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


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

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May 2008 Archives

Who's That Hiding In My Fox 5 News Logo? Video posted by fliesinthek 02 May 2008 Fox 5 News WNYW (New York) has subliminally inserted images of John McCain and his wife, Cindy, into their opening animation.

Up to 700 arrests estimated in Postville raid 12 May 2008 (IA) Four Homeland Security buses with U.S. Immigration and Customs tags on them have entered the Agriprocessors Inc. complex. The buses, along with a trail of SUVs and vans with Minnesota license plates, arrived at about 11:45 a.m. Tim Counts, a Midwest ICE spokesman, declined to confirm where people who are arrested will be detained. Federal officials have leased the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo, but they declined to explain last week whether the property was being prepared for use as a detention center.

'Activists discussed today possible strategies to help after a raid, including locating children and identifying detainees.' Fearing raid, immigration-rights activists meet in Waterloo 11 May 2008 Several Iowa immigration-rights activists gathered today at a Waterloo church and the home of a local social worker to discuss what they consider to be an impending immigration raid. The discussions were prompted by federal officials' lease last week of the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo. Local immigration-rights activists fear the fairgrounds will be used as a detention center.

Questions Surround Homeland Security's Presence in Waterloo --Many people in Waterloo believe the site is being transformed into a detention center. 09 May 2008 People in Waterloo are trying to figure out what sort of operation federal officials are conducting in town. This week, the Department of Homeland Security took-over and sealed-off the grounds of the National Cattle Congress on the west side of Waterloo. Thursday night, our crew went to investigate, but security guards told them to stay across the street from the property. Our camera caught pictures of elaborate ventilation systems going into the buildings. There were dozens of cars coming in and out with license plates from surrounding states, and even as far away as Georgia and Texas. A guard at the gate told us they are preparing for training exercises, but a Homeland Security spokesman would not confirm that. Many people in Waterloo believe the site is being transformed into a detention center.

A once ailing private-prison sector is now a revenue maker 12 May 2008 "The private prison industry was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s, until the feds bailed them out with the immigration-detention contracts," said Michele Deitch, an expert on prison privatization with the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin. As increasingly tough immigration laws have called for the detention and deportation of ever more immigrants [and soon-to-be bird flu vaccine refuseniks], the demand for bed space by immigration authorities has helped turn what was once a dying business into a multibillion-dollar industry with record revenue and stock prices several times higher than they were eight years ago. In San Diego, CCA [Corrections Corporation of America] is in the permitting process to build a nearly 3,000-bed facility that the company hopes will be used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. It would hold more than four times the detainees held in San Diego now.

Deadly Animal Virus May Soon Come to U.S. Mainland 02 May 2008 The nation’s food supply may soon be under significant threat as the result of a Bush administration decision to move its research on one of the most contagious animal diseases from an isolated island laboratory to the U.S. mainland, placing it near herds of livestock.

Families will make case for vaccine link to autism 12 May 2008 Families claiming that a mercury-based preservative in vaccines triggers autism will challenge mainstream medicine Monday as they take their case to a federal court. Overall, nearly 4,900 families have filed claims with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children.

'No thanks to Americans for their effort to bring us democracy that killed half of us by their bombs and is now apparently killing the other half by starvation.' Iraq: Food Crisis Hits Fallujah 12 May 2008 Sharp increases in food prices have generated a new wave of anti-occupation and anti-U.S. sentiment in Fallujah. "This is a country that was damned by the Americans the moment they stepped on our soil," Burhan Jassim, a farmer from Sichir village just outside Fallujah told IPS. "This is Iraqi land that has always been blessed by Allah with the best production in quality and quantity, but now see how it has been turned into a wasteland." Fallujah faces this new crisis after much of the city was destroyed by U.S. military operations in 2004.

Iraqi water supply in jeopardy 09 May 2008 Conflict, warm summer weather and a lack of electricity forced many agricultural sectors of Iraq's Diyala province into near-drought conditions. The central pumping station in Diyala is plagued by frequent power disruptions, and its position near a conflict zone pitting Shiite and Sunni fighters against each other means little clean water reaches the surrounding community, the Inter Press News Service said.

'Ghost city' Mosul braces for assault on last bastion of al-Qa'ida in Iraq 12 May 2008 Mosul looks like a city of the dead. American and Iraqi troops have launched an attack aimed at crushing the last bastion of al- Qa'ida [al-CIAduh] in Iraq and in doing so have turned the country's northern capital into a ghost town. Soldiers shoot at any civilian vehicle on the streets in defiance of a strict curfew. Two men, a woman and child in one car which failed to stop were shot dead yesterday by US troops, who issued a statement saying the men were armed and one made "threatening movements".

Official survives attempt on his life in Baghdad 11 May 2008 The Iraqi undersecretary of finance survived an attempt on his life on Sunday when an improvised explosive device went off near his motorcade in central Baghdad, leaving six civilians wounded, police said.

10 policemen referred to judiciary 11 May 2008 Ten policemen, including one officer, were referred to the judiciary for abusing the law during raid operations, the Karbala police & operations chief said on Sunday. "We ordered the referral of ten policemen, including one officer, to the judiciary for abusing the law in dealing with human rights issues," Maj. General Raed Shakir Jawdat told Aswat al-Iraq.

Heavy bombardment on Sadr city despite ceasefire 10 May 2008 Three large parts of Sadr city were subjected to heavy bombardment that was continuously carried out by U.S. helicopters, starting from Saturday 3:30 p.m. until now, despite the Iraqi government and representatives of the Sadr movement having signed an agreement to stop confrontations in the city.

Tony Blair used Cherie's grief to protect Iraq strategy 12 May 2008 Cherie Blair was astonished by the ruthless manner in which her husband made public within hours the fact that she had lost the baby she was carrying. In her autobiography, serialised in The Times today, she reveals that Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell, his communications chief, insisted on informing the media almost immediately in 2002. In an emotional account of losing her baby, she writes of her disbelief that her husband and Mr Campbell telephoned to discuss the announcement as she lay in pain and still bleeding. They did so in order that a delay in their holiday did not trigger false speculation of an early invasion of Iraq.

Iran arrests group for mosque blast, blames West 08 May 2008 Iran has arrested members of a terrorist group with links to Britain and the United States who were behind a blast at a mosque last month that killed 14 and wounded 200 in the southern city of Shiraz, a news agency said. Iranian officials had previously said the April 12 blast, in the Shohada mosque during an evening prayer sermon by a prominent local cleric, was caused by explosives left over from an exhibition commemorating the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. "The blast ... was caused by a bombing by a terrorist group with links to Western countries, especially Britain and America," ISNA news agency quoted Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei as saying late on Wednesday.

Blast kills Gaza teacher in front of her children 12 May 2008 The UN is demanding an investigation into how the Israeli military killed one of its Palestinian school teachers by blasting open the front door of her Gaza home with explosives in the presence of three of her children.

2 Humvees missing from US base in Afghanistan 12 May 2008 Two armored Humvees were missing from a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, a military spokesman said Monday. The military was investigating whether the vehicles were stolen, although officials believed they were likely still in the possession of U.S. personnel but simply unaccounted for [!], said Lt. Col. Paul Fanning.

More Fort Campbell Soldiers Die In Afghanistan 10 May 2008 Another Ft. Campbell soldier has been killed while serving in Afghanistan. The department of defense said Pfc. Ara T. Deysie was killed when his unit came under rocket-propelled grenade fire. The 18-year old soldier was assigned to the 101st division. The military said Sgt. Isaac Palomarez, 26, was killed Friday in the Kapisa Province.

Surge in disabled vets to cost U.S. billions 11 May 2008 Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, an ever-larger pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions for decades to come -- even as the total population of America's vets shrinks.

Post-War Suicides May Exceed Combat Deaths, U.S. Says 05 May 2008 The number of suicides among veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may exceed the combat death toll because of inadequate mental health care, the U.S. government's top psychiatric researcher said. The government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years, up from today's $29 billion, according to internal documents obtained by the Associated Press. And the Veterans Affairs Department concedes the bill could be much higher.

US lawyer barred for Guantanamo bias 12 May 2008 A military judge has disqualified the Pentagon's top legal adviser in the Office of Military Commissions from participating in the prosecution of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay because he exerted improper influence over a team of prosecutors and may have compromised the case's fairness. Naval Captain Keith Allred, who is presiding over hearings in preparation for the military's trial of an alleged driver for Osama bin Laden, determined that Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hartmann was too closely tied to prosecutors.

Gen Hood's withdrawal leaves red faces at Pentagon --New York Times says Hood was assigned to Pakistan since he was believed to be ‘crisis-tested’ 10 May 2008 There are quite a few red faces at the Pentagon this week since it became known that the controversial Maj Gen Jay W Hood the "commissar" of the Guantanamo detention colony, which lies beyond the jurisdiction of American courts, was being withdrawn as the senior military official based in Pakistan. The credit for the cancellation to Gen Hood’s ill-considered appointment goes to the Pakistani print and electronic media, which decried the appointment and demanded that it be cancelled.

Ex-Guantanamo head's name withdrawn for Pakistan post 10 May 2008 An army general who led the Guantanamo detention center at a time when alleged mishandling of Korans sparked Muslim riots has been withdrawn as the US military's proposed top representative in Pakistan, a military spokeswoman said Friday. Major General Jay Hood was named in March to the post of US defense representative in Pakistan, a key position at a time of mounting US concern over Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and the Taliban activities in Pakistani safe havens.

Police in Gun Searches Face Disbelief in Court 12 May 2008 Over the last six years, the police and prosecutors have cooperated in a broad effort that allows convicted felons found with a firearm to be tried in federal court, where sentences are much harsher than in state court... A closer look at those prosecutions reveals something that has not been trumpeted: more than 20 cases in which judges found police officers’ testimony to be unreliable, inconsistent, twisting the truth, or just plain false. The judges’ language was often withering: "patently incredible," "riddled with exaggerations," "unworthy of belief." The outrage usually stopped there.

Voter ID Battle Shifts to Proof of Citizenship 12 May 2008 The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote. The measure would allow far more rigorous demands than the voter ID requirement recently upheld by the Supreme Court, in which voters had to prove their identity with a government-issued card.

Federal rules give corporation-backed conservative radio all the local voices By Sue Wilson 11 May 2008 There's a mournful hush in Sacramento these days, the empty sound of an entire political viewpoint quieted. More than 32,000 weekly listeners who once tuned to KSAC (1240 AM) to hear partisan Democrats beat up on President [sic] George W. Bush, now hear only Christian hip-hop. There's nothing wrong with Christian hip-hop... But there are six other commercial radio stations licensed in the Sacramento area programming the Christian message. In the political realm, three local radio stations program 264 hours of partisan Republican radio talkers beating up on Democrats every week. Now, zero stations program any Democratic view whatsoever: 264-0.

Obama Takes Superdelegate Lead 12 May 2008 Barack Obama has overtaken Hillary Clinton in the NBC NEWS superdelegate count with the endorsement of Hawaii's Dolly Strazar. This is his second of the day and puts him now officially over the top, 277-276.5. The NBC NEWS delegate counts: Pledged: Obama 1,590, Clinton 1,426; Supers: Obama 277, Clinton 276.5; Total: Obama 1,867, Clinton 1,702.5.

Clinton holds big leads in West Virginia and Kentucky 12 May 2008 Even as her campaign appears to be in its final stages, Hillary Clinton is headed for two sweeping victories in West Virginia and Kentucky, the next two states to weigh in on the prolonged Democratic presidential race. According to new polls released Monday, Clinton holds a 34 point lead in West Virginia and a 27 point lead in Kentucky.

McCain Pushed Land Swap That Benefits Backer 09 May 2008 Sen. John McCain championed legislation that will let an Arizona rancher trade remote grassland and ponderosa pine forest here for acres of valuable federally owned property that is ready for development, a land swap that now stands to directly benefit one of his top presidential campaign fundraisers. Initially reluctant to support the swap, the Arizona Republican became a key figure in pushing the deal through Congress after the rancher [Steven A. Betts] and his partners hired lobbyists that included McCain's 1992 Senate campaign manager, two of his former Senate staff members (one of whom has returned as his chief of staff), and an Arizona insider who was a major McCain donor and is now bundling campaign checks.

The Most Important Piece of Paper in America By Jared Bernstein 11 May 2008 I hold in my hand one of the most important pieces of paper in America: Table T08-0071, an analysis of candidate John McCain's tax plan... It is a table constructed by the Tax Policy Center's steely-eyed tax analysts, and it reveals nothing less than McCain's secret plan to diminish the US government beyond recognition... The numbers in the table show the revenue loss to the Federal government from McCain's proposed tax cuts. In the far right corner is the 10-year total: -$5.7 trillion.

Bush Comment on Food Crisis Brings Anger, Ridicule in India 08 May 2008 A comment by President [sic] Bush about the role of India in the world food crisis has set off a firestorm of criticism in this country. Speaking in St. Louis over the weekend, Bush said that [in India] "middle class is larger than our entire population." But "when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food," he said. "And so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up." Overnight, Indians reacted with outrage at what they saw as a suggestion that they were to blame for inflation. Politicians lashed out at Bush. Newspapers excoriated him. "India is not a net food importer. It is a food exporter. The assumption that prices are increasing because of a changed India is completely erroneous," said Manish Tewari, a spokesman for the ruling Congress party.

Oil could hit $200 in 'super-spike' 10 May 2008 Oil prices threaten to hit $200 a barrel in a final "super-spike" over coming months as 'producers fail to keep pace with blistering demand from China and the Middle East,' according to a controversial report by Goldman Sachs.

Two foreign groups bid for Pa. Turnpike lease: WSJ 11 May 2008 At least two groups submitted undisclosed cash offers for the 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. One group is led by Spanish toll-road operator Abertis Infraestructuras SA, while the second group includes Spain's Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructura de Transporte SA and Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure Group, the newspaper said in a report on its website.

Tornado season deadliest in a decade 12 May 2008 The USA has been ravaged through mid-May by a near-record number of tornadoes that has pushed the death toll -- including 47 killer twisters over the weekend -- to a 10-year high.

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DHS activity at Waterloo fairgrounds raises questions --ICE declines to say if whole area will be used as detention center --National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo, Iowa, is prepared for a 'federal project.' 06 May 2008 Federal officials have imposed a news blackout at the National Cattle Congress fairgrounds in Waterloo, where they have leased almost the entire property through May 25. The Waterloo Courier on Sunday reported that contractors have installed generators adjacent to many buildings at the fairgrounds. In addition, windows on many buildings have been covered up, blocking views inside. A number of mobile-home-size trailers have been transported to the privately owned grounds. Doug Miller, general manager of the Cattle Congress, declined Monday to release a copy of his group's rental contract with U.S. General Services Administration. He also indicated he was in the dark about what's happening inside the fairgrounds.

ICE presence at fairgrounds 'remains a mystery' 08 May 2008 The presence of immigration officials at National Cattle Congress has stoked fears of an impending raid. Four days after The Courier first reported the installation of trailers, generators and ventilation equipment on the grounds, the presence of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement remains a mystery. On April 24, FEMA announced it was conducting a national-level training exercise in May "to prepare and respond to multiple incidents including both natural disasters and terrorist incidents." The FEMA release did not specify the location or locations of the exercise. While the release indicated "a combined functional and full-scale exercise" would be conducted May 1-8, the government has leased the NCC grounds through May 25. Neither NCC nor the federal government would confirm whether federal officials are using the NCC grounds as part of the national exercise.

Operation Iraqi Freedom Fascism: Iraqi government closes the Sadr radio station 10 May 2008 U.S. and Iraqi forces closed on Thursday the Sadr movement's al-Ahad radio station office, and stopped its broadcast, at orders from the Iraqi government, said the station's manager. "An Iraqi-U.S. force stopped al-Ahad radio station's broadcast, according to a memo that carried Premier Nouri al-Maliki's signature," Abid Abu-Zahra told Aswat al-Iraq. "The force did not show a legal memo to stop the station," he said. "This step made by the government is a dangerous measure that deprives people from the voice that represents their pains," he added.

Judge: Woman's rape case against Halliburton can go to trial 09 May 2008 A woman who said she was raped by co-workers while employed by a contractor in Iraq can take her claims to trial, a federal judge ruled Friday. Jamie Leigh Jones filed a federal lawsuit last year, saying she was attacked while working for a Halliburton Co. subsidiary at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005. Her lawsuit claims that after she endured harassment from some of the men where she lived in coed barracks, she was drugged and raped by Halliburton and KBR firefighters. Jones, a former Conroe resident, said a KBR representative imprisoned her in a shipping container for a day so she wouldn't report the assault. [I'll stand with whoever will fight KBR, Halliburton and Blackwater - and the regime that spawned them. --LRP]

US war dead cremated in same facility as pets: Pentagon 10 May 2008 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a review of the handling of the remains of US war dead and apologized after learning that some were cremated in a commercial facility that also cremates pets, the Pentagon said. The facility, owned by the Torbit's Funeral Home Crematory, had been contracted by the air force to cremate remains of soldiers brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan through Dover, officials said.

Turkey says it has attacked Kurdish rebels in Iraq 11 May 2008 Turkey said on Sunday it had launched air and artillery attacks against Kurdish separatist rebels in northern Iraq overnight after an insurgent strike on a military base.

Clashes in Baghdad kill 19, wound 116: hospitals 10 May 2008 Nineteen people have been killed and 116 wounded in clashes between security forces and militants in eastern Baghdad's Sadr City district in the past 24 hours, the two hospitals in the Shi'ite city said on Saturday.

Iraq: US soldier dies in 'non-combat incident' 11 May 2008 The U.S. military says a soldier has died in a vehicle accident near al-Asad. The military says the soldier was killed when the vehicle he was traveling in rolled over near al-Asad, home to the second largest air base in Iraq.

Report: US coalition kills civilians in Afghanistan 10 May 2008 Dozens of protesters blocked a road Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, claiming that US-led 'coalition' forces killed three civilians. Villagers from the area carried the three bodies to a major highway during the protest, in which police allegedly opened fire, killing one and wounding three.

US says Syria, Iran behind Lebanon violence 09 May 2008 The Bush regime accused Iran and Syria on Friday of fueling ongoing violence in Lebanon by inciting members of the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement to take up arms against the country's western-backed government.

Brazil sees no Iranian threat, despite US warning 09 May 2008 Brazil sees no threat from Iran, despite U.S. concerns that the Tehran government is courting allies in Latin America, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said on Friday. Thomas Shannon, the senior U.S. official for Latin America, said on Wednesday that Iran was making allies in the region to counter Washington's traditional influence imperialism and could use them to threaten U.S. security.

Lebanese opposition ends west Beirut takeover 10 May 2008 Lebanon's Hezbollah-led opposition on Saturday said it was ending its takeover of west Beirut after the army revoked government moves against the Shiite group that sparked days of deadly fighting.

Adviser Barred From Detainee Case Over Bias Concerns 11 May 2008 The Pentagon's top legal adviser in the Office of Military Commissions was disqualified late last week from participating in the prosecution of a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by a Navy officer who ruled that the adviser exerted improper influence over a team of prosecutors and may have compromised the case's fairness. Capt. Keith J. Allred, who is presiding over hearings in preparation for the military's 'trial' of an alleged driver for Osama bin Laden, determined that Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann was too closely tied to prosecutors. In a 13-page ruling issued Friday, Allred found that Hartmann pressured prosecutors to present certain cases because they were "sexy," suggesting that factors other than a case's merits "were at play." He also found that Hartmann appeared to be pushing for prosecutors to use evidence derived by coercion, something Allred found to be "an effort to influence the professional judgment" of the prosecutors.

