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


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

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April 2005 Archives

U.S. Has No Exit Strategy for Iraq, Rumsfeld Says --The U.S. has no exit strategy or timetable for withdrawing its forces from Iraq and a pull-out depends on the readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces, U.S. Defense Secretary [War criminal] Donald Rumsfeld said.

U.S. Audit Probes $212 Mln in Halliburton Iraq Work --U.S. oil services giant Halliburton Co. may have overcharged by at least $212 million to get fuel to Iraqi civilians under a no-bid deal with the U.S. military, said Pentagon audits released on Monday.

American contractor' kidnapped in Iraq --U.S. soldiers arrest 65 suspected resistance fighters in Baghdad sweep --A U.S. citizen working for a 'contracting' company was kidnapped at a construction site Monday in Baghdad, a U.S. Embassy official said. The embassy would not reveal the name of the American or the name of the company.

Two Car Bomb Blasts in West Iraq -Witnesses --Two cars driven by suicide bombers exploded at the entrance to a U.S. military camp on Monday in the western Iraqi town of Qaim, close to the border with Syria, witnesses said.

Bomb Kills at Least Two in Iraqi Market --A pickup truck exploded near a U.S. convoy patrolling a crowded market Monday evening in Samarra, killing at least two people and injuring more than 20 others, hospital officials and witnesses said.

Poland confirms plans to remove troops from Iraq --Poland on Tuesday confirmed plans to withdraw its 1,700 troops from Iraq by the end of 2005, joining the growing number of countries heading for the exit when the United Nations Security Council mandate for military operations in Iraq expires at the end of the year.

Iraqi students burn US flag in protest --About 400 university students burnt the US flag in a demonstration against the [illegal, immoral] US military presence in Iraq yesterday two days after a massive anti-US protest in Baghdad.

Papers Illustrate Negroponte's Contra Role -- Newly Released Documents Show Intelligence Nominee Was Active in [Illegal] U.S. Effort --The day after the House voted to halt all aid to terrorists fighting to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, U.S. Ambassador to Honduras John D. Negroponte urged the president's national security adviser and the CIA director to hang tough.

Intelligence Chief Confirmation Expected --John Negroponte, Dictator Bush's choice to fill the newly created position of national intelligence director, is expected to win easy confirmation for a job that many agree will be exceptionally hard.

Bolton's Fitness for UN Post Challenged at Hearing --A former State Department official challenged John Bolton's qualifications to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, saying he bullied intelligence analysts who refused to alter reports to conform to his views.

Man's Claims May Be a Look at Dark Side of War on [of] Terror --Khaled el-Masri says his strange and violent trip into the void began with a bus ride on New Year's Eve 2003... Masri, a German citizen who was born in Lebanon, said he was kidnapped in Macedonia, beaten by masked men, blindfolded, injected with drugs and flown to Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned and interrogated by U.S. intelligence agents. He said he was led to a plane with his hands tied behind his back and shackles on his feet. ...Aviation documents viewed by the Los Angeles Times show that a jet registered to a U.S. company landed at the Skopje airport at 8:51 p.m., Jan. 23, 2004. The plane's tail number was N313P and was registered to Premier Executive Transport Services Inc., a Massachusetts firm with reported connections to the CIA. No phone numbers are listed for the company or its directors. Masri said one interrogator, a man with a Lebanese accent, told him: "You are in a country where there are no laws and nobody knows where you are. Do you know what this means?"

Three accused of plot against U.S. financial institutions --Three men have been indicted on charges they plotted to attack financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington. [The three must be Bush, Cheney and Wolfowitz.]

Man Arrested in Bomb Scare at Capitol --Police on Monday tackled and arrested a man who deposited two suitcases in front of the west side of the U.S. Capitol, stood motionless and asked to speak to Dictator Bush.

U.S. Capitol Partially Evacuated --Police Tackle Suspicious Man, Investigate Potential Bomb Threat --A man, dressed all in black and carrying two small suitcases, prompted alarm at the U.S. Capitol when he walked onto the West Terrace steps facing the National Mall about 12:55 p.m. and demanded to talk to Dictator Bush, police said Authorities said he never made any threats, but his conduct was suspicious.

Top Court Seeks More Money for Police Security --The U.S. Supreme Court asked for more police on Tuesday, citing recent attacks on judges and the need for more visible patrols to thwart 'terrorists.'

Volunteers needed for terrorism drill --LIHU'E, Kaua'i — Six hundred volunteers are needed Thursday for a state Department of Health exercise involving a bioterrorism preparedness drive-through clinic that will be set up at Vidinha Stadium in Lihu'e. Volunteers will be asked to drive through the clinic between 10 a.m. and noon, fill out forms, get evaluated for medication and receive fake medicine, officials said.

Ridge Says RFID Boosts Security --Tom Ridge, the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, this week told the manufacturers and users of radio-frequency identification technologies that their work will protect Americans from 'terrorism.'

Videos Challenge NYPD Accounts of Convention Unrest --A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Dennis Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Matthew Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints...

County voting system invalid --The Pennsylvania Department of State said Thursday that Beaver County's $1.2 million UniLect Patriot electronic touch-screen voting system is unreliable and can no longer be used, even in the primary election that is only five weeks away.

Pressure builds on DeLay --Majority leader's travel, campaign finances at issue --Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay’s ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader’s resignation.

Bush's Poll Position Is Worst on Record --Second Terms are Tough, and No President [sic] Has Banked Less Political Capital for the Fights Ahead --by Terry M. Neal "With apologies to George Tenet, the first 100 days of President Bush's second term have been no slam-dunk. How rough has it been? Bush has the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in his second term, according to Gallup polls going back to World War II."

Trade deficit hits all-time high in Feb. -- The U.S. trade deficit, exacerbated by surging imports of oil and textiles, soared to an all-time high of $61.04 billion in February.

Thanks to Bush's pharma-terrorists: Drug prices outstrip inflation --Wholesale prices for popular brand-name prescription drugs rose an average 7.1% in 2004, more than twice the general inflation rate, a new study commissioned by the nation's largest seniors lobby says.

Nuclear Plants Not Keeping Track of Waste --GAO Study Faults Federal Government for Failing to Implement Safeguards --Pervasive problems plague the control of radioactive waste at the nation's nuclear power plants, in part because the federal government has been sluggish in instituting and enforcing safeguards, according to a federal report issued yesterday.

Farmers file $7B mad cow lawsuit --A group of farmers on Monday filed a $7-billion class-action lawsuit against the federal government, alleging its failure to protect against mad cow disease led to a crisis in the cattle industry.

DPRK requests UN's assistance to contain bird flu --The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has formally appealed to the United Nations (UN) and other international organisations for assistance to fight against the bird flu epidemic, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)'s press release.

Indonesia detects bird flu virus in pigs 11 April 2005 --The Compas newspaper in Indonesia on April 10 reported that the country has detected the bird flu virus in pigs. This is a new development concerning bird flu in Indonesia as the avian virus has traditionally been found only in poultry.

Angola May Shut Isolation Ward Over Virus --The Angolan health ministry may shut down the isolation ward of an Angolan hospital treating victims of the Ebola-like Marburg virus to stem the spread of the disease, an Angolan health official said Monday.

Fear bio-terrorists may spread plague --Diplomats pull out of Angola, ravaged by Ebola-like Marburg 11 April 2005 --While the death toll continues to rise in Angola from an outbreak of the deadly Ebola-like Marburg disease, there are intelligence reports that 'Islamic terrorists' [Bush terrorists] might deliberately infect themselves to spread the plague to the West, according to a report in the premium, online, intelligence newsletter Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin. Information collected on the disease is behind a decision by a number of diplomatic delegations to pull out of the country, according to G2 Bulletin.

Holiday for Red Sox Nation --With their archrivals, the New York Yankees, watching from the third-base dugout Monday, the Boston Red Sox raised their first World Series championship flag since 1918.

*****

Bill would allow "intelligent design" for science classes --School boards would be allowed to require the teaching of "intelligent design" - a concept that is the subject of a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania - as part of science lessons under a bill that has been introduced in the state House of Representatives. ["Intelligent design" is 1) not a new 'theory' but rather preceded Darwin and was outmoded by natural selection, 2) is not a scientific theory, because it beckons to metaphysical explanations. Intelligent design requires a "designer," i.e., God. That is why it is a metaphysical and not a scientific explanation. As Karl Popper pointed out in The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959), metaphysical questions could no longer be considered scientific. That is, intelligent design is not a scientific theory at all. To teach it as such is to betray the last 300 years of scientific thought. --M. Rectenwald, Ph.D., cultural history of science]

Record number of prisoners --United States and Iraqi forces are holding a record 17,000 men and women - most without being formally charged - and with those in Iraqi-controlled jails living often in deplorable conditions, said US and Iraqi officials. About two-thirds are locked up as "security detainees" without any formal charges in US-run facilities, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, the US military spokesman for Iraqi detention operations, told AFP.

Millions of U.S. Dollars Wasted in Iraq Utilities --An occupation memo says water, sewage and power facilities rebuilt with U.S. funds are falling into disrepair. Iraqi officials have crippled scores of water, sewage and electrical plants refurbished with U.S. funds by failing to maintain and operate them properly, wasting millions of American taxpayer dollars in the process, according to interviews and documents.

Compensation for Fallujah residents slow - locals --Compensation for residents of Fallujah city, some 60 km from the Iraqi capital, is happening at a slow pace, local people say. Government studies suggest that 70 percent of buildings were destroyed in the city during the last conflict between US troops [illegal occupiers] and insurgents.

Iraqi 'President' Widens His Amnesty Proposal --Jalal Talabani calls for extending amnesty to Iraqi insurgents who have killed combatants, possibly including U.S. and Iraqi troops.

Demonstrators in Iraq Demand That U.S. Leave --Tens of thousands of Iraqis marked the second anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein by marching here in the capital on Saturday to demand the withdrawal of American forces.

U.S. Commanders See a Reduction of G.I.'s in Iraq --Iraqi security forces to allow plans for significant troop reductions by early next year, senior commanders and Pentagon officials say.

Pakistani Diplomat Kidnapped in Iraq --The family of a Pakistani embassy employee kidnapped in Baghdad appealed Sunday for his captors to release him, and al-CIAduh's ally in Iraq claimed to have kidnapped and killed a senior police official.

Senate Democrats hope to block confirmation of U.N. ambassador --The Bush regime's controversial choice for United Nations ambassador, John Bolton, will face tough questioning before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee next week, and at least two Democrats say they will oppose his nomination.

Bolton's Record Faces Scrutiny --Nominee for U.N. post is perhaps the most controversial figure chosen in Bush's second term. ...For the past four years, as the Bush regime's point man on weapons of mass destruction, John R. Bolton has worked to reverse decades of U.S. nonproliferation and arms control policies...

U.S. bars KLM flight entry into airspace --U.S. authorities refused to allow a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 747 to fly over the United States, officials said Sunday. Flight 685 from Amsterdam to Mexico City was denied permission to fly south across the Canada-U.S. border on Friday because the names of two passengers aboard were included on a U.S. "no-fly" 'terrorist' watch list, KLM spokesman Bart Koster said.

Probe Faults System for Monitoring U.S. Borders --A critical network of cameras and sensors installed for the U.S. Border Patrol along the Mexican and Canadian borders has been hobbled for years by defective equipment that was poorly installed, and by lax oversight by government officials who failed to properly supervise the project's contractor, according to government reports and public and industry officials.

Most Homeland Security Funding Goes Unspent --D.C. region, which has designated only 17 percent of its $145 million in anti-terrorism grants, ranks last in nation, according to congressional data. The Washington area has not spent the majority of $145 million in anti-terrorism grants awarded by the federal government over the past three years, including funds earmarked for such critical items as hospital beds and protective gear for rescue workers.

Handouts For the Homeland --Since Sept. 11, Congress has appropriated nearly $10 billion for homeland security to protect Americans from terrorism... Congressional critics, armed with independent studies, are alleging the money is being squandered, and that programs are riddled with handouts that have little to do with making the country safer, and everything to do with restocking police and fire departments with all sorts of equipment that has nothing to do with terrorism.

Republicans Enlist History in Fight Against Filibusters --Senate Republicans weigh "nuclear option" of banning minority Democrats' ability to block Dictator Bush's judicial nominees --On Thursday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a news release asserting that Sen. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), the Democrats' point man in the effort to preserve the filibuster, was himself an advocate for replacing supermajority votes with simple majority votes back in the 1970s, when he was the majority leader and Republicans were using the filibuster.

Inquiries of Top Lobbyist Shine Unwelcome Light in Congress --Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's most powerful and best-paid lobbyists, needed $100,000 in a hurry... Disclosures about Mr. Abramoff and the grand jury investigation in Washington have come at an especially awkward time for Tom DeLay (R-Terrorist), who is facing scrutiny by a state grand jury in Texas that has indicted two of his chief political operatives, including the director of his political action committee, on charges of illegal fund-raising. Mr. DeLay has blamed Democrats and the "liberal media" for stirring up old - and, he says, discredited - ethics accusations against him. [ROFL!! Delay is so screwed that the *light* from screwed is going to take ten billion years to reach the earth.]

DeLay's Backers Launch Offense --Conservatives Say GOP Is Threatened --Allies and friends of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) have concluded that public attention to his ethics is unlikely to abate for months to come, and they plan to try to preserve his power by launching an aggressive media strategy and calling in favors from prominent conservative leaders, according to Republicans participating in the strategy sessions.

Shays: DeLay Should Quit As House Leader --Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay's ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader's resignation. "Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election," Rep. Chris Shays, R-Conn., told The Associated Press in an interview, calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

Santorum: DeLay Needs to Answer Questions --GOP Sen. Rick Santorum Says House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Needs to Address Ethics Questions -- The No. 3 Republican in the Senate said Sunday that embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay needs to answer questions about his ethics and "let the people then judge for themselves."

