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Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media

January 23, 2012 by legitgov

Most Syrians back President Assad, but you'd never know from western media --Assad's popularity, Arab League observers, US military involvement: all distorted in the west's propaganda war By Jonathan Steele 17 Jan 2012 Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favour of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious. Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation.

Radioactive iodine in rainwater: Public was in the dark

January 23, 2012 by legitgov

Radioactive iodine in rainwater: Public was in the dark 14 Jan 2012 After the Fukushima nuclear accident, Canadian health officials assured a nervous public that virtually no radioactive fallout had drifted to Canada. But last March, a Health Canada monitoring station in Calgary detected an average of 8.18 becquerels per litre of radioactive iodine (an isotope released by the nuclear accident) in rainwater, the data show. The level easily exceeded the Canadian guideline of six becquerels of iodine per litre for drinking water, acknowledged Eric Pellerin, chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division. Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time.

US rights group says Iraq becoming 'police state'

January 23, 2012 by legitgov

Mission accomplished! US rights group says Iraq becoming 'police state' 21 Jan 2012 An international human rights group says Iraq's [US-installed] Shiite-led government has cracked down harshly on dissent during the past year of Arab Spring uprisings, turning the country into a "budding police state" as autocratic regimes crumbled elsewhere in the region. Human Rights Watch says in its World Report 2012, which covers 2011, that Iraq is slipping back into authoritarianism as security forces abuse protesters, harass journalists, torture detainees and intimidate activists.

New U.S. Commando Team Operating Near Iran

January 23, 2012 by legitgov

New U.S. Commando Team Operating Near Iran -- Officials would not identify missions of the task force, its leadership or its headquarters. 19 Jan 2012 Danger Room has confirmed with the U.S. Special Operations Command that a new elite commando team is operating in the region. The primary, day-to-day mission of the team, known as Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Cooperation Council, is to mentor military units belonging to the U.S.'s oil-rich Arab allies, who collectively are known as the Gulf Cooperation Council. Those Arab states consider Iran to be their primary foreign threat. The U.S. military has not previously acknowledged the existence of the team, known as JSOTF-GCC for short.

'US posts elite commandos near Iran'

January 23, 2012 by legitgov

'US posts elite commandos near Iran' 22 Jan 2012 The US-based Wired magazine says Washington has stationed a special team of highly trained commandos near Iran's border for possible sabotage operations. Quoting a US Army officer speaking on behalf of Special Forces, the report by Wired columnist, Spender Ackerman, said a team of "highly trained personnel that excel in uncertain environments" are operating near Iran. According to Ackerman, the team called Joint Special Operations Task Force-Gulf Coordinating Council (JSOTF-GCC) is now on the ground to instruct local troops in special operations.

Pilot with terror links deemed a security risk accuses airline of racism after losing his job

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Pilot with terror links deemed a security risk accuses airline of racism after losing his job --Airline pilot was arrested because of close links with alleged extremists --Told by his well-know British employers it was in 'national interest' he never flew an airliner again 22 Jan 2012 A British airline pilot arrested over an alleged terrorist plot is claiming racial and religious discrimination after losing his job. The pilot, a Muslim, was judged a security risk because of his close links to two alleged extremists suspected of 'planning to use an aircraft as part of a hostile or terrorist act'. Because of draconian reporting restrictions imposed last week by an employment tribunal, the man cannot be identified and neither can his employer.

Ga. judge orders President Obama to appear at hearing

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Ga. judge orders President Obama to appear at hearing 20 Jan 2012 A judge has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court in Atlanta for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn't a natural-born citizen and can't be president. A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama's name off the state's ballot in the March presidential primary. An Obama campaign aide says any attempt to involve the president personally will fail and such complaints around the country have no merit.

Yemen's Saleh leaves for U.S., opponents protest

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Yemen's Saleh leaves for U.S., opponents protest --Thousands of Yemenis protested Sunday against Saleh's immunity and demanded he be put on trial for the killing of hundreds of demonstrators 22 Jan 2012 Outgoing dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh apologized for "any shortcoming" in his 33-year rule before leaving Yemen for the United States Sunday, paving the way for a transfer of power after a year of unrest. The U.S. State Department confirmed it had given him a visa.

Giffords to Quit Congress a Year After Being Shot

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Giffords to Quit Congress a Year After Being Shot 22 Jan 2012 U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, shot in the head more than a year ago at a constituent event, said she will resign from Congress this week. Giffords, a Democrat, said today in a statement that she needs time to focus on her recovery from the injuries and leaving now "is best for Arizona." Giffords, 41, was among 19 people shot on Jan. 8, 2011, during a meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Six people died. She was elected in 2006 and would have stood for election to a fourth term in November.

US to keep 11 aircraft carriers to show sea power

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

US to keep 11 aircraft carriers to show sea power 21 Jan 2012 Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told sailors aboard the country's oldest aircraft carrier that the U.S. is committed to maintaining a fleet of 11 of the formidable warships despite budget pressures, in part to project sea power against Iran. Panetta also told the crowd of 1,700 gathered in the hangar bay of the USS Enterprise that the ship is heading to the Persian Gulf region and will steam through the Strait of Hormuz in a direct message to Tehran.

Atlanta Jewish Times owner says sorry for Obama 'hit' column

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Atlanta Jewish Times owner says sorry for Obama 'hit' column --Andrew Adler says he deeply regrets writing a column suggesting Mossad agents should consider 'a hit' on the president if he fails to support Israel 20 Jan 2012 The owner of a Jewish newspaper in Atlanta has said he deeply regrets writing a column suggesting that Israel consider "a hit" on Barack Obama if he stands in the way of the Jewish state defending itself. Andrew Adler told the Guardian he wrote the column in the weekly Atlanta Jewish Times "to get a reaction" from the paper's readers.

IED blast kills 4 in south Afghanistan

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

IED blast kills 4 in south Afghanistan 22 Jan 2012 Four civilians have been killed and two others injured by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan's Helmand province, which is a hotbed of Taliban militants. Mohammad Ismail Hotak, a senior provincial police official, said the incident took place in the Lashkari area of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah at around 10:30 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Saturday, when a civilian vehicle drove over a buried explosive device and set it off.

Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary, Upending G.O.P. Race

January 22, 2012 by legitgov

Gingrich Wins South Carolina Primary, Upending G.O.P. Race 22 Jan 2012 Surprising his rivals and upending the Republican race for the presidency, Newt Gingrich won the pivotal South Carolina primary Saturday, 10 days after a fourth-place finish in New Hampshire left the impression his candidacy was all but dead. Mr. Gingrich rode to victory by winning a plurality among a wide range of important Republican voting blocs, outperforming the rest of the four-person field among evangelical Christians and Tea Party supporters, men and women. Mr. Gingrich now leaves for Florida on Sunday in the best position to pose a singular insurgent threat to Mitt Romney, the favored candidate of the Republican establishment, in the weeks if not months to come.

Epidemic fears see bird flu doctors halt research

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Epidemic fears see bird flu doctors halt research 21 Jan 2012 Influenza experts have agreed to a two-month voluntary ban on research into a highly dangerous strain of bird-flu virus because of fears that it may escape from their laboratories to cause a global human epidemic. In a joint letter to the journals Science and Nature, 39 researchers from around the world emphasise that their laboratories are safe and secure but they nevertheless acknowledge that there is grave public concern about the accidental or deliberate release of an "airborne" strain of H5N1 avian influenza which could be transmitted easily between people.

'Press TV ban can't halt global awakening'

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

'Press TV ban can't halt global awakening' 21 Jan 2012 The CEO of the English-language broadcaster Press TV says Britain's ban on the Iran-based news network's office in London is the "worst the decision at the worst time." On Friday, British media regulator Ofcom served Press TV's London office with an order to pay a 100,000-pound fine. The order came hours after Ofcom decided to revoke the broadcaster's license and to remove it from the Sky platform... In an interview with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) channel 2 late on Saturday, Press TV CEO Dr. Mohammad Sarafraz scoffed at the decision, saying it would not be able to halt the wave of awakening in Britain and across the world.

Ofcom fines Press TV after ban in UK

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Ofcom fines Press TV after ban in UK 21 Jan 2012 The British media regulator, Ofcom, has served Press TV's London office with an order to pay a 100,000 pound fine. The order comes after Ofcom decided on Friday to revoke the channel's broadcasting license and to remove it from the Sky platform under the pretext that the channel has breached its broadcasting code. In a note served to Press TV office on Thursday, January 19, SNR Denton, the legal firm representing Ofcom, warned Press TV to pay the fine no later than Wednesday, January 25.

Grenades thrown at Libya's NTC Benghazi office

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Grenades thrown at Libya's NTC Benghazi office 21 Jan 2012 Angry protesters stormed the offices of Libya's National Transitional Council in the eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday after besieging the building for hours, an NTC member told AFP. "The demonstrators attacked the building and turned NTC offices upside down," the official said on condition of anonymity. Witnesses said protesters, armed with stones and iron bars, stormed and ransacked the offices as they occupied them.

6 killed in Afghanistan were Hawaii-based Marines

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

6 killed in Afghanistan were Hawaii-based Marines 20 Jan 2012 All six Marines killed in the crash of a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan were based in Hawaii, a Hawaii congresswoman said Friday. The CH-53D helicopter crashed Thursday in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. Thursday's crash was the deadliest in Afghanistan since August, when 30 American troops died after a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country.

10 NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan in 24 Hours

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

10 NATO Troops Killed in Afghanistan in 24 Hours 20 Jan 2012 An Afghan soldier shot and killed four French troops Friday in eastern Afghanistan and a helicopter crash killed six more NATO servicemembers in the south, officials said, marking a particularly deadly 24 hours for coalition forces. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that France is suspending its training programs for Afghan troops after the killings, which he announced in a speech after the U.S.-led coalition said an Afghan soldier shot and killed four NATO troops.

Nato accused of war crimes in Libya

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Nato accused of war crimes in Libya --New report criticises Western forces for bombing civilian targets in Sirte during conflict 19 Jan 2012 An independent report published by Middle Eastern human rights groups says there is evidence that war crimes and human rights violations were committed by all the participants – Nato, rebel forces and those loyal to Colonel Gaddafi – in last year's Libyan uprising US-backed coup. The report, published today by the Arab Organisation for Human Rights together and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights with the International Legal Assistance Consortium, follows extensive fact-finding work carried out by law and war crimes experts. After interviews with eye-witnesses and victims of attacks, and after visiting areas targeted by Nato, the Independent Civil Society Mission to Libya report highlights the issue of Nato classifying some civilian sites as military targets during its operations.

US deploys 12,000 troops in Libya

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

US deploys 12,000 troops in Libya 21 Jan 2012 The United States has sent some 12,000 soldiers to Libya, in the first phase of deployments to the oil-rich North African nation. According to Asharq Alawsat, the troops landed in the eastern oil port city of Brega. Although the deployment is said to be aimed at generating stability and security in the region, the troops are expected to take control of the country's key oil fields and strategic ports. Brega, the site of an important oil refinery, serves as a major export hub for Libyan oil.

Afghan soldier who killed French troops was our recruit, Taliban say

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Afghan soldier who killed French troops was our recruit, Taliban say --Taliban claim gunman who shot dead four French soldiers was an infiltrator working for them 21 Jan 2012 The Taliban claim the Afghan soldier who shot dead four French soldiers at a base east of Kabul, prompting France to threaten to withdraw early from the country, was one of their recruits. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the gunman was an infiltrator working for the Taliban, also known as The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has recruited people in important positions," he said. "Some of them have already accomplished their missions."

10 Sites Skewered by Anonymous, Including FBI, DOJ, U.S. Copyright Office

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

10 Sites Skewered by Anonymous, Including FBI, DOJ, U.S. Copyright Office 20 Jan 2012 According to Anonymous, 10 well-known governmental and corporate sites with ties to the entertainment industry were assaulted and knocked offline in retaliation for the FBI shutting down Megaupload.com, one of the world's largest file-sharing sites. Dubbing its DDoS spree "OpMegaupload," Anonymous claims it took down usdoj.gov and justice.gov (the U.S. Department of Justice), universalmusic.com (Universal Music Group), RIAA.org (the Recording Industry Association of America), MPAA.org (the Motion Picture Association of America), copyright.gov (the U.S. Copyright Office), hadopi.fr (France's copyright-enforcement agency), wmg.com (Warner Music Group), bmi.com (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and fbi.gov (the Federal Bureau of Investigation). The DOJ's website was first to fall, about an hour after the Justice Department announced its indictment of Megaupload.com. [<g>]