Judge Drops General From Trial of Detainee 10 May 2008 In a new blow to the Bush regime’s troubled military commission system, a military judge has disqualified a Pentagon general who has been centrally involved in overseeing Guantánamo war crimes tribunals from any role in the first case headed for 'trial.' The judge said the general was too closely aligned with the prosecution, raising questions about whether he could carry out his role with the required neutrality and objectivity. Military defense lawyers said that although the ruling was limited to one case, they expected the issue to be raised in other cases, potentially delaying prosecutions, including the death-penalty prosecution of six prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for the [Bush] Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. denies Khadr probe was halted prematurely 10 May 2008 The Pentagon disputes claims that political pressure prematurely halted an investigation into the alleged abuse of Omar Khadr when he was detained in Afghanistan. Pentagon spokesperson Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon said army investigators did not substantiate the allegations of harsh interrogations torture at the U.S. base in Bagram. Following a court hearing Thursday at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Khadr's military lawyer accused the government of a cover-up since the investigation appeared to stop in October 2006 – the same month U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush signed the military law under which Khadr is charged. Khadr was 15 when he was brought to the U.S. base camp at Bagram after he was captured in a firefight on July 27, 2002. He had been shot twice in the back by U.S. forces.

Guantanamo prisoners spead word to boycott trials 09 May 2008 The message travels among Guantanamo prisoners in whispers between recreation areas and shouts through slots in cell doors: Don't trust the Americans. Boycott. Guards call it the Detainee News Network, and it is now prompting inmates to turn their backs on their war-crimes 'trials' at this U.S. Naval station in southeast Cuba. Six prisoners currently at Guantanamo have appeared before a military judge, and five of those have joined the boycott, which is expected to spread as more suspected terrorists are arraigned.

U.S. looks set to offer Israel powerful new radar 10 May 2008 The Bush regime appears set to offer Israel a powerful radar system that could greatly boost Israeli defenses against enemy ballistic missiles while tying it directly into a growing U.S. missile shield.

Olmert defies calls to resign over bribe probe 09 May 2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert defied a barrage of calls to resign on Friday after he admitted taking cash from an American businessman at the centre of a police inquiry into allegations of bribery.

The mouse that roared --The line in the sand has been drawn on Georgia and NATO. Beware pushing the limits of Russia's patience too far, worries Eric Walberg 08 May 2008 While Georgians see themselves as part of Europe, "the whole history of Georgia is of Georgian kings writing to Western kings for help, or for understanding. And sometimes not even getting a response," said its thoroughly Westernised president, Mikheil Saakashvili, in a recent interview. "Not just being an isolated, faraway country, but part of something bigger."

Narrow escapes for CNN reporter in Myanmar 10 May 2008 A CNN reporter who left Myanmar Friday was chased by authorities as he reported on the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis but escaped primarily because of the incompetence of the people after him. Dan Rivers hid under a blanket at one police checkpoint and casually covered up his name on a passport to avoid detection another time.

U.S. (forgetting Katrina) "outraged" by Myanmar's response to cyclone By Lori Price 09 May 2008 'The United States expressed outrage on Thursday at the delays in allowing in aid.' Really? Well, I am outraged that they are outraged! This is the 'Pot-Kettle' moment of the decade. Heckova job, Brownie Burma! [The item is 'Diggable' now, please click so that the media finally reports on this outrageous Bush hypocrisy!]

McCain hit with lobbyist scandal 11 May 2008 The McCain-picked leader of the Republican national convention has resigned after a report revealed his lobbying ties with Myanmar. Doug Goodyear, chief executive of the lobbying firm DCI Group, resigned a few hours after Newsweek revealed on Saturday that his company was paid to represent Myanmar's junta in 2002 and 2003. DCI has reportedly been a pioneer in running 'independent' expenditure campaigns by so-called 527 groups. Senator McCain supposedly denounces this kind of operations.

Leader of GOP convention quits after Myanmar ties reported 10 May 2008 The man picked by the John McCain campaign to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned Saturday after a report that his lobbying firm used to represent the military regime in Myanmar. Doug Goodyear resigned as convention coordinator.

McCain's Convention Chair Worked for Burma's Military Junta 10 May 2008 John McCain's campaign recently tapped Doug Goodyear manage this summer's GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn. Goodyear is CEO of DCI Group, a consulting firm that earned $3 million last year lobbying for ExxonMobil, General Motors and other clients. Potentially more problematic: the firm was paid $348,000 in 2002 to represent Burma's military junta, which had been strongly condemned by the State Department for its human-rights record and remains in power today. Justice Department lobbying records show DCI pushed to "begin a dialogue of political reconciliation" with the regime. It also led a PR campaign to burnish the junta's image, drafting releases praising Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing "falsehoods" by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses.

McCain to Me in 1999: Bush "As Dumb as a Stump" By Al Meyerhoff 10 May 2008 Over the Fourth of July weekend of 1999, I had the good fortune to accompany my then fiancée (and now happily my wife) to the McCain vacation home in Sedona where she was interviewing them for a Home and Garden Television show. ...[A]s McCain flipped burgers, I could not help but ask his views about then candidate George W. Bush. "He's as dumb as a stump," McCain offered. We then went on to discuss other matters (including Vietnam) but that quote remains seared in my memory. So how the McCains actually voted that November is between them and their voting booth. But if John McCain did end up voting for Bush, then by his own admission he voted for a stump.

Obama Launches 50-State Voter Registration Drive 10 May 2008 Sen. Barack Obama may not yet be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, but Saturday morning his campaign launched in more than 100 other locations across the country a national voter registration drive intended to transform the electorate - or at least register more Democrats -- in advance of November's general 'election.'

Obama Overtakes Clinton in Race for Superdelegate Endorsements 11 May 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama won endorsements from five superdelegates yesterday, erasing rival Hillary Clinton's long-held lead in backing from party officials and lawmakers.

E-Mails Show Derogatory Banter at Secret Service 10 May 2008 Secret Service supervisors shared crude sexual jokes and engaged in racially derogatory banter about blacks, and passed around an anecdote about a possible assassination of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, according to internal e-mail disclosed in a federal court filing on Friday by lawyers for black Secret Service agents. The messages were written mainly from 2003 through 2005, and were sent to and from e-mail accounts of at least 20 Secret Service supervisors. Eric Zahren, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said that an internal inquiry had been opened and that the inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service, had been alerted.

Federal regulators close Arkansas bank ANB Financial 09 May 2008 Federal regulators says they've closed ANB Financial National Association banks after discovering "unsafe and unsound" business practices there. David Barr, a spokesman for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says many customers served by the bank's nine locations had accounts under $100,000, which will be fully insured by the government.

U.S. Naval medical lab 'not transparent' in its operations: Indonesia health minister --'We don't know what happened to the [bird flu] viruses that we sent.' 07 May 2008 Indonesia is trying to defend the interests of poorer nations by refusing to share bird flu samples with the West and is locked in a cultural misunderstanding over the issue, Jakarta's health minister said on Wednesday. Siti Fadillah Supari also said in an interview that a U.S. naval medical lab based in Indonesia for research into tropical diseases was barely benefiting its host country and was not being transparent in its operations... The minister said the U.S. U.S. naval lab in Jakarta had been receiving virus samples from across Indonesia, but that had been stopped. "We don't know what happened to the viruses that we sent," she said, adding the U.S. lab had also received samples from Indonesian soldiers deployed in Papua.

Swan tests positive for bird flu 10 May 2008 Japanese officials are worried that the H5N1 bird flu virus may be spreading among wild birds in the north after the body of a swan tested positive for the disease, the third case in recent weeks. No poultry have been affected so far, said Shigeki Oda, a farm official in the northern island of Hokkaido.

San Francisco to Test Drinking Water Security System 09 May 2008 Improving the security of U.S. drinking water systems has gathered urgency since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an $8 million grant to San Francisco to help the city develop and evaluate a contamination warning system for its drinking water supply.

$423 Million Settlement Reached in Groundwater Contamination Lawsuit Against Oil Behemoths 08 May 2008 Weitz & Luxenberg P.C. has secured a landmark settlement against some of the country's biggest oil companies, which have agreed to pay $423 million in a suit involving the contamination of 153 public water systems nationally. The MTBE litigation, brought by Weitz & Luxenberg and Baron & Budd, addressed the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE.

Bush Sets New Record in Refusing to Protect Endangered Species --Polar Bear Decision Looms 09 May 2008 Today marks two years since the Department of the Interior last protected a new U.S. species under the Endangered Species Act. "The Bush administration has been an unmitigated disaster for the nation’s endangered species, delaying and denying protection for hundreds of animals and plants," said Noah Greenwald, science director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Kalluk the polar bear looks a little blue 09 May 2008 Zookeepers at San Diego Zoo have painted the seven-year-old and his favourite toy, a burlap doll, a light shade of blue as part of the zoo's annual Bear Awareness Days. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the plight of the world's bears and the threats they face from climate change and rising sea levels. Unfazed by his new look, Kalluk spent the morning playing in his enclosure before falling asleep on his new blue friend.

18 reported dead in Missouri, Oklahoma tornadoes 11 May 2008 At least 18 people were killed on Saturday in Missouri and Oklahoma after tornadoes swept through the area, authorities in the two states said. There were at least 12 storm-related deaths in Missouri, 10 of those in Newton County on the border with Oklahoma, according to Susie Stonner of the Missouri Emergency Management Agency.

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Military stops cremating troops by contractor that also handles pets --A Pentagon Delaware cremation contractor, Torbert Funeral Home, incinerated both soldiers and animals 09 May 2008 The U.S. military will no longer cremate troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan at a Dover facility that also cremates pets, the Pentagon announced Friday evening at a hastily planned new conference. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made the decision Friday after a soldier who works at the Pentagon informed the department that a crematory contracted by the department also incinerated animals.

U.S. makes changes to cremations for slain troops 09 May 2008 The Pentagon ordered changes to procedures for the cremation of slain troops after concerns emerged about the military's use [hiring of a contractor] of a crematorium that burns both human and animal remains, officials said on Friday. The crematorium in question was used by the mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where the bodies of troops killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and other overseas locations are returned to the United States, officials said.

Iraq Plans $1 Billion 'Zone of Influence' Near U.S. Embassy In Baghdad 08 May 2008 Marriott International is considering opening a hotel in Baghdad's Green Zone, in response to a request from U.S. government officials who want to help Iraq revive its economy through foreign investments and economic activities. Baghdad authorities have approached other hotel operators aside from Marriott, but Iraq wants to maximize its links with the Bush administration since Bill Marriott chairs the U.S. Export Council. Even before Marriott has confirmed its interest, a license for a hotel construction has already been issued by Baghdad, said Paul Brinkley, deputy defense undersecretary for business transformation.

Rehired KBR driver in Iraq caught with child porn -- again 09 May 2008 A former bus driver for Iraq war contractor KBR Inc. who was fired in 2006 for possessing child pornography got rehired less than a year later, and has again been caught with a large collection of child porn, according to prosecutors. Ira L. Waltrip of Lampasas, Texas, who had been working for KBR at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, was charged this week in U.S. District Court with possessing child pornography. [See: Iraqis allege sex abuse at the British Embassy 08 May 2008; KBR's Rape Problem By Karen Houppert 17 Apr 2008; KBR's Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.'s, Despite Alert 04 May 2008; KBR awarded $385M Homeland Security contract for U.S. detention centers 24 Jan 2006; Memo: Halliburton failed to purify GIs' water 16 Mar 2006; Contractor served troops dirty food in dirty kitchens 14 Dec 2003. Gee, it all kinda makes you want to stand up and cheer for Muqtada al-Sadr, doesn't it?]

Blackwater unlikely to face charges in Iraq shooting 09 May Blackwater Worldwide, the security contractor mercenaries blamed by an angry Iraqi government for the shooting deaths of 17 civilians, is not expected to face criminal charges -- all but ensuring the company will keep its multimillion-dollar contract to protect U.S. diplomats.

Iraqi military orders Sadr City residents to evacuate 08 May 2008 Iraqi security forces on Thursday told residents to evacuate their homes in the northeast Shiite Sadr City and to move to temporary shelters on two soccer fields. The military's call indicated the possibility of stepped-up military operations and came as Iraqi security forces raided a radio station run by backers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

Iraq: Running Out of Water in Rising Heat 09 May 2008 Water supply is drying out in what was once the agriculturally rich Diyala province north of Baghdad. Baquba, the capital city of Diyala, is now running out of water both for drinking and for irrigation. Water supply has been hit by power failures. The central pumping station has been running short of electricity supply over the last two years.

Armor added to Iraq vehicles as roadside bombs surge 09 May 2008 The U.S. military is reinforcing the sides of its topline mine-resistant vehicles to shore up what could be weak points as troops see a spike in armor-piercing roadside bombings across Iraq, The Associated Press has learned.

A Secret Afghanistan Mission Prepares for War with Iran By William M. Arkin 09 May 2008 Those predicting war with Iran or some Bush-Cheney October surprise attack on Tehran are constantly looking for signs of military preparations: a B-52 bomber that mistakenly takes off from North Dakota with nuclear-armed cruise missiles; a second or third aircraft carrier entering the Persian Gulf; a B-1 crashing in Qatar. Since the most likely path to war with Iran is not Marines storming the beach but a strike on nuclear facilities and "regime" targets, signs such as these can often just be mirages. The true strike is not necessarily going to come with any warning, and the U.S. military has developed an entire system called "global strike" to implement such a preemptive strike.

US military denies Iraq report of al-Qaida arrest 09 May 2008 The U.S. military on Friday denied Iraqi government claims that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was captured and said a man with a similar name [LOL!] had been arrested in the northern city of Mosul. Iraqi authorities had announced Thursday that police commandos captured Abu Ayyub al-Masri in a raid in the northern city of Mosul.

US missile strike kills 11 in Somalia 09 May 2008 U.S. missiles destroyed the house of the man identified by the U.S. military as the [Wait for the punchline... wait...here it comes:] top al-Qaida commander in Somalia, killing him and 10 others Thursday in a pre-dawn attack that analysts warned could torpedo peace talks. [LOL! So many 'top al-Qaeda leaders in ___,' so little time.]

US judge orders CIA to turn over 'torture' memo-ACLU 08 May 2008 A U.S. judge ordered the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday to submit to the court a 2002 memo said to specify harsh interrogation methods used on suspected terrorists held abroad. The American Civil Liberties Union said the memo was written by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel and sent to the CIA in August 2002. The ACLU described the memo as "one of the most important torture documents still being withheld by the Bush administration."

Plame seeks to resurrect suit in CIA leak case 09 May 2008 Valerie Plame is trying to resurrect a lawsuit against those in the Bush administration she says illegally outed her as a CIA operative in 2003. Plame says her CIA cover was blown as retribution for her husband's criticism of the Iraq war. A federal judge dismissed Plame's lawsuit last year on procedural grounds. Her lawyers asked a federal appeals court Friday to force the judge to consider the merits of the case.

Report Urges Greater US Response to 'Terrorist Ideology' on Internet 08 May 2008 A U.S. Senate panel has released a report concluding that terrorist groups have stepped up their appeals to English-speaking audiences, including those in the United States. The report, warning that such appeals could foment homegrown terrorism, is urging the U.S. government to do more to isolate and discredit the violent extremist ideology. Joe LieberBush (R-Israel), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said terrorists have become sophisticated in their communications abilities. [He should know.]

FBI seeking records of 2004 Condoleeza Rice ethics probe 07 May 2008 FBI agents investigating government watchdog Scott Bloch have subpoenaed any records that would reveal whether concerns about the 2004 elections prompted him to clear Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice of ethics violations. Bloch, the U.S. special counsel who investigates federal employee whistleblower complaints, found no merit to allegations that Rice, then President [sic] Bush's national security adviser, timed some of her trips to boost Bush's 2004 re[s]election campaign.

Senate wrangling kills airline safety bill on procedural vote 09 May 2008 The Senate grounded the airline safety bill this week, a victim of political infighting and partisan wrangling. "The most frustrating week I have spent in the Senate in my 24 years here," Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, who led the fight for the bill, said on the Senate floor. The only vote taken was a 49-42, nearly party-line procedural step to end debate and bring the airline safety bill to a vote. But the largely Democratic backers needed 60 votes to be successful.

Obama picks up 9 superdelegates, union endorsement 09 May 2008 Barack Obama all but erased Hillary Clinton's once-imposing lead among national convention superdelegates on Friday and won fresh labor backing as elements of the Democratic Party began coalescing around the Illinois senator for the fall campaign.

In Oregon, Clinton hits Obama while he targets McCain 09 May 2008 Campaigning a few miles from each other Friday, Barack Obama trained his eye on November and the GOP, while Hillary Clinton battled for her political life, trying to hang on a bit longer in hopes of denying him the Democratic presidential nomination.

Monsanto, Cargill, ADM make billions on growing [created] global food crisis --Speculators blamed for driving up price of basic foods as 100 million face severe hunger 04 May 2008 Giant agribusinesses are enjoying soaring earnings and profits out of the world food crisis which is driving millions of people towards starvation, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. Monsanto last month reported that its net income for the three months up to the end of February this year had more than doubled over the same period in 2007, from $543m (£275m) to $1.12bn. Its profits increased from $1.44bn to $2.22bn. Cargill's net earnings soared by 86 per cent from $553m to $1.030bn over the same three months. And Archer Daniels Midland increased its net earnings by 42 per cent in the first three months of this year from $363m to $517m.

Oil over $126, new peak for 5th straight day 09 May 2008 Oil prices leapt to a new peak of more than $126 a barrel on Friday, hitting a record for the fifth straight session. U.S. crude for June delivery rose $1.87 to $125.56 by 1335 GMT, off a record high of $126.20 a barrel. London Brent crude rose $2.81 to $125.65 per barrel.

Barely surviving by using their credit cards 09 May 2008 Finding themselves strapped for cash and unable to use their home as an ATM, Americans are increasingly turning to credit cards to cover gas, groceries and other living expenses. [Consumers] spent $335 on groceries and $242 on gas, on average, in April. A year earlier, those outlays averaged only $291 and $181, respectively.

Train Death and Series of Illnesses Unrelated Says Chief Medical Officer of Health 09 May 2008 What initially looked to be a frightening infectious disease outbreak that led to the death of one woman aboard a Via Rail train turned out to be a remarkable series of unconnected coincidences [?!?], Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, explained during a Friday afternoon press conference.

One dead and 280 quarantined on Canadian train 09 May 2008 One person died and about 280 were placed in quarantine aboard a cross-Canada train on Friday after a mystery illness caused violent flu-like symptoms. Police spokesman Marc Depatie told CTV television that seven passengers who boarded the VIA Rail train in the Rocky Mountain resort of Jasper, Alberta, had fallen ill, and one had died. Another passenger had been airlifted to hospital.

Great Dane makes a deer friend 07 May 2008 Doe-eyed Cindy would have been left all alone in the world were it not for the strong paternal instincts of a Great Dane, who is as protective of her as he is his puppies. Staff at the Secret World Animal Rescue Centre in Highbridge, Somerset, have been caring for Cindy since she was found close to death when she was days old. The 9st dog [Rocky] towers over his spotted companion, who he gently nuzzles and accompanies on daily walks, ever watchful.

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Marines ignore Afghan poppy fields, assure locals plants won't be touched --'Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation.' 06 May 2008 Last week, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into southern Helmand province, the world's largest opium poppy-growing region [thanks to Bush], and now find themselves surrounded by green fields of the illegal plants that produce the main ingredient of heroin. The Marines are not destroying the plants. In fact, they are reassuring villagers the poppies won't be touched. American commanders say the Marines would only alienate people and drive them to take up arms if they eliminated the impoverished Afghans' only source of income.

Who benefits from the Afghan Opium Trade? By Michel Chossudovsky 21 Sep 2006 The United Nations has announced that opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has soared and is expected to increase by 59% in 2006... The Western media in chorus blame the Taliban and the warlords. The Bush administration is said to be committed to curbing the Afghan drug trade... Yet in a bitter irony, US military presence has served to restore rather than eradicate the drug trade. What the reports fail to acknowledge is that the Taliban government was instrumental in implementing a successful drug eradication program, with the support and collaboration of the UN. Implemented in 2000-2001, the Taliban's drug eradication program led to a 94 percent decline in opium cultivation. In 2001, according to UN figures, opium production had fallen to 185 tons. Immediately following the October 2001 US led invasion, production increased dramatically, regaining its historical levels.

