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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 40 min ago

After End of Dictatorship, Sudan's Protest Movement Demands Transition From Military to Civilian Rule

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:48

Mass protests in Sudan continue to call for civilian rule following last month’s military coup. On Monday, the Transitional Military Council says it has reached an agreement with protest leaders on a transitional power structure. Demonstrators have been demanding a transfer from military to civilian rule following last month’s military coup that ousted longtime leader Omar al-Bashir. The announcement comes after at least six protesters and a member of security forces were killed when security and paramilitary troops opened fire on crowds outside military headquarters in the capital Khartoum on Monday. Dozens more were injured. The same day, deposed President Omar al-Bashir was charged in the killing of protesters during the popular uprising that led to his overthrow. The Central Committee of Sudan Doctors says 90 people were killed during the protests. Demonstrators have vowed to continue to sit-in and march until the government is transitioned to 100 percent civilian rule. We speak with Marine Alneel, a Sudanese activist based in New York City.

Medea Benjamin: We Need to Build Up the Antiwar Movement to Oppose War Against Iran

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:41

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency personnel to evacuate the U.S. embassy and consulate in Iraq, in response to what the White House says is a threat linked to Iran. No further details were given. Iraqi officials expressed skepticism about any purported threats, as did a senior British official who is the deputy commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are continuing to mount, despite both parties saying they are not seeking war. The New York Times reports the Pentagon has drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran. The U.S. also recently deployed a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” We speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin about the growing threat of war with Iran and the role of National Security Advisor John Bolton, who Benjamin says has been pushing for war with Iran for years.

Despite Threats & No Electricity, Anti-Coup Activists Remain Inside Venezuelan Embassy in D.C.

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:32

In Washington, D.C., four activists remain in the Venezuelan embassy after police raided the building Monday night. Activists with CodePink, ANSWER Coalition and Popular Resistance have been inside the embassy since late April at the invitation of Venezuela’s government in order to prevent it from being taken over by Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition, led by Juan Guaidó. Last week, authorities cut off water and electricity to the embassy. We speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin about the ongoing stand-off at the embassy.

Alabama Passes Near Total Ban on Abortion as Part of "Stealth Campaign" to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 08:12

Alabama lawmakers voted to effectively ban abortion Tuesday, passing the most restrictive anti-choice law in the country in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The bill approved by the Senate Tuesday and the Alabama House last month bans abortions at all phases. Doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions. The bill’s only exception is grave risk to the mother’s life — not cases of rape and incest. The legislation is now heading to the desk of anti-choice Republican Governor Kay Ivey, and many expect she’ll sign it. Opponents say they’ll challenge the bill in court should it become law, but this is precisely the point. Architects behind the legislation want to use it to challenge Roe v. Wade, which recognizes the constitutional right to an abortion. We speak with Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire and Monica Simpson of Sister Song.

The Apology: Eve Ensler's New Book Is the Letter She Wishes Her Abusive Father Had Written

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:38

“I am done waiting.” Those are the first words in Eve Ensler’s groundbreaking new book The Apology, in which the world-renowned playwright and activist imagines what it would mean for a survivor of abuse to hear the words she’s been waiting for her entire life: I’m sorry. Eve Ensler’s father sexually and physically abused her throughout her childhood, beginning when she was just five years old. His abuse caused immeasurable physical and emotional damage, but he never apologized for his actions. So Eve Ensler decided to write an apology for him, decades after his death. The result is a stunning new book in which Ensler writes to herself from her father’s perspective. In the book’s introduction she writes: “My father is long dead. He will never say the words to me. He will not make the apology. So it must be imagined. For it is in our imagination that we can dream across boundaries, deepen the narrative, and design alternative outcomes.” Ensler says that she hopes the book will be a blueprint for an “age of reckoning.” Eve Ensler is the author of The Vagina Monologues and the founder of V-Day, an international movement to stop violence against women and girls. Ensler dedicates her new book to every woman still waiting for an apology.

Will John Bolton’s Dream to Bomb Iran Come True? Ex-Iranian Ambassador Warns About U.S. Escalation

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 08:13

The Pentagon has reportedly drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran. The New York Times reports the Pentagon presented the proposal on Thursday after National Security Advisor John Bolton requested a revision to an earlier plan. Bolton has long advocated for attacking Iran. According to the Pentagon, far more than 120,000 troops would be needed if a ground invasion was ordered. This comes as tension continues to escalate between the United States and Iran. The United States recently deployed the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” Iran has announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and resume high-level enrichment of uranium in 60 days if other signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has attempted to cut Iran off from the global economy, even though Iran has remained in compliance with the nuclear deal. We speak with Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served as spokesperson for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union from 2003 to 2005.

Arundhati Roy on the Power of Fiction: Literature is "The Simplest Way of Saying a Complicated Thing"

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:54

We speak with world-renowned author Arundhati Roy on the importance of reading and writing literature, even in the most dire of political times. On Sunday night, Roy delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, invoking James Baldwin to argue that literature can tell the truth when all other avenues fail. Roy told her audience, “I very much like the idea of literature that is needed. Literature that provides shelter. Shelter of all kinds.”

