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: 8 hours 31 min ago

Charles Glass: Tony Blair is Right - Those Who Removed Saddam Hussein Share Blame for Rise of ISIL

Mon 06 28 AM

In an interview on Sunday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted that there were "elements of truth" to the claim that removing Saddam Hussein played a part in the creation of ISIL. "You can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015," said Blair on CNN. We speak to journalist Charles Glass about his recent trip to Iraq and his new book, "Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring."

Syria Burning: Charles Glass on the Roots & Future of the Deadly Conflict

Mon 06 11 AM

A new round of international talks to end the war in Syria could begin as early as this week. The four-year-old war has killed more than 300,000 people and left more than 7 million others displaced. On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry met in Vienna with the Saudi, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers to discuss the crisis. Then on Saturday, Kerry flew to Saudi Arabia to meet Saudi King Salman outside Riyadh. That same day, Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone. Lavrov has said the Kremlin wants Syria to prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections, a call that comes just days after a surprise visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Moscow. Lavrov also said Russia would be ready to help Western-backed Free Syrian Army rebels—if it knew where they were. Charles Glass, former ABC News chief Middle East correspondent, has just returned from Syria and Iraq, and joins us to discuss the crisis. His latest book is titled "Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring."

"Everybody is a Suspect": European Rights Chief on Edward Snowden's Call for Global Privacy Treaty

Fri 06 52 AM

Last month, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and other privacy activists launched a new campaign to establish global privacy standards. The proposed International Treaty on the Right to Privacy, Protection Against Improper Surveillance and Protection of Whistleblowers would require states to ban mass data collection and implement public oversight of national security programs. It would also require states to offer asylum to whistleblowers. It’s been dubbed the "Snowden Treaty." We discuss the state of mass surveillance with Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights.

Victims of U.S. Rendition & Torture Starting to Reclaim Rights Says Council of Europe Rights Chief

Fri 06 45 AM

More than 25 European countries cooperated with the CIA’s rendition, torture and secret prison program, and the quest for accountability continues today. "This is a sordid story that does Europe shame," says Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights. "[European countries] facilitated these human rights violations — they should be accountable before their citizens and before international law."

"Seeking Asylum is Not a Crime": European Rights Chief on Refugee Crisis & "Shameful" U.S. Response

Fri 06 38 AM

As violence in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and parts of Africa pushes a wave of refugees to seek shelter in Europe, the United Nations refugee agency reports a growing number of children have been forced into sex to pay for the continuation of their journey. Now the United Nations is accusing the Czech Republic of systematic human rights violations over its treatment of refugees. The U.N. said the Czech government is committing the abuses in an effort to deter refugees from entering the country or staying there. We discuss the refugee crisis with Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights.

Ignoring U.S. Destabilization of Libya, GOP Benghazi Hearing Asks Clinton All the Wrong Questions

Fri 06 15 AM

Former secretary of state and current Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton underwent a marathon day of testimony Thursday before the House Select Committee probing the 2012 attack in Libya, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Throughout the hearing, Clinton defended her record on Benghazi in the face of Republican criticism. Republicans say Clinton ignored pre-attack warnings and mishandled its aftermath, even though seven previous congressional probes have found no wrongdoing. Clinton handled Republican questions with a calm demeanor, and afterward panel chair Trey Gowdy, Republican congressmember of South Carolina, admitted the hearing failed to turn up anything new. Melvin Goodman, former CIA and State Department analyst, says the Benghazi hearing has ignored the real issue for Clinton to address: the U.S. bombing of Libya that destabilized the country and set the stage for the fatal 2012 attack. "What was learned was irrelevant," Goodman says. "What was relevant wasn’t discussed."

As Hillary Clinton Testifies Before GOP Panel, Friends of 2 Benghazi Victims Remember the Lives Lost

Thu 06 47 AM

After $4.5 million in taxpayer money and 18 months, the Republican-led Benghazi investigation is set for its main event. Former secretary of state and current Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton is testifying today for up to 10 hours before the House Select Committee probing the 2012 attack in Libya, which killed four Americans. Republicans say Clinton ignored pre-attack warnings and mishandled its aftermath. While previous reports have been scathing over security failures and have led to firings, none have accused Clinton or other top officials of wrongdoing. Many Democrats have accused Republicans of exploiting the Benghazi incident to scuttle Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid. Ahead of her testimony, we are joined by friends of two of the Benghazi victims: Veena Trehan, a friend of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens; and Elf Ellefsen and Annie Tueller, who were friends with CIA contractor and ex-Navy SEAL Glen Doherty.

"Where Does This End?": After Drone Papers Leaks, U.K. Gov't Has a Kill List of Its Own

Thu 06 42 AM

Last week, The Intercept published the most in-depth look at the U.S. drone assassination program to date. "The Drone Papers" exposed the inner workings of how the drone war is waged, from how targets are identified to who decides to kill. They reveal a number of flaws, including that strikes have resulted in large part from electronic communications data, or "signals intelligence," that officials acknowledge is unreliable. We are joined by Clive Stafford Smith, founder and director of the international legal charity Reprieve, who says the British government also has a secret kill list in Afghanistan.

U.S. Ally Saudi Arabia Prepares to Behead, Crucify Pro-Democracy Protester Ali Mohammed al-Nimr

Thu 06 36 AM

A young Saudi protester is set to be beheaded and crucified for his role in 2012 pro-democracy protests. Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested at the age of 17 and convicted of encouraging protests during the Arab Spring. He faces execution any day. Earlier this month, in response to mounting international pressure to release al-Nimr, the Saudi Embassy in London said, "the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rejects any form of interference in its internal affairs and any impingement on its sovereignty or the independence and impartiality of its judiciary." We are joined by Clive Stafford Smith of the international legal charity Reprieve, which has just released a report on executions in Saudi Arabia.

Shaker Aamer: After 5,000 Days of Torment, Last British Prisoner at Guantanamo is Set for Release

Thu 06 23 AM

The 14-year nightmare of the last British prisoner at Guantánamo Bay could soon be coming to an end. The United States announced last month it will release Shaker Aamer, imprisoned without charge at Guantánamo since February 2002. Aamer says he was working as a charity worker in Afghanistan when he was kidnapped and handed over to U.S. forces. During his time in captivity, he claims he was subjected to abuses including torture, beatings, sleep deprivation and being held in solitary confinement for nearly a year. At one point, he lost half his body weight while on a hunger strike. Aamer has been cleared for release since 2007, but the Pentagon has refused to set him free. The U.S. announced last month that he will finally be released – but only after a 30-day notification period required by Congress. If the U.S. follows through, Aamer will likely be released on Sunday and flown back to Britain to join his wife and four children. Even as he’s set for freedom, Aamer has remained on hunger strike to protest his treatment. We are joined by Clive Stafford Smith, Aamer’s attorney and director of the international legal charity Reprieve.

"Domestic Terrorism": Spate of Black Church Burnings Near Ferguson Raise New Hate Crime Fears

Thu 06 10 AM

Over 10 days, six predominantly black churches have been set ablaze in the St. Louis area of Missouri. Police and fire officials say there’s no doubt the fires are deliberate. All the fires were set within a three-mile radius of northern St. Louis. The area includes Ferguson, where the police killing of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown set off protests and a national movement more than a year ago. The burnings come after a series of fires at African-American churches across the South following the Charleston church massacre in June. Three of those fires were ruled as arson. White supremacists have targeted black churches with burnings dating back to the Civil War. We are joined by two guests: Rev. Rodrick Burton, pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, attacked by an arsonist on October 10, and Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri.

How a $100M Facebook Donation for Neoliberal School Reform Sparked a Grassroots Uprising in Newark

Wed 06 39 AM

Five years ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to fix the trouble-plagued schools of Newark, New Jersey. Joining forces with Republican Gov. Chris Christie and then-Democratic Mayor Cory Booker, the effort was billed as a model for education reform across the nation. But the story of what followed emerges as a cautionary tale. Tens of millions were spent on hiring outside consultants and expanding charter schools, leading to public school closures, teacher layoffs and an overall decline in student performance. Parents, students, teachers and community members pushed back in a grassroots uprising to save their schools. We are joined by Dale Russakoff, who tells the story in her book, "The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?"

U.S. Sells New Warships to Saudi Arabia Despite Warnings of War Crimes & Civilian Deaths in Yemen

Wed 06 35 AM

The Obama administration has approved an $11.25 billion deal to sell four advanced, Lockheed Martin-made warships to Saudi Arabia. The move comes as Amnesty International has called on the United States to halt arms transfers to Saudi Arabia or risk being complicit in war crimes in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is waging a U.S.-backed campaign against Houthi rebels. We speak to Rep. Ted Lieu about his critique of U.S. policy in Yemen and Syria.

Bill McKibben: Climate Activists Celebrate Obama's Arctic Drilling Freeze & Harper's Canadian Defeat

Wed 06 33 AM

In a victory for environmentalists, President Obama has ended the possibility of oil drilling in the Arctic for the rest of his tenure. The Obama administration has canceled plans to sell new drilling leases and refused to extend leases that were previously sold. The move comes after Shell halted its $7 billion bid to drill for oil in the Arctic amid a series of setbacks and tireless activist opposition. Activists are also celebrating the election outcome in Canada, where voters unseated three-term Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a major backer of carbon-intensive oil extraction and a foe of global climate regulation. We get reaction from Bill McKibben, head of, one of the nation’s leading climate activist groups.

Prison for Exxon Execs? Lawmakers Seek Probe of Oil Giant for Hiding Knowledge of Climate Change

Wed 06 10 AM

For decades, Exxon has publicly questioned the science of global warming, contradicting internal findings by the company’s own scientists. Recent exposés by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reveal that Exxon concealed for decades its own conclusions that fossil fuels cause global warming, alter the climate and melt the Arctic. Exxon’s climate deception is now sparking calls for a federal probe similar to that which yielded a racketeering conviction of Big Tobacco for hiding the dangers of smoking. We are joined by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California), who is calling for a Justice Department investigation of Exxon, as well as co-founder Bill McKibben, who was just arrested for a one-man protest shutting down his local Exxon gas station. "It’s difficult to think of a company that could have set back humanity for decades, and perhaps permanently," Rep. Lieu says. "But that’s what happened here."

Joe Biden for President? Media Buzz Ignores How Veep Worsened Student Debt on Big Banks' Behalf

Tue 06 50 AM

Washington is abuzz with rumors Vice President Joe Biden will soon enter the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. While a new campaign would seek to capitalize on Biden’s two terms as vice president, it would also invite scrutiny of his Senate record in a Democratic political climate notably more progressive today than it was when Biden last sought the nomination. Biden’s 1994 crime bill, while implementing sweeping gun control, also helped fuel mass incarceration with financial incentives to keep people behind bars. Biden is also known for close ties to the financial industry, notably helping push through a 2005 bill that made it harder for consumers to declare bankruptcy. According to The New York Times, the credit card issuer MBNA was Biden’s top donor from 1989 to 2010. Now, as speculation over Biden’s presidential aspirations reaches a fever pitch, the Obama administration is seeking to repeal one of his key legislative achievements. The White House wants to undo a provision in the 2005 bankruptcy law that made it harder to reduce student debt, preventing most Americans from claiming bankruptcy protections for private student loans. The administration’s effort follows the publication last month of an International Business Times exposé by David Sirota, "Joe Biden Backed Bills to Make It Harder for Americans to Reduce Their Student Debt." Sirota discusses Biden’s role in passing the legislation.