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The former U.S.-backed dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Habré is accused of killing as many as 40,000 people during his eight years in power in the 1980s. At the landmark trial in Senegal, Habré was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his reign of terror. Habré was tried in a special African Union-backed court established after a two-decade-long campaign led by his victims. This is the first time the leader of one African country has been prosecuted in another African country’s domestic court system for human rights abuses. We go to Dakar, Senegal, to speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. He has worked with victims of Hissène Habré’s regime since 1999 and played a critical role in bringing Habré to trial.
- More Than 700 Refugees Drown in Mediterranean in Three Days
- Chad: Ex-Dictator Hissène Habré Convicted of Crimes Against Humanity
- Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Dead Heat in California
- Donald Trump Backs Out of Proposed Debate with Bernie Sanders
- Trump Ordered to Release Internal Trump University Documents
- Argentina: Ex-Dictator & Ex-Officers Convicted for Role in Operation Condor
- Brazil: 2nd Minister in Interim Gov't Steps Down over Leaked Recordings
- Philippines: Journalist Alex Balcoba Murdered in Manila
- Egypt: Head of Journalists Union Facing Trial Amid Media Crackdown
- Iraq: 20 Killed in Baghdad; Fighting Between ISIL and Iraqi Forces in Fallujah
- French Railway Workers Set to Join Growing Strikes over Labor Reforms
- Eric Holder Says Edward Snowden Performed "Public Service"
- Verizon Workers Declare Victory After 7-Week Strike
The world lost a legal giant earlier this month with the death of Michael Ratner at the age of 72. For over four decades, the trailblazing attorney defended and spoke up for victims of human rights abuses across the world. He sued presidents and dictators. In 2002, Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought the first case against the George W. Bush administration for the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo. The Supreme Court eventually sided with the center in a landmark 2008 decision when it struck down the law that stripped Guantánamo prisoners of their habeas corpus rights. Today, in this Memorial Day special, we hear Michael Ratner in his words.
In this Memorial Day special, we begin today’s broadcast remembering the life and legacy of the legendary antiwar priest Father Daniel Berrigan. He died on April 30, just short of his 95th birthday. Berrigan was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister against what he called "American military imperialism." Along with his late brother Phil, Dan Berrigan played an instrumental role in inspiring the antiwar and antidraft movement during the late 1960s, as well as the movement against nuclear weapons. Today we air Father Berrigan in his own words, including previously unaired sections of his 2006 interview on Democracy Now!
As President Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city of Hiroshima, we look back at the devastation caused by the U.S. bombing on August 6, 1945. It was the first time a nuclear bomb had been dropped in history. At the time, Setsuko Thurlow was a 13-year-old student at the girls’ school. At 8 a.m. that morning, she was on the second floor of the school’s building, about one mile away from the site that was about to become ground zero. She recalls seeing a bluish white flash through the window. Moments later, she was falling through the air as the building was flattened by the blast. For the rest of her life, Setsuko has organized against nuclear weapons. We’re joined now by Setsuko herself.
President Obama has become the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima since U.S. warplanes dropped the first atomic bomb on August 6, 1945. The bombing killed 140,000 people and seriously injured another 100,000. Three days later, the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing another 74,000 people. Speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama offered no apology for the bombings but called for a world without nuclear weapons. "Among those nations like my own that own nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them," Obama said. Despite his call for an end to nuclear weapons, the United States has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Kai Bird, co-author of "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer."
"Civil Disobedience is Survival": Ireri Carrasco Sues Obama Admin for Denying Her DACA over Protests
In Chicago, a migrant justice activist is suing the Department of Homeland Security for refusing to renew her DACA protection because of her activism. Twenty-nine-year-old Ireri Unzueta Carrasco received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status in 2013. DACA is the Obama administration’s program shielding some undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children from deportation if they meet certain conditions. Even though Unzueta Carrasco says she met those conditions, the Department of Homeland Security denied her DACA renewal because of her participation in acts of civil disobedience aimed at pressuring the Obama administration to halt its record deportations. We’re joined by Ireri Unzueta Carrasco.
A Colonial Takeover: Proposed Puerto Rican Debt Bill to Give "Dictatorial Powers" to Unelected Board
Juan González discusses a proposed bill backed by the Obama administration and congressional leaders that would create a new bankruptcy-type process specifically tailored for Puerto Rico. A House committee voted in favor of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act earlier this week. On the presidential trail, Hillary Clinton has backed the measure, while Bernie Sanders has opposed it. "The bill has provoked a furor among many island residents because it imposes a seven-member oversight board with dictatorial powers that harken back to colonial days, and because it is geared to protecting bondholders and paving the way for massive cuts in the island’s public services," González writes in his column in the New York Daily News.
