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: 1 hour 39 min ago

Is India on a Totalitarian Path? Arundhati Roy on Corporatism, Nationalism and World's Largest Vote

Wed 07 12 AM

As voting begins in India in the largest elections the world has ever seen, we spend the hour with Indian novelist and essayist Arundhati Roy. Nearly 815 million Indians are eligible to vote, and results will be issued in May. One of India’s most famous authors — and one of its fiercest critics — Roy is out with a new book, "Capitalism: A Ghost Story," which dives into India’s transforming political landscape and makes the case that globalized capitalism has intensified the wealth divide, racism, and environmental degradation. "This new election is going to be [about] who the corporates choose," Roy says, "[about] who is not going to blink about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations." Roy won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, "The God of Small Things." Her other books include "An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire" and "Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers."

Can Any Court Hold U.S. Accountable for Killing Americans Overseas with Drone Strikes?

Tue 07 54 AM

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s killing of three Americans in Yemen drone strikes. The case was filed by the families of Samir Khan, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his teenage son, Abdulrahman, accusing top U.S. officials of unlawful killings. But on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled the victims’ constitutional rights were never violated and said the U.S. officials involved cannot be held liable. We get reaction from Maria LaHood, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the attorneys working on Anwar Al-Awlaki’s case. "The courts have abdicated their roles with torture, they’ve abdicated their roles with indefinite detention," LaHood says. "Here we thought finally the courts would uphold the Constitution with the killing of American citizens."

"Science Does Not Exist on Capitol Hill": Rep. Peter Welch on House GOP's Climate Change Denial

Tue 07 45 AM

Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont reacts to his Republican colleagues’ recent vote to effectively force government agencies to stop studying climate change. The House measure calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and related bodies to focus on forecasting severe weather — but not explore one of its likely causes. The vote comes just as the U.N.'s top climate panel issued a report calling on governments to prepare for global warming's worsening impact and to cut emissions in order to prevent it from getting worse. "Science does not exist on Capitol Hill," Welch says. "We’re in a fact-free zone here." Welch also discusses his effort to repeal tax giveaways to pharmaceutical companies, the future of nuclear power in the United States, and the growing heroin problem plaguing Vermont and rural communities across the country.

"We Can't Just Give a Blank Check": Lawmakers Call for Ending Secrecy of U.S. Intel's Black Budget

Tue 07 34 AM

We speak with Democratic Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont about a bipartisan bill that would force President Obama to include the total dollar amount requested for each of the 16 intelligence agencies in his budget proposal. Using documents leaked by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Washington Post has revealed the nation’s so-called "black budget" to be $53 billion, a 54 percent hike over the past decade. The documents also revealed the NSA is paying hundreds of millions of dollars a year to U.S. telephone and Internet companies for clandestine access to their communications networks. Welch has joined Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, a fellow member of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, in co-sponsoring the Intelligence Budget Transparency Act. "If you are going to have any oversight whatsoever, you have to know what the budget is," Welch says.

All the Presidents' Bankers: Nomi Prins on the Secret History of Washington-Wall Street Collusion

Tue 07 11 AM

With U.S. inequality at its highest point since 1928 and Wall Street bonuses hitting pre-2008 levels, we look at the 100-year history of secret collusion between Washington and the financial industry. In her new book, "All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power," financial journalist Nomi Prins explores how a small number of bankers have played critical roles in shaping a century’s worth of financial, foreign and domestic policy in the United States. Prins examines how these relationships have influenced events from the creation of the Federal Reserve, the response to the Great Depression, and the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Now a senior fellow at Demos, Prins is a former managing director at Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs, and previously an analyst at Lehman Brothers and Chase Manhattan Bank.

Refusing to Call It Genocide: Documents Show Clinton Administration Ignored Mass Killings in Rwanda

Mon 07 47 AM

Declassified U.S. documents show the Clinton administration refused to label the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda as a genocide. One State Department document read: "Be careful … Genocide finding could commit U.S.G. to actually 'do something.'" At a press briefing in 1994, Reuters correspondent Alan Elsner asked: "How many acts of genocide does it take to make genocide?" State Department spokesperson Christine Shelley responded, "Alan, that’s just not a question that I’m in a position to answer." Samantha Power, who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, described the U.S. inaction in her 2001 article, "Bystanders to Genocide." She wrote, "The United States did much more than fail to send troops. It led a successful effort to remove most of the UN peacekeepers who were already in Rwanda. It aggressively worked to block the subsequent authorization of UN reinforcements." We speak to Emily Willard of the National Security Archive, and University of Wisconsin, Madison, Professor Scott Straus, author of "The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda."

