Islamic State militants have reportedly made advances in both Iraq and Syria despite an escalating U.S.-led bombing. In Iraq, militants are said to have seized control of the town of Heet in Anbar province. In Syria, militants have advanced on Kurdish towns near the Turkish border, forcing tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee in recent days. The United Nations says more than 1,100 Iraqis were killed in violence last month. The actual toll is far higher because it does not include deaths in areas controlled by the Islamic State. The United Nations says the Islamic State has carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used children as fighters. The United Nations also says airstrikes by the Iraqi government have caused "significant civilian deaths and injuries." This comes as the White House has confirmed it has relaxed standards aimed at preventing civilian deaths for the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. We discuss the developing situation with Sinan Antoon, an Iraqi poet, novelist and translator. A professor at New York University, Antoon is co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya ezine.
- Islamic State Seizes Iraqi Town in Anbar Province
- U.N.: Islamic State Committing Mass Killings; Iraqi Airstrikes Cause "Significant Deaths"
- Dozens of Syrian Children Killed in Homs School Bombing
- Hong Kong Protesters Issue Midnight Deadline
- Secret Service Directly Resigns over Security Lapses
- Florida Man Convicted of 1st Degree Murder in Retrial for Killing Unarmed Black Teen
- Children with Potential Ebola Exposure Monitored in Texas
- Obama Hosts Netanyahu as Israel Advances "Troubling" Settlements; Palestinians Seek 2016 Deadline
- Climate Change Displaces 35,000 Walruses in Alaska
- Los Angeles City Council Approves Minimum Wage for Hotel Workers
The American Civil Liberties has filed a federal lawsuit against Scott County, which is about 25 miles from the capital of Jackson, over allegations that it has held prisoners for nearly a year without formal charge or access to an attorney. The two plaintiffs in the case are Octavious Burks, held for more than 10 months without formal charge, and Joshua Bassett, held for eight months. Burks was arrested for armed robbery, and Bassett for grand larceny and possession of methamphetamine. Overall, the ACLU estimates at least 50 people are being held in the Scott County in a similar situation — no indictment and no access to a lawyer. We are joined by Brandon Buskey, staff attorney with the Criminal Law Reform Project at the ACLU and lead attorney on the case in Scott County, Mississippi.
We look at the incredible story of how a 16-year-old high school sophomore from the Bronx ended up spending nearly three years locked up at the Rikers jail in New York City after he says he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack. Kalief Browder never pleaded guilty and was never convicted. Browder maintained his innocence and requested a trial, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. Near the end of his time in jail, the judge offered to sentence him to time served if he entered a guilty plea, and warned him he could face 15 years in prison if he was convicted. But Browder still refused to accept the deal, and was only released when the case was dismissed. During this time, Browder spent nearly 800 days in solitary confinement, a juvenile imprisonment practice that the New York Department of Corrections has now banned. We are joined by reporter and author Jennifer Gonnerman, who recounts Browder’s story in the current issue of The New Yorker. We also speak with Browder’s current attorney, Paul Prestia, who has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, the New York City Police Department, the Bronx District Attorney, and the Department of Corrections, on Browder’s behalf.
After Censorship of History Course, Colorado Students & Teachers Give a Lesson in Civil Disobedience
After a county school board in Colorado proposed to rewrite the district’s high school U.S. history curriculum to stop teaching about civil disobedience, students and teachers have responded with acts of civil disobedience of their own. Classes have been canceled twice in Jefferson County as teachers stage mass sick-outs and students walk out of classes. At a protest last week, hundreds of Denver-area high school students held cardboard signs with slogans including, "Don’t make history a mystery" and "Keep your politics out of my education." The protests began after the school board announced it was considering reviewing the curriculum of Advanced Placement history courses and adding more material to "promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights." The proposed changes also call for the removal of classroom materials that "encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law." In addition, teachers are protesting a pay-grade system that ties their salaries to performance reviews. We are joined by two guests: John Ford, president of the Jefferson County Education Association and a social studies teacher at Moore Middle School, and Ashlyn Maher, a Chatfield High School senior and one of the students protesting the proposed curriculum changes.
