Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  WHUT  October 15, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

6:00 pm
causes. the exact number of deaths is unknown. the federal agency tasked with telling them is currently shutdown. the latest disclosures from edward snowden reveal the national security agency is collecting large flames of fromronic contact list people around the world including americans. according to the washington post, the nsa is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts. say theence officials practice would be illegal if carried out on u.s. soil. the collection takes place abroad through deals with foreign companies and intelligence agencies. data from americans frequently leaves the country because companies like google and facebook operate data centers abroad. the scope of the collection is fast. in a single day last year, the nsa harvested nearly 700,000 e- mail address books. brazil has announced government employees will begin using an encrypted e-mail service in an
6:01 pm
effort to avoid foreign spine. brazil's communications minister says the new government system will become mandatory for all federal officials in the coming months. documents revealed by edward snowden show brazil is the leading target of u.s. spying in latin america. in afghanistan, the governor of the eastern province of logar has died in a bomb attack in a mosque. presidentlose eye of -- he was a close ally of president karzai. he was delivering a speech tuesday when a bomb hidden under a table exploded, wounding 15 people. a libyan al qaeda suspect snatched from the streets of tripoli is in new york where he is expected to be arraigned in court today. abu anas al-liby was interrogated for a week aboard a u.s. warship following his capture. he is accused of helping plan the 1998 bombings of u.s. embassies in africa.
6:02 pm
talks between iran, the u.s., and other nations over iran's disputed nuclear program are resumed today in geneva. iran is expected to introduce a proposal to curb its uranium enrichment efforts in a bid to ease crippling economic sanctions. the meetings include the so- 1 group. + the eu's foreign-policy chief who's leading the negotiations says she is cautiously optimistic. , veryt we will have here productive, an opportunity to explore both the proposals we have put on the table and also ideas coming from iraq. i hope in the course of that time it will be an of trinity to go into the detail and explore the possibilities. have syria, gunmen released three red cross workers at a red crescent volunteer who were kidnapped in rubble held province onb
6:03 pm
sunday. the fate of the remaining three workers seized with them is unclear. in russia, police rounded up more than 1600 migrants in moscow monday, a day after anti- immigrant riots that marked the worst such violence and nearly three years. on sunday, thousands of russian cars,alist flipped smashed windows, and try to break into a micro-run vegetable market. the riots followed the killing last week of a russian man by an attacker got to be of caucasian or central asian origin. hundreds were detained during the riots, but most of been released without charge. on monday, police raided the vegetable market, loaded migrants into vans, and said some were being probed for possible criminal ties. a russian court has denied bail to the captain of the greenpeace ship and two other members of the arctic 30 who were detained in a direct action against russia's first arctic offshore oil rig. captain peter wilcox and two
6:04 pm
others had appealed an order keeping them in pretrial the tension until late next month participants other have already been denied bail. the 28th environment list and two journalists are facing up to 15 years in prison on parsi charges. captain peter wilcox rejected the charges in court. >> i have been working on ships doing environmental work for 40 years. never before have i been accused of using violence or doing something for my own personal gain. and i reject these accusations in the strongest way possible. u.s. supreme court is hearing arguments today on affirmative action. the case centers on a voter referendum in michigan that band
6:05 pm
race and sex-based preferences in admissions at public universities. last year, a federal appeals court found the ban violates the constitution's equal protection clause. the supreme court's ruling on the case could impact similar bans in california and washington. and 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. today in a democracy now! exclusive we spend the hour looking at a story of yet another whistleblower imprisoned under the obama administration, a story that could be straight out of a hollywood thriller. it centers on an american businessman and philanthropist who was caught in an amazing web of international white-collar crime and mysterious suspected double agents a powerful intelligence agencies, a man who when he blew the whistle, ended up being indicted by federal prosecutors, convicted and sent to prison are violating the foreign corrupt actresses act.
6:06 pm
the cast of unlikely characters include a man nicknamed the pirate a prompt, a former u.s. senator, and ivy league diversity, and the president of the former soviet republic of azerbaijan. >> the story centers around a multimillionaire named frederik rick., known as he is best known for cofounding the luxury handbag company dooney & burke. using profits from the handbag company, he later became a major investor in medical research including cutting-edge cancer treatments. today he is locked up at inglewood, a minimum-security facility in the suburbs of denver, colorado, after he was convicted in u.s. federal court in 2009 of conspiring to pay bribes to government leaders in azerbaijan as part of a risky scheme to buy the state oil company in the former soviet republic. bourke is serving a sentence of one year and one day after he unsuccessfully appeared --
6:07 pm
appealed his conviction. in addition, he was ordered to pay a $1 million fine and serve three years of supervised release following the prison term. prosecutors never alleged bourke had actually paid bribes, only that he knew of the bribes paid to the azerbaijani officials. is a key u.s. ally in central asia. located on the western shore of the caspian sea, the former soviet republic shares a border with iran and is a key transit route for u.s. troops and supplies heading for afghanistan. the country has been run by the same family since 19 to -- 1993, first by heydar aliyev and then his son ilham. ilham won reelection last week after controversial vote. frederik bourke was one of many prominent investors in the deal but the only one jailed in the u.s. other investors included former democratic senate majority leader george mitchell and major institutions including columbia university and aig.
6:08 pm
bourke's supporters say he helped expose the shadowy underworld of global finance once he realized he was being swindled. high-ranking former u.s. and british officials from the cia and m i six has also raised series concerns about the conviction of bourke in part because the key witnesses during his trial were alleged intelligence assets working for the u.s. government. they aren't the only one to question his guilt. even the judge has admitted having doubts. at the time of bourke's sentencing, the judge of the federal district court said -- >> while bourke remains in jail, the masterminds and key players behind a bribery scheme -- the man he blew the whistle on -- remain free. y this in a gated community in the bahamas. attorney hans bodmer serves on
6:09 pm
the board of the swiss bank and a third man, your citizen named tom farrell, lives in st. petersburg, russia, where he runs a bar. bodmer and farrell pleaded guilty and signed agreements to provide testimony in related cases. we recently spoke to, the renowned attorney, law professor and author who is representing rick bourke. with the founder and former executive director of the national security archives and former chairperson of the government accountability project. i began by asking attorney michaeltigar to lay out the story. >> they invested $8 million in a plan formed by a check entrepreneur for the privatization of hydrocarbon industry of azerbaijan. he was a crook. he still every bit of rick works money and all the other investors money. he bribed officials.
6:10 pm
you this today happily in the bahamas. the skin was put together by us was lawyer named hans bodmer he was given and no jail plea by the united states government and sits happily in zürich today laundering money for russian oligarchs and by a fellow named tom farrell who was a bad man a bar intes happily st. petersburg. found out about the stealing, he went to the new york district attorney's office and appeared before a grand jury. they indicted husseini for theft. -- kozeny for that. for said, he was indicted offenses for which he could not be extradited. they could have extradited him on the some charge and instead they indicted bourke on the testimony of bodmer and farrell that bourke had known about the
6:11 pm
bribery of azerbaijan officials, testimony that perhaps in the course of this trial we can deconstruct because it was ill motivated. today rick bourke is in jail. i regard him as a whistleblower. attorneys the u.s. stood in the u.s. court of appeals in lower manhattan and told the court that the united states attorney's office is perfectly happy to put on false testimony knowing it is false, that it happens all the time but that rick bourke is not entitled to any relief on the basis. bring and scott armstrong. founder of the national security archives and for a time, a chairman of the board of the government accountability project. scott, how did you get involved in this case? what is the broader issue of the case of rick bourke? had beenbourke
6:12 pm
indicted, he was seeking to establish the fact he was a whistleblower and at one point went to the government accountability project, a nonprofit organization in which he helps and protects the ability of whistleblowers to speak out. they turned to me and asked if i would be interested in taking on this case, taking a look at what happened and seeing if rick work was a whistleblower. i should point out i'm speaking today for myself and not on behalf of of the project. i reluctantly accepted it because it seemed like an opportunity to look at a case of major international corruption, a case where there was massive kozeny. hans bodmer was also the chief operating officer for not only kozeny but a variety of national croaks, for the russian oligarchy, and many russian officials.
6:13 pm
of thernational criminal first order. you don't get an opportunity to look into these matters unless you have some access to information which is normally not released by the government or sealed. and what rick berg it is he said he would give us access without any controls or restraints to look at all the records that he had and we could ask anybody, waive his attorney-client privilege and so forth. i took on the project and spent nearly two years, year and a half, looking at what actually happened. and i think what is important here is the government, the u.s. government, very deliberately ignored what happened. their interest was not in what happened to my finding out who actually led, but in going after a relatively narrow cast of characters. --y were in the process
6:14 pm
essentially, they interrupted a very effective investigation conducted by the new york district attorney's office, which had a remarkably enough, by coincidence, a very competent attorney named mary and clipper, who went to the republic where was --viktor kozeny was, and along with czech investigators, rapidly indicted viktor kozeny. the federal government was approached by viktor kozeny who himself, because of bourke's was a long, was being sued by other investors in london emma was losing the case badly. viktor kozeny took a remarkable strategy and came to the united states government through change ofjust at the the administration, as the clinton administration was living in the bush administration was arriving. essentially he said, i'm outside your jurisdiction you're never
6:15 pm
going to get me, but i am, in fact, involved in an international crime but it is my investors who really led me to do it. he then said you can get the investors, you can't get me, and i will cooperate with you. he began telling a story. the principal was, if you could establish the u.s. interest in that fact there were all croaks, and the london court where viktor kozeny stood to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, the courts could not rule in the favor of the is investors because the investors would be -- in the investors, because the investors would be seen as having unclean hands and could not recover their assets as a result. it was effectively a negotiating strategy, but it worked. once the u.s. began its investigation, it threw aside and did not cooperate with the new york district attorney's office in their investigation, which was quite far danced and
6:16 pm
complete and already included in indictment for inaction by the -- indictable offense. they began focusing on the one person who was not -- they cannot explain his behavior because he was a whistleblower. as soon as he had learned of viktor kozeny's corruption and began blowing the whistle -- of course, bourke had no idea this went far beyond the azerbaijan and the czech republic and involved russian banks, oligarchs, russian officials and the third-largest oil company in russia, which was bought and sold in the middle of this. so this elaborate set of frauds that viktor kozeny was involved in was in a sense covered up by the u.s. government and chose instead to bring the whole weight of their investigative enthusiasm against the whistleblower.
6:17 pm
to me that shocks the conscience. >> that was scott armstrong, former washington post reporter, founder and former executive of the national security archives and former chair the government account ability project. we also heard from author michael tigar who is representing rick bourke. after the break, we will continue our conversation with armstrong and tigar about this complex case of international fraud, caspian oil, competing foreign intelligence services, and why among the cast of characters that includes viktor kozeny, the pirate of prague, thomas farrell, alleged money- ,aundering attorney hans bodmer and the only one to go to prison in the united states was the whistleblower rick bourke. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
6:18 pm
>> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we return now to our in-depth look at this democracy now! exclusive at the strange case of frederick bourke who blew the whistle on a foreign bribery scam in the former republic of azerbaijan that robbed many investors in the u.s. and abroad of hundreds of millions of
6:19 pm
dollars, but he ended up being the only one going to prison in the united states. we recently sat down with two of the most knowledgeable people on the case, journalist scott armstrong and former washington -- an attorney michael tigar who is representing ric bourke. i asked scott armstrong to talk about the geopolitical importance of azerbaijan to the united states. >> bourke the problem that faced as a whistleblower is it was blown the whistle against someone beyond -- essentially enjoyed impunity, that is to say he was blowing the whistle about the government of, about the , whodent and his son ilham was running the state oil company at the time. was absolutely critical to u.s. interest. first of all, it was the source of enormous oil riches in the caspian sea.
