tv Democracy Now LINKTV March 30, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
[captioning made possible by democracy now!] ♪ amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> release me, please. i am begging you, bring me home. bring us all home back to our families, back to my family. amy: the army says it plans to charge sergeant bowe bergdahl with desertion and the rare charge of misbehavior before the
enemy. he was held in taliban captivity for 5 years after leaving his base in afghanistan in 2009. now, bergdahl 's defense could center around an army investigation's findings that he walked off his post in an attempt to reach another u.s. base to report on wrongdoing in his unit. we'll get the details from his lawyer, eugene fidell. we'll also speak with matthew hoh, a former marine and state department official who resigned in protest from his post in afghanistan over u.s. policy in september 2009. he says stop persecuting bowe bergdahl, he and his parents have suffered enough -- like all of us veterans. the tsa's secret behavior checklist to spot terrorism behavior. >> gazing down, exaggerating jan and. these signs could apply to almost anyone that is late for a flight. in the words of one of our
sources on the program they are a licensed to harass. amy: we speak with intercept reporter cora and the latest on iran nuclear programs. we get the latest, all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. talks over a nuclear deal with iran in the final stages. progress has been reported on several issues, including limiting centrifuges at iran's main facility to around 6000. iran has backed off a pledge to enrich atomic fuel overseas. agreed to sending uranium stockpiles to russia. the demand could be overcome by agreement on regular inspections
and diluting fuel. the talks continue in lausanne today. if a deal is reached by tuesday a final agreement would be raised by june. saudi arabia says it will continue strikes on yemen until houthi rebels lay down arms. there is fighting in afden, the stronghold of the deposed president. 60 people have been killed and over 500 wounded since the bombings began last week. sunday, the saudi ambassador to the u.s. says his government discussed a military campaign with the white house four months. >> we talked about using force with the u.s. for many months. in the run-up to making the decision, we were in constant touch with the right house -- the white house about this. the decision to use military force was made at the last moment because of the
developments happening with regard to the houthis' potential occupation of aden. amy: the saudi government says it has not ruled out sending in ground troops if the houthis do not surrender. a houthi leader calls for talks. he proposed that neither he nor hadi seek the presidency. this was dismissed as "the talk of losers." the campaign comes as the arab league has a great form a united military force, egyptian president al-sisi says the army would confront regional challenges come only two nations have signed on so far. iraqi president said the operation "further comp case the complex between all parties. which will lead to more threats
in the region. foreign interventions will not help," he says. ms. figures showed israel killed more palestinians last year than in any other since occupying the west bank in 1967. the u.n. says israel was responsible for 17,000 injuries in 2014. the bulk of casualties came from israel's 50 day assault on the gaza strip, which killed 551 children. israeli forces have shot at least 30 children in the west bank and east jerusalem during protests in the first three months of this year. france has announced plans to put forward a u.n. security council measure aimed at feast tops -- peace talks. larocque fabius says it would include parameters based on an
israeli withdrawal. mr. fabius: france has supported a resolution of the u.n. defining parameters and accompanying the negotiations between the two parties. in the coming weeks, and relation with the different parties, france will be part and parcel of proposing a resolution in the u.n./ amy: the obama administration signaled it might not block a u.n. resolution in response to netanyahu's rejection of palestinian statehood. netanyahu has announced he will release three months of tax revenue to the palestinian authority. israel began withholding the funds in response to the palestinian effort to join the international criminal court. palestinian officials warned the denial of tax revenue threatened economic collapse.
a syrian coalition that includes an offshoot of al qaeda have captured the second major syrian city to fall to the rebels after raqqa, now under control of the islamic state. the rebel coalition includes nusra front. thousands of residents have fled the city out of fear. tens of thousands of people marched against violent extremism in tunis sunday following the shooting rampage at the bardo museum. one day after the government said it killed an al qaeda member it identified as the attack's main suspect. the liens of people voted in nigeria's election amidst violence from boko haram. more than a dozen people were killed and several attacks around nigeria. the race pits goodluck jonathan against former military ruler m ohammadu bahari. final results are expected today.
