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Thursday, July 19, 2012

  • Syrian Activist in Hiding: "We’re Not Looking for Intervention, We’re Looking for Support"

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    Syria’s 16-month uprising has entered uncharted territory after Wednesday’s bombing that killed three members of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle, including his defense secretary, interior minister and brother-in-law. Fighting between government troops and opposition rebels has been reported across Damascus, including locations within sight of the presidential palace. We’re joined from Syria by an activist who requested anonymity to protect her safety. "They’re losing control," she says of the regime. "A lot of people were glad about [the bombing] yesterday, but it just makes us, deep inside, scared. What is the regime going to do next?" [includes rush transcript]

  • Back from Syria, Reporter David Enders Says Assad Regime Crumbling to "Grassroots Rebellion"

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    As the battle for Damascus rages on, we’re joined by reporter David Enders, special correspondent for McClatchy, based in Beirut, Lebanon. He has been to Syria four times this year, most recently in June, and is returning there shortly. "The [Syrian] government [is] crumbling under the weight of a massive rebellion. It simply can’t put it down," Enders says. "Without the aid of the international community, Syrians are largely doing it themselves." [includes rush transcript]

  • Assad Biographer: After Initial Hopes of Reform, Syrian Ruler Has Succumbed to Delusions of Power

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    In the wake of Wednesday’s bomb blast that killed top Syrian officials, we continue our Syria coverage with David Lesch, author of the biography, "The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria," as well as the forthcoming book, "Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad." Lesch is a professor of Middle East history at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. "[Assad is] someone, I think, who started out with good intent," Lesch says. "[But] rather than changing the system, that many of us had hoped from the beginning, the authoritarian system had actually changed him." [includes rush transcript]

  • Matt Taibbi: Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal "Biggest Insider Trading You Could Ever Imagine"

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    Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi joins us to discuss the pattern of systemic corruption by 16 banks accused of rigging a key global interest rate used in contracts worth trillions of dollars. The London Interbank Offered Rate, known as Libor, is the average interest rate at which banks can borrow from each other. Some analysts say it defines the cost of money. Barclays was recently fined $453 million for rigging Libor, and a number of other banks are under investigation. "Ordinary people actually suffered when Libor was manipulated downward, mainly because local governments, municipal governments tended to lose money," Taibbi says. "Even the tiniest manipulation downward, when you’re talking about a thing of this scale, would result in tens of trillions of dollars of losses. ... The banks weren’t doing this just to make themselves look healthier, they were also doing this just to make money. They were trading against this information in what essentially was the biggest kind of insider trading you could possibly imagine." Taibbi is author of the book "Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History." [includes rush transcript]