- Biggest U.S.-Led Strikes on Iraq and Syria to Date as U.K. Joins Campaign
- U.S. Not Following Heightened Standards on Preventing Civilian Deaths for Syria-Iraq Strikes
- United Nations: Funding Shortfall Threatens Food Aid for Syrian Refugees
- Taliban Launches Suicide Attack after U.S.-Afghan Troop Deal
- Tens of Thousands Continue Pro-Democracy Protests in Hong Kong
- CDC Says First U.S. Ebola Case Can Be Contained
- Obama Approves Asylum Plan for Migrant Children
- Oklahoma Modifies Execution Protocol after Botched Killing
- Secret Service Chief under Fire as New Revelations Emerge About White House Intruder
- Obama Hosts Indian PM for White House Dinner
- U.K. Drops Terrorism Case Against Former Guantánamo Prisoner
As U.S.-Afghanistan Sign Troop Deal, CIA-Backed Warlord Behind Massacre of 2,000 POWs Sworn-In as VP
Afghanistan has inaugurated its first new president in a decade, swearing in Ashraf Ghani to head a power-sharing government. Joining him on stage Monday was Abdul Rashid Dostum, Afghanistan’s new vice president. Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious warlords, once described by Ghani himself as a "known killer." Dostum’s rise to the vice presidency comes despite his involvement in a 2001 massacre that killed up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war. The victims were allegedly shot to death or suffocated in sealed metal truck containers after they surrendered to Dostum and the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance. The dead prisoners — some of whom had been tortured — were then buried in the northern Afghan desert. Dostum, who was on the CIA payroll, has been widely accused of orchestrating the massacre and tampering with evidence of the mass killing. For more than a decade, human rights groups have called on the United States to conduct a full investigation into the massacre including the role of U.S. special forces and CIA operatives. We speak to Jamie Doran, director of the 2002 documentary "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death," and Susannah Sirkin, director of international policy at Physicians for Human Rights, the group that discovered the site of the mass graves of the Taliban POWs.
Hong Kong is facing its biggest political unrest in decades as tens of thousands of protesters defy a police crackdown to demand greater freedom from China. The new round of protests began last week when thousands of college students launched a boycott to oppose China’s rejection of free elections in 2017. The protesters want an open vote, but China’s plan would only allow candidates approved by Beijing. After a three-day sit-in, police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowds. But that only fueled a public outcry which brought even more into the streets, with estimates reaching up to 200,000 people. Protest leaders have vowed to remain until the resignation of Hong Kong city leader, Leung Chun-ying, and a free vote for his successor. Originally organized by the group "Occupy Central," the protests have been dubbed Umbrella Revolution, for the umbrellas protesters have used to hide from the tear gas. The police crackdown is the harshest since China retook control of Hong Kong in 1997 after 150 years of British rule. The crackdown is being felt in mainland China, where the government has blocked the mobile photo-sharing app Instagram and heavily censored references to Hong Kong on social media. We are joined from Hong Kong by journalist Tom Gundy, who has been covering the protests.
- Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Defy Police Crackdown
- New Afghan Government Signs Deal to Keep 10,000 U.S. Troops
- Islamic State Releases New Video of British Hostage
- Violence Continues in Eastern Ukraine; 12 Killed
- Report: Over 3,000 Migrants Died in 2014 Trying to Reach Europe
- Spain: Court Suspends Referendum on Catalan Independence
- Mexico: Over 50 Students Missing After Police Violence in Guerrero
- U.S. Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt over Vulture Fund Payments
- White House Intruder Ran Through East Room Before Capture
- Supreme Court Deals Blow to Early Voting in Ohio
- Bankruptcy Judge Lets Detroit Continue Water Shutoffs
- California Enacts Landmark Law to Address College Sexual Assault
- More Than Half of World's Wild Animals Disappear Due to Human Impact
- Research Ties Climate Change to Record Heat in Australia
- Black Panther Sundiata Acoli, Co-Defendant of Assata Shakur, Ordered Released After 40 Years
Protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, calling for the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed the unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. On Friday, officers dismantled an encampment where activists had been living in the weeks since Brown’s death. Some accused police of excessive force. More protests took place over the weekend, including one outside the Ferguson Police Department Sunday night. Two officers were wounded in separate shootings, but police say they were unrelated. The Justice Department has ordered local police to stop wearing bracelets in support of the officer who shot Michael Brown, which read "I Am Darren Wilson." Ferguson officers have also been instructed to stop hiding their identity through obscured nametags or not wearing them at all, saying it conveys a message that "officers may seek to act with impunity." We are joined by Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township.
