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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  August 17, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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08/17/12 08/17/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we will not allow mr. assange to take safe passage out of the united kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so. >> a diplomatic standoff in london as britain threatens to rest julian assange to ecuador grants of political asylum request we will speak with his attorney jennifer robinson and this country's most famous whistleblower daniel ellsberg. the battle for voting rights.
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>> voter id, which allowed governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania -- done. [applause] >> republican lawmakers in pennsylvania are praising a pennsylvania judge's ruling upholding a controversial voter id law that could disqualify hundreds of thousands of voters. then we go to russia were members of the feminist punk group pussy riot have just been found guilty for staging an anti-putin protest inside the russian cathedral. >> ♪ >> we will speak to jd samson of the band le tigre men.
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all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. britain is vowing to deny safe passage to wikileaks founder julian assange despite ecuador's decision to grant him political asylum. assange remains inside the ecuadorian embassy in london where he has stayed for almost two months in an attempt to avoid extradition to sweden for questioning over sex crime accusations. chilean assange's lawyers say he fears sweden will then action but him to the united states to face charges of the leaking of secret u.s. military diplomatic files. on thursday, the british foreign secretary william hague said assange would be arrested if he leaves the embassy. >> we're disappointed by the statement by ecuador's foreign minister today that ecuador has offered political asylum to julian assange.
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under our law, with mr. assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the british authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to sweden. we must carry out that obligation. we fully intend to do so. the ecuadorean government decision this afternoon does not change that in any way. in order to change the current circumstances in any way. >> britain has also tried to raid the embassy in order to arrest assange within a week. we will have more after the headlines. at least 70 people were killed thursday in a series of bombings and shootings across iraq. it was iraq's deadliest day of violence since more than 100 people were slain on july 23. the u.s.-led nato occupation force in afghanistan has confirmed the deaths of 11 people in a helicopter crash thursday, including seven u.s. soldiers. a nato spokesperson announced the news. >> i saw the helicopter crashed
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in kandahar today, residing in the dole -- resulting in the deaths of seven american soldiers. the crash is still under investigation. i would like to express my sincere condolences to the loved ones and families of these 10 brave their civilian colleague who lost their lives today. >> the united nations is phasing out its monitoring mission inside syria amidst unrelenting violence between government and rebel forces. saying both sides have chosen the path of war, a top u.n. peacekeeping official said the last of the remaining monitors inside syria will pull out by a week from today. the u.n. meanwhile has confirmed veteran algerian diplomat lakhdar brahimi will take over as international mediator, replacing kofi annan, who resigned to six ago. on thursday, valerie amos said up to 2.5 million people
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affected by the syrian conflict are in need of aid. >> face destitution, perhaps a million more have urgent humanitarian needs due to the widening impact of the crisis on the economy and people's livelihood. back in march, we estimated a million people were in need of help. now as many as 2.5 million are in need of assistance. we're working to update our plans and funding requirements. >> series opposition received a boost on thursday with unconfirmed reports the brother of syrian president bashar al- assad had lost a leg in the bombing of a key regime meeting in damascus last month. speaking in neighboring turkey, a spokesperson for the opposition syrian national council urged international support for a no-fly zone over syria. >> we need certain measures
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effective, and we need it now. this is a message to the whole world, not only to the friends of syria, but the whole world, and we also expect from the arab countries and the friends of syria to take the lead in this and help stop the bloodshed and establish a safe haven and a no- fly zone immediately. >> police in south africa opened fire on a miners' strike near johannesburg on thursday, killing at least 30 people. government official said the police began shooting after workers armed with machetes ignored orders to disperse. the killings followed more than a week of clashes at a platinum mine. south africa's association of mineworkers and construction union, which represents most of the strikers, had accused police of committing a massacre. it was one of the worst mass killings in south africa since the end of apartheid. the oil giant shell is being accused of a new oil spill in
