tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 3, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
06/03/14 06/03/14 democracy now! democracy now! [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> the united states has always a pretty sacred rule, and that is we don't leave our men or women in uniform behind. >> president obama defends his approval to swap sergeant bowe bergdahl, an american pow, for
five taliban commanders held at guantánamo. we will speak with colonel morris davis and sean smith. he spent time with bergdahl in afghanistan and recently produced a video focused on his father bob bergdahl in idaho. >> i don't think anybody can relate to the prisoners at guantánamo more, i don't think, then our family -- and our family because it is the same thing. , andn is a prisoner of war and end with reconciliation negotiations with the enemy. and prisoners of war should be part of that dialogue. and i insist that it will be. >> then, in a major press
freedom case, the supreme court has denied the appeal of new york times reporter james risen who faces a possible prison term for refusing to reveal a confidential source. all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has called on congress to support a $1 billion plan to ramp up u.s. military presence across europe amidst tensions between russia and ukraine. obama made the announcement in warsaw, poland on the first leg of a four-day europe trip. shortly after his arrival in warsaw, obama said the u.s. has already boosted ground troops and f-16 aircraft in poland. >> i'm starting the visit here because our commitment to poland security as well as the security of our allies in central and eastern europe is a cornerstone of our own security and it is
sacrosanct. and during my visit here three years ago, i said the united states would increase our commitment to poland security. the united states honors our commitment. what you see in the aviation attachment at the airbase, it is a commitment that is particularly important at this moment in time. >> obamas visit comes as ukrainian forces have launched an offensive to retake the k fromn city of slavyans pro-russian rebels. the offensive follows deadly fighting on monday. at least 50 people were killed in attacks across iraq on monday , a day after the united nations said last month was the deadliest so far this year. about 800 iraqis died in may, most were civilians. april was the second deadliest with 750 killed. the news comes as new research finds u.s. soldiers may have been sickened by breathing in heavy metals at a base in
baghdad. "usa today" told six u.s. veterans who complained of shortness of breath were found to have titanium in their lungs which matched dust samples from camp victory. china has announced plans to limit its total carbon emissions for the first time. just one day after the obama administration unveiled its plan to limit permit does carbon output from coal-fired power plants, reuters says it was made by chinese official at a conference in beijing. china's the world's top emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, although the u.s. still has higher emissions per capita. syria is holding elections today with president bashar al-assad widely expected to win a near total victory despite the three-year battle to oust him. syria's opposition and its western allies have denounced the election as a sham. the conflict in syria has killed more than 150,000 people and displaced nine .5 million. about 40% of the prewar population.
in spain, king juan carlos i has announced he will abdicate the throne to his son prince felipe a. the king was selected by dictator franco and crowned after franco's death in 1970 five. he suffered a recent dip in popularity. his daughter and son-in-law are under investigation for corruption. in 2012, he took a costly elephant hunting trip to botswana amid massive unemployment. the trip was kept secret until the king broke his hip there. across spain and around the world monday, tens of thousands called for a referendum on whether to keep the monarchy. protests took place in more than 60 spanish towns and cities, including the capital madrid. -- in my working opinion, an insult to society. on the other hand, anyone who wants to govern or carry the country's baton should stand for elections. the vote is sovereign and so are the people. >> this is the time. we can't wait any longer because
it is the moment to reflect on the system. this is when it could change. that they at least give the option for the people to elect what they want. what they want for their government and the future. >> abbas has sworn in a new unity government, bringing together the factions of fatah and hamas after years of division. i said the obama administration plans to recognize the new government. quick to this point it appears president abbas has formed an government that does not include affiliated with hamas. we will be judging it by its actions. based on what we know now, we intend to work with us government, but will be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles the president abbas reiterated today. >> israel said it was deeply disappointed by the u.s. position would seek to block hamas from participating in upcoming elections. the u.s. supreme court has denied the appeal of a "new york
times" reporter who faces a possible prison term for refusing to reveal a confidential source. james rice had asked the court to overturn a ruling or singing to testify in the criminal trial of x cia analyst geoff lees -- jeffrey sterling. prosecutors say sterling gave risen information on the cia's role in disrupting iran's bigger program. more later in the broadcast. in georgia, a toddler is fighting for his life after a swat team threw a flash bang grenade into his playpen while he was sleeping. authorities raided the home in the early hours of the morning last week, searching for an alleged drug dealer who was not there at the time. the grenade hit the 19-month-old , who is now in a medically induced coma. he has reportedly lost the use of a lung, suffered burns to his face, and set to undergo more surgery. have are showing county sheriff told wsb-tv a confidential informant had purchased drugs at
