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: 10 hours 34 min ago

"A State of Emergency": At Least 17 Transgender Women Have Been Murdered This Year

Tue 07 55 AM

The murder of Tamara Dominguez on Saturday in Kansas City, Missouri, marked at least the 17th murder of a transgender woman so far this year. Dominguez was repeatedly run over in a church parking lot. Her death follows the recent murders of a number of African-American transgender women, including Elisha Walker, found in a "crude grave" in North Carolina; Shade Schuler, whose decomposed body was found in a Dallas field; Amber Monroe, shot and killed in a Detroit park; and Kandis Capri, fatally shot last Tuesday night in Phoenix, Arizona. "This is a state of emergency for the transgender community," Chase Strangio says. "We are living in a moment where we should be incredibly concerned about all of the mechanisms of violence against our community."

As Chelsea Manning Speaks Out on Trans and Prison Issues, Authorities Threaten Her with Solitary

Tue 07 48 AM

Imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning is scheduled to go before a closed-door disciplinary hearing today at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking U.S. government cables to WikiLeaks. Manning’s lawyers say she could be sent back to indefinite solitary confinement after being accused of a number of infractions including having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes her new life living openly as a woman, a copy of the U.S. Senate report on torture, several LGBT books and magazines and other "prohibited property" in her cell. Supporters of Manning are planning to deliver a petition today to the Army Liaison Office on Capitol Hill signed by more than 75,000 people calling on the U.S. military to drop the new charges and demanding that her disciplinary hearing be open to the press and the public. We speak to Chase Strangio, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union and a member of Manning’s legal team.

Meet the Whistleblower Who Exposed the Secret Room AT&T Used to Help the NSA Spy on the Internet

Tue 07 31 AM

As documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden expose how AT&T aided the NSA’s vast spying operations, we speak to former AT&T technician Mark Klein, who worked at the company for 22 years. In 2006, he blew the whistle on AT&T’s cooperation with the National Security Agency by leaking internal documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the NSA access to its fiber-optic Internet cables.

Snowden Documents Reveal AT&T's "Extreme Willingness to Help" NSA Domestic Spy Program

Tue 07 23 AM

Documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have exposed how extensively the NSA relied on telecommunications giant AT&T for its vast spying operations. Records described by The New York Times and ProPublica laud AT&T’s "extreme willingness to help" the NSA’s spying efforts. According to the piece, the company supplied access to billions of emails flowing across its domestic networks and technical aid in carrying out a secret order allowing the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the headquarters of the United Nations — an AT&T customer. In 2013, the NSA’s top-secret budget for its partnership with AT&T was reportedly more than twice that of the next largest such program.

Obama Gives Shell Final Approval to Drill in Arctic Despite Protests & Pledge to Cut Emissions

Tue 07 13 AM

The Obama administration has granted Royal Dutch Shell final approval to resume drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean for the first time since 2012 despite widespread protests from environmental groups. Shell first obtained drilling permits in the Arctic during the George W. Bush administration, but drilling stopped in 2012 after a series of mishaps. The Interior Department’s decision comes just weeks after a protest in Portland, Oregon, temporarily blocked an Arctic-bound rig of Shell’s from leaving the city after a group of activists from Greenpeace dangled off a bridge, blocking the ship’s movement while "kayaktivists" took to the water below. A coalition of environmental groups have pushed the Obama administration to say no to Arctic drilling, citing the dangers of a possible oil spill in the pristine region and the impact new oil extraction would have on the climate. The Interior Department approved the Arctic drilling ahead of President Obama’s upcoming trip to the Arctic later this month. He mentioned the trip during his recent speech unveiling plan to slash carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

Julian Bond (1940-2015): Remembering Civil Rights Freedom Fighter Who Chaired NAACP, Co-founded SNCC

Mon 07 15 AM

We remember the life of civil rights pioneer Julian Bond, who died on Saturday at the age of 75. Bond first gained prominence in 1960 when he organized a series of student sit-ins while attending Morehouse College. He went on to help found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. After the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Bond was elected as a Democrat to the Georgia House of Representatives. But members of the Legislature refused to seat him, citing his vocal opposition to the Vietnam War. Bond took the case to the Supreme Court and won. He went on to serve 20 years in the Georgia House and Senate. At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Julian Bond became the first African American nominated for U.S. vice president by a major political party. But he had to withdraw his name because he was just 28 years old — seven years too young to hold the second-highest elected office. Julian Bond would go on to co-found the Southern Poverty Law Center. He served as the organization’s first president from 1971 to 1979. From 1998 to 2010, he was chairman of the NAACP. We speak to Eleanor Holmes Norton, delegate to Congress representing the District of Columbia; former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Taylor Branch; and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. "He never thought the movement was about only blacks, so he was easily able to grapple with the movement that involved women, that involved the LGBTQ community, that involved climate change," said Norton.

Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement for Having Vanity Fair's Caitlyn Jenner Issue in Her Cell

Fri 07 54 AM

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning could face punishment of indefinite solitary confinement for having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes her new life living openly as a woman, the U.S. Senate report on torture and other "prohibited property" in her cell at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking U.S. government cables to WikiLeaks. On Thursday, an Army spokesperson said it is committed to "a fair and equitable process" in Manning’s case, which is now pending before a disciplinary board.

Britain Challenges Julian Assange's Asylum in Ecuadorean Embassy as Sweden Vows to Continue Inquiry

Fri 07 47 AM

Britain has announced plans to challenge Ecuador’s decision to provide asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in its London embassy, saying the $18 million price tag for policing the Ecuadorean Embassy during Assange’s residency is "unacceptable" to the British taxpayer. In response, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it is saddened Assange’s confinement has lasted so long, adding that its government had offered "31 times" to facilitate an "open judicial process" in Sweden. This comes just a day after Swedish prosecutors dropped part of their sexual assault inquiry against Assange, but the most serious part of the probe remains in place even though he has never been formally charged. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for three years, where he’s received political asylum. He fears he will be extradited to the United States to face prosecution for his role at WikiLeaks if he leaves the embassy. We are joined by Carey Shenkman, a First Amendment and human rights lawyer. He, along with Michael Ratner and the Center for Constitutional Rights, is representing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

U.S. Raises Flag in Cuba After 54 Years, Prisoner Exchanges and "Stork Diplomacy"; Embargo Remains

Fri 07 12 AM

The United States and Cuba are taking the next step in restoring diplomatic relations with each other as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Havana Friday to attend a ceremony marking the reopening of the U.S. Embassy there. This comes after former Cuban President Fidel Castro wrote in a newspaper column that the U.S. owes the island country "millions of dollars" as reparations for its decades-long embargo. "The question is what kind of change this represents,” says former Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray Treto. "Is this only a change of tactics to continue trying to overthrow the Cuban government by different means? I call it the Roberta Flack strategy—’killing me softly with your song.’ On the other hand, maybe what we are seeing is an important change of strategy." We also speak with Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University and co-author of "Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana."

Henry Siegman, Leading U.S. Jewish Voice for Peace: "Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations"

Thu 07 08 AM

Jewish and Palestinian women are holding a hunger strike outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to call for a renewal of peace negotiations. Members of the group Women Wage Peace have been fasting for the past month in alternating shifts, sitting in an open-air tent and inviting passersby to discuss how best to wage peace. The group has dubbed their mission "Operation Protective Fast," a twist on "Operation Protective Edge" — Israel’s military operation that left 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children, dead last summer. On the Israeli side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. The attack destroyed 12,000 homes in Gaza. Another 100,000 were damaged. None of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt so far, due in part to the ongoing Israeli blockade. Our guest for the hour suggests the best chance for achieving a lasting peace in Israel-Palestine lies with the United Nations Security Council presenting both parties with clear terms for resumed peace talks. Henry Siegman is the former 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. Siegman was born in 1930 in Frankfurt, Germany. Three years later, the Nazis came to power. After fleeing Nazi troops in Belgium, his family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement, pushing for the creation of a Jewish state. Siegman later became head of the Synagogue Council of America. Henry Siegman now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. He spoke with Amy Goodman in late May, shortly after The New York Times published his op-ed, "Give Up on Netanyahu, Go to the United Nations."

