Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  August 20, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT

8:00 am
08/20/21 08/20/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> how many more generations of america's daughters and sons would you have me send to fight afghanistan civil war went afghan troops will not? amy: as thousands of afghans try to flee afghanistan after the taliban seized control, we will look at the roots of the longest u.s. were in history.
8:01 am
nearly 20 years ago, the bush administration rejected an offer from the taliban to surrender. >> if you are asking would arrangement with omar where he could "live in dignity" in the kandahar area or someplace in afghanistan be consistent with what i have said, the answer is, no, it would not be consistent with what i have set. amy: we will spend the hour with pulitzer prize winning author spencer ackerman, author of the new book "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." >> "reign of terror" is a book about the devastating effects that america's 20-year war on terror after 9/11, american democracy. the ways in which the war on terror acted as a doorway to the most violent element of american history. amy: all that and more, coming
8:02 am
up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. in afghanistan, chaotic scenes continue to play out at kabul airport. thousands of people have lined the perimeter of the airport with taliban soldiers using rifle bets, whips, and sticks to be back crowds. about 9000 people have been evacuated from the airport since sunday when the taliban swept through kabul. army major general william taylor said the pentagon is increasing the presence to facilitate the evacuation. >> u.s. military footprint in kabul is more than 5200 total troops on the ground. kabul airport remains secure and open for flight operations.
8:03 am
f-18 from the ronald reagan carrier strike group flew armed overwatch flights over kabul to ensure enhanced security. amy: president biden is making a national address on afghanistan today at 1:00 p.m. eastern tim meanwhile, the afghan taliban says it has executed and imprison former of the islamic state in south asia shortly after it took control of afghanistan. the killing bolsters the taliban's claims the group will not cooperate with islamic state and it views the group as an adversary. afghanistan's sports federation has identified one of at least two people who fell to their deaths from a u.s. military plane as it hastily evacuated kabul airport on monday. 17-year-old zaki anwari was a member of afghanistan's national youth soccer team. he was among dozens of people filmed running alongside a u.s. air force c-17 plane, some of
8:04 am
them clinging to the plane's sides and landing gear. in greece, hundreds of afghan immigrants protested outside of athens thursday, demanding support from the international community and the european union. their protest came after greece's migration minister warned greece would not be a gateway for afghan refugees. >> do not want refugees. why? they had to stand with the refugees and the afghan people and help them in the situation. amy: in geneva, the u.n. high commissioner for refugees called for afghanistan's neighbors to keep their borders open to allow asylum-seekers to seek refuge abroad. the u.n. reports taliban fighters are conducting door-to-door visits to the homes of afghans who worked with the u.s. and nato forces. the world health organization's
8:05 am
africa director has condemned plans by the united states and other wealthy countries to offer third-dose covid vaccine booster shots, while only 2% of africa's 1.3 billion people have been fully vaccinated. dr. matshidiso moeti said the u.s. should give priority to poorer nations. >> moves by some countries globally to introduce booster shots threaten a promise of a brighter tomorrow for africa. as some richer countries word vaccines, they make a mockery of vaccine equity. amy: u.s. coronavirus cases continue to climb and are now averaging more than 140,000 cases and over 900 deaths per day. nearly 99% of u.s. infections are from the delta coronavirus variant. in pennsylvania, the archdiocese of philadelphia has become the latest catholic church body to reject religious exemptions to
8:06 am
covid-19 vaccine mandates. in texas, the state supreme court thursday sided with school districts that are defying the republican governor greg abbott's ban on mask mandates. the ruling will allow houston-area schools and several south texas school districts to continue to require face coverings. meanwhile, three fully vaccinated u.s. senators have tested positive for coronavirus. maine independent senator angus king, colorado democrat john hickenlooper, and mississippi republican roger wicker all reported mild symptoms of covid-19. governor abbott is also covid-positive. in haiti, a major hospital in the capital port-au-prince shut its doors thursday in protest after two of its doctors were kidnapped by criminal gangs. one of the doctors is an
8:07 am
