tv Democracy Now PBS February 17, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/17/15 02/17/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> egypt reserves the right for retaliation, and with the method and timing it sees fit for retribution from those murderers and criminals who are without the slightest humanity. >> four years after the u.s.-led bombing campaign toppled muammar gaddafi's government, libya is in a state of crisis. on monday, egypt bombed islamic state targets in libya after the group released a video showing the beheading of 21 coptic christians. meanwhile, two different governments run libya, each with their own parliaments and armies.
will foreign governments intervene in libya again? we will speak to vijay prashad and sharif abdel kouddous. plus, we will hear the latest on the al jazeera journalists released on bail in cairo. they await yet another trial in egypt. then as greece rejects an extension of its european bailout, an anti-austerity party called podemos is on the rise in spain. we will speak to the party's leader, pablo iglesias, who could become spain's next prime minister. >> my country has three big problems -- inequality, unemployment and debt. the socialist party and the popular party my country, must do the best way without austerity. after five years, or even more six years, the situation is worse than before. all that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. egypt has opened a new front in the war against the islamic state. on monday, egyptian warplanes bombed northeastern libya after cairo to vowed to avenge the killing of 21 coptic christians, shown in an isis video. egypt says it hit isis sites "precisely." but at least seven civilians including three children, were reportedly killed in the coastal city of derna. egyptian president abdel fattah al-sisi meanwhile called for a u.n. resolution to launch a global coalition to intervene in libya. >> what is going on in libya could change this country to a breeding ground that will threaten the whole region, not only egypt. egypt, the mediterranean basin in europe has to do with this problem of the mission and a cobbler's was unfinished by our
european friends. we abandoned the libyan people as prisoners to extremist militias. >> the u.s.-led coalition meanwhile, launched 15 air strikes against isis in iraq and syria on sunday and monday. in pakistan, at least seven people have been killed in the suicide bombing of a police headquarters in the eastern city of lahore. a taliban splinter group claimed responsibility, calling the attack revenge for pakistan's execution of its colleagues. in breaking news from eastern ukraine, russian backed separatist claim to have seized control of the key city of -- fierce fighting has raged in the area despite a cease-fire agreement. talks between greece and its european creditors have collapsed amid disagreement over the future of german-backed austerity. the greek syriza party was elected on a promise to roll back be devastating austerity measures in greece's international bailout. at talks in brussels, greek negotiators rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout. greek finance minister yanis varoufakis said he had been
trying to negotiate. >> we were offering to refrain effectively, from implementing our own program, the program we were elected to implement, for six months. and all we were getting back was an endless promise of some flex ability that was never specified . under the circumstances, it proved impossible for the greek government, despite our infinite goodwill, to sign the offered communiqué. and so the discussions continue. >> the breakdown has raised fears greece may be on the verge of leaving the euro zone. the talks in brussels came one day after some 20,000 people rallied in athens to support syriza's push against austerity. later in the broadcast, we will speak with the leader of the anti-austerity party in spain pablo iglesias. a csx train carrying over 100
cars of crude oil derailed in west virginia, sending a massive fireball into the sky and forcing 1,000 people to evacuate . governor earl ray tomblin declared a state of emergency. at least 14 tankers and a house caught fire, and at least one car went into the kanawha river where it was leaking oil. the train was carrying oil to virginia from the bakken shale in north dakota, where a boom in oil production has increased oil-by-rail shipments more than 4,000% in recent years. the incident came after another oil train derailed in ontario, canada saturday, sparking a fire that has burned for at least two days. secretary of labor tom perez is due in california today for talks aimed at ending a contract dispute between shipping companies and union dockworkers. for days, the shipping firms have partially shut down activity at 29 west coast ports handling nearly half of all u.s. maritime trade, after accusing
workers of waging a slowdown. but union officials deny the slowdown and blame backups on the companies. the dispute has left dozens of container ships idling off the coast. a federal judge in texas has blocked president obama's executive actions on immigration. in november, obama outlined programs aimed at providing relief from deportation to as many as five million people. but texas and 25 other states sued to oppose the measures. two days before the first of the programs was due to start taking applications, judge andrew hanen blocked them. a new probe finds the national security agency has embedded spying devices deep inside the hard drives of computers around the world. the russian firm kaspersky lab says it uncovered the spyware in personal computers across 30 countries, from iran, russia pakistan and libya to china,
belgium, ecuador, and the united states. the targets include government institutions, oil and gas firms, islamic activists and scholars and the media. hundreds of people gathered at the danish embassy in paris to express solidarity with denmark. over the week and attacks on a free speech event and a synagogue. the danish ambassador said the feelings are similar to those that followed last month's attacks on charlie hebdo magazine in paris. >> it is really moving, because what i feel is that everyone feels danish, like, we all felt french. and the solidarity that is a must physical is very, very important for my country, my people, because today, we are in mourning. >> danish authorities have arrested two people accused of assisting the copenhagen dedmon who was shot dead by police.