6:20 pm
secondly, the only route out of the caspian sea for not only azerbaijani oil, but also the oil of other former soviet ortes is through azerbaijan iran. clearly, we weren't going to encourage giving up relationships with iran even at that point going in that direction. in addition to that, after 9/11, ,he government of azerbaijan was enthusiastic by the u.s. participation in a war against terror and was one of the few islamic countries to endorse it. it was a critical ally in that respect. lastly, because it is located in the caspian sea, which is essentially the upper back door, if you will, to iran as well as looking across at russia, it became an incredibly important location for u.s. intelligence facilities over the horizon radars.
6:21 pm
when i was there later in 2007, the largest contingent of u.s. marines anywhere in the world station permanently was in azerbaijan and no one really knew it. this is a relationship the u.s. government felt it could not lose. u.s.bourke was pushing government and others to do something about it, he was facing an enormous uphill battle . the other investors were not pleased. they were interested to learn stolenktor kozeny had their money, but they were then trying to get it back and negotiate and they did not want viktor kozeny indicted or the complications of other investigations. bourke forged ahead and gave his testimony directly to the new york state attorney and was totally cooperative. he met with the federal government repeatedly and gave them all the information he had, waved his attorney-client privilege, did things that most citizens would never be advised to do and did it in a forthright
6:22 pm
manner. i'm not defending his reasons for getting involved in the investment in the first place. that was clearly to make some money. but he did it -- when he realized that it was a corrupt deal, he came forward and continued to come forward and never relented. >> i want to ask you about ric bourke azerbaijan azerbaijan going to the president of to expose. this is what he did first, what he had learned. it might astound many people to know this, but scott armstrong, if you could talk about what he did. >> when bourke found out there's something wrong, he realized from the statistics the government had reported in azerbaijan, viktor kozeny had to be involved in a fraud, he started going to other investors and got a lawyer to work with them and he went around doing some final digital gents -- do
6:23 pm
do jell-o gents. viktor kozeny have been working with the son of the president of azerbaijan, the son's name was ilham, who is now the current president, then president heydar aliyev was approached through the good offices of george mitchell to get an appointment and got in to see him and went in and said, you realize there is gambling going on in your casino. it was a scene out of "casablanca." he said, "oh, i'm shocked, shocked anyone would suggest --s, shocked that kozeny evyone knows he is a crook and i would not be involved in him, i would not let anyone near kozeny." at that point, viktor kozeny and ilham were effectively partners in all of this. scene a virtually comical
6:24 pm
that partially testifies to bourke's naivety and thinking that by blown the whistle the walls would come toppling down. >> one reason you're so interested in this, scott armstrong -- it is like reading a novel. it is a sad story because one person ends up in jail here. to understand what happened in azerbaijan and all of the interest there, the largest marine base in the caspian sea so the u.s. has a tremendous interest there, the world bank gets implicated, universities get implicated, large corporations get implicated. but could you talk about the original -- the reason viktor kozeny had this money to go to azerbaijan starting in the czech republic, to understand this whole privatization scheme across eastern europe? >> one of the policies of the united states government after the fall of the soviet union was to suggest a series of
6:25 pm
privatization measures so that in a socialized society under a communist rule where the state owned most of the major assets, they would essentially take the assets, the entire public part of the state, divide it by the number of people and issue what amounted to vouchers or shares and in those vouchers can be traded, combined in different ways to man citizens would therefore participate in the privatization, in the turn closed communist society to a market society. they would be able to participate in that process and get ask him of the value -- get back some of the value that was owned by the state. it is never really worked that way or worked well. it has been corrected repeatedly. one of the worst cases was czechoslovakia where viktor kozeny was the principal exploiter. this is what i think interested the new york state attorney when
6:26 pm
bourke forward. they began to see how serious a set of international crimes this implied, that this was a kind of systemic theft that could take place anywhere. and it was a poster child for that purpose -- proposition they could go after. even today, the czech republic is still investigating. lots of new information has come out. hopefully, the story is not over. but the u.s. government has never cooperated with the czech investigation. instead they have frustrated and refused to provide documents. they refused to provide materials available. it was only the new york state attorney that has cooperated. and we talk about public -- how we get to know things, this is a very frustrating story. a whistleblower comes forward, leads to the strings that get pulled and a whole international series of transactions regarding azerbaijan, czechoslovakia, the
6:27 pm
