Feed aggregator

Glenn Greenwald: "Shameless" U.S. Officials Exploit Paris Attacks to Defend Spying & Attack Snowden

Democracy Now - Thu 07 13 AM

As France and Belgium move to expand state power in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, top U.S. officials have renewed a push to defend mass surveillance and dismiss those who challenge it. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said intelligence and law enforcement officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones, despite no evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. Meanwhile, others have used the Paris attacks to criticize NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In recent days, CIA Director John Brennan has suggested revelations about mass spying have made it harder to find terrorists, while former CIA Director James Woolsey has said Snowden has blood on his hands. "We have not heard such blatant, shameless lying from intelligence and military officials since 2002 and 2003 when they propagandized the country into invading Iraq based on utterly false pretenses," says The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who exposed NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s leaks. "It is actually shocking to listen to."

Climate Activists Vow to Continue with Protests Ahead of Paris Talks

Democracy Now - Wed 07 52 AM

In the wake of the Paris attacks, climate activists and the French government are at odds over plans for a massive protest march on Nov. 29 ahead of the U.N. climate talks. French authorities are threatening to curtail public demonstrations and marches, but climate activists insist the right to protest and freedom of speech must be upheld even during a state of emergency. We speak to Alix Mazounie, the international policies coordinator at Climate Action Network France.

As Supreme Court Takes Key Texas Abortion Case, Barbara Lee Defends Access for Low-Income Women

Democracy Now - Wed 07 49 AM

A new study has found at least 100,000 and as many as 240,000 women in Texas have attempted to self-induce an abortion. The study comes after about half the abortion clinics in Texas closed under a harsh anti-choice law passed in 2013. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by abortion providers to the Texas law, marking what could be the most significant abortion case since Roe v. Wade. We speak with California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who introduced a bill in July to expand abortion access by dismantling the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. "The right wing is trying to take away women’s rights, there is a war on women, and we’re not going to let that happen, and so we have to fight back," Lee says. "We’re on the offense. And we’re going to one day—and I think it’s going to be sooner than later—we’re going to make sure that low-income women have full access to reproductive health services"

Rep. Barbara Lee, Sole Vote Against Unlimited War After 9/11, Demands Debate on New Military Action

Democracy Now - Wed 07 36 AM

Fourteen years ago, California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee cast the sole dissenting vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Three days after the Sept. 11 attacks, she took to the floor of the House and said: "Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control." Rep. Lee is now calling on Congress to repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for military force, saying they have been used as blank checks for endless war.

"This Moment Tests the Character of the Nation": Rep. Barbara Lee Rejects Anti-Refugee Efforts

Democracy Now - Wed 07 32 AM

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have called for a "pause" in the U.S. program accepting Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, governors of at least 27 U.S. states have said they will not accept Syrian refugees. We speak to California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee.

Desperate Journey: Shocking Video Shows Risks Refugee Families Take to Reach Europe Safely

Democracy Now - Wed 07 23 AM

So far this year, more than 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea. Human Rights Watch has just produced a short video capturing the harrowing journey to Europe. "Desperate Journey: Europe’s Refugee Crisis" is narrated by HRW’s Judith Sunderland.

Refugees are Not Terrorists: HRW Decries Efforts to Reject People Fleeing Wars in Syria & Iraq

Democracy Now - Wed 07 11 AM

Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris have set off a storm of calls to close borders and reject refugees fleeing Syria, where over 4 million people have already left the war-torn country. President Obama said any attempts to block entry of Syrian refugees to the United States is "offensive and contrary to American values." "When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians—proven Christians—should be admitted, that’s offensive and contrary to American values," Obama said. "I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate." We speak to Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director. He has spent the last few months in the Balkans and Greece speaking to refugees coming mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"A Disturbing Increase in Islamophobia": U.S. Mosques Threatened, Canadian Mosque Set on Fire

Democracy Now - Tue 07 55 AM

There are growing reports of Islamophobic attacks since Friday’s massacre in Paris. Just hours after the Paris assault, a caller left a voicemail laced with racial slurs for the Islamic Society of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Florida. The caller left his full name and threatened to "firebomb you, shoot whoever’s there on sight in the head." Meanwhile in Pflugerville, Texas, residents found a torn Qur’an covered in feces left in front of the local mosque. In Canada, a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, was set on fire in what authorities have called a hate crime. We discuss the attacks with Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

"It is Very Un-American": 27 U.S. Governors Refuse to Accept Refugees Fleeing Violence in Syria

Democracy Now - Tue 07 51 AM

In the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris, governors of at least 27 U.S. states have said they will not accept Syrian refugees. A Syrian passport which appears to be fake was found near the body of one of the Paris attackers, whose fingerprints matched someone who passed through Greece and the Balkans. But all the attackers identified so far are European nationals. The Obama administration has said it still plans to accept Syrian refugees, noting they are intensely vetted. We get reaction from Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

