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: 1 hour 48 min ago

Fort Dix Five: Prosecuted by Christie, Muslim Brothers Get Rare Day in Court in FBI Entrapment Case

Thu 07 50 AM

In 2008, the Duka brothers—Shain, Dritan and Eljvir—were among five men from suburban New Jersey who were convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base. The three are serving life sentences, but their supporters say the men were entrapped by the FBI. On Wednesday, the three brothers appeared in a courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, for a rare court-ordered hearing to determine whether they received a fair trial and effective representation from their lawyers. We bring you voices from a rally organized in support of the three Duka brothers and speak with Robert Boyle, attorney for Shain Duka.

"A Travesty": Is Japan's Apology to Korean "Comfort Women" an Attempt to Silence Them?

Thu 07 46 AM

Late last month, Japan and South Korea reached a deal aimed at addressing the demands of so-called comfort women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. The deal includes an apology from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a more than $8 million fund for survivors. Survivors have said the deal falls far short of their call for Japan to admit legal responsibility and pay formal reparations. The deal has been met by protests in Seoul.

The Iran Model: Could Nuke Deal with Tehran Help Create Way to Address North Korean Crisis?

Thu 07 38 AM

Nine months ago, the United States and other world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Could a similar deal be reached with North Korea? We speak with Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund and author of "Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It is Too Late," and Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

As North Korea Says It's Tested H-Bomb, Is It Time to Restart Peace, Disarmament Talks?

Thu 07 31 AM

North Korea is facing international condemnation after conducting a nuclear test on Wednesday. North Korea claims it successfully tested a hydrogen nuclear device for the first time, but U.S. and international experts have voiced doubts over the claim. North Korean state media described the action as an act of self-defense against aggressors. As the United Nations ponders a new round of sanctions, some peace activists say now is the time to push for a treaty to finally end the Korean War, 63 years later. We speak to Christine Ahn, founder and executive director of Women Cross DMZ, a global movement of women mobilizing to end the Korean War.

Mystery Meat: After WTO Ruling, U.S. Tosses Meat Origin Labeling Law, Leaving Consumers in the Dark

Thu 07 26 AM

As TransCanada files a NAFTA claim for $15 billion against the U.S. government over the rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, we turn to another case in which massive trade agreements have infringed on the U.S. government’s ability to pass legislation. In December, Congress passed a spending bill that included a repeal of a law requiring meat to be labeled with its country of origin. The repeal of the legislation came after the World Trade Organization threatened to impose billion-dollar sanctions against the United States, saying the label law violated trade deals. According to Lori Wallach of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, this type of infringement is just the beginning if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is approved.

TransCanada Sues the U.S. for $15B for Rejecting Keystone XL. Will This Be the New Normal Under TPP?

Thu 07 15 AM

On Wednesday, TransCanada Corporation filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court alleging President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution. TransCanada also filed legal action under the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, claiming the pipeline permit denial was "arbitrary and unjustified." It’s seeking $15 billion as part of its NAFTA claim. TransCanada’s lawsuit comes just days before President Obama’s final State of the Union address, where he’s anticipated to tout his controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, deal. The secretive trade pact between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations could govern up to 40 percent of the world’s economy. After TransCanada announced its lawsuit on Wednesday, the group Friends of the Earth released a statement saying, "This is why Friends of the Earth opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade agreements, which allow companies and investors to challenge sovereign government decisions to protect public health and the environment." For more, we’re joined by Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

Will U.S. Deport Kurdish Activist Ibrahim Parlak Back to Turkey Where He Was Jailed & Tortured?

Wed 07 46 AM

We turn now to a case of Michigan resident Ibrahim Parlak, who faces imminent deportation in an asylum case that stretches back more than 20 years. Parlak is a Kurdish man who came to the United States in 1990 fleeing persecution in his native country of Turkey, where he’d been arrested and tortured for his affiliations with the political arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Once Parlak reached the United States, he was granted political asylum. A year later, he was granted permanent residence. But all this changed in the years following 2001, when the FBI began to review old asylum files. In 2004, Parlak was arrested and threatened with deportation. But much to the surprise of the Department of Homeland Security, the community around him in Harbert, Michigan, rose to his defense. People built websites, organized letter-writing campaigns, held vigils and made so much noise that the agency released him. But now, his immigration case has suddenly come up again. The Department of Homeland Security has once again threatened Parlak with deportation and has ordered him to apply for residency to some other country. He fears he’ll be returned to Turkey, where the increasing crackdown on Kurdish communities has killed hundreds and displaced 200,000 from their homes. To talk more about the case, we’re joined in Chicago by Ibrahim Parlak, his daughter Livia, and their lawyer, Rob Carpenter.

Executive Action: Bush Opened Guantánamo Without Congress, So Why Can't Obama Close It?

Wed 07 41 AM

As President Obama takes executive action on gun control without going through Congress, could closing Guantánamo be next? In January 2009, Obama ordered the closure of the Guantánamo Bay military prison in one of his first executive actions. Seven years later, 107 prisoners are still there. We speak with Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy. "I think something that’s really important for people to remember is that President George W. Bush opened Guantánamo on his own say-so, without Congress, without any authorization, any legislation to do so," Fredrickson says. "Obviously, Congress can use the power of the purse … But in terms of the president’s basic authority, he certainly has that."

Gun Owners of America vs. American Constitution Society: A Debate on Obama's Gun Executive Orders

Wed 07 27 AM

As President Obama announces plans to use executive actions to strengthen gun control regulations, we host a debate between John Velleco, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, and Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

"A Profound Day": Mother of Teen Who Was Shot Dead over Loud Music Praises Obama's Action on Guns

Wed 07 14 AM

When President Obama spoke about gun control on Tuesday, he was surrounded by family members of people killed in shootings. Standing just behind him was Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot dead in 2012 in Florida at a gas station in a dispute over the volume of a car stereo. Lucia McBath has since become a leading gun control advocate.

