Left Voices is the product of Andrea Sears, a journalist with deep and highly regarded experience. Support her at http://gofundme.com/SupportLeftVoices. Follow on Twitter at @LeftVoices and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LeftVoices.






April 2014
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Civil rights and drug policy reform organizations have filed an amicus brief asking the Louisiana State Supreme Court to review the extraordinarily harsh prison sentence imposed on Bernard Noble.  Noble was arrested for having three grams of marijuana, about enough to roll two cigarettes.  The trial judge had sentenced him to five years in prison.  But because Noble had two other, minor, nonviolent drug possession charges on his record his sentence was ultimately increased to thirteen and a third years at hard labor with no chance of parole.  We speak with Daniel Abrahamson, director of the Office of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Direct download: 2014-04-17_Bernard_Noble.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 10:51 PM

On Monday lawyers representing the five Guantanamo detainees charged with planning the September 11th terror attacks said the FBI had asked a member of the defense team to be an informant in a leak investigation.   They have asked the judge presiding over the military commission, to investigate the incident.  It’s the latest delay in a process that has been fraught with unresolved legal and human rights issues since the beginning. We speak with Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney for the Guantanamo Project at the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Direct download: 2014-04-16_FBI_GTMO_Probe.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 6:17 PM

An immigration Judge in Miami has ordered that former Salvadoran Defense Minister José Guillermo García be deported from the United States for his assistance and participation in many of the worst atrocities committed during the civil war in El Salvador.  Garcia served as Defense Minister from 1979 to 1983 and presided over that country’s military and police during the El Mozote Massacre, the assassination of Arch Bishop Oscar Romero and the murder of four American nuns.  We speak with Pamela Merchant, executive director of the Center for Justice and Accountability.

Direct download: 2014-04-14_Jose_Guillermo_Garcia2.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 10:42 PM

Geologists with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confirmed Friday that hydraulic fracturing or fracking for natural gas may have been responsible for a series of earthquakes in March.  This marks the first time fracking itself has been connected to earthquakes in the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation that runs under parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York State.  But the news comes as no surprise to those who have been fighting against what they believe to be an environmentally dangerous practice.  We speak with John Armstrong, a spokesperson for Frack Action.

image credit: Oil Change International

Direct download: 2014-04-11_Fracking_Earthquakes.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 10:43 PM

Abortion rights advocates today filed a petition with the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit asking the full court to reconsider the constitutionality of a law that is forcing one-third of the clinics in Texas to close or stop offering abortion services.  The American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Center for Reproductive Rights are asking the full panel of appeals court judges to acknowledge that the law isn’t designed to protect the health and safety of women.  We speak with Bridget Amiri, senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.

Direct download: 2014-04-10_Texas_Abortion_Law.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 11:40 PM

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today formally denied a petition submitted by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and thirty-seven other organizations calling for improvements in emergency planning for accidents involving nuclear reactors.  The proposals, based on experiences at Fukushima and Chernobyl, were turned down despite more than 3,200 co-petitioners and overwhelmingly supportive public comments.  We speak with Michael Mariotte, President of NIRS.

Direct download: 2014-04-09_NRC_Rejection.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 12:08 AM

Jonathan Fleming has been released from prison after serving twenty four years for a murder he didn’t commit.  His is just one of a growing number of convictions from twenty or more years ago being overturned in Brooklyn, NY as police lies, coerced witnesses, planted evidence and prosecutorial misconduct are brought to light.  We speak with Joaquin Sapien, a reporter for ProPublica, who has been following these cases as they unravel.

image credit: Anthony Mayol

Direct download: 2014-04-08_Wide_Blue_Lie.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 11:10 PM

The National Security Agency is building a huge data storage center in Utah that will use an estimated one point two to one point seven million gallons a day.  Some privacy advocates see that as an opportunity to fight back against the NSA’s bulk surveillance of innocent Americans.   They want the state to turn off the tap.  It’s part of a broader effort that has included the introduction of a bill called the Fourth Amendment Protection Act in several state legislatures.  We speak with Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

Direct download: OffNow.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 10:30 PM

The Supreme Court today struck down limits on aggregate spending in elections for federal office, a ruling that is destined to flood campaigns with huge donations from wealthy individuals. The ruling eliminates the $123,300 limit on combined contributions to candidates, parties and committees in each election cycle.  Wealthy donors can now contribute to as many candidates as they want and may give multi-million dollar checks to joint fund raising committees formed by political party leaders.  We speak with John Bonifaz, cofounder and president of Free Speech For People.

image credit: MoveToAmend.org

Direct download: 2014-04-02_McCutcheon.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 11:16 PM

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has issued a report condemning US failure to comply with many aspects of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Domestically the report pointed to excessive force and racial disparities in law enforcement, the widespread use of solitary confinement, the continuing imposition of life without parole for juvenile offenders, mandatory detention of immigrants and felony disenfranchisement.  Internationally the report cites the failure to hold accountable those responsible for torture, targeted killings, the CIA’s rendition to torture program, the failure to close Guantanamo and the massive NSA surveillance program.  We speak with Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Human Rights Program.

image credit: ACLU

Direct download: 2014-04-01_ICCPR_Report.mp3
Category:News -- posted at: 11:28 PM