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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  September 8, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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09/08/14 09/08/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! this is not the equivalent of the iraq war. what this is is similar to the kinds of counterterrorism campaigns that we of an engaging in consistently over the last 5, 6, 7 years. unveilident obama will his strategy for an offensive against the islamic state that could last as long as three years and beyond his
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administration. we will speak with rami khouri, editor at large of the beirut-based newspaper "the daily star." his latest piece, "avoid a rerun of the war on terror." then, how do foreign powers buy influence at u.s. think tanks? a new york times exposé reveals more than a dozen prominent washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years, while pushing u.s. government officials. should they be registered as foreign lobbyists? we will speak with brooke williams. finally, "just 13, and working risky 12-hour shofts in the tobacco fields." >> my head started hurting really bad. i got out the road and i started throwing up. >> green tobacco sickness, or nicotine poisoning, it can cause vomiting, dizziness, and
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irregular heart rates. we will speak with steven greenhouse, longtime labor and workplace reporter at "the new york times." all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has confirmed he will not fulfill his pledge to take executive action on immigration reform by summer's end. obama had promised a broad overhaul in the face of republican obstruction, including a potential new reprieve to slow his record-breaking deportations. it over the weekend, the white house cited what it called house republicans extreme politicized and of this issue for forcing president obama to wait until after the midterm elections. obama had faced calls from a number of democrats to delay action so as not to hurt their election chances this november. in an interview with chuck todd, president obama denied democratic midterm success as his motivation. instead, he said he needs more
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time to convince u.s. public on the merits of his approach. >> i'm being honest about the politics of it. this problem with unaccompanied children that we saw a couple of weeks ago where you have from central america a surge of kids who are showing up at the border , got a lot of attention and a lot of americans started thinking we have got this immigration crisis on her hand. the fact of the matter is, the number of people apprehended crossing our borders has plummeted over the course of a decade. it is far lower than it was 10 years ago. in terms of these unaccompanied children, we have systematically work through the problems so june droppede in in july, dropped further in august, now below what it was last year. but that is not the impression on people's minds. what i want to do, when i take executive action, i want to make sure it is sustainable. >> immigrant rights advocates
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have denounced president obama's decision. and it statement come the group presente said -- president obama has launched an effort to rally congress and the public hunt sustained offensive against islamic state militant group. president obama is set to meet with congress on tuesday, followed by public address the following day. he discussed the plan with "meet the press." >> we're not looking at sending and 100,000 american troops. we will be carrying out airstrikes in support of work on the ground by iraqi troops, kurdish troops.
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we will be helping to put together a plan for them, so they can start retaking territory that isil had taken over. what i want people to understand, over the course of months, we're going to be able to not just blind the momentum of isil, we will symptomatically -- systematically shrink the territory that they control. and ultimately, we will defeat them. >> the u.s. says it will lead the offensive against the islamic state with a so-called core coalition of 10 countries. the white house as the fight could last beyond the end of president obama's term barely 2017. the news follows a month of u.s. bombing attacks against islamic state fighters in iraq. over the weekend, american warplanes expanded with strikes against militants dear the id the dam. we will have more on this after the headlines. the somali militant group al-shabaab has confirmed the
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killing of its leader in a u.s.-drone strike last week. godane had headed how should bob since 2008, overseeing a number of attacks including last year's rampage in a canyon shopping mall that left 67 dead. the group has named a new leader, shekh ahmad umar abu ubaidah and vowed to exact revenge for godane's killing. a cease-fire between the ukrainian government and pro-russian rebels appears to behold and despite a weekend of scattered attacks. until brokered friday was followed by clashes around 24 hours later in donetsk and mariupol. the truce lays out the decentralization of power is a key component of any long-term agreement that both ukraine and have pushrussia proposals for what that would
