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"Congress Is Not for Sale": Rep. Ramirez Slams AIPAC-Led Campaign Against Jamaal Bowman in NY Primary
Thu, 20 Jun 2024 08:54:33 -0400
Democratic Congressmember Delia Ramirez of Illinois says “big money in politics” is a threat to U.S. democracy, pointing to Jamaal Bowman’s primary race as an example of how deep-pocketed interest groups can impact election contests. Bowman is a progressive “Squad” member facing a tight nomination race in New York’s 16th Congressional District against his Democratic challenger George Latimer, who has the backing of groups affiliated with the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which have pumped millions of dollars into the primary. Bowman was one of the first lawmakers to call for a Gaza ceasefire after October 7. “They are literally trying to purchase that election because he dared to stand for peace and justice,” says Ramirez.

First Illinois Latina Rep. Praises Biden's New Immigration Executive Order But Slams Border Shutdown
Thu, 20 Jun 2024 08:44:10 -0400
President Joe Biden’s latest executive order on immigration gives legal protections to about half a million undocumented immigrants who are married to American citizens, preventing their deportation and providing a streamlined pathway to citizenship for them and their children. The announcement is being welcomed by immigrant rights groups, but comes just weeks after Biden signed another order giving himself far-reaching power to shut down the U.S. border with Mexico to limit asylum requests. The two executive orders “could not be more different from each other,” says Congressmember Delia Ramirez of Illinois. She attended Tuesday’s White House ceremony with her husband Boris Hernández, who came to the U.S. as a teenager and would qualify for protections under the new rule, and says Biden must offer an alternative to hard-line Republican policies. “Be the administration that shows the stark difference between Donald Trump and Joe Biden as it pertains to immigration. Tuesday was a good step in that direction. What he did two-and-a-half weeks ago was not,” says Ramirez.

Pentagon Ran a Secret Anti-Vax Campaign to Undermine China at the Height of the Pandemic: Reuters
Thu, 20 Jun 2024 08:29:39 -0400
The U.S. military ran a secret anti-vaccination campaign at the height of the pandemic in the Philippines and other nations to sow doubt about COVID vaccines made by China, according to a new investigation by Reuters. The clandestine Pentagon campaign, which began in 2020 under Donald Trump and continued into mid-2021 after Joe Biden took office, relied on fake social media accounts on multiple platforms to target local populations in Southeast Asia and beyond. The campaign also aimed to discredit masks and test kits made in China. “Within the Pentagon, within Washington, there was this fear that they were going to lose the Philippines” to Chinese influence, says Joel Schectman, one of the reporters who broke the story. Schectman says that while it’s impossible to measure the impact of the propaganda effort, it came at a time when the Chinese-made Sinovac shot was the only one available in the Philippines, making distrust of the vaccine “incredibly harmful.”

Meet Nadia Milleron: Her Daughter Was Killed in 2019 Boeing Crash, Now She's Running for Congress
Thu, 20 Jun 2024 08:13:12 -0400
Boeing CEO David Calhoun appeared before a Senate committee on Tuesday to face questions about the aerospace giant’s safety record, just hours after the release of a damning report on Boeing’s business practices. Released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the report found that the company lost track of hundreds of substandard aircraft parts, eliminated quality inspectors and put manufacturing workers in charge of signing off on their own work. We speak with Nadia Milleron, an aviation safety advocate, whose daughter Samya Stumo was killed on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2019 when a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crashed due to the plane’s malfunctioning software that put the plane into a nosedive. She attended Tuesday’s hearing and is also running for Congress in Massachusetts. “Why is Dave Calhoun paid $32 million? He’s paid that money to cut costs. That’s what he’s good at. He’s not good at production. He’s not an engineer. He’s paid to strip-mine the company,” says Milleron, who signed a letter along with other families of Boeing crash victims calling on the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecutions against company leadership. “They need to clean house.”

Headlines for June 20, 2024
Thu, 20 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
U.N. Accuses Israel of Systematically Violating the Laws of War in Gaza, White House Cancels Israeli Meeting After Netanyahu Accuses U.S. of Withholding Arms, Tension Escalates in Lebanon as Israel & Hezbollah Exchange Threats, Putin Visits Vietnam After Signing Security Pact with N. Korea, Trump Attacks Biden for Moving to Shield Undocumented Spouses of U.S. Citizens from Deportation, Over 900 Muslim Pilgrims Die from High Heat During Hajj in Mecca, Tropical Storm Alberto Makes Landfall, Heat Alerts Issued in 14 States for Record-Breaking Heat Wave, New Mexico Declares State of Emergency over Devastating Wildfire, Study: Air Pollution Caused 8 Million Deaths in 2021, U.K. Climate Activists Spray Orange Paint at Stonehenge & Airport Housing Taylor Swift Airplane, New Caledonia: French Police Arrest 11 Including Independence Leader, Sudan: Three Killed as RSF Shells Hospital in Omdurman, 200 Protesters Arrested in Kenya as Anger Mounts over Proposed Tax Hikes, Biden Administration Approves Sale of 1,000 Armed Drones to Taiwan, Club Q Shooter Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crimes Charges, Louisiana Orders Public Schools to Display Ten Commandments , Noam Chomsky Leaves Hospital After Suffering Stroke

