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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March 2005 Archives

Army, CIA Agreed on 'Ghost' Prisoners --Top military intelligence officials at the Abu Ghraib prison came to an agreement with the CIA to hide certain detainees at the facility without officially registering them, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. Keeping such "ghost" detainees is a violation of international law.

2 Died After '02 Beatings by U.S. Soldiers --Two detainees held at the U.S. detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, died within a week of each other in December 2002 after military police guards and military intelligence interrogators brutally beat them and left them chained to the ceiling in standing positions, according to Army documents obtained by a human rights group.

Army Details Scale of Abuse of Prisoners in an Afghan Jail --Two Afghan prisoners who died in American custody in Afghanistan in December 2002 were chained to the ceiling, kicked and beaten by American soldiers in sustained assaults that caused their deaths, according to Army criminal investigative reports that have not yet been made public.

US detained 11-year-old at Abu Ghraib --A boy no older than 11 was among the children held by the US army at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, the former US commander of the facility told a general investigating abuses at the prison.

US held youngsters at Abu Ghraib --Children as young as 11 years old were held at Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison at the centre of the US prisoner abuse scandal, official documents reveal.

U.S. general, 3 other officers investigated for Guantanamo sex misconduct --Four U.S. officers, including a brigadier-general, at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are under criminal investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, a senior defence official said Friday.

Doctors' Group Demands U.S., Britain Count Iraqi Civilian Dead --A group of top public-health physicians has branded the official toll of civilian dead from the Iraqi war as a serious underestimate and demanded an independent probe to establish the full casualty figures.

US troops get training to avoid friendly-fire attacks on British --American soldiers in Iraq are being given "anti-fratricide" training to reduce the number of friendly fire attacks against British and other coalition troops, The Times has learnt. Thirty-two "blue-on-blue" attacks on British and other occupation vehicles have been logged in the past twelve months in southern Iraq, Britain’s area of responsibility. ...A British officer in Basra said: "The Americans can be pretty pumped-up. Sometimes they fire in broad daylight when we are travelling at two miles per hour, shouting that we are British out of the window and waving the Union Jack. If they shoot, our drill is to slam on the brakes and race in the opposite direction."

US military detains Iraqi journalist --Reporters sans frontieres (RSF), Paris has called for the immediate release of Iraqi journalist Majed Fadhil Zaboun, of the independent daily "Al-Fourat." Zaboun has been held by US military forces since he was arrested on the Syrian border, on 28 February 2005, as he was returning from a conference in Damascus. [Soon, Negroponte's death squads will leap into action, as they did with journalist Giuliana Sgrena.]

The Spoils of War --Halliburton subsidiary KBR got $12 billion worth of exclusive contracts for work in Iraq. But even more shocking is how KBR spent some of the money. Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official Bunnatine Greenhouse is blowing the whistle on the Dick Cheney–linked company's profits of war --by Michael Shnayerson "How, Democrats asked, had the Houston-based oil-and-gas conglomerate [Halliburton] won all those deals to provide services to troops in Iraq? What role had Dick Cheney played behind the scenes, given that the vice president [sic] had been Halliburton's C.E.O. from 1995 to 2000, walked away from the job with an estimated $35 million, and continues to get six-figure deferred-salary compensation from the company, despite his denials that he does?"

Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq (democracynow.org, transcript excerpt) --Osama Siblani, publisher of "The Arab American" newspaper, says George W Bush told him in May 2000 - before he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate - that he is going to "take out" Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Israel says Iran close to having a nuclear bomb --Israel said on Friday that Iran was very close to being able to make a nuclear bomb. The country's foreign minister urged the U.S. and Europe to keep up the pressure on Tehran to abandon its suspected nuclear arms program.

Agent Orange plaintiffs to appeal ruling --A former North Vietnamese soldier who spent years fighting in the war, Nguyen Van Quy is devoting himself to another long battle - this one against Agent Orange. Quy, 50, a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. manufacturers of the wartime defoliant, said he does not plan to give up hope despite a U.S. federal judge's decision Thursday to dismiss the case accusing the companies of committing war crimes by supplying Agent Orange.

Online Reporters Must Divulge Confidential Sources --A judge on Friday ordered three independent online reporters to divulge confidential sources in a lawsuit brought by Apple Computer Inc., ruling that they were not protected by the First Amendment because they published trade secrets. The ruling alarmed speech advocates, who saw the case as a test of whether people who write for Web publications enjoy the same legal protections as reporters for mainstream publications.

Apple ruling deals blow over reporters' sources --A California state judge dealt a blow to online reporters and traditional journalists yesterday when he ruled that an independent online reporter must reveal confidential sources who allegedly divulged trade secrets belonging to Apple Computer.

Britain Gives Home Detention to 8 Jailed Terror Suspects --Eight foreign terror suspects who have been held in prison without charge or trial for as long as three and a half years were granted bail by the British authorities today, shortly before the law under which they were detained was to expire... Under strict bail conditions imposed by an immigration judge, they will have to wear electronic monitoring tags, report to an official every time they enter and leave their homes; and remain at home between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily. They will not be allowed to attend gatherings, other than group prayers at mosques, without prior permission. They will not be allowed visitors, except their children's' friends, their lawyers and tradespeople and healthcare workers. No Internet equipment or mobile telephones will be allowed in their houses.

Blair's New Anti-Terror Law Wins Approval --Prime Minister Tony Blair's 'anti'-terrorism law was approved Friday by the House of Lords, ending a bitter standoff between the government and political opponents. The Prevention [sic] of Terrorism Bill was expected to receive the formality of royal assent later Friday and become law. The measure gives the government new powers to detain suspected terrorists under house arrest, impose curfews and electronic tagging without trial, three days before similar legislation was due to expire. [The 'terrorism' is the bill itself.]

Anti-terror law: Internet, telephone access restrictions for terror suspects --Prime Minister Tony Blair won Parliament's support Friday for a new anti-terrorism law... The House of Lords approved new powers to order house arrest and impose curfews and electronic tagging without trial after the government made concessions to end a bitter parliamentary deadlock just three days before similar legislation expired. The Prevention [sic] of Terrorism Bill, which also allows the government to ban terror suspects from meeting certain people or traveling and restrict their access to the Internet or telephone, later received the formality of royal assent to become law.

How Clarke Can Use Control Orders --When the Prevention [sic] of Terrorism Bill becomes law following latest developments, the Home Secretary will be able to issue control orders on the 10 ex-Belmarsh detainees. Charles Clarke has indicated to MPs that he will take such steps swiftly.

Personal information taken in Nevada DMV office break-in --Personal information from more than 8,900 people was stolen when thieves broke into a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles office, officials said Friday.

Report: Some Md. Vote Machines Problematic --A review of voting machines used in Maryland's most populous county for the November 'elections' found that 7 percent of the machines had problems such as frozen screens or failed to boot up.

Gambling Interests Funded DeLay Trip --Later in 2000, Lawmaker's Vote Helped Defeat Regulatory Measure --An Indian tribe and a gambling services company made donations to a Washington public policy group that covered most of the cost of a $70,000 trip to Britain by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Insane-Tex.), his wife, two aides and two lobbyists in mid-2000, two months before DeLay helped kill legislation opposed by the tribe and the company.

Bush Names Missile Defense Veteran to Head NASA --Michael Griffin, a former chief engineer at NASA who has also worked on missile defense systems, was named on Friday as Dictator Bush's choice to head the U.S. space agency.

Karen Hughes to be nominated for State Department post --Karen Hughes, one of Dictator Bush's closest confidants [GOP whore] who left the White House nearly three years ago to return home to Austin, Texas, has accepted a key post in the State Department, regime officials said Friday.

Hand-picked crowds for Social Security show --Bush preaches to the converted while pitching his overhaul [elimination] plan -- In state after state along Dictator Bush’s Social Security road campaign, hand-picked audiences cheer him, leaving the impression that the nation wholeheartedly backs his ideas for reform. The reality is different - just 37 percent like his approach to Social Security, an Associated Press poll found.

Poll Bad News for Bush on Social Security --Just over a third of Americans, 37 percent, approve of Bush's handling of Social Security, an Associated Press poll found. A majority of Americans, 56 percent, say they disapprove of Bush's handling of Social Security. A similar number in a recent AP poll opposed the creation of personal investment accounts, a proposal central to Bush's plans.

Head of USA Next Promises More Anti-AARP Ads, Despite Court Setback --A federal judge on Thursday prohibited the group USA Next, which supports Dictator Bush's Social Security plan, from using in its online ads attacking the AARP a photo of a gay couple that it took without permission from the Portland (Ore.) Tribune. But, in an interview with The New York Times, the director of USA Next reveals that in a few weeks his group will begin running ads "that very specifically and aggressively brand AARP for what they are, the planet's largest liberal lobbying organization."

Obama slams Bush for linking accounts to blacks' life span --Social Security pitch 'stunning,' he says --Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) on Thursday called Dictator Bush's suggestion that African-Americans could reap greater rewards from overhauling Social Security a "stunning" argument that ignored the true health issues facing blacks in this country.

Oil demand set to soar this year --World oil demand will grow even faster than expected this year as a harsh end to the northern winter and robust growth in the United States and China pump up consumption, the International Energy Agency said on Friday. [Translation: Bush kept his installers (oil companies) at bay during election year - now he is letting them loose, so that the public will pressure congress to pass his insane 'Energy (corporate welfare) Bill' and drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.]

Argentine president calls for a national boycott against Shell Oil company --Mar 10, 2005 --Today, President Nestor Kirchner called for a "national boycott" to be held against Shell Oil and the companies that are raising their prices unjustifiably: a measure that has gained the support of consumer associations, small and medium-sized business firms and picketing groups.

U.S. Trade Deficit Grew to $58.3 Bln in January --The U.S. trade gap widened 4.5 percent in January to the second largest ever, as unequaled demand for automobiles and other consumer goods outpaced record exports.

Three Shot Dead at Ga. Trial; Gunman Flees --A man being escorted into court for his rape trial stole a deputy's gun, killed the judge and two other people and carjacked a reporter's vehicle to escape, setting off a massive manhunt and creating widespread chaos across Atlanta, police said. [Bush, the suspect in mass murder case is still at large, however.]

Vietnam provides new numbers on avian flu cases, breaking information logjam --The Vietnamese government reported 10 human cases of avian influenza to the World Health Organization on Friday, breaking a five-week silence on the human toll the strain known as H5N1 has taken in that country.

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Birdflu pandemic may mean some stay home to die --11 March 2005 --New Zealand medical authorities may tell some people likely to die from a birdflu pandemic to stay home and not clog up hospitals. Research published today in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal predicts up to 3700 deaths in New Zealand from a first wave of pandemic influenza and up to a million people infected. "It is likely that some difficult decisions will be required in limiting hospital care to those where it would most likely affect final health outcomes," the researchers said.

Blair says he will not back down on anti-terror bill --In a bitter political duel over new 'anti'-terror legislation, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday that he would make no further concessions to opposition demands for milder laws to control terrorist suspects. Parts of the current 'anti'-terror laws expire next Monday. "Should any terrorist act occur, there will not be a debate about civil liberties," Blair said Wednesday. Saying the police and security services have urged him not to dilute the proposal, he said: "There would be debate about the advice the government received and whether they followed it. I've got the advice, I intend to follow it," he said.

MPs hit back in terror laws battle --Ministers are locked in a marathon battle of wills with the Lords after the Commons again threw out an attempt by peers to restrict anti-terrorism powers. MPs and peers have been sitting through the night as the Government's Prevention [sic] of Terrorism Bill remains caught in a legislative tug-of-war struggle between the Lords and the Commons.

Belmarsh detainees to be released today but face restrictions --A foreign terror suspect held without trial for more than three years was yesterday freed from detention to be reunited with his family. Eight more detainees held at Belmarsh Prison in South London and Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire will be released on bail today. All nine men have been ordered to comply with strict bail conditions that fall short of house arrest but restrict their movements in the community.

Pentagon Seeks to Transfer Hundreds of Detainees From Guantánamo Bay For Renditions --The Pentagon is seeking to enlist help from U.S. agencies in transferring hundreds of suspects to foreign governments [so they can be tortured]. The Pentagon is seeking to enlist help from the State Department and other agencies in a plan to transfer hundreds of suspected 'terrorists' from the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to prisons in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Yemen, according to senior regime officials.

Senators Question Absence of Blame in Abuse Report --Senators expressed dismay yesterday that no senior military or civilian Pentagon officials have been held accountable for the policy and command failures that led to detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Navy admiral who wrote the most recent review of U.S. detention policies was largely unable to say where that accountability should lie.

Pentagon Says Its Policy Did Not Lead to Abuses --The Pentagon has concluded that its policies did not lead to the abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay and found no "explicit" pressure from top officials to use extreme interrogation methods, congressional aides said on Wednesday.

Abuse Review Exonerates Policy --Low-Level Leaders and Confusion Blamed --The Pentagon's widest-ranging examination of prisoner abuse at U.S. detention facilities has concluded that there was no deliberate high-level policy [?!?] that led to numerous cases of mistreatment, and instead blames inept leadership at low levels and confusion over changing interrogation rules, according to government and defense officials who have read the report.

Senate Intelligence Chief Defends CIA on Torture --The head of the Senate intelligence committee said on Thursday the CIA had not engaged in torturing detainees abroad, despite allegations of abuse being investigated by the agency.

Senate Committee Holds Hearing on Prisoner Abuse --Some senators reacted with skepticism today as a high-ranking Navy officer told them that abuses in the questioning of prisoners captured in Iraq and Afghanistan were not the result of any policy decision, "written or otherwise."

UK interrogators not told of banned methods --Ministers not told of US abuse of prisoners --MI5 and MI6 officers interrogating suspect terrorists were not properly informed about the Geneva conventions and were unaware of techniques specifically banned by Britain more than 30 years ago, a cross-party committee of senior MPs and peers disclosed yesterday. It says concerns raised by MI5 and MI6 officers about abuse by US officials of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan were not followed up with the American government.

Straw: Britain cannot ignore evidence obtained by torture --Britain cannot ignore the intelligence gained by America from prisoners who were tortured, Jack Straw has told a committee of MPs.

Iraq war revelation: There was no full legal advice --Cabinet Secretary admits invasion based on single page of A4 --Britain went to war on the basis of a single piece of paper setting out the legality of invading Iraq, the country's most senior civil servant has revealed. The Government's case for war appeared to be in tatters last night after the Cabinet Secretary admitted that a parliamentary answer from Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, was the final legal opinion on the case for war. In an astonishing admission, Sir Andrew Turnbull disclosed that no "full" legal advice on an invasion of Iraq has ever existed.

Mosul suicide bombing kills at least 47 --A suicide bombing at a Shiite Muslim funeral procession killed at least 47 people Thursday in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, hospital officials said. The explosion also wounded at least 81 others, the officials said, near the Shahedayein Mosque in central Mosul's al-Ta'meen district.

Baghdad police chief shot dead --Insurgents dressed in Iraqi police uniforms shot dead the chief of a central Baghdad police station today, police sources said. They said the insurgents set up a fake police checkpoint and stopped the police officer's car as he was on the way to work at Salhiya police station.

Troops in Journalist's Shooting Were for Negroponte --The temporary road checkpoint where American troops 'mistakenly' killed an Italian intelligence agent last week was set up to provide extra security for U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, a U.S. Embassy official said Thursday.

Iraqi Forces Dying at Twice Rate of U.S. --Iraqi security forces are dying at twice the rate of U.S. soldiers in the country, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told a congressional panel Thursday.

Health experts rap US, UK over counting Iraqi dead --Public health experts criticised the United States and Britain on Friday for failing to record the number of Iraqi civilians killed since the U.S.-led invasion and called for an independent inquiry.

U.S. Gaining World's Respect From Wars, Rumsfeld Asserts --Defense Secretary [W-ar criminal] Donald H. Rumsfeld upheld the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan yesterday as powerful demonstrations of U.S. military prowess that will make other countries think twice about making "mischief" around the world.

Global sheriff is slowly gaining on the US and its cavalier way with the law --by Simon Tisdall "In the opinion of many legal experts, the US government broke international law when it waged war on Iraq without explicit UN backing. Unrepentant, it has reserved the right to take similar action again, unilaterally if need be. But another key pillar of global jurisprudence - laws concerning individual liberty, dignity and human rights - is proving harder for Washington to ignore: like a sheriff with a posse of deputies, international law is slowly catching up with the Bush administration."

U.S. to Give Iran Incentives if Nukes Stop --Dictator Bush has decided to offer modest economic incentives to Iran in exchange for Tehran's abandoning its nuclear enrichment program, two senior regime officials said Thursday.

Israel to ban hiring of Palestinians --Israel plans to terminate employment opportunities for Palestinians by 2008. Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon said Israel no longer maintains a policy of encouraging Palestinian employment. Ya'alon said the government has been phasing out the number of jobs available to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in Israel.

Agent Orange Case for Millions of Vietnamese Is Dismissed --In a decision that could close a controversial Vietnam-era chapter of American history, a federal judge in Brooklyn today dismissed a damage suit filed on behalf of millions of Vietnamese that claimed American chemical companies committed war crimes by supplying the military with the defoliant Agent Orange.

No Limit On Weapons: Lawmaker backs nuclear testing --Though Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Insane-Utah) believes the cancer that took his father's life in part was because of radioactive fallout from atomic-bomb testing in Nevada, he is supporting resumption of nuclear tests. ...On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, reintroduced legislation that would force environmental reviews before nuclear weapons testing can restart at the Nevada Test Site.

Senate OKs bill requiring Ohioans to reveal identity --Anti[pro]-terrorism package would expand police powers --The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday that for the first time would allow Ohioans to be arrested for not telling police officers their name, address and age. The bill heads next to the House.

Congressman questions use of subpoena powers --A high-ranking member of the congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball strongly questioned his panel's decision to use subpoena powers. "I've got to tell you, I'm astounded," Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Pa., said in a telephone interview Thursday. "I think there's been a total failure to justify why these subpoenas are necessary. It appears to be a publicity stunt."

Bush calls for oil production on Alaska nature reserve --COLUMBUS, Ohio --US Dictator George W. Bush called Wednesday for development of US oil reserves in Alaska, including within the bounds of a wildlife refuge, to contend with the US undersupply of petroleum.

Alaska Refuge Drilling Gains in Senate Committee --A long-cherished Republican goal to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling advanced in a Senate committee on Thursday, and [cowardly] Democrats are not sure they can muster enough votes to kill the plan in the full Senate next week.

Alaska drilling big mistake: Canada --A US plan to drill for oil in an Alaskan wildlife refuge was "a big mistake", Canada said, and vowed to keep pressuring Washington to scrap the idea.

Senate Impasse Stops 'Clear Skies' Measure --Pollution Bill's Failure a Setback for Bush --Dictator Bush's bid to rewrite [eliminate] federal air pollution laws ground to a halt in Congress yesterday when Republicans were unable to overcome objections in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the bill would weaken the central pillars of the nation's environmental protection framework.

Senate Passes New Bankruptcy Legislation --The Senate passed legislation Thursday (74-25 vote) that will make it harder for Americans to rid themselves of debt by filing for bankruptcy. The House is expected to pass the measure next month, delivering to Dictator Bush a second victory this year on pro-business legislation he had sought.

Jobless Claims Climb to Two-Month High --The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped by 17,000 last week to the highest level in two months, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Budget Deficit Surges to $113.9 Billion --The federal government ran a record monthly deficit of $113.9 billion in February, a sizable worsening of the budget picture compared to a rare surplus recorded in January, the Treasury Department reported Thursday.

S. Korean Group Sponsored DeLay Trip --Visits May Have Broken House Rules --A delegation of Republican House members including Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Terrorist-Texas) accepted an expense-paid trip to South Korea in 2001 from a registered foreign agent despite House rules that bar the acceptance of travel expenses from foreign agents, according to government documents and travel reports filed by the House members.

Mega Barf Alert! Hughes Is Set to Rejoin White House Team --Karen P. Hughes, the longtime adviser to Dictator Bush often described as the most powerful woman ever to work in the White House, plans to return to Washington soon to rejoin Bush's team as he sets forth on an ambitious second-term agenda, according to White House officials and outside Republican advisers.

Goodbye, LieberBush!! Some state Dems talking up a Lieberman challenge --Connecticut Democrats dissatisfied with U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman [LieberBush] want to mount a primary election challenge to the three-term incumbent in 2006 and say they are debating the merits of as many as six alternative candidates. [*SpongeBob SquarePants* would be a better candidate... At least those who vote for the G.O.P. in Connecticut *know* they are voting for a Republican.] Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and a party insider involved in the insurgency, declined this week to name any of the potential challengers.

Man Charged In Anti-Bush Road Rage --A man apparently enraged by a Bush-Cheney sticker [NO, enraged *after* she made an obscene gesture - that fact is mentioned later in the article] on a woman's sport utility vehicle chased her for miles and tried to run her off the road while holding up an anti-Bush sign, police said. ...Nathan Alan Winkler, 31, told police he got upset with the woman, 35-year-old Michelle Fernandez, after she made an obscene gesture, police spokesman Joe Durkin said.

Bill Clinton Rests After Successful Surgery in NY --Former U.S. President Bill Clinton is expected to make a full recovery after surgery on Thursday to remove scar tissue and fluids from his chest just months after a heart-bypass operation, his doctors said.

Doctors Remove Fluid, Scar Tissue From Clinton's Lung --Former President Clinton underwent successful surgery Thursday to remove fluid and scar tissue that had built up around his left lung, and is expected to make a full recovery, doctors said.

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US in dark on Iran's WMD, says inquiry --A presidential commission has found that US intelligence on Iran is so patchy that it is impossible to reach definite conclusions about the country's suspected weapons programmes, it was reported yesterday. The New York Times quoted a source who had been briefed on the WMD commission's finding as describing US intelligence on Iran as "scandalous".

Egyptian Diplomat Rebuts Bush's Views on Mideast --Notion of Sudden Democratic Shift Is Rejected --Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Wednesday offered a point-by-point rebuttal of Dictator Bush's argument that the Middle East is opening to an era of democracy stimulated by the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Police find 41 bodies in Iraq --Iraqi authorities found 41 decomposed bodies — some bullet-riddled, others beheaded — at sites near the Syrian border and south of the capital, and said Wednesday they included women and children who may have been killed because insurgents thought their families were collaborating with U.S. forces. At least 30 American mercenaries ['contractors'], meanwhile, were wounded by a suicide bombing near a hotel.

Suicide truck bomb kills at least 4 in Iraqi capital --A suicide bomber detonated a garbage truck packed with explosives outside the Agriculture Ministry and a hotel used by Western contractors Wednesday, killing himself and at least three others, officials said.

Italian PM Disputes U.S. Shooting of Agent --The prime minister on Wednesday disputed Washington's version of the events leading to the killing of an Italian intelligence agent by U.S. troops in Baghdad, saying the agent had notified the proper authorities that he was on his way to the airport after winning the release of a hostage.

Italian Leader Says U.S. Knew of Rescue Plan --U.S. military officials in Iraq had approved an Italian intelligence officer's mission to free a kidnapped journalist and were expecting their arrival at Baghdad's airport on Friday when U.S. soldiers opened fire on the Italians at a checkpoint, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday.

Italy premier disputes U.S. story --Says agent received OK. The Italian agent killed by American forces in Iraq had U.S. military authorization for his operation to win the release of a hostage, Premier Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday. Berlusconi told Italy's Senate that the car carrying agent Nicola Calipari and hostage Giuliana Sgrena stopped immediately when a light was flashed.

Neo-Conned once again: Ex-Marine Says Public Version of Saddam Capture Fiction --A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated. Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Hussein was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army. "I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said...

U.S. Misses Soldier Reimbursement Deadline --The Defense Department hasn't developed a plan to reimburse soldiers for equipment they've bought to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan despite requirements in a law passed last year, a senator says.

Patriot crews heading to exercise in Israel --U.S. Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany are once again headed to Israel to participate in a joint exercise with the Israeli military.

Israel accused of assisting illegal outposts --The Israeli government is guilty of systematic fraud, "institutional lawbreaking" and the theft of private Palestinian land to covertly establish illegal Jewish outposts in the West Bank, according an official report released yesterday. Under Israeli law the outposts are illegal because they were not formally authorised by the government.

Heavily armed duo in no position to lay down law on proliferation --Thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions would be easier if the US and Israel kept their side of the bargain, writes Richard Butler. "In recent months the US President [sic], George Bush, and senior members of his Administration have asserted that Iran is involved in the clandestine development of nuclear weapons. Last week Bush turned up the temperature during his visit to Europe, when he declared, on one public occasion punching the air with his fist, Iran 'must not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon'. A month earlier The New Yorker published a disturbing report by Seymour Hersch that US forces had already entered Iran from Iraq to scope out prospective targets related to Iran's nuclear activities."

Statements Indicate Chávez May Indeed Be in Somebody's Crosshairs --Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. government has plans to assassinate him and thus trigger chaos that would allow it to intervene militarily and take control of the South American country's huge oil reserves. Now, recent statements by the top U.S. official in Venezuela appear to back up his fears of a plot against his life.

The enemy within --How an Americanist devoted to destroying international alliances became the US envoy to the UN --by Sidney Blumenthal "In the heat of the battle over the Florida vote after the 2000 US presidential election, a burly, mustachioed man burst into the room where the ballots for Miami-Dade County were being tabulated, like John Wayne barging into a saloon for a shoot-out. 'I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count,' drawled John Bolton. And those ballots from Miami-Dade were not counted. Now that same John Bolton has been named by President [sic] Bush as the US ambassador to the UN.

U.S. Says It Has Withdrawn From World Judicial Body --Prompted by an international tribunal's decision last year ordering new hearings for 51 Mexicans on death rows in the United States, the State Department said yesterday that the United States had withdrawn from the protocol that gave the tribunal jurisdiction to hear such disputes.

The torture time bomb (Sydney Morning Herald) "The President [sic], George Bush, made much of the 'evil' of torture carried out under Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Hypocrisy undermines moral leadership. The Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal of last year, and the new revelations that Mr Bush authorised a classified directive removing oversight from the CIA - thus facilitating the 'rendition' of about 150 suspects, including the freed Australian detainee Mamdouh Habib - can only diminish Washington's global standing."

Foreign 'terror' detainees may be released today (UK) Some of the 10 foreign terror suspects held under the Government's controversial emergency legislation could be freed today at a court hearing.

Anti-terror Bill passes Commons hurdle after MPs win concessions --Tony Blair faces a trial of strength with the House of Lords today to secure his anti-terror Bill after threatening to make the fight against terrorism a central election issue.

U.K. Commons Backs Blair, Voting to Strengthen Anti-Terror Law --The U.K. House of Commons backed Prime Minister Tony Blair's proposed terror law, setting up a confrontation over the bill tomorrow with the House of Lords.

Harsh words for US anti-terror strategy at Madrid conference --The US anti[pro]-terrorism strategy has come in for sharp criticism at an international conference that opened here, as Spain prepared to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the deadly train bombings in the capital.

Secret FBI Report Questions Al Qaeda Capabilities --No 'True' Al Qaeda Sleeper Agents Have Been Found in U.S. --A secret FBI report obtained by ABC News concludes that while there is no doubt al Qaeda wants to hit the United States, its capability to do so is unclear. And for all the worry about Osama bin Laden's sleeper cells or agents in the United States, a secret FBI assessment concludes it knows of none. The 32-page assessment says flatly, "To date, we have not identified any true 'sleeper' agents in the US," seemingly contradicting the "sleeper cell" description prosecutors assigned to seven men in Lackawanna, N.Y., in 2002.

FBI suggests Congress ban gun sales to terrorism suspects [Nah, 'ya think?] FBI Director Robert Mueller suggested Tuesday that Congress consider barring terrorism suspects from legally buying guns after an audit found that 47 people on a terrorism watch list were approved for purchases last year.

Oops! FBI chief admits $170m computer failure --More than three years after the September 11 attacks, and $170m (£88m) later, the FBI has abandoned an attempt to upgrade its computer database, hampering America's ability to track suspected terrorists.

Homeland security tech grants could total $11 billion --The federal government could issue more than $11 billion in grants for homeland security technology over the next five years, according to a new report.

Gannett newspapers sue Homeland Security --Gannett newspapers in Florida sued two federal agencies today to get information relating to the 2004 hurricanes that devastated the state. The News-Press, Pensacola News-Journal and FLORIDA TODAY filed the lawsuit in federal court in Fort Myers against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which the department oversees.

Dean slams Bush on town-hall meetings --Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said yesterday that Dictator Bush’s policy of excluding non-Republicans from town-hall meetings on Social Security reform was "not an American thing to do."

G.O.P. Senators Balk at Tax Cuts in Bush's Budget --Dictator Bush's plan to extend his tax cuts over the next five years ran into resistance in the Senate on Wednesday as Republican leaders offered a budget for 2006 that would undo more than a fourth of the cuts that Mr. Bush has requested. [And, buried on page two of the same article...] Their plan also contains language intended to open a wildlife refuge in Alaska to oil drilling - a budget maneuver that would enable Dictator Bush's long-stalled drilling plan to pass the Senate by a simple majority, avoiding the threat of filibusters that have killed it in the past.

Bush pushes for Alaskan drilling as oil prices [and oil companies' profits] climb --Oil prices were last night skirting record highs as a United States report showing plentiful stocks of crude failed to ease longer term concerns about possible shortages. Brent crude rose $1.21 to a highest ever $54.05 a barrel in London, breaching the previous record of $53.32. Dictator George Bush yesterday seized on the soaring price of oil to renew the push for his long-stalled energy bill during a speech in Columbus, Ohio, where he cautioned against rising dependence on overseas oil.

Dow Closes Down 107 While Nasdaq Falls 12 --Volatile oil prices and a weak dollar sent stocks plunging Wednesday as the prospect of inflation and rising interest rates sank in on Wall Street. Yields on long-dated Treasuries surged to an eight-month high and the Dow Jones industrial average skidded 107 points.

Health care disparities kill 80,000 blacks-US study --More than 80,000 black Americans die every year because of continuing disparities in health care, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said on Wednesday.

...Gannon/Guckert could sue Bush/Rove? Legislation would let prostitutes sue their pimps --Advocates want a law that would let prostitutes sue the pimps and brothels that profit from their suffering. They say it would hold people accountable for coercing women -- and often girls -- into prostitution. An Illinois House committee approved the idea unanimously Wednesday, sending it to the House floor.

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Bush Demands Syria Out of Lebanon by May --Dictator Bush on Tuesday demanded Syria pull troops out of Lebanon before Lebanese parliamentary elections in May and give way to a 'democracy movement' [Halliburton-Monsanto conquest] he said is providing hope in the broader Middle East.

Bush Presses Syria to Leave Lebanon Soon --Dictator Bush stepped up American pressure on Syria on Tuesday to withdraw from Lebanon and warned authoritarian governments throughout the Middle East that they stand before a powerful, fast-moving wave of 'democracy' [corpora-terrorism].

Bush warns 'rogue states' --United States Dictator George W Bush on Monday called for punishing countries that desert the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and beefing up the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency's powers.

Bush: Dictators have had their day in the Middle East [Oh, that is great!! Bush is going to leave the Middle East!!] In his most uncompromising tone yet, Dictator George Bush yesterday told repressive regimes in the Middle East - some of them longstanding US allies - that they must change their ways and meet demands for reform across the region.

Fresh evidence of CIA torture network --More details have emerged of a Central Intelligence Agency fleet of secret jets said to transport terrorism suspects around the world for interrogation in countries that the State Department has consistently accused of regularly torturing prisoners. According to the CBS television program 60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday, suspects had been flown to Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Guantanamo Bay and even some former Soviet republics such as Uzbekistan, which, the State Department says, regularly uses torture in its prisons and detention centres.

Video shows U.S. soldiers in 'Ramadi Madness' abuse --U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq filmed themselves kicking a gravely wounded prisoner in the face and making the arm of a corpse appear to wave, then titled the effort "Ramadi Madness" after the city where it was made.

Pentagon faces PR disaster --US soldiers abused at least one wounded prisoner in Iraq and showed disrespect to dead Iraqis, including civilians, according to a video made public yesterday. The 27-minute video, dubbed "Ramadi Madness", was made early last year by members of the Florida National Guard stationed in the insurgent hotspot and became part of the military investigation into alleged abuses by US troops.

U.S. Eroding Inmates' Trust at Cuba Base, Lawyers Say --Defense lawyers for detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, say the military has been working to undermine the inmates' trust in them. In one case, a lawyer said, a military interrogator recently told a detainee that he should not trust his lawyers because they are Jews.

Punish US forces, demand Italians --Italy called last night for US troops to be punished for killing an Italian secret agent without provocation or warning as he escorted a freed hostage to Baghdad airport.

Blair broke code to keep war advice from Cabinet --MPs clamour for inquiry as row flares again over legality of Iraq invasion --Tony Blair is facing calls for a formal investigation after it emerged that he breached the official code of conduct for ministers by failing to show the Attorney General's full advice on the legality of the Iraq war to the Cabinet.

How ministers were misled on the legality of Iraq invasion --by Clare Short "Following the recent controversy about the Attorney General's advice, I have gone over in detail the process by which he gave his advice on the legality of the war. I have concluded that he failed to comply with the Ministerial Code when giving his advice to the Cabinet and that he misled the Cabinet about his legal advice... My view is now that by failing to reveal his full legal advice and the considerations that underpinned his final advice, the Attorney misled the Cabinet and therefore helped obtain support for military action improperly."

Large Explosion Rocks Central Baghdad 9 Mar 2005 --A large explosion shook central Baghdad today, shaking buildings and covering the area in a large plume of black smoke.

Senior Iraqi official slain, 15 headless corpses found --'Al-Qaeda militants' [Negroponte's death squads?] gunned down a senior Iraqi official Tuesday and soldiers discovered 15 beheaded bodies as the furore over the US shooting of an Italian intelligence agent threatened to carve a deep rift between Washington and Rome.

'Counter-recruiters' shadowing the military --Jim Murphy is a "counter-recruiter," one of a small but growing number of opponents of the Iraq war who say they want to compete with military recruiters for the hearts and minds of young people.

Army: Recruiting Young Blacks Tougher Now --Young blacks have grown markedly less willing to join the Army, citing fear of being sent to fight a war in Iraq they don't believe in, according to unpublicized studies for the military that suggest the Army is entering a prolonged recruiting slump. [What, they don't want to fight for Halluburton and Monsanto?]

Disabled veterans' battle for benefits --The waiting can go on for years. Bureaucratic mistakes are far too common, by the government's admission. And when veterans finally do win claims for disability compensation, the amount of money they get may vary by the mere happenstance of where they live.

Terror war 'may breed more terror' --Military strikes and draconian measures against terrorists might create even more terror, US-based academics warned at a summit in Madrid as Spain prepared to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the deadly train bombings in the capital. The experts said Europe could learn from Washington's mistakes on this.

Spy Agencies Fear Some Applicants Are Terrorists --U.S. counterintelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Al Qaeda sympathizers or operatives may have tried to get jobs at the CIA and other U.S. agencies in an effort to spy on American counterterrorist efforts... "We think terrorist organizations have tried to insinuate people into our hiring pools," said Barry Royden, a 39-year CIA veteran who is a counterintelligence instructor at the agency. [LOL, he's got that right! We know that Al Qaeda's *leader* made it into the Bush 'hiring pools' in September, 2001!]

Terror Suspects Buying Firearms, U.S. Report Finds --Dozens of terror suspects on federal watch lists were allowed to buy firearms legally in the United States last year, according to a Congressional investigation that points up major vulnerabilities in federal gun laws.

GAO says terror suspects bought guns last year in U.S. --More than 40 terror suspects on federal watch lists were allowed to buy firearms in the United States last year because background checks found no reason to stop them, says a government report released Tuesday.

Defense Wants Bush to Testify at German 9/11 Trial --Lawyers for a Moroccan man accused in Germany of aiding and abetting the Sept. 11 attacks called Tuesday for Dictator Bush to be summoned as a witness. Lawyer Udo Jacob, defending accused Moroccan Mounir El Motassadeq, said Bush should be called to testify about accusations he granted the CIA powers to send terrorism suspects to foreign countries for interrogation.

Amazing Ironies, Striking Similarities & Curious Coincidences of Two Suspicious Events --by Douglas Herman 3-4-5 "(A). Fifteen minutes after JFK is shot, Dallas Police dispatch an APB for a suspect fitting Lee Harvey Oswald's exact description, although Oswald has neither been implicated nor his weapon found. Moments after 9-11 attack, a scorched passport allegedly belonging to an Islamic hijacker is found near the WTC wreckage..."

Teresa Heinz Kerry: Openly skeptical about November election results Teresa Heinz Kerry hasn't lost her outspoken way --by Joel Connelly "COUNTING THE VOTES: Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November's election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes. 'Two brothers own 80 percent of the machines used in the United States,' Heinz Kerry said. She identified both as 'hard-right' Republicans. She argued that it is 'very easy to hack into the mother machines.' 'We in the United States are not a banana republic,' added Heinz Kerry. She argued that Democrats should insist on 'accountability and transparency' in how votes are tabulated. 'I fear for '06,' she said. 'I don't trust it the way it is right now.'"

Report by House Democrats Alleges GOP Abuse of Power --House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) plans to lash out at the chamber's Republican leaders today with a report accusing them of abusing their power through parliamentary tactics designed to suppress dissent. The 147-page report, by the Democratic staff of the House Rules Committee, is called "Broken Promises: The Death of Deliberative Democracy" and is described on the cover as "A Congressional Report on the Unprecedented Erosion of the Democratic Process in the 108th Congress," which ended at noon on Jan. 3. "In the 108th Congress, House Republicans became the most arrogant, unethical and corrupt majority in modern Congressional history," the report begins.

Actions by Delay Cited in Lawsuit --Documents subpoenaed from an indicted fund-raiser for Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, suggest that Mr. DeLay was more actively involved than previously known in gathering corporate donations for a political committee that is the focus of a grand-jury investigation in Texas, his home state.

Bush has mandate for Social Security plan, Cheney says --In an interview Tuesday, Vice pResident Dick Cheney said the Bush re-s-election victory provided a mandate "for the notion of personal retirement accounts" and that Democrats would pay a political price among younger voters if they blocked them. [Yeah, right! Translation of Democrats' 'political price:' GOP-rigged 'elections' in 2006, and the abolishment of exit polling to remove any vestiges of proof.]

Personal Accounts Tank in Polls, GOP Says --The heart of Dictator Bush's plan for Social Security, allowing younger workers to create personal accounts in exchange for a lower guaranteed government benefit, is among the least popular elements with the public, Republican pollsters told House GOP leaders Tuesday.

Bankruptcy Bill Set for Passage; Victory for Bush [Defeat for the People] --The Senate assured final passage of the first major overhaul of the nation's bankruptcy laws in 27 years on Tuesday, when it took two votes that cleared the remaining political obstacles to a measure that the nation's credit and retail industries have sought for years.

The Debt-Peonage Society --by Paul Krugman "The bankruptcy bill was written by and for credit card companies, and the industry's political muscle is the reason it seems unstoppable... Warren Buffett recently made headlines by saying America is more likely to turn into a 'sharecroppers' society' than an 'ownership society.' But I think the right term is a 'debt peonage' society - after the system, prevalent in the post-Civil War South, in which debtors were forced to work for their creditors. The bankruptcy bill won't get us back to those bad old days all by itself, but it's a significant step in that direction."

Gas could head to $2.15 --Gasoline prices will hit a new record high [along with Exxon-Mobil's profits] this spring, reaching a national monthly average of $2.15 a gallon, the government said Tuesday.

Oil Futures Trade Briefly Above $55 Per Barrel --Crude futures rose above $55 per barrel Tuesday before settling just below that mark as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported higher than expected oil demand in China.

Dean's money machine to fight Schwarzenegger --A liberal grassroots network that helped fuel Howard Dean's run for president is crackling back to life to fight Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot initiative drive, another sign that the governor's plans for a special election this year could produce a costly and fiercely partisan battle.

Clinton to Have Operation Tied to Last Surgery --Former President Clinton, six months after undergoing a heart operation to bypass four severely clogged arteries, requires more surgery on the same vital organ but is expected to recovery fully, his doctors said today.

Military intelligence warns that avian flu could be used as weapon: report -- The military's intelligence arm has warned the federal government that avian influenza could be used as a weapon of bioterrorism, a heavily censored report suggests. It also reveals that military planners believe a naturally occurring flu pandemic may be imminent. The report, entitled Recent Human Outbreaks of Avian Influenza and Potential Biological Warfare Implications, was obtained under the Access to Information Act by The Canadian Press. It was prepared by the J2 Directorate of Strategic Intelligence, a secretive branch of National Defence charged with producing intelligence for the government. [Is this why 40+ microbiologists have died, mysteriously, since 9/11?]

Vietnam detects new bird flu patient --A healthy 81-year-old man from Vietnam's northern Thai Binh province, maternal grandfather of two bird flu patients, has just been confirmed to contract H5N1, while the World Health Organization (WHO) found the virus in samples from seven local people, according to local newspaper Youth Wednesday.

WHO: 7 Vietnamese Patients Have Bird Flu --The World Health Organization said Tuesday that seven Vietnamese patients who initially tested negative for bird flu have been found to be carrying the virus after their samples were retested.

4 New Human Cases of Avian Flu Are Reported in Vietnam --Vietnam has reported four new cases of human avian influenza, including those of a 21-year-old man and his 14-year-old sister, the World Health Organization said yesterday.

Nuke waste dumped in UK seas --Highly radioactive waste has been dumped in Britain's seas and washed ashore, and nuclear research station workers covered up the pollution, The Sunday Times quoting a former safety officer on Sunday as saying.

Shasta Lake: Tribe sees dam plan as cultural genocide --Raising lake level would drown sites sacred to the Winnemem Wintu --by Glen Martin "A plan to raise Shasta Dam could help ease California's water crisis, but a band of California Indians says the project will obliterate their culture and way of life.

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Army report: U.S. lost control in Iraq three months after invasion --The U.S. military lost its dominance in Iraq shortly after its invasion in 2003, a study concluded. A report by the U.S. Army official historian said the military was hampered by the failure to occupy and stabilize Iraq in 2003. As a result, the military lost its dominance by July 2003 and has yet to regain that position.

Napalm, Chemical Weapons Used at Fallujah – Iraqi Official --Two days after the US State Department released its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhli, an official at Iraq’s health ministry, told a Baghdad press conference that the U.S. military used internationally banned weapons during its deadly November 2004 offensive in the city of Fallujah.

Lawyers' panel indicts Bush, Blair --US Dictator George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair deserve life sentences, with the possibility of parole after 25 years, for the war crimes and genocide in Iraq, according to a lawyers' panel. Speaking on Monday at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, Kohki Abe, a professor of law at Kanagawa University, said they should face the "maximum penalty available". That would not include the death penalty, however, as the members of the tribunal opposed capital punishment [LOL!], he added.

Bush set ball rolling for overseas torture --Dictator George Bush authorised a classified directive that removed crucial oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency's policy of abducting terrorist suspects and sending them to countries known for torturing detainees. Known as rendition, the policy of transporting prisoners without formal extradition was rapidly expanded after the directive and applied to the Australian Mamdouh Habib, released without charge in January after 40 months in detention.

US sent hundreds of terror suspects to foreign prisons --The CIA has transferred an estimated 100 and 150 terrorist suspects to foreign countries for questioning - and, it is widely alleged, torture - since rules governing the American policy of "rendition" were relaxed immediately after the September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Bush backs policy on terror suspects --The Bush regime is defending its decision to give the CIA extensive authority to send terrorism suspects to foreign countries for interrogation. ...Representative (D-Mass.) Edward Markey filed legislation last month to eliminate what he called ''outsourcing torture."

Bush Regime Used Fake Torture Story to Influence Public [Bush uses fake torture to convince the public to let him use real torture.] --In July 2003, the Washington Post published a harrowing account of the torture of an Assyrian Christian woman in Baghdad. The woman, Jumana Hanna, took Post reporter Peter Finn to the prison where she said she had been jailed, tortured and raped for nothing more than marrying a non-Iraqi... It did not take long for a professional journalist to find out that very few if any details of Jumana Hanna’s account were true... "It’s just a story about a homeless prostitute who single-handedly fooled the Pentagon, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Washington Post," says Sara Solovitch. [Gee, it seems like every day, another Bush whore emerges (Jeff Gannon), having manipulated the media at the behest of the Bush dictatorship.]

Attorney Asks for 9138-Year Sentence for Argentinean Torturer [How long should Bush get?] --Spanish Supreme Court attorney's office increased Monday its request of life imprisonment for Argentinean torturer Adolfo Scilingo, and asked for a total 9318-year sentence. The ex-captain is tried here for genocide, terrorism and tortures supposedly committed during the Argentinean dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.

Gonzales May File Criminal Charges Against 'Enemy Combatant' --U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales signaled today that the Justice Department may still file criminal charges against American-born "enemy combatant" Jose Padilla, even if the courts order his release.

