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This week, Democracy Now! is celebrating our 22nd birthday. Since our first show in February 1996, our daily news hour has brought you fearless journalism and hard-hitting news you can trust--all without ads or corporate underwriting. How is this possible? Only with your support. In fact, if everyone reading this gave just $4, it would cover our operating expenses for the whole year. Right now, a generous donor will TRIPLE every donation, meaning your gift today will go three times as far. Pretty amazing, right? Please do your part. Take a moment to give right now for our 22nd birthday.
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At least 22 Iraqi soldiers and allied fighters have reportedly been killed in a double suicide car attack by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in east Fallujah. Al Jazeera reports today’s attack was carried out with a confiscated Iraqi army Humvee and armored military vehicle.
The attack comes just days after Iraq accepted the long-delayed delivery of four out of 36 F-16 fighter jets ordered from the United States. The delivery had been stalled over concerns the planes could end up in ISIL’s hands. The planes are made by military contractor Lockheed Martin, which announced Monday it was acquiring Sikorsky Aircraft, the company that makes Black Hawk helicopters, for $9 billion.
The Pentagon says a U.S. airstrike in Syria has killed a top figure in the Khorasan Group, an offshoot of al-Qaeda. Muhsin al-Fadhli was killed two weeks ago on July 8, but the Pentagon did not announce his death until Tuesday. Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis said al-Fadhli was “among the few trusted al-Qaeda leaders” who knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance.
In news from Africa, officials have begun to count votes in this week’s contested presidential election in Burundi. Burundi’s incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza is seeking a third term, which opposition parties say is a violation of the country’s constitution. More than 100 people have died in protests against Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, including one opposition official who was found dead yesterday in the capital. U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby dismissed the election’s credibility.
John Kirby: “There’s no international observers. There’s routine intimidation of voters. There’s been a sustained effort to silence freedom of speech by media and by opposition members. So, this is — in no way, shape, or form can this be considered a free, fair or credible election.”
In news from South America, Bolivian miners are continuing strikes and protests to demand that President Evo Morales fulfill his promise to build hospitals, roads and an international airport in the southern mining region of Potosí.
Milton Navarro, protest organizer: “President Evo Morales, don’t let the department of Potosí suffer. The department of Potosí has no food. We are hungry. But this is not the fault of the civic committees who have reunited here in La Paz in hope of an answer for our demands. The only person to blame here is President Evo Morales. Why is he afraid to have a dialogue? He does not have the capacity to have a dialogue?”
Meanwhile, in Chile, subcontracted workers for one of the world’s largest copper mining companies went on strike Tuesday. The strike spread to five mines run by the state-owned company Codelco as workers blockaded the roads and worksites. The workers’ demands include the right to collectively bargain.
In other news from Chile, a judge has ordered the arrest of two former army officers and five former noncommissioned officers over the 1986 killing of U.S. student Rodrigo Rojas. Rojas was just 19 years old when he was doused with gasoline and set on fire during a protest in Santiago under the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Another woman, Carmen Gloria Quintana, was severely disfigured in the attack, but survived.
In news from the West Bank, Palestinian residents and international supporters have launched an ongoing, 24-hour-a-day protest to protect the village of Susiya from demolition by Israeli bulldozers. On Tuesday, European foreign ministers called on Israel to halt the planned demolition. Last week, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby also expressed concern, saying the demolition would be “harmful and provocative.” The standoff is the latest in a decades-long fight by Susiya residents, who have been facing forced displacement since the 1980s. In May, an Israeli court rejected the village’s injunction to stop the demolition, clearing the way for the bulldozers, that are expected to arrive any day. Residents have vowed to resist.
Zuhreyeh Nawaja, Susiya resident: “We are steadfast. We will resist until death. It’s impossible to make us leave. Even if they demolish it a thousand times, we will resist. We have olives, grapes, almonds, peaches, figs and everything to eat. We don’t produce. We just own the lands we are on. How many times have they made us refugees? How many times? They throw us out of Jareteen. They throw us out of Susiya (the settlement now), and now also they want to uproot us? Send us to where?”
In Haiti, hundreds of people protested in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, calling on the Dominican government to halt the threatened deportations of hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Some also called for a boycott of Dominican goods.
Jean-Robert Argand, Collective of December 4: “We urge the government of the Dominican Republic to respect the rights of Haitians and their dignity. Also, we ask that they start to support our local products.”
In Zurich, Switzerland, FIFA director Sepp Blatter was showered in fake money at the beginning of a news conference Monday about reforms to address the corruption scandal that has thrown the world soccer governing body into turmoil. British comedian and prankster Lee Nelson approached the stage before the news conference and attempted to hand Blatter a stack of fake cash, telling Blatter: “Sepp, this is for North Korea in 2026.” After security guards intervened, he threw the cash into the air, showering Blatter with the bills. Meanwhile, FIFA official Jeffrey Webb, who was extradited to the U.S. from Switzerland last week, pleaded not guilty to 17 felony charges and has been released on $10 million bail.
Here in New York, more than 1,000 subcontracted airport workers at JFK and La Guardia airports are going on strike today. The workers are protesting harassment and intimidation they say they have faced while organizing for a $15-an-hour wage hike. The strike will include baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants and security officers. It will be the largest strike of subcontracted airport workers since the $15-an-hour campaign began three years ago.
The great novelist E. L. Doctorow has died at the age of 84. Known for his novels “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate” and “The March,” about General William Sherman’s march into Atlanta, Doctorow was a leading voice in contemporary literature. He died Tuesday in Manhattan after a battle with lung cancer.
The renowned actor, musician, composer and activist Theodore Bikel has died at the age of 91. Bikel was known for creating the role of Baron von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” on Broadway and for the role of Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” which he played more than 2,000 times. He was a folk singer who co-founded the Newport Folk Festival with Pete Seeger. And he was an outspoken critic of Israeli policy, including plans to forcibly relocate 40,000 Bedouin Arabs from their ancestral lands, which he denounced on Democracy Now!
Theodore Bikel: “One thing that is absolutely clear in my mind is that human beings cannot be treated like cattle. Human beings must be given the dignity and the respect that all human beings deserve, especially by a people who themselves—Jews—have experienced such deprivation in the past. So when I say that the very people who were told to get out of Anatevka in the fictional village of 'Fiddler on the Roof,' the descendants of those very people are now telling others, strangers in their midst, that they must get out of their homes, seems fundamentally wrong. And a wrong cannot be allowed to stand.”
Tune in Friday to hear our complete interview with Theodore Bikel.
In news from Wyoming, the Northern Arapaho Tribe is calling for federal hate crime charges after a city parks worker admitted he shot two tribal members at a detox center Saturday. Police say Roy Clyde killed Stallone Trosper and seriously wounded James “Sonny” Goggles as they were lying in bed. He told the police he was targeting homeless people.
In Ohio, a University of Cincinnati police officer fatally shot an African-American man after pulling him over for a missing license plate. University police say Officer Ray Tensing shot Samuel DuBose in the head Sunday following a struggle, after DuBose refused to produce a driver’s license.
Meanwhile, the family of a man who died after being “hogtied” by police in Southaven, Mississippi, say they were threatened with arrest after asking to visit him in the hospital before he died. Police say Troy Goode was arrested Saturday for “acting strange” after attending a concert with his wife and taking LSD. Attorneys say he told police he was having trouble breathing after they put him face down on a stretcher with his arms and legs bound. He died about two hours later in the hospital.
And in Texas, newly released dash cam footage shows the arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found dead in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, last week after a traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. County authorities have said her death was a suicide, a claim that her friends and family have disputed. In the arrest video, Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia approaches the driver’s side of Bland’s car and asks her why she appears to be irritated.
Trooper Brian Encinia: “You OK?”
Sandra Bland: “I’m waiting on you. This is your job. I’m waiting on you.”
Encinia: “You seem very irritated.”
Bland: “I am. I really am, because I feel like it’s crap, what I’m getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I moved over, and you stopped me. So, yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so.”
Encinia: “Are you done?”
Bland: “You asked me what was wrong, and I told you.”
Bland: “So now I’m done, yeah.”
Encinia: “OK. You mind putting out your cigarette, please?”
Bland: “I’m in my car. Why do I have to put out my cigarette?”
Encinia: “Well, you can step on out now.”
Bland: “I don’t have to step out of my car.”
Encinia: “Step out of the car.”
In the video, Trooper Encinia then threatens to “light [her] up.”
Encinia: “I’m giving you a lawful order. I am going to drag you out of there.”
Bland: “You opened my car door. So you’re threatening to drag me out of my own car?”
Encinia: “Get out of the car!”
Bland: “And then you’re going to assault me? Wow.”
Encinia: “I will light you up! Get out! Now!”
In a later section of the video, which previously came to light after it was filmed by a bystander, Bland accuses police of slamming her head into the ground, and says, “I can’t even hear.” She also tells Trooper Encinia she has epilepsy, and he replies, “Good.” Some have claimed the dash cam footage released by authorities appears to have been edited. Three days after her arrest, Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell. Trooper Encinia has been placed on administrative duty for the duration of the investigation into Sandra Bland’s death, which the Waller County District Attorney’s Office is treating “like a murder investigation.” On Tuesday, Texas state Senator Royce West told reporters that the newly released dash cam footage shows that Bland should never have been arrested in the first place. Meanwhile, at Sandra Bland’s memorial service Tuesday, her mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, spoke about the death of her daughter.
Geneva Reed-Veal: “Now listen, let’s be for real. That was my baby. She wasn’t my convict. She wasn’t the suspect. She was my baby. And it would behoove y’all to think about what you all were doing at her age. So some of the stuff that’s in the news is true, some of the stuff that’s in the news is not. But the real issue here is something occurred that is going to change the world.”
Sandra Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal. Sandra Bland’s funeral will be held Saturday in Lisle, Illinois.