Hundreds of students turned out for a rally at Columbia University in New York City on Friday bearing mattresses and chanting "carry that weight," a reference to the emotional burden they say all survivors must shoulder each day. Some wore red tape over their mouths to symbolize the harms done by Columbia’s bureaucratic handling of sexual assault. Earlier this month, Columbia University senior Emma Sulkowicz announced she would carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. We play excerpts from Friday’s rally and speak to Sulkowicz and fellow Columbia University senior Zoe Ridolfi-Starr. She was also sexually assaulted at Columbia in 2012. She is the lead complainant in a federal complaint against Columbia over its handling of sexual assault.
A Columbia University senior who says she was raped on campus by a fellow student has launched an unusual act of protest. Emma Sulkowicz has vowed to carry a dorm room mattress with her everywhere on campus until her rapist is expelled or leaves campus on his own. Sulkowicz says she was raped in her own dorm room in August 2012. That was only the beginning. After she reported her assault to Columbia, she appeared before a disciplinary panel, where she was forced to explain to a university official how the painful manner in which she had been raped was physically possible. Then the panel found her accused assailant not responsible. Two other students have accused the alleged perpetrator of sexual assaults, but he remains on campus. Sulkowicz joins us to tell her story.
- U.S. Launches New Iraq Strikes as Part of Expanded ISIS Campaign
- Iran Rejects "Self-Serving" U.S. Offer to Cooperate vs. ISIS
- Obama to Unveil U.S. Ebola Response; Up to 3,000 Troops Planned
- Ukraine Offers Concessions as Attack Threatens Truce
- Hundreds of Migrants Feared Dead in Shipwrecks
- Cameron Urges Scottish Voters to Reject Independence
- North Korea Sentences U.S. Prisoner to 6 Years
- August 2014 Warmest on Record; Study Shows Minimal Cost for Cutting Emissions
- Senate GOP Blocks Paycheck Fairness Act
- NFL Team Reactivates Player Accused of Child Abuse
- Anti-Immigrant Bill Sponsor Resigns GOP Post after Backing Sterilization for Medicaid Recipients
- Pope Francis: Global Conflicts Amount to "Piecemeal" World War III
The World Health Organization is warning that the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa is growing faster than relief workers can manage. The organization says that thousands are at risk of contracting the virus in the coming weeks and more medical professionals are urgently needed to help contain the outbreak. So far, Ebola has claimed some 2,400 lives and continues to ravage Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. It is the worst outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976. Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has lost a fourth doctor to Ebola after efforts to transfer her abroad for treatment failed. The loss is a major setback for the impoverished country, which is already suffering from a shortage of healthcare workers. Since the Ebola outbreak began, approximately 144 healthcare professionals have died while serving affected populations. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
A new report finds many talking heads who have been fanning the flames of war in the news media have ties to Pentagon contractors. Reporting for The Nation, Lee Fang details how television analysts including retired generals Jack Keane and Anthony Zinni and former Department of Homeland Security official Frances Townsend have appeared on television recently, but their ties to military contractors were not disclosed. Fang writes many of these commentators "have skin in the game as paid directors and advisers to some of the largest military contractors in the world." Keane, for example, is a special adviser to Academi, the contractor formerly known as Blackwater, and a board member to military manufacturer General Dynamics. He is also a "venture partner" to SCP Partners, an investment firm that works with defense contractors.
An international summit on combating militants from the Islamic State has opened in France, bringing together around 30 countries from a U.S.-led coalition. The Obama administration says several Arab League countries have signed on for airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, but no sustained campaign is imminent. President Obama has already asserted he does not need approval from the Congress to expand U.S. airstrikes into Syria. On Friday, the Obama administration says it derives legal authority for the war on the Islamic State from both the 2001 war on terror resolution as well as the 2002 vote authorizing the Iraq War. The White House made the claim despite President Obama’s previous call for repealing the war authorization measures. On Saturday, video was posted online showing a member of the Islamic State beheading British aid worker David Haines, the third Western hostage to be beheaded by the militants in less than a month. In the video, the Islamic State issued death threats against another captive British aid worker, Alan Henning. We are joined by Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.
