The Rachel Maddow Show | June 12, 2012
>>> i did not know but russia apparently has its own paris hilton . lucky them. russia 's paris hilton goes to fancy society parties and movie premieres, much like our own paris hilton . she's photographed all over the place by the rug paparazzi, she's in the tabloids all the time, she's russia 's it girl, at least that's what wikipedia tells me. but her father doesn't run hotels. he was friends with vladimir putin back in the day. it's rumored putin is the godfather to the russian paris hilton , which is going to be creating the invite list to her next birthday party a little awkward. she aligned herself this year with the anti- putin opposition movement. she shows oppositions on her mtv show, which was then promptly cancelled. russian authorities responded to her new found activist streak by raiding her apartment yesterday. she says they confiscated her passport and a lot of cash. gets they wanted to keep it safe for her. it's part of a concerted effort to prevent the opposition movement from successfully organizing another anti- putin protest today. it didn't work. between 10,000 and 50,000 people showed up in the freezing rain to protest the russian president . they marched through the bad weather and cold and mocked the government's efforts to stop them. they did this even though the russian parliament passed a law fining anyone who damages property in the course of a protest. the fine is $9,000, more than the average russian makes in a year. before the planned march, a bunch of opposition leaders were brought into the police station for questioning for something totally unrelated to the protest, just happened to fall at the exact moment to prepare for the protest. it's very convenient that way in russia . opposition groups promoted this video, highlighting putin 's wrist watch collection. the watches are high end to say the least according to the " moscow times " just one of them cost as much as half a million dollars, five times what the president officially makes in a year. i guess he's been saving up. last year the president was accused of letting russian businessmen build this mansion for him, you can land not just one helicopter there but three, one for the president and two for his watch collections. normalizing trade reelections with russia would make at that cheaper to do business with trade countries. russia is one of the last friends that the brutal syrian regime has got. human rights groups estimate the syrian regime has killed at least 16,000 civilians. today the guy in charge of peacekeeping missions at the united nations said definitively the conflict had turned into an actual civil war , not just an uprising or protest or crackdown but an actual civil war . the u.n.'s annual report on kid in armed con police headquarters today. it found the syrian regime has tortured and killed kids. yesterday the syrian opposition said they took control temporarily of an important army base . if true, that's what you would call a mutiny. syria isn't just attacking its own people with snipers. they're apparently also using attack helicopters. hillary clinton accused russia of sending a new round of gun ships to syria . it's unclear when they'll arrived or if there's anything the united states can do to stop them.
>> josh, thank you for being here. hillary clinton 's comments today came at a think tank . it wasn't a huge speech, not a big conflagration. is this business as normal or is this an escalation? have we changed policy.
>> what hillary clinton denotes is a change in u.s. policy of one from trying to persuade russia of being a better actor in syria of one of trying to persuade russia to be the russia , trying to find areas of common agreement, common interest. trying to find a way that we can work on this together. a senior state department official named fred hof came back from moscow yesterday. apparently the administration didn't like what they heard, so they decided to ratchet up the pressure one more notch.
>> the state department also warned today that syria , that the u.s. is paying attention, the international community is paying attention, and that war crimes , in theory, could be prosecuted in the future. is this the type of threat that a regime like this, particularly a regime that is now seeing some mutiny, potentially, among its soldiers, would take seriously, or is it the type of threat that causes them to try to double down and hold on to power all the more?
>> half of them will take it seriously and half of them will double down.
>> which half?
>> we don't know. that's what we're trying to figure out. a big part of the administration's strategy is peel off those members of the regime who don't want to be associated with this brutal massacre and get them to turn on assad, so threatening them with war crimes and after actions is one way to help to encourage people to defect from assad and the people closest to him.
>> this is somewhat reminiscent, this kind of escalation and circumstance of what happened in libya , in which we shortly thereafter created a no-fly zone. is that a possibility here? is that something people think could be a move downstream?
>> the first thing obama administration officials will tell you, syria is not libya . it's more complicated, more diverse, but in a lot of ways, it looks like libya , and much like with libya , we're seeing a steady pace of an administration increasing actions towards intervention. and that pace keeps going, even towards this day. the main reason that syria is not libya is there no international consensus on intervention that would be represented by a security council u.n. resolution. and the reason there's no consensus is because russia is vetoing that resolution. so that's not going to change. so what we're looking forward to is a mid-july deadline. at that point, the u.s. will have to decide whether to abandon the security council and pursue international intervention in syria without russia .
>> josh roggin, thank you very much.