in the u.s., a north carolina grand jury has indicted craig hicks on three counts of murder for killing three muslim students in chapel hill. police have claimed the shooting stemmed from a parking dispute but the victims' family has said it was clearly a hate crime. in a statement, nihad award, head of the council on american-islamic relations, said -- "this case is quickly becoming a touchstone for the american muslim community's sense of security and inclusion." authorities in houston, texas have arrested a homeless man for setting a fire at an islamic center last week. officials say darryl ferguson approached officers and admite told reporters it was an accident. in detroit, a federal judge has rejected a bid for a new trial from a palestinian activist convicted of immigration fraud. rasmea odeh was found guilty of concealing her conviction on bombing charges by an israeli military court more than 40 years ago. she says her confession to the bombings was obtained through torture and sexual assault in
israeli custody. supporters say she was targeted by u.s. authorities because of her prominent support for palestinian liberation. she faces up to 10 years in prison and deportation at her sentencing next month. to hear about her story, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. the decision comes just days after the israeli supreme court rejected an appeal from the family of rachel corrie, the u.s. activist who was crushed to death by an israeli army bulldozer in gaza nearly 12 years ago, as she tried to protect a palestinian home from demolition. rachel corrie's parents had sued the israeli ministry of defense for a symbolic $1 in damages. but a lower court cleared the military of responsibility saying corrie's death had taken place in a "war zone." last week, the supreme court upheld that decision. the corrie family said in a statement -- "we have come to see through this experience how deeply all of israel's institutions are
implicated in the impunity enjoyed by the israeli military." amnesty international has renewed its call for louisiana to release of the -- one of the longest-serving u.s. prisoner in solitary confinement. albert woodfox's conviction has been overturned three times and in november, an appeals court upheld the latest court order for his release. but last week, a louisiana grand jury re-indicted woodfox for the 1972 murder of a prison guard. he and the late herman wallace another member of the angola three, say they were framed for their political activism. in a statement, amnesty international called for louisiana attorney general buddy caldwell to -- "stop pursuing a campaign of vengeance by trying to re-indict a man who has already spent more than four decades in cruel confinement, after a legal process tainted with flaws." albert woodfox turns 68 this thursday. and oregon governor john
kitzhaber will serve his final day in office wednesday after announcing he would step down amid a public corruption probe. since oregon does not have a lieutenant governor, secretary of state kate brown will take his place becoming the first , openly bisexual governor in the u.s. history. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, 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. egypt has opened a new front in the war against isis. on monday, egyptian warplanes bombed northeastern libya after cairo vowed to avenge the killing of 21 coptic christians. egypt says it hit isis sites "precisely." but at least seven civilians including three children, were killed in the coastal city of derna. the bombings come after the islamic state released a video showing the beheading of the 21 kidnapped egyptians. the victims are led on to a beach dressed in orange jumpsuits like guantánamo bay prisoners. they are then beheaded one by
one. the lead executioner points his knife at the camera and delivers a message to what he calls the "crusaders." >> recently, you have seen us chopping off the heads [indiscernible] today, we are on the south of rome sending another message. crusaders, safety for you [indiscernible] >> the victims were all migrant workers kidnapped late last year. there are reports more egyptians have been kidnapped inside libya in recent days. the video is the first showing an islamic state beheading outside of its strongholds in syria and iraq. isis is one of several militant groups that have emerged inside libya since the u.s.-backed overthrow of muammar gaddafi in 2011. today marks four years since the official start of the libyan revolution that ended in gaddafi's ouster and death.