indiana governor mike pence facing protests over a measure that could strengthen anti-lgbt discrimination. it prevents governments from imposing a burden on those following religious beliefs. that could allow businesses to refuse services to lgbt customers. on saturday, thousands marched in indianapolis conflict pence -- calling for pence's resignation. some including charles barkley are calling for the college basketball championship to be moved. speaking to abc news, mike pence refused to answer whether it will be illegal to discriminate against lgbt people. governor pence: this is about empowering people -- >> your supporters say it would. george -- governor pence -- if a florist refuses to serve a gay couple at their wedding, is
that legal? george pence: that is where the debate has gone. george: just a question. governor pence: there has been rhetoric all of the internet. people are trying to make it about one issue. now you are doing that as well. amy: in response to criticism governor penn says he will seek a measure to clarify the intent of the law. he added that lgbt protections are "not on my agenda." a number of companies have protested, including angie's list, canceling a $40 million expansion of the tech orders and indiana. senate democratic leader harry reid of nevada willr not seek reelection. reid has endorsed chuck schumer, drawing criticism due to his ties to wall street and
hawkish stance on iran. parents, teachers and students gathered to protest andrew cuomo's proposal to link over $1 billion in school funding to a new teacher evaluation system, which focuses heavily on standardized testing. the protesters say cuomo's policies are influenced by his billionaire backers. governor cuomo has received nearly $5 million in contributions from hedge fund managers, including major backers and founders of charter schools. those are some of the headlines this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we turn now to developments in the case against army sergeant bowe bergdahl, who was held in taliban captivity for 5 years after leaving his base in afghanistan in 2009. he was freed last year in exchange for 5 taliban prisoners held for years at guantanamo. last week, the army announced
plans to charge him with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. if convicted, he faces life in prison. bergdahl's defense against a desertion charge could center on an army investigation's finding he walked off his post in an attempt to reach another u.s. base to report on wrongdoing in his unit. and that he did not plan to permanently desert. the investigation has not been released, but cnn cites senior defense officials who say bergdahl claimed to be concerned about problems with order and discipline at his post in paktika province in afghanistan and also had concerns about , quote, "leadership issues" at his base. the next step in bergdahl's case is an article 32 hearing, a procedure similar to a grand jury. for more we turn to eugene fidell, the lawyer for army seargent bowe bergdahl. he joins us from yale university, where he is the florence rogatz visiting lecturer in law at yale law school. fidell is a cofounder and former president of the national institute of military justice.
welcome to democracy now!. can you talk about the charges against your client? mr. fidell: there are two charges, one is a charge of desertion. let me back up. there are a lot of cases of desertion and they are typically handled at a very low level in the military justice system. the other charge is misbehavior before the enemy in that he left and, that is the gist of it. simply that he left and was in a battle zone, that is the allegation. those cases are rare. it's under a statute that is kind of a museum piece that dates back to the early days of the republic. there's probably something like it in the articles of war george the third signed in 1774. it's a rare charge and frankly i
have been doing this since 1969, i cannot remember a case of an actual prosecution for that charge. amy: explain what it means -- "misbehavior before the enemy." mr. fidell: typically the charge entails things like dropping your rifle or running away from a battle, this kind of thing. what the army seems to have done here has gotten creative and turned it into a sort of catchall where they can take any other offense in this case and a sense of desertion which they are also charging, and escalate the whole thing into world war iii by calling it this behavior before the enemy. amy: eugene fidell, you wrote in your memo about the army's report on bowe bergdahl, "while hedging its bets, the report basically concludes that sergeant bergdahl did not intend to remain away from the army permanently, as
classic long desertion requires it also concludes that his specific intent was to bring what he thought were disturbing circumstances to the attention of the nearest general officer." can you explain this? mr. fidell: i'm not going to any more detail than the letter i sent to the commander of u.s. forces early this month. the reason for that, i think all of this is going to come out. has got to come out. one point if you do not mind, the army has a substantial report of a major general who investigated this to the hilt. he had 20 investigators going around. the gist of what he said is, you can infer from what i wrote to general milley. it's incumbent on the army to
