WW4 Report

It hits the fan in Uzbekistan

The ongoing protests in Uzbekistan's eastern city of Andijan exploded into violence yesterday as demonstrators stormed a jail in an effort to free 23 men accused of membership in an Islamist organization and soldiers responded by opening fire on the crowd of some 4,000, leaving a an initially confirmed nine dead and as many as 50 wounded. Reports indicate that at least some of the defendants were freed, and that protesters also attacked other official buildings. Some were reported firing back at soldiers from the crowd.

Conscientious objectors face court martial

Navy Petty Officer Pablo Paredes, a Bronx native who refused to board the USS Bonhomme Richard as it was preparing to sail from San Diego in December, was convicted by a Navy judge on a charge of missing his deployment to Iraq. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a bad conduct discharge, loss of two thirds of his pay and a demotion. Paredes reported to the Navy pier the morning of Dec. 6, but refused to board and was told to go away. After 45 minutes on the pier, he did. He surrendered to military authorities on Dec. 18 after applying for conscientious objector status. The Navy denied his request. That ruling is being appealed. Thomas Jefferson School of Law Professor Marjorie Cohn, an international law specialist, said Paredes had acted from principle. "He said, 'I don't want to be a war criminal,'" she recalled. "He was very concerned about the deaths of more than a thousand American servicemen and women, and of thousands of Iraqis." (Reuters, May 11)

Unrest in Uzbekistan

BBC reports May 12 on an unprecedented wave of protests against the authoritarian regime of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. Every day for the past four months, protesters in the eastern town of Andijan have gathered outside a courthouse where 23 local businessmen are on trial, accused of membership in a radical Islamic group, which they and their relatives strongly deny.

Cuban terrorist seeks refuge in U.S.

Luis Posada Carriles couldn't have been too happy to see his face on the front page of the New York Times yesterday ("Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist," May 9). The anti-Castro extremist, who is linked to a long trail of murder and terror throughout the hemisphere, "sneaked back into Florida six weeks ago in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a cold war soldier on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s," according to his attorney. Venezuela is seeking to extdradite him for blowing up a Cuban airliner, and even a retired FBI counter-terrorism specialist quoted by the Times (Carter Cornick) said Posada was "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack. Just last week, Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that as "the author or accomplice of homicide, he must be extradited and judged."

NYC: "improvised grenades" go off at UK consulate; activists face scrutiny

CNN reports May 5:

New York - Two "improvised explosive devices" made from "novelty-type grenades" have exploded in front of the building that houses the British Consulate in New York City, police and officials said. The early Thursday morning blasts shattered windows but did not cause significant damage or any injuries, the New York Police Department said. The devices, which contained black gunpowder and a fuse, blew out a chunk of concrete in the flower box where they were planted outside the building. The explosions occurred as voters in Britain were casting ballots in a general election in which Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking a historic third term for his Labour Party. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police had no indication who was responsible for the blasts. "It is true the British Consulate is in that building, but I don't think anybody should jump to conclusions," Bloomberg told reporters at the scene in midtown Manhattan.

NYC Critical Mass crackdown escalates

From the New York Times, April 30 (condensed):

At Least 18 Arrests Made in Tense Night of a Monthly Cycling Protest
Under tense circumstances, the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride set out last night from multiple locations in Manhattan, in an attempt by the riders to thwart a police crackdown. The police did not supply arrest numbers last night, but a lawyer who works with the riders, Julia Cohen, said at least 18 were detained.

Tarahumara forest-defender wins Goldman award

This year's North American winner of the Goldman Prize, awarded annually to the most courageous environmental activists on five contients, is Isidro Baldenegro of Chihuahua, Mexico, a Tarahumara Indian who has long defended the forests of the Sierra Tarahumara against the chain-saws of the timber mafia. As reported in WW4 Report 90, Baldenegro was imprisoned in 2003 on trumped-up terrorism charges, and released following an international campaign.

Turks protest Schwarzenegger for bad reason

A group of prominent businessmen in Turkey have issued a call for Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies to be banned from Turkish TV after the California governor endorsed a call by Armenian-Americans (a sizeable constituency in his state) for April 24 to be declared "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."

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