tv Democracy Now LINKTV November 10, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
11/10/14 11/10/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now. >> on all levels, justice has hit rock bottom. we're dealing with a dreadful government and i hope at least what will result is the mexican people expressed their anger and something serious occurs. >> protesters in mexico city set fire to the door of the ceremonial presidential palace sunday as tens of thousands marched to condemn the recent massacre of 43 students. human rights groups say the
killings is the worst atrocity mexico has seen in years. on friday, the mexican government accused a gang of carrying out the massacre. then to iraq. >> we are now in the position to go on offense. the airstrikes have been effective integrating isil's test capability in the advanced or making. now we need ground troops, iraqi ground troops that can start pushing them back. >> as president obama deploys 1500 more troops to iraq, we will speak with matthew hoh, the former marine and state department official who once served in iraq. in 2009 he became the first known u.s. official to resign in protest over the afghan war. and we will speak to a yale graduate student in public health who just completed 21 days in quarantine after returning from liberia. all that and more, coming up.
welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has authorized the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to iraq, more than doubling the current u.s. force in iraq. pentagon press secretary rear admiral john kirby unveiled the plan on friday. >> the commander-in-chief has authorized chuck hagel to deploy to iraq up to 1500 additional u.s. personnel over the coming months in a noncombat role to expand our advice and insist -- assist mission. secretary hagel made this recommendation to the president based on the request of the government of iraq. the assessment of iraqi units, progress iraqi security forces have made in the field and in concert with development of the coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offense of against isil. >> in a significant expansion of
the american military campaign against isis, military advisers will reportedly establish training sites across iraq. the $5.6 billion plan will reportedly be presented to congress during the lame-duck session that begins this week. the u.s. military expansion in iraq comes amid conflicting reports over the fate of isis leader abu bakr al-baghdadi. iraqi officials claim he was wounded in an airstrike on isis leaders in iraq's anbar province. we'll have more on iraq later in the broadcast. we will be speaking with former marine matthew hoh. the u.s. and iran have opened a new round of talks ahead of the deadline for reaching a nuclear agreement two weeks from today. a long-term deal would allow iranian uranium enrichment and relief from u.s.-led sanctions in return for extensive international inspections. on sunday, secretary of state john kerry met with iranian counterpart mohammad javad zarif in oman. zarif said easing the sanctions
remains a critical issue. >> i think the most important issues that need to be a addressed are enrichment and sanctions. it is important for the rest of the world to understand sanctions have never contributed to the resolution of this issue. sanctions are not a part of solutions. sanctions are the most important part of the problem, it legal in nature, must be removed. they've not produced any positive result. >> >> speaking to cbs news on sunday, president obama said there is still a "big gap" between the two sides and that a deal may not be within reach. it emerged last week obama wrote a letter to iran's supreme leader ayatollah ali khamenei outlining a mutual interest in opposing the islamic state and coming to terms on a nuclear deal. president obama has tapped brooklyn federal prosecutor loretta lynch to replace eric holder as attorney general.
obama formally unveiled for nomination at the white house saturday. >> is pretty hard to be more qualified for this job demo read a. throughout her 30 or career, she is distinguished her career as does herself as tough, fair, independent lawyer who has twice headed one of the most prominent u.s. attorneys offices in the country. she has spent years in the trenches as a prosecutor, aggressively fighting terrorism, financial fraud, cybercrime all while vigorously defending civil rights. >> if confirmed as attorney general, loretto lynch would be the first african-american woman to hold the position. in brief remarks, she thanked president obama and pledged to defend the rights of all citizens. president, thank you for the faith you have placed in me. i pledge today to you and to the american people that if i have the honor of being confirmed by the senate, i will wake up every morning with the protection of
the american people my first lot. and i will work every day to safeguard our citizens, our liberties, our rights in this great nation which has given so much to me in my family. >> two americans have returned to the u.s. after being freed from imprisonment in north korea. kenneth bae and matthew todd miller were released in a deal reportedly brokered by the director of national intelligence aims clapper. they made a brief statement upon the return. >> it has been an amazing two years. i learned a lot, i grew a lot. i lost a lot of weight. i stand here because of you. there.ou for being i want to say tonight, thank you for all of your support in prayer and your love. it has really been encouraging to me and for others who are in the same shoes.
thank you. and miller had been sentenced to years of hard labor . north korean state media claims they were released after president obama conveyed "earnest apology" for their actions. protests are continuing across mexico after the apparent confection of -- confession of gang members for the massacre of six weeks students ago. on friday, the mexican attorney general sent suspects in the case admitted to killing the students and incinerating their toies, leaving investigators the remains. the students disappeared following a police ambush fueling public anger over government corruption and mexico's endemic violence. on friday, a breakaway group of protesters set fire to the door the presidential palace in mexico city after a march that drew thousands of people. exit can president enrique peña nieto has drawn criticism for
leaving mexico to attend the apex summit in china embassy and rest. and report from a leading mexican journalist says enrique peña nieto lives in a private mansion owned by contractor who received lucrative government contract to build high-speed rail. more from mexico after the headlines. protests have broken out in europe israeli areas of israel -- arab-israeli areas of israel after the shooting of young man. the man apparently tried to attack police with a knife after they came to arrest a relative. but video shows the police shot him dead as he tried to run away. arab-israeli communities observed a 24-hour strike beginning sunday. earlier today, palestinian man allegedly stabbed in israeli theier in tel aviv, leaving soldier critically wounded. a committee within the israeli meanwhile has approved a measure that would apply all is really lost to jewish settlers in the occupied west bank. the measure was backed by lawmakers who want to formally
annexed the west bank settlement blocs into israel. in a symbolic gesture, group of young palestinian activists mark saturday's anniversary of the follett the berlin wall. they broke through a portion of the separation wall that bisects the occupied west bank. in a statement, the palestinian popular committee said -- the fall of the berlin wall signaled the collapse of the soviet union in the end of the cold war. at 20 for the anniversary ceremony in berlin, german chancellor angela merkel said the historic event carries a message for today. >> it showed we have the power to shape our destiny and make things better. that is the message of the fall of the wall. it is directed at us in germany, but also others in europe and the world, especially to people
in ukraine, syria, iraq, and other regions for human rights are threatened or violated. people in1.6 million the spanish region of catalonia have voted to back secession. close to 2 million to part in the referendum, less than half of those eligible. the vote is nonbinding and spain says it will not be recognized. figures show the official unemployment rate has fallen to a six-year low of 5.8%. despite the improved job growth, the white house council of economic advisors acknowledged wages remain stagnant. >> you would always love to see more job growth, but 229,000 jobs per month in 2014 is the fastest pace since the late 1990's. it is consistent with a rapidly declining unemployment rate and what we really want to see is a translating to even larger gains
in wages. >> a detroit judge has approved the city's effort to restructure finances and shed around $7 billion in debt under its bankruptcy filing last year. the plan includes cuts to retireee pensions for city workers at around $660 million in funding from state and private sources. detroit council president brenda jones said the city's next phase of recovery should focus on community improvement. employust empower and the long-suffering people of detroit. work through a plan of adjustment after bankruptcy, a plan for our people is critical. this,le we celebrate let's refocus our efforts on getting citizens back to work, making our streets and neighborhoods safer, and rebuilding our population by
creating a thriving and growing city. >> the deal ends 16 months of bankruptcy proceedings. it will let detroit spend nearly $2 billion to restore some of the basic public services that have all but disappeared in recent years. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today in mexico were protesters set fire to the presidential palace over the weekend following news that 43 students missing for more than six weeks have been massacred. the students, who were from a rural teachers college, what missing following a police ambush in guerrero in late september. the mayor of the city of iguala and his wife are suspected of ordering the attack by police, which left six people dead. it is believed the police then turned the students over to a local drug gang with close ties to the mayor and his wife. more than 70 people have been arrested in the case, many of them police.