- U.S. Claims Arab League Role for Anti-ISIS Strikes
- White House Cites Iraq War Resolution for ISIS Strikes
- Islamic State Beheads U.K. Aid Worker in New Video
- U.S. Triples Estimate of ISIS Fighters
- Obama Met with Prominent Journalists Ahead of ISIS Speech
- Syrian Gov't Airstrikes Reportedly Killed Dozens Outside Damascus
- Israeli Intelligence Vets Refuse to Spy on Palestinians
- Sweden Elects Center-Left Coalition in Anti-Austerity Vote; Far-Right Makes Gains
- Prominent Egyptian Activist Freed on Bail
- New NFL Abuse Claim Emerges as Commissioner Faces Calls to Resign
- NFL Admits One-Third of Retired Players Suffer Cognitive Problems
- Obama Admin Invokes State-Secrets Privilege to Dismiss Private Lawsuit
- "Django Unchained" Actress Accuses LAPD of Racial Profiling
- Cuba Sends Health Workers for Ebola Effort; Obama to Unveil U.S. Plan
On July 20, at least 90 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya. Days later, former Israeli soldier Eran Efrati was arrested by Israel after he posted details about the massacre based on interviews he conducted with Israeli soldiers who were there. Today he speaks out about what he learned and talks about the killing of 23-year-old Salem Khaleel Shamaly. Activists with the International Solidarity Movement posted a video on YouTube showing the fatal shooting of an unarmed Palestinian civilian during the massacre. Family members later stumbled onto the video and identified the man as Shamaly. In the video, Shamaly is seen lying on the ground, apparently wounded by an unseen sniper. As Shamaly tries to get to his feet, two more shots ring out, and he stops moving. Efrati interviewed three of the Israeli soldiers who witnessed the killing of Salem Khaleel Shamaly. His sources within the Israeli Defense Forces reportedly informed him soldiers were deliberately targeting civilians as "punishment" and "retribution" for the deaths of fellow soldiers in their units. Efrati is a former Israeli combat soldier turned anti-occupation activist and investigative researcher.
Click here to watch part 2 of the interview.
In his address on Wednesday night, President Obama invoked the memory of two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were recently beheaded by the Islamic State, as he outlined his case for expanded military actions in Iraq and U.S. airstrikes against the group inside Syria. We speak to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Haskell Wexler, who worked with James Foley in 2012 in Chicago while he was making a film about protests against the NATO Summit. "For the President to use Jim’s name and other journalists as reason to pursue the stated military policy to 'degrade and destroy the Islamic State so that it is no longer a threat' is an insult to the memory of James Foley and to the intelligence of the American people," Wexler wrote this week. We speak to Wexler and hear James Foley in his own words, from a video interview he did with Wexler.
The Pentagon has announced it will soon start flying bombing missions out of the Kurdish region of northern Iraq as part of an expanded U.S.-led military campaign against militants from the Islamic State. But it remains unclear when the U.S. will begin launching airstrikes in Syria. According to McClatchy, President Obama has not yet authorized the U.S. Central Command to conduct offensive combat operations in Syria as many questions over U.S. strategy remain unresolved. To talk more about President Obama’s plans to expand U.S. military operations in Iraq and to bomb Syria, we are joined by one of the nation’s leading peace activists, Medea Benjamin, founder of CodePink which held a protest outside the White House on Wednesday during President Obama’s speech. She is the author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."
- Kerry Visits Saudi Arabia, Turkey to Push for Support Against ISIS
- James Foley's Mother: U.S. Response to ISIS Has "Increased the Hate"
- Syrian Rebels Release 45 Fijian Peacekeepers
- Chile Marks Anniversary of Its Own 9/11
- AP: More Than 5,000 Killed in Central African Republic
- Hundreds of Thousands Rally for Catalan Independence from Spain
- Banks Threaten to Leave Scotland if Independence Approved
- Floods Displace 1 Million in India, Pakistan
- Hewlett-Packard Fined for Bribing Russian Officials; U.S., EU Impose New Russian Sanctions
- HRW: Israel Committed War Crimes by Attacking Gaza Schools
- Oscar Pistorius Guilty of Manslaughter, Not Murder, for Killing Girlfriend
- Argentina Adopts Law to Repay Debts Outside of U.S. Court Ruling
- U.S. Threatened to Fine Yahoo $250,000 Per Day for Guarding User Data
- Missouri Enacts 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion
- Columbia Students Help Survivor Carry Mattress in Sexual Assault Protest
- University of Illinois Trustees Vote Against Salaita over Gaza Tweets
- Study: Residents Near Fracking Sites More Likely to Become Ill
- FCC Receives Record Number of Comments over Net Neutrality
What would Dr. Martin Luther King do? As debate continues over U.S. plans to launch airstrikes in Syria, we look at the final year of King’s life when he became a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War, calling his government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." We speak to public TV and radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley, author of the new book, "Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year."
President Obama has authorized U.S. airstrikes for the first time in Syria and their expansion in Iraq against the militant group Islamic State. In a prime-time address, Obama vowed to hunt down Islamic State militants "wherever they are." Obama also announced he is sending 475 more U.S. military troops to Iraq, bringing the total to 1,600. He also called for congressional support to arm and train the Syrian opposition. We get analysis of Obama’s speech and this latest U.S. military foray into the Middle East with two guests: Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. ambassador to Croatia who has worked on issues involving Iraq since the 1980s and a former adviser to the Kurdistan Regional Government; and Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College and author of several books. Prashad’s latest article is "What President Obama Should Not Do About ISIS."
- Obama Claims Authority to Expand Strikes to Syria
- Family: Sotloff Was Sold to ISIS by "Moderate" Rebels
- Saudi Arabia to Host Training of Syrian Opposition
- Dozens Arrested in Ferguson at Highway Protest
- U.N.: Ozone Layer Recovering; New Steps Needed to End HFCs
- Ebola Toll Tops 2,300; 4th Patient Arrives in U.S.