Prosecutor to probe Cuyahoga County recount --2 written complaints allege problems in '04 coup d'etat ['presidential election'] --Erie County Prosecutor Kevin J. Baxter is investigating whether the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections broke the law in its recount of ballots from the November presidential election.

Kerry: Trickery Kept Voters From Polls --Many voters in last year's presidential election were denied access to the polls through trickery and intimidation, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told a voters' group Sunday. [Why didn't Kerry speak up on November 3, 2004? It appears that Kerry and Bush 'cut a deal' to allow the *second* coup d'etat.]

Clinton to Serve 2 Years as U.N. Envoy --Former president Bill Clinton will spend at least two years in his new role as the top U.N. envoy promoting recovery in tsunami-hit countries and demanding accountability for the unprecedented billions of dollars donated by countries and individuals, his deputy said.

Average Gas Price at Record $2.29/gal --The average U.S. retail gasoline price rose 19 cents over the past three weeks to a fresh record high just below $2.29 a gallon, an industry analyst said on Sunday.

We're running out of oil, says Costello --Treasurer Peter Costello has delivered a blunt warning that Australia is running out of oil as existing fields near the end of their productive lives.

Toll from Marburg virus nears 200 11 April 2005 --The death toll in Angola from the world's deadliest outbreak of the Ebola-like Marburg virus has inched towards the 200 mark with nine more deaths, according to the health ministry and the UN World Health Organisation. "As of noon, the total number of cases nationwide is 218 and 193 people have died," a joint statement said.

Teams Back In Panicked Virus Zone 10 April 2005 --The World Health Organization has resumed operations in a western Angolan province hit by a deadly Ebola-like virus, after suspending work last week when residents attacked its teams, the WHO said Sunday. Residents in Uige province had feared the WHO teams were spreading — instead of helping contain — the rare Marburg virus, which has killed 184 people out of a total 200 people infected, WHO's spokesman in Angola said.

Marburg team assaulted in Angola, WHO halts campaign 10 April 2005 --Members of the World Health Organization were assaulted in Uige, Angola by residents. The residents feared the team may be spreading the Marburg virus. Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in [US bioterror?] laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia).

Angola Med-Aid Workers Attacked 10 April 2005 --The World Health Organization has halted a campaign against a Marburg virus outbreak in Angola after residents assaulted its teams in apparent fear that they could be spreading the deadly infection. The medical team's vehicles were set upon Thursday in the Uige district of northwestern Angola, the outbreak's epicenter, the WHO said on its Web site.

Heavy snow blankets Denver area --Heavy snow pushed by strong winds is blanketing Denver and the Front Range today, closing two stretches of Interstate 25 as well as Interstate 70 east of Aurora and shutting down flights at Denver International Airport.

*****

Guantanamo detainees' stories released in court papers --In a development the Bush regime had hoped to avoid, the stories of about 60 detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base have spilled out in court papers. A U.S. college-educated detainee asks plaintively in one: "Is it possible to see the evidence in order to refute it?'' In another transcript, the unidentified president of a U.S. military tribunal bursts out: "I don't care about international law. I don't want to hear the words 'international law' again. We are not concerned with international law.''

Goss Launches Review of CIA Doubts on Iraqi Source --CIA Director Porter Goss has ordered an internal review to determine why doubts about an informant code-named Curveball, a key source of prewar intelligence on Iraq, were not shared with policymakers, an official said Friday.

Who Forged the Niger Documents? --by Ian Masters --A former counterterrorism chief claims that the now discredited documents that showed Iraq trying to purchase uranium were fabricated right here in the United States. [An edited transcript of an interview conducted by Ian Masters with Vincent Cannistaro, the former CIA head of counterterrorism operations and intelligence director at the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan, which aired on the Los Angeles public radio KPFK on April 3, 2005.]

US 'smuggles wounded troops home' under cover of darkness --The Pentagon has been accused of smuggling wounded soldiers into the US under cover of darkness to avoid bad publicity about the number of troops being injured and maimed in Iraq. The media have also been prevented from photographing wounded soldiers when they arrive at hospital.

US lawmakers regret voting for Iraq war --US Representative Walter Jones, a conservative Republican, does not hide his anger when he says bad information led him to vote for the Iraq war. "If I had known then what I know today, I wouldn't have voted for that resolution. Absolutely not," he said Thursday in an interview. A day earlier, during House Armed Services Committee testimony on the Iraq war, Jones demanded an apology from the Bush regime.

More Americans Feel Misled On Iraq War --Adults in the United States remain divided over their government’s rationale to launch military action in Iraq, according to a poll by Gallup released by CNN and USA Today. 50 per cent of respondents believe the Bush regime deliberately misled the American public, a seven per cent increase in a year.

Iraqis Protest U.S. Presence in Iraq --Chanting "Death to America!" and burning effigies of Dictator Bush and Saddam Hussein [?!?] tens of thousands of Iraqis flooded central Baghdad on Saturday in what police called the largest anti-American protest since the fall of Baghdad exactly two years ago.

Protesters Call for U.S. Pullout in Iraq --Tens of thousands of supporters of a Shiite leader filled central Baghdad's streets Saturday and demanded that American soldiers go home, marking the second anniversary of Baghdad's fall with shouts of "No, no to Satan!" [That would be Bush.]

Attacks kill 31 in Iraq as Sadr supporters demand US exit --At least 31 people were killed and scores wounded in attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians as followers of a Shiite leader marched in Baghdad to demand a US withdrawal.

Insurgents Kill 15 Iraqi Soldiers South of Baghdad --Resistance fighters killed 15 Iraqi soldiers south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said on Saturday.

Task Force Liberty Soldier Killed by IED --One 'Task Force Liberty' Soldier was killed when an IED detonated around 12:00 p.m. on April 8.

Iraqi cameraman for CBS detained --An Iraqi cameraman carrying credentials for the United States network CBS is being held on suspicion of rebel activity, the US military in Iraq said. The cameraman suffered minor injuries during a battle in the northern town of Mosul on Tuesday between US soldiers and suspected insurgents, reports say.

US nuclear warhead plan under fire --Democrats and American arms control groups warned yesterday that a new Bush regime scheme to replace ageing nuclear warheads could be used as a cover for the eventual construction of a "black arsenal" of new weapons.

US troops 'tried to smuggle cocaine' --Four US soldiers serving on anti-narcotics missions in Colombia are being held on charges of drug trafficking after the discovery of 35lb (15kg) of cocaine on a military aircraft.

Karzai ally beheaded --Lal Mohammad, a top member of Afghanistan Solidarity Party which backed UNOCAL consultant ['president'] Hamid Karzai during last October's presidential election was beheaded in insurgency-hit Helmand province on Tuesday, party spokesm Massoud Mateen told AFP.

Election 'could be decided in courts' --Britain's next Government "could be decided in the courts", a leading election official has told The Independent on Sunday. The spectre of "a Florida-style outcome" to the general election has been raised as a second judge rules that safeguards against postal vote fraud are seriously flawed.

Rudolph Giuliani Got Warning WTC Towers Were Going to Collapse --(Prison Planet) "We first reported this 15 months ago but we have now received the video where then Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani admits to Peter Jennings that he got a warning that the South Tower was about to collapse. Why is this important? No steel framed building had ever collapsed from fire damage before in history."

Republicans Step Up Attacks on Judiciary --Christian conservatives [Reichwing whackjobs], led by some top Republicans, are stepping up their assault on the U.S. judiciary in response to the Terri Schiavo case, saying judges are attacking religion and must be reined in.

U.S. Seeks Access to Bank Records to Deter Terror --The Bush dictatorship is developing a plan to give the government access to possibly hundreds of millions of international banking records in an effort to trace and deter 'terrorist' financing, even as many bankers say they already feel besieged by government antiterrorism rules that they consider overly burdensome. [How will Halliburton and Monsanto continue to launder the missing $8bn from Iraq???]

Court tosses conviction of man who endorsed Bush's death --Mailing a letter to the White House supporting Dictator Bush's death at the hands of terrorists [freedom fighters] is not illegal, a federal appeals court ruled Friday. The decision overturns the conviction and 18-month sentence given last year to an Oregon inmate who sent a rambling, poorly written [?] letter to Dictator Bush. It read, in part, "You will die too George W Bush real Soon they Promised That you would Long Live Bin Laden." [What do they mean, 'poorly written?']

Blogs spin tale of computers, conspiracies --The Web sites say an Oviedo Republican asked a programmer for software to alter electronic vote totals. Democrats around the country have accused Republicans of stealing the last two presidential elections in Florida. Now some Internet Web sites that traffic in conspiracy theories have fashioned something of a political thriller out of a series of apparently unrelated events they say prove the elections really were stolen.

$7,782,816,546,352.29 --Forget the Social Security "crisis." The number above is the crisis you should worry about. --by Terence Samuel "This week, President [sic] George W. Bush went to the Bureau of Public Debt, in Parkersburg, West Virginia, to make the point that there is no Social Security trust fund -- nothing there that can be really counted on. All it is, he said, was a bunch of IOUs. ...[I]t is something of an irony that the one presiding over the largest explosion in federal budget deficits would use the Bureau of Public Debt as a backdrop for his plea for solvency in Social Security.

Gas prices breaking records --City tops in Bay Area; in Gorda, near Big Sur, $3.69 buys a gallon --A rare event occurred at a busy San Francisco service station Friday morning -- the price of gas went down. All the way to below $3.

OPEC considers $US50 oil price ceiling --Oil cartel OPEC says it may revise its target price for oil closer to $US50 a barrel as petrol prices in Australia surged overnight.

EPA Scraps Controversial Pesticide Testing Program --Dictator Bush's choice [of whackjob] to head the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday canceled a controversial program to test the effects of bug spray and other pesticides on infants after two Senate Democrats threatened to block his confirmation.

Holy Corpora-terror convenience, Batman! Consumer Product Safety Agency Limits Its Functions --The federal agency tasked with protecting Americans from harmful products can't do its job - the Consumer Product Safety Commission is one commissioner short. Under federal law, the three-member panel can act with two commissioners for only six months, after which it loses its ability to impose penalties and issue regulations and mandatory product recalls, which are among its chief duties.

Cambodia confirms third bird flu death 10 April 2005 --Cambodia has confirmed its third fatality from the deadly bird flu virus, with an eight-year-old girl becoming the latest victim to die in the kingdom.

Attacks briefly halt WHO campaign in Angola 10 April 2005 --World Health Organisation (WHO) teams fighting [fomenting?] an outbreak of Marburg virus in Angola were forced to temporarily suspend work in one area after scared residents stoned their vehicles, officials say.

To Contain Virus in Angola, Group Wants Hospital Closed 10 April 2005 --An international medical charity battling a hemorrhagic fever that so far has killed 181 Angolans has urged the government to close the regional hospital here, at the center of the outbreak, saying the medical center itself is a source of the deadly infection. Doctors Without Borders, the global relief organization that runs an isolation ward at the hospital for victims of the deadly fever, Marburg virus, told Angolan officials on Friday that the hospital should be closed if the rapidly spreading epidemic was to be contained.

Marburg virus death toll hits 180 8 April 2005 --205 cases have been reported -- The World Health Organization is investigating an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in northwestern Angola, it said Friday.

*****

Santorum: Frist will go nuclear --Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, has reassured conservative activist leaders that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Terrorist-Tenn.) is committed to triggering the "nuclear option," stripping Democrats of the power to filibuster judicial nominees. [If the Senate 'goes nuclear,' can we go postal?]

Judiciary has 'run amok,' DeLay says --House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, stepped up his attack on federal judges Thursday, telling a gathering of religious conservatives that the judiciary has "run amok" and demanding that Congress assert authority over the courts.

Blix says war motivated by oil --Former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix has said that oil was one of the reasons for the US-led invasion of Iraq, a Swedish news agency reports. "I did not think so at first. But the US is incredibly dependent on oil," news agency TT quoted Blix as saying at a security seminar in Stockholm. "They wanted to secure oil in case competition on the world market becomes too hard."

Negroponte's death squads are busy little bees: Bodies of 10 Iraqi civilians found shot to death --U.S. Marine killed in combat wreck --The bodies of 10 slain civilians have been found near Baquba in northern Iraq, a hospital official said Friday. The 10 civilians were shot in the head execution-style, Dr. Fu'ad Ahmed of Baquba General Hospital said. The bodies were found Thursday inside black body bags in Balad Rooz, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of Baquba in Diyala province.

Fil-Am marine killed in Iraq 8 April 2005-- Another Filipino-American soldier was killed in Iraq after being hit by a bomb and attacked by gunfire from Iraqi insurgents, the US Embassy in Manila reported yesterday.

Soldier refuses Army's order to go to Iraq --Carl Webb, a U.S. soldier who had re-enlisted in 2001, found out two weeks before his contract was up in 2004 that the Army was extending his enlistment — without his consent — under what it calls its "stop loss" program. The Army told Webb to report for training with the Texas National Guard at Fort Hood in preparation for going to Iraq. "I knew at that moment I could not go to Iraq," Webb explained to his audience at Calvary Church here March 28. "I did not want to be part of a killing machine in an unethical and illegal U.S. aggression."

Anthrax Vaccinations Allowed to Resume --Troops Must Volunteer to Receive Shots --The Pentagon can resume giving anthrax vaccinations, but only to troops who volunteer for them, said a federal judge who had banned the shots amid safety questions.

Papers Say Leak Probe Is Over --The special prosecutor investigating whether Bush regime officials illegally revealed the identity of a covert CIA operative says he finished his investigation months ago, except for questioning two reporters who have refused to testify.

UN envoy choice fuels fury at Bush --Appointment as ambassador to the United Nations of a fierce critic of the organisation opens a can of worms for Dictator Bush. John Bolton is at the centre of an increasingly fierce debate between Republicans and Democrats over the direction of US foreign policy. Even moderate Republicans have openly questioned the Bolton nomination.

