WBEZ | national security http://www.wbez.org/tags/national-security Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en GOP candidates focus on terrorism in last debate of 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-16/gop-candidates-focus-terrorism-last-debate-2015-114184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gop debate ap John Locher.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Republican presidential candidates wrapped up their last debate of the year Tuesday night in Las Vegas. Morning Shift breaks down some of the key flashpoints in the verbal sparring and takes calls from Republican listeners on what they thought of the debate.</p></p> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 14:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-12-16/gop-candidates-focus-terrorism-last-debate-2015-114184 What Can — or Should — Internet Companies Do to Fight Terrorism? http://www.wbez.org/news/what-can-%E2%80%94-or-should-%E2%80%94-internet-companies-do-fight-terrorism-114171 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/gettyimages-134367529-edit-8f2bb46cd94d93e3c89cba58ed4cb233ede3a2fe.jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="After recent terrorist attacks, social media companies are under pressure to do more to stop messaging from terrorist groups. (Patrick George/Ikon Images/Getty Images)" /></div><p>After the recent attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino, Calif., social media platforms are under pressure from politicians to do more to take down messages and videos intended to promote terrorist groups and recruit members.</p><p>Lawmakers in Congress are considering&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr3654/BILLS-114hr3654ih.pdf" target="_blank">a bill that calls</a>&nbsp;on President Obama to come up with a strategy to combat the use of social media by terrorist groups. Another measure,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=files.serve&amp;File_id=9BDFE0CA-FB12-4BEB-B64D-DC9239D93070" target="_blank">proposed in the Senate</a>, would require Internet companies to report knowledge of terrorist activities to the government.</p><p>Obama himself&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/06/458714749/from-oval-office-president-obama-vows-u-s-will-destroy-isis" target="_blank">has urged tech leaders</a>&nbsp;to make it harder for terrorists &quot;to use technology to escape from justice,&quot; and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has recently said that social media companies can help by &quot;swiftly shutting down terrorist accounts, so they&#39;re not used to plan, provoke or celebrate violence.&quot;</p><p><em>The&nbsp;Wall Street Journal</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-working-on-plan-to-scrutinize-social-media-in-visa-reviews-1450122633?mod=djemalertNEWS" target="_blank">is also reporting</a>, citing an unnamed source, that the Department of Homeland Security is working on a plan to study social media posts as part of the visa application process before certain people are allowed to enter the country.</p><p>The companies say they cooperate with law enforcement now, and the proposed legislation would do more harm than good.</p><p>Messages that threaten or promote terrorism already violate the usage rules of most social media platforms. Twitter, for instance, has teams around the world investigating reports of rule violations, and the company says it works with law enforcement entities when appropriate.</p><p>&quot;Violent threats and the promotion of terrorism deserve no place on Twitter and our rules make that clear,&quot; Twitter said in a statement.</p><p>A major challenge is that social networks rely on their users to flag inappropriate content, in part because of the sheer quantity that is posted. Every minute, hundreds of hours of video may be uploaded to YouTube and thousands of photos to Facebook, making timely response very challenging.</p><p>And with human perception in play, some videos can be harder to identify than others:</p><blockquote><p><em>&quot;There are videos of armed military-style training on YouTube, on Vimeo, on Facebook,&quot; says Nicole Wong, a former deputy chief technology officer in the Obama administration and executive at Twitter and Google. &quot;Some of the videos taken by our servicemen in Afghanistan look surprisingly similar to videos taken by the PKK, which is a designated terrorist organization in Turkey.&quot;</em></p></blockquote><p>So what if we automated the process? For instance, social media companies use sophisticated programs to help identify images of child pornography by comparing to a national database. But no such database exists for terrorist images.</p><p>And there&#39;s a bigger issue: What exactly constitutes terrorist content?</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no responsible social media company that wants to be a part of promoting violent extremism,&quot; Wong says. To her, a major reason why private companies shouldn&#39;t police social media for terrorist content is that &quot;no one has come up with a sensible definition for what terrorist activity or terrorist content would be.