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


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

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April 2008 Archives, Page Two

Election Day in Florida May Look Familiar [If it is, 1776 will look familiar.] 28 Apr 2008 Eight years after the debacle of "hanging chads" [coup d'etat], Florida once again seems to be courting electoral trouble. 'Election' Day may end up looking oddly familiar. According to independent elections experts, it is now harder to vote here than in nearly every other state in the nation. Some critics predict that tens of thousands of potential voters will be kept off the rolls -- many of them poor, black or Hispanic. Election lawyers say Florida's Republican-controlled government has introduced more restrictions on the voting process than other states since 2000 and has fought harder to keep them.

Coup 2008 underway: Decision Is Likely to Spur Voter ID Laws in More States 29 Apr 2008 The Supreme Court ruling on Monday upholding Indiana’s voter ID law is likely to lead to more laws and litigation, voting experts said. Lawmakers in at least four states may seek to pass stricter regulations in the next year or so, the experts said. In response, voting rights groups might sue on behalf of individuals or groups in an effort to exempt them.

Supreme Court says states can demand photo ID for voting 28 Apr 2008 States can require voters to produce photo identification, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, upholding a Republican-inspired law that Democrats say will keep some poor, older and minority voters from casting ballots. Twenty-five states require some form of ID, and the court's 6-3 decision rejecting a challenge to Indiana's strict voter ID law could encourage others to adopt their own measures. Oklahoma legislators said the decision should help them get a version approved.

US state demands photo ID from voters 29 Apr 2008 The US Supreme Court has ruled that all states can demand photo identification papers from voters in a decision which could impact on the US presidential race six months before the 'elections.' By six votes to three, the judges upheld an appeals court decision backing a controversial Indiana law demanding voters provide proper picture identification such as a passport or driving licence before voting.

Investigators: $10 billion charged by U.S. contractors for Iraq reconstruction 'questionable' or 'unsupported' --Failed projects falsely described as 'complete' by Bush administration 28 Apr 2008 Millions of dollars of lucrative Iraq reconstruction contracts were never finished because of excessive delays, poor performance or other factors, including failed projects that are being falsely described by the U.S. government as complete, federal investigators say. The audit released Sunday by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, provides the latest snapshot of an uneven reconstruction effort that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $100 billion. Last year, congressional investigators said as much as $10 billion -- or one in six dollars -- charged by U.S. contractors for Iraq reconstruction were questionable or unsupported, and warned that significantly more taxpayer money was at risk. [Gee, too bad MSNBC won't cover these issues. They've become the Reverend Wright-bashing Network, 24/7: All other topics (except for Miley Cyrus's risqué photos - they spent hours on that story) be damned.]

Almost 900 Iraq reconstruction projects unfinished 28 Apr 2008 A review of US-funded reconstruction projects in Iraq has found that millions of dollars have been wasted because almost 900 separate projects have never been completed. The reconstruction of Iraq has cost American taxpayers more than $107 billion.

Insurgents take troops by sandstorm 29 Apr 2008 Australian soldiers in Iraq have come under heavy rocket fire in Baghdad's green zone after sandstorms sent blankets of dust across the city and provided cover for 'insurgents.' .

4 US soldiers killed; militants shell Green Zone 28 Apr 2008 Bombardments by suspected militants killed four U.S. soldiers Monday as troops tried to push Shiite fighters farther from the U.S.-protected Green Zone and out of range of their rockets and mortars. At least 44 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq in April, making it the deadliest month for U.S. forces since September.

Battles in Baghdad leave 45 dead 28 Apr 2008 US forces killed 45 Shia militiamen in Baghdad in fierce fighting that included a tank battle with dozens of gunmen who attacked a checkpoint under cover of a dust storm, military officials claimed today.

Syria says US reactor charges as fake as Iraq WMD claims 28 Apr 2008 Syria said on Monday that US accusations it had been building a nuclear reactor until its destruction in an Israeli air raid last September were as bogus as American claims that Saddam Hussein's government had weapons of mass destruction in 2003. "When you look at these pictures... a single image comes to mind -- that of US Secretary of State Colin Powell accusing Iraq of hiding weapons of mass destruction and presenting as proof a dossier of photographs," Al-Baath said.

Karzai survives assassination attempt during military parade --MP and two others killed as ambassadors flee scene --Insurgents claim raid shows weakness of Nato 28 Apr 2008 President Hamid Karzai survived an assassination attempt yesterday when Taliban militants fired gunshots and rockets at a military parade in central Kabul. Three people, including an MP, were killed. Cabinet ministers, generals and foreign diplomats ducked for cover after shots rang out at the heavily guarded ceremony near the presidential palace. Bodyguards bundled Karzai into one of a convoy of vehicles that sped away.

Bullets fly past president in Afghan attack 28 Apr 2008 Three people were killed and about a dozen were wounded when militants opened fire on a military parade in Afghanistan yesterday. Gunfire and explosions erupted soon after President Hamid Karzai had taken his place on a stage with a host of dignitaries, including government ministers, ambassadors and foreign and Afghan military commanders. Pandemonium broke out as bullets sped past Karzai and his colleagues, and black smoke and the smell of gunpowder filled the air.

Afghanistan investigates deadly parade attack 27 Apr 2008 Afghanistan was Monday investigating how militants [Blackwater] could get within 500 metres of President Hamid Karzai and other top leaders to carry out a brazen attack that left three Afghans dead. The event, which was supposed to showcase the Afghan army's growing strength after getting new training and equipment, mainly from the United States, had been weeks in the making with stepped-up patrols and roadblocks around Kabul. [Yup, an inside job. See: Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West --Karzai says US and British troops are undermining his authority and stopping insurgents from laying down their arms 27 Apr 2008.]

Australian Commando Killed, 4 Wounded in Afghanistan 28 Apr 2008 An Australian commando was killed and four others wounded when they were attacked by Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan. Afghanistan is "moving into the fighting season" as the snows melt, Angus Houston, Australia's defense force chief, said today in the capital, Canberra, as he announced the death of Lance Corporal Jason Marks.

Outspoken Arizona Senator Questions 9/11 Official Version of Events --Republican attacked for expressing opinion on September 11th cover-up By Steve Watson 25 Apr 2008 State Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, has come under fierce criticism for going on record with her doubts over the government's version of events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Following a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Arizona's 9/11 Memorial, Johnson told Capitol reporters "There are many of us that believe there's been a cover-up." Details of Johnson's comments come in an vicious hit piece article in the Arizona Republic entitled 'Drinking the 9/11 Kool-Aid.'

'The use of a small boat as a weapon is likely to remain al-Qaida's weapon of choice in the maritime environment.' 80 million boaters recruited in terror war --Awareness program akin to neighborhood watch is being launched 28 Apr 2008 the Bush regime wants to enlist the country’s 80 million recreational boaters to help 'reduce' the chances that a small boat could deliver a nuclear or radiological bomb somewhere along the On Monday officials will announce the plan, which asks states to develop and enforce safety standards for recreational boaters and asks them to look for and report suspicious behavior on the water -- much like a neighborhood watch program.

Ministers signal concessions over 42-day detention --Brown determined to fight on 'matter of principle' 25 Apr 2008 Home Office ministers yesterday sent out the clearest signals yet that they will offer a string of concessions to try to stave off a defeat on 42-day pre-charge detention to avoid further damage to Gordon Brown's authority following his climbdown over the abolition of the 10p tax rate.

Governor's office evacuated; bomb squads at the scene 28 Apr 2008 (FL) The governor's office and other nearby offices have been evacuated after a suspicious package was found in the parking garage beneath the 22-story state Capitol. Gov. Charlie Crist's (R) office on the Plaza Level of the Capitol was evacuated by capital police.

FBI Arrests Virginia Activist for Wearing Mask In Public 19 Apr 2008 On Saturday, April 12, an FBI agent arrested an animal rights activist at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. The activist was charged with wearing a mask in public--a Class 6 felony in Virginia. On April 5, the arrested activist attended a protest at GMU and wore a mask. After the GMU Police Department identified the activist, a warrant was issued for his arrest. When he appeared at a protest one week later, he was identified and subsequently tackled and arrested. The arrested activist was protesting Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for their history of animal abuse. The FBI agent who arrested the activist is part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force and is based in Prince William, VA. His name is Vincent Antignano and his badge number is #1035.

'They're just laying down, waiting to hear something. They're on high risk.' Several Students Arrested At Locked-Down High School 28 Apr 2008 (WA) Several students have been arrested at Mount Tahoma High School after officials put the campus under a "high risk" lockdown on Monday. Earlier, KIRO 7 reporter Kevin McCarty said students off campus heard from students in classrooms who were told the lockdown was a "high risk" one, requiring students to lie down on the floor behind closed doors until the school is 'clear.' Officials said a student who had been suspended was found on campus Monday with a loaded handgun.

Critics claim Joe Arpaio's crime sweeps violate rights of cities 25 Apr 2008 Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to take his next crime sweep to Mesa, even though Mesa police officials have not asked for his assistance. Does that mean Arpaio is violating the federal agreement that gives deputies the authority to enforce immigration laws? Critics of the crime sweeps say yes.

Gas May Soon Cost a Sawbuck --Big New Shock at the Pump Forecast by Two Analysts 28 Apr 2008 Get ready for another economic shock of major proportions -- a virtual doubling of prices at the gas pump to as much as $10 a gallon. The forecasts calling for a jump to between $7 and $10 a gallon are based on the view that the price of crude is on its way to $200 in two to three years.

Exxon, Shell and BP Profit to Advance on $100 Oil --Shell may have gained 4.9 percent to $6.88 billion; BP probably jumped 32 percent to $5.26 billion 28 Apr 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc may report record first-quarter profit and BP Plc the highest earnings in two years after oil rose above $100 a barrel and natural gas prices climbed. Exxon Mobil will probably say net income rose 25 percent to $11.6 billion, based on the average of six analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. [Where are the 'insurgents,' when you need them?]

McCain campaign gets almost 80% off on Homewood gathering space, plus free labor from Homewood Jail inmates 24 Apr 2008 (AL) Republican presidential candidate John McCain got a deal when his campaign rented gathering space from the city of Homewood for a private fundraiser earlier this week. His campaign was given a discount of about 80 percent off the standard booking rate for Rosewood Hall. In September, Jefferson County Democrats rented the same facility and were charged the full rate. The McCain campaign was charged $250 to use two rooms in the hall, which normally would book for $1,200 on a weeknight. The campaign also was given free labor from Homewood City Jail inmates to set up tables and chairs for the event, avoiding a $100 set-up fee, but did pay a standard $50 cleaning fee.

Bush Made Permanent By Paul Krugman 28 Apr 2008 As the designated political heir of a deeply unpopular president -- according to Gallup, President [sic] Bush has the highest disapproval rating recorded in 70 years of polling -- John McCain should have little hope of winning in November. In fact, however, current polls show him roughly tied with either Democrat. ...[I]t probably reflects the perception, eagerly propagated by Mr. McCain’s many admirers in the news media, that he’s very different from Mr. Bush -- a responsible guy, a straight talker. But is this perception at all true? During the 2000 campaign people said much the same thing about Mr. Bush; those of us who looked hard at his policy proposals, especially on taxes, saw the shape of things to come.

Witness: 'Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated' 28 Apr 2008 Tony Rezko associate Elie Maloof just testified that when he received a grand jury subpoena, Rezko told him not to talk to the feds. Why? "The federal prosecutor will no longer be the same federal prosecutor," Maloof just testified that Rezko told him. What did Rezko mean prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked? "That Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated and Dennis Hastert will name his replacement. The investigation will be over." Maloof, who once helped run some of Rezko's fast-food businesses, said Rezko told him of Fitzgerald's replacement: "That they will order the prosecutor to stop the investigation."

With Bingaman Endorsement, Obama Takes Senate Support Lead 28 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama officially pulled ahead today in the scramble for endorsements from colleagues in the U.S. Senate, thanks to Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. Senator Bingaman has put Obama over the top after his long slog to catch Sen. Hillary Clinton, who had a head start in winning the support of her peers. Obama now has 14 endorsements to Clinton's 13.

Wright to Obama: 'Coming after you' 28 Apr 2008 The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that he will try to change national policy by "coming after" Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) if he is elected president. The pastor also insisted Obama "didn’t denounce" him and "didn’t distance himself" from Wright’s controversial remarks, but "did what politicians do." "I said to Barack Obama last year, 'If you get elected, November the 5th I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people,' " Wright said.

Wright: Criticism an attack on Black church 28 Apr 2008 In a defiant appearance before the Washington media, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Monday that criticism surrounding his fiery sermons is an attack on the Black church and rejected those who have labeled him unpatriotic. "I served six years in the military," Barack Obama's longtime pastor said. "Does that make me patriotic? How many years did (Vice President [sic] Dick) Cheney serve?"

La. Man Pleads Guilty to Hate Crime For Nooses Targeting "Jena Six" Marchers (fbi.gov) 25 Apr 2008 Jeremiah Munsen, 18, of Colfax, La., pled guilty today to a federal hate crime for his role in using nooses to threaten marchers who participated in the "Jena Six" civil rights rally, announced Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, and Donald W. Washington, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

Bell Supporters Want Federal Charges Against Cops --Plan to Continue Rallies, Marches In Protest 27 Apr 2008 With calls to shut down the city, hundreds of demonstrators launched the start of what could be a long series of protests following the acquittal of three New York City Detectives in the shooting death of Sean Bell.

Hundreds Injured in Va. Storms 28 Apr 2008 At least 200 people were injured Monday as severe storms swept through central and southeastern Virginia. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) declared a state of emergency for areas of southeastern Virginia damaged by apparent tornadoes.

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CIA can bend torture rules to stop terrorists 28 Apr 2008 The US Justice Department has told Congress that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law. The legal interpretation, outlined in recent letters, sheds light on the still-secret rules for interrogations by the CIA.

US would pursue Bin Laden through other countries 27 Apr 2008 United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte has said that if Washington has explicit proof of Osama Bin Laden's 'presence' in Pakistan's border regions, it will categorically pursue him. Negroponte said that as far as Osama bin Laden was concerned, Washington would pursue him regardless of any permission from Pakistan to conduct a military operation within its borders.

'The duck and cover alarm sounded and people ran out for cover.' Baghdad Green Zone blasted under cover of storm 27 Apr 2008 Militants bombarded Baghdad's Green Zone with rockets on Sunday, taking advantage of the cover of a blinding dust storm to launch the heavy strike. Reuters correspondents heard the missiles whistling overhead and exploding inside the heavily fortified government and diplomatic compound on the west side of the Tigris River. Iraqi police said eight missiles or mortars had hit the Green Zone and another 14 fell in other parts of the Iraqi capital, killing two people and wounding 20.

Missiles Bombard Baghdad's Green Zone --About 700 rockets or mortars have been fired at Green Zone in past month 27 Apr 2008 At least 10 missiles have hit Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, hours after sporadic clashes in the Iraqi capital left at least 10 people dead. "At least 10 rockets or mortars hit the Green Zone," an interior ministry official said on Sunday, adding that it was not clear if the attacks had caused any casualties.

U.S. air strikes kill 6 in Sadr City despite truce 27 Apr 2008 U.S. forces said on Sunday they killed six 'militants' in air strikes overnight in Baghdad's Sadr City, despite a call by cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for his fighters to observe a truce which seems to have reined them in.

Mosul hit by multiple suicide bombs 26 Apr 2008 Three suicide bombers and a car bomb have struck the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least nine people and wounding 31 others, police said.

Baghdad museum receives artifacts stolen from Iraq 27 Apr 2008 Iraq's National Museum on Sunday welcomed the return of more than 700 antiquities stolen [by Bush's barbarians] during the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion five years ago. Golden necklaces, daggers, clay statues, pots and other artifacts were displayed briefly during a ceremony attended by Syrian and Iraqi officials. Syrian authorities seized the items from traffickers over the years and handed custody last week to an Iraqi delegation in Damascus.

Iran says Iraq situation makes U.S. attack unlikely 27 Apr 2008 Iran said on Sunday a "disastrous situation" facing the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan coupled with Washington's domestic issues made any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic unlikely.

Syria: CIA fabricated 'reactor' pictures 26 Apr 2008 Syria's ambassador to the United States said Friday that the CIA fabricated pictures allegedly taken inside a secret Syrian nuclear reactor and predicted that in coming weeks the US story about the site would "implode from within." "The photos presented to me yesterday were ludicrous, laughable," Ambassador Imad Moustapha told reporters at his Washington residence.

Israel Might Have Many More Spies Here, Officials Say 25 Apr 2008 The elderly New Jersey man [Ben-Ami Kadish] arrested last week on charges of spying for Israel years ago was probably still working for the Jewish state’s espionage service in tandem with another, as yet unidentified spy, former American intelligence officials say.

Criticize the Bush regime on Saturday - get gunned down on Sunday! Karzai Escapes Assassination Attempt --Afghan President Flees Attack On Ceremony, 3 Reported Killed, 8 Wounded 27 Apr 2008 Suspected Taliban militants [Blackwater?] attacked a ceremony attended by the Afghan president on Sunday, unleashing automatic weapons and rocket fire that sent foreign dignitaries and senior members of the government fleeing for cover. Three people were killed, including a lawmaker, and eight wounded. President Hamid Karzai, Cabinet ministers and ambassadors escaped unharmed from the assault. A lawmaker seated about 30 meters from Karzai was among the dead. Karzai appeared later on national television saying several suspects had been arrested. [See: Afghan Leader Criticizes U.S. on Conduct of War 26 Apr 2008.]

Afghan Leader Criticizes U.S. on Conduct of War 26 Apr 2008 President Hamid Karzai strongly criticized the British and American conduct of the war here on Friday, insisting in an interview that his government be given the lead in policy decisions. Mr. Karzai said that he wanted American forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban and their sympathizers, and that the continued threat of arrest and past mistreatment were discouraging Taliban from coming forward to lay down their arms.

Leave Taliban alone, Afghan president tells West --Karzai says US and British troops are undermining his authority and stopping insurgents from laying down their arms 27 Apr 2008 Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has called on British and American troops to stop arresting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, saying that their operations undermined his government's authority and were counter-productive. The stinging attack, made in an interview with the New York Times published yesterday, is the latest in a series of rows between Western governments with troops in Afghanistan and the elected leader of the country.

Australian killed in Taliban fight 28 Apr 2008 One Australian soldier has been killed and four others wounded in a Taliban attack in Afghanistan. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston today said the special forces soldier died in a heavy exchange of small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Australian soldiers ambushed in Afghanistan 27 Apr 2008 An Australian Special Forces soldier is dead, and four others wounded after an attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Chief of Defence Air Marshal Angus Houston, of the Australian Defence Force, confirmed details at a special press briefing in Canberra at 7:30am Monday morning.

US Marines deploying in Afghanistan for 1st time in years 26 Apr 2008 U.S. Marines are crossing the sands of southern Afghanistan for the first time in years, providing a boost to a NATO coalition that is growing but still short on manpower. They hope to retake the 10 percent of Afghanistan the Taliban holds.

The situation, he said, has elements of "Kafka and 'Alice in Wonderland.' " Lawyers Fear Monitoring in Cases on Terrorism 28 Apr 2008 Across the country, and especially here in Oregon, it seems, lawyers who represent suspects in terrorism-related investigations complain that their ability to do their jobs is being hindered by the suspicion that the government is listening in, using the eavesdropping authority it obtained -- or granted itself -- after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Steven T. Wax, a Portland lawyer involved in several terrorism cases, said he has told clients to assume that everything they say to him is being secretly monitored. Mr. Wax said he "self-censors" his e-mail messages, even to other lawyers and friends. The situation, he said, has elements of "Kafka and ‘Alice in Wonderland.' "

Laura Berg's Letter (The New York Times) 27 Apr 2008 The PEN American Center, the literary organization committed to free expression, is honoring an American most people in this country have never read or even heard of: Laura Berg. She is a psychiatric nurse at a Veterans Affairs hospital who was threatened with a sedition investigation after she wrote a letter to the editor denouncing the Bush administration’s bungling of Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. That’s right, sedition: inciting rebellion against the government. [Heck, if you're gonna go down for sedition, you might as well go for broke and call for armed insurrection.]

Daley: Chicago police to get assault rifles 26 Apr 2008 Mayor Richard Daley said Saturday Chicago police officers will he armed with high-powered assault rifles when they're on the streets fighting gangs and 'other criminals.' The city's police officers carry pistols, and Daley suggested they will start carrying "M4 rifles."

Strike shuts down North Sea oil pipeline to UK 28 Apr 2008 A pipeline carrying nearly half of Britain's oil was closed yesterday as a strike over pensions began at the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland, said its operator, BP. The refinery, owned by international chemical company Ineos, produces a tenth of Britain's petrol and diesel but also supplies vital steam to BP's Kinneil plant that starts to process the crude oil coming ashore from 70 North Sea fields.

Salazar urges rebuke for Limbaugh riot talk 27 Apr 2008 U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar asked Friday that the owner of KOA radio "reprimand" Rush Limbaugh for what Salazar calls Limbaugh's "clear exhortation" for riots during August's Democratic National Convention in Denver. Limbaugh said earlier this week that he is not calling for a riot in Denver but only "dreams" of it, to the tune of "White Christmas." "Now, I'm not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming. I'm dreaming of riots in Denver," he said, mimicking the holiday tune. But Salazar, in a letter sent Friday to Clear Channel Radio, owner of KOA, characterized Limbaugh's comments as "incendiary."

Limbaugh dreams of DNC riot --The radio host angers many with his comments on the August convention in Denver. 26 Apr 2008 Rush Limbaugh says he is not calling for a riot in Denver during the Democratic National Convention -- he only "dreams" of it, to the tune of "White Christmas." The conservative talker discussed the possibility of Mile High unrest in August on his national radio show for a second day in a row Thursday. "Now, I am not inspiring or inciting riots. I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming of riots in Denver," he said mimicking the holiday tune.

McCain Frequently Used Wife's Jet for Little Cost 27 Apr 2008 Over a seven-month period beginning last summer, Senator John McCain’s cash-short campaign gave itself an advantage by using a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife, Cindy McCain, according to public records. For five of those months, the plane was used almost exclusively for campaign-related purposes, those records show. Mr. McCain’s campaign paid a total of $241,149 for the use of that plane from last August through February, records show. That amount is approximately the cost of chartering a similar jet for a month or two, according to industry estimates.

Pot-Kettle item of 2008: McCain calls Obama insensitive to poor people 27 Apr 2008 Republican presidential candidate Insane McCain on Sunday called Democratic rival Barack Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues. The Arizona senator deflected questions about his record on the Bush administration's tax cuts — he initially opposed them but now supports extending them — by again criticizing Obama.

Barack Obama Rejects Clinton's Call for New Debate 27 Apr 2008 Barack Obama rejected Hillary Clinton's challenge to a debate before Democratic presidential primaries in Indiana and North Carolina on May 6, saying he wants to speak directly to voters.

Greenspan, Bush to blame for U.S. crisis: Stiglitz 27 Apr 2008 Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and the government of President [sic] George W. Bush were to blame for the U.S. financial crisis, Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz said in a magazine interview.

Reno urged to prepare for worse as earthquakes continue 26 Apr 2008 Scientists urged residents of northern Nevada's largest city to prepare for a bigger event as the area continued rumbling Saturday after the largest earthquake in a two-month-long series of temblors.

