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US military to charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion - official

March 26, 2015 by legitgov

US military to charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion - official | 25 March 2015 | The Army sergeant who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by the Taliban for five years will be court-martialed on charges of desertion and avoiding military service, a U.S. official said Wednesday. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will also be charged with misbehavior before the enemy, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the announcement on the record and spoke only on condition of anonymity...The U.S. military planned an announcement at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which is expected to include the location of the court-martial.

Pilot of doomed Flight 4U 9525 jet was 'locked out of cockpit before crash', black box recorder reveals

March 26, 2015 by legitgov

Pilot of doomed Flight 4U 9525 jet was 'locked out of cockpit before crash', black box recorder reveals | 25 March 2015 | One of the two pilots on board the ill-fated Germanwings plane was locked out of the cockpit minutes before the aircraft crashed into a remote region of the French Alps, it has been reported. Audio taken from the black box voice recorder that was salvaged from the wreckage of the Airbus A320 indicates the pilot left the cockpit and could not re-enter, according to the New York Times. The pilot is heard knocking lightly on the door of the cockpit before trying to 'smash the door down' when his colleague fails to answer, a senior military official told the newspaper. The revelation is the first insight into what took place on the aircraft in the moments before the plane plummetted into the mountainside, killing all 150 people on board.

5 Syrian chemical facilities to be destroyed by June - report

March 26, 2015 by legitgov

5 Syrian chemical facilities to be destroyed by June - report | 25 March 2015 | A new report says all five of Syria's underground production facilities for chemical weapons will be destroyed by June. The latest report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, also notes that work continues toward the destruction of seven aircraft hangars that were used as additional production facilities.

Netanyahu's Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents

March 26, 2015 by legitgov

Netanyahu's Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents | 25 March 2015 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans...Israel's claim is not only incredible on its face. It is also squarely contradicted by top secret NSA documents, which state that Israel targets the U.S. government for invasive electronic surveillance, and does so more aggressively and threateningly than almost any other country in the world. Indeed, so concerted and aggressive are Israeli efforts against the U.S. that some key U.S. Government documents -- including the top secret 2013 intelligence budget -- list Israel among the U.S.'s most threatening cyber-adversaries and as a "hostile" foreign intelligence service.

Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

March 26, 2015 by legitgov

Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France --'You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.' | 25 March 2015 |As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in. A senior military official involved in the investigation described "very smooth, very cool" conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Corporate Suits Against U.S. to Be Heard in Secret World Bank Tribunals

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Corporate Suits Against U.S. to Be Heard in Secret World Bank Tribunals | 25 March 2015 | An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment "expectations" and hurts their business, according to a classified document. The Trans-Pacific Partnership -- a cornerstone of Mr. Obama's remaining economic Wall Street agenda -- would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings -- federal, state or local -- before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

Bowe Bergdahl faces life in prison after being charged with desertion

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Bowe Bergdahl faces life in prison after being charged with desertion | 25 March 2015 | The longest-held US prisoner of war of the post-9/11 era will be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and faces a potential penalty of life in prison. An expected court martial proceeding for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl will initiate a dramatic fall from grace for a soldier whose release after five years in Taliban captivity was a top priority for Barack Obama. Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, confirmed to the Guardian that the army charged Bergdahl on Wednesday afternoon. A preliminary hearing in a military court is scheduled for 22 April in San Antonio, Fidell said.

Court to hear appeal on Obama's immigration actions

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Court to hear appeal on Obama's immigration actions | 24 March 2015 | A federal appeals court said Tuesday it will hear an expedited appeal of an earlier ruling against President Obama's executive actions on immigration. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will listen to oral argument April 17 in the administration's attempt to overturn a ruling last month by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen.

House effort would completely dismantle Patriot Act

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

House effort would completely dismantle Patriot Act | 24 March 2015 | A pair of House lawmakers wants to completely repeal the Patriot Act and other legal provisions to dramatically rein in American spying. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) on Tuesday unveiled their Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would overhaul American spying powers unlike any other effort to reform the National Security Agency. The bill would completely repeal the Patriot Act, the sweeping national security law passed in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, another spying law that the NSA has used to justify collecting vast swaths of people's communications through the Internet.

Boston Show Trial: The Opinion of an Attorney at Law

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Boston Show Trial: The Opinion of an Attorney at Law --A former law professor explains the backpacks of the accused were the wrong ones | 24 March 2015 | The Boston bombing has to be the most blatant hoax in recent American history, dwarfing 9/11, Wellstone and Sandy Hook by several orders of magnitude. How much more obvious could it be when we have video with police on bullhorns announcing, "This is a drill! This is a drill!" and The Boston Globe tweeting that a controlled demolition will be set off during the marathon "as part of bomb squad activities" and that it will be set off "in one minute in front of the library", which then proceeds to happen.

Mystery around Jeb Bush's 'unknown' private email account

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Mystery around Jeb Bush's 'unknown' private email account | 24 March 2015 | Jeb Bush used another, previously unreported email address [jeb@gencom.net] when he was governor of Florida, records show -- the newest wrinkle in an evolving debate over public officials' use of private email accounts. The disclosure follows revelations that Hillary Rodham Clinton used a private email address to conduct State Department business when she was secretary of state. Republican Bush and Democrat Clinton are two likely contenders in the 2016 race for the White House. Bush said through a spokeswoman that he was unaware of the account [LOL!], although records showed that people wrote to him there more than 400 times between 1999 and 2004.

Utah governor signs bill making firing squads the state's backup execution option

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Utah governor signs bill making firing squads the state's backup execution option | 23 March 2015 | More than a decade after Utah largely moved away from firing squads for executions, the state on Monday officially reversed course and made that the backup method of execution. Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert (R) signed a bill making firing squads the option if the state is unable to obtain the drugs needed for a lethal injection...Firing squads were never formally banned in Utah.

Oklahoma Senate panel approves nitrogen gas executions

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Oklahoma Senate panel approves nitrogen gas executions | 24 March 2015 | Legislation that authorizes the use of nitrogen gas to execute Oklahoma death row inmates has been approved by a state Senate committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8-0 Tuesday for the House-passed measure and sent it to the full Senate for a vote. Under the bill, lethal injection would remain the primary method of execution, but nitrogen gas would be an alternative if lethal injection is declared unconstitutional or if the drugs are unavailable.

9,800 troops to remain in Afghanistan through end of 2015 - White House

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

9,800 troops to remain in Afghanistan through end of 2015 - White House | 24 March 2015 | The White House said Tuesday the U.S. will keep its current complement of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through the end of 2015, instead of cutting the number by about half as originally planned. In a joint statement with Afghanistan issued during a day of meetings with [US-installed] Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the White House said the size of the U.S. troop presence for 2016 will be decided later this year.

France plane crash: Black box found, no indication of terrorism

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

France plane crash: Black box found, no indication of terrorism | 24 March 2015 | A Germanwings passenger jet carrying 150 people crashed Tuesday in a snowy, remote section of the French Alps, sounding like an avalanche as it scattered pulverized debris across the mountain. All aboard were feared dead, French officials said. The pilots sent out no distress call and had lost radio contact with its control center, France's aviation authority said, deepening the mystery over the A320's mid-flight crash after an 8-minute surprise steep descent as it flew from Barcelona to Düsseldorf.

Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S.

March 25, 2015 by legitgov

Israel Spied on Iran Nuclear Talks With U.S. --Israel's snooping upset White House because information was used to lobby GOP-controlled Congress to try to sink a deal | 23 March 2015 | Soon after the U.S. and other major powers entered negotiations last year to curtail Iran's nuclear program, senior White House officials learned Israel was spying on the closed-door talks. The spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against sabotage the emerging terms of the deal, current and former U.S. officials said. In addition to eavesdropping, Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings, informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe, the officials said.

White House insists Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories must end

March 24, 2015 by legitgov

White House insists Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories must end | 23 March 2015 | The White House issued a passionate call for eventual Palestinian statehood on Monday as it stepped up criticism of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, for appearing to question a two-state solution to Middle East peace. "An occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end," Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, told a conference of liberal activists in Washington. "Israel cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely," he added. Despite Netanyahu's efforts to distance himself from pre-election comments that appeared to rule out a Palestinian state, the US administration remains sceptical about his commitment to peace.

US House urges Obama to send arms to Ukraine

March 24, 2015 by legitgov

US House urges Obama to send arms to Ukraine | 24 March 2015 | The US House [of sociopaths] has passed a resolution calling on President Barack Obama to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, despite the fragile truce in the eastern part of the country. The non-binding resolution was approved by an overwhelming majority of 348-48...Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Germany and France to take action against Kiev's non-compliance with the Minsk peace agreement.

US promises billions to fund Afghan military through 2017

March 24, 2015 by legitgov

Insane in the membrane: US promises billions to fund Afghan military through 2017 | 23 March 2015 | Officials have confirmed the US will continue to spend about $4 billion a year to fund Afghanistan's military for the next two fiscal years. It is a sign of support for the government in Kabul, which Washington views as more cooperative than in the past. The pledge means continued US funding for Afghan security forces at the peak level of 352,000 troops through the end of fiscal year 2017, a financial commitment costing about $4 billion a year, news agencies quoted US officials following the day of talks with Afghan leadership at Camp David.

'Smart meters' called a major threat to health, national security

March 24, 2015 by legitgov

'Smart meters' called a major threat to health, national security | 12 March 2015 | Utilities around the country are installing millions of "smart meters," devices which use wireless technology to send information back to the companies about power usage by their customers. But there's a growing body of scientists deeply concerned about bathing the public in low-level, non-thermal radiation, and they say the smart meters pose the greatest danger of all...Jerry Flynn retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after a 26-year career, much of which was spent as a specialist in electronic warfare. "There's nothing more dangerous than a smart meter on your house," he told KRMG, and he's not the only one who thinks so.

Attendance at Ted Cruz's 2016 announcement was mandatory for Liberty University students

March 24, 2015 by legitgov

Attendance at Ted Cruz's 2016 announcement was mandatory for Liberty University students [OMG. Can you *imagine* the Washington media repercussions if a university forced students to listen to President Obama? Fox News [sic] -- and all the Operation Mockingbird nutjobs' (Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Cillizza, Susan Page, and ZioNazi Wolf Blitzer) heads would explode.] | 23 March 2015 | To casual viewers of Ted Cruz's 2016 campaign announcement, the youthful faces suggested the senator had tapped into a broad base of support amongst the newest generation of conservatives. The speech, which Cruz delivered to thousands of students at Liberty University, was broadcast live by at least two networks and streamed in real time on the web, marking the Republican's first official foray into the 2016 presidential campaign. The event, however, was no typical political rally, at which the most fervent supporters of the candidate are usually in attendance. The students, some of whom wore Rand Paul T-shirts, were required to be there, giving Cruz the appearance of a packed house for the first nationally broadcast campaign event of the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. top court rejects challenge to Wisconsin voter ID law

March 23, 2015 by legitgov

U.S. top court rejects challenge to Wisconsin voter ID law | 23 March 2015 | The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to Wisconsin's Republican-backed law requiring voters to present photo identification to cast a ballot, a measure Democrats contend is aimed at keeping their supporters from voting. The justices declined to hear an appeal filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which challenged the law. The ACLU said it then filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court to try to keep the law from taking effect immediately. Voter identification suppression laws have been passed in a number of Republican-governed states over Democratic objections.

Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Announce Presidential Bid for 2016

March 23, 2015 by legitgov

Ted Cruz Becomes First Major Candidate to Announce Presidential Bid for 2016 | 23 March 2015 | Senator Ted Cruz of Texas announced on Monday morning that he would run for president in 2016, becoming the first Republican candidate to declare himself officially in the race. Linking the determination of his immigrant father with the resolve of the founding fathers and his own faith in "the promise of America," Mr. Cruz spoke at length about his family and his faith as he laid out a case for his candidacy. Mr. Cruz, a first-term senator, is seen by Republicans and Democrats as a divisive figure in Washington, but as a truth-telling hero to many conservatives and evangelical Americans.

