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, Page Two

Drug firms 'drove swine flu pandemic warning to recoup £billions spent on research' 27 Jan 2010 Drug companies manipulated the World Health Organisation into downgrading its definition of a pandemic so they could cash in on a swine flu outbreak, it is claimed. An inquiry heard yesterday that the WHO allegedly softened its criteria for declaring a H1N1 flu pandemic last spring - just weeks before announcing there was a worldwide outbreak. Critics said the decision was driven by pharmaceutical companies desperate to recoup the billions of pounds they had invested in researching and developing pandemic vaccines [not to mention, the pandemics themselves] after the bird flu scares in 2006 and 2007.

Ex-Prime Minister Blair Faces Iraq Inquiry --Mr Blair, who has been called "Bush's poodle", will also be questioned about whether he gave the US President [sic] an early assurance that British troops would join the invasion without consulting Parliament or the public. 28 Jan 2010 Tony Blair will be questioned for six hours tomorrow on his decision to take Britain into war with Iraq in 2003. The former Prime Minister's testimony is expected to be the highlight of the Iraq Inquiry. The audience will include family members of soldiers and civilians killed or missing in the country. Mr Blair is expected to be quizzed about accusations that he and his inner circle were so determined to topple Saddam Hussein that they exaggerated intelligence reports about Iraqi weapons and pressured the then-Attorney General to conclude that the invasion wuld not be a violation of international law.

Pakistan seeks role as mediator in possible Taliban-Afghanistan peace talks 28 Jan 2010 Pakistan, which once sponsored Taliban forces but turned against them under American pressure [bribery, threats] in 2001, now hopes to play a role as a broker in proposed negotiations among Taliban leaders and the Afghan government, with support from the United States. As leaders of 60 countries meet in London on Thursday to discuss how to help Afghanistan stop its [US-engendered] downward spiral into instability, the possibilities for reconciliation and talks with both Taliban leaders and foot soldiers will top the agenda.

'Even those who took part in attacks involving the deaths of British or US soldiers would be rehabilitated.' The new Afghan plan: buy off Taliban --Leaders back multimillion-pound fund and consider an olive branch for leadership 28 Jan 2010 Britain and the US are backing a new strategy to buy off "soft" supporters of the Taliban in a radical attempt to end nine years of war in Afghanistan. The plan, to be approved at a 60-nation conference in London today, comes amid unexpected signs of growing political support for the equally high-risk idea of talks leading to a political settlement with the Taliban leadership. The multimillion-pound "peace and reintegration" [aka Stimulus] fund would seek to lure low ranking Taliban fighters, who join out of poverty rather than ideology, by giving them jobs, schooling or land for farming. An effective amnesty for these men, now believed to make up 75 per cent of the insurgency's ranks, means that even those who took part in attacks involving the deaths of British or US soldiers would be rehabilitated.

The Taliban Stimulus: Nato says Afghanistan conference will raise millions to pay off Taliban --The Nato Secretary General has said the London Conference on Afghanistan will be used to raise millions of pounds to pay off bribe the Taliban leadership. 26 Jan 2010 Anders Fogh Rasmussen said it was necessary to "establish a trust to finance the reintegration programme" that would persuade the militants to lay down their weapons. The Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who will pledge to tackle government corruption [LOL!], will present a plan to reconcile senior Taliban leaders at tomorrow's meeting. But the proposals will require huge amounts of money to pay for new jobs, pensions, land and even fund the relocation of senior militants abroad. [The GOP is thrilled. They're thinking: Thank *God* the money won't be spent on jobs and pensions (or health care) in the US! This way, many of the Taliban can take the $$$ and raise arms against the US invaders, and the war can continue for eons! Think of how much Blackwater and DynCorp can make!

BTW, MSNBC isn't covering this - or the Chilcot inquiry --'Devastating evidence at the Iraq inquiry yesterday revealed that every senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office believed the conflict was in breach of international law' -- or the ExxonMobil Iraq Ltd. agreement with the Iraq Ministry of Oil to redevelop and expand West Qurna 1 field in southern Iraq. You see, the Octomom -- she's lost weight. Octomom Nadya Suleman now weighs 120 pounds. Yesterday afternoon, the MSNBC pundits expended a great deal of debate energy on whether or not she lost the weight through natural means, or via plastic surgery. Apparently, MSNBC's management team thinks that the people who don't watch Fox Noose or CNN are turning in to MSNBC to learn about the Octomom's weight loss and Tiger's bimbos. --LRP]

Obusha opens new, illegal secret war front: US runs 'secret' military operations in Yemen 27 Jan 2010 Washington has involved in secret joint operations in Yemen after President Barack Obama approved US military and intelligence teams to be dispatched to the country, the Washington Post revealed Wednesday. The operations begun six weeks ago, involving troops from the US military's clandestine Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), whose main mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists, the Post reported. The American agents are helping the Yemeni army develop tactics and providing Sana'a forces with electronic and video surveillance, as well as three-dimensional terrain maps, the report said.

American added to 'shortlist' of U.S. citizens targeted for killing or capture by JSOC --U.S. military teams, intelligence deeply involved in aiding Yemen on strikes 27 Jan 2010 U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people, among them six of 15 top leaders of a regional al-Qaeda affiliate numerous civilians, according to senior administration officials. The operations, approved by President Obama and begun six weeks ago, involve several dozen troops from the U.S. military's clandestine Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), whose main mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists... As part of the operations, Obama approved a Dec. 24 strike against a compound where a U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Aulaqi, was thought to be meeting with other regional al-Qaeda leaders. Although he was not the focus of the strike and was not killed, he has since been added to a shortlist of U.S. citizens specifically targeted for killing or capture by the JSOC, military officials said.

UN removes Taliban officials from blacklist 27 Jan 2010 The United Nations has removed five former Taliban officials from its blacklist as part of reconciliation efforts in war-weary Afghanistan. The de-listing, which came on Wednesday, was approved by a special Security Council committee. The UN said in a statement that the five Afghan nationals would no longer be subject to a freeze on their assets and a travel ban.

Al-Qaeda seeks WMD, US unprepared: reports 26 Jan 2010 The United States has not done enough to protect the country against the threat of weapons of mass destruction even as Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] appears intent on staging a large-scale attack, reports said. A bipartisan panel warned that the government had failed to adopt measures to counter the danger posed by extremists using WMD, saying the administration lacked plans for a rapid response to a possible biological attack.

Trial date set for former Xe worker charged in Kabul shooting 28 Jan 2010 A federal magistrate judge today set a Sept. 14 trial date for a former Xe worker charged in the shooting deaths of two Afghans in a case that could carry the death penalty. Chris Drotleff pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in U.S. District Court in Norfolk. The Virginia Beach man has been in jail without bond since his arrest earlier this month on charges of killing two Afghan civilians during a traffic incident in Kabul, Afghanistan's capital. Justin Cannon, a second security worker with Drotleff that day last May, remains in Texas awaiting extradition to face the same charges.

NATO-led air strike kills 20 in Afghanistan --NATO air strikes against suspected Taliban militants have killed hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan over the past few months. 28 Jan 2010 A NATO-led air strike in Afghanistan's northern province of Baghlan has killed up to 20 people. The Western military alliance claimed in a statement that the dead were all militants. NATO forces had to call in air support after coming under attack from what they allege was a large number of militants.

NATO troops shoot cleric in Afghanistan 28 Jan 2010 A convoy of troops from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has shot dead a Muslim cleric in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Muhammad Yonus, the prominent imam of a mosque in central Kabul, was killed in a morning shootout on Thursday.

Gunmen murder cleric outside Baghdad mosque 28 Jan 2010 Unidentified armed men [Blackwater terrorists] have opened fire on a cleric outside a mosque in a Sunni neighborhood of Baghdad, killing him on the spot. "Militants on Thursday afternoon killed a clergyman in a shooting outside a mosque in Baghdad's western Sunni neighborhood of al-Adl," an anonymous Iraqi police source was quoted as saying, according to Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

Israeli tanks target Gaza homes, farmlands 28 Jan 2010 Israeli army Tanks have opened fire on houses and farmlands in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip, according to a report by the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC). A number of Israeli Tanks invaded lands located near al-Shojayia district and fired at Palestinian farmers near the northern Gaza-Israeli borders on Thursday afternoon, reported IMEMC.

South and North Korea exchange fire along sea border 27 Jan 2010 North and South Korea have engaged in a short artillery duel along their disputed western sea border as efforts continue to restart the stalled six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament. No casualties or damage were reported after the exchange in which the two sides fired into the air, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Secretary of State Says No to Second Term 28 Jan 2010 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she will not serve a full eight years in her position if President Barack Obama is elected to a second term. In a nationally televised interview with PBS television's Tavis Smiley Wednesday, Clinton she could not imagine serving a full eight years. She told her interviewer that, considering the demands of the job, she would find that extremely challenging.

Obama Vows to Restore a 'Tested' Nation 28 Jan 2010 President Obama said Wednesday night that leaders in Washington face a "deficit of trust," as he used his first State of the Union address to try to restore public confidence in his administration and to convince the American people that he is intensely focused on the issues that concern them most: jobs and the economy. In a nationally televised speech before a joint session of Congress, Mr. Obama appealed for an end to the "tired old battles" that have divided the country and stalled his legislative agenda.

Text: Obama's State of the Union Address 28 Jan 2010 Following is the prepared text of President Obama's State of the Union address, delivered Jan. 27, 2010, as released by the White House.

Bad news for polar bears: Obama: We 'need' offshore drilling, nuclear power plants 28 Jan 2010 'But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean [sic] nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development.'

Feinstein says Obama should move terror trials from NYC 28 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama should order the trial for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other accused terrorists moved out of New York City, Sen. Dianne Feinstein ('D'-Calif.) said Thursday. Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is the highest-ranking DemocRAT to urge the administration to reverse course on its decision to bring the terror leaders to Manhattan for trial.

House Homeland Security Committee blasts AG Holder for terrorist handling 28 Jan 2010 A member of Michigan's congressional delegation accused U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday of treating the war on terrorism "like a simple police action" as the Obama administration came under more fire for treating the man accused of trying to blow up Flight 253 like a criminal [as Bush did with Richard Reid] with rights rather than an enemy combatant. "I was stunned that this terrorist wasn't turned over to the military," said U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Hypocrite-Mich., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, which held a hearing on the Dec. 25 incident at Detroit Metro Airport.

Chicago man pleads not guilty to Mumbai terrorism charges 27 Jan 2010 A Chicago man who’s accused of helping to plot the deadly 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India, pleaded not guilty this morning to terrorism charges. David Coleman Headley entered the formal plea in federal court in Chicago even as he continues to cooperate with authorities in the investigations into the Mumbai attack and also a plot to assassinate a Danish newspaper cartoonist.

Air Terminal at U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Busy in Haiti Relief Effort 26 Jan 2010 As U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and Joint Task Force Guantanamo continue support of disaster relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12, a joint logistics hub at the naval station and the air terminal has been established to coordinate and lead humanitarian relief efforts to the island. During operations, the air terminal tempo is practically non-stop.

Vaccination Without Doctor Approval In a US Hospital By S. Humphries, MD 22 Jan 2010 H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines are now being given to sick hospital patients with or without their doctor’s consent. This is being done despite there being no data on the safety of doing so. I am a licensed, board-certified nephrologist, otherwise known as a kidney specialist, working in a large, city-based hospital. Because I rarely admit patients to the hospital other than for specific procedures, such as a kidney biopsy, I only recently became aware of my hospital’s policy regarding flu shots for sick people. Waking up to this new rule made me realize that Big Pharma is getting closer and closer to bypassing doctors completely to deliver direct patient "care".

Canada donates excess swine flu vaccines to WHO 28 Jan 2010 Canada announced Thursday it has donated five million swine flu vaccine doses and six million Canadian dollars (5.6 million US) to the World Health Organization for its pandemic relief efforts. The doses, which represent 10 percent of Canada's total H1N1 flu vaccine order, are intended to support immunization programs in developing countries.

'Every word of Bush's last State of the Union Address actually signified its antonym.' Happy Birthday, Thomas Paine! --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 29 Jan 2008 It is fitting that Thomas Paine's birthday should fall on the day after the last State of the Union Address given by Bush... This year, his birthday should be celebrated as well. Today, we begin our own countdown to liberation from the political, mental, economic, ideological and rhetorical tyranny of the Bush regime. This is particularly fitting as today we begin to shake off the shackles of mental and political bondage imposed on us for seven long years.

Senate confirms Bernanke for second term --70-30 tally was the closest in history of nominee for Fed chairman 28 Jan 2010 Embattled Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won confirmation for a second term Thursday, but only by the closest vote ever for the crucial post and after withering criticism from lawmakers for bailing out Wall Street while other Americans suffered in recession. The Senate confirmed Bernanke for a new four-year term by a 70-30 vote, a seemingly solid majority but 14 votes worse than the closest previous vote for a Fed chairman.

Howard Zinn, author of 'People's History' and left-wing historian, dies in California 27 Jan 2010 Howard Zinn, an author, teacher and political activist whose leftist "A People's History of the United States" became a million-selling alternative to mainstream texts, died Wednesday. He was 87. Zinn died of a heart attack in Santa Monica, Calif., daughter Myla Kabat-Zinn said. The historian was a resident of Auburndale, Mass.

4 Arrested in Phone Tampering at Landrieu Office 27 Jan 2010 Federal officials charged four men on Tuesday with plotting to tamper with the telephone system in the New Orleans office of Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. One of the men was a conservative activist who gained fame last year by secretly recording members of the community group Acorn giving him advice on how to set up a brothel. All four of the men arrested Monday in New Orleans, each in his mid-20s, were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony, according to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Pennsylvania Capital Should Weigh Bankruptcy, Controller Says 26 Jan 2010 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the capital of the sixth-largest U.S. state by population, should skip a $2.2 million debt service payment due Feb. 1 and consider bankruptcy, City Controller Dan Miller said. Harrisburg faces $68 million in payments this year in connection with a waste-to-energy incinerator and should weigh Chapter 9 protection from creditors or state oversight through a program known as Act 47, Miller said today.

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Iraq war was a crime of aggression: The damning verdict of top Whitehall lawyers which No. 10 refused to accept 27 Jan 2010 Tony Blair and Jack Straw brushed aside repeated warnings from Government lawyers that they would not have a 'leg to stand on' if Britain invaded Iraq. Devastating evidence at the Iraq inquiry yesterday revealed that every senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office believed the conflict was in breach of international law. Astonishingly, Downing Street asked lawyers to assess what the consequences would be if Britain toppled Saddam Hussein without legal authority. When they received the lawyers' memo, No.10 demanded: 'Why has this been put in writing?' Sir Michael Wood, then the Foreign Office's senior legal adviser, warned ministers again and again that to go to war without approval from a UN Security Council resolution would constitute a 'crime of aggression' in international law.

Jack Straw ignored advice the Iraq invasion would be illegal, Foreign Office law chief tells Chilcot inquiry --Top lawyer tells of his amazement at Foreign Secretary's refusal to accept advice --Every lawyer in the Foreign Office agreed that invading Iraq would be illegal --Straw asked for advice on consequences of invading Iraq 'without international legal authority' --Lord Goldsmith ordered to say 'Yes' or 'No' whether the war would be legal in decision branded 'lamentable' 26 Jan 2010 Jack Straw brushed aside warnings that the invasion of Iraq would be illegal under international law, the inquiry into the conflict was told today. Sir Michael Wood, who was senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office, said he had considered resigning on the eve of the invasion in March 2003 in protest at the decision to join the US-led attack. He described how he was sidelined after he made clear his objections to military action.

Lord Goldsmith got taxpayer help for Iraq war inquiry legal advice --Former attorney general to give evidence to Chilcot inquiry a day after panel is told Straw ignored warnings invasion was illegal 26 Jan 2010 The former attorney general Lord Goldsmith has received legal advice from public funds to help him prepare his evidence tomorrow to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, the Guardian has learned. His request for help emerged today after the inquiry heard damning evidence about how under strong pressure from ministers, notably the then foreign secretary Jack Straw, Goldsmith changed his mind about the legality of the war at the last minute, saying it was lawful after all.

Blair's appearance at Iraq inquiry to spark mass anti-war protest 25 Jan 2010 Thousands of anti-war campaigners are preparing for Tony Blair’s appearance at the Iraq inquiry in what could be the biggest political demonstration since last year’s G20 protests. Riot police will be on stand-by around the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, close to the Houses of Parliament, as the former Prime Minister faces more than five hours of questioning on Friday. The day before, anti-war protesters will attempt to blockade an international conference organised by Gordon Brown on the future of Afghanistan at Lancaster House, Central London.

Mission accomplished! ExxonMobil to redevelop, expand Iraq's West Qurna 1 field 25 Jan 2010 ExxonMobil Iraq Ltd. signed an agreement with the Iraq Ministry of Oil to redevelop and expand West Qurna 1 field in southern Iraq. The agreement was signed in Baghdad in the presence of the Iraq Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani and Rob Franklin, president of ExxonMobil upstream ventures. The consortium members are ExxonMobil as the lead contractor with 60% interest, Oil Exploration Co. (owned by the Iraq government) with 25% interest, and Royal Dutch Shell PLC with 15% interest.

Report faults State Department, DynCorp for missing $1 billion By Josh Rogin 25 Jan 2010 The State Department cannot account for more than $1 billion it paid out to contractor DynCorp to train police during the first years of the Iraq war, in just one example of management shortcomings that have put at risk $2.5 billion worth of money spent on training policemen around the world, according to a damning new report. The office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) especially laid into the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), known as the "Drugs and Thugs" bureau], in an audit released Monday, for mishandling DynCorp. [See: DynCorp Disgrace By Kelly Patricia O'Meara 14 Jan 2002 Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia. See: State Dept. Can't Account For $1.2B Paid to DynCorp: Audit --Review identifies $29 million in overcharges by DynCorp in past year 23 Oct 2007. YES, it goes without saying that Obusha keeps hiring DynCorp.]

Charged contractors had checkered military pasts 25 Jan 2010 A pair of former Blackwater contractors mercenaries charged with murdering two people in Afghanistan had checkered pasts with the military before getting hired to work overseas, according to service records disclosed in recent U.S. court hearings. The troubled backgrounds of the two men - including instances of violence, drug use and disregard for authority - are a first sign that Xe, the company formerly known as Blackwater, was staffing its war-zone work force with contractors who might not be suited for the job.

Iraq seeks to ban glorifying Baath party, symbols --Seeks laws banning Baath symbols --Asks security agencies to monitor 25 Jan 2010 The Iraqi government [now a full-blown dictatorship] on Monday asked parliament to make glorifying Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party a crime as tensions simmered over the banning of hundreds of candidates from a March election... As the election controversy continued, the government's National Media Centre said the cabinet had asked parliament to add to the Iraqi criminal code a clause making it a crime to praise Saddam's Baath party or to promote its ideas.

Iraq crime lab bomber kills 21 --At least 82 people were reported injured. 27 Jan 2010 A suicide car bomber killed at least 21 and injured dozens more Tuesday in a strike against a police crime lab in central Baghdad, a day after several hotels were also hit by suicide attacks, officials said. Among those confirmed killed were 12 police officers and civilians who were visiting the office. Officials said more than half the wounded were police personnel.

Gagging order on David Kelly records could be lifted 27 Jan 2010 Lord Hutton has responded to reports that a 70-year gagging order he imposed on records and photos relating to the death of the government scientist Dr David Kelly could be challenged by stating that the documents could be revealed to doctors. In a U-turn, Hutton said the information could be released to five doctors who are seeking to reopen the inquest into Kelly's death.

U.S. Ordered to Produce Detainee Abuse Evidence 26 Jan 2010 A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the government to produce evidence of alleged prisoner abuse and torture in response to a Guantanamo detainee's bid for release. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth partially granted prisoner Ahmad Mohammad Al Darbi's requests for possible exculpatory evidence that might aid his habeas petition. Lamberth said the government must reveal interrogation techniques used against the prisoner before it could use his statements against him.