- Obama Becomes First Sitting U.S. President to Visit Hiroshima
- Trump Secures Enough Delegates to Win Republican Nomination
- Vince Foster's Sister Slams Trump for Reviving 1990s Conspiracy Theories
- Trump Campaign Seeks to Dig Up 1990s Clinton Whitewater Scandal
- Dems Consider Ousting Wasserman Schultz Ahead of DNC Convention
- Senators Warn New Bill Expands FBI Online Surveillance
- Brazil: Interim Gov't to Lift Limits on Foreign Land Ownership
- Israeli Minister Resigns in Protest over Right-Wing Defense Minister
- WHO: Nearly 1,000 Killed in Hospital Attacks in 2 Years, Most Deliberate
- Syria: U.N. Warns of Starvation If Assad Continues to Block Aid
- Mediterranean: 20 Refugees Drown & 4,000 Rescued in One Day
- Mexican Military Kill Rate Raises Concerns of Summary Executions
- Louisiana Passes "Blue Lives Matter" Law
- Lawsuit: NYPD Harassing and Targeting Homeless New Yorkers
- Peace Activist and Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein Dies at 91
On Wednesday, 11 states sued the Obama administration over its recent directive requiring that public schools grant transgender students access to bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. Nine of the 11 states are run by Republican governors. The lawsuit alleges, "Defendants have conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights." The Human Rights Campaign responded to the Texas-led lawsuit by calling it "a shameful attack on transgender youth across the state and the nation." The Texas-led lawsuit comes shortly after the Obama administration sued the state of North Carolina over the state’s anti-transgender law HB 2, that nullifies ordinances protecting LGBT people from discrimination and forces transgender people to use the bathroom that matches what they were assigned on their birth certificate. We speak to Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the ACLU.
Bill McKibben was just named by Bernie Sanders to serve on the platform committee at this year’s Democratic National Convention. He joins Sanders’ other four appointments: scholar and racial justice activist Cornel West; Native American activist Deborah Parker; Minnesota Congressmember Keith Ellison, who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus; and Palestinian rights activist and scholar James Zogby, who founded the Arab American Institute. We speak with 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben about how he’ll seek to translate his activism into Democratic Party platforms in Philadelphia in July.
On Wednesday, ExxonMobil shareholders rejected a series of resolutions calling for climate action. It was the first Exxon annual meeting since a series of revelations that for decades the company covered up its own scientific findings linking rising carbon emissions to dangerous climate change. For more, we’re joined by Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. His recent piece for The Guardian is headlined "Let’s give up the climate change charade: Exxon won’t change its stripes." McKibben was once arrested in a one-person protest outside an Exxon gas station, where he was holding a sign that read: "This pump temporarily closed because ExxonMobil lied about climate."
At its annual meeting in Dallas, ExxonMobil shareholders rejected a series of resolutions Wednesday calling for climate action, including resolutions backed by CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, as well as New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Church of England. Shareholders did pass a measure to let minority shareholders nominate outsiders for seats on the board, raising the possibility that a climate activist could someday become a director at Exxon. It was the first Exxon annual meeting since a series of revelations that for decades the company covered up its own scientific findings linking rising carbon emissions to dangerous climate change. At the shareholders meeting, the granddaughter of a former Exxon scientist questioned the CEO of Exxon about the company’s record. We speak to the woman, Anna Kalinsky.
An internal government watchdog has concluded Hillary Clinton broke government rules by using a private email server without approval while she was secretary of state. That was the key finding of a long-awaited report by the State Department inspector general. The report concluded that Clinton would not have been allowed to use a private server in her home had she asked department officials in charge of information security, because it posed "significant security risks." This contradicts claims by Clinton that use of a home server was allowed and that no permission was needed. The report also criticized Clinton for not properly preserving emails she wrote and received on her personal account. According to the report, Clinton and eight of her deputies, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Huma Abedin, declined to be interviewed for the inspector general’s investigation. Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business is also the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation. We speak to journalist Michael Tracey.