release the report. there are some health-related things in the report and privacy act stuff but basically the report ought to be out there so the american public can look at it and not be subject to the rumormongering that has been going crazy lately. amy: i want to read from bergdahl's description of his time held by the taliban. quote, "i was kept in constant isolation with little to no understanding of time, through periods of constant darkness periods of constant light, and periods of completely random flickering of light and absolutely no understanding of anything that was happening beyond the door i was held behind." bergdahl also wrote that for years he was chained on all fours, or locked in a cage, and that the sores on his wrists and ankles from the shackles grew infected. he said he was malnourished and quote, "my body started a steady
decline and constant internal sickness that would last through the final year." how has his five-year imprisonmentbeen described by the military? mr. fidell: they have not really described it. in fact, general dahl's report, the summary of it is 57 pages long, single spaced. the summary spent something like 8 words on his treatment while he was in captivity. the army has not described this in any detail. they are more interested in delving into offense is from the 18th century. amy: how do you think that should be weighed in what will happen to him? he was personally of war -- he was prisoner of war for five years, held, tortured, sick, and
attempted to escape, in his own words 12 times. mr. fidell: that is entitled to considerable weight in how these charges should be disposed of. this is the broadest type of discretion the military knows. you'd have to have a heart of stone not to take this kind of experience, prolonged for five years, into account. people in the military are human beings. they are not automatons. i expect and hope that those who are going to have to make a decision as to what should be done an article 32 investigation does not commit anybody to anything, will take this into account. amy: i want to play a comment from lieutenant colonel michael waltz, who says he led the search bergdahl. this is a clip from his interview on fox news last week, starting with host sean hannity. >> we lost at least six
soldiers, how many others were injured? >> the taliban and that we were pulling out all the stops and were feeding false information into our network. they were baiting us into ambushes they baited us into a house rigged to explode soldiers died looking for him. amy: the report found no evidence that any soldier died searching for sergeant bergdahl. mr. fidell: first, the comment mr. waltz a junior officer in afghanistan, he also has on his webpage that he worked for vice president cheney. for background. the army said in its report what i said in my letter to general milley it is incumbent on the army to make the facts known. i am concerned that something that mr. waltz may have said
might be classified. i assume someone will make a determination on that. amy: what do you mean? mr. fidell: i am not going to go any further. amy: eugene fidell, you wrote in your memo that the army's report recommends bergdahl be stripped of his status as a missing-captured prisoner of war. unit, "international humanitarian law does not distinguish between personnel who have deserted and personnel who have not." you also cite everyone from bergdahl's captors to president obama calling him a prisoner of war. this is obama announcing bergdahl's release last june. president obama: we are committed to winding down the war and closing gitmo. we remain ironclad for our prisoners of war. it is a profound obligation within our military and today, in this instance it's a promise
we have been able to keep. amy: eugene fidell? mr. fidell: that quote speaks for itself. everyone understood that sergeant bergdahl was a prisoner of war. the international law of armed conflict does not distinguish between prisoners of war prisoners who are absent without leave versus prisoners who are not absent without leave. i think it is preposterous that the army at this late date might consider changing his status. he was locked up in the most horrible conditions. conditions that none of us would ever want to endure. to his credit, he did what
soldiers are supposed to do when they are taken present and -- taken prisoner and attended to escape. he attempted to escape something like 12 times. the taliban punished him severely when they caught him again and again. amy: eugene fidell, you have been negotiating with the army -- mr. fidell: stop right there. we've had no negotiations with the army. suggestions to that effect are false. the army concluded there was no evidence that anyone died searching for him. amy: were you surprised when these, i mean, he still has to go before an article 32 hearing. mr. fidell: i cannot say i wasn't surprised to see a desertion charge. that has been in the wind.