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southern nigeria. the nigerian ngo and burma to rights action says it's observed an extensive spell on the brass river in the niger delta. shell has shut down an oil processing site, but denies claims of a large spill. the news comes days after exxon mobil acknowledged a separate oil spill in the delta. a u.n. report one year ago said the region will already need 30 years and around $1 billion to at least partially recover from environmental damage caused by major oil companies over the past several decades. the state department is calling on the kingdom of bahrain to vacate charges against a prominent human rights activist who has just been sentenced to three years in prison. nabeel rajab, the president of the rain center for human rights, was detained in june after criticizing u.s.-backed the rain regime and twitter messages and in media appearances, including one on "democracy now!" he was sentenced to three years
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this week in what amnesty international called "the end of the facade of reform and a rain." speaking to reporters on thursday, state department spokesperson victoria nuland initially declined to weigh in on his sentence, but soon called for the case to be dropped under further questioning. republican candidate mitt romney is claiming to have paid an effective tax rate of at least 13% over the past 10 years. romney made the claim on thursday in response to long- running speculation fueled by his refusal to release his tax returns. speaking in south carolina, romney said the focus on his finances is "small minded." >> i just have to say, given the challenges to americans face, leans out of work, a rant about to become nuclear, one of six americans in poverty -- the
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fascination with taxes i have paid i find to be very small minded compared to the broad issues we face. but i did go back and look at my taxes. the past 10 years, and never pay 13%. than t i paid taxes every single year. harry reid's charges totally false. i am waiting for him to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him but i don't believe it for a minute, by the way. i have paid at least 13% every year. if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, the number is well above 20%. >> the controversy over romney's taxes escalated recently when senate majority leader harry reid claimed without providing evidence that romney had avoided paying taxes entirely in some years. romney has denied the claim, but has maintained his refusal to release his returns. a new study says 26 major
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corporations paid their top executives more money last to than they paid in federal taxes. according to the institute for policy states, companies including at&t, boeing, and citigroup paid their ceo's an average of $20.4 million whopping little or no tax to the federal government. new figures show july marked the 329th consecutive month with the global temperature above the 20th century average. it was the 36th consecutive july with an above temperature average, a streak dating back to 1976. in the u.s., the national oceanic and atmospheric administration recently disclosed july was in athe nation's hottest month on record. the city of dallas has declared a state of emergency and authorized the spring of pesticides to control a record outbreak of the west nile virus. nearly 200 cases of the virus had been reported in dallas,
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leading to a of least 10 deaths and the surrounding county and 17 statewide. nine people have filed suit against the oil giant chevron over a massive fire the company's oil refinery in richmond, california last week. tens of thousands of area residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed after a series of blasts sparked blazing fires that sent huge plumes of smoke. hundreds sought medical treatment for respiratory issues. the lawsuit accuses chevron of negligence in its operating of the refinery and in its emergency response. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today's show on the latest on wikileaks founder julian assange. britain is refusing to give them safe passage out of the country, even though ecuador has granted
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him political asylum. assange remains inside the ecuadorian embassy in london where he has stayed for almost two months in an attempt to avoid extradition to sweden for questioning over sex crime accusations. his lawyers say he fears sweden will extradite him to the u.s. to face charges of the leaking of secret u.s. military and diplomatic files. on thursday, the british foreign secretary william hague said assange would be arrested if he left the embassy. >> we are disappointed by the statement by ecuador's foreign minister today that ecuador has offered political asylum to julian assange. under our law, with mr. assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the british authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to sweden. we must carry out that obligation. of course, we fully intend to do so. the ecuadorean government decision this afternoon does not change that in any way. nor does it change the current circumstances in any way. we remain committed to a
