tv Headline News RT January 3, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
coming up on our team new statistics are out on the number of deaths caused by u.s. drone strikes this as the future of the drone program is revealed we'll talk all things e.u. ways he added and there's a new man in charge of new york city but will mayor bill de blasio keep the current controversial stop and frisk program in place or will he make major changes we've got a report from the big apple coming up and before you ship or receive that new digital package here all the n.s.a. might be getting your mail before you do plus in picking your e-mail might become a bit more challenging now that the n.s.a. is racing to stay three steps ahead of you by building quantum computers that's later in the show.
it's friday january third five pm in washington d.c. i'm meghan lopez and you are watching r.t. when we begin this hour with a closer look at the u.s. drone program its effect of this and its future new estimates released by the bureau of investigative journalism the long war journal and the new america foundation are shedding light on just how expansive the unmanned aerial vehicle strikes have been since two thousand and two in all there are been a total of four hundred sixty one strikes in pakistan yemen and somalia resulting in some three thousand five hundred twenty deaths of the people killed four hundred fifty seven or eleven percent were civilians meanwhile the defense department released its annual report on the use of unmanned systems the report laid out a road map through twenty thirty eight of how the u.a.e. program will continue to develop take a look at this chart this is an inventory of the total number of unmanned aircraft the department of defense currently has and its possession and those are just the
flying ones. the d.o.d. also has thousands of ground and maritime systems the agency estimates it will spend four point one billion dollars on unmanned systems and twenty fourteen a thirty percent drop from two thousand and thirteen but still quite a bit of money i spoke earlier with abraham wagner in los angeles he is an adjunct professor at columbia university's school of international and public affairs and also with mary ellen o'connell she is a professor of law and a research professor of international dispute resolution at the kroc institute for peace studies at the university of notre dom i began by asking their yellen what she thought about these numbers well i'm very critical of this new statistic being released by the council on foreign relations it is simply misleading that there have only been eleven percent of all persons killed designated as civilians this is simply incorrect the only place where i go for statistics and i am one of the
experts one of the people who's been tracking and looking into killings by drones since the very first one in a man outside in a combat zone in two thousand and two and i am a professor of international law in my studies i only look at the bureau of investigative journalism and i look at their low but also their high numbers and the bureau reports total numbers of four thousand one hundred persons killed that's the statistic we should be looking at and even more importantly we should focus as americans on the number of two hundred six two hundred six that is the high number of children we may have killed those are the relevant statistics and they should be reinforcing americans views that drone killings outside official recognized legal combat zones should come to an end and abraham what do you think about those numbers i know the military would probably say that a lot in percent of civilian casualties is relatively low when you look at the effectiveness of these programs overall that is is that your sense of it. no it
really isn't. i think that the number of casualties given the situation are fairly low the eleven per cent at risk mary it's hard to you know pick any particular source and say this number is right or that number is right even if we accept the four thousand number as a reasonable estimate and we look at the eleven percent number and say those reports from the council on foreign relations and you know it's an aggregate number the number of civilian deaths for example if we look at the not for the past four years in pakistan we're talking in the one to three percent range for a looking at the emmen the numbers are much higher in the fourteen percent range but warfare is not sanitary there really is no such thing as surgical strikes and any time you're engaged in warfare there is going to be collateral
damage and it's highly unfortunate that the collateral damage often involves civilians women and children but that's the nature of warfare and the nature of warfare these days as we've seen post nine eleven is not the same type of warfare we faced in decades prior they are not declared wars they're not necessarily official wars and you know i'm a law professor as well at columbia also at u.c.l.a. and when we teach the law of war the sort of things we're teaching are old wars we're in a new environment and a new regime now mary ellen you kind of touched on it before but one of the problems is the classification of what exactly a militant is an elephant is defined as all military aged males in a strike zone regardless of whether or not they participated in combat activities could the civilian death toll be even higher than the u.s. made or that this report estimates given that the classification. well i have to
