In a development many are linking to the Egyptian regime’s crackdown on dissent, Egypt’s most popular satirist announced this month that he was taking his program off the air. Bassem Youssef’s broadcast had been compared to Jon Stewart’s "The Daily Show" for its comedic take on politics in Egypt and the Middle East. The show was incredibly popular — reaching as many as 30 million views per episode. Youssef said he was ending his program rather than face censorship and threats on his life. Yousef was vague on the pressure he has faced, but suggested the military regime has made it impossible for him to continue. Speaking at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, Youssef said his decision to suspend the show could be seen as a new beginning. "We have inspired a whole generation to go out there and express themselves in their own way," Youssef says. "Satire and comedy might be one of the few antidotes against fear. It liberates your mind. It sets your judgment free. That is why it is a threat."
It was six months ago Sunday when Egyptian authorities raided a hotel room in Cairo used by reporters at the global TV network Al Jazeera. The journalists Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were arrested December 29, and they have been held in jail ever since. Last week they were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison for allegedly "spreading false news" in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, deemed by the government a "terrorist group." The sentence has shocked journalists and supporters of press freedom around the world. And the Al Jazeera reporters are not alone. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt is currently holding at least 11 other journalists in prison. We are joined by Salah Negm, director of news at Al Jazeera English. "We were reporting in Egypt objectively and accurately," Negm says. "Throughout the trial there was not one piece of evidence against them of falsifying information or supporting any group which is outlawed. That was all false. The sentence came as a real shock."
Snowden Asylum in Germany? Support Grows for NSA Whistleblower After Merkel Cancels Verizon Contract
Revelations by Edward Snowden about U.S. surveillance continue to shake Germany more than one year after he came forward as an National Security Agency whistleblower. Reports based on Snowden’s leaks revealed vast NSA spying in Germany, including on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. Last week the German government canceled its contract with the U.S. telecommunications firm Verizon. Verizon has been providing network infrastructure for the German government’s Berlin-Bonn network, used for communication between government ministries, since 2010. Meanwhile, the German Parliament is continuing to conduct an inquiry into spying by the NSA and German secret services. Some German lawmakers are calling on Merkel’s government to grant Snowden asylum. We are joined by Snowden’s European lawyer, Wolfgang Kaleck, founder and general secretary for the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.
- Obama to Seek Congressional Waiver for Speedier Deportation of Migrant Children
- Sunni Militants Declare Muslim "Caliphate" in Seized Iraqi, Syrian Territory
- State Dept. Dropped Blackwater Probe After Manager Threatened to Kill Investigators
- Israel Bombs Gaza After Militant Rocket Fire
- U.S. to Abide by Land Mine Treaty, but No Immediate Ratification
- Obama Admin Taps Ex-Procter & Gamble Exec to Head VA
- Chicago Teachers Accuse Mayor "War on Educators" Following New Layoffs
- Indigenous Groups Stage Final "Tar Sands Healing Walk"
- Civil Rights Activists Join Nissan Worker Protest During "Freedom Summer" Commemoration
- Justice Dept. Drops Prosecution of Sami Al-Arian
- New York City Finalizes Central Park 5 Settlement
- LGBT Pride Parades Held Worldwide
As the United States prepares to celebrate Independence Day, we look at why July 4 is not a cause for celebration for all. For Native Americans, it may be a bitter reminder of colonialism, which brought fatal diseases, cultural hegemony and genocide. Neither did the new republic’s promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" extend to African Americans. The colonists who declared their freedom from England did not share their newly founded liberation with the millions of Africans they had captured and forced into slavery. We speak with historian Gerald Horne, who argues the so-called Revolutionary War was actually a conservative effort by American colonists to protect their system of slavery. He is the author of two new books: "The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America" and "Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow." Horne is professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston.