California wildfire rages, 1,000 people evacuated 27 Apr 2008 A wildfire that began along a popular hiking trail forced 1,000 people to evacuate their homes in the hills northeast of Los Angeles on Sunday, officials said.

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'Under the new rules, the Bush administration had put Geneva Convention restrictions on a 'sliding scale.'' Letters Give C.I.A. Tactics a Legal Rationale 27 Apr 2008 The Justice Department has told Congress that American intelligence operatives attempting to thwart terrorist attacks can legally use interrogation methods that might otherwise be prohibited under international law. The latest Justice Department letters show that Bush administration lawyers are citing the sometimes vague language of the Geneva Conventions to support the idea that interrogators should not be bound by ironclad rules.

Cheney camp 'behind Syrian reactor claim' 25 Apr 2008 US Government allegations that North Korea helped Syria build a nuclear reactor have been greeted with scepticism because of their timing. Israeli jets bombed the alleged site in Syria's eastern desert last September. Today, after months of whispers, the White House publicly claimed that the target of the strike was a nuclear reactor. US intelligence officials said the reactor had been close to becoming operational when it was destroyed. But Mike Chinoy, from the Pacific Council on International Policy, says the claim needs to be taken in its political context, as North Korea's denuclearisation reaches a critical stage. "Everything I'm hearing from my own sources in Washington is that what you have now is a kind of push back by Vice-President [sic] Cheney and his office and other hardliners who are opposed to diplomatic dealings with North Korea," he said.

US warns Iran of retaliation over Iraq action 27 Apr 2008 America's top military officer has ratcheted up the pressure on Iran by issuing an unusual public warning that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action". Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, blamed the Iranian government and Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for its "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

U.S. Weighing Readiness for Military Action Against Iran 26 Apr 2008 The nation's top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force. "It would be a mistake to think that we are out of combat capability," he said at a Pentagon news conference.

US navy fires at Iranian boats as tension rises in the Gulf 26 Apr 2008 The United States navy fired warning shots at two Iranian boats in the Gulf yesterday in the worst confrontation yet in the world's busiest oil shipping lanes. A US forces security team on a chartered transport ship used loudhailers, radios and flares to warn off two small Iranian boats acting in an "unclear" manner.

Al-Sadr threatens 'open war' on 'occupiers,' not Iraq 25 Apr 2008 Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr threatened "open war," against the American "occupiers" and not the Iraqi government, according to a letter read by a top aide during Friday prayers. "When we threatened to declare an open war until the liberation, we meant war against the occupier," al-Sadr said in his letter. He encouraged not only his Mehdi Army militia to fight U.S. troops, but also every Iraqi, including the nation's security forces which are in league with U.S. troops [and Blackwater. Don't forget them --it's less we'll have to deal with back in the US when Bush declares martial law. --LRP]

Turkish army strikes PKK targets in northern Iraq 26 Apr 2008 Turkish jets and artillery struck targets of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Friday and early Saturday, Turkish General Staff said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Iraqi journalist killed near Basra, radio station says 25 Apr 2008 Assailants on Friday gunned down an Iraqi journalist [Jassim al-Batat] who had been working for a local radio station run by a Shiite political party that is the chief rival of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the station and police said.

Iraq pipeline bombed - US military claims blast 'accidental' 26 Apr 2008 An explosion that blew up an Iraqi oil pipeline south of Baghdad was caused accidentally, [Yeah, right!] the US military said on Saturday. On Friday, an Iraqi police officer in Babil province said the pipeline had been bombed and 10 guards were wounded in an attack near the town of Musayyib, south of Baghdad. It was the second time in the past year that the pipeline has been damaged.

Iraqis accuse Blackwater of shredding documents, destroying evidence 25 Apr 2008 Families of Iraqis who died in a shooting involving Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries accused the company Friday of shredding documents and destroying evidence. Lawyers for the families made the accusations in court documents but identified the source of the information only as former employees. They said officials at the company's North Carolina compound shredded documents related to ongoing investigations sometime around March 18.

'A substantial number of personnel still on the payroll are not available for duty for various reasons, such as being on leave, absent without leave, injured or killed.' Pentagon Reports on Iraq's Military Are Suspect, Audit Says 25 Apr 2008 The U.S. public and lawmakers should be skeptical of the Pentagon's quarterly reports on Iraq's progress toward building a viable military and police force, according to a new audit. The reports from the Defense Department are based on data supplied by the Iraqi government that hasn't been fully vetted by the U.S. military and is unreliable, according to the Special Inspector General For Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen.

Blackwater permit faces challenge --Public not informed, San Diego officials say 26 Apr 2008 San Diego officials will challenge Blackwater Worldwide's permit for an indoor military training facility in South County, saying the public didn't know about the plan. The North Carolina company received a permit in March for a training site in Otay Mesa, in south San Diego, shortly after abandoning its controversial proposal to build a larger facility in Potrero in East County. The city Development Services Department granted the permit without public hearings.

Marines to help train Afghanistan police force --Officers will 'fight' Taliban, drug trade 26 Apr 2008 Diverted at the last minute from its planned deployment to Iraq, a battalion of Marines has arrived here to take up a critical mission: training Afghan police to hold the line against Taliban 'insurgents.' Marine Lt. Col. Rick Hall, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, is upbeat about the prospect of readying a professional police force, despite significant challenges that have so far defeated a six-year, $5.5 billion U.S. police 'recruiting and training' program.

UK troops to hand control of Helmand 'hot spots' to Afghan army 26 Apr 2008 British troops in southern Afghanistan could hand control of key areas to Afghan forces within months, the commander of British forces said yesterday. Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith said he hoped the Afghan army would "deliver security" in the most dangerous parts of Helmand by the end of the year.

Census official, police among 24 killed in Afghan unrest 26 Apr 2008 Bomb blasts killed three Afghan policemen and four suspected Taliban Saturday, officials said, also reporting that 17 other people, including a population census official, died in unrest a day earlier.

Germany apologies to Afghanistan over spying scandal 27 Apr 2008 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta on Saturday to apologize for the spying of an Afghan minister by Germany's foreign intelligence service BND.

German Spies Put Afghan Ministry under Surveillance --Surveillance specialists from the BND had infected the network with spyware, which collected a large quantity of data and sent it to BND's headquarters in Pullach, Germany. 26 Apr 2008 Germany's foreign intelligence agency was already under pressure for spying on an Afghan minister and a SPIEGEL journalist. Now SPIEGEL has learned that BND agents had an entire Afghan ministry under surveillance. Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has come under pressure recently after it came to light that agents had monitored the e-mails of Afghanistan's Commerce Minister Amin Farhang and SPIEGEL correspondent Susanne Koelbl. Now SPIEGEL has learned that the BND had actually monitored the entire computer network of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Soldier Sues Army, Saying His Atheism Led to Threats 26 Apr 2008 Last month, Specialist Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group, filed suit in federal court in Kansas, alleging that Specialist Hall’s right to be free from state endorsement of religion under the First Amendment had been violated and that he had faced retaliation for his views. In November, he was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers.

Abbas: I failed in U.S., no progress in peace talks 26 Apr 2008 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that he failed to achieve any progress in Middle East peace talks with U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush and he is returning home from Washington with little to show for his visit. In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, the Palestinian leader sounded pessimistic about the prospects of achieving any deal with Israel this year, despite a big U.S. push that began five months ago at a Middle East peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland.

FBI wants widespread monitoring of 'illegal' Internet activity 23 Apr 2008 The FBI on Wednesday called for new legislation that would allow federal police to monitor the Internet for "illegal activity." The suggestion from FBI Director Robert Mueller, which came during a House of Representatives Judiciary Committee hearing, appears to go beyond a current plan to monitor traffic on federal-government networks. Mueller seemed to suggest that the bureau should have a broad "omnibus" authority to conduct monitoring and surveillance of private-sector networks as well. The surveillance should include all Internet traffic, Mueller said, "whether it be .mil, .gov, .com--whichever network you're talking about."

NJ judge allows electronic voting machines to be examined 25 Apr 2008 A state judge on Friday ruled that voting rights activists will have a chance to have an expert examine the programming of touch-screen voting machines they claim are unreliable and vulnerable to hackers, officials said. Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg, in Trenton, also dropped a May trial date on the reliability of the machines but said the trial should start by September. The delay nearly assures that the outcome will be too late to change how millions of New Jerseyans vote in November's presidential 'election.'

Obama pastor: I had death threats --Jeremiah Wright re-emerges to say his church has been threatened with attack just as the Democratic race heads for its last big contest 27 Apr 2008 Last night, Senator Barack Obama's pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright admitted his church has received bomb threats. In his first interview since videos of Wright preaching began a storm of recrimination, Wright was asked by PBS journalist Bill Moyers if he had received death threats. 'Yes ... and bomb threats at the church,' Wright replied. 'What have we gotten into here? People ... telling us how they are going to wipe us off the face of the earth in the name of Jesus.'

2 N. C. stations won't air anti-Obama ad 25 Apr 2008 Two North Carolina television stations, one in Charlotte, the other in Raleigh, have said they won't air an advertisement from the North Carolina Republican Party that uses a sound bite from Barack Obama's retiring minister.

'A world of casual racism' exposed at BA --Senior BA pilot exposes shocking cockpit culture of Britain's flag carrier 26 Apr 2008 A senior British Airways pilot reveals today the startling levels of casual racism in the flagship UK company, which once famously claimed to be "the world's favourite airline". Captain Doug Maughan, who has 15 years' flying experience with BA, says that derogatory remarks about race by his colleagues are so common they are treated as normal.

Black leader urges civil disobedience after NYPD acquittal 26 Apr 2008 Anguish poured into the streets of New York Saturday as hundreds of protesters expressed anger at Friday's acquittal of three police officers who gunned down a black man on the eve of his wedding. Demonstrators took to the streets of Harlem, shouting "No justice, no peace," and holding up numbered signs, one for each of the 50 bullets fired at the unarmed man.

NY police acquittal like another death: fiancee 26 Apr 2008 The fiancee of an unarmed man who died in a hail of 50 bullets said on Saturday that the acquittal of three New York City police detectives charged in his death was like "they killed Sean all over again." "That's what it felt like to us," said Nicole Paultre Bell in her first public comments about Friday's verdict, in which a state judge cleared two detectives of manslaughter and a third of reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell.

U.S. official: little sign of crime-oil price link 26 Apr 2008 There is little sign organized crime is helping drive up energy prices, a senior Justice Department official said on Friday, despite assertions that such groups were strongly present in world oil markets. Her comments followed the release Wednesday of new U.S. initiative for 'fighting' international organized crime. The initiative was based on a still-classified threat assessment, four months in the making, that found [Bush's] global crime groups controlled "significant positions" in energy and strategic-materials markets vital to U.S. security.

Mutant threatening to wipe out grey squirrel 26 Apr 2008 The grey squirrel could become overrun in parts of Britain within 10 years by its faster, fitter and more aggressive black counterpart, researchers in Cambridge said yesterday. More than 200 years since the grey was first introduced to Britain and began forcing out the native red squirrel, it now finds itself up against a superior incarnation of the species.

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Scalia On Bush v. Gore: Get Over It! --Supreme Court Justice Tells CBS It's Nonsense to Say the Decision Was Politically Motivated 24 Apr 2008 People who believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush was politically motivated should just get over it, says Justice Antonin Scalia. Scalia denies that the controversial decision coup d'etat was political. [No, maggot, we don't 'get over' a coup. Moreover, we won't put up with a third one, already simmering nicely on the Reverend Wright-flag pin back burner. --LRP]

'Disneyland' comes to Baghdad with multi-million pound entertainment park --50-acre (20 hectare) swath of land sits adjacent to Green Zone 24 Apr 2008 Llewellyn chairman of C3, a Los Angeles-based holding company for private equity firms, is pouring millions of dollars into developing the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, a massive American-style amusement park that will feature a skateboard park, rides, a concert theatre and a museum. It is being designed by the firm that developed Disneyland.

Israel's Air Force Chief: Iran Threat Real --Tells CBS Israel's Air Force Is Ready For Any Threat, Especially a Nuclear Iran 24 Apr 2008 The commander of the Israeli air force [Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy] takes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats against Israel extremely seriously. Israelis must be ready for anything and ultimately trust only themselves, he believes.

US official: U.S. has combat power to strike Tehran --Iran boosting support for Iraqi insurgents 25 Apr 2008 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff accused Iran on Friday of "ratcheting up" its arms and training support to 'insurgents' in Iraq, and warned that the U.S. has the combat power to strike Tehran if needed. Adm. Mike Mullen told a Pentagon news conference the military has evidence -- such as date stamps on newly found [planted] weapons caches -- that shows that recently made Iranian weapons are flowing into Iraq at a steadily increasing rate.

Iran: War fears spike after Mullen remarks 25 Apr 2008 The barometer of tensions between Iran and the United States went up a notch or even two today as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael G. Mullen accused Iran of stepping up weapons and training to its surrogates in Iraq despite promises to stop doing so... Also today came word of another possible confrontation between U.S. forces and Iranians in the Persian Gulf. According to the Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, an American contractor fired approaching speedboats that identified themselves as Iranian vessels.

Ship hired by US military fires warning shots in Gulf 25 Apr 2008 A cargo ship hired by the U.S. military fired warning shots at approaching boats in the Gulf, the U.S. Navy said on Friday, underscoring tension in the region as the Pentagon sharpened its warnings to Iran. According to American defense officials, the Westward Venture cargo ship chartered by the U.S. Defense Department was traveling in international waters when two unidentified small boats approached on Thursday.

U.S.-contracted ship fires toward boats in Gulf --'A few bursts' of warning shots used on small vessels believed to be Iranian 25 Apr 2008 A civilian ship [Western Venture] contracted by the U.S. military fired warning shots at two small boats approaching it in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy said Friday, describing the latest of a string of similar incidents that have triggered concern in Washington. Iranian officials have denied their vessels were involved in the incident.

Iran denies any clash with US vessel in Persian Gulf 25 Apr 2008 Iran on Friday denied any confrontation between Iranian boats and a US vessel in the Persian Gulf, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy said on Friday. Reuters news agency said on Friday that a cargo ship hired by the US military opened fire at a boat that may be Iranian.

Cui bono? Oil jumps over $3 after report on U.S. shot toward Iran boat 25 Apr 2008 Crude-oil futures jumped more than $3 in mid-morning trading Friday after news reports that U.S. military force fired at an Iranian boat. A ship contracted by the U.S Military Sealift Command fired at least one shot toward an Iranian boat, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed U.S. defense official.

Iran nuclear ambitions are major Gulf threat: NATO 24 Apr 2008 NATO's secretary-general [Jaap de Hoop Scheffer] told Gulf Arab states on Thursday that Iran's nuclear ambitions were a major threat to regional stability. Iran says its nuclear program is aimed solely at producing electricity but the West accuses it of trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Pakistan, India close to finalizing accord on gas pipeline from Iran 25 Apr 2008 An official says Pakistan and India are close to finalizing an agreement to build a pipeline to import natural gas from Iran. The South Asian countries' petroleum ministers concluded the latest round of talks on the three-nation project Friday in Islamabad.

U.S. concerned over Pakistani peace talks with Taliban militants in Waziristan [No, the U.S. is concerned about a Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline deal.] 24 Apr 2008 The new Pakistani government is negotiating a peace deal with militants in the Taliban-controlled Waziristan region in a move that has raised serious concerns in Washington and could affect the war in Afghanistan. It emerged on Tuesday that talks are under way with leaders of the dominant Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan over an agreement that would pull the Pakistani army out of the area and free some fighters currently in custody. The White House immediately showed alarm, though the State Department later put out a softer line.

Syrian envoy says CIA fabricated evidence 25 Apr 2008 Syria's ambassador to the United States says the CIA fabricated pictures allegedly taken inside a secret Syrian nuclear reactor and predicts that in the coming weeks the U.S. story about the site will "implode from within." Ambassador Imad Mostapha says the photos the U.S. government made public are, in his words, "ludicrous, laughable." [They usually are.]

U.S. Details Reactor in Syria 25 Apr 2008 The Bush regime charged Thursday that a secret Syrian nuclear reactor was within weeks or months of completion before Israel bombed it on Sept. 6 and demanded that North Korea and Syria publicly acknowledge their collusion on a facility that could have produced plutonium for a nuclear weapon.

Al-Sadr may restart full-scale fight against US in Iraq 24 Apr 2008 Muqtada al-Sadr is considering restarting a full-scale fight against U.S.-led forces. A possible breakaway path -- described to The Associated Press by Shiite lawmakers and politicians -- would represent the ultimate backlash to the Iraqi government's pressure on al-Sadr to renounce and disband his Shiite militia.

US says it has no plans to besiege Iraq's Sadr City 24 Apr 2008 American and Iraqi forces building a wall in Sadr City have no plans to besiege the east Baghdad Shiite bastion where they have been battling militiamen for weeks, a US general said on Thursday. "Our purpose is to secure only the southern part of Sadr City, to prevent rockets being fired towards the Green Zone from the area," Major General Jeffery Hammond, commander of US forces in Baghdad, told a news conference.

Cousin of Colombian President Arrested in Death Squad Probe --Mario Uribe Seized After Failed Bid for Political Asylum at Costa Rican Embassy 23 Apr 2008 Authorities on Tuesday arrested former senator Mario Uribe, a cousin and close ally of President Álvaro Uribe, for alleged ties to death squads in a widening inquiry that has implicated nearly a quarter of Colombia's Congress. The arrest of the former senator, who built a formidable political movement that helped his cousin win steal the presidency in 2002, comes during an institutional crisis that has tarnished a country closely allied with the United States.

Plane searched in Venezuela after bomb warning 21 Apr 2008 Venezuelan authorities were searching a trans-Atlantic airliner on Sunday after receiving a call warning that a bomb was aboard the plane that had been due to fly to Madrid from Caracas, an airline official said.

Machine Gun-Toting Officers to Patrol NYC Subways --M4 Carbine Rifles, MP5 Submachine Guns & Bomb Sniffing Dogs Part of New "Torch Team" Anti-Terror Efforts 24 Apr 2008 Starting Thursday, special bomb teams, known as "Torch Teams," will be toting submachine guns and bringing bomb-sniffing dogs onto the platforms and into the trains. It's a first for mass transit in the United States. NYPD officers, armed with rifles, submachine guns, body armor and bomb-sniffing dogs will begin patrolling the city's subway system due to a $151 million Homeland Security grant. Six officers and a dog will constitute a team, patrolling all platforms and trains in 12-hour shifts. The "Torch Teams" will be toting MP5 submachine guns and M4 Carbine rifles that are used by Navy seals and FBI hostage-rescue teams.

Doomsday police units to patrol city subways 24 Apr 2008 NYPD cops armed with rifles, submachine guns, body armor and bomb-sniffing dogs will start patrolling the city's subways on Thursday - a first for mass transit in the United States. Teams of six officers and a dog will patrol subway platforms and trains in 12-hour shifts.

MBTA to search bags as part of terror drill 24 Apr 2008 (Boston, MA) The MBTA is checking passengers’ bags for explosives as part of a drill to test its readiness in the event of a heightened terror threat. The drill Thursday aims to see how well the agency can deal with a massive increase in security. The agency has done random bag searches before, but this drill is being done in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration.

Homeland security drill set for today in Atlantic City 24 Apr 2008 Dozens of emergency-response personnel will converge in the Atlantic City Convention Center this morning to participate in what is being billed as the largest homeland security drill in southern New Jersey history.

Ministers offer concessions to rebels over 42-day limit 25 Apr 2008 Ministers are preparing limited concessions to Labour rebels over plans to hold terror suspects for up to 42 days without charge. But Gordon Brown has warned Labour opponents that he will press ahead with the contentious anti-terrorism measures even if it means suffering a Commons defeat.

Freezing assets of terror suspects 'unlawful and unconstitutional' --The Treasury immediately announced it will appeal. Solicitors said the asset-freezing regime was "absurd and draconian". 24 Apr 2008 (UK) The Government’s anti-terrorism strategy was dealt a devastating blow today as the High Court ruled that its powers to freeze suspects’ assets were unlawful and unconstitutional... Under the asset-freezing powers the five men are allowed enough money for basic expenses and have to account to the Government for what they spend. Officials in the Treasury monitor their grocery bills and decide whether they are allowed to accept gifts. The men face a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment for breaching the financial sanctions, as does anyone found to have supplied them with an "economic resource".

NY police cleared in 50-bullet wedding day shooting 25 Apr 2008 Three New York City police officers were found not guilty of all charges on Friday in the shooting death of an unarmed black man killed in a hail of 50 bullets on his wedding day. A New York state judge cleared two officers of manslaughter and other charges and a third of reckless endangerment in the death of Sean Bell, 23. Bell was shot, along with two friends, after a bachelor party at a strip club in November 2006.

3 NYPD detectives cleared in wedding-day shooting 25 Apr 2008 Three detectives were acquitted Friday in the 50-shot killing of an unarmed groom-to-be on his wedding day, a case that put the NYPD at the center of another dispute involving allegations of excessive firepower. Scores of police officers surrounded the courthouse to guard against potential chaos, and as news of the verdict spread, many in the crowd began weeping. Others were enraged, swearing and screaming "Murderers! Murderers!" or "KKK!"

Judge halts aerial spraying against moth in Santa Cruz County 24 Apr 2008 A judge today ordered aerial spraying in Santa Cruz County against the light brown apple moth be halted until the state conducts a comprehensive environmental review of the impacts. The ruling came as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger separately announced in Sacramento that the state would postpone planned spraying to eradicate the moth poison Californians in the 12 counties where it has been found until a series of safety tests could be completed. [Yeah, why is it they never test these chemicals on *themselves?* I mean, feel free to spray away at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue when Bush is in.]

Consumer confidence lowest since 1982 25 Apr 2008 Consumer confidence sank to its lowest level in 26 years, according to a survey published Friday. The University of Michigan Consumer Confidence survey revealed that high food and fuel prices, coupled with shrinking incomes and falling home values, have driven consumers to save their money rather than spend it.

Oil prices to double by 2012: Canadian study 24 Apr 2008 The price of oil is likely to hit 150 dollars (Canadian, US) a barrel by 2010 and soar to 225 dollars a barrel by 2012 as supply becomes increasingly tight, a Canadian bank [CIBC World Markets] said Thursday.

Experts seek more protection for polar bears 25 Apr 2008 An independent Canadian advisory group on the safety of rare and endangered animals has for the third time called on the federal government to assess polar bears as a species worthy of "special concern." The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada issued a report Friday that concluded that, as threats against the survival of polar bear populations continue to rise, the species should be listed as of "special concern" under the federal Species at Risk Act. Canada is home to the two-thirds of the world's polar bear population.

Bush Slashes Protections for Charismatic Kangaroo Rat 16 Apr 2008 Last Wednesday the Bush administration announced plans to drastically reduce habitat protection for the endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rat, a small, seed-eating rodent that now hops around in just a few last fragments of undeveloped Southern California riparian areas. Though tiny, the rodent plays a huge role in streamside ecosystems... But the government's proposal would cut the little mammal's protected habitat from 33,295 acres to just 10,658.

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CIA Acknowledges it Has More Than 7000 Documents Relating to Secret Detention Program, Rendition, and Torture 23 Apr 2008 The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) must stop stonewalling congressional oversight committees and release vital documents related to the program of secret detentions, renditions, and torture, three prominent human rights groups said today. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the International Human Rights Clinic at NYU School of Law (NYU IHRC) reiterated their call for information, following the CIA's filing of a summary judgment motion this week to end a lawsuit and avoid turning over more than 7000 documents related to its secret "ghost" detention and extraordinary rendition program.

