Democracy Now! Headlines for January 11, 2010

Democracy Now!

Four Killed in US Drone Strike in Pakistan

The US use of drones in Pakistan appears to be intensifying. On Saturday, four people were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan. It was at least the sixth drone strike so far this year.

Report: US Overwhelmed by Air Force Drone Intelligence

The New York Times reports the military is being overwhelmed by the amount of video captured by drones. Air Force drones collected nearly three times as much video over Afghanistan and Iraq last year as they did in 2007. It would take twenty-four years to watch what was recorded last year by the drones. And that volume is expected to multiply in the coming years as drones are added to the fleet and as some start using multiple cameras to shoot in many directions.

US to Double Amount of Military Stockpiles in Israel

The publication Defense News reports the US Army will double the value of emergency military equipment it stockpiles on Israeli soil and that Israel will be allowed to use the US ordnance if needed. The $800 million stockpile will include missiles, armored vehicles, aerial ammunition and artillery ordnance.

Mitchell Issues Loan Guarantee Threat to Israel

The news of the military equipment deal comes amid some tension between Israel and the Obama administration. Last week US envoy George Mitchell said Washington could penalize Israel financially to force it into making concessions to the Palestinians. Mitchell’s comments were widely criticized in Israel as well as by some of Israel’s staunchest supporters on Capitol Hill, including independent Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Senator Joseph Lieberman: “Any attempt to pressure Israel, to force Israel to the negotiating table by denying Israel support, will not pass the Congress of the United States. In fact, Congress will act to stop any attempt to do that. I don’t think we’re going to come to that point, because I think the President and his administration understand that."

In other news from the region, three Palestinians died Sunday by an Israeli tank in Gaza. Palestinians said the three men were militants who were in a field often used to launch rockets toward Israel. Meanwhile, Israel has announced plans to construct two walls along its southern border with Egypt in an attempt to prevent African refugees and asylum seekers from entering Israel. The two walls will cover a total of seventy miles.

ICE Officials Accused of Covering Up Immigrant Deaths in Detention

The New York Times reports federal officials have used their role as overseers to prevent the media from reporting deaths inside the nation’s immigration jails. Immigration and Customs Enforcement now admit 107 immigrants died in ICE custody since October 2003, but for years the deaths went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. The Times revealed jail officials and federal workers strategized about how to keep information about the deaths and mistreatment from the news media. In at least one case, jail medical personnel falsified a medication log in an effort to cover up the death of a twenty-two-year-old man from El Salvador. In another case, ICE officials considered paying to send the body of a Guinean man back to his home country to deflect news coverage of the man’s death in ICE custody. Some Bush administration era officials who played a role in the cover-ups remain in top posts in the Obama administration.

Federal Court to Hear Apartheid Reparations Case

Here in New York, a federal court will hear arguments today in a lawsuit against several international corporations accused of aiding South Africa’s apartheid-era government. Companies named in the lawsuit include Daimler AG, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and IBM.

Activists Start Fast on Anniversary of Opening of Guantanamo

And over 125 activists have started a twelve-day fast to mark the beginning of the ninth year of the US military prison detention at Guantanamo. The Fast for Justice will continue until January 22, the date by which President Obama had initially vowed to close the prison.

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