Jets force plane down near Rome --Italian military jets have intercepted a plane flying over the capital Rome where world leaders had gathered for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. Two F-16s forced the aircraft - heading to the city's Ciampino airport - towards a nearby air base, Italian news agencies said. There were fears a bomb may have been on board, but no bomb was found, intelligence and military sources said.

CDC Moving to Double Quarantine Stations --CDC officials told lawmakers Wednesday that they are moving to more than double the number of quarantine stations used to evaluate and detain travelers from overseas who enter the country ill with potentially dangerous contagious illnesses. The agency currently operates 11 of the stations near major ports of entry but expects to have 18 operational by the end of 2005 and eventually expand the number to 25, they said.

Delta Handing Over Passenger Lists to CDC --Although privacy experts worry about the government gathering personal information on airline travelers, Delta Airlines (DAL) is handing over electronic lists of passengers from some flights to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [sic].

Delta giving passenger lists to government to prevent spread of diseases --Delta Air Lines agreed to give the government electronic lists of passengers on some flights - not to help track down terrorists, but to try to head off the spread of deadly infectious diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [sic] told a congressional panel Wednesday that the lists will allow health officials to more quickly notify and advise travellers who might have been exposed to illnesses such as dengue, flu, plague, SARS or biological agents. [?!?] ...Last week Dictator George W. Bush signed an executive order authorizing the government to quarantine people to deal with any outbreak of new strains of flu, including bird flu.

Marburg spreads as death toll hits 174 8 April 2005 -- The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday called for stepping up measures in Angola to halt the further spread of the deadly Marburg virus, which has killed 174 people mainly in the north of the country.

Experts Question Worth of $16 Mln U.S. Terror Drill --The largest-ever U.S. terrorism drill was staged this week in New Jersey and Connecticut with a cast of thousands and a cost of $16 million, but experts wonder how much it will help in the face of another attack.

Air Security Agency Faces Reduced Role --Stone Is Third Chief to Leave --The Transportation Security Administration, once the flagship agency in the nation's $20 billion effort to protect air travelers, is now targeted for sharp cuts in its high-profile mission. The latest sign came yesterday when the Bush regime asked David M. Stone, the TSA's director, to step down in June, according to aviation and government sources.

US Border Militia Avoids Charges in Immigrant Case --Militia volunteers patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border were accused of holding a Mexican immigrant against his will and making him pose with a joke T-shirt but law enforcement officials ruled on Thursday no crime had been committed.

Pennsylvania decertifies some voting machines from Calif. company -- Pennsylvania officials Thursday barred three counties from using a touch-screen voting system that apparently contributed to an unusual number of uncounted votes in the November election. The decertification of the UniLect Patriot voting machine came barely a month before this year's May 17 municipal primary election. ...The system also was blamed for lost votes in two North Carolina counties last year.

IMF warns on risk of 'permanent oil shock' --The world faces “a permanent oil shock” and will have to adjust to sustained high prices in the next two decades, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday in the starkest official warning yet about the long-term outlook for Exxon Mobil's windfall ['energy supplies'].

UK petrol prices hit record high -- Petrol prices at UK pumps have reached their highest-ever levels, according to petrol consultancy Catalyst. A litre of unleaded petrol now costs 85.6p and some analysts are warning of further increases to come.

U.S. Plans New, Deep Cuts in Housing Aid --The New York City Housing Authority could lose up to $166 million, or almost a quarter of its annual federal subsidy for operating costs, under a new cost-cutting proposal by the Bush administration that could force dozens of housing agencies nationwide to fire maintenance workers, reduce services or close buildings. If the changes sought by the Bush regime take effect, they will result in one of the biggest cuts since Washington first began subsidizing housing: as much as $480 million, or 14 percent, of the $3.4 billion federal budget for day-to-day operations, including labor, maintenance, insurance and utilities, at the nation's 3,100 housing authorities. [Why not cut Halliburton's and Monsanto's war crimes budget for Iraq, and search for the *missing* $8bn?]

States Told Not to Steer Beneficiaries to Drug Plans --The Bush dictatorship has told states that they cannot steer Medicare beneficiaries to any specific prescription drug plan, even if state officials find that one or two insurance plans would provide the best deals for elderly people with low-incomes. [Blue] States like Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have for years had their own programs to help elderly people with drug costs. In some cases, the state coverage is superior to what Medicare will offer. [Why should Blue states listen to dictator Bush, whose loyalties are to his intsallers, the pharma-terrorist cabal?]

Pfizer Halts Bextra Sales at FDA Request --The blockbuster painkiller Bextra was yanked off the market Thursday, and the government ordered that 19 other popular prescription competitors — from Celebrex to Mobic to high-dose naproxen — carry tough new warnings that they, too, may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Secret Service protects expectant duck --Treasury Secretary pays duck a visit --The Secret Service has a new temporary duty -- protecting a mother duck and her nine eggs. The duck, a brown mallard with white markings, has built a nest in a mulch pile right at the main entrance to the Treasury Department on Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D., replies to a reader who states that he is 'DISGUSTED' --"I WAS RAISED AS A DEMOCRAT BUT WHEN I RELIAZED [sic] THAT IT WAS THE MAN WITH THE MONEY THAT COULD GIVE ME A JOB, I CHANGED TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY." [Michael Rectenwald replies; Lori Price comments, too!]

White House Has Tightly Restricted Oversight of C.I.A. Detentions --The White House is maintaining extraordinary restrictions on information about the detention of high-level terror suspects, permitting only a small number of members of Congress to be briefed on how and where the prisoners are being held and interrogated, senior government officials say.

Half of Americans say Bush deliberately misled about Iraq --For the first time since the war in Iraq was launched in spring of 2003, more people than not, or half of all Americans, said the Bush regime deliberately misled the American public about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll released on Wednesday.

US probes whether troops hold Iraq women hostage --The U.S. military in Baghdad confirmed on Wednesday it was holding two Iraqi women and was investigating accusations that they were being held hostage to pressure their fugitive male relatives to surrender.

British soldier accused of killing Iraqi civilian has charges dropped --Charges have been dropped against the first British soldier to be accused of murdering an Iraqi civilian. Trooper Kevin Williams had been charged with killing Hassan Abbad Sayed, a lawyer and father of nine children, in August 2003.

U.S. Soldier Dies In Iraq Ambush --A Task Force Baghdad soldier was killed April 5 when his patrol encountered an improvised explosive device and insurgent small-arms fire, Multinational Force Iraq officials announced today.

U.S. Chopper Crashes in Afghanistan, at Least 16 Dead --A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a dust storm in Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people on board, the military said in a statement.

Pentagon's "stop-loss" policy on trial in Seattle --Emiliano Santiago, an Oregon National Guardsman, finished his eight-year enlistment last June. But four months later the Army wanted to ship the Pasco resident to Afghanistan and reset his military termination date to Christmas Eve 2031. Santiago, 27, decided to take it to court.

Army, Marine recruiters shift focus to wary parents --Faced with wilting recruitment and ongoing violence in Iraq, Army and Marine Corps recruiters are turning their attention to those most likely to oppose them: parents.

Papers Say Leak Probe Is Over --The special prosecutor investigating whether Bush regime officials illegally revealed the identity of a covert CIA operative says he finished his investigation months ago, except for questioning two 'reporters' who have refused to testify.

Radio journalist shot on U.S.-Mexico border --A radio reporter in Nuevo Laredo on Mexico's border with Texas was in serious condition after being shot several times by an unknown gunman, the latest journalist to be attacked along the border in recent months.

New Special Forces unit will spy on the 'terrorists' (UK) The Army's first new regiment in more than three decades begins operations today to provide covert surveillance for Special Forces fighting the international terrorist threat. The new unit, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, will have an international and domestic role to provide intelligence to 'fight terrorism.'

Homeland Security panel picks controversial chairman --A federal privacy board on Wednesday appointed a prominent champion of government data-mining as its first chairman. The Department of Homeland Security's privacy board chose as its chairman Paul Rosenzweig, a conservative lawyer best known in technology circles for his defense of the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness project. Bowing to privacy concerns, Congress pulled the plug on the program two years ago.

U.S. Focusing on Disease Spread Through Air Travel --U.S. government health agencies are strengthening ties to airlines and aviation regulators to guard against the spread of infectious diseases or other deadly agents aboard commercial aircraft, federal officials said on Wednesday.

Passport needed for U.S. borders --U.S. citizens will be required to show a passport to re-enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda and the Caribbean by 2008, the departments of State and Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

Nuclear Plants in 31 States Said Prone to Terrorist Attacks --Fuel storage pools at nuclear power plants in 31 states may be vulnerable to terrorist attacks that could unleash raging fires and deadly radiation, scientists advised the government on Wednesday.

Study: Nuclear Waste at Plants at Risk of Attack --Nuclear waste at the 103 U.S. reactors is at risk from a terrorist attack that could trigger an inferno and release large quantities of radioactive material, the National Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday.

Explosives workers not checked --Hundreds of people who applied for federal permits to handle explosives during the past two years were allowed to work with such materials despite evidence of criminal records or other conduct that could have disqualified them from such permits, the Justice Department said Monday.

Federal control of Pittsburgh police lifted --The U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Pittsburgh yesterday filed a joint motion to end federal oversight imposed on the Pittsburgh police force under a 1997 consent decree.

Senate Passes Civil Unions for Gays in Connecticut --The State Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to allow civil unions between same-sex couples, setting the stage for Connecticut's Democratic-controlled Legislature to become the first in the country to approve civil unions without pressure from the courts.

GOP's moral agenda doubted --The controversy over Terri Schiavo has raised concerns among many Americans about the moral agenda of the Republican Party and the political power of conservative Christians, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds. By more than 2-to-1, 39%-18%, Americans say the "religious right" has too much influence in the Bush regime.

Law would put 'In God We Trust' in Penn. schools --A proposed law, now awaiting action in the state House, would require the motto "In God We Trust" to appear in every public school classroom, auditorium and cafeteria in Pennsylvania. ...The prime sponsor is Rep. Tom Creighton, R-Whackjob-Lancaster. Creighton has also submitted a bill related to the Dover "intelligent design" controversy, which would create a state law allowing "a board of school directors [to] include, as a portion of [biology] instruction, the theory of intelligent design," whenever evolution is also discussed.

Kan. Overwhelmingly Backs Gay Marriage Ban --Kansans overwhelmingly voted to add a ban on gay marriage and civil unions to their state constitution, but both sides predicted court battles over the amendment.

Fla. senator's office source of Schiavo politics memo --A one-page unsigned memo that became part of the debate preceding Congress' vote ordering a federal court review of the Terri Schiavo case originated in Florida Republican Sen. Mel Martinez' office, Martinez said Wednesday.

Author of Schiavo Memo Resigns --Sen. Martinez's Counsel Cited Upside for GOP --The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Terrorist-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night. Brian Darling, a former lobbyist for the Alexander Strategy Group on gun rights and other issues, offered his resignation and it was immediately accepted, Martinez said.

Florida eyes allowing residents to open fire whenever they see threat --Florida's legislature has approved a bill that would give residents the right to open fire against anyone they perceive as a threat in public, instead of having to try to avoid a conflict as under prevailing law.

Accounts Could Replace Soc. Sec. Checks --Future high-wage earners could see their traditional Social Security checks replaced by the proceeds of the personal investment accounts proposed by Dictator Bush, according to a report by the nonpartisan research agency used by Congress.

Senators to Stall FDA Pick Over Contraception --Two Democratic senators plan to block a vote on Dictator Bush's pick to head the Food and Drug Administration over the agency's stalled decision on whether to allow a "morning-after" contraceptive to be sold over-the-counter, one of the lawmakers said on Wednesday.

House Speaker Hospitalized with Kidney Stones --U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Nutball-Ill.) was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday to have kidney stones removed, his office announced.

Supremacist Hale Sentenced to 40 Years --Avowed white supremacist Matthew Hale was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday for trying to have a federal judge killed — the same judge whose husband and mother were murdered five weeks ago by a deranged man with no connection to Hale.

Senate Bill Puts Offshore Drilling in State Hands --U.S. states could allow drilling for natural gas in restricted offshore waters under legislation proposed on Wednesday by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Gov't Proposes Moving Nuke Waste in Utah --The Energy Department on Wednesday proposed to move a huge pile of radioactive waste away from the banks of the Colorado River — a victory for environmentalists and Western politicians who fear the debris could poison the Southwest's major source of drinking water.

Lawmakers: Daylight-Saving Time Saves Fuel --If Congress passes an energy bill, Americans may see more daylight-saving time. Lawmakers crafting energy legislation approved an amendment Wednesday to extend daylight-saving time by two months, having it start on the last Sunday in March and end on the last Sunday in November.

Study: Drug-Resistant Staph Cases Rising --Dangerous drug-resistant staph infections are showing up at an alarming rate outside hospitals and nursing homes in the United States. New research found that in one part of the country, as many as one in five infections were picked up out in the community.

WHO Expert: Bird Flu Strains Could Combine 6 April 2005 --Two strains of bird flu in Asia may combine to create a highly lethal and easily transmissible virus, a U.N. health official warned Wednesday, amid widespread fears that the disease could cause the next human pandemic.

Bird flu claims 50th Asian victim, officials say 6 April 2005 --Asia's death toll from bird flu rose to 50 on Wednesday when health officials and a hospital doctor confirmed two additional deaths in Vietnam.

Vietnamese doctor dies of unidentified disease 5 April 2005 --A doctor from Vietnam's northern Quang Ninh province has died from acute pneumonia caused by an unidentified disease, although several treatment procedures including those for bird flu and SARS patients were used.

Some Asian Bankers Worry About the Economic Toll From Bird Flu 5 April 2005 -- Investment banks are starting to issue warnings on the risks that avian influenza poses to the economies and financial markets of East Asia, even as health experts struggle to assess whether the disease has the potential to cause a pandemic at all.

Killer frogs land in Portsmouth --Less than 5cm long, the Colombian golden poison frog hardly looks like a killer. But it is among the deadliest of land creatures, secreting a poison that can kill humans within 30 minutes. Staff at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Southsea, Portsmouth, which received four of the 2in-long frogs this week, enter the isolated quarantine block only when wearing goggles and gloves.

Judge overrules Brussels ban on vitamins --A controversial EU directive that could ban thousands of popular vitamin and mineral supplements has been declared illegal by a European judge.

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Lawmaker wants list of companies exporting US oil --With gasoline and crude oil prices at record highs, a U.S. lawmaker wants the Commerce Department to release the names of American companies that are shipping U.S. petroleum products to other countries. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says information on the 268 million barrels of U.S. petroleum products exported in 2004 is needed as Congress considers a broad energy bill.

OMG: Bush Says Social Security Trust Fund a Fiction --Dictator Bush said on Tuesday that younger workers were counting on a fictional trust fund for their future retirement benefits, as he pressed his case for changes to Social Security in the face of continuing doubts among fellow Republicans. "A lot of people in America think there's a trust," Bush told a forum here, shortly after he stopped off at the Bureau of Public Debt, the agency that keeps records on the nation's debt. "But that's not the way it works," he said. "There is no trust fund -- just IOUs." [I don't know about a *fictional trust,* but I *know* this is a fictional presidency!!]

Army pays Halliburton $1.18 billion for dining services --The U-S Army said today it will pay Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, one-point-one-eight (b) billion dollars for dining services [barf] in Iraq and Kuwait. But the Army said it will retain a portion of payments suspended during a long-running billing dispute.

Survey: U.S. media censors Iraq reporting [Nah, ya' think?] The news media are self-censoring reports about Iraq because of concern for public reaction to graphic images and details about death and torture, according to a survey of 210 U.S. and international journalists.

Large Blast Hits Bus Carrying Iraqi Soldiers --A huge bomb exploded near a bus filled with Iraqi soldiers returning from leave Tuesday, killing at least three and wounding at least 44 in an attack.

Top Police Official Is Abducted In Baghdad --A senior Iraqi police official was kidnapped on a Baghdad street early Tuesday and at least 11 other Iraqis, including a cleric, a translator and a councilman, were killed or wounded in continuing violence around the country. U.S. military officials reported the deaths of four U.S. service members.

'Iraq parliament' taps Kurd for presidency --Iraq’s newly 'elected parliament' chose Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani as its new interim president Wednesday.

Army comes up short of recruiting goals for second consecutive month --With all three Army components once again missing their recruiting goals, service leaders quickly added another series of incentives in an effort to boost enlistments.

Israel to dump 10,000 tons of garbage a month in the West Bank --Israel has decided to transfer garbage beyond the Green Line and dump it in the West Bank for the first time since 1967. The project was launched despite international treaties prohibiting an occupying state from making use of occupied territory unless it benefits the local population.

FBI seeks expanded search powers --Justice Dept. also wants expiring Patriot Act provisions renewed --FBI Director Robert Mueller on Tuesday asked lawmakers to expand the bureau’s ability to obtain records without first asking a judge, and he joined Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in seeking that every temporary provision of the anti[pro]-terrorism Patriot Act be renewed.

Feds Want Private-Sector Security Data --In February, in the latest attempt to improve information-sharing efforts, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., inaugurated the Chief Information Security Officer Exchange, a public-private partnership aiming to improve the government's dismal record on IT security.

Congress Urged to Renew Patriot Act --Minor Changes Would Address Concerns, Gonzales and Mueller Tell Senate Panel --The nation's two top law enforcement officials urged Congress yesterday to fully renew the USA Patriot Act, arguing that the controversial anti[pro]-terrorism law needs only minor tweaking to address the concerns of critics from both sides of the political spectrum.

Antiterrorism Law Defended as Hearings Start --The Justice Department stood firm on Tuesday in opposing wide-ranging efforts to limit the government's ability to demand library records and conduct secret searches in intelligence investigations, but it did agree to minor modifications in the sweeping antiterrorism law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Senate bill would cut powers of Patriot Act --Wiretapping, search warrants, records seizures and other law enforcement tactics allowed by the Patriot Act would be scaled back under a bipartisan bill set to be introduced today in the Senate.

U.S. Will Tighten Passport Rules --Canada, Mexico Borders to Be Affected by 2008 --Millions of Americans will be required to show passports when they reenter the United States from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by 2008 under new rules announced yesterday by the State and Homeland Security departments.

Reacting to new U.S. measure, Canada says it may require passports of Americans --Canada's borders are still vulnerable to terrorist attacks because of "serious weaknesses" in the public security system, the country's auditor said Tuesday, as another official sniped at a new U.S. passport requirement. Washington announced Tuesday that Americans will need passports to re-enter the United States from Canada by 2008. Similarly, Canadians will also have to present a passport to enter the United States, U.S. officials said.

Terrorism drills come to suburbs --Homeland Security Department stages simulated attacks in New London, Conn., and north-central N.J. --The simulated chemical attack was part of a $16 million terrorism response drill staged yesterday by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a variety of state and local agencies. ...Critics said the well-publicized mock attacks were designed to scare Americans. Joanne Sheehan, New England coordinator of the War Resisters League, said her group was protesting the money and tactics used by the Department of Homeland Security, including the hiring of about 10 people who portrayed journalists from the "VNN-Virtual News Network." [They could have saved $ and just slid media whore Judith Miller and any talking heads from Faux News into those roles for the afternoon.]

Fireproofing Blown Off Twin Towers --Report Details 9/11 Collapse in N.Y. --The hijacked airplanes that struck the World Trade Center hit with such force that the resulting explosions blew the fireproofing off the steel columns [?!?], accelerating heat buildup and weakening the structural core -- contributing to the towers' eventual collapse, according to a report issued Tuesday. [Oh, is that what happened?]

House Panel Revives Energy Bill --A U.S. House committee on Tuesday dusted off an energy bill that backers say will boost U.S. oil and natural gas production but critics deride as a bonanza for oil companies with no immediate relief for consumer pocketbooks.

Reid Accuses GOP of Arrogance on Courts --Congressional Democrats on Tuesday said Republican criticism of the federal courts following Terri Schiavo's death showed an "arrogancy of power" that is leading to a Senate confrontation over filibusters of Dictator Bush's judicial nominees.

A 3rd DeLay Trip Under Scrutiny --1997 Russia Visit Reportedly Backed by Business Interests --A six-day trip to Moscow in 1997 by then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Finished-Tex.) was underwritten by business interests lobbying in support of the Russian government, according to four people with firsthand knowledge of the trip arrangements.

Political Groups Paid Two Relatives of House Leader --The wife and daughter of Tom DeLay (R-Bashed_in_the_Post and_in_the_Times-Tex.), the House majority leader, have been paid more than $500,000 since 2001 by Mr. DeLay's political action and campaign committees, according to a detailed review of disclosure statements filed with the Federal Election Commission and separate fund-raising records in Mr. DeLay's home state, Texas.

Lawmakers In Fla. Back Public Use of Deadly Force --People in Florida will be allowed to kill in self-defense on the street without trying to flee under a new measure passed Tuesday that critics say will bring a Wild West mentality and innocent deaths. The Florida House, citing the need to allow people to "stand their ground," voted 94 to 20 to codify and expand court rulings that allow people to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes without first trying to escape.

Governor says he will sign 'meet force with force' bill --Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Tuesday he intends to sign a bill that would allow people who feel threatened on the street, in a bar, at a ball game -- or just about anywhere -- to "meet force with force'' to defend themselves without fear of being prosecuted.

Kansas Voters Approve Ban on Gay Unions --Voters in Kansas overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment Tuesday banning same-sex couples from marrying or entering into civil unions.

Senate thwarts gay-rights bill --Measure likely to die after lawmakers send it to committee --Senate Republicans in Washington state thwarted civil rights legislation for gays and lesbians yesterday by sending the bill back to a committee where it is likely to die without forcing them to take a potentially damaging opposition vote.

Conn. to OK Civil Unions? --Lawmakers said Tuesday they believe they have enough votes to pass a bill that would make Connecticut the first state to recognize civil unions between same-sex couples without intervention from the courts. The Democrat-controlled Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on the bill. It will then go to the House, where it is also expected to pass.

Connecticut Prepares to Sue U.S. Over Bush Education Law --Connecticut's attorney general said today that he was preparing to sue the federal government over Dictator Bush's signature education-reform law, arguing that it forces Connecticut to administer new standardized tests at a cost of millions of dollars and that Washington refuses to pay for them.

North Korean bird flu outbreak not the feared strain 5 April 2004 --An outbreak of bird flu on three large poultry farms in North Korea has been tentatively identified as the H7 strain of the virus - not the H5N1 strain that has been killing people and poultry across east Asia for more than a year. But UN officials have revealed to New Scientist that the evidence for this is only indirect.

Rumours sweep Rome death was kept hidden --The politics of electing the next pope moved into bizarre territory with rumours sweeping Rome of a conservative plot to secure the papacy. In a conspiracy theory worthy of a Dan Brown novel, liberals suggested that Pope John Paul II had died a day earlier than was officially declared but the news was withheld to give the conservatives an advantage.

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Councillors guilty of postal votes fraud that would 'shame a banana republic' --A Judge has delivered a devastating indictment of the postal voting system championed by ministers as he found six Labour councillors guilty of electoral fraud. He said checks against corruption were "hopelessly insecure" and accused the Government of being in denial about the risks to democracy. Richard Mawrey QC, sitting as an electoral commissioner in Birmingham, found "overwhelming" evidence of fraud in last year's city council elections that would "disgrace a banana republic". The elections, where several Labour candidates bucked the trend to win, were dogged by claims of intimidation, bribery, "vote-buying', impersonation and even the creation of a "vote-forging factory".

Councillors thrown out over vote-rigging --A High Court judge has overturned the election of six Labour Party councillors in Birmingham after ruling that there had been "widespread fraud" involving the poll. Richard Mawrey QC, sitting as an election commissioner, said he was satisfied vote-rigging had occurred in the run up to the June 10 ballot. Launching a scathing attack on the current postal voting regulations, the judge said: "The system is wide open to fraud and any would-be political fraudster knows that it's wide open to fraud."

Judge upholds vote-rigging claims --A judge investigating vote-rigging in Birmingham's local elections has ruled there was widespread fraud and has ordered new elections. [Where are *our* new elections?]

Labour lead falls away as Blair announces poll date --Labour enters the general election to be announced by Tony Blair today with a narrow and shrinking lead over the Conservatives, according to an NOP poll for The Independent.

It's official: Blair announces 5 May election --The general election will be held on 5 May, the Prime Minister confirmed today. Tony Blair went to Buckingham Palace this morning to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament.

Labour candidate deserts 'authoritarian' Blair --A Labour Parliamentary candidate announced today that he had defected to the Liberal Democrats. Stephen Wilkinson, who until yesterday was Labour's candidate for Ribble Valley and a Labour member of Lancashire County Council, said he had become disillusioned with Tony Blair's "increasingly authoritarian" party.

Riot at U.S.-Run Prison in Iraq, 16 People Wounded --Inmates at the largest U.S.-run prison in Iraq hurled rocks and set tents on fire earlier this month, and four guards and 12 prisoners were wounded before the riot was brought under control, the U.S. army said on Tuesday.

Second attack!! Car bomb explodes near Abu Ghraib prison --A suicide car bomb exploded near a US military convoy, opposite to Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, on Monday. Three Iraqi civilians were injured in the attack, police said. The US military has *no immediate word* about the incident. [ROFL - I am *sure* they don't.]

Two Servicemembers Killed During Iraq Military Operations 5 April 2005 --Two U.S. servicemembers were killed during military operations in Iraq, military officials in Baghdad reported today.

Bush: U.S. to Bear Burden of Iraq Costs --Dictator Bush said Monday that seeing Iraq through 'reconstruction' [prioritization] to a stable and secure 'democracy' [corporate welfare state] is a worthy cause that the United States will press regardless of whether its 'coalition partners' [bribed lackeys of the Halliburton-Monsanto occupation] remain there.

America is usurping the democratic will in Iraq --To forestall a clerical-driven religious regime, Washington has a plan to arm small militias --by Michael Meacher "It is one of the greatest ironies of the US intervention that the Iraqi people instead used their first voting opportunity to elect a government with a strong religious base, and indeed with close links to the Islamic republic on their border. The US, having destroyed the sole major secular government in the region, is now at risk of replacing it with a theocratic regime....To forestall a clerical-driven religious regime, Washington has a plan in reserve, according to Asia Times (15 February), to arm small militias backed by US troops. The report states that "in a highly clandestine operation, the US has procured Pakistan-manufactured weapons, and consignments have been loaded in bulk on to US military cargo aircraft at Chaklala airbase in the past few weeks". The same report says that these US supported militias would comprise former members of the Baath party, which has already split into three factions, and would receive assistance from the interim prime minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National Accord."

Soldier disabled by anthrax vaccine is recalled to serve --He served his country as an ideal soldier and became a disabled veteran along the way. So what is the Army doing calling him back – just days before his term of service expires? --by Jesse Kanson-Benanav "Despite his service-related disability, [Commander Jason] Cordova received notice from the Army in June 2004 that he would soon be called back to duty for Operation Enduring Freedom, one of nearly 10,000 servicemembers who were recalled after successfully completing their active duty requirements."