CIA Foresaw Interrogation Issues --Agency Considered Investigations 'Virtually Inevitable' 24 Apr 2008 The CIA concluded that criminal, administrative or civil investigations stemming from harsh interrogation tactics were "virtually inevitable," leading the agency to seek legal support from the Justice Department, according to a CIA official's statement in court documents filed yesterday. The CIA said it had identified more than 7,000 pages of classified memos, e-mails and other records relating to its secret prison and interrogation program, but maintained that the materials cannot be released because they relate to, in part, communications between CIA and Justice Department attorneys or discussions with the White House.

FBI: We Warned About Torture of Detainees 24 Apr 2008 FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday recalled warning the Justice Department and the Pentagon that some U.S. interrogation methods used against terrorists might be inappropriate, if not illegal. Mueller's comments came under pointed questioning by House Democrats demanding to know if the Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to stop interrogations in 2002 that critics define as torture. Mueller said the FBI does not use coercive techniques when questioning suspects or witnesses, and he reportedly pulled his agents out of CIA or military interrogations several years ago to protect them from legal consequences.

FBI chief testifies he warned DOJ, DOD harsh interrogation tactics may be illegal 23 Apr 2008 FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the US House Judiciary Committee Wednesday that he had advised officials at the Departments of Justice and Defense that some interrogation tactics employed against terror suspects might be illegal. Mueller said that the FBI had first raised concerns about the use of harsh interrogation methods in 2002, when CIA interrogators used waterboarding with several alleged 'al Qaeda' leaders, but declined to say how other agencies had reacted to FBI concerns.

Israelis Claim Secret Agreement With U.S. 24 Apr 2008 A letter that President [sic] Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office. Ehud Olmert, the current Israeli prime minister, said this week that Bush's letter gave the Jewish state permission to expand the West Bank settlements that it hopes to retain in a final peace deal, even though Bush's peace plan officially calls for a freeze of Israeli settlements across Palestinian territories on the West Bank.

Lawmaker: Syrian reactor was a 'proliferation' threat 24 Apr 2008 The Syrian nuclear reactor allegedly built with North Korean design help and destroyed last year by Israeli jets was within weeks or months of being functional, a top U.S. official said Thursday. The facility was mostly completed but still needed significant testing before it could be declared operational, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Syria denies U.S. accusation over nuclear reactor 24 Apr 2008 Syria on Thursday dismissed U.S. accusations that North Korea was helping it build a nuclear reactor that could produce plutonium. Syria's ambassador to Britain, Sami al-Khiyami, told Reuters that the accusation, which President [sic] George W. Bush's administration was expected to lay out to lawmakers on Thursday, was to put pressure on North Korea in talks about Pyongyang's nuclear program.

Petraeus Promotion Frees Cheney to Threaten Iran By Gareth Porter 23 Apr 2008 The nomination of Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] to be the new head of the Central Command not only ensures that he will be available to defend the George W. Bush administration's policies toward Iran and Iraq at least through the end of Bush's term and possibly even beyond. It also gives Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney greater freedom of action to exploit the option of an air attack against Iran during the administration's final months.

The military "is really ticked off." U.S. angry as Pakistan seeks peace deal with Islamists 23 Apr 2008 Pakistan's new government is negotiating a peace deal with militants in the Taliban-controlled Waziristan region, the rugged mountainous area that's thought to be Osama bin Laden's refuge. The move reflects the changing approach of America's longtime ally in the war on [of] terror, and news of the talks set off alarm bells in Washington Wednesday. The military "is really ticked off," said a State Department official, who added that U.S. entreaties to the Pakistani military to keep the heat on Islamic extremists "seems to be falling on deaf ears."

Ecuador's Leader Purges Military and Moves to Expel American Base 21 Apr 2008 Chafing at ties between American intelligence agencies and Ecuadorean military officials, President Rafael Correa is purging the armed forces of top commanders and pressing ahead with plans to cast out more than 100 members of the American military from an air base here in this coastal city. Mr. Correa -- who this month dismissed his defense minister, army chief of intelligence and commanders of the army, air force and joint chiefs -- said that Ecuador’s intelligence systems were "totally infiltrated and subjugated to the C.I.A." He accused senior military officials of sharing intelligence with Colombia, the Bush regime’s top ally in Latin America.

What the Family Would Let You See, the Pentagon Obstructs By Dana Milbank 24 Apr 2008 Lt. Col. Billy Hall, one of the most senior officers to be killed in the Iraq war, was laid to rest yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. It's hard to escape the conclusion that the Pentagon doesn't want you to know that. The family of 38-year-old Hall... gave their permission for the media to cover his Arlington burial -- a decision many grieving families make so that the nation will learn about their loved ones' sacrifice. But the military had other ideas, and they arranged the Marine's burial yesterday so that no sound, and few images, would make it into the public domain.

Britain indicates no Iraq withdrawals for some time 24 Apr 2008 Defence Secretary Des Browne said Thursday it would be some time before the number of British troops in Iraq was reduced. Britain said last October it hoped to cut numbers from around 4,000 to 2,500 in the first few months of this year. But at the start of this month, Browne confirmed that any reduction was being delayed amid recent unrest around Basra, southern Iraq, where most British troops are stationed.

US military says not holding Saddam's deputy 23 Apr 2008 The US military on Wednesday denied reports it is holding Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, the number two under Saddam Hussein.

3 US soldiers killed in vehicle accidents in Iraq, Kuwait 24 Apr 2008 The U.S. military says two of its soldiers in Iraq died when their vehicle rolled onto its side north of Baghdad. A third American soldier died in a road accident in neighboring Kuwait. The cause of both crashes were under investigation.

VA plans calls to 570,000 Iraq, Afghanistan vets 24 Apr 2008 The Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday that on May 1 it will start calling 570,000 recent combat veterans to make sure they know what services are available to them. The first calls will go to about 17,000 veterans who were sick or injured while serving in the wars.

Senator: VA lying about number of veteran suicides 23 Apr 2008 The Veterans Administration has lied about the number of veterans who've attempted suicide, a senator charged Wednesday, citing internal e-mails that put the number at 12,000 a year when the department was publicly saying it was fewer than 800. "The suicide rate is a red-alarm bell to all of us," said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Depleted uranium to remain in Hawaii --Heavy metal at firing range poses no health risk, Army claims 24 Apr 2008 The Army plans to leave in place depleted uranium discovered in 2005 at a Schofield Barracks firing range from a Cold War weapon that could fire a nuclear warhead, saying it poses no health risk. [Since there's no health risk, why not store it at the White House?]

Straight out of Kafka: Federal prosecutors to seek third trial in Sears Tower terror case 23 Apr 2008 Federal prosecutors said at a hearing Wednesday that they would press for a third terrorism prosecution of six men charged with conspiring to bomb the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI headquarters in Miami after two previous prosecutions ended in mistrials.

Judge Rejects Bush Administration's 'State Secrets' Claim; Says FBI and Department of Homeland Security Must Reveal 'Watchlist' Status for Americans Seeking End to Unnecessary, Unlawful Border Stops 23 Apr 2008 In a case challenging repeated, lengthy and abusive border stops of American citizens upon their return to the United States after traveling abroad, a federal magistrate judge in Chicago has ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to disclose to the named plaintiffs whether or not their names appear on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). In making his ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier rejected the Bush Administration's assertion of a "state secrets" privilege. Under the order made public for the first time last week, the government must produce documents indicating whether the ten named plaintiffs in the case, including lead plaintiff Akif Rahman of suburban Chicago, are listed on the TSDB.

House GOP Candidate Spoke At Hitler Event 23 Apr 2008 A congressional candidate is defending his speech to Nazis celebrating the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth, saying he appeared simply because he was asked. Tony Zirkle, who is seeking the Republican nomination in northern Indiana's 2nd District, stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background for the speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party in Chicago on Sunday.

McCain opposes equal pay bill in Senate 24 Apr 2008 Republican Sen. Insane McCain, campaigning through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said Wednesday he opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits. Senate Republicans killed the bill on a 56-42 vote Wednesday night.

Jenna Bush: I may not support McCain 24 Apr 2008 Speaking on 'Larry King Live' last night, first daughter Jenna Bush, who appeared alongside first lady Laura Bush, confessed that she's not sure if she'll vote for the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Sen. John McCain, and even left open the possibility that she'd support either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Feds: Witness says Rezko tried to oust Fitzgerald --U.S.: Fundraiser said he could call in Rove to fire prosecutor 24 Apr 2008 In the midst of a corruption trial, prosecutors alleged that political insiders in Washington and Illinois claimed to be working to choke off a criminal investigation launched by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald. At the trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, prosecutors revealed Wednesday that former Rezko confidant Ali Ata was prepared to testify that Rezko told him in November 2004 of a plan to pull strings with then- White House political director Karl Rove to have Fitzgerald fired. Prosecutors also sought to add the testimony of another admitted schemer suggesting that two of the state's most powerful Republican operatives wanted to take the heat off Rezko by dumping the hard-charging prosecutor.

Rezko friend: Rove was asked to dump Fitzgerald 23 Apr 2008 As a federal probe into Gov. Blagojevich's administration heated up in late 2004, there were discussions between GOP powerbroker Robert Kjellander and Bush White House insider Karl Rove to oust corruption-busting U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald from his job, according to a man whom prosecutors want to testify at Tony Rezko’s trial.

Students miss class to see Obama, get suspended 24 Apr 2008 High school students Colin Saltry and Joey Daniel, from Scranton, Pennsylvania, say they skipped gym class on Monday to go to a diner where presidential contender Barack Obama was making an impromptu stop. The pair met Obama, and they say he even signed excuse slips for them to show their teachers. Saltry and Daniel, however, got one-day suspensions for leaving school grounds, and Saltry has been ordered to resign as senior class president. [Schools in Bushland are KBR detention camps.]

North Carolina Republicans Use Wright Controversy In New Ad 23 Apr 2008 North Carolina Republicans Nazis have unveiled an ad labeling Barack Obama "too extreme" for the state – and hammering two Democratic gubernatorial candidates for endorsing him.

Barack Obama still takes in oil money 23 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama continued accepting donations from oil company executives and employees last month even as he aired ads in which he stated he took no oil company money, his campaign finance reports show. Obama has taken at least $263,000 from oil company executives, family members and employees since entering the presidential race last year, including $46,000 last month.

Fresh Off Pennsylvania Victory, Clinton Raises Millions, Mostly Online 24 Apr 2008 Senator Hillary Clinton’s fund-raising roared to life on Wednesday, with her campaign collecting $10 million in the hours after she won the Pennsylvania primary, and the fresh infusion of cash immediately went to helping her mount a vigorous fight in Indiana, the next primary state.

US Appeals Court: Former EPA Chief Not Liable in 9/11 NY Air Pollution Case 22 Apr 2008 Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman cannot be held liable for telling residents near the World Trade Center site that the air was safe to breathe after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court said Tuesday. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Whitman's comments reassuring people about the safety around the site apparently were based on conflicting information and reassurances by the [lying sack of sh*t occupying the] White House.

California's patience running on empty over proposed U.S. fuel rules 24 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush's popularity may have sunk to a new low this week in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office as it discovered the language deep within new federal fuel economy standards released on Earth Day. The Bush administration proposed blocking California from imposing its stricter vehicle regulations, which the state believes are necessary to reach its environmental goals. Mary Nichols, one of Schwarzenegger's top environmental appointees, convened a Capitol press conference Wednesday to call the federal proposal "insidious," adding that it was "frankly beyond even what we had thought possible from this administration."

$100 fill-ups arrive at gas pumps 23 Apr 2008 The $100 fill-up has arrived in the United States. The national average for regular unleaded is $3.53 and rising daily. The national average for regular unleaded is $3.53 and rising daily. Last year at this time, it was $2.86 per gallon.

Shops ration sales of rice as US buyers panic --Restaurants stockpile to guard against soaring cost 24 Apr 2008 The [agri-terrorists' ] global food crisis reached the United States yesterday as big retailers began to ration sales of rice in response to bulk purchases by customers alarmed by rocketing prices of staples. Wal-Mart's cash and carry division, Sam's Club, announced it would sell a maximum of four bags of rice per person to prevent supplies from running short.

Endangered San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat's Habitat Slashed by Feds: Diminutive Animal Hops Closer to Extinction 16 Apr 2008 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed a dramatic reduction in habitat designated as critical for the survival of the charismatic and declining San Bernardino kangaroo rat. The proposal would designate a total of only 10,658 acres of habitat, a 68-percent reduction from the current designation of 33,295 acres. "The Bush administration continues its relentless attack on endangered species," said Ileene Anderson, biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. "Discarding 68 percent of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat’s habitat will only speed up this charming little animal’s slide to extinction."

Help End a Bear Poaching Plague (Defenders of Wildlife) 21 Apr 2008 America's bears are facing a poaching plague. Increasing demand for traditional medicines using bear parts like gallbladders is fueling a lucrative black market -- and poachers are targeting bears in the U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva (AZ) and John Campbell (CA) have introduced legislation that will help bears by banning the trade in gallbladders at the federal level. The Bear Protection Act will end a patchwork of state laws that create an enforcement nightmare and allows the illegal killing of bears to continue. Tell your Representative to become a cosponsor of the Bear Protection Act today.

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GOP heavyweights reportedly tried to oust Fitzgerald --U.S. attorney allegedly targeted by Karl Rove, Bob Kjellander 23 Apr 2008 In a bombshell disclosure before testimony began Wednesday morning in the Antoin "Tony" Rezko trial, a federal prosecutor said a former Rezko confidant was prepared to say that another friend of Rezko was trying to pull strings with White House political director Karl Rove to fire U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and kill his investigation into Rezko. Assistant U.S. Atty. Carrie Hamilton said Ali Ata [a former official in the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D] would testify to conversations he had with Rezko in 2004 about the power play... Before the jury was brought into the courtroom Wednesday, Hamilton told U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve that Republican National Committeeman Robert Kjellander was working with Rove "to have Fitzgerald removed."

Talk of firing the U.S. attorney told at Rezko trial 23 Apr 2008 A government witness claims political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko discussed efforts among high-ranking Republicans, including Karl Rove, to have Chicago's U.S. attorney [Patrick Fitzgerald] fired, a federal prosecutor said Wednesday.

Iraqi oil windfall: $70 billion for year --U.S. has given $48 billion for Iraq 'reconstruction' projects 23 Apr 2008 New data on Iraq oil revenues suggests that country's government will reap an even larger than expected windfall this year -- as much as $70 billion -- according to the special U.S. auditor for Iraq. New figures from Iraq's government show revenue from exports hit $5.83 billion in December -- more than $1 billion over what was previously reported by the government, said Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, in an interview with The Associated Press. The new figures also come as Bowen prepares to release the latest of his quarterly reports, in which he audits a $48 billion U.S. reconstruction program giveaway to Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies.

Gen. Petraeus Promoted to Lead Central Command --His New Post Makes Him Responsible for Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East 23 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush will nominate Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] to take over as the commander of Central Command, giving him overall responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Middle East. To replace Petraeus in Iraq, the president will nominate Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who returned from Iraq two months ago, where he served as Petraeus' deputy.

Turkish jets bomb PKK targets in N. Iraq- source 23 Apr 2008 At least four Turkish military jets bombed Kurdish separatist targets inside northern Iraq on Wednesday, a Turkish military source said. The bombing, which lasted approximately 30 minutes, occurred between 1300 and 1400 GMT, the source said.

Car bomb kills three US marines in Iraq 23 Apr 2008 Two separate bomb attacks have killed three US marines in Iraq, including two near the western city of Ramadi and one in the southern port city of Basra, the American military said.

5 US troops killed in Iraq 22 Apr 2008 The US military on Tuesday announced the deaths of five troops in a series of bombings as a female suicide bomber killed six Iraqis, including five policemen, north of Baghdad.

U.S. military says kills 15 gunmen in Baghdad 23 Apr 2008 U.S. troops said on Wednesday they killed 15 gunmen overnight in Shi'ite areas of Baghdad where fighting has raged for weeks between militiamen loyal to Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and security forces.

Suicide attack kills, injures 5 policemen in S Afghanistan 23 Apr 2008 A suicide attack on Wednesday morning targets police chief of Gereshk district of southern Afghanistan's Helmand province leaving two policemen dead and three others wounded, said an official.

Climate change 'may put world at war' 23 Apr 2008 Climate change could cause global conflicts as large as the two world wars but lasting for centuries unless the problem is controlled, a leading defence think tank [Royal United Services Institute] has warned.

Current time most dangerous in 40 years, says U.S. military chief 22 Apr 2008 Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told noncommissioned officers Tuesday this is the most dangerous period he has seen in his more than 40 years in uniform.

Olmert: Iran 'not as close as it pretends' to nuclear capability 22 Apr 2008 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that that Iran is "not as close as it pretends" to developing nuclear weapons. Olmert, speaking to Israel Radio, also said he believes that international diplomatic pressure on Iran will in the end keep Tehran from attaining nuclear weapons, and that a military confrontation over the issue will not be necessary. "There is a possibility of bringing about a situation in which Iran is 'non-nuclear' without a military operation." Olmert said he believes "that continuing the diplomatic efforts to which Israel is a partner, will in the end, attain the goal, and that there is no need to latch onto all sorts of apocalyptic prophecies which have no basis in reality."

Israel willing to give up Golan: Syrian minister 23 Apr 2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has told Turkey that Israel is willing to give back Syria's Golan Heights in return for peace with the Arab state, a Syrian cabinet minister said on Wednesday.

Carter says US Secretary Rice "not telling truth" 23 Apr 2008 Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Wednesday accused Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of not telling the truth about warnings she said her department gave Carter not to speak to Hamas before a Middle East trip.

Blackwater Finds New Home In South Bay 22 Apr 2008 (CA) Military security contractor Blackwater Worldwide is not giving up on a training facility in San Diego County, according to company officials. The company is planning to open an indoor facility in Otay Mesa. It would be housed in a 61,600-square-foot building [which needs to go bye-bye] on Siempre Viva Road, just south of Brown Field.

'Participants spent much of their time in a local doughnut shop.' The incredible shrinking terror case 16 Apr 2008 Once labelled Canada's first homegrown Islamist terror plot, the case of the so-called Toronto 18 is quietly melting away. With yesterday's decision to stay charges against four more of those that it had once labelled dangerous terrorists, the federal government is now admitting that it never had a serious case against almost half of the men and youths charged two years ago... The alleged terror training camp turned out to be a hapless adventure in the rain, one where participants spent much of their time in a local doughnut shop and where the ammunition for target practice was apparently provided by one of two paid RCMP informers.

Police 'have foiled 15 terror plots since 7/7' 23 Apr 2008 Fifteen terrorist plots have been foiled in the three years since the London bombings, police chiefs have disclosed as they called for an extension to the time limit that suspects can be held without charge. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told MPs that because of the escalating threat, officers needed more time to detain terror suspects...

UB art professor Steven Kurtz cleared of federal charges --Use of bacteria in work led to terrorism probe 22 Apr 2008 For the first time in four years, setting off a government investigation into whether he was a terrorist because of the bacteria he kept for his artwork, Steven J. Kurtz is finally free of federal charges. Kurtz, the University at Buffalo art professor and co-founder of the Critical Art Ensemble, saw a federal judge dismiss the government charges Monday as "insufficient on its face."

Laser pointers banned after attacks 21 Apr 2008 A major Australian state has banned laser pointers after a spate of incidents in which aircraft pilots have been temporarily blinded, the government said on Monday. High-powered hand lasers, including so-called "star pointers" used by astronomers, would be listed as prohibited weapons in New South Wales state with jail terms of up to 14 years for anyone carrying them without a permit.

Supreme Court broadens police searches 23 Apr 2008 The Supreme Court offered unanimous support for police Wednesday by allowing drug evidence gathered after an arrest that violated state law to be used at trial, an important search-and-seizure case turning on the constitutional limits of "probable cause."

Holy police state, Batman! Supreme Court says police may search even if arrest invalid 23 Apr 2008 The Supreme Court affirmed Wednesday that police have the power to conduct searches and seize evidence, even when done during an arrest that turns out to have violated state law. The unanimous decision comes in a case from Portsmouth, Va., where city detectives seized crack cocaine from a motorist after arresting him for a traffic ticket offense.

'The Capitalist model is in crisis.' Chavez says food prices "massacre" of world's poor 23 Apr 2008 Soaring food prices are a "massacre" of the world's poor and are creating a global nutritional crisis, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday, calling it a sign that capitalism is in decline. "It is a true massacre what is happening in the world," Chavez said in a televised speech. "The problem is not the production of food ... it is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis."

World Food Program warns of 'silent tsunami' of hunger 23 Apr 2008 Ration cards. Genetically modified crops. The end of pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap supermarkets. These possible solutions to the first global food crisis since World War II are complex and controversial. [Right, because they are *not* solutions - they are Monsanto and Blackwater's wet dreams! A phony food shortage is the only way Monsanto can force upon us its deadly, outlawed GMO crops - subsidized by US taxpayers, privatized water supplies, and Bush's Waffen SS - Blackwater - to protect it all. Bush has been foaming at the mouth to declare martial law for 7+ years. Screw that! We'll do revolution, first. --LRP]

Wal-Mart's Sam's Club limits rice purchases 23 Apr 2008 Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Sam's Club warehouse division said on Wednesday it is limiting sales of several types of rice, the latest sign that fears of a rice shortage are rippling around the world. [Boycott Wal-Mart and Sam's Club. I am not allowed to call for anything worse, but think worse.]

EPA scientists complain about political pressure 23 Apr 2008 Hundreds of Environmental Protection Agency scientists say they have been pressured by superiors to skew their findings, according to a survey released Wednesday by an advocacy group [Union of Concerned Scientists].

McCain Helped Ord Land Deal 23 Apr 2008 Sen. John McCain helped an Arizona developer resolve his water issues in a Fort Ord property purchase, according to Monterey County court documents. The presumptive Republican presidential candidate also sent a dazzling letter of recommendation to Seaside city officials when developer Donald Diamond submitted his bid to develop the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses. McCain's assistance came to light in a New York Times front-page story Tuesday, thrusting Seaside's real estate machinations with Fort Ord into the national campaign spotlight.

Dems Fight On, Clinton Wins PA Primary By 10 Points --Despite Delegate Lead, Obama Can't Seem to Lock Up Democratic Nomination 23 Apr 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has won the Pennsylvania primary vote as expected with a decisive 10-point win. "We were up against a formidable opponent who outspent us 3-1... trying to knock us out of the race," Clinton said of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. "Well the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas today."

The Same Old Story: Discrediting Hillary By Stephen Schlesinger 23 Apr 2008 Here we go again. Stomp on Hillary for winning. Last night Hillary Clinton picked up the sixth big state out of the seven the Democrats need to win the fall presidential contest. Obama has only won one big state, Illinois -- and that is it. She has won California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas and now Pennsylvania (and, yes, Florida and Michigan). Yet in today's newspapers and partisan websites, the critics are downplaying Clinton's victory (even her erstwhile supporter the New York Times criticizes her in its lead editorial for running a dirty campaign), dismissing any triumph as meaningless because of Obama's lead in elected delegates, and suggest once again that she drop out so she does not further hurt the inevitable nominee, Barack Obama.

