Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Democracy Now: Dahr Jamail and others on Haditha, discussion of East Timor

Military Probe: Marines Killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha Massacre
Military investigators have determined that U.S. Marines wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians -- including women and children -- in the city of Haditha last November. An internal investigation determined that the Marines fatally shot as many as 24 Iraqis and then tried to cover up the killings. One 10-year-old Iraqi girl said she watched Marines kill her mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, four-year-old cousin and two uncles. The incident is being compared to the massacre in My Lai during the Vietnam War. Several Marines involved in the killing are now being held in the Camp Pendleton brig in California. At least one Marine has spoken to the media about what he witnessed. Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones told the Los Angeles Times he was not involved in the killings but took photographs and helped remove the dead bodies. Briones said "They ranged from little babies to adult males and females."
Pentagon Seeks Ability to Bomb Anywhere In World
The New York Times reports the Pentagon is pressing Congress to approve the development of a global strike missile that would enable the United States to carry out non-nuclear missile strikes against any target in the world within an hour. However critics say the weapon could lead to an accidental nuclear war. That's because the Pentagon plans to deploy the non-nuclear warhead atop the submarine-launched Trident II missile. The same submarines that carry nuclear Trident II missiles would also carry the non-nuclear version. Critics say it would be hard for other countries, such as Russia, to determine if a missile coming out a Trident submarine was conventional or nuclear.
Military Calls Off 700-Ton Bomb Test In Nevada
In Nevada, protesters have forced the Bush administration to indefinitely postpone a controversial bomb test designed to help the military better understand nuclear bunker busters. The government had planned to set off 700 tons of explosives in the Nevada Test Site creating an explosion 50 times more powerful than the Army's largest conventional bomb. According to government documents, the test -- known as Divine Strake -- was needed to determine the "proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities." The Pentagon estimated the blast would have been so large that it would have created a 10,000 foot-high mushroom cloud. Critics called for the government to cancel the test because they feared the mushroom cloud would contain radioactive dust from old nuclear tests.
Deadly Anti-U.S. Riots Hit Kabul, Afghanistan
In Afghanistan, thousands took part Monday in the most violent anti-U.S. protests in the capital of Kabul since the fall of the Taliban. The riots were sparked by a traffic accident involving a U.S. military truck. Within hours of the crash, protests had spread throughout the city. By day's end at least 14 people died and another 100 were wounded. Police stations were set on fire. Hotels came under attack. The office of CARE International was torched to the ground. Stores were ransacked. The U.S.--backed government imposed a night-time curfew for the first time in four years. Protesters called on the U.S. to end its occupation of Afghanistan.
  • Ajmal Jan: "We want America out of this country! we hate America! They have no responsibility! Their army wrong and they are driving on the road killing innocent people! We want America out of this country sooner or later! We hate America!!"
Meanwhile U.S. forces killed about 50 Afghans in an air strike in the town of Helmand in Southern Afghanistan. Over 400 people have now died in the region over the past 10 days.
Moscow Police Arrest Up To 100 At City's First Gay Pride March
In Moscow, over 1,000 police officers broke up the city's first-ever Gay Pride March. Up to 100 people were arrested including the lead organizer of the march. Riot police dragged march participants away as they attempted to speak with the press. One gay rights activist was beaten by a gang of counter-protesters while he was giving a televised interview. Moscow's mayor Yuri Luzhkkov had banned the march citing moral reasons. An official from Human Rights Watch said the police were encouraging skinheads to attack gay men and lesbians participating in the march. Prior to the event, organizer Nikolai Alexeyev outlined why a Gay Pride march was needed in Russia.
  • Nikolai Alexeyev : "We (gays in Russia) got no rights basically that are given to people in other countries, to gays in other countries. And I think the time came to go out, and to say that we want equal rights. You see we are paying taxes as all the other citizens; we have obligations, and we are following our obligations according to the law and we are supposed to get the same rights as all the other citizens, and this is what the authorities should understand."
Reggae Superstar Desmond Dekker, 64, Dies
And Jamaican music pioneer Desmond Dekker has died at the age of 64. He died of a heart attack last week at his home in Surrey, England.
The above six items are from today's Democracy Now! Headlines and were selected by Sabina, Heath, Carl, Mia, Jonah and JulieDemocracy Now! ("always informing you," as Marcia says):
Headlines for May 30, 2006

- Military Probe: Marines Killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha Massacre
- Two CBS Journalists Killed in Iraq Roadside Bombings
- Indonesian Earthquake Death Toll Tops 5,400
- Deadly Anti-U.S. Riots Hit Kabul, Afghanistan
- 75 Detainees on Hunger Strike At Guantanamo
- Justice Dept Asks Courts to Dismiss NSA Spy Suits
- Senate Confirms Gen. Hayden to Head CIA
- Pentagon Seeks Ability to Bomb Anywhere In World
- Burma's Military Junta Extends House Arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi
- Moscow Police Arrest Up To 100 At City's First Gay Pride March
- Military Calls Off 700-Ton Bomb Test In Nevada
Haditha Massacre: Was it an Isolated Event and Did the Military Try to Cover it Up?

