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"We Deserve To Do More Than Just Survive": Marshall Islands Poet's Plea to the U.N. Climate Summit

Democracy Now - Fri 06 55 AM

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."

Eric Holder's Complex Legacy: Voting Rights Advocate, Enemy of Press Freedom, Friend of Wall Street

Democracy Now - Fri 06 12 AM

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.

Listen to the People, Not the Polluters: Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace on the Global Climate Uprising

Democracy Now - Thu 06 47 AM

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.

Exclusive: Freed After Hunger Strike, Egyptian Journalist in U.S. to Campaign for Jailed Colleagues

Democracy Now - Thu 06 29 AM

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.

No Charges in Ohio Police Killing of John Crawford as Wal-Mart Video Contradicts 911 Caller Account

Democracy Now - Thu 06 08 AM

An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the white police officer who fatally shot John Crawford. A 22-year-old African American, Crawford was killed inside a Wal-Mart store last month after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun and pointing it at other customers. In fact, Crawford had picked up an unloaded BB air rifle on a shelf, an item that is sold in the store. Newly released surveillance footage shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account, and what really happened. The Justice Department now says it will launch a federal review to determine if Crawford’s civil rights were violated. We are joined by two guests: Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change, a national organization that has campaigned for Wal-Mart to release the surveillance tapes, and James Hayes, founding member of the Ohio Student Association, which has been organizing protests over the shooting.

"We Can't Rely on Our Leaders": Inaction at Climate Summit Fuels Call for Movements to Take the Helm

Democracy Now - Wed 06 34 AM

Two days after the largest People’s Climate March in history, more than 120 world leaders gathered in New York City for a one-day United Nations climate summit. Tuesday’s meeting took place ahead of the larger, 200-nation summit in Paris in 2015, when delegates will attempt to finalize an agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. In a series of speeches, world leaders made nonbinding agreements to slow global warming and keep the rise in ocean temperatures below two degrees. Several leaders from the most carbon-polluting nations skipped the climate summit, including China, India and Russia. In one commitment to come out of the summit, more than 30 countries set a deadline to end deforestation by 2030. If successful, this could reduce carbon emissions by an estimated eight billion tons per year — the equivalent of emissions by all of the world’s one billion cars. But Brazil, which has the largest continuous rainforest in the world, refused to sign on, saying the plan conflicts with its own laws and targets. We are joined by two guests: Bianca Jagger, the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Ambassador for the Bonn Challenge, which seeks restore 150 million hectares of the world’s degraded and deforested lands by 2020, and founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation; and Asad Rehman, head of international climate for Friends of the Earth.

Without a Truce in Syrian Civil War, U.S.-Led Strikes Threaten More Chaos for World's Worst Crisis

Democracy Now - Wed 06 10 AM

The U.S.-led bombing of militant targets inside Syria has intensified as Pentagon officials acknowledge the military mission could take years. On Tuesday, U.S. and other coalition forces launched more than 200 strikes on Islamic State targets. The latest round of airstrikes in Syria hit targets near the Turkish border, close to an area where tens of thousands of Kurds have fled to escape from militants tied to the Islamic State group. Activists report the strikes have killed civilians. To discuss the latest news, we are joined by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent and author of "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising."

Vandana Shiva, Winona LaDuke & Desmond D'Sa on a Global, Grassroots Response to U.N. Climate Summit

Democracy Now - Tue 06 46 AM

Two days after the historic People’s Climate March, world leaders are gathering in New York City today for a United Nations summit on climate change. President Obama, along with more than 100 heads of state, are expected to attend. But the leaders of several major polluters, including China, India and Canada, are skipping the talks. The summit is part of a lengthy and so far failed process leading to climate negotiations in Paris next year, when countries will seek a binding deal to limit the emissions that cause global warming. We speak to three leading environmentalists: Vandana Shiva of India, Desmond D’Sa of South Africa, and Winona LaDuke of the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview.

Winona LaDuke footage courtesy Keri Pickett.

