Citizens For Legitimate Government is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.


Citizens For Legitimate Government™
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.

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January 2010 Archives

Iraq invasion violated international law, Dutch inquiry finds --Investigation into the Netherlands' support for 2003 war finds military action was not justified under UN resolutions 12 Jan 2010 The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a violation of international law, an independent inquiry in the Netherlands has found. In a damning series of findings on the decision of the Dutch government to support Tony Blair and George Bush in the strategy of regime change in Iraq, the inquiry found the action had "no basis in international law". The 551-page report, published today and chaired by former Dutch supreme court judge Willibrord Davids, said UN resolutions in the 1990s prior to the outbreak of war gave no authority to the invasion.

Campbell: Blair wrote letters to Bush in 2002 saying 'we are with you' on Iraq --Letters raised prospect of British military backing for US, Tony Blair's former director of communications tells Chilcot inquiry 12 Jan 2010 Tony Blair wrote a series of private letters to George Bush in 2002 assuring him "we are absolutely with you" in making sure Iraq disarmed and raising the prospect of British military backing, Alastair Campbell said today. But the former Downing Street director of communications, giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the war, said that the then-prime minister was hopeful of a peaceful resolution until the eve of the 2003 invasion.

US think tank seeks to connect Iran, Yemen, Qaeda 12 Jan 2010 A report says a high-profile neoconservative think tank in the United States is reportedly working to establish a link between Iran, the Yemeni opposition groups and al-Qaeda militants. The alleged connection between Iran, the Shia Houthi fighters in northern Yemen, the Yemeni separatists in the south and the militants has been the subject of discussions between Chris Harnisch and Frederick Kagan, two scholars at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI).

Petraeus: Aid to Yemen Likely to Double in 2010 11 Jan 2010 The U.S. counterterrorism approach to Yemen likely will entail doubling the amount of aid there, but does not include deploying American troops, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus said. "Last year, it was somewhere around $70 million," the commander of U.S. Central Command said of U.S. counterterrorism funding to Yemen. "Over the course of this fiscal year, it should be somewhere around $150 million or more."

Occupiers kill several Afghans at demo, locals say 13 Jan 2010 Locals say troops of the US-led alliance have killed at least eight Afghan civilians at a demonstration organized to protest against the alliance forces' desecration of the Holy Quran. The mortalities were caused by fire from the alliance forces during the demonstration, which about 2,000 people attended, in the southern province of Helmand, locals said on Tuesday, the German news agency DPA reported. Residents said the troops had stormed a house and destroyed copies of the Muslim holy book in a local mosque in the province's Garmsir district on Sunday. "We have proof that they destroyed our Holy Quran. We can show it to [President Hamid] Karzai's government or the foreign forces," said resident Habibullah Jan.

'Afghan and international forces opened fire on us.' 'Afghan deaths in Nato firing' 13 Jan 2010 Villagers in southern Afghanistan have claimed that Afghan and Nato forces killed 13 demonstrators after a group of people took to the streets to protest the alleged desecration of the Quran. Residents in Garmsir district of Helmand province on Tuesday said that Nato-led forces raided a house in the area on Sunday and destroyed copies of the holy book in a local mosque. Haji Abdul Manan, one of the protesters, told the German Press Agency, DPA: "The people came out of their homes today to protest this action of foreign forces in a peaceful way, but the Afghan and international forces opened fire on us." He said more than 20 others were wounded in the firing.

Pentagon puts 3,100 troops on Afghanistan deployment list 13 Jan 2010 The Pentagon announced the latest troop deployment for Afghanistan on Tuesday, a move aimed at ensuring that the bulk of additional forces requested by President Obama will be in place this summer. The Defense Department said 3,100 troops, most from the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division based at Ft. Hood, Texas, would deploy to Afghanistan sometime this summer. With the announcement, the Pentagon has issued deployment orders for about 25,000 of the 30,000 additional troops approved by the Obama administration.

Iran accuses US, Israel in nuclear scientist murder 12 Jan 2010 Iran's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it has found traces of US and Israel's involvement in the assassination of an Iranian nuclear physics scientist. Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a lecturer at Tehran University, was killed by a booby-trapped motorbike blast in the Iranian capital earlier in the day. The explosion took place near the professor's home in the Qeytariyeh neighborhood of northern Tehran... Mohammad Marandi, a professor at Tehran University, told Press TV that Ali-Mohammadi's colleagues at the capital's most prestigious university believe the attack was orchestrated by the West.

Iraq forces detain 25 suspects, seize explosives in Baghdad 12 Dec 2010 Iraqi security forces detained 25 'insurgent' suspects and seized explosives and mortar bombs during massive operations in Baghdad early on Tuesday, a military spokesman said. Qassim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, said in a statement that his troops confiscated 200 kg of C4 explosives, 200 kg of TNT, 60 mortar rounds and some 250 litre of ammonium nitrate which is used for making bombs during the search operations conducted early Tuesday morning.

Iraqis say they were forced to take Blackwater settlement 11 Jan 2010 Several victims of a 2007 shooting involving American private security guards employed by the firm formerly known as Blackwater alleged Sunday that they were coerced into reaching settlements, and they demanded that the Iraqi government intervene to have the agreements nullified. The Iraqis said they were pressured by their own attorneys into accepting what they now believe are inadequate settlements because they were told the company was about to file for bankruptcy, that its chairman was going to be arrested and that the U.S. government was about to confiscate all of the firm's assets. This would be their last chance to get any compensation, the victims said they were told.

Federal Judge Orders Release of Sealed Court Papers in Blackwater Case 11 Jan 2010 A federal judge in Washington is planning to release hundreds of pages of transcripts from sealed hearings in the government’s prosecution of five former Blackwater Worldwide security guards, saying there is no justification for keeping the information secret indefinitely. Judge Ricardo Urbina of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said in a ruling Jan. 7 that the transcripts, from three weeks of closed-door hearings in October, will be released to the public Feb. 2--the day after the deadline for the Justice Department to file an appeal in the case to challenge the dismissal of charges.

US veterans committing suicide at higher rate 12 Jan 2010 Young male veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been committing suicide at a higher rate. The Veterans Affairs Department in the US has said data collected from 18 to 29-year-old male veterans has shown a significant increase in the rate of suicides, which went up 26 percent between 2005 and 2007. In 2005, the rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18-29 was 44.99, compared with 56.77 in 2007.

Venezuela to reinforce troops on Colombia border with Russian tanks 11 Jan 2010 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has announced plans for the deployment of new Russian-made tanks and combat helicopters on the border with Colombia. Ties between Venezuela and Colombia deteriorated last August after Washington signed a deal with Bogota allowing U.S. forces to run anti-drug operations from Colombian bases. Chavez has criticized the deal and called for the Venezuelan people and army to prepare for a war.

Court extends remand of cops who allegedly beat Palestinian 12 Jan 2010 Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Tuesday extended the remand of four Tel Aviv policemen who were arrested yesterday for allegedly assaulting a Palestinian detainee. According to the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department, new evidence has emerged in the investigation which ties the three officers to the crime. The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court extended their detention by four days.

Expert: CIA missed glaring red flags on double-agent bomber 12 Jan 2010 A Jordanian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last week that authorities in Jordan arrested Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi more than a year ago, but released him because of a lack of evidence. Al-Balawi had written about his arrest on his blog, and ignoring that was another fatal error by the intelligence agencies, sources said.

Obama Establishes Council of Governors to Advise DoD, DHS on 'Civil Support Missions' --'The President shall establish a bipartisan Council of Governors to advise the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the White House Homeland Security Council on matters related to the National Guard and civil support missions.' 11 Jan 2010 The President today signed an Executive Order establishing a Council of Governors to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State Governments to protect our Nation against all types of hazards. When appointed, the Council will be reviewing such matters as involving the National Guard of the various States; homeland defense; civil support; synchronization and integration of State and Federal military activities in the United States; and other matters of mutual interest pertaining to National Guard, homeland defense, and civil support activities.

Sec. 2. Functions. The Council shall meet at the call of the Secretary of Defense or the Co-Chairs of the Council to exchange views, information, or advice with the Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs; the Commander, United States Northern Command; the Chief, National Guard Bureau; the Commandant of the Coast Guard; and other appropriate officials of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and appropriate officials of other executive departments or agencies as may be designated by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Suspect in Northwest Airlines bomb attack had round-trip ticket --It had been widely reported that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a one-way fare. Obama administration officials brief congressional aides on the Christmas Day attack. 12 Jan 2010 The alleged Christmas Day airline bomber had purchased a round-trip ticket -- not a one- way fare, as has been widely reported -- the Obama administration told congressional aides in a closed briefing Tuesday. According to a person who attended the meeting, the administration also said it was not unusual for international air travelers to buy their tickets using cash, as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had done.

Passenger On 'Do Not Board' List Flies From PIA 12 Jan 2010 The Centers for Disease Control said a passenger with tuberculosis has been detained after boarding a flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco despite being on a "do-not-board" list. [?!?] CDC officials said the passenger was detained and taken to a local hospital after a U.S. Airways flight arrived in San Francisco Saturday night. The unidentified male passenger was apparently placed on a do-not-board list submitted to the TSA and CDC on January 8, 2010.

Stop and search powers illegal, European court rules --Judges in Strasbourg say UK powers under Terrorism Act 2000 violate convention on human rights 12 Jan 2010 The ability of UK police to use "arbitrary" counter-terror stop and search powers against peace protesters and photographers lay in tatters today after a landmark ruling by the European court of human rights. The Strasbourg court ruled it was unlawful for police to use the powers, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, to stop and search people without needing any grounds for suspicion. The use of these powers has grown fourfold, from 33,177 times in 2004 to more than 117,200 in 2008.

The fight against full-body scanners at airports --'We don't need to look at naked 8-year-olds and grandmothers to secure airplanes,' a lawmaker says. TSA is adding machines to screen more passengers, much to the chagrin of privacy advocates. 13 Jan 2010 The government has promised more and better security at airports following the near-disaster on Christmas Day, but privacy advocates are not prepared to accept the use of full-body scanners as the routine screening system. Privacy concerns slowed the move to put more body-imaging scanners in the airports. Currently, 19 airports have at least one scanner in use. The Transportation Security Administration had already announced plans to buy 300 devices, and is likely to purchase more.

Many Caribbean, Latin America airports lack safety zones 12 Jan 2010 Many of the busiest airports in the Caribbean and Latin America lack basic safety features that could have prevented the recent crash of an American Airlines jet in Jamaica, according to pilots, aviation safety experts and public documents... As a result of a string of similar crashes in this country, Congress and U.S. regulators have required airports to install safety zones at the end of each runway by 2015 to minimize the chances of damage when a jet skids off the pavement.

North Carolina port closed by hazardous scare --9 containers with potentially explosive materials are punctured 12 Jan 2010 Officials shut down a North Carolina port and and a stretch of highway and urged people to leave the area Tuesday after nine containers with highly explosive materials were punctured. Morehead City Police Chief Wes Lail told WTVD that the chemical involved is pentaerythritol tetranitrate, a powerful explosive, also known as PETN. It's not clear what form the chemical was in.

Thousands feared dead as huge earthquake destroys UN headquarters in Haiti 13 Jan 2010 Thousands of people were feared dead after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.0 rocked the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti last night, toppling buildings and causing widespread damage and panic. The United Nations headquarters was one of scores of buildings that were toppled, including the presidential palace, government buildings and a cathedral. Roads and bridges also lay in ruins. Communications were widely disrupted, making it impossible to get a clear picture of the damage as violent aftershocks shook the country, where many buildings are flimsy. Electricity was lost in some places.

Fears of huge death toll as earthquake rocks Haiti --Presidential palace and hospital among buildings reported to have collapsed 13 Jan 2010 A devastating earthquake struck the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti last night, causing what first reports said was widespread damage in the densely populated capital of Port-au-Prince with one hospital among numerous buildings said to have collapsed. Part of the national palace, which is home to Haiti's first family, had also collapsed... Early reports suggested the numbers hurt and killed could turn out to be very significant.

SEC order helps maintain AIG bailout mystery --SEC agreed with AIG to keep some bailout terms sealed 11 Jan 2010 It could take until November 2018 to get the full story behind the U.S. bailout of insurance giant American International Group because of an action taken last year by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In May, the SEC approved a request by AIG to keep secret an exhibit to a year-old regulatory filing that includes some of the details on the most controversial aspect of the AIG bailout: the funneling of tens of billions of dollars to big banks like Societe Generale, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. The SEC's Division of Corporation Finance, in granting AIG's request for confidential treatment, said the "excluded information" will not be made public until Nov. 25, 2018, according to a copy of the agency's May 22 order. [Yeah, we don't want to wait that long, dirtbags.]

Emails implicate Treasury Secretary Geithner in cover-up of AIG deal to bail out the banks By Barry Grey 12 Jan 2010 A financial scandal has erupted that implicates Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in efforts to conceal the funneling of $62 billion in taxpayer funds to 16 large banks as part of the government bailout of the insurance giant American International Group (AIG). The revelations coincide with the imminent announcement by the big US banks of their profits and year-end bonuses for 2009. Most of the major banks are expected to report huge profits--in the case of Goldman Sachs, its highest profits ever--and combined bonuses of $30 billion or more.

US must cut spending to save AAA rating, warns Fitch 12 Jan 2010 Fitch Ratings has issued the starkest warning to date that the US will lose its AAA credit rating unless acts to bring the budget deficit under control, citing a spiral in debt service costs and dependence on foreign lenders. Brian Coulton, the agency's head of sovereign ratings, said the US is shielded for now by its pivotal role in global finance and the dollar's status as the key reserve currency, but the picture is deteriorating fast enough to ring alarm bells.

'Was her head really that empty?' --Chris Matthews on Sarah Palin, Tuesday's 'Hardball.' Senile coward John McInsane *forgets* that he picked this dimwitted bimbo (and polar bear killing-terrorist) under the rubric of 'Country First.'

McCain Voted Against Creating Martin Luther King Holiday. (Color Of Change) In 1983, McCain voted against a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The motion passed 89-77. [HR 3706, Vote 289, 8/2/83; CQ 1983]

McCain complains of 'double standard' for Reid 12 Jan 2010 The GOP's 2008 presidential candidate decried Tuesday what he called a "stunning double standard" between the treatment of a top Democrat and Republican leader caught making racially insensitive remarks. Sen. John McCain of Arizona ripped the decision among most leading Democrats largely to dismiss the recent revelation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said in 2008 that Barack Obama could succeed as a black presidential candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and speaking patterns "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day 03 Apr 2008 Tomorrow Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by speaking in Memphis on the 40th anniversary of King's assassination. He will no doubt sound a bit different than he did in April 1987, when McCain was interviewed by USA Today about his five and a half years as a P.O.W. Could you keep up with what was going on in the world? He was asked. "They never gave us any meaningful news," McCain said. "They told us the day that Martin Luther King was shot, they told us the day that Bobby Kennedy was shot, but they never bothered to tell us about the moon shot. So it was certainly selected news." Surely the John McCain of 2008 would not hold that the assassinations of King and Kennedy were not "meaningful."

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Blackwater/Xe mercs arrive in Somalia, Al-Shabab says --There are also allegations of US-sponsored bomb plots in the capital. 12 Jan 2010 At least 18 people have been killed in clashes between rival factions in southern and central Somalia, and there are reports that Blackwater/Xe mercenaries have entered the country. A battle broke out between the pro-government Ahlu Sunnah militia and Hizbul Islam fighters in the town of Baladwayne on Sunday and went well into Monday, during which at least 13 people lost their lives, witnesses said... There are also allegations of US-sponsored bomb plots in the capital. The bombings will be carried out in order to create a pretext to launch a campaign against Al-Shabab, a spokesman of the group, Sheikh Ali Mohammed Rage, told Reuters. "We have discovered that US agencies are going to launch suicide bombings in public places in Mogadishu," he told reporters. "They have tried it in Algeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan... We warn of these disasters. They want to target Bakara Market and mosques, then use that to malign us." At a meeting with tribal elders in Mogadishu on Monday, the Al-Shabab spokesman said that mercenaries of the Xe private security firm -- formerly known as Blackwater -- have arrived in the Somali capital, the Press TV correspondent in Mogadishu reported on Monday.

Iran diplomat says was tortured in US custody 11 Jan 2010 An Iranian diplomat who was detained by the US military in Iraq and held for more than two years, says that he was tortured while in American custody. Majid Qaemi-Heydari was among the five Iranian diplomats who were abducted by American forces in a raid on Iran's consulate in Arbil on January 11, 2007. In an interview with Fars News Agency, Heydari said the behavior of his American captors was worse than the violence they showed against Iraqis. "They had put covers on our heads, they cuffed our hands," he said adding that the soldiers were later criticized for not cuffing the diplomat's hands behind them.

Judge moves military trials of 2 Navy SEALs accused of mistreating detainee to US base in Iraq 11 Jan 2010 Two Navy SEALs accused in the mistreatment of an Iraqi detainee prisoner should be tried at the U.S. base in Iraq where the alleged victim is being held, a military judge ruled Monday. In a rare move, Cmdr. Tierney Carlos moved the trials after government prosecutors said they would make the detainee available for deposition at Camp Victory in Baghdad but would not bring him to Naval Station Norfolk to testify. The judge ruled that Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe of Yorktown, Virginia, and Petty Officer 1st Class Julio Huertas of Illinois, have a right to face their accuser in open court.

Free my dad from Guantanamo, 12-year-old asks Brown 11 Jan 2010 It is an anguished plea from a daughter for a father who has been imprisoned for a crime she believes he did not commit. But Johina Aamer’s two-page hand written letter to Gordon Brown is not like any other child’s request for state intervention in a miscarriage of justice. Johina’s father is Shaker Aamer, the last recognised British resident at Guantanamo Bay where the Americans have held him for eight years without ever charging him with a crime.

Alastair Campbell to face questions from Iraq Inquiry 12 Jan 2010 Tony Blair's former spokesman Alastair Campbell will become the most prominent figure yet to face the Iraq Inquiry when he gives evidence later. The probe is looking at UK policy during the run-up to the 2003 war, its handling and aftermath. It has also been announced that former Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon and former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will give evidence next week. Mr Blair is expected to appear at a later date. His successor as prime minister, Gordon Brown, will not give evidence until after the general election, expected to take place in May.

Surge turning tide against Taliban, says McChrystal 12 Jan 2010 The top United States general in Afghanistan says a surge in American troops has started to turn the tide against the Taliban. US President Barack Obama last month ordered an extra 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan and the top US commander there, General Stanley McChrystal, says the troops are shifting the momentum against the Taliban.

Apparently, McOblivious reads less than Sarah Palin. Six troops die in Afghan attacks 11 Jan 2010 Six troops from the international force in Afghanistan were killed on Monday in a series of attacks that marked one of its worst single-day losses in more than three months. The latest deaths, which included three US troops, underscored the risk that the Obama administration's troop surge could lead to an increase in casualties in the coming months.

British Soldier Is Killed In Afghanistan 11 Jan 2010 A British soldier has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan. The soldier was serving with 11 EOD Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps, in Musah Qela, Helmand province. His death takes the number of British service personnel who have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001 to 247.

Houthis 'seize 3 Yemeni bases in north' 11 Jan 2010 Houthi fighters in Yemen say they have managed to capture three military bases after fierce fighting with the government forces near the northern city of Sa'ada. The fighters released a statement on Monday, saying that they had seized the military bases after a long battle with Yemeni forces, prompting them to launch attacks against civilians in the area. According to the report, Yemeni forces targeted and destroyed several residential homes, mosques and historical buildings. ['Residential homes, mosques and historical buildings.' Sounds liken Blackwater is already there.]

Lebanon fires at Israeli jets violating its airspace 11 Jan 2010 The Lebanese army says its anti-aircraft artillery fired at four Israeli fighter jets flying over the country's southern airspace at low altitude on Monday. "The army's anti-aircraft guns fired at four enemy Israeli planes that had been overflying the (southern) area of Marjayoun this morning," an army spokesman told AFP.

