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tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  September 21, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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09/21/12 09/21/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" madison,the road in wisconsin. >> the court ordered execution of troy anthony davis has been carried out. it is 11:08. >> today, we look back at the killing of troy davis as well ahead the future of the death penalty in the united states.
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we will speak with his sister kimberly davis, ben jealous, and laura moye. as italy upholds the convictions of 23 cia agents for kidnapping an egyptian cleric off the streets of milan, we will look at why the obama administration has refused to prosecute anyone involved in the u.s. government secrets torture and rendition program. we will speak with alfred mccoy here in madison. he is author of "torture and impunity." >> there is an absolute ban on torture for a very good reason. torture taps into the deepest recesses of the human consciousness where creation and destruction exist. with a capacity for cruelty and kindness to exist. it has a powerful, perverse appeal. and once it starts, but the perpetrators and the powerful
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who order them, let it spread. it spreads out of control. >> all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. road in the madison, wisconsin. and this one person has been killed in pakistan as protesters fill the streets across several cities in what is expected to be a massive day of action against the u.s. made film "innocence of muslims." the pakistani government declared friday a public holiday to allow people to demonstrate against the film, which mocks the muslim prophet mohammed. pakistan shut down cell phone service in major cities as officials moved to block roads to u.s. diplomatic missions. in the pakistani city of peshawar, a driver named mohamed amir were shot dead by police
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as he drove through an area where protesters were torching a movie theater. deaths, including that of u.s. ambassador to libya, have already been linked to protests and violence that swept the muslim countries around the world as a result of the film. a french cartoon depicting the prophet mohammed in pornographic poses has only added new fodder to the global outcry. thursday, thousands of pakistan is demonstrated in the capital of islamabad as police and security forces attempted to block access to u.s. embassy. at least 50 people were reportedly injured as police fired live rounds and tear gas. protests were reported in multiple countries thursday including indonesia, iran, and afghanistan were hundreds of people held a peaceful march in kabul and chanted anti-american slogans. u.s. deputy secretary of state william burns held talks in libya thursday with the country's new prime minister and head of the national congress following last week's attack on u.s. embassy in benghazi that
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killed the u.s. ambassador and three of his staff. burns attended a ceremony to honor ambassador christopher stevens. >> this is a hard moment for all of us. it is a moment shared loss. it is a moment shared hope and shared responsibility. we have lost four wonderful colleagues. we have lost a brilliant ambassador full of courage and skill and passionate determination to help libyans, to help all of you to realize the promise of your revolution, to make a reality of a free libya. >> at least 15 people were killed and 20 wounded in somalia after a pair of suicide bombers struck a cafe in mogadishu. the spot was frequented by reporters and three journalists including the news director for somali national television were
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among the dead. in syria, at least 54 people were reportedly killed, dozens more wounded when government airstrikes triggered an explosion at a gas station in the northern part of the country. by some accounts, nearly two of the people were killed across syria thursday amidst an escalating crisis between forces loyal to syrian president bashar al-assad and rebels opposed to his regime. meanwhile at the united nations to carry council, the united states and other western countries condemned iran for supplying weapons to the syrian government. this is the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, susan rice. >> iran's arms exports to the murderous al-assad regime in syria are a particular concern. as a panel of experts has concluded, syria it is now the "central party" to iranian arms transfers. states in the region must therefore worked together and redouble their efforts to deny,
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inspect, and seized illicit iranian shipments including transfers via air corridors in line with the cargo inspection provisions of sicker because the resolution 1929. >> to the secretary leon panetta has announced last of the more than 30,000 troops that entered afghanistan following president obama's orders for a surge in 2009 have left the country. leon panetta claimed the surge accomplished its mission of curbing the taliban's momentum and bolstering afghan security forces. nearly 70,000 u.s. troops remain in afghanistan amidst ongoing violence there, including so- called green on blue attacks by afghan forces. the pentagon has selected a former top army commander who served in afghanistan to oversee military operations in africa. general david rodriguez helped orchestrate the 2009 surge of troops into afghanistan and also served two tours of duty in
