Democracy Now!

Criminalizing Reporting: Glenn Greenwald Faces Cybercrime Complaint After Exposing Scandal in Brazil

In Brazil, federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald in connection to a major investigation he spearheaded that exposed misconduct among federal prosecutors and a former judge. Called “The Secret Brazil Archive,” the series of pieces published in The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil used a trove of documents to offer new and damning insight into the sweeping anti-corruption campaign that brought down former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and paved the way for the election of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The investigation used previously undisclosed private chats, audio recordings, videos and other information provided by an anonymous source to expose the wrongdoing of top officials, including Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, who oversaw the anti-corruption crusade known as “Operation Car Wash.” On Tuesday, a justice minister filed a denunciation of Glenn Greenwald, claiming he “directly assisted, encouraged and guided” individuals who allegedly accessed online chats related to Operation Car Wash. A judge will now decide whether to press charges. The move has sparked international outrage at what many are condemning as an attack on the free press in Brazil. We speak with Andrew Fishman, managing editor of The Intercept Brasil and reporter for The Intercept.

A Torturer Meets His Victims: CIA Psychologist Defends Brutal Methods at Guantánamo Military Hearing

On Tuesday, the psychologist identified as the “architect” of the CIA’s torture program testified for the first time to the war court at Guantánamo Bay. James Mitchell was in the courtroom for a pretrial hearing for five 9/11 suspects who had been subject to torture, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the agency’s most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation. At the hearing, Mitchell reportedly told defense lawyers he only came to Guantánamo to testify in person before the families of the 9/11 victims, and at one point told the torture survivors, “You folks have been saying untrue and malicious things about me and Dr. Jessen for years.” In 2014, James Mitchell confirmed to Vice News that he personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Earlier this month, protesters marked the 18th anniversary of Guantánamo by donning orange jumpsuits and lining up in front of the White House. They later held a mock funeral at Trump International Hotel for those who died at the U.S. detention facility. We speak with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"The Senate Voted for a Cover-Up": GOP Senators Tilt Impeachment Trial in Trump's Favor

After the first marathon day leading up to President Trump’s impeachment trial, we speak with Vince Warren and Baher Azmy, executive director and legal director, respectively, of the Center for Constitutional Rights. In a 13-hour session, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate approved rules for the impeachment trial that Vince Warren says are tantamount to a “cover-up.” Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial.

"Andrew Johnson Was a Lot Like Trump": Echoes of 1868 in Trump's Impeachment Trial

After a nearly 13-hour marathon session, the U.S. Senate approved by a party-line vote the rules for the impeachment trial of President Trump. This marks just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial. Democrats were attempting to subpoena documents from the White House, the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke early on Tuesday laying out the Democrats’ case for impeachment. “President Trump is accused of coercing a foreign leader into interfering in our elections to benefit himself, and then doing everything in his power to cover it up,” Schumer said. “If proved, the president’s actions are crimes against democracy itself. It’s hard to imagine a greater subversion of our democracy than for powers outside our borders to determine the elections from within.” For more, we speak with Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut and author of “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition.”

Headlines for January 22, 2020

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. “We don’t need a 'low-carbon economy.' We don’t need to 'lower emissions.' Our emissions have to stop,” Thunberg said. “And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

National Archives Doctored Photos of 2017 Women's March to Blur Messages Critical of Trump

The National Archives and Records Administration apologized Saturday for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticisms of President Trump. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But at least four signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name, including a poster reading “God Hates Trump.” Signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The shocking revelation that the archives — which calls itself the country’s “record keeper” — had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post last week. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” But Saturday, as tens of thousands in Washington, D.C., and across the country took to the streets for the fourth Women’s March, officials at the archives were seen flipping over the image at the exhibit as an apology went up in its place. But critics say an apology is not enough. We speak with Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The job of the National Archives is to record history. Its job is not to manipulate history … so as to obliterate critiques of the president,” Melling says.

