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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 28, 2021 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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10/28/21 10/28/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! >> he was doing his job as a journalist. he is been criminalized as a journalist. amy: and appeals court in london is deciding whether wikileaks founder julian assange should be extradited to the united states for publishing classified documents exposing u.s. war crimes. he faces life in prison here. we will get the latest with
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british writer and activist tariq ali. >> he should never have been kept in prison awaiting a trial for extradition. you should be released. amy: we will also speak wh tariq ali about his new book "the forty-year war in afghanistan: a chronicle foretold." then to the pandemic. wealthy countries have received 16 times mark of a 19 vaccines per person than poorer nations. >> the only way to get to immunity is to vaccinate the world. amy: we will speak to dr. monica gandhi who says she will not receive a booster as a health care worker because of the global vaccine inequity. we will also look at the eminent rollout of vaccines for children as young as five in the united states. all that and more, coming up.
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welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president biden is announcing a revised framework for his social spending plan today that he expects will gain the support of all democrats. that's according to "the washington post," citing unnamed officials who say the announcement could end months of impasse over biden's legislative priorities. this comes as conservative democratic senators kyrsten sinema and joe manchin continue to demand cuts to programs backed by progressives and the majority of americans. senator manchin reportedly is refusing to back a paid family and medical leave program. the u.s. is among just seven countries in the world that offer no paid leave for new parents. manchin also opposes a tax on billionaires, proposed by senator ron wyden. calling a divisive. the plan would tax about 700 billionaires' unsold
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publicly-traded assets, including their vast stock portfolios, to help pay for social-spending and efforts to combat the climate crisis. biden is expected to meet with house democrats today and will push for progressives to present the structure bill before he leaves for the g20 meeting in rome ahead of personal climate talks next week. pramila jayapal said wednesday her caucus will not vote on the infrastructure bill until the legislative package is finalized. iranian officials say they will rejoin talks in vienna next month aimed at restoring the 2015 iran nuclear deal. former president trump withdrew the u.s. from the multilateral deal in 2018. iran's foreign minister on wednesday called on the u.s. to lift harsh sanctions imposed under trump before a return to negotiations. >> i personally believe it mr.
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biden is serious about the nuclear deal, you should show this so we can believe the americans are actually serious about lifting sanctions. amy: u.s. joint chiefs of staff general mark milley said china's tests of hypersonic missiles over the summer come "very close" to a sputnik moment, stoking fears of an arms race between the two superpowers. the u.s.'s own recent hypersonic missile test reportedly failed. the biden administration has criticized israeli plans to expand their illegal settlements, saying it jeopardizes the possibility of a two-state solution. on sunday, israel announced plans to build another 1300 settlements in the occupied west bank on top of over 2000 units that were announced last august. the u.n. also condemned the news monday, issuing a reminder that the settlements are illegal under international law. this is plo official bassam al-salhi.
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>> this is a confirmation of the ongoing israeli aggression and also thenability of the united states to enforce what they sometimes declare. therefore, the alternative for us as palestinians is to continue to struggle agast the occupation and to demand from the world an end to the occupation. amy: at least 59,000 workers at the five largest u.s. meatpacking companies cut covid-19 last year and 269 workers died. that is the finding of a house investigation which found meet industry managers grossly underreported covid cases as coronavirus torque either slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. that was about three times higher than estimates from the united food and commercial workers union. here in new york, a judge has denied a request by new york's largest police union to block vaccine mandate for municipal workers. in chicago, police union filed a
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similar lawsuit tuesday against mayor lori lightfoot but jb pritzker, seeking to overturn vaccine mandates. in medical news, a cheap and widely prescribed anti-depressant pill known as fluvoxamine showed promise in blunting the effects of covid-19 in patients in brazil. a clinical trial showed that, when taken soon after infection, the drug cut the length of patients' hospital stays and reduced their risk of death. meanwhile, the pharmaceutical giant merck said wednesday it will share the formula for its covid-19 therapeutic drug molnupiravir with poor countries, allowing manufacturers to produce cheap, generic versions of the anti-viral pill. merck says the drug can cut the risk of hospitalization or death in half. the people's vaccine alliance applauded the move, tweeting -- "it's positive that unlike the grotesquely unequal distribution of covid-19 vaccines, poorest countries won't have to wait at the baback of the queue for molnupiravir. but middle-income countries
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should not still be locked out." a powerful storm system tore through new england states wednesday, uprooting trees, ripping the roofs of buildings, and bringing hurricane-force winds to some coastal communities. wind gusts of over 90 miles per hour were recorded in martha's vineyard. more than 600,000 customers across the northeastern u.s. were left without power. new york state will deny permits to a pair of natural gas power plants, with governor kathy hochul calling them incompatible with state law requiring cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. the move cancels danskammer energy's plans to build a fracked gas plant in the town of newburgh on the hudson river. also canceled are nrg energy's plans for a gas-fired power plant in astoria, queens. that project had drawn opposition from progressive democratic congressmember alexandria ocasio-cortez.
