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Greek PM Tsipras Resigns, Calls for New Election as Left Wing of Syriza Splits to Form New Party

Democracy Now - Fri 07 10 AM

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced his resignation on Thursday, paving the way for new elections in which he will run. The move came after Tsipras lost the support of many members of his own Syriza party, which opposed his backing of the demands of international creditors for yet more austerity and economic reform in exchange for a new $96 billion bailout. Many analysts predict Tsipras will retain his post as prime minister after the election, but the conservative government has announced plans to try to form a new coalition government ahead of the elections. Meanwhile, 25 members of the left wing of Syriza have announced they are breaking away to form a separate party called Popular Unity. We speak to Costas Panayotakis, author of "Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy."

After NY Prison Escape, Other Inmates Faced Beatings, Solitary Confinement, Threats of Waterboarding

Democracy Now - Thu 07 52 AM

When two prisoners escaped the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, in June, the story dominated national headlines. Little attention was paid to what was going on inside the prison during the search. Though it was prison employees who were implicated in helping the two men escape, The New York Times recently revealed a campaign of retribution was waged against other prisoners. Some were beaten while handcuffed, choked and slammed against cell bars and walls. One prisoner was threatened with waterboarding. We speak to Michael Schwirtz, reporter at The New York Times.

The Beat Up Squad: NY Prison Guards Accused of Brutally Killing Prisoner & Covering Up Death

Democracy Now - Thu 07 47 AM

Four months ago, Samuel Harrell died at New York’s Fishkill Correctional Facility. At the time, officers claimed Harrell, an African-American prisoner with bipolar disorder, may have overdosed on synthetic marijuana, known as K2. But The New York Times recently obtained an autopsy report that determined Harrell’s death was a homicide caused by a "physical altercation with corrections officers." According to interviews conducted by The New York Times, Harrell died after as many as 20 corrections officers kicked, punched and dragged him down a flight of stairs while he was handcuffed. Some of the officers were known around the prison as the Beat Up Squad. Officers then called an ambulance and told the medical crew Harrell may have overdosed on synthetic marijuana, known as K2. Harrell died that night in a nearby hospital. We speak to Michael Schwirtz, reporter at The New York Times.

Islamic Leaders Take on Climate Change, Criticizing "Relentless Pursuit of Economic Growth"

Democracy Now - Thu 07 39 AM

A group of leading Islamic scholars have issued a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turn toward renewable energy sources. The declaration urges world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to commit to a 100 percent zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The declaration comes on the heels of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. Like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading Islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating: "We recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption." We speak to Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.

As Jimmy Carter Discusses Cancer Diagnosis, Former Aide Praises Him as Honest, Noble Man

Democracy Now - Thu 07 36 AM

Former President Jimmy Carter revealed today cancer had spread to his brain and that he would begin radiation treatment later in the day. He made the comment during his first public remarks about his cancer. We ask Gary Sick about his former boss. Sick served on the National Security Council under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis.

"The Danger of a Failed Iran Deal": Could GOP Rejection of Nuke Pact Lead to War?

Democracy Now - Thu 07 13 AM

The Iran nuclear deal is coming under fresh scrutiny from Republican lawmakers following a new report by the Associated Press about a secret arrangement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency to allow Iran to use its own inspectors to investigate the Parchin military site. Supporters of the Iran deal have downplayed the report, pointing out that Iranian inspectors will work under close supervision of the IAEA. The new AP report comes about halfway through the 60-day period that Congress has to scrutinize the Iran nuclear deal. Both houses of Congress plan to vote next month on a measure to disapprove, or block, the deal. So far, just two Senate Democrats have broken with their party to oppose the agreement: Senators Chuck Schumer and Robert Menendez. We speak to Gary Sick of Columbia University. He served on the National Security Council under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. He recently wrote an article for Politico called "The Danger of a Failed Iran Deal."

David Cay Johnston: 21 Questions for Trump on Kickbacks, Busting Unions, the Mob & Corporate Welfare

Democracy Now - Wed 07 47 AM

To talk more about Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, we are joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who has covered Trump off and on for 27 years. He recently wrote an article for The National Memo titled "21 Questions for Donald Trump." David Cay Johnston is an investigative reporter previously with The New York Times. He’s currently a columnist for Al Jazeera America as well as a contributing writer at Newsweek. His latest book is "Divided. The Perils of Our Growing Inequality."

"Privileged Bloodlines": Is Trump's Stance Against Birthright Citizenship Setting Tone for GOP?

Democracy Now - Wed 07 36 AM

Support is growing among Republican presidential candidates to repeal part of the 14th Amendment that guarantees people born on American soil are automatically American citizens. In his plan for immigration reform, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump singles out birthright citizenship as the single "biggest magnet for illegal immigration." And Donald Trump is not alone. Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham all support ending birthright citizenship. We speak to Ian Millhiser of Center for American Progress who recently wrote a piece headlined "Donald Trump’s First Policy Plan is Even More Racist Than You Think It Is."

