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HeadlinesJanuary 30, 2002

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Red Cross Raises Questions over U.S. Special Forces Attack on Kandahar Hospital

Jan 30, 2002

A senior Red Cross official raised questions last night about a U.S. Special Forces attack on a hospital in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar in which six al-Qaeda gunmen were killed. The official said U.S. troops had assured him three weeks ago there would be no attack on the hospital, which is near a Red Cross center. U.S. and Afghan soldiers stormed a ward of the Mirwais Hospital on Monday and gave no warning beforehand.

Israel Preps to Fortify Its Self-Proclaimed Capital Jerusalem

Jan 30, 2002

Israel is preparing to fortify its self-proclaimed capital Jerusalem amid a show of Arab solidarity with the beleaguered Palestinian administration. Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau, who submitted the proposals to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, said the plan aims to cut off Palestinians in the West Bank from the city by “defensive obstacles,” as he put it, but denied earlier reports of a wall being erected to separate Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. Sharon approved the plan, called “Enveloping Jerusalem,” and said the suburbs have occupied East Jerusalem, quote, “should be included in Greater Jerusalem,” but only at the security level, thus ruling out an annexation. The Palestinians see Jerusalem as the capital of their future independent state.

Afghan Teens Pledge Suicide If Not Released from Australian Detention

Jan 30, 2002

And this news from Australia: Television footage of an Afghan asylum seeker hurling himself on razor wire at the Woomera detention center in South Australia may have succeeded in getting the attention of the Australian government where domestic and international outrage have failed. Eleven Afghan teenagers who made a suicide pact extended their deadline by 24 hours, pledging to kill themselves by this afternoon unless they were released from the desert camp. Lawyers say the teenagers plan to slash their wrists, poison themselves or jump onto the razor wire. The threat follows desperate measures taken by Afghan and Middle Eastern detainees to draw attention to the conditions in the center. Guards prevented a 16-year-old Iraqi boy from hanging himself overnight. Last week, nine unaccompanied teenagers — five Afghans and four Iraqis — said they would commit suicide unless they were freed. They had been removed and placed in the care of South Australian social services. As a hunger strike by more than 200 mainly Afghan asylum seekers entered its 14th day, the Australian government indicated it might back down and close the detention center if the number of people arriving by boat continues to fall. But despite the attention, the conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who’s visiting the United States, continued to defend the government’s refugee policies.

International Protest Pressures U.S. Toward Acknowledgment Geneva Conventions Apply at Guantánamo

Jan 30, 2002

In the face of fierce international protests, the U.S. may be edging toward acknowledgment that the Geneva Convention applies at least partially to the 158 captives being held at Guantánamo Bay. After President Bush’s senior National Security Council advisers failed to resolve the issue, he said he would make the decision after he had “listened to all the legalisms.” That is a big shift from the administration’s original position that the detainees, said to come from 25 countries, were neither prisoners of war nor entitled to the protections of the conventions. The dispute went public over the weekend with the leak of a White House memo indicating Secretary of State General Colin Powell had asked Bush to reconsider his decision. Powell’s concern about the risk of its Special Forces who may be taken prisoner has resonated at the Pentagon. But even Powell agrees that captured al-Qaeda fighters will not be formally declared prisoners of war. The Pentagon says their fates will be decided on an individual basis.

Bush Singles Out “Axis of Evil” at State of the Union

Jan 30, 2002

In his State of the Union address last night, Bush appeared to sharply increase both the immediacy and the gravity of the threat posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Bush singled out the countries as an “Axis of Evil” whose efforts to acquire and export weapons of mass destruction could no longer be tolerated. Bush’s sober rhetoric and the fact that he devoted a major portion of last night’s speech to three countries underscored his pledge that the war against terrorism is not limited to rogue groups such as al-Qaeda.

NYPD Promises Heavy Presence at World Economic Forum Protests

Jan 30, 2002

The New York Police Department has vowed that protesters at the World Economic Forum, officially beginning tomorrow, can expect a huge police presence with zero tolerance for any violations of the law. The New York Police Department announced it would be unwise to litter or cross against the lights. They also announced they’ll enforce an 1845 law that forbids people to wear masks in the street and says that wearing a mask or a hood in a group will be cause for immediate arrest. Much like the days following the terrorist attacks of September 11th, there will be traffic checkpoints, bomb-sniffing dogs and vehicle searches. The police are also discouraging people from wearing backpacks near the conference in Midtown and plan to use metal detectors for street searches. Four thousand police officers in uniforms and plainclothes will surround the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where the conference is being held. Post boxes have been removed, manholes welded shut. In case mass arrests happen, a warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yards has been prepared to hold up to a thousand protesters.

Former CIA Spymaster Joins NYPD as Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence

Jan 30, 2002

A former spymaster with the Central Intelligence Agency joined the New York Police Department last week to serve as its deputy commissioner for intelligence, a new position that was created to help steer the department through the post-September 11 world. The new deputy commissioner, David Cohen, spent 35 years in the CIA, including two years as director of operations, a post in which he oversaw the agency’s espionage around the world. Cohen is not the first high-ranking former federal official who’s recently joined the police department to help it expand what the department said was fighting crime and cracking down on quality-of-life violations to gathering intelligence and preparing for terrorism. Frank Libutti, a highly decorated former lieutenant general in the Marines, joined the department earlier this month in another new position, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism.

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