"Another Wasted Life": Rhiannon Giddens on How Death of Kalief Browder Inspired New Song
Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:39:47 -0400
“Another Wasted Life.” That’s the name of a remarkable new song by the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Grammy-winning artist Rhiannon Giddens. She released a video of the song on October 2 to mark International Wrongful Conviction Day. The song was inspired by Kalief Browder, a Bronx resident who died by suicide in 2015 at the age of 22 after being detained at Rikers Island jail for nearly three years, after being falsely accused at the age of 16 of stealing a backpack. He was held in solitary confinement for two years and was repeatedly assaulted by guards and other prisoners.

In the video for “Another Wasted Life,” Rhiannon Giddens features 22 people who were wrongly incarcerated. Together, they collectively served more than 500 years in prison for crimes they didn’t commit. The video includes two men, David Bryant and Tyrone Jones, who each spent 40 years in prison. Another seven of the men each spent over 25 years locked up after wrongful convictions. Rhiannon Giddens made the video in partnership with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

Rhiannon Giddens on Pulitzer-Winning Opera "Omar" About Enslaved Muslim Scholar Omar ibn Said
Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:23:10 -0400
As part of our Juneteenth special broadcast, we feature our interview with pioneering musical artist Rhiannon Giddens, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her opera Omar, about Omar ibn Said, a Muslim scholar in Africa who was sold into slavery in the 1800s.

Juneteenth Special: Historian Clint Smith on Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
Wed, 19 Jun 2024 08:02:04 -0400
We feature a special broadcast marking the Juneteenth federal holiday that commemorates the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. We begin with our 2021 interview with historian Clint Smith, originally aired a day after President Biden signed legislation to make Juneteenth the first new federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Smith is the author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America. “When I think of Juneteenth, part of what I think about is the both/andedness of it,” Smith says, “that it is this moment in which we mourn the fact that freedom was kept from hundreds of thousands of enslaved people for years and for months after it had been attained by them, and then, at the same time, celebrating the end of one of the most egregious things that this country has ever done.” Smith says he recognizes the federal holiday marking Juneteenth as a symbol, “but it is clearly not enough.”

Holocaust Scholar Raz Segal Loses Univ. of Minnesota Job Offer for Saying Israel Is Committing Genocide
Tue, 18 Jun 2024 08:41:56 -0400
We speak with Israeli American Jewish scholar Raz Segal about the University of Minnesota’s move to rescind a job offer over his comments early in the war on Gaza, when he characterized the Israeli assault as a “textbook case of genocide.” Segal was set to lead the university’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, but after two board members quit in opposition to Segal’s selection and a smear campaign led by the pro-Israel group Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), the school revoked the offer. Segal says he has been “targeted because of my identity as a Jew who refuses the narrowing down of Jewish identity to Zionism” and calls the JCRC-led opposition a “hateful campaign of lies and distortions” and “crude political intervention.” “This was a completely legitimate hiring process,” states Segal. He says rescission of his offer “spells the end of this idea of free inquiry, of academic freedom, of research and teaching — and all in the service, of course, of supporting an extremely violent state.”

Ahead of Juneteenth, Maryland Pardons 175K Pot Convictions, Seeking to Remedy Harms of War on Drugs
Tue, 18 Jun 2024 08:15:58 -0400
We host a roundtable conversation on Maryland Governor Wes Moore’s historic pardons of 175,000 marijuana-related convictions in the state, including drug paraphernalia-related convictions. Jheanelle Wilkins is the chair of Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus; Maritza Perez Medina is the director of federal affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance; and Jason Ortiz, who was himself arrested at the age of 16 for cannabis possession, is director of strategic initiatives at the Last Prisoner Project. “It’s incumbent upon us to make sure we take action to repair the harms” of the war on drugs, says Wilkins. Maryland legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2022, but the mass pardons provide historic relief for those who faced criminal consequences while the drug was illegal. Moore says he timed the pardons for the week of Juneteenth, the federal holiday on June 19 to mark the end of slavery in the United States — a symbolic move that underlines the disproportionate impact of drug criminalization on Black communities. Our guests call on other states and the federal government to follow Maryland’s example, as we also discuss the Biden administration’s recent descheduling of marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule III drug. “This needs to go further,” says Medina. “We want to make sure we’re also focusing on community investment and retroactive relief,” adds Ortiz.

