A new documentary opening this week focuses on two individuals who form an unlikely alliance to address gun violence in the United States. "The Armor of Light,” by Abigail Disney, follows the evangelical minister Rev. Rob Schenck, an evangelical known for his anti-choice activism, and Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, the African-American teenager who was shot to death by a middle-aged white man in a gas station parking lot in 2012 after a dispute over loud music. The shooter, Michael Dunn, was later sentenced to life without parole. Schenck describes how McBath inspired him to begin speaking out about gun violence. "It was her passion in the wake of that pain and horror of losing a son to murder that was really what pulled me across the threshold of decision to start speaking to this, even though for me it is at great personal risk," Schenck says. "In our community, when you break with a kind of orthodoxy on social issues — guns being one of them — you are seen as a renegade or as a defector."
New York City has more than 5,000 police officers patrolling the city’s schools—that’s more than the combined number of school guidance counselors and social workers. Nationwide, more than 17,000 officers work in the school. What happens when students are arrested in the classroom? We look at what many experts call the "school-to-prison pipeline."
In one of the most shocking cases of police brutality inside a school, 17-year-old Noe Niño de Rivera spent 52 days in a medically induced coma after police tased him at school in November 2013. He was permanently brain injured. Last year Bastrop County in Texas settled a federal lawsuit for $775,000 with his family. We speak to his attorney, Adam Loewy.
We turn now to shocking new videos that have surfaced from inside a South Carolina high school where a police officer has been caught on camera slamming a teenage girl to the ground and dragging the student out of the classroom. The videos, which went viral on Monday, appear to show Deputy Sheriff Ben Fields approaching the student, who is seated at her desk, then wrapping his arm around her neck and flipping her and her desk to the ground. He then appears to drag her out of the classroom. The student was arrested. Another student who filmed the assault was also arrested and held on a $1,000 bail. The incident reportedly began when the student refused to give her teacher her phone. The incident is the latest in a series of cases of police officers in schools using excessive force against students.
Update: South Carolina authorities have announced the officer, Ben Fields, has been fired from his position.
- U.S. to Launch "Direct Action on the Ground" in Iraq, Syria
- Turkey Attacks Kurdish Fighters Allied with U.S. Against ISIL
- Yemen: U.S.-Backed Coalition Bombs Doctors Without Borders Hospital
- Thousands Rally to Demand Israel Release Palestinians' Bodies
- South Carolina: Feds Probe Officer's Arrest of High School Student
- South Carolina: Cop Who Killed 19-Year-Old Avoids Criminal Charges
- U.N. Condemns U.S. Embargo of Cuba for 24th Year
- Senate Passes Cybersecurity Bill Critics Say Violates Privacy
- Report: Key Chevron Witness in Amazon Pollution Case Admits Lying
- Nicaragua: Thousands Flock to Capital to Rally Against Canal
- Northrop Grumman Wins $20 Billion Contract to Build Bombers
- Polls Show Carson in the Lead Ahead of GOP Debate
- House to Vote on Budget as GOP Nominates Ryan for House Speaker
Early Monday morning, three campus police officers at the University of Mississippi removed the state flag with its Confederate emblem from the grounds of the school’s campus in Oxford. The move comes after the student government voted to remove the flag. Mississippi’s flag is the latest Confederate symbol to be targeted for removal from a public space since a white supremacist killed nine African-American worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina, four months ago. We speak to Dominique Scott, an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi and the secretary of the university’s chapter of the NAACP.
Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz warns about the dangers of the TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. "We know we’re going to need regulations to restrict the emissions of carbon," Stiglitz said. "But under these provisions, corporations can sue the government, including the American government, by the way, so it’s all the governments in the TPP can be sued for the loss of profits as a result of the regulations that restrict their ability to emit carbon emissions that lead to global warming."
As presidential candidates spar over economic policies and Congress debates the TPP, one of the nation’s leading economists is calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. economy. Nobel Prize-winning economist and Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz has just published a new book called "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity."
