2013-02-27 15:52:34

Democracy Now! 2013-02-27 Wednesday

In what’s being described as a Kafkaesque decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a group of human rights organizations and journalists cannot challenge the government’s warrantless domestic surveillance program because they can’t prove they are targets of it. The American Civil Liberties Union and a coalition of human rights groups and journalists filed the lawsuit in 2008 hours after President Bush signed amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which gave the National Security Agency almost unchecked power to monitor international phone calls and emails of Americans. We’re joined by the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer, who argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs revealed over the weekend he was initially instructed to deny the existence of the Obama administration’s targeted killing program overseas. Even though the administration has since backed down from that stance, it continues to stonewall members of Congress on releasing the Justice Department memos explaining the program’s legal rationale. Unanswered questions around the program have held up the confirmation of CIA nominee John Brennan. "For a program that is so far-reaching and that has so many consequences, not just in the world, but for the rule of law, the Obama administration has an obligation to be far more transparent than they’ve been so far," says Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The watchdog group Common Cause is calling on President Obama to shut down the outside group Organizing for Action after revelations the group is promising high-end donors access to the White House. According to the New York Times, donors who contribute $500,000 or more will be appointed to the group’s national advisory board, which meets four times a year with the President. Organizing for Action was set up by former Obama campaign officials in order to push the president’s agenda. The group’s 501(c)(4) tax status means it can accept unlimited donations from corporations and individuals without revealing their identity. We speak to Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause.

Oxfam has released a comprehensive report that measures how the world’s 10 largest food companies perform on food justice issues. No company emerges with passing grades. The 10 companies Oxfam scores are Associated British Foods, Coca Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez, Nestlé, Pepsico and Unilever. Collectively, these companies make $1 billion a day. Oxfam based its report seven criteria: Small-scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change, women’s rights, and transparency. We’re joined by Chris Jochnick, a lead researcher for Oxfam’s new report, “Behind the Brands.”

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