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: 2 hours 5 min ago

A Paris Every Day: As 100 Americans Die from Guns Daily, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka Calls for Reform

Mon 07 36 AM

While 130 people died in the Paris attacks, an average of 100 Americans are killed in gun violence every day, prompting many to question whether "another Paris is taking place in America this very day." We speak with one of the mayors leading the charge for stricter federal gun laws. Ras Baraka is mayor of Newark, New Jersey, where one in four residents live in poverty, schools are under state control and the city has one of the highest murder rates in the country. "The shootings in these cities where I am the mayor and all over the country are growing higher and higher because of access to guns," Baraka said. "In New Jersey, fortunately, we have some stricter gun laws. But unfortunately, they bring guns across I-78 and I-95, guns come from the southern part of the country and into hands of 14- and 15-year-old kids who are using them to solve disputes and creating murder and mayhem in our community. We have to have universal kind of gun laws that affect every state and every city, not just a few."

Brussels Is Under High Security Alert, But Will Europe Address Muslims in "Marginalized Ghettos"?

Mon 07 11 AM

Belgium’s capital city of Brussels is on its highest alert as residents remain on lockdown. People are being told to stay away from their windows, and schools remain closed as police and soldiers carry out raids in the search for suspects in the Paris attacks ten days ago that killed 130 people. Overnight raids resulted in 16 arrests. No guns or explosives were found, and Salah Abdeslam, the main suspect in the Paris attacks who drove to Brussels afterward, remains at large. Meanwhile, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel says Brussels will remain under the country’s highest level of security threat, meaning the threat of an attack is "serious and imminent." We speak with Belgian-born human rights activist Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director, who has spent the last few months interviewing refugees coming to Europe mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. He also examines what he calls the "marginalized ghettos" in European cities where many migrants live, including the Brussels suburb called Molenbeek, where some of the Paris attackers lived. "Europe really should be focusing more on the marginalized Muslim communities at home and try to better meet their needs, make sure that young people are educated and have jobs available, because the reality is that the majority of these people who carried out the Paris attacks were French citizens — some of them resident in Molenbeek — who have been living in France all of their lives," Bouckaert says. He also notes Belgium has been a center for the illegal weapons trade for decades.

From Console to Trigger: How Pentagon "Exploits" Video Game Culture to Wire Youth for War

Fri 07 50 AM

Among the issues tackled in the new documentary film "Drone" is the connection between video games and military recruitment. We air a clip from the film and speak to its director, Tonje Hessen Schei, as well as drone war whistleblower Brandon Bryant. "I think gamers should be offended that the military and the government are using [video games] to manipulate and recruit," Bryant says. "We’re more interconnected now than at any time in human history — and that’s being exploited to help people kill one another."

Exclusive: 2 Air Force Vets Speak Out for First Time on Why They Want the Drone War to Stop

Fri 07 35 AM

In an unprecedented open letter to President Obama, four U.S. Air Force servicemembers who took part in the drone war say targeted killings and remote-control bombings fuel the very terrorism the government says it’s trying to destroy. Two of the signatories, former sensor operator Stephen Lewis and former Air Force technician Cian Westmoreland, tell us why they are speaking out for the first time about what they did. "Anybody in the Air Force knows that an air strike has collateral damage a significant amount of the time," Westmoreland says. "I’m saying it wasn’t all enemies. It was civilians, as well."

"Numbing & Horrible": Former Drone Operator Brandon Bryant on His Haunting First Kill

Fri 07 30 AM

Former Air Force pilot Brandon Bryant is one of the the first U.S. drone operators to speak out against President Obama’s global assassination program. Bryant served as a sensor operator for the Predator program from 2007 to 2011, manning the camera on the unmanned aerial vehicles that carried out attacks overseas. After he left active duty in the Air Force, he was presented with a certificate that credited his squadron for 1,626 kills. We hear Bryant’s recounting of his first-ever lethal drone strike and the impact it continues to have on him today.

Exclusive: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians, Fuels Terror

Fri 07 19 AM

Has the U.S. drone war "fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS"? That’s the conclusion of four former Air Force servicemembers who are speaking out together for the first time. They’ve issued a letter to President Obama warning the U.S. drone program is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism. They accuse the administration of lying about the effectiveness of the drone program, saying it is good at killing people—just not the right ones. The four drone war veterans risk prosecution by an administration that has been unprecedented in its targeting of government whistleblowers. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, they join us in their first extended broadcast interview.

Bamako Hostage Crisis: How U.S.-Backed Intervention in Libya Spread Chaos to Nearby Mali

Fri 07 10 AM

A hostage crisis is underway in Mali, where suspected Islamist militants have stormed a luxury hotel in the capital Bamako and taken over 180 people hostage. Malian special forces have launched a rescue operation and exchanged fire with the militants inside. Dozens of people have reportedly been freed, while at least three deaths have been confirmed. Mali has faced a radical insurgency since 2012, when Islamist militants seized northern areas. A French-led intervention ousted them the following year, but violence continues across the country. For context on the hostage crisis in Mali, we turn to Nick Turse, whose book "Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa" explores the expanding American battlefield in Africa, where the U.S. military is now involved in more than 90 percent of Africa’s 54 nations. Turse discusses how the U.S.-backed intervention in Libya helped fuel the ongoing militant violence in nearby Mali. Watch the original interview here, plus Part 2, and Part 3.