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food and water watch applauded the move, writing in a statement -- "governor hochul's decision strikes a critical blow to the fossil fuel industry, providing a huge victory for new york's climate movement. she is showing the nation what real climate leadership looks like." in virginia, as the governor's race heats up, president biden campaign with democratic candidate former governor terry mcauliffe tuesday, one week ahead of the november election. he warned voters republican candidate young kid is an extremist in the vein of former president trump. pres. biden: extremism can come in many forms, can come in the range -- assault the capital. it can come in a smile and a fleece vest. amy: meanwhile, a firestorm over toni morrison's acclaimed novel "beloved" has taken center stage in the gubernatorial race after an ad by republican candidate youngkin featured a mother who
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once campaigned to have the pulitzer prize-winning book banned from her high school senior son's curriculum. >> as a parent, it is tough to catch everything. so when my son shod me his reading assignment, my heart sunk. it was some of the mt explicit material you can imagine. amy: vice president kamala harris will campaign in norfolk, virginia, with terry mcauliffe on friday. facebook ceo mark zuckerberg personally stepped in to reinstate a misleading and potentially dangerous anti-abortion video to the social media site after republican senators ted cruz and josh hawley accused facebook of removing the video over -- censorship and facebook removed the video over misinformation. this is just one of the latest damning revelations to emerge from the "facebook papers," which are based on internal company documents leaked by whistleblower frances haugen. meanwhile, "the washington post" reports zuckerberg opposed a spanish-language voting information resource on whatsapp
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for fear it would seem partisan. amidst the unfolding scandals, facebook recently posted increased profits of $9 billion for the third quarter. in texas, voting rights groups have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn texas' highly gerrymandered new congressional map, which was drawn by republicans and signed into law by governor greg abbott on monday. the new map expands the voting power of white texans, even though the 2020 census revealed people of color accounted for 95% of texas' population growth over the last decade. former u.s. attorney general eric holder, who now heads the national democratic redistricting committee, said -- "we simply cannot allow governor abbott to deny texans a free and fair election through these undemocratic, gerrymandered maps that fail spectacularly to represent the state's growing communities of color."
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environmental and human rights lawyer steven donziger is spending his first full day behind bars at the federal prison in danbury, connecticut. donziger reported to prison wednesday after being denied bail pending his appeal over a six-month prison sentence for a misdemeanor. donziger had already spent over 800 days under house arrest. the charges are linked to a lawsuit he filed against chevron in which he successfully defended indigenous people in ecuador against the oil giant, which dumped billions of gallons of oil into the amazon. to see our interview with steven donziger hours before he reported to prison, go to democracynow.org. in london, as lawyers are presenting -- u.s. lawyers are pushing to extradite assange to the u.s. where he faces espionage charges for publishing
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classified documents eosing u.s. war crimes. the u.s. is appealing the ruling by a british judge who blocked his extradition in january on account of his poor health inciting a possible suicide risk. the hearing comes just weeks after yahoo! news revealed the cia considered assassinating or kidnapping assange. we will have the latest on the case after the headlines. in labor news, a striking john deere worker was fatally struck by a car on wednesday as he crossed a street to join a picket line outside a warehouse in milan, illinois. 56-year-old richard rich was pronounced dead at the scene. the local police chief said he did not believe the driver intended to hit rich. this comes after the intercept reported john deere managers are working to suppress stories about accidents caused by non-union strikebreakers. the intercept says company executives are concerned about reputational risk on social
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media and have instructed workers that accident reports are confidential and must not be shared with the public. some 10,000 john deere workers have been on strike since mid-october to demand equitable pay and benefits as their company records record profits. in chicago, tortilla manufacturer el milagro said wednesday it is ending its seven-day work week and will begin giving employees sundays off starting later this month. the announcement came amid worker walkouts and protests denouncing low pay, staff shortages, and workplace abuse. you can see our coverage of the el milagro workers' fight at democracynow.org. and in massachusetts, students at harvard university have launched a three-day strike after talks between their union and harvard administrators failed to produce a contract. members of the harvard graduate students union are demanding affordable healthcare, raises that match rising rents in cambridge, and third-party arbitration for discrimination and sexual harassment claims. harvard is the world's richest university.