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iraq. rodriguez still needs formal approval from the white house and confirmation from the senate before replacing general carter ham as head of africa command. the obama administration has taken a number of steps to expand u.s. military presence in africa and ramped up the use of covert spying -- operations. the palestinian activist has agreed to end his hunger strike amidst signs of progress in the global campaign for his release. zakaria zubeidi, a former militant turned activist and director of freedom theatre, has been in prison by the palestinian authority since may. he has been on hunger strike some september 9. there were reports he could be released as early as sunday. republican senator scott brown faced democratic challenger elizabeth warren in the first debate of their closely watched massachusetts senate race thursday. brown began by attacking elizabeth warren for claiming on past documents that she is
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native american. warren defended herself, she had been told growing up in oklahoma that her mother was part delaware and part cherokee. the candidates sparred over a number of issues during the hour-long debate, including iran, women's rights, and economic policy. >> the u.s. chamber of commerce said professor warns tax policies and her approach to them are the greatest threat to free enterprise. it is said it would cut 700,000 jobs, 17,000 in massachusetts. these are independent groups who have analyzed and pointed this out. i am going to protect the hard- working men and women, the job creators, the people getting up in the middle of the night and creating jobs. >> i think the point here is the chamber of commerce has not talked about my particular proposals. what i am talking about is how scott brown has already voted and also talking about what he
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said in his own voice last week that it wanted to make crystal clear. and that is that he would like taxes go up for 90% of families in order to protect tax breaks for the top 2%. >> in an appearance on the spanish-language network on thursday, president obama faced tough questions over his immigration policies. including his failure to fulfill a campaign promise to enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first your office. obama called the lack of immigration reform "the biggest full-year" of his presidency but attempted to shift blame for the failure to republicans. >> we talk about immigration reform the first year, before the economy was on the verge of collapse. lehman brothers had collapsed, the stock market was collapsing. and so my first priority was making sure we prevented us from going into a great depression. i think everybody remembers where we were four years ago.
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i confess what i did not expect, so i'm happy to take responsibility for being naive, is that republicans who had previously supported comprehensive immigration reform, my opponent in 2008 who have been a champion of it and attended these meetings, suddenly would walk away. >> president obama's, is, as his administration faces scrutiny for deporting and detaining a record number of undocumented immigrants. nearly 400,000 were deported during the last fiscal year. republican presidential mitt romney also fielded questions about immigration wednesday. he attacked obama's deferred action policy that allows some undocumented young people to remain in the country temporarily, saying a more permanent solution was needed. romney was accused during the appearance of avoiding specific details about a possible permanent solution and asked to
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respond with a yes or no on whether he would deport undocumented youth. >> we're not going to round up people around the country and deport them. i said during my primary campaign, we're not going to round up dwelling people, including kids and parents, and have everyone deported. we need to provide a long-term solution. i have described the fact i would be in support of a program that said people who served in our military could be permanent residents of the u.s. unlike the president, when i am president, i will do what i promise, put in place and immigration reform plan that solves this issue. >> mitt romney's national campaign co-chair tim pawlenty is resigning from the campaign to lobby for wall street. the former minnesota that there will have the financial services roundtable, which represents jp morgan chase, wells fargo, and other financial firms. before working for romney's campaign, pawlenty was considered a potential candidate for president and later as a
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possible vice presidential pick. an australian public official has issued an unusually frank condemnation of u.s. republicans. in a conference speech in sydney on friday, australian treasurer wayne swan cited certain segments of the republican party as a leading threat to the world's economy and rebuked them in stark terms. >> let's be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world's biggest economy, the crazies that have taken over our part of the republican party. despite president obama is a good will and strong efforts, the national interest there was held hostage by the rise of the extreme to party of the republican party. there could be few things alarming the public policy than a political movement which was genuinely prepared to see the government of the united states default on its obligations in order to score a political
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point. >> and the canadian province of quebec, the new government has canceled a tuition hike that sparked mass protests earlier this year. the new quebec premier fulfilled a campaign promise less than 24 hours after the new government came to power by repealing the fee hike. students had launched a massive strike over the increase with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets wearing red squares. quebec's tuition will now return to just over $2,000. the russian punk group pussy riot will be awarded the lennon ono peace prize award by the artist and activist yoko ono today in new york. three members of pussy riot were sentenced last month to two years in prison for staging a protest against russian leader vladimir putin inside an orthodox cathedral. the husband of one of the jailed members will except the word today. peter verzilov is in the united states along with pussy riot's
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legal team in a bid to gather u.s. support for the group members' release. on thursday, pussy riot received a boost from burmese pro- democracy leader aung san suu kyi, who is currently on her visit to the u.s. in more than three decades. >> i don't see why people should be able to sing whatever it is they want to sing. there is nothing wrong with singing. i think the only reason people should not sing is what they are singing is deliberately insulting or if they seem terribly. [laughter] i think that would be the best reason for not singing at all. i would like the whole group to be released as soon as possible. >> and those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in madison, wisconsin. part of our 100-city tour. you can go to our website to see the journey. one year ago today, the state of
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georgia executed troy anthony davis for a crime many believe he did not commit. he was put to death despite major doubts about evidence used to link him to the killing a police officer mark macphail, including the recantation of seven of the nine non-police witnesses at his trial. as the world watched to see whether davis's final appeal for a stay of execution would be granted by the u.s. supreme court, "democracy now!" was the only news outlet to continuously broadcast live from the prison grounds in jackson, georgia. during our six-hour special report, we spoke with davis's supporters and family members who held an all-day vigil, then heard from those who witnessed his death by lethal injection at 11:08 eastern time. soon we will be joined by some of the people who were with us that night as we look back on the legacy of this case, and what it means for the death penalty in this country. even as texas executed robert
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wayne harris last night, its 8th prisoner of the year, californians are set to vote this november on abolishing capital punishment. but first, i want to turn to someone who cannot be with us today. that is troy davis's older sister martina correia, who died in december at the age of 44 after a more than a decade-long battle with breast cancer. this is martina correia speaking a year ago today, hours before her brother troy was executed. >> i want to think our lives and my sense and sisters and brothers lives has been richer for knowing troy. anyone who is met troy has come away with an imprint of him on their soul. i don't have to tell people what my brother is like, because once you get to meet him, they can see for themselves. that is why they try to keep him
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voiceless in the press, because they do not want you to know who troy davis is because then you could not stand by and allow the state to kill in your name. so i just would like to say that i am troy davis. [applause] >> we are troy davis! we are troy davis! we are troy davis! >> and i would like to say, i have been battling cancer for 10 years i don't have cancer, but i am [indiscernible] several months ago i was doing fine. after that, i could not get up out of the chair. i am here to tell you that i am going to stand here for my brother today.
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[applause] >> you are troy davis! we are try>> let's get to work l georgia that we will not stand by and we will defy them and we need to start with [indiscernible] >> that was martina correia standing up from her wheelchair, the older sister of troy davis. his most vocal and steadfast activist speaking a year ago today. as the scheduled time of troy anthony davis's execution approached, hundreds of his supporters rallied outside the prison in jackson. around 7:00 p.m., the crowd erupted into thunderous cheers. for a moment, it appeared the supreme court had stayed the execution.
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what did troy tell you the last time you saw him? we are hearing some kind of cheer that has gone up. [cheers and applause] >> my god! [cheers] >> but the jubilation was short- lived. after realizing the execution had just been delayed, not stayed, supporters of troy davis waited for news from the supreme court. at about 11:45, the crowd went silent, when it was learned the high court would not stop the execution. prison officials began the lethal injection process minutes later at 10:53. troy davis was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. >> the court ordered the execution of troy anthony davis has been carried out. the time of death is 11:08 p
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.m.. >> the prison official sharing the news that troy anthony davis was executed 11:08, that was the time of death. and standing with -- >> wesley boyd. i want to say that this is a travesty of justice. america should be ashamed. god help america. if you are alive in america, please, do not come to georgia. do not by georgia pecans or peaches. don't buy any trade with georgia. the whole world, do not buy anything with georgia. god bless america and god bless troy davis. >> minutes after the state of georgia executed troy davis, a group of reporters who witnessed the execution walked out of the death chamber and on to the prison grounds. they described troy davis's final moments. jon lewis is a radio journalist at wsb.
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>> he went very quietly. a family and friends sat in the front row. the warden asked if he had anything to say. he looked at the first row and made a stand in which troy davis said, he wanted to talk to the macphail family and said despite the situation you're in, he was not the one who did it. he said that he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. he said to his family that he was sorry for their loss but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother. he said to them to dig deeper into this case to find out the truth. he asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, and keep the faith they said to the prison staff, the ones he said were going to take my life, he said to them, "may god have mercy on your souls."
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his last words were "may god bless your souls." he put his head down, the procedure began and was over in about 15 minutes. >> some of the voices from our special broadcast from a year ago today, september 21, 2011. troy anthony davis was executed by the state of georgia. when we come back from the break, we will be joined by the head of the naacp who was there that night, ben jealous. and we will be joined by kim davis, troy anthony davis's sister. she, too, was there. and laura moye of amnesty international. all three were standing on the grounds of the prison when troy davis was put to death. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>> the song written by lewis allan about lynchings in the south. everytime billie holiday singing that song, she would have to throw up afterward, she used to say. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in madison, wisconsin.
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we're going to washington, d.c. to be joined by our guests. three people who were there on the night of the troy davis' execution and have since continued to work on the death penalty. kimberly davis is troy davis's sister, and an anti-death penalty activist. ben jealous is president of the naacp. and we are joined by laura moye from amnesty international. we welcome all of you back to "democracy now!" kimberly davis, i know it is a hard day for you, the first anniversary of troy's debt. can you share your thoughts on this one year later? >> this is a tough time both for me and my family, but as my brother said, he always wanted us to continue the fight and keep the faith. that is what we have been doing. continuing the fight to end the death penalty, continuing to fight to clear his name, and keeping our faith. that is what is keeping us going
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strong today. >> ben jealous, the naacp, your organization, has long taken up the issue of troy davis but also the death penalty. so on this day, think back to what happened a year ago. tell us your thoughts and then where you are going with this. >> that was probably the hardest thing i have been through in 20 years of organizing. we knew troy was -- that he had not done this. the former head of george bush's fbi said there was too much doubt to execute. cannot get better than that. we switched one of the folks they said that work wanted a vote for his execution on the board of pardons and paroles. then we were betrayed by the chairman of that board who said his boat was with us and had voted with us in the past, a black former general, who gave as his word and then switched
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his vote. it was absolutely heartbreaking. where we go from here is we do exactly what kim said troy wanted us to do, we push ahead and end the death penalty. we know troy davis was not the first person who had not killed anybody to be put to death in this country, and will be the last. right now it is on the ballot in california. we asked folks to vote for that proposition if they are in california. and then onto states like ohio and maryland where it will be debated next year. we hope to repeat the victory we saw in connecticut this year. when folks take a hard look at this punishment, and that is what this case has forced the country to do, they tender run into the fact our country has killed innocent people before and we'll do it again. and no matter how they feel about that 10 ot as a theory, -- about the death penalty,
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hundreds of thousands of dollars are pulled out of our system. given that we have counties in this country where 50% of the killings can go unsolved each year, we're much better off spending our dollars on catching and caught killers and killing the killers we of caught and put in cages. our hope, our prayer is the country will take a hard look at the death penalty and realize this is a moral thing to do and also the thing that will make us safer. abolishing the death penalty will put our country in line with the rest of western democracy and also make it safer and extend his resources to catch killers. >> laura moye, your thoughts today question and also on an execution that is about to take place today. >> this is a day with a lot of mixed emotions. troy davis made the death penalty personal to people.
