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Friday, August 23, 2013

  • Syrian Activist on Ghouta Attack: "I Haven’t Seen Such Death in My Whole Life"

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    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."

  • "Empowering, So Brave": Trans Activists Praise Chelsea Manning, Raise Fears over Prison Conditions

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    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.

  • Exclusive: As Judge OKs Force-Feeding, California Prisoner on 47-Day Hunger Strike Speaks Out

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    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.

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