- U.S. Drone Strike Kills 3 in Pakistan
- Syria Meets Deadline to Destroy Chemical Weapons Equipment
- Report: NSA Secretly Breaking Into Google, Yahoo Data Links
- U.S., German Officials Meet at White House About NSA Spying
- Report: NSA Spied on Vatican Phone Calls
- Sebelius Apologizes for Healthcare Website Failures
- Anti-Keystone XL Protesters Disrupt Obama Healthcare Speech
- Romney Rejects Obama Comparison to Massachusetts Health Law
- Koch Pipeline Spills Crude Oil in Texas
- Federal Reserve to Continue Bond Purchases
- Senate Confirms Obama Nominees for Labor Board, FCC
- Obama Taps 2 Top Fundraisers for Ambassador Posts
- Activists Warn Plan to Move Fukushima Fuel Rods Could Spark Massive Disaster
- Protesters Condemn "Shop-and-Frisk" Profiling Outside Barneys Store
- "Treme" Actor Sues over Racial Profiling at Macy's
- Protest Blocks NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's Speech at Brown University
- New York City to Raise Age for Buying Cigarettes to 21
Filmmaker Uncovers Her Family's Shocking Slave-Trading History, Urges Americans to Explore Own Roots
As we continue our conversation on slavery, we are joined by a woman who uncovered that her ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. Katrina Browne documented her roots in the film, "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North," which revealed how her family, based in Rhode Island, was once the largest slave-trading family in U.S. history. After the film aired on PBS in 2008, Browne went on to found the Tracing Center on Histories and Legacies of Slavery. We speak to Browne and Craig Steven Wilder, author of the new book, "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities."
A new book 10 years in the making examines how many major U.S. universities — Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth, Rutgers, Williams and the University of North Carolina, among others — are drenched in the sweat, and sometimes the blood, of Africans brought to the United States as slaves. In "Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities," Massachusetts Institute of Technology American history professor Craig Steven Wilder reveals how the slave economy and higher education grew up together. "When you think about the colonial world, until the American Revolution, there is only one college in the South, William & Mary ... The other eight colleges were all Northern schools, and they’re actually located in key sites, for the most part, of the merchant economy where the slave traders had come to power and rose as the financial and intellectual backers of new culture of the colonies," Wilder says.
Click here to watch part 2 of this interview.
A legal battle is being waged in Texas over the controversial new anti-choice law that inspired a people’s filibuster over the summer. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has asked a federal appeals court judge to immediately reinstate a key part of the new law a day after it was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court judge. On Monday, District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the provision requiring onerous hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors. But Yeakel upheld another provision of the law that requires doctors to use a specific protocol for non-surgical, pill-induced abortions — a protocol even the judge himself acknowledged is "assuredly more imposing" and "clearly more burdensome" to women. That provision, and the law’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization, both went into effect on Tuesday. We discuss the impact of the Texas law and the national landscape of abortion access with RH Reality Check legal analyst Jessica Mason Pieklo, author of "Crow After Roe: How 'Separate But Equal' Has Become the New Standard in Women’s Health and How We Can Change That."
- White House Claims Unspecified Surveillance Reforms
- Intel Chiefs Defend NSA Surveillance Before House Panel
- Health Official Apologizes for Obamacare Site; GOP Takes Up Lost Insurance Plans
- Israel Frees 26 Palestinian Prisoners, Announces New Settlements
- Palestinian Negotiator: Israel Taking Most Hard-Line Stance in Decades
- U.N. General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly Against U.S. Embargo of Cuba
- Survivors of U.S. Drone Strike in Pakistan Tell Congress of Ordeal
- Shootings in Texas, South Carolina Leave 11 Dead
- Alabama Lifts Controversial Anti-Immigrant Law
- New York Probes Major Retailers for Racial Profiling
- Hundreds Protest Fatal Police Shooting of Boy With Replica Gun
- East Coast Marks First Anniversary of Superstorm Sandy
One year after Superstorm Sandy, many of those impacted by the storm remain without a permanent home and dependent on diminishing relief funds. New York Magazine reports at least 22,000 households are still displaced. We are joined by two guests: Shawn Little, a healthcare worker who has been living in hotels with her family since Sandy devastated their neighborhood in the Rockaways section of Queens, and Judith Goldiner, attorney in charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at the Legal Aid Society.
Today marks the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting the New York region, becoming one of the most destructive storms in the nation’s history. On October 29, 2012, the hurricane blasted New York City with a record storm surge as high as 13 feet, as well as the Jersey Shore and New England, ultimately killing 159 people along the East Coast and damaging more than 650,000 homes. The storm caused $70 billion in damage across eight states. Millions were left without power in the New York region, some for weeks. We are joined by two women who have played key roles in the region’s recovery: Terri Bennett, a founder of Respond and Rebuild, one of the first groups to help low-income residents of the Rockaways rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, and also focused on providing free mold remediation that eventually inspired the city’s similar program, and Jessica Roff, a founder of Restore the Rock, a nonprofit created by Sandy volunteers who met while working out of a space in the Rockaways called YANA, or You Are Never Alone, where they operated a free health clinic, legal clinic and trained and dispatched hundreds of volunteers.
