VICE (2013) s03e03 Episode Script

We The People & Countdown to Extinction

Shane Smith: This week on "Vice," the rise of well-armed militias in America.
Man: Go! Ken Clark: If you are a politician wanting to sell out my freedoms and my liberty, you are my enemy.
End of story.
We have to get the federal government out of our way.
(gunshots) (bell rings) Smith: And then, fishing our oceans (explosion) Fuck! to death.
(man speaks Chinese) (speaks) (lightning crashes) (shouts) (cheers) (people shout) The guy who's instructing us, he's former military, so this is all stuff that he learned while he was serving.
Everyone's just reeling like crazy to get more and more hooks in.
Since Obama's election, his administration has been portrayed as anti-gun.
(people shouting) Whereas, in fact, gun production has more than doubled in the past 10 years.
There's also been a corresponding rise of so-called patriot groups that fear not only the erosion of the Second Amendment, but also the expansion of his federal powers.
USA! In an effort to understand this phenomenon better, we sent Gianna Toboni to investigate.
So there are about 25, 30 cars-- big trucks mostly-- all caravaning to this huge ranch where a bunch of Three Percenters are gonna do military training.
Toboni: There are over 800 active anti government patriot groups nationwide.
One such group, the Three Percenters, claims that their network includes up to 25,000 members across all 50 states.
They derive their name from their belief that only 3% of the population took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War.
Today, I'll be training with their Colorado chapter.
Basically, we're here to do a little bit of reconnaissance.
We have a hill.
We need to see what's on the other side of it.
If we should see any movement, we'll go ahead and do more of a wedge formation, so that we can cover more ground, have more eyes, and if need be-- worst-case scenario-- more rifles on target.
Man on walkie-talkie: Alpha, Bravo team.
Possible contact in ravine, (speaks) So I think we just nailed the double-V formation.
The guy who's instructing us, he's former military, so this is all stuff that he learned while he was serving.
(narrating) In fact, almost all the instructors and most of the participants have a military background, including former Marine and Three Percent co-founder, Mike Morris.
All right, I'm going to give you an AR.
Got a full 25 rounds in the mag, okay? Okay.
A lot of the patriot movements started with gun rights.
As faith in the government continues to erode, people are starting to want to go back to the real intention of the Constitution.
The original intent of the Second Amendment was that the American citizen would be as armed and as prepared as the government itself.
Man: Go! (gunfire) Man: All right, you killed that dead.
There's always been a lot of fear with the Obama Administration.
(gunfire) He's already proven that he's willing to do whatever he has to do to go after the Second Amendment.
But with a well-armed population, it makes being a tyrannical government dangerous.
(gunfire) I guess people will wonder, why are you training? Give me a scenario where you would take those skills and put them to work.
I don't know if-- how deep I want to go into that question.
Morris: We train for the day that we hope never comes.
The patriot movement's in every city, in every town.
There's millions of folks out there.
If there's ever a time when the only people that we can rely on are ourselves, we're prepared for it.
Toboni: Like many other political movements, the patriots rely on all forms of modern media to get their message out, particularly the extremely popular conservative radio.
I tagged along as Mike and his co-founder, Mitch Nerem, appeared on Denver's Freedom 560, which airs on Colorado's KLZ, a conservative radio station.
And we are back.
This is Freedom 560.
I am your host Ken Clark.
We have Mike and Mitch.
We also have Gianna Toboni.
Nailed it.
Nailed it! KLZ 560 is all about restoring the Constitution, the law of the land.
For that they paint us into corners, they call us bigots, they call us racists, they call us all these wonderful names.
That's the stigma.
People look at us and think, "Well, that guy's crazy.
" It couldn't possibly be that you're wanting to go back to restore a certain way of life.
Who makes up this patriot movement? Morris: I mean, they're-- they're everyday people.
They're your neighbors.
It's anybody that believes in the Constitution and protecting and supporting those rights.
I used to think that getting a Republican elected was enough.
It's not.
We all know that now.
They had to lie, cheat, and steal to get Obamacare passed.
The EPA has run amok.
We've got problems on the border.
We've got ISIS.
Do you think that ISIS has crossed the border? Clark: Oh, yeah.
Oh, you bet.