Judge Won't Dismiss Abu Ghraib Charges --A military judge Monday refused to dismiss any of the charges against Spc. Sabrina Harman, an Army prison guard accused of humiliating Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib.

At least 33 Iraqis killed in attacks --Iraqi insurgents set off bombs and fired rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons at military convoys, checkpoints and police patrols in a spate of violence Monday that killed 33 people and wounded dozens.

US accused over 'coalition' deaths --Twenty-seven people have been killed in a series of attacks in Iraq, while Bulgaria has joined Italy in demanding answers from Washington over the "friendly fire" death of one of its soldiers.

Thousands Honor Italian Killed by U.S. Forces at Rome Funeral --Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi attended a state funeral service in Rome for Nicola Calipari, the intelligence officer killed in Iraq by U.S. forces on Friday.

Syrian troops begin pullback --Witnesses say up to 15 Syrian trucks carrying equipment and ammunition are driving up the snaking highway through the mountains toward the Bekaa Valley.

Israel dismisses Syrian troop plan for Lebanon --Israel on Monday dismissed a pledge by Syria to rebase its troops in Lebanon, saying it would be satisfied only by a full withdrawal of Syrian forces prior to Lebanese elections set for May.

Syrian announcement not enough, U.S. says --The United States Monday said Syria's announced partial troop withdrawal from Lebanon does not go far enough to meet international demands.

Halliburton, others evade Iran embargo --How do U.S. contractors legally do business there? (--by Lisa Myers, NBC) "It's just another Halliburton oil and gas operation. The company name is emblazoned everywhere: On trucks, equipment, large storage silos and workers' uniforms. But this isn't Texas. It's Iran. U.S. companies aren't supposed to do business here."

Bush Picks Critic of U.N. to Serve as Ambassador to It --Dictator Bush is nominating Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton as the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced today. The choice of Mr. Bolton, a blunt-spoken hawk with a history of unveiled skepticism toward the United Nations, appeared likely to raise concerns abroad.

Bush sets a hawk loose in the UN --Dictator George W Bush gave notice yesterday that America's hawks are still a force to be reckoned with when he nominated an outspoken hardliner as his ambassador to the United Nations.

Who Is John Bolton? --by Brooke Lierman "[John] Bolton was in South Korea on an AEI assignment when he received a call from long-time mentor James Baker, who was leading the charge on the Florida recount in 2000. Baker told him to get on the next plane, which he did. After working as a lawyer with the Republican team in Florida, he grabbed reporters' attention when he burst into a Tallahassee library announcing 'I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the count.'"

Peers inflict defeat on anti-terror bill --The government tonight suffered a major blow to its anti[pro]-terrorism bill when the House of Lords voted to ensure that all control orders should be made by a judge rather than the home secretary.

Private firms to police terror orders --Private security staff are to be used to monitor the controversial new anti-terrorist control orders in an attempt to save money, according to preparations being made to implement the policy by the Home Office.

Lawyer arrested for posting an article online --Reporters Without Borders has called for the release of lawyer Mohammed Abu who was arrested in Tunis on March 1 for posting an article online dealing with the torture of political prisoners in Tunisia.

RFID Invades the Capital --A new smartcard, the type privacy advocates fear because it combines biometric data with radio tags, will soon be one of the most common ID cards in Washington. Department of Homeland Security workers in May will begin using the new ID card, called the DAC, to gain access to secure areas, log on to government computers and even pay their Metro subway fares.

Pew Finds Surge for Web as Source of Political News, As Newspapers Sink --A Pew Center study released today found that using the Internet to get news of politics during the 2004 presidential contest grew sixfold from 1996, while the influence of newspapers sank.

Senator to Propose Raising Retirement Age --A leading Republican senator is proposing to raise the Social Security retirement age from 67 to 68, while Democrats maintain their opposition to Dictator Bush's plan to overhaul [eliminate] the retirement program with private investment accounts.

Senate Defeats Minimum Wage Increase --The Senate defeated dueling proposals Monday to raise the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage in a day of skirmishing that reflected Republican gains in last fall's [stolen] elections.

Bush's budget leaves college students behind --by Ronald R. Thomas "The same administration that seeks to leave no child behind has proposed a budget that will leave many students without access to higher education while it significantly increases spending on security. President [sic] Bush has proposed budget cuts of $773 million in pre-college education programs, in addition to earlier changes in the Pell Grant college-aid program that left 80,000 students no longer eligible for such grants."

Unit for Infectious, Deadly Illness Opens --The nation's largest medical unit for victims of highly lethal infectious diseases such as smallpox, anthrax and the plague opened in Nebraska on Monday.

Bird flu menace brewing --Health pros rushing to prevent epidemic of deadly virus --"I had a little bird, and its name was Enza, I opened the window, and in-flew-Enza." Eighty-seven years ago, children jumped rope to this ghastly little rhyme while Spanish flu killed twice as many people as did World War I. More than 850 New Yorkers died in just one day in October 1918. Only the undertakers were smiling as hearses clogged the cobblestone streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Now an even deadlier version of that "little bird" is threatening the world.

Bush accused of 'fiddling while world burns' by ignoring climate change --One of Britain's most eminent scientists has attacked Dictator Bush for acting like a latter-day Nero who fiddles while the world burns because of global warming.

Somalia's secret dumps of toxic waste washed ashore by tsunami --The huge waves which battered northern Somalia after the tsunami in December are believed to have stirred up tonnes of nuclear and toxic waste illegally dumped in the war-racked country during the early 1990s.

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Rule Change Lets C.I.A. Freely Send Suspects Abroad to Jails --The Bush regime's secret program to transfer suspected terrorists to foreign countries for interrogation has been carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency under broad authority that has allowed it to act without case-by-case approval from the White House or the State or Justice Departments, according to current and former government officials.

Bush Gave CIA Expansive Interrogation Power-Paper --The Bush regime gave the CIA extensive authority to send terrorism suspects to foreign countries for interrogation just days after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.

CIA 'jets suspects overseas' --The Central Intelligence Agency uses a secret jet to ferry terror suspects for interrogation to countries known to use torture, according to a US television report. CBS television's 60 Minutes program videotaped the Boeing 737 on a runway at Glasgow Airport in Scotland, saying it was able to trace it through a series of companies and executives that apparently exist only on paper.

U.S. Adopts Preemptive Counterintelligence Strategy --The Bush regime has adopted a new counterintelligence strategy that calls for preemptive action against foreign intelligence services viewed as threats to national security, officials said Saturday.

Why did Eason Jordan 'resign?' US Troops 'May Have Opened Fire Deliberately', Says Freed Reporter --The Italian journalist who was wounded by US gunfire in Baghdad today said she had not ruled out the possibility that troops shot at her car deliberately. Giuliana Sgrena made the sensitive comments from a Rome hospital where she is recuperating from a shrapnel wound to the shoulder. An Italian intelligence officer was killed when US troops at a checkpoint fired at their vehicle on Friday as they headed to the airport, celebrating her first moments of freedom.

Injured Reporter Says U.S. May Have Fired on Purpose --Giuliana Sgrena, the Italian reporter wounded on March 4 by U.S.-led forces after she was freed from her captors in Iraq, said the military may have targeted her deliberately.

I was targetted: ex-hostage --The Italian journalist wounded by US troops shortly after her month-long kidnap ordeal ended has fanned a growing diplomatic rift between Rome and Washington by suggesting the US soldiers deliberately tried to kill her. Giuliana Sgrena, wounded when the convoy taking her to safety was riddled by US fire near Baghdad airport on Friday, said today she may have been a target because the Americans opposed negotiations with her kidnappers.

US attack against Italians in Baghdad was deliberate: companion -- The companion of freed Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena on Saturday leveled serious accusations at US troops who fired at her convoy as it was nearing Baghdad airport, saying the shooting had been deliberate. "The Americans and Italians knew about (her) car coming," Pier Scolari said on leaving Rome's Celio military hospital where Sgrena is to undergo surgery following her return home. "They were 700 meters (yards) from the airport, which means that they had passed all checkpoints." The shooting late Friday was witnessed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office which was on the phone with one of the secret service agents, said Scolari. "Then the US military silenced the cellphones," he charged. "Giuliana had information, and the US military did not want her to survive," he added.

Sgrena's Car Disappears From U.S. Military Custody (I guess they can't let the world see all those bullet holes in the car) --An Italian journalist held hostage in Iraq for a month – then wounded by U.S. forces shortly after her release – has returned home. On Saturday, the Associated Press in Baghdad asked to see Sgrena's car, but the U.S. military said it didn't know where it was.

Italian journalist says car she was in was not speeding --The Italian journalist who was wounded by American troops at a checkpoint in Baghdad shortly after she was released by her Iraqi captors denied US allegations that the car she was in was speeding.

Outrage as US soldiers kill hostage rescue hero --The Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq arrived back in Rome yesterday as fury and confusion grew over the circumstances in which she was shot and one of her rescuers was killed by American soldiers... Italian reconstruction of the incident is significantly different. Giuliana Sgrena told colleagues the vehicle was not travelling fast and had already passed several checkpoints on its way to the airport. The Americans shone a flashlight at the car and then fired between 300 and 400 bullets at if from an armoured vehicle. Rather than calling immediately for assistance for the wounded Italians, the soldiers' first move was to confiscate their weapons and mobile phones and they were prevented from resuming contact with Rome for more than an hour.

Five U.S. troops, 1 Bulgarian soldier, killed in Iraq --Five U.S. soldiers and one Bulgarian soldier were killed in Iraq on Friday, according to Multinational Force Iraq officials. The U.S. forces death toll in Iraq is now 1,505.

'Up to 200' al-Qa'eda terrorists loose in Britain [Well, there is at least *one* loose, in the White House.] Sir John Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police chief, has warned that as many as 200 al-Qa'eda terrorists are at large in Britain. He said that it was "vital" that the Government's anti-terror legislation, which includes controversial 'control orders' allowing suspects to be held under home arrest, is approved by Parliament.

Terrorists 'walking the streets' in Britain --More than 100 "Osama bin Laden-trained terrorists" are at large in Britain, bent on perpetrating mass attacks, London's former police chief said. John Stevens, who retired as chief of London's Metropolitan Police this year, said it would be "madness" to free foreigners held under an anti-terrorism law judges ruled illegal last year.

Clarke in no mood for further compromises --Charles Clarke said yesterday that he would give no more ground over anti- terrorism plans despite an aide saying that compromise would be possible to avoid defeat at Westminster... The Bill would give the Home Secretary the power to ask a judge to issue an effective house-arrest control order without a criminal charge or trial. He would also be able to impose lesser orders himself, such as banning internet or phone use.

Lib Dems vow to preserve liberty --Charles Kennedy has put the defence of civil liberties at the heart of the Liberal Democrat election campaign. Winning the issue was key to fulfilling the party's aim of "breaking the mould" of British politics, he said. "We go back to Parliament to defend liberty; we go into an election to promote liberty," he told the party's spring conference in Harrogate.

Universities offering homeland security curriculum --Beginning this May, California University of Pennsylvania will offer a master's degree in legal studies with a track in homeland security. The state university in Washington County joins the growing ranks of higher education institutions that have been expanding program offerings to meet the needs of a post-9/11 nation.

Homeland Security picks up missing-kid tech --The Department of Homeland Security plans to try out updated Amber Alert technology --The department's Federal Emergency Management Agency has been involved in a pilot program with public TV broadcasters, cell phone operators and Internet service providers in the Washington metropolitan area to see if extra digital spectrum from public broadcasters could be used to transmit alerts to cell phones.

How to track a PC anywhere it connects to the Net --Anonymous Internet access is now a thing of the past. A doctoral student at the University of California has conclusively fingerprinted computer hardware remotely, allowing it to be tracked wherever it is on the Internet.

Joseph Goebbels couldn't *touch* Karl Rove's skills: F.E.C. to Consider Internet Politicking --Federal election commissioners are preparing to consider how revamped campaign finance laws apply to political activity on the Internet, including online advertising, fund-raising e-mail messages and Web logs. Anyone who decides to "set up a blog, send out mass e-mails, any kind of activity that can be done on the Internet" could be subject to Federal Election Commission regulation, Bradley A. Smith, a Republican commissioner, said in an interview posted Thursday on the technology news site Cnet.com.

The Senate on the Brink (The New York Times) "The White House's insistence on choosing only far-right judicial nominees has already damaged the federal courts. Now it threatens to do grave harm to the Senate. If Republicans fulfill their threat to overturn the historic role of the filibuster in order to ram the Bush administration's nominees through, they will be inviting all-out warfare and perhaps an effective shutdown of Congress... The Bush administration likes to call itself 'conservative,' but there is nothing conservative about endangering one of the great institutions of American democracy, the United States Senate, for the sake of an ideological crusade."

Ex-ethics chairman no longer smiling --DeLay accuser says staff firings resemble a purge -- When Republican leaders ousted him as House ethics committee chairman, Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., put on a smile and said it wasn't retaliation for rebuking the formidable House majority leader, Tom DeLay. But when his replacement fired the top staffers who ran the DeLay investigation, Hefley's tone changed. "That looks very much like a purge," said Hefley. "It seems to me like it was."

Bush Sets Up Social Security 'War Room' --A new Social Security war room inside the Treasury Department is pumping out information to sell Dictator Bush's plan, much like any political campaign might do. It's part of a coordinated effort by the Bush regime. The internal, taxpayer-funded campaigning is backed up by television advertisements, grass-roots organizing and lobbying from business and other groups that support the Bush plan.

Credit Card Penalties, Fees Bury Debtors --Senate Nears Action On Bankruptcy Curbs --The Senate is to vote as soon as this week on a bill that would make it harder for individuals to wipe out debt through bankruptcy. The Senate last week voted down several amendments intended to curb excessive fees and other practices that critics of the industry say are abusive.

Democrats Assail Bush's Budget, Deficit --Democrats are attacking Dictator Bush's budget for worsening the already bleak deficit picture, even as a new congressional analysis of his fiscal plans shows no end in sight for huge amounts of red ink.

Health Study Shows Taxpayers Fund Companies' Health Care --Critics Say Employers Cannot Afford Insurance From Wal-Mart --Taxpayers are funding health care for hundreds of Wal-Mart workers in Iowa... Tyson Fresh Meats, Casey's General Stores and Hy-Vee also have hundreds of employees receiving state-funded health care. Critics say the report shows that taxpayers are subsidizing profitable companies that offer inadequate wages and benefits.

'Nuclear Cowboys' Caused Dounreay 'Disaster' - Claim --A former safety officer at Dounreay nuclear plant tonight branded his former employees "cowboys", revealing a dossier of alleged breaches which he claimed showed a "reckless" disregard for public health. Herbie Lyall, a health physics surveyor at the Caithness facility for 30 years, spoke out two weeks after it emerged that Dounreay’s owners, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, could face prosecution over radioactive releases.

Ozone layer could develop hole over Britain, scientists warn Destruction of protective gas means greater risk of skin cancer and cataracts. Scientists will tomorrow fly a spy plane high into the world's protective ozone layer, amid increasing fears that it may be about to develop a hole over Britain and northern Europe.

