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: 2 hours 9 min ago

Can the President Strike an American Anywhere in the World?: Drone Memo Raises Troubling Questions

Tue 07 35 AM

During a three-month span in 2011, U.S. drones killed four American citizens overseas. On September 30, cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in a drone strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, another U.S. drone killed Anwar’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, in Yemen. A month later, a U.S. citizen named Jude Kenan Mohammad was killed in Pakistan. For the past two-and-a-half years, the Obama administration has refused to release its legal rationale for killing American citizens overseas. That changed on Monday when a federal court released a heavily redacted 41-page memo. It concludes the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force gave the U.S. government the authority to target Anwar al-Awlaki, who the Obama administration claims had joined al-Qaeda. On Capitol Hill, Sen. Ron Wyden praised the release of the memo but said it raises many questions. Wyden asked, "How much evidence does the president need to determine that a particular American is a legitimate target for military action? Can the president strike an American anywhere in the world?" Questions also remain over when the United States can kill non-U.S. citizens. We speak to Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project.

Should Obama Go to Tehran? How a U.S.-Iran "Grand Bargain" Could Help the Crisis in Iraq

Tue 07 13 AM

As the United Nations reveals more than 1,075 Iraqis have been killed so far this month, the Obama administration has promised Iraq "intense and sustained" support against the Sunni uprising overtaking large parts of the country. Secretary of State John Kerry made the pledge in a surprise visit to Baghdad while imploring Iraqi leaders to adopt inclusiveness in forming a new government by a July 1 deadline. Kerry’s visit to Baghdad followed stops in Egypt and Jordan, followed by Brussels and Paris in the coming days. But our guest Phyllis Bennis argues Kerry’s travel calendar ignores the most important stop he could make: Tehran. The United States and Iran are fighting a common enemy in Iraq’s Sunni militants. But despite much speculation and ongoing nuclear talks, there is little sign the two sides are approaching meaningful engagement on Iraq and the threat of regional conflict it is inflaming. A senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, Bennis is the author of the article, "Don’t Go Back to Iraq! Five Steps the U.S. Can Take in Iraq Without Going Back to War," and of several books, including "Ending the Iraq War: A Primer."

Pressuring Israel, Presbyterian Church Divests from Firms Tied to Occupation of Palestinian Land

Mon 07 46 AM

In what is being hailed as a major milestone for the global campaign to boycott and divest from Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory. According to the church, the three firms — Motorola Solutions, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard — profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land by selling bulldozers, surveillance technology and other similar products. The decision passed by seven votes, 310 to 303, making the Presbyterian Church the largest religious group to vote for divestment. We are joined by two guests: Dr. Nahida Gordon, a Palestinian-American professor who is a member of the steering committee of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); and Rabbi Alissa Wise, director of organizing at Jewish Voice for Peace.

"Baghdad is a Frightened City": As ISIS Gains Ground, Iraqi Capital Gripped by Fear & Uncertainty

Mon 07 31 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise trip to Baghdad today to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Ahead of his arrival, Kerry signaled the Obama administration is prepared to drop support for Maliki, calling for leadership "prepared to represent all of Iraq." Kerry’s visit comes as Sunni militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have captured more territory. Over the weekend, ISIS militants seized three border crossings with Syria and Jordan, as well as four nearby towns. An Iraqi government airstrike, meanwhile, has reportedly killed at least seven civilians and wounded 12 others in the ISIS-held Tikrit. Residents say army helicopters fired on civilian cars lined up at a gas station. The Iraqi government is claiming it only killed insurgents. We go now to Baghdad to speak with Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent.

"Journalism in Egypt is a Crime": Global Outcry After 3 Al Jazeera Reporters Sentenced to 7-10 Years

Mon 07 12 AM

An Egyptian court has sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to between seven and 10 years in prison on terrorism charges, including "spreading false news" in support of the Muslim Brotherhood, deemed by the government a "terrorist group." Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed have been jailed since December in a case that’s stoked international outrage. The sentence came down one day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo to meet with Egypt’s new president, the former army general Abdul Fattah el-Sisi. Amnesty International decried the jail sentences as "a dark day for media freedom in Egypt," while Al Jazeera said the verdict defied "logic, sense, and any semblance of justice." We go to Cairo to speak with Mohamed Fahmy’s brother Adel Fahmy, as well as Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who warns: "What this ruling means is that in Egypt journalism is a crime."

A Plan Only Banksters Will Love: WikiLeaks Reveals Trade Deal Pushing Global Financial Deregulation

Fri 07 50 AM

The pro-transparency group WikiLeaks has released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement, TISA, a trade agreement covering 50 countries and more than 68 percent of world trade in service. Until now, the draft has been classified to keep it clandestine, not only during the negotiations, but also for five years post-enactment. According to the leaked text, TISA aims to cement the extreme deregulatory model of the 1990s by forbidding countries from improving financial regulation. The draft Financial Services Annex would also establish rules favorable to the expansion of financial multinationals into other nations by preventing regulatory obstacles. The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round. We discuss the leaked text with Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch and author of "The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority."

Photo Credit: WikiLeaks

Iraq's Next PM? Ahmed Chalabi, Chief Peddler of False WMDs, Meets U.S. Officials as Maliki Falters

Fri 07 40 AM

Pressure is mounting on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to form a less sectarian government or to resign. A representative of the influential Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for the creation of what he described as a new "effective" government. On Thursday, The New York Times revealed the U.S. ambassador in Iraq, Robert Beecroft, and the State Department’s top official in Iraq, Brett McGurk, recently met with the controversial Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, who has been described as a potential candidate to replace al-Maliki. Chalabi is the former head of the Iraqi National Congress, a CIA-funded Iraqi exile group that strongly pushed for the 2003 U.S. invasion. The INC helped drum up pre-war claims that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction and had links to al-Qaeda. The group provided bogus intelligence to the Bush administration, U.S. lawmakers and journalists. We are joined by Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s Magazine.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa Proposes Ban on U.S. Military Deployment in Iraq Without Congressional Backing

Fri 07 30 AM

On Thursday, President Obama announced the deployment of up to 300 military advisers to Iraq and left open the possibility of U.S. airstrikes against the Sunni militants that have taken over large parts of the country. We go to Capitol Hill to speak with Democratic Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii, who successfully introduced an amendment this week to prevent the deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq without congressional approval.

NYC's $40M Central Park 5 Settlement Resolves Wrongful Jailing Fueled by Race-Baiting, Police Abuse

Fri 07 10 AM

The City of New York has reportedly agreed to pay $40 million to five men wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger in Central Park 25 years ago. The five black and Latino men were convicted as teenagers. They initially confessed, but soon they recanted, insisting they had admitted to the crime under the duress of exhaustion and coercion from police officers. Media coverage at the time portrayed them as guilty and used racially coded terms to describe them. But their convictions were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed, after the five had already served jail terms of up to 13 years. We get reaction to the settlement from Natalie Byfield, a reporter for the New York Daily News at the time of Central Park Five case. Now an associate professor of sociology at St. John’s University in Queens, Byfield is the author of "Savage Portrayals: Race, Media and the Central Park Jogger Story."

Argentina Alleges Extortion After Supreme Court Sides with Vulture Funds Preying on Sovereign Debt

Thu 07 51 AM

We look at a case that is being called the "trial of the century" in how poor countries repay sovereign debt. This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Argentina over its $1.5 billion debt in a ruling critics say validates predatory behavior by so-called "vulture funds." The case involves hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt at bargain rates after its financial crisis more than a decade ago. After Argentina defaulted on its debts, the vast majority of its creditors agreed to slash the value of their holdings. But NML Capital and other firms refused to accept the deal, instead seeking full repayment. Monday’s ruling leaves in place a lower court decision ordering Argentina to pay the companies. Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has called the firms’ actions "extortion." We are joined by Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network.

As Iraq Teeters, Will U.S. and Iran Join Forces to Shore Up Embattled Shiite Gov't?