on friday, the mexican attorney general said two suspects had led authorities to trash bags believed to contain the remains of the students. he said the detainees confessed to shooting the survivors and incinerating their bodies. the detainees pointed out that in this area, they took the lives of the survivors and then put them under the rubbish dump where they burn the bodies. they took shifts so the fire lasted allers -- hours, using tires, plastic, diesel, petro. i reiterate, we're making sure gangroup of people, the members detained, that they transported, that they took to this place from a burned them, then threw them into the river are what happened in the incident that took lace in u iguala. >> tens of thousands of people have been brought to the streets. at least 14 people were arrested after a breakaway group of protesters storm the ceremonial presidential palace, setting
fire to the door. in guerrero state were the students went missing, protesterss set fire to cars and truck outside the office of the governor who was recently forced to resign. and often remark by the mexican attorney general has become the rallying cry for the protest. at the end of his address on friday, execute attorney general stopped taking questions saying, "enough, i am tired." that comment, taken up by protesters who said they are tired of killings and impunity, tired of repression and tired of the federal government's failure to control the rampant corruption of local authorities. the families of the students say until the remains are identified as their loved ones, they refuse to believe they are dead. we want to say as parents of the students that i know we do we accept this declaration that was given because attorney general himself included has said he is not sure it is for certain.
with this, we don't want to say we are closed to new results. we want results, but with proof. the moment we as parents of the students, family, are sure with the attorney general is saying is the truth, only at this moment will we accept it, whatever the results. by maria luisa aguilar rodríguez is coordinator of the advocacy unit for tlachinollan, a human rights group working with the families of the 43 missing students. she is joining us by democracy where the stream school which the missing students attended is located. elcome to democracy now! can you talk about what was discovered over the weekend, maria? >> yes, so the attorney general went to meet with the students parents. the information than
publicly. think the results are basically what we've been saying for a long time, that no one actually has confidence on the state anymore, so the parents have been very clear that only with concrete proof and proof that it is accompanied by the decision of their independent experts that the frantic independent experts that they brought to the table, they will recognize any information that the attorney general gives. i think it is also what we have thatall over the country the confidence of the authorities is very diminished, so now we need -- the state needs to build on trust and give concrete proof so they can
recognize where the students are. the meantime, that they continue to look for them [inaudible] >> for people not familiar with the story, to say the least, this has consumed to mexico, explain what is believed to have happened. want to doe students ,ome fundraising in iguala which is like two hours away from where they are based. buses andtaking some they were followed by some police who started using force against them without any warning. there were at least [indiscernible] violets where police were
involved and also playing close people are believed to be related with organized crime [inaudible] guerrero has one of the highest rates of violence in mexico. six people died. three of them were students. brutal force either from the police or the plainclothes persons. [inaudible] more than 44 days ago. >> mexican president enrique peña nieto condemned both the apparent massacre and the protest that took lace over the weekend. >> the government for its part shares the mexican people the sense of pain as well us with --
and must be said this is a call for justice, a call for peace, unity, and not violence or confrontation. it is unacceptable summit should try to use this tragedy to justify violence. you can't demand justice while acting with violence. >> maria luisa aguilar, can you respond to that and also response to the president leaving for china amidst this massive unrest in mexico? people arel the state is not giving the attention this crisis needs. which is represented in the fact the president left for this visit. and also the concern that they basically had to move forward to give any kind of information which is related to the events the witness gave some information.
so what it would seem the state to be done, they have to close the case very quick so they can stop with the manifestations, pass thestrations, and page. what we have seen is this case is a turning point. we cannot go back to what everyday was happening in mexico. at least 22,000 people have been recognized by the state. it is not an isolated case. >> can you talk about the attorney mexican general -- mexican attorney general saying, "i've had enough" and what that has become? >> i'm sure he is tired, but the
parents are more tired than him. the people in mexico are really tired of impunity and lack of trust in our institutions. i think it is also the reflection of what happens here. will in thisitical case because of the pressure from the international commodity. even with all of this political will [inaudible] to look for the thousands of people that are disappeared. we have to start looking and .ecognize the magnitude >> finally, what this means for mexico right now? some people are saying the government could fall.
