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 and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.

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April 2009 Archives

U.S. shipped 989 munitions containers to Israel week before Gaza invasion --Shipment included white phosphorous 10 Apr 2009 In the dying days of the Bush administration, and a week before Israel launched an aerial bombing campaign, followed by a land invasion of the Gaza Strip, the U.S. military shipped 989 containers of munitions to Israel. Each container was 20-feet long with a total estimated net weight of 14,000 tonnes. The shipment reportedly reached Israel last month at Ashdod, 40 kilometres north of Gaza. According to Amnesty International in the UK, the shipment included white phosphorous.

Cost of Iraq war will surpass Vietnam's by year's end --If Congress approves the latest funding request, as expected, the Iraq war will have cost about $694 billion, making it the second most expensive conflict in U.S. history behind World War II. 11 Apr 2009 The amount of U.S. money spent on the Iraq war will surpass the cost of Vietnam by the end of the year, making it the second most expensive military conflict in American history, behind World War II, according to Pentagon figures provided Friday. If Congress approves the supplemental funding request submitted this week by the Obama administration, the cost of the war will rise by $87 billion for 2009, including a previous supplement approved during the Bush administration.

Contractor Must Pay in Iraq Fraud, Court Rules 11 Apr 2009 A federal appeals court ruled Friday that a contractor [mercenaries] found to have committed widespread fraud in Iraq could not avoid paying millions of dollars in damages by claiming that the United States law governing false claims essentially did not apply there, as a previous judge had found on technical grounds. The earlier decision set aside a jury’s verdict in 2006 that the contractor, Custer Battles, must pay about $10 million in damages and penalties to the United States government and two whistle-blowers.

US setting stage for longer Iraq stay? 11 Apr 2009 The top US commander in Iraq has suggested increasing the number of combat forces in breach of a recently signed deal for their withdrawal. General Ray Odierno said in an interview with The Times that he would ask the White House to keep combat troops in the northern provinces of Mosul and Baqubah beyond a deadline set last year for their withdrawal by the end of June.

Is Gates channeling Cheney on Iraq with 'last gasp' remark? 11 Apr 2009 Midway through a week of mayhem in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised eyebrows when he said the recent resurgence of violence in Baghdad was "a last gasp" of Islamic extremists. It was an echo of former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, who in 2005 said the insurgency was "in the last throes." The following two years were the deadliest period of the war. A truck bomb Friday in the northern city of Mosul killed five U.S. soldiers in the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in 13 months. Since Monday, a series of explosions around the country has killed at least 60 Iraqis and injured 200.

Iraqi babies for sale: people trafficking crisis grows in corrupt system --At least 150 children a year sold for £200 to £4,000 --Some bartered youngsters become sex abuse victims 06 Apr 2009 Corruption, weak law enforcement and porous borders are compounding a growing child trafficking crisis in [Bush's] Iraq, according to officials and aid agencies, with scores of children abducted each year and sold internally or abroad. Criminal gangs [Xe/KBR] are profiting from the cheap cost of buying infants and the bureaucratic muddle that makes it relatively easy to move them overseas. Accurate figures are difficult to obtain because there is no centralised counting procedure, but aid agencies and police say they believe numbers have increased by a third since 2005 to at least 150 children a year.

'Israel killed 437 kids in blockaded Gaza' 11 Apr 2009 Israel's three-week war on the Gaza Strip left 437 children dead and 1872 more wounded, the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza has said. Ahmad Al Kurd, Minister of Social Affairs, said on Friday that the Israeli army targeted women and children, and that its shelling targeted homes, hospitals, educational facilities and even mosques, International Middle East Media Center reported.

60 drone hits kill 14 al-Qaeda men, 687 civilians 10 Apr 2009 Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The 'success' percentage of the US predator strikes is thus not more than six per cent.

Australian opposition says ministers fail to get exit strategy from U.S. 11 Apr 2009 Two Australian federal government ministers failed to get an exit strategy from Afghanistan when they met U.S. cabinet secretaries in Washington, the federal opposition said on Saturday. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon met with their U.S. counterparts, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on Friday in Washington as part of the Australia-U.S. Ministerial (AUSMIN) talks.

120 more troops likely for Afghanistan 10 Apr 2009 Australia is set to send more troops to Afghanistan -- most likely about 120 -- to help protect 'voters' from attack when they go to the polls in August.

Russia test fires intercontinental missile 10 Apr 2009 Russia has successfully test-launched a PC-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, Russian news agencies have reported. According to the agencies, the missile was jointly launched by the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Space Forces from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Friday.

US navy eyeballs Somali pirates in hostage standoff 11 Apr 2009 Somali elders sought to mediate between the U.S. navy and pirates holding an American hostage today in a high-seas standoff that presents President Barack Obama with a nasty new dilemma. Four pirates adrift in a lifeboat far out in the Indian Ocean with Richard Phillips, the American captain of a cargo ship they tried to seize on Wednesday, have demanded $2 million for his release and a guarantee of their own safety.

Officials: FBI launches criminal piracy probe 11 Apr 2009 FBI agents are investigating the Somali pirates who hijacked a U.S. ship and are holding its captain hostage, U.S. officials said Saturday, raising the possibility of federal charges against the men if they are captured.

You are being lied to about pirates --Some are clearly just gangsters. But others are trying to stop illegal dumping and trawling By Johann Hari 05 Jan 2009 Who imagined that in 2009, the world's governments would be declaring a new War on Pirates? ...But behind the arrr-me-hearties oddness of this tale, there is an untold scandal. The people our governments are labelling as "one of the great menaces of our times" have an extraordinary story to tell - and some justice on their side.

Poll: Three-quarters favor relations with Cuba 10 Apr 2009 A new poll shows that two-thirds of Americans surveyed think the U.S. should lift its travel ban on Cuba, and three-quarters think the U.S. should end its five-decade estrangement with the country. According to the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted April 3 to 5, 64 percent of the 1,023 Americans surveyed by telephone thought the U.S. government should allow citizens to travel to Cuba.

Manchester link to plots across Europe 12 Apr 2009 THE alleged Al-Qaeda plot to bomb shopping centres in Manchester over Easter had been ordered by a fugitive British terrorist, investigators believe. Rashid Rauf, identified by MI5 as Al-Qaeda’s "director of operations" [!] in Europe, is suspected of planning the bombing as part of a wider "master plan" for a number of attacks on cities across the Continent.

Pakistan arrests Briton on terror charges 11 Apr 2009 Pakistan interior minister chief says a British national has been arrested in Peshawar city on suspicion of having links with al-Qaeda. Rehman Malik said Saturday that the Pakistani authorities are interrogating the Briton without giving further information, a Press TV correspondent reported. The detention is largely viewed as retaliation to the Wednesday arrests in northwest England in which 12 people - among them 11 Pakistanis -- were detain for allegedly planning terror attack on the British soil.

Pathologist in Ian Tomlinson G20 death case was reprimanded over conduct --G20 pathologist reprimanded over conduct --MP asks why first post mortem was held so quickly, and calls for public inquiry 11 Apr 2009 The initial post mortem examination of the man who died at the G20 protests after being attacked by a police officer, which found he had died of a heart attack, was conducted by a forensic pathologist once reprimanded about his professional conduct by the General Medical Council. Ian Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper seller, died on April 1 after being assaulted at least once by officers policing the G20 demonstrations. He had been trying to walk home from work when he was confronted by police, hit with a baton and thrown to the ground.

Should Obama Control the Internet? --A new bill would give the President emergency authority to halt web traffic and access private data. By Steve Aquino 02 Apr 2009 Should President Obama have the power to shut down domestic Internet traffic during a state of emergency? Senators John Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) think so. On Wednesday they introduced a bill to establish the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor--an arm of the executive branch that would have vast power to monitor and control Internet traffic to protect against threats to critical cyber infrastructure.

Goldman Sachs hires law firm to shut blogger's site 11 Apr 2009 Goldman Sachs is attempting to shut down a dissident blogger who is extremely critical of the investment bank, its board members and its practices. The bank has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website. Florida-based Mr Morgan began a blog entitled "Facts about Goldman Sachs" -- goldmansachs666.com -- just a few weeks ago.

All passengers will 'go through the whole-body imager instead of the walk-through metal detector.' Whole-Body Scans Pass First Airport Tests 07 Apr 2009 In a shift, the Transportation Security Administration plans to replace the walk-through metal detectors at airport checkpoints with whole-body imaging machines -- the kind that provide an image of the naked body. Initially, the machines were supposed to be used only on passengers who set off the metal detectors, to provide them with an option to the customary secondary physical pat-downs and inspections by electronic wand. But Robin Kane, the agency’s acting chief technology officer, said that the initial results from pilot tests at some checkpoints at 19 airports in the United States had been so good that the idea of using the machines as the standard checkpoint detectors made sense.

Hundreds of Ill. patients possibly exposed to TB 11 Apr 2009 Hundreds of patients and staff at three Chicago-area hospitals may have been exposed to tuberculosis by a contagious doctor-in-training, officials said Friday. About 300 staff and 150 patients may have been exposed at Children's Memorial Hospital, said Dr. Stan Shulman, the hospital's chief of pediatric infectious disease. Seventeen patients may have been affected at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, officials said.

Suspected Nazi can stay in US for now: officials 11 Apr 2009 Suspected Nazi guard John Demjanjuk can remain in the United States while an immigration court considers his latest appeal against extradition to Germany, US officials said Wednesday. "It is a subject for the courts at this point," said Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

States Slashing Social Programs for Vulnerable 12 Apr 2009 Battered by the recession Bush Depression and the deepest and most widespread budget deficits in several decades, a large majority of states are slicing into their social safety nets -- often crippling preventive efforts that officials say would save money over time. President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package... will offset only 40 percent of the losses in state revenues, and programs for vulnerable groups have been cut in at least 34 states, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a private research group in Washington.

Tell the Pesticide Peddlers: We support Michelle Obama's organic garden. (CREDO) 11 Apr 2009 The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) has a bone to pick with Michelle Obama. MACA represents chemical companies that produce pesticides, and they are angry that - wait for it - Michelle Obama isn't using chemicals in her organic garden at the White House. We are not making this up. In an email they forwarded to their supporters, a MACA spokesman wrote, "While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made [us] shudder." MACA went on to publish a letter it had sent to the First Lady asking her to consider using chemicals -- or what they call "crop protection products" -- in her garden.

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General Odierno: US troop numbers in northern Iraq could rise rather than fall 10 Apr 2009 The activities of 'al-Qaeda' in two of Iraq’s most troubled cities could keep US combat troops engaged beyond the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, the top US commander in the country has warned. US troop numbers in Mosul and Baqubah, in the north of the country, could rise rather than fall over the next year if necessary, General Ray Odierno told The Times in his first interview with a British newspaper since taking over from General David Petraeus in September. [See: 'US behind recent Iraq bomb attacks' 09 Apr 2009.]

Suicide bomber in truck kills five US troops in Iraq 11 Apr 2009 Five US soldiers were killed yesterday when a suicide bomber rammed a truck bomb into an Iraqi police compound in the northern city of Mosul, in the deadliest attack against American troops in 13 months. Two Iraqi soldiers were also killed and at least one American soldier was among 60 people reportedly injured in the blast on the south-western edge of Mosul.

'The law will hold you to account when you are no longer in power.' [Too bad that doesn't apply in the US, vis a vis Bush's war criminals. --LRP] Sadrists condemn 'politically-motivated' arrests 10 Apr 2009 Sadrists condemn the Iraqi police move to arrests members of the anti-occupation movement, warning rival factions of the same fate. "We say to those who carry out such arrest operations that what goes around comes around," said Abdel Hadi Mohammedawi, a cleric close to influential Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr. "If the situation is governed by the law, then the law will hold you to account when you are no longer in power," he told a large gathering of supporters at a mosque Kufa, south of Baghdad, accusing the police of carrying out the arrests for "political purposes".

Lawsuit filed against 3 US companies for supplying chemical WMDs to Iraq -- Alcolac pleaded guilty in 1989 to knowingly violating export laws by shipping a mustard-gas ingredient that ultimately went to Iran. 09 Apr 2009 Five survivors of the 1988 poison gas attacks of ethnic Kurds in Iraq have filed a class action lawsuit in Maryland claiming three American companies and the government of Iraq violated the Geneva Convention by using mustard and nerve gasses to kill tens of thousands of people. Filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, the lawsuit says the companies supplied the regime of former Iraqi dictator [CIA asset] Saddam Hussein with the chemical precursors and compounds needed to make the poison gases used in the six-month long "Operation Anfal."

Lawsuit Alleges Firms Sold Iraq Chemical Weapons 09 Apr 2009 A federal lawsuit in Baltimore accuses three companies of unlawfully selling to the Saddam Hussein regime materials for making chemical weapons that were used against Iraqi Kurds in 1988. The complaint filed Tuesday by five Kurds in Tennessee and the Nashville-based Kurdish National Congress seeks unspecified damages from chemical makers Alcolac Inc., of Cumberland, Md., and VWR International LLC of West Chester, Pa.; and laboratory equipment supplier Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., of Waltham, Mass.

List of US businesses that sold weapons to Saddam Hussein --In addition to these 24 companies based in the US, nearly 50 subsidiaries of foreign enterprises whose arms co-operation with Iraq seems to have operated from the US. 10 Apr 2009 A, nuclear K, chemical B, biological R, rockets (missiles) Honeywell (R,K) Spektra Physics (K) Semetex (R) TI Coating (A,K) UNISYS (A,K) Sperry Corp. (R,K) Tektronix (R,A) Rockwell (K) Leybold Vacuum Systems (A) Finnigan-MAT-US (A) Hewlett Packard (A.R,K) Dupont (A) Eastman Kodak (R) American Type Culture Collection (B) Alcolac International (C) Consarc (A) Carl Zeis -U.Ss (K) Cerberus (LTD) (A) Electronic Assiciates (R) International Computer Systems Bechtel (K) EZ Logic Data Systems,Inc. (R) Canberra Industries Inc. (A) Axel Electronics Inc. (A) [Translated from German magazine, Die Tageszeitung.]

County Dumps KBR Over Iraq Work --Court gives contract to S&B Infrastructure LTD. 09 Apr 2009 Hays County Commissioners on Tuesday rescinded a contract for engineering design on the first portion of the San Marcos Loop that they had previously awarded to KBR. The move came one week after Iraq War veterans Gregory Foster and Bryan Hannah spoke of the company's record in that country in less than glowing terms.

US military admits killing mother, children 09 Apr 2009 The US military in Afghanistan admitted Thursday that four people its troops killed in a raid were not "combatants", after Afghans said they included a mother and her children, with a baby dying afterwards. Afghan officials and witnesses earlier accused the forces of killing civilians in an overnight raid in the eastern province of Khost that the US military initially said killed "four combatants".

Marine acquitted of killing Iraqi prisoner 09 Apr 2009 A U.S. Marine sergeant was acquitted Thursday morning of killing a prisoner during the fighting in Fallujah in Iraq in 2004. Eight officers determined that Sgt. Ryan Weemer was not guilty of murder and dereliction of duty after more than six hours of deliberations and a court martial at Camp Pendleton in California, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

More Funds Sought for Iraq and Afghanistan 10 Apr 2009 President Obama sent Congress an $83.4 billion spending request yesterday to fund his administration's 'strategies' in Iraq and Afghanistan through the summer, in what officials promised would be the last such off-budget proposal to pay for the wars. Administration officials and others have derided the use of emergency troop-funding bills, noting that they are not subject to usual budget ceilings and often have been rushed through Congress.

Gerry Adams: Gaza an open-air prison 09 Apr 2009 Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, has called for an end to Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip while calling Gaza an 'open-air prison'. "What is happening in Gaza is totally and absolutely wrong," Adams said during a recent visit to Gaza on Wednesday. "This is a total denial of the rights of the people of Palestine. This is an open-air prison," the Sinn Fein leader said. "People cannot travel out of here, they cannot travel in."

No credible evidence of Al Qaeda presence in Pakistan, says FO --Spokesman says Pak embassy in London gathering details regarding arrests of certain Pakistani nationals in Britain 10 Apr 2009 Pakistan has not received any credible intelligence report about the presence of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leadership inside its borders, Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Abdul Basit said on Thursday. "We have not come across any authentic intelligence which would indicate that Al Qaeda leadership is in Pakistan, and we do not attach importance to speculations," Basit said in a weekly briefing.

Al-Qaeda terror plot to bomb Easter shoppers 10 Apr 2009 An 'al-Qaeda' cell was days away from carrying out an "Easter spectacular" of co-ordinated suicide bomb attacks on shopping centres in Manchester, police believe. Sources told The Daily Telegraph that the arrests of 12 men in the north west of England on Wednesday were linked to a suspected plan to launch a devastating attack this weekend.

Al-Qaeda grow more devious with '101 ways' into UK 11 Apr 2009 Britain is facing a "very dangerous" battle against terrorists who are becoming increasingly skilled at evading border controls, the UK's immigration minister admitted yesterday. Phil Woolas warned of the danger posed by "clean skins" -- suspects unknown to the security services -- as he defended the UK's immigration system after ten of the 12 men arrested for an alleged terror plot were found to have entered the UK on dubious student visas.

Terror suspects may have been planning series of car bombings 11 Apr 2009 Terrorist suspects allegedly involved in an 'al-Qa'ida' plot may have been planning multiple car bombings against civilian targets, according to security sources. Information received by the law agencies is increasingly said to point towards possible attacks on "soft targets" such as the attempted bombing of the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London two years ago.

Terrorist Posada to Stand Trial in US 08 Apr 2009 International terrorist Luis Posada Carriles will stand trial again on August 10 in El Paso, Texas, for alleged immigration fraud charges and for lying to federal authorities, but his criminal record will be overlooked. Venezuela wants to extradite the Cuban-born citizen so that he can stand trial for the airliner bombing.

CIA shuts down its secret prisons 09 Apr 2009 The US has stopped running its global network of secret prisons, CIA director Leon Panetta has announced. "CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites," Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said. The "black sites" were used to detain terrorism suspects, some of whom were subjected to interrogation methods described by many as torture.

'More American warships are on the way.' Somali pirates surrounded by FBI and US warships in Indian Ocean stand-off --Captain taken from vessel after crew resisted attack 10 Apr 2009 A confrontation between a group of stranded Somali pirates and the world's greatest military power intensified today in the Indian Ocean as the bandits refused to release an American hostage despite the presence of a US destroyer. More American warships are on the way. The US navy called in a team of FBI negotiators last night and moved the USS Bainbridge into position to try to secure the release of Richard Phillips, who was being held by four Somali gunmen in a lifeboat some 300 miles off the Horn of Africa.

Pirates vow to fight if attacked 10 Apr 2009 Somali pirates holding an American hostage on a drifting lifeboat vowed on Friday to fight any attack by U.S. naval forces stalking them at high sea. "We are not afraid of the Americans," one of the pirates told Reuters by satellite phone on behalf of the gang holding ship captain Richard Phillips in the Indian Ocean. "We will defend ourselves if attacked."

CLG: Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment: Universities Possible Terror Portals --2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment, Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of State Police, Virginia Fusion Center State - Federal - Local - Private, March 2009 --Posted by Lori Price 08 Apr 2009 The Lowlights: Virginia's network of colleges and universities also represent a potential avenue of entry for terrorist operatives and a possible forum for recruitment of sympathizers... In addition to reviewing information directly reported to the VFC, surveys were sent to all Virginia local law enforcement agencies to determine the extent of terrorism activities throughout the state. Information of interest included not only event-specific data, but also suspicious traffic stops or activities consistent with pre-operational attack planning. Assessments of the overall threat posed by specific terror and extremist groups or movements were completed utilizing the Project SLEIPNIR: Revised Long Matrix for Criminal Extremism utilized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Two killed on campus of Detroit-area college 10 Apr 2009 Two students were killed Friday in an apparent murder-suicide that prompted a lockdown at a community college west of Detroit, police said. The bodies were discovered inside a Henry Ford Community College building after police responded to an emergency call of an assault and shortly afterward reports of a shot being fired on campus, said Dearborn Deputy Police Chief Gregg Brighton.

Police Arrest 19 at New School Building --Students: Protesters were pepper-sprayed before being placed in handcuffs 10 Apr 2009 Scores of police officers wearing helmets and carrying batons, plastic shields and pepper spray entered a New School building at 65 Fifth Avenue around 11 a.m. on Friday, arresting 19 protesters who had occupied it as part of a determined protest aimed at the university’s president, Bob Kerrey. The 19 protesters were charged with third-degree burglary. Three other protesters, who authorities said... tried to escape the building as the police surrounded it, were charged with second-degree assault.

Bachus: 17 socialists in U.S House 09 Apr 2009 A Republican member of Alabama's U.S. House of Representatives delegation says there are 17 socialists in the House. Rep. Spencer Bachus made the allegation Thursday after speaking at a breakfast for local government officials at the Trussville (Ala.) Civic Center, the Birmingham News reported. "Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists," Bachus said.

