The Drone Papers, Water Privatization, and Exxon Knew

“I think the whole idea of an assassination program is misguided, morally, legally and militarily. … I think the whole thing should be shut down.”

– Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor with Harper’s Magazine and author of the new book, “Kill Chain,” discussing newly published secret documents describing the inner workings of the U.S. drone warfare program

Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.


New Documents Reveal U.S. Drone Program’s Deadly Flaws

Posted Oct. 28, 2015

MP3 Interview with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor with Harper’s Magazine, conducted by Scott Harris
An anonymous whistleblower working within a U.S. intelligence agency recently leaked secret documents to the online investigative publication, “The Intercept.” The documents provide an uncensored view of the U.S. drone warfare program’s operations in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia between 2011 and 2013. The source for the documents said he provided this information to the press because he “believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government.”

The Intercept’s eight-part series of articles titled, “The Drone Papers,” reveals the flaws in the Pentagon’s 14-year air campaign conducted against suspected terrorists that has used unreliable information to make life-and-death decisions in the assassination program. The unknown number of civilians killed in these operations has served to enrage entire communities and been used as a recruiting tool by anti-western and terrorist groups.

The authors of the Intercept series expressed hope that their investigation will provoke a public debate on the legal and moral consequences of a secret assassination program with little or no oversight, or checks and balances. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor with Harper’s Magazine and author of a new book on the U.S. drone program titled, “Kill Chain: The Rise of the High Tech Assassins.” Here, Cockburn, discusses the value of these secret documents in assessing the deadly flaws evident in the U.S. military’s drone warfare program.

For more information visit Flying Blind by Andrew Cockburn; Kill Chain: The Rise of the High Tech Assassins and “The Drone Papers,” published by the Intercept.
Related Links:
mp3 Interview conducted by Scott Harris, Counterpoint, Oct. 26, 2015 (22:29)
“Drone Papers: Leaked Military Documents Expose US ‘Assassination Complex’,” Common Dreams, Oct. 15, 2015
“Drone War Exposed: Jeremy Scahill on U.S. Kill Program’s Secrets & the Whistleblower Who Leaked Them,” Democracy Now, Oct 16, 2015
“Snowden and Ellsberg hail leak of drone documents from new whistleblower,” The Guardian, Oct 16, 2015
“Anonymous American whistleblower the “New Snowden,” releases classified documents on Obama’s drone war,” Before It’s News, Oct. 16, 2015
“Snowden Slams US Government for Keeping Drone Program Secret,” Reader Supported News, Oct. 17, 2015

Privatization of Public Water Resources Jeopardizes the Affordability and Quality of Water Supplies

Posted Oct. 28, 2015

MP3 Interview with Mary Grant, director of the Food and Water Watch Public Water for All campaign, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
With the deterioration and lack of investment in the nation’s public water supply delivery systems, more water disasters are in the headlines — from a chemical spill in a West Virginia river in January 2014 that affected 300,000 people. to the reports this month of serious contamination of the water in Flint, Michigan.

More efforts are underway to privatize water that has historically been a public resource, both in the U.S. and around the world. At the same time the growth in the sale of bottled water that consumers purchase on their own has accompanied and exacerbated the privatization trend.

Corporate water privatization deals appeal to many cash-strapped cities and towns in need of costly infrastructure retrofits. But once in control of a vital public resource, corporations often use their monopoly to raise the cost of drinking water, without public accountability. Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus spoke with Mary Grant, director of the Food and Water Watch Public Water for All campaign. Here she describes her group’s work promoting the protection and affordability of the nation’s water supply by fighting privatization bids and advocating for increased federal investment.

