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April 2009 Archives, Page Two

US military 'posturing itself' to respond to flu outbreak --Military officials monitor swine flu 27 Apr 2009 Defense Department officials are monitoring the swine flu situation closely, with their primary focus on protecting the military population, a senior Pentagon official said April 27. As officials with the Department of Health and Human Services lead the U.S. effort, the military is posturing itself to respond if required, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

Pentagon Prepared for Flu Outbreak 27 Apr 2009 In a worst-case scenario that the current flu crises threatens military operations, the Defense Department has already stockpiled enough vaccines to meet demand across the services, a Pentagon spokeswoman told Military.com April 27... It was only in January -- well before the Mexico outbreak -- that the commander of the Pacific Fleet noted his troops' preparations for a pandemic or epidemic of infectious flu. "The U.S. Pacific Fleet is part of a broader joint and combined effort to be prepared to deal with a pandemic flu outbreak," Adm. Robert F. Willard said on Jan. 28.

WHO confirms pandemic alert level raised to 4 27 Apr 2009 The World Health Organisation raised its pandemic alert level on Monday to phase 4 over the deadly swine flu virus, indicating the infection can spread between humans to cause community-level outbreaks.

DHS: Americans should prepare for second flu pandemic, even if this one 'fizzles out' [LOL! Not *too* blatant, are they?] 26 Apr 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says that the US should prepare for a new flu pandemic -- even if this one 'fizzles out.' [See: CDC to conduct avian flu pandemic experiments 27 Dec 2004 The researchers, from the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, will mate H5N1 and human flu viruses in a process known as reassortment. Viable offspring will be tested in animals thought to be good surrogates for humans, to see if the viruses can infect, can be transmitted easily from infected animals to healthy ones and to note the severity of disease each provokes.]

Sanofi-Aventis, Blackwater of bugs: Sanofi Aventis Invests 100 Million Euros In New Facility In Mexico to Produce Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Vaccine 19 Mar 2009 Sanofi-aventis, announced the signing of an agreement with the Mexican authorities to build a 100 million euro facility to manufacture influenza vaccine in Mexico. The announcement was made during a ceremony attended by Felipe Calderon, [unelected] President of Mexico, and Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France, who was in Mexico City for a State visit. "By building this new facility, sanofi-aventis is proud to contribute to the strengthening of Mexico's health infrastructure and is eager to support Mexico's exemplary commitment to public health through influenza immunization and pandemic readiness", said Chris Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofiaventis. [Now, that's what I call foresight! See also: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009.]

Obama's host dies from 'flu-like symptoms' 27 Apr 2009 The White House says that Barack Obama is "highly engaged" in monitoring the swine flu outbreak that has spread over the border from Mexico into the US – and well he might. For a while, the President's doctors feared that he may have come closer than almost anyone in the country to contracting the virus. According to alarming reports from Mexico City, Felipe Solis, a distinguished archaeologist who showed Mr Obama around the city's anthropology museum during his visit to Mexico earlier this month, died the next day from "flu-like symptoms".

Obama Admin. Releases Stockpile of Antiflu Virus Drug --The Pentagon has readied 7 million courses for military personnel. 26 Apr 2009 The Obama administration was "all hands on deck" today in response to the quickly escalating swine flu outbreak, with the declaration of a public health emergency and the release of the national antiflu drug stockpile. The Obama administration has released 12.5 million of the nation's stockpile of 50 million courses of Tamiflu.

World 'counting down to pandemic' 27 Apr 2009 A Chinese virologist who helped fight Sars and bird flu has warned of a possible swine flu pandemic that China and India would be ill-prepared to handle. "We are counting down to a pandemic," said Guan Yi, a professor at the University of Hong Kong who helped trace the outbreak of Sars in 2003 to the civet cat.

Swine Flu Fears Prompt Global Quarantine Plans 26 Apr 2009 Countries planned quarantines, tightened rules on pork imports and tested airline passengers for fevers as global health officials tried Sunday to come up with uniform ways to battle a deadly strain of swine flu.

'Israel must call new disease Mexico Flu, as swine unkosher' 27 Apr 2009 Ultra-Orthodox Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman on Monday declared that Israel would call the new potentially deadly disease that has already struck two continents 'Mexico Flu,' rather than 'Swine Flu, as pigs are not kosher. "We will call it Mexico flu. We won't call it swine flu," Litzman told a news conference on Monday, assuring the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases. [Israel should call it US Flu, for the sake of accuracy.]

Flu pandemic: British government's emergency plan 27 Apr 2009 The government's pandemic flu contingency plan, dating from November 2007, warns that up to 750,000 Britons might die were a pandemic to strike with maximum force.

Swine flu confirmed in UK --The two people are being held in isolation at Monklands hospital in Airdrie 27 Apr 2009 Two Scottish holidaymakers who returned from Mexico last Tuesday were confirmed tonight as having swine flu, while seven of their close family and friends are being treated with a flu vaccine after showing mild flu-like symptoms. The two people are being held in isolation at Monklands hospital in Airdrie where they are said to be recovering well, and responding well to treatment.

British passengers screened for swine flu amid fears that disease has spread worldwide --Britain on 'constant alert' 27 Apr 2009 British passengers returning from Mexico were being screened for signs of swine flu on Sunday night amid fears that the disease has spread across the world.

Two swine flu cases confirmed in Scotland 27 Apr 2009 Two patients in a Scotland who returned last week from a visit to Mexico were today confirmed as suffering from swine flu. The news came after Britons were urged to postpone non-essential travel to the United States or Mexico as senior officials held emergency talks over the deadly outbreak of swine flu.

New York school outbreak 'may have infected more than 100 people' 27 Apr 2009 A swine flu outbreak at a New York school may have infected over 100 people after a group of pupils returned from a spring holiday in Cancun, Mexico. Officials said today that there were 28 confirmed cases and 17 suspected cases of the swine flu at the St Francis Prep School, and that more than 100 pupils had complained of flu-like symptoms.

California school shut in possible swine flu case --State says following 12 other possible cases 27 Apr 2009 A California school was shut down on Monday after a student became ill with what could become the state's eighth case of the swine flu that is threatening to become a pandemic. Health officials said they were investigating 12 other possible cases. St. Mel's Catholic School in the Sacramento suburb of Fair Oaks was closed while samples from the teenager were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis.

Mexico suspected flu toll soars --WHO flu expert Dr Keiji Fukuda: "Containment is not a feasible operation" 27 Apr 2009 As many as 149 people in Mexico are believed to have been killed by swine flu as cases of the virulent disease continue to rise around the world. The Mexican health minister announced the suspected death toll, saying the victims were aged between 20 and 50. Cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the US, Canada and Spain. Scotland confirmed two cases on Monday evening.

Swine flu: Mexico City is 'like a ghost town' --Surgical face masks were handed out by soldiers at checkpoints along the main avenues. 26 Apr 2009 The normally bustling streets of Mexico City were virtually empty on Sunday, with millions choosing to stay at home rather than risk contagion from the killer swine flu. A mixture of fear, suspicion and frustration set in across Mexico as the death toll from the killer swine flu rose and the government took an increasingly tough position to 'stop' it spreading.

Now Mexico is shaken by earthquake 27 Apr 2009 Southern Mexico was hit by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake today that shook buildings in the capital, Mexico City, but there were no immediate reports of deaths or damage. Hundreds of people evacuated buildings in the capital, many of them wearing surgical face masks due to the deadly swine flu outbreak that is suspected of causing 149 deaths in Mexico.

Sanofi-Aventis commits 100 million euros to Chinese expansion 23 Apr 2009 France's Sanofi-Aventis is planning a major capital investment programme in Beijing in a bid to bolster its position in the fast-growing Chinese market. The company is spending $90 million (about 70 million euros) to expand a Beijing plant ... and has earmarked 31 million euros to relocate a factory in Hangzhou. These investments follow a $94 million programme that Sanofi-Aventis initiated in 2007 to build a manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China, for its Vaxigrip seasonal influenza vaccine.

CLG: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009 The OMFG moment of the century. Illinois-based Baxter working on vaccine to 'stop' swine flu outbreak in Mexico (25 Apr 2009). But, looky here! Baxter admits sending live avian flu viruses to subcontractor --People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled [!] in the Orth-Donau facility. (27 Feb 2009) Is Baxter International taking a page from the Blackwater playbook? Just as Blackwater/Xe keep on killing to justify their multi-billion dollar contracts to provide 'security' in Iraq and Afghanistan, Baxter International is poised to make *billions* to vaccinate people against their pandemic.

CLG: Flu Kills The Torture Memos --In a 'Holy convenience, Batman!' moment, a 'unique' flu virus (one likely concocted in US Army labs) overtakes media coverage of revelations that the highest levels of the US government instructed the CIA (and private contractors) to torture terror suspects. By Lori Price 26 April 2009 Guess where the first swine flu outbreak occurred? That's right, Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1976. Thirteen soldiers died, leading the US government to force a questionable vaccine on the population -- backed by a legal liability escape clause mandated by and for the pharma-terrorists. Next, people started dying not from the flu -- but from the *vaccine.* [Key flu articles here.]

Gov't drill: 747, F-16s fly over lower NYC causing scare --Hundreds fled one building where employee said no warning was provided 27 Apr 2009 A federal government exercise Monday involving low-flying planes created a panic in New York City and parts of New Jersey. Two fighter jets escorted a low-flying Boeing 747 over lower Manhattan as part of a 'photo shoot.' That's the same part of the city where hijacked passenger jets crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Bin Laden could be dead, whereabouts unknown: Zardari 27 Apr 2009 Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that the whereabouts of al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden remained a mystery and there was a suspicion that he could be dead. Speaking to international media, Zardari said U.S. officials had told him that they had no trace of the al Qaeda chief, although they habitually say he is most likely in Pakistan.

Iraq says US raid violated pact 26 Apr 2009 A US raid in the south of Iraq, in which two people died, was a crime and those responsible should be tried, says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. He said the raid in the town of Kut was a breach of the security pact governing US military actions in the country.

Trial begins in former soldier's murder trial 27 Apr 2009 A federal prosecutor today told a jury that the government will prove that former soldier Steven Green raped a 14-year-old girl and then murdered her and her family "not in the fog of war, but in cold blood." In an opening statement in a trial that is expected to last three to five weeks, Justice Department lawyer Brian Skaret said the government will present at least five witnesses who say Green bragged about the crimes, including one who says Green told his fellow soldiers that it was "awesome."

'Iran arms ship bound for Gaza downed near Sudan' 27 Apr 2009 An Iranian vessel laden with weapons bound for the Gaza Strip was torpedoed off the coast of Sudan last week, allegedly by Israeli or American forces operating in the area, the Egyptian newspaper El-Aosboa reported on Sunday. Anonymous sources in Khartoum told the newspaper that an unidentified warship bombed the Iranian vessel as it prepared to dock on Sudan before transferring its load for shipment to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Was Israel's reported strike in Sudan an exercise in propaganda? By Gideon Levy 05 Apr 2009 Shhhhh, Israel has done it again. On the eve of the end of prime minister Ehud Olmert's term, in what appeared like a suspicious coincidence, we heard the report from distant America about another covert, impressive Israeli operation. This time it was carried out by planes or unmanned aerial vehicles. Israel had struck again. The imagination-sparking report fit in well with Olmert's end-of-term celebrations.

Convoy Update: Maimed Europeans to go Gaza 27 Apr 2009 A number of maimed Europeans announced the willingness to join "Hope For Gaza Convoy" heading to Gaza in May 2009. European Campaign to End Gaza Siege (ECEGS) received a number of requests from disabled people in various EU countries. Convoy spokesman, Ramy Abdu, said that the participation of maimed people came to stress on the necessity of rescuing the besieged Gazans by all means, especially the disabled people resulted in the last Israeli war.

Brown: Afghan border a terror 'crucible' 27 Apr 2009 British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a "crucible of terrorism" exists in the Taliban-dominated Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Brown met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai In Kabul Monday after visiting British troops deployed to Helmand province as part of the NATO-led international coalition, The Times of London reported.

Bombers kill five police in Afghanistan 26 Apr 2009 Three suicide bombers have attacked a provincial governor's office in southern Afghanistan, killing five policemen and wounding at least eight others. The bombers tried to enter the office of the Kandahar governor on Saturday afternoon but were stopped by policemen guarding the compound, provincial council head Ahmad Wali Karzai said.

CIA 'Whistleblower' Told Hastert About Suppression of Harman Wiretap 26 Apr 2009 Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert says he learned from a CIA-connected "whistleblower" in 2006 that Bush administration officials were suppressing the existence of a wiretapped conversation between Rep. Jane Harman and a suspected Israeli agent. John D. Negroponte, former head of the then newly established Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), had blocked then CIA Director Porter J. Goss from briefing Hastert, according to the account the whistleblower gave the former Republican House speaker.

U.S. toxic-asset plan stirs fears --The government will take on a mountain of risk while trying to create an artificial market for the loans and debt securities. Critics worry about possible fraud and further banking system damage. 27 Apr 2009 The Obama administration's impending effort to buy about $1 trillion in toxic assets in partnership with private investors -- aimed at solving the most intractable part of the credit crisis -- is now generating widespread fear that it is vulnerable to manipulation and carries sharp risks for taxpayers.

Obama enjoys highest approval in 20 years: poll 26 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama, who is approaching his first 100 days in office, is enjoying the best presidential job approval rating at this point in 20 years, a new opinion survey showed. The poll, by ABC News and The Washington Post, indicated 69 percent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, which is the highest evaluation in about two decades.

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Drugs companies prepare for swine flu epidemic 26 Apr 2009 Pharmaceutical stocks are expected to rise on Monday morning, after Roche and GlaxoSmithKline said they may need to supply millions of vaccine doses to help protect against the swine flu that has killed up to 81 people in Mexico. 26 Apr 2009 Vaccines from Roche, which sells Tamiflu, and GSK, maker of Relenza, have been shown to work against viral samples of the new disease. The drugs were also used to help protect against outbreaks of bird flu in Asia, providing windfall profits for the companies. Roche confirmed it already has a stockpile of 3m packs of Tamiflu ready for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO). [Well, knock me over with a feather! Instead of facing trial and execution for war crimes, Donald Rumsfeld is going to make a killing - maybe even greater than Rudy Giuliani/'Lucky Larry' killings from the 9/11 terror attacks. See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu --Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing 31 Oct 2005 The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world. Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.]

Mission accomplished! CDC to conduct avian flu pandemic experiments 27 Dec 2004 Can the highly virulent flu strain -- known as H5N1 -- actually acquire the ability to spread easily to and among people? And if it can, how likely is that dreaded event to occur? Early in the new year, U.S. scientists will begin experiments that should provide some answers to those questions... The researchers, from the influenza branch of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, will mate H5N1 and human flu viruses in a process known as reassortment. Viable offspring will be tested in animals thought to be good surrogates for humans, to see if the viruses can infect, can be transmitted easily from infected animals to healthy ones and to note the severity of disease each provokes.

Swine flu: passengers inspected at Heathrow --Passengers flying into Heathrow from Mexico City were held on their plane for 45 minutes while health officials checked them for signs of the killer disease. 26 Apr 2009 Two inspectors boarded British Airways flight 242 at the airport in west London to ask passengers and crew if they felt unwell. Swine flu, which according to one expect has the potential to kill 120 million worldwide, can be carried for up to a week before its effects begin to show.

Swine flu: two admitted to hospital in Scotland as world braces for more cases 26 Apr 2009 Two people have been admitted to hospital in Scotland amid fears they may have contracted a deadly form of swine flu after returning from Mexico where the disease has claimed at least 81 lives. Their admission has reignited fears that swine flu may have arrived in the UK although there have been no confirmed reports of the virus infecting anyone in Britain. British officials remain on high alert as scores of travellers return from the centre of the outbreak as the United States government declared a public health emergency.

Israeli suspected of having swine flu in Mideast first --Patient had been put in isolation 26 Apr 2009 In the first suspected swine flu case in the Middle East, a 26-year-old Israeli man has been hospitalised upon returning from Mexico on suspicion of contracting the potentially fatal strain, hospital officials told AFP on Sunday. The man checked into the Laniado hospital in the coastal city of Netanya with flu-like symptoms and doctors were trying to determine whether he had contracted the disease, a spokeswoman said.

Swine flu fears prompt quarantine plans, pork bans 26 Apr 2009 Canada became the third country to confirm human cases of swine flu Sunday as global health officials considered whether to raise the global pandemic alert level. Nations from New Zealand to Spain also reported suspected cases and some warned citizens against travel to North America while others planned quarantines, tightened rules on pork imports and testing airline passengers for fevers.

Russia takes steps to combat deadly swine flu 26 Apr 2009 Russia has tightened preventive measures to stop the spread of swine flu, which has already killed at least 81 people in Mexico. Anyone arriving from North America with symptoms of the deadly virus will be quarantined.

Obama orders active measures to deal with swine flu 26 Apr 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered his administration to take active and aggressive measures to deal with swine flu, which has infected at least 20 people in the United States. As one of the measures, the administration declared a public health emergency on Sunday.

Obama Was In Mexico For Swine Flu Outbreak --Man Obama Met Later Died With Flu-Like Symptoms 25 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama's health is fine a little more than a week after he traveled to Mexico, where an outbreak of swine flu has killed at least 68 people and sickened more than 1,000, the White House said Saturday. "The president's trip to Mexico has not put his health in any danger," said spokesman Robert Gibbs. The World Health Organization's director-general, Margaret Chan, said the outbreak of the never-before-seen virus is a very serious situation and has "pandemic potential."