orthopedic surgeon who had been treating survivors of saturday's massive earthquake, which left nearly 2200 people dead and injured more than 12,000. the numbers are rising rapidly. on thursday, humanitarian aid workers said shipments began flowing more quickly into haiti's southwestern peninsula, but there are still shortages of urgently needed food and medical supplies. in washington, d.c., police responding to a bomb threat arrested a north carolina man on thursday, capping an hours-long standoff near the u.s. capitol. 49-year-old floyd ray roseberry parked his truck on the sidewalk outside the library of congress claiming he had explosives and calling on all democrats to step down. roseberry's previous social media posts show he was an ardent trump supporter. meanwhile, alabama republican congressmember mo brooks voiced
8:08 am
support for roseberry. brooks said in a statement -- "i understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial socialism." his statement drew condemnation from several lawmakers, including virginia congressmember don beyer, who tweeted -- "it is astonishing that this needs to be said but no one who serves in congress should be expressing public sympathy with the views of a terrorist who threatened to blow up the u.s. capitol." roseberry said he had enough explosives to blow 2.5 blocks around him and that other vehicles had explosives in them. none of that was true. the texas house of representatives reached a quorum thursday for the first time since democrats fled the state last month t block a voter suppression bill. earlier this week, the texas supreme cot ruled e absent
8:09 am
democratic lawmakers could be arrested and forced to return to the capitol in austin. the republican-led house is set to consider the voting bill during its special session. the returning democrats vowed to continue their fight from the house floor. a new report details how the u.s. government cracked down on racial justice activists as protest swept the country following the police martyrs of george floyd and breonna taylor in 2020. the study was published by the movement for black lives in the creating law enforcement accountability and responsibility clinic. one of reports author said "the federalization of protest related charges was a deliberate and cynical effort to target and discourage those who protested in defense of black lives." the biden administration has revived an antitrust lawsuit against facebook.
8:10 am
on thursday, the federal trade commission asked a u.s. district court to force facebook to divest from whatsapp and instagram, arguing the social media giant had erected a monopoly that illegally crushed its competition. in june, the same court threw out a lawsuit by the ftc arguing it failed to provide enough evidence to make a case that facebook operated a monopoly. the biden administration announced it is canceling over $5.8 billion in federal student loan debt for over 300,000 people who have what is known as a total and permanent disability. advocacy groups and progressive lawmakers welcomed the news and renewed calls for biden to use his executive authority to cancel the remaining $1.8 trillion in student debt for all borrowers. a warning to our audience, this story contains descriptions of sexual abuse. in new york, the trial for accused sexual predator r. kelly
8:11 am
is under way. the singer's personal physician testified thursday kelly has had genital herpes since at least 2007, but potentially as early as 2000, as prosecutors say he knowingly infected multiple people. jerhonda pace, a survivor, testified the singer forced her to dress up as a girl scout, recorded their sexual activity, and that she had to ask for his permission to use the bathroom. pace, who is now 28 but was just 16 at the time of the abuse, also said she contracted herpes from r. kelly. the singer faces multiple federal criminal charges, including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, and forced labor. in climate news, rain fell instead of snow on greenland's summit, which is nearly two miles above sea level, for the first time on record. the rain came down saturday as temperatures rose to above freezing for the third time in a decade during another major melt
8:12 am
event. this comes as wildfires continue to rage around the world. scientists say blazes in siberia have produced 800 megatons of carbon dioxide since early june, nearly double a record set just last year. the fires have released as much carbon as germany emits an entire year. in california, 11,000 firefighters continue to battle more than a dozen active fires, including the dixie fire, the largest single wildfire in the state's history, which remains just one third contained. meanwhile, government researchers say the historic drought covering much of the western u.s. is likely to last into fall, if not longer. a new study this week found the number of deaths caused by extreme temperatures increased exponentially as the climate disaster has gotten worse. between 1980 and 2016, deaths
8:13 am
related to heat rose by 74%, while deaths caused by extreme cold increased by 31% since 1990. in britain, activists with extinction rebellion blockaded an entrance to an exxonmobil facility in hampshire to protest against the expansion of an oil refinery. activists were dressed as grim reapers, as well as an exxon executive who pumped fake blood from an oil barrel. >> i don't know what more to do to bring attention to this catastrophe that we are all heading for, not just in this country, but all over the world. we are seeing horrific conditions -- heat, drought, wildfires everywhere. that is only going to get worse if we do not immediately get a grip on bringing down our emissions. amy: and in pennsylvania, human rights advocates protested thursday against a vote to reopen a controversial jail for immigrant families.
8:14 am
>> shut down berks! shut down berks! amy: the so-called berks count "residential cente was closed in february en all othe immigrant families held there were freed. but bes county commissioners voted thursday to amend their contract with immigration and customs enforcement and turn berks inton all women immigration pris. one of those who spoke out against the vote was adriana zambrano with aldea, the people's justice center. >> detaining immigrant women is just as wrong, unnecessary, and dangerous as the detention of families. immigrant detention in every way is also separation. detention separates individuals from their families who are willing and able to take them into their home while their process moves along. it means separation from
8:15 am
community, communities like ours -- which are made better by the presence and by the investments of immigrants. detention is also separation from access to critical services. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace rert. when we come back, we spend the hour with pulitzer prize winning reporter spencer, author of the new book "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
8:16 am
amy: "war" by edwin starr. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the united nations is urging countries to keep their borders open with afghanistan as thousands of afghans try to flee by land or air after the taliban seized control of the country on sunday ahead of the withdrawal of u.s. troops. earlier this week, president
8:17 am
biden defended his decision to pull troops out as part of a deal the trump administration made with the taliban. pres. biden: how many more generations of america's daughters and sons would you have me sent to fight afghanistan civil war when afghan troops will not? how many more lives, american lives, is it worth? how many endless rows of headstones at arlington national cemetery? i am clear on my answer. i will not repeat the mistakes we made in the past. am we turn now to look at the roots of what has become america's longest war. the u.s. invaded afghanistan on october 7, 2001 -- less than a month after the al qaeda attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon. within days of the u.s. bombing of afghanistan, the taliban offered to hand over osama bin
8:18 am
laden, the leader of al qaeda, but the bush administration rejected any negotiations with the taliban. this is bush's press secretary ari fleischer responding to a question in october 2001. >> would you go so far as to say a matter what the taliban might say at this point -- are you ignoring whatever they may say? >> the president could have not been more clear when he said there will be no discussions or negotiations. so what they say is not as important as what they do. it is time for them to act. it has been time for them to act. amy: in december 2001, the taliban offered to surrender control of kandahar if its leader mullah mohammed omar would be allowed to "live in dignity" in opposition custody. u.s. defense secretary donald rumsfeld rejected the deal. >> if you are asking an
8:19 am
arrangement with omar where he could "live in dignity in the kandahar someplace in afghanistan be consistent with what i have said, the answer is, no, it would not be consistent with what i have said. amy: that is donald rumsfeld speaking on december 6, 2001. the u.s. war in afghanistan would continue for almost 20 more years. according to the cost of war project, the u.s. has spent over $2.2 trillion in afghanistan and pakistan. by one count, at least 71,000 afghan and pakistani civilians died in the fighting. afghanistan is now facing a massive humanitarian crisis and the taliban is back in power. while mullah mohammed omar died in 2013, his brother-in-law mullah abdul ghani baradar now appears set to become afghanistan's next president. well, today, we are spending the hour with the pulitzer prize
8:20 am
winning reporter spencer ackerman, author of the new book "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." the book is based in part on his reporting from afghanistan, iraq, and guantanamo. spencer, it is great to have you back. congratulations on your book. we are talking to you in the midst of this chaos in kabul as thousands of afghans, americans, and other nationals are attempting to flee afghanistan. the taliban have taken over. we chose to begin 20 years ago -- i won't say the beginning because it goes far back from there -- but talk about this moment as the u.s. began bombing and occupying afghanistan, when the taliban basically said they would surrender. and also give osama bin laden over. the u.s. rejected, president bush rejected both.