McCain picks failing Ohio factory to laud free trade 22 Apr 2008 Standing before a nearly shuttered factory pocked with broken windows in a city devastated by the erosion of its industrial base, John McCain on Tuesday urged Americans to reject the "siren song of protectionism" and embrace free trade.

McCain extols free trade as answer to loss of jobs in US 22 Apr 2008 Republican Insane McCain made a risky argument in a hard-hit Ohio steel town yesterday, telling residents that free trade can help solve their problems. That is a tough sell in communities that have hemorrhaged jobs as manufacturing moved overseas and cheap imports flooded the market. But McCain insisted that free trade is the solution and not the cause.

Blair 'caught riding without a ticket' 23 Apr 2008 Former prime minister Tony Blair was left red-faced when he was caught travelling on a train without a ticket and said he had no cash to pay the fare, a report said on Wednesday. Blair, who has earned around 500,000 pounds on the speaking circuit since leaving office in June, was confronted by a ticket inspector as he travelled to Heathrow airport to catch a flight to the United States on Monday, the Daily Mail newspaper reported.

City Governments Feel Crunch of High Fuel Prices 22 Apr 2008 Some local governments said high fuel prices may start hitting Connecticut residents in the services they get at homes and in their taxes. Officials said residents cannot only expect an increase in taxes, but they will likely also pay more for less.

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Hillary Clinton wins Pennsylvania primary 23 Apr 2008 A defiant Hillary Clinton signalled today she is staying in the Democratic race for the long haul after beating Barack Obama in the key Pennsylvania primary. Speaking at a victory party in Philadelphia, she vowed to fight on, in spite of Obama holding an almost unassailable lead overall.

Clinton wins at least 28 delegates in Pennsylvania primary 22 Apr 2008 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cut into Sen. Barack Obama's delegate lead in early returns from Pennsylvania's Democratic primary. Clinton won at least 28 delegates to the party's national convention, with 130 still to be awarded, according to an analysis of election returns by The Associated Press.

PA exit polls: Whites, blue-collar voters stick with Clinton 22 Apr 2008 Working-class white voters were rallying around Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday as she fought to keep her candidacy alive in Pennsylvania's presidential primary. Barack Obama was winning among Democrats who had newly flocked to the party for the day's showdown.

Prisoners allege forced drugging during US interrogations 22 Apr 2008 At least two dozen former and current detainees have alleged that they were either forcibly administered drugs or witnessed the forceful administration of drugs on other prisoners while in US custody, the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The detainees, held at Guantanamo Bay and other sites, said in interviews and court documents that they did not know what drugs they were given, but that they believed they were intended to make prisoners more pliant during interrogation.

'I said, 'Let me go. I want to go to sleep. If it takes saying I'm a member of al-Qaeda, I will.' ' Detainees Allege Being Drugged, Interrogated --2003 Justice Department memo explicitly condoned the use of drugs on prisoners 22 Apr 2008 Adel al-Nusairi remembers his first six months at Guantanamo Bay as this: hours and hours of questions, but first, a needle... Nusairi, now free in Saudi Arabia, was unable to learn what drugs were injected before his interrogations. He is not alone in wondering: At least two dozen other former and current prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere say they were given drugs against their will or witnessed other inmates being drugged, based on interviews and court documents.

Amnesty unveils shock 'waterboarding' film --Campaign to persuade the US to abandon the practice – a form of torture used as long ago as the Spanish Inquisition [and revived by Bush]. 22 Apr 2008 An American expert in torture techniques has denounced his government for allowing "waterboarding" to be practised against terror suspects, just as a graphic advertisement showing the brutal reality of the technique is unveiled to British cinema-goers. Malcolm Nance, who trained hundreds of US servicemen and women to resist interrogation by putting them through "waterboarding" exercises, demanded an immediate end to the practice by all US personnel. He said: "They seem to think it is worth throwing the honour of 220 years of American decency in war out of the window. Waterboarding is out-and-out torture, and I'm deeply ashamed President [sic] Bush has authorised its use and dragged the US's reputation into the mud."

Tough-talking Clinton vows to 'obliterate' Iran if it ever dares to attack US ally Israel 23 Apr 2008 As Pennsylvania went to the polls yesterday, Hillary Clinton sought to burnish her reputation as a hawk by warning Iran that as president she was prepared to "obliterate" the country, should it launch a nuclear attack against Israel. "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran [if it attacks Israel]," Mrs Clinton said in an interview with the ABC network.

U.S.: Iran "Hell-Bent" On Acquiring Nuclear Weapons 21 Apr 2008 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Monday that Iran is "hell bent" on acquiring nuclear weapons, but he strongly warned of the consequences of going to war over that issue. Delivering a speech to the Corps of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, Gates said, "Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need and, in fact, I believe it would be disastrous on a number of levels."

Car bomb kills 2 U.S. Marines in Iraq 22 Apr 2008 A suicide bomber detonated his vehicle Tuesday at a checkpoint near the western city of Ramadi, killing two U.S. Marines and wounding three others, the military said. One civilian also died and two dozen other people were wounded in the 7:30 a.m. blast, the latest in a string of recent attacks that appear to have been carried out by al-Qaeda Blackwater in Iraq.

RAF destroys £10m spy plane in Afghanistan 23 Apr 2008 The RAF deliberately blew up one of its own £10 million spy planes after it crash landed over Taliban territory in Afghanistan. Faced with the prospect of the technology falling into enemy hands, commanders immediately despatched an elite unit to remove "sensitive items" from the unmanned Reaper spy drone.

Two Indian road workers abducted in Afghanistan 23 Apr 2008 Two Indian road workers have been abducted in Afghanistan's western province of Herat, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. It said the pair and their driver were seized by unknown people [Blackwater mercenaries] in the Adraskan district of Herat on Monday evening.

DOD data: More forced to stay in Army 22 Apr 2008 The Army has accelerated its policy of involuntary extensions of duty to bolster its troop levels, despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates' order last year to limit it, Pentagon records show. The trend is alarming, said Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who wrote a letter on April 17 to Gates urging him "in the strongest terms" to limit stop loss. [See: Double number of ex-cons join the US army --Sex offenders, child abusers, arsonists, terrorists and thieves serving in US army 22 Apr 2008.]

Democrats seek resignation of top VA mental health official 22 Apr 2008 Two Democratic senators on Tuesday called for the chief mental health official of the Veterans Affairs Department to resign, saying he tried to cover up the rising number of veteran suicides. Sens. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington state said Dr. Ira Katz, the VA's mental health director, withheld crucial information on the true suicide risk among veterans.

'The system is in crisis and unfortunately the VA is in denial.' VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-Mails Show 21 Apr 2008 (CBS News) The Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire again Monday, this time in California federal court where its facing a national lawsuit by veterans rights groups accusing the agency of not doing enough to stem a looming mental health crisis among veterans. As part of the lawsuit, internal e-mails raise questions as to whether top officials deliberately deceived the American public about the number of veterans attempting and committing suicide.

Rice says Carter was warned against meeting with Hamas 22 Apr 2008 Secretary of State [war criminal] Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the Bush administration explicitly warned former President Jimmy Carter against meeting with members of Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip and which is regarded by the U.S. as a terror group.

Hamas says it's willing to accept Gaza Strip cease-fire 22 Apr 2008 Hamas has softened its position and is willing to accept a cease-fire in just the Gaza Strip, dropping a demand that the truce immediately include the West Bank, the group's senior representatives said Tuesday. The move marked a significant concession by Hamas as Egyptian mediators try to halt fighting between Palestinian militants and the Israeli army in Gaza.

American accused of giving nuclear secrets to Israel 22 Apr 2008 U.S. authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday [Ben-Ami Kadish, a Connecticut-born U.S. citizen] on suspicion of giving secrets on nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said.

Border Patrol "spot checks" on ferries provoke outrage in San Juan Islands --Terms like "police state" are hurled around, as they say searches are illegal, unconstitutional 22 Apr 2008 (Friday Harbor, San Juan County, WA) A couple of months ago, the U.S. Border Patrol began occasional "spot checks" of every vehicle and passenger arriving in Anacortes off state ferries, the lifeline between these islands and the mainland. For a vocal and active faction, the federal agents' aggressive questioning and demands for identification have spurred outrage.

$20 million for Boeing revealed as just another Bush blow job: Virtual fence on Mexican border to be replaced 22 Apr 2008 The government will replace its highly touted "virtual fence" on the Arizona-Mexico border with new towers, radars, cameras and computer software, scrapping the brand-new $20 million system because it doesn't work sufficiently, officials said. The move comes just two months after Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff officially accepted the completed fence from The Boeing Co. With the decision, Customs and Border Protection officials are acknowledging that the so-called Project 28 pilot program to detect illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border doesn't work well enough to keep or to continue tweaking.

'Supply Scare' Sends Oil Toward $120 22 Apr 2008 Oil was flirting with $120 on Tuesday, driven by a familiar theme: overseas supply concerns. By late afternoon, light sweet crude for May delivery was up 13 cents to $119.50 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after a Royal Dutch Shell joint venture said it may have to cut deliveries in April and May after a 'pipeline attack in Nigeria.' [See: Exxon-Mobil Makes $75,000 a Minute By Young Turks 26 Jan 2008 In the midst of record profits for oil companies we are giving them a $14 billion subsidy.]

Bush makes push for NAFTA 22 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush has replied to criticism from Democratic presidential candidates and says that now is not the time to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or to walk away from the accord. He also used a joint news conference with Mexican President [sic - he was not elected, either] Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to renew his call for Congress to pass a free-trade pact with Colombia.

Disapproval of Bush breaks record 22 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush has set a record he'd presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll. In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove.

Former Justice Dept. official to admit to taking gifts in Abramoff case 21 Apr 2008 A former senior Justice Department official is expected to appear in court Tuesday to face charges that he helped and accepted gifts from a key associate of convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Prosecutors filed court papers Monday against Robert E. Coughlin II, the former deputy chief of staff of the department's criminal division, signaling that Coughlin has agreed to plead guilty.

A Developer, His Deals and His Ties to McCain 22 Apr 2008 Donald R. Diamond, a wealthy Arizona real estate developer, was racing to snap up a stretch of virgin California coast freed by the closing of an Army base a decade ago when he turned to an old friend, Senator John McCain... In California, the McCain aide’s assistance with the Army helped Mr. Diamond complete a purchase in 1999 that he soon turned over for a $20 million profit. And Mr. McCain’s letter of recommendation reinforced Mr. Diamond’s selling point about his McCain connections as he pursued -- and won in 2005 -- a potentially much more lucrative deal to develop a resort hotel and luxury housing.

On Eve of Primary, Clinton Ad Invokes bin Laden 22 Apr 2008 The six-week Pennsylvania primary drew to a contentious finish Monday as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked images of Pearl Harbor and Osama bin Laden in a television advertisement that questioned Senator Barack Obama’s ability to lead in a crisis.

Fact is Obama's risky --Even Mass. Democrats starting to take notice By Michael Graham 22 Apr 2008 While Hillary Clinton soundly beats McCain in Massachusetts in the new SurveyUSA poll, 56 percent to 41 percent, the Obama/McCain number is 48 percent to 46 percent, well within the margin of error. A Democrat struggling here in 2008? An unpopular war, a collapsing housing market and $4 gas - if Britney Spears were running as a Democrat, she’d pull at least 50 percent of the Massachusetts vote.

Clinton's campaign coffers running dry, Obama's bulging 21 Apr 2008 Hillary Clinton's latest campaign finance report to the Federal Election Commission shows a fat bank balance of $31.7 million as of March 31, but less than $9 million is available for the final string of primary elections that begin Tuesday in Pennsylvania. Her Democratic rival Barack Obama raked in nearly five times more cash, according to the monthly reports filed late Sunday. The tally explains why he's been able to outspend Clinton in Pennsylvania by a wide margin.

Murdoch, Newsday close to deal 22 Apr 2008 Newsday's parent company is near an agreement to sell the Long Island paper to New York Post owner Rupert Murdoch for $580 million, according to a source familiar with the negotiations and to a published report.

In change, industry groups back downer cow ban 22 Apr 2008 In a significant reversal, major meat and dairy industry groups on Tuesday backed a total ban on so-called downer cattle from entering the food supply. Calls for such a ban have come from watchdog groups and some lawmakers in the wake of the massive beef recall from a Southern California slaughterhouse in February, but industry had resisted.

Existing home sales fell 2 percent in March 22 Apr 2008 The pace of existing home sales in the United States fell two percent in March to a 4.93 million-unit annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday in a report that showed the U.S. housing market continues to struggle.

LA train agency rolls out cleaner locomotive for Earth Day 22 Apr 2008 A Los Angeles County commuter train service used Earth Day to roll out its cleanest locomotive. Metrolink says the diesel-electric hauler introduced Tuesday in Los Angeles is the first of 15 that will go into service over the next year.

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Double number of ex-cons join the US army --Sex offenders, child abusers, arsonists, terrorists and thieves serving in US army 22 Apr 2008 The US army doubled its use of "moral waivers" for enlisted soldiers last year to cope with the demands of the Iraq war, allowing sex offenders, people convicted of making terrorist threats, and child abusers into the military, new records released yesterday showed. The army gave out 511 moral waivers to soldiers with felony convictions last year. Criminals got 249 army waivers in 2006, a sign that the demand for US forces in Iraq has forced a sharp increase in the number of criminals allowed on the battlefield [not to mention the criminal allowed in the White House, the Commander in Thief]. The felons accepted into the army and marines included 87 soldiers convicted of assault or maiming, 130 convicted of non-cannabis-related drug offences, seven convicted of making terrorist threats, and two convicted of indecent behaviour with a child. Waivers were also granted to 500 burglars and thieves, 19 arsonists and nine sex offenders.

More convicted felons allowed to enlist in Army, Marines --Marines recruited felons with manslaughter and sex crime convictions 21 Apr 2008 Under pressure to meet combat needs, the Army and Marine Corps brought in significantly more recruits with felony convictions last year than in 2006, including some with manslaughter and sex crime convictions.

General: Army needs 'stop-loss' until late 2009 21 Apr 2008 It will be more than a year before the Army can end the unpopular [illegal] practice of forcing soldiers to stay in the service beyond their retirement or re-enlistment dates, a top official said Monday. Lt. Gen. James D. Thurman, deputy chief of staff for operations, also said that as officials continue to increase the size of the Army [yup, swelling the ranks with lots more rapists, pedophiles, arsonists and terrorists], it could be possible by the fall of 2011 for troops to be home two years for every year they are deployed.

Shiite party denies mortar strike on HQ 22 Apr 2008 A senior official [Haitham al-Husseini] at the Baghdad headquarters of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council has denied that a missile or mortar struck the compound. The Council is the biggest Shiite group in the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Earlier, a party official said a rocket struck the compound in the central Karrada neighbourhood, hurting no one.

Female suicide bomber kills four in Iraq 21 Apr 2008 A female suicide bomber in northern Iraq killed three pro-American [bought] Sunni fighters and a civilian Monday, and fighting in east Baghdad left at least nine suspected Shiite fighters dead. The bomber set off her explosives in Baqubah outside the offices of the Sons of Iraq, Sunni Muslim paramilitary groups allied with the U.S. Army, said a Sons of Iraq commander in Diyala province.

Roadside bomb kills soldier in Afghanistan 22 Apr 2008 A British soldier was killed in south Afghanistan yesterday when his vehicle was hit by a suspected mine, the Ministry of Defence said. A second soldier was injured in the blast and was receiving treatment at Camp Bastion.

Italy joins EU drive for more Iran sanctions 22 Apr 2008 Italy is expected to join a European Union consensus on Iran's nuclear program, after dropping earlier objections last week, possibly paving the way for new sanctions, a government official in Jerusalem said.

Hamas accepts two-state idea, says Carter --Referendum might let it live with 1967 boundaries --Gaza spokesman throws doubt on new hope 22 Apr 2008 The former US president Jimmy Carter said yesterday that the leaders of the Islamist movement Hamas would accept a two-state peace agreement with Israel as long as it was approved by a Palestinian referendum or a newly elected government. Carter - who spoke in Jerusalem after meetings with Hamas figures in the West Bank, Cairo and Damascus - said they had told him they would support the results of a referendum or election on a final status peace agreement negotiated by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, even if Hamas itself opposed the agreement.

'There was a snafu and all was lost.' Torture victim's records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general --No evidence of al-Qaida suspect's interrogation --CCTV automatically recorded over tapes 21 Apr 2008 The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an 'al-Qaida' suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers. Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared. The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up. Saudi-born al-Qahtani was sexually taunted, forced to perform dog tricks and given enemas at Guantánamo.

'Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him.' US General 'duped' over Guantanamo Bay 21 Apr 2008 Richard Myers, the former head of America's armed forces, has suggested he was duped into approving harsh interrogations at Guantanamo Bay detention centre and blamed "intrigue" among his political bosses. In a new book British lawyer Phillipe Sands said Gen Myers, now retired, appeared shocked when he saw a controversial 2002 legal memo that authorised widely-criticised techniques including waterboarding, or simulated drowning of detainees. Mr Sands, a QC, said Myers was "hoodwinked" by then Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and a legal team headed by White House lawyer Jim Haynes. "As we worked through the list of techniques, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled," Sands writes in Torture Team. "Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him."

S. Carolina considers special prisons, funded by Homeland Security 21 Apr 2008 South Carolina sheriffs back a plan to build three regional prisons in the state to hold illegal immigrants [hmm... others, too?] as they await deportation. The current plan calls for the three prisons to hold up to 400 inmates each. State prison officials will run the facilities, which will be paid for through a program with the federal Department of Homeland Security.

MPs to rebel over 42-day terror detention limit 21 Apr 2008 More than 50 Labour MPs are preparing to block Home Office plans to detain terrorist suspects for up to 42 days without charge, a leaked list compiled by government whips revealed yesterday.

New anti-terrorism rules 'allow US to spy on British motorists' 21 Apr 2008 Routine journeys carried out by millions of British motorists can be monitored by authorities in the United States and other enforcement agencies across the world under anti-terrorism rules introduced discreetly by Jacqui Smith. The discovery that images of cars captured on road-side cameras, and "personal data" derived from them, including number plates, can be sent overseas, has angered MPs and civil liberties groups concerned by the increasing use of "Big Brother" surveillance tactics.

Bush defends free-trade agreement with Mexico and Canada 21 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush and Mexican President [sic - he wasn't elected, either] Felipe Calderon strongly defended free trade across North America on Monday, fending off anti-trade remarks that Democrats running for the White House are using to lure working class voters.

José Can You See? Bush's Trojan Taco --Psst! George Bush has a secret By Greg Palast 21 Apr 2008 While you Democrats are pounding each other to a pulp in Pennsylvania, the President [sic] has snuck back down to New Orleans for a meeting of the NAFTA Three: the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico. You’re not supposed to know that – for two reasons: First, the summit planned for the N.O. two years back was meant to showcase the rebuilt Big Easy, a monument to can-do Bush-o-nomics. Well, it is a monument to Bush’s leadership: The city still looks like Dresden 1946, with over half the original residents living in toxic trailers or wandering lost and broke in America. The second reason Bush has kept this major summit a virtual secret is its real agenda - and the real agenda-makers... The North American Competitiveness Council. Never heard of The Council? Well, maybe you’ve heard of the counsellors: the chief executives of Wal-Mart, Chevron Oil, Lockheed-Martin and 27 other multinational masters of the corporate universe.

Abramoff Fallout: Ex-DOJ Official Charged --Former Official Charged With Conflict of Interest in Disgraced Lobbyist Probe 21 Apr 2008 Federal prosecutors have charged a former Justice Department official with an alleged conflict of interest for his connections with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's law firm, according to documents filed in the case. Robert E. Coughlin II was the former deputy chief of staff for the Justice Department's criminal division, which oversaw the department's prosecution of Abramoff, former Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, and 11 related cases stemming from the influence peddling scandal.

Former Justice official charged in Abramoff lobbying probe 21 Apr 2008 A former high-ranking Justice Department official is being accused of criminal conflict of interest in the latest case stemming from the investigation of disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Robert Coughlin was deputy chief of staff of the Justice Department's criminal division before his resignation a year ago.

Paper ballot funding bill goes down in House after White House intervenes 18 Apr 2008 A bill that would have helped states pay to switch to paper-election balloting systems and for random audits after elections died out of a House committee this week, but its prime sponsor said he is not giving up the fight. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) said the bill he sponsored, House Bill 5036, the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act, would help make the nation's elections more accurate and secure by helping states move to paper ballots over touch-screen electronic machines. On Tuesday, the bill, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass, went down to defeat in the House 239-178, with 223 Democrats in favor and 176 Republican opposed, after the White House sent out a statement opposing the measure.

Clinton on Iran Attack: 'Obliterate Them' --Hillary: If Iran Attacked Israel With Nukes 'We Would Be Able to Totally Obliterate Them' 21 Apr 2008 In an ad that began airing in Pennsylvania Monday morning, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., implies she is tougher than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. Clinton further displayed tough talk in an interview airing on "Good Morning America" Tuesday. ABC News asked Bush Clinton what she would do if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons. "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Final Push for Democrats in Pennsylvania 22 Apr 2008 Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama opened their final push across Pennsylvania here on Monday, rallying their committed supporters and seeking to win over a dwindling lot of undecided voters in the most expensive -- and exhaustive -- presidential primary in state history.

Obama predicts Clinton win in Pennsylvania 21 Apr 2008 Barack Obama predicted Monday that Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton would get the critical victory she needs in Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary, but said his goal is to keep it close.

Democrat Obama hauls in $42.8 million in March 21 Apr 2008 U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised more than $42 million in campaign donations in March, his campaign reported on Sunday.

'Why can't I just eat my waffle?' 21 Apr 2008 Chomping down on sausage and waffles at Glider's Diner in Scranton today... Barack Obama avoided commenting on former President Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas. Asked by a reporter if he had heard that Carter reported a positive outcome from the meeting, Obama looked sternly at the reporter in question and said, "Why can't I just eat my waffle?" Asked again by the reporter, Obama bit -- not at the question but into a butter covered bite of Glider's specialty over-size Belgian waffles. With a wink this time he said, "Just let me eat my waffle."

Obama Says McCain Better than Bush, Clinton Responds 20 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama, speaking in Reading, Pa., said that John McCain would be better than President [sic] Bush, and Hillary Clinton used the line as an opening to attack both Obama and McCain. Clinton pounced on the comments immediately in Johnstown, Pa. "Sen. Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush... Sen. McCain thinks its OK to keep our troops in Iraq for the next 100 years. Is that better than George Bush?"

McCain exits campaign money race 21 Apr 2008 John McCain is abandoning any hope of catching the Democrats in fundraising. Based on new financial disclosure reports released Sunday, and interviews with his finance team, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee will instead accept taxpayer money to finance his general election and share other costs with the Republican National Committee.

Halliburton Profit Rises After Oil Climbs to Record 21 Apr 2008 Halliburton Co., the world's second-largest oilfield contractor, said profit rose 5.8 percent after crude topped $100 a barrel, prompting producers to increase spending on Middle East and Latin American projects. First-quarter net income climbed to $584 million from $552 million a year earlier, Houston-based Halliburton said today in a statement.

Halliburton CEO: International Oil Service Margins Have Not Peaked 21 Apr 2008 Spending on oilfield services is set to take off in the U.S. and Canada in the second half of 2008, while the boom is likely to continue internationally, said David Lesar, chief executive of Halliburton Co. Lesar's comments are the latest indication that North America, the world's largest market for oilfield services, is on the rebound after a patchy 2007.

Exxon Loses U.S. Supreme Court Challenge to $112 Million Award 21 Apr 2008 The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a $112 million punitive damage award against Exxon Mobil Corp. in a Louisiana land-contamination case, rejecting the company's contention that the award violated constitutional limits.

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World 21 Apr 2008 Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks. [Taking a page from the Exxon Mobil playbook, Bush's agri-terrorists have declared war on the US consumer.]

Sudden Oak Death Pathogen Is Evolving, Restriction On Movement of Infected Plants Urged 21 Apr 2008 The pathogen responsible for Sudden Oak Death first got its grip in California's forests outside a nursery in Santa Cruz and at Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County before spreading out to eventually kill millions of oaks and tanoaks along the Pacific Coast, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

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British dealers supply arms to Iran --Probe reveals sanctions-busting sales of arms, missile technology and nuclear components 20 Apr 2008 Investigators have identified a number of British arms dealers trading with Tehran, triggering alarm among government officials who fear Iran's nuclear programme may be receiving significant support from UK sources. The probe by customs officers suggests that at least seven Britons have been defying sanctions by supplying the Iranian air force, its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, and even the country's controversial nuclear ambitions.

Huge War Supplemental in Works 16 Apr 2008 The House Democratic leadership is close to finalizing a decision to combine all outstanding Bush administration requests for war funding — totaling at least $170 billion — into one huge bill, according to lawmakers and aides. Such a move would clear war funding from the congressional agenda until well into the next administration. [Just say no! Sign petition from democrats.com: No More Funds for Iraq.]

Rice visits Iraq as Baghdad battles erupt 21 Apr 2008 US Secretary of State [war criminal] Condoleezza Rice has backed Iraq's crackdown on militias in a visit to Baghdad, where the worst fighting in weeks erupted after Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened all-out war. Rockets blasted the fortified Green Zone compound where Dr Rice met Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other officials and praised their month-old campaign against Sadr's followers.

'We will declare a war until liberation.' Iraq's Sadr warns of 'open' war 19 Apr 2008 Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr threatened on Saturday to declare "open war" if the crackdown by Iraqi and US forces against his loyalists is not stopped. "I am giving my last warning and my word to the Iraqi government to take the path of peace and stop violence against its own people, otherwise it will be a government of destruction," Sadr said in a statement his office issued in the holy city of Najaf. "If it does not stop the militias that have infiltrated the government, then we will declare a war until liberation."

'Fight the occupiers -- get them out of your homes.' Mosques blare call to arms after Sadr threat of open war in Iraq 20 Apr 2008 Loudspeakers at mosques in Baghdad's Shiite bastion Sadr City blared out a call to arms soon after cleric Moqtada al-Sadr warned of a new uprising by his militia, residents said on Sunday. "Fight the occupiers -- get them out of your homes," the late-night loudspeaker messages said, according to residents. "They (US) are calling for division. We demand that the siege of Sadr City be lifted." The messages also urged the Iraqi army "not to fight your brothers."

Al Qaeda in Iraq calls for offensive against U.S. 19 Apr 2008 A 'man claiming to be the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq' [LOL!] mocked the death toll of American troops and urged his fighters to launch an offensive against U.S. forces in the next few weeks. The speaker was identified as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, on several Islamist Web sites that posted the recording.

3 students and driver kidnapped in Iraq 20 Apr 2008 Gunmen Sunday kidnapped three male students and their driver near the Iraqi city of Baquba in the Diyala province, authorities said.

Family of contractor: Another body found in Iraq 20 Apr 2008 The family of a mercenary kidnapped in Iraq said Sunday that U.S. officials have notified them they've found a body that could be his. The family of Jonathon Cote said on the Web site Free Cote that an unidentified sixth body has been recovered near Basra, in southern Iraq. The Getzville, N.Y., resident was working in Kuwait for Crescent Security Group when he and four colleagues were abducted in November 2006.

Afghanistan spending to top $1-billion in 2008 20 Apr 2008 Canada's yearly cost of the war in Afghanistan doubled in 2006 and was projected to crack the $1-billion mark this year.

Taliban kidnapped me, says Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan 20 Apr 2008 Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin, who has been missing since February 11, appeared on a video aired on Saturday by an Arab satellite channel, saying that Taliban militants had kidnapped him.

'Israeli soldiers did not make sure they were aiming at a military target before firing, and there is evidence suggesting they actually targeted the journalists.' Israeli troops may have targeted Gaza newsman: watchdog 20 Apr 2008 A Palestinian cameraman killed by tank fire in the Gaza Strip along with five other civilians this week may have been deliberately targeted by Israeli forces, Human Rights Watch said on Sunday. The group said its on-site investigation of Wednesday's death of Fadel Shana, 23, indicated an Israeli tank crew fired "recklessly or deliberately" at the Reuters news agency cameraman and his soundman.

Death toll now 6 in attack that killed Reuters man 20 Apr 2008 Two Palestinian teenagers died on Sunday of wounds sustained in an apparent Israeli attack that killed a Reuters cameraman in the Gaza Strip last week, raising the total death toll in the incident to six, medics said.

Female sailor found dead at U.S. Navy base in Bahrain 20 Apr 2008 A female sailor was found dead at a U.S. naval base in the Gulf island kingdom of Bahrain on Sunday, the Navy said.

Distressed war veterans get day in court 20 Apr 2008 Veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere who say they have systematically been denied proper medical care will get their day in federal court starting on Monday in San Francisco.

U.S. military groomed TV military analysts: report 19 Apr 2008 Many U.S. military analysts used as commentators on Iraq by television networks have been groomed by the Pentagon, leaving some feeling they were manipulated to report favorably on the Bush administration, The New York Times said in Sunday editions.

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand 20 Apr 2008 Hidden behind an appearance of objectivity is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used "military analysts" in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found. The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air. Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves.

German Citizen Held by US Forces as Terror Suspect 20 Apr 2008 US authorities in Afghanistan have been holding a German terror suspect in custody for months, the German government said. The German of Afghan origin was said to have been on a US base without authorization. "I can confirm to you that a German national is in American custody in Afghanistan," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Reuters TV in Dortmund, in western Germany, on Saturday, April 19.

EU to Criminalize Internet-Based Incitement to Terrorism 19 Apr 2008 European Union justice ministers have agreed that using the Internet to publish bomb recipes or call for acts of terrorism to be committed should count as a criminal offence. The 27 member states agreed on Friday, April 18, to introduce as new offences "public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment, and training for terrorism" which would be punishable "also when committed through the Internet." The commission's proposal would also allow EU law-enforcement agencies to demand cooperation from Internet providers in order to identify the people making such calls and to ensure that the offending material is taken off-line.

'The mere transmission of information and ideas could be considered a criminal act.' European Officials Agree on Framework for Outlawing Online Terror Recruiting 19 Apr 2008 European Union justice ministers agreed Friday to toughen laws across their 27-nation bloc to punish those who promote violence and recruit people for terrorist attacks. The new rules... underscore a growing consensus that in the campaign against terrorism, the mere transmission of information and ideas could be considered a criminal act. The agreement is intended to help the police find and arrest suspects in cross-border investigations, but also to prevent radicalization. It could make it easier for authorities to shut down Web sites disseminating terrorist propaganda 9/11 truth, revelations of Bush war crimes and 'bomb-making instructions,' and to identify and pursue proselytizers and recruiters. It could also help courts and administrative authorities demand that Internet service providers remove information considered dangerous.

Top officer opposes terror law plan 18 Apr 2008 MPs should hear evidence from Britain's most senior Muslim policeman after he confirmed his opposition to plans for 42-day detention of terror suspects, a politician said. Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne made the call after Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur admitted he was personally against the controversial anti-terror measures.

Airport screeners to get more security training --Bright, shiny new police-style badges are on the way 20 Apr 2008 Airport screeners are about to get new security training designed to help them think creatively about possible threats -- including those they have never thought of. Part of the preparation is a new 12-hour training course that all 43,000 screeners across the country will go through. In addition, screeners will get redesigned uniforms and police-style metal badges, the agency said.

Clinton Says McCain No Better Than Bush 20 Apr 2008 Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday for praising Sen. John McCain on the campaign trail. "Senator Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush," Clinton said. "We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain." Clinton was referring in Johnstown to a speech Obama gave in Reading, Pa. The Associated Press reported that he said, "You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain. And all three of us would be better than George Bush."

In Pa., late deciders could lift Clinton 20 Apr 2008 Thousands of Pennsylvania voters still cannot make up their minds about whom to support in Tuesday's Democratic primary. If the pattern of previous primaries and caucuses holds, the biggest procrastinators - those who make up their minds on Tuesday - will probably break for Senator Hillary Clinton. In three polls conducted last week in Pennsylvania, which showed Clinton holding single-digit leads, 9 to 13 percent of voters said they were undecided.

The Pennsylvania Polls Look Familiar... By Jay Cost 19 Apr 2008 Over the last few weeks, I have been intrigued by the movement in the Pennsylvania polls. It has had a striking resemblance to how the Ohio polls moved.

Shoddy! Tawdry! A Televised Train Wreck! By Frank Rich 20 Apr 2008 Privileged though they are, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama do want to shape policy to help the less well-heeled. Mr. McCain, who had a far more elite upbringing than either of them and whose wife’s estimated fortune exceeds the Clintons’, is not just condescending to working Americans but trying to hoodwink them. Next week, in a replay of the 2000 Bush campaign’s "compassionate conservative" photo ops among black schoolchildren, he will show he’s a "different kind of Republican" by visiting what he calls the "forgotten" America of Alabama’s "black belt" and the old steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. What he wants voters to forget is the inequity of his new economic plan.

Canada's polar bears in dire straits: WWF 20 Apr 2008 Some of Canada's polar bear populations risk being wiped out within four decades because of climate change and human activity including hunting, the World Wide Fund For Nature warned Sunday. Canada, whose frozen north is home to two-thirds of all polar bears, is contributing to the creatures' decline by failing to take action to curb its emissions of greenhouse gases, WWF-Canada official Peter Ewins said.

PM needs to act to prevent regional polar bear extinctions: WWF 20 Apr 2008 A conservation group is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to quickly act to prevent regional extinctions of polar bears. The call from WWF Canada comes as the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada plans to deliver its recommendations to the federal government on Friday.

Polar Bear Decision Delay Meant to Protect Oil Leases? 18 Apr 2008 The U.S. government has requested ten more weeks to make a decision on whether to list polar bears as an endangered species. Such a designation would protect the bears and their habitat within the U.S. Conservation groups are protesting the move, saying that the delay is a tactic to prevent legal challenges to offshore oil leases currently being negotiated for bear habitat in Alaska.

Researchers Fear Southern Fence Will Endanger Species Further -- Bush waived more than 30 environmental and land-management laws to build fence 20 Apr 2008 One of the most lasting impacts of the United States building a fence along its southern border may well be on the animals and vegetation that make this landscape their home. Some wildlife researchers have grown so concerned about the consequences of bisecting hundreds of miles of rugged habitat that they have talked of engaging in civil disobedience to block the fence's construction.

As U.S. heating aid drops, Venezuela chips in 11 Apr 2008 Close to 200,000 poor families in 15 cold-weather states – in every Northeastern state except New Hampshire – can thank Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for helping them heat their homes this winter. The Venezuelan-controlled oil-refining company, Citgo Petroleum Corp., donated 45 million gallons of free home heating oil this winter. [Thank you, President Chavez!]

Exposed: the great GM crops myth --Major new study shows that modified soya produces 10 per cent less food than its conventional equivalent 20 Apr 2008 Genetic modification actually cuts the productivity of crops, an authoritative new study shows, undermining repeated claims that a switch to the controversial technology is needed to solve the growing world food crisis [created by US agri-terrorists].

California home prices fall 26 percent amid foreclosures 17 Apr 2008 A glut of foreclosed homes helped prompt a 26 percent plunge in California home prices in March, highlighting a trend that experts said is likely to continue.

S. Korea confirms 25th outbreak of H5N1 strain of bird flu 19 Apr 2008 The South Korean government confirmed Saturday a new outbreak of H5N1 strain of bird flu, which becomes the 25th confirmed cases of the deadly epidemic in the country since late March.

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Top Bush aides pushed for Guantánamo torture --Senior officials bypassed army chief to introduce interrogation methods 19 Apr 2008 America's most senior general was "hoodwinked" by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques of terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, leading to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the Guardian reveals today. General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantánamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture. The way he was duped by senior officials in Washington, who believed the Geneva conventions and other traditional safeguards were out of date, is disclosed in a devastating account of their role, extracts of which appear in today's Guardian.

Stress hooding noise nudity dogs --It was the young officials at Guantánamo who dreamed up a list of new aggressive interrogation techniques, inspired by Jack Bauer from the TV series, 24. But it was the politicians and lawyers in Washington who set the ball rolling. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail right to the top 19 Apr 2008 On Tuesday, December 2 2002, Donald Rumsfeld signed a piece of paper that changed the course of history. That same day, President [sic] Bush signed a bill to put the Pentagon in funds for the next year... Elsewhere in the Pentagon, an event took place for which there was no comment, no fanfare. With a signature and a few scrawled words, Rumsfeld reneged on the tradition of valour to which Bush had referred. Principles for the conduct of interrogation, dating back more than a century to President Lincoln's famous instruction of 1863 that "military necessity does not admit of cruelty", were discarded. He approved new and aggressive interrogation techniques that would produce devastating consequences.

Guantanamo eight to sue MI5 and MI6 over 'illegal abduction and interrogation' --Allegation: Eight were put on CIA "torture flights" to prison camp in U.S.-occupied Cuba 19 Apr 2008 Eight men freed from Guantanamo Bay are suing the British Secret Services for millions, the Daily Mail can reveal today. They have issued writs against MI5 and MI6 in a claim for damages that would fall on the taxpayer. One of the men said they will argue that Britain was complicit in their illegal abduction, treatment and interrogation.

Guantanamo eight to sue British intelligence: report 19 Apr 2008 Eight men freed from Guantanamo Bay are looking to sue the British intelligence services for damages, the Daily Mail said Saturday citing lawyers and one of the former prisoners. The daily newspaper said two separate writs had been issued on behalf of the eight -- five British nationals and three with residency rights -- claiming the complicity of the domestic and overseas security services with the Americans.

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt' 17 Apr 2008 The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute. The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President [sic] Bush's projections of lies about a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.

America's allies in Iraq under pressure as civil war breaks out among Sunni --The US and the Iraqi government are now facing a war on two fronts. 19 Apr 2008 A vicious civil war is now being fought within Iraq's Sunni Arab community between 'al-Qa'ida' in Iraq and al-Sahwa while other groups continue to attack American forces. In Baghdad on a single day the head of al-Sahwa in the southern district of Dora was killed in his car by gunmen and seven others died by bombs and bullets in al-Adhamiya district.

GIs in Sadr City caught between warring Iraqi sides 18 Apr 2008 Three weeks after U.S. troops were ordered into Sadr City to stop rockets from raining down on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad's Green Zone, they're caught in crossfire between Shiite militiamen and the mostly Shiite Iraqi army.

Iranian ambassador denounces US operation in Baghdad 19 Apr 2008 Iran's ambassador to Iraq on Saturday denounced U.S. military operations in Baghdad's Sadr City, saying they had led to the deaths of innocent people and threatened to aggravate an already tense situation. The comments by Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi came after police and hospital officials reported that 12 people had died in overnight clashes in Sadr City.

12 Killed in Baghdad's Sadr City, Government Troops Sweep Through Basra 19 Apr 2008 Twelve people died in overnight clashes in Baghdad's Sadr City district, which has become a chief battleground between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police and hospital officials said Saturday.

Heavy fighting in Iraq's Basra 19 Apr 2008 Heavy fighting broke out in the Iraqi city of Basra on Saturday, where police said government forces entered a neighborhood known as a stronghold of fighters loyal to the anti-U.S. cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr. A Reuters reporter in the city said he had heard the sound of heavy gunfire and explosions at dawn.

U.S. builds Baghdad's wall of segregation 19 Apr 2008 U.S. forces have begun the construction of a concrete wall that will partition Sadr City and isolate it from other parts of Baghdad. The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a "protected" enclave.

US and Britain make united stand on Iran 19 Apr 2008 US President [sic] George Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown have offered stern warnings about Iran's nuclear program, with Mr Brown holding out the prospect of extended European sanctions to block outside investment. A US National Intelligence Estimate last year concluded that Iran had abandoned a clandestine nuclear weapons program in 2003. Nonetheless, Mr Bush said on Thursday that if Iran learned how to enrich uranium, the knowledge "can be used to develop a nuclear weapon".

Taliban hold kidnapped Pakistan envoy to Afghanistan 19 Apr 2008 Pakistan's envoy to Afghanistan Tariq Azizuddin, who went missing in February, appeared on Saturday in a video aired by Al-Arabiya news channel in which he said that he was held by the Taliban.

Report Finds Air Force Officers Steered Contract 18 Apr 2008 Air Force Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein, the highest-ranking officer in the room, leaned forward and told the officers and others assembled before him that they should steer a multimillion-dollar Air Force contract to a company named Strategic Message Solutions... It was during that meeting in November 2005, according to the 251-page report, obtained by The Washington Post, that a controversial $50 million contract was awarded to a company that barely existed in an effort to reward a recently retired four-star general and a millionaire civilian pilot who had grown close to senior Air Force officials and the Thunderbirds.

Germany to Allow Video Surveillance of Private Homes 18 Apr 2008 Changes proposed to the law governing Germany's federal criminal police operations would allow investigators to use wire taps and surveillance cameras in homes of innocent citizens to keep tabs on terror suspects. Under the government proposals, federal police would be permitted to install "hidden technical equipment, that is to say bugs or cameras inside or outside apartments ... if there is a pressing danger for state security," interior ministry spokesman Stefan Paris said at a news conference on April 18.

Ground Zero Plans Found In Trash --Homeless Man Turns In Confidential 'Freedom Tower' Blueprints to Newspaper 18 Apr 2008 A homeless man has come forward with two sets of confidential ground zero blueprints that he says were dumped in a Lower Manhattan trash can. The man brought the Freedom Tower plans to the New York Post, which says the 150-page schematic is marked: "Secure Document - Confidential." The agency that owns the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, calls it a serious security lapse.

FAA sets up high-level alerts for missed airline inspections 19 Apr 2008 The Federal Aviation Administration is going to begin alerting its top headquarters officials when field inspectors miss airline safety inspections, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Friday. [You mean, they're actually going to do their jobs?]

Contempt for Congress (And Potential Contempt of Congress) By Stephen Johnson 17 Apr 2008 EPA has refused to turn over the documents, still calling them "pre-decisional" in a letter today, and fearing that they might create an "erroneous impression of the agency's thinking" and potentially be "injurious to important Executive Branch institutional prerogatives." Rep. Markey plans to consult with fellow Committee members before announcing his next steps, which may ultimately include going to the U.S. Attorney.

Union head claims USDA tried to intimidate employees 17 Apr 2008 The head of the union that represents 6,000 federal food inspectors told a congressional committee Thursday that the Agriculturebusiness Department tried to intimidate him and other employees who reported violations of regulations, an allegation denied by the agency. Union chief Stan Painter said that following a mad cow disease scare in 2003, he told superiors that new food safety regulations for slaughtered cattle were not being uniformly enforced. Painter said he was told to drop the matter, and when he didn't, was grilled by department officials and then placed on disciplinary investigative status.

Meat Inspectors Can't Keep Up, Official Says 18 Apr 2008 The improper slaughter of so-called downer cows that led to the nation's largest beef recall wasn't an isolated incident, a union official representing U.S. Agriculture Department meat inspectors told a House panel. The department's meat-inspection agency is so understaffed that some inspectors are assigned to as many as 24 plants or facilities in a geographic region too large to traverse for the required inspections, said Stanley Painter, chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Local Unions.

Meat inspection is adequate, USDA official tells Congress 18 Apr 2008 The Bush regime Thursday resisted calls from Congress to add more inspectors and new technologies to oversee slaughterhouses. The exchange, during a hearing before a House subcommittee, reflected continuing fallout from the nation's largest beef recall, which occurred this year.

President Broke Law on Program for Children 19 Apr 2008 The Bush administration violated federal law last year when it restricted states’ ability to provide health insurance to children of middle-income families, and its new policy is therefore unenforceable, lawyers from the Government Accountability Office said Friday. The ruling strengthens the hand of at least 22 states that already provide such coverage or want to do so.

Giuliani breaks rules by having Communion at papal mass 19 Apr 2008 Twice-divorced former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani took Communion at a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on Saturday, breaching rules that bar those who remarry outside the Church from doing so. As he left New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral with his third wife, Judith, the failed presidential candidate confirmed to Reuters that he took Communion from a priest.

Clinton, Obama press for advantage in pivotal weekend 19 Apr 2008 Hillary Clinton implored Pennsylvanians on Saturday to think about the nation's trade and debt burdens, the growth of China and the restive Middle East when they vote in the state's pivotal primary, perhaps her last chance to stall rival Barack Obama's reach for the Democratic nomination.

Obama Draws Record Crowd in Philadelphia 19 Apr 2008 (Philadelphia, PA) Senator Barack Obama drew what may be his biggest crowd yet here Friday. His campaign, quoting Frank Friel, director of security at the Independence Visitor Center, pegged the number at 35,000.

Obama goes after McCain on economy 19 Apr 2008 Barack Obama didn't let go of his attack on John McCain in Williamsport yesterday afternoon, continuing to criticize the Republican nominee for a comment that he made about the economy making progress under George W. Bush. "Our economy is in shambles," Obama said before listing off statistics about how a community likes Williamsport had been affected over the last few years, citing losses in manufacturing jobs at sewing plants and window plants in the area.

Earth Day By Lindsay Levin 19 Apr 2008 Hillary Clinton has a long history of working to protect our environment, and with Earth Day just around the corner it’s important to focus on the challenges ahead. Hillary has outlined a comprehensive plan to address the energy and environmental concerns facing our country, while at the same time focusing on a green, efficient economy that will create as many as five million new jobs.

Charity sues R.I. hospital over free bed donated century ago 19 Apr 2008 When Louisa Lippitt died in 1912, the wealthy widow left $4,000 to Rhode Island Hospital on the condition the money be used to provide a permanent "free bed" for needy patients, to be selected by a favored charity. A successor to the charity she selected rediscovered her bequest when it dusted off its archives, but the free bed is long gone. Now, Children's Friend and Service is suing to get the health care back.

Featherless Bird Could Be World's Ugliest --Animal Suffers From Beak and Feather Disease 18 Apr 2008 Oscar the cockatoo (a female), who has lived for the past 12 years with no feathers at an animal shelter in Florida, just may be the world's ugliest bird. She suffers from beak and feather disease, which causes feathers to grow deformed and irritating, so she plucks them. "It's more of a skin irritation," said Mary Steffen of the Broward County Humane Society. "Their feathers irritate their skin, so they pluck them out." Without her feathers, Oscar shivers a lot because she has no insulation, so she has her own heat lamp. [Poor Oscar!]

