PBS NewsHour full episode, May 30, 2022
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Good evening. I'm William Brangham. Judy Woodruff is away. On the "NewsHour" tonight: As funeral arrangements are made for the children killed in the Uvalde school shooting, President Biden promises to push for new gun laws, but warns his options are limited.
Then: Russian troops advance on a key city in the Donbass region. A look at that offensive and the role that open-source technology has played in the war. ROBBIE SCHINGLER, Planet Labs: What we are seeing right now, as the events unfold in Ukraine, is a bunch of new actors that are making their data available to decision-makers to really understand situational awareness.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And a release of hacked Chinese government files gives new insight into the mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs. All of that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nearly a week has passed since the shooting in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered.
Funeral visitations began today for two of the children killed inside the classroom. Funeral services are set to begin tomorrow. When President Biden visited the grieving community yesterday, demonstrators urged him to -- quote -- "do something."
And, today, the president spoke about the possibility of changing America's gun laws. JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: I've been pretty motivated all along. You know, the folks -- the folks who were victimized there, and their families, they spent three hours and 40 minutes with me.
And they waited all that time, and some came two hours early. And -- but the pain is palpable. And I think a lot of it is unnecessary.
So I'm going to continue to push, and we'll see how this works. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The Justice Department announced yesterday it will investigate how local law enforcement responded during that mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. The investigation comes as questions and frustrations continue to mount over why police took so long to confront the killer. Tony Plohetski is an investigative reporter at The Austin-American Statesman.
He spent the last week on the ground reporting in Uvalde. Tony, thanks for being back on the "NewsHour." You spent a week there amidst this community that has obviously been upended by this tragedy. Can you just give us a sense of what you heard from people? How are they coping with all of this? TONY PLOHETSKI, The Austin-American Statesman: Well, based on the array of people I talk to, I think people are processing this differently depending on who they are.
I can tell you with certainty that there was overwhelming shock Tuesday in the immediate hours after this happened into Wednesday. But, as the week wore on and people were getting a confusing message from law enforcement, a confusing timeline, a lot of the shock really then turned to anger and, of course, sadness. But then, when we learned the really wrenching the details about the law enforcement response later in the week, the anger was almost unfathomable for these people. And the facts that were being put out by the top law enforcement officer in the state really just compounded the tragedy in the minds of the people of Uvalde. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I can only imagine.
The timeline that you are describing, for people who haven't followed this, was that for a seeming excruciatingly long period of time, 19 police officers stood outside the room where the shooter was, having been ordered to do so because they -- the sense was that there wasn't an ongoing threat, which we now know that there was. When that news came out, I mean, were you present with people as they started to hear this, that the police were just outside that door for so long, and perhaps could have saved more lives? TONY PLOHETSKI: Well, I was among hundreds of reporters who had descended onto the town. And I can tell you that it almost took people's breath away. But, of course, as soon as we received that information, we then went into the community to see how people were processing these new revelations. And it wasn't very well.
And, William, you have to keep in mind that, during all of this, we have seen the social media videos, of course, and we talked to people who were part of this. And that is, as this was unfolding inside the halls of that school way. And inside the walls of that school, people were begging the police to please go in and do something, take action, do anything you can to preserve life. And that simply wasn't happening. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: We understand too from President Biden's visit yesterday that, while he was there, and then as he was leaving, people were literally shouting at him to do something, ostensibly about gun control and trying to prevent any other city from going through this kind of tragedy.
Did you hear that as well from residents, who do look to Washington, D.C., here for some sense of action to be taken? TONY PLOHETSKI: This was a very divided topic on the ground in Uvalde. I was talking to people and overhearing conversations on the town square that had been transformed into a memorial for the victims of the shooting. And opinions ranged, frankly.
There were many people who feel as though this was more of a problem of mental health or hardening schools, which we have heard some of our politicians here in Texas talk about. But I also have to tell you that there were people who were truly stunned, supporters of the Second Amendment, they told me, who were truly stunned at the reality that an 18-year-old man could possibly buy AR-15s in their town, as well as the hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and then take it to that school. But the ability to do that, to them, was quite striking and very alarming and upsetting.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I can only imagine how they must be recognizing, as those facts continue to roll out. Tony Plohetski of The Austin-American Statesman, thank you so much again for being with us. TONY PLOHETSKI: Thank you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the day's other news: President Biden spent this Memorial Day honoring U.S. service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
The president laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. He was joined by Vice President Harris, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley. At least 91 people have died from weekend floods in Northeastern Brazil.
Rescuers are still searching for more than two dozen others who are still missing. Authorities said the deluge forced some 5,000 residents to flee their homes. The region is still on high alert for landslides as rainfall continues. The season's first hurricane in the Eastern Pacific region barreled ashore today on a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing towns in Southern Mexico.
