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U.S. Values Iraqi Life At $2,500

U.S. Values Iraqi Life At $2,500
Meanwhile a new government report has raised questions over a U.S. military program to offer financial payments to Iraqis affected by the war. The report found that the military offers a maximum of $2,500 to families of Iraqis civilians killed as a result of U.S. forces. The U.S. offers the same amount of money to Iraqis if their car is destroyed because of U.S. actions.

Iraq Ranked Second Most Unstable Nation In World
A new survey by Foreign Policy Magazine has determined Iraq is the second most unstable country in the world, behind Sudan. Afghanistan was ranked eighth in the annual Failed States Index.

Hundreds of Thousands of White House Emails Destroyed
House investigators have learned that the Bush administration has routinely violated federal laws by using private email accounts for official business. At least 88 White House officials have Republican National Committee email accounts and House investigators say hundreds of thousands of these emails may have been destroyed. President Bush's top adviser Karl Rove sent or received 140,000 emails on his RNC account. According to House investigators, the RNC has preserved only 130 e-mails sent to Rove during Bush's first term and no e-mails sent by Rove prior to November 2003, including the period in the lead up to the Iraq war. Congressman Henry Waxman accused the Bush administration of completely disregarding the Presidential Records Act.

Scrutiny Increases Over Bush's Use of Signing Statements
A new government study has revealed that federal officials have disobeyed several new laws that President Bush challenged by issuing signing statements. According to the Boston Globe, the report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers. President Bush has used signing statements to challenge more than 1,100 sections of bills -- more than all previous presidents combined. Virginia Sloan, of the Constitution Project, condemned the president's use of signing statements. Sloan said: "This report should put to rest any doubts as to the real impact of signing statements. The Constitution does not bestow upon the president the power to simply ignore portions of laws he doesn't like." The Congressional study did not cover any of President Bush's most controversial claims such as his assertion that he can set aside a torture ban and new oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act because he is the commander in chief.

Court: Gov't Needs Warrant to Search Emails
Civil liberties advocates are hailing a new federal appeals court ruling that determined that the government can not secretly search emails without a warrant. The appeals court said protecting emails is "as important to Fourth Amendment principles today as protecting telephone conversations has been in past." The government has contended that e-mails stored with service providers could be seized without warrants.

Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims Argue Case In NYC Court
Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange appeared in a New York courtroom on Monday to argue that U.S. chemical companies should be held accountable for manufacturing the toxin. One of the plaintiffs, Nguyen Van Quy, said he has suffered from cancer and two of his children had birth defects.

  • Nguyen Van Quy: "I am here as a living evidence to tell the people in the court that dioxin really has a negative impact on human beings as well as the environment."

U.S. warplanes dumped about 18 million gallons of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. Constantine Kokkoris is one of the attorneys representing the Vietnamese plaintiffs.

  • Constantine Kokkoris: "It poisoned an entire country. Even though the effect of that poison was latent, it took a long time to manifest in some cases, it's still poisoning nonetheless. It's basically like dropping an atom bomb during a war and then having people affected by radiation for the next 30 years. That's illegal under international law and we hope that they're going to see that point."

The Vietnamese government says more than three million people have been disabled by Agent Orange. But the United States maintains there is no scientifically proven link between the wartime spraying and the disabilities. Attorney Jonathan Moore disputed the claims of the U.S. government.

  • Jonathan Moore: "Well, we spent three and a half hours listening to issues about agent orange and fully vetted our belief that what these companies did during the war was a violation of international law because they used poison and because it was unnecessary and unjustified under any standard. Hopefully, the court will agree with this and let us go forward."
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