When Black Lives Matter Met Clinton: Activists Speak Out on Challenging Candidate over Crime Record

Democracy Now - Wed 07 11 AM

Black Lives Matter activists are back in the news after confronting Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Following a campaign event in New Hampshire, a group of Black Lives Matter activists from Massachusetts met with Clinton. What followed was a 16-minute conversation during which the activists pressed Clinton to address her support of the crime bill that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed into law in 1994. That legislation led to the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. Hillary Clinton had heavily lobbied lawmakers to pass the crime bill, which included $9.7 billion in prison funding and tougher sentencing provisions. We air excerpts and speak to the activists, Daunasia Yancey of Black Lives Matter Boston and Julius Jones of Black Lives Matter Worcester.

"A State of Emergency": At Least 17 Transgender Women Have Been Murdered This Year

Democracy Now - Tue 07 55 AM

The murder of Tamara Dominguez on Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, marked at least the 17th murder of a transgender woman so far this year. Dominguez was repeatedly run over in a church parking lot. Her death follows the recent murders of a number of African-American transgender women, including Elisha Walker, found in a "crude grave" in North Carolina; Shade Schuler, whose decomposed body was found in a Dallas field; Amber Monroe, shot and killed in a Detroit park; and Kandis Capri, fatally shot last Tuesday night in Phoenix, Arizona. "This is a state of emergency for the transgender community," Chase Strangio says. "We are living in a moment where we should be incredibly concerned about all of the mechanisms of violence against our community."

As Chelsea Manning Speaks Out on Trans and Prison Issues, Authorities Threaten Her with Solitary

Democracy Now - Tue 07 48 AM

Imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is scheduled to go before a closed-door disciplinary hearing today at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking U.S. government cables to WikiLeaks. Manning’s lawyers say she could be sent back to indefinite solitary confinement after being accused of a number of infractions including having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes her new life living openly as a woman, a copy of the U.S. Senate report on torture, several LGBT books and magazines and other "prohibited property" in her cell. Supporters of Manning are planning to deliver a petition today to the Army Liaison Office on Capitol Hill signed by more than 75,000 people calling on the U.S. military to drop the new charges and demanding that her disciplinary hearing be open to the press and the public. We speak to Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of Manning’s legal team.

Meet the Whistleblower Who Exposed the Secret Room AT&T Used to Help the NSA Spy on the Internet

Democracy Now - Tue 07 31 AM

As documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden expose how AT&T aided the NSA’s vast spying operations, we speak to former AT&T technician Mark Klein, who worked at the company for 22 years. In 2006, he blew the whistle on AT&T’s cooperation with the National Security Agency by leaking internal documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the NSA access to its fiber-optic Internet cables.

Snowden Documents Reveal AT&T's "Extreme Willingness to Help" NSA Domestic Spy Program

Democracy Now - Tue 07 23 AM

Documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have exposed how extensively the NSA relied on telecommunications giant AT&T for its vast spying operations. Records described by The New York Times and ProPublica laud AT&T’s "extreme willingness to help" the NSA’s spying efforts. According to the piece, the company supplied access to billions of emails flowing across its domestic networks and technical aid in carrying out a secret order allowing the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the headquarters of the United Nations — an AT&T customer. In 2013, the NSA’s top-secret budget for its partnership with AT&T was reportedly more than twice that of the next largest such program.

Obama Gives Shell Final Approval to Drill in Arctic Despite Protests & Pledge to Cut Emissions

Democracy Now - Tue 07 13 AM

The Obama administration has granted Royal Dutch Shell final approval to resume drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012 despite widespread protests from environmental groups. Shell first obtained drilling permits in the Arctic during the George W. Bush administration, but drilling stopped in 2012 after a series of mishaps. The Interior Department’s decision comes just weeks after a protest in Portland, Oregon, temporarily blocked an Arctic-bound rig of Shell’s from leaving the city after a group of activists from Greenpeace dangled off a bridge, blocking the ship’s movement while "kayaktivists" took to the water below. A coalition of environmental groups have pushed the Obama administration to say no to Arctic drilling, citing the dangers of a possible oil spill in the pristine region and the impact new oil extraction would have on the climate. The Interior Department approved the Arctic drilling ahead of President Obama’s upcoming trip to the Arctic later this month. He mentioned the trip during his recent speech unveiling plan to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

Julian Bond (1940-2015): Remembering Civil Rights Freedom Fighter Who Chaired NAACP, Co-founded SNCC

Democracy Now - Mon 07 15 AM

We remember the life of civil rights pioneer Julian Bond, who died on Saturday at the age of 75. Bond first gained prominence in 1960 when he organized a series of student sit-ins while attending Morehouse College. He went on to help found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. After the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Bond was elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives. But members of the Legislature refused to seat him, citing his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War. Bond took the case to the Supreme Court and won. He went on to serve 20 years in the Georgia House and Senate. At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Julian Bond became the first African American nominated for U.S. vice president by a major political party. But he had to withdraw his name because he was just 28 years old — seven years too young to hold the second-highest elected office. Julian Bond would go on to co-found the Southern Poverty Law Center. He served as the organization’s first president from 1971 to 1979. From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the NAACP. We speak to Eleanor Holmes Norton, delegate to Congress representing the District of Columbia; former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch; and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "He never thought the movement was about only blacks, so he was easily able to grapple with the movement that involved women, that involved the LGBTQ community, that involved climate change," said Norton.