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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  March 16, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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03/16/15 03/16/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is democracy now! >> many of the buildings have been completely destroyed. more than 90% of the buildings have been destroyed. people have emotional feelings. it will take time. it will take time. amy: about half the population
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of the south pacific island nation of vanuatu has been left homeless by cyclone pam, a category 5 storm. vanuatu's president directly linked the storm to climate change. we will get an update from 350.org's bill mckibben who also talk about how a nasa scientist estimates california has about one year of water left. and how the united nations body responsible for global climate change negotiations is backing the campaign to persuade investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets. then, as wikileaks founder julian assange marks is 1000th day seeking silent -- a salem swedish prosecutors have agreed for the first time to come to london to question him. >> we see this as a victory for julian assange and as an
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evidence that we were right all the time, that the prosecutor was wrong all the time, and we will cooperate fully to get this interrogation made as soon as possible. but it may take some time. but that will not be up to us. amy: we would get an update from wikileaks and julian assange's lawyer michael ratner. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a devastating slight gold in the south pacific nation of anna what to has left half the nation . it washed away roads and bridges. speaking during a visit to japan, just as the storm hit vanuatu's president appeals for international aid. >> i stand to appeal on behalf
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of the government and people of vanuatu's global community, to give a lending hand. fellow heads of states, governments and development partners, we have all experienced some disaster at one point or another. today, we appeal for your assistance. amy: he said climate changes contribute into the disaster with global warming fueling extreme weather and stronger cyclones. we will speak with 350.org founder bill mckibben after the headlines. activists in the syrian town of douma say more than 30 people have been killed in government buildings of residential areas and schools. children were reportedly among the dead. the attack comes as the syrian conflict has entered its fifth year, with the u.n. refugee
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agency calling it "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era." with at least 220,000 people killed and four million displaced. daniel gorevan of the british charity oxfam said 2014 was the worst year in the syrian civil war to date. >> the security council resolutions have been largely ignored by the parties to the conflict. in fact, if you look across the indicators we have analyzed, there has been more killing, more bombings, massive increase in displacement and a huge increase in the number of people that are in need of humanitarian assistance inside syria. amy: as the syria conflict marks its fourth anniversary, the obama administration has publicly backed talks with syrian president bashar al-assad. the obama administration has quietly stopped calling for assad's ouster with the rise of the self-proclaimed islamic
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state across large parts of syria and neighboring iraq. speaking to cbs news, secretary of state john kerry said the u.s. and allies are mulling options to bring assad back to the table. >> there is no military solution. there's only a political solution. but to get the al-assad regime to negotiate, we're going to have to make it clear to him that there is a determination by everybody to seek that political outcome and change his calculation about negotiating. that is underway right now. and i am convinced that with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on al-assad. >> and you would be willing to negotiate with him? >> we have to. amy: iran has resumed talks with the u.s. and five other world powers in switzerland ahead of this month's deadline for a framework nuclear deal. "the new york times" reports negotiators are confronting
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last-minute obstacles over the timeline for easing the sanctions on iran and the intensity of international inspections. iran wants an immediate end to all united nations sanctions and has rejected u.s. demands for inspections of any potential nuclear site, including iranian military bases. ahead of the new talks secretary of state john kerry was mum about the deal's chances. >> as you all know, we have set the end of the month as the deadline and so we will be going into this understanding that time is critical. i can't tell you whether or not we can get a deal or whether we are close. amy: the talks resume on the eve of national elections in israel, where the leading opponent of negotiations with iran, prime minister benjamin netanyahu, is in a tight race for re-election. some polls show netanyahu's likud trailing the zionist union coalition, led by justice