8:21 am
>> this was a central aspect of the war on terror at its inception and foreshadowing of what its implications would be. once we accept the frame that bush offered, war on terror, we were then locked into a struggle not just against al qaeda, the entity culpable for the 9/11 attacks, but a much broader struggle against an enemy that a president could redefine and will and leave in the popular imagination was something along the lines of a civilizational challenge to america for the future, one of which america itself was in the balance. let's look in particular at that moment in kandahar. the united states northern alliance allies had routed the taliban from kabul, the islamic
8:22 am
emirate of afghanistan had fallen after about five or six years in power, and they recognized after a last stand they try to put on in kandahar did not go the way they expected that the end was near for them. they offered hamid karzai that as long as mullah mohammed omar could live in some kind of house arrest, basically not be killed or put on trial, they were prepared to retain negotiations for what their role might be in a post-element afghanistan. basically, political settlement at that point. karzai, for all his laws the united states would contribute to and then criticize him in the coming years, nevertheless to afghan history and recognized unless there was some kind of political future for the
8:23 am
taliban, the tele-been would opt for a violent -- taliban would opt for a violent future. karzai took the deal. it was the bush administration, the united states took it on itself as it has so often throughout its history in so many parts of the world to tell afghans the way the country was about to be. and everything that happened since, the 20 years of war since, has contributed on, if not a straight line, a kind of nausea-inducing glide path to the abject horror we are seeing at the kabul airport with people desperate to flee, so desperate as to grab onto cargo planes and fall to their deaths.
8:24 am
this is not the alternative to fighting in afghastan. this is the result of fighting in afghanistan. amy: if you could take it back even further to the u.s.-backed osama bin laden and talk about what happened when the u.s. decided to fund the lucia hi dean and fighting against the soviet of afghanistan and then themujahideen setting their u.s. weapons on the united states and how the taliban came out of that . >> it is important because an objection to this is always going to be we pretrade the 1980's afghan as the taliban.
8:25 am
in the 1980's the u.s. sought an opportunity to inflict upon the soviet union it's great geopolitical adversary a defeat and humiliating and psychologically devastating as the one the united states suffered in vietnam for its own imperial hubris. over the course of the next 10 years, the united states, the pakistani isi, and the saudi intelligence services funded and equipped islamic extremists, rebels who would come in from pakistan -- among them, a figure who would become intimately familiar as the taliban ally, a particularly google person. and over the course of the 1980's, they inflicted tremendous damage on the
8:26 am
soviets, made the occupation which was a brutal occupation by the soviet union come ever more violent to the point where the soviets withdrew and a couple of years the resume the soviets installed collapsed, much like we are seeing the when the united states installed collapse . the ensuing chaos and civil war was devastating for afghanistan. out of the ashes emerge the taliban and extreme group, a group that views mechanisms come extreme suffering, and repression on the long-suffering afghan people and something the united states never recognized throughout this entire period was that it had destabilized afghanistan not simply as a pawn -- not simply as a consequence of fighting the soviet union, but that is what the cost of fighting the soviet union was. that in entire country, leads a
8:27 am
people, suffered tremendously. they were treated as tools by the united states. that their aspirations, their desires for freedom, their desires for security ultimately did not matter to the united states, much as they did not matter to the soviet union. envy -- in the chaos that resulted, the taliban took power, sheltered osama bin laden, but they were not the same thing as al qaeda. the united states after 9/11 decided there was no relevant distinction between al qaeda, the taliban, and what it called terrorist groups of global reaching -- which ultimately washes out to saying while the respectable version of the bush administration's policies were already an extremely expensive perception of who could be targeted, moving from terror groups like al qaeda to entire
8:28 am
regimes -- the deputy defense secretary spoke in the immediate aftermath of/11 about ending states. but in the broader political journalistic and then popular conception, the enemy could be all of islam or it could be something just short of all of islam. and from there, it was an extremely short immediate transition to fearing american muslims, fearing your neighbors. thinking your neighbors posed a threat to you. not that this apparatus of war and repression posed a threat to you. amy: spencer, one of the things that has not got reported very much is as the taliban seized control in these last weeks of afghanistan, a key person that
8:29 am
they executed -- he was imprisoned and they executed him -- was the former head of the islamic state in south asia. the significce of th? >> this is an extreme complication that has come up in the last couple of years, particularly u.s.-taliban negotiations, by which i mostly mean back channel negotiations. they were not authorized -- or they were otherwise, it was somewhat of a freelance effort by retired u.s. army colonel and a retired u.s. ambassador to pakistan. what they discovered in talks with taliban in doha is the taliban were rather concerned about the rising presence of a so-called islamic state branch in afghanistan.