heart of russia, the largest of institutions, and it all gets brought to ground by the lack of interest from the united states government for reasons that are opaque. the only person who sacrifices in this is the whistleblower. >> let's talk about who some of those investors were. i mean, ric bourke alone did not invest in privatizing the azerbaijan will supply. in fact, you have columbia university, aig, omega fund, who else, michael tigar? talk about who this group of investors were that lost a fortune. >> the interesting thing, that list, if i had to recall it from memory since i did not know this would be multiple-choice, would be long. but the interesting thing about columbia university is, this is one of the things -- judge shetland is a good judge. university invested $10 million in the viktor kozeny
6:28 pm
project. they would not have done so if this deal stunk. they did their due diligence and did not think there was any bribery. they did not think anything was wrong. and yet the testimony of those folks was excluded at trial, even though it would have shown how could you know. once you saw ballmer's testimony was-- bodmer's testimony skeptical. >> let's talk about george mitchell. >> bourke action to talk to mitchell about this investment. mitchell had met with viktor kozeny and he invested in spring 1998. eyes wide open. nose to george mitchell is. he was looking to get an investment that he thought was reasonable under the circumstances. he hasout this process
6:29 pm
been helpful. that is, he understands the evidence that ric bourke was culpable he knowledgeable about rubbery simply doesn't wash. >> i want to ask about what happened to these other investors and why they were making as much a deal of their millions of dollars in losses as ric bourke was. he hadn't invested as much as most of them had, yet why this hasn't been made public by some of them. if columbia loses $10 million, maybe they don't want to make it public. this is right money for the endowment. but this leaves ric bourke out there alone. >> it does. let me start with i am disappointed and the other investors. i have been in the law practice a long time. if you are the victim of a colossal fraud that involves not
6:30 pm
just your lunch money, but the money of other people who have reposed confidence in you and putting their money with you -- if you can start a lawsuit, preferably some distant place where they speak some other version of the english language called london in and arbitral tribunal or whatever and get some of the money back, that is really all you want. he who chases justice may catch it. >> you might want ric bourke to be shut up. >> indeed. when he went to these other investors, they were perfectly happy say, well, maybe we could file a little lawsuit here or there and so on. but if one of these days you will meet ric bourke and realize that is not his style. he stood up and he was to the prosecutors. that is just not the style of people in the investment to minute he. >> people like leon cooperman, influential hedge fund manager, former golden sex executive --
6:31 pm
goldman sachs executive. >> when is the last time a major investment firm started running around the streets claiming they have been defrauded and wanted to make a big deal out of it as opposed to going someplace to see if you get some of the money back? i don't know. >> let me put that question to scott armstrong. what about leon cooperman, major investor? >> bourke in the beginning when bourke began blowing the whistle, leon cooperman, his lawyers told bourke he could not use some of the information because he gathered it was some help from one of the omega lawyers, the hedge fund lawyers. was facing aig. both cooperman and the principals in aig wanted to settle this as quietly as they
6:32 pm
could. when they couldn't do that, they wanted to go to the london court and see if they could pursue it there. but they did not want to do this in the u.s. they did not want this to become subject of a criminal investigation by the new york district attorney or by the federal government. they wanted to keep it on the quiet. >> interestingly, the judge in had the recent historic decision in the racial profiling case. in the sentencing of ric bourke, she said, after years of supervising this case, is still not entirely clear to me whether mr. bourke was a victim or a crook or a little bit of both. she actually sentenced him to a lighter sentence than the prosecutors were calling for. could you talk about the main reasons why you believe the was defectivease
6:33 pm
and why ric bourke should not have been convicted? >> the principal testimony that suggested that bourke knew about the bribery was this german lawyer. you said at the hyatt hotel, he'd received authorization from viktor kozeny to tell bourke, that bourke and bodmer took a walk and bodmer explain the whole thing and they turned right and left and the weather was this or that. the prosecutors lay great stress on this meeting have happening in february because he had not invested until march. it turns out he was not in azerbaijan at the time. not only was he not there -- >> on that day. >> nor at any other time when viktor kozeny, evans, and bourke
6:34 pm
could've been together in that time. not only that, but if you look bodmer'sstory of proffers with the government, the notes of the meetings, he started out telling a different story. not until he came to the february story today offer him his plea bargain, which resulted in him getting no jail time. >> and the significance of what he said meeting with bourke at that time, saying he explained they were bribing foreign officials? >> that's right. this is what we are doing. there'll also testified that he had said something to bourke. farrell's background and history, much of that information remains under seal. and u.s. journalists have more access to it than can talk about it more freely than i can. but the fact is, both bodmer and cheryl got bargains that resulted in and serving no time in the u.s. prisons.