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minister tzipi livni and finance minister yair lapid. the joint list, a coalition of four arab parties, is running in third place and could be decisive in forming a new coalition that would unseat netanyahu. in recent campaign speeches, netanyahu has suggested he would never withdraw from the occupied territories or allow a palestinian state there. his foreign minister, avigdor lieberman, recently made headlines after calling for the beheading of disloyal arab-israeli citizens, prompting critics to call him the "jewish isis." more than a million people rallied across brazil on sunday in a protest against the government of president dilma rousseff. organizers called the day of action to oppose a sluggish economy and a corruption scandal at the state-run energy company petrobras. according to reuters, many protesters come from the country's wealthier classes, traditional foes of rousseff's
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working party. rousseff was narrowly re-elected to a second term in october. venezuelan lawmakers have given final approval to new decree powers for president nicolás maduro. the measure enables maduro to make laws on his own for up to six months, authority maduro says is necessary following the obama administration's designation of venezuela as a national security threat. a number of south american governments have denounced the u.s. move ahead of a regional summit in panama next month. on friday, bolivian president evo morales called on president obama to issue a public apology. >> i very much regret the attitude of u.s. president barack obama. he throws a threat, and aggressive planning a military intervention in venezuela. could it be obama is afraid of democracy in latin america and the caribbean? could it be that barack obama is the in may of economic -- enemy
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of economic sovereignty in latin america? amy: an immigration appeals court has upheld the deportation order of a former el salvador general accused of murder and torture. carlos eugenio vides casanova is wanted in el salvador for his role in the notorious killings of four u.s. churchwomen in 1980. a 2012 decision marked the first time an immigration judge ordered a top-ranking foreign military leader deported under a 2004 law intended to bar human rights violators from u.s. soil. general vides was a close u.s. government ally during his stint as defense minister for the salvadoran junta between 1983 and 1989. the churchwomen's families have fought for years to hold him and other u.s.-backed salvadoran officials responsible for the deaths. in a ruling last week, the board of immigration appeals found there is ample evidence general vides was complicit in the americans' rape and murder as well as the torture of political prisoners. vides, who lives in florida, can
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still appeal in federal court. a suspect has been arrested in last week's shooting of two police officers in ferguson, missouri. the attack occurred outside the ferguson police headquarters as protesters marked the ouster of police chief tom jackson following months of activism. the suspect has been identified as 20-year old jeffrey williams. st. louis county prosecutor robert mcculloch said he may not have deliberately targeted police, but instead someone in the crowd with whom he had a dispute. >> essentially what we charged it with what's firing shots. it is possible this point he was firing shots at someone other than the police. but struck the police officers. the charge is still a class a felony for striking this to officers. the weapon was recovered, which has been tied to the shell casings that were recovered. the weapon recovered from him.
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and he has acknowledged his participation in firing the shots, that in fact, he did fire the shots that struck the two officers. amy: williams was identified with public help. prosecutor mcculloch described him as a protester, but several ferguson activists say he did not take part in the demonstrations. hundreds of people have gathered in madison wisconsin for the funeral of tony robinson, an unarmed black teenager shot dead by police. police say robinson was fatally shot after an officer responded to a report of a man jumping in and out of traffic and assaulting someone. his killing has sparked protests in the latest display of the black lives matter movement. in a packed high school fieldhouse hosting the funeral a friend of tony robinson broke down as he paid tribute. >> as his aunt lolo said, he began to talk about how he would
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live forever and be something great. i can't. i can't. >> i will finish it for you. amy: dozens of people have completed a multi-day reenact it of the historic selma to montgomery marches of 1965. on march 7, 1965, hundreds of peaceful voting rights activists were attacked by police as their attending to march from selma to montgomery. bloody sunday was the first of three attempted marches, finally completed under federal protection and led by dr. martin luther king jr. on march 24. democratic commerce member of terri sewell of alabama was among those taking part in the anniversary event. >> i think it is so important to remember this is not just one event in history, that this is really a movement for