- Israel Probes 2 High-Profile Gaza Killings
- Israeli Officials Admit Hamas Leadership Had No Part in Kidnappings
- Israeli Officer Charged for Beating of U.S. Teen
- Hundreds Attend Funeral for Palestinian Killed in Israeli Raid
- Bahrain Allies Urged to Pressure Monarchy for Political Prisoners' Release
- NFL Was Sent Rice Video; Former FBI Chief to Lead Probe
- Texas Carries Out Execution after Failed Appeal
We look at the growing movement for drug decriminalization that is moving ahead in the United States and being amplified by former heads of state from around the around. On Monday, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter said he would sign a bill that would make Philadelphia the largest city in the country to decriminalize marijuana possession. Just two weeks ago, the City Council in Santa Fe voted to decriminalize marijuana. Earlier this year, District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana in the U.S. capital. Ballot initiatives on legalization of marijuana will go before voters in Oregon, Florida and Alaska in November. This comes two years after voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana. Meanwhile, a group of former presidents and United Nations leaders gathered in New York Tuesday to call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of drug users. Known as the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the panel includes the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. The commission first made headlines in 2011 when it declared the war on drugs to be a failure. We are joined by two guests: Michel Kazatchkine, a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the United Nations’ special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Watch Part 2 of this interview.
If your favorite website seems to load slowly today, take a closer look: You might be experiencing the Battle for the Net’s "Internet Slowdown," a global day of action. The Internet won’t actually be slowing down, but many sites are placing on their homepages animated "Loading" graphics , which organizers call "the proverbial 'spinning wheel of death,'" to symbolize what the Internet might soon look like. Large Internet service providers, or ISPs, like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon, are trying to change the rules that govern the Internet. Some of the biggest companies on the Internet — Netflix, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Etsy and WordPress — are joining today’s Internet Slowdown to draw attention to net neutrality, the principle that service providers shouldn’t be allowed to speed up, or slow down, loading times on certain websites, such as their competitors. This comes as 27 online advocacy groups sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler Tuesday, calling on him to participate in town hall-style public hearings on net neutrality before ruling on the issue as early as this year. We are joined by Tim Karr of the group Free Press, one of the main organizers of the Internet Slowdown global day of action.
Two climate activists were set to go on trial in Massachusetts on Monday for blocking the shipment of 40,000 tons of coal to the Brayton Point power plant, a 51-year-old facility that is one of the region’s largest contributors to greenhouse gases. But in a surprise move, a local prosecutor dropped the criminal charges and reduced three other charges to civil offenses, calling climate change one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced. We are joined by the activists, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, and the prosecutor, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter. Days after they were to square off in court, the three now say they plan to march together in the upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City.
- Obama Claims Existing Authority to Expand Strikes on Islamic State to Syria
- Syrian Rebel Leader Among 45 Killed in Blast
- Brown Wins GOP Senate Primary in NH; Cuomo Survives Primary Challenges in NY
- Ferguson Residents Pack City Council Meeting with Calls for Change
- Senate Holds Hearing on Police Militarization in Ferguson Aftermath
- Questioned on Assault Tape, NFL Commissioner Won't Rule Out Rice's Return
- Missouri Executes Death Row Prisoner; Texas Next
- Ousted Professor: University of Illinois Threatening Academic Freedom
- Philadelphia Set to Decriminalize Marijuana
In a surprise move, District Attorney Sam Sutter of Bristol, Massachusetts, has dropped criminal charges against two climate activists who were set to go on trial Monday for blocking a shipment of 40,000 tons of coal. In May 2013, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara used their lobster boat to prevent a delivery of the coal to the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. For their trial, Ward and O’Hara had planned to invoke the "necessity defense," arguing that their actions were justified by how the coal industry worsens the climate change that threatens our planet. In an unprecedented announcement, District Attorney Sutter all but adopted their reasoning and dropped the charges. "Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter said outside the courthouse, explaining his decision. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking.”
Tune in to Democracy Now! on Wednesday for our interview with the two climate activists, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, and District Attorney Sam Sutter.
As the fall school term begins, an Illinois college campus is embroiled in one of the nation’s biggest academic freedom controversies in recent memory. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has sparked an outcry over its withdrawal of a job offer to a professor critical of the Israeli government. Steven Salaita was due to start work at the university as a tenured professor in the American Indian Studies Program. But after posting a series of tweets harshly critical of this summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza, Salaita was told the offer was withdrawn. The school had come under pressure from donors, students, parents and alumni critical of Salaita’s views, with some threatening to withdraw financial support. Thousands of academics have signed petitions calling for Salaita’s reinstatement, and several lecturers have canceled appearances in protest. The American Association of University Professors has called the school’s actions "inimical to academic freedom and due process." A number of Urbana-Champaign departments have passed votes of no-confidence in the chancellor, Phyllis Wise. And today, Urbana-Champaign students will be holding a campus walkout and day of silence in support of Salaita. We are joined by two guests: Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke, who has canceled a lecture series at Urbana-Champaign in protest of Salaita’s unhiring; and Kristofer Petersen-Overton, a scholar who went through a similar incident in 2011 when Brooklyn College reversed a job offer after complaints about his Middle East views, only to reinstate it following a public outcry.