Experts say bird flu can't be beaten --Focus moves from eradication to control --The U.S. and Thailand are working together to find ways to control this virus that kills seven of every ten people who contract it. Experts say bird flu is now found across so much of Asia that it can't be beaten with vaccines because it's always changing characteristics. So the goal, they say, should be to control it.

Bird flu would reach Scotland 'within weeks' --Scotland will be hit by a deadly strain of the bird flu virus within three weeks of a pandemic starting in Asia, Scotland’s top doctor has warned.

Scots bird flu death toll 'may hit 200,000' --The death toll from a bird flu pandemic in Scotland could hit 200,000, a leading scientist has predicted. Professor Hugh Pennington said the disease could kill four times as many people as official estimates suggested.

Pillows and duvets 'could carry avian flu virus' --A leading scientist has urged ministers to ban imports of pillows and duvets from the Far East to protect Britain against a potentially lethal outbreak of avian flu.

Schwarzenegger Wants School Junk Food Ban --At the bodybuilding event named for him, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Sunday that he wants to ban all sales of junk food in California schools and fill vending machines with fresh fruits, vegetables and milk.

Clinton Gave Up Plane's Bed to Bush --On their tour of tsunami damage in Southeast Asia, former President Bill Clinton once allowed his predecessor, former President George H.W. Bush, to sleep on the plane's only bed while he stretched out on the floor.

*****

Judge: Online Journalists Must Reveal Their Sources --'Blogger fear' in Apple leak case --Three blogs which published sensitive information about upcoming Apple products could be made to disclose where the leaks came from. A California judge said in a preliminary ruling that bloggers should not have the same protection afforded to journalists under US law.

Apple suit pits Web reporters, protections --Free speech advocates asked a state judge Friday to grant the same protections mainstream journalists enjoy to three independent Web publishers embroiled in a lawsuit that Apple Computer Inc. filed over company trade secrets they obtained. Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg had tentatively ruled Thursday that that the three must reveal their confidential sources.

The coming crackdown on blogging -- Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over. In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

Texas telecom bill would ban free public Internet access --Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed a massive telecommunications bill in Austin this session that, in part, bans Texas cities from participating in wireless information networks.

US developing 'pain from a distance' weapon --The US military is developing a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from afar to use against protesters and rioters. Documents released under the US Freedom of Information Act show that scientists have received funding to investigate how much pain can be induced in individuals hit by electromagnetic pulses created by lasers without killing them. [The U.S. government has *always*induced pain from a distance, so this is nothing new.]

Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon --The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.

1,200-page prison abuse tome released --Videos from Iraq compiled by a Florida National Guardsman and called "Ramadi Madness" appeared to show one soldier kicking a wounded, cuffed prisoner and another striking a detainee with a rifle butt, yet Army investigators found no cause to charge anyone with abuse, according to Army documents released Friday. The videos were described in 1,200 pages of documents released by the Army Friday in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is seeking information on prisoner abuse in Iraq.

Government Attorney: Detainees Don't Deserve POW Privileges --Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being held for reasons of national security and military necessity, not because they’re being punished, a top DoD lawyer explained here March 3. [LOL, I'm not sure even Faux News believed *this*one.]

American Jails in Iraq Bursting With Detainees --The American military's major detention centers in Iraq have swelled to capacity and are holding more people than ever, senior military officials say.

Relatives in protest over Abu Ghraib overcrowding --Relatives of the thousands of Iraqis in American-run detention centres in Iraq are protesting at overcrowding. Pre-selection sweeps [Illegal roundups of anyone who disagrees with the Bush-installed Halliburton-Monsanto dictatorship in Iraq] have swollen the prison population to breaking point, they say. [Gee, it looks like it's time for Halliburton to get oh-but-another no-bid contract to build more prisons.]

Italian hostage is rescued from captors then fired on by US forces --Giuliana Sgrena, the radical Italian journalist freed yesterday after a month in captivity in Iraq, was wounded in the shoulder by American fire last night as she was being driven to Baghdad airport. Italy was already beginning to celebrate the journalist's release when news of the U.S. terrorist attack arrived, plunging her family, colleagues and supporters back into gloom and confusion.

US soldiers wound freed Italian reporter, kill Italian negotiator --Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, just freed from a one-month hostage ordeal, was wounded Friday and one of her rescuers killed when US soldiers opened fire as their speeding car headed toward the Baghdad airport.

Berlusconi calls in U.S. ambassador after Italian shot dead in Iraq --The U.S. has launched an investigation while Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has lashed out over an incident in Iraq on Friday... Berlusconi was quick to vent his fury. 'Given that the fire came from an American source I called in the American ambassador,' he said Friday. 'I believe we must have an explanation for such a serious incident, for which someone must take the responsibility.'

Four U.S. soldiers killed near Baghdad --Four U.S. soldiers were killed Friday west of the capital in a province where American troops launched a massive sweep two weeks ago to root out insurgents, the military said. The soldiers, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, were killed "while conducting security and stability operations" in the sprawling Anbar province. [Every day, it's the failed Baghdad 'security sweep'... Recall that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.]

Bombs Kill Six Iraqi Policemen, Wound 15 --Car bombs killed six policemen and wounded 15 in new attacks on Iraq's security services Thursday.

Patriot missile problems led to friendly fire deaths, report says --A number of problems with Patriot missile defenses and related systems contributed to three friendly fire deaths during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, according to a new Pentagon report, which nonetheless says the Patriot was a "substantial success" [?!?] during the fighting. [Whenever U.S. citizens die due to Bush's corpora-terror regime, Bush declares the deaths a 'substantial success.']

U.S. Army a stressed force, recruiting plummets --The Army "is a particularly stressed force" Pentagon spokesman Larry Di Rita said this week. He was commenting after the Army missed its February recruiting goals for the active duty, Guard and Reserve forces. It was the first time recruiting goals were missed in five years.

U.S. May Aid Iran 'Activists' --Officials at State have money in hand but are still weighing how to best effect change. [Most of us wonder why corporate allies of the Bush dictatorship are dubbed by the (GOP-owned) media, 'activists' in 'student pro-democracy movements' (Barf!) and 'Orange Revolutions' (with cute little 'pro-democracy' scarves from the Gap that U.S. taxpayers had to fund) ... and the Iraqi freedom fighters (members of a necessary resistance movement, trying to overthrow an *illegal* regime) ... are called *terrorists?* Another point: We're also tired of Bush's media whores referring to the legitimately elected presidency of Fidel Castro as the Castro 'dictatorship.' Sorry, that name is reserved for Bush's regime. If the coup fits, wear it. --Lori Price] The Bush regime is considering a more aggressive effort to foster opposition inside Iran and seeking ways to use a new $3-million fund to support 'activists' without exposing them to the risk of arrest.

Bush meddling in Iran: US: Burden on Iran to Show World it Doesn't Have Nuclear Weapons --Iran, France, Germany and Britain head back to the negotiating table next week - with the Europeans set to press Tehran to reach an agreement on its nuclear program. The United States is not scheduled to take part in the talks, but backs European efforts to reach a long-term solution. The U.S. government says it is Iran's responsibility to prove to the world that it doesn't have nuclear weapons capabilities. [NO, it's the *Bush's* responsibility to prove it, since the U.S. regime is making the accusation.]

Bush medding in Syria: U.S. Steps Up Pressure for Syrian Pullout --As more countries call on Damascus to leave Lebanon, Dictator Bush demands a full withdrawal, saying no half-measures will do. Buoyed by strong international support [From who?], the Bush regime Friday increased pressure on Syria, demanding the "full and immediate" withdrawal of its military and intelligence forces from Lebanon.

Bush meddling in Venezuela: Venezuela's Vice-President Says U.S. is "Out of Control" -- The U.S. government "is completely out of control with regard to Venezuela," said Venezuela's Vice-President José Vicente Rangel today, in response to the latest statements by State Department Sub-Secretary for the Western Hemisphere, Roger Noriega.

Bush *not* meddling in Israel: 62% of Israelis think Prime Minister Sharon is corrupt --A poll on the fourth anniversary of Ariel Sharon as Israel's prime minister, has found 62% of his constituents think he is corrupt.

Probe of Security Contracts Sought --Some Post-9/11 Awards Given Without Bids to Native Alaskans --Federal lawmakers yesterday called for a congressional investigation into a flurry of homeland-security-related contracts that were awarded after the 2001 terrorist attacks to Alaska Native Corporations, many of them without competitive bidding.

Justices Rule Spies Cannot Sue U.S. Over Deals --9 to 0 Decision Affirms Agencies' Leeway in Hiring Foreign Agents --Spies cannot sue the U.S. government for allegedly reneging on their espionage contracts, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, in a decision that confirmed the latitude that intelligence agencies have traditionally claimed to recruit foreign agents beyond the normal margins of the law.

US bars Nicaragua heroine as 'terrorist' --Writers and academics voice anger as state department refuses visa to let Sandinista revolutionary take up post as Harvard professor --The woman who epitomised the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution that overthrew the dictator Anastasio Somoza has been denied entry to the US to take up her post as a Harvard professor on the grounds that she had been involved in "terrorism".

Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding (KY) A George Rogers Clark High School junior arrested Tuesday for making terrorist threats told LEX 18 News Thursday that the writings that got him arrested are being taken out of context. Winchester police say William Poole, 18, was taken into custody Tuesday morning. Investigators say they discovered materials at Poole's home that outline possible acts of violence aimed at students, teachers, and police. Poole claims that what his grandparents found in his journal and handed over to police was a short story he wrote for English class.

Holy conflict of interest, Batman! Another Bush media whore exposed: Nevada GOP Lawmaker Defends $3,000-a-Month Consulting Contract With TV Station --A state senator is defending her $3,000-a-month contract to consult with a television station on news content, including issues in the Legislature. Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said this week during a joint budget committee hearing that she works for Sunbelt Communications, which owns KVBC of Las Vegas. She said she has worked with the station about a year and helps with stories about education, health care and, sometimes, the Nevada Legislature.

Credit Cards Push Bankruptcy Bill --Companies have kept their profits rising as personal bankruptcies soar, figures show. ...In addition, some experts say, the changes proposed in the Senate bill would fundamentally change long-standing American legal policy on debt. Under bankruptcy laws as they have existed for more than a century, creditors can seize almost all of a bankrupt debtor's existing assets, but they cannot lay claim to future earnings.

US Senate seeks to end bankruptcy debate next week --The U.S. Senate will seek to end debate and vote on a controversial bill next week to overhaul bankruptcy law and make it tougher for consumers to abandon their debts.

Bush Rejects Delay, Prepares Escalated Social Security Push --Dictator Bush plans to intensify his campaign to win public and congressional support for 'restructuring' [eliminating] Social Security, warning that it would be a bad idea to delay action as the Senate Republican leader has suggested and politically unwise for lawmakers to oppose private accounts, White House officials said yesterday.

Snow Says Republicans Seek '05 Social Security Fix --Dictator Bush and leading congressional Republicans want to pass legislation this year to 'overhaul' [eliminate] the Social Security government pension plan, Treasury Secretary John Snow said on Thursday.

Frist Rejects Social Security Concerns --Republicans worked to sort out disputes among themselves over their next move on Social Security Thursday as Democrats prepared radio ads to criticize Dictator Bush along the next leg of his road trip campaigning for an 'overhaul' [elimination].

Greenspan sounds U.S. deficit warning --Debt worries clouding outlook for economy --U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan issued one of his toughest warnings yet to Congress yesterday about the danger of letting the country's giant budget deficits persist, saying "the consequences for the U.S. economy of doing nothing could be severe."

Gasoline set to $urge --Pump prices could shoot up about 25 cents a gallon over next few weeks to record high: analysts. Gasoline costs are set to rise sharply to record levels soon, energy analysts said Friday.

Citgo's Status Is Giving Houston the Jitters --Few places are as jittery as this city when it comes to the future of Citgo Petroleum, the oil refining giant owned by the government of Venezuela and based here. Popular sentiment in Venezuela is critical of Citgo's rich links to the United States, and the administration of Hugo Chávez has recently signaled its intent to exert greater control over Citgo and perhaps even dismember it. [<g>]

Democratic National Committee Announces Ohio Election Review Team Washington, D.C. (democrats.org) "The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the members of its Ohio Election Task Force. This group of seasoned professionals in the electoral and technology fields are taking an in-depth look into the issues of voter registration problems, long lines at the polls, the issuance and counting of provisional ballots and voting equipment irregularities that voters faced during the 2004 presidential election in Ohio. The team has been hard at work since January, conducting surveys and reviewing election data from all across the state. The task force will submit its report to the DNC with suggestions for moving forward." [Useless 'Democrat' Donna Brazile is on the team, so this will likely go nowhere. Donna will be a busy little bee, trying to figure out how to stall any progress of the 'Task Force.']

Senate passes abortion bill (GA) Bill now goes to governor's desk --A bill requiring women seeking abortions to wait 24 hours is on its way to the governor's desk.

U.S. Senate nixes plan to end Cdn. cattle ban --The U.S. Senate has voted (52-46) to overturn the Bush regime's decision to lift the ban on Canadian cattle. But the White House said U.S. Dictator George Bush would veto the Senate measure if it ever reaches his desk.

Ozone decline stuns scientists --Solar flares and frigid temperatures are believed to be working with human chemicals to eat away at the protective ozone layer above the North Pole, surprising scientists who have been looking for evidence that the planet's ozone layer is healing.

*****

CIA Detention Practices Remain Largely Secret --Afghan prisoner's death took two years to become public, illustrating agency's lack of scrutiny on detainee treatment and allegations of abuse. In November 2002, a newly minted CIA case officer in charge of a secret prison just north of Kabul allegedly ordered guards to strip naked an 'uncooperative' young Afghan detainee, chain him to the concrete floor and leave him there overnight without blankets, according to four U.S. government officials aware of the case... By morning, the Afghan man had frozen to death. After a quick autopsy by a CIA medic -- "hypothermia" was listed as the cause of death -- the guards buried the Afghan, who was in his twenties, in an unmarked, unacknowledged cemetery used by Afghan forces, officials said. The captive's family has never been notified; his remains have never been returned for burial. He is on no one's registry of captives, not even as a "ghost detainee," the term for CIA captives held in military prisons but not registered on the books, they said. "He just disappeared from the face of the earth," said one U.S. government official with knowledge of the case.

Democrats Seek Probes on CIA Interrogations --The Democratic leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees are urging the chairmen to launch investigations into the CIA's practices and policies surrounding interrogation and detention of suspected terrorists, according to members of Congress.

Bush tells Syria to get out of Lebanon --US Dictator George W Bush has demanded in blunt terms that Syria get out of Lebanon. He said the free world is in agreement that Damascus' authority over the political affairs of its neighbour must end now. [Really? The 'free world' is in agreement that Bush is the most dangerous terrorist on earth, who shouldn't have 'authority' over the selection of colored stones at the bottom of a fish bowl, let alone the position to comment on any other countries' opinions or actions.]

Sen. Clinton urges punishment for Syria --Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton called Tuesday for tougher punishment against Syria, saying the country was aggressively supporting terrorism in the "dangerous neighborhood" of the Middle East.

