U.S. Prepares to Strike Syria Over Alleged Chemical Weapons as British Vote Not to Back Int'l Action
Pentagon officials say the U.S. Navy has moved five destroyers equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea to prepare for a possible strike on Syria. This comes as the British Parliament voted Thursday not to back international action against Syria following the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons last week. This comes as a team of U.N. inspectors, who spent the week traveling to rebel-controlled areas in search of proof of a poison gas attack, is set to give its preliminary findings to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday. As the United States continues to try to build an international coalition, we speak with Bassam Haddad, director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University and co-founder of Jadaliyya.com. "The United States in Iraq has actually used nerve agents, mustard gas and/or white phosphorus in Fallujah and beyond, left depleted uranium all over the country in Iraq, ruined and destroyed the lives of generations as a result, and now claims that it needs to do this to protect Syrian civilians — which is exactly the opposite of what will happen in any invasion or any strike on Syria, which is not possible to happen in the surgical manner that is being discussed right now," Haddad says. "You have a regional environment that is also in many ways opposed to this, including of course the allies of Syria in the region, and we have a possibility of this becoming something much more than what many envision."
Democracy Now! co-host Juan González discusses his reports for the New York Daily News about how one of the New York City’s fastest-growing chains of charter schools, Success Academy, has far higher suspension rates than other public elementary schools. "More than two dozen parents have come to me complaining about their children — who are special needs, special education children, or children with behavior problems," González reports, "that they feel are being pushed out or forced out by the charter school in an effort to to improve the test scores." Success Academy uses its high test scores to attract funding, and just secured a $5 million grant it will use to expand from 20 to 100 schools. González obtained a copy of secretly recorded meetings in which school administrators pressed one parent to transfer her special education kindergarten student back into the public school system.
- U.S. Considers Unilateral Syrian Strike After U.K. Vote Against Use of Force
- Antiwar Protesters Rally Against U.S. Military Action in Syria
- U.S. Intelligence "Black Budget" Tops $50 Billion
- U.S. Spy Satellites Played Key Role in Hunt for Bin Laden
- Merrill Lynch to Pay $160 Million in Largest Racial Discrimination Settlement Ever
- U.S. Allows States to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
- Crackdown on Brotherhood and Journalists Continues
- IRS Extends Tax Benefits to Married Same-Sex Couples
- Banks Report Record $42 Billion Profit in Second Quarter
- Fast-Food Workers Go On Strike in 60 Cities Demanding Living Wage
- U.S. Seeks to Expand Military Presence in the Philippines
- Anti-Smoking Groups Criticize U.S. Stance on TPP Tobacco Negotiations
- 30,000 March in Colombia to Support Small Farmers
- Report: Veterans Commit Suicide at Double Rate of Civilian Population
- Lawyer: Chelsea Manning is "Doing Very Well"
- Protests in Montana After Teacher Sentenced to Just 30 Days for Raping Student
- Irish Writer Seamus Heaney, 74, Dies
Historian Taylor Branch on the March on Washington and the Kennedys' Aversion to Dr. King's Struggle
As we continue our coverage of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, we’re joined by the acclaimed chronicler of the civil rights movement, Taylor Branch. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Branch is best known for his landmark narrative history of the civil rights era, the "America in the King Years" trilogy. His new book is a collection from the trilogy that he has adapted for a college course, "The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement."
The Obama administration appears to be pressing ahead with military strikes on Syria despite new obstacles at home and abroad. On Wednesday, an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council failed to reach an agreement after Russia and China opposed any authorization of force in response to last week’s alleged chemical attack by Assad forces in Ghouta. After domestic pressure, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will seek parliamentary authorization for using force against Syria, and only after U.N. inspectors complete their current mission. And in Washington, the White House plans to brief lawmakers today following growing calls that President Obama seek congressional backing for any use of force. The administration is expected to make public soon some of its intelligence, but skeptics say there remains no smoking gun implicating the Assad regime. We host a debate on military intervention in Syria between Tariq Ali of the New Left Review and Steven Clemons of The Atlantic.
- U.S. Faces New Hurdles to Military Intervention in Syria
- Obama: U.S. Believes Assad Regime Behind Chemical Attack
- Ban: U.N. Inspectors to Leave Syria on Saturday
- Thousands Mark 50th Anniversary of March on Washington
- 80 Killed in Iraq's Deadliest Day This Month
- Taliban Attack Afghan Police, NATO Base
- Russia Invades Home of Leading Gay Activist
- Iranian Lawmakers Approve Suit Against U.S. for 1953 Coup
- Hasan Sentenced to Death for Fort Hood Shooting Rampage
- NYPD Labeled Mosques "Terrorism Enterprises" to Justify Surveillance
- Zimmerman Wife Sentenced to Probation for Perjury; Defense Seeks $300,000 From Taxpayers
- U.S. Transfers 2 Guantánamo Prisoners to Algeria
- Fast-Food, Retail Workers Stage Largest Strike to Date
As part of today’s national commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the rarely seen Oscar-nominated documentary about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement, "King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis," is being screened in theaters nationwide. Largely made from original newsreel footage, the film was played at a "one time only" event on one night in 1970 at 650 theaters, but has since gone largely unseen. We air an excerpt of the film in which King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago on August 28, 1963. And we’re joined by the film’s associate producer, Richard Kaplan. Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview and see video clips of King organizing and speaking in Montgomery and Birmingham.
Japan’s nuclear regulator said today it has officially raised the severity rating of the latest radioactive water leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant to Level 3 on an international scale for radiological releases. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), said last week that 330 tons of highly radioactive water leaked from a storage tank at the facility. Crews of workers have been rushing to check for leaks in hundreds of other tanks holding radioactive water. Japanese regulators have accused TEPCO of failing to properly monitor the storage tanks. "The problem is going to get worse," warns Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive who has coordinated projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the United States. "Radioactive water is leaking out of this plant as fast as it is leaking in."
One of the country’s oldest and most controversial nuclear plants has announced it will close late next year. Citing financial reasons, the nuclear plant operator Entergy said Tuesday it will decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station in Vernon, Vermont. The site has been the target of protests for decades and has had a series of radioactive tritium leaks. In 2010, the Vermont State Senate voted against a measure that would have authorized a state board to grant Vermont Yankee a permit to operate for an additional 20 years. Its closure leaves the United States with 99 operating nuclear reactors, and our guest, former nuclear executive Arnie Gundersen, says he expects more to follow in the aftermath of Japan’s ongoing nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. "These small single-unit nuclear plants — especially the ones that are like Fukushima Daiichi — are prone to more closures in the future because it just makes no economic sense to run an aging nuclear plant that’s almost 43 years old, and to invest hundreds of millions of dollars more to meet the modifications related to Fukushima," Gundersen says.
Britain is set to introduce a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Syria as the United States and allies gear up for expected strikes on the Assad regime. The resolution condemns the Syrian government for allegedly using chemical weapons and authorizes "necessary measures for protecting civilians." Russia and China are expected to issue a veto, raising the prospect that a U.S.-led bombing could come through NATO. The Obama administration says military action in Syria would be aimed at responding to chemical attacks, not seeking regime change, but critics say similar claims were made at the outset of the NATO intervention in Libya. "There is no military solution," says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies. "Extra assaults from the United States are going to make the situation worse, put Syrian civilians at greater risk, and not provide protection."
- U.K. to Propose U.N. Resolution on Syria Ahead of Likely Strikes
- Dozens Killed as Iraq Violence Escalates
- Entergy to Close Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant
- Fast-Food, Retail Workers to Stage Nationwide Strike
- Former El Salvador Colonel Linked to Jesuit Murders Gets U.S. Prison Term
- U.N. Expert Criticizes California Prisons on Solitary Confinement, Force-Feeding
- Wal-Mart to Provide Health Benefits to Same-Sex Couples
- Nation Marks 50th Anniversary of March on Washington
Fifty years ago this week, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, A Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and other civil rights leaders spoke at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. But where were the female civil rights activists? At the historic march, only one woman spoke for just more than a minute: Daisy Bates of the NAACP. Today we are joined by civil rights pioneer Gloria Richardson, the co-founder of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee in Maryland, which fought to desegregate public institutions like schools and hospitals. While Richardson was on the program for the March on Washington, when she stood to speak she only had a chance to say hello before the microphone was seized. Richardson is the subject of a pending biography by Joseph R. Fitzgerald, "The Struggle is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation." Richardson, 91, joins us to discuss the 1963 March on Washington and the censorship of women speakers; the Cambridge Movement to desegregate Maryland; her friendship with Malcolm X; and her assessment of President Obama and the civil rights struggle today.
- Report: U.S. Weighs Military Strike on Syria
- U.N.: Still Time for Inspectors to Probe Chemical Allegations in Syria
- U.N.: Bulk of Syria's 1 Million Child Refugees Displaced in Past Year
- U.N. to Ask Obama Admin About NSA Spying
- Snowden: Britain Leaking Intel to Discredit Critics
- NSA: "Willful Violations" by Officials Include Spying on Love Interests
- Obama Taps White House Insiders for NSA Oversight Panel
- German Finance Minister Threatens to Suspend U.S. Trade Talks over NSA Spying
- Lawmakers Seek Answers on DEA Unit Linked to NSA
- Treasury: U.S. Faces Mid-October Deadline on Debt Limit
- Firefighters Report Progress in Containing California Wildfire
- Israeli Forces Kill 3 Palestinians in West Bank Raid
- Rights Groups Decry Sale of U.S. Attack Helicopters to Indonesia
- State Dept. Conflict of Interest Review Could Delay Keystone Decision Until 2014
- Median Income 6% Below Pre-Recession Level; Wages Down for Majority Since 2007
- New Mexico's Largest County Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
Tens of thousands of people gathered in the nation’s capital on Saturday to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, originally held on August 28, 1963. People filled the National Mall as speakers reflected on the progress in achieving the goals outlined by the event’s most famous speaker, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We spend the hour featuring highlights from Saturday’s event, with voices including 13-term Georgia Rep. John Lewis, the only surviving speaker from the 1963 march; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Rev. Al Sharpton; Julian Bond, former chair of the board of the NAACP and one of the founders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; the AFL-CIO’s Arlene Holt Baker; professor and author Michael Eric Dyson; and Medgar Evers’ widow, Myrlie Evers-Williams. "This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration, nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration," King’s son, Martin Luther King III, told the crowd. "The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more. Paramount to Martin Luther King Jr.’s fervent dream was a commitment that African Americans gain full economic opportunity and not be confined to basic mobility from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. Today, with 12 percent unemployment rates in the African-American community and 38 percent of all children of color in this country living below the level of poverty, we know that the dream is far from being realized."
