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


Citizens For Legitimate Government
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose and resist US imperialism, corpora-terrorism, and the New World Order.

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May 2009 Archives

CIA and ISI together created Taliban: Zardari 11 May 2009 In a new revelation, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the CIA of the United States and his country's ISI together created the Taliban. "I think it was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and CIA created them together," Zardari told the NBC news channel in an interview. In the interview, which was given to the NBC on May 7, Zardari also accused the US of supporting the military rule of Pervez Musharraf who was alleged to be taking sides of the Taliban.

Zardari: US, Pakistan gave birth to Taliban 11 May 2009 President Asif Ali Zardari says Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence along with the CIA conceived and gave birth to the Taliban. "I think it was part of your past and our past, and the ISI and the CIA created them [the Taliban] together," Zardari told the NBC news channel in an interview on Monday. Zardari's remarks come after the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in a congressional hearing explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Somali pirates guided by London intelligence team, report says --Document obtained by Spanish radio station says 'well-placed informers' in constant contact by satellite telephone 11 May 2009 The Somali pirates attacking shipping in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean are directed to their targets by a "consultant" team in London, according to a European military intelligence document obtained by a Spanish radio station. The document, obtained by Cadena SER radio, says the team and the pirates remain in contact by satellite telephone. It says that pirate groups have "well-placed informers" in London who are in regular contact with control centres in Somalia where decisions on which vessels to attack are made. These London-based "consultants" help the pirates select targets, providing information on the ships' cargoes and courses.

McChrystal's Tillman memo contradicted citation --Pentagon had recommended that McChrystal be held accountable for his 'misleading' actions 04 Apr 2007 Just a day after approving a medal claiming former NFL player Pat Tillman had been cut down by "devastating enemy fire" in Afghanistan, a high-ranking general tried to warn President [sic] Bush that the story might not be true, according to testimony obtained by The Associated Press. Despite this apparent contradiction, Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was spared punishment in the latest review of Tillman's shooting. On Tuesday, the Army overruled a Pentagon recommendation that he be held accountable for his "misleading" actions. In a sometimes contentious November interview under oath and via videoconference, Pentagon investigators sharply questioned McChrystal about the conflicting accounts, according to the testimony obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.

Gates Says McChrystal to Be Top U.S. Afghan Commander 11 May 2009 Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal has been picked to take command of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today. McChrystal, now director of the staff for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, will replace General David McKiernan, pending Senate confirmation. Gates said he asked for McKiernan’s resignation.

DoD sacks top US commander in Afghanistan 11 May 2009 General David McKiernan has been dismissed as the commander of US forces in Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration's new security measures for the war-torn country. Army Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal has been appointed to replace McKiernan as the next army chief to head US troops in Afghanistan, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said on Monday.

Probe into burns suffered in Afghan battle --Rights groups: Use of white phosphorus over populated areas can indiscriminately burn civilians and constitutes a war crime. 11 May 2009 Afghanistan's top human rights group said it is investigating whether white phosphorous was used [by the US] in a U.S.-Taliban battle that killed scores of people, which could further deepen controversy over an incident that has already sparked public anger. Doctors have said villagers wounded in the fighting had "unusual" burns. Afghan doctors told The Associated Press they have treated at least 14 patients with severe burns the doctors have never seen before.

'US drone kills eight in Pakistan' 12 May 2009 Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have flattened a house and killed at least eight people in Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, officials say. The attack took place in Sra Khawra village in the South Waziristan district. There have been three dozen alleged US strikes since August - killing about 340 people - most in the North and South Waziristan tribal regions.

Cannot stop aerial bombings in Afghanistan: Gates 12 May 2009 The United States has rejected Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's demand to stop aerial bombings, saying such a step would tie the hands of the US forces in their war against terrorism in the country. "We can't fight this war with one hand tied behind us," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at a Pentagon press conference. Mr. Karzai in an interview to the CNN last week demanded that the US "should stop" aerial bombings, which very often results in killing of innocent civilians.

After Afghan massacre, Washington says airstrikes will go on By Bill Van Auken 12 May 2009 In the final days of his trip to Washington, President Hamid Karzai demanded an end to US airstrikes in Afghanistan. In response, US National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones (ret.) insisted that the bombing of Afghan villages will continue, whether the country’s supposed sovereign government likes it or not. The juxtaposition of Karzai’s and Jones’ remarks speaks volumes about the nature of the US war in Afghanistan. It is a dirty, colonial-style intervention in which Washington dictates policy to a puppet government while unleashing military violence against an increasingly hostile population.

'We demand a complete end to the bombardment of our villages ... and we are very serious about it.' Karzai "very serious" on ending air raids: official 11 May 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai is "very serious" about a demand for foreign forces in Afghanistan to halt air raids, even though it was rebuffed by a top U.S. security official, his spokesman said on Monday. Afghans are furious about the [US] bombing of two villages in Western Farah province during a drawn-out battle last week, when homes full of civilians were hit.

American pilot, whose 'friendly fire' blunder killed British Royal Marine, will not give evidence at inquest because of Pentagon policy 12 May 2009 An American fighter pilot who killed a Royal Marine in a 'friendly fire' attack will not give evidence at his inquest, it emerged yesterday. Jonathan Wigley died soon after a U.S. F-18 rained cannon fire on a ditch where British troops were surrounded by the Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan. But the Pentagon's policy of not allowing American personnel to appear at British inquests means the coroner will be unable to question the pilot in open court.

KBR harming US soldiers, once again: US soldiers forced to steal water in Iraq --'That water was two to three times as contaminated as the water out of the Euphrates River,' said former KBR employee Ben Carter. 11 May 2009 The 11 News Defenders discovered that soldiers, stationed in Iraq and during all phases of this desert war, say they did not have good access to water. "We were rationed two bottles of water a day," said Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Robey, referring to 1 to 1.5 liter bottles. And he said that wasn’t nearly enough... Turns out, at many similar bases, the water was supposed to be processed by Houston-based company KBR. In an internal KBR report, the company cites "massive programmatic issues" with water for personal hygiene dating back to 2005. It outlines how there was no formalized training for anyone involved with water operations, and one camp, Ar Ramadi, had no disinfection for shower water whatsoever. [US soldiers - as all of us - should be fighting KBR (and Xe).]

US soldier guns down 5 fellow soldiers in Iraq --U.S. soldier kills 5 fellow Americans at Baghdad base 11 May 2009 A U.S. soldier shot to death five fellow American troops today at a base in Baghdad, the U.S. military said. The suspect is now in custody and an investigation underway, a military statement said. It said the incident occurred about 2 p.m. at Camp Liberty.

US soldier, ex-Iraqi commander killed 12 May 2009 The US military has suffered another loss in war-ravaged Iraq after an American soldier lost his life in a bomb blast in the southern port city of Basra. "A Multi-National Division - South Soldier died when an improvised explosive device struck his vehicle in the Basra Province at approximately 2 p.m. (1000 GMT) May 10," the US army announced in a Monday statement.

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Dies In Libyan Prison By Andy Worthington 10 May 2009 The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp -- whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq -- has died in a Libyan jail... Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) "was found dead of suicide in his cell," and noted that the newspaper had reported the story "without specifying the date or method of suicide."

Cheney: Obama endangers the nation 10 May 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney on Sunday continued his verbal attack against President Obama, saying that the country is more vulnerable to a potential terrorist attack since the Obama administration took power. Mr. Cheney said that administration's dismantling of many of the policies and 'protections' instituted by President [sic] George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks -- including the planned closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba and halting controversial prisoner interrogation techniques torture -- have made the country more vulnerable to future attacks.

FAA Says No to Flight of Small Navy Plane Over Manhattan 12 May 2009 The Federal Aviation Administration turned down a U.S. Navy request to fly a patrol aircraft past Manhattan on Monday, two weeks after an Air Force photo shoot over the Statue of Liberty caused a brief panic. The agency said it refused clearance for the flight down the Hudson River because the Navy had given only a few hours' notice of its plans.

'Chemical device' closes Lockport school --School officials said they followed [insane] lockdown procedures, which include prohibiting the use of cell phones in the school. 11 May 2009 (IL) Students at Lockport Township High School's Central Campus were sent home early today after a device exploded in the school, releasing smoke and possibly chemicals. School officials and Lockport police continued investigating the incident this afternoon. No suspects were in custody for the incident, which injured at least 14 and sent some to the hospital for treatment.

WHO: A/H1N1 virus severity could change 'in completely unknowable ways' 12 May 2009 The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday issued some preliminary observations about the A/H1N1 flu virus, which has caused dozens of deaths and infected people in some 30 countries... Severity of Disease Could Change: Apart from the intrinsic mutability of influenza viruses, other factors could alter the severity of current disease patterns, though in completely unknowable ways, if the virus continues to spread.

Swine Flu Is as Severe as Pandemic Virus in 1957, Study Shows 12 May 2009 The swine flu strain that has sickened people in 30 countries rivals the severity of the 1957 "Asian flu" pandemic that killed 2 million people, scientists said. About four of 1,000 people infected with the new H1N1 strain in Mexico by late April died, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Science that was led by Neil Ferguson of the Imperial College London.

Ten passengers on flight NW025 quarantined in HK 11 May 2009 Ten passengers on board the same flight which four Japanese passengers were confirmed with A/H1N1 influenza have been under quarantine in Hong Kong, a Hong Kong health official confirmed on Monday. Nine of them have so far tested negative for A/H1N1 influenza and result of laboratory analysis of the remaining one is pending, according to a spokesman for the Department of Health of Hong Kong government.

Swine flu spreading too fast to count, CDC says --Confirmed cases are only the 'tip of the iceberg,' health official says 11 May 2009 Swine flu is spreading so far and fast in the U.S. that state health officials may soon stop counting individual cases, a federal health official said Monday. The novel H1N1 virus accounted for 40 percent of flu viruses logged in the U.S. in the past week and helped propel an uptick in overall flu-like illnesses, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, a deputy director with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Now 2,600 cases of new flu in US, CDC says 11 May 2009 The United States now has 2,600 cases of the new H1N1 influenza across 43 states and Washington, D.C., the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday. On Sunday the CDC reported 2,532 cases.

US has more swine flu cases than any other country, WHO says 10 May 2009 The US has more confirmed cases of swine flu than any other country, the World Health Organisation said as health officials announced the country's third death from the disease today. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 2,254 confirmed cases across the US, and the deputy director for science and public health, Anne Schuchat, warned that the total could be an underestimate.

Swine Flu Outbreak From Mexico to New Zealand: Timeline 11 May 2009 The following is a timeline of the outbreak of swine flu, a virus that normally infects pigs and causes seasonal flu-like symptoms such as fever and coughing. The virus has been detected in people in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China (Hong Kong), Costa Rica, Colombia, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

Ten more cases of swine flu confirmed in England 11 May 2009 Ten new cases of swine flu have been confirmed in England bringing the total in the UK to 65. Four of the cases have been contracted in England and the others are people returning travellers who have caught the H1N1 swine flu virus abroad.

Mexican H1N1 flu spreads easily: study 11 May 2009 The new [Fort Detrick] strain of H1N1 flu that has killed 56 people in Mexico and been carried around the world by travelers appears to be more easily passed along than the regular seasonal flu, researchers reported on Monday. As many as 23,000 Mexicans were likely infected with the swine flu virus, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London and colleagues reported in the journal Science.

EU wants 'Internet G12' to govern cyberspace 05 May 2009 The European Commission wants the US to dissolve all government links with the body that 'governs' the internet, replacing it with an international forum for discussing internet governance and online security. The rules and decisions on key internet governance issues, such as the creation of top level domains and managing the internet address system that ensures computers can connect to each other, are currently made by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a private, not-for profit corporation based in California which operates under an agreement with the US Department of Commerce.

Stanford 'was informant for US anti-drug agents' --Authorities accused of turning a blind eye to financier's banking business 11 May 2009 Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire who ploughed millions of pounds into English cricket, may have been working as an informant for American anti-drug agents in return for official protection which gave him free rein to run his [illegal] banking empire, it emerged yesterday.

In the wake of stress tests: Banks move to shake off government restrictions By Andre Damon 12 May 2009 Following last week's release of the Obama Administration's bank "stress test" results, several banks have moved to quickly repay money loaned to them by the government and to raise the capital required by regulators. The goal in every case is to dump any restrictions associated with government intervention and get back to the business of unbridled speculation.

Obama is poised to sell us out on health-care quicker than he did with the polar bears. Obama's Push for Health Care Cuts Faces Daunting Odds --Mr. Obama is not cracking the whip on the health care industry so much as wooing it. 12 May 2009 President Obama engineered a political coup on Monday by bringing leaders of the health care industry to the White House to build momentum for his ambitious health care agenda. Mr. Obama pronounced it “a historic day, a watershed event,” because doctors, hospitals, drug makers and insurance companies voluntarily offered $2 trillion in cost reductions over 10 years... If history is a guide, their commitments may not produce the promised savings. Their proposals are vague... None of the proposals are enforceable, and none of the savings are guaranteed. Insurers and health care providers are lobbying strenuously against cuts in their Medicare payments that would produce savings of the type they profess to want.

Echoing Bush, Obama won't fight global warming with rules protecting polar bears 08 May 2009 The Obama administration, which promised a sharp break from the Bush White House on global warming, declared Friday it would stick with a Bush-era policy against expanding protection for climate-threatened polar bears and ruled out a broad new attack on greenhouse gases. To the dismay of environmentalists, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar refused to rescind a Bush regime rule that says actions that threaten the polar bear's survival cannot be considered when safeguarding the iconic mammal if they occur outside the bear's Arctic home.

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US accused of using 'illegal' white phosphorus in chemical attack that killed Afghan civilians 10 May 2009 The US faced damning claims tonight that it used white phosphorus bombs in a battle with Taliban fighters that resulted in the death of scores of innocent Afghan civilians. Doctors in Afghanistan have found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago they believe could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to and even penetrate flesh as it burns. Although phosphorus can be used legitimately in battle to light up the night sky, it is illegal to use it as a weapon. As many as 147 civilians were said to have died from American bombs dropped in the Farah district of Afghanistan during last week's battle.

'NATO has not denied using white phosphorus during the Kapisa incident, nor have they provided evidence that the insurgents fired these rounds.' Afghanistan: NATO Should 'Come Clean' on White Phosphorus --Release Report on Attack in Which Child Burned 08 May 2009 NATO forces in Afghanistan should immediately release the results of their investigation into a March 14, 2009, incident in which an 8-year-old girl in Kapisa province was burned by white phosphorus munitions, Human Rights Watch said today. A NATO spokesperson has denied allegations from the girl's father that NATO forces had fired the rounds that caused her injuries. The spokesman for the commander of NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, confirmed that white phosphorus munitions are used in Afghanistan.

Concern over white phosphorus use on civilians in Afghanistan 10 May 2009 Afghanistan's leading human rights organization said Sunday it was investigating the possibility that white phosphorus was used in a U.S.-Taliban battle that killed scores of Afghans. The U.S. military rejected speculation it had used the weapon but [Wait for it... here it comes...] left open the possibility Taliban militants did. The U.S. military used white phosphorus in the battle of Fallujah in Iraq in November 2004. Israel's military used it in January against Hamas targets in Gaza. Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said the U.S. did not use white phosphorus as a weapon in last week's battle. Julian noted that military officials believe that Taliban militants [!] have used white phosphorus at least four times in Afghanistan in the past two years.

CIA terror suspects 'kept awake for 11 days' 10 May 2009 More than 25 of the CIA's war-on-terror prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation for as long as 11 days at a time during the administration of former president [sic] George Bush, according to The Los Angeles Times. At one stage during the war on terror, the Central Intelligence Agency was allowed to keep prisoners awake for as long as 11 days, the Times reported, citing memoranda made public by the Justice department last month.

'A prisoner who started to drift off to sleep would tilt over and be caught by his chains. At one point, the agency was allowed to keep prisoners awake for as long as 11 days.' Memos shed light on CIA use of sleep deprivation --Though widely perceived as more effective and less objectionable than other torture methods, memos show it's harsher and more controversial than most realize. And it could be brought back. 10 May 2009 From the beginning, sleep deprivation had been one of the most important elements in the CIA's interrogation torture program, used to help break dozens of suspected terrorists, far more than the most violent approaches. And it is among the methods the agency fought hardest to keep. The technique is now prohibited by President Obama's ban in January on torture methods, although a task force is reviewing its use along with other interrogation methods the agency might employ in the future.

Hill Panel Reviewing CIA Torture Tactics --Investigators Examining Interrogations, Legal Advice 10 May 2009 When [waterboarding] was employed on Abu Zubaida, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the torturers in several cases applied what the CIA's Office of Inspector General described in a secret 2004 report as "large volumes of water" to the cloths, explaining that their aim was to be more "poignant and convincing," according to a recently declassified Justice Department account. To assess whether interrogators complied with the department's guidance, Senate intelligence committee investigators are interviewing those involved, examining hundreds of CIA e-mails and reviewing a classified 2005 study by the agency's lawyers of dozens of interrogation videotapes, according to government officials who said they were not authorized to be quoted by name.

Put him in there: Cheney derides idea of closing Guantanamo prison 10 May 2009 Former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney says transferring suspected terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the United States would be a bad idea. The Obama administration has pledged to close the military prison in Cuba and raised the possibility of transferring some inmates to this country.

U.S. Adviser Holds Firm on Airstrikes in Afghanistan 11 May 2009 President Obama’s top national security adviser said on Sunday that the United States would likely continue conducting airstrikes against extremists in Afghanistan despite a sharp warning from President Hamid Karzai that civilian casualties were fast turning ordinary Afghans against the United States. In a pre-taped interview with NBC’s "Meet the Press," Mr. Karzai suggested that the United States risked losing a "moral" fight against the Taliban if too many civilians died in American attacks.

Greens want Afghan civilian death probe 11 May 2009 The Greens have called on Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston to launch an inquiry into whether special forces were involved in the death and maiming of Afghan civilians. Military personnel have covered up an investigation into the alleged involvement of special forces soldiers in such an incident, Fairfax reports.

Mission accomplished: 40-fold drug surge in Afghanistan: report 10 May 2009 Iranian police officials say drug production in Afghanistan has had a 40-fold increase since the US led invasion of the country in 2001. Afghanistan's opium poppy crop is set to break all records this year, as grim reports by Iranian sources showed that drug production has reached a new height in the land-locked country.

Ugly truth about foreign aid in Afghanistan 10 May 2009 Exorbitant sums of international aid to Afghanistan are being lavished by Western aid agencies on their own officials in the conflict-stricken country. "In the United States, Britain, and other countries, people work and taxpayers pay money that goes to help Afghanistan to build roads, dams, and electricity lines," Ramazan Bashardost, an Afghan parliament member and former planning minister, said. Bashardost added, "But when the money comes to Afghanistan, it's spent on those people who have cars costing USD 60,000 and who live in houses with a USD 15,000 monthly rent. This money goes to these expenses -- 90 percent logistics and administration."

Petraeus: al-Qaeda moved headquarters from Afghanistan to Pakistan [LOL! Yup, al-Q packed up and moved, to justify this insanity: US House committee approves $400 mn for Pakistan counterinsurgency 08 May 2009. Oh, and wait! There's more: The top US military commander also warned that "tentacles of al-Qaeda" have spread across the countries from the Middle East to northern Africa.] 10 May 2009 Gen. David Petraeus says "very significant losses" in recent months have triggered al-Qaeda to move their headquarters from Afghanistan to western Pakistan. Appearing on "FOX News Sunday" and CNN's "State of the Union," on Sunday the head of the US Central Command said the group was no longer holding its headquarters in Afghanistan. The top US military commander also warned that "tentacles of al-Qaeda" have spread across the countries from the Middle East to northern Africa. Petraeus said he believes Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 [frequently killed and re-born] Ayman al-Zawahiri remain in charge of the terrorist network.

'It is the headquarters of the Al Qaeda senior leadership.' Al Qaeda's world base in Pakistan, says Petraeus 10 May 2009 Pakistan has become the nerve centre of Al Qaeda’s global operations, Gen David Petraeus has said. The head of the US Army’s Central Command, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has told an interviewer that Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leaders have re-established its organisational structure and stronger ties to Al Qaeda offshoots in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and parts of Europe. [Just follow the oil. As the oil goes, so goes the 'tentacles of al-Qaeda.']

Journalists flee Swat valley 08 May 2009 Only a few journalists are left in the restive Swat valley to cover military operation against the Taliban, as majority of journalists have fled the area for fear of their safety. "Most journalists are on their way to other cities," Mingora Press Club President Salahuddin Khan told Daily Times over telephone on Thursday. Khan advised all journalists choosing to stay in Mingora to "stay home" while tending to their duties.

Report: Syria criticizes renewal of U.S. sanctions 10 May 2009 Syria rejected the Obama administration's decision to renew economic and diplomatic sanctions against Damascus and urged Washington to abandon foolish policies, a state-run newspaper reported Sunday. The State Department announced Friday that President Barack Obama felt compelled to renew the sanctions, which were first imposed by George W. Bush's administration four years ago as diplomatic contact dwindled. The decision came even as two U.S. envoys were in the Syrian capital exploring prospects for improved relations.

US raises terrorism alert on Canada border 10 May 2009 In a bid to block the influx of terrorists to the country the US is taking tough measures along the Canada border, similar to those taken along the southern frontiers. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks the US launched a campaign to safeguard its borders -- mainly the southern borders with Mexico. [It did? I must have missed that.] However, now the security activities are quite tangible across the 3,987-mile frontier with Canada, something that according to a Los Angeles Times article has shocked residents especially on the Canadian side.

U.S. gets tough on Canadian border --A passport or travel ID will be required June 1. 10 May 2009 High above the rugged border, an unmanned Predator B drone equipped with night-vision cameras and cloud-piercing radar has scanned the landscape for signs of smugglers, illegal immigrants or terrorists. Armed agents checked the identification of border crossers while radiation sensors and other devices monitored vehicles entering by road. Soon, a network of telescopic and infrared video cameras mounted atop 80-foot metal towers will rise above key locations.

FBI Terrorist Watchlist Riddled With Errors 07 May 2009 The FBI failed to remove thousands of people from its "Terrorist Watchlist," sometimes years after determining that they were not actually terrorists; failed to put on the list people who are tied to terrorism, allowing them to enter and move about the country; and its controls over "nomination" of people for the list without an FBI investigation were "weak or nonexistent," the Justice Department concluded in a report released Wednesday.

FBI's Lapses on Terrorist Watch List Put Nation at Risk, Report Warns 07 May 2009 The FBI has retained almost 24,000 names on the nation's terrorist watch list without current or proper justification, while failing to include people who are subjects of terrorist investigations, according to a Justice Department report issued yesterday. The FBI's lapses "create a risk to national security," Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said in the report.

Wisconsin court upholds GPS tracking by police 07 May 2009 Wisconsin police can attach GPS to cars to secretly track anybody's movements without obtaining search warrants, an appeals court ruled Thursday. However, the District 4 Court of Appeals said it was "more than a little troubled" by that conclusion and asked Wisconsin lawmakers to regulate GPS use to protect against abuse by police and private individuals.

AG Holder says law school grads have duty to serve 09 May 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder offers this advice for Howard University law school graduates: devote part of your career to public service. At their commencement Saturday in Washington, he called the graduates "the privileged few." [Instead of worrying about the 'duty to serve,' why doesn't Holder worry about prosecuting US torturers?]

U.S. has more than 2,500 H1N1 flu cases 10 May 2009 The United States has 2,532 confirmed cases of the new H1N1 swine influenza in 44 states, and three deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. On Saturday, the CDC reported 2,254 confirmed cases, with 104 people in the hospital.

Swine flu-related death reported in Wash. 09 May 2009 Washington state health officials say a man in his 30s is the first person in the state to die from what appears to be complications of swine flu. The state Department of Health says in a news release that a Snohomish County man in his 30s with underlying heart conditions died last week with what appears to be complications of swine-origin influenza.

Michigan has 115 swine flu cases 09 May 2009 State health officials announced Saturday that Michigan has 115 confirmed cases of swine flu. That includes 11 new cases. The state began confirming its own cases Thursday, James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said earlier in the week. The cases are spread among 20 counties.

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Obama Set to Revive Military Tribunals 09 May 2009 The Obama administration is preparing to revive the system of military tribunals established at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, under new rules that would offer terrorism suspects greater legal protections, government officials said. The military commissions have allowed the trial of terrorism suspects in a setting that favors the government and protects classified information, but they were sharply criticized during the administration of President [sic] George W. Bush. "By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure," then-candidate Barack Obama said in June 2008.

Document: Judge sets May 27 war court hearing 06 May 2009 The chief judge for the Pentagon's military commissions has scheduled the next war court hearing at Guantánamo Bay for late May, according to a document obtained by The Miami Herald. The May 27 hearing for Ahmed Darbi, a Saudi captive, would be the first since government lawyers sought, and won, a 120-day freeze of the hearings staged at an abandoned airstrip [ironically] called Camp Justice.

CIA memo cites 40 Congressional briefings on torture By Bill Van Auken 09 May 2009 A memo released Wednesday by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair lists 40 separate briefings beginning in September 2002 in which leading members of Congress were briefed by the CIA on the agency’s use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- in plain words, torture. Before the revelations about the employment of such methods as waterboarding appeared in the media, none of these legislators, including leading Democrats, objected to or publicly protested against what amounted to war crimes.

Binyam torture ban reassessment 09 May 2009 Lawyers for former terror prisoner Binyam Mohamed yesterday welcomed a High Court decision to reconsider a ruling which bans the disclosure of his alleged torture at the hands of US and Pakistani intelligence services with the collusion of British agents. Last year Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones withheld from publication seven short paragraphs summarising US Government reports on Mr Mohamed's treatment, which were central to his claim that he was subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment with the consent of UK authorities.

US army kills 12-year-old 'with grenade' 10 May 2009 The US military said on Saturday its soldiers shot dead a 12-year-old boy who tried to attack a joint American and Iraqi patrol [Yeah, right!] with a grenade in the tense northern city of Mosul. "Coalition forces fired on two of three individuals positively identified as involved in the attack, killing one, who they later discovered was a 12-year-old boy," Master Sergeant Michael Wetzel told AFP.

TV: U.S. drone attack kills 10 in Pakistan's tribal region 09 May 2009 Up to ten persons were killed in suspected U.S. drone attack in Pakistan's tribal region on Saturday, TV channel Geo reported. Suspected U.S. drones fired four missiles at a house and a Madrassa at Sararogha area of South Waziristan, a tribal area bordering Afghanistan, said the report. Local people pulled eight bodies out of the rubble. Seven others were injured and two of them later died of wounds in hospital.

Afghan leader demands US air strikes end 08 May 2009 Afghan President Hamid Karzai has demanded an end to US air strikes, which he said killed as many as 130 civilians earlier in the week and were infuriating the public. As US and Afghan investigators prepared to release findings into the bloodshed, Karzai categorically rejected US military suggestions [lies] that Taliban 'insurgents' rather than bombings may have been to blame. "Airstrikes are not acceptable," Karzai told CNN on Friday during a visit to Washington. "We believe strongly that airstrikes are not an effective way of fighting terrorism, that airstrikes rather cause civilian casualties."

Mission accomplished: Iraq Kurds to start Tawke crude exports June 1 08 May 2009 Crude oil exports from the Tawke oil field in Iraq's northern Kurdish region will begin on June 1, the largely autonomous region's government said on Friday. Exports will begin at an initial rate of 60,000 barrels per day (bpd), the statement from the Kurdistan Regional Government said, adding that in addition 40,000 bpd will be sent in June by truck from the Taq-Taq field and ultimately to the Iraq-Turkey export pipeline.

Iraqi police general assassinated in Basra 09 May 2009 An unknown gunman has assassinated an Iraqi police general on a street near the oil hub of Basra, south of the war-torn country, authorities say. General Hakeem Jassim was shot dead as he stood in front of his son's shop in the district of Zubair south of the city center, a police official told AFP on Saturday.

Iraq arrests minister's brother 09 May 2009 A brother of Iraq's trade minister has been arrested on suspicion of corruption, officials say. Sabah Mohammed al-Sudany was held at a checkpoint in the south of the country.

Relatives of murdered Iraqi girl demand execution of US soldier --Private guilty of raping and murdering 14-year-old and killing her family 09 May 2009 Relatives of a 14-year-old Iraqi schoolgirl who was raped and murdered by a US soldier yesterday called for her killer to be executed after a Kentucky court found him guilty of the crimes. Private Steven Green, now 24, was the ringleader of one of the most shocking atrocities committed by US forces following the 2003 invasion.

Military Fails to Collect From AIG for Care to Injured Contractors 08 May 2009 The Pentagon has failed to bill American Insurance Group and other major insurance carriers for millions of dollars in medical care provided to private contractors mercenaries injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new federal report. The United States has hired hundreds of thousands of civilians to work in the two war zones. When injured on the job, their medical care is supposed to be paid for by private insurance companies, primarily AIG, under policies bought by the contractors.

Human Rights Watch calls for halt to Iraq hangings 08 May 2009 Iraq should institute an immediate moratorium on the death penalty in the aftermath of a large number of executions on Sunday, Human Rights Watch said this week. According to United Nations officials in Baghdad, the Iraqi government hanged 12 people in Baghdad on Sunday (May 3) who had been convicted of criminal offenses. The UN officials said they believed that another 115 prisoners could face execution in the near future.

U.S. Senate confirms first Global Strike Command head 09 May 2009 Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, named in a recent Times story as the man selected to head the new Global Strike Command at Barksdale Air Force Base, was unanimously confirmed for that post Friday by the U.S. Senate. On April 2, the Air Force announced Barksdale had been selected as headquarters of Global Strike Command.

No verdict yet in third terrorism conspiracy trial 08 May 2009 There is still no verdict in the trial of six Miami men charged with plotting terrorism attacks against Chicago's Sears Tower and the FBI. The 12-person jury quit for the weekend Friday after four days of deliberations this week in the "Liberty City Six" case. They resume Monday. The two-month trial is the third in the case. The others ended in mistrials when juries failed to agree on verdicts.

U.S. has more than 2,000 new flu cases: CDC 09 May 2009 The United States has 2,254 confirmed cases of the new H1N1 swine influenza, with 104 people in the hospital, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday. "Today there are almost 3,000 probable and confirmed cases here in the United States," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told a news briefing.

Five new flu cases at London school 09 May 2009 Health officials confirmed five further cases of H1N1 flu in Britain on Friday, bringing the total to 39. All the new cases are connected with Alleyn's school in Dulwich, southeast London, which is already shut as a precautionary measure.

Hong Kong Lifts Swine Flu Quarantine on 351 People 08 May 2009 Hong Kong released 286 people quarantined in a downtown hotel that was the site of the city’s first confirmed swine flu case. Another 61 were released from a holiday village and four were released from a local hospital.

Banks Won Concessions on Tests --Fed Cut Billions Off Some Initial Capital-Shortfall Estimates 09 May 2009 The Federal Reserve significantly scaled back the size of the capital hole facing some of the nation's biggest banks shortly before concluding its stress tests, following two weeks of intense bargaining. In addition, according to bank and government officials, the Fed used a different measurement of bank-capital levels than analysts and investors had been expecting, resulting in much smaller capital deficits.

U.S. regulators shut down 33rd bank in 2009 09 May 2009 Federal regulators on Friday shut down Westsound Bank of Bremerton, Wash., making it the 33rd bank to fail this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. seized the small bank and said its nine branches and nearly all of its deposits will be taken over by Kitsap Bank of Port Orchard, Wash. Westsound Bank is the second bank based in the state of Washington to collapse this year, after the Bank of Clark County in January.

U.S. threatens to rescind stimulus money over wage cuts --California officials: Failure to revoke scheduled wage cut before it takes effect July 1 could cost state $6.8 billion in stimulus money 08 May 2009 The Obama administration is threatening to rescind billions of dollars in federal stimulus money if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers do not restore wage cuts to unionized home healthcare workers approved in February as part of the budget. Schwarzenegger's office was advised this week by federal health officials that the wage reduction violates provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Obama makes push for credit card legislation 09 May 2009 Putting himself on the side of fuming consumers, President Obama is pushing Congress to send him legislation by Memorial Day that would put a tighter rein on the credit card industry. Obama has prominently lobbied for a bill calling for a credit card crackdown. [And, when the GOP/corpora-terrorists pressure him, he will fold quicker than a house of cards in an F4 tornado.]

US denies polar bears protection from climate change --Obama administration to uphold a Bush-era ruling that limits protection of the polar bear from global warming 08 May 2009 The Obama administration today declined to protect polar bears from the single greatest threat to their survival -- the melting of sea ice by global warming. The decision brought immediate protests from wildlife and environmental groups. The interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said he would not overturn one of the most controversial last-minute rules of the George Bush era. The rule had denied protection to the polar bear because Bush did not want to be pressed into regulating the industries that emit greenhouse gases.

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'I mean, I could give you a number today,' General Odierno said. 'It will be different tomorrow, it will be different the next day. O.K.?' General Sees a Longer Stay in Iraq Cities for U.S. Troops 09 May 2009 The top American general in Iraq said Friday that one-fifth of American combat troops would stay behind in Iraqi cities even after the June 30 deadline that the United States and Iraq had set for the departure. The estimate by Gen. Ray Odierno, at a Pentagon briefing, was the most specific yet for the extension of American combat operations in Baghdad and Mosul. The general declined several times to put an actual number on the combat troops who would remain in Baghdad and Mosul after June 30 because, he said, he did not know [!?] the precise number of troops there now. [If Odierno doesn't know the number of troops serving in Iraq, he needs to resign.]

Pentagon's Black Budget Grows to More Than $50 Billion --About seven and a half percent of DoD's total spending now classified By Noah Shachtman 07 May 2009 The Pentagon wants to spend just over $50 billion on classified programs next year, newly-released Defense Department budget documents reveal. "That’s the largest-ever sum," according to Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman, a longtime black-budget seer -- a three percent increase over last year’s total. It makes the Pentagon’s secret operations, including the intelligence budgets nested inside, "roughly equal in magnitude to the entire defense budgets of the UK, France or Japan," Sweetman adds.

Obama budget allocates $130 billion for 2 wars 07 May 2009 President Barack Obama's proposed defense budget includes $130 billion for the nation's two wars, a figure that may not be enough. Obama sent to Congress on Thursday details of his proposed $664 billion Pentagon spending plan for the budget year starting in October. It includes $534 billion for base 'defense' programs and $130 billion for overseas operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

US House committee approves $400 mn for Pakistan counterinsurgency 08 May 2009 A House of Representatives committee has approved $400 million for a new Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund, but not before a key member expressed doubts about US strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The $400 million requested by the Obama administration for the fund to bolster efforts 'against' the Taliban and extremist groups forms part of the 2009 Supplemental Bill funding ongoing US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting economic and other needs in Pakistan.

Afghans riot over US air-strike atrocity --Witnesses say deaths of 147 people in three villages came after a sustained bombardment by American aircraft. 08 May 2009 Shouting "Death to America" and "Death to the Government", thousands of Afghan villagers hurled stones at police yesterday as they vented their fury at American air strikes that local officials claim killed 147 civilians. The riot started when people from three villages struck by US bombers in the early hours of Tuesday, brought 15 newly-discovered bodies in a truck to the house of the provincial governor. As the crowd pressed forward in Farah, police opened fire, wounding four protesters.

Huge U.S. camp arises in Afghan Desert of Death 08 May 2009 A huge U.S. military camp is taking shape in the baking heat of southern Afghanistan for thousands of extra U.S. troops charged with defeating a resurgent Taliban. Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Camp Leatherneck, with concrete blast walls and semi-cylinder sand-colored tents, on Thursday as he surveyed preparations for what will be the biggest wave yet in a year that is seeing U.S. troop numbers doubled. The camp is being constructed in Helmand province next to a British base, Camp Bastion, as Marines and other forces dramatically expand their presence in the most violent area of Afghanistan.

Four British soldiers killed in one day in southern Afghanistan 08 May 2009 Two more British soldiers have been killed in Helmand, southern Afghanistan, taking the number of UK service personnel killed in a single day to four. The troops died in three separate incidents in Helmand province on Thursday, taking the number of UK service personnel killed in the country since 2001 to 157. It was the bloodiest day for British forces in Afghanistan since June 17 2008, when four soldiers were killed.

Iraqis demand death penalty for killer GI 08 May 2009 Steven Dale Green [has] been found guilty of 17 charges - including rape, premeditated murder and obstruction of justice - while bringing freedom to Iraq, but the US soldier is likely to escape the harshest legal sanction - death - in the US. However, the friends and relatives of Green's victims in the district of Mahmudiyah south of Baghdad, are demanding that he pay with his life for those lives he took in cold blood. On Thursday, a civilian court in Kentucky, USA, convicted Green of being the leader of the rape of the 14-year-old Iraqi girl - Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi - in the town of about 50,000, and of murdering her and her family members, including both her parents and her six-year-old sister, AFP reports.

U.N. experts prepare to investigate war crimes in Gaza --Israeli government official said last month Israel would not cooperate with UN inquiry 08 May 2009 International human rights experts examining alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip said on Friday they planned to visit soon, and renewed a call for Israel to support their investigation. An Israeli government official said last month that the Jewish state would not cooperate with the United Nations inquiry into violations by Israeli troops and Hamas militants during the December 27-January 18 offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza.

'Israel occupation worse than swine flu' --Protesters wore protective masks and unfurled banners reading "put an end to occupation flu." 08 May 2009 Activists have taken up the cudgels on behalf of a free homeland, claiming that the swine flu-ridden Palestine would hurt less than the one under the occupation of Israel. On Friday, the Palestinian and foreign activists in the West Bank village of Bilin renewed their complaint of the Israeli occupation, AFP reported. "The world today is extremely interested in swine flu because it has killed people but it has forgotten that what we suffer from is worse," one protester, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh was quoted as saying. "We are trying to draw the world's attention to a virus that is much more dangerous than swine flu, the virus of the Israeli occupation that has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians," he added.

Top Pelosi Aide Learned of Waterboarding in 2003 09 May 2009 A top aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended a CIA briefing in early 2003 in which it was made clear that waterboarding and other harsh techniques tortures were being used in the interrogation of an alleged al-Qaeda operative, according to documents the CIA released to Congress on Thursday. Pelosi has insisted that she was not directly briefed by Bush regime officials that the practice was being actively employed. But Michael Sheehy, a top Pelosi aide, was present for a classified briefing that included Rep. Jane Harman ('D'-AIPAC), then the ranking minority member of the House intelligence committee, at which agency officials discussed the use of waterboarding on terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida.

CIA Says Pelosi Was Briefed on Use of 'Enhanced Interrogations' 07 May 2009 Intelligence officials released documents this evening saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics torture against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used. In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics.

Holder cautious on U.S. interrogations probes 08 May 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday vowed to move cautiously and avoid partisan politics in deciding whether any Bush-era officials should be prosecuted for justifying harsh interrogation techniques torture.

Obama renews sanctions on Syria 08 May 2009 Despite recent attempts to improve relations with Damascus, a senior official says the Obama administration has extended US sanctions on Syria. Denouncing Damascus as a security threat which continued to dabble in "arms trade" and espouse "terrorism", President Barack Obama signed an executive order renewing the five-year-old sanctions for another year, the State Department said Friday.

Camp Lejeune breaks ground on barracks for wounded 08 May 2009 Marine officers at Camp Lejeune broke ground Friday on the first of four new barracks for wounded Marines that will be built in a $25 million project at the base's Wounded Warrior Complex. The facility will be built near Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and feature 100 two-man rooms with a living area and kitchenette, fitness and physical therapy rooms and private counselor rooms. The wounded Marines currently live in 1940s-era barracks that need regular upkeep.

Air Force One Flyover Prompts a White House Resignation 08 May 2009 The White House official who approved the Air Force One flight over New York City last month that frightened many and prompted building evacuations resigned today after an internal White House investigation found flaws in how the decision was made and passed on to other agencies. In his resignation letter to President Obama, Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office, wrote that the controversy had "made it impossible for me to effectively lead the White House Military Office," which oversees Air Force One and other presidential aircraft.

Statue of Liberty's crown to re-open July 4 08 May 2009 The Statue of Liberty's crown, closed to the public since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, will reopen on July 4, U.S. Independence Day, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said on Friday.

Chavez seizes oil service firms 08 May 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sent troops to take over companies that provide services for the oil industry. "This is a revolutionary offensive," he told workers near Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela's main oil-producing area. Military vehicles were used as the state oil company seized supply boats and two US-owned gas facilities.

Government wants the military to run state schools -- Right then, fall into line you 'orrible little pupils! 08 May 2009 The Armed Forces will be drafted in to run state schools under plans to drive up discipline and respect in classrooms. Ministers are in talks with defence chiefs about taking over a handful of schools and turning them into military academies. Alongside daily lessons, pupils would be expected to take part in activities such as drills, uniformed parades, weapons handling and adventure training.

Milan public transport seats for Italians only --Candidate's proposal called 'racist' and compared to laws of former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini 09 May 2009 A right wing Italian deputy says that public transport seats in his constituency of Milan should be reserved for Italians only. "Reserve seats for people from Milan, like those reserved for handicapped people and women. Because soon, if immigration does not stop, they (local Italians) will become a minority to protect," said Matteo Salvini, Milan town councillor and Vice-Secretary for the Northern League, on Thursday.

Australia has first case of new flu strain - media 09 May 2009 An Australian woman has tested positive for the new strain of flu, the first confirmed case in the country, Australian Associated Press quoted Queensland state's chief medical officer as saying on Saturday.

Japan confirms 3 cases of new flu strain 09 May 2009 Three Japanese males who had spent time in Canada have been confirmed to have the new strain of flu, the first confirmed cases in the country, a Health Ministry official said.

Swine flu cases double in the US 08 May 2009 The United States announced Friday that the number of swine flu cases within its borders had doubled almost overnight, while the death toll in Mexico inched up. American health authorities said the number of confirmed cases was now 1,639 in 43 states. The figure had been put at 896 only on Thursday.

Local agencies prepare for H1N1 flu 08 May 2009 State and county agencies are preparing for the H1N1 flu, commonly referred to as the swine flu, now that cases have been confirmed in North Carolina. The Guilford County Department of Public Health scheduled daily press conferences beginning on May 4 so the media could help get the word out about the latest developments, but then discontinued them after only two days.