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since the start of the pandemic, its endowment grew to over $53 billion. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. when we come back, an appeals court in london is deciding whether wikileaks founder julian assange should be extradited to the was for publishing classified documents exposing u.s. war crimes. we will speak with british writer tariq ali. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: "blossom and blood" by midnight oil. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am amy goodman joined by co-host nermeen shaikh. hi, nermeen. nermeen: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. we begin today going to london. lawyers representing the biden administration are back in a london courtroom seeking the
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extradition of wikileaks founder julian assange. the u.s. is appealing a ruling by a british judge who blocked assange's extradition in january saying he would not be safe in a u.s. prison due to his deteriorated mental state and that he would be at high risk of committing suicide. assange faces up to 175 years in prison in the u.s. under the espionage act for publishing classified documents exposing u.s. war crimes in iraq and afghanistan. assange has been jailed in england for 2.5 years. before that, he spent over seven years in the ecuadorian embassy in london where he had political asylum. on wednesday, lawyers for the united states questioned the testimony of the psychiatrist who has said assange was a suicide risk. the u.s. also offered some assurances about how julian assange would be treated if extradited. lawyer said he could serve his present time in his native
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australia if convicted by a u.s. court. the hearing comes just weeks after yahoo news revead the cia had considered assassinating or kidnapping assange. on wednesday, julian assange watched some of the extradition hearing by video link, but his partner stella moris says he has not been feeling well. she spoke outside the london courtroom on wednesday before the extradition hearing began. >> i am very concerned for julian's health. i saw him on saturday. he is very thin. i hope that the courts will end this nightmare so julian is a real to come home -- is able to come home soon. amy: stella moris, who is the mother of two of julian assange's children, also repeated her call for assange to be freed.
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close julian should never be extradited because he was doing his job as a journalist, he is being criminalized as a journalist, and the u.s. has abused the laws, the agreements with this country. it is abusing the extradition agreements with this country in order to have this hearing today. this has to come to an end. amy: calls for julian asssange to be freed are growing. earlier this month, 25 civil society groups wrote to u.s. attorney general merrick garland demanding extradition proceedings be dropped. the groups include amnesty international, the aclu, reporters without borders, and the electronic freedom foundation. as the hearing got underway wednesday, the international federation of journalists representing more than half a million reporters worldwide ran a full page advertisement in the print edition of "the times of
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london" that said "media freedom is suffering lasting damage by the continued prosecution of julian assange." we go now to london where we are joined by tariq ali. historian, activist, filmmaker, author, and editor of the new left review. he is co-editor of the 2019 book "in defense of julian assange." tariq has a new book coming out soon titled "the forty-year war in afghanistan: a chronicle foretold." welcome back to democracy now! you served on the belmarsh tribunal around the case of julian assange last weekend, which was modeled on the urgent russell tribunal in the 1960's would you also served on. we want to talk extensively about afghanistan, but that links directly to julian assange , for what he is charged with releasing. among other things, the iraq war logs and the afghanistan war diary, the thousands upon thousands of documents of what
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the u.s. did in afghanistan for decades. can you talk about the significance of this hearing as this is being raised in these two days? >> as you already pointed out, today ithe second day of this trial. we pray it will come to an end today. the defense is putting forward its arguments today. this is a political trial which is not allowed by british rule. we're also going to hear that julian's is as bad as he says and that he is in no fit condition to be in prison. effectively what has taken place is a punitive aempt by the british government -- i have to say this -- to try and punish julian on behalf of the united
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states. no british court could convict julian or allow him to be extradited under existing laws. therefore, there is still a hope that if the high court decides in a few month time not to support the u.s. appeal for extradition, the supreme court here will take no more appls. there is also hope the biden government will accept this rung if itakes place. if the high court,istening to the case even we speak, decides that julian should be extradited, we will immediately appeal to the supreme court, which means it will be delayed. but the fact that julian is being kept in a top-secret he prison, belmarsh, which ishell, where his health is deteriorating, is an absolute scandal.
