Feed aggregator

Jailed for Speaking to the Press: How the Obama Admin Ruined Life of State Dept Expert Stephen Kim

Democracy Now - Wed 08 33 AM

A new report by The Intercept tells the story of the Obama administration’s prosecution of former North Korea expert Stephen Kim for violating the Espionage Act. Kim is one of nine such cases under the Obama administration — twice as many as all previous presidents combined. The former State Department contractor was accused of discussing classified documents on North Korea with Fox News reporter James Rosen. Last year, he was sentenced to 13 months in prison. But Kim always maintained his innocence. During the year before he went to prison, he shared his story with The Intercept. Journalist Peter Maass of The Intercept details the prosecution of Kim in a new article out today, "Destroyed by the Espionage Act: Stephen Kim Spoke to a Reporter. Now He’s in Jail. This is His Story." We speak to Maass about Kim’s case and broadcast an excerpt of "The Surrender," a documentary that accompanies The Intercept’s report.

Rejecting Austerity, Greece Squares Off with Its Creditors & Risks Future in Eurozone

Democracy Now - Wed 08 11 AM

Less than a month after the anti-austerity Syriza party swept to victory in Greece, a major dispute has broken out between Greece’s new leaders and European finance ministers. On Monday, talks between Greece and its European creditors collapsed amid disagreement over the future of German-backed austerity. Greek negotiators rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout scheme with no alterations to the austerity terms. Greece is reportedly now planning to submit a request to the eurozone to extend a "loan agreement" for up to six months, but Germany says no such deal is being offered and that Athens must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout. Lawmakers from the ruling Syriza party say Greek voters had rejected the terms of the bailout and that Greece would not be intimidated into accepting them. The breakdown in talks has raised fears Greece may be on the verge of leaving the eurozone. We are joined by British journalist Paul Mason, who has closely covered Greece’s economic crisis for years.

The Next Syriza? As Greece Rejects Austerity, Meet the Activist Who Could Become Spain's New PM

Democracy Now - Tue 08 41 AM

Talks between Greece and eurozone finance ministers over Athens’ debt broke down Monday when the newly elected leftist Syriza government rejected a deal to extend the terms of the current bailout. The Greek Syriza party was elected last month on a promise to roll back the crippling austerity measures in Greece’s international bailout. While Syriza has taken power in Greece, the grassroots party Podemos is also quickly gaining popularity in Spain, Europe’s fifth largest economy. On January 31, as many as 150,000 people rallied in Madrid to show support for the Podemos party, which translates into "We can." Podemos only became an official party last March, but a recent poll by El País found 28 percent of the population supports the party, enough to possibly win Spain’s next general election. Last May, Podemos surprised many when it received 1.2 million votes and five seats in the European Parliament elections. The party grew out of the "indignados" movement that began occupying squares in Spain four years ago. The indignados rallied against austerity cuts, rising unemployment and Spain’s political establishment. We are joined by Podemos Secretary General Pablo Iglesias, a 36-year-old political science professor and longtime activist who was elected to the European Parliament last year. If Podemos wins Spain’s national elections later this year, he could become Spain’s next prime minister.

Al Jazeera Journalists Celebrate Freedom in Egypt After 411 Days in Prison, but New Trial Looms

Democracy Now - Tue 08 37 AM

Al Jazeera journalists Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed are free on bail in Egypt after more than a year in prison. The pair, and a third colleague, Peter Greste, were arrested as part of a crackdown on Al Jazeera following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. They were sentenced last June to between seven and 10 years in prison, a ruling condemned around the world. Greste was released earlier this month and deported home to Australia. Then last week, after 411 days behind bars, Fahmy and Mohamed were freed on bail. Despite their release, the case has not been dismissed. A new hearing is scheduled for next week. We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous in Cairo, who has been following their cases closely.