U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency Over Swine Flu 27 Apr 2009 American health officials on Sunday declared a public health emergency over increasing cases of swine flu, saying that they had confirmed 20 cases of the disease in the United States and expected to see more as investigators fan out to track down the path of the outbreak. Although officials said most of the cases have been mild and urged Americans not to panic, the emergency declaration frees government resources to be used toward diagnosing or preventing additional cases, and releases money for more antiviral drugs.

Press Briefing on Swine Influenza with Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and White House (dhs.gov) 26 Apr 2009 (Transcript)

U.S. fears possible deaths as flu virus spreads 26 Apr 2009 A top official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday she feared some people in the United States would die as a new strain of swine flu spreads. The agency's Dr. Anne Schuchat said in a telephone briefing with reporters that officials are preparing for a possible spread of the illness beyond the 20 cases confirmed in the United States and added, "I do fear that we will have deaths."

CDC confirms Queens high school students have swine flu; National state of emergency declared 26 Apr 2009 (NY) The swine flu was confirmed in eight Queens prep school students Sunday, prompting the federal government to declare a public health emergency across the United States. Suspected cases popped up from New Zealand to France and some countries began warning their citizens not to travel to America as fears of a global pandemic grew.

France Says Studying Four Possible Swine-Flu Cases 26 Apr 2009 French health officials said they’re studying four possible cases of swine flu in the north of the country. Test results should be available within 24 hours, said Francoise Weber, director-general of the Sanitary Surveillance Institute, at a news conference in Paris today.

Briton quarantined as killer flu spreads 26 Apr 2009 A British Airways cabin crew member was taken to hospital with flu-like symptoms yesterday afternoon after falling ill on a flight from Mexico City to Heathrow. The Health Protection Agency said it was keeping a close eye on the situation.

New Zealand quarantines 25 amid swine flu alert 26 Apr 2009 Twenty-five students and teachers in New Zealand, some with flu-like symptoms, were quarantined and tested for swine flu after returning from a trip to Mexico, officials said Sunday, as Asia stepped up surveillance for the deadly virus.

Minister: 10 NZ students likely have swine flu 26 Apr 2009 New Zealand said Sunday that 10 students "likely" have swine flu after a school trip to Mexico, as governments across Asia began quarantining those with symptoms of the deadly virus and some issued travel warnings for Mexico.

Mexico Takes Powers to Isolate Cases of Swine Flu --The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said Saturday that it had sent a team of experts to Mexico to assist with the investigation cover-up of the outbreak.26 Apr 2009 This sprawling capital was on edge Saturday as... President [sic] Felipe Calderón published an order that would give his government emergency powers to address a deadly flu outbreak, including isolating those who have contracted the virus, inspecting the homes of affected people and ordering the cancellation of public events. The newspaper Reforma reported that President Obama, who recently visited Mexico, was escorted around Mexico City’s national anthropology museum on April 16 by Felipe Solis, an archaeologist who died the next day from flu-like symptoms.

Texas Gov orders 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from Strategic National Stockpile --New possible case of swine flu identified in Texas 25 Apr 2009 A Texas high school where two students are confirmed to have swine flu is temporarily closing after a new possible case of swine flu was identified there, state health officials announced Saturday... Gov. Rick Perry announced Saturday that because of the outbreak he was asking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to give Texas 37,430 courses of antiviral medications from the Strategic National Stockpile to prevent the spread of swine flu.

Iran arrests group planning pre-vote bombings: radio 26 Apr 2009 Iran has arrested a group of people linked to Israel who were planning bombings ahead of the Islamic Republic's June presidential election, the intelligence minister was quoted as saying on Sunday. State radio, citing Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, did not say how many people had been arrested or give any other details.

Iran leader blames U.S. for bombings in Iraq 25 Apr 2009 Iran's top authority said on Saturday that U.S. forces were "the main suspects" in bomb attacks that killed dozens of Iranian pilgrims in Iraq this week. "The main suspects in this crime and crimes similar to that, are American security and military forces," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a statement about two bombings in Iraq on Thursday and Friday. Quoted by state [as opposed to corporate] media, he said "evil hands and minds" had established "blind and uncontrollable terrorism" in Iraq.

Anger at deadly U.S. military raid in southern Iraq 26 Apr 2009 Hundreds of Iraqis protested against U.S. forces on Sunday after U.S. soldiers killed a man and a woman in an overnight raid that was condemned by the provincial governor. The U.S. military said it targeted "special groups" fighters, or elite Shi'ite militiamen the United States says are funded and armed by Iran [the US], in a raid on their house early Sunday in the city of Kut, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

Iraq government says 87,000 Iraqis killed since 2005 24 Apr 2009 The Associated Press reports that the Iraqi government has counted more than 87,000 Iraqis killed in violence since 2005. The news agency said it received the information from a government official who requested anonymity. The source said the death toll could be 10% to 20% higher because of thousands more civilians missing or unaccounted for.

Barack Obama to release up to 2,000 photographs of prisoner abuse --Potographs to be released before May 28 25 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama is to release up to 2,000 photographs of alleged abuse at American prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan in a move which will reignite the scandal surrounding Abu Ghraib prison in 2004. The decision to make public the images sought in a legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union comes amid a political firestorm over alleged torture of prisoners under President [sic] George W. Bush.

Abu Ghraib Victims Can Sue Interrogators --Former detainees allege multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy 17 Apr 2009 In a ruling that could have widespread implications for government contractors overseas, a federal court has concluded that four former Abu Ghraib prisoners, who were tortured and later released without charge, can sue the U.S. military contractor who were involved in conducting prisoner interrogations for the Pentagon in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee denied a motion to dismiss the prisoners' claims by the contractor, CACI International. The Arlington, Virginia-based company is a major contractor to the Defence Department.

CACI International receives $31 million contract 06 Apr 2009 Military contractor CACI International Inc. said Monday that it received a $31 million contract to provide information technology and software development support to the Department of Defense. The one year pact, which has a four-year option, will service the acquisition technology and logistics portion of the Defense Department

Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11 --A US major reveals the inside story of military interrogation in Iraq. By Patrick Cockburn 26 Apr 2009 The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11, says the leader of a crack US interrogation team in Iraq. "The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq.

US interpreter who witnessed torture in Iraq shot herself with service rifle 26 Apr 2009 It is possible that one of the victims of the United States' torture policy is a young, devout Mormon woman from Arizona called Alyssa Peterson. She was a soldier who not only saw the rough interrogation methods that the US military used on Iraqi prisoners, but was deeply troubled by them. Some weeks after formally protesting about them to her superiors, and asking to be reassigned, she took her gun and killed herself. The cause of her death was kept secret for two years, and the mystery of what Peterson witnessed, and the content of the notes she made, still goes on.

The Banality of Bush White House Evil By Frank Rich 26 Apr 2009 Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to "protect" us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from "another 9/11," torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality... President Obama can talk all he wants about not looking back, but this grotesque past is bigger than even he is. It won’t vanish into a memory hole any more than Andersonville, World War II internment camps or My Lai. The White House, Congress and politicians of both parties should get out of the way.

Five killed in bombings in Afghanistan 25 Apr 2009 Three suicide bombers killed five people and injured another eight Saturday near the governor's office in Kandahar, said officials in Afghanistan. "One detonated on the street outside the compound. The other entered a container where police stay and detonated there. The other entered through the compound door and blew himself up," said Ahmad Wali Karzai, head of the provincial council in Kandahar.

Oh, Xe is in Pakistan? Evil bomb kills children in Pakistan 26 Apr 2009 Twelve children have died in Pakistan after a bomb exploded in a toy. The incident, in the north west of Pakistan, occurred when the children picked up a booby trap which had been manufactured to look like a ball. The children found the explosive device near a girls' school in the Low Dir district.

UK to boost special forces to help terrorism fight 26 Apr 2009 Britain will boost spending on its special forces as part of a major military review to help combat terror networks that challenge its security, Defence Secretary John Hutton will say on Monday. A "rebalancing of investment in equipment and people" would be needed over the next 10 years, Hutton will tell a counter-terrorism conference in London, according to extracts of the speech released by his ministry.

Plane bound for Israel from JFK diverted to Boston after unruly passenger tries cockpit break-in 25 Apr 2009 A jetliner bound from JFK Airport to Israel with 206 passengers aboard was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport Friday night when "an unruly passenger" apparently tried to break into the cockpit, officials said. "He was making some noise and banging on doors, possibly the cockpit," Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Phil Orlandella told a Boston television station.

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Mexico May Isolate Patients With Deadly Swine Flu Strain --The decree published Saturday says Mr. Calderón has the authority to invoke the new powers whenever the situation warrants. 26 Apr 2009 President [Bush troll] Felipe Calderón published an order Saturday that would give his government extraordinary powers to address a deadly flu epidemic, including isolating those affected by the rare virus, inspecting their homes and ordering the closure of any public events that might result in more infection... Because of the situation, the World Health Organization planned to consider raising the world pandemic flu alert to 4 from 3. Such a high level of alert -- meaning that sustained human-to-human transmission of a new virus has been detected -- has not been reached in recent years, even with the H5N1 avian flu circulating in Asia and Egypt.

Fear of pandemic as killer flu strain spreads 26 Apr 2009 A deadly strain of [US Army-generated] flu that combines elements of swine, avian and human viruses could spread around the world after emerging simultaneously in Mexico and the United States, experts warned yesterday. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation, declared the disease a "public health event of international concern" after an emergency meeting in Geneva on Saturday. She said the disease had "pandemic potential" and urged all countries to keep a close watch for outbreaks of influenza-like illness.

In 2002, Military Agency Warned Against 'Torture' --Extreme Duress Could Yield Unreliable Information, It Said 24 Apr 2009 The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce "unreliable information." "The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel," says the document, an unsigned two-page attachment to a memo by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. Parts of the attachment, obtained in full by The Washington Post, were quoted in a Senate report on harsh interrogation released this week. [Oops! Looks like the PentaPost will have to stop calling torture 'enhanced interrogation techniques' because the Pentagon itself calls torture torture. --LRP]

Memo From the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency 24 Apr 2009

Cheney Requests Release of 2 CIA Reports on Interrogations 25 Apr 2009 Former vice president [sic] Richard B. Cheney is asking for the release of two CIA reports in his bid to marshal evidence that coercive interrogation tactics such as waterboarding helped thwart terrorist plots, according to documents released yesterday by the National Archives and Records Administration.

UK High Court demands U.S. torture documents 22 Apr 2009 The chief justice of the British High Court on Wednesday gave the British government one week to obtain the U.S. release of classified information about the alleged torture of a British resident [Binyam Mohamed] who'd been detained at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The court indicated that it would issue its own order if the government doesn't respond or justify why continued secrecy is warranted.

British soldiers 'tortured and murdered 20 Iraqis, then covered it up with firefight claim' 23 Apr 2009 British soldiers tortured and murdered up to 20 Iraqis in cold blood, the High Court was told yesterday. It happened after a three-hour gun battle at an Army checkpoint near Basra, a lawyer claimed. Rabinder Singh said a group of local men were taken prisoner and transported to an Army camp where they were beaten with a rusty tent pole, punched, slammed against walls, denied water, blasted with loud music and forced to strip naked in the presence of a woman -- a humiliation for Muslim men.

ACLU: Pentagon to release images of prisoner abuse --Photos will include images from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan at locations other than Abu Ghraib 24 Apr 2009 The Defense Department will release a "substantial number" of photos depicting abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American Civil Liberties Union said late Thursday. The photos will be made available by May 28, the ACLU said, citing a letter dated Thursday from the Justice Department to a federal judge in New York.

CIA official: no proof torture stopped terror attacks 24 Apr 2009 The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques torture helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos. That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush regime officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.

Yoo alludes to his employer as 'People's Republic of Berkeley' 24 Apr 2009 Some critics of the Bush administration say John Yoo has taken a disproportionate share of the public condemnation over the memos. "It's important not to focus too much on scapegoating professor Yoo. He was a subordinate of Judge Bybee," said Katherine Darmer, a professor at Chapman University School of Law, where Yoo is a visiting professor this semester... Yoo alluded to his own uncomfortable situation at the liberal university where he has tenure, thanking the Chapman administration for giving him the opportunity to escape "the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of Berkeley."

Straight to the Top By Scott Horton 24 Apr 2009 The torture trail starts and ends in the White House. That is perhaps the most inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the flurry of documents released in the last week--first the OLC memoranda, then a newly declassified report of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and finally an amazing document that Attorney General Eric Holder released yesterday, which has still gained little attention. The Holder note presents a summary of CIA interaction with the White House in connection with the approval of the torture techniques that John Yoo calls the "Bush Program." Holder’s memo refers to the participants by their job titles only, but John Sifton runs it through a decoder and gives us the actual names.

ABC News: Torture Tape Implicates UAE Royal Sheikh --Police in Uniform Join In as Victim Is Whipped, Beaten, Electrocuted, Run Over by SUV 22 Apr 2009 A video tape smuggled out of the United Arab Emirates shows a member of the country's royal family mercilessly torturing a man with whips, electric cattle prods and wooden planks with protruding nails. man in a UAE police uniform is seen on the tape tying the victim's arms and legs, and later holding him down as the Sheikh pours salt on the man's wounds and then drives over him with his Mercedes SUV. In a statement to ABC News, the UAE Ministry of the Interior said it had reviewed the tape and acknowledged the involvement of Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan, brother of the country's crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed.

CLG: Iraq al-Qaeda leader US general said 'never existed' is 'captured' in Baghdad By Lori Price 24 Apr 2009 Imagine my (lack of) surprise when -- on the bloodiest day in Iraq in over a year -- US media reported a big capture of another (deceased or previously arrested) key al-Qaeda leader! Moreover, the mythical leader of an organization that's itself a myth (al-Qaeda, or 'the database'), Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was allegedly captured in 2007. Hence, this new arrest would be his *second* bout with captivity. I notice that these CNN-worthy arrests typically take place on a bad -- or should I say, torturous day for US public relations.

Xe is a busy little bee: Suicide bombers kill 150 in 24 hours in Iraq 24 Apr 2009 Suicide bombers killed 60 people in an attack at a Shia Muslim shrine in Baghdad, the deadliest single terrorist strike in Iraq in almost a year. The bombing brought the toll from suicide attacks in the country to almost 150 deaths in just 24 hours.

White House Locked Down, US Capitol Evacuated Friday 24 Apr 2009 A small plane in restricted airspace. Authorities said that is the reason for a brief evacuation Friday at the U.S. Capitol. The White House was placed in a temporary lockdown mode. A Capitol Police spokeswoman said a plane had been headed toward Capitol airspace.

Obama legal team wants to limit defendants' rights --Supreme Court case is stark example of the White House seeking to limit rights. 23 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to overrule long-standing law that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights. The administration's action -- and several others -- have disappointed civil rights and civil liberties groups that expected President Barack Obama to reverse the policies of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, after the Democrat's call for change during the 2008 campaign.

ACLU: US Attorney used GPS to track cell phones 23 Apr 2009 A former federal prosecutor [Christopher Christie (R), a former U.S. Attorney] running for governor approved the tracking of citizens through their cell phones without warrants while he was head of the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey, civil rights attorneys said Thursday. The American Civil Liberties Union released documents Thursday showing federal officials in New Jersey have gotten judges to approve the surveillance without showing evidence that a crime is taking place.

Police caught on tape trying to recruit protester as spy --Climate change activist taped men who offered cash for information about group's members and activities 24 Apr 2009 Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash, according to evidence handed to the Guardian. They claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and said they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and plans of future demonstrations. The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid, whom the officers attempted to recruit as a paid spy after she had been released on bail following a demonstration at Aberdeen airport last month.

'We don't discuss money, we don't talk salaries' 24 Apr 2009 Police try to recruit Matilda 'Tilly' Gifford, an environmental campaigner with the direct action group Plane Stupid, as an informant. (Videotapes)

Army: 3 vials of virus samples missing from Maryland facility 22 Apr 2009 Missing vials of a potentially dangerous virus have prompted an Army investigation into the disappearance from a lab in Maryland. The Army's Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of the vials. The vials contained samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis... In 97 percent of cases, humans with the virus suffer flu-like symptoms, but it can be deadly in about 1 out of 100 cases, according to Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

11 more suspected swine flu cases in U.S. --Total reaches 19 26 Apr 2009 Kansas health authorities had confirmed two new cases of swine flu in their state, California has confirmed another case in Imperial County and New York City officials have identified eight probable cases, bringing the U.S. total to 19 likely cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously identified six cases in San Diego and Imperial counties and two cases in Guadalupe County, Texas.

Officials: 8 NYC Students Probably Have Swine Flu --Department of Health Officials Tests 75 Students at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens 25 Apr 2009 At least eight students at a high school in New York City probably have human swine influenza, but authorities don't know for sure whether they have the strain that has killed people in Mexico. City health officials say more than 100 students at the private St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens have come down with a fever, sore throat and other aches and pains.

Two swine flu cases confirmed in Dickinson County 25 Apr 2009 The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed two cases of swine flu involving a husband and wife in Dickinson County. KDHE officials said one had recovered and the other is still being treated, but neither was hospitalized. One of the patients had recently traveled to Mexico, flying in and out of Wichita, the KDHE said.

CDC says too late to contain U.S. flu outbreak 25 Apr 2009 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday it was too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the United States. CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing it was likely too late to try to contain the outbreak, by vaccinating, treating or isolating people. [See: DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack.]

