Skip navigation

All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Date: March 26, 2015
Guest: Michael Goldfarb, Floyd Dent, Gregory Rohl, Ayman Mohyeldin, Dave
Berardi, Matt Rousse


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He`s knocking, he`s asking to
be let in. Zero response from the copilot.

HAYES: The Germanwings crash becomes criminal. Mass murder now
suspected as cockpit audio suggests the co-pilot deliberately crashed into
the Alps. We`ll have the latest on the stunning developments from France.

Then, mapping out the Middle East after Saudi Arabia begins dropping
bombs on Yemen.

Plus, shades of Rodney King. A police beating caught on dash cam in
suburban Detroit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t do anything.

HAYES: The man in that video joins me tonight.

And it is a bathroom fad causing headaches for sewer systems across

(on camera): And you can see, those are all wipes, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wipes just get everywhere.

(voice-over): An ALL IN investigation into America`s newfound love
affair with moist personal wipes.

(on camera): Disgusting! That is so disgusting!

(voice-over): ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.

A stunning development today in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525.
The co-pilot`s intention was, apparently, to, quote, "destroy the
aircraft." That the assertion of the chief French prosecutor overseeing
the criminal investigation of the crash, Bryce Robin, who described often
in great detail what he says happened in the final 30 minutes of the
flight, based on the audio from the plane`s cockpit voice recorder and the
transcript of that audio.

Quoting "The New York Times`" translation of today`s press conference,
"During the first 20 minutes, the pilots talked normally," Mr. Robin said,
saying they spoke in a cheerful and courteous way. "There is nothing
abnormal happening," he said.

The pilot, whose name has not yet been released, was preparing a
standard landing plan for Dusseldorf and the pilot asked the co-pilot to
take over and sounds indicate that the pilot left the cabin and the cockpit
door closed.

"At this stage," quoting again, "the co-pilot is in control alone,"
the prosecutor said. "It is when he is alone that the co-pilot manipulates
the flight monitoring system to activate the descent of the plane." The
prosecutor said, "This action could only have been voluntary."

And then later, "The captain is heard pleading to get back into the
cockpit, but the co-pilot, heard breathing normally until the plane
crashes, does not react. You can hear the commanding pilot ask for access
to the cockpit several times," the prosecutor says. "He identifies
himself, but the co-pilot does not provide any answer."

It should be noted that the Airbus 320 mechanism for the cockpit door
allowed someone inside the cockpit to lock the door in such a way that the
normal procedure for getting in from outside the cockpit is disabled for
five minutes, as depicted in the Airbus training video.

The video also shows an emergency procedure for gaining access to the
cockpit if the pilot is incapacitated.


NARRATOR: The captain moves the toggle switch to the lock position.
The open light remains extinguished. Now if we look at the code pad, the
red light is lit, confirming the door is locked.

Be careful, automatic door opening, the code pad, and the buzzer are
inhibited for five minutes. Obtaining no response, she decides to use the
emergency access procedure. On the code pad, she enters the emergency
code, then presses the hash key. This triggers the timer for 30 seconds.
The green light on the code pad flashes, indicating imminent unlocking.


HAYES: Just before the crash, passengers could be heard screaming,
according to the French prosecutor.

As noted by Lufthansa`s chief executive Carsten Spohr, quote, "When
one person is responsible for 150 lives, it is more than suicide."

And of course, there is now heightened, intense scrutiny on the young
co-pilot who apparently brought the plane down on purpose.

His name, we learned today, is Andreas Lubitz and he had, according to
Lufthansa, passed medical and psychological tests.

Today, investigators searched his parent`s home for possible evidence.

And joining me now, NBC News correspondent Claudio Lavanga.

Claudio, what do we know about Mr. Lubitz? Is there any indication of
any possible motive?

problem, Chris. There is just none. This is a man that we understand,
especially from local reports, from a small town in Germany, that he had a
childhood dream and that was to fly. Since he was in elementary school, he
said that that`s what he wanted to do. He worked hard to do it.

He started training at Lufthansa in 2008. He started as a flight
attendant and he just worked his way up to becoming what he just wanted to
become, a pilot. He just finally realized his dream about a year and a
half ago, when Germanwings, the budget airline from Lufthansa, gave him a
job as a co-pilot. He`s clocked 630 hours of flying.

This just sounds like someone who`s realized his dream. So there`s no
indication on why, at least on the professional level, why he would do
something like that.

On the personal level, as you said, he did pass all the psychological
tests. The person, the neighbors that were interviewed today from local
papers said he was a nice boy, and I`m just quoting a local newspaper
there. They kept saying that this was his dream job.

We do have a bit of a record there that may explain he had some dark
side, if you may call it like that. About six years ago, he took six
months off his training because of a burnout syndrome. Some kind of
depression, but the authorities say that they may not build any link
between that, which was six years ago, and what he did on Tuesday.

