In a holiday special, we spend the hour with Isabel Allende, one of Latin America’s and the United States’ greatest novelists. Just this week she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Allende is the author of 20 books, including "The House of the Spirits," "Paula" and "Daughter of Fortune." Her latest is a mystery novel titled "Ripper." Her books have been translated into 35 languages, sold close to 60 million copies around the world. Allende now lives in California, but she was born in Peru in 1942 and traveled the world as the daughter of a Chilean diplomat. Her father’s first cousin was Salvador Allende, Chile’s president from 1970 until Sept. 11, 1973, when Augusto Pinochet seized power in a CIA-backed military coup. Salvador Allende died in the palace that day. Isabel Allende would later flee from her native Chile to Venezuela. In April, Amy Goodman conducted a public interview with Isabel Allende at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas in New York shortly after the publication of "Ripper." In this wide-ranging conversation, Allende discusses her literary career and her memories of Chile before and during the coup.
After world-renowned scholar Noam Chomsky gave a major address on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the hall of the United Nations General Assembly in October, Amy Goodman interviewed him before an audience of 800 people. Chomsky spoke at an event sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. "One important action that the United States could take is to live up to its own laws. Of course it would be nice if it lived up to international law, but maybe that’s too much to ask," Chomsky said.
In this holiday special, we broadcast the words of world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky, who recently spoke in the hall of the U.N. General Assembly at an event sponsored by the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. "The pattern that was set in January 1976 continues to the present," said Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Israel rejects a settlement of these terms and for many years has been devoting extensive resources to ensuring it will not be implemented with the unremitting and decisive support of the United States — military, economic, diplomatic and ideological."
An Ohio man has been freed from prison after spending 39 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Ricky Jackson, a 59-year old African-American man, had been jailed since 1975 on a murder conviction. The prosecution’s case was based on the testimony of a 13-year-old witness. After a 2011 investigation, the witness recanted his testimony, saying he had implicated Jackson and two others under police coercion. The witness, Eddy Vernon, said police had fed him the story and threatened to arrest his parents if he didn’t cooperate. On Friday, Ricky Jackson was freed after prosecutors dropped the case. With nearly four decades wrongfully behind bars, Jackson is the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. He joins us today along with his lawyer, Brian Howe, a staff attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project.
At the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Monday, President Obama honored James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner, the three civil rights workers who were killed 50 years ago by the Ku Klux Klan after traveling to Mississippi to register black voters. "In that Freedom Summer, these three Americans refused to sit on the sidelines," Obama said. "Their brutal murder by a gang of Ku Klux Klan members shook the conscience of our nation. It took 44 days to find their bodies, 41 years to bring the lead perpetrator to justice." We also play an excerpt from the film, "Neshoba: The Price of Freedom."
On Tuesday, the family of Michael Brown held a press conference at a church not far from Ferguson. Michael Brown Sr. was present but did not speak. He wore a red St. Louis baseball cap similar to the one his son had on when he was killed by Officer Darren Wilson, and a t-shirt that read, "No Justice, No Peace." The Brown family’s attorney Benjamin Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton criticized St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s handling of the grand jury process. At the news conference, Amy Goodman asked Rev. Al Sharpton about whether authorities let parts of Ferguson burn on Monday night. She also asked about the three slain civil rights workers awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday, and whether that case offers hope for federal charges against Wilson.
Protests are set to begin for a third day in a row in Ferguson, Missouri over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed more than 2,000 National Guardsmen to patrol the St. Louis area. Police repeatedly fired smoke bombs and tear gas to scatter protesters gathered near Ferguson City Hall. Police said 44 people were arrested. Meanwhile demonstrations over the Michael Brown case spread across the country from Los Angeles to New York. We go to Ferguson to speak with Tory Russell, one of the founders of the group Hands Up United and a member of the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle.
- More Than 40 Arrested in Ferguson on 2nd Night of Protest
- Protesters March, Block Highways in 170 Cities Over Police Abuse
- Obama Calls for Calm in Ferguson
- Darren Wilson: "I Know I Did My Job Right"
- Black Friday Boycott over Ferguson to Coincide with Wal-Mart Strikes
- Syrian Airstrikes Kill 95 People in Raqqa
- Gunmen Kill 3 Pakistani Polio Workers, Driver
- U.S. Drone Strike Kills 7 in Northwest Pakistan
- Yemen: U.S. Commandos Lead Raid to Rescue Hostages
- Nigeria: Double Suicide Bombing Kills Dozens
- 8th Doctor Infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone; Burial Workers Dump Corpses in Protest over Pay
- Flournoy Withdraws from Running to Replace Hagel
- Report: U.S. to Keep More Troops in Afghanistan Than Promised
- U.N. Resolution on Spying Weakened by Pressure from U.S., Allies
- EPA to Issue New Limits on Ozone Air Pollution
- Obama Admin Sued over Leasing of Land to Coal Firms
- Obama Vows to Veto Tax Deal Which Favors Corporations
- CDC: Half of People with HIV in the U.S. Not Receiving Treatment
"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard." Those were the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in March 1968, weeks before he was assassinated. Today parts of Ferguson are still burning after a night of protests following the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown. At least a dozen shops in the Ferguson area have been broken into and burned. A number of businesses burned for hours before firefighters arrived. We speak to Rev. Osagyefo Sekou of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Jelani Cobb, director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut and a contributor to the New Yorker. "For over 100 days [the protesters in Ferguson] have been primarily nonviolent in their approach to this," Sekou says. "They gave the system a chance, and the system broke their heart."
