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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: 2 hours 18 min ago

Oakland Moms Who Occupied Vacant Property to Highlight Housing Crisis Celebrate Unexpected Victory

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:48

In Oakland, California, a months-long struggle between a group of unhoused mothers occupying a vacant home and the real estate firm that owned it ended with an unexpected offer to purchase the property earlier this week. The major win in the mothers’ fight against homelessness and real estate speculation comes just a week after Wedgewood Properties forcibly evicted the families — known as Moms 4 Housing — from the home they were living in for more than two months. Two mothers and two of their supporters were arrested in the early-morning eviction after armed police officers battered down the door. The heavily militarized action sparked widespread outrage and condemnation, and left the mothers and their families homeless once again. But on Monday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — Wedgewood announced, under growing public pressure, that it would sell the property at a fair price through the Oakland Community Land Trust. The moms will then be able to purchase the house through the trust. We speak with Misty Cross, one of the members of Moms 4 Housing, and Carroll Fife, longtime organizer and director of the Oakland office for Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. “People are invested in a system that is broken,” Fife says. “It’s incumbent upon our legislators to listen to the moms, to listen to the people who have been part of these programs that are just broken, so we can do something different.”

International Court of Justice Orders Burmese Authorities to Protect Rohingya Muslims from Genocide

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:39

In a major ruling, the U.N. International Court of Justice at The Hague has ordered Burma to “take all measures within its power” to protect Rohingya Muslims from genocide. The court issued the ruling Thursday, calling the 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Burma, also known as Myanmar, “extremely vulnerable” to military violence. The court ordered Burma to report regularly to the tribunal about its progress. The ruling is a sharp rebuke of Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who last month asked the court to drop the genocide case against Burma. Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent over a decade fighting against the Burmese military that she is now defending. For more on the ICJ ruling, we speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch. “This is the most important court in the world intervening in one of the worst mass atrocity situations of our time while the atrocities are still happening,” says Brody. “It doesn’t really get more significant than that.”

Law Professor: Trump Could Also Have Been Impeached for War Crimes, Assassinations & Corruption

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 08:15

Democratic lawmakers are continuing to lay out their case for removing the president from office in the final day of opening arguments by Democrats in the historic impeachment trial of President Trump. Republicans will begin their opening arguments on Saturday. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. On Thursday, House impeachment manager Jerrold Nadler made the case that a president can be impeached for noncriminal activity. During another part of Thursday’s proceedings, House impeachment manager Congressmember Sylvia Garcia relied on polls by Fox News to make the case that President Trump decided to target Joe Biden after polls showed the former vice president could beat Trump in 2020. For more on the impeachment trial, we’re joined by Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.”

"Dark Waters": Meet the Lawyer Whose 20-Year Fight Against DuPont Inspired the New Film

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 08:48

The new film “Dark Waters” tells the story of attorney Rob Bilott’s 20-year battle with DuPont over contaminated drinking water in West Virginia from toxic chemicals used to make Teflon. The Environmental Working Group credited Billot with “uncovering the most heinous corporate environmental conspiracy in history,” and the issue of contaminated water from the plastics industry continues to devastate areas across the country. On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group released a shocking report about how toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS have been found in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas including Miami, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. The so-called forever chemicals are linked to cancer, high cholesterol and decreased fertility, and they do not break down in the environment. We speak with attorney Robert Bilott, who has just published a new book titled “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont.” He is portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in the Hollywood film “Dark Waters.” We’re also joined by Tim Robbins, Academy Award-winning actor and director, who plays Bilott’s boss at his law firm in “Dark Waters.”

Tim Robbins: Bernie Sanders Is the Best Shot We Have to Defeat Donald Trump

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 08:44

We continue our conversation with Academy Award-winning actor and director Tim Robbins, whose recent projects include the new film “Dark Waters” and a play about immigration called “The New Colossus.” He recently endorsed Vermont senator and Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for president. “I believe he is the only one of them that can defeat Trump,” Robbins says.

“The New Colossus”: In New Play, Tim Robbins Tackles Immigration & Xenophobia

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 08:31

President Trump said Wednesday that he would expand his highly controversial travel ban, which already bars citizens from seven countries, most of which have Muslim-majority populations — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, North Korea and Venezuela — from entering the United States. Politico reports that the expanded ban could implement immigration restrictions on seven more countries: Belarus, Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania, according to two sources. We speak with acclaimed actor, director and activist Tim Robbins, whose recent work has focused on immigration to the United States. He has starred in many movies, including “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Mystic River” and “Dark Waters.” He also wrote and directed the highly acclaimed film “Dead Man Walking.” He is the director of a new play about immigration called “The New Colossus,” with the play’s title borrowed from the 1883 Emma Lazarus sonnet that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

Trump Brags About Withholding Evidence as Democratic Impeachment Managers Lay Out Case in the Senate

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 08:13

During the opening day of oral arguments in the impeachment trial, President Trump was accused of abusing his office to “cheat an election.” House impeachment managers spent about eight hours on Wednesday laying out their case for why President Trump should be removed from office. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for withholding congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the Ukrainian president to investigate Trump’s political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. While the impeachment trial was taking place in the Senate, President Trump was across the Atlantic at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he tweeted more than 140 times and dismissed the impeachment trial as a hoax. Trump also appeared to boast about having withheld evidence from the impeachment process, saying, “We have all the material; they don’t have the material.” For more on the historic impeachment trial, we speak with Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor and Supreme Court reporter at Slate.com.

Criminalizing Reporting: Glenn Greenwald Faces Cybercrime Complaint After Exposing Scandal in Brazil

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 08:48

In Brazil, federal prosecutors have filed a criminal complaint against journalist and Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald in connection to a major investigation he spearheaded that exposed misconduct among federal prosecutors and a former judge. Called “The Secret Brazil Archive,” the series of pieces published in The Intercept and The Intercept Brasil used a trove of documents to offer new and damning insight into the sweeping anti-corruption campaign that brought down former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and paved the way for the election of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. The investigation used previously undisclosed private chats, audio recordings, videos and other information provided by an anonymous source to expose the wrongdoing of top officials, including Justice Minister Sérgio Moro, who oversaw the anti-corruption crusade known as “Operation Car Wash.” On Tuesday, a justice minister filed a denunciation of Glenn Greenwald, claiming he “directly assisted, encouraged and guided” individuals who allegedly accessed online chats related to Operation Car Wash. A judge will now decide whether to press charges. The move has sparked international outrage at what many are condemning as an attack on the free press in Brazil. We speak with Andrew Fishman, managing editor of The Intercept Brasil and reporter for The Intercept.

A Torturer Meets His Victims: CIA Psychologist Defends Brutal Methods at Guantánamo Military Hearing

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 08:39

On Tuesday, the psychologist identified as the “architect” of the CIA’s torture program testified for the first time to the war court at Guantánamo Bay. James Mitchell was in the courtroom for a pretrial hearing for five 9/11 suspects who had been subject to torture, euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and his partner, Dr. Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to help design the CIA’s torture methods, including some of the agency’s most abusive tactics. The pair had no prior experience in interrogation. At the hearing, Mitchell reportedly told defense lawyers he only came to Guantánamo to testify in person before the families of the 9/11 victims, and at one point told the torture survivors, “You folks have been saying untrue and malicious things about me and Dr. Jessen for years.” In 2014, James Mitchell confirmed to Vice News that he personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Mitchell also reportedly waterboarded Abu Zubaydah at a secret CIA black site in Thailand. Earlier this month, protesters marked the 18th anniversary of Guantánamo by donning orange jumpsuits and lining up in front of the White House. They later held a mock funeral at Trump International Hotel for those who died at the U.S. detention facility. We speak with Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

"The Senate Voted for a Cover-Up": GOP Senators Tilt Impeachment Trial in Trump's Favor

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 08:32

After the first marathon day leading up to President Trump’s impeachment trial, we speak with Vince Warren and Baher Azmy, executive director and legal director, respectively, of the Center for Constitutional Rights. In a 13-hour session, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate approved rules for the impeachment trial that Vince Warren says are tantamount to a “cover-up.” Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial.

