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"He Gave Us Back Our History": Isabel Allende on Gabriel García Márquez in Exclusive Interview

Democracy Now - Fri 07 27 AM

In an exclusive interview, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende remembers the life and legacy of late writer Gabriel García Márquez. She reads from his landmark novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and talks about how García Márquez influenced generations of thinkers and writers in Latin America and across the world. "He’s the master of masters," Allende says. "In a way, he conquered readers and conquered the world, and told the world about us, Latin Americans, and told us who we are. In his pages, we saw ourselves in a mirror." Allende describes the first time she read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and how it impacted her. "It was as if someone was telling me my own story," she says. We also air video of García Márquez in his own words and hear Democracy Now! co-host Juan González read from "The General in His Labyrinth."

Gabriel García Márquez in His Own Words on Writing "100 Years of Solitude"

Democracy Now - Fri 07 12 AM

One of the greatest novelists and writers of the 20th century has died. Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez passed away Thursday in Mexico at the age of 87. It has been reported that only the Bible has sold more copies in the Spanish language than the works of García Márquez, who was affectionately known at "Gabo" throughout Latin America. His book "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is considered one of the masterful examples of the literary genre known as magic realism, and it won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. The Swedish Academy described it as a book "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts." We air clips of him speaking in his own words about writing his acclaimed book.

Former Drone Operators Reveal Air Force Plays Key Role in Secret CIA Assassination Campaign

Democracy Now - Thu 07 45 AM

A new documentary film reveals how a regular U.S. Air Force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike program in Pakistan. "Drone" identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which is located on the Creech Air Force Base, about 45 miles from Las Vegas. We are joined by the film’s director, Tonje Hessen Schei, and Chris Woods, an award-winning reporter who investigates drone warfare. Woods is featured in "Drone" and is working on a forthcoming book on U.S. drone warfare.

Fixing the Electoral College: New York Joins Pact to Elect President by Popular Vote

Democracy Now - Thu 07 33 AM

New York has become the latest state to join an agreement that would transform the U.S. presidential election. Under the compact for a National Popular Vote, states across the country have pledged to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. If enough states sign on, it would guarantee the presidency goes to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. This would prevent scenarios like what happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote but still lost the election to George W. Bush. The compact will kick in only when enough states have signed on to reach a threshold of 270 electoral votes. By adding its 29 electoral votes, New York joins those already pledged by nine other states and Washington, D.C. We are joined by New Yorker staff writer Hendrik Hertzberg, an advocate of the national popular vote and a board member of the electoral reform organization FairVote.

"We Are Not Beginning a New Cold War, We are Well into It": Stephen Cohen on Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Democracy Now - Thu 07 12 AM

As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss" and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. "We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land," Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. "We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it," Cohen says, "which alerts us to the fact 'hot war' is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it."

Killing Nature's Defenders: Study Finds Global Surge in Murders of Environmental Activists

Democracy Now - Wed 07 49 AM

A new reports finds the killings of environmental and land rights activists worldwide has tripled over the past decade. The group Global Witness documented 147 activists who were killed in 2012, compared to 51 in 2002. The death rate is now an average of two per week. Almost none of the killers have faced charges. We air interviews with some of the late activists featured in the report, including José da Silva, a Brazilian conservationist and environmentalist who campaigned against logging and clearcutting of trees in the Amazon rainforest. In 2011, José and his wife, Maria, were murdered by masked gunmen. "This could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scale of the real problem," says Global Witness campaigner Oliver Courtney, who says details about the murders were nearly impossible to locate.

New York Drops Police Unit that Spied on Muslims, But Will It End Broader Profiling & Surveillance?

Democracy Now - Wed 07 34 AM

The New York City Police Department is disbanding a controversial spying unit that targeted Muslim communities. The so-called "Demographics Unit" secretly infiltrated Muslim student groups, sent informants into mosques, eavesdropped on conversations in restaurants, barber shops and gyms, and built a vast database of information. But after years of collecting information, it failed to yield a single terrorism investigation or even a single lead. We get reaction from Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York, who calls the unit’s closure a "welcome first step," but says it will "take years to undo the trauma that the American Muslim community has endured." We are also joined by Matt Apuzzo, who was part of the Associated Press team that first revealed the NYPD’s post-9/11 surveillance program. The AP’s series won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Apuzzo is co-author of "Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America."

