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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  June 29, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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[captioning made possible by democracy now!] ♪ amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> someone next to us got shot. then a bomb exploded. everybody around us died in that blast. they got up to look through the window to see the shooting. amy: in turkey, a triple suicide bombing and gun attack targeting istanbul's international airport kills 41 people, injuring 239 others. then to the supreme court, meet the attorney who argued the landmark abortion case that struck down a sweeping
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anti-choice law in texas. stephanie toti was 37 years old at the time. it was her first time arguing before the supreme court. aboutse laws are simply stopping women from accessing their constitutionally protected right to abortion. amy: a florida jury has found a former chilean army officer are of thefor the murder activist and folksinger victor days after a u.s. back to -- backed coup. we will speak to his daughter and his widow, joan jara. [indiscernible] , he went out that morning
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and it was the last time i saw him. amy: all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a triple suicide bombing and gun attack targeting turkey's main airport in istanbul has killed 41 people and left 239 others injured. authorities said three attackers arrived at the airport's international terminal and blew themselves up after opening fire. a witness described the attack. >> i was getting my three suitcases wrapped while i heard the blast. police told us to lie down. the wrapping machine steelcase protected us. they were shooting at the police and the police were shooting at them. someone next to us got shot.
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then we saw the bomb in the x-ray explode. everybody around it died in that blast. i got up to look through the window to see the shooting. amy: no group has claimed responsibility, but turkey's prime minister said the initial probe pointed to the self-proclaimed islamic state. we will have more on the attack after headlines. one day after handing down the most significant victory for abortion access in a generation, the u.s. supreme court has dealt another victory for u.s. reproductive rights. the court rejected attempts by mississippi and wisconsin to reinstate state laws requiring abortion doctors to hold admitting privileges at local hospitals. the law and mississippi had threatened to close the states last abortion clinic.
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we will have more on the significance of the decisions with stephanie toti, the attorney who argued the landmark texas abortion case before the supreme court. she will be joining us later. in britain, parliament members with the opposition labor party have passed a no-confidence motion against their leader jeremy corbyn. he has faced a coup within his own party following britain's vote to exit the european union. his supporters say his rivals are using the brexit to pretext -- as a pretext to oust him. the no-confidence vote is not binding, but labor leaders are expected to announce a bid to replace him. republican presidential candidate donald trump touted eutain's vote to leave the as he called for a rejection of free trade deals.
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he likened the transpacific partnership trade deal to rate -- rape. "just a continuing rape of our country," is what he said. mr. trump: i want you to imagine how much better our future can be if we declare independence from the elites who let us from one financial and foreign-policy disaster to another. our friends in britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics, and borders. amy: donald trump attacked democratic rival hillary clinton for her wavering stance on the tpp. critics say the deal will boost corporate power at the expense of health and environmental regulations. the committee drafting the
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democratic party platform voted not to oppose the trade deal. in an op-ed in the "new york times," bernie sanders urged democrats to oppose the tpp as part of a broader progressive agenda to defeat donald trump. invoking the brexit vote, he the notion that donald trump could benefit from the same forces that gave the leave proponents a majority in britain should sound an alarm for the democratic party in the united states," sanders wrote. sanders' warning comes as a new poll finds 71% of respondents believe the economy is "rigged." here in new york, progressive favorite zephyr teachout has won the democratic primary for new york's 19th congressional district. teachout has focused her message on tackling inequality, taking on wall street, and combatting political corruption. she and democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders had endorsed each other in their respective campaigns.
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in 2014, she mounted a grassroots primary campaign to challenge new york governor andrew cuomo, winning more than a third of the vote. senate democrats have blocked a bill providing funding to combat the mosquito borne zika virus, after republicans loaded it with measures to block funding for planned parenthood, take money away from obamacare, rollback parts of the clean water act, and allow the confederate flag to fly at veterans' cemeteries. massachusetts senator elizabeth warren tweeted "i did not think the gop could write one bill to hurt women, vets, obamacare, and clean water all at once, but they did it." today's vote ensures there will be no legislation -- tuesday's vote ensures there is no legislation to address the crisis this month while congress is in recess. meanwhile, house democrats
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continue their protest calling for gun control in the wake of the orlando magic are that killed 49 people at lgbt nightclub. less than a week after lawmakers staged a sit in, six democrats stood and demand and recognition during a procedural session tuesday. newlawmakers, including york congressman eliot engel, shouted as republican congressman andy harris gaveled the session to a close. , the house stands adjourned until 9:00 a.m. on friday, july 1, 2016. amy: democrats have attempted to force a vote on a measure to prevent people on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, a step criticized by civil liberties groups who say the list is biased and sweeps up innocent people. releasedublicans have an 800-page report into the 2012
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attack on the u.s. diplomatic compound in benghazi, libya that killed u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. while the report criticizes the obama administration's actions leading up to the attack, it does not appear to contain any new revelations that could threaten the presidential campaign of hillary clinton. on the campaign trail in denver, colorado, clinton blasted the report as a waste of resources. i understand that after more than two years and $7 million spent by the benghazi ,ommittee out of taxpayer funds the report found today that nothing was found to contradict the conclusions of the independent accountability board prior conclusions of the multiple earlier investigations carried out on a bipartisan basis in the congress.
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while this, unfortunately took on a partisan tinge, i want us to stay focused on what i've always wanted us to stay focused on and that is the important work of diplomacy and development. amy: u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon has criticized the israeli blockade of the gaza strip. suffocates the people. economy andhe --edes the construction there must be accountability. amy: california voters will decide in november whether to legalize recreational marijuana. secretary of state alex padilla said proponents of legalization have submitted more than enough signatures to get the issue on the ballot. if the initiative passes, one in six americans would live in a
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state where selling marijuana is legal. as california reels from scorching heat and deadly wildfires, the city of oakland has taken a step against the fossil fuel industry, a main driver of climate change. on monday, oakland city officials voted unanimously to ban the transport and storage of large shipments of coal, quashing plans for what would have been the largest coal shipment facility on the west coast. the facility in west oakland would have sent coal from the western united states abroad to china and other areas. that oakland said or's know it is a false choice to say we have to pick between jobs and this community's health and safety. we can and we will do both. those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. and i'm juan gonzalez.
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welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the world. amy: before we move on, there is a major vote on puerto rico in the u.s. senate today. juan: yes, there is. looks like will finally vote on what to do on the so-called bill that both the obama administration and republicans in the house passed -- got through the house initially a couple of weeks ago, which would establish a means for puerto rico to restructure its $72 billion in debt, but would also impose a financial control board, what i and other people call a colonial control island of puerto rico. mitch mcconnell moved this week to have a cloture vote, which will occur today because he wants to prevent any amendments on the senate floor from those who might have problems with the current bill.
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he wants to -- he is going to go for a 60-vote cloture vote and proceed to have a vote on the full bill because they are trying to rush to get it through before the july 1 deadline, when puerto rico is sure to default on a huge part of its debt. so, yesterday, senator bob menendez did a filibuster for four hours. he grabbed the senate floor and continued to condemn the bill, to condemn the efforts. reale process, you got a lesson on what is the problem and why people are calling this a colonial control bill. thatnstance, he said contrary to what the obama administration has been saying and what many republicans in congress have been saying, the people of puerto rico are
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completely opposed to this bill. voters areto rican , this verythe bill bill the senate is about to pass. to any outside control board running the affairs of puerto rico. there is huge opposition on the island to the bill and yet the congress is moving forward. there are a lot of liberal democrats that are supporting this bill. some are liberal organizations and have astonishingly come out in favor of the bill and are insisting that this is the only way, as that is the bill is, it is the only way for puerto rico to be able to restructure its debt and to avoid a rush to the courthouse by bondholders. is thatendez made clear there is going to be a rush to the courthouse anyway because of
