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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 23, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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10/23/14 10/23/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. , at this stage i can offer nothing more than my work. i'm a senior government employee in the intelligence community. i hope you understand contacting you is extremely high risk. for now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you dial, everycall you cell phone tour you pass, friend you keep, site you visit come in
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subject line you type, is in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited, who safeguards are not. >> "citizen four." the new film by laura poitras provides an inside look at edward snowden and his decision to blow the whistle on the national security agency. we will play excerpts of the remarkable film and speak to laura poitras. >> i hope the film shows the risk these people take and that people should stand up for them and this is the information the public should know. then, blackwater, guilty. as a u.s. jury convicts four former blackwater guards in connection with the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed iraqis at a baghdad traffic circle, we will speak to jeremy scahill, author of "blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army." his latest book, "dirty wars." all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the canadian capital ottawa was thrown into turmoil wednesday by a shooting spree. the gunman first shot and killed corporal nathan cirillo, an army reservist who was guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier, then entered the nearby parliament and opened fire before he was shot dead. the gunman was identified as michael zehaf-bibeau, a convert to islam with a criminal record of drug and robbery offenses. the attack came two days after a man identified as a "radicalized" convert to islam drove a car into two canadian soldiers, killing one of them. the incidents have sparked fears of blowback after canada became a key ally in the u.s.-led fight against the islamic state. canadian prime minister steven harper addressed the nation . >> canada will never be
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intimidated. in fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agents. to take all necessary steps to identify and encounter threats and keeps and -- get it a safe at home, just as it will lead us to streets in our laws and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalized those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. >> us-led air strikes have killed more than 500 people in syria as they begin one month ago. according to the syrian observatory for human rights, most of those killed were islamic state fighters. 32 were civilians, including six children. the pentagon has confirmed islamic state militants received one of the bundles of weaponry and other supplies the u.s. airdropped to kurdish forces. the bundle included small arms and hand grenades. the pentagon said the wind caused it to shift off course.
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a federal jury has returned guilty verdicts against four blackwater operatives involved in the 2007 massacre of 17 iraqi civilians in baghdad's nisoor square. nicholas slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were convicted of voluntary manslaughter. we'll have more on blackwater with jeremy scahill later in the broadcast. the record outbreak of ebola has officially killed nearly 4900 people, but the death toll could actually be about three times that. the world health organization says cases continue to go vastly undercounted in liberia, guinea and sierra leone. the world health organization has also released new data on a disease that kills far more people each year than ebola. nine million people developed tuberculosis last year, and 1.5 million of them died, even though the disease is curable. about 3.5% of cases were drug-resistant.
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mexican authorities have ordered the arrest of the fugitive mayor of iguala and his wife, accusing them of ordering last month's police attack on students from a rural teacher's college. six people were killed in the initial attacks and 43 students have been missing for almost a month. on wednesday, protesters set fire to iguala's city hall, as tens of thousands gathered in mexico city, including fellow students from the teacher's college. >> who is the most guilty person here for the extrajudicial massacre of our fallen comrades on the 26th of september and the forced disappearances of our comrades? the executive and chief because he should ensure us the mexican society is safe. >> family members of the missing students traveled to mexico city to attend the protest. bernabel abraham gaspar is the father of a missing student. >> i don't understand what is
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happening with authorities. why do they kill students who are just starting to build their lives? to have a life in a dignified career and work? >> the white house went into temporary lockdown wednesday when a man jumped over the fence. unlike last month's incident where an intruder ran through the east room, the man was unarmed and quickly detained. the justice department has condemned the selective leaking of information on the shooting of michael brown in ferguson, missouri. in a statement, the department said -- "there seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case." the statement came after the st. louis post-dispatch published brown's official autopsy report, which appears to show brown was shot in the hand at close range. that could support officer darren wilson's claim brown struggled for his gun inside a police vehicle, but does not explain why wilson later fired more shots, killing brown. protests against police
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brutality were held in ferguson, missouri and in more than 80 other cities across the country. new york city residents joined the 19th annual national day of protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation. >> i am the mother of a child -- lost his hands at the lost his life at the hands of the nypd. i'm convinced nothing will change concerning this action until it is brought to the highest levels and government. we need nationwide action. we need the was attorney general and the department of justice to deal with the issue of police brutality once and for all. thousands of people have been murdered whose cases we know nothing about because they don't have the ability to have their tragedy highlighted in the media. >> and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. today, "citizen four."
