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: 6 hours 5 min ago

History Repeating Itself? U.S. Bombing Iraq While Jockeying to Oust Leader It Once Favored

Tue 06 12 AM

As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.

"Sadistic & Grotesque": Noam Chomsky on How Israel Limits Food & Medicine in Occupied Gaza

Mon 06 43 AM

On Gaza, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky says the debate inside the Israeli government is whether to allow "bare survival" or to inflict "misery and starvation," as a former Israeli national security adviser recently proposed. "Israeli experts have calculated in detail exactly how many calories, literally, Gazans need to survive, and if you look at the sanctions that they impose, they’re grotesque," Chomsky says. "I mean, even John Kerry condemned them bitterly, they’re sadistic — just enough calories to survive." Chomsky also addresses the widespread focus on the Hamas charter platform calling for the destruction of Israel. "The only people who pay attention to it are Israeli propagandists, who love it," Chomsky says. "It was a charter put together by a small group of people under siege, under attack in 1988. And it’s essentially meaningless. There are charters that mean something, but they’re not talked about. So, for example, the electoral program of Israel’s governing party, Likud, states explicitly that there can never be a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. … And they don’t only have it in their charter, their electoral program, but they implement it."

Noam Chomsky on BDS and How the Israeli Occupation is "Much Worse Than Apartheid"

Mon 06 23 AM

MIT Professor Noam Chomsky discusses U.S. support for Israel; the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS); and the blockade of Gaza. "In the Occupied Territories, what Israel is doing is much worse than apartheid," Chomsky says. "To call it apartheid is a gift to Israel, at least if by 'apartheid' you mean South African-style apartheid. … There’s a crucial difference. The South African Nationalists needed the black population. That was their workforce. The Israeli relationship to the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is totally different. They just don’t want them. They want them out, or at least in prison."

Noam Chomsky on Media's "Shameful Moment" in Gaza & How a U.S. Shift Could End the Occupation

Mon 06 10 AM

As a new 72-hour ceasefire takes hold in Gaza, we turn to part two of our interview with world-renowned dissident and linguist, MIT Professor Noam Chomsky. Criticizing U.S. media coverage of the Israeli assault on Gaza, Chomsky says: "It’s a shameful moment for U.S. media when it insists on being subservient to the grotesque propaganda agencies of a violent, aggressive state." Chomsky also discusses his long-standing view that popular pressure at home is critical to ending the U.S. government’s backing for Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. "The United States continues to provide the critical, decisive support for the atrocities," he says. "Sooner or later, it’s possible—and that’s really up to us—that domestic pressure will compel the U.S. government to join the world on this issue. That will be a decisive change."

Uri Avnery on Gaza Crisis, His Time in a Zionist "Terrorist" Group & Becoming a Peace Activist

Fri 06 30 AM

Fighting in Gaza has resumed after the expiration of a 72-hour truce expired. Israel said it launched airstrikes after Palestinians fired at least 18 rockets into southern Israel after the ceasefire ended. Palestinian officials say a 10-year-old boy was killed earlier today when an Israeli airstrike hit near a mosque in Gaza City. Six other people were wounded in the attack. A Hamas military wing spokesman earlier called on Palestinian negotiators holding indirect talks with Israeli negotiators in Cairo to refuse any ceasefire extension unless its long-term demands were met. We speak with longtime peace activist Uri Avnery, who has pushed for Israel to engage with Hamas. Avnery is a historic figure within the Israeli peace movement. He was born in Germany in 1923. His family fled the Nazis and moved to what was then Palestine. As a youth, he joined the Irgun Zionist paramilitary group, which he later quit to become a leading peace activist in Israel. In 1950, he founded the news magazine, HaOlam HaZeh. Fifteen years later, he was elected to the Knesset on a peace platform. In 1982, he made headlines when he crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat, head of the then-banned Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1993, he started the Gush Shalom peace movement. He will turn 91 next month and still writes a weekly column.

As U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq Begin, Will Military Intervention Escalate Growing Crisis?