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mean. it also calls for mass prisoner exchange. the cease-fire was reached as nato approved a 4000-strong force capable of rapid deployment in eastern europe to confront russia. unveiling a new report, amnesty ynternational's salil shett accused both sides of war crimes. very systematic, well organized armored units in place. there is no way they could organize themselves. on top of that, we have eyewitness accounts of movement of russian tanks across the border. we're getting reports of different types of violations. also indiscriminate shelling happening. all of these need to be investigated. that is what we're calling on. in a war or conflict situation, unless you go into the details, you can't be absolutely certain. but from what we have seen, we
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can be quite sure that both sides can be accused of war crimes at this point. over 3000 people have died in eastern ukraine since violence broke out in april, including the 298 passengers killed when a malaysia airlines flight was shot down. the african union is holding an emergency meeting on the evil outbreak in west africa. more than 2000 people have been killed in the u.n. has warned the toll could hit 20,000 before the viruses contain. hopes were slightly raised over the weekend as a new study found an experimental vaccine gay for protection to monkeys for at least five weeks. to 10 months. it is the first time a vaccine program has led to sustained ebola immunity. u.s. researchers have begun human trials. on friday, the world health organization assistant director general said to experiment on vaccines could be available for health workers by november. safety by reserves of
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november 2014 and after that, these vaccines would start to be rolled out in the affected countries starting with health care workers another frontline workers. this is real. this is going into the field. this is not staying in the laboratory. >> the u.n. has set a goal of containing the epidemic within six to nine months. president obama said the u.s. military will play a role in the international response. >> we're going to have to get u.s. military assets just to set up, for example, isolation units and equipment there to provide security for public health workers surging around the world. if we do that, then it is still going to be months before this problem is controllable in africa, but it should not reach our shores. if we don't make that effort now
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not justspreads, through africa but other parts of the world, there is the prospect the virus mutates, becomes more easily transmittable, then it could be a serious danger to the united states. >> a pair of newly released i can is reveal more details about the bush and ministrations to go rushing off for the wireless wiretapping of u.s. citizens after the 9/11 attacks. the documents relate to sweeping surveillance conducted by the national security agency under the program known as stellar wind. in a decade-old memo obtained by "washington post," jack goldsmith, who let president george w. bush's office of legal counsel, says the 9/11 attacks justify what he calls the president "inherent institutional authority" to order warrantless wiretapping, and authority that congress cannot curtail. told "theomey washington post" the memo's conclusions "suggest the presidents power to monitor the
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communications of americans is virtually unlimited when it comes to foreign intelligence." some of today " surveillance programs are even broader and more intrusive than those for an place more than a decade ago by president bush." the majority owner of the national basketball association's atlanta hawks is selling his stake over the disclosure of a racially charged e-mail. in august 2012, bruce levenson wrote his co-owners and general manager to ask them more be done in order to attract southern whites uncountable around african-american spectators. citing the playing of hip-hop music and a cheerleading squad that's majority black, levenson said --
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levenson called that attitude "racist garbage," but concludes --t it should still be cited catered to in order to boost ticket sales. it is the second time in months in nba owner has sold his controlling interest over racist remarks, following donald sterling of the los angeles clippers. a federal judge has approved new york city's $41 million set in it with a central park five, wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger in central park 25 years ago. the five black and latino men were tried as teenagers. media coverage at the time pretrade them as guilty and used racially coded terms to describe them. but their convictions were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed after the five had already served jail time terms of up to 13 years. each man of the five will receive around $1 million for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned.
