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A.M. News Roundup Friday June 8, 2007

Blue News Headlines from around the world.

CIA jails in Europe 'confirmed'

A Council of Europe investigator says he has evidence to prove the CIA ran secret jails in Poland and Romania to interrogate "war on terror" suspects.
Dick Marty, a Swiss senator, has been investigating CIA operations on behalf of the European human rights body.

In his new report, released on Friday, Mr Marty says secret CIA prisons "did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania". [...]

His report came as the first criminal trial over the CIA "extraordinary renditions" opened in Italy. Twenty-five CIA agents and a US Air Force colonel are on trial in their absence, accused of kidnapping an Egyptian terror suspect and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

Unnamed CIA sources quoted by Mr Marty said Poland was the "black site" where eight "high-value detainees (HVDs)" were interrogated, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001 - and Abu Zubaydah, a suspected top al-Qaeda operative. - link

Democratic Leaders on Capitol Hill Are Still Playing Iraq Just Right

Now that the dust has settled on the Congressional vote on the supplemental appropriations bill and on the ruckus that anti-war opponents of the bill kicked up, it's time to assess the political implications.

First, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill played the issue like a Stradivarius. They forced a vote on a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, putting Republicans on record supporting the status quo and President Bush, but allowed a subsequent vote to "fund the troops." That gave their own Members from swing districts the opportunity to demonstrate their support for the military.

From a purely political point of view, Democrats had their cake and ate it too. Yes, the war is unpopular, and opposing it is a no-brainer. But the one thing Democrats need to avoid is looking like themselves during the 1970s and 1980s -- weak and unwilling to support America's men and women in uniform. Yes, they've spent the past few years speaking the right words on national security and the armed forces, but if they had refused to pass a spending bill, they would have at the very least opened themselves to attack from the GOP.

So, in ignoring the demands of the party's left, Congressional leaders have kept their party right where they want it -- against the war but also against terrorists and for the troops. - link

Democrats face off over emissions bill

WASHINGTON -- An unusual rift has emerged between top congressional Democrats over a draft global warming bill that would prohibit California and other states from taking tougher action than Washington to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

On one side are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and a number of her California colleagues, fighting to preserve their state's landmark law to cut tailpipe emissions. Pelosi has said that action to curb global warming is one of her most important initiatives.

On the other side are Reps. John D. Dingell, a Democrat from auto-producing Michigan who has expressed support for the legislation, and Rick Boucher (D-Va.). Dingell is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will shape the bill, and Boucher is the chairman of a key subcommittee writing the bill. - link

Dawn massacre strikes police chief's house

Baghdad - Carloads of attackers descended on a police chief's house northeast of Baghdad at dawn on Friday, killing the official's wife, two brothers and 11 guards, and kidnapping three of his grown children, Diyala provincial police reported.

The attack, which came when the police chief was not at home, was one of the boldest and bloodiest in months of stepped-up violence around the city of Baqouba, where al-Qaeda in Iraq and affiliated groups have been fighting US and Iraqi forces and local insurgents who have turned against al-Qaeda.

Elsewhere in northern Iraq, two suicide bombers struck a Shi'a mosque and a nearby police station near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and more than 25 people were killed or wounded, police said. - link

Slave Passage Found at Washington House

The underground passageway is just steps from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. It was designed so [President George] Washington's guests would not see slaves as they slipped in and out of the main house.

"As you enter the heaven of liberty, you literally have to cross the hell of slavery," said Michael Coard, a Philadelphia attorney who leads a group that worked to have slavery recognized at the site. "That's the contrast, that's the contradiction, that's the hypocrisy. But that's also the truth." - link

China rejects U.S. capsules, raisins for bacteria

China said on Friday it had destroyed or returned nutritional supplement capsules and raisins imported from the United States after detecting a higher-than-normal amount of bacteria.

The move comes as China itself faces international criticism, especially in the United States, over a series of scandals that have plagued Chinese food, drugs and other products from poisoned cough syrup to tainted toothpaste and pet food. - link

Bush Iraq War Adviser Concerned About Iraq Government Capabilities

President Bush's nominee to be special adviser on Iraq and Afghanistan says he is concerned about the Iraqi government's capacity for political reconciliation. Lieutenant General Douglas Lute also told a Senate confirmation hearing that there have been mixed results so far from the U.S. troop surge in Iraq. VOA's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill. - link

Bush returns to G-8 summit meetings

311xInlineGallery.jpgU.S. President George W. Bush, left, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy chat during a break at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamn, Germany, in this photo made on Thursday June 7, 2007. Bush came down with a stomach ailment Friday June 8, 2007, at the Group of Eight summit in Germany and is resting in his room, although he did have a private meeting for an hour with French President Sarkozy. - link

Senate Abandons Immigration Bill

It was the second procedural test the measure faced and failed Thursday, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said it was time to move on, although he didn't shut the door entirely.

"I have every desire to complete this legislation and we all have to work, the president included, to figure out a way to get this bill passed," he said.

Democrats and Republicans traded charges over who was to blame for the bill's demise.

Reid said the headlines will read that the president failed because he couldn't win the support of conservative Republicans. Those conservatives said it the bill amounted to amnesty, because it would give legal status to the nation's estimated 12 million undocumented aliens.

Republicans charged it was simply that Democrats wouldn't allow them enough opportunities to amend the legislation. Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said given a little more time, the measure could still be approved. - link

Immigrant bill hurts Martinez in polls

A new poll shows that U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez's approval ratings with voters have plunged to an all-time low, apparently reflecting his support for a controversial immigration-reform bill.

Only 37 percent of those polled by Quinnipiac University approved of the way Martinez was handling his job, while 34 percent disapproved and the rest were undecided. That's down from a high of 48 percent approval -- and 22 percent disapproval -- in February, before the latest immigration bill was announced.[...]

"I didn't come here to take the easy way," Martinez said. - link

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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