Israel to build wall along Egyptian border 11 Jan 2010 Israel approved on Sunday the construction of a barrier along its border with Egypt, Israeli media reported on Monday. "I took the decision to close Israel's southern border to infiltrators and terrorists. This is a strategic decision to secure Israel's Jewish and democratic character," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement.

Iran slams US general's 'thoughtless' remarks 11 Jan 2010 Tehran has moved to dismiss a warning by a top figure in the US military of a series of 'contingency plans' in dealing with Iran's nuclear program. "He has made thoughtless comments and it is better that any statement made in this regard take a constructive approach," the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehman-Parast as saying on Monday.

Five Luton men found guilty after abusive chants at soldiers --Muslim men who insulted parading troops convicted of 'threatening behaviour' 11 Jan 2010 Five Muslim men accused of yelling abuse at British soldiers and calling them rapists, murderers and baby killers during a homecoming parade have been found guilty of a public order offence. There were angry scenes during the parade in Luton for 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, known as the Poachers, on 10 March last year.

High-level military people to visit Minot AFB 09 Jan 2010 The assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs and a number of other high-level people are expected to visit Minot Air Force Base in the next weeks. Andrew C. Weber will visit the base to learn about its nuclear mission, base officials said. Col. Douglas Cox, commander of the base's 5th Bomb Wing, told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce's Military Affairs Committee about the visitors expected at the base early this year.

The 'false' pandemic: Drug firms cashed in on scare over swine flu, claims Euro health chief 11 Jan 2010 The swine flu outbreak was a 'false pandemic' driven by drug companies that stood to make billions of pounds from a worldwide scare, a leading health expert has claimed. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, accused the makers of flu drugs and vaccines of influencing the World Health Organisation's decision to declare a pandemic. This led to the pharmaceutical firms ensuring 'enormous gains', while countries, including the UK, 'squandered' their meagre health budgets, with millions being vaccinated against a relatively mild disease. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009. See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 UK Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions.]

H1N1 Flu Is a False Pandemic, Health Expert Claims 11 Jan 2010 A leading health expert said the swine flu scare was a "false pandemic" led by drug companies that stood to make billions from vaccines, The Sun reported Monday. Wolfgang Wodarg, head of health at the Council of Europe, claimed major firms organized a "campaign of panic" to put pressure on the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic. He believes it is "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century," and he has called for an inquiry. Wodarg added: "A group of people in the WHO is associated very closely with the pharmaceutical industry."

Due to low demand: U.S. scales back H1N1 vaccine, cuts CSL order in half 11 Jan 2010 The United States has scaled back its supply of H1N1 flu vaccine, cutting its order with Australian firm CSL Ltd in half, the company said on Monday. The U.S. move follows other nations which have also cut back swine flu vaccines as health authorities around the world grapple with oversupply due to low demand. The U.S. government has paid for 251 million doses of vaccine from five makers -- GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and CSL Ltd.

Federal Reserve earned $45 billion in 2009 12 Jan 2010 Wall Street firms aren't the only banks that had a banner year. The Federal Reserve made record profits in 2009, as its unconventional efforts to prop up the economy created a windfall for the government. The Fed will return about $45 billion to the U.S. Treasury for 2009, according to calculations by The Washington Post based on public documents. That reflects the highest earnings in the 96-year history of the central bank.

Federal Reserve Seeks to Protect U.S. Bailout Secrets 11 Jan 2010 The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan will decide whether the Fed must release records of the unprecedented $2 trillion U.S. loan program launched after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Bank Profits Means Stocks at 15% Discount to S&P 500 11 Jan 2010 No U.S. industry has faster profit growth than banks and brokers, and no group is more hated by investors. Analysts say earnings at financial companies rose 120 percent in the fourth quarter, accounting for all of the income increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and will triple by 2011, climbing four times as fast as the market. Should the estimates prove correct, the shares are trading at a 15 percent discount to the index, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

AP: Obama weighing new levy on banks 12 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama is weighing a levy on financial institutions to help recover shortfalls in a $700 billion bank bailout fund and to help balance a budget that is looking increasingly grim amid an ongoing economic crisis. A senior administration official said Monday that Obama would seek modifications to the law that sent billions in bailout money in 2008 and 2009 to a flailing Wall Street that was approaching collapse.

'Health Care' Overhaul Bill Is 'Hanging by a Thread': Dodd 11 Jan 2010 Health care reform A big corporaterrorist giveaway is "hanging on by a thread," and one or two votes could determine the outcome of the heavily-debated bill, Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd told CNBC Monday. Some progressives, for example, are disappointed that the Senate bill, unlike the House version, does not include a public option, he said.

Gasoline prices zip toward $3 mark --Oil prices are now about three times what they were a year ago. 11 Jan 2010 Gasoline prices on Monday continued their push toward $3 per gallon. The only question now is when? Prices have been jumping on the back of a strong oil market where the cost for a barrel has spiked 20 percent in the past month on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Justices to Review Plan for Webcasts of a Trial 12 Jan 2010 The Supreme Court indicated Monday that it might soon have something significant to say about whether and when video coverage of federal trials is appropriate. Shortly before a federal trial over same-sex marriage began in San Francisco, the court temporarily blocked a judge’s plan to broadcast the trial on the Internet. Saying they needed more time to consider the issues, the justices said their order would remain in effect until Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

New Jersey Lawmakers Pass Medical Marijuana 12 Jan 2010 The New Jersey Legislature approved a measure on Monday that would make the state the 14th in the nation, but one of the few on the East Coast, to legalize the use of marijuana to help patients with chronic illnesses. The measure -- which would allow patients diagnosed with severe illnesses... to have access to marijuana grown and distributed through state-monitored dispensaries -- was passed by the General Assembly and State Senate on the final day of the legislative session.

Mega barf alert! Sarah Palin joins Fox News as a contributor in multi-year deal 11 Jan 2010 The former Alaska Governor [polar bear-killing terrorist] has signed a multi-year deal to serve as a contributor to Faux News, effective immediately. "I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News," Palin said in a statement. "It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balance news."

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CLG Exclusive: Source: Ford Paying Tea Partiers to Protest Detroit Auto Show By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 07 Jan 2010 The Ford Motor Co. is paying Tea Partiers to protest against the Detroit car manufacturers at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, Citizens For Legitimate Government has learned. Ford is paying the Tea Party protesters in order to increase their market share through brand loyalty. [Update: Ford Motor Company and PR firm Burson Marstellar have been visiting the CLG, reading this story, etc.]

And Now a Word from the Netroots: Will the Real Barack Obama Please... Sit Down? --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. 09 Jan 2010 As the betrayals by President Barack Obama and the Democrats mount, the Obamapologetics grow more desperate and contradictory by the day... Obama was brought in for one reason and one reason only - to put a better, even subaltern face on imperialism, martial adventurism, and the economic decline of the vast majority. He was brought in for his astounding rhetorical ability - to package war escalation and economic rollbacks and to sell them as peace and reforms. He was brought in so that the Republican boosters could call him a socialist and thereby provide right cover for his government as it handed over the federal treasury in bailouts and war bucks.

Israeli firm blasted for letting would-be plane bomber slip through 10 Jan 2010 The Israeli firm ICTS International (not to be confused with ICTS Europe, which is a different company), and two of its subsidiaries are at the crux of an international investigation in recent days, as experts try to pinpoint the reasons for the security failure that enabled Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board Northwest flight 253 and attempt to set alight explosives hidden in his underwear. A Haaretz investigation has learned that the security officers and their supervisor should have suspected the passenger, even without having early intelligence available to them.

'Uncle Sam is 'marking territory' - like a dog on a lamppost.' Obama's Yemeni odyssey targets China By M K Bhadrakumar 09 Jan 2010 A year ago, Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh made the startling revelation that his country's security forces apprehended a group of Islamists linked to [Wait for it... it's good...] the Israeli intelligence forces. "A terrorist cell was apprehended and will be referred to the courts for its links with the Israeli intelligence services," he promised. Saleh added, "You will hear about the trial proceedings." Nothing was ever heard and the trail went cold. [Well, knock me over with a feather!] ...Is Obama so incredibly forgetful of his own December 1 speech outlining his Afghan strategy that he violated his own canons? Certainly not. Obama is a smart man. The intervention in Yemen will go down as one of the smartest moves that he ever made for perpetuating the US's global hegemony. It is America's answer to China's surge.

'US to double its security funding to Yemen' 10 Jan 2010 The Head of the US Central Command Gen. David Petraeus has declared that Washington is to double its security assistance funding to Yemen, from $70 million to more than $150. However the US has no plans to send ground troops to Yemen, Petraeus told CNN in an interview that will be aired on Sunday... Shia fighters in the north have repeatedly reported that US fighter jets have bombed the northwestern province of Sa'ada.

UK troops 'executed Iraqi grandmother' --Royal Military Police investigate latest allegation of abuse another war crime in Basra 11 Jan 2010 Allegations that a 62-year-old Iraqi grandmother was tortured and executed by British soldiers after her family home was raided three years ago are being investigated by the Royal Military Police. The Army's involvement in the death and abuse of Sabiha Khudur Talib is one of the most serious charges to be made against Britain during its six-year occupation of southern Iraq. UK government ministers are to be given previously unseen police reports from a Basra crime unit which conclude that Mrs Talib's body was dumped on a roadside in a British body bag in November 2006. There was a bullet hole in her abdomen and her face had injuries consistent with torture, police reported.

Alastair Campbell had Iraq dossier changed to fit US claims' --WMD in a year' allegation halved original timescale after compilers told to compare contents with Bush speech 10 Jan 2010 Fresh evidence has emerged that Tony Blair's discredited Iraqi arms dossier was "sexed up" on the instructions of Alastair Campbell, his communications chief, to fit with claims from the US administration that were known to be false. The pre-invasion dossier's worst-case estimate of how long it would take Iraq to acquire a nuclear weapon was shortened in response to a George Bush speech.

'Significant amounts of money were spent on procuring the services of Afghan warlords.' UK 'paid Afghan warlord $2m to find Osama Bin Laden' 09 Jan 2010 The UK paid $2m (£1.3m) for the services of an Afghan warlord in an operation against Osama Bin Laden in 2001, it has been alleged. BBC Two's Conspiracy Files heard claims from a US special forces commander that both the Americans and British paid substantial sums to Afghan warlords... Dalton Fury told the BBC significant amounts of money were spent on procuring the services of Afghan warlords. "General Hazrat Ali was paid $4 million to rent his leadership and his men. Haji Zaman Gamsurek supported by the United Kingdom was paid $2 million," said Mr Fury.

Sunday Mirror journalist killed in Afghan blast 10 Jan 2010 The defence correspondent of the Sunday Mirror newspaper has become the first British journalist to be killed while covering the war in Afghanistan. Rupert Hamer, 39, was accompanying a US Marine Corps patrol when an explosion from a device hidden outside a small village hit the vehicle he was travelling in on Saturday. The photographer Philip Coburn, 43, who had worked with Mr Hamer in several war zones, suffered severe leg injuries in the attack.

Officials: Suspected US Drones Kill 13 In Pakistan 06 Jan 2010 Suspected U.S. drone missile strikes killed 13 people in Pakistan's volatile northwest Wednesday, the latest of five such attacks in the past week targeting an area believed to be a hideout for militants involved in a suicide attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan. Since the attack, suspected U.S. drones have carried out an unusually high number of strikes in North Waziristan, part of a larger trend of President Barack Obama using the aircraft more frequently in Pakistan than had his predecessor.

Al-Qa'ida trains 20 more plane bombers --Other young Muslim men like Abdulmutallab are prepared in Yemen for terror attacks 10 Jan 2010 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab told US investigators that about 20 other young Muslim men were being coached in Yemen to blow up planes using a technique identical to the one he employed, CBS News has reported, quoting a British intelligence source.

Taliban make 'undetectable' bombs out of wood 10 Jan 2010 Taliban fighters have developed a deadly new generation of their most lethal weapon, the improvised explosive device, or IED, which is almost undetectable because it has no metal or electronic parts, military experts said last week. IEDs have proved the Taliban's most deadly weapon: three out of five coalition troops killed last year in Afghanistan were victims of the bombs.

How this suicide bomber opened a new front in Al-Qaeda's war --New details have emerged of the failures that led to the deaths of seven CIA agents in Afghanistan. 10 Jan 2010 That morning, Wednesday December 30, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi had been picked up at the Ghulam Khan border crossing by an Afghan army commander called Arghawan, who was in charge of security at the Chapman base... As Balawi stepped out of the car, seven CIA officers and a handful of soldiers gathered around. According to the guard, it was then that Balawi detonated his bomb, killing eight and injuring six. Arghawan, still sitting in the driver’s seat, survived the initial blast but a US soldier shot him in the head with his pistol, assuming that he was part of the bomb plot.

CIA Bomber in Video With Taliban Leader --Tape Surfaces Showing Jordanian Who Killed CIA Operatives in Afghanistan Vowing Revenge for Killing of Taliban Figure 09 Jan 2010 A Jordanian doctor-turned-suicide bomber and triple agent who killed 7 CIA agents and a Jordanian intelligence agent in Afghanistan on December 30, appeared in a video broadcast by a Pakistani TV station on Saturday, meeting with Pakistan's main Taliban leader, and provoking widespread reaction over his ties with militants on both sides of the Pak-Afghan border.

'Bush sold Arab states arms in violation of deal with Israel' 09 Jan 2010 The Bush administration violated security related agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve the IDF's qualitative edge over Arab armies, according to senior officials in the Obama administration and Israel. Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the U.S. in September for a rushed meeting in which it was agreed that the two allies would discuss how to resolve the problems regarding this issue.

Israeli general Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam denies Iran is nuclear threat 10 Jan 2010 A general who was once in charge of Israel’s nuclear weapons has claimed that Iran is a "very, very, very long way from building a nuclear capability". Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, 75, a war hero and pillar of the defence establishment, believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons. The views expressed by the former director-general of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission contradict the assessment of Israel’s defence establishment and put him at odds with political leaders.

3 Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrike on Gaza 10 Jan 2010 Israeli warplanes have attacked the central Gaza Strip, killing three Palestinians in the area. Palestinian medics said the Israeli airstrike killed the three, AFP reported. Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services, announced that the bodies of the three were taken to a hospital in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza. He added that the eastern part of Gaza was also attacked by Israeli warplanes.

Israel prevented 17 sight-impaired Gazans from leaving for cornea transplant operations on time; a donation of dozens of corneas went down the drain (Physicians for Human Rights-Israel) 09 Jan 2010 The Israeli authorities at Erez checkpoint this week prevented the exit of 17 sight-impaired patients, suffering from various eye diseases, from the Gaza Strip in order to undergo cornea transplants, a treatment that is not available in the Gaza health system. Because of this delay, the medical window of opportunity to perform the transplants for these patients was closed, because corneas can be transplanted only within the shortest time frame (24-48 hours after they are extracted from the donor's body)... PHR-Israel strongly protests the blatant disregard of the Erez checkpoint authorities for the medical urgency of allowing the exit of patients for cornea transplant operations.

Labour 'resigned to losing general election' 11 Jan 2010 The Labour Party is resigned to an election defeat under the stewardship of Gordon Brown, following last week's shambolic coup attempt and yet more damaging revelations about the Prime Minister's leadership style. Senior Labour sources said the party had no confidence it would emerge victorious from a general election campaign, despite widespread expectation among its ranks that the Conservatives could be beaten with a different leader.

'Disorderly' Va. man taken off plane --Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from the North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters in Colorado Springs. 09 Jan 2010 A 47-year-old Virginia man taken off an airplane Friday in Colorado and held in jail over the weekend is expected to appear in federal court in Denver on Monday and be charged with interfering with a flight crew. Muhammad Abu Tahir, of Glen Allen, was reportedly drinking and acting in an unruly manner aboard an AirTran Airways flight from Atlanta to San Francisco. The pilot chose to divert the aircraft to Colorado Springs, where Tahir was removed before the flight resumed. Two F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from the North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters in Colorado Springs. They remained above Colorado Springs Airport until local law enforcement authorities arrived, Lt. Commander Gary Ross said yesterday.

Slovaks plant explosives on air traveller 06 Jan 2010 Irish police have released a man held over an explosives find, after Slovak authorities admitted planting them in his luggage as part of a security test. The explosives were among eight contraband items placed with passengers at Bratislava and Poprad-Tatry airports last weekend. The man unwittingly brought the material into Dublin when he returned from his Christmas holidays. He was arrested on Tuesday morning, but has since been released without charge. Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said he was very concerned that Irish police had not been alerted for three days.

Paris airport to try scanners on US-bound flights 08 Jan 2010 Body scanners will be used on an experimental basis at France's busiest airport later this month for flights headed to the United States, the deputy director of transportation at the General Direction for Civil Aviation said Friday. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had ordered this week a study of the possible use of scanners following the failed effort, allegedly by a Nigerian man, to blow up a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas.

Cancer Risks Debated for Type of X-Ray Scan 09 Jan 2010 The plan for broad use of X-ray body scanners to detect bombs or weapons under airline passengers’ clothes has rekindled a debate about the safety of delivering small doses of radiation to millions of people -- a process some experts say is certain to result in a few additional cancer deaths. The scanning machines, called "backscatter scanners," deliver a dose of ionizing radiation equivalent to 1 percent or less of the radiation in a dental X-ray. But collectively, the radiation doses from the scanners incrementally increase the risk of fatal cancers among the thousands or millions of travelers who will be exposed, some radiation experts believe.

Officials Hid Truth About Immigrant Deaths in Jail 10 Jan 2010 Silence has long shrouded the men and women who die in the nation’s immigration jails. For years, they went uncounted and unnamed in the public record. Even in 2008, when The New York Times obtained and published a federal government list of such deaths, few facts were available about who these people were and how they died. But behind the scenes, it is now clear, the deaths had already generated thousands of pages of government documents, including scathing investigative reports that were kept under wraps, and a trail of confidential memos and BlackBerry messages that show officials working to stymie outside inquiry.

McCain strategist: Palin thought candidacy was mapped by God 11 Jan 2010 Sarah Palin believed that Sen. John McCain chose her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential race because of "God's plan," according to a top political strategist in the Arizona Republican's campaign. In an interview with the CBS news magazine "60 Minutes," Steve Schmidt described Palin as "very calm -- nonplussed" after McCain met with her at his Arizona ranch just before putting her on the Republican ticket. Schmidt, McCain's chief campaign adviser, said he asked Palin about her serenity in the face of becoming "one of the most famous people in the world." He quoted her as saying, "It's God's plan."

G.O.P. Attacks Reid Over Comments 11 Jan 2010 Republicans on Sunday sought to portray racially insensitive remarks attributed to Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, in a new book as similar to comments made in 2002 by Trent Lott, the Republican leader who was forced to step down. Democrats rejected that comparison and continued to close ranks behind Mr. Reid for comments he made suggesting that Barack Obama could become the first African-American president because he was "light-skinned" and because he did not speak with a "Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." They said the circumstances surrounding Mr. Reid and Mr. Lott were not parallel. Republicans, however, pressed the issue, with some even calling for Mr. Reid to step down. [Actually, the GOP itself forced loser Lott to step down. They wanted an even bigger Nazi, Bill Frist, in the role as Senate Majority Leader. Anyway, while carrying phony birth certificates, erecting billboards with nooses, toting AK-47s to town hall meetings and all but *praying* for Obama's assassination, the hypocritical sociopaths aka the GOP, actually *criticize* someone for making racist comments. It truly boggles the mind. --LRP]

Hawaii can't afford Congressional election 09 Jan 2010 Cash-strapped Hawaii can't afford to pay for an election to replace a congressman who is planning to step down next month to run for governor, potentially leaving 600,000 urban Honolulu residents without representation in Washington. Budget cuts have left the state Office of Elections with about $5,000 to last until July, with a special election costing nearly $1 million, interim Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago said. Until the state finds money or this fall's regularly scheduled elections occur, one of Hawaii's two seats in the House of Representatives will remain vacant.