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Top US general 'hoodwinked' over aggressive interrogation 18 Apr 2008 The US's most senior general was "hoodwinked" by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques torture for terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian can reveal. The development led to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners. General Richard Myers, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantánamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture. The way he was duped by senior officials in Washington - who believed the Geneva conventions and other traditional safeguards were out of date - is disclosed in a devastating account of their role, extracts from which will be published in tomorrow's Guardian.

Pentagon institute calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt' 17 Apr 2008 The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute. The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President [sic] Bush's projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.

Petraeus Hid Maliki Resistance to US Troops in Basra 17 Apr 2008 In testimony before Congressional committees last week, Gen. David Petraeus portrayed Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's late March offensive in Basra as a poorly planned effort that departed from what U.S. officials had expected. What Petraeus did not reveal is that al-Maliki was deliberately upsetting a Petraeus plan to put U.S. and British forces into Basra for a months-long operation to eliminate the Mahdi Army from the city.

New blow to British troops as Iraq pulls commanders out of Basra 16 Apr 2008 The top two Iraqi commanders in Basra, the men the British military had placed their confidence in when handing back control of the city last December, have been removed from their positions and recalled to Baghdad by the Government.

Mr. Bush, tear down this wall! U.S. Begins Erecting Wall in Sadr City 18 Apr 2008 American forces have begun to build a massive concrete wall that will partition Sadr City, the densely populated Shiite neighborhood in the Iraqi capital. The construction, which began Tuesday night, is intended to turn the southern quarter of Sadr City near the international Green Zone into a protected enclave, secured by Iraqi and American forces. The team building the barrier was protected by M-1 tanks, Stryker vehicles and Apache attack helicopters.

Opening soon in Baghdad: Largest U.S. embassy in the world with restaurants, 619 apartments 18 Apr 2008 A Kuwait contractor [using slave labor] has concluded the construction of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. On April 14, the State Department issued a certificate of acceptance for the 104-acre, 27 building compound. The $474 million facility is the largest U.S. embassy in the world, with 619 apartments for staffers as well as restaurants, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, volleyball court, and indoor Olympic-size swimming pool. [See: 'Kidnapped' Filipinos build US embassy 05 Aug 2007 An American civilian contractor has described scenes of panic and hysteria last year as Filipino construction workers were told that they were on a plane bound for Baghdad rather than Dubai. Passengers jumped out of their seats screaming in protest until a gun-toting air steward ordered them to sit down, claimed Rory Mayberry, an emergency medical technician travelling on the same flight. Mayberry said the men were "kidnapped" to build America’s luxurious new embassy in Baghdad's green zone.]

U.S. warns of wave of bombings in Baghdad 18 Apr 2008 A group of al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] bombers has slipped into Baghdad to carry out a wave of car bombs and suicide attacks, the U.S. military said on Friday. The unusual warning came after a spate of deadly bombings this week struck areas in northern Iraq, where 'al Qaeda Sunni Arab militants' are known to be active.

330 killed, 1621 injured in Sadr City clashes in three weeks-Medic 18 Apr 2008 At least 300 individuals were killed and 1621 injured during the clashes that erupted in Shiite Sadr city over the last three weeks, a Medic source told Aswat al-Iraq (Voices of Iraq) on Thursday.

Bombing Kills 55 At Funeral in Iraq --Attacker Targets Sunni Allies of U.S. 18 Apr 2008 A suicide bombing killed 55 people at a funeral service Thursday in a village 90 miles north of Baghdad, police said, the latest in a string of deadly attacks this week attributed to 'Sunni insurgents.'

Japan court says Iraq dispatch unconstitutional --Over 1,100 people brought suit demanding dispatch be suspended, seeking damages 18 Apr 2008 Japan’s dispatch of air force troops to Iraq breaches the country’s pacifist constitution, a court said on Thursday, but the government said the court’s comments will not affect the current dispatch. Japan has about 210 air force personnel in Kuwait, from where they airlift supplies to the US-led forces in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq.

U.S. Begins Freeing Thousands of Captives in Iraq --US trying to stave off U.N. mandate to free all prisoners by end of 2008 18 Apr 2008 U.S. commanders in Iraq have begun releasing thousands of detainees and expect to free more than half of the 23,000 held by American forces, according to senior military commanders. 'Insurgents' suspected of posing security threats can be held for years without being brought to trial. The United Nations mandate allowing the U.S. to detain Iraqis expires in December. The military would theoretically have to free all prisoners by the end of the year unless Washington and Baghdad strike a bilateral deal giving the U.S. the right to continue holding suspected 'insurgents.'

Tank shell that sprays deadly darts killed cameraman in Gaza, say doctors 18 Apr 2008 According to doctors who examined the body of the 23 -year-old Palestinian Reuters cameraman [Fadel Shana] at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, it was controversial darts like those, flechettes, fired from an Israeli tank shell that explodes in the air, that caused his death. X-rays displayed to Reuters showed several of the flechettes embedded in the dead man's chest and legs, and more were found in his flak jacket, clearly emblazoned like his vehicle, with "TV" and "Press" signs. The military would only say that all its weapons "are legal under international law". Israel's Supreme Court rejected a 2003 petition arguing that the use of flechettes as an anti-personnel weapon contravened a 1980 UN convention...

Son of Netherlands' top general slain in Afghanistan 18 Apr 2008 A roadside bomb attack on a patrol of Dutch soldiers killed the son of the Netherlands' top military officer on Friday, a day after his father took command of the country's armed forces, officials said. Lt. Dennis van Uhm, 23, was one of two Dutch soldiers killed in the explosion 7 miles northwest of Camp Holland, the Dutch military base in restive Uruzgan province, spokesman Lt. Gen. Freek Meulman said.

GAO: Stolen U.S. military gear sold on eBay, Craigslist --Few safeguards found to prevent the sale of defense equipment, agency says 14 Apr 2008 Stolen and sensitive U.S. military equipment, including body armor, night vision goggles, and gear to protect against nuclear or biochemical warfare, are being sold on the Internet, a GAO report says. The Government Accountability Office found many defense-related items for sale on Craigslist and eBay, according to the report, released last week.

'Terrorist safe havens' remain in Pakistan: US 18 Apr 2008 United States investigators say Washington has failed to eliminate what they call a safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan's tribal areas, and say there is "no comprehensive plan" for achieving that goal. [See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against 'Al Qaeda' and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money Blackwater got a $5 billion blowjob from Bush. See: US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007 The US Senate has approved a $785 million assistance package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008 on Tuesday night.]

Q&A: Torture and 'enhanced interrogation' --The US uses pain and force against terror prisoners, and argues it is all perfectly legal. Mark Tran explains 18 Apr 2008 Does the US torture people? The Bush administration insists it does not torture people, but says it uses "enhanced interrogation techniques", which, according to critics, for all intents and purposes include torture.

U.S. to televise Guantanamo trials to 9-11 families 18 Apr 2008 The U.S. military will televise the Guantanamo 'trial' of accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other suspects so relatives of those killed in the attacks can watch on the U.S. mainland. The U.S. military lawyer assigned to defend Mohammed, Navy Capt. Prescott Prince, said if the trials are truly fair, then broadcasting them widely would prove that to the world. But he worried about setting a precedent by televising what he suspects will be show trials.

Islamists guilty of inciting and funding terrorism --Prosecution: Men made 'emotive and inflammatory' speeches [!] 18 Apr 2008 An Islamist activist who made militant statements to the press and heckled the then Home Secretary John Reid has been convicted of terrorist fund-raising and inciting terrorism overseas. Abu Izzadeen was among six men convicted at Kingston Crown Court of supporting terrorism. The charges followed speeches they made at the Regents Park mosque in London and outside in the street in November 2004 while American forces were laying siege to Fallujah.

'The government is heading for a train crash, and it will not have a majority for these provisions.' Bid for 42-day detention 'will be disaster for Labour' 18 Apr 2008 The government is heading for a "train crash" defeat over proposals to increase the time terrorist suspects can be held without charge, the Liberal Democrats warned yesterday. The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has been trying to secure support for a 42-day limit but, with the Conservatives and Lib Dems opposed, the government faces defeat if around 30 Labour back-benchers rebel when the Commons votes next month.

Ex-marshal: Air marshal training 'a national disgrace' 17 Apr 2008 Their mission is to protect airline passengers from acts of terror on U.S. flights. But in a special investigation, former and current air marshals told CNN that the number of marshals assigned to police flights is so low that the federal agency overseeing them has drastically lowered its firearms and psychological testing standards just so it can qualify new hires.

Homeland Security employees not satisfied with their jobs 17 Apr 2008 Homeland Security Department employees mostly are an unhappy lot. An internal survey of about 141,000 of the department's 208,000 employees found that only 58 percent were satisfied with their jobs, the same as results from a 2006 survey that measured job satisfaction across the government. The department ranked at the bottom in the 2006 poll, which was conducted by the Office of Personnel Management.

Dean: I need a decision 'now' 17 Apr 2008 Howard Dean told CNN again Thursday that he needs superdelegates to say who they’re for – and "I need them to say who they’re for starting now." "We cannot give up two or three months of active campaigning and healing time," the Democratic National Committee Chairman told CNN. "We’ve got to know who our nominee is."

Obama keeps rolling as Clinton running out of time 18 Apr 2008 Barack Obama has expanded his lead on Hillary Clinton in many national polls and gained ground on her in the next battleground of Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday's vote, despite furors over his remarks on small-town residents and inflammatory comments by his former pastor.

Obama-Clinton debate: A whiff of McCarthyism as media pushes Democratic campaign to the right By Bill Van Auken 18 Apr 2008 The debate aired Wednesday night by ABC television from Philadelphia was the 21st such contest held since the beginning of the Democratic primary campaign and, without a doubt, the most reactionary and contemptible. After two brief opening statements [by Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama]... the moderators--ABC’s Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos--settled into what can only be described as a right-wing inquisition. While the term "McCarthyite" has no doubt been overused as a political adjective over the years, there was a good deal in the moderators' questions--demanding affirmations of patriotism and implying guilt by association--that recalled the anti-communist witchhunts of more than half a century ago.

A 'Bitter' Misstep By Kimberley A. Strassel 18 Apr 2008 The Pennsylvania polls haven't registered a post-"bitter" Obama dive, but his momentum has stalled. And while Mrs. Clinton has no greater prospect of catching him in pledged delegates than she did a week ago, a respectable win provides her with plenty of rationale to keep with it. Even Mr. Obama appears to have acknowledged this new reality, telling supporters yesterday that he now hoped to wrap things up in May. Maybe.

US climate change plan branded 'Neanderthal' 18 Apr 2008 A new plan from US President [sic] George Bush which aims to cap greenhouse gases by 2025 has been dismissed as "disastrous" and "Neanderthal" [like Bush himself] by a group of ministers at a climate change meeting in Paris. In a statement called "Bush's Neanderthal speech," [OMG, which one?] German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "His speech showed not leadership but losership.

Feds seek more time for decision on listing polar bears 18 Apr 2008 The Department of the Interior wants 10 more weeks to decide whether polar bears should be listed as threatened or endangered, a delay conservation groups condemned as tied to the transfer of offshore petroleum leases in one of the animals' two U.S. habitats.

18 States Commit to Take Action On Climate Change 18 Apr 2008 Eighteen states are making a commitment to take action on climate change in conjunction with a conference this week, according to Yale University. The governors of Connecticut, California, Kansas, Illinois and New Jersey are at Yale on Friday, along with two Canadian premiers.

Southeast L.A. County water agency sues over MWD drought plan --The Central Basin district says the new system will slight its mostly lower-income Latino clients and favor the affluent. 18 Apr 2008 An agency that supplies water to 2 million residents of southeast Los Angeles County has filed suit to overturn a new Southern California drought plan, saying it inequitably allocates water and "robs from the poor to pay the cost of new development in more affluent areas."

Transportation secretary wants canceled flights explained 18 Apr 2008 Transportation Secretary Mary Peters is demanding that federal regulators and American Airlines explain why 250,000 U.S. air travelers endured canceled flights last week during safety inspections.

Crude closes at record, then touches $117 18 Apr 2008 Crude-oil futures reversed earlier losses, rising nearly $2 a barrel on Friday to close at new record high of $116.69, as news about pipeline sabotage in Nigeria overtook the strengthening dollar to push up oil prices. The front-month contract hit $117 a barrel in electronic trading after markets closed.

Citigroup posts loss, plans to eliminate 9,000 jobs 18 Apr 2008 Citigroup Inc. said Friday it will eliminate about 9,000 more jobs, after poor bets on defaulting loans and the tumultuous credit markets lopped $14 billion in value from its investments during the first quarter. That write-down, plus more than $3 billion in costs, led Citigroup to a quarterly loss of $5.1 billion.

5.4 earthquake rocks Illinois; also felt in Indiana 18 Apr 2008 A 5.4 earthquake early Friday rocked people awake as far away as Indiana, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a large Midwest temblor. The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind.

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Des Browne 'misled MPs over seizure of British sailors in the Gulf' 18 Apr 2008 The Defence Secretary has been accused of misleading Parliament over the capture of 15 British sailors and Marines in the Gulf last spring as it emerged that Iran has kept £1 million of seized military equipment. The Conservatives said that Des Browne was "less than frank" after The Times disclosed Ministry of Defence papers showing that the Britons were seized in disputed waters, not Iraqi territory. Mr Browne has told the Commons repeatedly that the patrolling Britons, who were held for a fortnight and paraded on Iranian television, were seized boarding a vessel in "Iraqi waters". An internal MoD paper released to The Times blames the incident on the lack of an agreed border in the waters between Iraq and Iran.

Report reveals Iran seized British sailors in disputed waters 17 Apr 2008 Fifteen British sailors and Marines were seized by Iran in internationally disputed waters and not in Iraq’s maritime territory as Parliament was told, according to new official documents released to The Times. The Britons were seized because the US-led 'coalition' designated a sea boundary for Iran's territorial waters without telling the Iranians where it was, internal Ministry of Defence briefing papers reveal. Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act detail for the first time the blunders last spring that led to what an all-party committee of MPs came to describe as a "national embarrassment".

British sailors captured by Iran were in disputed waters: report 16 Apr 2008 Fifteen British troops who were held by Iran for two weeks last year were in disputed waters when they were captured, not in Iraqi waters as the government had publicly claimed, The Times reported Thursday. Citing documents released by the defence ministry under Freedom of Information laws, the newspaper said the contingent of Britons was captured because the US-led occupation in Iraq had unilaterally designated a maritime boundary for Iraq and Iran without informing the latter.

Iran says region does not need foreign forces 17 Apr 2008 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday "satanic" foreign forces had failed in their bid to dominate the Middle East's energy resources and did not dare threaten Iran. Ahmadinejad also said at a military parade the region could handle its own security without U.S. and other foreign forces although he did not name arch foe, the United States.

Suicide bomber kills 51 at Sunni Awakening funeral in Iraq 17 Apr 2008 More than 50 mourners were killed in northern Iraq today when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the funeral of two Sunni tribesmen, who had turned against 'al-Qaeda,' in one of the bloodiest attacks so far this year.

Iraq's car drivers told to wear seatbelts or face a 30,000 dinar fine 17 Apr 2008 In a rare sign of normality excuse to stop and search cars amid the daily scenes of chaos on the roads of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki, the Prime Minister, has ordered all drivers to wear a seatbelt. Failure will result in a fine of 30,000 Iraqi dinar (£13) - a day's wage for a taxi driver. Militant traffic police have been out in force clamping down on motorists in Baghdad since Tuesday.

Report: Assad says Syria preparing for possible war with Israel 17 Apr 2008 Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that Syria is preparing for war with Israel as a real possibility, Hezbollah's TV station Al-Manar reported on Thursday. Assad noted, however, that he did not expect a conflict between the two states to break out under the current circumstances, speaking at a conference in Damascus.

Killing of Reuters journalist brings death toll in Gaza to 18 16 Apr 2008 A cameramen for the news agency Reuters was killed and five others wounded, including two journalists, when Israeli tanks fired at a bridge in Wadi Gaza, the valley in the central Gaza Strip.

Suicide bomber kills 24 in Afghanistan 18 Apr 2008 A suicide bomb exploded outside a mosque in Afghanistan overnight, killing 24 people as worshippers were leaving after prayers. Two senior police officers were among the dead and 34 people were also injured in the attack in Zaranj city, the capital of Nimroz province which borders Iran, according to provincial governor Ghulam Dastgir Azad.

Air Force leaders under fire for $50 million contract 17 Apr 2008 A $50 million contract to promote the Thunderbirds aerial stunt team was tainted by improper influence and preferential treatment, a Pentagon investigation found.

300,000 Iraq, Afghan. vets have mental problems 17 Apr 2008 Some 300,000 U.S. troops are suffering from major depression or post traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 320,000 received brain injuries, a new study estimates. Only about half have sought treatment, said the study released Thursday by the RAND Corporation.

18.5% of Iraq, Afghanistan veterans have depression or PTSD, study finds 17 Apr 2008 Nearly one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is currently suffering from depression or stress disorders, according to the latest and most comprehensive study of current and former military service members, released today. Less than half of those 300,000 veterans have received care for depression or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the study, signaling significant problems with the U.S. mental healthcare system.

KBR's Rape Problem By Karen Houppert 17 Apr 2008 As news broke of the rape of yet another US military contractor employee in Iraq [see "Another KBR Rape Case"], the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing April 9 to demand that the Justice Department explain why it has failed to prosecute a single sexual assault case in the theater since the Iraq War began.

Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel 16 Apr 2008 The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel. "We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq," Ma'ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events "swung American public opinion in our favor." Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Defense requests Berlusconi testimony in CIA kidnap case 16 Apr 2008 Lawyers for a former Italian intelligence chief requested Wednesday that Premier-elect Silvio Berlusconi testify in the trial of 26 American and Italian suspects charged with kidnapping a terror suspect during a CIA operation.

Justice Department investigating torture memo 17 Apr 2008 The Justice Department is investigating whether agency lawyers improperly advised the military it could use harsh interrogation methods torture and concluded that President [sic] Bush's wartime authority could not be limited by domestic law or international bans on torture. The findings outlined in a March 2003 memo have been included in an ongoing internal review about the CIA's use of waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and whether top Justice officials crossed a line broke the law in authorizing it.

CIA: Destroyed videos likely not covered by court order 17 Apr 2008 Investigators have found no evidence that two destroyed CIA interrogation videos contained information relevant to a federal lawsuit or covered by a court order, the CIA told a judge. The documents filed in federal court Wednesday night were short on details but offered the first public accounting of the investigation into why the videos were destroyed.

Bush Replaced REX84 With New Martial Law EO --Once In Control - Martial Law Will Stay By Ted Twietmeyer 14 Apr 2008 In May 2007, Bush signed executive new orders NSDP51 and HSDP20 to replace REX84. The older order REX84 was an older directive to establish martial law in the event of a national emergency... These two orders established that the White House administration would take over all local governments under a national state of emergency, instead of Homeland Security... Few people know that a secure area inside Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, AR has a sign declaring that secured area belongs to Homeland Security. Wal-Mart will become the food distributor for America under a rationing program.

'It means identifying people who might be at risk of being drawn into terrorism and violent extremism.' Home Secretary announces 300 new terror police --Police officers 'could help other community groups to prevent young British Muslims being radicalised.' 17 Apr 2008 Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, today announced an extra 300 police officers to fight terrorism and radicalisation within communities. Miss Smith said that the new officers work to prevent young people being drawn into extremism. The Government is trying to build support for controversial plans to extend the time limit for holding terror suspects without charge to 42 days.

In Pa. Debate, the Clear Loser Is ABC By Tom Shales 17 Apr 2008 When Barack Obama met Hillary Clinton for another televised Democratic candidates' debate last night, it was more than a step forward in the 2008 presidential election. It was another step downward for network news -- in particular ABC News, which hosted the debate from Philadelphia and whose usually dependable anchors, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances.

Clinton-Obama Debate: ABC Hit on Focus on Minor Issues By Greg Mitchell 16 Apr 2008 In perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years, ABC News hosts Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous focused mainly on trivial issues as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama faced off in Philadelphia.

ABC Hosts Heckled After Debate: "The Crowd Is Turning On Me" 16 Apr 2008 Reflecting what seemed to be the main consensus of the night - that ABC botched this debate, big time - Charlie Gibson tells the crowd there will be one more, superfluous commercial break of the night and is subsequently jeered.

McCain "Family Recipes" Lifted from the Food Network By David Weiner 14 Apr 2008 It took less than 12 hours from the time the media caught wind of Cindy McCain's recipe theft for John McCain's campaign website to scrub away the offending pages. That's 12 hours more than it took Cindy to come up with the recipes... It also turns out that Mrs. McCain submitted "her" Passion Fruit Mousse recipe to the New York Sun for an article that ran on January 16th. Just like on the McCain campaign site, there is no sourcing other than McCain herself...

For Chris Matthews, misogyny pays by Eric Boehlert 16 Apr 2008 [Chris] Matthews, desperate for attention and approval, sees that media elites love his sexist shtick so he lays it on thicker and thicker. Media elites then turn around and anoint him the Hot Journalist. For Matthews, his boorish behavior is simply an outgrowth of his profession as a Clinton-hater. His television career was first built on obsessive disdain for Bill Clinton during the impeachment years. That pattern of contempt extended into Matthews' gruesome, dishonest attacks on Al Gore in 2000 (he would "lick the floor" to be president, Matthews used to joke), and has now continued with his 2008 coverage, which is laced with sexist commentary. [See: Tell MSNBC to Stop the Misogyny!.]

AP: Airline leaders, regulators often switch places 17 Apr 2008 Revolving Door: Airline industry leaders who were once under the Federal Aviation Administration now sit in top positions at the agency. Many former FAA officials and congressional aides have found lucrative jobs in the industry or with its lobbying groups.

Merck Wrote Drug Studies for Doctors 16 Apr 2008 The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug [Vioxx] , then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal.

Vaccine Safety Panel to Include the Public in Setting Priorities 13 Apr 2008 The government began an unprecedented effort Friday to give vaccine critics a say in shaping how the nation researches immunization safety questions. The meeting, the first of more to be set, came amid 'new' controversy about vaccines and autism.

CDC: Flu season worst in 4 years; vaccine ineffective 17 Apr 2008 This year's flu season has shaped up to be the worst in four years, partly because the vaccine didn't work well against the viruses that made most people sick, health officials said Thursday. Dr. Dan Jernigan, deputy director of the CDC's influenza division, acknowledged that some people may lose faith in the flu vaccine and skip it next year. [*Everyone* should skip it next year!]

U.S. gasoline prices to rise despite slowdown: EIA 16 Apr 2008 Drivers should not be fooled into thinking a weak economy and less gasoline use will help lower pump prices any time soon, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. [LOL, of course! See: 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.]

Oil eases from record over $115 17 Apr 2008 Oil prices slipped from record highs on Thursday after a drop in U.S. inventories and the weaker dollar had pushed prices above $115 a barrel.

Sickened pork workers have new nerve disorder 16 Apr 2008 Eighteen pork plant workers in Minnesota, at least five in Indiana and one in Nebraska have come down with a mysterious neurological condition they appear to have contracted while removing brains from slaughtered pigs, U.S. researchers and health officials said on Wednesday.

FBI home mortgage probe now targets 19 firms 16 Apr 2008 The FBI's probe of potential fraud in the U.S. home mortgage industry now encompasses 19 companies, up from 17 a month ago, agency director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday.

