Democracy Now! Headlines for February 03, 2010

Democracy Now!

1M Earthquake Survivors Lack Food Aid

In Haiti, medical teams have launched a new campaign to vaccinate Haitian children, citing the potential for disease outbreaks for those crowded in makeshift camps around the capital. According to the Washington Post, US officials now report food aid has reached at least one million people—half the estimated number of people in need. The Toussaint Louverture Boulevard camp has taken in an estimated 12,000 people, but international food trucks haven’t stopped there once. At least 70,000 homeless families have received temporary shelter materials, but another 170,000 families haven’t received them. Daily protests against a lack of aid and recovery effort continued Tuesday when scores of Haitians gathered outside the police station in Port-au-Prince. One protester called on the Haitian government to deliver more assistance.

Protester: “We lost our jobs in 2004, 2007. We look for jobs, but there’s nothing. The people in the streets have nothing, no water for drinking, no house. There are some children orphaned, but no help also. Today I come here to ask the PrĂ©val government to pay us.”

Missionaries Appear Before Haitian Judge

In other news from Haiti, a group of detained US missionaries appeared before a Haitian judge Tuesday, following their arrest for trying to leave the country with a busload of children. Child welfare groups have expressed outrage over the group’s attempt, saying some of the children had parents who survived the January 12 earthquake. The missionaries say they were only trying to rescue abandoned and traumatized children. Haitian officials have suggested the missionaries could face trial in the United States if Haiti’s devastated court system is unable to handle their case.

17 Killed in US Drone Strike in Pakistan

The attack came hours after an estimated seventeen people were killed in a US drone attack inside Pakistan. The attack struck a village in the North Waziristan tribal region. Many others were reportedly wounded.

Ex-UK Minister: Cabinet Misled on Iraq Invasion

In Britain, a former British minister said cabinet members under former Prime Minister Tony Blair were misled into backing the invasion of Iraq in 2003. On Tuesday, former cabinet member Clare Short testified Blair’s attorney general had hidden his doubts about the war’s legality. She also criticized Blair’s stated reasons for launching the invasion.

Clare Short: “I thought, this is the Attorney General coming just in the teeth of war to the cabinet, it must be right. And I think he was misleading us. Tony Blair’s account of the need to act urgently, somehow, because of September the 11th, I think doesn’t stack up to any scrutiny whatsoever. We’ve made Iraq more dangerous, as well as causing enormous suffering.”

Short initially backed the invasion but resigned soon after it was launched.

Italian Peace Activists Protest US Military Base

In Italy, peace activists continue protests against the expansion of the US military base in Vicenza. New video footage shows protesters entering the construction area at the Dal Molin site and hanging rainbow flags from cranes and other equipment. The action comes near the two-year anniversary of a march attended by tens of thousands of people to oppose US plans to double the Vicenza base.

Justice Dept. Probes Imam Killing

The Justice Department has launched a probe into the FBI’s killing of a Detroit-area Muslim imam last year. The imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah, headed a Sunni Muslim group called the Ummah. He was shot dead during an FBI raid shortly after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes. An autopsy report released this week shows Abdullah died from twenty-one gunshot wounds and was found with his wrists handcuffed. At least one of the gunshot wounds entered through Abdullah’s back.

Oscar Nominees Include Docs on China Earthquake, Burma and Pentagon Papers

And nominations have been announced for the eighty-second annual Academy Awards. The antiwar comedy In the Loop received a nomination for best adapted screenplay. In the documentary category, three films featured on Democracy Now! in the past year received nods. Our former neighbors at the DCTV firehouse, Jon Alpert and Matt O’Neill were nominated in the best documentary short subject category for their film China’s Unnatural Disaster, which follows grieving parents after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Films up for best documentary include Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, which chronicles media activism in Burma and the extraordinary risks citizen journalists take to get information out of the country. And also nominated for best documentary is The Most Dangerous Man in America, which tells the story of Daniel Ellsberg, whose leaking of the Pentagon Papers helped end the the Vietnam War.

Daniel Ellsberg: “It was the evening of October 1st, 1969, when I first smuggled several hundred pages of top-secret documents out of my safe at the RAND Corporation. The study contained forty-seven volumes, 7,000 pages. My plan was to Xerox the study and reveal the secret history of the Vietnam War to the American people.”

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