the desertion charge did not come as a surprise. the george the third charge did come as a surprise. where that came from i have no idea. amy: what's the implication of saying you might have spoken to the army? mr. fidell: well, there are people out there i won't say economical with the truth -- they are making things up. it was said months ago that i had been handed a charge. that was simply false. [indiscernible] someone is manipulating this controversy. similarly, the notion that we have been negotiating and
putting pressure is completely made up. people will say -- if you can him or me for one more second. -- if you can humor me for one more second. [indiscernible] the other day i took the opportunity to deliver a sermon to the audience about the virtues of the first amendment. i'm a first amendment guy. what people say, god bless them -- there are politics wrapped up . that is the strength of our democratic system. let the chips fall where they may. but i do not want is for my client to be made a chew toy by
anyone what they are trying to score points against the president of the united states or anyone. amy: do you think the second charge that is so rare, this behavior before an enemy, that he could face life in prison beyond the five years of captivity that he faced in afghanistan, that might be brought to a plea deal? is a plea deal possible in the military? mr. fidell: the pretrial agreements are possible and are in many cases resolved. in terms of the motivation behind that second charge, sticking it onto the charge sheet, you have to ask them. amy: do you think bowe bergdahl can get a fair trial? mr. fidell: i'm concerned about the barrage of hostility that has inundated the country basically since last year and continuing to the present instance.
the military has a replica of the jury system basically jerry's consist of active duty personnel. they can be enlisted and mostly our officers. if this case goes to a child the millet -- if this case goes to a trial, the military is going to have trouble with a jury that can say they have not been influenced by the barrage of hostility. amy: eugene fidell, lawyer for bowe bergdahl. joining us from yale university at yell law school. he is cofounder and former president of the national institute of military justice. sergeant bergdahl is at fort sam houston in san antonio. we will speak with matthew hoh
amy: hero of war the band rise agains. the video has been viewed online more than 25 million times. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we look at the case of army sergeant bowe bergdahl, held in taliban captivity for 5 years after leaving his base in afghanistan in 2009. he was freed last year in exchange for 5 taliban prisoners held for years at guantanamo. last week the army announced it plans to charge sergeant
bergdahl with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. if convicted he faces life in , prison. the tough military charges bergdahl faces have revived controversy over how the obama administration won his release in exchange for 5 taliban prisoners. fox news reports at least three of the 5 have since attempted to reconnect with their former terrorist networks. on friday, the house oversight and government reform committee asked the white house for documents related to the swap. state department spokeswoman jen psaki defended the trade during an interview on fox news. ms. psaki: we have a commitment to men and women serving in our military, defending our national security that we are going to do everything to bring them home if we can. amy: others have raised different questions as sergeant bergdahl faces charges of desertion and the rare charge of misbehavior before the enemy. reporter peter maass wrote for "the intercept," "what
punishment should sergeant bowe bergdahl receive for allegedly deserting his post in afghanistan? the answer comes by asking another question, what punishment has been handed out to american generals and politicians whose incompetence caused far more bloodshed and grief than anything bergdahl did?" we are joined by matthew hoh, a former marine and state department official who resigned in protest from his post in afghanistan over u.s. policy in september 2009. prior to his assignment in afghanistan, he served in iraq. he is now a senior fellow at the center for international policy. last june he wrote a piece for "politico" headlined "stop persecuting bowe bergdahl he and , his parents have suffered enough, like all of us veterans." matthew hoh joins us from raleigh, north carolina. welcome back to democracy now we were just speaking with eugene fidell, his attorney.
