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Thursday, December 22, 2011

  • NATO Forced to Admit Air Strikes Killed Dozens of Libyan Civilians, Contradicting Initial Denials

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    NATO has admitted for the first time Libyan civilians were killed and injured during its seven-month bombing campaign that led to the ouster and death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. The acknowledgment came after a New York Times investigation revealed at least 40 civilians, and perhaps more than 70, were killed by NATO air strikes, including at least 29 women or children. Others were killed when NATO warplanes bombed ambulance crews and civilians who were attempting to aid the wounded injured in earlier strikes. We speak to New York Times senior reporter Eric Schmitt, who co-wrote the investigation with C.J. Chivers. "We only saw a small sampling of the strike sites that may have been affected, so the death toll is probably much larger," Chivers says. [includes rush transcript]

  • U.S. Admits Fault in Fatal Bombing that Killed 24 Pakistani Troops

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    The Pentagon has admitted significant responsibility for an attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month that left 24 Pakistani solders dead. A military investigation found U.S. and Afghan commandos incorrectly determined there were no Pakistani forces in the area before the air strike. U.S. officials then provided inaccurate data to a Pakistani military representative and missed an opportunity to stop the fighting. Pakistan closed its border after the attack, shutting off a supply line to troops in Afghanistan. New York Times reporter Eric Schmitt, who has just returned from Pakistan, says the report details just the latest in a string of incidents that could hurt Pakistani-U.S. ties. "It’s going to be very difficult to see how they’re going to work their way out of this now, despite the important relationship that the U.S. and Pakistan has not only over counterterrorism priorities, but also given that Pakistan is a nuclear state, and there’s a lot of concern if those nuclear weapons or any nuclear material were ever to fall into militant hands." [includes rush transcript]

  • With Indefinite Detention Measure, Has Congress Also Expanded Rendition of U.S. Citizens Abroad?

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    The Obama administration is continuing to come under intense criticism from civil liberties groups for saying it will sign a controversial defense spending bill that some legal experts say would authorize the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. While much of the media focus has been on the bill’s provisions regarding indefinite detention, Mother Jones magazine has revealed the bill also contains text that could make it easier for the U.S. government to transfer American citizens to foreign regimes and security forces, a process known as rendition. We speak with Mother Jones national security reporter, Nick Baumann, who also details the cases of several U.S. citizens who have already been detained abroad by foreign security forces, interrogated, sometimes abused, and asked questions they believe could only have come from U.S. law enforcement. [includes rush transcript]

  • Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Mounting Storm of Anti-Latino Bias, Prisoner Abuse, Sex-Crimes Negligence

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    The controversy around Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is growing by the day. In a scathing report, the Justice Department has accused Arpaio of "wide-ranging discrimination against Latinos," leading federal authorities to suspend Arpaio’s access to programs under which undocumented immigrants are handed over from his jail for deportation. "The federal government was using Arpaio as sort of a showcase, a model for its 287(g) program, in allowing local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws... But it failed miserably," says Stephen Lemons, a reporter for the Phoenix New Times. Arpaio has faced growing calls to resign amidst mounting evidence that his police department failed to properly investigate more than 400 sex crime and homicide cases. On Monday, an immigrant woman sued Arpaio for cruel and unusual punishment, because she was shackled to her hospital bed before and after delivering her child by Caesarean section in police custody. And a Latino Army veteran died Tuesday after he was found unresponsive in his jail cell with taser marks on his body. Arpaio has vowed not to resign and says he plans to run for re-election next year. "People are literally dying because of the culture of intimidation, harassment and discrimination taking place in those jails," says Randy Parraz of Citizens for a Better Arizona. "What’s even more shameful is this culture of silence by Republican leaders, from the governor on down, who refuse to take a stand and [are] basically saying Latinos do not matter in the state of Arizona." [includes rush transcript]