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>> lauric come at this stage i can offer nothing more than my word. i'm a senior government employee intelligence community. i hope you understand contacting you was extremely high risk. for now, know that every border you cross come every purchase you make come every call you dial come every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, site you visit him and subject line you type, is in the hands of a system's reach is unlimited, but who safeguards are not. in the end, if you publish this source material, i will likely be immediately implicated. i ask only you ensure this information makes it home to the american public. thank you, and be careful, citizen four. work -- sorry, my name is edward snowden. i go by ed.
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edward joseph snowden is the full name. >> that is the trailer to the new film "citizen four" directed by filmmaker laura poitras about national security agency whistleblower edward snowden. the new documentary offers an inside look at what transpired in a hong kong hotel room over eight days in june 2013 when snowden first met with laura poitras, glenn greenwald and guardian reporter ewen macaskill as he leaked a trove of secret documents about how the united states had built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on americans and people across the globe. quirks laura poitras filmed over 20 hours in the hotel room, including this moment when snowden was questioned by ewen macaskill. by this point the first exposes based on snowden's leaks had been published but his identity was not yet known to the public. >> wind did you go public? >> i think it is pretty soon.
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this escalated more quickly. i think pretty much assumed as they try to make this about me, which could be any day now. i will come out just to go, hey, this is not a question of me skulking around in the shadows, these are public issues. these are not my issues. these are everybody's issues. i'm not afraid of you. you're not going to bully me into silence like you have done to everybody else. donobody else is going to it, i will. hopefully, when i'm gone, whatever you do to me, that will be some of the else who will do the same thing. it will be the sort of internet principles, the hydra. you can stop one person, but they're going to be seven more of us. are you getting more nervous? no.m, i mean, i think the way i look at stress, particularly because i sort of knew this was coming
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because i sort of volunteered to i am are the sort of familiar with the idea. i'm not worried about it. when someone busts in the door, suddenly, i will get nervous. until they do -- >> an excerpt from "citizen four," the new film by director laura poitras. her first film, "my country, my country," focused on the iraq war and was nominated for an academy award in 2007. her second, "the oath," was about guantanamo. "citizen four" is the third installment of her 9/11 trilogy. the film opens in new york, los angeles, san francisco and washington, d.c. on friday. her nsa reporting contributed to a pulitzer prize for public service awarded to the guardian and washington post. we spoke to laura on wednesday and began by asking her about the name of her film, "citizen four."
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aliastizen four" was the edward snowden used to contact me in january 2013. we corresponded over the course of five months. i did not know who he was. it was just days before traveling to hong kong that i had a name for the person i have been talking to. >> why did he choose that name? >> good question. i made a trip to moscow not that long ago where i filmed part of the end of the film where he is with his longtime partner lyndsay mills. i asked him, because i did not ever know what it was, and he said, well, not the first person who is going to come forward and reveal information the public should know, and i won't be the last. that is where it comes from. talks one of the most striking things about the film, snowden never appears to have considered the possibility of leaking anonymously. were you struck by that? >> i was very shocked.
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ands contacted in january we had e-mail correspondence for a long time. for the first three months, i assumed he would remain an anonymous source. he would not come any details about where he works or where he lived. i thought i was talking to somebody, some point i would receive documents, and then he would disappear and i would never know who the person was. in april, he revealed to me, he said, you should know i attend -- i intend to come ford & i am the source of this information, that he did not want to hide or others to take responsibility and if there was a leak investigation, etc.. he told me that and that is when i said, well, if that is the case, i would really like to meet you. and be able to film so i could understand your motivations. his first response was that he did not so comfortable because he did not want the story to be about him, just something he
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echoes in the film is talking to glenn in the first interview and says, i'm not the story. i said, the media will make you this story in your motivations really do matter. then he agreed and that is how or what led to the face-to-face meeting in hong kong. >> how did he find you? >> as glenn greenwald has written in his book, he received asking in december 2012 to set up an encrypted way of talking thomas and yet information he thought glenn would be interested in but he was very vague and did not say anything specific. glenn wasn't using encryption at that point. i then received an anonymous e-mail in january from someone i did not know, asking me for my public key and a public key is what is used for encryption. you have a key, you exchange keys, and your able to communicate securely.
