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FROM THIS EPISODE

Increased bombing has the Islamic State struggling to maintain its oil revenue and hold on to the territory it's occupied. At the same time, a system of taxation enforced by increasing brutality may ultimately erode its ability to control and govern millions of people. We hear about a model of governance that could threaten the sustainability of the Islamic State from the inside.

Later on the program, three months ago, nobody had ever heard of the two-wheeled, motorized scooters called Hoverboards. How they're on millions of American holiday wish lists. We hear how they went from the Internet to the factory floor in record time.

Photo: Screen grab from two former members of Islamic State's elite women's police unit, known as al Khansa Brigade. (SkyNews video)

Producers:
Paul von Zielbauer
Gideon Brower
Evan George

Congressional Report Blasts Bergdahl Prisoner Swap 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Republicans in Congress today released a report that's revived a dispute with the Obama Administration. Last year, five prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay were traded for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held for five years by an affiliate of the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The report says the Pentagon violated the law, as we hear from reporter Shane Harris of the Daily Beast.

Guests:
Shane Harris, The Daily Beast (@ShaneHarris)

More:
Bergdahl tells his story on the 'Serial' podcast

How Long Can the Islamic State Stay in Business? 34 MIN, 38 SEC

The richest terrorist group in history is financed not just by smuggling oil and selling looted antiquities. It may get as much as a billion dollars a year from taxation on individuals and businesses subject to a system of brutal enforcement. While increased bombing may deplete oil revenues, beatings and even beheadings are taking a toll on formerly middle class people. We hear about a model of governance that could threaten the sustainability of the Islamic State from the inside.

Guests:
Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times (@mrosenbergNYT)
Yasser Alhaji, Syrian journalist (@yasseralhaji1)
Michael D. Weiss, Daily Beast / The Interpreter (@michaeldweiss)
Patrick B. Johnston, RAND Corporation (@JOHNSTON)

More:
Rosenberg on how ISIS generates income through taxes, fees on people, regions it controls
Weiss' four-part series on the escape of an ISIS spy
Matthew Reed on Assad buying oil from ISIS
Johnston on defeating ISIS by focusing on its real sources of strength

ISIS

Michael Weiss

Where Are All These Hoverboards Coming From? 8 MIN, 44 SEC

Hoverboards are on millions of wish lists this holiday season, a development that's taken retailers and customers by surprise.


Photo: Ben Larcey

In just a few months, the two-wheeled, motorized scooters have gone from an Internet meme popularized by celebrities to a common sight on American streets and sidewalks. How did that happen so fast? It's all about Chinese "memeufacturing." That's according to Joseph Bernstein, senior tech reporter for BuzzFeed, who went all the way to the Chinese city of Schenzehn to research the story, "How to Make Millions of Hoverboards Almost Overnight."

Guests:
Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed News (@bernstein)

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