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Need to Know, May 13, 2011: Detainee abuse, broadband in Europe, crisis mappers

This week on Need to Know, we investigate a task force in the U.S. military charged with investigating abuse of detainees in Iraq after the harrowing revelations of Abu Ghraib came to light. One special agent alleges that the task force is under-resourced and overwhelmed, which prevents it from being able to function adequately.

We also look at the structure of the telecommunications industry and competition in Europe, and how it has propelled the region ahead of the U.S. in terms of broadband service. We also report on how the humanitarian community has used mobile technology to aid people in times of crisis, and how it has been used to help victims of the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan, the tornadoes in the Midwest and the unrest in the Middle East.

And: Alison Stewart speaks with “Freedom Riders” Francis and Laura Randall, who took part in protests against Jim Crow laws in the deep south 50 years ago, and Jon Meacham’s “In Perspective” essay honors the long career of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who retires this year.

Tune in this Friday, May 13, to watch the full episode. Check your local listings for details.

Watch the individual segments:

Look no further: The military’s detainee abuse investigation task force

In a joint investigation with The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and reporter Joshua Phillips, Need to Know reveals a little-known U.S. military task force charged with investigating abuse of detainees in Iraq. Despite hundreds of allegations of abuse and torture, one of the special agents in charge of the task force describes it as under-resourced, overwhelmed and unable to adequately investigate cases.

High fiber: Why U.S. broadband is falling behind

Correspondent Rick Karr reports on why the U.S., where the Internet was born, has now fallen badly behind in the race to the online future. Broadband service in the U.S. lags behind a dozen or more industrialized countries – and we’re doing worse every year. Karr went to Europe – in collaboration with Engadget – to find out how two countries there have jumped ahead of us.

Crisis mappers

Alison Stewart reports on a breakthrough technology that uses cell phones to locate disaster victims and get them help. Created after the earthquake in Haiti, it’s now being used to help victims of the tornadoes in the Midwest, the earthquake in Japan and the unrest in the Middle East.

Freedom riders, 50 years later

Alison Stewart talks with Francis and Laura Randall who, 50 years ago, were part of the courageous band of American civil rights activists who risked their lives on the Freedom Rides, taking buses together through the deep south to demonstrate against Jim Crow laws.

In Perspective: A salute to Robert Gates

Jon Meacham salutes a true public servant, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who retires this year, after serving both Democratic and Republican administrations with distinction.

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