March 2009 Archives
FBI terrorist watch list hits 1 million entries By Patrick Martin 12 Mar 2009 The FBI's Terrorist Screening Center acknowledged this week that there are more than 1 million names on its official terrorist watch list, a number that suggests the vast scale of the police-state measures undertaken by the US government on the pretext of waging a "war on terror." ...The year-by-year increase has been staggering: 158,374 in June 2004, 288,000 in May 2005, 754,960 in May 2007 and an admitted 1,000,000 in March 2009, if not earlier.
UN rapporteur warns rights council on US 'war on terror' policies 11 Mar 2009 UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin on Tuesday cited the case of Canadian citizen and former US detainee Maher Arar in presenting a report critical of international counterterrorism practices to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. Scheinin flagged Arar's deportation from the US as an example of how intelligence sharing without "adequate safeguards" can lead to human rights violations.
Judges deal blow to CIA 'kidnap' trial --The constitutional court decided that in building their case against the US intelligence operatives and another eight defendants the prosecutors violated state secrecy. 12 Mar 2009 A trial in which 25 CIA agents are accused of kidnapping a terrorism suspect ran into serious difficulties last night when Italy's constitutional court upheld key objections raised by the Italian government. Prosecutors say the suspect - Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar - was snatched off the streets of Milan six years ago and flown to Egypt. There, he has claimed, he was tortured under interrogation.
'We don't torture' ... right now By Aaron Leonard 10 Mar 2009 The U.S. government most certainly has engaged in torture and depravity... So let’s not play word games. Any AA member will tell you alcoholism doesn’t end when you stop drinking. The U.S. tortures. Whether it can stay on the wagon is a matter up for debate... While Gitmo may close, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan remains open and has plans to expand. Bagram is not nearly as well-known as Guantanamo, but by most accounts it is more brutal. According to The New Republic, Bagram’s tactics routinely included "beatings, anal violation with sharp objects, blows to the genitals and 'peroneal' strikes [sharp blows to the leg with a baton or leg]."
The CIA responds to Seymour Hersh By Eric Black 12 Mar 2009 "Utter nonsense," is the quote from CIA spokester George Little. I wrote yesterday about comments famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh made Tuesday night at the U of M, which included a description of a story he is working on that he said would show that "the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it..." CIA spokester Little emailed me: "I saw your story on Seymour Hersh’s recent allegations regarding CIA activities since 9/11. If you wish, you can attribute the quoted portion that follows to me, in name, as a CIA spokesman: 'This is utter nonsense.' "
Gunmen kill Afghan journalist once detained by US 12 Mar 2009 Gunmen in southern Afghanistan killed an Afghan journalist once held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan as an enemy combatant, officials said Wednesday. Attackers killed Jawed Ahmad, 23, also known as Jojo, in the southern city of Kandahar on Tuesday, said Zalmay Ayubi, the spokesman for Kandahar's provincial governor. [See: Bush 'executive assassination ring' reported directly to Cheney office: Seymour Hersh 11 Mar 2009 It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on... Under President [sic] Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us. It's complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder."]
National Guard called 'last resort' at border --Homeland Security official outlines plans for dealing with violence 12 Mar 2009 top Homeland Security official told Congress Thursday that National Guard troops will intervene on the U.S.-Mexico border only as a "last resort" to combat drug violence. Roger T. Rufe Jr., the Homeland Security Department’s head of operations, outlined still evolving contingency plans for dealing with the violence, one day after President Barack Obama said "we're going to examine whether and if National Guard deployment would make sense."
Obama Considering Deploying Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border 12 Mar 2009 President Obama says he's considering whether to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, after Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) made an urgent call fort 1,000 more "boots on the ground" to deal with the growing violence. The president weighed the option during a meeting with regional reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Mexico violence prompts new look at US gun laws 12 Mar 2009 A gun control expert says the administration can help control drug violence in Mexico by enforcing already existing laws. Expert Tom Diaz says that imports of certain semiautomatic rifles were regulated under the first Bush and Clinton administrations. But he told a House panel Wednesday the import rules were relaxed under the most recent Bush administration.
Intelligence Pick Blames 'Israel Lobby' For Withdrawal 12 Mar 2009 The withdrawal of a senior intelligence adviser after an online campaign to prevent him from taking office has ignited a debate over whether powerful pro-Israel lobbying interests are exercising outsize influence over who serves in the Obama administration. When Charles W. Freeman Jr. stepped away Tuesday from an appointment to chair the National Intelligence Council, he decried in an e-mail "the barrage of libelous distortions of my record [that] would not cease upon my entry into office," and he was blunt about whom he considers responsible.
Car bomb kills 4 Iraqis in N Iraq 11 Mar 2009 A car bomb explosion killed three soldiers and a civilians and wounded 13 people in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province on Wednesday, a provincial police source said. A booby-trapped car parked at a road detonated when an Iraqi Army patrol passed by in the Shifaa neighborhood in western Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Iraqi shoe-thrower sentenced to three years for 'assault' on Bush 13 Mar 2009 An Iraqi reporter acclaimed as a hero across much of the Middle East [the planet] after he threw his shoes at President [sic] Bush was sentenced in Baghdad to three years in prison yesterday. "What I did was a natural response to the occupation," said Muntadhar al-Zaidi to the three-judge panel. As the sentence was read out he shouted "Long live Iraq" while others in the courtroom were removed by police for yelling "Down with Bush". [He *should* be sentenced - for wasting a good throw! <g>]
Bomb kills 4 civilians in southern Afghanistan 10 Mar 2009 A roadside blast ripped through a civilian vehicle in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing four people and wounding six others, a government spokesman said. The bomb exploded in Nad Ali district of Helmand province on a road also used by government drug-eradication forces, said Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for Helmand's governor.
Army fired 11 soldiers in Jan. as openly gay 12 Mar 2009 The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military's policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman. Democratic Rep. Jim Moran said he has requested monthly updates from the Pentagon on the impact of the policy until it is repealed.
U.K. Targets Port-Smuggling Risks After Mumbai Terror Attacks 12 Mar 2009 From his harbormaster’s office, Neil Clarke can see every boat sailing into Penzance Harbor on Britain’s southwestern tip. "We’ve got a long coastline with a small amount of people trying to keep an eye on it," Clarke said. "Attacks like Mumbai do give us cause for concern."
Blocking terror on Web 'counterproductive' 11 Mar 2009 Governments who seek to block terrorist propaganda on the Internet will find that purely technological solutions are "crude, expensive and counterproductive," a new report concludes. The London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence calls on governments to do more than simply "pull the plug" on websites that promote extremist messages, urging them to attack the problem at its root.
Secret State Police Report: Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin, Libertarians are Terrorists By Kurt Nimmo 11 Mar 2009 Alex Jones has received a secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) entitled "The Modern Militia Movement" and dated February 20, 2009. A footer on the document indicates it is "unclassified" but "law enforcement sensitive," in other words not for public consumption. A copy of the report was sent to Jones by an anonymous Missouri police officer. The MIAC report specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as "militia" influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.
D.C. Tech Official Is Accused of Bribery 13 Mar 2009 A D.C. government official [Yusuf Acar] and a business executive [Sushil Bansal] were arrested yesterday on bribery charges involving city technology contracts that included "ghost" workers and kickbacks, federal authorities said. Raiding offices in the hunt for documents, FBI agents carted away boxes and envelopes throughout the day from the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the center of the alleged fraud.
TSA Probing Vitter Incident 11 Mar 2009 The Transportation Security Administration is examining Sen. David Vitter's much-reported decision to open the closed gateway door to his plane -- even though he was warned against it by an airline worker. "We will be reviewing the alleged incident," Lauren Gaches, a TSA spokeswoman, told On Call this evening.
Heard on the Hill: Vitter Goes From Hookergate to Gate-Crashing 11 Mar 2009 ...Sen. David Vitter on Thursday joined what we’ve dubbed the "Mile-Low Club" by going ballistic on an airline worker after missing a flight from Washington’s Dulles airport to New Orleans. According to an HOH tipster who witnessed the scene, the Louisiana Republican arrived Thursday evening at his United Airlines gate 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only to find the gate had already been closed. Undeterred, Vitter opened the door, setting off a security alarm and prompting an airline worker to warn him that entering the gate was forbidden. Vitter, our spy said, gave the airline worker an earful, employing the timeworn "do-you-know-who-I-am" tirade that apparently grew quite heated...
Greek 'terror' group: Citibank attacked over crisis --Greek 'terror' group says Citibank attacks over financial crisis, promises more bombings 12 Mar 2009 A Greek militant group threatened in a statement published Thursday to continue its bombing campaign, saying recent attacks against Citibank were in response to the international financial crisis. The Pontiki weekly newspaper published a statement from the Revolutionary Struggle group, which claimed responsibility for a failed car-bomb attack Feb. 18 on Citibank offices in Athens and a bomb attack Monday on a suburban Citibank branch that caused damage but no injuries.
Unemployment 'is now a national emergency' 11 Mar 2009 More than 1-in-10 workers were unemployed in four U.S. states in January, the government said Wednesday in a report that pointed to a rapid deterioration in the job market. The unemployment rate in Michigan was 11.6%, up 4.3 percentage points from a year earlier and the highest for any state, the Labor Department said.
U.S. unemployment to near 10 percent as rout worsens 12 Mar 2009 U.S. unemployment will approach 10 percent as the country endures its worst recession since World War Two, leaving more than 13 million Americans jobless, according to a Reuters poll of economists. The economy will level out in the third quarter, the results showed, but the poll painted a bleaker picture than a survey conducted just a month ago.
Half of Americans Are Two Paychecks Away from Hardship 10 Mar 2009 The eroding labor market is expected to trigger additional pain for banks as job losses undercut consumers' ability to make their mortgage payments... A recent study by MetLife indicates that consumers don't have nearly enough of a financial cushion to keep them afloat should a job loss occur.
Madoff Pleads Guilty to Ponzi Scheme --After admitting to details of a huge fraud, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff is jailed until sentencing 12 Mar 2009 Bernard Madoff, the orchestrator of a massive, long-running Ponzi scheme that snared thousands of victims, from the rich and famous to small investors who entrusted their life savings to him, pleaded guilty on Mar. 12 to 11 charges related to the fraud in a packed federal courthouse in Manhattan.
EU says deadly bird flu strain found in Germany 10 Mar 2009 The European Commission says a wild duck shot in the German state of Bavaria has tested positive for the lethal H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. The EU executive says it is the first wild bird case in the 27 nation bloc this year and was reported by German authorities.
Amazon could shrink by 85% due to climate change, scientists say --Scientists say 4C rise would kill 85% of the Amazon rainforest --Even modest temperature rise would see 20-40% loss within 100 years 11 Mar 2009 Global warming will wreck attempts to save the Amazon rainforest, according to a devastating new study which predicts that one-third of its trees will be killed by even modest temperature rises.
Bush 'executive assassination ring' reported directly to Cheney office: Seymour Hersh 11 Mar 2009 At a "Great Conversations" event at the University of Minnesota last night, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh talked about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an "executive assassination ring." Moderator U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs asked Hersh if presidents [get] drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers. Hersh replied, "Yuh. After 9/11... the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it... the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ... Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on... Under President [sic] Bush's authority, they've been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us. It's complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder."
UN experts to investigate secret U.S. jails 11 Mar 2009 Two UN human rights experts said on Tuesday that they would conduct a global investigation of secret detention centers used by the United States and other countries in their 'counter'-terrorism efforts. The yearlong investigation is aimed not only to clarify facts, but also to ensure that such secret jails would not be used in the future, according to Manfred Nowak, UN envoy for torture, and Martin Scheinin, UN envoy for human rights and counter-terrorism.
Terrorist watch list hits 1 million 11 Mar 2009 The government's terrorist watch list has hit 1 million entries, up 32% since 2007. Federal data show the rise comes despite the removal of 33,000 entries last year by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center. The remaining million entries represent about 400,000 individuals, according to the center. "It's always going to be a work in progress," says Timothy Edgar, a civil liberties officer at the intelligence director's office. [Yes, and apparently under Obama, it's *progressing* nicely. --LRP]
U.S. cybersecurity head quits, citing growing role of spy agencies 11 Mar 2009 The official in charge of coordinating the U.S. government's cybersecurity operations has quit, saying the expanding control of the National Security Agency over the nation's computer security efforts poses "threats to our democratic processes." "Even from a security standpoint," Rod Beckstrom, the head of the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Center, told United Press International, "it is unwise to hand over the security of all government networks to a single organization."
NFL, others win exemption from terrorism lawsuits --Many beneficiaries of legal protection are large government contractors that sell equipment such as airport X-ray machines and chemical sensors. [In other words, taxpayers are funding corpora-terrorist cronies to be absof*ckinglutely useless - with impunity.] 10 Mar 2009 The National Football League and dozens of other companies and organizations have won exemption from lawsuits under a post-9/11 law that prohibits them from being sued if terrorists attack a site they are protecting. The law, called the SAFETY Act (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies), aims to help security providers by guaranteeing they will not pay any claims that terror victims might file after an attack.
rejects judge-led inquiry into UK spies 11 Mar 2009 British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday declined a request by opposition
parties to authorize a judge-led inquiry into the conduct of U.K. intelligence
agencies in supporting the U.S. government's pursuit of terror suspects
since 2001. Lawmakers in Britain, the U.S. and Europe have raised concerns
over the extent to which the U.K. and other allies of Washington have
been complicit in the
Judge 'should head torture probe' 11 Mar 2009 Allegations that British intelligence agencies were complicit in torture should be fully investigated by a judge-led inquiry, say the Tories. The claims by a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner [Binyam Mohamed] have been referred to the attorney general but David Cameron said that did not go far enough. He said it would only look at whether a crime was committed not whether "our moral authority has been maintained".
Italy high court to rule on CIA kidnap case 10 Mar 2009 Lawyers for the Italian state began arguments to the Constitutional Court Tuesday to try to get a case against U.S. and Italian spies accused of kidnapping a terrorism suspect thrown out. Twenty-six Americans and seven Italians are accused of grabbing a Muslim imam off the streets of Milan and flying him to Egypt in 2003. Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, says he was tortured and held for years without charge.
U.S. military transfers "enemy combatant" to civilian custody 11 Mar 2009 The U.S. military on Tuesday transferred an "enemy combatant" to civilian custody, the Justice Department said. The man, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national, is now in the custody of U.S. Marshals Service after being released from the Naval Consolidated Brig in South Carolina, the department said in a written statement.
Domestic terror threat growing, Senate committee warns 11 Mar 2009 There is an increasing threat of homegrown terror stemming from segments of a deeply isolated and alienated Somali-American community, a U.S. Senate committee hearing concluded Wednesday. The hearing, conducted by the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee, focused on the attempted recruitment of young Somali-American men by al-Shabaab, "a violent and brutal extremist (Somali) group" with significant ties to al Qaeda [al-CIAduh], according to the U.S. State Department.
U.S., Israel Disagree on Iran Arms Threat --Senate Panel Told Tehran Has Not Made Decision to Pursue Nuclear Weapons 11 Mar 2009 Iran has not produced the highly enriched uranium necessary for a nuclear weapon and has not decided to do so, U.S. intelligence officials told Congress yesterday, an assessment that contrasts with a stark Israeli warning days earlier that Iran has crossed the "technological threshold" in its pursuit of the bomb.
Intel Chiefs: Iran Can't Build Nukes Yet 11 Mar 2009 Iran does not yet have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel needed to make a nuclear warhead, two top U.S. intelligence officials told Congress Tuesday, disputing a claim by an Israeli official. U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples said Tuesday that Iran has only low-enriched uranium - which would need to be refined into highly enriched uranium before it can fuel a warhead. Neither official said there were indications that refining has occurred.
Iran lacks nuclear bomb fuel: US officials 10 Mar 2009 Iran has yet to decide whether to build a nuclear bomb and currently lacks the weapons-grade highly enriched uranium needed to do so, top US intelligence officials told lawmakers on Tuesday. But [LOL! I knew that was coming] Tehran is enriching uranium in defiance of global sanctions and is "mastering" the know-how to build long-range missiles that can carry nuclear bombs to their targets oceans away, said director of intelligence Dennis Blair.