Voting Rights Advocate: The Impeachment of Trump Is Needed to Protect Our Elections & Democracy

The impeachment trial begins its proceedings in the Senate today amid accusations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempting to rush the impeachment process. Senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate, after 24 hours for opening arguments on each side. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and author, and Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke says that thanks to the rules set by McConnell, Trump’s impeachment trial could be over within a week, with much of the debate taking place in the evening. The process is designed “to keep the Senate and the public in the dark,” she says.

A Show Trial? As Trump Impeachment Trial Begins, Mitch McConnell Accused of Staging a Cover-Up

The Senate opens the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president in the country’s history Tuesday, marking a historic day in Washington. Under proposed rules by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, each side will be given 24 hours over two days for opening arguments, after which senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate. The Senate will then vote on whether to hear from any new witnesses. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said McConnell is trying to rush the impeachment process, while House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, who is one of the impeachment managers, has accused the CIA and NSA of withholding documents potentially relevant to the impeachment trial. This comes as President Trump has added several prominent lawyers to his legal team, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose probe led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. In 2008, Starr and Dershowitz helped serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein receive a sweetheart plea deal when he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. One of Epstein’s victims also accused Dershowitz of sexually assaulting her, but Dershowitz has long denied the charge. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and the author of several books, including “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,” which covered the Watergate investigations and Nixon’s impeachment.

Headlines for January 21, 2020

SPECIAL: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words

Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.

At U.S. Border, Poor & Inaccurate Interpretation for Mayan-Language Speakers Can Lead to Deportation

As the U.S. continues to use hostile policies to stop people from seeking refuge and asylum in the United States, we look at a key problem that is preventing migrants from getting due process, and in many cases getting them deported: inadequate interpretation for indigenous asylum seekers who speak Mayan languages. Guatemala has a population of 15 million people, and at least 40% of them are indigenous. In the past year, a quarter of a million Guatemalan migrants have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border. At least half of them are Mayan. Many speak little or no Spanish. This is the focus of a new report in The New Yorker magazine titled “A Translation Crisis at the Border.” We speak with the article’s author, Rachel Nolan, in Guatemala City. We also spoke with Odilia Romero, Zapotec interpreter and a longtime indigenous leader with the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations. Romero is a trilingual interpreter in Zapotec, Spanish and English, who recently developed a training program for indigenous-language interpreters.

4 Years Seeking Justice: Daughter of Slain Indigenous Environmental Leader Berta Cáceres Speaks Out

In Honduras, a new report by the Violence Observatory at the Honduran National Autonomous University says that at least 15 women have been murdered in the first 14 days of this year. Violence against women, LGBTQ people, indigenous leaders and environmental activists has skyrocketed in Honduras under the U.S.-backed government of President Juan Orlando Hernández. The report comes nearly four years after the Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot dead inside her home in La Esperanza, Honduras, by hired hitmen. Last month in the capital of Tegucigalpa, seven men were sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for her killing in March 2016. At the time of her assassination, Cáceres had been fighting the construction of a major hydroelectric dam on the Gualcarque River on sacred Lenca land in southwestern Honduras. In November 2018, a court ruled that Cáceres’s killing was ordered by executives of the Honduran company behind the Agua Zarca dam, known as DESA, who hired the convicted hitmen. Cáceres won the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work protecting indigenous communities and for her environmental justice campaign against the massive dam in 2015. In December, we sat down with one of her daughters, Laura Zúñiga Cáceres, in Madrid, Spain, where she was receiving a human rights award. “This is a late conviction. It has been almost four years of seeking justice. It is the product of a rather difficult and painful process that has been putting us as victims in direct dispute with a murderous and aggressive state, and they produced the minimum consequences that the state could have given,” Zúñiga Cáceres says.