It formed yesterday and made landfall in Oaxaca as a strong Category 2 hurricane. Locals boarded up windows after the National Hurricane Center warned of -- quote -- "extremely dangerous storm surge and life-threatening winds." ANTONIO SANTIAGO, Hotel Maintenance Chief (through translator): It was necessary to protect the most vulnerable parts, especially buildings with glass. Now we're safeguarding everything from what will come from the beach. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: It is the strongest hurricane on record to have made landfall in the Eastern Pacific in May so early in the hurricane season. And, on the pandemic, new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were up 21 percent over the last
two weeks. Hospitalizations were also on the rise, up 23 percent. Meanwhile, overseas, Shanghai is gearing to lift its two-month COVID lockdown Wednesday now that cases are dropping there.
Officials already started gradually easing restrictions, to the relief of many of the city's 25 million residents. Still to come on the "NewsHour": Tamara Keith and Amy Walter discussed the latest political possibilities in the wake of the Uvalde shooting; a journey through the most notable political speeches that were never given; a cartoonist provides a glimpse into the coastal town that inspires him; and much more. President Biden today said the U.S. will not supply Ukraine with rockets that can reach
into Russia, a statement that could aim to ease tensions with Moscow. Meanwhile, Russian military forces continued their push in East Ukraine. They are making headway into the key city of Severodonetsk and threatening the neighboring town of Lysychansk. Dan Rivers of Independent Television News was just there and has our report.
DAN RIVERS: In the most consequential part of the Donbass battlefield, Ukraine is trying to reinforce increasingly beleaguered troops. The supply route is shelled every day, so the Ukrainians have had to adapt. The drive to Lysychansk means going cross-country through an artillery shooting gallery. Soon, you glimpse the consequences of Putin's heavy weapons, inside, a city surrounded on three sides on the Russians. Their proximity is evident on every street.
A few hardened souls hang on here, despite the daily torment of artillery. SERGEY KRIVOSHEYA, Lysychansk Resident (through translator): We are living OK, but there is no water, no gas, no electricity. What can you say? We are just surviving. DAN RIVERS: This isn't quite a siege yet, but people feel besieged without the basics of life.
The Russians are advancing toward them and flattening homes at random during artillery duels which make survival a question of luck. I found Valentina Kopaneva clinging on in her house, praying God will spare her the fate of her neighbors, who was killed. There are only eight people left on her street. How are you? She says: "The best, better than anyone else, with all this music." You have got Russian music, special Russian music? "Yes, yes," she says, "every single day and night." She is referring to the daily rhythm of small-arms fire and explosions which echo through Lysychansk and its twin city across the valley.
Over here is the city of Severodonetsk, which is now half-occupied by the Russians. You can see where the battle is raging and smoke filling the entire valley here. And you just got to wonder how long that they can hold on, the Ukrainians, there before finally the Russians come up to the river. Today, Russian state TV released footage it claims is inside Severodonetsk, showing its soldiers recovering what appears to be a Western-supplied anti-tank weapon. These images will be difficult to stomach for the authorities in Kyiv, who are watching Russians slowly gaining ground and removing all trace of the Ukrainian state.
The Russian advance is forcing some families to leave neighboring Lysychansk, a few bags and a cherished companion. Ukraine's modern-day evacuees are dispatched with a prayer for safe delivery. RIMA NESTARENKO, Lysychansk Evacuee (through translator): I have only one grandson.
I don't know if we will get out safely. I told him a long time ago to leave, but he refused. DAN RIVERS: On the edge of town, the police show me how the bodies are arriving faster than they can bury them, 175 individuals interred without a funeral or headstone, some cut down by Russian shelling, some from natural causes, but all denied the dignity in death they deserve by a war which appears ever closer to overwhelming this city. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That was Dan Rivers of Independent Television News. Even before Russian military forces crossed into Ukraine three months ago, private companies were using data from satellites and other technology to closely monitor to our events on the ground.
"NewsHour" special correspondent Mike Cerre explores the ongoing efforts to track the war in Ukraine in real time digitally. MIKE CERRE: From the haunting images of the 40 mile Russian military convoy that converged on Ukraine's capital in February, to the real-time tracking of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, combining cell phone GPS technology with social media, all part of a new wave of consumer surveillance technology put to a mission-critical test in Ukraine. PAYAM BANAZADEH, Founder & CEO, Capella Space: The ability to monitor anywhere in the world day, night, all weather and all conditions is just not something that commercial had access to, whereas government has always had access to this technology. MIKE CERRE: Six years ago, Payam Banazadeh was a Stanford student only theorizing about how to monitor the world 24/7.
PAYAM BANAZADEH: We can do global coverage (INAUDIBLE) time, night and day, all weather, with satellites looking at everywhere on Earth. MIKE CERRE: Now his Capella Space start-up has seven satellites orbiting in space, equipped with compact X-ray imaging cameras, they can take surveillance pictures day and night, even through clouds and bad weather, like Ukraine in winter. This X-ray image of Russian assault vehicles assembling on the Ukrainian border the night of February 23 signaled the actual invasion before it was officially announced. PAYAM BANAZADEH: Our third-party analysts use this imagery to then get tips to look at Google Maps and see essentially a traffic jam of military vehicles getting ready to move in. MIKE CERRE: Once the exclusive domain of the military and intelligence communities, tech start-ups like Capella Space and Planet Labs, also in San Francisco, launched a new cottage industry of smaller, cheaper satellites, some the size of a loaf of bread, to do commercial satellite surveillance for clients ranging from financial institutions to farmers. ROBBIE SCHINGLER, Planet Labs: And that's exactly what we're seeing right now as the events unfold in Ukraine, is a bunch of new actors that are making their data available to decision-makers to really understand situational awareness, how things have been transgressing in a relatively short period of time.
