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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: 31 min 51 sec ago

Right to Return: Deported After Protest by His Family, Mexican Immigrant to Attempt U.S. Re-entry

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 8:53am

After being deported to Mexico from his home in Arizona earlier this year, Jaime Valdez joins us to detail his attempt today to re-enter the United States. Valdez says he was deported in retaliation for a hunger strike that his family took part in at the Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protest U.S. immigration policies. "All my family is in the U.S., so that’s why I’m trying to come back," Valdez says. "We’re going to try to get this message to the president, to stop the deportations and to stop the discrimination and injustice in detention centers." He and another immigrant hope to rejoin their families today by crossing at a checkpoint in the Mexican border town of Nogales, where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is currently on a three-day tour visiting with Border Patrol agents and migrants.

Treating Humans Worse Than Animals: Prison System Voices Decry Solitary Confinement of Mentally Ill

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 8:32am

Following the death of two prisoners at New York City’s Rikers Island facility, we look at mounting pressure on jails and prisons to reform their use of solitary confinement. A corrections officer was arrested last week and charged with violating the civil rights of Jason Echevarria, a mentally ill Rikers prisoner who died after eating a packet of detergent given to him when his cell was flooded with sewage. It was the first such arrest in more than a decade. Also last month, Jerome Murdough, a mentally ill homeless veteran, died in a Rikers solitary mental-observation unit where he was supposed to be checked on every 15 minutes. An official told the Associated Press that Murdough "baked to death" after temperatures soared in his cell. We hear from Echevarria’s father, Ramon, at a protest seeking justice for his son, and speak to former Rikers prisoner Five Mualimmak, who was held in solitary there. And we are joined by two guests from within the prison system calling for reform: Dr. James Gilligan, a psychiatrist who is helping reduce violence in prisons, and Lance Lowry, president of the Texas Correctional Employees, the union which represents Texas prison guards. Lowry is calling on the state to reduce the use of solitary confinement, including on death row. "Zookeepers are not allowed to keep zoo animals in the kind of housing that we put human beings in," Dr. Gilligan says. "We have created the situation; it is called a self-fulfilling prophecy: We say these are animals, they are going to behave like animals, then we treat them so that they will."

The Bounty Police Force? Albuquerque Officers Face Protests, Probe over Spate of Fatal Shootings

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 8:12am

Outrage is growing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after the latest incident in a spate of police shootings. Video footage captured by a police helmet camera shows officers killing James Boyd, a homeless man who appeared to be surrendering to them at a campsite where he was sleeping. Boyd is seen picking up his belongings and turning away when officers deploy a flash grenade and then fire six live rounds at him from yards away. The Albuquerque Police Department has come under federal scrutiny for being involved in 37 shootings since 2010, 23 of them fatal. This week the FBI confirmed it is investigating the killing of Boyd, and the Justice Department has already been investigating the city’s police shootings for more than a year. We are joined by Russell Contreras, an Associated Press reporter who was tear-gassed while covering the Sunday protest and has been following the police shootings. We also speak to Nora Tachias-Anaya, a social justice activist whose nephew, George Levy Tachias, was fatally shot by police while driving in Albuquerque in 1988. Tachias-Anaya is a member of the October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality.

Exclusive: Egyptian Activist Alaa Abd El-Fattah on Prison Regime's War on a Whole Generation

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 8:12am

In a Democracy Now! global broadcast exclusive, we spend the hour with one of Egypt’s most prominent dissidents, Alaa Abd El-Fattah, speaking in his first extended interview after nearly four months behind bars. An open Internet and political activist, Fattah has been at the forefront of the struggle for change in Egypt for many years and has the distinction of having been actively persecuted by Egypt’s past four successive rulers. Facing a potential return to prison in the coming months, Fattah sits down with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous to discuss his case, Egypt’s future and its ongoing crackdown on activists. "They are on a sentencing frenzy," Fattah says of Egypt’s military rulers. "This is not just about me. It’s almost as if it’s a war on a whole generation." Special thanks to Omar Robert Hamilton and Sherine Tadros.

A Debate on Torture: Legal Architect of CIA Secret Prisons, Rendition vs. Human Rights Attorney

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 8:12am

As the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence feuds with the CIA over the declassification of its 6,000-page report on the agency’s secret detention and interrogation programs, we host a debate between former CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo and human rights attorney Scott Horton. This comes as the United Nations Human Rights Committee has criticized the Obama administration for closing its investigations into the CIA’s actions after Sept. 11. A U.N. report issued Thursday stated, "The Committee notes with concern that all reported investigations into enforced disappearances, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that had been committed in the context of the CIA secret rendition, interrogation and detention programmes were closed in 2012 leading only to a meager number of criminal charges brought against low-level operatives." Rizzo served as acting general counsel during much of the George W. Bush administration and was a key legal architect of the U.S. interrogation and detention program after the Sept. 11 attacks. He recently published a book titled "Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA." Attorney Scott Horton is contributing editor at Harper’s magazine and author of the forthcoming book, "Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy."

The Unknown Known: Errol Morris' New Doc Tackles Unrepentant Iraq War Architect Donald Rumsfeld

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 8:34am

Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris joins us to talk about his new film, "The Unknown Known," based on 33 hours of interviews with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The title refers to an infamous press briefing in 2002 when Rumsfeld faced questions from reporters about the lack of evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. "The Unknown Known" is Morris’ 10th documentary feature. He won a Best Documentary Oscar for his film "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara." His other films include "Standard Operating Procedure," about alleged U.S. torture of terror suspects in Abu Ghraib prison, and "The Thin Blue Line," about the wrongful conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman. The release of "The Unknown Known" comes in a month marking 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, leaving an estimated half a million Iraqis dead, along with at least 4,400 American troops.

Targeted by Firebombing, Legislation, and Now Vandalism, Montana Abortion Provider Shutters Clinic

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 8:10am

A Montana medical office that provided abortions, among other services, has been forced to close after a vandal systematically broke or slashed practically every object and surface inside. All Families Healthcare saw the destruction of its plumbing and heating systems, plants pulled up by their roots, and holes stabbed through faces in family photographs. The accused vandal, Zachary Klundt, is the son of a former board member of the anti-choice group Hope Pregnancy Ministries. Twyla Klundt resigned after her son’s arrest. We are joined by All Families Healthcare owner Susan Cahill, who is facing the latest threat to her work following decades of providing abortion as part of family healthcare. Another clinic where she worked was firebombed in 1994. The following year, the Montana state Legislature passed a measure known as the Susan Cahill Law to ban physician assistants from providing abortions. Cahill was the only physician assistant providing abortions in the state. The Montana Supreme Court later upheld her right to do so.

The Right to Heal: 11 Years After Iraq Invasion, U.S. Urged on Reparations for War's Enduring Wounds

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 8:50am

Eleven years ago this month, the U.S. invaded Iraq. Today, a group of Iraq civilians and U.S. veterans of the war are coming together in Washington to demand the U.S. government be held accountable for the lasting effects of war at home and abroad. We are joined by two members of the Right to Heal Initiative: Joyce Wagner, co-director of Iraq Veterans Against the War, who served two tours in Iraq, and Yanar Mohammed, president of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. She recently gathered thousands of signatures in Baghdad to request a hearing before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights — a request that was denied.

Obama to Visit Saudi Arabia, Key Source of Funding for Growing Jihadi Militarism in Middle East

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 8:32am

Despite Saudi Arabia’s funding and arming of militants in Syria, Iraq and beyond, President Obama is set to visit the kingdom this week to meet with King Abdullah. It’s the only Middle Eastern or Gulf nation on Obama’s overseas itinerary. Many analysts say the conflict in Syria has grown into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia’s links to jihadist groups go back decades. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi. The 9/11 Commission Report identified Saudi Arabia as the main source of al-Qaeda financing. And in 2010, WikiLeaks published U.S. diplomatic cables which identified Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups. Members of Congress and human rights organizations have also been calling on Obama to address the kingdom’s treatment of women, religious minorities and political activists. We are joined by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. Cockburn wrote The Independent’s recent five-part series examining the resurgence of jihadists across the Middle East, "Al-Qa’ida’s Second Act: Why the Global 'War on Terror' Went Wrong."

Egypt's Courts Further Repression with Journos on Trial Mass Death Sentence for Morsi Supporters

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 8:14am

Egypt is facing international criticism after the largest mass sentencing in its modern history. On Monday, 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi were ordered killed over the death of a single police officer in protests last summer. The trial lasted just over two days, with the majority tried in absentia. The exceptionally swift trial and harsh sentences mark a new escalation of the Egyptian military regime’s crackdown on Morsi supporters, which has led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests. In another closely watched trial, Al Jazeera journalists Peter Greste, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy have been denied bail after nearly three months in prison. They are accused of belonging to or aiding a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, two leading Egyptian activists have been freed after over 100 days behind bars. Alaa Abd El-Fattah and Ahmed Abdel Rahman are among a group of activists charged with violating the military regime’s anti-protest law. They and 23 others have been released on bail but still face a trial that resumes next month. We go to Cairo to speak with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.

Why Did the FBI Label Ryan Shapiro's Dissertation on Animal Rights a Threat to National Security?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 8:42am

Over the past decade, Ryan Shapiro has become a leading freedom of information activist, unearthing tens of thousands of once-secret documents. His work focuses on how the government infiltrates and monitors political movements, in particular those for animal and environmental rights. Today, he has around 700 Freedom of Information Act requests before the FBI, seeking around 350,000 documents. That tenacity has led the Justice Department to call him the "most prolific" requester there is — in one year, two requests per day. It has also led the FBI to claim his dissertation research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology would "irreparably damage national security." Shapiro discusses his methodology in obtaining government documents through FOIA requests, and the details that have emerged therein about the crackdown on animal rights activists.

Why Did FBI Monitor Occupy Houston, and Then Hide Sniper Plot Against Protest Leaders?

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 8:35am

Transparency activist Ryan Shapiro discusses a growing controversy over the FBI’s monitoring of Occupy Houston in 2011. The case centers on what the FBI knew about an alleged assassination plot against Occupy leaders and why it failed to share this information. The plot was first revealed in a heavily redacted document obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund through a FOIA request. The document mentioned an individual "planned to engage in sniper attacks against protesters in Houston, Texas." When Shapiro asked for more details, the FBI said it found 17 pages of pertinent records and gave him five of them, with some information redacted. Shapiro sued, alleging the FBI had improperly invoked FOIA exemptions. Last week, Federal District Judge Rosemary Collyer agreed with Shapiro, ruling the FBI had to explain why it withheld the records.

Exclusive: NSA, FBI, DIA Sued over Refusal to Disclose U.S. Role in Imprisonment of Nelson Mandela

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 8:12am

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, one of the nation’s most prolific transparency activists, Ryan Shapiro, reveals he is suing the NSA, FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency in an attempt to force them to open their records on one of the country’s greatest secrets: how the U.S. helped apartheid South Africa capture Nelson Mandela in 1962, leading to his 27 years in prison. The U.S. has never confirmed its involvement, but details have leaked out over the years. Shapiro already has a pending suit against the CIA over its role in Mandela’s capture and to find out why it took until 2008 for the former South African president to be removed from the U.S. terrorist watch list. The NSA has already rejected one of Shapiro’s requests for its information on Mandela, citing "national defense."