With Father and Sister Imprisoned, Exiled Bahraini Activist Maryam Alkhawaja Condemns Ongoing Abuses
The Bahraini government continues its crackdown on opposition protesters, with demonstrations repressed and scores of dissidents held behind bars. We’re joined by Maryam Alkhawaja, a leading Bahraini human rights activist. Her family has been highly critical of the U.S.-backed monarchy, and they have paid a heavy price. Maryam’s father, human rights attorney Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, is serving a life sentence in prison. He has already spent two years in jail. Her sister, Zainab Alkhawaja, is also imprisoned. A close friend of the family, Nabeel Rajab, is also in jail. Rajab had been the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. "There has hardly been any real accountability of the Bahraini government of the human rights violations that have been going on in Bahrain for more than two years now," says Alkhawaja, who is now the acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights.
UPDATE: 7:00 p.m. EDT Efraín Ríos Montt has been found guilty of genocide and sentenced to 80 years in prison.
A verdict is expected as early as today in the historic trial against U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. He is charged with overseeing the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Mayan region after he seized power in 1982. On Thursday, Ríos Montt testified for the first time during the trial. "I declare myself innocent," Ríos Montt said. "I never had the intention or the purpose to destroy any national ethnic group." During the trial, nearly 100 prosecution witnesses described massacres, torture and rape committed by state forces. "If Ríos Montt is convicted, the next question becomes: What about [current Guatemalan President Otto] Pérez Molina, and what about the U.S. sponsors who were providing the weapons, the money, the bombs, the bullets and the political support for the crimes for which Ríos Montt may today be convicted of genocide?" asks investigative journalist Allan Nairn from Guatemala City. In the 1980s, Nairn broke many stories about massacres in Guatemala and the U.S. backing of the dictatorship.
- Death Toll from Bangladesh Building Collapses Tops 1,000; Survivor Rescued After 17 Days in Rubble
- Man Accused of Holding 3 Women Captive in Ohio Could Face Death Penalty
- Minnesota House Passes Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
- Philadelphia Mayor Signs Landmark LGBT Rights Bill
- Co-Author of Controversial Immigration Study Argued Latinos Have Lower IQs
- Afghan President Says U.S. Can Have 9 Bases After Withdrawal
- Facebook Removes Marines-Linked Page Featuring Rape Jokes About Female Soldiers
- Uruguay Sentences Military General to 28 Years for Dictatorship-Era Death
- Son of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Kidnapped 2 Days Before Election
- Republicans Block Confirmation of Obama’s Pick to Head EPA
- Fast-Food Worker Strikes Spread to Detroit, St. Louis
- New York City Council Passes Sick-Pay Bill
- Poor People's March to Honor Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
- Grandson of Malcolm X Reportedly Killed in Mexico
Closing arguments have begun in the historic trial against U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt is charged with overseeing the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. The trial has been revived after it was suspended due to intervention by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina and death threats by army associates against judges and prosecutors. On Wednesday, prosecutors asked for Ríos Montt to be sentenced to 75 years in prison. Defense lawyers are expected to give closing arguments today. We’re joined by investigative journalist Allan Nairn in Guatemala City. In the 1980s, Nairn extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres.
Workers at the New Era Windows Cooperative are celebrating the grand opening of their new unionized, worker-owned and -operated business. Almost a year to the day after their window factory closed, a group of former workers have launched their own window business without bosses. They successfully raised money to buy the factory collectively and run it democratically. In 2008, some of the workers were involved in a famous six-day sit-in after Republic Windows and Doors gave workers just three days’ notice before closing the factory. The sit-in drew national attention and union workers reached a settlement where they each received $6,000 each. About 65 workers occupied the factory after their jobs came under threat again in 2012. We speak to two worker-owners of the just-opened New Era Windows Cooperative and a labor organizer who helped with their fight.
