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"This Did Not Begin with Freddie Gray": As Baltimore Awaits Answers, A Call for Long-Term Solutions

Democracy Now - Fri 07 30 AM

Update: Warrants have been issued for the six officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death. Watch the full press conference by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

Protests continue in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray as more evidence emerges that the 25-year-old died from injuries inside a police transport van. On Thursday, police revealed that the van made a previously undisclosed stop with Gray inside. The new stop was discovered from security camera footage, not from speaking to the officers involved. The investigation also reportedly concludes Gray’s spinal injuries had to have happened inside the van, not when he was initially detained and dragged on the ground. The medical examiner reportedly found that Gray’s spinal injury was caused by his slamming into a bolt in the back of the van. It remains unclear how. Meanwhile, a key witness in the case has rejected police claims that blamed Gray for his own injuries. Baltimore police investigators have given prosecutors the initial findings from their probe, paving the way for potential indictments. We are joined by Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP.

Massive Earthquake Leaves Trail of Destruction in Nepal, But Aid is Slow to Arrive

Democracy Now - Fri 07 11 AM

Nepal’s army chief has warned the death toll from Saturday’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake could reach 15,000. The toll now stands at over 6,000, with almost double that number injured. Hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. Thousands of survivors slept in tents this week rather than risk returning to damaged homes susceptible to collapsing in an aftershock. The World Food Program warns 1.4 million people require emergency food assistance, and the United Nations estimates 1.3 million children are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. The quake opened massive rifts in roads and destroyed historic structures, including the 19th century Dharahara Tower in the capital Kathmandu, which was packed with sightseers when it collapsed. We go to Kathmandu to speak with Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times.

"History Is Finally Moving On": Tom Hayden on Thawing of U.S.-Cuba Relations Despite GOP Opposition

Democracy Now - Thu 07 33 AM

In a wide-ranging discussion, Tom Hayden, author of the new book, "Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters," argues the United States and Cuba have much more in common than a 55-year disagreement. This comes as Republicans have launched an attempt to block President Obama’s efforts to restore U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations for the first time in half a century with proposed legislation to stop new travel to Cuba from the United States. The bill would block the licensing of new flights and cruise ship routes to Cuba if the landing strip or dock is located on land confiscated by the Cuban government. Despite such efforts, Hayden says, "Travel is being expanded. You will be able to use your credit cards. The beaches will be open to tourists instead of tanks. History is finally moving on." He recalls his interviews with former senior U.S. officials on why the Obama administration is trying to end the embargo and remove Cuba from the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, and also discusses the Cuban missile crisis, the Cuban 5 and how the U.S. has sheltered Cuban exiles who were at virtual war with Cuba. Hayden’s book is based in part on conversations with Ricardo Alarcón, the former foreign minister of Cuba and past president of the Cuban National Assembly.

History Repeats? Activist Tom Hayden on Police Brutality Protests from the 1960s to Baltimore

Democracy Now - Thu 07 16 AM

As protests continue in Baltimore and around the country over the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, we are joined by one of the leading longtime activists in the country, Tom Hayden, who is no stranger to police and protest. In 1968, Hayden was a major organizer of demonstrations against the Vietnam War during the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He became one of the Chicago 8 and was convicted of crossing state lines to start a riot. The judge ordered Bobby Seale, one of his fellow defendants and the only African American, to be bound and gagged and chained to his chair. Later Hayden would organize in Newark, New Jersey, and go on to write the book, "Rebellion in Newark: Official Violence and Ghetto Response." "The country came to near collapse. Baltimore today was everywhere in 1967, 1968," Hayden says. "So we have to remember that these issues of going abroad to fight enemies leaves our internal problems festering, and they can blow at any time. So, history repeats, I’m sorry to say."

Iraqi Activist Describes "Massacres Left and Right" as Civil Society Resists Takeover by ISIS

Democracy Now - Wed 07 52 AM

As Yanar Mohammed, co-founder and the director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, attends the Women Stop War conference in The Hague, she describes the current situation in Iraq. "The country is under a prevailing culture of militias, which have the upper hand. … They say, ’It’s either us or ISIS.’" Mohammed says civil society is sandwiched between Shia and Sunni extremists, and argues a secular approach is the only way to resolve the conflict in her country.