Holder Not Reviewing Siegelman Prosecution 09 Apr 2009 Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is moving to revamp Justice Department procedures in the wake of the prosecutorial debacle in the Ted Stevens case. But Holder said today that he is not reviewing the Justice Department's prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Donald Siegelman (D) on corruption charges, nor other corruption cases involving Alaskan officials. The House Judiciary Committee has been probing allegations that the Siegelman case was politically motivated by the Bush regime. Siegelman was convicted in 2006.

Health agency covered up lead harm --The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [under Bush, of course] withheld evidence that contaminated tap water caused lead poisoning in kids. By Rebecca Renner 10 Apr 2009 From 2001 to 2004, Washington, D.C., experienced what may have been the worst lead contamination of city water on record. Tens of thousands of homes had sky-high levels of lead at the tap, and in the worst cases, tap water contained enough lead to be classified as hazardous waste. Not that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government oversight agency for public health, was worried.

US budget deficit hits one trillion dollars 10 Apr 2009 The US budget deficit hits almost one trillion dollars in the first half of the current fiscal year, according to figures released by the Treasury. The deficit for the first six months of the fiscal year which began on October 1 was 956.80 billion dollars, said the Treasury's monthly statement of receipts and outlays.

Cape Fear Bank of Wilmington, N.C. fails; 22nd of year 10 Apr 2009 Cape Fear Bank of Wilmington, N.C., became the 22nd bank failure of 2009 and the 47th of the recession, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday. First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Charleston, S.C., will assume all of the deposits of the bank. As of March 31, Cape Fear Bank had total assets of about $492 million and total deposits of $403 million.

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Dutch TV show exonerates Osama bin Laden --'Devil's Advocate' jury finds no proof he was behind Sept. 11 09 Apr 2009 Dutch TV jury has found Osama bin Laden not guilty of the Sept. 11 attacks. In the conclusion Wednesday night to the show "Devil's Advocate" on Dutch public broadcaster Nederland 2, the jury of two men and three women, along with the studio audience, ruled there was no proof bin Laden was the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. Defense attorney Gerard Spong was able to convince the jury that bin Laden's connection to Sept. 11 was a product of "Western propaganda." The jury also ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove bin Laden was the real head of terrorist network al-Qaida. [See: Traces of explosives in 9/11 dust, scientists say 06 Apr 2009.]

'It felt a little bit like Dr. Strangelove.' Pentagon preps for economic warfare 09 Apr 2009 The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs -- but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis. The two-day event near Ft. Meade, Maryland, had all the earmarks of a regular war game.

'Will you open fire on UK citizens' Army personnel being asked By IanPJ 02 Mar 2009 In a stunning conversation with a friend, who is a serving member of the Armed Forces, over the weekend, it was revealed that transfers to regiments and other units in the UK on home duties are being undertaken by the MOD based upon whether an individual was prepared to 'open fire' on UK citizens during civil disturbances... The fact that service personnel are actually being asked in special briefing sessions whether they would fire on their own nationals indicates that the rumours about the Army being put on standby are indeed very true.

The Disappeared: What happened to terror suspects Washington turned over to foreign governments? 08 Apr 2009 The CIA quietly moved scores of detainees out of its own "black site" prisons in recent years and turned them over to foreign governments, refusing to provide the International Red Cross any information about their treatment or whereabouts, according to a report made public this week... The Red Cross remains "gravely concerned" that a "significant number" of these prisoners may have been subjected to abusive treatment torture -- and that the organization "has not received any clarification of the fate of these persons," the report states.

Red Cross report details CIA war crimes By Tom Eley 09 Apr 2009 This week, the New York Review of Books released the full version of an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report detailing US Central Intelligence Agency torture of 14 "high value" terrorist suspects at prison "black sites" from 2001 until 2006... The report makes explicit that the CIA violated the laws of war and basic human rights in its treatment of the prisoners, which included beatings, humiliations, sleep deprivation, and suffocation by water ("waterboarding"), among dozens of specifically named acts of brutality. [See: The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means By Mark Danner 30 Apr 2009.]

U.S. military judge reinstates fired Khadr lawyer 07 Apr 2009 A military judge Tuesday overruled the Pentagon in its firing of Omar Khadr's military defence lawyer -- a decision that provoked more confusion in the Guantanamo Bay case. The move by Judge Patrick Parrish, an army colonel, effectively reinstates navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler as chief counsel for the Canadian-born terror suspect just days after Kuebler's immediate boss fired him.

President Approves New Spy Satellites 07 Apr 2009 After more than a decade of false starts by the intelligence community, President Barack Obama approved a new constellation of highly capable electro-optical surveillance satellites. The National Reconnaissance Office [!] will manage acquisition of the system and operate the new constellation. Lockheed Martin will build the systems.

Security-Clearance Checks For OPM Allegedly Falsified 09 Apr 2009 Half a dozen investigators conducting security-clearance checks for the federal government have been accused of lying in the reports they submitted to the Office of Personnel Management, which handles about 90 percent of the background inquiries for more than 100 agencies.

Pakistan link to terror arrests as Gordon Brown defends operation --Anti-terror chief Bob Quick resigns over security blunder 09 Apr 2009 Suspects being questioned after one of the biggest anti-terror operations since the July 7 attacks exploited lax student visa regulations to enter the UK from Pakistan, Whitehall sources said today. As police carried out searches in Liverpool, Manchester and Clitheroe, Lancashire, following the terror raids on Wednesday, the Home Office said student visa checks had been tightened in the last fortnight because of widespread abuses of the system.

Police chief's blunder forces terror officers to mount 'al-Qaeda' swoops --Hundreds of police officers arrested 12 people and raided eight properties. 09 Apr 2009 A major terrorism operation was launched last night after a security blunder forced police to swoop on suspects who sources claim have links to al-Qaeda. Sources said the raids, in the north-west of England, were brought forward after Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick was photographed clutching sensitive documents as he arrived in Downing Street.

Major MI5 operation against al-Qaeda endangered by security breach 09 Apr 2009 A huge MI5 and police counterterrorist operation against al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] suspects had to be brought forward at short notice last night after Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism chief accidentally revealed a briefing document. Twelve people were arrested at eight separate addresses after a long covert surveillance operation involving MI5 and police from the North West Counter-Terrorism Unit was compromised.

Police watchdog steps up inquiry into G20 demo death 09 Apr 2009 A police watchdog said on Wednesday it was stepping up an inquiry into the death of a man during anti-G20 protests in London last week and had requested a second post-mortem. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) opted to take over the inquiry from City of London police and make it fully independent after footage emerged showing Ian Tomlinson, 47, a newspaper seller, being shoved to the ground by an officer.

'The officers guzzled sodas and scarfed down fresh turkey hoagies, Little Debbie fudge brownies and Cheez-Its.' Philadelphia store owner's hidden back-up shows cops snipping security-camera wires 09 Apr 2009 The narcotics officers knew they were being watched on video surveillance moments after they entered the bodega. Officer Jeffrey Cujdik told store owner Jose Duran that police were in search of tiny Ziploc bags often used to package drugs. But, during the September 2007 raid, Cujdik and fellow squad members seemed much more interested in finding every video camera in the West Oak Lane store. "I got like seven or eight eyes," shouted Officer Thomas Tolstoy, referring to the cameras, as the officers glanced up... For the next several minutes, Tolstoy and other Narcotics Field Unit officers systematically cut wires to cameras until those "eyes" could no longer see. Then, after the officers arrested Duran and took him to jail, nearly $10,000 in cash and cartons of Marlboros and Newports were missing from the locked, unattended store, Duran alleges. What the officers didn't count on was that Duran's high-tech video system had a hidden backup hard-drive. The backup downloaded the footage to his private Web site before the wires were cut.

Obama to Seek $83.4 Billion For Iraq, Afghan Wars 09 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama is seeking $83.4 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for a war supplemental spending bill like the ones he sometimes opposed when he was senator and George W. Bush was president [sic]. Obama's request, including money to increase U.S. troops in Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service.

'US behind recent Iraq bomb attacks' 09 Apr 2009 An Iraqi lawmaker alleges that 'the occupiers' are behind the recent bomb blasts in Iraq basing his claims on the fact that the US has access to Iraq's security and intelligence files. Maha al-Dori, a member of Sadr fraction in the Iraqi parliament said that "the occupiers are causing disarray in Iraq with aim of at taking control over the country's affairs." [Not to mention, oil.]

Iraqi protesters call for US exit 09 Apr 2009 Thousands of people loyal to an Iraqi Shia leader have gathered in Baghdad to protest against the US' continued presence in the country, six years to the day after the capital fell to American troops. Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr rallied on Thursday in Firdous Square, where the statue of then-Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was pulled down on April 9, 2003.

US may extend drone attacks to Balochistan --American officials say Washington intends to step up drone attacks in FATA 08 Apr 2009 Senior government officials have said the United States is proposing that missile strikes be extended to Balochistan unless Pakistan manages to reduce incursion of militants from there. Influential American lawmakers support the administration’s position in this regard, the New York Times has reported.

Ex-CIA operative tied to Cuba bombings: jury 09 Apr 2009 A federal grand jury has accused anti-Castro Cuban exile and former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles of lying to U.S. authorities about his role in bomb attacks against tourist sites in Cuba in 1997. In an indictment filed against Posada by the grand jury in El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, he is accused of seeking to "obstruct and impede" the work of the U.S. government by lying during an immigration interview about his role in the attacks. An Italian man was killed in the 1997 bomb blasts in Cuba in a case the indictment highlights as an "offense involving international terrorism."

Saudi says new Israeli govt policies dangerous 08 Apr 2009 Saudi Arabia on Wednesday slammed the policies of Israel's new right-wing government as dangerous and an obstacle to Middle East peace efforts, and said only international pressure can change them. "It is now clear that Israel, which has until now frustrated all peace efforts, whose new government has declared dangerous policies, cannot be expected to automatically change its stand," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters.

Jewish settlers rampage through West Bank village --The settlers, from Bat Ayin, entered neighboring Safa. 08 Apr 2009 Dozens of Israelis from a Jewish settlement where a Palestinian killed a youth last week rampaged on Wednesday through a West Bank Arab village, smashing car windows and damaging homes, residents and medics said.

Nigeria asks U.S. for names in KBR bribery case [LOL, don't hold your breath.] 09 Apr 2009 Nigeria has asked the United States for the names of Nigerian officials accused of taking bribes from former Halliburton Co unit KBR Inc with a view to prosecuting them, the government said on Wednesday. KBR, the former engineering subsidiary of Halliburton, pleaded guilty in February to charges it paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials in a decade-long scheme to secure $6 billion in contracts.

US warship reaches Somali coast 09 Apr 2009 An American warship, the USS Bainbridge, has reached the area off the coast of Somalia where a cargo ship was seized by pirates. US crew members have recaptured their ship but the captain is still being held hostage by the attackers.

Halliburton: $150m Bribe 'Traced to Zurich' 09 Apr 2009 The Federal Government has disclosed that investigators have traced $150 million out of the $180 million Halliburton bribe money to Zurich, Switzerland – although it is yet to ascertain the name of the account holder. It has also said it cannot prosecute those named until it has concrete and authenticated evidence from the United States Justice Department.

Plan to Give Industry Groups Power to Police Internet Advances in France --Steven Soderbergh cites French initiative in asking lawmakers to deputize American film industry to pursue copyright pirates. 09 Apr 2009 French lawmakers are poised to approve a law to create the world’s first surveillance system for Internet piracy, one that would force Internet service providers in some cases to disconnect customers accused of making illegal downloads. The proposal, called the "Création et Internet" and known informally as the "three strikes" directive, has won preliminary votes by the Parliament and is expected to be approved in both houses Thursday.

San Jose police: Sabotage caused phone outage in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz counties 09 Apr 2009 Police say someone intentionally cut an underground fiber optic cable in south San Jose, causing a widespread phone service outage in southern Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties today that included disruption to 911 emergency phone service. John Britton, a spokesman for AT&T, said it appears somebody opened a manhole in South San Jose, climbed down eight to 10 feet and cut four or five fiber-optic cables. Britton also said there was a report of underground cables being cut in San Carlos.

Obama to Push Immigration Bill Despite the Risks 09 Apr 2009 While acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult, President Obama plans to begin addressing the country’s immigration system this year, including looking for a path for illegal immigrants to become legal, a senior administration official said on Wednesday. Opponents of legalization legislation were incredulous at the idea that Mr. Obama would take on immigration when economic pain for Americans is so widespread.

The Influence Game: Payday lenders thwart limits 02 Apr 2009 The payday loan industry, threatened by Congress with extinction, has deployed well-connected lobbyists and hefty sums of campaign cash to key lawmakers to save itself. The strategy has paid off. Now a top Democrat who once tried to ban the practice is instead pushing to regulate it -- a result, he says, of the industry's lobbying clout. The lawmaker, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., says his bill does have crucial protections for borrowers and represents the best deal he can manage in the face of the industry's aggressive lobbying. Consumer groups are condemning the bill as a loophole-riddled gift to the industry.

House rejects Gov. Kaine's unemployment benefits amendments 08 Apr 2009 Virginia’s Republican-run House of Delegates rejected a proposed expansion of unemployment benefits Wednesday, along with $125 million in federal stimulus cash to pay for it. On a mostly party-line 46-53 vote, the House turned down amendments by Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that were necessary to make Virginia eligible for the federal aid.

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Obama Administration Embraces Bush Position on Warrantless Wiretapping and Secrecy --Says Court Must Dismiss Jewel v. NSA to Protect 'State Secrets' 06 Apr 2009 The Obama administration formally adopted the Bush administration's position that the courts cannot judge the legality of the National Security Agency's (NSA's) warrantless wiretapping program, filing a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA late Friday... The Obama Justice Department claims in its motion that litigation over the wiretapping program would require the government to disclose privileged "state secrets." These are essentially the same arguments made by the Bush administration three years ago in Hepting v. AT&T, EFF's lawsuit against one of the telecom giants complicit in the NSA spying.

Obama's DoJ defends Bush-era wiretaps --Telecom spy program a 'state secret' 06 Apr 2009 The US Justice Department under President Obama is invoking Bush Administration tactics to dismiss a lawsuit alleging federal agents engaged in illegal phone and email surveillance of ordinary US citizens. A motion submitted to US District Judge Walker on Friday claims disclosing information on the National Security Agency's warrentless wiretapping program would "cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." The 36-page brief invokes "state secrets" privileges to keep mum on the case, and claims the 2001 Patriot Act grants government agencies an umbrella "sovereign immunity" for domestic spy programs.

New evidence of police attacks on G20 victim --Eyewitness claims riot police assaulted newspaper seller three times before he died near protest 09 Apr 2009 The Metropolitan Police faced fresh allegations of brutality last night after it emerged that a man who died at the G20 protests may have been attacked by riot police three times. Ian Tomlinson was walking home from work when he was hit and pushed over by an officer in an apparently unprovoked attack. Minutes later the 47-year-old lay dying on a London street.

The police: Unaccountable, secretive and out of control --This assault shows why the police are in urgent need of reform (The Independent) 09 April 2009 ...[W]hat is so damning about the video footage that has emerged from last week's G20 protests in London is that there is nothing in the slightest bit reasonable about the force that was used against Ian Tomlinson. Mr Tomlinson was plainly walking away from riot officers when he was struck. It is impossible to say for certain that this assault by a baton-wielding riot officer brought on Mr Tomlinson's heart attack only a few minutes later. But most people will find it impossible to disconnect the two events.

Do U.S. drones kill Pakistani extremists or recruit them? 07 Apr 2009 Even as the Obama administration launches new drone attacks into Pakistan's remote tribal areas, concerns are growing among U.S. intelligence and military officials that the strikes are bolstering the Islamic insurgency by prompting Islamist radicals to disperse into the country's heartland. Al Qaida [al-CIAduh], Taliban and other militants who've been relocating to Pakistan's overcrowded and impoverished cities may be harder to find and stop from staging terrorist attacks, the officials said.

Roadside bomb injures 6 civilians in S Afghanistan 08 Apr 2009 Six civilians were injured as a roadside bomb struck two vehicles in Kandahar province south of Afghanistan on Wednesday, spokesman of provincial administration Zalmai Ayubi said. "The blast took place when two civilian automobiles were passing a bridge close to Kandahar airport, wounding six persons and three of them in critical condition," Ayubi told Xinhua.

NATO soldier killed in Afghanistan 08 Apr 2009 A NATO soldier was killed in southern Afghanistan, where six civilians were also wounded Wednesday in a bomb blast while traveling on a road close to the military alliance's main base in southern Afghanistan. The soldier was killed in a "hostile incident" Wednesday, a NATO statement said, without providing the exact location of the incident or the nationality of the victim.

Obama team readying for confrontation with Netanyahu 08 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is readying for a possible confrontation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by briefing Democratic congressmen on the peace process and the positions of the new government in Israel regarding a two-state solution. The Obama administration is expecting a clash with Netanyahu over his refusal to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

In shift, Obama administration will join Iran nuclear talks 08 Apr 2009 The Obama administration significantly stepped up its diplomatic engagement with Iran on Wednesday, saying it would break with former president George W. Bush's policy and permanently join international talks with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program. The talks also include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, and the switch in U.S. policy was announced in a statement by the six nations after consultations in London.

Treasury lists Chinese, Iranians for WMD 08 Apr 2009 The U.S. Treasury Department listed a Chinese national and six Iranian businesses Tuesday as agents engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The designation falls under Executive Order 13382, a 2005 measure that freezes the assets of alleged distributors of weapons of mass destruction.

Bomb near Iraq Shi'ite shrine kills 7 08 Apr 2009 A roadside bomb in the Shi'ite Kadhimiya district in northwest Baghdad killed seven people and wounded 23 on Wednesday, police said, a day after a bomb in the same area killed nine. Kadhimiya is home to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines.

US court hands new defeat for Uighurs at Guantanamo 07 Apr 2009 A federal appeals court ruled today against a group of Chinese Muslims who have been held for years at the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and had sought judicial review of their fate. The executive branch of the US government has the sole authority to decide where to send the detainees, the court said. The appeals panel in Washington ruled by a 2-1 vote that judges may not second-guess those decisions.

Assassin suspect released in Turkey 08 Apr 2009 A man in Turkey, who was last week detained on suspicion of plotting to kill visiting US President Barack Obama, has been released. Turkish officials have said the man was deemed to be mentally disturbed and was released on the weekend. It is believed the man, of Syrian origin, threatened to stab the US president.

Warship heads for scene of Indian Ocean standoff --Somali pirates overpowered by US crew but captain still held prisoner 08 Apr 2009 Somali pirates skimmed across the Indian Ocean and muscled their way aboard a US food aid ship today... The crew had held a pirate prisoner for 12 hours and released him in return for the captain, but the pirates had not kept their side of the bargain. A US warship, the USS destroyer Bainbridge, was on its way to the area this evening. "We are trying to hold them off until the US ship arrives," said Ken Quinn, second mate on the ship. [Dollars to doughnuts, Xe and Triple Canopy are on their way, as well.]

Officials: Warship, others headed to pirate scene 08 Apr 2009 U.S. officials say an American warship and a half dozen others are headed to the scene where pirates captured a vessel with a U.S. crew off Somalia's coast. One official says the destroyer USS Bainbridge is headed there. Another official says there are six or seven ships on the way. A person aboard the Maersk Alabama, reached by The Associated Press by satellite phone, says crew members had retaken control of the ship. But pirates were holding the captain as a hostage in a lifeboat in waters nearby.

"I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD" By Michael de Yoanna and Mark Benjamin --A secret recording reveals the Army may be pushing its medical staff not to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder. The Army and Senate have ignored the implications. 08 Apr 2009 Last June, during a medical appointment, a patient named "Sgt. X" recorded an Army psychologist at Fort Carson, Colo., saying that he was under pressure not to diagnose combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

'US army bans PTSD diagnosis over costs' 08 Apr 2009 The US Army has reportedly pressured its medical staff not to diagnose combat veterans, who had fought in Iraq, with post-traumatic stress disorder. The shocking news was revealed after an Iraq veteran recorded an Army psychologist at Fort Carson, Colorado, during a medical appointment.

Traces of explosives in 9/11 dust, scientists say 06 Apr 2009 Tiny red and gray chips found in the dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center contain highly explosive materials -- proof, according to a former BYU professor, that 9/11 is still a sinister mystery. Physicist Steven E. Jones, who retired from Brigham Young University in 2006, is one of nine authors on a paper published last week in the online, peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal. For several years, Jones has theorized that pre-positioned explosives, not fires from jet fuel, caused the rapid, symmetrical collapse of the two World Trade Center buildings, plus the collapse of a third building, WTC-7.

Police: Jet thief wanted to be shot down 08 Apr 2009 Suicide by fighter jet was the goal of a flight student who stole a plane in Canada, entered U.S. airspace and flew an erratic path over the Midwest with the military on his tail before landing the craft safely on a rural Missouri road, federal authorities said Tuesday. On Tuesday, Adam Dylan Leon was charged with transportation of stolen property and illegal entry.