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diplomatic solution that allows us to carry out our obligations as a nation under the extradition act. it is important to understand this is not about mr. assange's activities at wikileaks with the attitude of the united states of america. he is wanted in sweden for allegations of serious sexual offenses. >> britain has threatened to raid the embassy in order to arrest assange. a british foreign spokesperson said -- the british threat was condemned by ecuadorian officials as well as former diplomats. sir anthony brenton told the bbc that a british breach of diplomatic immunity would "make the world a very different place" with diplomats everywhere vulnerable to punitive action by host governments. ecuador has as the organization of american states to hold a meeting august 23 to discuss the
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diplomatic crisis. numerous supporters of assange have gathered outside ecuador's embassy in recent days. this is paul madrid. >> we believe the decision taken by the ecuadorian government is the correct one. we support the government's decision, which is a decision based on human rights and international commissions that support this type of petition. >> to talk more about the significance of these developments, we are one to go first to jennifer robinson, a london-based legal advisor for julian assange, and director of legal advocacy at the bertha foundation. we welcome you to "democracy now!" jennifer, the significance of the ecuadorian government granting political silencasylumo julian assange and now what britain is threatening? >> this is a hugely important decision by ecuador and when we both got them and respect -- and
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one we both block of and respect. it is an important recognition of the persecution that julian faces, in particular, concerns revlon had about his risk of extradition to the u.s. and prosecution associated with these activities that do with wikileaks. the latest announcement by the british government in relation to this [unintelligible] significant concerns about diplomatic asylum. experts have been sent in the past 24 hours it would be illegal to enter an embassy under international law the british government cannot interpret if they decide to withdraw the status, i think this would be significant problems around the world. >> what about the 1987 law that the british government is
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claiming would be -- they could justify removing the diplomatic protection of the embassy? >> at present, ecuador has diplomatic status. if the u.k. government or to revoke that status, it would be a watershed to international law, in respect of of whether it is covered under british law, it would be a significant step by the british government and one, i think, academic lawers have said would affect all of the world. >> can you talk about a comparison to how the british government dealt with agusta pinochet. baltasar garzón is a lawyer for julian assange, the crusading spanish judge and prosecutor, who called for the extradition of agusta pinochet to spain. he ultimately had to stay in britain for year, but pretend
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about him to go back to chile. >> i think there are limited comparisons to be made between those cases. of course, croissant is the leader of our defense team -- will to circles on is the leader of our defense team. i think the cases are different. >> and the threat of a raid? what exactly would it mean? british soldiers or police moving into the embassy and extracting julian assange? >> it is not clear exactly what it would mean. it would be an unprecedented action if the u.k. were to take that action. i suspect if they were to withdraw the status of the british embassy, i know recently the british government has distanced themselves from that statement, but if they would do that, it would be a huge step. after that, police
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[unintelligible] and take julian assange under arrest. [unintelligible] >> we are losing your a little bit, jennifer. >> at this stage, the british government has taken a massive step back from that threat to into the embassy. they would have to withdraw the status before they could do so. that an of itself would be a huge step. i don't think that will happen. >> jennifer robinson, ecuador's foreign minister has said that his country sought assurances from sweden and the united states that julian assange would not be extradited from sweden to the united states before making a decision, and they were not giving such assurances. it seems the real effort is to get him into u.s. custody via sweden.
