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Snowden honored by U.S. whistleblowers in Moscow

Snowden honored by U.S. whistleblowers in Moscow 10 Oct 2013 On Thursday, four whistleblower advocates from the United States met with Edward Snowden to give him an award and his father arrived in Moscow for the first time since his son received asylum. The four activists, who said they met Snowden on Wednesday, gave him an award for truth-telling on behalf of Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, an organization of former national security officials. They ridiculed U.S. government assertions that Snowden has caused grave damage to national security. The Sam Adams award was announced in July but presented in person Wednesday.

Western-backed Syrian 'rebels' accused of killing hundreds of civilians

US tax dollars at work: Western-backed Syrian 'rebels' accused of killing hundreds of civilians 11 Oct 2013 Syrian 'rebels' killed at least 190 civilians and took more than 200 hostage during an offensive in Latakia province in August, Human Rights Watch said on Friday, in what it calls the first evidence of crimes against humanity by opposition forces. HRW said many of the dead had been executed by militant groups, some linked to al-Qaida [al-CIAduh], who overran army positions at dawn on 4 August and then moved into 10 villages nearby where members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect lived. In its first government-sanctioned trip into Syria during the two-and-a-half year conflict, New York-based HRW has documented a series of sectarian mass killings by Assad's foes during a broader campaign in which Western-backed rebels took part. In some cases, entire families were executed or gunned down as they fled, according to the HRW report You Can Still See Their Blood.

Tesoro oil spill: over 20,000 barrels seep into North Dakota wheat field

Tesoro oil spill: over 20,000 barrels seep into North Dakota wheat field 10 Oct 2013 More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro oil pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state health department said Thursday. State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered on 29 September by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles south of Tioga. "The farmer was harvesting his wheat and started smelling oil," Roberts said.

Republican Party's Rating Plummets to 'Record Low'

Republican Party's Rating Plummets to 'Record Low' 10 Oct 2013 There may be plenty of blame to go around for the nine-day government shutdown, but the Republican brand is taking the harder hit in public opinion. Just 28 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the Republican Party, down 10 percentage points from last month, according to a Gallup poll. The polling firm called it a "record low," noting that "this is the lowest favorable rating measured for either party since Gallup began asking this question in 1992."

Iraq Hangs 42 Convicted on Terrorism Charges

Iraq Hangs 42 Convicted on Terrorism Charges --Verdicts based on testimony obtained by torture, coercion 10 Oct 2013 Iraq has hanged 42 prisoners convicted of terrorism-related charges, including a woman, the Justice Ministry said Thursday, in Baghdad's latest use of capital punishment despite international appeals to have it abolished. With violence mounting since April, the government defends the death penalty as a way to face down insurgents bent to destabilize the country. More than 5,000 people have been killed over the past six months, including nearly 200 so far in October. Human rights groups have questioned trial procedures in Iraqi courts, alleging that some verdicts are based on testimony obtained by torture or forced statements against the accused. [Hopefully, a well-organized insurgency will rise up and overthrow the US-installed corporate dictatorship in Iraq -- and here, too. --LRP]

Obama Rejects Republican Proposal for Short-Term Debt Limit 'Plan'

Obama Rejects Republican Proposal for Short-Term Debt Limit 'Plan' 10 Oct 2013 President Obama on Thursday rejected a proposal from politically besieged House Republican leaders to extend the nation's borrowing authority for six weeks because it would not also reopen the government. Yet both parties saw it as the first break in Republicans' brinkmanship and a step toward a fiscal truce. Twenty Republicans, led by Speaker John A. Boehner, went to the White House at Mr. Obama's invitation [of course, lol] after a day of fine-tuning their offer to increase the Treasury Department's authority to borrow money to pay existing obligations through Nov. 22. In exchange, they sought the president's commitment to negotiate a deal for long-term deficit reduction and a tax overhaul slashing 'entitlements' and giving more tax breaks to corporations, billionaires and millionaires.

No. 2 Pentagon official to step down

No. 2 Pentagon official to step down --Carter was chosen to lead reviews of Pentagon's budget and strategy and security in light of last month's shootings at Washington Navy Yard 10 Oct 2013 The Pentagon's No. 2 official announced Thursday that he will leave office on Dec. 4, capping a career with several top Defense Department posts except the top job. Ashton Carter, who spearheaded efforts in the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to speed needed gear to troops, had been considered a contender earlier this year for Defense secretary. In his resignation letter, Carter told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that he had long planned to leave in December.

