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.

Contribute to CLG

April 2008 Archives

Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S. --DHS has not stated what federal laws govern new National Applications Office, whose funding and size are classified. 12 Apr 2008 The Bush regime said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority. The administration in May 2007 gave DHS authority to coordinate requests for satellite imagery, radar, electronic-signal information, chemical detection and other monitoring capabilities that have been used for decades within U.S. borders for mapping and disaster response. But Congress delayed launch of the new office last October. Critics cited its potential to expand the role of military assets in domestic law enforcement, to turn new or as-yet-undeveloped technologies against Americans without adequate public debate, and to divert the existing civilian and scientific focus of some satellite work to security uses.

Iran Top Threat to Iraq, U.S. Says --Focus on 'Al-Qaeda' Now Diminishing 12 Apr 2008 Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush regime that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh], are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials. The intensified focus on Iran coincides with diminished emphasis on al-Qaeda in Iraq as the leading justification for an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Report: Several killed in Iran bomb blast --At least 8 killed, 50 injured in mosque blast, state media reports 12 Apr 2008 At least 8 people were killed and 50 injured when a bomb exploded in a mosque in southern Iran on Saturday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. "The death toll is expected to rise above eight because some of the injured people are in critical condition," Fars said, without giving a source. [Blackwater is a busy little bee!]

Deadly blast hits mosque in Iran 12 Apr 2008 Several people have been killed and dozens injured in a bomb blast at a mosque in southern Iran today, according to reports. State media initially reported scores had been killed in Shiraz, about 550 miles south of the capital Tehran, but later revised the total to several.

John McCain 'would confront Russia and China' 12 Apr 2008 A John McCain presidency would take to a more forceful approach to Russia and China, according to senior foreign policy advisers to the Republican candidate. The Arizona senator has already signalled that he intends to confront Russian president Vladimir Putin more directly than George W Bush if he 'wins' the White House in November.

Senior al-Sadr Aide Assassinated in Iraq 12 Apr 2008 A senior aide to anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was assassinated in the holy city of Najaf on Friday, raising fears that the incident could worsen clashes between Sadr's followers and government troops. The killing of Shiite cleric Riyadh al-Nouri prompted Iraqi officials to declare a curfew in Najaf and send thousands of security personnel into the streets to 'maintain order.'

Roadside bombing caps bloodiest week this year for US troops in Iraq --19 US troops killed in Iraq since Sunday 12 Apr 2008 The death of an American soldier in Baghdad has made it the bloodiest week for U.S. troops in Iraq this year. The U.S. military says the American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb this morning in northwestern Baghdad. The death raises the number of American troops killed in Iraq since last Sunday to at least 19.

Suicide car bomb kills three policemen in west Iraq 11 Apr 2008 A suicide bomber killed three Iraqi policemen as he slammed his explosives-filled car into a police checkpoint near the western city of Ramadi on Friday, the local police chief said. Major General Tareq al-Youssef, police chief of Ramadi, said five policemen were also wounded in the attack which struck north of the city in Anbar province at around 5:00 pm (1400 GMT).

US soldier killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad, military says 11 Apr 2008 The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed in a roadside bombing in Baghdad. A statement says Saturday's attack that killed the Multi-National Division -- Baghdad soldier occurred about 10:30 a.m. in northwestern Baghdad.

13 killed as fighting rages in Baghdad 12 Apr 2008 US and Iraqi forces killed 13 people in firefights and airstrikes overnight in eastern Baghdad where security forces have been battling Shiite militiamen for a week, the military said Saturday.

'I don't believe anyone could get an acquittal in Guantanamo Bay.' Guantanamo trial process unjust: defense attorney 11 Apr 2008 The lawyer of a Guantanamo prisoner captured by US forces when he was 15 said Friday that the trial process at the US prison was inherently unjust and probably no detainee could be acquitted in a trial. Attorney William Kuebler, a Navy lieutenant commander, railed against the tactics of government prosecutors and the military commissions for withholding secret evidence not available to the defense, and for their access to virtually unlimited resources as well as to documents pertaining to his clients' cases.

Friendly fire may have killed soldier: Khadr lawyer 11 Apr 2008 The military defence lawyer for Omar Khadr says newly-released information suggests that the U.S. soldier the imprisoned Canadian is accused of killing with a grenade, may have been a friendly-fire victim. Lt. Cmdr William Kuebler told CTV Newsnet that during the discovery process of Khadr's legal proceedings, the U.S. government released interviews from American soldiers who said they were lobbing grenades into the compound where army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer was killed in July 2002.

'It's not beyond the realm of possibility that Sgt. Speer was killed by friendly fire.' Guantanamo lawyer questions how U.S. soldier died 11 Apr 2008 A grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in July 2002 could have been thrown by American forces rather than a young Canadian charged in a Guantanamo war crimes court with murder, a military defense lawyer said on Friday. Prosecutors charge that the Canadian captive, 21-year-old Omar Khadr, threw the grenade that fatally wounded Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during a firefight at a suspected al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan. Khadr was 15 at the time. Khadr's lawyer, Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, said at a hearing on Friday that U.S. troops he questioned in preparation for trial had told him they threw grenades into the compound while other U.S. soldiers were inside.

Double suicide attack kills two Indians in Afghanistan: governor 11 Apr 2008 A double suicide attack targeted a convoy of Indian roadworkers on Saturday in southwestern Afghanistan, killing two engineers and injuring several people, a local governor said. The bombers struck simultaneously and authorities said a third suspected attacker was captured with an explosive-filled jacket.

Defective military equipment 'is a breach of human rights' 12 Apr 2008 The Government suffered a landmark legal defeat yesterday when a High Court judge ruled that sending soldiers to war with defective equipment could be a breach of their human rights. Mr Justice Collins dismissed the Ministry of Defence argument that it was "impossible" to extend the tenets of the Human Rights Act to troops on active duty.

U.S. Army Set to Recruit Ugandan Citizens 07 Apr 2008 Ugandans who want a career in the United States military, can sign up at the annual convention of the Uganda North American Association, organisers say. American military recruiters will set up a booth at this year's UNAA convention in Orlando, Florida, and seek out professional Ugandans, said Lt. Frank Musisi, himself an officer in the US Army.

U.S. Air Force Drones Wash Ashore On Ala. Beaches --Portion of Beach Closed After Discovery 11 Apr 2008 Several unmanned military drones with U.S. Air Force markings washed ashore in Alabama and forced the closure of a portion of at least one beach. Two men found the first 20-foot-long drone on the shore near Fort Morgan. An official said the drone was a target that was apparently shot down in the Gulf of Mexico as part of a weapons system evaluation program, WKRG reported.

Jury deadlocked in Sears Tower terrorism case 11 Apr 2008 A federal jury considering charges against six South Florida men accused of plotting to blow up the Chicago Sears Tower and the Miami FBI headquarters reported Friday it has been unable to reach verdicts for any of the defendants. U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard instructed the jury to continue trying to reach agreement. However, news that the panel is at an impasse after 10 days of deliberations raises the possibility that the high profile case could be poised for a second mistrial.

Accidents at Disease Lab Acknowledged --Lab uses private security company 11 Apr 2008 The only U.S. facility allowed to research the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease experienced several accidents with the feared virus, the Bush administration acknowledged Friday. A 1978 release of the virus into cattle holding pens on Plum Island, N.Y.; the Homeland Security Department told a House committee there were other accidents inside the government's laboratory. Two Democratic lawmakers from New York, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Timothy Bishop, expressed concerns in letters they wrote last year about the Homeland Security Department's ability to protect the existing lab at Plum Island, which relies for security on a private security company and local police rather than federal agents.

New anti-terror weapon: Hand-held lie detector 09 Apr 2008 U.S. troops in Afghanistan first to get new device; 'red' means you're lying 09 Apr 2008 The Pentagon will issue hand-held lie detectors this month to U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan. The Defense Department says the portable device screen local police officers, interpreters and allied forces for access to U.S. military bases, and help narrow the list of suspects after a roadside bombing. The device has already been tried in Iraq and is expected to be deployed there as well.

Met Police officers to be 'microchipped' by top brass in Big Brother style tracking scheme 10 Apr 2008 Every single Metropolitan police officer will be 'microchipped' so top brass can monitor their movements on a Big Brother style tracking scheme, it can be revealed today. According to respected industry magazine Police Review, the plan - which affects all 31,000 serving officers in the Met, including Sir Ian Blair - is set to replace the unreliable Airwave radio system currently used to help monitor officer's movements.

Oakland cops: Mind if we search your house for guns? [Uh, yeah, we do.] 09 Apr 2008 A six-month pilot program where Oakland police officers would knock on doors and ask permission to search homes for guns got the green light from the City Council's public safety committee Tuesday night. It goes to the full council Tuesday, when the council will meet. The consent-to-search program, as it is called, is based closely on a similar effort launched in St. Louis in 1994 and on ongoing programs in Boston and Washington, D.C.

Court rules against landowner on border fence 11 Apr 2008 A U.S. District Court judge has ordered a Texas woman to let the government survey her land for a border security fence, the latest round in a series of skirmishes to arise from the 'immigration-control' measure.

Dems fault Bush on executive privilege 11 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush's refusal to let two confidants provide information to Congress about fired federal prosecutors represents the most expansive view of executive privilege since Watergate, the House Judiciary Committee told a federal judge Thursday. Lawyers for the Democratic-led panel argued in court documents that Bush's chief of staff, Josh Bolten, and former White House counsel Harriet Miers are not protected from subpoenas last year that sought information about the dismissals.

U.S. Presidential Election Can Be Hacked 10 Apr 2008 This year, the U.S. GOP will pick a new president using electronic voting machines that can be hacked, security experts said Thursday at the RSA Conference in San Francisco. As the November election approaches, the question before officials is not how to fix known bugs in their e-voting systems, but rather, how best to check them for fraud, said David Wagner, an associate professor with the University of California, Berkeley's computer science department. [Right, we're getting stuck with Insane McCain and four more years of Blackwater. The discord between Clinton and Obama is a GOP-owned media weapon of mass distraction for the third coup d'etat.]

Bush Raises $3.5 Million For Republican Party 11 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush held court at a barbeque at the Broken Spoke Ranch in Crawford, Texas, today, raising $3.5 million for his party, the Associated Press reports. 500 GOP donors showed up for the festivities, as well as a number of the president's relatives, among them his parents and brother Jeb.

Obama Says He Used Wrong Words to Describe Small-Town America 12 Apr 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he used the wrong words earlier this week to describe the plight of rural, impoverished Americans, remarks that rivals Hillary Clinton and Insane McCain assailed as condescending.

Barack Obama campaign launches Hebrew blog in Israel 04 Apr 2008 Barack Obama has launched a Hebrew blog in Israel, which an aide Eric Lynn says Obama hopes will help strengthen his ties with the Israeli public. The blog that opened Friday includes Obama's speech to a pro-Israel lobby in March.

Schwarzenegger: No to marriage amendment 12 Apr 2008 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday that he would fight an initiative to amend the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriage if it qualifies for the November ballot.

Global crisis grows as food prices soar --What's considered largely an irritation in the U.S. threatens social upheaval in dozens of poor nations unable to cope. 12 Apr 2008 Worldwide, food prices have soared 45 percent over the past year as surging oil prices make growing and transporting food more expensive and as economic growth in emerging giants such as China and India corpora-terrorists' greed leads to rising demand for food, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization.

EU president to get jet... So Tony might finally get his 'Blair Force One' 11 Apr 2008 The proposed full-time EU president is to be given a lavish private jet and his own palatial official residence, it emerged today. The new leader will also be able to appoint a "cabinet" of 22 advisers, under expensive new plans being considered in Brussels.

Thousands of lost Terminal 5 bags 'will be burnt if owners cannot be traced' 12 Apr 2008 Thousands of bags that went missing during the chaotic opening of Terminal 5 will be burned if their owners cannot be traced, it has been claimed. The luggage belongs to customers of British Airways, which has repeatedly denied the allegation. Yet an executive in Milan, where the 5,000 bags are being sorted, admitted that incineration was an option.

Oil hunt could include blasting in Calif. national monument 11 Apr 2008 A subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum seeking to explore for oil and gas under one of the country's newest national monuments has outlined plans for its search that are likely to disturb the kangaroo rat, an endangered species whose prime habitat is precisely where the operations would take place.

Fishery Council Bans Commercial Salmon Fishing In OR, CA 10 Apr 2008 West Coast fisheries managers have voted to cancel all commercial salmon fishing off the California and Oregon coasts this year. Scientists and government officials are expecting this year's West Coast salmon season to be one of the worst in history.

'When you are taking 80 percent losses you are talking about these critters being decimated.' Connecticut Bats Are Dying From Mysterious Ailment 03 Apr 2008 Alarm spread among wildlife biologists this week when white nose syndrome (WNS) was found in a second bat population in Connecticut. The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) first announced the presence in Connecticut of bats affected with WNS last Friday and the second location was discovered Tuesday.

*****

Top Bush aides oversaw torture sessions 11 Apr 2008 According to an ABC report, top Bush aides, including Condi Rice, micromanaged the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement. Discussions on torture were so detailed, that some interrogation sessions were virtually choreographed by a White House advisory group, The torture advisory group included then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then-secretary of state Colin Powell, then-CIA director George Tenet and then-attorney general John Ashcroft and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney ABC's sources said.

Cheney OK'd CIA Torture Tactics 11 Apr 2008 US Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and his cohorts approved using harsh interrogation techniques against prisoners after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, the report said. The officials also took care to insulate President [sic] Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved. An anonymous former senior US intelligence official familiar with the meetings described them to the AP to confirm details first reported by ABC News on Wednesday.

Guantanamo defendant calls trial a 'sham' 10 Apr 2008 A Saudi prisoner Wednesday denounced the war crimes case against him as a politically motivated "sham" and had himself removed from the courtroom in symbolic protest. Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed Haza Al-Darbi, whose brother-in-law was among the Sept. 11 hijackers [What hijackers?], informed the military judge hearing his terrorism conspiracy case that he wanted neither legal representation nor to be present at his trial. [See: At Least 7 of the 9/11 Hijackers are Still Alive.]

'The whole world had a headache from your hypocrisy that you are the land of justice.' Detainee evokes bin Laden at Guantanamo tribunal 10 Apr 2008 A suspect at a US military hearing at the Guantanamo Bay prison Thursday lauded Osama bin Laden saying the terror mastermind had exposed American "hypocrisy." "I think he has succeeded again enormously in exposing your hypocrisy ... that you are the land of justice and law," said Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud Al-Qosi, who is said to have been bin Laden's personal chauffeur. "The whole world had a headache from your hypocrisy that you are the land of justice," Qosi said. "Real justice and equality are great principles. Even children understand that." [Well said!]

Al-Maliki Against Proposal to Delay U.S. Troop Withdrawals 10 Apr 2008 Even though there has been no respite to violence in Iraq in recent months, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki disagreed with General David Petraeus' proposal to delay further U.S. troop withdrawals, citing the growing capabilities of Iraq's own security forces. Petraeus, the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, wants the U.S. to leave about 140,000 troops in the country... and a 45-day evaluation period to be followed by an indefinite period of assessment before any further pullouts. Al-Maliki, however, reportedly told President [sic] Bush that he disagrees with that suggestion. CNN quoted a senior Iraqi government adviser as saying that al-Maliki told Bush that American forecast can be drawn down, as there doesn't need to be such a big number in a support role. Al-Maliki reportedly made the comments in a 20-minute telephone conversation with Bush on Wednesday.

Bush to leave up to 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq 10 Apr 2008 Waging war in Iraq pits the United States against two of its gravest threats -- al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and Iran -- U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush said yesterday, adding that the costs are modest compared with previous conflicts. "It is clear that we're on the right track," [!] Mr. Bush said, but his speech at the White House made it apparent he will leave office with the war unfinished and as many at 140,000 U.S. troops still fighting nearly six years after he ordered the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein's government.

Gunmen kill senior Sadrist official 11 Apr 2008 A senior aide to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was assassinated Friday in the holy city of Najaf, officials said. Authorities immediately announced a citywide curfew and security forces were seen deploying on the streets.

More Iraqis killed in US airstrikes 10 Apr 2008 A fresh US airstrike has left at least four people dead and six others wounded in Baghdad's Sadr City district, Iraqi officials say. The airstrike just after midnight was near Al-Albaith mosque in the centre of Sadr City, the stronghold of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Police say that two of the dead were brothers aged seven and nine.

Iran denies 'confrontation' with US ship in Gulf 11 Apr 2008 Iranian vessels did not engage in any kind of "confrontation" with a US navy ship in the Gulf, a source in the navy of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards told Iran's Al-Alam Arabic television on Friday. "The source denied any kind of confrontation between Iranian high speed vessels and US ships," the state-run satellite channel said.

US military turns away speed boats in Gulf 11 Apr 2008 Three speed boats of unidentified origin approached a US patrol boat as it transited the Gulf but stopped after a warning flare was fired, a US Navy spokesman said. The USS Typhoon, a Coast Guard patrol boat, was heading from the central to the northern Gulf when it was approached by the high-speed boats, said Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet.

Iran cleric rejects Bush's Iraq comments 11 Apr 2008 An influential Iranian cleric has rejected US President [sic] George W Bush's accusations that Iran was arming and funding Shi'ite militias in Iraq to kill American soldiers, state radio reported. In a speech at the White House, Bush repeated long-standing US accusations against Iran and warned the Islamic republic to stop interfering in Iraq. He characterised Iran and 'al Qaeda' as "two of the greatest threats to America." [That would be Bush and Cheney.]

Gates: Iran boosts support for Iraq militias 11 Apr 2008 Iranian support for militias in Iraq has grown, top U.S. defense leaders said Friday, asserting that recent battles in Basra gave the Iraqis an eye-opening view of Iran's increased negative role there. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. will be as aggressive as possible to counter that increase, adding that the Iraqis "are in a position themselves to bring some pressures to bear on Iran."

Petraeus points to war with Iran By Patrick J. Buchanan 10 Apr 2008 The neocons may yet get their war on Iran. Ever since President Nouri al-Maliki ordered the attacks in Basra on the Mahdi Army, Gen. David Petraeus has been laying the predicate for U.S. air strikes on Iran and a wider war in the Middle East... In early 2007, Nancy Pelosi pulled down a resolution that would have denied Bush the authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. In September, both Houses passed the Kyl-Lieberman resolution designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Courtesy of Congress, Bush thus has a blank check for war on Iran. And the signs are growing that he intends to fill it in and cash it.

Stolen and sensitive US military equipment for sale online 11 Apr 2008 Stolen and sensitive US military equipment, including fighter jet parts wanted by Iran and nuclear biological protective gear, has been available to the highest bidder on popular internet sales sites, according to congressional investigators. Using undercover identities, investigators purchased a dozen defence-related items on the auction site eBay and the online network Craigslist from January 2007 through to last month and received the items "no questions asked." The Defence Department regards much of the stolen equipment to be on the US Munitions List, meaning there are restrictions on their overseas sales, the Government Accountability Office said today.

US to skip cluster bomb meeting 11 Apr 2008 The United States will skip a meeting in Dublin next month that aims to ban cluster bombs, officials said Friday. Instead, Washington will focus on separate United Nations talks in Geneva that will restrict -- but not ban -- the use of the weapon, the head of the U.S. delegation said.

Calif. congresswoman sworn in, booed 10 Apr 2008 A new congresswoman from California began her career Thursday by demanding the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, drawing boos from some colleagues. Jackie Speier, a Democrat and former state legislator, was sworn in after winning a special election to replace Rep. Tom Lantos, who died Feb. 11 of cancer.

Book: McCain temper boiled over in '92 tirade, called wife a 'c*nt' By Nick Juliano 07 Apr 2008 John McCain's temper is well documented. He's called opponents and colleagues "shitheads," "assholes" and in at least one case "a fucking jerk..." The Real McCain, by Cliff Schecter, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop... In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you c*nt." McCain's excuse was that it had been a long day.

McCain erases Obama lead 10 Apr 2008 Republican Sen. Insane McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's 10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released Thursday. The survey showed the extended Democratic primary campaign GOP-owned media creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency third Republican coup d'etat in November no matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.

OAS chief to US Congress: No Venezuela-terrorist link 10 Apr 2008 There is no evidence linking Venezuela to terrorist groups, the head of the Organization of American States on Thursday told US lawmakers looking into last month's Colombia-Ecuador border crisis. "You mean does Venezuela support terrorist groups? I don't think so," OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza said during a heated exchange with Florida Representative Connie Mack, who asked if Caracas backed Colombia's FARC rebels that the US and Europe have labeled a terrorist group. "There is no evidence, and no member country, including this one (US) has offered the OAS such proof," Insulza added.

Ecuador: 'CIA Infiltration' Charges Prompt Shake-Up in Armed Forces 10 Apr 2008 President Rafael Correa’s allegations that intelligence services in Ecuador had been infiltrated by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have led to a shake-up in the armed forces of unforeseeable consequences. Resignations and dismissals are the order of the day. A high-level Ecuadorean military officer who asked not to be identified told IPS that the country is at a critical juncture, with only two possible routes: "either the military as an institution returns to its nationalist orientation or it submits itself once and for all to impositions from the U.S."

In US simulated 'Crimson Sky' disease outbreak, National Guard troops 'ran out of bullets.' Dangerous Animal Virus on US Mainland? 11 Apr 2008 The Bush administration is likely to move its research on one of the most contagious animal diseases from an isolated island laboratory to the U.S. mainland near herds of livestock, raising concerns about a catastrophic outbreak. Skeptical Democrats in Congress are demanding to see internal documents they believe highlight the risks and consequences of the decision. An epidemic of the disease, foot and mouth, which only affects animals, could devastate the livestock industry. A simulated outbreak of the disease -- part of an earlier U.S. government exercise called "Crimson Sky" -- ended with fictional riots in the streets after the simulation's National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals [people], so many that troops ran out of bullets. In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses. In the simulation, protests broke out in some cities amid food shortages.