Chas Freeman Slams "Israel Lobby" 10 Mar 2009 Chas Freeman's full statement following his decision not to serve as National Intelligence Council chairman... 'The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.'
Tariq Aziz, Saddam-era official, gets 15-year term 11 Mar 2009 Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday for his role in the 1992 execution of 42 merchants accused of price gouging while Iraq was under U.N. sanctions. The conviction was the first against Aziz, who for years was the former regime's public face to the West.
Iraq Suicide Bombing in Western Baghdad Kills 30 10 Mar 2009 A suicide bomber blew himself up among a group of tribal leaders on the western outskirts of Baghdad, killing at least 30 people and wounding 50. The explosion happened today in the Abu Ghraib municipality, 15 miles (24 kilometers) from the center of the Iraqi capital, President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party said on its Web site.
DPRK blasts U.S. on its human rights 11 Mar 2009 The United States was the No. 1 human rights abuser in the world, the official KCNA news agency of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Wednesday. The KCNA issued an article enumerating the human rights abuses in the U.S., saying it was not qualified to talk about other countries' human rights. The KCNA said the working people in the U.S. were deprived of clothing, food and housing and the election serves only the rich.
Congress mulls elections to fill Senate vacancies --Lawmakers debate changing Constitution so voters can pick replacements 11 Mar 2009 Following tumultuous [?!?] turnovers in Illinois and New York, lawmakers on Wednesday asked whether it was time to change the Constitution so that voters, and not state governors, fill Senate vacancies.
Obama issues signing statement on spending bill 11 Mar 2009 Two days after criticizing his predecessor for issuing guidelines on how to put legislation into practice, President Barack Obama issued such a directive himself. He also issued a "signing statement" in which he objected to provisions of the bill that he said the Justice Department had advised "raise constitutional concerns." Among them are provisions that Obama said would "unduly interfere" with his authority in the foreign affairs arena by directing him how to proceed, or not to, in negotiations and discussions with international organizations and foreign governments. Another provision, Obama said, would limit his discretion to choose who performs specific functions in military missions.
Obama Signs Spending Bill, Calls for Earmark Guidelines 11 Mar 2009 President Obama today signed what he called an "imperfect" spending bill to keep the government running even though it contains thousands of lawmakers' pet projects, but he called for more rigorous review of future projects, known as earmarks, that are designated by individual legislators for their states or districts.
Mega barf alert! Administration to Ask Congress to Expand Funds Available to IMF 11 Mar 2009 The Obama administration is planning to ask Congress to expand the United States' primary line of credit to the International Monetary Fund from about $10 billion to $100 billion to boost emergency support for struggling economies around the world, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said today.
AIG's Small London Office May Have Lost $500B --Feds, Brits Probe AIG's London Office on $500B Losses 10 Mar 2009 Ground zero for AIG's spectacular implosion, which has soaked up more federal bailout money than any other entity, appears to have been a small London branch office that may have lost nearly half a trillion dollars in bad deals. The disastrous deals were built up in a decade and, when the crisis hit, the man who ran the unit for the last eight years retired after making $280 million for himself and leaving with a $1 million-a-month consulting contract.
Freddie Mac seeks $30.8B in US aid after 4Q loss 11 Mar 2009 Freddie Mac said Wednesday it will ask the government for nearly $31 billion in additional aid after posting a gargantuan loss of more than $50 billion last year as the U.S. housing market worsened. The mortgage finance company posted a loss of $23.9 billion, or $7.37 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Minnesota Bank Asks Why It Pays for Wall Street Greed 06 Mar 2009 TCF Financial Corp., the Wayzata, Minnesota-based bank that never made a subprime loan and hasn’t lost money since 1995, is asking why it should help clean up the mess made by Wall Street. "I’m kind of bitter," said William Cooper, chief executive officer of the 448-branch bank, adding that over the years TCF has invested about $1 billion in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s fund that guarantees bank deposits. "We pay for the excesses of our competitor over and over again."
US: Congressional Democrats balk at rescinding tax cuts for the rich By Bill Van Auken 11 Mar 2009 Elements of the Obama administration's $3.55 trillion 2010 budget proposal are facing stiff opposition from leading congressional Democrats who are balking at attempts to rescind tax cuts for the top 1 percent of the population and other measures seen as impinging on corporate profits.
Fast-growing Western U.S. cities face water crisis 10 Mar 2009 Built in the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas leads Western U.S. cities scrambling to slash water consumption, increase recycling and squeeze more from underground aquifers as long-reliable surface water sources dry up. From handing out fines for leaky sprinklers to charging homeowners high rates for high use, water officials in the U.S. West are chasing down squandered water one gallon at a time. [See: Drought 'Oddities'.]
Sea levels rising twice as fast as predicted --Melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica force UN scientists to issue dramatic warning 11 Mar 2009 Sea levels are predicted to rise twice as fast as was forecast by the United Nations only two years ago, threatening hundreds of millions of people with catastrophe, scientists said yesterday in a dramatic new warning about climate change. Rapidly melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are likely to push up sea levels by a metre or more by 2100, swamping coastal cities and obliterating the living space of 600 million people who live in deltas, low-lying areas and small island states.
Guantanamo cases proceed despite Obama freeze --Military lawyers are still filing legal documents in other cases in anticipation that the Guantanamo trials will resume as soon as Obama's freeze order expires on May 20. 10 Mar 2009 The Guantanamo war crimes trials remain officially frozen while U.S. President Barack Obama weighs how to proceed with the terrorism prosecutions but several of the cases are still very much in motion. The chief judge in the Guantanamo court, Army Col. Stephen Henley, ordered the public release on Tuesday of a document in which five defendants boastfully repeated their claims of guilt in plotting the [Bush-Cheney] September 11, 2001 attacks.
Top Obama officials meet to consider Gitmo detainees 09 Mar 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called together several top administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to consider what to do with the prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. The unannounced meeting of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Review Task Force was convened at the Justice Department.
Obama administration backs immunity for author of Bush torture memos By Patrick Martin 09 Mar 2009 In legal arguments before a federal court in San Francisco Friday, the Obama administration stepped in to defend one of most notorious figures in the Bush administration, John Yoo, author of legal memoranda used to justify torture and indefinite detention without trial as part of the "war on terror." The intervention makes clear that the Obama administration opposes any serious effort to shed light on the attacks against democratic rights carried out by its predecessor or to hold any officials of the previous administration accountable for their actions.
US army brass prepare for quick getaway from Iraq 10 Mar 2009 US Military officials in Iraq have said they want a speedy withdrawal of most American troops by President Barack Obama's deadline at the end of August 2010. The second-ranking US military commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, has said he expects to keep about 130,000 American troops in the country through the end of this year, when Iraq has a series of 'elections' planned, but then wants to make a quick exit.
Suicide attack in Baghdad kills 28 10 Mar 2009 A suicide bomber killed 28 people and wounded 28 others today during a tour by tribal leaders and security officials of a crowded market in western Baghdad, a security official said. Major-General Qassim Moussawi said the attack took place as the dignitaries, including army officers, toured a market in the Abu Ghraib district.
Some wounded soldiers 'punished for injuries' --Authorities hold sick, disabled troops to same standards as the able-bodied 10 Mar 2009 About 10,000 soldiers have been assigned to the Army's Warrior Transition units, created for troops recovering from injuries. Instead of gingerly nursing them back to health, however, commanders at Fort Bragg's transition unit readily acknowledge holding them to the same standards as able-bodied soldiers in combat units, often assigning chores as punishment for minor infractions.
Officials: Iran does not have key nuclear material 10 Mar 2009 Iran does not yet have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel needed to make a nuclear warhead, two top U.S. intelligence officials told Congress Tuesday, disputing a claim by an Israeli official. U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Maples said Tuesday that Iran has only low-enriched uranium -- which would need to be refined into highly enriched uranium before it can fuel a warhead. Neither officials said there were indications that refining has occurred.
Iran 'has no bomb-grade uranium' 10 Mar 2009 Iran has no weapons-grade uranium, US officials say, contradicting earlier reports by military commanders in Washington and Israel. National Intelligence director Dennis Blair told US senators that Tehran had only low-enriched uranium, which would need processing to be used for weapons.
Interpol examining case for arrest of 25 Israelis 10 Mar 2009 Interpol has confirmed that Iran has asked it for help in tracking down 25 senior Israeli officials involved in the recent war on Gaza. Tehran Chief Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi announced earlier that Iran had asked Interpol to issue international arrest warrants for 25 Israelis charged with committing war crimes during Tel Aviv's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
ICC prosecutor mulls 'Gaza war crimes' probe --Luis Moreno-Ocampo tells Argentinean newspaper he is considering launching investigation into Israel's alleged use of white phosphorus shells in densely-populated areas during recent offensive 08 Mar 2009 The chief prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) announced he may launch an investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes committed during its recent military offensive in Gaza. In the interview, published Sunday, Moreno-Ocampo said he was examining complaints filed by Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan in January according to which Israel used incendiary white phosphorus shells in crowded civilian areas in Gaza, contrary to international law.
'We are giving you now 100 vehicles and all of their contents, and we make no apology for what I am about to say. We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine (Hamas).' Galloway: No jury can convict me 10 Mar 2009 UK lawmaker George Galloway, one of the organizers of the Viva Palestina, says he will not be convicted for violating the EU sanctions on Gaza. The 'Viva Palestina' convoy handed over more than 1.5 million pounds of humanitarian aid to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip. Galloway told Press TV that the Viva Palestina campaign has also nullified the sanctions imposed by the European Union on the Gaza Strip through distributing cash in the impoverished territory.
British MP kisses Gaza ground --Convoy of vehicles carrying food, medicine, and toys travels 12,000 km to enter Gaza through Rafah 09 Mar 2009 A British convoy that embarked 24 days ago on a journey aimed at aiding the Palestinian people of Gaza was allowed into the Strip through the Rafah crossing Monday. British MP George Galloway, who was among those entering Gaza, said the convoy was only the beginning of his battle, and reinforced his comment with a flamboyant kiss to the Gazan ground.
U.S. spy chief says Afghan situation deteriorates 11 Mar 2009 The security situation is continuing to deteriorate in Afghanistan, the U.S. spy chief told Senators on Tuesday. Being asked about whether U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan during a testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair didn't answer directly, but said the situation there "is decreasing, and that is a bad trend."
U.S. Halted Some Raids in Afghanistan 10 Mar 2009 The commander of a secretive branch of America’s Special Operations forces last month ordered a halt to most commando missions in Afghanistan, reflecting a growing concern that civilian deaths caused by American firepower are jeopardizing broader goals there. The halt, which lasted about two weeks, came after a series of nighttime raids by Special Operations troops in recent months killed women and children, and after months of mounting outrage in Afghanistan about civilians killed in air and ground strikes.
China accuses US Navy of breaking the law 10 Mar 2009 China has escalated a spat with America, accusing an unarmed US Navy surveillance ship of illegally monitoring the Chinese coast. Washington had complained five small Chinese ships "shadowed and aggressively manoeuvred" near USNS Impeccable in international waters around 75 miles south of China's Hainan island on Sunday. The Chinese boats, which came within 25 feet of the US ship, were all small vessels, including a naval intelligence ship, a patrol vessel, a maritime fisheries boat and two fishing boats.
Obama and US commander discuss military intervention in Mexico By Bill Van Auken 10 Mar 2009 Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen briefed President Barack Obama over the weekend on the so-called drug war in Mexico and the prospect of increased US military involvement in the conflict south of the border... In a telephone press conference conducted as he returned from Mexico, Mullen said that the Pentagon was prepared to help the Mexican military employ the same tactics that US forces have applied in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan... In the first instance, this could mean the deployment of US manned surveillance aircraft as well as unmanned drones over Mexican territory. It could likewise suggest the deployment of Special Forces units or military "contractors."
Obama's New York Times interview: Military aggression and attacks on democratic rights to continue By Barry Grey 10 Mar 2009 In an extensive interview conducted last Friday with the New York Times and published on Sunday, President Barack Obama outlined policies on national security and foreign affairs that underscore the essential continuity between his administration and that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. The interview made clear that the new administration has embraced the basic political and ideological framework of the Bush administration to justify military aggression and illegality internationally and attacks on democratic rights within the United States--the so-called "global war on terror."
Alleged sleeper agent appears in US criminal court 10 Mar 2009 Alleged al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] sleeper agent Ali al-Marri appeared in a U.S. court Tuesday to face terror charges for the first time after being held for more than five years as an enemy combatant. Al-Marri is charged with providing material support to terror and conspiracy and is expected to be sent to Illinois to enter a plea. On Tuesday, he answered affirmatively when a federal magistrate asked the Qatar native whether he understood the counts against him.
Candidate for top U.S. intel analyst withdraws 10 Mar 2009 The Obama administration's candidate for a top U.S. intelligence post withdrew from the running on Tuesday after some lawmakers protested about remarks he made in the past on Israeli "oppression" of Palestinians, and about China. The office of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said Charles Freeman, who had been picked to head the National Intelligence Council, had asked not to proceed.
U.K. Men From Birmingham Plead Guilty to Terrorism Offenses 09 Mar 2009 Four men from Birmingham in central England admitted terrorism offenses today following a police investigation into activities overseas. Three of the men, Mohammed Nadim, Shabir Mohammed and Shahid Ali, were charged with "engaging in conduct with the intention of assisting in the commission of acts of terrorism," West Midlands Police said in an e-mailed statement.
Congress sends last 2009 spending bill to Obama 10 Mar 2009 The Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress on Tuesday approved a $410 billion bill to fund most of the government through September 30, sending it to President Barack Obama despite Republican objections to the price tag... The bill also begins to roll back strict limits on travel and trade with Cuba -- a move Obama supports.
Madoff to Plead Guilty in Largest U.S. Ponzi Scheme 10 Mar 2009 Bernard Madoff, the New York money manager accused of leading the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, will plead guilty later this week to 11 criminal charges, his lawyer told a federal judge. Madoff will admit he directed a fraud that prosecutors alleged began in the 1980s.
Statician says US joblessness near Depression highs 09 Mar 2009 The U.S. unemployment rate would be 19.1 percent, close to the level during the Great Depression, using the methodology that prevailed 80 years ago, according to Shadowstats.com. According to the official Labor Department figures, the jobless rate jumped to a 25-year high of 8.1 percent in February.
Ranks of homeless kids climb 10 Mar 2009 In and out of classrooms, sleeping in shelters, shielded by parents, homeless children can seem invisible to society at large. A national study released Monday finds that one in 50 children in America is homeless. They're sharing housing because of economic hardship, living in motels, cars, abandoned buildings, parks, camping grounds or shelters, or waiting for foster care placement.
Heatwave deaths will quadruple in cities like London by end of the century, say climate experts 10 Mar 2009 Global warming will leave city dwellers sweltering and send heat-related deaths soaring, British scientists have warned. A study by researchers at King's College London and the Met Office predicts the number of heat-related deaths will quadruple in cities such as London by 2080.
Climate change must be tackled before global poverty, says Prince Charles 10 Mar 2009 The Prince of Wales has delivered a fierce attack on those who doubt climate change and said it must be tackled before world poverty... "How can we begin to address poverty if we haven't first ensured our planet is habitable?" he said. The Prince said Chile was witnessing "the terrifying effects of global warming, including the shrinking of nearly 90 per cent of your glaciers. Ladies and gentlemen, in the light of such evidence, and so much more from across the globe, I find it incomprehensible that there are those who doubt the science of climate change."
Mission Accomplished! Exxon aims for big role in Iraq's oil sector 09 Mar 2009 Exxon Mobil Corp is in constant dialogue with Baghdad to create the investment climate that would allow it to become a significant player in Iraq's energy sector, Exxon's chief executive said on Monday. The world's largest publicly traded company is in the race for contracts to work on Iraq's biggest oilfields.
