"I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty."
That is how John Kerry opened his 55 minute speech last night where he officially accepted the Democratic nomination for president. He vowed to help make America stronger and to restore the country’s credibility.
He directly attacked Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft though not by name.
On Ashcroft he said "I will appoint an Attorney General who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States."
He also took a jab at the Bush administration’s close ties to Saudi Arabia. He said "I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation–not the Saudi royal family."
We’ll hear part of John Kerry’s speech and have more convention in a few minutes.
Outside the Fleet Center, hundreds of protesters took part in a day of action called by the Black Tea Society. In the morning scores of bicyclists rode in a critical mass ride . Later hundreds marched to protest the so-called free speech protest zone. Demonstrators managed to tear down part of the cage surrounding the protest zone. In addition protesters set fir e to a two-face effigy of Bush and Kerry as well as a U.S. flag. Police reported five arrests through out the day.
Also a group of peace activists who lost relatives on Sept. 11 have begun a 230-mile walk from Boston to New York where the Republican National Convention will be held next month. The members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows are hauling a 1400 pound granite tombstone inscribed with the words "Unknown Civilians Killed in War."
In other news, The Pakistani interior minister announced yesterday that a top member of Al Qaeda had been captured in Central Pakistan. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was on the FBI’s most wanted list in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. This marks the most significant Al Qaeda arrest since Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was detained over a year ago.
Although Ghailani was arrested on Sunday, Pakistan did not announce his arrest until yesterday, on the same day of John Kerry’s acceptance speech.
The arrest appears to confirm an explosive article titled The July Surprise that appeared earlier this month in the New Republic.
The article charged that the Bush administration has been pressuring Pakistan to deliver a so-called "High Value Target" before November — ideally during the Democratic National Convention in an attempt to eclipse John Kerry’s moment in the national spotlight.
The New York Times is reporting the Census Bureau secretly gave the Department of Homeland Security detailed information on how many people of Arab backgrounds live in certain ZIP codes.
One list provided a breakdown of Arab-American populations, sorted by country of origin, in each zip code. Another set listed every city that had a population of more than 1,000 Arab-Americans.
The Department of Homeland Security claimed the information was not used for law enforcement purposes but to help the agency determine which airports to post signs in Arabic.
The Times reports the Census Bureau broke no laws as long as they did not identify any individuals.
During World War II the Census Bureau shared information about Japanese-Americans which helped federal officials round up people for internment camps.
A former census director Kenneth Prewitt criticized the decision to share the information about Arab Americans. He said "In World War II we violated our principles even if we didn’t violate the law, and we assured people we wouldn’t do it again."
USA Today is reporting the Marine Corps has opened an inquiry to determine if Marine Lance Corporal Abdul Henderson should be disciplined for his appearance in Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11. In the film, Henderson said he would refuse to return to fight in Iraq. His unit is facing a possible autumn return to Iraq,
In news from Iraq, a major political convention scheduled for this weekend has been postponed. The convention which was to gather 1,000 delegates was being billed as a key step toward democracy for Iraq.
The convention has been postponed two weeks in part because of the ongoing violence in Iraq and because of a debates over the make-up of the delegate.
Delegates at the convention will select100 members of a national assembly that will serve as an interim legislature until national elections are held.
Meanwhile Iraq’s unelected Prime Minister Ayad Allawi yesterday expressed support for a Saudi plan to form an international security force to serve in Iraq.
Earlier today Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell made a surprise visit to Iraq to meet with Iraq’s unelected president Ghazi al-Yawer and U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte. Yesterday Powell met with Prime Minister Allawi in Saudi Arabia.
Audit: CPA Can’t Account for $1B in Iraqi Revenue
A new audit by the U.S. government has found that the Coalition Provisional Authority can not account for nearly $1 billion of Iraqi revenue that was supposed to be spent on reconstruction projects. The report marks the first formal audit of contracting procedures for the now disbanded CPA..
In New York, the police department has put on trial an officer for refusing to arrest a homeless man who was sleeping in a parking garage. If found guilty, the officer Eduardo Delacruz, could be fired.
A new report by the British think tank Foreign Policy Center concludes that international efforts to end the genocide in Sudan has been hindered because the Britain and the U.S. were focusing so heavily on Iraq. The report also accuses the UN Security Council of omitting Sudan from its agenda at a major meeting in May since the focus of the meeting was on Iraq.
The average total income for CEOs at the country’s top 500 companies increased by 22 percent in 2003 — double the increase of the previous year. CEOs at four companies — Oracle, Apple, Yahoo and Colgate — received 1000 percent increases in income. Meanwhile new data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that the average U.S .income has decreased for two years in a row for the first time since World War II.