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 18 min ago

As Gaza Death Toll Tops 1,800, Dr. Mona El-Farra Mourns Loss of 9 Relatives in Israeli Strike

Mon 07 54 AM

Early Friday morning, an Israeli airstrike on Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed nine members of the El-Farra family, including five children. The house was apparently hit by a rocket, causing the family and their neighbors to run onto the streets. Another rocket or missile reportedly struck the household’s members as they were fleeing. The El-Farra family are relatives of the prominent Palestinian physician Dr. Mona El-Farra, the health chair of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip. She is also the director of Gaza projects for the Middle East Children’s Alliance. We speak to El-Farra and her niece, Laila El-Haddad, who testified about the massacre during a congressional briefing on Friday.

Likely Solution for a Lasting Ceasefire was on the Table Before Israeli Assault & Over 1,800 Dead

Mon 07 41 AM

Is a lasting ceasefire in Gaza possible —- and on what terms? Our guest Nathan Thrall has laid out a possible plan for a ceasefire in his new article in the London Review of Books, "Hamas’s Chances." Thrall writes: "The obvious solution is to let the new Palestinian government return to Gaza and reconstruct it. Israel can claim it is weakening Hamas by strengthening its enemies. Hamas can claim it won the recognition of the new government and a significant lifting of the blockade. This solution would of course have been available to Israel, the U.S., Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in the weeks and months before the war began, before so many lives were shattered." Speaking to us from Jerusalem, Thrall is a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, covering Gaza, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. He also addresses Hamas’ accusation that Israel misled the world about the alleged capture of an Israeli soldier. On Friday, Israel said one of its soldiers, Lt. Hadar Goldin, had been captured near Rafah. His suspected abduction led to an Israeli offensive in Rafah that killed more than 100 people and the collapse of a U.S.— and U.N.-brokered ceasefire.

"Disgraceful," "Criminal Act": Israel Condemned as 10 Die in Another Strike on U.N. Shelter in Gaza

Mon 07 25 AM

The United States and the United Nations have condemned Israel after an airstrike killed 10 people near the entrance of a United Nations school sheltering Palestinian civilians. The school was reportedly being used as a shelter for about 3,000 people. It was the second attack on a U.N. school in less than a week, and the seventh over the course of Israel’s offensive in Gaza. The coordinates of the school were reportedly communicated to the Israel Defense Force no fewer than 33 times, the last time just an hour before the shelling. Shortly after Sunday’s attack, the State Department issued a statement saying: "The United States is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling outside an UNRWA school." U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon characterized the attack as "a moral outrage and a criminal act." We get an update from Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

"Everything That Moves in Rafah is a Target": Israel Continues Shelling of Gaza During Short "Pause"

Mon 07 12 AM

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has topped 1,800 as the Israeli offensive enters its 28th day. On Sunday, at least 10 people died when Israel shelled another United Nations school sheltering Palestinian civilians. The United States has called the attack "disgraceful," while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned it as a "moral outrage and a criminal act." It was the seventh U.N. school hit since Israel’s offensive began. The United Nations, meanwhile, is warning of a "rapidly unfolding" health crisis in Gaza as large parts of the territory remain without power or running water, and around 400,000 are displaced. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed since a 72-hour ceasefire collapsed on Friday. Over the weekend, the Israeli government admitted that a soldier it had reported as captured was actually killed in battle. Earlier today, Israel announced a unilateral seven-hour truce in most of the Gaza Strip, except for Rafah. Palestinians have already accused Israel of breaking its own ceasefire by launching deadly attack on the Shati refugee camp. We go to Gaza City to speak with Mohammed Omer, an award-winning Palestinian journalist who has family in Rafah.

John Brennan Faces Calls to Resign After CIA Admits to Spying on Senate Torture Probe

Fri 07 50 AM

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan is facing calls to resign after admitting CIA officials spied on a Senate panel probing the agency’s torture and rendition program. The allegation surfaced in March when members of the Senate Intelligence Committee openly accused CIA officials of illegally monitoring their staffers’ computers. The Senate report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials to Congress. At the time, Brennan denied the spying allegations and said those who make them will be proved wrong. But he reversed his stance this week after an internal CIA inquiry found the spying indeed took place with the involvement of 10 agency employees. Brennan apologized to lawmakers in a briefing earlier this week. The White House is standing by Brennan, citing President Obama’s "great confidence" in his leadership. But at least two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrats Mark Udall of Colorado and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, are calling for his resignation. We speak with the reporter who first broke the news of the CIA’s admission to spying on Senate computers: Jonathan Landay, senior national security and intelligence correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers.