Neo-Con 'Groundhog Day:' U.S. Accuses Iran of Deceiving U.N. Inspectors --The United States and other members of the board of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency intensified the pressure on Iran today, accusing the nation of numerous failures to abide by its own promise to suspend all its uranium enrichment activities.

U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq Rise to 1,500 -- The total number of U.S. military dead in the war in Iraq rose to 1,500, an Associated Press count showed Thursday as the military announced the latest death of one of its troops.

Explosions jolt central Baghdad --At least three explosions jolted central Baghdad this morning, shooting a plume of smoke into the sky on the eastern side of the Tigris river. Three loud booms, followed by a salvo of gunfire, rocked the city just before 7:30 am (1530 AEDT).

Judge, Lawyer on Saddam Tribunal Killed --Gunmen killed a judge and lawyer working for the tribunal that will try Saddam Hussein and members of his former government, a day after the secret court referred five of the ousted president's aides to trial for alleged crimes against humanity, officials and a relative of the slain men said Wednesday. [When is Bush's trial, for *his* crimes against humanity?]

Two Car Bombs Kill 10 Iraqi Soldiers --Two car bombs killed 10 Iraqi soldiers in separate attacks Wednesday, and the 'al-Qaida group in Iraq' [Negroponte's death squads?] claimed responsibility for one.

Suicide Bombers Kill 13 Iraqi Army Soldiers --Suicide bombers killed 13 Iraqi Army soldiers in two separate attacks here this morning, the latest incidents in a recent surge of violence aimed at Iraq's beleaguered security forces.

Gas pipeline hit in Kirkuk, two bodies of Iraqi contractors found -- A blast hit a gas pipeline west of Kirkuk on Wednesday, an oil company official said, as security forces in the oil rich northern city said they found the bodies of two Iraqi contractors.

Vermont residents vote on pulling US troops out of Iraq --Vermont voters went to the polls Tuesday to overwhelmingly support a referendum to bring US troops home from Iraq, according to preliminary returns.

N. Korea Threatens to Hold Missile Tests, Slams U.S. --North Korea threatened to resume long-range missile testing and demanded the United States apologize for calling the country "an outpost of tyranny," official media reported late on Wednesday.

British man faces US terrorism charges --A British computer expert accused of running US-based websites soliciting support for terrorism appeared in a London court at the start of a two-day extradition hearing. Babar Ahmad, 30, was indicted in Connecticut in October on charges of supporting terrorism, conspiring to kill Americans and laundering money.

No CIA agents searching for Osama in Pakistan --Pakistan has not allowed CIA agents to launch operation on its soil to track down Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda chief, said Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, information minister. "We have not allowed any foreigners to enter into the country for searching the Al Qaeda leader. The US media reports are baseless," Sheikh Rashid told a private television channel.

Blair says 'no' to any deals on terrorism legislation --Tony Blair yesterday raised the stakes in the parliamentary battle over the government's controversial Terrorism Bill, rejecting a Tory offer to accept the measure in exchange for time limits on its powers.

Blair rejects Tory eight-month limit on anti-terror law --Tony Blair yesterday rejected a Tory proposal to place an eight-month time limit on new laws allowing terrorist suspects to be detained under house arrest without trial.

High Backing For Britain's Terrorism Measures --Many adults in Britain back the principle behind their government's proposed anti-terrorism regulations, according to a poll by YouGov published in the Daily Telegraph. 76 per cent of respondents believe it may be necessary to take action against people who have not yet committed any offence, if the intelligence services have evidence that they are planning an act of terrorism.

Amnesty International: UK Terrorism Bill Grave Threat to Human Rights, Rule of Law --A leading international human rights organization calls for the withdrawal of the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Bill (PTB), which was recently introduced before British Parliament. Amnesty International says the legislation will effectively end the rule of law and the separation of powers by placing key powers in the hands of the UK executive.

Madrid blast suspect had sketches of New York's Grand Central Station: police -- A basic sketch of New York's Grand Central Station was confiscated from one of the suspects in the March 11, 2004 attacks in Madrid, and was drawn by "someone who perhaps had visited the location," New York police chief Ray Kelly said. [March 11, 2004 ?!? They are announcing this *now?* The Patriot Act must be 'up for renewal.']

U.S. Invests in Radiation Detectors for Ports -- The United States is stepping up investment in radiation detection devices at its ports to thwart attempts to smuggle a nuclear device or dirty bomb into the country, a Senate committee heard on Wednesday.

Bill would allow guns in schools, anywhere --Concealed-weapons measure gets preliminary House OK (AZ) The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to let people carry weapons - including guns, grenades, rockets, mines and sawed-off shotguns - into schools, polling places and nuclear plants if they claim they're only trying to protect themselves.

Testimony at Texas Trial Focuses on Use of Donations --The fund-raising strategy of a political committee set up by the House majority leader, Representative Tom DeLay, and Republican loyalists in his home state, Texas, were the focus of testimony this week in a civil trial being closely watched by local prosecutors who have already indicted two of Mr. DeLay's closest political aides. The two aides, based in Washington, were charged last year with involvement in what prosecutors have described as a brazen scheme by the political action committee to make hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal corporate donations to Republican candidates in the state's 2002 elections.

Battle of Judicial Nominee Resumes --A new hearing yesterday on a recycled nomination did nothing to lessen the likelihood of a dramatic Senate showdown this spring over Dictator Bush's judicial appointees, key senators said.

Byrd Compares Proposal to Nazi Germany --Conservatives are attacking Sen. Robert C. Byrd for a speech he made on the Senate floor Tuesday. Byrd criticized Republican proposals that would limit debate in the Senate on judicial nominees. In the speech, Byrd made references to Nazi Germany and fascism. [They should know, LOL!]

High Court Hears Debate Over Ten Commandments --Ten Commandments displays should be allowed on government property because they pay tribute to America's religious and legal history, the Supreme Court was told Wednesday, in cases that could render a new definition of the role that religion plays in the life of the nation.

Senator wants cable, satellite TV subject to indecency rules --Key GOP senator says he would push for such legislation --Indecency guidelines that over-the-air broadcasters must follow should be extended to cover cable and satellite broadcasters, congressional Republicans who are influential on telecommunications issues said yesterday.

Senate Rejects Softer Bankruptcy Law --Senate Democrats were thwarted Wednesday in their attempts to soften the impact on seniors and sick people of a proposed law making it harder to erase debts in bankruptcy.

No general public tickets for Bush visit (IN) Tickets to Dictator Bush's trip on Friday to the University of Notre Dame, to promote his Social Security reform [elimination] proposal, are not being made available to the general public.

New Poll Finds Bush Priorities Are Out of Step With Americans --Americans say Dictator Bush does not share the priorities of most of the country on either domestic or foreign issues, are increasingly resistant to his proposal to revamp Social Security and say they are uneasy with Mr. Bush's ability to make the right decisions about the retirement program, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Bush Rejects Delay, Prepares Escalated Social Security Push --Dictator Bush plans to intensify his campaign to win public and congressional support for restructuring Social Security, warning that it would be a bad idea to delay action as the Senate Republican leader has suggested and politically unwise for lawmakers to oppose private accounts, White House officials said yesterday.

Social Security Vote May Be Delayed --Critics Could Force Proposal to Change --The Senate's top Republican said yesterday that Dictator Bush's bid to restructure Social Security may have to wait until next year and might not involve the individual accounts the White House has been pushing hard.

DeLay Criticizes AARP on Its Social Security Stance --Republicans attacked the AARP as well as congressional Democrats on Wednesday as they struggled to build momentum behind Dictator Bush's call for personal investment accounts under Social Security.

Supreme Court Rules Cold War Spies Cannot Sue CIA --A Soviet-bloc couple recruited to spy for the CIA cannot sue the agency for reneging on a promise of lifetime pay for their Cold War services, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

Boston Globe reporter used blogs to attack Kerry, support Bush during '04 campaign --While reporting on the 2004 presidential campaign for The Boston Globe, technology reporter Hiawatha Bray apparently wrote posts for several weblogs in which he declared his support for Dictator Bush, attacked Sen. John Kerry, and bolstered discredited allegations by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth).

Boondocks Cartoon Pulled By Hundreds of Newspapers --At least three of the approximately 300 "Boondocks" clients dropped today's strip mentioning Dictator Bush's alleged former drug use. Aaron McGruder's comic showed one character saying:"Bush got recorded admitting that he smoked weed." Another character replies: "Maybe he smoked it to take the edge off the coke."

Oil prices rise above $US52 a barrel --Crude futures briefly rose above $US52 a barrel on Wednesday as traders bet that prices would go higher - given the world's strong demand and thin supply cushion - and downplayed a US government report that showed domestic supplies of oil and petrol rising.

U.S. court blocks Canadian cattle --A judge in Montana has granted a temporary injunction to stop the U.S. government from reopening the border next week to Canadian cattle.

Dad Accused of Chuck E. Cheese Salad Theft Zapped By Police (CO) Aurora Police Say Proper Procedures Followed [?!?] --Aurora police have reviewed a weekend incident in which a man accused of stealing salad from a Chuck E. Cheese salad bar was hit with a stun gun twice by officers and said that proper procedures were followed.

*****

U.S. Cites Array of Rights Abuses by the [U.S.-Installed] Iraqi Government in 2004 --The State Department on Monday detailed an array of human rights abuses last year by the U.S. puppet regime ['Iraqi government'], including torture, rape and illegal detentions by police officers and functionaries of the interim regime that took power in June. The report cited "reports of arbitrary deprivation of life, torture, impunity, poor prison conditions - particularly in pretrial detention facilities - and arbitrary arrest and detention."

US 'torture jet' flies from UK --An aircraft used by the CIA to illegally abduct terrorist suspects has frequently operated from two British RAF bases.

Suit Alleges Rumsfeld Approved Torture --Two U.S. human rights groups on Tuesday sued Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying he first authorized and then failed to stop torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rumsfeld faces torture lawsuit --Two US human rights organisations filed a lawsuit yesterday accusing Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, of having direct responsibility for the torture of prisoners held in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Marines hire private Iraqi force to hunt insurgents --U.S. Marines are using a private Iraqi security force [Negroponte's death squads] to help them hunt down insurgents and say the tactic, while little used so far, is working. [Yeah, right!]

Lawsuit claims politically connected firm defrauded millions in Iraq --Oct. 08, 2004 --A politically connected start-up firm, awarded a no-bid contract to provide security for Baghdad's airport, defrauded U.S. taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars, two top former workers charge in a lawsuit unsealed Friday. The Bush regime decided not to join the whistleblowers' civil suit alleging fraud against the company, run by a former Republican congressional candidate. Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said the department didn't comment on why it declined to join such suits. It's unusual for the Justice Department to decline to join a suit that has a load of documents and when criminal prosecution is likely, said Patrick Burns, a spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, a group that monitors citizen suits. On Sept. 30, the Defense Department put the firm, Custer Battles LLC of Fairfax, Va., on a list that bans it from getting federal contracts, citing "adequate evidence of the commission of fraud, antitrust violations, embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, false statements or any other offenses indicating a lack of business integrity." [Feb. 17, 2005: U.S. contractors in Iraq allege abuses --Four men say they witnessed shooting of unarmed civilians --Employees of a U.S. private contractor, Custer Battles LLC, [terrorists] hired by the U.S. military to protect supplies say the brutality they witnessed against Iraqis led them to quit. There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers.]

Huge bomb explosion in Baghdad --A huge explosion ripped western Baghdad at 7am (1500 AEDT) outside the old al-Muthanna airport, sending smoke billowing into the sky. A witness said the blast was a suicide car bomb that wounded or killed at least 10 people lined up outside the old airport's entrance to an Iraqi army base. The explosion was followed by a series of gunshots.

Karzai picks warlord to command new Afghan army -- President [U.S.-installed drug warlord] Hamid Karzai has appointed General Abdul Rashid Dostam, a feared Afghan warlord who ran against him for the presidency, to head the country's fledgling army, a source close to Karzai said on Tuesday.

Awe, isn't that just too bad: U.S. officials still angry about Canada's missile defence decision --There were clear signs Tuesday that U.S. officials are still angry about Canada's missile defence decision, although they tried to put a good public face on cross-border relations.

$55 million torture ruling against Salvadoran generals living in Florida dismissed --A federal appeals court reversed a $54.6 million verdict against two retired Salvadoran generals accused of torture during a civil war in their home country two decades ago.

Tsunami bomb NZ's devastating war secret --30.06.2000 --Top-secret wartime experiments were conducted off the coast of Auckland to perfect a tidal wave bomb, declassified files reveal. An Auckland University professor seconded to the Army set off a series of underwater explosions triggering mini-tidal waves at Whangaparaoa in 1944 and 1945... Professor Thomas Leech's work was considered so significant that United States defence chiefs said that if the project had been completed before the end of the war it could have played a role as effective as that of the atom bomb. Details of the tsunami bomb, known as Project Seal, are contained in 53-year-old documents released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Papers stamped "top secret" show the US and British military were eager for Seal to be developed in the post-war years too.

One in Four Americans Would Use Nukes Against Terrorists, Gallup Finds --More than one in four Americans would go so far as to utilize nuclear bombs if need be in the fight against terrorism, according to a national survey reported today by The Gallup Organization.

Ministers examine Tory terror plans --Ministers are examining Conservative proposals to time limit the Government's controversial anti[pro]-terrorism legislation. In a surprise move, shadow home secretary David Davis said the Tories will table a 'sunset' clause to the Prevention of Terrorism Bill which would see the legislation expire on November 30.

Peers Warn on 'Unacceptable' Terror Laws --The Government's new anti[pro]-terrorism measures came under fresh fire in the Lords tonight - just 24 hours after being mauled by MPs.

A Suburb's New Resident Draws Stares --Missile Launcher Installed at Naval Warfare Center as Part of U.S. Air Defense --A large, drab green missile launcher -- aimed vigilantly skyward -- has become one of suburban West Bethesda's more distinctive landmarks. The launcher has since December claimed a commanding position on the lawn at the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center's Carderock facility, a science and engineering center overlooking the Potomac River. The missile launcher has people talking, but the U.S. Navy is keeping mum about its specific capabilities.

HHS vaccine contract was 'suspect,' says Sen. Grassley --The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department's decision last fall to award an $877 million anthrax-vaccine contract to a single company was "highly suspect," Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote to department Secretary Michael Leavitt.

U.S. to Ban Lighters on Flights --The government will ban cigarette lighters on planes beginning in April but passengers can still tote common matches [?!?] in carry-on bags for now, security officials said Monday. [Stupid is as stupid does...]

Mega barf alert! Wolfowitz on shortlist for World Bank top post --Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy secretary of defence, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace James Wolfensohn as the president of the World Bank.

DeLay says U.S. need not separate church, state -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said today there is no constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state as the Supreme Court prepared to take up a case challenging the display of the Ten Commandments on the Texas Capitol grounds.

Texas Trial Begins Against Treasurer of DeLay Group --A high-profile civil trial opened Monday on allegations that the treasurer of a political action committee created by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Criminal-Tex.) illegally raised and spent corporate campaign funds in the 2002 election that led to a GOP takeover of the Texas Legislature.

