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: 9 hours 34 min ago

Drone on Your iPhone: Apple Drops Objections to App Tracking U.S. Strikes Overseas

Wed 08 28 AM

A new iPhone app has been released that tracks every reported U.S. drone strike overseas. Over the course of two years, Apple rejected different versions no less than five times. Now, for the first time, the app is finally available under the name of Metadata+, created by New York University graduate student Josh Begley. Madiha Tahir, a filmmaker whose documentary "Wounds of Waziristan" looks at the drone war, says Apple stalled the app’s approval for political reasons before Begley found a workaround.

Karim Khan, Anti-Drone Activist Who Lost Family Members to U.S. Strike, Goes Missing in Pakistan

Wed 08 11 AM

An anti-drone activist and journalist has gone missing in Pakistan just days before he was due to travel to Europe to speak with Parliament members about the impact of the U.S. drone wars. The legal charity Reprieve says Karim Khan was seized in the early hours of February 5 by up to 20 men, some wearing police uniforms. He has not been seen since. Khan’s brother and son were both killed in a drone strike. In addition to public activism, Khan was also engaged in legal proceedings against the Pakistani government for their failure to investigate the killings of his loved ones. We are joined by filmmaker Madiha Tahir, who interviewed Khan for her documentary, "Wounds of Waziristan."

"These are people seeking peaceful, legal routes for restitution for a great harm that been done to them," Tahir says. Of drone victim’s families’ difficulty gaining legal traction, she says, "It speaks to the secretive nature of the American state."

Bridgegate Scandal Grows as NJ Lawmakers Issue 18 Subpoenas to Christie's Office, Port Authority

Tue 08 52 AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s "Bridgegate" continues to unfold, as a legislative panel investigating the scandal has issued 18 more subpoenas. They include one for the head of the state’s police aviation unit, who could offer details about whether Christie shared a helicopter with David Wildstein on the same days Wildstein oversaw the closures of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge for four days in September. Wildstein was Christie’s former Port Authority appointee. A photograph taken on the third day the lanes were blocked shows Christie walking with Wildstein and other close allies at the authority. Christie has denied having any knowledge of the closures as they happened, saying he only found out when the scandal broke open last month. But last week, Wildstein said "evidence exists" that Christie was aware at the time, contrary to his public statements. We speak with Elizabeth Kolbert, whose recent article for The New Yorker, "Red Light," looks at the Port Authority’s evolution from progressive government experiment to patronage mill stacked with Christie loyalists.

The Sixth Extinction: Elizabeth Kolbert on How Humans Are Causing Largest Die-Off Since Dinosaur Age

Tue 08 31 AM

In the history of the planet, there have been five known mass extinction events. The last came 65 million years ago, when an asteroid about half the size of Manhattan collided with the Earth, wiping out the dinosaurs and bringing the Cretaceous period to an end. Scientists say we are now experiencing the sixth extinction, with up to 50 percent of all living species in danger of disappearing by the end of the century. But unlike previous extinctions, the direct cause this time is us — human-driven climate change. In "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History," journalist Elizabeth Kolbert visits four continents to document the massive "die-offs" that came millions of years ago and those now unfolding before our eyes. Kolbert explores how human activity — fossil fuel consumption, ocean acidification, pollution, deforestation, forced migration — threatens life forms of all kinds. "It is estimated that one-third of all reef-building corals, a third of all fresh-water mollusks, a third of sharks and rays, a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles, and a sixth of all birds are headed toward oblivion," Kolbert writes. "The losses are occurring all over: in the South Pacific and in the North Atlantic, in the Arctic and the Sahel, in lakes and on islands, on mountaintops and in valleys."