Congress to pass Iraq war funds by end of May: Pelosi --DemocRATs to give Bush $162.5 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through mid-2009. 08 May 2008 The U.S. Congress will send President [sic] George W. Bush a bill by the end of this month to pay for the war in Iraq through next year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday. The legislation, which would give Bush $162.5 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through mid-2009, had been scheduled for debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday.

U.S. deploys more than 43,000 unfit for combat 08 May 2008 More than 43,000 U.S. troops listed as medically unfit for combat in the weeks before their scheduled deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003 were sent anyway, Pentagon records show. This reliance on troops found medically "non-deployable" is another sign of stress placed on a military that has sent 1.6 million servicemembers to the war zones, soldier advocacy groups say.

Baghdad stadium to 'shelter' Iraqis fleeing Sadr City danger [Yeah, that worked out *so well* in New Orleans.] 08 May 2008 A top official in Baghdad said the capital's biggest stadium is one of three locations being prepared for residents fleeing Baghdad's Sadr City, where Iraqi and U.S. forces have been fighting Shiite militants for weeks. Tahseen al-Sheikhly, the civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security 'plan,' said gangs are trying to generate hatred of security forces by distributing a "fabricated" video of coalition forces assaulting a woman.

'Some KBR managers groped Iraqi staff regularly, paid or otherwise rewarded them for sex and dismissed those who refused or spoke out.' Iraqis allege sex abuse at the British Embassy 08 May 2008 An Iraqi cleaner and two cooks claim that a culture of sexual harassment, abuse and bullying exists at the British Embassy in Baghdad. The middle-aged cleaner told The Times that a British contractor with KBR, the company hired to maintain the embassy’s premises, offered to double her daily pay if she would stay the night with him. When she refused, she said, her pay was cut and she was later dismissed. The Iraqis accuse the embassy of leaving the abuse unchallenged and failing adequately to respond to complaints against several British managers for KBR. The company was allowed to conduct its own inquiry, an arrangement criticised as a very serious conflict of interest.

At least 16 dead in Iraq blasts, clashes 08 May 2008 A car bomb killed seven people and injured 19 in the Iraqi capital on Thursday, shortly after two rockets slammed into the city centre, killing two civilians, police said. Three policemen and four civilians were killed by the car bomb in the Mansur neighbourhood of west Baghdad, a police official said, adding that two policemen were among the wounded, apart from two women and a child.

Al-Qaida in Iraq leader arrested 08 May 2008 Defense Ministry spokesman says al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Iraq leader has been arrested. [Does that mean he goes off the Blackwater payroll?] Mohammed al-Askari said the arrest of al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, was confirmed to him by the Iraqi commander of the province. There was no immediate confirmation or comment from U.S. forces.

Guantanamo judge threatens to halt Canadian case 08 May 2008 A Guantanamo war kangaroo court judge threatened on Thursday to halt the case of a Canadian terrorism suspect captured at age 15 if the U.S. government fails to turn over records of his detention. The judge, Army Col. Peter Brownback, ordered prosecutors to give a classified daily prison-camp log to the military attorney for Omar Khadr, who is now 21 and facing trial on charges of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in 2002.

Israeli PM Olmert says he'll resign if indicted 08 May 2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, responding to fresh accusations that he illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a U.S. citizen, on Thursday said he will step down if he is indicted. Olmert said he never took illegal campaign contributions, denying allegations in a police investigation against him. According to police suspicions, Olmert accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions from a U.S. citizen, Morris "Moshe" Talansky.

Olmert suspected of receiving massive amounts in illicit funds from U.S. businessman 09 May 2008 Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is suspected of illicitly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from Morris (Moshe) Talansky, according to the details of an investigation currently being carried out against him. At the request of police and judicial officials, the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Thursday relaxed a sweeping media gag order that has prevented the reporting of details on the probe.

4th Fleet returns, gunning for drug smugglers 26 Apr 2008 Almost 60 years after closing shop, the Navy’s 4th Fleet, which oversaw the hunt for German subs in the South Atlantic, is coming back. Only this time, the prey is drug runners [?] in the Caribbean. The Navy announced April 24 the re-establishment of 4th Fleet, to be based at Naval Station Mayport, Fla. The command will operate as the naval component of U.S. Southern Command and will have a SEAL at the helm.

Air Force Spy Drone Vanishes In Central Fla. 08 May 2008 U.S. Air Force officials were searching for a unmanned spy air craft [UAV Raven] that vanished in the Marion County sky Tuesday.

Feds Practice Evacuation From D.C. to Test 'Continuity of Government' --In Big National Drill, Executive Branch 'Runs' Government From Outside D.C. as Mock Crises Mount 08 May 2008 A national disaster exercise that began last week involves the evacuation of thousands of federal personnel from Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported [Buried in the 'Metro' section, Page B08]. In National Exercise 2-08, which continues through Saturday, [Bush bin Laden's] terrorists release a poisonous gas from a tanker in Washington state while Oregon authorities must handle the unintentional escape of nerve agent from the Umatilla Chemical Depot. Meanwhile, the capital region is faced with a terrorist threat and a major hurricane making its way up the East Coast. Over three days this week, the federal government is using cars and helicopters to move large numbers of employees to temporary sites in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. The drill is intended to test the ability to maintain "continuity of government" in the face of a crisis. This is among the largest such drills since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said. President [sic] George W. Bush was not expected to be among the evacuees, but some White House personnel would be sent out of town, said spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Cheney aide subpoenaed to testify to Congress 07 May 2008 U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's chief of staff was subpoenaed on Wednesday to testiLIE in a congressional probe of the administration's treatment and possible torture of enemy combatants. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) issued the subpoena to David Addington a day after it was authorized by a House panel.

Federal agents raid offices of OSC head in probe of alleged evidence destruction 07 May 2008 Agents from the White House Office of Personnel Management and the FBI Tuesday searched the home and office of US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) head Scott J. Bloch as part of an investigation into a 2005 complaint filed by current and former OSC employees. The complaint alleged that Bloch had intimidated or forcibly transferred employees who disagreed with his policies, including the halting of investigations into complaints by federal employees of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Federal agents Tuesday were reportedly investigating claims that Bloch had destroyed evidence that might have supported the allegations.

BREAKING, but not surprising: Senate Ethics Committee dismissed Ethics Complaint against Senator Vitter By crew 08 May 2008 The Senate Ethics Committee did what it does best today -- NOTHING. Today, CREW received a response to the ethics complaint we filed against Senator Vitter last year. It was dismissed "without prejudice."

Police will harass yobs in new plan to tackle antisocial behaviour 08 May 2008 Thousands of yobs are to be photographed and videoed in big-brother style police operations to tackle persistent antisocial behaviour, the Home Secretary announced today. Suspects will be "harassed" by officers visiting them day and night and issued with repeated warnings about their behaviour under the drive to deal with a hard core of offenders who persist with yobbish behaviour on estates.

Police should harass young thugs - Smith --Home secretary wants antisocial youths to be openly filmed and hounded at home 08 May 2008 Police should be harassing badly behaved youths by openly filming them and hounding them at home to make their lives as uncomfortable as possible, the home secretary will say today. As part of the crackdown on bad behaviour, Jacqui Smith will urge police forces across the country to follow the example of Essex police, who have mounted four-day "frame and shame" operations by filming and repeatedly stopping identified persistent offenders on problem estates.

New York protest results in 200 arrests 08 May 2008 200 people have been arrested in New York after a large protest against last month's acquittal of three policemen who killed an unarmed black man. Police said the arrested people were praying and blocking roads.

Bill Targets Oil Firms and OPEC --Democrats Would Levy Windfall Tax 08 May 2008 Democratic leaders in Congress unveiled energy legislation yesterday targeting big oil companies and members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The package drew sharp criticism from Republicans, oil firms and foreign policy experts. The legislation, dubbed the Consumers First Energy Act, features a 25 percent windfall profits tax on oil companies operating in the United States, a rollback of existing tax breaks for oil and gas companies worth $17 billion over 10 years, and an authorization for the U.S. attorney general to bring price collusion charges against OPEC members.

Monsanto enters partnership to make biofuel from grass 29 Apr 2008 Mendel Biotechnology Inc. is getting lessons from an agricultural master [terrorists], Monsanto Co. of Creve Coeur, in developing a grass crop for use in producing biofuel. The companies said Monday that Monsanto will lend its crop-testing, breeding and seed-production expertise to the Bioenergy Seeds & Feedstocks unit of Mendel, based in Hayward, Calif.

Republicans Focus on Obama as Fall Opponent 08 May 2008 At least one political party is acting like it knows who the Democratic nominee will be: the Republicans, who have greatly stepped up their criticisms of Senator Barack Obama in recent weeks while practically ignoring Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Obama gets big welcome, fresh support on Capitol tour 08 May 2008 Sen. Barack Obama got a front-runner's welcome back at the Capitol Thursday, pressing congressional "superdelegates" to support him in a visit that had the look and feel of a campaign victory lap. On the House floor, he was quickly surrounded by well-wishers calling him, "Mr. President" and reaching out to pat him on the back or shake his hand. The glad-handers included a few Republicans and supporters of his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama Stops By U.S. Capitol ... Just To Say "Hello" 08 May 2008 Sen. Barack Obama stepped into a swarm of superdelegates this morning when he visited the House of Representatives in the middle of a vote. Obama stayed on the floor for almost half an hour visiting with both Democrats and Republicans who looked completely star struck. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi left her weekly press briefing and made a beeline for the House floor to say hello.

Clinton makes case for wide appeal 08 May 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters -- including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests. "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY.

MSNBC's Russert: 'We Now Know Who the Nominee Will Be' 07 May 2008 (video) [Top GOP whore, Timmy Russert, decides/announces the outcome of the Democratic race for president. --LRP]

Dear Timmy By Taylor Marsh 07 May 2008 You loud mouthed, self-important, elitist, John McCain pimping, pile on artist, anti feminist, misogynistic, ego driven, over paid, hack, blow hard, Clinton hating, so 20th century male, mind numbing pontificator, against all things Democratic jackass. Who elected you to anything? Whose place is it to announce we have a nominee when neither candidate has enough delegates? I'll tell you who: no one... It's also embarrassing to see a grown man get paid all that money to make an ass out of himself every day, but especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton. Don't think for a second we don't know your real game. It's been obvious for a very long time.

U.S. "outraged" by Myanmar's response to cyclone [Burma's response is the same as the Bush junta's! Bush kept international aid out of New Orleans after 'Hurricane Katrina' (blown levies?) so that he could bring in KBR and Blackwater and kill as many poor people and minorities as possible.] 08 May 2008 The United Nations estimates 1.5 million people have been "severely affected" by the cyclone that swept through Myanmar and the United States expressed outrage on Thursday at the delays in allowing in aid. "We're outraged by the slowness of the response of the government of Burma (Myanmar) to welcome and accept assistance," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Zalmay Khalilzad, told reporters. "It's clear that the government's ability to deal with the situation, which is catastrophic, is limited." ['The United States expressed outrage on Thursday at the delays in allowing in aid.' Really? Well, I am outraged that they are outraged! This is the 'Pot-Kettle' moment of the decade. Heckova job, Brownie Burma! --Lori Price]

Katrina: Authorities bar Red Cross from NOLA; Blackwater gets carte blanche By Xeni Jardin 09 Sep 2005 Armed with assault rifles, contractors from private security firm Blackwater are patrolling the black-water-flooded streets of New Orleans. Meanwhile, unarmed Red Cross workers toting food and medicine have been unable to enter the city for days... Richard Steven Hack says: The reason the Red Cross is not allowed in, according to the Red Cross Web site, is that the authorities believe their presence would invite people to return to the city. Since it would seem the goal of this project is to demolish the city, then dun the former inhabitants for the demolition costs, then seize the property for nonpayment, then auction it off for pennies to Bush cronies and then give Halliburton billions to rebuild it for corporations and whites only, I'd say that policy fits right in.

'Giant wave dragged everything into the sea' 08 May 2008 Haunted survivors emerging from the devastation of Burma's ravaged southwest say entire families were wiped out when Cyclone Nargis cut its deadly path through the region. A Burma military official today said an estimated 80,000 people had died in the remote Labutta district, with dozens of the 63 villages surrounding Labutta township wiped out.

'Last year's cubs may not have survived very well.' Deadline for endangered listing looms, polar bear plight continues --Sometime between now and next Thursday the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to announce whether polar bears should be placed on the endangered species list. 06 May 2008 A research project in the Beaufort Sea is uncovering some surprising new details about Alaska's polar bear population. The findings of the U.S. Geological Survey show polar bear cubs and their habitat could be dwindling. Researchers say they've found precious few polar bear cubs this spring. They could be falling victim to melting sea ice. [See: Last chance to save polar bears 06 May 2008.]

Platypus proves even odder than scientists thought 08 May 2008 The duck-billed platypus has finally given up its evolutionary secrets. The creature, considered one of the strangest mammals in the world, has become the latest to have its genetic code sequenced, revealing it to be a bizarre mix of mammal, bird and reptile, with very complex sexuality. While humans have two sex chromosomes, the X and Y, the platypus has 10, with five of each kind.

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Democrats in US Congress Prepare Iraq-Afghanistan Funding Measure --Majority Democrats are preparing for a possible vote on legislation to fund war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. 06 May 2008 The debate, which could take place on Thursday, involves the bulk of the money President [sic] Bush requested last year for Iraq and Afghanistan, including funds to help the Pentagon [Blackwater, KBR] get through the early months of 2009.

US Accuses Iran of Interfering in Afghanistan --A senior U.S. official says Iran is interfering in Afghanistan's politics and lending support to the Taliban 'insurgency.' 06 May 2008 Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher says Iran is known to have funneled weapons to the Taliban on several occasions, and suggests Tehran wants a weak and unstable Afghanistan.

Israel: Iran could have nukes by '09 07 May 2008 With Iran racing forward with its nuclear program, Israel now believes the Islamic Republic will master centrifuge technology and be able to begin enriching uranium on a military scale this year, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The new assessment moves up Israel's forecasts on Teheran's nuclear program by almost a full year - from 2009 to the end of 2008. [Yup, just in time for the US 'elections.']

John Bolton: US should bomb Iranian camps 06 May 2008 John Bolton, America’s ex-ambassador to the United Nations, has called for US air strikes on Iranian camps where 'insurgents' are trained for war in Iraq. Mr Bolton said that striking Iran would represent a major step towards victory in Iraq.

Iran's ambassador meets Iraqi president 07 May 2008 Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Qazemi-Qomi and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani held talks on Tuesday. According to a report released by Talabani’s office, the two sides discussed issues of mutual interest and ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

Lawyers for Guantánamo Prisoners Accuse U.S. of Eavesdropping 07 May 2008 In interviews and a court filing Tuesday, lawyers for prisoners at Guantánamo said they believed government agents had monitored their conversations. The assertions are the most specific to date by Guantánamo lawyers that officials may be violating legal principles that have generally kept government agents from eavesdropping on lawyers.

Canadian becomes first child soldier since Nuremberg to stand trial for war crimes 07 May 2008 An inmate at the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba is set to be the first child soldier to go on trial for war crimes since Nuremberg, after a military judge ruled that there were no legal obstacles preventing the camp's special military tribunals from prosecuting him. Omar Khadr, a Canadian national, was 15 at the time of his alleged crimes. His defence team said his age should see him treated as a victim and rehabilitated, rather than prosecuted as a war criminal.

The ordeal of Al-Jazeera cameraman 07 May 2008 After six and a half years of imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay military prison, Al-Jazeera cameraman, Sami Al-Hajj, was released on May 2, 2008 in a very bad shape... Al-Hajj’s case symbolizes the policy of torture and human rights violation of the Bush Administration. His detention may be described as political since the U.S. interrogators focused almost exclusively on obtaining intelligence on Al-Jazeera and its staff. At one point, U.S. officials reportedly told Al-Hajj that he would be released if he agreed to inform U.S. intelligence authorities about the satellite network’s activities. Al-Hajj refused. From his hospital bed in Khartoum, now a free man, he told Al-Jazeera TV that "rats are treated with more humanity", than the Guantanamo inmates, whose "human dignity was violated."

Anti-government protests paralyse Lebanese capital 07 May 2008 Anti-government protesters blocked roads with blazing tyres in the Lebanese capital and disrupted air traffic during a strike over wages on Wednesday that escalated into a confrontation between rival political camps. Anti-riot police and the army were out in full force, cutting off access to many areas to prevent clashes between supporters of the Hezbollah-led opposition and the Western-backed government.

Gorbachev: US could start new Cold War 07 May 2008 Mikhail Gorbachev has accused the United States of mounting an imperialist conspiracy against Russia that could push the world into a new Cold War. With Dmitry Medvedev due to be inaugurated today as Russian president, the Soviet Union's last leader said that the White House's claims of peaceful intentions towards its former superpower rival could no longer be trusted.

Clinton pushes ahead with White House bid 07 May 2008 A tenacious Hillary Clinton pushed ahead with her White House bid Wednesday, revealing that she lent her cash-strapped campaign $6.4 million while vowing to seek the nomination at the ballot box and through Democratic Party channels. Clinton met with fresh pressure to bow out of the race. Former Sen. George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee who had backed her candidacy, urged her to get out on Wednesday and said he had decided to endorse Barack Obama.

Clinton: seeking to become first woman U.S. president 07 May 2008 Hillary Clinton's narrow win in Indiana kept alive the White House hopes of a woman who has been both admired and reviled as she took on her own political battles after decades fighting for her husband.

Clinton loans her campaign $6.4 million: source 07 May 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton loaned her campaign $6.4 million from her own pocket in the past month, a campaign source said on Wednesday.

Clinton wins Indiana nail-biter 07 May 2008 Hillary Clinton has narrowly won the Democratic presidential primary in Indiana, eking out a two-point victory after a protracted vote count.

Obama Announces 3 Superdelegates 07 May 2008 From this point forward in the Democratic presidential nominating contest, the fight between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will be boiled down to a day-by-day accounting of superdelegates. Today, the Obama campaign is announcing three new superdelegates: Jerry Meek, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, Jeanette Council, a member of the D.N.C. from North Carolina and Inola Henry, a member of the D.N.C. from California.

N.C. Voter Turnout Shatters Record 07 May 2008 North Carolina's primary has shattered voter turnout records. More than 2.1 million people cast a ballot in Tuesday's election, and most voted in the Democratic primary that featured the historic race for the White House.

Obama campaign rebounds with win in North Carolina primary 07 May 2008 Barack Obama scored a crucial win over Hillary Clinton Tuesday in the North Carolina Democratic primary, regaining his footing after weeks of setbacks and moving closer to becoming the first black presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party.

Bill Clinton shakes hands, leaves for Indiana 06 May 2008 Closing a wild week in which he visited about 20 towns and cities in North Carolina, former President Bill Clinton shook hands with voters at the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham on Thursday afternoon before heading to Indiana... Michael Rectenwald, an English professor at North Carolina Central University, was one of the loudest Hillary Clinton supporters. After Bill Clinton went through the handshake line once, he came back to Rectenwald and talked for a minute.

Nuns with dated ID turned away at Ind. polls --Women, all in their 80's, 90's, showed up with old passports 06 May 2008 About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn't have state or federal identification bearing a photograph. Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary's Convent in South Bend because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote. The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn't get one but came to the precinct anyway.

McCain seeks to quash fears on the right [Right, he want to assure them he's another Reichwing whackjob like Bush - no worries; he is.] John McCain promised on Tuesday to nominate conservative judges more Nazis to the Supreme Court and for other judicial vacancies, seeking to quash doubts among some Republicans about his conservative credentials.