WHO worries Mexico flu deaths could mark pandemic 25 Apr 2009 Mexico closed its schools across its capital Friday after at least 16 otherwise healthy people died and more than 900 others fell ill from what could be a new strain of swine flu. The World Health Organization worried that it could mark the start of a flu pandemic.

Outbreak in Mexico, U.S. tied to new swine flu --Source of unique virus a mystery; CDC expects more cases 24 Apr 2009 The unique strain of swine flu found in seven people in California and Texas has been connected to the deadly flu that has broken out in Mexico, killing as many as 61 people. The strain has never been seen before and is raising fears of a possible pandemic across North America. The World Health Organization said the virus that killed at least 12 of the victims in Mexico had the same genetic structure as an outbreak discovered in California. [See: Flu 'Oddities'.]

Navy Experimenting With Flu at Mexican Border --Mexico Shuts Schools Amid Deadly Flu Outbreak 25 Apr 2009 Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 16 people and possibly dozens more in recent weeks... The unusual strain this year was noticed, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of respiratory diseases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only because the agency was trying out a new diagnostic test at a Navy laboratory and doing more testing than usual through a new Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Project along the Mexican border. [See: The U.S.-Mexico Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Project: Establishing Bi-national Border Surveillance (cdc.gov)]

Possible Swine Flu Outbreak At NYC Prep School --Department of Health Officials Testing 75 Students At St. Francis Preparatory School In Queens 24 Apr 2009 New York City health officials say that about 75 students at a Queens high school have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and testing is under way to rule out the strain of swine flu that has killed dozens in Mexico. The Health Department's Dr. Don Weiss said Friday that a team of agency doctors and investigators were dispatched to the private St. Francis Preparatory School the previous day after students reported fever, sore throat, cough, aches and pains.

'Laboratory testing showed that the virus does not match any known flu strains.' In California and Texas, 5 New Swine Flu Cases 24 Apr 2009 Government scientists have identified five more people who have been infected with swine flu, apparently confirming suspicions that the unusual strain of the respiratory infection is spreading from person to person, federal health officials said yesterday. Three new cases were found in California and two in Texas, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to seven, officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said... Genetic analysis of the virus indicates it is highly unusual: It is a hybrid that resulted from a [Fort Detrick?] combination of four different viruses.'

Troops Could Be Sent to Border --Under $350M plan, National Guard would be aimed at drug war 24 Apr 2009 The Pentagon and Homeland Security Department are developing contingency plans to send National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border under a $350 million initiative that would expand the U.S. military's role in [fomenting] the drug war, according to Obama administration officials.

Obama Tactic Shields Health Care Bill From a Filibuster 25 Apr 2009 At the prodding of the White House, Democratic Congressional leaders have agreed to pursue a plan that would protect major health care legislation from Republican opposition by shielding it from last-minute Senate filibusters. The aggressive approach reflects the big political claim that President Obama is staking on health care, and with it his willingness to face Republican wrath in order to guarantee that the Democrats, with their substantial majority in the Senate, could not be thwarted by minority tactics.

Palin faces ethics complaint for SarahPAC role 23 Apr 2009 A new ethics complaint filed Wednesday against Gov. Sarah Palin says her role in the political action committee SarahPAC poses a conflict with her official duties as governor. The complaint was brought by Anchorage resident Sondra Tompkins, who describes herself an advocate for children with disabilities and mother of a special-needs child.

Regulators Shut Banks in Georgia, Michigan, California, Idaho 24 Apr 2009 Regulators seized banks in Georgia, Michigan, California and Idaho with total assets of $2.3 billion, bringing the tally of failures in the U.S. this year to 29, exceeding the total for all of 2008. American Southern Bank of Kennesaw, Georgia; Michigan Heritage Bank in Farmington Hills; and First Bank of Beverly Hills in Calabasas, California, were shut by state agencies. First Bank of Idaho in Ketchum was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was named receiver of all four.

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Rice gave nod to suspect's water torture 24 Apr 2009 US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice approved a CIA request to subject alleged al-Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah to waterboarding in July 2002. A few days later, the Justice Department approved the use of the torture technique in a secret memo that the Obama administration declassified last week. Rice's role was detailed in a narrative released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It provides the most detailed timeline yet for how the CIA's torture program was conceived and approved at the highest levels in the Bush White House.

Rice gave early approval for CIA waterboarding, Senate report reveals --Go-ahead in July 2002 is first known official approval --Finding suggests greater Rice role than she admitted 23 Apr 2009 Condoleezza Rice gave permission for the CIA to use waterboarding techniques on the alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah as early as July 2002, the first known official approval for the technique, according to a report released by the Senate intelligence committee yesterday. The revelation indicates that Rice, who at the time was national security adviser and went on to be secretary of state, played a greater role than she admitted [committed perjury] in written testimony last autumn.

Document: Cheney, Rice signed off on torture techniques 22 Apr 2009 A newly declassified narrative of the Bush regime's advice to the CIA on harsh interrogations shows that the small group of Justice Department lawyers who wrote memos authorizing torture were operating not on their own but with direction from top administration officials, including then-Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice... Meanwhile, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joseph Lieberman (R-Israel) wrote to Obama urging him not to prosecute Bush officials who offered legal advice about CIA interrogations.

Report: Torture tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link 21 Apr 2009 The Bush regime applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods torture on prisoners in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's government, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist. Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President [sic] George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Hussein's government.

Bush, top cabinet officials monitored torture of detainees By Tom Eley 23 Apr 2009 Former President [sic] George W. Bush, Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and other top Bush administration officials had detailed knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture tactics and approved them, according to a front-page article published Wednesday by the New York Times.

Norway lawyers to charge Olmert with war crimes --Attorneys seek to charge top officials, accuse Israel of 'massive terror attacks' in Gaza 22 Apr 2009 Israel's former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials could face legal action in Norway over the Gaza offensive after six Norwegian lawyers said Tuesday they would accuse them of war crimes. The lawyers, who plan to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, said they will call for the arrest and extradition of Olmert as well as former Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers. [Since the US provided Israel with white phosphorus, etc., key members of the Bush regime also need to stand trial for war crimes.]

Nobel laureate accuses Israel of 'ethnic cleansing' 22 Apr 2009 Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire on Tuesday accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" policies in annexed east Jerusalem, where the municipality plans to tear down almost 90 Arab homes. "I believe the Israeli government is carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing against Palestinians here in east Jerusalem," said Maguire, who won the 1976 Nobel prize for her efforts at reaching a peaceful solution to the violence in Northern Ireland.

'U.S. to accept any Israeli policy decision' 22 Apr 2009 The Obama Administration will put forth new peace initiatives only if Israel wants it to, said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in his first comprehensive interview on foreign policy since taking office. "Believe me, America accepts all our decisions," Lieberman told the Russian daily Moskovskiy Komosolets. [Oh, we believe you!] During the interview, Lieberman said Iran is not Israel's biggest strategic threat; rather, Afghanistan and Pakistan are. This comes after years of Lieberman warning about the growing Iranian threat. Now, he has dropped Tehran to number two, with Iraq coming third.

US may drop AIPAC staffers espionage case 22 Apr 2009 The US Justice Department is considering dropping charges of illegally disclosing national defense secrets against two former AIPAC staffers. Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman from the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) were in 2005 indicted for passing along secret US documents to Israel in violation of the 1917 Espionage Act. Among other things, they had attempted to supply Israel with information on the US policy in Iran, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

At Least 75 People Are Killed in Two Attacks in Iraq 23 Apr 2009 At least 75 people were killed and 120 wounded in two explosions in Iraq on Thursday. In the first bombing, a woman wearing a suicide belt exploded herself in the Karada district of Baghdad killing 28, including 12 police officers, and wounding 50, according to an official with the Interior Ministry. In the second attack, in Muqdadiya in Diyala Province, a bomb went off inside a restaurant where a group of Iranian tourists were eating lunch, killing 47 and wounding 70, according to police officials.

Hill confirmed as U.S. envoy to Iraq 22 Apr 2009 Diplomacy veteran Christopher Hill has been confirmed as the next U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The full Senate voted Tuesday 73-23 to confirm Hill as the head of the United State's largest embassy, the Defense Department said Wednesday in a news release.

Taliban Seize Vital Pakistan Area Closer to the Capital 23 Apr 2009 Pushing deeper into Pakistan, Taliban militants have established effective control of a strategically important district just 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, officials and residents said Wednesday. The district of Buner, home to about one million people, is a gateway to a major Pakistani city, Mardan, the second largest in North-West Frontier Province, after Peshawar. "They take over Buner, then they roll into Mardan and that's the end of the game," a senior law enforcement official in North-West Frontier Province said.

Clinton says Pakistan may only have six months until collapse 23 Apr 2009 According to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Pakistan has abdicated to the Taliban. In a highly critical commentary on Pakistan's government, she said the potential collapse of the Pakistani state would pose a mortal threat to global security.

U.S. May Fill Afghan Civilian Posts With Military Personnel --Obama to rely heavily upon mercenaries 23 Apr 2009 The Obama administration will likely turn to military personnel to fill hundreds of posts in Afghanistan that had been intended for civilian experts, senior officials said Wednesday. Senior Pentagon and administration officials now acknowledge that many of those new positions will be filled by military personnel -- and by contractors... Not enough civilians are readily available inside the Afghan government, officials said, forcing the administration to turn to the military, Pentagon civilians and private contractors, at least for the initial deployments.

FEMA: National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) --National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) is scheduled for July 27 - July 31, 2009. 11 Mar 2009 NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery [martial law]. NLE 09 is designated as a Tier I National Level Exercise. Tier I exercises (formerly known as the Top Officials exercise series or TOPOFF) are conducted annually in accordance with the National Exercise Program (NEP), which serves as the nation's overarching exercise program for planning, organizing, conducting and evaluating national level exercises... This year the United States welcomes the participation of Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom in NLE 09.

Police detain, handcuff ABC-7 crew covering crash --News crew handcuffed, read their Miranda rights and taken to Westside Regional Command Center --El Paso Police Department launched investigation 22 Apr 2009 An ABC-7 crew covering a crash on I-10 on Monday unwillingly became part of the story. Motorists stuck in traffic witnessed veteran journalist Darren Hunt and photojournalist Ric Dupont being handcuffed and detained... As emergency crews tended to the driver, police Sgt. Raul Ramirez told the ABC-7 crew from across the barrier to leave. The sergeant jumped the barrier and told Darren to get in the truck (an ABC-7 news unit) and leave, then held Darren with his hands behind his back to the side of the truck belonging to a witness that was parked on the shoulder.

Fort Detrick disease samples may be missing --CID has been investigating USAMRIID since at least early February. 22 Apr 2009 Army criminal investigators are looking into the possibility that disease samples are missing from biolabs at Fort Detrick. As first reported in today's edition of The Frederick News-Post, the investigators are from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division unit at Fort Meade. Chad Jones, spokesman for Fort Meade, said CID is investigating the possibility of missing virus samples from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. CID is responsible for investigating crimes where the Army is, or may be, a party of interest, according to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command website. USAMRIID is the Army's top biodefense lab, where researchers study pathogens including Ebola, anthrax and plague. [See: Flu 'Oddities'.]

'Agents are looking for what may have gone missing between 1987 and 2008.' Cold comfort By Katherine Heerbrandt 22 Apr 2009 The Criminal Investigation Division at Fort Meade has been investigating USAMRIID at Fort Detrick since at least early February. Meade's CID pursues investigations of serious crimes and sensitive subjects of concern to the Army at regional bases like Detrick, which has no internal investigative arm. A News-Post story in February reported that USAMRIID was shutting down most of its bioresearch while it tried to match its inventory to its records, citing an "overage" of BSAT, biological select agents and toxins. Meade's CID, however, isn't concerned with overstock. Instead, agents are looking for what may have gone missing between 1987 and 2008.

'We have not been able to come up with any explanation of why anyone would have swine flu.' New Strain of Swine Flu Investigated --Two Children in San Diego Area Had No Contact With Pigs 22 Apr 2009 Public health authorities are investigating two highly unusual cases of a previously unknown strain of swine flu that was found in the San Diego area late last month. The cases occurred almost simultaneously in children who had no contact with pigs or each other, a scenario that raised the possibility that the illnesses may be the sign of an emerging pandemic strain of influenza... In 1976, a strain of swine flu caused illness in 13 soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey, killing one. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 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. See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu --Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing 31 Oct 2005 The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world. Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.]

H5N1 virus may be adapting to pigs in Indonesia --Scientists: adaptation may mean virus is one step closer to morphing into human pandemic strain 31 Mar 2009 Scientists report that H5N1 avian influenza viruses may be adapting to pigs, as evidenced by the finding that H5N1 viruses isolated from pigs in Indonesia were less harmful to mice than were H5N1 viruses from chickens. The finding suggests that in growing in pigs, the virus may have become less harmful to mammals in general, the authors report. That sounds reassuring, but the authors say it may mean the virus is one step closer to turning into a human pandemic strain.

Tainted Chinese drywall shows up in Katrina homes 12 Apr 2009 Hundreds of Katrina victims facing another disaster: Sulfur-emitting wallboard from China is wreaking havoc in homes, charring electrical wires, eating away at jewelry, silverware and other valuables, and possibly even sickening families. Chinese manufacturers flooded the U.S. market with more than 500 million pounds of drywall around the same time Katrina was flooding New Orleans, an Associated Press review of shipping records has found.

Police Found Freddie Mac CFO Dead by Hanging 22 Apr 2009 Law enforcement sources said David Kellermann, acting chief financial officer of mortgage company Freddie Mac, was found hanging in the basement of his Reston, Va., home, dead from an apparent suicide early this morning. The death was "an active investigation" and there were "no signs of foul play," Fairfax County police officer Sabrina Ruck said. Kellermann, 41, had been the company's CFO since September, after a government takeover of the company following the housing crisis.

U.K Financial Bailout Reaches 1.4 Trillion Pounds 23 Apr 2009 U.K. government support for the banking system has risen to 1.4 trillion pounds ($2 trillion) and may climb higher as the financial crisis spreads to building societies and economists warn lenders may need more aid.

Britain to sink into £1 trillion debt hole next year 23 Apr 2009 Alistair Darling yesterday hit big-earners with a 50 per cent tax rate as he attempted to deflect attention from the worst public finance figures since the Second World War. The Chancellor announced plans to borrow £175 billion this year and £173 billion the next in a desperate attempt to plug the black hole in his reserves caused by the recession and the unknown cost of the banking bail-out.

Chicago booting cars with two unpaid tickets, 65,000 seizure notices mailed --Crackdown: City has slapped boot on 415 vehicles under new policy 22 Apr 2009 Chicago is lowering the boom on motorists with two unpaid parking tickets older than one year after lowering the threshold for applying the Denver boot: 65,318 seizure notices have been mailed and 415 vehicles have been booted. Desperate for dollars to erase a threatened $300 million budget shortfall, City Hall has embarked on a booting blitz sparked by the City Council's decision to drop the booting threshold from three unpaid tickets to two.

"Don't Drink the Water" in 10 Connecticut Towns 22 Apr 2009 Live or work in Bloomfield, Glastonbury, Portland, Windsor, Hartford, East Hartford, West Hartford, South Windsor, East Granby, or Windsor Locks? Just to be safe, the state's Public Health Department is asking customers who get their water from the Metropolitan District (MDC) to boil it for at least one minute - until further notice. There are "copepods" and "rotifers" in the water.

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Torture Tactics Readied Before Their Approval 22 Apr 2009 Intelligence and military officials under the Bush regime began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods -- and weeks before the CIA captured its first high-ranking terrorism suspect, Senate investigators have concluded. Previously secret memos and interviews show CIA and Pentagon officials exploring ways to break Taliban and 'al-Qaeda' prisoners in early 2002, up to eight months before Justice Department lawyers approved the use of waterboarding and nine other harsh methods, investigators found. The findings are contained in a Senate Armed Services Committee report scheduled for release today that also documents multiple warnings -- from legal and trained interrogation experts -- that the techniques could backfire and might violate U.S. and international law.

Military use of torture approved at high levels of Bush administration: Report --Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques 2 Apr 2009 A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military’s use of harsh interrogation methods torture on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration. The report rejected claims by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others that Pentagon policies played no role in torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other military facilities. The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq -- stripping prisoners, placing them in "stress positions" or depriving them of sleep -- originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.

CIA torture exemption 'illegal' 21 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA agents who used torture tactics is a violation of international law, a UN expert says. The UN special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, says the US is bound under the UN Convention against Torture to prosecute those who engage in it.

Barack Obama: Bush officials could be prosecuted over torture documents US President Barack Obama has bowed to pressure from the Left [law] by opening the door to Bush administration officials being prosecuted for approving alleged torture by CIA interrogators. In a dramatic shift by a White House that on Monday had brushed aside questions about the issue by insisting the American president was "focused on looking forward", Mr Obama indicated that officials could be called to account for the US losing its "moral bearings".

Dick Cheney calls for release of CIA waterboarding 'success' memos 21 Apr 2009 Dick Cheney, the former US Vice President [sic], has called for the release of memos detailing the effectiveness of waterboarding in collecting intelligence for the United States. Cheney told Fox News said the public should be aware how successful harsh interrogation methods torture had been in preventing terrorist attacks and saving lives.

The 'lost files' that suggest MI5 did collude in CIA interrogation 21 Apr 2009 The Government has been forced to issue a humiliating apology for failing to give several crucial intelligence documents to police investigating torture allegations against British spies. The 13 'lost' documents are said to contain evidence that MI5 agents colluded in the torture of former Guantanamo Bay inmate Binyam Mohamed. The British resident was arrested in Pakistan in April 2002 and says he was tortured there before his 'extraordinary rendition' to Morocco where he claims he was subjected to medieval interrogation on the orders of the CIA using questions supplied by MI5.