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if he is to be kept in prison at all, should be in a low-grade present -- prison. why julian should be in this present is just vindictiveness. there's no other way to describe it. and this government should be ashamed of themselves because that is where the orders ome from. now what julian has done is what others have done before. it was done during the vietnam era as we know, done most recently by edward snowden, releasing secrets in the public interest. that is all he did. there is nothing he put out that is illegal, that threatens anyone. he just put out documents handed to him by chelsea manning, revealing and exposing u.s. war crimes in a rack and also in --
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iraq and also afghanistan. perfectly legal documents, but just denied to the public. it is as if to say the public, citizens of the united states and the rest of the world, our children and not in front of the children. we commit crimes, but not in front of the children. but the children know. and when the children are told and givemore information, there is complete panic. they assume that what is going to happen is julian will be sentenced effectively to death if he is extradited to the united states. i don't believe a word american lawyers defending the united states are saying in the high court. they can make all sorts of promises. the cia, the u.s. secret state can override these promises whenever they want quite legally. they have the right to do so. so no one is believing anything that has been said.
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and the punishment of julian assang is designed to stop others from doing the same. that never works. deterrence never work as the u.s. should already realize from its capital punishment programs. and it is now going to work in this case. as the stone case reveals, what happens is some one innocent working for these agencies or in the army in the case of chelsea manning, reads something or witnesses something that is so horrific that it is against their conscience to keep silent. and this decision by them to go public -- it is not preordained, not a conspiracy. they have been shocked by what they have seen. that is the case of julian assange. it will not stop by punishing him. it will happen again and again
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as long as these crimes keep being committed. instead of trying those who have committed these crimes, they are targeting the messenger who broke news that these crimes are happening. in every single war that has been waged since 9/11, six wars in total. nermeen: can i ask you specifically about one of the arguments that u.s. lawyers made in the british high court saying that julian, if he is convicted, could serve his sentence in australia? australia has not accepted that and any child that happens in the u.s. may take up to 10 years. but how significant do you think that is? you've said it could be overturned, but do you think this will alter the perception of the arguments against extradition? >> well, it will be -- it would be a very foolish reddish judge
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and a dishonest one, i would say, taccept that argument. basically what is being proposed is julian's extradition to the u.s. for which there is no basis at all. what u.s. lawyers are saying -- it will disappear very rapidly if julian is extradited. the australians want except him. by the time the decision is made, even if it is ma, i believe julian could will be lying dead in u.s. prison cell. his health is not good is everyone who seen him has testified. i don't believe a word of this. in any case, it is unacceptable. he should not be extradited anywhere. he should be released immediately. and if biden -- he is with long -- withdrawn from afghanistan, but droppinghese charges
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against assange, the white house would be doing a huge favor to e freedom of the press and the freedom of journalists to publish what they please. and this affects even programs like democracy now! someone walked into your offices with a huge file exposing some horrific crime taking place in yemen or wherever, you go public with it, could all be arrested and charged if julian ghost gun in this case. nermeen: let's go to the details of what wikileaks exposed about the war in afghanistan. we are going back to 2010, julian speaking to channel for bank the afghan war logs. >> it the most comprehensive history of award to have ever been published during the course of a war. >> how significant is that?