The Day We Fight Back: Activism Sweeps the Internet with Global Action Against Mass Surveillance

Tue 08 12 AM

Nearly a decade after the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless spying program came to light, the issue of mass government surveillance has again sparked a global outcry with the disclosures of whistleblower Edward Snowden. Leaks of National Security Agency files have exposed a mammoth spying apparatus that stretches across the planet, from phone records to text messages to social media and email, from the internal communications of climate summits to those of foreign missions and even individual heads of state. Today privacy advocates are holding one of their biggest online actions so far with "The Day We Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance." Thousands of websites will speak in one voice, displaying a banner encouraging visitors to fight back by posting memes and changing their social media avatars to reflect their demands, as well as contacting their members of Congress to push through surveillance reform legislation. The action is inspired in part by the late Internet open-access activist Aaron Swartz, who helped set a precedent in January 2012 when more than 8,000 websites went dark for 12 hours in protest of a pair of controversial bills that were being debated in Congress: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). The bills died in committee in the wake of protests. We discuss today’s global action with Rainey Reitman, activism director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founder of the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

Defying Threats to Journalism, Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Launch New Venture, The Intercept

Mon 08 49 AM

Investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald join us for their first interview upon launching The Intercept, their new digital magazine published by First Look Media, the newly formed media venture started by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Greenwald is the journalist who first broke the story about Edward Snowden’s disclosures on the National Security Agency. He was previously a columnist at The Guardian newspaper. Scahill is producer and writer of the documentary film "Dirty Wars," which is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. "We are really about a journalistic ethos — which is not doing things like helping the U.S. continue its targeting of U.S. citizens for death, but by being adversarial to the government," Greenwald says. "Telling the public what it ought to know, and targeting the most powerful corporate factions with accountability journalism." Greenwald and Scahill founded TheIntercept.org with filmmaker Laura Poitras.

Report: Obama Administration Considers Assassinating Another American Overseas

Mon 08 44 AM

The Associated Press is reporting the White House is considering using a drone to kill an American citizen who is allegedly a member of al-Qaeda. The AP did not name the man or the country where he is residing. The Obama administration has killed four U.S. citizens in drone strikes since 2009, including Anwar al-Awlaki and his son in separate strikes in Yemen. We get response to the latest news from investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald of the new digital magazine, TheIntercept.org.

Death By Metadata: Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Reveal NSA Role in Assassinations Overseas

Mon 08 13 AM

In the first exposé for their new venture, First Look Media’s digital journal The Intercept, investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald reveal the National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes. The NSA identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cellphone tracking technologies, an unreliable tactic that has resulted in the deaths of innocent and unidentified people. The United States has reportedly carried out drone strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cellphone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike. Scahill and Greenwald join us in this exclusive interview to discuss their report and the launch of their media project.

Affluenza Defense Lands Wealthy Teen in Rehab After He Kills 4 People in Drunk Driving Accident

Fri 08 50 AM

A wealthy teen who killed four people in a Texas drunk driving accident will not go to jail after a judge ruled this week that instead, he must attend an expensive rehabilitation facility paid for by his parents. The driver was 16-year-old Ethan Couch. He was speeding, with a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. Couch has admitted to his crime, and in a case that went before a Texas judge, prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence. Instead, Couch was sentenced to 10 years’ probation after a psychologist claimed he had "affluenza," and testified that his cushy upbringing prevented him from connecting bad behavior with its consequences. We get response from Richard Alpert, the Tarrant County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case against Couch. We are also joined by Boyce Watkins, a Syracuse University professor and the founder of "YourBlackWorld.net." He recently wrote an article titled "Rich, White Kids Have 'Affluenza,' Poor, Black Kids Go to Prison."

Trial Begins in Case of Man Who Murdered Florida Teen Jordan Davis Over Loud Music

Fri 08 33 AM

We look at the tragic case of a Florida high school student named Jordan Davis who was shot dead in 2012 on the day after Thanksgiving over a dispute about loud music. The trial of his killer, Michael Dunn, began Thursday. Dunn claims he felt threatened by Davis and his three teenage friends in an SUV that pulled up next to him. According to his police interview, one of the teens in the car said something about "killing." Dunn said when Davis allegedly bent down in the car, he feared he was reaching for a weapon. Dunn then used his handgun to shoot four times into the SUV. When the teenagers started to retreat, Dunn chased their vehicle and shot four to five more shots. Jordan was fatally shot in the back seat. Dunn is expected to use the Stand Your Ground defense during his trial, in which he faces the same prosecutor who argued the Trayvon Martin case. We play excerpts from the trial’s opening arguments and speak with Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com, who has been closely following the case and has been in contact with Davis’ parents. He serves on the board of directors of the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Skolnik also explains why he’s asked the rapper DMX not to fight George Zimmerman in a celebrity boxing match.