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his case turn people on to this issue who had not been paying attention before. and to his family and him, we are in internally grateful. i think when the book on how we ended the death penalty in the u.s. happens, there were probably be a chapter on troy davis. when the state of georgia executed troy davis amidst this cloud of tremendous doubt, in many ways it did more than we could do that amnesty international or naacp or any other organization to prove that government not ought to have this power. but there is good news in the year since he was executed. there has been progress. there continues to be progress and signs that show we are in the death penalty in the u.s. >> what are those signs? >> no last five years, five states have ended the death penalty with conn been the most recent. as mr. jealous pointed out, 800,000 people in california
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signed petitions to put the death penalty on their ballot, and have an opportunity to vote for proposition 34 in november. it would replace the death penalty with life without parole and set up a fund to help solve these unsolved homicides and rapes. the governor of oregon said, while he's in office, he will not allow a single person to be executed because of his discomfort with his very broken system. the number of death sentences and executions are at an all- time low. the week after troy davis was executed, the gallup poll measuring support for the death penalty of the u.s. was at a 40- year low. we are in a different era than 10, 20 is a go with this issue. we're seeing tremendous progress because people are coming to understand the reality of the death penalty, the ugly reality of the death penalty, how does not deter crime, costs far more than incarceration, is a
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distraction from effective means of dealing with crime. it is riddled with bias, racial and economic bias. >> laura moye, i was wondering if you could talk about the case of reggie clemens and missouri. >> i just got back from st. louis yesterday. i was sitting in on an extraordinary hearing that was ordered in the case of reggie clemens, a man on missouri's death row, who along with two other african american men, was sent to death row for the murders of two young white women, robyn anjali carry. there are some serious problems and how the investigation and trial unfolded in that case. serious allegations of police brutality to secure confessions , sorry, prosecutorial misconduct. a federal judge in a review of that case described the prosecutor as unprofessional,
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abusive, and boarish. those were his words. there's a process under way. the hearing concluded yesterday in this case. mr. clemens and now has a special opportunity with this judge -- now has a special opportunity with this judge to seek relief from his death sentence. this is another case the reminds up of troy davis in the sense there are many problems with the case from allegations of police coercion, the lack of adequate legal defense, questions of racial bias. these are issues we see time and again in the application of the death penalty. >> ben jealous, you had appealed to the attorney general of georgia to investigate troy davises case. how hard is it after some has been executed, then talk about what happened in connecticut. >> the state has a real
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interest. the state does not want to look at this case, they just want to forget about it. when the former head of george w. bush's fbi says there was not enough evidence, that there's too much doubt to execute troy davis, that is also saying there is reason to believe the killer is still on the street. the state of georgia has two interests in taking a hard look at this case. want, make sure they do not make this mistake again. the other is to get the actual killer off the street. what happened in connecticut, a state i've been traveling back and forth to for years, what we it's seen prior -- we have seen prior governor's veto the bill when put on their debts, was two of important thing. one, we saw important support for the death penalty fall to an all-time low there as well. we also saw a new governor, a former prosecutor, stand up and say -- look, i used to support the death penalty, then i become
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a prosecutor and saw what happened in these cases. i am proud to sign this bill. similar thing in california with a former district attorney of los angeles and the current state attorney general and the current governor are all saying, we looked hard at this and we may have used it to support -- we may use to of support it, but we can no longer supported going forward. that is what gives us hope. it is not just the left or the activists, but attorney generals, governors, who have to be involved in the machinery of death in this country looking hard and saying there is too much bias, too much doubt, we ways to much money. as a result, we do not solving homicides. so let's get rid of this and get on with justice in this country. >> kim, yet in trouble in this country talking about your brothers case.
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-- you have been traveling this country talking about your brother's case. refilling hopeful? birse sister, martina, while she was alive, certainly not only championed tripos case, but spoke out about the death penalty all over the country and now you're caring that torch. >> yes, ma'am, i am hopeful and i know we will bring the best penalty down one step at a time to lash the death penalty down one state at a time reid we have elections coming up. we need to look hard at things and to people, our elected officials. they are elected officials. we need to reach out and let people know what we want. we want to end the death penalty. stand on your word. we need everyone to stand to gather with amnesty international and the naacp as we continue to fight to in the death penalty. >> and both major presidential
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candidates, barack obama and mitt romney, are not opposed to the death penalty. >> and that is a real tragedy. i think folks know better. the president obama knows better. but there has been and will in politics in this country that if you aspire to the highest office, you have to be pro-death penalty, no matter if you know better. we saw bill clinton actually execute someone who had committed a crime as a juvenile. he also said some to death row -- he executed three people while campaigning for president read one was a retarded, so mentally incapacitated that he left his desert in his cell and told his lawyer he was saving it until he got back. these men know better and need to start doing better. you see women like kamala
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harris, the attorney general in california, saying explicitly she is against the death penalty. karl rove targeted her and her campaign, about her opposition to the death penalty would take her out of the race. she won despite that. we need more people in this country who truly have the courage of their convictions to run for office. but the governor of connecticut, meg harris in california. stand up for what you believe and do the right thing. the reality is, people in this country do not lose faith in you when you take a hard stand on something they may feel different about. they lose faith in you when they see you blowing in the wind. >> finally, on another issue, the news this week in the trayvon martin case, ben jealous, about the dna on the ban testing coming back and only has the dna of george zimmerman. the significance of this and where this case is today?
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>> this just affirms what we have said from the very beginning. the stand your ground law in florida gave george zimmerman the feeling he could go out there and racially profile with lethal force, stalk and kill a young black man on the sidewalk for basically just think the young black man walking through the neighborhood . george zimmerman has lied so many times to the court. i hope the judge takes that into account. this man is very dangerous and needs to be off the streets. justice needs to be done. we need to get rid of the stand your ground law and get back to been series about keeping our community and children safe. >> him, there is a family event today, the davis family is gathering in washington. what is it you have planned on this anniversary of troy davis's execution?
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>> keep the people aware about the situation with the prosecutorial misconduct in my brother's case, to keep people aware of the fight we will continue to clear his name. and we want to keep the people motivated, always, to stand with us to in the death penalty. just keep people motivated, clear my brother's name, and keep the fight going. >> ben, the congressional black caucus is having their caucus today. michelle obama it is going to be addressing the issue of voter suppression reid is anyone going to be talking about the death penalty? >> i do suspect it will come up in some of the justice hearings that are going on, the panel discussions. there will be a lot of talk about voter suppression this year because we're in a real title wave, as you know, across this country. the good news is we're turning the tide there, just as we are
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on the death penalty. sing a group of folks here today, we are a group of people that have abolished it for juvenile spread with abolish the death penalty for group, the retarded. we will use the same strategy there. we have a majority of states to outlaw the practice is and we went to the supreme court and said not only is the squirrel, but because now it is only practiced by a minority of states, it is also unusual, therefore, band and for the entire country. they did in both cases. we're hoping if we can get rid of it in california, ohio, if we can get rid of it in seven more states beyond that, we can go to the supreme court and get rid of it in georgia and texas and mississippi and all these places when it comes to their practice of the death penalty, are truly godforsaken. >> i want to end this segment with a clip of troy davis's older sister, martina correia, who was speaking to us at his
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funeral last october. >> and they are probably looking down on us, asking us what our next move is. i think he already knows because this weekend has been such a powerful weekend. some people of come together and want to stand and fight and change the laws. we're going to go to the georgia state capitol and start work on that gold dome and they're going to have to listen to was, because we are their constituents. we voted them in, and we can vote them out. i know that is one thing we have had to learn, that we have to make people accountable who are speaking on our behalf read troy made us all look within ourselves. he made a see there is goodness in all of us and that all of us have to continue to fight. >> martina correia speaking on october 1st of last year. she died two months later of
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breast cancer. 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. we're on the road in madison, wisconsin. to the news of italy's high court, which has upheld the sentences of 23 cia operatives convicted of kidnapping a muslim cleric and a u.s. program called extraordinary rendition. the cleric, abu omar, was seized from the streets of milan in 2003 and taken u.s. bases in italy and germany before being sent to egypt where he was tortured during a four-year imprisonment. the americans were all convicted in absentia after the united states refused to hand them
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over. the ruling marks the final appeal in the first trial anywhere in the world involving the cia's practice of rendering terror suspects to countries that allow torture. the italian government will be obliged to make a formal request for the extradition of the americans. however, it is all but assured the obama administration will continue its rejection. human rights watch praised the italian court move. and prasow said -- "since u.s. justice department appears entirely unwilling to investigate and prosecute these very serious crimes, other countries should move forward with their own cases against u.s. official." for years ago as a candidate, obama denounced extraordinary rendition and torture. >> we have to be clear and unequivocal, we do not torture. period.
