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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

  • Attorney General Eric Holder Defends Legality of Targeted Killings of U.S. Citizens Overseas

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    Using armed drones, President Obama has overseen the targeted killing of at least three U.S. civilians overseas — more than President Bush did in office. Are the killings legal? Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, says Attorney General Eric Holder’s defense on Monday of the Obama administration’s policy authorizing the assassination of U.S. citizens abroad “left open more questions than it answered.” She says Holder’s speech amounted to a broad defense of the administration’s claimed expansive authority to kill its own citizens, far from any battlefield and without judicial review or oversight of legal standards. "While Holder acknowledges that the Constitution requires ‘due process’ before the government takes the life of one of its own citizens,” Shamsi argues, “he says it is up to the Executive Branch alone, without judicial review, to determine what process is due and to make that decision without any oversight — and that’s simply not the case in our constitutional system of checks and balances.” The ACLU is suing the White House to disclose its legal memos that justify targeted killings. [includes rush transcript]

  • Freedom University: Undocumented College Students in Georgia Forced to Attend Underground School

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    As Georgia votes in its Super Tuesday primary, the State Senate has voted to ban undocumented immigrant students from all public universities. Undocumented students from Georgia are already barred from the state’s five most competitive schools and must pay out-of-state tuition at other state schools. "Telling us that we cannot obtain higher education, that we cannot go to college or community college, even if we work hard and do our best in school, it is crushing dreams, it is crushing goals," says Keish Kim, an undocumented student from South Korea who now attends Freedom University, an ad hoc underground school in Athens, Georgia, where university professors volunteer to teach undocumented students kept out of public classrooms. We also speak with Azadeh Shahshahani, director of the National Security/Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU of Georgia. [includes rush transcript]

  • Anti-Nuclear Groups in Georgia Seek to Block First New Nuclear Plants in U.S. in Decades

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    On this Super Tuesday in Georgia, one issue where the Republican candidates fully agree with President Obama is nuclear power. The nation’s first reactors since 1978 recently won federal approval. Atlanta-based Southern Company is attempting to build two new reactors at the Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia. We speak with Stephen Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, one of nine groups seeking to block the project, who notes that nuclear power plants rely on federal loan guarantees because Wall Street is not interested in investing. "You would think that the conservative party would be conservatively approaching use of both ratepayer money and taxpayer money and that they would want transparency and openness," Smith says. "Yet we’ve heard virtually nothing from anyone in the Republican Party." [includes rush transcript]

  • Stephen Cohen on Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Opposition and Perils of U.S.-Backed "Democracy Promotion"

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    Thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow on Monday protesting alleged fraud in Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. An estimated 500 were arrested in parallel rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg after initial results gave Putin a 63 percent victory in Sunday’s vote. Putin previously served as Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008. Monday’s protests followed a number of similar rallies against Putin. We look at the state of Russian politics and the motivations behind the protest movement. "The opposition [has] turned, actually, the protests from a demand for clean government, democracy and an end to corruption to simply 'Putin must go,'" says Stephen Cohen, professor of Russian studies at New York University. "It would be a bad thing because, in effect, it’s saying, let us destabilize the Russian government." [includes rush transcript]

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