articles tagged "ProPublica"

Sebastian Rotella: Migrants from South of the Mexican Border

Wednesday, 12 December 2012 | buzz
ProPublica

On Wednesday December 12, host Jan Miyasaki spoke with Sebastian Rotella, an award winning foreign correspondent and a senior investigative reporter at ProPublica, Sebastian Rotella. Prior to working at ProPublica, Sebastian worked for the L.A.Times for twenty three years. He has most recently been focusing on changes in immigration patterns, especially migrants coming in to the United States from south of the Mexican border, a group that is often not focused on.   Says Sebastian, “Overall illegal immigration has gone down a lot, even though sometimes the political debates make it seem like it’s out of control. And the proportions have changed – what my story shows is that although Mexicans are still the biggest group that crosses, the proportions have changed dramatically.”   Sebastian explains that the number of Central Americans crossing into the U.S. has substantially risen, especially those from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, countries especially faced with violence and poverty. The demographic of this group is largely young adults who are traveling alone. While there are relatively fewer obstacles to face when crossing into the Southern Mexican border, the migrants face numerous problems at the Mexican-American border, where they are highly vulnerable to extortion, robbery, rape and murder by gangsters, smugglers, and corrupt officials.   The Mexican drug cartels also play a heavy role in the thriving smuggling business.Sebastian explains that many of the youth are escaping the environment of violence from their hometowns, but only encounter more violence at the hands of those networked around the smugglers. He describes a situation of “systematic recruitment” by the drug cartels at the border.   Sebastian had interviewed two individuals from Ecuador, Marco and his wife, who paid $11,000 per person to come to New York, “They move through a very loose but highly organized network – they were given a phone number and a codeword… They started in Ecuador, and went to Honduras where they stayed at a safe house, to Guatemala, and then to Mexico.” At Mexico, they had been placed on a train alone where they got caught by Mexican officials. Sebastian explains that although they were disappointed, the couple was also relieved that they did not have to go through the most dangerous part of the smuggling process that was still to come at the Mexican-American border.   The detention centers, Sebastian describes, were packed fully with migrants from across Central America and Mexico who were caught. After the migrants are discharged from …. more »

Justin Elliott: Think Tankers and the U.S. Military in Kabul

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 | buzz
ProPublica

On Wednesday, Dec 5, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Justin Elliott, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, to speak about his piece Meet the Think Tankers: Advising the U.S. Military in Kabul. Justin began his piece amidst the media frenzy regarding former CIA Director General Petraeus’ extra-marital affair, and was struck by the reference in the Washington Post’s story regarding Petraeus’ time running the war in Afghanistan between summer 2010 – 2011. Justin explains that he brought over experts from conservative think tanks to Kabul to provide military advice, and had given them positions there to have strong influence over the way the war was led. This created some controversy back in the U.S. Many think tankers were brought to Afghanistan and Iraq for short periods of time, supported by the military, and flown around the countries. Justin explains that bringing the think tank experts served two purposes for the military: “one, for the military to get advice from these think tank experts, and the other, for the military to influence these experts who are playing prominent roles in policy making in the US.” Justin explains that this is a relatively recent phenomenon.   Justin speaks about the think tankers themselves, “it seems to be people from the mainstream think tanks, and those loosely affiliated with those parties”. Among the think tank mentioned are the conservative American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institute (which has a Democratic party leaning), and Center for New American Security (also a Democratic party leaning). The experts brought in to Iraq were not from one party alone, Justin says, “It was clearly not a partisan thing. It shows that in some of these military matters, there’s less of partisan split in Washington and among foreign policy making community than there are with a lot of other issues.”   Read more of Justin’s work here, including articles on Campaign Finance, Drones, and more.   Listen to the interview here: more »

Cora Currier

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 | buzz
Cora Currier, of ProPublica

On Wednesday, November 28, our host Jan Miyasaki speaks with Cora Currier, an investigative reporter at ProPublica, about her latest piece: “Why the U.S. Won’t Allow a Dying Iranian Sociologist to Join His Family.” Iranian sociologist Dr. Rahmatollah Sedigh Sarvestani, who is suffering from terminal cancer, wishes to join his family in the U.S., but is unable to because his visa request was denied. The rejection was due to “activity relating to espionage or sabotage,” a claim to which the family is shocked. It was only in the 1970s that the doctor was involved in pro-Iranian demonstrations; since then, he has actually voiced his protest against the government. It is uncertain as to why Dr. Sarvestani’s visa has been denied at this point, since he has been allowed into the U.S. since the 1970s.   Cora has been conducting research, examining Dr. Sarvestani’s activities since the 1990s. She explains, “In the 70′s he was political, and participated in pro-Khomeni/anti-Shah demonstrations. The group that he belonged to, the Muslim Students Association Persian Speaking Group, was a group that was watched closely by FBI officials and likely still is. So that’s one area that could be a red flag on his record. In the more recent years in Iran, he has turned very critical of the administration of the Iranian movement… he kept a blog that was openly critical. In Iran he was almost found too pro-Western.” Cora explains that she is searching for the red flags that could have prompted the visa rejection, but the actual reason is still a mystery.   She says, “From my perspective as a journalist, this is a story that still has a lot of unanswered questions, but what seems clear about it is that there is a systemic issue here, in which we don’t know on what grounds somebody is being denied entry.”   Read Cora Currier’s article at ProPublica here.   Listen to the entire interview here: more »

Are you targeted?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012 | buzz

Wednesday, August 1 our host Jan Miyasaki, interviewed Lois Beckett a reporter from ProPublica, a non-profit organization that produces news based on the public’s interest. Lois and Jan discuss how campaign runners target voters based on their internet habits. For more information on Lois Beckett and the articles she wrote, visit this website: http://www.propublica.org/site/author/lois_beckett more »

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