&quot;</p><p>Efforts to legislate the problem run into similar criticism. For instance, the Senate bill that would require companies to report terrorist activity does not define terrorist activity, says Emma Llansó, director of the Free Expression Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology.</p><p>&quot;This kind of proposal creates a lot of risks for individual privacy and free expression,&quot; she says.</p><p>Critics say this could open the door for governments elsewhere to demand reports of postings that they may consider threatening.</p><p>It&#39;s somewhat similar to an ongoing debate about the ability of government investigators to get&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/11/16/456219061/after-paris-attacks-encrypted-communication-is-back-in-spotlight" target="_blank">access to encrypted communications</a>: If the U.S. government asked for backdoors into these secured conversations, what would stop China, Russia or any other country from demanding the same kind of access?</p><p>Cisco Systems&#39; new CEO Chuck Robbins spoke about this at a recent small breakfast, which included NPR&#39;s Aarti Shahani. He said the company&#39;s technologies don&#39;t and won&#39;t include backdoors and that ultimately, companies can&#39;t build their businesses around the swings of public sentiment related to terrorist attacks.</p><p>&quot;Our technology is commercially available. ... We are not providing any capabilities that aren&#39;t well documented and understood. And [we] also operate within the regulations that every government has placed on the technology arena,&quot; he said.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re operating the way that the public would like for us to operate and we&#39;re operating within the construct of the regulatory environment that we live in.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; via NPR</p></p> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 11:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-can-%E2%80%94-or-should-%E2%80%94-internet-companies-do-fight-terrorism-114171 When it comes to counterterrorism, why Bush and Obama aren't so far apart http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/when-it-comes-counterterrorism-why-bush-and-obama-arent-so-far-apart-113603 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/President Barack Obama responds to questions on Russia&#039;s intervention in Syria during a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House, October 2, 2015, in Washington, D.C..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res453253849" previewtitle="President Barack Obama responds to questions on Russia's intervention in Syria during a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House, October 2, 2015, in Washington, D.C."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="President Barack Obama responds to questions on Russia's intervention in Syria during a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House, October 2, 2015, in Washington, D.C." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/30/63374001_h39845986-1--154c244304a2fe7486dfb0cbb95e02b133e2af00-s800-c85.jpg" title="President Barack Obama responds to questions on Russia's intervention in Syria during a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House, October 2, 2015, in Washington, D.C." /></div><div><div><p>President Barack Obama responds to questions on Russia&#39;s intervention in Syria during a news conference in the State Dining Room of the White House, October 2, 2015, in Washington, D.C.</p></div>Mike Theiler /UPI /Landov</div></div><p>In a pile of books about the Obama presidency,&nbsp;Power Wars: Inside Obama&#39;s Post-9/11 Presidency&nbsp;stands out.</p><p>Author Charlie Savage&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Power-Wars-Inside-Obamas-Presidency/dp/0316286575" target="_blank">provides the most thorough look</a>yet at how this administration has handled counterterrorism and national security. There are sections on drones, detainees, spying, leak prosecutions and much more.</p><p>The Pulitzer prize-winning reporter with&nbsp;The New York Times&nbsp;tells NPR&#39;s Ari Shapiro why Obama&#39;s approach to national security differs from his predecessors.</p><p>&quot;All these years after 9/11, this is still a moment of flux,&quot; Savage says. &quot;You know, what are things going to be like later in the 21st century? Is this the new normal? Is this a &#39;forever war&#39;? Obama wanted to get us out of the war in Afghanistan and to sort of declare it over, but events made that impossible.&quot;</p><hr /><p><img alt="Power Wars" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/bakertaylor/covers/p/power-wars/9780316286572_custom-cf435b4a5a70d52f65157bee49b89e156ee74909-s400-c85.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="(Power Wars: Inside Obama's Post-9/11 Presidency, by Charlie Savage)" /></p><p><span style="font-size:20px;"><strong>Interview Highlights</strong></span></p><p><strong>On why it matters where the U.S. picks up terrorist detainees</strong></p><p>Typically we think of the world as being divided into two types of places &mdash; war zones where there&#39;s ground troops engaged in hostilities, and normal countries with functioning governments and police forces, where if there&#39;s a threat emanating from that country, the person can go and be arrested.