Cleveland kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were allegedly subjected to years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of suspect Ariel Castro. Questions are now being raised why the police did not investigate Castro more closely earlier, especially since Castro was accused in 1993 and 2005 of attacking his ex-wife Grimilda Figueroa. According to court documents, Castro apparently broke her nose and ribs, dislocated her shoulders, knocked out one of her teeth and battered her so badly that a blood clot formed in her brain. Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action, and the Media and editor of the anthology, "Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape," says the Cleveland case is "an extreme example of a pervasive dynamic in our culture which is one of toxic masculinity." Friedman explains: "It really expresses something that we see all over the culture, which is men trained to think that the way to be a man is to have power over and to dehumanize women." We also speak to Cleveland reporter Eric Sandy.
Did Police Negligence & Suspect Ariel Castro's Unpunished Domestic Abuse Prolong Victims' Captivity?
Ariel Castro was arraigned in a Cleveland court today on charges of kidnapping three young women and holding them captive in his house for 10 years. All three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight — had vanished in seemingly separate cases when they were between the ages of 14 and 21. Berry’s six-year-old daughter, who was born in captivity, was also rescued. Officials said the three women were at times bound in chains or rope, and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults. Eric Sandy, a reporter at the weekly newspaper Cleveland Scene, joins us to discuss Castro’s background, including the brutal abuse of his ex-wife for which he was never jailed.
- 8 Killed in Bangladesh Factory Fire; Toll from Building Collapse Nears 900
- Ariel Castro Charged in Cleveland Kidnapping, Abuse Case
- State Dept. Official Claims Demotion for Criticism of Benghazi Response
- Israel OKs More Settlement Expansion; Kerry Announces Visit
- Stephen Hawking Backs Academic Boycott of Israel
- Closing Arguments Held in Genocide Trial of Former Guatemalan Dictator Efraín Ríos Montt
- Activist: Biden Avowed Opposition to Keystone XL Pipeline
- EPA: No Plans for Curbing Greenhouse Gases from Existing Power Plants
- House Panel Backs Weakening of Derivatives Rules
- Peace Activists Convicted for Protest at Tennessee Nuclear Site
- Docs: FBI, Justice Dept. Assert Right to Warrantless Internet Spying
- Ex-Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling Reaches Deal for Early Release
- Colorado Legislature Approves Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants, 1st Ever Marijuana Tax
- Blacks Voted at Higher Rate Than Whites in 2012 Elections
- Cooper Union Students Stage Sit-In to Preserve Free Tuition
One of Latin America’s most acclaimed writers, Eduardo Galeano is out with the new book, "Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History." Galeano’s classic "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" made headlines when Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave President Obama a copy at the Summit of the Americas in 2009. Since its publication in 1971, "Open Veins" has sold over a million copies worldwide despite being banned by the military governments in Chile, Argentina and his native country of Uruguay. While in exile after the Uruguayan military junta seized power in a 1973 coup, Galeano began work on his classic trilogy, "Memory of Fire," which rewrites five centuries of North and South American history. Watch part 2 of this interview.
A shocking new report by the Pentagon has found that 70 sexual assaults may be taking place within the U.S. military every day. The report estimates there were 26,000 sex crimes committed in 2012, a jump of 37 percent since 2010. Most of the incidents were never reported. The findings were released two days after the head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention unit, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested for sexual assault. We air highlights from Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on military sexual assault and speak with Anu Bhagwati, executive director and co-founder of Service Women’s Action Network. "The numbers are outrageous, and I think we’ve reached a tipping point," Bhagwati says. "The American public is furious."
