June 2007 Archives, Page Two
KBR Faulted for Food, Fuel, Housing Records in Iraq 25 Jun 2007 KBR Inc., the largest U.S. military contractor [$23 billion logistics contract] in Iraq, didn't properly account for the fuel it used and overspent its food budget, according to a new audit. A database intended to keep track of vehicles authorized to receive fuel and the amount and type of fuel dispensed "contained so many errors that it cannot be relied on as an official record,'' Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen said in an audit released today.
Nobel Peace Laureates Oppose Iraqi Oil Law Imposition (Institute for Public Accuracy) 26 Jun 2007 In the past few weeks, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and the chief U.S. commander in the Mideast, Admiral William Fallon, have all traveled to Baghdad to press Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to pass a controversial oil law. Five Nobel Peace Prize laureates have just released a statement against the U.S. pressure on the Iraqi government.
US armed forces used torture 'systematically' 26 Jun 2007 The US armed forces have been using torture indiscriminately, a human rights group charged Monday. "Moreover, more than 100,000 pages of government documents released in response to [an] American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] Freedom of Information Act request reveal that a pervasive and systemic pattern of harsh interrogation techniques have been used by military personnel indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay," the ACLU said in a statement Monday.
Baghdad hotel blast investigated 26 Jun 2007 No group claimed responsibility for an explosion at a prominent Baghdad hotel that killed several sheiks. The U.S. military said that four Sunni sheiks and two Shiite sheiks were among nine people killed in a suicide bombing Monday at the Monsour Hotel. The military said "the identity of (the explosion's) perpetrator is currently under investigation," The New York Times reported Tuesday. One group leader said, "There are a lot of security measures around the hotel, checkpoints and security forces," Ali al-Hatim al-Suleiman told the Times. "How would they manage to go through all these measures? This is silly to suggest that al-Qaida did this. We can not blame al-Qaida for everything!"
Assassins kill 2 more tribal leaders in Baghdad 26 Jun 2007 Two more tribal leaders were assassinated in Baghdad on Tuesday, a day after a bombing at a hotel downtown killed 13 people, including members of a Sunni Muslim council that recently had allied with U.S. forces fighting Sunni 'insurgents' linked to al Qaida [al-CIAduh].
Iraqi Minister Sought in Assassination Attempt 27 Jun 2007 Iraqi law enforcement officials stretched a dragnet over the Green Zone and other parts of the capital Tuesday, seeking to arrest the country's culture minister in connection with an attempted political assassination two years ago in which three people were killed, Iraqi officials said.
Iraq Raids Home of Culture Minister, Seeking His Arrest 26 Jun 2007 Iraqi forces raided the home of Culture Minister Asad al-Hashimi today after an arrest warrant accused him of masterminding the 2005 assassination attempt of a secular Sunni politician who was once a top aide to [US troll] Ahmed Chalabi.
US Chiefs: Iraq Not Ready to Hold Ground 26 Jun 2007 American military commanders now seriously doubt that Iraqi security forces will be able to hold the ground that U.S. troops are fighting to clear _ gloomy predictions that strike at the heart of Washington's key strategy to turn the tide in Iraq.
GOP support for Iraq war slips 26 Jun 2007 Republican support for the Iraq war is slipping by the day. After four years of combat and more than 3,560 U.S. deaths, two Republican senators [George Voinovich, OH and Richard Lugar, IN] previously reluctant to challenge President [sic] Bush on the war announced they could no longer support the deployment of 157,000 troops and asked the president to begin bringing them home.
Poll: Support for Iraq war reaches new low 26 Jun 2007 A new low of 30 percent of Americans say they support the U.S. war in Iraq and, for the first time, most Americans say they don’t believe it is morally justified, a poll released Tuesday said.
Opium production 'soars' in Afghanistan 25 Jun 2007 Opium production in [US-occupied] Afghanistan is soaring out of control, the annual UN report on illegal drugs says. The World Drug Report says more than 90% of illegal opium, which is used to make heroin, comes from Afghanistan.
Helmand Residents Question NATO Success Claims --It is either the best of times or the worst in northern Helmand, depending on who your source is. By IWPR trainees in Helmand 19 Jun 2007 NATO says Operation Lastay Kulang - or "Axe Handle" - which its forces launched in early June to clear the Taleban out of the Upper Sangin Valley has been an unqualified success... There is, however, another version of this story, according to which Operation Lastay Kulang has been a miserable failure, causing death to civilians and destruction of homes and livelihoods without producing any lasting results. "We took Kajaki district back from the NATO forces and the Afghan government and it is now completely under our control. We also took some parts of Sangin district," said Taleban spokesman Qari Yusuf.
Blair to resign as MP tomorrow 26 Jun 2007 Tony Blair will tomorrow quit as an MP as well as stepping down as prime minister. He is set to retire from British politics altogether. and will fly to his Sedgefield constituency in the afternoon to announce his resignation from parliament with immediate effect.
set for Middle East envoy role 27 Jun 2007 Outgoing British
Prime Minister Tony Blair will be named as special envoy for the international
diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East on Wednesday, with a portfolio
focused on Palestinian economic and political reform, a senior US official
Militants want end to anti-terror unit 26 Jun 2007 Indonesian Muslim hardliners demanded the government disband an American trained special anti-terror unit, saying it was a tool of the United States to fight Islam. In the latest anti[pro]-terror crackdown this month, Detachment 88, a police unit funded and trained by the United States and Australia, arrested two top leaders from the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant group.
'Bush ordered me killed before taking office' 26 Jun 2007 Cuba's leader, Fidel Castro, accused US president [sic] George Bush of ordering him killed even before moving into the White House, in an article published in the newspaper Granma on Tuesday. "The issue of the accusation related to his plan to kill me comes from before he used fraud to steal the victory from another candidate," the convalescing Castro, 80, said of Bush. [Exactly.]
CIA releases papers that set off scandal 26 Jun 2007 The CIA released hundreds of pages of internal reports Tuesday on assassination plots, secret drug testing and spying on Americans that triggered a scandal in the mid-1970s. The documents detail assassination plots against foreign leaders such as Fidel Castro, the testing of mind-altering drugs like LSD on unwitting citizens, wiretapping of U.S. journalists, spying on civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protesters, opening of mail between the United States and the Soviet Union and China and break-ins at the homes of ex-CIA employees and others. [Ok, let's get the papers released *now* which prove that Bush and Cheney orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks so that they could redesign the Middle East; create a Department of Homeland Security to perpetuate a fascist security state; steal trillions of dollars for Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater USA, and Project BioShield's pharma-terrorists; hijack the mainstream media to showcase a staged 'war on [of] terror;' and serve as a perpetual distraction from any inquiries into the two US coup d'etats. --LRP]
CIA Paid for Thank-You Notes to Nixon Backers, Documents Show 26 Jun 2007 The CIA surreptitiously paid more than $33,000 in 1970 to cover the cost of White House thank-you notes to supporters of President Richard Nixon's decision to invade Cambodia, newly released agency documents show.
Lockerbie Verdict Could Be Sent Back to Appeals Court 25 Jun 2007 Almost 20 years after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the case may be sent back to court again this week after claims that evidence was tampered with and withheld from the court. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, which has been looking at the case for three years, has said it will announce its decision this Thursday whether or not to send the case back to a court of appeals. Lawyers for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who was convicted in 2001 of the murders of 270 people, say contradictory statements from a key witness and alleged evidence tampering warrant the case be returned to an appeals court.
ACLU Web site to monitor NSA investigation 26 Jun 2007 The ACLU launched a Web site to monitor the investigation into warrantless wiretaps by the U.S. Congress. The American Civil Liberties Union said it was setting up the site [Subpoena Watch] as a response to the decision by the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday "to authorize the use of subpoenas to obtain documents related to the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program."
Bush Administration Pushes Back on NSA Spying Lawsuits By Luke O'Brien 25 Jun 2007 A Justice Department lawyer last week asked a federal judge in San Francisco to throw out lawsuits filed by several states that would shed light on the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and the role telecommunications companies played in helping the government spy on its own citizens without court approval. Five states -- Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey and Vermont -- want the records telephone companies handed over to the NSA as part of the secret Terrorist Surveillance Program the Bush administration rolled out shortly after 9/11.
