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Nightmare in Libya: Thousands of Surface-to-Air Missiles Unaccounted For

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Nightmare in Libya: Thousands of Surface-to-Air Missiles Unaccounted For 27 Sep 2011 The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy sell Libya's huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses. Currently the U.S. State Department has one official on the ground in Libya, as well as five contractors who specialize in "explosive ordinance disposal", all working with the rebel Transitional National Council to find the looted missiles, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters.

Violent incidents up 39 percent in Afghanistan

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Violent incidents up 39 percent in Afghanistan 28 Sep 2011 The monthly average of armed clashes, roadside bombings and other violence in Afghanistan is running 39 percent ahead of last year's figure, U.N. reported Wednesday, with more complex suicide operations involving multiple bombers and gunmen. The statistics show that the intensity of the nearly decade-old war is growing, not abating, as the U.S. and other nations start to withdraw some forces with an eye toward pulling all combat troops out by the end of 2014.

Phone giants store callers' private data

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Phone giants store callers' private data --The sheet is a guide for law enforcement, which can request data from the carriers through legal channels. 29 Sep 2011 A document obtained by the ACLU shows for the first time how the four largest cellphone companies in the U.S. treat data about their subscribers' calls, text messages, Web surfing and approximate locations. The one-page document from the Justice Department's cybercrime division shows, for instance, that Verizon Wireless keeps, for a year, information about which cell towers subscriber phones connect to. That data can be used to determine where the phone has been, down to the neighborhood. AT&T has kept the same data continuously since July 2008.

3 US-led soldiers killed in Afghan war

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

3 US-led soldiers killed in Afghan war 29 Sep 2011 Three soldiers serving with the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have been killed in a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. The three soldiers died in an explosion in south Afghanistan on Thursday, the Associated Press cited a brief statement released by the Western military contingent.

US soldier killed in northern Iraq

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

US soldier killed in northern Iraq 29 Sep 2011 The US army says an American soldier has been killed in northern Iraq, marking the first such death in the country in more than two months. "A US service member was killed Thursday in northern Iraq," a US army statement said, without giving any further details, AFP reported.

Mandatory Flu Shots For Conn. Children's Medical Center Employees

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Mandatory Flu Shots For Conn. Children's Medical Center Employees 27 Sep 2011 Connecticut Children's Medical Center is making flu shots mandatory for all of its employees this season. Flu shots will be mandatory for the hospital's 2,200 employees. Employees who fail to be vaccinated without an approved waiver will be subject to termination. A number of health care facilities across the country have mandated flu shots for their workers without a successful legal challenge to the practice. [Workers should respond: We'll take your shot after you take ours.]

Not A Single Afghan Battalion Fights Without U.S. Help

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Not A Single Afghan Battalion Fights Without U.S. Help 26 Sep 2011 Ten years of war. Two years of an accelerated effort to train Afghans to take over that fight, at an annual cost of $6 billion. And not a single Afghan army battalion can operate without assistance from U.S. or allied units. That was the assessment made by the officer responsible for training those Afghan soldiers, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell. Out of approximately 180 Afghan National Army battalions, only two operate "independently." "Those two 'independent' battalions still require U.S. support for their maintenance, logistics and medical systems," Caldwell admitted when Pentagon reporters pressed him on Monday morning.

Earthquake rocks Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Earthquake rocks Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant 29 Sep 2011 A 5.6-magnitude earthquake shook an area of northeast Japan which includes the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant Thursday. There were no reports of damage to the facility, officials said. The moderate quake struck offshore near the coast of Fukushima at 7:05 pm (1005 GMT) with a "very shallow" focus, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. There were no fears of a tsunami following the tremor, the agency said.

Pentagon launches war court website

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Pentagon launches war court website 28 Sep 2011 The Pentagon on Wednesday morning went live with a new, slicker interactive military tribunals website - with no new information - ahead of a decision from a senior Defense Department official on whether to go forward with the first death penalty war crimes prosecution of the Obama administration. Defense sources said retired Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald was still deciding how to go forward in the case of Saudi Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, accused of masterminding the bombing of a Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen two decades ago. Nashiri’s trial is bound to put a spotlight on both the CIA's treatment of its captives and also on Navy security in October 2000 off Aden, Yemen, where the warship was on a refuelng stop when two suicide US bombers drove a bomb-laden skiff into the USS Cole.

D.C. agencies assemble and operate temporary morgue in city-wide disaster drill

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Heads up! D.C. agencies assemble and operate temporary morgue in city-wide disaster drill --District will continue to run exercises similar to Wednesday's event, including two planned drills in March and September 2012 28 Sep 2011 A fabricated hurricane scenario was the setting for a full-scale exercise performed by D.C.'s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Wednesday, allowing a wide swath of District agencies to practice their response to a massive city-wide emergency. On the grounds of RFK Stadium, members of the Metropolitan Police Department, D.C. Fire and EMS and the D.C. Department of Human Services were on hand to perform various drills in order to coordinate and execute emergency operations, gathering data to refine the city's procedures in the event of a real emergency.

Mass. man faces terrorism charges

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Mass. man faces terrorism charges --FBI alleges plan to fly explosives into Capitol, Pentagon 29 Sep 2011 (MA) An Ashland man who holds a physics degree from Northeastern University was charged yesterday with an 'Al Qaeda'-inspired plot to send a remote-controlled aircraft carrying explosives into the Pentagon and the US Capitol "to kill as many people as possible," according to a complaint filed in federal court. Rezwan Ferdaus, a US citizen whose only known previous crime was vandalism, told FBI agents working undercover as Al Qaeda members that he wanted to "change the world," according to the complaint.

Officer's Pepper-Spraying of Protesters Is Under Investigation

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Officer's Pepper-Spraying of Protesters Is Under Investigation 28 Sep 2011 The police and Manhattan prosecutors are separately examining a high-ranking officer's use of pepper spray on a number of female protesters at a demonstration on Saturday. Raymond W. Kelly, commissioner of the New York Police Department, said Wednesday that its Internal Affairs Bureau would look at the decision by the officer, Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, to use pepper spray, even as Mr. Kelly criticized the protesters for "tumultuous conduct." [!?!] Inspector Bologna was identified on Wednesday in another video spraying others in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration with pepper spray.

Federal worker says WikiLeaks link led to interrogation

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Federal worker says WikiLeaks link led to interrogation 28 Sep 2011 In December 2010, the White House warned federal workers not to read classified cables released by WikiLeaks. In September, an author and State Department employee says he learned the government takes that directive seriously. Peter Van Buren, the author of a book critical of nation-building in Iraq titled "We Meant Well," wrote in a Tuesday piece on TomDispatch.com that after posting an item that linked to a diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks he was "interrogated for the first time in [his] 23-year State Department career by State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security... and told [he] was under investigation for allegedly disclosing classified information."

India vs. Monsanto: seeds of discord

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

India vs. Monsanto: seeds of discord By Vikram Singh 21 Sep 2011 For the first time ever, a country - India - is accusing a multinational company of "bio-piracy". That means stealing indigenous plants, and then trying to develop genetically modified versions of them, without giving any compensation back to the local people or nation where the plant originally came from.

Second man charged for fake records at TVA nuclear plant

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Second man charged for fake records at TVA nuclear plant 27 Sep 2011 A second contractor employee at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant has been charged with falsifying electrical cable inspection records. Court records show John E. Delk, a crew supervisor for Williams Specialty Services of Tucker, Ga., was charged with the felony offense of knowingly and willfully certifying work that he knew had not been completed at the nation's only current nuclear reactor construction project. Another former employee of the same subcontractor, electrician Matthew Correll, in an agreement with prosecutors pleaded guilty in June to falsifying records at the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor project.

Turkish Paper Lists 140 Israeli Soldiers It Says Were in Flotilla Raid

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Turkish Paper Lists 140 Israeli Soldiers It Says Were in Flotilla Raid 27 Sep 2011 A Turkish newspaper published the names and photographs on Monday of more than 140 Israeli soldiers who the paper said took part in the raid on a Turkish flotilla to Gaza last year that ended with the death of nine passengers and created a diplomatic standoff between Turkey and Israel. The newspaper, Sabah, said the Turkish government began searching for the soldiers' identities after the Israeli authorities failed to cooperate in an investigation that prosecutors in Turkey said could lead to legal action.

CIA Provides List of 'Gruesome' Osama Bin Laden Death Photos

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

CIA Provides List of 'Gruesome' Osama Bin Laden Death Photos 28 Sep 2011 The CIA has 52 separate photos and videos of Osama bin Laden's body, the U.S. raid that 'killed him,' and his burial at sea, according to a Justice Department document filed earlier this week. A top CIA official argues that the government is "wholly exempt" from releasing the images, however, because publication might inspire terror attacks on U.S. targets. The image count came in response to a lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request on May 4. The Department of Justice responded with a declaration from John Bennett, director of the National Clandestine Service of the CIA, arguing that disclosure of the images is a security risk.

Massachusetts man charged in plot to blow up Pentagon

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Massachusetts man charged in plot to blow up Pentagon --On Wednesday undercover FBI agents delivered fake C4 explosives, grenades and AK-47s to storage unit terror suspect possessed 28 Sep 2011 Undercover FBI agents arrested a U.S. citizen Wednesday in connection with a plot to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using large, remote-controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, was also charged with attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas, the Justice Department announced in a news release. Ferdaus was arrested in Framingham, Mass.

Justice Dept. asks Supreme Court to review health-care law

September 29, 2011 by legitgov

Justice Dept. asks Supreme Court to review health-care law 28 Sep 2011 The Obama administration Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to settle the constitutional question over the 2010 health-care law this term, meaning that the decision will probably come next summer in the thick of the presidential campaign. The Justice Department asked the justices to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, which is the only appeals court to say Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. The law [aka insurance cartel giveaway] requires almost every American to have health insurance.

Guantanamo prepares for next military trial of terrorism suspect

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

Guantanamo prepares for next military trial of terrorism suspect 28 Sep 2011 The Pentagon formally moved closer Wednesday to its next military trial on the U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the suspected ringleader of the deadly bombing of the USS Cole [inside job]. The Saudi-born former millionaire Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri is charged with the 2000 bombing in the Yemeni port of Aden. The formal "referral of charges" by the Defense Department Military Commission sets in motion a chain of events that will lead to the appointment of a military officer as the trial judge in the case and a formal meeting of the judge, prosecutors and defense lawyers in coming weeks.

Palisades Nuclear Plant Is Venting Radioactive Steam

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

Palisades Nuclear Plant Is Venting Radioactive Steam 26 Sep 2011 Entergy's Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven on Lake Michigan is venting radioactive steam into the environment as part of an unplanned shutdown triggered by an electrical accident. This shutdown, which began Sunday evening, came just five days after the plant restarted from a shutdown that was caused by a leak in the plant's cooling system. "The steam that would normally go to the generators, that steam is now going into the environment... through the steam stack," said Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Prema Chandrithal. "This would have very low [?!?] levels of tritium."

Democrats agree to no additional disaster aid in US budget dispute

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

Democrats agree to no additional disaster aid in US budget dispute By Joseph Kishore 27 Sep 2011 The Democratic Party-controlled Senate passed a spending measure on Monday night that includes no additional emergency aid to victims of natural disasters. The move was a complete capitulation to Republican demands that additional spending be tied to cuts in other government programs. The Senate and the Republican-controlled House had been split over legislation that would have added $1 billion in funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the current fiscal year, which concludes at the end of the month.

F.B.I.'s 'Star Chamber' Terrorist Watch List: Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay On It

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

F.B.I.'s 'Star Chamber' Terrorist Watch List: Even Those Cleared of Crimes Can Stay On It ----Police officers and border agents are to treat suspects differently, based on which 'handling codes' are in the system. --The database has about 420,000 names, including about 8,000 Americans. 28 Sep 2011 The Federal Bureau of Investigation is permitted to include people on the government's terrorist watch list even if they have been acquitted of terrorism-related offenses or the charges are dropped, according to newly released documents. ...Officers are never to tell the suspects that they might be on the watch list, and they must immediately call the federal government for instructions. The F.B.I. procedures encourage agents to renominate suspects for the watch list even if they were already put on it by another agency -- meaning multiple agencies would have to be involved in any attempt to later remove that person. [Anonymous, publish the damned list! What are you waiting for?]

Border bill would expand Homeland Security powers

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

Border bill would expand Homeland Security powers --Bill to let DHS waive 36 federal environmental protection laws 27 Sep 2011 A controversial bill would give the Department of Homeland Security sweeping authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the U.S. border. The National Security and Federal Lands Protection [sic] Act would give the secretary of Homeland Security authority over federal lands within 100 miles of the U.S. international and maritime borders for "activities that assist in securing the border (including access to maintain and construct roads, construct a fence, use vehicles to patrol and set up monitoring equipment)." The measure also waives the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Park Service Organic Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the National Historic Preservation Act and the Clean Air Act.

State Department Employee Faces Firing for Posting WikiLeaks Link

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

State Department Employee Faces Firing for Posting WikiLeaks Link 27 Sep 2011 Peter Van Buren, who has worked for the department for 23 years and just published a book that is critical of U.S. reconstruction projects in Iraq, said this week that the State Department had launched an investigation against him earlier this month for disclosing classified information. His crime, he said, was a link he posted on August 25 in a blog post discussing the hypocrisy of recent U.S. actions against Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi. The link went to a 2009 cable about the sale of U.S. military spare parts to Qadaffi through a Portuguese middleman.

Surveys: Health insurance costs shifted to workers, even as premiums surge

September 28, 2011 by legitgov

Surveys: Health insurance costs shifted to workers, even as premiums surge 27 Sep 2011 Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance continued to escalate this year even as the share of workers getting less generous coverage reached a new high, according to survey data released Tuesday. In 2011, for the first time, half of workers at small firms with individual policies faced annual deductibles of $1,000 or more. In 2006, that figure was 16 percent. At large firms, the share has grown from 6 percent to 22 percent over the same five years. [Thanks for the public option, Obusha!]

Texas refineries may get back $135M

September 27, 2011 by legitgov

AP: Texas refineries may get back $135M 27 Sep 2011 Three commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Perry (R-Nutjob) may grant some of the nation's largest refineries a tax refund of more than $135 million -- money Texas's cash-strapped schools and other local governments have been counting on to help pay teachers and provide other public services. The property tax refund would mean more pain for some communities after a year in which state lawmakers grappled with a $27 billion shortfall and slashed spending on public schools by more than $4 billion. Nearly half the refund would be taken from public schools, and those in cities where the refineries are based would be hurt most.

'US spies were not mistreated'

September 27, 2011 by legitgov

'US spies were not mistreated' 27 Sep 2011 The lawyer of the two US citizens convicted of illegal entry into Iran and espionage, but released last week, says they never complained about any kind of mistreatment during their court sessions, Press TV reports. Attorney Masoud Shafiei told Press TV on Monday that Shane Michael Bauer and Joshua Felix Fattal and their companion, US citizen Sarah Shourd, who was released last year, never said they were mistreated while in custody. He said that if they were mistreated in prison they would have raised the issue during their court sessions or told him about it.

Iraq Completes Deal to Buy F-16s

September 27, 2011 by legitgov

Mission accomplished! Iraq Completes Deal to Buy F-16s 26 Sep 2011 Iraq has finalized a deal to buy advanced U.S. fighter jets, officials said. Iraq has yet to publicly announce completion of the deal to buy 18 F-16s, but officials in Washington said an initial payment of $1.5 billion has been received. The deal is considered sensitive in Iraq, and the Pentagon and State Department have declined to comment until Baghdad makes a formal announcement.

Family of Afghan journo killed by US military seeks asylum in Australia

September 27, 2011 by legitgov

Family of Afghan journo killed by US military seeks asylum in Australia 19 Sep 2011 (AM) TONY EASTLEY: The family of an Afghan journalist, killed in an attack near the main Australian base in Afghanistan, is seeking asylum in Australia. Omed Khpulwak was shot dead by US troops in July. His relatives have refused compensation from the US military, but are seeking sanctuary in Australia, after receiving anonymous [Blackwater?] threats... AHMAD JAWID KHPULWAK: I want from Australian Government, to please give us, to our family, the safety because Americans shoot us.

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