Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 1,100 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States.
Updated: 8 hours 9 min ago

Did CIA's Fake Polio Vaccination Program in Pakistan Help Fuel a Global Health Emergency?

Mon 07 40 AM

The World Health Organization has designated the spread of polio in Asia, Africa and the Middle East a global public health emergency requiring a coordinated "international response." Three countries pose the greatest risk of further spreading the paralyzing virus: Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria. In an unusual step, the WHO recommended all residents of those countries, of all ages, to be vaccinated before traveling abroad. The organization also said another seven countries — Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Somalia — should "encourage" all their would-be travelers to get vaccinated. Until recently, polio had been nearly eradicated thanks to a 25-year campaign that vaccinated billions of children. In Pakistan, the increase in polio is being linked to a secret CIA ploy used in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With the help of a Pakistani doctor, the CIA set up a fake vaccination campaign in the city of Abbottabad in an effort to get DNA from the bin Laden family. The Taliban subsequently announced a ban on immunization efforts and launched a string of deadly attacks on medical workers. We are joined by two guests: Rafia Zakaria, a columnist for Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English newspaper, who has been covering the rise of polio in Pakistan since the bin Laden raid; and one of Pakistan’s leading polio experts, Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta.

After Chaotic Autonomy Votes, Negotiations Could Be Sole Path to Prevent Ukraine's Disintegration

Mon 07 12 AM

Pro-Russian groups have claimed a landslide victory for a hastily organized referendum on self-rule in two parts of eastern Ukraine. The vote was held in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk less than two months after residents in Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The Russian government says it respects the results of the referendum but has not indicated any plans to annex eastern Ukraine like it annexed Crimea. The referendum was held under chaotic circumstances with irregular voting conditions and violence between pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian forces. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University.

As Marijuana Refugees Flock to Colorado, Will Medical Community Force Rewriting of U.S. Drug Laws?

Fri 07 28 AM

Currently 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved, and regulate in some capacity, marijuana for medical purposes. However, insurance companies do not cover the costs of such prescriptions. Federally, marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, making it against the law to possess. But the debate over marijuana is growing. We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dave Philipps of the Colorado Springs Gazette. His most recent article is "As success stories of kids fighting seizures with cannabis oil mount, legal landscape is changing." We also speak to the pioneering medical marijuana doctor Dr. Margaret Gedde and a mother who moved with her epileptic nine-year-old daughter to Colorado for cannabis oil treatment.

Marijuana Refugees: Virginia Family Moves to Colorado to Treat Epileptic Child with Cannabis Oil

Fri 07 14 AM

Last year, Dara Lightle and her nine-year-old daughter, Madeleine, became "marijuana refugees" when they moved from Virginia to Colorado. At the time, Madeleine was suffering from hundreds of seizures a day. Her doctors in Virginia recommended brain surgery. Then Dara heard how cannabis oil had treated children suffering from similar conditions. The oil worked. But since the oil was considered an illegal drug in much of the country, they had to move to Colorado, where it is legal, to continue treatment. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, at least 115 "marijuana refugee families" from 43 states have left jobs, homes and family so they could obtain the cannabis oil to treat a variety of ailments. We speak to Dara and Madeleine in Denver.

After Abuse Under State Supervision, Transgender Connecticut Teen Held in Solitary Without Charge

Thu 07 49 AM

We look at the case of "Jane Doe," a 16-year-old transgender girl of color in Connecticut imprisoned in solitary confinement without any criminal charges. One month ago today, a Superior Court judge ordered her sent to prison after the Connecticut Department of Children and Families requested the transfer, claiming they could not safely care for her. The move is allowed under a rarely used Connecticut statute. To justify sending Jane Doe to prison, DCF cited her alleged history of violent behavior. But in an affidavit to the court, Jane Doe wrote: "I feel that DCF has failed to protect me from harm and I am now thrown into prison because they have refused to help me." She goes on to detail how she was repeatedly sexually and physically abused between the ages of eight and 15, at the hands of both relatives and DCF staff, all while she was under DCF’s supervision. Describing her confinement at an adult women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut, Doe wrote in an op-ed for The Hartford Courant: "I’m in my room 22 hours a day with a guard staring at me — even when I shower and go to the bathroom. It’s humiliating. Women constantly scream and cry and it was hard to sleep. They moved me down a different hallway where it’s not as crazy. I tell myself that this is just a nightmare, but it doesn’t end." We are joined by Jane Doe’s lawyer, Aaron Romano, and Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.