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the bill passes, the bondholders are going to go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the court -- bill. it is not as though there are not going to be legal challenges , but menendez went on for four hours. bernie sanders participated in a short time on the filibuster, so did maria cantwell. but it seems there are a sufficient number of democrats and republicans who will vote to approve the bill. amy: where did elizabeth warren come down? juan: she has not said anything. she was critical initially of the bill. she has not said anything about this. my sense is that she will vote for it, as well. there is a chance that bernie sanders or menendez could launch another filibuster today and the debate over the cloture vote, the final debate, or the bill itself, but it seems unlikely. it is astonishing to me has so many liberals in this country
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layer -- rail about american aggression abroad are being so silent about this absolute imposition of colonial control over the affairs of puerto rico. , the secretary of the treasury, spent all yesterday basically meeting with democratic senators to treasure .hem to support this bill it is going to be a really dark day for the people of puerto opposedo are completely to the bill, if the senate votes to approve it. amy: we will continue to follow this. juan: we continue our coverage of the most significant victory for abortion rights in a generation. on monday, the supreme court struck down provisions of a sweeping anti-choice law in texas. justice anthony kennedy joined stephen breyer and all three women on the court in rejecting the restrictions as an undue burden on access to abortion. the supreme court ruled against provisions requiring abortion clinics to meet the costly
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standards of hospital-style surgery centers, and mandating that doctors obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. already, about half of texas' more than 40 abortion clinics have closed. if the court had allowed the provisions to go into full effect, advocates warned it would have left texas with about 10 clinics clustered in four metropolitan areas. amy: the impact of monday's landmark ruling is already reverberating throughout the country. on tuesday, justices rejected bids by mississippi and wisconsin to revive restrictions on abortion doctors matching those struck down in texas. meanwhile, alabama's attorney general has announced his state will stop trying to defend its own "admitting privileges" requirement for abortion doctors in wake of the supreme court's ruling. well, for more, we're joined now by stephanie toti, the lead counsel in whole woman's health v. hellerstedt, the supreme court case to protect abortion access. she just won her first-ever case before the supreme court on
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monday. toti is senior counsel at the center for reproductive rights. stephanie toti, welcome to democracy now! you are 37 years old when you argued this case. what was it like to be in the supreme court and your reaction on monday when you heard the decision? stephanie: it was a thrill to be in the supreme court. it was such an incredible opportunity. i'm so grateful for the opportunity and to be able to represent all of the women throughout texas, whose rights and health were going to be at risk if these laws were upheld. monday's decision was incredibly gratifying. it is a historic victory for women, for the right --reproductive rights, and for science. juan: when you were arguing the case, did you have any sense of how the justices might be leaning?
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i know it is always hard to gauge by the questions the justices put forth. was it a surprise for you, the final vote? stephanie: it was not a surprise. we were very hopeful about the chance is of -- chances of victory because the evidence was so strong. they demonstrated that the laws were a sham. there was absolutely no credible evidence to support them. it was great that the justices recognize that and held that we need to have credible evidence before we can restrict somebody's constitutional rights. amy: how did you prepare? how were you chosen? how were you involved to begin with? how did you prepare for this case? stephanie: i have been at the center for reproductive rights for about a decade now. i was lead attorney at the trial, i followed it through to the appeals court.
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i stayed with the case when it went to the supreme court. there was a lot of intense preparation. i've had many arguments in lower federal courts and state courts. amy: in a lot of cases, don't they choose a supreme court expert and handed over to another lawyer? stephanie: yes, that does happen sometimes. the plaintiffs in this case felt strongly that they would like me to represent them in court and i think it was meaningful to a lot ageeople to have a woman of there at the court arguing this case. the public support i've gotten has been really amazing and very surprising to me, but it has been very nice. juan: what about the impact in just a couple of days in other states in terms of the impact of the decision? stephanie: already, three more laws have fallen. courtcause the supreme
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declined to take those cases. one because the alabama attorney general decided no longer to defend alabama's law, recognizing it is unconstitutional. those are great development and we are very hopeful that in the coming days and weeks the other laws will start to fall like dominoes, all of the copycat laws around the country -- and there are many of them. amy: i want to read from justice stephen breyer's opinion for the majority. "abortions taking place in an abortion facility are safe -- indeed, safer than numerous procedures that take place outside hospitals and to which texas does not apply its surgical-center requirements. nationwide, childbirth is 14 times more likely than abortion to result in death, but texas law allows a midwife to oversee childbirth in the patient's own home."