your response? mr. hoh: good morning and thank you for having me. my response is along the same lines as i have been saying for 10 months. give this time, no rush to judgment. why are we vilifying and crucifying a young man who suffered at the hands of the enemy for five years? and even more so, persecuting his family as well. just to score political points. with regard to the most recent developments with sergeant bergdahl the most important aspect of all this is the fact as mr. fidell was explaining, the army's investigation has found that sergeant bergdahl did not intend to desert permanently. he did not intend to quit the war, quite the army, or join the taliban. his attention -- his intention was to get to another base to report some kind of wrongdoing.
something disturbing to a senior military officer or an american general. something had bothered his conscience. something had bothered his standards as a soldier that he felt this was the only option he had, to travel overland, a crazy option, and one that did not work out so well. but that is what the army has found. this is not a case of classic desertion but of a young man who was disturbed by something, possibly war crimes or some kind of wrongdoing something immoral, maybe. he took it upon itself to report this to a senior officer because he had no faith in the soldiers he was stationed with. amy: according to the book "military justice: a guide to the issues," article 99, misbehavior before the enemy criminalizes a soldier's inability to overcome fear to carry out their duty. do you think bowe bergdahl was afraid? mr. hoh: no.
honestly not if he was willing to communicate with his squad leader, his team leader about this before hand. and then actually carry out this action. if we go back to information we know already most of which comes from the "rolling stone" article, we see that he actually asked his team leader what would happen to me if i went off base with my weapon and other serialized gear -- night vision goggles and other equipment. the team leader said you will get in trouble. that's, to me, the reason he went off base without the equipment. he obviously felt he had no other possibility and no other option. so for him to do that, to go overland in eastern afghanistan to try and report this disturbing circumstances as the
army says he was trying to do, required quite a bit of bravery. with regard to the misbehavior before the enemy charge, a lot of us in the veteran community have never heard of that. obviously it is an actual part of the uniform code of military justice but it is something that is extremely rare. if you google it, i invite people to google it. there are nine sections to this possible charge. it's a catchall. if somebody does not have their boots tied properly while in fighting position, they could be construed as misbehavior before the enemy. it is a catchall that can be applied to any circumstances. so certainly i would imagine that if you were to say he left the base well, he left without permission that is misbehavior before the enemy so you could say he is in violation of that. amy: this is a clip of bergdahl 's father speaking in a clip of a video produced by "the
guardian." bob bergdahl: two generations of children in this country that we had zero tolerance for violence but we can occupy two countries in asia for almost a decade. it's schizophrenic. no wonder this younger generation is struggling psychologically with the duplicity of this, the use of violence. the purpose of war is to destroy things. you can't use it to govern. amy: you are friendly with the family, how did you come to know the family? what about what bob is saying, bergdahl's father? mr. hoh: i got to know bob via twitter. we developed a friendship and we had dinner together, i
met bowe's mom a few nights before he was released. we had dinner together in washington d.c. like a lot of guys in these wars you say a lot of suffering and a lot of grief but i had never seen anything like i saw in sergeant bergdahl's mothers eyes that night. this is a woman whose son was being held as a prisoner of war. at that point i do not think they understood the horrors he was going through in terms of the constant psychological and physical torture he endured. they knew he was suffering. i had never seen anything like that in a mother's eyes. i have been to a lot of funerals and seen a lot of suffering and grief of mothers who have buried their soon -- their son's too early. and i think that is what is so
touching about what bob is saying. these are two people, a husband and wife who raised two children, raised them in the spirit of their church. who had their son joined the army. and their suffering has been unreal, unknown for anyone in this country. you have to go back to the vietnam era to understand the suffering in the sense of will you ever see you son again, what torture must he be experiencing. what bob says about the duplicity, in church we can bemoan violence, we cite we are a christian nation. but we regularly ignore jesus' call to peace. while we maintain 600 military
bases around the world and while we occupy countries and conduct wars. we bommbb nations -- we bomb nations and support other nations that bob nations, this past week with saudi arabia in yemen, we are providing targeting information, in-flight refueling, logistic support. so i think bob's words carry a lot of weight from the kind of man he is, the principle man he is. his experiences as a father who sent his son to war as well as a man of the church and a man who has seen this both through physical scuffle -- through philosophical levels and a practical level. amy: in 2012 "rolling stone" published a series of e-mails from bowe bergdahl to his father bob. three days before he was captured bowe wrote "the
