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: 6 hours 20 min ago

Copenhagen Attack Witness Inna Shevchenko Debates Scholar Tariq Ramadan on Religion and Free Speech

Mon 08 14 AM

Danish police have shot and killed a man they say carried out attacks on a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen. Local media identified the suspect as 22-year-old Omar al-Hussein, who had reportedly been released from prison just weeks earlier. Two other people have also been charged with aiding him. The presumed target of the attacks, Swedish artist Lars Vilks, has received death threats for depicting the head of the Prophet Muhammad on a dog. Vilks was unharmed, but a Danish film director was shot dead and three police officers injured. Hours later, the gunman attacked a synagogue, killing a guard outside and injuring another two police officers. The attacks in Copenhagen come a month after the massacre at the Paris offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. We speak with Inna Shevchenko, a speaker at the Copenhagen free speech event when the attack took place. Shevchenko is a leader of the international women’s protest group Femen, which often demonstrates topless against what they perceive as manifestations of patriarchy, especially dictatorship, religion and the sex industry. We are also joined by Tariq Ramadan, professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University and author of a number of influential books on Islam and the West.

As Public Pensions Shift to Risky Wall Street, Local Politicians Rake in Political Cash

Fri 08 51 AM

We look at a Wall Street scandal that has generated little attention but impacts millions of American public workers. In recent years, cities and states have been increasingly investing worker pensions in risky hedge funds, private equity and other so-called "alternative investments." Many of the investments are being done in secret while politically connected Wall Streets firms — including Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and Elliott Management — earn millions in investment fees from taxpayers. Denver-based journalist David Sirota recently revealed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as President Obama’s chief of staff, received more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds. Sirota also revealed the head of a New Jersey board that determines how the state invests its $80 billion pension fund was in direct contact with top political and campaign fundraising aides for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his re-election bid. Meanwhile, some states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Rhode Island, have faced criticism for blocking the release of information about how their pension funds are being handled. We speak with David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times, who authored the 2013 report, "The Plot Against Pensions," published by the Institute for America’s Future.

As Public Pensions Shift to Risky Wall Street, Local Politicians Rake in Political Cash

Fri 08 51 AM

We look at a Wall Street scandal that has generated little attention but impacts millions of American public workers. In recent years, cities and states have been increasingly investing worker pensions in risky hedge funds, private equity and other so-called "alternative investments." Many of the investments are being done in secret while politically connected Wall Streets firms — including Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and Elliott Management — earn millions in investment fees from taxpayers. Denver-based journalist David Sirota recently revealed Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who once served as President Obama’s chief of staff, received more than $600,000 in campaign contributions from executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds. Sirota also revealed the head of a New Jersey board that determines how the state invests its $80 billion pension fund was in direct contact with top political and campaign fundraising aides for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his re-election bid. Meanwhile, some states, including Illinois, Kentucky and Rhode Island, have faced criticism for blocking the release of information about how their pension funds are being handled. We speak with David Sirota, senior writer at the International Business Times, who authored the 2013 report, "The Plot Against Pensions," published by the Institute for America’s Future.

Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico

Fri 08 35 AM

Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.

Undocumented Father Finds Sanctuary in Denver Church to Fight Deportation to Mexico

Fri 08 35 AM

Broadcasting from Denver, Colorado, Amy Goodman visits the First Unitarian Society Church to meet Arturo Hernández García, an undocumented immigrant and father of two. Since October, García has sought sanctuary at the church as he fights his deportation. We also hear from his nine-year-old daughter Andrea, a United States citizen. Her status means he may be allowed to stay in the country under President Obama’s new deferred action program starting in May — if he is not deported before then. We also hear from Beth Chronister, assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society Church in Denver, and activist Jennifer Piper of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, who helped García enter sanctuary.

