Sunday, September 11, 2005

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media

The air in Belfast - which on Saturday was thick with loyalist petrol bombs and blast bombs - has filled with recriminations following one of the city's worst nights of rioting for years.
The city drew breath following a lawless night in which police and troops came under sustained attack after the authorities refused to allow an Orange parade to pass through a nationalist area of west Belfast.
Following an Orange call for supporters to take to the streets, disturbances broke out across Co Antrim, with violence in the towns of Ballyclare, Carrickfergus and Larne, as well as the north Belfast suburbs of Glengormley and Rathcoole. In the village of Ahoghill, where violence has been directed at Catholic residents in recent weeks, young people went on a rampage, setting cars on fire and throwing fireworks at police.
A bomb factory was found yesterday during the security operation that followed the violence, which left 32 police officers injured. Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde revealed that seven weapons were also recovered in north Belfast, where some of the worst rioting took place. He added that 1,000 police officers and 1,000 troops had been deployed.

Gareth sent in the above which is from David McKittrick's "Police find bomb factory after night of rioting" (England's The Independent). Gareth says he agrees with Mike that the Times "is looking the other way" on this story. If they are, that's one of the reasons for the "Reporting from outside the US mainstream media." (Which is what we're in the midst of.)

On the same topic, Skip e-mails "Police blame Orange Order for Belfast violence" (AFP via Australia's ABC):

Police have show reporters video images taken from the air that clearly show two men with handguns firing as many as 15 shots.
They also put on show two police Land Rovers riddled with 20 and 30 bullet holes respectively.
Chief Constable Orde says police and soldiers fired 450 plastic bullets, and seven live rounds, before order was restored.
"This was more like the violence of 20 or 30 years ago, although I wasn't here then," he said.
The Orange Order - which takes its name from Protestant King William of Orange, who defeated James II's Catholics in Ireland in 1690 - represents hardline opinion in the Northern Ireland's Protestant, or loyalist, community, which wants to keep British rule.

Jessica e-mails to note "Bush criticized on Sept. 11 anniversary" (Canada's CBC):

"Like that day four Septembers ago, we once again find ourselves asking, 'How could this have happened?"' said Rep. Bennie Thompson. "The answer is painful, but it must be acknowledged: we simply were unprepared."
Thompson and others criticized the government for being unprepared for such a disaster, despite years of planning and the creation of a new Homeland Security Department aimed at better handling such events. He also criticized police, fire and rescue officials for failing to effectively communicate with each other, blaming Republicans in Congress for budget cuts to first responders.
"The failure of the levees in New Orleans shows us how vulnerable our nation's critical infrastructure is," he said. "Diminishing the ability of our sheriffs, police, firefighters, and all first responders to get the job done is simply unacceptable."

Olive e-mails to say she's glad Jess noted Scott Parkin's case in "Third Estate Sunday Review News Review" today and provides "Activist's arrest prompts questions about security powers" from ABC's Australia also on Parker:

Scott Parkin has been in Australia since June.
He was arrested in Melbourne on Saturday after his visa was revoked when an assessment showed he posed a threat to Australia's national security.
Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC says he wants to know why it took so long for authorities to act, if indeed Mr Parkin is a security threat.

[. . .]
Greens leader Senator Bob Brown has described Mr Parkin's detention and probable deportation as an abuse of ASIO's powers.
"We're not a police state," he said.
"ASIO's emergency powers, which have gone through the Parliament opposed by the Greens, were meant to be for terrorists.
"Not for people who are campaigning against the misdeeds of the US administration or its associates."

Polly e-mails to note her pleasure with Rebecca's nature report in "The Third Estate Sunday Review News Review" this morning and she wants to note Justin Huggler's "Mother orang-utans shot dead so infants can be traded as pets" (England's Independent):

A study by Traffic, a non-government organisation which monitors trade in wildlife, found that between 200 and 500 orang-utans were traded as pets each year from the Indonesian part of Borneo. Baby orang-utans are a favourite choice as an animal companion in Indonesia. They are often dressed in human clothes, and eat the same food as the rest of the family. But the story of how they are taken from the wild is gruesome, says Julia Ng, who has been researching the orang-utan trade for Traffic.
"One villager told me he was with a group of villagers when they saw a mother orang-utan with her baby in the trees. He shot the mother immediately and she came crashing down through the trees. He knew she would attack them if he didn't kill her immediately, so he took a long knife, went straight to her and cut her head off." Most mothers are killed when baby orang-utans are taken, skewing the gender balance in the population. By the time orang-utans reach the illegal pet shops of Indonesian cities on the more developed island of Java, they can fetch up to £220.
The only surviving great ape outside Africa, the orang-utan is found only on the two islands of Sumatra and Borneo. The Sumatran orang-utan is critically endangered, with only 7,000 left in the wild. Its numbers may have been further reduced by last year's Boxing Day tsunami, which hit the northern tip of Sumatra.
With as many as 40,000 left in the wild, the Bornean orang-utan is better off. But wildlife organisations including Traffic and the conservation charity WWF are warning that the illegal pet trade is threatening to cut that population drastically within years.

