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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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The Obama administration has ordered a halt to construction of part of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, which has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and hundreds of other tribes from across the U.S. and Canada in what’s being described as the largest unification of Native American tribes in decades. In a dramatic series of moves late Friday afternoon, a federal judge rejected the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for an injunction against the U.S. government over the pipeline. Then the Army, Department of Justice and Department of the Interior responded with an announcement that the Army Corps will not issue permits for Dakota Access to drill under the Missouri River until the Army Corps reconsiders its previously issued permits. The news was welcomed by the protesters who have gathered along the Cannonball River by the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to resist the pipeline’s construction. This is Francine Garreau Hall of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
Francine Garreau Hall: “I am very grateful, because in our government-to-government relationship, the federal government is bound by treaty law to protect our interests. And I’m glad that they stepped up to the plate today and did that.”
The agencies also asked Dakota Access to voluntarily cease construction 20 miles east and west of the Oahe Dam.
In other Dakota Access pipeline news, last Thursday, Morton County, North Dakota, issued an arrest warrant for Amy Goodman. The charge: criminal trespass, a misdemeanor offense. The case, State of North Dakota v. Amy Goodman, stems from Democracy Now!’s coverage in North Dakota over the Labor Day weekend of the Native American-led protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. On Saturday, September 3, Democracy Now! filmed security guards working for the Dakota Access pipeline company using dogs and pepper spray to attack protesters.
Water protector: “These people are just threatening all of us with these dogs. And she, that woman over there, she was charging, and it bit somebody right in the face.”
Amy Goodman: “The dog has blood in its nose and its mouth.”
Water protector: “And she’s still standing here threatening us.”
Amy Goodman: “Why are you letting their—her dog go after the protesters? It’s covered in blood!”
Democracy Now!'s report went viral online and was viewed more than 13 million times on Facebook alone, and our footage was rebroadcast on many outlets, including CBS, NBC, NPR.org, CNN, MSNBC and Huffington Post. Also charged was Cody Hall for his alleged presence at the September 3 land defense action and for a subsequent protest on September 6. Hall is considered a lead organizer in the movement against the Dakota Access pipeline and was arrested at one of the checkpoints that have been erected by North Dakota authorities to restrict access to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the growing pipeline opposition camps. Hall was denied bail and remained in jail throughout the weekend. Hall's attorneys and several others we spoke to confirmed that it is highly unusual for a defendant charged with misdemeanor trespass to be jailed and denied bail.
According to the criminal complaint against Goodman, the charges are based on a viewing of Democracy Now!'s video report of the incident, conducted by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Special Agent Lindsey Wohl's sworn affidavit states that I was there as a journalist. Wohl wrote, “Amy Goodman can be seen on the video identifying herself and interviewing protestors [sic] about their involvement in the protest.” The criminal complaint was approved by Assistant State’s Attorney for Morton County Gabrielle J. Goter. To date, none of the private security personnel shown in the video both assaulting protesters and commanding their dogs to attack them have been charged or arrested. Democracy Now! is consulting with attorneys in North Dakota as well as at the Center for Constitutional Rights. CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy said, “This is clearly a violation of the First Amendment … an attempt to repress this important political movement by silencing media coverage.”
In news from the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton canceled plans to visit California today, after falling ill with what her doctor described as pneumonia and dehydration. On Sunday, Clinton was seen abruptly leaving a ceremony in Lower Manhattan commemorating the 9/11 attacks. Video showed her stumbling as Secret Service agents helped her into a van. Clinton was taken to the Manhattan apartment of her daughter, Chelsea, and emerged about 90 minutes later, waving to reporters.
Reporter: “How are you feeling, Secretary Clinton?”
Hillary Clinton: “Great! I’m feeling great!”
Reporters: “What happened? Give us a little statement.”
Hillary Clinton: “It’s a beautiful day in New York.”
Hillary Clinton’s doctor later said in a statement the candidate was being treated with antibiotics and was “rehydrated and recovering nicely.” Clinton’s campaign says she will rest at her home in Chappaqua, New York. Clinton canceled fundraising events planned for Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a scheduled appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The illness follows weeks of speculation and conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health put forward by Donald Trump and other Clinton opponents. In August, Trump national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson claimed, without evidence, that Clinton was suffering from “dysphasia,” a form of brain injury.
Clinton’s illness came less than two days after she suggested half of Donald Trump’s supporters are bigoted. Clinton made the comments Friday during a fundraiser at an LGBTQ event in New York.
Hillary Clinton: “We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”
Donald Trump’s campaign seized on Clinton’s comment. This is Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence.
Gov. Mike Pence: “I campaign on a regular basis with Donald Trump. I campaign all across this country for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton’s low opinion of the people that support this campaign should be denounced in the strongest possible terms.”