the home. >> there was no indication there were children. there were no close or toys or anything too incapable children risen and the home. if there had been, we would've done something different. part of our policy is if there are children involved will we survey search warrant, we do not use the flash bang, of course. that is a no-brainer. the toddler's mother say her were children's shoes in the house and a van parked out front with car seats visible inside. the toddler's family was staying with relatives at the house after their own home burned down. the seattle city council has unanimously passed an ordinance to phase in a $15 an hour minimum wage. .hat highest for major city the pending on their size, seattle businesses will have between three and seven years to implement the rise. socialist city council member kshama sawant, who is elected on a platform of a $15 hour minimum wage, spoke before monday's vote. this will continue well after
this vote today. they may submit legal challenges, they may challenge is that the ballot, they may wait for their moment to make the temporary death penalty permanent, but today's message is clear. workers, as a as labor movement with the socialist strategy, we can tackle income inequality and social injustice. 15 in seattle is just a beginning. we have an entire world to win solidarity. >> the seattle city council vote came as a new report found across the country, women were king in the retail industry make an average of four dollars less than men. researchers say millions of female salespeople earn an average of $10.58 an hour compared to $14.62 an hour for their male counterparts. retail salesperson is the most common job in the united states.
a new study found hurricanes with female names are deadlier than hurricanes with male names. because people don't take a mysteriously. published in the proceedings for the national academy of sciences, the study concludes people don't prepare as well for female named storms -- and academy award-winning director oliver stone has announced plans to make a film about nsa whistleblower edward snowden. stone, whose past films include "platoon" and "born on the fourth of july," will-based it does will base it on the snowden files. sony pictures has acquired the rights to make a film based on journalist been greenwald's book about snowden, "no place to hide" which will be produced by the makers of the james bond films. 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. today we spend much of the hour on the incredible story of bowe bergdahl, the last known american prisoner of war in afghanistan, just freed in a prisoner swap with the taliban. he was held captive since june 2000 nine after he apparel he walked off his base. he reportedly left a note saying he had become disillusioned with the army and did not support the u.s. mission in afghanistan, and was leaving to start a new life. in an e-mail to his parents two days before he disappeared, bergdahl said he was ashamed to be an american. oh bergdahl was freed this weekend after five years of captivity. the deal brokered by qatar, was agreed to release five taliban leaders from guantánamo bay. bergdahl is now being treated at an american military hospital in germany and will return to the u.s. a later date. >> the deal has been controversial. some of his former soldiers say he should face a court-martial for desertion. meanwhile, republican lawmakers
are accusing president obama of failing to properly give congress advanced warning of the guantánamo prisoner transfers. obama addressed the controversy earlier today to news conference in poland. >> with respect to the circumstances of sergeant bergdahl's capture by the notban, we obviously have been interrogating sergeant bergdahl. he is recovering from five years of captivity with the taliban. he is having to undergo hold battery -- a hold battery of tests and will have to undergo a significant transition back into life. he is not even met with his family yet. this is something we have learned from the vietnam era. let me make a very simple point ofe, and that is, regardless
the circumstances, whatever the circumstances may turn out to be, we still get and immigrant soldier back who was held in captivity. period. full stop. we don't condition that. tohis parents spoke reporters in boise, idaho. >> i'm so looking forward to seeing her face after these last 5.5 years, long, long years, and giving a great big bear hug and holding you in my arms again, never wanting to let you go. family, is your strong in faith and hope. you are from a strong tribe. you are even stronger now. five years is a seemingly in dless longime -- en time, but you've made it. i imagine are more passionate and patient than ever. i will see you soon, my beloved
son. i love you, bowe. [applause] >> we are talking like this because we haven't talked to bowe yet. we haven't called him on the phone. although, you'll know we have the capability to do that with satellite technology. there's a reason for that, and that is because bowe has been gone so long, that it is going to be very difficult to come back. it's like a diver going deep on a dive and has two-stage backup to recruit pressure and to get the nitrogen bubbles out of the system. if he comes up too fast, it could kill him. .e're pretty resilient is resilient. he has passed through all the checkpoints with flying colors. bowe, let me say to you, let me start over again now that i've explained the context of this. bowe, i love you.
