Democracy Now! — Tuesday, May 31, 2016


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Rose Lokissim, victim and heroine. Image: video still from YouTube documentary Talking about Rose

The former U.S.-backed dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré, has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. Habré is accused of killing as many as 40,000 people during his eight years in power in the 1980s. At the landmark trial in Senegal, Habré was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his reign of terror.

Habré was tried in a special African Union-backed court established after a two-decade-long campaign led by his victims. This is the first time the leader of one African country has been prosecuted in another African country’s domestic court system for human rights abuses.

Habré is a former U.S. ally who has been described as “Africa’s Pinochet.” He came to power with the help of the Reagan administration in 1982. The U.S. provided Habré with millions of dollars in annual military aid and trained his secret police, known as the DDS.

Amy Goodman interviewed Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. He has worked with victims of Hissène Habré’s regime since 1999 and played a critical role in bringing Habré to trial.

There is also a link to this harrowing documentary, Talking about Rose, which examines the life and death of Rose Lokissim, a prisoner of the Habré regime. Survivors of Habré’s jails remember Rose as a brave inmate who took care of the sick and kept up the prisoners’ morale. She also delivered clandestine messages to the outside world to inform relatives of their loved ones inside. Ultimately, Habré’s political police, the DDS, learned of the messages and murdered her.

Meanwhile, as the Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders heats up ahead of the California primary on June 7th, multiple issues have continued to dog Clinton’s campaign, including the question of her connection to Goldman Sachs. The Wall Street giant paid Clinton $675,000 in 2013 to give three speeches. But so far Hillary Clinton has rejected calls to release the speech transcripts. Well, now questions have come up about ties between Goldman Sachs and another member of the Clinton family: Hillary’s son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky.

Lee Fang of The Intercept spoke to Amy Goodman. Lee recently reported on Clinton’s refusal to lay out the amount invested by Goldman Sachs’ CEO with Mezvinsky.

Some Democrats are considering pressuring DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to step down. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has long accused Wasserman Schultz of being biased toward Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz has also quietly repealed ethics rules implemented in 2008 by President Obama preventing federal lobbyists from donating to the DNC.

Finally, what was supposed to be a routine campaign stop for former President Bill Clinton turned into a 30-minute debate with a Bernie Sanders supporter. Clinton was campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, when he stopped at a Santa Fe restaurant last week. There he met 24-year-old Josh Brody, who questioned Clinton about his presidential record on issues including welfare reform, Wall Street and government spending.

We are honored to offer this broadcast as part of our affiliation with the Pacifica Network. Find out where the Democracy Now! crew is visiting next during the show’s 100-city tour, celebrating 20 years on the air.

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