future is too good to waste on lies and life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. i have seen their ideas and i am ashamed to even be american. the horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. it is all revolting. i'm sorry for everything here. these people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live." in that email, he also referred to seeing an afghan child run over by a u.s. military vehicle. can you talk more about what he was trying to do? what we were discussing with eugene fidell to report miss doing to a higher level general at another military post. mr. hoh: this is not a defense team, this is not sergeant bergdahl saying what his intentions were, this is a team, as eugene fidell explained, 22
investigators interviewing everyone involved to determine that he left, sergeant bergdahl left his post to report disturbing circumstances which may have been wrongdoing. which may be related to the death of this child, which will most likely be related to his views of his unit, his shame at the actions he has seen there. we may have very possibly this may be a story of a young man of a his conscience, obeying the standards of the army and trying to tell the truth. trying to report wrongdoing. who then was captured en route and held for five years, tortured. and then come home to the most disgraceful and shameful attacks to score political points by the media, politicians. i will say that while the
republicans tend to be leading these assaults against sergeant bergdahl i'm not hearing a lot of democratic voices and democratic politician speaking in defense of this young man or his family. i think it's shameful not just the attacks but also the silence that has occurred over his treatment. the lack of men and women willing to stand up and defend him in his family. go ahead. amy: i wanted to ask you finally, last week president obama reversed course and announced he is going to keep nearly 10,000 troops in afghanistan at least through the end of this year. and downplayed the extension, saying it was going to be well worth it. you quit over the war in afghanistan -- that was in 2000 nine. this is six years later. the longest war in u.s. history. your response? mr. hoh: it is also the most unpopular war in u.s. history. four out of five americans oppose this war.
many americans think the war has been a mistake as think it was worth it. what we have seen in afghanistan, was quite striking. last week, president ashraf ghani, thew -- the new president of afghanistan. the ballots have not been released, we do not know how many people voted the theft was so great. he is surrounded by the same warlords and druglords hamid karzai surrounded himself when. the taliban is stronger than ever, record numbers of forces and civilians are being killed. the only thing doing well in afghanistan is the drug trade something the afghan government is involved in. every year there are bumper crops of poppies in afghanistan. somehow president obama thinks it is worthwhile to continue propping up this government while millions of afghan people suffer.
tens of thousands recent reports that about a quarter million afghans have died since 2001 because of this war. president obama somehow thinks it is worth it. i think -- while i don't want to see sergeant bergdahl go to trial because of the toll that will take on him and his family, i would like to see a discussion about this war and a more open dialogue about this war. these platitudes and certitudes that come from our officials that this war was somehow worth it and that somehow we have achieved some level of security from it, i would like to see that debated in a formal setting and possibly come as a friend of mine described it, maybe sergeant bergdahl's trial could turn into a scopes monkey trial for foreign policy and war overseas. amy: thank you for being with us. while fox news said, citing
unnamed government officials that three of the 5 prisoners released attended to reach out to former networks, a state department official said "none of the five individuals has returned to the battlefield and none of the five have left qatar." they are all being closely monitored by the u.s.. matthew hoh thank you for being with us. a former marine, state department official who resigned in protest of the war of afghanistan in september 2009. he served in iraq. he's a fellow at the center for international policy. we will link to your piece called "stop persecuting bowe bergdahl." when we come back, we will find out what is happening in lausanne switzerland around the talks of a iran nuclear deal. stay with us. [♪] [music break]
amy: graham nash, "military madness." this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. talks of a nuclear deal with iran in their final stages. progress on several issues including limiting centrifuges at iran's main facility to around 6000. iran has backed off a pledge to enrich fuel overseas. officials are said to have previously agreed to sending uranium stockpiles to russia but now want to keep fuel in iran. the demand could be overcome by agreements and regular inspection sufficiently diluting the fuel to ensure it cannot be used for a bomb. he talks continue in the swiss town of lausanne:. if a deal is reached by tuesday,
