Liberian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee, one of the 1,000 female peace activists gathered to mark the founding of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, recalls her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. "We were constantly trying to imagine strategies that would be effective," Gbowee says. "The men in our society were really not taking a stance. … We decided to do a sex strike to kind of propel these silent men into action." Gbowee notes the idea for the strike came from a Muslim woman and was inspired in part by the civil rights movement in the United States. Gbowee shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize with fellow Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni native Tawakkul Karman. She is the founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa based in Liberia.
We broadcast live from The Hague, where over 1,000 female peace activists gathered from around the world 100 years ago this week to call for an end to war. The extraordinary meeting, known as the International Congress of Women, took place as World War I raged across the globe. Today, as wars rage on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and other countries, women from around the world have gathered again in The Hague to call for peace and to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we speak with three Nobel Peace Prize laureates. "Their agenda is to end militarism and war, and to build peace and international law and human rights and democracy," says our first guest, Mairead Maguire, who was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 32 for her actions to help end the deep ethnic and political conflict in her native Northern Ireland. She shared the award with Betty Williams. They helped start Peace People, a movement committed to building a just and peaceful society in Northern Ireland. At the time, Maguire was the youngest recipient of the peace prize. She is the author of the book "The Vision of Peace: Faith and Hope in Northern Ireland."
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- Israel Launches Airstrike on Syrian Border
- Maryland: Freddie Gray to Be Laid to Rest
- New York: Police Kill Mentally Ill African-American Man
- Burundi: 5 Killed amid Protests over President's Re-election Bid
- Indonesia Poised to Execute 10 Prisoners for Drug Crimes
- New York: Parents of 43 Missing Mexican Students March to U.N.
- Uruguay: Former Guantánamo Prisoners Protest Outside U.S. Embassy
- Japan: Man Admits Flying Radioactive Drone as Anti-Nuclear Protest
- Pakistan: Leading Activist Sabeen Mahmud Shot Dead
- For-Profit Corinthian Colleges Shuts Remaining 28 Campuses
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. On April 24, 1915, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic, premeditated genocide against the Armenian people — an unarmed Christian minority living under Turkish rule. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture and forced death marches. Another million fled into permanent exile. Today, the Turkish government continues to deny this genocide, and since becoming president, President Obama has avoided using the term "genocide" to describe it. We’re joined by Peter Balakian, professor of humanities at Colgate University and author of "The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response"; Anahid Katchian, whose father was a survivor of the 1915 Armenian genocide; and Simon Maghakyan, an activist with Armenians of Colorado. We also play a recording of Armenian broadcaster and writer David Barsamian’s mother recalling her experience during the Armenian genocide as a young girl. Araxie Barsamian survived, but her parents and brothers did not.
Explosive video obtained by The New Yorker depicts extreme violence inside New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex. Surveillance camera footage shows former teenage prisoner, Kalief Browder, being abused on two separate occasions. In one clip from 2012, the teenager is seen inside Rikers’ Central Punitive Segregation Unit, better known as the Bing. As a guard escorts Browder to the showers, Browder appears to speak, and then the guard suddenly violently hurls him to the floor although he’s already handcuffed. In a separate video clip from 2010, Browder is attacked by almost a dozen other teenage inmates after he punches a gang member who spat in his face. The other inmates pile onto Browder and pummel him until guards finally intervene. In an exclusive interview, we are the first to speak about the video with New Yorker staff writer Jennifer Gonnerman, who told Browder’s story in The New Yorker last year, describing how he spent nearly three years at Rikers after arriving there as a 16-year-old high school sophomore following his refusal to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit — stealing a backpack. "Footage [from inside Rikers] like this never, ever comes out," Gonnerman says. "This is what goes on when nobody is looking."
The Washington Post reports the Pentagon plans to increase its efforts to resettle dozens of detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo in the coming months before Congress can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison. As a first step, officials plan to send up to 10 prisoners overseas, possibly in June. In all, the Pentagon hopes that 57 inmates who are approved for transfer will be resettled by the end of 2015. We get reaction from Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, who says the new legislation would make it nearly impossible to close the facility.
A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan has reportedly accidentally killed two hostages who were being held captive by al-Qaeda. The White House says U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto were killed in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan in January. On Thursday, President Barack Obama took "full responsibility" for the botched operation and described it as a painful loss he profoundly regretted. According to the White House, the operation also reportedly killed an American al-Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq. A separate strike apparently killed another American al-Qaeda member, Adam Gadahn. Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the U.S. and Italian hostages were being detained in the al-Qaeda compound targeted during the operation. "In neither of the strikes … did the government actually know who it was killing," says Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU. "Yesterday’s disclosures just provide more reasons to question what kinds of regulations the government has governing these strikes." The botched operation comes on the heels of a new report chronicling civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes in Yemen.
