Monday, June 13, 2011

  • Syrian Troops Pursue “Scorched Earth” Policy; Videos Document Children Tortured to Death

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    The Syrian army has taken control of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour following what state media has described as heavy fighting by "armed groups," who residents say are mutinous soldiers defending the town. Our guest Neil Sammonds, Syria researcher for Amnesty International, is interviewing refugees who have fled the violence by crossing into Turkey. They tell him Syrian military forces have destroyed houses, burned crops, slaughtered livestock and contaminated water supplies. We speak with Razan Zaitouneh, a lawyer and human rights activist based in Damascus. She has documented that children are among those killed by snipers, or kidnapped by security forces, tortured and killed. [includes rush transcript]

  • Maher Arar: My Rendition & Torture in Syrian Prison Highlights U.S. Reliance on Syria as an Ally

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    As Syria continues its brutal crackdown on demonstrators, we speak to a Canadian citizen who was repeatedly tortured by Syrian authorities after he was rendered to Syria by the United States in 2002. Maher Arar was seized at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2002 and sent to Syria, where he was tortured and interrogated in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year. He now works as a human rights advocate in Canada. “The cooperation with the Syrian government, as well as other dictatorships in the Middle East post-9/11, gave some kind of legitimacy to those dictatorships,” says Arar. He calls on the United States and the United Nations to declare the Syrian regime illegitimate and refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. [includes rush transcript]

  • Former Miss USA, Ralph Nader, Privacy Advocates Fight Full Body Airport Scanners and Invasive Pat-Downs

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    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge to stop Transportation Security Administration’s full body scanning procedures by granting an immediate injunction. The full body scans are not mandatory for all travelers, but those who object are subject to "enhanced" pat-downs, extremely invasive manual checks. Civil rights activists argue these initiatives are inappropriate, ineffective, violate the Constitution, pose health concerns related to radiation exposure, and are insensitive to religious practices. We speak former Miss USA and actress Susie Castillo, who was recently subjected to an enhanced body pat-down and has become a vocal critic of such security procedures. We also speak with Ralph Nader and Amie Stepanovich of EPIC. [includes rush transcript]

  • Ralph Nader: Koch Brothers Led Fight to Defend Formaldehyde Despite Carcinogenic Evidence

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    The government has added formaldehyde to a list of known carcinogens, despite years of lobbying by the chemical industry. Formaldehyde is found in plastics and often used in plywood, particle board, mortuaries and hair salons. The government also said Friday that styrene, which is used in boats, bathtubs and in disposable foam plastic cups and plates, may cause cancer. The conservative billionaire Koch brothers have led the lobbying effort against labeling formaldehyde as a carcinogen. Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, is one of the country’s top producers of formaldehyde. We get reaction from longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader. [includes rush transcript]