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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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The Turkish military has sent additional tanks into northern Syria. The U.S. military is backing Turkey’s ground offensive, which began earlier this week. Turkish officials say there are now at least 20 Turkish tanks inside Syria and that more could be deployed in the coming days. The U.S.-backed Turkish offensive is aimed at taking control of ISIS-held towns along the border. On Wednesday, Turkish tanks and U.S. air support helped the Free Syrian Army oust ISIS from Jarabulus. Turkey also seeks to force Kurdish militias to retreat from the border. These militias are backed by the United States. Vice President Joe Biden was in Ankara on Wednesday.
This comes as Turkish state media is reporting an explosion at a police station in Turkey near the border with Syria has killed at least 11 people and wounded 70. There has been no claim of responsibility, but the Turkish prime minister has blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. Fighting has escalated between Turkish forces and the PKK since a ceasefire collapsed over a year ago. Earlier this year, the United Nations accused Turkish forces of carrying out human rights violations against civilians in the majority Kurdish southeast. In one instance, the U.N. says as many as 100 people burned to death while attempting to take shelter during a Turkish military offensive in the city of Cizre. The U.N. also says there have been reports of Turkish snipers intentionally shooting at civilians, including children.
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva today, where he’s meeting with the Russian foreign minister about a possible cooperation agreement in the ongoing fight against ISIS in Syria. This comes as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least four civilians have died in multiple barrel bomb attacks in Aleppo. Amnesty International says the Assad government frequently drops barrel bombs in civilian neighborhoods. We’ll speak with Vijay Prashad about Turkey, Syria and the U.S. election after headlines.
In news from the campaign trail, Donald Trump is continuing to flip-flop on his immigration policy, sparking controversy among both his allies and opponents. Trump has made the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants one of the cornerstone proposals of his campaign. But now, with his newest campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, he appears to be backing away from the mass deportation plan, although he still says he’s opposed to amnesty and any path toward legalization. This is Trump speaking to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Donald Trump: “I don’t think it’s a softening. I think its—”
Anderson Cooper: “But 11 million people are no longer going to be deported.”
Donald Trump: “Look, I’ve had people say it’s a hardening, actually.”
Anderson Cooper: “But 11 million who have not committed a crime—”
Donald Trump: “No, no, we’re then going to see—”
Anderson Cooper: “—there’s going to be a path to legalization, is that right?”
Donald Trump: “Look, look, you know it’s a process, you can’t take 11 at one time and just say, 'Boom, you're gone.’”
Trump went on to tell Cooper, “There’s no path to legalization unless they leave the country.” This follows Trump’s town hall hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity broadcast Wednesday night in which Trump said he’d be willing to “work with” some undocumented people if they pay back taxes. Undocumented immigrants already do pay taxes. During the town hall, Trump at times appeared not to know what he thought, and instead turned to the audience to conduct a poll.
Donald Trump: “You have somebody who’s terrific, who’s been here—”
Sean Hannity: “Twenty years.”
Donald Trump: “Right, long time. A long court proceeding, long everything, OK? In other words, to get him out. Can we go through a process, or do you think they have to get out? Tell me. I mean, I don’t know. You tell me.”
Sean Hannity: “Well, well, let me—well, let’s do a poll.”
Donald Trump: “Well, I’d like to know. I’d like to know. It’s a problem.”
Sean Hannity: “How many think they should go through a process, that maybe give them a chance? Clap. We’ve got to hear you.”
Donald Trump: “How many people?”
Sean Hannity: “How many think they should go?”
Donald Trump: “But do it again. Do it again.”
Sean Hannity has acknowledged advising the Trump campaign, saying, “I never claimed to be a journalist.”
Hillary Clinton has attacked Donald Trump, saying his campaign has empowered the far-right, white nationalist “alt-right” movement and that his campaign is making hate groups mainstream. This is Clinton, speaking in Reno, Nevada.
Hillary Clinton: “From the start, Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia. He is taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”
This comes as Hillary Clinton has released a new campaign ad linking Trump to the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. This is a clip of the campaign ad, which begins with the imperial wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan speaking.
Imperial Wizard Billy Snuffer: “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in. Donald Trump would be best for the job.”