6:35 pm
farrell was permitted to go back to russia. american who an runs a bar in russia in st. petersburg. >> he was the money man for viktor kozeny. >> does he work for u.s. intelligence? >> i believe he works -- i believe he has connections to intelligence amenities. too liberally guarded because there is a whole sealed record that i as a member of the bar, as a lawyer, not permitted to talk about. and that judge chin lin held the defense was not entitled to cause examined about. >> why would it matter? because the question here is, why is it the united states government, having seen the district attorney's office has aught -- called viktor kozeny thief, why is it they would
6:36 pm
go after the guy who blew the whistle? why is it the czech citizen and the terms was lawyer are walking free and the american citizen, th philanthropist, sitting in a minimum security jail? azerbaijan investment in the hydrocarbon industry is now safely in the hands of major petroleum companies. is that a reason? or is it that this money launder in zürich and cheryl sitting happily with his ex-pat haven peoplest. petersburg are the government chose instead to protect. >> that was michael tigar, attorney representing ric bourke , the whistleblower who exposed an international criminal enterprise involving massive bribes paid to officials of the .overnment of azerbaijan
6:37 pm
instead of pursuing the alleged criminals, federal prosecutors indicted bourke who's currently serving a sentence of a year in a day in federal prison in colorado. back to our conversation in a minute. ♪ [music break] >> this is democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> ric bourke we return now to the case of ric bourke who recently said down with his attorney michael tigar and scott armstrong, an investigative journalist with decades of experience, delving into complex
6:38 pm
cases of corruption that domestically and internationally. i asked scott armstrong about what message the government's prosecution of bourke since two other would-be whistleblowers. let's start from the standpoint that a whistleblower, whistleblowers have different motivations. oris not the whistleblower the whistleblowers bread we should be concerned about, but the whistle. there are really only two whistles in the u.s. one is the government. the government provides an opportunity for whistleblower to go in and the government should then react accordingly. it should try and investigate and right wrongs, try to get to the bottom of what happened. that, it has to get a fair opportunity, even if it wants to contest somewhat with the whistleblower says for them to respond. in the case of a trial in this case, roughly speaking, before even begin the
6:39 pm
process of the prosecution when they first indicted him, they .urned over a ton of material some of it very relevant, some of it not so relevant. it was a lot of material to go through. i know, i went through. whistleblowing from the other sign, which is the way the world press would -- a way the press would do it. i realized was missing material. , insisted he get more material that his lawyers should get more material. they were reluctant. there were conflictst of interest, they themselves were corrupted, the predecessor, but in the end, the government had to turn over three more tons of material. we are talking about in a norma's quantity of material.
6:40 pm
but they did it so late that no one had an opportunity to go through it. that is not the way the whistle ought to be treating the whistleblower. the lesson here is that if you are politically out of tune with the government, if you're suggesting something that goes in the wrong direction from the standpoint of the federal government, which advance their intelligence objectives, offends their support for economic interest in oil and oil pipelines, offends their ability to be able to strike back at -- if the whistleblower is facing those and nothing happens, that is one thing. but if what happens is the whistleblower gets prosecuted, in essence, essentially to shut him up to keep them from being effective in his whistleblowing, that seems to me to be where the criminality in this occurs. and that is in the hands of the federal government.