Execution Chaos: Witnesses Say Executions Are Botched as States Use Untested, Secret Drug Cocktails

Fri 08 10 AM

As drug companies refuse to let their products be used for the death penalty, states are using untested drug combinations that have resulted in deaths like that of Dennis McGuire in Ohio, where the state used an untested two-drug method despite warnings it might cause immense suffering. We speak with the reporter who witnessed the execution and with a lawyer for a man executed in Missouri with an entirely different lethal drug cocktail, made by a pharmacy the state refuses to name. Meanwhile, on Thursday Virginia lawmakers failed to pass a law that would let death row prisoners die in the electric chair now that the state has run out of the chemicals used to make up its three-drug execution cocktail, and is unable to locate more. The delayed vote could impose a temporary moratorium in Virginia, which executes more people than any other state besides Texas. The execution drugs’ scarcity stems from the refusal of manufacturers in Europe and the United States to let them be used to put people to death. We speak with Alan Johnson, reporter with The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio, who witnessed McGuire’s execution and says he observed him gasping for air, and that he appeared to be choking. We are also joined by Cheryl Pilate, one of the lead attorneys for Herbert Smulls, who was executed Jan. 29 with a lethal dose of pentobarbital that was made by a compounding pharmacy the state refuses to name. Also joining us is Megan McCracken, attorney with the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law’s Death Penalty Clinic, where she is an expert on lethal injection methods.

In Latin American Votes, Honduran Movements Cement Role While El Salvador Poised for Historic Shift

Thu 08 51 AM

Historian and Latin America expert Greg Grandin looks at two recent elections in Latin America with historic implications. Despite losing a contested vote in Honduras, Grandin says the LIBRE party of former President Manuel Zelaya has altered the traditional Honduran political balance with newfound gains in the country’s National Congress. Meanwhile in El Salvador, former rebel commander Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the FMLN is expected to win the presidency next month after just missing the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff vote. Sánchez Cerén is running to replace Mauricio Funes, which would mark the first time an FMLN candidate succeeds another after decades of right-wing governments.

Empire of Necessity: Historian Greg Grandin on Slavery, Freedom and Deception in the New World

Thu 08 32 AM

In his new book, "The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World," acclaimed historian Greg Grandin examines how the transnational slave trade transformed the world, causing mass economic, social and political upheaval in ways that continue to reverberate today. Grandin tells the true story of a slave insurrection aboard a ship named the Tryal in 1805, in which West African men and women rose up and seized the vessel. The uprising inspired Herman Melville to write his novella "Benito Cereno" that drew on the memoirs of Captain Delano, a distant relative of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Today, Grandin has used the dramatic incident to show how slavery was the "flywheel" that drove the global development of everything from trade and insurance to technology, religion and medicine for nearly four centuries. A professor of Latin American history at New York University, Grandin’s last book, "Fordlandia," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history.

Job Killer? How Media Spin Got Obamacare Wrong -- and Why Single-Payer Could Cure Its Actual Flaws

Thu 08 11 AM

Obamacare is a job killer — that was the message across the media this week after the release of a new Congressional Budget Office report about the Affordable Care Act. But what does the CBO report really say? We speak to Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik, who says detractors have misinterpreted a report that actually brought good news. That is not to say Obamacare does not have its drawbacks, which Hiltzik argues could be cured by a single-payer healthcare system.

"Celebration Capitalism & the Olympics": Global Protests Mark Approach of Sochi Games

Wed 08 30 AM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has spent more than $50 billion on the Winter Games in Sochi, making this the most expensive Olympics in history. In the lead-up to the games, Russia has faced worldwide criticism and calls for boycotts, especially after it passed a law in June banning the spread of so-called "gay propaganda" to children. With the games just two days away, we host a roundtable with four guests: Dave Zirin, sports columnist for The Nation magazine and author of "Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down"; Samantha Retrosi, a luge athlete who competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics; historian and former U.S. Olympic soccer player, Jules Boykoff, who is author of "Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games"; and Helen Lenskyj, author of several books on the Olympics, including "Gender Politics and the Olympic Industry" and the forthcoming book, "Sexual Diversity and the Sochi 2014 Olympics: No More Rainbows."