'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Friday, February 4th, 2011
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Guests: Richard Engel, Chris Hayes
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Hi, Lawrence. Thank you.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
Actually, can we—can we just put up the live shot that we‘ve got right now? Can we just show what we‘ve got for a live shot if we have one?
OK. Not much going on there but that is live. What you‘re seeing right there is something that was not possible 24 hours ago. What you are seeing right there is happening in real time in Egypt. At this time yesterday, we could not show you anything like this. Nobody could.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are watching pictures from earlier in the day today. The reason we‘re not showing you live pictures at the moment is because, of course, it‘s dark and because of the fact that equipment of ours has been confiscated. And we can‘t show you exactly what‘s going on in Tahrir Square unfortunately.
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Look at our pictures coming out of Tahrir Square today. Our correspondent was hospitalized. Our crews removed.
This is the APTN, Associated Press Television News feed. Yesterday, during this hour, we watched what was happening in Tahrir Square, didn‘t we? And this is the picture coming into us from “Reuters” news agency, on which he and people around the world rely. These are pictures that we get out of that country where the people are being killed and suppressed for saying we need democratic freedoms.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: No live images out of Egypt. Last night on this show, we had some live reporting from Egypt about what was going on there, but we didn‘t have live reports to show you like we had the night before. We showed taped video of what we had.
But when we were talking to people in Egypt, did you notice those yellow post it, note icons that we had to put up there next to their names, like you see here, “on the phone,” as if that‘s an asset—as if that‘s something to brag about. That‘s as close as we could get to broadcasting from the most populous Arab nation on Earth. We could show tape and we could talk to people on the phone. That was it.
Today, though, ha, ha, the live shots are back. Take that.
Violence is the strategy that the government of Egypt has been using
to try to stay in power, as people of Egypt try to topple that government -
violence against protesters and violence against journalists. Arab journalists, Egyptian journalists, western journalists, all journalists, all part of a coordinated effort to stop the strategy from getting out.
The strategy that they‘re using is rather pitiful, but it is sort of effective. Yesterday, at least, it kept us from being able to show you live TV from Egypt.
It was not however able to prevent another massive demonstration taking place against the government today in Egypt. But two days of repugnant, medieval violence against the protesters leading up to today may have changed the character of who turned out today after Friday prayers. Reports today described a large peaceful crowd of protestors in central Cairo but it was one that was more homogenous than it had been before. Some families and some kids and some women reportedly did turn out today, but the crowd looked to be more male than it had been. The very young, the very old and women were less evident today after these two days of bloodshed that we saw leading up to today.
Fifty years ago, 51 years ago to the day, actually, the Greensboro, North Carolina, lunch counter sit-ins were just starting. Anti-segregation activists began challenging the whites-only policy at the Walworth‘s lunch counters with a protest—a protest that was blistering confrontational and also totally nonviolent. The strategy used by the defenders of segregation at the time was violence. The strategy of the opponents of segregation was a form of confrontation that was scrupulously nonviolent—nonviolence was the key to their success.
In the face of violence against them, these demonstrators essentially remained passive and stoic. This is from “The New York Times” on February 5th, 1960. “In a few cases, the Negroes were elbowed, jostled and shoved, itching powder were sprinkled on them and they were spattered with eggs. A Negro youth was knocked from a stool by a white beside whom he sat. A bottle of ammonia was hurled through the door of a drug store there. The fumes brought tears to the eyes of the demonstrators. In most cases, the demonstrators sat or stood at store counters talking in low voices, studying or staring impassively at their tormenters.
It is so contrary to human nature to not react to violence with violence of your own, to just take it. What those demonstrators 50 years ago in North Carolina did took almost inhuman discipline. And it was a large part of the reason they succeeded. The Greensboro sits-in began February of 1960 and about six months later, Woolworth‘s desegregated those very same lunch counters.
I raise the civil rights movement analogy here not because of civil rights as a cause. That‘s not the point here. The point is tactics. When one side is using violence and the other side is not an army and doesn‘t have option of winning by force, the only way the other side can win is by nonviolence.
Here‘s another example: the protests in Iran after the fraudulent presidential elections of 2009, the way the protesters in Iran attempted to win against an oppressive government that was using violence against them was to through practicing nonviolence. You might remember during those protests, the Iranian government sent their secret police force into the streets, the Basijs, right, to attack and provoke anti-government protesters. The government dearly wanted to denounce the protesters themselves as violent. And so, they did everything they could to not only wage violence against them, but to provoke them into being violent once they were attacked.