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>> there doesn't seem to be in equivalent disclosure made in the course of a war during the time where it might have some effect. the nearest equivalt is perhaps the pentagon papers released by daniel ellsberg in the 1970's, about 10,000 pages that were already four years old by the time it was released. >> how many pages inyour report? >> about 200,000 pages. the pentagon papers were about 10,000 papers. nermeen: the afghan war logs revealed how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents at the time, how a secret black ops special forces unit was hunting down targets for assassination or detention without trial, and how taliban
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attacks have soared in pakistan was fueling the insurgency. talk about the significance of these revelations at the time in 2010. >> what they showed was that the r was going badly as early as 2010. nine years into the war. but they were not winning the war at all, which was the impression being given to people at home. the propaganda of the government -- all the u.s. governments involved in this work has been after the iraq war turned out to be a total disaster, we were told, ok, the iraq war admittedly has gone bad, etc., etc., it was bush this and that and the other. but this is a good work, that is what obama said. i told opal -- i hold obama made
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league responsible for the escalation of the war in afghanistan and the killings that have taken place. bush did erect. obama escalated in afghanistan. biden had no option but to withdrawal. the point being made is the war logs revealed there is way the united states could win the war. when you treat and occupy population in the way they did, lots of little incidents reported. remember at the time in the pakistani press, a wedding -- the wedding guests and children were killed. huge civilian casualties in some parts of the country. they carried on during this thinking this is the way to pacify a country, not learning anything from what has happened in vietnam and other parts of the world where they had suffered huge setbacks. and that small senior people in
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the u.s. administration and the defense intelligence agency and the pentagon had absolutely no doubt the war was going badly. once he realized that, then you have to make a decision when you're going to get out. because no other decision is possible. and as we know from the washington papers later on, basically, they knew they could never win this war and there was a huge cover-up. i mean, i recall --e tend to forget these things, but there was a public debate between generals on whether to send more troops or not to afghanistan with the general who is at the embassy in afghanistan saying we don't want more troops becse he knew that was not the solution but obama insisd on sending more troops. so the whole afghanistan war, which was being covered up, was
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exposed in 2010 by wikileaks and subsequently by the washington papers it was no secret as to what was going on. and to try to cover it up, to denounce wikileaks for telling the truth, it doesn't cut much ice with people now who know it is just public knowledge the war has been exposed. amy: if you could compare -- well, first of all, the horror the world felt when that media exposed the last drone strike in afghanistan that we know what right before the final u.s. withdrawal of this family, at least seven people killed, among them a number of children and it turned out to be a family of a man who was an ngo worker and had worked with the united states. the horror is because we saw the
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strike. we saw the drone strike and we learned the names of the family. multiply this hundreds and hundreds of times over in remote areas and other cities of afghanistan, and then people would get a picture of what happened over the 20 years. if you could talk about this and , finally, how afghan refugees are being treated now in the united states and europe and compare that to, well, we first started offering commentary, back in the 1960's, with bit and these refugees after the u.s. war there. >> well, amy, what we saw a week after the united states announced withdrawal from afghanistan was a classic case of utilizing misinformation, bad information, and knocking out
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civilians. the whole point about these drone strikes,hichhey post the mt effeive and targeted weapon ever created in military history, i tal noense. not on are the unfortunate families killed after the withdrawal announcement, b as you point out, quite correctly, but throughout the war the drones have be wreaking voc in ahanistan a in pakistan, on the others out of the border with similar attacks destroying pashtun families. would people try to say the ghan war was n so bad, it is nonsense. this is what explains so many people cannot realize or understand how is it that this
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20 year occupation was rolled back in the course of seven days by the taliban guerrillas and militia. the reason they could do it is because they have public support. and the reason they had public support is they were the only force in the country resisting the occupation. that was all. no one bothere about oer thingsthey jus said, getid of is occupion for us. and that ishy a 30000 strong puppet army created by the united states gradually over 20 years collapsed within a week. even this army refused to fight back. that has not happened ever before in u.s. imperial history. they created a puppet army and government which was compared to
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this disaster, very effective. i mean, ey were killers and criminals, but they were effective. in the case of afghanistan, they could not create or build anything -- the principal reason for that is, of course, the drone attacks, the killings, the indiscriminate tortures that took place in bagram prison and the rapes. no one talks about the rapes. people get embarrassed. whenever i have asked and others have asked what are the rate figures of the 20 year occupation, there is nervousness. no one will describe how many brothels were built and created how -- no one will tell us about that because that is still forbidden and they feel it would be explosive news in afghanistan. what they don't understand is that people know. the afghan people know what is going on because they live there. it is their country.