MIKE CERRE: Robbie Schingler'S Planet Labs, like Capella Space, got some of their initial contract funding from the Defense Innovation Unit, the Defense Department's start-up in the Silicon Valley for fast-tracking mission-critical technologies faster than the government's traditional procurement system, like it needed during the 2017 North Korean missile crisis. JAMES CRAWFORD, Orbital Insight: If you go back 20 years, they were literally parachuting film from space, and the Defense Department would pick it up somewhere in Kansas and develop the film and look at that. Now we have satellites literally looking at the whole Earth every day.
MIKE CERRE: James Crawford started Orbital Insight, one of the first commercial companies using artificial intelligence and machine learning for analyzing the millions of images from these new satellite sources to determine what the surveillance industry calls patterns of light, in Ukraine's case, the civilian exodus, which Orbital Insight's Jens Tellefsen started tracking soon after the invasion in late February. JENS TELLEFSEN, Orbital Insight: So we did see many of the large eastern cities in Ukraine started to evacuate. And we can start now to see the routes that they're taking. So this is a time loop that you're seeing here.
So, starting on the 25th, going into 26th, et cetera, people were starting to primarily drive on city roads heading west. MIKE CERRE: The greatest refugee crisis since World War II can now be monitored on an hourly basis by analysts using GPS signals from Ukrainian cell phones and cars on the move. The data is cross-referenced with a variety of satellite imagery, like these images at key border crossings, and digital representations of street activity in besieged cities like Kharkiv and marijuana.
JENS TELLEFSEN: The city of Mariupol in Southeastern Ukraine, and this is the foot traffic that we literally see day to day. And this is an extreme example. This obviously were... MIKE CERRE: From 600,000 to zero. JENS TELLEFSEN: Down to almost zero, yes.
And so people were evacuating on a massive scale. MIKE CERRE: Orbital Insight's CEO, Kevin O'Brien, came from the financial sector, which initially use satellite surveillance for tracking leading economic indicators, like shopping center parking lot activity for predicting retail sales. KEVIN O'BRIEN, CEO, Orbital Insight: Whereas a lot of the defense folks are keeping an eye on the columns of tanks and military equipment, but what about the impact into the broader economy, transportation infrastructure, energy infrastructure, agriculture, as well as the very large humanitarian aspect of this, and then the potential broader impact into the economy in other parts of Europe as well? PAYAM BANAZADEH: We knew that there are these moments where something bad is happening, and it requires attention.
It could be flooding. It could be a conflict. And at those moments is when you need eyes in the sky the most.
MIKE CERRE: As for privacy concerns, GPS signals from cell phones and cars are largely anonymous. And the commercial imagery isn't detailed enough to identify license plates or people's faces, like the larger and more powerful surveillance satellites, governments have access to. JEFFREY LEWIS, Middlebury Institute: The technology companies are fundamentally interested in patterns. And so while you could imagine a dedicated, targeted effort to get to the bottom of a single person, these are companies that are interested in making money. And that's not really their concern. It's that aggregate pattern that interests them and rewards them financially, not the behavior of any one individual.
MIKE CERRE: Dr. Mike Cerre with Middlebury's Institute for International Studies in Monterey, California, is more interested in the transparency benefits of public access to the once-classified and prohibitively expensive satellite surveillance. JEFFREY LEWIS: The Iraq War is why I'm in this business. When I was a graduate student, the prewar debate was playing out.
And my experience was that, in civil society, we had nothing to say. We all thought that the claims being made by the U.S. intelligence community were suspicious, that they seemed improbable. But we didn't really have any basis to scrutinize those claims or understand the situation for ourselves. ROBBIE SCHINGLER: Many people are taking a look at this as facts in order to then reconstruct what did happen over time and if there were any violations of international law that could be used in the future in order to make sure that you can hold people accountable. MIKE CERRE: In addition to identifying mass grave sites for alleged human rights violations, surveillance targets include energy reserves and economic patterns of life in Russia to see how effective the economic sanctions really are.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Mike Cerre in San Francisco. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: While Uvalde, Texas, grieves, Washington is returning to its familiar debate over guns and whether anything can be done in Congress that could prevent mass shootings. Joining me to address what can and cannot be done in this moment are Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report With Amy Walter and Tamara Keith of NPR. Great to have you both here on Memorial Day. Thanks for being here.