Chicago Police fighting to keep cellphone trackers secret

March 23, 2015 by legitgov

Chicago Police fighting to keep cellphone trackers secret | 22 March 2015 | The Chicago Police Department is fighting to keep a lid on how, when and where officers have used covert cellphone tracking systems -- with an outside law firm billing the city more than $120,000 to battle a lawsuit that seeks those secret details. Since 2005, the department has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on cell-site simulators manufactured by the Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Florida, records show. The devices capture cellphone signals; cops can use the technology, originally developed for the military, to locate cellphones.

Global warming-sceptic US senator given funds by BP political action committee

March 23, 2015 by legitgov

Global warming-sceptic US senator given funds by BP political action committee | 22 March 2015 |One of America's most powerful and outspoken opponents of climate change global warming regulation received election campaign contributions that can be traced back to senior BP staff, including chief executive Bob Dudley. Jim Inhofe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma who has tirelessly campaigned against calls for a carbon tax and challenges the overwhelming consensus on climate change global warming, received $10,000 (£6,700) from BP's Political Action Committee (PAC). The BP PAC is funded by contributions from senior US executives and company staffers who sent in contributions to the PAC totalling more than $1m between 2010 and 2014.

'Tanks? No thanks!': Czechs unhappy about US military convoy crossing country

March 23, 2015 by legitgov

'Tanks? No thanks!': Czechs unhappy about US military convoy crossing country | 22 March 2015 | Czech anti-war activists have launched the 'Tanks? No thanks!' campaign to protest the procession of US Army hardware through the Eastern European country. They say it has been turned into a "provocative victory parade" near the Russian border. The American military vehicles, which took part in NATO drills in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, plan to cross the territory of the Czech Republic between March 29 and April 1 on their way to a base in the German city of Vilseck.

Muon scans confirm complete reactor meltdown at Fukushima No. 1

March 22, 2015 by legitgov

Muon scans confirm complete reactor meltdown at Fukushima No. 1 | 20 March 2015 | The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has announced that its muon tomography scanning efforts at Fukushima have borne fruit, and confirmed that nuclear plant's Reactor #1 suffered a complete meltdown following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. What today's findings confirm is that nuclear fuel rods inside the reactor underwent complete meltdown. After first denying that a melt-through had occurred, TEPCO later changed its tune and said that it most likely had, at least at Reactor #1.

US must release photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners, federal judge rules

March 22, 2015 by legitgov

US must release photos of Abu Ghraib prisoners, federal judge rules | 21 March 2015 | The US must release photographs showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge has ruled in a long-running clash over letting the world see potentially disturbing images of how the military treated prisoners. US district judge Alvin Hellerstein's ruling Friday gives the government, which has fought the case for over a decade, two months to decide whether to appeal before the photos could be released...It's unclear how many more photographs may exist. The government has said it has 29 relevant pictures from at least seven different sites in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it's believed to have perhaps hundreds or thousands more, Hellerstein said in a ruling in August.

Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid Monday

March 22, 2015 by legitgov

Ted Cruz to announce presidential bid Monday | 21 March 2015 | Sen. Ted Cruz (R) plans to announce Monday that he will run for president of the United States, according to his senior advisers, accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington. Cruz, scheduled to speak Monday at a convocation ceremony at Liberty University in Virginia, will not form an exploratory committee but rather launch a presidential bid outright, said advisers with direct knowledge of his plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made yet.

US troops withdrawing from Yemen air base

March 22, 2015 by legitgov

US troops withdrawing from Yemen air base | 21 March 2015 | The United States is evacuating its remaining military personnel from Yemen because of the deteriorating security situation, US officials have confirmed. On Saturday, Yemeni officials said about 100 US troops were leaving an air base near a southern city that was stormed by al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] fighters on Friday. There has been mounting violence by rival armed groups in Yemen, including Houthi rebels, al-Qaeda and IS [thanks to the US].

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