McCain vows to name more 'Alitos' and 'Robertses' 06 May 2008 John McSociopath sought to burnish his conservative credentials Tuesday with a broadside against "the common and systematic abuse of our federal courts by the people we entrust with judicial power" and a promise of "better judges" in the mold of Supreme Court Justices John G. Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Summit County judge orders Taser references deleted from medical examiner's rulings 03 May 2008 (OH) Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler must delete any reference that Tasers contributed to the deaths of three men, a Summit County Common Pleas judge ordered Friday. The deaths of Dennis Hyde and Richard Holcomb, who were [allegedly] on drugs... when police shot them with Tasers, should be ruled accidental, visiting Judge Ted Schneiderman wrote in his ruling. Any reference to homicide or "electrical pulse stimulation" should be deleted from death certificates and autopsy reports, he said. The order to change the ruling in the death of the third man, Mark McCullaugh, could be more far-reaching.

FBI Withdraws Unconstitutional National Security Letter After ACLU and EFF Challenge (eff.org) 07 May 2008 The FBI has withdrawn an unconstitutional national security letter (NSL) issued to the Internet Archive after a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). As the result of a settlement agreement, the FBI withdrew the NSL and agreed to the unsealing of the case, finally allowing the Archive's founder to speak out for the first time about his battle against the record demand.

Government wiretaps--the ones we know about--up 20% for 2007 By Nate Anderson 04 May 2008 The US last week released its 2007 wiretapping stats, and they show that such surveillance is up a full 20 percent over the year before. The number of non-secret wiretaps is higher than it has ever been in the last decade, and not a single application was denied in all of 2007.

Burger With a Side of Spies By Eric Schlosser 07 May 2008 ...[T]he Burger King Corporation, home of the Whopper, hired a private security firm to spy on the Student/Farmworker Alliance, a group of idealistic college students trying to improve the lives of migrants in Florida... The Bill of Rights was adopted to protect Americans from the abusive power of their government. I’ve come to believe that we now need a similar set of restrictions to defend against irresponsible corporate power. Today companies like Wal-Mart and ExxonMobil have annual revenues larger than the entire budgets of some states, and they employ former agents from the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and the Secret Service to do security work.

Suspect attack: 15 officers off street 08 May 2008 Fifteen Philadelphia police officers were taken off the street as authorities investigate a video showing three suspects being kicked, punched and beaten after they were pulled out of a car during a traffic stop. "At a glance it does appear to be a bit beyond the pale," Doug Oliver, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, said. "Officers are not allowed to operate outside of the law."

Bomb explodes at San Diego school 08 May 2008 A San Diego school was placed on lockdown early on Wednesday after a home-made bomb exploded inside a garbage bin, but there were no injuries, police said. San Diego Police Sergeant Kerry Tom said the bomb rattled the Wagenheim Middle School in the suburb of Mira Mesa at around 7.30am (0030 AEST Thursday), before most students had arrived for class.

6 fraternities suspended in drug probe at San Diego State U. 07 May 2008 San Diego State University has suspended six fraternities after a sweeping drug investigation that landed members of three fraternities in jail on suspicion of openly dealing drugs on campus. The probe led to the arrests of 96 people, 75 of them San Diego State students. Those arrested included a student who was about to receive a criminal justice degree and another who was to receive a master's degree in homeland security.

EPA might not act to limit rocket fuel in drinking water 06 May 2008 An EPA official said Tuesday there's a "distinct possibility" the agency won't take action to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has contaminated public water supplies around the country. Democratic senators called that unacceptable. They argued that states and local communities shouldn't have to bear the expense of cleansing their drinking water of perchlorate, which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states -- or the risk of not doing so.

Oil climbs above $US123 08 May 2008 Crude oil rose to a record above $US123 a barrel in New York... Crude oil for June delivery rose $US1.69, or 1.4%, to settle at $US123.53 a barrel at 2.58pm on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the highest close since trading began in 1983. Oil touched a record $US123.80 in intraday trading.

Burma cyclone: death toll 'could be 100,000' 07 May 2008 The number of dead Burma's cyclone disaster could climb to more than 100,000 lives, it has been claimed. As survivors battled to stay alive with little relief in sight five days after Cyclone Nargis struck, the US embassy in Rangoon issued a new estimate of the scale of the human cost in the disaster. "The information that we’re receiving indicates that there may well be over 100,000 deaths in the delta area," said Shari Villarosa, the US charge d’affaires.

Global warming puts koalas under threat 07 May 2008 Global warming will threaten the survival of koalas by making the eucalyptus leaves on which they feed toxic, scientists warned on Wednesday. Australia's most endearing marsupial is already under threat from a severe drought and loss of habitat as housing encroaches on woodland. But higher temperatures and increased carbon dioxide could shut down their food supply, leaving them to starve to death.

Protect the Polar Bear (The Hartford Courant) 07 May 2008 After years of denials, dodges and delays, the Bush administration is finally facing its moment of truth about global warming: A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to conclude by mid-May whether the polar bear deserves protection under the Endangered Species Act. Prodded by a lawsuit brought by three environmental groups, the department had proposed listing the bear as threatened in December 2006. Since then, the department has missed two of its own deadlines for a final decision. It's time for the Interior Department to come clean, respect the rule of law and issue its decision.

Last chance to save polar bears (biologicaldiversity.org) 06 May 2008 On May 15th, the federal government will make one of the most important decisions in conservation history. If it declares the polar bear to be an "endangered" species, it will set off an unprecedented worldwide discussion on global warming... and establish legal requirements to do something about it. If the government refuses, desperately needed global action will again be delayed by the Bush administration's stubbornness. It will all happen -- or not -- on May 15th. Sign our petition today and pass it on.

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Pentagon Targeted Iran for Regime Change after 9/11 By Gareth Porter 05 May 2008 Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East, according to a document quoted extensively in then Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith's recently published account of the Iraq war decisions. Feith's account further indicates that this aggressive aim of remaking the map of the Middle East by military force and the threat of force was supported explicitly by the country's top military leaders.

Released al-Jazeera journalist describes Guantanamo "most heinous" 05 May 2008 The U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention camp is the worst prison ever, Sudanese al-Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj who was released from the prison days ago said Monday. In a speech broadcast live on Sudanese television, ai-Haj, who returned to Sudan on Friday, said he spent 2,340 days in the "most heinous prison mankind has ever known," and that jailers there insulted Islam before prisoners. Al-Haj, the only journalist from a major international news organization held in Guantanamo, believed he was arrested because Al-Jazeera was reporting on U.S. rights violations in Afghanistan.

Abu Ghraib ex-detainee files torture lawsuit against US military contractors 05 May 2008 A former Iraqi detainee filed a lawsuit against two private US military contractors mercenaries Monday alleging that he was tortured while held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003, according to AP. Emad al-Janabi said that employees of CACI International and L-3 Communications, who work as interrogators for the US military, physically abused him and often left him chained naked in his cell over the course of his 10-month stay at the prison. He also alleges that the contractors conspired to hide evidence of torture from International Red Cross inspectors and military and government officials.

Iraqi alleges Abu Ghraib torture, sues US contractors 05 May 2008 An Iraqi man sued two U.S. military contractors Monday, claiming he was repeatedly tortured while being held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison for more than 10 months. Emad al-Janabi's federal lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, claims that employees of CACI International Inc. and L-3 Communications punched him, slammed him into walls, hung from a bed frame and kept him naked and handcuffed in his cell beginning in September 2003. Also named as a defendant is CACI interrogator Steven Stefanowicz, known as "Big Steve." The suit claims he directed some of the torture tactics.

House panel subpoenas top Cheney aide in torture probe 06 May 2008 The House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to compel a top aide to Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney to testify to the committee about the Bush regime's interrogation practices. David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, refused to testify without a subpoena. No date has been set for his appearance before Congress.

'Torture memo' author, former attorney general, to testify 06 May 2008 A former Justice Department lawyer [John Yoo] who wrote a now-repudiated memo allowing harsh interrogations torture of military prisoners has agreed to testify to Congress about those practices, say House Judiciary Committee officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the panel has not yet made the announcement.

FBI Agents Raid Work, Home of Special Counsel's Bloch 06 May 2008 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided the Office of Special Counsel here, seizing computers and documents belonging to the agency chief Scott Bloch and staff. More than a dozen FBI agents served grand jury subpoenas shortly after 10 a.m., shutting down the agency's computer network and searching its offices, as well as Mr. Bloch's home. Employees said the searches appeared focused on alleged obstruction of justice by Mr. Bloch during the course of an 2006 inquiry into his conduct in office.

FBI raids special counsel's office 06 May 2008 The FBI has raided the office of U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch in an inquiry of whether he obstructed justice by having his computer files erased. FBI officials said computers and documents were seized from Bloch's office during the raid Tuesday morning. Investigators say Bloch is suspected of hiring an outside company to scrub his computer amid a federal investigation of alleged misconduct in his office.

Afghan, Iraq wars have fuelled terrorism, violence: Asseri 05 May 2008 Saudi ambassador Ali S. Awadh Asseri has called for revisiting the logic behind the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and engaging the combatants in a dialogue to find lasting solutions to the conflicts. The ambassador also said that wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had failed to address extremism and violence, creating immense unrest in the Muslim World.

Top commando says troops are low due to foreign wars 06 May 2008 Admiral Eric Olson, the top commando in the US, has said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are making such use of the nation's elite soldiers, they can no longer be used in other parts of the world. He said he thought there was very little chance that the demand for his special operations forces, such as the Green Berets in Iraq, would decline soon.

Bush, Democrats seek to fund Iraq war into next administration By Bill Van Auken 06 May 2008 In a bid by the two major parties to prevent November’s presidential election from being turned into a referendum on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress are both working to craft new war funding legislation that would pay for the fighting to continue at the present level well past January, when the next president takes office. According to media reports, the congressional Democrats are still debating how--not if--they will approve the money needed to continue the ongoing wars against the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Next president will not cut defense spending, says Lockheed Martin CEO 29 Apr 2008. The top executive of Lockheed Martin Corp., the Bethesda, Md.-based defense contracting behemoth, says he does not believe the next U.S. president will cut military spending "in any wholesale fashion." Robert Stevens, chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin made his comment in an interview published Friday in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Lockheed Martin is the nation's largest defense contractor.

Iraq in $6.37b deal to replace ageing planes 07 May 2008 Iraq yesterday signed two deals worth US$5 billion ($6.37 billion) to buy 40 planes from Boeing and 10 planes from Canada's Bombardier to upgrade Iraqi Airways' ageing fleet, the finance minister said. The deals were signed by Finance Minister Bayan Jabr in a ceremony attended by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as US, British and Canadian diplomats.

Dozens of Iraqi police detained in operation 06 May 2008 Iraqi soldiers detained dozens of policemen and closed down a hospital suspected of treating Shi'ite militiamen in a Baghdad stronghold of cleric Moqtada al -Sadr's Mehdi Army, Iraqi security officials said on Tuesday.

US kills 6 Sadr City residents 05 May 2008 US military operations have left at least 6 Iraqi civilians dead and 40 wounded including women and children in Baghdad's Sadr City. Iraqi security and medical officials confirmed the civilians were killed and injured during 12 hours of intense US operations overnight that ended at 8 a.m. (5:00 GMT) on Monday.

Canada's Afghanistan Mission Threatened by Shortage of Parts 06 May 2008 Canada's military mission to help secure Afghanistan may be in jeopardy because of failures to deliver spare parts, a federal audit shows. The country's 2,500 or so troops in Afghanistan have managed to keep the 'mission' going by stripping some equipment for parts and other ad hoc measures, Canadian Auditor General Sheila Fraser told reporters in Ottawa.

Blast kills four children in Afghanistan 05 May 2008 Four Afghan children were killed in an explosion caused by a war-era unexploded artillery shell in the central capital Kabul on Monday. According to the Interior Ministry, the explosion took place in western part of the city.

News 4 Investigates Illegal Internet Spying 05 May 2008 Nothing you send in an e-mail, instant message, or anywhere else online is safe from the prying eyes of government spies. That's according to a whistleblower who used to work for AT&T. News 4 Investigates discovered documents identifying a St. Louis area office building as the hub of that spying program. Chief Investigative reporter Steve Chamraz shows us why a secret room inside that building has privacy watchdogs so concerned.

The Secret Room By Steve Chamraz 05 May 2008 Bridgeton plays a crucial role on the AT&T internet network, [former AT&T technician and whistleblower] Mark Klein speculates it would play a similarly key role on a "secret network" connecting all those secret rooms. Two former Bridgeton employees came forward as un-named sources in a 2006 Salon article about the St. Louis County facility's role in an alleged spying program. I also spoke with two former Bridgeton AT&T workers who confirmed the building is home to a "secret room" that no one seems to enter.

Wireless carriers give location to police without a warrant --Using cell phones to find missing persons pushes law 04 May 2008 In missing persons cases, cell phone providers require that officers assert a customer may be in immediate danger -- "exigent circumstances" in the industry's parlance -- before releasing the information, said Joyce Masamitsu, associate director for state public policy for Verizon Wireless. Verizon alone handled about 26,000 such requests last year. "All the officer needs to do is confirm to us that an exigent circumstance exists," she said.

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain By Phillip Butler (Doctor Phillip Butler is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.) 27 Mar 2008 As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States... I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

Turnouts High for Primaries in N. Carolina and Indiana 06 May 2008 Election officials in Indiana and North Carolina reported unusually high turnouts in the Democratic primary voting there on Tuesday, with Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton making a last-minute round of pitches in these critical states.

Poll: Obama clings to small lead over Clinton 06 May 2008 On the eve of the North Carolina Democratic Primary, with 25% of votes already cast, Barack Obama has no breathing room in his hope to defeat Hillary Clinton in popular votes. According to SurveyUSA's 8th and final tracking poll, conducted exclusively for ABC11 Eyewitness News, on the final day of the fiercely fought campaign, Senator Barack Obama holds on with 50% of the vote to Senator Hillary Clinton's 45% of those polled.

Clinton, Obama, predict fight stretches to June 3 05 May 2008 Resolute rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama straddled North Carolina and Indiana on Monday on the eve of a pair of crucial primaries in the unceasing contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Both predicted the race would stretch into June, regardless of Tuesday's outcomes.

Exclusive: Dr. Rec Meets the Last Elected President of the US --CLG chair Michael Rectenwald discusses the campaign with President Bill Clinton in Durham. 06 May 2008 Clinton said, "Did you see how that lady jumped me over there?" I said, "No, what did she say?" Bill replied, "She said, 'this is Obama country.' I told her, well, that's nice to know. But if this is Obama country, why wouldn't Obama debate here on his own turf?" [See: Bill Clinton shakes hands, leaves for Indiana 06 May 2008.]

Former President Clinton back in NC to drum up support 05 May 2008 Former President Bill Clinton will spend primary day in North Carolina drumming up support for his wife's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, while Sen. Barack Obama will hold a rally after the polls close. Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign announced Monday night that the former president will make stops in Huntersville, Lexington, Winston-Salem and Durham. [See: Dr. Rec Meets The Last Elected President of the US 06 May 2008.]

Bush bin Laden is psychologically preparing us for another multi-billion-dollar corporate welfare blowjob: Doubts Raised on Big Backers of Mortgages --Companies were created by Congress but are owned by investors 06 May 2008 As home prices continue their free fall and banks shy away from lending, Washington officials have increasingly relied on two giant mortgage companies -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- to keep the housing market afloat. Bush administration officials, regulators and lawmakers are nervously asking whether these two companies, would-be saviors of the housing market, will soon need saving themselves. [LOL! I saw that one marching down Broadway, from a mile away.]

Oil prices hit record high 122.49 dollars 06 May 2008 Oil prices spiked to a record high 122.49 dollars here on Tuesday as the market was driven by concerns over 'violence in key producer Nigeria' and the weak US currency, analysts said. After hitting the fresh high, New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for June delivery, pulled back slightly to stand at 122.35 dollars per barrel, still up 2.34 dollars from Monday's close.

Myanmar cyclone death toll soars past 22,000 06 May 2008 The cyclone death toll soared above 22,000 on Tuesday and more than 41,000 others were missing as the international community prepared to rush in aid after the country's deadliest storm on record, state radio reported.

Insects 'will be climate change's first victims' [Too bad Bush isn't --he's a lot further down on the evolutionary scale than the cockroach. --LRP] Many tropical insect species, including butterflies, can only tolerate a narrow range of temperatures, and an average rise of 1C to 2C could be disastrous. 06 May 2008 Tropical insects rather than polar bears could be among the first species to become extinct as a result of global warming, a study has found. Insects in the tropics are already living at the limit of their temperature range and any further increases could quickly kill them off with huge repercussions for tropical habitats, which rely on insects for everything from pollination to waste disposal.

Famous polar cubs' dad dies 05 May 2008 Olaf, the polar bear father of Klondike and Snow, died over the weekend, the Denver Zoo announced today. Olaf was 22 years old. In November 1995, he fathered Klondike and Snow, who soon became the darlings of Denver. Olaf also fathered Ulaq and Berit at the Denver Zoo.

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Iraq occupation costing U.S. a whopping $5.54m an hour 06 May 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush last week asked Congress to approve $70 billion in funding for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for the U.S. fiscal year 2009, which begins on October 1, 2008. The Iraq war has already cost U.S. taxpayers more than $500 billion dollars, and there is still no end in sight to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. According to congressional analysts, the eventual total cost of the Iraq war and the occupation could be as high as $1.5 trillion – that’s $1,500 billion. This cost does not include the cost of rebuilding Iraq’s shattered infrastructure.

Iraq Signs Deals to Buy 40 Boeing Planes 05 May 2008 Iraq on Monday signed two deals worth $5 billion to buy 40 planes from Boeing and 10 planes from Canada's Bombardier to upgrade Iraqi Airways' aging fleet, the finance minister said. The deals were signed by Finance Minister Bayan Jabr in a ceremony attended by Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as well as U.S., British and Canadian diplomats. [No 'insurgents' at the ceremony?]

Boeing finalizes $2.2 bln Iraq plane sale 05 May 2008 Boeing Co said on Monday it sealed a $2.2 billion airliner order with the government of Iraq. The deal, originally struck in February, is for 30 of Boeing's single-aisle 737-800 jets, the world's most widely used planes for short-haul flights. Boeing said it was still finalizing an agreement to sell Iraq 10 of its new 787 Dreamliners, worth about $1.65 billion at list prices, which would allow for longer, intercontinental flights.

Want to vacation in the Green Zone? --Washington wants to create "zone of influence" around new $700 million U.S. Embassy to serve as high-end buffer for the compound, whose total price tag will reach about $1 billion after all workers and offices are relocated over the next year. 05 May 2008 Forget rocket attacks, concrete blast walls and no sewer system and try picturing luxury hotels, a shopping center and even condos in the heart of Baghdad. It’s all part of an ambitious five-year development "dream list" to transform the U.S.-protected Green Zone from a walled fortress into a gleaming centerpiece for Baghdad’s future. The $5 billion plan has Pentagon backing and apparently the interest of leading hotel developers, said Navy Capt. Thomas Karnowski, who led the team that created the development plan.

Defense firm to pay $9.5M for obstruction 05 May 2008 A defense contractor accused of overcharging the U.S. government for radar components pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction and will pay $9.5 million in fines, federal authorities said. Herley Industries, based in Lancaster County, Pa., admitted to two counts of obstructing audits of bids to supply components for Navy and Air Force radar systems.

Top US commando: More elite forces may be needed in Iraq 05 May 2008 Even as the overall U.S. force in Iraq shrinks, the number of elite troops known as special operations forces [Blackwater's death squads] is likely to grow, the military's top commando told The Associated Press on Monday. More of these specially trained, often secretive forces may be required in Iraq in order to fill a niche role in the development of Iraqi security forces as the number of conventional Army troops goes down, Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, said in an interview.

