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: 12 hours 20 min ago

Roundtable: As Crimea Threatens Secession, Does East-West Split Hasten Ukraine's Political Divide?

Fri 08 13 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin is rebuffing warnings from the U.S. and European Union as the crisis in Ukraine threatens one of the worst east-west standoffs since the Cold War. The pro-Russian Crimean Parliament has voted to hold a referendum on splitting off from Ukraine and joining Russia. But the vote’s legitimacy has been called into question after the installation of a pro-Russian government in Crimea just last week. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: Anton Shekhovtsov, a Ukrainian citizen and researcher at the University College London specializing in far-right movements; Jonathan Steele, former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian and author of "Eternal Russia: Yeltsin, Gorbachev, and the Mirage of Democracy"; and Keith Gessen, an editor at n+1 magazine who covered the 2010 Ukraine elections for The New Yorker.

Angela Davis on Prison Abolition, the War on Drugs and Why Social Movements Shouldn't Wait on Obama

Thu 08 38 AM

For more than four decades, the world-renowned author, activist and scholar Angela Davis has been one of most influential activists and intellectuals in the United States. An icon of the 1970s black liberation movement, Davis’ work around issues of gender, race, class and prisons has influenced critical thought and social movements across several generations. She is a leading advocate for prison abolition, a position informed by her own experience as a fugitive on the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list more than 40 years ago. Davis, a professor emerita at University of California, Santa Cruz, and the subject of the recent documentary, "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners," joins us to discuss prison abolition, mass incarceration, the so-called war on drugs, International Women’s Day, and why President Obama’s second term should see a greater wave of activism than in his first. Watch Part 2 of this interview.

Senate Race-Baiting? Dems Join GOP to Block Obama DOJ Pick Tied to Legal Defense of Mumia Abu-Jamal

Thu 08 14 AM

In a stunning vote, a group of U.S. Senate Democrats has broken ranks to join Republicans in rejecting President Obama’s pick to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Debo Adegbile. The confirmation fight focused almost solely on Adegbile’s role in the legal defense of imprisoned Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer, despite Abu-Jamal’s longstanding position of being not guilty. Adegbile was part of a team of lawyers at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund who successfully argued the trial judge’s jury instructions violated Abu-Jamal’s rights. Adegbile’s supporters say the attacks on him mark a new form of Willie Horton politics and race baiting. We discuss the controversy with two guests: Johanna Fernández, professor of history at Baruch College-CUNY and a coordinator with the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, and Ryan Haygood, director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s Political Participation Group.

"The Death Penalty is a Hate Crime": Bob Autobee Speaks Out to Spare Life of Son's Killer

Wed 08 46 AM

We are joined by Bob Autobee, a Colorado resident who is opposing the death penalty for the prisoner who killed his son Eric, a prison guard, in 2002. During the original trial, Autobee supported a death sentence for Edward Montour. But the Colorado Supreme Court threw out Montour’s sentence in 2007 because it was imposed by a judge, not a jury as is required. A decade later, Autobee has now changed his mind. In the new murder trial that begins today, he wants to make a victim’s statement to the jury asking them not to impose the death penalty — but the judge in the case has barred him from doing so. Autobee describes why he opposes the death penalty in this case, and why he wants to see it abolished overall. "You’ve got to be willing to heal, and you’ve got to let the hate go," Autobee says. "To me the death penalty is a hate crime, a crime against humanity." We are also joined by Democracy Now! producer and criminal justice correspondent Renée Feltz, who notes that 80 percent of Colorado voters actually passed a constitutional amendment in 1992 that enshrines the rights of victims to make a statement in cases like Autobee’s.

Exclusive: Freed Ex-Black Panther Marshall "Eddie" Conway on 44 Years in Prison & FBI Surveillance

Wed 08 10 AM

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, former Black Panther Party leader Marshall "Eddie" Conway joins us less than 24 hours after his release from nearly 44 years in prison. Supporters describe Conway as one of the country’s longest-held political prisoners. He was convicted of killing a Baltimore police officer in 1970, for which he has always maintained his innocence. The shooting occurred at a time when federal and local authorities were infiltrating and disrupting the Black Panthers and other activist groups. At the time of the shooting, the FBI was also monitoring Conway’s actions as part of its counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. Numerous groups have campaigned for years calling for his release, saying he never received a fair trial and was convicted largely on the basis of testimony from a jailhouse informant. Politically active in prison, Conway founded Friend of a Friend, a group that helps young men, often gang members, resolve conflicts, and published a memoir, "Marshall Law: The Life & Times of a Baltimore Black Panther." In his first interview since being released, Marshall details his time behind bars and the government surveillance he faced as a prominent Black Panther.

Humanitarian Crisis Intensifies in Fallujah as Iraqi Gov't Accused of Killing Over 100 Civilians

Tue 08 51 AM

A new report by Truthout has revealed doctors, residents and non-governmental organization workers in the city of Fallujah are accusing the Iraqi government of war crimes and crimes against humanity in its ongoing attack against the city. According to one account, at least 109 civilians have been killed and 632 wounded since January when Iraqi government forces began shelling Fallujah in its fight against militants. For more on this developing story, we are joined by Dahr Jamail, a staff reporter at Truthout.

"Help. They Broke My Arm. Egypt Police": Peace Activist Medea Benjamin Detained en Route to Gaza

Tue 08 45 AM

U.S. peace activist Medea Benjamin was detained Monday at Cairo’s airport by Egyptian police without explanation. She says she was questioned, held overnight in an airport prison cell and then violently handcuffed by Egyptian officials, who dislocated her shoulder and broke her arm. She was then put on a plane and deported to Turkey, where she is now seeking medical treatment. We speak to her by telephone from the airport medical facility. Benjamin had intended to meet up with international delegates before traveling to Gaza for a women’s conference.

Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Bottles, Containers

Tue 08 15 AM

A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine may shock anyone who drinks out of plastic bottles, gives their children plastic sippy cups, eats out of plastic containers, or stores food with plastic wrap. For years, public campaigns have been waged against plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a controversial plastic additive, due to concerns about adverse human health effects caused by the exposure to synthetic estrogen. But a new investigation by Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake has revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free — and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware — are still releasing synthetic estrogen. The Mother Jones piece also reveals how the plastics industry has used a "Big Tobacco-style campaign" to bury the disturbing scientific evidence about the products you use every day. Blake joins us to discuss her findings.

XL Dissent: 398 Youth Arrested at Anti-Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at White House

Mon 08 53 AM

On Sunday, 398 opponents of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline were arrested in front of the White House in what could be the largest youth sit-in on the environment in a generation. Students from more than 80 colleges rallied at Georgetown University and then marched to the White House, wearing mock "hazmat suits" and holding banners with slogans like "Keep your oil out of my soil" and "Even Voldemort hates tar sands." President Obama is expected to issue a decision in the next few months on the pipeline, which would transport 830,000 barrels of crude every day from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. We speak to American University student Deirdre Shelly about why she was arrested on Sunday and the growing student-led movement to convince universities, colleges and cities to divest from fossil fuel companies.

Who Is Provoking the Unrest in Ukraine? A Debate on Role of Russia, United States in Regional Crisis

Mon 08 13 AM

Russia is vowing to keep its troops in the Ukrainian region of Crimea in what has become Moscow’s biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said Russian President Vladimir Putin had effectively declared war on his country. Concern is growing that more of eastern Ukraine could soon fall to the Russians. Earlier today, Russian troops seized a Ukraine coast guard base in the Crimean city of Balaklava. On Sunday, the new head of Ukraine’s navy defected to Russia. To talk more about the crisis in Ukraine, we speak to Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder. His latest article for The New York Review of Books is "Ukraine: The Haze of Propaganda." We also speak to retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern. He focused on Russian foreign policy for the first decade of his 27-year career with the agency. He recently wrote an article titled "Ukraine: One 'Regime Change' Too Many?"

I Was Beaten, Tortured: Pakistani Anti-Drone Activist Karim Khan on Being Abducted by Masked Men

Fri 08 39 AM

Pakistani anti-drone activist Karim Khan was abducted February 5, just before he was due to travel to Europe to speak out about U.S. drone strikes. He joins us to describe how he was held for nine days. During that time he says he was repeatedly tortured and beaten. In 2009, a U.S. drone killed Khan’s brother and son. He joins us from London, where he traveled to to meet with British lawmakers to raise concerns about the U.S. drone program. "They attacked our mosques, they attacked our schools, they attacked our schoolchildren, they attacked our teachers," Khan says. "So everything is completely destroyed by these drone strikes." We also speak with Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar. "This is what the human face of the victim is, and it is important that the American people are told about who these people are," Akbar says. "They are being targeted in the name of national security, [but] what we see on the ground is that it is not really serving the national security interests of anyone."

Freed Bahraini Activist Zainab Alkhawaja on Her Year in Prison, Continued Detention of Her Father

Fri 08 29 AM

We go to Bahrain to speak with human rights activist Zainab Alkhawaja, just after she was released from prison by the Bahraini government. "One year in prison is nothing," Alkhawaja says of her time behind bars. "Because it’s nothing compared to what we’re willing to sacrifice for our goals, for democracy in our country." On March 3, she could be sent back to prison after appearing in court to face charges of damaging police property, defacing a picture of the king and insulting a police officer. Her father, longtime activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, remains behind imprisoned, serving a life sentence. Bahrain is a U.S.-backed monarchy that is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for all naval forces in the Gulf. Alkhawaja’s release came on the heels of rallies marking the third anniversary of the pro-democracy protests that began on Feb. 14, 2011.

Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images

Fri 08 11 AM

The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of Internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed "Optic Nerve" compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in the GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called "undesirable nudity." The program was reportedly also used for experiments in "automated facial recognition" as well as to monitor terrorism suspects. We speak with James Ball, one of the reporters who broke the story. He is the special projects editor for Guardian US.

Big Oil and Bad Air: Report Exposes Link Between Fracking and Toxic Air Emissions in Texas

Thu 08 52 AM

Residents who live near areas of oil and natural gas fracking have long complained that the industry has poisoned their water with toxic chemicals. Now a new investigation is shedding light on another concern: air quality. The new report, "Fracking the Eagle Ford Shale: Big Oil & Bad Air on the Texas Prairie," is the result of an eight-month investigation by InsideClimate News, the Center for Public Integrity and The Weather Channel. We speak to David Hasemyer and Lisa Song, two of the reporters who worked on the investigation.