- Neighbors: Police Ignored Warnings About Ohio Home Where Captives Were Freed
- Ohio Kidnapping Victims Reunited with Family Members
- Pentagon: Military Sexual Assaults Increase 37%
- Mississippi Death Row Prisoner Denied DNA Tests Wins Reprieve
- Texas Carries Out 5th Execution of Year
- U.S., Russia Plan New International Conference on Syria
- Report: Pentagon Plans for Breakup of Syria
- Syria Cut Off from Global Internet
- Torture-Linked Official Won't Continue as Head of CIA Clandestine Service
- Report: U.S. Overhauls Internet Surveillance Rules
- Delaware Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
A joint investigation by the Washington Monthly and the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute has found over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least 10 times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. The killings have gone unpunished after a court ruled the Mexican victims have no standing to sue in U.S. courts since they died on their own soil. Investigative reporter John Carlos Frey writes: "The picture that emerges from this investigation is of an agency operating with thousands of poorly trained rookies and failing to provide the kind of transparency, accountability, and clear rules of engagement that Americans routinely expect of law enforcement agencies." Frey joins us to discuss the shootings and why he fears that the current immigration consensus in Washington on "border security" could increase Mexico’s civilian toll.
UPDATE 3:25 p.m. EDT: The Mississippi Supreme Court has granted a stay of execution in the Willie Manning case.
The state of Mississippi is preparing to execute an African-American prisoner tonight, despite an unusual admission from the FBI that its original analysis of the evidence contained errors. Willie Jerome Manning was convicted of murdering Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students, in 1992. The execution is going ahead after prosecutors and state courts refused to allow new DNA testing that could prove Manning’s innocence. The Justice Department sent a letter saying one analyst’s testimony at trial "exceeded the limits of the science and was, therefore, invalid." Manning’s attorneys argue that no physical evidence ties him to the murders and that testing hair samples and other evidence could identify a different killer. But in a 5-to-4 decision last month, Mississippi’s state Supreme Court refused to grant a new DNA test, citing what it called "conclusive, overwhelming evidence of guilt." On top of the denied DNA test, Manning’s attorneys say prosecutors relied on two key witnesses whose credibility has since come under question. Concerns have also been raised about alleged racial bias in the selection of the jury that found Manning guilty. "We need someone to step in," says Vanessa Potkin, a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project. "It is unconscionable that an execution would go forward where there is biological evidence that can cut to the truth and show whether or not he did the crime. What is anybody afraid of?"
As the United States moves toward increased intervention in Syria, we’re joined by Robert Fisk, the longtime Middle East correspondent of the British newspaper The Independent. Just back from two weeks in Syria reporting around the capital Damascus, Fisk discusses what he calls the "theater of chemical weapons," the latest in Syria’s civil war — a battle he says the Syrian government is winning — as well as his reaction to what he calls President Obama’s "pitiful" backing of the recent Israeli missile strikes. "Don’t ask me if they have used chemical weapons," Fisk says. "It’s conceivable. There really isn’t any proof. What you have got to realize is that this is a propaganda war just as much as it is a savage war, killing many thousands of human beings."
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- U.S. Senator Menendez Introduces Bill to Arm Syrian Rebels
- U.N. Panel: No Conclusive Findings Yet on Chemical Weapons in Syria
- Pakistan: Dozens Killed in Attacks on Political Party
- Bangladesh: Rallies Banned in Dhaka After Clashes Between Police & Religious Activists Kill 27
- Death Toll from Bangladesh Building Collapse Tops 700
- Friend of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Released on Bond
- Man Arrested for Alleged Terror Plot in Minnesota
- U.S. Directly Accuses China of Hacking Its Computers
- Air Force Officer Who Led Sexual Assault Prevention Unit Arrested for Alleged Sexual Attack
- NY Attorney General to Sue Wells Fargo, Bank of America for Violating Foreclosure Deal
- NYT: 7 of Top 20 Highest-Paid CEOs Were Media Moguls
- Study: Acidification from CO2 Emissions Threatens Oceans
- "Cuban 5" Member Criticizes Imprisonment by U.S.
