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: 11 hours 58 min ago

"Kids Who Had Privilege, Like You Do, Don't Go to Jail": Rand Paul & Jeb Bush Debate Drug War

Thu 07 33 AM

While the Republican candidates appeared unanimous during the second debate on their stances on issues like Planned Parenthood, they fiercely disagreed on the issue of marijuana legalization and the so-called war on drugs. At the center of this debate were Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Paul accused Bush of hypocrisy in his position on marijuana legalization, saying: "If you’re are against letting people use medical marijuana, we’re left to put them in jail. Kids who had privilege, like you do, don’t go to jail, but the poor kids in our inner cities go to jail." Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also jumped into the back-and-forth to share her own family’s story of losing a step-daughter to drug addition. For more, we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and political writer John Nichols.

GOP Debate: As Fiorina Calls for More Arms to Middle East, Paul Warns Against Military Intervention

Thu 07 25 AM

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina joined the prime-time Republican debate lineup for the first time in this campaign season, after surging in the polls in recent weeks. She emerged as a fierce hawk on foreign policy issues, calling for sending more arms to the Middle East and warning that one of the first calls she would make as president would be to demand Iran open up its nuclear facilities to U.S. inspectors at any time. In contrast, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul decried U.S. interventionist policies abroad, saying, "We have to learn sometimes the interventions backfire. The Iraq War backfired and did not help us." Real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush also sparred over the legacy of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy decisions. For more on the candidates’ foreign policy positions, we’re joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston and political writer John Nichols.

Richard Glossip Granted Two-Week Stay of Execution, Hours Before He Was Slated to Die

Thu 07 10 AM

An Oklahoma appeals court granted death row prisoner Richard Glossip a last-minute stay of execution on Wednesday only hours before he was slated to die. The decision was a response to an emergency request filed by his lawyers Tuesday afternoon. The decision came down at 11:30 a.m. — only three-and-a-half hours before his scheduled execution by lethal injection. Glossip’s new execution date is September 30. We speak to Don Knight, one of the pro bono attorneys representing death row inmate Richard Glossip. Also with us is Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death-penalty activists. As a Catholic nun, she began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty."

As James Blake Calls for James Frascatore's NYPD Badge, Hear Firsthand Account of Cop’s Violent Past

Wed 07 29 AM

Retired professional tennis star James Blake was standing outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York on September 9, waiting for a car to go watch the U.S. Open, when surveillance video shows undercover police officer James Frascatore run at him, wrap an arm around his neck, tackle him to the ground and handcuff him. Blake, who is biracial, never resisted. Police say they mistakenly identified Blake as a suspect in a credit card fraud probe. NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the arrest "should not have happened," and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has personally apologized to Blake. At least one officer has been placed on administrative desk duty after the incident, but Blake is calling for Frascatore to be fired as more is being learned about his record. Frascatore has worked for four different police departments in the last five years and has had five complaints in just seven months against him registered with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — more complaints than 90 percent of officers on the force receive in their entire careers. Several other cases have yet to be reported. The CCRB, an independent agency charged with handling complaints against the police department, has its own problematic history, criticized for covering up police misconduct, operating in secret and colluding with the NYPD. We speak with Kenneth Finkelman, a Legal Aid Society staff attorney who represented a Queens resident who claimed that Frascatore punched him in the face after he was stopped for a broken taillight; Warren Diggs, who was pinned on the ground by Frascatore and two other officers for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk; and Amy Rameau, a civil rights attorney representing Diggs.

Oklahoma Set to Execute Richard Glossip Despite Mounting Evidence of His Innocence

Wed 07 13 AM

[Update: After the broadcast an Oklahoma appeals court granted death row prisoner Richard Glossip a last-minute stay. His new execution date is September 30.]

Attorneys for death row prisoner Richard Glossip have made a last-minute bid to save his life, saying the state of Oklahoma may be about to execute an innocent man. Glossip is scheduled to die at 3 p.m. Central time today. On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin denied him a stay of execution as protests grew from supporters who say he is innocent. In 1997, Glossip was working as a manager at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City when his boss, Barry Van Treese, was murdered. A maintenance worker, Justin Sneed, admitted he beat Van Treese to death with a baseball bat, but claimed Glossip coerced him into the killing, offering him money and job opportunities. The case rested almost solely on Sneed’s claims. No physical evidence ever tied Glossip to the crime. Glossip’s attorneys say Sneed implicated their client in exchange for a deal to receive life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. We go now to Oklahoma City, where we are joined by Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death-penalty activists. As a Catholic nun, she began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty."