Clinton said in a statement on Saturday she regretted calling “half” of Trump supporters bigots, but added, “What’s really 'deplorable' is that Donald Trump hired a major advocate for the so-called 'alt-right' movement to run his campaign and that David Duke and other white supremacists see him as a champion of their values.”
Rudolph Giuliani is defending Donald Trump’s statement last week that the U.S. should have taken Iraq’s oil as part of the “spoils of war.” The former New York City mayor, who is a top adviser to Trump, made the remarks Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
George Stephanopoulos: “But he said leave a force back there and take it.”
Rudolph Giuliani: “Leave a force back there and take it, and make sure it’s distributed in a proper way. And basically—”
George Stephanopoulos: “That’s not legal, is it?”
Rudolph Giuliani: “Of course it’s legal. It’s a war.”
Governor Mike Pence released his 2015 tax returns on Friday, showing the vice-presidential candidate and his wife took in $113,000 last year. Hillary Clinton’s 2015 tax returns show she and Bill Clinton earned $10.6 million in 2015, down from nearly $28 million the year before. Donald Trump has refused to make his tax returns public.
In international news, the U.S. and Russia say warring factions in Syria are set to begin a 10-day ceasefire at sundown tonight. Secretary of State John Kerry said he reached the deal during talks in Geneva with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “Today the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering and resume movement towards a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria. And we believe that the plan, as it is set forth, if implemented, if followed, has the ability to provide a turning point, a moment of change.”
Scores were killed in heavy fighting after news of the ceasefire broke. Witnesses said at least 61 died and over 100 were wounded after a warplane bombed a market in Idlib. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said another 30 people were killed in Aleppo province. The ceasefire calls for Syria’s government to stop bombing cities and allow humanitarian aid corridors. Russia will cease bombing all targets except for ISIS, and the U.S. will force the rebel groups it arms to break allegiance with a group that has pledged support for al-Qaeda. The U.S. and Russia may also begin joint bombing campaigns. Several previous ceasefires in Syria have collapsed.
In New York City on Sunday, bells rang out at 8:46 a.m. to mark the moment 15 years ago that the first of two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center. Thousands gathered in Lower Manhattan for a solemn ceremony marking the anniversary. Memorials were also held at the Pentagon and at the site in western Pennsylvania where a hijacked plane crashed on September 11, 2001.
The Bush administration’s former top environmental official has apologized for telling the public the air in Lower Manhattan was safe to breathe after the 9/11 attacks. Christine Todd Whitman was head of the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001. In the days after the World Trade Center towers collapsed, Whitman repeatedly stated there was no threat of toxic air pollution.
Christine Todd Whitman: “Everything we’ve tested for, which includes asbestos, lead and VOCs, have been below any level of concern for the general public health.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Whitman acknowledged for the first time that her statements put people’s lives in jeopardy. She said, “I’m very sorry that people are sick. I’m very sorry that people are dying, and if the EPA and I in any way contributed to that, I’m sorry.” Whitman’s apology came as The Guardian reported the death toll among those sickened by the toxic fallout of ground zero will soon exceed the number of people killed on the day of the 9/11 attacks.
In Chile’s capital Santiago, thousands marched to the city’s main cemetery on Sunday to mourn victims of the former dictatorship. On September 11, 1973, democratically elected President Salvador Allende died in the palace in a U.S.-backed coup, ushering in 17 years of brutal dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet.
Imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning has begun a hunger strike to protest her prison conditions. In a statement, Manning said she would only consume water and medication until she’s provided “minimum standards of dignity, respect, and humanity.” She’s demanding a written promise from the Army that she will receive medically prescribed recommendations for her gender dysphoria. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
And in New York, students at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University plan to walk out of classes at noon today to protest a lockout that’s seen every single member of its faculty union kicked off payroll and replaced. Over Labor Day weekend, just before the start of fall classes, all 400 faculty members at LIU’s Brooklyn campus saw their health insurance cut and their email accounts frozen. They’ve been warned they could be permanently replaced. This is LIU professor Larry Banks.
Larry Banks: “I’ve been here at Long Island University for 15 years. And I’m outside the gate because the administration has locked us out. This is the first time this has happened in the country. And I feel horrible. There has never, ever been the administration saying, 'Teachers can't teach. We won’t allow it.’ That’s never happened. Never happened before in the history of education in this country.”
Last week, LIU’s faculty union voted 226 to 10 against a labor contract that sought to slash pay for adjunct professors and failed to provide salaries comparable to those earned by colleagues at a satellite campus. The Faculty Senate overwhelmingly approved a no-confidence measure against LIU President Kimberly R. Cline.