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strengthening the voting rights act as well as remembering and preserving our past. 50 years have passed, but there is still a renewed assault on voting rights. amy: terri sewell is the first african-american woman to be elected to congress from alabama. you can see all of our coverage of the bloody sunday commemoration when democracy now! went to selma at democracynow.org. robert durst, the estranged son of one of new york's most prominent real estate families, has been arrested on murder charges over the killing of a longtime friend in 2000. he has been suspected a multiple killings for years. authorities are still investigating him over the disappearance of his wife in 1982. in a separate case and 2001, robert durst was acquitted of killing and dismembering an elderly neighbor after claiming the death was an accident. durst's arrest for his friend susan berman came after the
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filming and airing of an hbo documentary series about his life. during an unguarded moment caught on tape as durst wore his microphone in the bathroom, he whispered, "what the hell did i do? kill them all, of course." protesters from new york city travel to greenwich, connecticut to rally outside the home of billionaire hedge fund manager paul tudor jones. the protest came as part of a project called hedge clippers, which seeks to highlight the role of hedge fund billionaires in steering new york state toward policies that favor the rich. the group recently reported hedge fund managers have flooded new york state with nearly $40 million in political contributions since 2000. the largest individual beneficiary has been democratic governor andrew cuomo, who has received nearly $5 million, much of it from founders and backers of charter schools. activists jonathan westin and zakiyah ansari described their reasons for targeting paul tudor
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jones, who has a net worth of over $4 billion. >> the greedy few cannot control new york state government. and our governor andrew cuomo -- hedge fund for buddies are pushing policies and don't want to pass laws that help folks who don't have as much money. they're not thinking about passing a dream at her passing a living wage and ensuring a living wages available for others. not so they can be as wealthy as them, but so they can live. amy: and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. about half the population of the south pacific island state of vanuatu has been left homeless by a devastating cyclone that struck friday, flattening buildings and washing away roads
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and bridges. cyclone pam was a category 5 storm comparable in strength to typhoon haiyan, which hit the philippines two years ago and killed more than 6,000 people. now aid agencies say as many as eight people were killed during cyclone pam, and the death toll is expected to rise as rescuers reach more far-flung areas. vanuatu has a population of about 250,000, and is made up of more than 80 islands. during the storm, vanuatu's president baldwin lonsdale was in japan attending a u.n. conference on disaster reduction. speaking monday before he left to return home, he said the cyclone seasons his nation had experienced are directly linked to climate change, and described the extent of the damage. >> many of the buildings houses, have been completely destroyed. more than 90% of the buildings have been destroyed. people still haven't come
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through yet. they still worry, have emotional feelings. it will take time. what is happening now, as i have stated over and over again, the people of vanuatu need to monetary and assistance. i'm pleased with the international communities they have responded to my appeal. amy: disaster relief officials and relief workers are still trying to establish contact with vanuatu's remote islands that bore the brunt of cyclone pam's winds of more than 185 miles per hour. this is the president of vanuatu's red cross, hannington alatoa. when he describes the number of people estimated displaced, he means 130,000 people, not 130. >> it is unknown to the extent of the people -- the number of
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people affected in the outer parts of the country. agencies are estimating approximately 130 people, that is more than half the population of the country, may have been affected by cyclone pam. i think there will be a lot more when the assessment is done in the investigation is completed. the whole country was flattened. amy: cyclone pam also caused major damage on other pacific islands, including kiribati and the solomon islands. unicef says the number of children who have been displaced or affected by the cyclone may be as high as 60,000. for more, we joined via -- to alex mathieson joining us from australia. can you talk about what has happened in vanuatu and for
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people who have never heard of this pacific island nation, talk about where it is. >> vanuatu is a country made up of 65 inhabited islands in the said pacific ocean, probably about three hours flying time directly east of the east coast of australia. it is a very remote place. 45,000 to 50,000 people is the estimate of population. total population is about 260,000 with the outer islands. it is a small country, spread out over a large space. it has major religious to go issues at the best of times in terms of trying to get people and supplies out to those islands.
