Democracy Now!

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-24 Thursday

Naveed Shinwari is one of four American Muslims who filed suit against the government this week for placing them on the U.S. "no-fly list" after they refused to become FBI informants. The plaintiffs say they were barred from flying not because they were accused of any crime, but because they wouldn’t spy on their communities. "It’s very frustrating, you feel helpless," Shinwari says. "No one will tell you how you can get off of it, how you got on it. It has a profound impact on people’s lives." We are also joined by Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is seeking to remove the men from the no-fly list and establish a new legal mechanism to challenge placement on it.

In a major development chipping away at the secrecy of the Obama administration’s drone wars, a federal appeals court has ordered the government to release a legal memo that provides the legal rationale for killing U.S. citizens overseas. The court ruled that the government had waived its right to keep the memo secret following public statements in defense of the killings by top officials, as well as the release of a Justice Department "white paper" on the subject. We speak with Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit to release the memo along with The New York Times.

How far would you go to tell the truth? That is the question posed by the new documentary "Silenced," which follows three national security whistleblowers who fight to reveal the darkest corners of America’s war on terror while enduring the wrath of a government increasingly determined to maintain secrecy. The three are former Justice Department lawyer Jesselyn Radack; former senior National Security Agency official Thomas Drake; and former CIA officer John Kiriakou. On the heels of the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, we speak with director James Spione about the extraordinary lengths the government has gone to in order to wreak havoc on the whistleblowers’ personal lives through a sustained campaign of intimidation and harassment.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-23 Wednesday

As the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a ban on affirmative action in Michigan and the country marks 60 years since the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education, we look at how segregation is still pervasive in U.S. public schools. An explosive new report in ProPublica finds school integration never fully occurred, and in recent decades may have even been reversed. Focusing on three generations of the same family in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the story concludes: "While segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened." We are joined by Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose article, "The Resegregation of America’s Schools," is the latest in the ProPublica series "Segregation Now: Investigating America’s Racial Divide."

Environmental reporter Dan Fagin joins us to discuss his book, "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation," which has just won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Fagin tells the story of how a small New Jersey town fought back against industrial pollution and astronomical rates of childhood cancer, and ultimately won one of the largest legal settlements in U.S. history. "We don’t look for patterns, we don’t analyze those patterns. That is a terrible tragedy," Fagin says of the failure to examine environmental and industrial data gathered by local, state and federal agencies. "People are dying because we do not do effective public health surveillance in this country."

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-22 Tuesday

In an Earth Day special, we look at the history of the global environmental movement as told in the sweeping new documentary, "A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet." We air extended highlights from the film — from New York housewives who take on a major chemical company that polluted their community of Love Canal to Greenpeace’s campaigns to save whales, to the fight by Chico Mendes and Brazilian rubber tappers to save the Amazon rainforest. We also speak to the film’s Oscar-nominated director, Mark Kitchell. "We were really looking to tell stories of the movement. We thought it would be a more engaging and impassioned approach to what are very difficult subjects. Usually environmental films, no matter how good they are, are an eco-bummer," Kitchell says. "These people succeed against enormous odds. And that should give us some kind of hope." "A Fierce Green Fire" airs tonight on PBS American Masters.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-21 Monday

Headlines for April 21, 2014; Exclusive: 4 Years After BP Disaster, Ousted Drilling Chief Warns U.S. at Risk of Another Oil Spill; Rubin "Hurricane" Carter Dies at 76: Wrongly Jailed Boxer Championed Justice After Winning His Own

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-18 Friday

One of the greatest novelists and writers of the 20th century has died. Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez passed away Thursday in Mexico at the age of 87. It has been reported that only the Bible has sold more copies in the Spanish language than the works of García Márquez, who was affectionately known at "Gabo" throughout Latin America. His book "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is considered one of the masterful examples of the literary genre known as magic realism, and it won him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. The Swedish Academy described it as a book "in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts." We air clips of him speaking in his own words about writing his acclaimed book.

In an exclusive interview, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende remembers the life and legacy of late writer Gabriel García Márquez. She reads from his landmark novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and talks about how García Márquez influenced generations of thinkers and writers in Latin America and across the world. "He’s the master of masters," Allende says. "In a way, he conquered readers and conquered the world, and told the world about us, Latin Americans, and told us who we are. In his pages, we saw ourselves in a mirror." Allende describes the first time she read "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and how it impacted her. "It was as if someone was telling me my own story," she says. We also air video of García Márquez in his own words and hear Democracy Now! co-host Juan González read from "The General in His Labyrinth."

