Among those who came from around the country to participate in the first-ever March for Science in Washington, D.C., was Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, which has filed a landmark lawsuit on behalf of 21 young people all under the age of 21. The lawsuit argues the government has failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions. Democracy Now! spoke with Olson and some of her young clients.
Among those who spoke out at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Saturday was Flint’s Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, an Iraqi-American doctor who discovered the connection between rising blood lead levels in the children of Flint, Michigan, and the switch to the Flint River as a water source. State officials initially dismissed her findings, but she refused to accept their denials. Democracy Now! spoke with Dr. Hanna-Attisha about the ongoing Flint water crisis, the life-saving importance of science, and President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of scientists and science supporters took to the streets around the world in a global March for Science on Earth Day. More than 600 marches and rallies took place, with one on every continent, including on Antarctica. Massive marches occurred from coast to coast in the United States, including at a massive rally in Washington, D.C. Among those who took to the stage were Bill Nye, "The Science Guy"; Earth Day founder Denis Hayes; former EPA environmental justice official Mustafa Ali, who resigned after Trump took office; Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey; and James Balog, of the Extreme Ice Survey, which is documenting the rapid retreat of glaciers due to climate change.
As Vice President Mike Pence railed against ISIS-linked terrorism Thursday, we speak with longtime investigative journalist Allan Nairn about his shocking new exposé that reveals backers of Donald Trump in Indonesia have joined army officers and a vigilante street movement linked to ISIS in an attempt to oust Indonesia’s president. Writing in The Intercept, Nairn reveals that Indonesians involved in the coup attempt include a corporate lawyer working for the mining company Freeport-McMoRan, which is controlled by Trump adviser Carl Icahn. Video has even emerged showing the lawyer at a ceremony where men are swearing allegiance to ISIS. According to Nairn, two of the other most prominent supporters of the coup are close associates of Donald Trump—Fadli Zon, vice speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, and Hary Tanoe, Trump’s primary Indonesian business partner, who is building two Trump resorts, one in Bali and one outside Jakarta. Nairn’s article is making waves in Indonesia.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald responds to reports that the Trump administration has prepared an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed the report at a news conference Thursday. Last week, CIA chief Mike Pompeo blasted WikiLeaks as a "hostile intelligence service," in a stark reversal from his previous praise for the group. Pompeo made the remarks last week at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in his first public address as CIA director. Pompeo went on to accuse WikiLeaks of instructing Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning to steal information. He also likened Julian Assange to a "demon" and suggested Assange is not protected under the First Amendment. It’s been nearly five years since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorean Embassy in London seeking political asylum, fearing a Swedish arrest warrant could lead to his extradition to the United States. Greenwald’s story for The Intercept is "Trump’s CIA Director Pompeo, Targeting WikiLeaks, Explicitly Threatens Speech and Press Freedoms."
According to the group Airwars, at least 1,782 civilians were killed last month in coalition strikes. The civilian death toll could be as high as nearly 3,500. The battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul is now in its seventh month. The United Nations is warning the city is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, perhaps the worst in the entire conflict. More than 400,000 people are trapped in parts of the city still under control of the Islamic State. Meanwhile in Syria, Human Rights Watch has concluded the U.S. did in fact bomb a mosque last month, killing at least 38 people. The Pentagon claimed the drone strike on March 16 targeted a meeting of al-Qaeda members, but Human Rights Watch has concluded the victims were civilians who had gathered to pray. Human Rights Watch said it found no evidence that al-Qaeda or any other armed group was meeting in the mosque. For more, we speak with Anand Gopal, a journalist and a fellow at The Nation Institute. He recently returned from the Middle East and has reported extensively from the region.
Are Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner personally profiting from their official roles in the White House? According to the Associated Press, Ivanka Trump secured three new exclusive trademarks in China the very same day she and her father, President Trump, had dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. The China trademarks give her company the exclusive rights to sell Ivanka-branded jewelry, bags and spa services in China. The New York Times reports Japan also approved new trademarks for Ivanka for branded shoes, handbags and clothing in February, and she has trademark applications pending in at least 10 other countries. Ivanka no longer manages her $50 million company, but she continues to own it. Ivanka also serves in the Trump administration as an adviser to the president. So does her husband, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. For more, we speak with
Vicky Ward, New York Times best-selling author, investigative journalist and contributor to Esquire and Huffington Post Highline magazine.