Protesters rising to new heights against Trans-Pacific Partnership

Protesters rising to new heights against Trans-Pacific Partnership 26 Sep 2013 In terms of size, the protest Monday against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a huge 'trade agreement' being negotiated at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington, was no big deal. Eight "construction workers" in blue coveralls and "Stop the TPP" yellow hard hats somehow made their way up an unsecured scaffolding -- the building is undergoing some exterior work -- to the top, where they unfurled a 10-by-30-foot banner condemning the proposed 'treaty' as a corporate giveaway. Then five of the eight "workers" moved onto a lower balcony -- on the same floor as U.S. Trade Rep Mike Froman’s office -- and hung two more banners.

10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist 'dry-runs' on airplanes

10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist 'dry-runs' on airplanes 10 Oct 2013 The 10 News Investigators have obtained an internal memo that details a frightening incident that brings back memories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks [inside job]. According to Wolf Koch, who flies Boeing 767s for Delta Airlines and is the Aviation Security Committee Chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association International, many other flight crews are concerned the planning may already be underway. A memo obtained by the 10 News investigators from the union that represents pilots for US Airways says that "there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry-runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in flight threat."

NRC furloughs all but 300 of its 3,900 workers

NRC furloughs all but 300 of its 3,900 workers 09 Oct 2013 Another government agency is furloughing workers as a result of the government shutdown, but officials promised it would not affect public safety. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said Wednesday that as of today, the agency will be operating at limited power, furloughing all but 300 of its 3,900 workers. Among the other NRC entities that will be affected, Sheehan said the NRC website will be static beginning today, except for a portal for notice of urgent safety allegations. Daily reactor status and event reports also will be suspended for the duration of the government shutdown, he said. [Too bad the nuclear reactors aren't shut down.]

Snowden's father arrives in Moscow

Snowden's father arrives in Moscow 10 Oct 2013 The father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has arrived in Moscow. Lon Snowden's flight touched down at Sheremetyevo Airport - where his son famously spent five weeks in transit limbo before receiving asylum in Russia. The plane carrying Lon Snowden landed in Moscow Thursday morning, RT crew on the scene reported. Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena has been seen in the terminal accompanying Lon Snowden.

How the U.S. Is Interrogating a Qaeda Suspect

How the U.S. Is Interrogating a Qaeda Suspect 08 Oct 2013 The United States seized a leader of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] -- Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai, better known as Abu Anas al-Libi -- outside his three-story house in Tripoli, Libya, on Saturday and is reportedly interrogating him in the brig of the Navy ship the San Antonio, in the Mediterranean Sea. Why did the United States put him on a ship? The Obama administration lacks a clear place to house newly captured Qaeda detainees for intelligence interrogations... Were Mr. Ruqai to be brought to a military base on land somewhere, it could raise legal issues with the host government, and were he to be brought onto United States soil, he could arguably have an immediate right to a lawyer. Holding him -- and possibly transporting him -- on an American vessel in international waters avoids potential diplomatic and legal headaches.

States Eliminating Aid for Poor as Shutdown Forces Cuts

States Eliminating Aid for Poor as Shutdown Forces Cuts 10 Oct 2013 States are planning to idle workers and cut services because federal funding is drying up as a partial U.S. government shutdown extends into a 10th day. Michigan is preparing to put as many as 20,000 workers on unpaid leave and eliminate cash and food aid to the poor. North Carolina sent 366 employees home and closed its nutrition aid program to tens of thousands of women and children. Illinois this week may issue furloughs to hundreds of federally funded employees, including workplace safety inspectors.

Libyan PM Ali Zeidan 'seized by armed men'

Libyan PM Ali Zeidan 'seized by armed men' 10 Oct 2013 Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has been seized by militants from his residence in the capital Tripoli, a well-placed source in his media office has told the BBC. Mr Zeidan has been taken to an unknown destination by a group of men believed to be former rebels, the government website said. Sources say Mr Zeidan was arrested by anti-crime department militia.

Va. Democrats sue to stop use of voter 'purge list'

Va. Democrats sue to stop use of voter 'purge list' 02 Oct 2013 A federal lawsuit filed by the Virginia Democratic Party claims that some voters in the state may be kept from casting a ballot in November after their names were wrongly placed on a list meant to weed out fraud steal the election. The court action names Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) as defendants and alleges that there were political motivations behind a "purge list" of about 57,000 voters whose names were [allegedly] also found on voter rolls in other states. The lawsuit, which comes as the contentious governor's race enters its last month, contends that the list is inaccurate and that many of those voters are eligible to vote Nov. 5 in Virginia.

U.S. Treasury, Fed planning for possible default: source

U.S. Treasury, Fed planning for possible default: source 09 Oct 2013 U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve officials worried about the growing possibility of a catastrophic default are crafting contingency plans to mitigate the economic fallout if Congress fails to extend America's borrowing authority, a source familiar with the plans said. With just eight days before the Treasury Department says the U.S. will hit its $16.7 trillion borrowing limit, lawmakers and the White House remain far from a deal to extend it. Officials are examining what options might be available to calm financial markets if a U.S. debt payment is missed.

