“Not that it’s unconstitutional, which is to say they didn’t decide that Congress can’t authorize it. They just decided that Congress hadn’t authorized it and that the Patriot Act did not suffice to justify or provide a legal basis for mass surveillance.”
– Shahid Buttar, executive director with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, on the May 7 federal appeals court ruling that NSA bulk collection of Americans’ phone data is illegal.
Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.
In Landmark Ruling, Federal Appeals Court Finds NSA Bulk Collection of Americans’ Phone Data Illegal
In landmark ruling on May 7, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan found that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata is illegal. The court said that the NSA program, first revealed by former government contractor Edward Snowden in 2013, was not authorized by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act signed into law in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Story continues
Bank of America has joined several other financial institutions in the U.S. that have recently made policy decisions to stop financing coal production. The bank announced its new policy at its annual shareholders meeting on May 6 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where it’s headquartered. Story continues
The U.S. 2014 midterm election set a record as the most expensive campaign in the country’s history, where the wealthiest donors contributed 29 percent of all fundraising that political committees disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. The 2014 election also set a record for the lowest voter turnout in 72 years, where only 36.3 percent of eligible American voters cast ballots across the country. Only the 1942 election during the dark early days of World War II had a lower participation rate at 33.9 percent. Story continues
This week’s summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon
- Greenpeace India faces an imminent shutdown of its operations due to pressure from the administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has frozen the organization’s bank accounts. (“Greenpeace India says fund crunch may force shutdown within a month,” Live Mint, May 5, 2015; “After Greenpeace and Ford Foundation, Home Ministry shifts focus to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” Economic Times, May 6, 2015; “What future for India’s environmental and rights groups,” Devex, May 6, 2015)
- Last fall, Loik Rajabov left the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan, north of Afghanistan, to move to Moscow to look for construction work. A few months later, he phoned relatives back in Tajikistan saying he and his family were moving to Syria to join ISIS. (“How Isis is recruiting migrant workers in Moscow to join the fighting in Syria,” The Guardian, May 5, 2015)
- The City of Los Angeles is suing banking giant Wells Fargo, alleging quotas for cross-selling financial products forced employees to open unauthorized accounts, harming the credit of banking customers. (“LA sues Wells Fargo, alleging ‘unlawful and fraudulent’ conduct, “ Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2015; “Wells Fargo pressure-cooker sales culture comes at a cost,” Dec. 21, 2013)