Former Irish President, Climate Justice Advocate Mary Robinson Urges Divestment of Fossil Fuel Firms
As the New York region marks the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, hurricane-strength winds are battering northern Europe today. At least a dozen people have already been killed across Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and France. Amidst an increase in extreme weather and storms, we discuss the movement to confront climate change with Mary Robinson, former Irish president and U.N. high commissioner for human rights. She now heads the Mary Robinson Foundation–Climate Justice, where her efforts include campaigning for the divestment from fossil fuels. "We can no longer invest in companies that are part of the problem of the climate shocks we’re suffering from," Robinson says. "To me it’s a little bit like the energy behind the anti-apartheid movement when I was a student. We were involved because we saw the injustice of it. There’s an injustice in continuing to invest in fossil fuel companies that are part of the problem."
- U.S. Drone Strike Kills 2 in Somalia
- Obama Admin May Halt NSA Spying on Foreign Leaders
- Senate Intel Chair Opposes Spying on U.S. Allies
- European Lawmakers Press U.S. on Surveillance
- NSA Director Faces Congress Amid Surveillance Row
- U.N.: Syria on Pace to Meet Chemical Deadline
- Child Polio Outbreak Confirmed in Northern Syria
- U.S. Blames Shutdown for Failure to Answer on Guantánamo, NSA
- Brazilian Judge Halts Construction of Belo Monte Dam
- Federal Judge Strikes Down Key Part of Anti-Abortion Law
- Ohio To Use New Drug Combination in Execution
- Comey Orders FBI Employees to Visit MLK Memorial
- Penn State to Pay Nearly $60 Million to Sandusky Victims
In the largest banking settlement in U.S. history, the banking giant JPMorgan Chase is set to pay a record $13 billion fine to settle investigations into its mortgage-backed securities. Five years ago, the bank’s risky behavior helped trigger the financial meltdown, including manipulating mortgages and sending millions of Americans into bankruptcy or foreclosure. JPMorgan’s preliminary settlement with the U.S. government may end up costing much less after taxes — closer to $9 billion because the majority of the deal is expected to be tax-deductible. The deal is expected to be followed by a larger agreement with the Justice Department still in the works. Many in the media have portrayed the deal as unfair to the bank. The Wall Street Journal describes it as the government "confiscating" half of JPMorgan’s annual earnings to "appease … left-wing populist allies" of the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the New York Post portrayed it as a kind of bank robbery, running a headline that read: "UNCLE SCAM: U.S. Robs Bank of $13 Billion." We are joined by Yves Smith, financial analyst and founder of the popular finance blog "Naked Capitalism." Smith is the author of the book, "ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism."
Click here to watch Part 2 of this interview.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first reported Edward Snowden’s leaks, is leaving The Guardian this week to join a new media venture funded by eBay founder and multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar. "Usually [dissenting journalists] are on the outside of institutional power, and what this is really about is being able to create a very well-funded, powerful, well-fortified institution that’s designed not to just tolerate that kind of journalism, but to enable it and protect it, strengthen it and empower it," Greenwald says. "The people who we’re going to select are all going to be people who take the same view of adversarial journalism, that it’s about holding the most powerful factions accountable, fearlessly, without regard to threats from the government or corporate factions. I think it’s going to be a very formidable force in shaping how journalism is understood and how it’s practiced."
The spat over U.S. spying on Germany grew over the weekend following reports the National Security Agency has monitored the phone calls of Chancellor Angela Merkel since as early as 2002, before she even came to office. The NSA also spied on Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, after he refused to support the Iraq War. NSA staffers working out of the U.S. embassy in Berlin reportedly sent their findings directly to the White House. The German tabloid Bild also reports President Obama was made aware of Merkel’s phone tap in 2010, contradicting his apparent claim to her last week that he would have stopped the spying had he known. In another new disclosure, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports today the NSA tracked some 60 million calls in Spain over the course of a month last year. A delegation of German and French lawmakers are now in Washington to press for answers on the allegations of U.S. spying in their home countries. We discuss the latest revelations with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first reported Edward Snowden’s leaks.
As new revelations of National Security Agency spying stoke the ire of Germany, France and Spain, thousands of people marched in Washington, D.C., on Saturday in a rally against government surveillance. Organizers say the protest was the largest to date against NSA monitoring since Edward Snowden’s disclosures became public in June. We hear from Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department lawyer who now works for the Government Accountability Project, reading a message from Edward Snowden; NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was charged with espionage after he was suspected of revealing information about the agency’s warrantless wiretapping program; and New Mexico’s former Republican governor, Gary Johnson.
- Reports: NSA Spying on Germany Began in 2002; Obama Was Briefed in 2010
- Report: NSA Tracked Millions of Phone Calls in Spain
- Thousands March Against NSA Surveillance in D.C.
- Syria Submits Inventory of Chemical Stockpile
- Armed Syrian Rebels Reject Geneva Peace Talks
- 66 Killed in Over a Dozen Iraq Bombings
- Obama Admin Seeks Delay of New Iran Sanctions
- Saudi Women Defy Driving Ban
- Thousands March for Jailed Opposition Activists in Moscow
- Colombian Rebels Free Kidnapped Ex-Marine
- Demolition of Sandy Hook Elementary Underway
- Gunman Kills 4, Self in Phoenix Shooting
- Obama Touts Education Spending in Brooklyn Speech
- Report: North Dakota Failed to Disclose Nearly 300 Oil Spills
- Rock Legend Lou Reed Dies at 71
As the problem-plagued roll-out of President Obama’s signature healthcare policy undergoes congressional scrutiny for the first time, we speak with Clay Johnson, a former Obama campaign innovation expert who founded Blue State Digital, the company that built Obama’s 2008 website. During a House panel on Thursday, lawmakers questioned executives of two of the lead contractors behind the website, healthcare.gov — CGI Federal and Quality Software Systems Incorporated — about the myriad of glitches and defects. Johnson says the new website is built with outdated and proprietary software. "When the government is building software like this, it ought to be built out in the open — built with a licensing system called open source so that the public truly owns it," Johnson says. He notes that "In 1996, Congress lobotomized itself by getting rid of its technology think tank called the Technology Assessment Office. So they’re writing bills where they don’t understand the technology required in their laws."
We look at how the United States uses drones in war, and their impact, through the eyes of one of the first U.S. drone operators to speak out. Former U.S. Air Force pilot Brandon Bryant served as a sensor operator for the Predator program from 2007 to 2011, manning the camera on the unmanned aerial vehicles that carried out attacks overseas. After he left the active duty in the Air Force, he was presented with a certificate that credited his squadron for 1,626 kills. In total, Bryant says he was involved in seven missions in which his Predator fired a missile at a human target, and about 13 people died in those strikes — actions he says left him traumatized. "The clinical definition of PTSD is an anxiety disorder associated with witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event," Bryant says. "Think how you would feel if you were part of something that you felt violated the Constitution."
Ben Emmerson, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, has called on Britain and the United States to release confidential reports into the countries’ involvement in kidnapping and torture of terrorism suspects during the era of the George W. Bush administration — after years of denial. "A crucial part of the duty of accountability under international law is the so-called right to truth," Emmerson says. "That’s a right that is not just belonging to the victims, but to society at large."
The Obama administration’s drone and targeted killing policy will come under scrutiny at the United Nations today with a report concluding at least 400 Pakistani civilians have been killed by drone strikes over the past decade. Another 200 victims have been deemed "probable non-combatants." The report also looks at U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Somalia, as well as Israel’s use of drones in Gaza. The U.N. report comes at a time when U.S. drone policy is facing unprecedented public criticism. Earlier this week, Amnesty International said some civilian drone killings in Pakistan may amount to war crimes. Human Rights Watch criticized U.S. drone strikes in Yemen. On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif urged President Obama to end drone strikes in Pakistan. Ahead of unveiling his findings today at the United Nations General Assembly, Ben Emmerson, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, joins us to discuss his probe of the U.S. drone war.
- Germany, France Seek "No-Spying" Pledge from U.S.
- Report: NSA Spied on 35 Foreign Leaders
- Anti-Surveillance "Stop Watching Us" Rally Set for D.C.
- Obama Renews Call for Congressional Action on Immigration Reform
- Contractors Face Congressional Scrutiny on Healthcare Exchange Rollout
- National Guard Members Wounded in Tennessee Shooting
- Police Kill 13-Year-Old Boy Carrying Assault Weapon Replica
- Coalition Seeks Justice Dept. Probe of NYPD Spying on Muslims
- African-American Shoppers Accuse Barneys of Racial Profiling
- City College of New York Students Protest Closure of Campus Activist Center
- Catholic Worker Activists Acquitted of Protest at Drone Base
- Ex-NSA Chief Michael Hayden Outed for Off-the-Record Interview
Jailed in the U.S. for conspiracy to commit espionage, the Cuban intelligence agents known as the Cuban Five say they were in fact monitoring violent right-wing Cuban exile groups, not spying on the United States. Ricardo Alarcón, Cuba’s former foreign minister and, up until earlier this year, president of the Cuban National Assembly, has been one of the Cuban Five’s most vocal supporters. Alarcón joins us from Havana to discuss the meetings between Cuban authorities and the FBI in Cuba and the threat posed by militant exiles. "If President Obama is really interested in [projecting] a more positive image of U.S. policy abroad, if he is interested in improving relations with Latin America, he better listen to what many governments in Latin America have been telling him: Simply, free the five," Alarcón says.