Describing the United States as an "advanced Third World country," longtime consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader calls for a new mass movement to challenge the power corporations have in Washington. "It is not too extreme to call our system of government now 'American fascism.' It’s the control of government by big business, which Franklin Delano Roosevelt defined in 1938 as fascism," Nader says. "We have the lowest minimum wage in the Western world. We have the greatest amount of consumer debt. We have the highest child poverty, the highest adult poverty, huge underemployment, a crumbling public works — but huge multi-billionaires and hugely profitable corporations. I say to the American people: What’s your breaking point? When are you going to stop making excuses for yourself? When are you going to stop exaggerating these powers when you know you have the power in this country if you organize it?" Nader has just published a new book, "Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns."
The military trial of Army whistleblower Bradley Manning at Fort Meade, Maryland, began Monday with the defense and prosecution presenting starkly contrasting accounts. Manning is accused of giving a cache of diplomatic cables and government documents to WikiLeaks in the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history. The military prosecutor, Captain Joe Morrow, accused Manning of "dumping" hundreds of thousands of documents "into the lap of the enemy," and painted a picture of close ties between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Manning’s defense lawyer, David Coombs, said Manning wanted to reveal the human cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "He believed [the leaked] information showed how we value human life," Coombs said. "He was troubled by that. He believed that if the American public saw it, they too would be troubled." We’re joined by Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Ratner attended the opening session of Manning’s trial.
- U.N. Panel: Both Sides in Syrian Conflict Hit "New Levels of Brutality"
- British Group Says Syrian Toll Tops 96,000; U.S. Reportedly Withholding Aid from Opposition
- Hundreds of Wounded Residents Stranded in Syrian Town of Qusayr
- Bradley Manning Trial Opens at Fort Meade
- Turkish Union Launches 2-Day Strike; 2nd Person Killed in Protests
- Fort Hood Massacre Suspect to Defend Himself at Military Trial
- U.S. Delays While 65 Other Countries Sign 1st Global Arms Trade Treaty
- U.S. Offers Bounties for Location of Terror Suspects in West Africa
- Supreme Court Rules Police Can Collect DNA from Arrestees
- 140 Arrested in "Moral Mondays" Protest Against Republican Agenda in North Carolina
- Hundreds Protest Fatal Poultry Plant Blaze in China
- Egyptian Activist Gets 6-Month Sentence for Criticizing Morsi
- U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Iran
- Ailing El Salvador Woman Undergoes C-Section After Weeks of Fighting for Abortion
- Mississippi Man Indicted for Sending Ricin-Laced Letters
- NY Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Reveals She Has Lung Cancer
- NJ Sen. Frank Lautenberg Dies at 89, Longtime Advocate for Environment, Gun Control
More than three years after he was arrested, Army whistleblower Bradley Manning goes on trial today accused of being behind the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. Manning faces life in prison for disclosing a trove of U.S. cables and government documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. On Saturday, hundreds of Manning supporters rallied outside the barracks at Fort Meade, Maryland, where the trial will be held. We’re joined by two guests: Firedoglake reporter Kevin Gosztola, who is at Ft. Meade covering the trial, and attorney Chase Madar, author of "The Passion of Bradley Manning."
Turkey is seeing its biggest wave of protests against the ruling government in many years. Tens of thousands of people rallied across the country Sunday for a third consecutive day of mass demonstrations. The unrest erupted last week when thousands of people converged at Istanbul’s Taksim Square, a public space reportedly set for demolition. The protests have grown to include grievances against the government on a range of issues, and protesters have managed to remain despite a heavy police crackdown, including tear gas and rubber bullets. The Turkish government says around 1,000 people have been detained at more than 200 protests nationwide. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed the uproar as the work of political opponents and "extremists," vowing to proceed with governments plans to remake Taksim Square. "I cannot tell you how empowering this is," says Turkish scholar and activist Nazan Ustundag. "This is a country known for [police] brutality and for the Turkish people’s unquestioned loyalty to the state. So it’s very exciting all these different sections of people [are] standing [up for] the last public space which wasn’t given to private interests."
- Protests at Ft. Meade Ahead of Bradley Manning Trial
- Guantánamo Prisoners Pen Open Letter to Military Doctors
- 13 Killed in Oklahoma Tornado
- Fires Erupt in California, New Mexico Amid Drought
- Current Drought Could Prove Costlier Than Superstorm Sandy
- British Columbia Rejects Enbridge Tar Sands Oil Pipeline
- Anti-Government Protests Sweep Turkey After Istanbul Unrest
- 120 Estimated Dead After Poultry Plant Fire in China
- Striking Cambodian Workers Enter Nike Factory
- Suicide Attack Kills Afghan Students, U.S. Soldiers
- Hamas Says New PM Could Threaten Unity Deal
- Thousands Stage Rare Protest in Ethiopia
- Anti-Nuclear Protests Hit Tokyo
- U.S. Wheat Banned in Japan, South Korea After Discovery of Monsanto GMO
- U.S. Lawmakers Urge More Cooperation with Russia in Wake of Boston Attack
- Judge Orders Google to Disclose User Info to FBI
- Chicago Hotel Workers End 10-Year Strike
Today marks the fourth anniversary of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, a 67-year-old abortion provider who was shot point-blank in the forehead as he attended church services in Wichita, Kansas. Tiller’s clinic was one of a handful in the nation that performed abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy. He faced constant threats and incidents of violence and vandalism in the decades leading up to his death. The man who assassinated him, anti-choice extremist Scott Roeder, is serving a life sentence and was recently reprimanded in prison for making intimidating remarks against other abortion providers. The four years since Tiller was murdered have seen a wave of new abortion restrictions. Eight states now ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization. Meanwhile, clinics across the country have been threatened by laws aimed at shutting them down. After working with Tiller for eight years, our guest Julie Burkhart joins us from South Wind Women’s Center, the newly reopened abortion clinic where Tiller worked. She is director and founder of the Trust Women Foundation. "We have had approximately 200 patient visits in just the two short months that we’ve been open. We are just so happy to be back in this community," Burkhart says. On threats made against the clinic and her life she says, "These threats are definitely to be taken seriously, and they are chilling. However, women still need abortion care. ... I don’t think that the rights of women in this part of the country should be curtailed just because we have extremists."
Hundreds of Puerto Ricans rallied this week to call for the United States to release the Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera. Wednesday marked his 32nd year in prison. In 1981, López was convicted on federal charges, including seditious conspiracy — conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999 President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists who have since been released. In a rare video recording from prison, López said the charges against him were strictly political. Calls are increasing for López to be released from Nobel Peace Laureate South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Eduardo Bhatia, president of the Puerto Rican Senate. To talk more about the case, we speak with Luis Nieves Falcón, a renowned Puerto Rican lawyer, sociologist, and educator. He is the editor of the new book of López’s letters and reflections called, "Oscar López Rivera: Between Torture and Resistance." We also talk with Matt Meyer, long-time member of the War Resisters League.
Earlier this month, former Black Panther Assata Shakur was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, becoming the first woman ever to make the list. In addition, the state of New Jersey announced it was adding $1 million to the FBI’s $1 million reward for her capture. She was convicted in the May 2, 1973, killing of a New Jersey police officer during a shootout that left one of her fellow activists dead. She was shot twice by police during the incident. In 1979, she managed to escape from jail. Shakur fled to Cuba, where she received political asylum. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution. We ask NAACP President Benjamin Jealous about her case. "We have not taken any position on the Shakur case," Jealous says. "But I do think that if we are going to heal as a nation, we must look at the violence, the sort of politically motivated violence on both sides, and figure out how we heal both at once."
In Civil Rights Victory, Virginia Restores Voting Rights for Hundreds of Thousands Nonviolent Felons
In a major victory for voting rights, Virginia’s Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced he will automatically restore voting rights for people with nonviolent felony convictions. His decision will eliminate the two-year waiting period and petition process that currently disenfranchises thousands of nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences and satisfied all the conditions of their punishments. According to the Sentencing Project, 350,000 Virginians who have completed their sentences remained disenfranchised in 2010. We speak to Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP, which has been on the forefront of the campaign to restore voting rights to former felons. The news comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to issue a major ruling that could decide the future of the Voting Rights Act.
