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HeadlinesJuly 15, 2008

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Report: 150 Banks Could Fail Over Next 18 Months

Jul 15, 2008

Financial analysts are projecting that as many as 150 banks could fail over the next eighteen months as the nation’s financial crisis worsens. On Monday, hundreds of bank customers lined up outside IndyMac Bank in Pasadena California to withdraw savings three days after the FDIC seized the bank.

Ben Betters, bank customer: “Well, I’m old enough to remember my grandparents talking about the fall and the Great Depression of 1929, so I was concerned about the bank totally closing, not being able to get the money. That was the main concern, because my wife and I are both retirees, and this is, you know, savings that we depend on monthly.”

IndyMac is the second largest bank failure in US history and the fifth bank to fail this year. Regulators expect the IndyMac takeover to cost taxpayers up to $8 billion. Meanwhile, on Wall Street, bank stocks plummeted on Monday in the steepest one-day decline in banking shares since 1989. Stocks of Washington Mutual dropped nearly 35 percent. A year ago, a share in the bank was valued at $43; yesterday, it was worth just over three dollars. Billionaire investor George Soros said Monday that the current financial market turmoil represents the most serious financial crisis of our lifetime.

Videotape of Omar Khadr at Guatanamo Released

Jul 15, 2008

A videotape of a prisoner being questioned at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp has been released for the first time. It shows sixteen-year-old Omar Khadr being asked by Canadian officials in 2003 about events leading up to his capture by US forces. Khadr, who is a Canadian citizen, is seen in a distressed state and complains he has been tortured.

Omar Khadr: “I can’t move my arms… I requested medical care a long time ago. You haven’t done anything about it.”

Canadian official: “No, I mean, they look they’re healing well to me. You know, I’m not a doctor, but I think you’re getting good medical care.”

Khadr: “No, I’m not. You’re not here. I lost my eyes. I lost my feet. Everything.”

Canadian official: “No, you still have your eyes, and your feet are still at the end of your legs, you know.”

The footage was made public by Khadr’s lawyers following a Canadian Supreme Court ruling in May that the Canadian government had to hand over key evidence against him to allow a full defense of the charges he is facing.

Gitmo Prisoner Faced 50 Days of Sleep Deprivation

Jul 15, 2008

A newly released government document suggests officials at Guantanamo tortured a Yemeni man at the prison by depriving him of sleep for fifty days. Lawyers for Salim Hamdan had previously alleged that Hamdan was beaten and abused, but they said sleep deprivation for fifty days, if proved, would be among the worst abuse he suffered at the hands of his American captors. Hamdan, who was once Osama bin Laden’s driver, is scheduled go before a military tribunal next week.

Suicide Bombing Kills 35 Iraqi Army Recruits

Jul 15, 2008

In Iraq, at least thirty-five Iraqi army recruits have died in Baquba after two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a military camp. Thousands of army recruits have been killed in similar attacks across Iraq in recent years.

US Intensifies Air Campaign in Afghanistan

Jul 15, 2008

USA Today reports the Pentagon has significantly intensified its air campaign in Afghanistan to the highest levels since 2003. US-led coalition warplanes dropped over 1,800 bombs and missiles in Afghanistan over the first six months of the year. That’s a 40 percent increase from the same period last year. Last week, the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln was repositioned to the region to supply more attack planes. The increase in air strikes has also led to a spike in civilian deaths. A recent Afghan government probe found that a US air strike on July 6 killed forty-seven civilians.

Karzai Blames Pakistan for Series of Attacks

Jul 15, 2008

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has directly accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of being behind a recent series of attacks that have killed scores of people, including the bombing outside the Indian embassy in Kabul that killed nearly sixty.

Hamid Karzai: “Now we know who martyred our two sisters, we know who martyred the people of Deh Rawod, and we know who martyred the people in Kabul. Now this has become clear. And we have told the government of Pakistan that the killings of people in Afghanistan, the destruction of bridges in Afghanistan, are carried out by Pakistan’s intelligence and Pakistan’s military departments.”

Ex-APA President Linked to CIA Torture Program

Jul 15, 2008

New information has been revealed about the role psychologists played in helping the CIA develop its torture techniques. In her new book The Dark Side, Jane Mayer reveals a former president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman, was invited by the CIA in the spring of 2002 to speak at the Navy’s SERE school in San Diego. In the 1960s, Seligman experimented on dogs and found that by shocking a dog repeatedly and randomly, he could brutalize it emotionally into a state of complete passivity. Seligman spoke for three hours about his theory of learned helplessness. His theories were later adapted for use in CIA prisons. Seligman is the second APA president to be linked to the CIA’s torture program. Last year, it was revealed former APA president Joseph Matarazzo is a partner in the Spokane firm Mitchell & Jessen that was contracted to design the CIA interrogations program. Unlike other medical associations, the APA has refused to unequivocally condemn torture.

Bush Lifts Executive Ban on Offshore Drilling

Jul 15, 2008

President Bush has lifted an executive ban on offshore drilling that has stood since his father was president. But the move, by itself, will do nothing unless lawmakers lift a congressional ban on offshore drilling. Democratic Congressman Edward Markey of Massachusetts said Bush is pushing another WMD: wells of mass deception. Markey said, “The Bush oil policy is an attempt at mass deception by a White House that has, for the last seven-and-a-half years, pursued Big Oil’s agenda of drill, drill, drill.”

Sudan Dismisses ICC Genocide Charge

Jul 15, 2008

Sudan has dismissed the move by the International Criminal Court to seek the arrest of its president on charges of waging a campaign of genocide and rape in Darfur. Sudan is claiming the proposal to arrest Omar al-Bashir is a political move that is not binding on Sudan, because the country has never ratified membership of the ICC. On Monday, ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced the charges.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo: “I just submitted an application requesting to the pre-trial chamber number three to issue an arrest warrant against Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”

Geraldine Mattioli of Human Rights Watch praised the court’s decision but said it is unlikely al-Bashir will be arrested soon.

Geraldine Mattioli: “Let’s not be naive. It’s not going to happen in the next couple of days. That’s clear to us. But it’s not the first time that a head of state, sitting head of state, has been indicted. You will remember the examples of Slobodan Milosevic in ’99 or Taylor in 2001, who was also the sitting president of Liberia at the time. They were not arrested immediately, but eventually, when the international community threw its weight behind these arrest warrants.”

The ICC’s move has been criticized in some quarters. Former African Union adviser Alex de Waal said the indictment of al-Bashir may jeopardize the country’s peace process. De Waal accused the ICC of taking a tremendous gamble with the future of Sudan.

One Million Names on Terrorist Watch List

Jul 15, 2008

The Bush administration’s terrorist watch list has ballooned to over one million names, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt said the list is out of control and a waste of resources. At a press conference Monday, Jim Robinson, former head of the Justice Department’s criminal division during the Clinton administration, said his name is on the list, even though he possesses a government security clearance.

Census Bureau Refuses to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

Jul 15, 2008

The US Census Bureau has announced it will not recognize the thousands of same-sex couples that are expected to be legally married in California and Massachusetts in the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau, citing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, plans to edit the 2010 Census responses of legally married same-sex couples and list them as “unmarried partners.” Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said, “To have the federal government disappear your marriage, I’m sure, will be painful and upsetting. It really is something out of Orwell. It’s shameful.”

Italian Court Sentences 15 Officers in 2001 G8 Summit

Jul 15, 2008

An Italian court has sentenced fifteen members of Italy’s security forces for their role in physically and mentally abusing protesters during the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa. The fifteen officers were given prison sentences ranging from five months to five years, but it is unclear if they will ever serve time behind bars. Protesters were beaten by police, strip-searched, denied food, phone calls or access to consulates while detained. One protester, Carlo Giuliani, died after being shot by police.

Ex-Haitian Death Squad Leader on Trial in NYC on Mortgage Charge

Jul 15, 2008

A former Haitian death squad leader is on trial in New York for mortgage fraud. Brooklyn prosecutors accuse Emmanuel “Toto” Constant of helping to orchestrate a scheme to flip properties at inflated prices by selling them to so-called straw buyers. Human rights groups say Emmanuel “Toto” Constant ordered killings and torture in the Caribbean nation in the 1990s, before fleeing to the United States.

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