Forces loyal to Col.Muammar Gaddafi have held off an advance by interim government forces into the center of Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown. Sirte remains one of the last bastions of supporters of the ousted Libyan leader. Forces allied with the National Transitional Council broke weeks of resistance from Gaddafi loyalists to enter Sirte in recent days, but heavy gunfire has prevented them from reaching the city center. Humanitarian organizations have raised the alarm over conditions for civilians in Sirte and in the second pro-Gaddafi bastion, the desert outpost of Bani Walid southeast of Tripoli.
The Obama administration has announced plans to sell $53 million worth of military equipment to Bahrain just months after the Gulf state brutally cracked down on Shiite protesters. The proposed sale includes bunker buster missiles, armored vehicles and wire-guided missiles. Maria McFarland of Human Rights Watch criticized the arms deal. McFarland said, “This is exactly the wrong move after Bahrain brutally suppressed protests and is carrying out a relentless campaign of retribution against its critics.”
Papers filed late Monday night reveal the Obama administration is refusing to release photos and videos of a dead Osama Bin Laden following a Navy SEAL raid in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in May of this year. According to CIA National Clandestine Service Director John Bennett, the intelligence agency has 52 photos and/or video recordings of the slain Al Qaeda leader. The imagery is reportedly classified as top secret and the Obama administration says its release would reveal military and intelligence secrets and could lead to violence against U.S. personnel.
Pakistan’s renowned cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said on Monday he believes Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, the ISI, does have ties with the Haqqani militant group, but said these connections could be put to good use. The United States has accused the Pakistani ISI of supporting the Haqqani network in its recent attacks on U.S. targets. Imran Khan spoke in Islamabad.
Imran Khan, Pakistani politician: “I do not think that ISI controls the Haqqani network. Yes, they would have connections with them. And if I was the United States, I would use this connection of the ISI with the Haqqani network to actually get them on the negotiating table, because what does U.S. want now? An exit strategy, because people in the U.S. have decided that they want the troops back—and this is according to all the polls. So, ISI should basically use whatever connections it has with the Haqqani network to get them on the negotiating table, rather than what Americans are suggesting, which is to take them on, because then Pakistan loses all leverage.”
A new congressional report has confirmed the number of people living in poverty has increased across the United States. The poverty rate has increased in 46 states since 2007. The largest rises were in Nevada and Florida. The poverty rate remains highest in the South, where the number of people living in poverty swelled by 3.3 million people.
The “Occupy Wall Street” protest in Lower Manhattan has entered its eleventh day as hundreds of people continue to camp out just blocks from Wall Street. On Monday night, filmmaker Michael Moore visited the protest encampment. Police have barred the protesters from using any form of public address system at the encampment so the crowd repeated Michael Moore’s comments.
Michael Moore, filmmaker: “Whatever you do, don’t despair, because this is the hard part. You’re in the hard part right now. But everyone will remember three months from now, six months from now, a hundred years from now, that you came down to this plaza and you started this movement.”
The Guardian newspaper reports the senior New York City police officer accused of pepper-spraying young women at close range during a peaceful “Occupy Wall Street” march on Saturday is the subject of a pending legal action over his conduct brought by a protester involved in the 2004 demonstrations at the Republican National Convention. The hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility on Monday for posting the name of the officer, Anthony Bologna, online.
An Israeli court has ordered the Israeli government to pay $430,000 to the family of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot dead by an Israeli border police officer. Abir Aramin died in 2007 when she was hit by rubber bullet while she was on her way to buy candy at a local store. No Israeli officials have ever been charged in the killing.
Israel has released an Al Jazeera journalist after six weeks in detention without charge. Samer Allawi is Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Kabul. Israel accused him of having ties to Hamas. Samer Allawi spoke to reporters after being released.
Samer Allawi, Al Jazeera reporter: “There was no evidence against me. They have arrested some people they claimed I supplied with important and dangerous information, but in the end it was clear that I did nothing of this. After that, I was sure that the whole arrest thing was a charade aiming to blackmail Al Jazeera and I was not the target.”
Bolivian President Evo Morales has halted construction on a road project through a national park and indigenous land following more than a month of protests. A young child reportedly died from tear gas inhalation, as police executed a harsh crackdown on demonstrators. The clashes came after a 41-day indigenous-led march against the government-supported plan to construct a highway connecting Brazil to Pacific ports in Chile and Peru. Bolivian Defense Minister Cecilia Chacón resigned in protest of the Morales administration’s handling of the crackdown. Sebastian Quispe is an indigenous leader in Bolivia.
Sebastian Quispe, Bolivian indigenous leader: “The President is behaving exactly like our murderers, our oppressors. He should know that his people, from the highlands, the indigenous people, are going to topple him. We are going to make him fall.”
More than 9,000 mining workers are continuing to strike at a massive gold and copper mine in West Papua owned by Freeport McMoRan. Workers are threatening to stay off the job for a full month. The strike started on Sept. 15, just a month after thousands of people rallied in West Papua calling for independence from Indonesia after more than 40 years.
In news from California, prisoners at Pelican Bay and other state prisons have resumed their hunger strike to protest against what they they describe as inhumane prison conditions. Thousands of prisoners across the state went on a three-week hunger strike in July, but the protest ended after California prison officials agreed to make some changes to their policy of holding prisoners in long-term solitary confinement. Carol Strickman is an attorney working for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
Carol Strickman, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children attorney: “Since that time, we have seen a few minor improvements, but the major improvements that CDCR is touting are a sham. And we know that, and the prisoners know that.”
Dorsey Nunn is a former prisoner and co-founder of the group All of Us or None.
Dorsey Nunn, All of Us or None co-founder: “We’ve been receiving mail, probably since the inception of Pelican Bay, that the conditions was horrendous. So, like, CDCR have been violating human rights. This not a matter of simply a question of disciplinary action. They define their ability to torture based on the status of the human being there, as opposed to recognizing that torture is torture. It’s not justifiable for anybody in this society. So you just can’t simply say, ’That’s a gang member, and torture is permissible.’”
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Vancouver, Canada, on Monday to protest a visit by former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Protesters called on Canadian authorities to arrest Cheney for war crimes and torture.
Cheney protester: “He’s admitted to having authorized, approved, and revels in the fact that he was at the epicenter of organizing waterboarding, starlight tours, hot and cold, stress positions, electrocution. You name it, Dick is there. Millions of people have died at the behest of Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney needs to be put on trial, to his own admissions.”
In Canada, 117 demonstrators were arrested in Ottawa Monday after trying to enter the House of Commons during a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline project.
In Washington, Republican Senator Rand Paul is single-handedly blocking legislation to strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines, even though the bill has support from the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, the American Gas Association and the Association of Oil Pipelines. Paul reportedly opposes the bill because he sees it is a form of unnecessary federal regulation.
Animal rights activists are claiming responsibility for setting a fire at a fur retailer in Caldwell, Idaho, early on Monday. The fire occurred at the Rocky Mountain Fireworks & Fur Co., a company that buys coyote and bobcat pelts and sells trapping supplies.
Members of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement vowed to continue with the late activist’s work following the death of the group’s 71-year-old founder. In 1977, Maathai spearheaded the struggle against state-backed deforestation in Kenya and founded the Green Belt Movement, which has planted some 45 million trees in the country. Maathai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Njeri Gakonyo is member of the board of directors of Green Belt Movement.
Njeri Gakonyo, Green Belt Movement board member: “This organization is fully functional and able to continue with this important work and the mission of making sure that we, as human beings, look after the environment that feeds us, that clothes us, that looks after us in so many ways. So Prof’s (Maathai’s) work will continue, and we really want to reassure you that we at the Green Belt Movement are committed to continuing this.”