In response to that state violence, the protesters in Iran came up with a tactic of their own. You may remember us running this clip at the time we were covering this. The first—it‘s about 30 seconds long. I want you to watch it and watch carefully because the first thing you‘ll notice is that these anti-government protesters are remaining essentially silent. Miles‘ long protests in the street and you can hear a pin drop, that about halfway through the clip, you‘ll hear one of the protesters yell “Basij” as a warning that brutal secret police are coming. And then watch how the protesters react to knowing that the secret police are coming after them. Watch.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: The besiege come by. The protesters spread the word that they‘re there. They remain essentially silent and they sit down. De-escalation to the max, right? Nonviolence.
The point is not to compare the cause for which these protesters are protesting, whether it‘s civil rights or what Iranians are protesting for or whatever. The point here is not the causes. That‘s not the analogy. The point is tactics.
In Egypt, the violence against protesters being used not just to crack heads but to provoke the kinds of rioting and destruction that we have seen over the past couple of days to provoke—to provoke that sort of violence in order to justify a martial crackdown on the protestors and thereby keep the government in power.
Today was what protesters declared to be a day of departure in Egypt.
President Hosni Mubarak did not do what they want. He did not depart.
The next protest is due to be on Sunday. After that, the next one is due to be on Tuesday. After that, the next one is due to be on Friday. This movement shows no signs of letting up.
So, is this revolution capable of sustaining itself and using the type of tactics that are the only tactics that win against violence?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s the first time that they announced they will actually be holding an indefinite sits-in as they said. It‘s an indefinite strike outside the main train station here, which is also the center of the city of the main road called Abu Qir and they will be holding that sit-in until and unless President Hosni Mubarak leaves office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Al Jazeera reporting on what protesters are planning to do in Alexandria, Egypt‘s second largest city—an indefinite sit-in, physically passive, classically nonviolent tactics. In Alexandria today, things took a turn toward a textbook, sustainable, nonviolent, “can‘t be provoked” movement. What does that mean?
Joining us now live from Cairo is NBC News chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel.
Richard, thank you, once again, for staying up until an ungodly hour and joining us.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It‘s always a pleasure. How are you, Rachel?
MADDOW: I‘m great.
Tell us what it was like in Cairo today on a “day of departure.”
ENGEL: This was really more of a victory celebration. It wasn‘t—it was supposed to be a march to the palace. It was supposed to be demonstration demanding that President Mubarak leave tonight. It was planned about a week ago.
So much has happened since then. And last time we spoke, on Wednesday on your show, when we were watching that battle unfold below the window where I was—that balcony where it was standing, that battle has become the iconic moment for protesters in Tahrir Square. They call it the “battle of Tahrir” which, of course, means liberation. So many people were injured. Several people were killed.
And today, the protesters were really saying, “We are still here.”
They were showing off bandages. There was a march of all of the injured. And when the injured walked by, several other protesters would come up and kiss them on their foreheads. This was their way of saying, we survived that battle.
Eleven days have happened. So, this protest movement already has its heroes, it‘s martyrs, and its warriors.
MADDOW: Richard, in terms of how things went today in Tahrir Square, did it seem to be a different type of crowd? Was the composition of the crowd different at all?
And we did see reports today that some government officials, including a high ranking defense official, joined the crowd today. How significant is that?
MADDOW: That‘s very significant. So, what happened was since that battle that we watched on Wednesday, which the protesters were taken by surprise, they were assaulted by the—what they call thugs, the pro-Mubarak supporters.
After that, after they fought for the entire night and we watched it, the next day, they made Tahrir Square into like a military camp. They tore up a lot of the paving stones. They set up barricades all around themselves.
They flipped over cars and it was almost like you—if you played fort in your backyard and you do—find whatever you can to surround yourself with pieces of wood or pieces of metal. They were making helmets. A lot of people with construction plastic helmets that they found on their heads and anything they could be used as a weapon. So, they were this morning on guard because they didn‘t know what would happen when this big protest movement started.
The people started to arrive. And everyone was ready—more people started to arrive. The assault didn‘t take place. People started putting the stones down. More and more and more people arrived.
By the middle of the afternoon, it was no longer a suspicious environment. People had understood that the thugs weren‘t coming back this time and it became a very, very large protest.