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we do not torture. [applause] that should be our position, that should be our position, that will be my position as president. in that includes rendition. we do not subcontract torture. >> that was a presidential candidate obama in 2008 speaking at cnn's compassion. four years after obama made those comments impunity for torture has become a by potters bipartisan policy. we're joined by alfred mccoy, author of several books, including us recently, "torture and impunity." welcome back to "democracy now!" it is great to be in your neighborhood. professor, the title of your book, "torture and impunity,"
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what is it? >> the torture interrogation was developed during the cold war. the cia led the establishment and a wide range research that lasted about a decade. they developed a new form of psychological torture. really, the first revolution of science and pain in century, if not millennia. it is essentially was no touch torture. what they discovered from this research, and brilliant psychologist found by putting a student volunteers in cubicles with goggles, gloves, an ear muffs, through this process of sensory deprivation, there was ever something akin to a psychotic breakdown. -- they would sell for something akin to a psychotic break down. the second discovery came through research in which kgb
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soviet techniques, which found one of the most effective of kgb techniques was not beaten the subject, but simply making the subject stand immobile for days on end, something we now call stress positions. sensory deprivation and stress positions were checked elated and sca manual delaware-were related in a cia manual in 1963 and disseminated throughout u.s. allies and security agencies. that became a distinctive form of american psychological torture. that has been the basic form we use for the last 60 years. >> doesn't matter if it is a democratic or republican president? >> it does matter. that is the default position. it created a contradiction between the u.s. public commitment to human rights that the u.n. and other international forum and his private doctrine
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of psychological torture, which seem to contradict that commitment to human rights. under president george w. bush, the u.s. resolved this contradiction. president bush announced to his aides right after the 9/11 attacks in said, i don't care what the international lawyers say, we're going to kick some ass. he authorized to dozen chartered jets for rendition. more important, during the cold war, the cia trained allies in the use of torture, but we never did it ourselves for it we outsourced it. we harvested the intelligence. president bush resolved this contradiction but authorizing the cia to open eight black sites from thailand to poland, therefore, american cia agents engaged in waterboarding and forms of psychological torture. we did it ourselves. with president obama, we have gone back to the cold war policy
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of outsourcing and used to our allies in afghanistan, iraq, in somalia by first of all turning a blind eye to the use of our allies, as we did in iraq, and we're doing now in afghanistan. simultaneously, president of an authorized the cia very quietly to conduct extraordinary rendition. >> explain that. >> under the u.n. force against torture, you're not allowed to send some to a country where there will be subject to human rights abuse as defined by the convention against torture. rendition is the process of sending someone to a country where they are likely to be tortured. the contradiction between the segment you played and what obama did is striking. in april 2008, president obama said, "i will then torture and that includes rendition." but in his first days in office when he signed at a very
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dramatic order closing the same as cia black sites we were just discussing, president obama was under pressure from the cia. the cia counsel said, if you issue this as drafted, you will put us out of the rendition business. president obama, being a skillful lawyer, added a footnote in defined the ca prison in a way that exempted the prison for short-term transitory provisions. in other words, the cia could have holding facilities to effect the rendition of subjects from one country to another. that is in the footnote of that dramatic highly publicized order closing say a black sites except allowing rendition. it was in black and white, but no one knew noticed it -- no one noticed it. >> i want to go to a press conference held after taking office, president obama was asked his opinion about a proposal put forth by patrick
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leahy of vermont to start a comprehensive truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the conduct of the bush a ministration over that past eight years. this is how president obama responded. >> my administration is going to operate in a way that leaves no doubt that we do not torture, the we abide by the geneva conventions, and that we observe our traditions of rule of law and due process as we are vigorously going after terrorists that can do us harm. i don't think as are contradictory, potentially complementary. my view is also that nobody is above the law. if there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any
