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Thursday, May 9, 2013

  • Did Police Negligence & Suspect Ariel Castro’s Unpunished Domestic Abuse Prolong Victims’ Captivity?

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    Ariel Castro was arraigned in a Cleveland court today on charges of kidnapping three young women and holding them captive in his house for 10 years. All three women — Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight — had vanished in seemingly separate cases when they were between the ages of 14 and 21. Berry’s six-year-old daughter, who was born in captivity, was also rescued. Officials said the three women were at times bound in chains or rope, and endured starvation, beatings and sexual assaults. Eric Sandy, a reporter at the weekly newspaper Cleveland Scene, joins us to discuss Castro’s background, including the brutal abuse of his ex-wife for which he was never jailed.

  • Behind the Cleveland Kidnappings, A Culture of "Toxic Masculinity" & Gender-Based Violence

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    Cleveland kidnap victims Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight were allegedly subjected to years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of suspect Ariel Castro. Questions are now being raised why the police did not investigate Castro more closely earlier, especially since Castro was accused in 1993 and 2005 of attacking his ex-wife Grimilda Figueroa. According to court documents, Castro apparently broke her nose and ribs, dislocated her shoulders, knocked out one of her teeth and battered her so badly that a blood clot formed in her brain. Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action, and the Media and editor of the anthology, "Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape," says the Cleveland case is "an extreme example of a pervasive dynamic in our culture which is one of toxic masculinity." Friedman explains: "It really expresses something that we see all over the culture, which is men trained to think that the way to be a man is to have power over and to dehumanize women." We also speak to Cleveland reporter Eric Sandy.

  • Chicago Workers Open New Cooperatively Owned Factory Five Years After Republic Windows Occupation

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    Workers at the New Era Windows Cooperative are celebrating the grand opening of their new unionized, worker-owned and -operated business. Almost a year to the day after their window factory closed, a group of former workers have launched their own window business without bosses. They successfully raised money to buy the factory collectively and run it democratically. In 2008, some of the workers were involved in a famous six-day sit-in after Republic Windows and Doors gave workers just three days’ notice before closing the factory. The sit-in drew national attention and union workers reached a settlement where they each received $6,000 each. About 65 workers occupied the factory after their jobs came under threat again in 2012. We speak to two worker-owners of the just-opened New Era Windows Cooperative and a labor organizer who helped with their fight.

  • Prosecutors Seek 75-Year Sentence for U.S.-Backed Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt in Genocide Trial

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    Closing arguments have begun in the historic trial against U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt is charged with overseeing the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. The trial has been revived after it was suspended due to intervention by Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina and death threats by army associates against judges and prosecutors. On Wednesday, prosecutors asked for Ríos Montt to be sentenced to 75 years in prison. Defense lawyers are expected to give closing arguments today. We’re joined by investigative journalist Allan Nairn in Guatemala City. In the 1980s, Nairn extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres.

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