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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

  • Inside Greece’s General Strike: Video Report from Athens as Thousands Protest Sweeping Austerity Cuts


    As our broadcast went to air, lawmakers in Greece were voting on — and later approved — a new round of sweeping austerity measures amidst a general strike that’s brought tens of thousands into the streets. Riot police have fired volleys of tear gas, smoke bombs and stun grenades in a bid to clear the masses of Greek protesters surrounding the parliament in Athens. The chaotic standoff began Tuesday when police stormed the adjacent Syntagma Square, where demonstrators have camped for over a month. Democracy Now! producers Aaron Maté and Hany Massoud were there just as the unrest broke out and spoke to many of the demonstrators who refused to leave the square. “They sell our country,” said one protester. “They sell our national dignity. They have signed away the ability to defend our constitution!” Another person said, “We need the solidarity of working-class people and youth around the globe... The only way to make them back off and stop the cuts and the attacks and the austerity packages is only by struggling. And this includes everything—strikes, demonstrations, occupations of squares, and uniting the different movements around the world.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Greek Parliament Approves $40B Bailout; Some Economists Predict Vote Will Worsen the Recession


    The Greek parliament was set to approve a $40 billion package of spending cuts, tax increases and privatizations as a condition for a massive bailout to avert the eurozone’s first default. Without a new plan in place, the European Union and International Monetary Fund said they would withhold 12 billion euros of loans, which Greece needs to repay debts due in mid-July. Meanwhile, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been named the new chief of the International Monetary Fund. She received backing from the United States and Europe and key emerging market nations, including China, India and Brazil. The first woman to hold the position, she begins her five-year term on July 5. In her first public comments following her appointment, Lagarde urged Greek politicians to unite to avoid a debt default. We are joined by Mark Weisbrot, an economist and the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “There’s going to be a default right up the road, so they could default now. And they could refuse to accept these conditions,” says Weisbrot. “They might be better off for that, especially if the result of what’s going to play out is years of recession and high unemployment.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Fierce Street Battles in Egypt as Families Demand Justice for Loved Ones Killed During the Uprising


    In Egypt, nearly 600 people have been reported injured in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after security forces attacked a large group of protesters overnight with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tensions erupted over the lack of accountability and justice for the nearly 1,000 people people killed during the 18-day popular uprising that led to the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak. Many of those attacked in the ongoing clashes are family members of protesters killed during the uprising. We speak with Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reports from Cairo. [includes rush transcript]

  • Inquiry into the Murder of Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad May Implicate Pakistan Intelligence Agency


    A rare inquiry to investigate the murder of Asia Times reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad has begun in Pakistan. Shahzad was kidnapped in May near his residence in Islamabad and found dead two days later. His body showed signs of torture. He had complained of being threatened by Pakistani intelligence and had just published an exposé of a militant attack on a Karachi navy base, alleging links between Pakistani navy officials and al-Qaeda. Shahzad is also the author of “Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11.” His murder immediately fueled speculation about involvement by state security forces and raised questions about press freedom in Pakistan. Immediately after Shahzad’s murder, Human Rights Watch said the Pakistani government should establish an independent investigation into his killing and look into other allegations of serious human rights abuse by the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. We speak with Ali Dayan Hasan, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, about Shahzad’s work and how the allegations linking the ISI to his murder are the most direct connections yet linking the agency to threats to Pakistani journalists. [includes rush transcript]

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