Thu 07 40 AM

As Iraq asks the United States for military strikes against Sunni militants, we look at the role of Iran in the growing crisis. On Wednesday, the Iraqi government formally asked the United States to carry out airstrikes on the militants, who have seized a large swath of the country over the past week. According to a report in The Independent of London, the Obama administration has told senior Iraqi officials that it would intervene militarily only if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki left office. Maliki, who is Shiite, has been widely criticized for deepening Iraq’s sectarian divide. Many analysts say the crisis in Iraq and Syria is developing into a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Maliki’s government accusing the Saudis of backing the Sunni militants. On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia issued an apparent warning to Iran by saying outside powers should not intervene in the conflict. This came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran "will not hesitate" to protect Shiite holy sites in Iraq threatened by Sunni militants. The Obama administration has said it remains opens to cooperation with Iran on stopping the militants’ advance, an issue briefly discussed between the two sides on the sidelines of nuclear talks in Vienna. Will and Tehran work together to shore up the Iraqi regime? We are joined by Reza Marashi, research director at the National Iranian American Council.

"A Neo-Liberal Trojan Horse": Dave Zirin on Brazil's Mass Protests Against World Cup Displacement

Thu 07 29 AM

Thousands of people marched in Brazil on Wednesday in one of the largest protests of the 2014 World Cup. Members of the Homeless Workers Movement blocked a major freeway in São Paulo to protest massive spending on the tournament and to call for more affordable housing. In another World Cup city, Porto Alegre, police fired tear gas and stun grenades at demonstrators protesting against the international soccer body, FIFA. The peaceful protesters were vastly outnumbered by an army of riot police in military gear. Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden was in Brazil to watch the United States defeat Ghana 2-1 — and to try to mend ties with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after revelations of National Security Agency’s spying on Brazil, including on Rousseff’s personal cellphone. All of this comes as Brazil looks ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, with another round of mass displacement underway. We go to Rio’s Maracanã Stadium to speak with sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of "Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy."

Photo Credit: Reuters

Meet the Navajo Activist Who Got the Washington Redskins' Trademark Revoked: Amanda Blackhorse

Thu 07 12 AM

The growing movement to change the name of the Washington Redskins football team has scored a surprising victory. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the team’s trademark registration after concluding its name and logo are disparaging to Native Americans. The decision does not force the team to change its name, but it could make it more difficult to legally guard the name and logo from use by third parties. The team can reportedly keep the trademark while they appeal. But Native Americans and other critics of the Redskins’ brand have hailed the ruling as the latest sign team owner Dan Snyder will inevitably be forced to drop it. We are joined by two guests: Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo activist and plaintiff in the case, and sportswriter Dave Zirin.

"Colonialism is Inhuman": Diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi on the Lessons of Algeria's Independence Struggle

Wed 07 50 AM

Weeks after his resignation as the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, the longtime diplomat and former freedom fighter Lakhdar Brahimi discusses his own country, Algeria, and its struggle for independence from the French. The Algerian rebellion was captured in the classic anti-colonial film "Battle of Algiers," which vividly depicts the Algerian struggle against the French occupation in the 1950s and early 1960s. "They dispossessed a whole nation," Brahimi says of the French occupation. "Colonialism was very inhuman."

Will Iraq or Syria Survive? UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Sectarian War & the Disastrous '03 Invasion

Wed 07 11 AM

As a Sunni militancy overtakes large parts of Iraq, former U.N.-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi joins us to discuss the escalating Iraqi conflict, the long-term impact of the 2003 U.S. invasion, and the crisis in neighboring Syria. A former Algerian freedom fighter who went on to become Algeria’s foreign minister, Brahimi has been deeply involved in Middle Eastern diplomacy for decades. He has worked on many of the world’s major conflicts from Afghanistan and Iraq to South Africa. Brahimi resigned as the U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria last month after a lengthy effort that failed to bring about peace talks between the Syrian government and rebel groups. On the legacy of the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, Brahimi says: "The biggest mistake was to invade. I am tempted to say that every time there was a [U.S.] choice between something right and something wrong, not very often the right option was taken." On Syria, Brahimi says the conflict is "an infected wound … if not treated properly, it will spread — and this is what is happening."