We air a remembrance of Jacob George, an Afghanistan War veteran and peace activist who took his own life on September 17. He was 32 years old. George co-founded the Afghan Veterans Against the War Committee, part of Iraq Veterans Against the War. George was also a musician who biked around the country playing music for peace, a campaign he called "A Ride Till the End." In 2012, at the NATO summit in Chicago, he was among the veterans who hurled their military medals toward the summit gates in an act of protest against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. George spoke openly about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and with getting Veterans Affairs counselors to understand what he saw as a "moral injury" from his time in Afghanistan. In a storybook that accompanied his musical album "Soldier’s Heart," George wrote: "A wise medicine woman from Arkansas once told me that grief is pain trying to leave the body. If you don’t allow yourself to grieve, it gets stuck. But once you grieve, the body can heal itself. I won’t lie, some of this stuff is heavy. But telling my story is a part of my healing process. And it’s not just veterans who need to heal: all of us need to heal from war and the roster of ailments produced by a nation at war." Hear George playing the banjo and singing his song, "Soldier’s Heart."
In an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday, President Obama acknowledged the United States has underestimated the rise of the Islamic State. With the U.S. military operation in Iraq and Syria now expanding, we are joined by Raed Jarrar, Iraqi-American blogger, political analyst, and policy impacts coordinator at the American Friends Service Committee. "The U.S. military force to deal with extremist groups has been tried before, and it has failed miserably," Jarrar says. "The U.S. military intervention is delaying and making a political solution harder."
As U.S. strikes on Syria expand, Human Rights Watch says a bombing last week on the town of Idlib should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war. The strikes killed at least seven civilians, including five children, in the early morning hours of September 23 in the village of Kafr Deryan in northern Idlib province. Local activists at the scene of the attack collected and videotaped the remnants from the weapons used in the strikes. Human Rights Watch reviewed the footage and identified the remnants as debris of a turbofan engine from a Tomahawk cruise missile, a weapon that only the U.S. and British governments possess. "Witness accounts suggest that the attack on the village harmed civilians but did not strike a military target, violating the laws of war by failing to discriminate between combatants and civilians, or that it unlawfully caused civilian loss disproportionate to the expected military advantage," HRW details. The group has called on the U.S. government to investigate the allegations and publish its findings. We are joined by Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch senior researcher for Lebanon and Syria.
As the U.S. expands military operations in Syria, we look at the Khorasan group, the shadowy militant organization the Obama administration has invoked to help justify the strikes. One month ago, no one had heard of Khorasan, but now U.S. officials say it poses an imminent threat to the United States. As the strikes on Syria began, U.S. officials said Khorasan was "nearing the execution phase" of an attack on the United States or Europe, most likely an attempt to blow up a commercial plane in flight. We are joined by Murtaza Hussain of The Intercept, whose new article with Glenn Greenwald is "The Khorasan Group: Anatomy of a Fake Terror Threat to Justify Bombing Syria."
- More Civilian Deaths Reported as U.S. Expands Strikes on Syria
- U.S. Deploys New Unit to Iraq; Pentagon Says 15,000 Rebels Needed for Syria Win
- Nusra Front Threatens to Attack U.S. for Syria Bombings
- Hong Kong Protests Swell, Sparking Harshest Crackdown to Date
- Indian PM Greeted by Massive Crowd, Counter-Protest in New York City
- Cuba Denounces Obama Admin for Extending Embargo
- Protests Continue in Ferguson; Justice Dept. Orders Halt to "I Am Darren Wilson" Armbands
- California Ends Forced Sterilizations in State Prisons
- Docs: Top Corporations Paid for Access to GOP Donors
- Senators Call for Probe of New York Fed After Leaked Recordings Suggest Bank Leniency
- 15 Wounded in Miami Nightclub Shooting
- Ghani Sworn in as Afghan President; Cabinet Includes Ex-Warlord
We end today’s show with one of the most memorable speeches at the one-day United Nations climate summit this week. On Tuesday, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner from the Marshall Islands read a poem to world leaders, written as a letter to her child. "Even though there are those hidden behind platinum titles who like to pretend that we don’t exist," she writes, "that the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Maldives and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and floods of Pakistan, Algeria, and Colombia and all the hurricanes, earthquakes, and tidalwaves didn’t exist. Still there are those who see us hands reaching out."
