- Obama Commutes Sentences in 8 Crack Cocaine Cases
- Fresh Violence Erupts in CAR After Visit by U.S. Diplomat
- 34,000 Flee to U.N. Bases in South Sudan; Obama Sends U.S. Troops
- Egypt: 6 Arrested in Raid on Activist Group
- Ugandan Parliament Passes Anti-Gay Bill; India Asks Court to Review Ban on Gay Sex
- New Mexico Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
- Pennsylvania Pastor Defrocked After Officiating Son's Same-Sex Wedding
- Senate Passes Sweeping Defense Bill
- BP Engineer Convicted of Deleting Messages to Obstruct Spill Probe
- Thousands March Against Free Trade, Austerity on 1st Day of EU Summit
- Obama Admin Deported 369,000 in 2013
Egypt’s top public prosecutor has announced charges against ousted President Mohamed Morsi for conspiring with foreign groups to commit terrorist acts and destabilize the country. The charges carry the death penalty. Morsi was charged along with 35 others, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s top three leaders. This marks the latest escalation in the suppression of a movement that propelled Morsi to victory in last year’s presidential election only to be driven back underground after the army ousted him in July following mass protests. We are joined from Cairo by Sharif Abdel Kouddous, independent journalist, Democracy Now! correspondent, and a fellow at The Nation Institute. His latest article is "Repression Deepens in Egypt: At first it was the Muslim Brotherhood. Now dozens of journalists, non-Islamist activists and students have been detained and beaten."
Veteran National Security Agency official Kirk Wiebe helped develop the data processing system ThinThread, which he believed could have potentially prevented the 9/11 attacks. But the NSA sidelined ThinThread instead of the problem-plagued experimental program Trailblazer, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Wiebe was among the NSA officials to face retaliation for blowing the whistle on Trailblazer. During his career, he received honors, including the NSA’s second-highest award, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the director of CIA’s Meritorious Unit Award, and a Letter of Commendation from the secretary of the Air Force. Wiebe joins us to tell his story and to respond to the White House-appointed panel to recommend NSA reforms. We also speak with Ben Wizner, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union who is helping to coordinate Edward Snowden’s legal defense.
Vindication for Snowden? Obama Panel Backs Major Curbs on NSA Surveillance, Phone Record Data Mining
A White House-appointed task force has proposed a series of curbs on key National Security Agency surveillance operations exposed by Edward Snowden. On Thursday, the panel recommended the NSA halt its bulk collection of billions of U.S. phone call records, citing "potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty." The panel says telecommunications providers or a private third party should store the records instead. The panel also calls for banning the NSA from "undermining encryption" and criticizes its use of computer programming flaws to mount cyber-attacks. And it backs the creation of an independent review board to monitor government programs for potential violations of civil liberties. We discuss the panel’s findings with two guests: Ben Wizner, Snowden’s legal adviser and director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union; and Kirk Wiebe, a retired National Security Agency official who worked there for over 32 years. During his tenure, Wiebe was an NSA whistleblower on matters of privacy involving massive electronic surveillance.
- White House Panel Calls for Reform of NSA Surveillance
- Greenwald: NSA Seeks "Elimination of Individual Privacy Worldwide"
- U.N. Assembly Approves Landmark Privacy Resolution
- U.S. Releases 2 Sudanese Prisoners; Bill Would Free Up to Half of Remaining Guantánamo Detainees
- Senate Approves 2-Year Budget Deal Without Jobless Benefits
- Fed to Scale Back Monthly Bond Purchases
- South Sudan Violence Fears of Civil War
- Amnesty: Both Sides Committing War Crimes in CAR
- Russian Lawmakers Approve Mass Amnesty Bill; Pussy Riot Members Set for Release
- LGBT Athletes Among U.S. Delegates to Russia Olympics
- India Asks U.S. to Drop Charges Against Diplomat; Kerry Voices "Regret"
- Report: Widespread Abuses in Secret Prisons of Assad Regime, Islamist Rebels
The American Studies Association, a group representing thousands of U.S. scholars, voted to boycott Israeli universities on Sunday. Members backed the boycott by a ratio of more than 2-to-1, citing "the documented impact of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian scholars and students" and "the extent to which Israeli institutions of higher education are a party to state policies that violate human rights." The association’s vote to boycott follows a similar measure approved Monday by the leadership council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. In April, the Association for Asian American Studies also supported an academic boycott of Israel. Backlash against ASA’s boycott came quickly. William Jacobson, a clinical professor at Cornell Law School, says he now plans to challenge the group’s tax-exempt status. Others were more critical of the boycott approach itself. The largest professors’ group in the United States, the American Association of University Professors, said it opposed the boycott in part because it is largely symbolic. The resolution has no binding power, and no U.S. colleges or universities have signed on. We host a debate on the resolution with two guests: Cornell University Professor Eric Cheyfitz, who endorses a boycott of Israeli academic institutions; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Cary Nelson, who opposes the boycott.