</p><p>But especially in the 21st century, in the sort of &quot;War on Terror&quot; era, the world is encountering this problem of badlands &mdash; ungoverned, broken states, failed states. Places where there&#39;s neither a normal war happening in any kind of sustained way&nbsp;or&nbsp;a functioning government.</p><p>And so when al-Qaida or its allies go into those places, the old rules don&#39;t really seem to apply.</p><div id="res453255736"><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><strong>On why Bush was a CEO president and Obama is a lawyer president</strong></p><p>A lot of the situations the government is encountering now in the sort of post-9/11 world are completely different than what the rules were written for. The rules were developed for 20th century situations &mdash; wars between nation-state armies and so forth. And the government is then encountering new problems for which they do not quite map onto very well. And the Bush administration responded to that disconnect by essentially saying &quot;there are no rules&quot;: The president as commander-in-chief, can do what he thinks is necessary &mdash; whether it&#39;s Geneva Conventions or domestic laws on things like interrogation or surveillance, we can just override those.</p><p>The Obama administration has taken a very different approach &mdash; in part because they are extremely &quot;lawyerly.&quot; Bush and Cheney were CEOs by background, not lawyers; Biden and Obama are lawyers, and they put a lot of lawyers into policymaking roles throughout their administration &mdash; and so they&#39;re trained to think like lawyers, and they&#39;re exceedingly interested in the law.</p><p>And so that has led them &mdash; when encountering this disconnect between what the rules were written for and the situations arising today &mdash; to think about things through a legal lens.</p><p><strong>On how Obama&#39;s approach is less transformational and more transitional</strong></p><p>All these years after 9/11, this is still a moment of flux. You know, what are things going to be like later in the 21st century? Is this the new normal? Is this a &quot;forever war&quot;? Obama wanted to get us out of the war in Afghanistan and to sort of declare it over, but events made that impossible: The Islamic State arose and now the Taliban is sort of coming back, and we&#39;re sort of getting &mdash; staying &mdash; sucked in over there.</p><p>And I think that the next president will have a lot to say about whether this was en route to the ... rolling back of some of this stuff, or was en route to the entrenchment and the normalization and the making permanent of all these post-9/11 policies that have such implications for individual rights and collective security.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/30/453217073/when-it-comes-to-counterterrorism-why-bush-and-obama-arent-so-far-apart?ft=nprml&amp;f=453217073" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 02 Nov 2015 16:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/when-it-comes-counterterrorism-why-bush-and-obama-arent-so-far-apart-113603 Facial recognition, Fukushima and the geopolitics of khat http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-26/facial-recognition-fukushima-and-geopolitics-khat-108521 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP219522927055.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We&#39;ll take an in-depth look at government espionage with Heidi Boghosian, author of &quot;Spying on Democracy.&quot; Questions loom at Fukushima nuclear power plant. Khat could be banned in the United Kingdom.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107341223&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/facial-recognition-fukushima-and-the-geopolitics-o/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/facial-recognition-fukushima-and-the-geopolitics-o.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/facial-recognition-fukushima-and-the-geopolitics-o" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Facial recognition, Fukushima and the geopolitics of khat" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 11:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-26/facial-recognition-fukushima-and-geopolitics-khat-108521 WikiLeaks on Manning verdict: 'Extremism' http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/wikileaks-manning-verdict-extremism-108234 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/manning.png" alt="" /><p><p>WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange branded Pfc. Bradley Manning&#39;s espionage conviction Tuesday an episode of &quot;national security extremism&quot; while other supporters expressed relief that he was acquitted of the most serious charge. Among Manning&#39;s critics, House intelligence officials said justice was served.</p><p>From the courtroom to world capitals, people absorbed the meaning of a verdict that cleared the soldier of a charge of aiding the enemy, which would have carried a potential life sentence, but convicted him on other counts that, together, could also mean a life behind bars. Manning faces up to 128 years in prison if given maximum penalties in a sentencing hearing that starts Wednesday.</p><p>In Washington, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Intelligence Committee joined in a statement declaring &quot;justice has been served today.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Manning harmed our national security, violated the public&#39;s trust, and now stands convicted of multiple serious crimes,&quot; said Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence committee, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the panel&#39;s top Democrat.</p><p>Assange, whose website served as the conduit for exposing Manning&#39;s spilled U.S. secrets to the world, saw nothing to cheer in the mixed verdict.</p><p>&quot;It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism,&quot; he told reporters at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, which is sheltering him. &quot;This has never been a fair trial.&quot;</p><p>Glenn Greenwald, the journalist, commentator and former civil rights lawyer who first reported Edward Snowden&#39;s leaks of National Security Agency surveillance programs, said Manning&#39;s acquittal on the charge of aiding the enemy represented a &quot;tiny sliver of justice.&quot;</p><p>And Christian Stroebele, a German lawmaker for the opposition Green Party, tweeted: &quot;Manning has won respect by uncovering the U.S.&#39;s murderous warfare in Iraq.&quot;</p><p>But the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders said the verdict is a chilling warning to whistleblowers, &quot;against whom the Obama administration has been waging an unprecedented offensive,&quot; and threatens the future of investigative journalism because intimidated sources might fall quiet.</p><p>Outside the courtroom, Manning supporters gave his lawyer, David Coombs, a round of applause and shouted &quot;thank you.&quot; But they also pressed him on what the verdict meant for the soldier&#39;s fate.</p><p>&quot;Today is a good day,&quot; Coombs said, &quot;but Bradley is by no means out of the fire.&quot;</p><p>Manning acknowledged giving WikiLeaks more than 700,000 battlefield reports and diplomatic cables, and video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack that killed civilians in Iraq, including a Reuters news photographer and his driver. He said during a pretrial hearing he leaked the material to expose U.S military &quot;bloodlust&quot; and diplomatic deceitfulness but did not believe his actions would harm the country.</p><p>His defense portrayed him as a naive but well-intentioned figure. Prosecutors branded him an anarchist and traitor.</p><p>Many supporters in and outside the courtroom wore black T-shirts with &quot;truth&quot; on them to show they consider him a whistleblower just trying to expose government misconduct.</p><p>&quot;The government&#39;s priorities are upside down,&quot; Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy for Amnesty International, said at the scene.</p><p>Officials have &quot;refused to investigate credible allegations of torture and other crimes under international law despite overwhelming evidence,&quot; Brown said, but &quot;decided to prosecute Manning, who it seems was trying to do the right thing &mdash; reveal credible evidence of unlawful behavior by the government.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It seems clear that the government was seeking to intimidate anyone who might consider revealing valuable information in the future,&quot; said Ben Wizner of the ACLU Speech, Privacy &amp; Technology Project.</p><p>Overseas, Anatoly Kucherena, the Russian lawyer who&#39;s been working with Snowden, merely said: &quot;All cases are individual. We shouldn&#39;t take the Manning case and compare it to Snowden.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/wikileaks-manning-verdict-extremism-108234 Drunk with hope http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-06/drunk-hope-107607 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120403123033.jpg" style="height: 383px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="File: President Barack Obama. (AP/File)" />Edward Snowden didn&rsquo;t vote for Barack Obama but he trusted&mdash;or, perhaps, ironically, had enough hope&mdash;in his candidacy that he waited until after the 2008 elections to make the decision to unveil the extent of the National Security Agency&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance" target="_blank">domestic surveillance program</a>.</p><p>You could say Snowden hoped candidate Obama&mdash;so publicly against the Iraq War, so dubious about domestic spying and other programs, so happy to be viewed as a reformer&mdash;might actually undo some of the harm, and potential harm, established by the post 9/11 terrorism cure-all known as the Patriot Act.