Fidelity aims to shield investors by selling off short-term debt

Fidelity aims to shield investors by selling off short-term debt 09 Oct 2013 The nation's largest manager of money-market mutual funds said Wednesday that it no longer holds any U.S. government debt that comes due around the time the nation could hit its borrowing limit. Money-market portfolio managers at Fidelity Investments have been selling off their government-debt holdings over the last couple of weeks, said Nancy Prior, president of Fidelity's Money Market Group. While Fidelity expects the debt-ceiling issue to be resolved, the Boston-based asset manager said it is taking steps to protect investors.

Announcing Fed Nomination, Obama Praises Yellen

Announcing Fed Nomination, Obama Praises Yellen 10 Oct 2013 President Obama on Wednesday announced what he called perhaps his most important economic decision, nominating Janet L. Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve system and be his independent co-steward of the economy, calling her "one of the nation's foremost economists and policy makers." Ms. Yellen, 67, would be elevated from the Fed's vice chairwoman to become the first woman to lead the 100-year-old central bank. The Senate is generally expected to confirm her nomination for the four-year term. For the announcement, she joined Mr. Obama in the State Dining Room of the White House, along with the retiring chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, whom the president hailed for helping guide the economy through the worst financial crisis since the Depression [engendered by and for Wall Street].

Police kill retired W.V. cop who fired at courthouse

Police kill retired W.V. cop who fired at courthouse --Alleged gunman was a retired Wheeling police officer and authorities do not have a motive. 09 Oct 2013 A retired police officer armed with an assault weapon and a handgun fired up to two dozen shots at a U.S. courthouse in West Virginia on Wednesday before police returned fire and killed him, authorities said. Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger identified the gunman as Thomas J. Piccard, 55, of Bridgeport, Ohio. He was a retired Wheeling police officer.

LePage declares civil emergency because of government shutdown; union calls move a 'power grab'

LePage declares civil emergency because of government shutdown; union calls move a 'power grab' 09 Oct 2013 Gov. Paul LePage (R) on Wednesday declared a state of "civil emergency" in an effort to minimize the financial impact on state operations of the federal government shutdown. With the proclamation, LePage has taken the authority to circumvent state laws or rules if he determines they "prevent, hinder and delay effective management of the emergency." Meanwhile, the largest union representing state workers called the proclamation an "unnecessary power grab." That united front splintered in the wake of LePage’s proclamation, as Maine State Employees Association President Ginette Rivard blasted the governor in a prepared statement, saying the governor was simply seeking to "ignore the laws he finds inconvenient."

Lavabit founder offered to log users' metadata if FBI paid him $3,500

Lavabit founder offered to log users' metadata if FBI paid him $3,500 09 Oct 2013 Lavabit's founder offered to work with the American authorities if they would pay him $3,500 for his time, according to documents unsealed by the US courts. Ladar Levison, the founder of the defunct secure email service, made the offer in a letter to an assistant US attorney on 13 July, in an effort to appease the authorities. His site had come under investigation due to its links to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Focusing on the so-called "trap and trace" order which he had been served on 28 June, Levison wrote that "it would be possible to capture the required data ourselves and present it to the FBI."

Japan: Leak Contaminates Fukushima Workers

Japan: Leak Contaminates Fukushima Workers --Spill is latest accident at damaged Japanese nuclear plant where workers are battling to contain radioactive water 09 Oct 2013 Six workers at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have been doused with highly radioactive water after wrongly disconnecting a pipe. The accident sent toxic radioactive water spilling on to them and the entire floor of the facility which houses a set of three units designed for water treatment. The accident is latest in a string of mishaps. A week earlier, workers overfilled a storage tank without fully checking water levels, and caused a leak of 430 litres (113 gallons) of contaminated radioactive water which is thought to have run into the sea.

Poll: US Congressional Approval at 5 Percent

Poll: US Congressional Approval at 5 Percent 09 Oct 2013 With no end to the U.S. fiscal crisis in sight, a new poll indicates only 5 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is doing its job. The poll also found 62 percent of the 1,200 surveyed blame Republicans for the partial U.S. government shutdown. The Associated Press/GfK poll also found 37 percent approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing.