"Every Time I Think About Those Kids It Gets Me Mad": Obama Tears Up as He Orders New Gun Control

Wed 07 11 AM

President Obama has laid out his plans to take executive action in an attempt to cut gun violence. Part of his plan will result in mandatory background checks for individuals purchasing firearms online or at gun shows. The administration is also calling for the hiring of 200 new federal agents to enforce the nation’s gun laws and $500 million to increase access to mental healthcare. On Tuesday, Obama spoke at the White House surrounded by family members of people killed in shootings. It was one of the most emotional speeches of Obama’s presidency—at times he wiped back tears as he remembered children killed by gun violence.

When We Fight, We Win: New Book Showcases Social Movements & Activists Transforming the World

Tue 07 48 AM

What do immigration raids and police brutality have in common? They’ve both sparked growing social movements demanding justice. Those linkages are examined in the new book, "When We Fight, We Win!: Twenty-First Century Social Movements and the Activists That Are Transforming Our World." The book looks at movements ranging from immigration to Black Lives Matter, to the Fight for 15, to LGBTQ rights. We speak with the book’s author, education activist Greg Jobin-Leeds; the book’s art director Deymirie Hernández; and two of the activists featured in the book—Jitu Brown, national director of the Justice Alliance in Chicago, and Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center and immigration activist.

"We Have Been Betrayed": Activist Who Refused to Shake Obama's Hand Decries Latest Immigration Raids

Tue 07 38 AM

The Obama administration has begun conducting raids and detaining families as part of an effort to deport Central Americans who have fled violence in their home countries. At least 121 people have been detained so far. At one home in Georgia, Ana Lizet Mejia, a Honduran woman who fled the country after her brother was murdered by gangs, was taken into custody along with her 9-year-old son after an early-morning raid. "In the same way that we fled a country where people were disappearing in the middle of the night and being taken by members of the government, by armed individuals, the same things are happening today in this country, and it is terrifying," said Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, a Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center and former youth organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition. "And it is the reason why we stand up and fight, because we refuse to be dehumanized any longer." We speak with Sousa-Rodriguez, who, in June 2010, was invited by President Obama to the White House to discuss immigration policy and prospects for immigration reform and refused to shake the president’s hand.

These Aren't the First Armed Whites to Take Over That Oregon Land: Just Ask the Native Paiute People

Tue 07 33 AM

The armed militia members occupying a federally owned wildlife outpost in eastern Oregon have demanded that the land be "returned" to them. But who really has claim to this forest? We speak with Jacqueline Keeler, a writer and activist of Dineh and Yankton Dakota heritage who wrote about the 2014 Bundy ranch standoff for The Nation and is now working on a new piece which in part examines the history of the Paiute tribe’s treaty rights to the forest currently occupied by the nearly all-white militia.

Language Matters: #BlackLivesMatter Called "Thugs"; Why Aren't Oregon Militants Called "Terrorists"?

Tue 07 19 AM

Critics are raising questions about what they say is the unique treatment that armed militia members have received in the mainstream press, including coverage that described the members of the group occupying a federally owned wildlife outpost in eastern Oregon as "peaceful" protesters. The Associated Press ran the headline, "Peaceful Protest Followed by Oregon Wildlife Refuge Action," but later removed the word "peaceful." CNN law enforcement analyst Art Roderick said the militants were being treated differently than Black Lives Matter protesters because "they’re not looting anything." We speak with Washington Post political reporter Janell Ross, whose recent article is "Why aren’t we calling the Oregon occupiers 'terrorists'?" "It’s certainly … very hard to imagine that the same kind of deliberate, slow, careful, methodical use of language would happen were there a group of, say, black protesters who had decided to take over a courthouse while armed and threatening to fight to the death," Ross says.

Amid Armed Oregon Standoff, Report Finds "Skyrocketing" Number of Anti-Gov't Militia Groups

Tue 07 11 AM

The armed occupation of a federally owned wildlife outpost in remote Oregon has entered its fourth day. A self-styled right-wing antigovernment militia calling itself the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. The wildlife refuge is located outside the town of Burns, Oregon, about 300 miles southeast of Portland. Leaders of the occupation include Ammon and Ryan Bundy, the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay decades’ worth of cattle grazing fees, prompting a standoff with federal rangers in 2014 in Nevada, during which an armed militia rallied to his support. Cliven Bundy declared victory after the federal government backed down and released cattle they had seized from him. The Oregon occupation also stems from a fight over public lands in the West and comes as a new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center found the number of militias in the United States jumped 37 percent over the past year. We speak with Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Lori Berenson After Being Held 20 Years in Peru: "My Objectives Were to Achieve a More Just Society"

Mon 07 35 AM

The once-imprisoned U.S. activist Lori Berenson has returned home nearly two decades after being tried and convicted of collaborating with the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in Peru. Berenson is a former student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who left school to become an activist in the 1980s in El Salvador during the Reagan years and then moved on to Peru. In 1996, she was tried by a hooded military judge while prosecutors used secret evidence against her, and was ultimately convicted to a 20-year sentence. For three years, she was held in the frigid Yanamayo prison in the Andes mountains in an unheated, open-air cell without running water. After a major outcry, she was later transferred to the Socabaya prison in Arequipa, Peru. Berenson was released on parole in 2010 but was barred from leaving Peru for good until her sentence expired a few weeks ago. Democracy Now! was the first to interview Berenson in the Socabaya prison and broadcast her voice to the U.S. public after she was sentenced, and has long covered her case. She now joins us for her first television interview as a free woman back home.