Egypt Makes Libya the New Front in Anti-ISIS War, 4 Years After NATO Left Chaos Behind

Democracy Now - Tue 08 11 AM

Four years after the U.S.-led bombing campaign toppled Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Libya is in a state of crisis. On Monday, Egypt bombed Islamic State targets in Libya after the group released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Egypt claims it hit ISIS targets "precisely," but at least seven civilians, including three children, were reportedly killed in the coastal city of Derna. The attacks come as Libya faces what the United Nations calls "the worst political crisis and escalation of violence" since the U.S.-backed overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011. Two different governments claim power, each with their own parliaments and armies. A number of militant groups, including the Islamic State affiliate, are scattered in between. Will foreign governments intervene in Libya again? We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who is just back from a reporting trip in Libya, and Vijay Prashad, a professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of several books, including "Arab Spring, Libyan Winter."

Tens of Thousands Join North Carolina Moral March to Protest GOP Takeover, Racism & Islamophobia

Democracy Now - Mon 08 50 AM

Tens of thousands gathered Saturday in the North Carolina capital of Raleigh on Saturday for what organizers are calling one of the largest civil rights rallies in the South since the Selma to Montgomery march in 1965. The Mass Moral March is held annually to fight moves by Republican lawmakers to attack voting rights, education, the environment, healthcare and women’s rights. North Carolina Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state Legislature. Today, the first official Moral Monday protest of the year will include a "people’s court" to indict them for pursuing policies that have hurt the people of the state. In an emotional address, two brothers who have lost siblings spoke side by side: Farris Barakat, brother of Deah Barakat, one of three Muslim students killed in Chapel Hill last week in what family members call a hate crime; and Pierre Lacy, brother of Lennon Lacy, an African-American teenager who was found hung to death under suspicious circumstances last year in Bladenboro, North Carolina. It was the ninth Mass Moral March led by our guest, state NAACP President Rev. Dr. William Barber.

Fear, Inc. 2.0: As Anti-Muslim Incidents Continue, Report Exposes Funders, Pundits of Islamophobia

Democracy Now - Mon 08 42 AM

As a federal inquiry begins in the killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina and an Islamic center in Houston, Texas, was intentionally set on fire Friday, we look at a new report that exposes the people who fund and stoke anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States. The investigation by the Center for American Progress is called "Fear, Inc. 2.0, The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America," an update of a 2011 report. We are joined by the report’s co-author, Yasmine Taeb, Islamophobia project manager at the Center for American Progress.

Copenhagen Attack Witness Inna Shevchenko Debates Scholar Tariq Ramadan on Religion and Free Speech

Democracy Now - Mon 08 14 AM

Danish police have shot and killed a man they say carried out attacks on a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen. Local media identified the suspect as 22-year-old Omar al-Hussein, who had reportedly been released from prison just weeks earlier. Two other people have also been charged with aiding him. The presumed target of the attacks, Swedish artist Lars Vilks, has received death threats for depicting the head of the Prophet Muhammad on a dog. Vilks was unharmed, but a Danish film director was shot dead and three police officers injured. Hours later, the gunman attacked a synagogue, killing a guard outside and injuring another two police officers. The attacks in Copenhagen come a month after the massacre at the Paris offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. We speak with Inna Shevchenko, a speaker at the Copenhagen free speech event when the attack took place. Shevchenko is a leader of the international women’s protest group Femen, which often demonstrates topless against what they perceive as manifestations of patriarchy, especially dictatorship, religion and the sex industry. We are also joined by Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University and author of a number of influential books on Islam and the West.

