Israeli troops have begun the forced evacuation of thousands of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip after a deadline for them to leave expired midnight on Tuesday. Unarmed Israeli soldiers broke though burning barricades and marched door-to-door ordering people out of their home in five settlements. Scuffles broke out as protesters burned garbage, fought with police officers and threw eggs and water bottles at them. Settlers in some farming communities were seen burning their greenhouses and homes rather than leave them to the Palestinians. Police said one woman was arrested for stabbing and lightly wounding a soldier. Soon after the incident, Sharon beseeched settlers not to attack soldiers saying "Don’t blame them. Don’t make it hard on them. Don’t hurt them, hurt me." We’ll have more on the Gaza withdrawal in a few minutes.
In Iraq, at least 43 people died this morning when three car bombs exploded during rush-hour in Baghdad. Officials said another 76 people were wounded. Two of the bombs targeted one of the city’s main bus stations. A third bomb exploded outside a nearby hospital. Meanwhile the Independent newspaper of London is reporting that the eleven hundred dead Iraqi civilians were counted last month at the Baghdad morgue. That is the highest toll in recent history.
In Crawford Texas, Cindy Sheehan has announced her 11-day-old anti-war vigil will move locations–in order to get closer to president Bush’s vacation ranch. A local Crawford resident has offered her to set up Camp Casey on his property. Sheehan has vowed to remain in Crawford until the president meets with her. Last year Sheehan’s oldest son Casey died in Iraq. He was 24 years old. The right-wing attack on Sheehan is intensifying. Last week Fox News host Bill O’Reilly described Sheehan’s actions as treasonous. On Monday night a Texas man drove his pickup truck through the vigil site running over hundreds of white wooden crosses and American flags that had been put up to honor soldiers killed in Iraq. The man — Larry Northern–was arrested and charged with criminal mischief. Sheehan vowed there would be no retaliation. "We’re all here for peace, and we’re not going to lower ourselves down to the level of the violence," Sheehan said. "And we’re going to let them get us off our mission either. This isn’t only about my son. This is about all of the 1,800, over 1,800 people who have been killed in this mistake of a war. This is about the 130,000 who are still over there for no reason. This is about the millions of Iraqis in harm’s way for no reason. We want this to end." Meanwhile support for the anti-war protest in Crawford is growing. Tonight MoveOn is helping to organize more than 1,000 candlelight vigils around the United States to support Sheehan.
In Britain the tv network ITV has obtained leaked information that indicate the British government may have lied about key details involving the police shooting of an innocent Brazilian electrician aboard a subway car. According to the leaked witness statements, the Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, was being restrained by a member of Scotland Yard’s surveillance team at the time that he was shot. In addition, the leaked information indicate Menezes was wearing a thin denim jacket — not a bulky jacket as police said. It also now appears that Menezes never ran from the police. He only began to run when he saw his train pull into the station. Menezes was shot by police shortly after the July 21st attempted bombings in London.
A Pentagon analyst and two prominent pro-Israeli lobbyists have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified national defense information. The Pentagon analyst, Larry Franklin, is accused of leaking highly classified information to Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, both of whom worked at the time for AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The information reportedly dealt in part, with U.S. policy toward Iran, Iraq and the war on terrorism According to the indictment, AIPAC was under an FBI investigation for over five years beginning in 1999. The indictment also indicates that a group of other officials inside the Pentagon, as well as other foreign officials and an unnamed Washington think tank, also played a role in the alleged spy ring.
This news on the Sept. 11 investigation... a veteran Army intelligence officer has told the New York Times that a secret military intelligence team repeatedly contacted the F.B.I. in 2000 to warn about the existence of an American-based Al Qaeda cell that included four of the would-be hijackers including Mohammed Atta. The officer — Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer — said military lawyers blocked the team known as Able Danger from sharing any of its information with the bureau. Shaffer is the first military official to discuss this information publicly. Last week the heads of the Sept. 11 Commission announced that it knew about the Able Danger team but it concluded that it ’did not turn out to be historically significant." According to the commissioners, the only claim that the military had identified Atta as a threat prior to the attacks came from a single Navy officer.
In Haiti, the jailed Catholic priest Gerard Jean-Juste has reportedly almost died after collapsing in his cell on Sunday. Jean Juste’s attorney Bill Quigley reported this after visiting Jean-Juste on Tuesday. Jean-Juste is one of Haiti’s most prominent supporters of the ousted president Jean Bertrand Aristide. He has been in jail since July 21 but has not yet been charged with a crime.
In India, police have arrested 43 people during a protest march outside a Coca Cola factory. Organizers reported four activists were hospitalized with severe head injuries after police charged the demonstrators with batons. Coke has faced widespread protests throughout India. "Basically the issues are that Coca Cola is extracting too much groundwater from the groundwater resource and it’s leaving the communities without any water all across India," said Amit Shirvasli of the India Resource Center. "And the pressure on Coca Cola company continues to grow in India and it’s become one of the most formidable community-led campaigns in the world today." The Coke protest on Monday came on India’s 58th anniversary of independence from British rule.
The Justice Department has taken the unusual step of asking a federal court to remove a judge involved in a nine-year old class-action lawsuit filed by Native Americans seeking billions of dollars in unpaid and gas royalties dating back to the 19th century. Last year the judge — Royce Lamberth — held Interior Secretary Gale Norton in contempt of court. He has also been highly critical of the Interior Department for failing to identify how much money Native American tribes are owed. Lamberth recently described the Interior Department as "the morally and culturally oblivious hand-me-down of a disgracefully racist and imperialist government that should have been buried a century ago, the last pathetic outpost of the indifference and anglocentrism we thought we had left behind." Lamberth has consistently ruled in favor of the 500,000 Native Americans covered in the class action suit. Last month Lamberth said in a ruling, '’Our government still treats Native American Indians as if they were somehow less than deserving of the respect that should be afforded to everyone in a society where all people are supposed to be equal.'’
In Venezuela investigators are trying to determine the cause to Tuesday’s plane crash that killed 160 people. It was the deadliest plane accident in the country’s history.
In Mississippi, the state’s attorney general has asked that Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen be put back in jail. Killen was released on bail on Friday. Six weeks ago Killen was convicted of masterminding the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers. The state attorney general also revealed that one of Killen’s brothers threatened to kill the judge in the case a week before trial began.
And Coretta Scott King has suffered a stroke. The 78-year-old widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been hospitalized and is reported to be in fair condition.