Amnesty International: U.S. Should Stop Arming Israel Amid "Growing Evidence of War Crimes in Gaza"

Fri 07 43 AM

On the same day Israeli forces killed 20 Palestinians at a U.N. school this week, the U.S. confirmed it had provided Israel with fresh supplies of munitions, including mortar rounds for tanks and ammo for grenade launchers. Now, one of the nation’s leading human rights organizations has called on the United States to stop arms transfers to Israel amid "growing evidence of war crimes in Gaza." On Thursday, Amnesty International said the U.S. government must immediately end its ongoing deliveries of large quantities of arms to Israel, which are providing the tools to commit further serious violations of international law in Gaza. Amnesty’s call comes as the United Nations’ top human rights official has also criticized the United States. "They have not only provided the heavy weaponry which is now being used by Israel in Gaza, but they’ve also provided almost $1 billion in providing the Iron Domes to protect Israelis from the rockets attacks, but no such protection has been provided to Gazans against the shelling," said Navi Pillay, U.N. human rights high commissioner. "So I am reminding United States that it’s a party to international humanitarian law and human rights law." The United States is the largest exporter of military equipment to Israel, by far. According to data made public by the U.S. government, its arms transfers to Israel from January to May 2014 included nearly $27 million for "rocket launchers," $9.3 million worth in "parts of guided missiles" and nearly $762,000 for "bombs, grenades and munitions of war." We speak to Sunjeev Bery, director of Middle East/North Africa advocacy at Amnesty International USA.

Recipe for Lasting Ceasefire? Lifting Israeli Siege & Int'l Accountability Could Break Status Quo

Fri 07 34 AM

The Gaza Health Ministry now says at least 50 Palestinians have been killed today in Gaza following the collapse of a U.S.- and U.N.-backed ceasefire. Hamas and Israel are blaming each other for violating the truce. Israel has launched a major operation to rescue a soldier captured earlier today. The Israeli Defense Forces just identified the soldier as Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin. Hamas says the soldier was captured before the ceasefire began. The 72-hour ceasefire announced Thursday was supposed to bring Israeli and Palestinian representatives together in Cairo, but the outbreak of violence puts those talks in jeopardy. We speak with Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund and its educational program, the Palestine Center. "We cannot go back to a status quo where a ceasefire ends rocket fire from the Gaza Strip but does not end the system of violence that is the siege … enforced through the regular use of Israeli fire," Munayyer says. "You cannot call it a ceasefire while that system of violence still exists."

Gazan Human Rights Lawyer Pleads to U.S.: We Deserve to be Protected, Not Bombed with Your Weapons

Fri 07 21 AM

As new violence breaks out in Gaza following the collapse of a 72-hour ceasefire, the Palestinian death toll has now reached at least 1,460, mostly civilians, surpassing the number of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead nearly six years ago. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed, in addition to three civilians inside Israel. We are joined from Gaza City by Raji Sourani, one of the top advocates for Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Territories. The director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Sourani serves on the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights. He is a past winner of the Right Livelihood Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

As Gaza Ceasefire Collapses, Israel Kills Dozens Following Soldier's Capture in Rafah

Fri 07 10 AM

The ceasefire in Gaza has collapsed just hours after it began, with more than 40 Palestinians killed and the capture of an Israeli soldier. Israeli tanks reportedly opened fire in the southern Rafah area just hours after the 72-hour ceasefire began. Israel is claiming Hamas first broke the ceasefire by firing rockets from southern Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli military has launched a major effort to locate a soldier they say was captured near Rafah. The Israeli military says the soldier was captured when Israeli forces attempting to destroy a tunnel were attacked by militants, including a suicide bomber. Talks had been scheduled for this weekend in Cairo but are now in limbo. We are joined from Gaza by two guests: Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and Mohammed Omer, an award-winning Palestinian journalist and Rafah resident.

Iron Dome or Iron Sieve? Evidence Questions Effectiveness of U.S.-Funded Israeli Missile Shield

Thu 07 47 AM

Just hours after the White House condemned the shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza, the Pentagon confirmed it was providing Israel with fresh supplies of ammunition, including mortar rounds for tanks and ammunition for grenade launchers. Meanwhile, members of Congress are working to supply hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for Israel’s "Iron Dome" missile shield. While U.S. news anchors, pundits and politicians have repeatedly extolled the efficacy of the Iron Dome in deflecting rocket attacks, the acclaimed physicist Theodore Postol says there is no evidence Iron Dome is actually working. He estimates the Iron Dome, which is partially built by Raytheon, intercepts just 5 percent of rockets fired at Israel. A professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Postol is an expert in missiles, missile defenses and other aspects of modern warfare.