"Andrew Johnson Was a Lot Like Trump": Echoes of 1868 in Trump's Impeachment Trial

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 08:13

After a nearly 13-hour marathon session, the U.S. Senate approved by a party-line vote the rules for the impeachment trial of President Trump. This marks just the third presidential impeachment trial in U.S. history. The Senate trial comes a month after the House impeached Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Under the rules, each side will be given 24 hours over a three-day period for opening arguments. Senators also agreed to automatically admit evidence from the House inquiry into the trial record. Republicans rejected 11 amendments from Democrats to subpoena witnesses and documents at this stage in the trial. Democrats were attempting to subpoena documents from the White House, the State Department and the Office of Management and Budget. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke early on Tuesday laying out the Democrats’ case for impeachment. “President Trump is accused of coercing a foreign leader into interfering in our elections to benefit himself, and then doing everything in his power to cover it up,” Schumer said. “If proved, the president’s actions are crimes against democracy itself. It’s hard to imagine a greater subversion of our democracy than for powers outside our borders to determine the elections from within.” For more, we speak with Manisha Sinha, professor of American history at the University of Connecticut and author of “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition.”

Greta Thunberg Addresses Global Elite at Davos: Our House Is Still on Fire

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 08:53

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a speech Tuesday to the world leaders and global elite gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, one year after she first condemned the forum for its inaction on climate change. “We don’t need a 'low-carbon economy.' We don’t need to 'lower emissions.' Our emissions have to stop,” Thunberg said. “And until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.”

National Archives Doctored Photos of 2017 Women's March to Blur Messages Critical of Trump

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 08:48

The National Archives and Records Administration apologized Saturday for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticisms of President Trump. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But at least four signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name, including a poster reading “God Hates Trump.” Signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The shocking revelation that the archives — which calls itself the country’s “record keeper” — had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post last week. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” But Saturday, as tens of thousands in Washington, D.C., and across the country took to the streets for the fourth Women’s March, officials at the archives were seen flipping over the image at the exhibit as an apology went up in its place. But critics say an apology is not enough. We speak with Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The job of the National Archives is to record history. Its job is not to manipulate history … so as to obliterate critiques of the president,” Melling says.

Voting Rights Advocate: The Impeachment of Trump Is Needed to Protect Our Elections & Democracy

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 08:29

The impeachment trial begins its proceedings in the Senate today amid accusations of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempting to rush the impeachment process. Senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate, after 24 hours for opening arguments on each side. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and author, and Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke says that thanks to the rules set by McConnell, Trump’s impeachment trial could be over within a week, with much of the debate taking place in the evening. The process is designed “to keep the Senate and the public in the dark,” she says.

A Show Trial? As Trump Impeachment Trial Begins, Mitch McConnell Accused of Staging a Cover-Up

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 08:17

The Senate opens the third impeachment trial of a U.S. president in the country’s history Tuesday, marking a historic day in Washington. Under proposed rules by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, each side will be given 24 hours over two days for opening arguments, after which senators will have 16 hours for questions and four hours for debate. The Senate will then vote on whether to hear from any new witnesses. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has said McConnell is trying to rush the impeachment process, while House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, who is one of the impeachment managers, has accused the CIA and NSA of withholding documents potentially relevant to the impeachment trial. This comes as President Trump has added several prominent lawyers to his legal team, including former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, whose probe led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz. In 2008, Starr and Dershowitz helped serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein receive a sweetheart plea deal when he was arrested on sex trafficking charges. One of Epstein’s victims also accused Dershowitz of sexually assaulting her, but Dershowitz has long denied the charge. We speak with Rick Perlstein, historian and the author of several books, including “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,” which covered the Watergate investigations and Nixon’s impeachment.

SPECIAL: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in His Own Words

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 08:30

Today is the federal holiday that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He was born January 15, 1929. He was assassinated April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was just 39 years old. While Dr. King is primarily remembered as a civil rights leader, he also championed the cause of the poor and organized the Poor People’s Campaign to address issues of economic justice. Dr. King was also a fierce critic of U.S. foreign policy and the Vietnam War. We play his “Beyond Vietnam” speech, which he delivered at New York City’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, as well as his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” that he gave on April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated.

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