Exclusive: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror
Has the U.S. drone war "fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS"? That’s the conclusion of four former Air Force servicemembers who are speaking out together for the first time. They’ve issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. They accuse the administration of lying about the effectiveness of the drone program, saying it is good at killing people—just not the right ones. The four drone war veterans risk prosecution by an administration that has been unprecedented in its targeting of government whistleblowers. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, they join us in their first extended broadcast interview.
A hostage crisis is underway in Mali, where suspected Islamist militants have stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and taken over 180 people hostage. Malian special forces have launched a rescue operation and exchanged fire with the militants inside. Dozens of people have reportedly been freed, while at least three deaths have been confirmed. Mali has faced a radical insurgency since 2012, when Islamist militants seized northern areas. A French-led intervention ousted them the following year, but violence continues across the country. For context on the hostage crisis in Mali, we turn to Nick Turse, whose book "Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa" explores the expanding American battlefield in Africa, where the U.S. military is now involved in more than 90 percent of Africa’s 54 nations. Turse discusses how the U.S.-backed intervention in Libya helped fuel the ongoing militant violence in nearby Mali. Watch the original interview here, plus Part 2, and Part 3.
- Mali: Gunmen Take 170 Hostage, U.S. and Mali Special Ops Forces Respond
- France: Senate Expected to Approve 3-Month State of Emergency
- Israeli Authorities: Five Killed, Including 1 American, by Palestinians
- Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Released from NC Prison
- House Approves Bill to Restrict Syrian & Iraqi Refugees Coming to U.S.
- Carson Under Fire for Comparing Syrian Refugees to "Rabid Dogs"
- Trump Proposes Database to Track All American Muslims
- Hillary Clinton Proposes "Intensifying" War with ISIL
- Britain: 21-Year-Old Transgender Woman Found Dead in All-Male Prison
- FDA Approves Genetically Modified Salmon for Sale Across U.S.
- NYC: First Anniversary of Akai Gurley's Death by NYPD Officer
- Michigan: White Officer Guilty of Assaulting Unarmed Black Man
- Princeton Students End 32-Hour Sit-in of University President's Office
- Juan González Inducted into New York Journalism Hall of Fame
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL’s roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. "Every time there’s a terrorist attack, Western leaders exploit that attack to do more wars," Greenwald says. "Which in turn means they transfer huge amounts of taxpayer money to these corporations that sell arms. And so investors are fully aware that the main people who are going to benefit from this escalation as a result of Paris are not the American people or the people of the West — and certainly not the people of Syria — it is essentially the military-industrial complex."
As France and Belgium move to expand state power in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, top U.S. officials have renewed a push to defend mass surveillance and dismiss those who challenge it. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said intelligence and law enforcement officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones, despite no evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. Meanwhile, others have used the Paris attacks to criticize NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In recent days, CIA Director John Brennan has suggested revelations about mass spying have made it harder to find terrorists, while former CIA Director James Woolsey has said Snowden has blood on his hands. "We have not heard such blatant, shameless lying from intelligence and military officials since 2002 and 2003 when they propagandized the country into invading Iraq based on utterly false pretenses," says The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who exposed NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s leaks. "It is actually shocking to listen to."
- French Authorities Say Alleged Mastermind Behind Paris Attack Killed
- French Assembly Approves 3-Month Extension of State of Emergency
- French Authorities Cancel U.N. Climate Summit Demonstrations
- France: Muslim Woman and Jewish Man Attacked in Marseille
- ISIL Publishes Photo of Bomb They Say Brought Down Russian Plane
- Jeb Bush Calls for Deploying Ground Troops to Fight ISIL
- Congress to Vote on Restrictions for Iraqi and Syrian Refugees
- VA: Mayor Cites Japanese Prison Camps to Justify Refugee Restrictions
- #StudentBlackOut: Students Nationwide Protest Racism on Campus
- Minneapolis Officials Name Cops Involved in Killing of Jamar Clark
- Data Shows Chicago Police Not Disciplined After 97% of Complaints
- Nigeria: 2 Attacks Kill Up To 15, One Day After Attacks Kill 30
- Detroit Activists Head to Jury Trial for Blocking Water Shutoffs
- For-Profit GEO Group Drops Plan for Detention Center After Protests
- 100th Anniversary of Death of Labor Activist and Songwriter Joe Hill
In the wake of the Paris attacks, climate activists and the French government are at odds over plans for a massive protest march on Nov. 29 ahead of the U.N. climate talks. French authorities are threatening to curtail public demonstrations and marches, but climate activists insist the right to protest and freedom of speech must be upheld even during a state of emergency. We speak to Alix Mazounie, the international policies coordinator at Climate Action Network France.
A new study has found at least 100,000 and as many as 240,000 women in Texas have attempted to self-induce an abortion. The study comes after about half the abortion clinics in Texas closed under a harsh anti-choice law passed in 2013. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by abortion providers to the Texas law, marking what could be the most significant abortion case since Roe v. Wade. We speak with California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who introduced a bill in July to expand abortion access by dismantling the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. "The right wing is trying to take away women’s rights, there is a war on women, and we’re not going to let that happen, and so we have to fight back," Lee says. "We’re on the offense. And we’re going to one day—and I think it’s going to be sooner than later—we’re going to make sure that low-income women have full access to reproductive health services"
Fourteen years ago, California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee cast the sole dissenting vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Three days after the Sept. 11 attacks, she took to the floor of the House and said: "Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control." Rep. Lee is now calling on Congress to repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for military force, saying they have been used as blank checks for endless war.
Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris have set off a storm of calls to close borders and reject refugees fleeing Syria, where over 4 million people have already left the war-torn country. President Obama said any attempts to block entry of Syrian refugees to the United States is "offensive and contrary to American values." "When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians—proven Christians—should be admitted, that’s offensive and contrary to American values," Obama said. "I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate." We speak to Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director. He has spent the last few months in the Balkans and Greece speaking to refugees coming mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
- France: 7 Detained, 2 Killed in Raid Seeking Paris Attack Suspect
- Report: Russia Bombed 10 Medical Facilities in Syria
- GOP Lawmakers Call for Pausing Syrian Refugee Program
- Paris Climate March in Doubt amid Post-Attack Crackdown
- Nigeria: 32 Killed in Boko Haram Attack on Market
- U.S. OKs $1.29B Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia Despite War Crime Fears
- Report: Up to 240,000 Texas Women Have Tried to Self-Induce Abortions
- Kentucky: State's Last Full-Time Abortion Clinic Vandalized Twice
- Spanish Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Netanyahu over Flotilla Raid
- Philippines: Obama Faces Protest at APEC over U.S. Military Actions
- Statoil Ends Arctic Oil Drilling Program
- Report: Carson Advisers Say He Struggles with Foreign Policy
- Bobby Jindal Ends Presidential Campaign
There are growing reports of Islamophobic attacks since Friday’s massacre in Paris. Just hours after the Paris assault, a caller left a voicemail laced with racial slurs for the Islamic Society of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Florida. The caller left his full name and threatened to "firebomb you, shoot whoever’s there on sight in the head." Meanwhile in Pflugerville, Texas, residents found a torn Qur’an covered in feces left in front of the local mosque. In Canada, a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, was set on fire in what authorities have called a hate crime. We discuss the attacks with Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
In the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris, governors of at least 27 U.S. states have said they will not accept Syrian refugees. A Syrian passport which appears to be fake was found near the body of one of the Paris attackers, whose fingerprints matched someone who passed through Greece and the Balkans. But all the attackers identified so far are European nationals. The Obama administration has said it still plans to accept Syrian refugees, noting they are intensely vetted. We get reaction from Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
On Sunday more than 1,000 people overflowed a ballroom at California State University, Long Beach to honor Nohemí González, the 23-year-old student who was shot dead on Friday during the Paris attacks. González was a senior at the school. She was studying for a semester at Strate College of Design in suburban Paris. On Friday she was eating at a restaurant fired upon by gunmen. Nohemí González has been described as a proud first-generation Mexican American. We speak with her cousin, Miriam Padilla. "We are angry that my cousin is dead, but we are also angry that there are hundreds of children in other families that are dying in Syria, in Iraq and in other parts of the world," Padilla says.
Oxford researcher Lydia Wilson discusses interviewing members of ISIS held prisoner at a police station of Kirkuk, Iraq. "They are children of the occupation, many with missing fathers at crucial periods (through jail, death from execution, or fighting in the insurgency), filled with rage against America and their own government," Wilson wrote in a recent piece for The Nation. "They are not fueled by the idea of an Islamic caliphate without borders; rather, ISIS is the first group since the crushed Al Qaeda to offer these humiliated and enraged young men a way to defend their dignity, family, and tribe."
Two days after the Paris attacks, President Obama met Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Turkey on Sunday. The following day, the Pentagon revealed the U.S. State Department has approved the sale of $1.29 billion in smart bombs to Saudi Arabia for its attack on Yemen. We speak to Abdel Bari Atwan about how the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the Saudi funding of jihadist movements helped the Islamic State grow.
France and Russia have staged a series of new airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Russia announced earlier today it would intensify strikes in Syria after the Russian intelligence service said it had found conclusive proof that a bomb had brought down the Metrojet airliner in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing 224 people on board last month. The United States has also vowed to intensify strikes in Syria and to step up their exchange of intelligence on potential targets with France. We speak with longtime journalist Abdel Bari Atwan about how the bombings could backfire and help grow the Islamic State.
- Russia Confirms Bomb Brought Down Plane, Killing 224
- French President Seeks Expansion of State Power After Attacks
- Britain to Hire 1,900 New Spies After Paris Attacks
- CIA Director Claims Leaks Made It Harder to Find Terrorists
- Governors of 27 U.S. States Refuse to Accept Syrian Refugees
- State Dept.: Refugees Subject to "Highest Level of Security Checks"
- Environmentalists Plan to Protest in Paris Despite Crackdown
- Stanford Students Launch Sit-in for Fossil Fuel Divestment
- Texas: Tornado Levels Halliburton Plant, Causing Chemical Leak
- Minnesota: 51 Arrested Protesting Police Killing of Jamar Clark
- California: Video Shows Deputies Beating Man on the Ground
- Report Faults Baltimore Police for Response to Freddie Gray Protests
- Georgetown Renames Buildings Named for Presidents Tied to Slavery
- Utah: Judge Removes Himself from Lesbian Foster Parent Case