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now, when the war ends and the u.s. has no option but to withdrawal, obviously, lots of people -- let's a tens of thousands -- who did collaborate with them, are scared they will be punished. they were scared and south vietnam after -- in south vietnam after the tremendous victory of april 1970 by -- in the case of vietnam, u.s. permitted more refugees than their permitting from afghanistan today. and the horror of a stream media look at all of these poor people trapped at the border. it is not the fault of the afghans are the taliban government they are trapped. the reason they are trapped is because you haven't made arrangements to pull them out. and to this day, they not allowing afghan refugees. this is the shock horror story of europe and the uted states.
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"no more refugees, please, we have got enough." but you get these refugees because of the wars you wage war civil wars you intervene in. that is what creates refugees. and then you don't let them in. amy: we have to leave it there, tariq ali is a historian, activist, filmmaker, author, and editor of the new left review. he is the co-editor of the 2019 book "in defense of julian assange." he is releasing a new book titled "the forty-year war in afghanistan: a chronicle foretold." next up, we talk about the pandemic with a doctor who says she will not get a booster shot as long as the world faces the global vaccine inequity it does. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now! i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. rich countries received 16 times more covid-19 vacces per person than poorer nations dependent on the who-backed covax program, which was set up last year to give people in poor countries equitable access to vaccines. that is according to a financial times data analysis compiled by unicef. officials in the african union predict covax will deliver less an a quarter of the two-shot vaccine doses needed for more than 1.3 billion people on the -- in africa by the end of the year. as here in the united states, the discussion has moved from third to fourth booster shots for the immunocompromised, we look now at how less than 3% of
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people in low-income countries have received at least a single dose of the vaccine. we're joined by two guests. in new york, kate elder is senior vaccines advisor for doctors without borders. and in san francisco, dr. monica gandhi is an infectious disease physician and professor of medicine at ucsf/san francisco general hospital. dr. gandhi, you've said you will not receive a booster as a healthcare worker because of the global vaccine equity. -- inequity. explain. >> when president biden announced every american should get a booster by september 20 and atlee augt, it was a huge surprise to many infectious disease experts. for two reasons. one is the vaccines are holding up extremely well, escially in those lesshan 65, against severe disease. th kinda messaging can reduce
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confidence in t vaccine. the second reason is the incredible global vaccine inequity that the are ma promis made by which countries and the administration at the g7 meeting early june, the rich countries pledged there would be a 2 billion dose donatioto other countrie and that hasn't really been touched in terms of fulfilling that pledge. at high-level meetings like the u. meeting in september, these pledges are made again but we have about six doses for every americans. we have -- that is true many rich countries. and the complete ignoring of the failing blue a lot of people's minds, to be honest, to talk about boosters. if we think about what is going on in this country for the last three months, the conversation has been almost exclusively
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about boosters and how to mix and match. it is important for johnson & johnson people, important for those over 65 -- i think those are the two groups the data is very clear. but what it does is detracts fr the fact the unnamed no way -- in no way have a moral and ethical -- it is where the variants come from. they come from places in the world with high transmission. sewer also not doing the right thing by public health. this is a very public stance. i am a health care worker and fully vaccinated, i got vaccinated early, and i cannot bring myself to take a booster unless some of this gets better, gets corrected. nermeen: kate elder, given working on this issue of vaccine equity since the pandemic began, covid 19 vaccine equity.