Fri 06 14 AM

The Pentagon has announced U.S. military aircraft carried out airstrikes in northern Iraq today targeting artillery used by the militant group Islamic State used against Kurdish forces defending the city of Erbil. The bombing came less than 12 hours after President Obama spoke on national television announcing he had authorized airstrikes in Iraq in an attempt to halt the sweeping advance by the Islamic State. Obama becomes the fourth U.S. president in a row to order military action in Iraq. The Islamic State has captured large swaths of northern Iraq and has advanced to a half-hour drive from the Kurdish regional capital, Erbil. Up to 40,000 people, many of them members of the Yazidi religious minority, remain trapped on the Sinjar Mountains near the border with Syria, surrounded by rebels and slowly dying of thirst. The United States has also begun dropping relief supplies. We speak to Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. She has written several books, including "Ending the Iraq War: A Primer." One of her recent articles is "Don’t Go Back to Iraq!: Five Steps the U.S. Can Take in Iraq Without Going Back to War."

"A Hideous Atrocity": Noam Chomsky on Israel's Assault on Gaza & U.S. Support for the Occupation

Thu 06 20 AM

Hideous. Sadistic. Vicious. Murderous. That is how Noam Chomsky describes Israel’s 29-day offensive in Gaza that killed nearly 1,900 people and left almost 10,000 people injured. Chomsky has written extensively about the Israel/Palestine conflict for decades. After Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Chomsky co-authored the book "Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians" with Israeli scholar Ilan Pappé. His other books on the Israel/Palestine conflict include "Peace in the Middle East?: Reflections on Justice and Nationhood" and "The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians." Chomsky is a world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Institute Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught for more than 50 years.

Despite Ceasefire, Humanitarian Crisis Continues in Gaza with 500,000 Displaced & 10,000 Injured

Thu 06 08 AM

The 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza has entered its final day. Talks are ongoing to extend the truce, but no agreement has been reached. Palestinian and Israeli officials are in Egypt, however have not held face-to-face negotiations on securing a lasting ceasefire. Meanwhile, Gaza is in a state of devastation and ruin. Close to 1,900 Palestinians were killed during the 29-day conflict, including at least 1,354 civilians, of whom 415 are children. More than 10,000 people have been injured. There are 373,000 children who require psychological support. Some 500,000 Palestinians have been displaced with 187,000 still living in U.N. emergency shelters. An estimated 10,000 homes have been completely destroyed, and 30,000 homes partially destroyed. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers were killed in Gaza, and three civilians in Israel. We go to Jerusalem to speak with Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

"War Makes Everyone Crazy": Hiroshima Survivor Reflects on 69th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombing

Wed 06 47 AM

Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m., the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive: Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, we hear from blast survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time. His 13-year-old sister, Yoko, died in the bombing. Hosokawa spoke to us next to the A-Bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.

Killing of U.S. General by Afghan Soldier Underscores Obama's "Deep Problems" in Winding Down War

Wed 06 43 AM

A U.S. general has been killed in Afghanistan in what the Pentagon says is the latest insider attack by an Afghan soldier. Major General Harold Greene reportedly died after the soldier opened fire at a British-run military academy near the capital, Kabul. Up to 14 coalition troops were wounded. Greene was the deputy commanding general for the command involved in preparing the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops at the end of the year. He is the highest-ranking U.S. officer killed in combat since the Vietnam War. We speak to Matthieu Aikens, an award-winning investigative journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Aikins recently investigated possible war crimes in Afghanistan for Al Jazeera America and has previously covered insider attacks. "This kind of attack shows just how the deep the problem runs," Aikins says. "Even at the highest levels, what should have been a highly secured group of senior officers, [insider attacks] can do damage. It will certainly restrict even more the already limited contact [U.S.-led NATO forces] have with the Afghans."

Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview.

Can Israel Claim Self-Defense Against the Territory It Occupies? Int'l Jurist John Dugard Says No

Wed 06 25 AM

With close to 1,900 dead from Israel’s month-long assault on Gaza, Human Rights Watch is calling on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to seek International Criminal Court jurisdiction over potential war crimes committed on and from Palestinian territory. HRW says both Israeli forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes. We are joined by HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth and John Dugard, former U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories and emeritus professor of international law at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. "Given the fact that Gaza is an occupied territory, it means that Israel’s present assault is simply a way of enforcing the continuation of the occupation," says Dugard, "and the response of the Palestinian militants should be seen as the response of an occupied people that wishes to resist the occupation."

