Democracy Now! 04-11-2016

On today's episode of Democracy Now!

The Black Lives Matter movement continues to shake up the race to the White House. On Thursday, activists in Philadelphia disrupted a speech by former President Bill Clinton, who was campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton. The activists called out the Clintons for their support for the 1994 crime bill, which led to a massive expansion of incarceration in the United States, and Hillary Clinton’s 1996 comments that some youth were "superpredators." In response, Bill Clinton defended Hillary Clinton’s use of the term "superpredators" and accused the activists of defending criminals. We speak to Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles. "[Bill Clinton] is very good at ... distracting us from how systems create these conditions," says Abdullah. "They act as if the young folks who wind up committing crimes … as if they weren’t human beings. This term 'superpredator' dehumanizes our children."

Prosecutors in Los Angeles are determining whether to retry six Black Lives Matter activists whose trial recently ended in a hung jury. The six face misdemeanor charges for barricading the 101 freeway in Los Angeles in November 2014. That action was in response to the non-indictment of former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown three months earlier. Activist Rosa Clemente was also tried but was acquitted. Supporters say the prosecution is part of a larger effort by the LAPD and City Attorney’s Office targeting Black Lives Matter activists in Los Angeles. Melina Abdullah, an organizer with Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, describes how many protesters facing charges were under surveillance and how some had letters sent to their homes from the LAPD and the U.S. Justice Department. Abdullah is professor and chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. We also speak with Nana Gyamfi, a criminal defense and human rights attorney who represents Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles.

As Secretary of State John Kerry visits Hiroshima, Japan, site of the 1945 U.S. nuclear attack which killed 140,000 people, most of them civilians, we turn to another choice the United States made during its fight against Japan in World War II—the decision to imprison 120,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps across the U.S.—and ask: Could something like this happen again? The 2016 presidential campaign has been marked by calls from Republican candidates to create a database of all American Muslims and to have the police patrol Muslim neighborhoods. Cruz’s proposals came after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump told Time magazine last year he did not know if he would have supported or opposed Japanese-American internment camps had he been a leader during World War II. We speak with Richard Reeves, an award-winning journalist and the best-selling author of several books, most recently, "Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II," and with Karen Ishizuka, a third-generation American of Japanese descent. She was the curator of the nationwide exhibit called “America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese-American Experience.” Her latest book is titled "Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties."

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