UN accuses Britain of condoning torture --UK hid illegal acts and breached basic human rights of detainees in US rendition programme, report finds 09 Mar 2009 Britain has been condemned in a highly critical United Nations report for breaching basic human rights and "trying to conceal illegal acts" in the fight against terrorism. The report is sharply critical of British co-operation in the transfer of detainees to places where they are likely to be tortured as part of the US rendition programme. The report accuses British intelligence officers of interviewing detainees held incommunicado in Pakistan in "so-called safe houses where they were being tortured".
Britain condemned over extraordinary rendition --Britain's role in the United States' programme of extraordinary rendition for terror suspects has been heavily criticised in a report by the United Nations. 09 Mar 2009 Martin Scheinin, the UN Special Rapporteur, said that it was only with the support of allies including the United Kingdom that Washington was able to construct its system for moving terror suspects around foreign jails. As a result, some detainees were subjected to "prolonged and secret detention," as well as torture and other forms of ill treatment.
Don't Rely on Bush's Signing Statements, Obama Orders --Bush broke all records, using signing statements to challenge about 1,200 bill sections over his eight years in office. 10 Mar 2009 Calling into question the legitimacy of all the signing statements that former President [sic] George W. Bush used to challenge new laws, President Obama on Monday ordered executive officials to consult with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. before relying on any of them to bypass a statute. But Mr. Obama also signaled that he intends to use signing statements himself if Congress sends him legislation that has provisions he decides are unconstitutional.
N Korea warning over 'satellite' 09 Mar 2009 North Korea has warned that any attempt to shoot down a satellite it says it plans to launch will result in war. The South and the US believe Pyongyang could be preparing to test-fire a long-range missile under the guise of a satellite launch. The North also says it has put its military on full combat alert as an annual military exercise by US and South Korean forces begins.
U.S., South Korea open war games; North Korea in combat mode --North cuts military communications to the South 09 Mar 2009 The U.S. and South Korea today began annual war games involving tens of thousands of troops, prompting North Korea to call its military into "full combat readiness," saying it views the joint land and sea exercises as a prelude to an invasion. The hostilities raised tensions on the Korean peninsula to their highest point in weeks as the U.S. and its allies anxiously awaited North Korea's test launch of its most advanced long-range missile.
IED attacks soar in Afghanistan 09 Mar 2009 Makeshift bomb attacks in Afghanistan killed three times as many occupation troops in the first two months of 2009 compared with the same period last year. The bombs, called improvised explosive devices, killed 32 coalition troops in January and February, compared with 10 during the same period in 2008. During the same time, 96 troops were wounded, a 146% increase from the 39 early last year, according to data from the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.
NATO soldier killed in S Afghanistan 09 Mar 2009 One soldier with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack Sunday in southern Afghanistan, said an ISAF statement issued here on Monday. However, it did not disclose the nationality of victims in the light of ISAF policy.
1 NATO soldier killed, 2 wounded in E Afghanistan 08 Mar 2009 One soldier of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed Sunday and two others wounded in eastern region of Afghanistan, a press release of the alliance said.
Ghraib Torturer Dies in Afghanistan
--Cardona was honorably [!] discharged on Sept. 29, 2007, according
to Army records.
06 Mar 2009 Santos A. Cardona, an Army dog handler involved in the
Small-town guardsmen groomed to hunt bombs in Iraq 08 Mar 2009 Staff Sgt. Jason Jones, the kind of soldier who stands ramrod straight even at ease, watched his men talk and joke around as they waited their turn to practice hunting for a buried bomb. Shaded by towering pines and standing on red clay, the platoon of part-timers soon would be working the shoulders of desert highways, rooting through sand and mounds of garbage for improvised explosive devices, the No. 1 killer of American troops.
contractor says employee killed in Iraq by accidental gunfire, not sniper
08 Mar 2009 A U.S. veteran who returned to Iraq as a
Iran test-fires new long-range missile 09 Mar 2009 Iranian media reported yesterday that Iran had test-fired a new missile, but differed over its range and purpose. The state-run Press TV said a long-range missile had been tested. But the semi-official Fars News Agency said it was an air-to-surface missile with a range of 110km designed for use by military aircraft against naval targets.
Gaza aid convoy attacked in Egypt 08 Mar 2009 Gaza-bound aid convoy 'Viva Palestina' has been attacked in Egypt on its way to break a long imposed Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip. Several activists were injured after the attackers - claimed to be members of Palestinian Fatah faction - vandalized some of the cars in the convoy, Press TV reported Sunday.
'At the Pentagon today I received very encouraging signals from Air Force brass about Minot's future missions.' Task Force pushes for new mission 06 Mar 2009 Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., and members of Minot's Task Force 21 urged Air Force leaders Thursday to station the new nuclear command, Global Strike Command, at Minot Air Force Base. Pomeroy and members of Minot's base retention and new mission committee met Thursday with Air Force leaders at the Pentagon. Minot is one of six bases under consideration to house the headquarters that will oversee the Air Force's nuclear missions. "I received an update on the status of the second B-52 squadron and learned we could receive additional missions in the near future, including Global Strike Command," Pomeroy said in a news release Thursday.
Bolivia expels US diplomat 09 Mar 2009 Evo Morales, Bolivia's president, has ordered a senior US diplomat to leave the country, accusing him of siding with opposition groups in a "conspiracy" against the government in La Paz. Francisco Martinez, the second secretary of the US embassy in La Paz, is the second US diplomat [spy] to be expelled from the country in six months.
Hazmat incident at O'Hare sickens 2 TSA guards 09 Mar 2009 Two Transportation Security Administration workers had to stop working briefly this morning after being exposed to what authorities are calling a "tar-like" substance at O'Hare International Airport. The substance was in a carry-on bag that the workers were inspecting more closely, TSA spokesman Jon Allen said. The incident was reported just after 9 a.m. in Terminal 3, said Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Karen Pride.
Stocks jump as Obama raises stem cell limits 09 Mar 2009 Shares in stem cell companies soared, scientists gushed and activists cheered on Monday as President Barack Obama signed an order lifting eight years of restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. Obama's executive order reversed and repudiated restrictions placed on the research by his predecessor George W. Bush [himself a stem cell], freeing labs across the country to start working with the valued cells, which give birth to all cells and tissues in the body.
Obama lifts Bush restrictions on stem cell research 09 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research on Monday, angering abortion opponents but cheering those who believe the study could produce treatments for many diseases. "We will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research," Obama said to vigorous applause at a White House gathering.
Supreme Court limits reach of Voting Rights Act --The 'justices,' in a 5-4 ruling, say 'cross-over' voting districts do not have to be drawn in order to give black candidates a realistic chance of winning. 09 Mar 2009 The Supreme Court limited the reach of the Voting Rights Act today, ruling that there is no duty to draw voting districts that will elect black candidates in areas where blacks are less than a majority. In a 5-4 decision, the court said officials need not consider race when drawing districts for state legislatures, county boards, city councils and school districts, so long as blacks do not make up a voting majority in a particular area.
Bomb wipes out Citibank branch in Greece 09 Mar 2009 In Athens, a car bomb has exploded outside a bank. The bomb damaged two cars but caused no injuries when it exploded outside a branch of Citibank in the Nea Ionia district. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast which follows another car bomb detonation outside a Citibank office last month. It is believed the bombs are part of a campaign of violence by far-left militants [following a campaign of violence by predatory capitalists].
Top U.S., Foreign Banks Got $50 Billion in AIG Aid --Beneficiaries of the government's bailout of American International Group Inc. include dozens of U.S. and foreign financial institutions that have been paid roughly $50 billion. 07 Mar 2009 The beneficiaries of the government's bailout of American International Group Inc. include at least two dozen U.S. and foreign financial institutions that have been paid roughly $50 billion since the Federal Reserve first extended aid to the insurance giant. Among those institutions are Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Germany's Deutsche Bank AG, each of which received roughly $6 billion in payments between mid-September and December 2008, according to a confidential document and people familiar with the matter.
Financial reports show 5 biggest banks are 'dead men walking' 09 Mar 2009 America's five largest banks, which already have received $145 billion in taxpayer bailout dollars, still face potentially catastrophic losses from exotic investments if economic conditions substantially worsen, their latest financial reports show. Citibank, Bank of America, HSBC Bank USA, Wells Fargo Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase reported that their "current" net loss risks from derivatives surged to $587 billion as of Dec. 31.
World Bank: Economy worst since Depression --World Bank says global economy to shrink for first time since World War II, dragged down by sharp decline in industry, trade 09 Mar 2009 The world economy is on track to post its worst performance since the Great Depression, with developing countries bearing much of the economic pain, the World Bank said Monday. Those countries face a credit shortfall of up to $700 billion, the bank said. "The global economy is likely to shrink this year for the first time since World War II," the bank said.
Newspaper publisher McClatchy cutting 1,600 jobs 09 Mar 2009 Newspaper publisher McClatchy Co. said Monday that it will shrink its work force by an additional 15 percent as it contends with sharply declining revenue amid a deepening recession. The 1,600 job reductions should help the publisher of The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee and other newspapers meet previously announced plans to save up to $110 million over the next year.
Corporations Step Up Drive Against Bill to Ease Unionization 06 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama's public backing this past week of a bill that would make union organizing easier is driving companies to step up opposition. Mr. Obama embraced the Employee Free Choice Act, a top legislative priority for unions, in a video address to the AFL-CIO winter meeting on Tuesday in Miami. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said it will spend at least $10 million this year fighting it.
Exxon Valdez oil could persist for 'decades and possibly centuries' 09 Mar 2009 The “stunning” legacy of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska is the persistence of oil along the beaches of Prince William Sound that in places is “nearly as toxic as it was the first few weeks after the spill,” says a new report from the group charged with monitoring the cleanup.
Prince Charles: 100 months to save the world 09 Mar 2009 The Prince of Wales is to issue a stark warning that nations have "less than 100 months to act" to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change. Prince Charles will say that the need to tackle global warming is more urgent than ever before and that, even in a global recession, the world must not lose sight of the "bigger picture". His warning will be delivered on Thursday in a keynote speech in Rio de Janeiro.
'Voice your appreciation for those in quarantine.' --Heads up! This is how the US government might bail out the bailouts. By Lori Price 09 Mar 2009 'Be prepared to be quarantined for months at a time. When you're talking to people, voice your appreciation for those in quarantine. Talk about how they're hometown heroes and doing what they need to be doing in order to protect the community... ' --P.J. Havice-Cover, a mental health professional and program coordinator, State of Colorado - Scientists say pandemic is certain --Expert panel tells emergency managers it's just a matter of when the avian flu will spark a pandemic. By Stephanie Backus 07 Mar 2009 Many scientists are now sure that a version of H5N1, or the avian flu, will cause a pandemic in the future. While speaking to health officials at the National Emergency Management Summit Thursday, several experts said the issue was no longer an "if" issue, it was now "when."
Bush may follow Bashir to The Hague 08 Mar 2009 Former US President [sic] George W. Bush could possibly stand trial at the international Criminal Court in The Hague, says an ex-UN prosecutor. David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said similar to the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Bush could be an ICC target. "The principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects," Crane was quoted as saying by the New Zealand Herald on Saturday.
George Bush could be next on the war crimes list 06 Mar 2009 George W. Bush could one day be the International Criminal Court's next target. David Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University, said the principle of law used to issue an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir could extend to former US President [sic] Bush over claims officials from his Administration may have engaged in torture by using coercive interrogation techniques on terror suspects. Crane is a former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal that indicted Liberian President Charles Taylor and put him on trial in The Hague. Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch, said the al-Bashir ruling was likely to fuel discussion about investigations of possible crimes by Bush Administration officials.
U.S. Army Developing Teams for Electronic Warfare --The U.S. Army is developing its own electronic warfare teams. 08 Mar 2009 The initial goal is to train more than 1,600 people from enlisted ranks through the officer corps by 2013, and to double that in the following years... The Army’s new field manual, "FM 3-36, Electronic Warfare in Operations," instructs commanders in how to integrate electronic warfare into all tasks, from planning to carrying out military operations. Electronic warfare is among the military's most highly classified efforts, routinely carried out in conjunction with the nation's intelligence agencies.
Demands for MI5 'torture' inquiry 08 Mar 2009 MPs have demanded a judicial inquiry into a Guantanamo Bay prisoner's claims that MI5 was complicit in his torture. In a Mail on Sunday interview, UK resident Binyam Mohamed claims MI5 fed his US captors questions, at a time he said he was being tortured in Morocco.
How MI5 colluded in my torture: Binyam Mohamed claims British agents fed Moroccan torturers their questions --The worst time in Binyam Mohamed's seven-year ordeal in American captivity, worse even than the medieval tortures he endured for 18 months in Morocco, came in the first half of 2004 when he was held for five months at a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan. 07 Mar 2009 MI5 directly colluded in the savage 'medieval' torture in Morocco of Binyam Mohamed, the Guantanamo inmate who was last week released to live in Britain. The revelation came as Mohamed broke his silence about the full horror of his seven years in detention in a compelling interview with The Mail on Sunday. Documents obtained by this newspaper show that months after he was taken to Morocco aboard an illegal 'extraordinary rendition' flight by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, MI5 twice gave the CIA details of questions they wanted his interrogators to put to him, together with dossiers of photographs.
Guantanamo worse since Obama election: ex-detainee 07 Mar 2009 A freed Guantanamo prisoner has said conditions at the US detention camp in Cuba have worsened since President Barack Obama was elected, claiming guards wanted to "take their last revenge". Binyam Mohamed, the first detainee to be transferred out of Guantanamo Bay since Obama took office, also said British agents "sold me out" by cooperating with his alleged torturers, in his first interview since release which was published Sunday.
Federal Courts in Va., N.Y. May Take Some Guantanamo Cases 07 Mar 2009 Federal authorities have finished compiling detailed electronic dossiers on 241 prisoners who remain in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and interagency review teams have begun studying the individual files. The process could see some suspects transferred to federal courts, possibly in Northern Virginia and New York City, the jurisdictions where the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks occurred, according to Justice Department officials.
'We heard the firing by Taliban and then a drone fell down.' [Damn. I hate when that happens.] Militants shoot down drone in Pakistan: officials 08 Mar 2009 Taliban militants Saturday shot down a suspected drone aircraft in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said. Residents and a local police official said two drones were flying low over a village in the South Waziristan tribal district when one of them was hit by militant fire. "We heard the firing by Taliban and then a drone fell down," tribal police official Israr Khan told AFP. Another security official said the drone crashed in a forest near a Pakistani border post. [Yeah, it *crashed* because it was *shot down.*]
Obama Ponders Outreach to Elements of the Taliban 08 Mar 2009 President Obama declared in an interview that the United States was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the door to a reconciliation process in which the American military would reach out to moderate elements of the Taliban, much as it did with Sunni militias in Iraq. Mr. Obama pointed to the success [?] in peeling Iraqi 'insurgents' away from more hard-core elements of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Mesopotamia, a strategy that many credit as much as the increase of American forces with turning the war around [?] in the last two years.
Army document describes Israel as 'a nuclear power' 08 Mar 2009
In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's
Israel annexing East Jerusalem, says EU --Confidential report attacks 'illegal' house demolitions --Government accused of damaging peace prospects 07 Mar 2009 A confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of "actively pursuing the illegal annexation" of East Jerusalem. The document [EU Heads of Mission Report on East Jerusalem] says Israel has accelerated its plans for East Jerusalem, and is undermining the Palestinian Authority's credibility and weakening support for peace talks.
Pots of urine, feces on the walls - how IDF troops vandalized Gaza homes By Amira Hass 06 Mar 2009 We had already visited this house, belonging to the Abu Eida family. It is the only one of the family's nine large houses that remained standing at the eastern edge of the city of Jabalya following Operation Cast Lead. The demolition of the family's houses and its four cement factories spells the loss of 40 years of hard work.