Tam, to you first. President Biden was in Uvalde yesterday. And he heard from many residents who said, please do something. What does the president have the ability to do with regards to gun control? TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: Well, with regards to his executive powers, the power of the president to issue an executive order, the president has emphasized the limits of that power. Even just today, he said that he can't ban certain guns and he can't expand background checks with his pen.
And that is true. And there are some in the gun safety community who have praised what he has done so far. In fact, President Biden has done a lot through executive action throughout his administration on guns. I spoke to a top White House official about this late last week, who said that they have not been waiting for a mass shooting to happen to take these actions.
But this person argued that their options are now limited because of that. However, there are people in the gun safety community who are saying, actually, there's a lot that the president could still do, there's a lot more executive action that could happen, including issuing an executive order that would call for the Justice Department to define what it means to be engaged in the business of selling guns, which could potentially expand the number of gun sellers required to perform background checks in order to sell those weapons. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Right, because, right now, if you're not a federally licensed dealer, you're not obligated to run those checks.
Amy, Senator Chris Murphy, who we all remember seeing imploring his Senate colleagues to engage on this issue after this last massacre, is now having these meetings with GOP senators, and has been suggesting that there might be some progress there. Is it your sense that this massacre moved enough Republican senators to actually act now? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Even Senator Murphy I think said at one point: I have been Charlie with the football many times on this issue. So he is coming into it with a certain degree of skepticism that something is able to get 10 Republican votes. Part of the challenge we have right now is that this debate is, like so many things in our politics, it's all or none. There are certainly -- when you look at the data, the polling data, most Americans are somewhere in the middle and accept all kinds of compromises.
But we don't have compromise as an incentive in Washington anymore. And when I look back to the last time we really got gun legislation done, it wasn't just that you had Republicans supporting something. You also had Democrats voting against it.
So, in 1994, you had 46 Republicans voting for the assault weapons ban, and 64 Democrats voting against it, which shows... WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Unthinkable today. AMY WALTER: Right, unthinkable, which shows also the importance of diversity of the caucuses, that Democrats had a lot of rural members, Republicans had a lot of suburban members. That's how you get bipartisan compromise, because each one of these groups had members where their constituencies were strong enough to push them to do one thing or the other. Now the two parties are just homogeneous.
One side is almost entirely rural and small town. The other party, Democrats, of course, are more suburban and urban. And so, on this issue, there is no one within those parties that can bring sort of a compromise possibility to the table. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I mean, it's the literal definition of polarization that you're describing. AMY WALTER: Yes. Yes.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tam, Senator Murphy has said that, if these talks with Republican senators doesn't pan out, that the Democrats would put forward a bill of the reforms that they would like to see done just to get a vote and get everybody on the record. Politically speaking, what is the utility of that? Does that really help, to have a symbolic vote? TAMARA KEITH: Well, as Amy said, a number of these measures have widespread support, have overwhelming support among the American public, something like expanding background checks or keeping guns out of... WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Raising the limit -- the age limit. AMY WALTER: Yes. TAMARA KEITH: Yes, an age limit, moving the age limit to 21 for all types of weapons, preventing people involved in domestic violence from obtaining weapons. There are a number of measures that are widely supported that Democrats see value in getting on the record.
Now, Chris Murphy is someone who is arguing that Democrats need to not be afraid of this issue, that they need to campaign on it. He argues that, in 2018, they did campaign on this issue, and they did pretty well in 2018. Now, I don't know if there actually is a causal relationship there, as he says there is. But there is sort of a divide among Democrats about whether you embrace gun safety as an issue or whether you hide from it. I will say that numerous people have told me that the difference between now, this terrible mass shooting, and Sandy Hook is that, since then, a huge lobby, a huge advocacy army has built up of people who want gun safety measures that simply didn't exist in an organized fashion before that. It is the gun safety response to the NRA, and it's much more organized than it was in the past.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: I want to shift across the country now to Wyoming. We saw President Trump out in Wyoming recently coming off a pretty bad defeat of his election denier candidates in Georgia. Two of them went down quite seriously. President Trump is now out in Wyoming stumping for anyone who will take down Liz Cheney, his other bete noire. Does the president's defeat in Georgia lessen the impact of his endorsement and his stamp of approval? AMY WALTER: So, I think we have to judge this on all kinds of different measures. On the one hand, of the Republicans who voted to impeach the president -- there are 10 of them -- Liz Cheney is one of them.
She has a very, very tough road to come back to Washington. This is the most Republican state, gave Donald Trump his biggest margin in the 2020 election. But those folks, many of them aren't coming back because they decided to retire, likely seeing the writing on the wall, they wouldn't win a primary, or they're going to lose their primaries.
So he's going to basically have been responsible for purging a good 60, 70 percent or more of the people who voted to impeach him out of Congress. On that measure, it's a success. However, what we're also seeing, like we saw in Georgia, is that just giving somebody your endorsement and asking that endorsement to play the role, basically, of retribution for his own loss, right? It was all about him and how he was wronged by these candidates. That's not really going very far. And I think what other Republicans who are looking at 2024 see with this is, maybe this is an opportunity to go after Donald Trump.
