Showing posts tagged Al Jazeera

Reporting live from Boston today…

Here’s a Google+ event from earlier this week in which we screened “Rio’s Red Card” and afterward had a Q&A session with the filmmaker and some folks in a Google hangout. The doc follows a favela in Rio that’s struggling to not be destroyed in the path of a new stadium, as the city prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
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Thank you Daily Show for proving why we need Al Jazeera America! More investigative journalism, ala Fault Lines, less holograms, ala WTF???

This is a must-watch.

The Daily Show with Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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This is really funny. I’d like to correct one misperception though. If you watched my recent Fault Lines episode about fracking in the US, then you know proponents of it believe one of their strongest arguments is that natural gas is cleaner and better for the environment than oil (some scientists dispute this). Those same proponents tend to be conservative and their viewpoint is repeated frequently on Fox News. Then it’s worth pointing out that Qatar is not an oil-rich nation, rather its wealth is built upon its large reserves of, wait for it, natural gas. The people at Fox News must know this, but they never let a fact get in the way of a chance to slam Al Gore. 

One other point, the inverse of Jon’s last point is true as well. Not only does Fox News’ parent corporation News Corp own Rotana, but Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is the second largest owner of News Corp behind Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch. So is Fox News controlled by foreign entities?

Here’s my latest Fault Lines episode, Fracking in America. I’ll post photos from the trip over the next couple of days…

Fault Lines: On the Pulse of the Pentagon

The US announced a new military strategy today at a Pentagon briefing. Much of the discussion concerned what could be read as predictable—and cyclic—budget cuts of a post-war drawdown. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also took pains to mention what wouldn’t feel the fiscal pinch: offensive and defensive cyber security and unmanned systems.

We at Fault Lines have covered and predicted both of these trends.

First with an episode called Cyberwar.

A growing fear of computer hackers—a term encompassing a broad range of entities from digital spy rings to information thieves to cyberarmies of kids, criminals and terrorists (some backed by nation states)—and their potentially massive threat to national security has Washington maneuvering into position to defend its assets from a new style of warfare: one without foot soldiers, guns or missiles. Crucial national infrastructure, high value commercial secrets, tens of billions of dollars in defense contracts—as well as values like privacy and freedom of expression—are at stake. 

In this episode of Fault Lines, I enter the domain of “cyber” and speak to a former US national security official turned cybersecurity consultant, a Silicon Valley CEO, a hacker, and those who warn of a growing arms race in cyberspace.

Is the US contributing to the militarisation of cyberspace? Are the reports of cyber threats being distorted by a burgeoning security industry? And are the battles being waged in cyberspace interfering with the Internet as we know it? 

Then last week we filed a report titled Robot Wars.

Over the past decade, the US military has shifted the way it fights its wars, deploying more unmanned systems in the battlefield than ever before.

Today there are more than 7,000 drones and 12,000 ground robots in use by all branches of the military.

These systems mean less American deaths and also less political risk for the US when it takes acts of lethal force – often outside of official war zones.

But US lethal drone strikes in countries like Pakistan have brought up serious questions about the legal and political implications of using these systems.

Fault Lines looks at how these new weapons of choice are allowing the US to stretch the international laws of war and what it could mean when more and more autonomy is developed for these lethal machines.

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Here’s a story I did yesterday about Iran airing the video of the captured US Drone.


This new episode premiered last night on Al Jazeera English at 2230 GMT.

In part one of a two-part series, Fault Lines goes to Mogadishu to see the impact of Somalia’s famine, and asks if US policies have contributed to the disaster.

The worst drought in 60 years has thrown some 13 million people across the Horn of Africa into crisis.

In Somalia, ravaged by two decades of conflict, the consequences have been disastrous. For over six months, aid agencies on the ground sounded the alarm that a major drought and famine was on the horizon.

Then in July and August, the world watched and international aid agencies scrambled as tens of thousands of Somalis fled famine and fighting in the devastated Southern part of the country, controlled by the armed group al-Shabab. And they continued to flee - to the Somali capital of Mogadishu, and refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia - in the following months, when the world seemed to lose interest.

Tens of thousands of Somalis have died and the UN has warned that three quarters of a million more are at risk of dying before the end of the year.

Somalia’s weak Transitional Federal Government, the Obama administration, and the United Nations have all blamed the anti-government group al-Shabab for restricting international aid operations in the areas they control. But is al-Shabab the only reason a drought and food crisis has turned into a deadly famine?

In the first of a two-part series examining the US response to drought and hunger in the Horn of Africa, Fault Lines travels to Mogadishu to meet refugees who have fled to the most war-ravaged city in the world to escape a worse fate, and the aid and medical workers struggling to help them. We examine the legacy of US engagement in Somalia and its efforts to address the current crisis.

Has aid in this region of the world become politicised? And has Washington’s pre-occupation with terrorism in the Horn of Africa contributed to the deadly consequences of this disaster?

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(Reblogged from whatescapes)


The New York Times this morning has a front-page piece about the increasing power prosecutors have in extracting guilty pleas from defendants without going to trial. 

After decades of new laws to toughen sentencing for criminals, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants and reduce the number of cases that go to trial, often by using the threat of more serious charges with mandatory sentences or other harsher penalties.

These tougher sentences have led to a boom in elderly inmates in US prisons. The fastest growing segment of prisoners is those who are 50 and older. In Oklahoma they expect that group to increase by 45% a year for the foreseeable future. For the Fault Lines episode above we gained access to prisons across the US and were shocked by what we found…

Everyone’s A Critic

I knew helping to start Al Jazeera English would draw criticism. And it has.

I have been:

My latest surprise critic came courtesy of Wikileaks. A leaked diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Doha, Qatar, describes an early pilot of an interview show I shot for Al Jazeera International (before we changed our name to Al Jazeera English) on September 2, 2005. The unnamed author writes, “Hassan and Josh are clearly still amateur anchors and will need considerable practice to present a more professional and engaging program.” Um, ouch.

Setting aside the commentary’s sting and my bruised—though still breathing—ego for a moment, I must admit the show was bad. Exercising good wisdom, Al Jazeera management chose to go a different direction, canceling the show years before the network launched—a decision I supported fully. With the program’s early demise, I thought I had escaped what were sure to be genuinely rough reviews, but thanks to inept security, Wikileaks and living in a time when every blemish has the potential to exist forever on the Internet; I’ve been forced to face the US State Department’s critically acclaimed television standards. I’d love to know what they thought of Arrested Development

Now I’m left to wait, should I be so lucky, until the next iteration of leaked documents opining my career to find out what the TV critics at the State Department think of my most recent work on Fault Lines. Oh with bated breath….

LEGACY OF WAR: Laos’s untouched beauty is staggering—marred only by the litter of U.S. bombs dropped during the Vietnam War.

LEGACY OF WAR: A 15-year-old boy and his brother have shrapnel embedded in their arms and legs from U.S. bombs dropped during the Vietnam War.

Here’s a few shots of me with my friends and colleagues in Baghdad. The guy with the ball cap is Ben Foley. He’s one of Jazeera’s best cameramen.  And the tall one is Simon Harrison who’s one of the best producers I’ve ever worked with. Ben took the two photos that he’s not in and Major Brandon Lingle took the group shot. 

Again from the continuing series of our reporting at Fault Lines being followed by other media, last week NPR quoted our story in a piece it ran about the gold boom happening in Colombia right now.

When we filmed this episode (above) in April, the price of gold was at an “historic high” of $1,500; now, only four months later, I feel naive for thinking that was a lot. Today gold is selling for near $1,900 an ounce, which goes a long way to explaining why I’m a journalist and not an investor.