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i had a key. i had been using encryption for a while. it was an easy thing for me to do. i said, here is my key. who are you and what you want? then we started this correspondence. the following e-mail was the one here at the beginning of the film as we are moving tunnel, which he says, i'm a member of the intelligence community, this will not be a waste of your time , and he says other details like imagine your adversaries capable of one trillion guesses per second. that was the beginning of our correspondents in january. says, you, snowden asked why i chose you, i didn't him a you chose yourself. he says to you in one of your chats. works after -- the first e-mail i respond, then why me? help me understand this. i was being a little cautious.
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it could be entrapment or something. then he referenced the fact i andbeen put on a watchlist stopped at the u.s. borders many times. i think he read about that. glenn had written about the fact i had been stopped at the border. i had also published a short video about another nsa when blower -- whistleblower william binney. my guess is that he had seen both of those things. and he knew i was somebody who was working on nsa-related things i knew also i have been ,argeted in some ways so i had i guess, maybe a personal connection to the issue. , edward snowdende wrote -- you talked about being stopped dozensborder dozens and
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of times. in fact, it is how you opened "citizenfour" and told us on democracy now! before. talk about those experiences. how many times have you been stopped crossing the border? >> i think about 40 times. it started in 2006 and continued until 2012 -- exley, until glenn wrote about it and then they stopped detaining me and questioning me at the border. in terms of what happens at the border, i admit a film about the iraq wars, so i said just spent some time in the war zone. don't think -- what i think it is, i don't think the u.s. government is watching films and there's just some thought police that says we don't like this film and we will stop this person, but as we know, there is this growth of the intelligence community which has created the secret watchlist process. people get put on it and once you get put on it, there's no way to get off of it.
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time i would return to the united states, border agents would be sent to the plane and i would be walked off into an area where i would be questioned. many different things happen. each time a slightly different. sometimes they would photocopy my notebooks and sometimes my credit cards. i had my computer confiscated once, my camera confiscated once. they were asking questions about know, why doing, you hours traveling to the places i was traveling. when it first started, i thought, this is clearly a mistake. i answered questions and said, a missile maker going to film festival, i made a film about the iraq war, thinking once i explained that, i would be taken off the watchlist. >> they got mad when you started taking notes about their questions. >> right. and then things changed. things are not changing
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anytime soon. i started writing down the questions, the times owes to 10, etc. they were not particularly happy about that. it did escalate in 2012 when i newar airportvia and a was taking notes and a threatened tok handcuff me for taking notes. they made arguments they thought i i was going to physically hurt them with the pen. i had not made it a secret i was being stopped, but the work that i do, i often -- i was going to places and trying to stand with the radar and going public is hard. you cannot dial something like that back. it was so outrageous, that border agents were ordering me to not take notes or they were going to handcuff me, that i called glenn and he ended up doing an article about it for >> that is part of the reason
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you'd decided to take the material to berlin that you got of edward snowden and do the editing there rather than here in the u.s.? >> right. actually, it was before i was contacted by snowden. i had been filming for a while. i wanted to edit and i felt like i could not assure a was going to be able to keep my footage source material secure crossing the border. at that point, i was filming with several people who are all being targeted by the government, including william binney, the nsa whistleblower, thomas drake another nsa whistleblower, jacob applebaum training and intelligence and julian assange. i knew the government had an interest in these people and i felt it wasn't safe for me to travel with the footage. i had moved to berlin to edit.
