Democracy Now! Headlines for January 13, 2010

Democracy Now!

Witnesses: NATO Troops Kill Afghan Protesters

In Afghanistan, villagers in southern Helmand province say NATO troops opened fire on a protest Tuesday, killing thirteen people and wounding more than two dozen others. The alleged attack took place in Garmsir, a town in the southern Helmand province under occupation by US Marines. The victims had apparently gathered to protest a NATO raid in their town. One resident said he witnessed troops firing into the crowd.

Resident: “In this demonstration, thirteen people died, and twenty-five are wounded. The situation is very bad, and the protest is still going on. People are very angry with foreigners because they have desecrated our holy Koran. They also fired on demonstrators. I repeat that many people died and were wounded during the protest.”

16 Killed in US Drone Attack in Afghanistan

NATO, meanwhile, has announced it killed sixteen people this week in a rare drone attack inside Afghanistan. NATO says the victims were all militants based in southern Afghanistan. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, a “senior US military official” said he expects an escalation of drone attacks inside Afghanistan in the coming months. The top US oversight investigator in Afghanistan has revealed only one-fourth of current corruption probes involve strictly Afghan suspects. The investigator, Raymond DiNunzio, says the remaining three-quarters involve at least one Western suspect.

Report: Obama to Request $33B for Wars

The Associated Press is reporting President Obama plans to ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan next year. The request would come on top of an expected $708 billion sought for the Pentagon, the first time a Defense Department budget request would exceed $700 billion.

1 in 8 Americans Receiving Food Stamps

The number of Americans receiving food stamps continues to break all-time records. On Tuesday, the Agricultural Department said 37.9 million people—one in eight Americans—received food stamps in October, the ninth consecutive month to see a record increase.

Study Links Monsanto GM Corn to Organ Failure

A new study claims to have uncovered new health effects caused by genetically modified corn from the agricultural giant Monsanto. The International Journal of Biological Sciences says GM corn helped cause organ damage in rats. The study’s author called Monsanto’s GM methods “a very serious mistake, dramatic for public health.”

Japan Delays Decision on Moving US Base

Japan continues to resist US pressure on relocating a US military base on the island of Okinawa. The Japanese government has said it wants to move the base completely off the island of Okinawa, while the US wants to maintain a base somewhere else on the island. Tens of thousands of Okinawa residents have taken part in ongoing protests against the base. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to reach an agreement in a meeting with Japan’s Foreign Minister.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: “At the end of the day, I am confident that we will resolve this matter in a way that reflects the very best of our alliance, the strength of that alliance for the next fifty years, and provides the security guarantees that the Japanese people are looking for.”

The Obama administration had been lobbying for an immediate decision on the base but now says it will respect Japan’s request to wait until May.

Israel Arrests Anti-Wall Activists

In Israel and the Occupied Territories, two members of the Popular Committee Against the Wall have been arrested in the West Bank village of Ni’ilin. Ibrahim Amirah and Hassan Mousa are the latest in a number of activists arrested by the Israeli military for organizing against the Israeli separation wall through the West Bank.

Miep Gies Dies at 100

And Miep Gies, the last surviving link to the Nazi Holocaust diarist Anne Frank, has died. She was 100 years old. Gies helped hide Frank and her family for over two years during the Second World War. Gies hid and preserved Frank’s diaries and later gave them to her father Otto, the only surviving member of the Frank family.

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