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HeadlinesJune 26, 2024

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Julian Assange Returns to Australia a Free Man After Pleading Guilty to Single U.S. Felony Count

Jun 26, 2024

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has returned to his home country of Australia as a free man, following a plea agreement with the U.S. government. Assange landed in the Australian capital Canberra today to cheers from supporters. His arrival caps a more than 12-year legal ordeal after Assange published classified documents detailing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Press freedom groups have denounced successive U.S. administrations for targeting Assange, who faced 175 years in a U.S. prison if he had been extradited and convicted on espionage and hacking charges.

On Tuesday, Assange flew from London to the Pacific island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, where he pleaded guilty in a U.S. district court to a single felony count of illegally obtaining and disclosing national security material. He was granted credit for time served during his imprisonment at London’s Belmarsh Prison and allowed to walk free. This is Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack.

Barry Pollack: “The court today determined that no harm was caused by Mr. Assange’s publications. We know that they were newsworthy. We know that they were quoted by every major media outlet on the planet. And we know that they revealed important information. That is called journalism. The United States prosecuted that. They exposed Mr. Assange to 175 years in prison. That is what has a chilling effect. Today a decision that it’s time for Mr. Assange to go home, that doesn’t have a chilling effect. The chilling effect is the United States pursuing journalism as a crime. I hope this is the first and last time that ever occurs.”

We’ll have more on the historic release of Julian Assange after headlines.

New Report on Gaza Famine Finds Nearly 500,000 Face “Catastrophic” Food Insecurity

Jun 26, 2024

In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in Beit Lahia has killed at least 15 people, with others feared trapped under the rubble. Dozens more were injured in the assault. Elsewhere, more than a dozen Palestinians were rescued with injuries after an Israeli assault on Gaza City’s Daraj neighborhood.

Meanwhile, a new report by a U.N. partner agency finds a half-million people in the Gaza Strip face catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity, putting them at risk of severe malnutrition and death. The report found nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are experiencing acute hunger. Máximo Torero is chief economist at the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

Máximo Torero: “The latest data show that on a regular basis more than half of the population — more than half of the population — does not have any food to eat in the house, and over 20% going entire days and nights without eating.”

Report: Israel Targeted at Least 18 Journalists in Gaza with “Precision Strikes”

Jun 26, 2024

Members of the medical aid charity Doctors Without Borders have strongly condemned the killing of their colleague Fadi Al-Wadiya, a 33-year-old physiotherapist. Al-Wadiya was killed along with five other people, including three children, as he was riding his bicycle to work. His killing came as the United Nations warned it will be forced to suspend aid operations across Gaza unless urgent steps are taken to protect humanitarian workers.

Meanwhile, a major new investigation carried out by dozens of journalists with the nonprofit Forbidden Stories has revealed at least 18 media workers were likely killed or wounded by precision strikes launched from Israeli drones in violation of the laws of war. At least four were wearing press vests at the time and were identifiable as journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists reports at least 108 media workers are among the more than 37,600 Palestinians killed by Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7, making it the deadliest conflict for journalists that CPJ has ever recorded.

Protesters Angered by Tax Hikes Storm Kenya’s Parliament; At Least 22 Killed

Jun 26, 2024

In Kenya, at least 22 people have been killed and dozens more injured as nationwide protests intensify against a highly unpopular tax hike. Kenyan lawmakers approved the bill Tuesday as police fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas at thousands of protesters who stormed Kenya’s Parliament in Nairobi, angered by the measure, which would skyrocket the cost of goods and services in Kenya to help pay off billions in foreign debt, including to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Demonstrations also continued in other parts of Kenya. These are protesters in the coastal city of Mombasa.

Daniel: “The taxes are so high. We are being taxed our salary, and any other thing that you are going to buy with the little that you’re remaining with is also taxed. So, I think let us just demonstrate. We don’t want it to be amended. We want it to be rejected in totality. And let us just kill the snake before it lays eggs.”

Emily: “We are fighting for ourselves because our future is in our own hands. If at all we let them direct us on how they’re going to direct in this country, it’s going to be woe unto us, and we’re not going to let that happen. And that is why today in Mombasa we have showed up in big numbers. We are not scared. We are going to show up today, tomorrow and even the next day.”

We’ll have more on Kenya later in the broadcast. We’ll go to Nairobi to speak with, among others, President Barack Obama’s half-sister Auma Obama, who was tear-gassed yesterday by Kenyan police.

400 Kenyan Police Arrive in Haiti as First Deployment of U.S.-Backed Mission

Jun 26, 2024

Four hundred Kenyan police officers arrived in Haiti Tuesday. It is the first contingent of U.S.-backed troops sent to combat worsening gang violence in Haiti. Many Haitians have opposed the mission, saying past international interventions have contributed to political destabilization and humanitarian crises in Haiti.

AIPAC-Backed Candidate Defeats Jamaal Bowman After Most Expensive U.S. Primary Election

Jun 26, 2024

Here in New York, Westchester County Executive George Latimer has defeated progressive Congressmember Jamaal Bowman following the most expensive primary race in U.S. history. Latimer was encouraged to launch his primary challenge for New York’s 16th Congressional District by the Democratic Majority for Israel political action committee, after Bowman repeatedly called for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and accused Israel of genocide. Outside spending in the race topped $23 million, much of it from pro-Israel groups like AIPAC. Other supporters of Latimer included Onward Together, Hillary Clinton’s PAC; and Nelson Peltz, a Republican billionaire who’s backing Donald Trump for the presidency. Jamaal Bowman spoke to supporters after his primary defeat Tuesday evening.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman: “This movement has always been about justice. It has always been about humanity. It has always been about equality. And it was always — has always been about our collective liberation.”

Far-Right Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert Wins GOP Primary After Switching Districts

Jun 26, 2024

In Colorado, far-right Republican Congressmember Lauren Boebert has won the Republican primary race for the 4th Congressional District. Boebert moved to a more solidly Republican district after she narrowly won reelection to represent Colorado’s 3rd District in 2022. Boebert is a far-right Trump supporter, an election denier, and infamously vowed to carry her Glock pistol on the Capitol grounds.

International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Russian Officials over Ukraine Assault

Jun 26, 2024

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for two Russian officials accused of orchestrating missile strikes on Ukrainian electric power plants, which is a war crime. The ICC warrants against former Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and military general Valery Gerasimov were welcomed by U.S. officials.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine nor the United States is a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC. The Biden administration has attempted to discredit the court’s jurisdiction as it’s seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for possible war crimes committed in Gaza. Gallant met with Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington this week and posed for photos together.

Russian Court Puts Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich on Trial for Espionage

Jun 26, 2024

In Russia, a closed-door trial is underway in the city of Yekaterinburg for U.S. citizen and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. Russian prosecutors accuse Gershkovich of collecting secret information about a military factory for the CIA — charges The Wall Street Journal calls baseless. Earlier today, Gershkovich made an appearance in a glass cage inside a Russian courtroom. His head was shaved, and he appeared calm as he briefly smiled and nodded at supporters. Stuart Wilson, the U.S. consul general at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said Russian officials have not provided consular access to Gershkovich.

Reporter: “Have you managed to visit Evan?”

Stuart Wilson: “Here?”

Reporter: “Yeah.”

Stuart Wilson: “No, no, we have not.”

Reporter: “Are you going to? Is it allowed, or you don’t know?”

Stuart Wilson: “Oh, we’ve put in a request.”

If convicted on espionage charges, Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in a Russian penal colony.

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