Massive explosion rocks heart of Kabul 26 Jan 2010 A loud explosion has rocked the Afghan capital after a terrorist bomber blew himself up near a US military convoy in Kabul. The explosion caused casualties among foreign troops and Afghan civilians, security sources said. According to a security source, the attack was aimed at foreign troops since it happened near the city center close to foreign military bases.

McChrystal: Taliban leaders can join Afghan govt. 26 Jan 2010 The commander of US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has hinted at the possibility of placing senior Taliban militants in the new Afghan government. In an interview with the Financial Times on Monday, McChrystal said that political negotiations with leaders of the Taliban could help foster security and stability in conflict-plagued Afghanistan.

4 policemen shot dead in south Afghanistan --Taliban claim responsibility 26 Jan 2010 The Bullet-ridden bodies of four Afghan policemen have been found in the city of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, a local official says. The Taliban militants have reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks in southern Afghanistan. "They seem like they were killed overnight by someone, maybe Taliban, at their post," said Daud Ahmadi, a provincial government spokesman.

U.S. lawmakers to Obama: Press Israel to ease Gaza siege 26 Jan 2010 Fifty-four members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to put pressure on Israel to ease the siege of the Gaza Strip. The letter was the initiative of Representatives Jim McDermott from Washington and Keith Ellison from Minnesota, both of whom are Democrats.

'Israel behind murder of Iranian particle physicist' 27 Jan 2010 Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says the assassination of nuclear physics professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi was a premeditated act carried out by the Israeli government. "The Israelis are naive to think that through committing such crimes they can curtail the country's achievements in science and technology," Mohammad-Najjar said in an interview on Tuesday.

Police chief found dead on eve of Davos meeting 26 Jan 2010 The Swiss police commander overseeing security for the World Economic Forum in Davos was found dead Tuesday, police said, adding that it appeared to be a suicide. The announcement came as political and business leaders began arriving in the Swiss mountain resort for the start Wednesday of the annual blue-chip meeting. "Dr. Markus Reinhardt, commander of the Graubuenden cantonal police... was found dead in his hotel room in the morning," Swiss police said in a statement.

Pie attack on Gail Shea an act of terror: Liberal MP 26 Jan 2010 An incident in which the federal fisheries minister was hit with a pie by a seal hunt protester should be seen as a terrorist act, says a Liberal MP. Gerry Byrne made the comment to Newfoundland radio station VOCM after Gail Shea was hit in the face Monday by an American animal-rights activist, unhappy with Canada's seal hunt. New York City resident Emily McCoy, a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is charged with assault. Byrne told VOCM the government should investigate the incident based on the definition of a terrorist act under the law in Canada.

Fisheries Minister joins list of Canadian politicians who have been pied 25 Jan 2010 Activists protesting the seal hunt laid claim Monday to having pied the fisheries and oceans minister, adding Gail Shea's name to a list of politicians who have tasted that most peculiar of political protests. Shea was delivering a speech at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters to open the Aquatic Life Research Facility, west of Toronto, when a woman stood up in the front row and pushed the pie squarely into her face. PETA, which took credit for the incident, said in a release it was part of its campaign to stop the government's "ill-advised sanction of the slaughter of seals." "Shame on you Gail Shea. Ban the bloody seal hunt. It is a shame on Canada, it is a shame that she has not denounced this bloody seal hunt," the protester said after covering Shea's face with the creamy white filling.

Man arrested under Terrorism Act in Birmingham 26 Jan 2010 A 30-year-old man was arrested by counter-terrorism police in the West Midlands on Tuesday. Police said the suspect was detained under the Terrorism Act on suspicion of "possessing material likely to be of use to a terrorist and of distributing terrorist publications." The man's home in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham and one other property in the suburb of Kings Heath were being searched.

Terror alert: Two men on 'no-fly' list stopped at Heathrow 26 Jan 2010 Two men were stopped boarding US-bound planes at Heathrow days before Britain's terror threat was raised to "severe". News of the incidents came hours after Home Secretary Alan Johnson lifted the threat level amid fears that 'al-Qaeda' is planning an attack. The new level, which means an attack is reckoned "highly likely", is second only to "critical".

Vaccine terror alert: Middle school investigates flu shot --Student advised the security guard who escorted her to the vaccination area that she was not supposed to get the shot, but was vaccinated anyway 25 Jan 2010 (CA) The San Ysidro School District is investigating how a 13-year-old middle school student received the H1N1 flu vaccination last week over her objections and against the will of her parents. Jose Gomez said he signed a form last November stating his daughter, a student at San Ysidro Middle School, was not to get a shot and reaffirmed that position to two people last week... Nonetheless, his daughter was pulled from class to get the vaccination.

WHO denies drugs firms swayed its flu decisions --WHO denies drug companies influenced H1N1 decisions 26 Jan 2010 The World Health Organisation (WHO) denied on Tuesday that it was unduly influenced by drugs companies to exaggerate the dangers of the H1N1 flu virus. Pharmaceutical firms picked up multi-million dollar vaccination contracts when the United Nations health agency declared the flu a pandemic last June. The pandemic proved milder than health experts had originally feared.

James O'Keefe charged in alleged plot to bug Senator Mary Landrieu's office 27 Jan 2010 The conservative young filmmaker whose undercover sting damaged a liberal activist group last year faces federal criminal charges in an alleged plot to bug the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Federal investigators charged that James O'Keefe was among four men who created a ruse to enter the lawmaker's downtown office, saying they needed to repair her telephones. O'Keefe used his cellphone to take pictures of two men involved in the Jan. 25 plot, according to court records unsealed Tuesday. Those men, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, are accused in an FBI agent's sworn affidavit of impersonating telephone company workers, while O'Keefe and another man, Stan Dai, are accused of aiding the plot... Flanagan, 24, is the son of William J. Flanagan, the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, based in Shreveport.

SC politician's welfare comments called 'immoral' 25 Jan 2010 When things looked their darkest for Gov. Mark Sanford, his best insurance policy may well have been South Carolina's lieutenant governor, Andre Bauer. Now Bauer (R) has folks shaking their heads again, after he likened government assistance to the poor to feeding stray animals. At a town hall meeting Thursday, Bauer, who is running for governor in his own right now that Sanford is term-limited, said: "My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed! You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that."

Sen. John McCain Backs President Obama's Proposed Budget Freeze [Of course he does - it was his idea!] 26 Jan 2010 Sen. John McCain will support President Obama's plan to freeze much of the federal budget for the next three years, but said the president must also promise to veto any bills that are stuffed with pork barrel spending items. McCain, R-Ariz., told "Good Morning America" today that he's in favor of Obama's plan to announce a partial spending freeze when he releases his proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 next Monday.

Obama's Credibility Gap By Bob Herbert 26 Jan 2010 Mr. Obama promised during the campaign that he would be a different kind of president, one who would preside over a more open, more high-minded administration that would be far more in touch with the economic needs of ordinary working Americans. But no sooner was he elected than he put together an economic team that would protect, above all, the interests of Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance companies, and so on. How can you look out for the interests of working people with Tim Geithner whispering in one ear and Larry Summers in the other?

Arctic polar bears imperilled by man-made pollution 14 Jan 2010 The long term survival of polar bears is being threatened by man-made pollution that is reaching the Arctic. This conclusion comes from a major review of research into how industrial chemicals such as mercury and organochlorines affect the bears. The review suggests that such chemicals have a range of subclinical effects. When added together, these can have a dramatic and potentially fatal impact on the bears' bones, organs and reproductive and immune systems. The review, an analysis of more than a decade's research into the effect of pollution on bears, is published in the journal Environment International.

Quick action! Stop the International Polar Bear Trade (Defenders of Wildlife) 25 Jan 2010 In some countries, collectors sociopaths can still buy polar bear skin rugs, claws, skulls and other parts of these beloved bears -- even as they struggle for survival in a warming world. The Canadian government can strengthen protections for polar bears under international law by supporting a proposal to halt international trade in polar bear products -- a move that could save the lives of hundreds of polar bears each year. But Canadian officials need to hear from you to understand just how many people care about these struggling bears. Take action now -- Urge Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and conservation officials to support an international ban on the trade of polar bear products.

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White House Lawyers Mulling Legality of Proposal to Kill American Citizen --U.S. mulls legality of killing American al Qaeda 'turncoat' 25 Jan 2010 White House lawyers are mulling the legality of proposed attempts to kill an American citizen, Anwar al Awlaki, who is believed to be part of the leadership of the 'al Qaeda' group in Yemen behind a series of terror strikes, according to two people briefed by U.S. intelligence officials. One of the people briefed said opportunities to "take out" Awlaki "may have been missed" because of the legal questions surrounding a lethal attack which would specifically target an American citizen.

Lieberman rips FBI on Miranda rights --LIEberman wants suspect held in military custody as 'unprivileged enemy belligerent' 25 Jan 2010 Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Israel) is joining Republicans in ripping the FBI for reading Miranda rights to the would-be airline bomber, saying the administration made a mistake and should transfer Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab to military custody. "We write to urge the administration to immediately transfer Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a foreign terrorist, to the Department of Defense to be held as an unprivileged enemy belligerent (UEB) and questioned and charged accordingly," said Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in a letter to President Barack Obama on Monday.

Evidence on Kelly death sealed for 70 years 25 Jan 2010 The official heading an inquiry into the suspicious death [CIA/MI5 assassination] of a British weapons inspector who cast doubts on the main argument for invading Iraq has secretly ordered all evidence locked up for 70 years. Lord Hutton, who chaired the 2003 inquiry, which controversially concluded that Doctor David Kelly's death has been a suicide, secured a 70-year seal on all major evidence, including medical records -- none of which had ever been made public.

Petraeus: Afghanistan will take longer than Iraq 25 Jan 2010 The new American-led surge in Afghanistan will take longer to fight the insurgency than a similar injection of force in Iraq three years ago when violence fell sharply within months, the top US general in the region told The Times. General David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, also warned that the fight in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where British and US forces are based, as well other areas, would become even tougher before the situation improved.

London conference communiqué leaked --London conference on Afghanistan likely to add five more years to serving time of British troops 25 Jan 2010 The London conference on Afghanistan is likely to add five more years to the serving time of British troops in the war-torn country, according to a leaked document. A leaked draft of the communiqué that will conclude this week's strategy conference will see British Premier Gordon Brown announcing that troops will remain in volatile Helmand province, The Times daily reported Monday.

British and US troops to launch new Afghanistan offensive --Attempt to wrest Helmand areas from Taliban control 25 Jan 2010 British and other Nato troops are preparing a major offensive in southern Afghanistan aimed at seizing areas in Helmand province still under Taliban control, the British commander in the region said today. Major General Nick Carter said the operation would be aimed at asserting the control of the Kabul government over areas of Helmand that are either ungoverned or under the influence of a Taliban shadow government. [I think they *are* the government, and the US-installed opium/gas pipeline puppets are the shadows. --LRP]

Baghdad bomb blasts leave 37 dead --Iraq has been witnessing violence-related incidents nearly on a daily basis since the 2003 US-led invasion of the oil-rich country. 25 Jan 2010 Three bomb explosions in quick succession have rocked central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 37 people and injuring 100 others. Baghdad's hotel and restaurant district located along the Tigris River was the target of the attacks, Reuters reported.

Obama aide seeks greater Pakistan action 25 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama's national security adviser on Monday called for Pakistan to see greater urgency in the fight against extremism and pledged that Washington was committed for the long haul. Retired general James Jones said that the role of Pakistan was critical for the future of the region, where the United States is pouring thousands more troops into Afghanistan to fight Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and Taliban extremists.

Taliban reward fighter for shooting down US drone 26 Jan 2010 Taliban in North Waziristan Monday rewarded one of their fighters with a new model car for shooting down the US drone on Sunday evening. Also, government officials in the restive tribal region finally confirmed the downing of the US spy aircraft by Taliban militants. The militants led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur had claimed on Sunday shooting down the drone in Hamzoni village. Tribal sources in Miramshah said the militants congratulated each other on Monday for shooting down the drone, known as 'bangana' locally due to the thundering sound of the pilot-less aircraft.

Iraq hangs 'Chemical Ali' 25 Jan 2010 Saddam Hussein's notorious first cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid al-Tikritieh, also known as 'Chemical Ali,' was executed on Monday in Baghdad for crimes against humanity. Majid, a member of Saddam's defunct Baath Party, served as Minister of Interior and Defense and was the chief of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. [Speaking of 'crimes against humanity,' when do the Bush/Cheney war crimes trials begin?]

Halliburton Asks High Court to Block Trial --Halliburton asks Supreme Court to block trial over claim of rape in Iraq 25 Jan 2010 Halliburton Co. is asking the Supreme Court to block a Texas woman's lawsuit alleging she was raped by military contractor co-workers in Iraq. The company wants the justices to reverse a lower court ruling that Jamie Leigh Jones' case can go to trial. Jones sued Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR, saying she was raped while working for KBR at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005.

Blair's £200,000 hedge fund pay-day (from a firm that bet on British banks going bust) 26 Jan 2010 Tony Blair is to be paid at least £200,000 by a City firm accused of profiteering from the financial crisis that brought Britain's banks to their knees. The former prime minister has been hired by the hedge fund Lansdowne Partners to deliver four presentations to staff about the world political situation. Mr Blair, one of the world's most highly paid speakers, reportedly commands between £50,000 and £170,000 for a single speech. [Not bad for a war criminal!]

US Navy anchors one of its secret prisons in Haitian waters 25 Jan 2010 While the deployment of 10000 US troops in Haiti has been qualified by a number of Latin American political leaders as an invasion and occupation under the guise of a humanitarian relief operation, the arrival of the USS Bataan in Haiti raises even more questions. Over recent years, this amphibious assault ship has been converted into a floating secret prison, forming part of the CIA network of "black sites" used for so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques". The ship's flat hold bottom, designed to accommodate troops for disembarkment, has been equipped with cages. Prisoners are subjected to the same experiments as in Guantánamo.

"UN must look at why the US sent troops to Haiti" - Castro 25 Jan 2010 The leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro is questioning why the U.S. and other countries sent soldiers to quake-ravaged Haiti. According to RIA Novosti News Agency, Castro wrote in an article on Sunday that "without anyone knowing how or why, Washington dispatched troops to occupy Haitian territory and other nations followed suit." Castro said that "neither the United Nations nor the government of the United States has offered an explanation to the people of the world" for sending soldiers. Castro noted that "several governments" complained that the troop presence kept them from landing aid flights in Haiti, saying it "complicated international cooperation."

Don't cut off aid, warns Haiti PM --Dispute over relief effort follows Italian criticism of 'pathetic' US coordination 26 Jan 2010 Haiti's government is ready to lead the relief and reconstruction effort after the devastating earthquake which killed as many as 200,000 people and left an estimated 1.5 million homeless... Even as the Montreal meeting was starting, Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, found himself mending a diplomatic rift after a cabinet colleague dispatched to Haiti spoke disparagingly of the relief effort in general and of the role played by the US military. Guido Bertolaso, the civil protection minister, said that the US intervention had been "pathetic".

China accuses US of online warfare in Iran --Iran election unrest an example of US 'naked political scheming' behind free speech facade, says editorial 24 Jan 2010 The United States used "online warfare" to stir up unrest in Iran after last year's elections, the Chinese Communist party newspaper claimed today, hitting back at Hillary Clinton's speech last week about internet freedom. An editorial in the People's Daily accused the US of launching a "hacker brigade" and said it had used social media such as Twitter to spread rumours and create trouble. "Behind what America calls free speech is naked political scheming. How did the unrest after the Iranian election come about?" said the editorial, signed by Wang Xiaoyang. "It was because online warfare launched by America, via YouTube video and Twitter microblogging, spread rumours, created splits, stirred up and sowed discord between the followers of conservative reformist factions."

Mottaki criticizes US policy in Middle East 25 Jan 2010 Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday that the White House policies in the Middle East are a "failure." Mottaki said the war against terrorism and extremism is used as a pretext for the presence of the US military in the oil-rich region.

Venezuela oil 'may double Saudi Arabia' 23 Jan 2010 A new US assessment of Venezuela's oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia. Scientists working for the US Geological Survey say Venezuela's Orinoco belt region holds twice as much petroleum as previously thought. The geologists estimate the area could yield more than 500bn barrels of crude oil. This assessment is far more optimistic than even the best case scenario put forward by President Hugo Chavez. [Oh no. 'Venezuela has 500bn barrels of crude oil.' Telling the US about this is like setting forty child molesters loose at a playground. I am thinking the CIA/Xe has eight coups boiling on the stove, even as I type. Hopefully, Chavez's armies are up to the task. We need to establish a global defense fund for the world to resist US oil- and water-grabbing, in light of the High Whore Court's recent decision to blatantly task the corporaterrorists with installing political drones in every level of US government. --Lori Price]

'Lethal force' an option in Olympic Games airspace: Norad --Norad warns it can use 'lethal force' if pilots don't obey Olympic airspace rules 20 Jan 2010 The Canadian Forces are ready to exercise "lethal force" in a worst-case scenario to defend new airspace-security restrictions being imposed during the 2010 Olympic Games. Lieut. David Lavallee, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defence Command, told The Vancouver Sun on Tuesday that the response to a violation of flight restrictions could range from simple radio contact with the pilot to the use of Canadian military CF-18 fighter jets and Griffon helicopters.

GOP sends letter appearing to be census form 25 Jan 2010 The Republican Party is seeking input and money from GOP voters - seemingly under the guise of the U.S. Census Bureau. "Strengthening our Party for the 2010 elections is going to take a massive grassroots effort all across America. That is why I have authorized a Census to be conducted of every Congressional District in the country," GOP Chairman Michael Steele says in a letter mailed nationwide. The letter was sent in plain white envelopes marked "Do Not Destroy, Official Document." Labeled "2010 Congressional District Census," the letter uses a capital "C," the same as the Census Bureau. It also includes a "Census Tracking Code."

Ed Schultz Tells Robert Gibbs He's 'Full of Sh*t' and 'You're Losing Your Base' [Well said, Ed Schultz!] 24 Jan 2010 Last night, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz spoke at Minnesota progressive talk radio AM950’s Blue State Bash at the Minneapolis Convention Center. During his remarks, Schultz revealed that he recently had a testy confrontation with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (Gibbs appeared on Schultz’s show this past Thursday). "Mr. Gibbs and I had quite a conversation off the air the other night," he revealed: SCHULTZ: I told him he was full of sh*t is what I told him. ...And then he gave me the Dick Cheney f-bomb. ...I told Robert Gibbs, I said "And I’m sorry you’re swearing at me, but I’m just trying to help you out. I’m telling you you’re losing your base. Do you understand you’re losing your base?"

Probe into NY Fed over AIG disclosure 26 Jan 2010 The New York Federal Reserve is being investigated by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the troubled assets relief programme, over its disclosure of documents relating to the bail-out of AIG and its counterparties. In a statement submitted to the House oversight committee, Mr Barofsky said his team is examining whether the New York Fed improperly withheld information about the AIG bail-out from the Securities and Exchange Commission and his office.

Obama Seeks Freeze on Many Domestic Programs 26 Jan 2010 President Bush Obama will call for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit, administration officials said Monday. The officials said the proposal would be a major component both of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday and of the budget he will send to Congress on Monday for the fiscal year that begins in October.

Obama to Freeze Domestic Spending - Defense, Security Exempt --Short summary of Politico, MSNBC reports by Lori Price 25 Jan 2010 President George W. Bush Barack Obama plans to announce a three-year freeze on discretionary, "non-security" spending in the lead-up to Wednesday's State of the [dis]Union address. The Pentagon, 'defense' spending, Homeland Security, security, 'foreign aid' (i.e., such as the Taliban Stimulus), Veterans Affairs, and State Department spending would be exempt.