He's spending so much time thinking about the past, not the future. There are plenty of Republicans now who are watching these wins and losses and saying, hmm, maybe he's not so invincible in '24 if he runs. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tam, just very quickly to you.
Do you think that Donald Trump is still equally as sought out as a -- as someone to bring -- stump for my campaign please, Mr. Former President? TAMARA KEITH: He still carries a lot of weight with his base. Just look at how many people showed up in Wyoming for that rally, including people who drove from all over the country to see him, pretty much. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, thank you both so much. AMY WALTER: You're welcome. TAMARA KEITH: You're welcome.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: The release of a new trove of hacked Chinese police records offers one of the most extensive accounts yet of how the Chinese are imprisoning huge numbers of the mostly Muslim minority Uyghurs. Since 2017, human rights groups have accused China's government of detaining more than a million Uyghurs in highly secretive camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. Now Xinjiang police files give an inside look into what the U.S. has called a genocide.
Nick Schifrin reports. NICK SCHIFRIN: They are the faces of the imprisoned, the youngest, 15-year-old, Rahile Omer, the oldest, 73-year-old Anihan Hamit, Hawagul Tewekkul, detained for what police called reeducation, all under close watch, all Muslim Uyghurs, victims of what the U.S. calls the genocide and the mass internment of more than a million Chinese citizens, the photos and new documents revealed in the Xinjiang police files. Beijing says, at these camps, Uyghurs learn the Han Chinese language and are taught vocational skills to cure them with the possibility of terrorism and separatism. But people who have left Chinese detention call the facilities prisons for brainwashing. And a 2019 video the U.S. government believed authentic shows Uyghur detainees in blue,
heads shaved and blindfolded. The new photos revealed detainees forced to recite verses and watch speeches on state TV. The photos and files were leaked to Adrian Zenz, a researcher who's focused on Xinjiang for years and is now at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.
Adrian Zenz, welcome to the "NewsHour." What do these documents show about security at these camps that we didn't know before? ADRIAN ZENZ, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation: The documents for the first time show us how to camps are to be guarded, meaning how many police, how are the police to respond, how are they armed, what weapons do they use. Police use sniper rifles in the watchtowers. They use military-grade machine guns.
They are to warn detainees for trying to escape or cause trouble. But then they have a shoot-to-kill order if they don't obey the spoken command. So, it's really unprecedented insights into the inside of detention camp security. And, with that, we don't just have the instructions, the written text.
We have images of actual police drills showing how police are handcuffing detainees, shackling them, marching them off, and then even putting them into the ominous tiger chair for interrogation. NICK SCHIFRIN: There's one specific example that we wanted to show of a family, a detained mother, a father sentenced to 10 years for studying Islam, and their two kids, 7 and 8, heads shaved, which is against Uyghur tradition. Why would local police detain an entire family? ADRIAN ZENZ: What the police are doing is, they are working with guilt based on association. So they're looking at, oh, who is associated with whom? And then, if they, of course, one family unit, there's assumed to be an influence.
So, for example, if the father in a family has been found to do anything, what we would consider to be normal religious practice, customary religious practice, they would then consider the entire family to be tainted by that association. And that's how I think you also came to have such a massive scale for the mass internments. We're talking one to two million, potentially.
And one of the reasons, I think, is that the whole thing was snowballing. They were just trying to find more and more links and networks and extracting testimony and finding little things. And anybody associated with somebody else or being a family member was also caught in the net. Take, for example, the youngest girl in the camps on the images you depicted her, the 15-year-old. Now, she had done nothing, according to the police files, nothing at all. The only guilt or the only wrong thing she did is, she is the daughter of a parent, an official who was detained.
NICK SCHIFRIN: The documents include what you call exceptionally unrestrained transcripts of speeches by local officials. What do we learn from those? ADRIAN ZENZ: Those are incredible because they are literally transcripts of video messages. And, here, the officials are just speaking freely. In fact, what they're trying to do is, they're really breathing down the necks of their officials, of their police officers, telling them, look, don't be weak. You have got to be tough on those Uyghurs. When you arrest them, use those handcuffs, use shackles, blindfold them.
And if they're trying to just take a few steps, shoot to kill. You have the authority to do so. Don't let them get away. In similar words, Chen Quanguo, infamous party secretary, now former party secretary, of the region, told officials that it's just that the Uyghurs are dangerous, they are a threat, and even if they have been reeducated for a couple of years in a camp, they may not have been transformed. So he's kind of admitting reeducation, brutal brainwashing may not work.
And you can just sense sort of a paranoia about total security and total control that emanates from these unprecedented documents. NICK SCHIFRIN: Do you believe that one of the speech transcripts from 2018 directly implicates Xi Jinping? ADRIAN ZENZ: One of the most important documents in the files is the speech by China's minister of public security, Zhao Kezhi, from June 2018. And this is a quite a record-breaking document. It basically says that the central government thinks the reeducation camps are great, the reeducation is going wonderful, and the region has to continue, but there's one problem. The problem is, Xi Jinping himself knows the camps are overcrowded.