Polar bears near shore as ice vanishes --Many scientists blame the warmer temperatures associated with climate change for the disappearance of the sea ice. 08 Jan 2010 A 27-year study of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea showed them spending more time on land and open water as ice disappeared, officials said. Between 1979 and 1987, 12 percent of bear sightings were associated with no ice. Between 1997 and 2005, however, 90 percent of bear sightings were associated with no ice, said Karyn Rode, a polar bear biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska. As sea ice disappeared, more bears were seen near shore in the southern Beaufort Sea, Rode said in a recent issue of the journal Arctic.

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Xe, a Blackwater You Can Believe In: Xe Services Aiming for Afghan Police Training Deal --Xe (formerly Blackwater) aims to be part of Obama's Afghanistan strategy 10 Jan 2010 Blackwater Worldwide's legal woes haven't dimmed the company's prospects in Afghanistan, where it's a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama's strategy for stabilizing destroying the country. Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan's troubled national police force. The expanded role would seem an unlikely one for Xe because Democrats have held such a negative opinion of the company following the Iraqi deaths, which are still reverberating in Baghdad and Washington. During the presidential campaign, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now Obama's secretary of state, backed legislation to ban Blackwater and other private security contractors from Iraq. [Obama keeps faith with these mass-murderers, rapists and child-molesters? Xe, a Blackwater you can believe in! --MDR]

Warlord calls the shots over Afghanistan military transport --The warlord usually receives around US$2500 for each truck that passes. 08 Jan 2010 An Afghan warlord has told Radio Netherlands that he is receiving money to protect convoys of army vehicles. The warlord, Mathiullah Khan, has confirmed he charges for the transportation of water, food and fuel from Kandahar to the Dutch bases at Camp Holland or Tarin Kowt in the neighbouring province to the north.

'In terms of security we have failed.' Karzai: I don't need foreign forces in Afghanistan 08 Jan 2010 Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai says he does not need anymore 'the favor' of the US-led foreign forces in his war-weary country. "If these forces are coming only to chase the Taliban at the cost of Afghan civilians, of course that's not going to produce any good consequences for us," Karzai said in an interview with al-Jazeera on Friday... The president's remarks come after thousands of Afghan people took to the streets to protest the rising civilian death toll by the US-led forces in the country.

U.S. has no plans to send troops to Yemen says Mullen [Right, he'll just send Blackwater terrorists.] 09 Jan 2010 Yemen has posed a concern as a potential terrorist safe haven for some time, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff said at the Naval War College, in Newport, Rhode Island, Friday. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said the U.S. military has no plan to conduct combat operations in Yemen, nor does the Yemeni government want U.S. combat forces in the country.

Defiant Yemen tells US soldiers to keep out --The country refuses to become the latest hub of America's war on of terror 08 Jan 2010 Yemen insisted yesterday that it could handle its own mounting security challenges without any direct foreign intervention, pointedly warning Washington to learn the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan. While welcoming US intelligence and technological co-operation, the Deputy Prime Minister for Defence and Security, Rashad al-Alimi, told a crowded news conference in the capital, Sana'a, that the government did not want foreign troops on its soil.

Iraq confiscates arms in private security crackdown 09 Jan 2010 Security forces confiscated hundreds of rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition and other military gear in a crackdown on mercenaries in Iraq, officials said on Saturday. Police raided three locations in Baghdad on Friday, a week after Iraqi authorities were incensed by a U.S. judge's decision to throw out charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards terrorists accused of killing over a dozen Iraqi civilians in 2007. Officials said they are targeting private security companies that are no longer legally licensed to operate in Iraq. "All those companies with their work permits expired are not allowed to move one meter inside Baghdad, or own one piece of weaponry," Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said.

Day ends in 'y,' so Obusha is poised to open new war front: US preparing military for possible Iran conflict 09 Jan 2010 The US does not want to see confrontation with Iran but is still preparing its military for that possibility, America's top uniformed officer said Thursday. "We've looked to do all we can to ensure that conflict doesn't break out there, while at the same time preparing forces, as we do for many contingencies that we understand might occur," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an appearance at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

U.S. Moves to Support Iran Opposition 09 Jan 2010 The Obama administration is increasingly questioning the long-term stability of Tehran's government and moving to find ways to support Iran's [US-funded] opposition "Green Movement," said senior U.S. officials. The White House is crafting new financial sanctions specifically designed to punish the Iranian entities and individuals most directly involved in the crackdown on Iran's dissident forces, said the U.S. officials, rather than just those involved in Iran's nuclear program.

Day ends in 'y,' so Obusha is poised to open new war front: Chavez says Venezuela jets intercepted U.S. plane 09 Jan 2010 President Hugo Chavez said he ordered two F-16 jets to intercept a U.S. military plane that twice entered Venezuelan skies on Friday, but Washington said none of its planes flew over the South American country's airspace. Brandishing a photo of the plane, which he described as a P-3, Chavez said the overflight was the latest violation of Venezuelan airspace by the U.S. military from its bases on the Netherlands' Caribbean islands and from neighboring Colombia. "They are provoking us ... these are warplanes," he said. Chavez said the F-16s escorted the U.S. plane away after two incursions lasting 15 and 19 minutes each.

Pakistan says US drone attacks must end 09 Jan 2010 Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday reiterated his country's concerns over the US drone strikes in talks with a delegation of visiting US senators. The US delegation is led by Senator John McCain (R-Insane), the former presidential candidate. Gilani said his government was "disappointment over the continuing drone attacks" and criticized Washington for not sharing pilotless drone technology with Islamabad, Pakistan's official APP news agency reported Saturday.

U.S. Insists Pakistan Ease Limits On Staffers 08 Jan 2010 The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad demanded that Pakistan stop detaining American diplomats at police checkpoints on the country's roads -- an unusual public complaint intended, in part, to counter rumors of U.S. plots against Pakistan. U.S. officials privately say the traffic stops, which they describe as harassment, are part of a broader campaign aimed at limiting America's diplomatic [sic] presence in Pakistan. The officials say they believe the campaign is being driven by elements in the military and the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency.

Angry Cuba demands removal from U.S. terrorism list 08 Jan 2010 Cuba angrily rejected on Friday U.S. accusations that it supports terrorist groups and demanded its removal from a U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism." Cuba demanded its "immediate exclusion" from the U.S. terrorism list, calling it an "unjust, arbitrary and politically motivated designation that contradicts the exemplary conduct of our country in confronting terrorism." It accused the United States of harboring "hundreds of criminals, murderers and terrorists" it said had acted against the Cuban government since Fidel Castro took power in a 1959 revolution. [Harboring and HIRING. And, it's likely thousands. --LRP]

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, omits 9/11 while bashing Obama on terror 08 Jan 2010 Rudy Giuliani has been teased for only having three words in his vocabulary - a noun, a verb and 9/11 - but Friday "America's Mayor" seemed to forget about 9/11. The embarrassing flub came as Giuliani hit the morning news shows to suggest that President Obama needs to take more cues from ex-President [sic] George W. Bush when it comes to fighting terror. "One of the right things [Bush] did was treat this as a war on terror," Giuliani told "Good Morning America" host George Stephanopoulos. Then Giuliani proclaimed, in words he would soon regret, "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama," referring to November's shootings at Fort Hood by a radical Army psychiatrist. [Oops! Unindicted senile 9/11 co-conspirator, Rudy Giuliani, 'forgets' his complicity in the murder of 3,000 US citizens under Bush so that he, Lucky Larry 'Maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.' Silverstein and the rest of Bush's merry cabal of sociopaths, could make billion$ on their phony 'war on terror.' --LRP]

Video allegedly shows CIA bomber saying he spilled U.S. secrets --A Pakistani TV station airs footage purportedly showing the suicide bomber of a CIA outpost telling a Taliban leader that he shared U.S. and Jordanian intelligence secrets with fellow militants. 09 Jan 2010 A Pakistani television station aired a video today allegedly showing the suicide bomber of a CIA outpost in Afghanistan telling the Pakistani Taliban leader that he'd shared U.S. and Jordanian intelligence secrets with fellow militants. He also urged militants to hit other U.S. targets in retaliation for the killing of the leader's predecessor last year in a U.S. missile strike. Although its veracity could not be immediately determined, the footage is a powerful recruiting tool and its content potentially embarrassing to the U.S. spy agency.

CIA agents killled to avenge death of Taliban leader 09 Jan 2010 A newly released video shows a man said to be the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan vowing to avenge the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud. The video, aired Saturday by a Pakistani broadcaster (AAJ) and an Arabic news channel, Al-Jazeera, shows a man identified as Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi wearing traditional Afghan clothing sitting next to new Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud.

Restroom alert! 2 F-16s launched to catch up with AirTran Airways Flight 39 --Unruly passengers cause 2 flights to change course 09 Jan 2010 Disruptive passengers caused two commercial airplanes to be diverted Friday, with military jets scrambling to escort a San Francisco-bound flight into a Colorado airport, authorities said... Two F-16s were launched at 11:44 a.m. to catch up with AirTran Airways Flight 39 from Atlanta to San Francisco after a report that an intoxicated passenger had locked himself in a bathroom, the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command said. The jets arrived over Colorado Springs Airport as the captain - who AirTran said had decided to divert the plane - landed there around noon, NORAD spokeswoman Stacey Knott said.

Three men arrested over Heathrow plane bomb threat --Armed police board Dubai-bound Emirates flight after 'verbal threat' made to air crew 09 Jan 2010 Three men have been arrested on suspicion of making a bomb threat on a plane as it readied for take-off at Heathrow airport. Armed counter-terrorist officers [!] boarded the Dubai-bound Emirates flight last night after a "verbal threat" was made to air crew at 9.15pm. The Metropolitan police said the three men were in custody.

Man removed from plane after security alert at Heathrow 08 Jan 2010 An aircraft passenger was removed from a plane by counter-terrorism officers after uttering a hoax threat as it readied for take-off, it was reported tonight. The unnamed white man was on an Emirates flight to Dubai taxiing at Heathrow when he made the comments, which were overheard by a fellow traveller.

Abdulmutallab Pleads Not Guilty in Plane Attack Plot 08 Jan 2010 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man accused of trying to destroy a Northwest Airlines plane carrying 290 people on Christmas Day, pleaded not guilty to U.S. criminal charges. The 23-year-old Nigerian entered his plea today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Randon in Detroit. As the flight approached the city’s airport, Abdulmutallab ignited his pants leg and a wall of the plane while trying to detonate a mixture of explosives he smuggled aboard, according to prosecutors.

Zazi associate charged in New York bomb plot 09 Jan 2010 A former high class classmate of a man accused of plotting an al Qaeda-inspired bomb attack in New York pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of murder conspiracy and receiving training by a terrorist organization. Adis Medunjanin, 25, a U.S. citizen of Bosnian origin, was arrested on Friday after a car chase that ended in a collision on a New York City bridge. At a Saturday arraignment, Medunjanin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, Pakistan, and one count of getting military-style training from al Qaeda [al-CIAduh].

FBI arrests 2 more in NYC terrorism investigation 08 Jan 2010 Two men were arrested Friday in the investigation of a suspected bomb plot targeting New York City, a case that has already led to charges against a Denver airport shuttle driver they attended high school with. The arrests in New York of Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were part of "an ongoing investigation" by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, according to FBI agent Richard Kolko, who declined to comment further.

Man Arrested Newark Security Breach 10 Jan 2010 The man who is believed to have slipped into a secured area of Newark Liberty International Airport and to have caused a six-hour shutdown of a major terminal on Sunday has been arrested, Port Authority officials said on Friday night. The man, Haisong Jiang, 28, was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. at his home in Piscataway, N.J., according a statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The agency said he would be charged with defiant trespass.

Obama: Our security failed and the buck stops with me 08 Jan 2010 President Obama said last night that ultimately it was his responsibility to keep Americans safe from terrorists as he announced a major shake-up of US security in the wake of the Christmas Day airline bomb plot. "The buck stops with me," Mr Obama declared during a long statement at the White House, in which he decried the security failures that allowed a Nigerian man with known links to extremists, and with plastic explosives sewn into his underwear, to board a US-bound flight.

Canada ordered airline scanners months ago --Scanner technology was in the works well before events in recent weeks 06 Jan 2010 Transport Minister John Baird told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday morning that Canada chose to pursue the high-tech scanner technology months ago, putting an order in to manufacturers "before the United States were in the queue...and before some of the countries in Europe." He said the scanner technology was in the works well before the events in recent weeks, leaving Canadian authorities well-informed about the practical concerns of implementing them at nationwide airports. "This is something we've been working on for about 15 months," said Baird.

Flying has become a nightmare thanks to the CIA, not al-Qaeda [Well, a lot us assert that they're *one and the same.*] By Con Coughlin 08 Jan 2010 Since September 11, Western democracies have conceded much in terms of privacy and civil liberties in order to assist the intelligence-gathering operation against Islamist extremists. We have granted the police and other security agencies greater surveillance powers, and have amended the criminal justice system to take account of this existential threat to our freedom. But as the war on Islamist terror enters its ninth year, we find that, despite the billions of dollars that the Americans have invested in giving their intelligence-gathering capability a serious upgrade, the approach to tackling the threat remains as naive today as it was on the morning that three hijacked aircraft caused the worst terrorist atrocity in American history.

Truckloads of Unused Swine Flu Vaccines --People were unsure of pumping a quickly developed vaccine into their bodies. 08 Jan 2010 After months of fear, media coverage and government warnings there wasn't as much demand for the swine flu vaccine in New York state as expected. Truckloads of swine flu vaccines are being returned by counties that say the expected demand for the shots never happened.

Millions of doses of swine flu vaccine to be off-loaded 08 Jan 2010 What do you do with vaccine that no-one needs [or wants]? That is the question currently puzzling the Department of Health. Back in May the government signed contracts with two suppliers - GSK and Baxter - to supply 90 million doses of H1N1 pandemic vaccine. The Department of Health has revealed that it has a break clause in its contract with Baxter which had been asked to supply 30 million doses, but it appears there is no get-out clause in the deal with GSK, set to provide 60 million doses. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]

CAMC set to fire employees who do not get flu vaccine by end of Friday --Charleston Area Medical Center employees who do not get the seasonal flu vaccine by the end of the day Friday are going to lose their jobs. 06 Jan 2010 (WV) Charleston Area Medical Center employees who do not get the seasonal flu vaccine by the end of the day Friday are going to lose their jobs. "The vaccine is a condition of employment" and people who do not get the vaccine will be fired, CAMC spokesman Dale Witte said. Anyone who is not vaccinated by the end of the day Friday will not be allowed to work, Witte said... "Then it will be termination." A CAMC employee e-mailed the Gazette to say, "it looks like the decision to let 80 employees go because they refuse to take the vaccine is actually going to take place."

'The actual unemployment rate is higher than shown by the official numbers.' Shrinking U.S. Labor Force Keeps Unemployment Rate From Rising 09 Jan 2010 An exodus of discouraged workers from the job market kept the U.S. unemployment rate from climbing above 10 percent in December, economists said. Had the labor force not decreased by 661,000 last month, the jobless rate would have been 10.4 percent, according to economists including David Rosenberg at Gluskin Sheff & Associates in Toronto and Harm Bandholz at UniCredit Research in New York.

Three top Wall Street banks to award $49.5 billion in year-end bonuses By Barry Grey 05 Jan 2010 The US media has been virtually silent on the colossal year-end bonuses for 2009 that will shortly be handed out by major American banks and financial firms... A brief article published on the inside pages of the business section of the January 1 New York Times ("With Bigger Bonuses, An Upside for Banks") notes in passing that the three top Wall Street banks will pay out an estimated $49.5 billion in cash bonuses and stock awards.

Police: Ex-Bush lawyer tried to kill wife by beating her with flashlight 08 Jan 2010 An attorney who worked in both Bush administrations was charged Thursday with trying to kill his wife by beating her with a flashlight and choking her two days after she delivered divorce papers. John Michael Farren, 57, was arraigned on charges of strangulation and attempted murder and ordered held on $2 million bail. His wife, Mary Farren, was beaten so severely Wednesday night at their New Canaan home that she was at points knocked unconscious and lost vision, police said.

After review, scientists urge end to mountaintop mining 07 Jan 2010 The consequences of this mining in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and southwestern Virginia are "pervasive and irreversible," the article finds. Companies are required by law to take steps to reduce the damages, but their efforts don't compensate for lost streams nor do they prevent lasting water pollution, it says. The article is a summary of recent scientific studies of the consequences of blasting the tops off mountains to obtain coal and dumping the excess rock into streams in valleys.

800 more elderly Scots could die in Big Freeze 09 Jan 2010 As the country battles with the most extreme conditions for almost 50 years, the sub-zero temperatures are expected to increase the normal winter death toll significantly. Between December and March last year, there were 3,510 "excess deaths" in Scotland, but this winter that figure is set to jump significantly, mostly among the over-75s. Age Concern and Help the Aged in Scotland expressed great concern about the prediction. Spokesman Douglas McLellan said: "The figures are very alarming. Cold weather should not result in this number of deaths."

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US forges alliance with Saddam Hussein officers to fight 'al-Qaeda' --American counter-terrorism specialists and Saddam Hussein's former intelligence officers have forged an unlikely alliance in Yemen to tackle al-Qaeda. 06 Jan 2010 The two sides were enemies on the battlefield just seven years ago but have been brought together by the failings of Yemen's security and intelligence apparatus, according to diplomatic and military sources in the country. Although mutual suspicions linger, the collaboration is said to have achieved some intelligence breakthroughs and helped instil greater efficiency and professionalism within the most elite Yemeni counterterrorism outfit.

Gitmo Confession Tainted by Torture, Judge Says 07 Jan 2010 A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the release of a Yemeni detainee, saying the government's case to keep him at Guantanamo relies too heavily on confessions tainted by torture. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled that Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim's confession that he was part of al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Afghanistan was unreliable, because it was allegedly obtained under torture in Afghanistan. Hatim was captured in Pakistan in November 2001 and was held for six months in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where he was allegedly beaten and threatened with rape.

Ex-Blackwater mercenaries charged with murder 07 Jan 2010 Two former mercenaries of the notorious US security firm Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC) have been charged with the 2009 murder of two Afghan civilians in Kabul, the Justice Department says. Justin Cannon, 27, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Christopher Drotleff, 29, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, have been charged with second-degree murder after opening fire on the two civilians.

Blackwater reaches deal over compensation for killings in Iraq --Settlement amounts to implicit admission that guards were responsible for series of unjustifiable killings 07 Jan 2010 The US security company Blackwater agreed today to pay compensation over the killing of Iraqi civilians by company guards accused of reckless disregard for human life. The deal comes just days after a US court threw out the prosecution of five of those guards over a notorious slaughter of up to 17 people in Baghdad. The settlement amounts to an implicit admission by the highly secretive company that some of its guards were responsible for a series of unjustifiable killings. Blackwater appears to have reached the deal in order to avoid a court hearing that threatened to force the company to lay bare what critics contend was a policy of shooting first as well as the involvement of its employees terrorists in an array of criminal activities.

U.N. experts urge Iraq, U.S. to pursue Blackwater case 06 Jan 2010 U.N. human rights experts called on Iraq and the United States on Thursday to ensure that the 2007 killing of at least 14 Iraqi civilians, which has been blamed on Blackwater security guards, be prosecuted. Iraq said on Monday it would launch lawsuits in U.S. and Iraqi courts against the U.S. security firm for the Baghdad killings, rejecting a U.S. judge's decision last week to throw out the charges. In a statement, the United Nations working group on the use of mercenaries said the case underscored the need for "credible oversight" of private security companies working for the United States and other governments in war zones.

Taliban reject UN chief report on civilian deaths 08 Jan 2010 The Taliban have criticized the United Nations chief for making what they call a 'false statement' on civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The criticism comes a day after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attributed most of the civilian casualties of last year to the Taliban... A US monitoring group said on Thursday that the militant group rejected the accusations and blamed NATO forces and their allies for the carnage. The Taliban said that the US Defense Department may have pushed Ban to make the statement to create animosity between local populations.

Attack Leaves 10 Dead in Southeast Afghanistan 08 Jan 2010 A suicide bomber attacking a pro-government militia commander detonated his bomb-laden vest in a southeastern provincial capital, Gardez, on Thursday, and witnesses said he killed 10 people and wounded 27, most of them civilians. Also on Thursday, the governor of a neighboring province survived a bomb attack. In Gardez, capital of Paktia Province, witnesses said the suicide bomber walked up to the commander, Nasir Paray, who leads one of the many pro-government armed groups in the area, and detonated his vest. The commander died in the blast, which also killed four children. [If the target is kids --dollars to donuts, it's Blackwater. Al-Q and the Taliban target military posts, CIA/mercenary outposts, and police stations. Bombing schools and houses: That's a US/Blackwater thing.]

Acting governor wounded in Afghanistan 07 Jan 2010 The acting governor of the troubled Khost Province in eastern Afghanistan has been wounded in a bomb blast, officials say. The bomb, which was placed in a trash can, exploded outside a meeting hall where Tahir Khan Sabari was holding talks, BBC reported on Thursday. The acting governor and other local officials were slightly injured by flying glass from the explosion.

Iraq attack kills eight people 07 Jan 2010 Eight people have been killed in a series of bomb attacks on police in the Iraqi town of Hit, in western Anbar province, police say. Among the dead is local anti-terror chief Maj Walid al-Hiti, who was killed by a bomb attached to his car. Six other people were said to have been injured in the attacks.

New Revelations Tear Holes in Nuclear Trigger Story By Gareth Porter 05 Jan 2010 New revelations about two documents leaked to The Times of London to show that Iran is working on a "nuclear trigger" mechanism have further undermined the credibility of the document the newspaper had presented as evidence of a continuing Iranian nuclear weapons programme. A columnist for the Times has acknowledged that the two-page Persian language document published by The Times last month was not a photocopy of the original document but an expurgated and retyped version of the original.

British troops tried to rescue hostages at Iran border --Guardian: UK forces sent to intercept hostages, including recently freed Peter Moore, as they were taken from Iraq 07 Jan 2010 British troops in southern Iraq were scrambled to the Iranian border after the abduction of five British hostages in May 2007, in a failed attempt to stop them being taken into Iran, the Guardian has learned. The troops were sent to the border area north of Basra to intercept the kidnappers after receiving intelligence that they were heading to the frontier from Baghdad, but failed to find them.

Mullen warns against military attack on Iran 07 Jan 2010 US Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warns that any military attack on Iran will be "very, very destabilizing" and will have unintended consequences for the Middle East. On Thursday, Admiral Mullen accused Tehran of being "on a path that has strategic intent to develop nuclear weapons and have been for some time." He underlined that diplomacy is crucial in resolving the standoff over Iran's nuclear energy program. However, Mullen says the US military is prepared for any eventuality in Iran, despite being stretched by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [and Pakistan and Yemen and other countries the US is destabilizing.]

'US intervention in Yemen could strengthen al-Qaeda' 07 Jan 2010 A senior Yemeni official has warned that any military intervention by the United States in the country to fight al-Qaeda will not go as planned and to the contrary would make the terrorist network stronger. "Any intervention or direct [military] action by the United States could strengthen the al-Qaeda network and not weaken it," Rashed Al-Alimi, the deputy prime minister for defense and security affairs, said on Thursday.

Detroit bomb plot: Barack Obama takes responsibility for security lapses 07 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama took ultimate responsibility on Thursday for security lapses that allowed an attempted Christmas Day bombing of a US aeroplane and ordered reforms aimed at thwarting future attacks. Mr Obama outlined the measures, including tightened passenger screening and expanded terrorism watchlists. At the same time, the White House released a declassified account of security failures that allowed a Nigerian man to come close to blowing up a flight from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.

Airline bomb plot security review finds key failings by CIA and terror agency --Obama rules out sackings over three main blunders --MI5 denies Abdulmutallab was recruited by al-Qaida in UK [Right, he was likely recruited by MI5 in UK] 08 Jan 2010 Barack Obama ruled out any sackings over the botched Christmas Day airline bombing plot yesterday after publishing a White House review that singled out for criticism two of the country's leading intelligence agencies, the CIA and the National Counter-Terrorism Centre. The review into the performance of the US intelligence community concluded that there had been three key failures: to take seriously the threat posed by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula; to put all the known pieces together; and to place the alleged bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, on a US terrorist watch list that would have prevented him flying.

Airline Bombing Suspect Flagged For Check At Landing 07 Jan 2010 As the White House prepared Thursday to release a preliminary report on the Christmas Day bombing attempt aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, there was word that security officials had flagged the name of the bombing suspect after he was already on his way. U.S. officials say the Nigerian man was supposed to get extra screening once he arrived, because of his apparent ties to extremists. Customs and Border Protection officials screen passengers against terrorist watch lists before international flights leave for the U.S., and then check names against a different database while the flight is in the air. [!] It was during this second check that officials flagged the alleged bomber.

Obama security adviser says bomb report a shocker 07 Jan 2010 Americans will feel "a certain shock" from a White House report to be released on Thursday on security lapses in the attempted December 25 bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner, U.S. national security adviser James Jones said in a USA Today interview. President Barack Obama "is legitimately and correctly alarmed that things that were available, bits of information that were available, patterns of behavior that were available, were not acted on," Jones said in the interview published on Thursday. ['A certain shock.' Oh, that a Cheney 'burrower' ensured that Abdulmutallab was not on the 'No-Fly' list, so that the US would be attacked under Obama? Odd, as Obomba is funding and fomenting more rage and possible acts of terrorism (through killer drone attacks, etc.) than Bush. See: Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees 18 Nov 2008.]

Pat downs to continue, more technology and air marshals on the way, Napolitano says 07 Jan 2010 In a memo that describes the White House response to the Dec. 25 attempt to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit, President Barack Obama directed DHS to "aggressively pursue enhanced screening technology, protocols and procedures." The Department of Homeland Security says it will accelerate deployment of advanced imaging technology at U.S. airports and overseas. There are only 40 such machines at U.S. airports today. TSA plans to deploy 300 additional machines in 2010, according to DHS.

A terrorism designation Cuba doesn't deserve By Eugene Robinson 05 Jan 2010 Under new rules prompted by the failed Christmas Day terrorist attack, airline passengers coming to the United States from 14 nations will undergo extra screening: Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. For our first quiz of the new decade, which country doesn't fit with the others? The obvious answer is Cuba, which presents a threat of terrorism that can be measured at precisely zero.

TSA Agent Arrested at LAX 07 Jan 2010 They are the first line of defense in airport security but two troubling incidents involving TSA agents at LAX are raising concerns. A TSA agent was arrested on January 3rd in Terminal One at LAX, a source told NBCLA. He had just gotten off duty and was behaving erratically, saying, "I am god, I’m in charge." Meanwhile, a TSA Internal Affairs investigation turned up evidence of LAX TSA agents using drugs at an after-hours party.

Joe Arpaio investigated by grand jury 07 Jan 2010 Two high-ranking Maricopa County officials confirmed late Thursday that they will testify next week before a federal grand jury exploring allegations that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has abused power. County Manager David Smith and Assistant County Manager Sandi Wilson said they were preparing to testify before the grand jury on Wednesday.

Geithner's Fed Told AIG to Limit Swaps Disclosure 07 Jan 2010 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, then led by Timothy Geithner, told American International Group Inc. to withhold details from the public about the bailed-out insurer’s payments to banks during the depths of the financial crisis, e-mails between the company and its regulator show. AIG said in a draft of a regulatory filing that the insurer paid banks, which included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA, 100 cents on the dollar for credit-default swaps they bought from the firm. The New York Fed crossed out the reference, according to the e-mails, and AIG excluded the language when the filing was made public on Dec. 24, 2008.

Looting Social Security, Part 2 By William Greider 04 Jan 2010 He's baaack--the Wall Street billionaire who wants to loot Social Security. This time, Pete Peterson has invented his own "news network" to promote his right-wing rants about shrinking the only retirement security system available to millions of working people. Peterson styles himself as a patriot saving the nation from fiscal insolvency and has committed $1 billion to that cause (a chunk of the wealth he accumulated at Blackstone Group, the notorious corporate-takeover firm). His efforts might be dismissed as ludicrous--except money does talk in Washington, and Peterson is now buying Washington reporters to spread his dire warnings.

EPA proposes stricter limits on smog pollutants 08 Jan 2010 The Environmental Protection Agency proposed on Thursday stricter limits on the amount of pollution-forming ozone allowed in the air, significantly tightening rules the Bush regime had set for the nation's most widespread air pollutant. The new rule... would help determine the quality of the air Americans will breathe for at least a decade. The change, which represents only the third time in nearly 40 years that the standards have been toughened, could cost industry billions, while preventing thousands of premature deaths a decade from now, the EPA maintains.

Last Indian dancing bear set free 18 Dec 2009 Animal rights campaigners are celebrating the end of a seven-year campaign to see all of India's dancing bears set free. Former keepers have been rehabilitated into other jobs so that they no longer use the [tortured] animals to earn an income. (Video)

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US helping terrorists in southeast Iran: Report 06 Jan 2010 The US is helping the Pakistan-based Jundallah militants to enter Iran through the Persian Gulf and carry out terrorist acts in the country, a report said Wednesday. The United States has given a vessel to members of the Jundallah terrorist group to travel in the southern Iranian waters, an informed source told Basirat website, with close ties to Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Jundallah, led by Abdolmalek Rigi, has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks in southeastern Iran, killing civilians as well as government officials.

Court Backs War Powers Over Rights of Detainees 06 Jan 2010 A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday strongly backed the powers of the government to hold Guantánamo detainees prisoners and other noncitizens suspected of committing terrorist acts. In a sweeping opinion, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the presidential war power to detain those suspected of terrorism is not limited even by international law of war. The decision, if it is not reversed by the Supreme Court, could apply to all cases involving detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since all of those cases are heard by the District of Columbia Circuit.

Obama Orders Air Marshal Surge by Feb. 1: 'Race Against Time' --U.S. Fears More Airplane Bombers Are in the Terrorist Pipeline 06 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama has ordered a "surge" of federal air marshals to be in place by Feb.1 in what officials said was a "race against time," with other suicide bombers believed to be in the terrorist pipeline, although there is no specific imminent threat, federal officials told ABC News. Under a preliminary plan, the officials said the already existing federal air marshal force of more than 3,200 personnel would be deployed almost exclusively to overseas flights flown by U.S. carriers. Domestic high-risk flights will be covered by agents from other federal law enforcement agencies who were trained as air marshals in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Oregon man released after jetliner disruption on Hawaii-bound flight; FBI says no terror link 06 Jan 2010 A disruptive passenger was released Wednesday after military jets escorted a commercial jetliner bound for Hawaii back to the Portland airport, authorities said. "At this time, there is no known terrorism link," the FBI said in a statement. It said it had turned the case over to federal prosecutors but it was not immediately known whether charges would be filed.

Plane escorted by two F-15 fighter jets due to 'disruptive' passenger --FAA: Concern about passenger on jet sparks 'Level 1' alert at PDX 06 Jan 2010 (OR) A "Level 1" passenger alert was issued at Portland International Airport early Wednesday afternoon. The incident involves Hawaiian Airlines flight No. 39 bound for Maui from Portland. The flight, with 241 people on board, left Wednesday morning for its destination but turned around about an hour and a half later and headed back for Portland. The flight returned to PDX at 1 p.m. A passenger and someone the Portland airport spokesperson called "a companion" were escorted off the plane. The two led off the flight are being held as of 3:15 p.m., with federal authorities considering any possible charges.

Qaeda says CIA attack 'revenge' for drones: SITE 06 Jan 2010 Al-Qaeda said the suicide bombing of a CIA base in Afghanistan that killed seven agents last week was "revenge" for the deaths of top militants in US drone strikes in Pakistan, the US monitoring group SITE said on Thursday.

U.S. learned intelligence on airline bomb suspect while he was en route 06 Jan 2010 U.S. border enforcement officials came close to stopping the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines jet while the suspect was en route to Detroit on Christmas Day, new data show. U.S. border security officials learned of intelligence about the alleged extremist links of the suspect in the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt as he was en route to Detroit and had decided to question him when he landed, officials said in new disclosures today.

Bomb Suspect Indicted On 6 Charges 06 Jan 2010 A grand jury has indicted a Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day. The six charges against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab include attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder. The indictment was filed Wednesday. Authorities say the 23-year-old Abdulmutallab was traveling to Detroit from Amsterdam when he tried to ignite an explosive aboard the airliner. He is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich.

'When discussing the new threshold, officials suggested it is more an art than science.' U.S. lowers threshold for inclusion on no-fly lists 06 Jan 2010 The U.S. government has lowered the threshold for information deemed important enough to put suspicious individuals on a watch list or no-fly list, or have their visa revoked, senior State Department officials tell CNN. The government overhauled criteria it uses for putting possible terrorists on such lists as a result of the failed Christmas Day attack, officials said.

CIA suicide bomber 'worked with allies of Osama bin Laden' 07 Jan 2010 They believe that the Haqqani network, which controls the area around Khost where the bombing occurred on Dec 30, authorised if not aided the Jordanian double agent who carried out the deadliest attack on the US spy agency for 30 years. For reasons that have not been made clear, the bomber was not subjected to even a rudimentary security check, and detonated powerful explosives soon after the meeting started, according to officials who asked to remain anonymous.

Mystery Surrounds Contractors' Role at CIA Base --Paresi and Wise, Killed by CIA Suicide Bomber, Worked For Company Once Known as Blackwater 06 Jan 2010 Two of the seven CIA personnel killed in last week's suicide bombing in Afghanistan worked as contractors for the company terrorist group formerly known as Blackwater, but what role Dane Paresi and Jeremy Wise played at the CIA's forward base in Khost remains unknown. Spokesman for both the CIA and Xe/Blackwater declined to comment whether Paresi and Wise were employed through Xe, but two private intelligence sources and one current government official familiar with CIA operations at the Afghanistan base confirmed to ABCNEWS.com that the two were there as Xe employees.

Thanks, Mr. Nobel! 2009 deadliest year for Afghan children 07 Jan 2010 A new report indicates that 2009 was the deadliest year for Afghan children since the US led invasion of the country nine years ago. In a statement, the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM), a Kabul-based rights group, said that more than 1,050 children have been killed in US airstrikes, roadside blasts, and crossfire between warring parties.

Blasts kill 18 civilians in Afghanistan 06 Jan 2010 Separate powerful [Blackwater] explosions Wednesday rocked Afghanistan, killing at least 18 civilians and injuring nine NATO service members. A market explosion in the southeastern Khost province killed 13 civilians. Health officials say at least another 13 people were wounded, some of whom were critically injured.

UK troops were 'sitting ducks' in Basra, Chilcot inquiry on Iraq war told --Contingent became focus of Shia militia violence and Iraqi army commander wanted them out, says former chief of defence staff 07 Jan 2010 British troops held up at their base in Basra Palace in the heart of Iraqi's southern city had been described as "sitting ducks" for Shia militia, the Chilcot inquiry heard yesterday. The inquiry in London questioned top defence and military officials about three controversial events leading to the final withdrawal from Iraq. They were the decision to leave Basra Palace, secret talks with the Mahdi army, a prominent Shia militia, and the Charge of the Knights, a US-led operation with the Iraqi army, drawn up unbeknown to the British in 2008, which crushed most militia activity.

IDF to seek legal advice during future conflicts 06 Jan 2010 IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has issued an order requiring the Israel Defense Forces to consult with the army's legal advisers while military operations are underway and not just when they are being planned. Ashkenazi imposed the stricter regulations despite opposition by several commanders, including members of the General Staff.

91% of Israelis say Tel Aviv faces acute image problem 06 Jan 2010 Opinion polls indicate widespread concerns among Israelis over Tel Aviv's 'acute' image problem and unprecedented criticism from the international community. A survey conducted by the Kelim Shluvim Research Institute at the request of the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs said 91 percent of respondents believed Israel suffers an "acute" or "very acute" image problem in the world.

Aid convoy breaks Israeli blockade of Gaza 06 Jan 2010 The Viva Palestina aid convoy entered Gaza Wednesday, after it received the approval of Egyptian authorities to bring into the besieged, impoverished coastal sliver several tons of humanitarian supplies. The activists entered Gaza through Rafah border crossing. More than 500 international activists accompany the convoy organized by the British-based group Viva Palestina, a Press TV correspondent reported.

New Orleans man charged with threatening Obama 04 Jan 2010 In a court filing Monday, a Secret Service agent said John Turnpaugh dialed 911 early Friday and told a police emergency dispatcher that he planned to kill the president and Michelle Obama. The agent said he used telephone records to trace the call to Turnpaugh's cell phone. Police arrested him Saturday and he was booked into jail on state charges that included illegal possession of a firearm and drug possession.

British fury after Iceland blocks £2.3bn repayment --But on the streets of Reykjavik, Archie Bland finds Icelanders celebrating the success of people power [which desperately needs to arrive in the US] 06 Jan 2010 Iceland's president stunned his nation yesterday by refusing to sign off on a plan to repay £2.3bn owed to the British taxpayer, reigniting a major diplomatic row with London and leaving Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling mortally embarrassed at the latest twist in the saga of Reykjavik's banking meltdown... Ordinary Icelanders -- many of whom remain angry at Mr Brown's use of anti-terror legislation to freeze Icelandic assets in the UK after the country's banking system collapsed -- were delighted. Some 70 per cent of the public opposed the legislation.

The EU Will Not Bail Out Greece: ECB Official 06 Jan 2010 The European Union would not help bail out Greece if that country's public debt problem continued to worsen, European Central Bank Executive Board member Juergen Stark was reported as saying on Wednesday. "The markets are deluding themselves when they think at a certain point the other member states will put their hands on their wallets to save Greece," Stark said in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.

Obama Urges Excise Tax on 'High-Cost' Insurance 07 Jan 2010 President Obama told House Democratic leaders at a meeting on Wednesday that they should include a tax on high-priced insurance policies favored by the Senate in the final version of far-reaching health care legislation corporaterrorist giveaway, aides said. But House Democrats have resisted the idea, which is also strongly opposed by many organized labor groups -- an important part of the party’s base -- because the tax may hit a number of more generous union-sponsored health plans. The Senate proposal would impose a 40 percent excise tax on the cost of individual insurance policies above $8,500 and on family policies above $23,000, with higher thresholds for retirees and employees in high-risk fields like police officers.

Sen. Christopher Dodd Will Not Seek Re-election --Connecticut Senator Dodd Bows Out of Race 06 Jan 2010 Democratic U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, a 30-year incumbent who has been struggling in public opinion polls for more than a year, announced today he will not seek re-election, while Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he will seek the seat. Dodd made the announcement in an eight-minute speech outside his home in East Haddam.

Dorgan says he will not seek re-election in 2010 05 Jan 2010 Sen. Byron Dorgan, a veteran North Dakota Democrat, gave Republicans an unexpected opportunity to capture a Senate seat after he announced plans to retire Tuesday. Dorgan, 67, disclosed his decision not to seek re-election this fall in a late-day statement released by his office.

Bill Ritter won't run for re-election 05 Jan 2010 (CO) Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to announce tomorrow at an 11:00 am press conference that he will not seek reelection next year, according to two Democratic sources familiar with his decision. Ritter had been calling top fundraisers and state legislative leaders today informing them of his decision, which came as a surprise to top Democrats both in Washington and Colorado.

Fulton NY Sees 4 Feet of Snow 06 Jan 2010 It's snowed for nine straight days in Fulton, New York. There is more than 4-feet of snow on the ground. [Luckies!] It started snowing on December 28th and it's snowed every day since. Fulton is a city in Oswego County, New York where they are used to long, cold winters. The city is northwest of Syracuse. [Polar bears love Fulton!]

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Appeals court ruling limits Guantanamo detainees' rights, gives president wide detention power 05 Jan 2010 A federal appeals court ruling Tuesday could make it harder for Guantanamo detainees prisoners to challenge their confinement and endorsed the government's broad power to hold people seized in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the continued detention of a former cook for Taliban forces who said he never fired a shot in battle. Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani, a citizen of Yemen who was captured in Afghanistan, has been held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba since 2002.

Return of Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay is suspended 05 Jan 2010 The Obama administration said Tuesday that it is suspending the repatriation of detainees prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay to Yemen, where a deteriorating security situation driven by a branch of al-Qaeda has stoked fears that detainees could join -- or rejoin -- the terrorist organization if released. The decision means that at least 30 Yemenis who were cleared for release by a Justice Department-led inter-agency review could face many more months in detention.

US spy effort in Afghanistan 'ignorant'- US report --U.S. military official says U.S. intelligence 'hazy' --Report says spies too focused on killing insurgents 05 Jan 2010 The U.S. military's intelligence chief in Afghanistan sharply criticized the work of U.S. spy agencies there on Monday, calling them ignorant and out of touch with the Afghan people. In a report issued by the Center for New American Security think tank, Major General Michael Flynn, deputy chief of staff for intelligence in Afghanistan for the U.S. military and its NATO allies, offered a bleak assessment of the intelligence community's role in the 8-year-old war.

Germany knows nothing of alleged CIA murder plot 05 Jan 2010 The German government said on Monday it knew nothing about a magazine report that the CIA had planned a secret operation to kill a German-Syrian in Hamburg linked to the September 11 attacks on U.S. targets. The U.S. magazine Vanity Fair had reported that the CIA had in 2004 sent a team from the private security firm terrorist group Blackwater, now Xe, to Hamburg to kill Mamoun Darkazanli, who was investigated for years by German authorities on suspicion of links to al Qaeda. January's edition of the magazine cited a source familiar with the program as saying the mission had been kept secret from the German government.

Iraq to sue Blackwater on behalf of victims 05 Jan 2010 Iraq said Tuesday it will seek justice against Blackwater on behalf of the families of those who were killed at Baghdad shooting in 2007. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the cabinet has decided to open new case against five Blackwater guards who opened fire at Iraqi civilians, killing 17 at a Baghdad traffic circle in 2007.

Judge Weighs Misconduct Finding in Blackwater Case --Judge weighs misconduct finding for Blackwater prosecutors accused of withholding evidence 04 Jan 2010 Prosecutors who mishandled the investigation into a deadly 2007 Blackwater Worldwide shooting face a possible misconduct citation from a judge who says they withheld evidence and violated the guards' constitutional rights. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina admonished the Justice Department last week for its "reckless" handling of the investigation into a shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead. He threw out manslaughter and weapons charges against five security guards mercenaries and, in a footnote, said he was also considering whether the repeated government missteps amounted to misconduct.

Bomber who hit CIA base was triple agent: militants 04 Jan 2010 A suicide bomber who killed eight people at a CIA base in Afghanistan was an Al-Qaeda triple agent who duped Western intelligence services for months before turning on his handlers, jihadist websites boasted on Tuesday. The Jordanian intelligence services, believing the bomber to be their double agent, brought him to eastern Afghanistan with the mission of finding Al-Qaeda number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the websites and Western intelligence agents cited by US media said. But instead he blew himself up at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost province near the Pakistani border, killing seven CIA agents and his Jordanian handler, a top intelligence officer and member of the royal family.

Bomber at C.I.A. Base Had Ties to Jordan Spy Agency 05 Jan 2010 The suicide bomber who killed seven C.I.A. officers and one Jordanian intelligence officer last week in southeastern Afghanistan was an asset of the Jordanian intelligence service who had been brought to Afghanistan to help hunt top members of the 'Qaeda' network, according to a Western official briefed on the matter. The bomber had been arrested in Jordan and recruited by that country’s intelligence service -- which believed that it had turned him into an ally -- and then brought to Afghanistan to infiltrate the Qaeda organization by posing as a foreign jihadi.

Tensions grow as US heightens role in Yemen 05 Jan 2010 Friction emerged Tuesday in the growing alliance with the Yemeni government as the U.S. Embassy ended a two-day closure triggered by a terror threat from al-Qaida [al-CIAduh]. The Yemen government, which sent thousand of troops this week to remote provinces where al-Qaida has set up strongholds, has been angered by suggestions the state is too weakened to handle the fight against terrorists.

US warns of global Yemen threat 05 Jan 2010 The US secretary of state, has warned that Yemen poses a global threat and has offered US support in the Yemeni government's fight against al-Qaeda. Hillary Clinton's comments came ahead of news on Tuesday that the US had reopened its embassy in Sanaa, Yemen's capital, closed days earlier in response to what it said were al-Qaeda threats.

Obama Says Government Knew of "Other Red Flags" in Terror Threat 06 Jan 2010 President Obama said Tuesday that the United States government had sufficient information to uncover the terror plot to bring down an airplane on Christmas Day, but intelligence officials "failed to connect those dots" that would have prevented the young Nigerian man from boarding the plane in Amsterdam. "This was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had," Mr. Obama said after a two-hour meeting with his national security team at the White House.

Obama: U.S. Intelligence Should Have 'Uncovered' Christmas Day Plot 05 Jan 2010 President Obama said Tuesday that U.S. intelligence had enough information to uncover the terrorist plot to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight but "failed" to piece it all together before the suspect boarded a plane for Detroit armed with explosives. The president, who spoke after meeting with top officials to discuss internal reviews of the attempted bombing Christmas Day, said the suspect's name should have been added to the no-fly list based on information available about him. He said the government will quickly make changes to ensure future attempts are thwarted.

New airport scanners break child porn laws 04 Jan 2010 The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned. Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to "virtual strip-searching" and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved. Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws. [Oops! Looks like scanner pimp Michael Chertoff has a problem. The 'real' al-Qaeda must be laughing its ass off!]

Ex-Homeland Security chief head said to abuse public trust by touting body scanners 01 Jan 2010 Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports. What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. An airport passengers' rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

Dozens of Names Shifted to No-Fly List 05 Jan 2010 The Obama administration has transferred dozens of names from a broad terrorism database to watch lists that are more closely monitored in an effort to plug security holes revealed by the Christmas Day airline-bombing attempt. President Barack Obama met Monday with White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, National Security Adviser James Jones and Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon ahead of a broader security team meeting Tuesday.

U.S. adds dozens to terrorist watch, no-fly lists 04 Jan 2010 The government has added dozens of people to the lists of suspected terrorists and those barred from U.S.-bound flights. The addition of more names to the government’s terrorist watch and no-fly lists came after U.S. officials closely scrutinized a larger database of suspected terrorists, an intelligence official said Monday. People on the watch list get additional checking before they are allowed to enter this country; those on the no-fly list are barred from boarding aircraft in or headed for the United States.

Nigeria says US enhanced screening list 'unfair' 04 Jan 2010 The Nigerian government has said that the West African country's inclusion on the US enhanced screening-list released on Monday is "unfair." The fourteen nations listed on the enhanced watch-list are Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria along with what the US calls "countries of interest," Afghanistan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The remaining countries are Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Iraq, though these four have not been officially confirmed.

UK airports to introduce new bomb detection equipment 05 Jan 2010 Body scanners are to be introduced at Heathrow Airport in about three weeks, Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said. He also told the House of Commons that all UK airports must have new "explosion trace detection equipment" by the end of the year. His comments follow an attempt to blow up a US airliner on Christmas Day.

Attorney General Baroness Scotland may block Israeli war crimes warrants 05 Jan 2010 The Attorney General could be given a veto over arrest warrants for foreign leaders in an attempt to placate Israeli ministers who fear war crimes prosecutions if they visit Britain. Baroness Scotland of Asthal, who is in Jerusalem, discussed an amendment to British law that would give her office the power to review arrest warrants in private prosecutions against political figures, according to Foreign Ministry sources.

British government will fight legal attempts to indict Israeli leaders in UK --Baroness Scotland announces plans to alter laws after attempts to obtain warrants against Israeli generals for war crimes 05 Jan 2010 The government is determined to protect high-ranking Israeli officials from arrest in the UK, the attorney general said, as it emerged that a further visit by the Israeli military had been cancelled. Speaking at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem today, Baroness Scotland said Israeli leaders should not face arrest for war crimes under the law of "universal jurisdiction", following attempts by British lawyers last month to obtain a warrant for the former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

Arrest warrants keep Israeli team away from UK 05 Jan 2010 Israel canceled a delegation of senior military officers to Britain last week after the UK failed to guarantee that they would not be arrested over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appealed to the British government to ensure that the officers, including a colonel, lieutenant colonel and a major, would be able to stay in the country without arrest fear.

Rights group slams planned 'Israelis only' highway in West Bank 05 Jan 2010 Less than a week after Israel's highest court ordered the state to lift its ban on Palestinian motorists from a highway that stretches into the West Bank, left-wing activists are denouncing new plans on Tuesday to build a road on West Bank land which they claim is intended for use by Israelis only. According to an Army Radio report, planning officials are diligently laying the groundwork for Highway 20, an artery which will connect Highway 443 with the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including Pisgat Ze'ev.

Iran bans contact with groups involved in soft war 05 Jan 2010 Iran has banned Iranian citizens from cooperating with 60 international institutions and a number of media outlets due to their involvement in the post-election unrest. Iran's deputy intelligence minister for foreign affairs announced on Monday that 60 European and US foundations and institutions played a role in inciting post-election violence in the Islamic Republic.

KBR Awarded Construction Contract for U.S. Federal Building and Courthouse 04 Jan 2010 KBR today announced that its Building Group, has been awarded a $46.96 million contract by the U.S. General Services Administration to provide construction management services for a new United States Federal Building and Courthouse in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The building, designed to achieve LEED® Silver certification, replaces an outdated existing facility.

U.S. Feared Spectacular Terror Attack at Obama's Inauguration 05 Jan 2010 Security officials are said to have been highly concerned that extremists were traveling from Somalia to set off explosives as Barack Obama took the oath of office. As millions converged on Washington last year to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama, security officials were concerned that among them were extremists traveling from Somalia to set off explosives as Obama took the oath of office. A report in The New York Times, to coincide with the first anniversary of Obama's inauguration, says that for 72 hours before the new president was sworn in intelligence agencies worked around the clock trying to figure out whether the threat was real and what, if anything, should be done if a terrorist struck while millions watched on the Mall and tens of millions more saw the ceremony on television.

Was Swine Flu a False Pandemic? 04 Jan 2010 That’s the contention by more than a dozen members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which reportedly plans to conduct an inquiry into the influence that drugmakers may have had on the World Health Organization, scientists and governments. A resolution was introduced last month by Wolfgang Wodarg, a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party who chairs the PACE health committee, and it reads: "In order to promote their patented drugs and vaccines against flu, pharmaceutical companies have influenced scientists and official agencies, responsible for public health standards, to alarm governments worldwide. They have made them squander tight health care resources for inefficient vaccine strategies and needlessly exposed millions of healthy people to the risk of unknown side-effects of insufficiently tested vaccines... The definition of an alarming pandemic must not be under the influence of drugsellers."

Europe seeks to offload flu vaccines 05 Jan 2010 Western European countries, including Switzerland, are queuing up to shift surplus stocks of the [deadly] H1N1 flu vaccine after low public demand. Amid controversy over its costly swine flu vaccine campaign, France said on Monday it wanted to cancel 50 million of the 94 million doses it had ordered because of over-supply. These latest moves could hit drugmakers' profits, say analysts.

France cancels orders for 50 mln A/H1N1 flu vaccine doses 05 Jan 2010 Amid the controversy over the costly A/H1N1 flu vaccination campaign in France, the Health Ministry on Monday announced the cancellation of 50 million doses of vaccine against the epidemic, more than half of what the government had initially ordered. "I have cancelled 50 million doses," French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said on TF1 television, adding that those doses had not been paid or delivered.

Mega barf alert! Insect Cells Provide the Key to Alternative Swine Flu Vaccination 04 Jan 2010 Scientists in Vienna have developed a new technique for producing vaccines for H1N1 -- so-called swine flu -- based on insect cells. The research, published in the Biotechnology Journal, reveals how influenza vaccines can be produced faster than through the traditional method of egg-based production, revealing a new strategy for the fight against influenza pandemics.

Scientists warn of rise in diseases spread from animals to humans 04 Jan 2010 Climate change and environmental disruption are spawning a host of new diseases being passed from animals pharmaterrorists to humans, scientists have warned. At least 45 such diseases have been reported to UN agencies over the past two decades and more are expected to be identified in coming years. Experts at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington claim that the world is braced for an increase in outbreaks due to global warming and changes in land use and farming practices.

US House Leaders Back Off Public Health Insurance Option 05 Jan 2010 U.S. House leaders signaled Tuesday they are willing to agree to a final health overhaul bill without a government-run health insurance option if other parts of the bill would fulfill the same goals. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said after meeting with senior House Democrats that the bill must meet the test of "holding insurance companies accountable," whether or not it includes a public option.

Secret Service confirms third crasher at White House state dinner 05 Jan 2010 Another uninvited guest made it into the White House state dinner made famous by gate-crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi, the Secret Service announced Monday -- exposing more holes in the security perimeter around President Obama. Many of the key details have not been officially released: the man's name [Carlos Allen, a D.C. party promoter], how he came to be with the group of diplomats and how close he got to the president and first lady.

Two Killed in Las Vegas Courthouse 05 Jan 2010 A gunman in a black trench coat opened fire Monday morning in the lobby of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas, killing a court security officer and wounding a deputy United States marshal before fleeing. He was then shot in the head and killed nearby. The building is a huge structure that houses federal courts as well as other agencies, including the offices of Senators Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, and John Ensign, a Republican.

Courthouse gunman lost Social Security case, official says 05 Jan 2010 A man who lost a recent Social Security claim opened fire with a shotgun in a federal courthouse Monday, killing a court security officer and injuring a deputy U.S. marshal, authorities said. Law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity identified the man as Johnny Wicks, a Las Vegas resident. The FBI said the black-clad man walked into the lobby of the Las Vegas federal courthouse, pulled a shotgun from underneath his jacket and began shooting.

Keepers Discover Newborn Cub Inside Toledo Zoo's Polar Bear Den 05 Jan 2010 (OH) The Toledo Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a polar bear cub on Thursday, December 3. Eleven-year-old mother Crystal is caring for the cub in a den area off-exhibit, and the Zoo’s animal care staff is continuously monitoring the cub’s progress. The cub was one of two born that day; the other cub only survived for a few days.

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CLG: Northwest Bomb Plot 'Oddities' By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 28 Dec 2009 Bogosity reaches critical mass! In 2008, the ACLU estimated the US 'No Fly List' to have grown to over 1,000,000 names --heck, even Cat Stevens and the late Senator Ted Kennedy were on it --and it continues to expand. But, suspected terrorist Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was curiously able to obtain military-grade high explosives -- 80 grams of PETN (gee, where'd he get that?) -- managed to escape airport security and detonate his underwear bomb! In April 2009, American authorities reportedly refused an Air France flight from Paris to Mexico entry into US airspace because a left-wing journalist writing a book on the CIA was on board. Got it? Write a book critical of the CIA -- you cannot fly. Carry explosives (allegedly from Yemen) on board when the US is trolling for an excuse to invade and occupy Yemen for its oil -- yes you can!

Six trucks of explosives 'disappear' in Yemen 04 Jan 2010 Fears of a terrorist strike against Western embassies in Yemen have grown amid claims a convoy of lorries laden with explosives had been smuggled into the country's capital city, Sana'a. In an apparently botched surveillance operation, militants [?] driving six trucks filled with weapons and ordnance succeeded in giving security forces the slip as they entered the city, according to local media. The revelations came as western diplomatic missions in Sana'a went into lockdown following threats from al-Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate, which has taken responsibility for a failed attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day.

Ah, then came the dawn. Yemen seizes 'Israel-linked' cell 07 Oct 2008 Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said the security forces have arrested a group of alleged Islamist militants linked to Israeli intelligence. Mr Saleh did not say what evidence had been found to show the group's links with Israel, a regional enemy of Yemen. The arrests were connected with an attack on the US embassy in Sanaa last month which killed at least 18 people, official sources were quoted saying. [Hmm. Guess they didn't get the whole cell.]

Barack Obama summons security chiefs over Detroit bomb plot 04 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama returned to Washington after his Hawaii trip as he ordered increased security for United States-bound flights across the world and prepared for an emergency meeting of security chiefs. Passengers travelling from or via 14 designated countries are to be subjected to extra security screening, including full body pat-downs after a directive from the US Transportation Security Administration in response to the failed terrorist attack on Christmas Day.

US tightens security for air passengers from 'terror sponsor' countries 03 Jan 2010 US authorities on Sunday tightened security measures for all US-bound airline passengers, including enhanced mandatory screening of travellers from 14 countries believed to have links to terrorism. Travellers from countries the US classifies as "state sponsors of terrorism" - Syria, Iran, Sudan, and Cuba [Oops! They forgot the US and Israel] - plus passengers from other "countries of interest" - Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen - will be subjected to pat-down body searches and have carry-on baggage searched. Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia are also covered by the new directive, but a complete list of countries was not released.

U.S. Intensifies Air Screening for Fliers From 14 Nations 04 Jan 2010 Citizens of 14 nations, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, who are flying to the United States will be subjected indefinitely to the intense screening at airports worldwide that was imposed after the Christmas Day bombing plot, Obama administration officials announced Sunday.

Pakistan airport security increased 04 Jan 2010 Pakistan's national airline said Monday it is increasing security checks for passengers heading to the United States, following U.S. requests for enhanced screening after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to ignite explosives on a flight to Detroit.

Newark Airport lockdown as man strolls through checkpoint the wrong way 03 Jan 2010 Frustrated travelers were delayed for hours Sunday night when officials shut down a terminal at Newark Airport after a man walked into a secure area without authorization. Dozens of flights were grounded, and thousands of passengers waited late into the night to be rescreened at Terminal C . Homeland Security Department spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said a man was seen walking down a security checkpoint exit lane into the secure area about 5:30 p.m.

Checkpoint intruder shuts down Newark Airport terminal 04 Jan 2010 A man who walked into a secure area triggered a terminal-wide lockdown at Newark Liberty International Airport last night, grounding outgoing planes and forcing hundreds of passengers to await rescreening, transportation authorities said. The incident occurred nine days after a failed terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound plane heightened tensions at the nation's airports and increased security restrictions.

Power out for 1 hour at Reagan National Airport 04 Jan 2010 The power is back on at Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C., after an hourlong outage that brought flights and security screening to a standstill. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman Courtney Mickalonis says the power went out at about 12:30 p.m and came back on at 1:30 p.m.

U.S. Customs: Second person handcuffed on Christmas Day was on Flight 253, after all 02 Jan 2010 A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection now says that a man who was handcuffed and questioned by authorities on Christmas Day was a passenger on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 -- just days after saying that person arrived to Detroit aboard a different flight. In an email to The Detroit News Thursday night, Customs spokesman Ron Smith acknowledged that a person from Flight 253 was handcuffed after search dogs found something in his carry-on bag. The passenger was not arrested or detained, and was allowed to leave Detroit Metro Airport with the rest of the Flight 253 passengers, according to WWJ.

