As the UN Climate Change Conference continues in Bali, a new study by the World Wide Fund For Nature said the impact of climate change plus deforestation could wipe out or severely damage nearly 60 percent of the Amazon forest by 2030. The group says this would make it impossible to keep global temperatures from reaching catastrophic levels.
Israeli Official Cancels UK Trip Fearing War Crimes Arrest
An Israeli government minister has cancelled a trip to Britain after he was warned that he risked arrest on war crimes charges. The Guardian newspaper reports Avi Dichter was scheduled to speak next month at a conference on security at King’s College London Dichter is Israel’s public security minister and a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency. Dichter was the head of Shin Bet in July 2002 when Israel bombed a house in Gaza that killed Hamas military commander Salah Shehadeh, his bodyguard and 13 civilians, including children. The strike drew strong international criticism, including from then UN secretary general Kofi Annan, who warned Israel to comply with international law.
Iraq’s Oil Ministry Prepares to Sign Oil Contracts
UPI is reporting Iraq’s Oil Ministry is preparing to sign deals for the country’s largest oil fields even though the Iraqi government has failed to pass an Iraq oil law. BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and other oil companies are all attempting to win contracts in Iraq. Executives from BP and Shell are expected to be meeting soon with Iraq’s Oil Minister. Under Iraqi law, the Oil Ministry can sign service contract deals on its own. But any production-sharing contracts would need parliamentary approval.
CIA Admits to Destroying Tapes of Two Interrogations
The CIA has admitted it destroyed at least two tapes documenting the interrogations of two prisoners held at a secret CIA prison. The American Civil Liberties Union accused the CIA of deliberately destroying evidence that could have been used to hold CIA agents accountable for the torture of prisoners. One of the tapes is believed to have shown CIA agents waterboarding the Al Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah. C.I.A. Director Michael Hayden said the tapes were destroyed because they posed a “serious security risk.” He said that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials and their families to "retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.” Human rights groups say the videotapes could have led to criminal prosecution of the CIA agents involved for torture and abuse. The CIA had previously refused to provide the recordings to members of the Sept. 11 Commission or a federal judge in the Zacarias Moussaoui case. The former general counsel for the 9/11 commission, Daniel Marcus, said the destruction of the tapes could amount to obstruction to withhold evidence being sought in a criminal or fact-finding investigation.