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


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

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February 2008 Archives

US accused of using 'kangaroo court' to try men accused of role in September 11 attacks 12 Feb 2008 The United States military announced yesterday that it was bringing death penalty charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other men suspected of orchestrating the September 11 attacks, and intended to try them under the Bush regime's much-criticised military tribunal system, which is subject only to partial oversight by the civilian appeals system. The decision to use Mohammed and the others as guinea-pigs in a constitutionally dubious legal proceeding is likely to trigger a firestorm of anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world and spark a fractious domestic debate in an already highly charged presidential election year.

U.S. charges 6 for roles in 9/11 attacks 12 Feb 2008 The Pentagon has charged six detainees at Guantanamo Bay with murder and war crimes in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Officials said Monday they'll seek the death penalty in what would be the first capital trials under the terrorism-era military tribunal system.

Military Prosecutors Will Seek Death for Sept. 11 'Suspects' 11 Feb 2008 The Pentagon announced today that it has charged six prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison with conspiring to carry out the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that military prosecutors will seek the death penalty for each. [The real perpetrators of the 9/11 terrorist attacks continue to illegally occupy the White House. Let's get their waterboarding, trial, and penalty phase underway. --LRP]

CIA used waterboarding on 9/11 suspect KSM 11 Feb 2008 The Pentagon on Monday sought murder and conspiracy charges against the alleged planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and five others. Mohammed was subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding during CIA interrogations torture.

U.S. September 11 trial could reignite rights debate 11 Feb 2008 A trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, meant to exact justice for the September 11 attacks, will also fuel debate over whether the United States violated human rights when it subjected prisoners to waterboarding and other harsh treatment in its war on [of] terrorism, analysts said.

Blair went to war on a lie, law lords told 12 Feb 2008 The mothers of two teenage soldiers killed in Iraq accused Tony Blair's government of going to war "on a lie" as they took their fight for a public inquiry into the conflict to the House of Lords. Beverly Clarke and Rose Gentle argue that ministers breached their duty to Britain's armed forces by failing to ensure the invasion was lawful.

Brown under pressure to set up Iraq inquiry 12 Feb 2008 Gordon Brown is under pressure to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war next month by announcing an independent inquiry to ensure vital lessons are learnt.

Webb Suggests Legal Action Against Bush On Iraq 11 Feb 2008 Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) thinks legal action against the Bush administration may be needed if the president pursues a long-term military presence in Iraq without Congress' approval.

Gates likely to stop Iraq troop withdrawals 11 Feb 2008 The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, said today that he is likely to stop withdrawing troops from Iraq at the end of this summer, setting the stage for renewed quarrels with congressional Democrats and Pentagon officials fearful of placing undue strain on the American military.

British photojournalist and his interpreter kidnapped 12 Feb 2008 A British photojournalist and his interpreter have been kidnapped in Basra, it was disclosed last night. The journalist was reportedly near the Qasral-Sultan hotel in the southern Iraqi city on Sunday, when a group of [US] armed men forced him and his interpreter inside a car and took them to an unknown location, according to police sources in the city.

CBS Journalists Working in Basra, Iraq, Are Missing 11 Feb 2008 Two journalists working for the news division of CBS Corp. in Basra, Iraq, are missing, the network said today without identifying them.

U.S.-led Sunni militias turn guns on Iraqi police 11 Feb 2008 U.S.-backed Sunni militiamen have killed three police officers and injured three others, an Iraqi security source refusing to be named said. It is the first time U.S.-financed Sunni militias turn their guns against government police forces.

Blackwater is a busy little bee! Car bomb, gas link blast cut power to north Iraq 11 Feb 2008 A blast at a gas pipeline feeding a power station on Monday and a car bomb targeting power lines at another station the day before have cut electricity to a quarter of Iraq's roughly 27 million people, officials said. [Right, another undocumented war crime carried out by the US in Iraq.]

19 killed in Baghdad car bombings 11 Feb 2008 Two car bombs rocked Baghdad on Monday, killing 19 people and injuring 45 as US Defence Secretary [war criminal] Robert Gates was winding up a two-day visit to the violent Iraqi capital, officials said.

U.S. soldier killed in bomb attack in Iraq 11 Feb 2008 An American soldier was killed and two others were injured by a roadside bomb explosion in Diyala province in northeast of Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Monday.

Soldier, After Bipolar Treatment and Suicide Attempts, Sent Back to War Zone 11 Feb 2008 A Fort Carson soldier who says he was in treatment at Cedar Springs Hospital for bipolar disorder and alcohol abuse was released early and ordered to deploy to the Middle East with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

Miliband urges NATO not to abandon Afghanistan 11 Feb 2008 Afghanistan could degenerate into a "failed state" if NATO were to pull out troops and abandon efforts to stabilise the country, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday.

Russian Bombers Intercepted Near U.S. Ship --One Plane Buzzed An American Aircraft Carrier In The Western Pacific 11 Feb 2008 U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian bombers, including one that buzzed an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific during the weekend, The Associated Press has learned.

Extra Aussie troops arrive in East Timor 12 Feb 2008 Australian troops began arriving in East Timor today to help enforce a two-day state of emergency declared after a double assassination attempt that left its president in hospital with triple gunshot wounds.

Four arrested in US-China spy cases 11 Feb 2008 The US on Monday announced a series of arrests in cases involving alleged spying by the Chinese government, including one where a Pentagon official was alleged to have helped Beijing obtain secret information.

'Earth-Shattering' Events Worry Chertoff 11 Feb 2008 Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff's eyes narrow and his voice develops a stern, urgent tone as he reveals America's biggest vulnerability to terrorism. "The great weapon they have is persistence and patience, and the one weakness that we have is the tendency to lose patience and become complacent," Chertoff tells WTOP.

Hundreds evacuated from North Sea oil platform after 'dream' sparks bomb alert --Union says emergency reaction was 'madness' 11 Feb 2008 A 23-year-old woman is expected to appear in court today after reports of a bomb on a North Sea oil rig sparked a full-scale emergency operation involving the army, RAF and police. According to one report, the scare started when a woman employee on the rig was overheard recalling a dream she had had about a bomb on the platform.

Gunman had explosives 11 Feb 2008 U.S. Capitol Police found explosive materials in the impounded pickup truck driven by the man charged with carrying a loaded shotgun on Capitol Hill, according to sources. The components that could be used to make a pipe bomb were discovered behind the passenger seat on Feb. 8 -- three weeks after Michael Gorbey was taken into custody [!], a source told The Hill.

Travelers to Europe May Face Fingerprinting 12 Feb 2008 The European Commission will propose tomorrow that all foreign travelers into and out of Europe, including U.S. citizens, should be fingerprinted. If approved by the European Parliament, the measure would mean that precisely identifying information on tens of millions of citizens will be added in coming years to databases that could be shared by friendly governments around the globe.

More screening planned at 7 airports 11 Feb 2008 To increase security and weed out potential terrorists, workers at seven airports nationwide will undergo more vigorous screening beginning in May.

Judge OKs White House e-mail probe 11 Feb 2008 A federal judge agreed Monday to allow a private group [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] to delve into the operations of an office at the White House as part of a controversy over whether large amounts of e-mail have disappeared. The citizens group says more than 10 million e-mails were not properly retained and recently called for a criminal investigation.

Lawmakers Launch Probe Into Whether CDC Withheld Information About Long-Term Cancer Risks of FEMA Trailers 11 Feb 2008 In a letter to CDC Director Julie Gerberding on Wednesday, three members of the House Committee on Science and Technology said the panel is launching an investigation into "disturbing allegations" that agency officials withheld vital information about the potential cancer risks associated with trailer housing provided to Gulf Coast residents after Hurricane Katrina, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The committee also plans to investigate whether CDC retaliated against Atlanta scientist Christopher De Rosa after he sought to make the risks public.

Democratic rivals crisscross Potomac on eve of primaries 12 Feb 2008 Inside and outside the Beltway, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton spent the day before a regional primary here making last-minute appeals Monday that featured the kind of cold political calculation common in the capital.

For Clinton, Bid Hinges on Texas and Ohio 12 Feb 2008 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and her advisers increasingly believe that, after a series of losses, she has been boxed into a must-win position in the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4, and she has begun reassuring anxious donors and superdelegates that the nomination is not slipping away from her, aides said on Monday.

Ron Paul declares he won't back McCain 12 Feb 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul, a Texas congressman, said he will not back John McCain if he is the party's nominee unless the Arizona senator "has a lot of change of heart." "I cannot support anybody with the foreign policy he advocates, you know, perpetual war. That is just so disturbing to me," Paul said in a Monday telephone interview. "I think it's un-American, unconstitutional, immoral and not Republican."

Huckabee won't concede state; GOP resuming delegate count 10 Feb 2008 The results of the state Republican caucuses were called into question today after presidential candidate Mike Huckabee challenged the party's declaration that Arizona Sen. John McCain had won the delegate count.

Criticism of L.A. County's voting system grows --About 100,000 nonpartisan voters cast ballots without marking a party bubble. The registrar plans to estimate uncounted votes. But the outcome isn't expected to change. 11 Feb 2008 Across Los Angeles County, many nonpartisan voters who cast ballots in the Democratic primary have learned to their dismay that their votes in the presidential contest did not matter.

AP Poll: Leaving Iraq Will Help Economy 08 Feb 2008 The heck with Congress' big stimulus bill. The way to get the country out of recession -- and most people think we're in one -- is to get the country out of Iraq, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey...

BlackBerries Darkened In Nationwide Outage 11 Feb 2008 A major service outage afflicted users of the popular, addictive BlackBerry smart phones across the United States and Canada on Monday, wireless carriers said. Officials with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. told them customers of all wireless carriers were affected.

Price of stamp to increase in May 11 Feb 2008 Mailing a letter will soon cost a penny more. The cost of a first-class stamp will rise to 42 cents starting May 12, the U.S. Postal Service said Monday.

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It's Hard out Here for a Pimp (like Shuster): Cable "News" and the Pimping of Myth --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 10 Feb 2008 Remarks by MSNBC reporter/anchor, David Shuster, about pimping Chelsea Clinton have caused a petit mal convulsion... On the first level of signification, the level of language, the comment posits Hillary in the role of pimp, and Chelsea in the role of prostitute. Despite the remonstrance of Republicans, Obama fans, and other Clinton haters-that the vernacularism has been divested of its strict denotation and the word "pimp" has lost its sexual significance- "pimp" still retains the meaning of sexual hustler. That's exactly how such vernacularisms work.

5th cable cut fuels allegations of isolating Iran 09 Feb 2008 Conspiracy theories of deliberately cutting communication lines to West Asia, primarily Iran, gained ground in the media and blogs as reports of another undersea cable cut -- the fifth successive one in just a week's time -- started emerging in cyberspace. While the extent of Iran's isolation was unclear, many blogs alleged that the cable cuts and outages in West Asia were a ploy by an intelligence agency [CIA] to disrupt Iranian commerce, targeting an emerging petroleum exchange that the country was shortly hoping to roll out.

Two undersea cables off Egypt, UAE, repaired 10 Feb 2008 Services on two of three broken undersea cables providing Internet services to parts of the Middle East and Asia have been restored after both cables were repaired, an Indian-owned cable operator said on Sunday.

U.S. Said to Seek Execution for 6 in Sept. 11 Case 11 Feb 2008 Military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for six Guantánamo prisoners who are to be charged with central roles in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, government officials who have been briefed on the charges said Sunday. [OMFG! They're going to try and execute the wrong people!!]

'The study chided President [sic] Bush -- and by implication Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.' Army Buried Study Faulting Iraq Planning 11 Feb 2008 After 18 months of research, RAND Corporation submitted a report in the summer of 2005 called "Rebuilding Iraq." RAND researchers provided an unclassified version of the report along with a secret one, hoping that its publication would contribute to the public debate on how to prepare for future conflicts. But the study’s wide-ranging critique of the White House, the Defense Department and other government agencies was a concern for Army generals, and the Army has sought to keep the report under lock and key. A review of the lengthy report -- a draft of which was obtained by The New York Times -- shows that it identified problems with nearly every organization that had a role in planning the war.

Pelosi calls Iraq a 'failure' 10 Feb 2008 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said twice Sunday that Iraq "is a failure," adding that President Bush’s troop surge has "not produced the desired effect." [Pelosi should have added Afghanistan to the list of Bush's lost wars.]

America's Sunni allies go on strike in Iraq's Diyala province --Allege police chief is running a death squad 08 Feb 2008 Members of U.S.-allied bribed citizen brigades went on strike Friday in Diyala province, alleging that the provincial police chief there is running a death squad. Abu Mina, one of the leaders of the [US-bought] citizens groups in Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, said his group demanded the resignation of Gen. Ghanim al Quraishi three days ago and had given authorities evidence that Quraishi was involved in death-squad activities.

Blackwater is a busy little bee! Poisoned cake kills 2 in Baghdad 11 Feb 2008 Two children have died and five other people are seriously ill after eating a cake poisoned with thallium delivered to a soccer club in Baghdad.

US sniper shot unarmed man 11 Feb 2008 A sniper in the US Army has been found guilty of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian and planting evidence on his body. Jurors deliberated for three hours yesterday before finding Sgt Evan Vela guilty of murder without premeditation. He had previously been charged with premeditated murder but that charge was changed during his court martial in Baghdad.

Shadowy tactics of US troops in Iraq 11 Feb 2008 A military prosecutor called it "a simple case" of murder. But the conviction of a US army sniper in Baghdad [Sergeant Evan Vela] for the killing of an unarmed man has provided a glimpse of the shadowy tactics employed by American forces in Iraq and the sleep-deprived conditions under which they are forced to operate.

Gates: Iraq Drawdown May Be Delayed 11 Feb 2008 Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday publicly endorsed, for the first time, the idea of a pause in the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq this summer.

Gates in Iraq amid deadly attacks 11 Feb 2008 As US defence secretary Robert Gates arrived in Iraq, car-bomb and gun attacks against US allies, police and civilians occurred in northern Iraq, killing up to 53 people.

US defence secretary on surprise visit to Iraq --Bush admits seeking military presence in Iraq for 'years' but pledges not to establish permanent bases. 10 Feb 2008 US Defence Secretary Robert Gates made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Sunday for talks with top US military commanders and Iraqi leaders to assess progress on the security and political fronts.

More than 50 killed in Iraq 11 Feb 2008 Car bombs and gunmen struck new U.S. allies, police and civilians Sunday in northern Iraq, killing as many as 53 people.

Armored vehicle firm files Chapter 11 07 Feb 2008 Protected Vehicles, a company that builds bomb-resistant vehicles for the military, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing $58 million in liabilities and the U.S. Marines as its largest creditor. The Marines have a $15.8 million claim against the company, according to court documents.

US warns of 'implosion' of Nato alliance in Afghanistan 11 Feb 2008 The US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, appealed directly to Europeans yesterday to support the war in Afghanistan, warning that violence and terrorism would increase if Nato was defeated there.

'Terror threats' close Norway's Afghan embassy 10 Feb 2008 Norway's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was closed on Sunday due to "terror threats,'' a Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Iran high on the agenda for Olmert's Berlin talks 10 Feb 2008 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert plans to use a visit to Germany beginning on Sunday to lobby for tougher measures to force Iran to curb a nuclear programme he has called a threat to Israel's existence.

Israel may target Hamas leaders 11 Feb 2008 Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, yesterday indicated that leaders of the Islamic group Hamas could be targeted for assassination.

Why It Was Called 'Water Torture' 10 Feb 2008 Last week, much to my dismay, government officials testified before Congress that the United States has used the interrogation technique known as waterboarding and would like to hold out the option of using it in the future. As someone who has experienced waterboarding, albeit in a controlled setting, I know that the act is indeed torture... It's an experience our country should not subject people to.

Bush orders clampdown on flights to US --EU officials furious as Washington says it wants extra data on all air passengers 11 Feb 2008 The US administration is pressing the 27 governments of the European Union to sign up for a range of new security measures for transatlantic travel, including allowing armed guards on all flights from Europe to America by US airlines. The demand to put armed air marshals on to the flights is part of a travel clampdown by the Bush regime that officials in Brussels described as "blackmail" and "troublesome", and could see west Europeans and Britons required to have US visas if their governments balk at Washington's requirements. According to a US document being circulated for signature in European capitals, EU states would also need to supply personal data on all air passengers overflying but not landing in the US in order to gain or retain visa-free travel to America, senior EU officials said.

Rule by fear or rule by law? By Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg 04 Feb 2008 Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse... or to support the rapid development of new programs." Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

Photographer accused of helping MI6 kill Diana was found dead in burnt-out BMW with a hole in his head 11 Feb 2008 The photographer accused of helping MI6 to murder Princess Diana was found in a burnt-out BMW with a hole in his head, a court heard today. Frenchman James Andanson owned a white Fiat Uno, which Mohamed Al Fayed claims he used to cause the fatal collision that killed the princess and his son Dodi.

Cheney fights release of videos --The VP's office worries depositions of two aides in a Golden man's civil lawsuit may show up on YouTube. 10 Feb 2008 (CO) The office of Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney is seeking to block the release of videotaped depositions given by two aides who witnessed a physical encounter between an Iraq war opponent [Steven Howards] and Cheney.

W pimps McCain: McCain a 'true conservative,' Bush says 10 Feb 2008 John McCain is a "true conservative," President [sic] Bush says [in an interview taped for airing on "Fox News Sunday"], although the likely Republican presidential nominee may have to work harder to convince other conservatives that he is one of their own.

Huckabee Disputes Washington State Results 10 Feb 2008 Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's campaign has filed a complaint disputing the results of the GOP caucuses in Washington State, where the Republican Party last night declared Arizona Sen. John McCain the winner.

Obama Wins Maine, Giving Him 4 Victories in Weekend 10 Feb 2008 Senator Barack Obama defeated Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Maine caucuses on Sunday, giving him his fourth victory this weekend as he headed into three more state contests on Tuesday.

NWO Architect Brzezinski Campaigns for Obama in Europe 10 Feb 2008 Democrats went to the polls in 22 states last Tuesday, but they also held their first- ever "global primary," an eight-day event for party members who live abroad. Voters can participate by mail or the Internet (or fax!) at one of the Democrats Abroad centers set up in more than 30 countries. Before the caucuses opened on Super Tuesday, Barack Obama supporter Zbigniew Brzezinski [!] rallied voters in nine European cities via conference call; local TV stations covered the event.

Clinton says MSNBC anchor's remark deeply offensive 09 Feb 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she took "deep offense" at comments by an MSNBC anchor about her daughter Chelsea’s role in her campaign and said she still had not decided whether to participate in a debate sponsored by the network later this month.

EU, Australia, plan anti-terror deal 07 Feb 2008 The European Union and Australia plan an 'anti'-terrorism agreement that will give Canberra access to private data on air passengers coming from the 27 nation bloc, EU diplomats says.

Chavez Threatens to Halt Oil Sales to US --Venezuelan President Threatens to Cut Off Oil Sales to US, Calls Exxon Mobil 'Outlaws' [They are!] 10 Feb 2008 President Hugo Chavez on Sunday threatened to cut off oil sales to the United States in an "economic war" if Exxon Mobil Corp. wins court judgments to seize billions of dollars in Venezuelan assets.

Clinton campaign manager resigns --Hillary Clinton's Chief of Staff to Take Over Running Presidential Race 10 Feb 2008 Patty Solis Doyle announced that she is stepping down as the campaign manager for the presidential campaign of Sen. Hilary Clinton, D-N.Y., ABC News has learned that this afternoon.

CDC says influenza B strain doesn't match vaccine 08 Feb 2008 The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that most circulating influenza B viruses tested so far this season don't match this year's vaccine, signaling that two of the three vaccine components are off-target.

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Bush pushes Senate to OK 180 nominees 09 Feb 2008 President [sic] Bush vented frustration anew Saturday over the Senate's failure to vote on more than 180 of his nominations, including more than two dozen to the federal bench [Yikes!]. Bush didn't mention his nomination of Steven Bradbury for assistant attorney general _ a choice that is especially controversial. In January, Bush renominated Bradbury, refusing to yield to Democrats who oppose a permanent job for the official who signed legal memos authorizing harsh interrogations torture for suspected terrorists.

New Bacterial Infection Linked to Military --Report: Troops Transmitted Mysterious Bacteria That Has Killed 7 and Affected Military and Civilians Alike 08 Feb 2008 Troops arriving home from Iraq and Afghanistan have been carrying a mysterious, deadly bacteria, according to a new magazine report. Doctors have linked the bacterium acinetobacter baumannii to at least seven deaths, as well as to loss of limbs and other severe ailments, according to the report, which found the bacterium has spread quickly since the war in Afghanistan began in the fall of 2001.

War demands strain US military readiness 08 Feb 2008 A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new [Bush] crisis, The Associated Press has learned.

