Democracy Now

Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! is an independent daily TV & radio news program, hosted by award-winning journalists Amy Goodman and Juan González. We provide daily global news headlines, in-depth interviews and investigative reports without any advertisements or government funding. Our programming shines a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lifts up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. Democracy Now! is live weekdays at 8am ET and available 24/7 through our website and podcasts.
Updated: 9 hours 15 min ago

Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Hénin: Welcoming Refugees is the Best Strategy Against ISIS

Mon 07 40 AM

French journalist and author Nicolas Hénin spent 10 months as an ISIS hostage where he was held by Mohammed Emwazi. We spoke with him about the growing move among Western countries to close their doors to refugees. "Welcoming refugees is not a terror threat to our countries; it’s like a vaccine to protect us from terrorism, because the more interactions we have between societies, between communities, the less there will be tensions," Hénin says. "The Islamic State believes in a global confrontation. What they want eventually is civil war in our countries, or at least large unrest, and in the Middle East, a large-scale war. This is what they look for. This is what they struggle for. So we have to kill their narrative and actually to welcome refugees, totally destroy their narrative."

Airstrikes Against Syria are a Trap, Warns Former ISIS Hostage Nicolas Hénin

Mon 07 30 AM

In a rare televised Oval Office address on Sunday, President Obama laid out a defense of the U.S. war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, which he said has evolved into a new phase. He described the recent shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., which killed 14 people, as "an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people," called on Congress to authorize the continued use of military force and outlined his plan to continue bombing Iraq and Syria areas held by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. We speak with French journalist Nicolas Hénin, who was held hostage by ISIS inside Syria for 10 months, spending much of the time locked up in a dungeon. He was held alongside U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were later beheaded. Their deaths were videotaped and aired across the world. While he was held hostage, Hénin also briefly met American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who also died in captivity, possibly from a U.S.-led coalition airstrike. Hénin, who was released in April 2014 along with three other French journalists, makes an impassioned plea against bombing Syria. "All these bombings have a terrible effect," says Hénin. "We are pushing the Syrian people into the hands of ISIS."

Activists Dragged Out of Climate Expo for Protesting Corporate Influence over COP21 Negotiations

Mon 07 19 AM

The U.N. climate summit has come under scrutiny for its unprecedented level of corporate sponsorship—more than 50 companies, with some of them counted by climate activists as being among the world’s worst industrial polluters. On Friday, climate activists gathered at the Grand Palais in Paris protesting the COP21 "Solutions" exhibition, where businesses were pushing for corporate and privatized responses to climate change. Several protesters were evicted from the premises by the large security presence at the event.

"We Do Not Want to Die in Silence": Indigenous People Demand Rights as Draft Climate Deal Reached

Mon 07 10 AM

Negotiators from 195 countries at the United Nations climate summit have approved draft text for what they hope will form an accord to curb global carbon emissions by the end of this week. Among the issues still under discussion is whether the deal will mention indigenous rights. On Sunday, indigenous people from around the world took to the waters here in Paris to defend their rights and the environment. "We’re very, very concerned about the fact that reference to indigenous rights and human rights have been moved into an annex in the Paris text," Cree activist Clayton Thomas-Muller says. "It means that they’ve been put aside to be discussed after the weekend."

Activists Stage Paris Sit-In To Protest Role of Corporate Polluters in Climate Talks

Fri 07 57 AM

Despite restrictions on protests following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people, activists attempted to stage a mass sit-in at the Grand Palais in Paris today to protest corporate sponsors pushing for so-called "solutions" to climate change that include genetically modified foods, privatized water and biofuels. We get an update from Pascoe Sabido of the Corporate Europe Observatory.

African Women, Hit Hardest by Climate Change, Forge New Solutions Across the Continent

Fri 07 44 AM

Africa has been praised here in Paris for leading the way on renewable energy, with the African Development Bank announcing this week it would spend $12 billion on energy projects over the next five years. But as Africa forges ahead, will it leave behind women, who often bear the brunt of impacts from climate change? Across the continent, African women are creating their own solutions. We’re joined by climate justice activists from both sides of the African continent. Priscilla Achakpa is a delegate from Nigeria and is with the Women’s Caucus and the Women and Gender Constituency here at the U.N. Climate Summit. She is the Executive Director of the Women Environmental Programme in Nigeria. Edna Kaptoyo is with the Kenya-based Indigenous Information Network. She is a member of the Indigenous People’s Caucus and the Women and Gender Constituency here at the U.N. Climate Summit.

Climate Scientist James Hansen Warns World is on Wrong Track to Prevent Runaway Global Warming

Fri 07 29 AM

In 1988, James Hansen first warned about the dangers of climate change when he testified before Congress. At the time he was NASA’s top climate scientist. He would go on to become the nation’s most influential climate scientist. This year he is making his first appearance at a U.N. climate change summit. He has come to Paris to warn world leaders that they are on the wrong track to prevent dangerous global warming.

Will Nicaragua Build Massive Canal Despite Environmental Opposition?

Fri 07 23 AM

In Nicaragua, thousands of rural residents from across the country flocked to the capital Managua in October to protest the construction of a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The $50 billion project will be larger than the Panama Canal and could displace up to 120,000 people. Many Nicaraguan residents traveled days to attend the protest in Managua. Police reportedly set up multiple roadblocks in a bid to prevent them from reaching the capital. Farmer Rafael Ángel Bermúdez was among those calling for the repeal of a 2013 law allowing a Chinese firm to expropriate land in order to build the canal. We speak to Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator Paul Oquist.

U.S. Accused of Shifting Responsibility of Climate Crisis Despite Role as Largest Historic Polluter

Fri 07 19 AM

The first week of U.N. climate talks is wrapping up. On Monday, nearly 150 world leaders, including President Obama, gathered in Paris on the first day of the talks. Obama praised fellow world leaders for submitting voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but others criticize what they see as empty promises. "President Obama said that the developed world and the United States will assume its responsibility and will do something about it to combat climate change," says Meena Raman, climate change coordinator for the Third World Network. "However, that is quite rhetorical. If you look at the way the negotiations are going, the United States negotiators and their positions in the talks are far away from assuming any responsibility. What they’re doing is shifting the responsibility to the developing world… So what President Obama says is ringing hollow."

We Do Not Want to Be An Accomplice: Nicaragua Rejects Global Consensus On Voluntary Emission Cuts

Fri 07 11 AM

On Monday, President Obama praised fellow world leaders for submitting voluntary pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "Already, prior to Paris, more than 180 countries representing nearly 95 percent of global emissions have put forward their own climate targets," Obama said. "That is progress. But a handful of nations are refusing to make pledges." We speak to Nicaragua’s chief climate negotiator, Paul Oquist, about why his country refused to submit a pledge.

State of Emergency in France: 2,200 Police Raids, 3 Closed Mosques, Hundreds of Muslims Detained

Thu 07 45 AM

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Wednesday that authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since a state of emergency was declared following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any home without judicial oversight. In addition, police have held 263 people for questioning – nearly all have been detained. Another 330 people are under house arrest, and three mosques have also been shut down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim. We speak with Yasser Louati, spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.

President of California Senate Calls for Gun Control After 14 Killed in San Bernardino Massacre

Thu 07 33 AM

On Wednesday morning, a man and woman armed with assault rifles and semiautomatic handguns opened fire at a social services center in San Bernardino, Calif., killing 14 people and wounding at least 17. The suspects, identified as married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were later killed by police. The shooting took place about 60 miles east of Los Angeles at the Inland Regional Center, a facility that provides services to people with disabilities. It was the worst mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., nearly three years ago, when a gunman killed 26 people, most of them first graders. Wednesday’s shooting came just five days after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing three people and wounding nine. According to a tally maintained by, there have been 355 mass shootings in the United States this year – an average of more than one a day. We speak with California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who has been an advocate for stricter gun control.

Climate Change and Inequality Are Driving War and Catastrophic Conflicts from Syria to Africa

Thu 07 26 AM

As Democracy Now! broadcasts from the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris, France, we examine the connection between a warming planet and increasing conflicts around the globe. “If we want to deal with the issues of conflict, go to the root cause: inequality and climate change,” says Asad Rehman, former national organizer of the Stop the War Coalition in the UK, who now serves as Head of International Climate for Friends of the Earth. He notes that from 2006 to 2011, Syria suffered from five years of the worst drought ever in the country’s history. Nearly two million people moved from rural to urban areas, and 80 percent of livestock died. Asad compares this to the Arab Spring, which was driven in part by an agricultural collapse that prompted food prices to triple and generated mass social unrest.

"A Blemish on British Political History": Anti-War Activist Decries UK Vote to Bomb Syria

Thu 07 19 AM

"For those who stand in solidarity with the Syrian people, we cannot say the decision to send more bombs by UK airplanes will help them," says Asad Rehman, former national organizer of the Stop the War Coalition in the United Kingdom, reacting to the British airstrikes on Syria just hours after lawmakers voted 397 to 223 to support Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan for bombing the country. "Nobody has invented a bomb yet that is magically precisioned that can take out the so-called terrorists but can keep innocent civilians alive. We know there will be a tragic loss of life, and that is a blemish on British political history."

UK Begins Bombing Syria After Pro-War Vote; Cameron Accuses Corbyn of Being “Terrorist Sympathizer”

Thu 07 14 AM

British warplanes have begun bombing targets in Syria just hours after British lawmakers voted 397 to 223 to support Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan for airstrikes. The warplanes took off from an airbase in Cyprus. They struck oil fields in eastern Syria controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The decision to bomb Syria divided the opposition Labour Party in Britain. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn opposed the bombing but was challenged from within his own party by foreign affairs spokesperson Hilary Benn. Lawmakers held a 10 hour debate on Wednesday, and we air an extended excerpt of Corbyn and Benn along with Prime Minister David Cameron.

Marshall Islands Poet to the U.N. Climate Summit: “Tell Them We Are Nothing Without Our Islands”

Wed 07 53 AM

The Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), an organization that uses art to inspire social change, brought a delegation of poets from around the world to Paris to highlight the impacts of climate change and inspire climate action. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a poet and climate activist from the Marshall Islands, led the group. She shared a poem at a protest at COP21 called “Tell Them,” calling for fossil fuel divestment.

The Global Poor vs. the 10%: How Climate Inequality Hurts the Most Vulnerable and Least Responsible

Wed 07 45 AM

A new report by Oxfam has found the richest 10 percent of the world’s population produce half of the Earth’s climate-harming fossil fuel emissions. The poorest half – about 3.5 billion people – are responsible for only around 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Oxfam’s report is titled “Extreme Carbon Inequality: Why the Paris climate deal must put the poorest, lowest emitting and most vulnerable people first." We speak with the report’s author Tim Gore, head of policy for Oxfam International on food, land rights and climate change.