Click here to watch part 2 of this interview.

U.S. Jewish Leader Henry Siegman to Israel: Stop Killing Palestinians and End the Occupation

Thu 07 22 AM

In the second part of our interview, Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and the Synagogue Council of America, discusses the assault on Gaza, Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel, and how peace could be attainable if the Obama administration reverse decades-long support for the Israeli occupation. Born in 1930 in Germany, Siegman fled as the Nazis came to power, eventually arriving in the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. Commenting on the Hamas charter that calls for Israel’s destruction, Siegman says: "The difference between Hamas and Israel is that Israel is actually implementing [a destruction policy] — actually preventing a Palestinian state which doesn’t exist. Millions of Palestinians live in this subservient position without rights, without security, without hope, and without a future." Commenting on Israeli justifications for killing Palestinians in the name of self-defense from 1948 through today, Siegman responds: "If you don’t want to kill Palestinians, if that’s what pains you so much, you don’t have to kill them. You can give them their rights, and you can end the occupation. And to put the blame for the occupation and for the killing of innocents that we are seeing in Gaza now on the Palestinians — why? Because they want a state of their own? They want what Jews wanted and achieved? This is a great moral insult."

Click here to watch part 1 of this interview.

"Enough Blood Has Been Spilled": Israel Condemned for Striking U.N. Shelter as Death Toll Tops 1300

Thu 07 11 AM

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned what he called the "outrageous" and "unjustifiable" Israeli shelling of a U.N. shelter in Gaza that killed 20 Palestinian civilians on Wednesday. Many of the dead were children who were sleeping. The United Nations has not directly condemned Israel, but says all available evidence points to its responsibility for the bombing. It was the sixth time a U.N. shelter had been bombed since the Israeli offensive in Gaza began 24 days ago. The United Nations said it had given the coordinates of the shelter to the Israeli military 17 times prior to the attack. According to the United Nations, more than 240,000 Palestinians are now staying in U.N. shelters in Gaza. Another 200,000 Palestinians have been displaced and are staying with other families. We are joined by Christopher Gunness, spokesperson for the the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. "UNRWA has reached a breaking point," Gunness says. "Eight of our staff have been killed. Our facilities are overwhelmed. Because of the continued displacement ... we may soon find ourselves where there are tens of thousands of people in the streets of Gaza — no food, no water, no shelter, no safety, frankly, after we’ve found that Israeli artillery is capable of hitting our shelters. And we’re saying: enough is enough."

Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: "A Slaughter of Innocents"

Wed 07 19 AM

Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

"When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success," Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: "What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation."

Click here to watch part 2 of this interview.

"They Thought They'd Be Safe. They Were Wrong": 20 Gazans Killed in Israeli Bombing of U.N. Shelter

Wed 07 08 AM

Dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed in the most intensive 48-hour bombardment of Gaza so far. At least 50 Palestinians have died over the past day, bringing the death toll from Israel’s three-week assault to more than 1,250. Earlier today, two bombs hit a school in the Jabaliya refugee camp used by the United Nations to house displaced Palestinians. Around 20 Palestinians were reportedly killed, including a medic and an infant. Scores were injured. The United Nations has accused Israel of bombing the school. It marks the sixth time a U.N. shelter has been attacked since Israel launched its offensive 23 days ago. We are joined from Gaza City by Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, just back from visiting the bombed-out school.

Mass U.S. Surveillance Targeting Journalists and Lawyers Seen as Threat to American Democracy

Tue 07 51 AM

In a new report, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union warn that "large-scale surveillance is seriously hampering U.S.-based journalists and lawyers in their work." The report is based on interviews with dozens of reporters and lawyers. They describe a media climate where journalists take cumbersome security steps that slows down their reporting. Sources are afraid of talking, as aggressive prosecutions scare government officials into staying silent, even about issues that are unclassified. For lawyers, the threat of surveillance is stoking fears they will be unable to protect a client’s right to privacy. Some defendants are afraid of speaking openly to their own counsel, undermining a lawyer’s ability provide the best possible defense. We speak to Alex Sinha, author of the report, "With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale U.S. Surveillance Is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy," and to national security reporter Jeremy Scahill.