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: 1 hour 13 min ago

Fracking Protests Continue in Texas as New ALEC-Backed Law Bars Towns from Banning Drilling

Wed 07 48 AM

The city of Denton, Texas, is in a showdown with Big Oil after it tried to pass a ban on fracking within its city limits. On Tuesday night, residents of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth, packed a city council meeting to oppose a vote to repeal the ban. The vote was ultimately tabled. The move comes after Texas lawmakers passed a new law that prohibits such bans. The measure went into effect on Monday. That same morning, three protesters locked themselves to the entrance of the first fracking well to reopen. It was just this past November that nearly 60 percent of Denton residents supported the ban at the ballot box. But they were immediately threatened with lawsuits by the Texas Oil and Gas Association and the Texas General Land Office. Those same interests worked with lawmakers and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, to pass this new ban on fracking bans known as House Bill 40. All of this comes as Oklahoma became the second state to ban fracking bans on Friday. Meanwhile, Maryland became the second state, after New York, to ban fracking. We are joined by Tara Linn Hunter, volunteer coordinator for Frack Free Denton.

Australian Whistleblower Who Took on FIFA Corruption: Sepp Blatter's Resignation Long Overdue

Wed 07 33 AM

The beleaguered head of the international soccer governing body FIFA has resigned over a growing corruption scandal. Sepp Blatter’s announcement follows last week’s indictments of 14 people on corruption charges, including two FIFA vice presidents. The New York Times reported Blatter’s secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, allegedly made $10 million in bank transactions that are central elements of the bribery scandal. U.S. officials have confirmed Blatter is the focus of a criminal investigation, with investigators hopeful those already charged will cooperate. The resignation won’t take effect for another four months due to FIFA rules. We are joined by Bonita Mersiades, the former head of corporate and public affairs with the Football Federation of Australia during Australia’s bid for the 2022 World Cup, which ultimately was awarded to Qatar. Mersiades was let go from the bid team after disagreeing with a policy to influence the vote of FIFA’s Executive Committee members with money for pet projects, and testified during FIFA’s own investigation into corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

"Cultural Genocide": Landmark Report Decries Canada's Forced Schooling of Indigenous Children

Wed 07 10 AM

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada has concluded the country’s decades-long policy of forcibly removing indigenous children from their families and placing them in state-funded residential Christian schools amounted to "cultural genocide." After a six-year investigation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report concluded: "The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to aboriginal people and gain control over their lands and resources. If every aboriginal person had been 'absorbed into the body politic,' there would be no reserves, no treaties and no aboriginal rights." The first schools opened in 1883. The last one closed in 1998. During that time over 150,000 indigenous children were sent away to rid them of their native cultures and languages and integrate them into mainstream Canadian society. Many students recall being beaten for speaking their native languages and losing touch with their parents and customs. The report also documents widespread physical, cultural and sexual abuse. We are joined by Pamela Palmater, associate professor and chair of the Centre for Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, an Idle No More activist and author of "Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity and Belonging."

Organic Farming Flourishes in Cuba, But Can It Survive Entry of U.S. Agribusiness?

Tue 07 43 AM

Over the past 25 years, Cuba has built a largely organic farming system out of necessity. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Cuba lost its main supplier of fertilizers and pesticides. What will the changing U.S.-Cuban relationship mean for Cuban farmers? We air a video report from a farm outside Havana produced by Democracy Now!'s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid. We also speak to filmmaker Catherine Murphy, who has studied Cuba's agricultural system.

Video Postcard from Havana: Cuban Tourism Industry Adapts During These Changing Times

Tue 07 31 AM

As the United States moves to normalize relations with Cuba, more than a million Americans are expected to visit the island this year. How will this change Cuba? Who will prosper? Democracy Now!’s Karen Ranucci and Monica Melamid recently traveled to Cuba, where they produced this piece on the growing private tourism industry.

As U.S. Drops Havana from Terror List, Cuba Aims to Preserve Sovereignty & Independence

Tue 07 22 AM

The U.S. has formally removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, clearing a main obstacle to restoring diplomatic ties with Havana for the first time in over five decades. Cuba was placed on the terrorism list in 1982 at a time when Havana was supporting liberation struggles in Africa and Latin America. While Cuba is now off the terrorism list, most of the U.S. sanctions remain in place. We speak to historian Jane Franklin, author of "Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History."

WikiLeaks Launches Campaign to Offer $100,000 "Bounty" for Leaked Drafts of Secret TPP Chapters

Tue 07 09 AM

Despite the Senate vote approving a measure to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, opposition to the deal continues to mount ahead of this month’s House vote. Critics, including a number of Democratic lawmakers, oppose the TPP, saying it will fuel inequality, kill jobs, and undermine health, environmental and financial regulations. The negotiations have been secret, and the public has never seen most of the deal’s text. Well, this morning the whistleblowing group WikiLeaks launched a campaign to change that. The group is seeking to raise $100,000 to offer what they describe as a bounty for the leaking of the unseen chapters of the TPP. We speak to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Exclusive: Gay High School Student Delivers Valedictorian Speech He Was Barred from Giving

Mon 07 41 AM

Eighteen-year-old Evan Young was supposed to be the 2015 class valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. But his principal prevented him from giving his graduation speech after learning he would announce he is gay. Instead, two weeks later, Young got to give his speech at an Out Boulder fundraiser before an audience of hundreds, a number of them politicians who congratulated him for his bravery. We air Young’s full address and speak to him about his experience.

Glenn Greenwald: As Bulk NSA Spying Expires, Scare Tactics Can't Stop "Sea Change" on Surveillance

Mon 07 12 AM

The government’s authority to sweep up millions of Americans’ phone records has expired. The practice exposed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden could now face limited reforms as the Senate weighs the USA FREEDOM Act, which would require the government to ask phone companies for a user’s data rather than vacuuming up all the records at once. We get reaction from Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who first reported on Snowden’s revelations.

Code Blue: U.N. Accused of Giving Immunity to Peacekeepers Who Commit Sexual Abuse

Fri 07 50 AM

The United Nations is coming under criticism for failing to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic between December 2013 and June 2014. The Guardian obtained a leaked report that says French soldiers raped and sodomized starving and homeless young boys who they were supposed to be protecting at a center for internally displaced people during intense fighting in the country. Even after the exploitation was brought to the attention of senior U.N. officials, the U.N. never reported it to French authorities — nor did it do anything to immediately stop the abuse. So far, the only person to be punished is a U.N. aid worker, Anders Kompass, who stepped outside official channels to alert French authorities about the sexual exploitation. Kompass has since been accused of leaking the confidential report in breach of U.N. protocols and now faces dismissal. We speak to Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World, which has launched the Code Blue campaign.

As GOP Candidates Question Climate Change, Texas & Oklahoma Hit by Devastating Floods Killing 23

Fri 07 30 AM

Severe storms that began last week in Texas and Oklahoma have killed at least 23 people, and the damage is so extensive that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared nearly 40 counties disaster areas. In Houston, many highways turned into waterways, and more than a thousand cars were submerged under water. President Obama has pledged federal assistance to help the state recover, but cleanup efforts were stalled Thursday as thunderstorms continued. The historic floods in Texas come as the state is just ending an extreme drought. Meanwhile, several possible Republican presidential candidates are questioning climate change. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has talked about "global warming alarmists." Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has said "climate change has been co-opted by the hardcore left."

The Enron of Sports: FIFA's Upheaval, from Corruption Arrests to Rising Death Toll in Qatar

Fri 07 09 AM

In what’s been described as the largest scandal in modern sports history, nine high-ranking soccer officials, including two current vice presidents of soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, were indicted along with five sports marketing executives on federal corruption charges by the U.S. Justice Department. Among those arrested in connection with the probe is Jack Warner, former vice president of FIFA, who is accused of taking a $10 million bribe to cast his ballot for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup. Despite the arrests, FIFA is holding an election today to pick the next president of the organization. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is seeking re-election for the post he has held since 1998. Many commentators have predicted he will be re-elected, though some nations, including the United States, have vowed to vote against him. We speak to sportswriter Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff, former professional soccer player who represented the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Assange on the Untold Story of the Grounding of Evo Morales' Plane During Edward Snowden Manhunt

Thu 07 40 AM

In 2013, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks played a pivotal role in helping National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong for Russia. During the U.S. hunt for Snowden, Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was forced to land in Austria for 14 hours after Spain, France, Portugal and Italy closed their airspace under pressure from the United States over false rumors Snowden was on board. Assange gives the inside story on why that plane was targeted.

The Kill List: ICWatch Uses LinkedIn Account Info to Out Officials Who Aided Assassination Program

Thu 07 29 AM

WikiLeaks has begun hosting a new database called ICWatch, built by Transparency Toolkit. The site includes a searchable database of 27,000 LinkedIn profiles of people in the intelligence community. Organizers say the aim of the site is to "watch the watchers." WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks about how the database could be used to help identify individuals connected to the U.S. kill list, formally known as the Joint Prioritized Effects List, or JPEL.

WikiLeaks Releases 500K U.S. Cables from 1978 on Iran, Sandinistas, Afghanistan, Israel & More

Thu 07 24 AM

On Wednesday, WikiLeaks added more than half a million U.S. diplomatic cables from 1978 to its Public Library of US Diplomacy database. The documents include diplomatic cables and other diplomatic communications from and to U.S. embassies and missions in nearly every country. "1978 actually set in progress many of the geopolitical elements that are playing out today," Assange said. "1978 was the beginning of the Iranian revolution … the Sandinista movement started in its popular form … the war period in Afghanistan began in 1978 and hasn’t stopped since."

"Pretrial Punishment": Julian Assange Remains in Ecuadorean Embassy Fearing Arrest If He Leaves

Thu 07 13 AM

Five years ago this week, U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning was arrested in Kuwait and charged with leaking classified information. Weeks later, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of internal logs from the war in Afghanistan. It was one of the largest leaks in U.S. military history. Major articles ran in The New York Times, Guardian, Der Spiegel and other outlets. Chelsea Manning, then known as Bradley, and Julian Assange soon became household names. While Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail, Assange has been living for the past three years inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has political asylum. Assange faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. Here in the United States, a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing leaked Afghan and Iraq war logs and State Department cables. In Sweden, Assange is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. "Look at Thomas Drake, for example, NSA whistleblower ... The pretrial process was both the deterrent, the general deterrent, and it was the penalty," Assange said. "And the same thing is happening here in the WikiLeaks process, where we have no rights as a defendant because the formal trial hasn’t started yet. The same thing has happened with me here in this embassy in relation to the Swedish case: no charges, no trial, no ability to defend yourself, don’t even have a right to documents, because you’re not even a defendant."