Libby Convicted in Perjury, Obstruction Trial

In the highest-ranking conviction of a White House official since the Iran-Contra scandal, Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been found guilty of lying and obstructing an investigation into the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame. On the tenth day of deliberations, a jury found Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff guilty of two counts of perjury, one count of making false statements, and one count of obstruction of justice. Libby faces a maximum of twenty-five years in prison. Libby’s attorney, Theodore Wells vowed to seek a new trial.

Theodore Wells: "We believe, as we said at the time of his indictment, that he is totally innocent, totally innocent and that he did not do anything wrong and we intend to keep fighting to establish his innocence."

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald oversaw the case against Libby. He spoke after the verdict.

Patrick Fitzgerald: "The jury was obviously convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had lied and obstructed justice about a serious matter. The results are actually sad. It’s sad that we had a high level official, a person who worked in the office of the vice president, obstructed justice and lied under oath. We wish that had not happened, but it did."

Fitzgerald went on to say he will not seek new charges against other White House officials. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on President Bush to promise he won’t pardon Libby. White House spokesperson Dana Perino was asked about the possibility.

White House spokesperson Dana Perino: "Well I’m aware of no such request for a pardon and as is afforded to all Americans, there is a process that is followed in which to apply for a pardon and I don’t think that speculating on a wildly hypothetical situation at this time is appropriate."

Juror: Libby “Fall Guy” for Bush Admin

At least one juror said the case should have gone beyond Libby. Speaking to reporters, Denis Collins said "It was said a number of times, 'What are we doing with this guy here? Where's [Karl] Rove]?'...We're not saying we didn’t think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him guilty of, but it seemed like … he was the fall guy." More on the Libby verdict after headlines.

At Least 112 Killed in Attack on Shiite Pilgrims

In Iraq, at least 112 people were killed Tuesday in a double-suicide bombing of a Shiite procession in Hilla. Another 150 were wounded. The victims were gathering ahead of the close of a Shiite ritual period this weekend. Another 24 people were killed in related attacks across Iraq.

Poll: 60% Call Iraq War “Mistake”, Favor Withdrawal

Meanwhile in Washington, President Bush addressed Iraq at a speech before the American Legion.

President Bush: "Iraqi and U.S. forces are making gradual and important progress almost everyday, and we will remain steadfast until our objectives are achieved."

President Bush’s comments come as a new poll shows a record six out of ten Americans believe the Iraq war has been a mistake. According to the Gallup/USA Today survey, the same number want a US withdrawal within a year. Just 13% favor sending more troops.

War Resister Agustin Aguayo Sentenced to 8 Months in Prison

A US Army medic who refused to fight in Iraq has been sentenced to eight months in prison. Agustin Aguayo went AWOL last year just before he was to return to Iraq for a second deployment. He had made several unsuccessful requests for conscientious objector status.

Aguayo’s attorney David Court: "We are both very grateful that the military judge gave a relatively light sentence. As you all know, he could have done seven years based upon the findings. I believe that based upon his sentence of only eight months he accepts that Aguayo believes that he is a conscientous objector."

David Court expects Aguayo to serve six more weeks of his sentence because he’s already been jailed for one-hundred sixty-one days. The military hearing was held in Germany where Aguayo’s unit is based. Kelly Dougherty of Iraq Veterans Against the War was there to support Aguayo.

Kelly Dougherty: "While Agustin is first and foremost a man who is sincerely and morally opposed to war in all forms, he is also a proud example to other soldiers who are also questioning the war in Iraq and who feel like they might want to refuse or they might want to apply for conscientious objector or in some way object and resist this war in Iraq."

In a statement, Amnesty International said Aguayo is a legitimate conscientious objector who should not be imprisoned for his beliefs. Democracy Now! interviewed Aguayo and his wife Helga the day before he turned himself in to a California base last September.

Agustin Aguayo: "It’s not my job to decide who’s going to live or who’s going to die. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with morally and that I’m convinced of. Nothing is more clear in my mind that war is wrong. And I won’t be a tool of war anymore. And the end result of war is the destruction of human life, and governments use that to solve problems. And I think it’s a great tragedy of our lifetime, with so much technology, that we still feel that that solves problems."

Afghans Protest US Strikes

In Afghanistan, protests continued Tuesday over a pair of US military attacks that killed at least twenty-five people on Sunday. At least two thousand people blocked a main road leading to the capital Kabul. The protests came as NATO forces launched a major operation against Taliban fighters.