Roadside blasts kill 5 U.S. soldiers in Iraq 09 Feb 2008 Five American soldiers were killed in roadside bombings in Iraq on Friday, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

31 militants arrested in Iraq raids 09 Feb 2008 Iraqi police yesterday detained 31 suspects in raids against Shi'ite militiamen. Iraqi police said they had arrested 15 militants in Karbala, 110km south of Baghdad. Another 16 men were arrested in a Sadrist area of Nasiriyah, about 320km southeast of the capital, police said.

Failure in Afghanistan would threaten Europe: US defence cheif 09 Feb 2008 Failure in Afghanistan would directly threaten European security, US Defense Secretary Roberts Gates warned Friday as he sought to mobilize NATO allies and more especially public opinion in Europe.

A Strike in the Dark --What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh 11 Feb 2008 Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border. The seemingly unprovoked bombing... was, by almost any definition, an act of war. But in the immediate aftermath nothing was heard from the government of Israel.

Berlusconi to share election ticket with 'post-Fascist' party 08 Feb 2008 Billionaire politician Silvio Berlusconi said Friday his conservative Forza Italia party would merge with the right-wing National Alliance in Italy's scheduled April 13-14 'elections.' Forza Italia and the National Alliance - formed in 1994 as successor to the Italian Social Movement which in turn traced its origins to Benito Mussolini's Fascists - have long been centre-right coalition partners.

Minister warns of 'inbred' Muslims 10 Feb 2008 A government minister [Phil Woolas] has warned that inbreeding among immigrants is causing a surge in birth defects - comments likely to spark a new row over the place of Muslims in British society.

Bin Laden and Omar said operating in Pakistan 08 Feb 2008 Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders are directing 'insurgency' operations in Afghanistan from the Pakistani city of Quetta, while al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden is operating from Pakistan's tribal areas, a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday. [Yeah, bin Laden will be moving around quite a bit, until Bush hires him for the pre-'election' hit. --LRP]

US set for trial of 9/11 suspects [Really? Bush and Cheney are going on trial? Great!] 10 Feb 2008 More than six years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, US military prosecutors are preparing to file formal charges against six high-ranking Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] prisoners, among them Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who allegedly confessed [under torture] to masterminding the plot. The accused terrorists are all being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

'I can assure you that his [Mohammed al-Qahtani's] well-documented torture and the controversy over secret trials will be the focus.' 6 Guantánamo Prisoners Are Said to Face Trial Over 9/11 09 Feb 2008 Military prosecutors are in the final phases of preparing the first sweeping case against suspected conspirators in the plot that led to the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11, 2001, and drew the United States into war [No - that was Bush and Cheney Halliburton], people who have been briefed on the case said.

Let us talk to Sept 11 planner, U.S. lawyers ask 08 Feb 2008 Military lawyers defending Osama bin Laden's former driver on terrorism charges in the U.S. war court at Guantanamo Bay have offered a compromise in their quest to interview September 11 mastermind patsy Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. They promised not to ask Mohammed about his treatment in U.S. custody or about the CIA's admission that it subjected him to a simulated drowning technique known as "waterboarding" during interrogations [torture].

Prosecutor to Review Official Handling of C.I.A. Tapes 10 Dec 2008 The prosecutor investigating the Central Intelligence Agency’s destruction of interrogation videotapes is reviewing whether government officials violated any of 17 court orders requiring the preservation of evidence or broke the law by concealing the tapes’ existence or approving their destruction, according to court papers filed late Friday night.

Panel Gains Right to See C.I.A. Tapes 09 Feb 2008 Congressional investigators have been given permission to review interrogation tapes of a terrorism suspect as part of an inquiry into the destruction of other tapes by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a letter sent Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee.

Justice attorneys may have known CIA had destroyed tapes --Federal court documents show that prosecutors had been informed of the destruction of the interrogation videos. 07 Feb 2008 Justice Department attorneys apparently have known since early 2006 that the CIA destroyed videotaped interrogations of a key terror suspect, federal court documents unsealed Wednesday showed.

Obama will be assassinated if he wins: Nobel winner Lessing 09 Feb 2008 If Barack Obama becomes the next US president he will surely be assassinated, British Nobel literature laureate Doris Lessing predicted in a newspaper interview published here Saturday. Obama, who is vying to become the first black president in US history, "would certainly not last long, a black man in the position of president. They would murder him," Lessing told the Dagens Nyheter daily. [Why are Democrats always the topic of assassination predictions? Why don't these clairvoyants instead predict that Bush and Cheney will be assassinated, so that rather than mourning for a week we can party for a year?]

Obama Sweeps 3 States, Virgin Islands --Obama Wins Nebraska, Washington State and Louisiana; Huckabee Beats McCain in Kansas 09 Neb 2008 Sen. Barack Obama swept the Louisiana primary and caucuses in Nebraska and Washington state Saturday night, slicing into Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's slender delegate lead in their historic race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Illinois senator also won caucuses in the Virgin Islands, completing his best night of the campaign.

Obama Wins Nebraska and Washington 09 Feb 2008 Senator Barack Obama won the caucuses in Nebraska and Washington on Saturday, defeating his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton as the two scrambled for delegates in their fiercely contested battle for the Democratic nomination.

Huckabee pulls out win in Louisiana 10 Feb 2008 Mike Huckabee added Louisiana to his wins tonight, as a large chunk of Republican voters rebelled against the party establishment coalescing behind John McCain.

Huckabee wins Kansas caucuses 09 Feb 2008 Mike Huckabee trounced John McCain in Kansas' caucuses Saturday, their first head-to-head contest, and told fellow conservatives he was in the Republican presidential race to stay. "I didn't major in math," the former Arkansas governor told a cheering crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I majored in miracles, and I still believe in them."

'We're now down to three corporatists and a Strangelovian loon.' Election theft 2008, the perfect crime: 300 million witnesses and nobody saw nuttin' By Warren Pease 04 Feb 2008 The great election theft of 2008 began months ago as the "unelectable" candidates were identified, branded, demonized, ridiculed and eventually weeded out one by one... We're now down to three corporatists and a Strangelovian loon. Corporate mass media were kind enough to choose these awful people for us on orders from their overlords at GE, Disney, News Corp, Viacom et al... The only question is which subset of conservatism will come out on top.

'I became Chelsea's mother long before I ran for any office and I will always be a mom first and a public official second.' Clinton Calls Shuster Comment Part of 'Troubling Pattern' 09 Feb 2008 In a press conference at the University of Maine, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called controversial comments made Thursday about her daughter Chelsea part of a "troubling pattern of demeaning treatment" by MSNBC. Clinton's campaign has also taken issue with some remarks in the past by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. [See: Tell MSNBC to Stop the Misogyny! Updated]

MSNBC Suspends Shuster Over Clinton Comment 08 Feb 2008 MSNBC suspended correspondent David Shuster this afternoon for making a disparaging remark about Chelsea Clinton as officials in her mother's campaign raised the possibility of punishing the network by pulling out of a planned debate in Cleveland. While filling in as an anchor yesterday, Shuster was discussing the 27-year-old's role in Hillary Clinton's campaign when he asked: "Doesn't it seem as if Chelsea is sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?" [See: Identity Politics: Sexism, Racism and the Political Imaginary --The Rec Report By Dr. Michael Rectenwald 24 Jan 2008.]

Reporter initially defended Chelsea comment 08 Feb 2008 A copy of the e-mail exchange between MSNBC's David Shuster and Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton aide, was obtained by Politico. On Thursday, Shuster guest-hosted Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show, "Tucker," and in referring to Chelsea Clinton's role in calling superdelegates on behalf of the Clinton presidential campaign, he asked if she was "sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"

MSNBC's Chelsea comment angers Clinton --Anchor Shuster apologized on the air for his comment 08 Feb 2008 MSNBC says it has temporarily suspended anchor David Shuster from all NBC news broadcasts -- except to offer his on-air apology for what he said about Chelsea Clinton.

Clinton Camp Floats NBC Ban 08 Feb 2008 Enraged over comments made by MSNBC host Davis Schuster on the "Tucker" program, the Clinton campaign says it may ban national network NBC.

Presidential race turns to 5 states this weekend 08 Feb 2008 Hillary Clinton told roaring partisans she's the candidate of "dreams and practicality," Barack Obama packed in a Nebraska crowd of more than 10,000, and Mike Huckabee campaigned in Kansas like he never heard the Republican race is supposed to be over.

Obama raises $7.2M; Clinton $6.4M 07 Feb 2008 Democrat Barack Obama raised $7.2 million and rival Hillary Clinton collected $6.4 million since Super Tuesday, as he continued to resist a Clinton campaign clamoring for debates.

In 2006, Barack Obama backed 'mentor' Joe LieberBush: Obama rallies state Democrats, throws support behind Lieberman 31 Mar 2006 U.S. Sen. Barack Obama rallied Connecticut Democrats at their annual dinner Thursday night, throwing his support behind mentor and Senate colleague Joe LieberBush. Lieberman, Connecticut's junior senator, is under fire from some liberal Democrats for his support of the Iraq War. Ned Lamont, a Democratic activist and anti-war candidate from Greenwich, is challenging Lieberman for the party's nomination this year. [Note: Hillary Clinton also endorsed LieberBush, for the 2006 Democratic primary.]

Obama's fundraising collides with his rhetoric --Union says senator did little to save jobs 02 Feb 2008 Maytag workers whose jobs were shipped to Mexico serve as consistent characters in Barack Obama's stump speech. He employs their stories in railing against corporations that use trade pacts to replace well-paid union workers with low-cost foreign ones. It is a ready applause line for the Illinois presidential hopeful, one that he has been reciting almost verbatim since he was a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2004, when appliance giant Maytag was in the process of shutting a refrigerator plant here, putting 1,600 people out of work. But the union that represented most of those Galesburg workers isn't impressed with Obama's advocacy. It has endorsed his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. Its leaders say they wish he had done more about their members' plight.

Exxon oil court win 'legal terrorism' 09 Feb 2008 Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez has vowed to fight court decisions won by oil giant Exxon in four countries that have frozen over $12 billion of the state's assets. Exxon is in a court fight with Venezuela over assets seized under a nationalisation program. Mr Ramirez called the court decisions "legal terrorism" [it is], and said his government would not stand by and allow courts in the US or England to dictate government policy.

Polar bear lined up as warming victim 10 Feb 2008 The Bush administration is nearing a decision that would acknowledge officially the environmental damage of global warming and name its first potential victim: the polar bear. The Interior Department might act soon on its year-old proposal to make the polar bear the first species to be listed as threatened with extinction because of melting ice from a warming planet... Said Cass R. Sunstein, a University of Chicago law professor who studies perceived costs and benefits of addressing climate change. "This is an animal that is adorable and dignified and apparently desperate. ... So the thought that by the virtue of our actions that we are endangering them is potentially a big symbol for those concerned about climate change."

Canadian province adds protection for polar bears 08 Feb 2008 The western Canadian province of Manitoba named the polar bear a threatened species on Thursday, enabling it to restrict new development on its Arctic shoreline, where hundreds of the big white bears spend several weeks each year.

'The Bush administration is deploying guns, traps, and lies to ensure the second extinction of the Mexican wolf in the wild.' Mexican Gray Wolf Population in Critical Decline: 52 Wolves and Just Three Breeding Pairs Remain in the Wild Due to Federal Predator Control (Center for Biological Diversity) 07 Feb 2008 After having removed 22 wolves from the wild during 2007 (two of which were returned to the wild), primarily through trapping and shooting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the results of its annual Mexican wolf census and population extrapolation reveal only 52 wolves in the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona.

Energy-pricing lawsuit looks for jolt in courtroom 09 Feb 2008 A Bayview-based group suing on behalf of millions of households affected by the 2000-01 energy crisis is trudging through the legal process, spurred on by power-plant owners and energy traders who have agreed to reimburse scores of utility companies for sky-high electricity prices.

Tentative Deal Is Reached in Writers' Strike 10 Feb 2008 An end to Hollywood’s long and bitter writers’ strike appeared close on Saturday, as union leaders representing 12,000 movie and television writers said they had reached a tentative deal with production companies. [Summary of Tentative Agreement]

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9/11 inquiry head 'tried to shield George Bush' 05 Feb 2008 The head of the commission that investigated the Sept 11 terrorist attacks had closer ties to the White House than he admitted and tried to limit the Bush regime's responsibility for the incident, a book claims. Philip Zelikow, the 9/11 Commission's executive director, allegedly attempted to intimidate staff to avoid findings that would be damaging to President [sic] George W Bush, who was running for re-[s]election, and Condoleezza Rice, his then National Security Adviser.

Cheney Defends Use of Harsh Interrogations 07 Feb 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney on Thursday vigorously defended the use of harsh interrogation techniques torture on a few suspected terrorists, saying that the methods made up "a tougher program, for tougher customers" and might have averted another attack on the United States. [Good! Let's start with Cheney, to find out who else was involved in planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks. --LRP]

'The grand wazir of Islam is a nonsensical term.' Speakers at Air Force Academy who claimed to be former Muslim terrorists were actually evangelical Christians 07 Feb 2008 The Air Force Academy was criticized by Muslim and religious freedom organizations for playing host on Wednesday to three speakers who critics say are evangelical Christians falsely claiming to be former Muslim terrorists. The three will be paid a total of $13,000 for their appearance, some of it from private donors, said Maj. Brett Ashworth, a spokesman for the academy.

U.S. military 'loses' records for bin Laden's driver 08 Feb 2008 The U.S. military has 'lost' a year's worth of records describing the Guantanamo confinement of Osama bin Laden's driver, a prosecutor said at the Yemeni captive's war court hearing on Thursday. Lawyers for the driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, asked for the records to support their argument that prolonged isolation and harassment at the Guantanamo prison have mentally impaired him and could affect his ability to aid in his defense against 'war crimes' charges.

Hamza 'could be extradited in 28 days' 08 Feb 2008 The extradition of the extremist Islamic cleric Abu Hamza to the United States on a series of terrorism charges has been authorised by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary.

Grenades, Launch Tubes Stolen From Miramar 07 Feb 2008 (CA) Officials at MCAS Miramar are investigating a security breach inside a munitions storage facility at the base. According to Maj. Jason A. Johnston, members of the explosive ordnance disposal section were conducting a routine inspection Tuesday when they discovered that someone had entered a secured facility in East Miramar. After taking a detailed inventory, the group determined that 15 sting grenades and five empty and inert AT-4 rocket launch tubes were missing.

'They have permission to 'shoot to kill' in the event of martial law.' The FBI Deputizes Business By Matthew Rothschild 07 Feb 2008 Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does--and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials... One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to "shoot to kill" in the event of martial law... This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do... "Then they said when--not if--martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted," he says.

U.S. Agents Seize Travelers' Devices 08 Feb 2008 The seizure of electronics at U.S. borders has prompted protests from travelers who say they now weigh the risk of traveling with sensitive or personal information on their laptops, cameras or cellphones. Today, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Asian Law Caucus, two civil liberties groups in San Francisco, plan to file a lawsuit to force the government to disclose its policies on border searches, including which rules govern the seizing and copying of the contents of electronic devices.

Civil liberties groups sue feds to get info on laptop searches by border agents --Claim DHS didn't respond to FOIA request; searches of phones, other devices also at issue 08 Feb 2008 Two civil liberties groups today filed a lawsuit in a federal court in California in response to complaints from travelers of excessive screenings at border-entry points, including inspections of the data on laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices.

FBI Sought Approval for Custom Spyware in FISA Court 06 Feb 2008 The FBI sought approval to use its CIPAV spyware program from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in terrorism or foreign spying cases, THREAT LEVEL has learned. Officials processing a Freedom of Information Act request from Wired.com have turned up some 3,000 pages of FBI documents about the CIPAV, according to an FBI FOIA official.

CIA Monitors YouTube For Intelligence 06 Feb 2008 In keeping with its mandate to gather intelligence, the CIA is watching YouTube. U.S. spies, now under the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), are looking increasingly online for intelligence; they have become major consumers of social media.

Peace Corps, Fulbright Scholar Asked to 'Spy' on Cubans, Venezuelans --U.S. Embassy Official's 'Spy' Request Violated Long-Standing U.S. Policy 08 Feb 2008 In an apparent violation of U.S. policy, Peace Corps volunteers and a Fulbright scholar [John Alexander van Schaick] were asked by a U.S. Embassy official in Bolivia "to basically spy" on Cubans and Venezuelans in the country, according to Peace Corps personnel and the Fulbright scholar involved.

Suit forces Chicago police to hold arrestees a shorter time 08 Feb 2008 Prompted by a class-action lawsuit, the Chicago Police Department is shortening the amount of time it can hold prisoners who have not been charged or appeared before a judge. Detectives were informed Thursday that suspects have to appear before a judge within 48 hours of arrest or be released.

'John McCain will make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi.' --Pat Buchanan

U.S. should not provoke Iraq militia: report 08 Feb 2008 Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army is "unassailable" in its Iraqi strongholds and the U.S. military would risk reigniting the violence that almost sparked civil war if it provokes it, a report said on Friday. [It's time for Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater, and Bush to surrender. They've lost the war in Iraq (Afghanistan, too.) --LRP]

US Kills 8, Detains 26 in Iraq Raids 08 Feb 2008 U.S. troops killed eight suspected 'insurgents' and captured 26, including an alleged Shiite militia leader, in two days of raids across Iraq, the U.S. military said Friday.

Blackwater's Blood Money; How Much for a Dead Son? Blackwater Works Behind the Scenes to Settle With Survivors and Victims' Families of the Sept. 16 Shooting 08 Feb 2008 Ali, 9, was one of 17 civilians killed when Blackwater security guards, escorting a diplomatic convoy, opened fire at Baghdad's Nisour square Sept. 16. While a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. investigates the deaths, Blackwater has been operating behind the scenes in Iraq to settle with the survivors and families of the dead.

Gates cites European anger over Iraq 08 Feb 2008 Lingering anger in Europe over the U.S. invasion of Iraq explains why some allies are reluctant to heed U.S. calls for more combat troops in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.

Mission Accomplished! Afghan opium production up 34% last year 06 Feb 2008 Opium production in Afghanistan increased by 34% last year, according to figures published today by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Afghanistan supplies around 90% of the world's opium, the main ingredient in heroin.

Nato crisis grows over Afghan troops --US presses Europe to strengthen fighting force --Alliance could split as credibility is threatened 08 Feb 2008 The US yesterday kept up pressure on Europe to contribute more troops to Afghanistan as Nato defence ministers met in Vilnius to discuss what officials now admit is a growing threat to the credibility of the alliance.

German Troops Lack Equipment to Expand Afghan Fight 06 Feb 2008 Germany's military forces lack the basic equipment that would allow them to expand their mission to combat Taliban 'insurgents' in southern Afghanistan as demanded by the U.S., a former senior military official said.

Berkeley Backs Off On Banning Marines --Berkeley Mayor Apologizes to Marines Over Recruiting Center Flap 07 Feb 2008 As six Republican senators devised a plan to yank $2.3 million in federal funding for Berkeley programs, the mayor of the famously liberal city apologized Wednesday for his hard stance against a Marine recruiting center. Two City Council members vowed to soften their stance as well.

US warns Iran over nuclear centrifuges 08 Feb 2008 A top US envoy warned Iran Friday that its pursuit of more advanced uranium-enriching technology would intensify the long-running international standoff over its disputed atomic drive.

Putin vows 'arms race' response 08 Feb 2008 Russia's President Vladimir Putin says the world is engaged in a new arms race and Nato is failing to accommodate Russia's concerns.

Sources: Blair 'shocked' by Dichter fears of arrest in U.K. 08 Feb 2008 Tony Blair, the Quartet's envoy to the Middle East, expressed surprise on Friday when Public Security Minister Avi Dichter told him he feared he would be arrested should he travel to the United Kingdom, according to sources close to Dichter. [LOL! One war criminal is shocked that onther 'might be arrested.' Blair also needs to worry about his own a** getting thrown into jail for same! See: Dichter cancels U.K. trip over fears of 'war crimes' arrest 06 Dec 2007.]

Human rights groups condemn Israel's further power cut to Gaza 08 Feb 2008 Human rights groups have slammed Israel for reducing the electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, local daily Ha'aretz reported on its website Friday.

Israel begins cutting electricity supply to Gaza 08 Feb 2008 Israel said on Friday it had cut electricity supplies to Gaza as part of a campaign against militant attacks but stressed the reduction was minimal, amid international criticism.

State senator, soldier investigated over uniform 07 Feb 2008 The U.S. Army Reserve is investigating a Hispanic soldier and state Sen. Mike Delph because the soldier wore his uniform at a Statehouse news conference while testifying for an immigration bill Delph is sponsoring. Delph, R-Carmel, said the investigation concerned Lt. Col. Ray Mejia's wearing his Army Reserve uniform while speaking at Monday's news conference, as well as Delph's participation in the matter.