Lavonne e-mails to note Jason Nisse's "Radioactive birds get nuclear power station in a flap" (The New Zealand Herald):

Deep in the bowels of Sellafield nuclear power plant, there is a freezer packed with an expanding mountain of radioactive gulls. They are the result of a controversial culling policy operated at Britain's most notorious nuclear site for more than a decade. And no one has a clue what to do with them. The problem started when seagulls and pigeons would land at Sellafield and then fly on, potentially carrying hazardous radiation. As a result, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd employed sharpshooters to kill the birds rash enough to land on the premises. Those that are killed are designated low-level nuclear waste and have to be put in a freezer because of contamination worries.

Martin e-mails to note Nabi Abdullaev and Francesca Mereu's "Pundits Warn of Oligarch Conspiracy" (The Moscow Times):

In a warning starkly reminiscent of the prelude to the Yukos crackdown, a group of political scientists published a report last week about an "oligarch conspiracy" to seize power.
The pundits, working under the auspices of the Council for National Strategy, the private think tank that warned about "a creeping oligarchic coup" in 2003, are pointing the finger this time at Alfa Group, the financial-industrial empire run by Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven.
"The government's task is to form a powerful anti-oligarchic coalition and not to allow a coup," said Sergei Markov, a Kremlin loyalist who co-authored the report.
Markov said by telephone Friday that oligarchs were actively seeking to place their people in the government and to clinch alliances with the siloviki -- military and security officials close to President Vladimir Putin -- in order to regain the political influence they enjoyed in the 1990s.

Lynda e-mails to note Aljazeera's "Israel formally ends Gaza military rule:"

Israel has formally lowered its flag in the Gaza Strip, officially ending its 38-year occupation of the territory, and Palestinian security forces have begun entering former Israeli settlements there.
The Israeli army lowered the flag over the Gaza Strip on Sunday before the first army convoys left Gaza after sundown.
Military jeeps and armoured bulldozers drove slowly through the Kissufim crossing point, marking the beginning of the end of Israel's presence in Gaza.
Palestinians nearby danced, played music and waved weapons and flags, and Palestinian security forces began entering the former Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Monday, a spokesman for the Palestinian Interior Ministry said.
The spokesman said hundreds of members of the national security service had entered seven settlements.

James in Brighton e-mails to note "Typhoon lashes east China coast" (BBC):

Typhoon Khanun has struck China's east coast, with torrential rains and high winds bringing chaos to some areas.
TV footage showed waves crashing into the shore, flooded streets, trees bent double and rescuers carrying the elderly to safety.
Taizhou city in Zhejiang province bore the initial brunt of the storm. Other coastal cities are braced for the typhoon as it heads north.
More than 800,000 people were moved from their homes as the storm neared.
Around 35,000 ships and boats returned to port before the latest typhoon made landfall at 0650GMT, Xinhua state news agency reported.
Earlier this month Typhoon Talim left at least 32 dead in eastern China, while in August Typhoon Matsa forced a million people to flee their homes.

Skip e-mails to note an article he thinks Susan will enjoy, "Don't retouch me there: Fonda" (The Australian Herald):

SCREEN star Jane Fonda has ordered magazine bosses to hold the airbrush after posing for her latest magazine cover.The 67-year-old appears on the front of Britain's Good Housekeeping magazine proudly showing off her wrinkles.
Fonda refused to have the pictures retouched, revealing the crow's feet around her eyes and wrinkles around her mouth.
"I don't want my wrinkles taken away. I don't want to look like everyone else," she told the magazine.

Brenda e-mails to note Jim Lobe's "Anti-Terror Strategy in Doubt on 9/11 Anniversary" (IPS):

If U.S. President George W. Bush was counting on Sunday's "Freedom Walk" and country music festival at the Pentagon to revive the patriotic spirit (and rally his sagging approval ratings) that followed the Sep. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on their fourth anniversary, he is likely to be very disappointed. And it won't be just because of his administration's fatal bungling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which will certainly overshadow the Pentagon's commemoration; nor even due to the growing popular discontent over the way things have been going in Iraq.
Although both developments pose potentially lethal threats to Bush's continued effectiveness, the president's management of his "global war on terrorism", which he declared in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is increasingly under siege. Public approval of his handling of that war, which, in contrast to steadily declining confidence in Iraq policy, had remained remarkably solid over most of the past four years, has fallen sharply in recent months to a razor-thin majority. Recent polls have also shown that U.S. citizens see themselves as increasingly vulnerable to terrorist attack as a result of the administration's actions. It now appears that much of the national security elite has made a similar assessment and, in an indication of the shifting political winds, is now more willing to speak out about it.
A growing number of policy experts are arguing that Bush's strategy for conducting the war on terrorism -- particularly his preferences for military action over "soft power" and for working with compliant "coalitions of the willing" over independent allies and multilateral mechanisms -- is in urgent need of redirection. This was made abundantly clear by the appearance of a who's who of national security and foreign policy experts at a well-attended conference here this week that appeared designed chiefly to assert the existence of alternative frameworks for conducting the war on terrorism on the eve of its fourth anniversary.

The e-mail address for this site is