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what are them a obstacles enabling more of the world to gain access to these vaccines? what is preventing to this day pharmaceutical companies fro sharing their technology with the world health organization mrna tech hub and other capable manufacturers around the world? >> good morning. thank you for talking on this important issue. as dr. gandhi just said very clearly, right now we're in a global crisis not only of moral and ethical magnitude, but just of a scientific rationale emerging from this pandemic. everyone around the world wants to emerge from this endemic. global leaders have not decided to take the route most scientifically sound to do that, which is equitably sharing vaccines around the world. from the start of the pandemic, although there were very lofty claims and platitudes about
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future cover 19 vaccine at that time, of course there were not available at that time but there were global leaders that came together from the european union with the leadership of who to say the future covid 19 vaccines would be considered global public goods and would be shared equitably around the world and we would not repeat mistakes of the past. unfortunately, those decorations were made and high income countries governments turned around and went for it in the pursuit of shoring up stocks for their domestic use at an incredible speed, which saw in a short period of time we had most of these theoretical vaccines at that time already spoken for a high income country governments, the wealthiest governments. so when we did see these vaccines start coming off the line, the production line, they were already promised and that is why we are in the situation right now where about 60% of
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adults in the wealthiest countries have received the first dose were is just about 3% of people in low income countries have received their first dose. the barriers to really rectify is clear. first, we need the vaccines available that are sitting in coldtorage rooms that are not being used urgently redistributed to places where we need them. there is a tremendous volume of excess doses right now here in the u.s. we calculate by the end of 2021, the u.s. governmenmay have about half a million excess doses here in the u.s., including people getting boosters. we need to redistribute those doses rapidly to the places begging for supply. that is the acute step that needs to happen. secondly, we need to make sure the regions that have been left behind like africa, the middle east, are given the tools to make vaccines themselves.
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there is an issue of supply and being able to make more supply now and for potential future pandemics as well. governments like south africa have been asking for this technology to be able to make these vaccines themselves. that would be the second step. we need the transfer of technology and the supporting elements around this and training to be transferred from the companies that haven't to the places that are capable -- have it to the places capable of making these vaccines. we need the intellectual proper barriers lifted. therefore governments another manufacturers who pursue making these vaccine himself so we don't perpetuate this crisis. the reason i think it is very straightforward, the reason why the technology transfer is not happening, it is like from who and the world health organization is the global custodian of help, they know the
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best route for emerging from this pandemic, they have established these mrna transfer hubs and invited companies to share their technology with them. there are a number of companies that have lined up, waiting in the queue to receive this technology. the originator companies are not sharing willingly that technology. they what to hold onto it for their own commercial interest. it is important to know much of this technology was developed with public financing. u.s. taxpayers, just using one company is an example moderna, received about $10 billion in u.s. taxpayer funding to stimulate the research and development and advance purchases of those vaccines. the public has a very high stake. the companies are looking to hold onto that technology. it is very good. pfizer is estimated to make over
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$33 billion in 2021 and moderna about $21 billion in revenue. they will hold onto that technology. amy: i want to underscore this point of the amount of u.s. funding that is gone into the development of these vaccines yet they have capped the rest -- kept the recipes quite. the oscars to people and government service were announce among those who won for federal employee of the year, and mac african-american woman, scientist, and barney graham, both of which led to the development the coronavirus vaccine at record speed, both at the vaccine research center of the former national institutes of health. they were working for the u.s. government. how is it possible at this point
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when even if you just look at the united states completely and a selfish way, if you will, just protect the u.s., we have learned from this pandemic if you don't deal with this pandemic globally, the u.s. can never be protected. the idea of the u.s. has poured so much funding in the research of these vaccines and guaranteed buying of these vaccines in the case of pfizer, yet they refuse to make available the secret sauce, the recipe, that would allow many pharmaceutical companies to make these vaccines around the world. >> y. two comparisons come to mind. one is [indiscernible] prevent hiv infection. there was drug made by a pharmaceutical comny but that was only the tip of the iceberg. u.s. government funded all the clinical trials to show this