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breyer also noted a colonoscopy -- a procedure that typically takes place outside a hospital setting -- has a mortality rate 10 times higher than an abortion. and, the mortality rate for liposuction, another outpatient procedure, is 28 times higher than the mortality rate for abortion. ce, talk about the significan of the decision and these two particular regulations that they struck down, the surgery-style center you have to have and having admitting privileges at the local hospital. stephanie: what is so galling about these laws is that they are a sham, they are not designed to promote women's health. those statistics demonstrate that abortion is among the safest procedures that a patient can have in an outpatient setting.
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if the state of texas really believed that either one of these requirements was deci-seri -- necessary or beneficial for patient health, it would have applied across the board to all procedures you would have in an outpatient setting, including those procedures that are far more complex and risky than abortion. this was just an effort to target abortion for special regulation to make it impossible for her -- women to access the procedure. that has a real harm. women all across the state were being delayed in their ability to access abortion because of partial implementation of the law. about half the clinics in texas at closed. we went from more than 40 clinics before the law took effect to 19 that were operating on monday. as a result, in some parts of the state, women were having to wait 2-3 weeks to get an initial appointment at an abortion
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clinic and that is a really long time to have to wait for such time sensitive health care. amy: this is not like same-sex marriage, where the supreme court makes a ruling and it is law across the land. stephanie: the court's ruling is certainly the law across the land. forward, all abortion restrictions will have to be judged by an evidence-taste standard. standard.e-based if the burdens are not justified by significant benefits, the law will be held unconstitutional. but it has got to be a case-by-case determination. it is not that i'll admitting privileges laws or surgery center laws across the country are automatically invalid. the decision creates a presumption that they are unconstitutional, but we still need to go into court state to state and get the laws struck down. juan: those opposed to a woman's right to choose are not going to
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stand down. they are going to continue to pursue their cause. where do you see the next battles? stephanie: that's absolutely right. the struggle is going to continue. there has been a relentless years it has created onslaught -- obstacles all over the country. what monday's decision does is it sends a strong statement that women have a constitutional right to make decisions about their health and their pregnancies and that they should be able to effect those decisions with respect and should not have to face unnecessary obstacles. the can you talk about sexism you faced that you have taught about in this case in
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dealing with opposition council, etc.? you had a cocounsel on this case? stephanie: yes. there are a great team of lawyers working on this case, including partners from morrison and forrester. alex lawrence was my second chair. i hadou told "glamour," an amazing cocounsel, but because he is a slightly older male, our adversaries would know -- always presume he was the decision-maker. whenever we needed to negotiate something, he would always go to him and he would refer the question back to me. stephanie: that is absolutely right and that is a constant battle as a woman in the legal profession and as someone who has spent a lot of her career in the nonprofit sector your, it is constantly -- folks are not used to seeing people with that profile in a position of our and
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i think that is why it is really great that a did have the opportunity to argue the case because it sends a message to that women and young women these opportunities are available to them. amy: the moment you heard the decision on monday, where were you standing -- i'm sure you will remember it forever -- and what were you waiting for and ont did you hear? stephanie: monday, i was gathered in the conference room at my office with a number of my colleagues watching scotus blog. when we got word of the decision , there was so much joy, so much elation, just knowing what is at stake in this case. the health and rights of so many millions of women. it was a tremendous thrill to get the decision. immediately, we wanted to read it carefully.
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there is more than a hundred pages of opinion. we went into another room where it was quiet and got to work digesting the decision. amy: congratulations, stephanie toti, lead counsel in whole women's health. the case that will go down in history. her firsttoti won ever case before the supreme court. senior counsel at center for reproductive rights. when we come back, a major case in florida. ara, theing of victor jst killer brought to justice. we will speak with the great singers widow and daughter. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "i remember you, amanda" i
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victor jara. democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. with juan gonzalez. juan: in florida, a jury has found former chilean army officer pedro barrientos liable for the murder of legendary folk singer and activist víctor jara in september 1973. in the days after dictator augusto pinochet seized power in a u.s.-backed coup, victor jara was rounded up, tortured, and shot more than 40 times. in 2013, on the 40th anniversary of victor jara's murder, his wife and daughters filed a civil lawsuit in u.s. court against the former military officer pedro barrientos, who has lived in the united states for more than two decades and is now a u.s. citizen. the jaras sued him under a federal civil statue known as the torture victims protection act, which allows u.s. courts to hear about human rights abuses committed abroad. chilean prosecutors have indicted barrientos and another officer with jara's murder, and chile is seeking his extradition so he can be tried on criminal murder charges.
