Thursday, November 14, 2013

  • TPP Exposed: WikiLeaks Publishes Secret Trade Text to Rewrite Copyright Laws, Limit Internet Freedom

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    WikiLeaks has published the secret text to part of the biggest U.S. trade deal in history, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For the past several years, the United States and 12 Pacific Rim nations have been negotiating behind closed doors on the sweeping agreement. A 95-page draft of a TPP chapter released by WikiLeaks on Wednesday details agreements relating to patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design — showing their wide-reaching implications for Internet services, civil liberties, publishing rights and medicine accessibility. Critics say the deal could rewrite U.S. laws on intellectual property rights, product safety and environmental regulations, while backers say it will help create jobs and boost the economy. President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman reportedly wish to finalize the TPP by the end of the year and are pushing Congress to expedite legislation that grants the president something called "fast-track authority." However, this week some 151 House Democrats and 23 Republicans wrote letters to the administration saying they are unwilling to give the president free rein to "diplomatically legislate." We host a debate on the TPP between Bill Watson, a trade policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.

  • Senate Faces Historic Vote on Handling Military Sexually Assault Epidemic Outside Chain of Command

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    The Senate is poised to vote soon to make sweeping changes in the way the military handles complaints of sexual assault. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has said 46 senators — 38 Democrats and eight Republicans — support her proposal to remove the power to decide whether to try sexual assault cases from the military chain of command and put it in the hands of an independent military prosecutor. Last week, the Pentagon revealed that sexual assault in the military increased by 46 percent in the past fiscal year. In total, more than 3,500 sexual assaults were reported from last October through June, compared to roughly 2,400 over the same period the previous year. Pentagon officials claim the spike shows more victims are coming forward. But sexual assaults are still dramatically underreported in military ranks; a recent survey estimated 26,000 people were sexually assaulted in 2011 alone. We are joined by Amy Ziering, producer of the Oscar-nominated film "The Invisible War," which interviews veterans from multiple branches of the U.S. military about their experience of being assaulted.

  • A Nun Takes on the Drug War: Consuelo Morales on Crusading Against Mexican Cartels, Corrupt Police

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    We look at the drug war in Mexico and efforts to demand accountability in thousands of cases of people who have been kidnapped, tortured, disappeared and killed. Newly declassified cables from U.S. embassies and consulates in Mexico reveal how drug cartels there have operated with "near impunity" in recent years. In many cases they are exerting control over government authorities and entire regions as they kidnap and kill anyone at will. Human Rights Watch meanwhile has found that Mexican security forces participate in enforced disappearances as part of the so-called "war on drugs" and then try to cover up their complicity. We are joined by Sister Consuelo Morales, who has helped lead the fight in Mexico to defend victims of human rights violations and hold their abusers accountable. In 1992, Morales helped found the group Citizens in Support of Human Rights, which has taken the lead in documenting human rights violations carried out by the drug cartels and the Mexican security forces, and provides support for victims. She recently received Human Rights Watch’s 2013 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. We are also joined by Nik Steinberg, Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher for the Americas and co-author of their report, "Mexico’s Disappeared: The Enduring Cost of a Crisis Ignored."

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