The Department of Homeland Security has already reported that they are tracking ISIS terrorists inside the United States.
Mike? Do you think it's any coincidence that they're taking these illegals and they're putting them in red states? Clark: Oh, no.
This whole amnesty movement is about nothing but votes.
If you are a politician wanting to sell out my freedoms and my liberty, you are my enemy.
End of story.
We have to get the federal government out of our way.
Toboni: To find out more about what's behind this most recent surge in popularity of the patriot movement, I spoke to Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors extremist groups throughout the country.
The boom in patriot groups was pretty much a direct response to the election of Obama and what that election represented-- the big demographic change happening in this country.
A very significant slice of the population saw this as a terrible thing and felt that their country had been taken from them.
Patriot militia groups in particular grew by some 800 plus percent, from about 150 groups to more than 1,360 groups in the course of four years.
This is a world that really worships weapons and weaponry and fighting.
And their idea is that the government is somehow every day becoming more tyrannical.
It's easy to kind of laugh these groups off, but we ignore the threat from the American domestic radical right at our peril.
Toboni: In fact, there have already been a number of serious confrontations between the radical right and the federal government over the past few years.
The most well-known was in April of 2014, when a dispute between a rancher and a federal agency quickly escalated into an armed standoff.
Cliven Bundy's family has owned a ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada, since 1948.
He's been at odds with the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, for more than 20 years for grazing his cattle on federal land without permits or paying fees.
Finally, it came to a head.
There'd been a battle-- you could call it a range war-- on the west for probably maybe a hundred years.
The battle is, who owns this land? The federal government has no business dealing with the land or any of the laws here in the state of Nevada.
And how did that battle escalate in April? It escalated to the point that the United States said, "Okay, Cliven Bundy is trespassing on our land.
"He's not paying grazing fees, "so we're going to seize and impound his cattle.
" Toboni: After the cattle roundup, local Bundy supporters began to protest.
Officer: Get back now! Toboni: But when a video of police using dogs and Tasers to attack the protesters was posted online, many more like-minded and well-armed Americans and descended on Clark County, Nevada.
(shouting) Go home, go home, go home! Bundy: We had some militia and they were supporting We The People.
We don't like them to treat us like England was treatin' us back 200 years ago.
We're not ever gonna allow that again.
(Bundy speaking over P.
) (cheering, shouting) Toboni: And an armed standoff between Bundy's supporters and the BLM began.
(people shouting) Former Marine, Booda Cavalier, is the head of security for the Bundy family and was there on the day of the standoff.
Can you just illustrate for us what actually happened on that bridge? What did it look like? We had both freeways blocked off all the way out, pretty much, to Vegas and pretty much all the way into Utah.
The BLM was on this side facing that way.
We had citizens facing this way.
Right up on the ridge over here is a flat spot where they had their sniper.
We had counter snipers on top of the bridge.
Tactically speaking, we had superior ground.
In the art of warfare, the high ground usually wins.
Should a firefight have erupted, it would have been a blood bath on both ends, but it would have shown, once again, what Americans are willing to do for their liberties.
Toboni: Ultimately, it was the federal agents who backed down.
Cavalier: They went ahead and wrapped it up and left.
They tucked tail and run, too.
A few minutes after it all ended, you saw a herd of cattle walking through there-- little baby calves, mom cows, dad cows and everybody-- going back home.
What did it mean for you guys when they backed down? It was a victory for this stage of the battle.
There's still a war going on for liberty and freedoms that need to be addressed.
Do you think there are patriots that are willing to die for this movement? Oh, yeah.
Anybody who was willing to show up out here and go against tyrannical government force shows that there are people out there that'll go to that level.
The legacy of the Bundy Ranch is going to be felt for many years to come.
Toboni: Daryl Johnson is a former senior domestic terrorism analyst for the Department of Homeland Security.
It served not only as a recruitment tool to bring more people into these extremist causes, that became a radicalization note because they did take arms against the federal government and got away with it.
Toboni: This victory over federal authorities emboldened the movement and even inspired some of its more extreme members to carry out even deadlier actions.
Johnson: One such example of radicalized individuals from the Bundy Ranch is Jerad and Amanda Miller, who stood side-by-side with the militia and repelled the federal government.
Jerad: I really don't want violence toward them, but if that's the language they want to speak, we'll learn it.
A few weeks later, they would carry out a violent attack in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing two police officers and draping them with the Gadsden Minutemen flag.
And there are many Jerad and Amanda Millers who were at the Bundy Ranch who are now back in their communities.
(siren wailing) Johnson: We've had a number of recent domestic terrorism attacks that no one even realizes has happened.
(explosion) For example, the NAACP office in Colorado was recently bombed, we've had police officers shot in Florida and Pennsylvania under political causes.
There've been a number of these attacks that the media doesn't follow up on to see what the motivation was, and so a lot of people don't realize that these are terrorist attacks.
Toboni: But it's not just confrontations like the Bundy standoff that's fueling the growth of patriot groups.
President Obama's policies regarding illegal immigration and border control have been perceived as so lenient that it has only further galvanized the movement.
Now many have taken border security into their own hands.
They look at it as a foreign invasion, taking away jobs, taking away our rights.
This feeds into the cause of the militia to organize and to train.
And so a number of vigilante groups formed along the border of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.
This is basically where the fence, uh, stops at what we call a pedestrian walk-around.
It only goes about two miles, and then after that it's wide open.
With the amnesty that's going on, basically it's just opened up the border.
Obama's taking 'em from here and putting 'em all over the country.
We have no idea where they're going.
We're finding out a lot of these people are criminals and from terrorist countries.
You think there are terrorists coming over? Um, absolutely.
I mean, we have the ISIS problem going on.
They've stated they're going to come to our country.
Obama's just made it basically easy for anybody, just wherever you're from in the world, you can just come here and just walk right in and start livin' here.
Man: Our government's not committed to anything but putting money in their pockets, in my opinion.
This is a duty more than a job.
It's at the point where the federal government won't even act to secure its own nation's borders.
The common citizen is just gonna have to take over for himself.
Rooster: The government is no longer doin' what it's supposed to do, then the people have the power to make the changes necessary.
We're prior service veterans who wants to get involved, wants to help, and wants to do what's right.
And now that we're no longer under contract with 'em and have to follow their orders, they're afraid of what we might do.
Joe: We have the right to put an end to it.
Our operations are anywhere from 20 to a hundred people.
And it's just, it's growing faster than we can keep track of it.
Toboni: This militia's numbers have grown so much that they're now able to send out additional teams that patrol throughout the night.
(gun cocks) Man: Alpha, this is Bravo.
Bravo is advancing to your position.
Toboni: As more militias arrive heavily-armed at the border, federal authorities have grown increasingly concerned.
Johnson: Today, we find ourselves at a white-hot period of extremism in America.
Due to the sheer size of the patriot movement, the fact that we've got hundreds of thousands of people that subscribe to these extremist belief systems, the military training that they have, and the capability, the massive amounts of firearms and explosives, I consider them one of the greatest threats here in the country.
Toboni: In fact, a recent study funded by the Department of Homeland Security found that law enforcement considers extreme anti-government groups two of the top three greatest terrorist threats to America.
Johnson: Patriot groups inspire people to carry out violence in the name of a political cause.
We've had police officers that have been killed, we've had federal buildings targeted, we've had mosques burned.
Individuals become radicalized to the point of carrying out acts of terrorism In recent years, record levels of overfishing have pushed many species of sea life to the brink of extinction, and one of the hardest hit has been the shark.
In fact, less than 10 people a year are killed by sharks, and an estimated hundred million sharks are killed by humans.
And a staggering 90% of all large predatory fish have now been completely wiped out.
So we sent Isobel Yeung to the Mozambique Channel, one of the most vibrant and biodiverse bodies of water on Earth, to see what a world without sharks just might look like.
Yeung: This speck of land is one of the last places still inhabited by the Vezo people, a nomadic fishing tribe who've been hunting sharks in these waters for generations.
All these Vezo people have traveled for days to get to this tiny little sand bank in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
The problem is that the areas where they live are so overfished now that they're not able to make a living.
These waters used to be some of the most abundant fishing grounds in the world, and a perfect place to catch sharks.
But in recent years, it's been harder and harder to find them.