It is significant that the defense minister visited the place. Mostly, he was there to look at his own forces and his forces were surrounding the demonstrators for the first time, but not in a menacing way. They were there to make sure that the thugs didn‘t come back and if they did, there wouldn‘t be any direct confrontations.
It seems that the military, by giving this presence, is also accepting that it has become a permanent part of downtown Cairo, at least for now.
MADDOW: Is there any way to tell whether or not the government, the police were just letting today‘s protest happen peacefully without attacking it as a sort of relief valve, and they‘ll be back out attacking protesters again when they reconvene on Tuesday or Sunday, any of these other days they‘re saying they‘ll convene?
ENGEL: Well, they kind of are convening there permanently. Many people who sleep in the square. They are—they don‘t want to leave it.
This has become a—I don‘t want to say sacred—but they considered almost like sacred ground as these battles continue and people start getting injured and 11 days in one place. Events start to take on their own mythology.
So, people don‘t want to leave this place. They think they have fought so hard to keep it and if they leave it, maybe they‘ll never come back. And that‘s one of the reasons they haven‘t marched out of it. There‘s always been this talk that they were going to march on the palace. People there, there‘s a nervousness that if they march out, they won‘t be able to come back.
There is a feeling that President Mubarak‘s new strategy might be—well, just leave him there. Don‘t attack him. We‘ll have the army around to make sure that there are not any major clashes and if they want to sit there, let them sit there until they get exhausted.
I‘m not sure if President Mubarak has that kind of time. The protesters don‘t think he has that time internationally. But there doesn‘t seem to be a concerted effort by the government to kind of flush them out.
Today, the prime minister of Egypt said they can stay there, no problem, as long as there‘s no violence. And the army has said repeatedly it has no plans to send in tanks to disperse them.
MADDOW: Were you able to report freely today? Were there any continued—any continued harassment of journalists that you saw?
ENGEL: There was plenty of continued harassment of journalists. The Al Jazeera office was smashed. There are other reporters who had camera equipment seized. This is an ongoing problem right now.
And you have two people to be concerned about as a Western journalist, or, really, any journalist—but particularly Western journalist in the current circumstances.
One, and your most immediate and real concern are the pro-Mubarak supporters. They hate us. And they will look for us and chase us down and, you know, grab our equipment and beat us up. They think and are being told by the state media, which is the more insidious connection here or the most obvious insidious connection, that foreign journalists are to blame for this, that we‘re in a conspiracy with big business and Islamic groups.
I don‘t know how that conspiracy is supposed to work, but somehow, big business, the Muslim Brotherhood and the two of us are colluding together to bring down Egypt. So, with that theory in mind, these people are chasing after foreign journalists.
The other group you have to worry about the government because they don‘t like that this bad publicity is coming out and so, there‘s the classic, you know, clobber the messenger tactic. Not that is able to, you know, keep the message from getting out when everyone has, you know, Twitter and Facebook and things like that. It‘s a very old fashioned system.
Twenty years ago, if you wanted to stop the coverage, you just switched off the signal and arrested the reporters. That‘s no longer the case, but they can‘t arrest all and take all the cell phones from everyone in the square—so they take their anger out on us.
The demonstrators themselves were very welcoming to us. Once you get into Tahrir, you are embraced. The people are very excited to see you. It‘s moving around the city that‘s more of a problem.
MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign news correspondent, Richard Engel, reporting tonight from—somewhere in Cairo. Richard, stay safe. Try to get some sleep, my friend. Thanks again.
ENGEL: My pleasure.
MADDOW: Among the forensics yet to be done on the American reaction to what‘s going on in Egypt is how on Earth we had no clue it was coming. The answer is actually the same as it has over and over and over again. America is not very good at spying—the history and present of that, coming up.
MADDOW: When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it was a surprise.
Nobody really saw it coming, like for example, the CIA—they had no clue.
Really. They didn‘t know it was going to happen.
In his book, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of CIA,” the reporter Tim Weiner shows that on the night the Berlin Wall came down, the chief of the CIA‘s Soviet division—a guy you might think might have a handle on this, he was holed up at headquarters watching TV news coverage of what was happening in Berlin to try to come up with what he was going to tell the White House because according to Tim Weiner‘s “History of the CIA,” quote, “In a crisis, TV news coverage provided what passed for real time intelligence.”
