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: 10 hours 24 min ago

Uri Avnery on Gaza Crisis, His Time in a Zionist "Terrorist" Group & Becoming a Peace Activist

Fri 07 30 AM

Fighting in Gaza has resumed after the expiration of a 72-hour truce expired. Israel said it launched airstrikes after Palestinians fired at least 18 rockets into southern Israel after the ceasefire ended. Palestinian officials say a 10-year-old boy was killed earlier today when an Israeli airstrike hit near a mosque in Gaza City. Six other people were wounded in the attack. A Hamas military wing spokesman earlier called on Palestinian negotiators holding indirect talks with Israeli negotiators in Cairo to refuse any ceasefire extension unless its long-term demands were met. We speak with longtime peace activist Uri Avnery, who has pushed for Israel to engage with Hamas. Avnery is a historic figure within the Israeli peace movement. He was born in Germany in 1923. His family fled the Nazis and moved to what was then Palestine. As a youth, he joined the Irgun Zionist paramilitary group, which he later quit to become a leading peace activist in Israel. In 1950, he founded the news magazine, HaOlam HaZeh. Fifteen years later, he was elected to the Knesset on a peace platform. In 1982, he made headlines when he crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat, head of the then-banned Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1993, he started the Gush Shalom peace movement. He will turn 91 next month and still writes a weekly column.

As U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Begin, Will Military Intervention Escalate Growing Crisis?

Fri 07 14 AM

The Pentagon has announced U.S. military aircraft carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq today targeting artillery used by the militant group Islamic State used against Kurdish forces defending the city of Erbil. The bombing came less than 12 hours after President Obama spoke on national television announcing he had authorized airstrikes in Iraq in an attempt to halt the sweeping advance by the Islamic State. Obama becomes the fourth U.S. president in a row to order military action in Iraq. The Islamic State has captured large swaths of northern Iraq and has advanced to a half-hour drive from the Kurdish regional capital, Erbil. Up to 40,000 people, many of them members of the Yazidi religious minority, remain trapped on the Sinjar Mountains near the border with Syria, surrounded by rebels and slowly dying of thirst. The United States has also begun dropping relief supplies. We speak to Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She has written several books, including "Ending the Iraq War: A Primer." One of her recent articles is "Don’t Go Back to Iraq!: Five Steps the U.S. Can Take in Iraq Without Going Back to War."

"A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel's Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation

Thu 07 20 AM

Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. Chomsky has written extensively about the Israel/Palestine conflict for decades. After Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Chomsky co-authored the book "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians" with Israeli scholar Ilan Pappé. His other books on the Israel/Palestine conflict include "Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood" and "The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians." Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.

Despite Ceasefire, Humanitarian Crisis Continues in Gaza with 500,000 Displaced & 10,000 Injured

Thu 07 08 AM

The 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza has entered its final day. Talks are ongoing to extend the truce, but no agreement has been reached. Palestinian and Israeli officials are in Egypt, however have not held face-to-face negotiations on securing a lasting ceasefire. Meanwhile, Gaza is in a state of devastation and ruin. Close to 1,900 Palestinians were killed during the 29-day conflict, including at least 1,354 civilians, of whom 415 are children. More than 10,000 people have been injured. There are 373,000 children who require psychological support. Some 500,000 Palestinians have been displaced with 187,000 still living in U.N. emergency shelters. An estimated 10,000 homes have been completely destroyed, and 30,000 homes partially destroyed. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers were killed in Gaza, and three civilians in Israel. We go to Jerusalem to speak with Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

"War Makes Everyone Crazy": Hiroshima Survivor Reflects on 69th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombing

Wed 07 47 AM

Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m., the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive: Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, we hear from blast survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time. His 13-year-old sister, Yoko, died in the bombing. Hosokawa spoke to us next to the A-Bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.