Terrorist's brother jailed --Doctor jailed for 'withholding information' on terror plot 11 Apr 2008 The brother of a terrorist who died in an airport suicide attack was today jailed for 18 months for withholding information about the plot. Sabeel Ahmed, an NHS doctor, was sent a chilling email about the mission two days before his older brother Kafeel rammed a jeep into the air terminal in Glasgow.

Clinton proposes 100,000 new police officers on streets 11 Apr 2008 New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, campaigning for president in a neighborhood of Philadelphia so rough the mayor said, "Osama bin Laden wouldn't last here," pitched a $4-billion-a-year anti-crime package today that would put 100,000 new police officers on the streets and help stem the tide of repeat offenders back into the country's prisons.

NYPD, Secret Service: Unprecedented Pope Security --Protection for Papal Visit Will Be Like U.N. General Assembly, Parade and Presidential Visit Rolled Into 1 10 Apr 2008 The NYPD is pulling out all the stops to protect Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to New York next week. From rooftop snipers to hovering helicopters, it will all resemble the security operations used to protect the president. It's an operation that will involve virtually the entire New York City Police Department.

Clinton Terre Haute campaign office destroyed by fire 11 Apr 2008 (IN) Before Former President Bill Clinton arrived in Clinton, Ind. Friday morning, he made a surprise visit to the Clinton for President campaign office in Terre Haute. The office was destroyed late Thursday night by fire. Former President Bill Clinton met with fire officials investigating the scene. Officials say the fire appears to be electrical, but they've called in the state fire marshal calling it a high profile fire.

Websites and designers face prosecution in new French anorexia law 10 Apr 2008 Promoting extreme thinness will become a criminal offence punishable by a jail sentence under a government-backed law that was tabled yesterday in France to combat anorexia nervosa. Fines of up to €30,000 (£24,000) and a two-year prison sentence will be imposed on offenders who "provoke a person to seek excessive thinness by encouraging prolonged restriction of nourishment" to the point of risking death or damage to health. The prison term is raised to three years with a €45,000 fine if the person dies.

Navy officer testifies about moonlighting for D.C. madam 11 Apr 2008 A Navy officer could face punishment -- including discharge -- after testifying Thursday that she moonlighted for the alleged prostitution ring run by the so-called "D.C. Madam" while stationed at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca C. Dickinson managed the Naval Academy's food services between September 2004 and May 2007, Navy officials said. She also taught a course on leadership for the Leadership, Ethics and Law department.

Navy Officer Took Call Girl Job 11 Apr 2008 A Navy officer testified in federal court in Washington yesterday that she moonlighted as a call girl for Deborah Jeane Palfrey's escort service for six months, starting in 2005, when the military says she was assigned to the Naval Academy as a supply officer. Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca C. Dickinson, who was placed on leave by the Navy "pending further administrative action," told a jury in U.S. District Court that she used the name "Renee" while having sex for money with male clients of Palfrey's now-defunct firm, Pamela Martin & Associates. [See: 'DC Madam' Phone Records & Updates.]

Obama pushes bill to rein in lavish CEO pay 11 Apr 2008 Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama denounced huge pay packages for U.S. corporate chiefs on Friday. "Some CEOs make more in one day than their workers make in one year," Obama said, jockeying for position against rival Democrat Hillary Clinton in Indiana, which votes on May 6.

Exxon Mobil CEO gets $21.7 million pay package after record year 10 Apr 2008 Exxon Mobil gave chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson an 18% raise to $21.7 million. That's according to an analysis of a proxy statement filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Irving-based Exxon Mobil's $40 billion profit last year again broke the record for a U.S. company.

Gas Tops $4 A Gallon At Some Chicago Pumps --Prices Expected to Climb Higher As Weather Gets Warmer [and Bush's Corpora-terrorists Get Greedier] 10 Apr 2008 Even though we're already used to high gas prices, you may still get sticker shock next time you fill up. Premium gas at some Chicago pumps has reached an unfortunate milestone – $4 a gallon – and it's not even Memorial Day yet.

IMF says US crisis is 'largest financial shock since Great Depression' 09 Apr 2008 America's mortgage crisis has spiralled into "the largest financial shock since the Great Depression" and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next 12 months, the International Monetary Fund warned today.

GE slump hits Wall St 12 Apr 2008 US stocks went into a tailspin overnight as General Electric's disappointing earnings report heightened fears of troubles for corporate America from economic and credit market turmoil. The market took a further hit from a survey showing US consumer sentiment slumping to a 26-year low, another ominous sign for a struggling economy.

*****

U.N. Official Calls for Study of Neocons' Role in 9/11 10 Apr 2008 A new U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel [Richard Falk] is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The narrative that the attacks from 2001 were a "false flag" operation is a recurring theme in the literature challenging the consensus conspiracy theory that 19 al-Qaeda hijackers flew commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. False flag refers to espionage or covert actions taken by one government made to seem like the work of another. The false flag thesis has it that the Bush administration is somehow responsible for the September 11 attacks as a pretext for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. [And so much more! See: CLG 9/11 Exposition Zone.]

Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation' --Torture techniques were so detailed, some interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic 09 Apr 2008 In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News. The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said. Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding. The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic. The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President [sic] Bush on issues of national security policy.

Cheney, others OK'd harsh interrogations 10 Apr 2008 Bush regime officials from Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney on down signed off on using harsh interrogation techniques torture against suspected terrorists after asking the Justice Department to endorse their legality, The Associated Press has learned. [Let the war crimes trials begin!] The officials also took care to insulate President [sic] Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning, were discussed and ultimately approved.

They handcuffed and blindfolded him and took him to a holding cell at a former U.S. military base, ironically named Camp Constitution. Iraqi detainees languish uncharged in crowded jails 09 Apr 2008 Thamer Hamed described in a shaking voice how he landed in an Iraqi army detention facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. He was visiting his mother in the hospital when Iraqi soldiers raided the hospital and detained him and several others, said Hamed, 22. They handcuffed and blindfolded him and took him to a holding cell at a former U.S. military base, ironically named Camp Constitution, that's been handed over to the Iraqi army. There, he was told that he was accused of murder. That was 45 days ago, and he still hadn't seen a judge, he said. Asked to which religious sect he belongs, he smiled ruefully. "Come on, I'm Sunni. Everyone here is Sunni." Hamed is just one of thousands of prisoners who are locked up in Iraqi-run [US] detention centers.

US Continues Holding AP Photographer 10 Apr 2008 The U.S. military will continue to hold Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein until it has reviewed an Iraqi order granting him amnesty from terror-related allegations, a U.S. spokesman said Thursday. An Iraqi judicial committee on Monday dismissed terrorism-related allegations against Hussein and ordered him released after nearly two years in U.S. custody.

AP photographer granted Iraqi amnesty --Photographer held for two years in U.S. detention facility 09 Apr 2008 An Iraqi judicial committee has dismissed terrorism-related allegations against Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein and ordered him released nearly two years after he was detained by the U.S. military. Hussein remained in custody Wednesday at Camp Cropper, a U.S. detention facility near Baghdad's airport.

Two More Women Tell Congress About Rape In Iraq --Claim Attacks While Working for Cheney Halliburton's KBR 09 Apr 2008 Two women told a Senate subcommittee today they were raped, assaulted and harassed while working in Iraq for the U.S.-based contractor KBR -- though no criminal charges have been brought in either case. Mary Beth Kineston reported the harassment. But KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, started to find fault with her and, according to Kineston, terminated her "for ludicrous reasons... speeding and passing a truck on base."

Bush calls Iran one of two greatest threats to America [He's the other one.] 11 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush warned Iran yesterday that if it did not stop arming and training Shia militia in Iraq then "America will act to protect our interests and our troops". During a speech in which he ordered an indefinite halt to US troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer, Mr Bush called Iran one of the two greatest threats to America in this century, together with al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh].

McCain doesn't rule out preemptive war 09 Apr 2008 Republican U.S. presidential candidate John McLunatic said on Wednesday he would not rule out launching preemptive wars against future enemies.

Gates: US troops won't drop to 100,000 10 Apr 2008 Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday he sees no chance that the number of U.S. troops in Iraq will drop to 100,000 by the end of the year, guaranteeing a heavy American military presence as the war grinds into its sixth year to the end of the Bush p_residency.

Bush suspends summer Iraq troop withdrawals 11 Apr 2008 US President [sic] George Bush has announced a suspension of US troop withdrawals from Iraq this summer to allow the military to reassess the security situation but, amid a spike in violence in Iraq, reassured the public that the war was not endless.

Khalil regrets toppling statue of Saddam 09 Apr 2008 Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event. "If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down," Khalil told reporters on the fifth anniversary of the statue's toppling.

Five years after fall of Baghdad, all-day curfew is imposed --Iraqi capital remains under curfew 10 Apr 2008 The fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad and the toppling of the statute of Saddam Hussein – a symbol of US victory and might – was marked yesterday by death and destruction across the country and an admission from the White House that projected troop withdrawals would have to be delayed.

U.S. air strikes hit Sadr City 10 Apr 2008 U.S. air strikes killed 10 people in the eastern Baghdad militia stronghold of Sadr City, Iraqi police said on Thursday, but street fighting eased after four days of clashes that have killed close to 90 people.

Iraq snubbed Britain and calls US into Basra battle 10 Apr 2008 Relations between Britain and Iraq suffered "catastrophic failure" after Baghdad bypassed the British military and called in the American "cavalry" to help the recent offensive against Shia militia in Basra, The Times has learnt. About 550 US troops, including some from the 82nd Airborne Division, were sent from Baghdad to Basra to join up with 150 American soldiers already serving with Iraqi forces in the southern city... . The Times has learnt that when Britain’s most senior officer in Basra, Brigadier Julian Free, commander of 4 Mechanised Brigade, flew into the city to find out what was going on, Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, who was orchestrating the attacks on militia strongholds, declined to see him.

Longshoremen to close ports on West Coast to protest war By Jack Heyman 10 Apr 2008 While millions of people worldwide have marched against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and last week's New York Times/CBS News poll indicated that 81 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction - key concerns being the war and the economy - the war machine inexorably grinds on. Amid this political atmosphere, dockworkers of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have decided to stop work for eight hours in all U.S. West Coast ports on May 1, International Workers' Day, to call for an end to the war.

Iran to end testing new centrifuges in 2 months 10 Apr 2008 Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Deputy Director Mohammad Saeedi on Tuesday said the testing of the new version of centrifuges that works five times faster than the current machines will be completed within two months.

Troop levels reach record high in Afghanistan 10 Apr 2008 The 101st Airborne Division took command of American forces in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, helping to boost U.S. troop levels in the country to their highest number since the 2001 invasion. The 101st has 7,200 troops in Afghanistan, several hundred more than the 82nd. Its arrival, coupled with the deployment of some 3,500 Marines to the country's south, has pushed the total number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to over 32,000. The top American commander in Afghanistan has requested three more brigades -- about 7,500 more troops -- and the Pentagon has promised that more troops will be sent next year.

Bomb attack on NATO convoy kills 8 Afghans: police 10 Apr 2008 A suicide car bomber in Afghanistan attacked a Canadian military convoy on Thursday killing eight civilians and wounding 22 people, among them three Canadian soldiers, authorities said.

House votes to delay Colombia trade pact 10 Apr 2008 The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to indefinitely delay action on a free trade agreement with Colombia, a move the White House said it feared would kill the pact.

Terror suspects 'made London reconnaissance mission' 10 Apr 2008 Three men accused of helping the July 7 bombers travelled down to London with one of the bombers and met another in the capital where the group carried out a reconnaissance mission, a court heard today. Neil Flewitt QC told a jury at Kingston crown court that the defendants accepted they knew the London bombers but claimed their friendship "was entirely innocent and that they know nothing of, and took no part in, their plan to cause the explosions in the UK".

Cell phone[y terror] alerts coming soon 10 Apr 2008 Federal regulators have approved a plan to create a nationwide emergency alert system using text messages delivered to cell phones. The plan stems from the Warning Alert and Response Network Act, a 2006 federal law that requires upgrades to the nation's emergency alert system. [Yikes! Homeland Security will be texting phony terror alerts out of their a**es all day long as the 'Election' Day approaches.]

FBI Investigating 'Suspicious Substance' At Federal Building --Federal Building Evacuated In Downtown Jackson 09 Apr 2008 (MS) The FBI is investigating a "suspicious substance" that led to the evacuation of the Federal Building in Jackson Wednesday afternoon. An Internal Revenue Service employee opened a box or a package containing a white powder, according to Jackson Fire officials. The woman began itching and sneezing, said Gary Moats with the General Services Administration. The woman has been evaluated and is being treated at a local hospital.

11-mln-dollar settlement for Virginia Tech massacre victims: lawyers 10 Apr 2008 Survivors and families of victims of last year's Virginia Tech massacre will share a settlement from the state of Virginia worth more than 11 million dollars (eight million euros), their lawyers said Thursday. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

AP poll: Bush public approval at new low 10 Apr 2008 Public approval of President [sic] Bush has reached a new low in the Associated Press-Ipsos poll, driven by dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy. A survey released Thursday showed just 28 percent approve of the overall job he is doing. His previous record low in the poll was 30 percent last month.

Leahy privately expresses interest in replacing Byrd 10 Apr 2008 Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT) is privately indicating interest in taking over the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee from an ailing Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) if necessary, four Democratic sources said Thursday.

Obama: Repeal of "don't ask" possible 10 Apr 2008 Asked what he could reasonably accomplish for the gay community as president, Barack Obama said he can "reasonably see" repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy as well as signing legislation to ban workplace discrimination against gays. The interview comes after Obama was criticized by gay advocates for not speaking to the gay media. The Philadelphia Gay News last week ran a large blank space on its front page next to an interview with Hillary Clinton to highlight that he did not talk to the publication.

Obama Talks All Things LGBT with The Advocate By Kerry Eleveld 10 Apr 2008 Democratic presidential front-runner Barack Obama has been weathering a small storm lately in the LGBT community for being too tight-lipped with gay and lesbian news media. Unlike his rival Hillary Clinton, who's given interviews to Logo and several local papers since appearing on the cover of The Advocate last fall, the Illinois senator has only talked once, to address the Donnie McClurkin controversy. But last week, his campaign offered our magazine an exclusive sit-down in Chicago with the man who may well become the next President of the United States.

Obama links U.S. dollar's woes to Bush policies 10 Apr 2008 White House hopeful Barack Obama on Thursday linked the dollar's steep slide to imbalances in the U.S. economy and Bush administration policies, which he said had put the country deeply in debt.

Senate passes 'housing relief' bill --The measure is overwhelmingly approved despite acknowledgment that it falls short of fully aiding homeowners. The House is working on its own version of a rescue plan. 10 Apr 2008 The Senate today passed legislation aimed at addressing the nation's housing crisis, setting the stage for difficult negotiations with the House, which is working on a more sweeping measure tilted more toward aiding homeowners at risk of losing their home and propping up the struggling real estate market. But the bill has drawn widespread criticism... Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, points to the "heavy hand of special interests" in shaping the bill.

NY won't approve LI Sound LNG terminal 10 Apr 2008 Gov. David Paterson (D) said Thursday that New York won't approve plans for a $700 million liquefied natural gas terminal in Long Island Sound, a project... critics say would be an environmental hazard and a possible terrorist target. Paterson joins Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R) and a host of elected officials on both sides of the sound who oppose the project, known as Broadwater.

American Airlines Cancels 922 More Flights 10 Apr 2008 American Airlines, updating its effort to get the company’s fleet of 300 MD-80 planes flying again, said that it expected to cancel 570 flights Friday, or about a quarter of its total. The airline canceled more than 930 flights on Thursday and was making progress [?!?] inspecting and fixing wiring bundles in the planes' wheel wells.

Logging boreal forest could detonate massive 'carbon bomb' - report 10 Apr 2008 Canada's boreal forest is a ticking "carbon bomb" and its continued logging could trigger a massive release of greenhouse gases, says a new report. A Greenpeace study released Thursday says cutting down trees in the boreal forest is exacerbating climate change by releasing stores of greenhouse gases trapped in soil and vegetation.

Chill the Drills - Protect Alaska's Polar Bear Seas (Sierra Club) 10 Apr 2008 Known as the 'Polar Bear Seas,' the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas are essential habitat for polar bears and other important marine mammals... The Chukchi Sea supports approximately one-tenth of the world's remaining polar bear population alone. The planned oil and gas leasing and development in the Polar Bear Seas will do irrevocable damage to this fragile habitat. Please sign the petition today to urge your Senators to put polar bear protection ahead of new oil development!

*****

Iraq's citizens told to hand in their guns 09 Apr 2008 Iraq's security forces have been ordered by the prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to collect arms from civilians and political parties in Baghdad. Citizens have been urged to hand in all weapons as well as explosives within three days from April 9th. Those surrendering their weapons would be given money rewards while those who refuse could be charged. [Oops! Looks like the 2nd Amendment isn't part of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom.' Iraqis need to hold onto their weapons so that they can resist their oppressor: Blackwater.]

Colonel killed in Green Zone --Officer killed by mortar while on treadmill in U.S. Embassy 09 Apr 2008 Col. Stephen Scott, 54, seemed to be on the fast-track to becoming a general with his recent assignment to train and arm the Iraqi troops, said his sister, Kathleen King. Scott, a member of the Huntsville Track Club and an avid runner, was on a treadmill in the U.S. Embassy's fitness facility Sunday when a mortar round crashed into the building, killing him and two other soldiers, King said.

Pentagon tells lawmaker not to air Green Zone video again 08 Apr 2008 The Pentagon told a North Carolina lawmaker Tuesday that he couldn’t re-air a video [!] he'd shot in Baghdad after accusations surfaced that he breached operational security in detailing enemy rocket attacks. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) traveled to Iraq with other lawmakers on March 22. A video was featured on his Web site last Friday. Shot in the Green Zone, it showed McHenry gesturing to a building behind him and saying that one of 11 rockets "hit just over my head." Then he named two other places struck by the rockets.

Basra strike against Shiite militias also about oil 09 Apr 2008 The recent fight in Basra between Iraqi forces and Shiite militiamen was about more than a government bid to reassert itself in a city where Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army was digging in. It was also about oil -- and smuggling. Before the assault began on March 23, the Iraqi government drew up a list of about 200 suspected oil smugglers it hoped to round up - including the brother of the governor of Basra Province and, according to Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani, several leaders linked to Mr. Sadr's militia.

Attacks targeting Iraq power sector 09 Apr 2008 Iraq's electricity sector continues to be a target as [Blackwater] violence in Baghdad takes aim at power plants. A power plant in Sadr City, the poor neighborhood and Shiite stronghold of Moqtada Sadr, was reportedly attacked, according to the Al Mashriq newspaper. This comes as attacks in Ninewa province in the north damaged power transmission lines over the weekend, Azzaman reports.

Errant mortar shells slam into residential areas in Sadr City 09 Apr 2008 Errant mortar shells slammed into houses and a funeral tent Wednesday and three children were among those killed amid fighting in a Shiite militia stronghold despite a traffic ban to 'maintain' calm on the fifth anniversary of the U.S. capture of the capital.

'If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down.' 'Today we have 50 Saddams.' 09 Apr 2008 Fierce clashes and mortar attacks in Baghdad's Shiite bastion of Sadr City killed 13 people on Wednesday as Iraq marked the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. Ibrahim Khalil, one of the Iraqis who pulled down the statue in Firdoos Square, told AFP he regretted what he did that day. "If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down," he said when he met an AFP reporter in the square. "Now I realise that the day Baghdad fell was in fact a black day. Saddam's days were better ... Under Saddam's regime, we were safe. We got rid of one Saddam, but today we have 50 Saddams," he said. For Iraqis, the five years since the ouster of Saddam have been a period of turmoil and bloodletting. "When I saw the American tanks roll into Baghdad, I was happy and full of dreams... dreams of a prosperous Iraq, a developed Iraq. But since then it has become a nightmare of suffering and destruction," said Sarah Yussef. According to World Health Organisation, between 104,000 and 223,000 people were killed from March 2003 to June 2006 alone. Majeed Hameed, a gift-shop owner in Baghdad's northern Antar Square, said the American tanks on the streets of Baghdad are now seen as "enemy" forces. "We can't describe how savage these barbarians are whose promises were false and full of lies. They came to occupy and cause destruction. We got nothing but disaster," said Hameed.

Baghdad deserted on anniversary date 09 Apr 2008 The streets of the Iraqi capital Baghdad have been combed by security forces to make sure a curfew is upheld on the fifth anniversary of the capture of Baghdad by the US military. Authorities have imposed the one-day vehicle curfew as a security precaution.

Day curfew in Baghdad to mark 5th anniversary of Iraq's fall 09 Apr 2008 Iraqi authorities have imposed a one-day curfew on Baghdad today on fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to US forces.

Three US soldiers killed in Iraq 09 Apr 2008 The US military on Wednesday announced the deaths of three more US soldiers in Iraq, including two in Baghdad.

U.S. must leave Iraq, retired generals say 04 Apr 2008 Setting a withdrawal timetable from Iraq might be a shaky strategic move, but it would provide a morale boost for service members and their families, a former Army War College commandant said Wednesday. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales Jr., testifying before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee about U.S. military strategy in Iraq, said he has no doubt that a major withdrawal of combat forces is coming because the U.S. has "run out of military options" and cannot indefinitely sustain troop levels.

Bush to press case against Iraq force cut 09 Apr 2008 The top U.S. officials in Iraq will testify on the war for a second day to Congress on Wednesday as the Bush regime makes its case against a big troop pull-out.

'The Pentagon has never credibly explained the strike on the Baghdad bureau on Al Jazeera.' Questions over journalists' deaths 08 Apr 2008 An international media advocacy group has criticised the US military for not fully investigating the deaths of three journalists killed when their hotel and Al Jazeera's office came under US fire as Baghdad fell on April 8, 2003. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says it has continuously called on the US military to fully investigate the incidents that came just before the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled.

Interview with Detainee 'DD' 08 Apr 2008 Detainee DD was arrested in Britain two and a half years ago. Since that time he has been detained without trial or charge, fighting deportation to Libya, where he may face the threat of further imprisonment, torture or death. Initially held in Britain’s Secret Guantanamo, HMP Long Lartin, he was later released under a control order. In this exclusive interview, former Guantanamo detainee and spokesman for Cageprisoners, Moazzam Begg spoke to 'DD' about his plight.

National Lawyers Guild Calls On Boalt Hall to Dismiss Law Professor John Yoo, Whose Torture Memos Led to Commission of War Crimes (National Lawyers Guild) 09 Apr 2008 In a memorandum written the same month George W. Bush invaded Iraq, Boalt Hall law professor John Yoo said the Department of Justice would construe US criminal laws not to apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants. According to Yoo, the federal statutes against torture, assault, maiming and stalking do not apply to the military in the conduct of the war... This memo and another Yoo wrote with Jay Bybee in August 2002 provided the basis for the Administration's torture of prisoners... John Yoo should be disbarred and he should not be retained as a professor of law at one of the country's premier law schools. John Yoo should be dismissed from Boalt Hall and tried as a war criminal.

Israeli minister threatens "destruction of the Iranian nation" By Peter Symonds 09 Apr 2008 Amid a massive five-day civil defence drill, a senior Israeli cabinet minister has provocatively threatened Iran with complete destruction in retaliation for any attack... Speaking at the newly-opened Government War Room Headquarters on Monday, National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned that the drill was not just "a meaningless spectacle or a fictional scenario. The future reality is likely to be a number of times harsher than that which we recognise now. We are confronted with a situation where the home front becomes the front line."

French govt wins no-confidence vote on Afghanistan 08 Apr 2008 The French government easily survived its first no-confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, facing down opposition charges that it was sending up to 1,000 extra troops to Afghanistan simply to please its U.S. allies. The opposition Socialists have accused the government of being too pro-American and submitted a censure motion in parliament after they were refused a vote on the deployment.

US Water Pipelines Are Breaking 08 Apr 2008 The Environmental 'Protection' Agency says utilities will need to invest more than $277 billion over the next two decades on repairs and improvements to drinking water systems. Water industry engineers put the figure drastically higher, at about $480 billion. Water utilities, largely managed by city governments [Oh, better privatize, right?], have never faced improvements of this magnitude before. And customers will have to bear the majority of the cost through rate increases, according to the American Water Works Association, an industry group. [LOL, wait until Bush privatizes the maintenance and distribution of the US water supply. I can see that one marching down Broadway from a mile away. But, if you're one of Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies - Blackwater, KBR and Halliburton - you can blow things up all day in Afghanistan and Iraq (blaming 'al-Qaeda In Iraq' and Iran) and keep pretending to rebuild them. Get General Betrayus and Crocker of Sh*t to testilie once ever six months in front of a litany of sycophants and GOP-run media sources who fawn over these corporate-owned shills. Oh, btw. I don't "thank them for their service." --Lori Price. See: Bush seeks $4 billion more for Afghan reconstruction projects 08 Apr 2008.]

Nuke Plant Accident Kills 2 In Pakistan --Deadly Gas Leakage Prompts New Concerns Over Safety of Country's Nuclear Program 08 Apr 2008 A gas leakage killed at least two people at a heavy water plant in the central part of Pakistan's Punjab province on Tuesday, prompting fresh concerns over the safety of the country's nuclear program.

Nuclear plant and surrounding villages evacuated in Pakistan -- The Khushab plant, used to produce plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons, is under the control of Pakistan's military. 08 Apr 2008 In Pakistan, hundreds of people have been evacuated from a nuclear plant and surrounding village after a leakage of hydrogen sulphide gas. The leakage of non-radioactive but toxic gas at the nuclear reactor in Khushab, about 250 km south of Islamabad, left several workers at the facility unconscious. The Geo news channel which reported the leak, did not report what had caused the problem.

Pelosi to Block Vote on Colombia 09 Apr 2008 Defying the White House [Finally!], House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday the House will change its rules to avoid a required vote this year on a free-trade agreement with Colombia. Pelosi, D-Calif., said the change would remove the timetable that says Congress must take up trade bills within 90 legislative days after they are received from the White House. She intended to bring the rule proposal to the full House on Thursday. "The president [sic] took action" in submitting the deal Tuesday, she said. "I will take mine tomorrow."

The 9/11 Stand Down in 2 Minutes 27 Mar 2008 NORAD, responsible for intercepting errant aircraft over the U.S., has a standard operating procedure for scrambling planes for interception which takes less than 15 minutes. They did this successfully (on time) 129 times in 2000 and 67 times between September 2000 and June 2001. Yet, on September 11th, they failed to do their job 4 times in a single day.

East Lyme 15-Year-Old Charged With Act of Terrorism 09 Apr 2008 (CT) A 15-year-old was charged with an act of terrorism and first-degree threatening after police said he made specific alarming statements Friday morning. Police said those statements included threats of acts of violence. A search of his home and locker did not turn up any dangerous items.

Mesa police ask Arpaio for a heads-up if he plans sweeps 09 Apr 2008 Mesa's police chief and the head of a Mesa police union have asked Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a heads-up before sending deputies into the city for a 'crime' sweep. Fabian Cota, president of the Mesa Police Association, said an unannounced crime sweep could pose a danger to officers and the public.

Immigration, Outsourced (The New York Times) 09 Apr 2008 To see how unhinged things have become, it pays to zero in on the squalid doings in Maricopa County, Ariz... For months now, Sheriff Joe [Arpaio] has been sending squads of officers through Latino neighborhoods, pulling cars over for broken taillights or turn-signal violations, checking drivers’ and passengers’ papers and arresting illegal immigrants by the dozen... "By the way," he said, "we do have a 3,000-person posse -- and about 500 have guns. They have their own airplanes, jeeps, motorcycles, everything. They can only operate under the sheriff. I swear ’em in. I can put up 30 airplanes tomorrow if I wanted." The federal government so far seems unconcerned.

F.B.I. Says Lieberman 2006 Crashed Its Own Site 09 Apr 2008 Remember when the campaign of Senator Joseph I. LieberBush implied back in 2006 that supporters of Ned Lamont had hacked and disrupted the senator’s Web site? It appears the culprit was a badly configured site and too much e-mail traffic, according to an Oct. 25, 2006, F.B.I. e-mail message turned over to The Advocate of Stamford, Conn., in response to its freedom-of-information filing.

FBI probe: Lieberman campaign to blame for crashing own Web site 09 Apr 2008 A federal investigation has concluded that U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's 2006 re-election campaign was to blame for the crash of its Web site the day before Connecticut's heated Aug. 8 Democratic primary. The FBI office in New Haven found no evidence supporting the LieberBush campaign's allegations that supporters of primary challenger Ned Lamont of Greenwich were to blame for the Web site crash. Lieberman, who was fighting for his political life against the anti-Iraq war candidate Lamont, implied that joe2006.com was hacked by Lamont supporters. [See also: Ned Wins, Joe's In!" The Hartford Courant wouldn't publish a positive, smiling picture of Ned Lamont on its cover if God Himself commanded it. By Lori Price 27 Dec 2007.]

Subpoena seeks EPA-White House documents 09 Apr 2008 A House committee chairman issued a subpoena Wednesday seeking records of contacts between the White House and Environmental Protection Agency officials concerning California's tailpipe emissions law. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said he has found evidence that officials from the White House and the agency met before the EPA decided to block the state law.

In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials --Justice Dept. has put off prosecuting more than 50 companies suspected of wrongdoing over the last three years. 09 Apr 2008 In 2005, federal authorities concluded that a Monsanto consultant had visited the home of an Indonesian official and, with the approval of a senior company executive, handed over an envelope stuffed with hundred-dollar bills. The money was meant as a bribe to win looser environmental regulations for Monsanto’s cotton crops, according to a court document. Monsanto was also caught concealing the bribe with fake invoices. A few years earlier, in the age of Enron, these kinds of charges would probably have resulted in a criminal indictment. Instead, Monsanto was allowed to pay $1 million and avoid criminal prosecution by entering into a monitoring agreement with the Justice Department.

American Airlines cancels 1,000 more flights for inspections 09 Apr 2008 American Airlines canceled more than 1,000 flights today -- almost half of its schedule -- stranding an estimated 100,000 passengers at airports around the country as it grounded planes for another round of maintenance checks.

Oil roars to record over $112 on U.S. 'inventory drop' 09 Apr 2008 Oil surged to a record high over $112 a barrel on Wednesday after a government report showed a sharp drop in U.S. inventories ahead of the summer driving season.

Soaring gasoline prices forecast for summer 08 Apr 2008 Drivers beware: Today's high gasoline prices soon may look like a bargain, because they're expected to peak at $3.60 a gallon nationwide in coming months, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Poor get poorer as recession threat looms: report 09 Apr 2008 The gap between rich and poor in many states has broadened at a quickening pace since the last U.S. recession, which could make it difficult for low-income families to weather the current economic downturn, according to a report issued Wednesday.

Elizabeth Edwards prefers Clinton's health plan 09 Apr 2008 Elizabeth Edwards put in a plug Wednesday for Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care plan. Elizabeth Edwards, who discovered last year that the cancer she thought she had beaten had returned, said she prefers Clinton's health care plan, which would require everyone to have health insurance and offers assistance to those who can't afford to buy coverage.

Carpe Diem: Knut Caught Munching 10 Live Fish 07 Apr 2008 German celebrity polar bear Knut has swiped 10 fish out of the moat around his enclosure at Berlin Zoo and wolfed them down in an impressive display of his predatory skills. Berlin Zoo had put the carp into his moat to help keep the water clean by eating algae. But the 140-kilo (309-pound) bear shocked onlookers by catching the chubby fish and playing with his live prey until they stopped flapping. Then he gobbled them up.

*****

Bush seeks $4 billion more for Afghan reconstruction projects 08 Apr 2008 The Bush regime is hoping to pledge almost $4 billion in additional aid for Afghanistan at an international donors conference to be held in Paris in June, a U.S. official said Tuesday. France will host the meeting on June 14 and has set a broad goal of raising $12 billion to $15 billion to fund Afghan reconstruction projects through 2014. The United States is looking to contribute a minimum of 25 percent of that total, the official said. [Yup, gotta protect those opium routes and gas pipelines.]

Why is the United States in Afghanistan? By Mark Yannone 07 Apr 2008 After six years the United States military is still occupying Afghanistan. Supposedly, the US invaded Afghanistan to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and his building demolition crew, who wired up three buildings of the World Trade Center for Larry Silverstein. I know George W. Bush doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about Osama bin Laden (because he said so); nevertheless, how's that going?

Claims of friendly-fire civilian deaths in Afghan town 07 Apr 2008 On Monday, an Afghan governor claimed more than 20 militants were killed in a US-led operation in eastern Afghanistan, while a regional lawmaker has said the dead were all civilians, including women and children.

U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars 07 Apr 2008 U.S. lawmakers have a financial interest in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a review of their accounts has revealed. Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to U.S. armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups.

Petraeus calls for 45-day pause in troop withdrawals 08 Apr 2008 George Bush is almost certain to hand over the White House to the next president with well over 100,000 US troops still in Iraq after his top commander in the country, General David Petraeus, today announced a 45-day halt to troop withdrawals from July. Petraeus made the announcement during highly-charged hearings in the Senate in which he faced questions from all three contenders to replace Bush: John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Secret plans for US troops to stay in Iraq 08 Apr 2008 A secret draft agreement is being drawn up to allow United States forces to remain in Iraq indefinitely, it has been reported. The document, which was written a month ago and is and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the United Nations mandate for coalition troops, including British forces, to remain in Iraq, which expires at the end of the year. The draft authorisation would allow for the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security".

Secret US plan for military future in Iraq --Document outlines powers but sets no time limit on troop presence 08 Apr 2008 A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country. The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked "secret" and "sensitive", is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit.

Officials foresee no ebb in Iraq violence --Americans and Iraqis agree that the enmity ignited by a government crackdown on Shiite militias remains, setting the stage for 'a hot summer in Iraq.' 07 Apr 2008 The military campaign in the southern port of Basra, which the government says targeted all armed groups, unraveled a seven-month freeze on armed operations observed by the Mahdi Army that had been considered pivotal to Iraq's recent reduction in violence. "We are now locked in a battle," said a high-ranking Iraqi government official, who predicted more confrontations in the coming months. "I think this will be a hot summer in Iraq."

Sunni leader assassinated north of Baghdad 08 Apr 2008 'Unidentified gunmen' attacked early Tuesday the home of a Sunni tribal leader working with the U.S.-sponsored Awakening Council killing him and his three sons, Iraqi police said. Police said the man, whose name was not given, was active in the Awakening Council in the Sunni-dominated area around the town of Baqouba, 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

Four U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq 08 Apr 2008 Four American soldiers were killed in separate incidents in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

Sadr calls off protest, warns Iraqi government 08 Apr 2008 Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is demanding the Iraqi government protect the public from "the booby traps and American militias" or he may formally end the freeze he imposed seven months ago on his Mahdi Army fighters. Al Sadr also cancelled a massive anti-US demonstration he had called in Baghdad for Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government.

Religious leaders tell al-Sadr to keep militia intact 07 Apr 2008 Iraq's top Shiite religious leaders have told anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr not to disband his Mehdi Army, an al-Sadr spokesman said Monday amid fresh fighting in the militia's Baghdad strongholds. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanded Sunday that the cleric disband his militia, which waged two uprisings against U.S. troops in 2004, or see his supporters barred from public office.

Obama calls for withdrawal timetable in Iraq 08 Apr 2008 Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate for president, said on Tuesday that the United States should set a timetable to pull its troops out of Iraq to pressure leaders there to establish peace.

US: Accused al-Qaeda spy to face Guantanamo tribunal 08 Apr 2008 An Afghan accused of launching missiles at U.S. forces and spying on American bases for al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] faces life in prison if convicted in a war crimes 'trial' at Guantanamo, a military official said Monday. The Pentagon has approved charges filed last month by prosecutors against Mohammed Kamin, said Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of Military Commissions.

UN expert stands by Nazi comments --Professor is scheduled to take his post for UN Human Rights Council later in the year 08 Apr 2008 The next UN investigator into Israeli conduct in the occupied territories has stood by comments comparing Israeli actions in Gaza to those of the Nazis. Speaking to the BBC, Professor Richard Falk said he believed that up to now Israel had been successful in avoiding the criticism that it was due.

Food price rises threaten global security - UN --Hunger riots will destabilise weak governments, says senior official 09 Apr 2008 Rising food prices could spark worldwide unrest and threaten political stability, the UN's top humanitarian official warned yesterday after two days of rioting in Egypt over the doubling of prices of basic foods in a year and protests in other parts of the world.

Bush is depicted as foul-mouthed frat boy in new Oliver Stone movie 09 Apr 2008 Oliver Stone's new film,W, portrays George Bush as a foul-mouthed, dried-out drunk with a baseball obsession and a difficult relationship with his father. The film will cover Mr Bush's obsession with invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein... It will also look at Mr Bush's desperate hunt for WMDs in Iraq and his well known mangling of the English language. The script gives the impression that the White House is Mr Bush's very own fraternity house where discussions about going to war sound like the staff are betting on a football game.

FBI Data Transfers Via Telecoms Questioned --FBI budget for collection system increased from $30M in 2007 to $40M in 2008 08 Apr 2008 When FBI investigators probing potential 'terrorist plots' anywhere want access to a suspect's telephone contacts, technicians at a telecommunications carrier served with a government order can instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico. The circuits, little-known electronic connections between telecom firms and FBI monitoring personnel around the country, are used to tell the government who is calling whom, along with the time and duration of a conversation and even the locations of those involved. Recently, three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to colleagues citing privacy concerns over one of the Quantico circuits and demanding more information about it.

Libby won't fight for Pa. law license 08 Apr 2008 Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. will not fight to keep his law license in Pennsylvania. Libby was disbarred by Washington, D.C., courts last month over his perjury conviction in the CIA leak case.

Subpoenas issued to re-examine voting machines 08 Apr 2008 Subpoenas were issued in six New Jersey counties today, demanding that officials turn over for testing all voting machines where discrepancies were found in the presidential primary tallies. Election officials in Bergen, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean and Union counties were instructed to turn over the machines by April 15.

Credit crunch costs '$1 trillion' 08 Apr 2008 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that potential losses from the credit crunch will reach $945bn (£472bn) and could be even higher. The IMF says that losses are spreading from sub-prime mortgage assets to other sectors, such as commercial property, consumer credit, and company debt. It says that there was a "collective failure" to appreciate the risky borrowing by financial institutions. [No worries. Bush and the privately-owned Federal Reserve will bail out the financial institutions.]

Fed Auctions Another $50 Billion to Banks 08 Apr 2008 The Federal Reserve, still working to combat the effects of a severe credit squeeze, said Tuesday it had auctioned another $50 billion to cash-strapped banks.

GAO: Millions wasted on gov't cards 08 Apr 2008 Federal employees charged millions of dollars for Internet dating, tailor-made suits, lingerie, lavish dinners and other questionable expenses to their government credit cards over a 15-month period, congressional auditors say.

Mission accomplished! Gas Prices Could Reach $4 a Gallon This Spring: Government 08 Apr 2008 Retail gasoline prices pulled back slightly from record levels Tuesday and gave some consumers a small break, but a new government forecast said gas could reach as high as $4 a gallon during the summer driving season.

$16 billion environmental lawsuit tests Chevron 09 Apr 2008 Richard Cabrera, an Ecuadorean geological engineer, recommended to an Ecuadorean judge last Tuesday that Chevron pay $8 billion to $16 billion for environmental damages if the company loses a bitterly contested case that started in 1993 with a lawsuit in New York courts, which ruled that the case should be tried in Ecuador. The Ecuadorean case is one of the largest environmental suits against an oil company and could raise the political risks for multinationals extracting resources from similar remote and pristine regions.

40 NASA Workers On Same Floor Diagnosed With Cancer 07 Apr 2008 (Cleveland, OH) There are 40 cases of cancer among people who work in the same building at NASA Glenn Research Center. The union that represents hundreds of scientists and other workers said nearly half of the 100 employees on the third floor of the building have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer in the past three to four years.

USDA Finds Violations in Slaughterhouses 08 Apr 2008 A federal audit of 18 beef slaughterhouses following the nation's largest beef recall found humane handling violations in four of them, including one serious enough for the plant to be temporarily suspended. [Warning - graphic.]

China confirms human-to-human bird flu transmission 07 Apr 2008 Chinese health officials have confirmed that a father caught bird flu from his son last December, according to a report released Tuesday.

Ohio State students call on political leaders to help oust Coke from OSU By Students Against Coke, OSU 03 Apr 2008 Student leaders at Ohio State University [have sent a letter and flyer] to 156 Ohio political leaders, including state legislators, Gov. Ted Strickland and members of Congress. The letter is asking political leaders to support their efforts to have the university end its business relationship with The Coca-Cola Co. and to remove all Coke machines and products from the OSU campus.

Knut Who? Snowflake Melts Hearts at Public Debut --Nuremberg Zoo's celebrity polar bear cub Snowflake made her first public appearance Tuesday. 08 Apr 2008 Nuremberg Zoo's celebrity polar bear cub Snowflake made her first public appearance Tuesday in front of hundreds of media representatives from around the world. The little cub did not seem bothered by the assembled photographers and journalists, and happily romped around her enclosure.

Storm dumps more than 2 feet of snow in northern Minnesota 07 Apr 2008 Residents of the Iron Range and other parts of northern Minnesota are digging out from under at least 2 feet of fresh snow. The grand prize for the most snowfall goes to Virginia, Minn., where 32 inches piled up between Friday night and this morning.

*****

Blackwater contract renewal not approved by Iraq: Maliki 07 Apr 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said the US State Department had renewed the contract of private security company Blackwater USA without the approval of the Baghdad government. The company's mercenaries shot dead 17 Iraqi civilians while escorting an American diplomat through Baghdad in September 2007 in an incident denounced as a crime by the Iraqi government.

Iraqi leader wants answers for Blackwater 'massacre' 07 Apr 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki blasted the U.S. State Department for renewing its contract with the Blackwater security firm, saying the company has yet to answer for what he called a "massacre" last year. The Iraqi government was not consulted on the State Department decision, he said.

Maliki threatens to block al-Sadr's party in upcoming 'elections' 07 Apr 2008 Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki threatened to block cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's party from participating in upcoming regional 'elections' as clashes that have exacerbated tension between rival Shiite factions continued Monday in eastern Baghdad. The prime minister said in an interview with CNN aired Monday that Sadr must disband the Mahdi Army, in order to participate in provincial 'elections' scheduled to take place in October.

British troops go back into Basra 07 Apr 2008 British troops have been sent back into Basra just months after control of the southern city was placed in the hands of the Iraqis, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. The revelation sparked allegations of "mission creep" and claims the Army has been forced to conduct a "strategic [humiliating] U-turn" following the Iraqi [US] military's failure to defeat the powerful Mehdi Army militia. [Uh, "failure to defeat" is a "loss."]

Gunmen kidnap 42 students in Iraq city of Mosul 07 Apr 2008 Gunmen [Blackwater] have kidnapped 42 university students near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, police said. "Gunmen stopped two buses in a village south of Mosul," said Khalid Abdul-Sattar, police spokesman for Nineveh province.

Gunmen set Baghdad's largest food market on fire - eyewitnesses 06 Apr 2008 Armed groups [Blackwater] had set a major food market on fire, which also resulted in torching a number of government outposts and police departments in the process, eyewitnesses said on Sunday. Jamilla, Baghdad's biggest food market, had caught fire during clashes between gunmen and Iraqi-US forces in al-Sadr city, al-Mahdi Army militia headquarters, locals told KUNA.

Australian soldier hurt as rocket hits gym in Iraq 08 Apr 2008 An Australian soldier was lucky to escape death on Sunday when he was hit by shrapnel from a rebel rocket fired into Baghdad's high-security Green Zone. The major from the army's 16th Aviation Brigade, based at Oakey in Queensland, is posted as a liaison officer in the US-run 'coalition' headquarters in Iraq.

