- Saudi Arabia Executes 47 People Including Shiite Cleric
- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Cut Ties with Iran After Protests over Execution
- Armed Right-Wing Militia Occupies Wildlife Refuge in Rural Oregon
- Media Coverage of Oregon Militia Sparks Hashtags: "#YallQaeda,""#VanillaISIS"
- Saudi-Led Coalition Pounds Yemeni Capital After Ending Ceasefire
- India: At Least 12 Killed After Militants Attack Air Base
- U.S. Closes Drone Base in Ethiopia
- Obama Moves Toward Executive Action on Gun Control
- New Texas Law Lets People Openly Carry Guns
- Israel Charges 2 over West Bank Arson; 2 Killed in Tel Aviv Shooting
- Mexico: Leftist Mayor Killed 1 Day After Taking Office
- U.S. Agents Launch Raids on Central American Families
- Missouri Governor: Flooding Feels "Almost Like You're Living on Some Other Planet"
- Al-Qaeda Affiliate Releases Video Featuring Trump's Comments on Muslims
- Sanders: Trump and Other Billionaires "Will Not Continue to Own This Nation"
- Sanders Raises $33 Million, Shatters Individual Donor Record
- Florida: Machete-Wielding Vandal Hits Mosque in Latest Attack
- Hate Crimes Against Muslims Double in London
- Chicago: Prosecutor Asks FBI to Investigate Fatal Shooting of Student, Grandmother
French journalist and author Nicolas Hénin spent 10 months as an ISIS hostage in Syria, where he was held by Mohammed Emwazi. We spoke with him about the growing move among Western countries to close their doors to refugees. "Welcoming refugees is not a terror threat to our countries; it’s like a vaccine to protect us from terrorism, because the more interactions we have between societies, between communities, the less there will be tensions," Hénin says. "The Islamic State believes in a global confrontation. What they want eventually is civil war in our countries, or at least large unrest, and in the Middle East, a large-scale war. This is what they look for. This is what they struggle for. So we have to kill their narrative and actually to welcome refugees, totally destroy their narrative."
As the United States expands airstrikes in Syria, we speak with French journalist Nicolas Hénin, who was held hostage by ISIS inside Syria for 10 months, spending much of the time locked up in a dungeon. He was held alongside U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, who were later beheaded. Their deaths were videotaped and aired across the world. While he was held hostage, Hénin also briefly met American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who also died in captivity, possibly from a U.S.-led coalition airstrike. Hénin, who was released in April 2014 along with three other French journalists, makes an impassioned plea against bombing Syria. "All these bombings have a terrible effect," says Hénin. "We are pushing the Syrian people into the hands of ISIS."
In December, Democracy Now! headed to the city of Calais, site of France’s largest refugee camp. Six to seven thousand people are camped out in makeshift tents. Their goal is to reach Britain, and each night members of the camp set out along the highway to the Channel Tunnel, where they attempt to cross into Britain by jumping on top of or inside trucks or lorries. We meet Majd, a 21-year-old Syrian man, one of thousands stranded in the the camp. He describes how a Sudanese man named Joseph was recently killed when he was run over by a car on the highway. While we were there, camp residents protested that the police hadn’t stopped the driver, and held signs reading "We are humans, not dogs" and "What do the survivors of war have to do to live in peace?" This comes as the world faces the greatest exodus of people since World War II. The United Nations has appealed for $20 billion in additional aid money, saying that at present funding levels, the U.N. is "not able to provide even the very minimum in core protection and lifesaving assistance." U.N. officials cited the wars in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan as one of the major reasons there are nearly 60 million people forcibly displaced worldwide. The largest single displaced community is Syrians, with 4 million refugees forced outside Syria’s borders by the ongoing conflict.
The revelations that Exxon concealed its early findings that fossil fuels cause global warming have sparked a criminal investigation by New York’s attorney general and calls for a federal probe like the one against Big Tobacco. But some aren’t waiting for the justice system to act. During the recent U.N. climate summit in Paris, environmental activists held a "mock trial" charging Exxon with "climate crimes." Hundreds from around the world—including participants in COP21—packed into a large warehouse-like cultural space to hear a stirring indictment of Exxon. A tribunal of judges heard testimony from witnesses that included scientists, energy experts and residents of frontline communities threatened by climate change. The witnesses were questioned by two leading environmentalists acting as chief prosecutors: Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, and journalist Naomi Klein.
2015, the hottest on record, was also the year ExxonMobil was caught in a more than three-decade lie. Internal documents revealed Exxon knew that fossil fuels cause global warming in the 1970s, but hid that information from the public. Now it turns out that Exxon isn’t alone. A new exposé from InsideClimate News reveals nearly every major U.S. and multinational oil and gas company was likely aware of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change at the same time as Exxon. We are joined by Neela Banerjee, the InsideClimate News reporter who broke this story.