>> now the country faces what the united nations calls "the worst political crisis and escalation of violence" since that time. two different governments run libya, each with their own parliaments and armies. the internationally recognized government operates from the eastern cities of tobruk and bayda after a rival group called libya dawn seized the capital tripoli in august. a number of militant groups, including the islamic state affiliate, are scattered in between. egypt's bombing marks the first time isis has been targeted with strikes outside of iraq and syria. and although it emerged in the upheaval following the 2011 intervention, there is talk now of a new foreign operation beyond the egyptian strikes. on monday, italy said it would weigh attacks on the islamic state in libya if u.n.-backed talks fail to reconcile the libya's rival factions. italian interior minister angelino alfano called for direct nato intervention saying -- "isis is at the door.
there is no time to waste." the current war authorization measure before congress also increases the prospect of direct u.s. intervention. president obama has asked lawmakers to grant him expansive authority to target the islamic state anywhere in the world, beyond the current campaign in syria and iraq. with washington's ally egypt starting a new front, that opens the question of whether libya is next on the u.s. target list. for more, we are joined by two guests. from cairo, egypt is sharif abdel kouddous, democracy now!'s correspondent and a fellow at the nation institute. he recently returned from a reporting trip in libya. and vijay prashad is a professor of international studies at trinity college and columnist for the indian magazine frontline. he is the author of several books, including, "arab spring libyan winter" and, most recently, "the poorer nations: a possible history of the global south." he is joining us from connecticut public television. processprofessor, let's start with you. isis is beheading of the coptic
christians from egypt? >> amy, this is not the first egyptian airstrike in libya. it is reported, although egypt denies it, that in august of last year, egyptian fighter planes alongside fighter planes from the uae struck near tripoli , the capital of libya. at that time, going after the escalation by libyan dawn to capture the city in the parliament. libyan dawn is a coalition, but dominated by the muslim brotherhood, which is, of course, the group that president sissi has seen as his main enemy inside egypt. when egypt again a second round of airstrikes on monday, the parliament in tripoli, again, dominated by the muslim brotherhood, immediately condemned the airstrike as a violation of libyan sovereignty.
the problem with the egyptian airstrike has been that in a very short time, it has immediately opened up the polarization inside libya precisely the opposite political direction which libya requires at this time, according to the united nations. >> can you talk about how we have come to this point where four years after the libyan revolution began, now the islamic state is claiming territory there in carrying out brutal attacks such as this one? >> it is a great consternation and shame, i think of the so-called international community that this nato intervention of 2011 came on the heels of geopolitical wrangling between the gulf arab states and the europeans. this intervention came in. it destroyed much of libyan infrastructure at a crucial point when mr. gaddafi was taken
prisoner. if he had been allowed to surrender, for instance, there may have been a process opened up to bring different faction to political table. instead of him being brutally killed, the possibility of reconciliation at that point was squandered. secondly, there was no attempt by any party to bring the various revolutionaries into any kind of umbrella organization. they were allowed to have a separatist existence returning to the various cities, creating this rather deepening of separation deepening the antiquity amongst them. this strange position, the nato back government took power in shipley, where many opportunities by this government were also squandered. there were oil wells -- oil workers trucks, the question of
the armed alleges. at no point to the government in tripoli seem engaged by these pressing issues. instead, one of the first acts of this government was to create a central bank. it was very interested in making deals for oil. that really, no point, did they attempt a genuine political process of reconciliation inside the country. that has torn apart libya. that alienated the east. and for the first time in libya a sophisticated al qaeda group was allowed to flourish and that was sharia which grew out in benghazi. the libyan international islamic fighting group has, by 2011, put itself at the service of the government, but that gesture as well was rebuffed. i think a combination of gulf arab and animosity between qatar and saudi arabia, really disregard by the west, and
internal problems where the government in tripoli drawn into power on the backs of nato, really alienated the population from any possibility of a future. >> i want to bring sharif could us into this conversation and egypt's capital, cairo. can you talk about the response right now in egypt to egypt's bombing of libya, where you just work, and who the people were who were killed in egypt, the coptic christians, killed by isis there? >> right, well, the airing of the video really struck accord amongst many egyptians especially the coptic christian community. the nature of the message -- there were no political demands made. it was entirely esoteric message delivered. -- sectarian message delivered. the strikes are significant. vijay is right, there have been covert strikes before by egypt but their significant and so far