Another German baby polar bear debut: Stuttgart's Wilbaer 16 Apr 2008 German polar bear fans have another star to visit. Stuttgart's Wilhelma zoo presented 4-month-old Wilbaer to the public on Wednesday, bringing the fluffy cub outdoors alongside his mother, Corinna.

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Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest 16 Apr 2008 The government plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency. Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.

Nuclear attack on D.C. said 'inevitable' 16 Apr 2008 A nuclear device detonated near the White House would kill roughly 100,000 people and flatten downtown federal buildings, while the radioactive plume from the explosion would likely spread toward the Capitol and into Southeast D.C., contaminating thousands more. The blast from the 10-kiloton bomb is... a scenario that has become increasingly likely to occur in a major U.S. city in recent years, panel members told a Senate committee yesterday. "It's inevitable," said Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense [!] at the University of Georgia, who has charted the potential explosion's effect in the District and testified before a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

'Dallas's model envisions a 10-block-wide "death plume" [!] moving east, the direction the wind typically blows in Washington. It billows down Constitution Avenue, reaching Benning Road NE in 30 to 60 minutes.' Risk of Nuclear Attack on Rise --Homeland Security recently held an exercise with the governors of Maryland and Virginia, as well as the D.C. Mayor on how to inform the public about a dangerous plume. 16 Apr 2008 Concerned that not enough attention is being paid to the risk of a [Bush-Cheney] nuclear attack, a Senate committee yesterday looked at the consequences of such a terrorist strike in Washington. A hearing, called by the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, featured charts showing the horrific effects of a small nuclear device detonating near the White House. [? It's only "horrific" if Bush and Cheney aren't in there at the time.]

Ahmadinejad: 9/11 'suspect event' 16 Apr 2008 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York as a "suspect event" and queried the death toll. Four or five years ago a suspect event took place in New York," President Ahmadinejad said. "Under this pretext they [the United States] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then a million people have been killed only in Iraq," he said in the speech broadcast on state-run television.

Ahmadinejad casts doubt on 'suspect' Sept 11 16 Apr 2008 Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday reaffirmed his doubts about the accepted version of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, describing the strikes as a "suspect event". This was the third time in just over a week that Ahmadinejad has publicly raised doubts about the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Ahmadinejad did not say who he believed was behind the September 11 attacks. On April 8, he questioned how the two planes piloted by Al-Qaeda militants could have evaded surveillance to crash into the World Trade Centre. [Yeah, everyone is waiting for the answer to that one --and ten thousand other questions.]

So-called terror zealot vindicated --Just 11 accused remain in 'Toronto 18' case 16 Apr 2008 Nearly two years ago, when police busted an alleged homegrown terror cell, Qayyum Abdul Jamal was portrayed as the firebrand ringleader seeking recruits for jihad. Today, he says, he hopes to piece together a reputation left in tatters after being accused of belonging to the so-called Toronto 18, a group of men and teens who allegedly plotted to bomb sites around Toronto. And he hopes to repair a life changed forever when he spent 17 months in jail, 13 of them in solitary confinement.

Mistrial declared again in U.S. terrorism case 16 Apr 2008 A U.S. judge declared a mistrial on Wednesday for six men accused of joining forces with al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago as part of an Islamic jihad against the United States. It was the second mistrial declared by U.S. District Court Judge Joan Lenard in the case involving the men from Miami's impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.

No signs of Qaeda at U.S.-Mexican border: official 11 Apr 2008 Authorities have seen no signs of al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] trying to insert operatives into the United States from Mexico, but the militant group has considered doing so, a U.S. intelligence official said on Friday.

Lawmakers Want FBI Access to Data Curbed 15 Apr 2008 Groups in Congress are pressing to place new controls on the FBI's ability to demand troves of sensitive personal information from telephone providers and credit card companies. Proposals to rein in the use of secret "national security letters" will be discussed over the next week at hearings in both chambers. The hearings stem from disclosures that the FBI had clandestinely gathered telephone, e-mail and financial records "sought for" or "relevant to" terrorism or intelligence activities without following appropriate procedures illegally. The Justice Department's inspector general issued reports in 2007 and earlier this year citing repeated breaches. They included shoddy FBI paperwork, improper claims about nonexistent emergencies and an insufficient link between the data requests and ongoing national security probes.

NYPD to Take Pope Security Battle Underground --Every Train To Be Checked During Pontiff's 3-Day Visit; Radiation Sensors to Be Employed On City Streets 15 Apr 2008 Security is extremely tight in both Washington D.C. and New York City. With Pope Benedict XVI's landing Tuesday at Maryland's Andrews Air Force Base, the NYPD has already begun beefing up its police presence underground. "Mind if we check the train?" That's the question NYPD officers will be asking hundreds of train conductors when the pope arrives in NYC on Friday morning.

Minister accused of poll rules breach over terror announcement 16 Apr 2008 The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was accused of breaching election rules today by making a major anti-terrorism announcement during the run-up to local polls. Ministers and government departments are supposed to observe a period of silence - or "purdah" - in the weeks before a vote.

Iraq's Biggest Aid Agency? Muqtada al-Sadr & Co. 16 Apr 2008 For Um Wissam, a small office packed with food aid in Sadr City is a lifeline. With her son killed two years ago, the widow has nowhere else to turn for support. "They're really great," she said. "They give us whatever they possibly can." "They" are fervent anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army. A new report from Washington-based Refugees International says that Muqtada and his Mahdi Army are the largest "unofficial" aid agency in the country.

Iraqi Unit Flees Post, Despite American's Plea 16 Apr 2008 A company of Iraqi soldiers abandoned their positions on Tuesday night in Sadr City, defying American soldiers who implored them to hold the line against Shiite militias. Capt. Logan Veath, a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division, pleaded with the Iraqi major who was leading his troops away from the Sadr City fight, urging him to return to the front.

Govt removes army and police commanders in Basra 16 Apr 2008 The Iraqi government has removed the top military and police commanders in the southern city of Basra. The move come weeks after a botched attempt to crack down on the Mehdi Army militia, which has widespread influence in the oil-rich city.

Airstrike, battles kill at least 11 in Iraq --U.S. airstrike kills four "criminals" firing at Iraq soldiers, military says 16 Apr 2008 Fighting flared overnight in two key Shiite regions of Iraq, with four people killed early Wednesday in a U.S. airstrike in Basra and five others dying in battles in Baghdad's volatile northeastern region. Also, in Mosul, the U.S. military said Wednesday it killed a senior leader of al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Iraq and 'accidentally' shot and killed a bystander during a clash with militants.

Lethal day in Iraq, 69 dead 15 Apr 2008 Tuesday has been described as a lethal day in Iraq, where at least 69 persons were killed in several attacks and a new round of confrontations between Shiite militias and United States troops in eastern Baghdad, according to AFP.

US eases security rules for diplomats in Baghdad 16 Apr 2008 The State Department is easing security restrictions on diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that were imposed during a recent spate of rocket attacks in the Green Zone that killed four Americans. Embassy employees were told in a Wednesday notice obtained by The Associated Press that they are no longer required to wear body armor, helmets and protective eyewear while outside and that restrictions on movement inside the Green Zone have been lifted.

Reuters cameraman and two other civilians killed in Gaza 16 Apr 2008 A Reuters cameraman [Fadel Shana, 23] and two other Palestinian civilians were killed on Wednesday in what local residents said was an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip. Reuters soundman Wafa Abu Mizyed, also in his 20s, escaped unhurt and was being treated for shock.

Iran would 'eliminate Israel' if attacked: army general 15 Apr 2008 Iran would "eliminate Israel from the global arena" if it was attacked by the Jewish state, the deputy commander of the army warned on Tuesday, amid an intensifying war of words between the two foes. "We are not worried by Israeli manoeuvres, but if Israel takes such action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will eliminate it from the global arena," Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

Lieberman willing to star at Republican convention 15 Apr 2008 Sen. Joe LieberBush (R-Israel), is leaving open the possibility of giving a keynote address on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) at the Republican National Convention in September.

Leftist protests push Mexican Congress to side room 15 Apr 2008 Sit-in protests by left-wingers forced Mexico's Congress to relocate on Tuesday for the first time in two decades as political tensions seethed over a government plan to boost private investment in oil. [Awesome!]

NYPD settles suit claiming abuses at 2003 anti-war protest 15 Apr 2008 Police have agreed to rein in mounted patrols and adopt other new policies protecting the rights of demonstrators in order to settle a lawsuit brought by anti-war protesters, the New York Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday.

SKorea upgrades bird flu alert, troops on standby 16 Apr 2008 South Korea on Wednesday issued a nationwide bird flu alert, deployed troops and put firefighters on standby to try to contain the spread of the disease, officials said. The agriculture ministry said in a statement the "orange" vigilance level was extended to the whole country after previously covering only the badly hit southwest.

S. Korea extends bird flu risk level to second highest nationwide 16 Apr 2008 South Korea has extended its avian influenza risk level to the second highest nationwide amid rising concerns bird flu could spread across the country following a series of outbreaks this month, quarantine officials said Wednesday. The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries held a livestock quarantine meeting earlier in the day and decided to extend the risk level to "orange" nationwide.

Japan may test bird flu vaccine on govt staff 16 Apr 2008 Japan may vaccinate thousands of government workers against bird flu in a large-scale test of the effectiveness of the vaccine. Under a plan being promoted by Japan's Health Ministry, 6,000 medical workers and quarantine officers would be given the vaccine before March next year.

Small company gets US go-ahead on bird flu patch 15 Apr 2008 A small biotechnology company trying to develop needle-free vaccines won a boost to its efforts on Tuesday with U.S. government approval to test a bird flu skin patch on more people.

Man sickened by ricin is arrested, charged --Released from Las Vegas hospital, he faces toxin, weapons charges 16 Apr 2008 A man who authorities believe was sickened by the deadly toxin ricin was arrested Wednesday on federal charges in Las Vegas. The FBI said Roger Bergendorff was arrested after being released from the hospital where he had been treated since Feb. 14.

Big Tax Breaks for Businesses in Housing Bill --Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies get tax breaks of $6 billion through 2018 16 Apr 2008 The tax provisions of the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which consumer groups and labor leaders say amount to government handouts to big business, show how the credit crisis, while rattling the housing and financial markets, has created beneficiaries in the power corridors of Washington. "The Senate legislation gave corporations and Wall Street billions in tax breaks," Terence M. O’Sullivan, the president of the Laborers International Union of North America, said at a news conference on Tuesday to denounce the bill. "If anything, this multibillion-dollar windfall will make things worse," he continued.

Wall Street Winners Get Billion-Dollar Paydays 16 Apr 2008 Hedge fund managers, those masters of a secretive, sometimes volatile financial universe, are making money on a scale that once seemed unimaginable, even in Wall Street’s rarefied realms. One manager, John Paulson, made $3.7 billion last year.

The Food Irradiation Plot: Why the USDA Wants to Sterilize Fresh Produce and Turn Live Foods into Dead Foods By Mike Adams 14 Apr 2008 There's a new plot underway to sterilize your food and destroy the nutritional value of fresh produce. The players in this plot are the usual suspects: The USDA (which backed the "raw" almond sterilization rules now in effect in California) and the American Chemical Society -- a pro-chemical group that represents the interests of industrial chemical manufacturers.

Schoolboy spares NASA's blushes 16 Apr 2008 A 13-year-old German schoolboy [Nico Marquardt] corrected NASA's estimates on the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth after spotting the boffins had miscalculated, a German newspaper reported.

Supreme Court Upholds Use of Lethal Injection 16 Apr 2008 The Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of execution by lethal injection in Kentucky, rejecting claims that the procedure amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and clearing the way for a resumption of executions in states that were awaiting the court's decision.

California may resume executions by year's end 16 Apr 2008 Executions in California may resume by the end of the year -- with one inmate being put to death by lethal injection each month -- as a result of today's Supreme Court ruling, a high-level state prosecutor said. Chief Assistant Atty. Gen. Dane Gillette, who has defended the state's lethal injection procedures against a federal court challenge, said he believes it is "certainly feasible" to resume executions by the end of the year.

Colorado wildfires prompt state of emergency 16 Apr 2008 The governor of Colorado declared a state of emergency on Wednesday after two early-season wildfires killed three firefighters and forced the evacuation of an entire town.

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Polygamist sect gets millions from U.S. government 12 Apr 2008 U.S. taxpayers have unwittingly helped finance a polygamist sect that is now the focus of a massive child abuse investigation in West Texas, with a business tied to the group receiving a nearly $1 million loan from the federal government and $1.2 million in military contracts. The ability of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, to operate and grow is largely dependent on huge contributions from its members and revenue from the businesses they control, according to a former accountant for the church, and government officials in Utah and Arizona, where the sect is primarily based. One of those businesses, NewEra Manufacturing in Las Vegas, has been awarded more than $1.2 million in federal government contracts, with most of the money coming in recent years from the Defense Department for wheel and brake components for military aircraft. A large portion of the awards were preferential no-bid or "sole source" contracts because of the company's classification as a small business, according to online databases that track federal government appropriations.

CIA transited three terror suspects through Germany: report 15 Apr 2008 An independent report has cleared Berlin of knowing that the CIA transited three Egyptian terror suspects through Germany between 2001 and 2003, a newspaper report said Tuesday. The report by Joachim Jacob, rapporteur for a BND (German intelligence agency) commission of enquiry into German collusion into the US's extraordinary renditions programme, said that two flights passed through Germany, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

Canadian detainee asks US court to intervene in terror case 15 Apr 2008 Lawyers for a Canadian prisoner asked a civilian appeals court Tuesday to intervene in his terrorism case. If the court agrees, it would provide new judicial oversight on the Bush regime's terrorism prosecution system. But the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit questioned whether it had the authority to get involved. The case was brought by Omar Khadr, who is accused -- when he was 15-years-old -- of killing a U.S. soldier during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002.

Obama would ask his AG to "immediately review" potential of crimes in Bush White House By Will Bunch 14 Apr 2008 [I asked] Barack Obama a question that is on the minds of many Americans... and that is whether an Obama administration would seek to prosecute officials of a former Bush administration on the revelations that they greenlighted torture, or for other potential crimes that took place in the White House. Obama said that as president he would indeed ask his new Attorney General and his deputies to "immediately review the information that's already there" and determine if an inquiry is warranted -- but he also tread carefully on the issue, in line with his reputation for seeking to bridge the partisan divide.

State Department warns diplomats of compulsory Iraq duty 15 Apr 2008 The State Department is warning U.S. diplomats they may be forced to serve in Iraq next year and says it will soon start identifying prime candidates for jobs at the Baghdad embassy and outlying provinces, according to a cable obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

Iraq qualifies 35 companies for oil deals --ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Conoco Phillips, Chevron all qualified 14 Apr 2008 Iraq's Oil Ministry has approved 35 companies it will allow to bid for soon-to-be announced tenders to develop oil and gas fields. The largest oil companies in the world -- ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Conoco Phillips, Chevron -- all qualified, as did firms of a variety of sizes and nationalities.

Aussie oilers chase Iraq contracts 16 Apr 2008 Iraq is back on the agenda for three of Australia's largest oil producers. The war-torn nation's Ministry of Oil has revealed BHP Billiton and Woodside Petroleum are among the 35 international oil companies "pre-qualified" to bid for contracts to operate Iraqi oil and gas fields. And Oil Search is in advanced negotiations to pick up additional exploration ground in Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

Iraq opens door to foreign contracts at major oil fields 15 Apr 2008 Foreign oil companies are poised to enter Iraq later this month after Baghdad signalled it was prepared to sign five oil field services agreements covering its biggest fields. Oil experts estimate that Iraq can reach a geologic potential of 10m barrels a day with substantial foreign investment. But its achieved output is likely to rest on security improvements and nationalist resistance to foreign involvement.

Time for Iraq to pay its bills, senators say --Surging oil revenues cited as source for rebuilding 14 Apr 2008 Iraq's financial free ride may be over. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) is drafting legislation with Sen. Susan Collins of (R-ME) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) Indiana that would restrict future reconstruction dollars to loans instead of grants. Their bill also would require that Baghdad pay for fuel used by American troops and take over U.S. payments [bribes] to predominantly Sunni fighters in the Awakening movement.

Car bombs kill nearly 60 in Iraq 15 Apr 2008 [US] Car bombs and a suicide attacker struck crowded areas in Baghdad and former 'insurgent' strongholds to the north and west of the capital on Tuesday, killing nearly 60 people.

Two U.S. soldiers killed in bomb attacks in Iraq 15 Apr 2008 Two American soldiers were killed in two roadside bomb attacks across Iraq on Monday, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.

28 killed in surge of violence in Iraq 14 Apr 2008 A surge of [US] violence killed 28 people in the past 24 hours in Iraq, among them 12 members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces who died in a bomb blast near the Syrian border, officials said on Monday.

US military: 15 American soldiers injured in road accident in Kuwait 14 Apr 2008 The U.S. military says 15 American soldiers sustained minor injuries in a road accident in Kuwait. The military says a U.S. military vehicle and two buses collided Saturday on a road north of Kuwait City.

Clinton calls for Iran-US talks 16 Apr 2008 Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton calls President [sic] Bush's Iran policy 'a loser', recommending talks with the Islamic Republic. "The approach that the Bush administration has taken toward Iran has been a loser. It has neither changed behaviors nor produced results," she said while speaking at a meeting of newspaper publishers in Washington on Tuesday.

Architect of Canada's Military Mission In Afghanistan Resigns 15 Apr 2008 The man behind Canada's 'successful' military operations in Afghanistan resigned Tuesday as chief of the Defense Staff effective July 1. General Rick Hillier became Canada's highest ranking military official three years ago.

Former CIA Official: U.S. Losing War in Afghanistan [Iraq too.] 14 Apr 2008 The U.S. is on the verge of losing the war in Afghanistan, says a former top CIA official who was involved in attempts to capture and kill Osama bin Laden. "Afghanistan of course is a terrible disaster for the United States and NATO. NATO seems to be dying in Afghanistan," says Mike Scheuer, who headed the CIA's Osama Bin Laden unit when the war began. Scheuer is no longer with the agency.

Roadside bomb kills 2 Afghan police 15 Apr 2008 At least two Afghan police have been killed and three others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in southern province of Kandahar.

D.C. Madam: Guilty 15 Apr 2008 A federal jury found the so-called "D.C. Madam" [Deborah Jeane Palfrey] guilty Tuesday on four felony charges stemming from her Washington-area prostitution business. Jurors deliberated for less than a day before reaching their verdict, after listening to four days of testimony from more than a dozen former prostitutes and three clients.

Palfrey Convicted on Prostitution-Related Charges 15 Apr 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey was convicted this afternoon of racketeering and other charges after a federal court jury determined that her upscale escort service was actually a front for prostitution. She will remain free pending her sentencing July 24.

Lieberman: It's 'a good question' to ask if Obama is 'a Marxist.' 14 Apr 2008 In his New York Times column today, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol claimed that Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) now-infamous "bitter" remarks sound like Karl Marx’s "famous statement about religion." On the Brian and the Judge radio show today, Fox News' senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano asked Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-Israel) if Obama is "a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case?" "I must say that’s a good question," replied LieberBush, before stepping back to say that he would "hesitate to say he’s a Marxist." [Joe, we *don't* hesitate to say you're a fascist.]

Davis apologizes for calling Obama 'boy' 14 Apr 2008 U.S. Rep Geoff Davis (R) apologized Monday for calling presidential contender and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama "boy" during a Northern Kentucky dinner over the weekend.

Obama: Clinton using GOP playbook 14 Apr 2008 After days on the campaign defensive, Democrat Barack Obama accused rival Hillary Clinton on Monday of leveling criticism straight from the Republican playbook and said even so, he will win the White House over John McCain and an "out of touch" GOP.

Witness: Obama attended Rezko party 14 Apr 2008 The government's star witness at the fraud trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko testified Monday that Sen. Barack Obama and his wife attended a party four years ago at the home of the indicted political fundraiser.

Oil Prices Surge to a New High 15 Apr 2008 Oil prices surged to a new high on Tuesday, rising to nearly $114 a barrel, as scattered pipeline interruptions and a weak dollar pressured a tight global market. Crude oil futures jumped more than $2, to $113.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil prices have risen more than 18 percent since the beginning of the year.

Gas Prices Could Pass $3.50 in Weeks 15 Apr 2008 Gas prices fluctuated over the weekend but appear poised to resume their seemingly relentless trek toward a record high milestone of an average $3.50 a gallon. Forecasts call for gas to peak as high as $3.65 within a month.

Record Crude Means More Record Profits for Oil Companies 14 Apr 2008 Record level oil prices have and will continue to translate into record oil company profits. Most prominently, Exxon Mobil Corporation set a record last year with net income of more than $40 billion on nearly $405 billion of revenue. Not content with those numbers, Exxon just announced a joint project with a Hungarian oil company to begin exploring nearly 400,000 acres in an area of the country known as the Mako trough.

CEOs Pushing Ayn Rand Studies Use Money to Overcome Resistance 11 Apr 2008 Ayn Rand's novels of headstrong entrepreneurs' battles against convention enjoy a devoted following in business circles. While academia has failed to embrace Rand, calling her philosophy simplistic, schools have agreed to teach her works in exchange for a donation. [I always knew the Reichwing was behind pushing her insipid capitalist crap on us.]

Mega barf alert! Bush to make statement on climate change 16 Apr 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush will make an announcement Wednesday on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, White House press secretary Dana Perino said here Tuesday.

EPA Opens Chemical Risk Assessment to Corporate Lobbying --New Process Marginalizes Government Scientists and Promotes Industry Influence 14 Apr 2008 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled a new process for assessing the health risks of new chemicals that allows chemical manufacturers and other industries to play key roles. As a result, it will be much easier to inject corporate influence into public health determinations that should be purely scientific, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Group finds 6 million pounds of trash on world's beaches 15 Apr 2008 The world's beaches and shores are anything but pristine. Volunteers scoured 33,000 miles of shoreline worldwide and found 6 million pounds of debris from cigarette butts and food wrappers to abandoned fishing lines and plastic bags that threaten seabirds and marine mammals.

Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies 15 Apr 2008 The consumer spending slump and tightening credit markets are unleashing a widening wave of bankruptcies in American retailing, prompting thousands of store closings that are expected to remake suburban malls and downtown shopping districts across the country.

UK housing market 'worst on record' 16 Apr 2008 Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he's making progress with the Bank of England and financial institutions to ease credit conditions in the UK after a report showed sentiment in the housing market is the worst on record.

Foreclosures jump 57 percent in last 12 months 15 Apr 2008 Home foreclosure filings surged 57 percent in the 12 month-period ended in March and bank repossessions soared 129 percent from a year ago, as homeowners struggled to make mortgage payments, real estate data firm RealtyTrac said on Tuesday.

Consumer groups urge "do not track" registry 15 Apr 2008 Two consumer groups asked the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday to create a "do not track list" that would allow computer users to bar advertisers from collecting information about them.

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US is 'undermining' Afghan trials --Report says US is standing by while international standards for fair trials are violated 13 Apr 2008 A report by a US-based rights group has said the United States is failing the Afghan government by contributing to violations of fair trial standards. Human Rights First says the US is not providing adequate evidence in cases of former prisoners from Guantanamo Bay being tried in Afghan courts. It says the detainees are being put on trial with little or no evidence.