Lawyer tells court CIA memos undermine case 21 Apr 2009 Foreign prisoners who accused a Bay Area company of arranging torture flights for the CIA told a federal appeals court Tuesday that the Obama administration's disclosure of memos on brutal CIA interrogations undermined its claim that their lawsuit would endanger national secrets. The administration's chief rationale for dismissing the suit "no longer exists, because the (interrogation) methods are now public, and because they have been prohibited," Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing five current and former U.S. prisoners, said in a filing with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

Torture case lawyers may face jail for letter 20 Apr 2009 A former Guantanamo Bay prisoner who accused a Bay Area company of flying him to foreign torture chambers for the CIA is at the center of a bizarre new case, in which his lawyers [not the torturers] face possible jail sentences for writing a letter that asked President Obama to disclose how brutally he was treated. The government says the letter falsely accused a Pentagon review team of censoring details of the alleged torture of Binyam Mohamed from a document the attorneys wanted to send to Obama. The lawyers stand by their accusations but have been summoned to Washington, D.C., by a federal judge for a hearing next month on whether they should be held in contempt of court, punishable by up to six months in jail.

Norwegian lawyers to accuse Israeli leaders of war crimes --Lawyers to call for arrest and extradition of Olmert, Livni 21 Apr 2009 Israel's former prime minister Ehud Olmert and other top officials could face legal action in Norway over the Gaza offensive after six Norwegian lawyers said Tuesday they would accuse them of war crimes. The lawyers, who plan to file their complaint with Norway's chief prosecutor on Wednesday, said they will call for the arrest and extradition of Olmert as well as former foreign affairs minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and seven senior Israeli army officers. [Don't stop there! Add Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Bybee, and Bradbury to the list.]

Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe By Bill Van Auken 22 Apr 2009 Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California was recorded in 2005 on a National Security Agency (NSA) wiretap of a suspected Israeli intelligence agent, according to current and former government officials cited in press reports. The recorded conversation, they indicated, dealt with an apparent quid pro quo arrangement involving Harman’s promise to seek leniency for two indicted pro-Israeli lobbyists in return for support for her bid to become chair of the House Intelligence Committee. The revelation has further exposed the internecine struggles within the US state apparatus as well as the intimate involvement of the Democratic Party and the media in the assault on democratic rights.

DoJ Nixed Investigation of Congresswoman to Get Support for NSA Wiretapping By Kim Zetter 20 Apr 2009 Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein has an explosive story about how the Justice Department thwarted a criminal investigation of Representative Jane Harman (D-CA) in order to guarantee her support for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. According to CQ, in 2004, Harman had helped lobby the New York Times to kill its NSA warrantless wiretapping story, which the newspaper had originally intended to publish on the eve of the 2004 elections.

Blackwater by any name must go, Iraq says 22 Apr 2009 Baghdad says it does not want the Blackwater "security company" to operate in Iraqi airspace or land ... "under one name or another" and that Iraqi officials will press to secure compensation for the killings carried out by the US mercenary company. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Tuesday that the company - now calling itself Xe - will be active in the country at least until summer in some ground and air operations.

KBR Memos Made Public in Iraq Convoy Case 21 Apr 2009 This has not been a good week for KBR in the litigation stemming from April 2004 insurgent attacks on the company's convoys in Iraq. In May 2005, civilian truck drivers who survived the attack--and relatives of those who didn't--sued KBR and its then parent, Halliburton, for unspecified damages... This week, for the first time, lawyers for the plaintiffs publicly released internal KBR documents that they say prove KBR should be held responsible for the death and injuries of the drivers. We've taken a look, and we have to say that some of the documents don't look good for KBR and Halliburton.

Report: Iraqi Militia Killing Gay Men with Painful Glue Torture 20 Apr 2009 The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission writes: "The following is a translation of a story from Alarabiya, a UAE-based media network, which was published on its Arabic website a few hours ago. While IGLHRC has not verified all of the allegations, many are consistent with patterns of human rights violations being reported from within the country." [Warning: Article contains extreme violence.]

US wants broader Pakistan military ties - official 21 Apr 2009 The Obama administration wants to pursue broader military ties with Pakistan to help Islamabad combat a growing threat from militant groups including the Taliban, a Pentagon official said on Tuesday. Michele Flournoy, U.S. under secretary of defense for policy, said Washington wants to provide the Pakistani army with training and advice [!] on counterinsurgency tactics developed in Iraq and Afghanistan and support ongoing operations with intelligence and other assistance.

A Pentagon Cyber-Command Is in the Works 22 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is finalizing plans for a new Pentagon command to coordinate the security of military computer networks and to develop new offensive cyber-weapons, sources said last night. Planning for the reorganization of Defense Department and intelligence agencies is underway, and a decision is imminent, according to a person familiar with the White House plans. The new command would affect U.S. Strategic Command and the National Security Agency, which shares Pentagon cybersecurity responsibilities with the Defense Information Systems Agency.

Hackers stole data on Pentagon's newest fighter jet --Hackers also gained entry to Air Force's air traffic control systems 20 Apr 2009 Thousands of confidential files on the U.S. military's most technologically advanced fighter aircraft have been compromised by unknown computer hackers over the past two years, according to senior defense officials. The Internet intruders were able to gain access to data related to the design and electronics systems of the Joint Strike Fighter through computers of Pentagon contractors in charge of designing and building the aircraft, according to the officials, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. ['Pentagon contractors.' Translation: Bush's corpora-terrorist cronies sold the data and will be compensated a second time, as the same cronies will likely be hired by Obusha to 'fix' the security breech.]

Spies hack into U.S. military computers 21 Apr 2009 Spies hacked into U.S. military computers, copying data that could threaten the effectiveness of U.S. fighter jets, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. In recent months, the newspaper said, someone was able to get into Pentagon's $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project and take several terabytes of information concerning design and electronics systems.

Terror raids: nine men released 22 Apr 2009 Nine of the 11 men arrested in major terrorism raids in the north west two weeks ago were released from custody and handed over to immigration officials, causing embarrassment for Jacqui Smith and police chiefs. Officers have failed to find evidence to link them to what was said to be an al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot in Britain, and the men, aged between 22 and 38, are expected to be deported to Pakistan for allegedly using false student visas to gain access to the UK. Two remain in custody and are still being questioned, although security sources say they are likely to be dealt with in the same way.

Animal rights activist on FBI terror list 22 Apr 2009 The FBI added an alleged animal rights bomber from Sonoma County to its list of "Most Wanted" terror suspects Tuesday, underscoring the agency's increasing focus on such activists by lining him up next to Osama Bin Laden and 22 other Islamic extremists. Daniel Andreas San Diego, 31, a former resident of tiny Schellville who is believed by authorities to be hiding in Costa Rica, is the first domestic terror suspect to be added to a list that officials created a month after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Court Limits Warrantless Vehicle Searches 21 Apr 2009 The Supreme Court ruled that police need a warrant to search the vehicle of someone they have arrested if the person is locked up in a patrol cruiser and poses no safety threat to officers. The court's 5-4 decision puts new limits on the ability of police to search a vehicle immediately after the arrest of a suspect.

Firms Infused With Rescue Cash Find Money to Fund Lobbying --Bailout recipients exceed $10m in lobbying 22 Apr 2009 Top recipients of federal bailout money spent more than $10 million on political lobbying in the first three months of this year, including aggressive efforts aimed at blocking executive pay limits and tougher financial regulations, according to newly filed disclosure records.

TARP cop: 20 criminal probes 21 Apr 2009 The top cop tracking the government's $700 billion bailout program said Tuesday that he has opened 20 criminal investigations and six audits into whether tax dollars are being pilfered or wasted. Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, released a 250-page report detailing a long list of concerns about government efforts to prop up hundreds of banks, Wall Street firms and auto companies.

Newsom makes his official governor bid online 21 Apr 2009 Aiming to stake his claim to the tech-savvy young voters who helped elect President Obama, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) today took to the new media to formally announce he's running for governor - by directly addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters simultaneously via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

CITGO's Donation of Petty's Island Highlights Commitment to Friendship Between Peoples of Venezuela, U.S. 21 Apr 2009 As recently announced by the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, at the 5th Summit of the Americas, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S. A. (PDVSA), has officially transferred control of Petty’s Island to the state of New Jersey for the creation of an ecological, cultural and historical preserve. This highlights the commitment of the Venezuelan people to environmental protection and stronger bonds of friendship between the peoples of Venezuela and the United States. [Instead of buying gas from Exxon Mobil, the polar bear-killing terrorists, here is a handy CITGO gas station locator.]

Palin to Be Greeted By Aerial Wolf Hunting Ad Campaign On Indiana Visit --Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund exposes Governor Palin's anti-wildlife agenda to Evansville residents as part of the Eye on Palin campaign 15 Apr 2009 When Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Sociopath) arrives in Evansville, Ind. tomorrow, she will be greeted by the latest installment of Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund’s Eye on Palin campaign. TV and print ads will run all day on April 16, 2009 to ensure that Evansville residents are aware that she promotes the shooting of wolves from airplanes, as well as gassing wolf pups in their dens.

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Obama Urges C.I.A. Not to Be Discouraged by Torture Memos 21 Apr 2009 21 Apr 2009 President Obama, making his first trip to C.I.A. headquarters, acknowledged Monday that agency officials had expressed "understandable anxiety and concern" about his decision to release confidential torture memos detailing brutal interrogation techniques used by agency operatives, and urged employees not to be discouraged about the ensuing uproar. "Don’t be discouraged by what’s happened in the last few weeks," the president said. "Don’t be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we've made some mistakes. That’s how we learn."

Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects 20 Apr 2009 C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from 'Al Qaeda,' far more than had been previously reported. The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005 Justice Department legal memorandum. The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. ['According to ABC News, CIA officers said that the highest-ranking al Qaeda operative yet captured, Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, held out for two and a half minutes before begging to talk.' So, even using 'their' rationale for torture --why continue to waterboard him *after* he talked?]

Mollycoddle your torturers. Obama Pledges 'Full Support' to CIA --President Obama assures the CIA that he will vigorously protect the security and identities of its torturers after his administration last week released classified memos on interrogation techniques. 20 Apr 2009 President Obusha on Monday pledged his "full support" to the CIA, assuring the covert agency he would vigorously protect the security and identities of its torturers after his administration last week released classified memos on interrogation techniques.

Ex-CIA chief: Obama risks national security 19 Apr 2009 A former head of the CIA slammed President Obama on Sunday for releasing four Bush-era memos, saying the new president has compromised national security. Michael Hayden, who served as former President [sic] Bush's last CIA director from 2006 to 2009, said releasing the memos outlining terror interrogation methods emboldened terrorist groups such as 'al Qaeda.'

Obama is same as Bush, says al-Qaida chief [You don't have to be an al-Qaida 'second-in-command' to know that.] 20 Apr 2009 Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's second-in-command, has urged Muslims not to be fooled by Barack Obama's policies -- which he insisted were no different from those of George Bush. "America came to us with a new face, with which it is trying to fool us," Osama bin Laden's deputy said in a video message posted on a Jihadi website. "He is calling for change, but he aims to change us so that we abandon our religion and rights. "It is America that is still killing Muslims in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is America that steals their fortunes, occupies their land, and supports the thieving, corrupt, and traitor rulers in their countries. And consequently, the problem is not over. Rather, it is likely to deteriorate and escalate."

Binyam Mohamed: MI5 officer gave false evidence in Guantánamo detainee case 21 Apr 2009 Lawyers for the government have admitted that a senior MI5 officer gave false evidence to the high court in the case of former Guantánamo Bay prisoner Binyam Mohamed. The admission, combined with an apology, is contained in a letter from Treasury solicitor David Mackie to Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones, who tomorrow will hear fresh demands from lawyers representing Mohamed, and the media, for the disclosure of information about who was complicit in his interrogation and torture.

Iraq arrests children for alleged terror ties 19 Apr 2009 Iraqi security forces have arrested four children who were recruited by 'Al-Qaeda' to carry out suicide attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, an army general told AFP on Sunday. "Special forces units have arrested an organisation of children consisting of four individuals under the age of 14 who call themselves the 'Birds of Paradise'," General Abdelamir al-Zaidi said.

AP: Blackwater to continue operations in Iraq 'long into' summer 20 Apr 2009 Armed mercenaries from the security firm once known as Blackwater Worldwide are still protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq, even though the company has no license to operate there and has been told by the State Department its contracts will not be renewed two years after a lethal firefight that stirred outrage in Baghdad. Private mercenaries employed by the company, now known as Xe, are slated to continue ground operations in parts of Iraq long into the summer, far longer than had previously been acknowledged, government officials told The Associated Press.

Bomber in Iraqi army uniform strikes GIs meeting with Iraqi officials 20 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber wearing an Iraqi army uniform struck a U.S. military delegation visiting the mayor of violence-wracked Baqouba on Monday, injuring at least eight American soldiers and killing three Iraqi civilians. Police officials claimed the attacker was disguised as a soldier... U.S. forces have faced attacks from actual members of the security forces.

Policeman killed, 8 people injured in N Iraq 20 Apr 2009 A policeman was killed and eight people were injured in two attacks in Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Sunday, a local police source said. A policeman was killed and three others were injured when a group of seven gunmen attacked a police checkpoint in the al-Shifaa neighborhood in western Mosul, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

US asks for elite NZ troops for Afghanistan war 19 Apr 2009 The U.S. has formally asked New Zealand to send its elite Special Air Service combat troops back to Afghanistan for a fourth tour of duty, the foreign minister said Sunday. The government is likely to agree to send the elite commando troops, which last served in the southern portion of Afghanistan in 2006.

Suicide bomber killed in Afghan governor's compound 20 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber entered an Afghan provincial governor's compound on Monday, but he was shot by police and his vest detonated before he could strike a target, an official wounded in the blast said.

US urges world action against Pakistan's Taliban 20 Apr 2009 The United States urges the international community to confront Taliban insurgent's rule in Pakistan's northwestern Swat valley. State Department spokesman Robert Wood on Monday said that the international community should join Pakistan in confronting violent extremists like those who now run the Swat.

In remembering Holocaust, Netanyahu warns against Iran 21 Apr 2009 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his speech at the ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day last night to convey a tough message to Iran. "Holocaust deniers cannot commit another Holocaust against the Jewish people," he said, referring to Iran's nuclear program. Speaking at Yad Vashem, Netanyahu also hinted Israel had to be prepared to act alone against Iran if necessary.

UN rights chief shocked by U.S. boycott of anti-racism conference 20 Apr 2009 The United Nations' top human rights official said on Sunday she deeply regretted the decision by the United States to boycott a major UN anti-racism conference to be convened in Geneva on Monday. "I am shocked and deeply disappointed by the United States decision not to attend a conference that aims to combat racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination and other forms of intolerance worldwide," said Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC 19 Apr 2009 Rep. Jane Harman (D-Traitor-CA) who has a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington. Harman was recorded saying she would "waddle into" the AIPAC case "if you think it’ll make a difference," according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript. In exchange for Harman's help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.

Secret police intelligence was given to private firm 20 Apr 2009 Government officials handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON before a planned peaceful demonstration, according to private emails seen by the Guardian. Correspondence between civil servants and security officials at the company reveals how intelligence was shared about the peaceful direct action group Climate Camp in the run-up to the demonstration at Kingsnorth, the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station in north Kent. Intelligence passed to the energy firm by officials from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) included detailed information about the movements of protesters and their meetings.

Shortages of ammo and gun accessories cropping up nationwide 20 Apr 2009 Most days are like Christmas for Glen Furtardo. When he opens boxes sent to the Winchester Gallery gun store in east Fort Worth, he finds out what ammunition he'll have to stock his shelves with that day as demand for weapons and ammo soars. Reports of heavy sales at gun stores began around the time of Barack Obama's election as president, and months later, dealers are facing ammo shortages nationwide.

Victorian diseases: Back from the dead [*Resurrected.*] 21 Apr 2009 Charles Dickens knew more than he would have wished about scarlet fever. His son, Charley, was afflicted by it, causing the family to leave Paris hurriedly and return to London in 1847, and it featured in several of his novels. It was a much-feared disease that caused devastating epidemics through the 19th and early 20th centuries, resulting in thousands of deaths. Now, 160 years later, it is making a comeback. [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.]

Safety of bird flu drug Tamiflu in children questioned 20 Apr 2009 A prominent Japanese researcher reporting on the bird flu drug Tamiflu says the drug may not be safe for children. Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), is manufactured by drug company Roche - it is an oral anti-viral drug for the treatment of uncomplicated influenza and has been stockpiled by governments around the world as a first line of defence should a bird flu epidemic occur. [See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu --Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing 31 Oct 2005.]

'Superweed' explosion threatens Monsanto heartlands -- "Superweeds" are plaguing high-tech Monsanto crops in southern US states, driving farmers to use more herbicides, return to conventional crops or even abandon their farms. 19 Apr 2009 The gospel of high-tech genetically modified (GM) crops is not sounding quite so sweet in the land of the converted. A new pest, the evil pigweed, is hitting headlines and chomping its way across Sun Belt states, threatening to transform cotton and soybean plots into weed battlefields. In late 2004, "superweeds" that resisted Monsanto’s iconic "Roundup" herbicide, popped up in GM crops in the county of Macon, Georgia. Monsanto, the US multinational biotech corporation, is the world’s leading producer of Roundup, as well as genetically engineered seeds.

Coleman files Senate appeal with state Supreme Court 20 Apr 2009 Former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman [who stole the 2002 Senate seat] this afternoon filed notice of his intention to appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court last week's trial verdict awarding the U.S. Senate election to his DFL opponent Al Franken, according to Coleman spokesman Tom Erickson. A three-judge panel last week rejected Coleman's argument that thousands more rejected absentee ballots should be counted.

Fortune 500: Exxon Mobil back on top --2008 profit: $45.22 Billion 19 Apr 2009 Exxon Mobil has regained the Fortune 500's No. 1 slot this year, despite the sharp fall in oil prices. Indeed, if the fourth quarter of 2008 demonstrates anything, it's that Exxon Mobil is perfectly capable of making billions of dollars even with oil at $50 a barrel or less.

Bank Lending Keeps Dropping --Analysis of Treasury Data Paints Starker Picture Than Official Government Snapshots 20 Apr 2009 Lending at the biggest U.S. banks has fallen more sharply than realized, despite government efforts to pump billions of dollars into the financial sector. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Treasury Department data, the biggest recipients of taxpayer aid made or refinanced 23% less in new loans in February, the latest available data, than in October, the month the Treasury kicked off the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Obama calls credit card executives to the White House 20 Apr 2009 Executives of the nation's largest credit-card companies will meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday to discuss growing concerns about questionable practices in the industry.

Disney documentary 'Earth' features eye-popping images --Review by James Ward 20 Apr 2009 Timed to hit theaters on Earth Day, Disney’s documentary "Earth" certainly achieves its main goal... The film’s most compelling story is that of a polar bear that fruitlessly searches for thick enough ice to hunt seals, the magnificent white animal’s main source of food. But, as the documentary points out, global warming has made the polar bear's quest to find thick ice next to impossible.

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CIA fears torture prosecutions --Only some of the secrets of US 'ghost' prisons have been revealed 19 Apr 2009 The CIA fears some of its operatives could face prosecution for torturing high-level terrorist suspects, despite President Barack Obama's promise of legal immunity. The confidential US Department of Justice guidelines on interrogating high-level detainees, which were made public last week, provide only a small window into the secret prisons or "black sites" run by the CIA. "These are the first dominoes," said Jameel Jaffer, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit that forced the release of the memos. "It will be difficult for the new administration to argue now that other documents can be lawfully withheld."

CIA ordered waterboarding despite belief of interrogators the prisoner already told them all he knew 18 Apr 2009 The first use of waterboarding and other rough treatment against a prisoner from 'Al Qaeda' was ordered by senior Central Intelligence Agency officials despite the belief of interrogators that the prisoner had already told them all he knew, according to former intelligence officials and a footnote in a newly released legal memorandum... Abu Zubaydah had provided much valuable information under less severe treatment, and the harsher handling produced no breakthroughs, according to one former intelligence official with direct knowledge of the case. Instead, watching his torment caused great distress to his captors, the official said. Even for those who believed that brutal treatment could produce results, the official said, "seeing these depths of human misery and degradation has a traumatic effect."

From insects to waterboarding: 10 'torture' techniques blessed by Bush --In this August 1, 2002 memo, Jay S Bybee of the US Department of Justice approves ten methods of "enhanced interrogation" on the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah. He was writing to John Rizzo, CIA acting general counsel 17 Apr 2009 These ten techniques are: (l) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard.

Psychologists' Work at CIA Prisons Denounced --Extent of Health Professionals' Role at CIA Prisons Draws Fresh Outrage From Ethicists 18 Apr 2009 When the CIA began what it called an "increased pressure phase" with captured terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida in the summer of 2002, its first step was to limit the detainee's human contact to just two people. One was the CIA interrogator, the other a psychologist. During the extraordinary weeks that followed, it was the psychologist who apparently played the more critical role. Extreme sleep deprivation, waterboarding, the use of insects to provoke fear -- all were deemed acceptable, in part because the psychologist said so.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in one month By emptywheel 18 Apr 2009 According to the May 30, 2005 Bradbury memo, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002. On page 37 of the OLC memo, in a passage discussing the differences between SERE techniques and the torture used with detainees, the memo explains: "The CIA used the waterboard 'at least 83 times during August 2002' in the interrogation of Zubaydah. IG Report at 90, and 183 times during March 2003 in the interrogation of KSM, see id. at 91."

In quotes: George W. Bush on torture --From a commitment to the worldwide elimination of torture to a defence of waterboarding: President Bush in his own words 17 Apr 2009 "The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives." President [sic] Bush on his veto of a bill that would have outlawed waterboarding in March 2008 -- "I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved ... I told the country we did that. And I also told them it was legal. We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it." President Bush in an interview with ABC about interrogation tactics used on detainees in April 2008

Torture memos reveal brutality of US imperialism By Tom Eley 18 Apr 2009 On Thursday, the US Justice Department released four legal memos crafted during the Bush administration that authorized agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to commit specific acts of torture against prisoners swept up in the "war on terror." The release of the legal opinions, written by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002 and 2005, adds to an overwhelming body of evidence that proves the Bush administration carried out a large-scale and systematic torture operation in flagrant violation of domestic and international law.

Spanish judge keeps Guantanamo probe alive 17 Apr 2009 A Spanish judge considering possible criminal action against six former Bush regime officials for torture at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay defied pressure to drop the case Friday. But Judge Baltasar Garzon accepted that he might not personally take charge of any eventual criminal investigation into officials including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales... In a ruling Friday, Garzon avoided a direct confrontation with the attorney general's office by submitting the case to a lottery system which will now assign it at random to one of the six high court judges.

F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases 19 Apr 2009 Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted. Starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial and will collect DNA from detained immigrants. The F.B.I., with a DNA database of 6.7 million profiles, expects to accelerate its growth rate from 80,000 new entries a year to 1.2 million by 2012 -- a 17-fold increase.

Judge Skeptical of State Secrets Privilege For NSA/Charity Case 17 Apr 2009 A federal judge in California rejected the Obama administration's assertion of the state secrets privilege in the civil suit brought by an Islamic charity that was allegedly subjected to illegal NSA surveillance. The order, in Al-Haramain v. Bush, requires the government to safeguard the classified information it plans to present in the NSA's defense by May 8. Judge Vaughn Walker noted that the government has elsewhere made provisions for the discussion of Top Secret/SCI information. Walker crafted his order narrowly to prevent the government from appealing it immediately to the Ninth Circuit.

New NSA domestic spying exposed as Obama stonewalls court challenges By Bill Van Auken 18 Apr 2009 The National Security Agency carried out "significant and systemic" spying on Americans in recent months, intercepting their private e-mail messages and phone calls, according to intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to the New York Times. The NSA refers to the spying as "overcollection" of data from telephone and computer communications by Americans.

Judge rules former President Bush can be deposed 17 Apr 2009 A judge ruled Friday evening that former President [sic] George W. Bush can be deposed in a lawsuit over land acquisition related to his presidential library at Southern Methodist University. Bush had previously made it clear he wouldn't give a sworn statement voluntarily in the lawsuit, but now he's been ordered to do so. ['Land acquisition?' Just how much room do we *need* to house 'The Pet Goat?' --LRP]

US experts see Pakistan disintegrating --Claim Pakistan's fragmentation will threaten nuclear arsenal, Afghanistan, India, Persian Gulf, Central Asia and US [Hmm... I smell a bailout!] 18 Apr 2009 A growing number of US officials and experts now believe that it may be impossible to prevent Pakistan from disintegrating. The Americans fear that [US-funded, installed] warlords and terrorists will eventually control a large part of the territory, posing a greater threat to the US than Afghanistan did before 9/11, a report in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer claimed. "It’s a disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution," said an intelligence official on condition of anonymity. ['It may be impossible to prevent Pakistan from disintegrating.' No worries! Obusha has the answer -- US taxpayers to the rescue! It is time to buy Pakistani soldiers new night-vision goggles and helicopters.]

US plans $3bn Pakistan military boost --Funds will pay for helicopters, night-vision goggles, and training for special operations forces and FC --Mullen says Pakistan Army must change focus from India to insurgency 18 Apr 2009 The US Defence Department has a $3 billion plan to train and equip Pakistan's military over the next five years, US media reported on Friday. The funds would pay for helicopters, night-vision goggles and other equipment and counterinsurgency training for Pakistan’s special operations forces and Frontier Corps paramilitary troops, the New York Times said. It quoted Pentagon officials as saying that up to $500 million could come from a yearly emergency war budget that President Barack Obama's administration would present to Congress next week. [Get those Pakistani soldiers their night-vision goggles - it's a war 'emergency!' They can wear them to spot the bombs we drop on them from our killer drones! I am so glad we're taking the initiative -- in the spirit of AIG and Goldman Sucks -- to stop the disintegration of Pakistan. --LRP]

US jamming Taliban radio, websites --Push takes Obama admin deeper into 'psychological operations' --US may provide jamming equipment to Pakistan 19 Apr 2009 The US government is starting a broad effort in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from using radio stations and websites, senior US officials have told the Wall Street Journal. American military and intelligence personnel are working to jam the unlicensed radio stations that Taliban fighters use to broadcast "threats and decrees". US personnel are also trying to block the Pakistani chat rooms and websites joining the extremist underground.

US strike on Pakistan 'militants' 19 Apr 2009 Three people have died in a suspected US missile strike in north-western Pakistan, say local security officials. The attack targeted Taleban militants [civilians] in the South Waziristan tribal region, close to the Afghan border, they said. Five people were also reportedly injured in the attack in an area said to be the base of top Pakistani militant Baitullah Mehsud.

Taliban shoot US drone 'informants' 19 Apr 2009 In a video released last week, the Taliban are seen shooting a 19-year-old after he confesses to planting small transmitter chips that guide CIA's drones to their targets. "I was given Rs 10,000 to drop chips wrapped in cigarette paper at Al Qaeda and Taliban houses," he said... A Taliban commander said 40 training camps had been moved because their friends in Afghanistan had tipped them off about planned US attacks.

DynCorp Facing State Dept. Investigation --DynCorp is State Department's largest contractor, holding billions of dollars in contracts 18 Apr 2009 The State Department has ordered DynCorp International to replace the senior managers in charge of a major police training contract in Afghanistan after it launched an investigation into the company's handling of an employee who died of a possible drug overdose, government officials said. The investigation centers on the death of a security team leader working under DynCorp's 18-month, $317 million civilian police training contract, a key element of the U.S. government's effort to rebuild destroy Afghanistan in the wake of the 2001 'removal' of the Taliban from power. [See: DynCorp Disgrace by Kelly Patricia O'Meara 14 Jan 2002 Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia. According to the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) lawsuit filed in Texas on behalf of the former DynCorp aircraft mechanic,]

Senators Demand Audit of Iraq Oil Revenue --After U.S. Invests Billions In Reconstruction, GAO Asked to Investigate Where Revenues Have Gone 09 Mar 2009 The Democratic chairman and Republican former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee have asked U.S. government auditors to determine what Iraq is doing with the billions of dollars in oil revenue it generates. The GAO concluded in a January report that the Bush regime used questionable financial data to assert that the Baghdad government was making progress in managing its budget.

Bailed-Out AIG Pampers Execs While Denying, Delaying Claims of Contractors Injured in Iraq --Investigation Finds Nearly Half of Insurance Claims are Challenged by Insurance Giant 17 Apr 2009 Insurance giant AIG, the same company that rewarded its executives with millions in bonuses and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a spa retreat at an exclusive California resort and private jets, has been nickel and diming employees of private contractors injured in Iraq, with a pattern of denying and delaying their claims, a joint investigation between 20/20, the Los Angeles Times and the non-profit group ProPublica has found.

Blind Amputee Has to Fight AIG for New Plastic Leg, Wheelchair --While Executives Get Bonuses, John Woodson Gets "Cheapest They Could Get Away With" 16 Apr 2009 An Oklahoma man who lost an eye and a leg in Iraq says the giant insurance company AIG refused to provide him a new plastic leg and fought to keep from paying for a wheelchair or glasses for the eye in which he has 30 percent vision. "They bought the cheapest thing that they could get away with," said John Woodson, a truck driver for the KBR contracting firm who lost his leg when his truck hit a roadside bomb in Iraq.

Lightweight Armor Is Slow to Reach Troops 18 Apr 2009 The Army has promised to lighten the soldier’s load, and nowhere more urgently than in eastern Afghanistan, where the unforgiving terrain tests the stamina of troops whose weapons, body armor, rucksacks and survival gear can weigh 130 pounds. But an experiment to shave up to 20 pounds off a soldier’s burden has stalled, leaving $3 million in new, lightweight equipment sitting in a warehouse in the United States instead of being sent to the war zone where it was to have been tried out by a battalion-size group of 500 soldiers.

Respected Journalist Peter Scholl-Latour on German TV: 9/11 "A Saudi Operation" and "A Big Lie" 10 Apr 2009 On April 4, 2009 the journalist Peter Scholl-Latour appeared on the talk show of the german Phönix channel. The titel of the show was "Germany in War - Out of Afghanistan?" In this clip you see Peter Scholl-Latour, Khazan Gul (build schools in Afghanistan) and Gert Gert Weisskirchen (foreign policy spokesman for Social Democrat Party SPD).

IPCC chief slams tactics of G20 police at demo --Force 'are our servants, not masters' 19 Apr 2009 Senior police officers face serious questions over the "unacceptable" trend of officers disguising their identity during clashes with protesters, the chair of the independent police watchdog warned yesterday, as it began formally investigating a third alleged assault on a G20 protester. Nick Hardwick, chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), called for a national debate over how police maintain public order and demanded much tougher political accountability, warning that police should remember they were "the servants not the masters" of the people.

G20 death: Met police officer may face manslaughter charge --Officer may face manslaughter charge --Ian Tomlinson 'died from internal bleeding' 18 Apr 2009 The police officer caught on film attacking Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests could face manslaughter charges after a second postmortem concluded that the newspaper vendor died from internal bleeding and not a heart attack. The dramatic new evidence, made public yesterday, provoked an immediate response from the victim's family, who said that they had been "badly misled" by police.

Families of Virginia Tech shooting victims file lawsuit 17 Apr 2009 Two families whose children were killed in the 2007 Virginia Tech school shooting filed separate lawsuits Thursday in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, asking for $10 million in compensatory damages. The parents of Julie Pryde and Erin Peterson, who were shot and killed by fellow student Seung-Hoi Cho, filed suit against the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Tech, the university's Cook Counseling Center, top university officials, and local counseling center New River Valley Community Services for negligence resulting the death of the two victims. [See: Virginia Tech Shooting 'Oddities'.]

Behind the US banks' profit reports By Barry Grey 18 Apr 2009 The trillions of dollars in cash, virtually interest-free loans and government guarantees the banks have been given with no strings attached first by Bush and now by Obama, have, not surprisingly, begun to register as handsome profits on major banks’ balance sheets. Emboldened and confident, based on the financial policies of the Obama administration and the Wall Street personnel who are carrying them out, that they have a pliant instrument of their interests in the White House, the financial barons are employing the same deceptive accounting procedures and gambling with borrowed money that precipitated the crisis in the first place.

NOAA: March 2009 Tenth Warmest on Record for Global Temperatures 16 Apr 2009 The combined global land and ocean surface average temperature for March 2009 was the 10th warmest since records began in 1880, according to an analysis by NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The analyses in NCDC's global reports are based on preliminary data, which are subject to revision.

Increased noise pollution harms polar bears 17 Apr 2009 Polar bears already face a number of perils: melting ice, grolar bears, Sarah Palin. Now it seems there may be even more bad news for bears. According to a BBC article, California scientists are giving hearing tests to polar bears to find out whether they could be adversely affected by increased noise from Arctic urbanization.

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Bush torture methods included use of insects --The torture techniques sanctioned by George Bush's regime were disclosed by Barack Obama last night. 17 Apr 2009 Certain aspects of the documents are redacted – including the names of CIA officials – but the four memos written by Bush lawyers as a guideline for interrogators offer an unprecedented look inside the methods used as the perpetrators patsies of 9/11 and their cohorts were hunted down. Water-boarding, which is banned by international human rights law, was one of the torture methods used. Other methods included placing an insect in a "confinement box", was used as a tactic against Abu Zubaydah, the first top 'al-Qaeda' member to be seized. Interrogators planned to tell Zubaydah they were putting a stinging insect in the box but it would actually be harmless [?] "such as a caterpillar".

The United States prosecuted some Japanese interrogators at war crimes trials after World War II for waterboarding and other methods detailed in the memos. Interrogation Memos Detail Torture Tactics by the C.I.A. 17 Apr 2009 The Justice Department on Thursday made public detailed memos describing brutal interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, as President Obama sought to reassure the agency that the C.I.A. operatives involved would not be prosecuted. In dozens of pages of dispassionate legal prose, the methods approved by the Bush regime for extracting information from senior operatives of 'Al Qaeda' are spelled out in careful detail -- like keeping prisoners awake for up to 11 straight days, placing them in a dark, cramped box or putting insects into the box to exploit their fears. The interrogation methods were authorized beginning in 2002, and some were used as late as 2005 in the C.I.A.'s secret overseas prisons.

Torture memos acted as a 'golden shield' to help American interrogators try to stay within the law 18 Apr 2009 The most striking feature of four highly classified documents, drawn up to address "whether certain enhanced interrogation techniques" being used by the CIA on terror suspects constitute torture, is the sheer detail. The memos relied on a fairly simple legal principle: so long as the interrogators did not cause intense, severe or lasting physical pain and psychological damage, they were not torturing suspects and would therefore be exempt from any prosecution.

