- Indonesian Officials Say Missing Plane Likely at Bottom of the Sea
- U.S.-Led NATO Occupation Formally Ends Combat Role, But War Continues
- U.S. Drone Strike Kills 7 as Pakistani Forces Expand Offensive
- U.S. Continues Iraq, Syria Bombing; Group Says ISIS Has Killed Nearly 2,000
- Thousands Attend Funeral for Slain NYPD Officer
- Police Commissioner: "Inappropriate" for Officers to Turn Their Backs on Mayor
- LAPD Officers Mock Killing of Michael Brown in Song Parody
- Ferguson Police Spokesperson Suspended for Calling Roadside Memorial "a Pile of Trash"
- Anti-Police Brutality Protests Continue Across U.S.
- NSA Discloses Trove of Violations in Christmas Eve Document Dump
- Mexican Protesters Mark 3 Months Since Student Disappearances
- Al Jazeera Journalists Mark 365 Days of Imprisonment in Egypt
- Egyptian Appeals Court Upholds Convictions, Reduces Jail Terms of Pro-Democracy Protesters
- Cuba Rejects Calls to Extradite Assata Shakur to U.S.
- Oregon Doctor Freed in East Timor, But Still Can't Return Home
In 1972 Beacon Press lost a Supreme Court case brought against it by the U.S. government for publishing the first full edition of the Pentagon Papers. It is now well known how The New York Times first published excerpts of the top-secret documents in June 1971, but less well known is how the Beacon Press, a small nonprofit publisher affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, came to publish the complete 7,000 pages that exposed the true history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Their publication led the Beacon Press into a spiral of two-and-a-half years of harassment, intimidation, near bankruptcy and the possibility of criminal prosecution. This is a story that has rarely been told in its entirety. In 2007, Amy Goodman moderated an event at the Unitarian Universalist conference in Portland, Oregon, commemorating the publication of the Pentagon Papers and its relevance today. Today, we hear the story from three men at the center of the storm: former Pentagon and RAND Corporation analyst, famed whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times; former Alaskan senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel, who tells the dramatic story of how he entered the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record and got them to the Beacon Press; finally, Robert West, the former president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. We begin with Ellsberg, who Henry Kissinger once described as "the world’s most dangerous man."
On the Senate floor last week, outgoing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall called for a purge of top CIA officials implicated in the torture program and cover-up, including current Director John Brennan. But as he enters the final days of his Senate term, Udall is facing calls to take action of his own. The Senate findings released last week amount to only a fraction of the full report — 480 heavily redacted pages out of more than 6,000 pages total. The White House has blocked the report’s full release in deference to the CIA’s wishes. That’s sparked demands that Udall invoke a rarely used congressional privilege and make the report public. There is precedent for him to follow: In 1971, then-Alaska Senator Mike Gravel entered more than 4,000 pages of the 7,000-page Pentagon Papers into the Senate record, insisting the public had a right to know the truth behind the Vietnam War. More than four decades later, Gravel joins us to talk about his historic action and why he is now calling on Udall to follow in his footsteps with the full Senate report on CIA torture.
Earlier this month the United States released the remaining members of the Cuban Five — Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero and Ramón Labañino — as part of a deal to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba. We rebroadcast a 2013 interview with the first freed member of the Cuban Five, René González. The five Cuban intelligence agents were arrested in the United States in 1998 and convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. They say they were not spying on the United States, but rather trying to monitor violent right-wing Cuban exile groups responsible for attacks inside Cuba.
As the United States moves to normalize relations with Cuba, we rebroadcast our 2012 interview with the late filmmaker Saul Landau, who made more than 45 films and wrote 14 books, many about Cuba. We spoke to him about his film "Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up." He discussed the history of the Cuban Five and U.S. support for a group of anti-Castro militants who have been behind the bombing of airplanes, the blowing up of hotels and assassinations. Today they are allowed to live freely in the United States. "What did Cuba do to us?" Landau asks. "Well, the answer, I think, is that they were disobedient, in our hemisphere. And they did not ask permission to take away property. They took it away. They nationalized property. And the United States ... has never forgiven them."
