Tuesday, May 14, 2013

  • Jailed Civil Rights Attorney Lynne Stewart Seeks Compassionate Release over Worsening Cancer


    Support is growing for imprisoned attorney Lynne Stewart to be released early from prison due to her worsening health. Stewart’s prison warden has recommended to the Justice Department that she be released to the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The 73-year-old imprisoned grandmother is fighting stage IV cancer that has metastasized, spreading to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs. Stewart is serving a 10-year sentence in a federal prison near Fort Worth, Texas. In 2005, she was found guilty of distributing press releases on behalf of her jailed client, Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the "Blind Sheikh," who is now serving a life sentence for conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks in 1995. We speak to former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Democracy Now! producer Renée Feltz, who is just back from Texas where she interviewed Lynne Stewart in federal prison, the first face-to-face interview granted to a reporter. The call for Stewart comes at a time when the Federal Bureau of Prisons is facing increasing criticism for refusing to release terminally ill prisoners. A recent report from the Justice Department’s inspector general found the bureau’s compassionate release program is "poorly managed and implemented inconsistently, likely resulting in eligible inmates not being considered for release and terminally ill inmates dying before their requests were decided."

  • Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark Decries Government’s "Big Brother" Seizure of AP Phone Records


    The Associated Press says the U.S. Department of Justice has secretly obtained a trove of journalists’ phone records in what its chief executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion." The Obama administration seized records for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. More than 100 reporters work in the offices. The records were from April and May of 2012. Among those whose records were obtained were Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, three other reporters and an editor, all of whom worked on a May 7, 2012, story that revealed details about a CIA operation in Yemen which stopped an alleged terror plot. AP had delayed publication of the story at the government’s request. "It seems to be terrible intrusion on the freedom of the press," says Ramsey Clark, the U.S. attorney general from 1967 to 1969. "I don’t see how the press can operate effectively if the public and people that talk to the press have to assume that Big Brother is listening in or can seize the conversations they engage in."

  • Dr. Paul Farmer on Rwanda’s Health Leap, Haiti’s Struggles & How Communities Can Repair the World


    Dr. Paul Farmer, an infectious diseases expert and a medical anthropologist, is known worldwide for helping to bring quality healthcare to some of the most impoverished areas of the globe. More than 25 years ago, Farmer helped found the charity Partners in Health to provide free medical care in central Haiti. Today, Partners in Health teams up with local groups to treat people with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other conditions in Haiti and countries around the world. The South African Nobel Peace laureate, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, calls him "One of the great advocates for the poorest and sickest of our planet." Farmer’s previous book, "Haiti After the Earthquake," describes the massive suffering and ongoing recovery effort after the devastating January 2010 earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people. His latest, "To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation," collects a series of commencement addresses that Farmer has delivered to graduating college students going back more than a decade. Throughout, Farmer urges them to confront global problems through an approach that has long guided his work: a tireless commitment to social justice and solidarity with the world’s poor. Farmer joins us to discuss why he thinks a community-based health approach can help fix the U.S. healthcare system, how Rwanda’s model has drastically improved the lives of its citizens, and how to tackle the massive health problems in post-earthquake Haiti.

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    Juan González on How Puerto Rico’s Economic "Death Spiral" is Tied to Legacy of Colonialism
    Could Puerto Rico become America’s Greece? That’s a question many are asking as the island faces a devastating financial crisis and a rapidly crumbling healthcare system. Puerto Rico owes $72 billion in debt. $355 million in debt payments are due December 1, but it increasingly looks like the U.S. territory may default on at least some of the debt. Congress has so far failed to act on an Obama administration proposal that includes extending bankruptcy protection to Puerto Rico and allocating more equitable Medicaid and Medicare...


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