6:41 pm
>> i would like to get deeper into this whole issue that you mentioned briefly earlier on about the intelligence connections to this case and the sealed portion of the proceedings on this case. still sealed to this day. it is our understanding, because we have done our own reporting on this on democracy now!, that key figures in the intelligence community or former key figures in the intelligence community ,th in the u.s. and england the former head ofmi6, former deputy director of the cia -- >> covert operations. >> went to the court and attempted to raise what they knew about the connections of hans bodmer and thomas farrell to intelligence agencies and their role as access.
6:42 pm
they were denied the chance to testify in the whole record was sealed. i would like to ask scott armstrong, in your own independent investigation, what you learned about the role especially of hans bodmer but assetarrell, in being an for intelligence agencies beyond just this case of ric bourke. , on whom imer concentrated great deal of my efforts, was the centerpiece for a variety of schemes that surrounded the globe. was out caponey -- and he really wasn't, he was a much more minor figure -- bodmer was the chief operating officer, essentially, of this international crime series of organizations who could take off the shelf for in the british
6:43 pm
virgin islands or switzerland or, nations of all of them and create special-purpose entities, create histories for them and begin to move money, launder money to pay off officials to do things that are essentially complicated issues that make so opaque much of international finance and much of inernational corruption -- doing so, he learns a great deal about what is going on inside russia. he knows most of the ministers of the russian government under the putin government. he gets to know the major oligarchs of that system, the people who end up owning the major oil companies and entities of the world. he gets to know the russian banks. he gets to know other foreign people who are serving them, other foreign officials who are corrupted by this process. inhas all this information
6:44 pm
his rolodex, effectively. he has it in his memory. he gets arrested on other charges in korea in 2003 and held for a period of time. in order to get out of it, he cooperates with u.s. government. but he does so in a way that is totally consistent with covering up his own activities. he acts as if he is just the mouthpiece for this when in fact , he is so much more. well, part of the clock operation agreement he gets with the government is premised on the notion he will cooperate with american intelligence because he knows so much. i'm not faulting american intelligence for wanting to have his information or his knowledge. it is valuable. he becomes the one man nsa of inside russian finance. as such, he is incredibly valuable to them. so they say we will give you a free pass, but yet to cooperate with our prosecutors who are prosecuting the viktor kozeny case, which by that point, they
6:45 pm
have blown it on kozeny so they were really only going after the whistleblower and a few minor others. they were going after ric bourke . essentially, they prepare him in ways that michael tigar has well-documented in the breeze and the court of appeals, but what happens is bodmer is essentially a robot for the united states government prosecutors. they say here's what you have to testify to and he does so. it turns out it was totally false and could not have possibly been right because of other records they came out -- they should have discovered along the way. thens been suggested, didn't say, well, that is not our problem. it must of happen at another time, but it is still true. it shocks the conscience that federal judiciary, a branch of government, but at the trial stage, court of appeals stage
6:46 pm
and all the forms that were was a because bourke wealthy man and an sought relief in all of them, none of them would listen to him. none of them would say, what really happened here? let's find out what really went on. let's give the defendant an opportunity to cross-examine fully the witnesses against him. that essentially never happen as a result. so it is another form of secret law, another form of the hubris that secret law brings for the government can just run over somebody. i'm not defending bourke's motives and investing in this kind of enterprise. he was trying to make money. but when he discovered it was corrupt, he did in fact come forward and continued to say was corrupt, which upset many apple carts. . and for it, he was punished. >> michael tigar, i know you may be severely limited in what you can say, but it is our understanding, and we have in britishfficials
6:47 pm
intelligence who are knowledgeable about this that the other main witness against bourke, tom farrell, was actually captured in a secret russia trying to recruit a british diplomat to work for russian intelligence. and i diplomat was subsequently andved from their post -- that diplomat was subsequently removed from their post. this is some information that the leader of mi6 was willing to testify but it was not allowed in court because it would raise the question why would the united states government be putting someone on the stand against ric bourke who was involved in recruiting spies for russian intelligence? >> first, there are sealing
6:48 pm