We end today’s show with a story of love, birth and politics — a story some are calling "diplomaculate conception." The wife of one of the members of the Cuban Five who was just released from prison after 16 years is expecting a baby, due in just two weeks thanks to some unusual diplomatic moves. Gerardo Hernández, the baby’s father, is one of the three former Cuban intelligence agents released as part of a prisoner swap amidst thawing ties with Cuba last week. While he was not allowed conjugal visits, Hernández was able to impregnate his wife by having his frozen sperm transferred to his wife in Panama, a process authorized by U.S. officials, funded by the Cuban government and facilitated by a staffer for Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. We are joined by Martin Garbus, an attorney for the Cuban Five.
Nearly two years ago, Stacey Addison of Portland, Oregon, began a trip around the world starting in Antarctica. But the trip turned into a nightmare soon after she arrived in East Timor. On September 5, Stacey, a veterinarian, was traveling in a shared taxi with another passenger she had never met. The other passenger asked the driver to stop at a DHL postal office to pick up a package. It turned out the package contained illegal drugs. Soon after, the taxi was stopped by police. Police arrested everyone in the car. More than three months later, Stacey is still locked up in East Timor. Her family and friends have been waging an international campaign for her release. We are joined by two guests: Stacey Addison’s mother, Bernadette Kero, and Charles Scheiner of La’o Hamutuk, the Timor-Leste Institute for Development Monitoring and Analysis.
Six years after first promising to close Guantánamo, President Obama is beginning to free more men from the 13-year-old military prison in Cuba. Four Afghans were sent home this week, following six other Guantánamo prisoners sent to Uruguay earlier this month, four years after they were first approved for release. Their transfer was the largest for a single group out of Guantánamo since 2009. Meanwhile, Clifford Sloan, the Obama administration’s envoy for Guantánamo’s closure, has just submitted his resignation. But with 132 prisoners still behind bars, will Guantánamo ever close? We are joined by Pardiss Kebriaei, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
A Wisconsin prosecutor has decided not to bring charges against a white police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill African-American man. In April, Milwaukee Officer Christopher Manney responded to a call about a man sleeping in a park. Before Manney arrived, two other officers had already spoken to the man, Dontre Hamilton, and found he was not causing a problem. But Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him, sparking a confrontation, during which Hamilton grabbed Manney’s baton and hit him. Manney opened fire, shooting Hamilton 14 times. The shooting led to Manney’s firing for violating policy on handling people with mental illnesses. But on Monday, the Milwaukee County district attorney said Manney acted in self-defense. The shooting of Hamilton has sparked mass protests in Milwaukee including a highway shutdown Friday which resulted in 74 arrests. One day later, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called up the state’s National Guard to be on standby. The Justice Department has announced a federal review of the case. We speak with Democratic State Representative Mandela Barnes in Milwaukee.
- Missouri Police Kill Black Teen Near Ferguson
- Protesters Defy NYC Mayor's Call for Halt to Protests Following Officer Murders
- Family Calls for Federal Probe After Houston Officer Cleared in Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man
- FDA Eases Lifetime Ban on Blood Donations by Gay, Bisexual Men
- Obama Admin Envoy for Guantánamo Closure Resigns
- GOP Rep. Grimm Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud, Won't Resign
- Sony Gives "The Interview" Christmas Release at Independent Theaters
- U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Takes Effect; U.S. Hasn't Ratified
This month marks the 25th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Panama. On December 20, 1989, President George H.W. Bush launched Operation Just Cause to execute an arrest warrant against Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, once a close U.S. ally, on charges of drug trafficking. During the attack, the United States unleashed a force of 24,000 troops equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the New York City Police Department. We discuss the Panama invasion and how it served as a template for future U.S. military interventions with three guests: We are joined by Humberto Brown, a former Panamanian diplomat, and Greg Grandin, a professor of Latin American history at New York University and author of "The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World." His new article for TomDispatch is "The War to Start All Wars: The 25th Anniversary of the Forgotten Invasion of Panama." We also speak with Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Click here to watch the 30-minute extended conversation today.
Calls are increasing for the prosecution of George W. Bush administration officials tied to the CIA torture program. On Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch called on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor who would investigate the crimes detailed in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the program. On Monday, The New York Times editorial board called for a full and independent criminal investigation. We put the question about prosecution to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005.
Since the release of Senate findings earlier this month, the assumption that the CIA’s torture program’s sole motive was post-9/11 self-defense has gone virtually unchallenged. There has been almost no recognition that the George W. Bush administration also tortured prisoners for a very different goal: to extract information that could tie al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein and justify the invasion of Iraq. While the Senate report and other critics say torture produced false information, that could have been one of the program’s goals. We are joined by retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005. Wilkerson helped prepare Powell’s infamous February 2003 speech to the United Nations wrongly accusing Iraq of possessing weapons of mass destruction. The claim was partially based on statements extracted from a prisoner tortured by Egypt on the CIA’s behalf, who later recanted his claim. Wilkerson says that beginning in the spring of 2002 — one year before the Iraq War and just months after the 9/11 attacks, the torture program’s interrogations "were as much aimed at contacts between al-Qaeda and Baghdad and corroboration thereof as they were trying to ferret out whether there was another attack coming like 9/11. That was stunning to me to find that was probably 50 percent of the impetus."
Physicians for Human Rights is calling for a federal commission to investigate, document and hold accountable all health professionals who took part in CIA torture. Last week, the group released a report titled "Doing Harm: Health Professionals’ Central Role in the CIA Torture Program." The report finds medical personnel connected to the torture program may have committed war crimes by conducting human experimentation on prisoners in violation of the Nuremberg Code that grew out of the trial of Nazi officials and doctors after World War II. We speak with Nathaniel Raymond, a research ethics adviser for Physicians for Human Rights, who co-wrote the new report. "We now see clear evidence of the essential, integral role that health professionals played as the legal heat shield for the Bush administration — their get-out-of-jail-free card," Raymond says.
"There has often been this narrative that Mitchell and Jessen were the lone gunmen of torture, that they were doing this out of their garage," Raymond explains. "They were operating inside a superstructure of medicalized torture. It was not just them alone. It includes physicians’ assistants, doctors and it may include other professionals. What they were doing was everything from 'care' to actual monitoring, calibration and design of the tactics."
- NYC Mayor de Blasio Calls for Halt in Protests After Officer Killings
- Sister Says Police Shooter Was Suicidal, Needed Help
- NYPD Commissioner: Police Animosity Toward Mayor "Part of Politics"
- Eric Garner's Daughter Visits Memorial for Slain Officers
- Milwaukee Cop Fired over Killing of Mentally Ill Black Man Will Not Face Charges
- U.S. Rejects North Korea's "Absurd" Call for Joint Probe of Sony Hack
- North Korea Loses Internet Connection
- Nicaragua Begins Canal Project That Could Displace Tens of Thousands
- Oklahoma to Resume Executions; Arizona to Abandon Drug Used in Botched Killings
- Judge Rejects Wage Hike for Home Health Workers; NLRB Says McDonald's Punished Protesting Workers
- New York Rep. Michael Grimm to Plead Guilty to Tax Fraud
- Newly Freed Member of Cuban 5 Impregnated Wife from Prison with U.S. Help
President Barack Obama has said the United States is considering putting North Korea back on its list of terrorism sponsors after the hacking of Sony Pictures. Last week, the studio canceled the release of the screwball comedy film "The Interview," about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following threats against theaters and a hack of corporate data, which officials say was ordered by the North Korean government. North Korea was on the U.S. list of state terrorism sponsors for two decades until the White House removed it in 2008, after Pyongyang agreed to full verification of its nuclear sites. Last month’s cyber-attack was claimed by a group calling itself The Guardians of Peace. The group released the salary and Social Security numbers of thousands of Sony employees, including celebrities, and also threatened to attack screenings of the film. Although U.S. officials have said North Korea is behind the attack, many experts have questioned whether the evidence is sufficient. North Korea has denied involvement and proposed a joint investigation with the U.S. government to prove it. We are joined by two guests: Tim Shorrock, an investigative journalist who has been writing about U.S.-Korea relations for 30 years; and Christine Hong, assistant professor at University of California, Santa Cruz, and an executive board member of the Korea Policy Institute. Hong has spent time in North Korea, including a visit to the country as part of a North American peace delegation.