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that is when i was in berlin that i received the first e-mail from edward snowden. >> let's go back to the first video of edward snowden that the world saw back in june 2013. you shot this inside his hong kong hotel room, then published on the guardian website. >> in a say in the intelligence community in general is focused on getting intelligence wherever it can by any means possible. it is believed -- a self certification that they serve national interest. originally, we saw that focus very narrowly tailored as far as for intelligence and it overseas. increasingly, we see it is happening domestically. and to do that, the nsa specifically targets the comedic and's of everyone. it in just them by default. it collects them in assistance and filters them and analyzes them and measures them and stores them for periods of time since the because that is the easiest, most efficient, and
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most valuable way to achieve these ends. so while they may be intending to target someone associated with a foreign government or someone they suspect of terrorism, they are collecting your communications to do so. any analyst at anytime can target anyone, any selector anywhere. where this committee cash and swear be -- will be picked up depends on the range of the networks and the authorities the analyst is empowered with. not all analysts have the ability to target everything. but i am sitting at my desk, silly have the authorities to or youranyone from you accountant to a federal judge to even the president, if i had a personal e-mail. >> that was edward snowden, filled by laura poitras, the first time the world saw him. laura, even the way you film 10 back then, i think sent quite a message. you have him on one side there is a window, very bright and on the other side, amir that shows
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his back. it is all about transparency. that is the message i think that comes through. you could see him every which way. i was workingker, with some constraints because we were in a hotel room and they were not many options. people have tried to read into the symbolism of the mayor -- mirror. it wasn't that plan. i was able to get rid of other things that were in the room and it was a nice shot. that intended to be symbolic. >> but talk about -- and this is the power of your film. a is as if we're watching thriller. and because it certainly was this, as all this unfolded, first, the reports coming out, the people wondering who was behind this and interestingly, edward snowden decides to name himself because he does not want it to be about him. he doesn't want people speculating. but explain the revelations that
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so rocked the world. >> in terms of how the film happens, i come -- i make films that are in a tradition called direct cinema. you are actually in the moment when things are happening, as things are unfolding and you document them. when you're in the moment, all that kind of uncertainty exists because you don't know what is going to happen next. that is what you sort of feel is the narrative, dramatic pull. you have these letters that come and they take us to hong kong and hong kong unfolds day by day beginning on a monday and ending on the following monday. and i'm not doing many interviews. the only interview i did was the one on the guardian website. everything else was filmed as it happens style. >> and what happened after he came forward? explain what took place.
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>> after he came forward in terms of the repercussions of the reporting? >> exactly. as he moved from his hotel room to your hotel room and how he made it out of the country. >> it begins, we're sort of beginning the reporting and soon after glenn publishes the first story, the verizon story, then we see his partner starts to , 70 comes tols their house looking for him. it is clear the government suspects him of being the source. we continue to report. we are seeing the news breaking. it is clear there is also a bit -- the government knows he is missing. we then released the video. the last time we see him in hong kong, he's having a meeting with human rights lawyers and he leaves. and then after that, the film then transitions to where the reporting is happening.
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i guess it is also important to say because i'm really participate in the film, i'm also one of the protagonists and it is told from a projective point of view. seeo to berlin and we myself and him chatting and glenn. we get the for operations -- the reverberations of this happening globally. >> award-winning filmmaker laura poitras, speaking to us about her new documentary, "citizenfour," which features nsa whistleblower edward snowden. you can go to our website to see a video timeline featuring all of our coverage based on snowden's revelations. when we come back from break, we'll continue our interview, and talk about the new revelations the film contains -- from a second whistleblower. we will speak with jeremy scahill about the guilty verdict and blackwater. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we return now to our interview with award-winning filmmaker laura poitras about her new documentary, "citizen four." >> i asked laura to describe another clip from the film, which shows an editorial discussion in the newsroom of the guardian newspaper about how to publish the leaked materials nsa whistleblower edward snowden had given them. >> i think the guardian might be working on the story, so when we were in hong kong, edward snowden explains to ewen macaskill, an investigative journalist with the guardian, who joined glenn on the trip. when we were in hong kong, edward snowden explains to him a program called templar, which he describes -- i think he says is the most invasive and internet theection programs where u.k. is buffering the entire for take of the internet. ewen and this with
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explains what it means. after hong kong, ewen passes this along to his colic's of the guardian and a report on it. >> let's go to that clip. quirks which ones do we want here? >> redact that. it sounds like a good summer homework project. this one here. >> secret documents. this should just have three single slides on it. it has more than three. we have to be extremely careful.
