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: 8 hours 30 min ago

Leading Muslim Scholar Tariq Ramadan: Attack on Paris Magazine "a Pure Betrayal of Our Religion"

Wed 07 53 AM

We return to our top story of the day, the killing of at least 12 people in a shooting attack on a French satirical magazine in Paris. Witnesses say masked gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo and opened fire with automatic weapons. The dead reportedly include four cartoonists and two police officers. A major police operation is underway in the Paris area to catch the killers. Charlie Hebdo has faced attacks and threats for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which helped spark protests across the Middle East in 2012. We are joined by Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University who is considered one of the most prominent Muslim intellectuals in Europe. Responding to reports the attack was carried out by Islamist militants, Ramadan says: "This is just a pure betrayal of our religion and our principles."

Mario Cuomo (1932-2015): Late New York Gov. Remembered as Working-Class Champion

Wed 07 48 AM

The late three-term Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo of New York was laid to rest on Tuesday following his death on January 1. Cuomo was known for supporting abortion rights, despite his Catholic faith, and opposing the death penalty, among other causes, although he also expanded the state’s prison system. Cuomo is the father of the current New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, who delivered the eulogy at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. Mario Cuomo is often remembered for his speeches, including his 1984 address at the Democratic National Convention, when he challenged President Ronald Reagan’s description of the United States as a "shining city on a hill." Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González discusses Cuomo’s life and legacy.

Fighting Gag Order, Ferguson Grand Juror Accuses Prosecutor of Mishandling Case & Misleading Public

Wed 07 41 AM

A member of the grand jury that declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting unarmed African American Michael Brown is suing for the right to speak publicly about the case. The lawsuit accuses Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch of presenting possible charges to the grand jury in a "muddled and untimely manner," and notes the case had a "stronger focus on the victim" than other cases. It also challenges "the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges" against Wilson. The juror is challenging a lifetime ban preventing grand jury members from discussing cases. The grand juror has been identified only as a St. Louis County resident. We are joined by Tony Rothert, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, which is representing the unnamed juror.

Will James Risen Be Jailed? In Press Freedom Fight, NYT Reporter Tells Court He Won't Name Source

Wed 07 25 AM

In a closely watched press freedom case, New York Times investigative reporter James Risen was called to the witness stand Monday after a seven-year legal battle against the government’s attempts to subpoena him and force him to reveal his source. The hearing in Virginia took place ahead of the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who is accused of giving Risen classified information which revealed a botched CIA plot to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. It is unclear yet if Risen will be called to testify at Sterling’s trial. Without more information from Risen, Sterling’s defense attorney argues the case should be dismissed. We are joined by Matt Apuzzo, a colleague of Risen’s at The New York Times who is covering the case. During his previous stint with the Associated Press, Apuzzo and Adam Goldman won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program. The Department of Justice opened three separate investigations into leaks related to their reports.

Charlie Hebdo Shooting: 12 Killed in Attack on French Satirical Magazine Known for Muhammad Cartoons

Wed 07 12 AM

At least 12 people have been killed in a shooting attack on a French satirical magazine in Paris. Witnesses say masked gunmen entered the offices of the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and opened fire. The dead include four cartoonists and two police officers. The magazine Charlie Hebdo has drawn multiple threats for its caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. In 2012, the magazine’s cartoon depicting Muhammad in pornographic poses helped spark protests across the Middle East. The outcry forced France to close embassies and other official sites in 20 countries. Charlie Hebdo has repeatedly claimed it publishes the cartoons as a defender of free expression and against religious extremism. We are joined by two guests: Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists; and Tariq Ali, a British-Pakistani political commentator, historian, activist, filmmaker, novelist and an editor of the New Left Review.

As Obama Hosts Peña Nieto, Explosive Report Ties Mexican Federal Police to Students' Disappearance

Tue 07 46 AM

As President Obama hosts Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the White House today, human rights groups want Obama to press the Mexican government on its failure to investigate and prosecute abuses by state security forces. The meeting comes on the heels of an explosive new report that directly contradicts the Mexican government’s claims they were unaware of what happened the night 43 students went missing after an attack by local police in the state of Guerrero. According to the Mexican magazine Proceso, federal police played a role in the attack, and federal authorities likely tortured key witnesses. The case has ignited protests across Mexico and around the world. We are joined by the reporters who broke the story, Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher. Hernández is a leading Mexican investigative journalist and author of "Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers."

As Obama Hosts Peña Nieto, Explosive Report Ties Mexican Federal Police to Students' Disappearance

Tue 07 46 AM

As President Obama hosts Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto at the White House today, human rights groups want Obama to press the Mexican government on its failure to investigate and prosecute abuses by state security forces. The meeting comes on the heels of an explosive new report that directly contradicts the Mexican government’s claims they were unaware of what happened the night 43 students went missing after an attack by local police in the state of Guerrero. According to the Mexican magazine Proceso, federal police played a role in the attack, and federal authorities likely tortured key witnesses. The case has ignited protests across Mexico and around the world. We are joined by the reporters who broke the story, Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher. Hernández is a leading Mexican investigative journalist and author of "Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers."

"David Duke Without the Baggage": Will Top GOPer Steve Scalise Resign over Speech to Racist Group?

Tue 07 29 AM

As Congress begins a new session today, one of its top Republicans has acknowledged he once addressed a gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has confirmed reports he spoke at a 2002 convention of EURO — the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. EURO is founded by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and perhaps the country’s most notorious white supremacist. Scalise was serving as a Louisiana state representative at the time. "Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as 'David Duke without the baggage,' so it’ll be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday. We speak with Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who says that Scalise’s denials are not believable.

