tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 27, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT
05/27/16 05/27/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica this is , democracy now! >> that is a future we c can choose, a a future in which hiroshima and nagasaki are known the atomicdawn of warfare, but as the start of our own moral awakening. amy: president obama becomes the first sitting u.s. president to visit the japanese city of
hiroshima since u.s. warplanes dropped the first atomic bomb on the city 71 years ago killing 140,000 people. we will speak to the pulitzer prize winning biographer of robert oppenheimimer, the father of the a atomic bomb. we will also speak to a survivor of the hiroshima attack. but first, we look at how puerto rico is facing a complete takeover by a federally appointed control board. hillary clinton backs the deal, bernie sanders opposes it. >> it is morally unanacceptable that billionaire hedge fund managers have been calling for even more austerity in puerto rico. austerity will not solve this crisis. amy: we will speak to a young chicago immigrant rights
activist is suing the department of homeland security for rejecting her renewal for deferred deportation status because of her activism including her arrerest at the , democratic national convention. what you face deportation now that you're getting arrested? >> i don't know, but i am willing to risk it. i am proud to be doing this with my parents. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama has become the first sitting u.s. president to visit the japanese city of hiroshima since u.s. warplanes dropped the first atomic bomb on august 6, 1945. the bomb killed 140,000 people and another 100,000 seriously ininjured. three days later, the u.s. dropped a second atomic bomb on nagasaki, killing another 74,000
people. obama spoke today at the hiroshima peace memorial park today. >> among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them. this goal inalize my lifetime, but persistent effort can rollback the possibility of catastrophe. amy: in news from the campaign trail, donald trump has officially secured the support of enough delegates to become the republican party nominee. trump is now supported by 1238 delegates, one delegate above the threshold required to clinch the nomination. he won't become the party's official nominee until the republican national convention in july. this comes as trump spoke in north dakota thursday, where he pledged to push through the
construction of the controversial keystone xl pipeline. he also vowed to roll back the paris climate accord. >> we are going to cancel the paris climate agreement and stop -- [applause] unbelievable. and stop all payments of the united states tax dollars to you and global warming programs. amy: this comes as the sister of vince foster, a white house aide to president bill clinton who died in 1993, has written a scathing criticism of donald trump, after trump revived conspiracy theories about foster's death earlier this week. vince foster committed suicide in 1993 after a struggle with depression. yet, his death was the subject of multiple right-wing conspiracies at the time blaming hillary clinton for foster's death. trump revived these theories in an interview with the washington post earlier this week, calling foster's death "very fishy."
in an op-ed published by "the washington post" thursday, sheila foster anthony called trump's comments "beyond contempt." writing -- this is scurrilous enough coming from right-wing operatives. how can this be coming from the presumptive nominee for president? this comes as the trump campaign mistakenly cop on a political reporter on an e-mail jury public and national researcher asking him to "work up ininformation on hrc whitewaters soon as possible." whitewater refers to the scandal involving the clintons real estate investments during the late 1970's, and a trump campaign space dust spokeswoman reportery copied thei on the e-mail. democrats are considering pressuring democratic national committee chairwoman debbie
wasserman schultz to step down ahead of the national convention in july. bernie sanders has long accused wasserman of thing bias toward hillary clinton. this comes as she is in a tight race against progressive challenger tim canova for her own congressional seat in florida. and unusual move, sanders has backed tim canova. two members of the senate intelligence committee are warning that a new bill would exexpand the fbi's abilility to access amemericans' online e res without t a rrant.t. oregon s senator ronon wyden anw mexico senator martin heinrich say y the 2017 i intelligence authorizization bill could a alw the fbi to access email, chat and messaging records, as well as browser histories. on thursday, senator heinrich called the bill a "massive expansion of government surveillance that lacks independent oversight." in brazil, the interim government has announced it
