Sen. John Kerry will pick North Carolina Senator John Edwards today to be his vice presidential running mate. Kerry and Edwards both ran against each other earlier this year for the party’s nomination. Edwards is a first-term Senator who worked as trial lawyer before seeking office. Kerry is expected to make the official announcement in an email to supporters. Later he will appear at a rally in Pittsburg. The New York Post however announced in a front-page exclusive today that Kerry had picked Congressman Richard Gephardt to be his running mate.
In Iraq, the U.S. killed up to 12 people in Fallujah on Monday when it dropped four 500 pound bombs and two 1,000 bombs against a target described by the U.S. as a Mujahideen safe house. It was the deadliest US attack since the so-called handover of power last week. Iraq’s selected Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said his government provided intelligence to the U.S. military for the strike.
In other news from Iraq three Marines died today in the province of Al-Anbar. A total of 10 soldiers have died in the region over the past week.
The US military censored major portions of Saddam Hussein’s hearing last week. The military ordered camera crews not to record the audio of the proceedings. They ordered stations not to broadcast images of Saddam being led into the courtroom in handcuffs. And the military edited out portions of the proceedings when it released the audio to news outlets. According to Robert Fisk of the London Independent, the US cut out Saddam saying “this is theatre—Bush is the real criminal.” Unedited audio of most of the proceedings made it out only because news crews pretended not to be recording under US orders. One U.S. television crew member said of the U.S. military officials “They were running the show. The Americans decided what the world could and could not see of this trial—and it was meant to be an Iraqi trial.”
A newly declassified Army study of the Iraq invasion confirms that the U.S. military stage-managed the fall of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad. According to the Army’s own report, a Marine colonel decided to topple the statue and an Army psyops worked to make the toppling of the statue appear to be a spontaneous undertaking by Iraqi civilians. This according to the Los Angeles Times. The psyops team used loudspeakers to encourage Iraqis to gather in Firdos Square and a Marine recovery vehicle was used to topple the statue with a chain.
5 million people became infected with AIDS last year according to a new report issued today by the United Nations. It is the highest single year count ever recorded. The UN is also reporting about 38 million worldwide are infected with HIV. Nine of out 10 people with the disease are in urgent need of treatment but are not getting it. UNAIDS Chief Peter Piot told the Associated Press “The virus is running faster than all of us.”
In an initial draft of its 2004 platform, the Democratic Party has condemned the Bush’s administration unilateral foreign policy approach but it has decided not to describe the war in Iraq as a mistake or to call for the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Half of the 60-page draft, which was released on Saturday, concerns national security. It charges the Bush administration has walked away from more than 100 years of American leadership in the world.”
In a shift from the party’s 2000 platform, the Democrats have dropped a reference to endorsing the Kyoto treaty on global warming. The platform also calls for the minimum wage to be raised from $5.15 an hour to $7 and for the roll back of tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent. In another shift from the Clinton/Gore years, the platform does not endorse the use of the death penalty.
On Israel, the platform explicitly endorses for the first time an independent Palestinian state but it also supports Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s controversial security measures.
Meanwhile The Boston Globe is reporting Sen. John Kerry has released a new policy paper on Israel in which he fully supports Israel’s construction of the 425-mile wall through the West Bank. Last year Kerry said the wall was a “barrier to peace,” but in the new policy paper Kerry writes “the security fence is a legitimate act of self defense.” The title of the paper is “Strengthening Israel’s Security and Bolstering the US-Israel Special Relationship.” In one part of the paper, Kerry concludes “Israel’s cause must be America’s cause.”
Attempts by the Democratic Party to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in Arizona have succeeded. On Friday the independent presidential candidate conceded he would not qualify for the Arizona ballot. The Democrats had sued in an attempt to invalidate Nader’s ballot petition.
In other campaign news, The Forward newspaper is reporting President Bush’s campaign has refused to withdraw an ad featuring Adolf Hitler. The ad juxtaposes pictures and audio of Hitler with images of Senator John Kerry, Vice President Al Gore, Rep. Richard Gephardt and Howard Dean.
In other news, Palestinian politician Azmi Bishara, who serves in the Israeli Knesset, has entered the third day of a hunger strike to protest the West Bank wall. Bishara said “I am doing this to tell the world about the serious damage and dreadful suffering the wall is causing for hundreds and thousands of people.”
Meanwhile in Nablus, four Palestinians and a 25-year-old Israeli army officer have died after Israeli marine commandos raided a nearby refugee camp. Among the dead were a Palestinian engineering professor Dr Khaled Salah and his 15-year-old son, Mohammed. Also killed were two senior leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
At the annual meeting of Caricom in Grenada, five Caribbean countries have called on the Carribbean community to officially recognize the new U.S.-backed Haitian government which took over after President Jean-Betrand Aristide was overthrown in a coup. Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson has opposed allowing Haiti to retake its seat in the 15-nation Caricom. Last month the Caribbean leaders voted to have the Organization of American States investigate the circumstances of Aristide’s ouster.
Lawyers from Legal Aid in New York have filed a lawsuit against prison officials at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after the lawyers learned the prison secretly videotaped at least 40 meetings between the lawyers and their clients. The detention center was largely used to hold Arab and Muslim immigrants detained after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The New York Times is reporting the U.S. orchestrated a secret prison swap last year involving five Saudis held at Guantanamo Bay. The deal saw Saudi Arabia release six British citizens who had confessed under torture to carrying out bombings in Saudi Arabia. In return the US released five Saudi detainees. The deal was initiated by Robert Jordan, the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia in attempt to satisfy calls from two of Washington’s strongest supporters of the Iraq invasion.
In Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper issued a front-page apology on Sunday for failing to adequately cover the civil rights movement four decades ago. The correction appeared two days after the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The paper wrote in part “It has come to the editor’s attention that the Herald-Leader neglected to cover the civil rights movement. We regret the omission.” The editor’s note accompanied a series of articles titled “Front-page news back-page coverage.”