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11/24/21 11/24/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new york, this is democracy now! a federal jury in virginia has ordered a group of white supremacists to pay over $26 million in damages for their role in organizing the deadly "unite the right" rally in charlottesville in 2017. we will get the latest from -- i look at the trial in georgia of the three white men who killed ahmaud arbery.
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then to a disturbing story about rape, love, new york. judge has sparked outrage after eight ruling it is inappropriate to jail a young serial rapist from a prominent family who pleaded guilty to ping and sexually assaulting four teenage girls. there were aged 15 and 16. we was good to one survivor was in the courtroom during the sentencing. >> i lost it. i did not expect to be as emotional as i was, but i broke down. like, i was shaking with anger. i was disgusted at the fact this was even an option. amy: then to "the war party." we speak to award winning investigative journalist jeremy scahill about how "u.s. militarism is the great unifier from bush to obama, and trump to biden." >> all discussions about china, russia regarding this policy,
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leave out the role the united states plays in destabilizing the world, but also provoking responses from other nations. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a jury in charlottesville, virginia, found the organizers of the deadly 2017 unite the right rally liable for the event's violence, awarding nine plaintiffs $26 million in damages. convicted murderer james fields, who is already serving multiple life sentences for killing activist heather heyer when he rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, was found liable for $12 million in punitive damages. the 12 defendants included three other high-profile white supremacist figures -- former leader of the alt-right movement richard spencer, event organizer jason kessler, and neo-nazi podcast host christopher
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cantwell. defendants have been ordered to pay plaintiffs $500,000 each and five white nationalist groups were ordered to pay $1 million each. the jury, however, was deadlocked on two federal conspiracy charges. the house panel investigating the january 6 capitol insurrection issued subpoenas tuesday to far-right groups the proud boys and the oath keepers. both groups are believed to be involved in planning and taking part the deadly attack and dozens of people affiliated the white supremacist organizations have been indicted by the justice department and a federal grand jury. in georgia, jury deliberations continue today in the trial of three white men who chased down and killed 25-year-old ahmaud arbery, a black man, while he was out for a jog. the prosecution offered its closing arguments tuesday ahead of the deliberation. >> i started it. they do not get to claim self-defense.
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of course, provocation. you cannot force someone to defend himself. this isn't the wild west. amy: outside the courthouse, ahmaud arbery's mother wanda cooper-jones struck a hopeful note. >> i do think we will come back with a guilty verdict. i want to leave with this, god has brought us this far and he is not going to fail us now. we will get justice for ahmaud. amy: we'll have more on both this case and the unite the right verdict after headlines with journalist nicole lewis. in missouri, kevin strickland, an african american man who was wrongfully convicted of a triple murder in 1979 by an all-white jury, has been exonerated and released from prison after over 43 years. strickland was arrested when he was 18 and had maintained his innocence since. he's now 62. this case is that longest wrongful incarceration in the history of missouri. ethiopian prime minister abiy ahmed has gone to the frontlines
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of battle according to ethiian state media. governmentperations have been handed over to the deputy prime minister. abiy challenged tigrayanorces to meet him on the battlefield as they threaten to march on the capital addis ababa. the year-long conflict has claimed thousands of lives and has led to widespread violations of human rights from all involved parties according to the u.n., some of which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. chun doo hwan, the former u.s.-backed military dictator of south korea, has died at the age of 90. general chun seized power through a coup in 1979. a year later, he ordered a brutal attack on a pro-democracy uprising in kwangju, with estimates of the death toll ranging from 500 to over 2000 people. at the time, then-u.s. president jimmy carter backed the violent crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters. korean activists are demanding the u.s. acknowledge its role in chun's rise to power and the cruelty of his regime. portugal has shut down its last coal-fired power plant, making