-- announced plans to abandon the current limits on foreign land ownership, clearing the way for land grabs by multinational corporations. the interim government took power earlier this month after the legislature voted to suspend president dilma rousseff and begin impeachment proceedings, a move that a growing number of residents and latin american countries are calling a coup. this comes as brazil's powerful landless workers movement, known as mst, has promised to launch a new wave of land occupations. brazil already has vastly unequal land ownership, with 1% of the population owning nearly half of all the land. in israel, the environmental minister has resigned over the appointment of right-wing, ultranationalist politician avigdor lieberman as defense minister. environment ministerer avi gabby announced his resisignation. >> i was unable to swallow the
fraud that landed this week, a year after i was appointed. the stacking up an appointment lieberman. amy: avigdor lieberman is considered to be one of the most hawkish politicians in israel. a new report by the world health organization has found nearly 1000 people have been killed in attacks on hospitals and other health-c-care facilities or workers over the last two years. most strikingly, the report found more than 60% of these attacks were deliberate. the greatest number of attacks on hospitals and health providers were in syria, where recent bombings s of doctors without borders-supported hospitals has spararked international protests. this comes as the united nations is warning of the risk of starvation in government-besieged areas if the delivery of humanitarian aid continues to be blocked by the assad regime. the united states, russia, and other countries have said they
will to begin airdropping aid by june 1 if the sieges are not lifted. meanwhile, the itatalian coast guard says a at least p people have drorowned trying to crorose memediterranean, while the c cot guard rerescued more thahan 4000 addition people on thursdaday. this comes as grgreeofficials have bulldozed t the idomeni refugee camp on the border n ner macedonia.a. authoritieies began forcrcibly remomoving thousands o of refugs frfrom the idomemeni earlier ths week. the e mp had beeeen the site of frequent protests over macedonia's decision to close its border. a new analysis of the mexican military's kill rate suggests the armed forces have engaged in summary killings and extrajudicial killings while waging the so-called war on drugs. the analysis is based on the government's own figures. it shows the mexican army kills, rather than wounds, its enemies at a rate far higher than the average in modern warfare. the mexican armed forces have
also been accused of thousands of instances of torture, although only about a dozen cases have resulted in convictions since 2006. the analysis comes as the parents of the 43 missing ststudents marched t to mark the 20th month since their childldrn disappeared on september 26, 2014. an independent investigation has found evidence the mexican military was involved in their disappearance. spokesperson for the parents of the missing students felipe de la cruz spoke out. >> we have come to remind the world the case has not been resolved and the mexican government does not want us to know the truth. today, we demand the government except the mechanism toto contie the invnvestigation and for the country to witness the truth and allow for this mechanism. amy: louisiana governor john bel edwards has signed a so-called "blue lives matter" law, which expands the state's hate-crimes statute to add pololice officer, as well as firefighters and emas
personnel to the list. the new law is the first of its kind in the country. it's signing sparked outrage by civil rights groups. louisiana naacp president ernest johnson said -- "hate crimes law is based upon a history of discrimination against certain groups of people, and a bill like this just tries to water down that reality, because there is not a history of discrimination against police and firefighters." in new york, a new lawsuit accuses the new york police department of intentionally profiling and harassing people who live on the streets. the suit was filed by the aclu and the group picture the homeless. it says the nypd is engaging in discriminatory policing by targeting people who live on the streets with so-called move along orders, in which officers tell people sitting or standing on the sidewalk to go somewhere else, even though they have broken no laws. and holocaust survivor and peace activist hedy epstein has died at the age of 91.
hedy epstein was born in germany and left in 1939 on a kindertransport to england. her parents died in auschwitz. she later returned to germany to work as a research analyst for the prosecution during the nuremberg trials. she was involved in civil rights and anti-war movements throughout her life. in 2011, hedy epstein was part of the gaza freedom flotilla and was a passenger on the u.s.-flagged ship, the audacity of hope. in 2014, just days after her 90th birthday, she was arrested in st. louis during a protest outside missouri governor jay nixon's office over the police killing g of unarmed african american teenager michael brown. she spoke about her arrest on democracy now! >> i know what it feels like to be discrimininated against, to e oppressed, and i can't stand idly by when i see there are problems. i can't solve every problem, i
probably caps off any problem, is i have to do whatever it able for me to do. i cannot stand idly by because if i did, anyone who stands idly by bececomes complicit in what s going on. -- code that was amy: that was hedy epstein, speaking on democracy now! in 2014. she died at her home in st. louis on thursday at the age of 91. to see our interviews with her, you can go to democracynow.org. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. juan, you have a new piece out in "the new york daily news" that you retired from but your continuing to write columns for. juan: occasionally.
amy: can you talk about this? juan: as we have discussed several times, puerto rico has been asking for nearly a year now for congress to give it legal authority to be able to restructure about $72 billion in debt the government of puerto rico says it cannot pay. finally after months and months of wrangling and negotiations between democrats and republicans and the obama administration, on wednesday, the house natural resources committee by y a vote of 29 to , a bipartisan vote, did finally pass a bill that will finally go to the full house and if it passes there, to the senate. that bill does have a restructuring mechanism in it for puerto rico, but it is now really a poison killed because in addition to providing the restructuring the government of puerto rico has asked for, it is also requiring the government of puerto rico to submit to a
virtual total takeover of its economy. it would require a new oversight board of seven people, four of whom will be chosen basically by the republicans, even though they will be appointed by the president, the president has to take them from a list provided by speaker ryan and the senate majority leader. it is basically going toto be a republican-dominated board. most importantly come a what rankles most people on the island, only one of these seven actually has to be a resident or have a primary business in puerto rico. you are in essence creating a board, and oversight -- a oftrol board that will be nonresidents of the island running the financial affairs of puerto rico for the next five, possibly tenures. amy: is this similar to washington, d.c.? but much more tougher. in fact, there was a memo the
republican leadership provided to the hearing on when they that said that this was -- that it puererto rico's government fails to comply with a fiscal plan that the board apppproves, the board may impose mandatory cuts, a power far beyond that exercised by the control board established by the district of columbia. the republicans are boasting this is much difficult and more in poorly the district of columbia, all five residents -- all five members of the control board had to be residents of the district of columbia. this is an outside board and this outside board will control not only the finances, any new laws that are passed have to be approved by the control board, any capital investments on the island have to be approved by the control board. it is a complete takeover of the island's economy. amy: is it a model for this somewhat the unelected city managers that michigan governor rick snyder appoints in charge of places like flint? juan: yes, but with one big
difference. the governor of michigan n did have the power under the laws that existed to dodo that. puerto rico supposedly is a self-governing territory that was granted self-government by congress back in the 1950's. this is the situation not just of a statete imposing ititself a city, but of one nation imposing colonial control on another nation. so this is the problem that has really rankled folks and become part of the presidential race because bernie sanders has come out strongly opposed to the bill today. he is supposed to be having a conference call with puerto rican leaders to discuss possibly presenting an alternative bill in the senate. and this bill still has to be voted on by before house next week. then it will have to be considered by the senate. there are several senators who have come out against it. anyone could filibuster the bill.