Colombian Journalist Wins Courage Award After Kidnapping, Torture and Rape While Covering Arms Trade

Democracy Now - Wed 07 44 AM

As we broadcast from the World Forum in The Hague at the Women Stop War conference, Amy Goodman interviews Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima, who has covered her country’s armed conflict for more than 18 years. She received the International Women of Courage Award in 2012 after she came forward about being kidnapped, tortured and raped by a paramilitary group while she reported on the arms trade, and notes, "I refused to go into exile after this, and I continued to work as a journalist." Bedoya Lima went on to found the group Survivors United for Action.

From Police Violence to Boko Haram, African Activist Says Fundamentalism Must Be Addressed Globally

Democracy Now - Wed 07 39 AM

In Nigeria, hundreds of bodies have been found in the northeastern town of Damasak, after an apparent massacre by the militant group Boko Haram. Local sources say the death toll exceeds 400. We speak with African women’s rights activist Hakima Abbas about Boko Haram, militarization and fundamentalism. "In your own country, the white supremacist and Christian right fundamentalisms is also exacerbated by the gun culture and the promotion of an armed police force which is killing black women, men, trans people, and children in the U.S.A.," Abbas notes. "So fundamentalism is really something that we have to address globally, and the people at the forefront of that battle are women’s rights organizations and women’s rights organizers." Abbas is the director of programs for the Association for Women’s Rights in Development.

Japan Agrees to New Military Cooperation Plan with United States Despite Its Pacifist Constitution

Democracy Now - Wed 07 35 AM

As peace activists gather in The Hague, Japan is moving toward taking a more active military role internationally despite having a pacifist constitution. On Tuesday, President Obama hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a White House state dinner. The two nations have just unveiled new guidelines for military cooperation. We examine Japan’s growing military role with Kozue Akibayashi, the newly elected president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She also discusses opposition to the presence of some 25,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Okinawa. "The U.S. military has been granted almost diplomatic immunity to whatever they do. Crimes are committed, but they are not punished. They get away."

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Marks 100th Anniversary as War Rages on Worldwide

Democracy Now - Wed 07 27 AM

We are broadcasting from the World Forum in The Hague where 100 years ago this week over 1,000 female peace activists gathered from around the world to call for an end to war. The extraordinary meeting, known as the International Congress of Women, took place as World War I raged across the globe, and marked the formation of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. It was organized by Dutch suffragist Dr. Aletta Jacobs. The event took place in the Netherlands because of its neutral position during World War I. Two future Nobel Peace Prize winners took part in the U.S. delegation: Jane Addams, the co-founder of Hull House, and the sociologist Emily Greene Balch. "They saw, quite rightly, that the absence of women in making decisions in government meant there was greater likelihood of war. And they were right," says our guest, Madeleine Rees, WILPF’s secretary general. She has joined thousands of women from around the world who have gathered again in The Hague to call for peace and to mark the group’s 100th anniversary as wars rage on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries.

"You Can Replace Property, You Can't Replace a Life": Voices of the Unheard in the Baltimore Streets

Democracy Now - Wed 07 09 AM

Democracy Now! reports from the streets of Baltimore, where an overnight curfew has taken effect following Monday’s riots sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died of neck injuries suffered in police custody. Tuesday night, police in riot gear fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied the curfew when it began at 10 p.m. At least 10 people were arrested. But overall, the Baltimore Police Department declared "the city is stable." Thousands of forces, including National Guard troops, have deployed throughout the city streets. Monday’s unrest led to more than 200 arrests, dozens of cars set on fire, and many buildings badly damaged. Democracy Now!'s Aaron Maté and videographer Hany Massoud speak with locals as they take part in both the clean-up effort and the continued protests over Freddie Gray's death.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi on Nuclear Deal, Islamic State, Women's Rights

Democracy Now - Tue 07 30 AM

We are broadcasting from The Hague, where we are speaking with the women Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In an extended interview, we speak with 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and first Muslim woman to win the award for her human rights advocacy, in particular for the rights of Iranian women, children and political prisoners. She was the first female judge in Iran, but she has lived in exile since 2009. Ebadi discusses the threat posed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and the significance of the framework deal agreed to by Iran and world powers including the United States and Israel to curb its nuclear program for at least a decade. "I do not agree with any of the nuclear energy programs," Ebadi says. "Therefore, it has to stop as soon as possible. But at the same time, a country that does have an atomic bomb cannot judge in this manner about other countries."

National Guard Deployed as Baltimore Erupts After Years of Police Violence, Economic Neglect

Democracy Now - Tue 07 11 AM

For the second time in six months, National Guard troops have been deployed in response to police brutality protests. Baltimore erupted in violence Monday night over the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African-American man who died of neck injuries suffered in police custody after he was arrested for running. Police say at least 27 people were arrested as cars and stores were set on fire, and at least 15 officers were injured. Baltimore public schools are closed, and a weeklong curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Also Monday, thousands gathered to pay their respects during Freddie Gray’s funeral, including our guest, Rev. Jesse Jackson, civil rights leader, and president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Jackson says the violence "diverts attention away from the real issue" that West Baltimore is an "oasis of poverty and pain" where residents have long suffered from police abuse and economic neglect. We also speak with Lawrence Bell, former Baltimore City Council president. He grew up in and represented the impoverished area where Freddie Gray was arrested, and argues the "chickens are coming home to roost."

Nobel Laureates Call on "Militaristic" United States to Renew Pledge to Protect Human Rights

Democracy Now - Mon 07 48 AM

As we broadcast from the World Forum at The Hague, a statue has just been dedicated to Dutch suffragist Dr. Aletta Jacobs, who 100 years ago organized an extraordinary meeting known as the International Congress of Women that took place as World War I raged across the globe. We are joined by three women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize and are gathered to mark the anniversary and discuss how to build peace in the future. Mairead Maguire was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her actions to help end the deep ethnic and political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. And Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Williams notes President Barack Obama has authorized more drone strikes during his first three months in office than President Bush did during his entire administration.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Launches Campaign to Stop Killer Robots After Winning Ban on Landmines

Democracy Now - Mon 07 34 AM

In 1997 Jody Williams won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In 2013 she helped launch the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. "Who is accountable? Is it the man who programmed it? Is it Lockheed Martin, who built it?" Williams asks in an interview at The Hague, where she has joined 1,000 female peace activists gathered to mark the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Williams notes how some "spider-like" robots that spray tear gas are now used for crowd control, but could be stopped before they become widespread. She recalls how she was previously able to "force the governments of the world to come together and discuss [landmines]. They thought they would fly under the radar … A small group of people can and do change the world."

Liberian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Leymah Gbowee: How a Sex Strike Propelled Men to Refuse War

Democracy Now - Mon 07 16 AM

Liberian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee, one of the 1,000 female peace activists gathered to mark the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, recalls her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. "We were constantly trying to imagine strategies that would be effective," Gbowee says. "The men in our society were really not taking a stance. … We decided to do a sex strike to kind of propel these silent men into action." Gbowee notes the idea for the strike came from a Muslim woman and was inspired in part by the civil rights movement in the United States. Gbowee shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with fellow Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni native Tawakkul Karman. She is the founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa based in Liberia.

No to Violence, Yes to Dialogue: Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire on Path to Peace Today

Democracy Now - Mon 07 10 AM

We broadcast live from The Hague, where over 1,000 female peace activists gathered from around the world 100 years ago this week to call for an end to war. The extraordinary meeting, known as the International Congress of Women, took place as World War I raged across the globe. Today, as wars rage on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries, women from around the world have gathered again in The Hague to call for peace and to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we speak with three Nobel Peace Prize laureates. "Their agenda is to end militarism and war, and to build peace and international law and human rights and democracy," says our first guest, Mairead Maguire, who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 32 for her actions to help end the deep ethnic and political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. She shared the award with Betty Williams. They helped start Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society in Northern Ireland. At the time, Maguire was the youngest recipient of the peace prize. She is the author of the book "The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland."