Headlines for May 12, 2006
Friday, May 12th, 2006http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/12/1353201
- Bush Admin. Stonewalls Questions on Latest NSA Revelations
- IAEA Head: Iran Dispute Can Be Resolved Diplomatically
- Chomsky Criticizes US Stance on Iran
- 4 US Troops Killed in Reported Accident
- Diego Garcia Islanders Win Legal Battle To Return
- EU Lawmakers In US For CIA Prisons, Rendition Investigation
- US Mulls Troop Deployment To Mexican Border
- Kentucky Governor Indicted For Conspiracy, Misconduct
- Bush’s Approval Rating Sinks to 29%
Bush Admin. Stonewalls Questions on Latest NSA Revelations
The Bush administration has responded to the latest in the domestic spy scandal with near silence. At the White House, President Bush declined to address Thursday’s report the National Security Agency was creating a database of phone call records with the help of three of the country’s largest telecom companies. The President said only that the spy program was lawful -- but did cite any constitutional or legal authority to back up his claim. At another press conference, CIA Director nominee Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA at the time the spy program was implemented, said he would not discuss any specifics. Hayden made the comments after he unexpectedly cancelled meetings with Senators to discuss his nomination. On Capitol Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Arlen Specter announced he would call officials from the three telecom companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- accused of helping the government spy on US citizens. Congressmember Maurice Hinchey repeated his calls for a full investigation.
- Maurice Hinchey: "We have a lot of difficulty upon denying that there have been renditions. They prefer to always use the same answer. We can not mention any specific case and when there is evidence in specific cases, the answer is 'We can not (comment) ... but we can explain the context.' The context is that there is no law in America to investigate and process this person, the suspect. So then what do we do? Do we free them?"
IAEA Head: Iran Dispute Can Be Resolved Diplomatically
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he’s confident the standoff over Iran’s nuclear activities can be resolved diplomatically. Mohamed ElBaradei spoke in Amsterdam Thursday.
- Mohamed ElBaradei: "I am very optimistic. I hope both sides will move away from the war of words, I hope the pitch will go down, I hope people will adopt a cool-headed approach, I hope people will make necessary compromises, and we need compromises from both sides, to ensure on the one hand that Iran has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, nobody questions that right, but at the same time, Iran owes it to the international community to make sure that its program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, so they have work to do with IAEA to clarify outstanding issues.”
Chomsky Criticizes US Stance on Iran
Meanwhile, on a visit to Lebanon, MIT professor Noam Chomsky was asked about the Bush administration’s row with Iran.
- Noam Chomsky: "The regional superpower Israel is threatening to attack [Iran], the U.S. is threatening to attack it. These threats alone are outright violations international law and of the U.N. charter. Iran is in difficulty. Iran has been trying for some years to negotiate settlement but the U.S. just refuses."
4 US Troops Killed in Reported Accident
In Iraq, four US soldiers were killed earlier today when their tank plunged into a canal in the town of Karmah. Their deaths bring to 12 the number of US service members to lose their lives in the past week.
Diego Garcia Islanders Win Legal Battle To Return
In the Chagos Archipelago of the Indian Ocean, natives of the island of Diego Garcia have won a long-term battle to return home. British forces expelled the islanders nearly 40 years ago to make way for a US military base. Recent attempts to return were blocked on the grounds the US needed the islands to carry out the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Some 2,000 US troops remain on Diego Garcia.
US Mulls Troop Deployment To Mexican Border
The Associated Press is reporting the Pentagon is examining ways to use the military to patrol the United States border with Mexico. Paul McHale, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland security, has asked aides to draw up plans for the deployment of military resources and troops, including the National Guard. The news comes on the heels of a meeting this week between White House political strategist Karl Rove and several Republican lawmakers where the issue was discussed. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill Thursday, lawmakers approved a measure that would allow limited deployments of military personnel to assist border officials.
Kentucky Governor Indicted For Conspiracy, Misconduct
In Kentucky, Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher was indicted Thursday on charges he illegally rewarded political supporters with state jobs. Fletcher was charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and violating laws against political discrimination.
Bush’s Approval Rating Sinks to 29%
And President Bush’s approval rating has hit another new low. According to a poll by Harris Interactive, just 29% of Americans believe the President is doing a good job. Another poll tracking views on the President and the outlook for the United States led the New York Times to conclude: “Americans have a bleaker view of the country’s direction than at any time in more than two decades.”