Feed aggregator

Cops or Soldiers? Pentagon, DHS Helped Arm Police in Ferguson with Equipment Used in War

Democracy Now - Fri 07 20 AM

The events in Ferguson over the past week have sparked a national debate over racial profiling and the militarization of local police forces. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message." What Holder did not mention was the federal government’s role in supplying local police forces with military-grade equipment. The New York Times reports Department of Homeland Security grant money paid for the $360,000 BearCat armored truck on patrol in Ferguson. Most of the body armor worn by officers responding to the Ferguson protests was also paid for with federal money. We speak to Radley Balko, author of the book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces." "When we take domestic police officers and we train them like soldiers and we give them military gear and we dress them up like soldiers and we tell them they’re fighting a war — a war on crime or a war on terror — they’re going to start to see themselves as soldiers," Balko says.

Facing National Outcry, Ferguson Police Drop Military-Grade Gear as Protests Continue over Shooting

Democracy Now - Fri 07 09 AM

Protests are continuing in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot by police on Saturday. But the mood in Ferguson has changed drastically over the past 24 hours. On Wednesday night, the city looked like a war zone as police fired tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs. Police arrested at least 10 people, including a St. Louis alderman and two journalists. But last night the mood was less tense after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put an African-American Highway Patrol captain, Ron Johnson, in charge of security in the town of Ferguson. Johnson marched with protesters and ordered the riot gear put away. We go to St. Louis to speak with the Rev. Renita Lamkin, who was hit with a rubber bullet by police on Wednesday while attending the protest, and Patricia Bynes, Democratic committee member of Ferguson Township.

New Family Detention Centers Hold Immigrant Women and Children Without Bond as Asylum Claims Pend

Democracy Now - Thu 07 49 AM

The Obama administration has opened two new family detention centers to hold hundreds of women and children from Central America who fled to the United States reportedly to escape violence in their home countries. While most of the 63,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the border since January have now been placed with family members as their cases are processed, those caught with their mothers are being held without bond. A 600-bed detention center run by GEO Group in Karnes City, Texas, opened at the beginning of August and is reportedly already full. Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz visits a second detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, to report on the poor conditions and lack of due process for migrants, and the lawyers mobilizing to assist them. "Children were not eating. Children were getting very sick," says attorney Megan Jordi. "Every child I saw looked incredibly emaciated and had a hollow look in their eyes."

Worse Than Tiananmen? 1st Anniversary of Egyptian Army Killings of 800+ Anti-Coup Protesters

Democracy Now - Thu 07 22 AM

One year ago today, Egyptian forces opened fire on a sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of people had camped in the square to protest the ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. Over the course of a single day, in what became known as the Rabaa massacre, Egyptian forces killed at least 817 people. Now, Human Rights Watch has unveiled a new report that concludes Egypt’s actions likely constituted a crime against humanity, one of the worst violations of international law. The report puts the massacre on par with China’s infamous massacre of unarmed protesters at Tiananmen Square. We are joined by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who, along with Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson, attempted to enter Egypt and present the group’s findings earlier this week, but was detained and turned away. We are also joined by Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a former member of the Egyptian Parliament with the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, which has just been dissolved by a court. Dardery left Egypt after the coup and is now living in the United States. And we are joined from Cairo by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

Armed w/ Military-Grade Weapons, Missouri Police Crack Down on Protests over Michael Brown Shooting

Democracy Now - Thu 07 07 AM

The Missouri town of Ferguson looks like a war zone as police fire tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs to break up a fifth night of protests over the police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. At least 10 people were arrested on Wednesday, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been posting video online of the protests and who appeared on Democracy Now! earlier this week. An earlier protest faced a heavy police response, with police in riot gear stationed by a massive armed vehicle in the street. Journalists from The Washington Post and Huffington Post were also arrested last night and then released without charges. They were detained while filing reports from a McDonald’s restaurant. Ferguson police have refused to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, citing fears for his safety. They have also called on demonstrators to limit their protests to daytime hours. We go to St. Louis to speak with Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township. Bynes has been out in the streets of Ferguson every night documenting the protests on Twitter.

Glenn Greenwald Criticizes NPR for Relying on CIA-Linked Firm in Report on Impact of Snowden Leaks

Democracy Now - Wed 07 51 AM

Glenn Greenwald’s latest article for The Intercept is headlined "NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting." Greenwald takes a highly critical look at a story by NPR’s counterterrorism correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston, which aired on Morning Edition earlier this month. Temple-Raston’s report focused on claims by the tech firm Recorded Future that it has "tangible evidence" that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden harmed national security by prompting terrorists to develop more sophisticated encryption programs. Greenwald says the NPR report erred in failing to mention that the firm is funded by the CIA. "This was such a pure and indisputable case of journalistic malpractice and deceit," Greenwald charges. "NPR radically misled millions of people with this report."

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Intel Agencies Provide "Key Ingredient" in Enabling Israeli Aggression in Gaza

Democracy Now - Wed 07 48 AM

Earlier this month, The Intercept published documents provided by Edward Snowden that revealed the deep ties between Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies. In a recent article, journalist Glenn Greenwald cites one 2013 document that described a "far-reaching technical and analytic relationship" between the National Security Agency and its Israeli counterpart against "mutually agreed upon geographic targets." The partnership includes a "dedicated communications line" supporting "the exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence."