N.C. air transport company Aero has role in extraordinary rendition, report says

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

N.C. air transport company Aero has role in extraordinary rendition, report says 19 Jan 2012 With fresh ammunition from a University of North Carolina law school report, activists renewed their call Thursday for state officials to take legal action against Aero Contractors Ltd. For years the Johnston County, N.C., air transport company, which has links to the CIA, has been accused of being a taxi service for paramilitary teams that pick up terrorism suspects in one country and fly them to another where it's easier to interrogate and, perhaps, torture them. The process is known as extraordinary rendition.

U.N. asked to investigate U.S. efforts to squelch Spain torture probe

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

U.N. asked to investigate U.S. efforts to squelch Spain torture probe 19 Jan 2012 Two legal rights groups on Thursday asked the United Nations to investigate allegations that Spanish and U.S. officials collaborated to quash criminal probes into whether the Bush administration authorized illegal killings and torture of terrorism suspects. The request, made to the U.N.'s special rapporteur for judicial independence, accused the United States of interfering with Spain's justice system in three different criminal cases. The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights asked that the U.N. demand that both governments refrain from meddling in court cases.

Millions were in germ war tests

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Millions were in germ war tests --Much of Britain was exposed to bacteria sprayed in secret trials 21 Apr 2002 The Ministry of Defence turned large parts of the country into a giant laboratory to conduct a series of secret germ warfare tests on the public. A government report just released provides for the first time a comprehensive official history of Britain's biological weapons trials between 1940 and 1979. Many of these tests involved releasing potentially dangerous chemicals and micro-organisms over vast swaths of the population without the public being told. The report reveals that military personnel were briefed to tell any 'inquisitive inquirer' the trials were part of research projects into weather and air pollution. Asked whether such tests are still being carried out, she said: 'It is not our policy to discuss ongoing research.'

PETA Alleges US Soldiers Took Part in Sheep Beating

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

PETA Alleges US Soldiers Took Part in Sheep Beating 18 Jan 2012 Less than a week after Corps officials were forced to deal with an embarrassing video of Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters, Army officials are now fielding questions about a new online video that appears to show a group of soldiers [sociopaths] laughing and celebrating as a sheep is bludgeoned to death. Officials from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals complained to Army leadership about the video in late November, but hope the publicity from the latest video scandal will help renew questions about the animal attack.

Bioterror fears halt research on mutant bird flu

January 21, 2012 by legitgov

Bioterror fears halt research on mutant bird flu 20 Jan 2012 Scientists who created a more deadly strain of bird flu have temporarily stopped their research amid fears it could be used by bioterrorists. In a letter published in Science and Nature, the researchers call for an "international forum" to debate the risks and value of the studies. US authorities last month asked the authors of the research to redact key details in forthcoming publications. A government advisory panel suggested the data could be used by terrorists. [In psychology, we call that projection.]

Marine's Iraq killings trial resumes in California

January 20, 2012 by legitgov

Marine's Iraq killings trial resumes in California 20 Jan 2012 A major war crimes trial resumed Friday with the prosecution showing outtakes of a 2007 "60 Minutes" interview in which a Marine squad leader charged with killing unarmed Iraqis says he was trained to "positively identify your target before you shoot to kill." Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, is the last defendant in the biggest criminal case to emerge from the Iraq war. He was charged with nine counts of voluntary manslaughter after his squad killed 24 unarmed Iraqis - including women and children - during a series of raids on homes after a roadside bomb killed a Marine and wounded two others.

Anonymous claims responsibility for attacks on U.S. government and recording industry websites

January 20, 2012 by legitgov

Video: Anonymous claims responsibility for attacks on U.S. government and recording industry websites 20 Jan 2012 Hacktivist collective Anonymous has launched a series of attacks on U.S. government and recording industry websites following the takedown of file sharing website MegaUpload. In the past year, hacker group Anonymous has launched attacks on companies perceived to be enemies of the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.

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