- Obama Apologizes After U.S. Drone Strike Kills 2 Hostages
- Amnesty: European Plan on Migration "Woefully Inadequate"
- Senate Confirms Lynch as Attorney General After Historic Delay
- Comcast Drops Bid to Merge with Time Warner Cable
- Maryland: Troopers Deployed amid Protests over Freddie Gray's Death
- Michael Brown's Family Sues Ferguson for Wrongful Death
- Petraeus Sentenced to Probation for Leaking Secret Information
- Deutsche Bank to Pay $2.5 Billion in Rate-Rigging Case
- India: Funeral Held for Farmer Who Killed Himself at Rally
- Peru: Police Fire on Copper Mine Protesters, Killing 1
- 3 More Women Accuse Bill Cosby of Sexual Assault
- Columbia Students Launch Sit-In for Private Prison Divestment
- Mumia Abu-Jamal Supporters Mark Birthday, Demand Medical Care
Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck the Yemeni cities of Aden and Ibb early today despite a claim by Riyadh that it had ended the military operation known as Operation Decisive Storm. Saudi Arabia and nine Arab allies began bombing Yemen on March 25. The United States provided intelligence and logistical support for the attacks and accelerated the sale of new weapons to its Gulf allies. Earlier this week, the United States deployed two additional warships off the coast of Yemen. The bombing began after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sana’a last year and deposed President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. On Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the humanitarian situation in Yemen is "catastrophic." We speak to Toby Jones, associate professor of history and director of Middle Eastern studies at Rutgers University.
Protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray have entered their fifth day. The 27-year-old African-American man died Sunday from spinal injuries, one week after Baltimore police arrested him. His family and attorney say his voice box was crushed and his spine was "80 percent severed at his neck." A preliminary autopsy report showed Gray died of a spinal injury. Video shot by a bystander shows Gray screaming in apparent agony as police drag him to a van. Another witness said the police bent Gray like a pretzel. While the police union has described the protesters as a lynch mob, former Black Panther Eddie Conway says Gray is the one who was lynched. "There was a lynch mob. There is a body. There was a death without a trial, without a jury, without a sentence. There was an execution. That’s lynching," Conway says. "They’re blaming the victims. They’re blaming people that suffered the lynching for protesting."
- Yemen: Saudi-Led Strikes Continue amid "Catastrophic" Situation
- Report: European Plan Would Deport Most Migrants
- Chile: Thousands Evacuated as Volcano Erupts
- Japan: Radioactive Drone Lands on Roof of Prime Minister's Office
- Senate Set to Approve Loretta Lynch After Trafficking Bill Passes
- Report: FCC Move Could Derail Comcast-Time Warner Merger
- Senate Panel OKs TPP Fast Track Despite Creative Move by Sanders
- McConnell Introduces Bill to Extend NSA Bulk Spying
- Baltimore: Witness Says Police Bent Freddie Gray Like a Pretzel
- Michael Brown's Family Sues City of Ferguson
- California: Union to Shut Down Ports to Protest Police Brutality
- Video: U.S. Marshal Smashes Woman's Phone as She Films Police
- Clinton Foundation to Refile Tax Returns After Errors Revealed
- Judge Approves NFL Head Injuries Settlement
- South Carolina: Transgender Teen Wins DMV Settlement
- Louisiana Governor Jindal: Firms Won't Deter "Religious Freedom" Bill
- New York: Environmentalist Swims Polluted Gowanus Canal
As we continue to mark Earth Day, we look at a new report that finds killings of environmental activists on the rise, with indigenous communities hardest hit. According to Global Witness, at least 116 environmentalists were killed last year — more than two a week. Three-quarters of the deaths occurred in Central and South America. Just recently, three indigenous Tolupán leaders were gunned down during an anti-mining protest in northern Honduras, which has become the most dangerous country for environmental activists. We speak to Billy Kyte, campaigner for Global Witness and author of their new report, "How Many More?"
As the world marks the 45th Earth Day, we speak to Kenyan activist Phyllis Omido, who was just awarded the Africa 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s most prestigious environmental award. Omido organized protests to close a lead plant in Mombasa, Kenya, that was exposing the community to toxic chemicals. Her son was one of those affected. She is the founder of the Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action.
"It Was Worth Risking My Life, My Freedom": Campaign Reform Activist on Flying Gyrocopter to Capitol
Last week U.S. mailman Doug Hughes made national headlines when he flew a tiny personal aircraft known as a gyrocopter on to the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an act of civil disobedience. Hughes was carrying letters to every member of Congress urging them to address corruption and to pass campaign finance reform. The letter began with a quote from John Kerry’s farewell speech to the Senate: "The unending chase for money I believe threatens to steal our democracy itself." After landing on the Capitol Mall, Doug Hughes was arrested and could now face up to four years in prison on charges of violating national defense airspace and operating an unregistered aircraft. Despite being under house arrest and forced to wear a GPS monitoring device, Doug Hughes has decided to keep speaking out about the need for campaign finance reform.