Courts freeze $12 billion Venezuela assets in Exxon row 07 Feb 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp has moved to freeze up to $12 billion in Venezuelan assets around the world as the U.S. company fights for payment in return for the state's takeover of a huge oil project last year.

Polar bears designated as 'threatened' 08 Feb 2008 Polar bears have been designated in Manitoba as threatened animals under the provincial Endangered Species Act. The new listing of polar bears as endangered took effect yesterday as the announcement was made by Conservation Minister Stan Struthers.

Manitoba recognizes threat to polar bears 08 Feb 2008 The polar bears living along the Hudson Bay coastline of Manitoba are probably the most famous of their kind in the world... But the Manitoba government has concluded that the large carnivores are in trouble, victims of global warming. The province yesterday decided to recognize the bears as threatened under its Endangered Species Act.

Northern oil drilling will hurt polar bears: WWF 07 Feb 2008 Canada's decision to open bidding for the rights to drill in the northern Beaufort Sea will destroy a large area of critical polar bear habitat and put the animal's future in danger, the World Wildlife Foundation said Thursday. "Clearly these areas are important, perhaps critical, habitat for the pressured polar bears," Dr. Peter Ewins, WWF Canada's director, told CTV.ca on Thursday.

Uranium Exploration Near Grand Canyon 07 Feb 2008 With minimal public notice and no formal environmental review [as usual], the Forest Service has approved a permit allowing a British mining company to explore for uranium just outside Grand Canyon National Park, less than three miles from a popular lookout over the canyon’s southern rim.

Agency criticized for withholding Great Lakes health risk report 07 Feb 2008 A report describing potential health threats near the Great Lakes region's most heavily polluted sites will be made public after changes are made to fix flaws with draft versions, a federal official said Thursday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has drawn criticism from members of Congress, scientists and a U.S.-Canadian agency for withholding the report. It had been scheduled for release last summer.

Great Lakes health report withheld by CDC --Document has 'alarming evidence' of toxic pollutants, group says, but fed agency says it needs some 'fixes.' 08 Feb 2008 Federal officials are refusing to release a scientific study that contains "alarming evidence" that toxic pollutants threaten the health of residents in Detroit and other Great Lakes cities, a watchdog group alleged Thursday. The Center for Public Integrity released on its Web site excerpts of the report, which includes information on elevated cancer levels in Wayne and Macomb counties and a Detroit landfill site that contains up to 17 tons of toxic PCBs. The center said Thursday that the 400-page document was set to be released in July, but was rejected by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who said it was 'incomplete.'

House committee unanimously approves Great Lakes bill 07 Feb 2008 Indiana would join a regional compact intended to protect other states from tapping into the Great Lakes' waters under a bill a House panel unanimously approved. The House Environmental Affairs Committee passed the Senate version of the bill Wednesday on a 10-0 vote. An identical measure is awaiting consideration in the Senate after having been adopted by the House.

New Mexico's Feb. 5 Voting Still Inconclusive (NPR) 07 Feb 2008 It will be awhile before the last of the Super Tuesday states declares a winner. New Mexico Democratic Party officials announced Thursday that they will recount every ballot. The Democrat-only contest was plagued by so many problems that the state party, along with the Clinton and Obama campaigns, agreed that only checking all ballots cast would insure an accurate result.

Obama agrees to two more debates with Clinton 07 Feb 2008 Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama agreed on Thursday to hold two more debates with rival Hillary Clinton before March 4, officials from his campaign said.

Voters Need to Return to Feminist Roots (NPR) 08 Feb 2008 A new essay, reportedly circulated by Chelsea Clinton to friends, calls for women to be more critical of the media's portrayal of her mother, Hillary Clinton. Alex Cohen talks to Robin Morgan, the essay's author, about why she thinks women need to get back to their feminist roots.

Another GOPedophile bites the dust! How well did Florida Gov. know alleged child porn peddler? 08 Feb 2008 Floridians were shocked last week when police announced that the spokesman for the state's Department of Children and Families had been arrested and charged with peddling child pornography. But buried in news accounts of the case was a curious detail: the official in question had listed the state's current Republican Governor, Charlie Crist, as a reference when he applied for his post in 2005.

Recession to be longer than usual: UMich 08 Feb 2008 The U.S. economy has entered a recession that will be more painful and drawn out than the usual downturn, the director of the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey said on Friday.

Retailers report worst January in nearly 40 years 08 Feb 2008 Here's a sign of how shaky the economy has become: Wal-Mart says its shoppers are redeeming their holiday gift cards for basic items — pasta sauce, diapers, laundry detergent — instead of iPods or DVDs. Yesterday, the nation's retailers turned in their worst January in almost four decades as high gas and food prices, a slumping housing market, tighter credit and a tougher job market pushed consumers to the edge.

Congress Passes $168 Billion Stimulus Plan 07 Feb 2008 Congress overwhelmingly approved a $168 billion economic stimulus program on Thursday, sending it to President [sic] Bush for his signature. The House gave its final approval to the package on Thursday night by a vote of 380 to 34.

Pill Push Rage --Pol Wants Probe 04 Feb 2008 A key New York state senator [Thomas Morahan, R-Rockland] demanded yesterday that top health and mental-health officials explain why the Medicaid program has been paying for tens of thousands of children to receive psychiatric drugs that have not been FDA-approved for kids.

Tobacco Could Kill 1 Billion by 2100 07 Feb 2008 The World Health Organization warned in a new report Thursday that the "tobacco epidemic" is growing and could claim 1 billion lives by the end of the century unless governments dramatically step up efforts to curb smoking.

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War cost in 2009 put at $US170 billion 08 Feb 2008 US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, pressed to estimate total war costs, has said that Iraq and Afghanistan operations could cost $US170 billion ($A190 billion) next year but warned that the figure was likely wrong. "I have no confidence in that figure," Mr Gates told the US Senate Armed Services Committee.

Prosecutor sought for White House criminal probe 04 Feb 2008 An advocacy group Monday sought a criminal probe of the White House over millions of possibly missing e-mails, saying someone may have deliberately deleted them to conceal involvement in a potential crime. In a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the White House also may have violated two federal record-keeping laws, including the Federal Records Act, which carries criminal sanctions for unlawful destruction.

US censured for waterboarding 07 Feb 2008 The UN's chief torture investigator criticised the US government yesterday for defending the use of "waterboarding", an interrogation method often described as a form of torture. Manfred Nowak, the special rapporteur on torture, said: "This is absolutely unacceptable under international human rights law..."

Mukasey says no criminal probe of waterboarding 07 Feb 2008 Attorney General Michael Mukasey told lawmakers Thursday he will not open a criminal investigation into the CIA’s acknowledged use of “waterboarding” against terror suspects. In an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., asked Mukasey bluntly whether he was starting a criminal probe now that CIA chief Michael Hayden confirmed the use of waterboarding.

Waterboarding is legal, White House says --The assertion stuns critics of widely condemned interrogation technique. 07 Feb 2008 The White House said Wednesday that the widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding is legal and that President [sic] Bush could authorize the CIA to resume using the simulated-drowning method under extraordinary circumstances.

US 'may' use waterboarding again 06 Feb 2008 US President [sic] George Bush might consider authorising the controversial interrogation torture method of waterboarding in future, the White House has said.

White House Defends CIA's Use of Waterboarding in Interrogations 07 Feb 2008 The White House yesterday said that the interrogation technique known as waterboarding was legal and that President [sic] Bush could authorize the tactic in the future. White House spokesman Tony Fratto said the CIA could use waterboarding with Bush's approval... Independent legal experts have called the technique torture and said its use is barred by U.S. laws and treaties under all circumstances.

New court can silence captives who tell secrets --A new court at Guantánamo would allow the U.S. military to keep its secrets by cutting off terror suspects' testimony from the ears of observers at the flick of a switch. 04 Feb 2008 On the eve of the resumption of its war crimes 'trials,' the military on Sunday unveiled a new state-of-the-art court capable of trying six alleged terrorists simultaneously -- and silencing them from the outside world, if they try to spill state secrets.

C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes as Judge Sought Interrogation Data 07 Feb 2008 At the time that the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed videotapes of the interrogations of operatives of 'Al Qaeda,' a federal judge was still seeking information from Bush administration lawyers about the interrogation torture of one of those operatives, Abu Zubaydah, according to court documents made public on Wednesday.

Moussaoui prosecutor kept CIA tapes secret 07 Feb 2008 The lead prosecutor in the terror case against Zacarias Moussaoui likely knew the CIA destroyed tapes of its interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects more than a year before the government acknowledged it to the court, newly unsealed documents show.

UK orders Hamza's extradition to US 07 Feb 2008 The home secretary has signed the order for Abu Hamza to be extradited to the US to face terrorism charges. Hamza will be extradited within 28 days unless his lawyers appeal against the decision.

Lawyers: Guantanamo detainee breaking down 07 Feb 2008 Confined alone in his Guantanamo cell nearly around the clock, Yemeni prisoner and former driver for Osama bin Laden [Salim Ahmed Hamdan] has begun to break down mentally and cannot focus on preparing for his upcoming war-crimes trial, his attorneys say.

U.S. bans 10 over violence in Kenya 07 Feb 2008 The United States has barred 10 Kenyans suspected of being behind ethnic violence that has convulsed the country since President Mwai Kibaki's disputed re-election, officials said on Thursday.

Suspect admits to German train bomb plot 07 Feb 2008 One of the main suspects in a plot to bomb a pair of German commuter trains in 2006 [Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib] confessed his role in the plan Thursday but told the court another suspect was the ringleader.

Intelligence services demand veto on use of bugging evidence 07 Feb 2008 The use of intercept evidence in court for the first time could be stalled by demands from the intelligence services for a right of veto over the use of the transcripts from their secret bugging operations. The CIA is also unhappy that its intercepted phone calls or conversations between suspected terrorists [over their employment] could be produced in British courts.

Energy Dept. Funding Institutes with Iranian Ties 06 Feb 2008 The Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building key parts of Iran’s Bushehr reactor even though the United States has spent years trying to shut it down, according to a House committee.

U.S. commander says Iran not involved in hostilities in Iraq 06 Feb 2008 The U.S. commander in Iraq’s central province of Diyala has said he has witnessed no hostile act from the Iranian side in the region over the past 10 months, a French weekly reported on Monday.

Nato 'at risk over Afghanistan' 07 Feb 2008 US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has warned the future of Nato is at risk due to differences over Afghanistan and that it may become a two-tier alliance.

Rice and Miliband go to Afghanistan 07 Feb 2008 U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her British counterpart David Miliband have paid a surprise visit to Afghanistan, amid increasing rifts amongst the NATO member states over the alliance mission in the country.

Suicide Bombing Wounds Three Soldiers in Eastern Afghanistan 07 Feb 2008 A suicide bombing has wounded three NATO soldiers in eastern Afghanistan. NATO's International Security Assistance Force says a suicide car bomb detonated near their convoy in Khost province Thursday.

Brawny New Bunker Buster: 'Divine Thunderbolt' By David Hambling 04 Feb 2008 The latest addition to the Air Force's arsenal of bunker busters is a 5,000lb weapon with formidable penetrating power... And that means the BLU-122.

Mounting social distress among returning US troops By Naomi Spencer 7 Feb 2008 A number of recent reports shed further light on the growing social and public health crisis among US veterans. After serving tours in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of troops are returning wounded and psychologically traumatized from the experience. With their needs frequently ill met by the military medical system and confronted with a collapsing economy, data suggest the most disturbed are committing suicide and violent crimes, and suffering homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in record numbers.

Berlusconi gets his way 07 Feb 2008 Italy has set snap elections in April that will probably return Reichwing media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi to power after he torpedoed efforts to overhaul the country's unpopular voting system.

Danbury Approves Plan to Let Police Partner With INS 07 Feb 2008 (CT) The Danbury City Council approved a plan Wednesday night that will let local police work with immigration agents. Council members voted to recommend that police chief be given the authorization to enter into a training agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to crack down on illegal immigrants.

'Mysterious' bird flu baffles Indonesian scientists 06 Feb 2008 Indonesian scientists and officials said they were baffled by the "mysterious" behaviour of the [US Army] bird flu virus here, which has already claimed nine lives this year in the world's worst-hit nation. Indonesia has reported 126 cases of H5N1 bird flu, 103 of them fatal, since 2005.

Shell bids over $105 mln for one Arctic oil tract 06 Feb 2008 Oil major Royal Dutch Shell Plc bid $105.3 million for a single exploration block in the [illegal] U.S. government's sale of drilling rights in federal waters of the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwestern coast. [Some hope 'insurgents' far and wide will do to their drilling equipment what Blackwater does to Baghdad's mosques, pet markets and electrical grids. They can blame 'al-Qaeda,' so no questions will ever be asked. --LRP]

Protesters will don polar bear masks 06 Feb 2008 Protesters will don polar bear masks and hoist signs at a south Minneapolis intersection today to object to a federal effort to expand oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska.

Scientists Ignored on Pitfalls of Arctic Oil Leasing 05 Feb 2008 The Interior Department is hastening to stop the flow of internal e-mails from its own scientists that undermine the legality of its offshore oil and gas lease sales in federal Arctic waters, according to correspondence released Monday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER. During the past three weeks, PEER has released a series of internal e-mails from current and former Interior scientists raising questions about how badly environmental assessments of Arctic offshore oil development were skewed. The e-mails are contrary to Bush administration claims that environmental risks were adequately considered prior to offering tracts for lease in the Chukchi, Beaufort and Bering Seas for oil exploration.

Polar bears threatened by new drilling rights 07 Feb 2008 The sale of licences to drill for oil and gas rights in Alaska will threaten the future of the region's polar bears, conservationists warned today. The oil and gas rights to drill in 29.4m acres in the Chukchi sea, which were made available by the US government's Minerals Management Service (MMS) yesterday, have attracted record bids of $2.66bn from the likes of Shell and ConocoPhillips.

Arctic Oil Lease Sale Could Spell Disaster for Polar Bears, WWF Says 06 Feb 2008 World Wildlife Fund (WWF) condemns Lease Sale 193 by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) in Alaska on February 6 that opens nearly 30 million acres of the pristine Chukchi Sea to oil and gas activities, putting at risk the future of people, polar bears and the magnificent Arctic.

NM Dem Caucus: This Reeks (Democracy for New Mexico) 06 Feb 2007 Kate Nash reports that as of about 5:00 PM, counting of about 16,000 provisional ballots hadn't yet begun because representatives from all sides are negotiating the ground rules. The process is ongoing at the REDW firm in Albuquerque. Also, Gov. Richardson released a statement about the Caucus and the problems surrounding it.

Another GOPedophile bites the dust: Lieberman No Longer a Super Delegate 06 Feb 2008 Thanks to Zell Miller, there is a rule to deal with Joe LieberBush. Lieberman's endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo.

Still another GOPedophile bites the dust: Romney exits presidential race --Fears a fight to the convention would make Democratic victory more likely 07 Feb 2008 Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign on Thursday, effectively sealing the Republican presidential nomination for John McCain. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney told conservatives.

Top Cop Says McCain Was Never Tortured --Former Vietnam vet with top secret clearance - Republican frontrunner is "a lying skunk" 07 Feb 2008 A former Vietnam veteran with top secret clearance says he has personally spoken to numerous POW's who dispute John McCain's claim that he refused to provide information after he was captured and tortured in Hanoi, saying that in fact McCain's code-name was "Songbird" because of his willingness to tell all to avoid torture.

Obama Has Much Yet to Prove By Ron Fournier 07 Feb 2008 Writer Amid the poetry and promise of Barack Obama's election-night address came this hard truth: "There will be setbacks," he said, "and we will make mistakes..." Obama still has much to prove. The potential for setbacks and mistakes is high.

Bush keeps US borders wide open for the corpora-terrorists: White House Moves to Ease Guest Worker Program 07 Feb 2008 The Bush regime announced plans on Wednesday to overhaul the notoriously inefficient federal guest worker program for agriculture, seeking to provide more legal workers to American farmers who now rely primarily on illegal immigrants. Since legislation to give legal status to illegal immigrant farm workers failed last year in Congress, the administration is now taking action that does not require Congressional approval to streamline the existing guest worker program.

Senate Approves $168 Billion 'Stimulus' Plan 07 Feb 2008 The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $168 billion economic stimulus program on Thursday afternoon, sending it to the House for final passage on Thursday evening so that it can be sent quickly to President [sic] Bush’s desk.

Republicans block Senate plan to boost economy 06 Feb 2008 Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic-backed $157 billion economic stimulus plan that would have provided benefits for the long-term unemployed and expanded proposed tax rebates to include retirees and disabled veterans.

Merck to Pay $671 Million in Settlement 07 Feb 2008 Merck & Company has agreed to pay $671 million to settle claims that it overcharged Medicaid programs for four drugs, including Vioxx and Zocor, and to resolve allegations of improper marketing to doctors, federal prosecutors and company officials announced Thursday.

Floating rubbish dump 'bigger than US' 04 Feb 2008 Mega sludge ... the world's largest rubbish dump, or the Pacific plastic soup, is twice as big as the US continent, and is starting to alarm scientists.

68! High Temperature Shatters Old Record 06 Feb 2008 The National Weather Service reported the high temperature in Central Park Wednesday was 68 degrees, destroying the previous record high of 58 set in 1991. Record highs were also set in Newark, which reached 69 degrees and at John F. Kennedy Airport where it was 65 degrees. The normal for this time of year is 39 degrees.

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AP Confirms Secret Camp Inside Guantanamo 06 Feb 2008 Somewhere amid the cactus-studded hills on this sprawling Navy base, separate from the cells where hundreds of men suspected of links to 'al-Qaida' and the Taliban have been locked up for years, is a place even more closely guarded - a jailhouse so protected [hidden from human rights organizations] that its very location is top secret. For the first time, the top commander of detention operations at Guantanamo has confirmed the existence of the mysterious Camp 7.

Bush approved CIA dislosure on waterboarding 06 Feb 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush authorized the CIA to give its most detailed public account of its use of a widely condemned interrogation torture technique known as waterboarding, the White House said on Wednesday.

CIA says used waterboarding on three suspects 05 Feb 2008 The CIA used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding on three suspects captured after the September 11 attacks, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday.

'The evidence therefore suggests that we are looking at a coordinated program of undersea cable sabotage by an actor, or actors, on the international stage with an anti-Muslim bias.' Connecting the Many Undersea Cut Cable Dots - 9 Or More? By Richard Sauder, PhD 05 Feb 2008 The last week has seen a spate of unexplained, cut, undersea communications cables that has severely disrupted communications in many countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. As I shall show, the total numbers of cut cables remain in question, but likely number as many as eight, and maybe nine or more.

Conspiracy theorists ponder ongoing web outage --Three undersea cables carrying vital web traffic were cut within four days last week, and no one yet knows why 06 Feb 2008 One of the most intriguing internet mysteries of recent times - which has puzzled conspiracy theorists and experts alike - deepened today when experts said they were still no closer to establishing why a cable under the Mediterranean broke last week, causing a serious disruption to the world's internet traffic.

War Costs Next Year Estimated at $170 Billion or More 06 Feb 2008 The military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost $170 billion in the next fiscal year over and above the $515.4 billion regular Pentagon budget that President [sic] Bush has proposed, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on Wednesday.

Gates Declines to Estimate War Costs 05 Feb 2008 Defense Secretary Robert Gates says a realistic estimate of next year's war costs is almost impossible to discern, in part because he doesn't know how many troops will be in Iraq this fall.

American Soldiers Kill 3 Iraqis in Raid 06 Feb 2008 American forces killed at least two men and a woman and wounded a child in a raid late on Monday near Tikrit in northern Iraq, the American military said Tuesday. Iraqi officials said a fourth person, a young girl, was killed in the attack.

6 civilians injured in two attacks in Baghdad 06 Feb 2008 Three civilians were injured in a roadside bomb explosion on Wednesday afternoon in central Baghdad, while three more were wounded when a mortar shell landed on a park in the eastern section of the Iraqi capital, said a police source.

Cracks appear in murder case against Khadr --Canadian wasn't only one who could have thrown grenade that killed medic in Afghanistan, agent's leaked testimony suggests 05 Feb 2008 Another fighter was still alive inside the Afghan compound where Omar Khadr was captured at the time a grenade killed a U.S. soldier, casting doubt on allegations that only the teenage militant could have been responsible for the soldier's death... The revelations, mistakenly released [!] in never-before-seen [hid] documents, came during a military tribunal hearing for Mr. Khadr yesterday at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay.