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your response to that announcement by the foreign minister of ecuador, that could not get those assurances from the united states? >> i think is important point and one that should be emphasized, that ecuador considering its obligations to grant asylum first or assurances that we had been asking our australian government who also refused to request, that ecuador took every step it could before taking this decision. it is worth emphasizing is granted asylum is with respect to extradition to the u.s., and sweden and the united kingdom both refused to provide assurances that once matters were dealt with in sweden, that he would be permitted to leave the country and would not be extradited to the u.s. they refused to provide those assurances. he has been willing to cooperate with the british allegations. he has not been charged in
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sweden yet. they just want testimony. the ecuadorean government offer the swedish authorities the opportunity to interview julian assange on the sexual allegations, in the embassy, and refused that offer. [unintelligible] airtran assurances to allow trillion to answer those questions -- they are trying to get assurances to allow julian assange to answer those questions in sweden. >> after the announcement that he had been granted political asylum, one of his lawyers in sweden urged swedish prosecutor to travel to london to question assange. >> the foundation for the arrest warrant was that they wanted an interrogation with julian assange in sweden. now it is no longer possible to have it in sweden because he has
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been granted political asylum. i think it is time for the prosecutor to change her mind and go along the lines and do it quickly in london, then everything will be solved and the foundation for the european arrest warrant will disappear, and julian assange can leave the embassy and go to ecuador and seek protection from the united states. >> that is one of the lawyers for julian assange. jennifer robinson, the final comment on this and how long julian assange can remain in the ecuadorean embassy in london. >> first of all, i agree entirely with our colleague in sweden. it's a swedish prosecutor were to go to london, this would be over. then julian assange could go to ecuador and seek protection from the west we have been offered testimony from the uk. there was no need for this
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arrest warrant in the first place. that kept him under house arrest for more than 18 months. if they took the option to use the assistance treaty available to them, we would not be in this situation. that is the best possible outcome for everyone, including the women in sweden have made these allegations. as to how long he can remain in the ecuadorean embassy, we would not like to be an indefinite position, but ecuador has granted protection and unless and until the british government removes the threat, he will remain in the embassy until he can receive safe passage. until that is granted, his subject to arrest when he walks outside the embassy. at this stage, he is not willing to do that. >> jennifer robinson, thank you for being with us, london-based legal advisor for julian assange. when we come back, we'll speak
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with perhaps the united states must famous whistleblower, then ellsberg -- dan ellsberg. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> for more and julian assange,
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we're joined by daniel ellsberg, perhaps the country's most famous whistleblower. he joins us from berkeley. welcome to "democracy now!" your response to the latest developments of the decision of ecuador to grant asylum? >> i congratulate ecuador for standing up to the british empire, insisting they're not a british colony and acting as a sovereign state ought to act. i think they're going to right thing and i appreciate what they have done. >> and the british government first threatening to raid the ecuadorean embassy in london, also saying they would arrest julian assange if he attempted to leave to go to ecuador, but also saying they would raid the embassy? >> it is an outrageous proposal, which undermines the security of
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every diplomat in the world in this country right now. it has a chilling effect right now. the possibility that that has been raised. i remember the occasion that gave rise to that. i remember when a libyan official shot from the libyan embassy in london and killed a british female officer. it was in 1984. the result was, they removed diplomatic recognition from libya altogether and sent everyone home. they did not raid the embassy, but that led to a three years later that permitted them under extraordinary circumstances to do that again. it honestly do not have anyone here who has been shooting from the ecuadorean embassy, but merely telling the truth. he should be congratulated for that, not threatened. >> daniel ellsberg, the extraordinary efforts being taken by the british government
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and the swedish government, supposedly just to question him on allegations of a sexual attack, not even actual charges. >> everything we have seen supports the position of his defense team, but this is not about sexual charges in sweden, essentially, that that is a cover story. whatever substance that may be to that story. but the procedures are extraordinary. a red notice on unusual circumstances to arrest him. these have the efforts to extradite him after he had offered it to be questioned by the prosecutor herself or by some representative of her in the swedish embassy or the british embassy or by british police in london where he was, something, by the way, is routinely done all the time. all of that was refused.
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why in a situation where this man is charged with criminal charges, why no country, not by sweden and not by britain and not by the united states, although, there may be a secret indictment already waiting for him in the u.s., being denied or lied about right now by my country, but no charges have actually been made public. so here all this emphasis just to get him questioned when he has offered himself for questioning, even right now in the ecuadorean embassy. the state of ecuador has officially proposed that take place in their embassy or elsewhere in london. and that has been refused. all of this supports the ad did this is merely a way of getting him to sweden, which apparently would be easier to extradite him from to the united states and britain. if britain were totally open to extraditing him, it would have happened by now. two years have passed. he is a member of the
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commonwealth, an australian citizen. the criteria for extraditing someone who is telling the truth acrylate are more stringent here than might be in sweden. i think in fact, i join his lawyers michael ratner and others come in saying he has every reason to be wary that the real intent here is to whisk him away to america -- where it has not been made clear what might be waiting for him, as i think one can conjecture. the new national defense authorization act, and i am a plaintiff in a lawsuit to call that act unconstitutional in terms of its effect on me and others from a suit that has been successful so far of the district court level and has led to that act being called and constitutional -- but on its face, the act to be used for julian assange or bradley manning, if he weren't already in military custody. julian assange would seem to me
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to be clearly subject to the national defense authorization act, putting him in military detention for suspicion of giving aid to an enemy, which he certainly has been a key step by high american officials. i don't see what he cannot be put in the indefinite contention with that even the charges that i faced four years ago for doing the exact same things that he did. >> the record a president of and on whistleblowers, six whistleblowers charged under the obama administration, more than under all mid -- past presidents combined? >> twice as many as past presidents. there were a total of three, one each. i was the first ever charged with those charges. obama has brought six such charges. apparently, his grand jury in virginia is seeking at least a seventh and perhaps more against julian assange and others.
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>> you were charged, your indicted for having secret documents and giving them away? >> for possessing them without authorization there's a second grand jury going on that would have got me a second trial for distribution, which was also involved in. i did not contest any of the facts. for the first time, would have brought a newspaper people. that was quashed after governor -- government criminality split with no prior president of a newspaper person being tried under that charge a was a former official. julian assange would be the first charged. no newspaper person has been so charged. >> daniel ellsberg, the impact already of this pounding of julian assange by the swedish and the united states
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government, in the wings, and the scenes, orchestrating a lot of this, the impact on wikileaks and other whistleblowers? the message that is being sent that if you dare go against the empire, you'll be hounded and gone after? >> it is hardly an amazing message. it was to be expected. there was reason to think an international organization with no national roots here, and using the internet, would escape that kind of chilling affect. they found the empire here is more resourceful and creative and less mindful of its own constitution and laws and traditions than one might have hoped. but anyway, it is hardly surprising when you twist the lion's tail that the lion may get very angry. their ability to shut off the funding by intimidating, without even invoking the law, places
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like paypal and amazon and others, from giving any money to or serving as distribution channels is very dismaying. it is a sign, not unique, of the way in which are fundamental rights, our bill of rights, our constitutional freedoms have been abridged by the last 10 years and more. president obama is following in that tradition. i predicted, unhappily, when it urged people to vote for him four years ago. i predicted would urge people in florida and swing states to vote for him next time, and happily, not an expectation to act like a president rather than making. we currently have, and have for some years, a choice between two candidates for monti four years apart. across to an assange's statement after the ecuadorian government granted political asylum, he said -- "i am grateful.
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a courageous, independent latin- american nation stood up for me. well today is a historic victory, our struggles have just begun. the unprecedented to his investigation over wikileaks must be stopped while today much of the focus will be on the decision of the ecuadorian government, it is just as important that we remember bradley manning has been detained without trial for over 800 days. the task of protecting wikileaks, its staff, his supporters, and its alleged sources continue." that from julian assange's statement yesterday. >> there is no reason to believe that he would get what in past years, including my time was prosecutor, would pass for a fair trial and fair treatment in this country. i am sorry to say there has been something like coup against our constitution some 10 years ago,
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and against separation of government. it is outrageous that bradley manning's trial again has been postponed by the action of the government until next spring. he has already spent more than 800 days in confinement. 10 months or more in conditions that amnesty international called torture. the ad to president obama ended torture is simply not true. he did not. in terms of isolated commitment from incommunicado, basically, and conditions of nudity intended to humiliate him, all intended to press him to cop a plea and reduce his sentence from a life sentence they're asking to a much lower sentence if he will only implicate julian assange, in ways that would allow him to bring a trial without great embarrassment. let me enlarge on that for a moment. they do not have to extradite anyone to bring them under these charges and to the wikileaks disclosures.
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everything to an assange could possibly be charged with under our law was committed as an act by bill keller, the presidents of -- sorry, the managing editor of the executive editor of "the new york times." i do not think they should be indicted or he should be indicted, that would be an outrage just as it is to think of indicting julian assange. bunning law, bradley manning is facing charges he aided the enemy -- meanwhile, bradley manning is facing charges he aided the enemy. many have even called for execution. the same charges then could lead to julian assange being tried under the national defense authorization act, which has just been found unconstitutional by a courageous and right- thinking judge in the district of manhattan. >> daniel ellsberg -- >> that is the act under which i
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was tried. i wish i had had the chance to go for an injunction under that charge. >> daniel ellsberg, thank you so much for being with us, perhaps the country's most famous whistleblower from 1971 with the u.s. involvement in vietnam. we turn now to our next segment. it is the issue of the voting rights in pennsylvania. >> with a presidential election less than three months away, voting rightthings are heating . a judge upheld a controversial voter id law. the measure requires voters to produce photo id before they can cast balance. the american civil liberties union and other groups said they will appeal to the state supreme court. pennsylvania house majority leader, a republican, praised
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the judge's decision saying it confirmed the integrity of each and every valid vote. earlier this year, he predicted the voter id law would help mitt romney win the state. >> voter id, which will allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania ofdone. >> the judge wrote the law "does not express -- critics say, and analysis shows the rate of voter fraud is infinitesimal and in person voter impersonation on election day is virtually nonexistent. >> for more, we go to washington, d.c., where we're joined by nicole austin-hillery,
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director and counsel of the washington office of the brennan center for justice. welcome to "democracy now!" talk about the significance of this ruling in pennsylvania. >> this is quite significant because here we have a court that has said that despite the fact the state government stipulated that they have no evidence of in person voter fraud ever having occurred in the commonwealth of pennsylvania, this court still says that it believes it is ok for the state to implement a measure that is meant to protect the state against voter fraud, the state has already admitted to simply nonexistent. what we think this does is send a terrible message, basically ensures that many voters in the commonwealth of pennsylvania will have a very difficult, if not impossible, time of voting when we approach the november election this year.
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there are numerous people in pennsylvania. the brennan center did a report on this just released a few to go about the difficulty of obtaining voter identification. there hundreds of thousands of individuals in pennsylvania, in the state has admitted to this, that simply do not have the proper id that under the state's new law are required in order to cast a vote in november. even though the state has implemented measures that they say will ensure that every citizen if they don't have the requisite id can get it, we know that when changes are made so close to an election, when an entirely new system is put in place, that it is one to be difficult for each and every voter to be given the proper id. and for many of those individuals who do not get it and run into proble a difficult time casting their ballot in november. >> nicole austin-hillery, the situation in ohio as well, could you talk about the latest a
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balance there? one of 13 states that have either try to restrict or one way or another putting new restrictions on voting? >> certainly. as you have said, there has been a history of a lot of different things going on in ohio from ballot initiatives to attempts by the state legislature to pass laws that have the effect of prohibiting certain voters are making it harder for surgeon voters to cast their vote. this become the secretary of in ohio made a determination regarding early voting hours. what he determined was that there would be varying hours for early voting across the state. when you take a close look at the jurisdictions in ohio, what he was basically determining was that jurisdiction that tended to have majority white population
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and where the majority of voters were registered republican, their hours were going to be extended. they were going to have rather the longest opportunity to cast their early vote. however, when you look at jurisdictions that have a large minority population and where there was a large percentage of individuals who are registered democrats, he applied a different rule. the early voting hours in those jurisdictions were going to be shorter. of course, there was an outcry from many people, citizens in ohio as well as progressive organizations that simply want to ensure there is uniformed they -- uniformity. as a result, he made the determination yesterday there would be unity in the form of ours and it would be the same in every jurisdiction in ohio.