a deal could be released by june. in lausanne founder and president of the national iranian american council. can you tell us in the last 24 hours of the self-imposed deadline, where the talks stand and has iran pulled back on one of the key negotiating points? >> there's a lot of brinkmanship going on right now, both from the iranian side and other sides in the negotiation. for instance, the russian foreign minister sergey lavrov is leaving that will be back if there is a deal. there is an air of inevitability that there will be a deal combined with a tremendous amount of uncertainty. amy: explained the report of what iran has reversed on, this
issue of sending the stockpile to russia. explain what this is about. mr. parsi: this is very critical, actually. if the iranians retained the stockpile, that dramatically changes the calculations when it comes to the breakout capability. the amount of time the iranians would need in order to make the decision to build the bomb and have enough material for that bomb. this is a big announcement. i think at the end of the day, we should view it from the perspective that there is brinksmanship going on. the reason the iranians are doing this is because the iranians have been accepting the demands the u.s. has asked of them what they have not accepted is what the u.s. is offering and return.
by sending the signal that they are walking back on something they essentially had said they would give, they are saying they're not getting enough in return from the u.s. they are referring to the sanctions relief. if you want a deal without getting as much sanctions relief you are going to get less. i think the iranians will except shipping out part of the stockpile at a minimum. only if they manage to get some of their demands met as well. amy: right now the israeli prime minister netanyahu says the deal that is about to be reached, it has been revealed they were spying on the talks and shared some of that with republican lawmakers went netanyahu addressed congress. the deal that is about to be reached is the worst one ever. or the worst one that has been considered. your response to this, trita parsi? mr. parsi: essentially, the
israeli prime minister admits that he was wrong in the past when he was extremely panicky and fear mongering. by now, this essentially is just background noise. the netanyahu government, because of the way they have acted, have made themselves outside players and quite on influential on what is taking place right now. in that sense, what they have done has been a favori, there has been so much animosity against the obama administration that they essentially neutralized them. amy: finally you have just written a piece in "the atlantic," "why iran's supreme leader wants a nuclear deal." talking about the ayatollah, why does he want one. mr. parsi: what is widely misunderstood and the u.s. in
particular is the belief that he supreme leader is an ideological opponent. he is a skeptic without a doubt. part of the reason i think he's looking favorably towards a deal is that it would be the first time in 200 years the iranians have had a major dispute with the west and that it ended up with a negotiation in which the iranians did not lose. he meant that iran has managed to get the other great powers to the negotiating table and the end result is a compromise rather than iranian capitulation. that's a first for any country in the middle east. amy:trita parsi, thank you for being with us. the president of the national iranian american council his book is "a roll of the dice." the self-imposed deadline is tomorrow and we will follow developments. trita was joining us from lausanne switzerland. we turn to an exclusive new report by "the intercept."
next time you are at an airport you might not want to gaze at your feet. be careful not to stare at anyone. both of these behaviors are listed on a suspicious signs checklist used by the transportation security administration or tsa. "the intercept" obtained the document from a source concerned about the quality of the program. the document shows how the tsa identifies potential terrorists based on behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception, including fidgeting whistling, and throat clearing. the checklist is part of the tsa's controversial program known as the screening of passengers by observation techniques, or spot program. it employs specially trained officers, known as behavior detection officers, to watch and interact with passengers going through screening. for more, we are joined by cora currier. her new article is cowritten with jana winter.
welcome to democracy now! explain what the behaviors are that the tsa are watching out for? cora: we obtained a 92-point checklist. it is divided into a section on initial observation, which is used by officers who are looking at passengers approaching the screening area. and then a second category of signs of deception, which is used when they pull someone aside for further screening. and might even used to refer them to law enforcement. the behaviors on this list range from the mind numbingly obvious, things that you think the tsa might have a cartoon villain in mind, whistling when you approach the security screening area -- the wringing of hands appears to be in disguise was my personal favorite.