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the agreement is one of several underrights settlements new york city mayor bill de blasio, after fears opposition from his predecessor, michael bloomberg. this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. tosident obama has begun unveil a strategy for defense against the islamic state that could last as long as three years and beyond the end of his administration. this comes as the united states has carried out more than 140 air strikes against isis fighters in iraq in the past month. weekend, american warplanes launched fresh strikes against militants nearhaditha dam, less than 150 miles northwest of the capital baghdad. president obama is set to meet with congress to discuss the new strategy. he first outlined his plan sunday on "meet the press." obama says he has ruled out the redeployment of ground troops in iraq, that is left open the
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possibility of airstrikes in syria as well as economic and political measures. at the nato summit friday, secretary of state john kerry and defense secretary chuck hagel said the u.s. will lead so-calledive with a core coalition of 10 countries. britain, includes france, germany, canada, australia, italy, poland, denmark, and turkey -- the only muslim state. on sunday, the arab league foreign ministers met in cairo and announced they would cooperate with efforts to combat militants who have overrun parts of iraq and syria. the resolution did not explicitly support u.s. campaign against the islamic state, but suggested it would back the effort. this is the arab league secretary-general. this matter is neither political nor security related only, but we will discuss it from all directions to block it and stop its sources. this requires cooperation between different ministers and
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preemptive meetings in researching the subject from all angles. however, the combat still stands. and the confrontation. it is not a simple decision. the decision to confront these phenomenon as many states to man, also by working on blocking the sources of terrorism through fighting its ideology, seizing its funding, remedying reasons and circumstances that led to the outbreak of this extremeist terrorist phenomenon. releasehis as a newly report by private british firm that monitors arms trafficking of how theetail islamic state has captured military quitman and senate's region by the united states and saudi arabia. for more, we're going to lebanon to rami khouri, the director of the issam fares institute for public policy and international
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affairs at the american university beirut. he is also editor at large of the beirut-based newspaper, "the daily star." his latest piece, "avoid a rerun of the war on terror." he is joining us by video stream. welcome to democracy now! what president obama has said so far this weekend about the strategy in dealing with the islamic state as well as the more than 100 strikes in iraq, can you respond? >> it is pretty impressive how he can go from the strategy to 60 miles an hour in five days him of but i think we have to basically understand the united states feels it must do something. at some point, what is the best to do, and obama is being cautious, understandably, because the united states has just come out of two rather catastrophic military adventures in afghanistan and iraq and a
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, drone assassinations all over the world. impunity. irony is thathard in the last, say, 15 or 20 years of the united states using military action to try to strike al qaeda and the derivative groups that have come out of al qaeda, the irony is that this has been the single greatest promoter, mobilizer of new recruits for these kinds of militant islamic terror groups. the more u.s. leads military action, the greater becomes the expanse of recruits and the territory that is controlled by these groups. it is a real dilemma for the united states, and something that has to be on a mentally led by people in the region come and
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that is not happening very well. there's no easy answer. >> explain how that recruiting works, rami khouri. >> if you go back to the beginning of the phase of the manych has names, they started basically to fight the russians in afghanistan and the late 1970's, early 1980's. the u.s. helped them with money and training and things like that. then in the mid-1980's and into the 1990's, a group under bin laden's leadership in sudan and other places, shifted to try to hit the united states. they call the u.s. the foreign enemy because it was the u.s. supporting all these dictators and better to hit the foreign
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enemy. after the u.s. came into the andle east and the iraq war troops in saudi arabia, then the united states became the main enemy because like the russians in afghanistan, there was a foreign army in error or islamic lands, therefore, it had to be driven out. action in foreign power whether they are americans or russians, military action by foreign powers has been the most consistent and most effective recruiting tool to attract new recruits to these kinds of statents like the islamic and others like them. because guys reject themselves ,nd see themselves as fighting
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cleansing islamic societies from the two great problems they feel. one is corrupt, immoral un-slug regimes and the other is for military attack. action is military inng to increase the problem the long run. you can see the track records going back to the mid-1980's when clinton was attacking bin laden's bases in africa and sudan and other places. over the last 16 or 20 years, the more the u.s. has used military power to attack, the bigger the groups have become. if you look at the movements sparked by or imitated, they now have small anchorage in samaria and syria and iraq in nigeria ,mali, libya, pakistan,
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afghanistan, probably some other places, too. these groups, i should say, don't have support in these societies. they don't willingly attract millions and millions of supporters. they have been rejected by the vast majority of arab muslims. they can only operate where there is chaos. american militarism brings chaos in afghanistan, iraq, and other places. this is wine so concerned about a real -- why i'm so concerned about a rerun of george bush's quite criminal war on terror. >> this is president obama speaking sunday on "meet the press." >> we're not looking at sending in hundred thousand american troops. we are going, as part of an international coalition, carrying out airstrikes in support of work on the ground by iraqi troops, kurdish troops. we are going to be helping to put together a plan for them so
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they can start retaking territory that isil had taken over. what i want people to understand, over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum of isil, we're going to systematically degrade capabilities, shrink territory that they control, and ultimately, we're going to defeat them. >> can you talk about the other states that are joining in, rami khouri, in particular, arab countries, where they fit into this picture? >> well, the problem with the air of countries -- arab countries, most of them are responsible for the inadvertent but clear birth of these kinds militant extremist, islamist groups.
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if you go back to the 1970's and 1980's were these groups really started to take shape, the incubator for al qaeda and other groups like it were saudi jails, egyptian jails, iraqi jails, syrian jails, tunisian jails. the jails of error regimes is where these movements were born. young men became ratified and they got out of jail and became jihadis. they went to afghanistan and bin laden organized them. off they go. it was the american military presence in the region that created the conditions that allowed the jordanian to come in and start al qaeda offshoot there and expand it. the problem is, all of these arab countries are in the same dilemma the u.s. is in, which is, there are talk or see, their mistreatment of their citizens,
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created this problem over the years and american militarism from the american perspective, thatso part of the impetus expands this problem. combining american militarism with arab dictatorships is the stupidist recipe anyone could come up with to try to fight to hottie -- jihadi movements because it was that combination than actually nurtured and let these movements expand. there has to be a more intelligent, more real estate process that allows people in the middle east to throw back these threats. i'm not saying you sit around and do nothing, you have to fight these people and eradicate them because they're really awful. people in the region [indiscernible] waysmi khouri, one of the
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that has focused u.s. attention, of course, is the killing of the u.s. journalists, the beheading of the u.s. journalists. "the independent" had a interesting piece. they said in the 21 months between james foley's capture in 2012 and subsequent beheading by isis militants in august 2014, saudi arabia beheaded 113 people. it says, this does not include any estimates for executions at the end of 2012, most of the beheadings are carried out as public executions at the notorious chop square for crimes such as blasphemy, drug smuggling, and sorcery. for certain crimes such as old old three, the authorities ordered to by stoning -- such as
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ltery, the authorities ordered death by stoning. hardline, islamic justice, really severe. the overwhelming majority of muslims all over the world think this is something that should have been left in the 18th century. on the scope the around the world, except the saudi's and the islamic state guys, have stopped doing it. i am focused particularly on that. there been many more people who have been killed by american drones who have been killed by saudi's. the saudi's have a justice system, it's just we may not like it. they probably don't like people being put in electric chair in texas every couple of months. the difference between what we're talking about, we can -- i
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disagree with the way the saudi's chop people's heads off as a form of justice, but that works any more than the electric chairs in texas. >> and the journalists wearing orange jumpsuits, reminiscent of guantanamo. >> yes, what the islamic state guys are doing, they're kind of poking obama in the ribs and saying, look, you kill us, we kill you. you make a stress in orange jumpsuits, we're going to do the same to your people. innocent journalists should not be killed and captured are captured and killed or put in jail, so there are many parallels between these things. we shouldn't compare the united states and saudi arabia with islamic state stuff. they are all very different. there is a common thread that runs through them, which is the use of military power and
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torture ors of assassinations that are most always backfire. you cannot try to have an society whilet relying heavily on militarism and death as a form of deterrent. the problem before us all, what do we do about this the islamic state? these guys are taking more territory, forcing their rule by terrorizing people. very few people are happily accepting them. ordinary people don't have a choice. the islamic state comes in with guns and chops off people's heads or crucify's people, everybody else states -- this should be a telltale sign that these groups only can operate in zones of chaos. the united states, and the british have helped create, the zones of chaos in the last 20 .ears
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there is a lot of shared responsibility for this terrible situation where in, but the bottom line is we need to figure out how to fight the two real problems, which obama keeps repeating as his strategy. autocratic, nondemocratic abusive, corrupt, inefficient, mediocre government systems, air regimes across the board. and the other is the repeated use of american, british, israeli and other military power in the region to try to force they feel is suitable for them. those two problems are two of the root causes which we're seeing in the islamic state is simply a symptom of years and years of these kinds of problems of that governments. , thank you for
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joining us. editor at large of "the daily star." we will have a link to your latest piece, "avoid a rerun of the war on terror." we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a "new yorkto times" exposé which finds that some of the most influential
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think tanks in the u.s. are awash in funds from foreign governments. according to the investigation published over the weekend -- the story is headlined, "foreign powers buy influence at think tanks." moneyeals most of the comes from countries in europe, the middle east, and asia, including the oil-producing nations of the united air emirates, qatar, and norway. some scholars funded by the think tanks say they're faced -- say they faced pressure to reach conclusions from it to the government financing the research. for more we're joined by one of the article's authors, brooke williams like intruding reporter at "new york times" who cowrote the article.
