Monday, April 10, 2006

Democracy Now: Broadcasting from New Orleans

Mass Protests Continue Around the US For Immigrant Rights
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated in cities across the country Sunday urging Congress to pass legislation that would legalize the estimated 12 million undocumented workers in the US. An estimated 500,000 people took to the streets in Dallas. The marchers filled the downtown streets with chants of "Si Se Puede!" -- Spanish for "Yes, we can!". In St. Paul, Minnesota, 30,000 people rallied at the state capitol. In Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrators marched along the same streets where activists clashed with police in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Other protests were held in New Mexico, Michigan, Iowa, Alabama, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California. Michael Martinez, who attended a rally in San Diego, said: "It's not about flags, it's not really about race. It's about just equal opportunities for everybody and nobody being above or below the law and nobody being exploited by the law. It's that simple." More protests are planned for today in nearly 100 cities across the country.
And in Nepal, a curfew remains in place in the capital of Kathmandu amid widespread protests against the royal government. A coalition of opposition parties are leading a campaign to end the rule of King Gyanendra, who seized power in a coup last year.
White House Defends Bush Intelligence Disclosure
The White House has publicly admitted President Bush authorized the disclosure of pre-war intelligence on Iraq. But White House spokesperson Scott McLellan said the disclosure wasn't illegal because information disclosed by the President is considered declassified. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, has testified that President Bush authorized him to leak a highly classified intelligence document on Iraq to the press in an effort to defend the administration's decision to go to war.
The above three items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Portland, Brad and LyndaDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for April 10, 2006

- Mass Protests Continue Around the US For Immigrant Rights
- Report: Bush Administration Has Plans For Iran Nuke Strike
- US Exaggerating Zarqawi Role in PR Effort
- White House Defends Bush Intelligence Disclosure
- Specter: Bush "Owes" Public An Explanation
- Peru Likely to Face Runoff Presidential Vote
- Curfew Continues in Nepal Amid Mass Anti-Government Protests
Historic African-American New Orleans Church Reopened After Weeks Of Protests & Rectory Sit-In

Historic St. Augustine Parish in New Orleans was reopened and its church re-consecrated Saturday after weeks of protests and a rectory sit -in that lasted 19 days. St. Augustine, founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color, is one of the nation's oldest black parishes. [includes rush transcript]
New Orleans Residents and Evacuees Blast State of Schools, Housing, Jobs at Mayoral Forum

The religious organization Jeremiah Group hosted a mayoral forum at the Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans on Saturday. At the event, a number of the city's residents and evacuees posed questions and expressed concerns about the direction of the city on issues ranging from schools to housing to jobs.
 "Poor People, Disabled People, People of Color Are Not Welcomed Back to New Orleans" - Activists Paint Grim Picture of Struggling City