others are so broad they could apply to almost anyone you could imagine, yawning. amy: why yawning? cora: we don't know. exaggerated yawning is a characteristic they decided could be a sign of deception. throat clearing, strong body owndor -- odor. inappropriate dress for the location, face flushed, nervous. these are things that could apply to any one of us at any given time. amy: what is the aclu and the new york civil liberties union suing over? cora: they asked for documents last fall through a freedom of information act request my understanding is the tsa stonewalled them and they are suing for the documents. they asked for the science behind this program, the
training lists for things like this checklist and also any information about how this program has handle racial profiling, the potential for racial profiling. that is one of the main concerns is that it is a smokescreen for pulling over people of certain ethnicities or minorities. amy: the transportation security administration tsa, has defended its conduct, saying it is taking a "common sense" approach. the tsa said "no single behavior will cause a traveler to beat referred to additional screening or will result in a call to a law enforcement officer." the tsa also denied claims of racial-profiling saying quote "officers are trained and audited to ensure referrals for additional screening are based only on observable behaviors and not race or ethnicity." is there a scientific basis for the list of behaviors they are screening for? cora: there is a small minority
of researchers who believe you can use the micro facial indicators or body language indicators to decide if somebody is being deceptive or has a plo t, something up their sleeve. but the government accountability office did a meta-review of scientific literature related to this program and found that humans were the consensus seems to be that humans are really bad at determining just by these kinds of behavioral indicators whether someone is lying. they did not find that there was science to back up that you could use these detectors to determine whether someone was being deceptive. amy: how much has the tsa spent on this program? cora: at least $1 billion to date. in 2013 it was upwards of $900 million. it's been going since 2007. amy: two black women told reuters the tsa agreed to stop screening black female
passengers based on their sister lux hairstyles. cora: there have been reports of officers coming forward and saying they look for a particular minority. the list is just used as a pretense. that is what one of our sources told us. he called it a license to harass. amy: what you say to those who say you have gotten this list, was a classified? cora: it is not classified. it had not been released but it is not classified. amy: now terrorists will know what not to do. cora: i challenge anybody not to blink or look down or look straight ahead or do any of the number of behaviors that are supposedly suspicious on this list. when you look at some of the recent high-profile things there is a man in louisiana who attacked the tsa screening area with a machete. he -- you probably don't need a
list to look for someone like that. amy: how does this, the search for these "suspicious behaviors" relate to the no-fly list? cora: we do not know what the direct relationship between the two is. this program is obviously used to refer people to law enforcement to refer people for further screening. the whole the no-fly list selection process is itself shrouded in so much secrecy it is hard to say how this plays into it but there is very likely a connection. amy: how many people are on the no-fly list? are there a number of them? cora: i think there are several different ones, i do not have a number of the top of my head. amy: so, further, what has the government said to you when you try to get their response? cora: there would not confirm or comment on the particular list. as you said, they have a commonsense approach, they pushed back on the idea that they look for people who are
just stressed or late for flights. that this is not, that it is more commonsense than it looks on paper. what is funny is they were sort of denying what it looks like on its face, that it is more practical than that. and they say they use a layered approach. some of the factors see my commonsense things to look for -- somebody acting suspiciously. but the vast majority of them are -- amy: thank you for being with us, cora currier for "the intercept." "tsa's secret behavior checklist to spot terrorists." we will link to it at democracynow.org. that does it for our shop, democracy now! is produced by mike burke, renee feltz, aaron mate, nermeen shaikh, steve martinez, sam alcoff, hany massoud, robby karran, deena guzder, amy littlefield, anna ozbeck and sam riddell. mike di fillippo and miguel nogueira are our engineers. special thanks to becca staley