- U.N. Inspectors Come Under Fire after Syrian Regime OKs Visit
- U.S. Says Syria Inspection "Too Late" as Obama Weighs Military Options
- Tens of Thousands Mark 50th Anniversary of March for Jobs and Freedom
- NSA Spied on U.N. Internal Video System, 80 Embassies
- U.S. Paid Millions to Cover Tech Firms' Costs for NSA Compliance
- Dozens Killed in Iraq Violence
- Farmers Lead Nationwide Strike Against Privatization, Trade Deals in Colombia
- Bales Sentenced to Life in Prison for Afghan Massacre
- Sentencing Begins for Nidal Hasan for Fort Hood Rampage After Guilty Verdict
- Yosemite Wildfire Threatens San Francisco's Water, Electric Supply
- San Diego Mayor Resigns over Sexual Harassment Claims
- Zimmerman Visits Factory That Made Gun Used to Kill Trayvon Martin
- Docs: U.S. Gave Iraq Critical Intel for Chemical Attack on Iran
Days after a federal judge approved the force-feeding of hunger-striking California prisoners protesting long-term solitary confinement, we air an exclusive audio recording of a prisoner who has not eaten since the protest began on July 8. Todd Ashker, one of the authors of the call to hunger strike, has been held for years in the Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay Prison after he received a life sentence for killing an inmate in 1987. We also hear from California Correctional Health Care Services spokesperson Joyce Hayhoe, questioned by Democracy Now!'s Renée Feltz. And we're joined by Azadeh Zohrabi, a member of both the Prisoners Mediation Team and the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, as well as a Soros Justice Fellow at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
One day after a military judge handed down a 35-year sentence for leaking classified U.S. files to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning announced a gender transition to female under the name Chelsea Manning. "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me," Manning said. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition." The announcement has raised many issues about how Manning will be treated in military prison, whether she will have access to hormone therapy and broader issues about transgender rights. We’re joined by two guests: Lauren McNamara, a transgender activist in Florida who became an online confidant of Manning in 2009 and later testified at the military trial; and Chase Strangio, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.
The Syrian government is facing growing pressure to allow an international probe of an alleged chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus. The Syrian opposition says government forces fired poisonous gas into rebel-held neighborhoods of Ghouta, killing hundreds of people. Video posted on YouTube this week shows frantic scenes of overwhelmed hospitals, dead children and countless bodies. If confirmed, it would stand to be the most violent incident in Syria since the rebel uprising began two years ago and one of the worst toxic attacks in decades. The alleged attack occurred just days after U.N. inspectors arrived in the country to investigate previous attacks. We’re joined from Syria by Razan Zaitouneh, a lawyer and human rights activist who works with the Human Rights Violation Documentation Center. "We couldn’t believe our eyes," Zaitouneh says of witnessing the attack’s aftermath. "I haven’t seen such death in my whole life." We also speak with Patrick Cockburn, a longtime Middle East correspondent for the London Independent who recently returned from reporting in Syria. His latest article is "The evidence of chemical attack seems compelling — but remember — there’s a propaganda war on."
- U.N. Seeks Syria Chemical Weapons Probe "Without Delay"
- U.N.: Syrian Conflict Has Created 1 Million Child Refugees
- Israel Bombs Lebanon After Rocket Fire
- Mubarak Under House Arrest in Military Hospital
- Egypt Detains Canadians on Way to Gaza
- U.K. Opens Probe of Miranda Documents
- Obama Takes Up Student Debt, Calls for New Ranking of Schools
- Manning Supporters Heckle Obama in Syracuse
- Justice Dept. Sues Texas over Voter ID Law
- Colin Powell Chides North Carolina Governor on ID Law
- Appeals Court Upholds Overruling of Arizona Ban on Planned Parenthood
- Planned Parenthood Challenges Indiana Law
- Protesters Stage White House Rally for Fracking Ban
- New York City Council Overrules Bloomberg Veto of Police Oversight