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A Don Quixote Defense: Latest from the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial by The WhoWhatWhy Team
Federal prosecutors call the efforts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers worthy of those of Don Quixote. Truer words may never have been spoken. Here’s the latest from the Boston Marathon Bombing trial.
This is How a Police State Protects “Secrets”: Jeffrey Sterling, The CIA and Up to 80 Years on Circumstantial Evidence
Marcy Wheeler examines the conviction of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on “all nine counts he faced of leaking classified details of an operation to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.” His alleged leak about the operation—codenamed “Merlin”—was also the source of government threats toward NY Times reporter James Risen, who steadfastly refused to reveal confidential sources. Wheeler breaks down the largely circumstantial case against Sterling which, she points out, hasn’t garnered the mainstream media attention Risen’s role got. By focusing solely on press freedom, many journalists have missed the chilling effect this case will have on the government whistleblowers that journalists often need to get the truth.
Lessons From 1953: The Debt Write-off Behind Germany’s ‘Economic Miracle’
On the heels of Greece’s “anti-austerity” victory in last weekend’s election, broadcaster France 24 looks at the history of debt in European economics and the key role debt cancellation played in West Germany’s rise to economic powerhouse out of the ashes of WWII. Greece has a massive $310 billion debt and its “radical” new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is using Germany as a case in point as he argues for debt cancellation. And the historical irony is not lost on Greeks suffering through unemployment and German calls for severe austerity measures. In fact, “Alexis Tsipras’ decision on Tuesday to lay a wreath at a memorial to Greek communists murdered by the Nazis, in his very first outing as prime minister, was widely interpreted as a reminder of Germany’s historical debt towards Greece.”
Report Questions Focus on Biofuels in Energy Policy
A new report from the World Resources Institute disabuses the notion that biofuels offer a viable alternative to hydrocarbons and criticizes policies promoting plant-based fuels. The supposed promise of biofuels has led to billions of dollars of investment in spite of the fact that “turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand.” Moreover, the report found, biofuel production “is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population.”
The Intriguing New Science That Could Change Your Mind About Rats
The much-maligned rat has endured centuries of vilification, extermination efforts and a variety of environmental changes. Throughout, humans have dismissed rats as nothing more than dirty vermin. But new research into the mind, emotions and culture of rats reveals a complex, empathy-driven animal that often comes to the aid of its trapped or distressed comrades and … even total strangers. Those behaviors may explain the success of rats in spite of ubiquitous efforts to poison them into extinction.
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