Protestant Church Faces New Sex-Abuse Scandal as Victims Defy Threats, Censorship to Speak Out

Thu 07 28 AM

Is the Protestant world is teetering on the edge of a sex-abuse scandal similar to the one that rocked the Catholic Church? We are joined by reporter Kathryn Joyce, whose cover story in The American Prospect profiles Boz Tchividjian, a law professor at Liberty University — a school founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell — and former prosecutor who worked on many sexual abuse cases. Tchividjian used his experience to found GRACE — Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. GRACE made headlines in February when the famous evangelical school, Bob Jones University, hired it to interview faculty and students about their experiences with sexual assault, then fired it before the it had a chance to report the results — only to hire it back after a public outcry. Tchividjian is the grandson of the famous evangelist, Rev. Billy Graham.

As UN Torture Committee Probes Vatican, Sex-Abuse Survivors Urge Church to End Decades-Long Cover-up

Thu 07 10 AM

The U.N. Committee on Torture sharply questioned the Vatican this week over its handling of sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church. The hearing came just four months after the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child accused the Vatican of systematically turning a blind eye to decades of abuse and attempting to cover up sex crimes. During this week’s hearing, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi revealed the church had dismissed more than 800 priests for sexual abuse of children in the past decade. A number of survivors of sexual abuse attended this week’s hearing, including our guest, Barbara Blaine, president and founder of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are also joined by Katherine Gallagher, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and counsel for SNAP in their international advocacy work.

Will Dark Money Reshape North Carolina Political Landscape from Senate Race to State Supreme Court?

Wed 07 46 AM

In one of the first closely watched races of the 2014 primary season, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis has won the Republican Senate nomination. Tillis will face Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November in a race that could decide which party controls the U.S. Senate. The North Carolina primary drew national attention pitting Tillis, backed by much of the Republican establishment, against candidates with close ties to the tea party and religious right. As speaker of the North Carolina House, Tillis was a frequent target of the Moral Monday protests over the past two years. Primaries were also held Tuesday to determine who will sit on the state’s Supreme Court. The races have gained national attention because millions of dollars from outside groups have poured in to the state to back conservative candidates. One TV ad bought by a secretive outside group accused state Supreme Court Judge Robin Hudson of being "not tough on child molesters." North Carolina is one of 22 states where judges on higher courts are elected rather than appointed. We are joined from North Carolina by Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies.

Stanford Divests: Student-Led Movement Forces Elite School to Pull Its Money from Coal Companies

Wed 07 33 AM

One of the country’s most prestigious universities, with one of the world’s largest endowments, has joined the student-led movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Stanford University’s Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to stop investing in coal-mining companies because of climate change concerns. The board said it acted in accordance with guidelines that let them consider whether "corporate policies or practices create substantial social injury" when choosing investments. Stanford’s endowment is valued at $18.7 billion. The move comes as the divestment movement heats up across the country. Seven students at Washington University in St. Louis were arrested last week following a 17-day sit-in calling on the school’s board of trustees to cut ties with coal industry giant Peabody Energy. Also last week, students at Harvard blockaded the office of Harvard President Drew Faust. We are joined by Stanford University junior Michael Peñuelas, one of the lead student organizers with Fossil Free Stanford.

Foretelling Devastating Impact, Will White House Climate Report Spark Action on Global Warming?

Wed 07 11 AM

A new report warns human-driven climate change is having dramatic health, ecological and financial impacts across United States. The White House’s "National Climate Assessment" details how the consequences of climate change are hitting on several fronts — rising sea levels along the coasts, droughts and fires in the Southwest, and extreme rainfall across the country. It warns that unless greenhouse emissions are curbed, U.S. temperatures could increase up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. Reportedly the largest, most comprehensive U.S.-focused climate change study ever produced, the report is being called a possible "game changer" for efforts to address climate change. We speak with Radley Horton, a climatologist at the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University, who co-wrote the Northeast region chapter of the National Climate Assessment. "This report really tells the story very succinctly about how all Americans will be impacted by climate change," Horton says. "It’s a nonpartisan issue."