Attorneys lock horns in privacy case --Lawyers argue that federal attempts to block investigations into whether phone records were revealed overstep the security act. 22 Jun 2007 A Justice Department attorney sparred with lawyers for five states in federal court here Thursday over the Bush administration's attempt to block states from investigating whether phone companies illegally shared customer information with the National Security Agency. The case stems from a newspaper report published last year alleging that AT&T and Verizon had cooperated with the government on its Terrorist Surveillance Program. That program has spawned several major court cases because of allegations that the U.S. engaged in secret wiretapping of individuals without seeking warrants.
Democrats target Cheney's office funds 26 Jun 2007 House Democrats, responding to Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's assertion that his office is exempt from certain national security disclosure requirements, said Tuesday they will try to strip some of his funding. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., sponsor of the amendment, noted that five years ago Cheney claimed executive privilege in refusing to release details about his meetings with oil industry executives to discuss energy policy.
Bush's offices reportedly refused probe 26 Jun 2007 A federal watchdog agency planned to inspect the president's executive offices in the White House in 2005 for evidence of suspected leaks of classified information, but it was rebuffed by Bush administration officials, congressional investigators have been told. The report of the White House's refusal to be inspected comes amid criticism from congressional Democrats of how President [sic] Bush signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to submit to independent oversight of their handling of classified information, but did not enforce it for his office or that of Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney. The blocked inspection was described in an April 23 letter to former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who provided a copy of the letter to the Los Angeles Times on Monday.
Waxman: White House lax on protecting secret docs 26 Jun 2007 The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote to the White House Tuesday, saying that he has received evidence that several requirements for protecting classified information have been "flaunted." In a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) laid out several examples of "dangerously inadequate" practices after current and former security personnel employed at the White House contacted his staff.
Griles Sentenced in Abramoff Scandal 26 Jun 2007 Former Deputy Secretary of Interior J. Steven Griles was sentenced to 10 months in prison Tuesday for lying to senators investigating the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Griles is the highest-ranking Bush administration official convicted in the corruption investigation. He pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.
Feds contact ex-Doolittle aide 25 Jun 2007 California GOP Rep. John Doolittle's former chief of staff [David Lopez] is providing documents to federal prosecutors investigating Doolittle and his wife in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, the aide's attorney told The Associated Press on Monday.
Senate Republicans block union bill 26 Jun 2007 Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a bill that would allow labor unions to organize workplaces without a secret ballot election. Democrats were unable to get the 60 votes needed to force consideration of the Employee Free Choice Act, ending organized labor's chance to win its top legislative priority from Congress.
Immigration bill advances in Senate 26 Jun 2007 The Senate resurrected the immigration bill that could legalize millions of unlawful immigrants Tuesday, but the delicate compromise faces the same threats that derailed it earlier this month. The White House [corpora-terrorists] and Republican and Democratic architects of the bill hailed the crucial test vote that revived the legislation, and they predicted approval of the measure by week's end.
Three Bad Rulings (The New York Times) 26 Jun 2007 The Supreme Court hit the trifecta yesterday: Three cases involving the First Amendment. Three dismaying decisions by Chief Justice John Roberts’s new conservative majority. Chief Justice Roberts and the four others in his ascendant bloc used the next-to-last decision day of this term to reopen the political system to a new flood of special-interest money, to weaken protection of student expression and to make it harder for citizens to challenge government violations of the separation of church and state. In the process, the reconfigured court extended its noxious habit of casting aside precedents without acknowledging it — insincere judicial modesty scored by Justice Antonin Scalia in a concurring opinion.
Fred Thompson defends lobbying record 26 Jun 2007 Fred Thompson, a likely Republican presidential candidate, on Tuesday defended his work as a Washington lobbyist to The Associated Press... Thompson, who likes to cast himself as a political outsider, earned more than $1 million lobbying the federal government for more than 20 years. He lobbied for a savings-and-loan deregulation bill that helped hasten the industry's collapse and a failed nuclear energy project that cost taxpayers more than a billion dollars. He also was a lobbyist for deposed Haitian Dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was widely criticized for endorsing "necklacing," the gruesome practice of execution where gasoline-soaked tires are thrown over a person's neck and set ablaze. In September 1991, Aristide said: "The burning tire, what a beautiful tool! ... It smells good. And wherever you go, you want to smell it." Lobbying records show that in 1991 Thompson called then-White House Chief of Staff John Sununu on Aristide's behalf.
MSNBC Poll: Who is right -- Elizabeth Edwards or MAnn Coulter? Elizabeth Edwards. Ann Coulter should stop with her personal attacks against the Edwards family. 95%; Ann Coulter. She's free to say whatever she likes. 5% [Poll snapshot: 26 Jun 2007 20:00 EDT]
Reed aims to protect polar bears from trophy hunting 26 Jun 2007 Polar bears have a friend in Sen. Jack Reed. A measure by the Rhode Island Democrat to prevent trophy hunters from killing polar bears abroad and bringing their heads and hides back to the United States was recently approved by a key Senate panel. It's illegal to hunt polar bears as trophies in the United States, but it's allowed in Canada. Reed says the bears are rapidly becoming an endangered species. Global warming has made the bears, marine mammals who depend on sea ice for survival, even more vulnerable, he adds.
Climate Changes Are Making Poison Ivy More Potent 26 Jun 2007 Poison ivy, the scourge of summer campers, hikers and gardeners, is getting worse. New research shows the rash-inducing plant appears to be growing faster and producing more potent oil compared with earlier decades. The reason? Rising ambient carbon-dioxide levels create ideal conditions for the plant, producing bigger leaves, faster growth, hardier plants and oil that's even more irritating.
GOP Senator Says Iraq Plan Not Working 26 Jun 2007 Sen. Richard Lugar, a senior Republican and a reliable vote for President [sic] Bush on the war, said Monday that Bush's Iraq strategy was not working and that the U.S. should downsize the military's role. The unusually blunt assessment deals a political blow to Bush, who has relied heavily on GOP support to stave off anti-war legislation.
Generals campaign against war --'It's time for us to get the hell out of there' 24 Jun 2007 Two retired Army generals [Lt. Gen. Robert Gard and Brig. Gen. John Johns] toured New Hampshire last week, hoping to pressure New Hampshire's congressional delegation to stand up to President [sic] Bush and put an end to the war in Iraq.
U.K. Official Denies Urging Iraq Apology 25 Jun 2007 The new deputy leader of Britain's governing Labour Party on Monday denied saying the government should apologize over Iraq, despite a broadcast debate showing her agreeing that an apology was in order. Justice Minister Harriet Harman said "I agree" when her rival Jon Cruddas said the Labour Party should "say sorry" for the war during a British Broadcasting Corp. television debate on May 29.
Britain speeds up closure of symbolic Iraq base as Americans launch offensive near Baghdad --Five US troops die as commanders throw forces into an effort to break 'insurgency,' but British may be heading for an early pull-out 24 Jun 2007 British commanders have brought forward the final closure of a base in central Basra, in an indication that more forces may be pulled out of south-eastern Iraq before the end of the year.
US military prepares Fallujah-style bloodbath in Iraqi city of Baqubah By Peter Symonds 25 Jun 2007 A huge US offensive codenamed "Operation Arrowhead Ripper" is underway in the Iraqi city of Baqubah, as part of extensive American operations aimed at suppressing insurgent groups in Baghdad and areas to the north and south of the capital. US troops, backed by armoured vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes, have sealed off the city of 300,000. The action recalls the murderous November 2004 assault on Fallujah in which much of the population fled and large sections of the town were levelled.
Bombing Strikes at Iraqi Sheiks Allied to U.S. 25 Jun 2007 More than 40 people died today in a wave of suicide bombings across Iraq, including an attack on a hotel in Baghdad where a group of sheiks opposed to militants linked to Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] was holding a tribal conference. The bombing at the Mansour Hotel, which is also headquarters to several news organizations, killed 12 people and wounded 18. At least four sheiks were among those killed, news agencies reported.
Iraqi checkpoints no obstacle for insurgents flush with cash 24 Jun 2007 As if the daily suicide bombings and kidnappings are not enough, US forces and their Iraq counterparts are battling a hidden but no less lethal danger -- corruption. At a recent meeting of US commanders, Iraqi security chiefs and local officials, frank words were exchanged on the ease with which 'insurgents' can slip through checkpoints as long as they have the money to pay.
Police Ammo In Short Supply 24 Jun 2007 (CT) The police need bullets. An ammunition shortage is forcing police departments across the state to cancel training sessions, borrow from other departments, and even settle for less-powerful rounds... From California to the East Coast, police departments are experiencing shipment delays of up to a year for certain types of bullets - those used by the military in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Thanks to Bush: '50,000 Iraqi refugees' forced into prostitution 24 Jun 2007 There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi women's group Women's Will, puts the figure at 50,000.
Thanks to Bush: U.N.: Afghan opium production up 25 Jun 2007 Afghanistan produced dramatically more opium in 2006, increasing its yield by nearly 50 percent from a year earlier and pushing global opium production to a new record high, a U.N. report said Tuesday. In 2006, Afghanistan accounted for 92 percent of global illicit opium production... The area under opium poppy cultivation in the country has also expanded, from nearly 257,000 acres in 2005 to more than 407,000 acres in 2006 — an increase of about 59 percent.
Iranian forces crossed Iraqi border: report 25 Jun 2007 Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday. Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters".
Iran Invites Nuclear Watchdog to Tehran 25 Jun 2007 Acting on a request from Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday it will send a team to Tehran to work jointly on a plan meant to clear up suspicions about the Islamic republic's nuclear activities.
Israel braces for July war with up to five enemies 25 Jun 2007 Israel is preparing for an imminent war with Iran, Syria and/or their non-state clients. Israeli military intelligence has projected that a major attack could come from any of five adversaries in the Middle East. Officials said such a strike could spark a war as early as July 2007.
Israel freeing 250 Palestinians in peace gesture 25 Jun 2007 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Monday he intended to free 250 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in a goodwill gesture to President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the moderate Fatah faction.
Armies must ready for global warming role: Britain 25 Jun 2007 Global warming is such a threat to security that military planners must build it into their calculations, the head of Britain's armed forces said on Monday. Jock Stirrup, chief of the defense staff, said risks that climate change could cause weakened states to disintegrate and produce major humanitarian disasters or exploitation by armed groups had to become a feature of military planning.
Lockerbie evidence 'was tampered with, destroyed and overlooked' --Commission expected to conclude that conviction of Megrahi is unsafe --Key witness account brought into question and statements 'missing' --Defence believe motive was to avoid antagonising Iran during Gulf War 25 Jun 2007 Evidence used against Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, was subject to deliberate destruction and manipulation for political reasons, according to leaked documents from his defence team. The allegations suggest authorities on both sides of the Atlantic attempted to mislead the original inquiry into the 1988 disaster to divert attention away from the original Iranian-backed suspects to Libya, with evidence apparently tampered with, destroyed and overlooked.
German prosecutors want CIA agents extradited 25 Jun 2007 Prosecutors in Munich, Germany, are requesting the extradition from the United States of 13 suspected CIA agents they say took part in the 2003 kidnapping of a German citizen. Earlier this year, a Munich court ordered the arrest of the 13 on suspicion of kidnapping Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese descent who says he was flown from Macedonia to Afghanistan where he was imprisoned for months and tortured.
Scholars urge Bush to ban use of torture 25 Jun 2007 President [sic] Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to "violations of the human rights" of terror suspects held by the United States. The handwritten letter said, "We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants."
Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker 25 Jun 2007 David S. Addington, Cheney's general counsel, set the new legal agenda in a blunt memorandum shortly after the CIA delegation returned to Langley. Geneva's "strict limits on questioning of enemy prisoners," he wrote on Jan. 25, 2002, hobbled efforts "to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists." No longer was the vice president [sic] focused on procedural rights, such as access to lawyers and courts. The subject now was more elemental: How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk? Cheney's lawyer feared that future prosecutors, with motives "difficult to predict," might bring criminal charges against interrogators or Bush administration officials.
'A Different Understanding With the President' By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker 24 Jun 2007 In a bunker beneath the East Wing of the White House, Cheney locked his eyes on CNN, chin resting on interlaced fingers. He was about to watch, in real time, as thousands were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. [Cheney wanted to make sure the attacks were carried out, as planned.] Previous accounts have described Cheney's adrenaline-charged evacuation to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center that morning, a Secret Service agent on each arm. They have not detailed his reaction, 22 minutes later, when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. "There was a groan in the room that I won't forget, ever," one witness said. "It seemed like one groan from everyone" ... Cheney made no sound. [Right, it fell right on schedule.]
Democrats plan to cut Cheney out of executive funding bill 23 Jun 2007 Following Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's assertion that his office is not a part of the executive branch of the US government, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) plans to introduce an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to cut funding for Cheney's office. The amendment to the bill that sets the funding for the executive branch will be considered next week in the House of Representatives.
Bush to host Putin --Thousands expected to protest Bush while Russian leader is in Maine 25 Jun 2007 A protest march next month, planned to coincide with Dictator George W. Bush's meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is expected to draw a crowd of thousands. The protest march and citizens summit will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, July 1, at the Village Green on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. Rally participants will call for the impeachment of Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, and for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
U.S. to Fingerprint E.U. Visitors 25 Jun 2007 Visitors from European nations traveling with visas or visa-free to the United States will soon have to give 10 digital fingerprints when entering the country, a senior U.S. Homeland Security official said Monday. Border checks could also soon include other biometric data, such as facial and eye retina scans, as the U.S. upgrades security at its ports, airports and border crossings, said P.T. Wright, the operations director for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's US-VISIT Program.
'Vote caging' allegations arise in probe of U.S. attorney firings --Critics say top Justice official's '04 letter to Ohio judge was a partisan maneuver. 25 Jun 2007 Four days before the 2004 'election,' the Justice Department's civil rights chief sent an unusual letter to a federal judge in Ohio who was weighing whether to let Republicans challenge the credentials of 23,000 mostly African American voters. The case was triggered by allegations that Republicans had sent a mass mailing to mostly Democratic-leaning minorities and used undeliverable letters to compile a list of voters potentially vulnerable to eligibility challenges. In his letter to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati, Assistant Attorney General Alex Acosta argued that it would undermine the enforcement of state and federal election laws if citizens could not challenge voters' credentials. Former Justice Department civil rights officials and election watchdog groups charge that his letter sided with Republicans engaging in an illegal, racially motivated tactic known as "vote-caging" in a state that would be pivotal in delivering President [sic] Bush a second term in the White House. Acosta's letter is among a host of allegedly partisan Justice Department voting rights positions that could draw scrutiny on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks as congressional Democrats expand investigations sparked by the firing of at least nine U.S. attorneys.
Supreme Court Limits Students' Speech Rights 25 Jun 2007 The Supreme Court tightened limits on student speech Monday, ruling against a high school student and his 14-foot-long ''Bong Hits 4 Jesus'' banner. Schools may prohibit student expression that can be interpreted as advocating drug use, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court in a 5-4 ruling.
Supreme Court bars taxpayers from suing over White House faith-based program 25 Jun 2007 The Supreme Court ruled Monday that ordinary taxpayers cannot challenge a White House initiative that helps religious charities get a share of federal money. The 5-4 decision blocks a lawsuit by a group of atheists and agnostics against eight Bush administration officials including the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Supreme Court ends ban on corporate-funded campaign ads 25 Jun 2007 The Supreme Court gave President [sic] Bush and Republican leaders two important victories today by clearing the way for corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's 'election' and by shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in the courts. Both came in 5-4 rulings led by new Chief inJustice John G. Roberts Jr.
Supreme Court Rules Against Environmentalists 25 Jun 2007 The Supreme Court sided with developers and the Bush administration Monday in a dispute with environmentalists over protecting endangered species. The court ruled 5-4 for home builders and the Environmental Protection Agency in a case that involved the intersection of two environmental laws, the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Arming the Left: Is the time now? --by Charles Southwell 21 Oct 2003 As long as we pose no REAL threat to the powers-that-be, to what is shaping up into [is] a dictatorship, we will continue to be ignored. Right now, we are ignored because we present no organized power to fight this onslaught of anti-democratic, totalitarian government that we are up against...
Ex-EPA Chief Grilled Over 9/11 Response --Christie Whitman Faces Congressional Critics Over Ground Zero Health Effects 25 Jun 2007 Ex-EPA chief Christie Whitman was bombarded by boos and a host of accusations Monday at a hearing into her assurances that it had been safe to breathe the air around the fallen World Trade Center. Some members of the audience shouted in anger, only to be gaveled down by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., who chaired the hearing. Nadler accused Whitman of deliberately misleading people in New York about the health risks, with devastating results, CBS News reports. "The administration has continued to make false, misleading and inaccurate statements, and refused to take remedial actions, even in the face of overwhelming evidence," said Nadler, whose district includes the World Trade Center site.