i'm your father. i have written to you over and over. [speaks arabic] can you speak english still, i would write him. but now i hope that when you hear this and when you're ready to hear this and when you see this, i hope your english is coming back. i want you to know i love you. i'm proud of you. i'm so proud of your care your. i'm so proud of your patients and your perseverance. i'm so proud of your cultural abilities to adapt, your language skills. tor desire and your action serve this country in a very difficult, long war. proud ofof all, i'm
how much you wanted to help the afghan people and what you're willing to do to go to that link . i'll say it again, i'm so proud of how far you are willing to go to help the afghans. and i think you have succeeded. >> that is bowe's parents lot and jani bergdahl speaking sunday in boise, idaho. bob bergdahl was also addressing his son inpashta. in the lead up to their son's release, bob bergdahl talked to sean smith. smith worst met bowe while embedded with his unit in afghanistan in 2009. he will join us later in the program from london. first, we want to turn to the video that he made when he followed bob bergdahl around the
idaho countryside where the family lives. >> i don't work for the military or the government. i don't represent the american people. i am a father who wants his son back. my name is bob bergdahl. i'm the father of sergeant bowe bergdahl. i am 54 years old. for ups for 28 years. i am retired. i wake up each morning and my first thought is my son is still a prisoner of war in afghanistan. and i need to do something about that.
bowe played through here when he was growing up as a kid. he and his friends were all over these trees. at night we come up here and reminisce. i guess it makes me feel good. .t gives me something to do it is a nice place to take a break when you're cutting wood. we had this camp set up before the winter came, but now there's a couple feet of snow out there so it is a pretty close -- cozy place to be. this is what we used to do and still do. grew up.is how bowe we set this up for him, hoping ,e would get home this winter maybe if you needed a place to place tof he needed a stay and kind of recover.
he was not there for national security. he was not there because he lost a personal friend on 9/11. he was there because the way he haveaised forced him to compassion. i know bowe's bowe's motivation was to help these people. that is how the war shaped in the minds of a lot of americans, that we are there is some kind , andace corps with guns that is just an impossible mission. it is a mission we are not very good at, i don't believe. i think the last decade proves that.
>> the time has come for america to hear the truth about this tragic war, and international truth -- >> the reason i go back to 1967 and this sermon by martin luther king about why he is opposed to hisvietnam war is to gain inspired wisdom, in my opinion, and then work forward again through time and through history waziristan,son is, and try to make sense of that. there's something strangely inconsistent about a nation on oppressed that will crazy when you say nonviolent john carter
but a person willdamn you when you say be nonviolent a little brown men these children. there something wrong with that. teach sorry, how can we two generations at least of children in this country that we have zero tolerance for violence but we can occupy two countries in asia for almost a decade. it is schizophrenic. no wonder this younger generation is struggling. it is struggling psychologically with the duplicity of this car the use of violence. the purpose of this war is to destroy things. you can't use it to govern. the first thing i do is feed the cat, who is usually asking to be
fed. and then i start a fire and warm this place up. i'm trying to in a little pashtun, write and read the language. i have probably spent four hours a day reading on the region, on .he history i'm working to get bowe home and some days i wake up and i'm so angry at some policy that's happened that i have to research that. then it all comes together. it is all related somehow. economics is related to foreign policy. domestic politics is related to our foreign policy.
foreign policy is related to afghanistan. on and on we go. has been an education, i will tell you that. we of sergeant bowe bergdahl at the center of negotiations now going on between our government and the taliban. what they want in return is to release the five detainees from guantanamo bay. we have heard a lot of u.s. lawmakers, despite this is an american life, this -- say it is not worth releasing these men because they're dangerous. what is your take? 's father bob has stuck by his son all these years. the group they're referring to is done on the do not be prosecuted list. it seems like a win-win. if we can get guantanamo closed in sergeant bergdahl home where he belongs.
