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HeadlinesMay 30, 2006

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Military Probe: Marines Killed 24 Iraqis in Haditha Massacre

May 30, 2006

Military investigators have determined that U.S. Marines wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians — including women and children — in the city of Haditha last November. An internal investigation determined that the Marines fatally shot as many as 24 Iraqis and then tried to cover up the killings. One 10-year-old Iraqi girl said she watched Marines kill her mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, four-year-old cousin and two uncles. The incident is being compared to the massacre in My Lai during the Vietnam War. Several Marines involved in the killing are now being held in the Camp Pendleton brig in California. At least one Marine has spoken to the media about what he witnessed. Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones told the Los Angeles Times he was not involved in the killings but took photographs and helped remove the dead bodies. Briones said “They ranged from little babies to adult males and females.”

Two CBS Journalists Killed in Iraq Roadside Bombings

May 30, 2006

In other news from Iraq, two more journalists have died while covering the war. On Monday a roadside bomb killed CBS cameraman, Paul Douglas and sound technician James Brolan. CBS Reporter Kimberly Dozier suffered severe injuries and remains in critical condition. Earlier today Dozier was transported to Germany for medical treatment. At the time of the attack, the CBS crew was embedded with a unit of the 4th Infantry Division.

  • Michael Dozier, Kimberly Dozier’s brother: “People understand the risk that our troops expose themselves. They don’t always appreciate that journalists do, as well. She more than others. She’s not content to report from the roof of a hotel, she has to be out there in the humvee.”

Indonesian Earthquake Death Toll Tops 5,400

May 30, 2006

In Indonesia, the death toll from Saturday’s earthquake has risen to 5,400. More than 200,000 people have been left homeless and have been forced to live in makeshift tents. Many are still waiting for help. The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that hit Central Java is the third major disaster to strike Indonesia in the last 18 months. Meanwhile concern is growing that a volcano near the epicenter could soon erupt. Plumes of smoke are now rising out of the volcano and trails of lava are running down its slopes.

Deadly Anti-U.S. Riots Hit Kabul, Afghanistan

May 30, 2006

In Afghanistan, thousands took part Monday in the most violent anti-U.S. protests in the capital of Kabul since the fall of the Taliban. The riots were sparked by a traffic accident involving a U.S. military truck. Within hours of the crash, protests had spread throughout the city. By day’s end at least 14 people died and another 100 were wounded. Police stations were set on fire. Hotels came under attack. The office of CARE International was torched to the ground. Stores were ransacked. The U.S.-backed government imposed a night-time curfew for the first time in four years. Protesters called on the U.S. to end its occupation of Afghanistan.

  • Ajmal Jan: “We want America out of this country! we hate America! They have no responsibility! Their army wrong and they are driving on the road killing innocent people! We want America out of this country sooner or later! We hate America!!”

Meanwhile U.S. forces killed about 50 Afghans in an air strike in the town of Helmand in Southern Afghanistan. Over 400 people have now died in the region over the past 10 days.

75 Detainees on Hunger Strike At Guantanamo

May 30, 2006

In news from the Guantanamo Bay prison, the U.S. military has acknowledged 75 detainees are once again taking part in a mass hunger strike. Meanwhile a new report from the British prisoners rights group Reprieve has estimated that the Bush administration has held over 60 juveniles at Guantanamo who were captured before they turned 18 years old.

Justice Dept Asks Courts to Dismiss NSA Spy Suits

May 30, 2006

In news from Washington, the Justice Department has requested the federal courts dismiss two lawsuits challenging the National Security Agency’s domestic warrant-less surveillance program. Government lawyers maintain the lawsuits cannot proceed because they would result in the disclosure of state secrets and jeopardize national security.

Senate Confirms Gen. Hayden to Head CIA

May 30, 2006

Meanwhile the Senate has confirmed the former head of the NSA, General Michael Hayden, to become the next director of the CIA. 25 Democrats joined with the Republican majority in confirming Hayden. One Republican — Senate Judiciary Committee chair Arlen Specter — voted against President Bush’s nominee. Hayden becomes the first military officer to head the CIA in over 25 years.