Same thing basically happened with Iraq‘s invasion of Kuwait. Two days before that happened, the CIA had called it unlikely. Again according to Tim Weiner‘s reporting, “Legacy of Ashes,” on the day of the actual invasion, on that day in August 1990, Robert Gates, who was then a top intelligence adviser to the first President Bush, Robert Gates was at a family picnic.
Quoting from “Legacy of Ashes,” “A friend of his wife‘s joined him. ‘What are you doing here,‘ she asked. ‘What are you talking about?‘ Gates replied. ‘The invasion,‘ she said. ‘What invasion,‘ Gates asked?”
What invasion says the top intelligence adviser guy.
Today, the “Associated Press” is reporting on the state of U.S. intelligence, in the context of what‘s happening in Tunisia and Egypt, an unnamed senior source telling the “A.P.” that President Barack Obama sent word to National Intelligence Director James Clapper that he was disappointed with the intelligence community over its failure to predict the outbreak of demonstration would lead to the ouster of the Tunisian president. The same source said there was little warning before Egypt‘s riots as well.
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the intelligence and denied the president was disappointed in it today, but when you look at what happened, first in Tanisha and then in Egypt, and how Washington has responded, it does seem like everybody was a little surprised, doesn‘t it?
The common wisdom from the Beltway is that the response from Washington has been flatfooted, whether or not you think it has been substantively right or wrong. It seems to have caught folks off guard.
Apparently, nobody expected what‘s happening right now in Egypt to be happening right now in Egypt. We were also apparently caught off guard when protests in Tunisia seemingly, suddenly brought the end of President Ben Ali‘s 23-year reign. And we were caught off-guard when it turned out Hosni Mubarak was in more trouble than we realized as the protest in his country grew and grew and grew and grew.
Gathering intelligence, making the country not be surprised about stuff in other countries, that is theoretically the job of the CIA. The thing they‘re supposed to be able to do is get useful information about the world that allows us to, if not predict events, at least reasonably foresee them sometimes. But generally speaking, we as a country suck at that.
And it‘s partly because instead of focusing on the whole “getting information” core mission, the CIA has instead turned into this operational mini military. So, way too often instead of intelligence, instead of useful information, instead of knowing, say, that the Berlin Wall might come down or that Iraq is probably going to invade Kuwait or that the Ben Ali‘s presidency isn‘t going to last through protests in Tunisia or that Hosni Mubarak is weaker than he seems—instead of having any useful information like that to keep Washington from being surprised, what we get is instead a shadowy, secret, small branch of the military that U.S. political leaders don‘t have to answer for when they get asked. It‘s not a good tradeoff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE O‘SULLIVAN, CIA: We warned of instability. We didn‘t know what the triggering mechanism would be for that. And that happened at the end of the last year.
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: I want to get a general sense of when you all told the president that we were faced with something that was as serious as what we have seen in recent days.
O‘SULLIVAN: I‘m afraid I‘m not going to be able to satisfy your specific question. My duties involved a more general understanding of the debates that were going on and not the face to face briefing of the president over the past year.
WYDEN: You were told yesterday I was going to ask this question, weren‘t you?
O‘SULLIVAN: Not in this detail, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Generally speaking, compared to the overall American population, the number of people watching cable news at any one time is not a very big number. But all of the people who are watching cable news at any one time, about half of them these days are usually watching FOX. Now, I‘m not noting that angrily or happily from a perspective of a competitor, it‘s just true and it is relevant to our country even if you don‘t care about the cable news ratings race.
In the rest of the world, when things said on FOX get debunked, we tend to think, oh, that‘s debunked, and then it ends up being a surprise to all of us that something roundly debunked by all responsible observers persist in the American consciousness—por ejemplo: Death panels.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That they are going to be saying, no, you can‘t gave this person a hip replacement. They‘re too old. This will be done by this federal board, which is really the death panel that Sarah Palin was talking about.
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: The death panels—yes, back in the news again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You warned Americans about so-called death panels.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Those death panels which created a big controversy.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Death panels. Not actually in health reform. Not even close. Not true—except on FOX, it is true.
And since a lot of people watch FOX, a lot of people believe that thing that‘s not true is true and so, our politics are new stupid. Our politics are now partially organized around a thing that‘s a lie because FOX said it a lot. We are consigned as a country to have stupid, nonsense fights about something that is not in health reform, instead of fighting about what health reform actually is because of the influence of FOX. And because of their dedication to that particular lie.
