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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

  • Karim Khan, Anti-Drone Activist Who Lost Family Members to U.S. Strike, Goes Missing in Pakistan

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    An anti-drone activist and journalist has gone missing in Pakistan just days before he was due to travel to Europe to speak with Parliament members about the impact of the U.S. drone wars. The legal charity Reprieve says Karim Khan was seized in the early hours of February 5 by up to 20 men, some wearing police uniforms. He has not been seen since. Khan’s brother and son were both killed in a drone strike. In addition to public activism, Khan was also engaged in legal proceedings against the Pakistani government for their failure to investigate the killings of his loved ones. We are joined by filmmaker Madiha Tahir, who interviewed Khan for her documentary, "Wounds of Waziristan."

    "These are people seeking peaceful, legal routes for restitution for a great harm that been done to them," Tahir says. Of drone victim’s families’ difficulty gaining legal traction, she says, "It speaks to the secretive nature of the American state."

  • Drone on Your iPhone: Apple Drops Objections to App Tracking U.S. Strikes Overseas

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    A new iPhone app has been released that tracks every reported U.S. drone strike overseas. Over the course of two years, Apple rejected different versions no less than five times. Now, for the first time, the app is finally available under the name of Metadata+, created by New York University graduate student Josh Begley. Madiha Tahir, a filmmaker whose documentary "Wounds of Waziristan" looks at the drone war, says Apple stalled the app’s approval for political reasons before Begley found a workaround.

  • From Jail to Law School: Jim Crow-Era Law Bars Florida Man from Voting, Taking Bar, Serving on Jury

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    Branding them "unnecessary and unjust," Attorney General Eric Holder is urging the repeal of state laws that prohibit formerly incarcerated people from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to nearly six million people. Holder’s call is largely symbolic since the federal government cannot force states to change their voting laws. But civil rights groups and advocates are praising Holder for advancing a critical step in reforming the criminal justice system. We are joined by Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. Meade is one of more than 1.3 million citizens in Florida who have lost their right to vote due to prior felony convictions. After overcoming homelessness and addiction, Meade is now finishing up a law degree — but like the right to vote, Florida statutes also stand to prohibit him from taking the bar and being able to practice law.

  • U.S. Plunges in Global Press Freedom Rankings as Obama Wages "War on Whistleblowers"

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    A new survey of press freedom around the world finds the United States has plunged 13 spots, now ranking just 46th among 180 countries. The annual survey by Reporters Without Borders also says Syria is the most dangerous country for journalists, showing a correlation between conflict zones and a low level of press freedom. Other countries that fell lower than in the previous year’s survey include the civil-war-torn Central African Republic, down 43 spots to 109, and Guatemala, where four journalists were killed last year alone. This comes as the United Nations General Assembly recently adopted its first resolution on the safety of journalists. The group has now called on the United Nations to monitor how member states meet their obligations to protect reporters. We are joined by Delphine Halgand of Reporters Without Borders.

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