Glenn Greenwald on Iraq: Is U.S. "Humanitarianism" Only Summoned to Control Oil-Rich Areas?

Democracy Now - Wed 07 40 AM

We discuss the situation in Iraq with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. In a recent article for The Intercept, "U.S. 'Humanitarian' Bombing of Iraq: A Redundant Presidential Ritual," Greenwald reviews news headlines related to U.S. military action in Iraq over the past two decades. He cites a 1991 New York Times headline, "U.S. and Allies Open Air War on Iraq; Bomb Baghdad and Kuwaiti Targets; 'No Choice' But Force, Bush Declares," and a CNN headline from 2003 titled "Blair Likens Saddam to Hitler." Then, closer to the present, he cites a Daily Beast story titled "ISIS 'Worse Than Al Qaeda,' Says Top State Department Official."

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis' Advance

Democracy Now - Wed 07 11 AM

The United States is sending 130 more troops to Iraq amidst a bombing campaign against ISIS militants in the north and a political crisis gripping Baghdad. We are joined by veteran Middle East correspondent Patrick Cockburn, author of the new book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising." Cockburn addresses the power struggle in Baghdad, Hillary Clinton’s claim that President Obama’s "failure" to support Syrian rebels helped fuel ISIS’s advance, the role of oil in the current U.S. airstrikes, and his fears that Iraq is entering a "new, more explosive era far worse than anything we’ve seen over the last 10 years."

The Killing of Michael Brown: Missouri Police Shooting of Unarmed Black Teen Sparks Days of Protests

Democracy Now - Tue 07 41 AM

Protesters in St. Louis, Missouri, are demanding justice in a police shooting that killed an unarmed African-American teen. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death in the suburb of Ferguson on Saturday afternoon. Brown was reportedly walking in the middle of the street with his friend when a police officer drove up and ordered them onto the sidewalk. The St. Louis County Police is claiming Brown physically assaulted the officer and tried to reach for his weapon inside a police car. But witnesses have provided a sharply different account, saying Brown was shot with his arms up as he tried to flee the officer’s fire. Brown had recently graduated from high school and was due to begin college courses this week. Protests began immediately after the shooting, with tensions escalating on Sunday when demonstrators were met by riot police with dogs. We speak to Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, who is in Ferguson meeting with the local community. We are also joined by Antonio French, a community advocate who has been live-tweeting and posting Vine videos of the protests.

As U.S. Strikes Continue in Iraq, Yazidis Still Need Safe Passage to Flee ISIS "Cleansing" Attacks

Democracy Now - Tue 07 32 AM

As we continue our coverage of the crisis in Iraq, we turn to the plight of the Yazidi religious minority fleeing a jihadist advance in the north. Thousands of Yazidis remain trapped without food or water on Mount Sinjar near the Syrian border. They have taken refuge there under the threat of attack from the Islamic State, which has branded them as "devil worshipers." Iraq’s human rights minister, Mohammed al-Sudani, says the Islamic State has killed at least 500 Yazidis in recent days. Some victims were reportedly buried alive. Around 300 women were also reportedly kidnapped as slaves. In addition to its airstrikes targeting the Islamic State in northern Iraq, the United States has also carried out airdrops of relief aid onto Mount Sinjar. We go to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil to speak with Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Human Rights Watch. Stork has been meeting with Yazidis fleeing Islamist fighters in northern Iraq.

History Repeating Itself? U.S. Bombing Iraq While Jockeying to Oust Leader It Once Favored

Democracy Now - Tue 07 12 AM

As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.

"Sadistic & Grotesque": Noam Chomsky on How Israel Limits Food & Medicine in Occupied Gaza

Democracy Now - Mon 07 43 AM

On Gaza, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky says the debate inside the Israeli government is whether to allow "bare survival" or to inflict "misery and starvation," as a former Israeli national security adviser recently proposed. "Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive, and if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque," Chomsky says. "I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly, they’re sadistic — just enough calories to survive." Chomsky also addresses the widespread focus on the Hamas charter platform calling for the destruction of Israel. "The only people who pay attention to it are Israeli propagandists, who love it," Chomsky says. "It was a charter put together by a small group of people under siege, under attack in 1988. And it’s essentially meaningless. There are charters that mean something, but they’re not talked about. So, for example, the electoral program of Israel’s governing party, Likud, states explicitly that there can never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. … And they don’t only have it in their charter, their electoral program, but they implement it."

Noam Chomsky on BDS and How the Israeli Occupation is "Much Worse Than Apartheid"

Democracy Now - Mon 07 23 AM

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky discusses U.S. support for Israel; the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS); and the blockade of Gaza. "In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid," Chomsky says. "To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by 'apartheid' you mean South African-style apartheid. … There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison."

Noam Chomsky on Media's "Shameful Moment" in Gaza & How a U.S. Shift Could End the Occupation

Democracy Now - Mon 07 10 AM

As a new 72-hour ceasefire takes hold in Gaza, we turn to part two of our interview with world-renowned dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. Criticizing U.S. media coverage of the Israeli assault on Gaza, Chomsky says: "It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state." Chomsky also discusses his long-standing view that popular pressure at home is critical to ending the U.S. government’s backing for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. "The United States continues to provide the critical, decisive support for the atrocities," he says. "Sooner or later, it’s possible—and that’s really up to us—that domestic pressure will compel the U.S. government to join the world on this issue. That will be a decisive change."