In Iraq, the interim governor of Basra was shot dead at a checkpoint earlier this morning. Two others died along side him. Basra is Iraq’s second largest city behind Baghdad. The assassination comes a day after a top defense ministry official was killed in Baghdad and a week after the governor of Mosul was shot dead. In other Iraq news, the Filipino truck driver who had been taken hostage in Iraq has been released. On Monday the Philippines pulled the last of its troops from Iraq.
A grand jury has subpoened documents from Halliburton regarding the company’s dealings with Iran. The company, which was formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, set up a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands to skirt U.S. laws that bar companies from dealing with Iran. The grand jury is investigating whether Halliburton broke the U.S. laws on dealing with Iran. U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, said the probe should address the role of the Republican vice president. Lautenberg said "The question must be asked: did this possible violation occur between 1995 and 2000 while Dick Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton?"
President Clinton’s former national security adviser Sandy Berger, is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department after highly classified terrorism documents disappeared after he was reviewing them in the National Archives. This according to the Associated Press. Some documents are still missing including drafts of a report on how the Clinton administration handled the millennium terror threat. According to news reports, Berger tried to secretly remove handwritten notes by stuffing them in his pants and jacket. He also admits that he accidentally took copies of classified documents. Berger has since returned the notes but some of the documents have never been found.
In briefs filed yesterday with the Supreme Court, 48 nations, 18 Nobel Peace Prize winners, 28 U.S. religious groups and a host of medical, legal and child advocacy groups called on the Supreme Court to declare that it is unconstitutional to execute people for crimes committed as a minor. The United States is one of just five countries in the world that execute juvenile offenders. The briefs were filed in the case of Christopher Simmons. He is facing the death penalty for a murder he committed at the age of 17. The Supreme Court will hear the case in the fall.
In Israel, a district court judge was shot dead near his home in a suburb of Tel Aviv yesterday. The government said Adi Azar is the first Israeli judge to have ever been murdered. The motive of the killing is unclear. Israel’s Justice Minister denied reports that it was an act of terrorism.
Human Rights Watch has obtained Sudanese government documents that, it says, prove Sudan’s government has been supporting the Janjaweed Arab militias accused of killing tens of thousands in Darfur. Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch said the documents prove that the Sudanese government had lied to US Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan when it denied recruiting and arming the militias.
The marine who disappeared from his post in Iraq and resurfaced 19 days later in Beirut denied yesterday that he had deserted. Waseef Ali Hassoun told reporters that he was "captured and held against my will by anticoalition forces." Military officials say an investigation is underway and will continue at Corporal Hassoun base in North Carolina. Luitenant Colonal David Lapan said at the press briefing that Hassoun’s words were "his own," and had been vetted only to check for classified information.
A federal judge yesterday issued a decision barring police use of four-sided pens to contain protesters at the Republican National Convention in New York City. The ruling also limits police searches of protesters, though it does not restrict the use of metal detectors. Judge Robert Sweet wrote that he aimed to strike a balance that would "encourage free expression in a secure society." The New York Civil Liberties Union brought the suit against the City of New York citing excessive use of force and restrictive crowd control measures at recent mass demonstrations.
United for Peace and Justice yesterday criticized the New York City Police Department for refusing to continue negotiations for a protest site during the RNC. The NYPD set a deadline of last Friday for the anti-war group to agree to their offer of a rally on West Side Highway in Manhattan. United for Peace and Justice rejected that site because they say it will increase the costs for sound equipment significantly. They have been granted a permit to march directly past the convention, but their proposals for rally sites have so far all been rejected by police officials.