On Monday St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced the grand jury had found "that no probable cause exists" to charge Officer Darren Wilson with any crime in the death of Michael Brown. The jury deliberated for three months and heard dozens of hours of testimony, including from Wilson himself. But did they hear the full story? McCulloch himself had faced public scrutiny throughout the grand jury investigation, with calls for him to resign over allegations of a pro-police bias and questions raised about an unusual grand jury process that resembled a trial. We speak to Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who is just back from Ferguson. "I don’t think we can take away anything from this decision not to indict other than that it is now officially open season on black folks when it comes to police violence," Warren says.
A grand jury in St. Louis, Missouri has chosen not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager. The decision follows three months of deliberation by the jury of nine whites and three blacks, including four hours of testimony from Wilson himself. The grand jury decision set off outrage in Ferguson and communities across the country who see Brown’s killing as part of a wide-scale pattern of police mistreatment of people of color. In a statement, the Brown family said: "We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions." We hear from St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch and go to the streets of Ferguson where Amy Goodman interviewed protesters last night.
- Ferguson Erupts After Grand Jury Decides Not to Indict Darren Wilson
- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Forced to Resign
- Report: U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 28 Unnamed People for Every 1 Target
- Iran Nuclear Talks Extended for 7 Months
- Hong Kong Authorities Arrest 30, Clear Protest Site
- Mexico: 11 Held in Maximum Security Prisons After Protest
- Marissa Alexander Takes Plea Deal in Warning Shot Case
- British Journalists Sue London Police over Spying
- More Bill Cosby Events Cancelled amid Growing Rape Scandal
- University of California Students Stage Walkouts, Occupations over Tuition Hike
- Obama Awards Medal of Freedom to 18, Including 3 Slain Civil Rights Activists
Longest-Serving U.S. Prisoner in Solitary Ordered Free Again, But State Obstruction Bars His Release
A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling ordering Louisiana to release Albert Woodfox, a former Black Panther who has spent more than 40 years in solitary confinement, longer than any prisoner in the United States. Woodfox and the late Herman Wallace, another prisoner of the "Angola 3," were convicted of murdering a guard at Angola Prison. The Angola 3 and their supporters say they were framed for their political activism. A federal judge ruled last year that Woodfox should be set free on the basis of racial discrimination in his retrial. It was the third time Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned, but prosecutors have negated the victories with a series of appeals. Thursday’s ruling by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the order for Woodfox’s release in a unanimous decision. But prosecutors could still delay its enforcement with more appeals to keep Woodfox behind bars. We are joined by two guests: Robert King, a member of the Angola 3 who spent 29 years in solitary confinement for a murder he did not commit; and Carine Williams, a lawyer for Albert Woodfox with the firm Squire Patton Boggs.
President Obama has secretly extended the U.S. role in Afghanistan despite earlier promises to wind down America’s longest war. According to the New York Times, Obama has signed a classified order that ensures U.S. troops will have a direct role in fighting. In addition, the order reportedly enables American jets, bombers and drones to bolster Afghan troops on combat missions. And, under certain circumstances, it would apparently authorize U.S. air-strikes to support Afghan military operations throughout the country. The decision contradicts Obama’s earlier announcement that the U.S. military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year. Afghanistan’s new president Ashraf Ghani has also backed an expanded U.S. military role. Ghani, who took office in September, has also reportedly lifted limits on U.S. airstrikes and joint raids that his predecessor Hamid Karzai had put in place. We go to Kabul to speak with Dr. Hakim, a peace activist and physician who has provided humanitarian relief in Afghanistan for the last decade. We are also joined by Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, who has just returned from Afghanistan.
- Ferguson Braces for Grand Jury Decision in Michael Brown Case
- Obama, Holder Address Ferguson Protests Ahead of Grand Jury Decision
- Cleveland Police Fatally Shoot 12-Year Old Boy Holding Toy Pellet Gun
- NYPD Officer Kills Unarmed African-American in Housing Project
- Obama Signs Executive Order on Immigration, Urges GOP to "Pass a Bill"
- Obama Extends U.S. Combat Role in Afghanistan With Secret Order
- Suicide Bombing Kills Dozens in Afghanistan
- Iran Nuclear Talks Reportedly Extended as Deadline Passes
- Boko Haram Kills Dozens in Nigeria Attack
- Al-Shabaab Kills 28 in Kenya Bus Shooting
- Israel Cabinet Approves Measure to Codify Israel as Jewish Nation-State
- GOP-Controlled Panel Rejects Right Wing Claims on Benghazi
- University of Virginia Suspends Fraternities in Row over Sexual Assault, Impunity
- Dozens Arrested Opposing Pipeline Expansion in Western Canada
- Hundreds Rally at Georgia Detention Center, Ft. Benning
- Ohio Man Freed After 39 Years on Wrongful Conviction; Longest-Held U.S. Prisoner to Be Exonerated
- Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry Dies at 78
Actors including Viggo Mortensen, Peter Sarsgaard and Kelly Macdonald are gathering in New York today for a reading of "Voices of a People’s History of the United States," based on the late historian Howard Zinn’s book "A People’s History of the United States" — which has sold over a million copies. The event marks the 10th anniversary of publication of "Voices," which was edited by Zinn and Anthony Arnove. Mortensen, an Academy Award-nominated actor whose credits include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has appeared in numerous performances of "Voices" and is a cast member of the television documentary version, "The People Speak." He joins us along with Anthony Arnove to discuss the 10th anniversary of "Voices" and its continued political relevance today.
Opening today around the U.S., the new film "Food Chains" documents the groundbreaking partnership between farm workers, Florida tomato farmers and some of the largest fast-food and grocery chains in the world. We are joined by one of the film’s key players, Gerardo Reyes-Chávez, a farm worker and organizer with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Reyes-Chávez has helped lead the group’s success getting 12 corporations to join their Fair Food Program — including McDonald’s, Taco Bell and, most recently, the retail giant Wal-Mart. Participants agree to pay a premium for the tomatoes in order to support a "penny per pound" bonus that is then paid to the tomato pickers. Soon, the Fair Food label will appear on Florida tomatoes at participating stores.
People from around the world joined a day of action on Thursday to demand justice for the 43 Mexican students from Ayotzinapa teacher’s college who have been missing since September following a police attack. Earlier this month authorities said two suspects had confessed to killing the students and incinerating their bodies, leading investigators to badly burned remains, which are still being analyzed. Outrage erupted across Mexico Thursday, as caravans of the missing students’ families and classmates converged in Mexico City. Tens of thousands rallied in the main square, and a 30-foot effigy of President Enrique Peña Nieto was set on fire. We are joined by one of the organizers of the day’s events, Juan Carlos Ruiz, a priest and community activist who serves as immigration liaison with the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. Ruiz is also one of the co-founders of the New Sanctuary Movement, which supports immigrants across the country who have taken refuge in churches to avoid deportation.
In a prime-time speech Thursday night, President Obama outlined his plan to take executive action granting temporary legal status to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants, protecting them from deportation. Under the plan, undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be allowed to temporarily remain in the country and work legally if they have lived in the United States for at least five years and pass a background check. But the new plan will not provide relief to the parents of undocumented children, even those who qualified for deferred action in 2012. The executive order will also not provide undocumented immigrants any formal, lasting legal status. Many will receive work permits, which will give them Social Security numbers and the ability to work under their own names. But they will have to reapply after three years. We get analysis from Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González, who watched the speech with a large group of undocumented immigrants Thursday night. We are also joined from Seattle by a family team of activists: Maru Mora Villalpando, an activist and undocumented immigrant with the group Latino Advocacy, and her daughter, Josefina Mora, a U.S. citizen.
- Obama Unveils Executive Order Protecting Millions from Deportation
- Obama Action Excludes Parents of Undocumented Children, Ends Secure Communities
- Tens of Thousands Protest Student Disappearances in Mexico
- Hundreds Killed Since Ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine; U.S. Sends Non-Lethal Military Aid
- U.S. Grants Temporary Status to Travelers from Ebola-Stricken Nations
- U.S. Releases 5 Prisoners from Guantanamo Bay
- Swedish Court Rejects Assange Appeal, but Prods Prosecutor to Resolve Standoff
- Marriage Equality Bans Rejected in Montana, South Carolina
- Michael Brown's Father Urges Nonviolent Protest; Officer Reportedly in Talks to Resign
- Angola 3 Prisoner Likely to Remain Behind Bars Despite Latest Court Ruling Ordering Release