Arundhati Roy: A U.S. Attack on Iran Would Be "Biggest Mistake It Has Ever Made"

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:50

On Sunday night Arundhati Roy delivered the Arthur Miller Freedom to Write lecture at the Apollo Theater in Harlem as part of the PEN World Voices Festival. She reads an excerpt of the lecture. “Over these last few years, given the wars it has waged, and the international treaties it has arbitrarily reneged on, the U.S. Government perfectly fits its own definition of a rogue state,” Roy said. “And now, resorting to the same old scare tactics, the same tired falsehoods and the same old fake news about nuclear weapons, it is gearing up to bomb Iran. That will be the biggest mistake it has ever made.”

Arundhati Roy: Capitalism Is "a Form of Religion" Stopping Solutions to Climate Change & Inequality

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:42

As one million species face extinction due to human activity and the globe faces a growing climate crisis, we speak with world-renowned author Arundhati Roy about the threat capitalism poses to the future of life on earth. Roy says that those most responsible for creating the climate crisis “will see to it that they profit from the solution that they propose.”

Arundhati Roy on Why She Admires WikiLeaks & Opposes Assange’s Extradition to the U.S.

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:37

In Sweden, prosecutors are reopening an investigation into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and are seeking his extradition to face charges in Sweden. Prosecutors had dropped the investigation in 2017 because they said the case could not proceed while Assange was holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he lived for seven years before being forcibly removed by British police last month. Assange has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in Britain for skipping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. Assange has denied the sexual assault accusations. Assange previously faced another sexual misconduct allegation but its statute of limitations expired in 2015. The United States is also seeking Assange’s extradition over the publication of leaked documents by Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, which showed evidence of U.S. war crimes in Iraq. We speak with award-winning writer Arundhati Roy, who has criticized the arrest of WikiLeaks founder and Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange. Roy and other public intellectuals in India called for Assange’s immediate release, writing in a statement, “The journalism WikiLeaks and its Editor-in-Chief stand for is a journalism of outrage — outrage against the injustices and atrocities that take place round the world — but always with an eye to factuality, substantiation, and precision… If the U.S. had charged Assange and Wikileaks for publishing classified material, the legal case would have been no different from charging The New York Times with publishing the Pentagon Papers”.

Arundhati Roy on the Indian Election and Narendra Modi's "Far-Right, Hindu Nationalist" Agenda

Mon, 05/13/2019 - 08:15

In India, the sixth phase of voting has concluded in a highly anticipated parliamentary election that is widely seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is seeking a second term in office. India is the world’s largest democracy with 900 million eligible voters. The final phase of voting will take place on May 19 and vote counting will begin on May 23. Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP won a landslide victory in 2014. His government has been criticized for a crackdown on civil society, targeting political opponents, journalists, human rights activists, lawyers and writers. Human rights groups have also raised the alarm on attacks against vulnerable populations, especially Dalits and Muslims. We speak with world-renowned, award-winning Indian writer Arundhati Roy. She is the author of The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Her new book My Seditious Heart, a collection of her nonfiction writing, will be out next month.

Explosive Investigation Uncovers Greed & Infighting at NRA, Shattering "Myth" of the Group's Power

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:50

Is the National Rifle Association imploding? As the nation grieves over another deadly school shooting, we turn to look at how internal turmoil inside the NRA threatens the future of the gun lobbying group. A major new report published by The Trace in partnership with The New Yorker finds that while the NRA has blamed its recent financial woes on left-wing attacks on the Second Amendment, the real damage to the organization comes from within. Chief among the NRA’s problems is its three-decade-old relationship with Oklahoma-based public relations firm Ackerman McQueen. The firm, which is behind the NRA’s imaging, messaging and most of its initiatives, was paid more than $40 million dollars in 2017. We speak to Mike Spies, staff writer at The Trace.

"We Have No Reason to Trust the Police": Sandra Bland Arrest Video Reignites Anger Over Her Death

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:44

The family of Sandra Bland is calling for authorities to reopen the investigation into her death. The 28-year-old African-American woman died in a Texas jail cell in 2015, three days after she was arrested for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. Authorities have claimed Sandra Bland committed suicide while in jail by hanging herself with a garbage bag, but her family has long rejected this claim. On Monday, the Dallas TV station WFAA aired cellphone video filmed by Bland capturing the moment when she was pulled over. In the 39-second video you can see the officer — Brian Encinia — drawing his stun gun and saying, “I will light you up.”

"Black Mama's Bail Out Day”: Movement Grows to Free Black Women From Jail for Mother’s Day

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:38

Racial justice groups around the country are bailing black women out of jail so they can spend Mother’s Day with their families. For the third year in a row, “Black Mama’s Bail Out Day” is raising money to bail out as many black women from jail as possible. The effort is taking place in dozens of cities to call attention to the injustice of cash bail. We speak to Mary Hooks, the co-director of Southerners On New Ground, which is part of the National Bail Out Collective.

Trump Steps up War on Whistleblowers: Air Force Vet Daniel Hale Arrested For Leaking Drone War Info

Fri, 05/10/2019 - 08:11

A former U.S. intelligence analyst was arrested Thursday and charged with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking documents about the secretive U.S. drone program.
Daniel Hale, 31, was arrested in Nashville. He faces up to 50 years in prison. Hale is accused of disclosing 11 top secret or secret documents to a reporter. The indictment does not name the reporter but unnamed government sources have told media outlets that the reporter is investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept. In 2015, The Intercept published a special report called the Drone Papers exposing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. We air excerpts of the documentary “National Bird” that features Daniel Hale and speak to The Intercept’s James Risen, director of First Look Media’s Press Freedom Defense Fund.

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