An internal military investigation has found that U.S. marines killed as many as 24 Iraqis -- including women and children -- in the city of Haditha last November and then tried to cover it up. We speak with an attorney and researcher at Human Rights Watch, an independent journalist who spent months unembedded in Iraq and we go to Baghdad to speak with the bureau chief for Knight Ridder. [includes rush transcript - partial]
AMY GOODMAN: Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist based for more than eight months in Iraq. Your response to this latest news?
DAHR JAMAIL: Well, two responses really. First is that this type of situation, like Haditha, is happening on almost a daily basis on one level or another in Iraq, whether it's civilian cars being shot up at U.S. checkpoints and families being killed or, on the other hand, to the level of, for example, the second siege of Fallujah, where between 4,000 and 6,000 people were killed, which I think qualifies as a massacre, as well. But even that number hasn't gotten the attention that this Haditha story has.
And the other really aspect of that, I think is important to note on this, is the media coverage, again, surrounding what has happened around Haditha simply because Time magazine covered it, and thank heavens that they did, but this has gotten so much media coverage, and in comparison, so many of these types of incidents are happening every single week in Iraq. And I think that's astounding and important for people to remember, as well.
East Timor Declares State Of Emergency As Violence Spreads

As President Xanana Gusmao assumes emergency powers we speak with Jose Luis Guterres, East Timor's ambassador to the United States and United Nations, and Charlie Scheiner, co-founder of East Timor Action Network, both of whom have just returned from East Timor.
Earthquake Death Toll Tops 5,400 in Indonesia; 200,000 Left Homeless

The death toll from a weekend earthquake in Indonesia has topped 5,400. More than 20,000 people were injured in the disaster and as many as 200,000 people have been left homeless, many without shelter or food. We go to Java to speak with an officer with the United Nations Children's Fund.
Iraq snapshot.  Chaos and violence continue.
The Turkish Press notes that May has led to the "highest monthly death toll . . . since the US-led invasion" for England.  So far, nine British troops have died this month in Iraq bringing their official total, since the beginning of the illegal invasion, to 113. This as Nuri al-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister and occupation puppet, is reported by Reuters to have said, "I'm giving them a final deadline to give their opinon on the candidates now."
al-Maliki was referring to his cabinet which still hasn't been fully staffed -- this depsite the May 22nd constitutional deadline having passed.
As the US moves 1,500 more troops into Iraq, the Associated Press reports on what they've dubbed the "coalition of the dwindling."  William J. Kole, reporting for the AP, notes Italy's statements that all of their troops will be pulled by year's end, South Korea's intent to "withdraw about 1,000 of its 3,200 soldiers" and Denmark's decision to pull 80 of its 530 troops from Iraq. Kole also notes that rumors that Japan will pull troops by year's end and Poland's continued evaluation of whether or not to keep their 900 troops in Iraq.
In Baghdad, the Associated Press reports a mortar atatck ("fired by remote control from a cary near the Interior Ministry") resulted in the deaths of "two female employees" and wounded a police officer, "two janitors" and, from a mortar that "landed in a park," "two city workers."  Reuters notes the wounding of "four policeman . . by a rocket which landed near the ministry."  The BBC notes the death of a police officer, killed by a roadside bomb. Reuters notes that death and the wounding of three more police officers. Reuters reports the murder of a "preacher of a Sunni Mosque in the Shula district of the capital" Also murdered were four mechanics, reports the AFP. The BBC notes the discovery of three corpses ("blindfolded and handcuffed"). The AFP notes those three plus three more, including "the corpse of a policeman kidnapped two days earlier . . . [and] a taxi driver."
As noted by Reuters and Sandra Lupien on KPFA's The Morning Show,  in Hilla, a car bomb has resulted in deaths and wounded -- the current estimate is "at least 12" dead and at least "36 people . . . wounded." In Balad, Reuters notes the kidnapping of "an employee of the Oil Protection Facility."
And finally, CBS News and the Associated Press report that the corpses of  two US marines who have been missing since their helicopter crashed on Saturday have been found -- one corpse was found on Monday and the other today.
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