St. Louis Activist: Decades After 1968 Urban Uprisings, Key Economic & Race Issues Remain Unresolved
The upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, has called to mind the racial divisions that split open in the 1960s with a series of uprisings in cities across the country. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson established what became known as the Kerner Commission to investigate the causes of the unrest. In February 1968, the commission famously concluded: "Our nation is moving toward two societies — one black, one white — separate and unequal." Just a month later, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked uprisings in more than 100 cities across the United States, including Kansas City, Missouri, where the National Guard was deployed and at least five people were killed. We speak with Jamala Rogers, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and witnessed the 1968 uprisings. She recently did a commentary for St. Louis Public Radio titled "Kerner Commission Warning Comes True — Two Societies, Separate and Unequal." Rogers is a founder and past chair of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri. She joins us from the streets in Ferguson.
As protests continue in Ferguson, activists are traveling to Missouri to join the movement in solidarity. We speak with one activist who has just arrived to Ferguson from Florida, Phillip Agnew, the executive director of Dream Defenders, a network of youth of color and their allies who engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and civic engagement to bring about social change. "I came here to be part of resistance," Agnew says. "We have not seen a reaction of nonviolent civil disobedience [to] officers of the state like this in my lifetime." Agnew helped organize protests to the 2012 shooting of unarmed, African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
In Missouri, Ferguson has seen another night of heavy unrest in the ongoing uproar over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. At least 31 people, including two journalists, were arrested as street clashes erupted between groups of demonstrators and riot police. Police are claiming they came under "heavy gunfire" and that unknown suspects shot two people over the course of the night. The protests came hours after attorneys for the family of Brown held a press conference to discuss the findings of a private autopsy that revealed Brown had been shot six times. The officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, remains in hiding and on paid leave. We go to the streets of Ferguson to speak with Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, a pastor from the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, who was dispatched to Missouri by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. "It is a tragedy that as a clergyperson I need a tear gas mask more than I need a collar to be able to do the work that I feel called to do," Sekou says.
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Just miles away from the scene of the protests in Ferguson lies the grave of Dred Scott at the Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant Avenue. Born a slave in Virginia, Scott sued in a St. Louis court for his freedom. The case went to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1857 decision that African Americans were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in federal courts. The court described blacks as "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The Dred Scott Decision is considered by many to be the worst decision in the Supreme Court’s history. We discuss the case’s significance with Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University and founder of the African American Policy Forum.
After a week that saw a militarized police crackdown and the imposition of a nighttime curfew, Amnesty International USA has taken an "unprecedented" step by sending a 13-person delegation to monitor the developments in Ferguson, Missouri. It is the first time the Amnesty organization has deployed observers inside the United States. We speak to Steven Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
As protests continue in Ferguson, we are joined by Art McCoy, who in 2010 became the first African-American school superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District. But three years later, McCoy was suspended without explanation, setting off a controversy that led to his resignation earlier this year. At the time of his suspension, there were no African Americans on the school board, even though three-quarters of the district’s students were black. McCoy is currently an adjunct professor of education at the University of Missouri and is on the board of the Urban League’s St. Louis chapter.
Community outrage grew in Ferguson, Missouri, over the weekend after the police named the officer who shot Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, after withholding his identity for five days. But in naming Wilson, the police also released video footage showing a young man who appeared to be Brown shoplifting a box of cigarillos from a convenience store. The Ferguson police released the video while continuing to withhold all other details about Brown’s killing, including how many times he was shot and the incident report from the shooting. In disclosing the video, the police appeared to suggest Brown may have been stopped as a suspect in the shoplifting. But hours later, Ferguson police admitted the officer did not know about the incident and had stopped Brown solely for walking in the middle of the street. Joining us from St. Louis, the Rev. Clinton Stancil, senior pastor at the Wayman AME Church, says Police Chief Tom Jackson should resign. He also says that efforts are being made to galvanize African-American voters in the next election to address concerns over the lack of diversity in the city’s elected officials.
A private autopsy report has found that Michael Brown — the African-American teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard into Ferguson after another night of protests over the shootings. In a statement, Nixon said he chose to activate the National Guard because of "deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent acts." For the past two nights, police have tried to enforce a five-hour curfew starting at midnight. On Sunday night, local police fired tear gas, smoke canisters and rubber bullets in an attempt to clear the streets before the curfew began. Police accused some protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to overrun the police command center. Earlier in the day on Sunday, 1,300 people packed the Greater Grace Church for a rally attended by Michael Brown’s parents. We air an excerpt of speeches made at this event.
- Autopsy: Michael Brown Shot 6 Times, Twice in Head
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The World Health Organization is now saying the number of reported cases and deaths of Ebola in West Africa vastly underestimates the scale of the outbreak. The official death toll from the Ebola outbreak is now at 1,069 since February. Guinea has become the fourth country in Africa to declare a national health emergency as it battles the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the worst outbreak since the disease was discovered in 1976. The outbreak began in Guinea, where it has killed 377 people. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, which have all declared a national health emergency. We speak to three guests: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; public health law professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University; and medical anthropologist Adia Benton of Brown University, who has conducted research on infectious disease in Sierra Leone over several years.
