This Week on Between The Lines

Posted May 15, 2013 for week ending May 24, 2013


"It's really the enormous breadth of the situation. They looked at four stations where over 100 reporters used those stations. So the amount of information and the really aggressive action to pursue all these calls going out from the (phone) terminals is quite stunning. ... In regards to oversight, the Department of Justice does have a set of policies and this case does show a clear violation of those policies. "

– Mark Jaycox, policy analyst and legislative assistant with the Electronic Frontier Foundation on government surveillance of Associated Press reporters’ phone records

Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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Obama Administration Wiretaps Associated Press Reporters, Seeks New Rules to Make Internet Surveillance Easier

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Interview with Mark Jaycox, policy analyst and legislative assistant with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conducted by Scott Harris


Revelations about government surveillance of Associated Press reporters’ phone records has set off alarms with regard to possible violations of First Amendment rights. The covert surveillance was only discovered when a letter was sent by U.S. attorney Ronald Machen to the AP’s general counsel on May 10. The AP itself reported that the Justice Department had secretly obtained two months of telephone records of AP reporters and editors, listing incoming and outgoing calls on work, home and cell phones, including general AP office numbers in New York, Washington, Hartford, Conn. and at the House of Representatives press gallery.  Story continues

Guantanamo Defense Lawyer Says White House Action Can End Detainee Hunger Strike and Close the Controversial Prison Camp

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Interview with Carlos Warner, assistant federal defense lawyer for 11 Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared for release, conducted by Scott Harris


There are growing protests by human rights groups in response to the four monthlong hunger strike conducted by the majority of 166 detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Detention Camp in Cuba, where an unknown number of prisoners are being subjected to force-feeding. According to a 30-page military manual used at Guantanamo, hunger striking detainees are shackled to a chair where a tube is inserted into their noses and down to their stomachs for up to two hours at a time. The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and other groups, who have labeled the force-feeding process as inherently “cruel, inhuman and degrading” and a violation of the Geneva conventions, have called on U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to halt the practice.  Story continues

U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms EPA’s Authority to Revoke Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining Permit

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Interview with Emma Cheuse, EarthJustice attorney, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


On April 23rd, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. reversed a lower district court decision that would have allowed the company with the largest mountaintop removal site in West Virginia – the Spruce No. 1 mine – to begin blasting the mountain apart to access the coal seams beneath. The court's ruling, handed down by a three-judge panel, all of whom were Republican appointees, affirmed that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority under the Clean Water Act to veto a mining permit, even after a permit was issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon


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