Of course, they`re not leaving any stone unturned. They are looking
at his history, his background, they are interviewing the pilots that
worked with him in the last weeks and months, to see whether they have any
indications of any strange anomalies, any strange behavior, something he
might have told them that may just explain why he did that.

HAYES: NBC News correspondent, Claudio Lavanga, thank you, Claudio.

All right. Joining me now, Michael Goldfarb. He`s former FAA chief
of staff.

And, Michael, there`s so much to get to here.


HAYES: So, maybe let`s -- before we get to the possible motivation
for this, or precedent for this, let`s just talk for a second about the
cockpit door and protocol there. I mean, obviously, one of the big safety
concerns after 9/11 was the impregnability of the cockpit. And we did see
a real design shift and protocol shift, not just in the U.S. and around the
world, right, around making that cockpit as much as a fortress as possible.

GOLDFARB: Well, you know, in the United States, certainly, but some
places around the world, not quite as much. But the thinking, as you said,
after 9/11 was, we need to protect the cockpit from the cabin.

This turns that equation on its head. We may need to protect the
cabin from the cockpit. That fundamentally changes the security threat.

So, here we have a situation, and, you know, from what we know, the
voice recorder obviously, clearly, he intentionally did this. And then we
had data streaming that led us to understand exactly what he did.

I mean, he was a smart opportunist in that sense. Right after
cruising altitude, he probably either knew the captain would go to the
restroom or it`s pretty much standard practice. He took advantage of that.
And the Airbus plane has a flight management system, so it overrides pilot

That`s why that very unclear -- that very puzzling descent that most
aviation experts couldn`t figure out. He took it down within the speed and
within the speed, so the flight management system would not override it,
and he programmed to it 100 feet, because the flight management system will
not allow the Airbus 320 to go under that.

So, I mean, this was methodical. And had he not -- had the captain
not left, he may have chosen another flight at a later date.

HAYES: So, here`s another question about this. And maybe this is a
dumb question, but I`ll ask anyway. I`m a little unclear how based on the
streaming data plus the vocal recordings, they can be sure who is the pilot
and who is the co-pilot in this scenario.

GOLDFARB: Well, they probably know the voices of the two. So, you
know -- they`re pretty -- I mean, this was a stunning announcement. I
mean, to come out three days after --


GOLDFARB: -- "The New York Times" report, I mean, normally these
speculative reports really do damage to investigations, because
investigators have to chase each new lead.

To have the German authorities come out and say, we know that he
brought the plane down, I mean, that`s -- they know that. They know the
voice profile.

So, that`s not as surprising. But I`ll tell you, I`m not sure going
forward what we do to fix this. You know, there`s the cosmetic. You know,
the whole notion of two people in the cockpit at any and all times, right?

So, if one leaves, you have a flight attendant that comes in. That
was primarily for medical reasons, if someone had a heart attack. That`s
why that was put in there.

So, now, we have airlines saying, tomorrow morning, we`re going to do
that. You know, that`s not really sufficient.

And, Chris, here`s why things don`t change after the horrific year --
I mean, people are scared. I mean, statistics show otherwise, but they`re
on the edge of their seat.

But the regulators use those statistics and here`s what they are: 1 in
25 million chances of being killed in a plane crash. That means if you got
in a plane every day for 365 years a day, it would be 63,000 years before
you would be involved. So, when they look at that, when the regulators,
FAA or otherwise -- they say, you know, we can`t put in major changes to
how we do business, because these accidents are so rare.

HAYES: Well, and one of the things, I think, to look for as this
investigation plays out is that in previous incidents in which there`s
heavy suspicion that, indeed, it was a pilot murder/suicide, there`s always
a certain degree to which it`s very hard to definitively ascertain why they
did it.


HAYES: So, we may not have -- it feels like there should be some
satisfying diary entry somewhere, where we learn, but we may not.

GOLDFARB: And EgyptAir, there was a pilot suicide, and the Egyptians
still disagree with the NTSB and the State Department on the nature of that

HAYES: Michael Goldfarb, thank you. Always very informative. Really
appreciate it.

GOLDFARB: Thanks. You`re welcome.

HAYES: A police dash cam captures a very ugly scene in Michigan, as
white police officers pull a black man from his vehicle and beat him
bloody. I`ll talk to the man you see there on the ground, being beaten,


HAYES: In February, longtime North Carolina basketball coach Dean
Smith passed away at the age of 83. But the love he had for his players
lives on. Coach Smith, through his trust, left $200 to every letterman,
that is players who played a certain amount of games, during his time as
head coach of the school. The example that made its way around the
Internet today was a letter addressed to former Carolina player, Dante

It reads in part, quote, "Enjoy a dinner out compliments of coach Dean
Smith. Enclosed is a check in the amount of $200."