Waterboarding you can believe in. Obama pledges to protect CIA torture operatives --Memos released show waterboarding of terror suspects was 'legal' in Bush era 17 Apr 2009 Barack Obama yesterday confirmed he will shield from prosecution CIA operatives who inflicted waterboarding and other extreme interrogation techniques against terror suspects during the Bush years, even as the White House released memos containing shocking new details of what was permitted in their secret prisons.

Obama exonerates CIA torturers By Patrick Martin 17 April 2009 President Barack Obama announced Thursday that CIA agents who engaged in torture of prisoners over the past seven years will not be prosecuted or punished. As the Justice Department released memos documenting in grisly detail the interrogation guidelines set down by the Bush administration, the White House made it clear that neither those who ordered the torture nor those who carried it out would face justice.

Abu Ghraib Victims Can Sue Interrogators --Former prisoners allege multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy. 16 Apr 2009 In a ruling that could have widespread implications for government contractors overseas, a federal court has concluded that four former Abu Ghraib prisoners, who were tortured and later released without charge, can sue the U.S. military contractor who was involved in conducting prisoner interrogations for the Pentagon in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1998, denied a motion to dismiss the detainees’ claims by the contractor, CACI International. The Arlington, Virginia-based company is a major contractor to the Defence Department.

Miller government knew about CIA prisons in Poland? 15 Apr 2009 The government under the premiership of Leszek Miller (2001-4) knew about the alleged CIA detention facility in Poland, the existence of which has been denied by successive governments. The Rzeczpospolita daily front pages what is presented as an ‘exclusive’: that secret CIA prisons located in Szymany, northeastern Poland, were not only known about by Miller’s government but that they actively covered them up.

Congress investigating spy violation by NSA --Justice Department review finds that agency's eavesdropping program had exceeded limits set last year 17 Apr 2009 Congress is investigating a "serious" failure by the National Security Agency to comply with legal limits on its domestic eavesdropping activities, key lawmakers said Thursday. An internal review by the Justice Department and the NSA found that the spy agency's monitoring program had exceeded limits set by Congress last year designed to protect the privacy of U.S. citizens.

Useless is as useless does: Final Durban II text omits references to Israel and Zionism 18 Apr 2009 Diplomats reached agreement on Friday on a declaration for next week's politically-charged United Nations conference on racism, adding to the pressure on Washington and Brussels to decide whether to attend. The 16-page text omits references to Israel, Zionism, the Middle East conflict and other divisive issues that have made Western powers shy away from the "Durban II" conference, which follows up on a 2001 racism conference in South Africa.

Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites --Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defence system. 18 Apr 2009 The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government. Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack. Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.

Kindergartens not exempted from Israeli raids 17 Apr 2009 Israeli army forces have broken into Palestinian property including a kindergarten in the West Bank, kidnapping four teenagers. The operation was carried out in two different West Bank villages on Thursday night. Local sources said Israeli troops invaded the village of Beit Ruosh, near al-Khalil, broke into and searched dozens of homes before abducting four teenagers, International Middle East Media Center reported.

'US presence in Iraq favors Qaeda' 17 Apr 2009 Iraq's Defense Ministry rules out any change in the US withdrawal plan despite concerns over rising al-Qaeda attacks targeting security forces. In an interview with AFP on Friday, Iraq's Defense Ministry Spokesman, Mohammed al-Askari, said a prolonged US military presence in the country would paradoxically favor al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] by giving the militants enough excuse to justify their terrorist acts.

Battalion sent to Afghanistan after 2 weeks in Iraq 17 Apr 2009 Welcome to Iraq. Now go to Afghanistan. That was the message delivered to the Army's 4th Engineer Battalion just two weeks after arriving in Baghdad for what was supposed to be a year-long tour. The specialty of the unit's approximately 500 soldiers -- clearing roads of bombs and other obstacles -- is 'more needed' in the area of southern Afghanistan, where the troops will likely begin patrols in a few weeks.

Mortar attacks kill 3 in Baghdad Suburb 17 Apr 2009 Multiple mortar explosions have targeted a suburb of the Iraqi capital, which has been the scene of continued bombings and a drastic rise in violence. Three mortar rounds struck houses about 15 km (9 miles) south of Baghdad around 6pm (1500 GMT) and left at least three people killed and eight wounded, AFP reported citing sources in the interior and defense ministries.

Suicide bomber kills 16 Iraqi soldiers waiting in lunch queue 16 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber killed 16 Iraqi soldiers today after infiltrating an army base in the Sunni west of the country and mingling with a queue of soldiers at a dining facility. The attack came a day after a car bomb killed 10 Iraqi soldiers in the city of Kirkuk in the north and marked yet another setback for Iraq’s security forces, which have lost scores of men in recent bombings.

Radical Pakistani cleric, out on bail, calls for revolution 17 Apr 2009 A radical cleric, just freed from detention on bail, returned in triumph Thursday night to the Red Mosque in the Pakistani capital and raised the slogan of Islamic revolution before thousands of excited supporters. "We will continue our struggle until Islamic law is spread across the country, not just in Swat," said Abdul Aziz, who'd been chief cleric at the mosque, told the fired-up congregation.

President Obama in historic handshake with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela 18 Apr 2009 President Obama has been photographed shaking the hand of Venezuela's anti-American leader Hugo Chavez at Summit of the Americas in Trinidad - a moment of considerable symbolism after years of antagonism and outright hostility. Mr Chavez's office was quick to distribute a picture of the pair smiling and clasping hands during the encounter, which came shortly after regional leaders arrived for the 34-nation summit. The Venezuelan leader's office said that he wanted things to change between their two nations.

Police delete London tourists' photos 'to prevent terrorism' --Austrian tourist who photographed bus and Tube stations says 'nasty incident' has put him off returning to London 16 Apr 2009 Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city's sights, including the famous red double-decker buses... and the Vauxhall bus station. But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism. Matkza, a retired television cameraman was told that photographing anything to do with transport was "strictly forbidden". The policemen also recorded the pair's details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

G20 death caused by abdominal haemorrhage --G20 policeman's manslaughter probe 17 Apr 2009 Ian Tomlinson died at the G20 protests from an "abdominal haemorrhage", a second post-mortem concludes. The newspaper vendor, who was filmed by Channel 4 News coming into contact with police at the G20 protests on 1 April, was first thought to have died from a heart attack. But the second post-mortem examination contradicted these findings, Tomlinson's family solicitor said today, creating further questions over the role of the police in his death. The policeman filmed appearing to strike out at 47-year-old Tomlinson has now been questioned under caution for manslaughter.

Elderly Floridians may need driver's license, passport or state ID to vote --Democrats, NAACP, ACLU and other groups argued measure would make it harder for senior citizens to vote --'Ethics' and Elections Committee approved bill on 5-3 party-line vote 16 Apr 2009 Elderly Floridians may need a driver’s license, passport or state identification card to vote under a sweeping elections bill that won approval from a Senate committee Thursday but drew opposition from voting rights groups. Seniors would be affected by a provision that would no longer recognize retirement center or neighborhood association photo IDs at the polls.

Rattner Involved in Inquiry on Fees 17 Apr 2009 Steven Rattner, the leader of the Obama administration's auto task force, was one of the executives involved with payments under scrutiny in a probe of an alleged kickback scheme at New York state's pension fund, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Securities and Exchange Commission complaint says a "senior executive" of Mr. Rattner's investment firm met in 2004 with a politically connected consultant about a finder's fee. Later, the complaint says, the firm received an investment from the state pension fund and paid $1.1 million in fees.

US regulators close American Sterling Bank 17 Apr 2009 Bank regulators closed American Sterling Bank on Friday, the 24th U.S. bank to fail this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said Missouri-based American Sterling had $181 million in assets and $171.9 million in deposits. The failure is expected to cost the FDIC deposit insurance fund an estimated $42 million.

Texas Senate defies Perry, votes to take stimulus money for jobless fund 17 Apr 2009 In a sharp rebuff of Gov. Rick Perry (R-Insane), the Senate on Thursday tentatively voted to accept $555 million in unemployment aid from the federal economic stimulus plan. Senators voted 22-9 in favor of a bill by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, that would authorize state officials to receive the stimulus money to shore up Texas' trust fund for unemployed workers.

U.S. papers shed 5,900 journalists in 2008 16 Apr 2009 American daily newspapers cut 5,900 newsroom jobs in 2008, according to a survey from the American Society of News Editors. The group says this was the steepest cut since the survey began in 1978. This year's tally counted 46,700 newsroom jobs, down from a 1990 peak of 56,900.

Calif. unemployment surges to record 17 Apr 2009 State officials say California's unemployment rate hit a record 11.2 percent in March. The figures released Friday by the Employment Development Department show California lost 62,000 jobs in March.

NC unemployment hits new record 17 Apr 2009 North Carolina's unemployment rate increased slightly in March to 10.8 percent. That according to statistics released Friday by the N.C. Employment Security Commission. The rate increased by a tenth of a percentage point over-the-month from 10.7 percent in February. 10.8 percent is the highest unemployment numbers have been since the current method of calculating statistics were adopted in the 1970's.

Socialism and American public opinion 17 April 2009 A national telephone survey conducted in early April by Rasmussen Reports, the US polling company, discovered that only 53 percent of Americans believe capitalism to be superior to socialism. Twenty percent favor socialism and 27 percent are undecided. Adults under 30, according to Rasmussen, were "essentially evenly divided: 37 percent prefer capitalism, 33 percent socialism, and 30 percent are undecided."

EPA report warns of greenhouse gas risk 17 Apr 2009 Environmental Protection Agency report says greenhouse gases contribute to air pollution and could pose a public health threat. The proposed finding, which now moves to a public comment period, came out of a scientific review ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

E.P.A. Clears the Way for Regulation of Warming Gases 18 Apr 2009 The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that for the first time in the United States will regulate the gases blamed for global warming. The E.P.A. said the science supporting its so-called endangerment finding was "compelling and overwhelming."

Black Liquor Tax Boondoggle May Net Billions for Papermakers 17 Apr 2009 Paper companies may claim about $6.6 billion from a U.S. tax break meant to discourage use of fossil fuels, and they’ll burn more diesel to get it. The tax credit is an incentive to mix an alternative energy source with carbon-based fuel. Papermakers already generate electricity by burning a wood byproduct from pulp-making called "black liquor." To qualify for the windfall they are adding diesel fuel to the black liquor, following the letter of the law while violating its spirit, said Verle Sutton, editor of the Reel Time Report, a unit of Los Angeles-based Forestweb Inc., a provider of data on the paper industry.

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Obama: CIA interrogators won't be prosecuted 16 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama says that those CIA officers who used harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects would not be prosecuted. The US administration also said that it released four memos, with sections blacked out, which were written by the former Bush administration's officials to justify harsh CIA interrogations of terror suspects. "In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution," the president said in a statement.

Justice Department Releases Bush Administration Torture Memos --Bradbury and Bybee Memos Are Released In Response to Long-Running ACLU Lawsuits (ACLU) 16 Apr 2009 In response to litigation filed by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Justice Department today released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture. The memos, produced by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), provided the legal framework for the CIA's use of waterboarding and other illegal interrogation methods that violate domestic and international law.

Abuse of Power: The Bush Administration's Secret Legal Memos (ACLU) 16 Apr 2009 On April 16, 2009, the Department of Justice released four secret memos used by the Bush administration to justify torture.

  • 18-page memo 01 Aug 2002 from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA
  • 46-page memo 10 May 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA
  • 20-page memo, dated May 10, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA
  • 40-page memo, dated May 30, 2005, from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA

Rights groups criticize CIA immunity on interrogations 16 Apr 2009 Human rights organizations reacted angrily Thursday to the Obama administration's announcement that CIA officials would not be prosecuted for past waterboarding and other harsh interrogation torture tactics. Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement in a separate statement as the administration announced it was releasing four Bush-era memos on terror interrogations that included the controversial illegal practice of waterboarding.

Spanish AG: No torture probe of US officials 16 Apr 2009 Spain's attorney general has rejected opening an investigation into whether six Bush regime officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, saying Thursday a U.S. courtroom would be the proper forum. Candido Conde-Pumpido's remarks severely dampen the chance of a case moving forward against the Americans, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. [Looks like Obusha got to them.]

Spain wants torture charges against Bush Six dropped 16 Apr 2009 The attorney general of Spain has recommended dropping a yearlong attempt to bring six former senior Bush regime officials to trial on charges of authorizing torture practices at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the final decision on whether or not to proceed with the case will lie with the daredevil judge prosecuting it. And he's never backed down yet.

US spy agency exceeded powers: Justice Dept 16 Apr 2009 A key US spy agency overstepped legal limits in intercepting private e-mail messages and phone calls, Justice Department officials said Thursday, as a top lawmaker called for a probe. The National Security Agency (NSA), an important intelligence-gathering arm of America's vast espionage network, undertook the eavesdropping of US citizens' electronic communications in a bid to 'thwart' global terrorism. But the agency exceeded the authority laid out by the US Congress, US officials said.

N.S.A.'s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress --In one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant. 16 Apr 2009 The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews. Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in "overcollection" of domestic communications of Americans. [Yes, and I hope they (and others) enjoyed their visit(s) to the CLG website: ncmd.nsa.gov, eop.gov, fs_mail1.osc.gov, wdcsun37.usdoj.gov sbcp3.dhs.gov, dnpoker-1.fema.gov... etc.]

EU says media freedom worsening in Afghanistan 16 Apr 2009 European diplomats said on Thursday they were worried about growing intimidation of journalists and a clampdown on independent media in Afghanistan that could distort presidential 'elections' in August. In a joint statement European ambassadors in Kabul urged the government to put into effect a new media law that was passed by parliament last August but is held up at the supreme court in what local journalists say is a politically motivated lawsuit. [See: Iraq sues to shut newspaper, TV station in Baghdad 12 Apr 2009.]

Suicide blast hits Iraq army base 16 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber in Iraq's Anbar province has attacked an army base, injuring 26 people, officials say. The attack took place in the town of Habania, 25km (15 miles) east of the provincial capital, Ramadi. The defence ministry told the BBC there were no fatalities from the attack, contradicting earlier reports that 16 people had been killed.

Iraqi-born insurgent jailed for 25 years in US 16 Apr 2009 A US federal judge Thursday sentenced an Iraqi-born Dutch citizen to 25 years in prison for conspiring to kill Americans in Iraq in the first case of its kind, the US Justice Department said. Wesam al-Delaema, who made demonstration videos on how to make roadside bombs to kill US soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq, pleaded guilty to the charge on February 25. The US District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington found that the offense was "a federal crime of terrorism," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Pentagon Closes Office Accused of Issuing Propaganda Under Bush 16 Apr 2009 A Pentagon office responsible for coordinating Defense Department information campaigns overseas has been abolished in an effort by the Obama administration to distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda, senior officials said Wednesday. Military and civilian critics said the office, the Defense Department office for support to public diplomacy, overstepped its mandate during the final years of the Bush regime by trying to organize information operations that violated Pentagon guidelines for accuracy and transparency.

Gates Cautious on Repeal of Ban on Gays in Military 16 Apr 2009 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made clear on Thursday that any repeal of the military’s "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law would have to be undertaken slowly, and suggested that it might not happen at all. President Obama pledged during the presidential campaign that he would work to repeal the law and allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly, but both the White House and Pentagon leadership have since made clear that they are reluctant to tackle the issue in the first year of the new administration.

Israel's Mossad assists Egyptian interrogators 17 Apr 2009 Israel's notorious spy agency, Mossad, is helping Egypt to interrogate detainees recently held in that country, a Lebanese daily reveals. Egypt's General Prosecutor's office claimed that several detainees allegedly comprising of some Hezbollah members planned a series of 'sabotage operations' inside Egypt before they were arrested, the Arabic newspaper al-Akhbar reported on Thursday. The daily quoted informed sources in al-Quds (Jerusalem) as saying that two retired Mossad officers had gone to Cairo to interrogate the detainees.

Israel will not cooperate with UN Gaza war crimes inquiry 15 Apr 2009 Israel does not plan to cooperate with a U.N. agency's investigation into alleged war crimes by Israeli troops and Hamas militants during fighting in Gaza, an Israeli government official said on Wednesday. Israeli forces launched a 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in late December... According to a Palestinian rights group, 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, were killed in the fighting.

Peres: Talk of IDF attack on Iran is 'not true' 16 Apr 2009 President Shimon Peres on Thursday dismissed speculations that Israel is planning to attack Iran over its contentious nuclear program. Peres told visiting U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell that the key to containing Iran's nuclear ambitions would not be found in a military realm.

Obama envoy tells Israel U.S. wants Palestinian state 16 Apr 2009 Washington's visiting Middle East envoy vowed on Thursday to vigorously pursue the creation of a Palestinian state, setting the stage for possible conflict with Israel's new right-leaning government.

Low-Path Bird Flu Confirmed in Kentucky 16 Apr 2009 Low-pathogenic avian influenza has been found on a broiler breeder farm in western Kentucky belonging to Perdue Farms. The virus, responsible for a minimal drop in egg production in mid-March, has been identified as belonging to the H7 sub-type. State and federal authorities are investigating a finding of suspected non-pathogenic or low-pathogenic avian influenza in a single broiler breeder farm in western Kentucky., according to Lex18.

Terror quiz for man who took photo of police car 15 Apr 2009 A man was detained as a terrorist suspect for taking a photo of a police car being driven erratically across a public park. Malcolm Sleath, who is chairman of his local park society, was stopped by two officers and told he had breached Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. The law was amended in February to allow police to stop and search anyone they consider is a terrorist threat. Those found guilty face a maximum ten years in jail.

