"U.S. Military Defends Deleting Journalists' Footage* amy:
The U.S. military is defending its decision to force two freelance journalists working in Afghanistan for the Associated Press to delete photos and video at the scene of a U.S. shooting last week. An Army spokesperson claimed that taking pictures could misrepresent what had happened in the incident. Col. Victor Petrenko said "When untrained people take photographs or video, there is a very real risk that the images or videography will capture visual details that are not as they originally were." The Associated Press disputed the assertions. AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said: "In democratic societies, legitimate journalists are allowed to work without having their equipment seized and their images deleted.""
Attorneys & Reporters Barred From Gitmo Hearings
At Guantanamo Bay, military hearings have begun for 14 men once held at secret CIA prisons. A panel of three military officers will decide whether the men should continue to be held as enemy combatants. Under the rules of the tribunal, the panel can base its decision on secret evidence that neither the captive nor the media is allowed to see. The detained men are not allowed to have attorneys during the hearings. Reporters have also been barred from the proceedings.
"Tony Blair and his government "exercised spin" in exaggerating the case for the war in Iraq, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said in an interview broadcast today.
Describing the conflict as "clearly illegal", Mr Blix, who led the UN search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq until June 2003, refused to specifically accuse the prime minister of open deceit.
Mr Blix said the US used UN security council resolutions as cover for a "clearly illegal" war.
Asked whether a similar situation could ensue with Iran, Mr Blix noted "similarities which are strong" but argued that a chastened US government would be more wary of heeding calls for another war."
"American military planners have begun plotting a fallback strategy for Iraq that includes a gradual withdrawal of forces and a renewed emphasis on training Iraqi fighters in case the current troop buildup fails or is derailed by Congress.* wapo:
Such a strategy, based in part on the U.S. experience in El Salvador in the 1980s, is still in the early planning stages and would be adjusted to fit the outcome of the current surge in troop levels"
"Despite the rising tempers, administration officials and GOP allies say there is no serious talk about resignations for Gonzales or Mueller. Bush said during a stop in Uruguay yesterday that the FBI problems "will be addressed as quickly as possible," and he praised Mueller for apologizing for the errors.
"He took responsibility, as he should," said Bush, who is in the midst of a six-day tour of Latin America. "I've got confidence in Director Mueller, as I do in the attorney general."
But several Washington lawyers and GOP strategists with close ties to the White House said last week that lawmakers and conservative lawyers are nervous that Gonzales may not be up to the job.
"This attorney general doesn't have anybody's confidence," said one GOP adviser to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so he could be candid. "It's the worst of Bush -- it's intense loyalty for all the wrong reasons. There will be other things that come up, and we don't have a guy in whom we can trust.""