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obviously, with this massive cyclone, those logistical challenges are massive now in trying to organize and getting supplies to people outside of the port. inside, the propagation is been badly affected. communications are affected. we are seeing 80% to 90% of buildings damaged. in the poorer areas, we're seeing massive destruction to homes. and we're seen significant damage to other infrastructures such as roads being washed away by the high seas and bridges being destroyed by high rivers and flooding. amy: is this the worst climate cash heavy to ever hit vanuatu? >> certainly, in living memory, there was a large cyclone in 1987. it did cause significant damage,
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but by understanding is this event far exceeds that. vanuatu is a disaster-prone country. on the tops of the list in the country prone to most natural disasters. in my time i was there for four years, i experienced many large earthquakes, tsunami warnings and a couple of cyclones, but nothing at this scale. amy: how has vanuatu prepared for something like this? when you are oxfam director inu you worked with them on disaster preparations. >> there's been a big investment in the past four years. backed by governments. and also by government agencies as well. we formed a critical vanuatu humanitarian team. that was in order to improve the
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way the country is able to plan for and respond to disasters. certainly, there's been a radical change and improvement in the country during that time. a lot of investment in the disaster management capacity at a national level. and also, ngos such as oxfam and others have been working in supporting at the community level as well. we are zynga benefits of that during the cyclone -- we are seeing the benefits of that during the cyclone. in a matter of hours of the cyclone, meetings were being held, plans were being made in terms of water and sanitation, food logistics. this is definitely -- the investment in preparedness is definitely paying off now. that said, this is so massive will stretch the capacity of any system in the international assistance now is coming in is very needed. and very welcome by the vanuatu
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government and the vanuatu people. and that assistance needs to continue in order to support the vanuatu people with discovery -- recovery. amy: a support package was announced for vanuatu where you are now, alex, in australia. this is the austrian foreign minister julie bishop. >> today i can announce that australia will be making an initial life-saving support package available to vanuatu in response to the request from the government. it will include $5 million that will be provided to australian ngos, particularly, the red cross and other united nations partners. we will also be deploying humanitarian supply to provide support for up to 5000 people in the form of water, sanitation, and shelter. amy: that is the australian
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foreign minister julie bishop. what are the figures you have now for casualties, for people displaced, alex, for the -- what is it, 90% of all of the buildings have been flattened? >> i think 90% have been damaged . not all of those have been flattened. the buildings are concrete structures are still standing. most of them have the roofs of -- ripped off. in terms of what i'm seeing in terms of formal figures for casualties, it is still sitting at a bang. people and central port, i think the figures have not flown in from elsewhere. obviously, we're get not yet getting information from the outer islands, were we can just imagine the situation is going to be grave. there have been some first initial assessments to an island
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that is a major island in the south that was directly hit, and some aerial surveillance work there that is painting quite a grim picture in terms of the devastation to the housing and infrastructure. anecdotal reports of people saying their lacking food and health facilities and the sorts of things. so it seems we are now beginning to get some access down to those areas and imagine the figures in terms of casualties and displaced will rise as we get a clear picture there. amy: alex matheson, thank you for joining us former oxfam director in vanuatu, now in australia. when we come back, bill mckibben. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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>>amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. vanuatu president spoke monday about plans to rebuild after
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cyclone pam. >> we have to be very careful how we build our houses, how we build our infrastructure. so we can build better infrastructure. amy: bill mckibben is joining us now co-founder of 350.org. , he's the author of several books including, "eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet." bill, we want to talk about a number of issues, that can you start off i talking about what has happened in vanuatu? 350.org is active there. and how it links to climate change? >> sure. we're been hearing sporadically from our coordinator in vanuatu who has been doing a lot of relief work as this crisis has unfolded. the picture is as you have been
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saying all morning extraordinarily grim. the capital city in the place with most of the infrastructure took a huge hit, but the winds were higher, the seas were higher, and the infrastructure much flimsier to begin with on many of the outlying islands so the picture i'm afraid is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. the tragedy, bottom line tragedy here as and 70 other places around the world, is that vanuatu's development has been put back decades with the destruction of roads, bridges hospitals, schools. this is what is happening all around the road as people begin to run on a tilted treadmill trying to develop on a disintegrating planet. the people in vanuatu know exactly what the culprit is. and one of the most beautiful demonstrations of the climate change europe last summer, vanuatu and 10 other pacific
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islands warriors, built canoes and took them off to newcastle in australia, the largest coal court and use them to blockade the great coal ships in an effort to demonstrate exactly what cyclone pam also demonstrated. the incredible vulnerability of so many of the poorest people in the world to the rising temperatures that we are inflicting on our one earth. amy: can you talk in a broader way about the threats that small island nations face? then we will take this home, not just small island nation, but the california to talk about the issue not of too much water, but of too little. >> sure. if you are low to the water on an island nation and the sea level starts going up, that makes everything that happens
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every cyclone that comes, that much more dangerous. even without a cyclone in the pacific earlier this month, the huge king tides flooded many, many homes and villages. add to that things like the ongoing heating and the acidification of the oceans waters and the concomitant erosion of coral reefs around the world -- in many of these nations, coral reef rebuts the best defense against a raging ocean. and that defense is breaking down everywhere. add to that the fact that we keep seeing the super typhoons, super cyclones, you know, warm air builds more water vapor than coal. it allows in arid areas for more evaporation and, hence, more drought. once that water is up in the
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air, it will come down someplace. we see from boston, which set yesterday the all-time record for snowfall, to places that are getting hammered by big storms. we're seeing more and more devastating downpour. this is a worldwide problem. places like vanuatu are so full of bull. amy: on thursday, a nasa scientist wrote an op-ed in "the los angeles times" headlined -- "california has about one euro water left to go the author, is the senior water scientist at the nasa jet propulsion laboratory/caltech and a professor of earth system science at the university of california, irvine. he wrote -- "the simple fact is that california is running out of water -- and the problem started
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before our current drought. nasa data reveal that total water storage in california has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century. right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing." bill mckibben? >> it is up and down the west coast of the united states. washington declared drought emergency. the snowpack in the mountains is about a person of normal. and sierra nevada which has to water pretty much all of california, 20% or 25% of normal. where in the fourth year of a drought, scientific papers published in the last couple of weeks say that california can really start expecting our new climate regime that drought will be the new normal. last year, the satellites indicated that california had lost about 63 trillion gallons
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of groundwater to evaporation. that took so much weight off the crust that the seer nevada mountains jumped half-inch. there is no way that you can have civilizations of the kind we have built in california without water. there is less and less of it all the time. it is not just california. igo south to san paulo, the fifth or sixth largest city in the world. people are so desperate, they've begun to try to drill to the concrete in their basements looking for groundwater. parts of the city have been under severe water rationing. this is what happens when you raise the temperature of the earth. there is no huge surprise in it. but it is horrifying to see it play out. amy: as we speak, oxford
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university in britain is set to vote on a measure to do vest from coal. the decision could come during our show. meanwhile, the human body responsible for global climate change negotiations is backing the fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets. nick nuttall, the spokesman for the u.n. framework convention on climate change, or unfccc, said -- "we support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of 'burn what you like when you like' cannot contue." well, at the u.n. climate talks in peru in december, democracy now! senior producer mike burke asked u.n. secretary general ban ki-moon about the movement to divest from fossil fuels. >> mike burke from democracy now! over the past year, many churches investment funds and schools have moved to develop from fossil kill companies. i'm wondering if you support this movement? >> it is encouraging there's a
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great awareness and willingness that they are now investing their resources into more sustainable energy. of course, practically speaking, the fossil fuel may have to continue to be used as our energy sources. amy: that was the u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon. the u.n. body responsible for global climate change negotiations has just announced it is backing this fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets. bill mckibben, how significant is this? is it a real shift? >> i remain slightly and shocked about the whole thing. three years ago, there were a few of us -- i wrote the first