amy: let's go to sanders for a moment. the democratic primaries june 5. sanders s said puerto rico's $70 billion debt must be restructured in a way that doesn't deepen its economic crisis. >> it is unacceptable to me that vulture funds on wall street are demanding that puerto rico fire teachers, close schools, cut pensions, and abolish the minimum wage so theyy can reap huhuge profits off of the susuffering and the misery of te children and the people of puerto rico. we cannot allow that to happen. we will l not allow that to happen. amy: that is democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. what is hillary clinton's view? juan: she recognizes there's a problem with the bill, but she sports it as does the obama administration as does velasquez
who is been a strong advocate of puerto rico because -- amy: -- juan: yes, and all of the supporters and democratic party, your argument is, look, this is the best possible deal you are going to be able to get that puerto rico can get under a republican-controlled congress. it is either this or nothing. and because there is a julian dollar debt payment due on july 1 that puerto rico cannot pay, the total rush to the courthouse of all of the creditors will begin july 2. they're saying there's no time to be able to do anything different. we have to swallow this poison told. others say, no, don't pay the debt on july 1, and let the legal title continued to play out. -- battle continue to play out. we won't know what is when it happened, but the first thing right now that could happen is there will be a house vote a week after next when congress
comes back into session, then the senate will consider it in late june. amy: we will continue to cover it and we will link to your piece in "the new york daily news" that you retired from but ,ontinue to write columns for link to it at democracynow.org. when we come back, we go to chicago to young activist threatened with deportation she says because she was exercising her freedom of speech. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
29-year-old ireri unzueta carrasco received deferred action for childhood arrivals status in 2013. daca is the obama administration's program shielding some undocumented people brought to the united states as children from deportation if they meet certain conditions. even though unzueta carrasco says she met those conditions, the department of homeland security denied her daca renewal because of her participation in acts of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring the obama administration to halt its record deportations. such protests helped propel president obama to institute the daca program in the first place. amy: in a statement sent to her attorney in march, u.s. citizenship and immigration services said unzueta carrasco's participation in peaceful acts of civil disobedience constituted a threat to public safety. in one of the protests cited by
authorities, she was one of 10 undocumented people arrested in september 2012 during one an act of civil disobedience at the democratic national convention. democracy now! was there when the activist rode into uptown charlotte, north carolina aboard , the "no papers, no fear" bus, which had been traveling for six weeks to protest obama's immigration policies. they sat down at a busy intersection directly in front of the arena where the dnc was about to be gavel to open blocking traffic. ,ireri was arrested alongside her mother and father. democracy now! was there and filmed her arrest. >> what does it mean you getting arrested right now for you? >> [inaudible]
>> could you face deportation now that you been arrested? >> i don't know yet, but i am willing to risk it. >> anything else you want to add? >> [indiscernible] to organize. our right to be with our families. stop deportation. that last voice was rosi carrasco, mother of ireri unzueta carrasco, who is now suing the department of homeland security for refusing to renew her daca protection due to her participation in that and other acts of civil disobedience. more than 100 civil and immigrant rights groups have signed onto a letter to dhs secretary jeh johnson calling on the agency to renew her daca status and protect the constitutional right to political expression. amy: we inviteted the department of homeland security to join us on the program today but they
declined, writing -- "as a matter of policy we don't comment on pending litigation. furthermore, due to privacy constraints, we cannot comment on individual cases of applications." well, ireri unzueta carrasco joins us now from chicago, along with her attorney mony ruiz-velasco. welcome to democracy now! tell us what happened. how is it you got daca status and what has happened to it? >> good morning and thank you for having us here. irish only to apply -- i originally applied in 2015 and i was able to get it and when i tried to renew it, it was denied based -- the response that we that because was of the participation of civil disobedience, this was something they were not going to renew. after this long process of trying to figure out what was going on, we decided that we needed to go public about what was happening with my case so that the department of homeland security and uscis good know anytime they try to do -- they
tried to do something that is unjust for the community, we're going to stand up. for me, civil disobedience is an act of survival. it is something we do to defend our communities. this important we defend our organize toable to defend our commumunities. juan: mony ruiz-velasco, what is the significance of this case? have there been others like this across the country or is this really a possible trendsetting case? what is a legal basisis for the department being able to do this? >> we believe there is no legal basis for the department to do this, which is why we filed a lawsuit along with our partners at the national immigrant justice center. was a forcefully denied and the government stated they believed she was a public safety risk. we believe it is an incorrect decision.
