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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

  • Libyan Rebels Try to Stabilize Tripoli as Weapons from Gaddafi Compounds Go Missing

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    In Libya, rebel forces say Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s stronghold of Bani Walid is ready to come under the National Transitional Council’s authority, despite pockets of resistance. Meanwhile, rebel troops say they have advanced about five miles towards Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte in heavy fighting today. Reuters reports the U.S. government has urged Niger to detain senior officials from the Gaddafi government who it believes crossed into the country in a convoy from Libya. Niger officials say the convoy carried several senior members of Gaddafi’s government, but gave no indication that Gaddafi himself was among them. We go to Tripoli for an update from Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who has recently discovered that Gaddafi’s warehouses, which were formerly full of assault rifles and anti-aircraft missiles, have been looted. "We have been warning the U.S. and other Western countries that these weapons are floating around all over the country," Bouckaert says. "Every time a city falls, they end up being looted... Every facility we go to where there were surface-to-air missiles, they’re gone." [includes rush transcript]

  • Discovered Files Show U.S., Britain Had Extensive Ties with Gaddafi Regime on Rendition, Torture

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    Human Rights Watch has uncovered hundreds of letters in the Libyan foreign ministry proving the Gaddafi government directly aided the extraordinary rendition program carried out by the CIA and the MI6 in Britain after the 9/11 attacks. The documents expose how the CIA rendered suspects to Libyan authorities knowing they would be tortured. One of the most prominent suspects rendered to Libya was an Islamic militant named Abdelhakim Belhaj, who is now the military commander for the Libyan rebels. At the time of his capture in 2004, Belhaj was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a group that had ties to al-Qaeda. We speak to Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, who helped find the documents in Tripoli, and Gareth Peirce, a well-known British human rights attorney who has represented numerous Guantánamo prisoners as well as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. [includes rush transcript]

  • Smog v. Jobs: Is Obama Admin Endangering U.S. Environment, Public Health with Retreat on Smog Standards?

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    As the nation headed into Labor Day weekend, the Obama administration quietly asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a plan to limit smog pollution that was projected to prevent 2,200 heart attacks and 23,000 asthma attacks annually. Obama said he made the decision in hopes of reducing regulatory burdens for businesses in a time of economic uncertainty. The move was seen as a major victory for polluters and some business leaders, and another setback for environmentalists. We host a debate with John Walke, the clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Dr. Roger McClellan, adjunct professor at the Duke University Medical Center and past chairman of the EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee. [includes rush transcript]

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