Official confirms 2nd man interviewed from Flight 253 --Couple on 253 did see 2nd man in cuffs, customs officer says 02 Jan 2010 A U.S. Customs official reversed himself Friday, admitting a passenger from Northwest Flight 253 was placed in handcuffs, searched and released after a security dog alerted officers to the passenger's carry-on luggage. Ronald G. Smith, chief U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer in the Detroit area, sent an e-mail to The Detroit News late Thursday apologizing that the information on the passenger -- which was made public by a pair of Taylor attorneys, Kurt and Lori Haskell, who were passengers on the flight -- was not officially announced earlier. FBI officials had said only one man from the flight was arrested.

White House Adviser Briefed in October on Underwear Bomb Technique 03 Jan 2010 White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan was briefed in October on an assassination attempt by Al Qaeda that investigators now believe used the same underwear bombing technique as the Nigerian suspect who tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day, U.S. intelligence and administration officials tell NEWSWEEK. The briefing to Brennan was delivered at the White House by Muhammad bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s chief counterterrorism official. In late August, Nayef had survived an assassination attempt by an operative dispatched by the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda who was pretending to turn himself in.

Italy aims to introduce body scanners: minister 02 Jan 2010 Italy aims to install full-body scanners at the main airports of Rome and Milan for flights considered at high risk of terrorist attacks, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said in an interview published on Saturday. Maroni, speaking after last week's failed plot to bomb a U.S. passenger jet, told Corriere della Sera newspaper that he favored the swift introduction of the scanners, which can see through clothing to spot hidden explosives or weapons. [See: Are planned airport scanners just a scam? 03 Jan 2010.]

Yemen likely to be new front in global fight against terror 04 Jan 2010 It seems Yemen has become a new front in the fight against extremism as the U.S. and British embassies in the country closed on Sunday in response to threats of possible attacks by al-Qaida affiliates. The British embassy asked its staff to stay at home on Sunday, well-placed sources told local News Yemen, citing security reasons behind the closure. Earlier in the day, the U.S. embassy in Sanaa was closed over what it said threats by Yemen's al-Qaida affiliate to attack U.S. interests in the country.

UK to follow US intervention in Yemen 03 Jan 2010 The British premier's office says that Prime Minister Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama have agreed to fight what they call terrorism in Yemen and Somalia. The UK and the US have agreed to fund a counter-terrorism police unit in Yemen to tackle the rising threat from the country.

U.S. and U.K. Shut Embassies in Yemen Over Qaeda Threats 04 Jan 2010 The United States and Britain shut their embassies in the Yemen capital on Sunday, with the Americans citing unspecified but "ongoing threats by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," the regional branch responsible for the failed Christmas Day effort to blow up a U.S. airliner headed to Detroit. The closures came a day after a quiet visit to Yemen’s president by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American regional commander, who delivered a message from President Obama of support for Yemen’s unity and counter-terrorism efforts.

US citizens due in Pakistan court on terror charges 04 Jan 2010 Five US nationals suspected of plotting attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan are due to appear in a Pakistani court. Police have said they would seek life sentences on terror charges against the five young Muslim men, who are from the Washington DC area. The men were arrested during a raid on a house in the eastern Pakistan city of Sargodha in early December. US officials said they were wanted by the FBI and had gone missing in the US state of Virginia in November.

Prince Charles tried to stop war --Prince thought Tony Blair was wrong on Iraq and mocked him as 'our glorious leader' 03 Jan 2010 Prince Charles was so convinced Tony Blair was WRONG to take Britain to war in Iraq he broke Royal tradition and actively campaigned against the invasion, the News of the World can reveal. Behind closed doors, the heir to the throne voiced his fears to senior politicians and mounted a staunch anti-war crusade in which he: ATTACKED the then prime minister's stance, mockingly calling him "our glorious leader". BLAMED American president George W Bush for action he believed to be misguided after reviewing secret intelligence. WARNED the war would only stir up more serious trouble in the region. ACCUSED western leaders of failing to deal with what he feels is the real cause of Islamic unrest - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Iraq will help Blackwater victims sue 03 Jan 2010 Iraq will help victims of the 2007 shooting of civilians in Baghdad to file a lawsuit in the US against employees of security firm Blackwater, an incident that turned a spotlight on the United States' use of private contractors mercenaries in war zones. Last week, a US judge threw out charges against five guards accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad, saying the defendants' constitutional rights had been violated.

Blasts kill 4 US, one UK soldiers in Afghanistan 04 Jan 2010 Four American soldiers and one British soldier have been killed in two separate explosions in southern Afghanistan. The dead soldiers, who were serving under NATO's International Security Assistance Force, were killed on Sunday, NATO said in a statement Monday.

Taliban deny abducting French reporters 03 Jan 2010 The Taliban militia Sunday denied kidnapping two French television journalists and three Afghan assistants who were snatched at gunpoint five days ago in Afghanistan. "We are not involved," self-styled Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. [Right, it was likely Blackwater mercenaries.]

General: SEALs on Trial for Cover-up 02 Jan 2010 The Army general who ordered three local Navy SEALs to trial for their involvement in an alleged case of detainee prisoner abuse says he is more upset by the men's apparent attempt to cover up the incident than by the "relatively minor" injuries inflicted on a high-value detainee. Maj. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, head of Special Operations Command Central, wrote to lawmakers who had questioned the prosecutions that their perceptions of the case appear to be based upon "incomplete and factually inaccurate press coverage."

Top Israeli diplomat scolds ambassadors 03 Jan 2010 Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman chastised the regime's foreign envoys for their tendency to appease their host states. "I have seen that some ambassadors identify themselves with the other side to such an extent that they are all the time trying to justify and explain [the position of the other side]," Lieberman said at a conference last week with Israeli ambassadors.

Obama effigy found hanging in Georgia: report 03 Jan 2010 An effigy of President Barack Obama was found hanging in the rural hometown of former President Jimmy Carter, local media reported on Sunday, and the Secret Service said it was investigating the case. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, citing footage seen on WALB-TV, said the large black doll was found hanging from a building by a noose in front of a red, white and blue sign that said: "Plains, Georgia. Home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th President."

Third state dinner crasher involved 04 Jan 2010 Michaele and Tareq Salahi weren’t the only uninvited guests at the White House state dinner in November. According to the Secret Service, a third interloper at the dinner honoring the Indian head of state has been identified. In a press release Monday afternoon, the Secret Service said that the person traveled from a local hotel, where the official Indian delegation was staying, and arrived at the dinner with the group, which was under the responsibility of the Department of State.

Court officer killed, federal marshal wounded in shooting inside lobby of Las Vegas courthouse 04 Jan 2010 A federal court security officer was killed and a U.S. Marshal wounded Monday when a gunman sprayed bullets inside the lobby of a courthouse in downtown Las Vegas. The man fled across the street in a hail of return gunfire. He was shot in the head and killed. The large modern building, which also houses the offices of Nevada Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign, was evacuated amid confused witness accounts of up to three other gunmen.

NZ's cyber spies win new powers 03 Jan 2010 New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service (SIS) officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life. The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

Telecom firms' fury at plan for 'Stasi' checks on every phone call and email 27 Dec 2009 Telecoms firms have accused the Government of acting like the East German Stasi over plans to force them to store the details of every phone call for at least a year. Under the proposals, the details of every email sent and website visited will also be recorded to help the police and security services fight crime and terrorism. But mobile phone companies have attacked the plans as a massive assault on privacy and warned it could be the first step towards a centralised 'Big Brother' database.

Use of potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under law 04 Jan 2010 Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States, nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision. The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets. But critics -- including the Obama administration -- say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to.

Scientists say dolphins should be treated as 'non-human persons' 03 Jan 2010 Dolphins have been declared the world’s second most intelligent creatures after humans, with scientists suggesting they are so bright that they should be treated as "non-human persons". Studies into dolphin behaviour have highlighted how similar their communications are to those of humans... These have been backed up by anatomical research showing that dolphin brains have many key features associated with high intelligence. The researchers argue that their work shows it is morally unacceptable to keep such intelligent animals in amusement parks or to kill them for food or by accident when fishing.

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Civilian Inmate Labor Program --Army Regulation 210–35 14 Jan 2005

MI5 knew of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's UK extremist links 03 Jan 2010 The security services knew three years ago that the Detroit bomber had "multiple communications" with Islamic extremists in Britain, it emerged this weekend. Counterterrorism officials said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was "reaching out" to extremists whom MI5 had under surveillance while he was studying at University College London. None of the information was passed to American officials, which will prompt questions about intelligence failures prior to the attack. British officials have now passed a file to their US counterparts on Abdulmutallab’s activities in Britain while he was a student from 2005 to 2008. It shows his repeated contacts with MI5 targets who were subject to phone taps, email intercepts and other forms of surveillance.

UK and US agree to fund anti-terrorism unit to tackle Yemen extremists 03 Jan 2010 Gordon Brown and President Barack Obama have agreed to fund a counterterrorism police unit in Yemen to tackle the rising terrorist threat from the country, it was announced in London early today. The UK and the US have also agreed to increase support for Yemen's coast guard operation. Downing Street said that, in addition, Brown and Obama will push the UN Security Council to create a larger peacekeeping [sic] force for Somalia. Downing Street said the government of Yemen had been consulted over the decision to boost the country's coast guard and police operations.

Christmas false flag gets big payoff: Obama Says Al Qaeda in Yemen Planned Bombing Plot, and He Vows Retribution --US to 'more than double' $70 million in military aid sent to Yemen in 2009 to 'fight' Al Qaeda 03 Jan 2010 President Obama declared for the first time on Saturday that a branch of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] based in Yemen sponsored the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American passenger jet, and he vowed that those behind the failed attack "will be held to account." Mr. Obama’s comments indicated that he and the government largely accepted the accounts offered by Mr. Abdulmutallab since he was taken into custody and by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in a statement on the Web. The National Security Agency had intercepted communications among Qaeda leaders months ago talking about an unnamed Nigerian preparing to attack, but the government never correlated that with information about Mr. Abdulmutallab’s radicalization collected by embassy officials in Nigeria from the suspect’s father.

Barack Obama says al-Qaida behind botched Christmas Day bomb plot --US president reveals would-be suicide bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, trained by terror group affiliate in Yemen 02 Jan 2010 US president George Bush Barack Obama has accused al-Qaida of being behind the botched plot to blow up a transatlantic passenger jet on Christmas Day. He said it appeared that the alleged would-be suicide bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had been trained by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen. The US provided Yemen with $67m in training and support under the Pentagon's counterterrorism programme last year.

US led strikes on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, report says 03 Jan 2010 The United States, with the full support of the Yemeni government, led the recent ground and air strikes on suspected 'Al-Qaeda' positions killing more than 60 militants, a television report says. According to CBS television report broadcast on Saturday, the recent attacks on Al-Qaeda positions in Yemen, including cruise missile strikes, were led by the United States. CBS quoted Sebastian Gorka, a US special operations expert who trains Yemeni officers, as saying that the assaults "were very much executed by the United States, but with heavy support by the Yemeni government."

Airline staff should be free to target 'high-risk' passengers --Air passengers face two body searches 03 Jan 2010 Extra body searches, new restrictions on moving around aircraft and greater use of sniffer dogs are among the security measures being planned by Britain following the Christmas Day bomb plot. Lord Adonis, the transport secretary, also said airline staff should be free to target "high-risk" passengers -- a move that could anger ethnic minority groups. The attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had studied in London, to blow up an aeroplane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, using explosives in his underwear, has prompted new security measures in America.

Are planned airport scanners just a scam? New technology that Gordon Brown relies on for his response to the Christmas Day bomb attack has been tested -- and found wanting 03 Jan 2010 The explosive device smuggled in the clothing of the Detroit bomb suspect would not have been detected by body-scanners set to be introduced in British airports, an expert on the technology warned last night. The claim severely undermines Gordon Brown's focus on hi-tech scanners for airline passengers as part of his review into airport security after the attempted attack on Flight 253 on Christmas Day. The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.

Newark Liberty Airport to be first in area to get full-body scanners 02 Jan 2010 Newark Liberty Airport is getting full-body scanners that reveal all - and could keep terrorists like the undie bomber from boarding planes. The gizmos, which cost about $170,000 apiece, are destined for Terminal B, which handles all international arrivals and domestic airlines like Delta and Northwest, according to the Port Authority.

US Official: Extremists Seek New Ways to Attack US 02 Jan 2010 A top counterterrorism official is warning that al-Qaida and other extremists are working to test U.S. defenses and launch an attack on American soil. National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter says the failed Christmas Day attempt to bring down a U.S. airliner is the starkest reminder of that threat. Leiter said in a statement Saturday that officials ''know with absolute certainty'' that al-Qaida and others are trying to refine their methods. [Right, they 'know with absolute certainty' as they're orchestrating the refinement.]

Assassin shot in cartoonist's home has links to al-Qaida, say police 03 Jan 2010 Danish police admitted yesterday that a Somalian caught breaking into the home of a cartoonist whose work sparked riots across the Muslim world five years ago was a would-be assassin with links to 'al-Qaida.' The 28-year-old had an axe and a knife when he was shot and wounded by police late on Friday night after cartoonist Kurt Westergaard heard windows being broken and pressed a panic alarm at his house in Aarhus.

Muslim cleric deported from U.K. arrested in Kenya 02 Jan 2010 A human rights official says a Jamaica-born Islamic cleric once deported from the UK has been arrested by Kenyan anti-terror police. Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested Friday in Mombasa after he left a mosque, says Al-Amin Kimathi, executive coordinator of the Muslim Human Rights Forum. Police told el-Faisal he had violated the terms of his tourist visa by preaching in mosques.

CIA Attacker Driven in From Pakistan --Suicide Bomber Was a Regular CIA Informant, Had Been to Chapman Base Multiple Times 02 Jan 2010 The suicide bomber who killed at least six Central Intelligence Agency officers in a base along the Afghan-Pakistan border on Wednesday was a regular CIA informant who had visited the same base multiple times in the past, according to someone close to the base's security director. The informant was a Pakistani and a member of the Wazir tribe from the Pakistani tribal area North Waziristan, according to the same source. The base security director, an Afghan named Arghawan, would pick up the informant at the Ghulam Khan border crossing and drive him about two hours into Forward Operating Base Chapman, from where the CIA operates.

'They kept pumping bullets into us' 02 Jan 2010 The Iraqi government is under increasing pressure to aggressively pursue the prosecution of American military personnel accused of killing Iraqis. The recent decision by Ricardo Urbina, a district judge, to dismiss charges against five security contractors mercenaries accused of gunning down 17 Iraqis, including women and children, in September 2007 has re-ignited deep discord among Iraqis, and fuelled suspicions that US personnel operate in a lawless void while in Iraq.

MoD 'is not capable' of winning war 03 Jan 2010 The former head of the Armed Forces in Scotland has warned that the Ministry of Defence is "institutionally incapable" of succeeding in Afghanistan because of its failure to adapt to 21st century conflicts. Major-General Andrew Mackay, the former commander of the Helmand Task Force, said the British Army on the ground had "consistently failed" to understand the motivations of local Afghans. He added that messages from the MoD in London often had "no relevance at ground level" to troops engaged in contact with the enemy, describing them as "a diluted and distant memory" by the time they reached the front line.

Roadside bomb kills 5 Afghan civilians, wounds 6 others 02 Jan 2010 Five Afghan civilians were killed and six others sustained injuries as a roadside bomb struck a vehicle in Nimroz province west of Afghanistan, provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad said Saturday. "The gruesome incident occurred in a far-flanged village along the border with Farah province, when the innocent civilians were returning home from a local bazaar on Friday," Azad told Xinhua.

Peace activists hold demo for Gaza 03 Jan 2010 Over 1,000 Israeli, Arab, and foreign activists have held a peace rally in Tel Aviv, calling for "liberty and justice for Gaza" and the lifting of the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip. To mark the first anniversary of the first Israeli bombs that fell on the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008, the demonstrators marched in central Tel Aviv on Saturday and chanted slogans condemning the blockade of Gaza.

Prisoners used to shovel snow-bound US capital 01 Jan 2010 The US capital paid prison inmates to shovel sidewalks, crosswalks and bus stops after the biggest December blizzard in the city's history, the Department of Corrections said Thursday. Two work crews comprising some 20 prisoners convicted of minor offenses were deployed around the city December 18 and 19, along with two prison guards to watch over them, DOC spokesman Michon Parker told AFP.

Man given NT$50,000 after flu vaccine --Panel screening medical cases related to vaccination said have reviewed applications for relief fund in 39 cases connected to A(H1N1) flu inoculation 02 Jan 2010 (Taiwan) The Department of Health (DOH) decided yesterday to offer a relief fund of NT$50,000 to a 35-year-old man because he showed symptoms including numbness in the lower limbs after getting A(H1N1) flu vaccination, making him the first recipient of financial aid related to the vaccine shots. Thirteen days after taking the vaccine shot, the man showed symptoms of fever and numbness in the feet.

Goldman Sachs to Award Employees $23 Billion In Bonuses 01 Jan 2010 Along with Wall Street’s resurgent bonuses will come a jump in an ancillary benefit: tax breaks. For all banks and Wall Street firms, "I'm sure we’re talking $200 billion total compensation, which would create a tax savings for the firms of $80 billion," said Robert Willens, an accounting and tax analyst in New York who runs a consulting firm, Robert Willens LLC. As pay goes up, so do the deductions. Many American banks already pay minuscule federal income taxes, because of various deductions and clever tax planning; the payout-related breaks will reduce their tax bills further in coming years. The biggest tax break will go to Goldman Sachs. It expects to award its employees $23 billion in bonuses -- the most in its history -- after having paid back $10 billion. Because most employee compensation is a deductible expense under tax laws, Goldman Sachs, which is technically taxed at a top corporate rate of 39 percent, will save about $9 billion in federal income taxes on the bonuses it pays out for 2009, Mr. Willens said.

Senate 'health-care' bill would still leave millions uninsured 02 Jan 2010 Even as Democrats seek the biggest expansion of health coverage in decades, as many as 23 million people could still be without insurance by 2018. The legislation that the Senate passed Christmas Eve, which is expected to resemble closely the final bill that is hashed out between the House and Senate over the next month, would leave about 8 percent of the population under age 65 without health insurance, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

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Racial or religious groups could be picked out for hi-tech airport checks --Whitehall says passenger profiling 'in the mix' 01 Jan 2010 The government could allow hi-tech security searches at British airports that focus on people who fit a particular profile, prompting fears that particular racial and religious groups will face increased scrutiny, it emerged today. A Whitehall source told the Guardian passenger profiling was "in the mix" of the review into airport security ordered this week by Gordon Brown after the failed attempt to blow up a transatlantic jet on Christmas Day. The development came as airline industry chiefs warned it would be impossible to screen all travellers with a new generation of body scanners the government now wants introduced at airports.

Flight 253 passenger Kurt Haskell: 'I was visited by the FBI' 31 Dec 2009 Following up on a visit from FBI officials about an eyewitness account first described to MLive.com, Michigan attorney Kurt Haskell described the visit in comment sections across MLive on Wednesday. Haskell and his wife, Lori, were aboard Flight 253 when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to destroy the plane. They say another man tried to help Abdulmutallab board the plane in Amsterdam.

Iraqi prisoners 'were sexually humiliated by female British soldier' --Fourteen new cases of sexual abuse have been made against a secretive British Army interrogation unit 02 Jan 2010 A female British soldier is accused of sexually humiliating and abusing prisoners in Iraq in a series of claims about British troops in Basra, The Times has learnt. Five former detainees have made specific allegations against a female interrogator they knew as "Katy". The claims are among 14 new cases brought against a secretive British Army interrogation unit. These bring to 40 the total of pending British court cases by former Iraqi detainees.

Guantanamo closure fizzled by 'terror threats' 01 Jan 2010 Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the US are urging the Obama administration to reconsider its plan to close the Guantanamo prison as the nation faces new 'terrorist threats.' President Obama has already announced that he will fail to live up to his promise to close the notorious detention center within one year of his reign at the White House. Now faced by the reality that almost half of the remaining Guantanamo detainees are from Yemen and that the Christmas Day "jet bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has allegedly received training in Yemen, congressional leaders and government officials are urging the president to abandon plans to close the prison or to suspend any transfers of prisoners to Yemen.

Iraq bomb plotters recruited in US-run prison: police --'The convicts were recruited by the terrorist organisation during their detention in Camp Bucca.' 31 Dec 2009 Two men on death row for masterminding an Al-Qaeda truck bombing that killed 88 people on June 20 were recruited in a US-run prison camp, a senior Iraqi police commander said on Thursday. Adnan Jassim Ali al-Hamdani and Hawas Falah al-Juburi were among three people sentenced on Tuesday to death by hanging for their part in the bombing in the predominantly Shiite Turkmen town of Taza in northern Iraq which also wounded 265 people, according to a police toll.

Taliban infiltrator who killed 7 from CIA wore Afghan uniform 31 Dec 2009 A suicide bomber who killed seven CIA officers and contractors mercenaries and wounded six others at an isolated CIA base in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday was a Taliban infiltrator dressed in an Afghan Army uniform, according to U.S. officials and a Taliban claim of responsibility. An eighth American, a civilian, was also killed. The victims were working out Wednesday evening when the bomber stepped into the outpost's gym and triggered his explosive vest, the Taliban and U.S. military officials said Thursday.

'The CIA considers contractors to be officers.' [CLG considers them to be terrorists.] Source: 2 killed in Afghanistan bombing were security contractors 31 Dec 2009 Two of the seven CIA officers killed Wednesday in a suspected terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan were contractors mercenaries for Xe, a private security firm formerly known as Blackwater, a former intelligence official said Thursday. A current intelligence official confirmed to CNN that the casualties included a mix of people -- CIA staff and contractors. The CIA considers contractors to be officers.

Pakistan Taliban: CIA traitor carried out deadly attack 01 Jan 2010 The Pakistani Taliban claimed Friday that they used a turncoat CIA operative to carry out a suicide bombing that killed seven American CIA employees in Afghanistan as revenge for a top militant leader's death in a U.S. missile strike. Qari Hussain, a top militant commander with the Pakistani Taliban, said militants had been searching for a way to damage the CIA's ability to launch missile strikes on the Pakistani side of the border.

CIA base attacked in Afghanistan supported airstrikes against al-Qaeda, Taliban 01 Jan 2010 The CIA base attacked by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan this week was at the heart of a covert program overseeing strikes by the agency's remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, officials familiar with the installation said Thursday. The assailant, wearing an explosives belt under his clothes, apparently was allowed to enter the small base after offering to become an informant, according to two former agency officials briefed on the attack.

C.I.A. Takes On Bigger and Riskier Role on Front Lines --Over the past year, the C.I.A. has built up an archipelago of firebases in southern and eastern Afghanistan. 01 Jan 2010 The deaths of seven Central Intelligence Agency operatives at a remote base in the mountains of Afghanistan are a pointed example of the civilian spy agency’s transformation in recent years into a paramilitary organization at the vanguard of America’s far-flung wars. Even as the C.I.A. expands its role in Afghanistan, it is also playing a greater role in quasi-military operations elsewhere, using drone aircraft to launch a steady barrage of missile strikes in Pakistan and sending more operatives to Yemen to assist local officials in their attempts to roll back boost Al Qaeda’s momentum in that country.

France Televisions journalists 'kidnapped in Afghanistan' 01 Jan 2010 Suspected Taliban militants [aka Blackwater] have kidnapped two French journalists working for France's public television broadcaster and three Afghan companions in the east of the war-torn country, a colleague says. Gunmen snatched the group as they were travelling about 60km from the Afghan capital, a French journalist working with them said. The journalists' employer, public broadcaster France Televisions, did not formally confirm their abduction.

Over 1,000 Afghan civilians killed in 2009 01 Jan 2010 The US-led war in Afghanistan has killed more than 1,440 civilians this year -- a figure almost equal to the US-led coalition's overall death toll over eight years of the hostilities. Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) reported the fatalities, saying that 40 percent of the deaths had been caused by the foreign forces.

In Afghanistan, roadside bomb attacks kill 9 01 Jan 2010 Roadside bomb attacks have killed at least nine people in Badghis and Khost provinces in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Friday bomb attack in Badghis province that killed two women and three men, including their driver.

British bomb-disposal soldier killed in Helmand 02 Jan 2010 An Army bomb-disposal engineer has become the latest British soldier to die in Afghanistan, taking the death toll for 2009 to 108 - the highest number to die in action in a single year since the Falklands conflict in 1982. The soldier, from 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), Royal Engineers, died from his injuries after a blast at a base in Sangin in Helmand.

Police: Suicide bombing kills 88 in NW Pakistan 01 Jan 2010 A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed vehicle in a crowd of people watching a volleyball tournament in northwest Pakistan, killing 88 people in the deadliest attack in the country in more than two months. The attack in Lakki Marwat city on Friday appeared to be retaliation against residents who formed militias to drive militants out of the area and a meeting of anti-Taliban leaders being held nearby may have been the actual target, police said. No group claimed responsibility for Friday's blast. [Right, because we all know who did it. Only Blackwater terrorists would attack a group of people watching a volleyball game. See: Allegation: Blackwater hiring youths in Peshawar to carry out attacks and suicide bombings 31 Dec 2009.]

Iraq threatens action after Blackwater case collapses --Officials and relatives of 17 Iraqis killed in Baghdad react with fury to US judge's decision to dismiss all charges 01 Jan 2010 Iraqi officials and relatives of 17 Iraqis who were killed in a crowded Baghdad square in September 2007 in an allegedly unprovoked shooting spree by Blackwater private security guards mercenaries reacted with fury today to the decision by a US federal judge to dismiss all charges against five of the guards. A spokesman for the Iraqi government said the collapse of the case in the US courts would lead to an intensified criminal prosecution of Blackwater through the Iraqi legal system.

Technicality clears Blackwater mercenaries 01 Jan 2010 Five operatives from US security firm Blackwater have been absolved over the killing of 17 Iraqis in 2007. While the five, who had been contracted to defend US diplomatic personnel, were accused of opening fire on a crowd in Baghdad, District Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled the US Justice Department had used evidence against the men that prosecutors were not supposed to have presented. The disputed evidence concerned statements the guards gave to State Department investigators, who promised not to use them in a criminal case [to purposefully destroy it].

Iraq oil contract goes to Angola's Sonangol --Previous contracts went to companies including Shell, CNPC and Lukoil 30 Dec 2009 The Angolan state-owned oil company, Sonangol, has signed two initial oilfield deals in Iraq. The two, the Qayara and Najmah oilfields, are in Nineveh province, known as one of the most dangerous regions of the country. Sonangol will be paid between $5 and $6 a barrel, one of the highest fees awarded in Iraq's oil deals.

NBC News: Toxic water in Iraq --Hundreds of National Guardsmen potentially exposed to toxic chemical at Iraq water treatment plant in 2003 30 Dec 2009 Throughout 2003, after the combat phase of the Iraq War had ended, [It did?] the U.S. military and defense contractors raced to try and fix destroy Iraq's infrastructure [so Bush's cronies could get billion$ to rebuild that which they destroyed]. Some Army National Guardsmen are suing defense contractor KBR because of alleged exposures to a toxic chemical at one such industrial worksite in Iraq.

Report: IDF strikes 'militant targets' in Gaza 02 Jan 2010 Israeli war jets and tanks struck several targets in the Gaza Strip Friday night, wounding at least five people, witnesses and medical sources said. Witnesses said Israeli F16 fighters fired two missiles and tanks fired two shells that landed at empty areas east and northeast of Gaza City. They said huge explosions were heard in the area.

Ex-Homeland Security chief head said to abuse public trust by touting body scanners 01 Jan 2010 Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports. What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. An airport passengers' rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

Napolitano announces international airport security campaign 31 Dec 2009 The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday announced it would launch a campaign next week to strengthen security screening procedures at a host of international airports. The effort is part of the White House's heightened response to a Christmas Day attempt to bomb Delta Flight 253 in Detroit, a flight that originated in Amsterdam.

Police chief in airport scanner demand 01 Jan 2010 Scotland's top anti-terror police officer has called on the government to introduce full-body scanners in the country's airports to thwart would-be suicide bombers. Allan Burnett, head of counter-terrorism for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said the alleged attempted bombing of a United States-bound airliner seven days ago put the case for the controversial scanners beyond dispute.

TSA withdraws subpoenas of travel bloggers 01 Jan 2010 Just days after serving subpoenas to two travel bloggers, the Transportation Security Administration withdrew the subpoenas late Thursday, saying its investigation into how the bloggers received a sensitive security directive "is nearing a successful conclusion." With little explanation, the TSA withdrew subpoenas of bloggers Steve Frischling and Christopher Elliott seeking information on how they obtained a December 25 security directive. The directive, which had been sent to every airline and airport in the United States, ordered precautions after the failed terrorist attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Bankers Get $4 Trillion Gift From Barney Frank By David Reilly 30 Dec 2009 Hunkering down by the fire, I snuggled up with H.R. 4173, the financial-reform legislation passed earlier this month by the House of Representatives... For all its heft, the bill doesn’t once mention the words "too-big-to-fail," the main issue confronting the financial system... Instead, it supports the biggest banks. It authorizes Federal Reserve banks to provide as much as $4 trillion in emergency funding the next time Wall Street crashes. So much for "no-more-bailouts" talk. That is more than twice what the Fed pumped into markets this time around. The size of the fund makes the bribes in the Senate’s health-care bill look minuscule.

Polar bears face extinction within the century 01 Jan 2010 As we enter 2010, Sideways News looks at the 10 most endangered species we need to save, according to the World Wildlife Fund annual list of animals to watch... Used as the "poster boy" for global warming, the polar bear has been in the Endangered Species Act in the US since 2008. The greatest conservation challenge to the polar bear is ecological change in the Arctic due to climate change. The WWF believes that unless the warming trend ceases, the 20,000 to 25,000 bears in existence today are likely to be extinct within the 21st century.

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CIA suicide bomber was invited on base, report claims --The bomber had been invited onto the base and had not been searched. 31 Dec 2009 The suicide bomber who killed seven CIA employees at a remote base in south-eastern Afghanistan was being courted as an informant and had been invited onto the base, according to a report. The CIA said on Thursday a further six agents had been injured in the attack. On Thursday night it was reported that the bomber had been invited onto the base and had not been searched. A former senior intelligence official told the Associated Press that the man was being courted as an informant and that it was the first time he had been brought inside the camp.

Was the Afghan Bomb Attack an Inside Job? Possibility Arises that Someone Working with U.S. Forces was on the Side of the Terrorists 30 Dec 2009 It all happened at a well-fortified combat outpost in Eastern Afghanistan. Somehow a suicide bomber was able to bring his explosives on the base, walk up to a group of American civilians and blow himself up... The outpost is located in the middle of a notorious stronghold for Afghan insurgents near the border with Pakistan, reports CBS News. Afghan soldiers and civilians are present at almost every American outpost since one of the chief principals of the U.S. strategy is to partner with the Afghans. According to Christine Fair of Georgetown University, some of them may actually be working for the Taliban.

CIA workers killed by 'Afghan soldier' 31 Dec 2009 Eight Americans working for the CIA have died in a bomb attack in Afghanistan, the worst against US intelligence officials since 1983. A bomber wearing an explosive vest entered Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost Province, near Pakistan. A Taliban spokesman said a member of the group working for the Afghan army had carried out the attack.

Intelligence official vows revenge for CIA deaths 31 Dec 2009 A U.S. intelligence official vowed Thursday to avenge a suspected terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of seven CIA employees. Another six CIA employees were wounded, another official said.

CIA caught in dirty and secretive war against al-Qaeda on Afghan border 01 Jan 2010 The deaths of seven CIA agents in Khost province have brought into the limelight the secretive and dirty war being fought by America’s intelligence agencies -- and the Taleban and al-Qaeda -- in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Forward Operating Base Chapman, and others like it along the border, are the forward edge of American military and intelligence counter-terrorism operations, aimed principally at hunting down senior figures in 'al-Qaeda' and their allies in the Taleban hiding in the lawless tribal belt. The CIA’s main strike weapons are the drones that loiter over the border areas 24 hours a day, watching and listening to telephone networks.

Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children 31 Dec 2009 American-led troops were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead. Afghan government investigators said that eight schoolchildren were killed, all but one of them from the same family. Locals said that some victims were handcuffed before being killed. Western military sources said that the dead were all part of an Afghan terrorist cell [yeah, the eight-year-olds] responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which have claimed the lives of countless soldiers and civilians. [They don't "hate us for our freedoms." They hate us for our war crimes. --Lori Price]

'I'm Alive,' Says Yemen Radical Anwar Awlaki Despite U.S. Attack --Denies Ties to al Qaeda As U.S. Officials Probe His [Alleged] Ties to Christmas Day Bomb Attempt and Fort Hood Shooting 31 Dec 2009 A week after U.S. and Yemeni officials said the radical Yemen cleric Anwar Awlaki may have been killed in a U.S.-backed Christmas eve air strike, a Yemeni journalist says Awlaki has surfaced to proclaim, "I'm alive." "He said the house that was attacked was two or three kilometers away from him and he was not there," the journalist, Abdulelah Hider Shaea, told ABC News. He said he talked to Awlaki on the phone and recognized his voice from previous interviews. [Abdulelah Shaea needs to watch his back. The US target is *journalists,* not their al-CIAduh hirelings. --LRP]

US pledges $16 bn for training Afghan security forces [so they can kill more US soldiers] 31 Dec 2009 The United States has pledged $16 billion to spend on training and equipping Afghanistan’s army and air force, but the country needs more to build a force that can guarantee stability, an Afghan army official said on Wednesday... Part of the US cash is likely to cover planned spending on over 150 aircraft -- including helicopters, and reconnaissance, combat and transport planes. [See: Soldier killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan 21 Dec 2009.]

Two French journalists kidnapped in Afghanistan 31 Dec 2009 Two French reporters have been kidnapped north-east of the Afghan capital Kabul, Afghan officials say. They say the journalists were seized in Kapisa province, along with three Afghans travelling with them. French Defence minister Herve Morin, who is visiting Afghanistan, said he had had no news of two journalists since Wednesday. Media sources in Paris said they work for the French TV Channel FR3.

5 Canadians killed in Afghanistan, including 1 journalist 31 Dec 2009 Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang and four Canadian soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Wednesday. She was covering the war for the Canwest News Service.

Explosion blasts against NATO troops in S Afghanistan 30 Dec 2009 A powerful explosion blasted against NATO-led forces in Dand district of Kandahar province, south Afghanistan on Wednesday evening, causing panic among the locals, Xinhua's scribe in Kandahar said. The blast took place 10 km south of Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province, at 05:00 p.m. local time. Security personnel cordoned off the area and did not allow journalists to get access to the site.

The Pre-Ball-Dropping-New Year's Eve Bad News Dump begins: Judge Dismisses Charges in Blackwater Shooting 31 Dec 2009 3:49 P.M. ET A federal judge dismissed all charges against five Blackwater Worldwide security guards charged in a deadly Baghdad shooting. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina said Thursday that the Justice Department overstepped its bounds and wrongly used evidence it wasn't allowed to see. He said the government's explanations have been contradictory, unbelievable and not credible. Blackwater contractors were hired to guard State Department diplomats in Iraq. Prosecutors say the guards fired on unarmed civilians in a busy intersection in 2007, killing innocent people.

Allegation: Blackwater hiring youths in Peshawar to carry out attacks and suicide bombings --Just as the CLG has asserted from the get-go. Wait until Blackwater gets hold of one of Pakistan's nukes, detonates it, blames 'al-Qaeda' and plunges the US into WWIII. I am thinking the lucrative contract for Xe to 'clean up' in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion has already been drafted. Blackwater needs to be eliminated before they become as big as Goldman Sachs and Citi - 'too big' to destroy. --Lori Price

Mufti Usmani holds Blackwater responsible for blast 31 Dec 2009 Contrary to the claim and media reports by the media about Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan taking responsibility of the Ashura bomb blast, Mufti Mohammed Rafi Usmani held US agency Blackwater responsible for the gory incident that claimed more than 40 lives. Addressing a news conference along with Muhammed Taqi, Mufti Muhammed Naeem, Maulana Tanver-ul-Haq and others on Wednesday, Mufti Usmani said that Blackwater was involved in the killing of innocent people in the Muharram procession. He said that soon after the blast, shops in the city’s economic hub were set ablaze which proved that the attack was "pre-planned and organized". Mufti Usmani said that the incident was a conspiracy against Islam and the government totally failed to control the situation, as it was the responsibility of the government to provide security to the citizens and to protect the property... He alleged that Blackwater was hiring youths in Peshawar to carry out attacks and suicide bombings.

Pakistani police seek terror charges for US men 31 Dec 2009 Pakistan police are seeking to charge five Americans arrested in the country in early December with terrorism. Investigator Tahir Gujar said the men, who are suspected of having links to Islamic militants, will appear in court in Sargodha on 4 January. Police also want the young Muslims to face life sentences for allegedly plotting to carry out attacks.

Pakistan to seek terror charges for five Americans 31 Dec 2009 Pakistan police said Thursday they would seek terror charges and life imprisonment for five Americans accused of coming to the Muslim country to carry out attacks. A Pakistani court last Friday remanded the five Americans in custody for another 10 days after police sought more time to complete their investigations.

Iraqi governor seriously injured in double suicide attack 30 Dec 2009 The governor of the Iraqi province that was the battleground of a lethal three-year insurgency was seriously injured today in a double suicide bombing that killed 23 people and wounded more than 100, prompting fresh fears that public order across the country is again decaying. Qassim Mohamed was caught up in a second bomb attack at the scene of an explosion that he had just left his office in Ramadi to inspect. Officials were trying to verify reports that the suicide bomber had been part of the Anbar province governor's security detail.

Iraq blasts kill at least 27 31 Dec 2009 A car bomb and a suicide bomber struck a government building in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, yesterday, killing at least 27 people and wounding the governor of Anbar province, police officials and witnesses said. The bombs, detonated outside the provincial government building, exploded after the release of a British hostage who had been held in Iraq since 2007.

Lawyers lose effort to force US to reveal who was targeted by anti-terrorism program 30 Dec 2009 A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that law professors and attorneys who represent Guantanamo Bay detainees prisoners cannot force the government to reveal whether an anti-terrorism program eavesdropped on their conversations. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling supported the findings of a lower court judge in Manhattan who also rejected the attempt to uncloak the warrantless electronic surveillance system's targets. The National Security Agency and the Department of Justice had refused to comply with a 2006 Freedom of Information Act request by the lawsuit's plaintiffs.

Court: Feds Can Hide Alleged Spying on Gitmo Lawyers By David Kravets 30 Dec 2009 A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the government’s refusal to admit or deny it has documents related to warrantless eavesdropping on Guantanamo Bay detainees and their lawyers. In doing so, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accepted a little-known defense called the Glomar doctrine. The doctrine, the court ruled, allows the National Security Agency to refuse to acknowledge to the lawyers suing under the Freedom of Information Act that there are any documents responsive to allegations their clients had been or are being targeted under the Terrorist Surveillance Program adopted following the 2001 terror attacks.

New: Airline bomber suspect studied in Houston 31 Dec 2009 The Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day over Detroit attended an intensive, Islamic education seminar in Houston last year designed for top student scholars, an organization confirmed Wednesday. Shaykh Waleed Basyouni, vice president for the AlMaghrib Institute in Houston, said 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was living in London in the summer of 2008 when he attended the nonprofit institute's annual "IlmSummit" with about 150 other students.