Headlines for June 18, 2024
Tue, 18 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
Israeli Attack Kills Gazans Awaiting Humanitarian Aid Shipments, Israelis Protest Outside Netanyahu’s Home to Demand New Elections & Ceasefire, Key Democrats Agree to $18 Billion U.S. Arms Sale to Israel , ICAN Calls for Restraint as Russia and NATO Weigh Deploying More Nuclear Warheads, Vladimir Putin Travels to North Korea for State Visit, Will Meet with Kim Jong-un, Hundreds of Millions to Face Heat Advisories as Summer Heat Wave Spreads, EU Approves Landmark Habitat Restoration Law, 11 Die, Dozens Go Missing as Ships Carrying Asylum Seekers Capsize Off Italy, Biden to Extend Protections to Undocumented Immigrant Spouses of U.S. Citizens, NY Gov. and NYC Mayor Float Reinstating a Pre-Pandemic Ban on Masks in Public, Gov. Hochul Faces Backlash, Legal Challenges for Suspending Congestion Charge, Judges Block New Title IX Protections as Republican-Led States Object to Expansion of Trans Rights, Thai Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill After Decades of LGBTQ+ Organizing , Former Black Panther Veronza Bowers Is Free After Half-Century in Prison

Arundhati Roy Faces Anti-Terror Prosecution in India as Modi Expands Crackdown on Critics
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 08:55:30 -0400
Acclaimed author Arundhati Roy could soon face trial under India’s contested “anti-terror” laws in a case that has drawn outrage from free speech advocates in India and beyond. An official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s far-right ruling Bharatiya Janata Party gave the go-ahead on Friday for Roy’s prosecution over comments she made about Kashmir in 2010. This comes as Modi was sworn in last week to his third term as prime minister after the BJP won the most seats in Indian’s Parliament, but lost its outright majority. “This case is so convoluted, it’s hard to say where it begins and where it ends — and that’s the point. The process is the punishment,” says Indian author and journalist Siddhartha Deb, who teaches at The New School in New York. Deb says Modi is trying to show that “everything is normal” despite the shocking electoral setback, with the case against Roy being used to placate his “rabid attack dogs of Hindu nationalism.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin: Only a Two-State Solution Can End "Nightmare" of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 08:47:58 -0400
Democratic Congressmember Jamie Raskin of Maryland says he may not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress in July, as some other Democrats have already vowed to boycott the speech. “My main commitment at this point is to see a ceasefire to end the bloodshed, to get the hostages returned and to surge humanitarian aid into Gaza,” says Raskin. He says Israel had a right to retaliate after the October 7 attack led by Hamas, but “only within the constraints of international law,” and says there needs to be a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and end “the nightmare that has been going on for decades now.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump's First Return to Capitol Hill Since Jan. 6 Cements His GOP "Stranglehold"
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 08:34:06 -0400
Former President Donald Trump returned to the U.S. Capitol last week for the first time since the January 6 insurrection in 2021, where he met with Republican lawmakers including House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and reportedly discussed how to quash his 34 felony convictions stemming from his New York fraud case, as well as how to punish prosecutors involved in the various cases against him. “His return to Capitol Hill showed that he has cemented his political stranglehold over the Republican Party,” says Democratic Congressmember Jamie Raskin of Maryland. “While they are attacking the rule of law ... they’re doing everything they can to compromise the judiciary and to destroy the rule of law in our country.”

Report from Rafah: UNICEF Decries Israel's "War on Children" as Starvation & Deaths Mount in Gaza
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 08:15:10 -0400
The Israeli military on Sunday announced a daily “tactical pause” in its attacks on Rafah to allow humanitarian relief to enter the Gaza Strip, after systematically blocking aid from reaching Palestinians in Gaza since October 7. While a full ceasefire is still vital, “any pause in the bombing is good news for children,” says UNICEF spokesperson James Elder, speaking to Democracy Now! from Rafah. “The physical and psychological exhaustion they face is almost impossible to capture,” he says, characterizing Israel’s offensive as “a war on children.”

Headlines for June 17, 2024
Mon, 17 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
50,000 Children in Gaza Need Immediate Medical Treatment for Malnutrition, 60 Families in Gaza Have Lost Over 25 Family Members in Israeli Attacks Since Oct. 7, Aid No Longer Entering Gaza by Sea as U.S. Pier Falters, Israeli Protests Calling for Ceasefire Deal Continue as Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet, U.S. Sanctions Israeli Group Tsav 9 for Attacking Gaza-Bound Aid Trucks, SCOTUS Overturns Bump Stock Ban in Major Blow to Gun Control Efforts, Michigan Gunman Injures 9 People at Children’s Play Area, International Conference Reaffirms Support for “Territorial Integrity” of Ukraine, Millions in Sudan Could Die from Hunger; UNSC Calls for RSF to Halt Attack on El Fasher, French Left-Wing Parties Form New Coalition to Defeat Macron and the Threat of the Far-Right, Global Nuclear Spending Surged to $91 Billion in 2023 with U.S. Leading the Charge, Cyril Ramaphosa Reelected as South Africa’s President After ANC Coalition Deal, Reuters: Pentagon Ran Covert Anti-Vax Smear Campaign Against China During Pandemic, Missouri Woman Freed After 43 Years Behind Bars for a Crime She Did Not Commit, Maryland Gov. Issues 175,000 Marijuana Pardons Ahead of Juneteenth, U.S. Surgeon General Wants Social Media Apps to Include Mental Health Warnings, Climate Activists Blast G7 for Again Failing to Effectively Address the Climate Crisis, U. of Minnesota’s Holocaust Center Revokes Post for Raz Segal, Who Qualified Israeli War as Genocide

"Better Living Through Birding": Christian Cooper on Being a Queer Black Man in the Natural World
Fri, 14 Jun 2024 08:43:00 -0400
We continue our conversation with Christian Cooper, author of Better Living Through Birding: Notes from a Black Man in the Natural World and host of the Emmy Award-winning show Extraordinary Birder. Cooper shares stories of his life and career, including his longtime LGBTQ activism and how his father’s work as a science educator inspired his lifetime passion for birdwatching. “Birding forces you outside of yourself [and] whatever your woes are,” says Cooper. “It makes you feel connected to the whole planet. It engages your senses, your intellect. It is incredibly healing. ... For people whose history is about being enslaved, for us to be able to relate to this bird, it’s liberating.”

Birding While Black: Christian Cooper on NYC Audubon Society's New Name & Racist Central Park Incident
Fri, 14 Jun 2024 08:25:04 -0400
New York City’s chapter of the Audubon Society has officially changed its name to the New York City Bird Alliance as part of an effort to distance itself from its former namesake John James Audubon, the so-called founding father of American birding. The 19th century naturalist enslaved at least nine people and espoused racist views. Christian Cooper is a Black birder and a longtime board member of the newly minted New York City Bird Alliance. In 2020, he made headlines after a white woman in Central Park called 911 and falsely claimed Cooper was threatening her life. He joins Democracy Now! to discuss Audubon’s legacy, which “put North American birds on the map” yet “was funded by the trafficking [of] other human beings,” and the significance of the birdwatching community’s efforts to detach Audubon’s association with the pastime. “We’re trying to diversify birding, which traditionally has been a very, very white activity,” says Cooper, who also discusses the 2020 park incident, which occurred on the same day that George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis.

Supreme Court Protects Access to Mifepristone, But War on Abortion Rights Continues to Escalate
Fri, 14 Jun 2024 08:11:32 -0400
The Supreme Court has unanimously rejected a challenge from anti-abortion groups to the nationwide availability of the abortion medication mifepristone, which is available by mail and can be taken at home in many states. However, advocates warn the far-right-dominated court’s ruling on the FDA’s authority to regulate the pill was purely on procedural grounds, and could even offer a “roadmap” for future challenges. Mifepristone is used in roughly two-thirds of all U.S. abortions, including in some states that have severely limited or banned abortions. “This is just one of the strikes — not the first strike, not the second or third, but one of the strikes — in an artillery that is aimed at reproductive freedom,” says our guest, legal scholar Michele Goodwin. We discuss the ruling and the anti-abortion movement’s “playbook” of attacks on reproductive healthcare with Goodwin.

Headlines for June 14, 2024
Fri, 14 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
Children Keep Dying of Hunger in Gaza as Israel Continues Its Unrelenting Assault, SCOTUS Keeps Mifepristone Access in Place, But Rights Advocates Warn the Challenges Are Not Over, SCOTUS Rules in Favor of Starbucks in Worker Challenge to Retaliatory Firings, G7 Leaders Agree to $50 Billion Ukraine Loan; Biden Reaffirms U.S. Military Support for Kyiv, Protesters Highlight Inequality, War, Climate Destruction as G7 Leaders Feast at Banquet, Russia to Try U.S. Reporter Evan Gershkovich for Espionage, Christophe Deloire, Journalist and Head of Reporters Without Borders, Dies at 53, Elders Take the Baton in Ongoing Climate Protest Against Citigroup, “Rich Nations Are Not Willing to Pay”: U.N. Climate Talks Falter over Disaster Funding, Power Outages Affect 350,000 in Puerto Rico Amid Extreme Heat Wave, Macron Halts Voting Reforms in New Caledonia, Oklahoma High Court Tosses Suit Brought by Tulsa Race Massacre Survivors, Trump Returns to Capitol Hill for First Time Since Jan. 6 Insurrection, Reproductive Rights Groups Protest as Brazilian Lawmakers Advance Anti-Abortion Bill

Palestinian Diplomat: Gaza Ceasefire Only Possible Once Israel Commits to Ending the War
Thu, 13 Jun 2024 08:46:25 -0400
Israel and Hamas are both facing calls to support the U.S.-backed ceasefire and hostage deal that was endorsed by the U.N. Security Council earlier this week. While Hamas has welcomed the proposal, Israeli leaders have yet to publicly commit to its terms, including a full end to the war rather than just a pause in the fighting for the exchange of captives. This comes as a major new U.N. report accuses Israel of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout its eight-month assault on the territory. Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza has now passed 37,000, including more than 15,000 children. “This is inhumane and catastrophic,” says senior Palestinian diplomat Majed Bamya, who says “2.3 million Palestinians, every single day, are fighting to survive” while the ceasefire proposal languishes. He also stresses that peace in the region is only possible by “ending the occupation and allowing two states to live side by side.”