They're overflowing. And, therefore, Xi Jinping himself, according to Zhao's speech, has told the government, look, Xinjiang needs more police guards, needs more camps, needs larger camps. Reeducation camps are expensive to run, but Beijing is going to help to cover the cost.
NICK SCHIFRIN: I know you're protecting your source, but what can you tell us about how you actually received these documents? ADRIAN ZENZ: I received them through social media. I was contacted anonymously. And I looked at the material. And it was sheer unbelievable.
I looked at it bit by bit. I communicate to the source. It was quite a sort of credible interaction. And -- but, at the end of the day, of course, the files speak for themselves. An expert like myself, I don't like to necessarily trust material based on a source. I like to trust the material by looking at it, authenticating it, comparing it to existing leaks, looking at internal consistency.
And there was a wealth of information that we were able to analyze and authenticate. NICK SCHIFRIN: You have been writing about Xi Jinping for years, but you say that these papers in particular led you to a new conclusion, that, in the past, you thought Beijing's lines about counterterrorism were -- quote -- "a facade concealing ulterior motives." Now you believe there has been what you say is a devolution into paranoia by Chinese officials. What do you mean, and why is that important? ADRIAN ZENZ: When we look at what Putin did in Ukraine and the blunder that he did by believing the Ukrainians would welcome him, we realize he's believed way too much of his own propaganda. And we see something similar, I think, with Xinjiang. We see that the government has nurtured a threat perception of Uyghurs as dangerous and uncontrollable people that has spiraled out of control.
It's quite clear to me they really have, at least to some extent, been believing and nurturing their own propaganda, threat perception that's been spiraling out of control. They have blown it out of proportion. And they're kind of believing it and they're filtering it down to their own officials. Of course, I think there still is a facade element to it. And this doesn't actually do anything to excuse that. But it's very interesting, this cognitive paranoia, a common feature of mass atrocities, and I think we see the same sign in Xinjiang.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Adrian Zenz, thank you very much. ADRIAN ZENZ: Thank you. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: General Dwight Eisenhower prepared remarks and an apology in case D-Day failed. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice planned to give a foreign policy speech on September 11, 2001, but scrapped it when America was attacked. President John F. Kennedy planned to offer America a warning in Dallas, but was assassinated
before he could do so. Amna Nawaz recently spoke with President Biden's former senior speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum, who examines those speeches and many others in his new book, "Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History." AMNA NAWAZ: And the author, Jeff Nussbaum, joins us now. Welcome to the "NewsHour." JEFFREY NUSSBAUM, Author, "Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History": Good to be here. AMNA NAWAZ: So you have been chasing down some of these speeches for years, right? Why? Why the obsession? JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: Well, the obsession began election night 2000.
I was the kid speechwriter for Al Gore, less of a kid now. But we had three speeches, a victory, a concession, and, strangely enough, we thought he would win the Electoral College, but lose the popular vote. And that night, election night 2000, he gave none of those speeches. But this set me on this quest to find, where are the other moments in American history where the outcome is so in doubt, not just elections, but where the outcome rests on a razor's edge, that both outcomes had to be envisioned? And I started finding them in all sorts of different places. AMNA NAWAZ: There are so many wonderful stories in this book.
I want to ask you about a couple. And you tell the story behind why the speeches weren't delivered. There's the story of John Lewis, right, and his original speech for that August 1963 March on Washington. The words were quite militant when they were drafted. I want to read just one excerpt you include. He wrote: "We will March through the South, through the heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did.
We shall pursue our own scorched-earth policy and burn Jim Crow to the ground nonviolently." He was talked out of using that language. What happened there? JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: So, in retrospect, in his later years, we started to see John Lewis as almost a warm, fuzzy fighter, and we sanded the rough edges off what he was in his youth, which was, he was the voice of the young, angry, activist civil rights movement. And that was what he wanted his role at the March on Washington to be. In fact, he was very clear: I want this to be a march on Washington, not a march in Washington.
But the other organizers of the march were hoping to have an event that would be more approachable by the vast majority of Americans. They wanted it sanctioned by the Catholic Church. They wanted it sanctioned by the labor unions. They wanted President Kennedy to see that he could work with the civil rights community to pass his civil rights bill. And, at another point in that speech, John Lewis wanted to say: I can't support the civil rights bill.
It's too little and too late. And so, out of desperation, the organizers said: John, please tone it down. And he kind of got his back up against the wall, and resisted and resisted. And then, finally, the march organizers basically said: Please, John, we have come this far together. Let us stay together.
And he retreated under the Lincoln Memorial, and worked and reworked his speech to the point that it was acceptable. And, still, it was the most fiery speech -- speech of the day. AMNA NAWAZ: It's just incredible to see. You also share words that were never spoken because the person didn't live long enough to deliver them, right? And there's one example I want to ask you about.