</p><p>Candidate Obama was, after all, the constitutional lawyer who understood the limits of government, the Illinois State Representative who asserted &ldquo;it <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/in-2001-obama-predicted-majoritarian-check-on-mass-surveilla" target="_blank">means something</a> to be a citizen,&quot; the U.S. Senator who described some of the specific provisions that have allowed PRISM as &ldquo;way aboard.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, candidate Obama also voted for the Patriot Act reauthorization, but he seemed reluctant, pained even. Or was he? Check out this town hall exchange and Sen. Obama actually seems <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/06/06/russ_feingold_nsa_report_deeply_troubling.html" target="_blank">eager to expand the phone tapping</a> program. (How did we not hear that?)</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what I know for sure: Obama had an opportunity to make history for all the right reasons, to come into the White House on that big monster wave&mdash;what Hawaiians call the pipeline&mdash;of hope and actually do some good.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s what else I know: We can talk Obamacare and LGBTQ rights&mdash;both hard-won but unnecessarily hard-fought and, most importantly, incomplete&mdash;but Obama&rsquo;s legacy has just been sealed by Hansen&rsquo;s revelations.</p><p>Because what Hansen&rsquo;s revelations say is that Obama is willing to betray his own professed most cherished values: protection of the U.S. Constitution, protection of every citizen&rsquo;s privacy and civil rights. His policies on civil liberties have actually turned out to be <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/158381/obama-takes-wrong-turn-civil-liberties-adopting-worse-patriot-act-stance-gop" target="_blank">worse than the GOP&rsquo;s</a>.</p><p>Many of us hoped Obama would be the exception (even as we held our breath in the voting booth, knowing how unwise it was to even hold out the meekest, thinnest, light-as-a-feather hope for that) and so made an exception of every single one of his violations.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/01/23/169922171/obamas-promise-to-close-guantanamo-prison-falls-short" target="_blank">Guantánamo</a> is not an exception.</p><p><a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-01/world/36323571_1_obama-administration-interrogation-drone-strikes" target="_blank">Rendition</a> is not an exception.</p><p>The lawlessness and lack of transparency revealed by the Wikileaks cables were not exceptions (and the treatment of <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/obama-wikileaks-journalism-attack" target="_blank">Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers</a> is not an exception).</p><p><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/03/ibragim-todashev-drones-policy-obama" target="_blank">Drones</a> are not an exception.</p><p>Targeted killings and <a href="http://rt.com/usa/obama-moves-to-keep-kill-list-memos-secret-forever-224/" target="_blank">kill lists</a> are not an exception.</p><p>His anemic support of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/where-obama-and-romney-stand-on-gun-control/2012/07/20/gJQAwMpNyW_blog.html" target="_blank">domestic gun control</a> is not an exception.</p><p>His record number of <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/21/obama-administration-sets-deportation-record/" target="_blank">deportations</a> is not an exception.</p><p>His recent <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/05/how-obama-harms-the-press.html" target="_blank">attacks on the press</a> were not an exception.</p><p>Is Obama drunk on power? I don&rsquo;t know.</p><p>But we&rsquo;ve sure been drunk with hope.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 09:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-06/drunk-hope-107607 Abortion politics in Russia fraught with fears over population decline http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-11/here-there-abortion-politics-russia-fraught-fears-over-population-declin <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Abortion%20Russia%20AP.jpg" title="A 2008 protest to the high number of abortions taking place in Russia. (AP/Mikhail Metzel)" /></div></div><p><em>This episode of Worldview was originally broacast on August 11, 2011. </em></p><p>This week, to gain insights into this country&#39;s incredibly polarizing debate over abortion, we&rsquo;re looking at how reproductive issues play out around the world. It&rsquo;s part of our occasional series <em><a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank">Here, There</a></em>, where we compare U.S. policy on tough issues to those of other countries.</p><p>Russia has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world: 53.7 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to recent UN statistics. Those numbers, while grim, are much lower than statistics from the Soviet era. In the 1980s, there were 200 abortions for every 100 babies born in the Soviet Union.</p><p>In recent years, Russian leaders, worried about the country&#39;s declining population, have increasingly begun to view abortion as a threat to national security.