>> the chief prosecutor for the military guantanamo bay is saying the five afghans should be traded for bowe bergdahl. the chief prosecutor. i don't think anybody can relate to the prisoners at guantánamo more, i don't think, then our family because it is the same thing. war wars a prisoner of end with reconciliation and negotiations with the enemy and prisoners of war should be part of that dialogue. and i insist. i insist that it will be.
the supreme court justice center , has an for the trials absolutely fantastic statement of what american justice stood for at the end of world war ii. how can we have such a high fordard of judicial process horrible war criminals from and without a doubt people are guilty of crimes against goanity, and yet now we can for 10 years, 11 years without process?ng judicial it's just wrong. bowe had judicial process.
he was found guilty of war crimes. very quickly, very early on he was given his fate. he wasn't given a sentence, but he was given his judicial determination. there something humane about that. something inhumane about keeping somebody in limbo for 10 years. yes, it makes me angry. is mostkful that bowe likely in the house somewhere, because at least it's not chain-link and cement and barbed wire. i hope that is the way it is. every day it just doesn't go away. it carries this empty, unsatisfied, empty place in your
heart every day for four and a half years. family.orn as a i can read that in his letters. i can see that he was torn as well. but he was in the midst of other way, as all these young men and women are. ofhink this is the darkening .he american soul it is where the guilt comes from , because you are being told you are helping, but you know on the inside that you are not. >> that exclusive video featuring bob bergdahl, the father of bowe bergdahl was
produced by "the guardian." when we come back, we will be joined by sean smith, the reporter who interviewed bob bergdahl and i hope and met bowe when embedding with his unit in afghanistan. we will also meet with colonel morris davis, former chief prosecutor at guantánamo bay. back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
bergdahl joined the army in 2008 after he first tried to enlist with the french foreign legion but was turned down. he was deployed to afghanistan just after president obama ordered the first troop surge in the spring of two thousand nine. >> in june 2009, bowe bergdahl reportedly walked off his base in afghanistan. he said to elect left a nosing you become disillusioned with the army, did not support the was mission in afghanistan, and was leaving to start a new life. within 24 hours, he was captured. for more we go now to london where we are joined by sean smith, the award-winning photographer and filmmaker for "the guardian." he met bowe bergdahl in afghanistan in 2009 when he was embedded with his unit, and later went to idaho to meet his father bob. who he profiled in the video we just broadcast. and washington, d.c. we're joined by colonel morris davis, retired air force colonel, resigned as a former chief military prosecutor at guantánamo in 2007. sean smith, tell us about meeting bowe bergdahl in
afghanistan. where did you see him? .> i met him briefly he was with a group who were on an observation post, which was basically a hole in the ground at the top of the hill. time. a short they were in pretty good spirits , all of them. they were kind of on their own. i think there were a couple of the other soldiers early one morning on camera who questioned the mission -- the whole mentioned, i guess, in afghanistan, and what they were doing. i think the phrase was, these people had been dicked around by the russians for 17 years and now we are doing it.
and i think these people just want to be left alone. i think that is roughly what was said. i did not hear that from bowe at all. i don't know exactly what happened. i don't think anyone knows that for sure now. i know when i heard about his place wasven the unclear. happenedt know -- it about 10 days after i was with him. know, there seems to have been quite a bit of speculation about what happened and him. i just don't think -- you know, it's not all that clear and i would not want to speculate and join that speculation. >> that is very interesting you talk about the other members of his unit apparently having the same feelings that he would
express, even though he did not express them to you. out a video in 2009 with the guys saying that. three months in afghanistan. i was hoping i was going to spend a couple of weeks with bowe and these guys. i got pulled back and went to andher area with the 501st then went on to join the brits with another operation. yeah, i mean, we did not know the circumstances. i found out sometime later. but as i say, the video we ran at the time was two guys in the same dugout, hole in the ground, who started the early morning watching the back of the construction site, and that is
what they said. , youthink at that time know, naturally enough, quite a number of people serving in the military in afghanistan were voicing questions about what they were doing their, you know, or what they were told were doing their and what they actually thought they were doing their. you know, on a political level. they were to decide -- criticizing the chain of command, they were questioning the war and the concept of it and etc., it was a very unusual. have a similar thing with a couple of the brits, which was quite unusual. the number of american soldiers expressed queries and questions. >> sean smith, bowe bergdahl
reportedly sent e-mails to his parents that suggested he had grown disillusioned with the afghanistan war according to "rolling stone magazine." he sent a final e-mail to his parents on june 27. that was three days before he was captured and wrote -- in that e-mail, he also referred to seeing an afghan child run over by u.s. military vehicle. was it your impression that some reports have suggested that he was more interested in spending time for the afghans that he was around then the soldiers he was deployed with? >> as i said, the time i was
with him, they were a tight little group. the other end of the hill had said, there are these guys on the hill that are happy being up there and don't want to be rotated down, even though the conditions were pretty basic. you know, they seem to be getting on very well. was beingan military told to engage with the afghans and try and learn a little yeah, havery and, some understanding of the culture. that wasn't unusual. those people came up to speak to them.
