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tv   Breaking the Set  RT  December 9, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm EST

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agnimitra general. coming up on r t the bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms is the target of an investigation this month news reports reveal agents took advantage of mentally disabled bed for sting operations only to have them face jail time after work we'll tell you more about this abusive practice. and major tech companies like google and facebook are demanding restrictions on u.s. government surveillance but while tech titans take on government giants it looks like the n.s.a. is dabbling in fantasy spying on world of warcraft players details coming up and u.s. soldiers returning from war to enter another field of battle as the veterans administration continues to pursue private pain killers vets are getting hooked on the opiates
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we'll take a look at the health of our veterans later in the show. it's monday december ninth four pm in washington d.c. i'm meghan lopez and you are watching r t well a newspaper investigation has exposed how agents with the bureau of alcohol tobacco and firearms use mentally disabled men to help promote their undercover sting operations before arresting and charging them reporters with the milwaukee journal sentinel sifted through thousands of pages of court records and found numerous cases of the agency's abuse and family are now in one case twenty eight year old chauncey wright was hired to hand out flyers promoting a fake store right has the i.q. of a mid fifty's which is it's considered extremely low paid right with cigarettes merchandise
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and money they eventually convinced him to bring them drugs and guns off the street a month later he was arrested and charged he now faces up to life in prison chauncey writes relatives say. agents knowingly took advantage of a mentally disabled man and wright isn't alone there are a list of four other instances where a.t.f. agents use mentally disabled men before arresting them now congress and apartment of justice want answer the talk about some of the other findings from this investigation i was joined earlier by john dietrich he's a reporter for at the milwaukee journal sentinel who has been investigating this story and i first asked him to walk us through some of the other arrests of people who assisted the a.t.f. the way this started was we had a sting here in milwaukee that had all kinds of problems including you mentioned at the outset a mentally disabled man being used to promote the operation we've been investigating this all year and what we found in our most recent best gauging is this was not an
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isolated incident at the a.t.f. it used mentally disabled people at several locations around the country to promote their storefronts and then turned around and charge them at the end now i want to go ahead and talk about some of the other discoveries in your investigation things like losing weapons things like damaging buildings can you walk us through some of the bullet points that your investigation found sure at the beginning and you're referring to the locky one of the most shocking findings in that initial investigation was that a.t.f. agents themselves lost their guns and an agent had his weapons including a fully automatic rifle stolen from his car which is parked at a coffee shop that machine gun has not been recovered to date there also was and this happened in other cities as well where the buildings were damaged in the a.t.f. refused to pay for the damage afterwards ran up the utility bills overflowing toilets problems things of that nature in the landlord initially here in milwaukee but also
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. pensacola and portland bill. and how did you discover all of this was going on. twelve initial malaki operation we learned through tips from the landlord and also from law enforcement sources and then we just continue to investigate talking to people in the neighborhood people who have gone to the store themselves family members and things of that nature and what e.t.f. said at the beginning we've heard that began investigating this and what they told congress with that these were isolated incidents nothing outside of milwaukee that they could find and they stood by this technique i should just say what these techniques are is a set of fake storefronts to sell things like clothing or have tattoos parlors or things of this nature but what they're really interested in is buying guns and drugs in the in the each operations and so what we found is these problems
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proliferating across the country that it wasn't just walking and they required a lot of shoe leather in terms of looking at court records from other places and again a.t.f. does not talk about or provide a list of all these places that they do these undercover stings however they do put out press releases occasionally and we also learn from sources where a number of these. stings where they employ these rogue tactics occurred and as i understand it as part of your investigation you also discovered that not only did they allow felons who had guns in their possessions to leave the stores they allowed to smoke marijuana they also provided alcohol as i understand it to you now do you think that your reporting could result in charges being dropped for the people that were mentally disabled who helped the a.t.f. and then. well at this point i think that's unlikely all the people that we wrote about have already their cases already been achieved a kid they've been convicted and sentenced to prison or probation as the case may