The events in Ferguson over the past week have sparked a national debate over racial profiling and the militarization of local police forces. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message." What Holder did not mention was the federal government’s role in supplying local police forces with military-grade equipment. The New York Times reports Department of Homeland Security grant money paid for the $360,000 BearCat armored truck on patrol in Ferguson. Most of the body armor worn by officers responding to the Ferguson protests was also paid for with federal money. We speak to Radley Balko, author of the book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces." "When we take domestic police officers and we train them like soldiers and we give them military gear and we dress them up like soldiers and we tell them they’re fighting a war — a war on crime or a war on terror — they’re going to start to see themselves as soldiers," Balko says.
Protests are continuing in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot by police on Saturday. But the mood in Ferguson has changed drastically over the past 24 hours. On Wednesday night, the city looked like a war zone as police fired tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs. Police arrested at least 10 people, including a St. Louis alderman and two journalists. But last night the mood was less tense after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put an African-American Highway Patrol captain, Ron Johnson, in charge of security in the town of Ferguson. Johnson marched with protesters and ordered the riot gear put away. We go to St. Louis to speak with the Rev. Renita Lamkin, who was hit with a rubber bullet by police on Wednesday while attending the protest, and Patricia Bynes, Democratic committee member of Ferguson Township.
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The Obama administration has opened two new family detention centers to hold hundreds of women and children from Central America who fled to the United States reportedly to escape violence in their home countries. While most of the 63,000 unaccompanied minors detained at the border since January have now been placed with family members as their cases are processed, those caught with their mothers are being held without bond. A 600-bed detention center run by GEO Group in Karnes City, Texas, opened at the beginning of August and is reportedly already full. Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz visits a second detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, to report on the poor conditions and lack of due process for migrants, and the lawyers mobilizing to assist them. "Children were not eating. Children were getting very sick," says attorney Megan Jordi. "Every child I saw looked incredibly emaciated and had a hollow look in their eyes."
One year ago today, Egyptian forces opened fire on a sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of people had camped in the square to protest the ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. Over the course of a single day, in what became known as the Rabaa massacre, Egyptian forces killed at least 817 people. Now, Human Rights Watch has unveiled a new report that concludes Egypt’s actions likely constituted a crime against humanity, one of the worst violations of international law. The report puts the massacre on par with China’s infamous massacre of unarmed protesters at Tiananmen Square. We are joined by Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth, who, along with Middle East Director Sarah Leah Whitson, attempted to enter Egypt and present the group’s findings earlier this week, but was detained and turned away. We are also joined by Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a former member of the Egyptian Parliament with the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, which has just been dissolved by a court. Dardery left Egypt after the coup and is now living in the United States. And we are joined from Cairo by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
The Missouri town of Ferguson looks like a war zone as police fire tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs to break up a fifth night of protests over the police shooting of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. At least 10 people were arrested on Wednesday, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been posting video online of the protests and who appeared on Democracy Now! earlier this week. An earlier protest faced a heavy police response, with police in riot gear stationed by a massive armed vehicle in the street. Journalists from The Washington Post and Huffington Post were also arrested last night and then released without charges. They were detained while filing reports from a McDonald’s restaurant. Ferguson police have refused to release the name of the officer who shot Brown, citing fears for his safety. They have also called on demonstrators to limit their protests to daytime hours. We go to St. Louis to speak with Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township. Bynes has been out in the streets of Ferguson every night documenting the protests on Twitter.
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Glenn Greenwald’s latest article for The Intercept is headlined "NPR Is Laundering CIA Talking Points to Make You Scared of NSA Reporting." Greenwald takes a highly critical look at a story by NPR’s counterterrorism correspondent, Dina Temple-Raston, which aired on Morning Edition earlier this month. Temple-Raston’s report focused on claims by the tech firm Recorded Future that it has "tangible evidence" that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden harmed national security by prompting terrorists to develop more sophisticated encryption programs. Greenwald says the NPR report erred in failing to mention that the firm is funded by the CIA. "This was such a pure and indisputable case of journalistic malpractice and deceit," Greenwald charges. "NPR radically misled millions of people with this report."
Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Intel Agencies Provide "Key Ingredient" in Enabling Israeli Aggression in Gaza
Earlier this month, The Intercept published documents provided by Edward Snowden that revealed the deep ties between Israeli and U.S. intelligence agencies. In a recent article, journalist Glenn Greenwald cites one 2013 document that described a "far-reaching technical and analytic relationship" between the National Security Agency and its Israeli counterpart against "mutually agreed upon geographic targets." The partnership includes a "dedicated communications line" supporting "the exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence."