January 24, 2006
INTERIM REPORT ON CIA RENDITION FLIGHTS AND SECRET PRISONS
The European organization investigating allegations of CIA operations within its territory submitted its preliminary report today. The Council of Europe found evidence that European airspace and airports were used by the Central Intelligence Agency to secretly transport prisoners to third countries known to practice torture. The investigation found that European governments almost certainly knew of the rendition flights passing through their airports. Allegations of CIA-administered secret prisons within Europe could not be substantiated with hard evidence. The interim report comes after a 3 month study, with a final report expected after further investigation.
GUANTANAMO RULING IN NYC
A federal judge has ruled that the Pentagon must release the names and nationalities of hundreds of men detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. From New York City, Geoff Brady has more.
In yesterday’s ruling, Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff of U.S. District Court in Manhattan ordered the Department of Defense to disclose the names and nationalities of hundreds of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The verdict is the result of a lawsuit filed by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The Pentagon had previously released more than 500 transcripts of the military tribunals to the news agency, but names and other identifying information were blacked out. The judge’s ruling in the lawsuit was made final this week, after the he rejected the government’s argument that the secrecy measure was to protect the privacy rights of the detainees. The Pentagon must now hand over uncensored documents to the Associated Press. The government has until tomorrow to appeal the ruling. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Geoff Brady in New York.
U.S. MILITARY TO RESUME EXECUTIONS?
The U.S. military may begin to carry out death sentences, after nearly 45 years since its last execution. Nicholas Killion reports from Washington DC.
The United States Army has recently changed its death penalty regulations, in what an internal document describes as a “major revision”. The changes now permit court martials and military tribunals to hand down death sentences and the executions may be carried out at any U.S. military base. David Elliot of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty fears this would give the military too much jurisdiction:
The new regulations would allow executions at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, where the cases of suspected “enemy combatants” are heard by military tribunals. For Free Speech Radio News in Washington, D.C., I’m Nicholas Killion.
STUDY ON DAY LABOR
Researchers at UCLA, the University of Illinois, and the New School have released the first comprehensive study of working conditions for day laborers. Kelly Barnes reports from Los Angeles.
Over 26-hundred day laborers in 20 states were surveyed for the study. Nearly half of the workers cited nonpayment and underpayment of wages, and denial of food and water breaks. One in five reported being subjected to violence by employers. Hazardous conditions, faulty equipment, and a lack of protective gear and safety training contribute to alarmingly high rates of worker injury. The study’s authors say employers rely on day laborers for their most dangerous tasks, and then deny them medical care. A significant number reported being arrested, cited, moved along or checked for immigration status by local police. Reports of harassment by police and private security were greatest in the Midwest, which also ranked highest in nonpayment or underpayment of wages and violence and insults towards day laborers. The study’s authors recommend increasing the number of day labor community centers to combat the striking patterns of violence and abuse. In Los Angeles, I’m Kelly Barnes for FSRN.
CHINA EXAMINES CHEMICAL PLANTS
The Chinese government has partially released the results of a survey to determine the safety conditions at the country’s chemical plants. Severine Bardon reports from Beijing.
Chinese environmental authorities have concluded that dozens of chemical plants operating in the country may be a security threat. More than a half of them are located along China’s two major rivers. Zhou Shenxian, China’s new environment chief, made a clear statement on this situation today, although he did not release the names of the plants that did not meet security and environmental standards. Even more alarming is the fact that Zhou, who came into office after a massive benzene leak poisoned the Songhua River, insisted today on playing down the consequences of this accident. In opposition to the United Nations Environment Programme, he asserted that the ice melting in the spring would not release more toxins in the Shonghua river. It seems that China still has a long way to go to satisfy its own youth. A poll released today in Chinese newspapers reveals that half of the young Chinese people polled want more effective controls on environmental pollution in the upcoming Chinese New Year. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Severine Bardon in Beijing.
Senate Judiciary Committee Confirms Alito Nomination to Supreme Court (4:05)
The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Democrats voiced strong opposition asserting Alito would reverse personal liberties, increase presidential powers, and side with the most conservative judges. Republicans showed strong support for Alito, claiming that Democrats are playing politics on the back of the judiciary. Leigh Ann Caldwell has more from Capitol Hill.
Hamas & Fatah Running Neck to Neck (3:00)
Palestinian voters head to the polls in parliamentary elections this week – their first time in ten years. Polls suggest that the group Hamas is running neck to neck with the ruling party Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas and former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. As Irris Mackler reports from Hebron, despite fear of violence and corruption, Palestinians in the West Bank are eager to participate in the electoral process.
Canadian Election – Conservatives Won! (1:57)
Canada’s Liberal Party has been defeated in a federal election. Forming the next government will the Conservative Party of Canada, led by Stephen Harper, which won the largest number of seats in a field of five major parties. Harper’s Conservative Party has opposed abortion rights and same-sex marriage. Their party platform promises tax cuts, more police and harsher sentences, and a stronger military. From Toronto, CKLN’s Kristin Schwartz has more.
Iraq Proves Perilous For Iraqi Journalists Too (3:02)
The deadline set by the captors of US journalist Jill Carroll passed on Friday with no further word of Carroll’s fate. As violence continues, the instability of daily life in Iraq often goes unreported as the sort of background noise behind other stories, but the kid napping of Carroll underscores the dangers faced by journalists, especially for Iraqis. FSRN’s Salam Talib and David Enders file this report.
Humans Rights Fledgling in Jamaica (4:00)
After a lengthy deliberation, Jamaica’s Director of Public Prosecution charged 6 police officers who were involved in the 2003 murder of 2 men and 2 women in the rural town of Kraal. The 4 victims had guns planted on their bodies after the officers killed them. Yet despite what some have deemed the toughest case against police officers brought to trial, all 6 officers were acquitted in the week before Christmas last year. Ian Forrest takes a look at what this means for the fledgling human rights movement in Jamaica.
Mumia Abu Jamal Comments: Chocolate City Dreams and Vanilla Realities (3:21)
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin recently apologized after being admonished in the mass media for imploring local residents to re-build a “Chocolate New Orleans” in a speech he gave on Martin Luther King Junior Day. But, as commentator Mumia Abu Jamal points out, backlash to Nagin’s comment might indicate more about those who heard the words rather than the person who said it.