The trustee tells that the checks were sent out on Monday to
about 180 lettermen. Many of Dean Smith`s players went on to have
successful NBA careers, including that guy, the man widely considered to be
the greatest basketball player, if not greatest athlete of all time.

In his 36 seasons as head coach, Dean Smith won 879 games, had 11
final four appearances, and two national championships. But one of the
things I`ll always remember about Coach Smith is something he once told
writer John Feinstein about helping to de-segregate restaurants in North
Carolina in the late `50s. "You should never be proud of doing the right
thing. You should just do the right thing."


HAYES: Protesters tonight are vowing to shut down the Detroit suburb
of Inkster after dash cam video emerges showing an African-American man
severely beaten by white police officers after a traffic stop.

Fifty-seven-year-old retired auto worker Floyd Dent who worked for
Ford for 37 years and who has no criminal history was driving in Inkster in
January when he was pulled over by police for a traffic violation, as seen
on this police dash cam video.

A warning: what your about to see is very disturbing.

As police approach Dent`s car, Dent opens the door, prompting an
officer to raise his weapon. After a brief exchange, during which officers
claim Dent appeared to be reaching for something in the vehicle and said to
them, quote, "I`ll kill you", another officer pulls the retired auto worker
out of the vehicle and pushes him to the ground. The first officer then
puts Dent in a choke hold, and then starts to punch him, repeatedly, in the
head, as the second officer struggles to put Dent in handcuffs.

In the video, you can see Dent being punched in the head 16 times. A
few minutes -- moments later, more officers arrive on the scene, including
one who tases Dent in his thigh and stomach, as he is lying on the ground.
A police report indicates that Dent was also kicked at least twice during
his arrest.

Dent says he spent three days in the hospital, with injuries that
included broken ribs, an orbital fracture and blood on his brain. Police
claimed in their report that Dent was, quote, "very hostile" to officers on
the scene. They said they found crack cocaine beneath the passenger seat
of Dent`s car.

Police charged Dent with assault, resisting arrest, and possession of
cocaine. Dent says the drugs were planted. He says the hospital blood
test showed no drugs in his system, no weapons were found in his
possession, police had no audio record of his alleged threat to kill them,
and although the officer who put Dent in a choke hold and punched him
repeatedly says Dent bit him, that officer, William Melendez, indicated on
the police report that he was not injured and has no official record of
having been bitten. Melendez has been accused of impropriety in the past.


REPORTER: Officer Melendez, the one seen throwing the punches, is the
same officer while working as a Detroit police officer in 2003, was charged
by the U.S. attorney`s office with planting evidence and falsifying
reports. A jury found Officer Melendez not guilty.


HAYES: After seeing the video, a judge threw out most of the charges
against Dent, though he still faces the drug charge. Yesterday, protesters
in Inkster, which is 73 percent African-American, rallied at the Inkster
police department and called for the officers involved to be fired.


This is blatant police brutality. Towns like Inkster, all over this
nation, are faced with the same problem. Inkster is no different than
Ferguson or Sanford or any of these other small towns, where police are
using an excessive uses of force.


HAYES: At a press conference today, city leaders urged patience. The
Inkster police have opened an investigation in the incident and the
Michigan state police are investigating as well. One officer has been
placed on desk duty.


VICKI YOST, INKSTER POLICE CHIEF: We`re not afraid of following the
facts and we`ll take appropriate action. But this -- it needs to be
independent, it needs to be thorough, and it needs to be impartial. I
don`t want to rush to any conclusions.


HAYES: Joining me now is Floyd Dent with his attorney, Gregory Rohl.

Mr. Dent, maybe I`ll start by asking you, just what was happening
right before you got pulled over and did you have any sense of what was
coming when you pulled your car over?

FLOYD DENT: I was visiting a friend before I got pulled over.

HAYES: And the police tailed you and after a traffic -- after a stop
sign, and you pulled over, they say that you were hostile, that you seemed
-- that you said, "I`m going to kill you." Did that happen?

DENT: No, that`s not true.

HAYES: What was going through your mind as you are on the ground,
being punched, repeatedly, by officers? What are they saying to you at
that point?

DENT: They wasn`t say -- all they was doing was punching me, telling
me to resist. I told them to stop choking me, I can`t breathe. He just
kept on choking me.

HAYES: You said, "I can`t breathe"?

DENT: Right, I told him -- stop choking me, I can`t breathe, you
know? And he continued are choking me. You know? And after about 15
seconds, I just gave up, you know? Because I couldn`t -- I was on my last
breath. You know? And that`s when he let go.

HAYES: Do you remember being tased?

DENT: Yes, I remember being tased. I heard somebody in the
background saying, "Tase the MF."

HAYES: Mr. Rohl, let me ask this question to you.

There is -- I want to play some tape of a local affiliate that has an
angle of the video that they say suggests the possibility of an officer
planting the drugs in question, which is the contention that you have for
your client. Take a look at this footage for a moment.