3 US Soldiers Killed in Baghdad 07 Apr 2008 Three American soldiers were killed in separate attacks Monday in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. That pushed the two-day American death toll to at least 10 nationwide.

Rocket attacks on US targets in Baghdad kill 3 American troops, wound 31 07 Apr 2008 Suspected Shiite militants lobbed rockets and mortar shells into the U.S.-protected Green Zone and a military base elsewhere in Baghdad on Sunday, killing three American troops and wounding 31 others, officials said.

US group says Iraq outlook is bleak 07 Apr 2008 A new report released by Washington group, the US Institute of Peace, has offered a grim outlook of Iraq. The report has concluded that political progress in Iraq has been so slow, halting and superficial, with social and political fragmentation so pronounced, that the US is no closer to being able to leave Iraq than it was a year ago. [And that's music to Blackwater's ears!]

Winning not a standard of success in Afghanistan, says general 07 Apr 2008 The Canadian general commanding 13,000 Canadian, American, and European combat troops in the Taliban heartland says winning is not the way to judge success in fighting Afghanistan's 'insurgents.' "I never use the term winning because it too simplistic and does not relate to what we are doing here," Maj.-Gen. Marc Lessard said in his first formal interview since assuming command of NATO's Regional Command South in January. [Right, you should use the term 'losing.']

Afghanistan probes civilian deaths claim: ministry 07 Apr 2008 Afghanistan authorities said Monday they were investigating claims by provincial officials that up to 33 civilians were killed in a weekend offensive by US-led troops.

More than 20 said dead in Afghan attack 07 Apr 2008 Afghan and U.S.-led forces have inflicted heavy casualties on insurgents in a battle, the Afghan Defence Ministry said on Monday, but a provincial official said more than 20 civilians, not rebels, had been killed.

Taliban commander arrested in Afghanistan 07 Apr 2008 A senior Taliban commander has been arrested in Kandahar, according to Afghan officials. Mullah Abdul Jabar, the Taliban deputy leader in southern Afghanistan, was arrested when he was 'on his way to Pakistan,' the BBC quoted officials, as saying.

Syria on Alert 'Because Hizbullah Revenge Attack is Near' 06 Apr 2008 Syria has raised the state of alert of its armed forces because it knows Hizbullah's revenge attack against Israel for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh is near, according to Israel's Channel 2 TV. Soon after Mughniyeh's death, Israel warned Syria that it would hold it responsible for any revenge attack launched by Hizbullah for the killing of Mughniyeh, its operations officer.

More Army recruits require 'conduct' waivers 07 Apr 2008 The percentage of recruits requiring a waiver to join the Army because of a criminal record or other past misconduct has more than doubled since 2004 to one for every eight new soldiers. The percentage of active and Reserve Army recruits granted "conduct" waivers for misdemeanor or felony charges increased to 11% last fiscal year from 4.6% in fiscal 2004, according to Army Recruiting Command statistics. So far this fiscal year, which began last October, 13% of recruits have entered the Army with conduct waivers.

Access to evidence limited in US military tribunals 05 Apr 2008 Consider: A new courtroom sequesters Pentagon-approved spectators behind a soundproofed window. If a terrorism suspect tries to shout about his treatment [torture] in custody, a military censor can mute the audio feed that observers hear. Under rules that protect interrogation techniques, the Pentagon's war court won't let the reputed Sept. 11 architect, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, say he was waterboarded -- something the CIA director, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, confirmed on Feb. 5.

Bush administration suspended search and seizure rights following 9/11 03 Apr 2008 Weeks after the [Bush] 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration declared the military exempt from a major plank of the US Constitution's bill of rights, according to a legal memorandum uncovered this week. The military exemption, crafted in October 2001 by the justice department lawyers who give legal advice to the president, was cited in a footnote to a 2003 brief on interrogation tactics. In the 2003 footnote, Bush lawyer John Yoo writes: "Our office recently concluded that the fourth amendment had no application to domestic military operations."

9/11: Where Barack Obama and Condi Rice Sound Alarmingly Alike By Kristen Breitweiser 03 Apr 2008 Barack Obama appeared on MSNBC's Hardball last night and was asked about the way he would handle the 3 a.m. phone call... OBAMA: 'Oh, well, the--I don't think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don't know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.' Yup. That's right, Barack Obama glibly stated that he didn't "think anybody predicted 9/11." Some thoughts: 1. Maybe Obama needs a tutorial from former Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, who just endorsed him yesterday. Heck, even Hamilton knows and has to acknowledge that 9/11 was predictable... Lee Hamilton is largely responsible for the 9/11 Commission's Final Report being a total whitewash.

9 convicted of terror attacks escape Morocco jail --Escapees linked to 2003 suicide bombings in Casablanca, state agency says 07 Apr 2008 Nine people convicted in cases linked to 2003 terrorist attacks in Casablanca have escaped from prison, Morocco's state news agency reported Monday.

Jury Selection Begins in 'D.C. Madam' Case --La. Sen., State Dept. Official Among Potential Witnesses 07 Apr 2008 A Louisiana senator and a former State Department official have been named as potential witnesses in the trial of the woman accused of being the "D.C. Madam." Jury selection began this morning in the case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who is charged in federal court with prostitution-related racketeering offenses.

Senator on Witness List in Sex Case 07 Apr 2008 Louisiana Sen. David Vitter may be called to testify in the upcoming trial of a woman accused of running a high-end Washington prostitution ring. The Republican senator was identified Monday as one of several possible witnesses as jury selection began in the racketeering and money laundering case against Deborah Palfrey. Palfrey's attorney, Preston Burton, also named Randall Tobias, a former senior State Department official, as a possible witness. Prosecutors listed among their witnesses several former escorts as well as military strategist Harlan Ullman, who is known for developing the "shock and awe" warfare strategy. Palfrey says Ullman was a regular client.

Vitter fights subpoena to testify in 'D.C. Madam' trial 07 Apr 2008 U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana is scheduled to be called as a witness in the trial of a woman accused of running a high-end Washington, D.C., prostitution ring. Defense attorneys listed Vitter among their witnesses as jury selection began today in Washington, D.C., in the trial of Deborah Jeane Palfrey. Vitter has fought the subpoena to testify to no avail. [LOL!]

Tobias On Witness List In 'DC Madam' Case 07 Apr 2008 Former Eli Lilly CEO Randall Tobias may be called to testify in the upcoming trial of a woman accused of running a high-end Washington prostitution ring. Tobias was a high ranking official at the U.S. State Department. He resigned after his name surfaced in connection with the high-priced Pamela Martin and Associates escort service.

'D.C. Madam' trial scheduled for April 7 --Full jury trial is scheduled to take place on April 7th, in Federal District Court, in Washington, D.C. By Lori Price 28 Feb 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the 'DC Madam,' told CLG Thursday, "In many respects, I can't wait to get into court and get this monkey off my back. This case has gone on far too long." See also: DC Madam' Phone Records & Updates.

Crude Oil Rises More Than $2 as Gasoline Surges to a Record 07 Apr 2008 Crude oil jumped more than $2 a barrel in New York and gasoline rose to a record as investors moved to commodity markets for higher returns amid forecasts that fuel stockpiles declined. Crude oil for May delivery rose $2.86, or 2.7 percent, to settle at $109.09 a barrel at 2:44 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest closing price since March 18. Prices are up 70 percent from a year ago.

Exxon says L.A. hydrotreater at normal ops Monday 07 Apr 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp's 150,000-barrel-per-day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Torrance, California, restarted on Saturday, one day after a fire, and was operating normally on Monday, a company spokeswoman said. A brief early Friday morning fire on the hydrotreater triggered the use of the plant's safety flare and helped send wholesale West Coast gasoline prices up 6 cents.

Exxon reports flaring at L.A.-area refinery -filing 07 Apr 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp reported flaring at its 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Torrance, California, on Saturday, one day after a fire shut a hydrotreating unit, according to a notice filed with Los Angeles-area pollution regulators. [Is Exxon Mobil sabotaging its refineries so that they can send oil prices higher?]

Congestion Pricing Plan Is Dead, Assembly Speaker Says 07 Apr 2008 Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s goal to remake New York City streets with an elaborate plan for congestion pricing died today in a private conference room on the third floor of the State Capitol.

Thirty-Six U.S. States to Face Water Shortages in the Next Five Years 31 Mar 2008 At least 36 states are expected to face water shortages within the next five years, according to U.S. government estimates. Available freshwater supplies are dwindling across the country due to rising temperatures and droughts, while increasing sprawl, population and inefficient resource usage are leading to rising demand. [And, Bush will spend billions to hire Monsanto, KBR and Blackwater to 'solve the problem' --i.e., privatize the US water supply.]

NY duck gets 'order of protection' after attack 04 Apr 2008 A pet duck named Circles, shot and wounded by a neighbor [sociopath] with a pellet gun, has received an order of protection to keep it safe, the first duck in New York state's Suffolk County to benefit from such an order. Circles was in its owner's backyard on Long Island when it was shot by a neighbor through the neck, said Michelle Auletta, prosecutor at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office... The neighbor was charged with animal cruelty. At the attacker's arraignment on Thursday, Circles' owners received an order of protection. [Next time, Circles should just *return fire.* <g>]

*****

Betrayus is desperate to attack Iran, as a weapon of mass distraction from the Bush depression and Yoo's torture memos. Iran joined militias in battle for Basra 06 Apr 2008 Iranian forces were involved in the recent battle for Basra, General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, is expected to tell Congress this week. Military and intelligence sources believe Iranians were operating at a tactical command level with the Shi’ite militias fighting Iraqi security forces; some were directing operations on the ground, they 'think.' Petraeus intends to use fabricate the evidence of Iranian involvement to argue against any reductions in US forces.

Ahmadinejad offers OPEC bank 07 Apr 2008 Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on Sunday proposed launching a bank for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and urged OPEC states to adopt a single currency in oil deals.

Iran to OPEC: Stop Oil Sales in Dollars 06 Apr 2008 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is urging OPEC members to form a joint bank and stop pricing oil trades in U.S. dollars. According to the Iranian government's Web site, Ahmadinejad told OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri the cartel "should establish a joint bank as well as having joint currency."

Israel's Tehran connection --Israel, while supposedly observing an ironclad boycott of all things Iranian, is happily buying Iranian oil By Richard Silverstein 04 Apr 2008 If you've ever wondered about the definition of hypocrisy you'll find the answer right here. Last month the Swiss foreign minister visited Iran and, together with President Ahmadinejad, attended the signing of a multi-billion euro contract for Iran to supply Switzerland with large amounts of natural gas over the next 25 years. The US State Department immediately condemned the deal and said it would be investigating whether it breached the Iran Sanctions Act. Israel complained too, describing the Swiss minister's visit to Tehran as an "act unfriendly to Israel". Various Jewish groups also joined in the protests, including the World Jewish Congress. This righteous indignation was entirely predictable but more than a little odd nevertheless. On March 30, the Swiss newspaper Sonntag retaliated with the revelation that Israel, supposedly observing an ironclad boycott of all things Iranian, has been buying Iranian oil for years.

George Bush rules out further Iraq troop cuts 05 Apr 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush will signal next week that he will pull no more troops out of Iraq while he is president, once his troop surge ends in the summer. His senior Iraq commander General David Petraeus will use his testimony to congress on Tuesday and Wednesday to argue for continuing political support for the tactics of the surge strategy even after a planned drawdown of troops.

Rockets slam Green Zone and base, killing 3 U.S. soldiers 06 Apr 2008 A military official said two U.S. troops died and 17 were wounded Sunday in an attack on the Green Zone, which houses the U.S. Embassy and the Iraqi government headquarters in central Baghdad. Another American service member was killed and 14 were wounded in an attack on a base in the southeastern Baghdad area of Rustamiyah, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.

20 killed in clashes in Sadr City, Iraq --U.S. Stryker armored personnel carrier damaged 06 Apr 2008 Iraqi troops backed by U.S. forces battled Shiite fighters in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood in clashes that killed 20 people and wounded more than 50 despite a cease-fire between the government and the militia, officials said Sunday. A police officer said that a U.S. Stryker armored personnel carrier was damaged in the fighting, which continued with sporadic exchanges of fire through Sunday morning. Two armored Humvee vehicles and two trucks belonging to the Iraqi army were also destroyed, said the officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Anti US demonstration in Baghdad 05 Apr 2008 Thousands of people in Baghdad have staged protests against raids on Sadr City, calling for the withdrawal of the US forces from the city. On Thursday, hundreds of US forces raided a housing complex in Sadr City and expelled fifty families from their houses, announcing that they intend to install a temporary military base there.

Families fight plan for secret inquests in friendly-fire deaths 06 Apr 2008 Army families fear that the truth about the deaths of soldiers killed in friendly fire or other controversial incidents will be concealed under proposed government powers to hold secret inquests without a jury. The plan to allow evidence to be assessed in private where national security or international relations are jeopardised follows controversy over cases such as that of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, killed when a US pilot mistakenly opened fire on his convoy in Iraq.

Iraqi official: Blackwater staying on 'is bad news' 05 Apr 2008 The U.S. State Department's renewal of Blackwater's contract to provide security in Iraq "is bad news," an adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said. Blackwater guards shot and killed 17 people, including women and children, last September, prompting an outcry and protest from Iraqi officials. "This is bad news," al-Maliki adviser Sami al-Askari said. "I personally am not happy with this, especially because they have committed acts of aggression, killed Iraqis, and this has not been resolved yet positively for families of victims."

Blackwater Iraq contract renewed 05 Apr 2008 Security firm Blackwater has had its contract to protect US diplomats in Iraq extended. The move comes despite the continuing FBI investigation into the killing of 17 Iraqis by Blackwater mercenaries guarding US officials in Baghdad last September.

The Iraq war, for $100 month By Bill Adair 01 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama says the war costs each household about $100 per month. We do the math and find he's right.

2 Groups Offer to Defend Guantanamo Detainees 05 Apr 2008 The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers said they are assembling teams of civilian attorneys to help defend some of the most notorious terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

'Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner's eyes poked out?' Use of Mind-altering Drugs On Captives, Maiming Weighed In '03 Memo --In the sober language of footnotes, case citations and judicial rulings, the memo explores a wide range of unsavory topics, including the use of mind-altering drugs on captives. 06 Apr 2008 Thirty pages into a memorandum discussing the legal boundaries of military interrogations in 2003, senior Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo asked: Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner's eyes poked out? Or, for that matter, could he have "scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance" thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting? These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities... But none of that matters in a time of war, Yoo also said, because federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief.

Evidence Grows of US Drug Use on Terror Detainees 'The executive branch memos laid a comprehensive and reiterated policy foundation for the use of interrogational drugs.' '03 Yoo memo advised top Bush officials that interrogators could employ mind-altering drugs on terror suspects 04 Apr 2008 There can be little doubt now that the government has used drugs on terrorist suspects that are designed to weaken their resistance to interrogation. All that’s missing is the syringes and videotapes. Another window opened on the practice last week with the declassification of John Yoo’s... 2003 memo [part one, part two] approving harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects. Yoo advised top Bush administration officials that interrogators could employ mind-altering drugs if they did not produce "an extreme effect" calculated to "cause a profound disruption of the senses or personality."

Hamas official: Israel refused offers for temporary cease-fire 06 Apr 2008 A senior member of the militant Palestinian group Hamas said Sunday that Israel has refused its offers for a temporary ceasefire proposed through Egyptian mediation. Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas' political bureau said that Israel has responded negatively via the Egyptian mediators to an offer for a truce with the group both in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.

Israel, U.S. plan to release details on '07 Syria attack 06 Apr 2008 Israel and the United States are coordinating the release of details on the air force strike in Syria last September, which foreign reports claim targeted a nuclear installation Syria was constructing with North Korean assistance. American officials may reveal details of the strike later this month during congressional hearings.

U.S. Democrats urge Bush to shift anti-terror focus 07 Apr 2008 U.S. Senate Democrats sent a letter Sunday to President [sic] George W. Bush urging him to shift anti-terror efforts from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the letter, Harry Reid, the majority leader, and other Democratic senators, said the White House has committed too much of U.S. resources to Iraq while neglecting "terror-havens" of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rockets fired at villas housing US oilmen in Yemen 06 Apr 2008 Three rockets were fired late on Sunday at villas where US oil experts live in Yemen's capital, next to a residential complex for other Westerners, residents said, in the latest attack to hit a country plagued by Al-Qaeda-linked violence by resistance fighters.

Blasts smash windows at Yemen complex 07 Apr 2008 An apparent mortar attack smashed windows at a complex housing Americans and other Westerners in the Yemeni capital Sanaa today, but there were no casualties, a Yemeni security official said.

'No tolerance to US intervention' 06 Apr 2008 President Mian Shahbaz Sharif has said the people of Pakistan will not tolerate any US intervention in their territory. Talking with media on Saturday, Shahbaz categorically stated that the people of Pakistan had a very clear stand on this issue that there should be no foreign interference in their internal matters.

Ecuador says CIA controls part of its intelligence 05 Apr 2008 Ecuador's president accused the CIA on Saturday of controlling many of his country's spy agencies, in comments that could fray ties with Washington and drag it into Ecuador's feud with neighboring Colombia. President Rafael Correa also charged the United States with financing some officers in the Ecuadorian spy agencies.

Vandals deface graves of Muslim war vets in France 06 Apr 2008 Vandals have struck a cemetery in northern France, defacing the graves of dozens of Muslim First World War soldiers. A French prosecutor says 148 graves at the cemetery at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire have been sprayed with anti-Islam slogans. A severed pig's head was found at the cemetery, along with graffiti singling out the French justice minister, who is of North African origin.

2 Arrested With Infrared Cameras at LAX 05 Apr 2008 Two men attempting to board a plane to China with nearly a dozen sensitive infrared cameras in their luggage were arrested on Saturday, a federal official said. Federal agents stopped the pair on the jetway as they were preparing to board the flight to Beijing.

Vitter might take the Fifth --D.C. Madam trial set to kick off Monday 05 Apr 2008 An attorney [Henry Asbill] who has represented Sen. David Vitter, R-La., told a federal judge Friday that a client of his who was subpoenaed by the defense to testify in the so-called D.C. Madam case would assert his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if the court insists he appear as a witness.

Mega barf alert! Dan Senor: Condoleezza Rice Is Pursuing the VP Spot 06 Apr 2008 Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is actively courting the vice presidential nomination, Republican strategist Dan Senor said. "Condi Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this," Senor said this told ABC News. According to Senor, Rice has been cozying up to the Republican elite.

Top Clinton Aide Leaving His Post Under Pressure 07 Apr 2008 Mark Penn, the pollster who has advised Bill and Hillary Clinton since 1996, stepped down under pressure on Sunday as the chief political strategist for Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign after his private business arrangements again clashed with her campaign positions.

Voodoo Health Economics By Paul Krugman 04 Apr 2008 Elizabeth Edwards has cancer. John McCain has had cancer in the past. Last weekend, Mrs. Edwards bluntly pointed out that neither of them would be able to get insurance under Mr. McCain’s health care plan... Indeed, while Mrs. Edwards focused her criticism on Mr. McCain, she also made it clear that she prefers Hillary Clinton’s approach -- "Sen. Clinton’s plan is a great plan" -- to Barack Obama’s. The Clinton plan closely resembles the plan for universal coverage that John Edwards laid out more than a year ago.

Drug Makers Near Old Goal: A Legal Shield 06 Apr 2008 For years, Johnson & Johnson obscured evidence that its popular Ortho Evra birth control patch delivered much more estrogen than standard birth control pills, potentially increasing the risk of blood clots and strokes, according to internal company documents. But because the Food and Drug Administration approved the patch, the company is arguing in court that it cannot be sued by women who claim that they were injured by the product -- even though its old label inaccurately described the amount of estrogen it released. This legal argument is called pre-emption. After decades of being dismissed by courts, the tactic now appears to be on the verge of success, lawyers for plaintiffs and drug companies say.

Immunization Ploys Are Parents Being Manipulated? 30 Tactics Used by the Medical Profession to Hoodwink the Public By Neil Z. Miller Medical health authorities, including doctors, nurses, and other members of the allopathic fraternity, employ a number of strategies designed to elicit parental submission to vaccine guidelines.

*****

'In his report he can frame it in terms of our soldiers killed and diplomats dead in attacks on the Green Zone.' British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes 05 Apr 2008 British officials gave warning yesterday that America's commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government. A strong statement from General David Petraeus [Betrayus] about Iran's intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment.

Britons seized in Iraq may now be held in Iran 06 Apr 2008 Five British hostages who were kidnapped in Iraq last year may be being held in Tehran, the Iranian capital, according to intelligence reports received by the Foreign Office. The disclosure, supported by two security sources in London and officials in Iraq, means that any rescue attempt by British special forces would be almost impossible.

Sen. Biden declares troop buildup in Iraq is failure, peace is far off 05 Apr 2008 A leading Democrat on Saturday declared last year's troop buildup in Iraq a failure. Sen. Joe Biden (DE), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the military push didn't succeed because U.S. troops remain committed there in large numbers and political reconciliation has not been achieved.

Obama Adviser Calls for Troops to Stay in Iraq Through 2010 04 Apr 2008 A key adviser to Senator Obama’s campaign [Colin Kahl] is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.

Al-Sadr militia prep for U.S., Iraqi fighting 05 Apr 2008 Militiamen loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr are positioning explosives to defend the major routes into Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood in anticipation of a major battle with U.S. and Iraqi government forces, residents said yesterday.

U.S. Military Investigates 3 Civilian Deaths 05 Apr 2008 The U.S. military has launched an 'investigation' into the shooting deaths of three Iraqi civilians, including a 2-year-old girl, after numerous witnesses reported that they were killed by gunfire from American soldiers.

U.S. Charges Contractor at Iraq Post in Stabbing 05 Apr 2008 The American military has charged a contractor [Alaa Mohammad Ali] with assault in a case that may emerge as a major test of the military’s legal jurisdiction over civilians who accompany the armed forces into the field, military officials and legal experts said Friday. It is the first time since 1968 that a contractor has been charged under military law.