Miller's UN Reporting --by Russ Baker "Given the consequences of [Judith] Miller's shilling for Bush Administration unilateralists during the run-up to the UN-opposed Iraq invasion, it seems remarkable that her [New York Times] editors would grant her a similar role in covering the complex Oil for Food scandal--especially given the Times's unique role in setting the global news agenda and establishing perceptions. As one diplomat from a Western country put it to me, 'I think there is a more balanced and nuanced picture of the Oil for Food program to be presented.' In a brief conversation, [UN bureau chief Warren] Hoge told me that Miller had been brought into this story specifically to do investigative reporting. But her work bears little resemblance to classic journalistic gumshoeing."

Berlusconi 'Massacred' in Regional Elections --Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi suffered a crushing defeat at Italian regional elections, official results showed on Monday, a huge boost for center-left leader Romano Prodi's hopes of unseating him next year. In what one of his defeated regional governors described as a "massacre," Berlusconi's center-right coalition appeared to have lost 11 of the 13 regions at stake.

Sharon defies international objections by allowing 3,500 new homes on West Bank --Ariel Sharon, Israel's Prime Minister, has defied international and Palestinian objections to go ahead with a bitterly controversial plan to expand the largest Jewish settlement on the West Bank by 3,500 homes.

N.J., Conn. Conduct Anti-Terror Drills --The biggest anti-terrorism drill ever held in the United States got under way Monday with a mock biological attack in New Jersey and a simulated chemical-weapons explosion in Connecticut. Named TOPOFF 3, the $16 million, weeklong exercise is meant to find weak spots in the nation's emergency planning.

Doctors investigate 'flu-like symptoms' in "TOPOFF 3" terror drill -- Biggest ever terror drill in United States begins --5 April 2005 --The largest anti-terror drill ever undertaken in the United States started on Monday with police officers investigating a fake car accident on a college campus and health officials on the lookout for a mock biological attack. Reporters, briefed by officials as though a real attack were happening, were told that a phone tip led officers to a motor vehicle accident where car registrations did not match the vehicles. Meanwhile, doctors were expected to try to connect the incident to a fake patient who had been admitted to a hospital Sunday night with "flu-like symptoms." The $16 million, weeklong drill is named "TOPOFF 3" for top state and national officials. In addition to the New Jersey attack, it is to include a fake [we hope] chemical weapons attack in New London, Connecticut, starting later Monday.

Two States Are 'Attacked' in a Major Terrorism Drill 5 April 2005 --Hundreds of actors writhed in simulated pain in Connecticut after staged terrorist attacks on Monday, and thousands more went to New Jersey hospitals complaining of mysterious flulike symptoms, as the Department of Homeland Security began the largest terrorism drill ever conducted in the United States.

Conn. officials scramble during simulated chemical attack --Gov. M. Jodi Rell met with her top commissioners Monday after officials triggered a simulated terrorist attack in New London as part of the nation's largest-ever terrorism drill. Shortly before 1:30 p.m., federal officials staged a mock chemical weapons explosion on the New London waterfront, prompting homeland security officials to open an emergency command post at the state Armory.

Border Patrol Complains That Volunteers Are Tripping Sensors Used to Detect Illegal Crossers --Volunteers who have converged on the Mexican border to watch for illegal immigrants are disrupting U.S. Border Patrol operations by unwittingly tripping sensors that alert agents to possible intruders, an agency spokesman complained Monday.

Possible Patriot Act renewal draws protesters (Ohio State University) More than 100 students, most sporting black T-shirts emblazoned with the question, "Am I a terrorist?", marched across the Oval Friday afternoon to protest the USA Patriot Act. Many of the protesters, chanting "Kill the Patriot Act," marched into the library and borrowed books with titles such as "Aviation in Arabic," "Islamic Fundamentalism Since 1945," and "Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometry." [Good ones!]

Senator Links Violence to 'Political' Decisions --'Unaccountable' Judiciary Raises Ire --Sen. John Cornyn said yesterday that recent examples of courthouse violence may be linked to public anger over judges who make politically charged decisions without being held accountable. In a Senate floor speech in which he sharply criticized a recent Supreme Court ruling on the death penalty, Cornyn (R-Tex.) -- a former Texas Supreme Court justice and member of the Judiciary Committee -- said Americans are growing increasingly frustrated by what he describes as activist jurists... The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called the senator's remarks "an astounding account of the recent spate of violence against judges, suggesting that the crimes could be attributed to the fact that judges are 'unaccountable' to the public."

DeLay Fires Up GOP Troops for Counterattack --The House majority leader, faced with new ethics criticism, sees the assaults as an attempt to derail the party's agenda and control of Congress. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has launched a characteristically defiant response to attacks on his ethics and leadership, even as the controversy threatens to compete with the Republican legislative agenda when Congress returns this week from spring recess.

Former Vice President Al Gore announces new TV network --Former Vice President Al Gore is in San Francisco to announce the creation of a new television network, called IN-d-T-V. IN-d-T-V is an independent media company led by Gore and entrepreneur Joel Hyatt.

ChevronTexaco to Purchase Unocal for $16.4 Billion --ChevronTexaco Corp., the second- largest U.S. oil company, agreed to buy Unocal Corp. for $16.4 billion in stock and cash to increase reserves in Asia, the world's fastest-growing energy market.

Oil Tops $58, OPEC Discusses Output Rise --Oil prices raced to all-time peaks on Monday, climbing above $58 a barrel, while OPEC producers said they had begun discussing a second output rise to try to quell the market's rally. [Gee, I wonder what records corpora-terrorists, Exxon Mobil, have shattered this quarter?]

Colorado Landowners Lose Crucial Battle to Oil and Gas Industry --Private landowners in Colorado lost a controversial legal battle to the oil and gas industry last week. At issue was a bill that would have given private landowners more say in dealing with oil and gas companies drilling on their land.

N Korean bird flu 'different' 5 April 2005 --A strain of bird flu infecting poultry in North Korea is different from that which killed scores of people in other parts of Asia, a UN expert has said. Hans Wagner, an official for the Food and Agriculture Organization, said the birds were infected with the H7 strain.

Bird flu strain detected in North Korea "first for Asia" 5 April 2005 --A strain of bird flu previously undetected in Asia has been found in North Korea, a top U.N. expert said on Tuesday. Hans Wagner, a senior official with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), told Reuters Television in Beijing after a week-long visit to North Korea the strain was H7.

Two Bird Flu Suspects in Hospital in Vietnam 5 April 2005 --Two more Vietnamese, a 12-year-old girl and a woman, are in hospital with suspected bird flu, the official Vietnam News Agency said on Tuesday.

New bird flu case reported in Vietnam 4 April 2005 --Vietnamese authorities on Monday confirmed another human bird flu case, but said the patient in central Vietnam was recovering from the disease which has killed at least 48 people in the region.

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Britain to pull 5,500 troops out of Iraq --Defence chiefs are planning to reduce the size of the British military force in Iraq from 9,000 to 3,500 troops within 12 months as part of a phased withdrawal from Iraq, The Telegraph can reveal. In the first stage of Britain's "exit strategy", troops will be withdrawn from three of the Army's five military bases in southern Iraq by April 2006.

U.S. forces may have beaten Iraqi general --Previously secret court testimony indicates an Iraqi general imprisoned by U.S. forces was badly bruised and may have been severely beaten two days before he died of suffocation during interrogation [during torture].

Al Qaeda Claims Raid on Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison --Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq Sunday claimed responsibility for a brazen overnight raid on Abu Ghraib prison that wounded 44 U.S. soldiers, according to an Internet statement, and said more attacks would follow.

2 US service members killed in Iraq 4 April 2005 --Two US service members were killed in central Iraq, according to the military.

State wants GIs in Iraq back to fight fires --Long drought parches Montana, other areas --Facing a seventh consecutive year of drought and predictions of an extremely high risk of forest fires this summer, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer took an unusual step in March. He asked the Pentagon to bring the state's National Guard troops back from Iraq to be ready for firefighting duty.

Corporate Assassin --by David Podvin "George W. Bush is a murderer, and a prolific one at that. He has deployed surrogates to kill more than one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians in a ruthless slaughter that is ongoing. The fact that he murders via remote control from the Oval Office does not confer legitimacy to his crimes. If anything, it makes them all the more despicable. Bush is slaying people in the name of democracy, yet his commitment to democracy has already been debunked in Haiti and Venezuela, not to mention Florida and Ohio. ...At Bush’s behest, the United States military has 'neutralized' unarmed Iraqis by dropping cluster bombs on them, showering them with napalm, shooting them from helicopters, executing them in mosques, and torturing them in dungeons. The BBC broadcast an interview with a grieving woman whose pregnant daughter had been machine-gunned by U.S. troops, which is the one method of abortion that conservatives are willing to tolerate."

Syria to meet US deadline for pullout of troops and agents from Lebanon --Syria will withdraw all its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon by April 30, it was announced yesterday. This means that Damascus intends to meet the unofficial deadline for withdrawal set by Washington.

U.S. says Israel must give up nukes --The State Department yesterday called on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons and accept international Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear activities.

Venezuelan readies military reserve defend the to country --Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that 1.5 million people would be trained to form the military reserve, which would be ready to "defend" the country.

Congress Weighs Money for Missile Defense --Congress is weighing how much to invest in the fledgling ballistic missile defense system, which has suffered setbacks and whose cost could easily top the $150 billion partial price tag the Bush administration has estimated.

Intel: Did Bolton Try to Intimidate Spies? --Bolton: Influencing intelligence? Foreign Relations Committee staffers are looking into charges that John Bolton attempted to intimidate or victimize two career intelligence officials for what he viewed as their insufficiently alarmist analyses of intel on purported Cuban biological weapons.

Mock Attack to Test System --City Hosts Largest Terrorism Drill Ever to Evaluate National Response Plan --As many as a hundred people have been caught in a chemical attack on the riverfront... Here comes TOPOFF3, the largest terrorism drill ever conducted, and New London (CT) is one of its main stages. The attack will happen in a fenced-in area at Fort Trumbull. The public won't be allowed in.

Privacy Advocates Criticize Plan to Embed ID Chips in Passports --A government plan to embed U.S. passports with radio frequency chips starting this summer is being met by resistance from travel and privacy groups who say the technology is untested and could create a security risk for travelers.

MT House condemns Patriot Act --Montana lawmakers overwhelmingly passed what its sponsor called the nation's most strongly worded criticism of the federal Patriot Act on Friday, uniting politicians of all stripes. The resolution, which already galloped through the Senate and passed the House 88-12 Friday, must survive a final vote before it officially passes.

Police Group Recommends Stun Gun Rules --A police chief association is recommending that law enforcement departments using electronic stun guns, or those considering buying them, develop specific protocol for their use and track each time the weapon is deployed.

Migrant Stumbles Into U.S. Militia 'Hornet's Nest' --A 'civilian militia' in Arizona seeking to stop illegal aliens coming in from Mexico claimed its first immigrant when a hapless Guatemalan wandered into the group's base camp seeking help.

Border Group Report Results in Arrests --Volunteers for an effort to patrol the Mexican border reported their first sighting of suspected illegal immigrants, resulting in 18 arrests, authorities said Sunday.

Newspaper poll finds DeLay support slipping drastically --A Houston Chronicle poll has found that support for DeLay has slipped drastically in his district. Nearly 40 percent of 501 voters questioned last week said their opinion of the powerful Sugar Land Republican is less favorable than last year.

DeLay is losing support, poll finds --Schiavo case and ethics battles are cited in the slide --House Majority Leader [and Reichwing terrorist] Tom DeLay's footing among his constituents has slipped drastically during the past year and a majority of his district disapproves of how he handled the Terri Schiavo case, according to a Houston Chronicle poll.

Doctors Lobbying to Halt Cuts to Medicare Payments --Doctors are mobilizing a nationwide lobbying campaign to stave off cuts in their Medicare fees as Congress hunts for ways to rein in the soaring cost of the insurance program.

Ill. Governor Orders Prescriptions Filled --Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) approved an emergency rule Friday requiring pharmacies to fill birth control prescriptions quickly after a Chicago pharmacist refused to fill an order because of moral opposition to the drug. The emergency rule takes effect immediately for 150 days while the administration seeks a permanent rule.

U.S. Is Asked to Close Site on Sex Issues --Advocacy groups are calling on the federal government to take down a new Web site offering information on sex issues because the groups say it presents biased and inaccurate advice to parents on how to talk to their children about sex and emphasizes abstinence.

Connecticut Closer to Approving Civil Unions --Democratic Majority Driving State Measure --Connecticut could become the second state in the nation to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples -- and the first to do so without being prompted by a court order.

Oil Hits New Record --Oil prices raced to a new all-time peak on Monday, climbing toward $58 a barrel as OPEC signaled it would discuss a second output rise to try to quell the market's relentless rally.

Canada to put trade surtax on U.S. goods --The Canadian government Thursday said it will slap a 15% surtax on some U.S. products in retaliation for a lingering trade dispute.

Food watchdog is 'biased against organic food', says its own review --Britain's official food safety watchdog must review its controversial policies on GM and organic goods, a wide-ranging official review of its performance has concluded.

9 US states limit local control of GM seeds --Similar seed bills have been introduced in 9 different US states that would stop local cities and counties from restricting the sale of [deadly] GM seeds. Language in all the seed bills is apparently noticeably similar. According to Joseph Mendelson, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, "I'm sure that it is organized by big industry players who are fearful that the California strategy (GMO-free initiatives) may spread."

9 US states limit local GM regs Ellinghuysen [Scroll to second article] At least nine US states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Dakota, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, and West Virginia have either passed or introduced legislation that would preempt local cities and counties from restricting the sale of genetically modified seeds.

CNY participates in bird flu vaccine study 4 April 2005 --Bird flu is coming to Central New York. Inoculations for a vaccine study begin today at the University of Rochester. Sites in Baltimore and Los Angeles also are enrolling healthy volunteers from age 18 to 64... Researchers are "very confident that it is safe, but it is not proven," says U of R spokesman Tom Rickey.

