Wife of Marine Says Troops At Haditha Were Likely On Speed
However the wife of one of the staff sergeants involved in the Haditha killings has told Newsweek that there was a total breakdown in discipline including drug and alcohol abuse within the Marine unit. She said "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."
Rumsfeld: “In Conflicts Things That Shouldn't Happen, Do Happen"
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has defended the training and conduct of U.S. troops and said incidents such as the massacre of Iraqi civilians at Haditha are anomalies.
- Donald Rumsfeld: "We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner and we also know that in conflicts things that shouldn't happen, do happen."
Pentagon Makes It Official Policy to Ignore Geneva Conventions
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the Pentagon has decided to make it official policy to ignore a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans "humiliating and degrading treatment” of detainees. According to the paper, the Pentagon’s new Army Field Manual on interrogation marks a further and potentially permanent shift away from strict adherence to international human rights standards. For decades, it had been the official policy of the U.S. military to follow the minimum standards for treating all detainees as laid out in the Geneva Convention. But, in 2002, Bush suspended portions of the Geneva Convention for accused members of Al Qaeda and Taliban. Critics said the Pentagon’s latest decision would violate a broadly supported anti-torture measure advanced by Sen. John McCain to ban torture and cruel treatment. The Los Angeles Times reports the move to officially ignore parts of the Geneva Convention was supported by Vice President Dick Cheney's office and by the Pentagon's intelligence arm. Sources said Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington and Stephen Cambone, the Defense undersecretary for intelligence, claimed the Geneva Conventions restrict the United States' ability to question detainees.
Activists Declare UN Conference on AIDS A Failure
A major United Nations conference on AIDS called on the international community to raise as much as $23 billion a year in order to be able to ensure universal access to prevention, treatment and care by 2010. The summit's final declaration called on countries to commit to a wide range of prevention strategies, including abstinence, fidelity, condom use, and clean needles. While the United Nations declared the summit a success, a group of AIDS groups criticized the international body for not doing enough. The group Actionaid International said in a statement, "We are furious. Vulnerable groups such as intravenous drug users, sex workers and men who have sex with men have been made invisible in this document."
25 Years Ago Today: The Discovery of HIV
Meanwhile it was 25 years ago today, June 5th 1981, when a California doctor named Michael Gottlieb published a brief report about the first diagnosis of the HIV virus. Since then 25 million people have died of AIDS. An average of 8,000 continue to die each day.
- Dr. Michael Gottlieb: "In the first few years after I reported my cases of AIDS I felt like the people on the rooftops during Katrina waving, shouting, screaming, begging for help and it did not come. When it came eventually it came with all these strings attached. You must have abstinence instead of condoms. You don't get enough medication to treat the people you need to treat who are indigent. Our government has had a colossal failure in responding to the AIDS epidemic."