Quarantine for Afghanistan's Only Pig --Last week at the zoo in Kabul, Afghanistan's only pig enjoyed his relative freedom. This week he was placed in quarantine. 08 May 2009 There are no cases of swine flu in Afghanistan, but there is one victim: the country’s only pig, whose lonely existence got somewhat lonelier this week, when he was taken from the small, muddy enclosure he previously shared with deer and goats at Kabul’s zoo and placed in quarantine. In an interview with the BBC, the director of the zoo, Aziz Gul Saqib, explained that the pig, named Khanzir (or "Pig" in Pashto), is in good health but had alarmed some visitors.

Bush EPA hid data on coal-ash risks, study shows 07 May 2009 The Bush regime kept secret for nearly five years data that showed increased cancer risks from drinking water polluted by coal-ash impoundments, according to a new report issued Thursday. Under President [sic] Bush, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials never made public an October 2002 study that outlined increased risks of as high as 1 in 50 additional cancer cases.

Obama Administration Adopts Bush's Polar Bear Extinction Plan As Its Own (Center for Biological Diversity) 08 May 2009 Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that he will not rescind a "special rule" created by the Bush administration that sharply limits protections for the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. "For Salazar to adopt Bush's polar bear extinction plan is confirming the worst fears of his tenure as Secretary of the Interior," said Noah Greenwald, biodiversity program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Secretary Salazar would apparently prefer to please Sarah Palin than to protect polar bears."

Obama Administration Maintains Bush-Era Policy on Polar Bears 08 May 2009 The Obama Administration has decided to keep a Bush-era policy on polar bears -- declining to crack down on greenhouse-gas polluters on the grounds that their emissions are helping shrink the bears' habitat on Arctic sea ice, officials announced today.

Interior will keep Bush's polar bear rule --Interior now forced to defend rule in court 08 May 2009 Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today that he will retain the Bush regime's controversial rule [eliminating] polar bear protections, rejecting special authority given to him by Congress and the pleas of Democratic lawmakers, environmentalists and scientists to overturn the regulation.

U.S. Jobless Rate Hits 8.9%, but Pace of Losses Eases 09 May 2009 The government’s monthly employment report buoyed hopes that the longest, most punishing recession since the Great Depression may be relenting. Another 539,000 jobs disappeared from the economy in April, and the unemployment rate jumped to 8.9 percent, its highest level in a quarter century, the Labor Department reported Friday. Yet the deterioration was milder than expected, prompting encouraging talk.

Fierce California wildfire burns into fourth night 08 May 2009 A California wildfire burned for a fourth day on Friday above the seaside town of Santa Barbara as firefighters hoped the weather would help them gain a measure of control over the flames that have destroyed 75 homes.

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US Commander: Afghan war might end in failure 07 May 2009 Top US commander Gen. David McKiernan says the mission in Afghanistan is likely to fail if militants continue to gain power in Pakistan. During his 40-minute briefing, the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan said, "Can you get to the right end-state in Afghanistan if you have a deteriorating or failed state in Pakistan? The answer is probably no."

'120 die' as US bombs village --Afghan outrage after strike targeting Taliban fighters hits women and children 07 May 2009 A misdirected US air strike has killed as many as 120 Afghans, including dozens of women and children. The attack is the deadliest such bombing involving civilian casualties so far in the eight years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Survivors said the number of dead would almost certainly to rise as the search for bodies continued.

British soldier killed in Afghanistan 07 May 2009 A British soldier has been killed on patrol in Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday. The soldier from the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, was patrolling with an Afghan National Army unit in Helmand Province.

Why We Fight --U.S. Troops Die For Rapists By Ted Rall 07 May 2009 American soldiers serving in Vietnam wondered what they were fighting for. U.S. troops in Afghanistan don't have that problem. They know exactly what they're fighting for: rapists. After President Obama's coming "Afghan surge" there will be 72,000 soldiers in Afghanistan. Their primary mission is to prevent Afghans from overthrowing the unpopular regime of Hamid Karzai, the former oil consultant installed by George W. Bush when the U.S. occupation began nearly eight years ago. America's media repeatedly claimed that Afghan women would be better off under the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance puppet government headed by Karzai than under the Taliban. But when I went to Afghanistan and asked women what they thought, they had a different story.

US ex-soldier guilty of raping Iraqi girl, killing her and her family --Three had admitted holding down Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, raping her and then killing her, her parents and her younger sister at the family's home in Mahmudiya before torching the building. 07 May 2009 A jury in the US state of Kentucky has found a former private soldier guilty of the rape of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her and her family. Steven Green, 24, faces a possible death sentence for his crimes. Green was discharged from the army because of an apparent personality disorder before his role in the affair came to light. ['Affair?' No, it's not an 'affair.' It's *rape-homicide-conspiracy-arson.*] Four other soldiers are serving sentences of between five and 110 years for their roles in the 2006 attack. [Instead, they could have served as US torturers in one of Bush/Obama's secret prisons -- all still up and running -- and then gotten a pass from Obusha.]

Informants say Blackwater guards tried to unload arms 06 May 2009 Shortly after a 2007 shooting incident in a Baghdad traffic square that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead, Blackwater mercenaries allegedly transferred a number of machine guns to another contractor who is now charged with trying to smuggle them out of Iraq. The Blackwater mercenaries wanted to dispose of the weapons before an investigation of the bloody incident began, according to two confidential government informants. John Houston, the contractor charged in the case, allegedly told one of the informants that after Blackwater "got into trouble," the guards had to get rid of the firearms so they wouldn't be caught with them.

US: Baghdad contract expires for ex-Blackwater 07 May 2009 The U.S. Embassy has confirmed that the security firm once known as Blackwater Worldwide has finished its 'work' in Baghdad. Embassy spokeswoman Susan Ziadeh says the company's task order for Baghdad ends Thursday and a new security provider corpora-terrorist Triple Canopy is taking over.

Why suicide bombers are back in Iraq --Bombings because the US is not leaving By Steve Niva 07 May 2009 Despite its high-minded claims about "ending the war", Obama's announced withdrawal plan clearly doesn't end the Iraq occupation, but rather continues it in a new form. The plan only calls for the withdrawal of "combat troops" by August 2010, while leaving behind 35,000-50,000 occupying troops until the end of 2011, many of whom will be combat troops simply relabeled as "advisory and assistance brigades"... As Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) [said]: "You cannot leave combat troops in a foreign country to conduct combat operations and call it the end of the war. You can't be in and out at the same time."

Justice Department drops case against Fort Lewis war objector 06 May 2009 The Justice Department is dropping its appeal of a judge's decision that blocked the Army from retrying a Fort Lewis lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq. Army spokesman Joe Piek said Wednesday that Fort Lewis officials learned late last week of the department's decision in the case of Ehren Watada, who claimed the war was illegal and publicly denounced President [sic] George W. Bush when he skipped his deployment in 2006.

Israel would inform, not ask U.S. before hitting Iran 06 May 2009 While no one questions Israel's willingness to attack should it deem U.S.-led talks on curbing Iranian uranium enrichment a dead end, such strikes would almost certainly entail at least last-minute coordination with Washington. Israel would want to ensure that its jets would not be shot down by accident if overflying U.S.-occupied Iraq... One U.S. diplomat envisaged Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak telephoning Pentagon chief Robert Gates, unannounced, "to give a heads-up and explain" once the mission were under way.

Peres tells Ban: Israel will never accept UN Gaza probe 07 May 2009 President Shimon Peres said on Wednesday that Israel would never apologize for its military offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year, calling a damning United Nations report on its conduct there "unfair and one-sided." The UN-commissioned investigation found the Israel Defense Forces were responsible for civilian deaths and damage to UN compounds in Gaza Strip. "We will never accept it," Peres, after meeting with UN Secretary Genera Ban Ki-Moon in New York. "It's outrageous."

UN committee charges Israel with maintaining secret jail --The committee received complaints on torture, maltreatment and inappropriate detention conditions in this installation. 06 May 2009 The UN committee against torture has denounced the Israeli general security apparatus for using a secret detention center for interrogation that could not be visited by the Red Cross, lawyers or relatives of those detainees. The ten independent experts, members of the committee, said that the installation "1391" was located in an unspecified area in Israel.

US Justice Department report urges no prosecution over torture memos By Bill Van Auken 07 May 2009 A draft report by the US Justice Department on the conduct of department lawyers who wrote memos justifying torture has reportedly been embraced by the Obama administration as a means of precluding any attempt to hold them or other Bush administration officials accountable for their crimes... A decision by the Obama administration to accept the report’s recommendations would represent another attempt to bury the issue, thereby protecting those who adopted and implemented a state policy of torture.

Military Implications of Pandemic Flu 06 May 2009 The Defense Department released its plan for pandemic influenza in September 2006, but it is little more than a plan for planning, and the critical Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) documents in Annex G have not been publicly released. THe Secretary of Defense approved US Northern Command [USNORTHCOM] CONPLAN 3551 "Concept Plan to Synchronize DOD Pandemic Influenza Planning" on October 15, 2007. Each of the other Combatant Commands have developed implementing plans, such as U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) CONPLAN 5003 "Concept Plan For Bio-hazard Preparedness And Response to Pandemic Influenza". The Concept Plans have not been publicly released... American troops may also be called on to respond at home, to quell domestic disturbances. The US military has long had so-called Garden Plot plans to respond to civil disturbances. Under the Insurrection Act, Federal troops have been deployed ten times from 1957 to 1992. United States Northern Command [USNORTHCOM], responsible for Homeland Security operations, has developed "Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 2502 Civil Disturbance Operations."

Report: H1N1 Could Infect 2 Billion 07 May 2009 The World Health Organization says up to 2 billion people could be infected by swine flu, if the current outbreak turns into a pandemic. WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda says the number wasn't a prediction, but that past experience with flu pandemics indicated one-third of the world's population gets infected. Fukuda says that with a world population of 6 billion people, it's "reasonable" to expect that kind of infection tally.

Swine Flu Cases Widen Reach With 'Epidemic Curve' --WHO: The disease has been confirmed in 2,371 people in 24 countries, with 44 deaths. 07 May 2009 Swine flu may spread to at least one- third of the world’s population within the next year and a full- fledged pandemic remains possible, the World Health Organization said. In two weeks, the flu jumped from isolated reports in the U.S. and Mexico to a widening circle of infections in Central America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and New Zealand.

Canada cracks code for swine flu 07 May 2009 The Canadian Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has announced that scientists in the country have been able to use gene technology to inspect the swine flu virus. Scientists in Winnipeg succeeded in sequencing the Mexican flu's genetic code before comparing three virus samples taken from patients with Mexican flu in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Mexico.

Hong Kong : Newly-designated 'isolation camp' for flu suspects --Penned in and frustrated 06 May 2009 There are now seven Singaporeans quarantined in Hong Kong. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had told reporters that as at 10pm on Saturday, three Singaporeans were quarantined at the Metropark Hotel in the Wanchai district. But later it was known that there were four more. As of 5pm yesterday, the MFA revealed that these Singaporeans were quarantined at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village, a newly-designated 'isolation camp' in a country park. When The New Paper called Metropark yesterday, we were told that guests were not allowed to receive outside calls.

Prison Awaiting Hostile Bloggers --The methods of communication where hostile speech is banned include e-mail, instant messaging, blogs, websites, telephones and text messages. --15 lawmakers signed on to H.R. 1966. By David Kravets 05 May 2009 Proposed congressional legislation would demand up to two years in prison for those whose electronic speech is meant to "coerce, intimidate, harass, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person." Instead of prison, perhaps we should say gulag. The proposal by Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Los Angeles, would never pass First Amendment muster, unless the U.S. Constitution was altered without us knowing. Sanchez’s bill goes way beyond cyberbullying and comes close to making it a federal offense to log onto the internet or use the telephone. [We are so screwed that the light from screwed is going to take ten billion years to reach the earth. I may as well go for broke.]

CIA's Lao ally faces 'outrageous' charge 08 May 2009 Defense attorneys for a group of 11 American citizens accused of plotting to overthrow the Lao government are set to file a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds of outrageous US government conduct. The accused group, which includes Vang Pao, a legendary ethnic Hmong general who led a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed secret army in Laos during the Vietnam War, was arrested in California in an elaborate sting operation in June 2007. They were allegedly trying to purchase US$9.8 million worth of weapons - including Stinger missiles - to launch a coup against Vientiane's communist-led government.

Dole sued over links to Colombian death squads 07 May 2009 Dole Food Company is being sued by the families of 57 people allegedly murdered by paramilitaries hired by the US firm at its banana plantations in Colombia. A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles alleges that Dole hired the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) despite the fact that the group had been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department.

US missile data found on eBay hard drive 07 May 2009 The launch procedures for a US military missile air defence system were found on a second-hand hard drive bought on eBay, researchers revealed today. More than 300 hard disks were studied and researchers uncovered other sensitive information including bank account details, medical records, confidential business plans, financial company data, personal id numbers, and job descriptions. The drives were bought from the UK, America, Germany, France and Australia through computer auctions, computer fairs and eBay.

FAA's Air-Traffic Networks Breached by Hackers 07 May 2009 Civilian air-traffic computer networks have been penetrated multiple times in recent years, including an attack that partially shut down air-traffic data systems in Alaska, according to a government report. The report, which was released by the Transportation Department's inspector general Wednesday, warned that the Federal Aviation Administration's modernization efforts are introducing new vulnerabilities that could increase the risk of cyberattacks on air-traffic control systems.

News Corp will charge for newspaper websites, says Rupert Murdoch --Current days of free internet will soon be over, says Murdoch 07 May 2009 Rupert Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites propaganda within a year as he strives to fix a "malfunctioning" business model. Asked whether he envisaged fees at his British papers such as the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World, he replied: "We're absolutely looking at that." Taking questions on a conference call with reporters and analysts, he said that moves could begin "within the next 12 months‚" adding: "The current days of the internet will soon be over."

GM hosts big customers at Valley resort 07 May 2009 General Motors Corp. is wining and dining its biggest customers at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort this week as its executives in Detroit work to keep the company out of bankruptcy court. More than 500 of GM's largest fleet and commercial customers, from Shell Oil to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have been flown to Phoenix at the company's expense to preview the 2010 lineup of GM cars and trucks.

Fed Determines 10 Banks Need Capital of $74.6 Billion 07 May 2009 The Federal Reserve determined that 10 U.S. banks need to raise a total of $74.6 billion in capital, concluding its unprecedented probe of the health of the nation’s 19 largest lenders.

Phoenix-area bankruptcy filings jump 91% 07 May 2009 Signs of an economic recovery aren't showing up in the latest bankruptcy statistics. Phoenix-area filings jumped 91 percent in April compared with a year earlier, pushing above 2,000 a month for the first time since bankruptcy laws were changed in late 2005.

Wells Fargo freezes traditional pension plan 06 May 2009 Wells Fargo & Co. told employees on Monday it will no longer contribute to their traditional pension plan, effectively cutting the total compensation of its workers less than two weeks after announcing record first-quarter profit.

As deadline looms, Interior mulls Bush's polar bear rule 04 May 2009 Prominent House Democrats and environmental groups are pressuring the Obama administration to overturn a special rule on polar bears from the Bush regime -- part of an effort to provide another federal tool for addressing climate change and curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The Interior Department has until Saturday to throw out the contested polar bear rule, a move that could open the door to scrutinizing the potential emissions of greenhouse gases of a wide range of projects as threats to polar-bear habitat.

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Baxter awaits frozen vials of virus strain from Atlanta --Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Baxter would not disclose where it was making a stockpile of small pox vaccine ordered by the U.S. government. 06 May 2009 Noel Barrett and his team of researchers at Baxter International Inc. labs in Vienna have been through this before. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, they were part of a multi-company effort to produce more than 150 million dosages of small pox vaccine. More recently, Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter developed millions of dosages of a bird flu vaccine, which have been stockpiled in the past four years... Coming up with a vaccine will begin for Baxter after the strain arrives at its Vienna research and development labs, where Barrett's team awaits the frozen vials. The virus is expected to come via flight from Atlanta, where epidemiologists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been tracking the spread of the virus. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009.]

Bush Officials Try to Alter Ethics Report --Focus Is Approval of Torture --Memos offered support for waterboarding, slamming prisoners against a wall, other techniques critics likened to torture 06 May 2009 Former Bush administration officials have launched a behind-the-scenes campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics prisoner torture, according to two sources familiar with the efforts. Representatives for John C. Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, subjects of the ethics probe, have encouraged former Justice Department and White House officials to contact new officials at the department to point out the 'troubling' precedent of imposing sanctions on legal advisers, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

Report: Bush lawyers unlikely to face charges for approving torture --Lawyers may be referred to their bar associations 06 May 2009 The Bush administration lawyers who approved the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques are likely to escape criminal prosecution, according to a US justice department draft report. The lawyers, at worst, face being referred to their bar associations for possible disciplinary action.

Charges Seen as Unlikely for Lawyers Over Torture 06 May 2009 An internal Justice Department inquiry into the conduct of Bush administration lawyers who wrote secret memorandums authorizing brutal interrogations has concluded that the authors committed serious lapses of judgment but should not be criminally prosecuted, according to government officials briefed on a draft of the findings. The report by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal ethics unit within the Justice Department, is also likely to ask that state bar associations consider possible disciplinary action, including reprimands or even disbarment, for some of the lawyers involved in writing the legal opinions, the officials said.

European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment 22 Apr 2009 European prosecutors are likely to investigate CIA and Bush administration officials on suspicion of violating an international ban on torture if they are not held legally accountable at home, according to U.N. officials and human rights lawyers. Many European officials and civil liberties groups said they were disappointed by President Obama's opposition to trials of CIA interrogators who subjected terrorism suspects to waterboarding and other harsh tactics torture.

Inspector at Pentagon Says Report Was Flawed 06 May 2009 In a highly unusual reversal, the Defense Department’s inspector general’s office has withdrawn a report it issued in January exonerating a Pentagon public relations propaganda program that made extensive use of retired officers who worked as military analysts for television and radio networks. Donald M. Horstman, the Pentagon’s deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, said in a memorandum released on Tuesday that the report was so riddled with flaws and inaccuracies that none of its conclusions could be relied upon.

New Chief Prosecutor Appointed For Military Commissions At Guantánamo By Andy Worthington 06 May 2009 In a development that will only fuel suspicions that the Obama administration is indeed planning to revive the Bush administration’s much-criticized system of trials by Military Commission at Guantánamo..., I have just learned that the Commissions’ Chief Prosecutor, Col. Lawrence Morris, is retiring from active duty, and will be replaced by Capt. John Murphy (US Navy Reserve). No formal turnover date has been announced, but it is expected that the transition will take place over the next two months.

'The Iraqi justice system does not guarantee sufficient fair trial procedures in accordance with ... the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.' Iraq should rethink death penalty resumption-U.N. --U.N. concerned about fairness of trials --Iraq deputy justice minister rejects criticisms 06 May 2009 The United Nations urged Iraq on Wednesday to reconsider its resumption of the death penalty and said more than 100 prisoners on death row may not have had fair trials. A U.N. official, who declined to be named, told Reuters Sunday's executions of a dozen convicts in Baghdad were thought to be the first for about 18 months, although there may have been others carried out that were not made public.

Jury out in case of US soldier accused of Iraq rape, killings 06 May 2009 A US federal jury deliberated Wednesday on whether ex-soldier Steven Dale Green was guilty of raping an Iraqi girl, and then executing her and her family. Prosecuting attorney Marisa Ford told jurors during closing arguments that the grueling conditions and tragic losses suffered by his unit, Bravo Company, in no way excused the rape of Abeer al-Janabi,14, and the murders of her and her family in their home south of Baghdad on March 12, 2006.

Obama's peace talks overshadowed by 'botched U.S. air strike which killed dozens of Afghan civilians' [Yeah, it's never a good idea to try to hold peace talks with people while you're bombing the sh*t out of them.] 06 May 2009 The number of civilians killed by mistake in U.S. bombing runs has caused increasing friction between the two governments. The civilian deaths were estimated at between 70 and 83. One former top regional official, Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, said he saw dozens of bodies when he visited the village of Gerani. 'These houses that were full of children and women and elders were bombed by planes. It is very difficult to say how many were killed because nobody can count the number. People are digging through rubble with shovels and hands,' he said. He added that he thought the death toll was 'worse than Azizabad,' a reference to a U.S. air strike in August last year. The U.S. originally claimed no civilians died in Azizabad, but an Afghan government commission, backed by the United Nations, later found that the bombing killed 90 innocent Afghans.

Pakistani Army Poised for New Push Into Swat 06 May 2009 Residents flooded out of the Swat Valley by the thousands on Tuesday as the government prepared to mount a new military campaign against Taliban militants and as a much-criticized peace accord with the insurgents fell apart. People crammed into cars and buses and headed south after the local government told residents to leave Swat before a government military offensive.

Clinton: US, Pakistan, Afghanistan Face 'Common Threat' of Extremism 06 May 2009 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened a three-way meeting with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan Wednesday, saying they face a common threat, task and challenge posed by Islamic [?] extremism. Clinton stressed U.S. regret over the death of Afghan civilians in a U.S. air attack Monday against Taliban forces. [Ergo, the US military is the 'common threat.']

Minot Air Force Base Simulates Nuclear Missile Launch 05 May 2009 Minot Air Force Base came within seconds of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile this morning. But it wasn't an emergency - it was a test of the 91st Missile Wing's ability to respond to an order from the President to launch a nuclear-tipped missile. A Minuteman Three missile from Minot's aresnal will be shipped to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California next month for an actual launch to test the equipment and people from the local base. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities'.]

Special board finds Israel guilty of attacks on UN 06 May 2009 A UN board of inquiry has found Israel was responsible for six serious attacks against the UN during its three-week long incursion against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. The action, which started in December last year, caused deaths, injuries and damage to UN property.

Israel brushes off call to sign nuclear arms pact --Israel does not confirm or deny foreign reports it has what arms control experts assume to be a sizeable atomic arsenal. 06 May 2009 An Israeli official on Wednesday criticized a U.S. call to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as hard to understand, citing the pact's failure to prevent countries from obtaining atomic arms. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller urged Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea to join the treaty.

Mumbai suspect denies all charges --Court has fixed 86 charges against suspect 06 May 2009 The leading suspect in last November's deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab told the court in India's financial capital: "It's all wrong. I'm not guilty." The court has now fixed 86 charges that Mr Qasab will face and they include waging war against India, murder and possessing explosives.

'The Home Quarantine Order is issued under the Infectious Diseases Act to contacts and suspected contacts of the Influenza A (H1N1-2009) virus.' Singapore slaps flu quarantine order with fine, jail 05 May 2009 City-state Singapore has ordered eight people who have just returned from Mexico into a week-long home quarantine, threatening those who violate the order with a fine or a prison term. A Health Ministry statement said on Tuesday those who violated the order would be fined S$10,000 ($6,789) and/or six months in jail. The penalty would be doubled for those who breach the order for a second time.

'Quarantine rooms' planned for swine flu pupils 06 May 2009 Guidance issued to independent schools suggested they consider setting up "quarantine rooms" for pupils suspected of being infected. The Independent Schools Council in England issued advice to more than 1,200 schools on how to tackle a swine flu outbreak, including the creation of quarantine rooms for students who might have the virus.

Two More Colleges Quarantine Students for Flu 05 May 2009 (MA) Monday night it was confirmed that two Amherst College students had H1N1. They were in isolation so long, they have already recovered and returned to their dorms. But two more students, at Smith and Mount Holyoke College have been quarantined.

U.S. reports 642 cases of new H1N1 flu 06 May 2009 The United States now has 642 confirmed cases of the new H1N1 flu, with two deaths, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday. And officials are puzzled because most of the 35 people who have been hospitalized with the new swine flu are young.

Flight passengers in contact with influenza A/H1N1 to be out of quarantine on Thursday 06 May 2009 Passengers quarantined in the Chinese mainland who took the same flight with a Mexican national later diagnosed with influenza A/H1N1 in Hong Kong will be out of quarantine on Thursday if they display no flu-like symptoms, China's Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

WHO: Drug Companies Must Prepare for Swine Flu Vaccine 06 May 2009 The World Health Organization said all pharmaceutical manufacturers must be ready to start producing vaccines to 'protect people against' the Swine Influenza A-H1N1 virus as soon as they are given the go-ahead. WHO Director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research, Marie-Paule Kieny, said pharmaceutical companies should start getting ready now.

Facility to Speed Delivery of New TB Vaccines Opens Near Washington 06 May 2009 A non-profit US research group has just launched a state-of-the-art tuberculosis vaccine manufacturing facility. The Aeras Foundation lab, located in Rockville, Maryland outside of Washington, DC, will be able to produce 200 million doses of new formula, enough quantity to meet current worldwide needs to fight foment a global TB epidemic.

Web MD Reports Gardasil Link to Guillain Barre Syndrome (Age of Autism) 03 May 2009 1979 '60 Minutes' transcript: The 1976 Swine Flu vaccine also caused Guillain-Barre Syndrome, except few people had heard of GBS in 1976.

Gardasil Linked to Nerve Disorder --Cervical Cancer Vaccine May Raise Risk of Guillain-Barre Syndrome 30 Apr 2009 Girls and women who receive the Gardasil [Gardakill] vaccine to prevent cervical cancer may be at increased risk of a rare but serious disorder of the nervous system [Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)] in the first few weeks after getting their shots, researchers report.

Chemists and post offices to take fingerprints as part of national ID scheme --Chemists, postmasters and photo developers are to take fingerprints of customers as part of the ID cards programme, under proposals being discussed with the Home Office. 06 May 2009 Post offices, high street pharmacies and photo shops are in talks with the Home Office to offer facilities for customers to have their biometric details taken for when they apply for an ID card or new passport.

Government Still Blocking Information on Secret IP Enforcement Treaty --Broken Promises from the Obama Administration Keep Americans in the Dark About ACTA (EFF) 06 May 2009 Two public interest groups today called on the government to stop blocking the release of information about a secret intellectual property trade agreement with broad implications for privacy and innovation around the world. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge said that the April 30th release of 36 pages of material by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was the second time the government had the opportunity to provide some public insight into the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but declined to do so.

AIG bonuses four times higher than reported --AIG says paid more than $454 million in bonuses 06 May 2009 The 2008 AIG bonus pool just keeps getting larger and larger. In a response to detailed questions from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the company has offered a third assessment of exactly how much it paid in bonuses last year. The new number, offered in a document submitted to Cummings on May 1, is the highest figure the company has disclosed to date. AIG now says it paid more than $454 million in bonuses to its employees for work performed in 2008.

Sources: Bank of America Will Not Be Forced to Raise Capital 06 May 2009 The government will not require Bank of America Corp. to raise any new capital as a result of its stress test, although the company will be required to increase its holdings of common equity, by about $35 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. The bank could meet that requirement by converting other forms of capital into common equity, including the government's existing $45 billion investment in the company, a step that would not involve raising any new money.

U.S. Says Bank of America Needs $33.9 Billion 06 May 2009 The government has told Bank of America it will need to raise $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn, according to an executive at the bank. J. Steele Alphin, the bank’s chief administrative officer, said Bank of America would have plenty of options to raise the capital on its own before it would have to convert any of taxpayer money into common stock, a move that would effectively increase the government’s holdings in the troubled bank.

Obama proposes token measures to close foreign tax loopholes By Andre Damon 06 May 2009 The Obama administration on Monday unveiled a proposal to limit certain tax loopholes for US corporations operating in foreign countries. Couched in national chauvinist language, the proposal amounts to an attempt to divert growing hostility to social inequality and pro-business policy in a protectionist direction, while posing little danger to corporate wealth.

Obama administration spearheads wage cuts for American workers --Chrysler, GM set the pace By Patrick Martin 05 May 2009 The wage cuts imposed on auto workers at Chrysler and General Motors at the insistence of the Obama administration demonstrate the class strategy that American big business as a whole is carrying out: to impose a reduction in the living standards of American workers on a scale unprecedented since the Great Depression. The White House has given the green light for nationwide wage-cutting with its demands on Chrysler and GM workers, who have seen wages for new-hires slashed by 50 percent, along with the abolition of cost-of-living raises and cuts in vacation pay.

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Schools told to set up 'quarantine rooms' for swine flu pupils 05 May 2009 (UK) Private schools should set up "quarantine rooms" for pupils suspected of having swine flu, according to legal advice issued to the Independent Schools Council today. Pupils across the country may have to sit exams in isolation, at home, or be given grades based on past work rather than take exams this summer if the swine flu epidemic escalates. If the situation becomes extreme the Department of Health could issue an order to close all schools.

Company warned officials of flu 18 days before alert was issued --On April 6, 18 days before WHO issued its alert, Veratect reported on its Web site a strange outbreak of respiratory disease in La Gloria, Mexico. 30 Apr 2009 A Washington state biosurveillance firm raised the first warning about a possible outbreak of swine flu in Mexico more than two weeks before the World Health Organization offered its initial alert about a public health emergency of international concern. Both federal and international health officials had access to the warning from Veratect Corp.

Scientists warn swine flu virus could quickly morph from mild to deadly 05 May 2009 A flu virus is a powerhouse of evolution, mutating at the maximum speed nature [or man] allows. A mild virus can morph into a killer and vice versa. In the world's most devastating global flu epidemic in 1918, the first wave of cases in the spring were mild. Then, the virus evolved and came back in the fall as a strain that proved truly deadly, flu experts say.

Swine flu fears subside, but second wave looms The echoes of the 1918 flu are unavoidable. [That's because it's the same virus the US Army has been manipulating.] 04 May 2009 Historical accounts long have suggested that the first pandemic wave appeared in the U.S. in the spring of 1918, causing illness, but no appreciable deaths above normal... Those early cases were followed by far more fatal second and third waves in the fall and winter of 1918 and 1919 in the United States. "When it got cool enough to spread well, the virus exploded," Dr. Jeffery K. Taubenberger, an influenza investigator in the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said. [See: US involved in bird flu conspiracy: Indonesia 20 Feb 2008 (Transcript from AM, Australia's ABC.) Peter Cave: Indonesia's Health Minister has suggested that the United States may be involved in a conspiracy to use the bird flu virus to develop biological weapons. See: US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008. See: Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug 12 Mar 2006 Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu.]

Swine flu: the worst is yet to come in autumn, warns --Alan Johnson Doctors are being warned to prepare for a second, "much worse" wave of swine flu hitting Britain in the autumn, the Health Secretary has disclosed. 04 May 2009 Alan Johnson said that the lesson of past pandemics was that initially mild outbreaks had been followed by something "much more serious". His comments came as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu in Britain rose to 18, including two children, with as many as 716 possible patients now being tested.

CDC Says Swine Flu Cases Likely to Grow in Coming Days 05 May 2009 U.S. health authorities reported today that the number of confirmed swine flu cases across the nation now exceeds 400 in 38 states, and they repeated warnings that the illness is likely to spread over the days and weeks ahead. In its latest bulletin on the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta said this morning that 403 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 flu have been reported, up sharply from the 286 tallied 24 hours earlier.

US resident dies from swine flu 05 May 2009 A woman from Texas has become apparently the first US resident to die from swine flu. In a statement, the Texas Department of State Health services said it was "reporting the first death of a Texas resident with H1N1 [swine] flu."

Pfizer Employee Has Swine Flu 05 May 2009 A resident of Westerly, RI, who works at Pfizer’s King’s Heights facility in Groton, CT, has tested positive for swine flu, according to a company spokeswoman. He is recovering at home and several co-workers, said the company, are recovering at home. About 60 people work at the same building. This facility is two miles away from the larger Groton campus of Pfizer.

Seven new swine flu cases in B.C. 05 May 2009 Seven additional cases of the H1N1 flu virus (human swine flu) were confirmed Tuesday in B.C. for a total of 46, the B.C. ministry of health announced.

Seven Swine Flu cases in NC 05 May 2009 North Carolina health officials say the total number of Swine Flu cases in the state has now reached seven.

1 additional swine flu case confirmed in NJ 05 May 2009 Health officials have confirmed another case of swine flu in New Jersey. With Tuesday's addition, there are still seven confirmed cases in New Jersey because health officials say a clerical mistake was made in one case previously reported as confirmed.

Two Fairfield U. Students Have Confirmed Swine Flu 05 May 2009 (CT) The state's number of confirmed swine flu cases increased to four today after testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed two Fairfield University students had the disease.

U.S. says flu-hit schools should reopen 05 May 2009 The U.S. government on Tuesday said it was no longer necessary to close schools due to outbreaks of the H1N1 flu virus, although students who fall ill should remain at home for at least a week.

Schools hit by swine flu rescheduling exams 05 May 2009 (UK) Schools hit by swine flu were rescheduling GCSEs and A-levels today or asking for special consideration for pupils as the summer exam season begins. It comes as Department of Health leaflets giving information about the virus began dropping through doors across the country. Five schools, four of which are secondary schools, are now closed after students fell ill with the virus.

Russia bans UK pork 05 May 2009 Russia has extended its ban on imports of live pigs and raw pork to include the United Kingdom because of fears about the spread of the swine flu virus, the country's chief veterinarian said today. "We have added another European Union country, Great Britain to the banned list," Nikolai Vlasov told a news briefing.

UN demands access to secret Israeli 'torture' jail --Document: "Allegations of torture, ill-treatment and poor detention conditions in this facility have been reported to the committee." 05 May 2009 The United Nations anti-torture committee has demanded access to an Israeli secret prison where torture is allegedly being practiced. The UN Committee Against Torture in Geneva prepared a document on Israel's record on torture on Tuesday and called on Tel Aviv to release information on the alleged "Facility 1391" which is situated in an "undetermined location within Israel and which is not accessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross or detainees' lawyers or relatives."

UN probe finds Israel guilty of war crimes 05 May 2009 A UN report has found Israel responsible for six major crimes committed against Palestinians during the three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip. The report released on Tuesday blamed Israel for six serious incidents leading to death, injuries, or damage during the Gaza War, AFP reported.

Barack Obama hints at tougher line on Israel [Well, until AIPAC gets to him] 05 May 2009 The Obama Administration has signalled a tougher approach towards Israel ahead of fresh talks on the Middle East peace process by insisting it must endorse the creation of an independent Palestinian state. "Israel has to work toward a two-state solution," declared Vice-President Joe Biden today in a speech to the annual conference of a powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington.

Hamas won't recognize Israel 05 May 2009 Palestinian movement Hamas says it will never recognize Israel, insisting that the regime is the only enemy in the region. Hamas political leader Khalid Mashaal told The New York Times that the movement "has not and will not" recognize Israel but it might conditionally accept the creation of a Palestinian state.

US planes 'kill Afghan civilians' 05 May 2009 There are claims that US air strikes on militants in western Afghanistan killed more than 20 civilians, an Afghan official has told the BBC. The Afghan official spoke of seeing more than 20 bodies in two lorries outside the governor's house. He said women and children were among the casualties. Those who transported the bodies said they had been killed by American air strikes, according to the same official.

US bombing run kills dozens, Afghans say 05 May 2009 Bombing runs called in by U.S. forces killed dozens of civilians taking shelter from fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan and international troops, Afghan officials said Tuesday. A provincial councilman said he saw about 30 bodies, many of them women and children, after villages bought them to a provincial capital. Villagers estimated from 70 to well over 100 civilians may have died, according to local and regional officials.

Pakistani army flattening villages as it battles Taliban 04 May 2009 The Pakistani army's assault against Islamic militants in Buner, in northwest Pakistan, is flattening villages, killing civilians and sending thousands of farmers and villagers fleeing from their homes, residents escaping the fighting said Monday. "We didn't see any Taliban; they are up in the mountains, yet the army flattens our villages," Zaroon Mohammad told McClatchy as he walked with about a dozen scrawny cattle and the male members of his family in the relative safety of Chinglai village in southern Buner.

Half a million set to flee Swat valley 05 May 2009 A human tide of up to 500,000 people could pour out of Pakistan’s troubled Swat valley after officials told residents to flee as a controversial peace deal with the Taliban appeared finally to fall apart.

2 Northern California soldiers killed in Iraq 05 May 2009 Two soldiers from Northern California have been killed in Iraq. The Department of Defense says Army Spc. Jake Velloza and Spc. Jeremiah McCleery died after being shot by enemy forces in Mosul, Iraq on May 2.

KBR Connected to Alleged Massive Fraud, Pentagon Auditor Says 05 May 2009 KBR, the Army's largest contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, is linked to "the vast majority" of suspected combat-zone fraud cases that have been referred to investigators, as well as a majority of the $13 billion in "questioned" or "unsupported" costs, the Pentagon's top auditor said yesterday. ...Commissioners cited a May 1 letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates from Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), calling on the Pentagon to do more to recover more than $100 million in overcharges and excessive profits associate with KBR employees suspected of fraud.

US eyes fighting Somali pirates onshore 05 May 2009 Top US military commanders have floated the idea that the fight against the Somali pirates needs to be taken ashore in the country which lacks a functioning government. Following a Navy League conference on Sunday, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead said it would be impractical to fight the Somali pirates in their area of operations that spans four times the size of Texas.

Fight against pirates also needed ashore: U.S. Navy 04 May 2009 The fight against piracy must involve efforts on land and at sea, the U.S. Navy's top officer said on Monday, saying the issue was more complex than just putting arms on commercial ships.

Troop mutiny now 'under control', Saakashvili says 05 May 2009 Georgian troops mutinied Tuesday on the eve of NATO [war] exercises in the ex-Soviet republic, prompting the government to accuse Russia of backing an attempted coup, including a plan to kill the president. President Mikheil Saakashvili said the situation was "under control" after an attempt at a "large-scale mutiny" and the defence ministry said it was in talks with the rebellious troops. Defence Minister David Sikharulidze said troops of a tank battalion at the Mukhrovani base had launched a "rebellion," just as Georgia is due to host NATO exercises starting this week.

House Democrats won't give Obama funds to close Guantanamo 04 May 2009 The Obama administration's bid for $50 million to move prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was left out of the Democratic-authored emergency war-spending bill unveiled Monday. Even so, most Democrats remain committed to closing down the military prison, and the issue is likely to be attached to other legislation later this year.

Group Demands Stanford Cut Ties With Rice 04 May 2009 A group of Stanford alumni who took a stand against the Vietnam War 40 years ago met up at their Alma Mater over the weekend and in true style, protested. Members of the April 3rd Movement marked their anniversary at Stanford University Sunday by calling for the school to sever its ties with Condoleezza Rice. The upset group nailed a petition to the door of the president's office demanding that the former Bush administration Secretary of State and National Security Advisor be held accountable for what they say are serious violations of the law, including the approval of torture and misleading the country by going into the Iraq war.

'We will resist.' Pilots refuse to take part in national identity card trials --MPs are shortly to be asked to approve the powers to compel the pilots and other airside workers at the two airports to register for the national ID card scheme as part of their "pre-employment" checks. 05 May 2009 Airline pilots are to become the first group to refuse to take part in the national identity scheme when compulsory trials start at Manchester and London City airports this autumn. The British Airline Pilots' Association (Balpa), which represents more than 80% of commercial airline pilots, is to mount a legal challenge to Home Office plans to use "critical" airside workers as the first compulsory "guinea pigs" for the scheme. "ID cards will have absolutely no value as far as security is concerned. This is nothing other than coercion and promises that ID cards would be voluntary have been broken," Jim McAuslan, Balpa general secretary, has told ministers. "We will resist."

Former Australian intelligence officer faces jail over Bali bombing documents By Mike Head 05 May 2009 A former Australian intelligence official and his co-tenant face up to two years jail after being convicted last month of leaking classified documents relating to the October 2002 terrorist bomb blasts on the Indonesian resort island of Bali... After a two-week trial in the ACT Supreme Court last week, ex-Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) officer James Sievers was found guilty of communicating information he had obtained as an ASIO employee, and his former housemate Francis O’Ryan was convicted of aiding and abetting him. Sievers and O’Ryan were convicted of sending to the Australian newspaper in October 2004 three ASIO documents showing that Australian authorities were warned by their US intelligence partners two weeks before the Bali bombings that an Al Qaeda-linked group was planning attacks on "sin spots" and "nightclubs".

France Seeks Ban On "Anti-Semitic" Euro Election Candidates 05 May 2009 French authorities were hunting Monday for a means to ban a stand-up comic turned 'anti-Zionist' militant from fielding lists of candidates in European elections next month. Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala and his ally Alain Soral, a former member of Jean Marie Le Pen's far-right National Front, say they will present candidates in at least five of France's electoral regions for June's European Parliamentary vote.

Lieberman's Campaign to Pay $50,000 Fine 05 May 2009 (CT) U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman's campaign will pay a $50,000 penalty to settle allegations of improper petty cash payments made to workers during a hard-fought race in 2006 for the U.S. Senate. The agreement between the Federal Election Commission and the LieberBush camp stems from a complaint filed by the campaign of Ned Lamont, Lieberman's opponent. Lamont beat Lieberman in the Democratic primary, but Lieberman won the general election after running as an independent [via illegal funding from the Reichwing].

Ten Stressed Banks Will Need More Capital --Stress tests identify about ten; Wells, BofA, Citigroup face order to refill coffers 05 May 2009 The U.S. is expected to direct about 10 of the 19 banks undergoing government stress tests to boost their capital, according to several people familiar with the matter, a move that officials hope will quell fears about the solvency of the financial sector. The exact number of banks affected remains under discussion.

JPMorgan May Be Asked to Buy More Banks: CEO Dimon 05 May 2009 The U.S. banking sector is likely to see further consolidation and JPMorgan Chase may be called on by regulators for more acquisitions, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on a webcast call Monday. "There are still too many banks in the United States," Dimon told Calyon Securities analyst Mike Mayo on the call.

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US soldiers told to act as Christian missionaries in Afghanistan --'Witness for Jesus' in Afghanistan 04 May 2009 US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan's predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show. Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country's main Pashto and Dari languages. In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him". "The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says. "Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business."

US denies letting troops convert Afghans --General Order Number 1 from the U.S. military's Central Command forbids active duty troops - including all those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan - from trying to convert people to their religion, considered a crime in many Muslim countries. 04 May 2009 The US military denied on today it has allowed soldiers to try to convert Afghans to Christianity, after a television network showed pictures of soldiers with bibles translated into local languages [AND a military chaplain shown delivering a sermon to other soldiers, saying: "The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down."]

Afghanistan UN chief urges Taliban to contest presidential poll 03 Apr 2009 The top UN official in Afghanistan today called for the Taliban to participate in the August presidential election as a way to kick-start a peace process with the militants who are fighting to overthrow the western-backed government in Kabul. Kai Eide, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, said the militants should participate in a campaign that formally starts on Thursday and which looks increasingly likely to be won by Hamid Karzai, the hugely unpopular incumbent.