To discuss the role of foreign powers fueling the ongoing conflict in Syria, we are joined by Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent. "It is clearly a proxy war. This might have started off as a popular uprising in Syria, but by now it has four or five different conflicts wrapped into one," Cockburn explains. "You have an opposition, but an opposition that is fragmented and really proxies for foreign powers, notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey plays a role." He recently wrote the article, "Mass Murder in the Middle East Is Funded by Our Friends the Saudis: Everyone Knows Where al-Qaida Gets Its Money, But While the Violence is Sectarian, the West Does Nothing." Reporters Without Borders has just revealed at least 10 journalists and 35 citizen-journalists have been killed in Syria in 2013. In addition, another 49 journalists were abducted in Syria — more than the rest of the world combined. Reporters Without Borders blamed the spike in killings and kidnappings on jihadi groups.
The United Nations is warning Syria has become the most dangerous crisis for global peace and security since World War II. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that the situation in Syria has "deteriorated beyond all imagination," while António Guterres, head of the U.N. refugee agency, has described it as "the most dangerous crisis for global peace and security since the Second World War." Ban has demanded that both sides stop fighting before attending a proposed conference to find a political solution to the conflict in January. We go to the Syrian-Turkish border to speak with Aitor Zabalgogeazkoa of Doctors Without Borders and with Independent correspondent Patrick Cockburn, whose latest report is "Starving in Syria: The Biggest Emergency in the U.N.’s History." Cockburn has reported extensively from Syria and recently returned from Iraq.
- South Sudan Violence Leaves Up to 500 Dead
- 6 U.S. Troops Killed in Afghan Crash
- Senate Intel Committee Seeks Release of Internal CIA Report on Torture
- Snowden Offers Assistance to Brazil in NSA Spying Probe, Seeks Asylum
- House Intel Chair Asks EU to Cancel Snowden Testimony
- Tech Execs Meet With Obama on Surveillance
- Ukraine, Russia Agree on $15 Billion Bailout
- 2 Dead in Shooting at Nevada Medical Center
- India Seeks U.S. Apology for Diplomat's Arrest; Embassy Barriers Removed
- D.C. Council Approves $11.50/Hour Minimum Wage for 2016
- Navy Investigator Pleads Guilty in Corruption Case
- Bridge Closures Prompt Claims of Political Retaliation by Christie Appointees
- 16 Arrested Blocking Tar Sands Shipment in Oregon
- 5 Philadelphia Priests Suspended in Child Abuse Probe
- The Advocate Names Pope Francis "Person of the Year"
Taken at face value, the latest figures on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest a growing epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of high school children are diagnosed with ADHD. The number of those on stimulant medication is at 3.5 million, up from 600,000 two decades ago. ADHD is now the second most common long-term diagnosis in children, narrowly trailing asthma. But a new report in The New York Times questions whether these staggering figures reflect a medical reality or an over-medicated craze that has earned billions in profits for the pharmaceutical companies involved. Sales for ADHD drugs like Adderall and Concerta topped $9 billion in the United States last year, a more than 500 percent jump from a decade before. The radical spike in diagnoses has coincided with a 20-year marketing effort to promote stimulant prescriptions for children struggling in school, as well as for adults seeking to take control of their lives. The marketing effort has relied on studies and testimonials from a select group of doctors who have received massive speaking fees and funding grants from major pharmaceutical companies. We are joined by four guests: Alan Schwarz, an award-winning reporter who wrote the New York Times piece, "The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder"; Jamison Monroe, a former teenage Adderall addict who now runs Newport Academy, a treatment center for teens suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues; Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician and best-selling author of four books, including "Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It"; and John Edwards, the father of a college student who committed suicide after he was prescribed Adderall and antidepressant medications at the Harvard University Health Services clinic. (Click to watch part 2 of this interview.)
A federal judge ruled Monday the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records "almost certainly" violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon described the NSA’s activities as "almost Orwellian." He wrote, "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen." Judge Leon was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002. Leon suspended enforcement of his injunction against the program pending an expected appeal by the government. The lawsuit was brought by conservative attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch, and based on information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In a statement Monday, Snowden said, "I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many." We are joined by Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. He served as an expert witnesses on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications, which was tasked by President Obama to review NSA’s activities.
- Judge Deals Major Blow to NSA Phone Spying
- Iraq: More Than 70 Killed in Wave of Attacks
- Yemeni Parliament Backs Ban on U.S. Drone Attacks After Deadliest Strike This Year
- U.N. Makes Historic Fund Appeal for Syria
- Report: Polio-Hit Area in Syria Excluded from Vaccine Drive
- U.N.: 1.3 Million at Risk of Hunger in Central African Republic
- Curfew Imposed in South Sudan After Alleged Coup Attempt
- U.S. Repatriates 2 Guantánamo Prisoners to Saudi Arabia
- Group of U.S. Scholars Joins Boycott of Israel
- Kerry Pledges New Aid for Law Enforcement in Asia Trip
- Senate Poised to Pass Budget Deal
- Jeh Johnson Confirmed as Homeland Security Chief
- Judge Strikes Down Part of Utah's Anti-Polygamy Law
- Brazil: Workers Protest Unsafe Conditions at World Cup Stadium
- Amazon Workers in Germany Go on Strike
- Report: U.S. Oil Production Headed for Near-Record High Due to Fracking
- White House Accused of "Systematically" Delaying Key Rules Ahead of 2012 Election
Nelson Mandela was laid to rest on Sunday as South Africa bid farewell to the leader of its long walk to freedom. Mandela was buried in his home village of Qunu 10 days after his death at the age of 95. More than 100,000 people visited Mandela’s coffin as it lay in state over the past several days. We hear from anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, who was imprisoned at Robben Island with Mandela, speaking at Sunday’s funeral. And we are joined by journalist David Goodman, author of the book, "Fault Lines: Journeys into the New South Africa."