disagree with abraham when he said that we're in a new kind of warfare and therefore the way we classify people has to change under international law the definitions in the geneva conventions and there are additional protocols the definition of who is a civilian and who is a combatant who may lawfully be killed in combat or who may not lawfully intentionally be killed in combat has not changed and the united states is fully on board with the definitions under international law and under those definitions there are few if any of the people that the united states has killed in yemen pakistan and somalia who are legally defined as combatants and those are the only people we may and tension the killed abraham is talking about the dirtiness of war and collateral damage but outside of an armed conflict zone and we're talking about yemen pakistan somalia none of those persons should have been killed under armed conflict rules they perhaps could be killed in the attempt to arrest them resisting
arrest under peace time law enforcement rules but we haven't been invited to do any of that kind of arrests in any of these countries so let's be clear under international law which is the law that binds the united states and all countries resorting to military force four thousand people killed is an unacceptable unlawful and reprehensible number and it should and abraham do you want to respond to that. i don't a great we've selectively decided to ignore international law and these definitions since nine eleven when it suits our those are to do so the kinds of definitions that are contained in those conventions are antiquated that people that took out thirty some. civilians in the last couple of days in russia were not following these rules the activities we've been engaged in post nine eleven don't necessarily follow these rules and these definitions that i probably agree with because i'm for
alleged hard and probably mary-ellen that these definitions are in fact antiquated you're not going to find the people that seek to do us harm that seek to kill americans qualifying under as acquainted definitions and as a course as in the piece these definitions need to be modernized and changed this is not the nature of foreign policy today we made a decision as a nation following nine eleven and something called the bush doctrine now to go after terrorists who seek to do us evil and those who support them wherever they may be we haven't changed that doctrine and continue to operate and are that so long as we do that they have an issue instead of the doctrine that abrams the doctrine aver doctrine abraham is talking about is a unilaterally imposed political view of the bush administration this is not what president obama was talking about in may of this year twenty third last year twenty
thirteen when he said the united states would comply with international law he did not say that these were antiquated rules his lawyers and he tried to to shove what they were doing into the accepted current rules of international law they didn't talk about antiquated rules so i'm afraid abraham's view about the united states' position on international law is incorrect we have not. sought to change the rules we had just thought to go. to to evade analysis of the actual facts of what the united states is doing that's i assume why there's so little official u.s. commentary. to justify under international law these killings went in your head the reason our imaginary all let me jump in there every now and then i don't see as important says it is reducing the amount of money it spends on unmanned technology is that a good sign in your opinion i think it's a bad sign of the one thing i think most people will agree on is that on man
vehicles or drones and i guess the new tour. that the defense department is calling a non piloted aircraft these things save lives and they save money one of the great numbers which we know need to focus on is that since we've started military operations in the tribal areas places like was zero stand which are horribly and hospitable we have lost absolutely no american lives in aircraft thank you the snow and thank you always low my world record for i'm sorry i have to cut you off there abraham we're just out of time this is a wonderful discussion one that needs to continue mary ellen o'connell a professor of law at the university of notre dame in new york and abraham wagner adjunct professor at columbia university in los angeles well new york's stop and frisk program had a number of roadblocks this past year first as a high profile trial over the legality of the practice and then with allegations of abuse by individual police officers but with the end of michael bloomberg his reign
as mayor and beginning of bill de blasio as where does the future stand with the stop and frisk program for more on that we turn to our chief correspondent honest off the churkin a. the n.y.p.d. stop and frisk policy reached the peak of its criticism and controversy during twelve years under mayor bloomberg the stopping and tearing gating and searching of new yorkers on the streets overwhelmingly in communities of color without warrants and often under flimsy pretenses hundreds of thousands of stops made each year human rights groups and advocates have dubbed the policy of moral illegal discriminatory and a violation of civil and privacy rights whereas officials have been saying that it actually helps prevent crime groups like the american civil liberties union has been saying that nine out of ten cases people were found to be completely innocent even ok warding to the n.y.p.d. official records now in new york city new york has