20 Years Later, Rwanda Commemorates Genocide the World Ignored

Mon 07 30 AM

Rwanda is holding commemorations for the 20th anniversary of the genocide in which 800,000 people were killed. On April 6, 1994, Rwanda’s extremist Hutu government and military began a campaign to exterminate the minority Tutsis. Men, women and children were massacred in an orchestrated, pre-planned campaign of genocide not seen since the Nazi Holocaust. The world claimed it was unaware of the magnitude of the slaughter, and the United Nations peacekeeping force stationed in the country stood by helplessly and watched the massacre unfold. Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame will light a flame that will burn for 100 days, the length of time it took government soldiers and Hutu militia to carry out the killings. France has pulled out of the events following accusations by Kagame that it participated in the mass killings. We are joined by two guests: Jina Moore, international women’s rights correspondent for BuzzFeed, reporting from Rwanda, and Jean-Marie Kamatali, a former dean of the National University of Rwanda School of Law.

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

Mon 07 08 AM

Was Turkey behind last year’s Syrian chemical weapons attack? That is the question raised in a new exposé by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh on the intelligence debate over the deaths of hundreds of Syrians in Ghouta last year. The United States, and much of the international community, blamed forces loyal to the Assad government, almost leading to a U.S. attack on Syria. But Hersh reveals the U.S. intelligence community feared Turkey was supplying sarin gas to Syrian rebels in the months before the attack took place — information never made public as President Obama made the case for launching a strike. Hersh joins us to discuss his findings.

Is USAID the New CIA? Agency Secretly Built Cuban Twitter Program to Fuel Anti-Castro Protests

Fri 07 46 AM

"U.S. Secretly Created 'Cuban Twitter' to Stir Unrest." That is the name of an explosive new article by the Associated Press detailing how the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) created a fake Twitter program to undermine the Cuban government. The communications network was called "ZunZuneo" — slang for a Cuban hummingbird’s tweet. It was reportedly built with secret shell companies financed through foreign banks. According to AP, the United States planned to use the platform to spread political content that might trigger a Cuban Spring, or, as one USAID document put it, "renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society." We speak to Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive. He recently wrote an article in Foreign Policy called "Our Man in Havana: Was USAID Planning to Overthrow Castro?"

Drugging America's Veterans: Painkiller Abuse Spreads as VA Becomes Vets' "Drug Dealer of Choice"

Fri 07 29 AM

We look at challenges faced by U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with investigative reporter Aaron Glantz, who has spent more than a decade covering the Iraq War and the treatment veterans receive when they come home. This week, The Center for Investigative Reporting won a prestigious Peabody Award for his report that exposes how the Department of Veterans Affairs has become the drug dealer of choice for many veterans who are now addicted to prescription painkillers, which were prescribed to treat a myriad of mental health and other physical injuries. According to the investigation, VA prescriptions for four opiates — hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine — have surged by 270 percent in the past 12 years.

"The War Comes Home": Deadly Fort Hood Shooting Raises Questions About Treatment of Returning Vets

Fri 07 12 AM

We begin today’s show at Fort Hood, Texas, where flags are flying at half-mast following Wednesday’s shooting that left four dead, including the gunman. Sixteen people were wounded in the attack. Authorities identified the shooter as 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, who was being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder. Lopez served in Iraq, but officials say he never saw combat. We speak with two Iraq War veterans: Ryan Holleran and Malachi Muncy, manager of the Under the Hood Café, a GI coffee shop near Fort Hood. Both are members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "I had trouble getting help when I came back from Iraq, as well, when I was at Fort Hood. The access to healthcare is limited — it is available, but it’s not necessarily accessible," Holleran explains. "The amount of stigma associated with seeking any kind of mental health, it makes it extremely challenging to try to take care of ourselves." We also talk to Aaron Glantz, who covers veterans and domestic military issues for The Center for Investigative Reporting. His most recent book is "The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans."