Wednesday, May 18, 2011

  • Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s Private Army of “Christian Crusaders” in the UAE


    The United Arab Emirates has confirmed hiring a company headed by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of the military firm Blackwater. According to the New York Times, the UAE secretly signed a $529 million contract with Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign mercenaries. The troops could be deployed if foreign guest workers stage revolts in labor camps, or if the UAE regime were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world. Prince has one rule about the new force: no Muslims. We speak to investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill and Samer Muscati of Human Rights Watch. [includes rush transcript]

  • Inside Obama’s "Orwellian World" Where Whistleblowing Has Become Espionage: The Case of Thomas Drake


    National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake faces 35 years in prison on espionage charges for alleged unauthorized “willful retention” of five classified documents. “Espionage is the last thing my whistleblowing and First Amendment activities and actions were all about,” Drake said recently in a public speech. "This has become the specter of a truly Orwellian world where whistleblowing has become espionage." According to The New Yorker, the Obama administration has used the Espionage Act of 1917 to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous administrations combined. We play excerpts of Thomas Drake’s first public comments and talk to former Justice Department whistleblower, Jesselyn Radack. [includes rush transcript]

  • Will the Justice Department Prosecute Bank of America, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo for Mortgage Fraud?


    The Huffington Post has revealed that a set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans. The audits conclude the banks cheated the government by overvaluing their losses on foreclosed homes and submitting faulty and defective documents to get federal reimbursement. According to the audit, the banks—Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial—violated the False Claims Act, which protects the government from fraudulent billing. The findings have been referred to the U.S. Department of Justice. [includes rush transcript]

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Full News Hour


    Juan González on How Puerto Rico’s Economic "Death Spiral" is Tied to Legacy of Colonialism
    Could Puerto Rico become America’s Greece? That’s a question many are asking as the island faces a devastating financial crisis and a rapidly crumbling healthcare system. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt. $355 million in debt payments are due December 1, but it increasingly looks like the U.S. territory may default on at least some of the debt. Congress has so far failed to act on an Obama administration proposal that includes extending bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico and allocating more equitable Medicaid and Medicare...


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