Democracy Now! - April 7, 2015
The death toll in Yemen continues to rise amid a Saudi-led military campaign and clashes between Houthi rebels and forces loyal to ousted President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The most intense violence is in the southern city of Aden, with more than 140 people reportedly killed in a 24-hour period. The United Nations says hundreds have been killed and more than 100,000 have been displaced since Saudi Arabia launched a military campaign two weeks ago. The Saudi regime has asked Pakistan to provide soldiers, heightening the possibility of a ground invasion. The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned of a dire humanitarian situation and demanded access to besieged areas. We are joined by the journalist Safa Al Ahmad, whose latest documentary, "The Fight for Yemen," premieres tonight on Frontline on PBS stations nationwide. She was granted extremely rare reporting access to the Houthis as they advanced in Yemen.
As Saudi Arabia continues U.S.-backed strikes in Yemen and Washington lifts its freeze on military to aid to Egypt, new figures show President Obama has overseen a major increase in weapons sales since taking office. The majority of weapons exports under Obama have gone to the Middle East and Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia tops the list at $46 billion in new agreements. We are joined by William Hartung, who says that even after adjusting for inflation, "the volume of major deals concluded by the Obama administration in its first five years exceeds the amount approved by the Bush administration in its full eight years in office by nearly $30 billion. That also means that the Obama administration has approved more arms sales than any U.S. administration since World War II." Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, and author of "Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex."
As California experiences a massive drought, we examine the overlooked link between water shortages, climate change and meat consumption. With some 98 percent of the state suffering from a water crisis, California Gov. Jerry Brown ordered residents and businesses to cut water use by 25 percent. It is the first mandatory statewide reduction in California’s history. One group not facing restrictions is big agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California’s water. According to The Pacific Institute, 47 percent of a Californians’ water footprint is in meat and dairy products. We are joined by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, directors of the documentary, "Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret." The film contends livestock is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution despite many environmental organizations’ relative silence on the issue.
The Intercept revealed last month that it is quite easy to be deemed a "suspected terrorist" at airports in the United States. A leaked checklist used by the Transportation Security Administration shows an expansive list of "suspicious signs" for screening passengers, including yawning, fidgeting, whistling, throat clearing and staring at one’s feet. All of these, according to the TSA, are considered behaviors that indicate stress or deception. Well now The Intercept has revealed who the program actually targets: not terrorists, but undocumented immigrants. Taking a five-week period at a major U.S. airport, The Intercept found that 90 percent of all those arrested were detained for being in the country illegally. Not a single passenger was arrested or suspected for ties to terrorism. The overwhelming detention of undocumented immigrants bolsters criticism that government screening programs have targeted passengers with racial profiling. We speak to the reporter who broke this story, Jana Winter.
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