Killing of U.S. General by Afghan Soldier Underscores Obama's "Deep Problems" in Winding Down War

Wed 07 43 AM

A U.S. general has been killed in Afghanistan in what the Pentagon says is the latest insider attack by an Afghan soldier. Major General Harold Greene reportedly died after the soldier opened fire at a British-run military academy near the capital, Kabul. Up to 14 coalition troops were wounded. Greene was the deputy commanding general for the command involved in preparing the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops at the end of the year. He is the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed in combat since the Vietnam War. We speak to Matthieu Aikens, an award-winning investigative journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Aikins recently investigated possible war crimes in Afghanistan for Al Jazeera America and has previously covered insider attacks. "This kind of attack shows just how the deep the problem runs," Aikins says. "Even at the highest levels, what should have been a highly secured group of senior officers, [insider attacks] can do damage. It will certainly restrict even more the already limited contact [U.S.-led NATO forces] have with the Afghans."

Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview.

Can Israel Claim Self-Defense Against the Territory It Occupies? Int'l Jurist John Dugard Says No

Wed 07 25 AM

With close to 1,900 dead from Israel’s month-long assault on Gaza, Human Rights Watch is calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek International Criminal Court jurisdiction over potential war crimes committed on and from Palestinian territory. HRW says both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes. We are joined by HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth and John Dugard, former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories and emeritus professor of international law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "Given the fact that Gaza is an occupied territory, it means that Israel’s present assault is simply a way of enforcing the continuation of the occupation," says Dugard, "and the response of the Palestinian militants should be seen as the response of an occupied people that wishes to resist the occupation."

As Palestinians Go to ICC, Human Rights Watch Alleges Israeli War Crimes for Shooting Fleeing Gazans

Wed 07 10 AM

As the 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza enters its second day, Palestinian officials have been meeting with prosecutors at the International Criminal Court to push for a probe of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 29-day offensive that left nearly 1,900 Palestinians dead. Israel has said it attempted to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and accused Hamas of putting its people in harm’s way by launching rockets from within densely populated districts. In a report this week, Human Rights Watch accused Israeli soldiers of shooting and killing fleeing civilians in Gaza, citing interviews with seven Palestinians in the village of Khuza’a. We air testimony from Khuza’a residents who survived the attacks, and speak to Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

New York Police Killing of Eric Garner Spurs Debate on Chokeholds & Filming Officer Misconduct

Tue 07 43 AM

After a New York City medical examiner rules homicide in the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police, we look at the growing concern over the use of police chokeholds and a new attempt to hold officers accountable by defending a citizen’s right to videotape their actions. On July 17, New York City police placed Garner, an African-American father of six, in a chokehold after they confronted him for selling single cigarettes known as "loosies." Graphic video of the incident shows an officer pulling Garner to the ground by the neck and then holding his head against the pavement. He repeatedly says that he cannot breathe. Garner’s family and supporters have called for criminal charges against the officer and a federal civil rights investigation. Chokeholds like the one that killed Garner have been banned under NYPD’s excessive force guidelines for more than two decades. But today, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet to address more than 1,000 chokehold complaints against officers in recent years. We are joined by two mothers whose sons were killed by New York City police officers: Iris Baez and Kadiatou Diallo. We also speak to civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel and his client, Debra Goodman, a retired legal secretary who filed a lawsuit against the City of New York after she was arrested for filming police in an incident last year.

Iron Dome Boondoggle: Has Obama Just Signed a $225M Check for a Defective Israeli Missile Shield?

Tue 07 25 AM

President Obama signed a bill on Monday granting an additional $225 million in emergency funding for Israel to replenish its arsenal of interceptor missiles for its Iron Dome air defense system. The emergency spending was approved unanimously by the Senate and by a 395-to-8 vote in the House. Amidst universal support of Iron Dome from politicians and the corporate media, one of the country’s leading missile experts, Theodore Postol, says there is no evidence that Iron Dome is actually working. Postol is well known within defense circles for exposing the failures of the Patriot missile system during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. "I have been privy to discussions with members of Congress who have oversight responsibilities, who have acknowledged in those discussions that they have no idea whether Iron Dome is working or not," says Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at MIT. "And I can also tell you that the U.S. government has not been given any information on the performance of Iron Dome."

Click here to watch Part 1 of this interview.

Gaza Ceasefire: After 1,800+ Dead, What Led Israel to Stop the Assault — and What Comes Next?

Tue 07 09 AM

After a nearly month-long assault that left at least 1,865 Palestinians dead, Israel has pulled its ground forces from the Gaza Strip under the 72-hour ceasefire that went into effect earlier today. Israeli and Palestinian factions have agreed to attend talks in Cairo on a longer-term agreement. Gaza officials say the vast majority of Palestinian victims were civilians in the Israeli offensive that began on July 8. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Palestinians are returning to homes and neighborhoods that have seen a massive amount of destruction. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents were displaced during the fighting which destroyed more than 3,000 homes. The ceasefire was reached after international outrage over Palestinian civilian deaths peaked, with even Israel’s chief backer, the United States, criticizing recent Israeli shelling of United Nations shelters that killed scores of displaced Palestinians. To discuss the lead-up to the ceasefire and what to expect from the talks in Cairo, we are joined by author and scholar Norman Finkelstein.

As Gaza Death Toll Tops 1,800, Dr. Mona El-Farra Mourns Loss of 9 Relatives in Israeli Strike

Mon 07 54 AM

Early Friday morning, an Israeli airstrike on Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed nine members of the El-Farra family, including five children. The house was apparently hit by a rocket, causing the family and their neighbors to run onto the streets. Another rocket or missile reportedly struck the household’s members as they were fleeing. The El-Farra family are relatives of the prominent Palestinian physician Dr. Mona El-Farra, the health chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip. She is also the director of Gaza projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance. We speak to El-Farra and her niece, Laila El-Haddad, who testified about the massacre during a congressional briefing on Friday.

Likely Solution for a Lasting Ceasefire was on the Table Before Israeli Assault & Over 1,800 Dead

Mon 07 41 AM

Is a lasting ceasefire in Gaza possible —- and on what terms? Our guest Nathan Thrall has laid out a possible plan for a ceasefire in his new article in the London Review of Books, "Hamas’s Chances." Thrall writes: "The obvious solution is to let the new Palestinian government return to Gaza and reconstruct it. Israel can claim it is weakening Hamas by strengthening its enemies. Hamas can claim it won the recognition of the new government and a significant lifting of the blockade. This solution would of course have been available to Israel, the U.S., Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in the weeks and months before the war began, before so many lives were shattered." Speaking to us from Jerusalem, Thrall is a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, covering Gaza, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. He also addresses Hamas’ accusation that Israel misled the world about the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier. On Friday, Israel said one of its soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin, had been captured near Rafah. His suspected abduction led to an Israeli offensive in Rafah that killed more than 100 people and the collapse of a U.S.— and U.N.-brokered ceasefire.

"Disgraceful," "Criminal Act": Israel Condemned as 10 Die in Another Strike on U.N. Shelter in Gaza

Mon 07 25 AM

The United States and the United Nations have condemned Israel after an airstrike killed 10 people near the entrance of a United Nations school sheltering Palestinian civilians. The school was reportedly being used as a shelter for about 3,000 people. It was the second attack on a U.N. school in less than a week, and the seventh over the course of Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The coordinates of the school were reportedly communicated to the Israel Defense Force no fewer than 33 times, the last time just an hour before the shelling. Shortly after Sunday’s attack, the State Department issued a statement saying: "The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the attack as "a moral outrage and a criminal act." We get an update from Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

"Everything That Moves in Rafah is a Target": Israel Continues Shelling of Gaza During Short "Pause"

Mon 07 12 AM

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has topped 1,800 as the Israeli offensive enters its 28th day. On Sunday, at least 10 people died when Israel shelled another United Nations school sheltering Palestinian civilians. The United States has called the attack "disgraceful," while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned it as a "moral outrage and a criminal act." It was the seventh U.N. school hit since Israel’s offensive began. The United Nations, meanwhile, is warning of a "rapidly unfolding" health crisis in Gaza as large parts of the territory remain without power or running water, and around 400,000 are displaced. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since a 72-hour ceasefire collapsed on Friday. Over the weekend, the Israeli government admitted that a soldier it had reported as captured was actually killed in battle. Earlier today, Israel announced a unilateral seven-hour truce in most of the Gaza Strip, except for Rafah. Palestinians have already accused Israel of breaking its own ceasefire by launching deadly attack on the Shati refugee camp. We go to Gaza City to speak with Mohammed Omer, an award-winning Palestinian journalist who has family in Rafah.