Yeung: These guys have been rowing and rowing for hours now, and I can tell you this is not easy work.
They set the shark net a couple of days ago.
They're hoping to find just one shark to feed their whole family tonight.
Yeung: As we pulled up the nets, one of the fishermen told us why they target sharks specifically.
Yeung: While the Vezos eat the entire shark, the overwhelming majority of sharks are caught purely for their fins.
Those fins are used for making the Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup.
We're pulling in the last of three nets here.
We haven't seen one fish, let alone a single shark, so, yeah, that's it.
Now that it's so hard to find sharks, they're left to scramble for whatever's left: spearfishing small fish, drying octopus, and rationing what little food they have.
Yeung: It seems kind of idyllic to me coming to visit you, but I imagine it's quite tough at times, being out here.
(speaking Malagasy) Yeung: Have you seen a lot of industrial fishermen? (speaking Malagasy) Yeung: The people he's referring to are the 4,000 industrial fishing boats licensed to fish in the Indian Ocean at any given time, sweeping up everything within their reach.
As the Vezo lose their livelihood, the ocean is losing one of its top predators.
This creates devastating effects that ripple all the way down the ecosystem, which is why targeting sharks for their fins is illegal in Madagascar.
Despite this huge volume of ships, in Madagascar we found that there was only one operating vessel to monitor 460,000 square miles of open water.
We joined them for what turned out to be their first inspection in six months.
Yeung: How often do you get to come out and actually patrol these seas? (speaking Malagasy) Yeung: Having chased a long liner for two days, we finally caught up with them, before realizing that even basic communication was a struggle.
(patrolman speaks) This is the police Madagascar.
We come to check your boat, okay? (man speaks on radio) Okay.
That is just one of hundreds and hundreds of industrial sail ships roaming these Madagascar oceans, coming from all over the world, especially Europe and Asia.
That is a hell of a lot of fish blood coming out.
Yeung: These boats are built to stay out here for up to six months at a time, using massive freezers that allow them to do so, and crews that work in 18-hour shifts.
(Yeung speaks) How many hooks do you have? The scale of what's going on here is immense.
Everyone's just reeling like crazy to get more and more hooks in.
Each one of these lines has 3,000 hooks on them and they're using 370 lines every single day.
That means that every day, just one of these boats can have over a million hooks in the water.
It's a super effective way to catch mammoth amounts of fish, but it doesn't discriminate.
These hooks catch everything.
Most of their by-catch is sharks.
They drag on the line for days, leaving most of them dead by the time they get on board.
They're telling me that they're gonna throw them back over dead.
I don't know if they'd be doing that if we weren't here or not.
Why do you not keep the shark? Why? Yeung: But down below, we found a freezer full of these same sharks.
(patrolman speaks) (patrolman speaks) (fisherman speaks) (speaks) (patrolman speaks) (patrolman speaks) (fisherman speaks) Yeung: So when these laws are followed, the sharks are chucked back into the water, dead.
And if they're not followed, they can just say they caught them somewhere else.
(patrolman speaks) (patrolman speaks) (captain speaks) (patrolman speaks) Yeung: While the laws are designed to slow down shark finning in Madagascar, these fins are worth huge amounts of cash.
So the practice is everywhere.
It wasn't too hard to track down a seller.
We posed as potential buyers and were taken to his warehouse.
We've managed to get the number of a shark fin dealer here in Antananarivo.
Obviously, these shark fin dealers are not happy about being on camera, so we're having to wear hidden cameras and hidden microphones.
(horn honks) (dealer speaking Chinese) (speaks Chinese) (dealer speaks Chinese) (Yeung speaks) (dealer speaks) (Yeung speaks) (dealer speaks) (Yeung speaks) (dealer speaks) (dealer speaks) Yeung: He told us that selling one ton of fins a month brings in $200,000 in profits.
The scary thing is that this is nothing compared to what's going on in the global market, where an estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year.
We spoke to marine ecologist and overfishing expert Dr.
Boris Worm.
How worried should we be about our shark populations right now? Sharks to me are like an indicator species-- they're the first to go.
They're the canary in the coal mine.
When the sharks go, everything else starts to change.
In 2006, we published a study that looked at global trends and catches of all seafood species that we have data for.