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it the fourth european nation to give up coal. the move comes nine years ahead of a 2030 target set by the portuguese government. climatactivists hailed the move but warned the plant should not be converted to producing energy through fossil fuels, wood, or other non-sustainable materials. president biden announced the u.s. will tap into its strategic oil reserves in hopes of reducing energy prices president -- energy prices. the u.s. will release 50 million barrels of crude oil. mr. biden: it will take time but before long, should see the price of gas drop where you fill up your tank. no a longer-term, we will reduce our reliance on oil as we shift to clean energy. but right now, i will do what needs to be done to reduce the price you pay at the pump. amy: britain, china, india, japan, and south korea will also authorize the release of oil. biden spoke tuesday. climate groups condemned the move, which comes just week after the u.n. climate summit in
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glasgow. apple has filed a lawsuit in u.s. federal court against the israeli firm nso group, accusing the surveillance company of hacking apple devices with its pegasus spare. in the suit, apple denounces nso as an "amoral 21st-century mercenaries" who've used their technology to enable human rights abuses. the lawsuit is the second of its kind. facebook sued nso for targeting its whatsapp users in 2019. the pegasus spyware has been used by governments to target hundreds of activists, journalists, and government officials. in ohio, a federal jury found the drugstore chains cvs, walgreens, and walmart helped fuel the opioid crisis in two ohio counties. lawyers for the plaintiffs successfully used state's public nuisance laws to deliver the first verdict holding major drug retailers liable for the opioid epidemic. the families of the victims of the 2018 mass shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida,
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have reached under the $130 million settlement with the justice department. the families had sued the fbi, accusing the agency of neglect for failing to act on tips they received about the gunman just weeks before the massacre. at the time, the anonymous tipper told the fbi the shooter was "going to explode" and that he "was going slip into a school and start shooting the place up." 17 students, staff, and teachers were killed that day. here in new york, the city council is pushing forward a bill that would allow new york residents who are not u.s. citizens to register as members of political parties and vote in municipal elections. the move would open up voting to over 800,000 new yorkers who have green cards or other work authorization. this is murad awawdeh of the new york immigration coalition. >> we are on the cusp of making history together by expanding our democracy. just like voting rights are under attack across the nation.
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amy: the legislation is expected to be approved in december by a veto-proof majority. in brooklyn, new york, malikah shabazz, one of malcolm x's six daughters, was found dead in her home on monday at the age of 56. police said they believe her death was of natural causes. malikah and her twin sister malaak were the youngest daughters of the civil rights icon and were born after their father was assassinated on february 21, 1965. in tucson, arizona, supporters of hia ched and tohono o'odham land and water protector amber ortega held a solidarity rally on as ortega awaits a trial tuesday verdict over federal misdemeanor charges for peacefully protesting the construction of the u.s.-mexico border wall near quitobaquito springs. the site is sacred to o'odham people. ortega was arrested in september of 2020 alongside o'odham land and water protector nellie jo david after blocking construction machinery.
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this is ortega speaking to supporters outside the tucson courthouse yesterday. >> [inaudible] our land needs to be restored to the people. as children we are raised to know where we come from, where people come from. what mountains provided for us. what landscape, what waters took care of us. and we carry those stories because that is our history. amy: if convicted, ortega faces up to six months in prison. to see our interview with nellie jo david last year, go to democracynow.org. and wet'suwet'en land defender sleydo, so knowns moll wickham, waseleased om jail tuesdaevening ter bein arrested fday duri a viole raid by canaan feder police one of e camps t up to ep coaal gasli out of soveign indinous tritory. e raid eed a 56-y blocka
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of therilling te. the 400-le pipine with wet'suwet'en lan violateboth indinous andanadian ws. 15 peoe in tal were rested friday, cluding o journasts. one ofhem was cumentar lmmaker chael todano, o ju releasethis dratic foote the rd. >> they are breaking it down. >> they are breaking down the door. breaking down the doo >> [beep] lower your gun! get your [beep] off me! >> they have reached the door. >> the attack dogs are there?
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> standing there right beside the door. >> and a chainsaw. >> don't touch me. >> don't touch her! >> you are under arrest. >> get your hands off her! >> you are under arrest. >> get that out of my face and back up. >> we are members of the media. >> you are under arrest right now. >> put your camera down. you are under arrest. >> i am a member of the media. >> nor the camera. >> you are twisting my wrist. i am making the documentary.