Damning questions Whitman must be made to answer --Thousands of first responders are now sick and dying By Juan Gonzalez 25 Jun 2007 In the week after 9/11, Christie Whitman, the former head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, assured New Yorkers that "their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink." Today, Whitman will finally face tough questions about those fateful words at a congressional hearing headed by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). We now know the collapse of the twin towers and the fires which burned for months at Ground Zero triggered the worst toxic release our nation has seen: thousands of tons of asbestos, lead, chromium, benzene, PCBs, dioxins, highly-caustic cement dust and hundreds of other dangerous substances. Nearly six years later, thousands of first responders, recovery workers, residents and downtown workers are sick. Some have died. They are sick and dying in part because Whitman's agency and the Giuliani administration concealed the full extent of the toxic soup in lower Manhattan.
Zoellick OK'd as next World Bank chief 25 Jun 2007 Robert Zoellick, a seasoned player in international financial and diplomatic circles, won the unanimous approval of the World Bank's board on Monday to become the poverty-fighting institution's next president.
News Corp and DJ said near editorial pact 26 Jun 2007 Advisers to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Dow Jones & Co. could reach a pact on editorial independence as early as Monday, a source familiar with the situation said, heightening expectations a takeover deal could soon be reached.
Murdoch Reaches Out for Even More By Jo Becker 25 Jun 2007 More than 30 years after the Australian-born Mr. [Rupert] Murdoch arrived on the American newspaper scene and turned The New York Post into a racy, right-leaning tabloid, his holding company, the News Corporation, has offered $5 billion to buy a pillar of the business news establishment — Dow Jones, parent company of The Wall Street Journal. The sale would give Mr. Murdoch control of the pre-eminent journalistic authority on the world in which he is an active, aggressive participant.
Border Patrol hiring surge raises concerns 25 Jun 2007 A drive to recruit thousands more Border Patrol agents may flood the service with inexperienced officers and lead to increased corruption, officials said on Monday. The U.S. government is seeking to increase the size of the Border Patrol by almost half, for a total of 18,000 agents, as part of an immigration 'overhaul' President [sic] George W. Bush announced last year.
SSNs at risk in government records, lawmakers say 22 Jun 2007 Americans concerned about ID theft have to worry not only about the vulnerability of their Social Security numbers floating around in the private sector, but also about the numbers' use by the federal government, which leaves them widely exposed in a variety of records, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office June 21.
Bird flu cases increase to six in Germany 26 Jun 2007 Germany confirmed the H5N1 bird flu virus in three more wild birds in the southern state of Bavaria on Monday, bringing the total infected cases to six since last weekend.
China Rejects Tainted U.S. Food 26 Jun 2007 Chinese inspectors have seized shipments of U.S.-made orange pulp and dried apricots containing high levels of bacteria and preservatives, the government said Tuesday.
Monsanto forced to withdraw ad 20 Jun 2007 Biotech crops giant [agri-terrorists] Monsanto has been ordered to withdraw an advertising claim that no negative reactions have ever been reported to genetically modified 'foods.' The Advertising Standards Authority made the ruling this week in response to a consumer complaint lodged against a Monsanto South Africa print ad referring to GM grain products.
Want to be sure it's GM-free? Buy food in Moscow 25 Jun 2007 Moscow next week introduces a city-wide label to identify GM-free foods, a move ecologists hail as ground-breaking.
Paris Hilton's prosecutor under scrutiny 25 Jun 2007 When Paris Hilton was sprung from jail early, few were as outraged - and as outspoken - as the prosecutor who put her there. But City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo's complaints of a two-tiered jail system where "the rich and powerful receive special treatment" have come to back to haunt him. Soon after Hilton was sent back to jail earlier this month, he acknowledged his wife had committed a similar infraction - driving with a suspended license. Among other things, he also admitted sticking the taxpayers with the bill after his wife crashed his city-issued car in 2004, and acknowledged that staffers have occasionally run personal errands and baby-sat his children.
Iraq Push Revives Criticism of Force Size --Baghdad Offensive May Shift Violence Elsewhere 23 Jun 2007 The major U.S. offensive launched last weekend against insurgents in and around Baghdad has significantly expanded the military's battleground in Iraq -- "a surge of operations," and no longer just of troops, as the second-ranking U.S. commander there said yesterday -- but it has renewed concerns about whether even the bigger U.S. troop presence there is large enough.
Everyone we fight in Iraq is now "al-Qaida" 23 Jun 2007 Josh Marshall publishes an e-mail from a reader who identifies what is one of the most astonishing instances of mindless, pro-government "reporting" yet: It's a curious thing that, over the past 10 - 12 days, the news from Iraq refers to the combatants there as "al-Qaida" fighters. When did that happen? ...All of a sudden, every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as "Al Qaeda." But what is even more notable is that the establishment press has followed right along, just as enthusiastically.
"Chemical Ali" sentenced to hang 24 Jun 2007 Saddam Hussein's cousin, widely known as "Chemical Ali", was sentenced on Sunday to hang for masterminding a genocidal military campaign that used poison gas against Iraq's Kurds in the 1980s. Ali Hassan al-Majeed, looking frail and wearing traditional Arab robes, stood silently as the judge read the verdict. As he was escorted from the Baghdad courtroom, he said: "Thanks be to God."
Obituary: Ali Hassan al-Majid 08 Apr 2003 (This obituary was published in the Guardian on April 8 2003. On August 21 2003, US central command in Florida said Ali Hassan al-Majid was still alive and had been captured and taken in custody.) General Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as "Chemical Ali", has died aged 64. He was killed commanding the southern Iraqi city of Basra by SAS-organised air and artillery attacks, said local British military sources.
'Chemical Ali' believed dead 07 Apr 2003 U.S. and British military officials said on Monday they believe Gen. Ali Hassan al-Majid, one of Saddam Hussein's most brutal henchmen, was killed in a coalition air strike... Officials are reluctant to say conclusively whether the bodies found in the bombed-out house included al-Majid... "We believe the reign of terror of Chemical Ali has come to an end," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in Washington.
Report: 'Chemical Ali' believed killed by U.S. --CIA officials say 'decapitation attack' nails Saddam's cousin, 2 other chiefs 21 March 2007 Saddam Hussein's cousin – the notorious "Chemical Ali" – and two other top Iraqi leaders are believed to have been killed in the U.S. "decapitation attack" in Baghdad, according to a broadcast report. CIA officials told ABC News that Taha Yasin Ramadan, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, and Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali, are thought to be victims of the opening salvo of the war.
Did Saddam Hussein Gas His Own People? Memo To: Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor From: Jude Wanniski Re: Iraqi use of Poison Gas (Nov. 18, 1998)
U.S. has spent $5.1b to rebuild Iraq's oil and electricity sectors --Billions more are needed to rebuild sectors that ware destroyed by the contractors that are getting paid to rebuild them. 23 Jun 2007 The estimated number of attacks against occupation and Iraqi forces in April were adjusted from 4,500 to 4,900, the Government Accountability Office said in the revised report, released Friday. Overall, the U.S. has spent about $5.1 billion to rebuild Iraq's oil and electricity sectors from the budget years 2003 through 2006. The U.S. also has spent $3.8 billion in Iraqi funds. Auditors said billions of dollars more will be needed to rebuild both sectors.
Car bombing in Iraq's Hilla kills 8, wounds 25 25 Jun 2007 A suicide car bomb attack killed eight people and wounded 25 in the Iraqi city of Hilla on Monday, police said. They said the attack took place outside the governor's office in the centre of the city, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad.
10 U.S. troops die in Iraq 24 Jun 2007 The deaths of 10 U.S. troops Saturday in Iraq, seven in roadside bomb attacks, brought to 30 the week's toll for American military personnel.
U.S. troops battle "minefield" of bombs in Iraq's Baquba 24 Jun 2007 U.S. troops hoping to directly confront 'al Qaeda' militants in a major offensive in the Iraqi city of Baquba instead found themselves "swimming through a minefield", a senior officer said on Sunday.
Soldier watches his twin die in Iraq on their 24th birthday 25 Jun 2007 They were twins and, by coincidence, corporals in the same battalion. On Friday they should have been celebrating their 24th birthday. But it was not to be; Will Rigby sat at the bedside of his brother, John, in an Iraq field hospital and watched him die. Corporal John Rigby had been fatally wounded by a roadside bomb near Basra Palace in southern Iraq that morning, and was named by the Ministry of Defence yesterday as the 153rd British serviceman whose life had been claimed by the conflict.
Gov't Struggles to Care for Wounded GI's 23 Jun 2007 ...These are America's war wounded, a toll that has received less attention than the 3,500 troops killed in Iraq. Depending on how you count them, they number between 35,000 and 53,000. More of them are coming home, with injuries of a scope and magnitude the government did not predict and is now struggling to treat.
Military Recruitment of Blacks Plunges --Unpopularity of Iraq and Afghan Wars Cited In Drop In Numbers of Blacks In Active Duty, Guard And Reserves 24 Jun 2007 The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began, as other job prospects soar and relatives of potential recruits increasingly discourage them from signing up. According to data obtained by The Associated Press, the decline covers all four military services for active duty recruits, and the drop is even more dramatic when National Guard and Reserve recruiting is included.
The picture that proves 'torture flights' are STILL landing in the UK 09 Jun 2007 The row over CIA 'torture flights' using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago. The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces. Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in 'ghost flights' to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad. Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as 'the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet'.
Mitt Romney says Guantanamo Bay is great 23 Jun 2007 Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate [sociopath], said the Bush administration is wrong for looking at ways to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling the idea "the wrong course to take". Romney told reporters in Helena, Montana, "Guantanamo Bay plays an important role in protecting our nation from violent, heinous terrorists." [Then we better hurry and get Bush and Cheney in there, and fast!]
Stop civilian deaths, Karzai warns 25 Jun 2007 The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has chastised US- and NATO-led troops for their "careless operations" and accused them of killing more than 90 civilians in just over a week, as fresh reports emerge of more noncombatant deaths.
British troops attacked, open fire in civilian area killing man, say police 24 Jun 2007 A convoy of British troops opened fire in a civilian area in Helmand province, killing one man, after a roadside bomb hit the convoy, wounding one soldier, police said. Also in the south, militants executed the kidnapped son of a police officer, reneging on a deal to free him in exchange for the release of a Taliban commander, while violence elsewhere killed more than a dozen suspected militants, a U.S.-led occupation soldier and four Afghan troops.
Taliban seize 18 Afghan mine clearing experts 24 Jun 2007 Taliban fighters have seized 18 Afghan mine clearing experts and threatened to kill them if investigations suggest they are working for U.S.-led forces in the country, officials and the insurgents said on Sunday. [Not a chance --the US tries to kill as many civilians as possible.]
Soldier killed in Afghan bomb blast 25 Jun 2007 A British soldier was killed and four others were injured by an explosion in southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said. The blast happened as a "Snatch" Land Rover escorted a military team to survey the site for a new road project linking several villages in the Babaji area near Lashkar Gah in the volatile Helmand province.
Bush Pledges Hike in Military Aid to Israel 25 Jun 2007 Just days after Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hamas fighters imposed full control over the Gaza Strip, U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush promised his Israeli counterpart a 10-year military aid hike to help it handle new regional threats. Israel is seeking an additional $50 million to $60 million each year, which would raise total U.S. military grant aid from $2.4 billion in 2008 to nearly $3 billion by 2018.
Report: IAF preparing for Iran strike 22 Jun 2007 The Israeli Air Force (IAF) has been training on long-range flights, including refueling in mid-flight, in preparation for potential strikes against Iranian nuclear targets. The training program has been taking place for some time but has only been released for publication Friday, the Ma'ariv daily reported.
IAF, USAF greatly upgrade cooperation 21 Jun 2007 The Israel Air Force has significantly upgraded the level of its cooperation with the United States Air Force and now receives regular updates on American procurement decisions, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Iran Warns Against More U.N. Sanctions 24 Jun 2007 A senior Iranian official warned Saturday that further U.N. sanctions over Tehran's contentious nuclear program could derail ongoing negotiations toward a settlement.
U.S. House votes to ban aid to Saudi Arabia 22 Jun 2007 The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to prohibit any aid to Saudi Arabia as lawmakers accused the close ally of religious intolerance and bankrolling terrorist organizations.
'It is time to put right the wrongs' 24 Jun 2007 Evidence against the Lockerbie bomber was fabricated and manipulated on both sides of the Atlantic, according to leaked defence documents which appear to undermine the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi. Investigators for Megrahi claim to have compelling new evidence of widespread tampering with evidence, missing or overlooked statements, and a concerted attempt to lead investigators away from the original Iranian-backed suspects and towards Libya... While the main perpetrators appear to have been CIA officers, according to the defence papers, there is also damning evidence suggesting police officers and other investigators took part in preparing false evidence... Last night, retired MP and Lockerbie campaigner Tam Dalyell said: "It is time we tried to put right the wrongs that have been perpetrated. This was the most high profile trial internationally that there has ever been, and the conduct of it and the verdict were simply outrageous."
Journalist 'wearing bomb belt' 25 Jun 2007 The Government has condemned a video of kidnapped BBC journalist Alan Johnston which apparently shows him wearing a suicide bomber-style explosives belt.
New oil discoveries turn spotlight back to west Africa 24 Jun 2007 Western and emerging Asian powers so keen to diversify oil supply sources to feed growing needs have recast their attention to west Africa following the latest discovery of new potential reserves. British oil and gas company Tullow Oil last week announced that it had discovered up to 600 million barrels of oil on the West Cape Three Points block off Ghana's coast.
North Africa Reluctant to Host U.S. Command --Algeria and Libya Reject Pentagon's AFRICOM Proposal; Morocco Signals Its Lack of Enthusiasm 24 Jun 2007 A U.S. delegation seeking a home for a new military command in Africa got a chilly reception during a tour of the northern half of the continent this month, running into opposition even in countries that enjoy friendly relations with the Pentagon. Algeria and Libya separately ruled out hosting the Defense Department's planned Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, and said they were firmly against any of their neighbors doing so either.
Chavez predicts resistance war with U.S. 24 Jun 2007 President Hugo Chavez urged soldiers on Sunday to prepare for a guerrilla-style war against the United States, saying that Washington is using psychological and economic warfare as part of an unconventional campaign aimed at derailing his government.
Revealed: Blair's secret plan to sack Gordon Brown --An explosive Cabinet Office document reveals that the departing Prime Minister had no intention of making a 'smooth transition' of power to Gordon Brown. Political Editor Marie Woolf reveals the detailed plans to sack his bitter rival and break up the Treasury in an exclusive report that reveals an extraordinary breakdown at the heart of government 24 Jun 2007 An astonishing confidential document - disclosed by The Independent on Sunday three days before Gordon Brown takes over as Prime Minister - proves that Tony Blair planned to sack Mr Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer immediately after the last election.
Judge Criticizes Warrantless Wiretaps 23 Jun 2007 A federal judge who used to authorize wiretaps in terrorist and espionage cases criticized President [sic] Bush's decision to order warrantless surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks. Royce Lamberth, a district court judge in Washington, said Saturday it was proper for executive branch agencies to conduct such surveillance. "But what we have found in the history of our country is that you can't trust the executive," he said at the American Library Association's convention.
FBI warns colleges of terror threat 12 Jun 2007 Federal agents are warning leaders at some of the region's top universities -- including MIT, Boston College, and the University of Massachusetts -- to be on the lookout for foreign spies or potential terrorists trying to steal their research, the head of the FBI's Boston office said yesterday. Agents plan to visit many more New England colleges in the coming months and are offering to provide briefings about what they call "espionage indicators" to faculty, students, or security staff as part of a national outreach to college campuses.
Whitman blasts Giuliani on WTC air 23 Jun 2007 In an upcoming interview with WNBC-TV, former head of the EPA Christie Whitman says former Mayor Rudy Giuliani blocked her efforts to force WTC workers to wear respirators. Former Environmental Protection Agency boss Christie Whitman says she urged Ground Zero workers to wear respirators, but then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani blocked her efforts. In the interview, Whitman told WNBC-TV she warned the city of the risks almost every day.
Sprinklers douse hundreds at LA airport 24 Jun 2007 Fire sprinklers at a Los Angeles International Airport terminal turned on Sunday after a water pipe broke, dousing passengers waiting for flights or picking up their bags.
Obama Says Some Have 'Hijacked' Faith 23 Jun 2007 Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.
What Universal Healthcare? By Ron Corvus (video) 24 Jun 2007 [See also: The Case For Single Payer, Universal Health Care For the United States Outline of Talk Given to The Association of State Green Parties, Moodus, Connecticut on June 4, 1999 By John R. Battista, M.D. and Justine McCabe, Ph.D.]
The Secret Campaign of President Bush's Administration to Deny Global Warming By Tim Dickinson 20 Jun 2007 It is no secret that industry-connected appointees within the White House have worked actively to distort the findings of federal climate scientists, playing down the threat of climate change. But a new investigation by Rolling Stone reveals that those distortions were sanctioned at the highest levels of our government, in a policy formulated by the vice president [sic], implemented by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and enforced by none other than Karl Rove. An examination of thousands of pages of internal documents... as well as interviews... confirms that the White House has implemented an industry-formulated disinformation campaign designed to actively mislead the American public on global warming and to forestall limits on climate polluters.
New study from Pilots for 9/11 Truth: No Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon 21 Jun 2007 (PRWEB) Pilots for 9/11 Truth obtained black box data from the government under the Freedom of Information Act for AA Flight 77, which The 9/11 Report claims hit the Pentagon. Analysis of the data contradicts the official account in direction, approach, and altitude. The plane was too high to hit lamp posts and would have flown over the Pentagon, not impacted with its ground floor. This result confirms and strengthens the previous findings of Scholars for 9/11 Truth that no Boeing 757 hit the building.
Mobile phones may soon be used on planes 22 June 2007 One of the last telephone-free environments on the planet, the airplane, is about to be connected, allowing travellers to make mobile phone calls at high altitude. Requests to switch off cellphones and fasten seatbelts are a familiar part of the take-off routine for airline passengers, but a European company has found a way to make dialling safe and link up people from above the clouds. [*Apparently,* the passengers aboard 'hijacked' United Airlines Flight 93 utilized a time machine, in order to make their calls. See: Alleged Oddities of Phone Calls from Doomed Flights and More Holes in the Official Story: The 9/11 Cell Phone Calls By Michel Chossudovsky 10 Aug 2004.]
Bush claims exemption from his oversight order 22 Jun 2007 The White House said Friday that, like Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's office, President [sic] Bush's office is exempt from a presidential order requiring government agencies that handle classified national security information to submit to oversight by an independent federal watchdog. The executive order that Bush issued in March 2003 covers all government agencies that are part of the executive branch and, although it doesn't specifically say so, was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman said. [Well, it certainly doesn't apply to Bush and Cheney, as neither is a president or a vice president.]
Cheney Defiant on Classified Material --Executive Order Ignored Since 2003 22 Jun 2007 Vice President [sic] Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according to documents released by a congressional committee yesterday.
Senate Committee Subpoenas Warrantless Spying Documents: White House Showdown Looms By Ryan Singel 21 Jun 2007 The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to subpoena documents from the Bush Administration related to the government's admitted eavesdropping on Americans' overseas emails and phone calls without getting court approval. Judiciary Committee head Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)... is now authorized to issue subpoenas for documents related to the warrantless wiretapping that are held at the Justice Department and the White House.
CIA Skeletons Come Out of Archive Closet --Documents Show Assassination Plots, Wiretaps of Journalists and Warrantless Searches [daily occurences, under the Bush regime] 22 Jun 2007 Little-known documents now being made public detail illegal and scandalous activities by the CIA more than 30 years ago: wiretappings of journalists, kidnappings, warrantless searches and more. The documents provide a glimpse of nearly 700 pages of materials that the agency plans to declassify next week. [How long do we have to wait for proof that 9/11 was an inside job?]
CIA reveals decades of plots, kidnaps and wiretaps --693-page dossier covers 1950s to early 70s --Contents caused panic in Ford White House 23 Jun 2007 The CIA is to declassify secret records detailing operations including illegal domestic surveillance, assassination plots and kidnapping, undertaken from the 1950s to the early 1970s, at the height of the cold war and the Vietnam conflict. The records were compiled in 1973 at the behest of the then CIA director, James Schlesinger, and collected in a 693-page dossier known as the "family jewels".
CIA to reveal decades of misdeeds 22 Jun 2007 Gen Hayden: Documents give a glimpse of a very different time The US Central Intelligence Agency is to declassify hundreds of documents detailing some of the agency's worst illegal abuses from the 1950s to 1970s. The papers, to be released next week, will detail assassination plots, domestic spying and wiretapping, kidnapping and human experiments.
Report: CIA Ran Secret Prisons In Europe --Europeans Say Detainees Interrogated In Poland, Romania; Their Top Leaders Knew 08 Jun 2007 The CIA ran secret prisons in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005 to interrogate prisoners in its war on [of] terror, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said in a report released Friday.
U.S. Building Prison In Afghanistan 22 Jun 2007 The United States is helping build a prison in Afghanistan to take some prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, but the White House said Friday it is not meant as an alternative to the detainee facility in Cuba. [Right, Dictator Bush can't move the prisoners onto US soil, as they would have to be afforded constitutional rights. Also, prisoners would likely reveal that they had been tortured, and key members of the Bush regime don't want to be tried for war crimes for violating provisions in the Geneva Convention.]
US denies Guantanamo Bay prison shutdown imminent 23 Jun 2007 The US plans to send some of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to a new jail in Afghanistan but denies it is on the verge of closing the detention centre. Senior Bush administration officials have told US media outlets that the Government is nearing a decision to close Guantanamo Bay, because of concern about the damage it is doing to America's international reputation.
Terror Suspect Transferred to Guantanamo 22 Jun 2007 The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of a dangerous terror suspect to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Haroon al-Afghani, who was captured as a result of our ongoing efforts in the Global War on [of] Terror, is known to be associated with high-level militants in Afghanistan, and has admitted to serving as a courier for 'al-Qaeda' Senior Leadership (AQSL). ['transfer of a dangerous terror suspect' - Are there *other* kinds of terror suspects?]
Army officer says Guantanamo tribunals flawed 22 Jun 2007 An Army officer with a key role in the U.S. military hearings at Guantanamo Bay says they relied on vague and incomplete intelligence and were pressured to declare prisoners "enemy combatants," often without any specific evidence. His affidavit, released Friday, is the first criticism by a member of the military panels that determine whether prisoners will continue to be held.
Top Targets Fled Before U.S. Push, Commander Says 23 Jun 2007 The operational commander of troops battling to drive fighters with Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] from Baquba said Friday that 80 percent of the top Qaeda leaders in the city fled before the American-led offensive began earlier this week. He compared their flight with the escape of Qaeda leaders from Falluja ahead of an American offensive that recaptured that city in 2004. [Gee, I wonder who tipped them off?]
US warns of higher Iraq casualties 22 Jun 2007 US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said US forces face more tough fighting in Iraq while his top military adviser says the rising level of violence is the "wrong metric" [?!?] for judging the surge.
Bomb strikes UK patrol in Basra 22 Jun 2007 The patrol was heading back to base at Basra Palace A roadside bomb has hit a British forces patrol, seriously injuring one soldier, as it returned to base in Basra, in southern Iraq.
'Good potential' to cut US troops in Iraq: commander 22 Jun 2007 A top US commander said Friday there was a "good potential" to start reducing US troop levels in Iraq early next year [in time for the 2008 'elections'] after the full force of a military surge is brought to bear against 'insurgents.'
Hundreds of Iraqis flee homes as Turkish forces battle Kurdish fighters 21 Jun 2007 (IRIN) Hundreds of Iraqi Kurds have been forced to flee their homes after up to 30,000 Turkish soldiers massed on the Iraqi-Turkish border and launched attacks against Kurdish fighters, Iraqi border police say. Local aid agencies said Kurdish fighters had prevented them from entering the villages, which were being targeted.
Afghan air strike kills 25 civilians, 20 Taliban 22 Jun 2007 An air strike by foreign-led forces killed 25 civilians, including 12 members of a family, and 20 Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, a police chief said on Friday.
New Photos Show Secret Pakistan Plutonium Plant; Fear of More Weapons Being Made 21 Jun 2007 A satellite photograph obtained by ABC News reveals Pakistan is nearing completion of a third, previously unknown plutonium production reactor, suggesting Pakistan may be planning to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal.
House rejects cuts to Army torture school 22 Jun 2007 Congress has turned back the latest attempt to cut funding for an Army school that trains military officers [torturers] from Latin America and has a tainted past. Just before midnight Thursday, the House voted 214-203 against a bid to eliminate the money used for foreign military officers to attend the controversial Army facility at Fort Benning, formerly called the School of the Americas.