Utility Exposes Enron Greed at Its Core --Exclusive Tapes Portray Lust for Profit, Lack of Concern for Consumers --In the litigious aftermath of Enron's bankruptcy, Snohomish County Public Utility District (WA) pushed to obtain the tapes over federal objections, exclusively transcribed them and starting last summer has gleefully fed transcripts of Enron's skulduggery to courts and the news media. ... "Thank you again for your continued battle to expose Enron for the financial terrorists they are," wrote Jillian Johnson from La Crescenta, Calif. "You are our heroes."

Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty for Juveniles --The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the Constitution forbids the execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes, ending a practice used in 19 states.

Topeka voters consider repeal of anti-bias law --Repeal would mean gays could be denied city jobs -- A minister known for picketing the funerals of AIDS victims with signs reading "God hates fags" led an effort to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance at the polls Tuesday, and one of his granddaughters tried to unseat an openly gay member of the City Council.

F.D.A. Official Admits 'Lapses' on Vioxx --After the Food and Drug Administration insisted for months that it did nothing wrong in its oversight of the withdrawn pain pill Vioxx, a top agency official acknowledged "lapses" in the agency's actions before a Senate panel on Tuesday.

Japan, U.S. withheld findings on Bikini test health problems --The Japanese and U.S. governments withheld medical findings that the reproductive functions of some Japanese fishermen had shown abnormalities after their exposure to a hydrogen bomb test March 1, 1954, at Bikini Atoll, according to declassified U.S. documents.

'World is not ready' for a flu pandemic --The world is poorly prepared for a future influenza pandemic, with only a dozen countries purchasing significant quantities of antiviral drugs and just 50 with contingency plans on how to cope with such an outbreak.

Influenza could kill 50,000 in Britain --At least 50,000 people could die in Britain, and possibly many more, if an influenza pandemic struck, the Government warned yesterday. Up to a quarter of the population might be affected by a disease that would be much more serious than seasonal flu.

£200m vaccine will be just a stopgap against flu outbreak -- More than 53,000 people could die, but antiviral jab will not prevent all the deaths --The Government took out a £200 million insurance policy yesterday against an epidemic of flu that could kill more than 50,000 people.

*****

U.S. Military Deaths in the Conquest of Iraq --by Ed Stephan

Judge Says U.S. Terror Suspect Can't Be Held as an Enemy Combatant --A federal district judge in South Carolina ruled Monday that Dictator Bush had greatly overstepped his authority by detaining an American citizen as an enemy combatant for nearly three years without filing criminal charges.

U.S. must charge terror suspect or let him go, judge in S.C. rules --A federal judge ordered the Bush regime yesterday to charge terrorism suspect Jose Padilla with a crime or release him after more than 21/2 years in custody.

U.S. to Appeal Judge's Ruling to Release Padilla --Federal Judge Orders 'Enemy Combatant' Released The inJustice Department said Monday it will appeal a federal judge's order to the Bush administration to either charge a terrorism suspect with a crime or let him go.

ACLU, Ex-Detainees to Sue Rumsfeld Over Torture --Human rights lawyers will file a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday against Defense Secretary [W-ar criminal] Donald Rumsfeld on behalf of eight men who say they were tortured by U.S. forces in custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, sources familiar with the case said.

50 British troops face prosecution over Iraq abuses --Report says Blair committed himself to Iraq war in April 2002 --Almost 50 more British troops are facing prosecution for murder, manslaughter, assault and other crimes in Iraq, a newspaper reported Sunday, after three soldiers were jailed for abusing Iraqis. The allegations contained in secret military documents obtained by The Sunday Telegraph include two cases in which soldiers caused Iraqi civilians to drown.

New charge undermines Blair claims on Iraq war --Fresh evidence has come to light suggesting that Tony Blair committed himself to war in Iraq nearly a year before the American and British assault in March 2003.

Lib Dems tell PM to publish legal advice for Iraq war --Liberal Democrats yesterday demanded the immediate publication of the legal advice on which the government went to war in Iraq.

Insurgents Land Deadliest Blow Since Overthrow of Saddam Hussein --A suicide car bomber drove into a line of about 400 volunteers for the Iraqi National Guard and police force today in Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing at least 122 people and wounding at least 170, an official at the Interior Ministry said. It was the deadliest single attack since the fall of Saddam Hussein in April 2003.

Iraq Suicide Bomber Kills at Least 106 --At least 106 people were killed and 133 wounded early today when an apparent suicide car bomber attacked a group of men in the city of Hillah who were lining up for medical examinations needed to join Iraqi security forces, police said. It was by far the bloodiest attack since the Jan. 30 election and one of the worst since the insurgency began in the summer of 2003, after the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

$1 million wasted on faulty detectors --Air Force knew device not reliable in heat or battle --A Defense Department report says the Air Force wasted $1 million on unreliable hand-held chemical agent detectors that could have put at risk any airmen who depended on the equipment, a newspaper reported Sunday. Air Force officials may have violated federal laws and military rules when they bought 100 commercial versions of the detectors and supplied them to commanders in the Middle East while knowing that the manufacturer's tests showed the detectors did not work well in hot areas or under battle conditions, the Deseret Morning News reported.

Israel threatens to attack Syria --Sharon presses Abbas to act after Tel Aviv bombing --Syria denies any link to bombing, backs Palestinian peace efforts --Israel has attacked Syrian targets in the past and will do so again if it feels this will stop Damascus-based groups from attacking Israeli targets, a senior defense official said Sunday, accusing Syria of being behind a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv over the weekend.

Clarke in concession on anti-terror laws --The home secretary, Charles Clarke, tonight made a major concession on the government's controversial proposals to detain terror suspects under house arrest without trial. Mr Clarke said he would allow judges, rather than a politician, to decide who should be detained in their homes. The proposed measures are contained in the prevention of terrorism bill. [*See: Prevention of Terrorism Bill]

Attorney General Urges Renewal of Patriot Act --Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales yesterday affirmed his support for controversial anti[pro]-terrorism legislation due for congressional renewal this year but indicated he is willing to consider changing some of its provisions to ensure their continuation.

And, in one *heck of a coincidence* that could *only* happen under the Bush regime: Bin Laden Asks Zarqawi to Make U.S. a Target -Source --Al CIA-duh leader Osama bin Laden recently asked his chief ally in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to consider the territory of the United States as a target for terrorist attacks, a U.S. counter[pro]terrorism official [Karl Rove?] said on Monday.

Homeland security system jams automatic garage doors --Some homeowners in Maryland may have to open their garage doors the old-fashioned way - by hand. A new communications system at Fort Detrick will link military installations in the Washington area with the Pentagon and civilian emergency workers. But there's a downside to improved homeland security. The radio system is on the same frequency as garage door openers.

On guard: Homeland Security specialists volunteer to help keep North Coast 'safe' --No problem is too big, the instructor tells a young student during a guerrilla warfare hand-to-hand combat police training class. "We used to call it civil defense, now it's called Homeland Security," said Kent Bradshaw, Fortuna's (CA) police chief who oversees one of the county's most progressive law enforcement operations.

Academics researching threats to U.S. security --Effort smaller than during Cold War, but more varied --From the halls of the University of Maryland, criminologist Gary LaFree is getting ready to profile a deadly type of bad guy, the kind who is willing to strap on explosives and blow up himself and others. LaFree will be working with 60 other researchers, stretching from his campus near the nation's capital to the University of California Los Angeles, trying to get a better understanding of the root causes of terrorism and what motivates its practitioners.

U.S. Urges Judge to Dismiss Suit on Chemical Use in Vietnam War --The Justice Department is urging a federal judge in Brooklyn to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at forcing a re-examination of one of the most contentious issues of the Vietnam War, the use of the defoliant Agent Orange. The civil suit, filed last year on behalf of millions of Vietnamese, claimed that American chemical companies [corpora-terrorists] committed war crimes by supplying the military with Agent Orange, which contained dioxin, a highly toxic substance.

High court to consider when claims belong in federal court --The U.S. Supreme Court said today it will use a Virginia case to clarify when plaintiffs can sue in federal or state court.

DeLay Group Illegally Used Corporate Money -Lawyer --A political action committee formed by U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay illegally used $600,000 in corporate money to help Republicans win control of the Texas Legislature in 2002, attorneys for defeated Democrats said on Monday.

New Report Details the Politicization of Social Security Administration Under Dictator Bush --Feb. 28 --Today Reps. Henry A. Waxman, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, and Rep. Sander M. Levin, along with Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and Reps. Obey, Miller, and DeLauro, released a new report that shows how the Social Security Administration has modified its communications strategy to undermine public confidence in Social Security.

'USA Next' Misappropriated Couples' Image for Anti-Gay Ad Campaign; Couple: Image Stolen for Campaign Against AARP --Conservative front organization USA Next was accused today of illegally using a gay couple's wedding photo in an anti-gay ad campaign supporting Dictator Bush's plan to privatize Social Security.

Government to Reveal Flu Pandemic Plan --The government was today unveiling plans detailing how the nation would cope if a flu pandemic hit the UK.

Vietnam confirms 4th case of bird flu in a week - latest case is in Hanoi --Health officials said Tuesday that a 35-year-old woman from Hanoi is the fourth person to be confirmed with bird flu in the past week.

Vietnam alarmed about bird flu cases --A 14-year-old girl in Vietnam has become the third person in a week to contract deadly bird flu in the same northern province, health officials said Monday, prompting concerns over a larger outbreak.

Alaskans sweat through long, hot summer --For proof of climate change in the Arctic, look no further than Alaska's long, hot summer, according to one of the country's top climate scientists.

*****

Halliburton could get $1.5bn more Iraq work --Halliburton, under scrutiny for its contracts in Iraq, would receive an extra $1.5 billion as part of the Bush regime's additional war spending proposal for fiscal 2005, a senior US Army budget official said. Halliburton, once led by Vice-pResident Dick Cheney, is the largest corporate contractor in Iraq and has drawn fire for its no-bid contracts there, with auditors charging its Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) unit overcharged for some work.

Battle losses in Iraq, Afghanistan total 570 million dollars: army --Replacing military hardware lost in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 18 combat helicopters, will cost the US Army 570 million dollars this year, senior army officials said. The officials estimated it will cost another four billion dollars to repair, rebuild and refurbish other gear such as tanks and trucks worn down by the punishing pace of operations there. [Halliburton is going to have a field day!]

Oops! $9B Goes Missing In Iraq --Huge Sum Disappears Without A Trace --by Helen Thomas "Profiteering from the Iraq war is not a surprise, especially in light of the Bush administration's pandering to the military-industrial complex. But some Democratic lawmakers are concerned that profiteering may have achieved stratospheric dimensions in the case of the $9 billion that is missing from the sale of Iraqi oil. This money was to have been used for humanitarian aid and reconstruction for Iraq... The panel found that no banking system was implemented in Iraq, although 'a lot of dinars and American dollars' were in circulation. The money was stashed in the basement of CPA headquarters and released from time to time to contractors."

U.S. Talks of Ending Iraq Inspectors' Work --After Blocking Discussions, U.S. Is Quietly Talking About Ending Work of U.N. Inspectors in Iraq --After blocking discussions for nearly two years, the United States has quietly started low-key talks on ending the work of U.N. inspectors who are charged with dismantling Iraq's chemical, biological and long-range missile programs.

U.S. Military Death Toll in Iraq Approaches 1,500 --The U.S. military death toll is nearing 1,500 in the 23-month Iraq war.

Summary: Women Not Kept From Iraq Combat --To date, 31 female soldiers have been killed in the nearly two-year war in Iraq, double the death count of 15 women from the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Under the violent insurgency in Iraq, the traditional "front line" no longer exists. Thus, even soldiers in "support" roles, where most U.S. military women work, are finding themselves in danger.

Roadside Bomb Attack in Baghdad Kills 2 --An oil pipeline in northern Iraq was ablaze Saturday after saboteurs blew it up in the latest attack against Iraq's [U.S. corpora-terrorists'] petroleum industry. In the capital, a roadside bomb killed two people, officials and witnesses said. The U.S. military also said a soldier died during a sweep for 'insurgents' west of Baghdad.

Insurgents blow up oil pipeline in Iraq --A major oil fire raged Saturday after insurgents blew up a pipeline in the north of the country. The family of an anchorwoman for a U.S.-funded state television station - a mother of four who was repeatedly shot in the head - found her body dumped on a street in the northern city of Mosul.

Sailors Guarding Oil Live on 'Target No. 1' --After a failed effort by insurgents to blow up platforms for essential exports of crude, the Navy put personnel aboard the terminals. AL BASRA OIL TERMINAL, Persian Gulf — From a precarious catwalk 50 feet above the gulf, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Fulgham pointed to two large pipes protruding from the blue-green water below. "This is target No. 1 for terrorists [sic-resistance fighters]," Fulgham said.

Fierce fighting in Iraq's Ramadi --It has been a day (26 February, 2005) of scattered violence in Iraq, with at least 10 people reported killed in incidents, mainly in Sunni areas west and north of Baghdad. People in Ramadi said there was a prolonged exchange of fire.

Defence wants more Iraq troops: ALP --The defence department wanted a bigger force than the 450 troops being sent to Iraq, Labor said, but the government maintained that was the number recommended by military chiefs.

Army boss in Iraq apology --The chief of the British Army has apologised to the Iraqi nation after three soldiers were jailed and thrown out of the military for abusing civilian prisoners.

Inquiry into Iraqi prisoner abuse --The head of the British Army has ordered an inquiry into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by three British soldiers near Basra in May 2003. General Sir Michael Jackson, who has apologised to the people of Iraq, said lessons needed to be learned.

More UK soldiers face Iraq charges --Nearly 50 British servicemen could be prosecuted for murder, assault and other "war" crimes committed in Iraq, it was claimed last night. Secret military documents, which inform ministers about police investigations in the cases, indicate that the servicemen include at least 12 soldiers who face charges of murder, manslaughter or assault.

Within C.I.A., Growing Worry of Prosecution --There is widening unease within the Central Intelligence Agency over the possibility that career officers could be prosecuted or otherwise punished for their conduct during interrogations and detentions of terrorism suspects, according to current and former government officials.

Case Adds to Outrage for Muslims in Northern Virginia --When the Saudi police burst into a classroom at the Islamic University of Medina during final exams two years ago and whisked away an American exchange student named Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, his imprisonment swiftly reverberated among Muslims in this Washington suburb. Mr. Abu Ali was never charged, and he spent 20 months in a Saudi prison where his family says he was whipped, tortured and starved. This week, he was finally returned to Virginia - only to face an accusation by American prosecutors that he had plotted with members of Al Qaeda to assassinate Dictator Bush.

Iran to stand by Syria if attacked --Iran's Supreme National Security Council chief Hasan Rohani said his country will stand by Syria if the Arab state is attacked.

The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target: The Emerging Euro-denominated International Oil Marker --by William Clark --27 October 2004 "In 2005-2006, The Tehran government has a developed a plan to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades - using a euro-denominated international oil-trading mechanism. This means that without some form of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given U.S. debt levels and the stated neoconservative project for U.S. global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on U.S. dollar supremacy in the international oil market."