Flood Wall Street: 100 Arrested at Sit-In Targeting Financial Giants' Role in Global Warming

Democracy Now - Tue 06 29 AM

One day after the largest climate march in history in New York City, protesters rallied near Wall Street on Monday to highlight the financial industry’s role in fueling industries responsible for the air pollution that is causing global warming and climate change. The action came ahead of the one-day United Nations Climate Summit today, where leaders from 125 countries will take part in the first high-level climate talks since Copenhagen nearly five years ago. Dubbed "Flood Wall Street," hundreds of protesters dressed in blue held a rowdy sit-in on Broadway just blocks from the U.S. Stock Exchange. The demonstrators occupied the street for more than eight hours until police began arresting some 100 people. Democracy Now! was in the streets to cover the action. Watch our video report to hear some of the voices of people in the demonstration.

Expanding U.S. Strikes to ISIS in Syria, Has Obama Opened New Phase of "Perpetual War"?

Democracy Now - Tue 06 09 AM

The United States has launched airstrikes in Syria targeting the Islamic State, as well as members of a separate militant organization known as the Khorasan group. The Pentagon says U.S. forces launched 47 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles from warships in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf. In addition, U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps fighters, bombers and drones took part in the airstrikes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 20 Islamic State fighters were killed in strikes that hit at least 50 targets in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces in Syria’s east. The United States says Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had either participated or supported the strikes against the Islamic State, which has seized swaths of Syria and Iraq. The United States acted alone against the Khorasan group, saying it "took action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests." The Syrian government claims the United States had informed it of the pending attacks hours before the strikes began. Meanwhile, the United States has expanded its bombing of Iraq, launching new strikes around Kirkuk. To discuss this development, we are joined by two guests: Vijay Prashad, professor of international studies at Trinity College who has written extensively about the Islamic State, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CodePink and author of "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control."

Heirs of Billionaire Oil Tycoon John D. Rockefeller Join Growing Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

Democracy Now - Mon 06 45 AM

In major climate divestment news, the Rockefeller family, which made their vast fortune on oil, has announced it will begin divesting from fossil fuel companies. The heirs of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller are joining a growing movement of institutions and wealthy individuals who are pledging to divest from oil, coal and natural gas companies. We speak to Scott Wallace, co-chair of the Wallace Global Fund, which has coordinated the Divest-Invest effort. He is the grandson of Henry Wallace, who served as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s vice president and ran for president in 1948 on the Progressive Party ticket.

Socialist Seattle Politician Kshama Sawant: We Need a Radical Militant Nonviolent Climate Movement

Democracy Now - Mon 06 41 AM

Climate activists traveled from across the country and the world to take part in Sunday’s historic People’s Climate March in New York City. We speak to Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who recently became the first Socialist elected to city office in Seattle in over a century.

"Climate Change is Now": Former Irish President Mary Robinson and Marshall Islands’ Tony deBrum

Democracy Now - Mon 06 39 AM

Among the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the People’s Climate March in New York City was Mary Robinson, former Irish president and U.N. high commissioner for human rights, who now heads the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice. She was interviewed in the streets during the Democracy Now! broadcast from the march alongside Tony deBrum, foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, who described the threat climate change poses to the Pacific Ocean nation. "Six feet above sea level, sitting in the middle of the Pacific, one of the five most vulnerable atoll countries in the world,” deBrum said. "I join Ms. Robinson in saying that we consider this to be a wonderful occasion to be able to tell the world that the problem of climate change is now, and we must deal with it now."

Musician Sting: Why I Am Walking with the Indigenous Bloc in People's Climate March

Democracy Now - Mon 06 34 AM

The world-renowned musician and activist Sting stops by our three-hour special from the People’s Climate March to talk about why he is marching with indigenous activists on the front lines of the environmental movement. "The indigenous peoples’ message has been consistent from the beginning: We are in danger," Sting says. "These people are not complacent, I am not complacent. We have to do something."

Anti-Coal Climate Activists March with Massachusetts District Attorney Who Almost Prosecuted Them

Democracy Now - Mon 06 31 AM

Earlier this month, two climate activists were set to go on trial in Massachusetts 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, local prosecutor Sam Sutter 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. On Sunday, the activists, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, marched with Sutter at the People’s Climate March in New York City.