BlackBox Radio

November 15, 2005

National and International Headlines 11-15

Filed under: Weekly Show — blackboxradio @ 12:08 am

Human rights organizations are condemning a last-minute amendment inserted into a Pentagon finance bill that passed in the US Senate last Thursday. The Guardian reports that the measure would permanently remove all legal rights from detainees at Guantanamo Bay and every other similar US facility on foreign or American soil if it is approved in the House.

The amendment, brought forth by republican Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, reverses last June’s Supreme Court decision which stated that detainees had the right to bring habeus corpus petitions in American courts. Over a third of Guantanamo detainees have filed such cases under the ruling, challenging both their detention and labeling as “enemy combatants”. Such labels are often decided by junior military intelligence personnel who rely on allegedly unskilled interpreters.

The Supreme Court ruling also allows detainees the right to challenge their trial by military tribunal, which does not follow the normal rules of evidence or due process. The new amendment would effectively halt all such cases.

Perhaps the most serious consequence of the new measure would be the resumption of preventing detainees from access to lawyers. Most of the evidence of abuse at US military facilities has emerged from lawyers’ discussions with their clients.

###

A push by Republicans and mining industry advocates to overturn the ban on the patenting of mining claims appears headed for success. The patenting, or selling, of public lands to the public has been banned since 1994 after mining claims were bought at discount prices and then resold at market rate as real estate. Up to 6 million acres of public lands in national parks and national forests, where over 300,000 mining claims already exist, are at stake.

Currently, mining interests must spend up to $15,000 per acre conducting studies for
the Department of the Interior to show the land could be mined at a profit. The
land must then be used only for mining and cannot be resold as private property—a
ban the bill’s sponsors want removed.

National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich says the changes would help
boost rural Western economies by drawing investment “in areas where mining companies
are clearly the high-wage employers.”

###

According to the Moscow Times, a documentary shown on Italian state television has confirmed long-standing claims that the US military has used chemical weapons in Iraq. “Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre” uses filmed and photographic evidence, eyewitness accounts, and the direct testimony of American soldiers who took part in the attacks to expose the illegal use of white phosphorous and an improved form of napalm against civilians. Both substances kill by burning skin down to the bone. Napalm has been banned by every country in the world except the United States.

The Pentagon claims phosphorous was used only to illuminate the battlefield. However, the film clearly shows phosphorous rounds detonating on the ground. Visual evidence finds numerous cases of civilians, including women and children, burned to death in their homes and on the ground.

Accusations of US use of chemical weapons surfaced soon after US troops left Fallujah in 2004 and medical personnel were allowed to enter. An inquiry ordered by the
pro-occupation Iraqi government last March arrived at identical conclusions, which
they announced in a press conference attended by over 20 international news organizations. Not a single major English-speaking publication reported the findings.

###

New historical data on the seas indicate that current commercial fishing practices
will exhaust them within two decades, and that they may never recover. The findings are the result of a five-year study by several hundred historians and marine biologists involving over 300 years of historical and research data.

The major findings reveal that fishing has caused major decreases in the body size, range, and diversity of almost all major fish species, and that many species thought to have only recently been fished out were in fact commercially extinct by the early part of the last century. Furthermore, most of these species have not recovered.

The study augmented fisheries data with over 200,000 restaurant menus dating back to
the 1860’s. At that time, 20-lb lobsters were so common that they were canned and
rarely served in restaurants. By the 1920’s, lobster size had dropped to one-half
pound, and prices had risen to $24 a pound, the same as today.

A related finding of the study was the change in perception that occurred among humans regarding what constitutes a natural state of the environment. Fishermen over 55 could name 5 times as many depleted sites and 5 times as many fish species that had disappeared, compared to the average 30-year-old fisherman. Such changes in perception could have a dramatic effect on conservation efforts.

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1 Comment »

  1. HIPAA books help to develop an effective HIPAA compliance plan and DRG books are needed for Medicare\’s classification free software for medical billing training of inpatient hospital services based on principal diagnosis.

    Comment by Dr A Byers — January 20, 2007 @ 2:54 pm


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