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>> this is really dangerous stuff. it is all under lock and key. they will come in and slammed the front door down if we elaborate on that. they kept saying, this is from the very top. >> the clip ends with an on-air screen chat with laura poitras in snowden who types, how are things over there? >> she reports, they are publishing tempora, very nea nervous. >> the conversation between edward snowden and laura poitras
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, communicating and cryptically. explain tempora to us. >> tempora is what is called a full take internet buffer where the gchq collects all of the information coming across the aternet and what they do is buffer, they slow everything down so they can look at everything and take things out of it. it is full take everything. what you see in this chat is the fact edward snowden is saying the nsa is not able to do this. they actually query the u.k.'s search forned -- the selectors and those kinds of things. invasivecribed as very and full take. that is the most important thing to underline in terms of the information, this sort of scale of it.
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i's areand the five interested in taking as much information as they can, a bulk dragnet of collection of signal intelligence rather than targeted. so you have the suspicion gathering of our communication. -- suspicionless gathering of our communication. >> it is 2012 before snowden's revelation. democratic congress member hank johnson is questioning then nsa director keith alexander about the agency's ability to conduct the mastic surveillance. >> does the nsa routinely intercept american citizens e-mails? >> no. the nsa intercept americans cell phone conversations? >> no. >> google searches? >> no. >> text messages? >> no.
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>> orders? >> no. >> what judicial consent is required for nsa to intercept communications and information involving american citizens? within the united states, that would be the fbi. if it was a foreign actor in the united states, the fbi would still have to lead and it would work with nsa were other intelligence agencies as authorized. but to conduct that kind of collection in the united states, it would have to go through a court order. in the court would have to authorize it. we're not authorized to do it, nor do we do it. >> that was then nsa director keith alexander desponding to questions from democratic caucus member hank johnson in 2012. laura poitras, in light of what edward snowden revealed, your response to what keep alexander stated so in fatty -- and statically? >> what we're doing in the beginning of the film is set the stage for what is happening and enough miles being made by the
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government. i think the most revealing one is the one of james clapper, where he is being questioned by ron wyden who actually knows about the metadata collection program but doesn't want to say. >> let's go to senator ron wyden questioning director of intelligence james clyburn during a 2013 senate hearing. this is before stones revelations about the and or say -- nsa surveillance program. >> does the nsa collect any type of data at all, millions or hundreds of millions of americans? >> no, sir. >> it does not. >> not wittingly. our cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly. >> so there you have james laura, explain, what he was forced to say after the snow in revelations. >> this is an important moment. i think both for snowden when he
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was watching it, but the situation -- what is happening there, ron wyden sits on the intelligence committee and he knew very well the nsa was collecting the metadata records, the sort of call records under section 215 of the patriot act under "secret" interpretation of the law. so ron wyden knows this and is trying to question james clapper. james clapper clearly lies because he knows also they're collecting the phone records. fast forward to hong kong, the first story that glenn reveals, which is the verizon order which court,a court, secret chrom ofhers the records americans. the government is clearly lying in congress. think,the things that i
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hopefully, think people think about when watching this film, here's a case where ron wyden himself knew this was happening and he was against it, yet he didn't come forward. and a whistleblower then is the one who comes forward to say the public has a right to know about this. ron wyden and udall, on one hand, i think they're trying to push the intelligence agencies to be more transparent, on the other hand, they have a lot of protection. they could say much more. they have immunity. they could come forward and tell the population if they think the people should know what the government is doing, they are actually empowered to do so. what kind ofras, message do you think your film or would you want your film to convey to future whistleblowers? >> i don't know if it is so much -- i mean, the film begins with william binney, innocent whistleblower, who worked for three decades in the nsa and you about the domestic spying and
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the stellar wind and you see what happens, the fbi shows up at his home with guns and then edward snowden takes different choices, he has documents, unlike william binney, who did not have documents, and leaves the country and six political asylum. i don't know if it is so much a message for whistleblowers, but a question for us as why people have to make these sacrifices for the public to know what our government is doing? i think that is the right question. >> let's go to william benny who you brought to our studios when you did this event with both jacob apple bound, few featuring the film, and william benny, who spent nearly 40 years at the national security agency but retired a month after september 11, 2001, after the attacks, because of his concerns about unchecked domestic surveillance. for a time, largely responsible for automating the agencies worldwide eavesdropping network. in 2012, he gave his first ever television interview on the show