After Massachusetts: Obama fakes anti-Wall Street stance By Patrick Martin 25 Jan 2010 In a public statement criticizing the major banks Thursday, followed by a speech on jobs in the industrial town of Elyria, Ohio, Friday, President Barack Obama has begun a transparent effort to posture as the defender of the people against corporate interests. In what media pundits and White House insiders have described as a "pivot to populism," Obama has responded to the shock defeat of the Democratic Party in the US Senate election in Massachusetts with a round of verbal bashing of Wall Street.

Birds of a Feather: Subverting the Constitution at Harvard Law By Jim Fetzer 22 Jan 2010 As someone who has promoted the investigation of political events that appear to have involved "pulling the wool" over the eyes of the public, I must say that I have never read a more corrosive approach toward the Constitution than "Conspiracy Theories" by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule of the Harvard School of Law. The massive blunder at the core of their conception is to take for granted that virtually all "conspiracy theories" -- and certainly the most historic, such as JFK and 9/11 -- are obviously false! ...That this is coming from faculty at Harvard Law is simply stunning.

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US to Pay Taliban Fighters to 'Lay Down Their Arms' --I've covered a lot of BULLSH*T since Coup 2000, but this takes the cake bakery. By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 24 Jan 2010 'Afghan President Hamid Karzai unveiled an ambitious Western-funded plan Friday to offer money and jobs to tempt Taliban fighters to lay down their arms in an effort to quell a crippling insurgency...' 'Further incentives could include pensions for older fighters and allotments of land.' The Taliban Stimulus: 'Junior Taliban fighters' are going to be offered jobs at US taxpayer expense. Maybe we can include the newly hired Taliban insurgents in US economic data so that the unemployment rate will appear to be on the wane. And, not a GOP signal of discontent in sight! After all, it's the *Taliban* getting jobs, training and education -- not the US poor, so it's all good.

US seeks backing for Yemen over al-Qaeda 25 Jan 2010 The United States is set to hold talks with European and Arab partners in London on Wednesday to try to rally support for a drive to help Yemen defeat a growing al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] threat. The impetus for the meeting comes from a botched bid on Christmas Day to blow up a US airliner over Detroit by a Nigerian passenger allegedly trained by the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). ...Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will likely attend the meeting in London, which comes days after Britain raised its terrorism threat assessment from substantial to severe.

Pakistani tribesmen 'shoot down US drone' 24 Jan 2010 Local tribesman in Pakistan's North Waziristan region claim to have shot down a US drone after the unnamed aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed in the tribal area. The crash occurred on Sunday afternoon in the Hamdhoni area of North Waziristan, the Associated Press reported, citing two intelligence officials. Drone attacks near the country's border with Afghanistan have been a controversial issue, especially since the attacks are imprecise in nature and usually result in civilian deaths.

Afghanistan postpones elections 25 Jan 2010 Afghanistan's election commission announced Sunday that it is postponing scheduled parliamentary 'elections' from May until September, bowing to logistical concerns, worries about potential voting fraud and the likelihood that the U.S. troop "surge" will lead to intensified fighting in parts of the country.

British troops face five more years in Helmand 25 Jan 2010 British troops will have to fight the Taleban for another five years, according to a leaked draft of the communiqué that will conclude the London conference on Afghanistan this week. Participating governments are also expected to agree to bribes totalling hundreds of millions of pounds which will be paid to leading insurgents in the hope that they will stop fighting.

Afghan army must almost double in size 24 Jan 2010 Nato commanders and the Afghan government will say they must grow the army from its current level of 100,000 to 172,000 by October next year. The plan to rapidly bolster forces so that they can eventually take over the fight against [US-backed] Taliban insurgents will be a cornerstone of the conference to be hosted by Mr Brown in London on Thursday. [As the US funds the Taliban, US taxpayers can spend billion$ more to train and grow the Afghan army to defeat them. It's a win-win for Blackwater. No worries about an uproar over the scheme: Angelina and Brad are splitting; the US media has its hands full with all the breaking news! --LRP]

In Afghanistan, 5 US troops killed in 24 hours 24 Jan 2010 NATO's international Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed on Friday that explosions have claimed the lives of five US soldiers in war-torn Afghanistan over the past 24 hours. The ISAF announcement came as three troopers were declared dead on Sunday following a home-made bomb explosion. The incident was followed shortly by a third fatality, when a similar improvised explosive device detonated.

Two more US soldiers killed in Afghanistan 24 Jan 2010 Two US soldiers are killed in an improvised bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan, bringing the total number of Americans killed in the country this year to at least 24. "Two ISAF service members from the United States were killed today in an IED (improvised explosive device) strike in southern Afghanistan," the NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement on Sunday.

UK soldier killed in southern Afghanistan explosion 24 Jan 2010 A British soldier has died following an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said. The soldier, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, was killed while on foot patrol south of Sangin district centre, in Helmand province, on Sunday morning.

Legal staff ruled Blair's war illegal --Two former Whitehall lawyers to tell Chilcot of reservations on invasion 25 Jan 2010 Tony Blair is to be presented with claims that his decision to topple Saddam Hussein by force was illegal before his appearance at the Iraq inquiry this week. Two senior Whitehall lawyers are expected to claim that the former prime minister's decision to send British troops to aid the US-led invasion was illegal as it did not have the clear backing of the United Nations.

Iraq war was illegal, top lawyer will tell Chilcot inquiry 24 Jan 2010 Tony Blair's decision to take Britain to war in Iraq was illegal, the Foreign Office's former chief legal adviser will tell the Chilcot inquiry this week. The Observer has been told that Sir Michael Wood, who was the FO's most senior lawyer, is ready to reveal that, in the run-up to war, he was of the opinion that the conflict would have been unlawful without a second UN resolution. His testimony will come the day before the appearance of Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, who is said to have dropped his legal objections days before the invasion, following intense pressure from Blair and his closest advisers, and the US authorities.

Iraq Official Warned Against Anti - Bomb Device 24 Jan 2010 Iraq's interior ministry was told two years ago not to buy an explosives detector that Britain says does not work, and the purchase of the sensors was tainted by suspected fraud, a senior official said on Sunday. Aqeel al-Turaihi, the inspector general of Iraq's Interior Ministry, said he investigated the explosives sensors sold by British firm ATSC two years ago and found them "inoperative" and costly. He recommended that Iraq should not buy the devices.

Biden says US will appeal case of Blackwater/XE mercs 24 Jan 2010 US Vice President Joe Biden has announced an appeal into a US court decision to drop charges against Blackwater/XE mercenaries accused of killing 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007. "A dismissal is not an acquittal," Biden told reporters during a visit to Baghdad on Saturday, referring to the case involving five guards employed by the private company Xe, which was formerly known as Blackwater, AFP reported. "Today I am announcing that the United States government will appeal this decision. Our Justice Department will file that appeal next week," he said.

US Marines' Iraq command ends 23 Jan 2010 The US Marines marked the end of nearly seven years in Iraq on Saturday by handing the Army their command of Anbar province. The changing of the guard - overseen by military brass and some of Anbar's influential Sunni sheiks - signals the start of an accelerated drawdown of American troops as the US increasingly shifts its focus to the war in Afghanistan.

Israel to refute war crimes charges 24 Jan 2010 Israel is likely this week to refute a United Nations report accusing it of having committed war crimes in Gaza. The New York Times has said Israel will list what it will refer to as the essential flaws and biases against Israel. The Israeli explanations against assertions made in the Goldstone Report will include the reason behind the offensive in the Gaza Strip and the difficulties in fighting against a terror organisation that operates inside civilian homes, schools, hospitals and UN facilities.

Norway university plans Israel boycott 24 Jan 2010 University of Bergen, among Norway's largest academic institutions, intends to impose an official academic boycott against Israel over what it claims is its apartheid-like conduct, Ynet has learned. The university's management has not yet officially responded to the move or presented its stance on the issue. However, the institution's Rector, Signumd Gronmo, enthusiastically supports the boycott calls.

Former Canadian envoy to Iran was covert CIA agent 24 Jan 2010 Canada's former ambassador to Tehran, Kenneth Taylor, actively spied for the Central Intelligence Agency and helped the US plan a military incursion into the country during the Islamic Revolution, according to new reports. An arrangement was set up by then-US President Jimmy Carter and Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark, whereby Taylor would provide US intelligence with information from his position at the Canadian Embassy in Tehran, according to a report published in The Globe and Mail on Saturday.

Bin Laden warns US of more attacks 24 Jan 2010 Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader [deceased CIA asset], has warned Barack Obama, the US president, that there will be further attacks on the United States unless he takes steps to resolve the Palestinian situation. In an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera on Sunday, the world's most wanted man also praised the Nigerian accused of a failed attempt to blow up an airliner heading for Detroit on Christmas Day.

Bin Laden 'Claims Failed Plane Bomb Plot' 24 Jan 2010 Al Jazeera says it has new audio of Osama bin Laden in which he claims responsibility for the failed US plane attack on Christmas Day. Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab has been charged with attempting to blow up a Delta Airlines plane on a flight from Amsterdam on December 25, 2009. He was stopped by passengers on board Northwest Flight 253 from setting off explosives stitched into his underwear.

Report: Female suicide bombers attempt to enter US 23 Jan 2010 Official elements in the United States administration warned that several female suicide bombers have been attempting to enter the US, the ABC television network reported. According to the report, at least two of the women are affiliated with an al-Qaeda extension in Yemen which claimed responsibility for the attempted attack on a plane making its way to Detroit last Christmas. [On 'Law & Order,' when the police have two suspects who both claim responsibility for a crime, the viewer knows *someone else* is the culprit.]

Terror scare at Manchester Airport as man attempts to take 'unidentified white powder' onto flight bound for Heathrow 24 Jan 2010 A large part of Manchester Airport was evacuated yesterday after a man attempted to carry an unidentified white powder onto a plane. The substance was discovered in a bag that the man was planning to take on a flight from Manchester to London Heathrow. A chemical incident was declared and the check-in and security screening areas at the airport's Terminal 3 were evacuated for several hours. The powder was later found to be harmless.

Photographers protest against police stop and search --More than 2,000 photographers demonstrate against police using terrorism laws to prevent photography in public places 23 Jan 2010 Thousands of photographers have staged a mass protest against the "malicious" use of anti-terrorism laws to stop them taking pictures in public places. Trafalgar Square in central London was lit up by flash bulbs as part of the demonstration against photographers being unfairly targeted by police after taking photos. They are usually questioned under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows officers to stop and search without the need for "suspicion" within designated areas in the UK. More than 2,000 professional and amateur photographers took part in the protest organised by the group I'm a Photographer, Not a Terrorist!, many carrying placards bearing its name.

Haiti quake death toll hits 150,000, fear of disease rises 25 Jan 2010 The Haitian government has raised the official death toll for the January 12 earthquake to 150,000. In addtion, as many as three million have been injured or left homeless as a result of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Health officials in Haiti have also expressed serious concerns about outbreaks of infectious diseases in the myriad tent cities due to the unsanitary conditions.

Haiti earthquake: government fears toll could rise to 300,000 24 Jan 2010 Haiti's government has claimed the toll from the country's earthquake could rise to as many as 300,000 dead. The confirmed death toll was raised to 150,000 on Sunday, but that was only the count of bodies so far found and collected in the capital Port-au-Prince. It did not include those recovered in other areas like the shattered city of Leogane, near the earthquake epicentre, and Jacmel on the southern coast.

German enrichment facility reports radiation leak 24 Jan 2010 News breaks about a radiation leak at Germany's sole uranium enrichment facility amid reports suggesting that the country is scrapping plans to shut down two aging nuclear plants. The incident occurred on Thursday and has regenerated calls for the closure of the 25-year-old facility, which is located in North Rhine-Westphalia.

450,000 gallons of crude oil enter Texas waterway 24 Jan 2010 The US Coast Guard says 450,000 gallons of crude oil has found its way to a Texas waterway after a tugboat towing two barges collided with an Exxon Mobile tanker. The accident took place on Saturday near Port Arthur with no injuries reported, the Coast Guard said.

White House Is Confident Bernanke Will Be Confirmed 24 Jan 2010 After a full-scale mobilization, White House officials expressed confidence on Saturday that they had contained a populist uprising among Democratic senators that had threatened President Obama’s nomination of Ben S. Bernanke to a second term as the Federal Reserve chairman. Hoping to quell fears in the financial markets that Mr. Bernanke could become a casualty of rising anti-Wall Street sentiment, Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the DemocRAT from Connecticut who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Senator Judd Gregg (T) of New Hampshire, who is a member of the panel, said in a statement that "based on our discussions with our colleagues, we are very confident that Chairman Bernanke will win confirmation." [We can always count on Wall Street front-man, Barack Obama, to 'contain a populist uprising.']

Study says dolphins world's second smartest species 24 Jan 2010 A study shows that dolphin brains are four to five times larger for their body size, making them the second intelligent species after humans. New MRI scans revealed that dolphins show some skills and awareness thought to be exclusively used by humans, DiscoveryNews reported. "If we use relative brain size as a metric of 'intelligence' then one would have to conclude that dolphins are second in intelligence to modern humans," said neuroscience senior lecturer at Emory University Lori Marino.

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'Israel seeks more involvement in Afghan war' 22 Jan 2010 Foreign forces in Afghanistan will use unmanned Israeli drones more extensively in the US-led war, an Israeli paper said, citing the regime's desire to be more involved in the war. The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday that Germany will become the fifth country whose troops in Afghanistan will operate Israeli drones as of next week.

Israeli drones take over skies of Afghanistan 21 Jan 2010 While Israeli soldiers can't fight in the war in Afghanistan, Israeli drones can. Starting next week, five NATO member countries will be operating unmanned aerial vehicles produced in the Jewish state in anti-Taliban operations in the Central Asian country. Next week, officials from the German military will arrive to take delivery of an undisclosed number of Heron UAVs, made by Israel Aerospace Industries.

Afghanistan: Protest turns violent southwest of Kabul, leaving 2 wounded 23 Jan 2010 Militants hiding among demonstrators fired on police Saturday, sparking a gunbattle in the middle of a protest over the deaths of four men in a NATO-Afghan raid, officials said. At least two people were wounded. NATO and Afghan police have said the four killed late Wednesday were insurgents, but villagers in the Qara Bagh district in Ghazni province insist they were civilians. [See: Afghans protest deaths of 4 in NATO-government raid 21 Jan 2010 Villagers who brought the bodies of four people to the hospital in the provincial capital of Ghazni city said three of the victims belonged to one family. Two were boys 11 and 15, villagers said.]

Taliban kidnap Afghan district police chief 23 Jan 2010 Taliban militants attacked a police patrol in eastern Afghanistan early Saturday, capturing a district police chief and two other officers, police said. The patrol, which included Jamtullah Khan, the police chief of Shaigal district in Kunar province, on the border with Pakistan, was attacked after midnight, provincial police chief Khalilullah Ziayee told AFP. "Taliban abducted the district police chief along with two other policemen," he said.

Two US soldiers killed in Afghanistan 23 Jan 2010 Two US service members have been killed in southern Afghanistan, bringing the total number of Americans killed in the country this year to at least 22. An improvised explosive device killed the soldiers on Saturday, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

British soldier is 250th to die in Afghanistan 23 Jan 2010 The number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan reached 250 today, according to the Ministry of Defence. The soldier from the A Company 4 Rifles, serving as part of 3 Rifles Battle Group died in an explosion near Sangin, Helmand province.

Pakistan govt. urged to explain Blackwater presence 23 Jan 2010 Pakistani lawmakers say the government must to come clean about the presence of the notorious American security firm Blackwater (now known as Xe Services LLC) in the country. The lawmakers, both pro-government and opposition parties, during a heated debate on Friday, urged Islamabad to break its silence and own up as there are strong evidences of the presence of Xe Services LLC in Pakistan. The call came after US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates admitted that Xe Services and DynCorp have been operating in Pakistan.

Bomb kills four in northwestern Pakistan 23 Jan 2010 At least four people have been killed in a bomb attack near a police station in northwestern Pakistan, according to police officials. The bomb explosion occurred in Gomal, some 25 km (15 miles) south of the city of Tank, neighboring the tribal region of South Waziristan, AFP reported on Saturday. "The bomb struck outside the police station, killing one policeman and three passers-by, including two children," district police chief Ejaz Abid told AFP.

Obama quietly continues to defend Bush's terror policies 22 Jan 2010 Although the FBI has acknowledged it improperly obtained thousands of Americans' phone records for years, the Obama administration continues to assert that the bureau can obtain them without any formal legal process or court oversight. The FBI revealed this stance in a newly released report, troubling critics who'd hoped the bureau had been chastened enough by its own abuses to drop such a position.

US officials: 47 Guantanamo prisoners to be held indefinitely without charge --35 detainees face trial or tribunal 23 Jan 2010 At least 80 Guantanamo detainees prisoners would be brought to the United States to face trial, military commissions or continued imprisonment without charge under recommendations from a presidential task force, two government officials said Friday. The two officials said that a task force has recommended 35 Guantanamo Bay detainees for prosecution. Another six have been chosen to face military tribunals. As part of President Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, the task force has recommended 47 detainees be held indefinitely without charge. Another 17 detainees who are Yemenis are likely to be held for some time to come...

Judges Urge Congress to Act on Indefinite Terrorism Detentions 22 Jan 2010 Three judges on the federal trial court hearing challenges brought by Guantanamo prisoners are calling on Congress and the Obama administration to enact a law to address one of the nation's most perplexing moral and legal dilemmas: When can the United States indefinitely detain terrorism suspects? ...So far judges have decided 41 of the challenges brought by some 200 detainees and have determined that 32 of the men should be released. Only 21 of those prisoners have actually left Guantanamo, however, because the Obama administration, like its predecessor, is resisting the courts' authority to compel their release -- a dispute that's now before the Supreme Court.

Biden vows the US will appeal in Iraq Blackwater case 23 Jan 2010 US Vice-President Joe Biden says the US government will appeal against a court ruling dismissing manslaughter charges in the Blackwater shootings case. Mr Biden was speaking after meeting Iraqi politicians in Baghdad. Iraqis were furious when a US judge threw out charges against five Blackwater security guards over the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad.

Head of bomb detector company arrested in fraud investigation --Government announces ban on export of devices to Iraq and Afghanistan 23 Jan 2010 Hundreds of people have been killed in horrific bombings in Iraq after a British company supplied "bogus" equipment which failed to detect explosive devices. The head of the company, which has made tens of millions of pounds from the sale of the detectors, has now been arrested and the British Government has announced a ban on their export to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iraq littered with high levels of nuclear and dioxin contamination, study finds --Greater rates of cancer and birth defects near sites --Depleted uranium among poisons revealed in report 22 Jan 2010 More than 40 sites across Iraq are contaminated with high levels or radiation and dioxins, with three decades of war and neglect having left environmental ruin in large parts of the country, an official Iraqi study has found. Areas in and near Iraq's largest towns and cities, including Najaf, Basra and Falluja, account for around 25% of the contaminated sites, which appear to coincide with communities that have seen increased rates of cancer and birth defects over the past five years. The joint study by the environment, health and science ministries found that scrap metal yards in and around Baghdad and Basra contain high levels of ionising radiation, which is thought to be a legacy of depleted uranium used in munitions during the first Gulf war and since the [US] 2003 invasion.

Saudis find bodies of 20 soldiers on Yemen border 23 Jan 2010 Saudi forces have recovered the bodies of 20 soldiers who had been reported missing in fierce battles with Yemeni rebels on the border, the assistant defense minister said Saturday, raising the Saudi death toll in the conflict to 133. Prince Khaled bin Sultan told reporters the bodies were found after troops cleared the rebels out of areas around Dokhan mountain, a strategic high point in the rugged border region.

Israeli minister: Third war on Lebanon in sight 23 Jan 2010 An Israeli cabinet minister warns of the third Israeli war on Lebanon amid reports that Tel Aviv has mobilized its troops. "We are heading toward a new confrontation in the north," said minister without portfolio, Yossi Peled in remarks carried by military radio and the Israeli news website Ynet, the AFP reported. The London-based A-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper reported Friday that the troops had been called to the northern the borders Lebanon to carry out "military maneuvers."

Israel OKs new controversial weapon 22 Jan 2010 Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the use and sale of a new weapon that simulates a feeling of being shot in those targeted. The cannon called "the Thunder Generator" has been produced by the Netanya-based technology development advisory firm, Army-Tec company, is capable of creating shockwaves that pass through people.

Russia warns against new Iran sanctions 22 Jan 2010 Russia on Friday joined China in calling for more diplomacy on Iran, warning against imposing fresh sanctions against the country's nuclear energy section for delays over a fuel exchange deal. "If our logic is to punish Iran, or if we take up the posture of the offended ... this will not be a sober approach," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.

Guam fears influx of US military personnel 22 Jan 2010 The ethnic majority in US territory of Guam fear the US planned influx of military personnel will swamp the original inhabitants of the island. Washington is planning to relocate some 19,000 personnel and their families to Guam from southern Japan. [See: US as 'Facehugger' By Lori Price 19 Jan 2010 I've come to the conclusion that the US government most resembles the 'facehugger,' a stage in the life cycle of an alien, the 'primary antagonist' of the film series 'Alien.' ...'Attempts to remove facehuggers generally prove fatal, as the parasite will respond by tightening its grip.']

'Severe' Terror Warning In UK 23 Jan 2010 Britain's terror threat level was last night raised to "severe" - meaning an attack is "highly likely"- Home Secretary Alan Johnson stressed there was no intelligence to suggest terrorists were about to strike, but urged people to be on their guard. The UK is now on the second highest of five staged levels, ranging from low to critical.

UK terror threat raised to 'severe' --Threat raised from 'substantial' to 'severe' 23 Jan 2010 The threat of international terrorism to the UK was raised from substantial to the second highest level of severe last night, meaning an attack is "highly likely". Alan Johnson, the home secretary, said there was no intelligence to suggest an attack was imminent. The escalation reversed a decision in July to downgrade the likelihood of a terror attack from "severe" to "substantial". Johnson said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (Jtac), a unit within MI5, had taken the decision based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas.

CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones --Arms manufacturer BAE Systems developing national strategy with consortium of government agencies 23 Jan 2010 Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the "routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance. The arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which produces a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for war zones, is adapting the military-style planes for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police. Documents from the South Coast Partnership, a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan with BAE, have been obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act.

FBI, Telecoms Teamed to Breach Wiretap Laws By Ryan Singel 21 Jan 2010 The FBI and telecom companies collaborated to routinely violate federal wiretapping laws for four years, as agents got access to reporters’ and citizens’ phone records using fake emergency declarations or simply asking for them. The Justice Department Inspector General’s internal audit, released Wednesday, harshly criticized how the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Communications Analysis Unit -- a counterterrorism section founded after 9/11 -- relied on so-called "exigent" letters to get carriers to turn over phone records immediately. The letters were a hangover from the investigation into the 9/11 attacks in New York and promised telecoms, falsely, that subpoenas would follow shortly.

Death toll in Haiti officially over 111,000 23 Jan 2010 The death toll from Haiti's January 12th earthquake has now been confirmed by government officials to be over 111,000. This as the Haitian government terminates the search for survivors. A further 193,000 are confirmed wounded, and well over 600,000 have been forced into temporary shelters. These are the official statistics from Haitian authorities, which largely confirm what the international community had already suspected and feared was the case.

Haiti calls off search for earthquake survivors 23 Jan 2010 Haiti’s government has called off the search for earthquake survivors as British rescue teams fly home. A total of 132 people have been rescued from collapsed buildings, including two in the last 24 hours. Today the United Nations confirmed the government in Haiti has declared the search and rescue over, 11 days after the earthquake hit.

Call for halt to Haiti adoptions over traffickers 23 Jan 2010 Thousands of children unaccounted for since Haiti’s earthquake are at risk of falling prey to child traffickers, aid agencies have wearned, as fears were raised over at least 15 children who have vanished from hospitals within the past few days. A Unicef [the UN children's agency] adviser, Jean Luc Legrand, said he knew of at least 15 cases of children disappearing from hospitals. [Oh. Apparently Blackwater and DynCorp *are* in Haiti.]

CITGO Starts Shipment of 120 tons of Humanitarian Aid to Haiti 22 Jan 2010 CITGO Petroleum Corporation, and its charitable organization, the Simón Bolívar Foundation, have started the shipment to Port-Au-Prince of 120 tons of humanitarian aid, in coordination with the Embassies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the Republic of Haiti in the United States. This effort complements the contributions of the Venezuelan people through their government, led by President Hugo Chávez, with the goal of alleviating the suffering of the thousands of people left homeless following the earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation on Jan. 12.

Supreme Court OKs unlimited corporate spending on elections --The justices overturn a century of U.S. electoral law by a 5-4 vote. Millions of extra dollars are expected to start flowing from big business to this fall's races, much of it benefiting Republican candidates. 22 Jan 2010 Overturning a century-old restriction, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations could spend as much as they wanted to sway voters in federal elections. In a landmark 5-4 decision, the court's conservative bloc said that corporations had the same right to free speech as individuals, and for that reason the government could not stop corporations from spending to help their favored candidates.

The Supreme Court ruling on corporate political spending By Tom Eley 23 Jan 2010 The ruling issued Thursday by the United States Supreme Court lifting long-standing restrictions on corporate financing of elections represents a far-reaching attack on democratic rights. The 5-4 decision ensures that the American political system will be dominated even more directly and completely by the financial elite. The ruling is a naked assertion of the interests of the American financial elite. It lays bare the reality of class rule beneath the threadbare trappings of democracy in America.

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke's reconfirmation in doubt --Amid concerns about voter anger, some Senate Democrats oppose giving him a second term. They say he was an architect of Bush-era policies that helped create the recession and high unemployment. 23 Jan 2010 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's confirmation to a second term is in jeopardy because of growing opposition from Senate Democrats... At least four Senate Democrats have said they will oppose President Obama's decision to renominate the Fed chairman. Critics of Bernanke, who was named to his first term by former President [sic] George W. Bush, are pressing the case that he was an architect of policies that helped drag the U.S. into a period of recession and high unemployment. His term expires Jan. 31.

Goldman under investigation for its securities dealings 22 Jan 2010 One of Congress' premier watchdog panels is investigating Goldman Sachs' role in the subprime mortgage meltdown, including how the firm sold securities backed by risky home loans while it simultaneously bet that those bonds would lose value, people familiar with the inquiry said Friday. The investigation is part of a broader examination by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations into the roots of the economic crisis and whether financial institutions behaved improperly, said the individuals, who insisted upon anonymity because the matter is sensitive.

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Justice panel backs indefinite detention 22 Jan 2010 A Justice Department-led task force has concluded that nearly 50 of the 196 detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should be held indefinitely without trial under the laws of war, according to Obama administration officials. The task force's findings represent the first time that the administration has clarified how many detainees prisoners it considers too dangerous to release but 'unprosecutable' because officials fear trials could compromise intelligence-gathering and because detainees could challenge evidence obtained through coercion torture.

Interrogation Teams Are Months Away 22 Jan 2010 The head of a new elite terrorism-interrogation program said Thursday that it will take several more months to establish teams that could question high-profile suspects. The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, will consist of three to five teams of interrogators based in Washington and largely drawn from the ranks of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with some from the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Department. Andrew McCabe, a veteran FBI counterterrorism investigator who is leading the new program, and deputies from the CIA and Defense Department are seeking office space in Washington's Virginia suburbs and preparing to pick members of the interrogation teams.

Hans Blix warned Tony Blair Iraq might not have WMD [Yeah, but they did have oil - therein lies the rub.] 22 Jan 2010 The United Nations' former chief weapons inspector in Iraq told the official inquiry into the war that he had cautioned Tony Blair the month before the 2003 invasion about the possibility that no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) would be found. Hans Blix, who has not been called to give evidence to Sir John Chilcot's inquiry, said his team had grown suspicious of the quality of intelligence pointing to Saddam Hussein having WMDs.

Jack Straw: I drew up secret plan to keep Britain out of Iraq war --Ex-foreign secretary tells inquiry 45-minute missile claim has haunted Labour 21 Jan 2010 Jack Straw, the justice secretary, today disclosed that he offered Tony Blair a last-minute way out of the war in Iraq by drafting a secret contingency plan that would have seen Britain support the US-led invasion but not send troops. In dramatic evidence to the Chilcot inquiry on the war, Straw -- foreign secretary at the time -- also revealed that he had disagreements with Blair over whether to support regime change in Iraq, indicating that he would not have adopted the same unequivocal tone of support for military action apparently struck by Blair in his private letters to President [sic] George Bush.

Gates confirms Blackwater presence in Pakistan 22 Jan 2010 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirms that American security firms terror groups Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater, and DynCorp have been operating in Pakistan. The two firms are operating in private capacities, Gates said on Thursday, adding that the companies were abiding by Pakistani laws. However, he said that if the Pakistani parliament votes for a ban on the presence of the firms, the US government would comply with it.

U.S. to provide spy drones to Pakistan 21 Jan 2010 The United States will provide a dozen unarmed aerial spy [Shadow] drones to Pakistan for the first time as part of an effort to encourage Pakistan's cooperation in 'fighting' Islamists on the Afghanistan border, U.S. defense officials said Thursday. But Pakistani military leaders, rebuffing U.S. pressure, said they planned no new offensives for at least six months. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is in Pakistan on a two-day visit, disclosed plans for the drones, also known as pilotless aerial vehicles, in an interview Thursday with a Pakistani TV reporter.

Pakistan armed forces 'tried to oust President' --Military still 'calling the shots' in political and judicial process, report reveals 22 Jan 2010 Pakistan's powerful military has actively worked to undermine efforts by the elected government to improve human rights in the country, according to a new report. It also tried to destabilise the elected government, and force out President Asif Ali Zardari. In a damning critique of the military establishment, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the armed forces had opposed efforts to end its intervention in the political and judicial process.

Number of Private Security Contractors In Afghanistan Doubles In Just Four Months 21 Jan 2010 The military is increasingly relying on private security contractors mercenaries as President Obama ramps up the war in Afghanistan, with contractors now making up as much as 30% of the armed force in the country, a just-released congressional report shows. In the period roughly tracking with President Obama's first nine months in office, the number of Defense Department armed security contractors soared 236% -- from 3,184 to 10,712 between December 2008 to September 2009. The number roughly doubled between June and September 2009 alone.

Gates Says Taliban Must Take Legitimate Afghan Role 23 Jan 2010 The United States recognizes that the Taliban are now part of the political fabric of Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here on Friday, but they must be prepared to play a legitimate role before they can reconcile with the Afghan government. That means, Mr. Gates said, that the Taliban must participate in elections, not oppose education and not assassinate local officials [unless the US-installed opium/gas pipeline puppets want them gone].

Afghans protest deaths of 4 in NATO-government raid 21 Jan 2010 Scores of Afghans protested on Thursday over the deaths of four men in a night-time raid by Afghan and NATO-led forces. Locals said the victims were civilians, but the force said the dead were 'Taliban insurgents.' Over 100 people took to the streets of a small bazaar in Qarabagh district in Ghazni province, southwest of Kabul, to demonstrate, locals told Reuters by telephone. Villagers who brought the bodies of four people to the hospital in the provincial capital of Ghazni city said three of the victims belonged to one family. Two were boys 11 and 15, villagers said.

Biblical guns 'won't endanger soldiers' 22 Jan 2010 Australian soldiers have not been put at risk by revelations some of their weapons have biblical inscriptions on them, General Peter Cosgrove says. The gunsights used by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan are manufactured by US company Trijicon, which says it has been making the sights with biblical inscriptions for 20 years. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has said it was unaware of the meaning of the serial numbers and Defence Minister John Faulkner has ordered their removal.

Defense contractor will remove Bible references from gun sights --Through multimillion dollar contracts, the Marine Corps and Army have bought more than 300,000 Trijicon sights. 21 Jan 2010 A Michigan defense contractor will voluntarily stop stamping references to Bible verses on combat rifle sights made for the U.S. military, a major buyer of the company's gear. In a statement released Thursday, Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., says it is also providing to the armed forces free of charge modification kits to remove the Scripture citations from the telescoping sights already in use.

Psychiatric disorders spiral among US troops 22 Jan 2010 A new study indicates US troops who were withdrawn from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for medical reasons were increasingly evacuated for psychiatric reasons. Psychiatric disorders rose from 2004 to 2007, despite an increased focus on treating mental health problems, the research study revealed on Friday.

Chavez says US 'weapon' caused Haiti quake 21 Jan 2010 Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez Wednesday accused the United States of causing the destruction in Haiti by testing a 'tectonic weapon' to induce the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country last week. President Chavez said the US was "playing God" by testing devices capable of creating eco-type catastrophes, the Spanish newspaper ABC quoted him as saying. Venezuelan media have reported that the earthquake "may be associated with the project called HAARP, a system that can generate violent and unexpected changes in climate." HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, is a study run in Alaska directed at the occasional reconfiguration of the properties of the Earth's ionosphere to improve satellite communications. Former US Secretary of Defense William Cohen in 1997 expressed concern over countries engaging "in eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves."

US says it will stay in Haiti for long term 22 Jan 2010 Despite criticism for the US military presence in quake-stricken Haiti, Washington says it has a long-term plan to stay in the country. "We are there for the long term, this is not something that will be resolved quickly and easily," US Ambassador to the UN Alejandro Wolff said on Thursday. Just three days after a magnitude 7 earthquake jolted Haiti on January 12, the United States began to send military forces to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

CIA Contractor Now Flying Spy Drone Over Haiti By Noah Shachtman 19 Jan 2010 A controversial CIA contractor has found new work in Haiti, flying drones on disaster recovery duty. When last we heard from Evergreen International Aviation, the Oregon-based firm was offering to post sentries at local voting centers during the 2008 election, "detaining troublemakers" and making sure voters "do not get out of control." Now, company vice president Sam White tells Aviation Week that the firm is flying at least one ScanEagle surveillance drone over Haiti.

Haiti to resettle 400,000 quake victims to camps 21 Jan 2010 Within days, the government will move 400,000 people made homeless by Haiti's epic earthquake from their improvised camps throughout the shattered capital to new resettlement areas camps on the outskirts, a top Haitian official said Thursday. Authorities are worried about sanitation and disease outbreaks in makeshift settlements like the one on the city's central Champs de Mars plaza, said Fritz Longchamp, chief of staff to President Rene Preval.

Doctors Without Borders Plane with Lifesaving Medical Supplies Diverted Again from Landing in Haiti --Patients in Dire Need of Emergency Care Dying from Delays in Arrival of Medical Supplies 19 Jan 2010 A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) cargo plane carrying 12 tons of medical equipment, including drugs, surgical supplies and two dialysis machines, was turned away three times from Port-au-Prince airport since Sunday night despite repeated assurances of its ability to land there. This 12-ton cargo was part of the contents of an earlier plane carrying a total of 40 tons of supplies that was blocked from landing on Sunday morning. Since January 14, MSF has had five planes diverted from the original destination of Port-au-Prince to the Dominican Republic. These planes carried a total of 85 tons of medical and relief supplies.

India questions WHO's false alarm on swine flu 20 Jan 2010 With the WHO now admitting that the seriousness of the swine flu pandemic had been overestimated, India on Tuesday demanded an inquiry on why the global body pressed the panic button in the first place. Union minister of state for health Dinesh Trivedi on Tuesday said it was important to find out whether there was ever a nexus between pharmaceutical companies and WHO which made the global health watchdog declare H1N1 flu a pandemic virus.

'Free at Last,' Business Says as Court Opens Campaign Spending --High court's 5-4 ruling struck down restrictions on independent political spending by corporations, unions 21 Jan 2010 Business groups celebrated the potential for greater political influence as labor unions and shareholder activists began looking for ways to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited corporate campaign spending. "Free at last, free at last!" said Cleta Mitchell, a campaign lawyer at Foley & Lardner LLP in Washington who represents companies and trade groups before the Federal Election Commission. "Business has been gagged for decades."

US Supreme Court lifts campaign finance limits 22 Jan 2010 In a sweeping decision that will change the face of the 2010 US mid-term election and beyond, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on Thursday to lift limits on corporate spending in campaigns. The long-awaited decision is expected to open the floodgates on corporate money in elections, reversing restrictions that have been in place since the 1940s that prohibited corporations from buying campaign ads from their own treasuries. It also reversed rules that prevented corporations from explicitly supporting candidates in campaign ads.

U.S. government for sale --With no limits on campaign financing, corporations will take over the government By Keith Olbermann 21 Jan 2010 And be prepared, then, for the bank reforms that President Obama has just this day vowed to enable, to be rolled back by his successor purchased by the banks, with the money President [sic] Bush gave them his successor, presumably President Palin, because if you need a friendly face of fascism, you might as well get one that can wink, and if you need a tool of whichever large industries buy her first, you might as well get somebody who lives up to that word "tool." ...The Internet? ...Kiss net neutrality goodbye. Kiss whatever right to privacy you think you currently have, goodbye. And anyway, what are you going to complain about, if you don't even know it happened? In the new world unveiled this morning by John Roberts, who stops Rupert Murdoch from buying the Associated Press?

"We the corporations" (Move to Amend) 21 Jan 2010 On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions. The Supreme Court is misguided in principle, and wrong on the law. In a democracy, the people rule. We Move to Amend. We, the People of the United States of America, reject the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United, and move to amend our Constitution. [We need to move to amend, and *a whole lot more.*]

Obama proposes tough limits on largest banks 22 Jan 2010 President Obama expanded his new offensive on Wall Street on Thursday, proposing rules that would impede the growth of the largest banks and bar them from making what he called "reckless" investments. The proposal comes as the administration is shifting from its year-long effort to save financial firms toward a new willingness to confront them with explicit prohibitions on activities that fueled the economic crisis.

UnitedHealth's Profit Rises 30% 21 Jan 2010 UnitedHealth Group Inc.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 30%, helped by prior-year litigation-related charges, higher enrollment than the company expected and subsiding costs related to the H1N1 flu outbreak. The nation's largest managed-care company by revenue, which affirmed its 2010 earnings forecast, now expects first-quarter commercial enrollment to be slightly stronger than projected at the company's investor conference in December.

Calif. Democrats revive single-payer health care 21 Jan 2010 A key legislative committee in California revived a bill Thursday to create a government-run health care system in the nation's most populous state. The Senate Appropriations Committee released the bill for a vote by the full Senate next week.

Obama FDA Goons Worse Than Bush FDA Goons: Welcome to CODEX Posted by Flux 21 Jan 2010 Author and Hepatitis C survivor Lloyd Wright explains how the FDA is beginning to march down the fascist path of CODEX Alimentarius. In October 2009 the FDA blocked the import of Lloyd's Natcell Products from Canada and forced him to "destroy" 4 of his websites in order to comply with their wishes... so he could get the products into the country.

Alaskan senator seeks to block EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gases 21 Jan 2010 Barack Obama faced a direct challenge to his government's powers to curb global warming pollution today, just 48 hours after an election upset put the rest of his agenda at risk. In a speech to Congress, a Republican senator [dirtbag Lisa Murkowski] from Alaska announced she would use an obscure and rarely used measure to try to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as a dangerous pollutant.

'The planet may be warming at a potentially disastrous rate.' 2000s Warmest Decade on Record, Government Reports --With above average 2009, first decade of the 2000s is warmest on record 19 Jan 2010 The 2000-2009 decade was the warmest on record, easily surpassing the previous hottest decade -- the 1990s -- researchers said Tuesday in a report providing fresh evidence that the planet may be warming at a potentially disastrous rate. In 2009, global surface temperatures were 1.01 degree above average, which tied the year for the fifth warmest year on record, the National Climatic Data Center said. And that helped push the 2000-2009 decade to 0.96 degree above normal, which the agency said "shattered" the 1990s record value of 0.65 degree above normal.