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amy: well, in a landmark legal victory on monday, an orlando court ruled that barrientos is liable for the killing of victor jara and awarded the jara family $28 million in damages. "the guardian" newspaper called the verdict "one of the biggest and most significant legal human rights victories against a foreign war criminal in a u.s. courtroom." in a moment, we will be joined i victor jara's widow, joan jara, . first, i want to turn to our 2013 interview with joan jara talking about the day he disappeared. we were both at home with their daughters. we were fearing there might be a military coup. , victor and i listened to a speech.
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the radios were falling off the air one by one and replaced with military marches. victor was to sing and he went out that morning and that was the last time i saw him. i stayed at home. i heard of the bombing of the palace. helicopters,aw the machine guns firing over the residence. then we begin the long wait for victor to come back home. amy: and how long did you wait?
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joan: i waited a week. not knowing really what had happened to him. from him frome somebody who had been in the stadium with him. was not sure what was really happening to him. my fears were confirmed on , when a young man and said, iouse need to talk to you, i'm a friend, i've been working in the city morgue. i'm afraid to tell you that victor's body has been recognized because his was a well-known face. he said, you must come with me and claim his body, otherwise, they will put him in a common grave and he will disappear. then, i accompanied this young
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man to the city morgue, we entered by a side entrance, i saw the hundreds of bodies -- literally hundreds of bodies -- in what wasled up actually the parking place of the morgue. and i had to look for victor's body among a long line in the offices of the city morgue. i recognized him, i saw what had happened to him. i saw the bullet holes, i saw the state of his body, i consider myself one of the lucky tos, in a sense that i had face at that moment what had happened to pick your and i could give my testimony with all the force of what i felt in that moment and not that whole road, of never knowing what happens to your loved one.
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that happened to so many families, so many women who have spent these 40 years looking for their loved ones who were made to disappear. speaking is joan jara in 2013 on democracy now! she joins us live from orlando florida, along with victor jara 's daughter. in san francisco, we are joined , from the lawne firm that read resented -- represented the jara family. your reaction to the court decision. joan: it was almost incredulous. if you could respond to the decision in the court on monday. , it was with happiness .
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incredulity -- all of these years, we are gradually losing more and more hope of justice for victor. it was wonderful here in the united states of america, in court, to find this unanimous verdict. manuela, your reaction after so many years of finding some measure of recognition and justice for what happened to your father. says, for us,an eighs still difficult to w how this is going to affect our lives in the future.
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a sense ofed with impunity and pain in relation to not knowing the truth of what and so weith victor are still -- we are happy, but calm. there is a lot to do still in relation to justice for victor and for other victims at the stadium. we received it, we are very grateful, really. , how did youa whon that it was barrientos was responsible for your husband's murder right in the of septembercoup 11, 1973?
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yes, it has been only gradually. , i learned trial many things about what happened in the stadium. that is wonderful progress for lay -- chile. a number of people will be able to find a certain amount of justice for the loved ones who were killed. i must say that during the trial, there was so much evident against him, so much evidence and so much lying on the part of the people defending him -- incredible, just easily proved
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lies, which were quickly and overcome by her lawyer, our wonderful lawyers. manuela: we've known about him for years now. seven years, i should say. he has been denying having been saying he has, presentede evidence in this trial and also all the previous investigations that havebeen going on in chile put them in the stadium with a command responsibility in the stadium. this has been confirmed.
