February 11, 2003
Baghdad Peace Vigil
As Iraqis anxiously await Friday’s UN Security Council briefing by chief inspectors Hans Blix and Mohammed el Baradai, fears are increasing in Iraq that war is inevitable. As people throughout the country begin to brace themselves, they worry that US forces will attack the country’s civilian infrastructure. Today in Baghdad, dozens of international activists held a vigil in front of an electrical plant that was bombed during the 1991 Gulf War. From the Iraqi capital, FSRN correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports.
No Right to Protest in NYC
As reported in yesterday’s headlines, a federal judge has ruled that the New York City government did not violate the First Amendment rights of anti-war demonstrators when it denied them a permit to march past the United Nations this coming Saturday. U.S. District Court judge, Barbara Jones ruled that the city’s need to protect the public, outweighs the right of demonstrators to march, adding that while the court recognizes the distinct importance of marching, the city’s restriction on marching is not a restriction on free speech, but a restriction on how demonstrators may communicate their message. According to organizers of the “United for Peace and Justice” coalition, the city has issued a permit to rally several blocks from the UN. From NYC, Dred-Scott Keyes reports.
While the world focuses on a potential war on Iraq and the country’s vast untapped oil resources, US companies of a different kind are steadily extending their influence throughout the Arab world. From Amman, Aaron Glantz has the first in a special two-part report on Jordan’s new sweatshop industry.
Navy Ends Bombing on Vieques
This afternoon, discussions began in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the government of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Department of the Interior. At topic is the United States Navy-owned land in Vieques, Puerto Rico. Saturday the USS Theodore Roosevelt battle group ended 60 years of war practice in Vieques. Residents who protested, and ultimately beat the Navy’s presence, say ending bombing is only the first part of the victory, now they demand that the navy clean up its mess that has contaminated the area. Shannon Novak reports.
Palestinian Film Censored
As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood announced the Oscar nominees for 2002 today, a Palestinian hopeful entitled Divine Intervention will not be on the shortlist for Best Foreign Film. Despite the fact that the film has already won the prestigious Jury and Fipresci Prizes at Cannes, the European Film Award, and received critical praise in such American publications as New York Times, Newsweek and Time magazine, the Academy disqualified the Palestinian film because Palestine is not a recognized country. In the past, this stipulation has not hindered the Academy from honoring entries from Taiwan and Wales with Oscar statuettes. And in Israel, this week Israel’s Supreme Court is hearing the country’s most divisive censorship case about the banning of a film documenting Israel’s military operation in the Jenin refugee camp last April. The filmmaker, Arab Israeli Muhammed Bakri, speaks to Irris Makler in Jerusalem about the military operation and the film.
Mumia on Powell
FSRN commentator Mumia Abu Jamal reflects on the speech given by Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN last week.