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Friday, December 30, 2011

  • Scott Olsen, U.S. Vet Wounded at Occupy Oakland, on Recovery, Protests, Iraq and Bradley Manning

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    For our last broadcast of 2011, we turn to someone who became one the faces of the global Occupy movement this year. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old former U.S. Marine who served two tours in the Iraq War, was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a police projectile at Occupy Oakland. In a rare interview, Olsen joins us to discuss his life-threatening ordeal, his involvement in this year’s historic Wisconsin and Occupy protests, the case of accused Army whistleblower Bradley Manning and how he too had access to similar types of information, and the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. "They aren’t respecting our right to assemble, protest and redress our government for grievances," Olsen says of police repression of the Occupy protests. "They are terrorizing us from going out [to demonstrations]. That is a sad statement for our country." Olsen also says he expects to rejoin the Occupy and antiwar protests as his recovery progresses. "I look forward to being a part of the 99 percent and Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2012," he says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Election Fraud Galvanizes Russian Opposition, Communist Party 20 Years After Soviet Union’s Collapse

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    Allegations of widespread fraud in the recent elections that gave Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party a parliamentary majority have galvanized massive street protests in opposition to the Russian political establishment. This comes on the 20th anniversary of the breakup of the Soviet Union. "The reason that the people who control the financial oligarchy in Russia don’t want free elections is they know that if they had free elections to a parliament, the people would vote for candidates pledging to confiscate their property," which was privatized in the 1990s, says Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University. He notes, "though these elections were not free and fair, they were the freest and fairest in 15 years," and that members of the country’s middle class make up the bulk of the protesters. Cohen also argues the American media has failed to report on the resurgence of the Communist Party, supported mainly by working-class voters in Russia’s vast provinces, which could challenge Putin in the 2012 presidential race and force a runoff election. [includes rush transcript]

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