffic stop or violation. an individual is then forced to pay an exorbitant amount of money relative to the charge they're facing. then they are, if they don't have the ability to pay, or no inquiries made to that ability or not and warrant is issued for their west -- their arrest in they become incarcerated sometimes for days or weeks without any looking into the financial ability to pay and without even having a clear sense of whether or not they have any sort of specific amount they would be able to pay to get out of jail. herbert early, there being detained in st. louis county in
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these minutes will jails. >> let's talk about this lawsuit you filed. how it is put together and what it is seeking to accomplish. >> the lawsuit we are filed basically, by interviewing and talking with many individuals who had gone through these experiences, we were able to take down a number of stories of individuals and we then investigated the practices of the court through court watching project and put together this lawsuit. it is a class-action lawsuit seeking injunctive relief in and to these practices and also seeking damages for the individuals that have suffered under the system. >> michael-john voss how many suicides have there been in jails in the last five months? >> in the last five months, within the last few years, at least four recorded deaths. there have been attempted suicides that we also have documentation of.
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there was a story of a young man, 18 years old, who clearly needed mental health treatment but none of that was provided to him. while he was in jennings manageable courts jail, he committed suicide. the conditions are deplorable. the conditions show individuals -- sometimes they're seven to 10 people in a cell -- over 12 people in a jail cell is supposed to house eight. they're not given enough blankets, no washing of the blankets, not permitted to take showers. as a lawyer practicing in minnesota will courts for years after they take people out of the confined docket, which they don't allow any public access to, their brought down a hallway into the jail, i have been waiting in the hallway to speech or prosecutor. immediately after, all of the individuals brought down to the jail file through, a court or comes through with a can of aerosol to remove the stench
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because nobody is taken a bath because they're not provided a shower for weeks. >> allison nelson, explain what happened to you. >> were multiple occasions where i was incarcerated by jennings and ferguson, but just my recent one, it was thanksgiving, three days before thanksgiving i was incarcerated in a jenngs jail cell. i have been there for three days. once i left jennings, well, they negotiatedith my mother over the phone to reduce my bond from $1000 to $400. once they reduced the bond, was then transfer to ferguson jail cell thanksgiving morning. once they had a shift change in the other correctional officer came in, i guess he was in a good mood thanksgiving morning, because he came in, called out a list of names and was like, ok,
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at the time my bond was $700 and he was like, oh, if you can come up with $100, you can go home. we weren't given free phone calls, so i had to call my mother on the collect phone. when you're supposed to speak your name, had to yell through the phone that, oh, they're giving me a $100 bond, come and get me. >> what were you charged with? >> i was charged with -- what was i charged with? driving while suspended. that is the only choice i had. >> can you explain the first time you are approached by police? you are in a car in your own backyard? you weren't driving? >> note, i was in the driver seat of the car. i had a my nightgown and everything in my backyard. they came up in the backyard. as i was walking into the house who is like, freeze, top. he asked for my name. i gave him my name and a medially to do jail in my nightgown, did not have -- they
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do not give me any time to put on no close. once i was transferred -- once i want to jennings and transferred to ferguson, they let my mother bring me some clothes. >> that you were sitting in your car in your backyard? >> yes. >> what do they charge you with? >> driving while suspended. >> it is an outstanding ward for the prior charge. >> herbert nelson, the circuit -- the suit alleges you suffered medical issues as a result of your treatment. >> i've been arrested multiple times. the last couple of times those arrested was on my way to work. they just arrested me. i'm in uniform. i have a very stiff uniform. the last time i was arrested, i was arrested for close to a week without no medical attention and i had an infection caused from being jailed previously.
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the infection never went away. they did not give me any attention regarding my medical condition at all a jennings or ferguson. it just got worse and worse. they really stopped me from going to work. they've done that multiple times. no regard to let me get to work or anything. i lost a lot. >> your mother has also had problems with police around traffic violations. explain what happened to her. >> she has been arrested illegally before. we're to come up with the money. she usually comes up with the money for us. which is arrested, it is harder for us to come up with the money for our mother because we don't have the resources that she has. when she is in jail, she is been in jail a lot longer than we
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have. >> she lives on a fixed income. the ability to make a payment on an exorbitant amount of money these courts are demanding for her to be released is very difficult for them to do. in addition to that, there is no judicial finding as to whether or not people have the ability to pay these fines and costs. typically, people will be incarcerated for weeks at a time without ever going a front of a judge. >> michael-john voss, the structal issues,earlthree arrest warrants perousehold in rguson. using these fines to basically pay for the city services. can you talk about that? >> what you see with a number of municipalities is this leading of the need to generate revenue with the administration of justice. there is a financial incentive for this practice to continue for the municipality to continue
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to run and function. what we do have is a divorce between those two things. the need to generate revenue for the municipality needs to be divorced from the administration of justice in the county municipalities. >> allison nelson, you're 18 when you got one of these violations and put in jail and now you are 23. how many times have they put you in jail, for example, sitting in your car which is stationary which is still in your backyard? >> that was the only time that i was sitting in a nonmoving vehicle. the other tie was a passenger in the car. so yeah, it is been only a couple of times where have actually been driving and they pulled me over and was like, oh, you have an outstanding warrant for driving with suspended license or whatever the case may
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be. the other time, i was a passenger in a car or the car start working -- moving at all. >> how does this make you feel about the police? >> the last time i was arrested, the officers said i should not be afraid of officers. but the same officer, he actually -- he was like, yes! he was so excited to arrest me. that alone made me afraid. a lot ofy friends and family won't even come to see me because i live in jennings. they're scared to come to the county because of the police in a quick they are to arrest you over minor minor, minor traffic tickets. >> herbert, when we were there, there's hope among some residents we spoke to that things might get better in the aftermath of these protests come of this organizing in ferguson and the surrounding areas. has anything improved in the six months since michael brown was killed? >> as farce the policing, no, it
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has asked a gotten worse. it seems like the crime has went up and the police -- the jails are running in an out like they're way more packed than before mike brown was shot. the jails are way more packed. it hasn't improved at all. >> i want to thank you all for being with us. we will link to the information about this. michael-john voss, managing attorney at archcity defenders and allison and herbert nelson, juor, plaintiffs and the lawsuit. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible democracy now!]
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(music playing) hello. i'm hubert keller and we're here in the kitchen at fleur in las vegas. i've been preparing vegetarian dishes for over 25 years. i think i was probably at fleur de lis in san francisco and probably the first restaurant in the country having a vegetarian tasting menu. i must say in those days most of the people thought it was only a trend, and i believed in it. i think it is a lifestyle, and today here we are 25 years later in all of my restaurants
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i'm actually featuring some vegetarian menus. on today's show, i will walk you through some great vegetarian dishes. first i'm making a classic french potato pie. it's got the flaky buttery crust and a filling of shallots, swiss cheese plus a hearty dose of great fresh herbs. for dessert, it's a very unique parfait made believe it or not, with quinoa actually and a luscious bittersweet chocolate mousse. so wait until you see that one.


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