you know, they were polite and spoke to them. they went and had something to you with the afghan soldiers who away, oneot that far evening, which they're not really supposed to do. none of this seems -- in terms of the e-mail, i've not seen the e-mails. i don't know about it. in terms of questioning things, you know, there is a military who 100% we're doing completely the right thing, and also a lot who were saying, you know, i'm not sure, i think this is the military is being put in a difficult, impossible position. you know, it is not doable. it is muddled and unclear.
>> now let's talk about bob bergdahl. i want to go back to particular clip in the video that we just played that is on "the guardian" website when he compares his son's detention, bowe's detention to that of guantánamo bay prisoners. >> i don't think anybody can relate to the prisoners of guantánamo more i don't think, it isur family because the same thing. .y son is a prisoner of war reconciliation and negotiations with the enemy, and prisoners of war should be part of that dialogue. and i insist. i insist it will be. >> that is bob bergdahl when
you're filming him in idaho. on may 28, bob bergdahl posted a message on twitter saying -- "i'm still working to free all guantánamo prisoners. not will repay for the death of every afghan child." the tweet was subsequently deleted. but tell us about all bergdahl back in idaho. as a family, very thoughtful family, i think they were respected in the community. i think there are a family with patriotismduty and and doing the right thing. i don't think he chose -- he found himself in the situation after his son joined up where,
you know, first of all, thought he needed to find out more about the war. after his son became a prisoner, i think the families when dealing with it was to try and find out even more. to try and find about the people who were holding his son captive . i think his attitude was that that, i guess, -- was guess, the country had gone quite away from some of the that were being talked about at the end of the second world war, the nuremberg trials. here we are marking seven-year
-- 70th year anniversary of know, thech was, you trials were after that, which were the rule of law for, you know, not just you take people and try them and if they're found guilty, they're put in , you know, but certain procedures should be upheld. position would be that, if anything, things were being done in an un-american way . i hope i'm not -- i don't speak for bowe or anyone, but that seemed to me to be what he was saying. >> i want to turn to colonel morris davis and davis, retired
air force colonel, former chief military prosecutor at guantánamo. i believe there are 78 prisoners to like guantanamo who have been cleared for release. does it deal with the taliban showcasing the greater ability by president obama to frequent dynamo and carry out his promise to close the prison? >> it does. we have heard for the last several years, the pro-obama group has said he wanted to close guantánamo, but congress blocked them from doing it. i think what he did this past weekend shows when he is determined to act, he can act. in a five left guantanamo. i know some in congress are upset about it, but he is the commander-in-chief. during the bush and administration, jay bybee wrote a memo for bush that said, anything hours does that infringes on the presidents unfettered power as commander-in-chief is unconstitutional. i think the president this week and used that power.
>> bicking on abc, republican senator ted cruz of texas criticized the prisoner swap. >>, the soldiers lost their lives to capture those five taliban terrorists that we just released? ambassador rice basically said you, yes, u.s. policy has changed, now we make eels with terrorist. and the question going forward is, have we just put a price on other u.s. soldiers? what does this tell terrorists? >> president obama talked about his decision to release the five taliban commanders from guantánamo in exchange for bowe bergdahl. >> in terms of potential threats, the release of the taliban and who were being held in guantánamo was condition on the qataris keeping eyes on them and crating a structure in which we can monitor their activities. we will be keeping eyes on them.