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amy: ftage othe roya canadi mountedolice raing ca coyote friday lmed by documeary fimaker miael ledano, whwas arreed during t raid. visit democracynow.org to see our recent interview with the wet'suwet'en land defender sleydo. she spoke to us on friday shtly before the raid. the cabin she was speaking to us from has since been burned to the ground. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman in new york, joined by my co-host juan gonzález in new brunswick, new jersey. hi, juan. juan: hi, amy. welcome to all of our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. amy: a federal jury in virginia has ordered a group of white supremacists to pay over $26 million in damages for their role in organizing the deadly 2017 unite the right rally in charlottesville. the jury found the organizers
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guilty of violating a virginia state conspiracy law but jurors deadlocked on two federal conspiracy charges, including violating the 1871 ku klux klan act in august 2017, several hundred white supremacists marched with tiki torches across the university of virginia, chanting "you will not replace us," "jews will not replace us," and "white lives matter." the next day, self-described neo-nazi james alex fields slammed his car into a crowd of antiracist counterprotesters, killing heather heyer and injuring dozens more. on tuesday, fields, who is already serving a life sentence, was ordered to pay $12 million in punitive damages. prominent white supremacists richard spencer, jason kessler, and christopher cantwell and eight other defendants were also ordered to each pay over $500,000 in punitive damages. while it is unclear how much
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money the men will actually pay, many observers are creeping the disch editing the civil lawsuit with helping to bankrupt numerous far right institutions. we are joined now by nicole lewis, senior editor of jurisprudence at slate. welcome to democracy now! in a moment we will go to georgia with you to talk about the ahmaud arbery trial, but right now talk about the significance at this civil suit of the jury finding these men guilty and what $26 million means. >> the lawyers for the plaintiffs said this judgment, this amount of money really sends a message to other people whom i think they want to show up and commit violent acts in a cities, that they can't get away with it. that they want to get up scot-free, there will be some repercussions. 26 million dollars is a lot of money, but there is a big question about will these defendants be able to pay it?
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chris cantwell james fields are already incarcerated, so they are not earning money. many of the other defendants are already destitute from all of the pre-investigation leading into the trial, the fact they're not able to work, that there publicly known as supremacist white supremacist and you nazis so unemployable in many institutions. how much money will they be able to come up with and what strategies do they have to be able to extract money from these folks, liaison houses, garnishing wages, things like that. the bigger picture is they came into charlottesville with the intention to create to start a race war and the criminal justice system has not found any liability but in a civil system we say, could not get away with this juan: in terms of the organizations that these men belongo, and a either going
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to declare bankruptcy and reorganized under other names -- what is your sense of what is happening to the organizations? >> excellent question. it is a question we are all grappling with to say, is bankrupting these organizations, is bankrupting these individuals enough to stop the growing threat, the rising threat of white supremacy in the united states? we know there are a number of young men who feel displaced and they're gathering every day in chat rooms to share ideas, commiserate, to strategize. so there is a high likelihood the organizations that exist now become defunct, turnover whatever assets they may have on hand, and new organizations are started. new people come together in chat rooms to plan for this kind of thing, so i think it is just the open question of we don't yet know. it is important to point out this was the strategy used to try to take down the ku klux
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klan in the jim crow era and through the civil rights movement. there was some effectiveness there. but looking back in time and moving forward, we see one people group, one white supremacist group just morphs into new iterations of the same ideology. is bankrupting them enough to stamp out hate? i don't think so. i think of any people who study hate and extremism who know how extraordinary the threat is and financial damages simply won't be enough to do that. juan: in october, yuko wrote a piece with -- titled "the pretrials in america." what you find revealing and the connections of the three trials? >> every three years we get a series of cases that people look
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to to say, will the really, the outcome here finally be an indication we have made progress in terms of race and racial relations and racial justice? the case in kenosha and georgia, the charlottesville case, i really don't think you can get three bigger and more significant cases. charlottesville, about the rise of extremism, nazi-ism. our first a minute rights. what right do you have to create violence in public spaces? the trial in kenosha about whether or not we have -- whether or not the second amendment, our gun rights, are more important than our ability to peaceably assemble, right? in the case in georgia that really reflects this long legacy of racial violence in the south. the three defendants are white. ahmaud arbery, the young unarmed jogger was black. all of these different
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components, issues happening in our country right now. what we were trying to point out is the criminal justice system, even the civil system from the charlottesville case is not a criminal case, is simply just ill-equipped to deal with these extraordinary questions of race. it is the same system that disproportionately sends black and latino men to prison at extraordinary rates. when we bring white defendants into the system and asking to litigate and say, "let's find justice here," many of us watching no they won't be able to do that. i think the rittenhouse verdict for many was devastating for that reason. there is another component here. dahlia and i watched the jury selection, we cannot help but notice how much prosecutors --