there's a specific definition of what it means to be a public safety risk and she clearly does not fit with any realm of possibility of that opinion and of that legal definition. we believe this case is unique at this point, but as ireri mentioned, we want to make sure this is not happening to anyone else, that if the administration likeds to punish activists many across the country that we are not going to stand for that and we're going to continue to organize in every way that we can with the community, using legal fronts as well. that is why we're here today. jujuan: in this case in particular, they cite four arrest, but for none of these were she actually convicted of any crime, right? >> direct. she was not charged or convicted of any crime. clearly thater so day, that first day of the democratic convention in
charlotte. it was pouring rain. ireri, you came pouring out of motherocu bus, your leading the way. we had had her on the show that morning. your father came off the bus who is undocumented and said, i am undocumented. i have been living here for 18 years. i pay taxes and pay more taxes than citibank. with that, you marched to the front of the convention center and you got arrested along with a number of others. , whated to ask you, ireri your parents reaction is to your denial of daca and what this means for you right now? >> my parents were very angry when they first found out of the denial last year, and then when we got the response this year, my mom was the one who had said that the reason why i was being denied was probably this form of retaliation. when we actually got the confirmation was like, ok, it is
time to act. we can't have this happen to anybody. when i lost my work permit, i lost some work opportunities and i also lost the right that we -- granto try to get parole. one thing for me that really kind of hurts me is when i lost the parole, it is when my grandparents got really sick and unfortunately, my grandmother passed away. shortly after two weeks after, my grandfather did as well. for me, that is one of the biggest pieces. everyone has the right to work should have the right to work and see family members that are sick without having to be feared of -- having the fear of being banned from the u.s. that has been the biggest impact on my life and that is something -- that is is one of the reasons why we are doing this because they should not happen to anybody. what it hasms of
meant to you to have that period of time under daca where you had some deferred action, obviously, you came here as a child and you were undocumented for many years and now you're in that situation once again. what did that period of respite mean for you? >> it allow me to apply for certain job opportunities i did not have before. it was a confusing mix of feelings because i have been qualified for these jobs before as well but i just did not have the work permit to be able to do them. it did open up a set of opportunities. now that i no longer have it, like you said, it is like going back to where i was before. i had been living in this country for a long time and working even before i had to work permit and being able to survive and find ways to get around the obstacles of an undocumented person. in that sesense, i'm going toto continue to work to create opportunities for people whether or not to have work permits that i do think the right to work is
a human right. amy: thank you for being with us, ireri unzueta carrasco, suing the department of homeland security for refusing to renew deferred action for deferred action for, childhood arrivals because of her , participation in civil disobedience calling for an end to deportations. and mony ruiz-velasco, ireri's attorney. we turn to global news about japan and the united states. juan: president obama has become the first sitting u.s. president to visit the japanese city of hiroshima since u.s. warplanes dropped the first atomic bomb on august 6, 1945. the bombing killed 140,000 people and another 100,000 seriously injured. three days later, the u.s. dropped a second atomic bomb on nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people. obama spoke totoday at the hiroroshima peace memorial park
, but offered no apology for the bombings. cloudlessight, morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. a flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city. and demonstrated that mankind popossessesed the meansns to dey itself. why did we come to this place? two hiroshima? we come to ponder a terrible force unleashed in the not so distant past. dead,e to mourn the including over 100,000 japanese
men, women, and children. , a dozends of koreans americans held prisoner. speak to us. , to ask us to l lk inward take stock of who we are. amy: speaking in hiroshima president obama went on to call , for a world without nuclear weapons. >> we may not be able to eliminate man's capacity to do evil, some natioions and the alliances we formed must possess the means to defend ourselves, but among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stotockpis , we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.
realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. we can chart a course e that les to the destruction of these stockpiles. we can stop the spread to new nations, and secure deadly materials from fanatics. yet that is not enough. for we see around the world today, how even the crudest rifles and barrel bombs can serve up violence on a terrible scale. we mususchange our mindset about war itself. amy: despite president obama's call for an end to nuclear weapons, a new study by the federation of american scientisists has determinened tt the obama administration has reduced the nunuclear stockpilet a far slower ratate than any of
his three immediate predecessors, including george w. bush and george h.w. bush. in addition the united states has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smalleler, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will c cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. to talk more about president obama's visit to hiroshima, we are joined by kai bird. he is a pulitzer prize-winning historian and journalist. he is co-author of the book, "american prometheus: the triumph and tragedy of j. robert oppenheimer." thank you for being with us from miami. start off by responding to this historic trip, president obama, the first sitting u.s. president to go to hiroshima. president carter did, but that was after he was president. >> i am glad to be here on your show. i'm actually quite excxcited tht
obamama made this decision to go to hiriroshima. it is an extraordinary thing for an american president to go to this site.e. and while he offered no apology, his presence there, his mere presence in hiroshima is implicit acknowledgment that something terrible happened. yes,s, he is a very complicated and contradictory president. he is radical in some ways. he calalls for nuclear-free wor. on the other hand, as you pointed out, in his presidency of more than seven yearsrs now,e hass r reduced the numumber of . nuclear warheads by about 13%. many of us think, you know, we need far fewer than the 4500 warheads w whave t today. yes, he has engaged in a modernization program thahat is
going to be very expensive and dangerous. so he is a very contradictory president. it going to hiroshima and speaking the words he spoke today is a real step forward to try to emphasize the danger of these weapapons. juan: i want to ask about that beach. i really encourage people to read the text of the s speech, e fufull text, because it seems to me, one of the most eloquent speeches he has ever given. it is almostst as if he is deciding his final months in office, he has have a gettysburg-like speech to take down in histstory because it really does talk abobout the dilemma of war throughout civilization, but at the same time, as -- there's this tremendous contradiction between thee words and the actual actions. >> exactly. he is a very cautious president in some ways, very pragmatic. and yet always eloquent in n the
situations. he u understandsds the symbolism here. his instincts, i think, are correct. but he understands as a pragmatic politician that you wade into this issue with great as he was president, because it is such a hot button. even 71 years after we obliterated hiroshima with one bomb, the notion that t we shoud apologize, the notion that it was a bad decision is still extremely controversial. you know, more than 20 years ago, i was involved in this horrendous debate over the enola gay exhihibit at thehe smithson, which harshly divided the --ountry anand yet that exhibit i instill wounded by what happened there. 4 million americans went and saw that exhibit and it was filled with lies. it was censored.
now, theyyry, you censored the words, for instance, of president dwight eisenhower who was a critic himself of the decision to use the bomb on hiroshima. yet at the time, the american legion in n the air forcrce association n have such politicl power that they could force our national museum to censor eisenhower's own words in the exhibit. so this is a very hot button issue. for that reason, i am encouraged that obama w went t to hiroshimd spoke eloquently about the nature of these weapons and mass destruction's. juan: in terms of the issue of the lies, the main myths you have tried to unmask or expose is that if not for the dropping of the bomb, the war would have continue, that the bombs ended world war ii, at least in terms of the fight with the japanese. >> right.
obamama, when he was about to go to hiroshima, he said, i'm not going to offer an apolology. he saiaid, that is -- thatt historical incident, what happened in hiroshima, the decision to use the bomb, i will leave that for t the historians. well, you know, 70 years later, the historical consensus, looking at the documents and all of the evidence from both sides, has really s shifted enormously. we now understand the decision to use the bomomb on hiroshima s a redundant thing. it was not necessary. what really persuaded the japanese emperor in the military generals around him totourrender was the entry into ththe war o f the soviet union. they feared the bolsheviks invading the japanese home island. anand thatat was the tipping po. soso the bomomb was redundant ad ultimately, unnecessary.
and by using it, though, we legitimized the use of nuclear weapons. and by legitimizing nuclear weapons, we made ourselves, for the last 50 years, 70 years, extremely vulnerable. and we are very lucky that these weapons have not been used on a third occasion in anger. and people forget that the father of the atomic bomb, j sayrt oppenheimer, would things like, if we continue to go down this road and rely on nuclear weapons and they are used again someday in war, people will curse the namames of hiroshimaa and nagasaki. we are still living with that threat. amy: and the issue of this dropping of the second atomic bomb three days later, after
140,000 people were killed in hiroshima, 100,000 wounded and augugu night foror 45, dropping the second bomb. kai bird? a norm iss controversy over that, too, why the second bomb. and so quickly after hirososhim. well, one of the answers is very truman, the president at the time, did not even know a second bomb was going to be used so quickly. acquiesescence to ththe use of the bomb. it was general groves, in charge of the manhattan project who decided on the timetable. 6, hiroshima happens august and they wanted -- groves wanted to use the second bomb, which was a different -- technically different bomb. so there are two dififferent tys of bombs, and he wanted to in effect test both.
you know, three days was not enough for the japanese emperor and the militatary establishshmt there to respond. they had no idea really what had happened in hiroshima. it took k them days to absorb te news and fathom what had happened. and in fact, you know, their decision to surrender came when the soviets entered the war just a few days latater. juan: briefly, if you could tell us the enormous regret that oppenheimer, the father of the bomb, had about what his inventioion had led to? >> oppenheimer was a very complicated m m, and he himself never apologized for the bomb. he never apologigized for quantm physics, for his role in inventing the bomb. he thought the science was inevitable. the scientific journey of
discovery to understanand our world, our physical world, wass inevitable and that what he did was, you know, inevitable and a part of the human journey of self knowledge. but he v very quickly -- again, within months of hihiroshima --e was giving speeches which shook the military establishment in washington, saying things like, this bomb was used on an essentiallllalready dedefeated enemy. think ababout that. that is a very striking thing for the father of the atomic off two of knowledge just within -- two of knowledge just within momonths of hihiroshima and nagasasaki, that t the bomb wasd on an essentially defeated enemy. he is a technologygy there thatt was not necessary. amy: kai bird, his famous quoting "i am become death, the shatter of worlds"?
that was his statement, he was a polymath, he studied quantum physics, but he also loved french poetrtry and also loved the hindu gita. to learn sanskrit so he could read it in the original.l. whennweeks after hiroshima "new york times" reporter asked him what he had thought, i think they caught this on camera, too, the words popped into his head from the gita i am death, destroyer of worlds. he will be forever remembered with that phrhrase. amy: i want to thank you, kai bird, for being with us pulitzer , prize-winnnning historian and journalist. coco-author of the book "americn , prometheus: the triumph and tragedy of j. robert oppenheimer." go to democracynow.org when we
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. president obama has become the first sitting u.s. president to visit the japanese city of hiroshima since u.s. warplanes dropped the first atomic b bomb august 6, 1945. the bombing killed 140,000 people and another 100,000 were seriously injured. he spoke today at the hiroshima peace memorial park. we're now joined by setsuko thurlow, a survivor of the u.s. bombing of hiroshima in 1945.
she is an anti-nuclear activist who lives in toronto, canada, where she joins us. setsuko thurlow, welcome to democracy now! could you take us back to that day? ,ou, as a child, in hiroshima and tell us what happened? 13-year-oldas a student at the girls school. fors mobilized by the army together with a group of about 30 schoolmates. as we were trained to act recording assistance. that very day, monday, we were to start the day's work, the full-fledged decoding assistant. at 8:00, where the morning
assembly andnd the major gave ua pep talk and we said, we will do our best for the emperor. at the moment, us all the bluish white flash in the windows. i was on the second floor of the wooden building, which was one fromor 1.8 kilometers away ground zero. seeing these flash, i had the sensation of floating in the air. all of the buildings were flattened by the blast and falling. obviously, the building i was in was falling and my body was falling together with it. that is the end of my recollection. then i begin my conscious this. darknessyself in total and silence. i tried to move my body but i
could not. so i knew i was faced with death. americans finally, got as. hearing theed whispering voices of my classmates who were around me in the same room. "mother, help me. god, help me." and all of a sudden, a strong said, "don't give up. i am trying to free you. keep moving, keep pushing. get moving toward that direction. crawl. that's what i did in total darkness. by the time i came out, the building was on fire. classmatesall of my
who were with me, about 30 of them, were burned to death alive. managed toer girls come out. the three of us looked around outside. although it happened in the morning, it was dark. dark as twilight. eyes. used to recognizing things, those dark moving objects happened to be human beings. it was like the procession of ghosts. i say ghosts because they simply did not look like human beings. their hair was rising upwards. they were covered with blood and dirt and they were burned and blackened and swollen. their skin and flesh were hanging. and parts of the bodies were missing. some were carrying their own eyeballs. they collapsed onto the ground.
andr stomach burst open start -- and their insight start stretching out. processionjoined the with those of the nearby hillside. we learned to step over the dead bodies and escaped. by the time we got to the hillside, at the foot of the hill, there was a huge army training ground about the size of two football fields, quite a big place. the place was packed with dead bodies and dying people, injured people. begging injust whispers, nobody is shouting, , "what a place, what a place." they just whispered.
we wanted to be of help to them, but we had nobody we know, cups to carry the water, and we found ourselves slightly injured. so he went to the nearby streaem anand washed off our dirt and blood, and tore off our blouses and soaked them in the water and dashed back to the dying people. we put the wet cloth over the desperately sucked in the moisture. that was the level of rescue relief we were able to offer. nothing else. i looked around to see if there were doctors or nurses helping. -- innone in a huge place
that huge place. of course, the dr. sanders is were killed, two, but a small number -- of course, the doctors and nurses were killed, two. a small number of people were working someplace else. thousands of people at the place where i was. they had no medication, no water. and no medical attention. that is how most of the people died. and when darkness fell, we sat on the hillside and all night , feelinghe city burn stunned and numbed from watching the massive death and suffering. we weren't feeling. we weren't responding appropriately, emotionally.
we were not ablele to. and itit was a good thing. it was a good thing we were not able to respond emotionally. if we did, we could not have we hadd for each horror to witness that day. amy: setsuko thurlow, talalk abt the days that followed, the effects on people not just of the immediate bombing that killed so many, but then the radiation effects. >> my father was out of town, so heaw the rising mushroomom cloud and came back to the city. my mother was doing the dishes after breakfast and she was rescued. so i was lucky. i had both parents. later on, we moved to outside of uncle housede my us and fed us and cloaked us.
we were lucky. not many people have that kind of luck. they just bread the desk just spread a piece of paper or old cloth on the ground and that is where they slept without knowing anything about the effects of radiation. from the contaminated ground. sister and her four euro child -- four-year-old child were o on the way to the doctor. they were walking over the bridge in the central part of the city that day. they were badly burned. we saw them the next day and hardly recognized them. only by their voices. and according to my mother, but a special hairpin she had in her hair she recognized it was she. but anyway, she survived for
four days and four nights, and the child died shortly after. we were supposed to look after them, but we did not have anything to give except some fluid. studentister-in-law, a city, c center part of the thousands of students working in the central part of the student, just below the detonation. they are the ones who simply vaporized, melted. looked forer and i the body of my sister-in-law who was directing the students there. we never found them. she is still missing on paper. but we were so happy.
my favorite uncle and aunt surviveded, we heard. they were outside the city. juan: we only have about 30 seconds. could you respond to the visit of president obama to hiroshima, the importance of it for you? >> for me? yes. he is president he satisfies many people because he went and paid respect. i think that was very satisfying to many survivors. but the message part that everyone anticipated a great message, so did i, but of course, it was a huge disappointment once again. he made a beautiful speech in prague, and i guess we were all hoping something like that would happen.