a new mayor bill de blasio for throughout his election campaign promised to alter this policy and put and to. discrimination and he has now appointed a new police commissioner who right off the bat promised to bring about change and returned to communities in there in communication and being together walking hand in hand with the n.y.p.d. on a daily basis however despite these promises the irony here is that new york's new top cop is also known to be one of the initial proponents of the original form of the controversial practice because when he was first police commissioner back in the ninety's under mayor giuliani he did enforce more aggressive tactics in the police force which led to bringing down crime but also reading stop and frisk so many community leaders and groups here in new york have been voicing their
concern and criticism because of this nomination they're saying they can't trust a man who was known to have embrace this policy prior to in previous. years and certainly they're saying they want a man to run the job of altering the controversial stop and frisk policy to be someone who represents change and not just a continuation of the power so the question now is whether the new commissioner will be the right or wrong man for the job and also what the politicians promise is can actually be turned into real action of change and most importantly whether many new yorkers can begin to trust their police force again after decades of using and escalating a practice that has been dubbed unconstitutional by critics as they see it you're going to see you're also coming out of new york this week or queens based journalist who was covering the occupy wall street anniversary protest back in two thousand and twelve has filed a lawsuit against new york city the n.y.p.d. and ten individual police officers the reporter claims he was detained and beaten
searched and arrested without probable cause even after he repeatedly identified himself as a journalist thirty four year old christopher own was writing for the boston phoenix at the time of his arrest charges of disorderly conduct were eventually dismissed. says he was functioning within his rights as a journalist to photograph observe and investigate the seven september seventeenth demonstration the police officers disagree claiming he used explicit and derogatory language from is now seeking unspecified damages a court date has yet to be set. let's turn now to the latest information coming out about the national security agency just moments ago we learned that the foreign intelligence surveillance court of the face of court approved the obama administration's outlook ation to renew the book collection of telephone metadata for another ninety days this will give the administration time to consider those recommendations that were made by a white house appointed panel on how to reform the n.s.a.
this is the first renewal since the court rulings were handed down of two conflicting judges dealing with the constitutionality of the. program also out today the justice department filed an appeal against u.s. district court judge richard leon's ruling that phone records might be likely unconstitutional or collecting them anyway another development this week on thursday we learned that the n.s.a. is well on its way to developing a quantum supercomputer this incredibly intricate system has eluded researchers for years due to its complexity and its for gelati if the n.s.a. succeeds a working quantum computer would open the door to easily breaking the strongest and corruption tools in use today including a standard known as r.s.a. meaning you can kiss your digital privacy goodbye for good no matter how many measures you take to protect yourself now the completion of this program like this
is still likely at least five years off that we know of but that's not the only computer you should be worried about the other one is your own according to a new der spiegel report a division of the n.s.a. is intercepting computers and other electronics on their shipping routes and then before the packages are delivered to n.s.a. agents load malware or backdoor access onto the technology the whole process is called interdiction earlier i spoke with r.t. web producer andrew blake and political commentator sam sachs i first asked andrew to explain how this program works. spiegel first came out with this report a few days ago and we've only really seen what's in that report keep in mind that only a handful of people have access to the classified n.s.a. documents kind of stuff is talked about security researcher named jack apple presented in hamburg germany last week actually in conjunction with the dear spiegel article and managed to you to shine a little bit more light on this on interdiction program and what we do know is kind
of limited right now what the public knows at least is that when the n.s.a. has a particular target whether it's a foreign state run agency or malicious hacker or some sort of you know international criminal they're trying to track down the can be you know ideally monitoring their sort of internet transactions and if that person say you know according to apple order something off of amazon dot com the n.s.a. was able to intercept that able to divert it to a side location and then literally just break inside the computer and add back doors and all sorts of different things carol several things do the companies know why are they participating in that so so far almost all of the companies that were named by either mr apple or into their spiegel article have issued statements either dismissing the notion that they helped the n.s.a. or else in the they had never even heard of this you know one of the companies particularly the f. bomb mentioned in his presentation was dell computers there's a number of hardware pieces servers there manufactured by dell have been for years