We are Angry over Death of My Cousin in Paris, As Well As the Deaths of Children in Iraq & Syria

Democracy Now - Tue 07 43 AM

On Sunday more than 1,000 people overflowed a ballroom at California State University, Long Beach to honor Nohemí González, the 23-year-old student who was shot dead on Friday during the Paris attacks. González was a senior at the school. She was studying for a semester at Strate College of Design in suburban Paris. On Friday she was eating at a restaurant fired upon by gunmen. Nohemí González has been described as a proud first-generation Mexican American. We speak with her cousin, Miriam Padilla. "We are angry that my cousin is dead, but we are also angry that there are hundreds of children in other families that are dying in Syria, in Iraq and in other parts of the world," Padilla says.

Lydia Wilson: What I Discovered from Interviewing Imprisoned Islamic State Fighters

Democracy Now - Tue 07 37 AM

Oxford researcher Lydia Wilson discusses interviewing members of ISIS held prisoner at a police station of Kirkuk, Iraq. "They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government," Wilson wrote in a recent piece for The Nation. "They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe."

Abdel Bari Atwan: Inside How the U.S. & Saudi Arabia Aided Growth of the Islamic State

Democracy Now - Tue 07 25 AM

Two days after the Paris attacks, President Obama met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday. The following day, the Pentagon revealed the U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia for its attack on Yemen. We speak to Abdel Bari Atwan about how the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Saudi funding of jihadist movements helped the Islamic State grow.

There is No Military Solution: Could ISIL Be Strengthened by U.S., French, Russian Bombing?

Democracy Now - Tue 07 10 AM

France and Russia have staged a series of new airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Russia announced earlier today it would intensify strikes in Syria after the Russian intelligence service said it had found conclusive proof that a bomb had brought down the Metrojet airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing 224 people on board last month. The United States has also vowed to intensify strikes in Syria and to step up their exchange of intelligence on potential targets with France. We speak with longtime journalist Abdel Bari Atwan about how the bombings could backfire and help grow the Islamic State.

"We Are Scared, We Are Grieving": Muslim Activist in Paris Condemns Attacks, Rising Islamophobia

Democracy Now - Mon 07 47 AM

Reports of Islamophobia have already emerged following the Paris attacks, and fears of attacks on Muslims in Paris have risen. After al-Qaeda-linked gunmen attacked the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, there were nearly as many anti-Muslim incidents in the two weeks following the attacks as there were in all of the previous year. More than 220 anti-Muslim acts were recorded in the first quarter of 2015, a sixfold increase over the same period the previous year. The incidents included violent assaults and destruction of Muslim places of worship. For more, we speak with Yasser Louati, spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).

Sanders Criticizes Clinton Iraq Vote: 2003 Invasion Unraveled Region & Led to Rise of ISIS

Democracy Now - Mon 07 40 AM

At Saturday’s debate, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over the U.S. role in the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. "I would argue that the disastrous invasion of Iraq, something that I strongly opposed, has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and to ISIS," Sanders said. Clinton admitted her vote for the Iraq War was a mistake but rejected the U.S. role in the rise of ISIS. "I think that there are many other reasons why it has, in addition to what happened in the region, but I don’t think that the United States has the bulk of the responsibility," Clinton said. "I really put that on Assad and on the Iraqis and on the region itself."

"We Shouldn't Play into the Hands of ISIS": Vijay Prashad on Danger of Military Escalation in Syria

Democracy Now - Mon 07 32 AM

In retaliation for Friday’s attacks in Paris, France launched its heaviest airstrikes yet against the Syrian city of Raqqa, which has long served as the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State. Friday’s attacks came just a day after the Islamic State claimed credit for a double attack in southern Beirut that killed at least 43 people, and two weeks after the group claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. Over the weekend, French President François Hollande described Friday’s attack as an act of war. Speaking in Turkey at the G20 summit, President Obama described the events in Paris as "an attack on the civilized world." We speak with Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and columnist for the Indian magazine Frontline, for more on the response to the attacks.

Report from Paris: With Manhunt on for Eighth Attacker, France Remains in State of Emergency

Democracy Now - Mon 07 24 AM

Authorities said they believed the Paris attacks were carried out by eight assailants, several of whom were French nationals, working in three teams. Seven of the men died in the attacks. A massive manhunt is underway for the eighth—Salah Abdeslam, a Belgian-born French national. Two of his brothers were said to have died in the attack. Authorities also said one of the suicide bombers who blew himself up outside the national stadium was carrying a Syrian passport and his fingerprints matched someone who passed through Greece in October. French authorities carried out 168 raids overnight, making 23 arrests, as part of the investigation. Police in the Belgian city of Molenbeek also carried out a series of raids this morning. We speak with Mira Kamdar, Paris-based member of The International New York Times editorial board, for more on the investigation and aftermath of the attacks.