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HeadlinesJune 02, 2006

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Indonesian Earthquake Toll Reaches 6200

Jun 02, 2006

The number of casualties from last weekend’s earthquake in Indonesia has risen to more than 6200. The number of injured has double to some 46,000 people, with three-quarters of them suffering serious injuries. More than 139,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in the quake.

New Video Backs Claims of US Massacre in Ishaqi

Jun 02, 2006

New evidence has emerged in the case of another alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians at the hands of US troops. The BBC has obtained video footage bolstering accusations first made by Iraqi police that US troops murdered eleven civilians in the town of Ishaqi in March. The dead included five children and four women and ranged in age from 6 months to 75 years old. The Pentagon has insisted only four civilians died in the incident and that they were killed when their home collapsed during a gun battle. But according to the BBC, the new video shows a number of dead adults and children with visible gunshot wounds. Democracy Now covered this story in March. We spoke with Knight Ridder reporter Matthew Schofield in Baghdad. He first obtained the Iraqi police report that accused US troops of the civilian killings.

  • Matthew Schofield: “We were talking with the police officer who was first on the scene earlier today. He explained the scene of arriving. He said they waited until U.S. troops had left the area and it was safe to go in. When they arrived at the house, it was in rubble. I don’t know if you’ve seen the photos of the remains of the house, but there was very little standing. He said they expected to find bodies under the rubble. Instead, what they found was in one room of the house, in one corner of one room, there was a single man who had been shot in the head. Directly across the room from him against the other wall were ten people, ranging from his 75-year-old mother-in-law to a six-month-old child, also several three-year-olds — a couple three-year-olds, a couple five-year-olds, and four other — three other women. Lined up, they were covered, and they had all been shot. According to the doctor we talked to today, they had all been shot in the head, in the chest. A number of — you know, generally, some of them were shot several times. The doctor said it’s very difficult to determine exactly what kind of caliber gun they were shot with. He said the entry wounds were generally small and round, the exit wounds were generally very large. But they were lined up along one wall. There was a blanket over the top of them, and they were under the rubble, so when the police arrived, and residents came to help them start digging in, they came across the blankets. They came across the blankets. They picked the blankets up. They say, at that point, that the hands were handcuffed in front of the Iraqis. They had been handcuffed and shot.”

Troops To Undergo Ethics Training

Jun 02, 2006

The latest evidence that a massacre occurred in Ishaqi comes as the US government continues to deal with the uproar over the killings of at least 24 unarmed Iraqis in the town of Haditha. The Army announced Thursday troops will now undergo 30 days of mandatory ethics training.

Iraq Demands US Apology, Files in Haditha Case

Jun 02, 2006

Meanwhile in Baghdad, senior Iraqi officials called on the US to apologize and hand over files related to the massacre. The Iraqi government wants the files for its own investigation.

Marines To Be Charged in Killing of Iraqi Civilian

Jun 02, 2006

In another case, seven marines are being held in the brig at Camp Pendelton. A defense attorney for a US Marine has disclosed the Marines are expected to be charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in the town of Hamandiya in April. A member of the Navy will also be charged. The victim was reportedly dragged from his home before he was shot to death. Media reports have speculated troops planted a gun near his body to make it appear he was an insurgent.

Iraqi PM: US Killings of Iraqis “Daily Phenomenon”

Jun 02, 2006

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Prime Minister has lashed out at the US military over what he has called the “daily phenomenon” of US attacks on Iraqi civilians. In an interview with the New York Times, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said many troops “do not respect the Iraqi people.” Maliki went on to say: “They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion. This is completely unacceptable.”

11th Soldier Convicted For Abu Ghraib Torture

Jun 02, 2006

And in other Iraq news, an Army dog handler who served at Abu Ghraib was convicted Thursday of using his animal to torment a prisoner. Sgt. Santos Cardona is the 11th soldier to be convicted for the torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib. All but one of the 11 convictions has gone to a low-ranking soldier.

6 Countries, Including US, Reach Iran Consensus

Jun 02, 2006

This news on Iran — Six world powers including the United States have agreed on the terms of an offer to halt Iran’s nuclear activities. On Thursday, the countries announced they would put aside punitive action and offer several incentives if Iran agrees to suspend nuclear production. Iran has stressed it will enter into talks but will not agree to pre-conditions on negotiation. Several analysts say Iran’s stance is unlikely to change without explicit security guarantees from the Bush administration.