From Gaza to Sudan, Number of Global Armed Conflicts Reach New Post-WWII High
Thu, 13 Jun 2024 08:38:40 -0400
The world saw the highest number of state-based conflicts last year since the end of World War II, as fighting raged in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and other areas. That’s the finding of a new report from the Peace Research Institute Oslo. Siri Rustad, research director at the Norwegian think tank, tells Democracy Now! that it’s a worrying trend. “The three past years are the three most violent years since the Cold War,” she says.

ProPublica Reporter Defends Work After Samuel Alito Accuses Outlet of Politically Motivated Coverage
Thu, 13 Jun 2024 08:23:26 -0400
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, caught on a secret recording, recently attacked ProPublica for its reporting on Supreme Court ethics. The nonprofit investigative news outlet has spearheaded coverage of possible conflicts of interest among judges on the nation’s top court, including Justice Clarence Thomas, who has accepted millions in gifts and trips from conservative billionaires. Alito told a filmmaker posing as a conservative activist that ProPublica “gets a lot of money” to dig up “any little thing they can find,” suggesting the reporting was politically motivated. That notion “is just wrong,” says Justin Elliott, one of the lead ProPublica journalists reporting on the Supreme Court. “We took a very hard look at the Democratic-appointed justices, and we simply haven’t found anything close to similar to what we found when it came to Justice Thomas and Justice Alito.” He also says the Senate Judiciary Committee has power it is not currently using to investigate the court amid the ongoing ethics scandal. “There’s really no reason to believe that we actually know all the facts about what these justices have gotten.”

Secret Recording of SCOTUS Justice Samuel Alito Offers "Window" into His Conservative Ideology
Thu, 13 Jun 2024 08:11:41 -0400
We speak with filmmaker Lauren Windsor, whose recorded conversations with U.S. Supreme Court justices have sparked the latest firestorm over how the country’s top jurists are ruling on consequential cases. Windsor posed as a conservative activist to speak with Justice Samuel Alito at a June 3 event of the Supreme Court Historical Society, where he appeared to endorse running the U.S. as a Christian theocracy and said he was doubtful about living peacefully with political opponents. In a separate recording from the same event, Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann Alito, complained about rainbow flags during Pride Month and made other incendiary remarks. Alito has refused to recuse himself from cases involving Donald Trump and the January 6 insurrection even after photos emerged of two flags associated with election deniers flying in front of his homes. “It wasn’t hard to speak with either of them,” says Windsor, who collected the recordings as part of her upcoming film Gonzo for Democracy and paid a total of $650 to get into the event. “These are individuals who have to operate professionally at the highest degree of discretion,” she says of Supreme Court justices. “It should tell you something that [Alito] felt comfortable enough to make these admissions to an almost virtual stranger.”

Headlines for June 13, 2024
Thu, 13 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
“Famine-Like Conditions” Spread Across Gaza Amid Lagging Ceasefire Deal, Rising Death Toll, U.S. Blames Hamas for Ceasefire Stalemate, But Israel Has Yet to Address Deal, House GOP Holds Attorney General Garland in Contempt of Congress, Democrats Push Ethics Legislation for “Captured and Corrupted” SCOTUS, Southern Baptist Convention Votes to Ban IVF, Climate Activists Disrupt Congressional Baseball Game, Block NYC’s Citibank, Indigenous Climate Leaders Demand Biden Admin Stop DAPL as It Greenlights MVP, Swiss Lawmakers Toss Landmark European Ruling in Favor of Older Women Affected by Climate Change, DRC: Officials Report 42 Deaths After ADF Attack on Same Day Shipwreck Killed 80 Passengers, Kuwait Fire Kills at Least 49, Mostly Migrant Workers from India, Argentine Senate Approves Milei’s Plan for “Economic Shock Therapy” Amid Mass Protests, Ecuadorian Workers and Students Take to Streets to Protest Govt’s Economic Policies

Bananas and Blood: Chiquita Ordered to Pay Colombian Families $38 Million for Backing Death Squads
Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:39:21 -0400
In a landmark case in Florida, a federal jury has ordered Chiquita Brands International to pay over $38 million in damages to the families of eight Colombian men who were killed by paramilitaries the banana giant funded. Chiquita previously pleaded guilty to paying the far-right United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia paramilitary group, or AUC, $1.7 million from 2001 to 2004. Though Chiquita argued the payments were meant to protect company employees, the AUC has been found responsible for committing mass human rights abuses and murdering civilians from 1997 to 2006. “Chiquita essentially had a partnership with the paramilitaries,” says Marco Simons, general counsel for EarthRights International. “They voluntarily paid these groups in order to protect Chiquita against left-wing guerrillas and essentially to pacify the operating environment in the banana-growing region of Colombia.” Chiquita is one of the world’s largest banana producers and says it plans to appeal the jury’s verdict. The company is due to face a second so-called bellwether trial starting July 15. “For the past 17 years, we have been trying to get justice,” says Simons. “This is only the start of the judicial reckoning for Chiquita.”