German Officials Report Increased Threat of Terrorist Attacks 23 Jun 2007 Germany faces a heightened threat of terrorist attacks because of its military involvement in Afghanistan, government security officials here said Friday. The danger level, they warned, was comparable to the months before the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Military reviews placing special ops on U.S. soil 21 Jun 2007 The U.S. military command in charge of protecting the homeland asked the Pentagon earlier this year for a contingent of special operations officers to help with domestic 'anti'-terrorism missions. Military sources told The Examiner that U.S. Northern Command, established at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado in 2002, requested its own special operations command similar to ones assigned to overseas war-fighting commands, such as U.S. Central Command. The request was approved six months ago by the then-commander of NorthCom, Adm. Timothy Keating, who has since moved to U.S. Pacific Command. [See also: DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack 31 May 2007]
penetrates Pentagon email system 21 Jun 2007 A hacker penetrated
an unclassified Pentagon email system, prompting authorities to take
as many 1,500 accounts offline, defense officials said Thursday. "Elements
of the OSD unclassified e-mail system were taken offline yesterday afternoon
due to a detected penetration," US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said,
using an acronym for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Digimarc Hires Lobbyist for Real ID 21 Jun 2007 Digital security company Digimarc Corp. hired a former lawyer for the commission that 'investigated' the Sept. 11 attacks to lobby the federal government, according to a disclosure form. Janice Kephart, whose firm 9/11 Security Solutions LLC was hired by Digimarc, will lobby on issues related to the federal Real ID Act, which imposes national standards for secure state-issued driver's licenses, according to the form posted online Wednesday by the Senate's public records office.
Gonzales Tells Colleagues He'll Finish Term 22 Jun 2007 Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told a gathering of his colleagues in Atlanta on Thursday that he would complete his term in office, using his final 18 months to fight online child predators and to push to make background checks on gun buyers more current.
Justice Dept.'s No. 3 Resigns --Mercer Is Sixth Official to Leave in Wake of Prosecutor Firings 22 Jun 2007 The Justice Department's third-in-command announced his resignation today, becoming the sixth high-level official to quit in the wake of ongoing controversy over the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year. William W. Mercer, who has been acting associate attorney general since September, formally withdrew his nomination for the permanent job just days before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Brother, Can You Spare a Grand? Abramoff-Tied Lawmaker Passes Hat to Pay Legal Bills 22 Jun 2007 Reportedly under scrutiny by federal prosecutors for his role in a 2003 Scottish golf trip paid for by disgraced former superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, a Florida congressman is starting a fundraising push to help cover his legal bills. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., on Wednesday filed papers establishing a legal defense fund, to pay legal expenses "arising from Tom Feeney's ongoing voluntary cooperation with inquiries" stemming from the federal investigation into the Abramoff scandal, Feeney spokeswoman Pepper Pennington told the Blotter on ABCNews.com.
Romney aide is the focus of probe Allegedly acted as State Police trooper 22 Jun 2007 State Police are investigating one of [sociopath] Mitt Romney's top campaign aides for allegedly impersonating a trooper by calling a Wilmington company and threatening to cite the driver of a company van for erratic driving, according to two law enforcement sources familiar with the probe. Jay Garrity, who is director of operations on Romney's presidential campaign and a constant presence at his side, became the primary target of the investigation, according to one of the sources, after authorities traced the cellphone used to make the call back to him. The investigation comes three years after Garrity, while working for Romney in the State House, was cited for having flashing lights and other police equipment in his car without proper permits.
John Edwards advocates Smithfield union vote 22 Jun 2007 Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards is calling on Smithfield Packing Co. to allow its workers in Tar Heel to vote for a union. At his campaign headquarters in Chapel Hill on Thursday, Edwards met with about a dozen current and former employees of the hog processing plant.
New Orleans deaths up 47% 22 Jun 2007 Hurricane Katrina's tragic aftermath lingered for at least a year after the storm abated, boosting New Orleans' death rate last year by 47% compared with two years before the levees broke [were blown], researchers reported Thursday.
LOL, from the regime that never met a merger it didn't like: FTC tries to block Whole Foods' bid for Wild Oats' data --Regulators say it would hinder antitrust efforts 22 Jun 2007 Government lawyers are trying to block Whole Foods Market Inc. from gaining more access to financial information about other retailers in an antitrust lawsuit against the natural and organic food chain. Lawyers for the Federal Trade Commission said their ability to enforce antitrust laws would be harmed [!] by letting Whole Foods see the information on competitors... companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., The Kroger Co. and Trader Joe's Co. have asked to enter the case to oppose Whole Foods' request for more access to their information.
U.S. study sees bias in company-funded statin trials 05 Jun 2007 Clinical trials comparing cholesterol-lowering drugs to one another are far more likely to yield results favoring the one whose maker paid for the research, scientists said on Monday in the latest work showing bias in company-sponsored studies. Researchers led by Lisa Bero of the University of California-San Francisco analyzed the results of 192 trials assessing how well various cholesterol-lowering statin drugs work compared to other ones or non-statin drugs.
Senate votes for first rise in car fuel standard in 32 years 23 Jun 2007 Democrats in the US Senate have taken a tentative step in the fight against global warming by imposing the first increase in fuel efficiency standards on car manufacturers in almost 20 years.
Emergency Motion on Protecting the Honeybee --Question Tabled to European Commission by Hiltrud Breyer MEP, Strasbourg 22 Jun 2007 Honeybees have been disappearing worldwide. Across the United States, beekeepers have been losing 30 to 90% or more of colonies in a "colony collapse disorder" (CCD)... CCD has been reported from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the UK... The most important single factors identified by the Institute of Science in Society in CCD were sub-lethal levels of insecticides, in particular, a class of new systemic neonicotinoid pesticides widely used to dress seeds and in sprays on crops, and microwave radiation from wireless telephone transmitters and base stations... Will the European Commission take the appropriate measures to halt the colony collapse of the honeybees? This would include banning Bt crops and systemic neonicotinoid pesticides while their synergistic action in killing honeybees in combination with parasitic fungi and other infections are thoroughly investigated.
Rising Seas to Destroy U.S. Beaches 22 Jun 2007 You may have to kiss that summer trip to the beach goodbye later this century, thanks to rising sea levels and more intense tropical storms, scientists predict.
Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don't Apply to Him By Justin Rood 21 Jun 2007 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney has asserted his office is not a part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, and therefore not bound by a presidential order governing the protection of classified information by government agencies, according to a new letter from Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to Cheney. [Bush has never been part of the executive branch of the U.S. government, either.]
Vice President Exempts His Office from the Requirements for Protecting Classified Information (oversight.gov) 21 Jun 2007 The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President [sic] Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an "entity within the executive branch." As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President's position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President's staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President's executive order.
Fact Sheet: The Vice President's Efforts to Avoid Oversight and Accountability By Rep. Henry A. Waxman Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform 21 Jun 2007
'I question both the legality and wisdom of your actions.' Waxman Decries Cheney Security Exemption 21 Jun 2007 House Democrats on Thursday denounced Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's idea of abolishing a government office charged with safeguarding national security information - and criticized him for refusing to cooperate with [abolish] the agency.
Rebuffed by Rice, Hadley, House panel tracks down witnesses for Iraq probe 19 Jun 2007 The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s probe into prewar intelligence has again postponed a hearing, scheduled for today, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who refuses to testify publicly despite a panel subpoena.
Court Hears Appeal In Bush Murder Plot --Lawyer: American Convicted of Plotting to Assassinate 'President' Was Denied Constitutional Rights 21 Jun 2007 An American Muslim convicted of joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President [sic] Bush was denied his constitutional right to confront his accusers, his lawyer told a federal appeals court Thursday. The government also failed to produce evidence to support a confession given by Ahmed Omar Abu Ali after he was tortured by Saudi security officers, attorney Joshua Draytel told the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Decision on Guantanamo not imminent, U.S. says 22 Jun 2007 A White House meeting on the future of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay is no longer on the schedule for Friday, an official said after news reports that the Bush regime was nearing agreement on closing the controversial facility.
Guantanamo camp to close, White House sources claim 22 Jun 2007 The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and move terrorist suspects to military prisons on US soil, it was reported last night. Senior White House officials claimed that George Bush's top national security and legal advisers were to discuss the move at the White House today.
US 'close to shutting down Guantanamo' 22 Jun 2007 The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility and move terror suspects from there to military prisons on US soil, The Associated Press has learned.
Torture Memo Resurfaces During CIA Lawyer's Confirmation 20 Jun 2007 John Rizzo is facing tough questions on torture after the White House nominated him to serve as the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) general counsel. In a 2002 memo to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Rizzo, who has served as a CIA lawyer for 32 years, said that U.S. laws prohibiting torture "makes plain that it only prohibits extreme acts."