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big piece about this for "rolling stone" magazine. at this point, this divestment idea now encompasses great universities from stanford to sydney to stockholm. it encompasses religious denominations, united church of christ am a council of churches. there are cities like oslo and seattle. the rockefeller family, the first family of fossil fuel. today, oxford is taking -- a couple of weeks will see people descending on harvard. all kinds of people. al gore, yes, but also to time reagan appointee to the fcc desmond tutu, harvard alumni of one kind or another demanding the university sell its shares. this has become one of the many faces of the fossil feel movement, fossil fuel resistance. and it is very much hand-in-hand
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with the vanuatuans standing up to the biggest coal mines in the world in australia. those coal mines can't be developed without the kind of financial lifeline that we are trying to cut off when we'd do things like divestment. the news is very bad from the physical world, from what is going on, the surf and atmosphere and in our drying reservoirs. at least, the fight is fully underway. there's a strong resistance being mounted at every level. the fact the u.n. itself is now said we should be devasting from also fuel is just an indication of how powerfully people have organized around the globe. amy: george lobby of just tweeted -- i pledge to hand back my degree if oxford university does not do vest from fossil fuels. please make the right decision. also, harvard university, the divestment movement is launching the first week of april
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continuing to push for it there. >> yes george mambio will hand back his oxford degree and nelly portman has demanded that harvard to vest. it is everywhere now, amy. amy: speaking of small island nations, i want to ask you what happened to the former president of the maldives? a documentary was made based on his life. the island president. environmentalist and former maldives president mohamed nasheed has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after he was found guilty of ordering the arrest of a judge while in office. the judge was appointed by his predecessor, maumoon abdul gayoom, who ruled the maldives for 30 years before nasheed became its first democratically elected president in 2008. nasheed became famous in 2009 for holding a cabinet meeting underwater to show the threat of climate change to his island nation. we spoke to nasheed in 2012 when
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a film on his rise to power and climate activism was released in new york. the film titled, "the island president," was directed by jon shenk. this is an excerpt. >> if we can't stop the seas rising, if you allow for a two degrees rise in temperature, you are actually agreeing to kill us. i have an objective, which is to save the nation. i know it is a huge task. i have been arrested 12 times. i have been tortured twice. i spent 18 months [indiscernible]
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we went democracy in the maldives. they have told us that climate change is impossible. i'm here to tell you -- amy: an excerpt from jon shenk's, "the island president." the former president nasheed reiterated the urgency of the climate crisis for small island states when he spoke to democracy now! >> it is a real issue and it is happening now. it is not something the future. if you saw jon's film, you could see how precarious and vulnerable the maldives is. any imbalance in nature will have very huge impacts on the low-lying areas, and not just the maldives island, but regions around the world. a big population lives in the area. they would be seriously
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challenged if we are not something -- able to do something about climate change the next two years. amy: that is the former president mohamed nasheed who has now been sentenced to 13 years in prison. he'll mckibben, do you know about this case? >> i've been to the maldives a number of times and no nasheed reasonably well. he is not only a great climate hero, first among world leaders to be willing to take a dramatic and, he is also the mandela of the indian ocean. he spent five years in various prisons before he became the first democratically elected president in the maldives. the trial of the sheet was a joke. he was not allowed witnesses. he was not allowed to prepare for the trial, which was held in secret. two of the three judges deciding the case were also witnesses.
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there is a strong powerful resistance movement in the maldives. i have no doubt the capital city is filled with people who are trying to overturn this injustice. i also have no doubt the very desperate regime will continue brutalizing people. it is a great sadness. they have enough trouble in the maldives dealing with the onset of climate change, that they don't need this sort of thing. but our hopes are very much with president nasheed. there are lots of people organizing to try and bring world attention. the thing the maldives -- the thugs who are running the country now thrive on the fact it is a small country along was away from everywhere and we don't generally pay much attention. amy: built when he was deposed in a coup, i believe the u.s.