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be one individual i think you mentioned at the outset the use of the mentally disabled the a.t.f. encouraged and paid for this individual and his friend a mentally disabled man and his friend to get tattoos on. the next promoting the store fronts thing what was interesting is well the judge did sentence him to eighteen months in prison he did order that the a.t.f. pay for the removal of that test too but at this point a lot of these cases they're all hands really on this high quality surveillance video that the a.t.f. has from the store fronts so these almost never go to trial they usually lead to quick guilty pleas and convictions and in the federal system usually some substantial time even if you don't have a criminal violent criminal background is many of these did not have a very violent background and that's really what the a.t.f. is in its stated mission is how to get the violent offenders people who are at the
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top of the food chain if you will in violent organizations and things of that nature and talking to a whole host of experts who looked at these cases as well they just don't see it now as you mentioned this isn't just a few isolated incidents your investigation has uncovered a number of them so is that negligence on the part of the a.t.f. or is there something more nefarious going on. well you know those are questions i guess others could answer at this point what i can say is that you know as you look across the country what we found is very similar tactics for instance a man in wichita was paid to ride his bike around to promote the operation this is very similar to what happened in the malaki a man named chauncey wright same thing rode around spike handing out flyers he was paid in cigarettes cash and merchandise the men in wichita was paid in cigarettes cash and merchandise and they broker deals gun deals and drug deals dozens and
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dozens more than the cement in in which he talks and in both of those cases it's very interesting because they were really used as a traditional confidential informant to set up details except because of their i.q.'s which are both in the mid fifty's they had no idea what was going on and so not only do they face significant federal time at the end of this they also were in great jeopardy because everyone in the case thinks they were the informant a think that they got a deal or working for the a.t.f. and they're with the a.t.f. calls an unwitting informant but what the attorneys have said is really that undercuts the whole point of knowing what you're doing and taking on the risk that comes with it one other point that you raised about gun walking in this is very significant in light of fast and furious where a.t.f. agents allowed more than two thousand guns to trap travel into traffickers hands including into mexico where individuals were killed guns were
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allowed to walk in this case and in some cases the a.t.f. it or a felon working for the a.t.f. as an informant somebody who knew what was going on encouraged individuals to take shotguns that were not cut down to sawed off shotgun size leave the store with the shotguns go unsolved saw them down and and in one of those cases the divisional call back and ask the agents it in the hottest. i don't see the agency just did what kind of saw they might use it's very interesting we know the a.t.f. has said that they are investigating it the d.o.j. so they might have an inspector general investigating this and congress has demanded answers so we'll have to see if anything actually comes of that john dietrich a reporter with the mo walker journal sentinel thank you so much thank you well it was the thread that unraveled the undercover world of n.s.a. surveillance in light of the leaks by former contractor edward snowden eight major u.s. tech firms have written an open letter to president obama pushing for more restrictions on government surveillance as well as a more open internet the letter reads the balance in many countries has tipped too
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far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual rights that are enshrined in our constitution this undermines the freedoms we all cherish it's time for a change a.o.l. apple facebook google linked in microsoft twitter and yahoo signed the letter and created a website listing five areas of improvement meanwhile more revelations are out this week about what the government agencies are doing with their surveillance tools but for more on that we turn to our tease sam sachs. this may look like your typical battle between alliance and horde members in the virtual world of warcraft but to the n.s.a. this could also be a secret terrorist gathering today pro publica reported that the n.s.a. and british spies have infiltrated online gaming platforms like world of warcraft and second life looking for terrorists that's what's outlined in an internal n.s.a. documents leaked by edward snowden that focuses on games and virtual worlds the
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n.s.a. notes as virtual worlds become more popular pervasive and sophisticated so to will terrorist opportunities to exploit them also games provide attractive communications channels for terrorist groups and sympathizers because in game conversations often are difficult or impossible to monitor and games can supplement field training by familiarising recruits with the tactics weaponry and skills needed to conduct operations you know like when terrorists exploit the use of giant evil rabbits peter singer with the brookings institute found the n.s.a.'s concerns a laughable telling pro publica games are built in operated by companies looking to make money so the players identity and activity is tracked for terror groups looking to keep their communication secret there are far more effective and easier ways to do so than putting on a troll avatar and the n.s.a. zone documents provide zero counterterror successes coming from the agency's online
