01-23-2021  10:25 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

FEMA Site Will House Survivors of Wildfires

Mill City site will offer temporary housing for up to 16 families who lost their homes in last year's wildfires

Portland Police Shooting of Man Under International Scrutiny

Aaron Campbell, a 25-year-old unarmed Black man was shot in the back and killed Jan. 29, 2010 by Portland Police Officer Ronal Frashour

John Hairston Becomes First Black CEO of Bonneville Power Administration

29-year employee appointed to new role by U.S. Secretary of Energy  

Natural Gas Terminal Plans In Oregon Hit Snag Over Permit

The ruling was hailed as a major victory by opponents of Jordan Cove, which would be the first such LNG overseas export terminal in the lower 48 states.

NEWS BRIEFS

The Mayor Turns 90: A Paul Knauls Celebration to be Held Friday, January 22

Albina legend Paul Knauls, Sr. will be celebrated with a virtual event featuring public officials, musicians, and community...

People For the American Way Supports Congressional Gold Medal for Officer Eugene Goodman

Goodman, a Black U.S. Capitol Hill police officer, diverted a white mob away from the unprotected Senate chambers during the violent...

St. Andrew Parish Announces 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Awards

The Community Service Award went to cameron whitten of the Black Resilience Fund ...

Applicants Sought for Free Girls’ Summer Wilderness Science Education Expeditions

The programs provide 16- and 17-year-old young women opportunities to travel with professional scientists, artists and wilderness...

Portland Center Stage Welcomes New Literary Manager Kamilah Bush Following Nationwide Search

As literary manager, Bush is charged with deepening the literary and artistic core of Portland Center Stage ...

Crews recover body of Oregon woman swept away in mudslide

Sheriff's deputies and firefighters on Saturday recovered the body of an Oregon woman whose vehicle was swept away in a deep mudslide during a winter storm last week, authorities said.Jennifer Camus Moore, a registered nurse from Warrendale, Oregon, was driving in the Columbia River Gorge near the...

Washington, Oregon report cases of new strain of coronavirus

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington and Oregon are now confirming additional cases of the more contagious variant of COVID-19 in the Pacific Northwest.The B.1.1.7 variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom last September, has been confirmed by DNA sequencing in two cases in Snohomish County,...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

OPINION

Demos President K. Sabeel Rahman Issues Statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

We see painful parallels between the America in which King lived and the present day ...

This is America: White Privilege, Black Lives Matter, and Violence at the Capitol

The violence we witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 is nothing new. ...

SPLC Action Fund President: Attempted Coup Displays Organized, Extremist Violence Plaguing the United States

Insidious racism took the form of an American president openly encouraging with “love” violent extremists ...

Commentary: Exit in Disgrace

Will Trump leave in the middle of the night, embarrassed by his four years of crude, rude, lying, and beyond belief incompetence? Or will he be escorted out by a secret service detachment? ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain, GOP governor

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republicans voted Saturday to censure Cindy McCain and two prominent GOP members who have found themselves crosswise with former President Donald Trump.The censures of Sen. John McCain’s widow, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Gov. Doug Ducey are merely symbolic. But...

Police: Black teens wrongly detained at Target in California

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff’s department has said three teens, who are Black, were wrongly detained at a Target store in Westlake Village during a grand theft investigation last week.The teens — a 17-year-old and two 16-year-olds — from Thousand...

Judge: Kenosha shooter can't associate with supremacists

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — An 18-year-old Illinois teen charged with fatally shooting two people during a protest in southeastern Wisconsin last year is prohibited from associating with known white supremacists under a judge's recently modified bail conditions. Kyle Rittenhouse was 17 during the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Tom Brokaw says he's retiring from NBC News after 55 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Longtime NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, once television news' most popular broadcaster as he told viewers about the biggest events of that late 20th Century, said Friday that he's retiring from television.Brokaw, who is 80, said he'll continue writing books and articles. He's...

Screenwriter Walter Bernstein dies at 101

NEW YORK (AP) — Screenwriter Walter Bernstein, among the last survivors of Hollywood’s anti-Communist blacklist whose Oscar-nominated script for “The Front” drew upon his years of being unable to work under his own name, died Saturday. He was 101.The cause was pneumonia,...

'Barney Miller,' 'Sanford and Son' actor Gregory Sierra dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Gregory Sierra, who had memorable roles in the 1970s sitcoms “Barney Miller" and “Sanford and Son," has died after battling cancer. He was 83.Sierra's widow, Helene, said Saturday in a phone interview with The Associated Press that the actor died on Jan. 4 in...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Poirier knocks out Conor McGregor in 2nd round at UFC 257

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dustin Poirier stopped Conor McGregor with a flurry of punches...

Michigan Mega Millions ticket wins jumi.05 billion jackpot

DETROIT (AP) — Someone in Michigan bought the winning ticket for the jumi.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot,...

3,000 arrested at protests demanding Navalny's release

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian police arrested more than 3,000 people Saturday in nationwide protests demanding the...

The Latest: New Zealand reports 1st community case in months

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine...

UK doctors seek review of 12-week gap between vaccine doses

LONDON (AP) — A major British doctors' group says the U.K. government should “urgently...

Asia Today: New Zealand reports 1st community case in months

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus case outside of a quarantine...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
Ben Hubbard the Associated Press

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and holding them in makeshift jails across the capital.

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees - all black - clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.