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defense attorneys in particular treated racism like an open question. so any juror believes racism is real, black lives matter is not a terrorist organization, that emerged in response to state sanctioned violence against black people -- anyone who believes those things to be true was struck from the jury. that it was red as somehow not being neutral and not being objective, not having an open mind. when we know these are subtle and established facts. i think we just saw the extraordinary imitation here to say, "what can we do if the jury pool is now comprised of people whose minds are not made up about nazi-ism, are not made up about the horrors of violence and people of white supremacy?" that is a thread we saw throughout all three trials. amy: i went to go to the trial
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in georgia that is now in jury deliberations. of course this is the trial of the three white men, father and son, the father of former police officer, and their neighbor hunted down and killed 25-year-old like jogger ahmaud arbery. you recently wrote a piece entitled "why are ahmaud arbery 's killers so scared?" first i want to go to the prosecutor linda dunikoski questioning travis mcmichael during the trial. >> at this point in time the first see him coming he does not reach into his pockets? >> no, ma'am. >> you never yelled at you guys. >> no, ma'am. >> never threatened you at all. >> no, ma'am. >> never brandished any weapons? >> been asked and answered. >> didn't brandish any weapons? >> no, ma'am. >> did not pull out any guns or knives. >> no, ma'am. >> never reached for anything,
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did he? >> no. >> he just ran. >> yes, he was just running. amy: a key moment in the trial. on tuesday, prosecutor linda dunikoski delivered her closing argument. >> they started it. they do not get to claim self-defense. provocation. you cannot force someone to defend themselves against you so you can get to claim self-defense. this is not the wild west. amy: the prosecutor delivering her final closing arguments and now the jury is deliberating today for the second day. nicole lewis, this piece you wrote "why are ahmaud arbery's killers so scared?" why do you think they are? >> my central thesis for this piece is fear on the one hand is often just a very convenient defense, argument just to claim
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self-defense. "i was scared. i was scared for my life so i had to take action." but at the same time, it is also very clearly a racist dog whistle. what i mean by that is it sends a message to anyone watching, to white america, to say "you understand why i was so scared interacting with this young black man." i quoted travis mcmichael to say ahmaud arbery was overpowering me and it was so clear if i did not act and take up my gun, he would kill me. we have no way of assessing ahmaud arbery's intentions, no way if you would have taken that gun and shot travis or just taken it to say, "don't shoot me." no way of intoning what would have happened there, yet the mcmichaels claim they were terrified even though ahmaud arbery have been running for miles before the altercation. i wanted to ship the frank bank it is to try to think about ahmaud's fear.
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he is being hunted, stopped by truck of two white men with guns and federal -- confederate license plates. it is a terrifying moment, terrifying in to somebody's life. but the mcmichaels i bill owens you get to claim they are scared. this is a defense we see time and again from private citizens as well as police officers who offend on trial for shooting unarmed black people, that there were about to be overpowered, that they were scared -- even know they provoked these incidents. i think that is what the prosecutor was trying to get out, you don't get to create a situation in which someone has to defend themselves against you and then claim you were terrified and had to act. amy: nicole lewis, we will link to your piece. nicole is the senior editor of jurisprudence at slate. her most recent piece is "why are ahmaud arbery's killers so scared?" when we come back, we look at a highly disturbing story about
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rapes your buffalo, new york, where a judge has sparked outrage when he has that it is inappropriate to jail a young serial rapist from white prominent family who pleaded guilty to raping and sexually assaulting four teenage girls aged 15 and 16. we will speak with one of the survivors who was in the courtroom during the sentencing. stay with us. ♪♪music eak]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. before we continue, a warning to our audience -- in our next segment, we will discuss sexual violence. a highly disturbing case here in new york has drawn international condemnation after a man who pleaded guilty to raping and sexually assaulting four teenage girls will avoid prison after he
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received an extraordinarily lenient sentence. probation. chris belter, who is now 20 years old, received eight months -- eight years probation and no jail time after he pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree rape, and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. the four teens who belter sexually assaulted at his home were 15 and 16 years old. belter, who is white and is from a wealthy neighborhood near niagara falls. the sentence of probation came after belter had been accused of more serious crimes in the four attacks but agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and a evious judge gave him an interim sentence of two years' probation, along with the chance to be sentenced as a youthful offender and avoid registering as a sex offender. but belter violated the terms of that probation multiple times and was sentenced as an adult. this is judge matthew murphy speaking before he delivered the
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sentence of probation to chris belter last week in niagara county. >> i agonized. i am not a shade -- not hamed to say i actually prayed over what is an appropriate sentence in this case. because there was great pain, great home, multiple crimes committed in the case. amy: in response to the judge's sentencing of belter to probation, one of the survivors who was in the courtroom told buffalo news station wkbw she had to immediately run to the bathroom to throw up. >> i lost it. i mean, i did not expect to be as emotional as i was but i just broke down. like, i was shaking with anger. i was disgusted at the fact this was even an option. amy: for more, we are joined by
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that brave young woman who you just heard and her lawyer, steven cohen, with the hogan-willig law firm. mara -- we are only using her first name at her request in order to protect some of her privacy -- testified in court about how christopher belter raped her when she was 16 years , and she is now speaking out now about judge murphy's decision to sentence him to probation. mara, your remarkably brave to talk publicly. talk about your reaction to the sentence of probation. how did you respond in the courtroom? >> i was so disappointed to hear the word "probation." i fully expected to watch him taken out in handcuffs. i was so disappointed in judge murphy that he made that decision. amy: what did you do? >> i started crying.