Ex-US ally arrested in Iraq for terrorism offences 03 May 2009 A Sunni Arab militia leader, once allied to the US, has been arrested by Iraqi forces. Nadhim al-Jubouri, leader of a government-backed local militia and a religious leader in the town of Dhuluiya, 70 km north of Baghdad, was seized from his home by Iraqi forces. Also included in the arrest were al-Jubouriâ's two brothers. All three have been charged with terrorism offences.

Iraq insists on US leaving cities by June 30 04 May 2009 Iraq's government Monday ruled out allowing U.S. combat troops to remain in Iraqi cities after the June 30 deadline for their withdrawal, despite concern that Iraqi forces cannot cope with the security challenge following a resurgence of [US] bombings in recent weeks.

Iraq rules out extension of U.S. withdrawal dates 03 May 2009 Iraq will not extend withdrawal deadlines for U.S. troops set out in a bilateral accord, ending months of speculation about whether U.S. combat troops would stay beyond June in bases in the northern city of Mosul. Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq was committed to adhering to the withdrawal schedule in the pact, which took effect on January 1, including the requirement to withdraw U.S. combat troops from towns and cities by the end of June and a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

Iraq bloodshed rises as US allies defect --Obama's 'withdrawal' pledge is at risk as militias paid by the US begin to rejoin the insurgency 03 May 2009 Iraq is threatened by a new wave of sectarian violence as members of the "Sons of Iraq" – the Sunni Awakening militias terrorists that were paid by the US to fight Al-Qaeda – begin to rejoin the insurgency. If the spike in violence continues, it could affect President Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw all combat troops from Iraqi cities by the end of June. All US troops are due to leave the country by 2012.

Former MI6 chief says Britain was 'dragged' into Iraq war 03 May 2009 Britain was "dragged into a war in Iraq which was always against out better judgment" the former deputy head of MI6 has claimed, in a remark that will reignite the debate over political interference in the war. The comments, made by Nigel Inkster, who was deputy director of MI6 at the time, make clear there were reservations over the war at a very senior level within the Secret Intelligence Service. MI6 was blamed for the failure of intelligence that took Britain to war after helping produce a dossier in which Tony Blair claimed that Iraq was ready to use weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

Senators Accuse Pentagon of Delay in Recovering Millions 04 May 2009 The Pentagon has done little to collect at least $100 million in overcharges paid in deals arranged by corrupt former officials of Kellogg Brown & Root, the defense contractor, even though the officials admitted much of the wrongdoing years ago, two senators have complained in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. The letter also said that the Army had almost completely failed to move away from the monopolistic nature of the logistics contract that has paid the contractor [terrorists], now called KBR, $31.3 billion for logistics operations in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

KBR Contracts Are 'Majority' of Fraud Referrals 04 May 2009 Billings from KBR Inc., the Army’s largest contractor in Iraq, constitute the "vast majority" of 32 cases referred by government auditors for criminal investigation, the Pentagon’s top auditor said today. April Stephenson, head of the Pentagon’s contract audit agency, told the Wartime Contracting Commission that in the agency’s history, "I don’t think we are aware of a program, a contract or a contractor that’s had this number" of referrals.

Xe is a busy little bee: At least 15 journalists killed in Pakistan past year 01 May 2009 At least 15 journalists were killed in Pakistan past year as journalism turns out to be one of the dangerous occupations in the country, according to local media report on Friday. The report revealed that like socio-economic groups in the country, the media also paid a heavy price for the 'war on terrorism' on Pakistani territory, News Network International (NNI) news agency quoted local research result as saying.

Israel's next ambassador to U.S. tells AIPAC: We won't let Iran get nuclear weapons --Oren: 'Israel would not remain passive' 04 May 2009 More than 6,000 people attended Sunday's opening of the annual AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] conference in Washington. Michael Oren, the noted historian who is slated to be the next Israeli ambassador to the U.S., appeared Sunday. "Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons," Oren told lobbyists.

Poll: Most Israelis would support Iran strike 04 May 2009 A vast majority (66%) of Israelis said they would support military action if diplomatic and economic efforts failed to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment, and of that number, 75% would support this action even if the Obama administration were opposed, according to a survey jointly commissioned by Bar-Ilan University's BESA center and the ADL, published on Sunday.

Gingrich accuses Obama of letting Israel down 04 May 2009 Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Insane) has accused the Obama administration of endangering the Jewish state. Referring to news reports about the administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gingrich told The Jerusalem Post that the US had been setting itself on a collision course with Israel.

Officials: Guantanamo court system likely to remain open --Obama may revamp and restart the Bush-era military trial system for suspected terrorists. 03 May 2009 The Obama administration may revamp and restart the Bush-era military trial system for suspected terrorists as it struggles to determine the fate of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and fulfill a pledge to close the prison by January. Almost immediately after taking office, President Barack Obama suspended the tribunal system and ordered a 120-day review of the cases against the 241 men being held at the Navy prison in Cuba. That review was supposed to end May 20. But two U.S. officials said Saturday the administration wants a three-month extension.

U.S. asks Germany to take Guantanamo inmates: German government 03 May 2009 The United States has made a formal request to Germany to take in some prisoners held at its military prison in Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman for Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday. Confirming a report to appear in Monday's Der Spiegel news magazine, the spokesman said the ministry is currently reviewing the request.

Appeals court rejects Obama state secrets claim in rendition case 04 May 2009 On April 28, a three-judge federal appellate court unanimously reinstated the lawsuit brought by five men against a Boeing subsidiary for allegedly flying them to secret prisons around the world to be tortured as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by lawyers, first from the Bush administration and later from the Obama administration, that the so-called "state secrets" doctrine bars the plaintiffs’ claims.

(U//FOUO) Domestic Extremism Lexicon --This product provides definitions for key terms and phrases that often appear in DHS analysis that addresses the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic extremism poses to the United States. (dhs.gov) 26 Mar 2009 (U) Prepared by the Strategic Analysis Group and the Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division. (U//FOUO) Homeland Security Reference Aids--prepared by the DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A)--provide baseline information on a variety of homeland security issues... DHS/I&A intends this background information to assist federal, state, local, and tribal homeland security and law enforcement officials in conducting analytic activities... alternative media (U//FOUO) A term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets.

Secret Black Box Probe Will Monitor Web Activity --The £1 billion snooping project -- Mastering the Internet (MTI) -- will rely on thousands of 'black box' probes being covertly inserted across online infrastructure. 03 May 2009 Spy chiefs are pressing ahead with secret plans to monitor all internet use and telephone calls in Britain despite an announcement by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, of a ministerial climbdown over public surveillance. GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, is developing classified technology to intercept and monitor all e-mails, website visits and social networking sessions in Britain. The agency will also be able to track telephone calls made over the internet, as well as all phone calls to land lines and mobiles.

Swine Flu May Merge With Other Flu Viruses, CDC Says [Count on it.] 03 May 2009 Swine flu's potential to reconfigure its genetic material and become more deadly is a "major concern," said Anne Schuchat, a scientist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prospect of what is called reassortment is keeping Schuchat and health officials worldwide on the alert even as the newest outbreak has proved itself to be relatively mild outside Mexico. Human cases of the disease have been confirmed in 30 U.S. states and 19 countries, according to the CDC and the World Health Organization, a global agency that may declare a pandemic.

Swine flu: Warnings that second wave may strike later in 2009 04 May 2009 A second wave of swine flu may strike later this year, ministers warned yesterday. As hopes rose that the worst of the outbreak is over Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the tally of 18 cases in the Britain was likely to rise... As three new British cases emerged over the weekend, Mr Johnson said: "...[W]ith pandemics you get two phases. A first that is often very mild and then a much more serious one in the autumn and winter. So we have to not just deal with this outbreak now, but prepare, perhaps, for a second phase."

Mutant fears over 'mild flu' --Experts say swine flu appears less virulent than the typical seasonal virus, but are still concerned about its future path 03 May 2009 At present four laboratories worldwide, including the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in north London, are working with the live virus to find a vaccine. The scientists will take the genes that make swine flu’s outer coating and attach them to a harmless human virus called PR8, creating a reconstructed virus. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor By Lori Price 26 Apr 2009.]

Flu, Mostly Mild, Has Spread Across U.S., Officials Say 04 May 2009 Swine flu has become widespread in the United States, with 226 cases in 30 states and more expected to turn up in additional states in the next few days, federal health officials said Sunday. "I think it’s circulating all over the U.S.," Dr. Anne Schuchat, the interim deputy director for science and public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news conference. "The virus has arrived, I would say, in most of the country now."

US May Revise H1N1 Flu School Closure Guidelines 04 May 2009 Federal health officials are considering new revising guidelines on school closures as evidence mounts that the current H1N1 influenza outbreak is acting like the seasonal flu. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday, "we are having very active discussions about whether it's time to review our guidance," which recommends schools with confirmed H1N1 influenza cases be closed for 14 days as part of an effort to slow the spread of the virus through communities.

Japanese health inspectors diligently seek feverish suspects --Passengers could not leave the aircraft until they had filled out a government form. 04 May 2009 Armed with thermographic guns, Japanese health inspectors in surgical gowns, goggles and masks boarded United Flight 803 from Washington Dulles. They prowled the aisles, pointing their fever-seeking machines at jet-lagged faces. The nonstop flight had taken 13 1/2 hours... Everyone was under strict orders to stay in his or her seat. Exhausted-looking flight attendants handed out surgical masks... diligently seeking feverish suspects.

Chinese officials quarantine Canadian university students 04 May 2009 Twenty-five Canadian students quarantined in China amid fears about the potential spread of swine flu are staying in a remote lakeside hotel and are "in good spirits" despite the setback, university officials in Montreal told CBC News. The University of Montreal students have access to the internet and are being monitored by health officials who are taking their temperature four times a day, said David Ownby, director of the East Asia Studies Department at the university.

CDC confirms four cases of swine flu in Md. 04 May 2009 Four of Maryland's 15 probable swine flu cases were confirmed Monday afternoon by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The confirmed cases include a student from Millford Mill Academy in Baltimore County, two Baltimore County adults and a preschool-age child from Anne Arundel County.

Australians with swine flu quarantined in London 03 May 2009 At least two Australians are in quarantine in London after being diagnosed with the potentially deadly swine flu virus upon returning to Britain from separate holidays in Mexico last week.

World on alert after pigs found infected with H1N1 virus 03 May 2009 Governments around the world are on alert on Sunday after some 200 sickened pigs were found infected with the H1N1 flu virus in Canada. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said Saturday that it was highly probable the estimated 200 pigs caught the virus from a Canadian who had been exhibiting flu-like symptoms after returning from Mexico.

The Pork Lobbyists, Ready to Reassure --Flu Prompts Daily Damage Control 04 May 2009 It was Day 7 of the great swine flu outbreak, and inside the eighth-floor conference room in a concrete hulk of an office building on Capitol Hill, the pork lobbyists were in crisis mode. The National Pork Producers Council, whose members were watching with dismay as prices fell, labored to reverse the public dialogue about the fast-spreading virus and to convince consumers that the "other white meat" was still safe to eat. [Mega barf alert! Soon these nutjobs - peddling slaughtered animals - will be begging Obusha for a bailout, and he will comply.]

Preston Burton Responds By Montgomery Blair Sibley 04 May 2009 My book, Why Just Her, was released on May 1 and received a fair amount of publicity. During [a Fox 5] piece, Jeane’s criminal trial attorney, Preston Burton made a comment: "You can draw whatever conclusions you wish from the perspective of a suspended attorney who was discharged from the criminal case and had no role in the trial. I don’t care what he says about me or the case... what offends me is how deeply his actions have upset Ms. Palfrey’s mother." Methinks he protests too much... First, Jeane gave me explicit directions that I was to make sure that her story was told. Moreover, Blanche Palfrey, Jeane’s mother, also asked me to see that Jeane’s story was told. [See CLG's 'DC Madam' Phone Records & Updates.]

Wolves no longer protected in Northern Rockies [Thanks, Obusha.] 03 May 2009 Wolves in parts of the Northern Rockies and the Great Lakes region come off the endangered species list on Monday, opening them to public hunts in some states for the first time in decades. The animals were listed as endangered in 1974, after they had been wiped out across the lower 48 states by hunting and government-sponsored poisoning.

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'Draconian' powers seen to contain swine flu 03 May 2009 Regional governments can invoke "draconian" powers if the swine flu virus reaches a worst-case scenario, from monitoring people in their own homes to seizing control of entire economies... Australia has also approved the isolation of suspected sufferers against their will. Australia's pandemic action plan, a draft of which is publicly available on the Internet, reveals the government potentially has recourse to even more extreme measures should the threat escalate. The plan, which was updated in April, allows for "extraordinary measures" including the power to manage the supply of goods and services, giving it effective control over the economy.

Swine flu broke out of California: CDC 03 May 2009 The US disease prevention center claims the newly-spread potentially-fatal strain of swine flu virus may have originated from California. The Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said on Saturday that the state preceded Mexico, the alleged source of the virus, in reporting cases of the affliction. "As we do our investigations here in the US, we may find that there were cases earlier," CDC spokesman, Scott Bryan was quoted by AFP as saying. As early as March, patients were diagnosed in California with a new type of viral infection resulting from the A(H1N1) -- the new strain of the swine flu virus, H1N1. The patients had neither been to Mexico nor had they come into contact with pigs.

'Those cases contradict the conventional understanding of how the strain originated.' In California, Cases Suggest Border Origin 01 May 2009 Growing evidence in California suggests that early flu cases had no apparent origin in Mexico. Many of the early California victims -- including the first two cases -- say they hadn't traveled to Mexico and had no contact with pigs. Some may have fallen ill before the first Mexicans did.Those cases contradict the conventional understanding of how the strain originated.

Search for hundreds on flu plane 03 May 2009 Health officials are hunting for hundreds of airline passengers who may have become infected with swine flu from a Scot returning home from a trip to America. The man was last night revealed to be Scotland's latest "probable" case of H1N1 after falling ill with flu following a trip to Texas, one of the areas affected by swine flu.

113 quarantined after taking flight from Mexico with flu case 03 May 2009 At least 113 people, who were on the same Mexico City-Shanghai flight with a Mexican national later diagnosed with influenza A/H1N1 in Hong Kong, are under quarantine, Chinese health authorities said Saturday. None of them have displayed any flu symptoms so far.

Hong Kong hotel quarantine move stirs controversy 02 May 2009 Travellers quarantined in a Hong Kong hotel for a week after a Mexican guest tested positive for the H1N1 flu expressed dismay on Saturday at the tough steps, while an infectious disease expert said the authorities had over-reacted. Police wearing surgical masks sealed off the Metropark hotel on Friday night after test results on the 25-year-old Mexican man were confirmed, ordering approximately 200 guests and 100 staff to stay in the hotel for the next seven days.

Quarantine units at Iranian airports to stop swine flu 02 May 2009 Iran has set up quarantine centers in its international airports due to the spread of swine flu infection. "Currently, we have established quarantine units in these airports where, in addition to giving information to the passengers, health care services are also offered," Mohammad Mahdi Gouya of the Iranian Health Ministry told the Mehr News Agency on Saturday.

Swine Flu: Israel Raises Alert, New Measures in Effect 30 Apr 2009 The Health Ministry announced Thursday that it has raised Israel's alert level to Phase 5, the second-highest on the scale, following the discovery of two new suspected cases of swine flu in the Jewish State. Following a meeting with senior officials at the Health Ministry, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a series of orders. Among the new measures are the establishment of a temporary clinic in Ben Gurion airport, the stationing of doctors at Israel's borders, and a mandatory trip to the emergency room for travelers from Mexico suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Thank you, sir, for the martial law, KBR detention plans: 'At his news conference Wednesday night, Mr. Obama praised the Bush administration for stockpiling antiviral drugs and establishing a detailed plan for responding to international [Fort Detrick] outbreaks like this one.' President Enlists Cabinet to Prepare for a Pandemic 02 May 2009 A week after his administration first received word about a deadly flu spreading across Mexico, President Obama convened his cabinet on Friday and instructed every agency to play a role in preparing the United States for a pandemic... Mr. Obama said his administration was focused both on the immediate threat posed by the H1N1 virus, as well as the possibility that a more virulent outbreak could be looming months away. [Yes, count on it. This is the dry run -- to gauge public acceptance of the 'draconian measures.']

Inflatable mortuaries and 'express' funerals planned for flu pandemic --The 59-page report, "Planning for Possible Influenza Pandemic: A Framework for Planners Preparing to Manage Deaths" has been circulated to local councils, coroners and undertakers. 01 May 2009 Inflatable mortuaries, 24-hour cremations and "express" funerals could all be used to dispose of thousands of bodies in a flu pandemic, Whitehall papers show... Department of Health projections put the total UK death toll from a pandemic as high as 750,000. It was confirmed in 2006 that officials have ordered millions of extra body bags as a precaution. A Home Office contingency planning document seen by the Daily Telegraph reveals the extreme measures that would be required to cope with the sheer number of extra corpses that are expected.

Companies buy flu drugs for 500,000 staff from private stockpile amid shortage fears 02 May 2009 Companies are turning to a private stockpile of antiviral drugs amid fears that Government supplies will be overwhelmed by a swine flu pandemic. Employers, including the banking giant HSBC, have already paid to secure enough doses to treat half a million workers in the event of a mass outbreak.

Swine flu: supermarkets prepare for panic buying 01 May 2009 Supermarkets are preparing for panic buying by shoppers fearful of swine flu, by stocking up on millions of extra litres of bottled water. The leading chains contacted the major water suppliers on Friday and placed orders far in excess of a normal bank holiday -- in anticipation of shoppers panic buying. Orders of about an extra 50 million litres of bottled water were placed with the major suppliers, the Telegraph understands.

WHO says raise to pandemic alert Phase 6 still possible 03 May 2009 The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that the risk of a pandemic caused by the A/H1N1 virus is still very high and there is still the possibility to raise the alert level to Phase 6 from the current Phase 5. "At the present time, I would still propose that a pandemic is imminent because we are seeing the disease spread," Michael Ryan, the agency's director for global alert and response, told a news briefing in Geneva.

WHO's tally of A/H1N1 cases rises to 615 02 May 2009 The total number of laboratory confirmed A/H1N1 flu infections worldwide has risen to 615 with 17 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a latest update on Saturday. A total of 15 countries and regions have officially reported laboratory confirmed cases to the UN agency, including Mexico, whose confirmed number of human cases has increased to 397, including 16 deaths.

Three dozen under swine flu cloud in NSW 03 May 2009 Thirty-six people in NSW remain under assessment as possibly having swine flu, health authorities say. NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant says 237 people have been assessed so far for suspected cases of human swine influenza, with 201 of them cleared after testing. "There are currently 36 people awaiting test results," she said in a statement on Sunday.

Pigs infected with A/H1N1 flu in Canada 03 May 2009 Some pigs in Canada have been found to be infected with the A/H1N1 flu, Canadian media reported Saturday citing government sources. This has been the first time that the H1N1 flu virus has been found in pigs, the Canadian Press said, adding federal health officials will announce the news later Saturday.

Obama administration seeks extraordinary military powers in Pakistan By Bill Van Auken 02 May 2009 The Obama administration is increasingly treating its growing intervention in Pakistan as a separate counter-insurgency war for which it is demanding the same kind of extraordinary military powers obtained by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq. This was the main message delivered by Pentagon officials on Capitol Hill over the last few days, together with increasingly dire warnings that without immediate and unconditional US military funding for Pakistan, the government could collapse.

Iraq: 'Basra is now worse than when the British troops arrived' --By BBC's Hugh Sykes 03 May 2009 I've just spent a rewarding and enriching week in Basra – eating in restaurants, visiting shops, interviewing people in markets, driving around. I saw that Basra was mostly worse than it was when I first visited the city after British forces arrived there six years ago. Basra was once known as the Venice of the East as it has dozens of canals. But there is no romance in them now. They are clogged with sewage and rubbish – household waste, abandoned cars, broken bikes and plastic bottles and bags.

Iraqi soldier kills two U.S. soldiers in N Iraq --Three others were wounded during small arms fire attack 03 May 2009 An Iraqi soldier killed two U.S. soldiers on Saturday in a military base in Iraq's northern city of Mosul, Iraq security source and U.S. military said. "Hassan al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. soldiers during training at a military base in Hamam al-Alil area, some 20 km south of Mosul, killing two U.S. soldiers," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Six U.S. troops killed in combat 02 May 2009 In heated clashes with militants in two war zones, six U.S. troops have died in the past 24 hours. In Iraq two U.S. Marines and a sailor have been killed, while in Afghanistan three U.S. soldiers were among eight NATO troops killed.

Suicide bomber struck Mosul, six killed 02 May 2009 Six people were killed and eight others wounded in a suicide bomb explosion in northern Iraqi city if Mosul, a local police source told Xinhua. A suicide bomber detonated himself in a local restaurant in Mosul, 25 kilometers north of Baghdad, killing six people and wounding eight others, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

ACLU claims U.S. supported PMOI --There is widespread speculation the U.S. military had used the group to carry out attacks on Iran. 01 May 2009 Charges filed against Iranian dissidents for supporting a terrorist group based in Iraq are complicated by alleged U.S. military cooperation with that group. The U.S. Justice Department accepted guilty pleas Wednesday from six men and one woman for collecting funds for the People's Mujahedin of Iran, a group listed by the State Department as a terrorist organization... The ACLU also claims court documents show the U.S. government provided material support to the PMOI as well. "It boggles the mind that these seven refugees would be charged with providing material support for a so-called terrorist organization, when the U.S. government has supported the same organization for years," said Ahilan Arulanantham with the ACLU.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza tunnels kill two Palestinians 03 May 2009 Two Palestinian were killed and four wounded on Saturday in a series of Israeli army airstrikes on the borderline zone between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, medics and security sources said. The security sources of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said that Israeli war jets struck by air-to-ground missiles three underground tunnels under the borderline zone between southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and Egypt.