So, with that as relevant background, here‘s fair warning of what a really big part of the country is being told to believe about Egypt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: The radicals here in America that are operating as Marxists and communists that are in support of this, their goals include the transformation of America into an Islamic state, the destruction of the western world. There‘s a strange alliance between the left and the Islamists that we‘re seeing. I think it‘s all part of the coming insurrection.
You can call it a new world order or a caliphate, but the world right now is being divvied up. And the uber left and the Islamists, and the global elites are moving in the same direction. I‘m not saying they are plotting together. The Islamists and the uber left are. And they share some commonalities.
I mean, honestly, I can‘t tell the difference between extreme leftists and radical Islamists, I don‘t.
Except I haven‘t seen anybody on the left take an airplane and blow up the buildings, but they are both going for a new world order and they are both doing it through riots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was earlier this week. Here was today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BECK: A caliphate is a system of government established in Islam.
It‘s governed by Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia law.
All Islamic governments would unify under this caliphate - one new world order. We already have it happening in some parts. We have Islamic law happening in some parts around the world including America.
The left and Islamic radicals in our own country, speaking together side by side.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And that‘s how you can understand Egypt. Can you imagine how stupid our debates are going to be about foreign policy in this country for the next few months after Fox spent the entire week of the Egypt revolution broadcasting these conspiracy theories day after day after day?
Joining us now is Chris Hayes, MSNBC contributor, Washington editor of “The Nation.” Chris, it‘s great to see you. Thank you for helping me with this.
CHRIS HAYES, WASHINGTON EDITOR, “THE NATION”: I‘ll do what I can.
MADDOW: America will be forced to become an Islamic state. A new world order is coming. The Muslim Brotherhood is behind the protest in Egypt. And the American left is organizing the protests. What is the logical conclusion to these claims? Where is this going?
HAYES: It‘s going towards - I mean, what‘s interesting about what Beck does is that he takes things that are already - I mean, they are sort of paranoid about the caliphate is already out there in sort of extreme right-wing circles that‘s been there for a while.
Obviously, you know, the idea that Marxists, undercover American Marxists particularly, are trying to subvert American democracy is a very old paranoid delusion on the right.
In fact, it goes back to McCarthyism and even back to the red scare. And what he does is like making a smoothie out of everything in your cabinet. He just sort of throws it all into the blender and clicks the button.
And what comes out is a notion that there are all these others - capital O others. And all the disparate, complicated facts about the world are unified and ordered by the fact that all of these others are trying to screw you, the viewer.
That is the point of every one of these things, is to be suspicious and fearful and angry and resentful of the “Them.” And that capital T “them: can be everyone from people getting heads bashed in Mubarak security services or, you know, some random university student in England who‘s trying to get their tuition raises protested.
MADDOW: Well, the problem I have with this is not that Glenn Beck does stuff that‘s dumb.
MADDOW: What I‘m worried about is that they have a stupefying effect on the country‘s ability to discuss important issues.
MADDOW: And so the fact that all this is cued to a real news event, I‘m worried, frankly, worried, that the way this is going to play out over the next few months in American politics is that we‘re going to be essentially incapable of having a real discussion about what happened in Egypt because people who watched it on Fox - watched it unfold on Fox - are going to believe that it means you should store food.
HAYES: That‘s right. I mean, I can‘t allay your worries. You know, I‘m going to do a bad job. But I think that, basically, it‘s worrisome for a number of reasons. I mean, one is that this is a very complicated area of the world.
Number two, we already have a pretty messy foreign policy in the Middle East, if you have been paying attention. And you know, we need to do a better job with how we relate to that part of the world. We just do.
And we need a democratic citizenry who is prepared to engage in some of these issues in an informed way. And that‘s the only way we‘re going to do a better job. And it‘s the only way we‘re going to have a better world and a peaceful Middle East inshallah some day, right?
So this is really a massive obstacle to making that happen. I also think the other thing that‘s so worrisome is that it‘s very hard to understand how you undo the disinformation.
You and I can talk about how it is patently ludicrous that the caliphate is around the corner. But people that are watching Fox don‘t trust you and me. And so it doesn‘t carry much water and they don‘t trust in “New York Times” or a million other sources that can sort of demonstrably debunk it. And how you get outside of that relationship - that is really the hardest nut to crack.