"They Must Conduct a Full and Fair Trial": Senators Sworn In for Historic Trump Impeachment Trial

For just the third time in history, the U.S. Senate has opened a trial to determine if a sitting president should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached President Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the impeachment trial in the Senate, later swore in senators who will serve as jurors when the trial officially begins on Tuesday. This comes as more information is coming to light about the actions of President Trump and his associates. On Thursday, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said the White House Office of Management and Budget violated federal law by withholding $400 million in aid money to Ukraine even though the funds had been allocated by Congress. We speak with attorney John Bonifaz, co-founder and president of Free Speech for People and co-author of “The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump.”

Headlines for January 17, 2020

Tanks & AR-15s: Moms 4 Housing Speaks Out After Militarized Eviction from Vacant Oakland House

We look at the fight for affordable housing in the Bay Area with Moms 4 Housing, the unhoused and insecurely housed mothers who were evicted Tuesday by a militarized police force from a vacant home they had been occupying in Oakland, California. The action ended a two-month standoff between the mothers and real estate developer Wedgewood Properties when sheriff’s deputies arrested two mothers and two of their supporters. All four were released on bail Tuesday afternoon. We speak to Misty Cross, one of the moms who was arrested, and her daughter Destiny Johnson. “It was never about trying to stay in that house,” says Cross. “The message we were trying to send out was to get people aware of policies and things that are in place that are making us not move forward in life.” We also speak to Carroll Fife, the director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

We Can't Be Silent Anymore: Rev. Barber & Poor People's Campaign Push Presidential Debate on Poverty

As the final Democratic debate ahead of the Iowa caucuses took place Tuesday night in Des Moines, Iowa, more than 100 protesters gathered outside the debate venue at Drake University to demand a televised presidential debate on poverty. Led by Reverend William Barber, demonstrators carried a coffin to honor the 250,000 people who die every year from the impacts of poverty. According to the Poor People’s Campaign, 140 million Americans — over 43% of the population — can’t pay basic living expenses. In Iowa, 630,000 workers — 45% of the state’s workforce — make less than $15 an hour. We’re joined by Reverend William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and president of Repairers of the Breach. Last night, he and the Poor People’s Campaign hosted a mass meeting on poverty in Des Moines. “We cannot enliven the electorate as long as we keep having dead silence on poverty,” Barber says. “We’ve had nearly 30 debates since 2016 alone, and not one of them have focused on poverty.”

Putin Proposes Sweeping Changes to Russian Constitution, Possibly Prolonging His Grip on Power

In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev resigned Wednesday along with his entire Cabinet in a move that surprised many in Moscow and abroad. The move came as Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed sweeping constitutional changes to expand the power of the parliament and the State Council while weakening the presidency. Critics of Putin say the proposals could help him keep power after his final presidential term ends in 2024. The Russian parliament is expected to vote today to confirm Putin’s pick for new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, a bureaucrat who runs Russia’s tax service. The Russian newspaper Kommersant has described the recent political shake-up as “the January revolution.” We are joined by Tony Wood, author of “Russia Without Putin: Money, Power and the Myths of the New Cold War.” Wood is a member of the New Left Review editorial board. He is also the author of “Chechnya: The Case for Independence.”

Trump Becomes Just Third U.S. President to Face Impeachment Trial as Case Moves to the Senate

In a historic move, the House of Representatives presented articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate Wednesday. It marks only the third presidential impeachment trial in all of U.S. history. Earlier Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference with the seven impeachment managers. The House vote to send articles of impeachment to the Senate comes as The Washington Post reports explosive new information at the center of the impeachment inquiry. New material released by House Democrats shows text messages between former Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Robert Hyde, a Republican congressional candidate from Connecticut, in which the two have threatening exchanges about Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. In the text messages, Parnas and Hyde discuss how Yovanovitch was under surveillance. Yovanovitch has repeatedly said she felt threatened by Trump, who called her “bad news” in his now-infamous July 25 call with Ukrainian President Zelensky. For more, we’re joined by Elie Mystal, justice correspondent for The Nation. “Pelosi at least thinks or hopes that there will be witnesses, there will be cross-examination, and this will be something more approaching a real trial situation as opposed to kind of just a show,” Mystal says.

Headlines for January 16, 2020

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