Links to today’s show transcripts:
Exclusive: WikiLeaks Lawyer Warns U.S. Charges Against Assange Endanger Press Freedom Worldwide
The Justice Department has inadvertently revealed that it has prepared an indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. In an unusual development, language about the charges against Assange was copied and pasted into an unrelated court filing that was recently unsealed. In the document, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kellen S. Dwyer wrote, “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged.” The news broke on Thursday night just hours after The Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was planning to prosecute Assange. Assange has been living since 2012 in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has sought refuge and political asylum. It’s unclear what charges may be brought against Assange; the Justice Department has previously considered prosecuting him over his role in the release of hacked DNC emails during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as over the release of the so-called Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, shared by U.S. military whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The Assange case has been closely followed by advocates for press freedom. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch tweeted, “Deeply troubling if the Trump administration, which has shown little regard for media freedom, would charge Assange for receiving from a government official and publishing classified information—exactly what journalists do all the time.” Human rights attorney Jennifer Robinson, who has been advising Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since 2010 is interviewed.
NYT Investigation: How Facebook Used A Republican Firm to Attack Critics & Spread Disinformation
“Delay, Deny and Deflect.” That’s the name of a new bombshell investigation by The New York Times revealing that Facebook executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, were aware of a Russian misinformation campaign on the social media network and took a series of extraordinary private actions to preserve the company’s reputation, launching an aggressive lobbying campaign to combat critics and spread misinformation. The New York Times investigation reveals that Facebook hired the Republican opposition-research firm Definers Public Affairs to discredit critics of Facebook, linking them to the billionaire liberal donor George Soros. Facebook also allegedly lobbied the Anti-Defamation League to condemn criticism of the company as anti-Semitic. Since the publication of the investigation, Facebook has announced it will cut ties with Definers. Rashad Robinson is president of Color of Change, one of the organizations targeted by Definers Public Affairs. Siva Vaidhyanathan is the author of “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” He is a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan’s new article for Slate is titled “Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now.”
Color of Change: Facebook Retaliated Against Protests by Pushing Anti-Semitic, Anti-Black Narratives
A New York Times investigation has revealed that Facebook fought critics and a growing number of scandals following the 2016 election by launching a PR offensive backed by a dubious Republican opposition-research firm: Definers Public Affairs. Rashad Robinson is the president of Color of Change, one of the organizations targeted by Definers Public Affairs. Siva Vaidhyanathan is the author of “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.” He is a professor of media studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. Vaidhyanathan’s new article for Slate is titled “Facebook Is a Normal Sleazy Company Now.”
As Camp Fire Death Toll Rises, Meet the Prisoners Making $1 an Hour to Fight California’s Wildfires
The death toll from the Camp Fire in California has risen to at least 63, with 631 people reported missing. As California continues to battle the deadliest fire in the state’s history, we turn to the hidden heroes on the front lines the raging climate-fueled wildfires: prisoner firefighters. At least 1,500 of the 9,400 firefighters currently battling fires in California are incarcerated. They make just a dollar an hour battling on the front lines but are rarely eligible to get jobs as firefighters after their release. In September, the Democracy Now! team traveled to the Delta Conservation Camp about an hour north of San Francisco, a low-security prison where more than 100 men are imprisoned. Incarcerated firefighters who had just returned from a 24-hour shift fighting the Snell Fire in Napa County are interviewed.