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was the first, if not one of the first countries, directly ties the new leadership. >> the u.s. does not have a particularly proud history in that part of the world. let's hope they change their mind. it is been good to see there is been some international pressure on the government to at least trying to live up to international norms. but since they're not doing it, it is going to take more of a response. nasheed is a hero and a great man. it is a shame to see what is happening there. we will continue to work on it as long as we can because he is definitely one of our brothers in this climate fight. amy: bill mckibben, as you are there comfy in your home in for my, you mentioned boston, that has also hit an all-time record. the amount of snowfall that has hit massachusetts. can you finally ended by talking
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about what is happening in the northeast and the path to paris if you think what is going to happen in paris is important the next u.n. climate summit? >> in the northeast of the united states, we're seen over the last 50 years, 70 1% increase in the number of severe precipitation events, as the scientist put it. way big more -- way more rain falls and snowstorms. when it happened with hurricane irene, with so much rain that things wash away, when it happens in the winter as it is in boston, we get snow banks five stories high. this provides yet more impetus as we continue this climate fight. i don't think paris in december the next big negotiations, is the absolute key. i think what happens in paris will depend on what kind of organizing we do before that. how much we stand up to the real powers that be, which are the
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shells and exxons and the fossil fuel industry. they're the guys were playing the politicians, not the other way around. this fight around the vestment, round things like keystone putting ourselves in the way of every new fossil fuel expansion -- what we've been calling a fossil freeze, is absolutely crucial. it is hopeful because that fossil freeze comes at a moment when we are also seeing a solar thaw. the price of solar panels is dropping so fast, the amount of solar power has doubled in the last year. we could do this. if we can break the power of this industry, if we can throw off its dead weight, then the world actually has a fighting chance not of stopping global warming -- as vanuatu illustrates, it is too late from that -- but from getting entirely out of control. it is the greatest fight we have ever been in. although we don't know how it is
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going to come out, we know we're all needed to make a real real part in that battle. amy: a final note, boston has made history by having the snowiest and probably most miserable season since 1872. i'm reading from ap. the final 2.9 inches came after record-setting monthly snowfall of 64.9 inches in february, well over five feet. the worst previous single month was january 2005 143.3 inches fell, so it is one third more than the worst previous single month. bill mckibben, thank you for being with us, cofounder of 350.org, author of a number of books including, "eaarth: making a life on a tough new planet." to see all of our climate coverage from the pope toperu go to democracynow.org. when we come back, we learned about the case of julian
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assange. he is been in ecuador and embassy in london for 1000 days. we will talk about the new swedish decision. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today marks the 1,000th day wikileaks founder julian assange has spent in ecuador's london embassy, where he has political asylum. now for the first time swedish prosecutors have issued a request to question assange in
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london. this follows pressure from swedish courts and repeated requests by assange's lawyers. assange, who has never been charged over the allegations of sexual assault, has been holed up in the ecuadorean embassy in london since 2012, fearing a swedish arrest warrant could lead to his extradition to the -- sweden which could lead to his extradition to the united states. his lawyers have been asking swedish prosecutors to question him in london for over four years. on friday, assange's attorney in stockholm, per samuelson welcomed the news. what's the bottom line is after the autumn of 2010, the prosecutor did nothing for more than four years. that is clear breach of swedish law. that has hurt mr. assange severely and also heard both the women who have not had their case tried for over four years. and it hurts the court because
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witnesses forget. time passes on and all the evidence is much worse now than it was back in 2010. amy: in july, democracy now! went to london to speak wikileaks founder julian assange inside the ecuadorean embassy in london. >> there has been no movement. the swedish government is somehow obligated to. they refused to come here or pick up a telephone or except an affidavit. they've refused to provide a guarantee that i will not be extradited to the united states of i offered to go to sweden. that situation means we have to tackle the swedish matter, it seems, in sweden. the only other alternative is perhaps going to the international court of justice. the swedish government has no obligation under its own law to
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proceed with maximum speed -- has an obligation under its own launch a proceed with maximum speed. it is in clear violation of all of its points of thought. amy: that was wikileaks founder julian assange speaking to democracy now! in july from inside the ecuadorian embassy in london. well, for more, we're joined now by michael ratner. he is president emeritus of the center for constitutional rights. he and ccr are the u.s. attorneys for julian assange and wikileaks. he is also the chairman of the european center for constitutional and human rights. michael ratner, welcome to democracy now! talk about the significance of what the swedish government has now said. talks the swedish prosecutor, as you pointed out, is being forced to do so because julian's lawyers have gone of the swedish courts and said, how can this go for four years with allegations -- over four years? jillion is in custody because he can't leave the embassy without being forced to go to sweden and