- Saudi Arabia Bombs Yemen Hours After Declaring Campaign's End
- U.N. Official: Rich Countries Should Take Refugees to End Sea Deaths
- French Authorities Arrest Man Accused of Plotting Church Attacks
- Senate Reaches Deal on Trafficking Bill, Schedules Vote on Lynch
- Obama: Elizabeth Warren is "Wrong" on TPP
- Anti-Marijuana DEA Chief to Retire Following "Sex Parties" Scandal
- DOJ Launches Civil Rights Probe of Freddie Gray's Death
- Protesters March from New York to D.C. Against Police Brutality
- Detroit Cop Who Killed 7-Year-Old Girl Returns to Duty
- Rising Tide NYC Holds 3 Days of Actions Against Climate Change
- NOAA: Last Month was the Hottest March Ever Recorded
- Affleck Apologizes for Bid to Conceal Slave-Owning Ancestor
- Couple Injured in Marathon Bombing Oppose Death Penalty for Tsarnaev
- Educators Oppose Suspension of New Jersey Teacher Whose Students Wrote to Mumia Abu-Jamal
Commemorations are being held today to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pedro Albizu Campos, popularly known to many as Don Pedro, the former head of the Nationalist Party and leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement. Albizu Campos spent some 26 years in prison for organizing against U.S. colonial rule. He was born in 1891, seven years before the U.S. invaded the island. He would go on to become the first Puerto Rican to graduate from Harvard Law School. Once he returned to Puerto Rico, he dedicated the rest of his life to the independence movement, becoming president of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in 1930. It was a position he held until his death in 1965. In 1936, Albizu Campos was jailed along with other Nationalist leaders on conspiracy and sedition charges. His jailing led to protests across Puerto Rico. On Palm Sunday, March 21, 1937, police shot and killed 21 Puerto Ricans and wounded over 200 others taking part in a peaceful march to protest Albizu Campos’ imprisonment. The event became known as the Ponce massacre. After his eventual release, Albizu Campos was arrested again in 1950, just days after a Nationalist revolt began on October 30. Pedro Albizu Campos would spend almost the rest of his life in prison, where he repeatedly charged that he was the subject of human radiation experiments. We hear Albizu Campos in his own words and speak to three guests: Rep. José Serrano (D-NY); Nelson Denis, author of the new book, "War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony"; and Hugo Rodríguez of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.
With the debt clock ticking, Greece is fast running out of money. The country has ordered all state bodies to place their cash reserves in the nation’s central bank, the Bank of Greece, as it struggles to stay afloat. Greece is supposed to receive the last installment of its bailout funds from European creditors, but the country’s new leftist, anti-austerity Syriza party has expressed concerns about its terms. The creditors are reportedly pressuring the country to restructure its labor market and curtail its pension system; Syriza has instead done the opposite by increasing pension payments to lower-wage workers. On Friday, eurozone finance ministers will decide whether to release emergency funds to Greece. Without the funds, Greece may default on its debt payments in coming weeks and put its membership in the eurozone at risk. We go to Athens to speak with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
- U.N. Says Up to 850 Dead in Mediterranean Migrant Tragedy
- U.S. Deploys Warships Near Yemen; Saudi-Led Strike Kills 25
- Iran Charges Washington Post Reporter with Espionage
- U.S. Begins Training Ukrainian Forces Despite Russian Warnings
- Oklahoma: Sheriff Apologizes to Family of Eric Harris
- Maryland: 6 Cops Suspended over Death of Freddie Gray
- Illinois: Officer Who Killed Rekia Boyd Acquitted
- 53 Disability Rights Activists Arrested at the White House
- Wal-Mart Workers Say Retailer Closed Stores to Punish Protesters
- 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced
We spend the hour with an explosive new film that shines a bright light on the FBI’s shadowy use of informants in its counterterrorism sting operations. These undercover operatives are meant to root out would-be terrorists before they attack. Since 9/11, they have been used to prosecute at least 158 people. But critics argue they often target the wrong people, "including those with intellectual and mental disabilities, and the indigent." "(T)ERROR" goes inside the world of a particular informant who has played a key role in several major terrorism cases. It does so while he is in the middle of carrying out his latest sting operation. It came together when two independent filmmakers gained unprecedented access to follow Saeed Torres, whose undercover name is "Shariff," a 63-year-old former black revolutionary turned FBI informant, as he monitors a white Muslim convert named Khalifah al-Akili. Torres knew one of the directors, Lyric Cabral, and after he came out to her as an informant, he agreed to share his story, without informing his superiors. As the film unfolds, al-Akili begins to post on his Facebook page that he suspects the FBI is targeting him. The filmmakers used this an opportunity to approach him, and soon find themselves interviewing him at the same time they are also documenting "Shariff" monitoring him. During this time each man remains unaware that the filmmakers are talking to the other one. We get the rest of the story when we are joined by the filmmakers who co-directed "(T)ERROR," Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe, and play part of an interview with al-Akili from federal prison. Al-Akili was arrested just days after he emailed civil rights groups to say he believed he was the target of an FBI "entrapment" sting. He is now serving eight years in federal prison for illegally possessing a gun after having previous felony convictions for selling drugs. We are also joined by Steve Downs, executive director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. He works with Project SALAM, which published a report last year called "Inventing Terrorists: The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution." He is also representing imprisoned Pakistani scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. We are also joined by Marlene, the mother of Tarik Shah, who was arrested in 2005 after a joint FBI/NYPD sting operation that also involved Saeed "Shariff" Torres. She details in the film how Shah thought Shariff was his close friend, but he was actually an FBI informant.