Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.


Citizens For Legitimate Government
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush coup d'etat, and to oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

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January 2009 Archives, Page Two

CIA chief in Algeria accused of drugging and raping Muslim women 28 Jan 2009 The CIA station chief in Algiers is under investigation after claims that he drugged and raped two Algerian women at his official residence, according to a report. Law enforcement sources told ABC News that the 41-year-old officer had been sent home in October. He could face charges as early as next month. Investigators from the Justice Department allegedly found more than a dozen secretly recorded videotapes of the officer performing sex acts with other women. An official said one woman appeared to be in a "semi-conscious state".

CIA Station Chief in Algeria Accused of Rapes --Spy Boss Allegedly Drugged Muslim Women, Made Secret Sex Videos 28 Jan 2009 The CIA's station chief at its sensitive post in Algeria is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for allegedly raping at least two Muslim women who claim he laced their drinks with a knock-out drug, U.S. law enforcement sources tell ABC News.

KBR Awarded Convoy Support Center Contract by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 28 Jan 2009 KBR today announced it has been awarded a $35.4 million contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Transatlantic Programs Center, Winchester, Va., for the Phase II design and construction of a convoy support center at Camp Adder in Iraq. The KBR team will design and construct a power plant, electrical distribution center, water purification and distribution system, waste water collection system, and associated information systems, along with paved roads at this site. Work on the project is expected to begin in February 2009. [OMG! After KBR just electrocuted a bunch of US soldiers? See: KBR must be accountable for Iraq deaths-US senators 27 Jan 2009 U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday raised concerns about the U.S. military's increased use of private contractors mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said KBR and other companies should be held accountable for the electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers and other mistakes crimes. Investigator: Soldier's electrocution 'negligent homicide' 22 Jan 2009. Halliburton Will Settle KBR Suit for $559 Million 27 Jan 2009 Halliburton, the huge oil services company in Houston, said yesterday that it has agreed to pay $559 million to settle corruption charges with the U.S. government linked to its former subsidiary KBR.]

Obama lawyers set to defend Yoo --On Thursday, Justice Department lawyers are slated to ask a federal magistrate to dismiss another lawsuit charging about a dozen current and former government officials with violating Padilla's rights in connection with his detention on U.S. soil, without charges or a trial. 28 Jan 2009 Former Bush Justice Department official John Yoo is the chief author of the so-called torture memos that Barack Obama last week sought to nullify. But next week, Justice Department lawyers are set to ask a San Francisco federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought against Yoo by Jose Padilla, a New York man held without charges on suspicion of being an 'Al Qaeda' operative plotting to set off a "dirty bomb." The suit contends that Yoo’s legal opinions authorized Bush to order Padilla’s detention in a Navy brig in South Carolina and encouraged military officials to subject Padilla to aggressive interrogation torture techniques, including death threats and long-term sensory deprivation.

US missile strikes in Pakistan will continue-Gates 27 Jan 2009 The United States will continue to carry out missile strikes against al Qaeda militants civilians in Pakistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday. Pakistani officials have complained publicly about the attacks from unmanned U.S. aircraft in tribal areas, saying they are a violation of sovereignty and increase resentment towards both Pakistan's government and the United States.

Israel planned Gaza attack nearly one year ago, says academic 27 Jan 2009 Israel launched its attacks on Gaza to foil a peaceful offensive by Hamas, said American academic Norman Finkelstein. Finkelstein dismissed claims that Hamas was responsible for the onslaught, saying that there was no evidence that supported the "misconceptions".

Israeli soldiers recall Gaza attack orders 28 Jan 2009 "Fire on anything that moves in Zeitoun" – that was the order handed down to Israeli troops in the Givati Shaked battalion, who reduced the eastern Gaza City suburb to little more than rubble in a matter of days. According to Israeli soldiers who took part in the three-week offensive, the destruction of the area, a known Hamas stronghold, was designed to send a wider message to Gazans. "We pounded Zeitoun into the ground," an Israeli soldier who was deployed in the area, told The Times.

Israeli troops killed Gaza children carrying white flag, witnesses say 27 Jan 2009 ...The allegation is one of at least five such white flag incidents that human rights investigators are looking into across the Gaza Strip. It's part of a growing pattern of alleged abuses that have raised concerns that some Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes during their 22-day military campaign in Gaza. "The evidence we've gathered in two of the cases so far is exceedingly strong," said Fred Abrahams, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch working in the Gaza Strip. "All the research so far suggests they shot civilians that were leaving their homes with white flags."

Israel accused of using farmers as human shields 28 Jan 2009 Methods used by the Israel Defence Forces in their assault on the Gaza Strip have raised questions about whether Israeli military commanders authorised the use of Palestinians as human shields - a charge Israel has repeatedly made against Hamas. Palestinian farmers from the neighbourhood of al-Atatra, about 10 kilometres north of the centre of Gaza City, said Israeli ground troops arrived in the area on January 7.

Report: Gaza detainees held bound for days 28 Jan 2009 Seven Israeli human rights organizations urged Chief Military Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mendelblit and Attorney General Menachem Mazuz on Wednesday to launch an investigation into reports that Gaza detainees were held in "horrid conditions" and treated "inhumanely" during the IDF's operation in the Strip.

IDF soldiers leave racist graffiti on Gaza homes 28 Jan 2009 A painful reminder for Operation Cast Lead remained evident in Gaza in the form of blatant, racist graffiti left on houses' walls by IDF soldiers. Residents of the Zeitun neighborhood who returned to their homes once the fighting in the region was over discovered that their walls had been marked with slogans such as "Die you all," Make war not peace," "Death to Arabs," "Arabs must die," and "One down, 999,999 to go."

International Court for Israeli War Criminals 28 Jan 2009 From 1917 (British Balfour Declaration) until this moment, no other nation on planet earth has ever been subjected to so many atrocities on daily basis like the Palestinian nation, argues Ali Alebadi. Q: Is it possible to bring Israeli war criminals to the international justice? A: Are you kidding me? On which planet do you think you are? ...Despite the hermitic Israeli measures to prevent Western journalists from entering Gaza during the onslaught, using video footages, Webcams, voice-over-Internet massages, blog diaries, cell phones, and testimonies of some UN employees and Red Cross physicians, Palestinians managed to document and break up this extremely violent siege against Gaza.

Israeli warplanes hit Gaza tunnels 28 Jan 2009 Israeli warplanes pounded smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border early today after a Palestinian bomb killed an Israeli soldier, and the Israeli military vowed to respond harshly to any further attacks. The border flare-up ten days into an informal cease-fire came just hours before President Barack Obama's new Mideast envoy was due to meet Israeli leaders.

Israeli jets hit Gaza Rafah border 28 Jan 2009 Israeli warplanes have carried out at least three airstrikes at the Rafah border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, witnesses say. Some Rafah residents fled their homes in panic as an Israeli aircraft hit the area three times, Hamas officials said. There was no immediate report of casualties.

Qaeda to blow up holiest Christian site? 28 Jan 2009 Benjamin Netanyahu, the favorite to win the upcoming Israeli election, says al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] terrorists will destroy Jesus Christ's burial site. Netanyahu, who claims he had predicted an Islamic extremists attack on the World Trade Center six years before the actual attack, said terrorists will target Church of the Holy Sepulchre also known as the Church of the Resurrection - Christianity's holiest site.

Bill Will Establish 'National Emergency Centers' On Military Installations --FEMA Camps Mandated in H.R. 645 22 Jan 2009 A Bill to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish national emergency centers on military installations. SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the 'National Emergency Centers Establishment Act'. SECTION 2. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY CENTERS. (a) In General - In accordance with the requirements of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish not fewer than 6 national emergency centers on military installations... (b) Purpose of National Emergency Centers... (3) to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and (4) to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. [Start reading.]

Supreme Court affirms police right to stop-and-frisk searches 28 Jan 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously to overturn an Arizona Court of Appeals opinion limiting the power of police to conduct physical searches of citizens during routine encounters. The appeal to the nation's highest court stems from a 2007 split decision by a Tucson appellate panel that found police did not have sufficient reason to conduct a "pat-down" search of Lemon Montrea Johnson after he agreed to get out of a vehicle during a traffic stop for an unrelated matter in 2002.

Bremerton Ferry Service Restored Following Threat 28 Jan 2009 Ferry service to Bremerton has been restored after a bomb threat evacuated the ferry Hyak and the Bremerton terminal Wednesday afternoon, the Washington State Patrol said. According to the WSP Homeland Security, at about 12:50 p.m., someone aboard the ferry found a note on a mirror in bathroom mirror that said a bomb was going to explode.

House passes economic stimulus bill by 244-188 vote 28 Jan 2009 The House approved an $819 billion economic stimulus plan on Wednesday on a 244-188 party-line vote. The bill attracted no Republican votes. The bill would cut taxes for individuals and businesses, provide billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, help states balance their budgets, and provide relief to millions of people who've lost their jobs or homes. Earlier, the House rejected a Republican substitute that would have emphasized tax cuts.

Michigan man, 93, freezes to death after city cuts off electricity --The oven door was propped open, which suggests that Schur made a futile attempt to heat his home using the appliance. 28 Jan 2009 On January 17, the frozen body of 93-year-old Marvin E. Schur was found by neighbors at his home in Bay City, Michigan, several days after the municipal power company had restricted his access to electricity due to outstanding bills. The death has provoked outrage among residents in this working class city of 36,000, located where the Saginaw River flows into Lake Huron, about 100 miles north of Detroit.

Postmaster General: Mail days may need to be cut 28 Jan 2009 Massive deficits could force the post office to cut out one day of mail delivery, the postmaster general told Congress on Wednesday, in asking lawmakers to lift the requirement that the agency deliver mail six days a week. Previous post office studies have looked at the possibility of skipping some other day when mail flow is light, such as Tuesday.

Unemployment rose in every state in December --Manufacturing particularly hit, analyst sees trend continuing through year 28 Jan 2009 Rising unemployment spared no state last month, and 2009 is shaping up as another miserable year for workers from coast to coast. Jobless rates for December hit double digits in Michigan and Rhode Island, while South Carolina and Indiana notched the biggest gains from the previous month, the Labor Department said Tuesday.

Car industry to fight Barack Obama's green proposals 28 Jan 2009 Car industry groups are gearing up for a long fight and the likelihood of legal action against proposals by President Barack Obama to allow California and other states to set their own regulations on greenhouse gas emission from vehicles. Though none are yet committing to fight the plans in court, the US Chamber of Commerce said it was "100 per cent sure" that a challenge would be launched if the Environmental Protection Agency gives the go-ahead to California.

Fed Adopts Program to Stem Foreclosures --Mortgage Renegotiation to Focus On Reducing Amount of Principal Owed 28 Jan 2009 With its bailouts of Bear Stearns and American International Group, the Federal Reserve took a vast portfolio of mortgages onto its books. Now, it is trying to use its control of billions of dollars worth of home loans to help prevent foreclosures.

Starbucks to lay off 6,700, close 300 stores 28 Jan 2009 Starbucks Corp. continues to take the ax to its business. New plans include closing 300 stores and cutting up to 6,700 jobs in fiscal year 2009. Starbucks, hit hard as consumers forego pricey coffees, increased its cost-savings target to $500 million from $400 million for the fiscal year. Starbucks saw its same-store sales fell 9 percent for the quarter.

House Votes Against Delaying Switch to Digital TV --Bill's Defeat Means Nation Will Transition From Analog Sets Next Month 28 Jan 2009 The House today defeated a bill, 258-168, to delay the nation's switch to all-digital television by four months. The action comes less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed a plan to postpone the Feb. 17 switch to June 12.

Studies Find Mercury in Much U.S. Corn Syrup 27 Jan 2009 Many common foods made using commercial high fructose corn syrup contain mercury as well, researchers reported on Tuesday, while another study suggested the corn syrup itself is contaminated.

Officials: Firm knew about salmonella, shipped anyway 28 Jan 2009 Operators of the Georgia peanut-processing plant at the center of a nationwide salmonella outbreak knew of bacteria at the facility as early as 2007, but continued to ship their peanut butter and paste to dozens of companies, federal health officials said yesterday. An investigation of the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Blakely, Ga., has revealed at least four strains of salmonella associated with the facility, investigators from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. [Why haven't *homicide charges* against the operators of the plant been filed?]

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Secret papers on Iraq war decision must be released, ministers told 28 Jan 2009 Gordon Brown was ordered yesterday to release the minutes from crucial Cabinet meetings in 2003 which paved the way for the invasion of Iraq. The Information Tribunal ruled that secret records of Cabinet discussions in March that year must be published and that the public had a right to know what the Cabinet of the then prime minister Tony Blair decided behind closed doors on the issue of the impending war.

Rumsfeld to stand trial for war crimes? 27 Jan 2009 A UN official says there is enough evidence that former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld could be brought to justice for war crimes. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak in an interview on Monday told CNN that the international body had enough evidence to prosecute Rumsfeld for his direct authorization of tortures at US detention centers in 2002.

KBR must be accountable for Iraq deaths-US senators 27 Jan 2009 U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday raised concerns about the U.S. military's increased use of private contractors mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan, and said KBR and other companies should be held accountable for the electrocution deaths of U.S. soldiers and other mistakes.

Halliburton Will Settle KBR Suit for $559 Million 27 Jan 2009 Halliburton, the huge oil services company in Houston, said yesterday that it has agreed to pay $559 million to settle corruption charges with the U.S. government linked to its former subsidiary KBR. Halliburton said it will pay $382 million on behalf of KBR over the next two years to the Department of Justice and will pay another $177 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

US President speaks directly to Muslims 27 Jan 2009 US President Barack Obama has given his first formal interview to Dubai-based Al-Arabiya television. In the interview, which was shown late Monday night, Mr. Obama spoke directly to Muslims and said the moment was ripe for Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a lasting peace.

Obama tells Muslim world 'America is not your enemy' 27 Jan 2009 US President Barack Obama Monday told the Muslim world that "Americans are not your enemy" and renewed his pledge to travel to make an address in the capital of a major Muslim nation. Obama noted that he had lived in Indonesia for several years while growing up, and said his travels through Muslim nations had convinced him that regardless of faith, people had certain common hopes and dreams.

Israeli jet targets Gaza tunnels 28 Jan 2009 Israeli airstrikes have targeted the Gaza Strip's border with Egypt, as part of Israel's response to an attack on one of its frontier patrols on Tuesday. Residents fled as missiles hit tunnels near the town of Rafah. Israel says militants smuggle arms through them. The pre-dawn strikes came a day after the patrol was hit by a roadside bomb, killing one soldier and wounding three. Israel responded immediately by sending troops and tanks into Gaza, but PM Ehud Olmert threatened further strikes.

Israel storms into Gaza after border killing 27 Jan 2009 Israeli tanks and helicopters have re-entered the Gaza Strip. Tanks and bulldozers have reportedly been seen operating inside Gaza for the first time since they pulled out last week. After the ten day break in fighting, an Israeli officer has been killed after in a bomb incident on the Gaza border with Israel.

'Israel targeted UN Staff during Gaza standoff' 27 Jan 2009 In a seminar Tuesday morning, United Nations staff claimed that they were directly targeted by the Israeli army during the 23-day standoff at Gaza. "I mean what I am saying," said Dr. Sami Mushasa media director for United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA.) His agency, he said, "was targeted and a scores settlement was made by Israel to disrupt our work in Gaza and Palestine". According to Mushasa, ten UN buildings and numerous UN schools and aid centres were targeted during the Israeli offensive on Gaza.

Army rabbi 'gave out hate leaflet to troops' 27 Jan 2009 The Israeli army's chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a "good attribute". The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead.

Livni: Israel should strike Hamas again to halt arms smuggling 25 Jan 2009 Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Sunday that Israel had achieved most of the goals of its [truly] offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, but added that she would support striking the Islamist group again to halt its ongoing smuggling of weapons.

Saudi warns US over Middle East 23 Jan 2009 A senior member of Saudi Arabia's ruling family has warned the US that it needs to change attitudes over the Arab-Israeli conflict. Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the US, said a failure to alter policies could threaten links. The prince said ex-President [sic] George W Bush had left a "sickening legacy" in the Middle East.

Man 'finds US troop data' on MP3 27 Jan 2009 A New Zealand man [Chris Ogle] says he found confidential data about US military personnel on an MP3 player he bought from a thrift shop in Oklahoma. The files included names and telephone numbers of American soldiers, according to reports by TV New Zealand.

US official: Intelligence director resigns 27 Jan 2009 National Intelligence Director Michael McConnell resigned his post effective Tuesday. Spokesman Ross Feinstein said Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, Jr. is temporarily serving as acting national intelligence director. Burgess has been confirmed by the Senate to become the next director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

A Loophole In the Rules --In a national-security crisis, Obama could deviate from his own rules. 24 Jan 2009 A day before President Obama signed executive orders closing Guantánamo Bay and banning torture, the White House's top lawyer privately indicated to Congress that the new president reserved the right to ignore his own (and any other president's) executive orders. In a closed-door appearance before the Senate intelligence committee, White House counsel Gregory Craig was asked whether the president was required by law to follow executive orders. According to people familiar with his remarks, who asked for anonymity when discussing a private meeting, Craig answered that the administration did not believe he was.

'In many instances, drug money is currently the only liquid investment capital.' U.N. crime chief says drug money flowed into banks 25 Jan 2009 The United Nations' crime and drug watchdog has indications that money made in illicit drug trade has been used to keep banks afloat in the global financial crisis, its head was quoted as saying on Sunday. Vienna-based UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said in an interview released by Austrian weekly Profil that drug money often became the only available capital when the crisis spiralled out of control last year.

Police state infrastructure is the only infrastructure we get. U.S. to Build $3.4 Billion Homeland Security Complex --14,000 Homeland Security employees to work in new headquarters 09 Jan 2009 After years of battling historic preservationists, the federal government won approval yesterday to build a massive headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security on a 176-acre hilltop site east of the Anacostia River. The $3.4 billion headquarters would be one of the largest construction projects in the Washington area since the Pentagon was built in the 1940s.

Hello, Kafka? 3rd Trial Looms for Alleged Sears Tower Plotters 26 Jan 2009 Federal prosecutors will try for a third time to persuade jurors that six men from an impoverished Miami neighborhood were a blossoming al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] cell bent on destroying Chicago's Sears Tower to help ignite a war against the United States. Prosecutors have indicated that they may change their approach for this week's trial after two juries didn't buy their case that the group's leader, 34-year-old Narseal Batiste, was trying to orchestrate a grandiose bloodbath.

House Judiciary chairman subpoenas Karl Rove 26 Jan 2009 The House Judiciary Committee chairman subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove on Monday to testify about the Bush administration's firing of U.S. attorneys and prosecution of a former Democratic governor. The subpoena by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., continues a long-running legal battle with ex-President [sic] George W. Bush's former White House political director. Rove previously refused to appear before the panel, contending that former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress.

Credit crunch claims Iceland government after 'Household Revolution' 27 Jan 2009 The global economic crisis claimed its first government yesterday when Iceland's ruling coalition collapsed amid a cacophony of popular protest. The Government of Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister, resigned en masse after days of mounting anger over the country's financial meltdown. The protests, which began peacefully after the nationalisation and overnight bankruptcy of Iceland's three main banks, turned violent last week with the nation experiencing its worst [best] riots in 60 years.

Mega barf alert! Obama seeks Republican support for stimulus plans 28 Jan 2009 Democratic President Barack Obama struggled on Tuesday to placate Republicans in Congress who insist his $825 billion plan for reviving the troubled U.S. economy should include bigger tax cuts and less spending. "The key right now is to make sure that we keep politics to a minimum," said the president, who met Republicans in both houses of Congress a week after taking office on a promise to seek consensus and end partisan gridlock.

Consumer confidence at record low 27 Jan 2009 Income worries dragged down consumer confidence to a record low in January, even as depressed views on jobs showed some improvement, according to the monthly Conference Board index reported Tuesday. The January consumer confidence index fell to 37.7 from an upwardly revised 38.6 in December. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected a January reading of 38. The data go back to 1967.

Senate Confirms Geithner For Treasury Post --Senate voted 60-34 to confirm Geithner 26 Jan 2009 New York Federal Reserve Bank chief Timothy Geithner has won Senate approval to serve as President Barack Obama's treasury secretary. Many Republicans were willing to overlook Geithner's failure to pay all his taxes on income received from the International Monetary Fund in 2001 and in three subsequent years.

Tanking Banks Make History 22 Jan 2009 According to Jeff Rubin of Birinyi Associates, bank stocks have fallen further and faster than at any time in history, including the Great Depression. Rubin said on Tuesday, the day of their big sell off, bank stocks were down 78.51 percent from their February, 2007 high. At a parallel point in the 1930s (two years from their high), bank stocks were down 78.09 percent.

Bloody Monday: Over 71,400 jobs lost --Seven companies announce massive job cuts in a scary start to the week. 26 Jan 2009 The final week of January began with a bloodbath for the job market, as over 71,400 more cuts were announced on Monday alone. At least six companies from manufacturing and service industries announced cost-cutting initiatives that included slashing thousands of jobs.

Bernie's Fake Trades --Regulators: No Trace of Madoff Stock Buys Since 1960s 16 Jan 2009 The mystery surrounding Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme deepened further yesterday after the securities industry's watchdog said there was no evidence that the accused swindler ever traded a single share on behalf of his clients, suggesting financial irregularities going back to the 1960s.

Senate Approves 4-Month Delay In Digital TV Conversion 26 Jan 2009 The Senate has approved a four-month delay in the digital TV conversion. The House is expected to vote on the matter later this week.

Polar bear 'stranded' on The Thames 26 Jan 2009 If you went down to the Thames today you were sure of a big surprise. This giant sculpture of a polar bear stranded on a block of ice floated 7.5 miles from Greenwich towards the centre of London to highlight the problem of melting ice caps.

Zoo's Kodiak Bear Picks Steelers In Big Game 26 Jan 2009 The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium's Kodiak bear makes his bold prediction about the big game next week! He picked the Steelers of course. (Video)

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Report: US Navy to fight 'arms smuggling' from Iran --British Times newspaper says American naval taskforce in Gulf of Aden ordered to hunt for suspicious Iranian ships seeking to smuggle weapons to Gaza Strip 25 Jan 2009 An American naval taskforce in the Gulf of Aden has been ordered to hunt for suspicious Iranian arms ships heading for the Red Sea in a bid to deliver weapons to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the British Times newspaper reported Sunday, quoting US diplomatic sources. According to the sources, Combined Task Force 151, which is countering pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments.

US seizing of Iranian ship 'a covert op' 25 Jan 2009 The interception of an Iranian arms ship by the US Navy in the Red Sea last week likely was conducted as a covert operation and is being played down by the US military due to the lack of a clear legal framework for such operations, an American expert on Iran told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday evening.

US Navy Interception of Iranian Ship Probably Covert Operation 25 Jan 2009 A U.S. Naval vessel in the Gulf of Aden has been ordered to search for suspicious Iranian ships containing weaponry heading for Gaza. Combined Task Force 151, which is keeping pirates at bay in the Gulf of Aden, has been ordered to track Iranian arms shipments, the Sunday Times reports. Naval officers from the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dockship that serves as the headquarters for the taskforce, last week boarded a cargo vessel registered in Limassol and flying a Cypriot flag.

EU ministers endorse 'terrorist group' 26 Jan 2009 The European Union has agreed to remove the notorious Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) from its list of banned terrorist groups. The MKO, which has been listed as a terrorist organization in Iran and the United States, has a long and bloody history of targeting Iranian civilians and government officials.

Israeli soldiers will get legal backing in any war crimes cases 26 Jan 2009 Israeli military personnel will get full legal backing if war crimes charges are brought against them after the campaign in Gaza, the Israeli Prime Minister has said. An estimated 1,300 Palestinians died during the three-week battle. Doctors in Gaza claim that 700 of them were civilians and that many were children.

Israeli PM in war crimes pledge 25 Jan 2009 Any Israeli soldiers accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip will be given state protection from prosecution overseas, the country's PM has said. Ehud Olmert said troops should know Israel would keep them safe after they acted to protect their country.

Long term soil devastation in Gaza due to use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium 24 Jan 2009 Losses are huge in the Gaza Strip with many of the devastated population still in tears, some little kids afraid to return to school today. The environmental effects will continue to be uncovered for years on lands that become less fertile with each invasion and home demolition.

British protesters briefly occupy BBC 26 Jan 2009 An anti-war group has occupied the Glasgow offices of the BBC in protest at the broadcaster's decision not to air a Gaza fundraising appeal. The British Stop the War Coalition said it had about 100 people in the foyer of the BBC's Glasgow offices on Sunday, occupying the place for nearly two hours.

'US strike' on Pakistan kills 21 24 Jan 2009 The death toll from two suspected US missile strikes in Pakistan -- under President Barack Obama -- has risen to 21, security officials say. Intelligence officials said eight people including five militants of Arab origin died in the missile strike at a house near Mir Ali, the main town in North Waziristan districts near the Afghan border. Hours later another suspected US drone fired two missiles into a house in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, killing seven people.

Afghanistan raid leaves 15 dead 26 Jan 2009 At least 15 people have been killed in an operation by US-led forces in the eastern Afghan province of Laghman. The US military said all of the dead, including one woman, had been militants who opened fire after its troops surrounded a compound in Mehtar Lam.

Biden sees higher toll from war in Afghanistan 26 Jan 2009 Washington Vice President Joe Biden, in a somber assessment of the road ahead, predicted yesterday that U.S. casualties would rise in Afghanistan as the Obama administration shifts military priorities in the battle against terrorism. "We've inherited a real mess" in Afghanistan, Biden said.

Obama wants air strikes into FATA to continue: NYT 25 Jan 2009 Hours after US missiles killed 20 people in FATA, President Barack Obama convened a meeting of his top national security advisers and endorsed the decision to continue drone strikes into Pakistan. The US media, quoting unidentified official sources, reported that the first meeting of Mr Obama’s National Security Council focused on Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Obama's new foreign policy team prepares escalated bloodletting in Afghanistan and Pakistan By Patrick Martin 24 Jan 2009 In a series of meetings and public appearances Wednesday and Thursday, and with the first military strikes of his administration, President Barack Obama has given a clear signal that he plans intensified bloodshed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the US escalates its military intervention in Central and South Asia.

Is Afghanistan going to be Obama's Iraq? The US could find itself isolated as the conflict goes on 25 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama is facing warnings that the US risks repeating some of its errors in Iraq as the new administration turns its focus to Afghanistan, where Nato forces are engaged in a conflict which has already lasted longer than the Second World War. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said just before Christmas that up to 30,000 more troops could be sent by summer, nearly doubling the size of the US force in the country. "There are fears that this could become a US war rather than a Nato one," said Christopher Langton, senior fellow for conflict at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London.

Helicopter Collision in Iraq Kills Four U.S. Soldiers 26 Jan 2009 Two U.S. helicopters flying in the darkness crashed early Monday morning in northern Iraq, killing four American soldiers, the military said. The crash happened at about 2:15 a.m.

Two U.S. soldiers die in Iraq 24 Jan 2009 The U.S. military says two more American soldiers have died in Iraq. Both died Saturday from what are described as non-combat causes. [Such as, perhaps, another KBR execution?]

Army investigator said Green Beret's death was 'negligent homicide' by KBR 23 Jan 2009 An Army criminal investigator told the family of a Green Beret who was electrocuted while taking a shower at his base in Baghdad that the soldier's death was a case of "negligent homicide" by military contractor KBR and two of its supervisors. The report last month to the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth said Houston-based KBR failed to make certain that qualified electricians and plumbers were working on the barracks where Maseth was killed a year ago, according to a U.S. government official who has seen the correspondence.

Obama Seeks Ban on Space Weapons 26 Jan 2009 President Obama will seek to ban weapons in space, in a dramatic shift from Bush regime policy, though some experts say defining what is and is not a weapon could be tricky.

Morales hails Boliva referendum win 26 Jan 2009 Evo Morales, Bolivia's president, has claimed victory after voters approved a new constitution granting more power to the country's indigenous majority, according to unofficial results. Morales celebrated his victory on Monday, after exit polls showed the new constitution had been passed by a vote of about 60 per cent.

BofA played role in $4 billion Merrill bonuses: report 25 Jan 2009 Bank of America played a role in Merrill Lynch's controversial decision to pay $4 billion in bonuses in December, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. Bank of America had said the payment of $4 billion in compensation in a fourth quarter in which Merrill suffered $15 billion in losses was sanctioned by John Thain, Merrill's chief executive.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Senate panel rolls out pro-business tax breaks for stimulus 23 Jan 2009 The Senate's tax-writing panel on Friday unveiled $275 billion in proposed tax cuts and credits to be put into President Barack Obama's stimulus plan to jolt the moribund U.S. economy back to life. The Senate Finance Committee's economic recovery legislation incorporates much of what the tax-writing panel in the House of Representatives passed earlier this week. It added some provisions desperately sought by corporate America, however, and would waive tax collection on unemployment benefits extended to millions of out-of-work Americans.

Cities, towns expect to fire thousands --Basic services in jeopardy 25 Jan 2009 (MA) Cities and towns across the state expect to lay off thousands of employees. The impact will be widespread and highly visible - shorter hours and longer waits at town halls, larger class sizes, more potholes. Nearly every community is "going to see blood," said Mayor John Barrett III of North Adams, who expects to "limp through" June but anticipates having to close one or more schools and lay off a significant number of city workers after that.

Obama acts to cut U.S. greenhouse emissions --President Obama is expected to ask the agency to reconsider a Bush-era denial of the waiver. 26 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama ordered the government today to re-examine whether California and other states can have tougher auto emission standards, a clean break from Bush administration policy. Obama also directed his administration to get moving on new fuel-efficiency guidelines for the auto industry in time to cover 2011 model-year cars.

Obama acts to reverse Bush climate moves: officials 25 Jan 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama will start reversing former President [sic] George W. Bush's climate change policies on Monday by taking steps to allow states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars and by ordering 2011 vehicle fuel efficiency standards to be set by March.

Obama to Let States Restrict Emissions Standards 26 Jan 2009 President Obama on Monday will direct federal regulators to move swiftly to grant California and 13 other states the right to set strict automobile emissions and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday evening. The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and marks a sharp reversal from Bush regime policy.

Bird flu confirmed in W Canada 25 Jan 2009 An apparently low pathogenic strain of the bird flu has been detected on a turkey farm in western Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said Saturday. The agency confirmed "the presence of H5 avian influenza (AI) virus" in the farm located in Fraser Valley of British Columbia province, where avian flu has been discovered in recent years.

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Pentagon categorized detainees who made anti-American statements as 'returning to terrorism' --Security experts skeptical of detainee report 24 Jan 2009 Security experts are questioning information released by the Pentagon last week, saying 61 former prisoners from its detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may have returned to terrorist activities... On Friday, a Pentagon spokesman defended the integrity of the report but would not directly answer questions about where the figures come from. Pentagon officials have said they would not discuss how the statistics were derived because of security concerns that such information could give clues to how U.S. intelligence officers collect fabricate their data. Peter Bergen, a national security expert and CNN analyst, said that some of those "suspected" to have returned to terrorism are so categorized because they publicly made anti-American statements, "something that's not surprising if you've been locked up in a U.S. prison camp for several years."

Obama ordered Waziristan airstrikes --Guardian report says US commanders consulted president before Friday's missile attacks 25 Jan 2009 US President Barack Obama had given the go-ahead for Friday’s twin US missile strikes against suspected Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] men in the Tribal Areas, The Guardian reported on Saturday. "Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks," said a report on the newspaper’s website.

President orders air strikes on villages in tribal area 24 Jan 2009 Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for his first military action yesterday, missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan which killed at least 18 people. Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks. The first attack yesterday was on the village of Zharki, in Waziristan; three missiles destroyed two houses and killed 10 people. A second attack hours later also in Waziristan killed eight people.

US defense chiefs shy away from 16-month Iraq timetable 22 Jan 2009 US defense chiefs on Thursday shied away from endorsing a 16-month deadline for withdrawing US combat forces from Iraq, saying they would present President Barack Obama a full range of options. Obama met Wednesday with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the US ambassador to Iraq and senior military officers for what the White House said was a session to discuss planning for the withdrawal of US combat troops in 16 months.

Bush administration's ambassador to Iraq warns against quick U.S. troop pullout 22 Jan 2009 Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said Thursday the greatest error the United States could make in Iraq would be a hurried withdrawal. However, he expressed confidence after talks with President Barack Obama that the new chief executive wouldn’t do that.

Investigator: Soldier's electrocution 'negligent homicide' 22 Jan 2009 A U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division investigator has recommended changing the official manner of death for a soldier electrocuted while showering at his base in Iraq from "accidental" to "negligent homicide," according to an e-mail from the investigator obtained by CNN. The investigator blames KBR, the largest U.S. contractor in Iraq, and two KBR supervisors for the incident, saying there is "credible information ... they failed to ensure that work was being done by qualified electricians and plumbers, and to inspect the work that was being conducted."

Israel admits using white phosphorous in attacks on Gaza 24 Jan 2009 After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive. The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial.

Israel to approve aid for IDF officers accused of Gaza war crimes 23 Jan 2009 The government is set to approve a bill Sunday to grant aid and support to Israel Defense Forces officers in cases where they face suits for alleged war crimes from Operation Cast Lead. The bill, titled "strengthening the IDF's hand after Operation Cast Lead", was put forward by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and coordinated by the Ministry or Defense, Ministry of Justice and State Prosecutor.

Israel warns soldiers of prosecution abroad for Gaza 'war crimes' [Time to prosecute key members of the Bush regime for same.] 24 Jan 2009 Israel has warned military officers and senior officials that a threat of prosecution for alleged war crimes in Gaza could hinder future travel abroad. At least four human rights groups are believed to be compiling suits alleging that Israelis perpetrated war crimes in planning or carrying out the three-week operation Cast Lead.

Justice minister to fight Israel war crime charges --Daniel Friedman to lead inter-ministerial team to coordinate Israeli legal defence for civilians, military. 23 Jan 2009 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has put the justice minister in charge of defending Israel against charges of war crimes during its 22-day Gaza assault, a government source said Friday. Daniel Friedman will lead an inter-ministerial team to coordinate a legal defence for civilians and the military, the source said. Israel's military censor has already banned the publication of the identity of the unit leaders who fought the Gaza Strip for fear they may face war crimes charges.

IDF censor bans naming officers involved in Gaza op 23 Jan 2009 The Military Censor is applying strict restrictions preventing the media from identifying officers who participated in the Gaza Strip fighting and information about them that may be used in legal proceedings against them abroad. There is growing concern at the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Justice that Israeli officers will be singled out in a massive wave of suits for alleged human rights violations.

UN fears 'systematic war crimes' by Israel --UN Special Rapporteur on human rights says 'unlawful targets have been selected' by Israel. 23 Jan 2009 A UN human rights expert on Thursday said Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip during its recent offensive there raised "the spectre of systematic war crimes" and needed to be investigated. The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, said he had little doubt about the "unavoidably inhuman character of a large scale military operation of the sort that Israel has initiated... against an essentially defenceless population."

UN 'shocked' by Gaza destruction 23 Jan 2009 The UN's humanitarian chief has told the BBC the situation in Gaza after a three-week Israeli offensive against Hamas was worse than he anticipated. Sir John Holmes, who visited Gaza on Thursday, said he was shocked by "the systematic nature of the destruction".

Thousands march in Paris in support of Gaza 24 Jan 2009 Thousands of protesters marched through Paris on Saturday in support of Palestinians following Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, police and organisers said. The march towards the presidential Elysee Palace, drew 20,000 people according to organisers and 9,000 according to police.

Protest over BBC Gaza appeal veto 24 Jan 2009 A protest is to be held outside the BBC's London HQ over its refusal to broadcast a charity appeal for Gaza. The BBC says it cannot show the appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee because it does not want to compromise its commitment to impartiality. But health minister Ben Bradshaw, a former BBC journalist, said it was "an inexplicable decision" and that the reasons given were "completely feeble".

Israel 'will resume bombing' of Gaza if Hamas reopens tunnels 22 Jan 2009 Israel warned on Thursday that it would resume bombing of the cross-border tunnels into Gaza if it detected evidence that Hamas is using the underground channels to replenish its arsenal. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, said the unilateral ceasefire declared last week would not constrain Israel's efforts to ensure the flow of weapons from Egypt to Gaza was permanently impaired.

Russia says ready to work with U.S. on Afghanistan 23 Jan 2009 Russia welcomes President Barack Obama's decision to review policy in Afghanistan and is ready to cooperate, including on supply routes for NATO forces, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday. "Let us hope the new U.S. administration will be more successful in the Afghan settlement than its predecessor," Medvedev told a news conference after talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Musharraf blames U.S. for failing to capture bin Laden 24 Jan 2009 Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has spoken out against U.S. air strikes in his country, the lack of respect afforded Pakistan, and the failure of the United States to capture al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden. Musharraf made the disclosures in an interview on CNN in which he said Pakistan was treated 'unequally' by the U.S. in comparison to other countries.

U.S. Diplomat in Bolivia Walks Out on Morales Speech 22 Jan 2009 The senior American diplomat in Bolivia walked out of a speech by President Evo Morales today after the Bolivian leader accused the U.S. Embassy in La Paz of trying to undermine his government. "There was an external conspiracy headed by the United States ambassador," Morales said before a group of congressmen and diplomats at the Bolivian Congress building in La Paz. "The United States has fomented the regional disintegration of the country, holding secret meetings to promote disturbances against the national government."

U.S. terrorism suspect's prison conditions OK: judge 23 Jan 2009 A U.S. federal judge on Friday refused to lift strict prison conditions placed upon an American student [Syed Hashmi] who was the first person extradited to the United States from Britain on terrorism charges. Hashmi was arrested in June 2006 at London's Heathrow airport and extradited to New York. He has pleaded not guilty to supporting al Qaeda, including holding ponchos, raincoats and waterproof socks in his London apartment for use by al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

'President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor.' Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case 22 Jan 2009 The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush regime Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. In a filing in San Francisco federal court, President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor. With just hours left in office, President [sic] George W. Bush late Monday asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to stay enforcement of an important Jan. 5 ruling admitting key evidence into the case.

Obama Reverses Rule on U.S. Abortion Aid 24 Jan 2009 President Obama repealed rules on Friday that restricted federal money for international organizations that promote or provide abortions overseas, sweeping aside a pillar of the social policy architecture of George W. Bush’s presidency [sic]. The executive order that Mr. Obama signed reverses one of the first measures enacted by Mr. Bush when he took over the White House eight years ago.

Blagojevich Says Rules Prevent Him From Presenting Defense 23 Jan 2009 Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) charged today that his constitutional rights are being "trampled" in a rush to impeach him, and he appealed for support in changing rules that he said prevent him from receiving a fair trial before the state Senate starting next week. In a Chicago news conference this afternoon, Blagojevich complained that two rules in the Senate proceeding prevent him from effectively defending himself.

Corruption Indictment for Ex-Senate Leader Bruno 23 Jan 2009 Joseph L. Bruno (R), the former State Senate majority leader, was indicted on Friday in Albany on charges that he reaped millions of dollars from companies seeking business from the state or from labor unions, capping a long-running investigation into one of New York’s most powerful political figures. In an eight-count indictment, federal prosecutors accused Mr. Bruno of collecting more than $3 million over a 13-year period, beginning in 1993, from a handful of companies seeking state contracts and grants, as well as contracts to manage pension fund investments for at least 16 labor unions.

Paterson Picks Gillibrand for Senate Seat 24 Jan 2009 Bringing to an end a weeks-long drama about who would replace Hillary Rodham Clinton as United States senator from New York, Gov. David A. Paterson announced that his choice was Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, a congresswoman from upstate who is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions. Ms. Gillibrand is controversial among some of the party’s more liberal leaders downstate. [The Reichwing/corporate-owned media got their way by hammering away at Caroline Kennedy so that coward Paterson would select a 'moderate' (aka GOP lite) to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.]

Thanks, Paterson! Anticipating Gillibrand appointment, GOP pushes replacement candidates 23 Jan 2009 Even before it's clear whether there will be a vacancy, Republicans are coming forth to run for the congressional seat that would be open if U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand is appointed to the U.S. Senate. Among them, state Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, already has the endorsement of GOP chairmen in Warren and Essex counties.

Salmonella death in Minnesota brings U.S. total to 7 24 Jan 2009 The number of deaths related to the U.S. outbreak of salmonella has risen to seven with the death of a Minnesota woman. On Wednesday, federal officials said the sole source of the U.S. salmonella outbreak involving contaminated peanut butter appears to be the Peanut Corp of America's Blakely, Georgia, processing facility. [Corpora-terrorists are poisoning US citizens, with impunity. Hello, Barack?]

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Whistleblower: NSA Targeted Journalists, Snooped on All U.S. Communications --NSA analyzed metadata to determine which communications would be collected 22 Jan 2009 Just one day after George W. Bush left office, an NSA whistleblower has revealed that the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program targeted U.S. journalists, and vacuumed in all domestic communications of Americans, including, faxes, phone calls and network traffic. Russell Tice, a former NSA analyst, spoke on Wednesday to MSNBC host Keith Olbermann. "The National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications," he said. "Faxes, phone calls and their computer communications. ...They monitored all communications."

In Final Legal Act, Bush Appeals Spy Ruling 20 Jan 2009 With a mere 64 minutes left in its last full day in office, the Bush administration asked a federal judge to stay enforcement of a ruling that would keep alive a lawsuit which tests whether the president can bypass the Congress and eavesdrop on Americans without warrants. The request was lodged with U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco at 10:56 p.m. EST on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday -- about 13 hours before the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Obama CIA choice won't call waterboarding torture 22 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA declined on Thursday to call waterboarding "torture," only days after his attorney general nominee condemned the interrogation practice as precisely that. Retired Adm. Dennis Blair replied cautiously when pressed on the waterboarding question at a hearing on his nomination to be director of national intelligence. Torture is banned by U.S. and international laws. "There will be no waterboarding on my watch. There will be no torture on my watch," Blair said, refusing to go further.

Obama to Close CIA 'Black Sites' --President issues executive orders dismantling much of Bush's architecture for 'war on terror' 22 Jan 2009 President Obama on Thursday will order the closure of 'black sites,' where CIA and European security services have interrogated [tortured] terrorist suspects, under executive orders dismantling much of the Bush regime's architecture for the war on [of] terror, according to four individuals familiar with a draft executive order. Mr. Obama will shutter "all permanent detention facilities overseas," the draft said, according to the individuals who asked not to be named because the orders have not yet been signed. There are at least eight such prisons [not to mention, the floating 'black sites' ships at sea], according to published reports. The Bush dictatorship never revealed the number or location of the facilities, although several were said to be in Eastern Europe.

Obama signs order to close Guantánamo Bay --Prison that symbolises George Bush's 'war on terror' will be shut down, accompanied by ban on torture and review of military trials 22 Jan 2009 Barack Obama has signed an executive order to shut down the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay – the most potent symbol of excess in George Bush's "war on terror". The new US president signed two other executive orders to review the use of military trials for terror suspects and ban the harshest interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding. The three executive orders – on the second day of the new administration – showed that Obama was determined to move swiftly to implement some of his key campaign pledges. Administration staff applauded at the signing ceremony in the Oval Office.

UN Rapporteur: Initiate criminal proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld now By Scott Horton 21 Jan 2009 In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program "Frontal 21," on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices. "The evidence is sitting on the table," he stated. "There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture." He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. "The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court," Nowak said.

Bush guilty of torture --President-elect Obama should not be afraid to prosecute By Keith Olbermann 19 Jan 2009 We have tortured people. You and I. This is the people's democracy, we are the people, these are our elected officials. That they did not come to us and ask to act thusly in our names is unfortunate, indeed criminal, but it is also almost irrelevant. They work for us, they tortured people, and so, we have tortured people. You and I know we have tortured Khalid Sheikh-Mohammed. We not only know about it; we have now heard it boasted about by one of the men who as of tomorrow will no longer work for us: George Walker Bush.

Minot AFB finalist for Global Strike Command 22 Jan 2009 North Dakota's congressional delegation says Minot Air Force Base is one of six finalists to be the home of the Air Force's new Global Strike Command. The military created the command to better manage the nation's nuclear arsenal. It comes after a series of embarrassing missteps, including the flight of a B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in August 2007.

Obama Orders Military to Start Planning Troop Reduction in Iraq 22 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama took the first steps toward reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, telling his generals to conduct the "planning necessary to execute a responsible military drawdown" from the country. Obama issued the order during a meeting with his national security team and military commanders in Washington yesterday.

Obama urges Israel to open Gaza borders 22 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama on Thursday called on Israel to open its borders with Gaza, in a powerful sign of his new administration’s break with Bush-era policy on the Middle East and the world as a whole. Speaking on a day when both he and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, were welcomed by hundreds of enthusiastic US diplomats at the State Department, Mr Obama proclaimed that his administration would "actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians" in the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza.

Israel accused of executing parents in front of children in Gaza 21 Jan 2009 Israel has refuted allegations of war atrocities in Gaza after Palestinian children described how their parents had been "executed" by Israeli troops. One nine-year-old boy said his father had been shot dead in front of him despite surrendering to Israeli soldiers with his hands in the air. Another youngster described witnessing the deaths of his mother, three brothers and uncle after the house they were in was shelled. He said his mother and one of his siblings had been killed instantly, while the others bled to death over a period of days.

Investigate now (Haaretz) 22 Jan 2009 The first wave of international journalists has already succeeded in entering Gaza through Rafah, despite the outrageous closure which Israel has imposed on coverage of the events... International aid organizations have also started investigating what transpired on the streets of Gaza. The questions are plentiful and troubling: the mass killing of civilians, among them 300 children and 100 women; the shooting at medical crews; the use of illegal munitions against a civilian population, including white phosphorus shells; the prevention of the evacuation of wounded; bombing and shelling of schools, hospitals, supply convoys and a UN facility. These questions cannot remain unanswered.

Cheers greet Clinton at State 22 Jan 2009 Wasting no time getting to work after her confirmation, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew applause and cheers from hundreds of department employees this morning as she declared a new era for American diplomacy. "I am absolutely honored and thrilled beyond words to be here with you as our nation's 67th secretary of state. And I believe with all of my heart that this is a new era for America," she said.

'Al-Qaida members' arrested in Pakistan raid 22 Jan 2009 Seven suspected members of al-Qaida have been arrested in a raid in Pakistan after a tip-off from US intelligence agencies, Pakistani security officials said today. The officials said one of the men detained could have played a role in the July 7 2005 London bombings. They said the raid was witnessed by US intelligence officials from a nearby car as an unmanned spy plane and three helicopters hovered overhead.

Al Qaeda figure calls for attacks on Britain 22 Jan 2009 A prominent leader of 'al Qaeda' called for attacks in Western countries particularly Britain in retaliation for Israel's offensive in Gaza, arguing that London was behind the creation of the Jewish state. "It's high time that this criminal country, I mean Britain, paid the price of its historic crime," Abu Yahya al-Libi said in a video posted on an Islamist website.

Victim of Virginia Tech slaying was decapitated 22 Jan 2009 A graduate student from China was decapitated with a kitchen knife in a campus cafe at Virginia Tech by another graduate student who knew her, police said Thursday. Xin Yang, 22, was killed Wednesday night after arriving at the campus from Beijing on Jan. 8, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum said. Her accused attacker, 25-year-old Haiyang Zhu of Ningbo, China, knew the victim but no motive for the slaying has been determined, Flinchum said. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Virginia Tech students alerted 22 Jan 2009 A female student was stabbed to death Wednesday night on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus, triggering a crisis alert system that was revamped after a deadly mass shooting in 2007. Students were warned in an electronic alert Wednesday night to stay in place while police investigated the killing and were told in a message at 8:37 p.m. that they could resume normal activity. Campus police took a male suspect into custody around 7:10 p.m.

Judge orders Illinois TB patient into isolation --Patient will be tracked by GPS 22 Jan 2009 A tuberculosis patient who failed to take precautions to avoid spreading the illness will be tracked by GPS and could go to jail if he violates court orders requiring him to remain isolated. Champaign County Circuit Judge John Kennedy imposed those conditions on 20-year-old Clasance Botembe on Wednesday. Botembe will be isolated for 30 days.

Obama overturns Bush order on access to White House records 22 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama began dismantling the Bush legacy Wednesday, using his first full day to overturn an order that let ex-presidents seal their papers forever. It was one of a number of big and small steps by the new president that, taken together, amounted to a slashing denunciation of his predecessor.

Report: Merrill Lynch CEO Spent Over $1M to Redecorate Office --Before Accepting Bailout Billions, Exec Said to Have Hired Decorator-to-the-Stars; Purchased Luxury Furnishings 22 Jan 2009 Less than one month into his new gig at the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain resigned today after it was revealed that he doled out executive bonuses a month ahead of schedule and just days before his struggling Merrill Lynch firm was acquired by the BofA. The amount in bonuses paid out was between $3 and $4 billion, according to the Financial Times.

Same problems in the USA choke the British economy 22 Jan 2009 Last fall, the British government's aggressive response to cleaning up its troubled banks was cited as a model by critics who accused U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson of giving American bankers overly generous bailout terms. But today, deep problems with the flow of credit are choking the British economy, enfeebling retail stores, darkened factories and the housing market alike. The financial ailments -- and their troubling implications for the overall economy -- mirror the ills afflicting the United States' banking sector.

Geithner approved by Senate panel for Treasury Secretary 22 Jan 2009 The Senate Finance Committee voted Thursday to approve the nomination of Timothy Geithner to be Treasury Secretary. The vote was 18 to 5, with Democrats unanimously backing Geithner. The nomination now goes to the full Senate floor, and is expected to be cleared easily.

Obama plans sweeping action on financial bailout 22 Jan 2009 U.S. Treasury secretary nominee Timothy Geithner said President Obama will send Congress a sweeping plan in the next few weeks to shore up banks and unlock credit markets, warning it will require action on a scale "not seen in generations" to address the worsening economic crisis.

Obama halts all regulations pending review 20 Jan 2009 One of President Barack Obama's first acts Tuesday was to put the brakes on all pending regulations that the Bush dictatorship tried to push through in its waning days. The order went out shortly after Obama was inaugurated president, in a memorandum signed by new White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Former President [sic] George W. Bush's administration moved into overdrive in the last year or so on a host of new regulatory proposals.

Obama retakes oath of office after inauguration stumble --Repeat ceremony aims to silence internet conspiracy theorists 22 Jan 2009 When White House reporters heard that the man who fluffed his lines on Barack Obama's big day, the chief justice, John Roberts, was in the building, they assumed he had come to apologise. But Roberts had not come to say sorry, though he may have done that too. He was there for what Americans call a do-over, to have a second go at the swearing-in ceremony. This time Roberts - and Obama - got the words in the right order.

Satire: Fox News: Ten Reasons Why Obama Is Not Really the President By R J Shulman 23 Jan 2009 Fox News will be report tomorrow that there are at least ten valid reasons why Barack Obama is not really the President of the United States. "The liberal media was so in love with this guy," said conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly, who will host the program, "that they missed at least ten facts that disqualify Obama from being president. We will present the facts and then you can decide which reason is the best one to use to remove Obama from the White House," O'Reilly said. (Satire)

Kennedy Drops Bid For Seat In Senate --Decision Comes After Hours of Mixed Signals 22 Jan 2009 Caroline Kennedy, daughter of slain President John F. Kennedy and scion to the political dynasty, withdrew her name from the list of contenders for the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Rodham Clinton, hours after Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state late Wednesday.

Arctic warming pattern 'highly unusual': Report 16 Jan 2009 A major U.S. government report on Arctic climate, prepared with input from eight Canadian scientists, has concluded that the recent rapid warming of polar temperatures and shrinking of multi-year Arctic sea ice are "highly unusual compared to events from previous thousands of years."

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Obama to sign order shutting Guantanamo prison in a year 21 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year and halt military [kangaroo] trials of terror suspects held there, a senior administration official said. The executive order was one of three expected imminently on how to interrogate and prosecute 'al-Qaida,' Taliban or other foreign fighters believed to threaten the United States. The official said the president would sign the order Thursday, fulfilling his campaign promise to shut down a facility that critics around the world say violates domestic and international detainee rights.

Judge Suspends Guantanamo Cases at Obama's Request 21 Jan 2009 A U.S. military judge Wednesday suspended the trial of five prisoners accused of involvement in plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, acceding to a request from military prosecutors in accordance with a directive from the new Obama administration late Tuesday.

Obama orders Guantanamo prosecutor to seek trial delays 21 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama late Tuesday sought a 120-day freeze in the war crimes trial of prisoners held here to give the new administration time to study ongoing war-onof-terror prosecutions. Pentagon prosecutor Clayton Trivett filed a motion seeking a 120-day continuance in the case of five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at 8:51 p.m.

Cracks show in FBI agent's testimony on Khadr --Under cross-examination, agent testifies Khadr said he saw Arar in Afghanistan in 2001, but engineer was in Canada at the time 21 Jan 2009 An FBI agent's testimony that Omar Khadr said he saw Maher Arar in Afghanistan appeared significantly weaker yesterday than it did the day before - and, in the case of at least one key detail, at odds with reality. Robert Fuller, a prosecution witness in the Pentagon's Guantanamo Bay case against Mr. Khadr, testified on Monday that Mr. Khadr, during a 2002 interrogation at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, identified a photo of Mr. Arar and said he had seen him in a Kabul safe house run by an alleged terrorist. But defence lawyers yesterday produced a report written by Mr. Fuller in which he states that Mr. Khadr told him he saw Mr. Arar in Afghanistan in September or October of 2001. The problem is, Mr. Arar was in Canada in October, 2001, as the Arar commission's findings clearly show. U.S. authorities also know he was in California the previous month.

UN to probe if Israel used depleted uranium in Gaza op 22 Jan 2009 United Nations organizations said yesterday that it will investigate complaints that Israel used depleted uranium projectiles in the course of the fighting in Gaza, causing health and environmental damage. The inquiry will be conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Environment Protection Organization, at the request of the Arab states' UN envoys.

Gaza war munitions investigated 22 Jan 2009 The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says it will open an investigation into Israel's alleged use of depleted uranium during the 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip. Wednesday's announcement came after Arab nations sent a letter to Mohammed ElBaradei, the IAEA director-general, asking the UN agency to investigate whether the controversial munitions were used in the war, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead.

Israel deploys troops along Gaza border 21 Jan 2009 Israel has deployed troops along the border with Gaza, shortly after withdrawing from the coastal sliver as a pre-condition for truce. Israel says the redeployment of troops along the buffer zone is directed at giving a quick response to any situation that should arise. According to Press TV's correspondent in Khan Younis, Israel is still in full control of Gaza's airspace, the sea as well as the Rafah crossing.

Israel threatens Gazans with another attack 21 Jan 2009 Israel has threatened to launch a new strike against Gaza after having failed to diminish Hamas's power through three weeks of offensive. "During the operation that we have carried out in the Gaza Strip we have destroyed 150 tunnels, including some which were targeted several times...If we are forced to, there will be more attacks," said Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday.

3 oil firms compete for Iraq oil field 21 Jan 2009 The Iraqi Oil Ministry is studying offers submitted by three international oil companies to develop a prized oil field in southern Iraq, an official said Wednesday. Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said Italy's Eni SpA, Spain's Repsol and Japan's Nippon Oil submitted bids for a service contract to develop Nasiriyah oil field.

Sunni politician escapes bombing in Baghdad 21 Jan 2009 A top official of Iraq's biggest Sunni party escaped assassination in a Baghdad car bombing that killed at least two other people Wednesday -- only 10 days ahead of an election that could reshape local power bases. The U.S. military blamed al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Iraq for the attack against Ziyad al-Ani, deputy secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party and dean of the Islamic University, a Sunni institution.

Iraq rocked by bomb blasts 21 Jan 2009 A series of blasts across Iraq have killed five people and injured at least 14 others. Tuesday's attacks were carried out in Baghdad, Mosul and al-Zubair, which lies near the oil-rich southern city of Basra, police sources said.

Barack Obama: Administration willing to talk to Iran 'without preconditions' 21 Jan 2009 The new Obama administration is willing to talk to Iran "without preconditions" and will work towards the abolition of nuclear weapons, the White House said today. The Obama foreign policy agenda that appeared on the White House website said: "Barack Obama supports tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions," the policy outline said.

US accused of killing 25 Afghan civilians in raid on militants 22 Jan 2009 The US military is investigating claims that more than two dozen Afghan civilians were killed during an attack on militants. The issue has badly undermined support for the 'international coalition' and President Hamid Karzai. As Karzai seeks re-election later this year, he has used the issue of civilian deaths to try to distance himself from the west and has repeatedly called for more care to be taken by coalition occupation troops.

Taliban tell Obama to withdraw US troops 21 Jan 2009 The 'insurgent' Taliban said on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama should learn from the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and pull his troops out of the country to allow Afghans to decide their own fate. "We have no problem with Obama," a spokesman for the extremist Islamist movement told AFP after the inauguration of the new US president. However "he must learn lessons from (former US president [sic] George W) Bush and before that the Soviets," Yousuf Ahmadi said by telephone.

France unwilling to send more troops to Afghanistan 21 Jan 2009 France will reject any immediate request by U.S. President Barack Obama for reinforcements to Afghanistan because it has already deployed enough troops, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday. While many European leaders have welcomed Obama's multilateral approach to diplomacy, they are less eager to send their soldiers on risky missions that are unpopular with voters.

Russia opens Afghanistan supply route for US 21 Jan 2009 The United States will be allowed to transport supplies to its troops in Afghanistan through Russian territory in the first sign of a thawing of relations. The deal, seen as vital to the success of America's military aims in Afghanistan, is the first sign of a softening in Russian attitudes towards the West since last August's war in Georgia.

Pakistan arrests suspected planners of NATO attacks 21 Jan 2009 Pakistani security forces arrested on Wednesday seven suspected 'al Qaeda' militants believed to have planned attacks on trucks taking supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said. The arrests were made in a pre-dawn raid on the house of an Afghan refugee on the outskirts of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province.

U.S. Army recruiting at the mall with videogames --Army invests $12 million in facility that resembles cross between a hotel lobby and video arcade 09 Jan 2009 The U.S. Army, struggling to ensure it has enough manpower as it fights wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is wooing young [impoverished] Americans with videogames, Google maps and simulated attacks on enemy positions from an Apache helicopter. The U.S. Army Experience Center at the Franklin Mills shopping mall in northeast Philadelphia has 60 personal computers loaded with military videogames, 19 Xbox 360 video game controllers and a series of interactive screens describing military bases and career options in great detail. [See: More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle 19 Jan 2009.]

White powder sent to Dow Jones, WSJ harmless-NYPD 22 Jan 2009 White powder in about a dozen envelopes sent to Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones executives turned out to be harmless, the New York Police Department said on Wednesday. The letters contained flour or another food-based substance, police spokesman Paul Browne told Reuters. He said that such letters often are hoaxes.

White Powder Sent to Wall Street Journal, Harvard Law 21 Jan 2009 An unknown white powder was found in about a dozen envelopes mailed to the Wall Street Journal in New York City forcing the evacuation of about 250 employees from the paper's Manhattan newsroom, according to Dow Jones. Similar mail turned up at Harvard Law School in Massachusetts, authorities said. Five Journal employees were decontaminated as a precaution, said FBI spokesman James Margolin.

Obama retakes the oath of office after a busy first day 21 Jan 2009 Chief Justice John G. Roberts was ushered into the Map Room of the White House on Wednesday night to re-administer the oath of office to President Barack Obama because the original oath on Tuesday had a word out of sequence. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the move was made out of "an abundance of caution" in consultation with White House Counsel Greg Craig. Obama's second swearing-in, devoid of the pomp of the initial event, took place at 7:35 p.m. in the presence of a few aides and a press pool. The chief justice was wearing a court robe. "Are you ready to take the oath?" Roberts said. "I am," Obama said, "And we're going to do it very slowly."

Obama freezes salaries of some White House aides 21 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama announced on his first day in office Wednesday that he is freezing the pay of the about a hundred White House employees who make over $100,000 a year. The freeze would hold salaries at their current levels. It is part of a presidential memorandum being issued Wednesday when Obama attends a swearing-in for staff at the White House.

Clinton confirmed as top diplomat 21 Jan 2009 The US Senate has approved Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in President Barack Obama's cabinet. Mrs Clinton easily won a vote in the Senate 94-2, despite some lingering [bogus] concerns from Republicans.

Senate Confirms Clinton, but Holder's Confirmation Vote Delayed 21 Jan 2009 The Senate this afternoon easily confirmed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, but new obstacles have arisen in Eric Holder's quest to become attorney general, including Republican concerns that he will prosecute intelligence agents who engaged in potentially illegal interrogation techniques torture.

Obama's treasury secretary apologises for not paying taxes --Failure to pay $34,000 to revenue service 21 Jan 2009 The man Barack Obama selected to be his treasury secretary has apologised to the US Congress for failing to pay his taxes. Tim Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, admitted he was careless in failing to pay $34,000 to the Internal Revenue Service between 2001 and 2004.

Obama inauguration: Words of history ... crafted by 27-year-old in Starbucks 20 Jan 2009 When Barack Obama steps up to the podium to deliver his inaugural address, one man standing anonymously in the crowd will be paying especially close attention. With his cropped hair, five o'clock shadow and boyish face, he might look out of place among the dignitaries, though as co-author of the speech this man has more claim than most to be a witness to this moment of history. Jon Favreau, 27, is, as Obama himself puts it, the president's mind reader. He is the youngest chief speechwriter on record in the White House, and, despite such youth, was at the centre of discussions of the content of today's speech, one which has so much riding on it.

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'All of a sudden we have this smart guy running the United States.' World Celebrates Obama's Inauguration --CBS News: Crowds Around the Globe In Hopeful Jubilation Over New Presidency 20 Jan 2009 In Kenya, the land of his father, they sang Barack Obama's name. In Donegal, Ireland, they cheered in what claims to be the land of his distant cousin, and wrote new lyrics. "There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama!" They rang the ceremonial bell in the town in Japan that bears his name. Yes, it's called Obama, Japan. Never have so many felt so close, from so far away, CBS News reports. In Russia, one man said, "all of a sudden we have this smart guy running the United States." The world seemed to stop to watch the man many see as their new leader too.

Barack Obama sworn in as 44th president of the United States 20 Jan 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, becoming the nation's first African-American president after a history-making run for the White House. Obama took the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the U.S. Capitol.

Obama Is Sworn In as the 44th President 20 Jan 2009 Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States Tuesday, and called on Americans to join him in confronting what he described as an economic crisis caused by greed but also "our collective failure to make hard choices." With his wife, Michelle, holding the Bible, Mr. Obama, the 47-year-old son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Africa, was sworn in just after noon, a little later than planned, and spoke immediately thereafter.

Joe Biden sworn in as 47th vice president 20 Jan 2009 Joe Biden, whose foreign policy expertise, Washington savvy and personal style earned him Barack Obama's trust and faith, was sworn in Tuesday as the 47th vice president of the United States. With the world watching, Biden raised his right hand and took his oath of office from John Paul Stevens, associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Barack Obama's Inaugural Address --Prepared text of President-elect Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, as provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. 20 Jan 2009 (Transcript)

Obama pledges new start with Muslims 20 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama promised to improve U.S. ties with the Muslim world in his inauguration address on Tuesday, after tensions that followed the Sept. 11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," said Obama, who became the first black president of the United States.

Security tight as Obama takes oath 20 Jan 2009 Barack Obama was sworn in Tuesday as the 44th president of the United States with no major security problems, but authorities are looking into an unspecified threat to disrupt the inauguration. The FBI is investigating two "streams of intelligence" suggesting the Somalia-based terrorist organization Al Shabaab may have been plotting an attack timed to coincide with the event, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint threat advisory obtained by CNN.

FBI And Homeland Security Issue Inauguration Security Bulletin 20 Jan 2009 The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have put out a joint security bulletin as a precaution relating to the inauguration. Intelligence suggests that a radical Somalia-based Islamist group called al-Shabaab may try to disrupt the festivities.

Huge Audience Watches Obama Make History --Worldwide Audience Reflects on Historic Day for All Americans 20 Jan 2009 Black and white, young and old, stars and starstruck began gathering before dawn Tuesday to witness history as Barack Obama is sworn in as the nation's 44th president. According to the latest poll numbers, three in four Americans plan to watch or listen as the 44th president takes office. People were arriving at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as early as 2:30 a.m., and by 7 a.m. crowds were packed in from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Many walked for miles in the bitter cold, and others drove hundreds of miles.

Crowd of Two Million Fills the Mall 20 Jan 2009 They woke up early. They stayed up late. They arrived in cars and charter buses from Ohio and Tennessee and the Carolinas. And as the morning progressed they had virtually filled the Mall -- some 2 million or more, according to the initial estimate from a senior security official -- from the VIPs assembled in orderly array around President-elect Barack Obama's inaugural platform, to the rambunctious crowd spilling out across the grounds of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

US activists vent their rage as Bush exits 20 Jan 2009 As George W. Bush prepared to leave the US presidency [sic], protestors hurled shoes at the White House in a symbolic farewell for the man they accuse of gross mismanagement, obstructing justice and war crimes. Activists and tourists eager to see the Bush era end appeared throughout the day in front of the famed residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to snicker their good-byes.

Bush leaves note in Oval Office desk for Obama 20 Jan 2009 Continuing a White House ritual, President [sic] George W. Bush left a note in the Oval Office for President-elect Barack Obama, wishing him well as he takes the reins of the executive branch. "I won't provide any details, but the theme is similar to what he's said since election night about the fabulous new chapter President-elect Obama is about to start, and that he wishes him the very best," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday.

Ted Kennedy 'feeling well' after becoming ill at inaugural luncheon 20 Jan 2009 Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who has been treated over the last year for brain cancer, became ill at a congressional luncheon today and was taken by ambulance to a Washington hospital. Kennedy had been present for President Obama's swearing-in at the Capitol and was attending the post-ceremony luncheon with Obama and congressional leaders when, observers said, he began having convulsions.

Aide: Byrd left Hill lunch when Kennedy stricken 20 Jan 2009 Sen. Robert C. Byrd's office says the 91-year West Virginian decided to leave an inauguration luncheon after Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was stricken, but not because of any medical problem of his own. Spokesman Mark Ferrell said that Byrd was sitting at the Capitol luncheon with Sen. Kennedy when the Massachusetts senator took sick.

Afghanistan seeks control over NATO deployments 20 Jan 2009 The Afghan government has sent NATO headquarters a draft agreement that would give Afghanistan more control over future NATO deployments in the country -- including the positioning of some U.S. troops, officials said Tuesday. The draft technical agreement would put into place rules of conduct for NATO-led troops in Afghanistan and the number of additional NATO troops and their location would have to be approved by the Afghan government.

U.S. Secures New Supply Routes to Afghanistan 21 Jan 2009 Faced with the risk that Taliban attacks could imperil the main supply route for NATO troops in Afghanistan, the United States military has obtained permission to move troop supplies through Russia and Central Asia, Gen. David H. Petraeus [Betrayus], the top American commander in the Middle East, said on Tuesday.

Blasts hit US military, government convoys in Iraq 20 Jan 2009 Two bombs struck separate U.S. military and Iraqi governmental convoys in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing five Iraqi civilians and wounding two American soldiers, the U.S. military said.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon condemns the 'outrageous' and 'excessive' use of force by Israel in Gaza 20 Jan 2009 U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon has described the Israeli shelling of three United Nations buildings in Gaza as 'outrageous'. Clearly shocked by the devastation, Mr Ban demanded an investigation into the attacks in which more than 50 Palestinian civilians were killed while they took refuge inside the buildings. He toured the still-smouldering U.N. headquarters and two damaged schools and led a silence for those who died when the Israelis attacked during their ground offensive.

Blind and burnt: Mahmoud, 14, young victim of banned white phosphorus shelling 20 Jan 2009 Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip may be over but Mahmoud Mattar, 14, will not be able to sense the quiet that has descended on his home town of Jabalya. Blinded in both eyes, with third-degree burns over much of his torso, Mahmoud lies unconscious in the Sheikh Zayid Hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.

Israel ammunition in Gaza had 'depleted uranium,' say Arabs 19 Jan 2009 Arab nations accused Israel on Monday of blasting Gaza with ammunition containing depleted uranium and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate reports that traces of it had been found in victims of the shelling. In a letter on behalf of Arab ambassadors accredited in Austria, Prince Mansour Al-Saoud, the Saudi Ambassador, expressed "our deep concern regarding the information ... that traces of depleted uranium have been found in Palestinian victims."

Stocks tumble on fresh worries about banks 20 Jan 2009 The dawn of the Obama presidency could not shake Wall Street from its dejection over the banking industry's growing problems. After hearing the new president's inaugural address Tuesday, investors went back to unloading stocks, sending the major indexes down more than 3 percent and the Dow Jones industrials down more than 300 points.

Public anger growing at 'irresponsible' banks [Good. Hopefully, it *boils over.*] 19 Jan 2009 Public anger over the "irresponsible" lending of Britain's banks intensified as MPs and unions criticised their conduct and even Gordon Brown felt compelled to express his anger as the latest bail-out package was announced. Mr Brown admitted that taxpayers were justified at feeling angry that billions of pounds worth of their cash was being used to support the banks as a result of their behaviour.

Quick action! Stop Arnold's attack on the disabled and the blind (SEIUvoice.org) 20 Jan 2009 Because Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [R-sociopath] vetoed the Democratic budget solution, California is about to run out of cash and issue IOUs instead of checks to millions of Californians. Disabled and blind people who depend on that money to pay for rent and food will see those payments ended. That's why the members of the SEIU United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) are going to march in Sacramento on Saturday, January 24, to protest these budget cuts and the IOUs. (Sign solidarity petition)

U.S. Airways sends $5,000 to passengers in crash-landing 20 Jan 2009 U.S. Airways has sent a check for $5,000 to each passenger who was on the plane that crashed in the Hudson River last week, saying it will be months before they receive any of their possessions that were on the plane and are recoverable. The airline also included checks to reimburse the 150 passengers for the costs of their tickets.

Antarctic ice shelf set to collapse due to warming 19 Jan 2009 A huge Antarctic ice shelf is on the brink of collapse with just a sliver of ice holding it in place, the latest victim of global warming that is altering maps of the frozen continent. "We've come to the Wilkins Ice Shelf to see its final death throes," David Vaughan, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), told Reuters after the first -- and probably last -- plane landed near the narrowest part of the ice.

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Obama steps to door of White House _ and history 20 Jan 2009 Stepping into history, Barack Hussein Obama grasps the reins of power as America's first black president in a high-noon inauguration amid grave economic worries and high expectations. Around the world, Obama's election electrified millions with the hope that America will be more embracing, more open to change.

Obama poised to become 44th U.S. president 20 Jan 2009 Barack Obama was poised to make history on Tuesday as America's first black president, riding the optimism of millions of people into power and inheriting a recession and two wars that will test his skills. Obama, 47, the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, was set to take the oath of office at midday (12 p.m. EST) on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, his hand placed on a Bible used by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration in 1861.

Despite Snarled Traffic and Cold, City Is Already Celebrating 20 Jan 2009 Tens of thousands of festive visitors crowded the Mall and the city yesterday, counting down the hours to today's historic inauguration, while authorities prepared to welcome -- and control -- what could be the largest crowd in Washington's history.

Poll: Obama's popularity grows as inauguration nears 18 Jan 2009 A national poll suggests that President-elect Barack Obama is more popular than ever. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed say they approve of how Obama is handling the presidential transition. The poll also suggests that 68 percent of those questioned are personally "thrilled or happy" that Obama will soon be inaugurated as president.

Thousands serve on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 20 Jan 2009 Volunteers were out in force Monday, across the Bay Area and around the nation, to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a "day of service," propelled by a call from President-elect Barack Obama to honor the slain civil rights leader's memory by working for the common good.

In Bipartisan Appeal, Obama Praises McCain and Powell 20 Jan 2009 In a major bipartisan appeal on the eve of his inauguration, Barack Obama held dinners Monday evening for Republicans Colin Powell and John McCain, praising both to the skies... Mr. Obama reached across the aisle and across the battle lines of the last election, calling his former opponent a man who sought common ground and attaching superlatives to Mr. Powell. He did not mention that Mr. McCain evinced little of his bipartisan side during the presidential campaign... Mr. McCain's other wingman, Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut [traitor-Israel] who earned much enmity from Democrats by appearing at the Republican convention, also attended. [Hey, Barack! Where is the 'praise to the skies' and 'attached superlatives' to anyone on the Left? You had no *cabinet positions* to represent those who, you know, donated $750 million toward your victory. --LRP]

Obama Reaches Out for McCain's Counsel 19 Jan 2009 Over the last three months, Mr. Obama has quietly consulted Mr. McCain about many of the new administration’s potential nominees to top national security jobs and about other issues -- in one case relaying back a contender’s answers to questions Mr. McCain had suggested. Mr. McCain, meanwhile, has told colleagues "that many of these appointments he would have made himself," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a close McCain friend.

Obama to Order Iraq Withdrawal on Day One, Axelrod Says 18 Jan 2009 Incoming White House senior adviser David Axelrod said this morning that President-elect Barack Obama will fulfill his campaign promise and begin on Wednesday the process of withdrawing America forces from Iraq within 16 months.

Mission accomplished! Iraq invites oil firms to workshop in Turkey 18 Jan 2009 The Iraqi Oil Ministry will hold a workshop next month in Turkey for international oil companies that have qualified for Iraq's first contract bidding round since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. The ministry's spokesman, Assem Jihad, says Iraqi officials will hear suggestions and comments from oil companies for the bidding procedures and contract models to be studied.

More Americans Joining Military as Jobs Dwindle 19 Jan 2009 As the number of jobs across the nation dwindles, more Americans are joining the military, lured by a steady paycheck, benefits and training. The last fiscal year was a banner one for the military, with all active-duty and reserve forces meeting or exceeding their recruitment goals for the first time since 2004, the year that violence in Iraq intensified drastically, Pentagon officials said. And the trend seems to be accelerating.

Rulings of Wrongful Detentions at Guantánamo 19 Jan 2009 In the last three months, at least 24 prisoners have been declared improperly held by courts or a tribunal -- or nearly 10 percent of the population at the detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where about 245 men remain. The Bush regime has maintained that the detention camp holds "the worst of the worst." In a radio interview Tuesday, Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said that "now what’s left, that is the hardcore."

Israel to quit Gaza before inauguration 20 Jan 2009 Israel planned to complete a troop pullout from Gaza before Barack Obama's inauguration Tuesday, Israeli political sources said, in what analysts saw as an effort to avoid any tension with the new U.S. president. More Israeli forces left the Gaza Strip Monday and the Israeli political sources said all would be out before Obama was sworn in at 5 p.m. British time.

Travel advisory issued for top IDF officers --State expresses concern over international human rights groups' intention to file war crimes charges against military personnel with The Hague, local European courts 19 Jan 2009 IDF officers intending to travel to Europe, whether for business or pleasure, have been advised to contact the Judge Advocate General's Office prior to leaving Israel; and some may be instructed not to leave the country. The advisory has been issued following Israel's concern that international arrest warrants may be issued against officers who were involved in the Israeli offensive in Gaza, on charges of war crimes.

Israel fears wave of war crimes lawsuits over Gaza offensive 19 Jan 2009 Israel is preparing for a wave of lawsuits by pro-Palestinian organizations overseas against Israelis involved in the Gaza fighting, claiming they were responsible for war crimes due to the harsh results stemming from the IDF's actions against Palestinian civilians and their property.

95 Palestinian fighters killed in Gaza war 19 Jan 2009 A Palestinian human rights group has revealed that only 95 resistance fighters were killed in the 23-day Israeli offensive into Gaza. From the 1194 Gazans officially registered as killed in Israeli attacks from December 27 to January 17, a whopping 1099 were civilians, the Gaza-based Palestinian center for human rights reported on Sunday. Only 95 of those killed were resistance fighters.

Family members die in Israeli house demolition --Posted by Al Jazeera 18 Jan 2009 Israeli forces demolished the house of the Sammouni family in Gaza City after ordering them to remain in it for safety. Twenty-seven members of the family died and another 90 Gazans remained trapped under the rubble, with rescue efforts hampered by Israeli forces. (Video)

Bullets in the brain, shrapnel in the spine: the terrible injuries suffered by children of Gaza 17 Jan 2009 Doctors at a hospital near Gaza are almost overwhelmed by the number of Palestinian children needing treatment for bullet wounds to their heads. On just one day last week staff at the El-Arish hospital in Sinai were called to perform sophisticated CAT brain scans on a nine-year-old, two 10-year-olds and a 14-year-old - each of whom had a bullet still lodged in their brain, after coming under fire during the Israeli ground assault on Gaza.

Israel to keep tight grip on Gaza reconstruction 19 Jan 2009 Israel intends to exert control over the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following its 22-day offensive, and is seeking guarantees that no U.N. projects will benefit Hamas, officials said on Monday. Israel, which declared a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday, retains full control over Gaza's commercial crossings, through which goods and other materials for rebuilding must pass.

Britain to send warships to Gaza as Israel prepares for ceasefire 17 Jan 2009 Britain will send warships to the eastern Mediterranean to 'prevent' arms being smuggled into the Gaza Strip after an Israeli ceasefire. The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown also appeared to suggest that Britain might put people on the ground to help secure the crossings into Gaza.

Jewish leaders say Nazi imagery at anti-Israel rallies incites anti-Semitism 19 Jan 2009 The use of Nazi imagery at recent anti-Israel demonstrations across Europe has fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and incited violence against Jews, the head of Israel's Holocaust memorial said Monday.

Iran accuses 2 doctors of ties to alleged U.S. plot 19 Jan 2009 A top Iranian counter-intelligence official said two renowned AIDS physicians with ties to the United States were among a group of people on trial on charges of participating in an alleged American-backed underground espionage cell, Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Monday. The official, who was not named, said activist brothers Drs. Arash and Kamiar Alaei were accused of participating in what Iranian authorities say was a $32-million plot to help organize "soft subversion" of the Islamic Republic.

Afghans not expecting much change under Obama 19 Jan 2009 Barack Obama's pledges to step up pressure on militant safe havens in Pakistan and to boost troop numbers in Afghanistan have raised hopes in government for a new tack in the war against extremists. But many ordinary Afghans do not expect to see real change from the incoming Democratic administration after seven years of US intervention in which a Taliban-led 'insurgency' has only grown.

Plague kills 40 al-Qaeda operatives --Security source: "This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease." 19 Jan 2009 'Anti'-terror bosses last night hailed their latest ally in the war on of terror -- the Black Death. At least 40 al-Qaeda members died horribly after being struck down with the disease that devastated Europe in the Middle Ages. The killer bug, also known as the plague, swept through insurgents training at a forest camp in Algeria, North Africa. [Let's see... who has the technology to develop and disseminate plague as a bioweapon? See: Three genes can turn normal flu into a killer, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers find 30 Dec 2008 and Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004, etc.]

Black Death 'kills al-Qaeda operatives in Algeria' 19 Jan 2009 The Black Death has reportedly killed at least 40 al-Qaeda operatives in North Africa. The disease, which struck Europe in the Middle Ages killing more than 25 million people, has swept through a training camp for insurgents in Algeria. The arrival of the plague was discovered when security forces found the body of a dead terrorist by a roadside, the Sun reports. The victim belonged to the large al-Qaeda network AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb).

Al-Qaeda Video Warns Germany to End Afghan Mission, DPA Says 19 Jan 2009 'Al-Qaeda,' in a purported videotape message, said Germany should end its military mission in Afghanistan, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported. Germany is "gullible and naive" to expect to "emerge unscathed" from having the third-largest contingent in the international military mission in Afghanistan, DPA said early today, citing the videotape. A German language speaker CIA troll, wearing a turban and a facecloth that left only his eyes visible, spoke in the 30-minute tape posted on the Internet two days ago, the news agency said.

U.S. execution breached international law: World Court 19 Jan 2009 The execution of a Mexican national in Texas last year breached U.S. obligations under international law, the World Court held on Monday. The court said its 2004 judgment, in which it ordered the United States to review the death sentences of a number of Mexican nationals, remained binding. "The United States continues to be under an obligation to fully implement it," said the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court.

In-flight confrontations can lead to terrorism charges --At least 200 passengers have been convicted of felonies under the Patriot Act, often for behavior involving raised voices and profanity. Some experts say airlines are misusing the law. 20 Jan 2009 The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Tamera Jo Freeman's arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington. Freeman is one of at least 200 people on flights who have been convicted under the amended law. In most of the cases, there was no evidence that the passengers had attempted to hijack the airplane or physically attack any of the flight crew. Many have simply involved raised voices, foul language and drunken behavior.

Ruling on Records Delivers a Win to Cheney 20 Jan 2009 A federal judge yesterday rejected the claim by a coalition of historians and nonprofit groups that Vice President [sic] Cheney intended to illegally discard some of his official records, and instead accepted the pledge of a senior White House aide that key Cheney documents and other materials will be transferred as required to the National Archives.

Bush commutes sentences of former US border agents 19 Jan 2009 In his final acts of clemency, President [sic] George W. Bush on Monday commuted the prison sentences of two former U.S. Border Patrol agents whose convictions for shooting a Mexican drug dealer ignited fierce debate about illegal immigration. Bush's decision to commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, who tried to cover up the shooting, was welcomed by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

House Plan for Infrastructure Disappoints Advocates for Major Projects 20 Jan 2009 When President-elect Barack Obama announced last month that he would revive the economy with the largest public works program since the dawn of the Interstate System of highways, advocates for the nation’s long-neglected infrastructure were euphoric. Some hoped that the time had finally come to bring high-speed rail to the United States, or to wean the nation from its dependence on foreign oil with new or transformed public transit systems, or to take bold action to solve the problems of rising populations and falling reservoir levels across the Southwest. But those hopes are fading.

Records show plane suffered previous malfunction 20 Jan 2009 The US Airways jet that made a dramatic emergency landing on New York's Hudson River last week experienced an engine compressor failure two days earlier, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said Monday that the board's examination of the Airbus 320's maintenance records show "there was an entry in the aircraft's maintenance log that indicates a compressor stall occurred on Jan. 13."

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'In some places, Washington will look like an occupied city.' High-tech security bubble wraps Washington --The military, supporting civilian authorities, is using sophisticated new surveillance systems developed for Iraq and Afghanistan wars 18 Jan 2009 As the multitudes arrive for the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, the most high-tech security bubble ever created is in place to protect the incoming president from any foreseeable act of God, nature or man [or Bush]. At least 150 multi-agency "intel teams" will deploy throughout the region so that undercover FBI agents and other behavior-analysis specialists can look for trouble. In some places, Washington will look like an occupied city. Sharpshooters will be on virtually every building. Law-enforcement and intelligence nerve centers and mobile command posts are sprouting. The FBI is deploying an armored assault vehicle and a weapons-of-mass-destruction response truck. The military, supporting civilian authorities, is using sophisticated new surveillance systems developed for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to monitor the mall...

Israel accused of war crimes over 12-hour assault on Gaza village --White flags ignored and houses bulldozed with families inside, claim residents 18 Jan 2009 Israel stands accused of perpetrating a series of war crimes during a sustained 12-hour assault on a village in southern Gaza last week in which 14 people died. In testimony collected from residents of the village of Khuza'a by the Observer, it is claimed that Israeli soldiers entering the village: attempted to bulldoze houses with civilians inside; killed civilians trying to escape under the protection of white flags; opened fire on an ambulance attempting to reach the wounded; used indiscriminate force in a civilian area and fired white phosphorus shells. If the allegations are upheld, all the incidents would constitute breaches of the Geneva conventions.

'Tungsten bombs' leave Israel's victims with mystery wounds --As it declares a unilateral ceasefire, Jerusalem faces a UN call for a war crimes investigation 18 Jan 2009 Israel was facing demands for war crimes investigations as it declared a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza last night after a 22-day assault in which more than 1,200 Palestinians, a third of them children, were killed and 13 Israelis died. Two children were killed yesterday when Israeli tanks shelled a UN school in which families were sheltering, leading a UN spokesman, Chris Gunness, to say: "There has to be an investigation to determine whether a war crime has been committed." ['A' war crime, singular? Uh, *boatload.* The boatload of war crimes needs to be investigated, along with the *financial backers* (US govt) of such war crimes. --LRP]

Military components factory ransacked in Gaza protest --Nine people held after break-in at plant near Brighton allegedly making parts for Israeli missiles 18 Jan 2009 Nine people are being questioned by police following extensive damage at an arms factory where protesters claim military components are being made for Israeli warplanes bombing Gaza. The group, which calls itself Smash EDO, entered the EDO MBM Technology plant in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, in the early hours of this morning. During the incident computers and furniture were hurled from the windows of the Sussex factory. Police described the damaged as "substantial". Demonstrators said they were "decommissioning" the site in protest against the killings of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military.

MP makes Israeli troops Nazi link 16 Jan 2009 A prominent Jewish MP has compared the actions of Israeli troops with Nazis who forced his family to flee Poland. Sir Gerald Kaufman, MP for Gorton in Manchester, drew the parallel during a Commons debate on the Gaza conflict.

British Jews attacked for pro-Gaza solidarity 18 Jan 2009 British Jews have been attacked for expressing support for Palestinians suffering under Israeli military strikes in Gaza. Police confirmed yesterday that they have provided protection to a number of people believed to be victims of UK-based Zionist extremists angered by expressions of solidarity with Palestinians.

Iranian cleric calls for shooting Livni 17 Jan 2009 A high-level Iranian cleric has called for the shooting of the Israeli foreign minister in a speech before worshippers. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during Friday prayers at Tehran's main mosque that he wanted someone to shoot Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. "Every time the picture of this woman is shown, I really wish that somebody would expend a bullet on her," he said according to a recording of the sermon obtained by the Associated Press.

US journalists call Livni a 'terrorist' 17 Jan 2009 Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was surprised Friday night by three journalists who shot accusations at her over the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The incident took place at the Washington Press Club, after Livni signed a cooperation agreement with US Secretary of State [war criminal] Condoleezza Rice aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons from Iran to Hamas. One of the journalists called Livni a "terrorist" and complained that Israel was preventing reporters from covering the war in Gaza. "What, are you like Zimbabwe?" another woman told the foreign minister.

Hamas announces ceasefire after Israel declares truce 18 Jan 2009 Hamas said today it would cease fire immediately along with other militant groups in the Gaza Strip and give Israel, which already declared a unilateral truce, a week to pull its troops out of the territory. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier that if a ceasefire held in the Hamas-ruled enclave, Israel could start the process of withdrawing its forces.

UN chief relieved about Gaza, urges Israel withdrawal 17 Jan 2009 U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday he was relieved about an Israeli ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and urged the Jewish state to withdraw all of its troops as soon as possible. "I am relieved that the Israeli government has decided to cease hostilities as of midnight GMT," Ban told reporters. "This should be the first step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza," he said, adding that he wanted the withdrawal "as soon as possible".

Massive air raid over Gaza kills dozens 17 Jan 2009 In a last minute onslaught, the Israeli army has unleashed a savage crescendo to its three-week long military offensive in Gaza. With a ceasefire looming, which could come as early as Saturday, the Israel army was going all-out to inflict as much damage as it could before hostilities end.

Gaza Hospital, Tons of Food, Medicine Set Ablaze 16 Jan 2009 Israeli shells destroyed the United Nations warehouse in its main Gaza compound yesterday, sending hundreds of tons of food and medicine up in flames. The fire continues to burn today. "Massive devastation and destruction" was reported in the area of the compound, said John Ging, who heads the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA.

Patients flee as flames engulf Gaza hospital: medics 16 Jan 2009 Desperate patients tried to flee a hospital in Gaza City this morning as it became engulfed in flames after being earlier set on fire by an Israeli tank shell, medics and witnesses said. In scenes of utter panic, patients who had been wounded in the ongoing war in the territory could be seen trying to struggle from their beds, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Israel Discovers Gas! 18 Jan 2009 The Houston-based Noble Energy company, drilling for Israel’s Delek fuel company, announced that it has discovered a huge deposit of natural gas under the Mediterranean Sea near Haifa. Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) said that the find was of "historic proportions," and that it could change the face of Israel’s economy.

Iran court convicts 4 over alleged US-backed plot 17 Jan 2009 Iran's official news agency reports that four Iranians have been convicted and sentenced to prison in an alleged US-backed plot to topple the government. IRNA says Tehran's Revolutionary Court sentenced the four to jail on charges of trying to overthrow the Islamic government with the alleged support of the U.S. State Department and the CIA.

Iraqi guards said to throw party for shoe-thrower 16 Jan 2009 The Iraqi journalist jailed since throwing his shoes at President [sic] George W. Bush got a visit from his brother Friday and a birthday party from his guards as he turned 30. Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who has gained cult status for his protest, is in good shape but has been denied access to his lawyer, relatives said after his brother Maitham visited him for two hours in his detention cell in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

500 troops to Afghanistan to prepare for buildup: Pentagon 17 Jan 2009 Hundreds of troops from a US naval engineering unit will deploy to Afghanistan next month to build facilities needed to accommodate a 30,000-troop buildup, the Pentagon said on Friday. The deployment order is going to 500 troops of the 25th Naval Construction Regiment based in Gulfport, Mississippi, which had been scheduled to deploy to Kuwait.

5 killed, 30 wounded in Kabul suicide attack 17 Jan 2009 Four Afghan civilians and a U.S. service member were killed and 30 people were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack outside a U.S. military base and the German Embassy in the Afghan capital on Saturday, officials said. "Initial reports indicate a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was the cause of the incident," the U.S. military said in a statement.

Secret List of U.S. Military Bases to Replace Guantanamo 16 Jan 2009 The U.S. military has prepared a list of U.S. military bases that could be used to house as many as 250 prisoners currently being held at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, military officials tell ABCNews.com. The list -- which includes Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas; the Marine Air Station in Miramar, California; and the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in South Carolina -- has been circulated in a classified brief to members of Congress and was prepared by the Pentagon's Joint Staff.

Pentagon cleared of propaganda violations 17 Jan 2009 An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media. In a report posted on its website, the Pentagon's inspector general said "we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper".

Saudi Arabia: KBR expands interests to security facilities 16 Jan 2009 Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is reportedly becoming a serious competitor to all major US construction and contracting companies active in Saudi Arabia, including notably Bechtel and Fluor. KBR is carrying out a contract to manage the construction of a chemicals and plastics production complex in Ras Tanura, and is now said to be expanding activity in the Kingdom to include security and military facilities.

KBR Awarded Texas Statewide Job Order Contract by The Cooperative Purchasing Network 17 Jan 2009 KBR today announced it has been awarded a job order contract by TCPN (The Cooperative Purchasing Network) to provide construction management services for public entities throughout the entire state of Texas. The contract has been consolidated and awarded exclusively to KBR. The one-year contract offers five option years for renewal and has an anticipated value of $24 million.

Tips to FBI About Suspicious Activity on the Rise 17 Jan 2009 The FBI said Saturday it is receiving more and more tips about suspicious activities and items as the inauguration approaches, though there have been no specific or credible threats. The FBI is one of 58 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that are part of the largest inaugural security operation in history.

Bailed-Out Firms Have Tax Havens, GAO Finds 17 Jan 2009 Most of America's largest publicly traded corporations -- including several that are receiving billions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to finance their recovery -- have set up offshore operations that could help them avoid paying U.S. taxes on their profits, a government study released yesterday found. American International Group, Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are among the companies that are getting bailed out by U.S. taxpayers while having subsidiaries in locations where they can avoid paying U.S. taxes, according to the Government Accountability Office. Of the 100 largest public companies, 83 do business in tax-haven hotspots like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands, where they can move their income into tax-free accounts.

Brown seeks foreign help to rescue banks 17 Jan 2009 Gordon Brown has confirmed that Britain's stricken banks will require a second bailout, calling for "international action" to rescue them from collapse. The Prime Minister, who revealed he was "angry" at the banking system, said a new global solution [!?!] would be required to solve the ongoing crisis, on top of the £500bn taxpayer-funded plan announced last October.

Obama rides the rails to DC, packing nation's hope 17 Jan 2009 Invoking hope and history, President-elect Barack Obama rolled into the capital city Saturday night pledging to help bring the nation "a new Declaration of Independence" and promising to rise to the stern challenges of the times. He kicked off a four-day inaugural celebration with a daylong rail trip, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took in 1861. Obama began his day in Philadelphia, where he said the young nation had faced its "first true test" as a fragile democracy. He ended it in Washington, where his own tests await after his inauguration on Tuesday.

Up to 40,000 welcome Obama to Baltimore 17 Jan 2009 Overjoyed people packed the streets of Baltimore from the War Memorial building to the historic City Hall this afternoon to see President-elect Barack Obama as his inaugural train stopped there. A crowd that, by some estimates, numbered as many as 40,000 people chanted his name, told him they loved him and waved small American flags Obama’s standard response? "I love you back," he said, from behind a barrier of bullet proof glass.

Pelosi Open to Prosecution of Bush Administration Officials 18 Jan 2009 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is receptive to the idea of prosecuting some Bush administration officials, while letting others who are accused of misdeeds leave office without prosecution, she told Chris Wallace in an interview on "FOX News Sunday." "I think you look at each item and see what is a violation of the law and do we even have a right to ignore it," the California Democrat said. "And other things that are maybe time that is spent better looking to the future rather than to the past."

Bush Years 8 Minutes By Keith Olbermann 16 Jan 2009 (Transcript)

Satire: Cheney's One Regret: I Should Have Tried Cannibalism By R J Shulman 17 Jan 2009 In a candid interview with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity, outgoing Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said that overall, his eight years in office were quite fulfilling. "I got to invade and decimate helpless countries, oversee torturing prisoners to death, funneled funds to Halliburton on no bid contracts, spied on citizens and outed spies, watched a whole city drown and witnessed millions thrown out of their homes. But I do have one regret," Cheney said, "and that is that I didn't eat anyone." (Satire!)

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Special court OKs broad evidence-gathering rules 15 Jan 2009 The government does not need a search warrant when it taps the phones or checks the e-mails of suspected terrorists who are outside the United States, even if Americans might be overheard on these calls, a special intelligence court ruled in an opinion released Thursday. The decision confirms what the Bush regime officials and some legal experts have long said. While the Constitution protects the privacy rights of Americans against "unreasonable searches and seizures," this principle does not bar U.S. spy agencies from conducting surveillance aimed at foreign targets abroad.

Court Affirms Wiretapping Without Warrants 16 Jan 209 In a rare public ruling, a secret federal appeals court has said telecommunications companies must cooperate with the government to intercept international phone calls and e-mail of American citizens suspected of being spies or terrorists. The ruling came in a case involving an unidentified company’s challenge to 2007 legislation that expanded the president’s legal power to conduct wiretapping without warrants for intelligence purposes.

Inauguration security center to go live Saturday 16 Jan 2009 The multi-agency command center, run by the Secret Service eight blocks from the White House, will have more than 100 officials from 58 federal, state and local agencies overseeing what is likely the largest security operation in inaugural history. It is the only command center in the Washington area where officials will monitor inaugural activities and public areas via live video feeds from the FBI, Metropolitan Police Department, National Park Service, District of Columbia Transportation Department, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and others.

From Bush to Obama: On the eve of a "seamless transition" By Patrick Martin 17 Jan 2009 Three days before the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, the distinctions have largely been effaced between the outgoing and incoming administrations. George W. Bush is, as even the corporate-controlled media admits, the most hated and despised president [sic] in American history. Barack Obama is, at least according to the opinion polls that measure popular moods, the beneficiary of a temporary honeymoon period in which hope outweighs experience and many are inclined to "give him a chance." Far more decisive than these illusions are the policies of the Obama administration.

Iraqi election candidate shot dead 16 Jan 2009 Friday, [Blackwater?] gunmen shot to death a candidate belonging to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Dawa Party, while campaigning ahead of provincial 'elections' scheduled for month-end. Reports quoting police said the gunmen intercepted a convoy of Hashim al-Husseini, who was proceeding to the town of Jbela, south of Baghdad, for campaign.

Iraq Cabinet member escapes bomb in Baghdad 15 Jan 2009 An Iraqi Cabinet member escaped injury Thursday when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy in Baghdad... Abed Theyab, minister of higher education, was traveling to work when the bomb went off as he passed through the Karradah district, police said. No one in the convoy was hurt but three civilian bystanders were wounded, the police added.

Mich. man accused of spying for Iraq pleads guilty 16 Jan 2009 A suburban Detroit man accused of spying for Saddam Hussein's former government and sharing information with the executed Iraqi president's intelligence service has pleaded guilty. Najib Shemami pleaded guilty Friday to aiding Iraq without approval from the U.S. government.

Saudi Arabia: KBR expands interests to security facilities 16 Jan 2009 Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is reportedly becoming a serious competitor to all major US construction and contracting companies active in Saudi Arabia, including notably Bechtel and Fluor.

Bolivia to take Israel to The Hague [OMG, take the US too!] 16 Jan 2009 Bolivia is seeking to take Tel Aviv to International Criminal Court over the brutal atrocities the Israeli forces have committed in Gaza. The Andean state says it is intended to make regional allies take a unified stance against "the Israeli political and military leaders responsible for the offensive on the Gaza Strip" and make it to stand trial at the international body in the Hague, said Sacha Llorenti, whose portfolio covers civil society.

UN accuses Israel of breaking international law 16 Jan 2009 UN diplomats have put the Israeli government under pressure over its role in flouting international law with its deadly military assault on the Gaza Strip. An emergency meeting of the UN has heard Israel’s strikes on Gaza have also targeted hospital, media and UN buildings.

Israeli TV airs Gaza doctor's desperate pleas 16 Jan 2009 Israeli television broadcast desperate cries for help from a Palestinian doctor on Friday after his children were killed in an Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip and troops later helped surviving members of the family. The telephone calls created extraordinary scenes during evening news broadcasts as the doctor, a Hebrew-speaking physician who spoke regularly on Israeli television, said three of his children were killed in a tank strike and others were wounded.

Israelis 'shot at fleeing Gazans' 14 Jan 2009 Claims have been received by the BBC and an Israeli human rights group that Israeli troops have fired on Gaza residents trying to escape the conflict area. Israel has strongly denied the allegations. BBC journalists in Gaza and Israel have compiled detailed accounts of the claims. Some Palestinian civilians in Gaza say Israeli forces shot at them as they tried to leave their homes - in some cases bearing white flags.

Pregnant woman hospitalized as Gaza rocket hits Ashkelon home 17 Jan 2009 Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Friday fired more than 15 rockets at southern Israel Friday, leaving five Israelis wounded. A pregnant woman was hospitalized in Ashkelon after her home suffered a direct him from a rocket, while two Israelis were wounded in Ashdod - one moderately and the other lightly.

CIA chief: No proof of Iranian A-bomb 16 Jan 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says there is no evidence that proves Tehran is edging towards developing nuclear weapons. Departing CIA Director Michael Hayden said Thursday that the Islamic Republic's production of low-enriched uranium does not necessarily substantiate an Iranian objective to build atomic weaponry.

Friendly-fire inquiry after marines from Scots base die in Afghanistan 17 Jan 2009 An investigation was under way last night into whether two British servicemen based in Scotland died in Afghanistan as a result of "friendly fire", the Ministry of Defence said.

US: Helicopter downed in Afghanistan 16 Jan 2009 The U.S. military says one of its Black Hawk helicopters has gone down near Afghanistan's capital. No deaths were reported. All seven people aboard survived and the military says in a statement that they are "safe and secure."

200,000 war veterans homeless in US --300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans file disability claims with US federal government. 16 Jan 2009 For six years of war in Iraq, the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to take care of the hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans coming home, said Aaron Glantz, a journalist who has been covering the stories of US military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Head Defends Harsh Interrogations 16 Jan 2009 CIA Director Michael Hayden strenuously defended the effectiveness of the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques Thursday, only moments after Attorney General-designate Eric Holder said the use of waterboarding was torture. Though U.S. officials say interrogators have not engaged in waterboarding in the past five years, Hayden said the coercive techniques and other harsh tactics were useful in the war on of terror.

Appointee: Guantanamo suspects likely to face civilian courts 16 Jan 2009 It will take a quick pen stroke for President-elect Barack Obama to order the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison. Implementing the directive, however, could prove lengthy, complicated and politically divisive.

Forgive and Forget? By Paul Krugman 16 Jan 2009 In fact, we’ve already seen this movie. During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators.

In farewell speech, Bush insists "war on terror" must continue By Bill Van Auken 16 Jan 2009 An intellectual and moral cipher who was catapulted into the White House thanks to family connections and a stolen election, [George] Bush’s name will be forever associated with the most shameful episodes in modern American history, from the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, to the abandonment of the people of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, to Wall Street’s plundering of the economy at the expense of millions of Americans’ jobs and homes.

Veterans say CIA tested drugs, mind control on them 11 Jan 2009 ...The experiments have been the subject of congressional hearings, and in 2003 the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs released a pamphlet said nearly 7,000 soldiers had been involved and more than 250 chemicals used on them, including hallucinogens such as LSD and PCP as well as biological and chemical agents. Lasting from 1950 to 1975, the experiments took place at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. According to the lawsuit, some of the 'volunteers' were even implanted with electrical devices in an effort to control their behavior. [1950 to 1975. Imagine how much the CIA's mind control technology has grown, since then? See: NIU Shooting 'Oddities' and
Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'
.]

U.S. plots major upgrade to Internet router security 15 Jan 2009 The U.S. federal government is accelerating its efforts to 'secure' the Internet's routing system, with plans this year for the Department of Homeland Security to quadruple its investment in research aimed at adding digital signatures to router communications. DHS says its routing security effort will prevent routing hijack attacks as well as accidental misconfigurations of routing data.

Bush Administration Proposes Letting Oil Companies Drill Offshore 16 Jan 2009 The Bush administration, in one of its final acts [of terror], is proposing to let oil companies drill for oil and natural gas in half a dozen areas of the outer continental shelf that had been previously been off limits to drilling, a move that will reopen the debate over offshore drilling for President-elect Barack Obama.

Government giving $20 billion to Bank of America --Guaranteeing losses on over $400 billion worth of Citi, Bank of America assets 16 Jan 2009 The U.S. government on Friday announced it was injecting $20 billion into Bank of America and guaranteeing losses on over $400 billion of assets both the Charlotte, N.C. lender and Citigroup. In a statement released Friday, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said they will invest $20 billion in Bank of America from the Troubled Assets Relief Program in exchange for preferred stock paying an 8% dividend.

US Senate votes another $350 billion to bail out the banks By Barry Grey 16 Jan 2009 The United States Senate on Thursday voted to release the second $350 billion installment of the $700 billion bailout fund for the banks. The vote came amid predictions of hundreds of billions of dollars in new bank losses and calls by economists and some Federal Reserve officials for a vast expansion in the transfer of taxpayer funds to Wall Street over and above the $700 billion provided by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) passed by Congress last October.

Stimulus plan repeals big tax break for banks 16 Jan 2009 House Democrats' version of the $825 billion recession rescue package would end billions of dollars in tax breaks the Bush regime quietly gave to banks last fall. Already almost exclusive beneficiaries of a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, banks are largely left out of the House stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama wants passed quickly through Congress.

FDIC Shuts Down Illinois-Based National Bank of Commerce 16 Jan 2009 Berkeley, Ill.-based National Bank of Commerce was closed by regulators Friday, marking the first bank failure of 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a statement. Republic Bank of Chicago will assume all of National Bank of Commerce's deposits, while the two locations of National Bank of Commerce will reopen Saturday as branches of Republic Bank, the FDIC said.

Circuit City to liquidate, shutter stores 16 Jan 2009 Bankrupt electronics retailer Circuit City Stores said on Friday it will liquidate its assets and shutter hundreds of U.S. stores after failing to reach a deal to sell the company. Circuit City is one of the largest retail bankruptcies in the current U.S. [Bush] recession.

UAW accepts government ban on strikes By Jerry White 15 Jan 2009 It has come to light that the federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler approved last month by the Bush administration with the support of the incoming Obama administration includes a stipulation that effectively bans strikes or work stoppages by autoworkers. The clause, which was revealed in a Security and Exchange Commission filing by GM last week, coincides with government demands that the 139,000 workers at Detroit's auto companies agree by February 17 to accept mass layoffs, plant closures and sweeping wage and benefit concessions.

Polar bears facing increasingly grim future --Population could drop two-thirds in the next 40 years 28 Dec 2008 There are now about 22,000 polar bears in the wild, 60 to 70% of them in Canada's north. Recent projections, which biologist Andrew Derocher says may be conservative given the phenomenal Arctic ice loss seen in the last two years, have the bear population plummeting by two-thirds by 2050 as the ice retreats. By the end of the century, he says, there may just be remnant populations left in Greenland and Canada's most northern Arctic islands, which might be the only places cold enough to sustain the iconic bears.

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Democratic chairman to reintroduce military draft measure 14 Jan 2009 Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) likely will introduce his controversial legislation to reinstate the draft again this year, but he will wait until after the economic stimulus package is passed. Asked if he plans to introduce the legislation again in 2009, Rangel last week said, "Probably … yes. I don’t want to do anything this early to distract from the issue of the economic stimulus."

UN headquarters in Gaza hit by Israeli 'white phosphorus' shells 15 Jan 2009 The main UN compound in Gaza was left in flames today after being struck by Israeli artillery fire, and a spokesman said that the building had been hit by shells containing the incendiary agent white phosphorus. The attack on the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) came as Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, arrived in Israel on a peace mission and plunged Israel's relations with the world body to a new low.

Israeli military asked to explain how Gaza media building came to be hit by explosion 15 Jan 2009 Reporters Without Borders calls on the Israeli military to investigate and explain exactly how a 16-storey building in Gaza City that houses several news organisations including Reuters came to be hit by an explosion this morning. An Abu Dhabi TV journalist and a Reuters cameraman were injured in the blast that shook the Al-Shurouq Tower.

Israel shells Gaza U.N. warehouse, hospital, news bureaus 15 Jan 2009 The Israeli military punched deeper into Gaza City on Thursday with a series of strikes that hit the United Nations' headquarters, a major hospital and the offices of international media groups. As Israeli leaders weighed an evolving Egyptian initiative that's considered the best hope for ending the 20-day-old conflict, Israeli forces delivered another blow to the Hamas-led Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrike kills three senior Hamas leaders 16 Jan 2009 Israeli F16 warplanes struck on Thursday evening a 3-story building in northern Gaza city killing five, including three senior leaders of Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), local medical sources said. Paramedics told local radio stations that Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam, the head of its security apparatus, Salah Abu Shreh, and the head of its military wing, Mahmoud Watfah, were killed in the airstrike.

Hamas interior minister Said Siam killed in Gaza 15 Jan 2009 An airstrike on the Gaza Strip killed Hamas’s interior minister today as Israel stepped up its aerial bombardment of the territory. Said Siam was staying at his brother’s house when it was destroyed by an Israeli missile killing both men and Mr Siam’s son. Mr Siam is the most senior party official to have died in the 20-day onslaught, which has killed almost 1,100 people in Gaza.

The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza nursery schools By Gideon Levy 16 Jan 2009 The fighting in Gaza is "war deluxe." Compared with previous wars, it is child's play - pilots bombing unimpeded as if on practice runs, tank and artillery soldiers shelling houses and civilians from their armored vehicles, combat engineering troops destroying entire streets in their ominous protected vehicles without facing serious opposition. A large, broad army is fighting against a helpless population and a weak, ragged organization that has fled the conflict zones and is barely putting up a fight. All this must be said openly, before we begin exulting in our heroism and victory. This war is also child's play because of its victims. About a third of those killed in Gaza have been children - 311, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 270 according to the B'Tselem human rights group - out of the 1,000 total killed as of Wednesday.

Israel controls access, message in Gaza assault 15 Jan 2009 The Israeli military took about a dozen foreign reporters on a rare foray into the Gaza Strip Thursday, a day when a bombardment killed the Hamas security chief and an Israel shell landed on the United Nations headquarters there. But the journalists saw none of the action. Their 30-minute drive from an army base near the border took them to an unpopulated area where a commander arrived in a tank, gave a statement and answered a few questions. They saw no troops, no combat.

U.S. may cut $1b in loan guarantees to Israel over West Bank settlements 16 Jan 2009 The United States administration plans to cut about $1 billion from the balance of its loan guarantees to Israel because of its investments in the settlements. The balance currently stands at $4.6 billion. Washington has not officially informed Jerusalem of the cut.

Back from the grave, right on cue: 'Bin Laden urges war on Israel' 09 Jan 2009 A new audio message [LOL! Notice it's never video?] purported to be from Osama Bin Laden has urged Muslims to launch a holy war to stop the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. The message also said Israel's assault was a desperate attempt to benefit from the last days of President [sic] George Bush.

Judge orders Guantanamo detainee captured at 14 to be freed 14 Jan 2009 A US judge has ordered the military to release a Guantanamo Bay prisoner who was arrested in Pakistan when he was 14. Mohamed el-Gharani was one of the first people to be sent to the military prison in Cuba in 2002, where he has been held ever since. US District Judge Richard Leon ruled that el-Gharani, who is also known as Yousuf and is now 21, is not an enemy combatant and must be released. His lawyer says he was accused of being a member of al Qaida in 1998, when he would have been 11 years old.

Federal Judge Orders Release of Terror Detainee For Unreliable Evidence 14 Jan 2009 A judge from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C has ordered the release of a suspected al-Qaeda militant who has been detained at the Pentagon's facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since he was 14-years-old. Judge Richard Leon issued the order after finding statements from two Guantanamo prisoners were unreliable. As a result, Leon found there isn't enough evidence to continue holding Mohammed el Gharani, 21.

US attorney general nominee declares that waterboarding is torture 15 Jan 2009 US attorney general nominee Eric Holder Jr forcefully broke from the Bush regime's counterterrorism policies today, declaring that waterboarding is torture and pledging to prosecute some Guantánamo Bay prisoners in US courts... It was the first topic discussed at Holder's confirmation hearing to be the chief US law enforcement officer, and he made an unambiguous statement about its nature: "Waterboarding is torture."

Afghanistan battle like First World War --British, Afghan and coalition forces battled the Taliban at close quarters, knee-deep in mud, over Christmas in fierce trench battles reminiscent of the First World War. 04 Jan 2009 The offensive in Afghanistan's central Helmand province involved more than 1,500 troops and was one of the largest operations mounted by Royal Marines since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. It was fought over 18 days around the town of Nad-e-Ali to capture four key Taliban strongholds. Some of the Royal Marines taking part trudged more than 60km through mud with packs on their backs while also fighting insurgents at close quarters, the MoD revealed.

Two British soldiers killed in S Afghanistan 15 Jan 2009 Two British soldiers were killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the British Ministry of Defense said on Thursday. The two soldiers, one from 29 Command Regiment Royal Artillery and the other from 45 Commando Royal Marines, were killed late on Wednesday during an operation against enemy forces in northeast of Gereshk in central Helmand, the ministry said in a statement.

The end of Nato? A call for more troops in Afghanistan will test the UK's defence resources – and Nato itself – to breaking point By Robert Fox 15 Jan 2009 The defence secretary John Hutton laid into Britain's European allies in pretty graphic terms today – for failing to stump extra forces to match Barack Obama's troop surge for Afghanistan. Hutton told defence journalists that he was revealing "behind the scenes discussions" with Nato partners because they had come up with nothing. "We cannot expect the Americans to do all the heavy lifting in air support and transport," he said.

U.S. military report warns 'sudden collapse' of Mexico is possible 13 Jan 2009 Mexico is one of two countries that "bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse," according to a report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command on worldwide security threats. The command's "Joint Operating Environment (JOE 2008)" report, which contains projections of global threats and potential next wars, puts Pakistan on the same level as Mexico.

Obama aide: Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' must wait 15 Jan 2009 In an overlooked YouTube video posted on Friday, a spokesman for Barack Obama said the president-elect is committed to ending the policy that bars openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. armed forces. In a response to a question on the Web site Change.gov asking whether Obama would get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said: "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.'" Gibbs on Wednesday expanded on his answer, saying, "There are many challenges facing our nation now and the president-elect is focused first and foremost on jump-starting this economy."

Held 124, 5 camps shut, claims Pakistan 16 Jan 2009 Playing to the international gallery, Pakistan claimed it has arrested 124 people in the crackdown against groups linked to the Mumbai terror attacks and closed down five training camps of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and banned its websites.

11 Oakland officers fired for false warrants 15 Jan 2009 (CA) The Oakland Police Department notified 11 officers, including two sergeants, Thursday that they will be fired for their involvement in the falsification of search warrants. The firings come after an internal police department investigation that found the officers had knowledge that information in their warrant affidavits was false.

Senate Cmte. Votes a Strong Yes on Hillary Clinton 15 Jan 2009 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) this morning won overwhelming backing from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to be the next Secretary of State. On a vote of 16-1, the panel voted to send her nomination to the Senate floor, where she is not expected to face any obstacles to full confirmation. The sole negative vote was from Sen. David Vitter (R-Dirtbag-La.).

Missing White House E-Mails Traced, Justice Aide Says 15 Jan 2009 A 'Justice' Department lawyer told a federal judge yesterday that the Bush administration will meet its legal requirement to transfer e-mails to the National Archives after spending more than $10 million to locate 14 million e-mails reported missing four years ago from White House computer files.

Bush to issue last-minute 'rules' on C8 15 Jan 2009 Less than a week before leaving office, the Bush regime is preparing to issue an emergency health advisory for drinking water polluted with the toxic chemical C8. The advisory is far less protective than environmental groups say is necessary, and much weaker than a guideline issued in New Jersey by the woman President-elect Barack Obama has picked to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Seven most horrible things about Bush presidency --An alternative to commander-in-chief's [thief's] view of his time in office By Rex Nutting 14 Jan 2009 The remarkable thing about President [sic] George W. Bush wasn't that he was a horrible chief executive; it's that he was horrible in so many ways. Contrary to the president's own assessment of his tenure earlier this week, it was an astonishing eight years - and not in a good way.

Senate Votes to Release Second Half of TARP Funds 15 Jan 2009 The Senate voted narrowly today to permit President-elect Barack Obama to spend another $350 billion to 'stabilize' the fragile U.S. financial system. On a vote of 52 to 42, the Senate defeated a resolution that would have blocked the second half of the money from a $700 billion financial rescue program from flowing to the U.S. Treasury Department.

Democrats in House Unveil $825 Billion Stimulus Bill 16 Jan 2009 House Democrats on Thursday unveiled an $825 billion economic recovery package, an expansive combination of spending and tax cuts that aims to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work and halt what is widely believed to be the nation’s worst recession since the Depression.

US Airways Plane Goes Down in NYC's Hudson; All Aboard Safe 15 Jan 2009 A US Airways Group Inc. jetliner headed from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, went down in the Hudson River today less than three minutes after takeoff with 155 aboard. All passengers and crew members are safe, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Secrecy surrounds Winnipeg round table about polar bears 14 Jan 2009 The poster species for climate change will be in the spotlight Friday at a Winnipeg gathering of government officials, researchers and Inuit groups to discuss the future of the polar bear. But the potentially heated gathering will happen behind closed doors, with media barred from attending and the official list of speakers under wraps.

Record snowfall, plunging temperatures hit the area 14 Jan 2009 (La Grange, IL) A new record was set Wednesday when Chicago had its ninth consecutive day of measurable snowfall, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was eight consecutive days set from Dec. 13 to 20, 1973. Snowfall records in Chicago date back to 1884.

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'His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case for prosecution.' Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official 14 Jan 2009 The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition." "We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

One in five Guantanamo Bay detainees is on hunger strike 15 Jan 2009 Nearly a fifth of the prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay have gone on hunger strike with the aim of attracting the attention of Barack Obama, military officials have told The Times. Most of them are being force-fed. Of the 248 inmates inside the detention facility, 44 are refusing food -- but 33 of those are receiving nutrition with tubes that are forced up their noses and into their stomachs.

Judge: Rumsfeld sanctioned torture in Gitmo 15 Jan 2009 A top US official has for the first time publicly admitted that a suspect, incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay prison was tortured. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Susan J Crawford, a judge tasked with deciding on whether Guantanamo detainees should be brought to trial, told the newspaper that she decided against prosecuting Saudi national Mohammed al-Qahtani because his interrogation met the legal definition of torture.

Evidence in Terror Cases Said to Be in Chaos 14 Jan 2009 A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay is so chaotic that it is impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution. Darrel Vandeveld, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, filed the declaration in support of a petition seeking the release of Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who has been held [and abused] at the military prison in Cuba for six years. Vandeveld said in a phone interview that the "complete lack of organization" has affected nearly all cases at Guantanamo Bay.

Military planners, in nod to Obama, preparing for faster Iraq withdrawal 15 Jan 2009 Military commanders are drawing up plans for a faster withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in anticipation that President-elect Barack Obama will reject current proposals as too slow, Pentagon and military officials said Wednesday... A drawdown in Iraq is seen as a prerequisite to any significant American military buildup in Afghanistan, where Obama is ready to add up to 30,000 troops over the next two years, a near doubling of the current American force there of about 31,000.

Baghdad Hit by "Sticky Bomb" Terror --Insidious explosive device makes middle-class Iraqis dread car journeys.14 Jan 2009 ...Their injuries simply indicate the growing reach of the latest weapon terrorising Baghdad: the "sticky bomb". The device gets its nickname from the adhesive tape or magnets used to attach it to vehicles. Placed near the fuel tank, it can be an effective assassination tool, creating an explosion large enough to destroy the vehicle. Dozens of Iraqis have been killed or maimed by sticky bombs in the last six months, most of them in Baghdad.

War Czar for Bush to Keep His Job 13 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama will be keeping another holdover from the Bush dictatorship on his national security team -- Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who will keep his job coordinating Iraq and Afghanistan policy out of the National Security Council, according to transition officials.

Barack Obama: it is no longer important to kill Osama bin Laden 15 Jan 2009 Barack Obama last night suggested that removing Osama bin Laden from the battlefiell was no longer essential and that America's security goals could be achieved by merely keeping al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] "on the run". "My preference obviously would be to capture or kill him," he said. "But if we have so tightened the noose that he's in a cave somewhere and can't even communicate with his operatives then we will meet our goal of protecting America." His comments, in a CBS interview last night, appear to contradict Mr Obama's own statements made in the election campaign.

US anti-terror policy to focus on Pakistan: Clinton 15 Jan 2009 Pakistan and Afghanistan will be at the centre of the US radar in its "global counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism" efforts. Chary of using "war on terror" to describe the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton, at her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, said elements of US power -- diplomacy, development and defence -- would be used "to work with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who want to root out the Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh], Taliban and other violent extremists."

Israeli army masses along Lebanon border 14 Jan 2009 Israel deploys military units along the border with Lebanon amid growing concerns that the assault on Gaza was the onset of a multi-front war. Nineteen days after the start of the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, the Lebanese daily Al Safir reported Wednesday that southern Lebanon had witnessed the build-up of Israeli armored vehicles - tanks, military vessels and Apache helicopters - along the border.

Gaza: Residents waving white flags 'shot dead as they flee their homes' 14 Jan 2009 Israeli forces said they had pushed deeper into Gaza City amid heavy fighting, with some units within a mile of the densely populated urban centre. Terrified residents were said to be fleeing from many homes which had been set alight. At least three Palestinians in Gaza were shot dead yesterday after Israeli soldiers fired on a group of residents leaving their homes on orders from the military and waving white flags, according to testimony taken by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

'Israel should stop using phosphorus' 14 Jan 2009 Human Rights Watch has renewed its call for a halt in Israel's use of white phosphorus ammunitions in the heavily-populated Gaza Strip. "This is a chemical compound that burns structures and burns people," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) at a Washington press conference on Wednesday.