people are calling for the resignation of the attorney general. what is happening overall? think what is happening [inaudible] the trigger for everyone to recognize once again this crisis , the humanitarian crisis, the human rights crisis with the tens of thousands people who are disappeared but also those who .ave been killed with so much violence, it is generalized -- something needs to be done. it is not only about how to react to this case, but how to react to all of the situation and how to still trust in authority and to regain [indiscernible] >> your joining us from a narrow
.hich has a history of activism as we wrap up, can you describe that history and what is happening there now? it is where the school is based. the school has a long history of activism and education for the of highly politicized education. i mean, this is a school for poor people, for people who doesn't have any other opportunity to have access to education or higher education. but also with the perspective they need to go back to the bring some tools, some political tools to the community so then they can start reflecting on social justice and
some other things that really we don't see in the regular educational system. >> maria luisa aguilar, thank you for being with us coordinator of the advocacy unit , for tlachinollan, a human rights group working with the families of the 43 missing students. joining us from the southern state of guerrera in mexico. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as the nation prepares to commemorate veterans day, we will speak with matthew hoh, a veteran and government official who quit over the afghan war. we will talk to him about what is happening in a rack, the deployment of even more u.s. troops. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
commemorate veterans day, president obama has authorized the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to iraq. the plan will more than double the current u.s. force in iraq and will reportedly cost 5.6 by in dollars. -- $5.6 billion. at a news conference on friday, pentagon press secretary rear admiral john kirby announced the decision. playthorized to to up to 1500 additional troops in a noncombat role. secretary hagel made this recommendation to the president based on the request of the government of iraq from you central command's assessment of iraq units, the progress i refuse to give forces had made in the field, and in concert with the development of coalition campaign plan to defend key areas and go on the offensive against isil. >> that was pentagon press secretary rear admiral john kirby.
in a significant expansion of the american military campaign against isis, military advisers will reportedly establish training sites across iraq. the request for $5.6 billion will reportedly be presented to congress during the lame-duck session that begins this week. in an interview on cbs' "face the nation" broadcast on sunday, president obama said the increased troop deployment to iraq marks a "new phase" against islamic state militants -- an offensive strategy, rather than a defensive one. >> we're now in a position to star going on some offense. the airstrikes have been very effective integrating isil's capability and slowing the advance they were making. now what we need is ground troops, iraqi ground troops i can start pushing them back. >> the timing of the announcement has raised questions about whether the obama administration waited until after the midterm elections in order to shield democratic candidates from war-weary voters. the antiwar group codepink has
criticized obama for sending more troops to iraq, saying in a statement -- "for months we've been hearing 'no boots on the ground' over and over from the administration ...when will we learn from our mistakes and stop repeating history?" well, for more, we go now to raleigh, north carolina where we're joined by matthew hoh, a senior fellow at the center for international policy. he's a former state department official who resigned in protest from his post in afghanistan over the u.s. policy there in september 2009. prior to his assignment in afghanistan, matthew hoh served in iraq. from 2004 to 2005, he worked with a state department reconstruction and governance team in salah ad-din province. and, from 2006 to 2007, he worked as a marine corps company commander in anbar province. matthew hoh, welcome to democracy now! can you share your response to the increased boots on the ground? >> good morning and thank you for having me on.
