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As Julian Assange Faces Swedish Legal Setback, New Details Come to Light on U.S. Case Against Him

Democracy Now - Wed 07 49 AM

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent nearly three years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has political asylum. Assange faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. A secret grand jury in Virginia is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he’s wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. Earlier this month, Sweden’s Supreme Court rejected his appeal to lift his arrest warrant. Swedish prosecutors are reportedly preparing to travel to London to interview Assange, after refusing to do so for years.

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange on Europe's Secret Plan for Military Force on Refugee Boats from Libya

Democracy Now - Wed 07 42 AM

WikiLeaks has just revealed secret details of a European Union plan to use military force to curb the influx of migrants from Libya. "The documents lay out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure," WikiLeaks says. "It details plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe." WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the EU’s plan from his place of refuge inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Julian Assange: British Nuclear Sub Whistleblower William McNeilly Revealed Major Security Lapses

Democracy Now - Wed 07 29 AM

A Royal Navy whistleblower who exposed security problems at Britain’s Trident nuclear base in Scotland was arrested earlier this month after about a week on the run. In an 18-page report published by WikiLeaks, Able Seaman William McNeilly wrote: "We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public." McNeilly describes a fire on board a submarine, the use of a missile compartment as a gym, an alleged cover-up of a submarine collision and lax security which makes it "harder to get into most nightclubs" than into restricted areas of the nuclear base. In our exclusive interview from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, we speak to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about McNeilly and his leaks.

Julian Assange on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Secretive Deal Isn't About Trade, But Corporate Control

Democracy Now - Wed 07 22 AM

As negotiations continue, WikiLeaks has published leaked chapters of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership — a global trade deal between the United States and 11 other countries. The TPP would cover 40 percent of the global economy, but details have been concealed from the public. A recently disclosed "Investment Chapter" highlights the intent of U.S.-led negotiators to create a tribunal where corporations can sue governments if their laws interfere with a company’s claimed future profits. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warns the plan could chill the adoption of health and environmental regulations.

Julian Assange: Despite Congressional Standoff, NSA Has Secret Authority to Continue Spying Unabated

Democracy Now - Wed 07 11 AM

The Obama administration’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk will likely expire next week after senators from both parties rejected attempts to extend it. First, the Republican-led Senate rejected a House-passed measure to curb bulk spying by keeping the records with phone companies instead of the government. The Senate then rejected a bid by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to extend the current bulk spying program for two months. The Senate adjourned and will reconvene May 31, the day before the program expires. In an exclusive interview from his place of refuge inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange weighs in on the NSA standoff.

300,000 Celebrate Beatification of Salvadoran Archbishop Romero, 35 Years After U.S.-Backed Murder

Democracy Now - Tue 07 49 AM

Thirty-five years ago, Archbishop Óscar Romero was murdered by members of a U.S.-backed death squad while delivering mass in San Salvador, El Salvador. On Saturday, over 300,000 people gathered in the same city to see him beatified, bringing him a step closer to sainthood in the Catholic Church. The recognition has long been opposed by right-wing clerics and politicians. During the ceremony, eight deacons carried Romero’s blood-stained shirt to the altar in a glass case. Archbishop Romero was shot through the heart while delivering mass at a hospital chapel on March 24, 1980. He was reportedly assassinated on the orders of U.S.-backed death squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson, a graduate of the U.S.-run School of the Americas who went on to form the right-wing ARENA party. We go to San Salvador to speak with Roberto Lovato, a writer and a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research.

Ireland's Social Revolution: Traditionally Catholic Nation Makes History with Marriage Equality Vote

Democracy Now - Tue 07 33 AM

In a historic victory for marriage equality, Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage via popular vote. By a 62-to-38 margin, the people of Ireland voted a resounding "yes" for equality in a national referendum on Friday. This signals what some are calling a "social revolution" in the traditionally conservative Catholic country. Ireland’s constitution will now be amended to say that two people can marry "without distinction as to their sex." The turnout was one of the highest in the country’s history and came after a robust civic campaign led by human rights activists, trade unions, celebrities and employers. Ireland’s referendum reflects a sea change in a country where homosexuality was decriminalized just two decades ago and where 70 percent of the population still identifies as Roman Catholic. We are joined from Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Gavin Boyd, the policy and advocacy manager at The Rainbow Project.

137 Shots, No Convictions: Cleveland Cop Acquitted in Killing of Unarmed African-American Pair

Democracy Now - Tue 07 15 AM

The national conversation on policing African-American communities is focused on Cleveland today after a major federal settlement and a controversial verdict. The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Cleveland over a pattern of what it calls "unreasonable and unnecessary" force by police. A probe last year found "chaotic and dangerous" abuse across hundreds of incidents. This comes just days after an acquittal in a case that helped launch the probe. On Saturday, Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty of manslaughter for the fatal shootings of two unarmed African Americans in their car. In November 2012, Brelo was one of 13 officers who fired 137 rounds at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a chase which began when officers mistook a backfiring car for gunshots. Officer Brelo personally fired 49 shots, at least 15 of them at point-blank range through the windshield after he climbed onto the hood of the car. In a verdict on Saturday, Judge John O’Donnell said he can’t prove Belo shot the fatal bullets, since 12 other officers also opened fire. O’Donnell also said Brelo had grounds to fear for his safety. We are joined by two guests: the Reverend Waltrina Middleton, a community organizer close to the families of Russell and Williams; and Alice Ragland, an activist with the Ohio Student Association, which has been organizing around the issue of police violence in Ohio.