US may revive military tribunals: report 02 May 2009 The administration of US President George W. Bush Barack Obama is moving toward reviving the military tribunal system for prosecuting terrorism suspect held at a detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The New York Times reported. The military tribunals have been criticized by Obama in the past.

'The more they look at it,' said one official, 'the more commissions don’t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.' U.S. May Revive Guantánamo Military Courts 02 May 2009 The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military tribunal system for prosecuting Guantánamo prisoners, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself. Officials said the first public moves could come as soon as next week, perhaps in filings to military judges at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, outlining an administration plan to amend the Bush regime’s system to provide more legal protections for terrorism suspects. Continuing the military tribunals in any form would probably prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Mr. Obama's political allies because the troubled system became an emblem of the effort to use Guantánamo to avoid the American legal system.

Hints That Detainees May Be Held on U.S. Soil 01 May 2009 As many as 100 detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, could end up held without trial on American soil, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates suggested Thursday, a situation that he acknowledged would create widespread if not unanimous opposition in Congress. The estimate was the most specific yet from the Obama administration about how many of the 241 prisoners at Guantánamo could not be safely released, sent to other countries or appropriately tried in American courts. In January, President Obama ordered the prison closed by the end of the year.

60 anti-torture activists arrested at White House 30 Apr 2009 U.S. Park Police have arrested about 60 anti-torture activists in front of the White House. The protesters, wearing orange jumpsuits to represent Guantánamo Bay prisoners who have been cleared for release, remain in custody. Earlier, protesters marched from the U.S. Capitol to protest detention policies in the United States and what they call the government's refusal to prosecute torture. Activists say they support a criminal inquiry into torture under the Bush administration.

KBR seeks dismissal of Pa. electrocution lawsuit 01 May 2009 A defense contractor wants an appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the parents of a Pittsburgh-area soldier [Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth] who was electrocuted while showering in Iraq. The notice of appeal was filed Thursday by KBR Inc. It indicates the company will ask the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a March ruling by a federal judge who refused to dismiss the suit. The Houston-based company had argued the judge had no jurisdiction over military matters.

Analysts increase 2010 estimates for KBR 01 May 2009 A pair of analysts increased their 2010 profit estimates for KBR Inc., saying the engineering and construction firm stands to gain from large projects. Analyst Barry Bannister of Stifel Nicolaus and Co. raised his earnings estimate to $1.36 from $1.17 "due to our rising large engineering and construction project optimism," he said in a note to investors late Thursday.

New cybersecurity bill for electric grid readied --Legislation follows report that said cyberspies [US corpora-terrorists] gained access to U.S. electrical infrastructure 28 Apr 2009 Amid growing concern over the vulnerability of the U.S. electric grid to cyberattacks, two lawmakers are preparing to introduce new legislation aimed at bolstering the industry's responsiveness to such threats. The Critical Electric Infrastructure Protection Act is scheduled to be introduced on Thursday by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (R-Israel), chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. [Yeah, this is the old Iraq shell game. We pay US corpora-terrorists billion$ NOT to attack us or to restore that which they destroyed.]

Mom says Patriot Act stripped son of due process 29 Apr 2009 (NC) According to the United States government, sixteen-year-old Ashton Lundeby is being held on a criminal complaint that he made a bomb threat from his home on the night of Feb. 15. The family was at a church function that night, his mother, Annette Lundeby, said. Around 10 p.m. on March 5, Lundeby said, armed FBI agents along with three local law enforcement officers stormed her home looking for her son... Agents seized a computer, a cell phone, gaming console, routers, bank statements and school records, according to federal search warrants. Ashton now sits in a juvenile facility in South Bend, Ind. Lundeby said the USA Patriot Act stripped her son of his due process rights.

Floriduh: All state funding for public libraries is eliminated 01 May 2009 On April 30, an appropriations conference committee for the House and Senate agreed to eliminate all funding for Florida's State Aid to Public Libraries program. This devastating action will result in some Florida library branches closing and will seriously cripple libraries' ability to serve Floridians.

Workers march in May Day demonstrations around the world (WSWS) 02 May 2009 Millions of workers marched in May Day demonstrations around the world Friday, celebrating international proletarian solidarity. In Greece, 6,000 people marched in a peaceful demonstration in Athens... An estimated 1 million people (450,000 according to police) marched in hundreds of demonstrations in France. The demonstration in Paris drew 165,000 marchers, carrying banners reading "Sarko [President Nicolas Sarkozy] promised us, Sarko lied" and "We won’t pay for the bankers."

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Bush Team Strategy Now Obama's Swine Flu Playbook --Public health experts say the administration is benefiting from the Bush administration's 2005 National Pandemic Strategy. 01 May 2009 The Obama administration has relied on a Bush-era public health strategy aimed at coordinating its response across an array of government agencies in the week since the first reports of a swine flu outbreak emerged, officials say... On April 24, the Homeland Security Council, which comprises that department, the FBI, the Justice Department, the CIA and other agencies, discussed the outbreak for the first time with the president. The Domestic Readiness Group, a broad interagency panel put in place by the Bush regime to respond to national emergencies, also convened that day and has been teleconferencing daily.

US may keep 50-100 Guantanamo inmates detained 01 May 2009 Even after the Guantanamo prison is closed, the United States may decide to keep up to 100 inmates under detention as they cannot be tried but are too dangerous to release, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told lawmakers on Thursday. "The question is what do we do with the 50 to 100 -- probably in that ballpark -- who we cannot release and cannot try," Gates told a Senate hearing. "I think that question is still open," Gates said when asked about President Barack Obama's plans to shut the prison. His comments indicated that some inmates might have to be [illegally] detained further even after the prison at Guantanamo Bay is closed as ordered by Obama.

New Prison May Have to Be Built, Gates Says --Pentagon wants $50 million to build prison on short notice 01 May 2009 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday that the Pentagon may have to build a new facility to house detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, to hedge against political opposition around the country to the incarceration of the inmates in existing federal or military facilities in the United States. Gates said the Pentagon wants to have $50 million at hand in case it 'has' to build a prison on short notice. In January, President Obama ordered the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year.

Report: Two Psychologists Responsible for Devising CIA Torture Methods --Former military officers were paid by the CIA to oversee the waterboarding techniques used against high-profile prisoners 30 Apr 2009 Two psychologists are responsible for designing the CIA's program of waterboarding suspected terrorists and for assuring the government the program was safe, according to an ABC News report. Former military officers Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell had an "important role in developing what became the CIA's torture program," Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU, told ABC News... Associates say Jessen and Mitchell were paid up to $1,000 a day by the CIA to oversee the techniques used against high-profile prisoners to extract information in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The CIA's $1,000 a Day Specialists on Waterboarding, Interrogations 30 Apr 2009 As the secrets about the CIA's torture techniques continue to come out, there's new information about the frequency and severity of their use... and a new focus on two private contractors who were apparently directing the brutal sessions that President Obama calls torture. According to current and former government officials, the CIA's secret waterboarding program was designed and assured to be safe [?!?] by two well-paid psychologists now working out of an unmarked office building in Spokane, Washington. Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell, former military officers, together founded Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

U.S. says troops will not face trial over Iraq raid 01 May 2009 U.S. soldiers will not appear in Iraqi courts to answer any charges relating to a raid this week that killed two people in Iraq and triggered condemnation from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the U.S. military has said. The fallout from the operation early on Sunday, which Maliki labeled a "crime," poses the first major test to the U.S.-Iraqi security pact, which allows U.S. troops to stay in Iraq until the end of 2011. The prime minister said they violated it.

3 U.S. Troops Are Killed in Iraq 02 May 2009 Three Americans were killed Thursday in combat in Anbar Province, west of Baghdad, the military said Friday, adding to the high death toll for American forces in Iraq last month. The deaths brought the total number of American forces killed in April to 18 -- double the number in March and the highest since September 2008, when 25 were killed.

Death toll from twin Iraq car bombs rises to 51 30 Apr 2009 The death toll from twin car bomb blasts in a crowded Baghdad market rose to 51 Thursday, police said. The car bombs Wednesday, which also wounded 76 people in the capital's sprawling Sadr City slum, followed a series of other attacks in the past two weeks that have stirred fears of a return to broader 'sectarian' bloodshed in Iraq.

3 Americans, 2 NATO troops killed in Afghanistan 01 May 2009 Three Americans and two other international troops were killed Friday in an attack in eastern Afghanistan, officials said. 'Insurgents' attacked Afghan and international forces Friday with rocket-propelled grenades and guns, NATO forces said in a statement.

U.S. to Drop Spy Case Against Pro-Israel Lobbyists 02 May 2009 The Obama Justice Department moved Friday to drop all charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists who had been charged under the Espionage Act with improperly disseminating sensitive information. The move by the government came in a motion filed with the federal court in Alexandria, Va. which was to be the site of the trial that was scheduled to begin June 2. Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a leading pro-Israel lobby, were charged with violating the World War I-era Espionage Act. The indictment said they violated the law by disseminating to journalists, fellow Aipac employees and Israeli diplomats information they had learned in conversations with senior Bush administration officials.

Israel warns EU to tone down its criticism 30 Apr 2009 Israel warned the European Union on Thursday to tone down its criticism of the new Israeli government or risk forfeiting the bloc's role as broker in Mideast peace efforts. The warning came after EU's commissioner for external relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, this week criticized Israel's refusal to endorse a Palestinian state. She said an upgrade in Israeli-EU relations would depend on Israel's commitment to the "two-state solution."

UAE-US nuclear deal threatened by royal torture video 01 May 2009 A video showing a member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates torturing an Afghan man has caused the Obama administration to hold off on a civil nuclear deal with the Gulf kingdom.

Nigeria panel begins probe into KBR bribery case 29 Apr 2009 A special committee of top-level Nigerian government officials has begun to interview individuals involved in a $180 million bribery scheme involving former Halliburton Co unit KBR Inc, the head of the anti-corruption police told Reuters. KBR, the former engineering subsidiary of Halliburton, pleaded guilty in February to charges it paid the multi-million dollar bribes to Nigerian officials to secure $6 billion in contracts.

WHO to help fund bird flu vaccine plants in Mexico, other nations 26 Apr 2007 The World Health Organization is donating millions of dollars to help developing countries set up their own influenza vaccine production in preparation for a possible bird flu pandemic. The programme will provide cash for six nations to establish capacity to manufacture influenza vaccine. India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand and Vietnam will each get up to $2.5m from an $18m fund provided by the Government of Japan and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

New flu virus may be a real mongrel: study 01 May 2009 The new virus that has killed as many as 177 people and spread globally is a mongrel that appears to have mixed with another hybrid virus containing swine, bird and human bits, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. Raul Rabadan and colleagues at Columbia University in New York analyzed the published genetic sequences from the H1N1 virus that has brought the world to the brink of a pandemic.

Swine flu roots traced to Spanish flu 01 May 2009 New Canadian-led research suggests that we might have given pigs the flu in the first place, during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. A group of Canadian and U.S. researchers, writing in the May issue of the Journal of Virology, say experimental testing of how pigs responded to the 1918 Spanish flu supports the theory that the virus was passed on from humans to pigs in 1918, during the Spanish flu pandemic... Canadian Food Agency researcher Hana Weingartl and her colleagues tested the resistance of pigs to both the 1918 pandemic virus and the 1930 swine virus. They performed the tests at a biosafety Level 4 laboratory and animal cubicle at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, where Weingartl works.

Experimental Infection of Pigs with the Human 1918 Pandemic Influenza Virus By Hana M. Weingartl, et al. 18 Feb 2009 --Received 19 Nov 2008/ Accepted 6 Feb 2009 Swine influenza was first recognized as a disease entity during the 1918 "Spanish flu" pandemic. The aim of this work was to determine the virulence of a plasmid-derived human 1918 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus (reconstructed 1918, or 1918/rec, virus) in swine using a plasmid-derived A/swine/Iowa/15/1930 H1N1 virus (1930/rec virus), representing the first isolated influenza virus, as a reference... Presented data support the hypothesis that the 1918 pandemic influenza virus was able to infect and replicate in swine, causing a respiratory disease, and that the virus was likely introduced into the pig population during the 1918 pandemic, resulting in the current lineage of the classical H1N1 swine influenza viruses.

IVW: Strong Immune Response Could Be Behind Swine Flu Deaths 30 Apr 2009 ...Younger adults have a much stronger immune response to invading pathogens than young children and older adults, said Robert Webster, Ph.D., of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, at the conference on Influenza Vaccines for the World. It's this exaggerated response -- called "cytokine storm" or hypercytokinemia -- that may be causing death more frequently in younger adults, he said. The cytokine storm theory is believed to explain the same pattern of deaths during the 1918 flu pandemic that killed tens of millions of people. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice.]

Obama: Preparing for 'worst-case scenario' on flu --New flu strain could return in "more virulent form" 01 May 2009 At the end of his second cabinet meeting, President Obama said today that his administration continues to closely monitor the swine [Fort Detrick] flu outbreak and be prepared for the "worst-case scenario." He also noted that it's possible that the regular seasonal flu will be more serious.

CDC: Flu Outbreak Is Becoming "More Serious" 01 May 2009 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's top flu specialist has privately informed health care officials that the H1N1 virus is becoming a more serious threat, CBSNews.com has learned. "We're now certainly starting to pick up more serious cases," Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of CDC's epidemiology and prevention branch of the influenza division, told health care providers on Thursday.

Hong Kong to Quarantine 300 at Hotel for Week After Flu Confirmed 02 May 2009 Hong Kong's government imposed a controversial full quarantine on approximately 300 guests and staff of a hotel in the territory after a guest was found to have the A/H1N1 flu virus, an extreme measure to control the spread of the disease. The move appears to be the first imposition of an involuntary quarantine in the global effort to beat back the new flu strain.

Woman's Flu Symptoms Divert Plane to Logan 01 May 2009 A flight coming from Germany was diverted to Boston after a woman on the plane complained of flu-like symptoms. United flight 903 from Munich to Washington Dulles International Airport made an emergency stop in Boston after a woman told the flight crew she was feeling ill. According to airport officials, there were 245 passengers onboard the plane and 16 crew members.

First UK flu transfer case confirmed 01 May 2009 The first case of the new deadly flu strain in Britain has been confirmed in a patient who had not recently been to Mexico, a health official said on Friday. The man, from Falkirk in Scotland, is one of 11 people in Britain to have tested positive for the new strain of Influenza A (H1N1) but the first to have contracted the virus without having been to Mexico himself.

Swine Flu Case Confirmed in Connecticut, More Probable 01 May 2009 A Stratford resident has become the first person to test positive for the swine flu in Connecticut, says Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office. This case was one of the first two 'probable' cases. Results from the second sample were "inconclusive" and will undergo more testing... The number of probable cases remains unchanged Friday at six.

Thought police muscle up in Britain Hal G. P. Colebatch 21 April 2009 Britain appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime teacher of political science and international law, I do not use the term totalitarian loosely. There are no concentration camps or gulags but there are thought police with unprecedented powers to dictate ways of thinking and sniff out heresy, and there can be harsh punishments for dissent... In the past 10 years I have collected reports of many instances of draconian punishments, including the arrest and criminal prosecution of children, for thought-crimes and offences against political correctness.

9/11 Commission Memo: 'Executive Branch Minders' Intimidation of Witnesses' Posted by HistoryCommons 14 Mar 2009 A memo from the 9/11 Commission's team 2 about the intimidation of witnesses. The memo complains that: Minders "answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;" Minders acted as "monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses' verbatim responses." The staff thought this "conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;" and Minders "positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions."

Pipe Leak at Nuclear Plant Raises Concerns 02 May 2009 The discovery of water flowing across the floor of a building at the Indian Point 2 nuclear plant in Buchanan, N.Y., traced to a leak in a buried pipe, is stirring concern about the plant’s underground pipes and those of other aging reactors across the country. A one-and-a-half-inch hole caused by corrosion allowed about 100,000 gallons of water to escape from the main system that keeps the reactor cool immediately after any shutdown, according to nuclear experts. The leak was discovered on Feb. 16, according to the plant’s owner, Entergy Nuclear Northeast, a subsidiary of the Entergy Corporation.

U.S. Justice Souter resigns 01 May 2009 U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced on Friday he will resign, and President Barack Obama said he wanted someone with a sharp, independent mind for his first appointment to the nation's highest court. Souter, 69, who has been on the court since 1990, said in a brief letter to the White House that he intended to retire when the justices go on their summer recess at the end of next month.

Senate Refuses to Let Judges Fix Mortgages in Bankruptcy --In recent weeks, major banks and bank trade associations worked closely with Senate Republicans to stop the measure. 01 May 2009 The Senate handed a victory to the banking industry on Thursday, defeating a Democratic proposal that would have given homeowners in financial trouble greater flexibility to renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. The mortgage provision garnered only 45 votes in the Senate, falling well short of the 60 votes necessary to break a threatened filibuster to a measure sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) that would give bankruptcy judges greater flexibility to modify mortgages. Twelve Democrats joined all the Republicans in voting against it.

Dropping like flies: Regulators close Utah-based America West Bank 01 May 2009 State and federal regulators late Friday closed America West Bank, of Layton, Utah. It was the third financial institution closed Friday and the 32nd failure of the year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in a statement that Cache Valley Bank of Logan, Utah, will assumed all of America West's deposits. As of December 31, 2008, America West Bank had total assets of approximately $299.4 million and total deposits of $284.1 million. Cache Valley Bank paid a discount of $352,000 to acquire all of the deposits of the failed bank.

FDIC Closes N.J.-Based Citizens Community Bank; 31st Failure of 2009 01 May 2009 Citizens Community Bank of Ridgewood, N.J. was closed by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance on Friday, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said, making it the 31st bank failure of 2009 and the 56th since the beginning of the financial crisis. The FDIC was named receiver and all deposit accounts have been transferred to North Jersey Community Bank and will be available immediately.

FDIC closes Ga.-based Silverton Bank, NA; 30th failure of 2009, 6th in Georgia 01 May 2009 Silverton Bank, N.A., of Atlanta was closed Friday by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, making it the 30th bank failure of the year and the 55th since the beginning of the recession Bush Depression. FDIC said it created a bridge bank, Silverton Bridge Bank, N.A., to take over operations.

UK wages collapse at fastest rate in 60 years 29 Apr 2009 Weekly wages fell at the fastest rate in 60 years in February as City bonuses were slashed and workers agreed to reduced hours in the wake of recession, the latest official figures show. The Office for National Statistics said average weekly earnings fell 5.8pc compared with the same month last year, to £459.10.

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Travelers screened at Mexico-U.S. border for flu --'Yesterday, we stopped a woman from Brownsville with all the symptoms of swine flu and we handed her over to U.S. health authorities.' 30 Apr 2009 Mexican doctors in surgical masks screened travelers crossing the border by foot into the United States on Thursday for signs of a new deadly flu strain that has killed up to 176 people. The doctors and federal health workers were checking for signs of fever or coughing among those crossing border bridges into Texas and California. U.S. Customs agents were also on alert for flu symptoms.

Obama Security Agent Has Suspected Case of Swine Flu 30 Apr 2009 An Energy Department employee who was part of the advance team for President Obama's recent trip to Mexico is suspected of having contracted the swine flu virus and transmitting it to his family in Anne Arundel County, the White House said today. The man is on the security staff of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who traveled with Obama to Mexico on April 16.

U.S. government staffer gave flu to family after Obama trip 30 Apr 2009 A U.S. government staffer who visited Mexico City with President Barack Obama this month came down with flu-like symptoms that spread to family members, who have since recovered, the White House said Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is testing samples from the family members to see if they might have been infected with the H1N1 swine flu virus, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Plan says to stockpile but officials say don't panic 01 May 2009 Australians have been advised to stockpile food and water after the World Health Organisation raised its swine flu alert to phase five yesterday, indicating an imminent pandemic. The Federal Government's pandemic plan, a 132-page manual issued to medics, media and the public, insists that once the world reaches phase five, Australians should stock their pantries with food and bottled water to last 14 days, check on elderly neighbours and put emergency numbers by the phone.

DHS Sets Guidelines For Possible Swine Flu Quarantines --Federal quarantine authority is limited to diseases listed in presidential executive orders; President [sic] Bush added "novel" forms of influenza with the potential to create pandemics in Executive Order 13375. 28 Apr 2009 DHS Assistant Secretary Bridger McGaw circulated the swine flu memo, which was obtained by CBSNews.com, on Monday night. It says: "The Department of Justice has established legal federal authorities pertaining to the implementation of a quarantine and enforcement. Under approval from HHS, the Surgeon General has the authority to issue quarantines." Anyone violating a quarantine order can be punished by a $250,000 fine and a one-year prison term. A Defense Department planning document summarizing the military's contingency plan says the Pentagon is prepared to assist in "quarantining groups of people in order to minimize the spread of disease during an influenza pandemic" and aiding in "efforts to restore and maintain order." [See CLG's: DoD to carry out 'military missions' during pandemic, WMD attack and DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack.]