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the tears started pouring out. i was shaking. i was so furious and disgusted. i cannot even control my own emotions. i got sick to my stomach. juan: mara, belter apologized to you and his three other victims in court but you said is response sound robotic and like someone else had written it for him. your thoughts again about his apology? >> absolutely. he did not mean a word coming out of his mouth. he was doing what was in his best interest. the judge completely fell for it. amy: i mean come to understand, you are 16 years old. this was a few years ago. you had gone to christopher belter's house because you're friends with his sister and you were sleeping over say could go with her to chicago the next day? >> correct, yes. amy: you have compared to what
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happened you to the wildfires, the forest fires in california. can you explain? >> yeah. before christopher came into my life, before he did this to me and these other girls, we were just a bunch of bright green trees. he burned us down. he ruined us. amy: did you know the other girls? >> i did, yes. we all went to school together. we were all friends with his sister. juan: i would like to bring your lawyer steven cohen into the conversation. mr. cohen, your response to the judge's sentence? also, could you talk about how -- you said the crimes of belter were far worse than what he pleaded to. how is this plea deal developed? >> the plea deal was in shock
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when it s originally offered. the district attorney at the time made promes to the girls that if they consented to the plea deal, that chris belter would the subject to restrictions, that he would most certainly violate, and they agreed. the district attorney got these girls to agree to consent to the plea with the understanding there's no way that chris would be able to stay away from a cell phone and computer and stay away from parties and keep himself confined to the house. and then he would go to prison for violation of the terms. well, they agreed to it. he violated the terms of probation and nothing happened. i was getting calls fromy client and her parents and the
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otr victims and their parents saying, "hey, we just saw chris belter at this location doing this, that, or the other thing. he is in violation of probation." so i sent the letter ba in august of 2022 the probation officer and to the district attorney. i said, look, these are violations. i have screenshots of a drug transaction he just engaged in, allegedly, that is what we providednd we a providing it toou. not a single call back. when the probation officer testified on his behalf at the sentencing here, it was the most -- among the most bizarre things i have seen in my 30 plus years of practicing law. juan: mr. cohen, you said if belter was not a rich white kid from a privileged ground would be in prison right now. can you talk about his family and even the role of his parents
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in some of these incidents? >> his parents are very privileged. his father is a very successful attorney. his father does not live with christopher. this is really on the mother and stepfathernd the neighbor. chris belter, sr. does not live at the house, the mention of impressive proportions. i can tell you having practiced for decades, and african-american, hispanic, native american, a muslim defendant who was found guilty or pleaded guilty to these crimes, would absolutely and appropriately be in prison. chris belter's mother is a lawyer.
