At least 29 people have died in Iraq over the past three days in a series of bombings and two senior Iraqi officials were assassinated. This morning a bomb exploded on one of Baghdad’s busiest streets during rush hour killing up to 13 including up to five foreign contractors including workers from the U.S., Britain and France. Dozens of people were injured. After the attack, a group of Iraqis gathered at the site to denounce the US occupation . A second car bombing today killed four southeast of Baghdad. Yesterday, 12 died when a car exploded near a U.S. garrison in Iraq. Meanwhile on Saturday one of Iraq’s most senior diplomats, Deputy Foreign Minister Bassam Kubba was assassinated as he left his house. On Sunday a senior Education ministry official was also killed.
Newsweek is reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has given its backing to a new bill that would vastly expand the Pentagon’s ability to conduct domestic spy operations and to be able to recruit citizens as informants. The bill would exempt the Pentagon from the Privacy Act which was passed in the 1970s after it was revealed that Army intelligence agents were spying on anti-war protesters.
A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials including many appointed by the Reagan and first Bush administrations, have signed a joint statement condemning President Bush’s foreign policy. They charge his re-election in November would jeopardize national security.
The U.S. military annouced Sunday that it would continue to detain up to 5,000 Iraqis and continue to run the Abu Ghraib prison after the so-called handover of power on June 30.
The International Committee of the Red Cross however is demanding that all Iraqi prisoners of war be released on June 30 if in fact sovereignty is truly handed over to Iraq which would officially mark the end of the military occupation . Regarding Saddam Hussein, the Red Cross said his situation is no different from other prisoners of war: he should be charged with a crime by June 30 or be released.
In Saudi Arabia, police are searching for a U.S. employee of Lockheed Martin who is believed to have been kidnapped on Saturday during an attack that killed another American who worked for Advanced Electronics.
And the Organization of American States has voted to launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the ouster of Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide in February. He has accused the US of orchestrating the coup to overthrow his government.
And in Florida, the secretary of state’s office is downplaying revelations that a software flaw in new touch-screen voting machines in 11 counties could make manual recounts impossible in November’s presidential election. Two of Florida’s largest and most Democratic counties — Miami-Dade and Broward — are among the counties with the flawed system.