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drug that gilead had was effective to prevent hiv infection. there have been many congressional urging of gilead to make this drug freely available since the trials were funded by the u.s. government, and the company probably made a more expensive drug -- promptly made a more expensive drug and marketed that. it is critical to say there was public funding put into this and it was literally paid for by taxpayer dollars and the fact it will not share this with places willing and ready to receive it, not only make up for the untries but for others, is one of -- i just have to say my mind is constantly blown by this
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degree of injustice. the other thing i want to remind is october 2020 was the type when india and south africa appealed to the wto. they anticipated there could be waves in their country. india has been spared up into that point. a new technology was coming. they said to the wto, ensure that we get a waiver if there is a waiver made on the intellectual property of the life-saving vaccines because there is a waiver that possible in the setting of life-saving technology in the middle of something as globally urgent as a pandemic. the wto said no. on march 7, you can literally watch the wall of new infections that happened in india and the subsequent deaths and suffering for the next two months. it could have been averted by having that request honored. this is so reminiscent of hiv
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infection that it is a living nightmare to watch that 10 years and hiv when most of the problem within sub-saharan africa that we were still arguing over trips and patent waivers. one thing i want to say aut pfizer, pfizer excel life-saving medication -- makes a life-saving medication that was essential in fighting off aides. in the late 1990's, they made $1 billion in one year over this life-saving unique medication. this is not new. the problem is it is tragic and right now we're getting lots of boosters into americans arms so they can travel and not have a positive test. there's something incorrect going on here. our right. nermeen: kate elder, can you talk about one ever made earlier this week on tuesday, biontech's
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signing agrement with the manufacture to begin construction of an mrna vaccine manufacturing facility in africa by the middle of next year mid-2022, but this is bypsing the world health organization's mrna tech transfer hub in south africa. could you comment on that and whether you think it is significant and may have -- they have an important effect on vaccinating africa, which is one of the -- has one of the lowest rates of vaccination? >> i think it is an interesting development, probably partially in response to the tremendous pressure that has been mounted by civil society, by advocates for access to covid-19 vaccines in the face of companies really
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acting very reprehensible he in terms of prioritizing sales to the wealthy, prioritizing the sales to the wealthy the developing world goes without. it is a notable development. there are challenges with it. there are limitations. what is the scope of this agreement? the challenge with having it be so privately brokered with no transparency is that we don't know the terms and conditions around it. will it have the ability to share with others? will the facility have the ability to sell beyond africa or will there be a certain limitation of where the doses can go? what ultimately comes out in the contracts is you don't know t terms and the scope of it.
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what we have voluntary initiative by industry come with significant limitations. they come with limitations of geographic scope and limitations of what the recipient company can do that product, without technology. so although it is exciting to hear that a plane will be developed in rwanda and there will be partnerships in west africa and senegal, there are a lot of questions. we have to go back to the point of there are globally agreed upon form -- form. intergovernmental he led bike developing countries that have established with the support of the world health organization, which who truly notes what is needed in the face of thi pandemic. the mrna hub with support from who is an end and in plan where it included proponents of training sta and proponents of
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making sure the regulatory landscape was set for these vaccines. it had a longer-term vision as well. that is the process we need to look toward. that is the process that has the future in mind, rather than something that is fully controlled by pharmaceutical companies. they have a specific mandate. that mandate is to serve their shareholders and to commercialize the extent possible their products. i think it is notable, but we need a lot more. particular notable two vaginal has set up this tech transfer hub and yet none of these originator companies have volunteered to come forward and participate. amy: dr. monica gandhi come your thoughts on the merck story single share the formula for its cover 19 drug molnupiravir with part countries, allowing manufacturers to produce the cheap generic?
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>> i am excited about merck making the announcement. molnupiravir is a treatmen prention is alwa better than treatmt. vaccine availability would be beer than treatment,ut this is an example at least to the other pharmaceutical companies about what to do. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us. dr. monica gandhi is an infectious disease physician and -- at ucsf/san francisco gener hospital. and kate elder is senior vaccines advisor for doctors without borders. that does it for our show. on saturday afternoon, i will be moderating a live discussion with edward snowden, laura pointers, and glenn greenwald as part of the virtual work on terror film festival. it willbe a 1:30 eastern standard time. you can check out the details at democracynow.org. democracy now! is currently accepting applications for two positions, a director of finance and administration and a human resources manager. learn more and apply at democracynow.org.
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democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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