Chris Thomas: “For president?”
Imperial Wizard Billy Snuffer: “Yeah.”
White Nationalist: “I am a farmer and white nationalist. Support Donald Trump.”
Jared Taylor: “Sending out all the illegals, building a wall and a moratorium on Islamic immigration, that’s very appealing to a lot of ordinary white people.”
David Duke: “Running against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.”
That’s the voice of David Duke, the former grand wizard of the KKK, and before that, Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance, featured in Hillary Clinton’s new campaign ad.
France’s highest administrative court has overturned a local ban on full-body swimsuits known as “burkinis,” amid ongoing controversy over an incident in which armed French police confronted a woman on the beach over her full-body dress. Photos of the incident show two armed police officers approaching the woman as she lay sleeping, and then standing over her as she removed her long-sleeve shirt. The police then gave her a ticket, which said that she wasn’t wearing “an outfit respecting good morals and secularism.” More than two dozen French towns have banned the burkini, saying the swimsuit violates French secular laws. On Thursday, dozens of women protested the burkini ban at a rally outside the French Embassy in London. This is one of the protesters.
India Thorogood: “It’s never right to tell a woman what she can wear or to take her clothes off. That’s not for a man to say. And I think, in a time of increased Islamophobia, which we’ve seen in the U.K. and in France, it’s just an even more horrible image to see, because it just shows the kind of things that Muslim women have to deal with. So we wanted to show solidarity with Muslim women in France and call for a repeal of the ban.”
Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Saudi foreign minister Thursday during a visit to Saudi Arabia, where the two discussed the ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. This comes as the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein has called for an independent investigation into the bombing campaign, saying civilians are suffering “unbearably.” In a statement, he wrote: “Such a manifestly, protractedly unjust situation must no longer be tolerated by the international community.” In August, the U.S.-backed Saudi coalition has bombed a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing 19 people, and bombed two schools in northern Yemen, killing at least 14 children.
In Argentina, the former head of the army during Argentina’s dirty wars has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Eighty-nine-year-old Luciano Benjamín Menéndez was found guilty of presiding over hundreds of disappearances and kidnappings, as well as multiple cases of murder and torture, at a secret military base in Córdoba between 1975 and 1979. The imprisoned ex-general is already serving multiple life sentences for other human rights abuses.
The Brazilian Senate has begun the impeachment trial against President Dilma Rousseff, who was suspended earlier this year in what many are calling a coup. Her impeachment stems from accusations she tampered with government accounts to hide a budget deficit. The Brazilian group Transparency Brazil says 60 percent of Brazilian lawmakers are currently under criminal investigation or have already been convicted of crimes ranging from corruption to election fraud. Rousseff is slated to testify on Monday.
Meanwhile, Brazilian police have charged American Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Ryan Lochte with falsely reporting a crime. Lochte and his three Olympic teammates claimed they were robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers during the Olympic Games in Rio. But Brazilian authorities say the Olympic swimmers actually vandalized a gas station and then invented a story about having been the victims of a robbery. Lochte has already lost four corporate sponsorships since the incident.
And editor, publisher and writer Warren Hinckle has died. Hinckle was the editor of the magazine Ramparts, which he helped turn into a leading voice for the 1960s left. The magazine won a Polk Award for a 1966 article that revealed a Michigan State University group operating in Vietnam was in fact a CIA front group. It also published Eldridge Cleaver’s prison letters and Che Guevara’s diaries. Hinckle was also a major figure in the emergence of “gonzo journalism.” This is Hinckle speaking about editing Hunter S. Thompson’s famous article about his trip to the Kentucky Derby.
Warren Hinckle: “It was just a mess. It didn’t make much sense at all, the article. So, I just kind of bundled it all up and took a walk up the street around the corner to the Tosca. And, fortunately, it wasn’t a crowded night, so I sat in one of these back red booths and spent a couple hours actually reading this thing and figuring the heads and the tails. And it was episodic, to say the least. And to reassemble this, it was like—oh, dear, it was sort of like trying to assemble a very big, complex crossword puzzle without having the picture on the box.”
Warren Hinckle died on Thursday at the age of 77 from complications of pneumonia.