New York City is grappling with the aftermath of the first targeted killings of police officers in years. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed in broad daylight while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday. The shooter, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, fled to a nearby subway station where he turned the gun on himself. Brinsley had shot his former girlfriend hours earlier in Maryland, leaving her wounded. He later used her Instagram account to make anti-police statements suggesting he would kill officers to avenge the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Criminal records show Brinsley had a troubled history with the law, with multiple arrests and at least two years behind bars. His family says he had mental issues, including a reported suicide attempt a year ago. But the head of the city’s biggest police union has faulted the recent anti-police brutality protests and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has expressed sympathy for the movement’s concerns. After the killings, Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said: "There’s blood on many hands tonight: those that incited violence on the street under the guise of protests, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. … That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall — in the office of the mayor." We discuss the officers’ murders, the recent protests against police brutality and police-community relations going forward with two guests: Graham Weatherspoon, a retired detective with the New York City Police Department and board member of the Amadou Diallo Foundation; and Steven Thrasher, a weekly columnist for the Guardian US.
- Killer of NYPD Officers Had Criminal Past, Mental Health Issues
- Families, Protesters Condemn Targeted Killing of NYPD Officers
- Police Union Head: NYC Mayor "Has Blood on His Hands"
- Anti-Police Brutality Protesters Hold Silent Vigil After Shootings
- Dozens Arrested at Michael Brown-Eric Garner Protests in Minnesota, Wisconsin
- Ferguson Prosecutor Admits Calling Witnesses Who Lied
- U.S. May Restore North Korea to Terror List; Regime Offers Joint Probe
- Obama Urges Congress to Lift Cuban Embargo After Historic Agreement
- Castro Calls on U.S. to Respect Cuban Political System
- New Jersey Asks Obama to Seek Cuban Extradition of Assata Shakur
- Obama Rejects Keystone XL as Boon to U.S. Consumers, Job Market
- Obama Only Calls on Female Reporters at Year-End White House Presser
- WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 7,300
- U.S. Frees Four Afghan Prisoners from Guantánamo Bay
Authorities in New Jersey have said they hope a historic warming of ties between the United States and Cuba will help them capture and imprison Black Panther Assata Shakur. "We view any changes in relations with Cuba as an opportunity to bring her back to the United States to finish her sentence for the murder of a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973," said State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes. The encounter left both the officer and a fellow Black Panther, Zayd Malik Shakur, dead. Shakur has said she was shot by police with both arms in the air, and then again from the back. She was sentenced to life in prison but managed to escape and flee to Cuba, where she has lived since 1984. What will happen to Shakur now? We put the question to two attorneys: Michael Ratner and Martin Garbus.
Should Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld & CIA Officials Be Tried for Torture? War Crimes Case Filed in Germany
A human rights group in Berlin, Germany, has filed a criminal complaint against the architects of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has accused former Bush administration officials, including CIA Director George Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of war crimes, and called for an immediate investigation by a German prosecutor. The move follows the release of a Senate report on CIA torture which includes the case of a German citizen, Khalid El-Masri, who was captured by CIA agents in 2004 due to mistaken identity and tortured at a secret prison in Afghanistan. So far, no one involved in the CIA torture program has been charged with a crime — except the whistleblower John Kiriakou, who exposed it. We speak to Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and chairman of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and longtime defense attorney Martin Garbus.