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even making that decision to do so, what he did not do was to ensure that there would be early voting hours on the weekend. and what many studies have shown is that minority populations often take advantage of early voting hours on the weekend. for instance, a lot of the african-american congregations throughout the country have had organized efforts to ensure that their congregants get to the polls to take advantage of early voting hours, particularly on sunday after church. in effect, if ohio is no longer offering that option of voting on sunday, for instance, that man's efforts like that will be curtailed. >> i want to play recent, but the ohio secretary state john who stood about the controversy over the voting hours. he was on the right-wing pundits british show last week.
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>> i don't think the bar is too high there for anybody who really cares about the future of our country and wants to have their voice heard by voting. >> that was the house secretary of state, nicole austin-hillery? >> i did not hear your question. >> your response to his response, we are not 7-eleven staying open 24 hours a day. >> no and is asking the secretary of state ensure that their polls stay open throughout the night and all day. what organizations, like ours, that want to ensure democracy for everyone in the country, organizations that want to ensure that all americans are
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not prohibited or inhibited from casting their ballots, what we want is for states to ensure that people have fair and equal opportunities to get access to the ballot box. again, what we have seen in this country is bad with the creation of early voting -- is that with the creation of early voting, many who had difficulty casting their vote on the designated tuesday, have more of an opportunity to get to the polls. we know there are many people who have difficulty on the designated tuesday of an election day. there are poor and working people who simply cannot take off work. people who cannot afford to stand in long lines for hours. we saw last presidential election there were many jurisdictions for people were standing in line for hours. lines were wrapped around buildings. many people were able to stand
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in those lines, but there were many people who were not. individuals who simply did not have that kind of flexibility with respect to jobs, family care, and other responsibilities. we know early vote -- >> if i can, another important swing states, florida. earlier this year, the justice department ordered florida to in the controversial voter purge the primarily targeted latino, democratic, and independent- minded voters. now it will move ahead after the federal government finalized an agreement to allow the state to access records that could detect non-citizens on the voting rolls. i want to turn to a clip of republican governor rick scott of florida on fox news defending the voter purge. >> i want fair, honest elections. >> holder says your suppressing votes. >> i want people to vote, register to vote, that are u.s. citizens. >> he says your suppressing democrat votes. >> i want everyone to vote, but
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only u.s. citizens. >> nicole austin-hillery, your response? >> sure. we, too, at the brennan center, one to ensure that the people who cast ballots are indeed people who under our laws are the people who should be casting ballots. citizens. people who are registered partlproperly. the problem in florida is florida has waited until very close to the election, number one, to decide they wanted to do a purge of their voting role. under the national voter registration act, jurisdictions are supposed to make changes such as that no sooner than 90 days before an election. florida decided to make these changes within 90 days of their primary. so that was a concern. that there simply was done enough time to do an accurate
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review of these voter rolls. we think that a florida was truly concerned about cleaning up their roles, this would have an activity they had undertaken far sooner during a time when they would have actually had time to go through the rules to deal with any issues and errors and it would not have come up at a time when it would have cost a lot of confusion and intimidation for voters. secondly, the department of homeland security has already agreed to provide the state of florida with a database that florida has requested that would enable them to verify the roles of citizens and to ensure that they are removing the people who are not citizens from their role. right now, florida and the department of homeland security are working to reach a memorandum of agreement or a memorandum of understanding, if you will, that will enable floridian to use that data base.