REPORTER: In the video, the officer seen throwing the punches,
William Melendez, is seen pulling something from his pocket that looks like
a plastic baggy with something inside it. Melendez testified in court,
police found a baggy of crack cocaine under the passenger seat.


HAYES: Mr. Rohl, is it you and your client`s contention that the
police planted the crack cocaine they say they found in the car?

GREGORY ROHL, ATTORNEY FOR FLOYD DENT: Chris, it`s pretty obvious, if
you look at the entirety of the tape, first of all, the officer who beat my
client, known as "Robocop", did the initial inspection of the vehicle, you
can see him on tape go through the passenger compartment, where allegedly
the cocaine was found, and come out with his hands clear and clean of

And then he goes to the back of the car, when the state troopers leave
the scene, there`s another officer who stepped in the middle of the camera,
and then you can see "Robocop" reach into his pocket, and sure enough,
start pulling some plastic bag out, the officer then steps in the camera
again, and all of a sudden, whoopty-doo, it`s right in front of him and he
starts field testing in it.

I guarantee you my client`s fingerprints are nowhere on there. We`re
submitting him for a polygraph on it to confirm it. And if it wasn`t for
the history of this officer having done it in the past, and thank God for
that, we would be going for trial. Honestly, my client was offered a plea.

HAYES: Yes, he was offered a plea on the drug charge, which you have

ROHL: Yes, a plea of probation. He could have taken it and nothing
would have happened. And he said, quite honestly, an innocent man does not
plead guilty. Good for him.

HAYES: Just two clarifications, when you say "Robocop", that was a
nickname for Officer Melendez in question.

ROHL: He calls himself that.

HAYES: He called himself that, right. And also, I should say, he was
acquitted, right? He was tried and acquitted of planting evidence. He was
formally accused --

ROHL: Hold on, he was acquitted of a criminal charge, Chris, but he
also has nine violations of civil rights, which they paid millions of
dollars in the city of Detroit based upon his prior actions.

HAYES: Floyd Dent and his attorney --

ROHL: Quite honestly --

HAYES: Please continue.

ROHL: I`m sorry?

HAYES: Finish.

ROHL: Quite honestly, this man took the oath during our examination
and proudly indicated that he racially profiled my client, saw him as a
black man, driving a Cadillac, in a high-crime area of Inkster, and that
served as a proper basis for a pullover. It had nothing to do with the
stop sign. His testimony was very clear, he was proud of it, and said, I
was going to pull him over, no matter what.

HAYES: Mr. Dent, finally, I just want to get your sense of what you
want to see happen next.

DENT: Well, I would like to see the officer fired for what he done,
because he had done a terrible job. You know, he beat me, you know? And,
you know, I just can`t -- I`m just lost for words right now.

ROHL: We want accountability is what we want. That`s all we want.
We want the system to work.

HAYES: Thank you, Mr. Dent and Mr. Rohl. Really appreciate it.
Thank you very much.

DENT: Thank you.

HAYES: All right, there`s a story out of Georgia you probably haven`t
heard, but you probably would have heard if the man behind it was Muslim.
I`ll explain, next.


HAYES: On November 4th, the FBI Explosive Unit was called to Vickery
Creek Park in Roswell, Georgia, to investigate a suspicious package. And
unlike other calls, this one was not a false alarm.


REPORTER: A mother and daughter hiking along Vickery Creek Trail
spotted a backpack a few feet off the beaten path and called 911. Roswell
police contacted Cobb County`s bomb squad and the FBI, once they took a
closer look at the backpack, which the FBI described as filled with bomb
components, including pipes. It had all the makings of an IED, an
improvised explosive device.


HAYES: The backpack wasn`t just filled with the makings of two bombs.
Federal authorities found a Koran, a book titled "The Rape of Kuwait," a t-
shirt, and location of Jewish centers in the area among other things.

But last week, the FBI found their man. And it wasn`t a member of al
Qaeda or an ISIS cell that had come to Georgia, as one might think
examining the contents of the backpack. No, agents arrested 67-year-old
Georgia resident Michael Sibley after they say he confessed to leaving the
homemade bombs.

He told authorities he put the other items, including the Koran in the
backpack as well, and he purchased the t-shirt from a garage sale and wrote
a name, Mina Khodari in the backpack, because it looked foreign. He said
he put the Marcus Jewish community center location and Falcon schedule on
the backpack because he knew law enforcement would consider them soft

Sibley went on to tell the FBI that he`s a patriot and he felt no one
was pay attention to what was going on in the world. And if he placed the
package in the Roswell park and people would finally get that this type of
activity could happen anywhere.

In other words, it appears, this man wanted to create the impression
of Islamic terrorism where there was actually none, so that people would
understand just how ubiquitous Islamic terrorism is, because some people
need demons to be afraid of, even if they`re imaginary.