A former military strongman is running for president in Indonesia. The U.S.-trained Prabowo Subianto 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. We go to Indonesia to speak with journalist and activist Allan Nairn, who is there to reveal the former general’s role in mass killings of civilians. In a new article that has caused an uproar in the county and prompted death threats, Nairn quotes from a 2001 interview he conducted with Prabowo, who said then, "You don’t massacre civilians in front of the world press. … Indonesia is not ready for democracy." He argued Indonesia needed "a benign authoritarian regime,” and added, "Do I have the guts? Am I ready to be called a fascist dictator?" This coincides with outrage over the release of a music video made by Prabowo supporters showing them in Nazi-like uniforms.
The New York City Council has approved the use of municipal identification cards that will provide its nearly half a million undocumented residents with a way to prove their identity. Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González says the progressive initiative is a big step forward for the immigrant community. He also discusses one of the Democrats’ most closely watched races. This week, 84-year-old Rep. Charles Rangel of New York declared victory over State Sen. Adriano Espaillat in a rematch of their 2012 primary, and secured his 23rd term in office.
- Report: ISIS Militants Massacre Up to 190 People
- Obama Requests $500 Million to Arm, Train Syrian Rebels
- U.N. Official: 10.8 Million Need Aid in Syria
- In Blow to Abortion Access, Supreme Court Strikes Down Massachusetts Buffer Zone Law
- Supreme Court Rejects Obama's Recess Appointments to Labor Board
- Ukraine Signs EU Pact That Fueled Yanukovych's Ouster
- Libyan Human Rights Activist Killed on Election Day
- Afghan Presidential Candidate Claims Victory amid Fraud Allegations
- Canadian Supreme Court Sides with First Nations in Major Land Case
- Israel IDs Suspects in Alleged Kidnapping; NYC Activists Protest Crackdown
- Report: Drone Strikes May "Create a Slippery Slope" Toward "Continual Wars"
- German Gov't Cancels Contract with Verizon amid NSA Spying Concerns
- Military Judge Upholds Order to Release Details on Secret CIA Prisons
- Massachusetts Governor Signs $11/Hour Minimum Wage Bill
- U.S. Judge Denies Argentina's Plea to Delay Payments to "Vulture Funds"
- NBC to Run "Obvious Child" Film Ad After Alleged Censorship of Word "Abortion"
In a week marking the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, Mississippi was in the news when African-American voters crossed party lines to help Republican Sen. Thad Cochran narrowly defeat a tea party challenger to win his party’s nomination. It was just a year ago that Cochran praised a Supreme Court decision that gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act. We are joined by three guests: Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi, whose work helped put four Klansmen behind bars, including the man who orchestrated the Klan’s 1964 killings of three civil rights activists; Ari Berman, who covers voting rights for The Nation, author of a forthcoming book to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act; and David Goodman, brother of slain civil rights activist Andrew Goodman.
Mississippi Burning at 50: Relatives of Civil Rights Workers Look Back at Murders that Shaped an Era
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the murders of three young civil rights workers who traveled to Mississippi for Freedom Summer, the historic campaign to register African-American voters. On June 21, 1964, James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Michael Schwerner went missing after they visited a church in Neshoba County, Mississippi, which the Ku Klux Klan had bombed because it was going to be used as a Freedom School. Forty-four days after the trio’s disappearance, FBI agents found their bodies buried in an earthen dam. During the six-week search, the bodies of nine black men were also dredged out of local swamps. The murders in Mississippi outraged the nation and propelled the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. We are joined by family members of two of the victims: Rev. Julia Chaney-Moss, who was 17 years old when her brother was killed; Angela Lewis, Chaney’s daughter, born just 10 days before his death; and David Goodman, president of the Andrew Goodman Foundation, named after his brother.
The Supreme Court delivered a resounding victory for privacy rights in the age of smartphones Wednesday when it ruled unanimously that police must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphones of people they arrest. The ruling likely applies to other electronic devices, such as laptop computers, which, like cellphones, can store vast troves of information about a person’s private life. The ruling makes no reference to the National Security Agency and its vast web of cellphone spying. But some NSA critics say it signals a greater understanding by the court of today’s technology and its implications for privacy. We get reaction to the ruling from Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. He also discusses police use of "Stingray" spy devices, which mimic cell towers and intercept data from all cellphones in a certain radius.
