A new investigation by The Crime Report published Monday documents how corporations almost never face criminal investigations for violating environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. A survey of environmental violations tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency shows just one-half of 1 percent of them trigger criminal prosecution. Joining us to describe his investigation, The Crime Report’s Graham Kates describes how one company, Alpha Natural Resources, faced only civil fines after it racked up more than 6,000 violations between 2007 and 2013. Kates says prosecutions are hampered by limited government resources in pursuing corporate polluters. The EPA has just 200 agents nationwide, and the Environmental Crime Section of the Department of Justice has just 38 prosecutors.
The government has unveiled federal terrorism charges against two animal rights activists accused of helping to free minks and foxes from fur farms in rural Illinois. In newly unsealed indictments, the prosecutors accuse Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff of freeing about 2,000 mink from their cages on a fur farm and then removing parts of the fence surrounding the property so the mink could escape. The activists are also accused of spray-painting "Liberation is Love" on the farm’s walls. Lang and Olliff have been indicted under the controversial Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), with each count carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. We are joined by reporter Will Potter, who covers animal rights and environmental issues at GreenIstheNewRed.com. "It really doesn’t matter how you feel about animal rights groups or about these alleged crimes of stealing animals," Potter says of the AETA, which he argues is too broad while criminalizing protests and civil disobedience. "This is really about a corporate campaign to demonize their opposition and to use terrorism resources to shut down a movement." Potter also discusses his wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to purchase a drone for use in photographing abuses at factory farms.
It is widely thought that the flare-up in Israel and the Occupied Territories began with the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank just more than a month ago. But our guests — author Norman Finkelstein and Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani — argue that such a narrative ignores the broader context of decades of occupation and recent events highlighting the expansionist goals of the Israeli government in the Palestinian land under its control. "Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict — which the [Fatah-Hamas] unity government was — at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction, in this case from Hamas, break up the unity government, and then Israel has its pretext," Finkelstein says. Rabbani and Finkelstein are co-authors of the forthcoming book, "How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."
The next phase of the violence that has killed nearly 200 Palestinians in Gaza is in flux after a ceasefire proposal from Egypt. The Egyptian government proposed a temporary halt to violence and the reopening of Gaza’s border crossings, followed by talks in Cairo on a long-term truce. Israel’s Security Cabinet has endorsed the proposal, but Hamas has yet to officially respond. The Hamas military wing has rejected the pact as a "surrender," saying the ceasefire fails to meet any of its core demands. These include a lifting of the siege of Gaza, the release of prisoners recently detained in Israeli raids, an end to Israeli attacks on the Occupied Territories, and respect for the Palestinian unity government. But it is Hamas’ political wing that will have the final say. Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to widen the attack on Gaza if Hamas rejects the ceasefire and if rocket fire continues. The potential for a ceasefire follows a week that saw Israel kill at least 192 Palestinians in a massive bombing campaign on one of the world’s most densely populated areas. The United Nations estimates more than 80 percent of Gaza’s dead are civilians, including 36 children. More than 1,000 rockets from Gaza have hit Israel over the same period, with just a fraction landing in urban areas. Around a dozen Israelis have been wounded. No casualties have been reported. We are joined from Ramallah by Amira Hass, Ha’aretz correspondent for the occupied Palestinian territories, the only Israeli journalist to have spent several years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank.
- Gaza Death Toll Rises to 192; Israel Accepts Ceasefire Proposal
- Afghanistan: 50 Killed in Market Bombing
- Russia: Subway Derailment Kills 10, at Least 100 Injured
- U.N. Pulls Out of Libya; Shelling of Main Airport Destroys 90% of Planes
- Kerry to Consult with Obama After Iran Nuclear Talks
- U.N. Security Council Backs Aid to Syrians Without Gov't Approval
- U.S. Deports 38 Honduran Women, Children; Honduran President Says U.S. Drug Wars Fuel Migration
- U.S., Qatar Seal $11 Billion Arms Deal
- Citigroup to Pay $7 Billion for "Egregious" Sale of Toxic Mortgages
- Ernst & Young to Pay $4 Million over Lobbying Charges
- Colombia Kills 13 FARC Rebels Ahead of Peace Talks
- Snowden Docs Reveal British Spy Agency's Internet Manipulation Tools
- Report: Beatings by Staff "Common" at Rikers Jail, Mentally Ill Targeted
- 24 Arrested for Anti-Fracking Blockade to Protest Cove Point Terminal
- Missouri Set to Execute Prisoner Despite Claims of Innocence
- South African Writer, Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer Dies at 90
- Alice Coachman, 1st Black Woman to Win Olympic Gold, Dies at 90
On July 2, Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was driven to Queens, New York, and dropped off on the side of the road, with only a MetroCard, after serving nearly two months in Rikers jail. McMillan’s sentence for allegedly assaulting a police officer was the most severe served for any of the thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested over the course of the movement. She was detained in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park, six months after the Occupy Wall Street movement began. McMillan says she felt someone grab her breast from behind, and swung out instinctively, striking her assailant, who turned out to be police officer Grantley Bovell. Nine of the 12 jurors who convicted McMillan of second-degree assault asked the judge for leniency, saying they did not think she should serve any time in jail. McMillan served 59 days, and has now become an advocate for the women she met behind bars, many of whom she says were denied adequate medical care. "Your body is no longer your own," she says of life behind bars.
Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor, joins us from Gaza where he has been treating hundreds of victims wounded in Israel’s ongoing assault, including young children. Dr. Gilbert says hospitals are operating without electricity, water and proper medical supplies, but adds: "As a medical doctor, my appeal is don’t send bandages, don’t send syringes, don’t send medical teams. The most important medical thing you can do now is to force Israel to stop the bombing and lift the siege of Gaza." Gilbert recently recently submitted a report to the United Nations on the state of the Gaza health sector in 2014. "Where is the decency in the U.S. government allowing Israel this impunity to punish the whole civilian population in Gaza?" Gilbert asks.
Civilians are bearing the brunt of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip, with civilians accounting for more than 80 percent of the reported casualties. We go to Gaza for a medical update on the injured from Dr. Mona El-Farra, director of Gaza projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance and health chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip. El-Farra describes treating severe burns, unexplained wounds that suggest Israel may be using banned weapons, and the trauma endured by Palestinian children. "We are not just numbers, we are human beings," El-Farra says.
Thousands of Gazans have fled their homes amidst a relentless Israeli bombing campaign that has now killed more than 170 people, most of them civilians, since it began a week ago. The United Nations estimates at least 80 percent of the dead are civilian, of whom 20 percent are children — at least 36 dead. More than 1,200 Palestinians have been wounded, nearly two-thirds women and children. Some 940 homes have reportedly been severely damaged or destroyed, 400,000 people are without electricity, and 17,000 people are displaced. Hamas has fired an estimated 700 rockets into Israel, causing no direct killings but leaving an Israeli teen critically wounded. We get reaction from Palestinian attorney Diana Buttu, who has served as a legal adviser to the Palestinians in negotiations with Israel and to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. "When Israel talks about who it’s targeting and what it’s targeting, they’ve never proffered any proof or any evidence for what it is they’re trying to hit," Buttu says. "At the end of the day, as much as Israel tries to claim they are not targeting civilians, they are — and the casualties speak volumes."
- U.N.: 80% of Gaza Casualties are Civilian; Thousands Displaced
- Israeli Leaflets to Gazans: "Any Moving Body Will Be Struck"
- Bombings of Gaza Civilian Targets Include Center for Disabled
- U.N. Rights Chief: Israeli Bombings of Gaza Likely Violate International Law
- Hundreds of Rockets Fired on Israel from Gaza; Israeli Teen Critically Wounded
- U.N. Security Council Calls for Gaza Ceasefire
- Worldwide Protests Oppose Israeli Attack on Gaza
- Iraqi Lawmakers Delay Unity Talks; Violence Kills Dozens
- Report: Pentagon Doubts Viability of U.S. "Advisory" Mission in Iraq
- U.S. Brokers Deal to Audit Disputed Afghan Presidential Vote
- Kerry Meets Iranian FM in Nuclear Talks
- GOP Lawmakers Seek Reduction of Border Funding Request; Deportations to Begin This Week
- Detroit Retirees, Public Workers Vote on Pension Cuts
- World Council of Churches Divests from Fossil Fuels
- Guantánamo Prisoners Seek Same Religious Protection as Hobby Lobby
- Bergdahl Returning to Active Duty at Texas Base
- Legendary Jazz Musician, Activist Charlie Haden Dies at 76
Gaza Debate: As Palestinian Deaths Top 100, Who's to Blame for Escalating Violence? What Can Be Done?