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gaming surveillance what's but what if the n.s.a. or the f.b.i. could dig a little deeper what if they could not only track your world of warcraft tactics but also track exactly what you're doing while you're playing world of warcraft by hacking right into your computer camera as the washington post reported the f.b.i. has been able to covertly activated computers camera without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording for several years yet the f.b.i. can watch you. as you do whatever you do in front of your computer from playing world of warcraft to the hood to reading the news and drinking your coffee. to watching shocking viral videos ah to well use your imagination a girl. in april of this year a judge in texas rejected an f.b.i. request to hack into a suspect computer and use their webcam to take pictures of them the judge argued
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the tactic was extremely intrusive and could violate the rights of others caught in front of that same camera the f.b.i. is actually borrowing a tactic used by hackers for years to spy on women through their web cams these latest revelations shed more light on the f.b.i. and n.s.a. counter terror tactics tactics that appeared just as intrusive as they are absurd and considering previous n.s.a. documents reveal an agency struggling to deal with the problem of ingesting too much data and maybe filling repositories with the latest hoard gold count or with live images of what people are doing in front of their computers isn't the way to go in washington sam sacks are to. well the newly spin leaked documents by the secret spilling organization wiki leaks reveal how wide of a division there is between the twelve nations currently participating in the transpacific partnership talks and who is the most to pick the u.s. government pitted against the eleven other nations on
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a number of issues from intellectual property to corporate empowerment here's a look at some of the biggest disagreements now when it comes to investments only the u.s. and japan support the proposal while the rest express their objections to the proposal but the u.s. has shown no signs of flexibility when dealing with the sanitary and sayto sanitary standards the u.s. has also reopened several disciplines of the chapter in the direction of decreasing its levels of ambition this is concerning because the us is not demonstrating flexibility on financial services the positions are still paralyzed united states shows zero flexibility on agricultural exports subsidies all tepee countries except the us commit to eliminate them now a spokesman for the office of the u.s. trade representative said that he had no idea where these documents came from he also said that they are old versions of the deal currently being negotiated
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american officials hope the negotiators would reach a deal by the end of this year however the more information that comes out to the public the more difficult it is making to finalize this pact. well in the aftermath of the two a longest wars in american history troops are still suffering from the physical and emotional scars left from their days overseas the department of veterans affairs estimates that twenty two veterans take their lives a day or about one every sixty five minutes a number of others are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder or p.t.s.d. now in order to cope with the physical and mental pain doctors often times per scribe powerful pain medications to these veterans things like oxy cotton but over prescription often leads to a life threatening addictions artie's that perry and boring reports. prescription drug abuse in overdose has taken so many lives in america that the white house classifies it as an epidemic sadly our nation's veterans are some of the most at
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risk of becoming addicted to prescription drugs veterans like nick stefan a brick i got this shirts are we discharged from the marine corps in two thousand and six. and when i came home and when i started using pills. for everything. oxycontin is an opioid prescribe to treat severe acute or chronic pain veterans hospitals are increasingly prescribing the drug to people with chronic pain who also have post-traumatic stress disorder almost cures. the type of medical disorders that come back from combat with immediately but mental illness can increase a person's risk of addiction so that addiction turned just snowballed and spiraled out of control. to the point where i've lost everything divina vick got so caught up in his addiction he was ultimately arrested for writing fraudulent checks to buy drugs illegally oxycontin is an opioid and addictive painkiller that resulted in
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over sixteen thousand deaths in two thousand and ten that number has been increasing over the past eleven years despite its highly addictive nature the number of opioid prescriptions written by the v.a. has risen by over two hundred eighty seven percent between one thousand nine hundred nine and two thousand and twelve in two thousand and twelve alone the v.a. treated over fifty thousand veterans for issues associated with opioid use many of which were overdoses according to a study by the v.a. veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more than twice as likely to be prescribed opioids which is a pain killer at the same time opioids can have a toxic reactions to other common p.t.s.d. medications but is it safe to give opioids to people who have p.t.s.d. i asked produce pharma the leading producer of oxy cotton about. this and they told me opioid anneli jets are an important part of treating veterans who suffer from chronic pain there you should be closely monitored at all times especially in