my response is as many people i think in the united states, scratching their heads and wondering, what are we doing? what does the united states government really think it is going to accomplish by putting more american troops into the middle of the iraqi civil war and into the middle of the syrian civil war? particularly, coming off of 13 years of war in , someistan in iraq, libya of you, lebanon, etc.. my response is more or less the same as those of other people, , lack of a better phrase, this is crazy. >> speaking to cbs' "face the nation" on sunday, president obama insisted u.s. troops will focus on training iraqis to fight isis and co-ordinating air strikes, rather than engaging in active combat. >> what hasn't changed is, our troops are not engaged in
combat. essentially, we're taking four training centers with coalition members that allow us to bring in iraqi recruits, some of the sunni tribes that are still resisting my sale, giving them proper training, helping them was strategy, helping them with the just six. we will provide them close air support once they're prepared to offenseing on the against isil. what we will not be doing is having our troops to the fighting. >> president obama refused to rule out further increases in u.s. troops in iraq. >> as commander-in-chief, i'm never going to say never, but what the commanders who presented the plan to me say is that we may actually see fewer troops over time because now we're seeing coalition members start to partner with us on the training and assist effort. >> that was president obama on
"face the nation." matthew hoh, do you believe what he is saying? >> no, i don't. i think it is easy for us to revisit this in a few months time, just as now we are revisiting this from several months ago, and see the increase -- the graduation of injury of american forces back into the conflict. i think it is a slippery slope , this will spin out of control for the united states. what happens when american troops are killed? what happens when we lose several young men to a suicide bomber? how is the president going to react to that? how is the united states going to react when our troops are in combat and willie have 3000, and the -- and we only have 3000, the president can't seem to face down those in congress, john
mccain to lindsey graham, how is he going to face them down than if he cannot face them down now? i don't believe his words. i think this is going to be the beginning of an unfortunate and tragic reentry of america back into this civil war. >> your response to the fate of the isis leader abu bakr al-baghdadi, iraq if officials claim he was wounded in an airstrike on isis leaders in the anbar matthew, hoh? >> it could possibly happen, but i don't put much stock in that having a great effect on the islamic state. they will just get another leader. look, osama bin laden has been dead for 3.5 years in the administration is citing how dangerous al qaeda still is. in order to justify spying on americans or justify bombing in syria. the precursor to the islamic
state, al qaeda in iraq am a witch morphed into the islamic -- which morphed into the killed their leader was in 2006 and here we are in 2014, facing an even stronger, more dangerous, more barbaric force in the islamic state. , you know, i don't think it is going to affect things in the mid or long-term in terms of what is occurring in iraq, syria. because the issues here go well or one group. it goes into issues relating to sectarian violence that has been fostered and pushed by policies from the united states, from the west, from the gulf nations that have created this frankenstein isis and enabled the environment
for civil war to flourish. >> can you talk more about that, how isis was created, it support, and what you feel is the alternative? >> sure. the islamic state, as i mentioned, came from the al qaeda and iraq, which was an organization that sprang to life after the united states invaded iraq in 2003. al qaeda and iraq, one of the things when i was there in iraq as well as in the state department and the pentagon and d.c., one of the things will was noticed about it and want it we saw was it was, while at a number of foreign fighters and young men who are coming from other air nations to fight against the americans in iraq, very often or i should say the majority of the constituency of al qaeda and iraq were iraqis. 2007, because so many people were supporting our al qaeda and iraq based on
sectarian reasons, basically, you had the civil war and the sunnis in iraq were supporting al qaeda because they had no other choice. in 2006-2 thousand seven, we made a deal with the sunnis and gave the money and brought them back into the power structure. we pulled forces out of the area . sunnis than turn on al qaeda. what happened after that was when the united states left in 2011, the shia government in baghdad, which is incredibly corrupt, relentlessly when after the sunnis. they persecuted them to the extent i don't think people behind the violence that. this wasn't just excluding the sunnis from government but actively killing them, actively chasing them from their homes, actively arresting them in mass numbers to the point that the sunnis have revolted and have thrown their weight behind this
group, the islamic state, which is the successor to al qaeda in iraq. what you see is this horrible group islamic state that is very barbaric with this extreme religious fanaticism and ideology behind them, but they are receiving support of many sunni arabs in the area in iraq and syria because of the alternatives to the islamic forces thatvernment the sunnis see as much worse to them than the islamic state. my alternative to the u.s. bombing campaigns or the was military intervention is this -- this is the consequence of decades of united states policy in the middle east that has played one sect against the other. the islamic state is a frankenstein of our creation. as horrible as it is, the purposes behind the united states policy in the middle east must change to be one of preventing conflict rather than