</p><p>Today, we discuss Russia&rsquo;a tumultuous history with <a href="http://anthropology.unc.edu/people/faculty/mrivkinfish" target="_blank">Michele Rivkin-Fish</a>, a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and author of the book <a href="http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=21954" target="_blank"><em>Women&rsquo;s Health in Post-Soviet Russia</em></a>. She says the story begins in 1920, when the Soviet Union became the world&#39;s first state to allow women to terminate unwanted pregnancies.</p><p><strong>On abortion in the early Soviet era:</strong></p><p>&quot;Abortion came to be seen by policy makers as necessary for mobilization of women into the workplace. It was not intended as giving women choice or rights to their body.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Motherhood was seen as an important act of citizenship and that you were giving birth to babies who would be future Soviet citizens.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The government provided childcare, housing and employment. They felt that since they were providing support, there was no reason women should control their fertility.&quot;</p><p>&quot;They did not make contraceptives available and that was the founding contradiction of women&#39;s reproductive health in the Soviet Union that in some ways continues till today, so abortion became the main means of controlling your fertility. The Soviets did not produce condoms and contraceptives in the market because they didn&#39;t want to promote fertility control.&quot;</p><p><strong>On rhetoric:</strong></p><p>&quot;Stalin put into place this idea of the &#39;heroine mother.&#39; Any women that gave birth to more than five children was given an award and extra benefits, a larger place to live and extra monetary allowances to help take care of the children. The &#39;heroine mother&#39; was a part of the Soviet propaganda, which many women did not buy into.&quot;</p><p>&quot;In 1955, Nikita Khrushchev came into power and legalized abortion because he recognized that women were dying in mass from illegal abortions. But he was also concerned with the rise of the birth rate, so he instructed the physicians and public health people to step up the fight against abortions. Public health campaigns and literature called abortions harmful, a selfish rejection of motherhood, a shameful decision, and warned women that they would become sterile.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Russia never saw a rise in birth rate. In fact, they were on the course of a big decline. This shaped much of the propaganda that followed.&quot;</p><p>&quot;...but economic conditions drove women&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp; then and today &mdash; to choosing to have just one child...conditions like communal living...five or six families sharing one kitchen and a toilet.&quot;</p><p><strong>Modern conditions:</strong></p><p>&quot;Today, there is no censorship on sex in the public sphere or on literature, sexual education or contraceptives.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Since 1995 there has been a significant decline in the numbers of registered abortions, due to the availability of contraceptives. Eighty-four percent of women are using some form of contraceptive. This is a huge change from the Soviet era.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There are also educational programs being offered by very progressive-thinking doctors and educators. These are offering kids and young adults information about how to control their fertility, how to have timely pregnancies, methods of abortion....but these groups are under scrutiny by the government, so they are always in a vulnerable position.&quot;</p><p>&quot;As women are still choosing to have fewer children, in 2006, Vladimir Putin established a new program called the Maternity Capital program. It gives a substantial amount of money &mdash; the equivalent of $10,000 &mdash;&nbsp;to women who choose to have a second or third child.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The government&rsquo;s agenda is to get women to have more babies. But this doesn&rsquo;t necessarily take into account women&#39;s reproductive rights or issues.&quot;</p><p><strong>Compared to the U.S.:</strong></p><p>&quot;There&#39;s not the same kind of abortion rights movement in Russia as in the U.S. Partly that is because it&#39;s very difficult to publically argue that women should have the &#39;right to abort.&#39;&nbsp; Abortion is seen as a symptom of the lack of a choice. It&#39;s not considered a positive right by really any one.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Abortion is seen as a necessary legal procedure, not a woman&#39;s right to choose. They are trying to reduce women&#39;s reliance on abortion to improve women&#39;s health.&quot;</p><p>&quot;There are groups of doctors, demographers and educators who are very concerned that women&#39;s access to abortion is being restricted, which could lead to dangerous underground abortions. Their efforts are aimed at increasing the use and availability of contraceptives.