Hunter Biden: President's Son Convicted in Federal Gun Case, Faces Tax Evasion Trial Next
Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:27:32 -0400
A federal jury found Hunter Biden guilty Tuesday of three felony charges for illegally purchasing a gun at a time when he was using drugs, making him the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be found guilty of a crime. “This was a fairly straightforward case,” says Ben Schreckinger, reporter for Politico. “Most criminal trials result in convictions. This wasn’t an exception.” Schreckinger lays out the political implications for President Joe Biden, compares this conviction to Trump’s criminal proceedings and explains Hunter Biden’s upcoming trial for tax fraud in California.

Sarah Leah Whitson: U.S. Ceasefire Push in Gaza Is Welcome, But "40,000 Dead Palestinians Too Late"
Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:11:40 -0400
A pair of new United Nations reports has accused Israel, as well as Hamas, of committing war crimes in Gaza. The damning documents come as Israel and Hamas are being urged to accept the three-phase ceasefire and hostage deal outlined by President Biden and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. “Israel has no interest in international law, and the United States has no interest in demanding that Israel actually comply with international law besides rhetorical flourishes,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN. “It will come to haunt and hurt America for decades to come.”

Headlines for June 12, 2024
Wed, 12 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
Hamas and Islamic Jihad Respond to U.N. Ceasefire Plan, U.N. Inquiry on Gaza Finds Israel Committed War Crimes Including Starvation, Torture and Murder, Israeli Strike on Lebanon Kills Hezbollah Commander, “15,000 Kids Dead Is Not Self-Defense!”: Protesters Confront Jake Sullivan over Gaza Assault, Hunter Biden Found Guilty of Three Felony Gun Charges, 49 Drown and 140 Others Feared Lost at Sea as Boat Ferrying Refugees Sinks Off Yemen’s Coast, Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima Confirmed Dead After Plane Crash, Biden Administration Will Allow Arms Shipments to Ukrainian Unit with Neo-Nazi Past, Johnson & Johnson Agrees to $700M Settlement over Carcinogenic Talcum Powder, Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Parts of Florida Anti-Trans Law

U.S. Jewish Army Intel Officer Quits over Gaza, Says "Impossible" Not to See Echoes of Holocaust
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 08:43:47 -0400
We speak with U.S. Army Major Harrison Mann, the first military and intelligence officer to publicly resign over the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza. Mann left his role at the Defense Intelligence Agency after a 13-year career, saying in a public letter explaining his resignation that “nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel ... has enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians.” Mann submitted his resignation on November 1, just over three weeks into Israel’s assault on Gaza, but his separation from the military became effective last week. “Even in the first weeks after October 7 ... it was really clear that they were prepared to inflict huge numbers of civilian casualties,” Mann tells Democracy Now! “I understood that every day that I was going to go into the office, I was going to be contributing to the Israeli campaign.” Mann also explains how his Jewish background impacted his decision to resign, saying that while he was proud to wear the same uniform of soldiers who liberated Nazi concentration camps during World War II, it was “impossible” not to see echoes of the Holocaust in the devastation of Gaza. “Seeing photos of charred bodies and burnt corpses and starved, emaciated children that are from 2023, 2024, not the '40s, it's impossible not to make that connection,” says Mann. “The situations are not perfectly analogous, but the moral similarities were very clear to me.”

Doctor Just Back from Gaza: The Health System Has Totally Collapsed Due to Israel's Genocidal War
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 08:28:01 -0400
More than eight months into Israel’s devastating assault on Gaza, the territory’s healthcare system is barely functioning, with the World Health Organization reporting this week that there have been 464 Israeli attacks on Gaza’s healthcare system since October 7, affecting 101 health facilities. Gaza’s Health Ministry warns that the few remaining hospitals still partially functioning could completely shut down due to Israel’s near-total blockade of the territory, which is keeping out parts needed to maintain hospital diesel generators, as well as crucial medical supplies. Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza, and nearly 85,000 Palestinians have been wounded. “The situation in Gaza ... remains catastrophic,” says Dr. James Smith, an emergency medical doctor just back from Gaza, where he treated patients for nearly two months. “There are no fully functional hospitals any longer in Gaza and no health facilities that are able to absorb the sheer scale of need now.”

"Clear Shift" Toward the Far Right: Anti-Immigrant Nationalists Gain Ground Across Europe
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 08:12:10 -0400
Residents in all 27 countries of the European Union went to the polls this weekend to vote for the European Parliament, which resulted in a surge of support for far-right parties across much of the continent while many liberal and Green parties stumbled. Far-right parties did especially well in Italy, Germany and France, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to dissolve the National Assembly and call snap elections. Lawmakers in the European Parliament can veto and shape laws, though they cannot introduce them. They also set the EU’s budget and approve the selection of the European Commission president — a powerful role currently held by Ursula von der Leyen of the center-right European People’s Party, which remains the strongest bloc. For more on European politics, we speak with Mehreen Khan, the economics editor at The Times of London and a former Brussels and EU correspondent for the Financial Times. Khan says that while some observers celebrated the relative strength of mainstream conservative parties, that is more a reflection of how successful racist, nationalist parties have been in reshaping the continent’s politics, particularly on immigration. “These formerly center-right parties are now definitely occupying territory that we used to call that of the far right,” she says.

