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Friday, February 28, 2014

  • Peeping Webcam? With NSA Help, British Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Yahoo Chat Images

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    The latest top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, the the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) may have peered into the lives of millions of Internet users who were not suspected of wrongdoing. The surveillance program codenamed "Optic Nerve" compiled still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and stored them in the GCHQ’s databases with help from the NSA. In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency reportedly amassed webcam images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts worldwide. According to the documents, between 3 and 11 percent of the Yahoo webcam images contained what the GCHQ called "undesirable nudity." The program was reportedly also used for experiments in "automated facial recognition" as well as to monitor terrorism suspects. We speak with James Ball, one of the reporters who broke the story. He is the special projects editor for Guardian US.

  • Freed Bahraini Activist Zainab Alkhawaja on Her Year in Prison, Continued Detention of Her Father

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    We go to Bahrain to speak with human rights activist Zainab Alkhawaja, just after she was released from prison by the Bahraini government. "One year in prison is nothing," Alkhawaja says of her time behind bars. "Because it’s nothing compared to what we’re willing to sacrifice for our goals, for democracy in our country." On March 3, she could be sent back to prison after appearing in court to face charges of damaging police property, defacing a picture of the king and insulting a police officer. Her father, longtime activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, remains behind imprisoned, serving a life sentence. Bahrain is a U.S.-backed monarchy that is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for all naval forces in the Gulf. Alkhawaja’s release came on the heels of rallies marking the third anniversary of the pro-democracy protests that began on Feb. 14, 2011.

  • I Was Beaten, Tortured: Pakistani Anti-Drone Activist Karim Khan on Being Abducted by Masked Men

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    Pakistani anti-drone activist Karim Khan was abducted February 5, just before he was due to travel to Europe to speak out about U.S. drone strikes. He joins us to describe how he was held for nine days. During that time he says he was repeatedly tortured and beaten. In 2009, a U.S. drone killed Khan’s brother and son. He joins us from London, where he traveled to to meet with British lawmakers to raise concerns about the U.S. drone program. "They attacked our mosques, they attacked our schools, they attacked our schoolchildren, they attacked our teachers," Khan says. "So everything is completely destroyed by these drone strikes." We also speak with Khan’s lawyer, Shahzad Akbar. "This is what the human face of the victim is, and it is important that the American people are told about who these people are," Akbar says. "They are being targeted in the name of national security, [but] what we see on the ground is that it is not really serving the national security interests of anyone."

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