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father is a lawyer. he stepfather -- the stepfather is a businessman, a very successful businessman. have to believe that that is what played a role in this. to get the probation officer to testify as say, "yeah, he violated patient but we are not advocating for present time," is shocking to me. the therapist who was asked to evaluate chris belter, an expert, renowned expert in criminal sexual conduct and rehabilitation and recidivism, he testified in open court and said, "this man is likely to reoffend." and then he was asked, "is it in chris belter's this interest to go in prison?" he responded, "after 10 years of
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therapy and drugs, maybe able to be cured." the judge hung his hat on that. this should not be about what is in chris belter's best interest, but justice for the victims and secondarily, protecting society from someone who the court's own expert set is likely to reoffend. amy: to be clear, his mother and others have been charged, is that right, in aiding and abetting, giving some of the young people drugs, alcohol, and they pleaded not guilty but -- are they going to trial? >> well, they were charged with this two years ago and so far nothing has happened. i have gone up to the lewiston town court to watch the proceedings to see if anhing would happen to these people, and continues to get adjourned and adjourned and adjourned.
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they seem to be evading the criminal justice system as well. amy: so -- go ahead. juan: i wanted to ask you, you're familiar with judge murphy. could you talk about him and the interactions you had with him or other lawyers have had with him in the past in cases? >> i will be perfectly honest with you, judge murphy has always been an excellent judge. i have been before his honor in criminal cases, civil cases, revocation cases, and he has always been a good judge to be in front of. he does the right thing, typically. i don't know what happen here. i cannot figure it out. amy: the buffalo news had a powerful editorial where they asked, dissing one remember any poor black defendants being treated so kindly for serial sexual abuse. they went on to say, nor is this the first time murphy bent over
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backward part belter. earlier this year, responding to previous violation of his probation, murphy prohibited the media from using alters name even though it had already been reported and could easily be found on internet searches." what is with him and belter? belter is 20 years old. >> i don't know. i cannot figure it out. the courtroom was in open court room. when i went up to ask for the transcript, originally was prohibited from getting it. the judge entually allowed me to get the transcript of the proceedings. i don't know. something about this case has caused his honor checked in ways that i've never known him to act before. he was a fine district attorney for years. matthew murphy was an excellent district attorney. this case is an aberration and an outreach. amy: i want to go back to the
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buffalo news and editorial that they wrote condemning the judge's decision to not sentence this serial rapist to prison most of they said, "murphy is not the first judge to value the prospects of promising young rapist over the suffering of their victims." mara, you said you believe your voice is powerful. how do you hope to inspire other young survivors? and have you and the other young women come again who are raved and sexually abused at the age of 15 and 16, have you brought a civil lawsuit against christopherelteand his family? >> we have. two of the victims have, but not all four of us. as for my voice, this was not just a disappointment to me. the outcome of the case was a
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disgrace to victims across the country. this is not just about the belter case anymore. this is about all of the christopher belters in our country and all of the victims of them. there needs to be a change, otherwise what is the point in victims coming forward? this sentencing is telling rapists is ok to rape and telling victims there is no point in coming forward. amy: i want to thank you both for being with us. mara, you are remarkably brave and we thank you for talking to us today. we are talking to mara, who was in the courtroom when the sentence up no jail was handed down. she is a rape survivor. and we have been joined by her lawyer steven cohen, civil rights lawyer with hoganwillig law firm. when we come back, jeremy
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scahill of the intercept on his new piece "the war party: from bush to obama, and trump to biden, u.s. militarism is the great unifier." ♪♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. the u.s. is on pace to spend seven dollars trillion over the next 10 years for the pentagon. to put that number in perspective, the u.s. spends more each year on the military thanhina, russia, india, u.k., germany, france, south korea, and australia combined. while republicans and democrats are in sharp disagreements over the much smaller build back better legislation, there is likely a bipartisan consensus and it comes to the military budget and foreign military intervention. we ended today show with investigative journalist jeremy scahill.
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his latest article is headlined "the war party: from bush to obama, and trump to biden, u.s. militarism is the great unifier." welcome to democracy now! welcome back, jeremy, former producer at democracy now! why don't you lay out your thesis. >> on the anniversary of 9/11, i was being asked to write pieces and to make media appearances because of the work i had done throughout the war on terror that culminate with the film and book "the dirty wars" where i was investigating the cia and joint special operations command this expanding drone program and how the u.s. under barack obama in particular had moved toward an attempt, a radical attempt to normalize and legitimize assassination as a central component of american national security policy. of course, you and juan know well u.s. has long engaged in political assassination
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fascination but presidents have found a way owning the fact they were authorizing assassination and under obama that the term du jour was targeted killing, and now under joe biden we see them increasingly use the phrase "over the horizon operations." i hesitated to write anything on the 9/11 anniversary because i sort of came to the conclusion that we obsessed far o much about the way in which 9/11 impacted the world. it is indisputable that the u.s. response to the 9/11 attacks altered geopolitical reality in the world and certainly altered the future of countries like iraq and afghanistan and the broader middle east. ultimately, i concluded theres a sorof an intellectual dishonesty to pretending united states was not already on this trajectory prior to 9/11 and so
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what i am trying to do in this is just establish basic facts that we can use as a basis for discussing the u.s. role in the world. and that is prior to 9/11, the u.s. was already on course to do resume change in iraq. in 1998, the bipartisan iraq liberation act was has that codified regime changes, the official policy of u.s. government. it was largely a product of the work of the neoconservative project for new american century. but even then congressman bernie sanders voted in favor of making regime change the law of the land in the u.s. bill clinton had already moved toward small wars come as they say, and using remote legal strikes, although there were not really using weaponized drones, they were being developed. the reason more legacy systems like cruise missiles to attack afghanistan under clinton, iraq on an average of almost once every three days under bill
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clinton. of course, the first attempt to kill or assassinate osama bin laden weere aware of happened under bill clinton. give a foreign policy that was already moving toward a very radical notion u.s. is a sovereign right to bomb any country anywhere regardless of what do u.s. congress had to say about it. joe biden is a senator in the late 1990's was that cheap congressional architect of bill clinton's 78 a bombing campaign at then yugoslavia, which was done by clinton over the explicit objection of u.s. congress. 9/11, of the neocons come to power, the bush-cheney administration, with real veterans of washington. they knew how to move the levers of power. they knew how to exploit the fear, anger of the american people. what we saw, amy, was the democratic party just fall in
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line behind the bush administration at every turn and throughout the eight years of bush-cheney, the democrats would raise holy hell about were issues, but when it actually mattered, when it was the iraq war, the kings and queens of democrats, aided and abetted at neocon agenda. in short, barack obama, you campaign in 2008 against hillary clinton and the primary and the notorious militaries john cain and the general election, one of the main reasons why his campaign cut such fire was this notion he represented something different than t bipartisan war party. what ended up happening, obama comes into power, let's the cia off the hook, let's donald rumsfeld another torture architects off the hook, a radically expend some of the
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worst aspects of the so-called war on terror and uses his credibility aa constitutional law scholar, the first black president, as a sort of guy perceived as being a different kind of politician to push the u.s. imperial agenda on a militarist level beyond what john mccain would have done because he got the democratic party to support it. juan: jeremy, i want to ask you, are there any discernible differences you can tell in the approaches to this imperial policy of the united states between the recent democratic presidents -- talking about clinton, obama, biden -- and the republican ones, bush and trump? you see anything in terms of -- are there any different approaches from them in terms of imperial rule? >> yeah, let's start with what i think is the most obvious issue i think you can say it is a good
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thing that joe biden -- the withdrawal from afghanistan. certainly, there are serious questions about the tactical withdrawal and the bloodshed that was athe kabul airport and congress is going to spend endless time looking at that span of a few days. i will predict they will spend more time looking at biden's withdrawal than it was been looking at the catastrophic 20-year policy in afghanistan. there was an enormous amount of pressure on joe biden keep the war in afghanistan going on within his own party, certainly from the military brass. i think biden deserves credit for standing up to them. i am not sure if barack obama had been the commander-in-chief during this period he would have followed through as biden did on a total withdrawal of conventional american forces. i do think someone who is this career politician specializing in foreign policy, i think joe biden knew the history well
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enough to know he would have been taking the catastrophic gamble by keeping u.s. troops in afghanistan. i think outside of bernie sanders, i think there almost no democratic candidates that would have had the spine to follow through on trump's withdrawal plan. regarding china, i think it is a bit of a wash because you both the democrats and republicans taking increasingly hostile posture. when you ask someone like trump engaging in at the rhetoric he engaged in, i think some world leaders can recognize this guys a bit of a lunatic. but when you have biden and his secretary of state tony blinken staking out very radical position on taiwan and in saber rattling and doing military exercises, it takes on a different level. i think the democrats have to engage in kind of theater about human rights and international law and due process, but the
