“Iran has followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent letter to President Bush with explicit requests for direct talks on its nuclear program,” marking a “profound change” away from Iran’s long-held “taboo against contact with Washington.” In the U.S., “government experts have exerted mounting pressure on the Bush administration to reply to the letter,” without success.
Despite Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff’s assertion that the U.S. is “much more prepared as a nation than we have ever been to confront a major hurricane,” problems remain as hurricane season approaches. “Hundreds of thousands of displaced victims from last year’s hurricanes [are] still living in more than 100,000 trailers,” efforts to effectively track supplies are “uncoordinated,” and “FEMA’s hurricane operations plan is unfinished.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.), a longtime champion of free speech, may block free speech by its board. The group is weighing new standards that state “a director may publicly disagree with an A.C.L.U. policy position, but may not criticize the A.C.L.U. board or staff.” One former board member said of the proposal: “I can’t think of anything more contrary to the reason the A.C.L.U. exists.”
“Nobody is being tortured at Guantanamo Bay,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters yesterday, part of a “counter-attack against Amnesty International.” The group’s latest annual report found that U.S. policies are undermining human rights around the globe. Read more