Canada Says U.S. Must Consult Before Missile Launch --Canada, which this week refused to join a U.S. missile system designed to protect North America, nevertheless insisted on Friday that Washington must consult it before firing rockets into Canadian airspace.

Israel stalls West Bank security handover: report --Israel has frozen plans to hand over security control of the West Bank to Palestinians, according to reports. Israel's army radio reported Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz's decision came at an emergency meeting called in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed four Israelis and the suicide bomber in Tel Aviv, The Associated Press reported. [Who commissioned the suicide bomber attack, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfosh*tz?]

2.4 Million Veterans Will Pay New Fee --Republican majorities on the House and Senate veterans' affairs committees have voted to impose an enrollment fee of at least $230 a year on 2.4 million veterans - one of every three now eligible for Veterans Affairs Administration health care.

Bush's corpora-terrorists strike again: Afghans Accuse U.S. of Secret Spraying to Kill Poppies --Abdullah, a shepherd, said he was watching over his sheep one night in early February when he heard a plane pass low overhead three times. By morning his eyes were so swollen he could not open them and the sheep around him were dying in convulsions... The incident on Feb. 3 has left the herders of sheep and goats in this remote mountain area in Helmand Province deeply angered and suspicious. They are convinced that someone is surreptitiously spraying their lands or dusting them with chemicals, presumably in a clandestine effort to 'eradicate' Afghanistan's bumper poppy crop. Though it was never clear who was responsible, members of Hamid Karzai's staff said they suspected the United States or Britain. Both countries finance outside security firms to train Afghan counternarcotics forces.

Cadre grows to rein in message --Ranks of federal public affairs officials have swelled under Bush to help tighten control on communiqués to media, access to information --The ranks of federal public affairs officials swelled during the Bush regime's first term, but that hasn't meant that government information is easier to get.

Justice Dept. Opposes Bid to Revive Case Against F.B.I. --The government has told a federal appeals court that a suit by an F.B.I. translator [Sibel Edmonds] who was fired after accusing the bureau of ineptitude should not be allowed to proceed because it would cause "significant damage to the national security and foreign policy of the United States." Lawyers for the government said in a brief filed with the court on Thursday that the suit could not continue without disclosing the Bush dictatorship's possible role in the 9-11 terrorist attacks ['privileged and classified information'].

'We French don't understand your way of fighting terrorism' --Tomorrow the Government will face furious opposition from MPs as it attempts to push its emergency anti[pro]-terror laws through the Commons.

Judges to rule on terror orders --The Home Secretary will have to apply to a judge within 24 hours of issuing 'control orders' to limit the movement of terror suspects under proposals being considered by Charles Clarke. The government is set for a climbdown over its Prevention of Terrorism Bill by allowing a judge to be involved at a far earlier stage in the decision.

Proposed UK Law Makes Guantanamo Look Liberal --by Sanjay Suri "New anti-terror legislation proposed in Britain makes Guantanamo Bay appear liberal in some respects... [H]ome secretary Charles Clarke has now introduced legislation that would give the British far more sweeping detention and control powers than the United States – or indeed any other country. These include the power of house arrest of any British or foreign national, on the basis only of a suspicion stated by intelligence agencies. A detained person need not be told what he or she is accused of, or what evidence there is to warrant such detention."

Labour's shameful spin on a flawed law: British liberty is under threat (The Observer) "Even worse is the Prime Minister's argument that there is no greater civil liberty than to live free from terrorist attack. It is comic in its misrepresentation of the issues. Labour election strategists concerned about disillusion in Labour's base should look no further than such asinine and debasing justifications. Yes, the right not to be killed is fundamental, but so is the right not to be deprived of one's freedom on evidence that will never be subject to the independent scrutiny of a court."

Air Testing, Command Center for Oscar Security --A system to detect sarin nerve gas, a state-of-the-art command center, roadblocks to stop bomb-laden trucks hurtling toward their target -- are all steps the Los Angeles police and counter[pro]terrorism specialists have taken to prepare for Sunday's Oscars ceremony.

Security cameras for I-95 bridge gain approval --Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council approved a grant from the Homeland Security Department on Friday to put security cameras on the Interstate 95 bridge between New Hampshire and Maine.

Ridge goes from Homeland Security to Home Depot --February 25 2005 Home Depot yesterday appointed Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security, to its board and announced plans to buy back $2bn of its own shares.

ChoicePoint execs sold shares before breach was aired --ChoicePoint's top two executives made a combined $16.6 million in profit from selling company shares in the months after the data warehouser learned that people's personal information may have been compromised and before the breach was made public, regulatory filings show.

US deficits risk crash: Aus. Treasury --Peter Costello's closest adviser fears the US is heading for a devastating financial crash that could ravage Australia's economic growth.

Dean Gets Warm Reception at Kansas Rally --National Democratic Committee Chairman Howard Dean received a raucous welcome Friday from fellow Democrats for his message against the war in Iraq and his portrayal of Republicans as fiscally irresponsible.

Pelosi calls privatization plan a 'rip-off' --Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, launching what she vowed will be an aggressive effort against Dictator Bush's Social Security privatization, told cheering supporters in San Francisco on Wednesday that the plan is a costly "diversionary tactic'' by the administration and a blatant "attempt to divide the generations" on the values of a crucial social program. "It's absolutely stunning, the rip-off that it is,'' Pelosi told a town hall meeting on Social Security, which drew overflow crowds of hundreds to the San Francisco Library.

GOP Seeking a Deal on Accounts --Anxious Lawmakers Negotiate With Democrats on Social Security Changes --Dictator Bush is still in the opening phase of a campaign to sell the public and Congress on his ambitious plans for Social Security, but some Republicans on Capitol Hill have decided it is not too early to begin pondering an exit strategy.

House passes bill to license Canadian pharmacies --In an effort to make it easier for people to buy cheaper prescription drugs in Canada, the state House passed a bill Friday directing the state Health Department to license Canadian pharmacies.

Dems Accuse Bush of Drug Double-Standard --The Bush dictatorship cites public safety in trying to block admission of cheaper prescription drugs from Canada, but has agreed to expand imports of Canadian beef and cattle despite cases of mad cow disease, Montana's Democratic governor complained Saturday. "President [sic] Bush was recently here in Montana and we had just one question for him," Gov. Brian Schweitzer said in his party's weekly radio address. "Why allow bad beef to enter the U.S. from Canada and not allow safe medicine?"

Harsh Medicine: Private Health Care in Jails Can Be a Death Sentence --A yearlong examination of a health care contractor in New York revealed frequent flaws that were sometimes lethal. In these two harrowing deaths, state investigators concluded, the culprit was a for-profit corporation, Prison Health Services, that had moved aggressively into New York State in the last decade, winning jail contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with an enticing sales pitch...

Global Tobacco Control Pact Takes Effect --The world's first tobacco control treaty will go into effect today, requiring ratified nations to impose a ban on tobacco advertising, to place graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, to take measures to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke and to increase in the cost of tobacco products.

Va. Lawmakers OK Proposed Gay Marriage Ban --A proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Virginia easily won final approval Saturday by both chambers of the General Assembly.

*****

US May Give EU Until June to Coax Iran on Nukes --In its drive to stop Iran gaining any ability to make nuclear weapons, the United States is ready to give European allies only until June to cajole Tehran before Washington seeks U.N. sanctions, U.S. diplomatic documents show. [Holy coincidence, Batman! Scott Ritter Says U.S. Plans June Attack On Iran, 'Cooked' Jan. 30 Iraqi Election Results --by Mark Jensen (ufppc.org) 19 February 2005 (WA) "Scott Ritter, appearing with journalist Dahr Jamail yesterday in Washington State, dropped two shocking bombshells in a talk delivered to a packed house in Olympia’s Capitol Theater. The ex-Marine turned UNSCOM weapons inspector said that George W. Bush has 'signed off' on plans to bomb Iran in June 2005, and claimed the U.S. manipulated the results of the recent Jan. 30 elections in Iraq."]

Iraq war documents must stay secret, insists PM --The pressure on Tony Blair to publish the legal advice that the government says justified the war in Iraq intensified last night as a growing chorus of voices called for the document to be made public.

Ministers face clamour for release of legal advice on Iraq war --Ministers were last night under renewed pressure to publish the legal advice the government says validated the decision to go to war in Iraq, amid new claims that the advice was subject to political interference.

Attorney Denies Iraq Answer Drafted by No 10 --The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has denied that his Parliamentary answer setting out the legal case for the war with Iraq was drawn up by two of Tony Blair’s closest political allies.

5 G.I.'s Killed and 9 Injured Across Iraq in 24 Hours --The United States military command on Friday announced the deaths of five American soldiers and the wounding of at least nine others.

Suicides in Marine Corps Rise by 29% --The Marine Corps suffered a 29 percent spike in suicides last year, reaching the highest number in at least a decade.

More $$$ for Bush's corpora-terrorists: $100 million on contract guards to Replace German Troops at Bases -- The German army is withdrawing troops that were sent to guard American military bases on German soil after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the U.S. military will hire private security guards to take their place, Army officials said Friday. The Army is proposing spending $100 million on contract guards in an emergency measure submitted to Congress last week, budget documents show.

Canada won't allow U.S. missiles to impugn sovereignty, PM vows --Prime Minister Paul Martin promised to defend Canada's sovereignty vigorously against the intrusion of a U.S. missile in the country's airspace yesterday, a bold vow that Canadian and U.S. officials said is not grounded in geography or international space law.

British soldiers jailed for abusing Iraqi civilians --Three British soldiers have been sentenced to jail and dismissed from the military for physically abusing Iraqi civilian detainees two years ago.

U.K. Soldiers Get Jail Sentences in Abuse of Iraqis --Three British soldiers were sentenced today in a military court to as long as two years in prison for abusing or helping to abuse Iraqi civilians.

Abu-Ali Seeks Bail Release, Family to Sue U.S. --Defense attorneys and prosecutors are battling over whether to release a U.S. citizen charged with allegedly discussing a plot to assassinate Dictator George W. Bush, as his family pursued suing the U.S. over his detention in Saudi Arabia.

Thrown to the Wolves --by Bob Herbert "In the fall of 2002 Mr. [Maher] Arar, a Canadian citizen, suddenly found himself caught up in the cruel mockery of justice that the Bush administration has substituted for the rule of law in the post-Sept. 11 world. While attempting to change planes at Kennedy Airport on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities, interrogated and thrown into jail. He was not charged with anything, and he never would be charged with anything, but his life would be ruined. Mr. Arar was surreptitiously flown out of the United States to Jordan and then driven to Syria, where he was kept like a nocturnal animal in an unlit, underground, rat-infested cell that was the size of a grave. From time to time he was tortured... Mr. Arar is the most visible victim of the reprehensible U.S. policy known as extraordinary rendition, in which individuals are abducted by American authorities and transferred, without any legal rights whatever, to a regime skilled in the art of torture."

U.S. orders Arab Bank in New York to end wire transfers --A U.S. bank regulator has ordered Palestinian-managed Arab Bank Group to convert its New York branch to a federal banking agency, ending the bank's wire transfer business.

U.S. wants passenger names one hour before takeoff --The Department of Homeland Security is drafting a rule that will require airlines to pass on passenger manifest information as much as an hour before the departure of international flights bound for the United States, officials confirmed to United Press International Thursday.

Embattled Data Collector a Big Homeland Security Contractor --The nation's giant in personal-information collection, which announced recently that it had unwittingly handed at least 145,000 Americans' Social Security numbers and other private records to a ring of crooks, is also a major government contractor, providing the tools in sophisticated homeland security screening and law enforcement surveillance efforts. This has led experts who have been watching the ever-expanding ChoicePoint, Inc. to wonder how the massive theft will affect the integrity of such sweeping homeland security efforts as the screening of airline passengers and terrorist and criminal profiling.

Senate examines ChoicePoint breach The Judiciary Committee will investigate how criminals gained access to consumer profiles. The Senate Judiciary Committee will investigate how criminals were able to gain access to at least 145,000 consumer profiles maintained by ChoicePoint Inc., Chairman Arlen Specter said on Thursday. [Next, they can examine ChoicePoint's role in the 2000 coup d'etat.]

Adware maker gets job with Homeland Security --What next, doc? --by Nick Farrell "Purveyor of adware, Claria is going to give advice to the Department of Homeland Security on privacy matters. According to CNET, Claria, formally called Gator, is to sit on a 20 person committee which will look at how Homeland Security does its job while protecting the privacy of US citizens. The company knows a lot about privacy. Users branded it parasitical because its pop-up ad software was installed without adequate permission and hard to delete."

Privacy Advocates Criticize Homeland Dept. --Privacy advocates say a committee set up recently to advise the Homeland Security Department on privacy issues amounts to little more than a fox guarding a chicken coop.

Race a Factor in Texas Stops --Study Finds Police More Likely to Pull Over Blacks, Latinos --A study commissioned by minority advocacy groups released Thursday found that police throughout Texas stop and search black and Latino drivers at higher rates than whites but that officers are more likely to find drugs, guns and other contraband on whites.

Kansas Prosecutor Wants Abortion Patients' Files --The Kansas attorney general, as part of a criminal investigation into child rape and late-term abortions, is demanding that two health centers hand over the medical records of about 90 female patients, including minors. The investigation was disclosed in a filing to the Kansas Supreme Court by two unidentified clinics, which had been ordered by a district court judge to disclose the patients' names, as well as their medical histories, birth control, sexual practices and other personal details. [Instead of abortion patients' records, lets get Jeff Gannon's records, including his *real name* and *sexual practices.*]

Reid calls for GannonGuckertGate probe --Minority leader agrees to get involved in White House 'reporter' scandal --Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has agreed to sign a letter calling for a White House investigation into the press scandal involving Jim Guckert, a journalistic neophyte [Rove prostitute] who was ushered into the nation's inner media sanctum using an alias.

Talon News Web Site Closes Amid Heavy Criticism --A Texas-based Web site whose conservative [gay porn Web sites and prostitution] connections touched off a White House media controversy has shut down "to reevaluate operations," according to a message posted on the site.

Panelists in FDA Drug Vote Tied to Makers --Ten members of the Food and Drug Administration advisory panel who voted that a group of powerful pain killers should continue to be sold had ties to the drug makers, an advocacy group says. A study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest indicates that 10 of the 32 panel members had ties to either Pfizer Inc. or Merck & Co., ranging from consulting fees and speaking honoraria to research support.

BofA: 1.2 million accounts jeopardized --Firm says tapes containing info about government cardholders, including U.S. senators, went missing. --Bank of America said Friday it lost computer tapes containing account information on 1.2 million federal employee credit cards, among them those of U.S. senators, potentially exposing them to theft or hacking.

Health experts call for urgent bird flu action --An international conference on avian influenza is making an appeal for quick action to prevent a global flu pandemic as Vietnamese officials confirm another man has contracted the deadly virus.

Norwegian Catches Halibut Too Big for Boat --Unlike many fishermen, Harald Skoge didn't have to exaggerate the size of his latest catch. The 321-pound halibut was too big for his nearly 29-foot boat.

****

CLG News Archives


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