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FROM THIS EPISODE

The US government spent 15 years tracking a Middle Eastern charity, the Holy Land Foundation, on suspicions it was financing terrorists. President Bush froze its assets after September 11 and prosecutors filed criminal charges. The case fell apart this week. Did the government overreach or did the prosecutors simply fail to put together a convincing case? Also, the President tours a scorched southern California, and Facebook may be fun for web devotees, but is it really worth $15 billion? Jim Sterngold guest hosts.


Ghassan Elashi, CEO of the Holy Land Foundation, speaks to the news media during a news conference December 5, 2001 in Richardson, Texas. The Foundation disputes claims made by the US government that it used charitable donations to fund Hamas and their goal to destroy Israel. Elashi was identified as one of four men arrested by federal anti-terrorism agents December 18, 2002 on charges of money-laundering. Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Producers:
Andrea Brody
Dan Konecky
Carina Miller

Main Topic Holy Land Foundation Escapes Conviction on Financing Terrorism 35 MIN, 2 SEC

After the horrors of September11, President Bush said he would not only attack terrorists but issue orders to shut down their financing. A key front in this war was the Holy Land Foundation, a charity that raised millions of dollars for needy Arabs. The administration claimed that the Texas-based organization was helping Hamas, a terrorist organization, and filed criminal charges against HLF leaders. This week the prosecution of the foundation collapsed and a jury issued no guilty verdicts. The failure has raised serious questions about the use of executive power. Has the White House bungled the war on terror?

Guests:
David Cole, Georgetown University Law School (@DavidColeGtown)
Matthew Orwig, former US Attorney for Eastern District of Texas
Nihad Awad, Council on American-Islamic Relations (@NihadAwad)
Brian Jenkins, RAND Corporation (@BrianMJenkins)

Reporter's Notebook Microsoft Bets on Facebook as Revolutionary Social Network 7 MIN, 55 SEC

Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace two years ago and at least some people laughed. Why spend hundreds of millions of dollars for what might be a cyber fad? But now Microsoft has invested $240 million for just 1.6% of Facebook, a similar social networking site. That values this start-up at around $15 billion. Is the tech bubble back or is Microsoft crazy like a fox? Robert Guth reports on technology for the Wall Street Journal.

Guests:
Robert Guth, Reporter, Wall Street Journal

Making News Bush Tours California's Scorched Earth 5 MIN, 50 SEC

President Bush flew to southern California this morning to see the wildfires first hand and offer more federal aid. As the winds grow calmer and firefighters get the blazes under control, there are signs that at least some of the fires were started deliberately. Tony Perry is San Diego Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times.

Guests:
Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times (@LATsandiego)

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