- Iraq: More Than 1,200 Killed in Past 2 Months
- Major U.S. Media Outlets Boycott Secret Holder Meetings
- Syrian Opposition Group Rejects Peace Talks; Assad Agrees to Attend
- Pakistani Taliban Vows Revenge After Drone Strike Kills Deputy
- U.S. Authorities Probe More Suspicious Letters Sent to Obama
- Father of Chechen Man Shot Dead by FBI Calls for Agents to Face Trial
- Obama's FBI Pick Scrutinized for Past Approval of Spy Program, Torture
- "Blockupy" Protesters Target European Central Bank
- Cambodian Garment Workers Continue Bid for Wage Increase at Nike Factory
- Seattle Fast Food Workers Join Growing Push for Wage Increase, Union Rights
- Court Allows Coal Company to Slash Benefits, Break Union Agreements
- Chicago Sun-Times Fires Entire Photography Staff
- CNN Shutters Last U.S. TV News Bureau in Iraq
- Report Shows Record Number of Female Breadwinners; Pundit Calls Shift "Anti-Science"
- El Salvador to Allow C-Section for "Beatriz" After Court Denies Life-Saving Abortion
As Republicans move to cut billions of dollars in funding for food stamps, a new report finds one in six Americans live in a household that cannot afford adequate food. In "Nourishing Change: Fulfilling the Right to Food in the United States," the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University’s School of Law reports that of these 50 million people going hungry, nearly 17 million are children. Food insecurity has skyrocketed since the economic downturn, with an additional 14 million people classified as food insecure in 2011 than in 2007. The report comes as Congress is renegotiating the farm bill and proposing serious cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Millions of Americans currently rely on the program to feed themselves and their families. The report’s co-author, Smita Narula of the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU’s School of Law, joins us to discuss her findings and why she is calling on the U.S. government to ensure that all Americans have access to sufficient, nutritious food.
Filmmakers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal say plans for their new documentary to air on public television have been quashed after billionaire Republican David Koch complained about the PBS broadcast of another film critical of him, "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream," by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Gibney. Lessin and Deal were in talks to broadcast their film, "Citizen Koch," on PBS until their agreement with the Independent Television Service fell through. The New Yorker reports the dropping of "Citizen Koch" may have been influenced by Koch’s response to Gibney’s film, which aired on PBS stations, including WNET in New York late last year. "Citizen Koch" tells the story of the landmark Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court that opened the door to unlimited campaign contributions from corporations. It focuses on the role of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity in backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has pushed to slash union rights while at the same time supporting tax breaks for large corporations. The controversy over Koch’s influence on PBS comes as rallies were held in 12 cities Wednesday to protest the possible sale of the Tribune newspaper chain, including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, to Koch Industries, run by David Koch and his brother Charles.
- U.S. Soldier Reaches Plea Deal to Avoid Death Penalty for Afghan Massacre
- U.K. Admits to Holding Dozens Without Charge in Afghanistan
- Both Sides of Syrian Conflict Entrench Positions Ahead of Global Talks
- Ban, U.N. Rights Chief Criticize Arms Shipments to Syria
- Scores Dead in Iraq Bombings
- Report: Former Bush Official James Comey Tapped to Head FBI
- Chechen Shot Dead by FBI in Florida Was Unarmed
- Congressional Delegation in Russia to Probe Boston Lead-Up
- Report: Richest 20% Yield Bulk of Tax Breaks
- Undocumented Youths Arrested Protesting Deportations at Obama Event in Chicago
- NSA Hacking Unit Targets Computers Worldwide
- Monsanto GMO Wheat Discovered at Oregon Farm
- Grounded Shell Rig Left Alaskan Waters to Avoid Taxes
- Miami Police Shove, Choke Black Teen for "Dehumanizing Stares"
- Police: Letters to NYC Mayor Bloomberg May Contain Ricin
- Workers Continue Protests at Cambodian Garment Factory for Better Wages
- El Salvador's Highest Court Rejects Bid for Life-Saving Abortion
- Canadian Abortion Pioneer Henry Morgentaler Dies at 90
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy last year to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sex assault and rape allegations. He fears that Sweden will agree to extradite him to the United States. On Tuesday, Ecuador’s foreign minister accused the British government of trampling on Assange’s rights by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador, which granted him political asylum almost a year ago. Joining us from the embassy, Assange addresses what he calls "attacks on all fronts against WikiLeaks," from a monetary embargo involving some of the world’s largest financial firms to a new Hollywood documentary on WikiLeaks, "We Steal Secrets." Assange also discusses a little-known meeting he held in June 2011 with Google CEO Eric Schmidt. We air an excerpt of audio recording from that meeting. Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.
Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of disclosing a trove of government documents and cables to WikiLeaks, is set to go on trial next week. Manning has already pleaded guilty to misusing classified material he felt "should become public," but has denied the top charge of aiding the enemy. Speaking from his refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange calls Manning’s case "a show trial ... to terrorize people from communicating with journalists and communicating with the public." Assange also discusses his own legal status as he continues to evade extradition to Sweden. Assange fears that returning to Sweden would result in him being sent to the United States, where he fears a grand jury has secretly indicted him for publishing the diplomatic cables leaked by Manning. Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.
Julian Assange: Stratfor Hacker Jeremy Hammond Guilty Plea Part of Crackdown on Journalism, Activism
Jeremy Hammond of the hacktivist group Anonymous has pleaded guilty to hacking into the private intelligence firm Stratfor, the FBI and other institutions. Hammond says his goal was to shed light on how governments and corporations act behind closed doors. Some five million Stratfor emails ended up on the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, shedding light on how the private intelligence firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. In a statement, Hammond said he accepted the plea deal in part to avoid an overzealous prosecution that could have resulted in at least 30 years in prison. He has already served 15 months, including weeks in solitary confinement. Joining us from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says Hammond’s prosecution comes as part of a wider crackdown "on effective political activists and alleged journalistic sources." Click here to watch our web-only extended interview with Assange.
- U.S. Drone Strike Reportedly Kills Taliban Commander in Pakistan
- U.N. Rights Chief Criticizes Drone Warfare, Guantánamo
- Computer Hacker Jeremy Hammond Pleads Guilty in Stratfor Case
- Online Currency Site Indicted for "Staggering" Money Laundering
- Wal-Mart Workers Begin Longest Strike to Date
- Wal-Mart Pays Over $100 Million Fine for Dumping Hazardous Waste
- U.S.-Russia Split on Military Aid to Syrian Regime, Rebels
- 2 U.S. Embassy Staffers Shot in Venezuela
- Obama, Christie Tour Sandy-Hit Jersey Shore
- Report: Red Cross Hasn't Spent Majority of Sandy Funds
- Bachmann Won't Seek Re-election to House
- Saudi Boston Bombing Victim Speaks Out for First Time
- New York Legal Services Workers Strike over Pay, Cuts
- Facebook Pledges to Confront Anti-Women Hate After Boycott
- Judge in Trayvon Martin Case Rejects Bids by Zimmerman's Defense
Legendary author, poet and activist Alice Walker joins us to discuss her newest book, "The Cushion in the Road: Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way," in which she discusses many of the dominant themes in her life and work, including racism, Palestine, Africa and Obama’s presidency. The collection of essays explores Walker’s conflicting desire for deep engagement in the world and for a retreat into quiet contemplation. She has also just published a new collection of her poetry, "The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness into Flowers." A film about her life, "Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth," premieres this Friday in the United States. Walker also discusses the Obama administration’s recent addition of former Black Panther Assata Shakur to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list 40 years after the killing for which she was convicted, her travels to the Eastern Congo, and the ongoing targeting of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Click here to see Part 2 of this interview.
Billionaire business tycoon and former Obama fundraiser Penny Pritzker appears headed for confirmation as commerce secretary, despite concerns about her business dealings. Pritzker and her family owned Superior Bank, a Chicago-based firm that collapsed after the Pritzkers expanded subprime lending. With net worth of more than $1.5 billion, Pritzker stands to be one of the wealthiest Cabinet secretaries in history. Her family started the Hyatt Hotel chain, which has come under scrutiny for her clashes with labor unions. The AFL-CIO says Hyatt has exhibited a broad pattern of labor abuses, including aggressive outsourcing, low wages and the mistreatment of housekeepers. We’re joined by David Moberg, senior editor of In These Times magazine. His recent article is "3 Troubling Things To Know About Billionaire Penny Pritzker."