In Nam Khem, a poor coastal village in Thailand, when displaced survivors returned to the ruins to search for the remains of their loved ones and rebuild their homes, they found the area had been sealed off my armed men. The thugs told them the land now belonged to the "Big Boss," a nameless real estate speculator who had been battling for control of the land in the courts for years, hoping to cash in on the local boom in tourist resorts.
Two US soldiers have now been charged in the deaths of two Afghan prisoners who died in US custody in December 2002, after they were apparently chained to the ceiling before being savagely beaten at the Bagram Control Point, just north of Kabul. (NYT, March 12)
As previously noted here, a CIA contract agent charged in a similar case plans to cite Bush in his defense.
Linden Corrica, an immigrant father and husband from Guyana living in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, pleaded guilty to selling ten dollars worth of marijuana in exchange for a 20-day sentence in September 2003. But after serving his time at NYC's Rikers Island prison, he was transfered to an out-of-state federal detention facility to await deportation. Having exhausted all his appeals, he is now about to be deported—despite a psychiatric evaluation of the emotional problems his seven-year-old daughter has suffered since his detention.
Brazil's ruling Workers' Party rejected a claim by a leading weekly magazine that Colombia's FARC guerrillas donated $5 million to its candidates for the 2002 elections. In an eight-page cover story, Veja magazine said that it had been given access to secret documents of Brazil's Intelligence Agency (ABIN) showing that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) offered aid. Veja said that a FARC representative in Brazil, Father Oliverio Medina, made the offer during a meeting on April 13, 2002, at a small farm outside Brasilia. A secret service agent infiltrated the meeting. In a statement March 12, Workers' Party President Jose Genoino contradicted the Veja story, headlined "FARC's tentacles in Brazil," calling it irresponsible and stating that the allegations lacked proof. He said that Veja failed to print any documents showing financial links between the Workers Party and FARC. (Reuters, March 13)
Three members of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement were arrested in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn while engaged in the legal monitoring of police activities. They have been falsely charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, assault on a police officer and obstructing governmental operations. (Our Time Press, reprinted by the NY Independent Press Association, Feb.
Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad, 56, faces up to 75 years behind bars after a Brooklyn federal jury found him guilty of five charges stemming from a conspiracy to support al-Qaeda and Hamas. ¨Today's convictions mark another important step in our war on terrorism,¨ U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. (NY Post, March 11)
Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the support of Parliament for a new anti-terrorism law, which will allow the government to move quickly against eight foreign terror suspects who have been granted bail. The House of Lords approved new powers to order house arrest, impose curfews and electronic tagging without trial, after the government made concessions to end a bitter parliamentary deadlock just three days before similar legislation was to have expired.
The unclassified 21-page summary of a 400-page secret Pentagon report prepared by Vice-Admiral Albert Church confirms that at least six detainees have died in more than 70 proven cases of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq, and reveals that the U.S. military was holding an estimated 50,000 detainees in shadowy circumstances as of last September. However, the report exonerates Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Pentagon brass of ordering or turning a blind eye to torture.