Handling the prisoners is one of the first major tests for the rebel leaders, who are scrambling to set up a government that they promise will respect human rights and international norms, unlike the dictatorship they overthrew.

The rebels' National Transitional Council has called on fighters not to abuse prisoners and says those accused of crimes will receive fair trials. There has been little credible evidence of rebels killing or systematically abusing captives during the six-month conflict. Still, the African Union and Amnesty International have protested the treatment of blacks inside Libya, saying there is a potential for serious abuse.

Aladdin Mabrouk, a spokesman for Tripoli's military council, said no one knows how many people have been detained in the city, but he guessed more than 5,000. While no central registry exists, he said neighborhood councils he knows have between 200 and 300 prisoners each. The city of 1.8 million has dozens of such groups.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Alagi told reporters this week that he'd visited several detention centers and found conditions "up to international standards."

"We are building a Libya of tolerance and freedom, not of revenge," he said.

Oil-rich but with a relatively small population of 6.6. million, Gadhafi's Libya welcomed hundreds of thousands of black Africans looking for work in recent decades. Many young citizens of Mali and Niger who flocked to Libya in the 1970s and 1980s were recruited into an "Islamic Legion" modeled on the French Foreign Legion. In addition, Gadhafi's military recruited heavily from black tribes in Libya's south.

In February, witnesses reported African fighters shooting at protesters or being captured by anti-Gadhafi forces. Witnesses have described scores of mercenaries being flown in to put down the rebellion, although many of the fighters already were in Libya.

As a result, people with roots in sub-Saharan Africa and black Libyan citizens have been targeted by rebel forces in the messy and confusing fight for control of the country.

In the Khallat al-Firjan neighborhood in south Tripoli, Associated Press reporters saw rebel forces punching a dozen black men before determining they were innocent migrant workers and releasing them.

The Gate of the Sea club near Tripoli's fishing port became a lockup Monday night, when residents rounded up people in the surrounding area.

Guards at the club said they looked for unfamiliar faces, then asked for IDs. Those without papers or whose legal residences were distant cities were marched to the club.

This week, an armed guard stood by a short hallway that led through two metal gates onto a soccer field surrounded by high walls. There was no roof, so the detainees clustered against the wall to get out of the heat.

One black Libyan from the southern city of Sebha said he had worked for a Tripoli cleaning company. A French-speaking man from Niger said he had a shop nearby. One black Libyan said he was in the army but quit during the uprising.

In an office nearby where sports trophies still lined the shelves, Ibrahim al-Rais, a 60-year-old fisherman, acted as prison director. A bag held wallets and IDs taken from the captives. Another was stuffed with cellphones, which occasionally rang.

He acknowledged that many of the detainees were likely innocent migrant workers stranded in the country but he insisted that a "big percentage" were mercenaries.

"These people were fighting against our people," he said.

As proof, his team pointed to ID cards issued in Libya's south that he said were fake and a document issued by the Niger Embassy in Tripoli. He said Gadhafi gave many mercenaries Libyan IDs so they could fight. He also said many had been carrying dollars or euros - which al-Rais said were mercenary wages.

Sabri Taha, a fish merchant in shorts and flip-flops who was guarding prisoners, said one had a video on his phone of a soldier shooting children. When asked by an AP reporter to play it, he couldn't find it. The prisoner said he didn't know how the video got on his phone.

In another detainee's wallet, Taha said he found a photo of the detainee in a green military uniform and accused him of fighting for Gadhafi. The detainee said he had manned a regime checkpoint, but had defected to the rebels when they reached the city.

The captors insist their prison is temporary and that the local military council will question the detainees before releasing them or transferring them elsewhere.

In the meantime, they started a handwritten list of the men's names, ages and nationalities.

"You see, we have no experience, but we have figured out how to get organized," said Abu-Bakir Zaroug, a local volunteer.

They still didn't know how many prisoners they held.

"The danger is that there is no oversight by any authorities, and the people who are carrying out the arrests - more like abductions - are not trained to respect human rights," said Diana Eltahawy of Amnesty International. "They are people who carry a lot of anger against people they believe committed atrocities."

For about a week, the Tripoli Local Prison has been receiving inmates and now holds about 300, said Anwar Bin Naji, a former prison employee who helps run the facility. About 50 are Libyans. The rest are from Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and other African countries.

"They are all arrested by rebels or by civilians who love the homeland," Naji said.

As he spoke, two rebel trucks carrying about a dozen black men entered the prison, honking their horns.

"Those are all mercenaries, or most of them," he said before speaking to the men.

In the cellblock, captives clustered by the barred doors of their cells. All said they were migrant workers who had come to Libya to work. Some said they'd lived here for years.

They said they hadn't been beaten, and were given simple food once or twice a day. They had drinking water, but none for bathing, they said.

Of the 28 people in one five-meter-by-six meter (15-foot-by-18-foot) cell, one had blistering burns on his face, neck and arm. Naji, the guard, said volunteers were still setting up a medical clinic.

The burned man, Ahmed Ali, said he'd come to Libya from his native Chad two years ago and worked as a house painter before the uprising.

"When the rebels entered Tripoli, some guys came and burned down my house," he said. He escaped and ran to some rebel fighters, hoping they'd protect him.

"They brought me here," he said, adding that he'd received no medical care in the six days since his arrest.

"They believe that most of the black in Libya are mercenaries, so now all the blacks on the street, they pick them up," he said.

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