Glenn Greenwald on "Submissive" Media's Drumbeat for War and "Despicable" Anti-Muslim Scapegoating

Thu 07 31 AM

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL’s roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. "Every time there’s a terrorist attack, Western leaders exploit that attack to do more wars," Greenwald says. "Which in turn means they transfer huge amounts of taxpayer money to these corporations that sell arms. And so investors are fully aware that the main people who are going to benefit from this escalation as a result of Paris are not the American people or the people of the West — and certainly not the people of Syria — it is essentially the military-industrial complex."

Glenn Greenwald: "Shameless" U.S. Officials Exploit Paris Attacks to Defend Spying & Attack Snowden

Thu 07 13 AM

As France and Belgium move to expand state power in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, top U.S. officials have renewed a push to defend mass surveillance and dismiss those who challenge it. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said intelligence and law enforcement officials need to have access to encrypted information on smartphones, despite no evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. Meanwhile, others have used the Paris attacks to criticize NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In recent days, CIA Director John Brennan has suggested revelations about mass spying have made it harder to find terrorists, while former CIA Director James Woolsey has said Snowden has blood on his hands. "We have not heard such blatant, shameless lying from intelligence and military officials since 2002 and 2003 when they propagandized the country into invading Iraq based on utterly false pretenses," says The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald, the Pulitzer-winning journalist who exposed NSA mass surveillance based on Snowden’s leaks. "It is actually shocking to listen to."

Climate Activists Vow to Continue with Protests Ahead of Paris Talks

Wed 07 52 AM

In the wake of the Paris attacks, climate activists and the French government are at odds over plans for a massive protest march on Nov. 29 ahead of the U.N. climate talks. French authorities are threatening to curtail public demonstrations and marches, but climate activists insist the right to protest and freedom of speech must be upheld even during a state of emergency. We speak to Alix Mazounie, the international policies coordinator at Climate Action Network France.

As Supreme Court Takes Key Texas Abortion Case, Barbara Lee Defends Access for Low-Income Women

Wed 07 49 AM

A new study has found at least 100,000 and as many as 240,000 women in Texas have attempted to self-induce an abortion. The study comes after about half the abortion clinics in Texas closed under a harsh anti-choice law passed in 2013. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge by abortion providers to the Texas law, marking what could be the most significant abortion case since Roe v. Wade. We speak with California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who introduced a bill in July to expand abortion access by dismantling the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. "The right wing is trying to take away women’s rights, there is a war on women, and we’re not going to let that happen, and so we have to fight back," Lee says. "We’re on the offense. And we’re going to one day—and I think it’s going to be sooner than later—we’re going to make sure that low-income women have full access to reproductive health services"

Rep. Barbara Lee, Sole Vote Against Unlimited War After 9/11, Demands Debate on New Military Action

Wed 07 36 AM

Fourteen years ago, California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee cast the sole dissenting vote against the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Three days after the Sept. 11 attacks, she took to the floor of the House and said: "Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today so that this does not spiral out of control." Rep. Lee is now calling on Congress to repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for military force, saying they have been used as blank checks for endless war.

"This Moment Tests the Character of the Nation": Rep. Barbara Lee Rejects Anti-Refugee Efforts

Wed 07 32 AM

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have called for a "pause" in the U.S. program accepting Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, governors of at least 27 U.S. states have said they will not accept Syrian refugees. We speak to California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee.

Desperate Journey: Shocking Video Shows Risks Refugee Families Take to Reach Europe Safely

Wed 07 23 AM

So far this year, more than 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea. Human Rights Watch has just produced a short video capturing the harrowing journey to Europe. "Desperate Journey: Europe’s Refugee Crisis" is narrated by HRW’s Judith Sunderland.

Refugees are Not Terrorists: HRW Decries Efforts to Reject People Fleeing Wars in Syria & Iraq

Wed 07 11 AM

Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris have set off a storm of calls to close borders and reject refugees fleeing Syria, where over 4 million people have already left the war-torn country. President Obama said any attempts to block entry of Syrian refugees to the United States is "offensive and contrary to American values." "When individuals say that we should have a religious test and that only Christians—proven Christians—should be admitted, that’s offensive and contrary to American values," Obama said. "I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate." We speak to Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch’s emergencies director. He has spent the last few months in the Balkans and Greece speaking to refugees coming mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"A Disturbing Increase in Islamophobia": U.S. Mosques Threatened, Canadian Mosque Set on Fire

Tue 07 55 AM

There are growing reports of Islamophobic attacks since Friday’s massacre in Paris. Just hours after the Paris assault, a caller left a voicemail laced with racial slurs for the Islamic Society of Pinellas County in St. Petersburg, Florida. The caller left his full name and threatened to "firebomb you, shoot whoever’s there on sight in the head." Meanwhile in Pflugerville, Texas, residents found a torn Qur’an covered in feces left in front of the local mosque. In Canada, a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, was set on fire in what authorities have called a hate crime. We discuss the attacks with Roula Allouch, national board chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.