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combination with other medications but purdue has a history of misleading the public in two thousand and seven the company put it guilty to criminal charge. less addictive than what it really was and misleading doctors patient and regulators about the risk of the product yet the v.a. continues to prescribe the drug which is produce farmers cash cow the painkiller accounts for eighty percent of their total revenues oxycodone sales increased three hundred percent between two thousand and one and two thousand and eleven purdue has sold over twenty seven billion dollars worth of this drug since one thousand nine hundred six that's more than the entire gross domestic product of north korea and jamaica combined we all know we can't deny they're making a ton of money off of us judy's would tell skee is a veterans treatment court judge in michigan we're looking at dramatically increasing rates and that's different for our veterans she believes the criminal justice system can be successful treating prescription drug addictions divonne
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a victim himself and a veterans treatment court program after his arrest he was court ordered to report to a judge and attend treatment sessions for a year he says the program saved his life but to get into the program a person first has to get arrested the larger policy question is how the v.a. can avoid contributing to the addiction problem in the first place the. rate of recovery from opiate dependence is less than one percent typically so it's even much less it's highly addictive the total financial cost of the iraq and afghanistan wars are estimated to be between four and six two trillion dollars however we can put a price tag on the over six thousand casualties from these wars sadly many veterans that do make it home find themselves fighting another battle over prescription drugs in washington d.c. kerry and boring r.t. . while judges in a d.c. federal appeals court questioned the need for genital searches of kuantan of obey detainees who want to exit the facility to meet with their lawyers lawyers for the
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men currently being held say the searches began after camp staff moved the conference location to a building outside of the tension facility. they allege it was meant to discourage these men from meeting with their lawyers attorney david remes told r.t. back in may the genital searches started right after the mass hunger strike began in the facility he says it was a way to punish the prisoners for starving themselves here's david remes talking about how invasive these searches are. i think that this would be a credible from a westerner standpoint outrageous for a by a westerner standpoint but for devout muslim and i think it is the. one of the worst forms of humiliation there could be and for that reason if they don't want to leave their camp because of the searches they end up not being able to meet their lawyers not being able to have telephones with their telephone calls
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with their lawyers not being able to have telic phone calls with their families. now during the trial this afternoon u.s. justice department lawyers arguing that the searches were introduced to combat security concerns after detainees were discovered with contraband and after one of them committed suicide in two thousand and twelve by hording medications the government attorneys say they're concerned that the detainees could pick up things like nails on the ground that could be used as weapons while outside of their residences the justice department says that the judges don't have jurisdiction to hear the case because it centers on issues of confinement lawyers for the detainees instead argue that they need to protect the rights of their clients access to counsel today government lawyers compared the practice to a t.s.a. search at the airport and said quote it's not as bad as it sounds well have to see if the appeals court agrees. well in the never ending pursuit for ratings americans
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have watched as networks like c.n.n. m s n b c c.b.s. and fox news clamor over a dwindling number of television viewers take a look at the latest nielsen ratings from the third quarter of this year among the most watched cable channels on t.v. fox news came in seven is a mess n.b.c. is ranked thirty first and c.n.n. is thirty fourth since last year viewership for almost every news outlet has melted away partially due to the usual post presidential election. drops and spectators but a number of viewers are turning away from mainstream news entirely and choosing alternative news networks or the internet to get their daily headlines now one complaint those disgruntled viewers have is the repetition of stories between stations right now six of the largest media conglomerates in the us control get this ninety percent of the media and one company sinclair broadcasting is about to take an even bigger chunk of the pie when it comes to local news markets are
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a mirror david reports. have you ever heard of sinclair broadcast group well if you have it you probably should especially considering it's the company that likely owns your local news station sinclair broadcast group is the telecommunications corporation that operates the largest number of local television stations in the country so how large could this company really be while the key number here would be one forty six that's exactly how many television stations sinclair currently owns but that number will soon grow a little larger because sinclair is rapidly acquiring more and more news rooms one of its latest contracts includes a nine hundred eighty five million dollar deal and which sinclair bought up eight television properties but this buyout is far from unique and fax in clear alone is behind seven deals that were completed in just this last year and that takes us up to one sixty four because in due time the company is expected to add eighteen more