HAYES: Saudi Arabia announced yesterday they are bombing Yemen, their
neighbor down here, along with a coalition of other Gulf states. They`re
doing it as the country falls into a very, very scary civil war.

American personnel have been evacuated, NGOs are even leaving.

I wanted to bring in Ayman Mohyeldin who knows as much about the
region as anyone I know, to explain what is going on, because the region is
so engulfed right now in war, chaos, and strife, it can be extremely

So Ayman, it`s great to have you here.


HAYES: Obviously under sort of terrible circumstances.

So here`s Yemen. And I find maps really useful, because you can
really sort of lose sight of where`s where, right?

Let`s start with Yemen. Yemen is a very poor country and up until
around 2011, what was the relationship between Barack Obama, U.S. White
House and the Yemeni government?

MOHYELDIN: Well, with all U.S. administrations, really, not just
Barack Obama, Yemen was a cornerstone of counterterrorism operations. They
were under the rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was by all measures, an
authoritarian ruler, an individual who was a strongman in his country, and
was a very close ally to the United States, sharing intelligence and pretty
much allowing the U.S. to carry out whatever counterterrorism operations
they did, including controversial drone strikes.

HAYES: Right. So, AQAP, which is al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,
is operating out of Yemen. al Awlawki, the American cleric who went and
was killed by a drone strike, the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber trained
in Yemen.

MOHYELDIN: That is a side of Yemen that people obviously sometimes
focus on, that they definitely had a very robust terrorism hub, if you will
for drawing some of these extremists terrorists from around the world.

HAYES: So you`ve got this sort of classic deal with the devil. The
U.S. says to Sale, we`ll look the other way while you put journalists in
jail and you repress people, just help us coordinate on counterterrorism.
Then the Arab Spring
happens. What happens to Saleh?

MOHYELDIN: Well, at that point, he`s ousted from power. He tried to
hold on to power, but then ultimately was forced from power and we saw the
country begin to fracture, along all kinds of different lines. There was a
process that was put in place that brought into power the vice president.
He was supposed to bring in reforms.

But Yemen does have a part of the population that are Shias. And they
wanted a bigger say in the affairs of that country. They wanted to have a
political and economic part of the pie, so to speak. They weren`t getting
it as much as they wanted to. And that led to a military insurgency, a
rebellion, that brought to the scene, to the forefront of that, the Houthi

They had been around for a while, but really have 2011, gained a lot
of momentum on the ground.

HAYES: So into the sort of vortex of power, you have the Houthis who
are Shia, Sunni and Shia, are the sort of two dominant strains of Islam.
The Houthi Shia rebels basically say we do not want to be shut out of
government anymore, right. They start to take more and more territory.

We now have a situation in which they have managed to essentially
chase the Sunni president from Yemen. He landed today in Saudi Arabia.

In this context, why is Saudi Arabia going into Yemen?

MOHYELDIN: Well, first of all, look at where Yemen is. I mean,
strategically, it`s important. This right here, this little passageway
that leads to the Suez Canal is where so much of the world`s oil supply
flows from. That`s very strategically important for Saudi Arabia.

But more importantly, as we were talking, there is a certain part of
Yemen that is Shia. And Saudi Arabia is staunchly Sunni. It has very much
concern about
Iranian influence growing in the region. Iran is supporting the Houthi
rebels if not materialistically, at least morally and from a political
point of view, diplomatically, at least.

So Saudi Arabia wanted to make sure that doesn`t happen. So they are
trying to make sure that the entire country does not fall to the Houthi
rebels and protect their president.

HAYES: So we`ve got just the broader context here and the thing that
everyone is talking about today when they talk about proxy wars.

You have the Sunni state of Saudi Arabia, which is the sort of pillar
of Sunni power in the region, you have the Islamic Republic of Iran, which
is the pillar of shia power. And in three different countries now in
Syria, in Iraq and in Yemen you have open violent warfare between Sunni and
Shia factions in which Iran is essetnially allegedly backing the Shia
factions and which now Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations are backing the
Sunnis factions.

MOHYELDIN: Yeah, and one of the greatest ironies of what is going on
right now, the United States is involved in trying to defeat ISIS in Iraq.

HAYES: The Sunnis.

MOHYELDIN: Yeah, the Sunnis.

They are using Iranian-backed Shia militias on the ground as well as
the Iraqi army.

HAYES: So they`re bombing on the side of Iran in Iraq.


HAYES: And then down in Yemen, they are bombing against the Iranian-
backed Houthis.


HAYES: This is just a massively complicated and extremely violent and
somewhat bleak situation. Ayman Mohyeldin, thank you very much.

MOHYELDIN: my pleasure, chris.

HAYES: Back in a moment.



HAYES: Did you feel justice was served when General McGinnis got
sentenced to 40 years?

MEGAN HENNESSEY, HOUSE OF CARDS: Yes, as far as his crimes go, but
not for thousands of service --

HAYES: I`m sorry to interrupt.

My producer is telling me that Jacqueline Sharp has called in, the
house majority whip.

Congresswoman, are you there?

JACQUELINE SHARP, HOUSE OF CARDS: Yes, I`m here, Chris, and thank you
for taking my call.

HAYES: Thank you.


HAYES: That was a clip from my favorite episode of season 2 of House
of Cards.

All thirteen of season three are streaming now on Netflix.

To be honest, I haven`t watched any of them yet, because I have a
not to watch things I`m not in, but that will not stop us from having the
creator of House of Cards back on the show tomorrow.

We will talk to Beau Willimon about a number of things, like what`s up
with Doug Stamper, did that guy die or what, and what`s more problematic
for Frank Underwood, his presidency or his marriage.

But mostly, we`ll talk about what roles there are for me in season


HAYES: The fight over Arctic drilling is heating up in Seattle, and
if that sentence doesn`t quite scan for you, let me explain.

As we first reported last week, commissioners from the Port of
Seattle, with little notice to the public, agreed in February to a the two-
year $13 million deal that paves the way for Royal Dutch Shell to use the
port as its base for Arctic drilling, which would take place thousands of
miles away off the coast of Alaska.

Although there would be no drilling in Seattle, Shell would keep and
service its rigs and equipment in the port.

Now, this is a big deal, and not just because it creates environmental
risks for Seattle itself. As outraged Seattle environmentalists have
pointed out, the deal means their city is poised to play a central role in
Shell kick-starting its
Arctic oil drilling efforts, which, after a series of setbacks, have been
since 2012, despite the company reportedly having spent more than $4
billion on the endeavor.

At the behest of Seattle Mayor, Ed Murray, and the City Council, the
Seattle Department of Planning and Development is now reviewing the
legitimacy of the deal.
And environmental groups have sued the port to block it.

But for now, the deal is moving forward.

On Tuesday, port commissioners upheld their decision to let the Arctic
drilling rigs dock at the port.

In an audio leaked to the Seattle newspaper, The Stranger, over the
weekend, port commissioner Bill Bryant dismissed components of the deal and
laughed about The Stranger awarding him five dead polar bears for
supporting him.

BILL BRYANT: We`re going to move forward and we`re going to have
Shell there. The first drilling rig will arrive in early April and we`ve
been threatened with a flotilla of kayaks to block it. So, we`ll see what

HAYES: On Monday, The Seattle Times newspaper editorialized in favor
of the port deal, writing that blocking those rigs at terminal 5 wouldn`t
stop Arctic drilling, nor alter the course of climate change. And arguing
that if the deal is killed, Shell will simply move to another port.

And, if that argument sounds familiar, it`s because it is.

The people who want Shell in Seattle, that want Arctic drilling, heck,
the ones who want to see the Keystone pipeline built, they always say,
don`t fight this
battle because it`s inevitable, it`s going to happen anyway.

But, the very fact this battle is being fought means it`s not
inevitable. As Seattle council member Mike O`Brien pointed out on this show
last week, it is not at all clear that Shell has another good option as a
base of operations for Arctic

And, if it really doesn`t matter if Shell or its allies get their way,
believe me, they would not be fighting so hard to win.



HOWARD STERN, THE HOWARD STERN SHOW: You don`t carry baby wipes?


STERN: I do. Man, I carry them in my man purse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then it becomes --

STERN: You`ve got a man purse? Get the baby wipes. The only thing
embarrassing with baby wipes is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re baby wipes.

STERN: They`re baby wipes, and everyone knows why you`re using them.


HAYES: Howard Stern has been on the baby wipe bandwagon for years,
baby wipes for his own personal use, even though he`s not a baby.
Specifically, for his own personal use in the bathroom.

He`s not the only celebrity who likes the wipes.

Back in 2007, here`s what actor Terrence Howard said was a deal
breaker for him in the romance department. Quote, "Toilet paper and no baby
wipes in her bathroom... If they`re using dry paper, they aren`t washing
all of themselves, it`s just unclean. So if I go inside a woman`s house and
see the toilet paper there, I`ll explain this. And if she doesn`t make the
judgment to baby wipes, I`ll know she`s not completely clean."

The market for mature baby wipes has seen huge growth recently. A baby
wipe boom boom. The popularity of the so-called flushable wipes is having
some serious repercussions down the drain.


HAYES: For generations, parents have used baby wipes to, well, wipe
their babies. But there`s a new growth market. Baby wipes for adults.


It`s big business. Sales of personal wipes have doubled worldwide
since 2003.
In North America, sales have tripled. In 2013, nearly 20 billion wipes were
sold and 9 billion of them were in the moist toilet tissue category.

Many of those are marketed as flushable.

And they are. Pull the lever and it disappears. But it does go

Every bit of water, when it goes somewhere, it comes here.