In Guatemala, Jimmy Morales, a right-leaning former television comedian with no government experience, won the presidency after less than half of eligible voters cast ballots on Sunday. Morales received 67 percent of the votes — more than double the votes cast for his contender, ex-first lady Sandra Torres. The election comes after massive popular protests ousted former President Otto Pérez Molina in September. Pérez Molina is now in jail facing corruption charges. President-elect Jimmy Morales is well known for his starring role in a long-running sketch comedy show, which often featured lewd sketches that some have criticized as being homophobic and sexist. But little is known about Morales’ political platform, although he has unveiled a handful of eccentric proposals, such as tagging teachers with GPS trackers to ensure they attend classes. We speak to journalist and activist Allan Nairn in Guatemala City.
Massive Indonesian Plantation Fires Create Environmental Catastrophe Spewing Haze & Carbon Emissions
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has decided to cut his U.S. trip short due to raging fires that have resulted in haze and toxic fumes covering much of the country as well as parts of Malaysia and Singapore. Many of the fires were illegally set in order to clear land for palm oil and paper plantations. The fires have been described as one of the biggest environmental crimes of the 21st century. According to the World Resource Institute, since September the fires have generated more carbon emissions than the entire U.S. economy.
On Monday, President Obama met Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo, at the White House to discuss climate change, trade and strengthening U.S.-Indonesian ties. President Obama described Indonesia as one of the world’s largest democracies, but human rights groups paint a different story, citing the military’s ongoing repression in West Papua as well as discriminatory laws restricting the rights of religious minorities and women. Indonesia has also been criticized for attempting to silence any discussion about the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Indonesian genocide that left more than 1 million people dead. We speak to John Sifton of Human Rights Watch and journalist Allan Nairn, who has covered Indonesia for decades.
- Report: Middle East to See "Intolerable" Heat by 2100
- Earthquake Death Toll in Afghanistan, Pakistan Tops 300
- Obama, Congress Reach Tentative Budget Deal
- U.S. Ship Passes Through Disputed Waters in South China Sea
- Indonesia to Join TPP Trade Deal
- Indonesia: Wildfires Threaten Orangutans, Cause Respiratory Illness
- Dozens of British Scholars Announce Academic Boycott of Israel
- Palestinian Women in East Jerusalem Issue Call for Protection
- Colombia: ELN Rebels Kill 12 Security Personnel After Elections
- University of Mississippi Removes State Flag with Confederate Symbol
- SC: Video Shows Officer Slamming, Dragging High School Student
- White House Disputes Comey's Claim Scrutiny of Police Fuels Crime
- WHO Analysis Links Processed Meat to Colon Cancer
- Vermont: 3 People Arrested After 3-Day Protest over Gas Pipeline
- Report: U.S. Paid NGO to Act as Front for North Korea Spying
- SXSW Conference Cancels Panels on Gaming Harassment After Threats
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, activist and Presbyterian minister Chris Hedges, whose latest book is "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle," spoke Saturday at New York’s "Rise Up October" rally and march to end police violence. In his address, Hedges spoke about the effects that police violence and mass incarceration has on families. "There are husbands and wives severed, sometimes forever, from their spouses," said Hedges. "There are sisters and brothers that have been torn apart, but this morning we remember most the children, those whose mothers and fathers are locked behind bars or whose parents will never come home again, whose tiny lives have been shattered, whose childhoods have been stolen, who endure the painful stigma of loss or of having a mother or father in prison and cannot comprehend the cruelty of this world."
On Saturday, thousands rallied in New York City against police brutality as part of three days of protest called "Rise Up October." Some 40 families across the country impacted by police violence participated in the event alongside scholars such as Dr. Cornel West and Chris Hedges, as well as celebrities including playwright Eve Ensler and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. We bring some of the voices from Saturday’s rally, including Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant who died on February 4, 1999, in a hail of 41 police bullets as he put the key in his door. The New York Police Department’s Street Crime Unit would later be disbanded. "How many more victims were unjustly killed since Amadou Diallo?" Kadiatou Diallo said. "We can’t begin to count. I went to many funerals. I connected with many families. We’re not bitter. The law enforcement should know we are not against them. We are not against them. We are anti-police brutality."