You tell the story of a speech that President Kennedy intended to deliver in Dallas. He planned to address the rise in right-wing misinformation campaigns. And he planned to call out, as you quote him, voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality, which really hits home right now. Look, your book says that some of these words, if delivered, could have rewritten history.
What do you think would be different if Kennedy had spoken these words? JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: Yes, this is a really interesting one, because, to the extent people remember it, they think of it as a foreign policy speech. They remember that he said: "We're the watchmen on the walls of world freedom." And that it was. However, if you read the speech carefully, he also says that watchmen shouldn't just be looking outside the walls of the U.S., has to be looking inside as well to these voices wholly unrelated to reality.
And so I think, several times in this book, we find examples of warnings made in their moment of time that resonate even more clearly today. AMNA NAWAZ: It's not all politics and policy, though. You do include the story of director Barry Jenkins, man behind the 2017 film "Moonlight."
I think everything everyone remembers that Academy Award ceremony where they announced the wrong film had won best picture. The wrong staff and cast went up there. Then they said, no, really, it was "Moonlight." Barry Jenkins had intended to deliver a powerful speech about that film that he never got to deliver, because the moment was lost to the flub. JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: Exactly.
Here we have this moment where Barry Jenkins was going to win for best picture. And he was going to talk about what that -- what that win meant. And he was going to talk about something he experienced on the set that really brought it home for him. And he tells the story of how, in filming the movie in Liberty City, Miami, they had to come in and bring in lights, so they could film at night. And in a lot of poor neighborhoods like this one in which he grew up, there wasn't light.
And bringing in the light brought out the children. And at one point during the filming, he looked over to video village, where all the monitors and editing equipment were, and he sees a young man wearing his headset who's just planted himself in the chair. And, in that moment, he said: "I saw in this child the possibility which I hadn't believed I could ever see for myself." AMNA NAWAZ: I have to ask you.
You have now left the White House, where you were a senior speechwriter for President Biden. And you have been writing for him and with him for a while, though, right? JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: Yes. AMNA NAWAZ: How has that changed over the years? JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: That's a great question. He has always been who he has been. I have described writing for President Biden as like being a session musician in a band that's already released two greatest hits albums. (LAUGHTER) JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: It's not so much about the new track.
It's about applying the values that he's espoused his entire career to the moment. And so that's what's really changed, is that his optimism, his desire to find consensus, it's still about finding ways for those things to take root. But it's about recognizing that he's trying to get them to take root in much rockier terrain today than they had to earlier in his career. AMNA NAWAZ: The book is "Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History." The author is Jeff Nussbaum. Thanks for being here.
JEFFREY NUSSBAUM: Thank you for having me. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Cartoonist Will Wilson's syndicated comic strip "Wallace the Brave" appears in more than 100 newspapers nationwide. But, as David Wright of Rhode Island PBS Weekly reports, Wilson finds his inspiration closer to home.
The story is part of our arts and culture series, Canvas. DAVID WRIGHT: Father and son dockside enjoying a bit of mischief in Jamestown, just across the water from Newport. It's exactly the sort of scene you might find in the comic strip "Wallace the Brave" set in a mythical seaside village called Snug Harbor.
WILL HENRY, Creator, "Wallace the Brave": Ah, well, I mean, I'm sure as most Rhode Islanders know, there's an actual Snug Harbor a little south of where we are, Jamestown. DAVID WRIGHT: That's William Henry Wilson. Like some of the great comic book superheroes, he has a secret identity. By day, he owns and operates Grapes & Gourmet, a local wine shop.
But he's also a nationally syndicated cartoonist under the pen name Will Henry. What pays the bills, the comic strip or the liquor store? WILL HENRY: It's the comic strip now, which is -- it's a dream come true. But the liquor store was kind of an opportunistic endeavor. I was working here in my early 20s. And the owner was very nice. It went up for sale.
He lived in Arizona, didn't really want to be here anymore. And he offered it to me at a discount price. And I took advantage of that price. (LAUGHTER) DAVID WRIGHT: Excellent. WILL HENRY: And, because I was trying to do cartoons, I would just -- I brought my drawing desk down here.
DAVID WRIGHT: That little drafting table under the wine rack his window onto the world. Cartooning was something he used to do in his downtime. And then how'd you come up with "Wallace the Brave"? WILL HENRY: I was sitting in that drawing table in there, and looking out the window, and I saw -- I just -- I saw a kid on a pylon. And it was summertime and they were laughing. And another kid came and just pushed him off of it.
And he fell in the water, and splash. And he popped out. And he was laughing ear to -- he was just so happy.
And I thought that is -- that's a moment I want to capture, fun, ocean, kids being kids. And there was like a click moment where I saw a path to a successful comic strip. DAVID WRIGHT: Very briefly, for those unfamiliar, here are the dramatis personae. WILL HENRY: The main character is Wallace. He's a -- just an energetic, happy, very positive kid.
He's the main character. His best friend is Spud, who's kind of the neurotic -- he's a weird kid. And he's very self-conscious of those weird things.