The death toll in the Gaza Strip continues to rise in the fourth day of Israel’s aerial offensive. Medical officials in Gaza estimate that at least 22 people were killed Thursday, bringing the number of Palestinian fatalities to 101, about half of them reportedly women and children. No deaths have been reported on the Israeli side. The Israeli military says it has dropped hundreds of tonnes of bombs on 1,000 targets throughout Gaza, more than during its eight-day assault in late 2012. The intensification of Israeli airstrikes has been met with a barrage of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. We host a debate between Palestinian human rights attorney Noura Erakat and Joshua Hantman, senior adviser to Israel’s ambassador to the United States. "Israel is currently under attack," Hantman says. "Since 2005, over 8,000 rockets, missiles and mortars have been indiscriminately fired at our civilians." But Erakat says Israel’s bombardment of Gaza "amounts to a massacre." "Israel has precise weaponry and is targeting homes," she says. "This is a disproportionate attack, by what we consider the only democracy in the Middle East, by the U.S.’s most unique ally, to whom we provide $3.1 billion a year."
As thousands of migrants continue to arrive in the United States seeking escape from violence in Central America, this week the Texas town of League City passed a resolution banning undocumented children from entering its municipality. The move echoes sentiments that flared up just before July 4 in Murrieta, California, when police blocked three buses of migrants from reaching a federal immigration facility there. The buses carrying dozens of children flown in from an overcrowded detention center in Texas were then surrounded by demonstrators who chanted anti-immigrant slogans. "A society is judged on how we treat our children, and what we witnessed that day was the worst of the American spirit," says Enrique Morones, director of the group Border Angels. This comes as reports show Honduran children are increasingly being targeted by gang violence and Border Patrol statistics indicate a strong correlation between Central American cities with high homicide rates and waves of children who come to the United States. “What we need to do is give them, as we would refugees anywhere else in the world, access to territory and access to procedures in order to establish their status and care for them as people who need international protection," says Shelly Pitterman, head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in Washington, D.C. He represents the office to the United States and Caribbean governments.
President Obama has called for close to $3.7 billion to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the United States-Mexico border where more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have been detained since October. Part of the money will be used to speed up deportations as Republicans say they will only support the plan if it puts more emphasis on immediate repatriation. They want to change a 2008 immigration law — which originally passed with bipartisan support — that would let the United States deport children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador as fast as it does those from Mexico. "I think it is shameful that in the Congress of the U.S. we see members of Congress engendering and creating fear of children," says Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois, who supports Obama’s emergency supplemental bill. "We should be protecting children, not creating fear of them."
- Gaza Death Toll from Israeli Strikes Tops 100
- Germany Expels CIA Station Chief over U.S. Spying
- Report: U.S. Knew in Advance About U.K. Plan to Destroy Snowden Hard Drives
- United Auto Workers Announces Local Union at Chattanooga Volkswagen Plant
- Child Laborers Found at Samsung Supplier in China
- Detroit Residents Stage Civil Disobedience over Water Shutoffs; Activist Charity Hicks Dies
- Saltwater from Oil Drilling Spills over 2-Mile Area in North Dakota
- Actress Laverne Cox Makes History as 1st Transgender Emmy Nominee
- Grandmother Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison After Protest at U.S. Drone Base
A new report by The Intercept has identified five prominent Muslim Americans who were spied on by the National Security Agency. It cites an NSA spreadsheet leaked by Edward Snowden that shows nearly 7,500 email addresses monitored between 2002 and 2008, including addresses that appear to belong to foreigners the government suspects of ties to al-Qaeda, along with Americans accused of terrorist activity. But it also lists the email addresses of a former Republican operative and one-time political candidate, a professor at Rutgers University, and the head of the largest Muslim civil rights group in the country. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story for The Intercept based on documents leaked by Snowden. "The only thing they really had in common is that they are all politically active American Muslims," Greenwald says. "And that seems to be enough in the intelligence community to render these people suspicious." We are also joined by two people Greenwald names in the article: Asim Ghafoor, a prominent civil rights attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases; and Faisal Gill, an attorney and former senior policy director with the Department of Homeland Security. When asked what needs to be done in response to the revelations, Gill argues Congress should step in and exercise its authority over how the FISA courts approve surveillance. "In our cases, I don’t think there is probable cause ... so the entire system needs to be examined," Gill says. "What happens is you paint somebody with a broad brush, and they’re tainted for life. … Nobody wants a lawyer that the government suspects of being involved in these type of activities."
An initial count in Indonesia’s hotly contested presidential election shows Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo has a several-point lead over former army general Prabowo Subianto. Prabowo has refused to concede defeat, and official results won’t be known until after July 20. The American journalist Allan Nairn recently reported Indonesian forces tied to Prabowo have waged a campaign to rig the election in his favor, including "ballot tampering, street violence and threats" against rivals. Prabowo, who received military training by the United States, has been accused of mass killings when he headed the Indonesian special forces in the 1990s. Nairn’s reporting on Prabowo became a major issue in the campaign, and Prabowo has filed criminal charges against him for inciting hatred against the Indonesian military. Joining us from Indonesia, Nairn argues that despite supporters that include "killer generals," Widodo will be more responsive to calls to reform the country’s corrupt political system if popular movements pressure him to do so. "It is very unlikely [Widodo] would respond by opening fire as the Indonesian army has in the past, and as Prabowo undoubtedly would," Nairn says. "He would probably respond by sitting down with people and saying, ’Let’s work something out.’"
- Palestinian Toll from Gaza Attack Tops 80, Including 18 Children
- Gaza Hospitals Overrun with Victims; Bombing Exceeds 2012 Israeli Assault
- Gaza Militants Continue Rocket Attacks on Israel
- Israel Rejects Hamas Ceasefire Terms; Minister Floats "Temporary" Gaza Takeover
- Israelis Stage Peace Rally in Tel Aviv
- PA Pleads for U.S. Aid to Stop "War Against Palestinian People"
- Obama Admin Continues Backing for Israeli Airstrikes
- Thousands in New York City Protest Israeli Attack on Gaza
- Obama Presses GOP to Back Funding Request for Border Crisis
- U.S. Drone Strikes Kill 6 in Pakistan
- White House Orders Review over Anti-Muslim Racial Slurs Revealed in Snowden Leak
- Germany Probes 2nd Official over U.S. Spy Claims
- 6 Dead, Including 4 Children, in Houston Shooting; Weekend Chicago Toll at 14
- Colorado Same-Sex Marriage Ban Overturned; Utah Appeals Marriage Equality Ruling to Supreme Court
- Truck Drivers Strike at California Ports in Rare Open-Ended Action
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sits down with Democracy Now! inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living in political asylum for over two years. Assange explains his critique of First Look Media and The Intercept for agreeing not to name a country targeted by bulk National Security Agency spying, following U.S. government concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence. Assange and WikiLeaks went on to reveal the targeted country, Afghanistan, which along with the Bahamas had all of its cellphone calls recorded. "That is as great an assault to sovereignty as you can imagine, other than completely militarily occupying a country, to record the intimate phone calls of every single Afghan citizen," Assange says. "My perspective is, [this is] up to the Afghan people." Assange also gives an overview of the close to eight million documents WikiLeaks has released since 2007 about nearly every country in the world; details how WikiLeaks helped Edward Snowden evade U.S. arrest and find political asylum in Russia; and addresses his prospects for ever being able to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy without fear of arrest.
Click here to watch part one of this interview.
In part two of our exclusive interview, Amy Goodman goes inside Ecuador’s Embassy in London to speak with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange has been living in the embassy for more than two years under political asylum. He faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States, where a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. Assange responds to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent comments that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden should return home to face trial. "It’s the advice of all our lawyers that he should not return to the United States. He’d be extremely foolish to do so," Assange says. "It’s not possible to have a fair trial, because the U.S. government has a precedent of applying state secret privilege to prevent the defense from using material that is classified in their favor."
Click here to watch part one of this interview.
- Palestinian Toll Rises as Israel Intensifies Gaza Strikes
- Thousands of Israelis Take Refuge as Rockets Target Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
- Abbas Appeals for International Protection of Palestinian People
- U.S. Backs Israeli Offensive in Gaza
- 10th Anniversary of ICJ Ruling on Illegality of Israeli Settlements, Separation Wall in West Bank
- Obama Seeks $3.7 Billion for Migrant Crisis on U.S.-Mexico Border
- UNHCR Asks U.S. to Consider Refugee Status for Central American Migrants
- Rival Claims Victory over General in Indonesia Vote; Journalist Faces Charges over Damning Report
- Snowden Leaks Reveal NSA Spying on Prominent Muslim Americans