Angola Marburg death toll climbs 3 April 2005 --The death toll in Angola from an outbreak of the rare Marburg virus has risen sharply to 146 people, the country's health ministry has said. The outbreak, which began last October in Uige province, is the most serious ever recorded of the virus, a fast-spreading haemorrhagic fever.

Is Marburg Virus in Angola a Recombinant?* 2 April 2005 (Recombinomics) "Comments by WHO on the recent Marburg outbreak in Angola, cited some historical information of Marburg that does not match the current data from Angola. The Marburg virus is acting much more like Ebola than with Marburg associated characteristics seen in prior outbreaks. Although both viruses are closely related Filovirdae, they are readily distinguishable. Initial data on the isolates from Angola indicated that they were not Ebola. This was confirmed by sequence data showing that the Marburg was in the samples from Angola." [*Recombinant DNA is DNA that has been created artificially. DNA from two or more sources is incorporated into a single recombinant molecule.]

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US relied on 'drunken liar' to justify war [No, not Bush, another 'drunken liar'] 'Crazy' Iraqi spy was full of misinformation, says report --An alcoholic cousin of an aide to Ahmed Chalabi has emerged as the key source in the US rationale for going to war in Iraq. According to a US presidential commission looking into pre-war intelligence failures, the basis for pivotal intelligence on Iraq's alleged biological weapons programmes and fleet of mobile labs was a spy described as 'crazy' by his intelligence handlers and a 'congenital liar' by his friends.

Fury at 'shoot for fun' memo --Outburst by US security firm in Iraq is attacked by human rights groups --One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is 'fun' to shoot people. Emails seen by The Observer reveal that employees of [armed terrorists] Blackwater Security were recently sent a message stating that 'actually it is "fun" to shoot some people.'

Green light for Iraqi prison abuse came right from the top --Classified documents show the former US military chief in Iraq personally sanctioned measures banned by the Geneva Conventions. America's leading civil liberties group has demanded an investigation into the former US military commander Iraq [Lt General Ricardo Sanchez] after a formerly classified memo revealed that he personally sanctioned a series of coercive interrogation techniques outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. The group claims that his directives were directly linked to the sort of abuses that took place at Abu Ghraib.

Sanchez Orchestrated Torture Tactics in Iraq --It was claimed that General Richardo Sanchez, a US military commander in Iraq, determined the interrogation techniques applied on Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers.

US General Approved 'Extreme' Interrogation Methods --The highest-ranking US general in Iraq authorized the use of interrogation techniques that included intimidation through the use of dogs "to exploit Arab fears" of them, stress positions, and sensory deprivation. A total of 29 interrogation techniques were approved, including 12 which "far exceeded" US military regulations as well as the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war.

Rights group seeks probe of general's statements --The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales March 31 seeking an independent inquiry into possible perjury by Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the theater commander in Iraq at the start of the war there. The ACLU said a memo signed by Sanchez directly contradicts sworn testimony he gave to the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which he denied authorizing highly coercive interrogation methods.

Resistance Fighters Attack Abu Ghraib Prison --A group of 40 to 60 resistance fighters attacked the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq late Saturday in a well-coordinated assault that inflicted 18 American casualties, U.S. military officials told NBC News.

Abu Ghraib Attack Wounds 44 U.S. Troops in Iraq --The number of U.S. soldiers wounded in a battle with resistance fighters outside Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison rose to more than 40 on Sunday, from an earlier count of 20, the U.S. military said.

Car Bomb in Central Iraq Kills Five --A car bomb exploded Saturday in central Iraq, killing five people, including four police officers on patrol, while gunmen killed an education official in Baghdad. A U.S. Marine was killed in Ramadi, the military said Saturday.

Number of Anti-occupation Attacks Goes Up in Afghanistan --The number and severity of attacks against Afghan and occupation forces have increased compared to the winter, a coalition spokeswoman noted April 2.

Bush aiming to remake Iraq as a free-market paradise --By William O'Rourke "When Paul Bremer, fresh from Kissinger Associates, first arrived in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority made a lot of changes other than just disbanding what was left of the Iraqi army. He annulled all of Saddam Hussein's rules and regulations overseeing the Iraq economy, except one: He kept Saddam's laws banning labor unions... What the Bush administration is doing domestically -- trying to privatize Social Security, continuing tax favors for corporations, changing bankruptcy laws to favor business over individuals, applying free-market ideology wherever possible -- has been done with impunity in Iraq. Wars might be hell, but they have their up side for business. Bechtel and Halliburton might be impeded in the way they do business here in the States, but in Iraq, anything goes. One of the first edicts Bremer signed gave immunity from Iraqi laws to U.S. contractors and other Western firms doing business in Iraq." [a must read]

Army death squads roam tsunami coast --Banda Aceh Indonesian army death squads have murdered at least two young people under the noses of the United Nations and a host of foreign aid groups helping survivors of the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami, according to eyewitnesses.

[U.S. death squads roam Mexican border] Citizen patrols to block Mexican migrants --Several hundred people are preparing to launch their own border patrols in Arizona this weekend, with the intent of stopping illegal migrants from crossing the border.

Government wiretaps, searches up 75 percent --Increase follows expanded powers for 'terror' investigation --The government requested and won approval for a record number of special warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected 'terrorists' and spies, 75 percent more than in 2000, the Bush dictatorship disclosed Friday.

FBI monitored British activists --Agents tapped the phones and read emails of animal rights campaigners --American special agents were so concerned about the activities of Britain's leading animal rights extremists that they tapped their phones and intercepted their emails over a six-month period as part of a covert surveillance operation.

Europeans will need visas for travel to US --Most Europeans, including almost all British citizens, will need a visa to visit America later this year after the US Congress said that there was little chance of postponing a deadline for the introduction of biometric passports.

Terrorism drill to be 'baptism by fire' for Rell's security teams -- A national terrorism drill in Connecticut next week will be the first test for Gov. (R) M. Jodi Rell's homeland security agency, which is only a few months old and still working out its job descriptions. Dozens of agencies are participating in the drill that is set to begin Monday and centers around simulated attacks in Connecticut and New Jersey.

Official Calls Bush-Chimp Comparison Bad Taste --Belgian trainers helping police to understand body language have caused a controversy by likening George Bush's facial expressions to a chimpanzee's. The training presentation pictured the U.S. dictator's face in various expressions beside photographs of a chimpanzee, the paper showed on its front page, in what was meant to be a humorous introduction to the subject of reading expressions.

Bush Sidesteps Lott, Appoints Commission --Dictator Bush, apparently brushing aside a stall tactic by Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., appointed the nine-member commission that will determine military bases closings without waiting for Senate confirmation.

Lautenberg Cites Criminal Laws DeLay May Have Broken in Threat Against Federal Judges (lautenberg.senate.gov Press Release) "Responding to possible violations of criminal law by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay when he directed threatening remarks toward federal judges involved in the Terri Schiavo case, Untied Stated Senator Frank R. Lautenberg today called on Mr. DeLay to renounce his comments. In a letter to Mr. DeLay, Senator Lautenberg said the remarks could incite violence against judges, and noted that federal statutes provide for prison terms up to six years for threatening members of the court."

DeLay Comments "irresponsible and reprehensible" - Senator --House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on Thursday blamed Terri Schiavo's death on what he contended was a failed legal system and he raised the possibility of trying to impeach some of the federal judges in the case. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," said DeLay, R-Terrorist-Texas. But a leading Democratic senator said DeLay's comments were "irresponsible and reprehensible." Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said DeLay should make sure that people know he is not advocating violence against judges.

Mitchell Decries GOP Filibuster Plan --Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell called on senators Saturday to reject a Republican plan to ban filibusters of judicial nominees, calling it "unprecedented, unfair and unwise.''

S.C. lawmaker asks Giuliani to repay $100,000 speaking fee --A South Carolina lawmaker has asked Rudy Giuliani to pay back all of a $100,000 fee he was given by a hospital group for a speech at a tsunami relief fund-raiser two months ago. Giuliani donated $20,000 of the fee and kept the rest after the Feb. 9 event in Columbia. Rep. Tracy Edge, R-North Myrtle Beach, said he is upset because the speech was widely publicized as a charity event.

Florida wants to ease U.S. school standards --With nearly all of its schools at risk of not meeting federal standards under the No Child Left Behind act, Florida wants to make it easier for schools to comply. Florida asked the federal government Friday to make it easier for schools to comply with the No Child Left Behind act.

Calif. Retail Gasoline Prices Rise to Record --Gasoline prices have jumped to a record in California and likely will rise more as the state's drivers increasingly take to the road as the summer vacation season approaches, a spokesman for AAA said on Saturday.

Pace of Job Creation Slows Markedly --The nation's unemployment rate dipped slightly in March, the government said on Friday, but job creation was weaker than most analysts had expected.

77 Moffitt patients get excess radiation (Tampa, FL) Errors in a machine's installation caused the patients to get radiation doses 50 percent more powerful than prescribed. Seventy-seven patients were exposed to excessive radiation levels for nearly a year because a machine was improperly installed, officials at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute said Friday.

Hurricane expert sees new storms on horizon --Conditions turn more favorable for tropical weather --The nation's most prominent hurricane forecaster says coastal residents should brace for another busy tropical storm season.

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Bush Authorizes Use of Quarantine Powers in Cases of Bird Flu 2 April 2005 --Dictator Bush signed an executive order on Friday authorizing the government to impose a quarantine to deal with any outbreak of avian influenza now found in Southeast Asia.

Bush Order Allows Isolation of Those with Bird Flu 1 April 2005 --Dictator Bush issued a directive on Friday allowing authorities to detain or isolate any passenger suspected of having avian flu when arriving in the United States aboard an international flight. The Bush order added pandemic influenza to the list of diseases for which quarantine is authorized. Under the directive, the Health and Human Services Department is given legal authority to detain or isolate any passenger suspected of having the avian flu.

"Against the Americans, shall we dance?" Banned by the Feds! (2004) Banned by the Norwegian government, this music video calls for direct action against the President. (ifilm.com) "Protesting U.S. foreign policy, the Norwegian rap group Gatas Parlament ['the parliament of the streets'] created this video entitled 'Kill Him Now.' Under pressure from the U.S., this was banned by the Norwegian government who claim that the video advocates direct violent action against President [sic] Bush, rather than peaceful protest. Consequently, it's become a major free speech issue in Norway. Check out the translated version, with English subtitles, before it's censored here also." Note: IFILM (and CLG) are merely reporting news here; we're not endorsing the message in this video.

U.S. Citizen Held in Iraq as Suspected Insurgent --The U.S. military said on Friday it has held since last year an American citizen without charges in Iraq as a suspected top aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [?!?], drawing condemnation from civil rights activists. The man, who U.S. officials at the Pentagon and in Iraq refused to identify by name, possessed dual U.S.-Jordanian citizenship, the military said.

Oops! Insurgents Escaping from Musul to Kerkuk --The US army, which has been organizing operations in regions determined since the elections, has increased its activities against the resistance movement in northern Iraq. While it is indicated that the US soldiers have captured many insurgents in Mosul since last week, it is also noted that several of them have moved from the places they were located. [Hopefully, they will repel the invading corpora-terrorists.]

Suicide car bomb hits US checkpoint in western Iraq --A suicide car bomb hit a US checkpoint at the entrance of a US military base west of the restive city of Ramadi on Friday, witnesses said. ...Casualties were not known as the US troops sealed off the area, the witnesses said.

Iraqi police officer accused of leading an armed group --Iraqi security forces arrested on Friday an Iraqi police officer for suspicion of involvement with armed groups in Iraq. Soldiers from the Iraqi army's sixth legion had apprehended the police officer, suspected of leading a terrorist group, said a statement by the Iraqi government's communications department.

U.S. Soldier Convicted of Killing Iraqi Walks Free --A U.S. army tank company commander convicted of shooting dead a wounded Iraqi walked free from court on Friday, although he was dismissed from the army for what he called a "mercy killing." [Gee, any detective on Law & Order would make short work of that excuse before the show's opening theme song. --Lori Price]

The Pentagon's Secret Stash --Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos --by Matt Welch "The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict 'acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman.' After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his 'stomach gave out.' ...Legalities are one thing, but the real motivation for choking off access is obvious: Torture photos undermine support for the Iraq war. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, 'If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse.'"

We Can't Remain Silent --by Bob Herbert "...[T]wo retired officers have lent their support to an extraordinary lawsuit that seeks to hold Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ultimately accountable for policies that have given rise to torture and other forms of prisoner abuse. And last September they were among a group of eight retired admirals and generals who wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to create an independent 9/11-type commission to fully investigate the problem of prisoner abuse from the top to the bottom of the command structure."

Ex-CIA Chiefs Rebut Bush Panel Conclusions --Two former CIA chiefs on Friday disputed claims cited by a presidential commission that agency officials warned them that the government's leading source on Iraq's biological weapons had a reputation for making things up.

Former CIA Chief Disputes Warning Over Iraq Data --Former CIA Director George Tenet on Friday disputed that he was warned about problems with an Iraqi source just hours before Secretary of State Colin Powell argued the U.S. case against Iraq at the United Nations, using the source's information.

Veterans Group Calls on Congress to Impeach George W. Bush and Richard Cheney (Veterans For Peace, Inc.) "On March 30, a national veterans’ organization called for the removal of President George W. Bush and Vice-President Richard Cheney for crimes the group charges were committed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq."

UN Panel Approves Anti-Nuclear Terrorism Treaty --A new global treaty to keep nuclear weapons out of terrorists' hands took a major step toward approval on Friday with its adoption by a U.N.treaty-writing committee.

World Bank may tighten security under Wolfowitz --The appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank has prompted new concerns about possible terrorist attacks on the institution, which has ordered a review of its security procedures, bank officials say.