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welcome to democracy now! talk about what you found. tens of millions of dollars, as much as $92 million -- and that is the bare minimum -- from foreign governments and foreign-controlled entities to think tanks, mostly in washington, d.c. we also found a window to examine how the think tanks are interacting with the governments. this is something we have done for the first time. think tanks, some of them, have published the list of donors. however, we could never tell what the foreign governments were paying for exactly. usually, not how much money they provided. we used public records from one of the governments and provided a window into how think tanks
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were interacting. what we found were some agreements in which the foreign governments, norway in particular, was explicitly asking a think tank -- >> a think tank being? >> the center for global developments. policymakers.s. with a specific objective that was in the governments interest. we found -- >> what were they asking for? >> they were asking to double spending in a foreign a program. a progress report that they sent to the norwegian government said, target u.s. policymakers, then listed the policymakers they would be targeting. >> in the foreign aid money would go to where? >> it was doubling u.s. spending , a deforestation effort,
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so a climate change agenda. >> talk about other examples that you had. letters, for from think tanks such andhe atlantic council readers can see on the website -- >> you built the database? >> yes. this is the first of its kind in which we can really track how much money. i mean, it is coming from all over the world, but as you mentioned, certain areas are more heavily involved. we found letters, for instance, from the atlantic council to a norwegian energy minister, inviting them to attend an event and saying to the state owned oil company, if you attend, this
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will really benefit your interests. we found in one case a brookings scholar saying she would help to bring along a state department official to a meeting, and norway is a major donor to brookings. talks let me bring in brookings response. bys is a message published strobe talbott, president of the brookings institution, in response to "the new york times" article on foreign powers buying influence at think tanks. talbott writes -- your response to that? >> brookings does have
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institutional safeguards. we examined them and included them in the article. i think it is important remember, however, even with explicit roles, there can be implicit understandings. as you can see in the article, we spoke with those who said it led to implicit agreements, that they would refrain from criticizing the government. so even with explicit agreements, there can be implicit agreements and pressure to self censor. >> you talked about the atlantic council any future photograph of michelle done, who resigned as head of the atlantic council center for the middle east after calling for suspension a military aide to egypt in 2013. explain what happened and what this has to do with your central point in this article. >> it comes back to the idea that scholars rely on funding
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from donors. brookings said the senior scholars, they have an understanding and agreement that senior scholars, even if they funny, will not lose their jobs because of that. this goes back to safeguards that place and institutions. in that case, the atlantic declined to comment much on what happened there, but i think it comes back to the idea of feeling pressure to self censor and what might happen if a scholar or to criticize a donor government. >> talk about the laws in the united states, not just the rules of these different organizations, around the issue of registering as a lobbyist. >> the law pertaining to foreign
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government interest is much more strict than the lobbying disclosure act, as we know, companies are registered to lobby. it requires foreign government interests for attending to influence public opinion or policy to register as foreign agents under the foreign agent registration act. those filings are actually detailed. they contain dates and contacts of reporters, think tank officials, you name it. they list the dates of contacts, purpose, whether it was by phone or in person. it goes back to world war ii in an effort for the u.s. government to distinguish between nazi germany propaganda and research. think the think tanks should have to register as foreign agents? >> well, what i can say is we
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spoke with attorneys specialize in this area and examined several times documents that we obtained, the agreements between the think tanks and the foreign governments. the language in the documents come in these agreements, those enoughys felt was strong -- they lead back in their chairs and said, wow, this is explicit. some of the documents explicitly showed how the government was asking the think tank to influence public policy. talks you have a piece of the sub headline "parallels with lobbying, the line between scholarly research and loving can sometimes be hard to discern." lobby's approach several
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influential members of congress and their staff. in october, the lawmakers established just such a group, the friends of the transpacific partnership in october 2013. talk about what happened from there. >> the established this group and there's an organization called the japan external trade organization. filings with the department of justice that they had been paying the centers for strategic and international studies as well as other think research. also documented -- we also document of the product of these seminars and groups they held was to promote the transpacific partnership.
