The Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 ruling, decided yesterday that police can now stop anyone on the street and demand that they identify themselves as long as the identification is not self-incriminating. The Washington Post reports the ruling overturns one’s right to remain silent and allows for the prosecution of anyone who refuses to identify themselves to a police officer.
The Supreme Court also issued a unanimous ruling yesterday barring health care patients from being able to sue HMOs for damages if the managed care companies refuse to cover treatment ordered by a doctor. The ruling overturns patient rights bills in Texas and nine other states.
The Financial Times has obtained a report from United Nations auditors that sharply criticizes how the US occupation authority in Iraq has spent more than $11 billion in Iraqi oil revenues. The report claims that the manner in which money is funneled from the oil accounts to reconstruction projects is “open to fraudulent acts.” There was also little accountability as to how money was spent. Some Iraqis have expressed concern that the CPA’s books will never be audited since after June 30 so-called handover when the CPA will cease to exist. One Iraqi political aide said “I lament the lack of transparency and lack of involvement by Iraqis.”
The Republican-controlled Senate rejected an effort by Democratic lawmakers yesterday to lift a ban on news organizations from photographing flag-covered coffins of U.S. troops killed in Iraq. The vote was 54 to 39. Senator John McCain of Arizona was one of two Republicans to vote for lifting the ban.
In Iraq, four U.S. soldiers were killed after apparently being shot in the head in Ramadi. Another GI died in Baghdad.
Meanwhile in Washington, a senior U.S. intelligence official is preparing to publish a book anonymously that charges that the U.S. is losing the war against Al Qaeda and that the invasion in Iraq helped Osama Bin Laden. In the book titled Imperial Hubris the official warns bin Laden may attack the US before the November election to help ensure the re-election of President George Bush.
This news from Russia: At least 46 people died in the Russian province of Ingushetia near Chechnya after 200 gunmen carried out coordinated raids. Among the dead were the province’s interior minister, 18 police officers and over 20 civilians. The BBC reported some Russians may have also been taken hostage.
Iran has announced it will prosecute eight British navy sailors who were detained yesterday for illegally sailing into an area controlled by Iran near the Iraqi border. Iran seized the men and three British naval craft. The British government said the men were training the Iraqi river patrol service but no Iraqis were on board at the time. Tension was already high between the two countries. Last week Britain helped draft a resolution criticizing Iran’s nuclear program.
In Saudi Arabia, Al Qaeda has appointed a former Saudi security officer named Saleh Mohamed Al-Oufi to head the organization in Saudi following the killing of Abdul Aziz al-Muqrin on Friday. A cousin of the new Al Qaeda leader was one of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers.
The Israeli government has banned a journalist from the Sunday Times of London from entering the country. The journalist, Peter Hounam, exposed the story of Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu in 1986. He is now working on a documentary about Vanunu who revealed that Israel had a secret nuclear weapons program. Vanunu was released last month after 18 years in jail.
On Monday United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned that there was an “alarming resurgence” of anti-Semitism around the world and called for U.N. bodies to address the problem. Annan’s comments came as part of the first U.N.-organized seminar dedicated to anti-Semitism. Annan said “When we seek justice for the Palestinians —- as we must—- let us firmly disavow anyone who tries to use that cause to incite hatred against Jews, in Israel or elsewhere.”
In campaign news, 48 Nobel Prize-winning scientists issued an open letter yesterday backing Democrat John Kerry while charging that President Bush has compromised the world’s future by shortchanging scientific research.
Lynne Stewart Trial Set to Open
Opening arguments are scheduled to begin today in the the U.S. government’s case against radical attorney Lynne Stewart. The government has accused her of illegally passing on messages of her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, at a press conference. Stewart and her lawyer Michael Tigar contend she was simply carrying out her duty as an attorney to represent her client. At a hearing on Friday, Tigar said, “Lawyers, particularly lawyers for those accused of terrorism, are also constitutionally-mandated independent voices. The Bush/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld administration does not like independent and courageous lawyers — not in the prisons of Iraq, not at Guantanamo, not in the military brig in Charleston … and not in New York.”