July 10, 2008

  • Green Party Convention Kicks off in Chicago
  • The Second Longest Walk Nearly Concluded
  • Iran Launches New Missile Test
  • New Haven ID Cards Withstand Legal Challenge
  • Street Vending Criminalized in Colombia

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Britain Settles With  Iraqi Torture Victims

The British Ministry of Defense has agreed today to pay nearly 6 million dollars to 10 Iraqis tortured by British troops. From London, Naomi Fowler reports.

Of the 10 Iraqi civilians who were tortured at the hands of the British military, the most high profile was the death of26-year old hotel receptionist Baha Mousa. Graphic photos of his bruised, dead body were beamed across the world; his family has never stopped fighting for an inquiry. Earlier this year the Ministry of Defense admitted breaching the men’s human rights. In May they finally announced an inquiry into Mousa’s death. Today General Viggers issued a full apology to all the men and their families after two days of talks with lawyers. Although, a corporal admitted inhumane treatment in a Court Martial but no one was convicted of killing Baha Mousa. His family is still demanding answers about their relative’s death. The compensation money will be split between all the families. This is Naomi Fowler in London for Free Speech Radio News.

Vital Community Group Loses Home

After three decades, one of the nation’s most important community institutions for artists of color – Self Help Graphics art center — is losing its home.  However, the organization’s board has been informed it may be able to stay in its current location until the end of the year. Dedicated to creating art that reflects the cultural values and spirit of the local Chicano community, as well as developing local artists, Self Help Graphics is located in a building owned by the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Catholic Church. The Archdiocese sold the property to a private investment firm without informing Self Help that the property was on the market. Some in the community speculate that building was sold to help pay settlements in the priest sex abuse scandals. A spokesman for the archdiocese disputes those claims.

Florida Professor Granted Bond

A federal judge is overruling government objections and has ordered former University of South Florida Professor Sami al Arian free on bond – an action that could bar the government from prosecuting him for criminal contempt of court. aL Arian has been in custody since 2003 as part of a wide-ranging terrorism investigation.  It’s unlikely that he will be immediately set free. As the subject of a deportation order, he will be transferred to immigration authorities.

Taliban Seizes Police Station – Abducts Officers

The Taliban claims to have kidnapped 29 security forces in Pakistan, officials say the number is lower. Rahman Ullah reports from Peshawar

According to eyewitnesses some 400 militants equipped with heavy weapons encircled the Doaba police station in the southern Hangu district of the frontier province. Tension mounted after the arrest of four Taliban members.  The Army helped local police after the Taliban cut water and power supplies to the police station. The Hangu Police chief says 11 officers are missing. However, Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar told FSRN the number is higher.

“The Taliban have abducted 29 security men along with two vehicles. If the government does not stop its search operation, the Taliban will retaliate in Hangu district in particular and in other parts of the province generally. And then government will be responsible for this deteriorating situation.”

A grand Jirga comprised of local elders has failed to restore peace in the area whichhas been in the grip of sectarian violence for the last five years. For FSRN, I;m Rahman Ulla in Peshawar.

Kucinich Introduces Impeachment – Again

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now says that the Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on another impeachment resolution introduced today against President Bush. Karen Miller has more form Washington DC.

Factual misrepresentations… that’s what representative Dennis Kucinich calls what President Bush used to get a yes vote for the authorization of the war in Iraq. And that’s what Kucinich hopes will finally stick as he puts impeachment on the table against the President for the 3rd time in a year. In 2002, Congress gave the go ahead to the President to use military force in Iraq. Kucinich asserts that President Bush mis-represented the facts about the situation in Iraq to garner congressional approval for war. Included among at least a dozen examples, Kucinich cites the president’s claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Today’s article of impeachment will detail Kucinich’s list of alleged factual misrepresentations. Kucinich says the President must be held accountable for lying to Congress.

Rove in Contempt?

Former White House Chief Strategist Karl Rove is defying a congressional subpoena and refusing to testify about charges of political pressure at the Justice Department. Rove was scheduled to appear this morning at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing. The panel’s chairwoman ruled that Rove was breaking the law by refusing to cooperate. A decision on whether to pursue contempt charges now goes to the full Judiciary Committee and ultimately to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. A subcommittee rejected Mr. Rove’s executive privilege claim by a vote of 7-1.

AMA Apologizes to African Americans

The American Medical Association today issued a formal apology for policies that excluded African Americans for more than a century.  The apology grows out of initiatives to reduce racial disparities in medicine ranging from the small number of black physicians to the disproportionate burden of disease among minorities.

West Bank Village Sues Canadian Developers

West Bank Village has filed suit against two Canadian companies in a Quebec court. Ghassan Bhannourra reports from the West Bank.

Two Canadian Companies are being sued in a Montreal Court by a village in the West Bank. The suit was filed against Green Park International and Green Mount International – affiliated companies registered in Quebec. The two companies are building residences in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank village of Modiin Illit in what the village claims is a violation of international law.  The suit seeks to end all construction by the companies in the village as well as the demolition of the roughly 250 apartments in 30 buildings already built. This legal action represents the first attempt to hold a private corporation legally liable for their investments in settlements. For FSRN, I’m Ghassan Bannoura.



Green Party Convention Kicks off in Chicago

The Green Party opened their political convention in Chicago today. The party haS a nominating system similar to the Republican and Democratic parties, where delegates are awarded to each candidate based on the percentage of vote cast. Green party delegates will choose their presidential nominee from a field of four candidates. FSRN’s Leigh Ann Caldwell profiles each of them.

Iran Launches New Missile Test

Iran has launched a new missile test in the Persian Gulf, for the second consecutive day– sparking fears of a possible escalation between Iran, the US and Israel. The latter called on Iran to stop its test-firing yesterday. The tests demonstrate Iranian missiles are capable of reaching Israel; Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is calling for international sanctions against Iran as a result. And although US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is downplaying the escalation, two resolutions on Capitol Hill are calling for an Iranian naval blockade. We spoke with Robert Naiman, Senior Policy Analyst at Just Foreign Policy about the implications of a second test today.

New Haven ID Cards Withstand Legal Challenge

The city of New Haven, Connecticut, won a victory yesterday when the state’s Freedom of Information Commission ruled the city does not have to release the names of the 5,000-plus residents who have received municipal ID cards, including many undocumented immigrants. The city claimed there were credible threats against card holders from anti-immigrant groups and individuals that could result in violence if the information were released. A local newspaper editor and a leader of an anti-immigrant group filed complaints when the city refused to release the information. Melinda Tuhus reports from the Commission meeting in Hartford.

The Second Longest Walk Nearly Concluded

Native Americans are nearing the end of a 5-month long cross-country trek from California to Washington, DC. Walking under the banner of “All life is sacred, Protect Mother Earth”, they have almost completed their journey. FSRN’s Naji Mujahid has more from DC.

Street Vending Criminalized in Colombia

A new traffic law is causing commotion in Colombia. Under the so-called “traffic light” law, Colombia’s police could fine drivers who buy things from street vendors near traffic lights and busy intersections. Those who give money to beggars would also have to pay up. The senator who proposed the law says it will help to ease traffic in Colombia’s congested cities; but street vendors say it threatens their livelihoods. Manuel Rueda reports from Bogotá.

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