Bomb attack on Iraqi President's wife 05 May 2008 Iraq's first lady escaped unharmed from a bomb attack that hit her motorcade and injured four body guards in downtown Baghdad yesterday. President Jalal Talabani's wife, Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed, was headed to the National Theater to attend a cultural festival when her motorcade was hit in the Karrada district of Baghdad, the president's office said.

Iraq says to document Iran "interference" 05 May 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has ordered the formation of a committee to compile evidence of Iranian "interference" in Iraq that will then be presented to Tehran, the government spokesman said on Sunday. At an earlier news conference, Ali al-Dabbagh appeared to distance the government from U.S. accusations of Iranian interference in Iraq. He had said Iraq would not be pushed into conflict with its neighbour and wanted its own inquiry to find "tangible information and not information based on speculation."

Iraqi official says Iran arms evidence not conclusive 04 May 2008 A top Iraqi official said Sunday there was no conclusive evidence that Shiite extremists have been directly supplied with some Iranian arms as alleged by the United States. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not want trouble with any country, "especially Iran."

Democratic candidates agree on expanded US military aggression in the Middle East By Patrick Martin 05 May 2008 In dueling television appearances Sunday morning, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton declared their determination to escalate US military action in the Middle East, disagreeing mainly over which country should be targeted first. Obama called for a "surge" of US troops into Afghanistan, while Clinton reaffirmed her bloodcurdling rhetoric about the "obliteration" of Iran.

Obama accuses Clinton of using the language of Bush on Iran 05 May 2008 Barack Obama yesterday accused his rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, of adopting the language of the Bush presidency [sic] in her approach to dealing with a nuclear Iran. In the sharpest attack, Obama said that Clinton's threat to "totally obliterate" Iran should it attempt a nuclear attack on Israel was inappropriate. "It's not the language we need right now. It's language that's reflective of George Bush," he said.

US 'to send 7,000 extra troops to Afghanistan' 05 May 2008 The US is drawing up plans to send 7,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan to combat a resurgent Taleban and al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh], at a time when Nato countries appear unwilling to contribute further forces. The plans, which have yet to be formalised or sent to the White House, would increase the number of US troops in Afghanistan to about 40,000, the largest American presence since the war began more than six years ago.

Three children killed by blast in Afghan capital 05 May 2008 Three children were killed in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday by an explosion of ordnance left over from in the country's long civil war, the Interior Ministry said. Two more children were wounded in the blast after they knocked the munition against a rock in a residential area.

Released journalist describes Guantanamo as the worst prison ever 05 May 2008 A Sudanese Al-Jazeera cameraman released from the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay detention center described it Monday as the worst prison mankind has ever seen, in some of his first public comments since his return to Khartoum. "After 2,340 days spent in most heinous prison mankind has ever known, we are honored to be here, thank you and thank all those defended us and of our right in freedom," he told the cheering crowd. Al-Haj was the only journalist from a major international news organization held at Guantanamo and many of his supporters saw his detention as punishment for a network whose broadcasts angered U.S. officials.

Journalist released from Guantánamo details abuse By Naomi Spencer 05 May 2008 After six years of imprisonment without charge, a well-known cameraman for Al Jazeera news was released May 1 by the US military. The reporter, Sami al-Hajj, was captured in 2001 while covering the US invasion of Afghanistan and subjected to the torture and abuse that is routine at US military-run prison camps.

Few Details on Immigrants Who Died in U.S. Custody 05 May 2008 Detainee Boubacar Bah is one of 66 on a government list of deaths that occurred in immigration custody from January 2004 to November 2007. The list, compiled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after Congress demanded the information, and obtained by The New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act, is the fullest accounting to date of deaths in immigration detention, a patchwork of federal centers, county jails and privately run prisons that has become the nation’s fastest-growing form of incarceration. [See: KBR awarded $385M Homeland Security contract for U.S. detention centers 24 Jan 2006.]

Military, DHS document details who should live and die in pandemic --Nazi-style hospital blueprint lists those who will be left to die - elderly, sick, weakest 05 May 2008 An influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients who would be allowed to die during a [US-engendered] flu pandemic or other disaster. The suggested list was compiled by the military, Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services, government agencies, prestigious universities, and medical groups. To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won't get lifesaving care, the task force wrote.

'One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect.' The Last Round Up By Christopher Ketcham 29 Apr 2008 According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core... In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a "national emergency."

Florida court to hear arguments in anthrax death lawsuit 05 May 2008 The Florida Supreme Court on Monday is taking up key issues in a lawsuit over the anthrax death of a photo editor for a publisher. Robert Stevens died Oct. 5, 2001 after being exposed to the deadly substance. It was in an envelope mailed to the offices of American Media Inc.. His wife sued the federal government and a private laboratory, claiming they both had a duty to protect the public from anthrax.

'D.C. Madam' Suicide Notes Released by Florida Police, ABC Says 05 May 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "D.C. Madam" who [allegedly] committed suicide last week, left behind a note for her mother saying she couldn't bear prison, ABC News reported. The note, released today by Florida police, said Palfrey took her own life because she didn't want to go to prison for six to eight years and emerge from jail penniless and alone, according to ABC. Palfrey also left a message for her sister, ABC said.

Taser International Wins Lawsuit In Cause-of-Death Decision 02 May 2008 Taser International has fired a warning shot at medical examiners across the country. The Scottsdale-based stun gun manufacturer increasingly is targeting state and county medical examiners with lawsuits and lobbying efforts to reverse and prevent medical rulings that Tasers contributed to someone's death. That effort on Friday helped lead an Ohio judge's order to remove Taser's name from three Summit County Medical Examiner autopsies that had ruled the stun gun contributed to three men's deaths. "It is dangerously close to intimidation," says Jeff Jentzen, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners. "At this point, we adamantly reject the fact that people can be sued for medical opinions that they make."

Tasers a form of torture, says UN 24 Nov 2007 Taser electronic stun guns are a form of torture that can kill, a UN committee has declared after several recent deaths in North America. "The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture,'' the UN's Committee against Torture said. "In certain cases, they can even cause death, as has been shown by reliable studies and recent real-life events,'' the committee of 10 experts said.

Bomber targets San Diego courthouse 04 May 2008 A pipe bomb or series of pipe bombs exploded at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Courthouse downtown early Sunday morning, sending shrapnel into a courtyard and to the eighth floor of a building across the street. Two guards with the Federal Protective Service, who were inside the building, called authorities when they heard the explosion at 1:40 a.m. The guards, who work for a federal agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, were not injured.

U.S. Has One Fourth of World's Prisoners 23 Apr 2008 The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. Americans are locked up for crimes -- from writing bad checks to using drugs -- that would rarely produce prison sentences in other countries. And in particular they are kept incarcerated far longer than prisoners in other nations. Criminologists and legal scholars in other industrialized nations say they are mystified and appalled by the number and length of American prison sentences.

North Carolina, Indiana rewarded for later contests 05 May 2008 North Carolina, which holds its primary Tuesday, got an additional 24 delegates for moving its presidential nominating contest from April to May. Indiana, which also has its primary Tuesday, got six extra delegates for keeping its primary in May. North Carolina has 115 pledged delegates at stake, Indiana has 72. If only Florida and Michigan had the same foresight.

Voters may put Hillary Clinton in position to halt Barack Obama 06 May 2008 Hillary Clinton’s campaign is talking of a "nuclear option". If she wins in Indiana and does well enough in North Carolina in today’s crucial primaries, her campaign believes it may yet be able to overturn party rules that currently ban delegates awarded in her vexed "victories" in Florida and Michigan. The theory is that it would help her to overtake Barack Obama in the popular vote, cut his lead among elected delegates to less than 100, and give wavering super-delegates an excuse to choose her as the presidential candidate in defiance of the results from Democratic primaries and caucuses.

Obama's Chilly Spring --Once-Cordial Press Coverage Turns Decidedly Cool By Howard Kurtz 05 May 2008 For journalists, he [David Greenberg, a Rutgers University professor of journalism and history] says, "there has been a real infatuation with Obama that has served as almost an unconscious restraint" as many became "taken with the idea of demonstrating their tolerance and America's tolerance by electing a black candidate." What loosened those restraints, Greenberg says, was the media's conclusion that Obama had virtually wrapped up his nomination fight against Hillary Clinton. "It's backwards -- the toughest scrutiny should come while it's still a real fight," he says.

The All-White Elephant in the Room By Frank Rich 04 May 2008 I wonder if Mr. McCain would have given the same answer had Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted him with the graphic video of the pastor in full "Great Whore" glory. But Mr. McCain didn’t have to fear so rude a transgression. Mr. [John] Hagee’s videos have never had the same circulation on television as Mr. Wright’s. A sonorous white preacher spouting venom just doesn’t have the telegenic zing of a theatrical black man. Perhaps that’s why virtually no one has rebroadcast the highly relevant prototype for Mr. Wright’s fiery claim that 9/11 was America’s chickens "coming home to roost."

NY company recalls 286,000 pounds of meat 05 May 2008 A Queens-based food company, Gourmet Boutique, is recalling more than 286,000 pounds of meat and poultry because they might be contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The food-borne bacteria can cause illness and death.

Polar bear dies at Denver Zoo 05 May 2008 A 22-year-old polar bear died Saturday at the Denver Zoo. Olaf, the father of Klondike, Snow, Ulaq and Berit, lived at the Denver Zoo for 21 years. He came from Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo in March of 1987. [Poor bear... Please sign petition to stop Bush bin Laden from killing the rest of them for Exxon Mobil.]

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U.S. is drawing up plans to strike Iranian insurgency camp 04 May 2008 The US military is drawing up plans for a "surgical strike" against an insurgent training camp inside Iran if Republican Guards continue with attempts to destabilise Iraq, western intelligence sources said last week. One source said the Americans were growing increasingly angry at the [alleged] involvement of the Guards’ special-operations Quds force inside Iraq, training Shi’ite militias and smuggling weapons into the country. "If the situation in Basra goes back to what it was like before, America is likely to blame Iran and carry out a surgical strike on a militant training camp across the border in Khuzestan," said one source, referring to a frontier province.

Iraq says no hard evidence of Iranian support for militia 04 May 2008 Iraq said on Sunday it has no evidence that Iran was supplying militias engaged in fierce street fighting with security forces in Baghdad. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said there was no "hard evidence" of involvement by the neighbouring Shiite government of Iran in backing Shiite militiamen in the embattled country.

Iraq's first lady unharmed after her motorcade is bombed 04 May 2008 A bomb hit a motorcade carrying Iraq's first lady through Baghdad on Sunday. The motorcade bombing in Baghdad's Karrada district injured four of Hiro Ibrahim Ahmed's bodyguards but left her unharmed, according to the office of her husband, President Jalal Talabani.

Gunmen kill Iraqi journalist 04 May 2008 [Blackwater] Gunmen shot dead an Iraqi reporter on Sunday after hauling her out of a taxi in Mosul, a notoriously violent city in northern Iraq where journalists are often targeted and live in fear of their lives. Police said Serwa Abdul-Wahab was on her way to work when gunmen forced her out of the taxi in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, and shot her once in the head.

US bombs Baghdad hospital 03 May 2008 A US rocket damaged a hospital in the Iraqi capital's Shi'ite stronghold of Sadr City on Saturday, wounding 28 people as American forces claimed to have killed 14 'militants' in the district. . An AFP reporter at the scene said the district's main al-Sadr hospital was badly damaged and a fleet of ambulances was destroyed.

5 U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bombs in Iraq 04 May 2008 Five US soldiers have been killed in two attacks in Iraq, the U.S. military said Sunday. Also in the southern city of Basra, the Iraqi army blew up a mosque housing the headquarters of the Shia Thaarallah party.

The awfully nice guys allowing US torture at Guantanamo Bay --Philippe Sands, a British QC, has exposed the 'decent' lawyers who made the brutal interrogation of Guantanamo detainees possible 04 May 2008 The interrogation room in Guantanamo Bay, Christmas Eve 2002. Detainee 063 – an Al-Qaeda suspect called Mohamed al-Kahtani... is crying in his chair. It is his 33rd day of continuous interrogation – a month with almost no sleep – and the interrogators have started up with the white noise again and are pouring water over his head... Happy Christmas, Mohamed. Good Christian men, rejoice... The thing is – they knew. It was the US government's explicit policy to wipe away the Geneva conventions and subject the supposedly most dangerous captives to what were euphemistically called "aggressive" interrogation techniques – techniques that flouted international law. The people behind the policy are therefore, according to the British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, criminals who may well face charges should they choose to take a holiday in, say, France or Germany.

Probe of USS Cole Bombing Unravels 'In a hearing at Guantanamo last year, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri said he confessed to masterminding the Cole attack only because he had been tortured.' 04 May 2008 Almost eight years after al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials. Khaled al-Anesi, an attorney for some of the Cole defendants, said... he is still mystified by the government's subsequent handling of the case. "There's something that doesn't smell right," he said. "It was all very strange. After these people were convicted in unfair trials, all of a sudden it was announced that they had escaped. And then the government announced they had surrendered, but we still don't know how they escaped or if they had help."

Scotland's new counter-terrorism chief: neo-Nazis as much of a threat as al-Qaeda [But not as much of a threat as Bush.] 04 May 2008 Scotland's new terror tsar has warned that the threat from right-wing extremism is as damaging to community relations as the menace posed by al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. In an exclusive interview on his first day as the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland's counter terrorism co-ordinator, Allan Burnett said forces should not ignore the latent neo-Nazi presence across the UK.

Corruption eats away at Afghan government 03 May 2008 The man considered by many observers to be the most powerful and feared figure in the Afghan south is Ahmed Wali Karzai, appointed by his brother, President Hamid Karzai, to represent Kandahar province in Kabul. A U.S. government document leaked to ABC News two years ago accused him of being the central figure in the region's vast opium-export market, which produces the majority of the world's opium and heroin. This week, senior U.S. and British officials said in interviews that they believe he enables, and likely profits from, opium shipments across southern Afghanistan to Iran, and prevents opium crops of those who support him from being eradicated... A campaign is underway to get the former mujahedeen fighter Gul Agha Sherzai, removed from the same office. Mr. Sherzai had admitted to receiving $1-million a week from his share of import duties and from the opium trade, and was considered violent and dangerous. He was immediately made governor of U.S.-led Nangarhar province in the east. U.S. officials said that they believe he has a net worth of $300-million from his time running Kandahar.

Robobug goes to war: Troops to use electronic insects to spot enemy 'by end of the year' 04 May 2008 British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield, helping to save thousands of lives. Prototypes could be on the front line by the end of the year, scuttling into potential danger areas such as booby-trapped buildings or enemy hideouts to relay images back to troops safely positioned nearby.

Seized funds often not used for crime war --Hundreds of thousands of RICO dollars went for uses other than law enforcement 04 May 2008 Pima County law enforcement agencies seized almost $24 million from criminals over the last five years under state and federal forfeiture laws. The vast majority of that money was channeled back into the war on crime... But an Arizona Daily Star investigation of how those funds were spent over the last five years found hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been spent on law enforcement or crime prevention went instead for banquets, promotional items such as golf tees and polo shirts, expensive office furniture and funeral flowers.

Building Manager: DC Madam's Death Not Suicide 02 May 2008 The building manager of a Central Florida condo said he spent time talking to Deborah Jean Palfrey on Monday as she packed to go to her mother's house and she did not seem suicidal. For the past 12 years, she's owned a condo at Park Lake Towers in Orlando. Palfrey’s building manager said she often told him she believed she was being followed and he thinks there may have been some former clients of her escort service who wanted her dead. "She insinuated that there is a contract out for her and I fully believe they succeeded," her building manager said. Palfrey's Lexus is still parked in the Park Lake garage and the staff said on Monday, she asked about making sure her condo fees would continue to be paid during what Palfrey anticipated would be six years in prison.

Larry Flynt: 'D.C. Madam' murdered 01 May 2008 Police in Tarpon Springs, Fla., said there was "no question" that Deborah Jeane Palfrey committed suicide by hanging Thursday, but that was not enough to stop speculation that the "D.C. Madam" was the victim of murder. Hustler magazine publisher and free-speech advocate Larry Flynt, one of Palfrey's staunchest advocates, was forwarding the notion that Palfrey's death was not by her own hands. "I think the media should be very cautious in treating this as a suicide," Flynt told FOXNews.com in a telephone interview. Asked if he believed Palfrey was murdered, Flynt responded: "I personally believe that's what happened, but I have no proof."

CBS Poll: Support For Obama Rebounds 04 May 2008 Democrat Barack Obama appears to have rebounded from some of the damage caused by the controversy surrounding his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, according to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll. On one key measure, Obama has seen a big reversal since his denunciation of Wright's remarks on Tuesday.

Obama wins close race, beats Clinton in Guam 03 May 2008 Barack Obama defeated Hillary Rodham Clinton by seven votes in the Guam Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday. The count of more than 4,500 ballots took all night. They'll split the eight pledged delegate votes.

Obama criticizes Clinton over Iran threat 04 May 2008 Barack Obama likened Hillary Clinton to President [sic] Bush for threatening to "totally obliterate" Iran if it attacks Israel and called her gas-tax holiday a gimmick as he tried to fend off her challenge ahead of two pivotal Democratic primaries.

Clinton's 'nuclear option:' Force Fla, Mich. 04 May 2008 There are a lot of "ifs'' in the "nuclear option'' that Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign could consider for claiming her party's nomination, the way Tom Edsall tells it: If Clinton does well or outright wins in Indiana and/or North Carolina this week, if her argument for electability takes hold and if enough party activists are willing to withstand the revolt that would ensue, Clinton could force a vote of the party's bylaws committee to seat the disputed, Clinton-rich delegations of Florida and Michigan and overtake Barack Obama's delegate lead.

Clinton takes time for girl talk 03 May 2008 (Cary, NC) Forget about policy speeches and wooing superdelegates. For Hillary Rodham Clinton, Saturday morning was devoted to chick chat -- a panel discussion with a group of working moms on topics ranging from girl-on-girl violence to her daughter's early dating years.

Sen. Clinton criticizes Exxon Mobil selloff 01 May 2008 Exxon posted a 17% rise in first-quarter earnings, to $10.9 billion, or $2.03 a share. But shares fell 3% in afternoon trading, as the numbers missed Wall Street’s expectations and investors worried about an unusual production decline. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton indicated in an afternoon statement from her presidential campaign office that she’s enraged by the implication of Thursday’s selloff - that Exxon isn’t making enough money. "There is something seriously wrong with our economy when Exxon's record $11 billion in quarterly profits are seen as a disappointment by Wall Street," Clinton said.

ExxonMobil expands Torrance oil contamination payouts 03 May 2008 (CA) ExxonMobil has expanded to 19 the number of homeowners it is offering some form of financial assistance to in the wake of the discovery of contaminated soil from gasoline products in a Torrance residential neighborhood adjacent its sprawling refinery.

Federal judge rejects latest Katrina damage immunity bid by Army Corps of Engineers 03 May 2008 Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. of the US Eastern District of Louisiana ruled again Friday that the US Army Corps of Engineers cannot claim immunity from suit in connection with damages suffered by plaintiffs by virtue of alleged defects in the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO). Duval said that the outlet was a shipping channel and not a flood control outlet in connection with which the Corps would have been properly immune in tort. He rejected the Corps' argument that the MRGO was nonetheless part of a larger flood control system in the New Orleans area.

Mega barf alert! Outrage at European moves to feed animal remains to chickens 04 May 2008 The European Union is preparing plans to allow pig remains to be used to feed poultry. The practice - banned in Europe after the BSE crisis 10 years ago - would save farmers millions of pounds as prices of cereal feed for chickens soar, say officials in Brussels. But the proposal has outraged animal rights campaigners, Muslim organisations and other groups. They claim the move would put families at risk, offend religious sensibilities and lead to a major consumer backlash.

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KBR's Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.'s, Despite Alert 04 May 2008 In October 2004, the United States Army issued an urgent bulletin to commanders across Iraq, warning them of a deadly new threat to American soldiers. Because of flawed electrical work by contractors [KBR], the bulletin stated, soldiers at American bases in Iraq had received severe electrical shocks, and some had even been electrocuted. American electricians who worked for KBR, the Houston-based defense contractor that is responsible for maintaining American bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, said they repeatedly warned company managers and military officials about unsafe electrical work... A third electrician provided e-mail messages and other documents showing that he had complained to KBR and the government that logs were created to make it appear that nonexistent electrical safety systems were properly functioning. KBR itself told the Pentagon in early 2007 about unsafe electrical wiring at a base near the Baghdad airport, but no repairs were made. Less than a year later, a soldier was electrocuted in a shower there. [See: KBR first-quarter profit soars, shares climb 02 May 2008. See: KBR's first quarter exceeds expectations 02 May 2008.]

'18 years after Congress required major federal agencies to be audited, the Pentagon still can't be.' The Pentagon's $1 Trillion Problem --It's as if the Army had submitted multibillion-dollar expense reports without any receipts. By Scot Paltrow 14 Apr 2008 Since 2004, the Pentagon has spent roughly $16 billion annually to maintain and modernize the military's business systems, but most are as unreliable as ever--even as the surge in defense spending is creating more room for error. The basic defense budget for 2007 was $439.3 billion, up 48 percent from 2001, excluding the vast additional sums appropriated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... For the first three quarters of 2007, $1.1 trillion in Army accounting entries hadn't been properly reviewed and substantiated, according to the Department of Defense's inspector general. In 2006, $258.2 billion of recorded withdrawals and payments from the Army's main account were unsupported... Without an audit, anecdotal evidence suggests, contractor fraud is likely to go undetected for years.

Waste Deep in the Big Muddy By Scot Paltrow 14 Apr 2008 Reformers have repeatedly lost the battle to modernize the U.S. military's financial systems.

Bush asks for more war money 02 May 2008 President [sic] Bush has put in a US$70 billion request to Congress, for funding US war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has said he wants the funding to continue so that the incoming 'president' will have time to make the appropriate war policy.

Bush seeks $193 million for Pakistan in Iraq war funds request 02 May 2008 President [sic] Bush said earlier this week that $108 billion is $108 billion, and he would allow no more than that on the latest Iraq funding bill. But, Bush today requested $70 billion in funding that would pay for Iraq operations into the next presidency. The $70 billion is for fiscal 2009, and the pending $108 billion is for fiscal 2008. Bush's request released Friday also includes $193 million for Pakistan. [See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against 'Al Qaeda' and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money Blackwater got a $5 billion blowjob from Bush. See: US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007 The US Senate has approved a $785 million assistance package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008 on Tuesday night.]

Cheney says war on [of] terror is on right track 02 May 2008 The U.S. is on track in Iraq and Afghanistan, the answer to higher gasoline prices is more oil wells and more refineries, and America and the world are better for the George W. Bush p_residency, Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney told Oklahoma Republicans Friday evening at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

US Bombs Iraq Hospital 03 May 2008 The US Air Force bombed a hospital in Sadr City district in the capital, wounding about twenty people, among them women and children. At 10:00 local hour, several missiles were launched by the occupation troops against the health facility, one of the three biggest of that locality. They also destroyed the building and considerably damaged 17 ambulances, said witnesses and medical sources of the attack, confirmed by a spokesman of US Army.

U.S. Missiles Strike Sadr City, Hospital and Children Hit 04 May 2008 The ugly daily fight for ground in the poor Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City unfolded Saturday at a small mosque next door to a hospital, damaging the hospital and a number of its ambulances, and near a group of children who were injured by the [US] violence as they gathered tin cans to sell for salvage. The missiles that hit close to the Sadr General Hospital were American. After a night of clashes in the neighborhood, the Americans fired at least three "precision-guided munitions" at the small building next door to the hospital. [Um, either the 'precision-guided' missiles *aren't* or Bush bin Laden meant to strike a mosque and a hospital, killing as many Iraqis as possible. I am thinking *the latter.* --LRP]

US soldier killed in Baghdad blast 03 May 2008 An American soldier died when his vehicle was hit by a roadside blast in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the US military here said Saturday.

Iraq Boy's Family Describes Fatal Blast --Parents Tell ABC News About the US Bombing that Killed Their 2-Year-Old Boy 02 May 2008 Just like any other day, the Hussein family was getting ready for lunch at their home in Baghdad, Iraq, when the house suddenly shook and the brick walls came down around them. That was the dramatic account told to ABC News by the parents of 2-year-old Ali Hussein, the Iraqi boy killed during a fierce battle in Sadr City Tuesday.

U.S. weighs thousands more troops for Afghan war: paper 03 May 2008 The Pentagon is considering sending up to 7,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year to make up for a shortfall in contributions from NATO allies, The New York Times reported on Saturday. Citing unnamed Bush administration officials, the Times said the push could drive U.S. forces in Afghanistan to some 40,000, the highest level since the United States invaded the country in 2001 and 'toppled' the Taliban government. One official said it would likely result in "the re-Americanization" of the war.

NATO soldier, 8 civilians killed by roadside bombs in Afghanistan 01 May 2008 Nine people are dead and 10 were wounded after roadside bombs hit a NATO patrol and two other vehicles in Afghanistan, officials said.

"Torture is terrorism", ex-Guantanamo man tells US 02 May 2008 Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj returned home to Sudan on Friday after more than six years in the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay prison, urging Washington to respect human rights and branding torture as terrorism. Haj said he and the other Guantanamo detainees had been subjected to all kinds of torture, but the worst had been when his jailers insulted Islam or desecrated the Koran in front of prisoners. "Security and human rights are inseparable issues -- you cannot have one without the other," he told Reuters in an interview... "My last message to the U.S. administration is that torture will not stop terrorism -- torture is terrorism."

Major powers agree new incentives offer to Iran 03 May 2008 Major powers agreed on Friday to make a new offer of incentives to Iran to halt its sensitive nuclear work and a European diplomat said helping Tehran develop civil atomic power remained at the heart of the proposal.

US Navy infectious disease lab under microscope in Indonesia --US insists all American staff at disease lab be given diplomatic immunity 02 May 2008 The future of a major US Navy research laboratory in Indonesia is in doubt amid allegations, dismissed as "crazy" by US diplomats, of espionage and secret experiments. Negotiations between Washington and Jakarta over the renewal of the operating contract of US Naval Medical Research Unit-2, or Namru-2, have stalled over a range of issues including diplomatic immunity for its US staff. Established in Indonesia in 1970 and charged with researching infectious diseases of military importance [aka *bioterrorism*], the facility employs 19 Americans... and is based in Indonesian health ministry grounds. Parliamentary foreign affairs commissioner Mutamimul Ula called Thursday for an "investigation into allegations that Namru-2 staffers were involved in intelligence operations." The controversy and the delays in the renewal of the contract appear to be causing a degree of angst among US officials in the departments of health and state, reflecting the importance Washington attaches to the facility.

Jakarta, US at odds over 'spy' lab 03 May 2008 Negotiations over whether a controversial US military laboratory should remain in Indonesia have reached a knife-edge, as officials argue about biological [bird flu] sample-sharing and the diplomatic status of staff in the facility. Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari may in fact be close to sacrificing her job, after a senior government source told The Weekend Australian that her bellicose [?!?] rhetoric, including comments on the bird flu epidemic in a rambling treatise entitled "Time for the world to change: the hand of God in bird flu" - had made life "awkward" for fellow ministers.

Voting system creator dies in plane crash 01 May 2008 A founding partner of the Smartmatic voting system, headquartered in Boca Raton, was killed this week in Venezuela when a private plane he was traveling in plummeted into a home near the Caracas airport. Alfredy Jose Anzola Jaumotte, 34, one of the creators of the voting system program, died at an area hospital Tuesday. According to the Federal Aviation Agency in the United States, the aircraft is owned by Aircraft Guaranty & Trust of Houston.

One of Palfrey's former employees died by her own hand 02 May 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey seems to have followed one of her former employees to suicide -- a fate she once prided herself on having avoided. Brandy Britton, 43, died by suicide in January 2007, days before she was scheduled to stand trial on prostitution charges... Before her death, Palfrey said Britton, a former University of Maryland Baltimore County professor, was one of her employees.

Palfrey rejected suicide in May 2007 interview --'DC Madam:' 'I'd never want my life to end in suicide' 01 May 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey (aka the 'DC Madam,' who was found hanged in Tarpon Springs, Florida on Thursday) sat down in May 2007 for an interview with Carol Joynt, host of the Q&A Cafe interview series... For Palfrey, one thing was crystal clear during that interview: She would never end her life by hanging herself. Joynt brought up the subject of Brandy Britton, a Baltimore prostitute whom had occasionally worked for Palfrey and whom had hanged herself in January 2007, only days away from facing prostitution charges. Palfrey told Joynt in no uncertain terms: "I don't want to be like her. I don't want to end up like her." [See CLG's 'DC Madam' Phone Records & Updates.]

'There is no question this is about Dow.' Embattled EPA administrator for Midwest resigns 02 May 2008 The top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator in the Midwest resigned Thursday amid internal fights over dioxin contamination near Dow Chemical Co.'s world headquarters in Michigan, according to a published report. Mary Gade, regional administrator of EPA Region 5, told the Chicago Tribune she resigned as regional administrator of EPA Region 5 after two top EPA officials stripped her of her powers and told her to quit or be fired by June 1.

Clinton Says In Race After Tuesday 03 May 2008 Hillary Clinton suggested today that she intends to contest primaries beyond Tuesday, but stopped short of saying she’d take her bid for the nomination to the convention.."

Suddenly, N. Carolina Is Facing Tighter Race 03 May 2008 Just days before the North Carolina primary, the Democratic presidential contest in this state is suddenly alive with a fresh air of competition, as Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton seeks to capitalize on a controversy that polls suggest has whittled away some of Senator Barack Obama’s support among white voters.

Party of Denial By Paul Krugman 02 May 2008 During Barack Obama’s Sunday appearance on Fox News, the interviewer asked him for an example of "a hot-button issue where you would be willing to buck the Democratic Party line" and say that Republicans have the better idea. Mr. Obama’s answer was puzzling because he gave credit where it isn’t due -- and thereby undermined what could be a very effective Democratic line of argument... To be clear, both Democratic candidates have been saying things they shouldn’t... But I think Mr. Obama is doing much more harm to the Democratic cause by echoing Republican attack lines on such issues as insurance mandates and Social Security.

U.S. moving to clear backlog of executions 03 May 2008 (Huntsville, TX) Here in the nation's leading death-penalty state, and some of the 35 others that practice capital punishment, execution dockets are quickly filling up. Less than three weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ended a seven-month halt in lethal injections, at least 14 execution dates have now been set in six states between May 6 and October.

May blizzard shuts down parts of S. Dakota 02 May 2008 The mayor of Rapid City, S.D., Friday pleaded with residents to stay home as a May blizzard closed down streets and highways in parts of the state. "Please, stay off the roads until the weather clears. The wind is still gusting to 50 mph with heavy snow," said Mayor Alan Hanks.

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General: Homeland response task force to be ready by fall 27 Apr 2008 The Pentagon will have its first specially trained task force designed to rapidly respond to a [Bush] catastrophic attack against the United States ready by this fall, a top military commander said last week. Gen. Victor "Gene" Renuart, chief of the U.S. Northern Command, said the brigade-sized unit will consist of military personnel who are trained to help local authorities respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear incident. The unit will have between 4,000 and 4,500 people and come from various bases and specialties across the country. [Bye-bye, Posse Comitatus. Bush is planning an 'October surprise,' so that he can declare martial law and extend the GOP dictatorship via Insane McCain.]

Transition to New President in Wartime Concerns the Military --Mullen Cites U.S. 'Vulnerability' [The sociopaths in the Bush regime are trying to mentally prepare us for a third coup!] 01 May 2008 The nation's top military officer warned yesterday that the transition to a new an American president will mark a "time of vulnerability" as the United States fights two wars, and he said military leaders are already actively preparing for the changing of the guard. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, said the U.S. political transition will be "extraordinarily challenging," particularly as the military is engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan and faces interference in both countries from Iran.

Lawmakers seek probe of Pentagon public relations program 02 May 2008 Forty-one House members are calling on the Defense Department inspector general to investigate a public relations effort that relied on retired military officers to defend the administration's Iraq war policies. "When the Department of Defense misleads the American people by having them believe that they are listening to the views of objective military analysts when in fact these individuals are simply replaying DoD talking points, the department is clearly betraying the public trust," the lawmakers wrote in a joint letter to Defense Department Inspector General Claude M. Kicklighter on Friday.

CIA 'preparing public for Iran war' 01 May 2008 The CIA accuses Iran of 'facilitating the killing' of US troops in Iraq in what is seen as another attempt to prepare the public for war. In a Wednesday lecture at Kansas State University, CIA Director Michael Hayden claimed that slaying US military forces has become the political strategy of Iran's highest governmental officials. "It is my opinion, it is the policy of the Iranian government, approved to highest level of that government, to facilitate the killing of Americans in Iraq," maintained Hayden, just a day after the US steamed a second American aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf. "Just make sure there's clarity on that," the CIA director continued.

Gates: Expanding US command in Afghanistan is possibility 02 May 2008 The idea of giving the U.S. military more authority in areas of Afghanistan now under NATO command is "worth taking a look at," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday. It was the first time Gates had indicated he was receptive to the idea, which has not yet been developed into a formal proposal but is under active discussion in the Pentagon.

Bush seeks 70 billion dollars for Iraq, Afghan war 02 May 2008 US President [sic] George W. Bush on Friday formally asked lawmakers for 70 billion dollars to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into early next year. The monies include 45.1 billion dollars for combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan... The request also seeks three billion dollars for classified activities.

KBR first-quarter profit soars, shares climb 02 May 2008 KBR Inc, the engineering and construction company, said on Friday its first-quarter net profit more than tripled, helped by an arbitration award, income from energy projects and its work terrorism for the U.S. government in Iraq.

KBR's first quarter exceeds expectations 02 May 2008 A favorable arbitration award gave a hefty boost to first-quarter income at KBR Inc. Houston-based KBR on Friday reported net income for the three months ended March 31 of $93 million, or 58 cents a share, on revenue of $2.5 billion, compared with net income of $28 million, or 17 cents a share, on revenue of $2 billion in the same quarter last year.

Chevron Posts $5.17 Billion Profit 02 May 2008 Chevron Corp.'s first-quarter earnings echoed a theme set earlier this week by other international oil companies: soaring crude prices are pumping up profits to astronomical levels. Chevron reported a 9.6% rise in first-quarter net income as surging oil prices nearly doubled profits at its fossil fuels production business. Chevron posted a net income of $5.17 billion, topping analysts mean estimates by $219 million, despite narrower refining margins and a tough comparison from a big year-ago gain.

Oil extends gains amid tensions in Iraq 02 May 2008 Oil climbed midafternoon as traders bought into the market amid optimism that crude's recent price rally may continue after prices found support at $110 a barrel yesterday, and after Turkey launched a bombing raid on northern Iraq.

McCain clarifies remark about oil, Iraq war 02 May 2008 Republican John McCain was forced to clarify spin his comments Friday suggesting the Iraq war involved U.S. reliance on foreign oil. At issue was a comment he made at a town hall-style GOP meeting Friday morning in Denver. "My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East," McCain said.

Turkey bombs 'PKK bases' in Iraq 02 May 2008 Turkish aircraft have bombed northern Iraq in the latest of a series of air raids in the region targeting Kurdish fighters. Turkey's General Staff on Friday said at least 30 planes were involved in the raids on what it called senior Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) positions in the Qandil mountains, but made no mention of any casualties.

2 Fort Hood soldiers killed in Iraq 02 May 2008 The Defense Department said Friday that two Fort Hood soldiers, including an officer, were killed Wednesday when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Iraq.

Senate panel bans private contractors in CIA interrogations 01 May 2008 The Senate Intelligence Committee moved on Thursday to ban the CIA from using private contractors to interrogate prisoners. The bill would also require the intelligence agencies to give the International Committee of the Red Cross access to all their detainees. That would prevent the United States from holding "ghost detainees" -- anonymous prisoners detained incommunicado and without records.

Long-held Al Jazeera journalist freed from Guantanamo 01 May 2008 Long-held al Jazeera cameraman Sami al Hajj has been released from the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, along with at least two other prisoners, his attorneys said Thursday.

Al-Jazeera cameraman freed from Guantanamo after 6 years 01 May 2008 An Al-Jazeera cameraman [Sami al-Haj] was released from U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay and returned home to Sudan early Friday after six years of imprisonment that drew worldwide protests.

Convention Preparations Prompt Suit by A.C.L.U. 03 May 2008 Groups planning parades or protests at the Democratic National Convention filed a lawsuit here on Friday charging that the Secret Service and the City of Denver are threatening free speech -- not because of tight security rules, but by the very lack of them. The suit, filed in Federal District Court, says that delays in establishing legal parade routes, and unanswered questions about security arrangements around the convention center, are undermining efforts to plan for events when Democrats gather here from Aug. 25 to 28.

Longshoreman spark May Day shutdown at many West Coast ports 01 May 2008 Several major U.S. ports along the West Coast were partially or fully closed for business Thursday, May 1, as part of an organized protest. The May Day shutdown closed terminals at California ports in San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland and San Francisco. Ports in Seattle and Tacoma, WA, also closed.

Bomb Squad Investigating Suspicious Vehicle at Fort Lewis 02 May 2008 The bomb squad is investigating a suspicious vehicle at the visitor's center of Fort Lewis. The main gate has been evacuated as well as the visitor's center. The Washington Department of Transportation has closed the exit ramps from I-5 to the Fort Lewis main gate in both directions.

Deadline extended for transportation worker secure ID cards 02 May 2008 The Bush regime will delay a post-9/11 program that provides special identification cards to every worker with access to seaports. The Sept. 25 deadline to enroll 1.2 million workers with access to ports into the transportation worker credentialing program will be extended to April 15, 2009, the Homeland Security Department announced Friday. The department started the enrollment process in October.

Voting Rights Are Too Important to Leave to the States By Adam Cohen 02 May 2008 It would be hard for Florida to surpass its disastrous performance in the 2000 election, but give the Sunshine State credit for trying. Its latest assault on democracy: a law threatening volunteer groups with crippling fines if they make small mistakes in registering voters. The law seems clearly aimed at keeping new voters -- especially minorities and the poor -- off the rolls. And it is working... Florida is not the only state trying to stop eligible people from voting... It is chilling to think that state legislators and election officials would intentionally try to make it harder for Americans to vote, but they always have -- with poll taxes, literacy tests and gerrymandering.

The Lurita Doan Story (The New York Times) 02 May 2008 It has been 11 months since investigators found that Lurita Doan, chief of the General Services Administration, violated the Hatch Act’s ban on politicking on the job, asking her staff how they could "help our candidates..." Her one undeniable service for taxpayers was in laying bare the partisan diktat that so deeply scars the Bush administration’s approach to government service. Evidence of such chicanery extends from regulatory agencies packed with pro-industry appointees, to the purging of nine United States attorneys responsible for enforcing justice, not the Republican Party’s agenda.

EPA official ousted while fighting Dow 02 May 2008 (Saginaw, MI) The battle over dioxin contamination in this economically stressed region had been raging for years when a top Bush administration official turned up the pressure on Dow Chemical to clean it up. On Thursday, following months of internal bickering over Mary Gade's interactions with Dow, the administration forced her to quit as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Midwest office, based in Chicago. Gade told the Tribune she resigned after two aides to national EPA administrator Stephen Johnson took away her powers as regional administrator and told her to quit or be fired by June 1.

Auto lobby spends $70 million --Efforts to influence fuel economy standards largely drive record figure; GM leads industry with $14M. 01 May 2008 The automotive industry spent a record $70.3 million lobbying Congress in 2007, a figure largely driven by efforts to influence changes in the fuel economy standards of the nation's cars and trucks, according to a new report by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Judge: Corps of Engineers can be sued over Katrina flooding 02 May 2008 The Army Corps of Engineers can be held liable for flood damage caused by a "hurricane highway," a navigation channel that is believed to have funneled Hurricane Katrina's storm surge into the city, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Questioner booted for rude language says he's worried by McCain's temper 01 May 2008 Clive businessman Marty Parrish was escorted from Sen. John McCain's town hall meeting by Des Moines police and members of the Secret Service after asking McCain if he had called his wife Cindy an expletive in 1992. Parrish, an licensed Baptist minister who holds a master's degree in political science, was questioned by Secret Service agents before being released. Parrish asked whether McCain called his wife Cindy a [c*nt], as has been alleged in the book "The Real McCain."

The True McCain Health Plan: Wealth Transfer From Voters to Corporations By RJ Eskow 01 May 2008 ...The McCain plan, if enacted, would result in an enormous transfer of wealth from the general public to large American businesses. In that sense, it reflects a lot of what passes for "conservative" ideology nowadays. There is no underlying belief system, just a mixed bag of policies - some "pro-big government" and some "anti big-government" - that share only the ability to enrich the large corporate donors that finance Republican campaigns. So Republican political platforms are often little more than ideological smokescreens for policies that benefit these special interests.

Tiny Guam leaps into White House race 02 May 2008 The spotlight shines on an oft forgotten part of US territory this weekend when the tiny, remote Pacific island of Guam gets its chance to help make history in the US presidential campaign. Guam, which has been a US territory since 1898, rarely steps into the limelight in US politics, lying on the other side of the international dateline and more than a 20-hour plane ride from Washington. But all eyes will be on Saturday's Democratic caucuses, even though there are only four party delegates at stake...

Obama intent on running out the clock By Carl P. Leubsdorf 01 May 2008 Barack Obama looks like the quarterback of a football team intent on running out the clock to preserve its lead in a championship game. By spurning future debates, he seeks to prevent giving rival Hillary Clinton a way to change the course of the game. He is playing it safe to avoid a mistake that could erase the small but firm margin he built through the first three quarters.

Adored in small towns, Bill Clinton stumps for his wife 02 May 2008 (Apex, NC) People who suggest Bill Clinton might be hurting his wife's presidential bid more than helping it haven't spent much time in the small towns where he draws adoring crowds of Democrats who wish he could serve a third term. Clinton routinely draws adoring crowds of Democrats who stand attentively to hear his detailed, rapid-fire case for his wife's election - often after waiting hours for him to arrive.

Obama May Levy $15 Billion Tax on Oil Company Profit [Awesome!] 01 May 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposal for a windfall profits tax on oil companies could cost $15 billion a year at last year's profit levels, a campaign adviser said. The tax would help pay for a $1,000 tax cut for working families, an expansion of the earned- income tax credit and assistance for people who can't afford their energy bills.

US plan to protect right whale from shipping blocked by Cheney 02 May 2008 Efforts to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from being killed by ships are being blocked by Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney according to leaked documents. A behind the scenes struggle is raging between the White House and US government scientists who want to force ships to slow down near the calving grounds of the almost extinct right whale. Only 350 of the whales remain in Atlantic waters off America's eastern seaboard and they are considered one of the most endangered species on Earth. [Cheney wears a pacemaker, right? Two words: giant magnet.]

Help Protect Polar Bears 02 May 2008 The Center for Biological Diversity just won a lawsuit forcing the Bush administration to finally decide whether to protect the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act by May 15, 2008 -- with the decision to be effective immediately. The polar bear, in dire straights due to global warming and the threat of oil and gas exploration, needs all the support it can get, and we've written a petition so that you can help us pressure the administration to make the right choice.

Fire officials brace for scorching summer 02 May 2008 With more than 1 million acres burned by wildfires across the USA already this year -- more than double the amount burned by this time in 2007 -- fire officials are preparing for a devastating summer.

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Alleged Call Girl Professor Hanged Self 30 Jan 2007 A former university professor accused of working as a call girl hanged herself over the weekend, police said Monday. Brandy Britton was found dead at her home Saturday by a family member. Britton, who was a sociology and anthropology professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, was charged a year ago with four counts of prostitution and was scheduled to go on trial next Monday.

Police: 'D.C. Madam' Palfrey Hanged Self in Fla. 01 May 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey, convicted last month of running a high-end prostitution service in Washington, hanged herself in a shed outside her mother's mobile home in Florida today, officials said. Authorities were called today to the Sun Valley Estates Mobile Home Park in Tarpon Springs, Fla., by Blanche Palfrey, who found her daughter's body hanging by a nylon rope shortly before 11 a.m., Tarpon Springs police Capt. Jeffrey P. Young said at a news conference. He said Deborah Palfrey left at least two suicide notes, but he declined to discuss their contents.

'D.C. Madam' Apparently Hanged Herself, Police Say 01 May 2008 Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "D.C. Madam" whose prostitution service allegedly catered to government officials, apparently committed suicide by hanging herself, according a statement from police in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Palfrey, 52, was staying with her mother, Blanche, who discovered her today suspended from a nylon rope wrapped around a metal beam in a storage shed, the statement said.

Iraq's April toll mounts to 1,073 01 May 2008 More than 1,073 Iraqis were killed across the country in April, most of them slaughtered in fierce fighting between security forces and Shi'ite fighters. Iraqi Health Ministry figures showed civilian deaths in April were the most in eight months.

Double Suicide Attack on Wedding Party Kills 35 in Iraq 01 May 2008 Two suicide [Blackwater] bombers attacked a wedding caravan Thursday as it drove through a crowded market district past bystanders cheering the bride and groom, killing at least 35 people and wounding 65 in a town northeast of Baghdad, officials said.

At least 925 people killed in Iraq's Sadr City clashes 30 Apr 2008 At least 925 people have been killed in clashes between militiamen and security forces in Baghdad's Sadr City that began last month, a senior Iraqi official told reporters on Wednesday. Another 2,605 people have been wounded in the firefights that began on March 25 and are still continuing, said Tehseen Sheikhly, one of the spokesmen for the Baghdad security plan.

Two US soldiers killed in Baghdad 30 Apr 2008 'Insurgents' killed two US soldiers in Baghdad in separate attacks of small arms fire and a bomb blast, the American military said Wednesday. Both the soldiers died on Tuesday in northwestern Baghdad.

Iraq has most unsolved journalists' murders-CPJ 01 May 2008 Iraq has the worst record for failing to solve murders of journalists, a journalism watchdog said on Wednesday. There are 79 cases of unsolved [Blackwater's] murders of journalists in Iraq and most of them had been targeted because of their work, not caught in crossfire, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report released at the United Nations.

Iraqi expert accuses West over antiquities trade 01 May 2008 A senior Iraqi official has accused the West of not doing enough to stop the thriving trade in antiquities smuggled [by Bush's Barbarians] out of the country's depleted archeological sites and sold in auction houses across Britain, America and Europe. Dr Bahaa Mayah, a special adviser to Iraq's Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, called for an immediate global ban on the sale of at least 100,000 artefacts that have been stolen since the invasion.

"Mission Accomplished," 5 Years Later --Since Bush Declared End to Major Combat Operations In Iraq, Nearly 4,000 U.S. Troops Have Died 01 May 2008 May 1 marks the fifth anniversary of President [sic] George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln... That message may have special meaning for the crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln, on which their commander-in-thief declared "Mission Accomplished" five long years ago. Their ship has just begun duty in the Persian Gulf, within striking distance of the coast of Iran.

White House admits fault on 'Mission Accomplished' banner 30 Apr 2008 The White House said Wednesday that President [sic] Bush has paid a price for the "Mission Accomplished" banner that was flown in triumph five years ago but later became a symbol of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly war in Iraq. Thursday is the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing in a Navy jet on an aircraft carrier homebound from the war.

McCain: 'Mission accomplished' banner not Bush's fault 01 May 2008 Republican John McCain said President [sic] Bush should not be held responsible for the much-criticized "Mission Accomplished" banner five years ago... McLunatic said he can't blame Bush for the banner. After shifting explanations, the White House eventually said the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the carrier's crew completing its 10-month mission, not the military completing its mission in Iraq.

Longview longshoremen join West Coast walkout 01 May 2008 (WA) The 340 longshoremen at the Port of Longview are leaving work today to join a protest of the Iraq War, said John Philbrook, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 21. The Longview workers are joining 25,000 longshoremen at 29 West Coast ports in the one-day walkout.

Port cargo workers take the day off to protest of Iraq War 01 May 2008 Port workers at cargo terminals in San Diego and National City joined their counterparts at other West Coast port facilities in a May Day work stoppage to protest the Iraq War.

US officials: Decision on confronting Iran up to Iraq 30 Apr 2008 Iraqi leaders have been given the latest U.S. [planted] evidence of Iranian support for militias inside Iraq, and Baghdad will decide what to do about it, two senior Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

CIA director says Iran wants to kill Americans in Iraq 30 Apr 2008 CIA Director Michael Hayden said Wednesday that Iranian policy, at the highest government level, is to help kill Americans in Iraq, the boldest pronouncement of Iranian involvement by a U.S. official to date.

US Cites New Evidence of Iranian Support for Taliban 30 Apr 2008 The Pentagon said Wednesday Iran is continuing to provide weapons and other material to Taliban 'insurgents' in Afghanistan, in addition to its alleged continuing support for Shiite militias in Iraq.

Iran complains to U.N. about Clinton comment 01 May 2008 Iran complained to the United Nations on Wednesday about U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's comment the United States could "totally obliterate" Iran in retaliation for a nuclear strike against Israel.

Senate panel makes second try at preventing waterboarding 30 Apr 2008 The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Tuesday to limit CIA interrogators to techniques approved by the military, which would effectively bar them from waterboarding prisoners, congressional officials said. The vote on an amendment by Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., taken behind closed doors as the committee debated legislation to authorize money for intelligence operations in 2009, marks at least the second attempt by intelligence overseers in Congress to regulate CIA questioning of prisoners.

U.S. has Mandela on terrorist watch lists 30 Apr 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. "What an indignity," Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said.

Air marshals grounded in list mix-ups --Terrorist Screening Center said April 10 it will review nearly 500,000 names on its watch list 30 Apr 2008 False identifications based on a terrorist no-fly list have for years prevented some federal air marshals from boarding flights they are assigned to protect, according to officials with the agency, which is finally taking steps to address the problem. Federal Air Marshals familiar with the situation say the mix-ups, in which marshals are mistaken for terrorism suspects who share the same names, have gone on for years -- just as they have for thousands of members of the traveling public.

Brown vows to press on with 42-day detention plans 30 Apr 2008 Gordon Brown today vowed to press ahead with plans to extend detention without charge beyond 28 days.

Aviation companies blame FBI, CIA and terrorists for 9/11 01 May 2008 Aviation companies sued by the families of Sept. 11 victims for failing to safeguard air travel are in turn blaming federal investigators -- arguing the Federal Aviation Administration was not alerted that al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] was poised to launch terrorist attacks. In court documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, aviation companies are seeking to force five FBI employees to provide testimony that may help defend against claims the companies share blame in the attacks. "The aviation parties anticipate that the FBI witnesses' testimony will demonstrate that the FBI had information before Sept. 11 indicating that al-Qaida may have been about to launch terrorist attacks on civil aviation, which it did not timely pass along to the Federal Aviation Administration," lawyers wrote.

Judge orders White House to resolve e-mail backup 'ambiguity' --Court finds that flash drives, .PST files may hold clues to find missing e-mails 25 Apr 2008 A federal judge has told the White House to answer "once and for all" whether backup tapes holding e-mail documents sought by a Washington-based watchdog group have been preserved. In the order, District Court Judge John M. Facciola said that the Executive Office of the President must tell the court by May 5 whether any backup tapes created from March to October 2003 have been preserved. Further, the government must disclose the specific dates when e-mail messages were not backed up.

House committee threatens Rove with subpoena 01 May 2008 The House Judiciary Committee threatened Thursday to subpoena former White House adviser Karl Rove if he does not agree by May 12 to testify about former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman's corruption case. In a letter to Rove's attorney, committee Democrats called it "completely unacceptable" that the Republican political strategist has so far rejected the committee's request for sworn testimony even as he discusses the matter publicly through the media.

State lawyer nailed for no-show job 01 May 2008 James A.P. McCarthy, an attorney and former counsel to Gov. George E. Pataki (R), was spending time at a posh country club and working at his Albany law firm while billing the state for thousands of dollars in salary for a no-show patronage job at the Department of Correctional Services, according to a report released today by the state Inspector General.

Clinton leads Obama by 4 in today's Gallup poll 01 May 2008 Hillary Clinton leads Barack Obama by 4 percentage points -- 49%-45% -- in today's Gallup national tracking poll on the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. The previous two days, she led by 1 point.

Former Democratic leader switches to Obama 01 May 2008 A leader of the Democratic Party under Bill Clinton switched his allegiance to Barack Obama on Thursday and urged fellow Democrats to end the bruising nomination fight. "This has got to come to an end," former Democratic National Committee Chairman Joe Andrew told reporters in his hometown of Indianapolis just days before Tuesday's crucial state primary.

Fear of a Black Phallus --Why didn't any media outlets dig up Ted Haggard's dirt during the 2000 and 2004 elections? By Earl Crown 01 May 2008 The only reason Fox News and their kind went trolling for dirt on Reverend Wright is because the candidate is black. If Barack Obama was Bob Smith and lily-white, the media would not care what his spiritual advisors had to say. George W. Bush had a "spiritual advisor" named Ted Haggard. Two years ago, it was discovered that the Reverend Haggard, a married man with children and a huge congregation, was smoking meth and having sex with a male prostitute. Haggard's meth and prostitute habit goes back YEARS, before the 2000 elections, and he was using church funds to finance his debauchery.

Rev. Wright's honorary degree canceled by Northwestern 01 May 2008 Northwestern University withdrew an invitation for the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to receive an honorary degree at this year's commencement.

Mission Accomplished: Exxon Mobil reports record $11B in first-quarter profit 01 May 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp.'s first-quarter profit rose 17 percent from a year ago, buoyed by soaring crude oil prices. The Irving-based oil giant earned $10.89 billion, or $2.03 per share, for the quarter, compared with $9.28 billion, or $1.62 per share, a year ago. Revenue jumped to $116.85 billion from $87.22 billion last year.

Exxon profit up 17% on oil surge 01 May 2008 Oil giant Exxon Mobil made $10.9bn (£6bn) profit in the first three months of 2008 - up 17% but less than some had expected [!], analysts said.

Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet 29 Apr 2008 Struggling with mounting debt and rising prices, faced with the toughest economic times since the early 1990s, Americans are selling prized possessions online and at flea markets at alarming rates. To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother's dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful -- families forced to part with heirlooms.

Help Protect Polar Bears (Center for Biological Diversity) 30 Apr 2008 Polar bears are in trouble. The melting of the Arctic is killing them. Some are already starving and drowning. The Bush administration has stalled a decision on whether protect the polar bear while it rushes forward with Arctic oil and gas leases. But now a federal judge has ordered the administration to make a final decision by May 15th. Please sign the petition urging the Secretary of Interior to list the polar bear as an endangered species and to protect its habitat.

Feds declare West Coast salmon fisheries disaster 01 May 2008 Federal authorities declared the West Coast ocean salmon fishery a failure Thursday, opening the way for Congress to appropriate economic disaster assistance for coastal communities in California, Oregon and Washington. "This is a bleak year," Jim Balsiger, NOAA Fisheries Service acting assistant administrator, said in announcing the declaration in Portland, Ore.

S. Fla. stuck with $3 billion sewage bill 01 May 2008 South Florida counties must eventually stop pumping hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage every day into the ocean, under a bill the Legislature passed Wednesday that also sticks the counties with the $3 billion cost. [Instead, *stick it* to the corpora-terrorists who are doing the polluting.]

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U.S. Develops Iran Attack Plan --The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to develop to options for attacking Iran. 29 Apr 2008 A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran. CBS News reports that the planning is being driven by what one officer called the "increasingly hostile role" Iran is playing in Iraq - smuggling weapons into Iraq for use against American troops... U.S. officials are also concerned by Iranian harassment of U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf as well as Iran's still growing nuclear program.

Pentagon denies report of new Iran war planning 30 Apr 2008 The United States remains focused on halting [alleged] Iranian meddling inside Iraq, the Pentagon's spokesman said here Wednesday, denying reports of new planning for military options against Iran. "I'm not aware of any ramping up or revision of war plans for Iran," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters traveling with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is winding up a two day visit here.

Warships 'to remind Iran of US power' 01 May 2008 The decision to send a second US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf should be a "reminder" to Iran of Washington's military might but was not an escalation of force in the region, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday. The arrival of the formidable warship in the Gulf follows a noticeable hardening of US rhetoric against Iran, accusing Tehran of meddling in Iraq and destabilising the region.

Iran Ends Oil Transactions In U.S. Dollars --OPEC's Second-Largest Producer Now Pegs Petroleum to Euros and Yen 30 Apr 2008 Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has completely stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said Wednesday, a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.

Iraq to see $70 billion windfall as oil prices rise, U.S. military says --Congress has OK'd $47 billion for 'reconstruction' since war began 30 Apr 2008 Iraq's government is expected to reap a $70 billion windfall from soaring oil prices, about double the previous projections, the U.S. military's reconstruction watchdog reported Wednesday. Congress has approved about $47 billion in reconstruction funding since the invasion.

Iraq budget cut by $171M after oil-profit windfall --Gates: Remaining $439 million 'reconstruction' project funds should continue 29 Apr 2008 The Pentagon has agreed to cut from its budget $171 million to build police stations in Iraq after demands from Congress that the Iraqi government spend its recent oil windfall on reconstruction projects. The amount is a fraction of the roughly $47 billion Congress has approved to rebuild destroy Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Over a thousand Iraqis killed in April 01 May 2008 Fierce clashes and US-led operations in Iraq have killed at least 1,073 people, including 966 civilians, across the country in April. Sixty-nine policemen and 38 soldiers were also among the fatalities; AFP reported Wednesday based on casualty figures provided by Iraq's interior, health and defense ministries.

US troop deaths push monthly toll to 7-month high in Iraq 30 Apr 2008 The killings of three U.S. soldiers in separate attacks in Baghdad pushed the American death toll for April up to 47, making it the deadliest month since September, the military said Wednesday.

37 die in Iraq clashes 30 Apr 2008 More than 37 people were killed in Baghdad's Shi'ite militia bastion of Sadr City yesterday, as gunmen clashed with US soldiers under cover of a severe sandstorm. Several rockets or mortar rounds also struck the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified government compound, as militants took advantage of the absence of US air cover during the storm, witnesses said.

Investment Giant Ends Talks With Blackwater --Private Equity Firm Was Pondering $200 million Investment in Controversial Security Firm 30 Apr 2008 After news broke this morning on ABCNews.com of the ongoing talks between the investment giant Cerberus and the mercenary firm Blackwater, the talks have now ceased, and there will be no deal. Late today a spokesperson for Cerberus told ABCNews.com that they have decided not to pursue a transaction with Blackwater. The chairman of Cerberus is former Treasury Secretary John Snow, and former Vice President Dan Quayle is also a prominent figure in the company.

Senate panel tries to ban waterboarding 30 Apr 2008 The US Senate Intelligence Committee has voted to limit CIA interrogators, prohibiting them from using waterboarding on the prisoners. Waterboarding is a form of torture used by the CIA that lays a person on their back pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages which forces suffocation and inhalation of water.

US Navy re-establishes fleet for Caribbean, Latin America 24 Apr 2008 The US Navy said Thursday it has re-established the US Fourth Fleet to direct an increasing American naval presence in the Caribbean and Latin America. The move comes as popularly elected leftist regimes governments, including that of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, pose a growing challenge to US influence terrorism in Latin America.

US launches 'mini surge' in Afghanistan 30 Apr 2008 A strike force of US marines punched through Taliban frontlines in southern Helmand yesterday as part of an Afghan "mini surge" intended to weaken the 'insurgents'' grip on the war-ravaged south. The marine force, numbered in the hundreds, exchanged fire with Taliban fighters as they pushed through Garmser, a town abandoned by its inhabitants in recent years and ringed by poppy fields.

Seven dead as Afghan forces trade fire with 'terrorists' 30 Apr 2008 Afghan security forces raided the Kabul hideout of militants with suspected links to the weekend attack on President Hamid Karzai, sparking a clash that left at least seven people dead Wednesday, officials said.

Afghan forces kill 2 Taliban, woman, child in siege 30 Apr 2008 Afghan security forces surrounded a house in the capital Kabul on Wednesday and traded gunfire with 'Taliban insurgents' before blowing up the building and killing two 'militants' as well as a woman and child inside, officials said.

Aust soldier stable after Afghanistan shooting 30 Apr 2008 An Australian soldier is being treated for a gunshot wound to the arm after a battle with 'insurgents' in Afghanistan's Uruzgan Province. The soldier's injuries are not life threatening and the Defence Department says he is in a stable condition in hospital.

US report says al-Qaida gaining strength 30 Apr 2008 Al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] has rebuilt some of its pre-Sept. 11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a jump in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan, the Bush regime said Wednesday. Attacks in Pakistan doubled between 2006 and 2007 and the number of fatalities quadrupled, the State Department said in its annual terrorism report. [See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were too few controls over the money. See: US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007 The US Senate has approved a $785 million assistance package for Pakistan for the fiscal year 2008... on Tuesday night. ]

Peace protesters deflate NZ spy base dome [Awesome!] 29 Apr 2008 Peace activists attacked and deflated a large inflatable globe housing a satellite dish at a top secret New Zealand spy base [part of a global signals interception network, Echelon] on Wednesday in protest at United States military actions. The group, calling itself ANZAC Ploughshares, said it cut through fences and razor wire and avoided electronic sensors to slash one of two 30-metre (98-ft) white globes with a sickle at the Waihopai base near Blenheim at the top of the South Island.

Troops stranded by airline bankruptcy --Some may have to wait a week to get ride home 29 Apr 2008 The abrupt collapse of ATA Airlines has left an untold number of U.S. soldiers, sailors and Marines stuck in Iraqi and Afghan airports while they await a ride home. Some face travel delays of up to a week, military officials acknowledge. "It's hard to believe that when this bankruptcy happened, the Department of Defense didn't have a backup plan," Bret Rumbeck, press secretary for Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., said Tuesday.

Army widens probe after finding bad conditions at Fort Bragg 29 Apr 2008 Army officials said Tuesday they are inspecting every barracks building worldwide to see whether problems revealed at Fort Bragg, N.C., last week are widespread. Brig. Gen. Dennis Rogers, who is responsible for maintaining barracks throughout the Army, acknowledged the revelations from a video shot by the father of an 82nd Airborne Division soldier showing poor conditions such as mold inside the barracks, peeling interior paint and a bathroom drain plugged with sewage.

Police investigated in failed Australian terror inquiry 30 Apr 2008 In Australia, the much awaited judicial inquiry into the failed terrorism case against Indian doctor Muhammad Haneef has heard fresh calls for coercive powers to investigate the circumstances surrounding his arrest and detention last year.

Wright Says U.S. Government Capable of Creating AIDS Virus --Hecklers turn mute as pastor cites documented history of biological warfare against innocent people By Paul Joseph Watson 29 Apr 2008 Barack Obama's outspoken pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., defended his statements accusing the U.S. government of deliberately engineering the AIDS virus as a means of genocide during a National Press Club appearance yesterday by citing the documented history of the U.S. government's involvement in biological warfare operations against innocent people. Asked if he stood behind previous statements about the U.S. government deliberately creating AIDS as a means of genocide against black people, Wright responded, "Have you read Horowitz' book - 'Emerging Viruses - AIDS and Ebola?'" [See also: Flu 'Oddities'.]

Big-Oil Profit Seen Surging This Week 28 Apr 2008 Big Oil's profit juggernaut shows few signs of slowing, despite a weakening economy in the world's biggest fossil-fuel guzzler, the U.S. Normally, a slowing economy means less driving and therefore lower prices for gasoline and crude oil. This time around, however, a soft economy may mean bigger profits for Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP PLC which report first-quarter earnings this week.

Bush says no 'magic wand' to lower fuel prices [Yeah, and too bad no 'magic wand' to make him 'disappear.'] 29 Apr 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush said on Tuesday there was no "magic wand" to bring down record-high fuel prices but would consider a proposal to suspend federal gasoline taxes this summer.

Judge Orders Bush Administration to Stop Delaying Polar Bear Protection --Finds It Guilty of Violating Endangered Species Act 29 Apr 2008 A federal judge has found the Bush administration guilty of violating the Endangered Species Act and ordered the administration to issue a final listing decision for the polar bear by May 15, 2008. The polar bear, suffering as its Arctic sea ice habitat melts far faster than forecast, is one of the world’s most imperiled animals due to global warming.

Bush has 16 days to decide whether polar bears are endangered 29 Apr 2008 The Bush administration has 16 days to decide whether polar bears are now an endangered species because of climate change, a California judge ruled today. The US court handed a victory to three environmental groups that sued to protect polar bears threatened by melting sea ice, rejecting a plea by the government to postpone its decision until June 30.

Witness says Hastert linked to alleged plot --House speaker would have picked Fitzgerald's replacement, defendant's ex-associate claims 29 Apr 2008 The name of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was added Monday to the roster of political heavyweights linked by witnesses to an alleged plan to dump Chicago's top federal prosecutor and kill a criminal investigation into a top fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A witness at the corruption trial of Blagojevich insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko testified that Rezko told him in February 2005 about an effort under way to fire U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald and replace him with someone more compliant to be hand-picked by Hastert, then the top Republican in the House.

Delegate Update: Obama 3, Clinton 2 30 Apr 2008 The Clinton and Obama campaigns announced one more superdelegate each. Today, Sen. Obama has three superdelegates to Sen. Clinton's two. Superdelegate Total: (280 uncommitted) Clinton 268-Obama 247. Pledged: Obama 1,490-Clinton 1,334 Overall: Obama 1,737-Clinton 1,602.

Suspicious Phone Messages Target Black Voters in North Carolina --Watchdog Group Says Calls May Be Linked to Ones in Virginia and Ohio 30 Apr 2008 Misleading automated phone messages that have targeted African American voters in North Carolina have been linked to similar phone calls made in Virginia, say election officials.

Obama Strikes Back, Denouncing Wright 29 Apr 2008 Sen. Barack Obama today strongly criticized the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor, saying that Wright's comments about the United States in recent days have been "destructive" and "outrageous."

Clinton Carpools in Indiana 30 Apr 2008 (South Bend) Like any hardworking, environmentally conscious American, Hillary Clinton carpooled to work this morning in South Bend, stopping by a gas station on the way to purchase some gas at $3.65 a gallon... At the Marathon gas station, Clinton stood beside Jason Allen Wilfing as he filled the tank of the borrowed car, while she spoke softly about her plans to reduce gas prices as more than a dozen reporters watched. (The total for the gas was $63.37 for a little under a half a tank; Clinton paid for it with campaign funds.)

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2400 US marines attack Afghan drug town 30 Apr 2008 US Marines went into action yesterday, pouring into a lawless town in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province -- the first time a sizeable American force has fought in the largely British sector of the country for several years. About 2,400 Marines, many veterans of the war in Iraq, were involved in the dawn assault on Garmser.

Militiamen ambush drives back US patrol in Sadr City 29 Apr 2008 Dozens of fighters ambushed a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's main Shiite militia stronghold Tuesday, firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun bursts as the American push into Sadr City increasingly faces pockets of close urban combat. U.S. forces struck back with 200-pound guided rockets that devastated at least three buildings in the densely packed district that serves as the Baghdad base for the powerful Mahdi Army militia.

Drone attacks hit high in Iraq 29 Apr 2008 U.S. commanders in Iraq have ordered an unprecedented number of airstrikes by unmanned airplanes in April to kill 'insurgents' in urban combat and to limit their ability to launch rockets at American forces, military records show. The 11 attacks by Predators -- nearly double the previous high for one month -- were conducted as the Pentagon has intensified efforts to increase the use of drones.

DynCorp Manager Used Armored Car to Transport Hookers in Iraq (Muckraked!) 28 Apr 2008 Some explosive testimony this afternoon from a panel of whistleblowers testifying before the Senate’s Democratic Policy Committee on contractor abuse in Iraq. A contractor died when a DynCorp manager used an employee’s armored car to transport prostitutes, according to Barry Halley, a Worldwide Network Services employee working under a DynCorp subcontract. Also: Kellogg Brown & Root contractors used to destroy countless quantities of still-usable equipment that was difficult to transport in "massive burn pits" that were "burning 24 hours a day." KBR’s ice foreman "was cheating the troops out of ice at the same time that he was trading the ice for DVDs, CDs, food and other items at the Iraqi shops across the street." When KBR whistleblower Frank Cassaday reported weapons looting, he was placed in a jail tent by KBR security. KBR employees looted Iraqi palaces for treasure to sell on eBay.

KBR workers in Iraq stole weapons and artwork, senators told 28 Apr 2008 KBR employees working in Iraq stole weapons, artwork and even gold to make spurs for cowboy boots, two former company workers told Senate Democrats on Monday. Linda Warren, an Abilene woman who worked as a laundry foreman and recreation director for the Houston-based contracting giant in Iraq, told the Senate Democratic Policy Committee Monday that some of her American colleagues doing construction work in Iraqi palaces and municipal buildings took woodcarvings, tapestries and crystal "and even melted down gold to make spurs for cowboy boots." Warren said the supervisor reminded her she had signed a confidentiality agreement and then threatened her by suggesting an American woman "wouldn't last very long on the streets of Baghdad."

New bid, same result: KBR shares big Army contract 17 Apr 2008 Houston-based KBR has again been selected to participate in a 10-year military logistical support contract valued at up to $150 billion, the U.S. Army announced today. The Army Sustainment Command, at the insistence of the Government Accountability Office, had re-evaluated its decision last summer to award the massive contract to KBR, Fort Worth-based DynCorp International and Fluor Intercontinental of Greenville, S.C. But after rebidding the contract, the Army chose the same three players.

Obama vows to back Bush's war commander By Bill Van Auken 29 Apr 2008 Democratic presidential front-runner Senator Barack Obama said on Sunday he would endorse Bush’s nominee [David Petraeus] to direct US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout a region extending from North Africa to Central Asia.

Cheney lawyer claims Congress has no authority over vice-president --Cheney's conduct 'not within congressional committee's power of inquiry' 29 Apr 2008 The lawyer for US vice-president [sic] Dick Cheney claimed today that the Congress lacks any authority to examine his behaviour on the job. The exception claimed by Cheney's counsel came in response to requests from congressional Democrats that David Addington, the vice-president's chief of staff, testify about his involvement in the approval of interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo Bay. Ruling out voluntary cooperation by Addington, Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger said Cheney's conduct is "not within the [congressional] committee's power of inquiry".

Ex-Prosecutor Told By Pentagon 'There Could Be No Acquittals' of Detainees --Pentagon official insisted prosecutors use evidence derived from torture 29 Apr 2008 (Guantánamo Bay, Cuba) The former chief prosecutor here took the witness stand on Monday on behalf of a detainee and testified that top Pentagon officials had pressured him in deciding which cases to prosecute and what evidence to use. The prosecutor, Col. Morris D. Davis of the Air Force, testified that Pentagon officials had interfered with his work for political reasons and told him that charges against well-known prisoners "could have real strategic political value" and that there could be no acquittals. Testifying about his assertions for the first time, Colonel Davis said a senior Pentagon official who oversaw the military commissions, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann of the Air Force Reserve, reversed a decision he had made and insisted that prosecutors proceed with evidence derived through waterboarding of prisoners and other aggressive interrogation methods that critics call torture.

Mahathir calls for war crimes tribunal for US, UK leaders 27 Apr 2008 Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad called on Friday for an international tribunal to try Western leaders for war crimes over the war in Iraq, a spokesman for the organizers said. In a speech at Imperial College, Mahathir called for a tribunal to try US President [sic] George W. Bush and former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and John Howard of Australia for their part in the conflict, said a spokesman for the Muslim group the Ramadhan Foundation, which organized the event. [Yeah! And, feel free to 'proceed with evidence derived through waterboarding of prisoners and other aggressive interrogation methods that critics call torture.' --LRP]

Former prosecutor says he wouldn't have charged Hicks 29 Apr 2008 The former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals has testified he would not have charged Australian David Hicks if the decision had been up to him. Air Force Colonel Moe Davis said he pursued the case after he inherited it from a previous prosecutor.

Hicks comments 'no surprise' 29 Apr 2008 Any doubt that David Hicks was charged with war crimes for purely political reasons has gone, his father and his lawyer say. The former chief prosecutor of the US military commissions at Guantanamo Bay said overnight he would not have pursued Hicks because the case against the Australian was not serious enough. The ex-prosecutor, Air Force Colonel Moe Davis, told a pre-trial hearing for another Guantanamo Bay inmate he had "inherited" the Hicks case and wanted to focus on cases serious enough to merit 20-year jail sentences, with the Australian's case not meeting that mark.

1st British Waterboarding Championships By Daniel Raven-Ellison 02 Mar 2008 In direct response to the recent debate around if Waterboarding is torture, guerrilla geographers inverted the practice into a competitive sport and held the first British Waterboarding Championships in central London last Saturday... The Guerrilla Geographers are now calling for Waterboarding to become a recognised Olympic sport ready for the 2012 games in London.

U.S. Importing 6,700 Tons of Radioactive Sand From Kuwait --Sand contaminated with DU and lead from U.S. Army base in Kuwait to be shipped to Idaho 28 Apr 2008 Longshoremen should finish unloading 6,700 tons of sand contaminated with depleted uranium and lead Tuesday afternoon, said Chad Hyslop, spokesman for the disposal company American Ecology. The BBC Alabama arrived at the Port of Longview (WA) Saturday afternoon with the 306 containers carrying the contaminated sand from Camp Doha, a U.S. Army base in Kuwait. Half of the containers will be loaded onto 76 rail cars and transported to the company's disposal site in Idaho. The other half will remain at the port until the trains return to haul them to Idaho. State Department of Health personnel are at the port to test radiation levels and to ensure none of the sand spills [!], Hyslop said.

Kuwaiti sand bound for Longview has high levels of lead; extended stay likely 24 Apr 2008 The U.S. Army has found a potentially hazardous amount of lead in Kuwaiti sand already bound for the Port of Longview (WA) , the company disposing the material said Thursday. The discovery could mean the BBC Alabama, which is hauling the 6,700 tons of [radioactive] sand from a U.S. Army base in Kuwait, now must likely wait in port a month under U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notification regulations, said Chad Hyslop, project manager for the Idaho-based American Ecology.

Contaminated sand from Gulf War to pass through Longview 15 Apr 2008 A ship carrying 6,700 tons of sand contaminated with low levels of hazardous waste at a U.S. Army base in Kuwait during the first Gulf War will be unloaded at the Port of Longview (WA) on April 22. The vessel BBC Alabama is delivering 306 containers of the sand, which contains low levels of uranium, to the port. The contaminated sand will then be loaded onto trains bound for a disposal site in Grand View, Idaho, said Doug Averett, the port’s director of operations.

MI: Terror groups planning major attacks on Israel's 60th 29 Apr 2008 Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin warned the government Tuesday that Palestinian terror organizations are interested in executing a large-scale terrorist attack ahead of Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations.

9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda By Jim Fetzer 22 Apr 2008 During a "Freedom Rally" in recognition of Ron Paul, (R-TX) and in opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth explained why the anti-war movement and the 9/11 truth movement should be more closely linked, since exposing the truth about 9/11 destroys the justification for those wars.

Shell profits up 25 pct on record high oil prices 29 Apr 2008 Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Tuesday that first-quarter net profits leapt 25 percent to 4.58 billion pounds because of record-breaking crude oil prices. Crude oil prices smashed record after record in the first quarter and hit an all-time high of almost 120 dollars per barrel on Monday.

BP's first-quarter profit jumps 63 percent 29 Apr 2008 BP has reported a 63 percent jump in profits in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. The oil company on Tuesday reported a profit of $7.6 billion compared to $4.4 billion in the first quarter of 2007. First-quarter profit was up 73 percent compared to the previous quarter.

Oil giants post £3m an hour profits 29 Apr 2008 Oil giants BP and Shell were the toast of shareholders, but faced anger from motorists, after pumping profits of more than £3 million an hour. The impact of rising oil prices meant their combined earnings hit £7.2 billion in the first three months of the year - a haul far greater than City forecasts and resulting in share price gains of around 6% for both firms.

Speculative Oil Price Brings Roof-Busting Profits to Shell, BP at Cost of Squeezed Consumers, Suffering Economy (consumerwatchdog.org) 29 Apr 2008 The first-quarter record profits reported today by oil giants BP and Shell came almost entirely on crude oil profits driven by speculative trading, said Consumer Watchdog.

Medicare "drifting towards disaster": U.S. official 29 Apr 2008 Medicare is lurching toward disaster and it is too late for the Bush Administration and Congress to do anything about it, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary [pharma-terrorist troll] Michael Leavitt said on Tuesday. He said the next administration will have to act to stop rising costs and get control of the $400 billion federal health insurance plan for the elderly. [If Bush bin Laden would turn off the Iraq war spigot, the US could fund Medicare.]

Mukasey calls for $550 million to 'fight' drug smuggling 29 Apr 2008 Attorney General Michael Mukasey urged Congress Tuesday to approve more than $500 million to help fight foment crime in Mexico and Central America. [OMFG! The Bush regime has $550 million to 'fight' crime in Mexico and Central America - but no money to fund Medicare???]

Bank bail-outs to be kept secret 27 Apr 2008 The Bank of England has imposed a permanent news blackout on its £50bn-plus plan to ease the credit crunch. Ferocious and unprecedented secrecy means taxpayers will never know the names of the banks that have been supported through the special liquidity scheme, which was unveiled by Bank Governor Mervyn King last week.

Obama strongly denounces former pastor 29 Apr 2008 Democratic Sen. Barack Obama strongly denounced his former pastor on Tuesday, saying he was outraged by assertions made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright about the U.S. government and race that have disrupted Obama's presidential campaign.

North Carolina Gov. Easley endorses Clinton for president 29 Apr 2008 Governor Mike Easley has endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. At a joint appearance in Raleigh Tuesday morning, the two-term Democrat said Clinton "gets it." "It's time for somebody to be in the White House who understands the challenges we face in this country," Easley said.

AP Poll: Clinton leads McCain by 9 points 28 Apr 2008 Hillary Rodham Clinton now leads John McCain by 9 points in a head-to-head presidential matchup, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll that bolsters her argument that she is more electable than Democratic rival Barack Obama. Obama and Republican McCain are running about even.

$1 billion timber slush fund or fair trade deal? Lawsuit, U.S. senators want details on Bush administration deal By Robert McClure 29 Apr 2008 Is it an illegal $1 billion slush fund for Bush administration friends in the timber industry, extorted from Canada and designed to evade congressional oversight? ...[A] federal lawsuit filed in Seattle is bringing more scrutiny to the controversial deal... $900 million went to American timber interests and nonprofits with close ties to the timber industry. Environmentalists say the deal amounted to an international shell game.

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