The Hunt for Hoffa
An FBI agent gathers up crime scene tape while moving the news media further away from a field outside Detroit where agents are searching for the alleged remains of former Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa.
June 18th, 2013
08:37 PM ET

The Hunt for Hoffa

By Tommy Andres, CNN

(CNN) - Just three miles from the house in which I grew up, FBI agents are digging for the body of Jimmy Hoffa. For two days they've been wading through waist-high grass in a field in Oakland Township, Michigan, trying to unearth secrets from one of the most famous cold cases in American history.

Hoffa was the leader of the Teamsters, the biggest union in the auto industry, in a time when the Big Three dominated the global car market. But his ties to the mob are believed to be what put him in peril.

He was last seen on July 30, 1975 leaving the Machus Red Fox restaurant in suburban Detroit. There have been a slew of tips over the past decade that have led to investigations. Floorboards were torn out of a home in a search for blood, a driveway was drilled for human DNA and most notably in 2006 a horse barn was torn down so FBI agents could dig beneath it.

All of these searches turned up nothing.

So, why are they digging again?

"What I tell people is, if that was your loved one, would you want the FBI and the law enforcement to be doing this? And I think most people would say yes."

Andy Arena is a former FBI Special Agent who was in charge of the FBI's Detroit office from 2007-2012. He says the FBI has two messages to send, one to criminals and one to law-abiding citizens: That the FBI never gives up.

Investigators tasked with this latest search are carrying binders that read "Big Dig 2" on the cover, a wink to that last hunt now viewed mostly as a punchline.

But Arena says this claim carries more weight than any before, because the 85-year-old former mobster who pointed authorities to this latest spot is from La Cosa Nostra in Detroit. Which, unlike the syndicates in other big cities, is made up of only family members, either by blood or by marriage. And who can keep a secret better than family?

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The legend of hunger strikers
Mural of Bobby Sands, the Irish Republican Army member who starved himself to death in prison in 1981.
May 9th, 2013
04:23 PM ET

The legend of hunger strikers

By Libby Lewis, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - Denis O’Hearn’s willing to bet on one thing about the men on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay:

[:52] “I can guarantee you that every one of those prisoners could tell you who Bobby Sands is.”

O’Hearn wrote a biography of Sands, a member of the Irish Republican Army who starved himself to death in a hunger strike in 1981. He was 27. FULL POST

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A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare
Ahmed Errachidi, nicknamed 'The General,' was falsely detained at Guantanamo for more than five years.
May 9th, 2013
09:53 AM ET

A cook’s Guantanamo nightmare

By Jim Roope, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @jimroopeCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - The Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility has been troubled since it opened in 2002. Last week President Obama renewed his pledge to close it:

[0:19] “That is contrary to who we are. It is contrary to our interests and it’s gotta stop.”

One hundred Guantanamo detainees are currently on a hunger strike protesting conditions and their continued detention without trial. According to the Department of Defense, 24 of the hunger strikers are being force fed with three of those being watched at a hospital.

Here is one man’s story that underscores the problems with Guantanamo, the seemingly random rounding up of suspected terrorists:

[0:46] “I am not a terrorist. I am only a cook.”

Ahmed Errachidi, a Moroccan citizen, was trying to raise money in 2002  for a heart operation his young son needed.  His idea was to import jewelry from Pakistan, but he was kidnapped by Pakistanis, sold to the Americans for bounty and taken to Guantanamo.

He spent over five years in detention, before a lawyer was able to prove that Errachidi was only a cook and not a terrorist:

[01:25] “His is one of the most ludicrous cases," says attorney Clive Smith. "And there were quite a few ludicrous cases that I came across at Guantanamo, but his was one of the worst.”

Errachidi wrote a book about his years at Guantanamo titled, The General: The Ordinary Man Who Challenged Guantanamo.

Listen to our podcast to hear more of Errachidi's story.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Faith • History • International • Politics • Soundwaves • Stories
Derby's forgotten history rekindled
Jimmy Winkfield, the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, atop his horse in Chicago, 1901.
May 3rd, 2013
05:33 PM ET

Derby's forgotten history rekindled

By Edgar Treiguts, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) –  Saturday afternoon, 21 horses will go to post at the famed Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Atop those horses will be their jockeys, looking to ride them to victory in the sport's crown jewel – the Kentucky Derby. But the appearance of one of those riders will shake back to life a largely forgotten time in horse racing's history when African-American jockeys dominated.

Kevin Krigger could become the first black jockey to win the Derby since 1902. He understands the historic significance, but also wants to win to validate his talent:

[4:02] "It's everything that I want to say that I stand for if I get to win the Kentucky Derby...and that is a major goal of mine."

Krigger is the second African-American jockey to compete in the Kentucky Derby since 1921.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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CNN Profiles: Faith in the messenger
Elie Wiesel claps as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Holocaust Museum April 23, 2012 in Washington, DC.
April 29th, 2013
12:21 PM ET

CNN Profiles: Faith in the messenger

Hosted by Michael Schulder

Follow Michael at: www.wavemaker.me

Editor's Note: Today marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It was Elie Wiesel’s idea to make this an institution of learning rather than a simple memorial. Michael Schulder, host of the CNN Profiles, sat down with Professor Wiesel to talk about a range of issues, including how a sense of humor survives in so many survivors. This story, though, is about faith.

Listen to the full interview in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) - “They called him Moishe the Beadle, as if his entire life he had never had a surname.”

This is the opening line of the most widely read memoir of the Holocaust, "Night," by Elie Wiesel.

I had the opportunity to ask Professor Wiesel about Moishe the Beadle the other day when we sat down for an in-depth CNN Profile, which you can listen to here. FULL POST

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Filed under: Behavior • CNN Profiles • Culture • History • Voices
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