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you are also on, laura, to democracy now! >> after 9/11, all of the rams came off for nsa and the decided between the white house and the nsa and cia, they decided to illuminate the protections of the was citizens and collect on domestically. they started collecting from commercial -- the one commercial company that i know of that --ticipated, provided over probably, undamaged, 320 million records of communication of your citizen to u.s. citizen inside this country. >> what company? >> at&t. they were providing billing data. at that point i knew i could not stay. because of direct violation of the constitutional rights of everyone in the country. plus it violated the law and stored communications act,
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electronic privacy act, the intelligence act of 1947 in 1978. i mean, it was a whole series of -- plus, all of the laws covering the federal communications governing telecoms. all of these laws are being violated, including the constitution. that was a decision made that was not going to be reversed, so i could not stay there. i had to leave. >> that was william benny, who went on to describe what happened in 2007 years after he left the and is a when his home was raided. >> they came busting in. >> who is they? >> the fbi post up they came in with gun strong on my house. >> where were you? >> i was taking a shower. my son answered the door and they pushed an out-of-the-way gunpoint and came running upstairs and found me in the shower. they came in and pointed a gun at me. >> at your head? >> oh, yeah. they wanted to make sure i saw
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it and i was intimidated. >> that was william benny describing what happened. laura, his featured in your film not only before the snow revelations, but after. this is a powerful part of your film. what snowden empowered others to do. soon you see bill binney a diabetic amputee, in his wheelchair rolling in to testify as well as others, as the world, country by country, comes to realize what is taking place. >> right. that is one of the things. when i started filming this with bill and tom drake and others, this is the first time people from the nsa were coming forward. i thought, wow, the world should be paying more attention to them. people were. you featured him and he started doing more interviews, but he did not seem to shake things up. i just remember thinking, he should be filling auditoriums to
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talk about what he knows. after snowden comes forward where he has evidence and bill hastion, you see been traveling around the world to talk about the dangers of what the nsa and other intelligence committees are doing any threat he feels poses to democracies. right now in germany, there is an inquiry investigating what nsa spying is happening, so it is an ongoing inquiry and they invited him to testify. -- the is part of the latter part of the film. >> laura, i know you have to go. you and with germany's gay hill and possibly a second whistleblower. jeremy will pick it up from where you describe what is happening now. >> i felt strongly this is not a film that was over. although snowden had taken these this to come forward with information, then things were still ongoing. i wanted a sense the film is --
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doesn't have a sense of closure. at the end of the film, we sort of return to the scene of both the war on journalists that we have seen, the targeting of journalists and how difficult it is to do investigative journalism when you have intelligence agencies that are able to collect so much information about us and who we talked to and there's a scene with william binney and jeremy scahill talking about those risks. and the film sort of moves on to look at other people who are also coming forward. other whistleblowers are also under threat as we continue reporting. for me, a kind of comes full circle because this whistleblower who was taken enormous risks has revealed something that for me, is quite viable were important because it talks about the watchlist and talks about the fact there 1.2 million people on u.s. watchlist. this is something when i first
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started being stopped at the border, i would ask the government, why am i on this list? the government's response was, we won't even confirm or deny there is a list. now, thanks to the risks and sacrifices of a whistleblower, we actually know the government has a watchlist. there are documents that supported, which then now opens the possibility for legal challenges, which we have already seen come forward where people -- now the courts can intervene and say, what is this process? what is the watchlist process and is it legal? so that is now were things are. >> it even shocks edward snowden, the information as glenn reveals it to him, as he is now living in russia and you reveal -- with his girlfriend who left in hawaii, not daring to tell her what he was doing because he did not want to jeopardize her for having the knowledge. >> right. powerfult is a really
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scene between snowden and glenn and the as well. we sort of come to gather indifferent hotel rooms -- we sort of later come together indifferent hotel rooms after the hong kong revelation. i don't to say too much about the end of the film. laura, what else are you hoping will happen with this film as it opens first in four cities and then around the country? >> honestly, i'm in a position as a filmmaker. there are people that allow me to document and to put their lives on the line. i hope the film is -- shows the risk these people take and people should stand up for them. this is information the public should know. it is people having to take personal sacrifice to share information the public should know.