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US 'High Value Interrogation Group' to Expand, Handle Domestic Cases --Intelligence chief says FBI was too hasty in handling of attempted bombing 21 Jan 2010 The man accused of trying to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day should have been interrogated by special terrorism investigators instead of FBI agents, the nation's intelligence chief said Wednesday, adding that senior national security officials were not consulted before FBI and Justice Department authorities questioned him and pursued criminal charges. Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair faulted the decision not to use the "High Value Interrogation Group" (HIG) to question alleged al-Qaeda operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. "That unit was created exactly for this purpose -- to make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means," Blair told the Senate homeland security committee. The intelligence chief said the interrogation group was created by the White House last year to handle overseas cases but will be expanded now to domestic ones.

UK to introduce 'no-fly list' to stop terror suspects travelling to Britain --Gordon Brown also confirms direct flights to Yemen will be suspended and UK airports will start using body scanners next week 20 Jan 2010 An American-style "no-fly" list to stop terrorism suspects travelling to Britain is to be introduced as part of a package of enhanced security measures in the wake of the attempted Christmas bomb plot. Gordon Brown told MPs today that the decision to overhaul the Home Office's system of a border watchlist is to be underpinned by an extension of the e-borders programme of pre-flight checks on all passengers travelling to Britain by the end of this year. The new security package contains improvements in intelligence co-ordination in Britain and abroad. This includes a new MI6/MI5/GCHQ joint investigation and targeting team to focus on individual suspects before they reach Britain as well as improving international information-sharing on "individuals of concern".

Ban on flights from Yemen to UK 21 Jan 2010 Direct flights from the Yemen to Britain will be banned as a key part of new anti-terrorist measures following the failed attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner, Gordon Brown announced yesterday. A new "no-fly" list will also be set up to stop a "high echelon" of terrorist suspects from travelling to the UK while others will be subjected to stringent scrutiny. Under the £1.2bn programme, passengers must provide detailed personal information when buying their tickets so they can be checked against watchlists before flying.

Olympic air space could be defended with lethal force 20 Jan 2010 The Canadian Forces are ready to exercise "lethal force" in a worst-case scenario to defend new air space security restrictions being imposed during the 2010 Olympic Games. NORAD spokesman Lieut. David Lavallee told the Vancouver Sun on Tuesday that the response to a violation of flight restrictions could range from simple radio contact with the pilot to the use of Canadian military CF-18 fighter jets and Griffon helicopters. "There are many facets to a situation like that," he said. "...NORAD has a graduated response that can, if necessary, culminate in the use of lethal force."

'Fight against terror pretext for waging wars' 20 Jan 2010 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says hegemonic powers wage wars under different pretexts to take over other countries' natural resources. Ahmadinejad, in a meeting with Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo in Tehran on Wednesday, said that there are certain powers that are seeking to gain control of natural resources in the Middle East by waging wars in the region under the pretext of "freedom, human rights and fight against terror."

US emergency war budget sees 9bn for Afghan war --Includes 190 million dollars in Hellfire missile orders used by killer drones 21 Jan 2010 The US Army's emergency war budget for 2011 will cover big orders for weapons for a major build-up of troops in Afghanistan. The Army has called for 33 billion dollars in emergency war funding, which includes over nine billion dollars for Afghanistan, Reuters reported on Wednesday. A draft budget document shows a significant increase in purchases of unmanned aerial vehicles, and stepped up intelligence and surveillance efforts.

Ministry of Defence orders 'Bible guns' for soldiers in Afghanistan 19 Jan 2010 Hundreds of gun sights ordered for British troops in Afghanistan are inscribed with coded biblical references, it has emerged. The equipment was purchased from an American manufacturer which yesterday confirmed that markings carried on the same brand of sights used by US marines related to New Testament verses. The codes include JN8:12 and 2COR4:6, which point to passages from the books of John and Second Corinthians respectively.

America's "Biblical Guns" in Iraq 20 Jan 2010 The US military is facing a storm of criticism over the use of thousands of high-powered rifle sights with inscriptions from the Bible in Iraq and Afghanistan, amid warnings that the army is breaking rules against proselytizing and risks being portrayed as a modern-day crusader. "It is totally counterproductive...to blow this off and pretend like it's no big deal," Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans for the Separation of Church and State, told the Detroit News on Wednesday, January 20. "If that's the military's line, it's a big mistake."

Five killed as death squads return to Baghdad --Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack. 20 Jan 2010 Death squads have returned to the streets of Baghdad with the first targeted killing of civilians in Baghdad for more than two years, Iraqi media have reported. Masked gunmen walked into the office of a charitable foundation in a Sunni part of central Baghdad and executed five employees. They [Blackwater?] also left behind a car bomb at the entrance of the building, which exploded when police arrived on the scene injuring two officers, according to the Al-Zaman newspaper. ['Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack.' Let's see... who bombs schools, hospitals, charities and flies airplanes into buildings after instructing NORAD to stand down? The US.]

Iraqi province gives Saddam loyalists 24 hours to leave 18 Jan 2010 Local government officials warned Saddam Hussein loyalists on Monday to move out of the Shiite province of Najaf in central Iraq within 24 hours or face an "iron fist." They demanded the exodus after a meeting to discuss security in the wake of a triple bomb attack last week in Najaf, about 150 kilometres (90 miles) south of Baghdad.

How I fought to survive Guantánamo --For nearly six years, British resident Omar Deghayes was imprisoned in Guantánamo and subjected to such brutal torture that he lost the sight in one eye. But far from being broken, he fought back to retain his dignity and his sanity 21 Jan 2010 It is not hot stabbing pain that Omar Deghayes remembers from the day a Guantánamo guard blinded him, but the cool sensation of fingers being stabbed deep into his eyeballs. He had joined other prisoners in protesting against a new humiliation - inmates being forced to take off their trousers and walk round in their pants - and a group of guards had entered his cell to punish him. He was held down and bound with chains.

Straw to Be Grilled Over Secret Iraq Letter 21 Jan 2010 Jack Straw is to become the latest high-profile figure to give evidence to an official inquiry into the war in Iraq. He was Foreign Secretary between 2001 and 2006, covering the lead up to the 2003 invasion and its aftermath. Mr Straw, now Justice Secretary, is likely to be asked about a letter he wrote to Tony Blair suggesting there was not enough support within the Labour Party for military intervention. The "secret and personal" note, sent a year before the House of Commons backed the invasion, has been obtained by the Sunday Times.

Read it in full: Jack Straw's Iraq war letter to Tony Blair 17 Jan 2010 ...A legal justification is a necessary but far from sufficient pre-condition for military action. We have also to answer the big question -- what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything. Most of the assessments from the US have assumed regime change as a means of eliminating Iraq’s WMD threat. But none has satisfactorily answered how that regime change is to be secured, and how there can be any certainty that the replacement regime will be better. (JACK STRAW) Foreign and Commonwealth Office 25 March 2002

Iran says may hit Western warships if attacked 19 Jan 2010 Iran's defence minister warned on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic could strike back at Western warships in the Gulf if it were attacked, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. "The Westerners know well that the existence of these warships in the Persian Gulf serve as the best operational targets for Iran if they should want to undertake any military action against Iran," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

Britain calls for new Iran sanctions 20 Jan 2010 British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has called for new Iran sanctions to "exert pressure" on Tehran over its nuclear program. Miliband made the remarks on Tuesday, three days after Britain and five other major powers discussed Iran's nuclear program in New York.

US military-industrial complex sends Gates to India 20 Jan 2010 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has arrived in New Delhi, looking to forge closer military links with India. Gates met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, and other officials on Tuesday. Pundits say he made the trip to urge India to buy scores of fighter aircraft, as well as other expensive hardware, from US military contractors.

SOUTHCOM 'went live' with disaster drill for Haiti when earthquake hit 15 Jan 2010 On Monday, Jean Demay, DISA's [Defense Information Systems Agency] technical manager for the agency's Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, happened to be at the headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami preparing for a test of the system in a scenario that involved providing relief to Haiti in the wake of a hurricane. After the earthquake hit on Tuesday, Demay said SOUTHCOM decided to go live with the system. On Wednesday, DISA opened up its All Partners Access Network, supported by the Transnational Information Sharing Cooperation project, to any organization supporting Haiti relief efforts. The information sharing project, developed with backing from both SOUTHCOM and the Defense Department's European Command, has been in development for three years. [Holy HAARP, Batman!]

US to increase troops in Haiti by a third as rescue teams pull back 21 Jan 2010 The US is to send another 4,000 troops to Haiti to assist the earthquake relief effort in its third troop surge to the devastated country. The move, which will increase the number of US troops involved in the huge aid effort to 16,000, will mean diverting Marines who were to be deployed in the Gulf and Africa. The surge will comprise a three-ship unit of 1,700 sailors and 2,300 Marines, the US Defence Department announced today, joining the 12,000 troops already there.

US to send 4,000 extra troops to Haiti 20 Jan 2010 The US is sending another 4,000 sailors and marines to Haiti for the earthquake relief effort, diverting them from deployments in the Gulf and Africa. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Nassau Amphibious Ready Group would "significantly" increase the ability to quickly provide aid, the navy said. The move will increase the number of US troops involved to about 16,000.

US Mercenaries Set Sights on Haiti By Jeremy Scahill 19 Jan 2010 After Katrina, the number of private security companies registered (and unregistered) multiplied overnight. Banks, wealthy individuals, the US government all hired private security. I even encountered Israeli mercenaries operating an armed checkpoint outside of an elite gated community in New Orleans. They worked for a company called Instinctive Shooting International... Now, it is kicking into full gear in Haiti.

Haiti: Schoolgirl killed by police for [alleged] looting 21 Jan 2010 While the images of survivors being pulled alive brought joy and hope, there was further heartbreak on the capital's streets after a girl of 15 was shot dead as a suspected looter. Fabienne Geismar had survived the quake which devastated the family home but died in its aftermath, lying face down in her own blood beside the rubble and the worthless pictures she was said to have been stealing. Her father Osam, sister Samantha and brother Jeff had watched helpless as she was cut down by a bullet... It is unclear whether police deliberately aimed at looters who had targeted properties destroyed in the earthquake, or had been firing warning shots over their heads.

Crisis of the one million Haitian orphans as Unicef warns the devastation has jumped to 'unbearable proportions' 19 Jan 2010 The first of Haiti's evacuated orphans have arrived in the US to begin new lives, according to reports. However aid groups fear as many as one million more on the island have been left without one or both parents following the last week's devastating earthquake. Just 26 children who cleared the process before the disaster struck have been taken out of the country - but Unicef has warned the scale of the crisis has jumped to 'unbearable proportions'.

'Two thirds' of London nurses without swine flu jab 21 Jan 2010 Just one in three nurses in London have been vaccinated against swine flu, the NHS has admitted. A BBC London Freedom of Information request has shown the majority of medical staff remain unprotected against the virus.

Swiss warn on H1N1 flu vaccine 20 Jan 2010 Switzerland's medical regulator recommended patients with serious autoimmune diseases should not use an H1N1 flu vaccine from Novartis, saying there were no studies assessing the innoculation in that population. Swissmedic said on Wednesday it could not be ruled out that either or both of the adjuvant and the antigen, or less active ingredient, could lead to an intensifying of autoimmune diseases.

"People in Massachusetts spoke. He's got to be part of that process." - PRESIDENT OBAMA [OH,BUMMER], on the election of Scott Brown to the Senate and the future of health-care legislation. 21 Jan 2010 President Obama signaled on Wednesday that he might be willing to scale back his proposed 'health care' overhaul to a version that could attract bipartisan support, as the White House and Congressional Democrats grappled with a political landscape transformed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race... . Senate leaders said they would not risk antagonizing voters by trying to rush a bill through before Scott Brown (T) could be sworn in, and Mr. Obama agreed. "People in Massachusetts spoke," the president told ABC. "He’s got to be part of that process." [Yeah, let people die at the hand of the insurance cartel so Obusha can -- Scott Brown's --. (Uncensored version of this comment is here.)]

'Pigs fly out of my ass.' House Dems largely reject idea of passing Senate health care bill 20 Jan 2010 Despite knowing Senate Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority after Tuesday night's political upset in Massachusetts, House Democrats across the political spectrum largely rejected the idea of passing the Senate health care bill. Liberal New York Democrat Anthony Weiner predicted the Senate bill wouldn't have the votes to pass the House. Weiner ridiculed House Democratic leaders for holding a meeting to brief House Democrats on negotiations with the White House on a health care bill, telling reporters, "They're talking as if, 'What our deal is, what our negotiators are at the White House' -- yeah, and then the last line is, 'Pigs fly out of my ass' ... it's just, we've got to recognize we are in an entirely different scenario."

Republican Brown beats Coakley in special Senate election in Massachusetts 20 Jan 2010 Republican (Teabagger) Scott Brown dealt a devastating blow to President Obama's domestic agenda Tuesday night by capturing the Senate seat of the late Edward M. Kennedy, the legendary Democrat who had made health-care reform the cause of his political career. Brown [propelled by corporate-run media] won the special election by running directly against the health-care legislation that Kennedy trumpeted before his August death and that Obama considers his most important legislative priority. Coming on the eve of the first anniversary of Obama's historic inauguration, the stunning upset eliminated the Democrats' filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and created an immediate roadblock to approving the health-care plan and other Obama priorities.

Mass. Secretary of State dismissing irregularity reports --Ballots pre-marked for Scott Brown 19 Jan 2010 The Massachusetts secretary of state is discounting reports of voter irregularities in the state's Senate special election. A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said Tuesday two reports of spoiled ballots could not be verified or found to be widespread. In one case, someone voting in Cambridge claimed a ballot had already been marked for Republican Scott Brown. There was no way to verify the claim, but the ballot was destroyed. In another case, a person in Boston reported finding a ballot inside a privacy folder also marked for Brown.

AP: Obama wants greater banking limits 20 Jan 2010 Stepping up pressure on Wall Street, President Barack Obama on Thursday plans to call for giving the government new powers to limit the size and complexity of large financial institutions and to limit their ability to engage in high-risk trades. Obama will make the announcement Thursday, a senior administration official said...

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US as 'Facehugger' By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 19 Jan 2010 I've come to the conclusion that the US government most resembles the 'facehugger,' a stage in the life cycle of an alien, the 'primary antagonist' of the film series 'Alien.' A refresher: Unlike many other recurring enemy extraterrestrial races in science fiction, the aliens are not an intelligent civilization, but predatory creatures with no higher goals than the propagation of their species and the destruction of life that could pose a threat... 'Attempts to remove facehuggers generally prove fatal, as the parasite will respond by tightening its grip.'

US clears space in Guantanamo, other detention centres for Haitians --US ships blockade Haiti coast 19 Jan 2010 A US aircraft carrier is spearheading a blockade of Haiti's waters as America prepares for a mass sea exodus of Haitians with thousands fleeing the devastated capital of Port-au-Prince. US officials have drawn up emergency plans to cope with a mass migration crisis and have cleared spaces in detention or reception centres, including the Navy base at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay. The unprecedented air, land and sea operation, dubbed "Vigilant Sentry", was launched as a senior US official compared Haiti's destruction to the aftermath of nuclear warfare... As well as providing emergency supplies and medical aid, the USS Carl Vinson, along with a ring of other navy and coast guard vessels, is acting as a deterrent to Haitians who might be driven to make the 681 mile sea crossing to Miami.

Haiti earthquake: US soldiers land at presidential palace --20 Black Hawk helicopters landed US paratroopers to secure key buildings 19 Jan 2010 US soldiers took control of Haiti's presidential palace in their most significant military deployment since an earthquake devastated the island a week ago. In a symbolic operation, 20 Black Hawk helicopters landed US paratroopers to secure key buildings, such as the general hospital, in the heart of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. "We are here to provide security. We work with the government of Haiti. We have rules of engagement, but we are on a humanitarian mission," said Sergeant Bill Smith of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Marines land in Haiti but tension deepens over US 'occupation' of quake isle 19 Jan 2010 Amid growing desperation in Haiti and with foreign aid teams struggling to cope, there are new tensions over the role of the United States in the post-earthquake operation. US marines have landed in the stricken country to help bring order to the increasingly lawless streets of the capital Port-au-Prince. The US said the 2,200 marines, with medical aid, helicopters and equipment to clear debris, would join 5,000 US troops already in the region to help international aid efforts... But after US forces turned away a plane-load of medical supplies, a French minister accused the Americans of "occupying" the country. [More Haiti news, below.]

US accused of covering up Guantánamo killings 19 Jan 2010 US OFFICIALS may have conspired to conceal evidence that three Guantánamo Bay inmates could have been murdered during interrogations, according to US journalists. All three may have been suffocated during questioning on the same evening and their deaths passed off as suicides by hanging, the joint investigation for Harper’s Magazine and NBC News has concluded.

Guantánamo 'suicides' were at secret 'black' site 18 Jan 2010 Three Guantánamo Bay detainees prisoners whose deaths were ruled to be suicides in 2006 were taken to a secret site on the island hours before their deaths, it has been claimed. A report in Harper's magazine said the deaths may have occurred at a previously undisclosed facility a mile or so from the main prison complex. Prison guards said they knew of the existence of the "black" site and saw three detainees removed from Camp Delta several hours before the deaths were reported. Those who knew of the facility referred to it as "Camp No" Army Sgt Joe Hickman told the magazine. He said anyone who asked if the black site existed would be told, "No, it doesn't".

US Muslim men complain of torture in Pakistan prison 19 Jan 2010 Five young Americans who have appeared in a Pakistan court have claimed torture while in detention. The men were arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of trying to join militant Islamist groups. Pakistani police have insisted the men have not been mistreated and had never made any such allegations before they were taken to the courtroom on Monday.

Ma'an journalist enters week 2 in detention 19 Jan 2010 As journalist Jared Malsin wrapped up one week in detention today, a Tel Aviv district judge indicated there were grounds for appealing an expulsion order issued last Tuesday. District Judge Kobi Vardi sought further clarification of the explanation offered by the Israeli Attorney General's Office that Malsin was denied entry for "refusing to cooperate" during an eight-hour interrogation at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.

FBI 'fabricated terror emergencies to get phone records' --Justice department to accuse FBI of invoking crises to obtain details of more than 2,000 calls 19 Jan 2010 The US justice department is preparing a report which concludes that the FBI repeatedly broke the law by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist to obtain more than 2,000 telephone call records over four years from 2002, including those of journalists on US newspapers, according to emails obtained by the Washington Post. The bureau also issued authorisations for the seizure of records after the fact, in order to justify unwarranted seizures.

FBI broke law for years in phone record searches --A Justice Department inspector general's report due out this month is expected to conclude that the FBI frequently violated the law with its emergency requests, bureau officials confirmed. 19 Jan 2010 The FBI illegally collected more than 2,000 U.S. telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records, according to internal bureau memos and interviews. FBI officials issued approvals after the fact to justify their actions. E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats.

Man arrested under Terrorism Act for Doncaster airport Twitter joke --A man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and issued with a life ban from Doncaster's airport after joking on Twitter that he would blow it "sky high" if his flight was delayed. 18 Jan 2010 Paul Chambers made the comment on January 6 after snowfall threatened to delay his plans to travel to Ireland on January 15. "Robin Hood airport is closed," he wrote. "You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" But while most of his friends enjoyed the joke, someone clearly didn't and alerted the police, who arrived on Mr Chambers' doorstep on January 13.

Suspected al Qaeda operative that spent time in North Texas prison on trial today 19 Jan 2010 The trial of MIT-trained Pakistani national Aafia Siddiqui, accused of being an al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] operative who tried to shoot American investigators in Afghanistan in 2008, begins today in New York.

Amnesty says Iraq death sentences are multiplying 19 Jan 2010 Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to halt the mounting number of death sentences being handed out in the run-up to delayed national 'elections' in March. Last week, 11 men were sentenced to death for allegedly committing terrorist acts including truck bombings, and on Sunday Ali Hassan al-Majid, a former senior official under Saddam Hussain known widely as "Chemical Ali," was sentenced to death for the fourth time.

Gunmen kill 5 humanitarian activists in Baghdad 19 Jan 2010 At least five Iraqi civilians have died in Baghdad when unidentified assailants opened fire on them at a non-government organization engaged in humanitarian assistance activities. "Unknown gunmen attacked the office of an Iraqi humanitarian organization in Omar bin Abdulaziz Street in the Azimiya neighborhood, a Sunni Muslim stronghold of north Baghdad, and killed five of its employees," an anonymous Iraqi police source was quoted as saying by the Aswat al-Iraq news agency on Monday. The gunmen, aboard a vehicle, managed to escape the scene after the fatal shootout. ['Unknown gunmen' and/or 'unidentified assailants.' That's code for the Blackwater/Xe terror group. People need to learn to return fire.]

Baghdad to lodge complaint against Blackwater/Xe for September 2007 massacre 19 Jan 2010 Iraq is considering lodging a complaint against the US Blackwater/Xe security firm after a judge dismissed charges that the firm's guards killed Iraqi civilians in an act of wanton aggression. "Our efforts today are designed to support your complaint, and if there are no complaints, Iraq's government will bring the case on your behalf" before a US court, government Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told the victims' families on Monday.

US missiles mow down six in Pakistan 19 Jan 2010 Missiles fired by a US-operated surveillance aircraft have reportedly killed six people in Pakistan's strife-torn northwest. The Tuesday attack targeted a compound and a vehicle in Datta Khel area, 35 kilometers west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the German Press Agency DPA reported.

Two more US soldiers perish in Afghanistan 19 Jan 2010 Two American soldiers have reportedly died in southern Afghanistan in an alleged roadside blast, say the US-led coalition forces. Reporting on the Tuesday incident, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said, "Two ISAF service members from the United States died of their wounds after an improvised explosive device strike in southern Afghanistan today," the AFP reported.

Larijani: US powered Israel's war on Gaza 19 Jan 2010 Iran's parliament speaker says the US and its European allies provided Israel with behind-the-scenes support during its 22-day war on Gaza. "Israel carried out a very barbaric attack against the Gazans. It took none of the international norms and regulations into account," said Ali Larijani, while addressing the international "Gaza, Symbol of Resistance" seminar in Tehran on Tuesday. "The regime used prohibited chemical weapons, and destroyed hospitals, mosques, and civilian infrastructure. It is sad that despite all Israel's human rights violations, the US and other Western powers stood by Tel Aviv throughout the whole ordeal."

Gaza flooded after Israel opens dam gates 18 Jan 2010 Israel has opened the floodgates of one of its dams in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, flooding Palestinian houses and causing severe damage. The Israeli authorities opened the dam's floodgates without any prior warning or coordination with local authorities in Gaza, stunning the residents of the area, the Press TV correspondent in Gaza reported late on Monday.

Israeli forces seize 17 Palestinians in West Bank 19 Jan 2010 Israeli soldiers have arrested 17 Palestinians in pre-dawn raids in a number of occupied West Bank towns. According to the International Middle East Media Center, 15 of those detained in the overnight operations on Monday were from the central West Bank city of Ramallah and nearby villages.

U.N. to send thousands of peacekeepers to Haiti 19 Jan 2010 The United Nations on Tuesday authorized sending 3,500 more peacekeepers to Haiti to try and restore order and protect relief convoys, even as young men scavenged in the rubble of last week's earthquake and U.S. troops helicoptered onto the grounds of the wrecked National Palace to cheers from onlookers.

Palestinians in Gaza donate to Haiti 18 Jan 2010 It might be one of the world’s poorest areas, besieged by its neighbour Israel, but Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have been donating what little they have to help those struck by the earthquake in Haiti. Among the donations collected by a Red Cross representative: toys, toiletries and sweets... Some also gave money.

70,000 deaths from Haitian quake recorded, PM says 19 Jan 2010 Haitian authorities have recorded more than 70,000 deaths since last week's magnitude 7 earthquake outside Port-au-Prince, the country's prime minister said Tuesday. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said that at least 72,000 bodies have been recovered since the quake. That figure does not include bodies buried by families or collected by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Haiti earthquake: medics warn of infection risk to 3 million people 19 Jan 2010 Medics treating survivors of the Haitian earthquake have warned the next big challenge is saving as many as three million hungry, injured and homeless people from deadly infections and diseases. As the pace of food and medical aid arriving into the impoverished country increased, doctors say that public health is now Haiti's major concern.

Royal Caribbean cruise ships such as Navigator of the Seas still escorting vacationers to Haiti 19 Jan 2010 As surviving Haitians fought over scraps of food, luxury cruise ship passengers frolicked heedlessly Monday at a resort just 81 miles from the misery transfixing the world. Royal Caribbean's gigantic 3,100-passenger Navigator of the Seas stopped at a north Haiti beach so tourists could parasail, snorkel and chow down on barbecue. The tourists went ashore at Labadee, a lavish and heavily guarded private beach leased by the cruise line where passengers bounce on trampolines, sip cocktails in a hammock and shop at an ersatz "native market."

Voters stream to polls in special US Senate election 19 Jan 2010 Voters flooded the polls to cast ballots in the unexpectedly close election to succeed the late Edward M. Kennedy in the US Senate. Light snow has not discouraged heavy traffic at polling places. In Boston, nearly 82,000 people, or about 23 percent of registered voters, had cast ballots by 3 p.m., a pace that is well more than double that during the primary last month. Other cities and towns experienced similar waves of voters.

Tornado warning in Los Angeles and Orange counties 19 Jan 2010 A storm moving through Central and Southern California has brought high winds, waves and lightning, prompting a tornado warning and pier closures. Los Angeles County firefighters report minor street and building flooding in some areas of Los Angeles County on Tuesday but there are no reports of major damage or injuries.

Quick action! Senate Vote Tomorrow: Our Polar Bears Need 40-50 Votes (Defenders of Wildlife) 19 Jan 2010 Tomorrow morning, we expect Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Nutjob) -- a politician who has accepted more than a million dollars from polluters -- to introduce an outrageous amendment that would make EPA powerless to enforce the Clean Air Act and protect wildlife and natural resources from the impacts of climate change. Her efforts would weaken a law that has protected people and wildlife for 40 years. Please contact both of your senators today using the information below and urge them to OPPOSE the Murkowski amendment: Please call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected with your senators.

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5 Americans detained in Pakistan shout to reporters: 'We are being tortured' 18 Jan 2010 Five Americans being held in Pakistan on suspicion of terrorism alleged they were being tortured in comments shouted to reporters Monday as they were driven from court. Police and prison authorities denied any ill-treatment, and said the men did not bring up their complaints in court. The allegations could add to political sensitivities surrounding the case, which comes amid growing anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. The five, all Muslims, were detained in December after being arrested at the house of one of their relatives in the Punjabi town of Saragodha.

US accused of 'occupying' Haiti as troops flood in --France accused the US of "occupying" Haiti on Monday as thousands of American troops flooded into the country to take charge of aid efforts and security. 18 Jan 2010 The French minister in charge of humanitarian relief called on the UN to "clarify" the American role amid claims the military build up was hampering aid efforts. Alain Joyandet admitted he had been involved in a scuffle with a US commander in the airport's control tower over the flight plan for a French evacuation flight. "This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Mr Joyandet said. Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers.

Curfew imposed in Haiti capital 18 Jan 2010 The Haitian police and the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti on January 17 imposed a 6pm curfew in the devastated capital city of Port-au-Prince. Under the curfew, no vehicles are allowed, except police and military vehicles or those escorted by the police. Flights are also banned from 6.22pm. [More Haiti news, below.]

U.S. Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret 'Jesus' Bible Codes --Pentagon Supplier for Rifle Sights Says It Has 'Always' Added New Testament References 18 Jan 2010 Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found. The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.

Iraq Inquiry: Britain went to war on 'assumption' of Saddam Hussein WMD 18 Jan 2010 Britain went to war in Iraq on an 'assumption' that Saddam Hussein still possessed weapons of mass destruction, according to Jonathan Powell. Intelligence on Saddam's WMD was not the pivotal factor in Tony Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq, Mr Powell, the former chief of staff to Mr Blair, has told the Chilcot Inquiry. Mr Powell said there was a long-standing "assumption" that Saddam had WMD because of the fact that he had used them in the past.

Shell signs Iraq oil field deal 17 Jan 2010 Oil giant Shell and Malaysia's state-run Petronas oil company finalised a contract on Sunday to develop Iraq's giant Majnoon oil field. In December, Shell and Petronas beat a rival bid from France's Total and China's CNPC to develop the 12.6bn barrel field in southern Iraq. [The mainstream media is ignoring these oil deals. This is, after all, the reason why Bush (and the Coalition of the Bribed) killed over one million Iraqis. --LRP]

Taliban attackers strike at heart of Afghanistan's capital 18 Jan 2010 Seven Taliban attackers, including a suicide bomber driving an ambulance, hit the center of Kabul on Monday morning, killing five people, wounding at least 71 and demonstrating their ability to strike at the hub of the U.S.-backed Afghan government. Gen. Abdul Ghafar Sayed Zada, the head of the criminal investigative division of Kabul's police department, said security forces had shot five of the attackers, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and grenades, not far from President Hamid Karzai's palace, the Ministry of Justice and the Central Bank in Afghanistan's capital.

Taliban attack govt. buildings in Kabul --20 militans occupied several government buildings 18 Jan 2010 Taliban militants have attacked government buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace in the capital city of Kabul, according to officials. Spokesman for the Taliban Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday that 20 of the group's militants had occupied several government buildings. Press TV correspondent Fayez Khorshid in Kabul reported that militants had entered several buildings near the Afghan presidential palace. The Afghan security forces are fighting with the militants at the scene, he added.

US drone strike kills 20 in Pakistan: officials 18 Jan 2010 A US drone attack has killed at least 20 'militants' in a restive Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, where the Pakistani Taliban chief escaped an attack four days ago, officials say. The attack took place on Sunday in the Shaktoi area, 40 kilometres south-east of Miranshah, the main town in the rugged tribal region of North Waziristan, a senior military official said.

Suspected U.S. drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan 18 Jan 2010 A missile strike by what was believed to be a remote-controlled U.S. drone plane killed 15 people Monday in the tribal area of South Waziristan, officials said. The strike, which hit the home of a well-known Taliban supporter, was the third such attack in four days against the militant sanctuary.

US soldier dies in Afghanistan: NATO 17 Jan 2010 An American soldier has died in Afghanistan after being wounded while fighting Taliban-led insurgents, NATO said Sunday. In a brief statement, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the soldier had died on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, an increasingly volatile theatre of the war against the anti-government militants.

'The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public.' The Guantánamo "Suicides": A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle By Scott Horton 18 Jan 2010 Late in the evening on June 9 that year [2006], three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners... The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths "suicides."

3 Blackwater Guards Called Baghdad Shootings Unjustified 17 Jan 2010 Three private security guards mercenaries working for Blackwater Worldwide who witnessed a 2007 episode [Nisour Square] in Baghdad in which at least 17 Iraqi civilians were killed by other Blackwater guards told a federal grand jury that they believed the shootings were unjustified, according to newly unsealed court documents. Two senior United States military officers who arrived at the site soon after the shooting also told investigators that they saw no evidence of insurgent activity that would have justified the shootings, according to the documents.

Iranian prosecutor assassinated in West Azarbaijan 18 Jan 2010 An Iranian prosecutor has been assassinated by two unidentified gunmen in the city of Khoy in the northwestern province of West Azarbaijan. Khoy Governor Ebrahim Mohammadlu told IRIB that Vali Haji-Qolizadeh, the prosecutor of the city, was shot twice in front of his home late on Monday. The assassination came six days after Professor Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, a lecturer at Tehran University, was killed by a [Blackwater?] bomb hidden in a booby-trapped motorbike in Tehran.

Egypt joins Israel in blockade of Gaza By Jean Shaoul 18 Jan 2010 Egypt has intervened forcibly to prevent international aid reaching Gaza, and has implemented new measures aimed at further tightening Israel’s illegal and inhumane blockade. Israel stopped all but the most essential food and medicine entering Gaza in June 2007. Hamas, the Islamist party which won the parliamentary elections against Fatah in January 2006, took control of Gaza in order to pre-empt a Fatah coup backed by Israel, the US, Jordan and Egypt. Israel has also banned virtually all exports from Gaza.

United States Attorney Plans Drug-Terrorism Unit --The new unit, Terrorism and International Narcotics, will employ 21 prosecutors 18 Jan 2010 The United States attorney in Manhattan [Preet Bharara] is merging the two units in his office that prosecute terrorism and international narcotics cases, saying that he wants to focus more on extremist Islamic groups whose members he believes are increasingly turning to the drug trade to finance their activities. The new unit, he said, would be better able to bring drug charges to bear against some terrorists, as well as use a new law that gives federal drug agents the authority to pursue narcotics and terrorism crimes committed anywhere in the world if they can establish a link between a drug offense and a terrorist act or group.

Spanish politician to sue FBI over Bin Laden photo 17 Jan 2010 Spanish politician Gaspar Llamazares threatens to prosecute the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for using his photo to produce al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden's modern image. Llamazares, the former leader of Spain's United Left communist party and the caucus's current spokesperson in the parliament, has expressed 'stupefaction' over the FBI's misuse of his picture to compose a digitally-enhanced photo of the al-Qaeda leader, warning the agency of legal action unless justification is provided.

FBI admits Spanish politician was model for 'high-tech' Osama bin Laden photo-fit --Mr Llamazares said the mistake showed the "low level" of US intelligence services. 16 Jan 2010 The FBI has admitted using a photograph of a bearded Spanish politician as the basis for a mocked-up photofit image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look now. The US state department was forced to withdraw the mocked up photo-image, circulated around the world last week, after the discovery that it was not quite as technically sophisticated as the FBI had originally claimed. Gaspar Llamazares, a member of Spain's communist party and the former leader of the United Left coalition in parliament, said his forehead, hair and jaw-line had been "cut and pasted" from an old campaign photograph. [Notice that the FBI -- which couldn't stop an asthma attack, never mind a terror attack -- picked a leftist as their Osama bin Laden?]

Haiti: We're not here to fight, US troops insist --The US paratrooper had a simple message for the people of Haiti. He said: 'I don't plan on firing a single shot' 18 Jan 2010 The order has come down from on high that when out patrolling the stricken streets of the city of Port-au-Prince, the paratroopers should have their rifles slung behind their backs. None of that strong-arm brandishing of metal that epitomised the early days in Iraq. "We've been told not to draw attention to our guns," the paratrooper, Sgt David Gurba, said. By Monday, the US military was visibly out in force at the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Two mammoth C17 military transport aircraft were on the tarmac, one of which landed in front of us, the other unloading jeeps and armoured vehicles.

Chavez says U.S. occupying Haiti in name of aid --Chavez promised to send as much gasoline as Haiti needs for electricity generation and transport. 17 Jan 2010 Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused the United States of using the earthquake in Haiti as a pretext to occupy the devastated Caribbean country and offered to send fuel from his OPEC nation. "I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on his weekly television show. "They are occupying Haiti undercover. On top of that, you don't see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? ... Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I haven't seen them. Where are they?"

Ortega warns of US deployment in Haiti 17 Jan 2010 Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega says that the United States has taken advantage of the massive quake in Haiti and deployed troops in the country. "What is happening in Haiti seriously concerns me as US troops have already taken control of the airport," Ortega said on Saturday. The Pentagon says it has deployed more than 10,000 soldiers in Haiti to help victims of Tuesday's earthquake. This is while US paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division took control of the main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince on Friday three days after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake brought death and misery to the impoverished nation. "There is no logic that US troops landed in Haiti. Haiti seeks humanitarian aid, not troops. It would be madness [if] we all began to send troops to Haiti," said Ortega. "I hope they will withdraw troops occupying Haiti," he added. Earlier on Thursday, Nicaragua sent 31 military doctors of the Humanitarian Rescue Unit (URH) and humanitarian aid for the victims of the calamity.[WHY is the US government delaying the delivery of lifesaving food and water in Haiti? Is the plan to create a fertile environment for the number of 'security incidents' to skyrocket (which Faux News *can't wait* to overemphasize) so there is a 'need' for Blackwater mercenaries to be sent to destabilize Haiti? --LRP]

Haiti buries 70,000 in mass graves 18 Jan 2010 Haiti has announced that it has buried 70,000 bodies in mass graves as search and rescue personnel are continuing their efforts to find more survivors or dead trapped under the debris caused by last Tuesday's massive earthquake. The country has declared a state of emergency until the end of January and a month-long period of national mourning, Haitian government minister Carol Joseph said on Sunday.

Elderly and abandoned, 84 Haitians await death 17 Jan 2010 There is no food, water or medicine for the 84 surviving residents of the Port-au-Prince Municipal Nursing Home, barely a mile (1 1/2 kilometers) from the airport where a massive international aid effort is taking shape. "Help us, help us," 69-year-old Mari-Ange Levee begged Sunday, lying on the ground with a broken leg and ribs. A cluster of flies swarmed the open fracture in her skull. One man had already died, and administrator Jean Emmanuel said more would follow soon unless water and food arrive immediately. [MSNBC host: 'A field hospital (from Doctors Without Borders) was actually denied permission to land... Why is that?' Miami Herald correspondent: 'That's been happening from the get-go.' The feed was then lost. --MSNBC live, 13:05 ET 17 Jan 2010.]

Haiti-bound Utah group grounded in Florida 18 Jan 2010 They had hoped to arrive today before day's light. But mid-afternoon Monday, a team of 14 Utah doctors and nurses sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and bound for earthquake-ravaged Haiti was stuck in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "It's frustrating," said physician Jeffrey Randle, a rehabilitation specialist with the group. Randle said when they landed in Florida, they were told their private charter plane was delayed.

Doctors Without Borders Cargo Plane With Full Hospital and Staff Blocked From Landing in Port-au-Prince --Demands Deployment of Lifesaving Medical Equipment Given Priority Port-au-Prince 17 Jan 2010 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) urges that its cargo planes carrying essential medical and surgical material be allowed to land in Port-au-Prince in order to treat thousands of wounded waiting for vital surgical operations. Priority must be given immediately to planes carrying lifesaving equipment and medical personnel. Despite guarantees, given by the United Nations and the US Defense Department, an MSF cargo plane carrying an inflatable surgical hospital was blocked from landing in Port-au-Prince on Saturday, and was re-routed to Samana, in Dominican Republic. All material from the cargo is now being sent by truck from Samana, but this has added a 24-hour delay for the arrival of the hospital.

Caricom blocked... as US takes control of airport 17 Jan 2010 The Caribbean Community's emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising Heads of Government and leading technical officials, failed to secure permission Friday to land at that devastated country's airport, now under the control of the United States. Consequently, the Caricom 'assessment mission', that was to determine priority humanitarian needs resulting from the earthquake disaster of Haiti last Tuesday, had to travel back from Jamaica to their respective home destinations. On Friday afternoon the US State Department confirmed signing two 'Memoranda of Understanding' with the Government of Haiti that made official that the United States is in charge of all inbound and outbound flights and aid off-loading...' Prior to the US taking control of Haiti's airport, a batch of some 30 Cuban doctors had left Havana, following Wednesday's earthquake, to join more than 300 of their colleagues who have been working there for more than a year.

Tens of thousands neglected at quake epicentre 17 Jan 2010 The immense scale of the earthquake devastation outside Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, is becoming clearer. People in Leogane, at the quake's epicentre, have so far been left to fend for themselves in ad hoc squatter camps. "It's the very epicentre of the earthquake, and many, many thousands are dead," said World Food Program (WFP) spokesman David Orr.

Bill Clinton arrives in Haiti with supplies 18 Jan 2010 Former president Bill Clinton on Monday visited the devastated Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, where he visited with hospital patients and helped deliver medicine. "I wish every American could see this. It's astonishing what the Haitians have been able to accomplish, performing surgeries at night, with lights, with no anesthesia, using vodka to sterilize equipment," said Clinton, who was joined by daughter Chelsea. "It's heartbreaking to see what has happened to Haiti," he said.