is there a possibility of some of them trying to return to activities that are detrimental to us? absolutely. that has been true of all of the prisoners that were released from guantánamo. there's a certain recidivism rate that takes place. i would not be doing it if i thought it was contrary to american national security. >> that was president obama in warsaw, poland today. colonel morris davis, can you respond to both? and would you call these men who have been released and sent to qatar prisoners of war as well? >> yes. it was disappointing hearing not just senator cruz, but many, john mccain and others, who have tried to use this is political capital to make president obama look weak. i think that is a false narrative and unfortunately, too many of the public eye into it. senator cruz said, how many americans died trying to capture
these five taliban figures? as best i can tell, the answer to his question is none. there is information available to the public about the five individuals and how they were captured. two i believe surrendered to the afghan government. there is one captured i believe in pakistan. there's no indication that any of these people -- i think the picture trying to be painted is in the midst of battle that the u.s. forces capture these guys allies were lost in the process, -- and lives were lost in the process, noticeably not the case. i think the president is right when he said, you can't guarantee there will be no recidivism. if we're waiting for the risk to be reduced to zero before we release people from guantánamo, then they're going to be doing a life sentence because we can never reduce the risk to zero. you have to take some reasonable risks. talking and negotiating with terrorists?
i'm not aware of any war ever that has ended where the parties to the war don't have negotiations and discussion. i just don't know how you and the war without talking to the other side. as for these five men, when i was to prosecutor, we had screen all of the detainees and we had focused on about 75 that have the potential to be charged with a crime. when i saw the names the other any i wasn't familiar with of these names. so we had more than 12 years to prove they had done something wrong that we could prosecute them for. and i'm confident we would have done it, and we didn't. >> colonel davis, your response to this clip we heard from "the guardian" pretty aware bob bergdahl impairs the plight of the sun to the guantánamo prisoners? >> i think it is a fair comparison. what bob was trying to say there is that his family could relate to the guantánamo detainees and their families because just like them -- i mean, in bob's case,
bowe was being held halfway around the world, not knowing whether he would ever be released were ever come home. there is a lot of similarity between that and the families -- i think we tend to forget that the 149 men at guantánamo have families, to. they sit back home wherever they are from and wonder if their husband, father, son, will ever come home to them. i think it is a fair comparison. that is what bob has tried to do throughout this on is to relate to the people on the other side, to try to humanize bowe's plate and try to show his empathy with the other side. i know he has been criticized a lot for some of the things he said, but it is easy to sit back and criticize the actions of bob, but until you are the parent and it is your child that is being held hostage, i think it is a little the critical to
condemn what he has done -- hypocritical to condemn what he has done. >> thank you for being with us, colonel morris davis, resigned as former chief military prosecutor at guantanamo in 2007 and, sean smith, joining us from london, award-winning photographer and film maker for "the guardian." he met bowe bergdahl in afghanistan in 2009 when he was unit andwith the then met bob bergdahl in idaho. we play the video of that portrait that he did in idaho. when we come back, the supreme court has refused to hear the case of new york times reporter james ricin. will he have to go to jail? we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with aaron maté. we turn now to what to be one of the most significant press freedom cases in decades. the supreme court has turned down the appeal of "new york times" reporter who faces prison for refusing to reveal a confidential source. james risen had asked the court to overturn a ruling forcing him to testify in the criminal trial of x cia analyst jeffrey sterling. prosecutors believe sterling gave rise in information on the cia's role in disrupting iran's nuclear program. in his book "state of war," risen showed that instead of hampering iran's efforts, the cia effectively gave iran a blueprint for designing a bomb. rise and bow to go to prison before testifying and was hoping for supreme court intervention. on monday, the supreme court refused to weigh in, effectively siding with the government. he said in response, "i will
continue to fight. in 2005, he helped expose the mystic wordless -- wireless -- domestic wireless spy program. >> the obama ministration must now decide if it will force risen's testimony and risk sending one of the nations most common national security journalists to jail. president obama has already developed a reputation as the most aggressive in history when it comes to targeting whistleblowers. obama's justice department has brought eight cases so far, more than all previous administrations combined. we're joined by trevor timm, executive director of the freedom of the press foundation, and matthew cooper. we turn now to trevor timm. your response to the supreme court decision not to hear the case? well, it was really
disappointing on a number of levels. this decision by the fourth circuit afford even got to the supreme court was one of the worst press freedom decisions in decades. not only was the government arguing that james risen didn't qualify for reporter's privilege can't argue that reporter's privilege do not exist at all. they even went as far to compare journalist protecting sources to those receiving drugs and refusing to testify about it. on as really disturbing number of levels. the supreme court essentially sanctioned the fourth circuit ruling, which is the home to countless national security sources and national security havealists that reporters much less protection than they have ever had to report on stories, as we've seen over the past year, are really vital to the public interest.
