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: 3 hours 10 min ago

Argentina Alleges Extortion After Supreme Court Sides with Vulture Funds Preying on Sovereign Debt

Thu 07 51 AM

We look at a case that is being called the "trial of the century" in how poor countries repay sovereign debt. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Argentina over its $1.5 billion debt in a ruling critics say validates predatory behavior by so-called "vulture funds." The case involves hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt at bargain rates after its financial crisis more than a decade ago. After Argentina defaulted on its debts, the vast majority of its creditors agreed to slash the value of their holdings. But NML Capital and other firms refused to accept the deal, instead seeking full repayment. Monday’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision ordering Argentina to pay the companies. Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has called the firms’ actions "extortion." We are joined by Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network.

As Iraq Teeters, Will U.S. and Iran Join Forces to Shore Up Embattled Shiite Gov't?

Thu 07 40 AM

As Iraq asks the United States for military strikes against Sunni militants, we look at the role of Iran in the growing crisis. On Wednesday, the Iraqi government formally asked the United States to carry out airstrikes on the militants, who have seized a large swath of the country over the past week. According to a report in The Independent of London, the Obama administration has told senior Iraqi officials that it would intervene militarily only if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki left office. Maliki, who is Shiite, has been widely criticized for deepening Iraq’s sectarian divide. Many analysts say the crisis in Iraq and Syria is developing into a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Maliki’s government accusing the Saudis of backing the Sunni militants. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia issued an apparent warning to Iran by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict. This came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran "will not hesitate" to protect Shiite holy sites in Iraq threatened by Sunni militants. The Obama administration has said it remains opens to cooperation with Iran on stopping the militants’ advance, an issue briefly discussed between the two sides on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna. Will and Tehran work together to shore up the Iraqi regime? We are joined by Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council.

"A Neo-Liberal Trojan Horse": Dave Zirin on Brazil's Mass Protests Against World Cup Displacement

Thu 07 29 AM

Thousands of people marched in Brazil on Wednesday in one of the largest protests of the 2014 World Cup. Members of the Homeless Workers Movement blocked a major freeway in São Paulo to protest massive spending on the tournament and to call for more affordable housing. In another World Cup city, Porto Alegre, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators protesting against the international soccer body, FIFA. The peaceful protesters were vastly outnumbered by an army of riot police in military gear. Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden was in Brazil to watch the United States defeat Ghana 2-1 — and to try to mend ties with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after revelations of National Security Agency’s spying on Brazil, including on Rousseff’s personal cellphone. All of this comes as Brazil looks ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, with another round of mass displacement underway. We go to Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to speak with sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy."

Photo Credit: Reuters

Meet the Navajo Activist Who Got the Washington Redskins' Trademark Revoked: Amanda Blackhorse

Thu 07 12 AM

The growing movement to change the name of the Washington Redskins football team has scored a surprising victory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the team’s trademark registration after concluding its name and logo are disparaging to Native Americans. The decision does not force the team to change its name, but it could make it more difficult to legally guard the name and logo from use by third parties. The team can reportedly keep the trademark while they appeal. But Native Americans and other critics of the Redskins’ brand have hailed the ruling as the latest sign team owner Dan Snyder will inevitably be forced to drop it. We are joined by two guests: Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo activist and plaintiff in the case, and sportswriter Dave Zirin.

"Colonialism is Inhuman": Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi on the Lessons of Algeria's Independence Struggle

Wed 07 50 AM

Weeks after his resignation as the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, the longtime diplomat and former freedom fighter Lakhdar Brahimi discusses his own country, Algeria, and its struggle for independence from the French. The Algerian rebellion was captured in the classic anti-colonial film "Battle of Algiers," which vividly depicts the Algerian struggle against the French occupation in the 1950s and early 1960s. "They dispossessed a whole nation," Brahimi says of the French occupation. "Colonialism was very inhuman."

Will Iraq or Syria Survive? UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Sectarian War & the Disastrous '03 Invasion

Wed 07 11 AM

As a Sunni militancy overtakes large parts of Iraq, former U.N.-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi joins us to discuss the escalating Iraqi conflict, the long-term impact of the 2003 U.S. invasion, and the crisis in neighboring Syria. A former Algerian freedom fighter who went on to become Algeria’s foreign minister, Brahimi has been deeply involved in Middle Eastern diplomacy for decades. He has worked on many of the world’s major conflicts from Afghanistan and Iraq to South Africa. Brahimi resigned as the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria last month after a lengthy effort that failed to bring about peace talks between the Syrian government and rebel groups. On the legacy of the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, Brahimi says: "The biggest mistake was to invade. I am tempted to say that every time there was a [U.S.] choice between something right and something wrong, not very often the right option was taken." On Syria, Brahimi says the conflict is "an infected wound … if not treated properly, it will spread — and this is what is happening."

"The Last Magazine": One Year After Death, Michael Hastings' Lost Novel Satirizes Corporate Media

Tue 07 47 AM

June 17 marks the first anniversary of the death of investigative journalist Michael Hastings. Just 33 years old, Hastings died in a car crash at a time when he was considered of one of the country’s most daring young reporters. His dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan unveiled the hidden realities of war. His 2010 Rolling Stone article on General Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, sparked a political controversy after McChrystal and his aides were quoted making disparaging remarks about top administration officials. The article exposed longstanding government discord over the Afghan War’s direction and led to McChrystal’s firing. One year after his death, Hastings’ reporting has made waves once again. In 2012, Hastings wrote a major investigation for Rolling Stone on the American prisoner of war, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. At the time, Hastings thought it was the most important story of his career. But it only recently earned widespread attention after Bergdahl’s release for five Taliban members sparked a political firestorm. In his report, Hastings revealed Bergdahl was profoundly disillusioned with the Afghan War and may have walked away from his base as a result. With Bergdahl still silent as he recovers from five years in Taliban captivity, Hastings’ article remains the definitive account of the young soldier’s story. Today, another major work from Hastings is upon us: "The Last Magazine," a posthumous novel and scathing satire of the corporate news media based on Hastings’ time at Newsweek. We are joined by Hastings’ widow, Elise Jordan, who brought the book to life after coming across the manuscript following her husband’s death.

50 Years Later, How a New Freedom Summer Could Mobilize the South's Disenfranchised People of Color

Tue 07 31 AM

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. In June 1964, more than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers traveled to Mississippi to help register African-American voters and set up "freedom schools." Activists risked their lives to help actualize the promise of America’s democracy: the right for everyone to vote. Out of Freedom Summer grew the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party that challenged the legitimacy of the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Half a century after Freedom Summer, a new report suggests much work remains to be done. According to the report, people of color continue to be locked out of statewide politics, and people of color candidates rarely get elected to statewide office. The report features state-by-state graphics that demonstrate how a targeted wave of voter registration among people of color voters could shift the balance of power in key Southern states. The report, "True South: Voters of Color in the Black Belt 50 Years After Freedom Summer," was just released by the Southern Elections Foundation and the Center for American Progress. We are joined by the report’s author, Benjamin Jealous, a partner at Kapor Capital and a senior fellow the Center for American Progress.

Juan Cole: Mass Sunni Uprising Forces Iraq to Confront Sectarian Blowback of 2003 U.S. Invasion

Tue 07 10 AM

As the United States briefly holds talks with Iran over the crisis in Iraq, President Obama has announced the deployment of 275 U.S. military personnel to protect U.S. personnel and facilities in Baghdad. The Obama administration is reportedly weighing other options in Iraq, including drone strikes and the deployment of special forces to train Iraqi troops. This comes as Sunni militants have launched a new offensive against the city of Baquba less than 40 miles from Baghdad. We speak to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, author of several books, including the forthcoming "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East."

Image Credit: Reuters

Dave Zirin on the World Cup You Won't See on TV: Protests, Tear Gas, Displaced Favela Residents

Mon 07 41 AM

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is entering its fifth day. The United States will play its first game of the tournament today against Ghana. Meanwhile, protests are continuing on the streets of Brazil. Many Brazilians have expressed fury over Brazil spending an estimated $11 billion to host the cup while the country’s hospitals and schools remain woefully underfunded. In a video taken by the Associated Press on Sunday, a police officer can be seen firing what appears to be a live pistol round at anti-World Cup protesters near Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã soccer stadium. Police have reportedly also used tear gas, rubber bullets and noise bombs to disperse demonstrators. We go to Rio to speak with sportswriter Dave Zirin, who was tear-gassed on Sunday while covering the protests. He is author of the new book, "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics and the Fight for Democracy."

As Obama Considers Drone Strikes in Iraq, Could U.S. Military Action Worsen Sectarian Conflict?

Mon 07 13 AM

Over the weekend, militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) seized the northern town of Tal Afar after a fierce fight. Many fear Iraq could disintegrate as ISIS takes more cities. Shiite militias are now fighting alongside the Iraqi army in an effort to retake cities from the control of Sunni militants. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged today the United States is considering launching drone strikes inside Iraq to help shore up the Iraqi government. He also said he is open to talks with Iran on how Washington and Tehran could work together to help the Iraqi state. The United States appears to be moving closer to launching airstrikes. The USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier has recently arrived in the Persian Gulf. The carrier is accompanied by the USS Philippine Sea guided-missile cruiser and the USS Truxtun guided-missile destroyer, both of which carry Tomahawk missiles that can reach Iraq. The United States has also begun evacuating some employees from its massive embassy in Baghdad. Meanwhile in Britain, former Prime Minister Tony Blair is facing widespread criticism after he suggested the current crisis is not linked to the 2003 U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. Blair said, "We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this. We haven’t." To talk more about the crisis in Iraq, we are joined by Iraqi-American political analyst Raed Jarrar.

Report from Iraq: U.S. Invasion in 2003 Helped Set Path for Crisis Pulling Nation Apart

Fri 07 47 AM

A representative of Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has called on Iraqis to take up arms against what he called "terrorists" who have overrun large swaths of the country. The call comes just hours after Islamist militants seized two more strategic towns northeast of Baghdad, moving the country closer to disintegration. Over the past few days, fighters from ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have seized several major cities including Mosul and Tikrit. Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters have taken control of the oil city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq. On Thursday, President Obama said he won’t rule anything out, including a military response. The Wall Street Journal meanwhile reports Iran is sending units of its al-Quds forces into Iraq to help stop the Sunni fighters from ISIS. We go to the city of Najaf to speak to Sami Rasouli, founder and director of the Muslim Peacemaker Teams in Iraq. He left Iraq in the late 1970s and eventually moved to the United States and settled in Minneapolis, where he was a well-known restaurateur. He moved back to Iraq in 2004 after living abroad for nearly 30 years.

Children on the Run: U.S. Detains Thousands of Young Migrants Seeking Safety, Family Reunification

Fri 07 12 AM

U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports over 47,000 unaccompanied children have been detained so far this year after crossing the border, almost double the number for all of 2013 and almost five times the number from 2009. President Obama has described the situation as a "humanitarian crisis." Some of the children have been detained in shocking conditions. Over 1,000 children are reportedly being held at a warehouse in Nogales, Arizona, some sleeping in plastic containers. We speak to Jose Luis Zelaya, who fled Honduras in 2000 at the age of 13 in search of his mother. He traveled unaccompanied through Central America and finally reached Texas four months later. Zelaya is now a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M in the Department of Education. We also speak to Sonia Nazario in Los Angeles, California. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother."

In Sisi's Egypt, Leading Dissident Gets 15-Year Term as Al Jazeera Reporter Languishes Behind Bars

Thu 07 47 AM

An Egyptian court has sentenced one of the country’s most prominent pro-democracy activists to 15 years in prison. Alaa Abd El-Fattah was found guilty of illegal protest and attacking a police officer for a rally against a draconian protest law last year. Twenty-four other defendants in the case received the same 15-year sentence. Since they were tried in absentia, they are entitled to a retrial. It’s the first conviction of a prominent activist since former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took office as president on Sunday. As El-Fattah faces a lengthy prison term, the Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Abdullah Elshamy is on a nearly five-month hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge. Elshamy has reportedly lost over a third of his body weight and is reportedly suffering from severe anemia, low blood pressure and the start of kidney failure. We go to Cairo to speak with Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s aunt, the famed Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif, and Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous. And we are joined by Abdullah Elshamy’s brother, Mohammed.