September 05, 2002
Arab States Say No to Iraq Attack
Arab states meeting in Cairo today say they are united against a U.S. war against Iraq. Foreign ministers of the Arab League say attacking Iraq would “open the gates of hell in the Middle East.” Back in the U.S., President Bush pressed on, taking his case for war to the American people. Meanwhile, a newly-discovered memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has critics of American foreign policy wondering about the Administration’s motivation. And some in Congress are wondering aloud if the White House isn’t just trying to distract Americans from domestic problems. Joshua Chaffin reports from Washington.
9-11 Victims Remembered
As the country begins to memorialize the lives lost on September 11 last year, yesterday in NYC, representatives from communities of color gathered on the steps of City Hall, kicking off a week nationwide events, to remember all the victims of the attacks almost one year ago. Organized by the national coalition Racial Justice 9-11 and Third World Within, yesterday’s event drew much media as Nanny’s, laid off restaurant workers, family of detainees among many demanded that their voices also be heard. Deepa Fernandes was at City Hall.
Military Combats Mosquitos
As of this morning, the centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia have confirmed 737 human cases of West Nile virus nationwide. The death toll stands at 40. The CDC has sent field teams to Louisiana and Mississippi, which, combined, account for 11 deaths and 296 total cases. Louisiana’s US senators have called on the air force to conduct aerial spraying against the mosquitoes that transmit the virus to humans. KPFA’s Kéllia Ramares takes a look at the role the military plays in pest control.
AUC in Colombia against Guerrillas
The future of the US coca spraying regime in Colombia is in question, as the State Department now has to get congressional okay to buy more chemicals as right now, they’re out. A new federal law mandates the State Department to prove to Congress the program is legal by US health and safety standards.The State Dept sent EPA investigators to Colombia, and with the report of their findings dues out soon, some EPA sources say they were pressured to present data sympathetic to the coca spraying program. Human rights groups are worried the report is a sham. Meanwhile, in Colombia, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or the AUC, is responsible for approximately 73 percent of the country’s violence, and was the fastest growing irregular army, with an estimated 10,000 combatants. Back in July, the AUC disbanded, leaving paramilitary factions in its wake. But the break-up is not likely to change the well documented collaboration between the AUC and the Colombian Army, which fuels fiery criticism from human rights advocates of US military aid to Colombia. One AUC Commander from the Magdalena Medio Front explains his relationship with the army and his past training at the School of the Americas. Nicole Karsin reports.
Afghan Refugees Must Leave Australia
The first of Australia’s controversial temporary protection visas granted to refugees by the infamously anti-refugee Howard government will soon expire. For many of the Afghans who fled persecution, this may mean returning to their homeland. Holders of the temporary protection visa are required to re-prove their refugee status as the visas expire after 3 years, and for some this day is looming. However both the interim Afghan government and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees say Afghanistan is not yet safe and it may be some time before it is. The Refugee Council of Australia and members of the Hazara ethnic minority, now living in Australia under the temporary visas spoke at a forum in Sydney recently. Michael Bushell has this report from Sydney.