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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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Congressional Republicans are vowing to fight the Obama administration’s historic nuclear deal with Iran and five other world powers. The agreement reached Tuesday will see Iran reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98 percent and cut its number of centrifuges by two-thirds. In exchange, Iran will see an easing of international sanctions that have battered the economy, causing food insecurity and medication shortages. Republican House Speaker John Boehner vowed to oppose the agreement.
House Speaker John Boehner: “Billions of dollars in sanctions relief while paving the way for a nuclear Iran. And this isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not a partisan issue at all. It’s about right versus wrong. And we’re going to do everything we can to get to the details, and if in fact it’s as bad a deal as I think it is at this moment, we’ll do everything we can to stop it.”
Congress will have 60 days to review the deal. President Obama has vowed to veto any attempt to block the agreement through legislation. To override his veto, Congress would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers, meaning Obama would only needs 34 votes to keep the deal secure. In Iran, residents poured out into the streets to celebrate the agreement, which many hope will help lead to a normalization of ties with the West.
Israel is stepping up its lobbying of Congress in a continued bid to undermine the nuclear deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose past warnings about Iran’s supposed nuclear capacity have contradicted the findings of his own spy agency, called the deal a “historic mistake.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “And Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves.”
The International Monetary Fund has criticized the new bailout deal between Greece and its European creditors. In a leaked report, the IMF called the country’s debt levels “highly unsustainable” and said that it will not be a party to the deal unless Greece is offered either debt relief or a 30-year extension period to allow the economy to recover before resuming loan repayment. Greek lawmakers are scheduled to vote tonight on whether to accept the deal’s harsh austerity terms. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed to defend the bailout, despite saying he signed a deal he “does not believe in.”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras: “I overestimated the power that a people with right on their side have, as well as the reactionary might against the founding principles of Europe, which are a respect for democracy and of people’s choices. What is the message sent to us by our partners? It is that there is no point for countries who are in a program to hold elections. This is a very harsh message for Europe.”
President Obama has continued his major push this week to reform the country’s system of mass incarceration. In an address to the NAACP Tuesday, Obama described the criminal justice system as “broken.”
President Obama: “The United States is home to 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China’s. We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined.”
We’ll have more on President Obama’s speech after headlines.
After a lengthy legal battle between the California city of Gardena and news outlets, a federal judge has ordered the release of police dash cam footage showing a fatal police shooting two years ago. In the video, unsealed Tuesday, Gardena officers appear to order an unarmed man, Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino, and two other men to raise their hands in the air. When Diaz-Zeferino, who appears not to understand the orders, raised and lowered his hands and then removed his hat, all three officers opened fire, striking him eight times. The men had been incorrectly suspected of stealing a bicycle.
The family of Eric Garner, who died one year ago this Friday after a police chokehold in Staten Island, has renewed their call for criminal charges against the officers. Video shows police pulling Eric Garner to the ground and piling on top of him while he says “I can’t breathe” at least 11 times. A grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold. On Monday, New York City announced a $5.9 million settlement with the family, but Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said the settlement is not enough.
Gwen Carr: “This settlement that we get, people walking up and down the street, they’re saying, 'congratulations.' Don’t congratulate us; this is not a victory. The victory will come when we get justice. Then we want to have a victory party.”
A 23-year-old Massachusetts man accused by the FBI of plotting attacks to show support for the self-described Islamic State appeared in court on Tuesday. Alexander Ciccolo was arrested after he allegedly bought a duffel bag full of guns from an FBI witness. His father, a Boston police captain, had told authorities his son was growing “obsessed with Islam.” Ciccolo has a history of mental illness, and his arrest has raised questions of entrapment, since the FBI effectively armed him, then charged him with having guns. While he is accused of plotting “terrorist” attacks, the only charge against him is illegal gun possession.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit to immediately end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. In May, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the bulk collection was illegal. Congress then passed the USA FREEDOM Act, requiring the NSA to get a warrant in order to obtain records from phone companies. But the law, and a ruling by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, allowed the practice to continue until the end of November. In a statement, ACLU staff attorney Alex Abdo said: “The Constitution doesn’t have a grace period. Bulk collection is unconstitutional and must end.”
Three top officials at the American Psychological Association, the world’s largest group of psychologists, have lost their jobs following last week’s independent investigation showing that members of the APA were complicit in post-9/11 torture and lied and covered up their close collaboration with officials at the Pentagon and CIA. In a statement, the APA announced that the association’s chief executive officer Norman Anderson and deputy chief executive officer Michael Honaker have “retired,” while longtime communications director Rhea Farberman has “resigned.”
And in Germany, 94-year-old Oskar Groening, known as the “bookkeeper of Auschwitz,” has been sentenced to four years in prison. He was responsible for counting the belongings taken from prisoners at the Nazi death camp. He was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews.