USA

Twenty-three military intelligence personnel and three civilian contractors were cited as directly involved in detainee abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad in a Pentagon report released Wednesday. It recommended that those persons face criminal charges for acts that ranged from "inhumane to sadistic" and that reflected a "loss of moral values." The report also singled out five intelligence supervisors who could face further discplinary action and possible prosecution. The report came a day after an independent review panel appointed by Defense Secretary Rumsfield concluded that leadership failures reaching to the highest offices of the Pentagon were partly to blame for the scandal.

"We are not closing down. We will be safe," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) said Wednesday as he, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and other officials asssured the public that "remarkable" efforts have been made to keep the city safe during the four-day Republican National Convention, which begins in Madison Square Garden Monday. Meanwhile, protest organizers met with police to try to map out a route for an antiwar march through midtown Manhattan following a judge's refusal to grant permission for a Sunday Central Park rally.

In a bit of political theater, ex-US Sen. Max Cleland, a Vietnam War veteran and staunch supporter of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, tried but failed to hand-deliver a letter Wednesday to President Bush at the latter's Texas ranch. Cleland did, however, share the message, signed by nine current senators, which asked Bush to condemn an ad campaign by swift-boat veterans aimed at tarnishing Kerry's military record. Cleland would not accept a counter-letter offered by Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, another Vietnam veteran, who joined fellow Republicans in calling on Kerry not to criticize those who support Bush for reelection.

Using search warrants, the FBI seized computers, software, and equipment at residences and at the offices of an Internet service provider in Texas, New York, and Wisconsin as part of the first criminal copyright action taken against a "peer-to-peer" network, Attorney General Ashcroft said Wednesday. The warrants sought evidence against operators of five "hubs" of an underground network of about 7,000 users suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted movies, music, and games over the Internet.

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