Israeli blockade preventing Gaza reconstruction 07 Mar 2009 Although the Obama administration is pledging $900 million of aid, none of the money will go to rebuilding Gaza, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Iran tests new air-to-sea missile: report 08 Mar 2009 Iran said on Sunday it "successfully" tested a new air-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometres (68 miles), the Fars news agency reported. It did not say when the test was conducted. "Iranian defence specialists are able to successfully install missiles with a range of 110 kilometres on fighter planes and launch them," the report said, adding that the high-precision weapon weighs about 500 kilos.
wants private firm to provide media team to support public affairs officer
in Iraq --President Barack Obama called last week for the Defense
Department to stop outsourcing services that the government could perform.
08 Mar 2009 The Army wants a private firm to provide a seven-member
12,000 U.S. troops out of Iraq by fall, military says 08 Mar 2009 Some 12,000 troops will be pulled from Iraq over the next six months as part of a gradual troop withdrawal in the region, the U.S. military said in a statement Sunday. Two brigade combat teams and their support units will redeploy without being replaced, reducing the number of combat teams in Iraq from 14 to 12, the statement said.
Suicide bomber hits Baghdad police academy --At least 28 killed and many injured in latest attack on Iraqi security training facility 08 Mar 2009 A suicide bomber struck at the main police academy in Baghdad today, killing at least 28 people and wounding dozens of others, officials said. The bomber detonated his explosives near a side entrance of the academy, which is in a mainly Shia area of eastern Baghdad.
U.S. soldier dies in Iraq from mortar attack 07 Mar 2009 A 22-year-old Fort Hood soldier has died of wounds from a mortar attack on her forward operating base in Iraq. The Pentagon says Pfc. Jessica Y. Sarandrea of Miami died Tuesday in Mosul, Iraq of her wounds.
18 deaths in February were possible suicides 07 Mar 2009 As many as 18 soldiers killed themselves in February, Army officials announced March 5. Of the 18 cases in February, two are confirmed as suicides and 16 others remain under investigation. About 90 percent of such pending cases typically are ruled suicides.
veteran disabled by Iraq's 'Agent Orange'
07 Mar 2009 The soldiers worried about Saddam Hussein loyalists, not
the dust. Dust coated the Oregon Army National Guardsmen's combat boots
and caked their skin as they protected Halliburton KBR
FDIC warns US bank deposit insurance fund may tank 06 Mar 2009 The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is warning banks that its deposit insurance fund could dry up this year amid rising bank failures although the deposits would remain fully backed by the government. The head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Sheila Bair, in a letter to bank chief executives dated March 2, defended the FDIC's plan to raise fees on banks and assess an emergency fee to shore up the fund and maintain investor confidence.
Jon Stewart's rant: Santelli re(un)wound --The Daily Show host now sees why Rick Santelli is 'mad at homeowners' By Mark Silva 05 Mar 2009 Apparently Rick Santelli - famous for "Santelli's rant'' on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a broadcast diatribe against the Obama administration's bailout of bad mortgages - should have shown up on The Daily Show. Because, when he didn't, host Jon Stewart laid into the CNBC commentator - "the incredible Santelli'' -- and his entire network.
Treasury Dept. gains 3 more Obama appointments 08 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama has chosen three people to join the senior ranks of the Treasury Department, where a slow pace of hiring has put the agency on the defensive. The White House on Sunday said Obama is nominating David S. Cohen to be assistant secretary in dealing with terrorist financing; Alan B. Krueger for assistant secretary for economic policy; and Kim N. Wallace as assistant secretary for legislative affairs.
IRS dumps private debt collectors, shifts pendulum 07 Mar 2009 So much for privatizing the federal government. The Internal Revenue Service's decision this week to quit using debt collectors to dun delinquent taxpayers was celebrated by public employee unions as a pendulum shift after watching the Bush regime often opt for private contractors over federal workers to deliver government services. The IRS program was a small one, bringing in a little more than $80 million since its inception in 2006.
GEO Group, Inc.: Despite a Crashing Economy, Private Prison Firm Turns a Handsome Profit By Erin Rosa 01 Mar 2009 While the nation’s economy flounders, business is booming for The GEO Group Inc., a private prison firm that is paid millions by the U.S. government to detain undocumented immigrants and other federal inmates... GEO reported impressive quarterly earnings of $20 million on February 12, 2009, along with an annual income of $61 million for 2008 – up from $38 million the year before... Behind the financial success and expansion of the for-profit prison firm, there are increasing charges of negligence, civil rights violations, abuse and even death.
Scientists to issue stark warning over dramatic new sea level figures --Rising sea levels pose a far bigger eco threat than previously thought. This week's climate change conference in Copenhagen will sound an alarm over new floodings - enough to swamp Bangladesh, Florida, the Norfolk Broads and the Thames estuary 08 Mar 2009 Scientists will warn this week that rising sea levels, triggered by global warming, pose a far greater danger to the planet than previously estimated. There is now a major risk that many coastal areas around the world will be inundated by the end of the century because Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting faster than previously estimated.
High court ends al-Marri challenge, upholds president's powers --President Obama has not rejected the use of preventive detention, which former President [sic] Bush used extensively after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. 06 Mar 2009 The president has the authority to detain people without charge, the Supreme Court decided today, dismissing a challenge by suspected 'al-Qaeda' operative Ali Al-Marri. Last week, President Obama ordered al-Marri transferred from military to civilian custody to face federal charges of conspiracy and providing support to terrorists. For 5½ years he has been held as an enemy combatant in the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. He can be transferred to a civilian jail. The action granted the administration's request to end the case before the high court. The justices also dismissed a federal appeals court ruling that upheld presidential powers of detention.
Court Puts Off Decision On Indefinite Detention --Justices: Indictment Made Issue Moot 07 Mar 2009 The Supreme Court yesterday vacated a lower court's ruling that the president has the right to indefinitely detain a legal resident of this country as a terrorism suspect, and put off a decision on one of the most expansive legal claims of the Bush regime. The court did not rule on the merits of the decision but, instead, said it is moot now that the Obama administration has indicted suspected al-Qaeda agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri and said it would move him from a Navy brig to the federal court system. The court's action relieves the new administration of having to either endorse or repudiate the Bush regime's assertion that the president may use the military to detain those legally in the country but accused of being enemy combatants without charging them with a crime.
CIA destroyed 12 torture tapes --Tapes part of 'larger collection' that CIA destroyed 06 Mar 2009 Court documents show the CIA destroyed a dozen videotapes of harsh interrogations of terror suspects. The 12 tapes were part of a larger collection of 92 videotapes of terror suspects that the CIA destroyed. The tape destruction is now the subject of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the government. Heavily redacted papers filed in the case indicate a dozen destroyed tapes show so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Intelligence failures crippling fight against insurgents in Afghanistan, says report --Leaked analysis condemns US for lack of co-operation --Senior officers' criticisms also cover Iraq campaign 06 Mar 2009 A highly critical analysis of the US-led coalition's 'counterinsurgency' in Iraq and Afghanistan has raised serious questions about combat operations in both countries - and the intelligence underpinning them. The confidential document presents a bleak picture of a counterinsurgency effort undermined by intelligence failures that at times border on the absurd. Based on scores of interviews with British, US, Canadian and Dutch military, intelligence and diplomatic officials - and marked for "official use only" - the book-length report is damning of a US military often unwilling to share intelligence among its military allies.
SAS commander says MoD has 'blood on its hands' over Snatch Land Rovers --Major says his warnings over the Snatch Land Rover were repeatedly ignored. 06 Mar 2009 Major Sebastian Morley, the SAS commander who resigned over "unsafe" Snatch Land Rovers in Afghanistan, has accused the Government of having "blood on its hands". Speaking for the first time since he stepped down, Major Morley says the Ministry of Defence was being "cavalier at best, criminal at worst". He also accuses Quentin Davies, the minister for defence equipment and support, of telling an "unacceptable lie" after the deaths of four of his soldiers.
US officer 'stole Iraq aid funds' 06 Mar 2009 A US army captain has been charged with stealing nearly $700,000 intended for emergency reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Michael Dung Nguyen is accused of stealing the money and sending it back home while he was stationed in Iraq between April 2007 and February 2009.
Taliban kill two US spies in Pakistan: officials 06 Mar 2009 Taliban militants in Pakistan's tribal area on Friday killed two men they accused of spying for US forces stationed across the border in Afghanistan, officials said. The bullet-riddled bodies of Sher Khan, of Afghanistan, and Pakistani tribal member Nazar Jan were found early Friday at separate places in the North Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, officials in those areas said.
Official: Foreign hand not ruled out in attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan 06 Mar 2009 Foreign hand can not be ruled out in the deadly attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in eastern Pakistan, a senior Pakistani official said on Friday. "I can not rule out involvement of a foreign hand in the incident," Adviser to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs Rehman Malik told reporters in eastern city of Lahore. [Hmm... 'Foreign hand.' I wonder who that could be?]
Pakistan giving Interpol data on Mumbai probe 06 Mar 2009 Pakistan has agreed to give Interpol DNA profiles and other data from its probe into the Mumbai bombings to help investigate possible broader international links, the international police agency said Friday. Interpol will then compare the data to what it has received from India, which accuses militants from Pakistan of carrying out the attack.
N Korean threats prompt rerouting of flights 06 Mar 2009 South Korea’s two main airlines said on Friday they had diverted flights after North Korea warned it could not vouch for the safety of passenger aircraft while the peninsula was on a war footing. Pyongyang has demanded the cancellation of next week’s US-South Korean joint military exercises, arguing such war games are a smokescreen for an invasion and could spark conflict. The Pentagon says it has no intention of scrapping the manoeuvres.
Man behind SoCal terrorism plot gets 16 years 06 Mar 2009 One of four men accused of plotting terrorist attacks on Jewish and military targets in California has been sentenced to 16 years in federal prison. Kevin James was sentenced Friday in Santa Ana. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to conspiracy to wage war against the United States. The U.S. attorney's office says James formed an Islamic terrorist group while in state prison in 1997.
Virus mix-up by lab could have resulted in pandemic 06 Mar 2009 It's emerged that virulent H5N1 bird flu was sent out 'by accident' from an Austrian lab [the Austrian branch of US vaccine company, Baxter] last year and given to ferrets in the Czech Republic before anyone realised. As well as the risk of it escaping into the wild, the H5N1 got mixed with a human strain, which might have spawned a hybrid that could unleash a pandemic.
Lawyer Held in KBR Bribery Case 06 Mar 2009 U.K. police have arrested a lawyer accused of moving millions of dollars in bribes to Nigerian officials to win contracts for a construction consortium including former Halliburton Co. unit KBR Inc. Jeffrey Tesler was arrested after an extradition request from the U.S. authorities. A federal grand jury in Texas charged Mr. Tesler with helping channel money from KBR to Nigerian officials, to obtain more than $6 billion of contracts relating to the construction of liquefied natural gas facilities on Nigeria's Bonny Island.
KBR unit wins Chevron work 05 Mar 2009 A subsidiary of KBR Inc. has been awarded a front-end engineering and design contract by Chevron Overseas (Congo) Ltd. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. [LOL, I'm sure they weren't.]
'That murderous, genocidal empire has to end.' [Damn right.] Chavez Calls On Obama to Follow Path of Socialism 06 Mar 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called upon US President Barack Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the "only" way out of the global recession. "Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States," Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar. The Venezuelan leader, who taunted the United States as a source of capitalistic evil under former president [sic] George W Bush, added that the United States needs a leader who can take it to a "higher" destiny and bring it out of "the sad role that it has been given, as a murderous, attacking power that is hated all around the world."
Bill Seeks to Let FDIC Borrow up to $500 Billion 06 Mar 2009 Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) is moving to allow the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to temporarily borrow as much as $500 billion from the Treasury Department. Dodd's effort -- which comes in response to urging from FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner -- would give the FDIC access to more money to rebuild its fund that insures consumers' deposits, which have been hard hit by a string of [Bush] bank failures.
Georgia bank closed in 17th failure of 2009 06 Mar 2009 Commerce, Ga.-based Freedom Bank of Georgia was closed by regulators Friday, marking the 17th bank failure of the year, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said in a statement. Lavonia-based Northeast Georgia Bank has assumed all of the failed bank's deposits, the FDIC said. The FDIC estimated the cost of Freedom Bank's failure to its deposit insurance fund will be $36.2 million.
jobless rate hits 25-year high 06 Mar 2009 The US unemployment
rate soared to a 25-year high in February after 651,000 jobs were lost
Budget Backlash: Thousands Rally At City Hall --Taxpayers Furious With Budget Cuts Take Frustration to Streets of NYC 06 Mar 2009 Tens of thousands of New Yorkers marched on City Hall, rallying to stop proposed funding cuts. The rally cries of labor unions, community groups and families outside City Hall could be heard throughout lower Manhattan. Desperation for an economic lifeline brought out more than 50,000 people along several blocks of Broadway in a self-described "Rally For New York."
Court upholds most charges against ex-Ala. gov 06 Mar 2009 A federal appeals court on Friday upheld most of the bribery and corruption charges against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and all of the charges against former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down two of the seven charges that Siegelman was convicted of and ordered a new sentencing hearing.
Schwarzenegger cabinet member resigns after accepting speaking fees 06 Mar 2009 A member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cabinet [Rosario Marin] resigned Thursday after questions about income she received for giving speeches to private companies, including some that were doing business with her agency. The resignation came after The Times inquired about her outside income, which included thousands of dollars in fees for speeches to pharmaceutical companies within months of her agency's push last year to reduce oversight of prescription drugs.
'Joe the Plumber' sues over Ohio records probe 05 Mar 2009 "Joe the Plumber" is suing three former state officials in Ohio, saying they violated his privacy when they gathered his personal information in a records search. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher says in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday that he suffered emotional distress, harassment, humiliation and embarrassment as a result of their actions. [The nation should sue 'Joe the Un-licensed Plumber' for enduring same. --LRP]
Thanks to GOPigs' deregulation: Food Problems Elude Private Inspectors 06 Mar 2009 With government inspectors overwhelmed by the task of guarding the nation’s food supply [and Bush weakening food safety laws], the job of monitoring food plants has in large part fallen to an army of private auditors. An examination of the largest food poisoning outbreaks in recent years -- in products as varied as spinach, pet food, and a children’s snack, Veggie Booty — show that auditors failed to detect problems at plants whose contaminated products later sickened consumers.
Obama to reverse Bush policy on embryonic stem cell research 06 Mar 2009 President Obama on Monday plans to lift key restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, reversing one of the most controversial domestic policies of his predecessor, according to administration sources. The move has been widely anticipated by scientists and patient-advocacy groups who chafed at President [sic] Bush's 2001 decision to bar federal funding for research on nearly all human embryonic stem cells.
'If this rule is allowed to stand, nearly two-thirds of the wolves in the Northern Rockies could be killed.' Bush-era delisting of gray wolves is upheld --Activists vow to sue 06 Mar 2009 The Obama administration on Friday upheld a Bush-era decision to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and the western Great Lakes region from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. "Today is a truly disappointing day," Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen said in a statement. "Defenders of Wildlife will now move to sue Secretary Salazar as quickly as possible. All the reasons why this plan was a bad idea when the Bush administration proposed it still stand today," Schlickeisen said.
Senate blocks effort to derail endangered species protections 05 Mar 2009 Alaskan senators' effort to block a Democratic push to undo a Bush-era weakening of the Endangered Species Act failed in the Senate on Thursday. Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D) proposed an amendment specifying that if the current administration were to pull the rules, the action would be subject to the 60-day period. That amendment was voted down in the Senate on Thursday, 52 to 42.
'This was infected with a bird flu virus.' Viral Pandemic H5N1 flu threat: Illinois-based Baxter contaminates European labs by error 25 Feb 2009 According to the scientific network PROMED, Baxter International Inc. in Austria "unintentionally contaminated samples with the bird flu virus that were used in laboratories in 3 neighboring countries, raising concern about the potential spread of the deadly disease". As PROMED reports, the contamination has been discovered when ferrets at a laboratory in the Czech Republic died after being inoculated with vaccine made from the samples early this month. "The material came from Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter, which reported the incident to the Austrian Ministry of Health, Sigrid Rosenberger, a ministry spokeswoman, said today in a telephone interview", the network-alert-system is quoting. "This was infected with a bird flu virus," Rosenberger said. "There were some people from the company who handled it."