Attorney General Eric Holder announced his plan to resign Thursday after nearly six years as head of the Justice Department. He will remain in office until a successor is nominated and confirmed. Assessments of Holder’s legacy as attorney general have been mixed. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund hailed Holder as one of the finest attorneys general in the nation’s history in part for his role in transforming the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and his leadership on voting rights. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union criticized Holder’s record on national security issues. The ACLU notes that during Holder’s time in office, the Justice Department approved the drone killing of an American in Yemen, approved the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, failed to prosecute any Bush administration officials for torture, and presided over more leak prosecutions than all previous Justice Departments combined. We speak to Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, Robert Weissman of Public Citizen, Leslie Proll of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Baher Azmy of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
- U.S.-Led Strikes Target ISIS Oil Operations in Syria
- Rouhani Blames Western Intervention for Rise of ISIS
- ISIS Executes Women's Rights Advocate in Mosul
- Afghanistan: Scores Killed as Taliban Captures Key District
- U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Resignation
- Mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown Call for Justice
- Ferguson Police Chief Apologizes to Michael Brown's Family, Tries to March with Protesters
- Hong Kong: Students Cap Week of Protests for Political Freedom
- Mexico: Soldiers Accused of Massacring 22 People
- Pope Francis Ousts Paraguayan Bishop Who Promoted Priest Accused of Abuse
- Hollywood Firms Allowed to Use Camera-Equipped Drones
- Yahoo, Google Cut Ties with Right-Wing ALEC
- South Carolina Trooper Fired for Shooting Black Man Who Obeyed Command to Retrieve License
- California: Black Woman Punched by Cop Gets $1.5M Settlement
- Report: Ray Rice Tape Sent to NFL Security Chief
- U.S. Sergeant Found Guilty of Sexually Assaulting 8 Soldiers
- Mississippi County Sued for Indefinitely Holding Prisoners Without Charge
- Landmark Suit Filed over Transgender Rights in Workplace
The People’s Climate March, which saw hundreds of thousands around the world take to the streets for action on global warming in New York City, was followed this week by a United Nations climate summit in which world leaders advanced an agenda devoid of binding commitments. We discuss this global climate week and what comes next with Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. On the eve of the climate summit, Greenpeace projected the message "Listen to the People, Not the Polluters!" on the side of the U.N. building. Much of Greenpeace’s focus here has been on the need to protect the Arctic. During a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the group handed over a petition with six million signatures calling for its long-term protection. With scientists reporting the region is warming more than twice as fast as the global average, Greenpeace and other groups are calling for a ban on oil exploration of the area. Watch Part 2 of this interview.
In a global television and radio exclusive, we are joined by Abdullah Elshamy, the Al Jazeera journalist who was released from an Egyptian prison after he sustained a five-month hunger strike. Elshamy was freed from prison in June after being held for 10 months without charges. During his imprisonment, he lost over a third of his body weight. He is in New York City to lobby for the release of his fellow Al Jazeera reporters still imprisoned in Egypt. As he walked across the street on Wednesday to the United Nations where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi delivered a speech, Sisi supporters threw hot coffee on him. Sisi is set to meet with President Obama and reportedly request more U.S. assistance — including military hardware. Human Rights Watch is calling on Obama to use the meeting to publicly criticize Egypt’s continued crackdown on human rights, including the widespread jailing of political opponents and journalists, mass death sentences, and lack of accountability for the killing of more than 1,000 protesters by security forces in July and August 2013.