A camera that can see into the future?
The private military firm Blackwater Worldwide is facing new allegations of unlawful activity in Iraq, this time for dropping a heavily-restricted riot-control gas on a crowded Baghdad checkpoint in May 2005. According to the New York Times, the release of the CS gas by a Blackwater helicopter and armored vehicle temporarily blinded drivers, pedestrians and at least ten American soldiers. Blackwater is already under scrutiny for a mass shooting in Baghdad that killed seventeen Iraqis last September. Military witnesses say Blackwater personnel appeared to release the gas as a way to clear a traffic jam that was blocking their route. The gas is only authorized for use in dangerous situations. Its effects include burning and watering eyes, skin irritation, coughing and breathing difficulties, nausea and vomiting. Blackwater says it reported the incident to the U.S. Embassy and that the case was investigated. But U.S. officials could not confirm that an investigation occurred.
In Israel and the Occupied Territories, President Bush is in the West Bank today for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday, the first of his three-day trip. Speaking alongside Olmert in Jerusalem, Bush said he will push Israel to remove scattered settlement outposts but reiterated his endorsement of Israel’s plan to retain its large West Bank settlement blocs.
President Bush: “He understands he has an obligation to protect Israel. He also understands that he’s got to be circumspect–reasonable about how he does it so that innocent people don’t suffer. He just gave you the answer on the settlements. In terms of outposts, yeah, they ought to go. Look, I mean, we’ve been talking about it for four years. The agreement was–get rid of outposts, illegal outposts and they ought to go.”
Palestinian negotiators have called the settlement blocs the main obstacle to peace.
Newly declassified documents have provided more evidence the Johnson administration faked the Gulf of Tonkin incident to escalate the Vietnam War. The alleged 1964 attack on U.S. warships by North Vietnamese was used as a pretext to increase bombing and troop deployments in Vietnam. But a report from the National Security Agency concludes: “no attack happened that night.”
Addicts come in many guises, but the most pernicious are substance-abuse abusers — those reckless, incorrigible souls who cannot stop bingeing on the weaknesses of the rich and semi-famous.
The Spears family at long last rallied this week to stage an intervention, hiring a specialist to confront the talk-show psychologist Dr. Phil McGraw after he visited Britney Spears in the hospital and began preparing a special about her meltdown. He also spoke to “Entertainment Tonight” about Ms. Spears’s case.
“What’s wrong with Dr. Phil’s statement is that he made a statement,” is how Lou Taylor, a Spears family spokeswoman, put it on “Today.”
Dr. Phil backed down and canceled the special, but he still appears to be in denial about his problem, insisting on his Web site (drphil.com) that Ms. Spears’s condition was “too intense” for him to proceed with the program.