Holy double conflict of interest, Batman! Bush Nominates Cheney's Son-in-Law --Dictator Bush has nominated Vice pResident Cheney's son-in-law, a prominent Washington lawyer who represents companies in the homeland security field, to be the general counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. Philip J. Perry, who is married to Cheney daughter Elizabeth Cheney Perry, is a partner at the Washington law office of Latham & Watkins, and has represented Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp. in dealing with the department.

Record Number of Terror Warrants Approved --The government requested and won approval for a record number of special warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected 'terrorists' and spies, 75 percent more than in 2000, the Bush regime disclosed Friday.

Feds fingerprint departing foreign visitors --Collecting biometric data — fingerprints and mug shots — is the Department of Homeland Security's new procedure for foreigners leaving the country. The exit system will be expanded to 80 airports by the end of the year, officials said.

Panel Warns That Defense Against Germ Attack Is Weak --Warning that the United States has escaped catastrophic biological attack largely by luck [No - Bush postponed it during election season], the presidential commission on intelligence urged the American government on Thursday to intensify its efforts to block any biological assaults by terrorist groups or other countries.

Judge Tells City to Release Much of 9/11 Oral History --The state's highest court ruled on Thursday that the Bloomberg administration must release the New York City Fire Department's oral history of the Sept. 11 attack, but said the city could withhold portions that would cause "serious pain or embarrassment" to the fire officials interviewed.

Bush event exclusions ripped --Heave-ho of foes riles lawmakers on both sides of aisle --Members of Congress from both parties on Thursday raised sharp questions about the exclusion of political opponents from two taxpayer-funded appearances by Dictator Bush. Three people were ejected from Bush's Social Security town hall meeting in Denver March 21 after they arrived in a car with a "No more blood for oil" bumper sticker.

One-in-959,000 chance exit polls wrong in predicting '04 vote --Analysis by group points to election 'corruption' [coup d'etat] --There's a one-in-959,000 chance that exit polls could have been so wrong in predicting the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, according to a statistical analysis released Thursday. Exit polls in the November election showed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., winning by 3 percent, but Dictator George W. Bush won the vote count by 2.5 percent. The explanation for the discrepancy that was offered by the exit polling firm -- that Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polling -- is an "implausible theory,'' according to the report issued Thursday by US Count Votes, a group that claims it's made up of about two dozen statisticians.

Thanks to Bush: Dollar headed for collapse: Mahathir --The US dollar is facing an imminent collapse and the global economy will suffer a "catastrophe" when it is rejected as the currency for trade, former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said in remarks published yesterday.

Thanks to Bush's corpora-terrorist paymasters: High Fuel Prices Hitting City Emergency Vehicle Fleets --With gas prices spiking recently, commuters aren't the only ones feeling the crunch. As prices top out at over $2 a gallon, it costs around 90 bucks to fill up an ambulance. Many government agencies are finding their fuel budgets are almost running on empty.

Study: Malpractice rates not tied to big awards --Large damage awards for medical malpractice did not create the physicians' insurance crisis in Texas as commonly believed, according to research by professors at the University of Texas at Austin and two colleges outside the state.

Sen. Lautenberg rebukes DeLay over Schiavo remarks --by John Byrne "Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has issued a strongly-worded letter to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) over his recent remarks threatening those involved with the Schiavo case, which Lautenberg takes to mean federal judges, RAW STORY has learned."

Former Conn. governor reports to prison (Loretto, PA) Former Republican Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland arrived at a federal prison Friday morning to serve a yearlong sentence for corruption, coming through a back entrance to avoid reporters. Rowland was sentenced to one year and one day at the camp but will be eligible for release after 10 months.

Yucca scientist investigated over e-mails --E-mails by a government scientist on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump project suggest the worker was planning to fabricate records and manipulate results to ensure outcomes that would help the project move forward. "I don't have a clue when these programs were installed. So I've made up the dates and names," wrote a U.S. Geological Survey employee in one e-mail released Friday by a congressional committee investigating suspected document falsification on the project. "This is as good as it's going to get. If they need more proof, I will be happy to make up more stuff."

Report: Human Damage to Earth Worsening Fast --Humans are damaging the planet at an unprecedented rate and raising risks of abrupt collapses in nature that could spur disease, deforestation or "dead zones" in the seas, an international report said on Wednesday.

Flu Pandemic Coming, U.S. Not Prepared 1 April 2005 --Immediate action is needed to prepare the United States for a deadly pandemic of influenza, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is telling policymakers.

Bird flu could put Britain in quarantine, warns scientist 27 March 2005 --Offices and schools across Britain could be closed to protect workers if bird flu arrives, the Ministry of Defence's chief scientist has warned. Professor Roy Anderson, a leading infectious diseases expert, said politicians will face difficult decisions about how far to close down Britain if it is struck by a highly contagious form of the disease.

Marburg virus disease in Angola - update 5 1 April 2005 --As of 31 March, 140 cases of Marburg virus disease have been reported in Angola. Of these, 132 have been fatal. Cases continue to be concentrated in Uige.

CDC to fight fever in Angola 1 April 2005 --The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is dispatching at least nine scientists and staff to Angola to help combat [spread] an expanding epidemic of Marburg hemorrhagic fever that so far has killed 127 people, most of them children.

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UN rights expert charges US using food access as military tactic --A UN human rights expert sharply condemned the invasion of Iraq and the global 'anti'-terror drive, accusing the US-led occupation of using food deprivation as a military tactic and of sapping efforts to fight hunger in the world. ...A report to the UN human rights commission also highlighted "widespread concerns about the continued lack of access to clean drinking water" and allegations by British campaigners that water sources were deliberately cut off by occupation forces. [Apparently, life was *much better* for Iraqis under Saddam Hussein than under Dictator Bush and his merry band of corpora-terrorists.]

Children starving in Monsanto's Iraq --Increasing numbers of children in Iraq do not have enough food to eat and more than a quarter are chronically undernourished, a UN report says. Malnutrition rates in children under five have almost doubled since the US-led invasion - to nearly 8% by the end of last year, it says. Jean Ziegler, a UN specialist on hunger who prepared the report, blamed the worsening situation in Iraq on the war led by occupation forces.

Intelligence Analysts Whiffed on a 'Curveball' --Report says one Iraqi defector single-handedly corrupted prewar weapons estimates. Prewar claims by the United States that Iraq was producing biological weapons were based almost entirely on accounts from a defector who was described as "crazy" by his intelligence handlers and a "congenital liar" by his friends. ['Crazy' and 'congenital liar?' It sounds like they are describing Bush himself.]

WMD Verdict: 'Dead wrong' --The damning verdict of America's official report into the reasons for going to war in Iraq --A bipartisan US commission has delivered a devastating critique of the intelligence assessment of Iraq's pre-war weapons of mass destruction. It also implied that the country's spy agencies know "disturbingly little" about Iran and North Korea. The intelligence community was "dead wrong" in "almost all of its judgements" about Saddam Hussein's presumed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes, declared the panel, which was set up by Dictator George Bush in February last year.

Spy Agencies Were 'Dead Wrong' on Iraq, Report Says --U.S. intelligence was "dead wrong'' about the military threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq and knows "disturbingly little'' about the ability of terrorists to mount biological, chemical or nuclear attacks, a presidential commission said.

U.S. Soldier Convicted Over Shooting of Iraqi --A U.S. court martial convicted an army tank company commander on Thursday over the death of an Iraqi in a shooting which the soldier called a mercy killing [?!?] of a wounded man, [LOL, if it wasn't so pathetic...] U.S. military officials said.

Police Chief Killed in Town North of Baghdad --Gunmen killed the chief of police in a restive town northeast of Baghdad on Friday, Iraqi security officials said.

Armed neighborhood militias [Negroponte's death squads] spring up as ethnic tensions worsen -- The political instability in Iraq and the ethnic divides behind it are pushing Iraqis toward gang-like violence that many worry could start a slide toward civil war.

Suicide Car Bombers Kill Seven in Iraq --Suicide car bombers mounted two attacks on Iraqi soldiers in northern Iraq Thursday, killing at least seven people, as hundreds of thousands of Shi'ites converged on a southern city for a religious ceremony.

American kidnapped in Iraq --A U.S. citizen was kidnapped in Iraq this week, along with three Romanian journalists, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday evening.

Bush names US Navy secretary as deputy defense secretary --US Dictator George W. Bush announced Thursday he intends to nominate Navy Secretary Gordon England to be deputy secretary of defense, the No. 2 civilian job at the Pentagon.

Wolfowitz confirmed as next World Bank president --The board of the World Bank today approved the controversial nomination of Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld's deputy at the Pentagon, as its new president. Mr Bush's choice of his deputy defence secretary [Reichwing terrorist] for the world's top development institution has created consternation among development groups.

Afghan 'Court' Lowers 3 Convicts' Sentences --Three Americans jailed for torturing Afghans in a freelance hunt for terrorists have won shorter sentences but failed to persuade an appeals court to overturn their convictions.

No nations should have nukes, most in USA say -- Most Americans surveyed in a poll say they do not think any country, including the United States, should have nuclear weapons.

Bush Names Cheney's Son-in-law to Homeland Security GC --Dictator Bush has nominated the vice pResident's son-in-law, Philip J. Perry, as general counsel of the Homeland Security Department, where he would oversee 1,500 lawyers who work on legal matters like Coast Guard maritime laws and immigration. Mr. Perry, who is married to Elizabeth Cheney, is leaving the Washington office of the Latham & Watkins law firm, where he was a partner, as well as a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin, one of the top 10 contractors for the Homeland Security Department. [Gee, how convenient!!]

For F.B.I., Not Enough Progress in Combating Terrorism --The Federal Bureau of Investigation has made "insufficient progress" in areas crucial to recasting itself as a frontline defense against terrorism, and major restructuring at both the F.B.I. and the Justice Department is still needed, the presidential commission on intelligence concluded Thursday.

Miami-Dade County, FL: Voting glitches found in 6 recent elections --A computer error failed to count votes during the March 8 special election, calling into question five other local elections -- and the future of the county's elections supervisor. Electronic voting machines tossed out hundreds of ballots during this month's special election on slot machines -- and elections workers have traced the same computer error to five other municipal elections in the past 12 months. Raising the red flag: An alarmingly high number of so-called ''undervotes'' in the March 8 election -- which only had one item on the ballot. The reports of uncounted votes also bring renewed criticism from those who have been wary of the paper-free electronic voting machines -- an unsettling development for a county that had poured substantial resources into escaping the chad-filled ghost of the 2000 'presidential election' [coup d'etat].

Dollar "catastrophe" prompts call to replace George W Bush --US unable to repay $7 trillion in loans, claim --The former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, has launched into a swinging attack on US dictator George W. Bush and warned that the global economy was heading for a catastrophe with the dollar in danger of imminent collapse.

Goldman sees oil price 'super spike' to $105 a barrel --Oil prices have entered the early stages of trading that could lead to a 'super spike' with the potential to move prices to $105 per barrel, enough to meaningfully reduce energy consumption, according to a Goldman Sachs analysis.

Unions Protest Against Bush's Social Security Proposal --The nation's labor unions stepped up their campaign yesterday to stop Dictator Bush's Social Security plan, staging demonstrations in New York, Washington, San Francisco and 70 other cities.

Religious Charities in 10 States Get $1B --Religious charities in 10 states and the District of Columbia got about half of the $2 billion in taxpayer money available to groups deemed 'faith-based' by the White House in 2004, according to figures the White House provided Thursday to The Associated Press.

Schiavo Family In Pennsylvania Getting Death Threats --One Phone Call Comes From Texas [Hmm...Tom Delay?] --The Schiavo family in Pennsylvania told NBC 10 that it has been receiving death threats. According to Sgt. Andy Smith, the man also said to her, "If Terri dies, I'm going to come back and shoot you and your family." After Terri's death Thursday, the brother of her husband, Michael, Scott Schiavo, told NBC 10 News that he had received a number of threatening phone calls. In fact, one call came while NBC 10 was at the home.

Terri Schiavo, 41, Dies in Fla. Hospice --Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman whose condition ignited a protracted legal struggle, died today at a Florida hospice, 13 days after her feeding tube was removed under a court order.

Hong Kong Stadium may be used as clinic if bird flu hits 1 April 2005 --Hong Kong Stadium could be turned into a huge outpatient clinic in the event of a major outbreak of bird flu, health authorities said. The 40,000-seat stadium in Causeway Bay is an option because it could house hundreds of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel in one location.

*****

US spends more against Cuba than on tracking Al Qaida --While the US Wednesday defended here the "democratic consequences" of its alleged antiterrorist crusade, Cuba criticized that Washington is spending more money on reinforcing its blockade of Cuba than on tracking finances for the Al Qaida [al CIAduh] network.

U.S. Military Limits Guantanamo Data --The U.S. military has 'temporarily' stopped providing the specific allegations against individual terror suspects who appear before hearings at Guantanamo Bay, officials said Tuesday.

Top soldier in Iraq okayed illegal methods, ACLU says --The former top U.S. military chief in Iraq authorized the use of illegal techniques during interrogations, the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday. In a memorandum, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez authorized 29 methods of interrogation, including 12 that "far exceeded" U.S. military regulations as well as the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war, the ACLU said.

Number of prisoners held by U-S in Iraq doubled in five months -- According to figures from the Pentagon, the U.S. is holding more than ten-thousand prisoners in Iraq. That's more than double the number held in October. And, there are more allegations of prisoner abuse in detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Six Iraqis killed as insurgents battle US troops --Insurgents have opened fire on a U.S. military patrol in Mosul and six people have been killed in a subsequent exchange of gunfire, including a woman and child, Iraqi police say.