DHS issued report on extremism despite concerns 16 Apr 2009 Civil liberties officials at the Homeland Security Department flagged language in a controversial report on right-wing extremists, but the agency issued the report anyway. The intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week said some military veterans could be susceptible to extremist recruiters or commit lone acts of violence. That prompted angry reactions from some lawmakers and veterans' groups.

Homeland security chief apologizes to veterans groups 16 Apr 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized Thursday after some veterans groups were offended by a department report about right-wing extremism. The report said extremist groups may try to attract veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also said extremists also may use the recession and the election of the nation's first African-American president to recruit members.

Md. Guard Issues Warning to Staff about Local TEA Party Protesters 15 Apr 2009 A document issued by the Maryland National Guard on April 9 warns full-time Guard personnel to be aware of threats from local citizens protesting income taxes during grass roots events known as TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Parties -- one of which was held on Solomons Island March 22. A call today to Col. Kohler, Md. National Guard Public Affairs in Baltimore, confirmed the authenticity of the document ["Planned TEA Party Protests (FPCON Advisory 09-004)"].

Satire: Tea Bags Headed For Protest Captured Off Somali Coast --"All in all, I think telling our followers to have a spontaneous grassroots protest was a success," said Sean Hannity. By R J Shulman 16 Apr 2009 Ships carrying tea originating in China were captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia, causing a shortage of tea bags for a conservative "tea party..." "I didn’t like the previous bailout under Bush," said Frank Hawke, "but when Fox gave us the OK to protest bailouts under Obama, that’s when you can count me in." (Satire!)

Snakes on Qantas plane trigger landing 16 Apr 2009 The disappearance of four snakes from the cargo hold on a Qantas passenger flight has prompted the Melbourne-bound airliner to land. The latest incident involving Australia's flag carrier occurred Tuesday on a flight that took off from Alice Springs with the original twelve baby pythons, officials announced Thursday. Four snakes mysteriously vanished from their container during the transport.

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Obama Tilts to CIA on Torture Memos 15 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions. Among the details in the still-classified 2005 memos is approval for a technique in which a prisoner's head could be struck against a wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the blow was controlled by the interrogator, according to people familiar with the memos. Another approved tactic was waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

Polish reporters claim CIA prison evidence --A witness giving evidence to the Polish investigation reportedly said in 2003 he spotted people, handcuffed and blindfolded, being led from a plane. 15 Apr 2009 Polish journalists claim they have uncovered new evidence that Poland allegedly leased a military base to the United States for a clandestine CIA prison. Reporters of Polish Television and the Rzeczpospolita daily said the evidence included documents and witness statements that were part of a Polish judicial investigation to determine whether the alleged CIA prison undermined the country's sovereignty, the EUobserver reported Wednesday. U.S. planes began secret flights to the Szymany airport close to the military base in December 2002 and at least five planes landed in Szymany in 2003.

Obama sticks to Bush detainee policy 11 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is sticking, for now, with a policy that contends U.S. prisoners held in foreign prisons have no U.S. legal rights, observers say. A move by the Justice Department Friday to appeal a decision granting three prisoners at the Bagram U.S. air base in Afghanistan the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts shows the Obama administration is hewing to policies set by the Bush regime, The Washington Post reported.

Spain to indict "Bush Six" over torture 14 Apr 2009 Scott Horton reports that Spanish prosecutors will indict high-ranking members of the Bush administration over allegations of detainee abuse and torture. The six are: former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee; former OLC lawyer John Yoo; former Defense Department lawyer William J. Haynes II; David Addington, a former adviser to Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney; and former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith.

Lawsuit proceeds against Cheney security team 14 Apr 2009 A federal judge in Denver has declined to toss out a lawsuit against four U.S. Secret Service agents who arrested a man in Beaver Creek in 2006 after he approached then-Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney to criticize the Iraq war. U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello issued her ruling from the bench this morning and said a jury is going to have to decide the case.

'Since Obama took charge he has not shown us that anything will change.' Guantanamo detainee claims abuse 15 Apr 2009 An inmate in the US prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has told Al Jazeera that he has been beaten while in custody and had tear gas used on him after refusing to leave his cell. Mohammad al-Qurani, a Chadian national, said in a phone call to Al Jazeera that the alleged ill-treatment "started about 20 days" before Barack Obama became US president and "since then I've been subjected to it almost every day". "Since Obama took charge he has not shown us that anything will change," he said.

Racist escapes terror charge after threat to behead and bomb Muslims 15 Apr 2009 The Crown Office has been accused of double standards by Scotland's biggest Islamic group for not bringing terrorism charges against a man who threatened to blow up a mosque and behead Muslims. The Scottish Islamic Foundation (SIF) has written to Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini querying the decision to prosecute Neil MacGregor for a breach of the peace, not terrorism offences. MacGregor has admitted threatening to blow up Scotland's biggest mosque and to behead one Muslim a week until every mosque was shut down.

Report: U.N. spent U.S. funds on shoddy projects 14 Apr 2009 Two United Nations agencies spent millions in U.S. money on substandard Afghanistan construction projects, including a central bank without electricity and a bridge at risk of "life threatening" collapse, according to an investigation by U.S. federal agents. The U.N. ran a "quick impact" infrastructure program from 2003 to 2006 under a $25 million grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.N. delivered shoddy work, diverted money to other countries and then stonewalled U.S. efforts to figure out what happened, according to a report by USAID's inspector general obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

Iraq war: Gordon Brown aims to delay inquiry report until after election 14 Apr 2009 Gordon Brown will announce by the autumn a "long" inquiry into the Iraq war, indicating that the potentially embarrassing report will be delayed until well after the general election expected next year. Ministers have decided that the inquiry should be wide-ranging, possibly dating back to Margaret Thatcher's tacit support for [CIA asset] Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

US sergeant convicted of killing Iraqis 15 Apr 2009 US Sergeant, John E. Hatley has been found guilty of the murder of four detainees in Iraq in 2007, but acquitted of the death of a fifth. Hatley was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit premeditated murder, but cleared on one count of obstruction of justice. He is the most senior of three US non-commissioned officers tried for killing four prisoners whom prosecutors and co-defendants have said were bound, blindfolded and shot in the head.

Iraq Bombing Kills at Least 10 in Kirkuk, Injures 22 15 Apr 2009 A car bombing today near a police academy in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk left at least 10 people dead and injured 22 others. Many of the casualties were police protecting an oil installation, President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said on its Arabic-language Web site. Some civilians were also hit by the blast, it said.

Six Civilians Died in Airstrike by NATO, Afghan Official Says --Airstrike followed attack in Khost Province last week by American-led forces that left at least four civilians dead 14 Apr 2009 An airstrike by NATO forces early Monday in eastern Afghanistan killed six civilians, including two children, a local Afghan official said, the latest accusation of civilian casualties leveled against NATO and American forces. The Afghan official, Zalmay Yousufzai, the governor of Watapor district in Kunar Province, said that NATO helicopters destroyed one house and damaged several others. In addition to the 6 civilians killed, he said, 14 were wounded.

Army officials: Brain injuries overdiagnosed 15 Apr 2009 The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are wasting time and money on the "illusory demands" of mild traumatic brain injury, two Army mental health researchers contend in an article that has already raised intense objections from other scientists studying the condition.

Clinton Calls for Crackdown on Somali Pirate Bases 15 Apr 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for authorities in Somalia to act against land bases that pirates use to attack ships and said the U.S. will seek ways to track and freeze assets of the brigands. Clinton said she has assigned a team of U.S. diplomats to press the Somali government and leaders of Puntland, a semi-autonomous region in Somalia, to take action against the land bases.

Convoy carrying 500 wheelchairs coming to Gaza for the newly disabled after major Israeli attacks 14 Apr 2009 The European Campaign to Break the Siege on Gaza is launching a new aid convoy. One of many, this project is for the benefit of residents of the Gaza Strip who are newly traumatized by physical disabilities. The direct cause is the recent major Israeli attacks that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead and approximately 5,500 injured.

Iran: S-300 missile deal on track 15 Apr 2009 Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari says the contract to buy Russia's S-300 advance missile system is still on track. "There are no problems with this [S-300] contract," RIA Novosti quoted Safari as saying at the end of his visit to Moscow on Wednesday.

Nigeria to prosecute officials in KBR bribery case 15 Apr 2009 Nigeria's Justice Minister said on Thursday it will prosecute any Nigerian official found to have taken bribes from former Halliburton unit KBR in a decade-long scheme to secure $6 billion (4 billion pounds) in contracts. KBR, the former engineering subsidiary of Halliburton, pleaded guilty in February to charges it paid $180 million in bribes to Nigerian officials.

Former Halliburton chief ready to spill the beans 14 Apr 2009 The Halliburton’s ex chief Albert Jack Stanley has offered to assist Nigerian government investigators and vowed to testify against top Nigerian officials linked to the $180 million bribery scam. Halliburton and its engineering subsidiary Kellogg Brown Root reportedly negotiated bribes with three successive holders of a top-level office in the executive branch of the government of Nigeria to get US$6 billion worth of contracts.

Experts identify compound that may fight bird flu 15 Apr 2009 Scientists in Hong Kong and the United States have identified a synthetic compound which appears to be able to stop the replication of influenza viruses, including the H5N1 bird flu virus. The search for such new "inhibitors" has grown more urgent in recent years as drugs, like oseltamivir, have become largely ineffective against certain flu strains. Experts now question how well and how long the drug would stand up against the H5N1, should it [US bioterrorists] unleash a pandemic. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004.]

G20 protest videos: Growing catalogue of evidence against police --Videos passed to the Guardian appear to show police using excessive force against G20 protesters 15 Apr 2009 In the fortnight since the G20 protests in London, the Guardian has received video footage from a number of people that appears to show police using excessive force or questionable tactics in dealing with demonstrators and the press. The best-known video shows Ian Tomlinson, who was attempting to return home on the evening of the first day's protests, on 1 April, being pushed to the ground by a police officer.

Met chief orders review of public order policing after G20 protest --Inquiry will look at tactics such as 'kettling' --Video evidence of police actions also to be studied 15 Apr 2009 The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has ordered a review of public order policing amid mounting concerns over the way his force and the City of London police handled the G20 protests this month. He also revealed that he has separately called for video evidence of police actions during the demonstrations in London to be reviewed to identify any conduct by officers that may warrant investigation.

UK police get more time to quiz terrorism suspects 15 Apr 2009 British police investigating a suspected al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot have been given more time to question 11 men arrested in raids last week across northwest England. Seven can be quizzed for a further seven days and four can be held for two days, police said on Wednesday. Officers are still searching six properties in a case described by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a "very big terrorist plot".

Internet privacy: Britain in the dock --'Big Brother' state comes under fire as European Commission launches inquiry into secret surveillance of web users 15 Apr 2009 Britain's failure to protect its citizens from secret surveillance on the internet is to be investigated by the European Commission. The move will fuel claims that Britain is sliding towards a Big Brother state and could end with the Government being forced to defend its policy on internet privacy in front of judges in Europe.

'It was held in a private area to avoid conflict since many people don't agree with what the agency is and does.' CIA recruiting quietly at UNM 14 Apr 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency set up behind closed doors at the University of New Mexico Tuesday to make its recruiting pitch as the spring semester moves toward graduation. The element of secrecy behind the gathering kept KRQE News 13 from getting any closer than the hallway outside. The student-run Inspire Anderson Marketing from the Anderson School of Management hosted the recruiting event.

Guns, Drugs Seized From Homeland Security Officer --DHS officer was caught with 40 grams of cocaine, 65 grams of marijuana bagged for sale, a shotgun, two pistols, close to 100 rounds of ammunition and more than $6,000 in cash. 09 Apr 2009 A Homeland Security employee at Orlando International Airport is in the Brevard County Detention Center on numerous drug trafficking and gun charges. Timothy Monroe, was arrested Wednesday at his Palm Bay home on Coral Reef Road. According to the Palm Bay Police Department, a three month investigation led them to Monroe. [No surprises here. But it doesn't trump arrest of the three GOPedophiles/DHS employees arrested for child porn/child endangerment last year.]

Federal agency warns of radicals on right --9-page report sent to police 14 Apr 2009 The Department of Homeland Security is warning law enforcement officials about a rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the economic recession, the election of America's first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans could swell the ranks of white-power militias.

Right-wing groups 'growing' in US 15 Apr 2009 America could be facing a surge in right-wing extremism, according to a new US government report. The Department of Homeland Security study says the election of America's first black president and the economic slump has helped racist groups recruit. But the report says no specific attacks are being planned by extremists.

CLG Action Alert! Karl Rove to Speak at Denison University --Karl Rove Speaks at Denison University (Granville, OH) Contact [and express your *extreme* displeasure] Barbara Stambaugh, Media Relations - Email stambaughb@denison.edu - You may also forward your messages to: news@denison.edu. Phone 740-587-8575 Fax 740-587-6364 Speaking date: Thursday, 16 April 2009, 8PM, Swasey Chapel (200 Chapel Drive) Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior adviser [war criminal, terrorist] to President [sic] George W. Bush, will speak at Denison University on April 16. The lecture, which is sponsored by Denison's College Republicans, is free and open to the public.

Obama to 'tea-bag' protesters: I've already cut taxes 15 Apr 2009 Obliquely answering the hundreds of "tea bag" protests around the country on tax day, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he's already delivered the most progressive tax cut in history, with 95% of families getting a tax break in every paycheck. Americans need a "government that is working to create jobs and opportunity for them, rather than simply giving more and more to those at the very top in the false hope that wealth will trickle down," Obama said.

Consumer prices dip in March, post 1st annual drop since '55 15 Apr 2009 A key gauge of consumer prices fell unexpectedly in March and recorded its first annual drop since 1955, government data showed Wednesday, as slumping demand pushed down energy and food costs. On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices were down 0.4%, the first 12-month decline since August 1955.

LA school board votes to lay off 5,400 employees 14 Apr 2009 The Los Angeles Board of Education has voted to lay off as many as 5,400 teachers and support personnel for the upcoming school year. The vote came Tuesday as employees protested raucously outside the meeting. The board had voted hours earlier to save the jobs of 1,996 elementary school teachers using federal stimulus funds. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second largest school system, faces a $596 million budget shortfall for the 2009-10 school year.

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US vying to 'hand-pick' Afghan president [Wall street 'hand picks' the US president.] 14 Apr 2009 Washington is using its political clout to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in Afghanistan, a report says. The US embassy in Kabul has urged Afghanistan's leading presidential hopefuls to withdraw from the race in favor of Ali Ahmad Jalali -- a candidate that is preferred by Washington, reported Pakistan's Ummat daily. In return, US official have promised to guarantee key positions for the three candidates -- which include finance minister Ashraf Ghani, former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and political activist Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi -- in the next Afghan government.

US troops 'might stay in N Iraq' 14 Apr 2009 US combat troops may stay in northern Iraq after a deadline for them to pull back by the end of June has passed, the top US commander in the area has said. Col Gary Volesky said his soldiers would stay in Mosul and other nearby cities where al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] remained a threat if the Iraqi government 'asked' them to.

Murky origins of Iraq attacks stir foreboding --Analysts say there is a mistaken focus on the readiness of Iraq's security forces to take over from the U.S. military, whose combat troops are due to leave Iraq by Aug. 31 next year, when a peaceful future for Iraq depends as much on efforts to seek a viable political framework. 14 Apr 2009 A series of bombings and clashes between Sunni militias and Shi'ite-led government forces have stirred a sense of foreboding in Iraq ahead of a national 'election' and the withdrawal of U.S. troops... Uncertainty about the origins of the recent violence has led to an incendiary mix of conspiracy theories and accusations. ['Conspiracy theories.' US mercenaries are carrying out the attacks so that the Iraqi government 'asks' US troops to remain. --LRP]

US soldier charged with civilian murder in Iraq 13 Apr 2009 A US soldier has been charged over the murder of Iraqis. The soldier, Master Sergeant John Hatley, has been charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice. It is alleged Hatley was involved in the execution-style slayings of four Iraqis in 2007, by the side of a Baghdad canal.

U.S. soldier killed by armor-piercing projectile 14 Apr 2009 The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed by an armor-piercing bomb about 30 miles south of Baghdad. A statement says the soldier died Monday when an explosively formed projectile went off near the Shiite holy city of Karbala.

Iraq sues to shut newspaper, TV station in Baghdad 12 Apr 2009 Iraqi authorities are seeking to close the Baghdad offices of a major Arab newspaper and a television station, alleging they falsely reported [!?!] that orders had been issued to arrest ex-prisoners recently released by the U.S. Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi says in a statement issued Monday that a lawsuit was filed to shut the offices of Al-Hayat newspaper and Al-Sharqiya television for falsely quoting him as the source of the report. [See: Iraqi babies for sale: people trafficking crisis grows in corrupt system --At least 150 children a year sold for £200 to £4,000 06 Apr 2009. Gotta love Operation Iraqi Freedom. By now, nearly everyone in Iraq -- save US mercenaries and corpora-terrorists -- must be *longing* for the days of Saddam Hussein.]

Pakistan falling into Taliban hands --Pakistan's president approves Taliban rule in the Swat valley while the country's army surrenders the restive valley to militants. 13 Apr 2009 President Asif Ali Zardari's spokeswoman, Farahnaz Ispahani, confirmed that the president signed the regulation on Monday night. Meanwhile, Pakistani lawmakers had passed a unanimous resolution early on Monday morning urging the president's signature. The parliament passed the measure without debate as the radical insurgents had warned lawmakers against opposing the deal.

