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HeadlinesMay 28, 2003

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Rumsfeld Suggest Iraq May Have Destroyed WMD Before U.S. Invasion

May 28, 2003

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has suggested publicly for the first time Iraq may have destroyed its weapons of mass destruction before the U.S. invaded. Rumsfeld has repeatedly said it’s just a matter of time before these weapons will be found in Iraq.

Meanwhile, The Guardian of London reports the good news for the Pentagon is that its investigators have finally unearthed evidence of weapons of mass destruction, including 100 vials of anthrax and other dangerous bacteria. The bad news is that the stash was found not in Iraq but fewer than 50 miles from Washington near Fort Detrick in Maryland. The anthrax is a nonvirulent strain, and the discoveries are apparently remnants of an abandoned germ warfare program. Interestingly, there is no documentation about the biological agents disposed of at the U.S. Biodefense Center at Fort Detrick. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials said Iraq’s failure to come up with paperwork proving the destruction of its biological arsenal was evidence of deception.

Guardian: Pentagon Ignored Warnings It Would Need Military Police in Post-Invasion Iraq

May 28, 2003

The London Guardian is reporting in the months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Pentagon ignored repeated warnings that it would need a substantial military police force immediately after the invasion to provide law and order, this according to U.S. government advisers. Some 4,000 U.S. military police are now being deployed in Baghdad, but only after most Iraqi government services have been crippled by a wave of rioting and looting and arson. According to The Guardian, the anarchy in the streets was predicted by several panels of former ambassadors, soldiers and peacekeeping experts who advised the Pentagon and the White House while the invasion was being planned. They urged that lessons be learned from previous U.S.-led military interventions, and a post-conflict police force must be established before the war. Most U.S. military police are reservists who are given just one day’s instruction in dealing with civilian crowds, and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute is being closed in September.

5 Suspects Arrested in Riyadh Suicide Attacks

May 28, 2003

Saudi Arabian officials have arrested five men suspected of involvement in the suicide attacks on residential compounds in Riyadh. An unnamed source told Reuters that the officials believe one of the suspects was the mastermind behind the attacks. The source also said the arrests were made in the Muslim holy city of Medina. On May 12, bombers hit three residential compounds known to house Westerners. Thirty-four people were killed.

Supreme Court: State Workers Can Sue over Family and Medical Leave Act Violations

May 28, 2003

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled 6 to 3 state workers can sue their employers for violating the Family and Medical Leave Act. The law entitles the workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for work for several reasons, including birth or adoption or a family emergency. The court extended the protections of the federal law to almost 5 million state employees. The ruling breaks with the court’s recent tradition of siding with states against the federal government involving the extension of federal anti-discrimination laws. Women’s rights groups hailed the ruling.
However, the Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal of a federal court decision that upheld the Bush administration policy of holding secret deportation hearings for hundreds of foreign nationals detained after September 11. The appeal was brought by a group of New Jersey newspapers that argued the public has a need to know how the government is responding to the 9/11 attacks. We’ll have more on that in the other hour of democracy now.

Supreme Court: Police Can’t Be Sued for Failing to Read Miranda Rights

May 28, 2003

Also yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled a police sergeant did not violate the rights of a seriously injured farmworker by interrogating him at the hospital without reading him his Miranda rights. In 1997, Oxnard, California, police shot Oliverio Martinez five times and then subjected him to a lengthy interrogation while he awaited medical treatment. According to a transcript of the interview, Martinez told the police officer, “I am choking. I am dying. Please.” The officer replied, “If you’re going to die, tell me what happened.” Martinez was left blind and paralyzed. Dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens compared the interrogation to “an attempt to obtain an involuntary confession from a prisoner by torturous methods.” The Miranda warnings begin with “You have the right to remain silent.” This ruling means police officers cannot be sued for failing to read someone these rights. Martinez may still be allowed to collect damages on the grounds that his constitutional due process rights were violated.

Anglican Church Leaders Say They Can’t Support Ceremonies Blessing Gay Partnerships

May 28, 2003

The Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican Church leaders said yesterday they cannot support ceremonies blessing gay partnerships. Issuing a statement from a meeting in Brazil, the church leaders said the issue is divisive, and there is no theological consensus on the issue. The controversy intensified recently when a bishop in Vancouver approved blessing rituals for gay men and lesbians.

NGOs Issue Evian Water Challenge to G8

May 28, 2003

More than 100 nongovernmental organizations from around the world have issued an Evian water challenge to leaders of the Group of 8 major industrial nations that will meet next week in Evian, France. The challenge demands that the G8 nations stop pressuring developing countries to privatize their water resources. The European Union has been especially aggressive in this effort. The EU is demanding that 72 countries open their water sectors to foreign private investment in the world trade negotiations. This would greatly benefit the six major multinational corporations, which account for virtually all private investment in water utilities in developing countries. They include the France’s Suez and Vivendi Environnement corporations, as well as Bechtel. Bechtel is the U.S. company that won the first major reconstruction contract in Iraq.

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