Headlines for June 11, 2024
Tue, 11 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
U.N. Security Council Approves U.S.-Backed Gaza Ceasefire Resolution, 15-Year-Old Among Palestinians Killed by Israeli Forces in West Bank Raid, Federal Appeals Court Hears Lawsuit Accusing Top U.S. Officials of Complicity in Genocide, Police Attack, Arrest UCLA Protesters as Students Continue to Pressure School over Israel Ties, U.S. Jury Orders Chiquita to Pay $38 Million to Families of Colombians Killed by Paramilitary Group, Belgian Prime Minister Resigns After Far-RIght Victory in EU Elections, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Agrees with Fundamentalist Ideas in Leaked Audio, Trump Interviewed by NY Probation Officer; Giuliani Posts Bond in AZ Election Interference Case, Jury Deliberations Begin in Hunter Biden Gun Trial, Rev. James Lawson, Who Taught Nonviolence to Civil Rights Activists, Dies at 95

"Life Comes First": Israeli Peace Activists Condemn War on Gaza, Demand Ceasefire Deal
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 08:51:10 -0400
Israelis celebrated the return of the four hostages in Saturday’s raid. The four hostages — Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv — were all in good medical condition. Just hours after the rescue, thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv and other cities to protest Netanyahu’s government and to call for a deal to free the remaining hostages. We speak to Ami Dar, an Israeli social entrepreneur based in New York, who supports the exchange of hostages and prisoners and a permanent ceasefire deal. “Let’s get all the hostages back, and if that means that every single detainee and prisoner, Palestinian, is freed, then so be it. Life comes first,” says Dar, the executive director of Idealist.org. We also hear more from Maoz Inon, an Israeli peace activist whose parents, Bilha and Yakovi Inon, were killed in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. “We are not going to compromise for anything less than a lasting peace,” he says.

"War Is Not the Answer": Meet the Israeli Peace Activist Whose Parents Were Killed Oct. 7
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 08:41:08 -0400
Four Israeli hostages have returned to their families after Israel’s deadly raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp that killed at least 274 Palestinians. All four hostages were in good medical condition. As Israel’s war on Gaza continues unabated, families and supporters of many of the remaining hostages see the Israeli government’s refusal to negotiate for a ceasefire as a barrier to their loved ones’ safe return. “I already lost my parents, and I don’t want [anyone] to be in the position I am,” says Maoz Inon, whose parents were killed in the Hamas attack on October 7. Inon is a supporter of an “all for all” exchange, in which all surviving Israeli hostages would be returned to Israel in exchange for the release of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli detention before and after October 7. “It’s time for action to stop the war immediately, to make a deal — all hostages in exchange for all Palestinian prisoners — and start working to build a better future,” says Inon.

"Massacre": Analyst Slams Israeli Military Raid That Frees 4 Hostages, Kills 270+ Palestinians
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 08:30:53 -0400
Israel’s weekend attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp that freed four Israeli hostages and killed at least 274 Palestinians and wounded nearly 700 was reportedly supported by the Biden administration, which provided intelligence to Israel ahead of the raid. “There’s no question that what unfolded in that operation was a massacre,” says Palestinian American political analyst Omar Baddar. “To look at a death toll of this scale and then to celebrate this kind of operation as some sort of success, you would basically have to openly say that the lives of Israelis are more valuable than the lives of Palestinians.” Baddar discusses the political and humanitarian impact of the raid and his outlook on ceasefire negotiations. “When push comes to shove, the Biden administration is unwilling to apply any meaningful pressure on Israel,” he says. “That dynamic is not going to lead to anything positive.”

Report from Gaza: "Devastating" Israeli Raid to Free 4 Israeli Hostages Kills 270+ Palestinians
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 08:13:19 -0400
In one of the single bloodiest Israeli attacks in Gaza over the last eight months, at least 274 Palestinians were killed, including at least 64 children, and nearly 700 were wounded in a raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday that freed four Israelis held hostage in Gaza since October 7. “Children were shot dead. Elderly people were shot dead. Women were shot dead,” says Gaza-based journalist Akram al-Satarri, who was at the Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday. Speaking to us from outside the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah — one of the last remaining hospitals that are partially functioning in Gaza — al-Satarri says the death toll is rising by the minute, as wounded Palestinians aren’t able to receive the care they need. Al-Satarri also discusses the World Food Programme’s recent suspension of aid operations in Gaza City and Israel’s withholding of aid on the entire Gaza Strip.

