El congresista Dennis Kucinich (Demócrata de Ohio) fue uno de los 8 congresistas en votar la semana pasada contra el proyecto de ley de gastos para la guerra que establece un calendario para el retiro de las tropas de Irak. Desde el Congreso hablamos con Kucinich sobre dicho proyecto de ley, por qué piensa que el proceso de juicio político contra el presidente "debería estar sobre la mesa", la cobertura de los medios corporativos de la campaña presidencial, y otros temas.
Andre Schiffrin ha sido una destacada figura en el mundo editorial literario durante casi 50 años. Como director de Pantheon Books, Andre Schiffrin ha editado títulos de Jean-Paul Sartre, Studs Terkel, Art Spiegelman, Noam Chomsky y Michel Foucault. En 1990 renunció y creó la editorial sin fines de lucro La Nueva Prensa (The New Press). Schiffrin también ha escrito varios libros, entre ellos su nueva obra de memorias "Educación política: Alcanzar la mayoría de edad en París y Nueva York (A Political Education: Coming of Age in Paris and New York").
On Capitol Hill, the Senate has narrowly voted to keep an amendment calling for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by March of next year. Republicans had tried to remove the provision from the bill that would fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but set the non-binding deadline. The final vote was 50-48. Republicans Gordon Smith of Oregon and Chuck Hagel voted with the Democrats. Hagel spoke on the Senate floor.
Sen. Chuck Hagel: "The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq. The cost of combat in Iraq in terms of American lives, dollars and world standing has been devastating for our country. The American people are demanding that we develop a bipartisan consensus for an honorable and responsible exit strategy from Iraq. If we fail to build a bipartisan foundation for an exit strategy, America will pay a high price for this blunder, one that we will have difficulty recovering from in the years ahead. Our actions today in the Congress begin this effort. Mr. President, I thank you and yield the floor."
Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas was the lone Democrat to vote with Republicans. Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut also voted against his old party.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman: "The immediate question before us is direct: Should Congress impose a deadline for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq? To that question, I answer: No, no, no.
A final vote on the bill could come today. The amendment’s passage all but assures Congress will send President Bush a bill calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. The House version passed last week calls for the withdrawal of combat troops by September of 2008. On Tuesday, White House spokesperson Dana Perino repeated President Bush’s pledge to veto any bill calling for withdrawal.
Press Secretary Dana Perino: "Regardless of the success of our troops are achieving in the field, this bill would require their withdrawal. This and other provisions would place freedom and democracy in Iraq at grave risk, embolden our enemies, and undercut the administration’s plan to develop the Iraqi economy. If this legislation were presented to the president, he would veto the bill."
In Iraq, local officials are reporting at least 45 deaths today after off-duty Shiite police went on a rampage to avenge a massive bombing in the northern town of Tal Afar. The officers are said to have roamed Sunni neighborhoods, rounded up men, and shot them execution-style. The attacks follow a double truck bombing that killed 60 people in Tal Afar Tuesday. Another 150 were wounded. Several attacks were also reported around Baghdad. This is an unidentified Baghdad resident.
Unidentified Baghdad resident: "We appeal to every Muslim man and to those who believe in God to find a solution for Iraq! God is greatest! We are going crazy! Our families, women and children, are being killed!"
The violence comes as a new Pentagon assessment based on interviews with senior U.S. commanders says the U.S. military is in "strategic peril." The assessment is authored by retired General Barry McCaffrey. He writes: "The population is in despair. Life in many of the urban areas is now desperate."
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. The American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First had brought the case on behalf of nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suit said Rumsfeld had tacitly or directly authorized a series of abuses, including beatings, stabbings, shocks, burnings and sexual humiliation. In his dismissal ruling, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan did acknowledge the men had been tortured, and called the allegations horrifying, but he said they do not have constitutional rights to seek redress and that government officials are immune.
Britain has begun unveiling evidence today it says proves Iran’s capture of 15 British sailors took place in Iraqi waters. On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected a question of whether the seizure could be linked to the U.S. arrest of five Iranians in Iraq earlier this year.
Prime Minister Tony Blair: "In the end, it’s a question really for the Iranian government as to whether they want to abide by international law or not. I hope that they do. And we’re working hard to try and persuade them that is a sensible thing to do."
In other news from Britain, a protester interrupted a service Tuesday to mark the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of slavery. The event came to a halt when the protester ran in front, shouting, "You should be ashamed!" and "This is an insult!" Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth II were among those in attendance.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, reports are emerging between 200 and 500 people were killed in fighting last week in the capital, Kinshasa. The violence came as part of continuing clashes between government forces and supporters of former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba.
In the Gaza Strip, at least four people were killed and 20 wounded when a sewage reservoir burst open and flooded dozens of homes. Gaza Mayor Majid Abu Ramadan appealed for aid.
Mayor Majid Abu Ramadan: "The authorities involved will do a proper technical analysis, and it’s important to draw lessons how to prevent this. But what’s also more important is to save these people. More than 350 families lost everything in their life."
In Egypt, opposition groups are rejecting the results of a referendum approving constitutional changes backed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. All of Egypt’s opposition parties boycotted the vote and say turnout reached just 5 percent. The measure grants Mubarak new powers to dissolve Parliament, weaken electoral oversight, and affirm emergency powers. This is George Ishaq, deputy coordinator of the Kefaya movement.
George Ishaq: "We will not keep silent about this fraud. I am declaring in the name of Kefaya that we will confront this fabrication, and we will not stop confronting this regime until it falls, because this regime has no legal foundation. We will confront this in coordination with other political groups."
Back in the United States, FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Tuesday the FBI has made hundreds of errors in its use of national security letters to access personal information of U.S. citizens. Mueller was testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was his first appearance at a hearing since an audit this month found numerous errors and possible breaches of the law. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said the Judiciary Committee will begin re-examining the FBI’s broad authorities granted under the PATRIOT Act.
A civil rights group is reporting an increasing number of innocent people are being denied transactions by businesses checking their names against the Treasury Department’s terrorist watch list. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights says credit bureaus, health insurers, car dealerships, employers and landlords have denied business to customers bearing similar names to those on the 6,000-plus list. In one case, a California man was denied a home loan after his credit report flagged his middle name, Hassan, as an alias for one of Saddam Hussein’s sons.
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow has announced his colon cancer has returned and spread to his liver. Snow was treated for colon cancer in 2005. Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino is filling in in his absence.
In Florida, authorities in Bay County have been ordered to pay $2.4 million to the family of a 14-year-old who died at a juvenile boot camp last year. The teenager, Martin Lee Anderson, was initially said to have died of a complication from sickle cell blood disease, but a second autopsy later concluded he suffocated to death after guards beat him. The new fine comes on top of a $5 million settlement from the state of Florida earlier this month.
In Vermont, eight peace activists were arrested Tuesday in a sit-in at the offices of independent Senator Bernie Sanders. The action was one of several to target lawmakers who have voted to continue war funding.
In Chicago, a promised 15-minute press conference with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales turned to less than three minutes Tuesday, as Gonzales ducked questions about the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys. Gonzales left the podium after taking just three questions.