Julian Assange: U.S. Spying on WikiLeaks Led to Mistaken Downing of Morales Plane in Snowden Hunt

Tue 07 53 AM

We end today’s show with another story about Evo Morales. In 2013, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange played a pivotal role in helping National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden leave Hong Kong for Russia. Once Snowden made it to Russia, Assange explored ways to help him reach Latin America. During the U.S. hunt for Snowden, Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane was forced to land in Austria for 14 hours because of rumors Snowden was on board. Last week, Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept interviewed Assange via video stream for the launch of the book "The WikiLeaks Files." Assange talked about WikiLeaks’ efforts to help Snowden gain asylum.

Operation Naked King: Secret DEA Sting in Bolivia Confirms Evo Morales' Fears About U.S. Meddling

Tue 07 46 AM

We turn now to an explosive new report that claims the U.S. government has secretly targeted Bolivian President Evo Morales with a drug sting code-named "Operation Naked King." The report — just released by The Huffington Post this morning — draws on court documents filed by a longtime DEA confidential informant, Carlos Toro. It appears to confirm Morales’ long-standing suspicion that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, has sought to undermine Morales’ government. In 2008, Morales expelled the DEA from his country, accusing the agency of bribing police officers, violating human rights, covering up murders and destroying infrastructure. Morales then embarked on his own strategy of combating drug trafficking by working cooperatively with coca growers to diversify crops and promote alternative development. His government’s efforts were largely effective: The United Nations announced last month that the cultivation of coca leaf in Bolivia has fallen to a 13-year low. Despite that victory, the DEA announced this week plans to officially "decertify" Bolivia — a bureaucratic move that would cost Bolivia financial assistance, and amounts to an accusation by the DEA that Bolivia is not sufficiently cooperative in combating drug trafficking. We speak to Nick Wing of The Huffington Post and Kathryn Ledebur, director of Andean Information Network.

Seattle Strike Enters Fifth Day as Teachers Protest Testing Policies, Racial Inequity & Low Wages

Tue 07 30 AM

Schools are closed in Seattle again today as the city’s first teacher strike in 30 years enters its fifth day. Last week, teachers, represented by the Seattle Education Association, unanimously voted to go on strike, demanding fewer standardized tests for students, more time to prepare for classes, and better pay. The impasse has delayed the start of the public school year for about 53,000 students. The strike comes after Washington’s Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the state’s new charter school system is unconstitutional.

Man Who Filmed Freddie Gray's Arrest: Power of a Copwatch Camera is "Almost Like Live Bullets"

Tue 07 13 AM

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Friday that she would not be seeking re-election in the city’s 2016 mayoral race so that she could focus on governing a city on edge over the trials of six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American man who died in April after being arrested and transported in a police van. The announcement came at the end of a week that saw several developments in the case. On Thursday, Judge Barry Williams ruled that the six officers charged in Gray’s death will face separate trials. Williams also refused defense attempts to dismiss the charges, move the case out of Baltimore, and remove prosecutor Marilyn Mosby from the case. And earlier in the week, the city reached a $6.4 million settlement with Gray’s family. A key piece of evidence in the case against the officers is the video showing Gray screaming in apparent agony as police drag him to a van. It was shot by Kevin Moore, a Baltimore resident who lives in the Gilmor Homes housing projects where Freddie Gray lived. We speak with Moore, who, after filming the event, became a member of WeCopwatch, a nationwide effort to reduce police violence and harassment by videotaping encounters with the community. He also founded a WeCopwatch chapter in Baltimore.

Is Oklahoma Set to Execute an Innocent Man? Inside the Case of Richard Glossip

Mon 07 43 AM

Time is running out for Richard Glossip. The state of Oklahoma is scheduled to execute Glossip on Wednesday night, but his legal team is pushing for a new review of the case, saying the state is about to kill an innocent man. On the night of January 6, 1997, while Glossip was working as a manager at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City, his boss, Barry Van Treese, was murdered at the motel. There has never been a question about who committed the murder: A maintenance worker named Justin Sneed admitted entering the boss’s room and striking him multiple times with a baseball bat. But Glossip was soon arrested, as well, for allegedly hiring Sneed to carry out the murder. The case rested almost solely on Sneed’s claims that Glossip had offered him money and job opportunities for the killing. Glossip’s attorneys say Sneed implicated their client in exchange for a deal to receive life in prison instead of the death penalty. Sneed’s own daughter has said she believes Glossip is innocent. In a letter, O’Ryan Justine Sneed told the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board her father has spoken to her about recanting his original testimony. No physical evidence has ever tied Richard Glossip to the crime, and he has maintained his innocence. We speak with the well-known anti-death-penalty activist and author Sister Helen Prejean; Kim Van Atta, who has corresponded with Richard Glossip for 16 years; and Liliana Segura, who wrote about Glossip’s case for The Intercept.

Conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Ousted by His Own Party

Mon 07 39 AM

In Australia, conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been ousted during snap elections called for by his own Liberal Party. Public opinion of Tony Abbott had reached a record low amid controversial decisions to roll back climate change legislation, oppose same-sex marriage and turn back boats carrying refugees. Former Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull will become the new prime minister. For more, we speak with Tariq Ali, historian, activist and editor of the New Left Review.

"A Political Insurrection in Britain": Tariq Ali on Election of Jeremy Corbyn as New Labour Leader

Mon 07 19 AM

Jeremy Corbyn has been a member of the House of Commons since 1983 and has a long history of voting against his Labour Party, which had moved considerably to the right under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Corbyn’s victory presages the prospect of a return to the party’s socialist roots, championing the renationalization of public transportation, free university tuition, rent control, and a national maximum wage to cap the salaries of high earners. We speak to longtime British editor and writer Tariq Ali, who has known Corbyn for 40 years. He calls Corbyn the most left-wing leader in the history of the British Labour Party.

In Upset, Socialist Jeremy Corbyn Elected as U.K. Labour Leader on Antiwar, Pro-Refugee Platform

Mon 07 15 AM

Longtime British socialist MP Jeremy Corbyn has just been elected leader of the opposition Labour Party after running on an antiwar, anti-austerity platform. When Corbyn first announced his candidacy three months ago, oddsmakers put his odds of winning at 200 to one. But on Saturday, Corbyn won in a landslide, receiving 59 percent of the vote. He will succeed Ed Miliband, who quit after the Conservatives retained power in May’s election. Corbyn addressed supporters at a victory celebration on Saturday. "Let us be a force for change in the world, a force for humanity in the world, a force for peace in the world, and a force that recognizes we cannot go on like this, with grotesque levels of global insecurity, grotesque threats to our environment all around the world, without the rich and powerful governments stepping up to the plate to make sure our world becomes safer and better," said Corbyn during his victory speech. Corbyn then left the celebration to attend the #RefugeesWelcome rally in London.

"I Saw with My Own Eyes That They Killed People": Afghan Speaks Out as U.S. Reopens War Crimes Probe

Fri 07 42 AM

The United States is marking the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks today. Three weeks after the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked, the U.S. launched airstrikes in Afghanistan, beginning what would become the longest war in American history. The U.S. military recently reopened a criminal investigation into some of the most serious allegations against U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 2001 involving the murder of at least 17 Afghan men in Wardak province, west of Kabul, in 2012 and 2013. Eight Afghans were killed during U.S. military operations, while several disappeared after having been arrested by Special Forces in Nerkh. Their bodies were later uncovered just outside the U.S. base in the area. Afghan military investigators had concluded at the time that a U.S. Special Forces unit known as the A-Team was responsible. The U.S. military command in Afghanistan conducted multiple investigations, each of which exonerated the unit. We speak to reporter Matthieu Aikins and air excerpts of his interview with an Afghan man detained by the U.S. military.

Military Curfews, Firebombings, Airstrikes & Shattered Peace Deal: Is Turkey on Brink of Civil War?

Fri 07 25 AM

The leader of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has accused Turkey’s rulers of pushing the country toward civil war ahead of November’s elections. Over the past week, over 100 offices of the opposition HDP have been attacked. Many were set ablaze. The office of the independent newspaper, Hurriyet, was also attacked in Istanbul. Meanwhile, the predominantly Kurdish city of Cizre remains under 24-hour military curfew. Residents report facing a humanitarian crisis with food and water shortages. Tensions in Turkey have escalated since June, when the ruling AKP party lost its parliamentary majority in a major defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In July, Turkey began an air campaign against camps run by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The fighting has shattered a peace process launched to end a conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people since 1984.

In Victory for Obama & "Stinging Defeat" for Israel Lobby, Iran Nuclear Deal Survives Senate Vote

Fri 07 11 AM

In a major foreign policy victory for President Obama, Republicans in the Senate failed to secure enough votes Thursday to derail the Iran nuclear agreement. The Senate voted against clearing the way for a debate of the bill in a 58-42 vote, less than the 60 votes needed to advance a resolution of disapproval. The New York Times described the vote as a "stinging defeat" for AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.