orders. i is a lawyer and subject to the ceiling orders and i will not violate them. yes, there was a dispute in court about the extent of tom farrell's examination. i will say this. --n milton said i cannot i challenge the united states government to unseal that record, to go into court tomorrow and unseal it. and income on this program, any form they want, and that's debate the question as to whether tom farrell is the sort of a person on whom you want to ask a federal jury to rely on questioning when human the breeze is at stake. that far i can go. >> scott armstrong, the questions about intelligence? >> in my experience, senior
6:49 pm
intelligence officials, particularly two of them from two separate governments, have never come forward and a case like this, a criminal case or any other case for that matter, that offered their assistance to a judge and then had a rejected. their insight would be -- it is a field where their information would be authoritative and i think persuasive. and to have it rejected wholesale is shocking. i know of no other instance like it. there's no other instance where i know to such people have come forward. >> michael tigar, i want to ask you, where is ric bourke now? and why should the listers ordinary americans care that a wealthy businessman here in the united states knowingly invested in a scheme to make money overseas and then ended up
6:50 pm
becoming a victim? >> ric bourke today is in a minimum security prison in colorado. he has been in there since the 10th of may. his sentence is a year and a day. however, there is some option that he might get out on home confinement or halfway house. that is what happens in these minimum-security institutions. it is not a picnic by any means. why should people care? i never met edward snowden, so i don't really know if you they were the individual that i would want to pattern my life after. i've met daniel ellsberg a few times. whistleblowers -- scott armstrong pointed out in his letter to judge scheindlin, they all come in all sorts of political shapes and configurations. but this characteristic is not an usual for ric bourke.
6:51 pm
he has invested millions of dollars in medical research, on such things as cures for cancer. his philanthropic activities are famous in the u.s. and outside the u.s. yes, he has been successful at business. who's is somebody standards, whose values, whose believes are indeed i think worthy of emulation. but regardless of that, and whether he is or not, there are thousands we know and millions who would willingly pick up arms and put on a weapon pack and go. there are only a few thousand i think, many fewer, who would willingly combat and entrenched injustice. that is what williams james said than 100 years ago.
6:52 pm
regardless of what we may think of them as people or friends, to whom we owe a very great deal. >> that was michael tigar, attorney representing ric bourke who was indicted and jailed after blowing the whistle on a corrupt deal. he is curly serving a sentence of one year in a day in the federal prison of colorado. we've also been talking to investigative journalist scott armstrong. the u.s. attorneys office for the southern district of new york has defended its hailing of the case. in a statement to democracy now! , and office spokeswoman said -- >> we reached out to attorneys for both hans bodmer and tom farrell. tom farrell's attorney said --
6:53 pm
lawyers for hans bodmer did not respond to our request for comment. that does it for our show. 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!]
6:54 pm
6:55 pm
tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with author edwidge danticat and her new novel "claire of the sea light." it seeks to or trey haydee. then we will talk to comedian, writer, and producer, rick najera. he has a new memoir called
6:56 pm
"almost white." we are glad you joined us. those conversations are coming up. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: award-winning author edwidge danticat writes about
6:57 pm
haydee. she was born in port-au-prince. countrylex view of the is at the heart. it has been praised by reviewers , using words like intoxicating and compelling. i am always intoxicated and compelled when i have you on the program. it's good to have you back. your kids are fine? >> yes. tavis: and this novel the sea is as much a are as anybody or anybody else. the sea is such an important part of our history. it's how most of us got to this lostof the world, and we so many people. this continues.
6:58 pm
it is an incredible point of view with which to explore the environment. >> tell me about the story. whoseire is a little girl mother dies in childbirth, so her father is struggling with this decision, whether he should keep her with him or give her a way to a richer woman. decision,tory of the and it's also the story of the villa where they live and how they interact. >> you wrote part of this novel before the earthquake and the other part after? >> yes. >> how did that impact or not the writing?
6:59 pm
>> the earthquake happened in on a and the town is based real town where my mother's seeny is from, so having the changes in the town over the years, it affects a lot of the reflection. aboutnot want to write the earthquake, because i am not ready. i was not there. there are elements that would be missing. it right before the earthquake but also have reflections about loss, about environmental challenges that have been brought about by the earthquake without having the earthquake be the center of the story. page 152 there is a wonderful line that