The Bush administration’s post 9/11 anti-terrorism tactics were dealt a double blow by federal courts Thursday. In New York a federal appeals court ruled the government can not detain U.S. citizen Jose Padilla indefinitely without pressing charges against him or allowing him access to the courts. Padilla has been held incommunicado as an enemy combatant on a South Carolina naval brig for over a year and half. No charges have ever been filed against him and he is barred from seeing his lawyer. Hours after that ruling came down, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled the government’s treatment of foreign detainees at Guantanamo Bay was unconstitutional and a violation of international law. In addition on Thursday the Inspector General’s office of the Justice Department released a detailed report describing rampant abuse of 9/11 detainees inside a government-run detention center in Brooklyn. We’ll have more on all of these stories in a few minutes.
In Iraq, Reuters is reporting that the U.S. has banned all forms of protests against the U.S. occupation around Saddam Hussein’s birthplace of Tikrit. After a recent rally in support of Saddam Hussein, U.S. military vehicles and tanks raced through the streets. One of the vehicles broadcast a recording of the U.S.-backed regional governor in the area, Hussein al-Jaburi. His message was “Any demonstration against the government or coalition forces will be fired upon. This is a fair warning.” According to Reuters, all demonstrations have been declared illegal in the province. Iraqis face a year in jail for participating in a protest. And any Iraqi civil servants or teachers who participate in protests will lose their jobs. Reuters reported one U.S. military officer warned a local Iraqi in Tikrit not to organize any protests, The U.S. officer said ” Let me make something very clear. If our ears and eyes see and hear you are connected with demonstrations, and anti-coalition activities you will be going to jail for a very long time.”
The top U.S. official overseeing the occupation has confirmed that he survived an assassination attempt in Iraq two weeks ago. An NBC report said Bremer’s convoy was hit by an explosive device and came under fire. The attack came on the same that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was visiting Iraq.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that auditors at the Pentagon are accusing Halliburton of refusing to hand over internal documents related to allegations that the oil service company overcharged the U.S. government in iraq. The Journal reports Halliburton may have overcharged the government by a total of $100 million.
Newly declassified documents show that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld went to Baghdad in March 1984 with instructions to deliver a private message about weapons of mass destruction. The Washington Post reports the message was that Washington’s public criticism of Iraq for using chemical weapons would not derail Washington’s attempts to forge a better relationship, The March 1984 visit was Rumsfeld’s second visit to Iraq on behalf of President Ronald Reagan. Twenty years ago tomorrow Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.
In Washington, a jury has found teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo guilty on two counts of capital murder for his role in the killing of 10 people last year. He faces life in prison or the death penalty.