As Public Pensions Shift to Risky Wall Street, Local Politicians Rake in Political Cash

Democracy Now - Fri 08 51 AM

We look at a Wall Street scandal that has generated little attention but impacts millions of American public workers. In recent years, cities and states have been increasingly investing worker pensions in risky hedge funds, private equity and other so-called "alternative investments." Many of the investments are being done in secret while politically connected Wall Streets firms — including Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and Elliott Management — earn millions in investment fees from taxpayers. Denver-based journalist David Sirota recently revealed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as President Obama’s chief of staff, received more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds. Sirota also revealed the head of a New Jersey board that determines how the state invests its $80 billion pension fund was in direct contact with top political and campaign fundraising aides for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his re-election bid. Meanwhile, some states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Rhode Island, have faced criticism for blocking the release of information about how their pension funds are being handled. We speak with David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times, who authored the 2013 report, "The Plot Against Pensions," published by the Institute for America’s Future.

As Public Pensions Shift to Risky Wall Street, Local Politicians Rake in Political Cash

Democracy Now - Fri 08 51 AM

We look at a Wall Street scandal that has generated little attention but impacts millions of American public workers. In recent years, cities and states have been increasingly investing worker pensions in risky hedge funds, private equity and other so-called "alternative investments." Many of the investments are being done in secret while politically connected Wall Streets firms — including Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and Elliott Management — earn millions in investment fees from taxpayers. Denver-based journalist David Sirota recently revealed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as President Obama’s chief of staff, received more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds. Sirota also revealed the head of a New Jersey board that determines how the state invests its $80 billion pension fund was in direct contact with top political and campaign fundraising aides for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his re-election bid. Meanwhile, some states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Rhode Island, have faced criticism for blocking the release of information about how their pension funds are being handled. We speak with David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times, who authored the 2013 report, "The Plot Against Pensions," published by the Institute for America’s Future.

Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico

Democracy Now - Fri 08 35 AM

Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.

Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico

Democracy Now - Fri 08 35 AM

Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.

Denver Police Killing of LGBT Teen Jessica Hernandez Sparks Outcry as Officers' Claims Disputed

Democracy Now - Fri 08 18 AM

The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a passenger says Hernandez lost control of the car only after she was shot and became unconscious. Witnesses say Hernandez was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious. A video captured by a neighbor shows police handcuffed and appeared to search her after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Last Thursday, activists at the National Conference on LGBT Equality that took place in Denver protested Hernandez’s killing by forcing Mayor Michael Hancock to cancel a planned speech. And on Saturday, an estimated 800 people gathered for Hernandez’s funeral. We are joined by two guests: Mimi Madrid Puga, a community organizer and board member of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Hernandez family.

Denver Police Killing of LGBT Teen Jessica Hernandez Sparks Outcry as Officers' Claims Disputed

Democracy Now - Fri 08 18 AM

The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a passenger says Hernandez lost control of the car only after she was shot and became unconscious. Witnesses say Hernandez was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious. A video captured by a neighbor shows police handcuffed and appeared to search her after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Last Thursday, activists at the National Conference on LGBT Equality that took place in Denver protested Hernandez’s killing by forcing Mayor Michael Hancock to cancel a planned speech. And on Saturday, an estimated 800 people gathered for Hernandez’s funeral. We are joined by two guests: Mimi Madrid Puga, a community organizer and board member of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Hernandez family.

"We're All One": UNC Shooting Victim Yusor Abu-Salha's StoryCorps Interview Months Before Death

Democracy Now - Fri 08 10 AM

Some 5,000 people attend the North Carolina funeral of the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill on Thursday as the FBI announced it has opened a probe into the killings. Today, we hear from one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, in her own words. Last year, Abu-Salha went into a StoryCorps booth to record an interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture,” Abu-Salha said. The other two victims, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, also attended Al-Iman.

"We're All One": UNC Shooting Victim Yusor Abu-Salha's StoryCorps Interview Months Before Death

Democracy Now - Fri 08 10 AM

Some 5,000 people attend the North Carolina funeral of the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill on Thursday as the FBI announced it has opened a probe into the killings. Today, we hear from one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, in her own words. Last year, Abu-Salha went into a StoryCorps booth to record an interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture,” Abu-Salha said. The other two victims, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, also attended Al-Iman.