Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Case Of Marines Desecrating Taliban Bodies Takes A New Twist

Oct 31, 2013
Originally published on October 31, 2013 11:43 am

In a case that caused a major stir last year, a YouTube video surfaced showing Marines in Afghanistan joking and laughing as they urinated on three dead Taliban fighters. The Marines involved in the July 2011 incident in the southern province of Helmand were disciplined.

It seemed the case was over, but now it has taken a strange twist. There are allegations that the Marines' top officer, Gen. James Amos, illegally interfered with the judicial proceedings in an effort to ensure harsher penalties.

Amos spoke about the video and other incidents last year during a worldwide tour of Marine bases. And in a written statement after the video came to light, he said the Marine Corps would not rest until the allegations were resolved.

He appointed a senior officer, Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, to investigate. Waldhauser said Amos told him he wanted those involved "crushed" and kicked out of the Marine Corps.

Waldhauser told Amos the incident didn't deserve that kind of harsh action. Amos told him he could appoint someone else to handle the cases, Waldhauser recalled in court papers, saying the conversation was tense but professional. A few hours later, Amos relieved the investigating general.

"It just smells so bad. I've never seen anything like this," says Gary Solis, who became a Marine lawyer in 1971 and is now a law professor. He said the removal of the investigating general is a problem for Amos.

"That apparently was done so he could get a better result," said Solis. "And that's unlawful command influence."

A Threat To Military Justice

Unlawful command influence is often called the mortal enemy of military justice. And it means a senior officer improperly acts to influence those taking part in an independent judicial process. Among the rules: A commander may not order a subordinate to dispose of a case in a certain way.

Amos declined to talk to NPR. But he sent Waldhauser a memo the same day he was fired. In it, Amos said his comments "could be perceived as possibly interfering" with the cases. So he was removing Waldhauser to avoid any "potential issues." Marine officials said much the same in a statement to NPR.

Waldhauser now serves as the military assistant to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and has declined interviews. He was replaced on the Marine investigation.

Then the story took another turn.

A Marine lawyer, Maj. James Weirick, was increasingly troubled by what he saw. There was an apparent effort to withhold information from the defense, including the details of Waldhauser's removal. That removal might show unlawful command influence and could lead to dismissal of the cases.

Weirick complained to his bosses and heard nothing. So in March of this year, he filed a complaint with the Pentagon inspector general, charging Amos and his staff with unlawful command influence and suppressing evidence.

"He spoke truth to power. And there's a consequence for that, unfortunately, in this world. He's paying the price for that," says Lee Thweatt, a former Marine lawyer and friend of Weirick.

Removed From The Job

Weirick was removed from his job six months after filing the complaint with the Pentagon's inspector general. He was told by Marine officials to surrender his personal firearm and make an appointment with the mental health clinic. Weirick did both, said his lawyer, Jane Siegel, and got "a clean bill of health" from mental health workers.

"He's been publicly demonized and professionally exiled," Thweatt said. "As recently as the last few weeks, rather than working in his capacity as a lawyer for the Marine Corps, he was assigned to help place water bottle stands for the Marine Corps Marathon."

Thweatt and 26 other retired military lawyers wrote to Congress last week, asking for an investigation into how Weirick was treated and how Amos and his staff handled the cases involving the Marines in Afghanistan.

Congressional staffers tell NPR that any decision on an investigation will come after the Pentagon inspector general reports.

Meanwhile, there is still one final case in the Afghanistan incident.

Capt. James Clement was a company officer of the Marines who were charged. He's been recommended for separation from the Marines by a Marine Board of Inquiry, which cited substandard performance of duty.

John Dowd, Clement's attorney, said he's asking for the case to be dismissed, citing unlawful command influence. A final decision rests with the Navy secretary.

"To me it's a tragedy," said Dowd. "It's a terrific overreaction."

In the end, none of those who urinated on the Taliban corpses or videotaped the incident was ever kicked out of the Marine Corps. Some were demoted. Four have left the Marines. Four others are still on active duty.

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