so, hopefully, there are other avenues to continue to protect reporters rights and allow them to protect their sources. this is definitely a setback. >> matthew cooper, your response to the supreme court decision? --whistleblowers and freedom of the press, and it should not have been brought in the first place. i am, frankly, relieved that the roberts court did not take this case right here. had they taken it, they would have come up with a ruling that would have lasted for generation that would have been much worse than the current state we have now. i don't think there's any sign the court would have taken the case and delivered a resounding victory for the press and whistleblowers. i think really the only hope at this point, and there is a glimmer, is that air cold are
still system army will refrain from prosecuting -- eric holde'' system will refrain from prosecuting james risen. they seem to have hinted as much. that is about all jim risen can mean on right now. >> let's go to that quote from holder. he was asked about the case. -- hed reporters that suggested he would not prosecute risen saying, "no reporter will go to jail as long as i'm .ttorney general someone who is doing his job is not going to get prosecutors." andor timm, your response that this non-ruling may be a good thing because the decision from the supreme court could have sided against press freedom? >> i think that is certainly a possibility that the supreme court took the case then this could have been applied nationwide and that certain he would have been a bad thing. but it is hard to speculate one way or another. this rulings that
was terrible and the fourth circuit and now it means it will stand. but as far as holder's statement goes, i think on one hand it is good that he is saying as long as reporters are doing their job, they will face jail, but there was a lot of wiggle room in a statement. you talk about not prosecuting journalists. tim's risen technically isn't being prosecuted, but being asked to testify in someone contemptial and facing of court if he doesn't comply. there is a way that eric holder can stay true to that statement and still have risen go to jail. i'm hoping that he is not trying to get off on a technicality, and that he ultimately won't send jim risen to jail if he decides not to testify. of itis goes to the point the justice department is trying to decide what reporter's job is, newsgathering, protecting your source part of a reporter's job?
obviously, all reporters would argue it is. but it seems by at least the justice department's action so far, that they don't believe the same thing. >> matthew cooper, your response to that? >> well, this has been a thorny area for a long time as trevor knows. in my case back in 2005, either in -- even liberal justice and the second highest court said, while there may be privilege for reporters to protect their a priest andto prisoner or husband-and-wife, i do not qualify for it. i think realistically, and national security related cases, we are not likely to see the courts prevent congress carve for reporterss anytime soon. i wish they would, but i fear that is not going to happen. >> commerce member alan grayson of florida inserted some form of protection for journalists into
a funding bill last week. trevor timm, your assessment of the prospect for a shield law coming from congress and your assessment of the legislation right now as it stands, whether it is strong enough? >> the alan grayson amendment was a very strong and i was pleasant was surprised that it passed the house in an appropriation bill. it sure bill saying the justice department could not spend any money on subpoening journalists. the shield law that the senate is proposing is a much more complicated, much more watered-down version that has in the past have problems with the definition of journalist and deciding who gets protection and who doesn't. we don't want congress legislating who's a journalist and who is not a journalist. then we have this chart national security exception that probably would have meant that james risen, if applied to his case,
would have had to have testified immediately. so there is certainly a worry that this bill could end up backfiring if journalist organizations are supporting it, you could actually end up sanctioning more subpoenas because they then lose the leverage they have any ambiguity the law and the fact they are not actually complying with these subpoenas and are protesting loudly. i am pessimistic on the shield bill as matthew is as well. quickly, whatper, happens next now that the supreme court has turned down the case of james risen? >> well, i think it will be the same as in my case, which is a goes back to the original district court where they try the court and -- case and the prosecutor will then have to ask for some kind of penalty for risen not appearing. that will be the big question, will he say, well, let's hold
off and hold on and not do anything? in which case risen montgomery county -- >> we have to leave it there. matthew cooper and trevor timm, thank you for joining us. 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 toúoóçoç?ñ?ñ?9
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