IAEA chief says progress made on Iranian nuclear report 04 Feb 2008 Visiting Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei said here on Sunday the UN nuclear watchdog was making "good progress" in finishing outstanding issues on Iran's nuclear file.

Anger boils over as Egypt rounds up Palestinians 06 Feb 2008 Hundreds of Palestinians furious at being rounded up by Egyptian authorities following deadly clashes at the border with Gaza set fire to a government building on Tuesday, a security source said.

Israel plans Egypt border fence 06 Feb 2008 Israel has approved the erection of a reinforced fence along its border with Egypt to stop Palestinian militants reaching Israel via the Sinai desert.

'Taliban set for windfall from opium crop' 06 Feb 2008 Afghanistan is set for another bumper crop in 2008, providing a windfall for the Taliban US-installed drug lords who tax farmers to finance their fight against the US backed government and foreign forces, the UN said on Wednesday. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) predicted the 2008 opium crop would be similar to, or slightly lower than, last year’s record harvest.

Senators question U.S. strategy in Afghanistan 31 Jan 2008 The Bush regime defended its achievements in Afghanistan on Thursday as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers contrasted official accounts of progress with new studies warning of looming failure.

U.S. helps Pakistan expand commando unit 06 Feb 2008 U.S. military advisers are helping the Pakistanis double the size of their elite commando force in an ongoing effort to blunt the rising threat of terrorist groups and anti-government militants operating in the country's tribal areas, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Report: Al-Qaida growing in Pakistan 06 Feb 2008 The U.S. intelligence chief Mike McConnell told a Senate panel al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] is strengthening its training camps in Pakistan. McConnell, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee there is a strong likelihood Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had recruited U.S. citizens as terrorists able to blend in with U.S. society, the New York Times reported Wednesday. [Bush is their top recruit.]

Intelligence Chief Cites Qaeda Threat to U.S. 05 Michael McConnell, the director of national intelligence, said on Tuesday that Al Qaeda is improving its ability to attack within the United States by recruiting and training new [CIA] operatives.

Al Qaeda videos show boys in mock attacks -U.S. 06 Feb 2007 Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] videos seized by U.S. forces show Iraqi children younger than 11 carrying out mock kidnappings and attacks, the U.S. military and Iraqi officials said on Wednesday.

Canada tweaks anti-terror law 06 Feb 2008 Lawmakers amended Canada’s anti-terror law Monday, one year after its top court quashed the original that allowed Ottawa to detain foreigners suspected of terror ties without charges for many years.

'Some of the earliest messages received were so full of vitriol that town officials said they were worried for their safety.' New Tone Set in E-Mails on Bush Arrest Warrant 06 Feb 2008 The tone has changed in e-mails this Vermont town has been receiving on its proposal to issue warrants for the arrests of President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Cheney. Now, more people are supporting the resolution. Brattleboro's town offices have been flooded with 7,000 e-mails since its selectboard voted Jan. 25 to include the item on its Town Meeting Day agenda.

NRCC probe scares GOP 06 Feb 2008 Top House Republicans were told in recent days that a former employee of their campaign committee may have forged an official audit during the contentious 2006 election cycle and that they should brace for the possibility that an unfolding investigation could uncover financial improprieties stretching back several years [and coups], according to GOP sources briefed on the members-only discussions.

Chicago polls go well -- despite punches, broken machines, wrong ballots and 'invisible ink' --Fights, 'invisible ink,' bad weather among reported problems 06 Feb 2008 Chicago elections without a few hiccups, even though voting throughout the region went smoothly overall [?] Tuesday. Still, some voting machines broke down. Wrong ballots were given out. An election judge was arrested for allegedly punching another poll worker. And, oh yes, 20 voters cast ballots with what they were told was invisible ink.

Few Super Tuesday e-voting problems reported --Critics say that doesn't mean that problems aren't under the surface 06 Feb 2008 No major, widespread e-voting system problems have turned up after yesterday's Super Tuesday presidential primary voting in 24 states, but e-voting critics cautioned that the lack of such reports doesn't mean the voting was ultimately secure.

Clinton, Obama Trade Victories --N.Y. Senator Withstands Push By Surging Rival in Key Battlegrounds 06 Feb 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton won victories over Sen. Barack Obama in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York last night, giving her presidential campaign a crucial boost. But Obama countered by winning a string of states, including the general election battleground of Missouri, in the seesaw race for the Democratic nomination.

Obama says GOP will have dirt on Clinton 06 Feb 2008 Sen. Barack Obama predicted Wednesday that Republicans will have a dump truck full of dirt to unload on Hillary Rodham Clinton if the former first lady wins the Democratic presidential nomination, and said he offers the party its best hope of winning the White House this fall. [See: The Set-Up: Is Obama a Lamb for Future Slaughter? By Michael Rectenwald 04 Feb 2008.]

Texas' primary election looms large after Super Tuesday 06 Feb 2007 The presidential campaign train chugged toward Texas on Wednesday as Democratic and Republican candidates plotted strategies for winning March 4 in the biggest remaining primary state.

Dueling Democratic Delegate Counts 06 Feb 2008 The day after Super Tuesday found Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at odds over who won in the delegate count: both sides claim they're ahead in the race that will truly determine who wins the Democratic nomination.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney Win Utah Primary 05 Feb 2008 Democrat Barack Obama was apparently more appealing than Hillary Clinton to Utah voters, as the Illinois senator won the state's primary on Tuesday. Mitt Romney won the GOP vote.

McCain's Lead Grows for GOP Nod 06 Feb 2008 Sen. John McLunatic padded his lead in the race for Republican national convention delegates Wednesday, amassing far more than his three remaining rivals combined as he prodded conservative critics to cut him some slack.

John McCain and the Jewish vote 06 Feb 2008 The race for the Republican presidential nomination has come down to the Big Dough vs. the Big Mo. Mitt Romney may have the money but Sen. Insane McCain probably has the momentum. And the votes. Especially among Jewish Republicans.

US government 'selling oil-drilling rights to polar bear habitat' 06 Feb 2008 Wildlife activists have accused the American government of endangering polar bears after it offered for sale the drilling rights to several million acres of the animal's habitat in Alaska.

Bush Approves Oil Leasing in Polar Bear Sea (National Audubon Society) 06 Feb 2008 The U.S. Interior Department moved ahead today with auctioning oil and gas leases in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, despite stiff opposition from conservation groups and some members of Congress. The Chukchi Sea, off Alaska's northern coast has also been called the Polar Bear Sea because it is prime habitat for the bear. The lease sale encompasses about 30 million acres, the equivalent of the state of Pennsylvania. [See: Bush Administration Hiding Documents Detailing Impacts of Oil and Gas Development Plans in Polar Bear Habitat --Conservation groups file suit to force disclosure (NRDC) 28 Jan 2008.]

Mysterious Disease Threatens Survival of North American Bats; Conservation Groups Ask for Immediate Protections (NRDC) 03 Jan 2008 In response to information about a mysterious illness that has been associated with the deaths of more than 8,000 bats, on Tuesday conservation groups asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close all bat hibernation sites and withdraw all federal permits to "take" - that is, harm or kill - imperiled bats until the cause of the deaths is understood.

The President's Budget Fiscal Year 2009: Impact on the States (nationalpriorities.org) 06 Feb 2007 The administration released its fiscal year 2009 $3 trillion budget request on February 5. Budget Cuts Continue in 2009 Domestic programs intended for needy communities and families suffer the biggest cuts under the pResident's proposed budget for fiscal year 2009...

Teamsters Launch Major Campaign to Fire U.S. Transportation Secretary (PRNewswire) 06 Feb 2008 The Teamsters is launching a nationwide grassroots campaign tomorrow to fire Transportation Secretary Mary Peters for unlawfully opening the border to unsafe trucks from Mexico.

Gasoline could drop 50 cents/gallon by spring [LOL, and keep dropping precipitously until 'Election' Day!] U.S. drivers could enjoy a drop of up to 50 cents per gallon in gasoline prices by this spring as high fuel prices and the threat of a recession force them to conserve to help the GOP in the 2008 'elections,' experts said on Wednesday.

Storms Across 5 States Leave at Least 50 Dead 06 Feb 2008 About 50 people were killed and at least 100 were injured after a wide swath of thunderstorms packing tornadoes, high winds and hail swept through the South on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

*****

CIA chief admits to 'waterboarding' suspects 06 Feb 2008 The director of the CIA admitted for the first time Tuesday that the intelligence agency had used "waterboarding", the controversial interrogation method, and named the three men subjected to it. "We used it against these three detainees because of the circumstances at the time," Gen Michael Hayden, the CIA director, told Congress

CIA says used waterboarding on three suspects 05 Feb 2008 The CIA used a widely condemned interrogation torture technique known as waterboarding on three suspects captured after the September 11 attacks, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday.

White House Requests $515 Billion for the Pentagon --Additional $70 Billion Is Sought to Fund Wars 05 Feb 2008 President [sic] Bush yesterday requested $515.4 billion for the fiscal 2009 Pentagon budget, a 7.5 percent increase from last year's spending request... The administration also sought an additional $70 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Democrats criticise Bush budget for fudging Iraq costs 04 Feb 2008 George Bush released his annual budget plan today, prompting disdain from congressional Democrats who chastised the president for again fudging the costs of the Iraq war and tax cuts in order to claim he could erase the US deficit.

Iraq Group May Attack Outside Nation, McConnell Says 05 Feb 2008 The terrorist group known as al-Qaeda in Iraq [a.k.a. Republikans in the US] may try to attack targets around the world in response to US-led efforts to clamp down on it, the top US intelligence official said. [Here come the terrorist threats, just as it becomes obvious that a Democratic would otherwise win the general election.]

Row over killing of Iraqi family 05 Feb 2008 An Iraqi couple and their son, 19, have been killed when US soldiers stormed a tiny one-room house north of Baghdad. The US military says its troops killed the two men in self-defence after gunfire came from the house [Yeah, right!], but local people say the victims were unarmed. At least one of the couple's daughters was also wounded in the raid, in the village of al-Dawr, near Tikrit.

US military says innocent woman killed in Iraq raid 05 Feb 2008 American troops killed an innocent woman during a raid in Iraq on Tuesday, the U.S. military said, the day after it admitted killing nine Iraqi civilians while hunting down al Qaeda militants.

U.S. says 9 Iraq civilians accidentally killed 04 Feb 2008 The U.S. military said on Monday it had accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians, including a child, while pursuing 'al Qaeda' fighters south of Baghdad.

Turkey Bombs Villages In N. Iraq --Suspected Hideouts of Kurdish Rebels Targeted in Strikes 05 Feb 2008 Turkish warplanes bombed more than 70 targets in northern Iraq on Monday as part of the government's ongoing battle with a militant Kurdish group that uses the area as a base for attacks in Turkey.

McCain backs long-term US presence in Iraq 04 Feb 2008 Republican White House hopeful John McCain insisted Monday the United States must maintain a long-term presence in Iraq and accused Democratic rivals of caving in to the forces of "evil."

Britain's Prince Andrew attacks Bush over Iraq 05 Feb 2008 Britain's Prince Andrew launched a sharp attack on Tuesday on U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush for failing to listen to Britain during the conflict in Iraq.

Iraq, Afghanistan, and the US Economy 04 Feb 2008 Expert opinion varies wildly on the relevance of US war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to the health of the US economy. At the most basic level, economists disagree whether these wars will have a positive or negative long-term economic impact.

Extra firepower sent to Afghanistan as UK digs in --Record deployment of paratroopers --Country may be sliding to civil war 06 Feb 2008 A fresh British force with extra firepower is to be sent to Afghanistan as the US intensifies pressure on other European allies in an increasingly urgent attempt to prevent the country from collapsing into civil war. In what is being described as a "critical week" for Nato's role in Afghanistan, the British move, due to be announced today, shows that the government is prepared to maintain a significant military presence there despite severe pressure on its already overstretched army.

Afghanistan may become failed state as insurgency spreads: study 05 Feb 2008 Afghanistan risks becoming a failed state if NATO troops do not defeat the Taliban, boosting 'Islamist extremism' worldwide, a study said Tuesday, also warning that the West lacked resources. The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) lamented growing signs that the insurgency was expanding from the south of Afghanistan into northern provinces, with rebels learning lessons from Iraq.

Heads up! Pakistan Is Threatened, Intelligence Chief Says 06 Feb 2008 Radical elements are now a threat to the survival of Pakistan, prompting Pakistani military leaders to recognize that more aggressive efforts are needed to get the elements under control, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said yesterday in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Al Qaeda's invisible man keeps Iraq guessing --‘We have seen no pictures of him. We don’t have irrefutable evidence that he actually exists, but we don’t discount that there may be a man named Omar al-Baghdadi’ [a.k.a. the boogey man.] 06 Feb 2008 As Iraq prepares what it boasts will be its [hundredth] "decisive battle" against Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], government forces face the challenge of tracking its shadowy leader, whose very existence has been called into doubt.

6 dead as Israel strikes Gaza after bombing 06 Feb 2008 Six Hamas fighters were killed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the day after the first suicide bombing in a year by Palestinian militants on Israeli soil.

Clinton and Obama Trading Victories; McCain Holds Edge Over G.O.P. Rivals 05 Feb 2008 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won her adopted state of New York and neighboring New Jersey, while Senator Barack Obama claimed his home state of Illinois and won in Georgia, Alabama and Delaware as the two Democratic candidates traded victories in a coast-to-coast contest for convention delegates.

Obama projected to win in Conn. Democratic primary 05 Feb 2008 Barack Obama won Connecticut's Democratic primary on Tuesday, U.S. media reported. There were 48 pledged delegates at stake.

Romney wins Montana caucus 05 Feb 2008 Former Gov. Mitt Romney won the Montana Republican caucus on Tuesday, U.S. media reported. Twenty-five pledged delegates were at stake.

Clinton takes Northeast prizes; Obama wins Ill. --Home-state victories give both senators major victories, NBC News projects 05 Feb 2008 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York took three big early Super Tuesday prizes in the Democratic presidential contest, winning the delegate-rich Northeastern states of Massachusetts, New Jersey and her home state of New York, NBC News projected. Sen. Barack Obama countered with important victories in his home state, Illinois, and Georgia, NBC News projected.

Clinton, McCain win N.J. primary contests 05 Feb 2008 Hillary Clinton pushed past Barack Obama to capture the New Jersey Democratic primary Tuesday, while John McCain won an easy victory in the Republican contest. Clinton, the New York senator favored by New Jersey's Democratic establishment, fended off a tough challenge from the Illinois senator that intensified in the final days of the campaign.

Huckabee wins West Virginia Republican vote 05 Feb 2008 Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee won the Republican presidential nominating race in West Virginia on Tuesday, defeating John McCain and Mitt Romney in the first of the day's 24 state contests to pick candidates for the November election, U.S. media projected.

Hucka-Back from the Dead --Former Arkansas Governor Wins West Virginia, First of 21 GOP Super Tuesday Contests 05 Feb 2008 Former governor Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., who has not won a Republican primary since Iowa, prevailed in West Virginia, the first of 21 GOP contests on Super Tuesday.

Dole defends McCain to Limbaugh 05 Feb 2008 Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole has written conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh asking him to ease his criticism of Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Former Bush backer, state Sen. Sheldon endorses Obama 05 Feb 2008 Maverick Democratic state Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch surprised colleagues by endorsing Barack Obama for president. Sheldon had endorsed George Bush in 2004.

High demand for Democratic ballots sparks worries of shortages 05 Feb 2008 An unusually high number of decline-to-state voters pulling Democratic Party ballots is causing some polling places in the Bay Area to run out of ballots while others are running low. In at least one precinct in Palo Alto, the ballots are gone. A voter said a West San Jose polling place is running low and Obama campaign volunteers said at least three shipments of additional ballots were taken to Stanford University's only polling place.

OK: Turnout Close to '96 Record 05 Feb 2008 Rain continued to fall across much of Oklahoma today, and some snow was forecast in the north of the state. Nonetheless, officials continue to predict record turnouts for both contests.

Democrats and Republicans Tied in California Poll 05 Feb 2008 The leading Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are locked in close races in California, the state with the most delegates at stake in today's primaries and caucuses, an American Research Group, Inc. poll shows.

Contenders bracing for a long night 05 Feb 2008 The four leading presidential contenders were digging in late Tuesday for what was expected to be among the most riveting nights in the history of presidential primaries.

First Super Tuesday results show tight race for Democrats 05 Feb 2008 Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton split the early Democratic presidential primaries of Super Tuesday, according to CNN projections, with Obama notching up a win in Georgia and Clinton taking Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Democrats' competitive race has California in a quandary 05 Feb 2008 Evenly matched and—by the end—even in the polls, Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama waged the liveliest race California has seen in 40 years for the Democratic nomination for president.

A House Divided: Democratic Families Split on Choices 05 Feb 2008 Democratic households are finding themselves split between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Mega baft alert! Clinton Accepts Fox News Debate 05 Feb 2008 Risking the ire of progressive activists, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign announced that it has accepted a debate to air on Faux News on February 11, according to her chief strategist Mark Penn.

Confusion reported in New Jersey presidential primary polls 05 Feb 2008 The state Public Advocate's Office received about 200 calls Tuesday from voters confused about who could vote in the state's presidential primary election. "The number of people who were turned away from the polls and sought our assistance to exercise their right to vote was extraordinarily high for a presidential primary," said Laurie Brewer, spokeswoman for the state Public Advocate's Office.

Tight Races in Massachusetts Primary 05 Feb 2008 Former Gov. Mitt Romney looked to the loyalty of Massachusetts Republicans to carry him in his home state over surging Republican rival John McCain, while voters here had a tight race to settle between Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

From east to west, LA begins casting Democratic vote 05 Feb 2008 It may go by the name Tsunami Tuesday, but the expected wave of voters was more of a trickle early this morning in Boyle Heights at the heart of heavily Latino east Los Angeles. "We've had 21 so far this morning," said one poll volunteer, pride infusing her voice. "It may not sound like much but last year we had 24 in the whole day."

Early Votes Go Smoothly in Most States 05 Feb 2008 Scattered voting problems were reported early in some states — including New Jersey, where the governor had to wait for a touch-screen machine to be fixed — in the biggest Super Tuesday ever held in America. [Famous last words.]

Voters pick up Super pace 05 Feb 2008 Super Tuesday voter turnout is expected to live up to the predicted 1.3 million mark, top Bay State election officials report. "It’s probably going to approach the best primary record we had..." said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin.

Limbaugh Weighs In [at 300 pounds?] 05 Feb 2008 Rush Limbaugh denounced John McCain today over a letter written on his behalf by Bob Dole, accusing McCain's presidential campaign of "a dirty little trick. [It's so good to see the lunatic rightwing rip each other to shreds.]

Obama snub still rankles Newsom 05 Feb 2008 Seeing Mayor Gavin Newsom on the national stage with former president Bill Clinton on Monday night is a reminder of how political winds can change.

John McCain already moves to mollify the GOP right 05 Feb 2008 Former Sen. Bob Dole, who knows a thing or three about losing elections to the Clintons, has some advice for conservative radio talkshow impressario Rush Limbaugh, who's been loudly complaining about John McCain for weeks.

Grateful Dead and Deadheads reunite for Obama 05 Feb 2008 Saying Barack Obama embodies political hope absent since Robert Kennedy was slain 40 years ago, three surviving members of the Grateful Dead rock band reunited on Monday for the first time in four years to back the presidential candidate.

Conspiracy theories emerge after internet cables cut 04 Feb 2008 Is information warfare to blame for the damage to underwater internet cables that has interrupted internet service to millions of people in India and Egypt, or is it just a series of accidents? Egypt's Transport Ministry says video surveillance shows no ships were in the area at the time of the incident. Online columnist Ian Brockwell says the cables may have been cut deliberately in an attempt by the US and Israel to deprive Iran of internet access. Others back up that theory, saying the Pentagon has a secret strategy called 'information warfare'.

Abracadabra! Bush Makes Privacy Board Vanish By Ryan Singel 04 Feb 2008 The Bush administration has failed to nominate any candidates to a newly empowered privacy and civil-liberties commission. This leaves the board without any members, even as Congress prepares to give the Bush administration extraordinary powers to wiretap without warrants inside the United States.

Congress Looks Askance at Bush's Budget 05 Feb 2007 Democrats on two Senate panels tossed brickbats at President [sic] Bush's budget on Tuesday, blasting it for loading debt onto the fiscal ledger and making clear that they would ignore his proposals to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending.

Judge: Navy Must Follow Law --Despite Bush's decision granting exemption, Navy must follow sonar laws, federal judge rules 05 Feb 2008 President [sic] Bush cannot excuse the Navy from abiding with environmental laws banning sonar training, a federal judge [District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper] ruled Monday.

The imperiled polar bears may be the victims of more gas and oil exploration (Orlando Sentinel) 03 Feb 2008 You don't need Sherlock Holmes to find who's responsible for this crime-in-the-making. By law, the Interior Department was supposed to declare by Jan. 9 whether polar bears should be designated a threatened species... But January 2008 passed without any decision on the bears' status. It seems elementary as to why. A "threatened" designation for the bears could lead to limits being placed on oil and gas exploration and production in their natural habitat. And that wouldn't sit well with developers looking to drill for oil and gas in a 46,000-square-mile area of the Chukchi Sea northwest of Alaska, which also happens to be home to one of just two U.S. polar-bear populations. So while the Interior Department ostensibly continues to consider the threatened designation for the bears well beyond the Jan. 9 deadline, it also is expected to announce on Wednesday that it will open much of the Chukchi Sea to oil and gas leases.

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The Set-Up: Is Obama a Lamb for Future Slaughter? --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 04 Feb 2008 We have heard so little of the problems with Senator Obama's record that one might assume it was, like the New England Patriots, perfect. The flaws have been so well hidden that one wonders whether something is awry. It wasn't that Senator Hillary Clinton, the heir apparent and presumed nominee, was being pummeled hourly. That was nothing new. Many commentators get what amounts to sexual gratification from the ritual. Rather, it was that her primary opponent, Barack Obama, was not. I began to wonder whether or not something was being spared to effect.

U.S. says no one too young for Guantanamo tribunal 04 Feb 2008 Navy Lt. William Kuebler asked a military judge to throw out the charges against Canadian defendant Omar Khadr, who was shot and captured at age 15 in a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] compound in Afghanistan in 2002. But a U.S. Department of Justice attorney, arguing for the prosecution, said that if Congress intended to exclude juveniles from the Guantanamo war court, it would have explicitly written that, because lawmakers knew Khadr could face charges. Instead, Congress wrote the law using the term "person," which legally refers to "anyone born alive," Justice Department attorney Andy Oldham said.

New Operation to Put Heavily Armed Officers in Subways 02 Feb 2008 In the first counterterrorism strategy of its kind in the nation, roving teams of New York City police officers armed with automatic rifles and accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the city’s subway system daily, beginning next month, officials said on Friday. Under a tactical plan called Operation Torch, the officers will board trains and patrol platforms, focusing on sites like Pennsylvania Station, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and Times Square in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

Terrorism bill opens way for secret inquests 04 Feb 2008 The government was yesterday criticised over plans to hold inquests without juries [!], which campaigners fear could limit hearings into the deaths of British soldiers and people shot by police. The plans are contained in the new counter-terrorism bill published last month and allow the home secretary to withhold intercept evidence from the families of the deceased in the interests of national security or the UK's relationship with another country or "otherwise in the public interest".

Fears over jury ban in 'secrecy' inquests 04 Feb 2008 A dispute has broken out over government plans to remove juries from some inquests. Provisions buried in last month's Counter-Terrorism Bill would also allow home secretaries to replace coroners with their own officers. The measures are designed to avoid sensitive details of secret service activities, phone-taps and surveillance operations falling into the hands of laymen sitting on juries. Critics warned against "dangerous" tinkering with a centuries-old system.

FBI wants palm prints, eye scans, tattoo mapping 04 Feb 2008 The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists fill the coffers of another corpora-terrorist. The bureau is expected to announce in coming days the awarding of a $1 billion, 10-year contract to help create the database that will compile an array of biometric information -- from palm prints to eye scans.

Bush Boosts Defense Spending in $3.1 Trillion Budget 04 Feb 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush sent Congress a $3.1 trillion federal budget that trims Medicare and health care programs, boosts military spending and projects the deficit this year and next will hit near-record levels. Pentagon spending would rise 7.5 percent to $515 billion, the 11th consecutive year of increases, in the budget blueprint for fiscal 2009.

Proposed Military Spending Is Highest Since WWII 04 Feb 2008 As Congress and the public focus on more than $600 billion already approved in supplemental budgets to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for counterterrorism operations, the Bush administration has with little notice approached a landmark in military spending. The Pentagon on Monday will unveil its proposed 2009 budget of $515.4 billion. If it is approved in full, annual military spending, when adjusted for inflation, will have reached its highest level since World War II.

Gates Urges Congress to Act on War Funds 04 Feb 2008 Defense Secretary [war criminal] Robert Gates called on Congress Monday to approve $102.5 billion in war funds that President [sic] Bush requested last year. The money has been held up by Democrats' disagreements with the White House over the conduct of the war in Iraq. That money is in addition to another $70 billion in war funding that Bush proposed Monday as part of his 2009 budget request.

Baghdad 'drowning in sewage' 04 Feb 2008 Baghdad is drowning in sewage, thirsty for water and largely powerless, an Iraqi official said today in a grim assessment of services in the capital five years after the US-led invasion. One of three sewage treatment plants is out of commission, one is working at stuttering capacity while a pipe blockage in the third means sewage is forming a foul lake so large it can be seen "as a big black spot on Google Earth," said Tahseen Sheikhly, civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan.

Iraq to start talks with U.S. over long-term strategic ties 04 Feb 2008 Iraq will start talks with the U.S. later this month on an agreement that would shape bilateral strategic relations, including the long-term presence of U.S. troops in Iraq, the Iraqi government said Monday. "The talks over the long-term cooperation and friendship between the two sides will start in the third week of the current month," government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said without specifying a date.

For US war crimes in Iraq, no end in sight: Envoy: US troops to be in Iraq into '09 02 Feb 2008 President [sic] Bush's top diplomat in Iraq [Amb. Ryan Crocker] said Friday that the U.S. plans to keep combat troops there into 2009, seen as the tipping point for establishing the nation's long-term 'security,' and he offered no deadline for a full withdrawal.

US raid kills nine Iraqi civilians 04 Feb 2008 Raids by American forces against 'al-Qaeda' in Iraq south of Baghdad have accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians, including a child. The incident occurred on Saturday near the town of Iskandariyah, 50km south of the Iraqi capital, a US military statement said.

US Accidentally Kills 9 Iraqi Civilians 04 Feb 2008 The U.S. military said Monday that it accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation 'targeting' al-Qaida in Iraq south of Baghdad. The civilians were killed Saturday near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the Iraqi capital, U.S. Navy Lt. Patrick Evans told The Associated Press. Three more civilians were wounded and taken to U.S. military hospitals nearby, he said.

National Guard Soldiers Told to Prepare For Iraq 04 Feb 2008 Nearly 400 Louisiana National Guard troops will be heading to Iraq. The soldiers were told Friday that they'd be deploying to the Middle East within the next year.

Revealed: British plan to build training camp for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan 04 Feb 2008 Britain planned to build a Taliban training camp for 2,000 fighters in southern Afghanistan, as part of a top-secret deal to make them swap sides, intelligence sources in Kabul have revealed. The plans were discovered on a memory stick seized by Afghan secret police in December.

Internet problems continue with fourth cable break 03 Feb 2008 Internet services in Qatar have been seriously disrupted because of damage to an undersea telecoms cable linking the Gulf state to the UAE, the fourth such incident in less than a week. Qatar Telecom (Qtel) said on Sunday the cable was damaged between the Qatari island of Haloul and the UAE island of Das on Friday.

'It seems now to be way beyond the realm of coincidence that a further 4th critical international communications cable should break within seven days.' Flag plays down net blackout conspiracy theories 04 Feb 2008 Flag Telecom on Monday played down conspiracy theories over the recent damage to undersea cables that has seriously disrupted internet and international telecoms services across the region. Two intercontinental cables connecting Europe and Asia were cut off the coast of Egypt on Wednesday, followed by breaks in two more cables off the UAE coast on Friday. Flag owns two of the affected cables. The location of the breaks and short space of time in which they have happened has sparked fears the cables were intentionally damaged by the US and Israel to deprive Iran of internet access.

Disaster threatens US in cyber drill 01 Feb 2008 In the middle of the biggest-ever Cyber Storm war game to test the nation's hacker defenses, someone quietly targeted the very computers used to conduct the exercise. The surprising culprit? The players themselves, the same government and corporate experts responsible for detecting and fending off attacks against vital computer systems, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press.

Hicks not a terrorist: Dick Smith 04 Feb 2008 'Convicted' terrorism supporter David Hicks is a decent Australian who has never supported terrorism, adventurer and businessman Dick Smith says. During Mr Hicks' incarceration at Guantanamo Bay, Mr Smith campaigned for a fair trial for the Adelaide man, who was transferred to a South Australian jail last year, from which he was released in late December.

MPs warn Hicks not to sell his story 01 Feb 2008 The federal government expects legal authorities to take strong action against David Hicks if the 'confessed' terrorism supporter breaks the law by trying to profit from his story. Hicks is reportedly fielding offers from about 30 media organisations worldwide to tell the story of his capture in Afghanistan and his more than five years in Guantanamo Bay.

Candidates Make Final Push Before Tuesday Vote 04 Feb 2008 As the candidates began their final push before Super Tuesday’s multistate primary contests, Senator John McCain and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama made campaign appearances in the Northeast on Monday, while Mitt Romney set off on a coast-to-coast swing that is to end with an evening appearance in California.

US Democrat battle 'is nearly too close to call' 04 Feb 2008 A dramatic tightening of the Democratic race has been indicated as Barack Obama surged to within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in several polls as the rivals for their party's nomination prepared for Super Tuesday.

Obama expands lead on Clinton in California 04 Feb 2008 Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama opened narrow leads on Hillary Clinton in California and Missouri one day before crucial "Super Tuesday" nominating contests in 24 states, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Monday.

Clinton, Obama, Insurance By Paul Krugman 04 Feb 2008 The principal policy division between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama involves health care... You see, the Obama campaign has demonized the idea of mandates -- most recently in a scare-tactics mailer sent to voters that bears a striking resemblance to the "Harry and Louise" ads run by the insurance lobby in 1993, ads that helped undermine our last chance at getting universal health care. If Mr. Obama gets to the White House and tries to achieve universal coverage, he’ll find that it can’t be done without mandates -- but if he tries to institute mandates, the enemies of reform will use his own words against him.

Activists want polar bear on endangered list 05 Feb 2008 Animal activists have pressed the US government to add the polar bear to the list of endangered animal species before the sell-off of oil and gas drilling rights in Alaska begins in the coming days. The US government is due on Wednesday to offer several million acres of polar bear habitat in the Chukchi Sea [Polar Bear Seas] in Alaska for sale for oil and gas exploration leases.

Chill the Drills - Protect Alaska's Polar Bear Seas (Sierra Club) 03 Feb 2008 At a time when the polar bear's future is literally on thin ice, it's no time to add insult to injury by drilling in their fragile Arctic habitat... Alaska's Chukchi and Beaufort Seas - also known as the Polar Bear Seas - could be opened to drilling as early as February. Please help protect the bears from further harm by signing this petition to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Sacramento River chinook salmon population falls precipitously 30 Jan 2008 The Sacramento River's fall chinook salmon population fell by two-thirds in just one year and is headed for collapse, according to data from the federal government. Experts say the fish's collapse may be related to the damage that global warming is doing to oceans.

Turkey detects bird flu virus in poultry 03 Feb 2008 Turkey detected bird flu virus in dead chickens found late last month in the northern part of the country after it had started culling poultry due to bird flu suspicions, the Agriculture Ministry said on Sunday.

Giants-Patriots Most-Watched Super Bowl 04 Feb 2008 The New York Giants' thrilling win over New England was the most-watched Super Bowl ever with 97.5 million viewers, a total that is second only to the "M-A-S-H" finale audience, Nielsen Media Research said Monday.

Nobody's perfect -- Giants shock Patriots --Manning's late TD pass cements N.Y. 3rd title; N.E. denied 19-0 season 04 Feb 2008 With the Super Bowl on the line, look who had the perfection thing down Pat: Eli Manning and the road-conquering New York Giants. And what a beauty their 11th straight road victory was, a 17-14 Super Bowl win Sunday that shattered the New England Patriots’ unblemished season.

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Top-secret Livermore germ lab opens --Scientists developing 'countermeasures' for bubonic plague, anthrax, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, tularemia, brucellosis or undulant fever; researching flu, tuberculosis and SARS 02 Feb 2008 A high-security laboratory where deadly microbes are being grown by scientists seeking defenses against terrorist attacks began operating in Livermore last week without public announcement, and opponents said Friday that they will go to federal court in an effort to close the facility down. The facility is known as a Biosafety-level 3 laboratory where... more than 40 potentially lethal disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi are stored inside.

Egypt: No ships present when internet cable cut 03 Feb 2008 No ships were present when two marine cables carrying much of the Middle East's internet traffic were severed, announced Egypt's Ministry of Communications Sunday, contrary to earlier speculation about the causes of the cut. The ministry had originally stated that a ship dropping its anchor on the two key cables was most likely responsible for Wednesday's cut in service that robbed Egypt, Saudi Arabia and India of much of their internet. [Yeah, but since Israel and Iraq weren't effected, I wonder who cut the cables? Hint: Three letters, beginning with a "C" and ending with an "A."]

Another Internet cable damaged near Dubai 03 Feb 2008 After the snapping of two undersea cables off the Egyptian coast, another Internet cable, Falcon, owned by FLAG Telecom, has been damaged in the Middle East but Internet operations across India have remained unaffected. Reliance Communications-owned FLAG Telecom reported the cut in the Falcon cable, 56 km away from Dubai in the segment between UAE and Oman, on Friday.

Gunmen shoot dead police officer in W Baghdad 03 Feb 2007 Unknown [US] gunmen assassinated a senior police officer and wounded two others in western Baghdad on Sunday, an Interior Ministry source said. "Lieut. Col. Ahmed Ibrahim was killed and two lieutenants were wounded when gunmen showered their car with bullets near the 14th Ramadhan intersection in the Mansour neighborhood," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Iraq: 3 Dead in Baghdad Violence 03 Feb 2008 A senior Interior Ministry official and his bodyguard were wounded and his driver was killed Sunday by a bomb planted on his car, police said. Lt. Col. Mohammed Ibrahim, director of Iraq's police commandos, an elite special forces group, was heading to work when the bomb exploded around 10 a.m. in the Mansour neighborhood, an officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. Ibrahim and his bodyguard both survived but his driver was killed, the officer said.

U.S. casualties increase in Iraq 01 Feb 2008 The U.S. death toll in Iraq increased in January, ending a four-month drop in casualties, and most of the deaths occurred outside Baghdad or the Al-Anbar province, according to military statistics. In all, 38 American service members had been reported killed in January by Thursday evening, compared with 23 in December. Of those, 33 died from hostile action, but only nine of them in Baghdad or Al-Anbar.

Iraq veterans are denied help for combat trauma 03 Feb 2008 Hundreds of veterans, including many who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are being denied vital help by the government to cope with the psychological fallout of war. Despite ministerial pledges to improve support for British soldiers suffering mental health problems, veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are still not receiving funding for specialist medical treatment.

'Blair Government under police investigation for war crimes.' 29 Jan 2008 (Press Release) Scotland Yard to investigate Tony Blair and ex-Attorney General Peter Goldsmith for war crimes Press Conference, 15 Jan 2008 3pm John McDonnell MP, Chris Coverdale: International War Law Expert and Annie Machon of the Campaign to Make War History brief MPs and the media on allegations of war crimes committed against the people of Iraq by Britain’s former Prime Minister and former Attorney General.

'I'm the governor of Kandahar, I am not an investigator.' Kandahar governor denies torture allegations 02 Feb 2008 Mirroring politicians in Canada, the governor of Kandahar province insisted Saturday that the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan is the responsibility of the military. Gov. Asadullah Khalid also bristled at allegations he was personally involved in the torture of at least one prisoner in Kandahar, as reported by Canadian diplomats in Afghanistan. "I'm the governor of Kandahar, I am not an investigator,'' he said in an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press.

CIA places controls on inspector general --Some fear changes are an effort to muzzle the agency's internal watchdog in the wake of critical reports. 02 Feb 2008 The CIA's internal investigative branch will be subjected to a series of new checks and controls designed to give targets of in-house probes greater ability to defend themselves, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said in a statement to the agency's employees. Among the changes is the creation of two positions to oversee the work of the CIA's inspector general, including a "quality control officer" [?] charged with monitoring the inspector's handling of evidence and testimony.

Israelis told to prepare 'rocket rooms' for war 02 Feb 2008 Retired senior officers told Israelis on Saturday to prepare "rocket rooms" as protection against a rain of missiles expected to be fired at the Jewish state in any future conflict. Speaking on radio as part of a military propaganda offensive, retired general Udi Shani said: "The next war will see a massive use of ballistic weapons against the whole of Israeli territory."

Israeli soldiers expose butts to Palestinian shepherds 03 Feb 2008 A number of Israeli soldiers have exposed their buttocks in a taunting manner to Palestinian shepherds in the West Bank. In what is being described as an Abu Ghraib-type incident, Israeli soldiers were called to a scene at the Maon Farm settlement outpost near the West Bank city of Hebron, where Palestinian shepherds were being accompanied by foreign activists. The activists say they were accompanying the Palestinians because they are regularly harassed by Jewish settlers.

More anthrax on the way? Bush budget seen renewing battle with Congress 03 Feb 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush will on Monday unveil a $3 trillion budget that likely will spark anew the wrangling between the White House and the Democratic-led Congress over Iraq war funding, tax cuts and the sagging economy.

Consumer Safety Panel Powers to Diminish --Much Authority to Be Lost 03 Feb 2008 When the Consumer Product Safety Commission returns to work on Monday, it will not have the authority to adopt safety rules, order mandatory recalls of dangerous products, or impose civil penalties on companies that do not report product hazards immediately. The agency, which polices more than 15,000 types of products, will lose those powers tomorrow when its temporary quorum expires for the second time in little more than a year.

U.S. close to decision on polar bears --It could be the first species to be listed as threatened with extinction primarily because of global warming. 02 Feb 2008 The Bush regime is nearing a decision that would officially acknowledge the environmental damage of global warming, and name its first potential victim: the polar bear. The Interior Department may act as soon as this week on its year-old proposal to make the polar bear the first species to be listed as threatened with extinction because of melting ice due to a warming planet. [Prediction: Sociopath Bush will not list the polar bear as threatened and announce his (Exxon's) decision on Super Tuesday, when no one is paying attention to the polar bear.]

In Ill. Senate, Obama Rewrote Nuclear Bill to Reflect GOP Wishes 03 Feb 2008 When residents in Illinois voiced outrage two years ago upon learning that the Exelon Corporation had not disclosed radioactive leaks at one of its nuclear plants, the state’s freshman senator, Barack Obama, took up their cause. Mr. Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail... [But] while he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks.

Obama, Clinton & GOP Attack Machine By Robert Parry 02 Feb 2008 What Sen. Obama didn’t say out loud, but what Democratic voters surely recalled was the endless baiting of John Kerry for having been "for the war before he was against it," earning a place – as George W. Bush put it – "in the flip-flop hall of fame." Hillary Clinton would be open to similar attacks since she voted in 2002 to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq and remained a staunch war supporter almost until the eve of Campaign 2008, when she realigned herself with the anti-war sentiments of rank-and-file Democrats. She was for it, for it and for it – before she was finally against it. But another factor that plays to Obama’s advantage as the prospective nominee – when compared to Hillary Clinton – is that the Right’s powerful media apparatus and the Republican attack strategies appear less successful against Democrats with strong oratorical skills and the ability to inspire enthusiasm and passion.

Wall Street donates millions to top presidential candidates 01 Feb 2008 Employees of Wall Street investment banks, whose role in the unregulated sub-prime mortgage market helped stall the U.S. economy, have donated more than $5 million to the top four Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.

Candidates Scrambling in States About to Vote 03 Feb 2008 The presidential campaign played to new audiences on Saturday as the leading Democratic and Republican candidates fanned out across the nation, drawing distinctions with their rivals and making urgent appeals to voters in delegate-rich or politically symbolic states.

U.S. Democrats in dead heat ahead of big vote 03 Feb 2008 Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were locked in a near dead heat two days before the biggest presidential voting so far while John McCain tried to nail down the Republican nomination for the White House.

Edwards Wants to Remain On R.I. Ballot 01 Feb 2008 John Edwards dropped out of the Democratic race this week and initially, his campaign asked the secretary of state to remove his name. But NBC 10 reported that Edwards's campaign later asked for Edwards's name to remain on the ballot.

Obama Is Racing Against the Clock --Short Calendar Favors Clinton 02 Feb 2008 Sen. Barack Obama has two opponents: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the clock, which is rapidly running down. With three days to go before Super Tuesday, when roughly half the delegates in the Democratic presidential contest will be awarded, Obama is racing around the country, still trying to introduce himself to voters.

