At least 600 civilians have been killed in intense fighting in the Liberian capital of Monrovia in recent days according to the country?s defense minister. Dozens of mortar shells were fired yesterday into the port city. At least two shells hit the U.S. embassy compound.
Calls for the U.S. to send in peacekeeping troops intensified. President Bush said he was watching the situation. To date the U.S. military has deployed 41 Marines to boost security at the embassy. And 4,500 US troops have been moved into the Mediterranean Sea but it would take them a week to sail to Liberia if needed.
To protest Washington?s indifference, Liberians laid the bodies of deceased loved ones outside the U.S. embassy yesterday.
Analysts say the U.S. may have lost its best chance to oversee a peaceful transition from President Charles Taylor to a new democratic government because now troops will be entering a combat situation instead of a ceasefire.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called for the immediate deployment of U.S. and international troops. The Economic Community of West African States has pledged to send in 1,5000 peacekeeping troops.
President Bush yesterday issued one of his strongest warnings yet to Syria and Iran. Bush said, “Syria and Iran continue to harbor and assist terrorists. This behavior is completely unacceptable, and states that support terror will be held accountable.”
Bush?s comments came during a meeting in Crawford Texas with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. The two met by coincidence nearly exactly two years to the date after Italian paramilitary forces shot dead Carlo Giuliani during massive protests against the G8 in Geona Italy. The 23-year-old protester died on July 20, 2001.
The soon-to-be-released Congressional report on 9/11 has found the FBI repeatedly failed to investigate evidence pointing to Al-Qaida members planning and meeting, most notably in the San Diego area, in the months leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, this according to a report by Newsweek.
In one instance, the agency missed evidence of its own informant ? who was in constant contact with his FBI handler–living with two of the hijackers in San Diego.
The FBI failed to keep tabs on warnings that Omar al-Bayoumi, a key associate of two of the hijackers and suspected Saudi government secret agent, met with Saudi government officials and the hijackers.
When the report is made public, a 28-page section detailing the U.S. government?s links with the Saudi and other governments will be deleted. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who oversaw the report, charged the Bush administration is ?protecting a foreign government.?
This news from Britain: Prime Minister?s Tony Blair approval has plummeted to less than 40 percent following the suicide of government scientist David Kelly. The BBC yesterday admitted that Kelly was the source for its story that Blair sexed up the Iraq Intelligence data to make the case for war. [ Listen to Full Segment]
Attorneys for the Republican Party are warning TV stations not to air a new commercial by the Democratic National Committee that charges President Bush misled the country in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. The video shows Bush saying, “Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
Republicans said the ad is “deliberately false and misleading? because the ad omits the portion of Bush’s statement where he points out that the disputed information came from the British government.
A letter from Republican counsel to TV stations in Wisconsin reads in part, ?The Democratic National Committee certainly has a legitimate First Amendment right to participate in political debate, but it has no right to willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people? as an FCC licensee you have the responsibility to exercise independent editorial judgment to not only oversee and protect the American marketplace of ideas, essential for the health of our democracy, but also to avoid deliberate misrepresentations of the facts.?
The letter concludes: ?Such obligations must be taken seriously. This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.?
The Washington Post is reporting the U.S. might propose to hold nuclear talks with North Korea. Under the proposal, the U.S. would promise not to attack North Korea if it began dismantling its nuclear program and met other conditions including improving human rights. Multilateral talks would also occur with South Korea, China and Japan.
Newly released documents reveal that Vice President Dick Cheney?s energy task force was examining Iraq’s oil assets two years before the invasion of Iraq.
The London Telegraph reports the 16 pages from March 2001, show maps of Iraq oil fields, pipelines, refineries and terminals. A document titled Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts lists which countries were keen to do business with Iraq.
The documents were released by the government to Judicial Watch which had filed a Freedom for Information Act as part of the conservative organization?s study into the links between the Bush administration and Enron.
For two years the White House had attempted to prevent the documents from being released.
Retired U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson is accusing the White House of orchestrating a smear attack against him and his wife. Wilson gained headlines earlier this month when he revealed that he had personally traveled to Niger in 2002 in a CIA-financed trip to debunk any nuclear link between the African nation and Iraq. Wilson set off a firestorm of debate when he told the media, the White House and CIA were both warned in 2002 of his findings.
Wilson now says the White House deliberately leaked to the press that his wife, Valerie Plame, is a covert CIA operative thus damaging her career and compromising past missions.
Writing on the Nation website, David Corn points out that whoever within the Bush administration outted Wilson?s wife may have committed treason. Disclosing information that identifies covert agents violates the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. Plame?s identify was first revealed in a column by conservative Robert Novak who said government officials leaked him the information.
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