Cuba helping in Haiti --Between 600 and 700 patients treated daily 17 Jan 2010 Steve Kastenbaum gave a laudatory report on CNN about the La Paz hospital where the Cubans are operating in Haiti, with help of Spanish and Latin American surgeons. Kastenbaum reports that La Paz Hospital, established by the Cubans, is one of the only places in Port au Prince currently where ordinary Haitians can be treated. Several dozen surgeries are taking place daily, with few supplies and facilities; the hospital is operating 24 hours a day.

A working hospital in Haiti 17 Jan 2010 CNN's Steve Kastenbaum reports on a hospital which provides quality care for Haiti's earthquake victims. (Video)

Haitians seeking US refuge will be returned 18 Jan 2010 U.S. authorities are readying for a potential influx of Haitians seeking to escape their earthquake-wracked nation, even though the policy for migrants remains the same: with few exceptions, they will go back. So far, fears of a mass migration have yet to materialize. However, conditions in Haiti become more dire each day and U.S. officials don't want to be caught off guard.

Seven dead in China's earthquake 18 Jan 2010 A 4.0-magnitude earthquake has caused landslides in southwestern China, killing at least seven people, according to officials. The Guizhou Earthquake Information Bureau website reported that the quake hit the Guangling district of the Guizhou Province on Sunday.

More HAARP: Argentina hit by 6.3 magnitude earthquake after Haiti and Venezuela 17 Jan 2010 The latest news is a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Argentina after the 7.0 Haiti Earthquake and the 5.6 Venezuela Earthquake, and all less than a week apart. According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered 354 km southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina, the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, at a depth of 21 km, or about 10.5 miles down. The earthquake hit at 8am local time (1200 GMT, 8pm Singapore time).

NYC Haitian Man Arrested in JFK Breach 17 Jan 2010 Officials say a man who left Haiti following the devastating earthquake caused a security breach at John F. Kennedy International Airport that led to an evacuation of a busy terminal. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says Jules Paul Bouloute was arrested Saturday on a charge of criminal trespass. He says Bouloute lives in Brooklyn but was in Haiti during Tuesday's earthquake.

Wellesley Health Dept. gives insulin, not flu vaccine, to school 18 Jan 2010 (MA) A mix up in vaccines led to staffers at a Wellesley elementary school receiving insulin instead of H1N1 shots Friday afternoon, WCVB Boston is reporting. Six of the staffers at the Schofield Elementary School received the wrong shots, provided by the Wellesley Health Department. Some became ill.

Sen. Kerry says Scott Brown supporters engaged in bullying, threats 18 Jan 2010 Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry is calling on Republican Teabagger Scott Brown, who is waging a surging campaign against Democrat Martha Coakley, to curb his supporters, saying that they have engaged in "bullying and threats" in recent days and that some of them are from out-of-state. "I'm no stranger to hard fought campaigns, but what we've seen in the past few days is way over the line and reminiscent of the dangerous atmosphere of Sarah Palin's 2008 campaign rallies. This is not how democracy works in Massachusetts," Kerry said this afternoon in a statement.

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Report: Blackwater 'protecting news outlet' in Haiti 16 Jan 2010 Report via Twitter by Jeremy Scahill: 'Getting reports from #Haiti that #Blackwater is "protecting" at least one major US media outlet's people.'

Frantic race against time to get clean water to Haiti quake survivors --Up to 200,000 are feared dead --Obama promises 'sustained help' 16 Jan 2010 Aid agencies and the US military are engaged in a desperate race to provide earthquake-devastated Haitians with enough clean water to stave off the threat of dehydration and massive outbreaks of waterborne diseases. With hundreds of thousands living on the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, following a catastrophe in which as many as 200,000 may have died, the shortage of clean water was emerging as the new focus of the unfolding disaster. [More Haiti news, below.]

Obama Fort Hood shooting review: need better tracking of "disaffected" individuals --Public Summary of the Inventory of Files Related to Fort Hood Shooting 15 Jan 2010 Communication protocols between DOD and the Department of Justice regarding disaffected individuals, in particular, need to be improved, and the policies governing information sharing and cooperation between the two departments on investigative matters require additional clarification and re-calibration... A more thorough and layered analysis of certain information available to intelligence and law enforcement personnel must be conducted, along with ensuring the appropriate allocation of resources to accomplish that goal.

US releases secret list of Bagram prison detainees --US Defense Department admits some prisoners were under the age of 16 16 Jan 2010 US authorities have released a long-kept secret list of prisoners held at the notorious Bagram prison in north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. The names of the 645 prisoners were published in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU emphasized that many vital records about the prisoners are still being withheld. The list contains only names of the detainees but details such as nationalities and how long they have been held have been blacked out.

Pakistan confirms harboring US drones 16 Jan 2010 Pakistan has confirmed that US forces have used several airbases inside the country in order to launch attacks on Afghanistan. Pakistani Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar told the Senate that the American forces had left all the airbases in JacJobabad, Pasni and Dalbandin "a long time ago."

Anti-terror war has paralysed Pakistan economy, US told 16 Jan 2010 President Asif Ali Zardari said on Friday that the US-led war against terrorism in the region and the consequent violence in Pakistan had almost paralysed the country’s economy. The president was talking to a US delegation led by the Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke. US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson was also present.

Kashmir bombing hurts six Pakistani troops 16 Jan 2010 At least six soldiers have been wounded in the Pakistani-administered Kashmir valley when a bomber targeted a military vehicle. The attack took place on Saturday near the town of Rawalakot, near the de facto border with India.

Revealed: Jack Straw's secret warning to Tony Blair on Iraq 17 Jan 2010 A "secret and personal" letter from Jack Straw, the then foreign secretary, to Tony Blair reveals damning doubts at the heart of government about Blair’s plans for Iraq a year before war started. The letter, a copy of which is published for the first time today, warned the prime minister that the case for military action in Iraq was of dubious legality and would be no guarantee of a better future for Iraq even if Saddam Hussein were removed.

Saddam Hussein: Clearly, the better deal: Hundreds of Iraqis prevented from contesting elections 16 Jan 2010 In a far cry from political reconciliation in war-torn Iraq, the government has barred 500 candidates that had nominated for the March 7 national elections. The Iraq election commission made the decision but has not released the list of candidates banned. The country's current Defence Minister Abdulqadir al-Obeidi, and the nationalist politician Saleh al-Mutlak, however are believed to be on the list. [I am thinking everyone, save US corporaterrorists and Blackwater, wishes Saddam Hussein was running Iraq instead of the US-installed oil dictatorship. --LRP]

Two soldiers killed in Afghanistan blast 16 Jan 2010 Two British soldiers were killed in an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said today. The soldiers, from 3rd Battalion The Rifles, died in the blast near Sangin in Helmand Province yesterday.

Turkish human rights group seeks to sue Ehud Barak 16 Jan 2010 A Turkish human rights group on Friday petitioned a prosecutor to start legal proceedings against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the crimes committed against Palestinians in Gaza Strip. The Istanbul-based Mazlum-Der filed the petition on Friday, just two days before Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is to visit Turkey in a bid to mend ties following last year's war in Gaza and an Israeli official's humiliation of the Turkish ambassador.

As many as 10,000 U.S. troops to be in Haiti by Monday 15 Jan 2010 Up to 10,000 U.S. troops will be off Haiti's shores by Monday to help distribute aid and prevent potential rioting among desperate earthquake survivors, the top U.S. military officer said Friday, as President Obama pledged long-term reconstruction help to President Rene Preval. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said the total American presence in and around the beleaguered country could rise beyond 10,000 as U.S. military officers determine how much assistance may be needed in the days ahead.

U.S. military mobilizes thousands for Haiti relief 15 Jan 2010 The U.S. military is mobilizing thousands of soldiers, sailors and Marines along with members of the Air Force and Coast Guard for relief efforts in Haiti. Air Force special forces were among the first military relief workers to arrive. The Coast Guard has deployed four ships as well as air support for evacuation efforts. The Navy destroyer USS Higgins, with about 320 sailors on board, arrived on Thursday.

US takes control of Haiti airport 16 Jan 2010 The government in Haiti has given the United States temporary control of the airport in the capital Port-au-Prince in an effort to get aid supplies moving more quickly to survivors of Tuesday's earthquake. More than 30 countries are contributing aid and helicopters from a US aircraft carrier have begun delivering supplies to the capital.

Israeli Field Hospital Established in Haiti 16 Jan 2010 earthquake victims in Haiti, settled on the island and built a medical facility on a football field to assist casualties of the collapsed UN headquarters in the capital Port-au-Prince. Search and Rescue teams are already searching the city in an effort to find survivors in the rubble. The IDF delegation of aid arrived to Haiti island on Friday (Jan. 15) and began to establish a field hospital to treat thousands of victims from the earthquake. The hospital will be able to absorb 500 casualties a day. In the afternoon, the hospital is already expected to receive wounded victims. [Too bad Israel doesn't also extend such goodwill toward the people of Gaza.]

Iran dispatches humanitarian aid to Haiti 16 Jan 2010 Iran's Red Crescent society says it has dispatched about 30 tonnes of humanitarian aid including food, tents and medicine to quake-ridden Haiti. "Iran's relief supplies were sent to Haiti via a cargo plane Saturday morning," Head of Iran's Red Crescent Ahmad Esfandiyari said. Tents, sugar, tuna fish and detergents are among Iran's aid supplies to the disaster-hit nation.

Emergency relief flight takes off from Heathrow 16 Jan 2010 An emergency relief flight bound for Haiti has taken off from Heathrow Airport today, a British Airways spokesman said. The Boeing 747 carrying 50 tonnes of supplies left at about 8.30am crewed by a team of 30 volunteer BA pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground staff.

Clinton visits quake-hit Haitians 16 Jan 2010 US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has become the first senior Western official to arrive in Haiti after the earthquake that flattened the capital. Mrs Clinton said she was visiting to express the US's "long-term, unwavering support, solidarity and sympathies"... The UN has meanwhile confirmed the head of its mission in Haiti has been found dead in the rubble of its collapsed HQ.

The US is failing Haiti -- again --There is nobody to co-ordinate the most rudimentary relief and rescue efforts By Patrick Cockburn 16 Jan 2010 The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Five years ago President [sic] Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana... The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive. When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late.

Obama taps Bush, Clinton for Haiti relief role 16 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama says the Haitian earthquake relief effort will not be measured in days or weeks, but in months and even years. Obama is asking former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to coordinate efforts to involve more Americans in the recovery and rebuilding effort that's needed in Haiti. He met with the ex-presidents Saturday at the White House.

Obama asks 'Heckuva job, Brownie' George W. Bush to help with Haiti relief efforts By Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 15 Jan 2010 Mega barf alert AND gag me with a chainsaw! Because George W. Bush did *such* a great job responding to Hurricane Katrina (aka blown levies), President Barack Obama is asking his killer drone soul mate to help with Haiti relief efforts! Such a request assigns legitimacy to the illegitimate P_resident that was Bush, who was installed in a coup d'etat, and serves to permanently elevate Bush from war criminal and torturer (Shock & Awe executor, Waterboarder-in-Chief) to world-class humanitarian.

AP: UN Mission Chief's Body Found In Haiti Rubble --20,000 Bodies Recovered So Far 16 Jan 2010 United Nations officials said the body of Haiti mission chief Hedi Annabi has been found in the rubble of their collapsed headquarters. Haiti's government alone has already recovered 20,000 bodies from this week's earthquake -- not counting those recovered by independent agencies or relatives themselves, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told The Associated Press. He said a final toll of 100,000 dead would "seem to be the minimum."

Haitian doctor takes 100 patients into his home 16 Jan 2010 For years, Claude Surena has treated the sick at his two-story hillside home near the center of the Haitian capital. But a magnitude-7.0 earthquake has brought the 59-year-old pediatrician's involvement to a whole new level. Surena has converted his property into a field hospital for more than 100 quake victims.

Urgent! Emergency aid needed for animal victims of natural disasters --The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is currently responding to the earthquake in Haiti... WSPA will continue to provide up-to-the-minute reports as we get more information from our team in the field through our Animals in Disaster blog.

ColorOfChange --Haiti earthquake relief

Yele.org --Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund

JFK air terminal evacuated after security breach 16 Jan 2010 A security breach prompted the evacuation of an American Airlines terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Saturday, the airline said. Terminal 8 was cleared for several hours and thousands of passengers had to be rescreened after the breach, which happened shortly after 3 p.m. (2000 GMT), American spokesman Charley Wilson said.

JFK terminal is evacuated after security breach 16 Jan 2010 Hundreds of air passengers have had their travel plans disrupted after authorities evacuated a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City because of a security breach. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says travelers at Kennedy's Terminal 8 who had been asked to leave the terminal are being re-screened.

Swine flu was as elusive as WMD. The real threat is mad scientist syndrome --Remember the warnings of 65,000 dead? Health chiefs should admit they were wrong - yet again - about a global pandemic By Simon Jenkins 14 Jan 2010 Mad scientist syndrome is rampant... As it is, the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies sails gaily on, still graced by the presence of Sir Roy Anderson, who happens also to draw a six-figure salary as a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, which made hundreds of millions from the government's panic. Anderson, and GSK, vigorously deny any conflict of interest. The Council of Europe's head of health, Wolfgang Wodarg, is one of the few who have dared blow the whistle on the links between "Big Pharma" and national and supranational agencies. He this week persuaded the council to stage a debate on the "enormous gains" made by GSK and others from the swine flu pandemic.

US military suicides hit record high in 2009 16 Jan 2010 Despite a wide range of prevention efforts, suicides in the US military have risen to a new record high in 2009. The Department of Defense has reported that 160 active-duty army soldiers committed suicide in 2009, up from 140 in 2008.

JP Morgan's $9bn payout stokes bonus fury --Bank made year-end profits of $11.7bn 15 Jan 2010 The Wall Street bank JP Morgan Chase has reignited a political furore over City pay packets by disclosing that it will hand out $9.3bn (£5.73bn) to its investment banking staff around the world despite facing a likely hit of "several hundred million dollars" from Britain's special tax on bankers' bonuses. JP Morgan's 24,654 investment bankers will get an average of $379,000 each after the financial services group surfed a wave of recovery in global markets to notch up year-end profits of $11.7bn, more than double its earnings of $5.6bn during crisis-stricken 2008.

Court to Rule on Right to Privacy for Referendum Petition Signers 16 Jan 2010 The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether the First Amendment requires that the names of people who sign ballot-initiative petitions be kept secret. As in the court’s decision on Wednesday to block the broadcasting of the trial of a challenge to a ban on same-sex marriage in California, the appeal was brought by opponents of such unions who said they feared harassment should their views be made widely known.

Reversing itself, FDA expresses concerns over health risks from BPA 16 Jan 2010 The Food and Drug Administration has reversed its position on the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans, food containers and thousands of consumer goods, saying it now has concerns about health risks. Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease.

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Clerics in Yemen warn of jihad if US sends troops 14 Jan 2010 A group of prominent Muslim clerics warned Thursday they will call for jihad, or holy war, if the U.S. sends troops to fight al-Qaida in Yemen. The group of 15 clergymen includes the highly influential Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani... who is courted by the Yemeni government for his important backing. "If any foreign country insists on aggression and the invasion of the country or interference, in a military or security way, Muslim sons are duty bound to carry out jihad and fight the aggressors," the clerics said in a statement.

Obama wants record $708B for military next year --The extra $33 billion in 2010 would mostly go toward the expansion of the war in Afghanistan. 15 Jan 2010 President Barack Obama will ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned - a request that could be an especially hard sell to some of the administration's Democratic allies.

US drone attacks kill 5 in Pakistan 15 Jan 2010 US drones targeted Pakistan's North Waziristan in the northwest on Friday, killing at least five people, reports said. The area has witnessed a spike in the attacks as the entire tribal belt. Washington has stepped up its drone strikes in Pakistan since seven CIA agents were killed in neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari earlier criticized the US war on terror, saying war efforts in the region had partially paralyzed the country's economy.

US drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan --Hundreds of people, many of them civilians, have been killed since 2006 in CIA-operated drone strikes in Pakistan. 14 Jan 2010 At least 15 people have been killed in the latest American drone attack in the volatile region of North Waziristan in Pakistan. The attack targeted a compound in Pasalkot village on Thursday, according to Pakistan's security forces.

Rocket explodes near ISAF HQ in Kabul 15 Jan 2010 A rocket has hit central Kabul near the German embassy and the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). "There has been a rocket attack in the 10th police district of Wazir Akbar Khan in Kabul," Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada, head of the Kabul Criminal Investigation Bureau, was quoted by AFP as saying. The attack, which took place around 8:05 p.m. (1535 GMT) in the heavily fortified diplomatic district of the city, "caused no casualties," he added.

Mission accomplished! BP, CNPC Pay $500 Mln Signing Fee For Iraq Oilfield 15 Jan 2010 Oil major BP and Chinese partner CNPC have paid a $500 million (306 million pounds) signature bonus due on the contract they won to develop Iraq's supergiant Rumaila oilfield, a senior Iraqi oil sector official said. The Iraqi Oil Ministry and the BP-led consortium also agreed to set the baseline production level at Iraq's biggest oilfield at 1.066 million barrels per day, Dhiya Jaafar, current head of the South Oil Co, told Reuters in the southern oil hub of Basra.

Blair froze out Iraq war dissenters 14 Jan 2010 Tony Blair froze out anyone with concerns about the Iraq war and was not challenged on the issue by a Cabinet that had been "conditioned" to accept that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq inquiry has been told. Lord Turnbull, who as Cabinet Secretary was Britain's most senior civil servant, said that Mr Blair largely surrounded himself with those who would not disagree with him, while those who did have concerns were given almost no time to discuss the issue.

Iraq sentences 11 to death in attacks on government buildings 15 Jan 2010 An Iraqi court Thursday sentenced 11 people to death by hanging after convicting them of carrying out the August bombings of two government ministries that killed more than 100 people in the heart of Baghdad. Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar said a court found the 11 defendants guilty of financing, planning and participating in the Aug. 19 bombings, which devastated the Foreign and Finance ministries.

Officials: DC trial eyed for Gitmo terror detainee 15 Jan 2010 The Obama administration is conducting an intense security review as part of a plan to bring one of the world's most notorious terrorism suspects from Guantanamo Bay to Washington for a trial just steps from the Capitol, officials said. Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, is believed to be the main link between al-Qaida and Jemaah Islamiyah, the terror group blamed for the [CIA] 2002 bombing at a Bali nightclub that killed 202 people.

US army to double weapons stockpiled in Israel 14 Jan 2010 The US military plans to double the amount of military equipment it has stockpiled in Israel under a recent agreement with Tel Aviv. "The deal will double the value of military equipment kept on Israeli soil from 400 million to 800 million dollars," a Pentagon spokesman, Major Shawn Turner told AFP. He ruled out the notion that Iran's nuclear issue was a major factor for the agreement and said that the US Congress initially authorized the expansion in 2007.

Japan ends refueling mission for US forces 15 Jan 2010 Japan's Democratic party-led government in an unprecedented decision has ended its nearly a decade-long refueling mission of the US-led forces in Afghanistan. Incoming reports say Defense Minister Tishimi Kitazawar ordered all naval ships and their hundreds of personnel to return home after nine years of helping supply oil to vessels used by foreign forces that are engaged in a controversial war in landlocked Afghanistan.

Venezuela and the Netherlands By Vonk Netherlands and Hands off Venezuela 13 Jan 2010 The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the "war against drugs". In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela. ...Chávez has accused the Netherlands of supporting aggression against Venezuela, because the Netherlands has given permission to the American armed forces to use the military bases on the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curaçao.

CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program Starts 5th Season in New York City 15 Jan 2010 The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program, which helped more than 200,000 households last winter, officially began its fifth consecutive season today. The president and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Alejandro Granado; the chairman of Citizens Programs Corporation, Joseph P. Kennedy II; and the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Bernardo Álvarez, launched the 2010 edition of the program in New York City with a celebratory ceremony. [Thank you, President Chavez and CITGO! Use the store locator to find CITGO locations.]