Bush Aware of Advisers' Interrogation Talks --President Says He Knew His Senior Advisers Discussed Tough Interrogation Torture Methods 11 Apr 2008 President [sic] Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value 'al Qaeda' suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

US takes over new Baghdad embassy 14 Apr 2008 A State Department official says the United States has taken ownership [well, until Sadr takes ownership] of the mammoth new, heavily fortified embassy in Baghdad after months of delay. The government had held off on taking legal possession of the $736 million complex until construction problems [accusations of slave-labor by US contractors] and delays were resolved.

Bomb explosions hit U.S. patrols, set Baghdad market on fire 14 Apr 2008 A roadside bomb explosion struck a U.S. patrol early on Monday in eastern Baghdad, destroying a U.S. Humvee and setting a huge fire to a nearby popular market, a well-informed police source said. In a separate incident, the source said that a roadside bomb struck another U.S. patrol in the Fadhiliyah neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. There was no reports on casualties for either attack.

Bombings in northern Iraq kill 15, wound 15 14 Apr 2008 Iraqi officials say 15 people have been killed and 15 wounded in two separate bombings in northern Iraq. Monday's attacks come amid stepped-up security operations by U.S. and Iraqi troops in the northwestern city of Mosul.

Kidnapped UK journalist freed in Iraq's Basra 14 Apr 2008 A British journalist held for two months by kidnappers in the southern Iraqi city of Basra was rescued on Monday by Iraqi forces sweeping through the city in a crackdown on militants, the Iraqi military said. Richard Butler, a photographer working for the U.S. network CBS, appeared in good health and high spirits after his release. Unknown Blackwater militants had seized him and his interpreter from their hotel in Basra, freeing the interpreter a few days later.

Semantics can't mask Bush's chicanery By Robert Fisk 12 Apr 2008 After his latest shenanigans, I've come to the conclusion that George Bush is the first US president [sic] to march backwards. First we had weapons of mass destruction. Then, when they proved to be a myth, Bush told us we had stopped Saddam's "programmes" for weapons of mass destruction (which happened to be another lie). Now he's gone a stage further. After announcing victory in Iraq in 2003 and "mission accomplished" and telling us how this enormous achievement would lead the 21st century into a "shining age of human liberty", George Bush told us this week that "thanks to the surge, we've renewed and revived the prospect of success"... Since when did armies go around "re-liberating" anything?

War in Iraq wrong for 62% of Americans 14 Apr 2008 Many adults in the United States regret their government’s decision to launch the 'coalition' effort, according to a poll by CBS News and the New York Times. 62 per cent of respondents think the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq.

US and Iran holding 'secret' talks on nuclear programme 14 Apr 2008 Iran and the United States have been engaged in secret "back channel" discussions for the past five years on Iran's nuclear programme and the broader relationship between the two sworn enemies, The Independent can reveal.

Israel refused to guard Carter, sources say --Ex-president tours rocket-hit Israeli town 14 Apr 2008 Israel's secret service has declined to assist U.S. agents guarding former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during a visit in which Israeli leaders have shunned him, U.S. sources told Reuters on Monday.

White House rejects meeting between Carter, Hamas 15 Apr 2008 The White House said Monday that former U.S. president Jimmy Carter should not go ahead with plans to meet with Hamas leaders.

Gaza Universities Closed After Fuel Cut 14 Apr 2008 The Gaza Strip's four main universities shut down Monday after officials said students couldn't get to class because of critical fuel shortages. University officials said attendance rates were down by at least 60 percent Monday, prompting the closure.

Two RAF men killed by Afghanistan bomb 14 Apr 2008 Two British servicemen were killed by a roadside bomb as they patrolled close to Nato's main airbase in southern Afghanistan yesterday, the Ministry of Defence said today. Two other UK servicemen were wounded in the blast but are not believed to have life-threatening injuries.

Insurgents attack checkpoint, kill 11 policemen in Afghanistan 14 Apr 2008 A police official says Taliban 'insurgents' have attacked a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, killing 11 policemen. Deputy provincial police chief Amanullah Khan says the insurgents opened fire on the policemen in the early hours of Monday in the Arghandab district of Kandahar province. Khan says preliminary reports indicate one of the policeman had links with the Taliban.

Mega barf alert! Berlusconi wins 3rd term as Italy's PM 14 Apr 2008 Conservative billionaire Silvio Berlusconi won a third term as Italy's prime minister on Monday with an unexpectedly strong mandate for reform, but warned of tough times ahead for a country facing deep economic problems.

Government already has 42-day detention power, says rebel 14 Apr 2008 Ministers do not need to extend pre-charge detention to 42 days because they already have the power to almost indefinitely hold suspects who do not reveal what is held on their computers, a rebel Labour MP [Bob Marshall-Andrews] said today.

Cabinet split on 42-day terror detention as Commons defeat looms --Home secretary said British intelligence pursuing 30 different plots involving tracking 2,000 people in 200 networks 14 Apr 2008 Cabinet ministers are split over the need to force through new laws to extend the maximum detention of suspected terror suspects from 28 to 42 days without charge - a month before ministers could face a bruising defeat by up to 30 votes in the Commons over the issue.

Mercenaries Training US Local Police Officers 08 Apr 2008 Kentucky’s Lexington Police Department contracted Blackwater Security International to provide what’s described as homeland security training. Meanwhile that city’s Mayor Jim Newberry and its chief of police Anthony Beatty refused free training provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal program that prepares police officers to enforce immigration and border security as part of their duties. Critics are angry over the use of local tax dollars to hire Blackwater personnel to train the police. In New Orleans, heavily armed operatives from the Blackwater private security firm, infamous for their work in Iraq, are openly patrolling the streets. Some of the mercenaries were reportedly "deputized" by the Louisiana governor and were issued gold Louisiana State law enforcement badges to wear on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards to be worn on their arms.

Tomato pickers feeling spied on --Aide says infiltrators have been at meetings 12 Apr 2008 What’s this? Who would spy on a couple of nonprofit human rights groups? Who would hire a professional infiltrator to sit in on the organizations’ planning sessions? Who would attack them on the Web for their efforts to improve the lives of workers who pick produce for the world’s largest fast food chains? That’s something the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and the Student/Farmworker Alliance would like to know. In recent months, they’ve been vilified online and in e-mails that can be traced to the Miami headquarters of Burger King, a company that’s opposed the groups’ efforts. The alliance also identified a spy in its ranks.

Gordon Asks FBI to Probe Arpaio For Civil Rights Violations 13 Apr 2008 Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has asked the FBI to investigate whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's crackdown on illegal immigrants has violated any civil rights laws. In a letter dated April 4 to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Gordon said his request "is based on Sheriff Arpaio's pattern and practice of conduct that includes discriminatory harassment, improper stops, searches and arrests." Gordon wrote that "over the past few weeks, Sheriff Arpaio's actions have infringed on the civil rights of our residents."

Justices let stand youth's 30-year prison term 14 Apr 2008 The U.S. Supreme Court let stand on Monday a sentence of 30 years in prison for a youth who killed his grandparents when he was 12, rejecting his appeal arguing that it was cruel and unusual punishment. Defense lawyers argued the antidepressant drug he was taking led him to commit the murders.

Chicago's Malcolm X College evacuates due to threat 14 Apr 2008 Classes are set to resume at Chicago's Malcolm X College after up to 1,000 people were evacuated from the school because a threat was found written on a bathroom wall. College spokeswoman Elsa Tullos says police have determined the campus is secure and classes will resume after 4:30 p.m. Monday. Tullos declined to reveal details about the threat [?] discovered Monday morning.

4 Local Schools Close Due to Threats At St. Xavier --Malcolm X College Also Closed For Separate Threat 14 Apr 2008 Threats of violence on one college campus have left several other Chicago schools closed for the day. CBS 2 reports that school officials say closing the schools is a matter of security. The schools closed Monday are Mother McAuley High School, Brother Rice High School, Queen of Martyrs Elementary School and Evergreen Park Southwest Elementary. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Increase in severe pneumonia in children may be caused by vaccine 14 Apr 2008 Cases of a life-threatening form of pneumonia that affects the young are rising rapidly in Britain. Child health specialists say cases of the pneumonia, known as serotype 1, have risen tenfold in a decade. They warn that a vaccine against pneumococcal disease called Prevenar, introduced in 2006, could be fuelling the rise.

Senator Vitter won't testify in sex case 14 Apr 2008 Sen. David Vitter will not have to testify about his ties to an upscale Washington escort service, a defense attorney said Monday, sparing the Louisiana Republican an embarrassing trip to the witness stand. Vitter has been on notice for more than a week that he could have to appear during the prostitution trial of Deborah Palfrey. Palfrey's attorney, Preston Burton, said he would rest his case Monday without calling Vitter or any other witnesses. Vitter has acknowledged being involved with Palfrey's escort service and has apologized for what he called "a very serious sin."

Bush facilitates Coup 2008: Political snarl has election watchdog on a short leash 14 Apr 2008 The nation's election watchdog sits paralyzed -- unable to meet, give advice, fashion rules or open investigations, even as the most intense presidential campaign in recent memory rages on. The six-seat Federal Election Commission is down to two functioning members, two short of a quorum. Three potential commissioners await confirmation by the Senate, trapped in a cold war between Democrats and Republicans over one of the nominees, whom civil rights groups accuse of hostility to minority voters. The last seat doesn't even have a White House nominee.

Suit filed over McCain's campaign finances 14 Apr 2008 The Democratic National Committee filed suit today to force the Federal Election Commission to rule on the legality of Sen. John McCain's decision to reject public financing for the primary campaign after initially considering taking the federal money. Mired in conflict between Democrats and Republicans over a nominee to fill one of four empty commission seats, the six-member Federal Election Commission lacks a quorum. So the suit filed in federal court in Washington seeks court approval for the DNC to pursue legal actions against McCain.

It Takes Real Chutzpah for a Guy Who Owns Eight Houses (McCain) to Call Barack Obama an "Elitist" By Robert Creamer 14 Apr 2008 Yesterday his [John McCain's] campaign actually accused Barack Obama of being an "elitist" for saying that it's not surprising that people in small Midwestern towns are bitter after seeing their standard of living systematically destroyed over the last three decades. Damn right they're bitter; they have good reasons to be. And most of those reasons are the economic and trade policies that have -- and continue to be -- championed by George Bush and John McCain. The McCain campaign is managed by a cadre of Washington-insider special interest lobbyists. He and his current wife are estimated to be worth about $100 million. He reportedly owns eight houses... He gets most of his campaign cash from the wealthiest corporate interests around. And he has the gall to call Barack Obama an "elitist"?

New poll shows Barack Obama tanking in Pennsylvania 14 Apr 2008 The first poll results from Pennsylvania are in since Barack Obama's "bitter" comments about people in small towns exploded as a 'news' story, and the findings could hardly be worse for the Democratic presidential contender. The new poll by American Research Group -- conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- gave Clinton 57% and Obama 37% (based on interviews with 600 Democrats, the survey has an error margin of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points).

White House: Bush concerned about food shortages [Yeah, he wants more of them, so he can hire Blackwater to quell the uprisings.] 14 Apr 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush is very concerned about global food shortages and has asked senior aides to look into how the United States can help alleviate foment the problem, the White House said on Monday.

Co-Payments Go Way Up for Drugs With High Prices --Burden of expensive health care can now affect insured people 14 Apr 2008 Health insurance companies are rapidly adopting a new pricing system for expensive drugs, asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions for medications. With the new pricing system, insurers abandoned the traditional arrangement that has patients pay a fixed amount, like $10, $20 or $30 for a prescription. Instead, they are charging patients a percentage of the cost of certain high-priced drugs, usually 20 to 33 percent, which can amount to thousands of dollars a month.

Fourth-largest US bank resorts to emergency fundraising 14 Apr 2008 America's fourth-largest bank, Wachovia, is raising $7bn (£3.52bn) through emergency fundraising as the subprime mortgage crisis in the US continues to reverberate through the banking sector. Wachovia is raising the funds through public offerings of common and convertible preference stock after incurring a surprise $350m loss in the first quarter of 2008 compared with $2.3bn in profit a year earlier.

Melting mountains a "time bomb" for water shortages 14 Apr 2008 Glaciers and mountain snow are melting earlier in the year than usual, meaning the water has already gone when millions of people need it during the summer when rainfall is lower, scientists warned on Monday. "This is just a time bomb," said hydrologist Wouter Buytaert at a meeting of geoscientists in Vienna.

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Bush speaks on the possibility of another 9/11 13 Apr 2008 US President [sic] George Bush has said he believes another 9/11 attack on the United Sates should be considered a strong possibility and warned that such an attack could originate from Pakistan. In an interview with America’s ABC TV, Mr Bush said: "If another September 11 style attack is being planned, it probably is being plotted in Pakistan, and not Afghanistan." [Well, no, it's probably being plotted in Langley, where the first one originated.]

'I have no enemy but you. You are the occupier.' Sadr says US will always be enemy 12 Apr 2008 Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr has said the US will always be his enemy "till the last drop of blood". Mr Sadr was responding to a statement by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who said that all those within the political process were not enemies. "I have no enemy but you. You are the occupier," Mr Sadr's statement said.

Chevron, Total seek oil deal in Iraq 12 Apr 2008 Oil giants Chevron Corp. and Total have confirmed that they are in discussions with the Iraqi Oil Ministry to increase production in an important oil field in southern Iraq. The discussions are aimed at finalizing a two-year deal, or technical support agreement, to boost production at the West Qurna Stage 1 oil field near Iraq's second-largest city of Basra.

Iraq sacks 1,300 troops over Shiite crackdown --Hundreds of Iraqi troops and police reported to have either deserted or joined the other side during a government offensive [for US oil] in Basra 13 Apr 2008 Iraq has dismissed 1,300 policemen and soldiers for failing to perform their duties during a crackdown on Shiite militiamen in the south of the country, an official said on Sunday. Hundreds of Iraqi troops and police are reported to have either deserted or joined the other side during a government offensive against Shiite militias in Basra that began March 25.

Iraq Dismisses 1,300 After Basra Offensive 14 Apr 2008 The Iraqi government announced Sunday that it had dismissed 1,300 soldiers and policemen for refusing to fight or performing badly during last month’s offensive against Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra.

Deadliest week for U.S. troops this year 13 Apr 2008 Twenty U.S. soldiers have died across Iraq since last Sunday, the deadliest week for U.S. troops this year and one of the bloodiest since September 2007. Fighting between Shi'ite militiamen and security forces in Sadr City eased on Sunday, though, after a week of intense clashes, with hospitals in the Baghdad city saying they had received no dead or wounded overnight.

US strike kills own soldiers in Baghdad 13 Apr 2008 The US military says an Apache helicopter has accidentally destroyed one of its own armoured vehicles in eastern Baghdad. Iraqi police confirm that a Humvee was set ablaze in the Mashtal area of eastern Baghdad. They say two US soldiers and three Iraqi civilians were wounded and that American troops immediately blocked off the neighbourhood.

'Look, this is deliberate. The U.S. is trying to keep us unarmed so that we’ll always be in need of the Americans.' Secret Iraqi Deal Shows Problems in Arms Orders 13 Apr 2008 Five years after the American invasion, the 170,000-strong Iraqi military remains under-equipped, spottily supplied and largely reliant on the United States for such basics as communications equipment, weapons and ammunition, raising fresh questions about the Iraqi military’s ability to stand on its own. Closer monitoring of weapons deals has been a delicate subject since a series of tainted arms purchases totaling $1.3 billion in Iraqi government funds in 2004 and 2005. Iraqi officials paid for second-rate or nonexistent weapons and equipment in cash, using middlemen to ferry duffle bags stuffed with bricks of $100 bills.

US State Department Peyman Online covert Iran project funding By Submitter 13 Apr 2008 This file has not been released publicly. This file [25 April 2007] provides budgetary information regarding a specific covert new media initiative funded by the US State Department that targets Iran. This document was leaked because the man who is in charge of the initiative has strong ties to Israeli Intelligence and subcontracts portions of the work to Israeli intel fronts such as MEMRI using US tax dollars. It is currently not known if this project is still being funded by the US State Department.

Hadley: Iran a threat to US in Iraq 14 Apr 2008 US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley says troops still have 'much work to do in stemming Iranian support for militias' in Iraq. Hadley said al-Qaeda's influence was diminishing in Iraq but went on to blame Iran for the violence in the southern part of Iraq.

Blast kills 12, wounds 200 in Shiraz 14 Apr 2008 An explosion at a religious center in the southwestern city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars Province, killed 12 people and injured 200 on Saturday. The deadly blast took place at around 9:15 p.m. on Saturday in a religious center (Hosseinieh) where people had gathered to listen to a sermon.

Iran-UN nuclear talks postponed 13 Apr 2008 A meeting between Iran's chief nuclear negotiator and the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog agency has been postponed, Iranian media have said. The official news agency Irna gave no reason for the postponement of the meeting between Gholamreza Aghazadeh and the UN's Mohamed ElBaradei.

Iran holding security talks in Ankara 14 Apr 2008 Iran is to attend a five-day high-security commission meeting with Turkish officials which will kick off in Ankara on Monday. Deputy Interior Minister Ali Akbar Mohtaj heads the Iranian delegation in the 12th round of the meetings, Mehr news agency reported Sunday. The talks will be held from April 14 to April 18.

US Spends $160M for Closed-Door Trials In Afghanistan 13 Apr 2008 Afghan detainees held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being transferred home to face closed-door trials in which they are often denied access to defense attorneys and the U.S. evidence being used against them, according to Afghan officials, lawyers and international rights groups. Since October 2006, the United States has transferred approximately 50 prisoners out of Guantanamo to the custody of the Afghan government. Once home, many of the Afghans have been left in a legal limbo not unlike the one they confronted while in U.S. custody. Since the invasion, the United States has pledged at least $160 million for judicial reform kangaroo courts in Afghanistan, according to the State Department.

War trials boycotted --More Guantanamo prisoners expected to refuse to participate 12 Apr 2008 The U.S. war crimes 'trials' at Guantanamo Bay are running into a new obstacle: boycotts by the defendants. Three men accused of being al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] operatives have now chosen to boycott their upcoming trials. More defendants are expected to do the same as the military attempts to prosecute dozens of prisoners at the isolated, high-security U.S. base overlooking the Caribbean.

Bush Admits to Knowledge of Torture Authorization by Top Advisers --ACLU Calls for Independent Counsel to Investigate Administration’s Approval of Torture and Abuse 12 Apr 2008 In a stunning admission to ABC news Friday night, President [sic] Bush declared that he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details of the CIA’s use of torture. Bush reportedly told ABC, "I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved." Bush also defended the use of waterboarding... The American Civil Liberties Union is calling on Congress to demand an independent prosecutor to investigate possible violations by the Bush administration of laws including the War Crimes Act, the federal Anti-Torture Act, and federal assault laws.

Terror chiefs recruit more Scots spies 13 Apr 2008 MI5 IS to create a team of "Scottish spooks" in a bid to prevent outrages like the Glasgow Airport attack and reduce the radicalisation [?] of young Muslims north of the border. The existing Scottish office of MI5 is to be increased from a handful of officers to as many as a dozen, all of them recruited in Scotland, in the hope they can blend in to communities and spot potential terrorists at an earlier stage.

Boy, 17, held for terroristic threats (Sea Bright, 12 Apr 2008 Police took a 17-year-old Sea Bright boy into custody after they say he pointed a fake gun at two teenagers, then fired the imitation weapon. Detective John Arias and Patrolman Chris Fisler took the teen into custody Thursday night and charged him with possession of an imitation firearm and terroristic threats.

Brown in record poll slide 13 Apr 2008 Gordon Brown's personal popularity ratings have plunged further and faster than any other British prime minister since polling began in the 1930s, a poll revealed on Sunday. Brown is facing a rough ride as the global lending squeeze tightens its grip on the economy and the housing market could head into a sharp downturn.

It's Obama, stupid: Carter and Gore to end Clinton bid 13 Apr 2008 Democratic grandees Jimmy Carter and Al Gore are being lined-up to deliver the coup de grâce to Hillary Clinton and end her campaign to become president. Former president Carter and former president Gore have already held high-level discussions about delivering the message that she must stand down for the good of the Democrats. "They're in discussions," a source close to Carter told Scotland on Sunday. "Carter has been talking to Gore. They will act, possibly together, or in sequence." An appeal by both men for Democrats to unite behind Clinton's rival, Barack Obama, would have a powerful effect, and insiders say it is a question of when, rather than if, they act.

Clinton Says Obama's 'Bitter' Remark Could Cost Party General Election 13 Apr 2008 Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., took the opportunity to capitalize on her rival's comments that people in small towns are "bitter" for the third day in a row. Speaking to reporters outside some homes in Scranton, Pennsylvania, she was greeted by many supporters holding signs and offering encouragement. Clinton made the argument that Sen. Barack Obama's comments could cost the party the election and that the party has been seen as out of touch by male candidates in the past. Clinton also criticized Obama for not "owning up to his remarks."

Bill Clinton says people not 'bitter' but want better economy 13 Apr 2008 Bill Clinton took a swipe Sunday at remarks about small-town voters made by his wife's rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying people in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, are not bitter but do yearn for better economic times.

Clinton tours working-class area and blasts Obama 13 Apr 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton toured a working-class neighborhood on Sunday to stress her blue-collar background and kept up the attack on rival Barack Obama's remarks about small-town voters. With the next major Democratic vote nine days away in Pennsylvania, Clinton walked through a section of Scranton, where she spent some time as a child and near where her father is buried, to show that she connected with the middle-class voter.

Furor continues over Obama 'small town' quotes --Clinton calls statements 'demeaning' 13 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama yesterday worked to extinguish -- and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to fan -- a [GOP-engendered] prairie fire of controversy over the Illinois senator's musings on small towns, bitterness, religion and guns. Criticisms of Mr. Obama's remarks at a California fund-raiser erupted as a distracting and potentially enduring wound for his campaign.

Obama's Former Pastor Criticizes Media at Funeral --Wright refers to Fox News as "Fix News" 13 Apr 2008 The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Sen. Barack Obama, fired back at the news media during a Chicago funeral service on Saturday. Wright didn't mention the Democratic presidential hopeful by name but did call out some of his critics, including Fox News [Reichwing] commentators Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, at times drawing standing ovations from the 2,500 mourners in attendance.

Bird flu virus may have mutated 13 Apr 2008 The highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus has passed from human-to-human in China, raising fears that the virus may have started to mutate. In a highly rare case, genetic tests on a 52-year-old father diagnosed with bird flu in the Jiangsu province of China has shown that he was infected by H5N1 from his 24-year-old dying son.

Thanks to the pharma-terrorists: Mumps found to have made alarming comeback in U.S. 10 Apr 2008 Mumps made an alarming comeback in the United States in 2006 and may take years to completely eradicate, federal health experts reported on Wednesday. The outbreak of the viral disease came despite with the widespread use of a second dose of a mumps vaccine, produced by Merck, beginning in 1990.

Salmonella In Your Cereal? Cereal Link to Food Poisoning Is Probed 12 Apr 2008 At least 23 people in 14 states have been sickened by the same strain of salmonella found in two breakfast cereals [unsweetened Puffed Rice and Puffed Wheat] recalled by Malt-O-Meal, the federal Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

World Bank echoes food cost alarm 13 Apr 2008 The rapid rise in food prices could push 100m people in poor countries deeper into poverty, the head of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has said. His warning follows that from the leader of the International Monetary Fund, who said hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of starvation.

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