U.S. regulator approves rapid test for bird flu 07 Apr 2009 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it had approved a fast test for H5N1 bird flu that can show in less than an hour if people are infected. The test, made by Sunnyvale, California-based Arbor Vita Corporation, should greatly speed up diagnosis and treatment [DoD military missions, incarcerations in KBR detention centers] of people infected with avian influenza, the FDA said.

Pentagon spends $100 million to 'fix' cyber attacks 07 Apr 2009 The Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems, military leaders said Tuesday.

The Pentagon trolling for more millions to 'fix' a problem they created: Electricity Grid in U.S. Penetrated By Spies 08 Apr 2009 Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, according to current and former national-security officials. The spies came from China, Russia and other countries US corpora-terrorists, these officials said, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls.

Cyberspies Penetrate U.S. Power Grid, Leave Software That Could Disrupt System --The intrusions were not just limited to the electrical power grid, but affected systems like water and sewage. 08 Apr 2009 The U.S. has uncovered evidence that cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. power grid and left behind software that could be activated to disrupt American infrastructure, FOX News confirmed Wednesday. The "intrusions," first reported by The Wall Street Journal, have occurred over a period of time, one U.S. official said -- not all at once. [US corpora-terrorists are desperate to privatize US electrical systems, water and sewage. See: Drought 'Oddities'.]

US financial bailout watchdog eyes AIG payments 08 Apr 2009 The in-house watchdog for the U.S. Treasury Department's massive financial rescue program is examining billions of dollars in counterparty payments made by bailed-out insurer AIG to major banks, such as Goldman Sachs, according to a letter obtained on Tuesday. American International Group, which has received $180 million in taxpayer aid since last fall to save it from collapse, disclosed on March 15 that it had paid more than $90 billion to Goldman and to European banks including Germany's Deutsche Bank, France's Societe Generale, and Britain's Barclays.

Fed sees economy sliding further 08 Apr 2009 Federal Reserve policy-makers, faced with bleaker forecasts for a rapidly worsening recession, decided to buy a "substantial" amount of U.S. Treasury and mortgage debt to halt the slide, minutes of their most recent meeting showed on Wednesday.

Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama's Green Lead 08 Apr 2009 The oil companies have frequently run advertisements expressing their interest in new forms of energy, but their actual investments have belied the marketing claims. The great bulk of their investments goes to traditional petroleum resources, including carbon-intensive energy sources like tar sands and natural gas from shale, while alternative investments account for a tiny fraction of their spending. So far, that has changed little under the Obama administration.

Ginger, Turmeric, Neem Declared "Hazardous" in Thailand After Chemical Companies Try to Protect Pesticide Profits By David Gutierrez 07 Apr 2009 The government of Thailand has classified 13 plants - traditionally used as herbal medicines and natural pesticides - as "hazardous substances," causing outrage among farmers and advocates of traditional medicine. The plants - including ginger, turmeric, neem and chili - have been classified by the Industry Ministry as "hazardous substances type 1," requiring all manufacturers, growers, importers or exporters of any products made from the plants to follow strict safety and quality control rules or face up to six months in jail and a 50,000 baht ($1,400) fine.

Ballot Review Gives Franken Solid Advantage 07 Apr 2009 Democrat Al Franken’s lead in Minnesota’s long-disputed Senate race increased to 312 votes Tuesday, making it mathematically impossible for Norm Coleman to win his state trial challenging the election outcome. A three-judge panel appointed by the state Supreme Court is expected to rule this week that Franken won the race. Franken’s slim advantage expanded after election officials, acting under court order, opened and counted 351 previously rejected [?!?] absentee ballots.

Silvio Berlusconi tells earthquake survivors to head for the beach 09 Apr 2009 Silvio Berlusconi has told survivors of the Italian earthquake to lift their spirits by heading for the beach. He added that people forced from their wrecked homes should look on their tented accommodation as a spot of camping. The Italian Prime Minister’s comments have enraged some of those living in tent villages, after a second fitful night that was rocked by aftershocks from the 6.3-magnitude earthquake, Italy’s worst for 30 years. The death toll rose to 250 yesterday.

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CIA medics joined in Guantánamo torture sessions, report says --Leaked ICRC report claims medical staff monitored terror suspects during waterboarding, recommended continuation of torture 07 Apr 2009 Medical personnel committed a "gross breach of medical ethics" by taking part in torture in Guantánamo, a leaked International Committee of the Red Cross document has revealed. The 40-page confidential report, written in 2007, describes how medical staff working for the CIA monitored prisoners' vital signs to make sure they did not drown while being subjected to waterboarding. Medical personnel were also said to be present when prisoners were shackled in a "stress standing position". The detainees were "monitored by health personnel who in some instances recommended stopping the method of ill-treatment, or recommended its continuation, but with adjustments", according to the report. The Red Cross concluded: "The alleged participation of health personnel in the interrogation process and, either directly or indirectly, in the infliction of ill-treatment constituted a gross breach of medical ethics and, in some cases, amounted to participation in torture and/or cruel inhuman or degrading treatment."

12-point list includes 'suffocation by water' Doctors Involved With Torture in CIA Prisons By Surekha Ratnatunga 07 Apr 2009 "Inhuman" is how the International Committee for the Red Cross described a CIA prison program that made medical officers party to torture. A Red Cross report leaked online reveals more lurid details the disgraceful treatment of detainees during sessions of interrogation. The contents page alone is grim reading. Bulleted under the heading of "Other Methods of Ill Treatment" is a 12-point list that includes "suffocation by water," "beating and kicking," "confinement in a box," "prolonged nudity," and "deprivation/restricted provision of solid food."

In a little-noticed ruling last week, Judge Emmet Sullivan found that the witness's testimony in other cases could be challenged as unreliable. Judge: U.S. used mentally ill witness in Guantanamo cases 06 Apr 2009 The Justice Department improperly withheld important psychiatric records of a government witness who was used in a "significant" number of Guantanamo cases, a federal judge has concluded. The government censored parts of the records, but enough has been made public that it's clear that the witness, a fellow prisoner, was being treated weekly for a serious psychological problem and was questioned about whether he had any suicidal thoughts.

Austria rejects US Guantanamo detainee request 06 Apr 2009 Austria said Monday it would not take prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay center despite a request by President Barack Obama for help from European nations during his first major international trip as leader. Austria was worried about the security threat to the European Union posed by the detainees, Interior Minister Maria Fekter told a meeting of her European counterparts.

IDF planning largest-ever drill to prepare Israel for war 07 Apr 2009 The Home Front Command is preparing to hold the largest exercise ever in Israeli history, scheduled to take place in about two months, in hopes of priming the populace and raising awareness of the possibility of war breaking out. Should there be a war, Israel would have insufficient emergency and rescue response units, according to a senior Home Front Command officer.

Israel carries out missile test: Defense Ministry 07 Apr 2009 Israel carried out a test launch of its Arrow II interceptor missile on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said, a system designed to defend against possible ballistic missile attacks by Iran and Syria. "There was a successful test today of an improved Arrow (missile) that hit and intercepted a target more complicated than normal," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters after watching the launch from a helicopter. [Where is the worldwide condemnation, as there was when North Korea launched a rocket?]

Israeli exports hit by European boycotts after attacks on Gaza --A fifth of Israeli exporters report drop in demand as footage of Gaza attacks changes behaviour of consumers and investors 07 Apr 2009 Israeli companies are feeling the impact of boycott moves in Europe, according to surveys, amid growing concern within the Israeli business sector over organised campaigns following the recent attack on Gaza. Last week, the Israel Manufacturers Association reported that 21% of 90 local exporters who were questioned had felt a drop in demand due to boycotts, mostly from the UK and Scandinavian countries. Last month, a report from the Israel Export Institute reported that 10% of 400 polled exporters received order cancellation notices this year, because of Israel's assault on Gaza.

PM feared Galloway's message By Linda McQuaig 07 Apr 2009 Anyone who has ever seen George Galloway in action knows why he had to be stopped at the border. He definitely poses a threat -- although not the security one alleged by the Harper government. Rather, Galloway, a five-times elected member of the British Parliament, poses a threat to Stephen Harper's ability to sell Canadians on our involvement in the Afghan war and on Ottawa's support for Israel in its battle against the Palestinians. Galloway is a fierce, effective critic on both fronts.

Barack Obama says: time for Iraqis to take back Iraq --Barack Obama pays US troops a surprise visit 07 Apr 2009 Barack Obama wrapped up a landmark eight-day swing through Europe with a surprise visit to Iraq today - his first as president - and told US troops that Iraqis now needed "to take responsibility for their own country". Continuing the outreach to the Arab and Islamic worlds that dominated his last stop in Turkey, Obama said he was committed to his timetable for a troop withdrawal, but determined not to let Iraq slide back to war.

Baghdad car bomb kills 9, wounds 18 - police 07 Apr 2009 A car bomb killed nine people and wounded 18 in the Shi'ite Kadhimiya district of northwest Baghdad on Tuesday, police said, a day after seven car bombs killed 37 people across the Iraqi capital. Police said the number of casualties from the attack, near one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines, was preliminary and could rise.

Iraq shoe thrower's jail term cut 07 Apr 2009 The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at former US President [sic] George W Bush has had his sentence cut from three years to one year on appeal. Muntadar al-Zaidi's lawyer argued that the charge should be changed from assault to insulting a foreign leader. [The charge should be dropped, because no one ever elected Bush to *be* a foreign leader.]

Pakistan could collapse within six months: US expert 07 Apr 2009 Pakistan could collapse within six months in the face of the snowballing insurgency, a top expert on guerrilla warfare has said. The dire prediction was made by David Kilcullen, a former adviser to top US military commander General David Petraeus.

'US missile strikes were working to the advantage of al-Qaeda and Taliban extremists.' Pakistan: US attacks strengthen Taliban 07 Apr 2009 Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says US drone attacks on Pakistan are strengthening the Taliban in the troubled region. Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad on Tuesday that the US missile strikes were working to the advantage of the al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and Taliban extremists, according to a Press TV correspondent.

More US Drone Attacks in Pakistan Planned 07 Apr 2009 Despite threats of retaliation from Pakistani militants, senior administration officials said Monday that the United States intended to step up its use of drones to strike militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas and might extend them to a different sanctuary deeper inside the country. On Sunday, a senior Taliban leader vowed to unleash two suicide attacks a week like one on Saturday in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, unless the Central Intelligence Agency stopped firing missiles at militants. Pakistani officials have expressed concerns that the missile strikes from remotely piloted aircraft fuel more violence in the country, and some American officials say they are also concerned about some aspects of the drone strikes. [Obusha is trolling for another 9/11-style attack, to invoke a full-blown - albeit 'charming' - police state.]

Dutch soldier killed in Afghanistan 07 Apr 2009 A Dutch soldier in the NATO-led force in southern Afghanistan died in a rocket attack while troops killed four militants in a raid on a bomb cell, the military said Tuesday. The Dutch soldier, a member of the International Security Assistance Force, was killed Monday by "indirect fire," the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement.

Chinese financier Le Fang Wei indicted in plot to send nuclear materials to Iran 07 Apr 2009 A Chinese financier who peddles nuclear weapons material to Iran was indicted Tuesday for illegally running tens of millions of dollars through a half-dozen New York banks. Le Fang Wei duped six unwitting banks with an assortment of aliases and phony businesses despite a federal banking ban against him, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.

Iranian nuke plot vaporized in the city: NY banks unwittingly aided in material transfers, says DA 07 Apr 2009 The Manhattan district attorney's office has smashed a sinister plot to smuggle nuclear weapons materials to Iran through unwitting New York banks, the Daily News has learned. Officials plan to unseal a 118-count indictment Tuesday accusing a Chinese national [Le Fang Wei] of setting up a handful of fake companies to hide that he was selling millions of dollars in potential nuclear materials to Tehran.

US sanctions target Iranian firms 07 Apr 2009 The US Treasury imposes sanctions on six Iranian firms and a Chinese company over alleged links to Tehran's missile and nuclear work... The US Treasury said both Iran's Defense Industries Organization and Iran's Ministry of Defense were contributing to the country's nuclear and missile work.

Suspected Obama Plotter Detained, Released in Turkey 07 Apr 2009 Turkish authorities said they detained a man in Istanbul last week on suspicion of plotting to kill visiting U.S. President Barack Obama. A Turkish official said Tuesday the man was deemed mentally disturbed and released shortly after he was taken into custody. The arrest occurred Friday, two days before Mr. Obama even arrived in Turkey.

Fighter jets chase stolen plane over three US states 07 Apr 2009 A stolen plane was chased by fighter jets over three US states before the pilot landed on a highway in Missouri and ran away. State government buildings were evacuated as fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the plane, stolen from a flight school in Canada on Monday. Adam Leon was arrested after finally landing in southeast Missouri at the end of a six hour flight. [Recall that on 9/11, Cheney ordered NORAD to stand down, so that the terror attacks could go forward as planned, unimpeded. --LRP]

Military used pigs in blasts to test armor 07 Apr 2009 Military researchers [sociopaths] have dressed live pigs in body armor and strapped them into Humvee simulators that were then blown up with explosives to study the link between roadside bomb blasts and brain injury. For an 11-month period that ended in December, researchers subjected pigs and rats to about 200 blasts, according to Pentagon documents and interviews. The explosions have ranged in intensity, wounding some of the pigs and killing others.

Pentagon spends $100 million to 'fix' cyber attacks 07 Apr 2009 The Pentagon spent more than $100 million in the last six months responding to and repairing damage from cyber attacks and other computer network problems, military leaders said Tuesday. Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, who heads U.S. Strategic Command, said the military is only beginning to track the costs, which are triggered by constant daily attacks against military networks ranging from the Pentagon to bases around the country.

High-School Police Make Arrests Based on MySpace Information 06 Apr 2009 Police based in high schools are checking out social networking websites to keep an eye on gangs and monitor student disputes. Student posts on Facebook and MySpace are being scrutinized for taunts and information that can help solve crimes, the Washington Post reports... Police in Fairfax County, Va., arrested seven teens for gang recruiting activities. Police were tipped off in part by gang symbols on one of the suspect’s MySpace profiles, the story says.

Poll: 74 Percent Support Higher Taxes On the Rich 06 Apr 2009 Almost three-quarters of Americans think it is a good idea to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll. In fact, two-thirds of Americans think the tax code should be changed so that middle-class Americans pay less than they do now, while "upper income" people pay more.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac executives to receive millions in bonuses By Tom Eley 07 Apr 2009 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage lending giants currently under federal conservatorship, will pay out $210 million in retention bonuses over the course of 18 months, a recent letter by the companies’ federal regulator, James Lockhart, states. The Obama administration is tacitly backing the payouts, since it has kept Lockhart, a Bush appointee, as the head of the federal agency that regulates the two mortgage finance companies.

GM in "intense" bankruptcy prep: source 07 Apr 2009 General Motors Corp is in "intense" and "earnest" preparations for a possible bankruptcy filing, a source familiar with the company's plans told Reuters on Tuesday. The sources requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.

Absentees push Franken's Senate lead to 312 07 Apr 2009 Democrat Al Franken's lead in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race widened Tuesday to 312 votes after previously rejected absentee ballots were added to the counting. Franken did better than Republican Norm Coleman [who stole the election in 2002] by a nearly 2-to-1 margin as the ballots were opened and counted as part of a lawsuit brought by Coleman over the statewide recount. A three-judge panel ruled earlier that 351 ballots had been improperly rejected during the election and should be restored.

Mega barf alert! Sarah Palin Retains Obama's Attorney, Seeks 7-Figure Book Deal(s) 06 Apr 2009 Seeking to implement a game plan reminiscent of the one that helped catapult Barack Obama into the White House, former vice-presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has retained Washington, D.C., attorney Robert Barnett to help her market a book deal that could net a seven-figure advance.

Gay marriage legal in Vermont 07 Apr 2009 Vermont has become the fourth state where same-sex marriage is legal and the first to do so in the legislature. The House and Senate on Tuesday overrode Republican Governor Jim Douglas’ veto of a marriage bill.

Iowa gay marriages delayed 07 Apr 2009 The Iowa Supreme Court is delaying the date when same-sex couples can begin filing for marriage licenses because of budget cuts. Court spokesman Steve Davis announced Tuesday that people can file for licenses beginning Monday, April 27. That’s three days after the previously announced date of April 24.

D.C. Council Votes to Recognize Gay Marriages Performed in Other States --Local government in the nation's capital say they will move from recognizing domestic partner rights to accepting same-sex marriage. 07 Apr 2009 The D.C. Council has voted to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Lawmakers say Tuesday's unanimous vote moves the city a step closer to eventually allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in the nation's capital.

Town 'ignored warning' of imminent earthquake 07 Apr 2009 As Italy reeled yesterday from a powerful earthquake that killed at least 179 people and flattened entire towns while people slept, a seismologist who claimed he could have given up to 24 hours notice of the disaster said his repeated warnings had been ignored.

Strong aftershock hits Italian quake region 07 Apr 2009 A strong aftershock sent firefighters and rescuers scrambling this morning from a collapsed dormitory where they have been working frantically to find university students trapped by the powerful earthquake that devastated L'Aquila in Italy.

New Data Show Rapid Arctic Ice Decline --Proportion of Thicker, More Persistent Winter Cover Is the Lowest on Record 07 Apr 2009 The Arctic sea ice cover continues to shrink and become thinner, according to satellite measurements and other data released yesterday, providing further evidence that the region is warming more rapidly than scientists had expected.

Mass. Sen. Kennedy throws Red Sox first pitch 07 Apr 2009 Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy has thrown out the first pitch at Fenway Park. Kennedy, who is being treated for a malignant brain tumor, tossed the ceremonial pitch before Tuesday's season opener between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. With fans cheering, Kennedy was driven onto the field by newly elected Hall of Famer Jim Rice in a golf cart.

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Bird flu vaccine tested on 200 people without their knowledge --They allegedly led their patients, many of them poor and homeless, to believe they were being vaccinated against ordinary flu. 06 Apr 2009 Nine health workers went on trial in northern Poland Monday accused of having tested a vaccine against bird flu on nearly 200 patients without their knowledge, court officials said. The accused -- three doctors and six nurses -- are charged with "fraud, creating false documents and delivering health care without authorisation" to 196 patients, judge Piotr Szadkowski of the Torun region told AFP. The medical personnel are charged with administering a vaccine banned in Poland 'against' the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that can be transmitted to humans.

Lawyers face jail sentence for writing letter to Obama detailing their client's allegations of torture 02 Apr 2009 Lawyers for Binyam Mohamed face the incredible prospect of a six-month jail sentence in America after writing a letter to President Obama detailing their client's allegations of torture by US agents. The privilege review team – officials from the US department of defence who monitor and censor communication between Guantánamo prisoners and their lawyers – have previously been accused of using their powers to suppress evidence of the abuse and mistreatment of detainees. Clive Stafford Smith, director of legal charity Reprieve, and his colleague Ahmed Ghappour have been summoned to appear before a Washington court on May 11 after a complaint was made by the privilege review team. Stafford Smith had written to the president after judges in the UK ruled against the release of US evidence detailing Mohamed's alleged torture at Guantánamo.

Uighurs ask Supreme Court for their freedom 06 Apr 2009 Chinese Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay asked the Supreme Court on Monday to order their release into the United States. In court papers, a group of Uighurs says the high court should overrule a federal appeals panel in Washington, which has blocked the release of the Uighurs. A federal judge determined in October that the Uighurs should be freed because the Pentagon no longer considered them enemy combatants.

Former US soldier goes on trial for raping Iraqi girl and killing her family 07 Apr 2009 Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a former US soldier being tried as a civilian on charges of raping a teenage girl and killing her and her family in Iraq. Steven Dale Green will be the first former Army soldier to be charged as a civilian under a law that allows him to be prosecuted for alleged crimes committed overseas. He is accused along with four fellow soldiers of raping a 14-year-old girl and killing her and her family in Mahmoudiya, Iraq.

Series of bombings in Baghdad kill 37 06 Apr 2009 Anger boiled over in Baghdad streets at Iraqi soldiers and police after they failed to prevent a stunning series of coordinated bombings across the city Monday that left 37 dead and more than 100 wounded. Iraq's government blamed the attacks on supporters of Saddam Hussein "in cooperation with the al-Qaida terrorist organization" [but we all know US mercenaries are driving the attacks so that they are 'needed' to continue to stay.]

Iraqi police officer killed in bomb attacks 05 Apr 2009 An Iraqi police officer was killed and eight policemen wounded on Sunday when double bomb explosions struck a police patrol in Iraq's western province of Anbar, a local police source said.

Six gay men confirmed killed in Iraq 06 Apr 2009 Iraq officials say six gay men - at least two of them in their teens - have been killed there in the past week. "Two gay men were killed in Baghdad's Sadr City ... and police said they had found the bodies of four more after clerics urged a crackdown on a perceived spread of homosexuality," reports Reuters. There may be even more victims of Iraqi militias.