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-17 Thursday

As negotiations over the crisis in Ukraine begin in Geneva, tension is rising in the Ukrainian east after security forces killed three pro-Russian protesters, wounded 13 and took 63 captive in the city of Mariupol. Ukrainian officials said the pro-Russian separatists had attempted to storm a military base. The killings came just after the unraveling of a Ukrainian operation to retake government buildings from pro-Russian separatists. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss" and refused to rule out sending forces into Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATOSecretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a series of steps to reinforce its presence in eastern Europe. "We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land," Rasmussen said. We are joined by Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. "We are not at the beginning of a new Cold War, we are well into it," Cohen says, "which alerts us to the fact 'hot war' is imaginable now. It’s unlikely, but it’s conceivable — and if it’s conceivable, something has to be done about it."

New York has become the latest state to join an agreement that would transform the U.S. presidential election. Under the compact for a National Popular Vote, states across the country have pledged to award their electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. If enough states sign on, it would guarantee the presidency goes to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. This would prevent scenarios like what happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote, but still lost the election to George W. Bush. The compact will kick in only when enough states have signed on to reach a threshold of 270 electoral votes. By adding its 29 electoral votes, New York joins those already pledged by nine other states and Washington, D.C. We are joined by New Yorker staff writer Hendrik Hertzberg, an advocate of the national popular vote and a board member of the electoral reform organization FairVote.

A new documentary film reveals how a regular U.S. air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike program in Pakistan. "Drone" identifies the unit conducting CIA strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, which is located on the Creech air force base, about 45 miles from Las Vegas. We are joined by the film’s director, Tonje Schei, and Chris Woods, an award-winning reporter who investigates drone warfare. Woods is featured in "Drone" and is working on a forthcoming book on U.S. drone warfare.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-16 Wednesday

One ancillary business that stands to profit from today's green rush includesCanna Security America, a Louisville, Colorado, security firm in the ArcView network that provides security systems for dispensaries and cultivators. Canna Security America president Dan Williams had worked for Envision Security before leaving in 2009 to help Colorado's Department of Revenue define security regulations for weed growing operations and dispensaries. "Unless it's done to code, the producers won't receive their licenses," Williams said, noting the red tape includes specifications on camera placement so that states can oversee the operations. "A lot of security companies, they don't take the [marijuana] industry very seriously, and that's what sets us apart. They don't want to deal with the regulations."

The New York City Police Department is disbanding a controversial spying unit that targeted Muslim communities. The so-called "Demographics Unit" secretly infiltrated Muslim student groups, sent informants into mosques, eavesdropped on conversations in restaurants, barber shops and gyms, and built a vast database of information. But after years of collecting information, it failed to yield a single terrorism investigation or even a single lead. We get reaction from Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York, who calls the unit’s closure a "welcome first step," but says it will "take years to undo the trauma that the American Muslim community has endured." We are also joined by Matt Apuzzo, who was part of the Associated Press team that first revealed the NYPD’s post-9/11 surveillance program. The AP’s series won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. Apuzzo is co-author of "Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America."

A new reports finds the killings of environmental and land rights activists worldwide has tripled over the past decade. The group Global Witness documented 147 activists who were killed in 2012, compared to 51 in 2002. The death rate is now an average of two per week. Almost none of the killers have faced charges. We air interviews with some of the late activists featured in the report, including José da Silva, a Brazilian conservationist and environmentalist who campaigned against logging and clearcutting of trees in the Amazon rainforest. In 2011, José and his wife, Maria, were murdered by masked gunmen. "This could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the scale of the real problem," says Global Witness campaigner Oliver Courtney, who says details about the murders were nearly impossible to locate.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-15 Tuesday

Award-winning journalist Matt Taibbi is out with an explosive new book that asks why the vast majority of white-collar criminals have avoided prison since the financial crisis began, while an unequal justice system imprisons the poor and people of color on a mass scale. In "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," Taibbi explores how the Depression-level income gap between the wealthy and the poor is mirrored by a "justice" gap in who is targeted for prosecution and imprisonment. "It is much more grotesque to consider the non-enforcement of white-collar criminals when you do consider how incredibly aggressive law enforcement is with regard to everybody else," Taibbi says.

Millions of Americans are rushing to file their federal and state taxes today by the midnight deadline. But others are using the day to protest the use of tax dollars to fund war. The War Resisters League estimates at least 45 percent of the 2015 federal budget would be used for current and past military expenses, as well as interest on the national debt, some 80 percent of which stems from military spending. To voice their opposition, some Americans are taking a stand by personally refusing to pay their federal taxes. Lida Shao, a premed student at Columbia University, has been a war tax resister for three years with support from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Shao joins us to discuss why Tax Day for her is a day of resistance.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-14 Monday

In their first return to the United States since exposing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance operations, journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras were honored in New York City on Friday with the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. Over the past 10 months, Poitras and Greenwald have played key roles in reporting the massive trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden. They were joined by colleagues Ewen MacAskill of The Guardian and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, with whom they shared the award. In their acceptance speeches, Poitras and Greenwald paid tribute to their source. "Each one of these awards just provides further vindication that what [Snowden] did in coming forward was absolutely the right thing to do and merits gratitude, and not indictments and decades in prison," Greenwald said. "None of us would be here … without the fact that someone decided to sacrifice their life to make this information available," Poitras said. "And so this award is really for Edward Snowden."

Ten months ago, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald flew from New York to Hong Kong to meet National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Poitras and Greenwald did not return to the United States until this past Friday, when they flew from Berlin to New York to accept the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting. They arrived not knowing if they would be detained or subpoenaed after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described journalists working on theNSA story as Snowden’s "accomplices." At a news conference following the George Polk Award ceremony, Poitras and Greenwald took questions from reporters about their reporting and the government intimidation it has sparked.

Kabul-based journalist Matthieu Aikins was honored with the George Polk Award on Friday for his Rolling Stone article, "The A-Team Killings," that uncovered "convincing evidence" that a U.S. Army Special Forces unit killed 10 Afghan civilians in Wardak province. Aikins joins us to discuss the latest on his story — as well as recent developments in Afghanistan, from the country’s elections to continued violence that recently killed two journalists.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-11 Friday

Momentum is growing in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. On Thursday, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the industry for its role in driving climate change. Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the faculty at Harvard University released an open letter calling on the Ivy League school to sell off its interests in oil, gas and coal companies. "If the Corporation regards divestment as 'political,' then its continued investment is a similarly political act, one that finances present corporate activities and calculates profit from them," wrote the professors. "Slavery was once an investment issue, as were apartheid and the harm caused by smoking." Harvard has the largest university endowment in the country, worth more than $32 billion. We speak to James Anderson, professor of chemistry and Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. He is one of the signatories to the letter urging Harvard to divest from the fossil fuel industry. He has done groundbreaking work exposing the link between climate change and ozone loss. We also speak to Jamie Henn, co-founder of the climate change-focused organization, 350.org.

A new Showtime television show featuring Hollywood actors and award-winning journalists brings the issue of climate change alive with the full drama and suspense of a blockbuster movie. In the series, "Years of Living Dangerously," Harrison Ford travels to Indonesia to investigate the palm oil industry and Arnold Schwarzenegger joins an elite team of wild-land firefighters. Hollywood luminaries such as Matt Damon, James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub have paired up with top reporters and leading climate scientists such as Drs. Heidi Cullen, Joe Romm and James Hansen to tell the true stories of people affected by climate change. We speak to Joe Romm, chief science advisor to "Years of Living Dangerously" and founding editor of Climate Progress.

We end today’s show looking at a new book titled, "Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA." The book features essays by many prominent people, including Michael Moore, Angela Davis, Frances Fox Piven, Martín Espada, Rick Wolff and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. The book comes out at a time when polls show Americans aged 18 to 29 have a more favorable reaction to the word "socialism" than "capitalism." The book is co-edited by the legendary book agent Frances Goldin, who has worked in the publishing world for more than six decades and will turn 90 years old in June. In 1951 at age 27, Goldin ran for New York State Senate on an American Labor Party slate headed by W.E.B. Du Bois. Goldin joins us now along with one of her co-editors, Michael Smith. He is a New York City attorney and a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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Democracy Now! 2014-04-24 Thursday 18 hours 8 min ago
Democracy Now! 2014-04-23 Wednesday 1 day 17 hours ago
Democracy Now! 2014-04-22 Tuesday 2 days 18 hours ago
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Democracy Now! 2014-04-11 Friday 1 week 6 days ago
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Democracy Now! 2014-04-03 Thursday 3 weeks 17 hours ago
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Egyptian Activist Alaa Abd El Fattah on Prison & Regime's "War on a Whole Generation" 3 weeks 3 days ago
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Democracy Now! 2014-03-28 Friday 3 weeks 6 days ago
Democracy Now! 2014-03-27 Thursday 4 weeks 18 hours ago
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Fast-Food Workers Charge McDonald's with Wage Theft 1 month 6 days ago
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Democracy Now! 2014-03-17 Monday 1 month 1 week ago
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Dragnet Nation: Julia Angwin’s Quest for Privacy & Ray McGovern on FISA Court’s “Raw Take” Order 1 month 1 week ago
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