More than 90,000 secret military records of the US war in Afghanistan were published online Sunday providing new evidence that Americans have been misled for years about the war in Afghanistan. The White House quickly lashed out at the release of the documents. National Security Adviser James Jones said, “The United States strongly condemns the disclosure…which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk and threaten our national security.” The documents were leaked by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and first published by the New York Times, The Guardian in London and Der Spiegel in Germany.
The BBC reports as many as forty-five Afghan civilians died in a NATO air strike in Helmand province on Friday. Witnesses told the BBC the attack occurred in daylight as dozens took shelter from fighting.
The US military has launched a major hunt for two Navy sailors captured by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff: “There is a tremendous amount of effort going on to find them, to search. And beyond that, I wouldn’t — I can’t discuss any additional details at this point in time.”
The Pentagon has not released the names of the soldiers, but photos of the men have been released. The Taliban has said one of the men died in a firefight, the other is being held hostage.
In news from Iraq, The Independent of London reports a new medical study has found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004. There has been a four-fold increase in all cancers and a twelve-fold increase in cancer in children under the age of fourteen. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighboring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait. The report says that the types of cancer are “similar to that in the Hiroshima survivors who were exposed to ionizing radiation from the bomb and uranium in the fallout.”
In other news from Iraq, at least four people have died after a suicide car bombing outside the Baghdad bureau of Al Arabiya television channel. The bomb destroyed the TV station’s office.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden said Sunday the chances the US will attack Iran are increasing. Hayden made the comment in an interview on CNN.
Candy Crowley: “If it should, is there any alternative to taking out their facilities?”
Michael Hayden: “It seems inexorable, doesn’t it? We engage, they continue to move forward. We vote for sanctions, they continue to move forward. We try to deter, to dissuade, they continue to move forward. My personal view is that Iran, left to its own devices, will get itself to that step right below a nuclear weapon, that permanent breakout stage, so the needle isn’t quite in the red for the international community. And, frankly, that will be as destabilizing as their actually having a weapon.”
Michael Hayden’s comments come as a group of Republican lawmakers are pushing for passage of a resolution that explicitly supports the right of Israel to use military force against Iran. Forty-seven House Republicans have already signed on to the legislation.
In military news, Lt. Dan Choi has received an honorable discharge from the Army for publicly admitting he is gay. Choi has been one of the military’s most vocal critics of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Lt. Dan Choi: “I have no resentment. I have no regret to anybody in the military. This is clearly a failure of our government. We all know that America’s promises are not manifest yet, so long as gay or transgendered people are getting kicked out of their workplaces, fired for telling the truth or expressing who they are.”
On Saturday, at the Netroots Nation conference in Las Vegas, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to address Dan Choi’s discharge after he was handed Choi’s West Point ring and discharge papers by Joan McCarter on stage.
Joan McCarter: “This morning, Dan Choi gave me this to give to you. That’s his West Point ring. He says it doesn’t mean what it did mean to him anymore. And this is his discharge.”
Harry Reid agreed to keep Dan Choi’s ring until he passed a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Moments later, Choi joined Reid on stage and gave the Majority Leader a hug.
Sen. Harry Reid: “When we get it passed, you’ll take it back, right?”
Dan Choi: “I sure will, but I’m going to hold you accountable.”
Sen. Harry Reid: “OK, that’s good.”
The board of directors of BP is meeting tonight to discuss the future of CEO Tony Hayward. According to multiple press reports, Hayward will step down as CEO and be replaced by Robert Dudley, who is heading the company’s cleanup efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. But BP says no final decision has been made about Hayward.
In news from Cambodia, a UN-backed tribunal has sentenced a senior Khmer Rouge commander to thirty-five years in prison for committing crimes against humanity. During the trial, Kaing Guek Eav, who is known as Duch, admitted to overseeing the torture and the killing of more than 14,000 people. Some Cambodians have criticized the court process, saying Duch should have been sentenced to life in prison. He could be released from jail in as little as eleven years.
In Pennsylvania, two workers died on Friday when an oil storage tank at a natural gas well exploded. A fire at the well site continued to burn for ten hours. Local officials had to call for a team of firefighting experts to fly up from Texas to help extinguish the fire. The explosion occurred just hours after 1,000 Pennsylvania residents packed an Environmental Protection Agency meeting to express concern about the safety of natural gas drilling in the region.
A new report has found that people with mental disabilities, including US citizens, face a greater risk of erroneous deportation by immigration officials because courts do not ensure fair hearings for those not able to represent themselves. The report was released today by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Hundreds of peace activists gathered in Albany this weekend for the United National Peace Conference. Speakers include Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
Kathy Kelly: “We have to become many more than we are now, and one of the ways to do that will be at the grassroots and the nitty gritty, continuing to build and expand our communities dedicated to looking for ways to take actions commensurate to the crimes being committed. It requires our lives. It requires us to rearrange our priorities to make the number one priority in our everyday life becoming constant, persistent antiwar activists. What better purpose is there in life right now?” (Video from http://mediasanctuary.tv)
The legendary broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr has died at the age ninety-three.