fostering conflict. for decades now, we have supported various regimes in the middle east that have been dictatorships, have oppressed the people, or in the alternative, we have supported these groups that have been morphed into these organizations like al qaeda, like the islamic state. it is now out of control. for me, the alternative in iraq is to stop supporting a shia government that is worldly corrupt, that is persecuting its own people, stop buying their oil and selling their weapons. when we sell the world 70% of its weapons, we have to take responsibility for the havoc that is going to result from that. a lot of this is not some at what do we do now, but what do we do over the next decades to disengage ourselves from this policy where we have created these frankenstein's, created
conditions for civil war, where we have set one group whether it be by religion or sect or ethnicity against the other, and how do we walk away from that, back out of that and become a much more responsible partner in the world? how do we seek to actually bring about justice, bring about stability rather than fostering either war or oppression? can you describe your own transformation, how you came to the position you have? you fought in iraq. you served in afghanistan. you quit as the state department official in protest of the war in afghanistan. explain the trajectory you took over the years. , it began inme 2002 when i'm stationed in the pentagon. i was put in a very senior happened i just
worked directly for the secretary of navy as a marine corps captain. so in the run-up to the war, the iraq war and during the initial phase of the iraq war, i was very close to the decision making, the policy making. i can see how things were done, how decisions were made, how assessments were conducted. i could see very quickly, particularly once the war began in iraq and wants we started receiving our communications from our forces in iraq, classified can medications do telling what was happening on the ground, the disconnect was beingat policy promulgated in washington, d.c., what assessments were being made him a with statements were being made and what the reality was on the ground, of course when i got i saw that02, 2005, firsthand. i saw how our presence was feeling the occupation, how we're setting one groups again
-- one group against the other, thugishorrupt and militias in power in iraq. back to dcm were to the state department again on the iraq desk. i saw the disconnect between what is occurring in iraq and what we were actually saying. people in thel by administration, by people in military and the government to it knowledge that our policies -- acknowledge our policies were not just harmful, but they were malignant, they were causing further violence. they were causing groups like al .aeda to gain support this continued until finally i was in afghanistan in 2009 and sing all the same things again, seeing the narrative that we have the white hats on, american troops are dying to protect this to keep us free, seeing really what we're doing in afghanistan
was taking part in the civil war, our presence was feeling the insurgency, propping up photography. -- plutocracy. and al qaeda had left afghanistan years before. i decided at that point in 2009 a no longer could take part in it and here we are five years later. , you write in your website -- "in 2007, after my second deployment to iraq, ptsd and severe depression took over my life. i began trying to drink myself to death. thoughts of suicide became common until they were a near daily presence by 2011." that was what you said. as the nation commemorates veterans day on tuesday, what do you want people to understand about the impact of war on those who serve? >> with this recent -- i
appreciate you bringing it up. if anyone is listening or watching, you can contact me through my website and i'm happy to talk about my own struggles with ptsd, without qualities, alcohol abuse, because other people help me and that is how we survive this. the cost of these wars or something that i think is hidden. are a constant in the veteran community. this is something that has always occurred. i think men and women coming home from war have always been afflicted with suicide. but we are at the point now with whack what are the numbers per day, do you know? trucks the numbers are quite striking. their conservative because we don't have full data from all of the states. only couple of years ago the
veterans a administration exley started tracking veteran suicide -- actually started tracking veteran suicide on a national level. at least 20 to veterans kill themselves every day. more than two everyday who kill themselves are iraq or afghanistan veterans. those numbers will climb as those veterans get older. what that means for iraq and afghanistan veterans is that more veterans have killed themselves after coming home from iraq or afghanistan than have been killed in combat in iraq or afghanistan. as i said, we can expect those numbers to climb. seen, has beenve explained to me, over the course of our laugh time desk lifetime, one in five veterans who saw combat will attempt to kill inmselves -- who saw combat iraq or afghanistan will attempt to kill themselves. talks these numbers are astounding. >> i say at least because as of
about 30nly have thees contribute in data to veterans a administration on how many veterans kill themselves. >> with an 8000 a year. >> correct, that is what we know of. 8000 year. it is always been said in the veterans community if you were to build a vietnam veterans war memorial for those who killed themselves after they came home from vietnam, that memorial would be longer than the memorial we have an washington, d.c. mine, one a friend of of my former officers, one of my lieutenants, just texted me yesterday to tell me one of his former marines trying to kill himself, shot himself in the head. that young man is now brain-dead. this is something in the veteran community we all know. we see this.
