In a Democracy Now! and Pacifica Radio Archives exclusive, we air a newly discovered recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On December 7, 1964, days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, King gave a major address in London on segregation, the fight for civil rights and his support for Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The speech was recorded by Saul Bernstein, who was working as the European correspondent for Pacifica Radio. Bernstein’s recording was recently discovered by Brian DeShazor, director of the Pacifica Radio Archives.
On Wednesday, at the second day of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Justice Department, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions faced unprecedented criticism. But only one Republican on the committee remained to listen. If the others had stayed, they would have heard the voices we bring you today. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker’s testimony marked the first time a United States senator has opposed a fellow senator’s nomination for a presidential Cabinet post. He was joined by Congressmember Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana), head of the Congressional Black Caucus, who said the decision to have three black members of Congress testify at the end of the hearing was the equivalent of being sent to the "back of the bus." We play the full comments made by civil rights legend Congressmember John Lewis (D-Georgia), who also testified Wednesday against Senator Jeff Sessions’s confirmation for attorney general.
During the confirmation hearing for retired General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, several senators asked whether he would support Defense Department projects in their home states, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Mattis had a 41-year military career before he retired in 2013, and Politico reports his financial disclosure statement says that he is worth more than $10 million. Some of his wealth was garnered after he retired when he worked for General Dynamics, among other companies. We speak with retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich and Aaron Glantz, a senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, retired General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, testified at his confirmation hearing that Russia remains the "principal threat" faced by the United States, taking a much harder line than the president-elect. He also said he supports the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has repeatedly criticized. We get response from Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council whose forthcoming book is titled "Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Legacy of Diplomacy," and from Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel and Vietnam War veteran.
President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of defense, retired General James "Mad Dog" Mattis, testified Thursday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Mattis’s 41-year career in the Marine Corps included field commands in the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan. He led U.S. troops during the 2004 battle of Fallujah, earning himself the nickname "Mad Dog" Mattis. In May 2004, Mattis ordered an attack on a small Iraqi village that ended up killing about 42 people attending a wedding ceremony. He went on to lead United States Central Command from 2010 to 2013, but the Obama administration cut short his tour over concerns he was too hawkish on Iran. We host a roundtable discussion, starting with retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich, author of "America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History," and Aaron Glantz, a senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting whose latest investigation is headlined "Did defense secretary nominee James Mattis commit war crimes in Iraq?"
Today, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for defense secretary, James "Mad Dog" Mattis, faces his Senate confirmation hearing. Mattis reportedly received his nickname "Mad Dog" after leading U.S. troops during the 2004 battle of Fallujah in Iraq, where he is accused of carrying out war crimes by our guest, Aaron Glantz, a senior reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
At the Senate confirmation hearing for secretary of state nominee and former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, he refused to answer questions about the oil giant’s long history of denying the science of climate change, telling Senators that scientific literature on climate change is "inconclusive."During the hearing, human rights concerns were also raised repeatedly. Tillerson refused to label Saudi Arabia a human rights violator, and avoided condemning Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte over thousands of extrajudicial killings carried out under Duterte’s so-called "war on drugs." We are joined from San Francisco by oil and energy journalist Antonia Juhasz.
During his press conference on Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at reporters. He slammed CNN as "fake news," called BuzzFeed a "failing piece of garbage" and refused to answer questions from CNN’s Jim Acosta after his outlet reported that top intelligence officials had briefed Trump, President Obama and top lawmakers over claims that Trump representatives met repeatedly with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and discussed the hacking of the DNC and the email of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. BuzzFeed later published a dossier, prepared by British former intelligence officer Christopher Steele, which contains unverified allegations, including a charge that Russian officials have a sex tape from 2013 involving Trump and hired sex workers. For more on the incoming Trump administration’s relationship with the press, we are joined by Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
At his first press conference since July, President-elect Donald Trump addressed questions about his business interests and asserted that, as president, he would be exempt from possible conflicts of interest. The Trump Organization is an umbrella company for his hundreds of investments in real estate, brands and other businesses. But Trump said he would not follow advice from ethics experts to divest or create a completely blind trust, and instead announced he will hand over management of the Trump Organization to his sons. The head of the Office of Government Ethics slammed President-elect Trump’s plan to separate himself from his business, calling it "wholly inadequate." We get response from John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation.
Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez says he has lobbied for President Obama to grant clemency to Puerto Rican independence activist Oscar López Rivera, but has so far not received a strong response. López Rivera has been in prison for about 35 years, much of the time in solitary confinement. In 1981, he was convicted on federal charges including seditious conspiracy—of conspiring to oppose U.S. authority over Puerto Rico by force. He was accused of being a member of the FALN, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, which claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings to call attention to the colonial case of Puerto Rico. In 1999, President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the FALN, but López refused to accept the deal because it did not include two fellow activists, who have since been released. In a rare video recording from prison, Oscar López Rivera said the charges against him were strictly political.
We get response from fellow Chicagoan, Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez, on key achievements highlighted by President Obama during his farewell presidential address, which took place at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center Tuesday night. "Healthcare is important. It’s a basic fundamental human right. It’s not a political right. … There are 20 more million people covered by healthcare. Ironically, large numbers of rural white Americans that had no access to healthcare were the primary beneficiaries of Obamacare. So, I’m excited," Gutiérrez says. "Could we have done more? Could we have reformed our immigration system? Absolutely."
We speak with Democratic Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez about why he will not be attending the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump and instead plans to go to the Women’s March on Washington the following day. "We need to come together because when women are attacked, we all are attacked," Gutiérrez says. "When women win, we all win." He is a member of the Judiciary Committee and is the co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
On Tuesday, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general faced more than nine hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, during which he denied being a racist and tried to distance himself from Trump’s most extreme promises. As he faced questions, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama was repeatedly disrupted by protesters who chanted "No Trump! No KKK! No fascist U.S.A.!" Sessions has previously opposed legislation that provides a path to citizenship for immigrants, questioned if the Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the United States, and declared same-sex marriage a threat to American culture. He also voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, opposed the Voting Rights Act and has a history of making racist comments. We get response from Congressmember Luis Gutiérrez (D-Illinois), co-chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and from Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and Moral Mondays leader.
A stunning new exposé published today in The Intercept about the elite military unit SEAL Team 6 reveals a darker side of the group best known for killing Osama bin Laden. National security reporter Matthew Cole spent two years investigating accounts of ghastly atrocities committed by members of the unit, including mutilating corpses, skinnings and attempted beheadings. According to sources, senior command staff were aware of the misconduct but did little to stop it—and often helped to cover it up.
Accused airport gunman Esteban Santiago could face the death penalty for charges that he killed five people when he opened fire in a crowded Florida baggage claim terminal. Friday’s shooting came as Florida lawmakers were preparing to consider legislation to loosen prohibitions on firearms by eliminating some of the state’s "gun-free zones," which currently include airport terminals. We go to Florida to speak with Thomas Gabor, author of "Confronting Gun Violence in America." His new opinion piece for the Sun Sentinel is headlined "Expanding gun rights won’t save us from more mass shootings." We also speak with New York Times reporter Richard Pérez-Peña, co-author of the article, "In Year Before Florida Shooting, Suspect’s Problems Multiplied."
The first of a two-day confirmation hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s controversial attorney general nominee begins today. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama faces questions from his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as chair of the immigration subcommittee. Trump’s pick has drawn widespread outrage because of Sessions’s opposition to the Voting Rights Act, support for anti-immigration legislation and history of making racist comments. We are joined by David Cole, national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who is set to testify at Sessions’ Senate hearing, and with Kyle Barry, policy counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and co-author their report opposing Jeff Sessions’s nomination.
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