as their the first publicly acknowledged for an intervention by egypt, argument, since the gulf war nearly a quarter of a century ago. the libyan army claims they hit 95% of their targets and killed over 50 militants, but that is rarely the case, that kind of accuracy and aerial bombing. human rights watch has said six allies were killed, including a mother and two children. domestically, politically, the strikes were success. before the airing of the video the family of the hostages held protests against the government, accusing the government of sisi of not doing enough to release the hostages. since the air strikes sisi has received widespread report, seen as having acted swiftly and decisively. the state and media is whipping up a lot of nationalist
sentiment. the army has been deployed to the streets to "protect" citizens. the war on terror is sisi's source of legitimacy. this is all playing into that vein. in terms of the 21 coptic christian men, the majority of them all came from one small village in central egypt. they were like tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of egyptians, mike rich workers who left egypt to search for better wages and libya. they can earn up to seven times the paltry sums they can earn here. they ended up in a coastal city in central libya, the birthplace of gaddafi but has since become a stronghold for militants especially groups like sharia, which was accused of killing he was invested or chris stevens in 2012 -- ambassador chris
stephenson 2012. but militants, and survivors who evaded capture described a harrowing ordeal where these militants were coming house by house, calling out these migrant workers by name, leaving the muslims and taking the coptic christian men. it really was, i think sending shockwaves through much of egypt to see this video aired. >> and the response of egyptian society in terms of religions? what coptic christians, do you think, were targeted? and the place of dr. christians and great -- coptic christians in greater society? >> this is not the first time coptic christians have been targeted in libya. a doctor and his wife and daughter were killed in december. there have been other incidents as well. we can only look to what the statement by the islamic state group was, and it was calling for event for the coptic christian crusade -- calling for
revenge for the coptic christian crusade and the nature of the attacks, egypt has a coptic christian minority, which is about 10% of the population. they suffer from discrimination. how they can build churches and other ways of discrimination as well, in terms of marriage laws and so forth. this really struck a chord within the community, but i think overall, there is now in egyptian society this hyped up sentiment for war and a lot of support, it seems, for these airstrikes. >> sharif, you're just in libya this bombing coming just as the u.n. is try to broker some kind of deal between the two rival factions that claim two different governments with two different armies in parliament. what can you tell us about the internal conflict in libya and how these egyptian strikes might affect them? >> well, you know, there's a
power struggle that is engulfing the country as vijay outline. libya, to go there, it is hardly a country anymore, it is really a torn stretch of land and libyans have to negotiate the minefield of regional political, and tribal conflicts just in order to survive. you have these two rival coalitions, which are opposed to each other, each with their own array of militias and prime minister and government. and each claiming legitimacy. in the east, you have the to nationally recognized government that is aligned -- allied with the former general and they were forced out of the capital in a weeks long battle over the summer. in the west in tripoli, where the oil ministry is, where the national -- yet the self-declared government, which
very broadly speaking, is backed by an array of militias which are islamist-aligned, but also tactical alliance with extreme alleges over whom they have no control. this conflict has been raging, has caused massive displacement. it has created a void in which groups like the islamic state group can flourish really, and there was one driver that we had a one point. he gave a telling quote saying, in the east, they assume i am libya dawn and in the west, they assume i am --and in derna, they wanted to head me, referring to the islamic state group. this is the kind of political situation that libyans find themselves in. politicians seem to be operating in a different realm from ordinary libyans, a realm that has anything to do with power and very little to do with governing. >> i want to turn to anders fogh
rasmussen, former head of nato. speaking to britain's channel 4 on monday, he said foreign boots will be needed on the ground. >> we will need boots on the ground. it is clear that you can't do the job through air campaigns alone. you need boots on the ground. the only question is, which boots? in that respect, i do believe that countries in the region should play a major role in deploying such forces, but they can't do that and they won't do that unless the west supports -- >> former head of nato. which boots on the ground, professor vijay prashad? what about what he is saying not only should there be but which ones? >> it is interesting because mr. rasmussen has categorically over
the last four years said that nato should not get involved in syria because it is too complicated. and the issue is fraught with all kind of consequences. in libya, the other hand, there is an attitude which is that it is a playground. you know, you can encourage intervention, let people come in. it is a very dangerous attitude for the simple reason that unless the political question is somewhat settled, talking about sending boots on the ground, whether egyptian were algerian i think is a mistake. what i'm trying to say, there is an air cold war that is broken out in northern africa where on the one side, you have saudi arabia with egypt, perhaps, the uae. on the other side, you have qatar and turkey, these countries that are helping fuel internal disagreements.