Doomsday Clock moves back a minute 14 Jan 2010 A New York timepiece estimating how close humanity is to catastrophic nuclear destruction was being shifted back a minute today. Anti-nuclear campaigners welcomed forecasts by the symbolic Doomsday Clock, created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, that the current threat had lessened.

Italy to train Somali police force on counter terrorism 16 Jan 2010 An Italian specialized unit is to train the Somali police force in counter terrorism operations in a bid to rid the horn of African country [?!?] of terrorist groups. Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister told reporters here on Friday on a one-day visit to Uganda that the anti-terrorism group will be trained in Kenya if the Kenyan government okeys the idea.

US airliner receives 'toilet-bomb' threat 15 Jan 2010 Authorities arrested Friday an American who locked himself up in the toilet of a Michigan-bound US passenger plane and made a bomb threat. US authorities temporarily shut down the Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Michigan to check for bombs in the bathroom of a United Express plane. According to authorities, the suspected man is under interrogation.

4 indicted in Mumbai, Denmark terror plots 15 Jan 2010 A U.S. grand jury indicted four people, including two Chicagoans, for alleged roles in plots against a Danish newspaper and the November 2008 terrorism attack in Mumbai, India. Ilyas Kashmiri, an alleged leader of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, was charged for the first time, according to the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday. The group has "trained terrorists and executed attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian control," Justice said. Kashmiri also is alleged to have links with 'al Qaeda.'

2 Chicago Men Indicted on Federal Terrorism Charges for Mumbai Attack 14 Jan 2010 Two Chicago men were indicted Thursday on charges they planned a violent attack on a Danish newspaper and helped lay the groundwork for the November 2008 terrorist rampage killed 166 people in the Indian city of Mumbai. Businessman Tahawwur Rana and his associate David Coleman Headley already had been charged with assistance to terrorism but the 12-count indictment expanded allegations against Rana to include the Mumbai attacks. Both are in federal custody in Chicago.

'My phone was seized, and I was arrested.' Police fight cellphone recordings --Witnesses taking audio of officers arrested, charged with illegal surveillance 12 Jan 2010 Simon Glik, a lawyer, was walking down Tremont Street in Boston when he saw three police officers struggling to extract a plastic bag from a teenager’s mouth. Thinking their force seemed excessive for a drug arrest, Glik pulled out his cellphone and began recording. Within minutes, Glik said, he was in handcuffs... The charge? Illegal electronic surveillance.

Body Found on NY's Plum Island, Disease Lab Site 15 Jan 2010 A human body has washed ashore on suburban New York's tiny Plum Island, where the U.S. government has an aging lab for studying manufacturing dangerous animal diseases. Police say a security guard on foot patrol discovered the clothed body Thursday afternoon on the southwest beach area of the island, where access is restricted.

NH building samples show 'low levels' of anthrax spores --Woman ill with gastrointestinal anthrax in early December still hospitalized, in stable condition 15 Jan 2010 New Hampshire health officials say four new test samples taken from the building where a woman contracted a rare form of anthrax have shown low levels of anthrax spores. Public Health Director Jose Montero said Friday the samples were taken Jan. 7 from the first floor of the United Campus Ministry in Durham. He said more than 10 samples are inconclusive.

'Some 40,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves.' Haiti says 200,000 may be dead, violence breaks out --Quake could be one of the 10 deadliest in history 15 Jan 2010 As many as 200,000 people died in the earthquake that devastated Haiti and and three-quarters of the capital, Port-au-Prince, will need to be rebuilt, authorities in the Caribbean country said on Friday. "We have already collected around 50,000 dead bodies. We anticipate there will be between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total, although we will never know the exact number," Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told Reuters. Some 40,000 bodies had been buried in mass graves, Secretary of State for Public Safety Aramick Louis said.

Haiti earthquake: corpses used as roadblocks as anger grows 15 Jan 2010 Angry Haitians have used corpses of the dead to set up roadblocks in Port-au-Prince to protest at the delay in emergency aid reaching the country after a devastating earthquake. Shaul Schwarz, a photographer for TIME magazine, said he saw at least two downtown roadblocks formed with bodies of earthquake victims and rocks. "They are starting to block the roads with bodies, it's getting ugly out there, people are fed up with getting no help," he said.

US military moves in troops, ships to aid quake-hit Haiti 14 Jan 2010 The first contingent of thousands of US troops headed to Haiti Thursday as the military mobilized an array of ships, planes and helicopters to provide emergency aid after a massive earthquake. A company of about 100 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division were expected in quake-hit Haiti by the evening, with the remainder of their 3,500-strong brigade due to arrive by Sunday, Pentagon officials said. "They will provide humanitarian assistance and relief and security as required," army spokesman Gary Tallman told AFP.

Cuba increases aid to Haiti 14 Jan 2010 On Wednesday morning, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla received his counterpart from the Republic of Suriname, Lygia Louise Irene Kraag-Keteldijk, who is on an official visit to our country. As part of official talks between the two ministers, Rodríguez gave a detailed explanation of the situation of Cuban cooperation workers in the Republic of Haiti. In that context, he clarified that there are currently "403 Cuban cooperative personnel, 334 of whom are working in the heath sector as doctors and paramedics," in the devastated country.

Obama team grants special status to Haitian nationals in U.S. 15 Jan 2010 The Obama administration is allowing Haitian nationals who were in the United States at the time of Tuesday's earthquake to over-stay their visa for the next 18 months. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stated: 'This is a disaster of historic proportions and this designation will allow eligible Haitian nationals in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months...'

Swine flu vaccine sales hit $1.36B 16 Jan 2010 British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline said Friday that sales of its swine flu vaccine products totaled 835 million pounds (944 million euros, $1.36 billion) in the fourth quarter of last year. "GSK today confirmed that approximately 130 million doses of its pandemic H1N1 adjuvanted vaccine were shipped to governments in the fourth quarter of 2009," the London-listed firm said in a statement.

WHO official denies exaggeration about dangers of swine flu pandemic 15 Jan 2010 A top World Health Homicide Organization official Thursday dismissed charges that the agency exaggerated the threat posed by the H1N1 virus and that it had been unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry to issue dire warnings about the swine flu pandemic. "The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is both wrong and irresponsible," Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO director general on pandemic influenza, told reporters during a briefing. "We did take very great care that the advice it received is not unduly influenced." [Um, except when the virus was *let loose* by one of the corporations that made a *killing* on the pandemic. See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009.]

Pandemic Flu Scare Fades, Vaccine Glut Seen for Glaxo 15 Jan 2010 The [phony] influenza pandemic that swept the globe... resulted in an unprecedented glut of vaccine as fewer people than expected have sought immunization. Sagging demand has left governments worldwide with surpluses of swine flu vaccine. Many are now selling or donating the excess or slashing pending orders. The biggest vaccine makers -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Sanofi-Aventis SA, Baxter International Inc., Novartis AG and CSL Ltd. -- are seeing a potential $7.6 billion sales windfall shrink, analysts said.

Fast Food, Fast Capitalism, Fast Politics --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. 14 Jan 2010 Fast capitalism also includes the military and intelligence industry whose production is destruction, detention, political intervention, and ultimately the illegitimate appropriation of geo-political assets. The crisis of capitalism - fast capitalism - and not the mostly empty threat of terrorism - accounts for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and soon possibly, Yemen. Diminishing returns on capital and fast capitalism's need to acquire assets using tax payer money and thus at low investor cost leads to wars. This is capitalism's natural tendency toward imperialism. Likewise, instead of ending, these wars have been intensified and extended under a new administration, regardless of fast promises.

JPMorgan Chase books $3.3 billion profit 15 Jan 2010 JPMorgan Chase showed it was close to making a full recovery from last year's crisis after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly profits of $3.3 billion Friday. The New York City-based banking giant also revealed that compensation expenses climbed 18% during the year to $26.9 billion, much of which is expected to doled out in the form of bonuses.

Banks Set for Record Pay --Top 38 Firms on Pace to Award $145 Billion for '09, Up 18%, WSJ Study Finds 14 Jan 2010 Major U.S. banks and securities firms are on pace to pay their people about $145 billion for 2009, a record sum that indicates how compensation is climbing despite fury over Wall Street's pay culture. An analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows that executives, traders, investment bankers, money managers and others at 38 top financial companies can expect to earn nearly 18% more than they did last year--and slightly more than in the record year of 2007. [People aren't furious enough. We need more fury.]

Major Antarctic glacier is 'past its tipping point' 13 Jan 2010 A major Antarctic glacier has passed its tipping point, according to a new modelling study. After losing increasing amounts of ice over the past decades, it is poised to collapse in a catastrophe that could raise global sea levels by 24 centimetres. Pine Island glacier (PIG) is one of many at the fringes of the West Antarctic ice sheet. In 2004, satellite observations showed that it had started to thin, and that ice was flowing into the Amundsen Sea 25 per cent faster than it had 30 years before.

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US quake victims evacuated to Guantanamo 14 Jan 2010 Four members of the American embassy staff in Haiti have been evacuated to the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, officials said. They are receiving medical treatment for critical injuries, officials said. The base houses the controversial US military prison for terrorism suspects, but the US military says it may also be used to help with relief efforts in Haiti.

150 U.N. staff members remain trapped under rubble in Haiti 14 Jan 2010 The United Nations appears to have suffered its greatest loss of life in a single incident as about 150 of its employees in Haiti, including the mission's leader, remained trapped Wednesday under the rubble of their headquarters and other U.N. facilities after Tuesday's massive earthquake.

Haiti earthquake: race to provide aid as 100,000 feared dead 14 Jan 2010 Fears are growing for thousands of people who survived the earthquake that flattened most of the Haitian capital but are now without food, clean water and proper medical care. The US is planning a massive military response to the disaster, saying that ships, helicopters, transport planes and a 2,000-member Marine unit are either on the way or likely to begin moving soon. But their arrival may be too late for thousands of Port-au-Prince residents.

Israel sends field hospital to Haiti; more than 100,000 feared dead 14 Jan 2010 Haitians piled bodies along the streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake to hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the United Nations peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped... The Israeli Foreign Ministry has prepared a rescue team for departure to the disaster-stricken country, including an elite army corps engineers and a field hospital to assist the casualties.

Agencies help quake rescue effort 13 Jan 2010 Emergency crews, charities and the UK government are co-ordinating efforts to help with the rescue operation in Haiti after it was hit by an earthquake. The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit south of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince is feared to have killed thousands of people across the Caribbean country.

Tens of thousands feared dead after Haiti earthquake 14 Jan 2010 Haitian leaders estimated Wednesday that tens of thousands of people have died in the aftermath of the earthquake that throttled this impoverished Caribbean nation, as the United States and other countries mobilized a vast rescue and relief effort to assist the legion of desperate survivors.

Doctors Without Borders --Haiti earthquake relief

Iran's speaker accuses Obama of terrorism 14 Jan 2010 Parliament speaker Ali Larijani, Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, accused US President Barack Obama of state terrorism on Wednesday over the killing in Tehran of a leading atomic scientist. In an angry address to Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament, Larijani reiterated Iranian charges that the US Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad were behind the scientist’s death in a bombing on Tuesday.

Afghan anger over NATO 'Koran burning' in Kandahar 13 Jan 2010 Protesters alleging that foreign troops burned a copy of the Koran have clashed with Afghan and coalition troops in Helmand province, police say. They said that at least six people were killed in the violence which took place in Garmsir district. Violence erupted on Tuesday in the Garmsir district over rumours that Nato-led forces had defiled a copy of the Muslim holy book during a military operation, local residents and police said.

Afghan protesters killed as security forces open fire 13 Jan 2010 At least six people were killed when security forces opened fire during a protest against international troops in southern Afghanistan yesterday, Afghan officials said, in the latest in a string of demonstrations fuelled by resentment of foreign forces. News agencies quoted Afghan officials as saying at least 10 people were also wounded in the clash involving Afghan security forces in Helmand province, sparked by allegations that foreign troops had destroyed copies of the Quran.

Bit-part role for Britain as US plans to control key Afghan routes 14 Jan 2010 A restructure of the rotating command has been ordered to account for the change in troop numbers from Nato forces US forces are set to take over the dominant role in southern Afghanistan from the British under plans for a wholesale rebuilding of the region’s command structure. The Times learnt that the existing arrangement for Regional Command South, an area the size of England and Wales, is to be abandoned after the arrival of about 21,000 US troops in the south last year with another 18,000 to 20,000 due this year.

Two U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan 14 Jan 2010 Two U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday by an improvised explosive device in eastern Afghanistan, NATO said. The report on the Web site of NATO's International Security Assistance Force gave no other details. "Two ISAF service members from the United States were killed today (Wednesday) as a result of an IED strike in eastern Afghanistan," the report said.

US drone attack kills 10 in Pakistan 14 Jan 2010 At least 10 people have been killed in the latest American drone attack in the volatile region of North Waziristan in Pakistan. The attack targeted a compound in Pasalkot village on Thursday, according to Pakistan's security forces. "At least 10 people were killed in the missile strike," a senior security official told AFP. [They don't 'hate us for our freedoms.' They hate us for our war crimes. --LRP]

Brown refuses giving testimony on Iraq war 13 Jan 2010 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is resisting calls to give evidence at a public inquiry into the Iraq war ahead of the general elections. On Wednesday, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called on Brown to give his evidence before people decide how to vote on his record in government. The move suggests the Liberal Democrats hope to benefit in the election contest from the unpopularity of the Iraq war, which they opposed.

'Saudi claims against Iran part of US plot' 14 Jan 2010 A Saudi scholar says Riyadh's allegation that 'Iran is meddling in Yemen's domestic affairs' is part of a US conspiracy against the Islamic Republic. Ali Al-Ahmed, the founder and director of an independent think-tank in Washington told Press TV that Saudi Arabia follows the United States' policy and fuels the West "anti-Iran wave" in the region.

New Saudi air raids claim more civilians in Yemen 14 Jan 2010 Yemen's Houthi fighters say Saudi war planes have once again pounded civilian areas in the country's north, killing three members of a family. The Houthis have reported 18 airstrikes by Saudi war planes in the northern al-Razih district. The attacks killed a man and his two daughters, they said.

Ex-Blackwater guard held without bail 13 Jan 2010 A former Blackwater security contractor mercenary accused of killing Afghan civilians must be held in jail without bond, a U.S. judge has ruled. U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller issued the order Tuesday in Norfolk, Va., in the case of Christopher Drotleff, 29, who is facing murder charges in the May deaths of the two civilians during what prosecutors allege was a drunken rampage in Kabul, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported.

Iraq war veteran arrested over 'violent' rap song --A US soldier has been arrested and charged after recording a rap song threatening to kill senior officers and then sending a copy to the Pentagon. 14 Jan 2010 Marc Hall, 34, an infantry soldier, said he wrote the song in protest at being sent back to Iraq where he had already served a 14-month tour. In it he describes going on a shooting spree and includes the lyrics: "I got a magazine with 30 rounds, on a three-round burst, ready to fire down. Still against the wall, I grab my M-4, spray and watch all the bodies hit the floor." Mr Hall, from South Carolina, was arrested before re-deploying and is being held at a military jail in Georgia.

Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List 14 Jan 2010 Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name "was on the list," she recalled. The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried. After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this year’s vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home. "Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch -- someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal," Mrs. Hicks recounted. [Sounds like a job for Detectives Munch and Stabler. Get Law & Order: SVU on the case. --LRP]

Boston's Logan Airport unveils anti-terrorism robot 13 Jan 2010 (MA) A robot that can help detect and disarm explosives is now in service at Logan International Airport. The robot unveiled on Tuesday was developed by Black-I Robotics, a Tyngsborough company. The robot will be used to prevent potential terrorist attacks at the airport. It was funded by congressional appropriations in the 2008 and 2010 'defense' budgets.

FBI Analyst Sues Over Termination 13 Jan 2010 A former Federal Bureau of Investigation research specialist who says he was fired after coming under false suspicion in an espionage-related investigation of a pro-Israel group has sued to clear his name. The plaintiff, who filed as John Doe in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, says in the Jan. 7 complaint he was fired in 2008 in connection with the probe of two American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman.

Doomsday clock to be moved by world's top scientists tomorrow 13 Jan 2010 The minute hand of the famous Doomsday Clock will be moved at 3pm tomorrow afternoon, for the first time in two years. The timepiece in New York conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction, which is represented by midnight. It was created by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 1947, two years after the U.S dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan in World War II. It was originally set at seven minutes to midnight.

WHO to look into claims it exaggerated swine flu 14 Jan 2010 The World Health Organisation is to examine its handling of the swine flu pandemic after accusations that it exaggerated the dangers of the virus under pressure from drug companies. Council of Europe parliamentarian Wolfgang Wodarg called for an inquiry into what he called a "false pandemic" and the way it was handled at national and European levels, claiming pressure from pharmaceutical firms. The Council of Europe is to discuss the claim and whether drug companies influenced public health officials to spend money unnecessarily on stockpiles of H1N1 vaccines later this month.

Flu fascism alert! Two CAMC workers fired after refusing flu vaccine 13 Jan 2010 (WV) Charleston Area Medical Center plans to terminate two employees for refusing to take a seasonal flu vaccine. The hospital implemented a new policy over the summer requiring all employees to receive the vaccines, either by injection or nasal mist form. Workers were given until Friday to be vaccinated. Some employees were allowed exemptions from the policy because of allergies and other conditions, but hospital spokesman Dale Witte said he is unsure how many employees received exemptions. All exempted employees had to undergo evaluations to prove they had extenuating medical conditions, he has said.

Health Insurers Funded Chamber Attack Ads 13 Jan 2010 Just as dealings with the Obama administration and congressional Democrats soured last summer, six of the nation's biggest health insurers began quietly pumping big money into third-party television ads aimed at killing or significantly modifying the major health reform bills moving through Congress. That money, between $10 million and $20 million, came from Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans, UnitedHealth Group and Wellpoint, according to two health care lobbyists familiar with the transactions. The companies are all members of the powerful trade group America's Health Insurance Plans.

Health bill may be lenient on employers --Killing off the strong employer mandate in the House version would represent a substantial victory for business lobbies. 13 Jan 2010 Democratic leaders negotiating a compromise health care bill appear likely to reject a House provision requiring employers to offer generous coverage to their workers or else pay a steep payroll tax, specialist say. The handful of moderate Senate DemocRATs who hold the political upper hand in shaping the final bill are expected to insist on hewing much closer to the Senate’s relatively lenient approach, which does not include a strong requirement that employers offer coverage.

'He double-crossed me. Let's not do what he wants.' 24 Jan 2010 Harry Reid was hoarse and hacking, drawn and more stooped than usual on a Sunday morning 12 days before Christmas... Joseph Lieberman (I-Israel) had announced on CBS’s "Face the Nation" that he would not support the Senate health care plan, which meant that Reid did not have the 60 votes he needed. Lieberman’s announcement, which torpedoed a compromise that Reid helped to midwife, caught the Senate majority leader by surprise. Reid had spoken with Lieberman two days earlier, and one of Lieberman’s top aides participated in the Saturday-afternoon conference call that Reid orchestrates for Democratic senators who will be appearing on the Sunday talk shows. "He double-crossed me," Reid said stiffly, associates later recounted. "Let’s not do what he wants. Let the bill just go down."

Supreme Court bars broadcast of Prop 8 trial in California 14 Jan 2010 The Supreme Court split along ideological lines Wednesday as it barred a federal judge in San Francisco from broadcasting a high-profile trial involving same-sex marriage. The court issued an unsigned opinion that said lower courts had not followed proper procedure in approving plans for the broadcast. The trial is to consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage. The court's liberal bloc issued a strong dissent. It said the court's "extraordinary legal relief" was unjustified. [Nazis voting NO: (The usual anti-democractic pile of sh*t) Chief 'Justice' John G. Roberts Jr. and 'Justices' Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.]

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