8:30 am
what called itself -- the was also called isis. essentially, the taliban feared a kind of next-generation of extremist to teak insurgency using islamic justification inside afghanistan. and with somewhat think it is very say good reason given the way isis fought and displaced al qaeda, the organization entity that emerged out of it as well. you saw over the last couple of years, there was an excellent read wording -- reporting where the television had even been a beneficiary of u.s. airstrikes on isis khorsan -- they never got as far some kind of motive where they said, you know what?
8:31 am
we have an enemy in common. but it was a dynamic that both the taliban and u.s. side, particularly the more pragmatic elements of the u.s. military, were attentive to. that the taliban viewed isis not as the next so-called al qaeda entity to sponsor and permit a staging ground to attack either the united states or its allies or interest, so on and so forth, but in fact, an enemy to be confronted, dominated, defeated. when we hear all of the talk about the necessity of returning to war in afghanistan so it does not become a staging ground for further attacks on the united states, it is not quite sunk in yet or penetrated or been grappled with that the taliban are showing very early signs as
8:32 am
seen isis as a threat. amy: again, they killed him. the executed him. they took him out of a prison in kabul on sunday as they took control of the country. spencer ackerman, talk about the role the u.s. war and occupation, the brutality of the u.s. airstrikes, the torture at bagram, the night raids played in gaining new recruits for the taliban. >> united states tends not to attribute its brutality to any of the circumstances that it comes to bemoan when they manifest in the world. afghanistan is certainly a tragic example of that. the fact after 9/11 the united states in its political journalistic and intellectual elites generally speaking refused to accept that there was a direct and tragic and awful
8:33 am
historic consequence of its destabilization of afghanistan in the 1980's to the degree that taliban facilitation of osama bin laden and of the country helped the execution of the 9/11 plot, which is important to note did not involve afghans and was not staged from afghanistan, nor was it even planned and afghanistan -- far more for germany. nevertheless, that was an early foreboding of what we would see over the next 20 years, not just in afghanistan but throughout the war on terror, disconnection and terror and unwillingness to say he was violent actions -- it was on display was the u.s. went back into afghanistan. and throughout the afghanistan war, even during periods where counterinsurgency campaigns, at least on paper, paid lip service to the idea that protecting
8:34 am
afghan lives and property and so forth was going to ultimately be decisive in the war, never acted that way. what the point of the war was was the protection of afghan lives. more often, it acted in such a way that it did not draw distinctions between afghan lives and afghan enemies. amongst the major reasons for this is not necessarily like a specific decision to target afghan civilians, but an inability to understand the country, understand its dynamics, and the rather complicated relationships in many ways between people who fight for the taliban and the taliban or are people who aid under threat of their family or seek to endure the war as somebody people throughout so many wars simply aspire to,
8:35 am
simply by not taking action that harmed the taliban because they understood the consequences that they could experience. over time, all of these things strengthen the taliban, made the taliban seem like a viable alternative to the united states, and then on a different level, the u.s. contribution -- not just the united states alone contribution to the misery and afghanistan, came through the corruption that it always blamed on the afghans but was a significant driver of itself, so-called development experts, development aid and money poured into afghanistan far beyond a consideration of what a devastated afghan economy could in fact absorb stub some of this money was very deliberately flooded in from the cia to pay off warlords to ensure they would ultimately be responsive
8:36 am
to american interests, which would often be violent interest, which would often be things like the joint special operations command would perform throughout the afghanistan war. army special forces in particular throughout the afghanistan war -- raids on people's houses suspected up aiding or facilitating the taliban. again, the taliban, not even al qaeda, another thing that he attacked the united states, certainly not before al qaeda that plotted and executed 9/11, the united states was now in an extended war with a one-time harbor ally of al qaeda rather than the thing itself, responsible for all of afghanistan but never acting responsibly to the afghan people. amy: i went to go to january 2015, the obama years. two hostages, one american and
8:37 am
one italian man, were accidentally killed by a u.s. drone strike along the afghan-pakistani border. here's then-president barack obama later apologizing for the killings. pres. obama: this morning, i went to express our grief and condolences to the families of two hostages. one american, dr. were in weinstein, and an italian who work tragically killed in a u.s. counterterrorism operation. since 9/11, our counterterrorism efforts have prevented terrorist attacks and saved innocent lives. that determination to protect innocent life only makes so loss of these two men especially painful for all of us. amy: there you president obama apologizing.
8:38 am
spencer, you've spent a good amount of time in afghanistan. you were invented there and also reported independently there. can you talk about the significance of this moment? >> this is a profound moment. this is the only time the united states, particularly the president of the united states, has not only acknowledged drone strikes killed civilians, but apologized for it. and the reason why it is such a significant moment in its singularity is both in the book and for an earlier series i did for the guardian in 2016, i interviewed people, pakistanis and yemenis principally, who were survivors of drone strikes or his relatives were killed in drone strikes. one of the stories i tell in "reign of terror" is from a young pakistani man who was 13 years old when obama launched
8:39 am
his first drone strike and it blew up the compound where he lived with his family. they were gathering for a celebration of one of his relatives who had just returned from excessive ask for -- successful business trip most of 40 years later, he woke from his coma. he had burns over most of his body. he was missing and i. he had learned that most of his family's breadwinners have been killed in the strike so that when he left the hospital, his responsibilities would immediately be providing for his family however it was that his mangled body would perform. i talked to him about the difficulties he experienced -- at that point about seven years. among the things he discussed was he had tried group pakistani authorities and through the u.s.
8:40 am
embassy to get some kind of acknowledgment that what had happened to him had in fact happened. and that it did not just happen as an act of god, it happened as an act by the united states of america. and none of that ever came. what did come was a supply of blood money, essentially. a payoff essentially to say, ok, this is what will count for restitution and your account is settled and you're not going to get any public acknowledgment, let alone an apology. i kept hearing when i interviewed people, not just him but others whose lives were changed by drone strikes, about how obama had apologized when he had killed white people and never when he had kill people like them, never when he had killed their loved ones. never when the consequences of his action had left someone maimed, left someone in a position where he had to give up his dream of being a chemist and
8:41 am
work however he could in the hope that, as he put it to me, some of his younger cousins and his brothers would be able to live happy and prosperous lives. i asked him, what you think of barack obama? he said, if there is a list of tyrant somewhere, barack obama's name is on it because of his drone strikes. amy: spencer is author of "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." he is a national security reporter who publishes the forever wars newsletter on substack. when we come back, we're going to look at what he calls the "reign of terror" and look also at the rise of right-wing extremism in united states, what all under trump and biden intelligence agencies called the major mystic terror threat as
8:42 am
republican congress members now say their deep concern is a threat of foreign terrorists. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
8:43 am
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are spending the hour with spencer ackerman, pulitzer prize winning reporter spencer ackerman, author of the new book "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." spencer, you begin your book with the prologue of timothy mcveigh visiting the far-right paramilitary compound in oklahoma before what you call the prologue's chapter heading "the worst terrorist attack in american history." talk about the connection you see between the rise of right-wing extremism in the united states and the so-called war on terror. >> i thought it was extremely
8:44 am
important to see the war on terror in its fullness, in its totality, and only then can we understand its implication. i think the only way to really do that is to look at who were the exceptions to the war on terror. who the war on terror did not target despite fundamentally similar actions. and there we can understand not just what the war on terror is, but its relationship to american history which shapes it so deeply. so i also wanted to kind of start with paternalistic cliché where reporter kind of zoological he takes a reader through this unfamiliar and scary world of violence committed by fanatical people who are trading with heavy weapons and talk about committing mass atrocity for a sick and supposedly divinely
8:45 am
inspired religion. but i wanted those people to be white. i wanted the reader to see how similar these actions were, how similar some of the motivations were, how similar some of the justifications were. but we never treated them like that. the whole purpose of the phrase "war on terror" was the kind of social compromise amongst respectable elites in order to not say a thing they were in fact building, which was an expansive war only against some people's kinds of terror, on the goods nonwhite people tear, only against foreigners kinds of terror, and not against the kind of terrorism that is the oldest most resilient, most violent, and most historically rooted in american history. one that seeks to drop in its own heritage out of the general
8:46 am