Israel indicts two Iran TV journalists for reporting on Gaza ground invasion 14 Jan 2009 Israeli authorities on Tuesday indicted two journalists working for an Iranian television station on charges they passed classified information to the enemy. The indictment says the two Palestinian journalists reported the beginning of Israel's ground incursion into Gaza on Jan. 3 while the information was still subject to military censorship.

Army suicides rise as time spent in combat increases 13 Jan 2009 The Marine Corps reported 41 actual or suspected suicides in 2008, a 20% increase over 33 in 2007. In 2007, the Army counted 115 suicides, the most since tracking began in 1980. By October 2008, that record had been surpassed with 117 soldier suicides. Final numbers for 2008 have not been released.

Veterans exposed to incorrect drug doses 14 Jan 2009 Patients at Veterans Affairs health centers around the country were given incorrect doses of drugs, had needed treatments delayed and may have been exposed to other medical errors due to software glitches that showed faulty displays of their electronic health records. The glitches, which began in August and lingered until last month, were not disclosed by the Veterans Affairs Department to patients even though they sometimes involved prolonged infusions of drugs such as heparin, which in excessive doses can be life-threatening, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act.

An invisible epidemic --The far-reaching, untold effects of contaminated water in Jacksonville, N.C. 12 Jan 2009 ...The key to their health problems was a town three states away with the same name: Jacksonville, N.C., home of the Marine Corps' Camp Lejeune. Over four decades, an estimated 500,000 citizens and soldiers were exposed to drinking water tainted by chemicals used at a dry-cleaning establishment near the 246-square-mile training base. The government has known about the water pollution for more than a quarter-century.

UN finds 217 sex abuse claims against blue helmets 14 Jan 2009 A United Nations probe collected 217 allegations of abuse of girls and women by peacekeepers in eastern Congo, from sex with teenagers in the back room of a liquor store to threats of "hacking" victims for cooperating with investigators... Details of alleged incidents dating back to 2004 are summarized in a "strictly confidential" 17-page document.

Bush Declares State of Emergency for Inauguration 13 Jan 2009 President [sic] Bush has declared a state of emergency for the District during the Inauguration Jan. 17-21, Press Secretary Dana Perino said. The move will allow the federal government to provide funding to District government agencies, which have been swamped with planning and paying for security and transportation needs.

Obama-Bush officials conduct war games 13 Jan 2009 Top officials from the incoming Obama administration are at the White House for several hours Tuesday, spending time with their counterparts in the Bush regime to discuss and then simulate how to handle a terrorist attack inside the U.S.

Kansas officially named as site of $650 million biodefense laboratory 12 Jan 2009 Kansas gained final approval Monday for a $650 million federal biodefense laboratory that officials heralded for its potential to protect destroy the food supply and boost the state’s economy. Last month, Kansas emerged as the top recommendation for the planned National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. On Monday, Jay Cohen, undersecretary for science and technology for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, made the pick official.

Texas ponders suing over decision to put biothreat lab in Manhattan 14 Jan 2009 Texas officials are considering suing the Department of Homeland Security over its decision to award the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to Kansas. Among key points being raised is that Texas wasn't able to respond to a Homeland Security request to meet certain state infrastructure investments because legislators weren't in session.

DARPA Commissions National Cyber Range 14 Jan 2009 Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $5.4 million contract for the initial development phase of the National Cyber Range (NCR) by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Defense's central research and development organization. The program is part of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, a major government-wide effort to increase the nation's defenses 'against' electronic attack.

Justices Say Evidence Is Valid Despite Police Error --5-to-4 opinion likely to alarm those who fear that high court is looking for ways to narrow reach of exclusionary rule 15 Jan 2009 The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of an Alabama man on drug and weapons charges, emphasizing that the exclusionary rule, which generally bars prosecutors from using evidence obtained by the police through improper searches, is far from absolute.

Judge Orders Search of Administration Appointees' E-Mails 14 Jan 2009 A federal judge this morning ordered the president's [sic] executive office to undertake a comprehensive search for millions of senior appointees' e-mails that have been inaccessible and possibly 'missing' since 2005. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. demanded that officials search computer workstations, preserve thumb drives and examine e-mail archives created or retained by White House employees from 2003 to 2005, the period in which a records gap exists.

Obama's Treasury pick faces delay as questions mount 15 Jan 2009 The Senate confirmation hearing of Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner was delayed Wednesday until the day after President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration, meaning that the nominee's troubled tax history will prevent Obama from having his full economic team in place right away.

Bank of America to Get Billions More From Treasury 14 Jan 2009 The Treasury Department plans to invest billions of dollars in Bank of America to help the company absorb troubled investment bank Merrill Lynch, according to two people familiar with the matter, The Post's Binyamin Appelbaum reports. The new investment, which is expected to be announced next week, is in addition to $25 billion the government already has invested in Bank of America, including $10 billion specifically in connection with the Merrill Lynch deal.

Economic stimulus expected to deliver billions to government contractors By Courtney E. Howard 08 Jan 2009 President-elect Obama’s economic stimulus package will provide billions of dollars in contract opportunities to government contractors, according to Input. The package, which is likely to approach $1 trillion in spending over the next two years, is expected to contain over $350 billion in spending for projects related to infrastructure improvement, electronic health records, green initiatives, and modernization of schools.

Gannett to Furlough Workers for Week 15 Jan 2009 The Gannett Company, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, said on Wednesday that it would force thousands of its employees to take a week off without pay in an effort to avoid layoffs. Gannett, which owns 85 daily newspapers across the United States including its flagship USA Today, said it could not say exactly how many people would be required to take time off, or how much money the company would save.

U.S. Economy: Retail Sales Decline for a Record Sixth Month 14 Jan 2009 Sales at U.S. retailers fell more than twice as much as forecast in December as job losses and the lack of credit led Americans to cut back on everything from car purchases to eating out. The 2.7 percent slump marked the sixth straight month of declines, the longest string since comparable records began in 1992, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.

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Bush, Obama teams hold disaster drill 13 Jan 2009 Senior officials in the Bush regime and members of President-elect Barack Obama's team were at the White House Tuesday teaming up for a rehearsal of how to handle a hypothetical terrorist attack on American cities. During the drill, they will respond to a scenario in which transportation facilities and other targets are hit with explosive devices. The exercise is part of an effort to smooth the transition from the Bush to Obama administrations without jeopardizing the nation's preparedness in the event of a terrorist attack, pandemic or 'natural' disaster.

Cheney hints at pardon for President Bush 13 Jan 2009 With the Bush administration in its final days questions are being asked whether the president will be investigated over a number of concerns. Those concerns include the legitimacy, legality, and constitutionality of the 2003 invasion of Iraq [not to mention, the legitimacy, legality, and constitutionality of the Bush Reign of Terror]; the controversial eavesdropping by the NSA of U.S. citizens; the authorization of the use of torture; and the treatment and processing of prisoners at prisons in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib... Dick Cheney seemingly is one of those that wants to move on as he unexpectedly raised, and drew parallels with, President Ford's pardon of former President Nixon this week, hinting that similar treatment should be afforded President [sic] Bush.

Obama unlikely to probe Bush 'torture' acts 13 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to probe President [sic] George W. Bush's 'torture' policies despite mounting calls by rights groups for independent investigation, analysts say. Obama, who takes office January 20, signaled in an interview Sunday that he was not inclined to open an independent probe of his predecessor's actions unless there was evidence that US laws were broken.

Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs 12 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama signaled in an interview broadcast Sunday that he was unlikely to authorize a broad inquiry into [illegal] Bush administration programs like domestic eavesdropping or the treatment of terrorism suspects... Mr. Obama is facing even more intense pressure from liberal, human-rights and civil-liberties groups to allow some kind of investigation into the Bush regime’s terrorism policies.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoners Could Be Arraigned Before Inauguration Day 13 Jan 2009 The suspected "Sept. 11 conspirators" held at the Guantanamo Bay prison could be arraigned the day before Inauguration Day, sources tell FOX News, even though President-elect Barack Obama is planning to order the facility shut down. This means some prisoners could enter guilty pleas the day before Obama is sworn into the office and two days before the president-elect is expected to issue an executive order shutting down Guantanamo.

Synagogues attacked across France --Unidentified attackers hurl petrol bombs at Jewish places of worship in Paris, eastern France. 12 Jan 2009 Vandals hurled petrol bombs at Jewish places of worship in Paris and eastern France on Sunday night, the latest of a string of anti-Semitic attacks since the start of Israel's Gaza offensive. In the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, the local synagogue was attacked with two petrol bombs as the rabbi was inside, sparking a fire in the next-door cafeteria, the local prefecture said.

U.S. arms shipment to Israel canceled due to Gaza conflict 13 Jan 2009 A U.S. military plan to ship munitions from a Greek port to a U.S. stockpile in Israel has been canceled due to the conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Pentagon said on Monday. The United States Navy's Military Sealift Command issued a tender on December 31st for a ship to deliver 325 standard 20-foot containers of ammunition on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

Israel accused of Gaza 'genocide' 14 Jan 2009 The president of the UN General Assembly has condemned Israel's killings of Palestinians in its Gaza offensive as "genocide". Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann also told Al Jazeera he had never believed that the UN Security Council would be able to stop the violence in Gaza and that Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, had practically told the UN to "mind their own business" by continuing the offensive.

'I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons.' Israel testing 'extremely nasty' weapon: Norwegian doctors 13 Jan 2009 Israel is testing a new "extremely nasty" type of weapon in Gaza, two medics charged as they returned home to Norway on Monday after spending 10 days working at a hospital in the war-torn Palestinian territory. "There’s a very strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons," Mads Gilbert told reporters at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, commenting on the kinds of injuries he and his colleague Erik Fosse had seen while working at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

Israeli leader warns Hamas of 'iron fist' 12 Jan 2009 Israeli troops advanced into Gaza suburbs for the first time early Tuesday, residents said, hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Islamic militants of an "iron fist" unless they agree to Israel's terms to end the fighting. Hamas showed no signs of wavering, however, with its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, saying the militants were "closer to victory."

Hill of Shame where Gaza bombing is spectator sport --A beauty spot has turned into a vantage point for viewing of Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip 13 Jan 2009 In times of peace Parash Hill is a beauty spot where Israelis from the nearby town of Sderot come to picnic and enjoy the magnificent view across a nature reserve and bright green fields to distant Gaza City and, beyond, the deep blue Mediterranean. There are benches for sightseers, a swing, a sculpture of a man on horseback and fences to stop children tumbling down the steep northern slope. Today the hill attracts a very different sort of visitor -- the ghoulish and vengeful, the curious and anguished, not to mention television crews. They come not to enjoy the flowers or birdsong, but for a spectacular panoramic view of Israel's relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Israel launches new attacks against Gaza from air, ground and sea 13 Jan 2009 Israel launched new attacks against the Gaza city early Tuesday from air, ground and sea, and large sound of explosions was heard. The Israeli forces attacked Gaza backed by artillery and helicopters. Some witnesses said that a batch of Israeli special forces advanced into the southern Gaza city and exchanged fire with Palestinian militants.

IDF officer critically hurt in Gaza; 6 other soldiers also wounded 13 Jan 2009 An Israel Defense Forces officer was critically wounded Tuesday in Gaza, as Israeli ground troops battled Palestinian militants in the streets of a densely populated Gaza City neighborhood.

Hamas leader boosts morale of bombarded Gazans 13 Jan 2009 The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip vowed on Monday the Palestinian resistance, backed by the population, would emerge victorious over Israel's offensive. "We are approaching victory," Ismail Haniya, the prime minister of the Hamas government in Gaza, said in his broadcast from an undisclosed location. "I tell you that after 17 days of this foolish war, Gaza has not been broken and Gaza will not fall."

Ten Israeli soldiers choose jail over Gaza 12 Jan 2009 At least ten soldiers have opted for prison terms rather than going through with their deployment. The refusals would be the first of their kind since Israel launched its massive air, sea and ground assault on the Gaza Strip. On "conscience’s grounds," the soldiers refused orders to head to the Gaza Strip, they said.

Olmert call 'behind US abstention' 13 Jan 2009 Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has said a last-minute telephone call to George Bush forced the US to abstain in a crucial UN vote on the Gaza war. In a speech late on Monday, Olmert said Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, was left "pretty shamed" at the vote and had to abstain on a resolution she had personally arranged.

Rice shame-faced by Bush over UN Gaza vote: Olmert 12 Jan 2009 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was left shame-faced after President [sic] George W. Bush ordered her to abstain in a key UN vote on the Gaza war, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday. "She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end she did not vote in favour," Olmert said in a speech in the southern town of Ashkelon.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rules out talks with Hamas --But says Obama team has new approach [Yeah, right!] 14 Jan 2009 US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has ruled out negotiations with the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas unless it drops its extremist stance, saying her position is "absolute".

Spate of bomb attacks in Baghdad 12 Jan 2009 At least eight people have been killed and more than a dozen injured after a series of bomb blasts ripped through Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.

US soldier faces court-martial over Iraq shootings 13 Jan 2009 A U.S. Army sergeant will face a court-martial on murder charges for alleged involvement in the killing of four Iraqi prisoners who were found bound, blindfolded, shot and dumped in a Baghdad canal, the military said Tuesday. Sgt. 1st Class Joseph P. Mayo will be court-martialed on charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and obstruction of justice stemming from the spring 2007 incident war crime, the military said in a statement.

Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities By Stephen I. Schwartz, Deepti Choubey Jan 2009 The United States spent over $52 billion on nuclear weapons and related programs in fiscal year 2008, but only 10 percent of that went toward preventing a nuclear attack and slowing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. That is the main finding of Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities, a new study that uses publicly available documents and extensive interviews with government officials and experts to calculate the comprehensive U.S. nuclear security "budget." The United States has never tracked nuclear weapon-related spending comprehensively, hindering effective oversight and public understanding of the government's nuclear priorities.

Travelers to US required to register online with Homeland Security 12 Jan 2009 Starting Monday, travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, and a host of other countries will have to register online with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before they can travel into the United States. The DHS is mandating that travelers from any of the 35 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program apply online for an Electronic System of Travel Authorization before boarding a plane to the U.S.

Study Finds Ideology Fueled Justice Dept. Hirings --Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General favored employees who shared his political views and derided others as "libs" and "pinkos." 13 Jan 2009 Ideological considerations permeated the hiring process at the Justice Department's civil rights division, where a politically appointed official sought to hire "real Americans" and Republicans for career posts and prominent case assignments, according to a long awaited report released this morning by the department's inspector general. The extensive study of hiring practices between 2001 and 2007 concluded that a former department official improperly weeded out candidates based on their perceived ties to liberal organizations. The key official, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bradley Schlozman, favored employees who shared his political views and derided others as "libs" and "pinkos," the report said.

Bush Justice official castigated for partisanship 13 Jan 2009 A Justice Department official in the Bush administration illegally favored job applicants with conservative Republican views and acted against liberals, a department report said on Tuesday. The report by the Justice Department inspector general was the latest in a series that recorded partisan bias in the department during the eight years under President [sic] George W. Bush, who leaves office next week.

Clinton Rejects Call for Limits on Donations to Husband's Work 13 Jan 2009 Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton turned aside a request from a senior Republican lawmaker [DICK Lugar] for broader limits on donations to her husband’s foundation, saying the gifts wouldn’t create a conflict of interest for her. [LOL! Bush *gave away* the National Treasury to Blackwater and Cheney Halliburton for an illegal war -- and there's an *oil tanker* from Chevron named after Bush troll Condoleezza Rice. Where were the GOP 'conflict of interest' concerns over the past eight years? --LRP]

For Faithful and Loyal Service: Chevron named oil tanker the "Condoleezza Rice" Below is a picture of the oil tanker before Chevron quietly renamed it the "Altair Voyager" and before President [sic] George Bush appointed Ms. Rice as National Security Advisor. Condoleezza Rice was a Chevron Director from 1991 until January 15, 2001 when she was transferred by President George Bush Jr. to National Security Adviser. Another Chevron Corporation giant in the Bush administration is Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney.

Obama Lobbies Senators on TARP Money, Stimulus Plan 13 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama lobbied Democratic senators today as he seeks to build support for his economic stimulus proposals and for tapping the second half of a $700 billion financial-markets rescue fund. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he’s confident his chamber won’t block the rescue funds.

Burris approved for Senate seat: sources 12 Jan 2009 U.S. Senate officials have approved Roland Burris to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, sources said on Monday, in a major about-face for the Democratic leadership. Burris, appointed to the seat by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, could be sworn in within days, sources said, giving Democrats 58 of the Senate's 100 seats.

In F.D.A. Files, Claims of Rush to Approve Devices 13 Jan 2009 An official at the Food and Drug Administration overruled front-line agency scientists and approved the sale of an imaging device for breast cancer after receiving a phone call from a [Republican] Connecticut congressman [Christopher Shays], according to internal agency documents. The legislator’s call and its effect on what is supposed to be a science-based approval process is only one of many of accusations in a trove of documents regarding disputes within the agency’s office of device evaluation.

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