'That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created.' Baxter admits sending live avian flu viruses to subcontrator --People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled [!] in the Orth-Donau facility. 27 Feb 2009 The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses. And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria. [See: Flu 'Oddities'.]
No one to be punished for interrogations 05 Mar 2009 [Bush-Obama
troll] CIA Director Leon Panetta says agency employees who took part
Prisons to Be Evaluated in One-Year Review by Senate Panel 05
Mar 2009 The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee will study
[LOL] how the CIA operated a secret network of prisons outside the U.S.
to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists seized after the Sept.
11 attacks. There is "a strong bipartisan
basis" for the yearlong review that will evaluate intelligence
the spy agency obtained from
Terror watchdog calls for inquiry into MI5 'torture role' 01 Mar 2009 The government’s terrorism watchdog has asked for a full judicial inquiry into the role of British intelligence and security personnel in the torture and rendition of Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] suspects. Lord Carlile of Berriew QC has accused ministers of providing only a "limited" account of the UK’s role. In comments that will add to the growing political clamour over the issue he called for Gordon Brown to appoint a senior judge to investigate UK complicity "in the rendition of captured men and women to foreign governments".
Top U.N. Official Accuses US of Atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan --Says U.S. actions directly led to more than a million Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 04 Mar 2009 A top U.N. official accused the United States of committing inhuman "atrocities" in Iraq and Afghanistan during a speech Wednesday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. "The aggressions against Iraq and Afghanistan and their occupations constitute atrocities that must be condemned and repudiated by all who believe in the rule of law in international relations," said U.N. General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann.
US officer charged with stealing Iraq relief funds 06 Mar 2009 A US military officer has been charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash intended for relief and reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Department of Justice says. While stationed in Iraq between April 2007 and February 2009, Michael Dung Nguyen is alleged to have stolen more than $US690,000 ($1.1 million), sending it back to his home in north-western Oregon, the department said in a statement.
Baker, Hamilton endorse Iraq plan 05 Mar 2009 Foreign policy gurus [9/11 whitewash co-architect] Lee Hamilton and [2000 coup d'etat co-architect] James A. Baker III said Thursday they support President Barack Obama's 19-month timetable in Iraq and, if asked, would advise Obama to limit the nation's 'goals' in Afghanistan. Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, and Baker, a retired Republican secretary of State, led the independent Iraq Study Group in 2006.
Car bomb at market kills 14 south of Baghdad 05 Mar 2009 A bomb in a parked car exploded Thursday in a livestock market in a Shiite area of Babil Province south of Baghdad, killing at least 14 people and injuring 38, six of them seriously, according to police and health officials.
Poor KBR wiring endangers troops in Afghanistan, contractors say --Electricians who worked for KBR say supervisors ignored their warnings 04 Mar 2009 Faulty KBR electrical wiring is already suspected in the deaths of several U.S. troops in Iraq. Contractors who worked in Afghanistan are reporting similar problems at American bases there. "In general, the electrical power systems in the camp can be described as a disaster waiting to happen," electrician Noris Rogers wrote to his bosses at military contractor KBR about conditions at one base in 2005. The letter warned of "extreme dangers" of electrical shock and fire hazards at the facility. Rogers, who left Afghanistan shortly after writing that letter, told CNN that the work done by KBR at one U.S. base in Kabul was "by far" the worst he has seen in 20-plus years in the trade.
US charges two Britons with bribes in KBR venture 05 Mar 2009 Two British citizens face charges of bribing Nigerian officials as part of a joint venture that included KBR Inc to build liquefied natural gas facilities, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. Jeffrey Tesler was arrested in London on Thursday, the same day as the indictment handed down in February was made public, the department said. It said former KBR employee Wojciech Chodan, of England, was being sought on a U.S. arrest warrant.
WH backs Bush Pakistan, Afghanistan aid proposal 04 Mar 2009 The Obama administration is backing a proposal initiated under President [sic] George W. Bush that would allow poor tribal regions in Pakistan and Afghanistan to sell clothing and goods they make to U.S. buyers tax-free. A group of House lawmakers, led by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, reintroduced legislation on Wednesday that would enable the president to designate "Reconstruction Opportunity Zones" inside the two countries from which goods could be imported into the U.S. duty-free.
Iran Plans War Crimes Trials for Israelis 04 Mar 2009 Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, opened an international conference in Tehran that will press Interpol to help Iranian prosecutors arrest 15 Israeli leaders on war crimes charges related to the recent war in Gaza. Meanwhile, discussions are reportedly continuing in The Hague on the question of the international court’s authority to open an investigation of its own into actions carried out in Gaza, since the territory is not part of any internationally recognized state.
Israelis react with fury to British boycott call [<g>] 04 Mar 2009 Israeli scientists and officials reacted angrily yesterday to calls by more than 400 British academics for the Science Museum to cancel educational workshops planned to promote Israeli science tomorrow. The cancellation call and claims that Israeli universities are "complicit" in the occupation of Palestinian territories and this year's "disastrous" offensive in Gaza, reported in The Independent yesterday, were condemned as "absurd" by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Justice Department to Reveal More Bush Administration Legal Memos 04 Mar 2009 Justice Department officials intend to release more secret legal memos that underpinned the Bush regime's approach to national security issues, responding to pressure from Democratic lawmakers and interest groups that have sued for access to the sensitive materials, sources said yesterday.
Judge tosses ex-sailor's terror-support conviction 04 Mar 2009 A federal judge on Wednesday threw out one conviction against a former Navy sailor accused of passing along information about ship movements, dealing a post-mortem blow to a Bush regime that had praised the case as a success. U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz overturned last year's conviction of Hassan Abu-Jihaad, of Phoenix, on a charge of providing material support to terrorists, citing the language of the law. He upheld his conviction for disclosing classified national defense information.
Rove: Democrats Want to See Me "Barbecued" [No. Waterboarded.] 05 Mar 2009 KKKarl Rove, the former top adviser to President [sic] George W. Bush, today told Fox News that while he is worried that his appearance before the House Judiciary Committee concerning the firing of U.S. attorneys could become a “show trial,” he looks forward to the opportunity to explain his role.
Fed Refuses to Release Bank Data, Insists on Secrecy 05 Mar 2009 The Federal Reserve Board of Governors receives daily reports on bailout loans to financial institutions and won't make the information public, the central bank said in a reply to a Bloomberg News lawsuit. The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast "a stigma" on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.
'Harry and Louise' creators welcomed at Obama's healthcare 'reform' summit: Obama holds summit on healthcare reform 04 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama today launched the first major effort in 15 years to revamp the US healthcare system, inviting more than 120 policy experts and stakeholders to the White House for a summit aimed at developing reform. In remarks at the White House, Obama described healthcare reform as a moral and economic imperative that has for decades been precluded by "failures of will, or Washington politics, or industry lobbying". [Obama invited the architects of the system which he allegedly wants to change. As a possible Democratic candidate for president, John Edwards stated that the healthcare industry had already *had* their turn 'at the table' - for eight years under Bush. Of course, the GOP-owned media ensured -- as they did with Gov. Howard Dean -- that Edwards would not be the nominee. The corpora-terrorists who destroyed the Clintons' efforts for healthcare reform in 1993 were welcomed at Obama's summit. But, single-payer advocates had to threaten to protest in order for Obama to grant them access. --LRP]
Obama, Democrats bow to banks on housing "rescue" By Tom Eley 05 Mar 2009 On Wednesday, the Obama administration released guidelines on its plan to stem the collapse of the housing market with its "Making Home Affordable" initiative, or Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan (HASP)... The newly-announced guidelines pertaining to private lenders make clear that the program's primary aim is not to assist homeowners, but to further prop up the banks... Not surprisingly, the plan immediately won the vocal support of the major banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.
Stanford Judge Releases Accounts of Under $250,000 05 Mar 2009 Most Stanford Group Co. investor accounts valued at less than $250,000 should be immediately released from a court-ordered freeze imposed as part of an $8 billion fraud investigation, a federal judge ordered.
It may be a decade before Dow's back to 12,000, oracle says 05 Mar 2009 Mark Zandi... the chief economist of Moody's Economy.com, sat down Thursday with a small group of reporters and offered a sobering view of what he sees ahead for the U.S. and global economies. The short version: It could be a decade before the Dow reaches 12,000 points again, the economy will grow much more slowly than the Obama administration envisions and larger, more controversial bailouts are likely to be coming soon.
US private sector cuts 697,000 jobs 04 Mar 2009 The US private sector shed 697,000 jobs in February, a survey of business employment showed yesterday. "The nightmare continues," said Ian Sheperdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics. "Every indicator tells us that employment is tanking across the economy."
stamp enrollment jumps to record 31.8 million 05 Mar 2009 A
record 31.8 million Americans received food stamps at the latest count,
an increase of 700,000 people in one month with the United States in
Gay marriage backers grilled by California judges 05 Mar 2009 California's Supreme Court justices on Thursday grilled lawyers seeking to overturn a ban on gay marriage, signaling to some that the court would uphold the state constitutional amendment on same-sex weddings passed by voters in November.
Obama's blockbuster gift for Brown to reaffirm the 'special relationship': 25 DVDs 05 Mar 2009 He had put clearly great thought into giving the U.S. President lavish gifts to signify Britain's 'special relationship' with the U.S. During his historic trip to Washington, Gordon Brown gave Barack Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet - once called HMS President... Mr Brown also took to Washington a framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to mark Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria. He also gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert... Despite being leader of the world's most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD. It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas - and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US bond.
'The US government began erecting the legal scaffolding for a full-blown military dictatorship.' US Justice Department memos: the specter of military dictatorship --An October 23, 2001, memo insisted that nothing in the Constitution or the law could stop him. (WSWS) 04 Mar 2009 A set of nine secret memos released by the US Justice Department Monday reveal that in the weeks and months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks the US government began erecting the legal scaffolding for a full-blown military dictatorship... In response to an inquiry from the White House concerning its authority to deploy US troops within the United States itself, [Deputy Assistant Attorney General John] Yoo and then-Special Counsel Robert Delahunty issued an October 23, 2001, memo insisting that nothing in the Constitution or the law could stop him.
of Memos Fuels Push for Inquiry Into Bush's Terror-Fighting Policies
04 Mar 2009 A day after releasing a set of Bush administration opinions
that claimed sweeping presidential powers in fighting terrorism, the
Obama administration faced new pressure on Tuesday to support a broad
inquiry into interrogation, detention, surveillance and other practices
under President [sic] George W. Bush. The disclosure of the nine formerly
secret documents fueled calls by lawmakers for an independent commission
to investigate and make public what the Bush administration did in the
'Israel seriously considering military action against Iran' 05 Mar 2009 Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday. The report also says Israel's time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.
Tehran missiles 'can hit Israel' 05 Mar 2009 Iranian missiles can now reach Israeli nuclear sites, a top Iranian military commander said yesterday. "Today, Iran has missiles with the range of 2,000km, and based on that all Israeli land including that regime's nuclear facilities are in the range of our missile capabilities," Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said in comments carried by the ISNA news agency.
US sanctions 11 firms tied to Iran bank 04 Mar 2009 The Obama administration on Tuesday imposed sanctions on 11 companies tied to an Iranian bank that the United States and others say is helping to fund Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The penalties announced by the Treasury bar any transactions between the firms, which are either owned by or linked to Iran's Bank Melli or its subsidiaries, and US citizens and freeze any assets the firms may have in US jurisdictions.
Israeli jet strikes on a car in northern Gaza, two killed 05 Mar 2009 Israeli war jet on Wednesday evening launched a missile at a car that drove in northern Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians and wounding five others, medics and witnesses said. Gaza emergency chief Mo'aweya Hassanein told reporters that two Palestinians were killed and five injured in an Israeli airstrike on a local car that drove in northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli airstrike was in response to ongoing rocket attacks carried out by small groups of militants on southern Israel, in spite of a fragile ceasefire...
The pasta, paper and hearing aids that could threaten Israeli security --Macaroni was considered a luxury item, not a humanitarian necessity, they were told. 02 Mar 2009 Members of the highest-ranking American delegation to tour Gaza were shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade against the Hamas-ruled territory included such food staples as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste. "When have lentil bombs been going off lately? Is someone going to kill you with a piece of macaroni?" asked Congressman Brian Laird. It was only after Senator John Kerry, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, raised the issue with Defence Minister Ehud Barak after their trip last month that Israel allowed the pasta in. Macaroni was considered a luxury item, not a humanitarian necessity, they were told.
Ministries take 'full responsibility' for anthrax vaccine trials --A quarter of participants were given an American version of the vaccine, while 75 percent were injected with the Israeli vaccine, which had not been previously tested. 04 Mar 2009 The Defense Ministry, Health Ministry and IDF said they took "full responsibility" for all side effects suffered by participants in a test of an anthrax vaccine, in a joint statement issued Wednesday. The statement will be submitted to the High Court next week as a reply to petitions submitted by two IDF soldiers who took part in the trial and suffered negative aftereffects. The vaccine trial, code-named Omer 2, took place between 1998 and 2006, and sought volunteers from elite IDF units.
Robert Gates sees no end to Afghanistan conflict 04 Mar 2009 The US Secretary of Defence has said he is not able to foresee a time when the US might pull out of Afghanistan. Speaking at a joint news conference at the Pentagon, Robert Gates said: "I think it's impossible to put a date on when you might firmly say all the troops are coming out."
Afghanistan blast kills three Nato soldiers --Canadian troops die in roadside ambush --Suicide bomber targets Bagram air base 04 Mar 2009 Attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan intensified when three Canadian soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the south of the country yesterday and a suicide bomber struck near a key US military base today. Brigadier General Jon Vance, the commander of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, said the ambush happened in Kandahar province late yesterday.
Bombers Strike Outside Afghanistan Mega-Base By Nathan Hodge 04 Mar 2009 Earlier today, a car bomb struck outside the gates of Bagram Air Base, the main U.S. operations hub in Afghanistan. According to a news release from Combined Joint Task Force 101, the driver sprinted away from the vehicle before it detonated; moments later, the explosives he was carrying detonated as he approached the main gate. Three contractors were injured.
Pakistan poses global security worry, says top US official 04 Mar 2009 The top US diplomat in Kabul warned yesterday that Pakistan posed a bigger security challenge to America and the world than Afghanistan, as Islamabad grappled with the latest terrorist attack on its soil and the escalating Taliban 'insurgency' on its north-western border. Christopher Dell, who currently runs the US embassy in Kabul, was speaking in the aftermath of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore and the news that Pakistani Taliban groups had formed a common front to attack Nato troops in Afghanistan.
GOP resolution to tout Iraq surge 04 Mar 2009 In a largely symbolic move designed to send a message to President Obama, a group of House lawmakers is introducing a resolution chronicling the success [!?!] of the troop surge in Iraq and warning the new commander in chief that if he changes strategy, he takes ownership of whatever happens on his watch.
Iraq attacks kill 11 04 Mar 2009 A series of attacks on Iraqi police, soldiers and a pro-US militia leader on Wednesday left at least 11 people dead and 33 wounded, police said. Local Sahwa militia leader Dhiab al-Ali, his wife, son and grandson were killed when a roadside bomb hit their car near Balad in the province of Diyala, north of Baghdad, the police said.
Officials: Bomber kills 3 in Baghdad attack 04 Mar 2009 A suicide bomber set off a blast among members of a police intelligence unit Wednesday, killing three people and wounding others, officials said. The attack in central Baghdad was part of a spate of bloodshed around Iraq, including a suicide car bombing that killed at least two police officers in Mosul and the slaying of an anti-insurgent tribal leader and his family north of Baghdad.
Wartime troop brain injures could reach 360,000 04 Mar 2009 The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday.