US senator given aid rebuff by Pakistan 13 Apr 2009 A US Senator, on a visit to Pakistan, has been told by his hosts that they will not accept conditions being put on aid programs. Meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) was told that aid with strings attached would fail to generate goodwill in Pakistan. Kerry, who heads the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has backed legislation that would triple US 'non'-military aid to Pakistan, to $1.5 billion a year for five years.

Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. US: North Korea must cease 'provocative threats' 14 Apr 2009 As North Korea spurned a U.N. condemnation, the Obusha White House called on the nation Tuesday to "cease its provocative threats" and respect the international community's will. Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs said Pyongyang's vow to restart its nuclear reactor and boycott international disarmament talks is "a serious step in the wrong direction." ..."We call on North Korea to cease its provocative threats, to respect the will of the international community, and to honor its international commitments and obligations," President Barack Obama's chief spokesman said at his daily briefing with reporters. [And, we call on the US to do the same.]

Mossad, CIA hatch Egypt's anti-Hezbollah plot 14 Apr 2009 Egypt has been collaborating with Israeli and US intelligence agencies in their latest conspiracy against Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. Citing Philippe Vasset, editor of Intelligence Online daily, Haaretz reported Tuesday that the Egyptian security forces have been operating entirely on the basis of intelligence "provided to them by several foreign intelligence services" in their latest move against the Lebanese movement.

Top Lebanese ex-officer admits to spying for Israel 14 Apr 2009 Lebanese media outlets are reporting on Tuesday that a retired senior officer in the Lebanese defense apparatus has acknowledged to authorities that he collaborated with Israeli intelligence services for a period of over ten years. The Beirut-based Arab language newspapers Al-Akhbar and A-Safir are reporting that the officer, who goes by the code name "Adib", is suspected of heading a spy ring that passed along information to Israeli intelligence.

Obama Follows Bush Policy on Detainee Access to Courts 11 Apr 2009 The Obama administration yesterday appealed a judge's decision granting three detainees at a U.S. military prison in Afghanistan the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts, arguing partly that compliance would inhibit the future capture of Pakistani citizens for detention by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The appeal makes clear that, despite the ruling this month by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, the Obama administration for now wants to stick with a policy set by President [sic] George W. Bush that those incarcerated by U.S. troops in foreign prisons have no U.S. legal rights.

'Lucky Larry' still makes a killing on the 9/11 terror attacks: Dream job: $21.5M - to do nothing at all --Port Authority paying Larry Silverstein $21.5 million but has yet to seek 'development' tips 14 Apr 2009 The Port Authority is paying Larry Silverstein $21.5 million to develop the Freedom Tower - even though he has absolutely no role in building the 1,776-foot icon, the Daily News has learned. More than two years after the builder lost control of the planned 102-story tower at Ground Zero, he is collecting $500,000 monthly "development fees" - and the checks will keep flowing until mid-2010, documents show. The giveaway - $15.25 million so far and an additional $6.25 million in the pipeline - is costing bridge and tunnel commuters the equivalent of 2.7 million George Washington Bridge tolls or 12.3 million PATH fares.

US eases travel, money restraints on Cuba 14 Apr 2009 In a measured break with a half-century of U.S. policy toward Cuba, the Obama administration lifted restrictions Monday on Cuban-Americans who want to travel and send money to their island homeland. In a further gesture of openness, U.S. telecommunications firms were freed to seek business there, too. But the broader U.S. trade embargo remained in place.

3 held over radioactive material 14 Apr 2009 Three Ukrainians have been arrested for seeking to sell radioactive material that could have been used by terrorists to make a "dirty bomb", the country's SBU security service said Tuesday. The three men were arrested in the western Ternopil region last Thursday when they tried to sell a container of radioactive material for $10m, the SBU said in a statement.

114 Held In Swoop On Power Plant Protesters 14 Apr 2009 Green activists suspected of plotting to sabotage a power station and disrupt supplies were arrested in a massive police operation shortly after midnight yesterday. Last night 114 men and women from across the UK were in custody for allegedly preparing to raid Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in Nottinghamshire. They were rounded up at the Bakersfield Community Centre in Sneinton by officers who arrived in a huge convoy of vehicles. Those arrested were being questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

Swedish man accused of terrorism faces NY trial 13 Apr 2009 Jury selection began on Monday in the trial of a Lebanese-born Swedish man accused of helping set up a militant training camp in rural Oregon and operating websites showing how to assemble bombs. Oussama Abdullah Kassir, who was extradited from the Czech Republic to New York in 2007, faces multiple charges, including supporting terrorism and 'al Qaeda,' by attempting to set up the camp in Bly, Oregon from 1999 to early 2000.

NYPD moves to cloak midtown with camera license plate readers, and radiation and bio scanners 01 Apr 2009 The NYPD wants to cloak midtown with the same security blanket it rolled out for lower Manhattan: camera license plate readers, and radiation and bio scanners. Those measures covering Manhattan south of Canal St. will slowly be applied to midtown, from 34th to 59th Sts., river to river, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the City Council Public Safety Committee.

They've got your number --Every call made, email sent and website visited is now being logged under new regulations. What does that mean for investigative journalists - and their need to protect sources? By Charles Arthur 13 Apr 2009 New regulations that came into force last week - requiring telephone and internet companies to keep logs of what numbers are called, and which websites and email services and internet telephony contacts are made - have left some wondering if investigative journalism, with its need to protect sources (and its sources' need, often, for protection), has been dealt a killer blow.

FBI tied to S.A. escort service 12 Apr 2009 Executive Playmates, an escort service, is suspected by the San Antonio Police Department of generating about $150,000 a month from prostitution between 2005 and 2007... Because the case involves money laundering and organized crime, police turned over their findings months ago to federal prosecutors. But the information has sat at the U.S. attorney's office with little movement. A San Antonio Express-News investigation found fewer than 10 people -- including the suspected operator, Samuel "Sammy" Flores Jr. -- may end up being charged later this year. Federal law enforcement sources said the case could be complicated because Flores was working as an informant for the FBI at the time of the bust. The sources said they suspect that has delayed charges in the escort-service case.

Concerns arise over symptomless Egypt bird flu cases 08 Apr 2009 The World Health Organisation is concerned some Egyptians may carry the highly pathogenic bird flu virus without showing symptoms, which could give it more of a chance to mutate to a strain that spreads easily among humans. While the H5N1 virus only rarely infects people, experts fear it could mutate into a form that humans could easily pass to one another, sparking a pandemic that could kill millions. The emergence of symptomless human carriers of the virus would be a worrisome development because it could allow the virus, undetected and untreated, more time to mutate inside the human body, John Jabbour, a Cairo-based emerging diseases specialist at WHO, said.

Vatican vetoes Barack Obama's nominees for US ambassador --Caroline Kennedy deemed unacceptable because of abortion views 14 Apr 2009 The Vatican has vetoed three of Barack Obama's potential nominees as US ambassador amid a growing dispute between the White House and the Roman Catholic church over the new administration's support for abortion rights and the lifting of a ban on stem cell research. Vatican sources told Italy's Il Giornale newspaper that among those rejected were Caroline Kennedy and two other Roman Catholics who were unacceptable to the pope because they have publicly stood against church dogma.

Judges rule Franken winner; Coleman to appeal 13 Apr 2009 Three judges soundly rejected Norm Coleman's attempt to reverse Al Franken's lead in the U.S. Senate election late Monday, sweeping away the Republican's claims in a blunt ruling Coleman promised to appeal. After a trial spanning nearly three months, the judicial panel dismissed Coleman's central argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid.

Goldman 1Q earnings surpass Wall Street estimates --Goldman Sachs earns $1.66B in 1st-quarter, surpassing Wall Street's estimates 13 Apr 2009 Goldman Sachs beat Wall Street's earnings expectations as it reported a profit of $1.66 billion for the first three months of this year. The bank also said it planned to raise $5 billion in stock to help it pay back government bailout funds. The New York-based bank said it earned $3.39 per share, easily surpassing analysts' forecasts for profit of $1.64 per share.

Polar Bear to Deliver 50,000 Petitions to Interior Secretary Requesting He Rescind Bush Regulations (Center for Biological Diversity) 13 Apr 2009 (Anchorage) At tomorrow’s hearing to gain public input on development of Alaska’s outer continental shelf, a polar bear will be on hand to deliver 50,000 petitions to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting that he rescind two rules passed in the final days of the Bush administration that weaken the Endangered Species Act. One of these rules exempts thousands of federal activities, including those that generate greenhouse gases, from review under the Endangered Species Act, and the other sharply limits protections for the threatened polar bear.

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Peres on Ahmadinejad: We'll strike him 12 Apr 2009 Israel 'will' launch its much-predicted military strike against Iran, should Washington's overture to Tehran prove to be of no avail. In an interview with Kol Hai Radio, Israeli President Shimon Peres launched into a tirade against Iran and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warning him about his stance.

Iran: New Israeli government reignites war talk 13 Apr 2009 Rumors of an impending Israeli war against Iran's nuclear facilities have resurfaced again, and with a vengeance. On Sunday, Israeli President Shimon Peres seemingly threatened military action against Iran if President Obama's diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from 'going nuclear' failed. If Obama's proposal of talks don't change Iran's approach, "we'll strike him," he said, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to reports citing an Israeli radio interview.

Gaza boat explodes near Israel Navy vessel --Israel Navy soldiers opened fire on boat 13 Apr 2009 A booby-trapped fishing boat exploded on Monday near an Israel Navy vessel off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. No one was wounded in the blast, which occurred after Israel Navy soldiers opened fire on the boat about 300 meters from the Gaza coast, near the Israel border.

War-shocked Gaza children 'want to die' 13 Apr 2009 Little has changed in Gaza since the war in January, with thousands of families still living in tents and homes and schools still just rubble and ruins. But life for many children has never been the same since Israel launched its offensive three months ago.

General Odierno Is Reviewing Iraq Timetable After New Bombings 12 Apr 2009 The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq said he will not hesitate to recommend an extension of the June 30 deadline for withdrawing American troops from the country’s urban areas if violence continues to increase. General Ray Odierno, commander of the multinational force in Iraq, said on CNN’s "State of the Union" program he will monitor the situation in the wake of recent attacks.

Iraqi leaders attacked over spate of homophobic murders --Dozens of young men and boys killed by death squads in Baghdad 13 Apr 2009 Iraqi leaders are accused of turning a blind eye to a spate of murders of homosexuals after 25 young men and boys were killed in recent weeks. Gay groups claim the Iraqi government is giving tacit support to the death squads targeting young homosexuals who venture outdoors.

Iraq's Military Seeks to Muzzle Two News Groups 14 Apr 2009 The Iraqi military put local journalists on notice Monday that their organizations could be shut down for misquoting officials. The top military spokesman in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta filed a lawsuit seeking to shut down the Baghdad offices of Al Hayat newspaper, one of the most prominent in the Arab world, as well as Al Sharqiya television, a popular Iraqi satellite channel that has been a strong critic of the government. The lawsuit was announced on the Web site of the Baghdad Operations Command, which coordinates Iraqi security forces in the capital.

Militants torch trucks along US-NATO supply line 12 Apr 2009 About 150 militants armed with rockets and automatic weapons attacked a transport terminal in northwestern Pakistan that lies along a key supply route used by U.S. and NATO troops, wounding three guards and torching eight cement trucks Sunday, police said. Militants in Pakistan frequently attack cargo terminals and other stops used by vehicles taking supplies to Western troops in Afghanistan through the legendary Khyber Pass. [No worries! This happens about once every two weeks. Obusha will just A) Buy more trucks B) Give Pakistan billion$ 'not' to blow up more trucks. It's a game the US plays called F*ck the Taxpayer - Fund Terrorism and Send In the Drones. --LRP]

Ministers' war of words over treatment of ex-servicemen 13 Apr 2009 A furious row broke out between Whitehall departments last night as a Defence minister publicly pilloried his senior government colleagues over what he said was their failure to provide health services for former members of the armed forces. The Veterans minister Kevan Jones accused Health ministers of "not listening" to the needs of troops suffering severe -- and sometimes hidden -- traumas from Iraq and Afghanistan.

York Hospital drill simulates terror attack 09 Apr 2009 The explosion tore through part of York Hospital's fifth floor just after 9 a.m. Thursday... If the explosion had been real, numerous first responders would have been on the scene or on their way to it. The hospital must conduct drills periodically to meet state, federal and industry requirements, said Barry Sparks, WellSpan spokesman. Though a terrorist attack on a hospital is unlikely, Sparks said it's best to plan for the worst.

Undercover police to carry guns in response to terror threat 12 Apr 2009 Plain-clothes police carrying concealed guns are being deployed on Scottish streets for the first time in decades in direct response to the increased terror threat, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. Police marksmen have also been given the green light to use unmarked cars for firearms operations in another move aimed at better protecting the public from the threat of suicide bombers.

'Tartan Taleban' arrested as terror suspect in Pakistan 12 Apr 2009 A Scottish Muslim convert, dubbed the "Tartan Taleban" [<g>], has re-emerged in Pakistan where he has reportedly been arrested as a terror suspect. Pakistan television paraded images of a man said to be James Alexander McLintock, who had been detained in the north-west city of Peshawar in late February.

Police get more time to question terrorism suspects 11 Apr 2009 A judge has given police a further week to question 11 men detained in raids across northwestern England on Wednesday and suspected of involvement in an al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] plot, police said on Saturday. A 12th man, an 18-year-old, has been released into the custody of the UK Borders Agency.

Ian Tomlinson: three-year wait for G20 death verdict --Family of the newspaper vendor who died in G20 demo face long wait for justice, say legal experts 12 Apr 2009 The family of Ian Tomlinson face a three-year wait for an inquest into his death, according to legal experts, who say that pressures on the coroners' system are "frustrating the grieving process" for victims' relatives. The claim is likely to dismay critics of the police, who have expressed concerns about how Tomlinson's death is being investigated. According to the first post-mortem examination, Tomlinson, a homeless newspaper vendor with a drink problem, died after suffering a heart attack while caught up in at last week's G20 protests after getting bashed in the skull.

New bird flu cases suggest the danger of pandemic is rising --Infections in Egypt raise scientists' fears that virus will be spread by humans 12 Apr 2009 Bird flu is becoming less deadly --but scientists fear that this is the very thing that could make the [H5N1] virus more able to cause a pandemic that would kill hundreds of millions of people. This paradox, emerging from Egypt, threatens to increase the disease's ability to spread from person to person by helping it achieve the crucial mutation in the virus which could turn it into the greatest plague to hit Britain since the Black Death. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004.]

Students send the CIA packing By Martin Smith 13 Apr 2009 Students and activists won a victory April 9 when they forced the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) into a last-minute cancellation of its recruitment session at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For a third year, members of the Campus Antiwar Network (CAN), Iraq Veterans Against the War and the International Socialist Organization joined forces to protest the CIA, but this is the first year that the agency canceled, after activists exposed the agency's dark history of assassinations, political sabotage and torture.

US captain held by Somali pirates is freed 12 Apr 2009 US cargo ship captain Richard Phillips has been freed from captivity at the hands of Somali pirates in a dramatic ending to a five-day standoff with American naval forces, the US Navy said today. US television channel CNN said Phillips was freed unharmed and that the U.S. military killed three of four pirates who had held him hostage on a lifeboat after trying to seize his vessel. It said a fourth pirate was in custody.

Has Cheney been Murdering Americans? By Jim Fetzer 12 Apr 2009 The stunning revelation from our nation’s premiere investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, that Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney was running an "executive assassination ring" directly under his control and outside of the normal chain of command has raised the specter that the Vice President of the United States may have been murdering Americans. As a scholar who has invested a considerable effort in the investigation of the death of US Senator Paul Wellstone, this comes as no surprise.

Bailed-out banks face probe over fee hikes 13 Apr 2009 The US committee overseeing federal banking-bailout programmes is investigating the lending practices of institutions that received public funds, following a rash of complaints about increases in interest rates and fees. Since the Troubled Asset Relief Program was launched [by Bush] in October, banks bolstered by capital infusions have boosted charges on a wide range of routine transactions, hiked rates on credit cards and continued making loans criticised as predatory by consumer advocates.

Banks accused of profiteering as they triple mortgage margins 12 Apr 2009 Banks have been accused of profiteering as new figures show they have almost tripled their margins on mortgages in the past year. The difference between the Bank of England's benchmark interest rate and the average rate on a tracker mortgage has risen from 1.18 per cent at the beginning of April last year to 3.20 per cent today, according to personal finance website Moneyfacts.co.uk.

'Surgical' Bankruptcy Possible for G.M. 13 Apr 2009 The Treasury Department is directing General Motors to lay the groundwork for a bankruptcy filing by a June 1 deadline, despite G.M.’s public contention that it could still reorganize outside court, people with knowledge of the plans said during the weekend. Members of President Obama’s automotive task force spent last week in meetings and on conference calls with G.M. officials and its advisers in Detroit and Washington. Those talks are expected to continue this week.

Peeps Diorama Contest 2009: A Peep at the Finalists (The Washington Post) 12 Apr 2009 The best entry - Click on #6: Peeptanamo Bay by Allison Adamik and Jill Morris, Washington. President Obama has promised to close Guantanamo Bay, but the detention camp will live on forever in semi-hardened marshmallow. Note the waterboarding of a purple Peep in the background.

Obamas Welcome New White House Dog 12 Apr 2009 Bo is a six-month-old Portuguese water dog given to Malia and Sasha Obama as a gift by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The black-furred fellow, who has white patches on his chest and chin -- plus white paws -- is scheduled to move in Tuesday.

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