Tension is continuing to mount in Israel over a string of recent Palestinian stabbing attacks and an intense crackdown by the Israeli government. Since October 1, at least 58 Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israelis at the scene of attacks or during protests in the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli police say 10 Israelis have been killed in Palestinian stabbings or shootings. Meanwhile, video has gone viral of a masked Israeli settler armed with a knife attacking Rabbi Arik Ascherman, the co-founder of the group Rabbis for Human Rights. The incident took place after Ascherman tried to film Israeli settlers setting Palestinian olive trees on fire in the West Bank village of Awarta outside of Nablus. The video shows the masked man grabbing a knife out of his back pocket, then repeatedly lunging at the 55-year-old rabbi, who was attempting to retreat. The masked man also kicked and punched Ascherman while making threatening gestures with the knife. The settler eventually ran away. We speak with Rabbi Arik Ascherman, who co-founded Rabbis for Human Rights in 1988. For over a decade the group has dispatched volunteers to protect the Palestinian olive harvest.
In an interview on Sunday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that there were "elements of truth" to the claim that removing Saddam Hussein played a part in the creation of ISIL. "You can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015," said Blair on CNN. We speak to journalist Charles Glass about his recent trip to Iraq and his new book, "Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring."
A new round of international talks to end the war in Syria could begin as early as this week. The four-year-old war has killed more than 300,000 people and left more than 7 million others displaced. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry met in Vienna with the Saudi, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers to discuss the crisis. Then on Saturday, Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia to meet Saudi King Salman outside Riyadh. That same day, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone. Lavrov has said the Kremlin wants Syria to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections, a call that comes just days after a surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moscow. Lavrov also said Russia would be ready to help Western-backed Free Syrian Army rebels—if it knew where they were. Charles Glass, former ABC News chief Middle East correspondent, has just returned from Syria and Iraq, and joins us to discuss the crisis. His latest book is titled "Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring."
- Powerful Earthquake Kills Scores in Afghanistan, Pakistan
- European Leaders Agree to Plan for Refugees
- Conflicting Accounts of Israeli Killing of Teenage Girl
- Video Shows Israeli Settler Attacking Rabbi
- Blair Acknowledges Iraq War's Role in Rise of ISIL
- Hurricane Patricia Downgraded in Mexico, Dumps Rain on Texas
- Climate Negotiators Fail to Reach Agreement on Key Issues in Bonn
- Leaked Draft of Trade Deal Shows EU Breaking Environmental Pledge
- Indonesian President Visits White House amid Human Rights Concerns
- Comedian Elected President of Guatemala; Right Takes Control in Poland
- Obama Calls for Curbing Standardized Testing in Major Turnaround
- NYT: Police Stop Black Drivers in NC at Disproportionate Rate
- Christie Accuses #BlackLivesMatter of Calling for Murder of Police
- Cornel West Responds to Comey's Claim Scrutiny of Police Increases Crime
- Black Lives Matter Rejects DNC Town Hall Offer, Calls for Debate
- Ben Carson Compares People Who Have Abortions to Slaveowners
- Lincoln Chafee Drops Out of Presidential Race
- Junot Díaz Called "Anti-Dominican" by Consul for Protesting Deportations
Last month, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and other privacy activists launched a new campaign to establish global privacy standards. The proposed International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers would require states to ban mass data collection and implement public oversight of national security programs. It would also require states to offer asylum to whistleblowers. It’s been dubbed the "Snowden Treaty." We discuss the state of mass surveillance with Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights.
More than 25 European countries cooperated with the CIA’s rendition, torture and secret prison program, and the quest for accountability continues today. "This is a sordid story that does Europe shame," says Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. "[European countries] facilitated these human rights violations — they should be accountable before their citizens and before international law."