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: 8 hours 59 min ago

Ex-Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld Committed War Crimes

Mon 07 47 AM

Richard Clarke, the nation’s former top counterterrorism official, tells Democracy Now! he believes President George W. Bush is guilty of war crimes for launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Clarke served as national coordinator for security and counterterrorism during Bush’s first year in office. He resigned in 2003 following the Iraq invasion and later made headlines by accusing Bush officials of ignoring pre-9/11 warnings about an imminent attack by al-Qaeda. "I think things that they authorized probably fall within the area of war crimes," Clarke says. "Whether that would be productive or not, I think, is a discussion we could all have. But we have established procedures now with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where people who take actions as serving presidents or prime ministers of countries have been indicted and have been tried. So the precedent is there to do that sort of thing. And I think we need to ask ourselves whether or not it would be useful to do that in the case of members of the Bush administration. It’s clear that things that the Bush administration did — in my mind, at least — were war crimes."

Former Counterterrorism Czar Richard Clarke: U.S. Drone Program Under Obama "Got Out of Hand"

Mon 07 13 AM

Richard Clarke served as the nation’s top counterterrorism official under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before resigning in 2003 in protest of the Iraq War. A year before the Sept. 11 attacks, Clarke pushed for the Air Force to begin arming drones as part of the U.S. effort to hunt down Osama bin Laden. According to Clarke, the CIA and the Pentagon initially opposed the mission. Then Sept. 11 happened. Two months later, on November 12, 2001, Mohammed Atef, the head of al-Qaeda’s military forces, became the first person killed by a Predator drone. According to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, U.S. drones have since killed at least 2,600 people in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Clarke has just written a novel about drone warfare called, "Sting of the Drone." We talk to Clarke about the book and his concerns about President Obama’s escalation of the drone war. "I think the [drone] program got out of hand," Clarke says. "The excessive secrecy is as counterproductive as some of the strikes are."

Part 2: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Segregation, Housing Discrimination and “The Case for Reparations”

Fri 07 40 AM

We air part two of our interview with famed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates about his cover article in The Atlantic, “The Case for Reparations,” in which he exposes how slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and federally backed housing policy have systematically robbed African Americans of their possessions and prevented them from accruing inter-generational wealth. “It puts a lie to the myth that African Americans who act right, who are respectable, are somehow therefore immune to the plunder that is symptomatic of white supremacy in this country,” Coates says. “It does not matter. There’s no bettering yourself that will get you out of this.”

Watch Part 1 of this interview.

"How Immigration Became Illegal”: Aviva Chomsky on U.S. Exploitation of Migrant Workers

Fri 07 26 AM

We are joined by Aviva Chomsky, whose new book, "Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal” details how systemic prejudice against Mexicans and many other migrant workers has been woven into U.S. immigration policies that deny them the same path to citizenship that have long been granted to European immigrants. She also draws parallels between the immigration laws now in place that criminalize migrants, and the caste system that has oppressed African Americans, as described by Prof. Michelle Alexander in her book, "The New Jim Crow." Chomsky’s previous book on this topic is "They Take Our Jobs! and 20 Other Myths about Immigration." She is a professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts.

Obama Continues Record Deportations, Delays Immigration Reforms In Order to Court Republicans

Fri 07 13 AM

President Obama announced this week that he is delaying a review of his administration’s controversial deportation practices until after the summer, after earlier ordering Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to look into ways he could take executive action to scale back deportations after civil rights groups dubbed him the "deporter-in-chief." But during a hearing on immigration policy Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia made it clear that they remain highly skeptical of negotiating with the president. Immigration rights groups continue to express frustration over the lack of political traction on comprehensive immigration reform. “Our community is angry and we are going to channel that anger in the most constructive way possible,” says our guest Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network, which has engaged in civil disobedience to pressure Obama to immediately stop deportations.

Image Credit: Juliosalgado.com

The Case for Reparations: Ta-Nehisi Coates on Reckoning With U.S. Slavery & Institutional Racism

Thu 07 46 AM

An explosive new cover story in the June issue of The Atlantic magazine by the famed essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates has rekindled a national discussion on reparations for American slavery and institutional racism. Coates explores how slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and federally backed housing policy systematically robbed African Americans of their possessions and prevented them from accruing inter-generational wealth. Much of the essay focuses on predatory lending schemes that bilked potential African-American homeowners, concluding: "Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole." Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview.":http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/30/part_2_ta_nehisi_coateson

"A Peace Warrior": Poet, Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Remembered by Sonia Sanchez

Thu 07 12 AM

The legendary poet, playwright and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86. Born in the Jim Crow South, Angelou rose to become one of the world’s most celebrated writers. After becoming an accomplished singer and actress, Angelou was deeply involved in the 1960s civil rights struggle, working with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Encouraged by the author James Baldwin, among others, to focus on her writing, Angelou penned "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," her first of seven autobiographies. The book launched the phenomenal career for which she is known around the world as an award-winning author and people’s poet. We look back at some of Angelou’s most celebrated poems and speeches, and speak to her close friend Sonia Sanchez, the renowned writer, activist and leader in the black arts movement.

Egyptian Regime Scrambles to Boost Low Turnout in Election Sealing General Sisi's Grip on Power

Wed 07 53 AM

Egypt’s presidential election has been extended for a third day in an apparent bid to boost voter turnout. The outcome is believed to be a foregone conclusion with former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi widely expected to win. But the conspicuously low voter turnout threatens to undermine the credibility of the election and has led the military-backed government to take desperate measures. On Tuesday, the government declared a public holiday to encourage voter participation. It also waived public transportation fares, encouraged shopping malls to close early, and threatened to fine Egyptians who did not vote. Local politicians took to the airwaves to repeat messages from Muslim and Christian leaders about a "religious duty" to vote. If Sisi wins the election as predicted, he will become the sixth military man to run Egypt since the army overthrew the monarchy in 1952. He led the ouster of democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi last year. Some Islamic and liberal political groups have urged Egyptians to boycott the election, arguing that the vote is unfair and illegitimate. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

In Aiding Rescue of Kidnapped Schoolgirls in Nigeria, Will U.S. Expand Military Foothold in Africa?

Wed 07 31 AM

In a speech today, President Obama is expected to lay out a U.S. foreign policy approach that avoids large wars like Iraq and Afghanistan, and shifts instead to partnering with countries on counterterrorism efforts. This comes as The New York Times reports the Obama administration has launched a program to train "homegrown African counterterrorism teams" in Libya, Niger, Mauritania and Mali. Just last week, the United States also deployed a battalion of 80 marines to Nigeria to help search for the nearly 300 missing schoolgirls there. The head of Nigeria’s military has said the military now knows where the abducted girls are being held, but has ruled out using force to rescue them for fear of endangering their lives. We discuss the situation in Nigeria and the growing fears that the schoolgirls’ kidnapping could be exploited to further U.S. militarism in Africa with two guests: Dayo Olopade is a Nigerian-American journalist and author of "The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa," and Carl LeVan is an assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service and author of the forthcoming book, "Dictators and Democracy in African Development: The Political Economy of Good Governance in Nigeria."

Obama Extends Nation's Longest War to 2016, Leaving Afghan Civilians in U.S.-Taliban Crossfire

Wed 07 13 AM

President Obama has announced the longest war in the history of the United States will last another two-and-a-half years. On Tuesday, Obama said that the United States will maintain almost 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after its formal combat mission concludes at the end of this year. The United States will eventually withdraw troops until only a small residual force remains after 2016. By then, the war will have lasted more than 15 years. We are joined by Anand Gopal, author of the new book, "No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes." A journalist and a fellow at the New America Foundation, Gopal has spent years reporting on Afghanistan.

#YesAllWomen: Rebecca Solnit on the Santa Barbara Massacre & Viral Response to Misogynist Violence

Tue 07 42 AM

Santa Barbara is grieving after a 22-year-old man killed six college students just after posting a misogynistic video online vowing to take his revenge on women for sexually rejecting him. The massacre prompted an unprecedented reaction online with tens of thousands of women joining together to tell their stories of sexual violence, harassment and intimidation. By Sunday, the hashtag #YesAllWomen had gone viral. In speaking out, women were placing the shooting inside a broader context of misogynist violence that often goes ignored. In her new book, "Men Explain Things to Me," author and historian Rebecca Solnit tackles this issue and many others. "We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern," Solnit says. "Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender."

Will Election Unite Ukraine? Dozens Killed in Airport Battle as President-Elect Vows Russia Talks

Tue 07 13 AM

At least 30 pro-Russian rebels have reportedly died in fierce fighting at the airport in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The Ukrainian government bombarded the airport with air strikes, then paratroopers, after rebels seized it on Monday. The fighting began just hours after the pro-European billionaire candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s first presidential election since the ouster of Viktor Yanukovych. After his election, Petro Poroshenko said he was ready to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but he ruled out any talks with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. To discuss these developments, we are joined by three guests: Christopher Miller of the Kyiv Post, reporting just steps from the embattled airport in Donetsk; Jack Matlock, the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991; and Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University, who just returned from Kiev and wrote the article in The New York Review of Books titled "Ukraine: The Edge of Democracy."

Remembering Vincent Harding, the Civil Rights Activist Who Wrote MLK's Speech Against Vietnam War

Mon 07 30 AM

Today we spend the hour remembering the pioneering historian, theologian and civil rights activist Dr. Vincent Harding. He died on May 19 at the age of 82 in Philadelphia. He lived in Denver, but was in Pennsylvania where he had been teaching at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center. Harding was a close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote King’s famous antiwar speech, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." King delivered the address at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967 — exactly one year before he was assassinated in Memphis.

"By the last years of his life, [King] was saying that America had to deal with what he called triple evils: the evil of racism, the evil of materialism and the evils of militarism," said Harding in this Democracy Now! interview in 2008. "And he saw those three very much connected to each other."

After King was assassinated, Harding became the first director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center and of the Institute of the Black World. He later became a professor at Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Iliff Professor George "Tink" Tinker described Harding as "the most important civil rights leader not everyone has heard of." Democracy Now! interviewed Vincent Harding on April 1, 2008, three days before the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination. The interview took place during Barack Obama’s historic run for president. Hear Harding in his own words and an excerpt of King’s "Beyond Vietnam" speech.

Iona Craig: Dire Situation in Yemen as Backlash Grows from U.S.-Backed Offensive Against al-Qaeda

Fri 07 48 AM

A U.S.-backed offensive against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula rages on in Yemen. Yesterday, four civilians were killed and three were injured when their vehicle was shelled in the country’s southern Shabwa province. In April, Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi embarked on all-out war against al-Qaeda and began a series of heavy air strikes. Since then, an estimated 21,000 people have been displaced amidst the fighting. Meanwhile, the government has cracked down on local journalists and deported its last remaining foreign reporters. We are joined in studio by journalist Iona Craig, who was the last accredited foreign reporter in Yemen, until recently. She left the country last week after hearing from her sources that the government intended to deport her, too.