Here is a round-up of interviews from the March 4th edition of Democracy Now! , a daily, grassroots independent global news hour.
"I Have No Regrets": Environmentalist Tim DeChristopher Found Guilty of Sabotaging Oil and Gas Auction
A federal jury in Salt Lake City has convicted environmental activist Tim DeChristopher of two felony counts for disrupting the auction of more than 100,000 acres of federal land for oil and gas drilling. DeChristopher was charged in December 2008 with infiltrating a public auction and disrupting the Bush administration's last-minute move to auction off oil and gas exploitation rights on vast swaths of federal land.
Democracy Now! interviews Tim DeChristopher about why he disrupted the auction and how he feels about the verdict.
Leaked EPA Documents Expose Decades-Old Effort to Hide Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction
Efforts by lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to better police the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have been thwarted for the past 25 years, according to an exposé in the New York Times. Studies by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on fracking have been repeatedly narrowed in scope by superiors, and important findings have been removed under pressure from the industry. The news comes as the EPA is conducting a broad study of the risks of natural gas drilling with preliminary results scheduled to be delivered next year.
For more on this story, Democracy Now! interviewed Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, a firm that tracks environmental spills and releases across the country, based in Ithaca, New York, where fracking is currently taking place.
Natural Gas Industry Attacks Oscar-Nominated Film Gasland for Chronicling Devastating Impact of Hydraulic Fracking
The environmental contamination and human health risk associated with the extraction of natural gas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," was little known across the United States for years, until a documentary film brought the issue to the national stage. Josh Fox directed the film Gasland, which chronicles the devastation affecting communities where fracking is taking place and the influence of the natural gas industry over regulation of the techniques and chemicals used in the process. The industry aggressively attacked the film, especially when it was nominated for an Academy Award this year. Democracy Now! interviews Josh Fox about these attacks, and about the recent New York Times report.
Michael Hastings: Army Deploys Psychological Operations on U.S. Senators in Afghanistan
Federal law prohibits the military from using propaganda and psychological tactics on U.S. citizens, but that is exactly what may have happened in Afghanistan, according to reporter Michael Hastings, who spoke with Democracy Now! about his recent exposé for Rolling Stone magazine, "Another Runaway General: Army Deploys Psy-Ops on U.S. Senators." In the article, Hastings writes that Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the commander of NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan, illegally employed psychological operations to manipulate visiting U.S. senators into providing more troops and funding for the war effort. "It just shows how far off the rails that entire operation has gone," Hasting says. "The most important battlefield actually isn't in Afghanistan, it's in Washington."