Former Congressman Ron Dellums: Organizing for Peace Forces Us to Challenge All Forms of Injustice

Democracy Now - Mon 07 45 AM

Ron Dellums was elected to Congress in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War. In one of his first acts in office, he took a small annex room to his office in the House and mounted an exhibition of the atrocities committed by the United States in Vietnam. Dellums would rise to serve as chair of the Armed Services Committee. Later he became mayor of Oakland. "Peace is the superior idea, that the umbrella movement for—of all movements, the peace movement, because to come together under the banner of peace forces us to challenge all forms of injustice," Dellums said at the recent conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."

Former Rep. Pat Schroeder: The Peace Movement Made "Huge Difference" in Ending Vietnam War

Democracy Now - Mon 07 32 AM

In 1972, Pat Schroeder of Colorado was elected to Congress, becoming the second-youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She ran on an antiwar platform. Once elected, she pushed to cut off funding for the war. She spoke recently at the conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."

"I Never Wanted to Hurt Any Vietnamese": Former Combat Medic Recalls Antiwar Resistance Within Army

Democracy Now - Mon 07 21 AM

Wayne Smith served as a combat medic in Vietnam. He joined the peace movement after he returned home. He spoke recently at the recent "Vietnam: The Power of Protest" conference in Washington, D.C.

SDS Leader Tom Hayden on Vietnam: We Must Challenge the Pentagon on the Battlefield of Memory

Democracy Now - Mon 07 01 AM

As the nation celebrates Memorial Day, we look back at the Vietnam War. Fifty years ago, on March 7, 1965, 3,500 U.S. marines landed in South Vietnam, marking the start of the U.S. ground war in Vietnam. That same day, in Alabama, state troopers beat back civil rights protesters in Selma trying to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Weeks later, the first teach-in against the Vietnam War was held at the University of Michigan. By 1968, the U.S. had half a million troops in Vietnam. The war continued until April 1975. Some scholars estimate as many as 3.8 million Vietnamese died during the war, up to 800,000 perished in Cambodia, another one million in Laos. The U.S. death toll was 58,000. Today we spend the hour airing highlights from a recent conference titled "Vietnam: The Power of Protest." We begin with Tom Hayden, who helped to found SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.

Legendary Native American Singer-Songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie on Five Decades of Music, Activism

Democracy Now - Fri 07 41 AM

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, Buffy Sainte-Marie returns to the Democracy Now! studios. Her song "Universal Soldier" became one of the classic antiwar songs of the 1960s. Buffy Sainte-Marie once said, "It’s about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all." Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote the song in 1964. A year later, just months after U.S. ground forces invaded Vietnam, the British singer Donovan turned it into a hit. She has also written and sung about the struggles of Native American and First Nations people for decades. She worked with the American Indian Movement and began the Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education. Her political activism would lead her to be largely blacklisted from commercial radio in the 1970s. On her new album, she re-records two songs from what’s become known as her "blacklist years." Five decades later, Buffy Sainte-Marie is still making powerful music. She has just released "Power in the Blood." It’s her first studio album since 2008.

State of Emergency in California as Santa Barbara Cleans Up from Another Major Oil Spill

Democracy Now - Fri 07 28 AM

A cleanup effort residents say was slow to start is now underway off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, where crude oil from a broken pipeline leaked into the Pacific Ocean and washed ashore at Refugio State Beach. The company that operates the pipeline first said 21,000 gallons had leaked, but then increased their estimate to 105,000 gallons. On Thursday, The Santa Barbara Independent revealed the ruptured pipeline operated by Plains All American is the only pipeline in the county that is not required to be equipped with an automatic shutdown valve in case of a leak, because it operates outside of the regulatory oversight of the county. This latest spill recalls a catastrophic blowout at an oil well in the same area in 1969, when Union Oil’s drilling platform spewed an estimated three million gallons of crude along 30 miles of coastline. We speak to Tyler Hayden of The Santa Barbara Independent and Linda Krop of the Environmental Defense Center.

Neil Young Premieres New Anti-GMO Song "Rock Starbucks" from Forthcoming "The Monsanto Years" Album

Democracy Now - Fri 07 26 AM

Watch an excerpt from Neil Young’s newest video for his song "Rock Starbucks" from his forthcoming record, "The Monsanto Years." Young recorded the album with Willie Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas. "I want a cup of coffee, but I don’t want a GMO," Young sings on "Rock Starbucks." "I love to start my day off without helping Monsanto."

Indicted: Grand Jury Brings Charges Against Baltimore Police Officers Tied to Freddie Gray Death

Democracy Now - Fri 07 12 AM

A grand jury has indicted six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, clearing the path for a criminal trial in the Maryland courts. Freddie Gray died on April 19 from his injuries suffered in police custody. The indictments came nearly three weeks after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby first announced her decision to bring criminal charges against the officers. While some of the charges have been amended, the most serious ones — second-degree murder against Officer Caesar Goodson and involuntary manslaughter against four of the officers — remained intact. We speak to longtime Baltimore civil rights attorney A. Dwight Pettit.