June 10, 2008

  • Kucinich Calls for Impeachment
  • Bush Garners Support for More Iran Sanctions
  • Different Government Department – Different Interrogation Techniques
  • Native American Tribal Reps Meet With US Attorney Generals
  • Call for Justice — El Salvador’s Disappeared Children

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Senate Republicans Block Big Oil Tax and Renewable Energy Stimulus
Just days after killing climate legislation, Senate Republicans went on today to block a proposal that called for increased taxes on record high oil profits. The windfall profits tax would have specifically targeted the country’s 5 largest oil companies. The proposal called for new regulations on the oil futures trading market. It also would have given Congress the authority to rescind 17 billion dollars in tax breaks for big oil. Senate Democrats lacked 9 votes of the 60 needed to force consideration of the measure. Another energy bill that stalled in Congress today would have given tax breaks or other incentives to companies developing energy production from renewable resources like solar and wind power.

UK Parliament Moves Towards Mandating CO2 Cuts
By contrast, the upper house of the British Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a Climate Change Bill through it’s first stage. The measure sets a legally binding target for reducing the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by the year 2050. Naomi Fowler reports from London.

Campaigners are very happy that legislation requiring mandatory cuts in UK CO2 emissions is being introduced, but they believe the bill should go further: 257 MPs have signed a Parliamentary petition calling on the government to introduce even more ambitious targets for cutting emissions by 80%; they also want the UK’s share of emissions from international aviation included. Another criticism of the bill is that it allows all emissions reduction targets to be met by buying carbon credits from abroad rather than actually reducing emissions within the UK. However, Environment Minister Phil Woolas aims to present a further bill, previously defeated, requiring that a greater proportion of carbon emission reductions come from domestic cuts. Campaigners are also concerned that the government will use the bill to channel more public funding towards nuclear and carbon sequestration models rather than to renewable energy. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

Fuel Hike Strikes and Protests Hit Europe and Asia
Soaring gas prices are fueling strikes and protests in Europe and Asia. Spanish truck drivers are in their second day of blockading the country’s major cities to call on the government to do something about diesel prices. Residents of the blockaded cities have reportedly begun panic shopping sprees to stock up on food and fuel. Portuguese truck drivers have decided to join the strike and French truckers along the Spanish border have also carried out support actions. In Asia, South Korean truckers have also voted to begin a strike this week. Fuel hike protests were also reported today in Indian-administered Kashmir, in Nepal and in Hong Kong.

Bolivians Demand Extradition of Two Former Officials from the US
In other news, the Bolivian government’s efforts to extradite a former president and defense minister from the US have hit potential complications. Leny Olivera has more from Cochabamba.

Citizens of El Alto demonstrated in front of the US Embassy yesterday to call on the US government to extradite former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada and his ex-Defense Minister Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. Both former officials are wanted on charges stemming from a deadly crackdown on demonstrators in 2003. The demonstrations, known here as “The Gas War”, ultimately led to the fall of Sanchez de Lozada’s government on October 17, 2003. But before he and his Defense Minister fled to the US, security forces had killed more than 60 demonstrators and left hundreds of others injured. The government of President Evo Morales has requested that the US government extradite the former officials back to Bolivia so that they can stand trial, but statements made last week indicate that the US has given political asylum to the former Defense Minister. Prosecuting attorneys say that Berzain’s asylum status in the US should not hamper his extradition as the charges are not political in nature. If extradited, Sanchez de Lozada and Berzain would face charges of murder, genocide, and of looting the Bolivian Central Bank. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Leny Olivera with Aldo Orellana in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Criminal Charges and Incarceration for Undocumented Border Crossers in Texas
Undocumented immigrants detained in the Texas Rio Grande Valley border region will now face criminal charges and up to 180 days in prison before deportation. The detention-based model is part of an expanded version of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Streamline” program. The program first began in the Del Rio, Texas sector in December of 2005. The increased demand for immigration detainee bedspace in this sector has largely fueled a 700% expansion of the Val Verde County jail over the past 8 years. The Val Varde County jail, like the new detention facilities in Eagle Pass and Laredo, Texas, is run by the GEO group, formerly known as Wackenhut. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has allotted just under 2.4 billion dollars for detention and removal operations this fiscal year.



Kucinich Calls for Impeachment

Ohio Democrat and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has introduced articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush. Kucinich defied party leadership last night when he called for the President’s impeachment. Reading the entire measure on the house floor for nearly five hours, Kucinich’s 35 articles charge the President with high crimes and misdemeanors. The first 20 articles focus on the Iraq war. Kucinich also points to spying on Americans, maltreatment of detainees, and the handling of Hurricane Katrina.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously said that impeachment is not on the table. Democratic leadership indicated today they would prefer to send the impeachment resolution to the House Judiciary Committee. However, Kucinich is likely to force a vote by the full House of Representatives as early as tomorrow. Last year, Representative Kucinich called for the impeachment of VP Dick Cheney. The measure died – but not until Republicans initially voted in favor of taking up the measure to force a debate.

Bush Garners Support for More Iran Sanctions

Even as Congressional fears of a US war with Iran intensify, while in Europe, President Bush calls for, and receives, support for tougher sanctions on Iran. Members of Congress held a day of action today to highlight the need for diplomacy. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reports.

Different Government Department – Different Interrogation Techniques

Opponents of torture can count the FBI as one government entity that refuses to use harsh interrogation techniques. A new report by the Inspector General’s office of the Justice Department has more clearly delineated the practices employed and condoned by various agencies that deal with detainees. Tanya Snyder reports from Washington.

Native American Tribal Reps Meet With US Attorney Generals

Members of the U.S. Attorney General’s Native American Issues Subcommittee met in Rapid City, South Dakota last week. The group, which is a direct link between the tribes and the U.S. Attorney General’s office, discussed public safety issues that affect American Indian tribes and also met with tribal leaders. FSRN’s Jim Kent spoke to U.S. Attorneys and tribal representatives – and found that positive attitudes don’t necessarily make the issues of “Indian Country” any less complicated.

Call for Justice — El Salvador’s Disappeared Children

During El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s, it’s estimated that 75,000 people lost their lives. Under the dictatorship, the military committed untold massacres and human rights violations. Many thousands of people disappeared, among them young children. This month Salvadoran civil society organizations are commemorating the massacres and military actions against civilians during the war. The group Pro Busqueda is calling for justice for the children who were disappeared. From San Salvador, Ricardo Martinez shares their story.

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