What we saw was that every year, a greater proportion of species was collapsed in all catches-- we used to catch.
Trawlers, long-liners are incredibly effective at catching fish in huge numbers.
But also, they're very unselective.
This is like going to the Serengeti to harvest, say, wildebeests, and dragging huge nets across the landscape, sweeping up the wildebeests along with the rhinos, the giraffes, the lions, the gazelles, everything, and throwing everything out dead and just keeping the wildebeest.
What we asked was, if that trend would continue, when would we end up without any seafood species at all? And the answer was by the middle of the century.
Every year, we see more species threatened with extinction, more stocks collapsing.
The thing about this is this has an end to it.
At one point, we will run out if this trend continues.
Yeung: The trend of collapse has been happening everywhere, including in the US.
Eight years ago, red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico was down by 97%.
But in 2007, things changed.
Man: Look at all those fish.
Everything above this little red line is fish.
There's gonna be a lot more in a minute here.
Yeung: Buddy Guindon is a third-generation fisherman based out of Galveston, Texas, who, a few years ago, was left thinking that a family tradition of fishing red snapper would end with him.
Break it down for me.
How depleted were the fish stocks? I can tell you this, I was looking for other things for my children to do, 'cause I thought it was over.
When they decided to change the management system, we got a vote.
I was one of the people that voted against it.
Every time the government changes the regulations, we were losing.
Luckily, there was people smarter than me that really looked into it and said, "This is gonna be a good thing.
" Yeung: That good thing is a catch share program that began in 2007.
It starts with scientists assessing the health of fishery populations.
Based on that data, they then determine what percentage of stocks must be protected so that fish populations can replenish and thrive.
The remainder, or the "total annual catch," is then divided up amongst the fishing community via shares, like a stock market.
Over time, as the fishery grows healthier, those shares appreciate.
When they do stock assessments and they see more fish in the water, they raise the total allowable catch.
And when they increase the quotas, the numbers of fish you can harvest goes up.
A good day 10 years ago was 500 pounds.
Now we catch 10,000 in a day.
Yeung: To understand why this system isn't being implemented around the globe, we spoke to Amanda Leland, Oceans Director at the Environmental Defense Fund, who initiated the program here in Galveston.
What have been the challenges in implementing that kind of program? The biggest problems are in these coastal, near-shore fisheries that have limited governance.
They don't have a lot of rules.
They don't have a lot of science.
There's not really a plan to help manage the fisheries successfully over the long term.
And it's in these communities, in places like Tanzania, that need it the most.
Yeung: So we may have found some of the solutions to fix our fish markets here, but just off the Mozambique Channel, more and more fishermen are resorting to drastically destructive fishing practices, just to survive.
(explosion) Yeung: Blast fishing uses explosives to kill schools of fish in a matter of seconds.
And although it is illegal in Tanzania, five minutes off the coast of Dar es Salaam, hundreds of blasts are going off in plain sight every day.
We managed to persuade this group of blast fishermen to show us how it's done.
(man speaks Swahili) They're just mixing up industrial fertilizer with petrol, and this guy's just making a fuse.
How did you lose your fingers? (speaks Swahili) You're kind of scaring me.
Yeung: This guy says that he's found a school of fish here, so he's about to throw his bomb.
Fuck! Oh my God.
You can see all this murky brown water at the surface.
It's just bits of coral down here.
What have you got? This handful of fish is everything that they've got after blasting about a 10-meter diameter of coral reef.
Yeung: Coral reefs are one of the key starting points for life in the ocean.
With each explosion, thousands of years of ecosystem are reduced to rubble.
We went down with local conservationist, Jason Rubens, to view the devastation.
(Jason speaking) Yeung: As we decimate our oceans' population, our own population is skyrocketing, which puts us at a tipping point.
We know a potential solution, but as a result of poverty and a complete lack of oversight, we're allowing one our most fundamental sources of food to disappear before our eyes.
Three billion people rely on fish as an important source of protein.
New research shows that we can actually have more fish in the water, more food on the plate, and more prosperous communities.
And at a global scale, it's possible that we could double the amount of fish in the water.
We have a choice, and our choice is to get fishing right or not.
And if we don't, we've got a serious starvation crisis on our hands.

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