Report: Robert Gates Advocated for Bombing of Nicaragua in 1984
Newly declassified government documents reveal that President Bush's pick to become the new Secretary of Defense – Robert Gates - advocated for President Reagan to bomb Nicaragua in 1984 in an effort to topple the Sandinista government. At the time Gates was deputy director of the CIA. In a memo to CIA Director William Casey, Gates wrote that the United States should do everything in its power short of invasion to bring down the Sandinista government. Gates has also been closely linked to the Iran-Contra scandal and the secret arming of Saddam Hussein. Nomination hearings for Gates are scheduled to begin on December 5.
Former Russian Spy Dies From Radioactive Poisoning
In Britain, a former Russian spy named Alexander Litvinenko has died under mysterious circumstances. A highly toxic radioactive substance was found in his urine leading authorities to believe he was poisoned. In a statement written on his deathbed, Litvinenko wrote a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. It read: "You have succeeded in silencing one man, but the howl of protest from around the world will reverberate, Mr Putin, in your ears for the rest of your life." At the time of his death Litvinenko was investigating the death of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist and government critic who was shot at her Moscow apartment last month.
U.S. Stops Describing Americans as "Hungry"
In news from Washington, the Bush administration has stopped using the words "hunger" or "hungry" when describing the millions of Americans who can't afford to eat. Instead of suffering from hunger, the Agriculture Department now says these people are experiencing "very low food security." The USDA estimates that 12 percent of Americans or 35 million people could not put food on the table at least part of last year.
NYPD Proposes New Protest Rules
The New York police department has proposed new rules regulating public gatherings and protests. For the first time any group of 30 or more vehicles or bicycles would be required to obtain a police permit even if the group was obeying all traffic laws. The police proposal also would allow the arrest of any group of ten or more if any member of the group violated a traffic rule. The New York City Bar Association, New York Civil Liberties Union, United For Peace and Justice and other groups oppose the rule changes. The police department is holding a public hearing on the issue today.
Colorado Homeowner Fined For Christmas Wreath With Peace Signal
And in Colorado, a homeowners association is threatening to fine a resident for putting up a Christmas wreath with a peace sign on her house because it could be considered divisive. The owner of the wreath – Lisa Jensen – has vowed to keep the wreath up until after Christmas even though it will result in a fine of about one thousand dollars.