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>> award-winning journalist, laura poitras, director of the new documentary, "citizen four," about surveillance and nsa whistleblower edward snowden. it opens friday in new york and los angeles, san francisco, and washington, d.c.. her nsa reporting contributed to a pulitzer prize for public service awarded to the guardian and washington post. along with glenn greenwald and jeremy scahill, she is co-founder of the intercept. jeremy scahill joins us now in studio. you have this second source. talk about him and what he is about watchlist and drone strikes. i just want to make live from the onset, are absolute top priority is protecting our sources. that is beingn revealed that comes from the source is been revealed in a manner that is consistent with protecting the source.
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what you see in the film is that we have a source who provided us document thate was not a public document, from the entire intelligence community that outline the rulebooks for placing people on a variety of watchlist. this document and others like it, had been long sought after by the emergence of a liberties union and other legal organizations and lawyers who represent clients who have been unjustly placed on the no-fly list. we saw an immediate impact from what this extremely principled and brave whistleblower did in int it has only been used four cases. a federal judge has declared the aspects of the watch listing program that disallow people from knowing their status on the watchlist to be unconstitutional , a coalition of civil liberties groups are now in a major political battle with the obama justice department over releasing this information,
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asserting it basically represents a parallel secret legal system consisting of roles that the american people and visitors to the united states, are not allowed to know. so how do you fight against charges that you are facing the secret process when no one tells you you have been labeled a known or suspected terrorist? there were a number of documents we publish that were classified as secret that revealed their over one million people on these watchlist's. that dead people can be placed on the watchlist. the family members of people that are suspected of having medications with suspected terrorists can be placed on the watchlist. what this individual did, this whistleblower, who was done at great personal risk, but also had an immediate impact on an issue that affects well over one and people, including many, many american citizens, it also revealed the city of dearborn, michigan, population 96,000, the largest percentage of arab americans per capita, and muslim
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americans per capita, is the number two city in the united states -- the top five consist of huge cities. city outside of detroit, michigan is the number two place where the u.s. intelligence community says, there are no more suspected terrorists residing. it is abundantly clear it is religious and afghan profiling at its core. the only reason we know that is because of the whistleblower taking great personal risk to reveal this to the american public and to the world. drone strikes. how do they fit into what this source has revealed? >> i'm not when it's a much much be on what you see in the film. i don't want to spoil it. when this was filmed, basically, what you see in the film is glenn greenwald describing a
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document i obtained that has not yet been published. strikesates that drone are coordinated through the u.s. military base in germany. the german government spokesperson denied that any u.s. bases in germany play any role in the extrajudicial killing operations around the world. it is interesting they use that, because maybe they think they are judicial -- which of course, legal experts say that is not true. the only thing i will say about that is either the german government is lying about the role this u.s. military base is playing in the drone program, or they are not in the know in the united states is not telling germany the role it is playing. >> and we come back, we're going to talk about the stunning blackwater verdicts the came down yesterday. of,my scahill, author
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"blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army." his most recent book is "dirty wars" that has just been released in paperback. we will be back with him in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> a federal jury has returned guilty verdicts against four blackwater operatives involved in the 2007 massacre at baghdad's nisoor square. on wednesday, the jury found one guard, nicholas slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were convicted of voluntary manslaughter -- paul slough, evan liberty, and dustin heard. the jury still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts. the operatives were tried for the deaths of 14 of the 17 iraqi civilians who died when their blackwater unit opened fire. nisoor square is the highest-profile deadly incident involving blackwater -- or any private war contractor. >> for more, jeremy scahill is
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with us, cofounder of the and author of the vessel in book, "blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army." his most recent article published by the intercept is headlined "blackwater remains free and rich while former employs go down on murder charges." >> the point is, these four individuals, and there was another blackwater operative who pleaded to lesser charges earlier in the process, and the next really testified against former colleagues of blackwater, this is an extremely important verdict because we're talking about a mercenary industry, a war industry that has largely operated in the wild west atmosphere with there's absolutely no accountability. while we only have a handful of people being held accountable for what were very widespread crimes committed by blackwater and other private military companies, this is a very important moment for the victims of nisoor square. they fought for many years in both civil courts and criminal