Army Vehicle Called Faulty --Transport Deployed in Iraq Puts Troops at Risk, Study Says --The Army has deployed a new troop transport vehicle in Iraq with many defects, putting troops there at unexpected risk from rocket-propelled grenades and raising questions about the vehicle's development and $11 billion cost, according to a detailed critique in a classified Army study obtained by The Washington Post.

Iraq: Civilian Contractors Shouldn't Wear Marine Corps Uniforms --We allow our Navy brethren who serve with us to wear our uniforms because they share our sacrifices and our values. But civilian workers do not share those sacrifices. While they may share our values, they do not serve under an oath of fidelity in harm's way, but under a contract based on monetary gain. --by Robert Gerbracht, --Marine Corps Times "Why are American civilians, Iraqi contractors and third-country nationals allowed to wear our uniform? ...Perhaps I’m a reactionary, but I think KBR employees, who earn seven times more than most Marines, can afford to buy their own nonpatented, unofficial uniforms from a stateside military surplus store or tactical outfitter."

Iraq WMD report to lay blame on CIA --The Guardian A final analysis of the intelligence fiasco over Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction will today focus blame on the CIA and other spy agencies, largely clearing the White House and the Pentagon of allegations that they shaped the intelligence to justify the invasion, according to early accounts of the report.

Iraq war is blamed for starvation --Acute malnutrition among Iraqi children aged under five nearly doubled last year because of chaos caused by the US-led occupation, a United Nations expert said yesterday.

Draft may be needed in a year, military analysts warn --If American forces aren't pulling out of Iraq in a year, a draft will be needed to meet manpower requirements, military analysts warned Wednesday.

Three Join Opposition to Bolton Nomination --Former U.S. Sen. James Sasser and two other retired American diplomats have joined a drive urging the Senate to reject John R. Bolton's nomination to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Bush Seeks Extension of Trade Negotiating Authority --Dictator Bush asked Congress on Wednesday to extend his hard-won authority to negotiate trade deals for two more years -- a procedural move that could stir debate but is likely to pass.

Wolfowitz Gets EU Blessing for World Bank Job --European ministers gave the green light Wednesday for U.S. nominee [and Reichwing terrorist] Paul Wolfowitz to take over as head of the World Bank after hearing soothing assurances on fighting poverty from the architect of the Iraq war.

Armed Volunteers Plan to Patrol Border --Hundreds of volunteers, some of them armed, are expected to take up positions along the Mexican border Friday and begin patrolling for illegal immigrants - an exercise some fear could attract racist crackpots [Well, we'll have to make sure Bush and Cheney remain in DC] and lead to vigilante violence.

Border patrols in Arizona to be reinforced --The United States will reinforce patrols along the Arizona section of its border with Mexico in order to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, the government announced. More than 500 Border Patrol agents "will be permanently assigned to the Arizona border, an increase of nearly 25 percent," the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

RFID Cards Get Spin Treatment --The U.S. government will not use radio-frequency identification tags in the passports it issues to millions of Americans in the coming years. Instead, the government will use "contactless chips." The distinction is part of an effort by the Department of Homeland Security and one of its RFID suppliers, Philips Semiconductors, to brand RFID tags in identification documents as "proximity chips," "contactless chips" or "contactless integrated circuits" -- anything but "RFID."

States Debate Photo IDs at Polls --Legislation that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots has touched off fierce debate in three states, with opponents complaining the measures represent a return to the days of poll taxes and Jim Crow. Lawmakers in Georgia and Indiana walked off the job to protest the proposals, which they say would deprive the poor, the elderly and minorities of the right to vote.

Bush Shows No Remorse for Fake Newscasts --Despite a rising chorus of condemnation from journalists and media critics, the George W. Bush administration shows no signs of abandoning its distribution of taxpayer-funded "news" to U.S. newspapers, radio and television stations.

Bush Is Keeping Cabinet Secretaries Close to Home --Spending Time at White House Required --Dictator Bush is requiring Cabinet members to spend several hours a week at the White House compound, a move top aides say eases coordination with government agencies but one seen by some analysts as fresh evidence of the White House's tightening grip over regime policy.

Liberals Run Ads Demanding DeLay Resign --Two liberal groups are running TV ads demanding that Tom DeLay resign as House majority leader and urging fellow congressmen to mobilize against the Texas representative, who is under investigation for alleged ethics violations.

Pa. Lawmaker Charged in White Powder Hoax --A legislator was charged Wednesday with lying about a white powder he claimed was inside a letter mailed from a critical constituent, and with retaliating against and harassing those who questioned his political finances. Republican state Rep. Jeffrey E. Habay, 38 - who is awaiting trial on ethics charges in an unrelated case - claimed he got the letter at home in May and that it had a suspicious white substance inside, raising fears of possible anthrax contamination. Habay, a lawmaker from Allegheny County elected to a sixth term in November, faces 20 new counts as a result of the latest complaint, including a felony charge of possessing or using a "facsimile weapon of mass destruction.''

Earlham student hits pundit with pie --A pie in the face didn't silence conservative pundit [Reichwing terrorist] William Kristol during a speech at Earlham College (Richmond, IN). A man who later was identified as a student at the private Quaker college jumped onto the stage and splattered Kristol with the pie Tuesday night about 30 minutes into a speech about U.S. foreign policy.

Ind. Business Told to Hide Nude Statues --The Venus de Milo had better wear a top and Michelangelo's David should put on some pants if they're going to be seen at a yard art business. Bartholomew County officials told the business near Interstate 65 that it must move cement copies of the classical statues — and about 10 others — out of public view because they are obscene under Indiana law.

The Racist Mascot from Urbana-Champaign --Why You Should Boo Illinois --by Francis Boyle "The self-styled 'Fighting Illini' of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are on their way to the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis with their racist and genocidal sports teams mascot, Chief Illiniwak, still in tow. In his 'Year 501: The Conquest Continues' (1993) Noam Chomsky suggests an apt metaphor for such American Indian sports mascots that I will elaborate upon here in order to conform to our local and most peculiar rites on this campus: Suppose the Nazis had won the Second World War. ...The sports teams collectively call themselves 'The Fighting Jews', and the school's band is called 'The Marching Jews.'"

Supreme Court Removes Hurdle to Suits Alleging Age Bias --Workers who sue their employers for age discrimination need not prove that the discrimination was intentional, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

Judge Blocks Rule Allowing Companies to Cut Benefits When Retirees Reach Medicare Age --A federal district judge on Wednesday blocked a Bush regime rule that would have allowed employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare.

GOP Agenda Conflicting With States' Rights --Republicans who swear by the principle of states' rights are having to make some exceptions when it comes to saving Terri Schiavo, or reining in trial lawyers, protecting the sanctity of marriage and advancing the party's other priorities.

High Court Rejects New Schiavo Request --The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case for the sixth time late Wednesday, taking less than two hours to reject her parents' request that the feeding tube for their brain-damaged daughter be reinserted.

Schiavo parents appeal anew to Supreme Court --Appellate court declines to review case again --Lawyers for the parents of Terri Schiavo on Wednesday filed another appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already declined five times to intervene in the case.

U.S. Appeals Court Denies Schiavo Parents' Appeal --A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday rejected a last-minute request from the parents of brain-damaged Florida woman Terri Schiavo for a rehearing on a petition to reconnect their dying daughter's feeding tube.

Two-thirds of world's resources 'used up' --The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

Cirebon city locked down over bird flu outbreak 31 March 2005 --Following the uncontrolled spread of bird flu, West Java authorities have stopped all poultry traffic into the area to prevent the problem from getting worse after the disease hit poultry farms in the province, an official said on Wednesday. The isolation of Cirebon, which has been declared an epidemic area of bird flu in West Java, is expected to prevent a further spread of the disease, which has also hit several other regencies in Central Java.

Signs of tsunami emerging after all --A tsunami estimated at nearly half the size of the one that hit Thailand on Dec. 26 was produced in some areas along the northwestern coast of Indonesia following Monday's 8.7-magnitude earthquake, according to a team of scientists that arrived on the scene yesterday.

*****

U.S. to create secret list of 'unstable' nations --U.S. intelligence experts are preparing a list of 25 countries deemed unstable and, thus, candidates for intervention. The National Intelligence Council, a State Department office that collates intelligence for strategic planning, will compose and revise the secret list every six months, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

US admits killing Arab journalists in Iraq --The US military has acknowledged it was responsible for killing two journalists working for Dubai-based satellite channel al-Arabiya who were shot close to a checkpoint in the Iraqi capital earlier this month. Both were Iraqis. [Negroponte's death squads are busy little bees...]

U.S. Barred From Sending 13 Detainees Abroad --A federal judge Tuesday barred the Bush regime from transferring a group of detainees from the U.S. military prison in Cuba to the custody of foreign governments without first giving the prisoners a chance to challenge the move in court. U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. said he was preventing transfers without advance notice to bar the government from "unilaterally and silently taking actions" to move detainees outside the reach of U.S. courts.

Memo Shows Harsh U.S. Interrogation Plans in Iraq --The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, authorized prisoner interrogation tactics more harsh than accepted Army practice, including using guard dogs to exploit "Arab fear of dogs," a memo made public on Tuesday showed.

Suit by Detainee on Transfer to Syria Finds Support in Jet's Log --Maher Arar, a 35-year-old Canadian engineer, is suing the United States, saying American officials grabbed him in 2002 as he changed planes in New York and transported him to Syria where, he says, he was held for 10 months in a dank, tiny cell and brutally beaten with a metal cable. Now federal aviation records examined by The New York Times appear to corroborate Mr. Arar's account of his flight...

38 GTMO prisoners not 'enemy combatants' --Thirty-eight of 558 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base are not "enemy combatants" and will go free, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

US forces impose curfew on Ramadi --US troops imposed a curfew on the restive Iraqi city of Ramadi on Tuesday as tensions intensify in the country's western Anbar province, a provincial official said. "The US troops imposed a curfew on Ramadi and the surrounding areas, setting up several checkpoints in and around the city,"Abdul Rahman al-Dulaimy, secretary of the Anbar province governor told Xinhua.

Tanks take a beating in Iraq --The U.S. military's Abrams tank, designed during the Cold War to withstand the fiercest blows from the best Soviet tanks, is getting knocked out at surprising rates by the low-tech bombs and rocket-propelled grenades of Iraqi insurgents.

Car Bomb Blast Kills One in Eastern Afghan City --One person was killed and one wounded when a car bomb exploded in front of key government buildings in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, a state agency official said.

Terrorism drill to be first test of Homeland Security protocols --The massive Homeland Security plans created in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks will be put to their first test next week during simulated attacks in Connecticut and New Jersey.

Homeland Security to add 500 new agents to Arizona border --The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press has learned.

Terrorism bill would stiffen penalties for animal rights threats -- A terrorism bill would add Ohio to a growing number of states seeking harsher penalties for attacks by animal rights activists and environmentalists, including those against dog food makers, farms where animals are caged and university animal labs.

Three Claim 'Secret Service' Removed Them From Bush Rally --Three Say They Were Targeted Because of Antiwar Bumper Sticker --The Secret Service is investigating whether an anti-war bumper sticker that was found on the car of three people had something to do with whether they were removed from Dictator George Bush's town hall meeting in Aurora last week.

Liberal group targets DeLay in TV ad to air in his district --A labor-backed liberal organization will begin airing a scathing television ad today targeting House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in his own district. The ad by the Campaign for America's Future comes as DeLay, R-Whackjob-Sugar Land, faces questions about the propriety of his overseas travel and political fund raising.

Federal Appeals Court OKs Schiavo Review --A federal appeals court early Wednesday agreed to consider a petition for a new hearing on whether to reconnect Terri Schiavo's feeding tube.

Jackson supports efforts to have Schiavo's feeding tube restored --Saying the plight of Terri Schiavo "transcends politics," the Rev. Jesse Jackson lent his support Tuesday to her parents and earned cheers of "God bless you" from their largely conservative backers.

Michael Schiavo relative reports threat --Michael Schiavo's sister-in-law said a man threatened to shoot her and her family if Terri Schiavo dies, Philadelphia police said Tuesday.

Jerry Falwell in Critical Condition --The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday, battling his second case of viral pneumonia in just five weeks, hospital and church officials said.

Agencies Fight Over Report on Sensitive Atomic Wastes --A semisecret debate is raging between the National Academy of Sciences and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about the vulnerability of nuclear wastes to terrorist attack and about how secret the debate should be.

Nine States Sue Gov't Over Mercury Rules --Nine states filed a lawsuit against the federal government Tuesday, challenging new regulations they say fail to protect children and expectant mothers from dangers posed by mercury emissions from power plants.

CDC kills fallout study --The federal government, after already spending $8 million on the project, has yanked funding for a study of possible connections between thyroid health effects and the radioactive fallout that hit southern Utah and nearby areas of Nevada decades ago.

Bird flu spreading fast in Asia 30 March 2005 --South Korea has sent a message to rival North Korea offering to help it contain its first acknowledged outbreak of bird flu. The South's Yonhap news agency said North Korean authorities were struggling to control the outbreak, and the disease was spreading quickly to provinces without adequate quarantine controls.

Four More Vietnamese Suspected to Have Bird Flu 29 March 2005 --Vietnam has four more suspected human cases of the bird flu which has killed 49 people in Asia since the end of 2003, medical officials and a doctor said on Wednesday.

CDC sending team to Angola virus outbreak 29 March 2005 --The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to send a team to the Republic of Angola to help control [spread?] what appears to be one of the worst outbreaks of the Marburg virus ever reported, United Press International has learned.

Angola Targets Outbreak, Bids to Stem Panic 29 March 2005 --Angola's outbreak of deadly Marburg fever claimed three more lives at the weekend bringing the death toll to 117, but the government said on Tuesday it was taking action to contain the disease. Deputy Health Minister Jose Van Dunem told Reuters the government was preventing people who had visited northern Uige province, the center of the outbreak, from leaving Angola for 21 days, the incubation period for the virus.

*****

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