August 21, 2006
RADIO TAKEOVERS IN OAXACA
Protesters in Oaxaca, Mexico have taken over all of the commercial radio stations broadcasting in the state’s capital city. At approximately 3:45am local time gunmen attacked a group of people watching over the antenna of the state-run radio and TV station that has been occupied by anti-government demonstrators since the first of the month. One teacher was hospitalized with a bullet wound in the leg. At around 5:30am, members of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca seized the headquarters of a local radio conglomerate which broadcasts on multiple frequencies from the same building. Other commercial radio stations were taken over during the course of the day. Roads have been blockaded in many parts of Oaxaca City since early this morning and all public transportation, with the exception of taxis, has been suspended.
COMMISSION TO INVESTIGATE POLITICAL MURDERS IN THE PHILIPPINES
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo today appointed a five-member committee to investigate a spate of political killings in a bid to put a stop to the cycle of violence. Girlie Linao reports from Manila.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been under fire for failing to stop the growing number of killings alleged to be politically motivated in the country. Just last week, Amnesty International warned that the inaction could trigger a retaliatory spiral that would only worsen the breakdown of public order in the Philippines. According to a local human rights group, at least 728 people have become victims of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines since 2001 when President Arroyo came to power. Most of the victims have been leftist activists, journalists, human rights advocates, labour leaders and sympathizers of the communist movement in the country. Today, President Arroyo formed a five-member committee to investigate the killings, prosecute suspects, and recommend other necessary steps needed to stop the violence. But leftist and human rights groups are questioning the committee’s credibility. They noted that two of the committee’s members are officials of government agencies that have been pursuing leftist leaders accused of plotting against the Arroyo administration. The committee’s head, a former Supreme Court justice, and the other two members have no human rights background at all. Critics added that while President Arroyo said the committee would be independent, she also designated the group as the government’s sole voice on the issue. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Girlie Linao in Manila.
TWO PALESTINIAN POLITICIANS ABDUCTED
Two high-profile Palestinian officials were arrested by Israeli forces over the weekend. Manar Jibrin reports.
The Israeli army arrested the Palestinian Legislative Council’s Secretary General, Mahmoud Al Ramahi, Sunday afternoon – after surrounding his house in the West Bank city in Al Bierah near Ramallah. This, just one day after Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al Din Al Shae’er was taken from his home in Ramallah on Saturday. Ghazi Hamad, spokesperson of the Palestinian government (sound). The Israeli army kidnaped the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Dr Aziz Dwiek earlier this month. So far, five ministers of the Palestinian Hamas led government and more than 36 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council have been kidnaped in the last two months. Only four have been released.
UK INVESTIGATING LEGALITY OF BANK MONITORING
Britain’s Information Commissioner is investigating CIA access to the financial data of Europeans as part of US counter-terrorism investigations. Such access may breach British and European law. From London, Naomi Fowler reports.
The Bank of England says it informed the British government back in 2002 when they discovered that details of an estimated 4 and a half million British banking transactions and other private data were being handed over to the CIA. The Belgian-based company which processes money transfers on behalf of the world’s banks SWIFT has said that it released the private data in response to legally issued subpoenas from the US. The US government has confirmed that it began the programme after the 9/11 attacks. Britain’s Information Commissioner must now decide whether it complies with EU data protection legislation as well as with the European Convention on Human Rights. Chancellor Gordon Brown has responded by stating that it is government policy not to comment on “specific security issues.” This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.
Congo Elections Proceed Amid Violence (3:14)
Gunfire broke out today near the home of a presidential candidate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At least 10 people were killed on Sunday in violence in the country’s capital Kinshasa, when security forces loyal to presidential candidates Joseph Kabila and Jean Pierre Bemba exchanged gunfire. The dead include one Japanese citizen. … At least five more people died in an accident caused by people trying to flee the scene. The violence came as Congolese elections officials announced neither Kabila nor Bemba received a majority in Presidential elections held three weeks ago — the first elections in the war-torn country in 45 years. … Joshua Kyalimpa reports
Bush Sends American Companies to Lebanon
George Bush held a hastily organized news conference at the White House today to re-iterate-iterate his support for a United Nations peacekeeping force in Southern Lebanon. The US military won’t be sending any troops to participate in the operation, but at the news conference this morning George Bush said a delegation leaders of Corporate America are on their way.
Hezballah and America Race to Reconstruct Lebanon (3:53)
The Bush Administration is keen to have multinational companies rebuild Southern Lebanon in concert with the Lebanese government. If they don’t, it’s likely Hezballah will — marking another victory for the militant group against Israel and its ally in the White House. From Beirut, David Enders has more.
Weapons-makers Rush to Resupply Israel and Hezballah (2:42)
The precarious ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel is holding. In the meantime, it seems the countries negotiating the peace deals, are also the ones supplying the arms. The United States supplies Israel with state-of-the-art fighter jets, helicopters and missiles. Germany meantime, provides the Jewish State with submarines, engines, arms components, and special weapons technology. Hezbollah on the other hand, has received Russian and possibly Chinese weapons supplied by Syria and Iran. All of those weapons are made by arms companies who continue to profit as a result of conflict in the Middle East. … Cinnamon Nippard has more from Berlin.
Bush Reclassifies Nuclear Documents (3:30)
The Bush Administration has reclassified as secret nuclear weapons information from the Cold War era. Documents, which had been available under the Freedom of Information Act for as many as 40 years now arrives with key information blacked out. Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
Antiwar Candidate Challenges Washington State Democrat (4:04)
Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman isn’t the only incumbent facing a stiff challenge for his pro-war views. In Washington State, Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell’s vote in favor of the 2002 resolution that authorizing President Bush to use military force in Iraq — and her determination not to apologize for that vote— have drawn a challenge from Hong Tran, a 40-year-old legal aid attorney who experienced warfare as a child in her native Vietnam. From Seattle, Martha Baskin has the story.
Bhutanese Refugees Headed to America? (2:37)
Bhutanese refugees in Nepal pledged to continue a rolling hunger strike that began in early June in front of the United Nation’s central offices in Kathmandu . The statement followed Senator Arlen Specter’s visit to Nepal this week, during which the Pennsylvania Republican said that the US would be willing to accept the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees, who were forced from their homes in 1990 when the Himalayan kingdom passed a new citizenship law. From Kathmandu, Carey Biron reports.