US aware 'Nigerian' prepared for terror attack 30 Dec 2009 The US was aware that "a Nigerian" in Yemen was being prepared for a terrorist attack - weeks before an attempted bombing on a US plane. ABC News and the New York Times say there was intelligence to this effect, but its source is unclear. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab flew from Lagos to Amsterdam before changing planes for a flight to Detroit on which he allegedly tried to detonate a bomb.

Obama summons intelligence chiefs to White House meeting 31 Dec 2009 President Barack Obama has summoned the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies for a meeting on Tuesday to discuss ways of preventing a repeat of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on December 25. ...Obama on Thursday said he expected to receive assessments from several intelligence agencies Thursday evening and would review them during the weekend.

TSA maintains high security at airports 31 Dec 2009 The Transportation Security Administration on Thursday extended through at least the weekend heightened security measures in the aftermath of a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. jetliner, the agency said. The current security directive requires airlines to physically pat down all passengers boarding planes bound for the United States and inspect their carry-on bags. It also gives airlines the discretion to take other measures to prevent people from secretly assembling or igniting bombs on aircraft.

TSA Threatens Blogger Who Posted New Screening Directive 30 Dec 2009 Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber. Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.

Delta offers vouchers to fliers on Christmas terror flight 30 Dec 2009 Delta Air Lines Inc. is offering travel credits to passengers on the Amsterstam-to-Detroit flight that a suspected terrorist tried and failed to blow up on Christmas. Spokeswoman Susan Elliott told The Associated Press on Wednesday the world's biggest carrier is notifying passengers about the vouchers. The amount wasn't disclosed.

'We assume here that New York is the No. 1 terrorist target in America.' Extra Security in Times Square for New Year's Eve 01 Jan 2010 For two hours on Wednesday, Times Square morphed into a militarized zone as the police swarmed an unoccupied van with blacked out windows and no license plates parked in an area set aside for Thursday’s New Year’s Eve celebration... Officers with rifles will patrol on rooftops. Others, in plainclothes, will mingle with the crowds to search for pickpockets or would-be terrorists. Meanwhile, in an out-of-sight command center staffed by the F.B.I., information and intelligence will be shared among the New York Police Department, the police of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and "numerous other agencies," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, an F.B.I. spokesman in New York.

Democrats Accuse GOP of Exploiting Terror Plot for Electoral Gain 31 Dec 2009 Democrats are accusing Republicans of going too far in their criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the attempted Christmas Day terror attack, saying the GOP is blatantly exploiting the failed bombing of an airliner to gain the upper hand in the 2010 midterm elections. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., referred to the incident in a fundraising pitch for his gubernatorial campaign. Other GOP lawmakers have blanketed the airwaves to criticize the administration's response to the incident and the failure to identify the suspect as a terror suspect in advance. Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney accused President Obama of pretending the United States is not at war... Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said Thursday that now is not the time for politics.

Satire: US Prepares For Post 12-25 World By R J Shulman 31 Dec 2009 The explosive device that was sewed into the underwear of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab seems to have changed America forever... "Obama can't keep us safe, like Bush did," said former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney. "And how dare the president be vacationing out of the country in Hawaii? You'd never catch George W. Bush on vacation, while we were being attacked." Congress is also slated to pass USA Patriot Act III, a measure that will allow government officials to inspect the underwear of suspected enemy combatants at airports. "I volunteer to make these inspections," said former Idaho Senator Larry Craig (R). "I will do anything to protect America, plus I won't have to tap or take a wide stance in airport stalls as I'll now be able to show my flaming patriotism out in the open." (Satire)

Federal Court Limits the Use of Tasers 01 Jan 2010 In a case that could set the first broad judicial standards for the use of Tasers, a federal appeals court in California has ruled that the police can be held liable for using one of the devices against an unarmed person during a traffic stop. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in San Francisco, said the electrically disabling device constituted excessive force when used against an unarmed man who did not pose a threat, and it refused to allow a police officer immunity for its use.

NY Governor: Get a Flu Shot For New Year's! 31 Dec 2009 Governor David Paterson is urging New Yorkers to protect themselves and their families against the H1N1 virus and ensure a safe and healthy new year by getting the H1N1 vaccine, which is now available to the general public in New York State. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports. With ample vaccine available in the State at more locations where New Yorkers can be vaccinated, the Governor suggests starting the new year with a shot. [Pharmaterrorists are desperate to dump their squalene-laden, mercury-filled, Polysorbate 80-laced vaccines on us.]

Oil headed for biggest annual gain since '99 31 Dec 2009 Crude oil rose in New York, heading for its biggest annual gain since 1999, as cold weather in the U.S. sent heating oil costs higher. Oil touched a six-week high of $80 a barrel, extending its rally to a seventh day, the longest since October. Heating oil climbed to the highest in almost 14 months amid forecasts for below-normal temperatures in the U.S. through mid-January.

GMAC to Receive $3.8 Billion More in Government Aid --Financing Arm of General Motors Poised to Get Third Infusion of Taxpayer Support 30 Dec 2009 GMAC, the ailing financing arm of General Motors, is set to receive $3.8 billion in government aid, ABC News has learned. The funds will be the third infusion of federal support for the troubled lender. The Treasury Department said that the latest injection of $3.8 billion was actually less than the $5.6 billion that it had expected to loan GMAC to keep the finance giant from collapsing.

Britain: Record fall in pay levels By Julie Hyland 31 Dec 2009 The Office of National Statistics has recorded the largest fall in wages in the United Kingdom since it began collecting data in 1995. The ONS figures show that wages fell by 1.3 percent during July-September 2009 compared with the same period in 2008. The total paid out in earnings stood at £161.6 billion, down from £163.7 billion the previous year.

Rush Limbaugh is in 'good, stable condition' in hospital after chest pains 31 Dec 2009 Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh will undergo a complete medical examination Thursday but remains in "good, stable condition" after he was admitted to a Hawaii hospital for chest pains... On Wednesday, paramedics took the vacationing Limbaugh to The Queen's Medical Center after he experienced chest pains.

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'Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants planning attacks from Yemen' 29 Dec 2009 Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants are planning terror attacks from Yemen, the country’s Foreign Minister said today. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi appealed for more help from the international community to help to train and equip counter-terrorist forces. His plea came after an al-Qaeda group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for the failed Christmas Day airliner bomb plot. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, alleged to be behind the attempt to blow up an American-bound aircraft, spent time in Yemen with al-Qaeda and was in the country only days before the failed attack.

U.S. Seeks to Boost Yemen For Expanded Al Qaeda Fight 30 Dec 2009 The United States is looking at ways to expand military and intelligence cooperation with the government of Yemen to step up a crackdown on al Qaeda [al-Qaeda] militants believed to be behind a failed plot to blow up a U.S. passenger jet, American officials said on Wednesday. President Barack Obama has vowed to bring "every element" of U.S. power against those who threaten Americans' safety, but offered no specifics. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to comment on any "military planning," but called a television report that the United States was preparing for possible retaliatory strikes "grossly exaggerated."

Second person was detained by U.S. Customs after alleged attack on Flight 253 29 Dec 2009 A person was detained by customs at Detroit Metro Airport on Friday following Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's alleged attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253, according to a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is unknown why the person was detained or whether the person will face any charges, spokesman Ron Smith told MLive.com. Bill Carter, a spokesman with the FBI in Washington, D.C., said in an interview Tuesday that Abdulmutallab was the only person arrested or charged in relation to Friday's foiled attack.

Report: Dutch police investigating report of accomplice in Northwest Flight 253 terror plot 28 Dec 2009 Reuters reports Dutch military police are investigating claims that an accomplice may have helped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab board Northwest Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas day without a passport, a story first told here on MLive.com. Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to blow up the Detroit-bound plane with an explosive chemical he smuggled through security.

Man videotaped entire false flag, including detonation: Oconomowoc Family Survives Terrorist Attempt 28 Dec 2009 (WI) Patricia "Scotty" Keepman still has a sense of humor after the harrowing experience she, her husband, daughter and two new adopted children from Ethiopia had as a man tried to detonate an explosive device while their plane was getting ready to land in Detroit on Christmas Day. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab of Nigeria was charged Saturday in the Christmas Day attempt that only sparked a fire on the flight from Amsterdam. They were sitting about 20 rows behind Abdulmutallab, in a center aisle... Her daughter said that ahead of them was a man who videotaped the entire flight, including the attempted detonation. "He sat up and videotaped the entire thing, very calmly," said Patricia. "We do know that the FBI is looking for him intensely. Since then, we've heard nothing about it."

Detroit bomber linked to MI5 suspect 30 Dec 2009 The Detroit bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was linked to a Muslim extremist under surveillance by MI5 while he was living in Britain, it has emerged. The Security Service have found that the 23-year-old was connected to a suspect it was investigating while he was studying at university in London. The connection was discovered after record checks by MI5 following the attempted suicide bombing on Christmas Day by Abdulmutallab on a US-bound plane. Until now, it was thought that the first time MI5 had any evidence of Abdulmutallab was when he was put on a "watch list" earlier this year after being refused a student visa because he had given details of a bogus college. But MI5 has now discovered he was on the "periphery of a past incident" sources said, although he was not said to have been under surveillance himself.

U.S. Had Information Before Christmas of a Terror Plot --The government also had more information about where Mr. Abdulmutallab had been and what some of his plans were. 30 Dec 2009 President Obama was told during a private briefing on Tuesday morning while vacationing here in Hawaii that the government had a variety of information in its possession before the thwarted bombing that would have been a clear warning sign had it been shared among agencies, a senior official said. Two officials said the government had intelligence from Yemen before Friday that leaders of a branch of Al Qaeda there were talking about "a Nigerian" being prepared [by his CIA handlers] for a terrorist attack.

'The information on AbdulMutallab had been sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.' Source: CIA failed to circulate report about bombing suspect 29 Dec 2009 The father of terrorism suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN on Tuesday. Had that information been shared, the 23-year-old Nigerian who is alleged to have bungled an attempt to blow up a jetliner as it was landing in Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day might have been denied passage on the Northwest Airlines flight, the source said. U.S. officials said the father, a former Nigerian banker, expressed his concerns about his son's radicalization during at least one meeting and several calls with officials at the embassy in Nigeria. The information on AbdulMutallab had been sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but it sat there for five weeks and was not disseminated, the source said.

Detroit terror attack: British university 'complicit' in radicalisation --The London university where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab studied has been accused of being "complicit" in the radicalisation of Muslim students. 29 Dec 2009 University College London, where Abdulmutallab was recently president of the Islamic Society, has been criticised for "failing grotesquely" to prevent extremists from giving lectures on campus. UCL has been heavily criticised in the past for its relaxed attitude to radical preachers, and security agencies are investigating whether it was there that Detroit bomber Abdulmutallab was recruited by al-Qaeda sympathisers.

Cheney: Obama pretending 'we are not at war' 30 Dec 2009 In blistering comments Wednesday, former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said President Obama's reaction to the botched terrorist attack on Christmas Day is proof that the president "is trying to pretend we are not at war." In his first statement since the December 25 terror attempt on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan, Cheney hit Obama for what he described as the president's "low-key" response to the events last week and criticized the administration's broader approach to national security.

Detroit terror attack: Barack Obama accuses intelligence services of 'systemic failures' 30 Dec 2009 Barack Obama has condemned the "systemic failures" in intelligence sharing leading to the attempted bomb attack on a passenger jet in Detroit on Christmas Day. Mr Obama said initial investigations into the failed attack had found a warning given by the banker father of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to a CIA official in Nigeria about his son's increasing radicalisation was not properly shared, meaning he was not barred from flying. A report of the warning was sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, up to five weeks before the attack but much of it was not disseminated to other agencies, it has been claimed.

US jet plot suspect 'was in Yemen in December' 29 Dec 2009 The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a jet over the US on Christmas Day was living in Yemen until earlier this month, Yemeni officials have said. The foreign ministry said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from August until the beginning of December, the official Saba news agency reported. He had a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital Sanaa.

Two al Qaeda Leaders Behind Northwest Flight 253 Terror Plot Were Released by U.S. [by Bush] --Former Guantanamo Prisoners Believed Behind Northwest Airlines Bomb Plot; Sent to Saudi Arabia in 2007 28 Dec 2009 Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an "art therapy rehabilitation program" and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Dutch to Use Full-Body Scanners on Flights to U.S. 31 Dec 2009 The major international airport of the Netherlands will begin using full-body scanners on passengers flying to the United States to prevent a recurrence of the security breach that allowed a would-be bomber to smuggle explosives onto a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day, the Dutch authorities said Wednesday. At a news conference at The Hague in the Netherlands the Dutch interior minister, Guusje Ter Horst, characterized preparations for the attack as professional but its execution as amateurish, according to The Associated Press.

TSA Looks to Expand Use of Full-Body Scanners at U.S. Airports 29 Dec 2009 The Transportation Security Administration is looking to increase the number of full-body scanners at U.S. airports over the next few years, as it reviews security procedures in the wake of the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight last week. The Transportation Security Administration is looking to increase the number of full-body scanners at U.S. airports over the next few years as it reviews security procedures in the wake of the attempted bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight last week.

Opponents call high-tech airport scans a 'virtual strip search' 29 Dec 2009 Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed attempt to blow up Northwest Flight 253 last week has revived a battle in Congress over the use of whole-body imaging technology to screen airline passengers. Some legislators argue that the machines, which cost about $170,000 each and are in use at 19 U.S. airports, could have detected the explosive powder the man was carrying and should be approved for widespread use. Others, however, call a whole-body scan a "virtual strip search" that should be used only if there's probable cause to assume that someone might be carrying explosives. In June, the House of Representatives voted 310-118 to prohibit the widespread use of whole-body imaging technology as a primary tool for airport screening, a measure introduced by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah.

Afghans burn Obama effigy over civilian deaths 30 Dec 2009 Protesters took to the streets in Afghanistan on Wednesday, burning an effigy of the US president and shouting "death to Obama" to slam civilian deaths during Western military operations. Hundreds of university students blocked main roads in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangahar province, to protest the alleged deaths of 10 civilians, mostly school children, in a Western military operation on Saturday. "The government must prevent such unilateral operations otherwise we will take guns instead of pens and fight against them (foreign forces)," students from the University of Nangahar's education faculty said in a statement. Marching through the main street of Jalalabad, the students chanted "death to Obama" and "death to foreign forces", witnesses said.

Karzai condemns US for killing school children 29 Dec 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai protests the US military's targeting of civilians after a US raid killed at least eight school children in the east of the war-torn country. Karzai's office on Monday issued a statement in which it condemned the killings that reportedly took place on Saturday in Kunar province near the border with Pakistan. "Initial reports indicate that in a series of operations by international forces in Kunar province... 10 civilians, eight of them school students, have been killed," the statement said.

Eight Americans killed in explosion in Afghanistan 30 Dec 2009 Eight Americans were killed in an explosion in Khost province, in southeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, a U.S. official said. "We can confirm that there was an explosion in Khost province and eight Americans have been killed," a U.S. official said. He could not give any further details.

'The soldier opened fire on the two Italians and one American.' Afghanistan: soldier shoots dead US serviceman 29 Dec 2009 An Afghan soldier shot dead a US serviceman and wounded two Italians when he opened fire on foreign troops at an army base in western Afghanistan. The shooting in Herat is the latest in a string of such incidents, including the death of five British soldiers last month, at a time when Western countries are pouring resources into training Afghan soldiers and police to fight the Taliban insurgency Blackwater's coffers. [See: The Obusha AfPak Money Pit By Lori Price 03 Oct 2009.]

Al Qaeda says it took Italian pair as hostages 29 Dec 2009 An Al Qaeda offshoot claimed responsibility yesterday for kidnapping two Italians in Mauritania earlier this month, and Rome’s foreign minister said it was likely that the hostages were in the hands of the radical Islamist group. In an audio message broadcast yesterday on Al-Arabiya TV, Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in North Africa spokesman Salah Abou Mohamed said the Dec. 19 kidnapping was a punishment for "crimes committed by the Italian government in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Provincial Governor Survives Iraq Bombings 31 Dec 2009 Attacks by two suicide bombers on Wednesday in the city of Ramadi killed at least 24 people and wounded nearly 60, including the governor of Anbar Province, a police official said... The two bombs killed 24 and injured 58, said Jasen Mohammed Hamed, chief of the Anbar provincial council. The police imposed a curfew on the province, closing the streets to anyone except police and security forces.

Lebanon army opens fire on Israeli jets 29 Dec 2009 Lebanese anti-aircraft guns have opened fire on four Israeli fighter planes that were violating airspace over the southern part of the country. "The army's anti-aircraft guns fired in the direction of four Phantom-type enemy Israeli planes that had been overflying the southeastern Hasbaya region at low altitude since Tuesday morning," an army spokesman told AFP. He added that by mid-morning the planes were still conducting their exercises in the region.

US spies: Israel or UK forged nukes report on Iran 29 Dec 2009 US intelligence sources have confirmed Iran's assertions that a document published by a British daily about Tehran's nuclear program is a fabrication. According to a former CIA official, US intelligence agents have found that the document, which was published by the Times of London on December 14, was fabricated by Israel or Britain, the Inter Press Service (IPS) reported on Monday.

UN: Israel bombed Gaza 'back to the mud age' 30 Dec 2009 The UN relief agency UNRWA said on Tuesday that Gaza had been "bombed back, not to the Stone Age, but to the mud age," because the agency was reduced to building houses out of mud due to Israel’s ban on construction materials entering the Strip. "The Israeli blockade has meant that almost no reconstruction materials have been allowed to move into Gaza even though 60,000 homes were either damaged or completely destroyed. So we in UNRWA have been saying 'let's lift this senseless blockage,'" UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told UN Radio, according to the UN news service.

Gaza report finds major powers complicit in Israel's collective punishment By Jean Shaoul 29 Dec 2009 To mark one year since Israel’s military assault on Gaza, a report by 16 aid agencies has strongly condemned the major powers for failing to end Israel’s illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. While the report holds Israel primarily responsible for the appalling conditions under which the Palestinian people are living (see "Aid report details social devastation in Gaza"), it holds the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations (known collectively as the Quartet) responsible for allowing the situation to continue.

NYPD Evacuated Times Square Buildings As Precaution 30 Dec 2009 A New York Police Department spokesman said it was too early in the investigation to comment on the nature of a suspicious van in Times Square on Wednesday, but police had evacuated some nearby buildings as a precaution. The Nasdaq Stock Exchange's MarketSite was among the sites evacuated, though Fox Business Network has now reported the evacuations are over and the area is being reopened.

NYPD: No bomb inside van abandoned in Times Square 30 Dec 2009 New York City's Times Square has been reopened to traffic after a bomb squad found no explosive devices in an abandoned van parked in the area. The squad used a robot-based camera to approach the vehicle and open it Wednesday. Police say they found clothing inside.

Bomb threat closes Wis. capitol 29 Dec 2009 Police are investigating a bomb threat that forced them to evacuate the state Capitol in Madison. State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue says 911 operators received the threat, but she doesn't know precisely when. Capitol Police officers searched the building for a suspicious man with a bag before the evacuation began around 3 p.m. Officers swept the building but found nothing.

Federal appellate court limits cops' use of Tasers 29 Dec 2009 A federal appeals court on Monday issued one of the most comprehensive rulings yet limiting police use of Tasers against low-level offenders who seem to pose little threat and may be mentally ill. In a case out of San Diego County, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized an officer who, without warning, shot an emotionally troubled man with a Taser when he was unarmed, yards away, and neither fleeing nor advancing on the officer.

Australian government pushes ahead with internet censorship By Richard Phillips 29 Dec 2009 The Australian government has stepped up its efforts to censor internet content, announcing on December 15 that it plans to introduce laws for mandatory filtering before next year’s federal election. The measures would be activated in 2011 and force all Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block sites from a secret black-list maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

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