Topics

Ex-Enron Chief Accountant Pleads Guilty In Blow To Former CEOs

December 29, 2005
Headlines

Enron’s former chief accountant has pleaded guilty to securities fraud. Richard Causey was scheduled to go on trial next month along with Enron’s founder Kenneth Lay and ex-Chief Executive Jeffrey Skilling. But now Causey is expected to cooperate with government prosecutors during the trial. He had been facing more than 20 years in jail but under the terms of the plea deal he will serve no more than seven.

UN: Iraq Vote “Transparent and Credible”

December 29, 2005
Headlines

The United Nations has weighed in on the growing controversy over Iraq’s recent parliamentary elections, declaring them fair and credible.

  • Craig Jenness, chief UN Electoral Observer in Iraq: The United Nations is of the view that these elections were transparent and credible. The turnout was high, the day was largely peaceful, all communities participated. Over 230,000 agents of political entities and 120,000 Iraqi observers were present in all stations in Iraq."

Sunni and secular Shiite parties have alleged voter fraud after early returns gave the religious Shiite coalition the United Iraqi Alliance an overwhelming lead. Dhafir al-Ani, spokesperson for the main Sunni alliance the Iraqi Consensus Front, told the New York Times : "Several international workers sitting inside the Green Zone are not able to evaluate the election matter. We still believe that huge fraud happened in the Iraqi election and it completely changed the results." Final election results are expected next week.

US Air Strike Kills 10 Iraqis in Hawija

December 29, 2005
Headlines

Elsewhere in Iraq, U.S. fighter jets have killed ten people in a bombing of the northern village of Hawija. The military said it launched the attacks after several men were spotted planting roadside bombs. The Washington Post reported earlier this week the number of monthly U.S. airstrikes has increased almost fivefold this year, from roughly 25 in January to 120 last month.

At Least 9 Iraqis Slain in Failed Prison Escape

December 29, 2005
Headlines

Meanwhile, at least nine Iraqis are dead following a failed escape attempt from a Baghdad military prison. The US military said four prisoners, four Iraqi guards, and an interpreter were killed when a group of detainees seized several weapons from the prison armory. Police and Interior ministry sources have given a different account. Reuters initially reported six prison guards were killed before troops fired into a crowd of unarmed prisoners, killing up to 20 people.

Suicide Bomber Kills Five in Baghdad

December 29, 2005
Headlines

Elsewhere in Iraq, a suicide bomber killed five police officers and wounded several others in Baghdad earlier today.

NSA Website Capable of Tracking Web Activity of Visitors

December 29, 2005
Headlines

In other news, the Associated Press is reporting the National Security Agency has been using files that can track the web surfing activity of visitors to its website. The NSA says the tracking files — known as "cookies" — were a mistake and have been removed. Under federal law, government agencies are forbidden from using "cookie" files unless a senior official authorizes them and their use is disclosed in the agency’s written privacy policy. The news comes as the Bush administration continues to defend its authoritization of an NSA program to eavesdrop on Americans and foreign nationals without court-approved warrants.

Ex-Agent: Clinton Started Rendition Operations

December 29, 2005
Headlines

In other news, a former US counterterrorism agent is claiming the CIA’s rendition program to capture terror suspects and question them on foreign soil was launched under former President Bill Clinton. In an interview with the German newspaper Die Zeit, Michael Scheuer, a 22-year CIA veteran who resigned last year, said : "President Clinton, his national security advisor Sandy Berger and his terrorism advisor Richard Clarke ordered the CIA in the autumn of 1995 to destroy Al-Qaeda. We asked the president what we should do with the people we capture. Clinton said ’That’s up to you’."

In February, investigative journalist Jane Meyer reported the Clinton administration carried out rendition operations as early as 1995. Meyer reported US agents helped kidnap wanted Egyptian terror suspect Qassem in Zagreb in Croatia. He was sent back to Egypt, where he was reportedly executed.

South Korean Police Chief Resigns Over Farmers’ Deaths

December 29, 2005
Headlines

In South Korea, national police chief Huh Joon-Young has resigned over the beating deaths of two farmers at a protest in Seoul last month. Chon Yong-chol and Hong Tok-pyo were among hundreds of farmers who rallied against the government’s decision to open up the country to state-subsidized rice of foreign countries. The protest took place ahead of the World Trade Organization summit in Hong Kong this month.

Hostage Stand-Off Ends At Brazil Prison

December 29, 2005
Headlines

In Brazil, a riot at a northern prison has ended with the release of close to 200 hostages who had been held since Sunday. Detainees at the Urso Branco prison in the northern province of Rondonia demanded better conditions, an end to prisoner transfers, and visits from human rights monitors. The hostages were all relatives and friends of the prisoners who stayed at the facility of their own accord.

Suicide Bomber Kills Three in West Bank

December 29, 2005
Headlines

This news from Israel and the Occupied Territories — an Israeli soldier and two Palestinians were killed today when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself at a checkpoint near the West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Israel Strikes, Closes Off Northern Gaza Strip

December 29, 2005
Headlines

Meanwhile, Israel has launched a relentless bombardment of a northern area in the Gaza Strip. It’s also declared the area a "no-go" zone for Palestinians. Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza earlier this year, but maintain full control over its borders and airspace. The Israeli government called the strikes a response to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli border towns, which Palestinians in turn describe as a response to Israeli military operations throughout the Occupied Territories. At least 20 shells have been fired into northern Gaza since Wednesday, wounding two Palestinians.

Fatah Resolves Internal Split

December 29, 2005
Headlines

In other news from the area, ruling Palestinian party Fatah has announced its members have resolved a dispute that would have seen it split into separate factions in next month’s parliamentary elections. A younger group of Palestinians led by jailed intifada leader Marwan Barghouti announced earlier this month it would break off from the "old guard" led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over what it called the PA’s corruption and incompetence.

Pinochet Photographed For First Mug Shot

December 29, 2005
Headlines

And in Chile, after years of charges and investigations into human rights abuses under his rule, former dictator Augusto Pinochet has been fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken for the first time. Police are investigating his involvement in the deaths of hundreds of political opponents in the 1970s. Pinochet ruled the country until 1990 after seizing power in a US-backed coup in 1973. Over 3,000 people went missing and 28,000 were tortured under his regime. Pinochet, who is 90 years old, is currently living under house arrest over separate allegations of human rights abuses. His mug shot has not been released.


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.