Monday, April 29, 2013

  • A Desperate Situation at Guantánamo: Over 130 Prisoners on Hunger Strike, Dozens Being Force-Fed

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    The U.S. military has acknowledged for the first time the number of prisoners on hunger strike at the military prison has topped 100. About a fifth of the hunger strikers are now being force-fed. Lawyers for the prisoners say more than 130 men are taking part in the hunger strike, which began in February. One of the hunger strikers is a Yemeni man named Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel. In a letter published in The New York Times, he wrote: "Denying ourselves food and risking death every day is the choice we have made. I just hope that because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantánamo before it is too late." We speak to attorney Carlos Warner, who represents 11 prisoners at Guantánamo. He spoke to one of them on Friday. "Unfortunately, they’re held because the president has no political will to end Guantánamo," Warner says. "The president has the authority to transfer individuals if he believes that it’s in the interests of the United States. But he doesn’t have the political will to do so because 166 men in Guantánamo don’t have much pull in the United States. But the average American on the street does not understand that half of these men, 86 of the men, are cleared for release."

  • Forgotten Women of the War on Terror: Author Victoria Brittain on the Wives and Families Left Behind

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    As pressure grows for President Obama to close the Guantánamo military prison, we speak with British journalist Victoria Brittain, who has closely covered the military prison for years. Her latest book is "Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror." "Some of the women that I’ve written about are the wives of Guantánamo prisoners. One, in particular, who is like chapter one of the book, is one of my closest friends, and I kind of lived alongside her and her children through a very long period when her husband was in Guantánamo. And she had absolutely no information about why he was there, when he might come back, no contact with him whatsoever," Brittain says.

  • Country Musician Willie Nelson Turns 80: "One Person Carrying a Message Can Change the World"

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    Country music legend Willie Nelson turns 80 years old today. Last night he performed a benefit birthday concert in Austin to raise money for the fire department of West, Texas — the town devastated by a fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people earlier this month. Nelson was born just a few miles away in Abbott, Texas, in 1933. In addition to being one of the most celebrated country musicians, Nelson has been politically active for decades. He co-founded Farm Aid, the annual benefit and awareness-raising concert for small farmers. Nelson has partnered in a biodiesel plant that fuels trucks with vegetable oil. And he serves on the advisory board member for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. We broadcast an excerpt of our hour-long interview with Nelson when he joined us in our studio in 2008.

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