HAYES: In New York City, where toilets are flushed 10 million times
every single day, whatever you send down the toilet ends up here, at one of
the city`s 14 waste water treatment plants.

We visited the largest in North Brooklyn. This one facility deals with
hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage produced by over 1 million
New Yorkers every day.

BERARDI: So we are at the influent chamber for the New Town Creek
waste treatment plant. This is where the raw sewage from Brooklyn comes in
and this
is the first step in the treatment process.

HAYES: So the raw sewage comes in here, right? And then its first
step is -- what is this?

BERARDI: So, this is the far screens. It`s a mechanism to just
physically remove debris that`s in sewage.

So, you`ll see in here a paper bag, a candy wrapper, a rubber ball.
And that`s what we generally removed for years and years and years through
this process.

But, over the last few years, we`ve been just seeing more and more
baby wipes, to the point now where the vast majority of what gets removed
here are wipes.

HAYES: The amount of debris that workers sift out of New York sewage
has doubled in just the last six years, which the city says seems to
correspond with
the boom in flushable wipes.

You can see here, look at this, this is the machine. Now, the rake is
stopping stuff here. The machine comes, it grabs the stuff that has been
stopped, and you can see -- that`s -- those are all wipes, right?

BERARDI: Wipes just get everywhere.

HAYES: Disgusting! That is so disgusting!

BERARDI: Many wipes get caught on the bars, but a lot of wipes
actually make it through, and then gum up the equipment in our plants, they
get stuck in gears, they get stuck in pump impellers.

New York City says it has spent more than $18 million on wipe-related
equipment issues just over the last five years. And every year, the city
fills up over twenty five hundred dumpsters full of debris, which ends up
in landfills. issues. The bulk of that debris right now, this stuff.

This is gross.

BERARDI: This is what got pulled out of sewage, and its just sitting
there, its not moving at all --

HAYES: And you can see its almost got this weird, almost like,
braiding to it.

BERARDI: That`s right, they do, among other things, knot up and it
makes them all the more difficult to rake and remove.

Its just -- they just get into these big knots.

HAYES: Why is this more problematic for your system, the sewage
system, here and across the country than just toilet paper.

BERARDI: Toilet paper, you got to remember, it`s tree pulp, it`s
organic, it`s dissolved, it just falls apart. It gets absorbed in the
treatment process. We have a digestive system that breaks down organics.

These wet wipes are synthetic. They`re plastic based. And so, they
don`t break down in the treatment process. We have to physically remove
them, and, you know, that`s an extra cost that we didn`t anticipate years

HAYES: But, a lot of them are being advertised as flushable, right?

flushable to the extent they`ll go down the your toilet, but they end up
somewhere, and that`s here.

HAYES: Right, they`re flushable but they don`t breakdownable.

BERARDI: You can flush a golf ball but it`ll end up here.

HAYES: The wipe industry has guidelines for what is flushable and
what is not. They blame what`s happening in the pipes and sewage systems of
America on consumers flushing the non flushable wipes.

But for the people who work here, whatever the wipe had on the label,
its where it ends up that`s the problem.

In the four-and-a-half years you have been here, have you seen an
increase in it?

MATT BERARDI, SEWAGE TREATMENT CENTER: Definitely more baby wipes.

HAYES: Just one of the rakes in this one facility fills up every half
All of those wipes have to be removed by hand.

Alright, so, show me how you do this here. I don`t know if the camera
is capturing this, but there is [ bleep ] in there, okay?

BERADI: Believe me, some days we get a lot worse than that.

HAYES: Do you see this, baby wipe consumers of America? Do you see
what you`re doing to Matt here?


HAYES: Joining me now, Dave Rousse, President of INDA, the
association of non woven fabrics industry, a trade association which
represents wipe manufacturers among other users of nonwoven fabrics.

Mr. Rousse, how did we get here, to this point, which nine billion
individual wipes for personal care or as alternatives to toilet paper are
be being sold in the U.S.

DAVE ROUSSE, PRESIDENT OF INDA: The flushable wipes category is
actually a relatively new category that has grown quite nicely in the last
few years, but overall, wipes have developed as a solution to many problems
beyond personal care.

And -- to hard surface disinfecting, to skin care, disinfecting,
personal care.

HAYES: Sure, but let`s talk about the flushable wipes.

What`s fascinating to me, here, is you`ve got this -- you`ve got a
product that didn`t exist before, now exists, is growing very rapidly. And,
has really changed consumer behavior.

My question is it chicken or egg question. Here`s some group of people
said, you know what? Those baby wipes, I bet you we can get adults to use
those too. Or, did people start using it and you guys caught on and the
industry started catering to that need?

ROUSSE: More the later than the former. There were attempts to market
moist toilet tissue as toilet tissue that did not work, but there was never
the less a need out there among consumers to supplement toilet paper with
some moist apparatus to complete the function, and they were gravitating
toward baby wipes.

So, baby wipes were never designed for that purpose. They`re designed
to be
rolled up in a disposable diaper and thrown in a trash can. Not to be

So, the wipes manufacturers went about engineering a substrate that
does behave properly in a sewage system and marketed as a flushable wipe.

HAYES: Okay, so this is key. What I`m hearing from you, and you sound
slightly uncomfortable with the whole thing, although this persumably, this
is your job, this is what you guys are selling so there`s the -- you know,
we`re all adults here.

You basically found customers were on the sly using baby wipes and
then designers inside these companies thought, well, we have to actually
create a product that`s for adults, went about trying to engineer products
that could be
flushed, hence the creation of these flushable wipes marketed to adults.

ROUSSE: That`s a simplified version but, basically accurate.

HAYES: Okay, so then, here`s the question. The big question is, are
the flushable wipes actually flushable. And, they are flushable. They go
down the toilet. But do they actually break down the way toilet paper does.

I want to show you this little clip from Consumer Reports that did a
test on a few of them back in 2013.

Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here`s how easily regular toilet paper breaks
down in Consumer Reports test. Here`s the same test with a flushable wipe.

Testers gave up after 10 minutes. Then they tried to break the wipes
down in a mixer. Another ten minutes in the mixer, and the wipes still
didn`t break down.

Our advice? Don`t flush flushable wipes.


HAYES: So, that what we`re hearing from municipal sewer departments
across the country, its what I heard from the deputy commissioner at the
New York City Department of Sanitation. What`s your response?

ROUSSE: Well, I`m aware of that particular consumer products video.

We don`t know what wipe they were using and certainly cannot validate
their testing methods.

But here is the real issue, Chris.

The problem that the sewage treatment districts are having around the
country are not caused by the wipes that are designed to be flushed,
marketed to be flushed, and pass the industry guidelines that determine

Those wipes are not causing the problem. And, those wipes represent
less than
10% of the wipes sold.

HAYES: But, how do you know that? How can you say that definitively?
How do you know that?

ROUSSE: Because, we have developed a set of flushability assessment
guidelines, scientifically, which measure seven different properties of
fabrics that are designed to disintegrate as they pass through the waste
water treatment system.

The test that consumer products showed you is just one of seven. Wipes
that are designed to be flushable have to pass all seven. If they fail one,
then they`re not considered to be flushable.

HAYES: So you`re confident that the stuff that`s being sold as
flushable, that`s not the problem. The problem is on user error.

Basically, there`s lots of people out there flushing wipes that are
not marketed or designed to be flushed.

ROUSSE: That`s essentially true. That`s essentially true.

The wipes that are flushable, that pass the industry guidelines, we
can vouch for as not causing damage to sewer systems.

But, that`s a small percentage. The majority of the wipes being
flushed and causing a burden, and we acknowledge this, were never designed
to be flushed, were never marketed to be flushed, but are flushed anyway
because of the way they`re used, or where they`re used.

If they`re used in a bathroom setting, they are often times disposed
of in a toilet when they shouldn`t be.

We`re doing something about that, Chris.

HAYES: Yeah, well, you`re partnering with some municipalities to
tackle this problem.

We might see, I guess, an education campaign for people. Don`t be
flushing your wipes down the toilet if they`re not flushable.

ROUSSE: Yes. We`re partnering with four of the largest water and
waste water associations in the both North America and Canada. And we have
a collaborative process going on that`s gone on for about a year and it`s
making great progress in defining and further defining flushability, the
properties of flushability that they can agree to.

But also going beyond that, and developing a code of practice with the
proper labeling of all wipes if they`re flushable or not. And, if they`re
not flushable, our do not flush sticker, or do not flush logo, a symbol to
indicate to the consumer not to flush that product.

HAYES: Never let it be said the Association of Nonwoven Fabrics
Industry is not proactive in tackling the problem.

David Rousse, President of INDA, thank you so much for your time.

ROUSSE: Thank you.

HAYES: We performed an experiment in the office today because well,
segment wasn`t long enough.

After the makers of Cotonelle flushable wipes, Kimberly Clark e-mailed
this morning to assure us their flushable products are indeed flushable.

They asked us to see for ourselves by putting a wipe in a dish of
water, letting it soak for one hour to simulate a residence time in a home
drain line after flushing, and then removing the wipe. The wipes will
literally fall apart when picked up.

So, we did. And for good measure we put in toilet paper and a
different brand of flushable wipes, Charmin, and finally Kimberly Clark`s
Cotonelle flushables. Then, with cameras rolling for posterity, we left
them alone as instructed for one full hour.

When the time is up, the toilet paper did literally fall apart. The
Charmin partially fell apart, but parts remained sturdy. Well, the
Cottonelle fared much better, though it needed a little tearing to come

Bottom line, TP is still tops.

That is All In for this evening.

I made it through the whole time without laughing.

The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2015 NBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>

Sponsored links

Resource guide