Soldier's family suing KBR says it violated confidentiality order 04 Mar 2009 The parents of a soldier electrocuted [by KBR] in the shower in Iraq claim that the military contractor they are suing for wrongful death violated a confidentiality order it pushed for by releasing information to the media. Yesterday, lawyers for the family of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth argued that attorneys for KBR Inc. should face sanctions for their behavior.
Russian general says U.S. may have planned satellite collision 03 Mar 2009 A collision between U.S. and Russian satellites in early February may have been a test of new U.S. technology to intercept and destroy satellites rather than an accident, a Russian military expert has said... Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Leonid Shershnev, a former head of Russia's military space intelligence, said in an interview published by the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper on Tuesday that the U.S. satellite involved in the collision was used by the U.S. military as part of the "dual-purpose" Orbital Express research project, which began in 2007. Orbital Express was a space mission managed by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and a team led by engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).
Unopened claims letters hidden at VA offices --In New York, 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents emerged in December. 04 Mar 2009 A new report about Veterans Affairs Department employees squirreling away tens of thousands of unopened letters related to benefits claims is sparking fresh concerns that veterans and their survivors are being cheated out of money. VA officials acknowledge further credibility problems based on a new report of a previously undisclosed 2007 incident in which workers at a Detroit regional office turned in 16,000 pieces of unprocessed mail and 717 documents turned up in New York in December during amnesty periods in which workers were promised no one would be penalized.
'Say please' at U. S. border nets pepper spray 04 Mar 2009 A Canadian who demanded courtesy from a U.S. border security guard says he was pepper sprayed and held in custody for three hours for asking the disrespectful officer to "say please" when ordering him to turn his car off during a search. Desiderio Fortunato, a Coquitlam, B.C., resident, said after he was sprayed he was forcefully taken into custody by several officers. He was held for three hours before he was released without being allowed entry into the United States.
House Judiciary Committee Secures Rove and Miers Testimony in U.S. Attorney Firings 04 Mar 2009 In an agreement reached today between the former Bush administration and Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers will testify before the House Judiciary Committee in transcribed depositions under penalty of perjury. It was agreed that invocations of official privileges would be significantly limited.
Report: Diebold Voting System Has 'Delete' Button for Erasing Audit Logs By Kim Zetter 03 Mar 2009 After three months of investigation, California's secretary of state has released a report examining why a voting system made by Premier Election Solutions (formerly known as Diebold) lost about 200 ballots in Humboldt County during November's presidential election. But the most startling information in the state's 13-page report is not why the system lost votes... but that some versions of Diebold's vote tabulation system, known as the Global Election Management System (Gems), include a button that allows someone to delete audit logs from the system.
Brown says U.S. should lead world out of recession 04 Mar 2009 The United States should seize the moment and lead the world out of recession but other countries need to play their part too, Prime Minister Gordon Brown told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday. In a speech to the U.S. Congress, Brown urged America to resist protectionism, fight climate change and take advantage of the huge goodwill towards it after the election of President Barack Obama.
Bair Says Insurance Fund Could Be Insolvent This Year 04 Mar 2009 Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said the fund it uses to protect customer deposits at U.S. banks could dry up amid a surge in bank failures, as she responded to an industry outcry against new fees approved by the agency. "Without these assessments, the deposit insurance fund could become insolvent this year," Bair wrote in a March 2 letter to the industry.
Ex-Leaders of Countrywide Profit From Bad Loans 04 Mar 2009 Countrywide Financial and its top executives would be on most lists of those who share blame for the nation’s economic crisis. After all, the banking behemoth made risky loans to tens of thousands of Americans, helping set off a chain of events that has the economy staggering. A dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess. Stanford L. Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his team have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect. [See: Arming the Left: Is the time now? By Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003.]
Stanford investors sue SEC, receiver over assets 04 Mar 2009 Stanford Group Co clients sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Marshals Office and the firm's court-appointed receiver on Wednesday, arguing the government had no right to freeze their assets. Allen Stanford, the financial firm's billionaire chairman, two top aides and three of his companies are accused by the SEC of a long-running Ponzi scheme involving $8 billion in high-yield certificates of deposit.
US top court: FDA-approved labels no legal shield 04 Mar 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the drugmaker Wyeth on Wednesday, holding that pharmaceutical companies can be held liable for harm from medicines that carry warnings approved by federal regulators. By a 6-to-3 vote in a major defeat for the pharmaceutical industry, the high court ruled that U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling approvals do not pre-empt state laws and shield companies from damages as part of liability claims.
Bid to Undo Bush Memo on Threats to Species 04 Mar 2009 A few weeks before he left office, President [sic] George W. Bush told federal officials that, in effect, they did not have to bother getting the advice of wildlife experts before taking actions that might harm plants or animals protected by the Endangered Species Act. On Tuesday, President Obama said that, in effect, they did.
of presidential dictatorship' Bush
administration memos on presidential powers stun legal experts
--Congress had prohibited the use of torture by U.S. agents, and said
"no citizen shall be imprisoned" in this country without legal charges.
The memos said neither law could stand in the way of the president's
power as commander in chief. 03 Mar 2009 Legal experts said Tuesday
that they were taken aback by the claim in the latest batch of secret
memos that the president alone had the power to set the rules during
OLC Authorized Pentagon to Ignore Bill of Rights On U.S. Soil By Daphne Eviatar 02 Mar 2009 In an October 2001 memo released today, then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel John Yoo advised the Pentagon’s top lawyer that the president may not only deploy the military within the United States, but it may ignore the Bill of Rights in the process of doing so. Yoo and special counsel Robert Delahunty wrote to Defense Department general counsel William Haynes that the president has "ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States," and that the use of military force "need not follow the exact procedures that govern law enforcement operations."
Department of Justice Releases Nine Office of Legal Counsel Memoranda and Opinions 02 Mar 2009 The Department of Justice today released two previously undisclosed Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memoranda and seven previously undisclosed opinions. "Americans deserve a government that operates with transparency and openness," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
CIA destroyed terror interrogation tapes --The CIA has admitted to destroying 92 videotapes of interrogation sessions with terrorist suspects. 02 Mar 2009 The revelation that far more tapes had been destroyed than previously acknowledged came in a letter filed by US government lawyers in New York. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit seeking more details of the Bush regime's terror interrogation programmes following the September 11 attacks.
'Impossible' to set date for Afghan withdrawal: Gates 03 Mar 2009 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [Bush war criminal, retained by Obama] said on Tuesday it was far too early to set a date for the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, where NATO faces a growing insurgency. "We would all like to have a situation in which our mission in Afghanistan has been completed and we can bring our troops home. I do not see that happening anytime in the near future," Gates told a news conference with his French counterpart, Herve Morin.
Murtha says Afghanistan plan lacks goal 03 Mar 2009 Rep. John Murtha said Tuesday the situation in Afghanistan is so challenging that he estimated it would take 600,000 troops to fully squelch violence in the country. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the powerful subcommittee that funds the military, said his figure was based on the country's history of rigorous fighting and its size.
U.S. Airstrike Kills 7 in Pakistan 02 Mar 2009
US soldier killed in attack on base in Iraq 03 Mar 2009 'Insurgents' attacked a main U.S.-Iraqi base Tuesday in the northern city of Mosul, killing one American soldier and striking directly at the Iraqi command center for an offensive against the militants.
KBR Posts $88 Million Fourth-Quarter Profit 03 Mar 2009 Engineering and construction firm [terrorists] KBR Incorporated has reported a fourth-quarter 2008 net income of $88 million, up 23.9% year over year, on strong revenue across the board, especially in the Services business unit. Net income for the year totaled $319 million, compared with $302 million in 2007.
Cheney Deposition Is Ordered in Lawsuit by Protester 03 Mar 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney will have to give his account -- under oath, in a legal deposition -- of what happened at a Colorado ski resort in June 2006 when a man stepped up to protest the Iraq war and was arrested, a federal district judge ruled Monday. The protester, Steven Howards, sued five Secret Service agents in Mr. Cheney’s security detail after the encounter at the Beaver Creek resort.
Iran "not close" to nuclear weapon: Gates 01 Mar 2009 Iran is not close to having a nuclear weapon, which gives the United States and others time to try to persuade Tehran to abandon its suspected atomic arms program, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday. "They're not close to a stockpile, they're not close to a weapon at this point, and so there is some time," Gates said on NBC television's "Meet The Press."
Russia hails new US tone on missiles 04 Mar 2009 Russia and the US yesterday dismissed suggestions of a "quid pro quo" deal on Washington's missile defence plans for central Europe. But, speaking after it was revealed that Barack Obama had sent Dmitry Medvedev a letter discussing the topic, the countries' presidents stressed improved prospects for co-operation.
Pakistani police 'were warned' of terror attack on Sri Lankan cricketers 04 Mar 2009 Pakistani police have been accused of having strong intelligence well in advance of yesterday's terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team but failing to deploy forces along the team's route. Opposition politicians and Pakistani media made the claims as the Sri Lankan team arrived home for treatment in Colombo and to reunite with relieved relatives.
Pakistan declares: 'We are at war' --Pakistan in shock [?] after masked gunmen ambush Sri Lankan cricket team, leaving seven people dead and six players injured 04 Mar 2009 Pakistan declared that it was in a "state of war" after masked gunmen ambushed the Sri Lankan cricket team as they were on their way to play a Test match, injuring six players and their English assistant coach as well as killing seven Pakistanis. The spectacular military-style raid in Lahore bore marked similarities to the assault in Mumbai last year, which left 172 people dead.
Military jet had chance to land before fatal crash 03 Mar 2009 A pilot struggling to control a crippled Marine Corps jet bypassed a chance to land at a coastal Navy base and instead flew toward an inland base, where minutes later the fighter crashed into a San Diego neighborhood and killed four people, recordings released Tuesday revealed. Military officials announced they had disciplined 13 Marines for a series of avoidable mechanical and human errors that led to the crash, which killed four members of the same family, including two children.
Scumbag supplicates himself before Lard Ass: R.N.C. Chairman Apologizes to Limbaugh in Flap Over His Role 02 Mar 2009 The new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, apologized to Rush Limbaugh on Monday after describing him in a television interview over the weekend as an "entertainer" who made incendiary and sometimes ugly remarks, party officials said. Mr. Steele called Mr. Limbaugh after the radio host belittled Mr. Steele on his show, questioning his authority and saying the new Republican leader was off "to a shaky start."
Fed Eliminates Compensation Limits for TALF Program 03 Mar 2009 The Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury eliminated executive-compensation limits for companies that bundle loans accepted under a new $1 trillion program, indicating the rules may have hampered efforts to start the plan. The rules won't apply to the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility out of "desire to encourage market participants to stimulate credit formation and utilize the facility," the New York Fed said in a document on its Web site today.
U.S. senator wants Fed to name loan recipients 03 Mar 2009 A U.S. senator berated Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday for refusing to name banks that borrow from the central bank and introduced legislation that would require public disclosure. In a testy exchange at a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), said he found it "unacceptable" that the central bank risked taxpayer money without detailing where the funds went.
US banks may need more bail-outs, says Ben Bernanke 03 Mar 2009 The Chairman of the Federal Reserve warned that the US Government may have to pour even more cash into the twin bail-outs of its financial and economic systems. Ben Bernanke said the White House would have to consider increasing the scope of its $750bn banking rescue package, as well as readying further aggressive measures to shore up the world's biggest economy.
Obama: Bush government tried to undermine unions 03 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the Bush administration had tried to undermine organized labor and he assured U.S. labor leaders they would always have a "place at the table" under his presidency. "We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests," Obama said in prepared remarks for a video address to the executive board of the AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor federation, meeting in Miami.
Alaska's senators seek to change polar bear language in omnibus 03 Mar 2009 Alaska's two senators [dirtbags] want to throw a roadblock in front of the Democratic push to do away with a pair of Bush-era Endangered Species Act decisions. The fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill in the Senate would give the Obama administration significant leeway to reverse two controversial endangered species rules -- one that scaled back longstanding safeguards for endangered species and another that limited protections for the polar bear.
Obama overrides Bush rule on Endangered Species Act 03 Mar 2009 President Obama on Tuesday overrode the Bush regime on a key step in applying the Endangered Species Act, restoring a requirement that federal agencies consult with experts before launching construction projects that could affect the well-being of threatened species. Environmentalists said reinstating the requirement blocks the Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Forest Service and others from "nibbling away" at crucial wildlife habitat.
Scientists, Conservationists Cheer Obama at Interior Dept. By Chris Good 03 Mar 2009 The march away from Bush continues today as President Obama issued a memorandum canceling (pending further review) a Bush edict pertaining to the Endangered Species Act, and evidently some Interior Department employees were happy enough to cheer about it.
EPA to test schools' air for toxic chemicals 02 Mar 2009 The Environmental Protection Agency will soon begin testing the air around schools for toxic contaminants. The $2.25 million program announced Monday will be the first to specifically target air contamination near schools.
Sarah Brown gives Malia and Sasha Obama clothes from Top Shop 04 Mar 2009 Sarah Brown has given Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters a gift of British style from the high street chain Top Shop. The Prime Minister's wife talked for more than an hour with Mrs Obama, the First Lady, in the East Wing of the White House. She personally gave the gifts to the President's daughters Malia, 10 and Sasha, 7. The Prime Minister's wife also gave the girls children's books by British authors. In return, Mrs Obama presented Mrs Brown with a model of the Presidential helicopter Marine One to give to her two boys Fraser and John.
Bush Lawyers Approved Constitution-Free Domestic Military Ops, Docs Show By Ryan Singel 02 Mar 2009 The Justice Department secretly authorized President [sic] George Bush to use the military inside the United States to snoop on, raid and even kill citizens in order to fight terrorism without regard to the Fourth or Fifth Amendment, according to a Oct 23, 2001 memo released by the Obama Administration Monday. "We do not think a military commander carrying out a raid on a terrorist cell would be required to demonstrate probable cause or to obtain a warrant," the Office of Legal Counsel memo said. "We think that the better view is that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military operations designed to deter and prevent future terrorist attacks." Department of Justice special counsel Robert Delahunty and John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general best known for penning a memo authorizing government agents to torture suspected terrorists, wrote the memo after the administration asked whether it could use the military inside the United States.
Administration Memos Claimed Vast War Powers 02 Mar 2009 The
Bush regime claimed unfettered presidential powers in the war
Bush-era memo claims unfettered rendition powers 02 Mar 2009 A newly released Bush administration legal memo from 2002 claimed that the president has an unfettered right to transfer suspected terrorists to other governments without regard for whether they would be subject to torture. The memo appears to underpin the Bush regime's use of extraordinary rendition, a secret [kidnapping] program of moving terror detainees to nations where they were imprisoned and, in some cases, reportedly tortured.
CIA Destroyed 92 Videotapes of Interrogations, U.S. Filing Says 02 Mar 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency destroyed 92 videotapes of interrogations of suspected terrorists, government lawyers said in a letter to the U.S. judge overseeing a fight over the records.
Govt condemns waterboarding as torture 03 Mar 2009 US Attorney
General Eric Holder has ruled out the use of "waterboarding" as an interrogation
technique for terrorism suspects, calling it a form of torture that
the Obama administration could never condone. Mr Holder's declaration
underscored President Barack Obama's break with the former Bush administration's
put in many other proteins into that vaccine; we
are using it like a carrier.' Experts
insert H5N1 virus into smallpox vaccine to fight bird flu --Vaccine
uses a Vietnam strain of the H5N1 virus 01 Mar 2009 Scientists in
Hong Kong and the United States have developed an experimental H5N1
bird flu vaccine for people by piggybacking it on the
Resistance to flu drug widespread in U.S.: study 02 Mar 2009 Virtually all cases of the most common strain of flu circulating in the United States now resist the main drug used to treat it, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday. CDC researchers said 98 percent of all flu samples from the H1N1 strain were resistant to Roche AG's Tamiflu. Four patients infected with the resistant strain have died, including two children. [See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu 25 Oct 2009 The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.]
FBI warns of Mumbai-type terror attacks on US cities 24 Feb 2009 Extremists "with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons" to sow terror, raising the spectre that the Mumbai attacks could embolden terrorists seeking to attack US cities, the top US investigation agency FBI warned. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is expanding its focus beyond Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and into splinter groups, radicals who try to enter the country through the visa waiver programme and "home-grown terrorists," FBI Director Robert S Mueller said at the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday. [See: Stock market "capitulation" needs shock trigger 26 Feb 2009 Are global stock markets set for "capitulation" after sliding to six-year lows and wiping out a stuttering recent recovery? So for capitulation to happen, markets will have to be hit by a big, negative news event, and for the rebound to be sustainable, the overall environment would have to improve.]
Scandal-Ridden Blackwater CEO Steps Down 02 Mar 2009 The CEO and founder of the scandal-ridden security firm once known as Blackwater USA resigned Monday morning as part of the company's attempt to rebrand itself after being fired earlier this year by the State Department from its job protecting diplomats in Iraq. The [mercenary] firm officially changed its name last month from Blackwater to Xe. Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL and the son of a wealthy Republican campaign donor, founded Blackwater in 1997.
Taliban rivals unite to fight US troop surge --Taliban rivals unite to fight US troop surge 03 Mar 2009 Three rival Pakistani Taliban groups have agreed to form a united front against international forces in Afghanistan in a move likely to intensify the insurgency just as thousands of extra US soldiers begin pouring into the country as part of Barack Obama's surge plan. The Guardian has learned that three of the most powerful warlords in the region have settled their differences and come together under a grouping calling itself Shura Ittihad-ul-Mujahideen, or Council of United Holy Warriors.
Medical watchdog criticises care of British troops 02 Mar 2009 Frontline medical treatment received by British troops is "exemplary" but there are worrying shortfalls in standards back home and at some overseas bases, reports an independent investigation. The first-ever review into Defence Medical Services (DMS) called for "unsafe" ambulances to be immediately replaced and for staff to be trained in safeguarding soldiers under the age of 18, who are still legally children.
With Iraq plan, Obama embraces US militarism By Patrick Martin 02 Mar 2009 In extending the full-scale US occupation of Iraq for another 18 months, and acceding to the timetable already adopted by the Bush administration for a tentative pullout by the end of 2011, President Barack Obama has done more than betray the hopes of the millions of antiwar voters who supported his candidacy in 2008.
Olmert orders Barak to act swiftly against rocket attacks 02 Mar 2009 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered Defense Minister Ehud Barak yesterday to implement a military response to the ongoing rocket fire as soon as possible, in accordance with a cabinet decision taken last week.
Iran asks Interpol to arrest Israeli war criminals 02 Mar 2009 Interpol begins studying Iran's request for the arrest of 15 senior Israeli officials over war crimes committed during the Gaza offensive. At a news briefing on Sunday, Tehran's Public Prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, said that Iran had referred the case to the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO or Interpol), drawing on the organization's charter and Israel's violation of the Geneva Conventions. [Note: This item replaces Press TV's deceptive headline and summary, published 01 March and disseminated by CLG yesterday.]
Science Museum accused over links to Israel --Protesters claim it is promoting universities that aided recent military assault on Gaza 03 Mar 2009 The Science Museum, one of Britain's most prestigious public institutions, was embroiled in a row last night after being accused of promoting Israeli universities whose research was used in the country's military campaign in Gaza. More than 400 academics, a Nobel laureate and the former chair of the Science Select Committee called on the museum to cancel workshops due to be held this week that promote Israeli scientific achievements to schoolchildren.
Israel's attorney-general mulls indicting Olmert 02 Mar 2009 Israel's attorney-general said on Sunday he was considering indicting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on suspicion of illegally receiving funds from an American businessman. Olmert, who denies any wrongdoing, would be the first Israeli prime minister to be indicted should Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decide to charge him with criminal offenses.
US, North Korean generals meet amid new tension 02 Mar 2009 American and North Korean generals sat down together this morning for the first time in six years, after the US was accused of deliberate provocation in the tense border zone between the two Koreas. The meeting, in the frontier area of Panmunjom on the dividing line between North and South Korea, comes at a time of increasing tension over the North’s preparations for firing a long range rocket, which could potentially strike targets in the far western US.
Memo questions Los Alamos lab's control of plutonium 27 Feb 2009 In a Feb. 23 memo to the director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, officials in the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration said inaccurate inventory records at the lab's plutonium research, development and processing facility raised doubts about the lab's ability to "deter and detect theft and diversion of special nuclear material." The memo was in response to the findings of a special review team's assessment of an "incident of security concern" involving amounts of nuclear material "that exceeded alarm limits with no suspicion of theft or diversion" earlier this month.
Brown woos Obama on global deal 01 Mar 2009 Gordon Brown hopes to forge a partnership with President Barack Obama in Washington this week, to call for a "global new deal" to lift the world out of recession. As he prepares for his first White House visit since the president’s inauguration, the prime minister has hinted that he is ready to make further tax cuts to boost the UK economy.
Dow Below 6,800; Lowest Close Since '97 03 Mar 2009 Investor worries about the economy in general, and financial companies in particular, continued to erode the markets on Monday as the Dow Jones industrial average fell below 7,000 for first time since October 1997. The Dow fell 299.64 points, or 4.2 percent, to 6,763.29, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 34.27 points, or 4.7 percent, to 700.82. The Nasdaq ended 54.99 points, or 3.9 percent, lower, at 1,322.85.
FTSE closes at lowest level in 6 years 02 Mar 2009 The top share index slid 5.3 percent on Monday to its lowest closing level in nearly six years, led by financials after HSBC's plan of a deep-discount rights issue and AIG's huge quarterly net loss. The FTSE 100 closed 204.26 points lower at 3,625.83, extending Friday's 2.2 percent losses.
New credit threat to banks 03 Mar 2009 Bad debts and the global downturn are threatening the credit ratings of Australia's Big Four banks, while new figures show business profitability is suffering its biggest fall in almost two decades.
A.I.G. Reports Loss of $61.7 Billion as U.S. Gives More Aid 03 Mar 2009 The federal government agreed Monday morning to provide an additional $30 billion in taxpayer money to the American International Group and loosen the terms of its huge loan to the insurer, even as the insurance giant reported a$61.7 billion loss, the biggest quarterly loss in history.
Whales die in mass beaching 02 Mar 2009 Rescue personnel say more than 140 pilot whales died after beaching themselves on King Island, northwest of Tasmania. "It's pretty darn sad, you can hear them crying," John Nievaart, one of an estimated 200 rescuers trying to keep the whales hydrated with wet bedspreads, blankets and towels, told The Australian.
140 pilot whales die on remote island 02 Mar 2009 More than 140 pilot whales have died after a pod of nearly 200 beached themselves on King Island, northwest of Tasmania. About 194 pilot whales and six or seven bottlenose dolphins began stranding themselves on Naracoopa Beach on Sunday evening.
If the police force is unable to cope, the Government has a contingency plan to deploy troops on the streets of Britain's major cities. MI5 Alert On Bank Riots --Army put on standby --MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists 01 Mar 2009 Top secret contingency plans have been drawn up to counter the threat posed by a "summer of discontent" in Britain. The "double-whammy" of the worst economic crisis in living memory and a motley crew of political extremists [? Underestimate numbers at your own peril, morons!] determined to stir up civil disorder has led to the extraordinary step of the Army being put on standby. MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists they fear could inflame anger over job losses and payouts to failed bankers. One of the most notorious anarchist websites, Class War, asks: "How to keep warm during the credit crunch? Burn a banker." Such remarks have rung alarm bells in Scotland Yard and the Ministry of Defence.
Stock market "capitulation" needs shock trigger 26 Feb 2009 Are global stock markets set for "capitulation" after sliding to six-year lows and wiping out a stuttering recent recovery? One key factor is preventing that sharp, panicky selling of shares that cleans the stables out and heralds an equities rebound: the piecemeal nature of government attempts to rescue banks and the economy... " So for capitulation to happen, markets will have to be hit by a big, negative news event, and for the rebound to be sustainable, the overall environment would have to improve. "We need to see an event that would shock everybody -- a big U.S. bank failure, or a country in Europe going broke," said Mark Bon, fund manager at Canada Life.
Defense contractor in Bethesda, MD, had file sharing program on a system that also contained highly sensitive blueprints for Marine One. Possible Threat to Obama's Security Discovered --Sensitive Information About President's Helicopter Found In Iran 01 Mar 2009 (PA) Target 11 has learned a Cranberry company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks discovered what it said is a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama’s helicopter. Tiversa employees found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.
Revealed: 'There was no Cabinet debate in run-up to war,' says Short as Government refuses to release minutes 01 Mar 2009 The Government is refusing to release minutes of Cabinet meetings before the Iraq War because they would reveal there was no discussion on the issue. Details surrounding two crucial meetings on the eve of the conflict were laid bare for the first time yesterday when former Cabinet Minister Clare Short, who was present at both, gave a full account of what happened. She told The Mail on Sunday the main reason for the 'scandalous' decision not to publish the minutes was not to protect confidential discussions about the war, but to cover up the fact there was no such discussion.
Iran's supreme leader warns against "long-term" U.S. stay in Iraq 01 Mar 2009 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah AliKhamenei warned Saturday that the United States was planning a "long-term stay" in Iraq, Iran's Press TV reported. "The occupiers are preparing the ground for a long-term stay in Iraq. This is a serious matter which Iraqi authorities should not neglect," Khamenei said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
Obama announces plan to continue US military occupation of Iraq By Joseph Kishore 28 Feb 2009 President Obama formally announced his administration's plans for the continued US military occupation of Iraq on Friday, in remarks delivered at the Camp Lejeune marine base in North Carolina. Far from bringing the war to an end, the plans will maintain present troop levels for one year and ensure a substantial military presence for at least three years, through the end of 2011.
'Mr McCain is now one of the chief cheerleaders for Mr Obama's plan.' Republicans line up behind new withdrawal timetable 28 Feb 2009 During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama pledged to remove combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of entering the White House. John McCain, his opponent, strongly disagreed with the imposition of an artificial timetable, saying he would rather lose the presidency than the war. It is a measure of how much has changed over the past six months that Mr McCain is now one of the chief cheerleaders for Mr Obama's plan to withdraw US combat troops from Iraq by August 2010.
US soldier guilty of Iraq murder 28 Feb 2009 An American military jury has found a US army officer guilty of the murder of an Iraqi detainee. The jury in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, also convicted 1st Lt Michael Behenna of assaulting Ali Mansour Mohammed near Baiji, north of Baghdad, last May.
Guard members likely exposed by KBR to toxin in Iraq 28 Feb
2009 The West Virginia National Guard is trying to track down 130 reservists
who were probably exposed to a cancer-causing chemical in 2003 while
guarding a water facility in southern Iraq. The move follows similar
efforts by the Indiana and Oregon National Guards, whose soldiers were
also believed to have been exposed to sodium dichromate. The soldiers
were guarding civilians who were repairing the Qarmat Ali plant under
the supervision of Houston-based
Israel's death squads: A soldiers story --A former member of an Israeli assassination squad has broken his silence for the first time. He spoke to Donald Macintyre 01 Mar 2009 The Israeli military's policy of targeted killings has been described from the inside for the first time. In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, and in his testimony to an ex-soldiers' organisation, Breaking the Silence, a former member of an assassination squad has told of his role in a botched ambush that killed two Palestinian bystanders, as well as the two militants targeted.
I call bullsh*t. Mullen: Iran has fissile materials for bomb --Top U.S. military official says an armed Iran would be 'bad outcome' 01 Mar 2009 The top U.S. military official said Sunday that Iran has sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon, declaring it would be a "very, very bad outcome" should Tehran move forward with a bomb. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Bush sociopath, retained by Obama], offered the assessment when questioned in a broadcast interview about a recent report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on the state of Iran's uranium enrichment program.
Missile threat to British troops 01 Mar 2009 Iran is supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with surface-to-air missiles capable of destroying a helicopter, according to American intelligence sources. They believe the Taliban wants to use the SA-14 Gremlins missiles to launch a "spectacular" attack against coalition forces in Helmand, where 'insurgents' claim to be gaining the upper hand.
Declassified NATO documents describing the West's war strategy in Afghanistan By Jan 28 Feb 2009 Here is a declassified NATO document which I see is marked for "Official Use" only. Should I have this? Well, I do. (Sorry NATO!) Anyhow, this document explains how they will fight the war in Afghanistan... Read these documents below and realise that these wars will suck money out of the West for decades to come.
Military to use new gel that stops bullets 27 Feb 2009 A new "bullet-busting" shock-absorbent gel is set to save the lives of British soldiers by substantially reinforcing their helmets. The Ministry of Defence has awarded £100,000 to a small company that has developed a special substance that hardens immediately on impact. It is hoped that the shock-absorbing substance will soon be fitted onto the inside of soldiers' helmets reducing in half the kinetic energy of a bullet or piece of shrapnel and hopefully making them impenetrable.
US Senate panel to probe interrogations, in secret 27 Feb 2009 Responding to calls for an accounting of prisoner abuses in the war on terrorism, the head of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee said on Friday her panel would 'investigate' the CIA's treatment of suspects. The [useless] sessions will take place behind closed doors and it remains unclear whether a public version of the findings will be released, a Senate aide said.
Groups Request Special Prosecutor For Bush, Cheney, et alia --Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials By David Swanson 24 Feb 2009 We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President [sic] George W. Bush, former Vice President [sic] Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
Terrorism Suspect Headed to U.S. Court --Obama Orders Military to Transfer Case 28 Feb 2009 President Obama directed military officials to transfer suspected 'al-Qaeda' sleeper agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri into the custody of U.S. law enforcement yesterday, reversing a Bush-era order that essentially kept the prisoner outside the reach of American courts for more than five years. Marri's legal status had been closely watched in part because human rights advocates used him as a test case before the Supreme Court. They hope to repudiate a policy that allowed the government to indefinitely detain legal U.S. residents without charging them with a crime.
Drought 'Oddities' By Lori Price 01 Mar 2009 Suddenly, almost inexplicably and overnight - there's a newly discovered big water shortage in the US! Keep your eyes on the GOP prize. Under cover of the Bush Depression and (global warming-induced) drought, corpora-terrorist trolls may present a 'solution:' Privatize part of the US water supply. First, the inevitable state of emergency is declared.
Police 'over the top' at climate camp --More than 2,000 'potentially harmful' items were confiscated from protesters by officers - including balloons, crayons and a clown's outfit 01 Mar 2009 Police have been accused of setting a "dangerous precedent" when they confiscated hundreds of items of property - including children's crayons, a clown's outfit and a pensioner's walking stick - from people attending an environmental protest camp at Kingsnorth power station. A list of more than 2,000 possessions taken from protesters, who were repeatedly searched going to and from the camp last August, has been obtained through a freedom of information request by Liberal Democrat justice spokesman David Howarth.
UK rules out charges against Pentagon hacker 26 Feb 2009 British prosecutors said on Thursday they would not bring charges against a computer expert accused by a U.S. attorney of the "biggest military hack of all time," dealing a blow to his bid to avoid extradition. Gary McKinnon was arrested by British police in 2002 after U.S. prosecutors charged him with illegally accessing computers, including the Pentagon, U.S. army, navy and NASA systems, and causing $700,000 worth of damage.
'The Defence Minister had strong objections to the material, so Aymeric had to go.' French professor sacked over 9/11 'conspiracy' theory 01 Mar 2009 An academic in France has been sacked by the Ministry of Defence after questioning the official version of events [lies] surrounding the 9/11 attacks. He now reportedly plans to sue the government. Aymeric Chauprade lost his job allegedly over the introduction to his latest book about political crises around the world, and more specifically, that the 9/11 attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. were an orchestrated "American-Israeli conspiracy".
