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Monday, August 20, 2012

  • End the WikiLeaks Witch Hunt: Julian Assange’s Full Address from the Ecuadorean Embassy


    In his first public appearance since he took refuge two months ago inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, Julian Assange calls for President Obama to end his war on whistleblowers. "The United States must renounce its witch hunt against WikiLeaks. The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters," Assange says. "The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful." Assange spoke from a windowsill near a small balcony on the second floor of the Ecuadorean embassy as dozens of police officers looked on. He carefully did not step onto the balcony, which is considered outside the legal boundary of the embassy. The diplomatic standoff between Ecuador and Britain continues this week after Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador, but U.K. authorities say they will arrest Assange and extradite him to Sweden. [includes rush transcript]

  • Tariq Ali, Ex-U.K. Ambassador Craig Murray Praise Ecuador for Granting Asylum to Julian Assange


    Shortly before Julian Assange spoke on Sunday, a number of his supporters spoke outside the Ecuadorean embassy. Speakers included writer and activist Tariq Ali, as well as Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. Murray, a whistleblower himself, was removed from office in 2004 after he exposed how the United States and Britain supported torture by the Uzbek regime. "The fact that [British Foreign Secretary] William Hague now openly threatens the Ecuadoreans with the invasion of their sovereign premises is one further example of a total abandonment of the very concept of international law by the neoconservative juntas that are currently ruling the former Western democracies," Murray says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Solidarity Protests Held Worldwide After Russian Court Sentences Pussy Riot Members to 2-Year Term


    On Friday, three members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for staging a peaceful protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin inside an Orthodox church. A judge rejected the argument their act was a form of political protest, instead ruling it was motivated by religious hatred. As the verdict came down Friday, solidarity protests took place in more than 60 cities around the world marking a global day of action. The Pussy Riot case was seen as a key test of how far Putin would go to crack down on dissidents during his third stint as president. We go to Moscow to speak with Alisa Obraztsova, a member of the legal team defending Pussy Riot, and Pyotr Verzilov, husband of jailed band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Nonprofits" Tied to Karl Rove, Koch Brothers Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare


    With the presidential election less than three months away, Republicans and Democrats are blanketing the airwaves with campaign ads. Much has been written about the super PACs behind these ads, but far less is known about social welfare nonprofits that are far outspending super PACs on TV advertising in the presidential race. As of August 8, these nonprofits had spent more than $71 million on ads mentioning a candidate for president, whereas super PACs have spent an estimated $56 million. And, unlike super PACs, these organizations enjoy tax-exempt status and do not have to disclose the identity of their donors. A new investigation by ProPublica reveals how these nonprofits are exploiting their special tax status to mount a secretly funded, permanent campaign. We speak to investigative reporter Kim Barker. [includes rush transcript]