U.S. Announces New Iran Sanctions Days After Aborted Military Strike

Jun 24, 2019

The Trump administration has reportedly launched cyberattacks against Iran and is announcing a new wave of sanctions today. This comes days after President Trump abruptly called off military strikes against Iran. Trump said he called off the attack after he was told it could kill 150 Iranians. Trump and members of his administration said they would be open to holding negotiations with Iranian leadership, but Iran has said they will not negotiate as long as sanctions are still active.

Meanwhile, an Iranian news outlet reported that the country’s naval chief is warning it will shoot down more U.S. drones after the disputed downing of a surveillance drone last week that Iran says entered its airspace, while the U.S. claimed it was flying over international territory.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Chuck Todd asked Trump whether he felt he was being pushed into military action by his advisers.

President Donald Trump: “I have two groups of people: I have doves, and I have hawks.”

Chuck Todd: “You have some serious hawks.”

President Donald Trump: “I have some hawks. Yeah, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him, he’d take on the whole world at one time, OK? But that doesn’t matter, because I want both sides.”

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Trump Delays ICE Roundups Amid Democratic Pushback

Jun 24, 2019

In immigration news, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Friday it would start a mass roundup of 2,000 undocumented family members starting Sunday under the name “family op,” targeting 10 cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and New Orleans. On Saturday, amid national outcry, President Trump backtracked on that plan, saying he would delay the deportations by two weeks and put the onus on Democrats to make changes to immigration policy if they wanted to avoid the plan from going ahead. But some media reports claim that the delay was prompted by a leak by acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan or his staff, which could have compromised the plan.

Democratic lawmakers accused the Trump administration of using the threat of mass deportations as a bargaining chip to push its immigration agenda. Texas Congressmember Joaquin Castro said, “The threat to knock and drag people away from their families and out of their communities shouldn’t be a negotiation tactic for an American president.”

A number of cities said they would not cooperate with ICE if they started to carry out mass removals. The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that it would not participate in any immigration enforcement activities, and the newly elected Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot announced she withdrew ICE’s access to the city’s police immigration databases.

In other immigration news, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday he would deploy 1,000 additional National Guard troops to aid the federal government in what he calls the “crisis at the border.”

Columnist E. Jean Carroll Accuses Trump of Raping Her in 1990s

Jun 24, 2019

New accusations of sexual assault have been levied against Donald Trump. Famed advice columnist and former television host E. Jean Carroll is accusing Trump of raping her in the 1990s in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman. Carroll writes that Trump asked her to try on lingerie he was planning on buying as a gift, before he entered a dressing room with her and forced himself on her, kissing and then raping her.

Trump denied the accusation multiple times over the weekend and said he did not know and had never met Carroll, despite a photo which accompanied the book excerpt showing the two of them together at a party in the 1980s. At least 22 women have accused Trump of assault or sexual misconduct. In a now-infamous “Access Hollywood” recording released in 2016, Trump boasts about his ability to sexually assault women.

Carroll, who is now 75, also accuses former CBS CEO Les Moonves of groping her in the elevator of a Beverly Hills hotel in the ’90s after an interview. Moonves resigned last year while facing multiple sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations.

Turkey’s Ruling AK Party Loses Istanbul Mayoral Race in Election Do-Over

Jun 24, 2019

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party lost a re-election after residents of Istanbul went to the polls for a second time and again voted in opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu of the Republican People’s Party as the new mayor. The election do-over was called after the AKP first lost the crucial vote in March and alleged voting irregularities. The results bring to an end the 25-year rule by the AK Party in Erdogan’s home city of Istanbul. This is Ekrem Imamoglu.

Ekrem Imamoglu: “This is a new beginning. I would like to say from here that as of tomorrow I will treat 16 million people equally as mayor.”

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Ethiopian Army Chief and Local Gov. Killed in Attempted Coup

Jun 24, 2019

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the army chief of staff and another top military official were killed Saturday by the chief’s bodyguard, in connection with a failed coup attempt against the northern regional government of Amhara. The governor of Amhara was also killed earlier on Saturday. Internet access was cut off following the news, and checkpoints were set up around the capital Addis Ababa.
Prime Minister Ahmed says the attacks were not motivated by ethnic tensions, although few details are known about the perpetrators. Ahmed came to power last year and made history by signing a peace agreement with neighboring Eritrea. Ethnic conflict, however, continues to plague the country, causing massive displacement. Ahmed survived a grenade attack at a rally a year ago.

