News in Brief: Iranian Nuclear Scientist Claims Kidnapping by CIA, and More

Tuesday, 13 July 2010 11:29 By Yana Kunichoff, t r u t h o u t | News in Brief | name.

An Iranian nuclear scientist, who has been missing for over a year, surfaced at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington Tuesday, saying he had been abducted by the CIA. Shahram Amiri, who disappeared during a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia over a year ago, was quoted in the Iranian media as saying the US government had intended to return him to Iran to cover up the trail of his kidnapping during the pilgrimage. The Guardian UK reported that Iran has blamed Saudi Arabia for collaborating with the US to hand over Amiri. The United States government has never officially discussed the disappearance of Amiri, but did name him as "one of the sources" of new information on Iran's nuclear program.

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President Obama is expected to announce the new director of the Office of Management and Budget Tuesday, according to administration officials. The Washington Post reported that Jacob Lew, currently serving as deputy secretary of management and resources at the State Department, has been appointed to the post. Lew will not be new to the position – he served as OMB director from 1998 to 2001. He will replace Peter Orszag.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) said constitutional conservatives must take over Congress for the country to escape the "tyranny" imposed by the last 18 months of Democratic rule, reported The Colorado Independent. During her keynote speech at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver Friday night, Bachmann called for the privatization of Social Security for those under 55, the elimination of business and income tax, programs to cut government spending and closing American borders. During her speech, Bachmann miscalculated the rise in the national debt under Obama by $4.6 trillion. 

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Engineers will begin testing a new sealing cap on BP's gushing wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico, reported The Guardian UK, in an attempt to contain the oil spill ahead of the looming hurricane season. The cap was installed successfully using robots a mile below the surface of the sea, and tests on the well's internal pressure are expected to take between six and 48 hours to determine whether leaks remain or the flow has in fact been stopped. Engineers plan to drill two relief wells by the middle of next month as more permanent measures.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has issued a new moratorium on deepwater drilling and the Coast Guard has buckled under intense criticism and lifted its policy of media restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico. Previously, the Coast Guard ruled it was illegal for journalists and photographers to come with 65 feet of response vessels in the water or on the beach. Under the new rule, credentialed journalists will have unfettered access, but members of the general public are still subject to the 65-foot-rule, reported Democracy Now!. 

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An Israeli military probe into its deadly raid on the Gaza flotilla has justified the killing of nine people on board the ship. Eight Turks and one American citizen were killed when Israeli commandoes opened fire after raiding the ship, which was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza and carrying humanitarian aid. Israel admitted to "some professional mistakes," but no officers were singled out for disciplinary action, reported Democracy Now!. 

A Libyan aid ship headed for the blockaded Gaza Strip has rejected an Israeli demand to dock in neighboring Egypt instead, reported Reuters, which may set the course for a new confrontation over Israel's naval blockade. 

Yana Kunichoff

Yana Kunichoff is an assistant editor at Truthout.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 09:59