experience it. the importance is, how do you get help? the problem is, like you read for my website, the problem is, we don't get help until we hit rock on him. and that seems to be another constant. >> it looks like we just lost he's a former state department official who resigned in protest from his post in afghanistan over u.s. policy there in september 2009. prior to his assignment in afghanistan, matthew hoh served in iraq. from 2004 to 2005, he worked with a state department reconstruction and governance team. from 2006 to 2007, he worked as a marine corps company commander in anbar province. when we come back, we go to new haven, connecticut, to yell
a collective of african musicians recorded the song help raise awareness about ebola in africa. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. health officials declared the dallas region to be free of ebola after the centers for disease control and prevention of announced friday it had cleared all 177 people into been checking for ebola exposure over the past three weeks. the texas city ebola worries began at september 30 when a visiting library and man thomas eric duncan was taken by ambulance to texas health presbyterian hospital, where he was diagnosed with the disease.
he eventually died on october 8 and remains the only person to die of ebola inside the united states. two nurses who cared for him came down with the virus but recovered. meanwhile in west africa, the united nations is reporting the spread of the virus is slowing in some of the hardest hit areas of liberia, guinea and sierra leone. but local health officials are warning it is too early to declare a premature victory over the outbreak. this is the head of liberia's ebola response, tolbert yansah. >> we're not off the hook here. sierra leone and guinea are still reporting cases. we need to continue this intervention, accelerating intervention until there are zero cases. if we start reporting zero cases, trust me, cearley on and guinea are still not reporting zero cases. >> we go now to new haven, connecticut where we are joined
by ryan boyko. he is a yale university graduate student in public health. he was in liberia for three weeks helping the government set up a computer database of ebola cases. soon after his return to the u.s., he was placed in quarantine in his home in new haven, connecticut. his quarantine ended last thursday. ryan boyko, welcome to democracy now! can you talk first about what you found when you got to liberia? >> thank you for having me on. when i got to liberia, i was in monrovia and the whole city seemed a bit shellshocked. it was a mix of this fear that was a was present along with normal everyday activities. people still need to work. people still need to get food for their families, feed their families. this is a city of nearly 1.5 million people with a few
thousand ebola cases. there is this fear that is always there. you could see it in the streets. but at the same time, there was a mix of that along with people going about their daily business. exactly that you did there and then what happened upon your return? >> so i helped the government, the ministry of health, build a web app and an android phone application and database where local community leaders could use the android app to notify the ministry of health about cases or deaths or other relevant events happening in the local area. and in the people at the ministry of health could see in real time where in the city they needed to send people to mount a response to get people it two
ebola treatment units or get a funeral team there or do other things like that. >> were you successful? is this working now in liberia? >> yes, so that database and the android app are being used in monrovia, throughout the city now, and i think it is one of many pieces contribute in, hopefully, to the continued decline in new cases in liberia. >> it must've investors decision you made to go to liberia, given how contagious ebola is. can you talk about the decision you made, for other people who are weighing this right now? case, i knew i would not be treating ebola patients. i would be working with i.t. personnel and with people at the ministry of health.
there's always that little bit of fear, some small level of risk given the virus is infecting thousands of people containedit is not as as in the u.s. and new york city or dallas or somewhere like that . so there was a little fear, but at the same time, ebola really is spread by bodily fluids a very sick people so i wasn't -- i did not think the risk to me was anything like what the risk is health care workers -- those kinds of people -- are facing. i have a lot of respect for people who choose to take on that level of risk for themselves. but i think that a lot of people, myself included, feel like the only way we can get a handle on this is to actually go to the source and helped to end it at the source.