Iraq: U.S. air attacks kill 6, wound 15 04 Apr 2008 U.S. military forces called in helicopter strikes during a battle in Hilla, Iraq, that left six dead and 15 wounded, officials said. Air attacks hit Basra and Hilla Friday amid fighting between Iraqi soldiers and the Mehdi Army militia, al-Sumaria reported Friday. U.S. forces said they took a Mehdi Army militia member into custody.

Bomber kills 15 at Iraq funeral 05 Apr 2008 A suicide bomber killed 15 mourners when he blew himself up at a funeral in Iraq yesterday. The attacker detonated his explosives at the funeral of a Sunni policeman shot dead earlier in the week.

Planned aircraft bombings in 'revenge for Iraq' 05 Apr 2008 Six Britons accused of plotting to blow up at least seven transatlantic airliners recorded martyrdom videos saying the attacks would be revenge for the US invasion of Iraq, a London court has been told.

Questions in Portugal About CIA Flights to Guantánamo 04 Apr 2008 Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and his predecessor José Manuel Barroso should answer "clearly and transparently" questions about secret CIA flights transporting prisoners to Guantánamo, says British lawyer and activist Clive Stafford Smith. Speaking to the press in Lisbon on Thursday, Stafford Smith, the head of the British human rights group Reprieve, said the Portuguese government may be sued if it fails to cooperate voluntarily in the search for the truth.

Army Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq 06 Apr 2008 Army leaders are expressing increased alarm about the mental health of soldiers who would be sent back to the front again and again under plans that call for troop numbers to be sustained at high levels in Iraq for this year and beyond.

AP: Govt. plans to cut Army war tours 04 Apr 2008 The Bush administration plans to announce next week that U.S. soldiers' combat tours will be reduced from 15 months to 12 months in Iraq and Afghanistan beginning later this summer, The Associated Press has learned.

McCain Called a 'Warmonger' at Obama Appearance 05 Apr 2008 On the air, Ed Schultz, a liberal talk show host based in Fargo, N.D., is well-known for his blunt criticisms of the Bush Administration and the Republican Party. But Mr. Schultz, a fervent supporter of Senator Barack Obama, may have gone too far not gone far enough late Friday when he called Senator John McLunatic "a warmonger."

Bush pledges more troops to Afghanistan, despite focus on Iraq --Fighting in Basra reveals fragility of Maliki regime 05 Apr 2008 George Bush yesterday promised to send more troops to Afghanistan after his departure from the White House next year, whatever the status of troop withdrawals from Iraq. The pledge, delivered at a Nato summit in Bucharest, would add a "significant" number of troops in Afghanistan in 2009, the Pentagon chief, Robert Gates, told reporters.

UN group clears 350,000 mines in Afghanistan 04 Apr 2008 According to the UN Mine Action Program in Afghanistan, more than 600 Afghans were killed by landmines and explosives last year. Mine initiatives had cleared more than one billion square metres of land across Afghanistan, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan 05 Apr 2008 A Canadian soldier fighting with NATO troops in Afghanistan was killed by a bomb Friday, officials and media reports said.

US Bomber Catches Fire in Middle East 04 Apr 2008 A U.S. military B-1 bomber caught fire Friday after landing at an American base in the Middle East. The Air Force said the bomber was taxiing after landing at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and "was involved in a ground incident" and caught fire. All crew members escaped safely.

Bush Supports Expansion of NATO Across Europe 06 Apr 2008 Addressing new NATO allies in a medieval town square here, President [sic] Bush on Saturday championed the alliance’s expansion across all of Europe and compared the liberation of Eastern European nations from Communism to the American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

McConnell pushes new intelligence plan 04 Apr 2008 A plan to remove barriers to communication and increase information sharing has been announced by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Officials say the new U.S. Intelligence Community Information Sharing Strategy calls for the removal of institutional and technical barriers to information sharing that have 'slowed the process' of effective decision making.

ACLU taps top legal talent to defend accused 9-11 plotters 04 Apr 2008 The American Civil Liberties Union, which for years has scorned Pentagon military tribunals as "kangaroo courts,'' announced Friday that it will try to provide top civilian defense attorneys for alleged terrorists facing trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- including the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Feds Probing Va. Tech Copycat Case 04 Apr 2008 A 20-year-old with a weapons cache that included AK-47s was arrested Friday in South Florida on federal charges of threatening to re-enact the Virginia Tech massacre, the U.S. attorney's office said. Local authorities had arrested Calin Chi Wong at his home last week after finding 13 firearms and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition, some that could pierce armor, and bullets that could take down aircraft or military machinery. But the suspect's brother told The Associated Press that Wong "doesn't even know how to use a gun." [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Fear, Paranoia and, Yes, Some Loathing in Alabama's Hallowed Halls By Adam Nossiter 06 Apr 2008 Lawyers for the subpoenaed legislators say there are similarities to the prosecution of Mr. [Don] Siegelman -- in particular, a government penchant for high-profile grand jury summonses rather than low-key interviews in a prosecutor’s office. "Rather than asking them to be interviewed, they are pulling them in front of the grand jury, which forces them to come in and be bullied, or take the Fifth," said Doug Jones, a lawyer for some of the lawmakers... At the least, a distinct chill is in the air in the corridors of state power here.

Oliver Stone rushes to finish Bush film --Script [and whole world] asks: 'How did an alcoholic bum become most powerful leader in world?' 03 Apr 2008 Oliver Stone's new movie, W, on the life of George W Bush, begins filming this month and will be produced at speed. In the director's own words, the film will address the question: "How did Bush go from being an alcoholic bum to the most powerful figure in the world?"

Chicago Police Officer Indicted for Federal Civil Rights Violation 03 Apr 2008 Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald announced today that Chicago police officer William Cozzi was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in Chicago for violating the civil rights of a restrained man.

Now What About McCain's Tax Returns? 04 Apr 2008 The Democratic National Committee releases this statement: "While both Democratic candidates for president have released several years worth of full federal tax returns, John McCain has not. As a self-professed champion of disclosure and ethics, John McCain should explain why for the past 26 years he has not seen fit to provide this important financial information to voters..." A McCain spokesman tells MSNBC that the Arizona senator will release his tax returns after they're filed, the week of April 15.

Oil gains over 2 percent as dollar slips 05 Apr 2008 Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Friday as weakness in the U.S. dollar following a batch of soft jobs data outweighed fears of a demand slowdown in the world's biggest energy consumer. News of a fire at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Los Angeles [!] supported the gains, sparking fears over gasoline supply heading into the summer driving season.

US jobless figures: The specter of a new depression By David Walsh 05 Apr 2008 Friday’s Labor Department report, revealing that US payrolls were cut by 80,000 jobs in March and that 232,000 jobs have been lost in the past three months, can only mean new levels of social misery and raises the specter of a severe economic slump, perhaps the deepest since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Clinton Calls for 'Poverty Czar' 04 Apr 2008 Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton announced today that as president, she will create a "poverty czar," a cabinet-level position, to be devoted solely and fully to "ending poverty as we know it."

Bird flu discovered in southern Korea 05 Apr 2008 The government on Saturday confirmed a second bird flu outbreak at a duck farm in southwestern Korea just three days after another case was reported in the vicinity. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said preliminary tests conducted on ducks that died earlier in the week at the farm in Jeongeup, about 250 kilometers southwest of Seoul, came back positive for the H5 type bird flu virus.

Baby polar bear goes swimming 04 Apr 2008 Baby polar bear Flocke enjoys splashing around in an outdoor pool at Nuremberg zoo in southern Germany. Keepers at the zoo have been rearing the white bundle of fur by hand after her mother was deemed unfit to raise her.

*****

U.S. Extends Blackwater Contract While Shooting Probe Continues 04 Apr 2008 Amid investigations into fatal shootings of civilians and allegations of tax violations, Blackwater's multimillion-dollar contract to protect diplomats in Baghdad has been renewed, the State Department said Friday. A final decision about whether the private security company will keep the job is pending, the department said. Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater is one of the largest private military contractors, receiving nearly $1.25 billion in federal business since 2000, according to a House committee estimate.

Blackwater VP: Too soon to judge Baghdad shootings 03 Apr 2008 A top official in the U.S. mercenary firm Blackwater said on Thursday it was too soon to pass judgment on the killing of 17 Iraqi civilians by its employees last September and urged critics to await an FBI report. The Sept. 16 killings by Blackwater security guards escorting a convoy in a central Baghdad square enraged Iraqis who complained mercenaries had operated with impunity since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. An FBI investigation is under way but The New York Times has reported the bureau's agents found at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified.

Iraq's Sadr calls for million-strong march against U.S. occupation 03 Apr 2008 Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on Thursday for a million-strong demonstration against U.S. occupation. "The time has come to express your rejections and raise your voices loud against the unjust occupier and enemy of nations and humanity, and against the horrible massacres committed by the occupier against our honorable people," said a statement released by Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf. The demonstration would take place next Wednesday April 9, the fifth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, when the U.S. commander in Iraq is also scheduled to brief Congress in Washington about "progress" in the war. [LOL! That should take all of 30 seconds.]

Iraqi soldiers and police mutiny, surrender weapons and vehicles to Mahdi militia --Iraqi PM freezes raids targeting militia 04 Apr 2008 Iraq's prime minister [Nouri al-Maliki] on Friday ordered a nationwide freeze on raids against suspected Shiite militants after the leader of the biggest militia complained that arrests were continuing even after he ordered fighters off the streets. Also Friday, military and police officials in Basra said a number of Iraqi soldiers and police were reported to have mutinied or refused to engage al-Sadr's militants during last week's fighting. The officials said the mutiny involved a full infantry battalion belonging to the 4th Iraqi Division numbering about 500 men and some 400 policemen. The deserters also turned over surrendered to the Mahdi militia some of their weapons and vehicles, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. The desertions cast new doubt on the effectiveness of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces.

More Than 1,000 in Iraq's Forces Quit Basra Fight 04 Apr 2008 More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle.

U.S. will send more troops to Afghanistan regardless of Iraq situation: Gates 04 Apr 2008 The United States intends to send many more combat forces to Afghanistan next year regardless of whether troop levels in Iraq are cut further this year, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said Friday. It is the first time the U.S. administration has made such a commitment for 2009.

US lawmakers have as much as $196 million invested in defense companies: Study 03 Apr 2008 Members of the U.S.Congress have as much as $196 million (€126.2 million) collectively invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the start of the Iraq war, according to a new study by a nonpartisan research group.

IEDs go beyond Iraq, Afghanistan 04 Apr 2008 Makeshift bomb attacks by 'insurgents' -- common in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are on the rise in other countries, prompting concerns by military experts that the tactic is becoming the weapon of choice by [Bush's] terror groups worldwide.

Pentagon's Debt Collectors Accused of Ripping Off Soldiers --Suit: Military Deducted Money From Service Members' Gov't Benefits or Tax Refunds 04 Apr 2008 U.S. soldiers and veterans have been illegally hit up by Pentagon debt collectors for millions of dollars in payments over military credit card debt, according to the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Public Citizen and consumer lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES), which issues credit cards to U.S. service members to buy goods at military stores.

US aircraft crashes in Qatar 04 Apr 2008 A US military aircraft has crash landed at the al-Udeid military base in Qatar. The B1 bomber reportedly suffered technical difficulties and exploded as it attempted to land at the base about 35km from the capital Doha late on Friday.

Iran installs more nuclear equipment 03 Apr 2008 UN Security Council members have been made aware that Iran has begun installing advanced centrifuges in its main uranium enrichment plant, accelerating activity that could give it the means to make atom bombs.

Secret Post-9/11 Memo Circumvents Constitution, Posse Comitatus --2003 memo: 'Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations,' the footnote in that memo states, referring to a document titled 'Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.' 03 Apr 2008 For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush administration argued that the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures on U.S. soil did not apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism. That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated Oct. 23, 2001. Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, that discussed the legality of various interrogation torture techniques. "Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations," the footnote in that memo states, referring to a document titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States." [See: The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.]

'The October 2001 memo arguing for unregulated military searches on U.S. soil has not been formally withdrawn and remains a secret but unclassified document.' Administration Asserted Fourth Amendment Does Not Apply to Domestic Military Operations In Terror Fight 04 Apr 2008 The Justice Department concluded in October 2001 that military operations combating terrorism inside the United States [!] are not limited by Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, in one of several secret memos containing new and controversial assertions of presidential power. The memo, sent on Oct. 23, 2001, to the Defense Department and the White House by the Office of Legal Counsel, focused on the rules governing any deployment of U.S. forces inside the country [!] "in the event of further large-scale terrorist activities" by al-Qaeda, a Justice Department official said yesterday. The October 2001 memo arguing for unregulated military searches on U.S. soil has not been formally withdrawn and remains a secret but unclassified document, according to Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

2003 Justice Department memo justifies torture, presidential dictatorship By Joe Kay 04 Apr 2008 On Tuesday, the Defense Department released a 2003 memo asserting the right of the US president to order the military to torture prisoners. The memo is signed by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and is dated March 14, 2003, one week before the launch of the Iraq war. It is the latest memo to be released that argues for virtually unrestrained executive powers as part of the president's "Commander-in-Chief" authority. The memo should serve as a sharp warning about the type of barbaric methods the US government is employing and will continue to employ to suppress all international and domestic opposition.

Idaho House approves 'Real ID' rejection after Senate amendments 02 Apr 2008 Idaho has joined Montana, Maine, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in rejecting federal REAL ID driver's licenses. A bill to that effect has passed the Idaho Legislature, and now awaits the signature of Governor Butch Otter (R).

TSA deploys airport behavior screeners 04 Apr 2008 Dubbed the SPOT program, for Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques, the effort is shrouded in some secrecy that makes it difficult to evaluate its worth. TSA officials refuse to say exactly what sort of behavior can make them suspicious. Federal officials said the program, which requested a $45 million budget this year, is a worthwhile complement to random searches and an 'alternative' to racial profiling.

Bush officials mount campaign against media shield bill 03 Apr 2008 The Bush regime is campaigning against legislation that would allow reporters to protect the identities of confidential sources who provide sensitive, sometimes embarrassing information about the government. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other administration officials say the "Free Flow of Information Act" could harm national security and would encourage more leaks of classified information.

Administration Launches Web Site Opposing Journalist Media Shield 03 Apr 2008 The Bush administration is pushing for the Senate to drop a media shield law that officials say could jeopardize national security, launching a Department of Justice Web site on Thursday aimed at drawing support for administration proposals instead.

'Anti-terror police were said to have found the recipe for mass murder in an address book.' British Muslims 'planned to kill thousands by bombing SEVEN transatlantic airliners in one go' 04 Apr 2008 A 'gang of British Muslims' planned to blow up seven planes within hours in the biggest terrorist atrocity since 9/11, a court heard yesterday. Two thousand passengers would have died in the plot by eight fanatics working "in the name of Islam", the jury was told. It could have involved up to 18 suicide bombers. The jets they targeted would all have been bound from Heathrow to cities in the U.S. and Canada, it was claimed.

Cargo Container Labeled 'Anthrax From Osama' Prompts Scare in California 02 Apr 2008 A hazardous materials team was called to the Port of Long Beach in California when a cargo container was found Wednesday spray-painted with the words "Anthrax a gift from Osama," but nothing was found in the container.

Bird Flu Crosses Species Barrier to Spread Among Dogs 02 Apr 2008 A bird flu virus that killed dogs in South Korea can spread from one dog to another, showing that the disease is capable of crossing species and causing widespread sickness in mammals, a study found. A cocker spaniel and a miniature schnauzer were among dozens of dogs in South Korea sickened by an H3N2 strain from birds, researchers said in a study published in the May issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. Viruses taken from the sick canines were used in an experiment later to see if pathogens were capable of spreading from dog to dog.

'Not only are taxpayers being fleeced by paying that much for oil, but the effect of taking valuable oil, like sweet crude oil, off the market has a disproportionate effect on oil prices.' Energy Dept. buys more oil at top dollar 04 Apr 2008 The Energy Department said Friday it would continue putting oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve even as crude oil prices remain above $100 a barrel. The department announced a solicitation of bids for 13 million barrels of oil, with deliveries expected to begin in August, when the current delivery contracts expire. Oil will be put into the reserve at about 76,000 barrels a day, about the same rate as current deliveries, through December.

Gas prices rise to new record --Fuel now above $3.30 a gallon; crude costs also rising 04 Apr 2008 Retail gas prices surged to a new record above $3.30 a gallon Friday and appear poised to rise further in coming weeks as gasoline supplies tighten. Oil prices, meanwhile, supported the gas price rally by jumping more than $2 a barrel after a dismal employment report sent the dollar lower.

80,000 Jobs Cut in March; Unemployment Rate Rises 04 Apr 2008 The economy shed 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment, presenting a stark sign that the country may already be in a recession. Sharp downturns in the manufacturing and construction sectors led the decline, the biggest in five years. The Labor Department also said employers cut far more jobs in January and February than originally estimated.

81% in Poll Say Nation Is Headed on the Wrong Track 04 Apr 2008 Americans are more dissatisfied with the country’s direction than at any time since the New York Times/CBS News poll began asking about the subject in the early 1990s, according to the latest poll. In the poll, 81 percent of respondents said they believed "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track," up from 69 percent a year ago.

Harry Reid: Nominee will be chosen before July 1 04 Apr 2008 In an interview on Bloomberg Television's "Money and Politics" today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pooh-poohed talk of deep divisions being created by the protracted Democratic presidential contest, and said the nominee would be chosen by the end of June. "The negative toll on Obama and Clinton will end five minutes after the nominee is chosen and that will be before the 1st of July," Reid declared.

MSNBC's Weapon of Mass Distraction: Clintons report $20.4M in 2007 income 04 Apr 2008 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton reported $20.4 million in income for 2007 and more than $109 million since 2000 as they gave the public the most detailed look at their finances in eight years. Almost half the former first couple's money came from his speeches. [Earth to MSNBC: We don't give a sh*t. Instead, tell us how much the *Iraq war* and Exxon Mobil's profiteering cost us in 2007.]

Memphis Marchers Honor Legacy of Dr. King 04 Apr 2008 On the 40th anniversary of his assassination, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was remembered Friday in the city where he died as a man who came to Memphis ''to lead us to a better way.'' Presidential candidates, civil rights leaders, labor activists and thousands of citizens were coming together to honor King for his devotion to racial equality and economic justice.

Killer storms roar across South 04 Apr 2008 Strong thunderstorms toppled trees, knocked out power and damaged homes Friday in Mississippi and Alabama, while flooding in Kentucky forced evacuations and left a 2-year-old girl dead. Across Mississippi, fast-moving storms unleashed possible tornadoes, heavy rain and some hail.

*****

'To be sure, Cheney must be furious that Tehran torpedoed the entire US strategy for Big Oil.' Iran torpedoes US plans for Iraqi oil By M K Bhadrakumar 03 Apr 2008 What has happened is essentially that Iran has frustrated the joint US-British objective of gaining control of Basra, without which the strategy of establishing control over the fabulous oil fields of southern Iraq will not work. Control of Basra is a pre-requisite before American oil majors make their multi-billion investments to kick start large-scale oil production in Iraq. Iraq's Southern Oil Company is headquartered in Basra. Highly strategic installations are concentrated in the region, such as pipeline networks, pumping stations, refineries and loading terminals. The American oil majors will insist on fastening these installations.

Official: U.S. to send more troops to Basra 03 Apr 2008 A senior U.S. military official say 400 U.S. military personnel are being sent to Basra, Iraq, to bolster the operation there. Within 24 hours of the latest round of fighting in Basra, the U.S. began moving dozens of military personnel to the city as Iraqi forces were becoming overwhelmed, CNN has confirmed with the senior military official.

Embarrassed U.S. Starts to Disown Basra Operation By Gareth Porter 31 Mar 2008 As it became clear last week that the "Operation Knights Assault" in Basra was in serious trouble, the George W. Bush administration began to claim in off-the-record statements to journalists that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had launched the operation without consulting Washington. The effort to disclaim U.S. responsibility for the operation is an indication that it was viewed as a major embarrassment just as top commander Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are about to testify before Congress.

Iraq Looking at Oil Surplus, Big Profits --Senators: Iraq will realize 'at least $100 billion in oil revenues in 2007 and 2008' 02 Apr 2008 Iraq is looking at a potential boon in oil revenue this year, as the U.S. spends some $153 million a month in the country on fuel alone. Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John Warner, R-Va., have called for an investigation into Iraq's handling of the money. Iraq relies heavily on U.S. dollars to provide citizens with basic services, including more than $45 billion for reconstruction.

1200 people killed, wounded, or arrested in Basra 03 Apr 2008 Iraqi security forces killed or wounded at least 900 armed men and arrested 300 others, since the beginning of the military operations in Basra, an official of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior (MOI) said on Thursday.

US army kills 4 Iraqi cops, guard in Babel-police 03 Apr 2008 Five Iraqi security forces and seven others wounded when US forces launched attacks against them in Hilla, south Baghdad, a Babel police source said.

Contracts for Body Armor Filled Without Initial Tests --Inspections Skipped in 13 Of 28 Deals, Report Finds 03 Apr 2008 Government auditors said yesterday that nearly half of 28 contracts to manufacture body armor for Army soldiers were completed without the gear ever going through an initial test. Nearly $3 billion worth of body armor did not go through early inspections known as "first article testing," or FAT, that are performed before major production to ensure that a company can meet the contract's requirements and to catch any defects, according to a report by the Defense Department's inspector general.

Army unsure if some body armor met safety standards --Contractors didn't 'perform most basic tests' 02 Apr 2008 The Army can't be sure some of its body armor met safety standards, partly because it didn't do proper paperwork on initial testing of the protective vests, a Defense Department audit said. Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter of New York, who requested the department inspector general's report, on Wednesday demanded the firing of officials responsible. The inspector general reviewed $5.2 billion worth of Army and Marine Corps contracts for body armor from 2004 through 2006... "This report indicates that nearly half of the Army's contractors did not perform the most basic test on the body armor before it was sent to our troops fighting overseas," Slaughter said.