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Even though things are getting better in the overall abortion rate, the percentage increase in attempts to self-induce abortions in the last decade is a very ominous sign that women do not feel that they can get enough information and access in a timely manner.&quot;</p></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-11/here-there-abortion-politics-russia-fraught-fears-over-population-declin Summit doubleheader short on surprises http://www.wbez.org/news/summit-doubleheader-short-surprises-99414 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NATO%20Obama%20Cameron%20AP.jpg" title="President Barack Obama, right, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, left, sit together at the start of the Partners Meeting at the NATO Summit Monday. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>A long weekend of economic and security summits was heavy on stagecraft and light on surprises.</p><p>The Group of Eight gathering in Camp David, Md., and the larger gathering of NATO leaders in Chicago yielded agreements worked out in advance and already made public. Lengthy statements summing up the summit to-do lists were largely written before the leaders arrived.</p><p>Although the gatherings occurred in the midst of a European financial crisis and looming threats in Syria, North Korea and Iran, any meaty discussions or disagreements took place out of earshot of the news media.</p><p>President Barack Obama, host for both events, came away with no unexpected accomplishments apart from concluding the gatherings without major mishap. There were no private conversations inconveniently picked up by an open microphone or tales of drunken romps with prostitutes by Obama&#39;s Secret Service officers, as happened at the last two international gatherings Obama attended.</p><p>In the custom of such assemblies, however, just having the meetings at all counts as a plus.</p><p>World leaders get a splashy moment to draw attention to important issues that often get short shrift in other settings, and they can take one another&#39;s measure. They can apply subtle pressure in public on areas where they disagree, and sometimes talk tough in private.</p><p>That was the case at Camp David, where other leaders made sure Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev heard the rising outrage over violence in Syria, a Russian ally. Likewise in Chicago, Obama pointedly said Russia should drop its objections to NATO&#39;s planned missile defense shield for Europe.</p><p>On the two most important issues at hand &mdash; the economy and Afghanistan &mdash; even the bland statements of agreement on what to do next convey shared purpose.</p><p>A problem for Obama is that whatever its merit, such diplomacy takes time and is a distraction from his re-election campaign.</p><p>Foreign policy is a cornerstone of being president. But it does not get you re-elected &mdash; not in this economy.</p><p>Obama, like his Republican presidential challenger, Mitt Romney, would prefer to keep his public focus on creating jobs and helping consumers pay their bills because those basic domestic problems are also his re-election problem.</p><p>Every political observer, and that includes Obama himself, says the election will turn on the economy.</p><p>The calendar, though, is loaded with summits that demand his presence (although he is planning to bail on this year&#39;s Asia-Pacific forum in Russia because it falls during his party&#39;s political convention in September.)</p><p>Obama was just months on the job when he found himself attending so many world forums that he joked of having a condition called &quot;summititis.&quot;</p><p>The forums do matter. They give world leaders the chance to speak with one voice in trying to rescue the economy and heap pressure on rogue nations, although in doing so, the final declarations must often be watered down to please all.</p><p>And so Obama emerged from the G-8 gathering of rich and powerful nations with the ability to say there is an &quot;emerging consensus&quot; that Europe&#39;s governments have to take actions to spur growth, not just cut their way out of reducing debt. Tellingly, he used that moment to offer a campaign-sounding message for his economic vision for his own nation.</p><p>And he was able to stand up in Chicago and say there is a firm path to ending the Afghanistan war.</p><p>Yet there was little hard news, or specific details.</p><p>It was more about securing broad direction and avoiding screw-ups.</p><p>Obama&#39;s political advisers privately groan about so much mandatory maintenance on the world stage.</p><p>It&#39;s hard to blast Romney when the setting calls for statesmanship, although a reporter&#39;s question at the close of the NATO summit gave Obama the chance to do that, and he jumped on it. The president has one more summit to go this year, the G-20 gathering of rich and developing nations next month, before his itinerary is clear to govern and campaign.</p><p>At NATO, Obama and leaders around the globe locked in place an Afghanistan exit path that will still keep their troops fighting and dying there for two more years, acknowledging there never will be a point where everything is perfect.