Italian Journalist Kidnapped in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, a veteran Italian journalist has been kidnapped in southern Afghanistan. Daniele Mastrogiacomo is a correspondent for La Repubblica. He’s believed to be in the hands of Taliban captors.

Iran Offers IAEA Direct Talks

Iran has made-public a new offer to negotiate directly with the International Atomic Energy Agency over its nuclear program. The Associated Press reports Iran says its ready to discuss outstanding issues without interference from the UN Security Council. The Security Council has rejected previous Iranian efforts because Iran has rejected a pre-condition to suspend uranium enrichment before talks begin.

US, North Korea in 3rd Day of Talks

Meanwhile, the United States and North Korea are in their third day of talks today. The two sides are discussing normalizing diplomatic relations for the first time in fifty years years. North Korea agreed to abandon part of its nuclear program last month. On Tuesday, US envoy Christopher Hill addressed the progress so far.

Christopher Hill: "Obviously we will have continuing differences with North Korea, but I think getting rid of the nuclear aspirations is a very good start and I know that we could have a relationship with them, albeit a relationship where we will have disagreements on a number of issues as we do with countries throughout the world, but nonetheless, I think a relationship that can move forward."

Ex-US Attorneys Testify over Controversial Dismissals

On Capital Hill, six former U.S. Attorneys testified Tuesday as part of an investigation into their controversial dismissals from the Justice Department. Each of the attorneys said they received improper contact from government officials or members of Congress both before and after they were asked to resign. In new developments, former Washington state prosecutor John McKay revealed he was contacted by the chief of staff to Republican Congressmember Doc Hastings about an inquiry into voter-fraud in the state’s 2004 gubernatorial election. McKay said he ended the call because he found it inappropriate. Another former U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias of New Mexico, revealed last week that he was fired after he resisted pressure by two Republican members of Congress to complete a corruption investigation involving Democrats ahead of the November elections. Senator Pete Domenici and Congresswoman Heather Wilson have admitted calling Iglesias but denied they were pressuring or threatening him. Senator Arlen Specter–the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee — said: "If the allegations are correct, there has been serious misconduct in what has occurred."

Whistleblower: L.A. Times Heeded Government Request to Quash Internet Spy Story

A whistleblower who helped reveal government spying on the internet has discovered the Los Angeles Times aborted breaking the story at the request of the Bush administration. The whisteblower, Mark Klein, is a former technician at AT&T. Last year, Klein revealed the National Security Agency had set up secret spy rooms in several AT&T offices. In an interview with ABC News, Klein says he worked with am L.A. Times reporter for two months to reveal the secret program. But Klein says editors killed the story at the request of then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte and then-NSA director General Michael Hayden. He then went to the New York Times.

US Won’t Seek Seat on UN Human Rights Council

The Bush administration has announced it will not seek a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for the second straight year. The administration opposed the council’s formation as a replacement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights last year. US officials say the council has lost credibility and is biased towards Israel.

Report: 1,000 Journalists Killed in Last Decade

A new report has put the number of journalists killed in the last decade at more than one thousand. The International News Safety Institute says nearly half were killed by gunfire and most died in their home countries. Iraq and Russia were the deadliest countries.

Polls: Poland, Czech Republic Oppose Missile Shield

In Europe, new polls show majority opposition to the US missile defense shield in the two countries that have been asked to host parts of it on their soil. In the Czech Republic, sixty-one per cent say they oppose construction of a US missile base. In Poland, fifty-five percent are opposed. Both governments of Poland the Czech Republic have said they’re like to approve the request to host a US missile facility.

Washington State Sues Over Medicaid Rule for Immigrant Children

The state of Washington has filed a lawsuit over a Bush administration regulation that strips automatic Medicaid coverage to children born to undocumented immigrants. Babies of undocumented workers were previously insured if the mother was covered during birth. Under the new policy, parents must file applications for the child and provide documents to prove his or her citizenship. The Washington state lawsuit says the rule increases health care costs and violates infants’ constitutional rights to the same services as all Americans.

ACLU Sues Over Child Detentions at Texas Immigration Jail

And finally, in the latest update on a story Democracy Now has been covering, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against US government officials on behalf of ten children held at an immigration jail in Texas. The ACLU says the children have been subjected to inhumane treatment as their families await immigration decisions. The suit names Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and six immigration and customs officials. Some four hundred people are detained at the Hutto facility in Taylor, Texas. Around half of them are children. Hutto is owned by the private prison company, Corrections Corporations of America.

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