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Friday News Roundup - International

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa is surrounded by the press as she is escorted by a National Bureau Investigation agent after her arrest in Manila on February 13.
Philippine journalist Maria Ressa is surrounded by the press as she is escorted by a National Bureau Investigation agent after her arrest in Manila on February 13.

With guest host Todd Zwillich.

The Justice Department announced that a former U.S. Air Force intelligence agent was charged with spying for Iran. Monica Witt was charged with two counts of espionage “after authorities allege she gave that country’s government information about a highly classified military program and helped Iranian hackers target her former colleagues,” according to The Washington Post.

Witt officially defected in 2013 and is believed to still be in Iran.

After an attendee shoved and swore at a BBC cameraman at a rally for President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas, BBC bureau chief Paul Danahar wrote to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

— Paul Danahar (@pdanahar) February 12, 2019

And Philippines journalist Maria Ressa was released on bail after she was arrested on “cyber libel” charges.

Ressa is the co-founder and editor of Rappler, an independent online publication.

Regarding her arrest she told CNN: “The only thing I can think of is that the government wants me to feel its power.”

And the conviction of drug kingpin Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo,” in Brooklyn federal court has had reverberations around the world.

“The corruption has always been there,” he says. “But the corruption became fragmented […] You had different political players supporting different drug traffickers.”

— 1A (@1a) February 13, 2019

Here’s Patrick Radden Keefe, writing for The New Yorker:

The real engine for the cross-border trade in marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl is not the clever salesmanship of Mexican crooks—it’s the rampant demand of American addicts and recreational users. This is a point that seldom impinges on our national dialogue about the border with Mexico: the drug trade is dynamic. What makes it unstoppable is not weak border protections or wily Mexicans but the insatiable American appetite for drugs. Where there is money and demand, trade will flourish, borders be damned. Years ago, I interviewed a former D.E.A. official who told me about a high-tech fence that was put up along the border in Arizona. “They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.”

Under, over, through: as long as there is an American demand for drugs, drugs will find their way into America.

We’re rounding up the week in global news.


Paul Danahar, Washington bureau chief of the BBC; author of “The New Middle East: The World After the Arab Spring”; @pdanahar

Rosiland Jordan, State Department/specials correspondent, Al Jazeera English Television; @RosJordanAJE

David Lawler, World news editor, Axios; @davidlawler10

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

© 2019 WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio.

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.