Mass. Senate approves pandemic flu bill with quarantine powers --New Senate version allows public health commissioner to close or evacuate buildings, enter private property for investigations, and quarantine individuals --Measure requires registry for volunteers to be activated in emergency 28 Apr 2009 The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously passed a pandemic flu preparation bill that has languished in the Legislature before the recent swine flu outbreak. The 36-0 vote today sends the measure to the House. The new Senate version would allow the public health commissioner -- in a public health emergency -- to close or evacuate buildings, enter private property for investigations, and quarantine individuals. The measure also requires a registry for volunteers that would be activated in an emergency and establishes fines of up to $1,000 for not complying with local public health orders.

Ga. gov signs flu bill with 'state or emergency' for pandemic if 'phase 5 alert' is declared --House Bill 217 allows Georgians to receive (deadly) vaccines easier 28 Apr 2009 Georgia nurses and pharmacists have more authority to respond to the spreading swine flu outbreak and the governor has more power as the result of legislation Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) signed this morning. The Access to Flu Vaccines Act cosponsored by the druggists in the House is designed to make it easier for Georgians to receive shots and for the state to respond quicker... At the same time, it lets the governor declare a state or emergency for a pandemic influenza if the CDC or World Health Organization declares a phase 5 alert.

Fulton County 'Ready to Vaccinate a Million People In 48 Hours' --CDC has passenger quarantine facilities at 20 US airports 30 Apr 2009 (GA) Ever since all of the bird flu cases four years ago, county health departments across Metro Atlanta have been holding drills and meetings every month, practicing and discussing every imaginable scenario of a flu pandemic. "We've been planning for this for years," [Oh, I'm sure you have!] said Dr. Kim Turner, the director of public health in Fulton County. "We're prepared to vaccinate a million people within Fulton County within 48 hours." Another line of defense is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport -- the CDC's medical quarantine station at the airport. CDC physicians are in contact with arriving flight crews, and board every plane that has an ill passenger, as soon as the plane is parked at the gate. The physicians determine on the spot whether to quarantine that patient and all the other passengers. The CDC quarantines them at the CDC's sealed rooms on E Concourse.

US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code Compiled By Lori Price 30 Dec 2008 Researchers recreate 1918 flu pandemic virus --Why? And, why is no one *asking* why? 29 Dec 2008 Researchers have found out what made the 1918 flu pandemic so deadly -- a group of three genes that lets the virus invade the lungs and cause pneumonia. They mixed samples of the 1918 influenza strain with modern seasonal flu viruses to find the three genes and said their study might help in the development of new flu drugs. The discovery, published in Tuesday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could also point to mutations that might turn ordinary flu into a dangerous pandemic strain. Most flu experts agree that a pandemic of influenza will almost certainly strike again. No one knows when [the US unleashes it] or what strain it will be but one big suspect now is the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Huge New Biodefense Lab Is Dedicated at Fort Detrick 23 Oct 2008 The Department of Homeland Security dedicated a massive biodefense laboratory in Frederick yesterday, moving toward the facility's opening despite questions raised about the risks of deadly pathogens to be studied there. When the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center at Fort Detrick is fully operational in March, about 150 scientists in the lab will be tasked with 'protecting the country' from a bioterrorist attack... About 40,000 square feet will be taken up by Biosafety Level 3 labs, which handle agents such as anthrax. In addition, 10,000 will be dedicated to the Level 4 labs, which handle agents such as the Ebola virus.

Swine flu: 'All of humanity under threat', WHO warns 30 Apr 2009 The World Health Organisation has warned that "all of humanity is under threat" from a potential swine flu pandemic and called for "global solidarity" to combat the virus. The plea came as the WHO raised the swine flu threat awareness level to 5 out of 6, indicating that the world is on the brink of a pandemic. Holland and Switzerland both confirmed their first cases of swine flu on Thursday, bringing the total number of countries affected around the world to 11.

World Health Organization Raises Swine Flu Alert Level 30 Apr 2009 The global spread of swine flu, a pandemic, is highly likely, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday and raised its alert level to Phase 5, the next-to-highest level in the worldwide warning system. Phase 5 had never been declared since the warning system was introduced in 2005 in response to the avian influenza crisis. Phase 6 means a pandemic is under way.

New York City Mayor: Many Sick People Have Not Been Tested --Bloomberg Says Actual Infections May Be Much Higher Than Confirmed Numbers 30 Apr 2009 Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said at a news conference Thursday that the city's tally of 49 confirmed cases of swine flu does not reflect the actual number of people taken sick with the virus.

SF officials confirm first swine flu case 30 Apr 2009 San Francisco has its first confirmed case of swine flu, a child who recently traveled to Mexico, the city's public health director announced today.

Connecticut Has Sixth Probable Swine Flu Case 30 Apr 2009 Connecticut now has six probable swine flu cases. The state Department of Health Thursday has identified two students at Fairfield University as probable for swine flu and late Thursday afternoon, added a Glastonbury adult to the list.

'Probable' Swine flu cases in North Carolina --CDC yet to confirm 30 Apr 2009 North Carolina health officials said Thursday that there are two 'probable' cases of Swine Flu in the state. State Health Director Dr. Jeffrey Engel said one case is in Wake County and the person was a traveler - not a resident of the county.

Doctor Saw 22 Patients Before Falling Ill 30 Apr 2009 A pediatrician who is one of six people suspected of having swine flu in Washington state saw 22 patients and their parents earlier this week before falling ill, officials at The Everett Clinic said Thursday.

7 New Probable H1N1 Flu Cases In King County 30 Apr 2009 (WA) King County health officials said they've found seven new probable cases of H1N1 flu in the county, and that more school closures are likely as the virus spreads.

Pa. Reports 3 New Probable H1N1 Cases; None Locally --Blood Work Clears 2 Suspected Allegheny Patients 30 Apr 2009 The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Thursday on its Web site that the state has three new probable cases of H1N1 flu, formerly known as swine flu.

Mayfest, other events canceled over flu concerns 30 Apr 2009 (TX) The concerns over the spread of swine flu have led to the cancellation of Mayfest and all other major outdoor events in Fort Worth this weekend, according to a note sent out to police officers and administrators by Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead. Mayfest officials announced Thursday afternoon that the 37th annual festival on the Trinity River has been canceled for the first time ever.

All Fort Worth schools closed amid flu concerns 29 Apr 2009 Fort Worth will close all of its 144 schools through at least May 8 because of swine flu concerns. Superintendent Melody Johnson said only necessary staff at central administration would work. The school district has about 80,000 students and 11,000 employees. So far, Texas has 17 confirmed cases of swine flu.

Egypt takes swine flu out on 300,000 pigs 30 Apr 2009 Egypt plans a mass slaughter of 300,000 pigs to prevent swine flu spreading in the country, despite the fact that the disease is not related to pork products. Egyptian health officials ordered the mass slaughter in the country as a precaution against swine flu, even though no cases have yet been reported.

Robert Byrd Demands Torture Investigation By Bob Fertik 29 Apr 2009 Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest-serving Senator in history, today demanded an investigation of torture by the Bush Administration: "The recently leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as well as the four released memorandums from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), confirm our worst fears. These documents point to brutal, inhumane acts which were repeatedly carried out by U.S. military personnel, and which were authorized and condoned at the highest levels of the Bush Administration. These acts appear to directly violate both the U.N. Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. Spain and the United Kingdom have already initiated investigations of Bush Administration officials who approved these acts. The United States needs to investigate as well. To continue to ignore the mounting evidence of clear wrongdoing is a national humiliation."

Obama: 'I believe waterboarding was torture, and it was a mistake' --US president cites Churchill's refusal to resort to torture during the Blitz as he rejects use of interrogation technique 30 Apr 2009 Barack Obama has rejected the former US vice-president [sic] Dick Cheney's defence of waterboarding, citing the refusal of Churchill to resort to torture even at the height of the Blitz. At a White House press conference to mark his first 100 days in office... Obama said he was comfortable with his decision to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques used at Guantánamo Bay and CIA secret detention centres around the world under Bush. In an unequivocal statement, he said: "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationales were used, it was a mistake."

Court rebuffs feds, reinstates torture suit 29 Apr 2009 A federal appeals court rebuffed the Obama administration's assertion of secrecy Tuesday and reinstated a lawsuit by five men who say a Bay Area subsidiary of Boeing Co. helped the CIA fly them to foreign countries to be tortured. The ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is the first major setback for the new administration's attempt to use secrecy doctrines to fend off challenges to clandestine activities authorized by President [sic] George W. Bush. President Obama's Justice Department is also defending a Bush wiretapping program in lawsuits pending in San Francisco.

David Cameron demands Iraq war inquiry 30 Apr 2009 David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, has demanded an immediate inquiry into the Iraq war as the UK prepared to end its military operations in the country. The only reasons for delay were political, he said, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed his counterpart Nouri al-Maliki to Downing Street for talks.

Turkish warplanes hit suspected PKK in Iraq 30 Apr 2009 Turkey's military said it had launched air strikes against suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq overnight and on Thursday. The operation came after nine Turkish soldiers were killed by a bomb in Turkey's southeast on Wednesday, in the deadliest such attack on security forces in months. No further details were immediately available.

Multiple car bombs kill market crowds in Iraq 29 Apr 2009 A strong ripple of bomb blasts has gone through crowded markets and a packed minibus in Baghdad. 48 people were killed with 68 wounded in the blasts which occurred within minutes of each other in the Shiite district of Sadr City and other districts.

British Forces end combat operations in Iraq 30 Apr 2009 British Forces have formally ended combat operations in Iraq today in a move that means they are finally returning home after more than six years. The drawdown of the bulk of the 3,700 UK troops remaining in Iraq will now speed up in the coming days. Britain formally passed authority for operations in southern Iraq to US forces.

Soldiers Claim KBR Exposed Them to Toxic Smoke in Lawsuit Filed in 3 States 29 Apr 2009 KBR was sued in three states on claims that the U.S.-based military contractor exposed American soldiers to poisonous smoke while they were stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Georgia, Alabama and Illinois by at least 20 current and former military personnel, contractors and the families of two men who allegedly died because of exposure to smoke, according to Reuters.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Israel to EU: Criticism of Netanyahu government unacceptable 30 Apr 2009 A Foreign Ministry official has been warning European countries that unless they curtail criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, Israel will block the European Union from participating in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians. The main target of the offensive is EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who recently called for a freeze in upgrading ties with Israel over its peace process policies. Several days ago, the deputy director for Europe at the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, began calling European ambassadors in Israel regarding the attitude toward the new government.

Taliban announce 'countersurge' in Afghanistan --The militants have vowed to launch a new offensive against US and its allies, which are preparing to increase troop levels. 30 Apr 2009 The Taliban have vowed to launch a new offensive this summer in Afghanistan against the government and the foreign soldiers stationed there. The news comes as the United States and its allies plan to increase their troop presence to counter the growing Taliban threat. A wave of suicide attacks and ambushes will start Thursday, according to the Taliban website, al Emerah.

Minot Air Force Base nuke to be moved due to snow melt 29 Apr 2009 A nuclear missile will be removed from an underground silo in North Dakota because runoff from melting snow leaked into the facility [?], the Air Force said Tuesday. The Minot Air Force Base is the command center for 150 Minuteman III missiles sunk in hardened silos in western North Dakota.

Obama: Al-Qaeda still threatening US 30 Apr 2009 The US president says he would do his utmost to forestall formation of South Asian militant sanctuaries that could lead to 9/11-like attacks. "They [al-Qaeda, militants] are the single most direct threat to our national security interests," Barack Obama said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Fort Dix terror plot leads to lengthy prison terms for two conspirators --Defense lawyers for men argued defendants were manipulated by two paid FBI informants and not seriously planning anything 29 Apr 2009 The final two men convicted of plotting to kill soldiers at Fort Dix were sentenced to lengthy prison terms today, concluding a case that authorities say derailed plans for a jihadist holy war on American soil. Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer and Serdar Tatar were convicted in December along with three other Muslim immigrants of conspiring to storm the Burlington County military base with automatic weapons.

Wall Street pay back to pre-crash levels By Barry Grey 28 Apr 2009 The New York Times reported Sunday that compensation at six of the largest US banks is on track to return to the record levels that preceded last year’s financial crash. The article, based on an analysis of first quarter financial reports, reveals that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, JPMorgan Investment Bank and Bank of America set aside in total more than $36 billion in the first three months of 2009 to pay their employees.

Obama Says Chrysler Holdout Lenders Speculated on U.S. Bailout 30 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama said Chrysler LLC lenders who turned down his buyout offers are a "small group of speculators" who forced the automaker into bankruptcy. "A group of investment firms and hedge funds decided to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout," Obama said today in Washington before Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection.

Endangered Earth: ESA Saved, But Polar Bear Still Under Death Sentence 28 Apr 2009 Federal agencies again will have to consult with government wildlife experts before taking actions that could have an impact on threatened or endangered species. The Obama administration said Tuesday it was overturning a rule change made in the final weeks of the Bush regime. Environmentalists widely praised Tuesday's action, but some expressed dismay that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar didn't also rescind a rule that limits the protection to the polar bear, which last year was declared as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act because of disappearing Arctic sea ice as a result of climate change. [Quick action! The Clock is Ticking for Polar Bears --Urge the Obama Administration to Protect Polar Bears and Other Vulnerable Wildlife (Defenders of Wildlife)]

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Suspected H1N1 Flu Case Reported at California Marine Base --Marine, roommate quarantined in barracks 29 Apr 2009 The Marine Corps commandant today confirmed a suspected case of what the U.S. Homeland Security Council now is calling H1N1 flu, but has been known as "swine flu," at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. A male Marine reported to a medical clinic on base over the weekend complaining of flu-like symptoms. Initial test results indicate the H1N1 virus, and the service is waiting for further results from testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway said.

WHO: Highest Alert 'Phase 6' Probably Imminent 29 Apr 2009 The World Health Organization raised the alert level of the fast-spreading swine flu virus on Wednesday afternoon, indicating that a "pandemic is imminent." Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the organization, said that the "phase 5" alert out of a possible 6 levels signified that at least two countries have spread the virus by human to human contact, and that the highest phase 6 was probably imminent.

Indonesian minister says swine flu could be man-made 28 Apr 2009 Indonesian Heath Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said Tuesday the deadly swine flu virus could have been man-made, as she urged calm over its spread around the world. The minister did not elaborate but in the past she has said Western governments could be making and spreading viruses in the developing world to boost pharmaceutical companies' profits. "I'm not sure whether the virus was genetically engineered but it's a possibility," she told reporters at a press conference called to reassure the public over the government's response to the swine flu threat.

Container of swine virus explodes on Swiss train 29 Apr 2009 container of flu virus samples packed in dry ice exploded on a Swiss train, injuring one person but posing no other risks to humans, police said on Tuesday. The box held vials of swine flu virus, although a different strain than the H1N1 variety that has caused about 150 deaths in Mexico and infected people in the United States, Canada, Spain and Britain. A technician was transporting the container on Monday night to the Swiss national flu centre in Geneva, where scientists are developing a flu test for humans, police said.

Swine flu: Baxter seeks swine flu sample to begin work on vaccine --Baxter has a speedier way to make vaccines than old method 27 Apr 2009 With world health officials worried about the global outbreak of another deadly virus, Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. once again finds itself involved in the action. Baxter confirmed over the weekend that it is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb spread the deadly swine flu virus... In the past, Baxter has developed vaccines and worked with countries to stockpile vaccines even while they undergo experimental testing. Three years ago, the Bush administration awarded about $1 billion to vaccine makers as a way to increase and speed production. Several vaccine makers, including Baxter, GlaxoSmithKline and others, were awarded multimillion-dollar contracts. See also:

Swine flu fear a boost for Gilead --The biotech's bottom line could benefit from sales of Tamiflu, one of the only treatments for the influenza strain. 29 Apr 2009 As governments formulate their responses to the deadly swine flu outbreak, Gilead is one of the drugmakers that could benefit. That's because its antiviral pill Tamiflu, which is marketed by Roche, is one of two drugs that is effective against this strain of influenza. Gilead collects royalty payments from Tamiflu sales, which peaked at $2 billion in 2006 as countries rushed to stockpile the drug against the threat of avian flu. See also:

Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug 12 Mar 2006 Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease. More than 60 countries have so far ordered large stocks of the antiviral medication to try to 'protect' their people.

Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu --Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing 31 Oct 2005 The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that's now the most-sought after drug in the world.

CDC: Antiviral drugs being shipped to states 29 Apr 2009 Officials for the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday that the U.S. government has already begun shipping 25% of the nation's stockpile of the flu-fighting drugs Tamiflu and Relenza to states in preparation for a possible pandemic of the H1N1 virus, also called swine flu.

Virus has bird, pig, human components: watchdog 27 Apr 2009 The top agency for health in farm animals on Monday said Mexico's outbreak of deadly influenza was unleashed by a pathogen mixed from bird, human and hog viruses and branded the term "swine flu" as wrong and harmful to pig farmers. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said the pathogen was "not a classic human virus... but a virus which includes [in] its characteristics swine, avian and human virus components."

Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO 29 Apr 2009 member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world. Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease. "Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation," Ms Allan told ABC Radio today.

Mexico re-tests swine flu victims 29 Apr 2009 The number of confirmed swine-flu deaths in Mexico has been cut back from 20 to seven. Health authorities in Mexico, where the virus was first detected, have ascertained from tests on deceased patients that swine-flu was not indicated in some of the declared cases.

WHO says swine flu moving toward pandemic level 29 Apr 2009 The World Health Organization says the swine flu outbreak is moving closer to becoming a pandemic. WHO flu chief Dr. Keiji Fukuda told reporters on Wednesday that developments in the disease are moving the agency closer to raising its pandemic alert to phase 5, indicating widespread human-to-human transmission. He said the health body was monitoring the situation but was not yet ready to move the pandemic alert level up from its current level of 4, which means it is being passed among people. Phase 6 is the highest in the scale and is for a full-scale pandemic.

WHOs call new strain of H1N1 "Mexican flu" 29 Apr 2009 The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the most recent research on swine flu has shown that the virus is not caused by pigs. The disease is now being referred to as Mexican flu or "2009 H1N1 flu". The WHO has moved the pandemic alert from four to five, the second highest. [It should be called "Fort Detrick flu" or "Baxter flu."]

Virus's Arrival Is Reported on Four Continents -- Data Show Illnesses in U.S. Are More Severe Than First Thought 29 Apr 2009 More evidence of the global spread of a deadly flu emerged Tuesday, with new cases reported on four continents and a growing number of people in the U.S. requiring hospital treatment. Health authorities said they have found possible cases of the new strain of A/H1N1 swine flu in the Middle East and Asia. In the U.S., the number of confirmed cases rose to 66, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments.

Egypt orders slaughter of all pigs over swine flu 29 Apr 2009 Egypt began slaughtering the roughly 300,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precautionary measure against the spread of swine flu even though no cases have been reported here yet, the Health Ministry said. The move immediately provoked resistance from pig farmers. At one large pig farming center just north of Cairo, farmers refused to cooperate with Health Ministry workers who came to slaughter the animals and the workers left without carrying out the government order. [Awesome!!]

Swine flu confirmed in NZ, quarantine given new powers 29 Apr 2009 As three cases of swine flu are officially confirmed for New Zealand, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has revised and increased its travel warning for Mexico advising Australians to "reconsider their need to travel to Mexico". Three individuals from Rangitoto College in Auckland who were suspected of swine flu after a school-organised trip to Mexico have now been confirmed, as testing begins on the fourth individual at the World Health Organisation regional office in Melbourne.

Students quarantined in Canada, red alert issued for Mexico 29 Apr 2009 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised the nation’s travel alert for Mexico to "red" as the number of suspected swine flu patients in the North American country kept rising yesterday. A red alert means people should avoid all non-essential travel to Mexico until the crisis has subsided. A yellow alert was issued for Canada and the US, with people traveling to these countries advised to exercise caution.

US may temporarily shut schools 29 Apr 2009 US President Barack Obama warns of emergency school closures after swine flu claimed its first death in the United States. "It's also the recommendation of public health officials that schools with confirmed cases... should consider closing if the situation becomes more serious," the president was quoted by AP as saying on Wednesday.

Swine Flu Infections Spread to 11 States After First U.S. Death Confirmed --Child Is First to Die in U.S. From Swine Flu, CDC Reports 29 Apr 2009 The swine flu virus has spread to 11 states and infected at least 94 people, according to figures from state officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five more states -- Arizona, Michigan, Mass., Nevada and Maine – each now have at least one confirmed case. The latest state to report infections is Maine, with three new cases, according to Gov. John Baldacci.

'These numbers are almost out of date by the time I say them' 29 Apr 2009 "We're reporting 91 confirmed cases in the United States," Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news briefing... He said the U.S. outbreak of swine flu -- which has killed a toddler in Texas but which in almost all other cases has resulted in only mild symptoms -- continues to develop. "These numbers are almost out of date by the time I say them," Besser said.

U.S. swine flu cases surge to nearly 100 --Marine confirmed ill; Mexican toddler is first recorded U.S. death, CDC says 29 Apr 2009 Virulent swine flu spread to 11 U.S. states from coast to coast Wednesday and swept deeper into Europe, extending its global reach as President Barack Obama mourned the first U.S. death, a Mexican toddler who had traveled with his family to Texas. Total American cases surge to nearly 100.

Swine Flu Suspected in Middlefield 29 Apr 2009 (CT) Doctors are treating a child for a suspected case of swine flu, officials in Middlefield said. The child is taking medication and improving, Dr. Matthew Huddleston, health director for Middlefield, said. He said the federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention would have to decide if it's a confirmed case of swine flu.

UK confirms three more cases of swine flu 29 Apr 2009 A 12-year-old girl is one of three more people confirmed with swine flu, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said today. The girl, from Torbay in Devon, a woman from Redditch and a man from south London, were confirmed with the flu, he told the Commons. The first two British cases were confirmed on Monday in Scotland.

Swine flu: NHS orders 32m face masks 29 Apr 2009 More than 32 million masks are being ordered by the Department of Health as fears grow that swine flu could become a pandemic. Dozens of people in Britain were tested for the swine flu virus after two cases were confirmed. Leaflets are to be sent to every house in Britain containing information about the swine flu outbreak and preventative measures.

46 dead in latest spate of Iraq violence 29 Apr 2009 In the Iraqi capital Baghdad, three car bombs that went off in quick succession in adjacent markets have left at least 46 people dead and dozens injured. The attacks happened in the impoverished Shia district of Sadr City.

KBR sued for exposing soldiers to toxic smoke --Halliburton Co, which spun off KBR two years ago, was also named as defendant in lawsuits 29 Apr 2009 KBR Inc was sued on Tuesday in three states on accusations that the company exposed U.S. soldiers and contractors at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to toxic smoke, court documents showed. KBR, an engineering and construction company that also manages military logistics, was paid by the U.S. government to dispose of waste on the bases, according to the complaints filed on behalf of soldiers who had been deployed in the two countries.

Making friends and allies all over the world: Suspected US missile strike kills six in Pakistan 29 Apr 2009 A missile strike by a suspected US drone on Wednesday killed at least six militants in northwest Pakistan's tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials said. The strike took place in Kanni Garam village of restive South Waziristan tribal district. "Six people were killed after a missile fired from a spy plane hit a vehicle," a security official told AFP... Pakistan has paid dearly for its alliance with the US in its "war on terror," with militant attacks killing more than 1,700 people since July 2007.

Pakistan retakes key town, kills over 50 Taliban: military 28 Apr 2009 Pakistan said Wednesday its troops seized control of the main town in the northwest region of Buner after fierce fighting with the Taliban in which more than 50 militants were killed. The fighting came after the military Tuesday launched a ground and air offensive in Buner, near the troubled Swat valley, to flush out militants from the area.

Taliban attacks as German FM visits Kabul 29 Apr 2009 A suicide bomber blew himself up in northern Afghanistan, injuring five German soldiers just as Germany's foreign minister was there for a surprise visit. The attacker approached a German Bundeswehr patrol some 10 miles south of Kunduz in his car and then blew himself up, the German Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The explosion injured five troops and severely damaged an armored vehicle. The attack happened shortly after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had landed in Kunduz for an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, where Germany has some 4,000 troops serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Spanish judge starts Guantanamo torture probe --Judge: Guantanamo a legal "limbo" and as such falls under universal jurisdiction, allowing him to investigate what went on in the base 30 Apr 2009 A Spanish judge has started a criminal investigation into suspected torture of detainees in the base at Guantanamo and said he would target both US military personnel and those who issued their orders. Judge Baltasar Garzon, who once tried to extradite former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, said he based his case on testimony in his court by four former Guantanamo detainees who complained of physical and mental abuse at the base in Cuba.

Wexler Calls for Special Prosecutor on Torture --Letter from Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) to Attorney General Eric Holder 28 Apr 2009 Yesterday, I signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate the Bush Administration and Justice Department's role in authorizing torture. With the release of the so-called "Torture Memos" last week, and the instrumental role that Bush Administration Justice Department and Executive Branch officials had in orchestrating and approving these techniques, it is evident to me that we need an independent investigation into this troubling series of events that have damaged our national security and diminished our nation before the eyes of the world.

Spanish court opens investigation of Guantánamo torture allegations --Torture allegations include 'sexual abuse,' 'beating,' and throwing of fluids into prisoners' eyes 29 Apr 2009 court in Spain has today opened an investigation into torture allegations against US military personnel at the Guantánamo detention centre. Meanwhile in Berlin, Barack Obama's attorney general Eric Holder... signalled the Obama administration might cooperate with the Spanish investigation. Judge Baltasar Garzón, an investigating magistrate at the National Court in Madrid, said he would investigate allegations made by four prisoners who were held at the centre and later released without charges, according to a court document quoted by the Spanish press. The torture allegations include "sexual abuse", "beating" and the throwing of fluids into prisoners' eyes.

Europe's 'Special Interrogations' New Evidence of Torture Prison in Poland 27 Apr 2009 The current debate in the US on the "special interrogation methods" sanctioned by the Bush administration could soon reach Europe. It has long been clear that the CIA used the Szymany military airbase in Poland for extraordinary renditions. Now there is evidence of a secret prison nearby. 27 Apr 2009 It was apparently here, just under an hour's drive from Szymany airport, that Sheikh Mohammed was tortured, exactly 183 times with waterboarding in March, 2003 alone. That averages out to eight times a day. And all of this happened right here in Europe.

N. Korea Threatens to Conduct Nuke Test 29 Apr 2009 North Korea threatened to conduct a nuclear test and test-fire an intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday in retaliation for the U.N. Security Council's (UNSC) condemnation against its launch of a long-range rocket in early April. "The U.N. Security Council should promptly make an apology for having infringed the sovereignty of the DPRK and withdraw all its unreasonable and discriminative 'resolutions' and decisions adopted against the DPRK,"' North Korea's foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is the North's official name.

Radioactive leaks from naval base 27 Apr 2009 Britain's Trident submarine fleet is accused of behaving "above the law" after a secret series of radioactive leaks and hazardous practices at its base were revealed by Channel 4 News. Nuclear discharges, safety fears and concerns over poor maintenance at the Faslane naval base in Scotland were so acute experts say it should have been closed down, a Channel 4 News investigation has found... Because the Ministry of Defence (MoD) base operates outside of civilian law, regulators were unable to enforce sanctions.

Multinational forces storm Mayport beach for drills 26 Apr 2009 (FL) The assault on the beach at Mayport Naval Station was part of the Marine's Partnership of the Americas exercise, held in conjunction with the Navy's Unitas exercise. During the past week, the troops - Marines from the U.S. and six countries in Central and South America, as well as soldiers from Canada - worked together at Camp Blanding, fast-roping out of helicopters, firing weapons and sharing tactics. They jelled quickly. "The only difference in identity" said Lt. Col. Jorge Garcia of Colombia, "is in the color of the uniforms. We have the same objectives."

Phone bills 'will rise' to pay for database --Comapnies will be given job of storing data on behalf of the state 28 Apr 2009 Ministers want to farm out a Big Brother database of everyone's emails, phone calls and internet use to private companies who will be given the job of storing the data on behalf of the state. The £2bn cost of the plans could add millions of pounds to phone and internet bills to help pay for new systems to collect and sort private information.

Congress approves compromise budget blueprint 29 Apr 2009 The Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress on Wednesday approved a $3.4 trillion compromise budget plan for the 2010 fiscal year, clinching a big victory for President Barack Obama on his 100th day in office but with no Republican support. The nonbinding plan sets parameters for spending and tax legislation for the upcoming fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1 and mirrors most of what Obama had sought.

New York City-sized ice collapses off Antarctica 28 Apr 2009 An area of an Antarctic ice shelf almost the size of New York City has broken into icebergs this month after the collapse of an ice bridge widely blamed on global warming, a scientist said Tuesday. "The northern ice front of the Wilkins Ice Shelf has become unstable and the first icebergs have been released," Angelika Humbert, glaciologist at the University of Muenster in Germany, said of European Space Agency satellite images of the shelf.

Quick action! The Clock is Ticking for Polar Bears --Urge the Obama Administration to Protect Polar Bears and Other Vulnerable Wildlife (Defenders of Wildlife) 27 Apr 2009 Before leaving office, the Bush regime rammed through regulatory changes to the Endangered Species Act that would threaten efforts to save polar bears, wolves, manatees and more than 1,300 other species from extinction. Please send your message to Secretaries Salazar and Locke and urge them to reverse the Bush/Cheney-era changes to the Endangered Species Act.

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Involuntary quarantine an option if swine flu explodes into epidemic 28 Apr 2009 Quarantine may seem the stuff of mediocre melodramas, but if the swine flu explodes into an epidemic, involuntary isolation could become a reality for more than a few unlucky Americans. The federal government can declare a state of emergency. But the power to isolate or quarantine citizens, rests in the hands of the states, or in some cases, local governments. In a health emergency, people can be forced into isolation or quarantine without the government getting a court order first. [See CLG items: DoD to carry out 'military missions' during pandemic, WMD attack 08 Mar 2009 and DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack 11 May 2007.]

California declares a state of emergency over swine flu --Governor, L.A. County declare state of emergency 28 Apr 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) today proclaimed a state of emergency over the spread of swine flu, expediting state agency responses to the outbreak. The proclamation orders all state agencies to use staff and equipment to help the Department of Public Health under coordination of the California Emergency Management Agency. The order suspends rules requiring competitive bids for services, material, personnel and equipment needed to respond to this [US generated] outbreak and waives some certification requirements for public health laboratories to help in the state’s expansion of testing capabilities. [Heads up! US pharma-terrorists are poised to make an even bigger killing than those who benefited from the 9/11 terror attacks (Rudy Giuliani, Lucky Larry), the Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan oil/gas/opium pipelines (Bush, Cheney Halliburton, etc.), and the Wall Street bailout.]

KBR awarded Homeland Security contract worth up to $385M 24 Jan 2006 KBR said Tuesday it has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The maximum total value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options. The contract provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster, the company said.

Obama seeks $1.5 billion for swine flu 28 Apr 2009 President Barack Obama asked Congress on Tuesday for an additional $1.5 billion to fight swine flu as the confirmed caseload jumped to 65 people across six states in what doctors fear may become a pandemic. Lawmakers convened an emergency hearing on Capitol Hill to assess the government's preparedness for a more severe outbreak.

Scientists in global race to turn swine flu virus into a vaccine --Pharmaceutical companies prepare for WHO call to start producing prevention treatment for swine flu 28 Apr 2009 A global race to prepare a vaccine 'against' swine flu was under way yesterday as health officials confirmed that the disease had spread to at least seven countries. The World Health Organisation has contacted vaccine manufacturers, who are on standby to produce the vaccine should the virus continue to spread. A WHO spokesman said it had not yet advised pharmaceutical companies to begin producing a vaccine, but he confirmed that work had already begun at collaborating laboratories in the US.

CDC to mix avian, human flu viruses in pandemic study 14 Jan 2004 One of the worst fears of infectious disease experts is that the H5N1 avian influenza virus now circulating in parts of Asia will combine with a human-adapted flu virus to create a deadly new flu virus that could spread around the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon launch experiments designed to combine the H5N1 virus and human flu viruses and then see how the resulting hybrids affect animals. The goal is to assess the chances that such a "reassortant" virus will emerge and how dangerous it might be.

Army Investigating Disappearance of Lethal Pathogen at Fort Detrick 23 Apr 2009 The U.S. Army is finishing an investigation into the disappearance of three vials of a potentially lethal pathogen from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., the Washington Post reported today. The inquiry begun in 2008 by the service's Criminal Investigation Command. The Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus is considered a possible tool of bioterrorism, but poses a significantly smaller threat than anthrax and other disease agents handled at the institute.

U.S. officials want "swine" out of flu name 28 Apr 2009 U.S. pork producers are finding that the name of the virus spreading from Mexico is affecting their business, prompting U.S. officials to argue for changing the name from swine flu. At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the "H1N1 virus." Israel has already rejected the name swine flu, and opted to call it "Mexico flu." Jewish dietary laws forbid eating pork. [Right, it should be called 'Baxter's flu,' or 'Fort Detrick flu,' depending on which bioterrorists created it.--LRP]

'The swine flu helps illustrate the threat of bioweapons.' Israel Updates Biodefense Program to Counter Terror Threat 27 Apr 2009 Israel has updated its biological defense efforts to counter threats from terrorists and regional rivals such as Iran, the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday. Responding last year to warnings about the danger posed by weaponized disease agents, the Israeli Defense Ministry launched a new biological defense research effort at the Ramle-based headquarters of its Home Front Command. "Israel has the best solution to this threat in the world," Giora Eiland, former head of the Israeli national security council, said yesterday. "I can say with certainty that Israel has prepared a series of steps designed to deal with biological warfare." ['Weaponized disease agents.' Who would do that?]

CDC: 'Fully expect we will see deaths' 28 Apr 2009 U.S. health official said at least five people are hospitalized with swine flu in the United States and deaths are likely. "I fully expect we will see deaths from this infection," as swine flu cases are investigated, said Richard Besser, acting director of the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Swine flu 'unstoppable,' WHO warns --World Health Organisation says crisis is at 'turning period' and urges governments to plan for mass outbreaks 28 Apr 2009 The World Health Organisation warned today that swine flu can no longer be contained, as the virus spread to Asia and the Middle East, with the first cases confirmed in New Zealand and Israel. The virus, an apparently new strain of the H1N1 flu, has now been confirmed in seven countries, and suspected outbreaks are being investigated in other places including Ireland, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Denmark.

WHO raises its pandemic alert level on swine flu 28 Apr 2009 The World Health Organization raised its global alert level Monday, signaling the swine flu virus was spreading from human to human in community outbreaks, but it stopped short of declaring a full-blown pandemic. Mexico health department spokesman Carlos Olmos confirmed the move by the WHO to raise the alert level from Phase 3 to Phase 4. Putting an alert at Phases 4 or 5 signals that the swine flu virus is becoming increasingly adept at spreading among humans.

Cases of swine flu confirmed in Marin County 28 Apr 2009 (CA) A 60-year-old Marin County woman and her 20-month-old granddaughter have been diagnosed with the Bay Area's first confirmed cases of swine flu, local health officials said Wednesday afternoon.

Swine flu fear for hundreds of NY children --US has more than 60 reported cases of swine flu, mostly in New York City 28 Apr 2009 'Many hundreds' of New York children are sick with suspected swine flu, it was reported tonight. The news was revealed by city's Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. The city's mayor Michael Bloomberg said the children were separate from those in a suspected outbreak at a private school in Queens. Mr Bloomberg said that two people were being treated in hospital with suspected swine flu - a child in the Bronx and an adult in Brooklyn.

NJ identifies 5 probable swine flu cases 27 Apr 2009 New Jersey health officials say they've identified five probable cases of swine flu in people who recently traveled to Mexico and California. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services said Monday that all have mild forms of the flu and none has been hospitalized. The department says it's arranging for confirmatory testing at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Testing for Possible Cases of Swine Flu in Conn. 28 Apr 2009 Connecticut has two probable swine flu cases that have been sent to the CDC for testing, Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) said Tuesday. One is from an adult in Stratford and the other is an adult in Southbury, both of whom recently traveled to Mexico. Concerns about swine flu also closed East Haddam schools after two students who recently returned from a family trip became ill.

Texas teen recovering from swine flu 28 Apr 2009 High school senior Hayden Henshaw went to his doctor late last week suffering the classic achy, sniffly feverishness of a flu bug... The 18-year-old was among the first confirmed cases of a new flu that combines bird, swine and human viruses. He and two other classmates at Steele High School were the earliest confirmed cases in Texas, which now has six confirmed statewide, and among the first reported cases in the United States.

UK on alert after suspected swine flu hits Manchester 27 Apr 2009 Health authorities in Manchester are carrying out urgent tests on a suspected case of swine flu as governments around the world move to contain the deadly virus. Officials said tests were being carried out on a Canadian woman who displayed flu-like symptoms while on a visit to Sale in Greater Manchester.

Sebelius Confirmed, Completing Obama's Cabinet With Flu Leader 28 Apr 2009 Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas governor who sees her mission as overhauling U.S. health care, was confirmed today as secretary of Health and Human Services, the agency directing U.S. efforts against swine flu. The Senate voted 65-31 to confirm Sebelius, a two-term Democratic governor.

Satire: Outbreak of Swine Flu in US Traced to Rush Limbaugh By R J Shulman 28 Apr 2009 The World Health Organization has called it a "public health emergency of international concern. The swine flu virus has already infected millions in the United States, sparking worldwide alarm. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta announced on Tuesday that they have traced the origin of the flu to talk show host Rush Limbaugh. "This is extremely troubling," said Sarah Tinsdale of the CDC, "as Limbaugh has contact with millions of Americans every day." (Satire!)

FAA Memo: Feds Knew NYC Flyover Would Cause Panic --Threatened Federal Sanctions Against NYPD, Secret Service, FBI and Mayor's Office If Secret Ever Got Out [Wow, that's some 'photo op!'] 28 Apr 2009 A furious President Barack Obama ordered an internal review of Monday's low-flying photo op over the Statue of Liberty. CBS 2 HD has discovered the feds will have plenty to question. Federal officials knew that sending two fighter jets and Air Force One to buzz ground zero and Lady Liberty might set off nightmarish fears of a 9/11 replay, but they still ordered the photo-op kept secret from the public. In a memo obtained by CBS 2 HD the Federal Aviation Administration's James Johnston said the agency was aware of "the possibility of public concern regarding DoD (Department of Defense) aircraft flying at low altitudes" in an around New York City. But they demanded total secrecy from the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI and even the mayor's office and threatened federal sanctions if the secret got out.

Phantom of al-Qaeda arrested 28 Apr 2009 The Iraqi government has hailed the capture of a man accused of being the al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader in Iraq, even as the US expresses skepticism that he even existed. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Tuesday hailed the arrest of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and referred to him as 'the head of evil' and the leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated umbrella group, the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq". [See: Iraq al-Qaeda leader US general said 'never existed' is 'captured' in Baghdad By Lori Price 24 Apr 2009.]

US Lawmakers Seek to Sanction Iran's Gasoline Suppliers 28 Apr 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama would have new authority to sanction foreign firms that sell gasoline and other oil products to Iran under legislation introduced Tuesday by a bipartisan group of 25 U.S. senators seeking to halt Iran's push to develop nuclear weaponry. If the bill becomes law, the U.S. president would have clear authority to impose economic sanctions on foreign firms that sell, ship or insure gasoline or other refined oil products to Iran.

US close to decision on future of detainees 28 Apr 2009 The Obama administration is close to deciding how many prisoners currently held in Guantánamo Bay will be freed and resettled in the United States and other countries, according to attorney general Eric Holder.

Lawyers try to force KBR exec to be deposed in suit 28 Apr 2009 An executive of an Army contractor that has been sued for wrongful death in federal court can't have it both ways, say attorneys seeking to compel his deposition. He can't assert on a newspaper editorial page that his company -- KBR -- had nothing to do with the electrocution death of a soldier in the shower in Iraq, and then claim he has no knowledge of the incident. Attorneys who represent the parents of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth filed a motion in federal court yesterday asking a judge to order William C. Bodie, KBR interim president for government and infrastructure, to testify in the case.

Explosion kills UK soldier in Afghanistan 28 Apr 2009 The British Defense Ministry has announced that one of its soldiers has been killed in a bomb explosion in southern Afghanistan. The ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the soldier was killed while patrolling along with members of the Afghan army near Forward Operating Base Keenan in Helmand.

Reports Slams Pentagon's 'Non-Lethal' Arms Shop: $387 Million Spent, No Weapons By David Hambling 27 Apr 2009 The Department of Defense has long talked about the importance of non-lethal weapons -- arms designed to minimize fatalities and unnecessary damage. But a new report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office comprehensively demolishes the Pentagon’s Joint Non-lethal Weapons Program, finding fault with almost every aspect of its work. Years were spent developing useless systems, weapons were fielded without proper testing or adequate supplies of ammunition, and countless millions of dollars were wasted.

Gordon Brown: crucible of terror threatening British streets 27 Apr 2009 Britain is threatened with attack from plots brewed in a new "crucible of terror" in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gordon Brown warned yesterday. During a surprise visit to the region, the Prime Minister described the mountains and deserts between the two troubled countries as a "breeding ground" for terror, and the "epicentre" of a renewed threat from the combined forces of Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and the Taliban.

Trio not guilty of helping 7/7 London bombers --Jury clears men of conspiring with four bombers over London 2005 explosions that killed 52 28 Apr 2009 Three British Muslims were today cleared of helping the 7 July bombers choose their targets by carrying out a reconnaissance mission in London seven months before the attacks that killed 52 people and injured almost 1,000. A jury at Kingston crown court unanimously found Waheed Ali, Sadeer Saleem, and Mohammed Shakil, all from Beeston, Leeds, not guilty of conspiring with the four bombers to cause explosions, after deliberating for eight days.

The criminalization of journalism --U.S. prohibited an overflight by an Air France airliner because journalist was on board By Hernando Calvo Ospina 23 Apr 2009 Air France Flight 438, from Paris, was to land at Mexico City at 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. Five hours before landing, the captain's voice announced that U.S. authorities had prohibited the plane from flying over U.S. territory. The explanation: among the passengers aboard was a person who was not welcome in the United States for reasons of national security.

Penn. Sen. Arlen Specter to Switch to Democratic Party 28 Apr 2009 Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter will switch parties and run for reelection in November 2010 as a Democrat, he announced today, a decision that could have wide-ranging consequences for the Senate and President Obama's agenda.

Specter defection a sharp blow to Republicans 28 Apr 2009 Senator Arlen Specter's abrupt move to switch allegiance to President Barack Obama's Democratic Party was a sharp blow to Republicans and will likely generate more soul-searching for the minority party. His decision to seek re-election as a Democrat next year was a nakedly political move to hang on to power.

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