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"Protect People, Not Borders": Report from the Macedonian-Greek Border

Democracy Now - Wed 06 56 AM

On Monday, a single-day record 7,000 Syrian refugees arrived in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia. We go to the Macedonian-Greek border to speak with Gabriela Andreevska, one of key organizers who has been working on the ground for the last four months to provide food, transportation and medicine to refugees crossing the border.

"There is No Safe Place": Syrian Refugee Recounts Harrowing Journey by Boat to Escape Violence

Democracy Now - Wed 06 44 AM

The United Nations estimates that 4 million Syrians are displaced outside the country’s borders by the ongoing war. Today, we speak to one of these refugees: 23-year-old Zaher Majzoub, who fled Syria after finishing his degree in business administration at a university in Damascus. His months-long journey included first traveling to Turkey and then traversing the Mediterranean en route to Greece by boat. Along the way, his overcrowded boat took on water, inspiring Zaher to jump overboard because he was one of the few who knew how to swim, and he feared for the lives of the women and children. From Greece, he continued his journey to reach Vienna, hoping eventually to reach England. We speak with Zaher and Erik Leidal, a volunteer with the community-run relief group Train of Hope in Vienna.

Help My People, Let More War Refugees Settle Here: A Syrian American's Message to Washington

Democracy Now - Wed 06 37 AM

The United Nations has described the Syrian refugee crisis as the "biggest humanitarian emergency of our era." More than 4 million Syrians have fled the country, and millions more are displaced inside the country. We speak to Syrian-American community organizer Sarab Al-Jijakli, who is calling on the United States to accept more Syria refugees. So far only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States.

"Open Up, Europe! Let Migrants In": Former EU Adviser Urges Opening of Borders

Democracy Now - Wed 06 32 AM

Under a new European Commission proposal, quotas would be set for all 22 nations across Europe to take in a total of 160,000 refugees. Germany, which supports quotas, has already said it can accept half a million refugees each year. Many other European nations — including Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland — have opposed a compulsory system. We speak to former European Commission adviser Philippe Legrain, who recently wrote a piece titled "Open Up, Europe! Let Migrants In" on how Europe could benefit from an influx of refugees.

German Lawmaker: At the Root of Refugee Crisis are Wars Led by the United States in the Middle East

Democracy Now - Wed 06 12 AM

The United Nations is now estimating at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean this year and next, seeking refuge in Europe to escape violence and unrest in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, sub-Saharan Africa and other regions. Already 366,000 people have arrived in Europe this year. Earlier today, the president of the European Commission called on European Union member states to accept a total of 160,000 asylum seekers from war-torn countries. We speak to Annette Groth, member of the German Parliament and spokeswoman for human rights for the Left Party. She just returned last week from a trip to Hungary, where she saw thousands of migrants stranded at the Budapest train station. "What is the root for this massive migration?" Groth asks. "It is war, it is terror, and it is the former U.S. government who is accountable for it."

New Report Rejects Mexican Government's Story About the Disappearance of 43 Students from Ayotzinapa

Democracy Now - Tue 06 54 AM

On September 26, 2014, a group of students from Ayotzinapa teachers’ college came under attack by police in the city of Iguala, in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Six people were killed in a series of attacks that night, and 43 students were disappeared. The Mexican government has claimed the 43 students were killed by members of a local drug gang, and their bodies incinerated in a trash dump in the neighboring town of Cocula. But the students’ families have long rejected this account, and the phrase "fue el estado," or "it was the state," has become a rallying cry at mass protests across Mexico and around the world. Now, a new independent report commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has dismissed the Mexican government’s version of the students’ disappearance. We speak with journalist John Gibler in Mexico City. He outlines the report’s key findings, including that municipal, state and federal police actively participated in attacks on the students and that military intelligence officers were present at at least two of the attack scenes.

Allan Nairn: Donald Trump Meets, Praises Indonesian Leaders Despite Ties to Mass Killings

Democracy Now - Tue 06 46 AM

On Thursday, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump held a press conference in Trump Tower in New York. While much was made of his announcement to refrain from considering a third-party run, little attention was given to Trump’s star guests at the event: members of Indonesia’s top political brass. Among the Indonesians who met with Donald Trump was Deputy Speaker of the House Fadli Zon. He is the right-hand man of the U.S.-trained Prabowo Subianto. Gen. Prabowo has been accused of extensive human rights abuses that took place in the 1990s when he was head of the country’s special forces. He was dismissed from the army in 1998 following accusations he was complicit in the abduction and torture of activists during political unrest in Jakarta that led to the ouster of longtime dictator Suharto, who killed as many as a million civilians. Prabowo was the son-in-law of Suharto. We speak to Allan Nairn about Trump’s meeting.

As Candidates Tied to Guatemalan Army & Oligarch Vie for Power, What's Next for Popular Uprising?

Democracy Now - Tue 06 36 AM

In Guatemala, a television comedian has won the first round of the nation’s presidential elections. Sunday’s vote came just days after Guatemala’s President Otto Pérez Molina resigned and was jailed on corruption charges. Pérez Molina’s former vice president and several other close aides have also been jailed. Sunday’s previously scheduled election went ahead despite calls for postponement. The comic actor Jimmy Morales received about 24 percent of the vote, far short of the 50 percent needed for an outright victory. Sandra Torres, the ex-wife of former President Álvaro Colom, and conservative businessman Manuel Baldizón were virtually tied for second place. We speak to Allan Nairn in Guatemala City. He is a journalist and activist who has covered Guatemala since the 1980s.

French Secret Service Agent Who Led Fatal 1985 Bombing of Greenpeace Ship Breaks His Silence

Democracy Now - Tue 06 15 AM

Thirty years ago, French secret service blew up Greenpeace’s flagship Rainbow Warrior ship in Auckland, New Zealand, killing a Portuguese photographer, as the ship was preparing to head to sea to protest against French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific. Now the French intelligence agent who led the deadly attack has come forward for the first time to apologize for his actions, breaking his silence after 30 years. On July 10, 1985, Jean-Luc Kister led the dive team that planted the bombs on the Rainbow Warrior that sunk the ship and killed Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira. TV New Zealand’s program "Sunday" recently tracked down Jean-Luc Kister in northern France and spoke to him about what happened that day. We air the TVNZ report.

"Between the World and Me": Ta-Nehisi Coates in Conversation on Being Black in America

Democracy Now - Mon 06 40 AM

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ new book, "Between the World and Me," has been called "required reading" by Toni Morrison. "I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates," Morrison said. "Between the World and Me" is written as a letter to Coates’ 15-year-old son, Samori, and has been compared to "the talk" parents have with their children to prepare them for facing police harassment and brutality. The book is a combination of memoir, history and analysis. In July, Coates came to the Democracy Now! studio to talk about the book and his upbringing in Baltimore.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Police Brutality: "The Violence is Not New, It's the Cameras That are New"

Democracy Now - Mon 06 01 AM

Today we spend the hour with Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of an explosive new book about white supremacy and being black in America. Titled "Between the World and Me," it is written as a letter to his teenage son, Samori. In July, Ta-Nehisi Coates launched the book in his hometown of Baltimore. He spoke at the historic Union Baptist Church. "It seems like there’s a kind of national conversation going on right now about those who are paid to protect us, who sometimes end up inflicting lethal harm upon us," Coates said. "But for me, this conversation is old, and I’m sure for many of you the conversation is quite old. It’s the cameras that are new. It’s not the violence that’s new."

Chicago Hunger Strikers Enter Day 19 Challenging Rahm Emanuel's Push to Privatize Public Schools

Democracy Now - Fri 06 46 AM

In Chicago, a group of public school parents, grandmothers and education activists are entering the 19th day of a hunger strike to save Dyett High School, the only remaining open-enrollment public high school left in the community of Bronzeville. Supporters say the city neglected the school for years before announcing plans to close it. Under Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor and former Obama chief of staff, the city has closed about 50 schools in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods as part of what critics say is a push to privatize education. We speak to one of the hunger strikers. Jitu Brown is the national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, a member of the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett, and one of the lead organizers of the hunger strike.

Allan Nairn: U.S. Backers of Guatemalan Death Squads Should Be Jailed Alongside Ex-President

Democracy Now - Fri 06 32 AM

As former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina is held in jail on corruption charges, investigative journalist Allan Nairn looks at how Pérez Molina could also be charged for his role in the mass killings of indigenous Guatemalans in the 1980s. In 1982, Nairn interviewed a Guatemalan general named "Tito" on camera during the height of the indigenous massacres. It turns out the man was actually Pérez Molina.

A Watershed Moment for Guatemala: Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Celebrates Jailing of Ex-President

Democracy Now - Fri 06 11 AM

In Guatemala, Otto Pérez Molina has been jailed on charges of corruption only hours after he resigned as president, bowing to massive popular protest. We speak to Mayan activist Rigoberta Menchú, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. Her lawsuits helped bring former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt to trial for his role in the killings of more than 1,700 Ixil Mayan people. Menchú lost her father, mother and two brothers during the Guatemalan genocide, later winning the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaigning on behalf of Guatemala’s indigenous population. Now Menchú is calling for Pérez Molina to be tried for commanding troops in the El Quiché region in the 1980s, the site of some of the worst massacres committed by the military.

As Syrian Colonel Faces Charges in Maher Arar Torture Case, Will U.S. Ever Apologize?

Democracy Now - Thu 06 39 AM

In a move to hold government officials accountable for torture, Canada has charged Syrian Colonel George Salloum with allegedly torturing Canadian engineer Maher Arar. In 2002, Arar was kidnapped by U.S. authorities during a layover at JFK Airport and then sent to his native Syria, where he was tortured and interrogated in a tiny underground cell. He was held for nearly a year. This is the first-ever criminal charge of torture brought by Canada against a foreign government official for acts committed abroad. Canada’s decision to pursue torture charges in Arar’s case may open the door to further such prosecutions, including of U.S. government officials. In 2007, Arar received a $10 million settlement from the Canadian government. The United States has yet to apologize to him. We speak with Maher Arar’s wife, Monia Mazigh, and Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

"Did God Tell You to Treat Us Like This?": Protests Grow over Clerk's Denial of Same-Sex Marriages

Democracy Now - Thu 06 19 AM

In Kentucky, the county clerk who has defied the Supreme Court and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples is set to appear before a federal judge today to make her case for why she shouldn’t be held in contempt of court. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses rather than comply with the Supreme Court ruling in June that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied Davis’ appeal that the court grant her "asylum for her conscience." The next day, same-sex couples went to Davis’ office. In a video that went viral, David Moore confronted Davis about her decision not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. We speak with Moore about how he and his partner, David Ermold, have been denied a marriage license on three occasions by Kim Davis and staffers in her office. We’re also joined by Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign, Kentucky’s statewide LGBT advocacy group, and Joe Dunman, an attorney who represented the plaintiffs and petitioners in several Kentucky marriage cases which were consolidated into the Supreme Court case that effectively made marriage equality the law of the land.