Pipe Bomb Suspect Was Iraq Contractor --Authorities Want to Know Who Kevin Brown Associated With Overseas 03 Apr 2008 Investigators in the U.S. and overseas are carefully retracing the movements of a man arrested Tuesday at a Florida airport with bomb-making materials in his luggage to determine whom he associated with as a contractor in Iraq, ABC News has learned.

Ex-Iraq Contractor to Have Bond Hearing 03 Apr 2008 An Army veteran and former Iraq contractor accused of trying to bring pipe bomb-making materials onto an airplane is due to appear in an Orlando courtroom. Kevin Brown has been ordered held without bail while prosecutors review his mental health records.

Rapists in the ranks --Sexual assaults are frequent, and frequently ignored, in the armed services. By Jane Harman (D-Venice) 31 Mar 2008 Numbers reported by the Department of Defense show a sickening pattern. In 2006, 2,947 sexual assaults were reported -- 73% more than in 2004. The DOD's newest report, released this month, indicates that 2,688 reports were made in 2007, but a recent shift from calendar-year reporting to fiscal-year reporting makes comparisons with data from previous years much more difficult. [That's why they changed it.]

Reinforced Canada vows to stay in Afghanistan 03 Apr 2008 Canada pledged on Thursday to keep its troops in Afghanistan after France offered to bolster the NATO force there, and other world leaders said they were committed to the country for the long haul.

NATO sends in reinforcements for Afghan mission 03 Apr 2008 It was a chastened French President Nicolas Sarkozy who landed in Bucharest yesterday, reeling from the domestic opposition he encountered after hinting at a new troop deployment in Afghanistan in a London speech last week. The opposition tabled a symbolic non-confidence motion to censure his majority government and his critics suggested he was pulling France into a "new Vietnam" with the sole political purpose of cozying up to Washington. But during an informal dinner of NATO leaders last night, France confirmed it is sending a battalion of soldiers to Afghanistan.

Surprise as China gives IAEA secrets of Iran's nuclear work 03 Apr 2008 China, which has opposed harsh United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, has provided the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with intelligence linked to Tehran's alleged attempts to make nuclear arms, it was revealed yesterday.

Saudi Arabia is prime source of terror funds, U.S. says --Treasury official expresses frustrations with the administration's efforts to force action by the kingdom. 02 Apr 2008 Saudi Arabia remains the world's leading source of money for Al Qaeda and other extremist networks and has failed to take key steps requested by U.S. officials to stem the flow, the Bush administration's top financial counter-terrorism official [Stuart A. Levey] said Tuesday.

NATO Endorses Europe Missile Shield 04 Apr 2008 NATO leaders agreed Thursday to endorse a United States missile defense system based in Europe and to provide more troops for Afghanistan, but they refused to back President [sic] Bush’s proposal to bring Ukraine and Georgia closer to NATO membership.

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa under fire from everywhere after 9/11 comments 03 Apr 2008 The California congressman who called the Sept. 11 attacks "simply" a plane crash ran for cover Wednesday under a barrage of ridicule from fellow Republicans, first responders and victims' families. San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center. [Not to mention, controlled demolition and 'Lucky Larry' giving the command to 'pull' Tower 7.]

Lucky Larry wants $12.3 billion more for 9/11 By Jerry Mazza 03 Apr 2008 Like the proverbial bad penny, Lucky Larry Silverstein keeps popping up. He’s back and he’s bad again. Not content with the nearly $4.6 billion in insurance payments he received to cover his losses at the World Trade Center, he is now seeking $12.3 billion in damages from the airlines and airport security companies for the 9/11 attack in a suit filed in 2004.

'We found the absence of such documentation disturbing.' DOE faulted on Yucca law firm selection 03 Apr 2008 The Energy Department did not fully document its rationale for awarding a $100 million contract to a law firm with a conflict of interest for work on a national nuclear waste dump in Nevada, the agency's inspector general said Thursday. "We found the absence of such documentation disturbing," said the investigator's report.

'The Bush administration is violating the law, and that is why we're here today.' Inaction on Polar Bear Is Criticized 02 Apr 2008 Senate Democrats yesterday deplored the Bush regime's failure to meet a legal deadline for determining whether global warming is pushing polar bears toward extinction and lashed their scheduled star witness -- Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne -- for declining to appear in his own defense. A coalition of environmental groups has sued the Interior Department for missing the one-year deadline to act.

Boxer blasts Bush administration for polar bear listing delay 02 Apr 2008 California Sen. Barbara Boxer accused the Bush administration today of delaying a decision on whether to list the polar bear as an endangered species so it could finish its oil lease sales in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, where one-fifth of the world's creatures live. "The administration went ahead and accepted bids, even though oil and gas activities may disturb polar bears making a den, and even though an oil spill could pose big risks to the polar bear population," said Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Work Committee.

Summertime Listing for Polar Bear? 02 Apr 2008 The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) expects to announce by early summer whether the polar bear is in danger of extinction. [Too bad Bush isn't.]

Wandering polar bears a sign of climate change: expert --Wandered hundreds of kilometres from home, were killed by RCMP 03 Apr 2008 Climate change likely played a role in three polar bears wandering hundreds of kilometres south to the Northwest Territories community of Déline, says a Canadian polar bear expert. Residents in Déline, located along the southwest tip of Great Bear Lake, saw the mother and two cubs when they lumbered into their community Wednesday afternoon -- wandering more than 400 kilometres away from their usual habitat on the Beaufort Sea. The local RCMP said the polar bears appeared thin and hungry. An officer shot and killed the bears.

The controversial fence will divide Native American reserves as well as cutting through lands which have been handed down through families since Spanish colonial times. Bush's border fence destroys wilderness 03 Apr 2008 The Bush regime is pushing ahead with what critics say is a final act of environmental vandalism in casting aside more than 30 laws and regulations to complete a 670-mile stretch of fence along the US-Mexico border by the end of this year. The remaining 350-mile section of the planned anti-immigrant fence will run from the Colorado river to the remote Peloncillo mountains on the New Mexico border, slicing through the delicate fabric of an extensive network of national parks, monuments, wildlife refuges, forests and wilderness areas.

Inspectors for F.A.A. Say Violations Were Ignored 03 Apr 2008 Three veteran Federal Aviation Administration inspectors told lawmakers on Thursday that their agency supervisors looked the other way while Southwest Airlines neglected to inspect planes as required, and continued to fly them even after discovering cracks in some of them.

FAA inspectors say jobs threatened after reporting problems 03 Apr 2008 The whistleblowers who exposed maintenance and inspection problems at Southwest Airlines told Congress their jobs were threatened and their reports of noncompliance were ignored for years by their superiors.

United Cancels 31 Flights for Inspections 02 Apr 2008 United Airlines on Wednesday became the latest air carrier to experience disruptions because of maintenance inspections, as the airline announced that it had temporarily removed its fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft from service to allow for checks, resulting in cancellation of 31 flights.

Al Gore would be welcome in a future role - Obama 03 Apr 2008 Senator Barack Obama has informally offered Al Gore a major role in a future Obama administration, to address the problem of global warming.

Republicans feel good about Obama match-up 03 Apr 2008 Hillary Clinton may be the Democrat who Republicans love to hate, but some Republican strategists say they have no fear of a match-up with her rival Barack Obama in November's presidential 'election.'

Air America Host Suspended for Clinton Remarks 03 Apr 2008 Randi Rhodes, an afternoon host for the progressive Air America radio network, was suspended Thursday after repeatedly insulting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton at an event last month. Ms. Rhodes used vulgar language that likened Mrs. Clinton to a prostitute at an event sponsored by KKGN, the Air America affiliate in the San Francisco area, on March 22.

Fed, Treasury defend bailout of Bear Stearns 03 Apr 2008 The collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns would have caused such severe damage to the U.S. economy and global financial system that a rescue of the wrecked firm was justified even though taxpayer money is at risk in the bailout, officials and regulators involved in the plan said on Thursday.

The world according to Monsanto - a documentary that Americans won't ever see By Siv O'Neall 19 Mar 2008 The gigantic biotech corporation Monsanto is threatening to destroy the agricultural biodiversity which has served mankind for thousands of years. The endless list of genetically modified seeds sold and controlled by Monsanto are putting at enormous risk age-old agricultural patterns under the presumptuous slogan of aiming at solving the huge problem of hunger in the world.

Rust to fertilize food price surge 04 Apr 2008 A deadly fungus, known as Ug99, which kills wheat, has likely spread to Pakistan from Africa, according to reports in the British New Scientist. If true, that threatens the vital Asian bread basket, including the Punjab region.

S.F. wants to rename wastewater facility 'George W Bush Sewage Plant' 31 Mar 2008 Looking to honor the forty-third President [sic] of the United States of America, George W. Bush, the recently formed Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is looking to change the name of the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Facility. It seems the group would like to rename the SF Zoo adjacent facility to the "George W Bush Sewage Plant."

*****

'The Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause does not apply... Accordingly, the Eighth Amendment has no application here.' Torture Memo Gave White House Broad Powers 02 Apr 2008 The Justice Department's newly declassified torture memo outlined the broad legal authority its lawyers gave to the Bush White House on matters of torture and presidential authority during times of war. The March 14, 2003 memorandum, released Tuesday, determined that amendments to the U.S. Constitution do not apply equally to enemy combatants. "The Fifth Amendment due process clause does not apply to the president's conduct of a war," the memo noted. It also asserted, "The detention of enemy combatants can in no sense be deemed 'punishment' for purposes of the Eighth Amendment," which prohibits "cruel and unusual" forms of punishment... "Accordingly the Eighth Amendment has no application here."

Justice interrogation memo: Constitution not in play [With Bush, it never is.] 01 Apr 2008 The Justice Department late Tuesday released a declassified 2003 memorandum [part one and part two] that outlines the government's 'legal justification' for harsh interrogation techniques torture used by the military against captured enemy combatants outside the United States. The memo, written by John Yoo, dismisses several legal impediments to the use of extreme techniques. In the March 14, 2003 memo, Yoo says the Constitution was not in play with regard to the interrogations because the Fifth Amendment and the Eighth Amendment does "not extend to alien enemy combatants held abroad."

Torture Memo Released by Pentagon 01 Apr 2008 The Pentagon has released a now-defunct legal memo that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects. The newly declassified memo says President [sic] Bush's wartime powers trump any international treaties banning torture. The memo was written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo in March 2003. [John C. Yoo, yoo@law.berkeley.edu,
University of California at Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall - 890 Simon,
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200, US: 510-643-5089 (Phone) 510-643-2673 (Fax)]

U.S. and Britain at Odds Over Guantánamo Inmate 02 Apr 2008 The Bush regime and the British government are at odds over how to treat one of the last two British residents held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, officials from the countries involved in the case and his lawyer say. Over objections from the British government, the Pentagon plans to file [yet-to-be-determined] terrorism-related charges against the detainee, Binyam Mohamed.

Military Report: Secretly 'Recruit or Hire Bloggers' 31 Mar 2008 A study, written for U.S. Special Operations Command, suggested "clandestinely recruiting or hiring prominent bloggers." ...A 2006 report for the Joint Special Operations University, "Blogs and Military Information Strategy," offers a third approach -- co-opting bloggers, or even putting them on the payroll. "Hiring a block of bloggers to verbally attack a specific person or promote a specific message may be worth considering," write the report's co-authors, James Kinniburgh and Dorothy Denning.

ACLU: Military skirting law to spy 02 Apr 2008 The military is using the FBI to skirt legal restrictions on domestic surveillance to obtain private records of Americans' Internet service providers, financial institutions and telephone companies, the ACLU said Tuesday. "Newly unredacted documents released today reveal that the Department of Defense is using the FBI to circumvent legal limits on its own NSL power," said the ACLU, whose lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court.

Intelligence Centers Tap Into Personal Databases --State Groups, Dozens of 'Fusion Centers,' Were Formed After 9/11 02 Apr 2008 Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver's license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post. One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it's not clear what information those systems contain. From 2004 to 2007, state and local governments received $254 million from the Department of Homeland Security in support of the centers, which are also supported by employees of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. In some cases, they work with the U.S. Northern Command, the Pentagon operation involved in homeland security.

Street-sweeper cameras to eye D.C. residents, photograph vehicles 02 Apr 2008 D.C. officials have put cameras on light poles, police cars and government buildings. Now they're preparing to put them on street sweepers in the latest example of increasing surveillance of city residents. The D.C. Council yesterday unanimously passed legislation that will let officials equip the District's tractor-sized street-sweeping machines with cameras that can scan license plates and photograph vehicles illegally parked in a street-sweeping zone.

Secret Service Told Stadium Visitor to Hit Delete Button 01 Apr 2008 Like a number of people without a ticket to the Nationals' game Sunday, Mark Butler stood outside the left field gate and watched some of the historic event from a distance. The Minnesota man carried a digital camera to capture the memories. For a member of the Uniformed Division of United States Secret Service, Butler captured too much. 9NEWS NOW photographer Greg Guise was rolling when an officer approached Mark Butler. Butler said the officer demanded he delete any pictures that showed the security checkpoints set up to screen fans for the visit by President [sic] George Bush. "It's kind of like not being in America," Butler said.

Passenger At Orlando Airport Had Bomb Materials, Literature In Bag --Federal Behavior Identification Agents Spot Suspicious Passenger 02 Apr 2008 A Jamaican man behavior specialists spotted acting suspiciously was detained and arrested after components used to make pipe bombs, unknown liquids and bomb-making literature were found in his luggage at Orlando International Airport. Officials said federal behavior identification agents noticed something about the man's body language that prompted officers to move in near the Virgin Atlantic and Jamaica Airlines ticket counters Tuesday afternoon.

Shell says ready to help Iraq boost oil output 02 Apr 2008 Royal Dutch Shell is ready to help Iraq boost oil production once that country's government finalizes a petroleum law covering big energy projects, the head of the oil giant said on Tuesday. "We are very much prepared to go back to Iraq," Shell chief executive officer Jeroen van der Veer said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington.

'This was a thumpin' for the Iraqi army.' Basra battle raises questions about U.S. strategy in Iraq --Fight casts doubt on U.S. strategy 02 Apr 2008 Last week's inconclusive battle for US defeat in Basra is raising new questions about the viability of U.S. military strategy in Iraq as Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker head to Capitol Hill next week to give their assessment of the U.S. troop surge.

US Military Deaths in Iraq at 4,011 01 Apr 2008 As of Tuesday, April 1, 2008, at least 4,011 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

U.S. Alarmed as Some Exports End Up In Iraq Bombs 02 Apr 2008 Roadside bombings of American troops in Iraq were occurring with unnerving regularity when military investigators made a disturbing discovery: American-made computer circuits sold to a trading company in the United Arab Emirates had turned up in the bomb detonators. Administration officials said aircraft parts, specialized metals and gas detectors that have a potential military use had also moved through Dubai, one of the emirates, to Iran, Syria or Pakistan.

Soldier's Iraq Rape-Murder Trial Delayed to Accommodate Quilt Show 02 Apr 2008 The trial of a former U.S. soldier charged with raping a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and murdering her and her family near a checkpoint near Mahmoudiya, a village 20 miles south of Baghdad, Iraq, has been delayed by two weeks to accommodate a quilt show. U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell ordered former Pvt. Steven D. Green's trial delayed from April 13, 2009 to April 27 because the National American Quilt show is in Paducah, KY, during the original trial date.

Troops in Afghanistan sufficient - Rudd 03 Apr 2008 Australia's commitment of 1000 troops in Afghanistan is "sufficient", Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today, as he pressed Europe on the need for all 'coalition' forces to share the burden of danger in the war zone.

Pakistan says CIA remarks not helpful to trace al-Qaeda [02 Apr 2008 Pakistan on Wednesday angrily reacted to remarks from the Central Intelligence Agency chief of the United States, who criticized the policies of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in dealing with terrorism in the tribal region. "Such a statement does not help trace alleged hideouts," Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said at the weekly press briefing here.

Bush sees NATO backing missile defense 02 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush expressed confidence Wednesday that NATO will bolster its combat forces in Afghanistan and endorse a missile 'defense' system for Europe that Russia has opposed.

Inside the Pentagon's Black Budget 01 Apr 2008 One patch shows a space alien with huge eyes holding a stealth bomber near its mouth. "To Serve Man" reads the text above, a reference to a classic "Twilight Zone" episode in which man is the entree, not the customer. Military officials and experts said the patches are real if often unofficial efforts at building team spirit... The classified budget of the Defense Department, concealed from the public in all but outline, has nearly doubled in the Bush years, to $32 billion.

Wasting and Wanting at the Pentagon (The New York Times) 02 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush and a far-too-compliant Congress have already wasted more than $600 billion on the disastrous Iraq war. Since Mr. Bush took office, the Pentagon’s weapons acquisition budget has doubled from $790 billion in 2000 to $1.6 trillion last year... Not only did Mr. Bush and his former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, allow contractors to run amok in Iraq, they let them run amok in the halls of the Pentagon.

Environmental Laws to Be Waived for Fence --Lawmaker Accuses Administration of Abusing Authority to Build Barrier 02 Apr 2008 The Bush dictatorship will waive more than 30 environmental and land-management laws in order to finish building 470 miles of border fence in the Southwest by the end of the year, officials said yesterday. It will affect environmentally sensitive areas in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration has exceeded what Congress intended when it granted the department added flexibility under the Real ID Act. "Today's waiver represents an extreme abuse of authority," he said in a statement. "Waiver authority should only be used as a last resort, not simply because the Department has failed to get the job done through the normal process. It was meant to be an exception, not the rule." The use of the waiver authority means that the agency will not have to conduct detailed reviews of how the fence's components will affect wildlife, water quality and vegetation in the area where it is to be built.

Homeland Security Dept. waives laws to finish fence 02 Apr 2008 The Homeland Security Department used its legal authority Tuesday to waive environmental and land management laws so it can complete 670 miles of fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. The waivers will allow the department to move ahead with miles of pedestrian- and vehicle-fence construction as well as roads and detection systems.

Congress asks Big Oil to justify big profits --Exxon Mobil recorded largest profit in U.S. history in 2007: $40.6 billion 02 Apr 2008 Executives from San Ramon's Chevron Corp. and four other major oil companies defended their record profits Tuesday before a hostile Congress, led by Democrats who criticized the oil giants for doing little to cut gas prices or invest in renewable energy.

Senators ask Big Oil to help poor on fuel costs --Five biggest oil companies earned a record $123 billion in profits last year 01 Apr 2008 Two U.S. senators [Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine and Jack Reed (D) of Rhode Island] on Tuesday asked big oil companies to voluntarily contribute to a fund that would help low-income consumers pay for this winter's high heating bills and transportation costs later this summer.

Bush official fails to show for polar bear hearing --Senator wanted Interior chief to explain indecision on endangered listing 02 Apr 2008 Sen. Barbara Boxer held a hearing Wednesday to find out why the Bush administration has put off deciding whether to list Alaska's polar bears as a threatened species. But her star witness, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, didn't show. "This listing is months overdue, in violation of the Endangered Species Act," the California Democrat said at the hearing of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.

New video of baby polar bear 31 Mar 2008 A German zoo has released a new video of young polar bear favourite, three-and-a-half month old Flocke. Flocke has been brought up by keepers at Nuremberg since she was separated from her mother for her own safety.

United Air Grounds 777 Fleet for Fire-Safety Checks 02 Apr 2008 UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, the largest U.S. operator of Boeing Co. 777s, grounded its fleet of 52 of the wide-body jets after failing to make required checks of the planes' fire-suppression system.

Dean: Florida will be seated 02 Apr 2008 DNC chief Howard Dean, under fire for not resolving the Democratic delegate debacle, offered nervous Floridians one bit of hope: Hotel rooms have been reserved in Denver for Florida's renegade delegates. Dean, who met behind closed doors with Florida's Democratic congressional delegation, offered the confirmation of hotel rooms as assurances that Florida's votes will be counted.

Obama Wins Backing of 9/11 Omission Co-Chairman Lee Hamilton 02 Apr 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won the support of one of his party's top foreign policy figures, Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. House member from Indiana, where an important primary vote occurs May 6. Hamilton, who co-chaired the commission that 'investigated' the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and headed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said he was impressed by Obama's approach to national security and foreign policy.

Antiabortion Ballot Initiative Appears Likely 02 Apr 2008 Abortion opponents in South Dakota filed petitions this week that are likely to put an initiative on November's ballot calling for a near-ban on abortion, renewing a contentious fight over a similar proposal in 2006.

States suing EPA to move on global warming --Citing Supreme Court ruling, allies want to force rules within 60 days 02 Apr 2008 A coalition of states is suing the Bush regime to force it to comply with a Supreme Court ruling that rebuked what justices called inaction on global warming.

South Korea says probing suspected bird flu case 02 Apr 2008 South Korea is investigating a suspected bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm in the southwest of the country, the food and agriculture ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Two teenagers die of bird flu in Indonesia, toll hits 107 31 Mar 2008 A 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl have died of bird flu in recent days in Indonesia, bringing the total death toll from the H5N1 strain to 107, the Health Ministry said in a statement here Monday.

Wal-Mart drops bid to sue brain-damaged former shelf-stacker 02 Apr 2008 Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, has dropped its attempt to sue a brain-damaged, paralysed former shelf-stacker for $400,000 (£202,000) to recoup healthcare costs arising from her injuries in a serious road accident. The Arkansas-based company, which owns Britain's Asda chain, faced a public outcry over the case against Debbie Shank, a 52-year-old mother-of-three from Missouri who has been confined to a nursing home since a tractor slammed into her minivan eight years ago. Soon after the crash, her 18-year-old son Jeremy was killed in Iraq.