until there is an understanding that these external actors need to stop providing to internal contradictions and until the u.n. is able to bring these internal parties to sit down and construct some kind of political dialogue, which is real, to talk about sending boots on the ground, is only going to exacerbate matters. if egypt enters with its considerable military into libya, this is going to create a great deal of problems with qatar. and god knows what they would do. meanwhile, the islamic state is looking for to greater egyptian intervention because one of the reasons they're going after the cops is donnelly because the preferred enemy, the shia, or nonexistent in libya, but also they have been seeking a way to create greater fractures in egypt itself.
to insinuate themselves in egypt. so the idea of having boots on the ground without putting great pressure on the major air countries in the region to sort of cool it on their own internal fight that are greatly affecting the politics, until that happens, i fear it is naïve to talk about airstrikes and it is incredibly naïve and duplicitous to talk about boots on the ground. trucks vijay, on that issue of naïveté, libya was hailed as a model for humanitarian intervention after muammar gaddafi was overthrown and killed. i imagine out as the country unravels into this resting ground for islamist logic groups like isis, defenders of the nato intervention will point back to benghazi. at the time, there appeared to be, in my opinion, back then, a credible threat that muammar gaddafi was going to carry out a massacre in benghazi.
the argument was, something had to be done. putting aside what nato's actual motives were, the threat of a massacre did seem credible, but looking back now, what we know in hindsight, do you think that particular pretext of preventing atrocities and benghazi stands up to scrutiny? >> it depends on what you're going to look at. if you're going to look at the evidence that human rights watch and amnesty international produced after the worst part of the nato bombing ended, it is not clear the casualty rates that have been claimed particularly by the saudi media it is not clear those casualty rates were accurate. in fact, they were greatly exaggerated. so that the claim by the group that they were already massacres and ms. rodda, the risen massacre elsewhere, turns out in the end, not to have been true. it is not to say the qaddafi
government wasn't prepared to conduct very brutal, violence in the east and in cities in the center, but you have to recognize -- and this is what i think the international media at the time wasn't willing to inhale. you have to recognize that in the east qaddafi's lee terry -- military largely defected to the battalion. there had our event airstrikes by rebel aircraft against gad affi's boots that were in the mediterranean. there's a complicated the tuition at the time, ainley saudi and then pushed by very's international media, including cnn, began to drum up this idea that there was a massacre. remember, in the un security council, ambassadors talking about getting their information from the international media. that struck me as really very
very disturbing. particularly given the fact that credible human rights organization after the fact showed the numbers have been greatly exaggerated by news media, particularly -- >> sharif could us before we enter this segment, could you comment on the ground having just been in libya about the humanitarian crisis there? >> in libya ordinary libyans are suffering. there's massive displacement. the u.n. estimates about 400,000 have been displaced. many are living in schools. many have left the country altogether. journalists, writers have left under threats. those libyans who want to leave because they can find no more life in libya find the world has rejected them. many complain they can't get visas because they are libyan. most of the displaced we saw were from benghazi. that is libya's second largest city, the birthplace of the
revolution and is now really the epicenter of the disaster. people describe completely bombed out neighborhoods. they say it looks like aleppo. there's a neighborhood youth who are armed manning checkpoints all over the city. just the simple truth of where you are from can determine your fate. just overall dysfunction has become a way of life in libya. libyans are forced to bear the burden of the conflict as it pairs away the last vestiges of normalcy. traveling across the country is arduous. delays at airports can literally take days. if you want to take or go by car, you're going to risk checkpoints and kidnapping a different malicious, which you have to negotiate. in the eased, there is very bad motricity shortages. there are fuel shortages. we were in the seat of the internationally record highs government. and they're expecting a huge
influx of refugees there of displaced. this has caused rents to go up, food prices to go up. there is to georges. the crisis is most acutely felt in the hospital, for example, we went to the kidney treatment center which is receiving three times more patience now. for dialysis, they have to ration treatments. a technician told us how this is reducing the lifespan of patients. he told it to us in english because he was saying it as a patient was getting dialysis. he spoke of how his own niece died because the could not find it very simple to for blood transfusion she needed and she died before they could even name her. in tripoli, you see masked gunmen a checkpoints at night for the first time. they have never been masked before. streets are deserted. you speak to defense minister who was telling us how safe triply was and the very next