Denver Police Killing of LGBT Teen Jessica Hernandez Sparks Outcry as Officers' Claims Disputed

Fri 08 18 AM

The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a passenger says Hernandez lost control of the car only after she was shot and became unconscious. Witnesses say Hernandez was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious. A video captured by a neighbor shows police handcuffed and appeared to search her after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Last Thursday, activists at the National Conference on LGBT Equality that took place in Denver protested Hernandez’s killing by forcing Mayor Michael Hancock to cancel a planned speech. And on Saturday, an estimated 800 people gathered for Hernandez’s funeral. We are joined by two guests: Mimi Madrid Puga, a community organizer and board member of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Hernandez family.

Denver Police Killing of LGBT Teen Jessica Hernandez Sparks Outcry as Officers' Claims Disputed

Fri 08 18 AM

The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a passenger says Hernandez lost control of the car only after she was shot and became unconscious. Witnesses say Hernandez was dragged from the car, apparently unconscious. A video captured by a neighbor shows police handcuffed and appeared to search her after she was shot, rolling her on her back and stomach as she lay limp and motionless. The two officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated. Last Thursday, activists at the National Conference on LGBT Equality that took place in Denver protested Hernandez’s killing by forcing Mayor Michael Hancock to cancel a planned speech. And on Saturday, an estimated 800 people gathered for Hernandez’s funeral. We are joined by two guests: Mimi Madrid Puga, a community organizer and board member of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, and Qusair Mohamedbhai, a civil rights lawyer and attorney for the Hernandez family.

"We're All One": UNC Shooting Victim Yusor Abu-Salha's StoryCorps Interview Months Before Death

Fri 08 10 AM

Some 5,000 people attend the North Carolina funeral of the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill on Thursday as the FBI announced it has opened a probe into the killings. Today, we hear from one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, in her own words. Last year, Abu-Salha went into a StoryCorps booth to record an interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture,” Abu-Salha said. The other two victims, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, also attended Al-Iman.

"We're All One": UNC Shooting Victim Yusor Abu-Salha's StoryCorps Interview Months Before Death

Fri 08 10 AM

Some 5,000 people attend the North Carolina funeral of the three Muslim students murdered in Chapel Hill on Thursday as the FBI announced it has opened a probe into the killings. Today, we hear from one of the victims, Yusor Abu-Salha, in her own words. Last year, Abu-Salha went into a StoryCorps booth to record an interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen of the Al-Iman School in Raleigh. "Growing up in America has been such a blessing. And although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there are still so many ways that I feel so embedded in the fabric that is, you know, our culture,” Abu-Salha said. The other two victims, Deah Barakat and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, also attended Al-Iman.

One Billion Rising Honors "Revolution" as New Report Highlights Threats to Black Girls in U.S.

Thu 08 53 AM

One Billion Rising is the name of a global movement in more than 200 countries to end rape and sexual violence against women. The campaign highlights the startling statistic that one in every three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime — over one billion women. This year’s theme is "revolution." We are joined by two guests: V-Day founder and award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues"; and Kimberle Crenshaw, a law professor at UCLA and Columbia University, and founder of the African American Policy Forum, whose new report is "Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected."

#MuslimLivesMatter: Loved Ones Honor NC Shooting Victims & Reject Police Dismissal of a Hate Crime

Thu 08 31 AM

Thousands gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last night to remember the three Muslim students shot dead by a gunman who had posted anti-religious messages online. The victims were two sisters — 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha and 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha — and Yusor’s husband, 23-year-old Deah Barakat. Suspected gunman Craig Stephen Hicks has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. Hicks had frequently posted anti-religious comments on his Facebook page and was a supporter of the group Atheists for Equality. On Wednesday, police said the killings resulted from a dispute over a parking space. But Mohammad Abu-Salha, the father of Razan and Yusor, described the shootings as a hate crime. The killings in Chapel Hill have sparked an international outcry, with the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter spreading across social media. A community Facebook page was set up Wednesday in memory of the three victims, called "Our Three Winners." We are joined by two guests: Amira Ata, a longtime friend of Yusor, and Omid Safi, director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center.

