Newscast for Wednesday, October 3, 2012
- Length: 29:10 minutes (26.71 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Activists are gathering in Denver, Colorado today to protest the exclusion of third-party candidates from tonight’s presidential debate. The organization that runs the event, the Commission on Presidential Debates, describes itself as non-partisan and non-profit. But according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the co-chairs of the Commission’s board of directors have ties to the Republican National Convention, the American Gaming Association, former President Bill Clinton and the DC-based lobbying firm, Public Strategies Washington.
The Green Party’s presidential ticket is in Denver to protest the Commission. They and other critics want a more inclusive debate process, one that would include more public input and third parties.
For more we’re joined by Green Party vice presidential nominee Cheri Honkala.
A US Senate investigation says a massive network of surveillance centers is wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and committing widespread violations of privacy. After a two year study of more than 75 fusion centers around the country, the report concludes that the program has produced little useful information and raised questions about how effective it has been to prevent terrorism. But the powerful lobbying group representing these centers is pushing back, criticizing the methods of the report and touting the importance of their services. FSRN’s Alice Ollstein has more, in Washington, D.C.
Palestinians in Gaza face arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and unfair trials, according to findings of a report from Human Rights Watch released today. The report, “Abusive System: Criminal Justice in Gaza,” documents what it calls “extensive violations” by Hamas security forces and says courts are failing to protect due process. It notes that since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, three men have been executed after confessions that appear to have been obtained under torture.
Safia Ahmad Shrair described to Human Rights Watch how her son, Abdel Karim, was executed by a Hamas government firing squad in May 2011, after a military court convicted him of collaboration.
“They abducted my son, put him in prison and tortured him. They executed him. Before they executed him, I didn’t get to see my son. They buried him without letting me see him. I’m asking for justice, for the truth to come out, to differentiate the oppressor from the oppressed. My son died oppressed.”
The Independent Commission for Human Rights said it had received nearly 150 complaints of torture by Hamas forces in 2011. The group also monitors abuses of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and in August faulted it for failing to hold police accountable after a beating in Ramallah led to at least six protesters being hospitalized. Human Rights Watch attributes much of the abuse of detainees to the political rivalry between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Hamas leadership responded to the report calling it politicized and one-sided. It said it had opened prisons to rights groups for oversight.
Internet freedoms have also come under scrutiny recently, following an order from the Hamas-led government to block all pornography-related sites. Hamas contends that such sites conflict with the culture of Gaza that is based on Islam and social traditions. But some Gazans criticize the move, which they say could be used to prevent access to other information. FSRN's Rami Almeghari has more.
Thousands of North Koreans have fled their homeland to find freedom in South Korea. It’s an escape that is often physically demanding. Many swim across a river into China, then travel in secret, avoiding authorities before they reach South East Asia – and from there they go to South Korea to seek asylum. But some refugees endure an even bigger challenge: those with disabilities face a grueling journey and an uncertain future. FSRN’s Jason Strother has one such story from Seoul.