Tuesday, April 26, 2011

26 Apr 2011: Today's Democracy Now!


Chernobyl Catastrophe: 25th Anniversary of World’s Worst Nuclear Accident

As Japan continues to deal with its nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power facility, memorials are being held in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia today to mark the 25th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl. On April 26, 1986, an explosion at the power plant sent a cloud of radioactive fallout into Russia, Belarus and over a large portion of Europe. Soviet officials attempted to cover up the accident, but eventually 50,000 people living in Chernobyl’s immediate surroundings had to be evacuated. A vast rural region near the plant remains uninhabitable. Until the crisis in Japan, Chernobyl was the world’s only Level 7 "major accident" nuclear disaster, the most severe designation issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency. [includes rush transcript]
Locked-Out Uranium Processing Workers Protest Honeywell’s Use of Scab Workers at Uranium Enrichment Plant in Illinois

Dozens of workers protested at Honeywell’s shareholder meeting on Monday, accusing the company of putting employees and the public in danger at its uranium enrichment plant in Metropolis, Illinois. Major U.S. defense contractor, Honeywell, pleaded guilty last month to illegally storing hazardous radioactive waste without a permit. The company kept highly radioactive mud in drums in the open air behind its facility near the Ohio River. Workers at the facility say they notified Honeywell of the problem on many occasions. Many are members of the United Steelworkers union and feel this particular incident led to the company’s desire to bust their union. More than 200 workers at the Metropolis plant have been out of work since last June due to stalled contract negotiations with the company on workplace safety, economic and seniority issues. We speak with labor journalist Mike Elk, who has covered this story extensively for In These Times magazine. [includes rush transcript]
Guardian Newspaper Editor Defends Publishing WikiLeaks’ Secret Guantánamo Files

More than 750 "secret" Guantánamo prisoner "assessment" files released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks cover almost every prisoner since the U.S. military base was opened in Cuba in 2002 and reveal the United States believed many of those held at Guantánamo were innocent or low-level operatives. Today The Guardian published a new series of reports based on the files that show how a single star informer at Bagram base won his freedom by incriminating at least 123 other prisoners. We’re joined from London by The Guardian investigations executive editor, David Leigh. [includes rush transcript]
Daniel Ellsberg: Bradley Manning Charges Should Be Dismissed After Obama Declares Accused Army Whistleblower "Broke the Law"

We speak to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg about President Obama’s comments last week on accused U.S. Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning. Speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama openly declared that Manning—who has been accused of leaking classified military documents, but has yet to stand trial—has broken the law. Obama was also asked to compare the actions of Manning to Ellsberg, who leaked the most important secret documents about the Vietnam War. Obama said the cases are not similar because “Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified the same way.” In fact, the material disclosed in the Pentagon Papers was designated Top Secret, the highest secrecy designation under law, whereas the material allegedly leaked by Manning to WikiLeaks was marked “secret” or “classified,” among the lowest-level secrecy designations. [includes rush transcript]

Today's Headlines

•Syrian Security Forces Kill 23; Detain 500
•Italy Plans to Bomb Libya as Gaddafi Forces Continue to Shell Besieged City of Misurata
•NATO Forces Kill Senior al-Qaeda Leader
•Taliban Claims Responsibility for Afghanistan Prison Break
•U.N.: Sri Lanka Committed War Crimes in 2009 Assault
•White House Criticizes News Organizations for Release of Guantánamo Files
•Rising Food Prices Could Push 60 Million Asians into Extreme Poverty
•Amnesty Criticizes Plan to Demolish Slum Homes in Brazil for Olympics
•iPhone Users Sue Apple over Secret Tracking Technology
•Immigrant Rights Group Calls on New York Governor to Extend Pardon Panel
•Law Firm Backs Out from Defending Defense of Marriage Act


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