american national heritage. people who call themselves not dissenters, not rebels, but patriots. people who are restoring something about america that they believe is a corrupt elite that is now responsive to nonwhite power at the expense of the racial cast that has been deeply woven inside not just the american political structure, but the american economy that drives american politics. how that ultimately never gets treated. this is exactly what timothy mcveigh was about. this is what timothy mcveigh had as his motivation for murdering 168 americans in oklahoma city, including 19 children. and we looked away from it. we looked away from how deep
8:47 am
rootedness of white supremacist violence was in this country. we listened to what i believe are principled civil libertarian objection against an expensive category of criminalized association, treating people who might have believed as timothy mcveigh did, as odious as i believe that is, but ultimately not committing acts of violence. treating them as essentially indistinct from mcveigh. absolutely intolerable, as it should have been coming to the american political elite, but that in tolerability did not extend to muslims. and there it was easy after 9/11 to construct an apparatus fueled by things like the patriot act that expanded enormous tegori of criminal association known as material support for terrorism, authorized widespread surveillance that certainly would not be focused simply even
8:48 am
on american muslims, as disgusting as it was focused on the primarily, but ultimately, all of these things that both parties that the leaders of the security services and intellectuals created, maintained, and justified so readily against the threat of a foreign minister and a civilizational seen as acceptable substitute for geopolitical enemy that it served as a rallying purpose throughout the 20th century. the war on terror is a kind of zombie anti-communism a lot of it's political caste association. and never with any of this be visited upon white people. from the start the war on terror showed you exactly who it was going to weed out from its surveillance and from violet
8:49 am
gays. amy: i want to go to donald trump this week considering a 2024 challenged a president biden, said in a statement that biden surrendered to the taliban. meanwhile, republicans on the house armed services committee demanded a plan from biden to stop afghanistan from being a "safe haven" for terror groups after the taliban takeover. this is republican congress member michael mccaul on cnn. >> we're going to go back to pre-9/11 state, a breeding ground for terrorism. i hate to say this, i hope we don't have to go back there, but it will be a threat to the homeland in a matter of time. amy: you have to the republicans now talking about a foreign terrorist threat. the republicans, who have been denying the insurrection january 6, calling it no worse than a group of tourists coming to washington, d.c., and not
8:50 am
wanting to investigate that -- even though under bush, under trump the intelligence agencies have sent the number one domestic terror threat is right-wing white supremacist. >> we see who the war on terror is now is a mechanism for having terrorism excused. not terrorism dealt with. when the terrorism is white, when it is politically powerful, -- they themselves probably ought better to explain politicians seem to draw strength from it. that is a real serious red flag for american democracy. we don't have to treated as if it is a new red flag for american democracy. this is always how, can democracy has been eroded. this is always alongside the ways in which capital has been extremely willing to ally with
8:51 am
white supremacy. this is what the creation of jim crow was. this is how the maintenance of segregation in the north of the country -- which we don't often talk about as much. i am a new yorker. this city is still segregated. you see that with the way the school system is constructed. ultimately, we are seeing throughout this past week the ease with which republican parties supposedly now and in the trump era feeling antipathy to the war on terror, readily snapped to war on terror politics when it comes to the demonization of refugees. the idea that america has a responsibility to take under the refugees that it itself created out of this psychoticacist fear of white replacement that demographics are ultimately driving the erosion white
8:52 am
political power. not just on the fringes, but at the centers of american governance. and that is the politics of the war on terror that has been here from the start. trump makes it vastly less subtle to be sensitive. and his hold on the party is not an accident. his hold here has everythg to do with the way that he was able to recognize the ways in which the war on terror is an excellent sorting mechanism for figuring out who is a real american and who is a conditional american. then as we saw him using the tools of the war on terror on the streets of cities like portland and washington, d.c., and new york and the skies over as many as 15 cities last summer, he is willing to use it on americans that he calls
8:53 am
terrorists. amy: you write repeatedly about -- >> i want to thank you for asking about adam. i knew you would. you truly have been one of the journalistic euros of this era. adam is a symbol of the ways that the war on terror criminalized people. adam is a palestinian born man who grew up in the lebanese civil war of the 1980's and immigrated to florida in the 1990's. as a refugee himself and an active participant in his community in miami in south florida and the islamic community there, he wrote a lot of checks to refugee charities, people he thought were helping refugees and helping were victims in places like bosnia.
8:54 am
ultimately, among the people that he met and tried to help was a convert named josé padilla who after 9/11 would become famous as someone john ashcroft accused of trying to set off a weapon inside the united states. shortly after that happened, the feds came for adam. even though he had committed no violence, had done nothing criminal, the feds and immigration a 30 locked him up and leaned on him to try to inform on his community, to try to be an apartment. he refused to do that. he considered it an affront to his dignity and considered it unjust. as a result, he spent a tremendous amount of money, years in jail in florida while ultimately the fbi and the local
8:55 am
prosecutor who eventually would be a trump cabinet member alex acosta, came up with pretext to prosecute him. he was originally charged as a codefendant with josé padilla who is now placed in federal custody. and even though there was no way the government could connect him to any act of violence, thanks to the patriot act and, frankly, the atmosphere politically in the years after 9/11, he could be charged with things that simply were not acts of violence or active contribution to specific people committing specific acts of violence. he was convicted. as he was sentenced, the judge reduced s sentence -- the feds were seeking lie. the judge recognize the government could not to any act of violence he was responsible
8:56 am
for. that was in 2007. he served until 2017 in federal prison, variety of little prisons. in 2017 when he finished his prison sentence, he figured he would be deported and ultimately he would go back probably to lebanon. he was kind of done, as you can imagine, with u.s. at that moment. but he didn't. what happened was he was sent into ice detention in western new york outside of buffalo in a place called batavia. after the patriot act came law in 2001, there was great civil libertarian fear over one of its provisions, section 412. it said in a not a portable, noncitizen, which is to say the stateless person who does not have a country that will take that person in who is deemed a threat to national security by the authority compulsively in this case the determination is
8:57 am
made by the secretary of homeland security, could be imprisoned indefinitely. that never happened thughout the whole world on terror until it was time to keep adam locked up. ultimately in early 2020 around late february or early march, adam gets sick to the point where we don't know for sure, but he thought he got covid. by april of that year, batavia was the ice detention facility with the highest covid outbreak inside. so here was a figure who the united states criminalized, robbed of his freedom, that ultimately endangered his life by the incompetence and indifference that it showed in allowing covid to run wild in facilities filled with people that the united states functionally treated as non-people. and it took a very valiant effort by local attorneys and by the american civil liberties union to challenge his
8:58 am
detention. ultimately, instead of outright losing the case as a judge indicated after she rolled adam had to go free because the fbi -- amy: we have 30 seconds. >> he was successful oncthe government dropped its case in order to preserve its power to do this. he was in freedom i'm happy to say in rwanda. amy: we have 30 seconds. what has surprised you must about what is happening today? >>. little at this point i am sorry to say surprises me, but the general difference by the american political and intellectual elites to the retionship between the war on terror and the erosion of democracy is also a very deep thread and historically rooted not just in the war on terror, but before. and certainly sing those connections have to be made in order to have any form of real
8:59 am
democracy in this country in safety and dignity for 70 people. amy: spencer ackerman, thank you for being with us, pulitzer prize winning national secured reporter. his new book, "reign of terror: how the 9/11 era destabilized america and produced trump." q/
9:00 am

16 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on