>> can you talk about what happened to you when you returned? >> actually, i was here for a couple of days and then i got sick with a little bit of a fever. yell new haven hospital. i called and they used all of the precautions. i got in ebola test there and it came back negative twice. the symptoms resolved. that was the point when the government of connecticut decided to quarantine me. they sent me back to my home to stay there for over two weeks. in quarantine. >> how did you feel about that? did you feel you were treated correctly? >> no. was really concerned about the effect it might have on other volunteers, first of all, moving
forward and then it might have a big effect on our ability to fight the epidemic in west africa if we started quarantining all of these returning workers. then i felt personally like it was very unfair, especially because i had been monitoring myself -- which is what the cdc recommends, which is what one needs to do. because after you develop symptoms, you can become contagious. and i had done that. and i reported it as soon as i developed any symptoms. then to be told because i reported it, essentially, that i would be quarantined, seemed particularly egregious. >> i want to turn to a recent interview with kaci hickox, the nurse who treated ebola patients in sierra leone and fought against mandatory quarantine in the u.s. when she returned last month. she was asked by cnn's anderson cooper why she defied state authorities in both new jersey and maine. this was part of her response. >> coming back to the newark airport in seeing complete chaos and disorganization and no
leadership was a really frustrating sight to see. and when policies are put in place as sort of the policies aren't organized well and staff aren't trained well, it is just a scary situation. but of course, the biggest iason i thought is because felt some much fear and confusion. i imagined what my fellow aid workers were going to feel as they came back to the same situation. and the more i thought about madeact policies are being by, politicians, not the experts in the fields, the more i felt like i had no choice but to fight back. >> and now understand kaci hickox says she will be leaving maine. your quarantine is -- quarantine's overlapped, that you are in new haven and she is in maine, i thinker quarantine ins today. your response to kaci hickox speaking out, and did that inspire you to speak out, ryan?
>> i have a lot of respect for kaci hickox. some actually exchanged e-mails and text messages. i have a lot of respect or her. when i was put into quarantine, connecticut was the only state in the nation with a stated policy that far exceeded the cdc guidelines, a policy of the time they were seeing that would quarantine anyone returning from these three countries. decision in consultation with public health lawyers that i was talking to that the best thing to do at that moment was to try to get connecticut government to quietly walked back these quarantines instead of fighting loudly in court. and then the events where crexendo became symptomatic with -- craig spencer became symptomatic with ebola in new came backaci hickox with a loud story between chris christie and governor cuomo and
her, so that was -- that did inspire me to come out and speak out publicly at that point were then thought that was the best way to go. >> i want to share some comments made last month by ebola survivor ashoka mukpo, asked about the mandatory 14 being imposed on kaci hickox. do,lso talked, as you though craig spencer being treated in new york. right tos earned the have a sense of her own safety and risk factor to others. i don't think dr. spencer endangered anyone. my feeling is, again i'm not an expert, just my own view on exposure of had to ebola, something governor christie is plain politics. it seems it is an effort to work with public opinion rather than listen to the experts.
i think it is counterproductive. these are people have gone and endanger the lives to help those with deborah malac talked about limited resources and are dying in relatively large numbers. to make it more difficult and treat them as if their potential problem as opposed to a public asset, i just think it is a shame. i don't think it is the right way to act. , again, speaking on cnn, .bc cameramenan ashoka mukpo you met him in liberia. >> i think it was also doing great work there. he is been living there for a while. documenting what is happening i think is very important. i totally agree with him. the heroes of this response are -- liberianss and in the westerners who are treating these patients, putting themselves at risk. we need to treat them like returning heroes because they're protecting the rest of us. , thank you for