Afghanistan risks becoming 'narco-state': U.N. official

Afghanistan risks becoming 'narco-state': U.N. official 09 Oct 2013 Afghanistan risks becoming a "full-fledged narco-state" without international support to help create alternative jobs for its people, a senior United Nations official said on Wednesday. Yury Fedotov, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), painted a bleak picture of Afghanistan's narcotics problem before next year's withdrawal of NATO-led combat forces. Afghanistan is the world's top producer of opium, from which heroin is made and which helps fund the Taliban's insurgency CIA's projects. [The US/NATO invastion restored and exploded Afghanistan's opium production. See: UN: Opium Gone From Afghanistan - Taliban's Edict Ends Nation's Role as World's Leading Producer 16 Feb 2001 Afghanistan UN drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has virtually wiped out opium production in Afghanistan--once the world's largest producer--since banning poppy cultivation in July. A 12-member team from the UN Drug Control Program spent two weeks searching most of the nation’s largest opium-producing areas and found so few poppies that they do not expect any opium to come out of Afghanistan this year. "We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields," said Bernard Frahi, regional director for the UN program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now, see: Photos of U.S. and Afghan Troops Patrolling Poppy Fields June 2012 29 Jun 2012, Even More Photos of US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan, More Photos of US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan, and US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan.]

Amid government shutdown, Obama signals cuts to Social Security, Medicare

Amid government shutdown, Obama signals cuts to Social Security, Medicare 09 Oct 2013 US President Barack Obama restated his support for cutting Social Security and Medicare in a press conference Tuesday, reassuring congressional Republicans of his willingness to agree to these cuts if the Republicans vote to increase the government's debt limit. As the October 17 deadline for raising the US government's borrowing limit approaches, both sides are zeroing in on their real goals: a "Grand Bargain" to make sweeping cuts to social programs, while lowering corporate taxes. Obama reiterated that the Democrat-controlled Senate has already passed a budget at funding levels demanded by Republicans, and that "we're willing to have conversations about anything."

Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center

Meltdowns Hobble NSA Data Center 07 Oct 2013 Chronic electrical surges at the massive new data-storage facility central to the National Security Agency's spying operation have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and delayed the center's opening for a year, according to project documents and current and former officials. There have been 10 meltdowns in the past 13 months that have prevented the NSA from using computers at its new Utah data-storage center, slated to be the spy agency's largest, according to project documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. One project official described the electrical troubles--so-called arc fault failures--as "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box." These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail, the official said. [Gee, what a shame!]

GOP senators want al-Libi sent to Guantanamo

GOP senators want al-Libi sent to Guantanamo 09 Oct 2013 A number of Republican lawmakers are demanding that a Libyan man abducted by US Special Forces over his alleged role on the bombings of two American embassies be sent to Guantanamo detention facility for interrogation. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte and Saxby Chambliss argue that several months are needed to sufficiently question Abu Anas al-Libi about attacks in which he might have been involved. Al-Libi, also known as Nazih al-Ragya, was kidnapped by US forces in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and was transferred out of the country on October 5. He is currently being held in military custody aboard the USS San Antonio.

8 Lawmakers Arrested at Immigration Protest

8 Lawmakers Arrested at Immigration Protest 09 Oct 2013 As several thousand demonstrators rallied around them, eight members of the House of Representatives were arrested on Tuesday outside the Capitol in a protest to push Congress to pass broad immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. The protests came as most attention in Congress was focused on the standoff over the partial government shutdown and the partisan disputes over health care and fiscal policy, pushing immigration to the side. The lawmakers, all Democrats, were detained by the Capitol Police after they stood silently in a line in the middle of a street that borders the Capitol lawn, blocking traffic. As the police handcuffed them behind their backs and led them away, a crowd pressed in, chanting, "Let them go!"

Soon, Drones May Be Able to Make Lethal Decisions on Their Own

Soon, Drones May Be Able to Make Lethal Decisions on Their Own 08 Oct 2013 Eventually, drones may have the technical ability to make even lethal decisions autonomously: to respond to a programmed set of inputs, select a target and fire their weapons without a human reviewing or checking the result. Yet the idea of the U.S. military deploying a lethal autonomous robot, or LAR, is sparking controversy. The basic conceit behind a LAR is that it can outperform and outthink a human operator.

Anti-drones protesters who broke into RAF base are praised by judge

Anti-drones protesters who broke into RAF base are praised by judge 07 Oct 2013 Six protesters who broke into RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, home of Britain's first unmanned drones base, were described by a judge at their trial on Monday as "dutiful people". He said it was only with a "heavy heart" that he found them guilty of criminal damage to the base. Judge John Stobart ordered the protesters to pay £10 compensation each to the RAF, £75 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He said he would welcome an appeal.

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*****

'We want either a hammer or a fire, to break the spell or dissolve the ice.' Artisan radical freethinker, George Jacob Holyoake, Reasoner V (1848): 2.

CLG's Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. and Lori Price receive the Patrick Henry Think Tank's American Hero Award 02 Nov 2005 The Patrick Henry Democratic Club --A Think Tank working to give the government back to the people. "Give me liberty or give me death!"

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