Newsday endorses Clinton in New York primary (Newsday) 02 Feb 2008 Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York both offer today's most prized commodity: change. Both would quickly address a war without end, a sinking economy and a health-care system in crisis. Obama presents an inspiring vision of how the nation can heal its polarizing partisanship. Clinton brings proven experience and knowledge to accomplish that goal... It's a difficult decision, but in the end, we choose experience.

Romney Wins Maine Caucuses 03 Feb 2008 Mitt Romney coasted to a win in presidential preference voting by Maine Republicans on Saturday, claiming his third victory in a caucus state and fourth overall.

Another GOPedophile bites the dust! DCF spokesman arrested on child porn charges 01 Feb 2008 The spokesman for the Department of Children and Families was arrested on child pornography charges Friday night, accused of soliciting two teen-agers to perform sex acts which he used to make child pornography. Al Zimmerman, 40, who has worked for DCF since spring 2005, was arrested in Lakeland and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail, where he was booked on eight counts of using a child in a sexual performance.

Virginia Beach police seize photos from Abercrombie store 03 Feb 2008 Police, saying they were responding to citizen complaints, carted away two large promotional photographs from the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Lynnhaven Mall on Saturday and cited the manager on obscenity charges.

Major progress reported in writers talks 03 Feb 2008 Hollywood's striking writers and its major studios made "significant progress" in recent talks aimed at ending their labor dispute, a source briefed on the discussions said on Saturday, raising hopes a settlement may be near.

Bird flu spreads in Bangladesh, port city on alert 03 Feb 2008 Bird flu has spread to three more districts of Bangladesh, the livestock department said on Sunday, taking the number of affected districts to more than half of the country's 64 districts.

India isolates 26 people as bird flu spreads in Asia 01 Feb 2008 India has put 26 people in isolation with bird flu symptoms and hundreds more people are being monitored, officials said on Friday as Pakistan and Thailand reported outbreaks of bird flu in poultry.

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Pentagon claims ready for upcoming Bush false flags: Pentagon rejects report, says ready for WMD attack 01 Feb 2008 The Pentagon on Friday insisted it is ready to respond to a [Bush] chemical, biological or nuclear attack inside the United States, rejecting an independent panel's criticism of its preparations. But the Pentagon conceded it is not yet satisfied with its plans to respond to some of the 15 catastrophic attack scenarios [!] that federal agencies have been ordered to prepare for, such as a nuclear attack or a series of chemical attacks throughout the country.

USDA Bird Flu Plan Needs Test [LOL, I'm sure they do! Halliburton, KBR, Monsanto, and Gilead Sciences want a dry run, so that they can secure their billion-dollar contracts in the aftermath of a bird flu outbreak or a Bush bioterror attack - for detention centers, quarantines and mandatory vaccines. The same players who 'rebuilt' New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina are still sitting at the table, poised for Bush's pandemic party. --LRP] 01 Feb 2008 The Agriculture Department cannot ensure it will respond effectively to a bird flu outbreak because it has not tested many of the policies put in place as part of a national preparedness plan, an inspector general's report said Friday... The federal government's plan to prepare the country for avian influenza includes more than 300 tasks [!] for various federal departments. See: Flu 'Oddities' and:

Bush to seek $140.7 billion for Army in budget 02 Feb 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush will seek $140.7 billion on Monday for the U.S. Army in fiscal 2009, including increased funds to buy helicopters and other equipment, according to budget documents obtained by Reuters. That request would be 8 percent higher than the Army budget requested for fiscal 2008.

British soldiers 'tortured and killed' 22 Iraqis 01 Feb 2008 British soldiers have been accused of torturing 22 Iraqi citizens to death. They are also said to have abused nine others held in their custody. The allegations of brutality, dating back to 2004, can now be made public after a gagging order was lifted by a High Court judge yesterday. The order had prevented any details of the alleged torture being reported by the Press or broadcast media.

Iraq market bombs toll nears 100 02 Feb 2008 The death toll from two Baghdad market bombs allegedly carried by [Blackwater] mentally disabled women and set off remotely has risen to nearly 100, say officials. The blasts on Friday at two animal markets in Baghdad left 99 people dead and up to 200 wounded, officials said.

Iraq set for new offensive in Mosul 02 Feb 2008 Iraqi political and military leaders and U.S. military commanders have traveled to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul ahead of a planned offensive on al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq loyalists, according to a senior U.S. military source. Saturday's meeting portends a major confrontation between U.S. and Iraqi troops and al Qaeda in Iraq militants, who have a strong presence in the diverse, sprawling city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province.

Claims that victory is at hand in the Iraq war are as fatuous and unsubstantiated as Westmoreland's belief in 1968 that he was seeing "the light at the end of the tunnel." Iraq of '08 eerily like Vietnam of '68 By Thomas A. Bass and Maurice Isserman 31 Jan 2008 The last time the United States lulled itself into thinking that a military surge was working was January 1968, just before the Tet lunar New Year ushered in the Year of the Monkey... Borrowing a page from the playbook of Lawrence of Arabia, the United States has put the Shiite militias and Sunni tribes on the U.S. payroll. Infusions of cold cash, in a conflict already costing more than $2 billion a week, have created a welfare warfare state, with many of Iraq's insurgent forces being fed, trained and equipped by the United States.

Rice heads for London as Afghan crisis looms --Row escalates over Nato troop reinforcements --Canada may withdraw unless others do more 02 Feb 2008 Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state [war criminal], is to fly to London next week to tackle an escalating row over Nato troop reinforcements for Afghanistan, amid worries that the entire international stabilisation strategy is in danger of failing.

Germany spurns US troop appeal 01 Feb 2008 Germany has rejected a US appeal to send more troops to Afghanistan, amid signs of strain in the Nato mission. The US defence secretary had used a strongly worded letter to urge larger German deployment to south Afghanistan.

Pakistan unable to confirm killing of Al-Qaeda leader 02 Feb 2008 The Pakistan government said it could not confirm that a top Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] operative was among those killed in a missile strike in the North Waziristan tribal area of the country on Monday. Caretaker Interior Minister Lt. General Hamid Nawaz Khan (Retd.) said on Friday: "We cannot confirm al-Libi’s death because the militants had removed bodies from the site where the explosion happened and the security personnel did not find any corpse." [See: Top al-Qaida leader 'killed' in Afghanistan 31 Jan 2008 One of [5,758,389] al-Qaida's top leaders in Afghanistan has been killed, western intelligence officials said today.]

Pakistan: Partition and Military Succession --Documents from the U.S. National Archives By Paul Wolf U.S. Intelligence activities in Pakistan

Spy warned of Habib torture 02 Feb 2008 An ASIO agent has undermined the Howard government's claims that it did not know anything about former Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib's rendition to Egypt, saying the possibility that the Sydney man might be sent there was discussed from the time the spy agency knew he had been detained in Pakistan. The spy, using the pseudonym "Paul Stokes", told a Federal Court hearing yesterday that what might happen to Mr Habib was discussed with government officials from the beginning of his detention in October 2001.

Guantánamo Decision Rebuffs Government 02 Feb 2008 A federal appeals court ruled against the Bush regime on Friday in a central case on Guantánamo detainees, declining to reconsider an order that the government has to turn over virtually all its information on many prisoners. Unless the Justice Department obtains a stay, the decision, from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will clear the way for prisoners’ lawyers to press 180 appeals cases of Guantánamo inmates challenging their detentions.

Court won't review Guantanamo evidence ruling 01 Feb 2008 The U.S. government on Friday lost a court bid to prevent terrorism detainees gaining access to all readily available documents about them as they challenge their indefinite imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.

Rights group: Venezuela is basically democratic --Human Rights Watch said Venezuela was actually more democratic than many nations, contrary to some popular U.S. perceptions. 01 Feb 2008 Human Rights Watch on Thursday said Venezuela does not belong to a group of nations like Pakistan and Russia that use the veneer of democracy to mask autocratic rule -- directly contradicting U.S. government assertions lies. The New York-based group's position also runs contrary to allegations by many opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that he is undermining democracy at home and around Latin America.

Director of Obscure Police Agency Assassinated in Oaxaca City 30 Jan 2008 This morning Alejandro Barrita Ortiz, director of the Auxiliary, Industrial, Banking and Commercial Police, was assassinated in Oaxaca City at "El Tequio" sports park near the international airport. Unofficial reports have surfaced indicating that a phone call was made to the local emergency services hotline by someone claiming to represent the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), and that the caller clarified there were "two more left to go". Barrita, director of the obscure police agency, had been identified as a key player in police operations during and immediately after the 2006 Oaxacan popular uprising. He was accused of illegal detentions of activists, as well as coordinating extra judicial operations against the popular social movement. [Well, that's one way to respond to a coup d'etat! In the US, the DemocRATs 'offered their concession.']

Arabs rally against A-G decision 01 Feb 2008 Thousands of Arab Israelis protested peacefully Friday against the state's decision not to indict police involved in the deaths of 13 Arab citizens in anti-government riots seven years ago. Demonstrators in the northern town of Sakhnin carried 13 mock coffins bearing the victims' names and photographs.

I'll be president of Europe if you give me the power - Blair --Former PM consults old Downing Street allies on campaign for new EU role 02 Feb 2008 Tony Blair has been holding discussions with some of his oldest allies on how he could mount a campaign later this year to become full-time president of the EU council, the prestigious new job characterised as "president of Europe". Blair, currently the Middle East envoy for the US, Russia, EU and the UN, has told friends he has made no final decision, but is increasingly willing to put himself forward for the job if it comes with real powers to intervene in defence and trade affairs.

Biometric data collected at Heathrow 01 Feb 2008 Heathrow Airport introduced a new security system for some of its passengers Friday, requiring them to undergo iris scans and be fingerprinted before boarding their flights. The biometric data will be taken at Heathrow's Terminal 1, which has separate domestic and international lounges.

The Fear Factory --The FBI now has more than 100 task forces devoted exclusively to fighting terrorism. But is the government manufacturing ghosts? By Guy Lawson 25 Jan 2008 According to a study by the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, only ten percent of the 619 "terrorist" cases brought by the federal government have resulted in convictions on "terrorism-related" charges --a category so broad as to be meaningless. In the past year, none of the convictions involved jihadist terror plots targeting America. "The government releases selective figures," says Karen Greenberg, director of the center. "They have never even defined 'terrorism.' They keep us in the dark over statistics."

Exxon Mobil gushes past $40bn mark to set new profit benchmark 02 Feb 2008 Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, yesterday unveiled the biggest ever annual profit from a quoted corporation, breaking through the $40bn (£20bn) barrier for the first time.

Boxer blasts FWS for delay on polar bear decision 01 Feb 2008 US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) charged that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is dragging its feet in deciding whether to list the polar bear as an endangered species... Meanwhile, she noted, another US Department of Interior agency, the US Minerals Management Service, is proceeding with plans to offer oil and gas leases on Feb. 6 "in one of the biological hearts of the polar bear's domain, the Chukchi Sea."

Obama says he'd be better against McCain 02 Feb 2008 Democratic Sen. Barack Obama sees one of the best arguments for his presidential candidacy in the rise of Republican Sen. John McCain. McLunatic has become Obama's favorite punching bag, an easier mark in front of partisan audiences than the rival Obama will have to beat first to get to the general election -- Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama for Democratic nominee (Los Angeles Times) 03 Feb 2008 Democrats preparing to vote in Tuesday's California primary can mark their ballots with confidence, knowing that either candidate would make a strong nominee and, if elected, a groundbreaking leader and capable president... We urge voters to make the most of this historic moment by choosing the Democrat most focused on steering the nation toward constructive change: We strongly endorse Barack Obama.

With Edwards out, California SEIU backs Obama 01 Feb 2008 One of California's largest unions has thrown its support to Barack Obama for president. The Service Employees International Union made its decision two days after its first choice, John Edwards, dropped out of the race.

Obama Picks Up LGBT Supporters From Edwards 01 Feb 2008 A critical mass of John Edwards’s LGBT steering committee is going public with support for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Twenty-two members of the Edwards campaign’s original 59-person gay and lesbian committee will now be working for Obama victories next Tuesday and throughout the rest of the primary season.

Bill Clinton to tour black churches in L.A. 02 Feb 2008 In the run-up to Super Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton is planning a tour of African-American churches in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.

Clinton Memo: Why We're Best Positioned to Take On McCain By Mark Penn, Chief Strategist for Hillary Clinton 02 Feb 2008 If John McCain becomes the Republican nominee, Hillary is the Democrat who can beat him -- because she has the strength and experience a president needs to get America on the right course and to defend it against future threats. She is the hands-on leader that America needs as we slip into a worsening economic crisis. Her ability to be both a strong commander-in-chief and steward of the economy are what make her the favorite against Sen. McCain.

Don't be fooled by the myth of John McCain By Johann Hari 23 Jan 2008 But the truth is that McCain is the candidate we should most fear. Not only is he to the right of Bush on a whole range of subjects, he is also the Republican candidate most likely to dispense with Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. McCain is third-generation Navy royalty... He was sent to one of the most elite boarding schools in America, then to a naval academy where he ranked 894th of 899 students in ability... Right up to his twenties, he remained a strikingly violent man, "ready to fight at the drop of a hat," according to his biographer Robert Timberg.

CNN Dem Debate Most Watched in Cable History 01 Feb 2008 Last night's Democratic debate on CNN drew 8,324,000 million total viewers, making it the most-watched primary debate in cable news history, and the second-most watched on TV this election cycle (ABC's Democratic debate on Jan. 5 drew 9,360,000).

Sen. Larry Craig has spent more than $200,000 on lawyers to clear name 01 Feb 2008 U.S. Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has spent more than $200,000 on lawyers to clear his name of a misdemeanor conviction, according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission.

First Job Losses in 4 Years Raise Recession Fears 02 Feb 2008 The nation’s employers eliminated 17,000 jobs in January, the government reported Friday, the first decline in the work force in more than four years, and the strongest signal yet that the United States may be in the early stages of a recession.

Microsoft-Yahoo the mother of all clusterbombs By Charles Cooper 01 Feb 2008 I found the perfect description to sum up the idea of a Microsoft-Yahoo combination, but CNET News.com's managing editor threatened to knock my lights out if I dared use that original F-word headline. Seeing how I need to be in tip-top condition to view a New York Giants' upset on Sunday, I've settled on "clusterbombs."

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Secret CIA flights to Greenland reported 31 Jan 2008 Denmark will investigate claims that the CIA secretly used an airport on the Nordic country's remote Arctic territory of Greenland to transport prisoners in the U.S. war on [of] terror, the prime minister said Thursday.

Denmark to investigate reports of secret CIA prisoner flights landing in Greenland 31 Jan 2008 Denmark plans to investigate claims the CIA used an airport in Greenland to transport prisoners as part of its so-called "extraordinary rendition" program. A Danish TV documentary claims Denmark's Arctic territory was used in the program along with mainland Denmark's airports. The prime minister says the country plans to ask the Americans "for explanations," saying Denmark had informed the U.S. that such use of its airspace was "unacceptable."

Times Reporter Subpoenaed Over Source for Book 01 Feb 2008 A federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to a reporter of The New York Times, apparently to try to force him to reveal his confidential sources for a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency, one of the reporter’s lawyers said Thursday. The subpoena was delivered last week to the New York law firm that is representing the reporter, James Risen, and ordered him to appear before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Feb. 7. Mr. Risen’s lawyer, David N. Kelley, said in an interview that the subpoena sought the source of information for a specific chapter of the book "State of War."

Hicks could be paid $1m for story 01 Feb 2008 Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner, David Hicks, is fielding lucrative offers for his story and reportedly could be paid up to a million dollars in a major test of proceeds of crime laws. News Limited reports as many as 30 TV networks and publishers have made contact with his Adelaide-based lawyer. Hicks was freed from South Australia's Yatala prison on December 29, and remains under a US-imposed gag order until March.

U.S. defense spending seen peaking in Bush budget 01 Feb 2008 U.S. military spending may soon hit post-World War II highs in real terms, but analysts expect this to mark the end of an 11-year buildup no matter who wins the White House in November. President [sic] George W. Bush, in his final spending plan to be unveiled on Monday, is likely to seek about $515 billion for the Pentagon for fiscal 2009, up five percent in inflation-adjusted terms from the amount provided by Congress in the base 2008 budget, these experts say. In addition, the administration has said it will ask Congress for $70 billion to sustain operations war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the early months of the new budget year that begins Oct 1.

Blackwater is a busy little bee in Baghdad! Handicapped bombers kill dozens in Iraq 01 Feb 2008 Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally handicapped women detonated in a coordinated attack on pet bazaars Friday, police and Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital this spring.

Scores killed in Iraq market blasts 01 Feb 2008 At least 65 people have been killed and at least 149 have been injured by bomb blasts in two crowded markets in Baghdad, police have said. A female suicide bomber detonated explosives at about 10:20am (0720 GMT) at the al-Ghazl pet market in the centre of the Iraqi capital on Friday morning, killing 38 people, police said. Another bomb at a bird market in southeast Baghdad's al-Jadida neighbourhood killing at least 27 people, police said.

Germany rejects US troop request for southern Afghanistan 01 Feb 2008 German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said Friday that Berlin had no plans to deploy combat troops in battle-ravaged southern Afghanistan, after an urgent US request for NATO partners to do more to [de]stabilise the country. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly sent an "unusually stern" letter to Jung last month demanding combat troops, helicopters and paratroopers.

Sources: Al Qaeda's No. 3 man killed [LOL! Usually, it's a(nother) al-Qaeda No. 2] 31 Jan 2008 Abu Laith al-Libi, a wanted al Qaeda terrorist, was killed in Pakistan in a CIA strike, three U.S. officials told CNN Thursday. Al-Libi was thought to have been involved in the February 2007 bombing at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan while Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney was visiting. The knowledgeable Western official said al-Libi was "not far below the importance of the top two [!] al Qaeda leaders" -- Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Al-Qaida Web site was hosted in Phoenix 01 Feb 2008 A Web site used by al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] to recruit car bombers, encourage war on the West and provide a forum for Islamic militants went online from Phoenix this week. The site, a well-known and popular forum for Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers, was the first to report the death of senior al-Qaida leader Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan this week.

Poland says it has agreed to US shield 01 Feb 2008 Poland's foreign minister said Friday his country has reached an agreement in principle with the United States on plans to install a U.S. missile defense system in Polish territory.

U.S. Senator Wants to Revoke Funding From City for Vote to Boot Marines 01 Feb 2008 U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-Nutjob-S.C., says the City of Berkeley, Calif., no longer deserves federal money. DeMint was angered after learning that the Berkeley City Council voted this week to tell the U.S. Marine Corps to remove its recruiting station from the city's downtown.

Berkeley gives Marines the boot --City Council says recruiting station not welcome 31 Jan 2008 Hey-hey, ho-ho, the Marines in Berkeley have got to go. That's the message from the Berkeley City Council, which voted 6-3 to tell the Marines that its Shattuck Avenue recruiting station "is not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." In a separate item, the council voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months <g> and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.

Quids in: Blair on course to become richest ex-British PM 31 Jan 2008 Middle East envoy, adviser to a leading Swiss insurer and a blue-chip US investment bank, sought-after public speaker: Tony Blair has not dropped the pace since stepping down as British prime minister. This week Zurich Financial Services announced that Blair would advise them on a range of issues, including developments and trends in international politics and climate change.

Third undersea Internet cable cut in Mideast 01 Feb 2008 An undersea cable carrying Internet traffic was cut off the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, officials said Friday, the third loss of a line carrying Internet and telephone traffic in three days. Ships have been dispatched to repair two undersea cables damaged on Wednesday off Egypt. FLAG Telecom, which owns one of the cables, said repairs were expected to be completed by February 12.

WHO reports Tamiflu-resistant flu in U.S. and Canada 01 Feb 2008 The main flu virus circulating [created] in the United States and Canada has shown "elevated resistance" to the antiviral drug Tamiflu, in line with findings in parts of Europe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday. A number of governments have been stockpiling Tamiflu, made by Switzerland's Roche Holding Ag and Gilead Sciences Inc of the United States, for use as a first line of 'defense' in case bird flu sparks a human influenza pandemic. [See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu 31 Oct 2005 Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing. Donald Rumsfeld Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld. The forms don't reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead's stock from $35 to $47.]

Exxon shatters profit records --Oil giant makes corporate history by booking $11.7 billion in quarterly profit; earns $1,300 a second in 2007. 01 Feb 2008 Exxon Mobil made history on Friday by reporting the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, boosted in large part by soaring crude prices. Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, said fourth-quarter net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 per share. That's up from $10.25 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the year-ago period. That topped Exxon's previous quarterly profit record of $10.7 billion, set in the fourth quarter of 2005, which also was a record for a U.S. corporation.

Exxon Posts Record Profit of $40.6 Billion For '07 --Exxon Mobil's 2007 net income of $40.61 billion sets new record for U.S. company 01 Feb 2008 Exxon's record fourth-quarter profit helped push the company to a new annual best, with earnings of $11.66 billion, topping the previous record, set in the fourth quarter of 2005, when the company saw earnings of $10.71 billion.

Exxon Mobil posts jaw-dropping $117 billion quarterly revenue, generates 14% profit growth 01 Feb 2008 Exxon Mobil on Friday reported its most lucrative quarter ever, as profit neared the $12 billion mark on a slight rise in adjusted oil production, capping off a year of record crude-oil prices. Earnings rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 a share, for the final three months of 2007, from $10.25 billion, or $1.76 a share, earned in the year-earlier fourth quarter.

Chevron 4th-Quarter Profit Rises on Record Oil Prices 01 Feb 2008 Chevron Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil company, said fourth-quarter profit rose 29 percent as crude prices climbed to a record on their way to topping $100 a barrel last month. Net income increased to $4.88 billion, or $2.32 a share, from $3.77 billion, or $1.74, a year earlier, San Ramon, California-based Chevron said today in a statement.

Shell Rakes in $8.5 Billion in Three Months 31 Jan 2008 Royal Dutch Shell, the world's second-largest publicly traded oil company, today reported net income up 60 percent last quarter to a record $8.47 billion, thanks to the same rising crude oil prices that most observers expect will lift the profits of Exxon Mobil and Chevron tomorrow to nearly historic levels.

Karl Rove to join Fox News Channel 31 Jan 2008 ICN hears that Karl Rove will join Fox News Channel as a contributor and will likely be used throughout Super Tuesday coverage. ['Will join?' Rove has been 'advising' Faux News for *years.*]

MoveOn Endorses Obama 01 Feb 2008 Senator Barack Obama has won the endorsement today from the membership of MoveOn. In a vote of the group’s members, Mr. Obama outpaced Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton 70 percent to 30 percent. The political action committee of MoveOn.org has 3.2 million members across the country, including 1.7 million members who live in the 22 states with Democratic primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.

Obama, Clinton agree: one of us to win White House 31 Jan 2008 Democratic U.S. presidential rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opened a crucial debate on Thursday by agreeing on one issue: one of them will become president in 2009.

Democrat Obama raises $32 million in January 31 Jan 2008 Barack Obama raised $32 million for his Democratic presidential nominating campaign in January, a huge haul that aides said will give him the ability to compete in a potentially long and costly race.

Bush Administration Hiding Documents Detailing Impacts of Oil and Gas Development Plans in Polar Bear Habitat --Conservation groups file suit to force disclosure (NRDC) 28 Jan 2008 Today conservationists moved to force the Bush administration to disclose thousands of pages of documents related to oil and gas development plans in prime polar bear habitat. The documents all relate to government plans to lease nearly 30 million acres of the Arctic Ocean for oil and gas drilling. Advocates asked the government for these documents for several months before resorting to a lawsuit.

Bush Administration Takes Aim at Wolves (NRDC) The Bush Administration has just issued a new rule that will allow the slaughter of hundreds of gray wolves in Greater Yellowstone and across the Northern Rockies – while they're still on the endangered species list. Both Wyoming and Idaho are planning to use aerial gunning, as well as baiting and trapping, to exterminate wolves. [Is there *any* species on the planet, safe from Bush? Tell Congress to Oppose the Mass Killing of Wolves!]

Bush Administration Strips Protections from America's Largest Forest --Pristine Areas Targeted for Logging 25 Jan 2008 Today, the Bush administration took its third swipe in recent weeks at opening protected areas in America’s national forests to logging before it leaves office. A Bush plan announced today puts a "for sale" sign on trees in vast swaths of the nation’s largest national forest – the Tongass rainforest in Alaska. This move by Bush officials to reverse roadless area protections joins two others made recently in the national forests located in Idaho and Colorado.

Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion for Yahoo 01 Feb 2008 In a bold move to counter Google’s online pre-eminence, Microsoft said Friday that it had made an unsolicited offer to buy Yahoo for about $44.6 billion in a mix of cash and stock.

Employers cut 17,000 jobs in Jan.; 1st payroll cut in four years 01 Feb 2008 Nervous employers cut 17,000 jobs in January - the first such reduction in more than four years and a fresh trouble sign that the economy is in danger of stalling.

FBI targets senior bankers in far-reaching sub-prime fraud inquiry 31 Jan 2008 America's Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating senior banking executives for insider dealing and fraud as part of a criminal inquiry into the sub-prime crisis, the agent leading the inquiry said yesterday.

Decline in Snowpack Is Blamed On Warming --Water Supplies In West Affected 01 Feb 2008 The persistent and dramatic decline in the snowpack of many mountains in the West is caused primarily by human-induced global warming and is not the result of natural variability in weather patterns, researchers reported yesterday.

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Bush asserts authority to bypass defense act --Bush asserted four sections of bill unconstitutionally infringe on his powers, so executive branch is not bound to obey them 30 Jan 2008 President [sic] Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill. Bush made the assertion in a signing statement that he issued late Monday after signing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2008.

Report: Military Unprepared for Domestic Threats 31 Jan 2008 The U.S. military's reserves and National Guard forces are not prepared to meet catastrophic threats at home and face an "appalling" shortage of forces able to respond to [Bush's] chemical, biological or nuclear strikes on U.S. soil, according to a congressional commission report released today.

U.S. military not ready for major attack, study finds 31 Jan 2008 The U.S. military isn't ready for a catastrophic attack on the country, and National Guard forces don't have the equipment or training they need for the job, according to a report. Even fewer Army National Guard units are combat-ready today than were nearly a year ago when the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves determined that 88 percent of the units were not prepared for the fight, the panel says in a new report released today.

U.S. Commanders in Iraq Favor Pause in Troop Cuts 31 Jan 2008 Senior U.S. military commanders here say they want to freeze troop reductions starting this summer for at least a month, making it more likely that the next administration will inherit as many troops in Iraq as there were before President [sic] Bush announced a "surge" of forces a year ago.

Australian troops 'still needed in Afghanistan in 15 years' 01 Feb 2008 Afghanistan will be struggling to secure its southern regions 15 years from now, with Australian troops still needed to combat terrorism, a think tank says. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says Taliban militants and others [US terrorists] seeking to disrupt the democratic Government in Kabul will still be conducting bombings and irregular insurgencies in southern and eastern provinces in 2023.

US completes military base in Afghanistan province 30 Jan 2008 Another piece of the United States' regional jigsaw is in place with the completion of a military base in Afghanistan's Kunar province, just three kilometers from Bajaur Agency in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Pakistani intelligence quarters have confirmed to Asia Times Online that the base, on a mountain top in Ghakhi Pass overlooking Pakistan, is now operational.

Deputy Governor Among Several Killed in Suicide Blast in Afghanistan 31 Jan 2008 A suicide bomb attack targeting a mosque in Afghanistan has left at least six people dead, including a provincial deputy governor. At least 18 others were wounded in the bombing.

Suicide bomber kills Afghan deputy governor 31 Jan 2008 A suicide bomber killed a deputy provincial governor and at least five others in an attack in a mosque in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials said.

Top al-Qaida leader 'killed' in Afghanistan 31 Jan 2008 One of [5,758,389] al-Qaida's top leaders in Afghanistan has been killed, western intelligence officials said today. Ekhlaas.org, a website that often posts communiqués from Afghanistan and Iraq, reported that Abu Laith al-Libi - his name suggests he is a Libyan national - had fallen as a "martyr", without giving further details.

Rockets Hit British in Southern Iraq 31 Jan 2008 Violence returned Thursday to the southern city of Basra, where militants pummeled Britain's airport base with 20 rockets and British gunners answered with volleys of artillery. Civilians were killed and wounded in the crossfire. In Baghdad, a bomb-rigged car blew apart at a bus stop, killing at least five people in a Shiite enclave.

Bomb takes death toll of journalists in Iraq war to 126 31 Jan 2008 Iraq confirmed its reputation as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists this week when a roadside bomb killed an Iraqi television cameraman, Alaa Abdul-Karim al-Fartoosi, the first journalist to be killed in Iraq this year and the 126th since the start of the war.

Soldier Suicides at Record Level --Increase Linked to Long Wars, Lack of Army Resources 31 Jan 2008 Suicides among active-duty soldiers in 2007 reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to a draft internal study obtained by The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006. At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began.

Judges meet behind closed doors over KBR contractors 31 Jan 2008 A federal appeals panel, meeting behind closed doors Wednesday, heard arguments over whether three cases involving KBR mercenaries injured or killed in Iraq should be revived and go before juries. In the hourlong hearing, the three-judge panel at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans probed lawyers for the victims and KBR about a deadly April 2004 attack on a KBR truck convoy, in which six workers were killed, one went missing and others were injured, according to two lawyers who were present.

Mukasey Will Not Rule Out Waterboarding 31 Jan 2008 Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Wednesday that while he would consider it torture if he underwent the harsh Central Intelligence Agency interrogation technique known as waterboarding, the practice was not necessarily illegal, and he would not rule out its use in the future.

Congress Passes Extension of Surveillance Law 30 Jan 2008 The House and Senate yesterday approved a 15-day extension of an expiring intelligence surveillance law and the White House backed off a threatened veto, allowing more time to resolve a dispute over the administration's proposal to immunize telephone companies from lawsuits stemming from their cooperation with [illegal] warrantless wiretaps.

Trains, bloggers are threats in drill 31 Jan 2008 It's the government's idea of a really bad day: Washington's Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York go dark. Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers are disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid is found on London's subway. Those incidents were among dozens of detailed, mock disasters confronting officials rapid-fire in the U.S. government's biggest-ever "Cyber Storm" war game, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press. The Homeland Security Department ran the exercise to test the nation's hacker defenses, with help from the State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department, CIA, National Security Agency and others.

Internet failure hits two continents 31 Jan 2008 High-technology services across large tracts of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa were crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope. Industry experts are blaming [US] damage to two undersea cables but it is not known what caused the damage.

Commission Confidential By Max Holland 30 Jan 2008 In a revelation bound to cast a pall over the 9/11 Commission, Philip Shenon will report in a forthcoming book that the panel’s executive director, Philip Zelikow, engaged in "surreptitious" communications with presidential adviser Karl Rove and other Bush administration officials during the commission’s 20-month investigation into the 9/11 attacks. Shenon, who led The New York Times’ coverage of the 9/11 panel, reveals the Zelikow-Rove connection in a new book entitled The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, to be published next month...

DHS Announces $12.14B for Border Security, Immigration Enforcement Efforts 31 Jan 2008 U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff previewed today a 19 percent increase over Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 in funding for border security and immigration enforcement efforts in FY 2009. This represents a more than 150 percent increase since President [sic] Bush has been in office.

New border ID rules take effect 31 Jan 2008 Traffic appeared to be flowing smoothly from Canada across the U.S. border into Michigan as new identification rules took effect Thursday. Under new rules, everyone crossing the border by road or rail between the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico needs identification that proves citizenship, like a passport, or government- issued photo identification plus proof of citizenship.

Feds let states delay inspections of bad bridges --Loophole allows giving infrequent checkups to spans in poor condition 31 Jan 2008 Bridge safety leaped to the top of the agenda of federal highway administrator J. Richard Capka in August, when 13 people died in the collapse of a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. On the day the Minneapolis bridge fell, three of those bridges were overdue for their safety inspections. The inattention to bridges is not unique, according to an msnbc.com analysis of newly released records from the National Bridge Inventory. The records, which include inspections through 2006, show several failures in federal oversight of the system designed to ensure the safety of travelers crossing the nation's bridges.

Katrina Levee Lawsuit Dismissed 31 Jan 2008 Saying his hands were tied by law, a federal judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers over levee breaches explosions after Hurricane Katrina, but rebuked the agency for failing to protect the city. U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval ruled Wednesday that the Corps should be held immune over failures in drainage canals that caused much of the flooding of New Orleans in August 2005. He cited the Flood Control Act of 1928, which protects the federal government from lawsuits when flood control projects like levees break.

Shell's 'obscene' £13.4billion profit breaks British record 30 Jan 2008 Shell is expected to announce earnings of £13.4billion today - the biggest-ever profit by a British company. The oil giant is likely to report that profits have risen 12 per cent since last year. Critics have branded the earnings "obscene", pointing out that pensioners, motorists and industry are all struggling to afford soaring energy prices.

Earnings Preview: Exxon Mobil 4Q to Rise 30 Jan 2008 Analysts, on average, expect Exxon Mobil to report earnings of $1.95 per share and revenue of $114.89 billion during the fourth quarter, according to a survey by Thomson Financial. Skyrocketing crude prices have helped make Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company and one of America's biggest corporations, even richer in recent years. Citi analyst Doug Leggate expects Exxon Mobil's upstream earnings will set a new record, but refining and marketing profits could fall sharply. He rates the company "Buy." [LOL!]

Senator Kerry Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Drilling in Polar Bear Habitat 31 Jan 2008 Senator John Kerry yesterday introduced legislation to prohibit any oil and gas exploration activities in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas – known as the "Polar Bear Seas" – until the full impacts of exploration on polar bear populations are fully understood. Kerry’s bill also requires that no drilling activity proceed until the polar bear is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and critical habitat is designated.

Polar Bears Need Urgent Protection, WWF and Conservation Groups Testify 30 Jan 2008 Margaret Williams, WWF’s Director of the Bering Sea ecoregion program, called for urgent action to save polar bears at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hearing entitled "Examining Threats and Protections for the Polar Bear" on Wednesday, January 30, 2008. The hearing was convened to examine the status of and legal protections for the polar bear, including the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the status of listing the species under the act.

Lack of January Snow Is a First in 75 Years 30 Jan 2008 This month is set to become the first January in 75 years that New York City has been without any measurable snowfall, according to the National Weather Service.

Nader Says He's Considering a New White House Run 30 Jan 2008 Barf Nadir, the consumer advocate GOP troll who ran for president in 2000 and 2004, said he is considering another bid for the White House because he believes the current contenders aren't standing up enough to corporate interests wants to ensure a third GOP coup d'etat.

Romney accuses McCain of 'dirty tricks' 31 Jan 2008 Republican Mitt Romney accused John McCain [McLunatic] of using dirty tricks by suggesting the former Massachusetts governor wanted a deadline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, in a spirited debate Wednesday night that underscored the intensity of their presidential rivalry.

Schwarzenegger endorses John McCain 31 Jan 2008 Republican frontrunner [flip-flopping sociopath] John McCain snagged his second high-profile endorsement in 24 hours when it emerged during last night's presidential debate that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will come out for the Arizona senator.

Giuliani drops out of GOP race, backs McCain --Once the front-runner, former New York mayor's decline was stunning 30 Jan 2008 Rudy Giuliani, who sought to make the leap from New York mayor to the White House, dropped out of the Republican presidential campaign on Wednesday and endorsed front-runner John McLunatic for the nomination.

Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions --Tapes Reviewed by ABC News Show Clinton As a Loyal Company Woman 31 Jan 2008 In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.

Bush 2009 Budget to Freeze Most Domestic Programs 31 Jan 2008 President [sic] Bush's 2009 budget will virtually freeze most domestic programs and seek nearly $200 billion in savings from federal health care programs, a senior administration official said Thursday. Bush will propose nearly $178 billion in savings from Medicare - a number that's nearly triple what he proposed last year.

Lilly in Settlement Talks With U.S. 30 Jan 2008 Eli Lilly and federal prosecutors are discussing a settlement of a civil and criminal investigation into the company’s marketing of the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa that could result in Lilly’s paying more than $1 billion to federal and state governments. If a deal is reached, the fine would be the largest ever paid by a drug company for breaking the federal laws that govern how drug makers can promote their medicines.

The Newly Uptight 31 Jan 2008 Some of Seventh Avenue’s most influential tastemakers are invoking in their latest collections the proprieties, the seamless appearances and the tony aspirations of midcentury Middle America. They are, in short, going bourgeois to the core. Unlike previous portrayals of the late ’50s and early ’60s as a time of unalloyed optimism, fashion’s latest embrace of the past appears to reflect the nation’s darkening mood.

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Pundits are Wrong: More Edwards's supporters will favor Clinton --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 30 Jan 2008 Pundits are so often wrong... After all, they missed the fact that Bush would become the most reviled president in history, while we at the CLG told them that from day one. Most missed that the war was being waged on false pretences and that we would find that out, shortly thereafter, while we told them so from the beginning. Most also failed to see that Rudy Giuliani would never make it as a Republican presidential candidate. We didn’t predict that one, as it’s hard to tell which fanatic will appeal to this rather mixed bag of anti-evolutionist, Jesus-loving, compassionate conservative, warmongering party loyalists.

Iraq conflict has killed a million, says survey 30 Jan 2008 More than one million Iraqis have died as a result of the conflict in their country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to research conducted by one of Britain's leading polling groups. The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB) with 2,414 adults in face-to-face interviews, found that 20 percent of people had had at least one death in their household as a result of the conflict, rather than natural causes.

Halliburton Co. enjoys 46% income growth 29 Jan 2008 Net income of the American oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. in 2007 was $3,5 billion, up 46% from $2,4 billion of the previous year. Halliburton reported that revenue was $15,3 billion, an increase of 19% from $12,9 billion in 2006. Halliburton’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $690 million. This compares to net income of $658 million in the fourth quarter of 2006

White House Shows Signs of Rethinking Cut in Troops 30 Jan 2008 Four months after announcing troop reductions in Iraq, President [sic] Bush is now sending signals that the cuts may not continue past this summer, a development likely to infuriate Democrats and renew concerns among military planners about strains on the force... White House officials said Mr. Bush had been taking the opportunity to prepare Americans for the possibility that, when he leaves office a year from now, the military presence in Iraq will be just as large as it was a year ago, or even slightly larger.

Fight for north Iraq will be long, U.S. commander says 30 Jan 2008 The top U.S. commanders in northern Iraq predicted Tuesday that the battle to oust Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq from its 'last' urban stronghold, will be a grinding campaign that will require more firepower from both the Pentagon and Iraqi allies. The statements appear to discount suggestions by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that Iraqi forces were gathering for a decisive attack in Mosul as soon as all reinforcements are in place.

US airstrikes on Iraq rise 500 percent --Though Bush claims the 'surge' brings peace in 2007, warplanes made 1,447 bombing runs By Saleh Mamon 29 Jan 2008 The US has unleashed a ferocious bombing campaign on Iraq and Afghanistan, with devastating effects on the population. This surge in the "air war" is largely hidden behind talk of "recent successes" for the occupation. According to figures released by the US military – known as "airpower summary of close air support missions" – in 2006 there were 229 US bombing missions. But last year this rose to 1,447 – more than a 500 percent increase.

Severed heads and bodies found in Iraq field 29 Jan 2008 Police found nine bodies and 10 severed heads in an abandoned field north of Baghdad on Tuesday, in a region where U.S. and Iraqi forces were pressing ahead with offensives against al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] forces. In the northern city of Mosul, a suicide car bomber killed one civilian and wounded 15 others in an attack on a U.S. convoy, U.S. and Iraqi security officials said.

Bomb Explodes Near U.S. Patrol in Iraq 30 Jan 2008 A suicide car bomb exploded near an American patrol in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, a day after 'Sunni Arab guerrillas' killed five American soldiers during an ambush on a convoy in Mosul. There were no American casualties in the latest attack, but one Iraqi was killed and 15 others were wounded, the military said in a statement.

Mukasey: Waterboarding Can Be Used Again If Requested By W. H. 30 Jan 2008 Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Tuesday that the harsh C.I.A. interrogation technique known as waterboarding was not clearly illegal, and suggested that it could be used against terrorism suspects once again if requested by the White House. Mr. Mukasey’s statement came in a letter delivered Tuesday night to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has scheduled for Wednesday its first oversight hearing for the new attorney general. The conclusions of the letter are likely to be a focus of severe questioning by Senate Democrats who have described waterboarding, which creates the sensation of drowning, as torture.

Mukasey Holds Back on Torture Issue --Attorney General Won't Offer Senate Panel Definitive Opinion on Waterboarding 30 Jan 2008 Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said yesterday that the interrogation torture tactic known as waterboarding appears to be clearly prohibited by current law in some circumstances, but said that other circumstances would present "a far closer question."

Attorneys for Guantánamo captives back Obama's bid 29 Jan 2008 More than 80 attorneys who have been offering free-of-charge legal services to Guantánamo detainees issued a statement Monday supporting Democrat Barack Obama's presidential bid. ''We are at a critical point in the presidential campaign, and as lawyers who have been deeply involved in the Guantánamo litigation to preserve the important right to habeas corpus, we are writing to urge you to support Senator Obama,'' the lawyers said in an open letter dated Monday.

