"Iraq Gov’t Moves To Cover Up Reports of Civilian Deaths
Meanwhile, the Washington Post is reporting the Iraqi government has ordered its Health Ministry to stop disclosing figures on civilian deaths. A confidential memo from the top UN official in Iraq says the order threatens to disrupt international efforts to gain an accurate measure of the scale of violence in Iraq. The move comes on the heels of a new study last week that said an estimated 650,000 people have died since the US-led invasion three years ago."
"Hezbollah Accused of Using Cluster Munitions
In other news, Hezbollah is being accused of using cluster munitions during Israel’s recent invasion of Lebanon. Human Rights Watch says Hezbollah’s cluster strikes caused at least one death and twelve injuries in Israeli towns. Israel has already been accused of dropping more than one million cluster bombs on Lebanon, most within the final days of its invasion. This is Human Rights Watch Executive Director Stephen Goose.Stephen Goose: "We think that both Israel and Hezbollah likely violated international humanitarian law with their use of cluster munitions. In fact, on both sides it appears there was deliberate targeting of civilian areas. That's a violation whether you're using a cluster munition or not, but the danger to civilians is enhanced when you use a cluster munition because of the long-term dange"
"Bush Says He Will Ignore Parts of New Defense Bill* amy:
Here in the United States, the Bush administration has indicated it may ignore a Congressional request to include the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in next year’s budget for defense spending. According to Defense News, that’s one of two dozen provisions President Bush says he might not abide by in a signing statement attached to this week’s Defense Authorization Act. Funding for the wars have come through emergency supplementals or “bridge funding” that critics say are more difficult to scrutinize. The latest defense budget signing statement is one of a record number issued during the President’s administration. Bush also signed off on the possibility of ignoring requirements to provide a response plan for dealing with unexploded munitions and studying the accuracy of current methods to assess the safety of the US nuclear stockpile."
"Rep. Jerry Lewis Fires 60 Government Investigatorssaturday night massacre
And finally, Congressional Quarterly is reporting embattled Republican Congressmember Jerry Lewis of California has fired sixty investigators who took part in probes of government fraud and corruption. Lewis is chair of House Appropriations, one of the most powerful committees in Congress. He’s been under investigation for his ties to a lobbyist linked to jailed former Congressmember Randy "Duke" Cunningham and for how he helped oversee an annual $900 billion dollars in Congressional spending. A former FBI agent says Lewis’ firings have stalled dozens of ongoing investigations of waste and abuse."