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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 41 min ago

Blowback? U.S. Assassination of Soleimani May Weaken Growing Protest Movement in Iran

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 08:39

Protests broke out in Iran in November in response to high fuel prices, leading to demonstrations in dozens of cities around the country. The protesters have demanded economic relief and denounced corruption. More than 1,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the protests and a violent crackdown by security forces. The rise in tensions between Iran and the United States, triggered by the U.S. assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, could weaken that protest movement, says Ali Kadivar, assistant professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College who was active in Iran’s student movement while studying at the University of Tehran.

Juan Cole: U.S.-Iran Conflict Enters Unprecedented Territory with Assassinations & Military Attacks

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 08:28

Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes on bases in Iraq housing U.S. troops, following the U.S. assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, have dramatically raised tensions in the Middle East. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei called the missile strike a “slap in the face” of the Americans and called for U.S. troops to leave the Middle East. The Iranian missile strikes come just days after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel all foreign military forces from Iraq. We speak with Juan Cole, professor of history at the University of Michigan.

A View from Tehran: Iranian Professor Condemns U.S. Aggression & Warns U.S.-Backed Gulf States

Wed, 01/08/2020 - 08:10

Iranian forces fired 22 ballistic missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq early Wednesday in what Iran described as “fierce revenge” for the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last week at the Baghdad airport. The Iranian missiles targeted the Al Asad Airbase in Anbar province and a base in Erbil. There were no initial reports of U.S. or Iraqi casualties. Shortly after the attacks, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted, “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.” Earlier today, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the missile strike a “slap in the face” of the Americans and called for U.S. troops to leave the Middle East. After the strikes, President Trump tweeted, “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.” The Iranian missile strikes come just days after the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel all foreign military forces from Iraq. We speak with Mohammad Marandi in Tehran, where he is professor of English literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran. He was part of the nuclear deal negotiations in 2015.

Propaganda Machine: The Military Roots of Cambridge Analytica's Psychological Manipulation of Voters

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 08:44

We continue our discussion of data harvesting, targeted advertising and voter manipulation — practices used by firms like Cambridge Analytica. The secretive data firm collapsed in May 2018 after The Observer newspaper revealed the company had harvested some 87 million Facebook profiles without the users’ knowledge or consent to sway voters to support Trump during the 2016 campaign. A new trove of internal Cambridge Analytica documents and emails are being posted on Twitter detailing the company’s operations, including its work with President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. We speak with Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, co-directors of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “The Great Hack”; Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower featured in “The Great Hack” and author of “Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again”; and Emma Briant, a visiting research associate in human rights at Bard College. Her upcoming book is titled “Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry.”

"The Great Hack": Big Data Firms Helped Sway the 2016 Election. Could It Happen Again in 2020?

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 08:26

The documentary “The Great Hack,” which was shortlisted for the Oscars, explores how the data firm Cambridge Analytica came to symbolize the dark side of social media in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Cambridge Analytica collapsed in May 2018 after The Observer newspaper revealed the company had harvested some 87 million Facebook profiles without the users’ knowledge or consent. Cambridge Analytica then used the data to sway voters to support President Trump during the 2016 campaign. We speak with “The Great Hack” co-directors Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, as well as Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser.

Meet Brittany Kaiser, Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Releasing Troves of New Files from Data Firm

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 08:15

New details are emerging about how the shadowy data firm Cambridge Analytica worked to manipulate voters across the globe, from the 2016 election in the United States to the Brexit campaign in Britain and elections in over 60 other countries, including Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. A new trove of internal Cambridge Analytica documents and emails are being posted on Twitter detailing the company’s operations, including its work with President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. The documents come from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, who worked at the firm for three-and-a-half years before leaving in 2018. We speak with Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, co-directors of the Oscar shortlisted documentary “The Great Hack”; Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower featured in “The Great Hack” and author of “Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again”; and Emma Briant, a visiting research associate in human rights at Bard College whose upcoming book is titled “Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry.”

Former Top Bush Official: I Saw the March to War in 2003. I'm Seeing the Same Thing with Iran Now

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 08:53

We look at the Trump administration’s assassination of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani with Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army colonel who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. On February 5, 2003, he watched as Powell made the case for war in a speech to the United Nations. He has since become an outspoken critic of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. In 2018, Wilkerson wrote an article for The New York Times titled “I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.”

AOC Condemns Killing of Soleimani: This Was an Act of Aggression Committed by the United States

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 08:49

Over the weekend, Democracy Now! spoke with New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and asked her response to the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. “We need to be tactical about how we can actively resist further escalation on already an unprecedented level of escalation and aggression by the president, and therefore by the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He did this on behalf of our entire country. And that’s what makes the potential illegality of his action so flagrant, because he did not consult Congress and this was not done with the support of the United States.”

Trump's Killing of Qassem Soleimani Means "Rules of the Game Have Totally Changed" in Middle East

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 08:35

The Iraqi Parliament voted Sunday to expel all U.S. military forces from Iraq. President Trump responded by threatening to impose sanctions on Iraq “like they’ve never seen before.” Iraq has already been the target of some of the harshest sanctions the world has even seen. U.S.-backed sanctions killed more than a million Iraqis, including over 500,000 children, between 1990 and 2003. From Baghdad, we talk to Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, correspondent for The Guardian newspaper.

Soleimani's Death Could Galvanize Shia Coalitions Against One "Foreign Aggressor" — The U.S.

Mon, 01/06/2020 - 08:12

Fallout continues to mount following the U.S. assassination of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week. Iranian media reports that over a million mourners took to the streets of Tehran today for the funeral of Soleimani, who headed Iran’s elite Quds Force. On Sunday, Iran announced it would suspend its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. pulled out of in 2018. Trump has also threatened to target 52 locations in Iran, including cultural sites, if Iran retaliates against the U.S. The targeting of cultural sites is widely viewed as an international war crime. Meanwhile, Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has revealed he had plans to meet with Soleimani on the day he was killed to discuss a Saudi proposal to defuse tension in the region. From Washington, D.C., we speak with Narges Bajoghli, professor of Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic.”

"This Country Is a Tinderbox": Australia Braces for More Devastation as Gov't Denies Climate Crisis

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:53

Australia is bracing for what is expected to be the worst weekend yet in an already devastating climate-fueled wildfire season that has ravaged the southeastern part of the country, killed at least 18 people and nearly half a billion animals, and destroyed 14.5 million acres of land. As thousands of evacuees fled to the beaches, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing growing outrage for his inaction on climate and close ties with the coal industry. As fires blazed in December, the prime minister went on a holiday to Hawaii. He told reporters this week that fighting the fires — not climate change — was his top priority. On Thursday, Morrison was shouted out of the town of Carbago after being confronted by angry fire victims. We go to Melbourne, Australia, to speak with Tim Flannery, chief councilor at the Australian-based Climate Council.

"Right-Wing Populists Will Sweep the Elections": U.S. Killing of Soleimani Helps Hard-Liners in Iran

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:42

We host a roundtable discussion on the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, who has long been one of the most powerful figures in Iran. He was the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force — Iran’s powerful foreign military force, similar to a combination of the CIA and U.S. Special Forces. Iran called Soleimani’s assassination an act of “international terrorism.” “It was probably the best, the fastest, the quickest way to have a unifying rallying cry for the Iranian political establishment,” notes Iranian journalist Negar Mortazavi. We are also joined by historian Ervand Abrahamian, author of “The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations,” and Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Understanding the US-Iran Crisis: A Primer.”

U.S. Assassination of Soleimani Could Spark "Another Round of Civil War" in Iraq

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:33

After the United States assassinated Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in a major escalation of the conflict between Iran and the United States, which now threatens to engulf Iraq and the Middle East, we get response from Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who says the U.S. killing of Soleimani was reckless. “Did anyone consult Iraqis about the assassination of Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil?” he asks. “We don’t want another round of civil war.”

Rep. Ro Khanna on Qassem Soleimani Assassination: Trump's Actions Are Unconstitutional

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:24

We continue our discussion of the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani with Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna of California. Khanna says he believes the assassination was planned for some time and that Congress has failed to hold the Trump administration accountable. “I believe that the president’s policies are putting us in tremendous danger, and the motives are almost not relevant. What’s relevant is that he acted in a way that’s unconstitutional,” Khanna says.

Trita Parsi: U.S. Assassination of Iranian General Is Major Escalation & Will Make America Less Safe

Fri, 01/03/2020 - 08:12

The United States has assassinated Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in a major escalation of the conflict between Iran and the United States, which now threatens to engulf Iraq and the Middle East. President Trump authorized the drone strike that killed Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport and four other people, including a high-level Iraqi militia chief, Thursday night U.S. time, Friday morning in Baghdad. Iran called Soleimani’s assassination an act of “international terrorism.” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said, “The U.S. bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.” The Pentagon justified Soleimani’s assassination as a defensive strike, saying the general was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region.” The Pentagon did not offer evidence of an upcoming planned attack. We get response from Iranian scholar Trita Parsi, who is executive vice president of the Quincy Institute, a new think tank.

Death Toll Rises in India as Protests Against Modi Government's Citizenship Law Intensify

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 08:50

In India, the death toll amid the government’s crackdown on widespread protests has risen to at least 27 people, and over 1,000 more have been arrested. The protests are against a controversial new citizenship law, which provides a path to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — unless they are Muslim. Opponents of the law say it’s a step toward the official marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims. Paramilitary and police forces were deployed in response to the demonstrations in Muslim-majority districts in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, and the internet was shut down. We go to Mumbai for an update from Rana Ayyub, global opinions writer for The Washington Post, where her latest piece is headlined “India’s protests could be a tipping point against authoritarianism.”

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