Chile Fires Special Forces Head Over Protest Response

Jun 02, 2006

In Chile, the head of the Santiago police special forces has been fired for his unit’s treatment of student protesters during the past week. Scores of students were beaten, tear-gassed and arrested as they took part in a country-wide walk-out to demand more spending on education. The protests drew hundreds of thousands of people, making them the largest student demonstrations Chile has seen in decades. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her government will listen to the protesters.

  • Chilean President Michelle Bachelet: “What we have seen are youngsters 16, 17-years-old, youngsters that express what is democracy in our country. They are youngsters who are as old as our democracy, youngsters that are aware of their rights and are making demands and what the government should do is listen to those demands and decide which of those demands are viable or not with transparency and seriousness.”

Peru Heads Into Presidential Elections

Jun 02, 2006

In Peru, voters will head to the polls this weekend to elect their next president. The race pits former president Alan Garcia against retired army officer Ollanta Humala. Garcia is leading polls despite holding a 61% disapproval rating among voters. Humala led first-round voting in April. He has attracted wide support among the country’s rural poor for his calls to nationalize Peru’s natural resources, tax foreign mining companies, veto a trade agreement with Washington and end US-sponsored eradication of coca. Humala wrapped up his campaign Wednesday in the capitol of Lima.

  • Peruvian Presidential candidate Ollanta Humala:”We are poor countries. Bolivia is just as poor as us, as Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela. We are all underdeveloped and we need to seek integration. Alone we are worthless, we need integration in Latin America.”

New Orleans Mayor Sworn In To Second Term

Jun 02, 2006

Here in the United States, Ray Nagin was sworn in Thursday for his second term as mayor of New Orleans. At the ceremony, Nagin addressed his supporters.

  • New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin: “That’s why I’m not worried about anything. I’m at peace. I know what you can do, and I know what you’re getting ready to do. New Orleans will once again have an opportunity, an opportunity like no other city in the country to rebuild, to restore, and to start anew. Katrina is our testimony. Rebuilding is our faith in action.”

The ceremony came on the first official day of the hurricane season. Weather experts predict New Orleans will be the city most likely to be hit by a major storm this year.

Army Corps Blames Itself For Levee Failures

Jun 02, 2006

In other news from New Orleans, the Army Corps of Engineers has released a new report that blames its own failure in building the city’s levees for the breaches that flooded the city during Hurricane Katrina. In a nine-volume, six-thousand page report, the Army Corps concludes: “The hurricane protection system in New Orleans and southeast Louisiana was a system in name only.”

Ohio GOP Fundraiser Pleads Guilty To Laundering For Bush Re-Election

Jun 02, 2006

In Ohio, a former Republican fundraiser has pleaded guilty to illegally funneling thousands of dollars into the campaign to re-elect President Bush. On Thursday, Tom Noe admitted he used several conduits — including Ohio politicians and former aides to Gov. Bob Taft — to funnel around $45,000 dollars to the President’s campaign. At the time of his indictment, Noe’s case was described as the largest campaign money-laundering scheme since new campaign finance laws were enacted in 2002. Noe was named a “Pioneer” by Bush’s campaign for raising over $100,000 dollars.

US Gov Asks ISPs For Web-Surfing Data

Jun 02, 2006

The US government has asked Internet service providers to keep the records of the Web-surfing activities of their customers. The government says the records would be used solely for efforts against terrorism and child pornography. FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales reportedly made the request at a meeting with a group of senior executives representing the country’s major online firms. Executives who attended the meeting told the New York Times they were also asked to retain records about whom their customers exchange e-mails with, but not the contents of e-mail messages.

US Naval Ship Leaves Olympia Following Week-Long Protests

Jun 02, 2006

And finally, a port in Olympia, Washington was the site of a major anti-war protest this week against a US naval ship bound for Iraq. On Wednesday, the U.S. Naval Ship Pomeroy left the Port of Olympia after a week of protests that drew hundreds of people and led to more than three dozen arrests.

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