The longtime Fox News star Bill O’Reilly is out, after more than half a dozen women accused him of sexual harassment. His departure follows the similar ouster of longtime powerful Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who was also forced out this past summer after more than 20 women accused him of sexual harassment. Over 50 advertisers boycotted "The O’Reilly Factor" over revelations O’Reilly and Fox paid $13 million to settle lawsuits by five women who accuse O’Reilly of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behavior. For more, we speak with civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom. She represents three women who have accused Bill O’Reilly of unwanted sexual advances.
In Berkeley, California, at least 20 people were arrested as fights broke out between white nationalist Trump supporters and antifascist protesters during competing rallies on Saturday. Photos show some of the Trump supporters posing with the Nazi salute. Police say at least one person was stabbed during the clashes. Several more were injured. In one instance, a known white supremacist was videotaped punching a young antifascist woman named Louise Rosealma in the face. The man who is seen punching her is Nathan Damigo, a former marine who founded the white supremacist organization known as "Identity Europa." For more, we speak with award-winning reporter Shane Bauer. His most recent article is titled "I Went Behind the Front Lines with the Far-Right Agitators Who Invaded Berkeley."
Among the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been affected by the massive evidence testing scandal in Massachusetts, where chemist Annie Dookhan has admitted to falsely claiming evidence was illegal narcotics before even testing it, was Timothy Taylor. He was arrested in 2009 and went on to serve five years in prison on drug trafficking charges. Annie Dookhan handled the evidence in his case. For more, we speak with Timothy Taylor.
In what may be the single largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history, Massachusetts prosecutors announced Tuesday they would throw out 21,587 criminal drug cases. The cases were all prosecuted based on evidence or testimony supplied by a former state chemist who admitted to faking tests and identifying evidence as illegal narcotics without even testing it. The chemist, Annie Dookhan, pleaded guilty in 2013 to tampering with evidence during her nine years working at a state crime lab in Boston. During that time, thousands of people were convicted based on her false statements. For more, we speak with Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and Mallory Hanora of the group Families for Justice as Healing.
In 2013, Steven Odiase was convicted for the shooting death of 15-year-old Juan Perez in the Bronx. At the time, the only evidence against the 31-year-old Odiase were the words of a lone eyewitness, who admitted to being intoxicated at the time of the murder. Odiase was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Then, Odiase’s younger sister, Kalimah Truesdale, set out to prove her brother’s innocence. She scoured the scene of the crime and eventually found a woman who said that she saw the shooting. Most shockingly, the woman said she had already spoken to a detective at the time of the murder and described the shooter as a man not matching Odiase’s description. However, there was no mention of the woman’s testimony in the version of the police report that was presented to Steven Odiase’s defense attorney. For more on the mystery of this altered police report, we speak with Jonathan Edelstein, one of the lawyers who represented Steven Odiase, and with Jennifer Gonnerman, a staff writer for The New Yorker. Her most recent piece is titled "A Woman’s Quest to Prove Her Brother’s Innocence Leads to a Discovery."
As President Trump continues to vow a crackdown against immigration and immigrants living inside the United States, we turn to a new book described by the Texas Observer as "the First Must-Read Book of the Trump Era." The book is titled "Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions" by Mexican-born author Valeria Luiselli. Luiselli is one of the most acclaimed young Mexican writers. She recently spent time as a volunteer interpreter for dozens of Central American child migrants here in the United States who risked their lives crossing Mexico to seek refuge in the U.S. For more, we speak with Valeria Luiselli.
Two months ago, Jeanette Vizguerra skipped a scheduled check-in with ICE officials and instead sought refuge in the First Unitarian Society church, along with her four children, three of whom are U.S.-born. Democracy Now! recently visited Jeanette and her 10-year-old son, Roberto, at the First Unitarian Society church in Denver.
The White House is facing new criticism over its lack of transparency, as President Trump is refusing to release his tax returns as well as logs of White House visitors. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump did not plan to release his tax returns, saying Trump was under an audit. Spicer’s comments came just two days after more than 100,000 people took to the streets on Saturday to call on Trump to release his taxes. Crowds gathered in more than a dozen cities from coast to coast, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and in South Florida, where activists marched to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago resort, where Trump was staying over the weekend. Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers are vowing not to work with Trump on reforming or rewriting the tax code unless Trump releases his own taxes. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers are also calling on Trump to release his taxes. For more, we speak with Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. She was on the steering committee for the NYC Tax March.
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