*****

Laws, treaties and U.S. Constitution do not apply to U.S. interrogations: '03 memo --Document Granted Nearly Unfettered Presidential Power --Since rescinded, memo asserted numerous laws and treaties that forbid torture or cruel treatment 'would not apply' 01 Apr 2008 Federal laws prohibiting assault and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned 'al-Qaeda' captives because the president's ultimate authority as commander-in-chief overrode such statutes, according to a newly declassified March 14, 2003 Justice Department memo released today. The memo, rescinded nine months after it was issued, provides an expansive argument for nearly unfettered presidential power in a time of war, contending that numerous laws and treaties that forbid torture or cruel treatment should not apply to the interrogations of enemy combatants overseas. The memo asserts that domestic and international laws and treaties, as well as the U.S. Constitution, would not apply to U.S. interrogations in foreign lands because of the president's inherent wartime powers.

'By all accounts, we find that civilians are just being taken out, executed and then dressed up in uniforms so they can claim body counts of guerrillas killed.' Colombian Troops Kill Farmers, Pass Off Bodies as Rebels' 30 Mar 2008 Under intense pressure from Colombian military commanders to register combat kills, the army has in recent years also increasingly been killing poor farmers and passing them off as rebels slain in combat, government officials and human rights groups say. The trend has prompted concern among some members of the U.S. Congress. Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee, said he is holding up $23 million in military aid until he sees progress in the fight against impunity and state-sponsored violence terrorism. "We've had six years, $5 billion in U.S. aid. More than half of it has gone to the Colombian military, and we find the army is killing more civilians, not less," Leahy said in an interview. "And by all accounts, all independent accounts, we find that civilians are just being taken out, executed and then dressed up in uniforms so they can claim body counts of guerrillas killed."

Hamas TV puppet 'kills' Bush as revenge for U.S., Israeli actions --Unnamed child tells Bush: "You are a criminal. You deprived me of everything." 01 Apr 2008 In a Hamas TV production for Palestinian children, a puppet stabs U.S. President [sic] George Bush to death in revenge for American and Israeli actions. The children's puppet aired Sunday, part of series called "Exceptionals." In the episode, Bush, a hand-held puppet dressed in a green uniform and wearing boxing gloves, is shown talking to a Palestinian child. The child, with tears in his voice, accuses Bush of killing his father in Iraq, his mother in Lebanon and his brothers and sisters in Gaza with the assistance of the Israelis.

Bush forced into embarrassing crow-eating 31 Mar 2008 George W. Bush's first appearance with Kevin Rudd as Australian Prime Minister was almost embarrassing to watch as the US President [sic] ate political dirt and performed tortuous linguistic contortions in the name of the alliance. ...[F]or someone who genuinely worked on the Australian-US alliance, it was an act of public crow-eating that was inevitable since Labor's victory last year.

How Moqtada al-Sadr Won in Basra 01 Apr 2008 The Iraqi military's offensive in Basra was supposed to demonstrate the power of the central government in Baghdad. Instead it has proven the continuing relevance of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, stood its ground in several days of heavy fighting with Iraqi soldiers backed up by American and British air power. On Sunday Sadr issued a call for members of the Mahdi Army to stop appearing in the streets with their weapons and to cease attacks on government installations. Within a day, the fighting had mostly ceased. It was an ominous answer to a question posed for months by U.S. military observes: Is Sadr still the leader of a unified movement and military force? The answer appears to be yes.

Britain delays Iraq troop cut 02 Apr 2008 Britain is to delay a planned reduction of forces in southern Iraq, following recent unrest [trouncing by al-sadr] around Basra, Defence Secretary Des Browne said today. The move will likely be welcomed by the United States, which is reportedly counting on British forces to help maintain order in southern Iraq while the "surge" centred on Baghdad continues.

U.K. Shelves Plan to Cut Force in Iraq After Fighting 01 Apr 2008 Prime Minister Gordon Brown shelved a plan to withdraw more British soldiers from Iraq after violence flared in Basra, where the U.K. has responsibility for security. The U.K. will maintain a contingent of about 4,000 troops at the airbase outside the southern Iraqi city instead of reducing it to 2,500, as announced in October, Defense Secretary Des Browne said today in Parliament.

Rockets fired at Baghdad Green Zone 31 Mar 2008 Rockets have smashed into Baghdad's heavily-fortified Green Zone, a day after Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called a ceasefire with Iraqi and 'coalition' troops. There have been no reports of fatalities from Monday's attack, which hit the compound housing the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy.

'A few hundred' French troops for Afghanistan 01 Apr 2008 France may send "a few hundred" additional troops to Afghanistan to help Nato fight the Taliban and train the Afghan army, prime minister François Fillon announced today.

US confident on increased NATO support in Afghanistan 01 Apr 2008 The United States is confident NATO members will offer extra help for Afghanistan at their summit in Romania this week. Washington has been pushing its NATO allies to send more troops to Afghanistan and to lift restrictions on those already there to help combat a resurgent Taliban.

GAO Blasts Weapons Budget --Cost Overruns Hit $295 Billion 01 Apr 2008 Government auditors issued a scathing review yesterday of dozens of the Pentagon's biggest weapons systems, saying ships, aircraft and satellites are billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. The Government Accountability Office found that 95 major systems have exceeded their original budgets by a total of $295 billion, bringing their total cost to $1.6 trillion, and are delivered almost two years late on average.

Arms supplier in plot on Army base gets 20 months 31 Mar 2008 An ethnic Albanian immigrant [Agron Abdullahu] who supplied firearms to a group of Muslims accused of plotting to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Monday.

Pentagon pursues Guantanamo tribunal for embassy bombing suspect --Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1998 -- so why a military trial? critics ask. 01 Apr 2008 The Pentagon charged a Guantanamo detainee with capital murder and terrorism Monday for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania and his suspected ties to Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. [See: Lawyer: Pentagon using Gitmo trials to influence '08 election 28 Mar 2008 The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign.]

FBI asks for $450 million budget increase to fight terrorism --Increase would boost FBI spending to over $7 billion in coming year, increase staffing to record 31,340 employees 01 Apr 2008 The FBI needs more than 1,000 new agents, intelligence analysts and support staff, bureau Director Robert Mueller told House members Tuesday. Mueller is appearing on Capitol Hill to push for a $450 million budget increase to expand the bureau's ability to combat terrorism, spying and other national security threats.

Tory rebels may back 42-day terror Bill 01 Apr 2008 A handful of Conservative MPs could spare Gordon Brown his first Commons defeat by backing Government plans to detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days. The Telegraph has learnt that the group is preparing to defy David Cameron by voting with Labour when the contentious plans are put to a Commons vote next month.

MPs debate 42-day terror detention 31 Mar 2008 Plans to extend the time terror suspects can be held without charge to 42 days are facing their first Commons test amid disquiet on Labour's backbenches. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission said that it believed the new plans to extend the limit were discriminatory and in breach of the Magna Carta.

Terrified, humiliated – and innocent: the evidence against 42-day detention --As ministers press ahead with their anti-terror measures, Colin Brown hears the story of one woman's incarceration 01 Apr 2008 A young Muslim woman has spoken about the appalling conditions she had to endure when she was held for 12 days without charge by police using existing powers to detain suspects in terrorist cases.

Bush to Bypass Over 30 Laws to Build Fence 01 Apr 2008 The Bush dictatorship plans to use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday. The move would be the biggest use of legal waivers since the administration started building the fence.

Border fence to go up despite federal law --Bush to sidestep environmental laws 01 Apr 2008 The Bush regime plans to use its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations in an effort to finish building 670 miles of fence along the southwest U.S. border by the end of this year, federal officials said Tuesday.

Author denies bill lets creationism slip into schools 01 Apr 2008 The chairman of the Senate education committee is sponsoring a bill to revamp the way science is taught in public schools, including views that challenge biological evolution. Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa and sponsor of the bill, said Monday that it would be unfair to label his bill as one that would pave the way for the teaching of creationism. Nevers’ bill is called the "Louisiana Academic Freedom Act."

Lawmakers bemoan high gas prices, big oil profits 01 Apr 2008 Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., called for major oil companies to support a measure to give up $18 billion in tax cuts and channel the money into renewable energy. The measure passed the House earlier this year but later died in the Senate. "Americans shouldn't have to break the bank to fill the tank," Markey said in his prepared remarks at the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming in Washington, D.C. "On April Fool's Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil."

Congress grills oil execs on pump prices 01 Apr 2008 Five U.S. oil company executives appeared on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to explain why they were not to blame for record-high gasoline pump prices even as they reported $123 billion in profits in 2007.

Retail gasoline price at record $3.29/gln 31 Mar 2008 The U.S. retail price for gasoline set a new high of $3.29 a gallon after rising 3.1 cents over the last week, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Monday.

Protect the Refuge, Reject Big Oil 01 Apr 2008 The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most important onshore denning habitats for America’s struggling polar bears and home to caribou, snow fox and millions of migratory birds. But that’s not stopping the Bush/Cheney Administration and its allies in Congress from pushing to hand over this special place to Big Oil’s rigs. Take action now -- tell your Senators to reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and support permanent protections for this special place.

Audit: Death benefits improperly denied 01 Apr 2008 Police officers and firefighters who died of heart attacks and strokes while on the job were improperly denied survivors' death benefits after the Justice Department decided they weren't responding to emergencies, a new audit shows.

U.S. slams EU depiction of WTO meat hormone ruling 01 Apr 2008 The European Union has mischaracterized a ruling from the World Trade Organization court, the Bush administration said on Tuesday, insisting the United States is not required to remove sanctions in an epic trans-Atlantic trade spat. The ruling was made public on Monday in the long-running case over beef from cattle treated with [deadly] growth hormones.

Federal Agencies Pummel Public Health By Terry J. Allen 29 Mar 2008 In February, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted that it had allowed into the country tainted, reportedly untested heparin. Distributed by Illinois-based Baxter International, the blood thinner was injected into thousands of vulnerable patients and was linked to adverse effects in more than 800 people, as well as 19 deaths... Baxter imported much of the 35 million vials of heparin it sold last year in the United States from Changzhou SPL. The Chinese company included crude heparin squeezed from the intestines of slaughtered pigs processed in filthy kitchen factories that would make a backwoods meth lab look like an Intel clean room. The FDA never inspected SPL or most of the 3,249 firms on its list of approved importers, and never tracked the supply chain. Funding for inspections is down nearly 30 percent under President [sic] Bush, according to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chair of the appropriations panel responsible for FDA funding.

Senate Readies Bipartisan Bill to Deal With Housing Slump 01 Apr 2008 The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to move forward with a package of housing legislation. The 94-to-1 Senate vote, while a procedural one, was a clear sign of a growing consensus among Congress, the Bush administration and financial regulators that further government intervention is needed to stem the crisis.

USA 2008: The Great Depression 01 Apr 2008 Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families. Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

Spectacular pictures of nature at its wildest, captured by the storm chasers who risk their lives to follow twisters 31 Mar 2008 As these pictures taken by storm chasers Mike Hollingshead and Eric Nguyen show, tornados can be both deadly - and hypnotically beautiful.

*****

Al-Sadr trumps in latest showdown 31 Mar 2008 The Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who directs the Mahdi Army militia, was facing a possible stranglehold after Iraqi forces moved last week against Shiite gangs in the southern city of Basra. Instead, al-Sadr emerged as a self-styled peacemaker and patriot after offering Sunday to rein in the Mahdi militiamen who rose up to protest the crackdown. In the balance of politics in Iraq, that means the biggest hit is taken by the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and its allies.

In the Sadr City neighborhood, there were reports that two American Stryker personnel carriers had been blown up by roadside bombs. Sadr Offers Deal for Truce as Fighting Persists in Iraq 31 Mar 2008 The Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr on Sunday took a step toward ending six days of intense combat between his militia allies and Iraqi and American forces in Basra and Baghdad, saying in a statement that his followers would lay down their arms providing the Iraqi government met a series of demands... Just minutes after the statement was released, however, two mortar shells fired by militia fighters hit the presidential palace in Basra. And in Baghdad, the Green Zone continued to be a target for mortar and rocket attacks throughout the afternoon.

Iraq attacks decline, but Green Zone hit 31 Mar 2008 At least three rockets or mortar rounds were fired at Baghdad's fortified Green Zone today, U.S. officials said, despite an order by Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada Sadr to his followers to end weeklong clashes that have killed more than 350 people in the capital and across southern Iraq.

Iraq ceasefire allows city to bury its dead 01 Apr 2008 The Iraqi Government has welcomed the ceasefire ordered by Moqtadr al-Sadr, after fighting killed more than 350 in the past week, and lifted a curfew in Baghdad.

Iranian general played key role in Iraq cease-fire 30 Mar 2008 Iraqi lawmakers traveled to the Iranian holy city of Qom over the weekend to win the support of the commander of Iran's Qods brigades in persuading Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his followers to stop military operations, members of the Iraqi parliament said. Sadr ordered the halt on Sunday, and his Mahdi Army militia heeded the order in Baghdad, where the Iraqi government announced it would lift a 24-hour curfew starting early Monday in most parts of the capital.

CIA chief says Iran has nuclear weapons drive 30 Mar 2008 CIA chief Michael Hayden expressed his personal belief Sunday that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program, but also stood by the agency's assessment that the program was suspended in 2003. "Personal belief, yes. It's hard for me to explain. This is not court of law stuff," the Central Intelligence Agency director said on NBC television.

Two British soldiers and one Dane killed in Afghanistan 31 Mar 2008 A Danish soldier and two British soldiers from a NATO-led force were killed in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, where troops are fighting a Taliban 'insurgency,' their governments said on Monday.

US charges Guantanamo prisoner in 1998 attack on embassy in Africa 31 Mar 2008 A Guantanamo prisoner who allegedly helped plan the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania that killed 11 people was charged Monday with war crimes that carry a possible death penalty. Ahmed Kalfan Ghailani -- who was held in secret CIA custody before being transferred in 2006 to the U.S. military prison in Cuba -- also allegedly purchased and transported the explosives used in the attack and scouted the embassy with a suicide bomber. [See: Lawyer: Pentagon using Gitmo trials to influence '08 election 28 Mar 2008 The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign.]

Saddam's Files 31 Mar 2008 There were no records showing what the report called a "smoking gun" connection between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]--one of the principal claims made by the White House to advance the case for war. Perhaps most revealing of all was a tape of Saddam's conversations with his ministers after the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993--a plot linked to a group of Islamic radicals, including Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi-American who fled to Baghdad after the attack. For years Bush administration officials like Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz charged that Iraq had given "sanctuary" to Yasin, suggesting that the regime may have been complicit in the 1993 bombing. But the tape shows that Saddam and his ministers were puzzled by the bombing and wondered whether the "Zionists" or U.S. intelligence were secretly behind it.

Watchdog's threat to 42-day terror law 31 Mar 2008 The government's own human rights watchdog threatened last night to launch a legal challenge to Labour's plan to introduce a law that would let police detain terror suspects without charge for 42 days. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says the key part of the counter-terrorism bill goes against human rights law and may breach the Race Relations Act.

FBI: Eco-Terrorism Remains No. 1 Domestic Terror Threat [No, Bush is.] 31 Mar 2008 For nearly seven years, the nation has turned its terror focus on Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and the 'hunt' for Usama bin Laden. But there is a domestic terror threat that federal officials still consider priority No. 1 -- eco-terrorism.

Al-Qaeda grooming 'western-looking' militants: CIA 31 Mar 2008 CIA director Michael Hayden said al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] was training operatives who "look western" and could enter the United States undetected to conduct terrorist attacks.

CIA enlists Google's help for spy work --US intelligence agencies are using Google's technology to help its agents share information about their suspects 31 Mar 2008 Google has been recruited by US intelligence agencies to help them better process and share information they gather about suspects. Agencies such as the National Security Agency have bought servers [!] on which Google-supplied search technology is used to process information gathered by networks of spies around the world.

Google has lots to do with intelligence 30 Mar 2008 When the nation's intelligence agencies wanted a computer network to better share information about everything from al Qaeda to North Korea, they turned to a big name in the technology industry to supply some of the equipment: Google Inc... In addition to the intelligence agencies, Google's government customers include the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the state of Alabama and Washington, D.C.

Governor: S.C. will not file Real ID extension 31 Mar 2008 Gov. Mark Sanford (R) says he will not ask the federal government for more time to comply with new driver license standards. The state Legislature last year passed a measure that bars South Carolina from complying. Sanford and other governors have complained the Real ID measure costs too much.

Cash-strapped police using civilians to respond to 911 calls, other tasks --Departments under budget burdens hire outside help 31 Mar 2008 Facing tighter budgets, law enforcement agencies across the country are increasingly turning to civilians to respond to some calls that sworn officers and deputies are usually responsible for. That means people calling 911 to report a traffic accident, a burglarized home or a stolen car may be greeted by a civilian in a polo shirt instead of a gun-toting officer.

City Subpoenas Creator of Text Messaging Code 30 Mar 2008 Last month, the New York City Law Department issued a subpoena to Tad Hirsch, a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wrote the code that created TXTmob. Lawyers representing the city in lawsuits filed by hundreds of people arrested during the Republican National Convention asked Mr. Hirsch to hand over voluminous records revealing the content of messages exchanged on his service and identifying people who sent and received messages.

Texas Prosecutes Little Old Ladies for Voter Fraud --State's Attorney General has prosecuted Democrats who help seniors vote by mail while ignoring documented Republican ballot box stuffing. By Steven Rosenfeld 31 Mar 2008 Since 2005, Despite Abbott's [AG Greg Abbott, R] repeated declarations nobody is above Texas law, he has prosecuted no Republicans. "What is especially troubling is that while Greg Abbott's office has prosecuted minority seniors for simply mailing ballots, he has not prosecuted anyone on the other side of the aisle for what appear to be open and shut cases of real voter fraud," Hebert [Gerry Hebert, executive director of Campaign Legal Center] told Texas House Elections Committee, on January 25, 2008, as the panel held a hearing on a bill making the state's voter I.D. laws tougher.

Court won't review FBI's Congress office raid 31 Mar 2008 The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday that it won't overrule a decision that FBI agents violated the rights of a Democratic congressman during a search of his office, a decision the Bush regime says will hamper future public corruption investigations.

Jackson resigns amid criminal probe 31 Mar 2008 HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, his tenure tarnished by allegations of political favoritism and a criminal investigation, announced his resignation Monday amid the wreckage of the national housing crisis. He leaves behind a trail of unanswered questions about whether he tilted the Department of Housing and Urban Development toward Republican contractors and cronies.

Under criminal investigation, HUD secretary resigns --Top Bush official faces charges of cronyism and favoritism 31 Mar 2008 The Bush administration's top housing official is resigning at a time when the housing industry is embroiled in crisis. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced Monday he is quitting. His resignation will take effect on April 18. Jackson is under criminal investigation and has been fending off allegations of cronyism and favoritism involving HUD contractors for the past two years.

Obama Bowls for Pennsylvania Voters 31 Mar 2008 (Altoona, PA) On Saturday, Barack Obama was losing gracefully at a bowling lane in this central Pennsylvania city. He had better luck Sunday during a visit to a dairy farm, winning over a month-old calf with a fresh bottle of milk. "My economic plan is better than my bowling," Obama told fellow bowlers Saturday evening at the Pleasant Valley Recreation Center. "It has to be," a man called out.

Chelsea Clinton Criticizes Bush During N.C. College Visits 31 Mar 2008 Chelsea Clinton is telling college students in North Carolina that the world will "breathe a sigh of relief" once President [sic] Bush leaves office.

Bill Clinton woos Calif. superdelegates 30 Mar 2008 Allowing the Democratic presidential race to continue several more weeks will not hurt the party's chances in November, former President Clinton said Sunday, urging those concerned that the opposite will happen to "chill out" and let the balloting run its course.

Analyst Predicts Corn Rationing in 2008 31 Mar 2008 A BB&T Capital Markets analyst said Monday corn rationing may be necessary this year, following a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agribusiness report predicting farmers would plant far fewer acres of corn in 2008. According to the March Prospective Plantings Report, 'farmers' intend to plant about 86 million acres of corn this year, down 8 percent from 2007. [Why?] Analyst Heather L. Jones said in a note to investors if the USDA estimate proves accurate, the year may produce just 200 million bushels of corn. That, she said, wouldn't be enough to meet 'demand...' [I call bullsh*t. Bush's agriterrorists want 'in' on big oil's profiteering. They are creating phony food shortages to generate panic, the inevitable Homeland 'Security'/Blackwater clampdown, then martial law. --LRP]

Oil execs to take heat from lawmakers Tuesday 31 Mar 2008 Five U.S. oil company executives set to testilie on Capitol Hill on Tuesday about soaring gasoline prices and record industry profits. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a long-time oil industry critic and chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, will chair the hearing called "Drilling for Answers: Oil Company Profits, Runaway Prices and the Pursuit of Alternatives."

Truckers protest fuel prices in Harrisburg 31 Mar 2008 (PA) Dozens of angry truck drivers, some in semis and some in pickup trucks, drove around streets just outside the state Capitol this morning with horns blaring to show their displeasure over rising diesel fuel prices. Today's demonstration is a follow-up to one held March 22 at a truck stop just east of Harrisburg.

Food Stamp Use at Record Pace as Jobs Vanish 31 Mar 2008 Driven by a painful mix of layoffs and rising food and fuel prices, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s.

Philip Morris Intl Commences New Plans to Spread Death and Disease By Robert Weissman 31 Mar 2008 Philip Morris International today starts business as an independent company, no longer affiliated with Philip Morris USA or the parent company, Altria. Philip Morris USA will sell Marlboro and other cigarettes in the United States... The new Philip Morris International will be unconstrained by public opinion in the United States -- the home country and largest market of the old, unified Philip Morris -- and will no longer fear lawsuits in the United States.

Gore launches $300 mln climate change campaign 31 Mar 2008 Al Gore, former U.S. president, Academy Award winner and Nobel peace laureate, on Monday launched a $300 million, three-year campaign to mobilize Americans on climate change.

*****

Syria says ready in case of US military action 30 Mar 2008 Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Sunday that Damascus was prepared for all scenarios in its worsening relationship with Washington, including the use of US military force. "A prudent person must make all his calculations, especially when we have to deal with an administration which knows how to strike but does not know how to withdraw," Muallem told reporters at the end of an Arab summit in Damascus.