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new stations to its collection and that means the conglomerate will be able to reach approximately thirty eight point seven percent of u.s. television households and sinclair doesn't discriminate the stations under this media giant are quite diversified in fact its roster is set to include thirty nine fox affiliates twenty nine of a.b.c. twenty six of c.b.s. twenty five of the c.w. sixteen of n.b.c. and the list goes on and on but perhaps what's most peculiar about this is the fact that the company will have one hundred sixty four stations and only seventy seven markets so do the math that means there are markets where sinclair will own more than just one station let's just take a look at the state of florida in both west palm beach and pensacola sinclair owns four competing stations and if that's not enough in both gainesville and tallahassee the telecom giant owns three but here's the hitch as the stations
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consolidate into the same. company so does their content it's a popular way for big media companies to cut their costs so that means a viewer in one city could flip through all their local stations see different anchors but hear the same words in fact and something conan o'brien poked fun at and one of his comedy bits in consumer news economic factors may take some spring out of the easter bunny stuff this year and all the factors like to bring you out of the easter bunny still the sheer economic factors make it going to bring out the easter bunny this year at the moment. that would be very good economic factors in the way of spring we stepped in here so the million dollar question is how is sinclair able to get away with this one thousand nine hundred ninety nine the federal communications commission or the f.c.c. changed its playing rules it said it would permit common ownership of two television stations within the same market if eight full power independent
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television stations will remain post merger the f.c.c. assured critics that the change would still allow for healthy competition but it hasn't because it's opened up a way for sinclair broadcast group to skirt around the rules this is all laid out in a recent report put out by free press which is a media watchdog group free press says that sinclair has been capitalizing on a loophole to the rules taking over multiple stations through the use of outsourcing agreements basically it means that sinclair is purchasing these stations through subsidiary companies that oversees these side car companies are cunningham broadcasting deerfield media and howard stern holdings free press argues that this should serve as a wake up call to the f.c.c. the report says unless the f.c.c. starts and forcing its rules there will be much more consolidation to come newsrooms will close people won't have competing sources of news about issues that
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matter to their communities but perhaps we shouldn't expect the commission to act on this. any time soon especially considering sinclair just picked up an f.c.c. insider to be its chief lobbyist in d.c. rebecca hansen who focused on broadcast spectrum issues at the f.c.c. media bureau will join sinclair on january second as senior v.p. for strategy and policy shall oversee a new d.c. office conveniently located just an arm's length away from both the f.c.c. and of course a whole host of washington lawmakers so it's highly probable that we're just seeing the beginning of sinclair's covert consolidation and monopolization of the market the next time you flip through your local channels and get the feeling that things sound eerily familiar at least you'll know why in washington a mirror david r t alright well that does it for now but for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash archie america check out our web site r c dot com slash usa and follow me on twitter at meghan underscore lopez stay tuned the us
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does next. the world including. science technology innovation all the latest developments from around russia we've gone to the future covered i was thinking somehow i had to come back because mom was waiting for me. and i just knew that everything would be fine for some reason they were so confident because we were going to get married officially after he came back how could he not come back because the mere thought of it never crossed her mind. when the militants decided to try and break through her new guinea screaming grenade.
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explosions blow them all run his back toward. a loser and it was all over all. we know that our call rats on our commander won't leave us no matter how tough it gets we're a team. you're getting was a senior in his military trio. he knew that if he didn't smother that grenade with his body more of his comrades would die he gave his own life to save us friends.
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there i marinate it this is boom bust and here are some of the stories we're tracking for you today. first up j.p. morgan. is nepotism especially in china now that's according to new documents on earth and published in the new york times we're going to tell you all about it coming right up and one of the sexiest metals known to man is behind some of the most criminal behavior the world has ever seen it's a complex thing and the best selling author matthew heart knows a thing or two about it he joins me to discuss his new book aptly titled goals and finally in today's big deal rachel curtis and i talk about the state.


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