day, armed militants stormed the biggest hotel in tripoli and killed nine people including a number of foreigners. it is really quite a disaster for ordinary libyans. there needs to be some kind of political solution on the ground because, you know, jihadists strive for more war. this whole talk of conflict i don't think. much the long run. >> sharif, i want you to briefly update us on the al jazeera journalists who are going on trial, who must remain in egypt but are out on bail. sharif abdel kouddous is democracy now!'s correspondent in cairo and a fellow at the nation institute. recently returned from a reporting trip inside libya. and thank you so much to vijay prashad professor of , international studies at trinity college and columnist for the indian magazine frontline. he is the author of several books, including, "arab spring libyan winter" and, most recently, "the poorer nations: a
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. in our next segment, we will be speaking with the head of podemos, pablo iglesias. first, we remain in egypt. >> as we continue in egypt where al jazeera journalists are free on bail after over a year in prison. the pair and a third colleague peter greste, were arrested as part of a crackdown on al jazeera following the ouster of president mohamed morsi in 2013. they were sentenced last june to between seven and 10 years in prison, a ruling condemned around the world. >> peter greste was released earlier this month and deported home to australia. then last week, after over 400 days behind bars, mohamed fahmy and baher mohamed were freed on bail. on monday, baher mohamed celebrated his newfound freedom.
despite their release, the case has not been dismissed. a new hearing is scheduled for next week. democracy now! correspondent sharif abdel kouddous has covered this story from the beginning. you can see his report on last week's court proceedings ordering the pair's release at our website democracy now.org. and he has been covering the case for the toronto star canada's largest daily newspaper. he interviewed mohamed fahmy for front-page article on sunday. very briefly, sharif, if you could tell us the latest and tell us about mohamed fahmy, his feelings known about egypt about canada. -- feelings now about egypt about canada. >> it was a rare feeling of joy. they have been imprisoned for 411 days. we have to realize they still have this ongoing trial and still face the same charges. there are still the danger. mohamed fahmy has been critical
of the government. stephens harper has close ties to theisi regime and harper is not personally intervened. he is looking to be deported to canada and benefit from a decree that sisi past that allowed peter greste to be deported. he says he was tricked into giving up his egyptian citizenship. these was pressured by senior officials -- he says he was pressured by senior officials and now has to pay $33,000 bill to get out on the other prisoners didn't and he lost his egyptian nationality. i want to take a chance to highlight the fact while these journalists received a lot of attention, there are other journalists who have practically no no attention that are in prison. there's a photojournalist that has been imprisoned for 550 days in a small cell with other prisoners and describes his ordeal as an endless nightmare. while we're happy these two
journalists are finally reunited with their families, there are still other journalists in prison and tens of thousands of political prisoners in egypt as well. >> sharif, thank you for being with us, correspondent in error, fellow at the nation institute that has just returned from a reporting trip in libya. when we come back from break, we speak to the leader of a new party in spain that has garnered massive support hold podemos, we can. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. >> we turn now to europe. on monday, talks between greece and euro zone finance ministers over athens' debt broke down when the newly elected leftist syriza government rejected a deal to request a six-month extension of its international bailout. the syriza party swept to power last month after running on an anti-austerity platform. on january 31, as many as 150,000 people rallied in madrid to show support for the podemos party which translates into "we can." podemos only became an official party last march but a recent poll found 28% of the population supported the party, enough to possibly win spain's next general election. >> last may, podemos surprised many when it received 1.2 million votes and five seats in the european parliament elections. the party grew out of the indignados movement that began occupying squares in spain four
years ago. the indignados rallied against austerity cuts, rising unemployment and spain's political establishment. on monday, i spoke to pablo iglesias, the secretary general of podemos. he is a 36-year-old political science professor and long time activist who was elected to the european parliament last year. if podemos wins spain's national elections later this year he could become spain's next prime minister. he is in new york. i began by asking him to talk about podemos. >> we are the answer to austerity politicizing in our country. i never thought it was possible, political phenomenon in our country, and probably where the result of the disaster of these policies of austerity in spain. and probably, we are expression of the hope now. people in my country are
