Thursday, August 16, 2012

  • Ecuador Grants Julian Assange Asylum; U.S. Seen as "Hidden Hand" Behind U.K. Threat to Raid Embassy

    Assange2

    As Ecuador prepared to announce its decision on granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Britain threatened to raid the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Assange has taken refuge for the past two months. Britain told Ecuador that giving Julian Assange asylum would not change a thing and that it might still revoke the diplomatic status of Quito’s embassy in London to allow the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual misconduct. We’re joined by Michael Ratner, an attorney for Julian Assange and president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and by Ben Griffin, an activist with Veterans for Peace UK, participating in a vigil in support of Assange outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London. "Is this really about the U.S. being the 'hidden hand' behind what the British are doing so that they can eventually get a hold of Julian Assange, try him for espionage and put him into a jail?" Ratner asks. "That’s what’s really going on here. Let’s not kid ourselves." [includes rush transcript]

  • Undocumented Youth Line Up by the Thousands as Temporary Immigration Reprieve Takes Effect

    Lines

    Tens of thousands of young undocumented immigrants waited in mile-long lines across the country on Wednesday to take advantage of a new federal policy that may grant them legal status to temporarily remain and work in the United States. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, immigrants under 31, including students who are enrolled in school on the day they apply, will now be eligible for a two-year reprieve from deportation if they demonstrate that they came to the United States before their 16th birthday, lived in the United States for the past five years, have not been convicted of certain crimes, and do not pose a national security threat. As the policy went into effect, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona issued an executive order barring immigrants who are granted a reprieve from receiving public benefits or getting drivers’ licenses. She also instructed state agencies to make sure only legal residents access taxpayer-financed benefits. We go to Phoenix to speak with journalist and organizer Roberto Lovato. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Back Off": Assange Attorney Michael Ratner Urges U.K., U.S. to Respect Asylum Decision, Int’l Law

    Ratner

    Michael Ratner, a member of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team, reacts to the breaking news that Ecuador has approved Assange’s request for political asylum two months after Assange took refuge in its London embassy. Britain says it still plans to extradite Assange to Sweden, where he faces questioning for alleged sexual misconduct. "The British ought to just back off, and the U.S. ought to just back off," Ratner says. "For the British to say that they’re going to go into the embassy and get out someone who’s been granted asylum would turn the refugee convention and asylum completely on its head. ... [Assange] has a right to leave that embassy, get on a plane and go to Ecuador. ... That’s the law." [includes rush transcript]

  • Mexican Poet, Activist Javier Sicilia Brings Peace Caravan into U.S. to Condemn Deadly Drug War

    Sicilia

    A peace caravan led by Mexican activists has kicked off a month-long journey across the United States to call for an end of the U.S.-backed drug war. The caravan will criss-cross some 20 states to "call for change in the bi-national policies that have inflamed a six-year Drug War, super-empowered organized crime, corrupted Mexico’s vulnerable democracy, claimed lives and devastated human rights on both sides of the border." The caravan is organized by Mexican poet-turned-activist Javier Sicilia, whose 24-year-old son, Juan Francisco, was murdered by drug traffickers last year. Javier Sicilia joins us from the tour, which has stopped in Phoenix, Arizona. [includes rush transcript]

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