MADDOW: The problem - I mean, that‘s why they constantly preface everything they say with “Don‘t believe what anybody else tells you about this.”
HAYES: That‘s right.
MADDOW: I will tell you that we should just let everybody know that you saying “inshallah,” you‘re saying, God willing there, will be on a loop and used as a Fox News bumper to show that the Muslim Brotherhood is taking over.
HAYES: It was tongue and cheek. And as it slipped out of my mouth, I was like, I don‘t know if I wanted that.
MADDOW: No, it‘s over, man. It‘s over. You are now radical imam.
HAYES: I‘m screwed to pieces.
MADDOW: God bless you. Chris Hayes, radical imam, MSNBC contributor, Washington editor of “The Nation” and new star of “Fox and Friends,” thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Shukran, Rachel.
MADDOW: One thing I have to say about a Super Bowl that does not have The Patriots in it is coming up in tonight‘s show in just a moment. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I would not be so crass as to blatantly rip off “The Daily Show‘s” idea of a “Moment of Zen.” But I have to admit that in reviewing some of the more insanely bad, right-wing, American coverage of Egypt to be able to talk about it with Chris Hayes today, this out-of-context moment I think actually qualifies as kind of Zen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Death by stoning and illegally sanctioned domestic abuse could become common practices in America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I‘m moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I watched that over and over and over again today. I‘m turning it into an animated loop that may be this year‘s Christmas card.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then I‘m moving. Then I‘m moving. Then I‘m moving. Then I‘m moving. Then I‘m moving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The opportunity cost of covering the historic and overwhelming events in Egypt this week was that certain stories, important stories, did not get the attention that they would have otherwise.
Last week, last Thursday night, we described the murder that day of a man named David Kato. We said on the show that we would have a full report about that murder on Friday‘s show.
Then Egypt happened and best laid plans et cetera. In the intervening week, the story of the murder of David Kato has gotten bigger and scarier and more important. We have that for you, next.
MADDOW: Last week, a man was beaten to death with a hammer in his home. As news of the murder spread, his friends gathered outside of his house to remember him and then begin the process of burying him.
At the man‘s funeral, though, the local pastor leading the service turned from eulogizing the man who had been killed to instead railing against homosexuality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not going to promote gays. But what I am is that you should repent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have not come here to fight. We have not come here to fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: As the dead man‘s friends objected and pastor shouted at them and the funeral grew chaotic, the pastor made clear that he would not be part of helping the dead man rest in peace.
He would not conduct the burial in the cemetery a couple hundred yards away. So the man‘s friends - they do it themselves.
Look, they lift his casket and they themselves carry it to the grave and bury him themselves, their friends, pallbearers and ministers all in one all for one. Without the official pastor, the funeral becomes this sort of amazing scene.
A former Anglican bishop who was excommunicated in his country for favoring gay rights - he takes over the service right here in this moment that Reuters caught on film. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may be different from me, myself. I am straight. I‘m not LGBT, but I‘ve known these people how are LGBT. I respected them for what they are and I believe they are going to heaven. Like you, others, they are going to heaven.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amen!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they don‘t believe, that‘s another matter, but if they are believers, don‘t be discouraged. I know people have been discouraged even not going to church because they are being abused as I found today.
People are abusing them. Please don‘t be discouraged. God created you. God is on your side. And God - this is the gospel I am preaching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: God created you. God is on your side. Those are fighting words in a certain sense. They are at least words of courage for a man like the one who was buried by his friends that day, last Friday.
David Kato, the man who was killed, was one of the most outspoken activists for gay rights in his country. A colleague of his tells us he had been beaten and arrested more than once.
His right eye didn‘t work properly anymore, the friend told us. He was trying to get surgery for a shoulder that had been dislocated in an earlier attack.
Recently, he had moved several miles outside the capital city in his country, hoping for peace and safety in the world district that he moved to, which is where he was killed.
On the day David Kato was bludgeoned to death, neighbors say that three people drove up to his new home in a small car. One of them got out and a while later came back carrying a large black bag.
At first, police said, Mr. Kato might have been killed in a robbery attempt. But before they even had a suspect in custody, they were already ruling out an obvious possible motive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to make it very clear it is not linked to him being an activist of the sexual minorities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Oh, no. It couldn‘t be that. Whatever it is, it‘s not that. We haven‘t really investigated yet, but we‘re already sure he wasn‘t killed because he was the most high-profile gay man in the country.