- Comedian Bill Cosby Charged with Sexual Assault
- Hundreds Evacuated in Missouri as Death Toll from Flooding Rises
- Islamophobic Attacks Reported in Las Vegas, New York and Fresno, CA
- Chicago: Emanuel Announces Reforms Amid Calls for His Resignation
- Cleveland: Protests over Lack of Indictment in Tamir Rice's Death
- Puerto Rico Gov. Confirms Commonwealth Will Default on Jan. 1
- Bangladesh: Two Students Sentenced to Death for Blogger's Murder
- Turkey: Kurdish Towns Report Lack of Water, Food Amid State Crackdown
- Head of MI Environmental Dept. Resigns over Flint's Poisoned Water
- Hundreds Ride to Wounded Knee for 125th Anniversary of 1890 Massacre
Erin Brockovich: California Methane Gas Leak is Worst U.S. Environmental Disaster Since BP Oil Spill
In the nation’s biggest environmental disaster since the BP oil spill, a runaway natural gas leak above Los Angeles has emitted more than 150 million pounds of methane. Thousands of residents in the community of Porter Ranch have been evacuated and put in temporary housing. The fumes have caused headaches and nosebleeds. The company responsible, Southern California Gas Company, says it could take three to four months to stop the breach. We are joined by two guests: renowned consumer advocate and legal researcher Erin Brockovich, who helped win the biggest class action lawsuit in American history and is now working to seek justice for victims of the Porter Ranch gas leak, and David Balen, president of Renaissance Homeowners Association, located just outside of the breached well site.
As Puerto Rico Nears Record Default, Island Complains to U.N. That U.S. Violating Sovereignty Rights
Puerto Rico is just days away from the biggest municipal bond default in U.S. history, and Congress is doing nothing to stop it. The U.S. territory faces a January 1 deadline to pay bondholders around $1 billion, a fraction of the $72 billion it owes overall. Puerto Rico has warned it will be unable to make at least some of its upcoming payment, and what it can pay could be drawn from funds it doesn’t actually have. Congress could have prevented a default, but passed on their opportunity earlier this month. The governor of Puerto Rico has complained to the United Nations that the United States is backtracking on its promises of self-government on the island. We are joined by Edwin Meléndez, professor of urban affairs and planning at Hunter College and the director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, as well as Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González, who has extensively covered the Puerto Rico debt crisis.
A new Reuters exposé shows the Pentagon has thwarted the Obama administration’s efforts to close Guantánamo by imposing bureaucratic hurdles to delay or derail prisoners’ release. The Pentagon has even meddled with the effort to enlist other countries in accepting freed prisoners. In one case, the Pentagon refused to release medical records for a hunger-striking Yemeni prisoner to a delegation from a country that was considering taking him in. The prisoner, Tariq Ba Odah, remains at Guantánamo today—five years after he was cleared for release. We discuss Ba Odah’s ordeal with his lawyer, Omar Farah, an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights; and Charles Levinson, the Reuters reporter who broke the story.
In the nearly seven years since President Obama ordered Guantánamo’s closure, Republicans have blocked him at every turn. Now a new report sheds light on another obstacle in Obama’s way: his own Pentagon. According to Reuters, military brass have imposed bureaucratic hurdles to keep prisoners locked up and prevent foreign governments from taking them in. Scores of prisoners cleared for release have remained imprisoned for years as a result. We are joined by two guests: Charles Levinson, the Reuters reporter who broke this story, and Omar Farah, the lawyer for a Yemeni prisoner who was cleared for release five years ago but remains behind bars due to Pentagon interference.
- New York Times: Rich Have Built Their Own "Private Tax System"
- Chicago: Officer Van Dyke Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Laquan McDonald
- Missouri: Death Toll of Devastating Flooding Rises to 13
- Storm Hurtling Toward North Pole Could Raise Temps 50 Degrees
- Colombia Issues Red Alert over Drought-Fueled Forest Fires
- Pakistan: Suicide Bomb Kills 26
- Pentagon May Seek More Troops for Afghanistan
- Pentagon Says U.S.-Led Airstrikes Have Killed 10 ISIL Leaders
- World Health Organization Declares Guinea Free of Ebola
- New Details Show How Israel Tried to Undermine Iran Nuclear Deal
- 94 Professional & Citizen Journalists Killed in 2015
- Former New York Gov. George Pataki Suspends Presidential Bid
- Four Facing Felony Charges for Protest at Military Giant Northrop Grumman
A Connecticut newspaper reporter has resigned after alleging gross misconduct by ownership on behalf of billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson. Steve Collins has worked at The Bristol Press for more than two decades. But on Christmas Eve, he announced he’s stepping down after it was revealed the paper’s owner, Michael Schroeder, ran a plagiarized article under a fake name that criticized a Nevada judge who had challenged Adelson’s business dealings. Schroeder is the manager of News + Media Capital Group LLC, an Adelson shell company that recently bought a different paper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In a Facebook post, Steve Collins wrote: "The owner of my paper is guilty of journalistic misconduct of epic proportions. … Journalism is nothing if we reporters falter and fade. We are doing something important and men such as Mr. Schroeder and Mr. Adelson—no matter how much money they can toss around—cannot have their way with us." Steve Collins joins us to discuss his ordeal and his decision to resign. "It felt like my boss was pimping out our paper to serve the interest of a billionaire out in Las Vegas," he says.
Tamir Rice was the youngest victim in a series of well-known cases of police killings of unarmed African Americans—and the latest whose death led to no charges against the officers involved. "There needs to be a complete recall of the distribution of resources that provide police the opportunity to continue to wreak havoc in the lives of black individuals," says Elle Hearns, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Cleveland. "This cannot consistently be where we are—week after week, month after month, year after year—with no accountability for these officers, no accountability by the city officials, no accountability by the federal government."
After the grand jury’s decision not to indict, Tamir Rice’s mother Samaria Rice accused the prosecutor of "deliberately sabotag[ing] the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers’ defense attorney." Attorneys for the Rice family have asked the Justice Department to intervene over what they call "extreme bias" and "a charade process aimed at exonerating the officers." Questions have also been raised about the officers’ past. In a previous stint at a different Ohio police department, Timothy Loehmann, who fatally shot Tamir, had been declared unfit for duty and "dismal" with his handgun. His fellow responding officer, Frank Garmback, also has a troubled history, with Cleveland paying $100,000 to a city resident who accused him of excessive force. We discuss the officers’ past and the prosecutors’ conduct with Rice family attorney Billy Joe Mills.
Tamir Rice Family "In Shock" After Grand Jury Clears Police for Fatally Shooting Boy Holding Toy Gun
An Ohio grand jury has decided there will be no charges in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old African-American boy Tamir Rice. On November 22, 2014, Tamir Rice was playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park. A 911 caller reported seeing him with a weapon but noted it was "probably fake" and that the individual was "probably a juvenile"—that information was not relayed to the responding officers. After their police cruiser pulled up in front of Tamir, Officer Timothy Loehmann shot him within two seconds. Neither Loehmann nor his partner, Frank Garmback, administered any first aid to try to save Tamir’s life. They then tackled Tamir’s 14-year-old sister to the ground as she ran to her brother’s side, and handcuffed and put her in their cruiser as the boy lay dying on the ground. Tamir died of his injuries the following day. After a more than year-long investigation, the grand jury returned a decision Monday not to indict. "We are in shock," says Tamir Rice’s cousin, Latonya Goldsby. "We can’t believe this decision came down the way it did."
- No Indictment in Cleveland Police Shooting of 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Returns from Cuba amid Calls for Resignation
- Extreme Weather Continues to Ravage Parts of U.S.
- Nigeria: At Least 80 Killed in Attacks by Boko Haram
- Iran Hands Over Uranium in Major Step Toward Fulfilling Nuclear Deal
- Hundreds Evacuated from Besieged Syrian Areas Under U.N. Deal
- Syrian Journalist Naji Jerf "Assassinated" in Turkey
- Relatives of Drowned Syrian 3-Year-Old Alan Kurdi Arrive in Canada
- Central American Countries Reach Deal on U.S.-Bound Cuban Migrants
- Report: Pentagon Thwarting Release of Guantánamo Prisoners
- Trump Changes Stance on U.S. Wages, Saying They are "Too Low"
- Former KKK Leader David Duke: Trump Sounds "A Lot More Radical" Than Me
- Sanders Calls Trump a "Demagogue" in Nevada Address
- U.S. Judge Blocks Missouri from Revoking Planned Parenthood Clinic's License
- "Affluenza" Teenager Ethan Couch Detained with Mother in Mexico
The legendary cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler has died at the age of 93. Wexler is perhaps best known for his 1969 film, "Medium Cool," which captures the upheaval surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He won two Academy Awards for cinematography in "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Bound for Glory," about folk singer Woody Guthrie. His documentaries tackled political issues including the Southern Freedom Riders of the 1960s, the U.S. government’s destabilization of Nicaragua, U.S. atrocities in Vietnam, and torture under the U.S.-backed junta in Brazil. We remember Haskell Wexler with Pamela Yates, director of "Rebel Citizen," a documentary about his life.
Amid grief and outrage over the killings of two unarmed African Americans in Chicago, a year-end report from the Mapping Police Violence research project says police nationwide killed at least 1,152 people in 2015. In 14 cities, every single police victim was African-American. And across the country, police killings had little correlation with crime rates and population size. We discuss the findings with Sam Sinyangwe, a statistician who worked on the Mapping Police Violence project.
Protests continue in Chicago after police shot dead two more unarmed African Americans—Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old mother of five, and 19-year-old college student Quintonio LeGrier. The shooting comes amid outrage over the more than year-old police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald and a potential police cover-up. Could these killings force Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign? We are joined by Aislinn Sol of Black Lives Matter Chicago.