Blackwater Protesters Given Secret Trial and Criminal Conviction --Protesters who re-enacted one of Blackwater's worst civilian massacres in Iraq got jail time, while the real killers remain free. By Jeremy Scahill 29 Jan 2008 Last week in Currituck County, N.C., Superior Court Judge Russell Duke presided over the final step in securing the first criminal conviction stemming from the deadly actions of Blackwater Worldwide, the Bush administration's favorite mercenary company... The "criminals" in question were not the armed thugs who gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 20 others in Baghdad's Nisour Square last September. They were seven nonviolent activists who had the audacity to stage a demonstration at the gates of Blackwater's 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina...

US lawmakers extend spy bill amid immunity fight 29 Jan 2008 The U.S. Congress agreed on Tuesday to extend for 15 days an expiring anti-terror surveillance law, amid a high-stakes battle over whether to grant telephone companies immunity [for illegally spying]. On voice votes, the House and the Senate approved the extension and the White House said President [sic] George W. Bush would sign it into law.

'We intervene in terrorist matters earlier than we normally would in other criminal investigations.' Keelty defends pre-emptive tactics in terrorism cases 30 Jan 2008 The Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, has defended the AFP's pre-emptive counter-terrorism tactics, saying the public's right to know had to come after the completion of the judicial process. "There is a tension, real or perceived, between the right to silence and a fair trial and the right of the community to access information," Mr Keelty said in Sydney last night, acknowledging the AFP's counter-terrorism role had been controversial. Next month 22 people will go on trial in Sydney and Melbourne on a range of terrorism charges.

Controversy Dogs Inquiry on Bridge Collapse 30 Jan 2008 The National Transportation Safety Board’s working theory about last summer’s bridge collapse in Minneapolis — that it was caused by a design error four decades ago — has run into a peculiar problem: it contradicts much public belief. [Right, many people think that the I 35W bridge was blown so that Bush could fund NASCO's SuperCorridor --LRP]

Edwards says time to "step aside" --Clinton, Obama praise former rival; adviser says no endorsement for now 30 Jan 2008 Ending a scrappy underdog bid [due to a paucity of coverage from the GOP-run media] in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship, John Edwards on Wednesday said it was time for him to "step aside" in the presidential campaign. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole were given the spotlight from the beginning -- Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Edwards Ends Presidential Bid 30 Jan 2008 Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. (Transcript) We do not know who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but what we do know is that our Democratic Party will make history. We will be strong, we will be unified, and with our convictions and a little backbone we will take back the White House in November and we'll create hope and opportunity for this country... And I want to say a personal word to those I've seen, literally, in the last few days -- those I saw in Oklahoma yesterday, in Missouri, last night in Minnesota, who came to me and said, "Don't forget us. Speak for us. We need your voice."

Conn. Democratic Presidential Primary: Clinton 40% Obama 40% 29 Jan 2008 The first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Connecticut’s Democratic Presidential Primary shows the race couldn’t possibly get any closer. New York Senator Hillary Clinton attracts 40% of the vote and so does Illinois Senator Barack Obama. John Edwards is third with 11%; 3% say they’d vote for some other candidate and 6% are not sure.

Errors blemish S. Fla. voting 29 Jan 2008 Mysterious glitches [!?!] cost some voters in Miami-Dade and Broward counties the opportunity Tuesday to vote for their candidates in the presidential primaries. Among the affected: Miami Herald Theater Critic Christine Dolen, who voted at precinct T010 on Pine Island Road in Davie -- or at least tried. When she checked into the polling place, Dolen received confirmation of her status as a registered Democrat. She cast her vote on the property-tax amendment and, then, to her dismay, discovered that the ballot for the Democratic presidential primary never appeared on her machine.

Humiliated Giuliani readies to endorse McCain 30 Jan 2008 Rudy Giuliani, whose dreams of becoming the American President were abruptly beached in the Republican primary last night, will today signal his intention to bow out of the nomination contest and transfer his support to the winner of Florida last night, Senator John McCain.

McCain plan to scale back drug benefit gets little attention in Florida 26 Jan 2008 If elected president, Sen. John McCain (R-Flip-Flopping-Sociopath-Ariz.) would pursue reforms to Medicare that could lead to hundreds of thousands of Florida seniors losing their current prescription drug coverage. During his run for the White House, McCain has not obscured his view that the drug benefit needs to be scaled back, indeed even bragging about it at times.

McCain, Clinton win Florida primaries --McCain trumps Romney in Sunshine State as Giuliani places distant third 29 Jan 2008 John McCain of Arizona won a closely fought battle with Mitt Romney to win Florida's Republican primary Tuesday night, propelling his candidacy mightily forward to the 24-state Super Tuesday contest on Feb. 5. On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton handily defeated rival Sen. Barack Obama in an expected win.

Clinton pushes party to recognise Florida delegates 28 Jan 2008 The Clinton camp today renewed efforts to force the Democratic party to recognise the outcome of the Florida primary and allow the state's 185 delegates to be counted in a tight race. Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's chief strategist, said they would push the Democratic National Committee to allow the results of both Florida and Michigan to be counted at the party's convention in August.

Rep. Maxine Waters Endorses Sen. Hillary Clinton 29 Jan 2008 Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has announced her endorsement of Sen. Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. The announcement came via a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Why Clinton can count on Latinos --More than a decade of name recognition and ties to prominent Latino politicians give her an edge over Obama. By Harry P. Pachon and Rodolfo O. de la Garza 30 Jan 2008 Hillary Clinton is doing extraordinarily well among Latino voters, compared with rivals Barack Obama and John Edwards. According to a Times/CNN/Politico poll Tuesday, she's running 2 to 1 ahead of Obama among California Latinos.

U.S. Growth Slowed Drastically in 4th Quarter 31 Jan 2008 The United States economy expanded by a disappointingly weak 0.6 percent during the last three months of 2007, the government reported Wednesday, offering the latest indication that the United States is already suffering a substantial slowdown, and perhaps a recession.

Fed Cuts Rate by Half-Point; 2nd Reduction in 8 Days 30 Jan 2008 The Federal Reserve reduced short-term interest rates on Wednesday for the second time in eight days, meeting widespread expectations by investors on Wall Street for a big rate cut.

Senators Fault Delay in Bear Protection 30 Jan 2008 A decision on whether to protect Alaska's polar bears as an endangered species might not come before the government opens a major bear habitat to oil leases next week, though staff recommendations on the issue are completed, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service chief said Wednesday. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, demanded "a commitment to take immediate action" to protect the bear before the leasing begins and asked Hall why his agency "is dragging its feet" while the department "is moving quickly ... to allow new oil activities in one of the biological hearts of the polar bear's habitat."

What does George Bush have against polar bears? (Defenders of Wildlife) 29 Jan 2008 The Bush/Cheney Administration’s own scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say that global warming and habitat loss could lead polar bears to extinction in the U.S. by 2050. Yet, the president [sic] said little in last night’s State of the Union about what -- if anything -- his administration would be doing to prevent their extinction. Take action now. Urge George Bush to protect polar bears! Help us send 40,000 messages by Monday, February 4th.

Shell predicts [will create] energy shortage by 2015 26 Jan 2008 Royal Dutch Shell PLC forecasts that global demand for oil and gas will outstrip supply within seven years, chief executive Jeroen van der Veer said in a letter to Shell employees. "...Shell estimates that after 2015 supplies of easy-to-access oil and gas will no longer keep up with demand," van der Veer said in the letter dated Jan. 22.

Nuclear clean-up bill £12bn higher than predicted 30 Jan 2008 Decommissioning Britain's growing radioactive waste mountain is likely to cost the taxpayer £12bn more than previous highest estimates, raising fresh questions about the expense of the new generation of nuclear power stations.

High Winds Blamed For Knocking Train Into Bay --Freight Car Carrying Hazardous Materials Missing 30 Jan 2008 Authorities said a train has derailed on a bridge over northern Ohio's Sandusky Bay, sending as many as four cars into the water below. Ottawa County Sheriff Robert Bratton said one freight car known to be carrying hazardous materials has not been accounted for and may be among those in the bay.

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'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. [A must read!]

New analysis 'confirms' 1 million+ Iraq casualties --Further survey work undertaken by ORB, in association with its research partner IIACSS, confirms our earlier estimate that over 1,000,000 Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the conflict which started in 2003. 28 Jan 2008 Following responses to ORB’s earlier work, which was based on survey work undertaken in primarily urban locations, we have conducted almost 600 additional interviews in rural communities. By and large the results are in line with the 'urban results' and we now estimate that the death toll between March 2003 and August 2007 is likely to have been of the order of 1,033,000. If one takes into account the margin of error associated with survey data of this nature then the estimated range is between 946,000 and 1,120,000.

Army investigating deaths of 'several' detainees in Iraq 29 Jan 2008 The Army is investigating the deaths of "several" detainees captured in 2007 by the Schweinfurt, Germany-based 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division during its recent deployment to Iraq. The announcement was made in a short news release posted on the Army’s official Web site late Friday.

Bodies, heads found in northern Iraq 29 Jan 2008 Violence gripped northern Iraq on Tuesday as a suicide bomber killed at least one person in Mosul and authorities found nine bodies and an additional 10 decapitated heads in Diyala province. U.S.-led 'coalition' troops on Tuesday seized 18 people described as "suspected terrorists" during raids against al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq and other militants, the U.S. military said.

Two killed in Iraqi bomb attacks 29 Jan 2008 At least two people have been killed and about 20 wounded in a string of bomb and mortar attacks in the Iraqi capital today.

US troops reductions may slow or stop 29 Jan 2008 The Bush regime is sending strong signals that U.S. troop reductions in Iraq will slow or stop altogether this summer, a move that would jeopardize hopes of relieving strain on the Army and Marine Corps and revive debate over an open-ended U.S. commitment in Iraq. The indications of a likely slowdown reflect concern by U.S. commanders that the improvement in security in Iraq since June [!?!] is tenuous and could be reversed if the extra troops come out too soon.

Iraq withdrawal to go ahead, Govt tells US 29 Jan 2008 Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith says he has made it clear to the Bush Administration that Australia will go ahead with the withdrawal of its combat troops from Iraq.

NATO asks for rapid reaction force in Afghanistan 30 Jan 2008 NATO has formally asked Germany to deploy a rapid reaction force in northern Afghanistan to replace a Norwegian contingent, a defence ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. The German government has been expecting the request and officials in Berlin suggested last week that the country would comply, despite strong opposition among the German public to its five-year-old military mission in Afghanistan.

Parliamentary reports says UK military strained by Iraq, Afghan wars 28 Jan 2008 The performance and morale of the British military is deteriorating. That word in a report Monday from the Commons defence committee, which put the blame on the extended conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The committee says the British military has been operating at or above its planned capacity in seven of the last eight years and for every year since 2002.

US spy satellite set to hit Earth by early March: Pentagon 28 Jan 2008 An out-of-control US spy satellite is expected to crash to Earth in late February or early March, the Pentagon said Monday without specifying where it might land. Department of Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman said the satellite, which has lost power, would land "over the next several weeks ... late February, early March time-frame." The satellite's impending fall from orbit has given rise to worries that it might leak out highly toxic substances. [If it hits Bush and Cheney on the heads at the same time, I'll pledge my belief in a Providential God for all time to come. --MDR]

U.S. used waterboarding: ex-spy chief 28 Jan 2008 The United States used waterboarding in terrorism interrogations but no longer does, a former U.S. spy chief said in the Bush regime's most explicit confirmation of the technique's use. U.S. officials have been reluctant to acknowledge the CIA's use of the simulated drowning technique, which human rights groups call an illegal form of torture.

Guantanamo Attorneys Back Obama 28 Jan 2008 After Mitt Romney said we ought to "double Guantanamo," there was one constituency he surely lost -- the lawyers who have challenged the Bush administration’s detention policies at the naval base in Cuba. Today, more than 75 of those lawyers made their choice known, issuing a statement endorsing Barack Obama. The lawyers cited the Illinois senator’s effort to stop administration-crafted legislation to strip habeas corpus rights from the Guantanamo prisoners.

Habeas Lawyers For Obama (Habeas Lawyers Support Obama) 28 Jan 2008 We are at a critical point in the Presidential campaign, and as lawyers who have been deeply involved in the Guantanamo litigation to preserve the important right to habeas corpus, we are writing to urge you to support Senator Obama... Some politicians are all talk and no action. But we know from first-hand experience that Senator Obama has demonstrated extraordinary leadership on this critical and controversial issue.

White House drops anti-radiation pill plan 29 Jan 2008 The Bush administration has dropped a program to distribute anti-radiation pills to citizens who live near nuclear reactors, officials said. John Marburger, U.S. President [sic] George Bush's top science adviser, said Monday the over-the-counter potassium iodide pills "offer negligible additional protection" against radiation exposure and there were more effective ways to protect citizens, USA Today reported.

Watchdog says Gonzales probe stymied 29 Jan 2008 The government agency that enforces one of the principal laws aimed at keeping politics out of the civil service has accused the Justice Department of blocking its investigation into alleged politicizing of the department under former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Scott Bloch, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, wrote Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week that the department had repeatedly "impeded" his investigation by refusing to share documents and provide answers to written questions, according to a copy of Bloch's letter.

Bush orders NSA to snoop on US agencies --Cyber attack fear used to expand spy grid By Ashlee Vance Not content with spying on other countries, the NSA (National Security Agency) will now turn on the US's own government agencies thanks to a fresh directive from president George Bush. Under the new guidelines, the NSA and other intelligence agencies can bore into the internet networks of all their peers... The new program will - of course - drains billions of dollars out of US coffers and be part of Bush's 2009 budget... Critics of the new directive will point to the NSA's ability to operate in total secrecy as cause for concern. More troubling, however, may be the Pentagon and Homeland Security's aspirations to hit attackers with counter-strikes.

Bush calls on Congress to extend spying provisions, telecom immunity --Don't let the sunset go down on vast wiretap plan, says prez [sic] By Martyn Williams 29 Jan 20008 President George W. Bush called on Congress Monday night in his State of the Union address to broaden protection for telecommunications carriers that helped the government monitor phone calls and e-mail [Protect America Act], a move that would hamstring the efforts of privacy advocates to ascertain the depth and breadth of warantless surveillance programs conducted -- possibly illegally -- with the help of AT&T and Verizon.

Bush's yellow cakewalk to Iran: Text of State of the Union Address --Prepared text of President [sic] Bush's State of the DisUnion address on Jan. 28, 2009, as provided by the White House 29 Jan 2008 pResident Bush said earlier tonight, "Tehran is also developing ballistic missiles of increasing range and continues to develop its capability to enrich uranium, which could be used to create a nuclear weapon." (It's from Niger, right? <g>) Flashback! During the 2003 State of the DisUnion speech, Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." BTW, what the f*ck is a 'protective overwatch mission?' "American troops are shifting from leading operations, to partnering with Iraqi forces, and, eventually, to a protective overwatch mission." [!?!] Also, according to Bush, the State of the Union will be strong - only if the spying telecoms get immunity from lawsuits! "To protect America, we need to know who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning [Check your Palm Pilot]... Unfortunately, the Congress set the legislation to expire on February 1. This means that if you do not act by Friday [LOL], our ability to track terrorist threats would be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger. The Congress must ensure the flow of vital intelligence is not disrupted. The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America." --LRP

McCain, Clinton open up big leads in California -- poll 30 Jan 2008 John McCain and Hillary Clinton have opened up big leads over their Republican and Democratic rivals in California, one week before presidential primaries in the state, a new poll showed Tuesday.

Obama denies snubbing Hillary Clinton 29 Jan 2008 Sen. Barack Obama today sought to quell talk that he deliberately snubbed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic nomination for president, during Monday night's State of the Union address. Accompanied by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Illinois senator sought to downplay the incident, saying he was surprised by the reports and photographs showing Obama turning away when Clinton approached to shake hands with Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy. "I was turning away because Claire asked me a question as Sen. Kennedy was reaching for her," Obama explained to reporters aboard his campaign plane. "Sen. Clinton and I have had very cordial relations off the floor and on the floor."

'The loftiest poetry will not solve these issues.' Kennedys for Clinton By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Kerry Kennedy 29 Jan 2008 We... are supporting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton because we believe that she is the strongest candidate for our party and our country. While talk of unity and compromise are inspiring to a nation wary of divisiveness, America stands at a historic crossroads where real issues divide our political landscapes. Democrats believe that America should not be torturing people, eavesdropping on our citizens or imprisoning them without habeas corpus or other constitutional rights. We should not be an imperial power. We need healthcare for all and a clean, safe environment. The loftiest poetry will not solve these issues. We need a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues.

Maya Angelou Endorses Hillary Clinton 12 Dec 2007 Hillary Clinton's campaign recently made a move with an endorsement from one of America's most beloved writers, Maya Angelou. The award-winning poet is featured in a new South Carolina radio ad in which she calls Clinton, "my girl."

Nurses file whistleblowing suit against jail company 29 Jan 2008 Nurses at Marion County’s privately run jail were forced to escort dangerous inmates, faced retaliation when they reported co-workers’ errors and were sidelined because they are black, according to a lawsuit filed Monday. The suit alleges mismanagement and mishandling of inmates’ medications at Marion County Jail II, a 10-year-old facility run by Corrections Corporation of America for the county.

CDC Suppressed Toxic Trailer Warnings --CDC Implicated In FEMA Scandal 28 Jan 2008 CBS News has learned that the Centers for Disease Control suppressed repeated warnings from one of its top scientists, raising questions about whether the CDC bowed to pressure from FEMA to conceal the long-term health risks of formaldehyde in the trailers it distributed to hurricane victims, CBS News reports. A string of internal documents obtained exclusively by CBS News reveal that Dr. Christopher De Rosa, director of the CDC's Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine, told his superiors "there is no safe level of exposure" to formaldehyde in trailers. That warning never made its way into any public report about the trailers.

Groups sue seeking documents connected to Chukchi Sea sale 28 Jan 2008 Conservation groups on Monday sued the federal agency responsible for the upcoming offshore petroleum lease sale in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska's northwest coast, claiming the federal government has not disclosed documents that could show harmful effects to polar bears and other marine mammals. The groups said the documents could reveal that the Minerals Management Service's plans for the outer continental shelf sale are ill-advised and possibly illegal.

Conservation Groups File Suit for Suppressed Polar Bear Documents --Bush Administration Hiding Documents Detailing Impacts of Oil and Gas Development Plans in Polar Bear Habitat --Conservation groups file suit to force disclosure 28 Jan 2008 Today conservationists moved to force the Bush administration to disclose thousands of pages of documents related to oil and gas development plans in prime polar bear habitat. The documents all relate to government plans to lease nearly 30 million acres of the Arctic Ocean for oil and gas drilling. Advocates asked the government for these documents for several months before resorting to a lawsuit.

Polar bears could be weeks from 'endangered' listing --Bush regime adamant about issuing oil and gas leases in animals' shrinking Alaskan habitat 28 Jan 2008 The Bush regime is weeks away from a decision that most likely will designate polar bears as a threatened species, but it said it won't budge on issuing new oil and gas leases in their shrinking Alaskan habitat. A House of Representatives committee on global warming called on the Interior Department to hold off auctioning oil and gas leases in northwest Alaska's Chukchi Sea until the department decides whether to list polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

ACLU Asks Federal Court to Block Use of Unfair Voting Technology 28 Jan 2008 The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio filed a motion today asking federal Judge Kathleen O’Malley of the Northern District of Ohio to prevent Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections from using balloting technology that does not give notice to voters of problems with their ballot. The motion follows a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on January 17 challenging the constitutionality of this technology.

House Passes $146 Billion Economic Aid Package 29 Jan 2008 The House overwhelmingly passed a $146 billion 'aid' package Tuesday that would speed rebates of $600-$1,200 to most taxpayers. The plan, approved 385-35 after little debate, would send at least some rebate to anyone with at least $3,000 in income, with more going to families with children and less going to wealthier taxpayers.

Senate Democrats Adding to Stimulus 28 Jan 2008 Senate Democrats will move to add to a $150 billion economic stimulus package rebates for senior citizens living off Social Security and an extension of unemployment benefits, setting up a clash with the White House and House leaders who are pushing a narrower package.

Feds open subprime mortgage probe in 14 companies: report 29 Jan 2008 Federal investigators have opened criminal inquiries into 14 companies as part of a wide-ranging investigation of the subprime mortgage crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Tuesday. None of the 14 companies were named in the report.

Layoffs coming, and in large numbers, survey finds 28 Jan 2008 Corporate executives are poised to start making substantial cutbacks in their staffing, according to a new forecast by employment consulting and legal firm Career Protection. In fact, the firm is predicting a 37% increase in layoffs this year over last, based on a survey of more than 1,300 corporate executives and senior level officials that was conducted earlier this month.

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