Trading with the Enemy: Homing Pigeons with Cigars Challenge U.S. Embargo, Fly from Cuba to Florida

Wed 07 54 AM

As Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to fly to Cuba for a ceremony Friday to open the U.S. Embassy in Havana, we speak with an artist here at the Venice Biennale who used art to challenge the U.S. embargo of Cuba. For his project called "Trading with the Enemy," Duke Riley spent four years planning and eight months breeding and homing a kit of 50 pigeons in Key West, Florida. His goal was to prove that pigeons could make the 90-mile flight from Havana back to Key West carrying Cuban Cohiba cigars, which are banned in the United States. Riley also installed video cameras on the pigeons. He began with 50 pigeons. Eleven returned.

Artist Mariam Ghani, Daughter of Afghan Pres., Takes on US Abuse from Gitmo to Bagram to US Prisons

Wed 07 33 AM

We are on the road in Venice, Italy, the site of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition in the world. We are broadcasting from the Creative Time Summit here at the Venice Biennale, which on Tuesday featured a public discussion between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his daughter, the acclaimed artist Mariam Ghani, who is based in Brooklyn. She joins us to discuss how she has worked for the past decade on a number of art projects looking at how the United States responded to the Sept. 11 attacks. Along with the artist Chitra Ganesh, Ghani created an "Index of the Disappeared" — a physical archive documenting post-9/11 detentions, deportations and renditions. Ghani and Ganesh also created "The Guantanamo Effect" — an interactive digital archive defining, illustrating and linking key terms and events in the so-called global war on terror.

Artist Emily Jacir Brings the Palestinian Experience to the Venice Biennale

Wed 07 10 AM

At the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition in the world, we speak with one of the most celebrated Palestinian artists, Emily Jacir. In 2007, she won the Golden Lion here at the Venice Biennale for her work "Material for a Film," a large-scale installation based on the life of Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter, who was assassinated near his home in Rome, Italy, by Israeli Mossad agents in 1972. For years Jacir has created groundbreaking art to capture the Palestinian experience and other issues. In 2001, she presented a piece titled "Memorial to 418 Palestinian Villages Destroyed, Depopulated, and Occupied by Israel in 1948," consisting of a large refugee tent on which the names of 418 Palestinians villages were embroidered. She later did a project called "ex libris" that commemorated the approximately 30,000 books from Palestinian homes, libraries and institutions that were looted by Israeli authorities in 1948.

"Freed But Not Free": Artists at the Venice Biennale Respond to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Tue 07 45 AM

After the fourth day of protests over Michael Brown’s death, authorities have declared a state of emergency in St. Louis County, drawing worldwide attention. We look at the state of the Black Lives Matter movement and the art world with two participants in the Creative Time Summit alongside the Venice Biennale in Italy. "At the moment we are dealing with Black Lives Matter and the violence against black and brown people in the United States, Europe is experiencing incredible deaths of black people here too," says author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, noting the "perilous state of people worldwide that have been subjugated to white supremacy and capitalism." Rhodes-Pitts is the author of "Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America,” part of a trilogy she is working on about African Americans and utopia. We are also joined by Charles Gaines, a pioneering conceptual artist who teaches at California Institute of the Arts.

Art, Politics & "All the World's Futures": Okwui Enwezor, First African Curator of Venice Biennale

Tue 07 10 AM

As we broadcast from Venice, Italy, site of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition, we feature an extended interview with Okwui Enwezor of Nigeria, its first African-born chief curator. Enwezor has been widely credited for bringing political art back to the 120-year-old festival. He says he was partly inspired by the 1974 Venice Biennale when part of the exhibits were dedicated to Chile to protest the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Chile’s democratic government. "Artists have a lot of meaning they produce that can allow us to look at the world in deeper, meaningful and more probing ways," Enwezor says. As part of this year’s seven-month exhibit, there is an epic live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s "Das Kapital." Meanwhile, the artist Adam Pendleton incorporated the "Black Lives Matter" slogan into his exhibit which appears in the Belgium Pavilion. And the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz created a boat covered in the front page of a Venice newspaper published the day after nearly 400 migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.