- Supreme Court Rules Police Need Warrant to Search Cellphones
- Courts Uphold Marriage Equality in Utah, Indiana
- Report: U.S. Deported Over 72,000 Parents of U.S.-Born Children in 2013
- Sunni Militants Seize Town Near Baghdad; Iraqi Forces Prep Battle for Water Dam
- Bombing Kills 21 at Nigerian Shopping Center
- U.S. Economy Suffers Largest Contraction in Years
- U.N. Experts: Detroit's Mass Water Shut-Off Violates Human Rights
- Boehner Seeks Lawsuit Against Obama Executive Actions
- U.S. Journalist Allan Nairn Threatened with Arrest in Indonesia
- Jailed Al Jazeera Journalist: "We Must Remain Committed to Fight This Gross Injustice"
Fifty years ago this month, the United States began raining down bombs on Laos, in what would become the largest bombing campaign in history. From June 1964 to March 1973, the United States dropped at least two million tons of bombs on the small, landlocked Southeast Asian country. That is the equivalent of one planeload every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, for nine years — more than was dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II. The deadly legacy of the Vietnam War lives on today in the form of unexploded cluster bombs, which had about a 30 percent failure rate when they fell from American planes over large swaths of Laos. Experts estimate that Laos is littered with as many as 80 million "bombies," or bomblets — baseball-sized bombs found inside cluster bombs. Since the bombing stopped four decades ago, tens of thousands of people have been injured or killed as a result. We are joined by Karen Coates and Jerry Redfern, co-authors of "Eternal Harvest: The Legacy of American Bombs in Laos."
In New York, and in most other states, a transgender person with Medicaid cannot obtain coverage for hormone therapy, which non-transgender women routinely obtain in the form of birth control. The Sylvia Rivera Law Project and other groups have filed a lawsuit challenging a 1998 regulation which prevents Medicaid recipients in New York from accessing sex reassignment surgery, hormones and other forms of care. The lawsuit follows a number of recent victories for transgender healthcare. Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services overturned Medicare’s blanket ban on sex reassignment surgery, meaning recipients of Medicare will no longer have their claims for coverage of surgery automatically denied. Just last week, Massachusetts became the third state in the country to cover transgender healthcare under Medicaid. All this comes as activists prepare to mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City on June 28, 1969, a seminal event that helped launch the modern LGBT movement. We speak with Pooja Gehi, staff attorney at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, which filed the class-action lawsuit over Medicaid coverage in New York, and Angie Milan-Cruz, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
#FreeAJStaff: Al Jazeera Reporter Sentenced in Absentia Decries Egypt's Imprisonment of 3 Colleagues
Protests are continuing across the globe calling for Egypt to release three Al Jazeera journalists sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison. Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were convicted on Monday of "spreading false news" in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, deemed by the government a "terrorist group." The sentencing came down one day after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo to meet with Egypt’s new president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and herald the resumption of stalled U.S. military aid. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Egypt is holding at least 11 other journalists in prison, placing Egypt among the world’s worst repressors of media freedom. We are joined by Al Jazeera correspondent Sue Turton, who was among nine journalists sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison during the same trial. We also hear from PBS NewsHour chief foreign correspondent Margaret Warner on how Fahmy saved her life.