to call the servers and the n.s.a. advertises among its employees that it has programs that can let it literally just hack right into those pieces of dell machinery also the n.s.a. advertises that it has a one hundred percent success rate when it needs to target a apple i.o.'s device so you know one thing he brought up during his speech was well does the n.s.a. have a one hundred percent accuracy when it comes to this because they pretty much know know you. there direct cooperation there that's something that apple is you know are they going to deny it well you know it's there's a whole lot of questions that were brought up about colluding between american companies and the n.s.a. and i don't think we really don't know the full answer for a while and what about you and me is there any way for us to know if this is happening to us or to our computers i mean i don't think you personally you're a good girl and i think you are adding any was like trying to break in your computer but if you buy something from dell if you buy something from western
digital if you buy something by samsung if you buy something by cisco these are all companies where the n.s.a. has a list of vulnerabilities in those products so the biggest computer names apple if you have an i phone the n.s.a. knows how to break it are they going to break in your i phone i don't know i hope not but they know how. it's not just really tech companies are all shipping companies to you. who are the ones redirecting these packages they were rich whether or not they knew about these programs or whether they were cooperating or participating in they said we weren't cooperating or participating but they didn't say whether they knew about the programs or not that's an interesting point sam now i know vermont senator bernie sanders wrote to n.s.a. director keith alexander he asked this quote how does the n.s.a. spying or is the n.s.a. currently spying on members of congress or other american elected officials sam do you expect alexander to answer that question honestly given his track record and based on the disclosures that we've seen so far from the n.s.a. or the u.s. has a pretty tricky way of talking to members of congress will say something in public
in public letters and then you may remember ron wyden asked collecting cell site location data. we're not currently doing that but you might want to see the classified addendum for another search to that question but this is a pretty simple question yes they are spying because senator sanders goes on letter to say by spying i mean are you collecting metadata on personal phone calls yes they're spying on everybody they're collecting all everyone's metadata in the united states pretty much so that's a pretty easy way the cloud. respond to that now that it's the new york times and the guardian published calling for clemency for edward snowden yesterday have elected officials in the u.s. followed suit has anyone shown any support for it there's been a few members you've tweeted out some support congressman alan grayson has congressman jim mcgovern congressman peter welch. really. really going to come out full thought throat for clemency a lot of other members of congress want to see some really serious charges dropped
everything like that well to really sort of did what they couldn't do but wanted to do ron wyden has been saying for years the american people be horrified at the n.s.a. knew what they were doing but he took his oath more seriously i guess or wasn't willing to expose cost violations like edward snowden was and you we have thirty seconds what do you make of the new york times calling for both snowden and chelsea manning kind of pardons well i don't think the new york times has gone as far as to call for a pardon for chelsea manning which is kind of sad seeing as how even as recently as last month mainstream established media have been citing diplomatic cables and and war logs released by private manning those information are still newsworthy and still use out a regular basis and if you're going to ask for clemency for snowden i don't see why you should also ask for manning all right archie web producer andrew blake and political commentator sam sachs thanks for working as. well keeping with tradition president obama used the power of clemency to reduce the sentences of eight people
convicted of nonviolent drug offenses before the new year all eight prisoners were convicted of possessing crack cocaine and each of them has served more than fifteen years in prison so why reduce the sentences of these a specific eight people while the obama administration has attempted to address what it deems is an unfair prison system the fair sentencing act narrowed the disparity in sentences for crack and cocaine offenses if they're nonviolent but nevertheless prison populations have risen five hundred percent in the past three decades artie's the lives of all brings us more. well science president obama is feeling more generous this new year late december the president commuted sentences of eight inmates the crimes they were convicted of were nonviolent crack cocaine offenses they were sentenced under harsh mandatory minimum laws some of them face life behind bars but all of them served at least fifteen years of their sentences and a rare show of mercy president obama said quote commuting the sentences of these eight
americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness but it must not be the last advocates for reform hope it's just the beginning and say the short and sentences barely make a dent in fixing an unjust system that resulted from the so-called war on drugs and fact there are an estimated eight thousand people currently doing time that would be free of sentence under current laws and i guess attorney general eric holder acknowledge that the system is flawed and needs to change we must change the reality as it stands i was just image in too many ways broke the cost that we are on is far from sustainable energies alekhine energies. to identify those areas that you can and can you know to better is the cause of justice for all americans the reality he is referring to is that jails and prisons
across the country are jam packed with nonviolent drug offenders like this one that i recently visited in chicago critics of policies enacted in the war on drugs say they do little to deter drug use results in profound racial disparities and arrest rates and ruin the livelihood and future for inmates and their families while taxpayers foot the bill for an unsustainable system is a deep psychological and economic impact on a broad number of people it's not just the person who goes to prison the fact is and as a country i mean we are paying for so many p. well to be welfare that used to be supported by the person who's now a prison so there is this sort of ripple effect that cost us not only to incarcerate the person but then to take care of the family that's left behind clemency for drug offenses is rare but perhaps the president's commutations during the holiday season at a new chapter for the war on drugs in two thousand and fourteen in washington liz
wall or t.v. all right well we're just about a month away from the twenty fourteen winter olympic games taking place in sochi russian officials and the olympic staff are making their final preparations before they head off to russia to participate in the games here's a look behind the scenes at some of the other things there are to do in sochi before the games begin with our teams to say. you bought your ticket thousands of kilometers below hundreds of the globe and now you're in sochi with a twenty four team who will take games so when you know watching the skiing hockey or skating what else is they to do well the purpose of a winter games in sochi is a topical coastline on the blackfeet beaches and parks along fine monuments and museums allow you to take in a bit of history and experience the lifestyle of the beach front is lined with local shops so grab a souvenir while enjoying the views. and did not let your party shoes on because
when they need unlike the bugs in clubs come along. that also includes a ski resort just lined with european hotels restaurants and shops and one luxury hotel. just the stuff from the. guests enjoy stunning mountain views designer rooms and an on site spine health club i went to see the best that money can buy what they need to look for i think is the person and it's what they want if you look for skiers you want to. wear you feel warm and relax and that's what we can offer you here we have state of the art slopes we have state of the art equipment connection infrastructure so i think for us it's just the perfect spot to choose the. next stop because even with a twist in a french restaurant with the pinch of russian. and frog legs alongside more local dishes like. you know here it's good to go you know we have made saying we have to
see the kids these days and i feel that i decided to leave here you know. and as they say in front of the bar but here in russia we say ocean. finally some relegation and a sponsor treatment is a temptation for any skia visiting the black sea resort to. this is just the place . haven't been in russia for a while i've never really been to a russian or what is also known as a russian sauna but now i'm in sochi and the world we've congregated he has during the winter games and i thought why not give it a try something traditional and russian so let's see if the british banja is using the right choice. sometimes equated to a turkish bath the buying experience is usually considered an indispensable pitstop on the journey to discover russian culture when you first arrive there's
a sense of serenity in the incense burning meditation music in the background and a couple of herbal tea the burning down the veldt heads we're wearing a binah heads simply want to protect the aide from this intense heat of the sun. the misuse of friendly experienced and she has some health tips about what the russian bunya does for the body the experience amazing i also had one more treatment to test out the hedgehog fluck this will become one of those places that all of the spectators athletes might want to visit never thought that i'd find myself in a big giant hot but this point would be a mounting one come through every. day in tsotsi our team. right america doesn't for now but from the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r.t. america or r.t.
dot com slash usa and follow me on twitter at me again underscore of our prez right back here at eight pm. i am the bad. side but i think corporation kind of convinced that. you can do. bad try to get all that money all about money and i'm passionately that for a politician writing the laws and regulations that. are coming out. there is just too much crap today's society. that.