Was Kansas Shooting Avoidable? White Supremacist was Ex-Informant with Criminal Past & Hateful Views

Democracy Now - Wed 07 09 AM

Notorious white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller has been charged with killing three people at two Jewish community sites in Kansas. Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, has openly railed against Jews and African Americans for decades. He served three years in prison on weapons charges and an assassination plot, but avoided a longer sentence after testifying against other white supremacists. Miller claims to have been an FBI informant, and the federal government reportedly shielded him in the early 1990s as part of the witness protection program — the possible source of his multiple names. We are joined by two guests who have tracked Miller for years: Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, and broadcaster David Pakman, who interviewed Miller in 2010.

War Tax Resisters Mark April 15 with Call to Stop Military Spending

Democracy Now - Tue 07 52 AM

Millions of Americans are rushing to file their federal and state taxes today by the midnight deadline. But others are using the day to protest the use of tax dollars to fund war. The War Resisters League estimates at least 45 percent of the 2015 federal budget would be used for current and past military expenses, as well as interest on the national debt, some 80 percent of which stems from military spending. To voice their opposition, some Americans are taking a stand by personally refusing to pay their federal taxes. Lida Shao, a pre-med student at Columbia University, has been a war tax resister for three years with support from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Shao joins us to discuss why Tax Day for her is a day of resistance.

Who Goes to Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap from Wall Street to Main Street

Democracy Now - Tue 07 09 AM

Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.

Polk Winner on Afghanistan: Slain Journalists, Ghost Polls & Unresolved U.S. Ties to Deaths, Torture

Democracy Now - Mon 07 45 AM

Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins was honored with the George Polk Award on Friday for his Rolling Stone article, "The A-Team Killings," that uncovered "convincing evidence" that a U.S. Army Special Forces unit killed 10 Afghan civilians in Wardak province. Aikins joins us to discuss the latest on his story — as well as recent developments in Afghanistan, from the country’s elections to continued violence that recently killed two journalists.

"We Won't Succumb to Threats": Journalists Return to U.S. for First Time Since Revealing NSA Spying

Democracy Now - Mon 07 21 AM

Ten months ago, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald flew from New York to Hong Kong to meet National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Poitras and Greenwald did not return to the United States until this past Friday, when they flew from Berlin to New York to accept the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. They arrived not knowing if they would be detained or subpoenaed after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described journalists working on the NSA story as Snowden’s "accomplices." At a news conference following the George Polk Award ceremony, Poitras and Greenwald took questions from reporters about their reporting and the government intimidation it has sparked.

"This Award is for Snowden": Greenwald, Poitras Accept Polk Honor for Exposing NSA Surveillance

Democracy Now - Mon 07 10 AM

In their first return to the United States since exposing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance operations, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras were honored in New York City on Friday with the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. Over the past 10 months, Poitras and Greenwald have played key roles in reporting the massive trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. They were joined by colleagues Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, with whom they shared the award. In their acceptance speeches, Poitras and Greenwald paid tribute to their source. "Each one of these awards just provides further vindication that what [Snowden] did in coming forward was absolutely the right thing to do and merits gratitude, and not indictments and decades in prison," Greenwald said. "None of us would be here … without the fact that someone decided to sacrifice their life to make this information available," Poitras said. "And so this award is really for Edward Snowden."

"Imagine Living in a Socialist USA": New Book Envisions Greater Democracy, World Without Capitalism

Democracy Now - Fri 07 47 AM

We end today’s show looking at a new book titled "Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA." The book features essays by many prominent people, including Michael Moore, Angela Davis, Frances Fox Piven, Martín Espada, Rick Wolff and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. The book comes out at a time when polls show Americans aged 18 to 29 have a more favorable reaction to the word "socialism" than "capitalism." The book is co-edited by the legendary book agent Frances Goldin, who has worked in the publishing world for more than six decades and will turn 90 years old in June. In 1951, at age 27, Goldin ran for New York State Senate on an American Labor Party slate headed by W.E.B. Du Bois. Goldin joins us now along with one of her co-editors, Michael Smith. He is a New York City attorney and a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"Years of Living Dangerously": James Cameron, Matt Damon, Harrison Ford in TV Climate Change Series

Democracy Now - Fri 07 29 AM

A new Showtime television show featuring Hollywood actors and award-winning journalists brings the issue of climate change alive with the full drama and suspense of a blockbuster movie. In the series, "Years of Living Dangerously," Harrison Ford travels to Indonesia to investigate the palm oil industry, and Arnold Schwarzenegger joins an elite team of wildland firefighters. Hollywood luminaries such as Matt Damon, James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub have paired up with top reporters and leading climate scientists such as Drs. Heidi Cullen, Joe Romm and James Hansen to tell the true stories of people affected by climate change. We speak to Joe Romm, chief science adviser to "Years of Living Dangerously" and founding editor of Climate Progress.