We speak with two activists about the current state of New Orleans: Bill Quigley is a law professor at Loyola University and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola and Tracie Washington, the director of the NAACP Gulf Coast Advocacy Center.
And in Iraq?  The Associated Press reports several incidents of violence in Basra Sunday including that Qurna's mayor and his wife were killed "in a drive-by shooting" by three gunmen while gunmen also killed a police officer "after storming his home." Reuters notes a car bombing on Saturday near Baghdad which killed six. Yesterday in Baghdad, the Kuwait Times notes five roadside bombs and and four corpses discovered (handcuffed, one verified as having been shot in the head). Salah Jali al-Gharrawi, Iraqi employee of Agence France-Presse, was kidnapped in Baghdad Tuesday and there has still been no word (or demands from the kidnappers). Reuters notes violence in Falluja (at least three civilians dead), Baghdad (three civilians killed in yet another home invasion), and Baquba (an Iranian woman was discovered dead from a bullet to the head.)  And in a speech in England today, George Galloway stated, "The Iraq war is becoming a bigger issue as every day goes by not a smaller one.  For a start more people are dying than when people said it would no longer be an issue.  When George Bush said 'mission accomplished' there were tens of thousands of people alive that are now dead as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq."
A bigger issue?  That appears to be so in some areas as Monica's highlight indicates, John Nichols' "Italy Votes for Withdrawal" (The Notion, The Nation):
George Bush's second closest comrade in the neoconservative "coalition of the willing" occupiers of Iraq has been swept from power. And that means that Italy will soon withdraw its troops from the coalition and Iraq.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who after British Prime Minister Tony Blair was the strongest supporter of Bush's policies in Europe, and perhaps the world, was swept from office in voting that ended Monday. Berlusconi will be replaced by Romano Prodi, whose center-left Olive coalition promised in its manifesto to withdraw Italian troops from Iraq.
That's Italy.  In the United States the rallies are still going on for immigration rights and there will be continued activities.  There are also activites to say no to the war.  Zach notes "Students to Protest Military Recruiters at April 11th Career Fair" (Santa Cruze IMC):
Santa Cruz, CA -- UC Santa Cruz Students Against War (SAW) is planning a peaceful, yet significant, protest of military recruiters’ presence at an April 11th Job Fair on the UCSC campus. A march will begin the day’s actions at 9:00a.m. at the McHenry Library.
SAW has approached the administration for over a month to assure peaceful conditions for peaceful expression, free from excessive force or intimidation. But these efforts have been so far fruitless, as the Administration has adopted stalling tactics and has so far refused to seriously consider any of SAW's suggestions or supply any solutions of its own. On the contrary, there are reports that additional police from an out-of-town police department will be brought in at a great cost (rumored to be over $10,000) to the University.
Denise offers a highlight that she hopes "everyone would read over slowly" -- "Speech by MFSO Member Mike Perkins" (Military Families Speak Out):
Our son Robert spent 15 mos. In Baghdad, on April 10, 2004 his best friend, Spc. Aldolpho C. Carballo was blown in half by a RPG that hit him in the back.  Robert knelt and held him while his blood flowed.  Before Carballo died he told Robert, "Make sure you get home and tell my wife and baby I love them."  Those were the last words of Spc. Adolpho Carballo.  Carballo deployed before his baby girl was born, he never met her.
My wife Chris and I met Carballo when we attended boot camp graduation.  I remember him as a happy, polite young man.  When Robert called us to say Carballo had been killed, he also told me he still had Carballo's blood on him and didn't want to wash it away.  Robert tattooed Carballo's name and the date of his death on his right arm to keep it close.
On May 5, 200r Spc. James C. Marshall was killed while Robert stood about 20 meters away.  Marshall's name is on his left arm.  Every time I see my son's arms, I want to cry.
Robert frequently asks what noble cause Carballo died for?
That's an excerpt.  Use the link for the full speech.  Next two highlights go to British members over a story coming out of England that should be a big story everywhere.  First, Polly notes "British peace activist 'unlawfully killed' in Gaza" (Telegraph of London):
Tom Hurndall, the British peace activist shot by an Israeli soldier while acting as a human shield in the Gaza Strip, was "intentionally killed", an inquest jury has ruled.
The 22-year-old was wounded in the head by a sniper as he tried to move Palestinian children out of the line of fire in April 2003. He died nine months later from his injuries.
Mr Hurndall, from north London, was wearing an orange jacket at the time to mark him out as a peace activist.
A five man, five woman jury at St Pancras Coroner's Court in London ruled that he had been unlawfully killed, and criticised the Israeli authorities for not participating in the inquest proceedings.
Second, Gareth notes Simon Atkinson (and agencies")'s "British peace activist was 'intentionally killed'" (Guardian of London):
The 22-year-old had apparently been trying to move young Palestinian children from the line of fire when he was hit in the head. He was left in a coma and died nine months later.
Speaking after the hearing, the Hurndall family representative, Michael Mansfield QC, said they were delighted with the verdict. However, he stressed there was still work to be done.
"Make no mistake about it, the Israeli defence force have today been found culpable by this jury of murder," he said.
The family accused the Israeli authorities of a "cover-up", calling on the British government to take action under the Geneva convention.
They said it should investigate, and if necessary extradite the five Israeli officers they believe made up the a chain of command which led to Mr Hurndall being shot.
If this did not happen the family would consider pursuing justice through the courts. Earlier, Mr Hurndall's mother had criticised the government for not speaking out about her son's death.
"We are astonished to this day that Tony Blair has never publicly condemned the shooting of Tom," Joyce Hurndall said. "It is necessary for the Israelis to hear condemnation from him."
Also note that Wally's latest Jot is up: "THIS JUST IN! THE BIG DRIP BECOMES THE BIG LEAK!Elaine should post at her regular time this evening.  (Molly wondered.  Others are planning to but no one's sure of a time.) The e-mail address for this site is

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