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ultimate, the united states. it is a victory for julian, but also shows the outrage the swedish prosecutor and her system. here it is for years and julian has had to give up his has four, take refuge in the embassy then given asylum, deprived of any kind of real freedom, no ability to visit his family, etc., four years later. now the prosecutor says, i can question chilean about these allegations. amy: on friday, the director of public prosecutions in sweden, marianne ny, issued a statement. she wrote -- "my view has always been that to perform an interview with him at the ecuadorean embassy in london would lower the quality of the interview, and that he would need to be present in sweden in any case should there be a trial in the future. now that time is of the essence, i have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies in the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward." >> she is not telling the truth. the swedish supreme court just issued an order to the
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prosecutor saying explain the investigatory delay in this case. the lower court said to her, this case is not preceded according to swedish law. it is not right. she could have done this questioning a long time ago. one of the big problems with this is that meanwhile, the u.s. has continued its intensive investigation of jillion assange. just a few weeks ago, they admitted they were going forward with an espionage investigation. amy: how do you know that? >> there was a court decision in which doctors were requested about wikileaks supporters and what the department of justice was doing with them and what the fbi was doing with them. and the court decision said, we can't turn over these documents because there's an ongoing multi-subject investigation of julian assange and it is for espionage, conspiracy, theft of government documents. we know it from that and we know it from search warrant set up an issue to three wikileaks --
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warrants issued to three wikileaks employees. amy: how can jillion assange who is not a u.s. citizen, be charged with espionage here? >> when i first got involved in this case, i was founded to be remarkable. he doesn't owe any loyalty to the united states as a citizen. amy: is espionage different from the espionage law? >> espionage is similar. i think one of the reasons you see they're looking at him for theft of documents as well as for computer fraud and abuse act is because the u.s. understands most countries in the world will not extradite julian assange for espionage. they throw in these other "non-espionage" charges, even though they are related to espionage. espionage is the classic political crime. amy: explain what the print test swedish prosecutor will be questioning julian assange about. although some of the media will say he is has been charged with sexual misconduct, he has never been charged.
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he hasn't even been questioned until, apparently, now he will be. >> he did answer questions at one point in sweden when he was there. after that questioning, the charges were actually dismissed or not allowed to go forward. and then the case which to another prosecutor in the prosecutor then took it forward. sweden has this claim authority that it has this wonderful fair country, but in fact, it is not. there was recent periodic review of sweden's compliance with its fundamental laws of justice and many countries have come in and said, what is going on in sweden? how can it be for years for this? as you said, it is allegations. you will be questioned about those allegations. i'm assuming the prosecutor will go forward and do this. there are some conditions. yes to apply under the mutual legalization desk legal assistance treaty, which i assume ecuador and u.k. will allow it.
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yes to turn over an investigative file to julian assange's lawyers. amy: to you? >> the defense team in sweden, yes. how can they had failed to turn over parts of the file to julian assange's lawyers? ultimate this case and what is going to happen to it, will go to figure can human rights court. including his arbitrary to tented and embassy. in the end, sweden is there. but the final answer is, what happens in the united states and the fact this ongoing multisubject investigation of jillion assange wikileaks publishers -- repeat that, publishers of documents taken by others. amy: what does espionage charges in the united states have to do with sexual misconduct allegations in sweden? >> the main thing is, julian would have gone to sweden a long time ago had he gotten a guarantee from sweden they will
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not for him to the united states for standing trial on the astronauts charges. sweden has never been able to give that guarantee. sweden has a very bad reputation of complying with u.s. demands. sending people from sweden to egypt for torture or whether it is guaranteeing people who are asylum that they leave won't be deported. the key is, sweden has not given the guarantee it is required to do and to recognize julian's asylum. he has been given a silent but ecuador. any country in the world is obligated to recognize that. ecuador has says julian assange will be persecuted. amy: first of all, do think part of the change has to do with the swedish government changing? >> i don't know that. i know there has been heavy litigation in sweden by julian's lawyers and the courts have slapped that prosecutor brown. amy: what can happen now? a swedish prosecutor goes to
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london. ecuador has hailed this decision and will allow the questioners to go into the embassy. they will question julian assange and what happens from that? >> differ consequences could happen. one, they could say, this case isn't strong enough to go forward. that would be one. a second thing they could say is, well, we think we will go forward anyway. let's bring out one fact. julian has been over four years in custody of some form. 1000 days in the embassy. almost three years. if you are convicted of these allegations and they were made into charges and he is convicted, he would not do -- he has done all the time he would have to do. therefore, he would not do any time any longer, so the whole case is essentially bogus way of keeping him in that embassy -- and yes to become out of the united states -- and he has to be kept out of the united states will stop. amy: michael ratner.
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