August 15, 2008

  • Bush Administration Steps up Stance Against Russia
  • Civil Libertarians Question Use of New Technologies for Surveillance
  • Monsanto Sells Off Dairy Cow Hormone Division
  • A Look at Some State Ballot Measures
  • Rewind with the Pacifica Radio Archives: Joan Baez and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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US and Poland Seal Missile Shield Deal
One of Russia’s top generals today suggested that Poland is exposing itself to a nuclear strike by agreeing to host a US missile shield within its territory. US and Polish officials signed the contentious deal yesterday, as Washington and Moscow traded verbal jabs over the conflict in Georgia and the future of its breakaway provinces. Russia has strongly opposed the idea of establishing the US weapons system in Poland and the Czech Republic; two countries that were both satellite states of the former Soviet Union. The past 2 days have produced some of the most tense rhetorical exchanges between the US and Russia since the end of the Cold War.

Former Maoist Guerrilla Commander Elected Prime Minister of Nepal

A former Maoist guerrilla commander has been elected Prime Minister of the newly created Republic of Nepal. PC Dubey has the details.

Maoist leader, who goes only by the name Prachanda, won the election by a landslide margin with 77 percent of the votes of the country’s Constituent Assembly. It was a crushing defeat for his rival, Sher Bahadur Deuba, who had served as prime minister three times during the era of the monarchy. Prachandra even received the support of pro-monarchy parties and staunch opponents of the Maoists. Some fringe Marxist parties like the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, a traditional ally of the Maoists, boycotted the election. Prachanda’s victory has been regarded by some with hope that he will use his office to bolster the country’s ongoing peace process in the wake of a decade-long insurgency that killed 15,000 people. Nepal dissolved it monarchy and declared itself a republic earlier this year. A Constituent Assembly is currently in the process of drafting a new constitution. From Birganj in Nepal I am PC Dubey for Free Speech Radio News.

Anti-Guerrilla Offensive in Mexican State of Guerrero
The Mexican government has launched a major counterinsurgency offensive against a guerrilla army in the southern state of Guerrero. Vladimir Flores reports.

For the past three days, the Mexican military and Guerrero state police have blanketed two regions of the state, looking for members of the Insurgent People’s Revolutionary Army – or ERPI – as it’s known by it’s Spanish acronym. Guerrero’s governor, Zeferino Torreblanca, yesterday announced that his government has signed a contract with Israeli security experts to provide weapons and training to state police. Guerrero, like the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, has experienced guerrilla activity for decades. All three states are rich in natural resources, have large indigenous populations, and are home to the majority of Mexico’s poorest municipalities. Meanwhile, Mexico’s federal government has opened an investigation into the forced disappearance of two militants of another guerrilla group, the Popular Revolutionary Army – or EPR. The government had earlier classified the case as a “kidnapping”, but changed the focus of the investigation to that of “forced disappearance” after the commission mediating talks between the rebels and the government said it had evidence indicating Oaxacan police were behind the disappearances. For FSRN, I’m Vladimir Flores in Oaxaca City.

Judge Upholds Saudi Immunity from 9/11 Lawsuit
A federal court in New York City has ruled that families of victims of the 9/11 attacks cannot sue Saudi Arabia or members of the Saudi royal family for allegedly providing material support to terrorists. Zoe Sullivan reports from New York City.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that Saudi Arabia, four Saudi princes, a charity and a Saudi bank could not be held liable for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The Court stated that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 gave the parties immunity on US soil and was not subject to exceptions in the rule because the US has not designated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism. The ruling upholds a lower court decision that came in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of family members of 9/11 victims. The plaintiffs argued that the bank and the princes named in the suit donated to a charity that then channeled the money to al-Qaeda, constituting “material support” for terrorism. The court did not rule on the validity of the charges, only that allegations could not be brought against the Saudi defendants in any US court. For FSRN, this is Zoe Sullivan in New York.



Bush Administration Steps up Stance Against Russia

More than a week after Russia’s military attack on South Ossetia, the Bush Administration is making stern remarks, insisting Russia remove its troops from Georgia. After what may have been perceived as an initial lag from the West, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today – who says that Russia military forces are now occupying a third of the country. Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois says any analysis of the situation needs to consider that there has already been U.S. military action in the region.

Civil Libertarians Question Use of New Technologies for Surveillance

Police departments around the country are taking advantage of new technologies to track vehicles and collect information. GPS devices that used to just help you get from Point A to Point B are now used to follow suspects – and cameras mounted on police cars or roadways can help them track anyone’s movements. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these practices infringe on people’s privacy. FSRN’s Tanya Snyder has the story.

Monsanto Sells Off Dairy Cow Hormone Division

After years of fighting off opposition to artificial growth hormones given to dairy cows, agricultural giant Monsanto announced it is selling off its rBGH division, also know as Posilic. Consumer advocates and some farmers and food producers have long fought the use of rBGH, also called recombinant bovine growth hormone, which was legalized by the FDA in 1993. Patty Lovera, Assistant Director of the consumer group Food and Water Watch talks about the implications of Monsanto’s sale.

A Look at Some State Ballot Measures

Ballot initiatives around the country strike at controversial issues and take the debate from the presidential arena to the public arena. The success of ballot initiatives ride on the ability for the campaigns to get the word out about what the initiative actually means and mobilize supporters to make it to the polls on election day. This year’s ballot initiatives broach topics like marijuana legalization, gay marriage and abortion, and groups around the country are organizing to bring voters up to speed on what these might mean for their communities. Katharine Jarmul has more.

Rewind with the Pacifica Radio Archives: Joan Baez and Martin Luther King, Jr.

On today’s edition of Rewind with the Pacifica Radio Archives, we hear from two voices prominent in the Vietnam War anti-draft movement: Joan Baez and Martin Luther King Jr.  Learn more at

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