- Report: Clinton Broke Government Rules by Using Private Email Server
- Elizabeth Warren Calls Donald Trump "Insecure Money Grubber"
- Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump May Debate Each Other in California
- Cornel West Accuses Israeli PM Netanyahu of "War Crimes"
- Obama Apologizes for Military Contractor's Alleged Murder of Japanese Woman
- 11 States Sue Obama Gov't over Transgender Rights Directive
- Taliban Appoints New Leader Following Death of Mullah Mansour
- French Nuclear Power Plant Workers Vote to Join Growing Strikes
- U.N. Security Council Votes to Lift Arms Embargo on Liberia
- South Carolina Gov. Signs Legislation Banning Abortion After 20 Weeks
- Fast-Food Workers Pitch Occupation Outside McDonald's Headquarters
- NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Calls Cop Watching an "Epidemic"
- NY: Two Protesters Arrested for Blockading Spectra AIM Pipeline
- Massachusetts: Religious Leaders Arrested Blocking Spectra Pipeline
- Activist Sues DHS for Denying DACA Renewal over Her Activism
In Peekskill, New York, just about an hour north of New York City, residents have launched a blockade in efforts to stop the construction of a gas pipeline slated to run only hundreds of feet from the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant. The proposed project has sparked concerns from residents and nuclear experts that a pipeline break could cause a catastrophic nuclear disaster that would threaten the entirety of New York City. The pipeline is being built by Spectra Energy and is officially known as the Algonquin Incremental Market Project, or AIM pipeline. Well, only hours ago, Peekskill residents and activists escalated the campaign to stop this pipeline’s construction by installing a fully sustainable shipping container at the entrance of Spectra’s work yard—complete with two activists living inside. Democracy Now! was there as the blockade was launched.
Today marks six weeks since nearly 40,000 Verizon workers went on strike along the East Coast, from Massachusetts to Virginia, marking one of the biggest U.S. strikes in years. The workers have been without a contract since August amid attempts by Verizon to cap pensions, cut benefits and outsource work to Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. On Tuesday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam admitted the company’s second-quarter earnings may take a hit because the strike has resulted in the company falling behind on new internet and television installations. This comes as financial analysts are projecting the strike will cost Verizon $200 million in profits this year and a loss of $343 million in revenue in the second quarter alone. The Verizon strike is being organized by two unions: the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We speak to Verizon worker Pamela Galpern and Bob Master, assistant to the vice president of Communications Workers of America.
This Confirms It was a Coup: Brazil Crisis Deepens as Evidence Mounts of Plot to Oust Dilma Rousseff
A key figure in Brazil’s interim government has resigned after explosive new transcripts revealed how he plotted to oust President Dilma Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation that was targeting him. The transcripts, published by Brazil’s largest newspaper, Folha de São Paulo, document a conversation in March, just weeks before Brazil’s lower house voted in favor of impeaching President Rousseff. Romero Jucá, who was then a senator but became a planning minister after Rousseff’s ouster, was speaking with a former oil executive, Sérgio Machado. Both men had been targets of the so-called Car Wash investigation over money laundering and corruption at the state-controlled oil firm Petrobras. In the conversation, the men agree that ousting President Rousseff would be the only way to end the corruption probe. In the transcript, Jucá said, "We have to change the government so the bleeding is stopped." Machado then reportedly said, "The easiest solution is to put Michel in"—a reference to Vice President Michel Temer, who took power once Rousseff was suspended. We speak to Maria Luisa Mendonça, director of Brazil’s Network for Social Justice and Human Rights.
- Fires Lit, Door Smashed at Protest Outside Trump Rally in Albuquerque
- Hundreds of Writers Sign Letter Against Trump
- Brazil: Interim President Unveils Austerity Measures Amid Questions over Legitimacy
- France Forced to Use Oil Reserves Amid Sweeping Labor Protests
- Argentina: Public Workers Launch 24-Hour Strike
- Justice Dept. Seeks Death Penalty for Charleston Church Shooter Dylann Roof
- Bill Cosby Faces Trial for Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania
- Brother of Guantánamo Prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi Barred from U.S. Ahead of Key Hearing
- Monsanto Rejects Bayer Takeover Bid, Leaves Room for Future Talks
- Texas: Candidate Who Thinks Obama was a Prostitute Loses Education Board Primary
- Peekskill, New York: Residents Launch Permanent Blockade to Stop AIM Pipeline
- New York City: Babeland Becomes 1st Unionized Sex Toy Store
Students at Riverside High School in Durham, North Carolina, are gathering on Capitol Hill today to demand the release of their undocumented classmate, 19-year-old Wildin Acosta. Acosta was detained by immigration agents in January while he was on his way to class. He had no criminal record and was in his final semester of high school. Acosta’s family is from Olancho, Honduras, one of the most violent regions in a country with one of the highest murder rates in the world. Wildin was scheduled to be deported in March, but his teachers and peers gathered together, held vigils, lobbied their local representatives and took to social media. Wildin Acosta remains detained in Georgia’s notorious Stewart Detention Center. He is one of several teens in North Carolina sometimes referred to as the "NC6," who have been targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as part of the Obama administration’s Operation Border Guardian. All this comes amid reports that ICE is launching a brand new month-long campaign of raids specifically aimed at rounding up and deporting undocumented Central American mothers and children. We’re joined from Washington, D.C., by Paromita Shah, the associate director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and Axel Herrera, a senior at Riverside High School in Durham, North Carolina, where Wildin Acosta was also a student.