"David Duke Without the Baggage": Will Top GOPer Steve Scalise Resign over Speech to Racist Group?

Tue 07 29 AM

As Congress begins a new session today, one of its top Republicans has acknowledged he once addressed a gathering of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has confirmed reports he spoke at a 2002 convention of EURO — the European-American Unity and Rights Organization. EURO is founded by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and perhaps the country’s most notorious white supremacist. Scalise was serving as a Louisiana state representative at the time. "Mr. Scalise reportedly described himself as 'David Duke without the baggage,' so it’ll be up to Republicans to decide what that says about their conference," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on Monday. We speak with Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, who says that Scalise’s denials are not believable.

Justice or Vengeance?: ACLU Raises Concerns as Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins

Tue 07 11 AM

Jury selection began Monday in the case of "The United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," one of the most high-profile federal trials in decades. The 21-year-old Tsarnaev is accused of planting bombs near the finish line at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded more than 260. It was the nation’s worst bombing since the Oklahoma City attack of 1995. Tsarnaev faces 30 counts, more than half carrying the death penalty. Jury selection will take several weeks followed by a trial of up to five months. But as bombing victims and the wider Boston community search for closure, concerns around due process could prolong the case for years. Ahead of the trial, defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to move the proceedings out of state, saying their client can’t receive a fair trial in the city where the bombing occurred. Federal prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty in a state where executions are barred. That will mean harsh constraints on the jury pool, ruling out anyone who opposes capital punishment. In a dissent to the First Circuit Appeals Court’s rejection of a trial delay, Judge Juan R. Torruella criticized the decision to proceed with the case, writing: "Such a rushed and frenetic process is the antithesis of due process.” We discuss the Boston Marathon bombing trial and its due process concerns with Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

Justice or Vengeance?: ACLU Raises Concerns as Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins

Tue 07 11 AM

Jury selection began Monday in the case of "The United States v. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev," one of the most high-profile federal trials in decades. The 21-year-old Tsarnaev is accused of planting bombs near the finish line at the Boston Marathon that killed three people and wounded more than 260. It was the nation’s worst bombing since the Oklahoma City attack of 1995. Tsarnaev faces 30 counts, more than half carrying the death penalty. Jury selection will take several weeks followed by a trial of up to five months. But as bombing victims and the wider Boston community search for closure, concerns around due process could prolong the case for years. Ahead of the trial, defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to move the proceedings out of state, saying their client can’t receive a fair trial in the city where the bombing occurred. Federal prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty in a state where executions are barred. That will mean harsh constraints on the jury pool, ruling out anyone who opposes capital punishment. In a dissent to the First Circuit Appeals Court’s rejection of a trial delay, Judge Juan R. Torruella criticized the decision to proceed with the case, writing: "Such a rushed and frenetic process is the antithesis of due process.” We discuss the Boston Marathon bombing trial and its due process concerns with Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

From Drone Strikes to Black Sites, How U.S. Foreign Policy Runs Under a Cloak of Secrecy

Mon 07 43 AM

At least nine Pakistanis were killed Sunday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, the first reported drone strike of 2015. News accounts of the strike are based on unnamed Pakistani government and security officials. The Obama administration has said nothing so far. For years, the United States did not even publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone strikes. The drone program is just one example of the national security state’s reliance on secret operations. The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed another example: the shadowy network of overseas CIA black sites where the United States held and tortured prisoners. The report also noted the CIA shrouded itself in a cloak of secrecy keeping policymakers largely in the dark about the brutality of its detainee interrogations. The agency reportedly deceived the White House, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Congress about the efficacy of its controversial interrogation techniques. We are joined by a guest who has closely followed the debate over national security and secrecy: Scott Horton, a human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, whose new book is "Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy."

Defying U.S. & Israel, Will ICC Membership Bring Justice to Stateless & Occupied Palestinians?

Mon 07 14 AM

In a move opposed by the United States and Israel, Palestinian leaders have submitted a request to join the International Criminal Court and sign over a dozen other international treaties. The Palestinian Authority says it will seek the prosecution of Israeli officials for war crimes in the Occupied Territories. In retaliation, Israel has halted the transfer of tax revenues needed to pay for Palestinian salaries and public services. The Palestinian Authority opted to join the ICC after the United States and Israel successfully lobbied against a U.N. Security Council measure calling for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state by 2017. We are joined by two guests: Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of "Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer" and "Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s United Nations"; and Ali Abunimah, co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of "The Battle for Justice in Palestine."

Russell Brand on Revolution, Fighting Inequality, Addiction, Militarized Police & Noam Chomsky

Fri 07 40 AM

In a holiday special, we feature our interview with Russell Brand. For years he has been one of Britain’s most popular comedians, but in 2014, he also emerged as a leading voice of Britain’s political left. He has taken part in anti-austerity protests, spoken at Occupy Wall Street protests and marched with the hacker collective Anonymous. A recovering addict himself, Brand has also become a leading critic of Britain’s drug laws. He has just come out with a new book expanding on his critique of the political system. It is simply titled, "Revolution."

Exclusive: Julian Assange on "When Google Met WikiLeaks" While He was Under House Arrest

Fri 07 20 AM

In a holiday special, we feature an exclusive Democracy Now! interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In July, Amy Goodman spoke to Assange after he had just entered his third year inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has political asylum. He faces investigations in both Sweden and the United States. In the United States, a secret grand jury is investigating WikiLeaks for its role in publishing a trove of leaked documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as State Department cables. In Sweden, he is wanted for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct, though no charges have been filed. During his interview, Assange talked about his new book, which at that time had not yet been released, titled, "When Google Met Wikileaks." The book was later published in September.