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1000s of Climate Activists Block German Coal Mining Operation

Jun 24, 2019

Hundreds of activists entered and occupied an open-pit coal mine in the western Rhineland region of Germany Saturday to protest Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels amid the mounting climate crisis. The protest ended on Sunday after police repeatedly ordered them to leave, citing life-threatening danger. Some of the protesters were pulled out by authorities.

The group was part of a larger gathering of an estimated 6,000 people who held several actions as part of the protest effort. Another group camped out on rail tracks leading to a coal-fired power station, blocking trains from entering or leaving the area. This is Kathrin Henneberger, a member of the environmental justice group Ende Gelände, which coordinated the actions.

Kathrin Henneberger: “More than 6,000 climate activists from across Europe were here in the Rhineland this weekend. We shut down the entire Rhineland region’s lignite production. … We are fighting for the immediate stop of coal production, but we have to do a lot more. We demand a different economic system, one that is socially fair and respects our planet’s limits.”

Click here to see Democracy Now!’s reporting on the resistance against German coal mines from our COP 23 coverage.

Extinction Rebellion Activists Call on New York Times to Improve and Increase Climate Crisis Reporting

Jun 24, 2019

In New York City, police arrested 70 climate activists from the group Extinction Rebellion Saturday as they called on The New York Times to up their coverage of the climate crisis and start using terms like “climate emergency” instead of “climate change.” Activists stopped traffic in the busy midtown neighborhood, with some scaling The New York Times building and the Port Authority bus terminal to unfurl banners. The New York chapter of Extinction Rebellion recently shared a “Climate Media Standards” guide, which includes changes to language, banning ads from fossil fuel companies and linking weather-related stories to the climate crisis.

Sen. Sanders Introduces Plan to Cancel All Student Debt

Jun 24, 2019

Independent Senator and 2020 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders is introducing legislation today that would cancel all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt in the country, which affects around 45 million people. The measure would be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street. The bill will also make public universities and community colleges free, a key pillar of Sanders’s 2020 education platform. Congressmembers Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal are introducing accompanying legislation in the House.

Pete Buttigieg Faces Hometown Backlash in Indiana over Police Shooting of Black Man

Jun 24, 2019

In Indiana, South Bend mayor and 2020 presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is facing growing backlash from some of his constituents in the aftermath of the police shooting of Eric Logan, a black man, last week. Buttigieg has left the campaign trail to return to his hometown, where some residents called him out for neglecting his duties as mayor during a tense town hall Sunday. Frustrated citizens confronted the mayor about his track record on race-related issues and demanded transparency in Eric Logan’s case.

South Bend resident: “The Mayor Rahm Emanuel quit being the mayor because there was a cover-up. So I just want to make sure that you are aware that we’re looking for no cover-up. We want transparency, total transparency, in this case, because Eric Logan did not—my sympathy and condolences to Eric’s family—Eric Logan did not deserve to be treated like this.”

People of color make up 40% of South Bend’s population. Mayor Buttigieg acknowledged that efforts to diversify and increase accountability in the South Bend police force had failed, and it was less diverse than when he came into office eight years ago. He has called for a Justice Department investigation into the shooting. The police officer was wearing a body cam, but it was not turned on.

Eddie Africa of MOVE 9 Released from Prison After 40 Years

Jun 24, 2019

Eddie Africa, a member of the MOVE 9, was released from a Pennsylvania prison Friday, after spending 40 years behind bars. Eddie Africa was convicted, along with eight others, in the 1978 killing of police officer James Ramp. The nine were arrested following a Philadelphia police raid on the house of MOVE, a radical, anti-police-brutality and largely African-American organization. His release follows that of Janine Phillips Africa and Janet Holloway Africa last month. Husband and wife Mike Africa Sr. and Debbie Africa were both released last year. Two members of the group remain behind bars.

Japanese-American Survivors of WWII Internment Camp Protest Trump Detention Plans at Fort Sill

Jun 24, 2019

And on Saturday, Japanese-American activists and survivors of U.S. internment camps engaged in civil disobedience outside the Fort Sill Army post in Oklahoma, where the Trump administration plans to indefinitely detain 1,400 immigrant and refugee children starting next month. Fort Sill was used as an internment camp for Japanese Americans in 1942. This is Michael Ishii, who helped organize Saturday’s protest.

Michael Ishii: “I am here, a descendant, to support my elders, who have come to bear witness and to raise their collective voices in opposition to mass detention.”

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