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no officers who have command responsibility in a situation , thathat during that week specific week just after the say they did, can -- know anything and that they have been constantly denying everything. also, he has been denying having been there this week. juan: we also joined by the justice, director for who tried the case against pedro barrientos. could you tell us who he was and what was his role and what were you able to establish in the trial? dixon: yes, and good morning. barrientos was a former
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lieutenant under pinochet. what we were able to show in the court was in direct contradiction to what he claimed , which was that he did not know victor jara and had never been in the stadium. one conscript testified tosllingly that barrien brags many times that he was the one who shot and killed victor jara. we had other conscripts who identified him as being in chile stadium and having command responsibility there, performing a wide variety of duties there. we had civilians, we had a former student from the university where victor taught who identified that victor was at theed, beaten badly university when the military laid siege to it. we had another witness who
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identified victor's body tossed outside of the stadium. through and through, we presented witnesses and evidence of what transpired in the days coup and the pinochet what happened to victor jara. amy: in 2012, i got a chance to visit spain and got a chance to interview the forensic specialist who exhumed and examined the bodies of the former president and of victor jara. i asked him to tell us what he discovered about victor jara's murder. >> what happened in the case of victor jara is that he was at a university in santiago. he was arrested and witnesses confirmed that. families believe he was brought into the locker room.
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he was a popular person, the military knew who he was. he ended up with a singular bullet hole through the back of his head and 50 broken bones in his body caused by machine gun fire. after he died, they fired many shots at him and then tracked the body out into the streets where people would find it and think it had been a gunfight between the authorities and others. what happened to him is similar to what happened to others in the same period of time. at thes very common early stages of the dictatorship . later, due to their international political reputation, the disappeared were still being killed, but the bodies were headed in mass graves, throwing them into the sea, and other places. amy: that was the forensic specialist to exhumed the bodies of wealth the president who died
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in the palace and victor jara. talk osborne, can you about how significant this case is in florida and what will happen to barrientos? dixon: it is a very significant case. it is the first time the family has had their day in court. the court was able to find somebody responsible for the torture and murder of victor jara. i think it is significant for victims and survivors who are continuing to look for justice for what happened under the pinochet coup. what happens next four barrientos, this was a civil lawsuit, not a criminal lawsuit. the jury found he was liable.
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to enforce will be the judgment to the step we can. juan: what about the criminal case in chile? why has the u.s. government not extradited him? dixon: that is a good question for the u.s. government. we urged the u.s. government to move forward. chile has indicted him. the u.s. has moved forward on other extradition requests. we hope they will take this one seriously and move forward. , what is your next plan as you head back to chile? joan: the plan is to seek justice for all the victims. trial has revealed in a been hiddenwhat has
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for years. there has been a veil over what happened in the stadium. this our job to force to get together with other victims to continue the search for justice. to know from moment to moment what happened in the stadium. howas been extraordinary this has been hidden for so long. and men while a la, thank you so much for joining us from orlando onre the decision was held monday, responsibility for the death of your husband, your father, victor jara. dixon osborne, thank you so much for joining us. when we come back, who got rich
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off student debt crisis? we will be speaking with the legendary reporter jim steele. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: joan jara -- victor jara singing "the right to live in
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peace." democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. with juan gonzalez. juan: we end today's show with a look at student debt. people now 01 $.3 trillion in student debt. a new investigative report published by the center for investigative research peels back the layers on the trillion-dollar student loan industry. the article, titled "who got rich off the student debt crisis," follows what happened after the federal government relinquished direct control of the student loan program and opened it up to banks and profit-making corporations. amy: one of the article's authors, veteran investigative reporter and pulitzer-prize-winning journalist jim steele, joins me now. lay out what you found. jim: what we found was that if you go back to lyndon johnson, the whole idea of the student loan program was to provide a way for people who were poor, minorities and so forth, to give them my way to go to college, to provide them loans and it was thenistered largely by
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federal government. by the late 1990's, through the privatization of sallie mae and the signal that sent, they turned over this extremely important function to largely private industry. it, but alsoing the servicing of the loans and, more only, those that collected the link went loans. the complaints you hear over and over from former student is the , the kind of pressure they are put under, the whole money, not tolect figure out a way for them to pay loans that they have taken out. juan: by the late 1990's, you are talking this was when bill clinton was president and the gingrich congress. jim: bill clinton had a good idea to turn the program over to the federal government to issue the loans. but when the gingrich revolution came in in 1994, they reversed
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and they technically saved clinton's program, but they did it in such a way with the privatization that they said, this is where we wanted to go, we don't want government involved anymore than it has to be. the whole message was clear that private industry should take this over, the federal government should not. that was the impetus back in the late 1990's. amy: can you explain more who our lord was? lord -- sally may was a public-private partnership. it was overseen fairly significantly by the federal government for many years. after the privatization of lord became ceo and he ticket to a different level. they bought servicing companies, companies that collected delinquent loans. they began issuing private loans and federal loans.
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they became a colossus of the student loan industry. students thought it was still part of the federal government, but it was not. billions of dollars in profits over the years, they did very well. he made so much money -- this is the thing that astonished us -- this is the thing that astonished us. his ownble to build private golf course. he made so much money, he was able to build his own private golf course in southern maryland. that is the kind of money he made. loans,he rise of private the loan industry, coincided with the rise of more for-profit colleges, as well. there were all of these institutions that were basically being fueled by loans. jim: absolutely. the whole message was we want
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private industry involved in the process. sure enough, private equity companies began buying up -- and we know how much of that work out. amy: i want to bring in someone you wrote about, solemnly -- saul newton. he dropped out of the university maryland stevens point and joined the army to qualify. you were making online payments for your student loans from a aniston? -- from afghanistan? >> that's correct. thank you so much for having me on. while i was deployed to 2011, itan in 2010 and also had to make sure i was making my month lease student loan payment to protect my financial future.
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can you talk about how much student loan -- debt you amassed? >> yes. college in 2007. i'd always wanted to go to college, but i knew that financially it would he a hardship that be a hardship. i chose to go to a state university that was local. over the course of two years, my yearly tuition bill rose $1600. while i was going to school, i was working multiple jobs trying to make ends meet, but i was drowning. in 2009, i decided to drop out of college, joined the army, so that i could qualify for the g.i. bill. by that point, i had just over $10,000 in student loan debt.
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i enlisted in the army. about six months after i enlisted, i was to lloyd -- deployed to afghanistan. i called my student loan servicer and i said, i'm serving on active duty in the military and i'm about to deploy. is there anything available to me? they told me, no. i accepted that and make sure that every month after i went out on a patrol or after i got done with work for that day, i made my way over to a small wooden shack with a satellite connection to get onto the internet and pay my student loan bill. can you talk about what the average debt is that american students are coming out of college with? and this whole issue that the loan companies will let you not
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pay off the principle because you are constantly accumulating more interest that you owe. if you wait for-five years, the debt grows. jim: that is the heart of this. aroundrage debt is $30,000. all of the data is not really all the data. it is probably a little higher. graduate debt is much higher than that. if you put your loan in forbearance, you've lost your job, you are sick come you can't make it payment, the interest begins to accumulate. students whomany had $50,000 in debt and they now own $90,000 and $100,000. paid $50,000have because of the interest. interest is such a crucial factor. it is the great growth industry of the whole debt collection
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field. amy: what needs to be done to reform the industry? a principal thing has to be more oversight by the department of education. they have fallen down on the job. there is a pilot program to bring something back to the government. profit-making works great in many fields, but it is not working well in this field. that is one of the principal things that the department of education has consistently all them down in overseeing its duties. all caps of complaints about in -- all kinds of complaints about improper representation. their own inspector general came back and said, you have done a horrible job. you are not performing your proper mission. .hat is a key thing
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probably getting the companies out of that field, turning a lot of this back over to the government. that is anathema in america, but that is probably the solution. amy: have you pay off your debts? >> i'm very close to paying off the student loans i accumulated. i have about $1000 left in visible -- principal to pay off every of amy: we will continue this discussion and we will post it online. thanks for joining us. saul newton, dropped out of school because of rising debt, joined the army, and paid his student debt online from afghanistan. jim, we will link to your amazing piece. is titled article "who got rich off the student debt crisis?" i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. thanks so much for joining us. thanks so much for joining us. ellie's
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