January 09, 2007
US AIRSTRIKES IN SOMALIA
The United States military has launched air strikes on suspected militant hideouts in Somalia. Abdurrahman Warsameh has more from Mogadishu.
US military based in Djibouti launched air strikes today on targets in southern Somalia where Somali Islamists and suspected bombers of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania are believed to be hiding. News agencies report “many deaths”. The Somali President, Abdulahi Yusuf expressed his support for the air raids saying the US government has the right to defend itself from terrorists. The US government has been accusing the defeated Islamic Courts Union which ruled Mogadishu and most of southern and central Somalia of sheltering Al-Qaeda operatives behind the 1998 bombing of its embassies in east Africa. Since Ethiopian launched an offensive against the Islamist militias last month, US warships have been patrolling Somalia’s shores to prevent the escape of what it said were members of a terrorist cell. The American government did not officially confirm or deny but the Associated Press quotes an American official speaking on condition of anonymity as saying at least one AC-130 gunship was used. For FSRN, this is Abdurrahman Warsameh in Mogadishu.
US NUCLEAR SUB COLLIDES WITH JAPANESE SUPERTANKER
An American nuclear-powered submarine crashed into a Japanese oil tanker last night in the Strait of Hormuz. No major damage or injuries have been reported.
ETA CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR BOMB
A spokesperson for the Basque separatist group ETA has issued a public statement claiming responsibility for the December 30th bombing of a parking structure at the airport in Madrid. From Spain, FSRN’s Andrew Stelzer has the story.
The statement from ETA was sent to a Basque newspaper. It said that despite the fact the group did in fact place a bomb in an airport, it wasn’t intended to hurt anyone, and therefore a permanent ceasefire declared by the group in March is still be in effect. Several warning calls were made to Spanish police before the bomb; a full evacuation of the parking structure never took place and the two men who died were sleeping in their car at the time. The letter from ETA claims these deaths, along with 26 other people who were injured, are the fault of the Spanish government. Over the past few months, some members of ETA had threatened to break the ceasefire, as promised negotiations between the group and the Spanish government had not yet taken place. On the last day of fall, the stated deadline for progress, a news story surfaced that the Spanish government held a meeting with ETA to begin discussing issues of self determination for the Basque people of Northern Spain. The Spanish government has not yet officially responded to the letter, but interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said it is up to ETA to end the violence. For FSRN, reporting from Granada, I’m Andrew Stelzer.
ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS IN COCHABAMBA
Small farmers in Bolivia have set up road blockades along the highways connecting Cochabamba to the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz. A social movement in Cochabamba is demanding the resignation of the local government. Mobilizations began yesterday and have since accelerated due to a violent police reaction to the protests on Monday afternoon. Cochabamba made international headlines in 2000 when persistent mobilizations forced the government to reverse plans to privatize the province’s water services.
LAWSUIT OVER WTO ARRESTS
A major class action lawsuit over mass arrests during the 1999 World Trade Organization ministerial conference opens this week in Seattle. Mark Taylor-Canfield has more.
The plaintiffs and their attorneys claim that police violated the First Amendment rights of demonstrators when they arrested 200 people in downtown Seattle on December 1, 1999. The plaintiffs will testify that they were participating in a legal protest when they were swept up in a mass arrest during the second day of demonstrations against the World Trade Organization. Gabriel Freeman was a witness to mass arrests. A former IMC reporter, and member of the Committee For Government Accountability, which conducted an independent investigation into police actions during the 1999 WTO protests, Freeman says law enforcement agencies violated people’s constitutional rights throughout the WTO ministerial conference. (Freeman sound) “In Seattle, the precedent of these large downtown-wide no-protest zones was set during the WTO meetings, and it’s been duplicated around the country numerous times. This seems to be the new police model for big protests – arrest them all now then let the courts sort it out, and the city pay for it all years later.” The attorney representing the city of Seattle, Ted Buck, has declined to comment, citing a gag order. The trial is expected to last for several weeks. This is Mark Taylor-Canfield reporting from Seattle for Free Speech Radio News.
OPPOSITION TO SUBURB ORDINANCE
A Dallas suburb has come under pressure to overturn an ordinance that requires rental property owners to verify the immigration status of tenets. Rachel Clarke reports from Houston.
Farmer’s Branch, Texas has been hit with at least three lawsuits to date following the passage of Ordinance 2892, which seeks to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining housing. Last night, local resident opposed to the rule took their grievances to city council. A grassroots campaign successfully obtained the 5% of registered voters signatures that the town charter requires to revisit an issue. The City Council did not repeal the measure – so the debate now goes to the local residents. The town will hold a special election on Ordinance 2892 in May. Regardless, the ordinance will take effect as of Friday. The American Civil Liberties Union and Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund will seek an injunction to block the measure. A court date has been set for January 22nd, seven days after the start of 2892’s enforcement. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Rachel Clarke, in Houston.
House of Reps Takes of 9-11 Commission Recommendations (4:30)
The House of Representatives has officially kicked off its first 100 hours. First up: the 9-11 Commission Recommendations. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.
Struggle Continues for Habeas Corpus for Guantanamo Bay Detainees Five Years after Imprisonment (3:30)
The first of hundreds of detainees at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay were imprisoned five years ago this week. A fight continues in Congress, in the courts and in the streets to assure the detainees their basic rights, especially habeas corpus, the right to challenge detention. Nan McCurdy has more from Capitol Hill.
Bush Eyes Oil Plan for Iraq (4:30)
President Bush has told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he’ll be seeking to send at least 20,000 more troops to Iraq – an escalation that Democrats may resist. In addition to the troop surge, Bush may ask to equip the Iraqi military with humvees, armored personnel carriers and helicopters for the first time. Bush is expected to make his announcement tomorrow evening. As Bush’s military plans for Iraq push forward in the media spotlight, he’s also talking about political benchmarks for the Iraqis, including how to deal with their oil revenue. The Iraqi government is quietly considering a new law that will modify the country’s oil industry. The draft emphasizes the need for foreign investment and will grant oil companies with contracts up to 30 years. Host Aura Bogado spoke with Greg Muttitt, lead researcher at the British group Platform, a human rights and environmental group that monitors the oil industry, about the draft.
Dooda Desert Rock Resistance (3:30)
In partnership with Sithe Global Company, the Navajo Nation is poised to build a 1,500 mega watt coal fired power plant in the four corners area of the United States. The Desert Rock power plant has been approved by the Navajo Nation Council, but, as Leslie Clark reports, construction of the facility is not a done deal.
Australia: Pro-Lifers Given Key Role in Government Funded Pregnancy Advice Hotline (4:00)
Debate has erupted in Australia over who should be allowed to give women advice about unplanned pregnancies, following the Federal Government’s decision to award part of a contract for an advice hotline to two pro-life organizations. As Erica Vowles reports, women’s groups and the political opposition are up in arms, claiming that Health Minister’s religious convictions are compromising health care for women.