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border 27 Mar 2007 [Note: This item is from 2007. CLG regrets the error of having posted it earlier as 27 Mar 2008, as 'breaking news.' --LRP]

US demands to see Swiss-Iran gas contract 30 Mar 2008 The U.S. has demanded to see a Swiss contract for natural gas supplies from Iran to see whether it violates an American sanctions law against Tehran, the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland said Sunday. [B*** me, Bush.]

Staff Alleges Abuses by Top Iraq Auditor --Employees tell grand jury, FBI of mismanagement in Inspector General's Office --SIGIR oversees the tracking of fraud, waste and abuse of over $21 billion in Iraq 'reconstruction' funds 30 Mar 2008 The FBI and U.S. attorneys have been investigating whether Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction chief Stuart W. Bowen Jr., and his top deputy, Ginger Cruz, improperly accessed staff e-mails in violation of federal law. Current and former SIGIR employees interviewed by the FBI and questioned before the grand jury have complained of mismanagement and abuse of authority, including retaliatory firing of staff members. On the basis of the grand jury questioning and testimony, several witnesses said they believe that the government has strong evidence against Bowen, a former White House associate counsel who heads the lead U.S. agency in charge of tracking fraud, waste and abuse of more than $21 billion in funds for Iraq reconstruction.

Sadr orders fighters off Iraq's streets 30 Mar 2008 Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his fighters off Iraq's streets on Sunday in a move which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki welcomed as a "step in the right direction" after several days of heavy fighting... Sadr took the decision as it was his "legitimate responsibility to stop the bleeding of Iraqis, to maintain the reputation of Iraqi people, the unity of land and people, to prepare for its independence and liberation from the dark forces and to quell the fire of division by the occupier and its followers."

'People have reached a point that they will sell their refrigerator to buy a rocket launcher to kill Americans.' Under siege in Baghdad's Mahdi army stronghold 30 Mar 2008 Iraq's government said it began the offensive to wipe out Basra's Shia militias and criminal gangs. 'They know the Sadrists will win the elections,' Abu Mustafa al-Thahabi, adviser to the Mahdi army of Moqtada al-Sadr, said. 'So they are using the Americans against the Mahdi army. People have reached a point that they will sell their refrigerator to buy a rocket launcher to kill Americans.' ...Suddenly, they heard mortar rounds being launched outside with a boom like the sound of a wrecking ball. 'This is to the Green Zone,' said Abu Zainab al-Kabi. 'These are gifts to Maliki's government.' He and Abu Moussa al-Sadr both work for Iraq's Ministry of Interior, which runs the police and is viewed as infiltrated by the Mahdi army. They said many police officers had defected and were now fighting with the Mahdi army.

U.S., British Widen Role in Iraqi Government's Offensive in Basra 30 Mar 2008 American and British forces on Saturday boosted their support of an Iraqi military offensive in the southern city of Basra, as Moqtada al-Sadr accused Iraq's government of acting like "a dictatorship" and told his supporters to ignore orders to disarm. Early Sunday, the U.S. military said American ground troops had joined Iraqi troops in battles in Basra against the Mahdi Army, a militia loyal to Sadr.

British forces set up checkpoint near Basra 30 Mar 2008 British forces set up a checkpoint at a bridge outside Basra on Sunday, witnesses said... Witnesses said British troops in 8-10 armoured vehicles had set up the checkpoint at the Zubair bridge south of the city and were checking cars heading into Basra.

British army joins battle to control Basra 30 Mar 2008 British troops became involved in the intense fighting in Basra last night as clashes continued between Iraqi government forces and Shia militia. The army launched artillery shells at a mortar position of the Shia Mahdi Army, led by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in the al-Klalaf area in the north of the city that had been firing on Iraqi troops.

Roadside bomb kills 2 US soldiers in Baghdad 29 Mar 2008 The U.S. military says two American soldiers have been killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Baghdad. A statement says the Multi-National Division — Baghdad soldiers died at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

U.S. soldier killed in bomb attack in Baghdad 29 Mar 2008 An American soldier died of wounds sustained from a roadside bomb attack in Baghdad, the U.S. military said on Saturday. The attack took place on Friday in south of the capital, a military statement said.

Remains ID'd in Iraq kidnapping 29 Mar 2008 The FBI on Friday identified the remains of an Austrian contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq with four Americans. FBI spokesman Richard Kolko confirmed the victim was Bert Nussbaumer, who was working for Crescent Security Group when he and the others were abducted in November 2006.

US Marine Corps drop charges against lance corporal over killings in Iraq 29 Mar 2008 29 Mar 2008 The US Marine Corps has dropped all charges against a lance corporal [Stephen Tatum] who was accused of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha in 2005.

Bush set for Europe to rally support for Afghanistan 30 Mar 2008 George Bush heads to Europe on Monday to push NATO allies for more support in Afghanistan and to meet with Russia's Vladimir Putin, probably for the last time 'president [sic] to president.'

Bush will not demand Germany send troops to Afghan south: report 29 Mar 2008 US President [sic] George W. Bush will not demand Germany boost its NATO troop numbers in Afghanistan with deployments in the south, he said in a German newspaper interview [Die Welt] partly released Saturday.

Ex-Afghanistan Detainee Alleges Torture by U.S. 29 Mar 2008 A resident of Germany who was imprisoned for two months at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan has told an interviewer that his interrogators hung him from a ceiling for five days and that several doctors periodically checked him before authorizing the torture to continue. "Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down and the doctor came," Murat Kurnaz told CBS News, according to a transcript of the interview. "He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart and when he said 'okay,' then they pulled me back up." A 2005 article in the New England Journal of Medicine asserted that other U.S. Army doctors had violated the Geneva Conventions by helping intelligence officers carry out abusive interrogations torture at military detention centers.

David Hicks wants to profit from Guantanamo story 31 Mar 2008 Former Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has told his supporters he should be able to profit from telling his story because he never committed a crime. Hicks -- a 'convicted' terrorism supporter -- was allowed to talk publicly about his experiences for the first time after a US-imposed gag order expired yesterday, but he has remained tight-lipped.

Police arrest anti-war protester, 80, at mall 30 Mar 2008 (NY) An 80-year-old church deacon [Don Zirkel, of Bethpage] was removed from the Smith Haven Mall yesterday in a wheelchair and arrested by police for refusing to remove a T-shirt protesting the Iraq War.

UK group proposes boycott of Israeli academia 29 Mar 2008 The National Executive Committee of the University College Union, the union at the focus of the last year's aborted call for a boycott of Israeli academia, has voted to submit a motion to its annual conference to revive the proposal. Last week, a motion to reconsider academic links to Israeli institutions was proposed by Brighton University lecturer and Socialist Worker Party activist Tom Hickey.

Vt. Supreme Court overturns felony marijuana conviction after invasion of airspace 29 Mar 2008 Vermont residents have a broad right to privacy "that ascends into the airspace above their homes and property," the Supreme Court ruled Friday in overturning a felony marijuana conviction based on an unconstitutional flyover by a military helicopter.

2 States in Jeopardy With Federal ID Law 29 Mar 2008 Starting in May, driver’s licenses issued in Maine and South Carolina may not be accepted as identification at airports and federal buildings unless the states work out a last-minute agreement with the federal Department of Homeland Security. The states are refusing to ask the agency to extend the deadline for applying new layers of security in their identification systems as required under the federal [fascist] Real ID Act.

Heathrow Terminal 5: British Airways to cancel flights all week 30 Mar 2008 British Airways is likely to cancel flights throughout the week as it struggles to recover from the chaotic opening of Heathrow's Terminal 5.

Right-wing Christian group pays for Commons researchers --As the Prime Minister bows to church pressure on embryology legislation, Jane Merrick and Brian Brady investigate the long parliamentary reach of a pro-life group opposed to the Bill 30 Mar 2008 An evangelical Christian charity leading opposition to new laws on embryo research is funding interns in MPs' offices, an investigation by The Independent on Sunday has discovered. Christian Action, Research and Education (Care) faces inquiries into its lobbying activities by the Charity Commission and the House of Commons standards watchdog after accessing Parliament at the highest levels.

Senior Democrats mull Al Gore's nomination 30 Mar 2008 Plans for Al Gore to take the Democratic presidential nomination as the saviour of a bitterly divided party are being actively discussed by senior figures and aides to the former vice-president. Former Gore aides now believe he could emerge as a compromise candidate acceptable to both camps at the party's convention in Denver during the last week of August.

Clinton Vows to Stay in Race to Convention --Senator Stresses Finding Solution On Michigan, Florida Votes 30 Mar 2008 In her most definitive comments to date on the subject, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Saturday to put to rest any notion that she will drop out of the presidential race, pledging in an interview to not only compete in all the remaining primaries but also continue until there is a resolution of the disqualified results in Florida and Michigan.

Women push back in support of Clinton 30 Mar 2008 Debra Starks has heard the calls for Hillary Rodham Clinton to quit the presidential race, and she's not happy about it. The 53-year old Wal-Mart clerk thinks sexism is playing a role in efforts to push the New York senator from the race. Starks wants Clinton to push back. ...Strategists are warning of damage to the party's chances in November if women sense a mostly male party establishment is unfairly muscling Clinton out of the race.

Obama gets most of the Texas caucus delegates 30 Mar 2008 Apportionment of presidential caucus delegates to the Texas Democratic state convention based on reports from Saturday’s county and senate district conventions: A total of about 7,300 delegates were expected to be selected in this stage of the caucus process, according to the Texas Democratic Party. Results are from 145 of about 280 conventions: Clinton: 1,509 delegates, or 40 percent; Obama: 2,234 delegates, or 60 percent.

Fact check: Obama and Oil 28 Mar 2008 The Clinton campaign today accused the Obama campaign of "false advertising," claiming that a recent ad Obama released in Pennsylvania was disngenous because Obama has been the recipient of more than $200,000 from the oil and gas industry. Obama has taken $213,884 from the oil and gas industry as of Feb. 29th, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Sen. Hillary Clinton has taken $306,813 in that same period.

Exxon Mobil takes over from PetroChina as largest company in the world 27 Mar 2008 The title of the world's largest is now held by a U.S. firm, rather than a Chinese one. Exxon Mobil Corp. has taken over from PetroChina Co. as the leader of that select club.

Venezuela diverts Exxon oil to China 29 Mar 2008 Venezuela is sending to China all the oil it previously shipped to a US refinery jointly owned with Exxon Mobil amid a legal battle between the OPEC nation and the US oil giant, Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said on Friday. ''With respect to the shipments, we put them at China's disposal,'' Ramirez told reporters. ''All of it.'' <g>

In Treasury Plan, a Reluctant Eye Over Wall Street 30 Mar 2008 The Bush regime is proposing the broadest overhaul of Wall Street regulation since the Great Depression. But the plan, to be unveiled on Monday, has its genesis in a yearlong effort to limit Washington’s role in the market. And that DNA is unmistakably evident in the fine print. Although the proposal would impose the first regulation of hedge funds and private equity funds, that oversight would have a light touch, enabling the government to do little beyond collecting information -- except in times of crisis.

Chase mortgage memo pushes 'Cheats & Tricks' --The bank says it never backed the strategies, which detail how to get an iffy loan approved 27 Mar 2008 A newly surfaced memo from banking giant JPMorgan Chase provides a rare glimpse into the mentality that fueled the mortgage crisis. The memo's title says it all: "Zippy Cheats & Tricks." It is a primer on how to get risky mortgage loans approved by Zippy, Chase's in-house automated loan underwriting system.

Zippy Cheats & Tricks memo 28 Mar 2008 The Oregonian wrote this week about a newly surfaced memo from banking giant JPMorgan Chase that provided a rare glimpse into the mentality that fueled the mortgage crisis. The memo's title: "Zippy Cheats & Tricks." And it originated in Oregon.

*****

Kadhafi warns US allies could suffer Saddam's fate 29 Mar 2008 Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi warned Arab allies of the United States that they could meet the same fate as former Iraq president Saddam Hussein, hanged in 2006 three years after the US-led invasion. "A foreign force occupied an Arab country and hanged its president and we stood by and watched," he told an Arab summit in the Syrian capital. Saddam was hanged in December 2006 after being sentenced to death for crimes against humanity over the mass killing of Shiites in the 1980s. "How can they execute a prisoner of war and the president of a member of the Arab League?" Kadhafi asked. He said Saddam had been a friend of the United States during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s "before they turned against him and executed him." "You could all suffer the same fate," he warned. "Even you, even we, who are considered friends of America, one day (America) can give the green light for our own hanging," said the Libyan leader.

'Sadr has told us not to surrender our arms except to a state that can throw out the (US) occupation.' Sadr orders militia to reject PM's call to surrender arms 29 Mar 2008 Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on Saturday ordered his followers to reject Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's call to surrender their arms as clashes with troops raged for a fifth straight day. "Sadr has told us not to surrender our arms except to a state that can throw out the (US) occupation," Haider al-Jabari of the Sadr movement's political bureau told AFP in the holy city of Najaf, home to the cleric's main office.

Iraqi Police Surrender Weapons to al-Sadr Sheik in Sadr City 29 Mar 2008 Sheik Salman al-Feraiji, right, Muqtada al-Sadr's chief representative in Sadr City, takes weapons from a group of Iraqi policemen in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, March 29, 2008. Some 40 policemen in Sadr City handed over their weapons to al-Sadr's local office Saturday. (photo)

Police refuse to support Iraqi PM's attacks on Mehdi Army 29 Mar 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki retreated from his demand that militiamen hand over their weapons by yesterday and extended the deadline to 8 April. This is a tacit admission that the Iraqi army and police have failed to oust the Mehdi Army from any of its strongholds in the capital and in southern Iraq. The Iraqi army has either met stubborn resistance from Mehdi Army fighters or soldiers and police have refused to fight or changed sides... Government troops arriving in Basra complain that they are being fired on by local police loyal to Mr Sadr. Members of one police unit had fist fights with their officers after they refused to join the battle. "It is possible that Muqtada and the Mehdi Army will emerge from this crisis stronger than they were before," warned one Iraqi politician who did not want his name published.

U.S. bombs Basra to support Iraqi forces 29 Mar 2008 U.S. forces bombed Basra on Saturday as about 40 Iraqi police commandos based in Baghdad deserted to join the Mehdi Army. British forces were shelling in Basra on Saturday as U.S. jets dropped two bombs on a suspected Shiite militia stronghold in the area, according to a British military spokesman.

U.S. Forces Kill 46 in Iraq as Al-Maliki Cracks Down 29 Mar 2008 U.S. forces killed 46 'militants' in Iraq since early yesterday, while Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki said he will stay in Basra until security in the southern city is restored. U.S. troops killed 37 militants in Baghdad yesterday and another nine in Sadr City as they worked alongside Iraq security forces, the multi-national corps in Iraq said in e-mailed statements today.

British forces join Basra fighting 29 Mar 2008 British ground forces today became involved in the fighting in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, firing artillery at a mortar team, a spokesman for the British army said. The intervention, at the request of Iraqi forces, was the first of its kind in the current battles between Iraqi and coalition troops and militant followers of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

2 guards to Iraq's vice president killed during Green Zone shelling --At least five other guards injured by rockets or mortars 28 Mar 2008 Extremists lobbed more rockets or mortars against the U.S.-protected Green Zone Friday in Baghdad, with some falling short and killing two guards outside the Iraqi vice president's office.

Iraq violence puts pull-out of 1,500 UK troops in doubt --"We're no longer talking about reducing to 2,500 at this time." 29 Mar 2008 Plans for a spring withdrawal of around 1,500 British troops from Iraq are in jeopardy amid violent clashes in Basra. At least 120 people are feared dead, with 450 wounded, after four days of fighting between Iraqi government forces and Shia militants, which also saw US planes bomb the city.

Baghdad curfew extended indefinitely 29 Mar 2008 Iraqi authorities on Saturday extended a curfew in Baghdad indefinitely in an attempt to contain [?!?] clashes between Shi'ite militants and Iraqi security forces that have threatened to spiral out of control.

Former defence chiefs reject claim soldiers do not want Iraq inquiry 29 Mar 2008 Gordon Brown's claim that an inquiry into the war in Iraq would be a "distraction" for Britain's troops on the ground has been repudiated by some of the country's former defence chiefs. A number of Britain's former leading defence figures have rejected the Prime Minister's warnings that to hold an investigation now would undermine the troops, and supported the demands for an urgent inquiry into the war.

MoD's neglect contributed to soldier's death, coroner says 29 Mar 2008 A coroner launched a scathing attack on the Ministry of Defence's failure to care for its soldiers yesterday, just days after the Government attempted to gag its critics. In a stinging verdict, Andrew Walker said the lack of training and equipment given to the soldiers by the regiment amounted to neglect and, in the words of one witness, a gross failure.

Rights group: Deaths in IDF Bethlehem raid were apparent executions 27 Mar 2008 The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has requested a criminal investigation into the deaths of four wanted Palestinian militants in Bethlehem on March 12, saying that the deaths during the Israel Defense Forces raid appeared to have been an execution.

Australian troops in Afghanistan for the long haul 29 Mar 2008 Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told the US President that Australian troops are in Afghanistan for the long haul. President [sic] Bush welcomed Australia's continuing commitment to the war in Afghanistan.

Bomb at Power Plant Kills 2 Employees in Afghanistan 29 Mar 2008 A remote-controlled bomb exploded Saturday near a power plant in southern Afghanistan, killing two employees, a policeman said. The bomb was hidden near the wall of the plant in the town of Gereshk, said Helmand provincial police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal. In addition to the dead, six employees and two civilians were wounded, he said.

Lawyer: Pentagon using Gitmo trials to influence '08 election 28 Mar 2008 The Navy lawyer for Osama bin Laden's driver argues in a Guantánamo military commissions motion that senior Pentagon officials are orchestrating war crimes prosecutions for the 2008 campaign. The brief filed Thursday by Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer directly challenged the integrity of President [sic] Bush's war [kangaroo] court. Notably, it describes a Sept. 29, 2006, meeting at the Pentagon in which Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, a veteran White House appointee, asked lawyers to consider Sept. 11, 2001, prosecutions in light of the campaign. "We need to think about charging some of the high-value detainees because there could be strategic political value to charging some of these detainees before the election," England is quoted as saying.

Ex-Terror Detainee Says U.S. Tortured Him --Tells CBS he was held underwater, shocked, and suspended from the ceiling 28 Mar 2008 A German resident held by the U.S. for almost five years tells '60 Minutes' that Americans tortured him in many ways - including hanging him from the ceiling for five days early in his captivity when he was in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Even after determining he was not a terrorist, Murat Kurnaz says the torture continued.

Close Guantanamo, five secretaries of state say 28 Mar 2008 Closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, would improve the United States' reputation worldwide, five former secretaries of state - Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell - said.

Straw bans early release of terrorists after two go free --Change of rules follows convicted pair's exit 29 Mar 2008 Jack Straw, the justice secretary, banned the early release of convicted terrorists last night after it emerged that two prisoners had been let out early as part of the government's efforts to ease overcrowding in jails. Straw's intervention came days before a Commons vote on government plans to increase the maximum period for which police can question terror suspects to 42 days.

Obama aligns foreign policy with GOP 29 Mar 2008 Sen. Barack Obama said Friday he would return the country to the more "traditional" foreign policy efforts of past presidents, such as George H.W. Bush, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. At a town hall event at a local high school gymnasium, Obama praised George H.W. Bush -- father of the president [sic] -- for the way he handled the Persian Gulf War: with a large coalition and carefully defined objectives. [The Bush I/Raygun 'objective' was dictatorship, privatization, and the New World Order.]

Edwards praises both Clinton, Obama 29 Mar 2008 Former Sen. John Edwards, in his first public speech since dropping his White House bid two months ago, praised Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama on Saturday, but declined to endorse either candidate.

Sen. Casey endorses Obama 28 Mar 2008 U.S. Sen. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania on Friday endorsed Barack Obama's campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in a boost for the Illinois senator.

Giuliani reported mulling run for governor 28 Mar 2008 Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor and one-time Republican presidential hopeful [9/11 co-conspirator], reportedly is considering a run for governor. A top Giuliani adviser told the New York Post Giuliani would run this fall if a special election becomes necessary. That could happen if New York Gov. David Paterson resigns is forced out by the same GOP maggots who destroyed Eliot Sptizer. [See: Spitzer's Sex Life Is Weapon of Mass Distraction for Bunch of Bad News for Bush.]

Ex-NY Gov. Spitzer dodged DA probe by resigning 28 Mar 2008 Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer saved himself from a grand jury probe over his role in a political smear campaign when he resigned amid a separate sex scandal, prosecutors said on Friday.

Freed Ex-Governor of Alabama Talks of Abuse of Power 29 Mar 2008 Former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison Friday on bond in a bribery and corruption case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics had played a leading role in his prosecution. Speaking by telephone in his first post-prison interview, Mr. Siegelman said there had been "abuse of power" in his case, and repeatedly cited Karl Rove, the former White House political director. "His fingerprints are smeared all over the case," Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case.

Treasury's Plan Would Give Fed Wide New Power --The plan carefully avoids a call for tighter regulation. 29 Mar 2008 The Treasury Department will propose on Monday that Congress give the Federal Reserve broad new authority to oversee financial market stability, in effect allowing it to send SWAT teams into any corner of the industry or any institution that might pose a risk to the overall system. Many of the proposals have nothing to do with the turmoil in financial markets. And some of the proposals could actually reduce regulation.

German Polar Bear Cub Takes First Steps Outside --Flocke to Make Public Debut Next Month 29 Mar 2008 Flocke has been indoors since she was taken from her mother last December. The cub weighs 36 pounds.

*****

CLG News Archives


CONTRIBUTE
TO CLG VIA

or

You can make credit card donations/T-shirt charges via PayPal, you don't need a PayPal account to make credit card payments through them.

donate[at]legitgov.org - inquiries or, pls. mail a check or money order to CLG

 

HOME |COUP 2004 | PRESS RELEASES | PRESS RECEIVED |IMPORTANT CALLS TO ACTION | LINKS | JOIN CLG™ | WELCOME TO CLG | CONTRIBUTE | CONTACT US

Copyright © 2008, Citizens For Legitimate Government ® All rights reserved.