- Maliki Calls Unity Gov't Calls a "Coup" Against Iraq
- U.S. Flies Surveillance over Iraq; Syria Bombs Sunni Targets
- U.S. Talks Iraq Crisis with NATO Allies
- GOP Sen. Cochran Defeats Tea Party Challenger After Appeal to Black Voters
- Rangel Claims Victory in New York Primary
- Federal Court Rules "No-Fly" List Unconstitutional
- Obama Admin Warns of Deportation of Thousands of Children
- Assange Attorneys Petition Sweden to Drop Arrest Warrant
- Palestinian Prisoners End Mass Hunger Strike
- Witnesses: Militants Kidnap Dozens in Nigeria
- Connecticut Removes Trans Teen from Adult Prison
Water is a Human Right: Detroit Residents Seek U.N. Intervention as City Shuts Off Taps to Thousands
Activists in Detroit have appealed to the United Nations over the city’s move to shut off the water of thousands of residents. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says half of its 323,000 accounts are delinquent and has begun turning off the taps of those who do not pay bills that total above $150 or that are 60 days late. Since March, up to 3,000 account holders have had their water cut off every week. The Detroit water authority carries an estimated $5 billion in debt and has been the subject of privatization talks. In a submission to the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, activists say Detroit is trying to push through a private takeover of its water system at the expense of basic rights. We speak to Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Meera Karunananthan, international water campaigner for the Blue Planet Project.
Photo Credit: flickr.com/ifmuth
During a three-month span in 2011, U.S. drones killed four American citizens overseas. On September 30, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in a drone strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, another U.S. drone killed Anwar’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, in Yemen. A month later, a U.S. citizen named Jude Kenan Mohammad was killed in Pakistan. For the past two-and-a-half years, the Obama administration has refused to release its legal rationale for killing American citizens overseas. That changed on Monday when a federal court released a heavily redacted 41-page memo. It concludes the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force gave the U.S. government the authority to target Anwar al-Awlaki, who the Obama administration claims had joined al-Qaeda. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden praised the release of the memo but said it raises many questions. Wyden asked, "How much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American is a legitimate target for military action? Can the president strike an American anywhere in the world?" Questions also remain over when the United States can kill non-U.S. citizens. We speak to Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.
As the United Nations reveals more than 1,075 Iraqis have been killed so far this month, the Obama administration has promised Iraq "intense and sustained" support against the Sunni uprising overtaking large parts of the country. Secretary of State John Kerry made the pledge in a surprise visit to Baghdad while imploring Iraqi leaders to adopt inclusiveness in forming a new government by a July 1 deadline. Kerry’s visit to Baghdad followed stops in Egypt and Jordan, followed by Brussels and Paris in the coming days. But our guest Phyllis Bennis argues Kerry’s travel calendar ignores the most important stop he could make: Tehran. The United States and Iran are fighting a common enemy in Iraq’s Sunni militants. But despite much speculation and ongoing nuclear talks, there is little sign the two sides are approaching meaningful engagement on Iraq and the threat of regional conflict it is inflaming. A senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is the author of the article, "Don’t Go Back to Iraq! Five Steps the U.S. Can Take in Iraq Without Going Back to War," and of several books, including "Ending the Iraq War: A Primer."
- Court Releases Redacted Memo on Killing of U.S. Citizens
- U.S. Pledges "Intense Support" for Iraq; ISIS Solidifies Border Control
- Nigeria: Militants Abduct 91 People
- Israel Bombs Syria After Cross-Border Attack
- U.N. Voices Concern over Israeli Crackdown on West Bank
- Syria Completes Chemical Weapons Handover
- Afghanistan Faces Election Crisis amid Deadly Month for U.S. Troops
- Egyptian President Declines to Pardon Al Jazeera Journalists
- Obama Calls for Paid Parental Leave
- Supreme Court Largely Upholds Greenhouse Gas Emission Rules
- South Africa: Platinum Workers End Historic Strike
- Brazil: Favela Residents Protest Police Killings
- Fresh Anti-Austerity Protests Planned After 50,000 March in London
- Rebekah Brooks Acquitted, Andy Coulson Convicted in Murdoch Phone-Hacking Case
- Report: 39 Prisoners in California Illegally Sterilized
- Thousands Oppose NBC's Alleged Censoring of "Obvious Child" Film Ad Mentioning Abortion