US soldier killed north of Baghdad 06 Apr 2009 An American soldier has been killed in action northeast of Baghdad, the US military said Monday morning. A US statement said the soldier died in Diyala province where 'insurgents' remain active.

After 18-year ban, media see return of US war dead 06 Apr 2009 Media witnessed a Sunday night ceremony for the arrival of a Virginia airman killed in Afghanistan, marking the end of an 18-year ban on news coverage of returning U.S. war dead. After receiving permission from family members, the military opened Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to the media for the return of the body of Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip Myers of Hopewell, Va.

Gates axes some costly weapons, emphasizes 'irregular' warfare 06 Apr 2009 In a dramatic departure from tradition, Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled a Pentagon budget Monday that aims to help the US fight a hybrid form of warfare – one in which an insurgent with an AK-47 rifle is backed by a sophisticated ballistic missile. Secretary Gates's $534 billion budget recommends billions of dollars for the counterinsurgency needs of unconventional conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, while making broad and controversial cuts to weapons programs such as the F-22 stealth fighter that Gates sees as part of an outdated, cold-war mind-set.

New Exoskeleton Gives Soldiers Super Strength 06 Apr 2009 Stronger, faster and harder is the promise of a new exoskeleton developed by Lockheed Martin for U.S. soldiers. Dubbed the Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC, the device helps a soldier carry up to 200 pounds at a top speed of 10 mph. "The soldier has the feeling of maybe an extra five to 10 pounds," said Doug Medcalf, Business Development Manager at Lockheed Martin.

US pushes Pakistan to boost fighting of militants 06 Apr 2009 The U.S. launched its latest effort Monday to get Pakistan to step up its fight against Islamic militants, sending special envoy Richard Holbrooke for talks with top officials, despite Taliban threats to boost terror attacks unless both nations back down. A senior Pakistani Taliban commander said Sunday the group will carry out two suicide attacks per week in the country unless Pakistani troops withdraw from the Afghan border region where militants are based and the U.S. stops drone missile strikes.

Taliban attempts to target Merkel 06 Apr 2009 Suspected Taliban insurgents have attacked a German military base in Afghanistan shortly after a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said in Berlin on Monday that two missiles were fired at the base in the northern city of Qhunduz 20 minutes after the chancellor left. Merkel paid a surprise visit to Qhunduz on Monday, where 700 German troops are stationed.

Letter said to be from NY killer forecast slayings --Letter is dated March 18 06 Apr 2009 The man who opened fire in the American Civic Association community center, killing 13 people before taking his own life, felt he was persecuted by police... according to a letter mailed to a television station the day of the massacre. It was mailed to News 10 Now, in Syracuse, and postmarked Friday. It indicates a man obsessed with unidentified police he says taunted him and tortured him, even going into his room, watching him sleep and touching him while he slept. The letter says police stole money from his wallet and stopped their cars in front of him 32 times in efforts to make him crash into them.

Join the snooper troopers --A new series of ads is recruiting suburban mums for the battle against terrorism. Is this really what we need? By Jeremy Kuper 06 April 2009 New anti-terror adverts are urging Londoners to look in their neighbours' dustbins to help the overstretched police unmask the enemy within. Either this is a viable way of catching terrorists or the police and security services are getting desperate... Another poster invites people to take note of suspicious individuals who are "studying the CCTV cameras". Britain is already saturated with CCTV cameras and in the words of the outgoing information commissioner Richard Thomas, "Fears that the UK would sleepwalk into a surveillance society have become a reality."

The Profile Police --Campus Officers Cruise Facebook, MySpace for Clues to School-Related Crimes 06 Apr 2009 As high school students flock to social networking sites, campus police are scanning their Facebook and MySpace pages for tips to help break up fights, monitor gangs and thwart crime [not to mention, surveil political profiles] in what amounts to a new cyberbeat. Officer Freddie Rappina, who is based at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax County, and another officer watch over more than 4,000 students at the largest school in Virginia. [Officers watch over more than 4,000 students? Sounds like a pedophile's dream. Call it what you will, but under cover of authority, 'officers' are getting paid to leer at 15-year-olds. --LRP]

AP cuts newspaper rates, moves to protect web news 06 Apr 2009 The Associated Press unveiled rate cuts on Monday to help member newspapers reeling from declining advertising revenue and said it would sue websites that use its members' articles without permission. [It's about time!] Changes announced by the AP at its annual meeting in San Diego include $35 million in rate assessment reductions for 2010 on top of $30 million it already instituted for 2009.

Britain: Calls for public inquiry into police brutality at G20 summit By Robert Stevens 06 Apr 2009 Organisers and groups involved in the protest against the G20 summit in London have called for an independent public inquiry into the brutal policing of the demonstrations last week, following the death of a man [Ian Tomlinson] on his way home from work on the evening of April 1.

Why didn't Fed force banks to take less of AIG bailout? 06 Apr 2009 The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in November chose not to pursue tough negotiations with large foreign and domestic banks and instead paid them 100 cents on the dollar in government funds to settle tens of billions of dollars of exotic financial bets guaranteed by insurer American International Group. At the time, Timothy Geithner, now Treasury Secretary, headed the powerful New York Fed. On his watch, the decision was made to forgo a reduced payout to creditors of AIG to prevent financial chaos around the world, the officials told McClatchy. Had the Fed been able to negotiate a reduction of just 10 to 15 cents on the dollar, it could've saved between $2 billion and $3 billion.

S&P 500 Can't See Enough Money to Feed Stocks' Rally 06 Apr 2009 Investors are depending on banks more than at any time in at least 60 years to lead the U.S. out of the longest earnings slump since the Great Depression. American companies will end more than two years of declining income by the fourth quarter, according to analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

Mayo Gives 'Underweight' Rating to Banks, Citing Loan Losses 06 Apr 2009 CLSA analyst Mike Mayo assigned an "underweight" rating to U.S. banks, saying loan losses may exceed Great Depression levels and the government may be forced to take over large lenders. Financial shares and major U.S. stock indexes dropped after Mayo advised clients to sell shares of banks including Winston- Salem, North Carolina-based BB&T Corp. and Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bancorp. Mayo said in a report today that he assigned "underperform" ratings to Bank of America Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the two biggest U.S. banks by assets.

Special panel set to do last count in Minn. Senate race 06 Apr 2009 The Minnesota Senate race has been undecided for so long that "it's sort of like the Iraq war," says Bruce Carlson of Brooklyn Park, Minn. "People almost forget that it's still going on." A sharp reminder will come Tuesday when a three-judge state panel counts the last big batch of contested ballots.

10 raccoons discovered with bird flu antibodies 07 Apr 2009 Ten wild raccoons have been found with signs of previous H5N1 bird flu infections, according to a joint study by Tokyo University and Yamaguchi University. This is the first time mammals in this country have been found with bird flu virus antibodies, which develop as a result of infection. Before the discovery, only birds had been found with bird flu antibodies.

Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw quake 06 Apr 2009 An Italian scientist predicted a major earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on Monday, killing dozens of people, but was reported to authorities for spreading panic among the population. The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome. Vans with loudspeakers had driven around the town a month ago telling locals to evacuate their houses after seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger. Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm" and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.

Scientist: My quake prediction was ignored 06 Apr 2009 A researcher says he predicted Monday's devastating earthquake that killed dozens of people and left tens of thousands homeless in central Italy, but authorities dismissed him as a scaremonger. Gioacchino Giuliani, an employee at a physics institute at Gran Sasso, near the badly-hit city of L'Aquila, has demanded an official apology for what he says was an unforgivable failure to act on his predictions.

150 'confirmed' dead in Italy's quake 06 Apr 2009 The death toll from Italy's earthquakes has reached 150 as 1,500 people are reported wounded while many others are still trapped under the rubble. The rescue operation is underway in most areas with more than 1,700 rescuers attempting to recover bodies or rescue those trapped under the ruined buildings.

Animal rights group wants St. Louis Zoo to permanently close polar bear exhibit --PETA: Polar bears do not belong in captivity. 06 Apr 2009 An animal rights group wants the St. Louis Zoo to permanently close its polar bear exhibit. A 23-year-old bear named Hope was euthanized last week after showing advanced signs of liver cancer. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says the zoo should not pursue new bears for an exhibit. PETA says polar bears pace in their zoo confines because they're designed to roam over large territories.

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Hypocritical US blasts North Korea for 'provocative act.' Meanwhile: Thousands flee bomb attacks by US drones 05 Apr 2009 American drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people. The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.

Missile launch revives fears on US west coast 06 Apr 2009 Although Pyongyang insisted that the aim of yesterday's exercise was to send a communications satellite into orbit, regional powers strongly suspect it was a covert military exercise, since the rocket used, the Taepodong-2, is equally capable of carrying warheads. The principal concern about the Taepodong-2 is its range. Theoretically it can fly up to 4,160 miles, putting Alaska and Hawaii within reach. Yesterday's manoeuvre is certain to revive debate in the US about the deployment and efficacy of missile defence shields on the west coast.

North Korea space launch 'fails' 05 Apr 2009 North Korea failed in its attempt to get a satellite into space after a rocket launch early on Sunday, US and South Korean officials say. Two stages of the rocket and its payload landed in the Pacific Ocean, a US military statement said.

Obama Condemns North Korean Rocket Launch 05 Apr 2009 President Obama, in Prague to deliver a speech in which he vows to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons and material, condemned North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile, calling it a threat to the region and to international peace and security. In a statement released just before midnight Eastern time, the president urged North Korea to abide by the United Nations Security Council resolutions which govern ballistic missile tests and to refrain from further "provocative" actions. [Obama should start following his own advice and leave Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.]

State Department says North Korea launches rocket 04 Apr 2009 The State Department says that North Korea has launched a rocket, following through on its promise of a launch despite international criticism. State Department spokesman Fred Lash confirmed the launch, saying it occurred at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. "We look on this as a provocative act," said Lash.

Satire: North Korea Launches Long Range Rocket With 100000 Mile/Ten Year Warranty By R J Shulman 06 Apr 2009 Despite threats of retaliation from the United States, at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, North Korea launched a long range missile with a twist - they are guaranteeing the rocket for 100,000 miles or ten years. "This bold defiance of the excepted standards of the world community is a threat to the global missile makers community," said Charles Kramer, president of the World Missile Manufactures. Experts say North Korea extended missile warranty will wreak havoc with America’s big three missile makers. "If we are not immediately bailed out by Congress," said Lance Blowfield of General Missiles, "we will have to declare bankruptcy." (Satire)

'No foreign troops will be allowed in Pakistan' 05 Apr 2009 Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says Islamabad will block any decision by the US to conduct operations inside its territories. Qureshi on Sunday told reporters in the Pakistani city of Multan that during his recent visit to Washington, he had conveyed clearly to US officials that NATO forces will not be allowed to conduct operation in Pakistan. "We are a sovereign country and a self-esteemed nation of 180 million people," Qureshi said, adding that "It is not acceptable for Pakistan and they have understood our point of view and accepted it." [See: Administration to ask for $500 million for Pakistani military in war-funding proposal --Obama wants to spend the same amount during each of the next four years 04 Apr 2009.]

3 Suicide Attacks in 24 Hours in Pakistan 06 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a crowded Shiite mosque just south of the capital on Sunday, killing at least 26 people. It was the third suicide attack in Pakistan in 24 hours, in a sign that the Pakistani Taliban are overwhelming the nation’s security forces. The assault south of the capital, Islamabad, appeared to be carefully crafted.

New troops will turn tide in Afghanistan: Mullen 05 Apr 2009 About 17,000 extra US troops headed to Afghanistan will allow security forces to begin overcoming the Taliban in the volatile south, the top US military commander said in Kabul Sunday. "I am convinced that the additional military capacity will certainly start to allow us to turn the tide in the south [from bad to worse] where it has not gone well," Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters on the first day of a trip to Kabul.

NATO leaders rebuff call for troops in Afghanistan 06 Apr 2009 NATO leaders have pledged to help Pakistan 'crack down' on terrorism but rebuffed the US plea for a significant boost in combat troop numbers to fight the insurgency raging across the border in Afghanistan. The Strasbourg summit at the weekend - marred by street clashes and looting - ended with a reminder of the difficulties Western countries face in stabilising the South Asia region.

Iran formally charges jailed U.S. journalist: lawyer 05 Apr 2009 Iran's judiciary has issued formal charges against a jailed Iranian-American freelance journalist, her lawyer said on Sunday. The parents of Roxana Saberi, detained in Iran since January 31, arrived in Tehran on Sunday from the United States to meet their daughter, lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi said.

US to fight 'anti-Israeli crap' at UN 04 Apr 2009 The US envoy to the United Nations says that Washington has a duty to fight the growing anti-Israeli sentiments in the world. In a Friday interview with the Politico, Susan Rice said that the Obama White House was determined to "fight against the anti-Israel crap" at the UN. The anti-Israeli sentiment began to become commonplace after Tel Aviv launched an all-out military strike against the Gaza Strip using conventional and uncomventional weapons against the Palestinians.

Israeli MANIACS Attack Palestinian Civilians By Sameh A. Habeeb and Ramy Abdu 05 Apr 2009 Part of the ongoing Israeli measures in Jerusalem, hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked Al-Sadya neighborhood in east Jerusalem. The attackers tried to storm houses of Al Jabir family. Bloody clashes erupted in the area as the settlers backed by Israeli army on Sunday evening surprisingly came into the area... The attacks of the unleashed settlers resulted in 10 Palestinians wounded and 4 Palestinians captured by Israeli army. The mayor has requested the demolition of tens of Palestinian houses in Kafir Silwad to minimize the Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.

U.S. soldier charged in contractor's slaying in Iraq --The laborer, who the military would not identify, worked for Toifor, a private international company that provides various support services on U.S. military bases in Iraq. 05 Apr 2009 A U.S. soldier has been charged with murdering a foreign contractor at an American base in Taji, Iraq, the military said Sunday. Pfc. Carl T. Stovall III, a 25-year-old soldier from Kennesaw, Ga., is accused of shooting the foreign laborer on March 26, the military said in a written statement. Military prosecutors handed down the murder charge Saturday.

Shell in court over alleged role in Nigeria executions --Family of environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, hanged by his c ountry's rulers in 1995, take oil giant to court in New York 05 Apr 2009 Ken Saro-Wiwa swore that one day Shell, the oil giant, would answer for his death in a court of law. Next month, 14 years after his execution, the Nigerian environmental activist's dying wish is to be fulfilled. In a New York federal court, Shell and one of its senior executives are to face charges that in the early 1990s in Nigeria they were complicit in human rights abuses, including summary execution and torture. The Anglo-Dutch company, if found liable, could be forced to pay hundreds of millions of pounds in damages.

Obama launches effort to reduce nuclear arms 05 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama on Sunday launched an effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons, calling them "the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War" and saying the U.S. has a moral responsibility to lead as the only nation to ever use one. Obama said the U.S. would "immediately and aggressively" seek ratification of a comprehensive ban on testing nuclear weapons. He said the U.S. would host a summit within the next year on reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, and he called for a global effort to secure nuclear material.

Blair steps up fight to be crowned first 'President of EU' 05 Apr 2009 Tony Blair has emerged as the leading candidate to become the first permanent president of the European Union after Gordon Brown gave his grudging blessing to the plan. The former prime minister has stepped up his campaign for the job, which he wants to use to build a bridge between Europe and the new Obama administration. His return to the global stage would be a shock to his critics over the Iraq war and dismay many in Europe. [Yeah, but he won't be able to travel - he's going down for crimes against humanity.]

Fake faith and epic crimes --The Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for the former British prime minister's prosecution. By John Pilger 02 Apr 2009 These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg... Blair, a perpetrator of the epic crime of the 21st century, shares a "prayer breakfast" with President Obama, the yes-we-can man now launching more war.

Militant most wanted: Pakistan warlord claims US massacre --FBI rejects the boast of Baitullah Mehsud after 13 die in New York at the hands of a newly unemployed Vietnamese immigrant. But the US already had a $5m bounty on the Taliban chief's head. 05 Apr 2009 One of Pakistan's most wanted warlords made the extraordinary claim that he was responsible for the massacre of 13 people in an upstate New York immigration centre, dragging America's plague of gun crime into the battle for power and publicity in the lawless border region with Afghanistan. The boast was immediately dismissed by police, but intelligence officers believe that Baitullah Mehsud is making a pitch for notoriety as the Obama administration prepares a new assault on the Taliban forces and associated militia who are harbouring al-Qa'ida.

Police 'assaulted' bystander who died during G20 protests 05 Apr 2009 The man who died during last week's G20 protests was "assaulted" by riot police shortly before he suffered a heart attack, according to witness statements received by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Investigators are examining a series of corroborative accounts that allege Ian Tomlinson, 47, was a victim of police violence in the moments before he collapsed near the Bank of England in the City of London last Wednesday evening.

Three US police officers shot dead in ambush 05 Apr 2009 A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and "lying in wait" opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said. Police Chief Nate Harper said the motive for the shooting was not clear, but friends said the gunman [Richard Poplawski] recently had been upset about losing his job and feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

It is feared bird flu could become more frightening 04 Apr 2009 There is a need to raise awareness of bird flu because of a real threat: It could turn into something much more frightening than the H5N1 virus. The frightening thing would be if the virus caused a pandemic if and when it became able to spread among humans, Coordinator of Surveillance and Monitoring at the National Commission on Bird Flu Control and Awareness on Influenza Pandemic (Komnas FBPI) Heru Setijanto said Friday. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 UK Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice. Animals exposed to this composite were dying within days of symptoms similar to those found in human victims of the 1918 pandemic.]

Geithner Says US Jobless Rate Likely to Climb 05 Apr 2009 The U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the unemployment rate may go above its current 25-year high of 8.5 percent, but says the United States and other countries must keep moving forward in making steps toward economic recovery.

US watchdog calls for bank executives to be sacked 05 Apr 2009 Elizabeth Warren, chief watchdog of America's $700bn (£472bn) bank bailout plan, will this week call for the removal of top executives from Citigroup, AIG and other institutions that have received government funds in a damning report that will question the administration's approach to saving the financial system from collapse. Warren, a Harvard law professor and chair of the congressional oversight committee monitoring the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (Tarp), is also set to call for shareholders in those institutions to be "wiped out".

U.S. May Oust CEOs at Banks Needing 'Exceptiona' Aid 05 Apr 2009 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he’s prepared to oust the senior management and boards of directors at banks that require "exceptional" assistance from the U.S. government. "If in the future, banks need exceptional assistance in order to get through this, then we will make sure that assistance comes," while ensuring taxpayers are protected, Geithner said today in an interview on the CBS "Face the Nation" program. "Where that requires a change in management and the board, then we will do that."

'Time for Obama to drive the money lenders from the temple.' Wall St. ticks off the world Financial crisis, not armed terrorists, greatest threat to U.S. security By Eric Margolis 05 Apr 2009 The current international financial disaster brought on by Wall Street has created 25 million unemployed around the globe. People everywhere are mad as hell at both their leaders and America. U.S. intelligence says this financial crisis, not al-Qaida, is the greatest threat to national security. Politicians from leading industrial nations sought safety in numbers at the G20 summit in London this week attempting to show they are resolving the worst economic crisis since 1930... When this house of cards finally collapsed, the money men used their clout to get the George W. Bush and Obama administrations to bail them out.

Even Rick Wagoner's Firing Got Lousy Mileage By Frank Rich 05 Apr 2009 Those on Wall Street who took the money and ran are beyond the reach of the guillotine. Most of their successors are too new to their jobs to merit beheading; executives like Edward Liddy of A.I.G. and Vikram Pandit of Citi, whatever their previous performance, have been in their current positions only since disaster struck... But facts matter little when set against the public anger at corporate America in general and banks in particular. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 80 percent of the country blames banks for the financial crisis -- a percentage even larger than that blaming George W. Bush (70 percent).

Ice bridge ruptures in Antarctic 05 Apr 2009 An ice bridge linking a shelf of ice the size of Jamaica to two islands in Antarctica has snapped. Scientists say the collapse could mean the Wilkins Ice Shelf is on the brink of breaking away, and provides further evidence of rapid change in the region.

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Pakistani Militant 'Behind US Gun Rampage' 04 Apr 2009 The leader of the Taliban in Pakistan claims he was behind the attack on an immigration centre in the US which left 13 people dead. "I accept responsibility. They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to US drone attacks," Baitullah Mehsud told a news agency. A gunman armed with two pistols injured dozens more in the attack in Binghamton, New York state, before turning the gun on himself. Sky's foreign affairs editor, Tim Marshall, said: "It would be unusual for the Pakistani Taliban to have a sleeper cell in the US consisting of a Vietnamese man named Wong who has handguns registered with the authorities." [Yeah, a really deep sleep cell, as in *dead.* Obama is desperate to secure billions for his Triple Canopy mercenaries to 'train and equip' Pakistan and Afghan armies -- which actually fuel the insurgency -- and hence the 'need' to stay.]

Administration to ask for $500 million for Pakistani military in war-funding proposal --Obama wants to spend the same amount during each of the next four years 04 Apr 2009 A bill sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-Calif.) would authorize $3 billion in aid to train and equip the Pakistani military over the next five years, along with $7.5 billion in economic and development assistance... The administration plans to ask for $500 million for the Pakistani military in a supplemental war-funding proposal next week, and to spend the same amount during each of the next four years. [See: Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage: West funding insurgency in Afghanistan with Taleban payoff system --"We estimate that approximately 25 per cent of the money we pay for security to get the fuel in goes into the pockets of the Taleban." 12 Dec 2008 The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country. See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007; US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

13 killed in N Waziristan drone strike 05 Apr 2009 A suspected US drone fired two missiles on an alleged Taliban hideout in North Waziristan early on Saturday, killing 13 people. Unnamed security officials told news agencies that the dead and injured included local and foreign Taliban, but Daily Times could not ascertain the information.

President: 5,000 NATO troops going to Afghanistan 04 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama says NATO has a taken big step forward by promising to send 5,000 more troops and trainers to Afghanistan. Obama says NATO's decision will bolster security 'against' the Taliban and other insurgents. Also, the new help will mean additional support for the Afghan army and training for Afghan police.

NATO Soldier Killed in Southern Afghanistan 04 Apr 2009 NATO said one of its soldiers has been killed in a bomb blast in southern Afghanistan. The alliance did not release details of Saturday's bombing or the nationality of the soldier.

Hamid Karzai orders review of Afghan 'marital rape' law under fire from West 04 Apr 2009 Afghan president Hamid Karzai has ordered a review of the country's controversial new "family law" amid international condemnation that it sanctioned marital rape. Fury in the West over the legislation, which also placed Taliban-style restrictions on when a woman could work and even leave her home, was overshadowing calls for extra Nato troops for the country.

Pentagon fires Khadr's lawyer 03 Apr 2009 He had become the most vocal opponent of the trial of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, taking on a position more akin to politician than lawyer and launching a two-year public and media campaign that landed him on the front pages of newspapers and inside glossy magazines. But U.S. Navy lawyer William Kuebler's role as the Pentagon-appointed defender of 22-year-old Khadr came to an end today when he was fired from the case.

'Holy Hell' Over Torture Memos --Attorney General Eric Holder wants to release classified Bush-era interrogation memos. But U.S. intel officials are fiercely lobbying the White House to block him from moving forward. 03 Apr 2009 A fierce internal battle within the White House over the disclosure of internal Justice Department torture memos is shaping up as a major test of the Obama administration's commitment to opening up government files about Bush-era counterterrorism policy... "Holy hell has broken loose over this," said the official, who asked not to be identified because of political sensitivities.

New Air Force Command Not Coming to Minot [Yeah, well, they tend to lose things... and people.] 02 Apr 2009 The Minot Air Force Base was one of six potential sites for the new Air Force Global Strike Command headquarters. The military created the command to better manage the nation's nuclear arsenal. The decision came was made Thursday and to the disappointment of many here in the Magic City, Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana was selected as the preferred location. The command will control all Air Force nuclear-capable bombers, missiles and personnel.

China Is Trying to Stop North Korea Rocket Launch, AP Reports 03 Apr 2009 China is trying to persuade North Korea not to go ahead with a planned rocket launch and is urging calm among countries in the region, the Associated Press reported, citing a Japanese official. China is trying various measures to stop the launch, which may come as early as tomorrow, AP said, citing an aide to Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso after he met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in London at the Group of 20 summit yesterday.

North Korea 'has deployed multiple nuclear warheads' ahead of launch 02 Apr 2009 North Korea has developed and deployed multiple nuclear warheads that can be attached to medium-range Rodong missiles, according to a Seoul-based defence analyst. "I received the information from the national intelligence agency of a certain country that they believe North Korea has deployed nuclear warheads at two underground facilities for Rodong missiles," Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, told The Daily Telegraph from Seoul.

Israeli policeman who threw Palestinian from speeding jeep gets more jail time 04 Apr 2009 The Israeli Supreme Court has increased the prison sentence of border policeman Yanai Lazla for the killing of Imran Abu Hamdiya, an 18-year-old Palestinian from Hebron, in 2002. Lazla was convicted for additional acts of violence and for obstructing justice. The Supreme Court raised the 6½-year sentence given by the Jerusalem District Court a year ago to 8½ years’ imprisonment.

US Envoy Writes of Israeli Threats By Barbara Crossette 31 Mar 2009 In the wake of the accusation by Chas Freeman that his nomination to lead the National Intelligence Council was derailed by an "Israeli lobby," a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate. The ambassador, John Gunther Dean, writes that over the years he not only came under pressure from pro-Israeli groups and officials in Washington but also was the target of an Israeli-inspired assassination attempt in 1980 in Lebanon, where he had opened links to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Mysterious death of Kendall Marine in Iraq is probed 03 Apr 2009 Department of Defense officials say few details will be available in the coming weeks about the mysterious death of a U.S. Marine from Miami-Dade County who was shot dead while at a military facility in Iraq's Anbar province. Lance Cpl. Nelson M. Lantigua, 20, was killed on March 31 ''as a result of a nonhostile incident,'' according to a report released by the U.S. Marine Public Affairs Office. Family members confirmed reports Lantigua was found dead is his bed. [Um, I think getting shot in the head definitely qualifies as a 'hostile' incident. --LRP]

Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe By Reprehensor 04 Apr 2009 From Dr. Steven Jones: Formally published in a peer-reviewed Chemical Physics journal, today: "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe" by Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley and Bradley R. Larsen. The paper ends with this sentence: "Based on these observations, we conclude that the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material." In short, the paper explodes the official story that "no evidence" exists for explosive/pyrotechnic materials in the WTC buildings.

The Smooth Criminal Transition from Bush/Cheney to Obama --Corrupt new administration deepens and expands systemic criminalization and war agenda By Larry Chin 04 Apr 2009 To sober, clear-eyed observers of history and political deception, the ascension of Barack Obama held the promise for unprecedented new dangers: a revitalized New World Order, led by the Anglo-American empire's neoliberal criminal faction and an iconic, deceptive new facilitator; and a continuation of Bush/Cheney criminality and war, under smarter and much more effective management. Now, just months into their tenure, the Barack Obama administration has more than fulfilled the promises he made to his elite constituency, deepening the mass destruction of Bush/Cheney, while charming its victims all over the world into enjoying their own demise. Beneath his seemingly boundless charisma and charm, Barack Obama has always been an utterly ruthless politician. He has been a compromiser who has danced with the darkest forces of political and criminal power, while winning over common people; a consensus-abiding chameleon and a "pragmatist". Obama is the true model of what George W. Bush only claimed to be: "a uniter, not a divider".

Moyers drops bailout bomb on Obama 03 Apr 2009 BILL MOYERS: But what might happen, at this point, if in fact they keep from us the true health of the banks? WILLIAM K. BLACK: Well, then the banks will, as they did in Japan, either stay enormously weak, or Treasury will be forced to increasingly absurd giveaways of taxpayer money. We've seen how horrific AIG -- and remember, they kept secrets from everyone. BILL MOYERS: A.I.G. did? WILLIAM K. BLACK: What we're doing with -- no, Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that.

Administration Seeks an Out On Bailout Rules for Firms --Officials Worry 'Constraints' Set by Congress Deter Participation [!] 04 Apr 2008 The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials. The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials. Some experts are questioning the legality of this strategy.

Banks could bet on toxic assets with taxpayers' money 03 Apr 2009 U.S. banks that received billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bolster their capital could place bets on the same toxic assets that got them into trouble in the first place -- and with government support. It is unclear whether U.S. regulators will prevent banks receiving government aid from participating as buyers in the $1 trillion Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP) designed to unclog credit markets and bank balance sheets.

Top Economics Aide Discloses Income --Summers Earned Salary From Hedge Fund, Speaking Fees From Wall St. Firms 04 Apr 2009 Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations.

Sanford will ask for funds, but ... He won't release the $700 million until he and Legislature strike deal on debt 03 Apr 2009 Gov. Mark Sanford (R) today will comply with a crucial stimulus deadline and become the last governor in the nation to seek millions of dollars in federal economic-recovery funds for his state, aides said late Thursday. But Sanford will continue contesting $700 million in education and law enforcement money for South Carolina that he wants to spend on debt. [WHY do people VOTE for these sociopaths?]

Times co. threatens to shut down Globe 03 Apr 2009 The New York Times Co. has threatened to shut the Boston Globe unless the newspaper's unions swiftly agree to $20 million in concessions, union leaders said. Executives from the Times Co. and Globe made the demands Thursday morning in an approximately 90- minute meeting with leaders of the newspaper's 13 unions, union officials said.

Jiverly Voong's Binghamton shooting survivors experienced living hell waiting hours for rescue 04 Apr 2009 The huddled in a dark room for hours, barely speaking, fearing that at any moment the crazed gunman would open the door and massacre them all. Twenty-six people feared for their lives as they hid inside the boiler room for nearly four hours, not knowing when the carnage would end.

Who is Jiverly Voong aka Jiverly Wong? Conflicting picture of Binghamton gunman emerges 04 Apr 2009 The man who shot 13 people dead in a Binghamton immigration center before killing himself was described Friday as an angry loner who loved guns, hated America and talked about assassinating the President... Donald Ackley, another former Shop Vac employee, said Voong "kept to himself but made some of off-the-wall comments like he wanted to kill the President." It was unclear if Voong was threatening the life of former President [sic] Bush or President Obama.

Police: Pittsburgh gunman wore bulletproof vest --Alleged gunman arrested after four-hour standoff 04 Apr 2009 A man wearing a bulletproof vest shot and killed three police officers during a domestic disturbance call on Saturday morning, according to Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper. Neighbors described how a quiet street in the city's Stanton Heights neighborhood turned into a battlefield with hundreds of rounds cracking through the morning air and fallen police officers lying bleeding in the street, their colleagues unable to reach them. Friends said the alleged gunman, 23-year-old Richard Poplawski, had recently been upset about losing his job and feared that the Obama administration was poised to ban guns.

Gunman 'lying in wait' kills 3 Pittsburgh officers 04 Apr 2009 A gunman wearing a bulletproof vest and "lying in wait" opened fire on officers responding to a domestic disturbance call Saturday, killing three of them and turning a quiet Pittsburgh street into a battlefield, police said.

DNA going untested in cases throughout L.A. County --A report on 47 smaller police agencies finds them having the same evidence analysis problems as the LAPD and Sheriff's Department, with 2,750 rape kits sitting untested. 31 Mar 2009 Dozens of police departments throughout Los Angeles County routinely have not tested DNA evidence collected in rape and sexual assault cases, and are unable to accurately account for thousands of pieces of evidence that could potentially help solve crimes, according to a report to be released today.

Chunk of Antarctic ice the size of Rhode Island nears collapse 03 Apr 2009 An Antarctic ice shelf is at risk of losing a chunk the size of Rhode Island after a retaining ice bridge began to break up. The ice bridge between two islands, which holds back the Wilkins ice shelf, began to develop faults yesterday, according to the European Space Agency, or ESA. As much as 3,700 square kilometers of ice shelf may break off as a result, said Angelika Humbert, a glaciologist at Muenster University in Germany.

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U.S. Aircraft Opens Fire on Sons of Iraq Members 03 Apr 2009 An American military aircraft opened fire Thursday night on Sons of Iraq members who were allegedly spotted placing a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Friday. The incident, which killed one suspected member of the paramilitary group and wounded two, is the latest sign of the fraying allegiance between the paramilitary groups and the U.S. military. The U.S. military recently stopped paying the Sons of Iraq, many of whom are former insurgents who were put on the American payroll in 2007 in a high-stakes strategy to quell the insurgency [sway the 2008 elections for the GOP by pretending that the 'surge' worked].

KBR Iraq worker faces child porn charge 01 Apr 2009 A Seabrook man accused of having child pornography on a U.S. Marine base in Iraq, where he was working for KBR, appeared in Houston court on Wednesday and will be held in custody until his May trial. Michael Anthony Grabar left a computer flash drive with child pornography in a laundry facility at Camp Fallujah in Iraq in May 2008, according to a news release from acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson. Grabar was in Iraq serving as a KBR forklift operator.

Fourth lawsuit filed against Blackwater 01 Apr 2009 A fourth lawsuit has been filed in a federal court in San Diego against the former Blackwater Worldwide security firm on behalf of family members of Iraqis allegedly killed by Blackwater guards. The lawsuit alleges that three Blackwater guards mercenaries perched on a rooftop killed three guards for the Iraqi Media Network and that 20 other Blackwater employees refused to cooperate with Iraqi officials investigating the Feb. 7, 2007, shooting.

Ex-Blackwater Mercenaries May Return to Iraq Jobs 04 Apr 2009 Late last month Blackwater Worldwide lost its billion-dollar contract to protect American diplomats here, but by next month many if not most of its private security guards will be back on the job in Iraq. The same individuals will just be wearing new uniforms, working for Triple Canopy, the firm that won the State Department’s contract after Iraqi officials refused to renew Blackwater’s operating license, according to American diplomats, private security industry officials and Iraqi officials.

Obama's Blackwater? Chicago Mercenary Firm Gets Millions for Private "Security" in Israel and Iraq By Jeremy Scahill 02 Apr 2009 ...[I]t appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia... What's more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem. Beginning May 7th, Triple Canopy will officially take over Xe/Blackwater's mega-contract with the U.S. State Department for guarding occupation officials in Iraq. It's sure to be a lucrative deal: Obama's Iraq plan will inevitably rely on an increased use of private contractors, including an army of mercenaries to protect his surge of diplomats operating out of the monstrous U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

EU terror warning 04 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama warned his European Nato allies yesterday that they face a greater risk of terror attacks than America and that he needs their help to defeat 'Al Qaeda' in Afghanistan. "It is probably more likely that Al Qaeda would be able to launch a serious terrorist attack in Europe than in the US, because of proximity," Obama said after arriving in France for a Nato summit.

Pakistan 'helps US drone attacks' --America and Pakistan have begun a joint operation to kill the [deceased] head of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud. 03 Apr 2009 A Pakistani intelligence official told The Daily Telegraph that Washington had agreed to target Mehsud after months of persuasion by Islamabad's military leadership. Pakistan will pass on intelligence about Mehsud's movements with the aim of guiding a missile attack from an American drone. In public, Paksitan's government opposes all strikes of this kind as an invasion of the country's sovereignty. Behind the scenes, however, Pakistan's government is quietly passing on targeting information to the Americans.

Up to 1,000 more British troops to go to Afghanistan --Hutton: soldiers to impede Taliban and embed democracy [including the right to rape] 04 Apr 2009 Further British troops are expected to be sent to Afghanistan to bolster successful elections this summer that will in turn weaken the Taliban and help embed democracy, defence secretary John Hutton said yesterday. Speaking in Strasbourg on the eve of the Nato's 60th summit, Hutton suggested British troops could be needed in the country for at least another three or four years.

NKorea rocket launch imminent: Yonhap news agency 03 Apr 2009 North Korea has set up observation equipment in preparation for an imminent rocket launch, Seoul's Yonhap news agency reported Saturday. The agency gave no source for its report. The defence ministry declined to comment.

Obama warns DPRK against missile launch 03 Apr 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to abort its missile launch plan, saying the launch will not go without penalty. The United States has made it clear to the DPRK that its missile launch is provocative and puts enormous strains on the six-party talks, Obama told reporters after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of a NATO summit.

Wartime Operations Order Issued 03 Apr 2009 Starting the countdown to the scheduled rocket launch, the North Korean General Staff issued at 2 P.M. on April 1 an emergency order, "On Keeping a Wartime Operational Status," to all military organizations and the People's Army. A source from North Hamkyung Province said on Friday in an interview with Daily NK, "An urgent decree under the name of the General Staff of the People's Army was issued through the military communications line, aimed specifically at the People's Army, the People's Security Forces, the Worker's and Peasant's Red Guard and the Young Red Guard."

UN appoints Gaza war investigator 03 Apr 2009 The United Nations has appointed a former war crimes prosecutor to investigate offences allegedly committed by Israeli and Palestinian [?] fighters during Israel's war on Gaza. Richard Goldstone, a Jewish judge from South Africa, will lead a fact-finding team on the mission, ordered by the Human Rights Council in January.

Egypt knew about Sudan convoy strike at the time: FM 02 Apr 2009 Egypt knew about air strikes on convoys in Sudan early this year that were said to be carrying weapons destined for Gaza but remained silent to avoid embarrassing Sudan, state news agency MENA reported on Thursday. Egypt knew about the attacks, thought to have been carried out by Israel, "from when they happened" but it "did not want to embarrass the brothers in Sudan," Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit was quoted as saying.

Chavez offers to shelter Gitmo inmates 02 Apr 2009 President Hugo Chavez has expressed Venezuela's readiness to accept prisoners held at the Guantanamo bay detention center in Cuba. The Venezuelan leader said on Wednesday that Caracas "would have no problems in receiving" the detainees -- whom the US calls terror suspects -- from the notorious US prison.

Admiral says war veterans will suffer for years 02 Apr 2009 Homelessness, family strains and psychological problems among returning veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will persist in the U.S. for generations to come, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday. "This is not a 10-year problem. It is a 50- or 60- or 70-year problem," Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a lunchtime audience at the Hudson Union Society, a group that promotes nonpartisan debate.

Binghamton, New York shootings: Police take away hostages in handcuffs, gunman remained --The alleged shooter was Linh Phat Voong, of Johnson City, NY. 03 Apr 2009

Binghamton Bloodbath: 14 Dead in Citizenship Massacre 03 Apr 2009 A shooter armed with two handguns trapped dozens of people then opened fire in a civic center in Binghamton, New York, Friday morning, killing 13 victims who had gathered for a class to become American citizens, authorities said... Sources said Jiverly Voong is an alias that the suspect has used in the past. Cops searched his home Friday evening and carried out evidence that included three computer hard drives, a brown canvas rifle case, a briefcase, a small suitcase and several paper bags. "Among the dead is a male victim who has a satchel around his neck that has ammunition," said Binghamton Police Chief Joe Zikuski.

'The police chief would not confirm the name of the dead man with the ammunition satchel, saying authorities were still trying to establish with certainty that he was the gunman.' NY gunman kills 13, commits suicide 03 Apr 2009 A gunman barricaded the back door of a community center with his car and then opened fire on a room full of immigrants taking a citizenship class Friday, killing 13 people before apparently committing suicide, officials said. Investigators said they had yet to establish a motive for the massacre, which was at least the fifth deadly mass shooting in the U.S. in the past month alone... The man believed to have carried out the attack was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in an office, a satchel containing ammunition slung around his neck, authorities said. Police found two handguns _ a 9mm and a .45-caliber _ and a hunting knife.

Phoenix police raid home of blogger whose writing is highly critical of them By Carlos Miller 02 Apr 2009 ...Phoenix police raided the home of a blogger who has been highly critical of the department. Jeff Pataky, who runs Bad Phoenix Cops, said the officers confiscated three computers, routers, modems, hard drives, memory cards and everything necessary to continue blogging... Maricopa County Judge Gary Donahoe signed the search warrant that allowed at least ten cops to raid his home in North Phoenix on March 12 while handcuffing his female roommate for three hours as they tore the place apart.

Colorado professor wins wrongful-termination suit --Ward Churchill's controversial 9/11 comments started a Reichwing campaign that led to his firing. 03 Apr 2009 The University of Colorado professor who likened 9/11 victims to a Nazi leader was fired in retaliation for his controversial remarks, a Denver jury ruled Thursday. Jurors in the wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Ward L. Churchill agreed with the embattled professor's contention that he was the victim of a "howling mob," not the perpetrator of academic misconduct.

Obama: Stop Filling Administration with RIAA Insiders By David Kravets 02 Apr 2009 Nearly two dozen public interest groups, trade pacts and library groups urged President Barack Obama on Thursday to quit filling his administration with insiders plucked from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Little Change in Negative Images of Bush and Cheney --Favorable ratings for both are at or near their all-time lows 03 Apr 2009 Neither George W. Bush's deliberate silence about the Obama administration nor Dick Cheney's ready criticism of it appear to have altered U.S. public perceptions about either man. The former president [sic] and former vice president [sic] are each viewed unfavorably by 63% of Americans, very similar to where they stood with the public in their final White House years.

Former Illinois Governor Indicted --Charges Include Extortion, Fraud 03 Apr 2009 A federal grand jury charged former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on Thursday with racketeering, extortion and fraud, opening a new chapter in the prosecution of the voluble Democrat who could spend years behind bars if convicted. [Where are the Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Feith, Addington, Yoo, Bybee, and Haynes indictments for treason and war crimes?]

Obama hails the new world order --The US President Barack Obama played a key role in brokering the agreement 03 Apr 2009 Gordon Brown declared that a $1 trillion package to stimulate economic growth agreed at yesterday's G20 summit in London will ensure that the world pulls out of recession more quickly. The $1trn will be made available to countries that run into trouble via the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and World Trade Organisation, which will all be beefed up. [See: G20 - Brown: A New World Order Is Being Born 02 Apr 2009.]

Congress Approves $3.5Trn Budget 03 Apr 2009 Congressional Democrats overwhelmingly embraced President Obama's ambitious and expensive agenda for the nation yesterday, endorsing a $3.5 trillion spending plan that sets the stage for the president to pursue his most far-reaching priorities. The House voted 233 to 196 to support the Democratic budget proposal, with just 20 Democrats voting with Republicans in opposition. The Senate approved its blueprint 55 to 43, with all but two Democrats voting yes.

G20 leaders agree to trillion-dollar rescue 03 Apr 2009 Gordon Brown claimed that the process of ending the global recession had begun yesterday, after the G20 summit agreed a $1.1 trillion boost to reverse the credit crunch.

Fannie, Freddie worker bonuses total $210M --Fannie plans to pay four top executives at least $1 million each in bonus payments that run through February. 03 Apr 2009 Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac plan to pay more than $210 million in bonuses through next year. The retention awards bonuses for more than 7,600 employees were disclosed in a letter from the companies' regulator released Friday by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. The companies paid out nearly $51 million last year, are scheduled to make $146 million in payments this year and $13 million in 2010.

Bleak outlook for US workers as jobless rate hits 26-year high --Official figures show 8.5% of Americans out of work --Unemployment expected to rise to 10% or more 04 Apr 2009 The US unemployment rate has risen to a 26-year high of 8.5% as employers make deep payroll cuts to cope with dismal economic conditions, bringing the number of jobs lost since the slump began to 5 million. Official figures from the US labour department yesterday showed the rate of joblessness rose by 0.4 percentage points during March as 663,000 jobs were eliminated.

CDC: Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula 03 Apr 2009 Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, a government study has found. The study by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for the chemical, perchlorate, in different brands of powdered baby formula.

Study: Arctic sea ice melting faster than expected 02 Apr 2009 Arctic sea ice is melting so fast most of it could be gone in 30 years. A new analysis of changing conditions in the region, using complex computer models of weather and climate, says conditions that had been forecast by the end of the century could occur much sooner.

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Bagram prisoners can contest detention in U.S. courts --The ruling is almost certain to be appealed by the government 02 Apr 2009 Prisoners held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan can challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a federal judge ruled Thursday, rejecting the Obama administration's position. The ruling – almost certain to be appealed by the government to the Supreme Court – may have sweeping ramifications. It means that hundreds of prisoners held at Bagram Air Base may have the same access to U.S. courts as those at Guantanamo, which President Barack Obama vowed to shut down within a year.

Terrorism suspects 'can challenge Afghan detention' 03 Apr 2009 A US judge has ruled that some terrorist suspects held at an American military base in Afghanistan can challenge their detention in a US court. The ruling follows a Supreme Court decision last year that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detentions in American courts. Since the early days of the US invasion of Afghanistan, prisoners have been held at the Bagram Airbase.

U.S. Weighs Putting 70,000 Troops in Afghanistan 01 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama is weighing whether to deploy 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are questioning an increased commitment... When President Obama took office, the U.S. had about 38,000 troops in Afghanistan. The White House has announced plans to send 21,000 reinforcements in coming months, increasing the tally to almost 60,000.

10k More GIs May be Afghanistan-bound 02 Apr 2009 The situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan is "increasingly dire," top defense officials told Congress Wednesday, and they said President Barack Obama may have to send another 10,000 troops beyond the 21,500 he's announced since taking office.

Militants Storm Government Office in Afghanistan, Killing 13 02 Apr 2009 Five suicide bombers stormed a government office in Kandahar on Wednesday morning, killing 13 people, including two provincial government officials, and wounding 14. Seven civilians and six police officers were killed in the 20-minute gun battle, which ended when two of the militants blew themselves up in the main hall, said the provincial police chief, Matiullah Qati.

Critics assail Afghan law that 'legalizes rape' 02 Apr 2009 A new Afghan law makes it legal for men to rape their wives, human rights groups and some Afghan lawmakers said Thursday, accusing President Hamid Karzai of signing the legislation to bolster his re-election prospects.

Calls on US to double 'war on terror' funds for Pakistan 02 Apr 2009 Pakistan has suffered economic losses amounting to $6 billion during 2007-08 while supporting the global war on terror, Dr Hafiz Pasha, heading a panel of Planning Commission economists, said on Wednesday. "This loss to the economy, according to the government of Pakistan, is over $8 billion," said Pasha, adding that the US should double the funds being given to Pakistan for its support to the war on terror in view of the massive losses. [See: Al Qaeda is planning attacks on US from Pakistan: Obama 02 Apr 2009.]

Pentagon concerned about Taliban threat against US 02 Apr 2009 US officials have used the occasion of another drone attack in Pakistan to announce they are analysing threats against America by the [dead] Pakistani Taliban leader blamed for the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. US Army General David Petraeus has said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he sees Baitullah Mehsud as a credible threat to the United States. [See: 'Dead' Pakistan Taleban Chief Takes Credit for Lahore Terror Attack 31 Mar 2009.]

Car bomb near Iraq's Mosul kills one 02 Apr 2009 A car bomb near the Iraqi city of Mosul killed one civilian and wounded three people, including two police officers, on Thursday, police said. The car was parked at the side of a road in Tilkaif district, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) north of Mosul, which remains plagued by unrest, when the explosion occurred.

Army lied about how my son died in Iraq: Friendly-fire victim was 'misidentified' as enemy gunman 01 Apr 2009 Army brass in Iraq whitewashed an incident of a soldier killed by his own lieutenant by blaming the dead hero, stonewalling his family and promoting his killer, the Daily News has learned. The friendly-fire victim, Pfc. David Sharrett, 27, of Oakton, Va., was "misidentified" by 1st Lt. Timothy Hanson as an enemy gunman during a botched night raid Jan. 16, 2008, against an 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' stronghold north of Baghdad, the Army belatedly acknowledged. Sharrett bled to death as his buddies searched frantically for him for 25 minutes after the firefight ended.

Air Force to locate global strike command in Louisiana 02 Apr 2009 The Air Force said it has chosen Barksdale Air Force Base, La., as the preferred location for headquarters of its Global Strike Command, a new operation focused on the service's nuclear and global strike capabilities.

US spy agencies 'still plagued by same intelligence failures which led to 9/11' 02 Apr 2009 America's spy agencies are still hamstrung by turf battles, computer compatibility problems and financial mismanagement, five years after a major shake-up designed to avoid a repeat of the intelligence failures that failed to stop the September 11 attacks, according to a damning internal report. The report said that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which was created to enhance co-ordination between 16 agencies, had instead become "an additional layer of bureaucracy".

AUC denies spying on Egypt 01 Apr 2009 The American University in Cairo issued a denial of reports in the Egyptian media that it has received Pentagon funding to supply Egyptian state secrets. A report in the Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm said Monday that the university had a $600,000 contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide national security secrets [aka spy] to the U.S. military.

Jewish Defence League Rallies Government to Investigate Canadian Peace Groups 25 Mar 2009 Jewish Defence League of Canada director Meir Weinstein said today that any Canadian organization or individual that invited George Galloway to speak in Canada later this month, would be looked in to regarding their ties to terror groups. Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, the Toronto Coalition To Stop The War, the Ottawa Peace Assembly, and the Canadian Peace Alliance are all organizers of the events starting March 30. All, according to Weinsten, could be monitored or examined for ties to terror groups.

Quest for artificial nose to sniff out terrorists' fear 29 Mar 2009 Law enforcement agencies are seeking scientists to develop an artificial nose that can detect the smell of fear as terrorists pass through security at airports. The US Department of Homeland Security is advertising for specialists to devise airport scanners that will sniff out "deceptive individuals". The technology builds on recent breakthroughs in finding human scent-prints which, many researchers believe, may be as unique to individuals as fingerprints.

Blair: NSA should 'be central' to cybersecurity oversight efforts 01 Apr 2009 Key lawmakers are crafting proposals that would empower the government to set and enforce security standards for private industry for the first time. The legislation, co-sponsored by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), was drafted with White House input. Last week, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair told reporters that one agency should oversee cybersecurity for government and for the private sector. He added that the NSA should be central to the effort.

Rutgers gets homeland security research grant 01 Apr 2009 Rutgers University will conduct research for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on analyzing information to help detect national security threats. Rutgers will partner with Purdue University in developing the DHS Center of Excellence for Command, Control and Interoperability.

CIA exercise turns up security concerns at N.C. water plant 02 Apr 2009 The Elizabeth City water plant is vulnerable to attack, most likely from vandals or someone with a grudge rather than from terrorists, a team from the CIA training base at Harvey Point found last week. The assessment served as a training exercise for the CIA and an alert to local officials, said Paul Fredette, director of Elizabeth City public utilities. Elizabeth City's water system of about 7,000 customers was rated as a low priority for a terrorist attack, Fredette said. [See: Drought 'Oddities'.]

Out West, a new kind of water war --Nestle wants to tap an aquifer in Colorado for bottled water. Some residents are angered by the project. 02 Apr 2009 In rural Chaffee County, Colo., one of the world's largest beverage companies has discovered water it deems fit for a bottle... mountain spring flavor people are willing to pay for. Nestle Waters North America wants to tap an aquifer feeding a pair of springs near Salida, southwest of Colorado Springs, and draw 65 million gallons of water per year to bottle and sell under its Arrowhead brand. But many mountain residents say Nestle should go bottle someone else's water.

G20 - Brown: A New World Order Is Being Born 02 Apr 2009 From the G20 in London, a "new world order" is emerging. So announced the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to a press conference. "First of all, for the first time, we have together fixed the principles for a reform of the global banking system," Brown said, "This is a vast programme of measures which for the first time brings the shadow banking system, including hedge funds, within the network of global regulation. We have agreed on the need to set international accountancy standards, we shall set rules for the rating agencies to eliminate conflicts of interest; we have arrived at an agreement to put an end to tax havens which do not supply information upon request..."

Heavy security in London at G-20 summit site 02 Apr 2009 Police were out in force for the G-20 summit Thursday, swarming the east London riverside site as small groups of demonstrators protested world poverty and climate change... At the Bank of England in central London, demonstrators returned to the scene of violent clashes to express anger at the death of a man near a protest camp late Wednesday. The circumstances of the 47-year-old man's death were unclear.

G20 protests: Troublemakers 'will be tracked down', warn police 02 Apr 2009 Violent protesters who attacked police and stormed a bank will be tracked down and prosecuted, Scotland Yard has warned. Investigations are already under way after 'masked anarchists' smashed their way into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch in the City of London. The angry mob trashed equipment... after more than 4,000 demonstrators, most of them peaceful, gathered near the Bank of England to demand action from world leaders.

The protests: Baton charges as protesters break into RBS branch 02 Apr 2009 Anti-capitalist demonstrators attacked police officers, stormed a bank and smashed windows as thousands of protesters converged on the City of London for a series events timed to coincide with the G20 summit. Thirty-two people had been arrested by 10pm, including 11 who drove an armoured car marked Riot Police through the crowd.

Rule change intended to ease bank crisis could make it worse 01 Apr 2009 The little-known Financial Accounting Standards Board is poised to deliver Thursday a change in accounting rules which opponents warn could bring even more ruin to the U.S. economy. The FASB board is expected to relax the rules on how banks value assets that investors no longer are willing to purchase. Current rules require banks to list the value of assets on their books at their current market price. The assets, however, at the center of the global financial meltdown -- securities backed by bad mortgages -- have no market. Investors simply won't touch them.

Watchdogs: Treasury won't disclose bank bailout details 31 Mar 2009 The massive programs designed to rescue the nation's financial sector are operating without adequate oversight, with vague goals and limited disclosure of their details to the taxpayers who are paying for them, government watchdogs told a Senate panel Tuesday. The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, was launched in the midst of last fall's collapse of the nation's banking system and is designed to get loans flowing to businesses and individuals.

Credit card charge-offs hit record high in February 02 Apr 2009 Credit card write-downs soared to record levels in February, representing an all-time high in the 20-year history of the Moody's Credit Card Index, as job losses mounted, the rating agency said Wednesday. Credit card charge-offs, the write-down of uncollectable debt, advanced decisively to 8.82% in February, marking the sixth consecutive month of increases.

One in 10 Americans gets help from U.S. to buy food 02 Apr 2009 A record 32.2 million people -- one in every 10 Americans -- received food stamps at the latest count, the government said on Thursday, a reflection of the recession now in its 16th month. Food stamps, the major U.S. anti-hunger program, help poor people buy groceries. The average benefit was $112.82 per person in January.

Ex-Illinois Governor Is Indicted on Corruption Charges 03 Apr 2009 Rod R. Blagojevich, this state’s ousted governor, was charged on Thursday with 16 felony counts, among them racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud and extortion conspiracy... prosecutors said, including trying to leverage his authority to pick someone to fill President Obama’s former Senate seat. Five of his closest advisers, including his brother, Robert, a top fundraiser, and two former chiefs of staff, were also charged in the 19-count indictment.

House passes bill giving FDA power over tobacco ads, sales 02 Apr 2009 The House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the advertising and sale of tobacco products in the United States. The measure passed by a vote of 298-112. Only eight Democrats voted against the bill; a majority of Republicans opposed it.

'They're larger than mid-size dogs.' Mystery of Big Black Cat Deepens In NY Suburb 02 Apr 2009 What's with the black cat sightings near New York's Tallman Mountain State Park? Signs posted around the Rockland County park warn the public about "Suspicious Animal Sightings." Orangetown police are increasing patrols. State park police have installed cameras to snap pictures of passing animals.

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Petraeus: Israel may strike Iran 02 Apr 2009 A top US military official warned Wednesday that Israel may conduct a preemptive strike on Iran over concerns about its development of nuclear weapons. Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus], the top US commander in the Middle East, told Congress that when it comes to its nuclear activity, Teheran's "obstinacy and obfuscation have forced Iran's neighbors and the international community to conclude the worst about the regime's intentions." He said that could cause Israel to take matters into its own hands.

Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran--Or I Will --The message from Israel's new prime minister is stark: if the Obama administration doesn't prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, Israel may be forced to attack. By Jeffrey Goldberg 31 Mar 2009 In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons--and quickly--or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

Not the time to rush for more Iran sanctions: UK 31 Mar 2009 Major powers should not rush to impose new sanctions on Iran at a time when Tehran has a good chance to move to normal ties with Washington, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Tuesday. In a sharp change in U.S. policy, President Barack Obama has offered a new start in relations with Iran although the two countries are also locked in a dispute over Iran's nuclear program.

Mission accomplished! British hand off to US in oil-rich southern Iraq 31 Mar 2009 Britain turned over 'coalition' command of the oil-rich south to the United States on Tuesday in the first step toward withdrawing virtually all British troops from Iraq by July. The pomp-filled ceremony marked the beginning of the end of an often-troubled British mission. The Iraqis have accused the British of merely standing by while Shiite militias wielded control of the country's second-largest city of Basra for years.

Seven killed by truck bomb in northern Iraq 31 Mar 2009 Seven people were killed, including four police officers, when a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into the compound of a police station in northern Iraq on Tuesday, a police official said.

Source: Firm to take over Blackwater/Xe's Iraq contract 01 Apr 2009 Herndon, Virginia-based Triple Canopy has been awarded the security services contract in Baghdad, a State Department source told CNN Tuesday. The order is effective Tuesday, the source said, but Triple Canopy's "in-country performance" won't begin until May 7. Triple Canopy will take over the expiring contract of Blackwater, which changed its name to Xe last month.

British Army chief ready to send more UK troops to Afghanistan By Harvey Thompson 01 Apr 2009 The head of the British Army announced at the weekend that he stood ready to send 2,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, while the government made clear its intent to pursue the war into Pakistan. General Sir Richard Dannatt, the chief of the General Staff, told the Times of London that part of the 12th Mechanised Brigade, which had been training for deployment to Iraq but were later stood down, had now been "earmarked for Afghanistan."

Al Qaeda is planning attacks on US from Pakistan: Obama --US president says elimination of Al Qaeda in greater interest of Pakistan, Afghanistan 02 Apr 2009 United States President Barack Obama on Wednesday said Al Qaeda was planning attacks on the US from its hideouts in Pakistan, a private TV channel reported. Obama said the US would "chase and defeat the terrorist organisation wherever it is present in the world", the channel said.

'Dead' Pakistan Taleban Chief Takes Credit for Lahore Terror Attack --What could possibly be the motive for this dialup from the dead? By Lori Price 31 Mar 2009 It's a miracle! Pakistan Taleban chief Baitullah Mehsud -- who supposedly died from kidney failure six months ago -- takes credit for three recent deadly terror attacks, including Monday's attack on a police academy in Lahore. He spoke to the BBC by phone. Meanwhile, Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] said Monday in an interview with FOX News, that the U.S. military reserves the 'right of last resort' for threats inside Pakistan.

Taliban threatens 9/11-like attack on US 31 Mar 2009 The leader of Taliban in Pakistan has threatened to target the White House, saying that the terrorist attack is aimed to 'amaze' the world. "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," Baitullah Mehsud told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday, giving no further details. In his latest comments made during an interview with local Dewa Radio, Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) Pakistan leader had referred to the White house as a potential target.

12 killed in US drone attack in Orakzai Agency 01 Apr 2009 Twelve 'militants' have been killed and several injured in US drone attack on militants’ hideout in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday. According to sources, US drone fired missiles on suspect hideout of militants in Khadzai area. At least 12 people have been killed and as many wounded in the attack.

Former Pakistani minister's house blown up 01 Apr 2009 Taliban militants have blown up the house of a former Pakistani minister in the Swat valley, Geo TV reported Wednesday. The gunmen seized the house of Ameer Muqam in the Bahrain area, and later blew up the house with explosives, the report said.

Hersh: Cheney 'Left A Stay Behind' In Obama's Government, Can 'Still Control Policy Up to a Point' By Matt Corley 31 Mar 2009 In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, "more people" were "coming forward" to talk to him... Hersh replied that... not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney. "Are you saying that you think Vice President [sic] Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward," asked Gross. "I’ll make it worse," answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney "put people back" in government to "stay behind" in order to "tell him what’s going on" and perhaps even "do sabotage."

Chavez calls for Bush indictment 31 Mar 2009 Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has called on the international prosecutors to indict George W. Bush for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan... "So why doesn't the international court indict President [sic] Bush, who committed atrocities over eight years, for example, and annihilated the Iraqi people?" he said on Tuesday, at a summit of Arab and South American countries in Qatar.

Arms Development Costs Soar --Weapons Programs Still Over Budget, GAO Report Finds 31 Mar 2009 Development costs for the Pentagon's major weapons systems soared last year, helping drive overruns that are "staggering," the Government Accountability Office said in a report released yesterday. The costs to research and develop fighter jets and other programs have been rising steadily. Last year, they were 42 percent over initial estimates. That compares with 27 percent in 2000 [pre-Bush coup], when the cost of the portfolio of programs was half of what it is today.

North Korea 'has capacity for nuclear strike' on Seoul and Tokyo 01 Apr 2009 North Korea already has the capacity to launch a nuclear missile strike against Seoul and Tokyo, even before the long-range rocket test that it is promising in the next few days, an international think-tank has reported. According to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, foreign intelligence agencies believe that the North has successfully miniaturised nuclear warheads to the extent that they can be mounted on tried and tested medium-range Nodong missiles. [And, the two most dangerous imperialist warmongers on the planet - the US and Israel - can strike everyone.]

CIA launches recruitment drive on internet and TV 31 Mar 2009 The CIA is attempting to recruit more spies by advertising on the internet, radio and television, and by holding meetings with American Muslims to make up a severe shortage of Arabic speakers. In a bid to fulfil a pledge by George W. Bush, the former President [sic], to expand the agency's clandestine arm, advertisements have been placed on websites such as Career Builder, and on the online versions of The Economist and The Washington Post.

'So the idea is to have cameras watch, and then agents are freed up to respond.' Surveillance towers planned for Detroit, Buffalo 01 Apr 2009 The U.S. Border Patrol is erecting 16 more video surveillance towers in Michigan and New York to help 'secure' parts of the U.S.-Canadian border, awarding the contract to a company criticized for faulty technology with its so-called "virtual fence" along the U.S.-Mexico boundary. The government awarded the $20 million project to Boeing Co., for the towers designed to assist agents stationed along the 4,000-mile northern stretch. Eleven of the towers are being installed in Detroit and five in Buffalo, N.Y.

'The FBI's Eco-Terrorism Division is on the scene.' FBI joins investigation of environmental terrorism threat in Plainfield 31 Mar 2009 (CT) Police, state environmental officials and FBI agents are scouring an area off Mill Brook Road in response to an eco-terroism threat levied against developers of a proposed wood-burning power plant in Plainfield. Police and state Department of Environmental Protection officers smashed through a lock on a chain-link fence surrounding the proposed site of the controversial wood-burning plant earlier this afternoon in response to a contamination threat.

Four marches - known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - will converge on the Bank of England at noon. G20 summit: Britain's biggest ever policing operation launched --A "meltdown" map of 136 potential targets in the City includes merchant and high street banks, auditors, law firms, energy firms, financial associations, arms traders and commerce groups. 01 Apr 2009 Britain's biggest ever policing operation has been launched as protesters threaten two days of chaos and disruption in London to mark the G20 summit. Taser stun guns may be deployed for the first time in the UK during riots as firearms units, armed with the 50,000 volt weapons, are on standby in riot vans. An "Alternative G20 Summit" - an academic forum for debate at the University of East London - has been cancelled due to fears of rioting.

'It's our street, it's our street.' G20 protests: riot police clash with demonstrators --RBS branch stormed as bloody skirmishes erupt --Thousands of protesters held in containment pens 01 Apr 2009 The G20 protests in central London turned violent today ahead of tomorrow's summit, with a band of demonstrators close to the Bank of England storming a Royal Bank of Scotland branch, and baton-wielding police charging a sit-down protest by students. Much of the protesting, from an estimated 4,000 people in the financial centre of the capital, was peaceful, but some bloody skirmishes broke out as police tried to keep thousands of people in containment pens on Threadneedle Street.

G20 protests: Rioters loot RBS as demonstrations turn violent --The rampage inside RBS will raise questions about the effectiveness of the £7.2 million security operation. 01 Apr 2009 G20 summit protesters looted a City office of Royal Bank of Scotland this afternoon, as a largely peaceful demonstration spilled over into bloody violence in the centre of London. A small number of demonstrators forced their way into the building on Threadneedle Street near the Bank of England after smashing windows and throwing smoke grenades.

Businesses turn to MPs for help after banks demand homes as security 31 Mar 2009 Britain's biggest banks are demanding that directors of small businesses put up their own homes as security to obtain basic credit facilities, The Times has learnt. MPs have been inundated with pleas from entrepreneurs to step in and demand to know why the cost of securing ordinary borrowing facilities has soared and why lenders are insisting that directors offer their homes as security for renewing a corporate overdraft.

G20 leaders craft crisis response 02 Apr 2009 World leaders are set to declare an end to unfettered capitalism at a G20 summit on Thursday after France and Germany demanded they act fast on promises to prevent a repeat of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s.

House moves forward on executive pay bill 01 Apr 2009 The House on Tuesday moved forward on legislation that would limit payments to executives at financial institutions receiving money from the government's $700 billion financial bailout package. Key Senate leadership has indicated they will study the house bills and contemplate whether they will approve this legislation or something similar.

Obama escapes most blame for recession: poll --Public points finger at financial industry excesses 31 Mar 2009 President Barack Obama is benefiting from perceptions that others bear most of the responsibility for the economic downturn, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Eighty percent of respondents to the poll said they put a "great deal" or a "good amount" of blame on banks and other financial institutions for taking unnecessary risks. Only about a quarter blame Obama and his advisers for the state of the economy.

Obama White House Close to Settling Missing Emails Case By Nick Baumann 31 Mar 2009 The long saga of the missing White House emails may be finally nearing its end. The Obama administration and two nonprofits that are suing it over millions of missing Bush-era emails have called a truce. A joint motion and proposed order filed by Justice Department lawyers and the plaintiffs, the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), call for an indefinite stay of the case so the two sides can continue settlement negotiations.

U.S. Seeks to Drop Case Against Former Sen. Stevens 01 Apr 2009 The Justice Department filed court papers this morning asking a federal judge to toss out the conviction of former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges. The move comes as a federal judge was preparing to conduct hearings to probe allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by the team that tried one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress.

Chicago's Privatized Parking Meters Are An Epic Failure By Meg Marco 20 Mar 2009 The City of Chicago has gone ahead with a deal to lease the city's parking meters to a company that raised the rates -- and the results are reportedly tragic. It now costs 28 quarters to park for two hours in the Loop, which some say is causing the meters to fill up with quarters and break... The parking-meter companies last weekend exercised an option in the contract that allows them to ticket vehicles parked at expired meters, Ed Walsh, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Revenue, said. [OMG, just destroy the f*cking corpora-terrorists' weapons - Why is there even a QUESTION?]

Monsanto GM-corn harvest fails massively in South Africa 29 Mar 2009 South African farmers suffered millions of dollars in lost income when 82,000 hectares of genetically-manipulated corn (maize) failed to produce hardly any seeds... Environmental activitist Marian Mayet, director of the Africa-centre for biosecurity in Johannesburg, demands an urgent government investigation and an immediate ban on all GM-foods, blaming the crop failure on Monsanto's genetically-manipulated technology.

After polar bear dies, St. Louis Zoo says rash of deaths "not systemic" --In 2007, the USDA fined the zoo $7,500 for various offenses after the death of two polar bears. 01 Apr 2009 It seems to be happening too often recently: The death of another high-profile animal at the St. Louis Zoo. On Tuesday, the zoo revealed its only polar bear had died. The 23-year-old polar bear, named Hope, was euthanized Monday after veterinarians discovered she had a grapefruit-sized tumor on her liver.

British Queen gets personalized iPod from Obama 01 Apr 2009 Jaguars carrying Prince Charles and other members of the royal family pulled up for the queen's reception for leaders attending Thursday's G-20 summit. During their private meeting, President Obama and first lady gave the queen a personalized iPod with video footage of her 2007 visit to Washington and Virginia. She was also given a rare songbook signed by composer Richard Rodgers. In return the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, gave the Obamas a signed portrait of themselves.

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Taleban: we will launch attack on America that will amaze world [Yeah, it'll be *doubly* amazing because the guy is 'dead.'] 01 Apr 2009 Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taleban, threatened yesterday to launch an attack on Washington that would "amaze everyone in the world" as he claimed responsibility for the raid on a police academy in Lahore and boasted of a new regional militant alliance. The leader of Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan (Movement of Taleban Pakistan), made the claims after taking the highly unusual step of telephoning Western news organisations from an undisclosed location. [Um, Hades? Gee, I'd love to see his Verizon bill for *those* calls.] "We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future," he said.

Taliban Leader Vows to Attack D.C. "Soon" --Pakistani Taliban Commander Also Claims Responsibility For Attack On Police Academy 31 Mar 2009 The top Taliban commander in Pakistan promised an assault on Washington "soon" - one he says will "amaze" the world. "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world," Baitullah Mehsud told The Associated Press by phone. Mehsud also claimed responsibility for Monday's attack on a police academy outside the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. missile strikes against militants along the Afghan border.

Taliban Leader's Washington Threat Is Credible, Analysts Say --Mehsud identified the White House as one of the targets. 31 Mar 2009 Baitullah Mehsud, commander of the Taliban in Pakistan, told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that his group was responsible for Monday's attack on a police academy in his country that killed seven police officers and injured more than 90 others. He also said, chillingly: "Soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world." In an interview with local Dewa Radio, which was obtained by The Associated Press, Mehsud identified the White House as one of the targets.

G20 protesters set up camp on City fringes --Demonstrators take over squats on edge of Square Mile to use as bases for 'direct action' ahead of summit 31 Mar 2009 Demonstrators converging on the G20 summit this evening began taking over squats on the border of London's Square Mile to use as bases from which to launch a series of co-ordinated "direct action" protests. The occupation of four buildings prompted the first confrontations with police, and marked the start of two days in which officers are expected to play cat and mouse with protesters determined to bring the financial heart of the capital to a standstill.

'How to break through police lines' 30 Mar 2009 G20 protesters are circulating detailed pamphlets advising people on how to win street battles against riot police and what to do if arrested. Thousands of people are expected to bring the City of London to a standstill on Wednesday and Thursday, as popular anger over government bailouts of the banking sector reaches fever pitch.

President Barack Obama flies in to fortress London for G20 31 Mar 2009 Barack Obama stepped on to the world stage tonight as he arrived in London for a summit that has prompted the biggest security operation Britain has seen. Gordon Brown will chair the G20 gathering in London’s Docklands on Wednesday... Hundreds of police have been drafted into London to reinforce security. More than 30 forces provided specialist officers to the Metropolitan Police for the days around the summit which will see unprecedented levels of protests and require security for 40 diplomatic delegations.

Former Cheney Aide Suggests That Hersh's Account of 'Executive Assassination Ring' Is 'Certainly True' By Satyam Khanna 30 Mar 2009 Last month, The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh revealed in Minnesota that former vice president [sic] Cheney presided over an "executive assassination ring." "Under President [sic] Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving," Hersh explained. Today, CNN interviewed Hersh and former Cheney national security aide John Hannah. Although he expressed regret for revealing the story (calling it a "dumb-dumb"), Hersh stood by his initial statements.

'The government had backed away from the anthrax accusations but had continued to hold the prisoner.' U.S. Decides to Release Detainee at Guantánamo 31 Mar 2009 The Justice Department announced Monday that the administration had decided to release a detainee at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, a Yemeni doctor who the Bush regime once claimed had taken part in an anthrax program of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. The government had backed away from the anthrax accusations but had continued to hold the prisoner, Dr. Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, asserting that he had worked for a charity that had terrorist ties and that he had met with Osama bin Laden.

Detainee's Torture Foiled No Plots --Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials Say 29 Mar 2009 When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation torture methods, they were convinced that they had in their custody an 'al-Qaeda' leader who knew details of operations yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White House to get those secrets out of him. The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads. In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations.

Miss Universe had a 'lot of fun' in Guantanamo 31 Mar 2009 A "relaxing, calm, beautiful place" may not be everyone's description of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States holds about 240 prisoners in a detention centre that has drawn condemnation from around the world. But this was the opinion of reigning Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza of Venezuela, who visited the US naval facility in eastern Cuba this month on a trip organised by the United Service Organisations (USO) which supports US troops.

Israeli Railways fires Arabs workers --Israel's Arab minority has long suffered from discrimination in the job market. 30 Mar 2009 State-owned Israel Railways says it has fired around 40 Israeli Arabs after deciding only military veterans could do their jobs. The railways says its security department changed the criteria.

US Used by Afghan Drug Clan to Take Out Rival --The American forces were tricked by a drug clan into taking out a rival as part of an operation to seize an al-Qaida member.30 Mar 2009 "high-ranking" member of al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] was seized during a recent US mission in Afghanistan which left five people dead. But the Americans were set up: The tip-off as to his location came from a drug clan who wanted to get rid of a rival. A secret mission by elite American Delta Force commandos in northern Afghanistan has triggered resentment among German forces, SPIEGEL has learned.

US moves warships into position for North Korean missile --Gates says precautions aimed at 'rogue' ICBM 31 Mar 2009 The US and Japan yesterday deployed anti-missile batteries on land and sea to shoot down possible debris from an intercontinental ballistic missile North Korea is expected to test in the next few days. Japan's upper house of parliament unanimously passed a resolution today urging North Korea to scrap its plan... South Korea also planned to dispatch its Aegis-equipped destroyer, according to a Seoul military official who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.

Policemen killed at own back door in Iraq bombing 31 Mar 2009 Seven people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq. An explosives-filled truck was force-driven into the compound of a police station in northern Iraq, where four police officers were on duty. Seventeen other people were wounded in the explosion, which occurred in the volatile northern city of Mosul.

Report: Chinese Develop Special "Kill Weapon" to Destroy U.S. Aircraft Carriers --Advanced missile poses substantial new threat for U.S. Navy (U.S. Naval Institute) 31 Mar 2009 After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers. First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

Military Exercises at Burlington Airport 31 Mar 2009 The Vermont Air National Guard will conduct military exercises this weekend at the Burlington International Airport Base. They will simulate an attack on the base, running from morning until dusk. They may include multiple small ground burst simulator explosions that will simulate mortar round explosions.

'It feels like a concentration camp.' Calif. Tent City Residents Required to Wear Wristbands 18 Mar 2009 Dozens of Ontario police and code enforcement officers descended upon the homeless encampment known as Tent City early Monday, separating those who could stay from those to be evicted. Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.Pattie Barnes, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger. "They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."

America unmasked: The images that reveal the Ku Klux Klan is alive and kicking in 2009 --The USA has a new president but an old problem - and nothing typifies it like today’s Ku Klux Klan. The photographer Anthony Karen gained unprecedented access to the 'Invisible Empire' Words by Leonard Doyle 21 Feb 2009

Speaking of the KKK, the GOP is trying to carry out *another* coup d'etat: Texas Sen. says Coleman has right to pursue legal fight for years --Sen. John Cornyn says Coleman deserves the chance to continue his legal battle in the federal courts, even if it takes years to resolve. 30 Mar 2009 Texas Sen. [sociopath] John Cornyn is threatening "World War III" if Democrats try to seat Al Franken in the Senate before Norm Coleman can pursue his case through the federal courts. Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, acknowledges that a federal challenge to November’s elections could take "years" to resolve. But he’s adamant that Coleman deserves that chance -- even if it means Minnesota is short a senator for the duration.

Court to count up to 400 ballots in Senate recount trial --The absentee ballots are far fewer than Norm Coleman sought and appear to include many that Al Franken had identified as wrongly rejected. 31 Mar 2009 In a potentially decisive ruling, a panel of three judges today ordered up to 400 new absentee ballots opened and counted, far fewer than Republican Norm Coleman had sought in his effort to overcome a lead held by DFLer Al Franken.

PAYDAY: GM's Rick Wagoner Drives Away with $20M Retirement --Critic Calls Multi-Million Package "Perfect Example" of Frustration with Industry 30 Mar 2009 Rick Wagoner will leave his post as CEO of bailed-out General Motors with a $20 million retirement package, the company's financial filings show. Although the Treasury Department has barred GM from paying severance to Wagoner or any other senior executive, Wagoner is eligible to collect millions in retirement benefits from his former employer, according to the documents reviewed by ABC News. [Apparently, no one can hear us. It really is time -- long, long past the time -- to Turn Up the Volume.]

Hundreds of French workers take bosses hostage --Nicolas Benoit, a spokesman for the workers' union, told CNN that they did not want to harm the Caterpillar executives. 31 Mar 2009 Hundreds of French workers, angry about proposed layoffs at a Caterpillar factory, were holding executives of the company hostage Tuesday, a spokesman for the workers said. It is at least the third time this month that French workers threatened with cutbacks have blockaded managers in their offices to demand negotiations. Executives were released unharmed in both previous situations. The latest incident started Tuesday morning at the office of the construction equipment company in the southeastern city of Grenoble.

Economic crisis fueling civil unrest in US 30 Mar 2009 Five people have been shot dead in California in what appears to be another sign of a social crisis on the back of falling US economy. Two others -- a child and an adult -- suffering from bad wounds, were transferred to a nearby clinic Sunday night. The Santa Clara home shooting in California came at a time when the US society is already marred by an emerging social unrest mainly because of the credit crunch.

Financial Rescue Nears GDP as Pledges Top $12.8 Trillion 31 Mar 2009 The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or committed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s.

Obama demands deeper cuts in auto workers' jobs, wages, benefits By Jerry White 31 Mar 2009 At a White House press conference Monday morning, President Barack Obama outlined his administration's plans to drastically downsize the US auto industry and impose more brutal wage and benefit concessions on auto workers as a condition for any further government loans to General Motors and Chrysler... The administration is using the threat of bankruptcy to extort the maximum in concessions from auto workers. It has already moved to guarantee the auto companies' warrantees and shore up their suppliers in preparation for pushing GM and/or Chrysler into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where a judge could tear up existing labor agreements and free the companies of their pension and retiree health care obligations.

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Five activists arrested in G20 'bomb plot' as London goes into lockdown for world leaders --The five were held after officers found weapons, imitation weapons, suspicious devices and 'material relating to political ideology' during a house search 31 Mar 2009 Five people were arrested under anti-terror laws yesterday after an imitation Kalashnikov rifle and other weapons were seized by police investigating a possible plot to cause havoc at the G20 summit. In searches of several homes, officers found a range of imitation and deactivated firearms from handguns to hunting rifles and a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle... Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton said 'politically sensitive material' had been found.

Five held over suspected plot to disrupt G20 summit with explosives stunt --Suspected plot to disrupt G20 summit follows warnings by police that protesters are planning to bring London to standstill 30 Mar 2009 Five people have been arrested in connection with a suspected plot to use explosives made from fireworks to disrupt the G20 summit. The three men, aged 25, 19 and 16, and two women, both 20, all live in Plymouth and the surrounding area. They are political activists unaffiliated to any terrorist organisation, and were arrested at addresses in Plymouth. They are being held under terrorism legislation.

Police agree to urgent talks with G20 protesters --Met and Climate Camp group will meet at Commons to discuss demonstrations and policing at G20 summit 30 Mar 2009 Police today agreed to an urgent meeting with one of the main G20 summit protest groups, after criticism that they had failed to initiate dialogue with protesters planning direct action this week.

The 'revolution' starts here as 35,000 pack the G20 march 29 Mar 2009 They hoped for 10,000, but in the end more than triple that number turned out on London's streets for the biggest demonstration since the beginning of the economic crisis. The Put People First march yesterday was organised by a collaboration of more than 100 trade unions, church groups and charities including ActionAid, Save the Children and Friends of the Earth.

UK 'relentless pursuit of terrorsts' UK terrorism document says strategy will target al-Qaida 30 Mar 2009 The British government will tackle the threat of terrorism through the relentless pursuit of terrorists and disruption of their plots, according to a document released by the Home office. The Home Office laid out a comprehensive strategy, under the name "CONTEST," "to reduce the risk to the UK and its interests overseas from international terrorism," in the report. The threat from 'al-Qaida,' and Islamist groups and individuals that al-Qaida seeks to "bring together into a single global movement," represent the biggest current challenge to the UK, according to the document.

New claim of MI5 involvement in torture --Last British Guantanamo resident launches claim over UK collusion in illegal acts 30 Mar 2009 Claims that secret agents working for MI5 and MI6 watched and encouraged the torture of a second British resident held by the Americans must be investigated by the police, politicians, lawyers and human rights groups said last night. Fresh allegations in the High Court this week will increase pressure on the Government to open a judicial inquiry into collusion between the CIA and British security services in torture during the "war on terror". Shaker Aamer, the final British resident in Guantanamo Bay, claims that like Binyam Mohamed, he was tortured in American custody in 2002.

New York judge orders release of CIA 'torture' documents 28 Mar 2009 A judge has given the CIA a month to begin releasing documents related to the destruction of videotapes of prisoner interrogations. Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan federal court says the CIA should start turning over the information and a list of witnesses to the American Civil Liberties Union within 30 days or explain why the agency should be exempt.

Scared Cheney puts his head in the noose [Best move he's ever made.] The former vice-president [sic] fears being held to account on torture and is lashing out 29 Mar 2009 It was not an accident, it seems to me, that Cheney went on CNN the morning The New York Times published leaked testimony from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The documents detailed horrifying CIA practices that the Red Cross unequivocally called torture – shoving prisoners in tiny, air-tight coffins, waterboarding, beatings, sleep deprivation, stress positions: all the techniques we have now come to know almost by heart. And torture is a war crime. War crimes have no statute of limitations and are among the most serious crimes of which one can be accused. This is what Cheney is desperate to avoid.

US funding more coup d'etats: U.S. pledging $40M for Afghan elections 30 Mar 2009 The U.S. has spent $32 billion on aid to Afghanistan since 2002, including nearly $7 billion in development aid by the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to the Congressional Research Service. Most of the USAID money has been administered through private contractors terrorists, some of which have been criticized in audits by the agency's inspector general for failing to demonstrate results... Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that the U.S. would contribute $40 million to close a $100 million gap in funding needed to oversee rig Afghanistan's August 'elections.'

Bomb blasts kill 22 in Afghanistan 30 Mar 2009 At least 22 people, including militants, policemen and civilians, have been killed in separate bomb explosions across Afghanistan. A suicide bomber attacked a citizen registration office in the government headquarters of Dand district, in southern province of Kandahar, killing nine and wounding eight others, provincial spokesman Zelmai Ayoubi said on Monday.

Pakistani troops recapture Lahore police academy 30 Mar 2009 Pakistani commandos stormed a police academy in Lahore on Monday, overwhelming suspected Taliban fighters who killed eight cadets and wounded scores in a rampage through the complex. "The operation is over. Four terrorists were killed and three arrested," Interior Ministry Secretary Kamal Shah told Reuters. He said 89 policemen were wounded.

Brazen commando-style attacks grow in South Asia 30 Mar 2009 Militants armed with guns and grenades stormed a police training centre in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday, killing at least 10 policemen, officials said. The operation is the latest across South Asia that suggests militants are increasingly using commando-style attacks to inflict maximum casualties and show they can strike anywhere at will.

Obama escalates war in Central Asia (WSWS) 30 March 2009 The new military strategy announced by President Barack Obama in Afghanistan marks a major escalation of the war in Afghanistan and the official transformation of Pakistan into a theater of US military action. Prepared behind the backs of the American people and with contempt for anti-war opinion expressed in the presidential election, Obama's plan calls for replicating in Afghanistan Bush's military "surge" in Iraq and launching military strikes at will in Pakistan. It confirms that Obama's candidacy was not a move towards peace, but the expression of a struggle inside the American ruling elite over the strategic priorities of US imperialism. Obama served as the front man for those who believed the Pentagon had focused too much attention on Iraq and that the main target of military violence should be Central Asia.