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now, a scholar there ended up testifying before congress, promoting the transpacific partnership. what this comes down to is, few lawmakers know when some one from a research organization approaches them with a policy recommendation, do they know foreign government has funded that organization, or in some cases, even the policy paper itself? relationship with this. >> the center for strategic international studies has a cicsar called the jethro seminar and in early they bring specificallyakers, lawmakers who are in charge of u.s. trade policy. and japan officials who are in trade policy,n's
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together, funded by the japanese government and is japan trade organization, to discuss u.s. .olicies in trade those policies are very important to japan. so attorneys who looked at these documents -- that area [indiscernible] it still produced questions. was this lobbying? it was providing access, the very least. >> gg find violations of u.s. law? the attorneys we spoke with thought the documents that i requested and obtained from norway, the attorneys which are viewed believed that two of the think tanks did. >> can you name them? >> brookings and the center for
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global development. >> where would that lead? >> is hard to say. the department of justice is in charge of enforcing it. we will have to see what happens from here. >> we will leave it at that. i want to thank you very much for being with us, brooke williams, one of the journalists who wrote the "new york times" piece, "foreign powers buy influence at think tanks." she is an investigative journalism fellow at harvard university about the database that you can see. we will have a link to the article that links to that database. this is democracy now!. 13 years old and working in the tobacco plantations in north carolina and other states. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. tobacco companies cannot legally sell secrets to children, but they're reportedly profiting from child labor. that is the conclusion of a recent investigation by the "new york times" that uncovers the
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dangers faced by thousands of children working on tobacco farms in the united states. it is titled, "just 13, and working risky 12-hour shofts in the tobacco fields." labor for child grilli catch what is known as green tobacco sickness, or nicotine poisoning, which can cause vomiting, dizziness, and irregular heartbeats among other symptoms. speciallyre vulnerable to toxic pesticides. the risks include nervous system damage, reproductive impacts, and cancer. many of the kids are immigrants or to an of immigrants and routinely work 60 hour work weeks without overtime pay. tobacco workers can absorb as much nicotine as if they were actually smoking simply by handling wet tobacco leaves. earlier this year, human rights watch spoke to several child tobacco workers describe what it is like. hurting fromare your shoulders are hurting. it is like your body wants to give up. >> it is like you can't kill
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your legs. you have to take breaks. >> i use the bathroom before i leave and i just wait until i get back here. we start working at 6:00. >> that is a clip from a video by human rights watch, which accompanied its reserve report, u.s.: child workers in danger on tobacco farms." under u.s. law, tobacco farms can hire workers at much younger ages, for longer hours, and under more hazardous conditions than in a most in the other sector. federal law allows children as young as 12 years old to work on farms for unlimited hours, as long as it doesn't conflict with her school attendance. tobacco growers say that the practice of using young teenagers is rare, but the article found the practice is still relevant.
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for more we're joined by steven greenhouse, author of the exposé, "just 13, and working risky 12-hour shofts in the tobacco fields." welcome back to democracy now! explain more of what you found. >> i went to north carolina and visited many tobacco farms and met many young kids who are working in tobacco. it is fairly prevalent. i was shocked a lot of these kids said, i work in the fields from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. one says she its to the fields of 7:00, works until 7:00 p.m., sometimes 8:00 p.m. and a lot of these kids told me they get really sick some of the time. , whenhere's a lot of dew
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it rains, the nicotine in the plants will kind of dissolve into the water. when he gets in people's skin, that is when they get nicotine poisoning. .hey throw up, get dizzy this 115-year-old girl -- this one 15 euros said she was feeling so sick, she asked her supervisor, i really need to sit for five or 10 minutes. she tell me, unless she kept on working, she would be fired. it is a very difficult question to say -- it is difficult for many workers. >> even getting access to water. >> a lot of workers say the days are too long, does very, very hot. north carolina in the summer, he can be 95 to 100. some of the workers say they work across the field, dying of thursday and it might take another hour for them to pluck
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the plants and take them an hour to get back to the trucks where the water is and they felt extremely thirsty and a comfortable. >> human rights watch found many tobacco workers are expected to operate dangerous machinery, lift heavy loads, and climb to perilous heights to hang tobacco for drying. one boy who preferred not to be named described the dangers he faces on the job. >> i mean, steven greenhouse, this is dangerous for adults, let alone children. you write, opponents of child labor and no brazil, india, and some other tobacco producing nations are to prohibit anyone under 18 from working on tobacco farms. what happened here?