For more information visit Food & Water Watch at and F&WW Public Water For All Campaign at
Related Links:
“Public Health Emergency Declared in Flint, Michigan Due to Lead Contamination in Water,” EcoWatch, Oct 7, 2015
“A ‘House Of Horrors’: Thousands Of Michigan Residents Subject To Contaminated Drinking Water,” Climate Progress, June 5, 2015
“UPDATE: Freedom Industries Executives Plead Guilty to Criminal Charges for West Virginia Chemical Leak,” Center for Effective Government, Aug. 19, 2015
“Customers speak out against American Water rate increase,” CHarleston Gazette-Mail, Oct. 26, 2015
“Truth from the Tap: A Water Industry PR Blitz,” Food & Water Watch, April 28, 2015
” Is the Tide Turning Against Water Privatization?,” The Nation, April 27, 2015

Investigative Report Finds Exxon Knew Climate Change was Real, But Funded Deniers to Sow Confusion

Posted Oct. 28, 2015

MP3 Interview with Jack Cushman Jr., reporter with InsideClimateNews, conducted by Scott Harris
The Pulitzer Prize-winning online news site InsideClimate, has published a groundbreaking investigative report that revealed that ExxonMobil corporation, the largest and most powerful oil company in the world, had known through its own cutting-edge scientific research, that climate change presented a serious threat to the earth’s environment as early as the late 1970s. Despite that knowledge, Exxon spent more than two decades providing millions of dollars in funding to individuals and groups promoting the myth that climate change was uncertain.

The authors of the six-part series titled, “Exxon The Road Not Taken,” using Exxon’s own internal documents and citing interviews with former Exxon employees and federal officials, conclude that once the oil giant realized that government limits on the production of greenhouse gasses would cut into its profits, it worked to sow doubt about the reality of global warming and lobbied to block federal and international regulations to control CO2 emissions.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Jack Cushman, a reporter with, who summarizes his publication’s investigative report on Exxon and its possible impact at the upcoming UN conference on climate change in Paris this December.

For more information, visit Inside Climate News at
Related Links:
mp3 Interview conducted by Scott Harris, Counterpoint, Oct. 26, 2015 (27:33)
“Exxon’s Own Research Confirmed Fossil Fuels’ Role in Global Warming Decades Ago,” Inside Climate News, Sept. 21, 2015
“How Exxon went from leader to skeptic on climate change,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 23, 2015
“Exxon Knew about Climate Change Almost 40 Years Ago,” Scientific American, Oct. 26, 2015
” Demand a Federal Investigation of Exxon’s Climate-Change Deception,” The Nation, Oct. 26, 2015
“Bernie Sanders Calls For Federal Investigation Of Exxon,” Climate Progress, Oct. 20, 2015
“Exxon’s climate change denial warrants federal inquiry, congressmen say,” The Guardian, Oct. 16, 2015
“Investigation Finds Exxon Ignored Its Own Early Climate Change Warnings,” CPTV Frontline, Sept. 16, 2015
” Exxon Knew Everything There Was to Know About Climate Change by the Mid-1980s—and Denied It,” The Nation, Oct. 20, 2015
“Exxon-Mobil Lands In Hot Water Over Climate Change Report,” Crooks and Liars, Oct. 17, 2015

This week’s summary of under-reported news


Compiled by Bob Nixon
With the renewal of U.S.-Cuban relations and improved economic ties, a new housing boom is underway in Havana. Handmade “for sale” signs hang outside many old colonial homes, as new condo complexes are under construction, in sight of decaying older buildings.(“Land-rush revolution: US-Cuba talks rile island’s real-estate market,” Miami Herald Oct. 12, 2015)
An enormous coal fired power plant, carved out of a virgin forest, sits 300 miles south of New Delhi. It’s a sign of India’s economic ambitions to catch up with Chinese industrialization, requiring cheap electricity. The Sasan power plant, with financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank has triggered various land disputes and displaced villagers who are facing new economic hardship.(“India’s coal-fueled economy taking a toll on environment and rural villagers,” Los Angeles Times, Oct. 15, 2015)
On Oct. 13 the Third District Court of Appeals reinstated a federal lawsuit by Muslim residents of New Jersey against the New York City Police Department for broad surveillance of Muslim communities, including mosques and businesses. An investigation by the Associated Press uncovered a decade-long surveillance program run by the NYPD against Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey. The squad in charge of the sweeps, known as the Demographics Unit, was disbanded by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio in 2014.(“Lawsuit Over New York Police Surveillance of Muslims Is Revived,” New York Times Oct. 13, 2015;”Court Reinstates Lawsuit Over NYPD Surveillance of Muslims,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 13, 2015)

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