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ordinary citizen. but that generally speaking, i'm more interested in looking for then i am in looking backwards. >> that was president obama, first prime-time news conference. >> that is the third stage of impunity. the first stage, and it is a universal process and happens in countries that have problems with torture, step one is playing the bad apples. donald rumsfeld did that right after scandal in 2004. the second step is saying that it was necessary for our national security. unfortunate, perhaps, but necessary to keep us safe. that was done particularly by former vice president dick cheney and he continues to make that argument. he claims these enhanced techniques, as he calls them, saved thousands, sometimes tens
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of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of lives for the third step we just witnessed in president obama, saying whatever may have happened in the past, we need unity as a nation, need to move forward into the future. so the past is not germane. we need to put it behind us. and that was a position he was taking their. the fourth stage is one we been going through for the past year. that has been political attack by those implicated and to the bush administration in either conducting torture or authorizing torture. that is a political tactic seeking not just exoneration and getting away with it, but saying that not only was is legal, but necessary. that it was imperative for our national security. that is an argument the bush ministration made very forcefully when osama bin laden was killed in may 2011. they argued the enhanced
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interrogation under the bush administration led the navy seals to osama bin laden. there is not evidence for that, but they made that argument. that put pressure on attorney general eric holder to drop the most dollars most of the investigation of cia abuse. most recently, the to investigation of detainees killed in cia custody have been dropped as well. the fifth and final stages ongoing right to the presence. rewriting the history, rewriting the past, ripping it apart without respect to the truth of the matter and reconstructing it in a way that justifies the torture. that happen on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 when dick cheney brought out his memoirs saying that the use of enhanced zubaydah turn this card interest into a fountain of affirmation that gave information that saved thousands of lives. that was august 30, 2011. a september 12, 2011, former fbi
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interrogator and intelligence officer came out with his memoirs. it turns out he was the american operative that conducted the interrogation of the zubaydah. he was there in the safe house in thailand there were two teams operating. when you look at what happened in retrospect, the closest you can get to a scientific experiment into the relative effectiveness of empathetic fbi interrogation techniques and see a coercive interrogation, ca torture. through four successive rounds, an arabic speaker when and, established in the the what the zubaydah, and got the name of khalid sheikh mohammed. the cia director grew angry the fbi, his rival and to see, was getting this information -- has rival agency, was getting this information. the fbi was brought back in.
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more information from zubaydah based on non coercive techniques. we established clearly beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt that empathetic fbi techniques with a skilled interrogator speaking to a subject in his language gets accurate intelligence. all of these cia techniques, sensory deprivation, the noise blasting, the stress positions -- all of that is counterproductive and does not work. that truth has been kept from us. if you look at the memoirs, there are 181 pages of cia decisions that turned those passages about that interrogation of zubaydah into a rat's nest of black lines and a regular american reader can possibly understand. >> you write that under president obama, still we are getting intelligence extracted by surrogates in places like
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somalia and afghanistan. what does that mean? >> that is part of the outsourcing. we know through the wikileaks that after the abu ghraib scandal, we reduced the number of detainees being held by u.s. forces in iraq, and transfer them to iraqi authorities were the detainees were tortured. there were orders by the u.s. command that american soldiers, if they came across our iraqi allies, they were not to do anything. we know from 2004-2009, u.s. forces collected 1003 and 65 reports of iraqis human-rights abuses about which they did nothing. same policy in afghanistan. we started turning over the detainee's that needed to be interrogated to the national director of security. in 2011, the u.n. investigated the afghan national security
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director and found a systematic pattern of absolutely extraordinary human rights abuse, a brutal, physical tortures. the u.s. continues to turn over detainees to the afghan authorities. britain and canada will no longer do so because of their concerns about human rights abuse. we're doing the same thing in somalia. jeremy scahill did a superb report and found in mogadishu, the somali authorities operate in a security director prison called a hold of a basement in their building. the caa and gauges -- >> we have to leave it there. thank you so much, professor alfred mccoy, whose book is called "torture and impunity." 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. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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