We continue our conversation with award-winning poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. In 1968, 45 years ago, she published her first collection of poetry, "Black Feeling, Black Talk." She was soon dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry." She has since published more than 30 books. Her latest is "Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid," a remarkable mix of poetry, essays and memoir. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. We also ask her to comment on the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Saturday marked one year since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed six educators and 20 first-graders in Newtown, Connecticut. The anniversary came a day after two students were shot and wounded by another student at a school in Colorado. The gunman later died, reportedly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. President Obama marked the anniversary by urging Americans to push for tighter gun control. To talk more about gun violence, we are joined by poet, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni. She briefly taught the student responsible for the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 32 people dead. She is currently a distinguished professor of English at Virginia Tech. She is the author of 28 books, most recently, "Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid."
"Makes Absolutely No Sense": David Cay Johnston on Budget Deal That Helps Billionaires, Not the Poor
A bipartisan budget deal to avert another government shutdown comes before the Senate this week. The vast majority of House members from both parties approved the two-year budget agreement last week in a 332-to-94 vote. It is being hailed as a breakthrough compromise for Democrats and Republicans. The bill eases across-the-board spending cuts, replacing them with new airline fees and cuts to federal pensions. In a concession by Democrats, it does not extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people, which are set to expire this month. To discuss the deal, we are joined by David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter who won a Pulitzer Prize while at The New York Times. He is currently a columnist for Tax Analysts and Al Jazeera, as well as a contributing editor at Newsweek.
- Mandela Laid to Rest in Home Village
- Syrian Air Strike Kills Dozens in Aleppo
- Obama on Newtown Anniversary: Push for Gun Control "Won't Come from Washington"
- Student Gunman Wounds Classmate, Takes Own Life at Colorado School
- Flooding Displaces Thousands in Gaza Strip
- Chile Elects Bachelet to Return to Office
- EU Suspends Ukraine Talks as Protests Continue
- Thousands Protest Gay Sex Ban in India
- NSA Officials Differ on Snowden Amnesty
- Kansas Technician Arrested for Airport Bomb Plot
- White House: Missing American in Iran Didn't Work for U.S. Gov't
As South Africa prepares to hold a state funeral for Nelson Mandela, we look at how the CIA helped the South African government track down and capture Mandela in 1962. In 1990, the Cox News Service quoted a former U.S. official saying that within hours after Mandela’s arrest a senior CIA operative named Paul Eckel admitted the agency’s involvement. Eckel was reported as having told the official, "We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups." Several news outlets have reported the actual source of the tip that led to the arrest of Mandela was a CIA official named Donald Rickard. On Thursday, Democracy Now! attempted to reach Rickard at his home in Colorado. On two occasions, a man who picked up the phone hung up when we asked to speak with Donald Rickard. The activist group RootsAction has launched a campaign to urge the CIA to open its files on Mandela and South Africa, and the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has questioned why corporate media outlets have largely ignored the story. We speak to journalist Andrew Cockburn, who first reported on the CIA link to Mandela’s arrest in 1986 in The New York Times.
Polaroid & Apartheid: Inside the Beginnings of the Boycott, Divestment Movement Against South Africa
We look back at how African-American workers at Polaroid in Massachusetts helped launch the divestment movement against apartheid South Africa in the early 1970s. We speak to Caroline Hunter, co-founder of the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement, who stumbled upon evidence that her employer was providing the camera system to the South African state to produce photographs for the infamous passbooks for black residents. Hunter and her late husband, Ken Williams, then launched a boycott of the company. The boycott and divestment campaign ultimately grew to target other corporations in apartheid South Africa, including General Motors and Barclays Bank, among others. By 1977, Polaroid finally withdrew from South Africa.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has finished its work for the year without passing comprehensive immigration reform. On Thursday, leaders from both parties promised to revisit the issue early in the new year. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 immigration activists descended into the offices of House lawmakers on Thursday afternoon to protest the House’s inaction on the issue. The demonstrations came as the immigration reform organization "Fast for Families" concluded 31 days of fasting. We speak to Eliseo Medina, former international secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union. Medina recently spent 22 days on a water-only fast. Medina worked alongside labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez for 13 years. His career as a labor activist began in 1965 when, as a 19-year-old grape picker, he participated in the historic United Farm Workers strike in Delano, California.