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ultimately at the end of the day are just as aggressive as republicans albeit, with some tweaking of the machinery. juan: given all of this emphasis now in the early days of the biden administration on the threats from china, but even now in terms of the soviet union and ukraine -- i mean, russia and ukraine, the siet union collapsed more than two decades ago and china, despite its socialist veneer, has become the manufacturing linchpin of world capitalism. so is at this renewed fear mongering on the supposed threat from china and russia simply a way to justify greater come as you say, government expenditures on the military complex, which then privatize this this stuff and -- the consumer market? i'm thinking, for instance, drones. drones are becoming a nature consumer market but it started
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out as a mitary tool. >> absolutely. i think if you look at the recent comments of xi jinping, particularly after his virtual summit with joe biden, he has been eating the talking point that what is happening is the united states is taking this neo-cold war posture. i think he is right. t i sort of see it in the same vein as you. china, the u.s., and russia in particular are engaged in a classic capitalist battle for control of natural resources all throughout the world. look at what is happening on the african continent. you have china engaging in large-scale construction projects. you are starting to see chinese manufactured drones popping up in aariety of conflicts. you have the united states essentially agitating to bring down the ethiopian government, albeit through sort of quieter
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diplomatic or back channels. but the and china and russia are engaged in a very serious strategic battle over control of natural resources in a variety of regions around the world. what i think is happening as a result of nato expansion, biden being a tremendously hawkish figure on ukraine, basically during vladimir putin to stand up to nato expansion, is that you run the risk of what is ultimately the business -- the elite business class of the world having their battles spilling over into over military conflict. i think china in particular is very concerned about the aggressive u.s. stance because china would be very happy to find a way to sort of just divvy up the world for domination in various regions. the u.s. is not going to accept that. the u.s. posture is pushing china and russia into an even
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closer alliance back into the relationship during the cold war. amy: we are talking to jeremy scahill. jeremy is sitting in front of perhaps the most famous antiwar painting ever come antiwar, anti-fascist painting company that is of the picasso, the destruction of a spanish town, city by the german and italian fascist in support of the general franco most on the picasso was spanish, lived in paris and said his pain to could never go back to spain well franco still in power. that is not what i would ask about. i would ask about the other is you wrote headlined u.s. absorb drone killers and persecutes whistleblowers. can you talk about the last drone strike that we know of and afghanistan during the u.s. withdrawal and what
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whistleblowers have to do with that? close joe biden make their when he announced his withdrawal from afghanistan the u.s. was going to advocate -- have the capability to strike remotely. it is a harrowing grotesque flashback to many of the incidents we saw during the obama era where the biden administrationauthorized a drone strike on what they claim was a vehicle carrying isis operatives and you just recently had terrorist attack at the kabul airport during the withdrawal. on the surveillance feed the drone operators were looking at, we now know they saw clearly at least one child and still went forward with the strike. seven of the 10 people killed in that strike were children. 10 of the 10 people were civilian. the person who has been convicted of leaking top-secret
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documents, secret documents on the drone program, daniel hale, who is serving almost four years and is now in a unit in federal prison, one of the revelations that daniel hale was convicted of making that was published by the intercept stated that at a certain period of time, u.s. so-called targeted killing operations in afghanistan, as many as nine of 10 people killed in the strikes were not the intended target. we do not know who they necessarily work. they could have been innocent civilians or they could've just been people the u.s. did not know, but united states would primitively categorize them as enemies killed in action -- that was initially what happened in the strike as well. 10 of 10 more civilians. the one name that everyone knows is the individual who work for u.s. aid organization, one of
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the people killed in ts stri. what happened after that is the pentagon did its own investigation of itself and exonerated itself of any crimes. this is the bipartisan self exoneration machine that has long fueled u.s. military operations around th world. joe biden was part of the obama administration, course -- amy: 10 seconds. close global octopus with lethal tentacles that could strike into where dishing or post daniel hale is an american hero for what we now seek continued under joe biden. amy: we want to thank you so much for being with us and we will link to your he's a senior correspondent and editor at lunch at the intercept. the latest piece "the war party: , from bush to obama, and trump to biden, u.s. militarism is the great unifier."
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tune into democracy now! on thursday when we mark our 20 anniversary with an hour-long special looking at show highlights over the past quarter of a century and on friday we speak to a man who was imprisoned at guantánamo for more than a
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♪ thank you for joining us. this is nhk "newsline." a coalition in germany will see the social democratic party replace chancellor, angela merkel, bringing an end to her 16-year leadership. representatives of three parties said wednesday they have agreed to form a government after two months of discussions.

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