Danny Glover & Kathleen Cleaver on "Black Power Mixtape," Rare Footage Capturing Movement's Rise

Tue 07 46 AM

Based on the film with the same name, the extraordinary new book "The Black Power Mixtape" chronicles the black freedom movement in the United States using found footage of top African-American leaders between 1967 and 1975. Shot by Swedish journalists and discovered in the basement of Swedish public television 30 years later, the film features some of the leading figures of the black power movement in the United States, including Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver. We discuss the project with two guests: renowned American actor, film director and political activist, Danny Glover, and Kathleen Cleaver, professor at Emory Law School, who is featured in the film during her stint as communications secretary of the Black Panther Party.

Occupy Wall Street on Trial: Cecily McMillan Convicted of Assaulting Cop, Faces Up to Seven Years

Tue 07 29 AM

An Occupy Wall Street activist has been found guilty of assaulting a New York City police officer in a trial that critics say should have been about the police assaulting her. Cecily McMillan was arrested in March 2012 as protesters tried to re-occupy Zuccotti Park, six months after Occupy began. McMillan was convicted of deliberately striking Officer Grantley Bovell with her elbow, leaving him with a black eye. McMillan says she swung her arm instinctively after being grabbed in the right breast from behind. To support this claim, defense lawyers showed photos of bruising to her chest during trial. In addition to her injuries, McMillan says she went into a seizure as officers pinned her down. She was later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder. After a four-week trial, the jury took just three hours Monday to deliver a verdict. The judge in the case rejected defense pleas to allow her release on bail. McMillan was placed in handcuffs and taken to Rikers Island, where she’ll remain until sentencing in two weeks. She faces up to seven years in prison. We speak to McMillan’s attorney Martin Stolar and her friend Lucy Parks, field coordinator for the Justice for Cecily Support Team.

Bring Back Our Girls: Nigerians Caught Between Deadly Boko Haram Attacks & Military Reprisals

Tue 07 10 AM

"Bring back our girls" has become the rallying cry in Nigeria as protests continue over the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls from a northern boarding school. On April 14, Islamic militants stormed an all-girl secondary school and seized the students. On Monday, a video was released showing the leader of Boko Haram claiming responsibility. State officials report some of the girls have already been sold off as brides for as little as $12. Others were reportedly forced to marry their abductors, and taken to neighboring Cameroon and Chad. The area in northeastern Nigeria where the girls were kidnapped has been under a state of emergency for nearly a year, and their school was reportedly the only one still open. We speak to Nigerian writer and activist Ijeoma Uduma in Lagos and journalist Omoyele Sowore, publisher of the website Sahara Reporters.

"War Criminals Shouldn't Be Honored": Rutgers Students Nix Condoleezza Rice from Commencement Speech

Mon 07 51 AM

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has withdrawn as commencement speaker at Rutgers University following protests by faculty and students over her role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Rutgers faculty had circulated a petition decrying the role Rice played in "efforts to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." Last week, Rutgers students occupied a campus building in a call for the invitation to be withdrawn. In a statement this weekend, Rice said her appearance "has become a distraction." We discuss the "No Rice Campaign" with Rutgers University student protester Carmelo Cintrón Vivas and Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

10 Years After Abu Ghraib, Ex-Prisoners Seek Justice in Torture Lawsuit Against U.S. Contractor CACI

Mon 07 38 AM

Ten years ago, the shocking photos of U.S. military personnel humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib sparked global outcry as well as national hearings, investigations and finger pointing. But many at the center of the Abu Ghraib abuse have never faced a day in court. An attempt to hold the U.S. contractor CACI International accountable could result in the torture victims being held liable for legal fees. In September, a federal court ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib to pay CACI nearly $14,000 after unsuccessfully suing the company for their torture. In dismissing the initial lawsuit, the judge in the case did not directly address CACI’s role in the abuse, instead citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision restricting lawsuits against corporations for abuses on foreign soil. We are joined by Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the CACI lawsuit.