starting to understand in a democracy when something is going wrong, you can do things well. and probably you are a new opportunity of change in spain and we're very happy to be an instrument of the people are the political change. >> what exactly does austerity mean? >> austerity means [indiscernible] austerity means public schools don't have the means to develop means of activity. it means countries are not struggling anymore. we became a colony of the financial powers and of tyranny. austerity probably means the ends of democracy. i think if we don't have democratic control of the
economy, we don't have democracy. it is impossible to separate democracy and economy in my opinion. >> can you explain what the and did not as movement is? -- indignados. >> it the demonstrations -- it means the end [indiscernible] with this political regime in spain. even if the electoral expression of that new situation was not immediately, i think it was the basis, it was the key element that allowed us finally to get where we are getting now. >> so you have one of the european parliament. what is your strategy going forward? >> the first thing is to make
visible the problems that european citizen of use all the time to give possibility to social groups and [indiscernible] in order to open a discussion. fact, the media attention to the are parliament is great -- european parliament is great. where happy with that. >> podemos as organized citizen assemblies. >> we have circles. there the local, occupational people. we have more than 1000 in spain and overseas come in the united states there is a podemos circle. i will meet them today. tonight, we have a meeting with them, a conference. >> what do these circles do? >> the circles are activists and
the organize campaigns. they have meetings with civil society in their cities and districts. they are the most important instruments to have a relationship with society. >> pablo iglesias, can you explain the political landscape in spain? the socialists, your own party podemos even the other parties and why your party rose up and pulled away support from these other parties? >> probably, we have been able to change the chest party, the chess game. because we don't accept all the distinction between left and right. obviously, i am a leftist, but i think this game that separates the political field between
centerleft and center right, sometimes is something very useful to make the banks win. we say we have a problem. never problem defending democracy. we want social services. we went public education. we want sovereignty. [indiscernible] in the past, if you vote for the right, no problem for us. if you support our ideas the support of political change in spain, if you support democracy you can be with us. in fact, the true message of the movement in our country -- >> may 15? >> may 15. it was, we want democracy and we don't feel represented by the elite. we think there is a big difference between the old
situation and the new situation. and people in spain is starting to understand that the old political elites are not able to improve the situation and to resolve the economic and political problems in my country. >> pablo how did you move from being a movement to a party? how was that decision made? >> for necessity. we understand well that if you need to change the things, you need to local power. we were activists and we used to work and social fields -- in social fields. we know it is very important to occupy the institutional powers in order to change things. it is quite important to be in the parliament. it is quite important to win elections. >> would you describe the socialists and the tp sort of
like the republicans and democrats in the united states? they are the two main parties. how have they responded to the rise of podemos? >> using the same language. it is quite ironic that centerleft in the center right party use the same words in order to attack us. i am sure the voters of the socialist party are people like that. many of our voters came from -- unfortunately, my country, they show they support the same economic policy and that was a disaster in my country. they both develop austerity possibly these -- policies that bring our country to a terrible situation now. >> what is that situation? can you describe unemployment and other issues? >> my country has three big problems. inequality, unemployment, and
debt. the socialist party and the popular party my country, the best way to improve the situation they felt was austerity. after five years, or even more even six years, the situation is worse than before. so we think in democracy if something doesn't work, you can change. and we are saying, we want to organize another way to improve the situation. >> did you take podemos'name from obama's "yes we can" leading into his election? >> the expression "yes, we can coast cocaine from the latinos in the 1970's fighting for their rights -- "yes, we can" from the latis in th1970' fighting for their rights. it is not a creation of obama. >> my colleagues juan gonzalez
just wrote a comment "the new york daily news" about these u.s. firms who are buying housing and spend, raising rents, and evicting tenants. he looked at blackstone group apollo management, which have quietly been buying up tens of thousands of residential properties image read and barcelona at low prices. protesters have gathered outside blackstone group in the last weeks in the united states to protest what finally these companies are doing here, but what they're doing in your country. >> what the country and government is doing, is nothing. that is the reason because we need to win the elections. it is completely unacceptable that these people are getting houses and many spanish families are without a house in a very difficult situation. i think we need a government ready to protect the people against these kind of people. >> can you explain the system in spain that people here would find unusual that you owe
mortgage payments even after you have been evicted from your house? explain this phenomenon, these roles in spain that have actually led to suicide. >> exactly. we don't have enough money to pay the bank, you have to give your house and after that, you have to pay for the interest and you have to pay for your debt. and even if you don't have a house and you have to give a very big part of your salary, if you have a salary, because you have to work, to the bank. there many families in spain it does for situation because they don't have a house, and they have to pay to the banks. and the banks have some responsibility with the crisis not the families. it is completely unacceptable situation. >> what should happen? >> because the government organized legislation for the banks, legislations very good for the banks and bad for the families. >> if you were a prime minister,
what would be the three major first steps you would take? >> the first thing is to finish with the evictions of the families. this is quite easy. using threpeal law, we could stop that in the first week. i think it is very important to organize the debt. it is impossible for government to assume the level of the debt. on fiscal reform, in my country small companies pay taxes in the workers that reach companies and top companies have very little fiscal pressures so it should be very important to make fiscal reform. >> pablo iglesias, you would not only be dealing with domestic policy, but foreign policy. when the prime minister was in office, he supported president bush in invading iraq. but the next prime minister,'s a patel, he pull the troops out.
where do you stand on issues in the middle east, on what should happen with the islamic state isis, isil, and other conflict areas? >> i think we need a new leadership that defends the peace and i think using military to confirm -- sometimes was not useful. in the policy of the u.s. regarding the middle east sometimes brings more problems than solutions. i think we need a european system of defense. i don't like the military sovereignty depending on nato. i think we have to put back the peace. >> the situation of ukraine? >> i think europeans need a good relationship with russia. i don't like the political system in russia. but i think [indiscernible] i think some european powers were supporting a coup d'état in
ukraine, and that is not good. and now europeans are in danger. >> what about the western sahara? it is not as well known in the u.s., but it is certainly an issue in spain. >> i think we have a responsibility with the sahara and we should support termination of western sahara and i think the have a right to have their own country. >> israel-palestine? >> completely disaster. israelis and intertional law the time. i think internation comnity should have some pressure to israel in order to respect international law and go back to the borders before the war. >> podemos as been compared to syriza. how are you different? >> we're different because we just have one year of history and syriza is a very well organized political party. we have different history and
different political context. i think the economic situation in greece is different in respect to spain and the columbia situation, too. we've seen the possibility of change in greece, and we have admired them and we are friends. we collaborate with them. >> do you have any words of advice for president obama, now in his second term? he can't run again. whether he will be a lame-duck president or a legacy president remains to be seen. >> i don't know. i don't know what could i say to president obama. there's something that i like. we both love "the wire." and i like omar. i read that obama likes this character omar. i don't know. >> why do you like "the wire"? >> it is the best tv series in order to explain how the power works, how the power works in
politics, in media, an organization of the work. i think it is a masterpiece. i used to teach political geography and all the time, i would say to my students, you have to see this tv series because it is great in order to understand how the power works. >> do you have anything like that in spain? >> not in that level. i think "the wire" is the best series. >> pablo iglesias, leader of the podemos party, which is leading in at least one poll for the national elections in spain. he's speaking in today in new york at the cuny grad center at 1:00 p.m. we will be posting an interview with pablo iglesias in spanish later this week at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to de (music playing) ♪ hello. i'm hubert
keller, and we're here in the kitchen at fleur in las vegas and obviously you can see in front of me i have some fabulous ingredients: i have some corn pancakes, some prawns, smoked salmon regular salmon, sour cream, caviar. so we all know all those ingredients taste good. but as a trick and as a secret of a chef, it's to make it look good so we're going to build it up in stacks and over here i have the perfect example. you see the same ingredients except we layered it up. so how good looks that? today i will be showing you two great stacks. first i will show you how to put together those corn pancakes with the salmon topped with a dollop of creme fraiche and a nice spoon of caviar. our next stack is a sumptuous combination of avocado, fresh crab meat and tomatoes topped