Report: Gonzales & Mueller Threatened to Quit Over FBI Raid Debate

May 30, 2006

In other news from Washington, questions still remain over the legality of the FBI’s raid on the office of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson. It marked the first time the FBI has ever raided the office of a sitting member of Congress. Last week House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other lawmakers demanded that any materials seized in the raid be returned to the Congressman who is under investigation for bribery. However Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller have defended the raid. According to press accounts, Gonzales, Mueller and Gonzales’ deputy, Paul McNulty signaled to the White House that would resign before returning seized evidence in the bribery investigation. On Thursday President Bush ordered that the Jefferson materials be sealed for 45 days while Justice officials and House lawmakers work out their differences.

Pentagon Seeks Ability to Bomb Anywhere In World

May 30, 2006

The New York Times reports the Pentagon is pressing Congress to approve the development of a global strike missile that would enable the United States to carry out non-nuclear missile strikes against any target in the world within an hour. However critics say the weapon could lead to an accidental nuclear war. That’s because the Pentagon plans to deploy the non-nuclear warhead atop the submarine-launched Trident II missile. The same submarines that carry nuclear Trident II missiles would also carry the non-nuclear version. Critics say it would be hard for other countries, such as Russia, to determine if a missile coming out a Trident submarine was conventional or nuclear.

Burma’s Military Junta Extends House Arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi

May 30, 2006

Burma’s military junta has extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by another year despite a call for her release by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate has spent 10 of the past 16 years in jail. The military junta announced its decision on May 27 — exactly 16 years after Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party won 82 percent of the vote in a general election. But the military refused to allow the party to take power. The international community, including the Association of South East Asian Nations, denounced the Burmese government’s decision.

  • In Kawthoolei, of the Karen National Union: “That is very senseless from the very beginning, a senseless act of SPDC. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is just a woman without any weapon and all she asks for is just a dialogue, dialogue for democracy, dialogue to sort out Burma problems and to move forward for a genuine democracy.”

Alvaro Uribe Re-Elected as President of Colombia

May 30, 2006

In Colombia, Alvaro Uribe has been re-elected the country’s president. The staunch U.S. ally won 62 percent of the vote in Saturday’s race. On Monday President Bush called Uribe to congratulate him.

Moscow Police Arrest Up To 100 At City’s First Gay Pride March

May 30, 2006

In Moscow, over 1,000 police officers broke up the city’s first-ever Gay Pride March. Up to 100 people were arrested including the lead organizer of the march. Riot police dragged march participants away as they attempted to speak with the press. One gay rights activist was beaten by a gang of counter-protesters while he was giving a televised interview. Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkkov had banned the march citing moral reasons. An official from Human Rights Watch said the police were encouraging skinheads to attack gay men and lesbians participating in the march. Prior to the event, organizer Nikolai Alexeyev outlined why a Gay Pride march was needed in Russia.

  • Nikolai Alexeyev : “We (gays in Russia) got no rights basically that are given to people in other countries, to gays in other countries. And I think the time came to go out, and to say that we want equal rights. You see we are paying taxes as all the other citizens; we have obligations, and we are following our obligations according to the law and we are supposed to get the same rights as all the other citizens, and this is what the authorities should understand.”

Military Calls Off 700-Ton Bomb Test In Nevada

May 30, 2006

In Nevada, protesters have forced the Bush administration to indefinitely postpone a controversial bomb test designed to help the military better understand nuclear bunker busters. The government had planned to set off 700 tons of explosives in the Nevada Test Site creating an explosion 50 times more powerful than the Army’s largest conventional bomb. According to government documents, the test — known as Divine Strake — was needed to determine the “proper nuclear yield necessary to destroy underground facilities.” The Pentagon estimated the blast would have been so large that it would have created a 10,000 foot-high mushroom cloud. Critics called for the government to cancel the test because they feared the mushroom cloud would contain radioactive dust from old nuclear tests.

Reggae Superstar Desmond Dekker, 64, Dies

May 30, 2006

And Jamaican music pioneer Desmond Dekker has died at the age of 64. He died of a heart attack last week at his home in Surrey, England.

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