Headlines for June 10, 2024
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
Israel Kills 274 Gazans, Including 64 Children, in Attack on Nuseirat That Freed 4 Hostages, Benny Gantz Quits Israeli War Cabinet as Protests Against Netanyahu Mount, U.N. Adds Israel to “List of Shame” for Violating Children’s Rights, Mass Protests for Gaza Take Over Streets of D.C., London; Police Attack McGill Students in Montreal, Macron Calls Snap Election After Suffering Blow as Far Right Dominates EU Vote in France, Protesters Condemn Nationalism, Warn Against Climate Chaos as Europeans Vote for New Parliament, MSF Recovers 12 Bodies Off Libyan Coast After Another Mediterranean Shipwreck, Allied Democratic Forces Kill Nearly 60 People in Eastern Congo in Deadly Spate of Attacks, Last Hospital in Sudan’s El Fasher Closes as Deadly Attacks by RSF Kill Over 100 in Past Week, Ugandan Activist Stephen Kwikiriza, Who Is Fighting EACOP, Released After Being Detained by Army, Narendra Modi Sworn In for Third Term as Indian Prime Minister, Clarence Thomas Discloses Details of Luxury Gifts from GOP Megadonor, Biden Admin Waters Down Fuel Efficiency Standards in Blow to Climate Goals, Native American Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier Faces High-Stakes Parole Hearing

"VOICES: A Sacred Sisterscape": Poet aja monet & V on New Audio Play Centering Black Women's Stories
Fri, 07 Jun 2024 08:45:49 -0400
Democracy Now! speaks with the creators of a new arts campaign grounded in Black women’s stories. VOICES: a sacred sisterscape is an audio play directed by award-winning poet aja monet weaving together Black feminist poems and perspectives. “Art is an invitation to expand our participation in the world and the ways that we see the world,” says monet, who hopes the project inspires action beyond aesthetics. “Solidarity is about us being not just spectators, but actors in the reality of our lives.”

The project was created with V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against all women, gender-expansive people, girls and the Earth. “Rather than looking at Black women, we needed to put our headphones on and our masks ... and do embodied listening,” says V, playwright of The Vagina Monologues and founder of V-Day. “Through that, we begin to understand where we all connect, where we are all aligned.”

VOICES: a sacred sisterscape will be available for streaming June 11.

Deadly Heat: Record Scorching Temperatures Kill the Vulnerable, Worsen Inequality Across the Globe
Fri, 07 Jun 2024 08:24:58 -0400
As we enter the month of June, scorching temperatures are already making deadly heat waves around the world. Data confirmed last month was the hottest May on record, putting the Earth on a 12-month streak of record-breaking temperatures. On Wednesday, the World Meteorological Organization announced there is an 80% chance the average global temperature will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels for at least one of the next five years. “We’re going to see a more chaotic planet as the climate heats up,” says Jeff Goodell, a journalist covering the climate crisis. Goodell describes “the heat wave scenario that keeps climate scientists up at night”: a major power outage that could cut off air conditioning and cause thousands of deaths from extreme temperatures.

In Mexico, it’s already so hot that howler monkeys and parrots are falling dead from the trees. “What we’re experiencing right now goes beyond what is normal,” says Ruth Cerezo-Mota, climate researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. “We have been saying this for many years now.”

Israel's Widespread Use of White Phosphorus in Lebanon, Gaza Violates Int'l Law: Human Rights Watch
Fri, 07 Jun 2024 08:11:33 -0400
Israeli forces have illegally dropped white phosphorus munitions on densely populated residential areas in southern Lebanon, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. White phosphorus, which poses a high risk of excruciating burns and lifelong suffering, was dropped by Israel over at least 17 municipalities in Lebanon since October 2023. Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health says at least 173 people have been injured in the white phosphorus attacks, which have also caused hundreds of forest fires in Lebanon. “It can burn down to the bone and cause lifelong suffering,” says Ramzi Kaiss, a researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This widespread use is putting civilians at grave risk and also contributing to displacement.”

Headlines for June 7, 2024
Fri, 07 Jun 2024 08:00:00 -0400
U.S. Munitions Used in Israeli Attack on UNRWA School in Gaza, Netanyahu to Address Congress on July 24 Despite ICC Seeking His Arrest for War Crimes, Israel Signs $3 Billion Deal to Buy 25 F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets from U.S., NAACP Calls on Biden to Halt Arms Shipments to Israel, Israeli Forces Kill Three Palestinians in Raid on Jenin, Biden Meets Zelensky in France as U.S. Announces Plans to Send $225M to Ukraine, Putin Threatens to Send Long-Range Missiles to Russia’s Allies, Appeals Court in Georgia Pauses Trump’s Election Subversion Case, Federal Judge Orders Steve Bannon to Report to Prison on July 1, Over 100 Killed by RSF Fighters in Attack on Sudanese Village, Samsung Workers in South Korea Go on Strike for First Time, NY Gov. Kathy Hochul Slammed for Halting Congested Pricing Program in NYC, The Hill Fires Briahna Joy Gray, Critic of Israel’s War on Gaza, Staff at Columbia Law Review Vote to Strike Amid Controversy on Legal Article About Nakba

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