As Palestinians Go to ICC, Human Rights Watch Alleges Israeli War Crimes for Shooting Fleeing Gazans

Wed 06 10 AM

As the 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza enters its second day, Palestinian officials have been meeting with prosecutors at the International Criminal Court to push for a probe of alleged war crimes committed by Israel during the 29-day offensive that left nearly 1,900 Palestinians dead. Israel has said it attempted to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza and accused Hamas of putting its people in harm’s way by launching rockets from within densely populated districts. In a report this week, Human Rights Watch accused Israeli soldiers of shooting and killing fleeing civilians in Gaza, citing interviews with seven Palestinians in the village of Khuza’a. We air testimony from Khuza’a residents who survived the attacks, and speak to Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

New York Police Killing of Eric Garner Spurs Debate on Chokeholds & Filming Officer Misconduct

Tue 06 43 AM

After a New York City medical examiner rules homicide in the death of Eric Garner at the hands of police, we look at the growing concern over the use of police chokeholds and a new attempt to hold officers accountable by defending a citizen’s right to videotape their actions. On July 17, New York City police placed Garner, an African-American father of six, in a chokehold after they confronted him for selling single cigarettes known as "loosies." Graphic video of the incident shows an officer pulling Garner to the ground by the neck and then holding his head against the pavement. He repeatedly says that he cannot breathe. Garner’s family and supporters have called for criminal charges against the officer and a federal civil rights investigation. Chokeholds like the one that killed Garner have been banned under NYPD’s excessive force guidelines for more than two decades. But today, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board will meet to address more than 1,000 chokehold complaints against officers in recent years. We are joined by two mothers whose sons were killed by New York City police officers: Iris Baez and Kadiatou Diallo. We also speak to civil liberties attorney Norman Siegel and his client, Debra Goodman, a retired legal secretary who filed a lawsuit against the City of New York after she was arrested for filming police in an incident last year.

Iron Dome Boondoggle: Has Obama Just Signed a $225M Check for a Defective Israeli Missile Shield?

Tue 06 25 AM

President Obama signed a bill on Monday granting an additional $225 million in emergency funding for Israel to replenish its arsenal of interceptor missiles for its Iron Dome air defense system. The emergency spending was approved unanimously by the Senate and by a 395-to-8 vote in the House. Amidst universal support of Iron Dome from politicians and the corporate media, one of the country’s leading missile experts, Theodore Postol, says there is no evidence that Iron Dome is actually working. Postol is well known within defense circles for exposing the failures of the Patriot missile system during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. "I have been privy to discussions with members of Congress who have oversight responsibilities, who have acknowledged in those discussions that they have no idea whether Iron Dome is working or not," says Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at MIT. "And I can also tell you that the U.S. government has not been given any information on the performance of Iron Dome."

Click here to watch Part 1 of this interview.

Gaza Ceasefire: After 1,800+ Dead, What Led Israel to Stop the Assault — and What Comes Next?

Tue 06 09 AM

After a nearly month-long assault that left at least 1,865 Palestinians dead, Israel has pulled its ground forces from the Gaza Strip under the 72-hour ceasefire that went into effect earlier today. Israeli and Palestinian factions have agreed to attend talks in Cairo on a longer-term agreement. Gaza officials say the vast majority of Palestinian victims were civilians in the Israeli offensive that began on July 8. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Palestinians are returning to homes and neighborhoods that have seen a massive amount of destruction. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents were displaced during the fighting which destroyed more than 3,000 homes. The ceasefire was reached after international outrage over Palestinian civilian deaths peaked, with even Israel’s chief backer, the United States, criticizing recent Israeli shelling of United Nations shelters that killed scores of displaced Palestinians. To discuss the lead-up to the ceasefire and what to expect from the talks in Cairo, we are joined by author and scholar Norman Finkelstein.