Porter Ranch Gas Leak
On October 23, 2015, a Southern California Gas storage facility started leaking methane gas into the air at a tremendous rate. A pipe at the facility, built in 1953, had broken. A safety valve had been removed years earlier.
For weeks, residents of neighboring Porter Ranch complained about nausea, vomiting, headaches and other symptoms. Also, methane is a greenhouse gas -- it increases global warming at ten times the rate of carbon dioxide. Both the Gas Company and the state of California have been slow to react to this crisis, and now say it could take months for the leak to be stopped.
Robin Greenwald is an environmental and consumer class action attorney with the firm of Weitz and Luxenberg, and is representing some of the residents of Porter Ranch. She'll talk about the gas leak and the human and environmental impact.
In 2002, the Bush regime set up a primitive prison camp at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Over six years they held 776 men there without charges, using what they called "enhanced interrogation" and the rest of the world calls "torture." Most had been turned in for $5,000 cash bounties the U.S. paid, and had no connection to attacks on the U.S. An international outcry brought about the release of more than 500 of the prisoners.
Fourteen years later -- seven years after President Obama promised to close it -- the torture camp remains open.
We'll hear from Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait, and Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, who will talk about the continuing struggle to close Guantanamo, and the campaign to Free Shaker Aamer, which recently succeeded in winning the release of British resident Shaker Aamer, who had been held at Guantanamo since it opened.
White Supremacist Occupation in Oregon
On January 2, a heavily armed group of fascist white supremacists took over the headquarters of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, and occupied its central building. This occupation continues and it is not clear what the outcome will be, but it is clear that up to now the government has given these fascists a lot of space to do what they want to do.
Ryan Lenz is with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and a contributor to their Hatewatch blog. He'll talk about the people and groups involved in the Oregon occupation.