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>> three years ago, secretary of --solis proposed stronger child labor laws, proposed no children under 16 work in tobacco fields and is part of the package said, no children under 16 should work with power driven incremental and tractors and also proposed no children under 18 work and grain silos. there were karen to stories about kids being crushed to death in grain silos. as often happens, there was a huge backlash by industry, by farmers saying, this is terrible, we need these workers. it is important to have young .orkers learning agriculture and if you ban them, it will really hurt the next generation of people in farming. the obama administration -- this was in 2012 during his reelection campaign, basically, the obama administration caved
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and withdrew secretary solis' proposal. some advocates are trying to refloat this idea with regard to tobacco, thinking and president obama's last two years of office with all these elections and politics behind him, he might have the courage to go forward with this ban on tobacco workers under age 16. >> let me read the obama administration comments, statement, the press release issued -- your response? soliser secretary
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proposed this, all of these we have familyu w obama exempted it from these roles. nonetheless, there are such a firestorm against the proposal, agricultural interest, but many republican lawmakers and some of the democratic lawmakers also got worried it might hurt the reelection and obama said it might affect certain states, so he basically -- he said, we're not going to consider these proposals for the remainder of might administration. which is pretty strong language. but human rights watch and other groups are really pushing now saying, tobacco work is so unhealthy for kids, let's make this one exception and bar this in your last two years of office. >> let's turn to the executive vice president of tobacco
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growers association of north carolina. he told you must tobacco farmers go beyond what is required in terms of labor compliance, saying "there's absolutely zero benefit in mistreating farm workers." he went on to it knowledge the danger of nicotine poisoning and other tough conditions in the fields saying "no one is going to say it's a day at the be." surprised with some of the focus on tobacco growers association. i wasn't surprised when they said, we hardly hire anyone under 16, under 18. when asking about the proposal to ban kids under 16, they said there were opened to it, even kids under 18. there facing a lot of pressure from one cigarette company, which has really taken the lead, phillip morris international has adopted a proposal far, far stricter than the us government regulations.
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they bahraini growers from using growers fromy bar using anyone under 18. r.j. reynolds, the two other giants, have not adopted proposals nearly as strong. illegalsaying, we hate child labor -- everyone does. and they say, we think kids under 18 should not be doing hazardous work come a but seeolds and altura don't the tobacco sickness as hazardous. sponse? was solis' re >> i tried to interview but iary solis on this, did not hear back. i don't think she was to be seen as criticizing the obama administration right now. >> how many children do you think are working in the field in the states? >> certainly, several hundred, i
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think some say thousands, and i think that might be a high number. i interviewed many who said, i begin at the age of 12. 'sterview this 13-year-old pictures on the front page, i interviewed her 22-year-old sister who said, i've been doing this since the age of 12. it really is quite prevalent >> before we go, i went to geo to theft. piece, that wage >> when i was in north carolina, is interviewing some folks at some of the workers and said, what is wage theft. many employers violate minimum-wage laws, don't pay time in half when workers work more than 40 hours a week or when workers work 45, 46 hours a week and should beginning over time, hours will magically
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disappear from their electronic timecard. sometimes employers will illegally steal tips that waiters, waitresses, bartenders deserve. it is illegal for managers to take tips. and all of those different schemes to deprive workers of the right to wages, that is been called wage theft. it is a growing push by agrium -- advocates to get much more aggressive about it. >> we have to leave it there, but i thank you very much, steven greenhouse, author of, "just 13, and working risky 12-hour shofts in the tobacco fields." also author of "the big squeeze." his longtime labor and workplace reporter for "the new york times. ruling to the articles on wage theft and children working in the tobacco fields of the united states at democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who
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