[CID: Chauprade lodges a complaint against Morin for "discrimination" before the court of Justice of the Republic] CID: Chauprade porte plainte contre Morin pour "discrimination" devant la Cour de Justice de la République 13 Feb 2009 Il avait promis de "la bagarre", nous y sommes. Aymeric Chauprade, qui a été congédié le 5 février du Collège interarmées de Défense à la suite de la parution d'un texte mettant en doute ce qu'il appelle la "version officielle" des attentats du 11 septembre, estime que le ministre de la Défense Hervé Morin "a commis un acte de discrimination au sens des dispositions des articles 225-1 et 225-2 du Code Pénal qui punit de trois ans de prison le fait de sanctionner autrui pour ses idées". Son avocat, Maître Antoine Beauquier va saisir la Cour de Justice de la République pour obtenir des sanctions à l’encontre du ministre de la Défense.
Gregg aided former base as he invested there 27 Feb 2009 Sen. Judd Gregg, President Barack Obama's former nominee for commerce secretary, won taxpayer money for redevelopment of a shuttered Air Force base where he and his brother had invested in commercial property, an Associated Press investigation found. Gregg, R-N.H., has personally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg's office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base. Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping to arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.
Top NY legal officer demands bonus list from BofA CEO 26 Feb 2009 New York's top legal officer on Thursday demanded Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis provide names of Merrill Lynch executives who received 2008 bonuses, and how much they got, before the bank's takeover of the firm in January. Executive compensation is a burning issue in the financial industry and challenges to pay are being led by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, whose office deposed former Merrill CEO John Thain on Tuesday for a second time over $3.6 billion in bonuses.
AIG to get up to extra $30 billion in Fed assistance: WSJ 01 Mar 2009 American International Group Inc. will receive additional federal assistance of up to $30 billion as part of a revamped government bailout, The Wall Street Journal's online edition reported Sunday, citing unnamed sources. Under the plan, AIG will repay a big chunk of the $40 billion it owes the Federal Reserve with equity stakes in two AIG units overseas.
'A.I.G. is going to cost taxpayers at least $100 billion more before it finally stabilizes.' Propping Up a House of Cards By Joe Nocera 28 Feb 2009 Next week, perhaps as early as Monday, the American International Group is going to report the largest quarterly loss in history. Rumors suggest it will be around $60 billion, which will affirm, yet again, A.I.G.’s sorry status as the most crippled of all the nation’s wounded financial institutions... At the same time A.I.G. reveals its loss, the federal government is also likely to announce -- yet again! -- a new plan to save A.I.G., the third since September. So far the government has thrown $150 billion at the company, in loans, investments and equity injections, to keep it afloat... When you start asking around about how A.I.G. made money during the housing bubble, you hear the same two phrases again and again: "regulatory arbitrage" and "ratings arbitrage..." When the word is used to describe A.I.G.’s actions, however, it means something entirely different. It means taking advantage of a loophole in the rules. A less polite but perhaps more accurate term would be "scam."
U.S. regulators close banks in Nevada, Illinois 27 Feb 2009 U.S. regulators closed Security Savings Bank in Henderson, Nevada, and Heritage Community Bank in Glenwood, Illinois, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said on Friday.
Mortgage Delinquencies Jump 50 Percent 27 Feb 2009 More U.S. consumers are filing for personal bankruptcy or relying on credit cards as the recession deepens and unemployment rises, a top credit bureau executive told Reuters on Thursday. Dann Adams, president of U.S. Information Systems for Equifax Inc, reported a 37 percent rise in Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings.
When parents fail to pay lunch tab, Albuquerque school district serves cheese sandwiches to kids --Parents say policy penalizes some kids for being poor 26 Feb 2009 Faced with mounting unpaid lunch charges, Albuquerque Public Schools last month instituted a "cheese sandwich policy," serving a cold cheese sandwich, fruit and a milk carton to children whose parents are supposed to pay for some or all of their regular meals but fail to pick up the tab.
Obama picks Sebelius as health secretary-official 28 Feb 2009 President Barack Obama has decided to nominate Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head the Department of Health and Human Services and will formally announce the decision at a White House ceremony on Monday, a U.S. official said on Saturday.
John Bolton at CPAC: The Benefits of Nuking Chicago By Jonathan Stein 26 Feb 2009 Former UN Ambassador John Bolton believes the security of the United States is at dire risk under the Obama administration. And before a gathering of conservatives in Washington on Thursday morning [Conservative Political Action Conference - CPAC], he suggested, as something of a joke, that President Barack Obama might learn a needed lesson if Chicago were destroyed by a nuclear bomb.
In the war: Obama could leave up to 50,000 in Iraq 27 Feb 2009 President Barack Obama has told lawmakers he plans to pull troops out of Iraq by August 2010, congressional officials say. His plan would leave behind 35,000 to 40,000 troops, possibly as many as 50,000, to 'advise' Iraqi troops and protect U.S. [corporate] interests. Asked about the higher figure, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, "It has to be done responsibly, I agree. But 50,000 is more than I would have thought."
Iraq 'Withdrawal' Plan Gains G.O.P. Support 27 Feb 2009 President Obama won crucial backing Thursday for his Iraq military drawdown plan from leading Congressional Republicans, including Senator John McCain. As the president prepared to fly to Camp Lejenue, N.C., on Friday to announce his decision to pull combat forces out by August 2010 but leave behind a residual force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops, he reassured Congressional leaders from both parties that his plan would not jeopardize hard-won stability in Iraq.
Iran warns Obama's government: "Quit talking like Bush" 27 Feb 2009 Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee didn’t attend the latest U.N. Security Council meeting on Iraq. But the moment the 3-hour session was over the Iranian delegation was circulating a strongly worded letter from Khazaee that had a very clear message for the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama: Stop talking like Bush.
US repeating old Iran lies at UN 26 Feb 2009 Iran's UN envoy has criticized the new US ambassador, who accused Tehran of supporting terrorism and attempting to develop nuclear weapons. In a speech to the UN Security Council during a session on Iraq, Susan Rice said once the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, it would 'seek an end to Iran's ambitions to acquire an illicit nuclear capacity, and its support for terrorism'.
McCain Says More U.S. Troops Needed to Prevail in Afghanistan 27 Feb 2009 Senator John McInsane said the U.S. will need to send additional troops to Afghanistan beyond the 17,000 that President Barack Obama has ordered. And he foresees an American military presence there for at least a decade.
More than 10,000 Taliban insurgents operating in Afghanistan: official 28 Feb 2009 Visiting Afghanistan's Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said here on Friday that some 10,000 to 15,000 Taliban militants are operating in up to 17 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in the country. Apart from many Afghans who were recruited for economic reasons, most of the insurgents were foreigners operating with Al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] or Central Asian extremist groups, Atmar told reporters.
US says enemy fire caused deadly air collision in Iraq 27 Feb 2009 The US military said on Friday that four soldiers killed last month when two helicopters crashed in northern Iraq had been the target of enemy fire. An investigation "determined that the two OH-58 helicopters involved in the January 25 incident in Kirkuk province were engaged and struck by hostile fire," army spokesman for north Iraq Lieutenant Colonel David Doherty told AFP.
UAE buys billions of arms amid financial crisis 27 Feb 2009 The UAE signs USD 5-billion in arms deals during a defense show in Abu Dhabi amid a global financial crisis that has hit Arab Persian Gulf states. Major-General Obaid al-Ketbi said the contracts included a deal with Italy's Fincantieri to supply an anti-submarine warship and another with US companies of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for military transport aircrafts.
Russian bomber neared Canada before Obama visit 27 Feb 2009 Canadian fighters planes scrambled to intercept an approaching Russian bomber less than 24 hours before U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa last week, Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay said on Friday. The long-range Bear bomber did not enter Canada's Arctic airspace but the two CF-18 fighters had to order the plane to "back off", MacKay told a news conference.
Chicago Man Arrested for Allegedly Targeting Obama With HIV-Infected Blood 27 Feb 2009 A man from President Obama's hometown of Chicago has been arrested for allegedly sending Obama and his staff envelopes containing HIV-infected blood, in the hopes of killing or harming them. In the weeks leading up to Obama's inauguration, Saad Hussein, an Ethiopian refugee in his late 20s, sent an envelope addressed to "Barack Obama" to offices of the Illinois government in Springfield, Ill., according to court documents.
Marine Charged with Threatening Obama 27 Feb 2009 A Camp Lejeune, N.C., Marine has been charged with threatening Barack Obama before the president was sworn into office last month. Kody Ray Brittingham faces up to five years in prison and three years of supervised release if convicted [!] of threatening the president-elect, according to U.S. Attorney George E.B. Holding. According to a news release, Brittingham told people in November that he intended to shoot Obama, among other things.
Man sought by UK authorities over alleged sending of 7/7 DVD --'7/7 Ripple Effect' is a film, available on the internet, which claims people accused of involvement in the bombings are innocent and that the bombings were an "inside job", perhaps involving state intelligence agencies in either Britain or Israel. 11 Feb 2009 A man sought by the UK authorities for allegedly attempting to pervert the course of justice [!?!] by sending a controversial DVD to a judge and jury foreman during a trial relating to bomb attacks in London in July 2005 has appeared before the High Court after being arrested in Co Meath. Sheffield-born Anthony John Hill was arrested early yesterday morning on foot of a European Arrest Warrant, Mr Justice John MacMenamin was told.
Scientific evidence for the 2001 anthrax attacks 27 Feb 2009
Key forensic evidence in the US anthrax attacks of 2001 has been revealed.
The FBI had previously prevented the scientists involved from speaking
publicly about their findings in case this interfered with
'Omaha police officers form a response plan and then move in, closing off every entrance, checking every door and walking every hallway.' Schools Hold Lockdown Drills For 'Safety' --Police Help S[t]imulate Emergency Situations On Campus 26 Feb 2009 (Omaha, NE) Area schools are teaching students how to prepare for the possibility of [their] violence on campus by holding lockdown drills so they'll know what to do. Students at Dundee Elementary went through one of those drills, announcing a mock emergency and giving people three minutes to secure the building.
Troops handed over terrorist suspects to US interrogation 27 Feb 2009 There were calls for an inquiry yesterday after the Defence Secretary admitted that British forces in Iraq handed over two terrorist suspects to the United States who were then flown to Afghanistan for interrogation. In a statement to MPs that reignited the row over "extraordinary rendition", John Hutton said officials had been aware of the incident in 2004. The case was also featured in papers that went in front of two Cabinet ministers, who have denied all knowledge of it.
Indictment of Enemy Combatant Is Unsealed 28 Feb 2009 Ali al-Marri, the only prisoner considered an enemy combatant being imprisoned on United States soil, has been indicted on charges of helping the terrorist group 'al-Qaeda,' the Justice Department announced Friday afternoon. The two-page indictment was approved by a federal grand jury in Peoria, Ill. on Thursday and unsealed Friday. It accuses Mr. Marri of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda, as well as providing the support and resources.
Enemy combatant expected to be charged --The move in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah Marri may be timed to avoid a showdown in the Supreme Court. 27 Feb 2009 The Justice Department is preparing to bring criminal charges against the only person detained in this country by the military as an "enemy combatant," possibly defusing a dispute before the Supreme Court over whether the president has the right to hold civilians without charges. Prosecutors are expected, as early as today, to charge Ali Saleh Kahlah Marri with supporting the Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] terrorist network, said government sources familiar with the case.
'In some versions, the woman was a prostitute in Vienna with a specialty in sadomasochism.' Convicted CIA Official Was Suspected of Sharing Woman with Russian Mole By Jeff Stein 26 Feb 2009 Kyle "Dusty" Foggo's CIA dossier included allegations that he was sharing a woman with a suspected Russian mole, according to a top former spy agency official and other sources. CIA Director Porter J. Goss knew about the allegation when he hired Foggo to be the agency's executive director, its third highest official, an aide said today... For years it was rumored that Foggy was sharing a woman with Felix Bloch, a suspected Russian mole in the State Department.
Colombia rocked by wiretapping revelations By Bill Van Auken 27 Feb 2009 The Colombian government of President Alvaro Uribe has been rocked by a political scandal involving the wholesale wiretapping of opposition politicians, top judges and journalists by a secret service agency under Uribe's direct command.
Senate to Investigate CIA Actions Under Bush 26 Feb 2009 The Senate Intelligence Committee will try to settle the public debate over the CIA's harsh interrogation program by investigating whether those methods actually worked, Senate officials said Thursday. The investigation is an attempt to inject fact into an argument that is often shaped by anecdotes, news reports and the television show [that guided Dictator Bush,] "24." Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose details of the committee's discussions.
Louisiana Governor Jindal Recall Petition Being Organized? [Dear God, make it so. That way we wouldn't have to endure his hideous visage.] 26 Feb 2009 According to an email by Cheron Brylski, a political activist and public relations person in New Orleans, "A group of displaced New Orleanians now living in Baton Rouge are considering organizing a recall effort because Governor Bobby Jindal (R-Heinous) is refusing to accept all funds from the President's Stimulus Plan."
U.S. Economy: GDP Shrinks 6.2%, More Than Estimated 27 Feb 2009 The U.S. economic contraction in the fourth quarter was deeper than the government first estimated, with other reports today signaling little prospect of relief until at least the middle of 2009. Gross domestic product shrank at a 6.2 percent annual pace from October through December, the most since 1982, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.
Citi Gets Third Rescue as U.S. Plans to Raise Stake 27 Feb 2009 The U.S. government ratcheted up its effort to save Citigroup Inc., agreeing to a third rescue attempt that will cut existing shareholders’ stake in the company by 74 percent. The stock fell 39 percent.
Problem bank list tops 250 26 Feb 2009 The government's closely watched list of troubled banks grew during the fourth quarter to its highest level since 1994, regulators said Thursday. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported that the number of firms on its so-called "problem bank" list grew to 252 during the last three months of 2008, compared with 171 banks making the list in the prior quarter.
Mervyn King: 'Impossible to say' how much capital needed to shore up banking system 26 Feb 2009 Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has said it is "impossible to say" how much capital will be required to shore up the British banking system. Mr King said it would take "many months" to establish the scale of toxic assets held by banks, and the scale of problems would change depending on the international economic outlook.
Pitt, CMU money managers arrested in fraud 26 Feb 2009 Two East Coast investment managers [Paul Greenwood and Stephen Walsh] sued for fraud by the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University misappropriated more than $500 million of investors' money to hide losses and fund a lavish lifestyle that included purchases of $80,000 collectible teddy bears, horses and rare books, federal authorities said yesterday. As Pitt and Carnegie Mellon were busy trying to learn whether they will be able to recover any of their combined $114 million in investments through Westridge Capital Management, the FBI yesterday arrested the corporations' managers.
German Anti-Globalization Campaigner: 'We're Not Paying For Your Crisis!' --Anger rises in Germany as the economy falls. Trade unions and globalization-critical protesters are planning demonstrations in Berlin and Frankfurt under the banner: "We're not paying for your crisis." Alexis Passadakis, an activist from the group Attac, tells SPIEGEL what's wrong with the system. 26 Feb 2009 SPIEGEL: What do you mean with your battle cry, "We're not paying for your crisis"? Don't you want to pay taxes anymore? Passadakis: We believe that the cost of the economic crisis should be footed by those who profited most from globalization.
Obama's open-ended bailout of the banks By Barry Grey 27 Feb 2009 It is increasingly clear that the policy of the Obama administration is to pump as much taxpayer money as possible into the banks to avert a new wave of failures, in the hope that the economy will somehow begin to recover in 2010. Then Wall Street will be free to resume the speculative practices that enriched the financial aristocracy while precipitating the greatest global economic crisis since the 1930s.
U.S. officials move to end Bush healthcare rule 27 Feb 2009 President Barack Obama's administration took a first step on Friday to rescind a controversial Bush-mandated regulation allowing healthcare professionals to refuse to provide services and information on moral grounds. An official at the Department of Health and Human Services said the Bush administration rule had "upset the balance" between allowing doctors to decline to provide abortions and protecting the rights of women to get the care they need.
declares drought emergency, mulls rationing 27 Feb 2009 California
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Friday declared a state emergency
due to drought and said he would consider mandatory rationing in the
face of nearly $3 billion in economic losses this year. Agricultural
revenue losses in the coming season in California could top $2 billion,
Schwarzenegger said. [Will the corpora-terrorist troll use a drought
as an excuse privatize the water supply and bring in
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