Was Jeffrey Sterling Trial a Gov't Effort to Divide Investigative Journalists & Whistleblowers?

Thu 08 27 AM

In January, a federal jury in Virginia convicted former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on nine felony counts, including espionage. Prosecutors accused Sterling of leaking classified information about a secret operation to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program to journalist James Risen of The New York Times. Risen later revealed how the risky operation could have inadvertently aided the Iranian nuclear program. Supporters of Sterling described him as a whistleblower, but prosecutors claimed he leaked the information to settle a score with the agency. Sterling is scheduled to be sentenced in April. He faces a maximum possible sentence of decades in prison. We speak with Norman Solomon, who reported from the Sterling trial. "We’ve got to support investigative journalists and whistleblowers. We can’t allow the government to drive a wedge between the two," Solomon says, co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has launched public campaigns to support both Sterling and Risen.

Brian Williams Suspended for False Iraq Tale, But Media's Real Scandal is the War Lies Spun Daily

Thu 08 24 AM

NBC News has suspended anchor Brian Williams for six months without pay for making false statements about a 2003 incident in Iraq. Williams apologized last week after it emerged he had wrongly claimed he was on board a U.S. helicopter downed by rocket fire. American soldiers publicly challenged Williams’ account, saying he was nowhere near the aircraft that came under attack. Williams has blamed the "fog of memory" for his mistake. But in a statement, NBC said Williams’ claims were "wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position." We are joined by Norman Solomon, author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

Endless War? Obama Sends Congress Expansive Anti-ISIS Measure 6 Months After Bombing Began

Thu 08 13 AM

President Obama has sent Congress a formal request to authorize military force against the Islamic State six months after the U.S. began bombing Iraq and Syria. The resolution imposes a three-year limit on U.S. operations, but does not put any geographic constraints. It also opens the door for ground combat operations in limited circumstances. The resolution’s broad language covers military action against the Islamic State as well as "individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside [ISIS] or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners." The resolution also leaves in place the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force Congress enacted one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, which has been used to justify U.S. action in Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond, and which Obama had previously called for repealing. We speak with Norman Solomon, executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of many books, including "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

U.S. Hostage Kayla Mueller Remembered for Humanitarian Work from Syria to Occupied Territories

Wed 08 45 AM

One day after her family confirmed her death in Syria, we remember the life of 26-year-old U.S. aid worker Kayla Mueller. Mueller’s captors, the Islamic State, say she was killed in a Jordanian airstrike last week. On Tuesday, the family said it had received proof she had died, but it remains unclear how. Mueller moved to the Turkish-Syrian border in late 2012 to work with Syrian refugees. She had previously worked with refugees overseas including Tibetans in India, Africans in Israel, and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Mueller disappeared in August 2013 after she was abducted while leaving a northern Syria hospital. In a letter written during her captivity, Mueller told her family: "I have been shown in darkness, light, and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it." We are joined by two guests: Emily Schick, Mueller’s college roommate at Northern Arizona University and a fellow volunteer at the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank; and Mauri Saalakhan of The Peace and Justice Foundation, who campaigned for Mueller’s release.

After Months of Protest, NYPD Officer Charged for Fatal Shooting of Unarmed Black Man Akai Gurley

Wed 08 37 AM

After months of demonstrations calling for justice, a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for the fatal shooting of unarmed African American Akai Gurley last November. A grand jury elected to charge Officer Peter Liang with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and official misconduct. Liang was reportedly carrying his gun in his left hand and a flashlight in his right when he opened the door to a dimly lit stairwell he was patrolling in a Brooklyn housing project. His gun went off, hitting Gurley as he walked down the stairs. Police Commissioner William Bratton has described the shooting as an "unfortunate accident" and said Gurley was "totally innocent." Liang did not respond to police radio contact for more than six minutes and texted his union representative for advice. A neighbor ended up calling for the ambulance that rushed Gurley to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. We get reaction to the indictment from Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.