David Kato‘s picture had appeared on the cover of a local paper as somebody who wanted to be hanged for being gay. He knew he was in danger.
His colleague we spoke with told us Mr. Kato sent him a number of E-mails about threats he received in the months before he died. He also spoke with NPR last year about who had made his country such a scary place to be.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DAVID KATO, MURDERED GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: In my view, it‘s the religious right. These were from America. They came here and saying that if they leave homosexuals to be around, they are spoiling what they call the traditional marriage. So they came up saying that we, gay people, were recruiting children into homosexuality.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: That part about the religious right from America, the Americans who came there - he‘s talking about American evangelicals flying into Uganda to address members of parliament there at anti-gay conferences where the anti-gay Americans told the Ugandans to not only fear the gays, but they told them that the gay can be cured.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SCOTT LIVELY, PRESIDENT, ABIDING TRUTH MINISTRIES: If your definition of homosexuality is being able to do whatever you want to and that you should be able to go and engage in sex with another person and that because of that, the disease you have is going to spread to that person and they‘re going to take it home and give it to their wife, how much tolerance should we have for that? We should have zero tolerance for that. You should not be able to do that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: What you just heard was anti-gay American activist, Scott Lively, addressing a homosexuality conference in Uganda, urging the Ugandans not to tolerate homosexuality.
Another American activist, Richard Cohen - he dispatched a staffer of his to Uganda to address the issue and to distribute copies of his dubious “cure the gay” training materials.
You might remember Richard Cohen, our old friend with his tennis racket, the guy who insists that gay people could be cured somehow by doing things like this, the guy who denied on camera to me what was in his own “cure the gays” book when I asked him about it last year.
American anti-gay quack, Richard Cohen, sent his big idea that people can be cured of being gay. He sent that big idea to Uganda.
And look, if you show up in other country and you call yourself an expert and you sell this notion that gay people can get over being gay, then people in that country who are inclined to believe that might also believe that they can force their gay citizens to change into straight ones.
They can force them maybe under the threat of execution. This man, David Bahati, believes that. He‘s a member of the Ugandan parliament. He‘s the main author of kill-the-gays bill in that country, which, after visits from American anti-gay activists, was written and submitted to parliament.
It establishes penalties up to and including execution for the crime of being gay. Despite reports that the bill had been withdrawn and that the killing part was being taken out of it, the bill has not been withdrawn and it still includes execution as a penalty.
The reason this murder is an American story is that the kill-the-gays bill author, David Bahati, is connected not just to America‘s anti-gay religious quacks with their tennis rackets and their bogus research.
He‘s also connected to The Family, which organizes prayer breakfasts in Uganda and which, in the past, has welcomed Mr. Bahati to America where the C Street house in Washington has been home to several conservative members of Congress.
The journalist who has covered The Family most closely, Jeff Sharlet, says that David Bahati is The Family‘s key man in the Ugandan parliament and that American connection for Mr. Bahati has been key to his rise in politics.
Last year, Mr. Bahati appeared on our show to defend his American-inspired kill-the-gays bill. He told us that the U.S. and other countries have sent $15 million into his country for the purposes of recruiting children to be gay.
He told us on the air that he has evidence of that which he would E-mail to me. I‘m sure you‘ll be shocked to hear that he never E-mailed me.
When we contacted David Bahati after David Kato was killed, Mr. Bahati stuck to his story about the mysterious American funds that turn kids gay in Africa. He told us he hopes police will use the occasion of David Kato‘s murder to dismantle this supposed network of money to turn kids gay.
He said, quote, “It was a peaceful country before the invasion of homosexuality. And to make it a peaceful country again, we want to treat everyone the same under the law.”
Of course we want to kill people for being gay because the Americans told us you don‘t have to be gay if you don‘t want to be. Uganda is substantially dependent on foreign aid.
When you heard they were maybe going to scrap the kill-the-gays bill, that was after countries who give Uganda money started complaining about it including the United States.
With the kill-the-gays bill still pending, and with the nation‘s best-known gay rights advocate beaten to death with a hammer and with the newspaper that put his picture on the cover and called for him to be hanged cackling publicly about his murder and with the police saying instantly that David Kato wasn‘t killed because he was gay and now saying they‘ve got the guy who did it, it was a private dispute, nothing to see here, keep moving, with all that has happened since David Kato was murdered, here is the question.
Elections in Uganda are in two weeks, February 18, two weeks from today. Donor countries all over the world are pouring a ton of money into monitoring those elections. The Museveni government is desperate to be seen as legit.
Will the donor countries than Uganda relies on so heavily say publicly, “We are paying attention to this murder”? Do not disappear David Kato‘s murder or we will make you a pariah for it, for that and for your kill-the-gays bill.
Will the donor countries make this matter? Given American citizens‘ other vile involvement in that country, maybe America‘s government could take the lead on this.
MADDOW: So the Pittsburgh Steelers are a football team. They are in a game you might watch this weekend even if you don‘t usually watch football.
One thing to note, the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ insignia is only on one side of their helmet. Why is that? Apparently, it‘s because the guy who originally put it there was not sure it would look good, so they, in effect, only put it on halfway.
Then they just decided to keep it that way which is strange and awesome. The team that the Steelers will be playing against on Sunday is the Green Bay Packers - Green Bay as in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
As of 2009, Green Bay is the 268th most populous city in the United States. More people live in Frisco, Texas, more people live in Daly City, California, and in three different Springfields than live in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The suburb of Dallas called Arlington, which is the place that Sunday‘s game is going to be played, that suburb has nearly four times as many people living in it as the whole city of Green Bay has.
So how did Green Bay end up with an NFL team? The NFL‘s business model usually features gazillionaire team owners, right? Cities that don‘t have enough money for public schools and cops and teachers build ginormous stadiums because they might attract NFL teams, right?
How come little Green Bay has one? Because when the Packers were born, there were pro football teams in towns like Portsmouth, Ohio and Decatur, Illinois. The Packers are called the Packers because the Indian packing company gave the owner of the team $500 for uniforms in 1919 in return for naming rights for the team.
Google “naming rights” tonight and see if you can get any for $500. See if $500 will get you naming rights to anything including a bake sale.
As football got to be big profits, big revenues, big price tags on the teams, right, big stadiums, most of those once-upon-a-time small town teams wound up relocating to places like Chicago and Detroit.
But not the packers, because the original owners, who were from Green Bay, did something amazing. They wrote into their articles of incorporation that any profit from the sale of the team would, I‘m not kidding, go to the local American Legion Post to build a proper soldiers memorial.
They later updated it so any profit from selling the team would go to a foundation which distributes money to charity. Why is that important? Because that takes the financial incentive out of the prospect of selling that team.
Nobody can profit by selling the Green Bay Packers no matter how wildly successful they are as a business entity. And the fact that nobody can profit from selling them has insured that the packers have not been sold and so they have never left Green Bay.
They are the last of the small city, small town teams. And Green Bay, Wisconsin, population just south of Gresham, Oregon, has an NFL franchise because of it, which is kind of awesome.
But, wait. There‘s more. In 1950, in the age before TV money made every team super, super rich, the Green Bay Packers found themselves strapped for cash. The team was not making enough money. They were in trouble.
Not willing or even really able to sell the team itself to remedy that problem, the Packers hit on the idea of selling stock in the team so they could raise money to keep the thing going.
In late 1997 and early 1998, they sold more stock at - I think $200 a share. But the stock sale was way more of a municipal bond kind of thing than it was like an IPO.
Nobody is allowed to own more than 200,000 shares and there are just under five million shares. So nobody is allowed to amass a large portion of the ownership of the team. There are no dividends. There are no capital gains for stockholders.
The stock does not appreciate in value. It is not publicly traded. It is a nonprofit corporation. So what is the payoff on the stockholders‘ investment? What is the payoff for the Green Bay Packers‘ 112,000 individual owners?
The payoff is a pro football team in Green Bay. And, yes, three Super Bowl titles and counting, but also a fan base that is so in love with its team and a team so in love with its fan base that the Packer players invented the touchdown celebration move of jumping into the stands for hugs. Watch.
In some cities fans throw things at the players. In Green Bay, the players throw themselves at the fans. I scored a touchdown. Hug me, you guys!
There are a lot of nonprofits in this world and a lot of them are saving the world and feeding and clothing people and doing the most important work there is. But there is only one nonprofit in the whole world that has a team in the Super Bowl this year, and that is really weird and I find it really cool.
And when they play the Patriots, I will still root against them, but it does not mean that it‘s not cool. Happy Super Bowl weekend.
That does it for us tonight. Have a great weekend. We‘ll see you Monday.
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