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those negotiations are still under way. we will see if that will happen in a timely manner. the main point is, whenever states determine they want to purge their roles were clean up their roles, it takes time. it has to be done efficiently and effectively. waiting to do so until very close to an election always raises concern about why the state is doing so close to an election. we're always concerned about errors and the fact innocent individuals who are eligible registered voters, we're worried about whether they may be the ruinously kicked off the roll. >> nicole austin-hillery, thank you for joining us. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> returned a breaking news in russia where three members of the feminist punk group pussy riot have just been found guilty for staging a peaceful protest against russian peter vladimir putin inside an orthodox church. the verdict in the case has drawn widespread attention from around the world and still being read in court, and a sentence has not been announced. there are 21st, five members of the group rushed before the altar of moscow's cathedral of christ the savior. they genuflected, danced, and issued a punk prayer, ignored in the virgin mary to get putin out. >> ♪
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>> that was pussy riot's punk prayer from the church protest. three young women accused of participating have just been found guilty. i have already been in jail for five months. the case was seen as a key test of how far russian leader vladimir putin might cut a crackdown against protesters. the three jailed performers drew admiration from around the world with activists and musicians, including madonna, paul mccartney, red hot chili peppers, showing support. the outcry was so intense the judge giving today's verdict was placed under state protection after officials say she received threats >> protest actions were scheduled a kick off today in some three dozen cities around the world, including new york. for more, we're joined by jd samson, a feminist punk musician
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with the bands le tigre and men. >> how are you? >> tell us about pussy riot, who they are, who the women are that are now in jail, and the significance of this guilty verdict. >> obviously, for myself in part of an activist, feminist, a for the past 10d years, it is home to me. last night, we held a reading of all the text the women have put out both in statements on the trial as well as the lyrics to their songs, which was really incredible a lot of people showed up. today, there are rallies all over new york from churches to times square. clearly, we're all upset about
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the verdict was read just a short time ago. >> "democracy now!" spoke with alisa obraztsova, an assistant to the lore is working with pussy riot. she says they believe is politically motivated. >> we understand very well that this case is a political job and all the decisions concerning the protest and the rest of the girls were made by people who are high up in civil service. we are more than sure that all the sanctions for all the actions concerning pussy riot were given by putin some close to him. we want to ask americans not to cherish and illusion about russia. unfortunately, the american people will never understand how the legal trial [unintelligible]
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in russia of. it is impossible to understand for people who live in democracy how it is possible to live in a system of this regard of the lord. the only way is to believe this society and not the government. only this society reaction may describe the real situation in russia. >> that was alisa obraztsova, representing pussy riot's defense team. she is in the courtroom right now. we're getting reports that people were protesting outside and are being arrested. >> i want to ask you if possible to read some of the lyrics of the song they saying in the church that has led to their arrest and now this trial.
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>> of course but it was called "punk prayer." "virgin mary, mother of god, become a feminist." >> for the tv viewers, we're showing live pictures of the verdict. people can go online ad we just read a tweet, russian opposition leader has been arrested outside the pussy riot court. why has this resonated like it
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has throughout the world? >> one of the reasons, feminism is a new wave. i think people have been kind of, there have been things inching up, all his conversations about abortion and these new laws happening this year. i think we are just at the top of this. as a feminist musician as well, we're all interested in freedom of expression and as artists, with an austin behind them whether we are madonna, yoko ono, sting, or paul mccartney. russia clearly has no separation of church and state and this is something that has definitely been important for us to think about these women are not allowed to say the word "feminist." it is a swear word. when asked in court what a feminist was, the judge said, we don't need to answer that
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question. these all things that shock feminists around the world. >> and the impact on artists, especially in russia, but around the world, of this and standing up to this authoritarian government? >> one of the things that a strong for everyone, they are staying so incredibly confident and strong. they are standing there with their hands in handcuffs and a cage smiling because they know what they have done is to ignite a fire and the rest of the world. they are extremely happy to have done so. >> and people can go to to see them standing in that cage. we're showing live footage from the courtroom in moscow. the verdict has come down -- guilty. the sentencing is being read as we're broadcasting. they face up to seven years in prison. they have already been in jail for five months, the group pussy riot. jd samson, feminist punk musician and le tigre and men,
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thank you for being with us. we will let people know the latest online at democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013