US-backed Iraqi troops quell Baghdad uprising 29 Mar 2009 U.S.-backed Iraqi forces swept through central Baghdad Sunday, disarming Sunnis from a government-allied paramilitary group to quell a two-day uprising launched to protest the arrest of their leader. At least four people were killed and 21 wounded in the two days of fighting between government troops and the Awakening Council in Fadhil... The clashes could undermine U.S. "plans" to remove all combat troops from Baghdad and other cities by the end of June and end the U.S. combat role in Iraq by September 2010.

US sergeant jailed for murdering prisoners in Iraq 30 Mar 2009 A US sergeant on Monday became on Monday the second non-commissioned officer to be convicted of murder for the summary executions of four bound and blindfolded prisoners in Iraq in 2007. Sergeant First Class Joseph P. Mayo was sentenced by a court martial in southern Germany to life in prison, but because he pleaded guilty, will serve no more than 35 years in prison and will be eligible for parole in 10 years. Mayo told a court martial that he and two other sergeants shot the prisoners in the back of the head with nine-millimetre pistols and dumped their bodies in a Baghdad canal.

US-sponsored Iraq Sunni guard wanted for grave crimes 30 Mar 2009 A U.S. general said on Monday that the Sunni Arab patrol leader arrested by Iraqi forces in Baghdad on Saturday was suspected of committing serious crimes while under the watch and sponsorship of U.S. forces. The arrest of Adil al-Mashhadani, the head of a local neighbourhood guard unit in the downtown Fadhil district, led to a firefight between Iraqi forces and his supporters. Three people were killed, at least two of them civilians.

Israeli drones destroy rocket-smuggling convoys in Sudan 29 Mar 2009 Israel used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attacked two convoys, killing at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts. The convoys had been tracked down by agents from Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency. Khartoum initially accused America of being behind the attacks. [Good guess. It was either US imperialists or Israeli sociopaths - six or one half dozen of the other.]

US destroyers to 'monitor' N. Korea rocket 30 Mar 2009 The United States has deployed two missile-interceptor ships from South Korea to monitor the launch of a North Korean long-range rocket. A US military spokesman said on Monday that US Forces Korea dispatched the guided missile destroyers from the South Korean port of Busan.

North Korea 'preparing second missile launch' 30 Mar 2009 North Korea is expected to fire a second missile - and possibly more - if the United Nations condemns the planned launch of what Pyongyang claims is a communications satellite into orbit later this week. Media reports in Japan suggest that an additional medium-range missile is being prepared at a launch site near the east-coast city of Wonsan, south of the Musudan-ri facility where intelligence reports have already confirmed that a rocket has been positioned on a launch pad.

Senators push for next-generation bomber 28 Mar 2009 The "next-generation bomber" is the latest weapon to acquire its very own congressional delegation. Six U.S. senators have sent a letter urging President Barack Obama not to kill the bomber, which for now is little more than a notion in the minds of some Air Force planners.

Obama team drops "war on terror" rhetoric 30 Mar 2009 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the Obama administration had dropped "war on terror" from its lexicon, rhetoric former President [sic] George W. Bush used to justify many of his [illegal] actions. "The (Obama) administration has stopped using the phrase and I think that speaks for itself. Obviously," Clinton told reporters traveling with her to The Hague for a conference on Afghanistan, which Bush called part of his "global war on terror." [F*ck the rhetoric - drop Bush's tactics. Obama is keeping every single one of Bush terror, torture, wiretapping, and wolf-killing policies. Oh. And the wars themselves. --LRP]

CIA's Ad Agencies: College Classes --Students Create Marketing Programs to Juice Recruitment for Spy Agency By Rich Thomaselli 27 Mar 2009 The CIA isn't just advertising for recruits for its National Clandestine Service unit. It's also working with college students to create on-campus marketing programs. The little-known effort, called the CIA Collegiate Marketing Program, funds three university business classes each semester. This semester, its the University of Southern California, the University of New Mexico and Michigan State University.

U.S. said to lean toward use of bankruptcy for autos 30 Mar 2009 U.S. officials are leaning toward some use of bankruptcy in their plan to fix the U.S. auto industry, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday. While most would prefer a restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler outside bankruptcy, bankruptcy may be necessary to reach agreements with key stakeholders, said the source, who declined to be named because the talks are not public.

White House orders GM chief's exit in return for cash lifeline --Wagoner's departure to be announced today --Sacrifices needed from carmakers labor, says Obama 30 Mar 2009 The chief executive of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, is to resign at the request of the Obama administration under an agreement to secure further government support to keep the cash-strapped US carmaker afloat. Wagoner's departure is expected to be announced today as President Barack Obama makes public his strategy to restructure Detroit's ailing automotive industry, which has already received more than $17bn (£12bn) in emergency loans from the US treasury.

Financial sector set to shed 30,000 jobs 29 Mar 2009 Job losses across the financial services industry are gathering pace, research shows today. And the sector is likely to shed a further 30,000 posts by June, according to the Confederation of British Industry. The employers' organisation calculates that 11,000 financial jobs were lost in the final three months of last year.

New York's lavish new stadiums spark outrage among baseball fans --The new £700 million Citi Field stadium, previously the Shea, is now saddled with the unfortunate nickname "Bailout Park". 29 Mar 2009 Two of the most expensive stadiums in American history will open this week, in a lavish £1.7 billion facelift for the Yankees and the Mets, New York's two major league teams. The projects received hundreds of millions of dollars of public money, as well as lucrative sponsorship deals with banks now being bailed out by Washington. Despite receiving £31 billion in federal aid, Citigroup has found £276 million for a sponsorship deal with the Mets.

Powerful proponent of psychiatric drugs for children primed for a fall 27 Mar 2009 Dr. Joseph Biederman, chief of the Massachusetts General Pediatric Psychopharmacology Clinic, is already under investigation by Harvard University and the National Institutes of Health for failing to report income received from drug companies. Now, in newly released court documents, Biederman appears to be promising drugmaker Johnson & Johnson in advance that his studies on the antipsychotic drug risperidone will prove the drug to be effective when used on preschool age children.

Highways to Hell By Claire Martin 29 Mar 2009 Avalanche danger, gridlock and good old-fashioned road rage make these the 10 most treacherous, traffic-clogged roads in America.

*****

'One of the four bombers of 7 July was, on the face of it, a model student.' Police identify 200 children as potential terrorists --Drastic new tactics to prevent school pupils as young as 13 falling into extremism 28 Mar 2009 Two hundred schoolchildren in Britain, some as young as 13, have been identified as potential terrorists by a police scheme that aims to spot youngsters who are "vulnerable" to Islamic radicalisation. The number was revealed to The Independent by Sir Norman Bettison, the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Britain's most senior officer in charge of terror prevention. He said the "Channel project" had intervened in the cases of at least 200 children who were thought to be at risk of extremism, since it began 18 months ago.

'The FBI had planted an informant at a California mosque who actively tried to recruit terrorists.' FBI-Muslim Relations Strained as Government Looks for Terrorists --Relations Soured After FBI Cut Ties With Prominent American-Islamic Group 29 Mar 2009 Law enforcement efforts to root out home-grown terrorists are jeopardized by deteriorating relations between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Muslim and Arab-American communities... The situation worsened in February, when it became public that the FBI had planted an informant at a California mosque who, a coalition of more than a dozen Muslim American groups charges, actively tried to recruit terrorists.

Dirty bomb threat looms over G20 meet 29 Mar 2009 ...In a warning that the stakes have been raised -- and just days before world leaders gather here for the Group of 20 meeting -- a warning was given this week that a so-called dirty bomb on a British city is more likely than ever. The government alert accompanied the launch of a major new anti-terrorist strategy that encourages ordinary citizens to offer Britain an additional layer of security. The new approach aims to train some 60,000 retail, hotel, and service industry staff to recognize terrorist threats. In addition, more resources will go into blocking access to information posted online on how to stage terror attacks.

G20 protesters face police with Tasers --Met confirms officers to be equipped with 50,000-volt Tasers on stand-by 29 Mar 2009 Scotland Yard is to deploy officers armed with 50,000-volt Taser stun guns to deal with violent demonstrators planning to disrupt this week’s G20 summit in London. The centrepiece of the security plan will be hundreds of officers from the Metropolitan police territorial support group, who are routinely armed with speedcuffs, extended batons and CS gas spray.

Muslim man suffered 'gross brutality' during terrorism raid, court told --'This was an extremely serious abuse of power which is in no sense justified, nor was it excusable on the grounds that it was perpetrated in the heat of an arrest for terrorism.' 16 Mar 2009 A British Muslim man accused of raising funds for terrorism was punched, kicked and strangled during his arrest by specialist officers from the Metropolitan police, the high court in London heard today. The court was told that Babar Ahmad, who is suing the police, was dragged from his bed and rammed against a window before being repeatedly beaten by officers dressed in riot gear during his arrest in December 2003.

'This case will go ahead. It will be against the law not to go ahead.' Spanish judge accuses six top Bush officials of torture --Legal moves may force Obama's government into starting a new inquiry into abuses torture at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib 29 Mar 2009 Criminal proceedings have begun in Spain against six senior officials in the Bush administration for the use of torture against detainees in Guantánamo Bay. Baltasar Garzón, the counter-terrorism judge whose prosecution of General Augusto Pinochet led to his arrest in Britain in 1998, has referred the case to the chief prosecutor before deciding whether to proceed. [See: Torturing the truth --After years of denials by the Bush administration, the first official admission that the US used torture at Guantánamo By Vikram Dodd 14 Jan 2009.]

Spanish court considers trying former US officials --Some alleged torture victims of US regime were Spaniards, strengthening the argument for Spanish jurisdiction --Judge Garzon brought charges against former Chilean dictator, US-installed Augusto Pinochet. 28 Mar 2009 A Spanish court has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush regime officials, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay, a lawyer in the case said Saturday. Human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who agreed to send it on to prosecutors to decide whether it had merit, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told The Associated Press. The ex-Bush officials are Gonzales; former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith; former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's chief of staff David Addington; Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.

Hurricane on the horizon
Judgment getting closer all the time
I can't find tomorrow
Bring peace to this troubled land...

The eyes of heaven are upon you
But so is the soul from down below
They'll cut off your fingers
To bring peace to this troubled land

Well you can stand up and holler
You can lay down and die
Bring peace to this troubled land
We can turn up our collars
And never even try
To bring peace to this troubled land

Beware of those who want to harm you
And drag you down to a lower game
Just know the truth is coming
To bring peace to this troubled land

--John Mellencamp, 'Troubled Land' 2008

Troops Arrest an Iraqi Ally in Baghdad For Terrorism --'Awakening Councils,' US (now Iraq) funded mercenaries, are typically in every neighborhood, using checkpoints. Fighters were each paid $300 per month. 29 Mar 2009 American and Iraqi troops arrested the leader of a crucial Awakening Council in Baghdad on Saturday, setting off street fighting and raising fresh concerns about the troubled Awakening program. A combined force of American and Iraqi Army troops and National Police descended on Fadhil, a Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad, and arrested the head of Fadhil’s Awakening Council, Adil Al-Mashhadani, on terrorism charges, according to Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi security forces in Baghdad.

UK backs Pakistan offensive --Defence secretary insists Britain has to back American plans to hunt al-Qaida leaders across the Afghan border 29 Mar 2009 Britain has offered its full backing for a renewed military offensive inside Pakistan, as UK ministers confirmed the country was now "part of a single campaign" alongside Afghanistan. Defence secretary John Hutton said the UK supported targeting Pakistan-based Taliban and al-Qaida positions and urged Europe to begin offering assistance to eradicate 'insurgents' in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

Obama vows not to deploy ground troops in Pakistan 30 Mar 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama vowed in a Sunday TV interview not to deploy ground troops in Pakistan to pursue al-Qaeda militants. Obama told CBS's "Face the Nation" that he has not changed his approach to launch missile strikes at militants. "If we have a high-value target within our sights, after consulting with Pakistan, we're going after them," he said. Obama ruled out the possibility that U.S. troops could be sent in hot pursuit into militant safe havens inside Pakistan.

Militants destroy 12 NATO trucks in Pakistan 28 Mar 2009 Taliban militants in Pakistan on Saturday destroyed 12 parked trucks laden with supplies for NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan during a heavy battle with police, an official said. Fighters armed with rockets and petrol bombs besieged the Farhad terminal on the edge of the northwest city Peshawar, police said, the latest in a series of strikes targeting goods bound for foreign forces across the border.

Taliban abduct 11 Pakistani policemen 29 Mar 2009 Taliban militants kidnapped 11 Pakistani policemen on Sunday in an attack on a security post in the Khyber region on the Afghan border, a government spokesman said. The kidnapping came two days after a suicide bomber killed 37 people in an attack on a mosque in the region, through which pass vital supplies for U.S. and other Western forces in Afghanistan.

Military buildup in Afghanistan warranted, Obama says 29 Mar 2009 The greatly expanded U.S. military effort in Afghanistan is necessary to root out Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] but is not open-ended and will be monitored carefully for signs of progress, President Obama said in television interview this morning.

United Nations probes alleged fund misuse in Afghanistan 28 Mar 2009 The United Nations said here on Friday that the world body was investigating allegations of corruption made against a former UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) official in Afghanistan, who was reported to misuse reconstruction funds in Afghanistan for his luxury lifestyle.

Iraq vets may sink KBR contract in Texas county --KBR official denied allegations of exposing U.S. soldiers to toxic chemicals and deadly showers in Iraq 27 Mar 2009 A small Texas county is rethinking a $617,000 contract with KBR Inc. to build a rural, mile-long road near the home of two anti-Iraq war veterans trying to stop the deal with the defense contractor terrorists. KBR is the lone finalist for the Hays County project, but former soldiers Bryan Hannah and Gregory Foster helped put the approval in doubt after criticizing the company's battered image at a commissioner's court meeting in San Marcos this week.

2 more lawsuits target Xe over Iraq shootings 27 Mar 2009 Two more federal lawsuits filed this week accuse the mercenary contractor formerly named Blackwater Worldwide of fostering a culture of lawlessness. A lawsuit filed Friday in the southern district of California targets the company for a shooting in September 2007, while a lawsuit filed Thursday focuses on the infamous shooting in Baghdad's Nisoor Square a week later. The lawsuits join a third lawsuit filed last week that makes similar accusations for a December 2006 incident.

Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds 29 Mar 2009 Erik Roberts, an Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq, underwent his 13th surgery recently to save his right leg from amputation. Imagine his shock when he got a bill for $3,000 for his treatment. The Department of Veterans Affairs has now decided to pay his bill, but only after prodding from a U.S. senator who got involved after CNN brought it to his attention.

Suicide watch for soldiers in Iraq 28 Mar 2009 An unprecedented "suicide watch" has been launched by commanders at Britain's main military base in Iraq following the deaths of three soldiers. An investigation has been launched to discover whether the soldiers, who died from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD).

Top Dems want 'urgent action' on Iran 27 Mar 2009 Some top House Democrats are calling on President Obama to take "urgent action" to stop Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon. In a letter to the president, they back Obama's engagement with the Iranian regime government but say it "cannot be open-ended" and that talks must begin as soon as possible. They offer further ideas for sanctions if the talks are fruitless, as well as suggest measures that U.S. allies should prepare to take in order to pressure the Iranian government.

Japan warns it may shoot down North Korean missile 28 Mar 2009 Japan's military is getting ready to shoot down part or all of the rocket North Korea is planning to launch, if it looks like it will land anywhere on Japanese territory. Japan warships moored at JMSDF Sasebo Base in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, in southwestern Japan, are on full alert.

Biden rules out lifting Cuban embargo 29 Mar 2009 In his first official visit to Latin America, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday the White House wants the region to play a more active role in organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and ruled out lifting the embargo on Cuba. Biden spoke in Chile at the Summit of Progressive Leaders, a meeting of like-minded center-left politicians from the Americas and Europe.

Luke Rudowski Arrested for Attempting to Question Mayor Bloomberg Posted by The Watchmen 29 Mar 2009 WeAreChange founder and activist Luke Rudowski was arrested at the Hilton Hotel on Manhattan today for attempting to question New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg about his refusal to pay for the health care of 9/11 first responders. Rudowski had Infowars press credentials and a video camera when he was singled out by Bloomberg’s security in the lobby of the hotel located at West 53rd Street and Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue)... Rudowski was apparently singled out and forcibly detained at the hotel and subsequently handed over to the New York Police, who arrested him on a charge of trespassing... [and] impersonating a member of the press.

Connecticut School Bans Physical Contact --East Shore M.S. Outlaws "High-Fives," "Hugging" and Horseplay of Any Kind; Violators May Face Expulsion 28 Mar 2009 A Connecticut middle school principal has laid down the law: You put your hands on someone -- anyone -- in any way, you're going to pay. A violent incident that put one student in the hospital has officials at the Milford school implementing a "no touching" policy, according to a letter written by the school's principal.

Vast Spy System Loots Computers in 103 Countries 29 Mar 2009 A vast electronic spying operation has infiltrated computers and has stolen documents from hundreds of government and private offices around the world, Canadian researchers have concluded. In a report to be issued this weekend, the researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but that they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved.

Russia plans military force to patrol Arctic as 'cold rush' intensifies --Nato and northern nations unnerved by expansion --Countries vie for control of region's gas and oil 28 Mar 2009 Russia has released plans to create a dedicated military force to patrol the Arctic, where it is laying claim to billions of tonnes of hydrocarbons. Countries in the northern hemisphere are vying for control of the polar region, which is thought to contain up to a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

G20 summit: blow for Gordon Brown as £1.4 trillion spending blueprint is leaked 28 Mar 2009 Gordon Brown's preparations for this week's G20 summit in London got off to a bad start last night when a British blueprint for a £1.4 trillion worldwide spending boost was leaked. In an embarrassing disclosure, a draft of the final communiqué to be signed off by world leaders at the end of the one-day gathering on Thursday appeared in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

'Bank of America was at the epicenter of this scheme.' [It usually is.] Bank of America Accused in Ponzi Lawsuit 28 Mar 2009 Bank of America effectively set up a branch in a Long Island office that helped Nicholas Cosmo carry out a $380 million Ponzi scheme, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court. The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Brooklyn late Thursday, contends that Bank of America "established, equipped and staffed" a branch office in the headquarters of Mr. Cosmo’s firm, Agape Merchant Advance. As a result, the lawsuit contends that the bank knowingly "assisted, facilitated and furthered" Mr. Cosmo’s fraudulent scheme.

AIG Bonuses Could Be Closer to $450 Million --Conn. lawmakers said AIG is slated to award more bonuses in 2010 27 Mar 2009 AIG employees might be taking home $450 million in bonuses, rather than the $185 and $232 million figures tossed around last week, according to the co-chairs of the Connecticut banking committee and the state's Attorney General. The discrepancy lies in similar payments that could be made in 2010, to the tune of $230 million or so.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Bank Executives May Keep TARP Funds After Meeting With Obama 28 Mar 2009 Bank executives indicated they are willing to hold onto U.S. government aid to help stabilize the financial system and pull the economy out of recession. Thirteen chief executive officers of the nation’s biggest financial institutions met with President Barack Obama yesterday at the White House to discuss housing, proposed rules and executive pay, as well as the Treasury Department’s plans to revive the banking industry.

Obama holds "very pleasant" meeting with top US bankers By Joe Kishore 28 Mar 2009 US President Barack Obama met behind closed doors for more than an hour and a half with the chief executives of the largest American banks on Friday, reassuring the titans of finance that his administration has their best interests at heart... Every aspect of the administration's economic policy caters to the interests of the financial elite, of which the president is merely a mouthpiece. The private meeting at the White House had the air of a conspiracy against the public, a gathering to discuss carving up state resources in order to hand them over to the banks and major investors.

Albany Agrees on a Plan to Raise Taxes on Top Earners 29 Mar 2009 Gov. David A. Paterson and leaders of the Legislature have reached a deal to temporarily raise taxes on New York’s highest earners in order to close the state’s yawning budget deficit, lawmakers and officials involved in the talks said on Saturday. The new plan -- which would expire after three years -- would raise $4 billion a year by creating two new tax brackets, the highest one affecting those who earn $500,000 or more.

'Tougher' fuel economy rules announced --National fuel economy target increased by 2 mpg [LOL] overall for the 2011 model year. 28 Mar 2009 The Department of Transportation announced the first increase in 25 years of the nation's fuel economy standards Friday. Under the new rules, 2011 model year, cars will be required to get, on average, 30.2 miles per gallon and light trucks, such as pick-ups, SUVs and vans, will have to average 24.1 mpg.

CNN in third place in prime time for first time 27 Mar 2009 CNN is poised to finish March third in the prime-time weeknight ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre nearly three decades ago. [No one wants to endure the hideous visage of CNN's GOP media whores.]

*****

CLG News Archives


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