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courts to try to get justice for their loved ones who were killed. let's be clear here. blackwater was a part of an unlawful global war that was borderless in nature, launched by george w. bush and dick cheney with the support of democrats in the u.s. congress, and president obama has continued to use mercenary forces. none of the people that unleashed these forces on the world at the highest levels are being held accountable. dick cheney, don rumsfeld, erik prince the billionaire owner and founder of blackwater who has now started another mercenary from targeting africa backed by chinese capital arch going to be held accountable. it is like abu ghraib were low-level people who did the actual torture, they get held accountable. >> describe what they did. describe what these four blackwater guards did in nisoor square. >> they were unit called raven 23. they were the elite guard of the
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was occupation, guarding paul bremer, the original sort of proconsul in iraq, the viceroy, he liked to call himself. they were responding to an incident that occurred on the opposite and of baghdad from where their base was located. they rolled out and end up hitting a crowded intersection at nisoor square. what often would happen in iraq, mercenary contractors would start throwing frozen water bottles and cars trying to force them off the street, and eventually, it would escalate to shooting at vehicles. these guys basically try to take over the traffic circle, the blackwater guys, so they could continue to their destination. a small white car with a young iraqi medical student and his mother did not stop fast enough for the blackwater convoy, and they decided to escalated all the way up to assassinating those individuals. i say assassinating, because they shot to kill these people and then blew up their car. that started this massive
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shooting spree that went on -- sustained for minutes. at the end of it, 17 iraqis were killed, including a nine-year-old boy, who story we have told on the show before, and some 20 others were wounded in the attacks. it became known as baghdad's bloody sunday. -- in the immediate aftermath, said they had been fired upon. they had their allies in the media, senior producer at cnn was quick to get on tv and say, oh, no, no, this wasn't a massacre, this was a firefight and blackwater were shot at. clearly, this jury saw with the iraqi eyewitnesses have contended and that is that this was an unprovoked massacre of iraqi civilians, none of whom were posing a threat, except not stopping fast enough for the mercenaries. >> i want to ask you about blackwater founder erik prince
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was on fox news. u.s. military has mastered the most expensive way to wage war. their proven that in iraq and afghanistan. they have not been that effective. finding a cheap am sustainable way you can keep presence in these areas to keep pressure on islamist, to support friends and be that long-term well is about the only way to do it. it is as part of american history as apple high. >> that was erik prince, founder of blackwater. could you talk about what he said about finding isis and what implications you think this vertical have on which way these ies operate, if any? >> from this beginning of the so-called world on terror, he viewed the world as being new crusaders -- blackwater rolled being neo-crusaders. religion of rich
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islam. they would kill muslims for sport. first of all, the fact that blackwater operatives were told -- that there's a culture of the company were they called people rag heads, used any manner of -- sand monkeys, slurs to describe the people in iraq and afghanistan that they were -- whose countries are occupying, but there have been numerous court cases, whistleblowers with them blackwater, who have said their pilots and helicopters would drive around and literally would go "hunting" for people. and it didn't matter whether they had anything to do with 9/11, they were all the enemy. there was a tone set in the company. i know this from people who were there and you would hear erik prince's speeches. he would talk about the so-called world on terror in these epic historical terms of the christian world versus the islamic world, and also few look at the prince family in our history, they've been very dedicated to funding radical inht wing religious clauses
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the united states. one of his closest friends for much of his life was chuck colson, who was nixon hatchet men during the watergate scandal, the author of nixon's enemies list who then went to prison and came out as this sort of evangelical christian who spent much of his life than trying to fight the scourge of islam within america's prison. erik prince is surrounded by very radical right wing christians. the fact he says, we want to fight isis. first of all, they want to make money off of it. secondly, it plays into his world view that islam is the enemy. >> we have to leave it there, jeremy scahill co-author of the best-selling book, "blackwater: the rise of the world's most powerful mercenary army." we will have a link to your piece on that does it for our show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to
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the big game in the world is the movies. it's the biggest game. it always has been the biggest game. television is the exact opposite. it's a postage stamp and it has to draw you in. there's no question that this is the age of images and it became that way because of television. and the movies, of course, have to deal with that. i think we're on the verge of a media revolution comparable to the arrival of television itself. annenberg media ♪ and:


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