The Pentagon has announced new regulations pertaining to detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in an attempt to keep the detainees out of U.S. courts. This comes a week after the Supreme Court ruled the detainees have a right to challenge their detention. The Pentagon announced yesterday it will soon hold hearings for each of the nearly 600 detainees at Guantanamo Bay and give detainees a chance to challenge their detention before a newly formed military tribunal called the Combative Status Review Tribunal. The detainees would not be allowed access to lawyers at the proceedings. The Center For Constitutional Rights, which brought the Guantanamo case to the Supreme Court, criticized the Pentagon’s announcement. Attorney Jeffrey Fogel said “Without access to a lawyer the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul would be meaningless.” Human Rights Watch also criticized the move. A representative said “While the Geneva Conventions start with the presumption of greatest protection for the combatant … here it is the reverse — they presume a detainee is an enemy combatant and expect him to disprove it.”
The former head of Enron Kenneth Lay was indicted yesterday on criminal charges in connection to the collapse of Enron in 2001. The charges will be made be public today. Lay is a close friend of President Bush and was a leading fundraiser for him. At one point he was considered for the Energy Secretary post. We’ll have more on this in a few minutes.
The New York Times is reporting a new Senate report on Iraq will be highly critical of the CIA’s prewar intelligence but will sidestep the question of how the Bush administration used the information to make the case for war. Democrats and Republicans reached a deal that it would likely wait until after the November elections to address the Bush’s administrations role. The Times reports this may help President Bush and his allies to blame the CIA for mistakes made. The Senate report will be released Friday morning, less than 24 hours after CIA holds a farewell tribute to George Tenet who is resigning. Tenet’s top deputy John McLaughlin will officially take over the agency on an interim basis beginning Sunday.
Meanwhile for the first time British Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted weapons of mass destruction may never be found in Iraq.
The total number of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan has now topped 1,000. 872 soldiers have died in Iraq and 129 have died in Afghanistan.
In Iraq, the home of the unelected Prime Minister Ayad Allawi came under mortar attack just hours after he was given the right to declare martial law. Four people were injured. Allawi was unharmed.
In Baghdad the new Iraqi government forces came under an intense attack yesterday by the Iraqi resistance and fought in what the New York Times described as “one of the biggest” firefights in the capital since the invasion. At least four Iraqis were killed. 30 more wounded. The fight didn’t end until the US sent in air support. One wounded Iraqi soldier said of the resistance “We could see them on the rooftop. We could see them on the balconies, throwing grenades and shooting. We fired back, and then it seemed like all the buildings started to attack us.” And in Samara, at least four US soldiers died today.
The Washington Post is reporting that the military almost shot down a plane carrying the governor of Kentucky to President Reagan’s funeral last month when the plane accidently entered a no-fly zone above the capital. According to the Post, the top general at the North American Aerospace Defense Command was on the telephone and prepared to order an F-16 fighter to shoot down the unidentified plane which had penetrated deep into the no-fly zone. Some officials said it was the closest the government has come to shooting down a civilian plane since the attacks on Sept. 11.
Israeli forces have killed at least seven Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. One of the Palestinians killed was identified as a Hamas commander. Others included members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.