July 16, 2008

  • Presidential
    Candidates Weigh In on IRAQ
  • War Resisters in Canada
  • Landmark Enemy Combatant Ruling
  • Lebanese/Israeli Prisoner Exchange

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NATO Pulls Back From Afghan Outpost
NATO forces have abandoned a newly-established outpost near the village of Wanat in Eastern Afghanistan after it was overrun by Taliban militants earlier this week. Taliban forces killed nine US soldiers in an ambush of the station on Sunday in what was the deadliest single incident for US troops since 2005. NATO says that despite the pullback, international and Afghan forces will continue to patrol the area, which lies in a mountainous region near the border with Pakistan.

Sudanese Parliament Decides to Not Cooperate with ICC
The Sudanese Parliament has passed a resolution to not cooperate with the International Criminal Court investigation of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. The court’s chief prosecutor on Monday requested an arrest warrant for al-Bashir to stand trial on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The United Nations called on all non-essential staff to leave Darfur on Tuesday due to fears that the court’s action could trigger reprisals. The UN estimates that some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur the past 5 years, most of them at the hands of the Janjaweed militia. The central Sudanese government has repeatedly created legal and diplomatic hurdles to the formation of a well-armed and sufficiently-staffed international peacekeeping force in the region. The Sudanese government has launched a new effort to lobby African Union and Arab League states to come out against the arrest warrant.

ICJ Orders US to Stay Executions of 5 Mexican Nationals

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ruled that the United States must stay the executions of five Mexican citizens on death row in Texas. Israel Rafalovich has more on the story.

The court voted seven to five to order the United States to delay the pending executions of 5 Mexican citizens until the court makes a final ruling on a challenge brought by the Mexican government. Mexico argues that its consular officials did not have access to the men under after they were sentenced. The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations gives foreign detainees the right to seek legal assistance through their consulates upon arrest. Both the United States and Mexico are signatories to the Vienna Convention. As the execution dates near, Mexico petitioned the court to order provisional stays in the 5 capital cases and to clarify a 2004 ruling holding that such executions violated international law. One of the executions is scheduled for the first week of August. The United States is required to inform the court of the measures taken to implement the court’s order. Israel Rafalovich, FSRN, The Hague.

Immigration Raids in Colorado and Rhode Island
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents raided a concrete products manufacturer in Loveland, Colorado today to search for unauthorized immigrant workers. Special agent Mike Masto told the coloradoan.com that 17 people suspected of working without papers have been taken into custody. This comes less than 24 hours after ICE carried out coordinated and simlutaneous raids in 6 Rhode Island courthouses. More than 30 janitorial contract workers with Tri-state Enterprises and the Falcon Maintenance Company were taken into custody. The contract cleaners have been accused of using false documents to obtain work. It is unclear if the companies will face any legal action.

Environmental Groups Sue the EPA

Environmental law firm Earth Justice has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club against the Environmental Protection Agency charging that new rules released by the agency will allow power plants and factories to release dangerous levels of soot and other particulate matter into the air. Africa Jones reports.

The environmental groups want to overturn rules recently released by the EPA which would exempt new power plants and factories from meeting clean air standards for fine particle pollution. The EPA took over 10 years to create the rules released in May, then gave industries another 3 yrs to comply. Paul Cort is a staff attorney with Earth Justice: (clip) “They’ve said ‘Ok, we’ve layed out all these new permitting requirements, but we’re not going to let you get permits for another 3 years’. EPA adopted a rule that will continue to let major sources of soot other pollution continue without any new permits as required by the Clean Air Act.” The groups say this is just another example of the Bush administration’s disregard for the nation’s environmental laws. Studies have linked fine particulate matter to respitory illnesses, heart attacks, and premature deaths. For Free Speech Radio News, I’m Africa Jones.

Congress Overrides Medicare Veto

The House and the Senate teamed up on Tuesday to override a presidential veto on Medicare spending. The bill will maintain doctors’ Medicare reimbursements at current levels. The president’s veto would have cut those payments by more than 10 percent. Bush vetoed the bill because he opposed cutting money for the private portion of Medicare, called Medicare Advantage. It was only the 4th time since Bush took office that Congress as has had the votes to override a veto.



Presidential Candidates Weigh In on Iraq

Presumptive Presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama are refining their foreign policies. And although similarities do exist, the differences are more apparent. As Washington Editor Leigh Ann Caldwell reports, as two wars continue to rage on, both candidates recognize the importance of foreign policy in this election and are firmly pushing their positions.


War Resisters in Canada
When more than 50,000 people made their way from the US to Canada to avoid fighting in the Viet Nam war, Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau welcomed them, declaring Canada a “refuge from militarism”. Today, while much smaller in number and largely unnoticed in the US, a new generation of “deserters” are fighting for the same sanctuary – including Robin Long, who went to Canada in 2005 seeking refugee status. But as FSRN’s Sarah Olson reports, Canadian government officials have not extended the same welcome to these modern war resisters.

Landmark Enemy Combatant Ruling

In a 5-to-4 decision, the 4th U.s. Circuit
Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled that the only person currently being held as an enemy combatant in the United States can challenge his detention. The Court also upheld the Bush Administration’s logic that Ali al-Marri, a lawful U.S. resident, can be held in military detention if their allegations linking him to Al-Queda are true. Jonathan Hafetz is the attorney at The Brennan Center for Justice, who represents al-Marri… He explains what the ruling means.


Lebanese/Israeli Prisoner Exchange

Red Cross officials mediated a prisoner exchange
between Lebanon and Israel along the Lebanese-Israeli border today. The Shi’a Muslim Hezbollah party handed over the bodies of two Israeli soldiers seized by its guerrillas two years ago in an incident that sparked the 34-day war in the summer of 2006. In exchange, Israel handed over 5 Lebanese prisoners and the remains of some 200 Lebanese and Palestinians fighters. Analysts say it is a test for the newly formed Lebanese unity government. Jackson Allers has more from Beirut.


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