November 30, 2012

  • Army Private Bradley Manning describes pre-trial treatment, solitary confinement at military hearing
  • Senate amendments to NDAA cover Guantanamo transfers, indefinite detention
  • Ohio recounts could lead to Republican supermajority in House
  • In Democratic Republic of Congo more than 100,000 displaced as M23 rebels delay withdrawal from Goma
  • Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto faces historic drug war violence on eve of taking office

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FCC to open low-power FM licensing process

The Federal Communications Commission finalized rules today that open up the radio dial, allowing community groups to start low-power radio stations, even in urban areas where large broadcasters tried to block these new non-commercial stations. It’s the first time in more than a decade that community members will be able to launch new low-power stations. The new rules stem from the Local Community Radio Act, passed by Congress in 2010. The application process will begin next October. The grassroots advocacy group Prometheus Radio Project says this is a “significant step forward.” The group is offering support to community members interested in pursuing a license.

Los Angeles port clerical worker walk-out continue a fourth day

The largest port in the United States remains mostly shut-down for a fourth day today as clerical workers and union allies, including Longshore and Warehouse workers, picket against outsourcing. FSRN’s Larry Buhl has more from Los Angeles.

Clerical workers and unionized allies have succeeded where Occupy activists failed last year; they’ve shut-down the busiest port in the US. The Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach have been largely closed to container traffic since early this week. Cargo ships are being diverted to Mexico during the work stoppage. Workers are under a union-imposed gag rule, but some are speaking out anonymously.

“We’re fighting for our jobs because we can, because we’re a union. America has lost so many jobs to outsourcing and we’re fighting to save ours. That’s what this is about.”

The clerical workers say they’re fighting for 75 jobs that major corporate shippers are eliminating at the Port and sending elsewhere.  Shippers deny that they’re outsourcing jobs. The clerical workers have gone two and a half years without a contract. After city and Port of Los Angeles officials warned of mounting economic damage, both sides agreed to go back to the bargaining table. Negotiations resumed this morning. Larry Buhl, FSRN, Los Angeles.

Civil rights group sue over AZ Deferred Action driver’s license ban

Civil rights groups have filed suit against the state of Arizona over a ban on issuing driver’s licenses to immigrants approved for the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action program. ACLU attorney Jennifer Chang Newell says the rule violates the Constitutional guarantee of Equal Protection because other immigrants with work permits can still get licenses.

“It directly conflicts with federal immigration law because the federal government has authorized these young immigrants to live and work in this country, and they’re therefore eligible for drivers’ licenses in Arizona.”

The suit was filed yesterday on behalf of five immigrants. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who pushed the ban, has been an outspoken opponent of White House immigration policy.

CT man becomes latest example of Secure Communities failings

A judge ordered the release today of a Connecticut immigrant acquitted of armed robbery charges, but who has been trapped in federal deportation proceedings for several months.  A few dozen of his supporters held a rally outside the federal courthouse in Hartford Thursday calling for the end of the enforcement program that landed him in immigration detention. FSRN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.

Josemaria Islas was falsely arrested last summer and spent four months in jail. Upon being released by a judge, he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, under its Secure Communities program. Created to arrest and deport immigrants who have been charged with violent crimes, it instead has swept up those with no criminal record or with low-level, non-violent offenses. A Yale Law School investigation found that 70 percent of those deported from a single Connecticut county were in that category. At the rally, Ana Maria Rivera said her Latino advocacy organization, Junta for Progressive Action, is concerned about this trend.  “We see that every year the amount of people who are deported that are non-criminals or non-serious criminals, continues to increase.  And this worries us and this tells us that Secure Communities is bad policy.” The governor’s criminal justice advisor told the crowd ICE is not following its own regulations when it targets non-criminal immigrants for deportation. At a hearing just before the rally, a judge set bond for Islas. At his next court appearance in January, his lawyer will request prosecutorial discretion that his client not be deported. Melinda Tuhus, FSRN, Hartford.

AIDS activists plan World AIDS Day events worldwide

Events are planned around the country and world tomorrow as communities recognize World AIDS Day. The Centers for Disease Control estimate 1.1 million people are living with HIV in the United States and another 50,000 are infected each year. Iowa-based health educator Kim Lingner says risk factors of contracting HIV are still high in several key demographics.

“Young people make up about 40 percent of all new infections worldwide.There is also the demographic groups that have disproportionate rates. Latinos will account for one in five new infections. African-American accounts for almost half of all HIV infections and gay and bi-sexual men are about 61 percent of all new infections.

More than 34 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

Opposition groups plan to boycott Kuwait’s parliamentary elections

Thousands of Kuwaitis marched and demonstrated today, ahead of Parliamentary elections scheduled this weekend.  Opposition groups say they will boycott the elections because of new electoral laws and are already calling the vote illegitimate. The protest was the first allowed by the government since it put a ban in place earlier this month, according to the AP. As in many of the region’s countries, turmoil has gripped Kuwait this last year, with the ruling family taking steps to ensure its hold on political life


Army Private Bradley Manning describes pre-trial treatment, solitary confinement at military hearing

Private Bradley Manning returned to the witness stand today to describe harsh treatment and isolation while in military custody. It’s part of a pre-trial hearing taking place this week at Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning is accused of releasing classified information to Wikileaks. He faces 22 charges. Manning’s defense calls his treatment unlawful pretrial punishment and is asking the judge to dismiss charges or reduce sentencing. Manning was held on prevention of injury status, or POI, which the government says was necessary to ensure his safety, despite recommendations against it from medical professionals.
The army private has been detained since May 2010, 265 days of which were in solitary confinement. For more, we go to Kevin Gosztola co-author of “Truth & Consequences: The U.S. vs. Bradley Manning.” He’s also covering the Manning trial at


Senate amendments to NDAA cover Guantanamo transfers, indefinite detention

In Washington, the US Senate passed several significant amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, including a provision that prohibits the transfer of detainees out of Guantanamo, and another that bans the indefinite detention without trial of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. Some human rights advocates say both amendments violate the Constitution and international law, because they don’t recognize the universal right to due process. On Capitol Hill, FSRN’s Alice Ollstein reports.


Ohio recounts could lead to Republican supermajority in House

In Ohio, two state house races remain too close to call. Although the state went blue for the presidential race, Republicans currently hold a significant majority in both houses of the state legislature and on the state’s Supreme Court. A Republican also holds the office of governor. If the GOP gains two additional seats in the House following the recount, it would give them a veto-proof supermajority. FSRN’s Evan Davis has more.


In Democratic Republic of Congo more than 100,000 displaced as M23 rebels delay withdrawal from Goma

Today, M23 rebels in Goma, a provincial capital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, delayed withdrawal from the city, continuing tensions in the area where tens of thousands of residents have been displaced by fighting in the past week. Goma is in the mineral-rich North Kivu province, near to Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. According to the UN, Rwanda and Uganda have supported M23 rebels, though both governments deny involvement. Earlier today we reached Thierry Goffeau in Goma. He’s head of the mission with Doctors without Borders in North Kivu and he began by describing the situation today.


Mexico’s President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto faces historic drug war violence on eve of taking office

A new president takes office tomorrow in Mexico. Enrique Peña Nieto will be inheriting a multifaceted crisis aggravated by six years of drug war policies. Between 65,000 and 100,000 people have been killed in the internal war. Another 25 thousand are missing. The militarized approach has sunk Mexico into its most violent era since the 1910 revolution. But, in a trip to Washington DC this week, the Mexican president-elect hinted that he’s ready to take a different approach. FSRN’s Shannon Young reports.

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