- Kidnapping Survivor Elizabeth Smart: Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Fueled Shame After She Was Raped
- 3 Women Missing for a Decade Are Found in Ohio
We spend the hour with Michael Pollan, one of the country’s leading writers and thinkers on food and food policy. Pollan has written several best-selling books about food, including "The Omnivore’s Dilemma," and "In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto." In his latest book, "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation," Pollan argues that taking back control of cooking may be the single most important step anyone can take to help make our food system healthier and more sustainable. "There is a deliberate effort to undermine food culture to sell us processed food," Pollan says. "The family meal is a challenge if you’re General Mills or Kellogg or one of these companies, or McDonald’s, because the family meal is usually one thing shared." Pollan also talks about the "slow food" movement. "Slow food is about food that is good, clean and fair. They’re concerned with social justice. They’re concerned with how the food is grown and how humane and chemical-free it is." He adds, "Slow food is about recovering that space around the family and keeping the influence of the food manufacturers outside of the house. ... The family meal is very important. It’s the nursery of democracy."
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- Report: U.S., Allies Discussed Syria Strikes
- U.N. Investigator: Syrian Rebels Likely Using Nerve Gas
- Bangladesh Toll Hits 645; Murder Probe Begins
- 7 U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan
- U.N. Seeks Nigeria Probe After 200 Killed
- Obama Concludes Latin America Visit
- U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls to 7.5 Percent
- NRA Celebrates Defeat of Gun Control at Annual Meeting
- Suicide Rate Increases for Middle-Aged Americans
- U.S. Says Paroled Member of "Cuban 5" Can Remain in Cuba
President Obama has traveled to Mexico for a two-day visit to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Part of their talks are focused on U.S. immigration reform. Outside the U.S. embassy in Mexico City, protesters have called on Obama to keep his promise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. We’re joined by Marco Castillo, an organizer with Migrant Families Popular Assembly and the Acción Migrante campaign. Citing the continued deaths of migrant workers trying to make their way north from Mexico, Castillo calls for human rights, not "border security," to be the focus of policy changes. "We’re going through a humanitarian crisis on the borders of the U.S. and Mexico," Castillo says.
One day after the exiled former Black Panther Assata Shakur became the first woman named to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, we’re joined by another legendary African-American activist, Angela Davis, as well as Shakur’s longtime attorney, Lennox Hinds. Davis, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is the subject of the recent film, "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners." She argues that the FBI’s latest move, much like its initial targeting of Shakur and other Black Panthers four decades ago, is politically motivated. "It seems to me that this act incorporates or reflects the very logic of terrorism," Davis says. "I can’t help but think that it’s designed to frighten people who are involved in struggles today. Forty years ago seems like it was a long time ago. In the beginning of the 21st century, we’re still fighting around the very same issues — police violence, healthcare, education, people in prison." A professor of criminal justice at Rutgers University, Hinds has represented Shakur since 1973. "This is a political act pushed by the state of New Jersey, by some members of Congress from Miami, and with the intent of putting pressure on the Cuban government and to inflame public opinion," Hinds says. "There is no way to appeal someone being put on the terrorists list."
The FBI has added the former Black Panther Assata Shakur to its Most Wanted Terrorists list 40 years after the killing for which she was convicted. Born Joanne Chesimard, Shakur was found guilty of shooting dead a New Jersey state trooper during a gunfight in 1973. Shakur has long proclaimed her innocence and accused federal authorities of political persecution. She escaped from prison in 1979 and received political asylum in Cuba. On Thursday, she became the first woman added to the FBI’s terrorist list, and the reward for her capture was doubled to $2 million. We begin our coverage by airing Shakur’s reading of an open letter she wrote to Pope John Paul II during his trip to Cuba in 1998 after the FBI asked him to urge her extradition. "As a result of being targeted by [the FBI program] COINTELPRO, I was faced with the threat of prison, underground, exile or death," Shakur said at the time. "I am not the first, nor the last, person to be victimized by the New Jersey system of 'justice.' The New Jersey State Police are infamous for their racism and brutality." Hear Shakur read the letter in full on SoundCloud. Click here to watch our interview about her case with scholar and activist Angela Davis and Lennox Hinds, her longtime attorney.