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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

  • Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan: Jeremy Scahill Reveals Private Military Firm Operating in Pakistan under Covert Assassination and Kidnapping Program

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    In an explosive new article in The Nation magazine, investigative journalist and Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reveals the private military firm Blackwater is part of a covert program in Pakistan that includes planning the assassination and kidnapping of Taliban and al-Qaeda suspects. Blackwater is also said to be involved in a previously undisclosed US military drone campaign that has killed scores of people inside Pakistan. The article says the program has become so secretive that top Obama administration and military officials have likely been unaware of its existence. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Scahill joins us for his first interview since the story broke. [includes rush transcript]

  • As UC Berkeley Investigates Police Brutality Against Students Protesting Fee Hikes, a Report from Inside the Takeover of Wheeler Hall

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    The University of California, Berkeley, is investigating allegations of police brutality against students and workers protesting fee hikes and budget cuts last week. Forty students were arrested Friday night after campus police entered Wheeler Hall, which the students had taken over earlier in the day. The students were part of a statewide movement protesting the UC Board of Regents decision to raise tuition by 32 percent. Independent journalist Brandon Jourdan, who was embedded with the students inside the occupied building on Friday, files a report for Democracy Now! [includes rush transcript]

  • Portland’s Cannabis Cafe Is the First Marijuana Coffee Shop of Its Kind in the Country

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    The Cannabis Cafe, which opened this month in Portland, Oregon, is the first marijuana cafe of its kind in the country. Although it doesn’t sell marijuana on the premises, the Cannabis Cafe allows any of Portland’s estimated 21,000 licensed medical marijuana users a space to consume marijuana in a social setting. We speak with Madeline Martinez, executive director of the Oregon chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which runs the Cannabis Cafe. [includes rush transcript]

  • Two Former Bagram Detainees Held Without Charge Describe Torture and Wrongful Imprisonment

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    The Obama administration has promised to begin moving the 700-odd men held in the Bagram prison in Afghanistan into a new $60 million facility by next month. But in a video released by Brave New Films, two men who were held in the notorious detention center ask how much of a difference this will make when it’s unclear why people were arrested in the first place. The two brothers, Abdel and Noor Raqeeb, say they were held without formal charges, tortured, only to be released with an apology for being mistaken for Taliban spokespersons. [includes rush transcript]