But Wallace celebrates them. And I think that's what makes them click. DAVID WRIGHT: There's Wallace's kid brothers, Sterling, who never met a bug he wouldn't eat. And then there's Amelia, who's the new girl in town. WILL HENRY: She's very feisty. DAVID WRIGHT: And your sister's name...
WILL HENRY: Yes. DAVID WRIGHT: ... suspiciously enough, Amelia. (LAUGHTER) WILL HENRY: And I would never cross her. DAVID WRIGHT: The inspiration always close to home. WILL HENRY: The weird thing is, when I first started drawing this comic, I was maybe 29, 28. I had no kids.
I was married. And the characters, especially the parents, and the kids were very much based on my experience as me being the child, and the parent characters were my parents. After a couple kids and, like, being in the family life, I have noticed the parents have kind of evolved into my wife and I, and the kid characters, I see a lot more of my kids in them. DAVID WRIGHT: Can you point to an example where you got an idea from something that happened in your own life? WILL HENRY: Yes, absolutely.
There was a comic that just ran last Sunday where -- when I draw my comics, I will either draw them here at the liquor store or up in my studio. And one time, I came down from the studio. And, like, my wife is wearing a cape and like a Dr. Seuss hat and she's holding the ladle. And the kids are like half-naked.
(LAUGHTER) WILL HENRY: And they got stuff all over them. And they're playing this imaginary game. And I just thought, this is crazy. Like, what are you doing, honey? (LAUGHTER) WILL HENRY: And they all made fun of me because I wasn't in costume. And so those kinds of moments, I try to capture for the comic, because they're surprising to me.
But they're real. DAVID WRIGHT: People have compared it to "Peanuts," to "Calvin and Hobbes." It's-old fashioned in a way. WILL HENRY: Yes. I'm trying to build a world where the kids are -- there is technology in the world. But I want Wallace, the main character, to be the one that says, that stuff is fine, but I enjoy being out in nature.
I enjoy being out in just the world. DAVID WRIGHT: And that world never fails to inspire him. WILL HENRY: That's the only reason I had the kids. (LAUGHTER) DAVID WRIGHT: The comic strip and the family celebrating life's daily adventures.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm David Wright in Jamestown, Rhode Island. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Christine Catipon is a clinical psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, Counseling Center. Growing up Filipina, she said, no one around her ever talked about mental health.
So now she's trying to break through the barriers that keep her community away from this crucial therapy. Tonight, she shares her Brief But Spectacular take on Asian American mental health. DR. CHRISTINE CATIPON, University of California, Irvine, Counseling Center: Growing up, there was still a lot of mental health stigma. It wasn't something that was ever talked about in school. So I learned to keep it quiet.
I actually went to a Catholic school for first through 12th grade. And I remember, when I was in the sixth grade, I struggled. And the way that was taking care of was getting marched to the principal's office, who was the nun, and getting shamed for how I made my mother cry.
Part of my desire and my passion to do this work is so that one Filipina girl doesn't have to feel the way that I did. Some of the nuances that are so unique to working with people who are Filipino in mental health, we have to juggle stigma. We have to juggle sensitivity to culture. We have to juggle this inherent shame. One of our primary Filipino values is kapwa, which is the sense of connectedness.
Everything I do, it represents or is a reflection of the people around me. Many times, the stigma of mental health is, I have something wrong and I don't want to bring shame to my family, so I'm not going to say anything about it. Most people of color are from collectivistic cultures.
We're always used to thinking of, what's the best thing for the community as a whole? So, when I introduced this concept of self-care, they just can't wrap their heads around it. Or they think that it's selfish, because, like, who am I to be taking off in the middle of the afternoon to sit in nature, when I should be earning money to help my family? But I like to think of it as, you are replenishing yourself, and that rest is productive. It's not a waste of time. I think there's a real misunderstanding that people have to be very, extremely down or depressed or anxious or all of these things in order to justify going to therapy.
But, really, if you're not feeling great, and you would like tools and answers and insights, yes, that's what a therapist is for. My name is Dr. Christine Catipon, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on Filipino American mental health. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You can watch more Brief But Spectacular videos at PBS.org/NewsHour/Brief.
We close tonight with scenes in a bit of history about Memorial Day, and how it's honored at Arlington National Cemetery. While many see Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer, here, it's a mournful time to honor those lost in battle. This land, 640 acres on a hill just across the river from Washington, D.C., was once
a plantation owned by George Washington's family. Then, in 1861, during the Civil War, the Union Army seized the grounds from members of Robert E. Lee's family and his wife, Mary Custis Lee, who was Washington's granddaughter. The first military burial here was held three years later. Today's holiday traces its roots to what's known as Decoration Day, begun, according to some historians, one month after the Civil War, when a group of former slaves in South Carolina placed flowers on the graves of Union soldiers. This cemetery is now the resting place for more than 400,000 service members who dedicated their lives to our country.
And that is the "NewsHour" for tonight. I'm William Brangham. Join us online and again here tomorrow evening. For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you, and we'll see you soon.