</p><p>Obama, presiding over a 50-nation war coalition summit in his hometown, summed up the mood of all the nations by saying the Afghanistan that will be left behind will be stable enough for them to depart &mdash; good enough after a decade of war &mdash; but still loaded with troubles.</p><p>&quot;I don&#39;t think there&#39;s ever going to be an optimal point where we say: &#39;This is all done. This is perfect. This is just the way we wanted it,&#39;&quot; Obama said as the NATO summit closed. &quot;This is a process, and it&#39;s sometimes a messy process.&quot;</p><p>Obama never spoke of victory.</p><p>At Camp David, Obama and leaders from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia were trying to calm the economic waters and perhaps the oil markets with a display of unity. They agreed that ailing Greece should remain a part of Europe&#39;s common currency, but conceded that there is no single prescription to stop Europe&#39;s economic troubles from multiplying and spreading around the world.</p><p>&quot;The global recovery shows signs of promise, but significant headwinds persist,&quot; a joint statement said.</p><p>The summit was a get-acquainted session too, as such international meetings often are. This one was the first G-8 meeting for French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. In what has been widely viewed as a snub, Russian President Vladimir Putin skipped the G-8 meeting, sending Medvedev in his place.</p><p>Obama chose the secluded Camp David setting in part to give leaders a chance for an intimate and freewheeling discussion out of sight of most media and far from the raucous protests that have accompanied previous meetings of the G-8. Obama and his counterparts emerged briefly at midday for a group photo, one of the set pieces of international summitry.</p><p>&quot;Everybody give them one wave,&quot; Obama instructed the assembled leaders as they lined up for their official photo. &quot;Let&#39;s look happy.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 09:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/summit-doubleheader-short-surprises-99414 America’s sky is falling: The fear-industrial complex http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-27/segment/america%E2%80%99s-sky-falling-fear-industrial-complex-98615 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP010911016391(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>News pundits, government officials, national security experts and politicians on both sides of the aisle like to stress how never before has America been less safe. With all the hyperbole surrounding international threats to American security, it&rsquo;s difficult to decide which to take seriously.</p><p>A recent <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137279/micah-zenko-and-michael-a-cohen/clear-and-present-safety" target="_blank">essay</a> in <em>Foreign Affairs</em> magazine, however, suggests that the United States is actually quite a safe and secure place. Instead, it seems that this overemphasis on national security threats is a sign of a growing fear-industrial complex. <em>Worldview</em> discusses American security with <a href="http://tcf.org/about/fellows/michael-cohen" target="_blank">Michael Cohen</a>, a fellow at <a href="http://tcf.org/" target="_blank">The Century Foundation</a> and a co-author of the piece.</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-27/segment/america%E2%80%99s-sky-falling-fear-industrial-complex-98615 Worldview 4.27.12 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-27/worldview-42712-98610 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP07032303607.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Politicians, pundits and government officials like to stress that America has never been less safe. There’s nuclear North Korea, Iran and Pakistan, China’s growing economic might, cyber attacks, terrorists, the decline of American hegemony -- the list goes on. But <a href="http://tcf.org/about/fellows/michael-cohen" target="_blank">Michael Cohen</a> of the Century Foundation <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137279/micah-zenko-and-michael-a-cohen/clear-and-present-safety" target="_blank">says</a> we’re actually just fine, and he has the facts to back it up. He tells <em>Worldview </em>why it doesn’t make sense to admit that America’s a safe and secure place.</p><p>Also, <em>Worldview </em>catches up with Global Activist Elke Kroeger-Radcliffe, the founder of the <a href="http://tikondane.org/" target="_blank">Tikondane Community Centre</a> in Katate, Zambia. Tikondane sponsors a community school, adult education and eco-tourism programs.</p><p>And, on this week's Weekend Passport, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/brichardson-0" target="_blank">Breeze Richardson</a>, Gene Nemirovsky and <a href="http://www.pasfarda.org/NarimonSafavi.htm" target="_blank">Nari Safavi</a> tell listeners why the most international experience this city has to offer can be found this weekend at WBEZ’s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/event/2012-04-28/global-activism-expo-2012" target="_blank">Global Activism Expo</a>.</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-27/worldview-42712-98610