KBR Selected For Anti-Terrorism Work On Naval Contract 19 Jun 2007 KBR recently announced it has been selected by the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command to compete for future task orders under the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) Ashore program contract vehicle. KBR will be part of a Lockheed Martin-led team. The four companies selected will compete for tasks which, all totaled, have a contract ceiling of up to $500M over the five-year time period. [Gee, no wonder the US government let Osama bin Laden charter a jet to whisk Saudi Nationals out of the US. Without Bush's 9/11, no $500M 'anti-terrorism' contracts for Cheney's KBR. --LRP]
Bin Laden may have helped family flee US 21 Jun 2007 Osama bin Laden may have chartered a plane that carried his family members and Saudi nationals out of the US after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the FBI says. The papers, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, were made public by Judicial Watch. One FBI document referred to a Ryan Air 727 airplane that departed Los Angeles International Airport on September 19, 2001, and was said to have carried Saudi nationals out of the US. "The plane was chartered either by the Saudi Arabian royal family or Osama bin Laden,'' according to the document, which was among 224 pages posted online.
Romney calls for 'special' armed forces to 'root out' terrorists 22 Jun 2007 Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney called for "new course" in the fight against terrorists on Thursday... Romney called for the United States to establish a "Special Partnership Force" — made up of Army special forces and intelligence personnel [i.e., death squads] — to work with foreign governments to root out terrorists from their populations. [He should start with rooting out *himself.*]
I'm seizing control, says PM 22 Jun 2007 The Prime Minister has cited a "national emergency" to justify a radical takeover of indigenous affairs that will give the Federal Government control over almost every aspect of Aboriginal life in the Northern Territory. The unprecedented seizure of federal control will involve draconian measures - including bans on alcohol sales and cuts to welfare payments - to tackle an epidemic of child sexual abuse in the territory. Customary law will be scrapped as a mitigating factor in sentencing and bail decisions. [Yeah, right. Cutting welfare payments will bring child sexual abuse to a *screeching halt.*]
Enter Sydney, but only with ID 22 Jun 2007 The Federal Government has promised that residents and workers will still be able to access Sydney during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit, but flagged that special identification may be required. A letter from an employer or other credentials may be needed to prove an individual has a "legitimate reason" to be in APEC security zones, said the general manager of media and communications for the APEC Task Force, Bernadette Ryan.
At least 15 US military deaths in Iraq in 3 days 21 Jun 2007 It's been a deadly three-day period for US troops in Iraq. According to the latest military statements, at least 15 troops have been killed over the last three days, including five killed today in a single roadside bombing in Baghdad. Another soldier died today when a rocket-propelled grenade struck a vehicle in northern Baghdad.
US Army rebids Halliburton Iraq contract 20 Jun 2007 The US Army will rebid the multi billion-dollar contract under which a Halliburton Co. subsidiary has been providing services to troops around the world after years of complaints over how the deal has worked in Iraq. Critics of the contract said the move was overdue and that hundreds of millions of dollars had probably been wasted. [See: Justice Dept. opts out of whistle-blower suits --Cases allege fraud in Iraq contracts 20 Jun 2007 The Justice Department has opted out of at least 10 whistle-blower lawsuits alleging fraud and corruption in government reconstruction and security contracts in Iraq, and has spent years investigating additional fraud cases but has yet to try to recover any money. Lawmakers sought to determine why the federal government has not done more to recover tens of millions of dollars that allegedly have been misused or misspent in Iraq.]
Iraq becomes prime training ground for export of Jihadists 19 Jun 2007 Iraq has overtaken Afghanistan as an ideal training ground for Jihadists to export their battle across and beyond the Middle East, experts say.
US troops 'set trap for militants' 22 Jun 2007 The US military says it is setting a trap to "eliminate" Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] militants around Baghdad, but also says 12  American soldiers have been killed in the past two days, mostly in roadside bombings. The toll of civilian casualties continued to rise after a suicide bomber killed 16 people by ramming his truck into a government building near the northern city of Kirkuk.
U.S. on offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq 21 Jun 2007 Two U.S. soldiers were killed and four wounded in an attack on their vehicle southwest of Baghdad as thousands of troops swept around Iraq's capital in a coordinated operation against militants, the military said on Thursday.
Mortar bombs strike Green Zone in Baghdad 21 Jun 2007 (Thurs.) A barrage of mortar bombs hit Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday and several plumes of smoke could be seen rising near buildings housing the Iraqi parliament and government offices, Reuters reporters said. At least seven mortar rounds could be heard slamming into the Green Zone, which houses many Iraqi government ministries as well as the U.S., British and other Western embassies.
Mortar Rounds Hit Baghdad's Green Zone 19 Jun 2007 (Tues.) Militants fired mortar rounds into the U.S.-guarded Green Zone at sundown Tuesday, with five of them striking near the office of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and one crashing adjacent to the American post exchange store.
New think tank details U.S. withdrawal from Iraq 20 Jun 2007 A new think tank run by former U.S. defense officials has published a detailed plan that would have the United States withdraw from Iraq in phases, beginning in 2008 and ending in 2012. These aims include preventing the establishment of al Qaeda safe havens, a regional war and genocide instead of President [sic] George W. Bush's goal of creating a 'democracy.'
Longer Troop Stints 'Worst Case Scenario' 21 Jun 2007 Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he doesn't expect to have to lengthen the deployments of U.S. troops in Iraq, saying that type of move is a "worst-case scenario." But, he told reporters at a Pentagon briefing Thursday he can't say how long American forces will have to stay at their current increased levels to make Baghdad secure.
Aussies repelled five gunboats: ADF 22 Jun 2007 The Australian Defence Force says up to five Iranian gunboats tried to capture Australian sailors in the Persian Gulf in December 2004. A defence spokesman told reporters the four-hour confrontation occurred after Australian navy personnel boarded a grounded cargo ship in the gulf.
Mega barf alert! Bush eyes Blair for role as peace negotiator 22 Jun 2007 The US is pressing the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to become a special envoy to the Middle East, in an attempt to lay the groundwork for a Palestinian state.
US envoy resumes nuclear mission 22 Jun 2007 In a sharp reversal of strategy, the Bush Administration has dispatched its top North Korea negotiator to Pyongyang for one-on-one talks about the North giving up its nuclear arsenal. Christopher Hill left for Pyongyang from Tokyo just hours after the US found a way to return to the North $US25 million ($30 million) in funds that had been frozen in a bank in Macau for several years.
House halts funds for new nuclear warheads 20 Jun 2007 The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday moved to block President [sic] George W. Bush from developing a new generation of atomic warheads, as Democratic and Republican opponents said the administration had not developed an adequate post-Cold War nuclear strategy.
Stanford passes first DARPA test 14 Jun 2007 The Stanford Racing Team shows off its robot car, Junior, to DARPA representatives on Thursday in the first test round for the third edition of the DARPA Grand Challenge, a competition for driverless cars sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. This year's Grand Challenge event, known as the DARPA Urban Challenge, is scheduled for November 3.
Report Says U.S. Misled City on Dust From Ground Zero 21 Jun 2007 Federal environmental officials misled Lower Manhattan residents about the extent of contamination in their condominiums and apartments after the collapse of the World Trade Center, according to a preliminary report released on Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office... More than 4,000 apartments in Lower Manhattan were professionally decontaminated in a residential cleanup program, and the agency reported that only a "very small" number of air samples taken in those residences showed unsafe levels of asbestos. But the agency failed to explain that 80 percent of the air samples were taken after the apartments had already been cleaned.
Oil Companies Spared Tax Hikes 21 Jun 2007 Republicans blocked a proposal Thursday to tax the oil industry an additional $29 billion, while the Senate moved closer to an agreement on raising automobile fuel economy for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Exxon Mobil VP Exercises Options 19 Jun 2007 A vice president for oil company Exxon Mobil Corp. exercised options for 19,092 shares of common stock, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. In a Form 4 filed with the SEC, Gerald Kohlenberger reported he exercised options for the shares Thursday for $31.70 apiece, and then sold all of them for $84.50 to $84.53 apiece.
Senate approves fuel standard of 35 mpg by 2020 21 Jun 2007 The U.S. Senate approved compromise legislation on Thursday that would force automakers to produce vehicles that get 'sharply higher gasoline mileage' by 2020, a cornerstone of 'efforts' to reduce oil imports.
House Panel OKs $153M in Pet Projects 21 Jun 2007 The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved $153 million in pet projects, rewarding both powerful and not-so-powerful lawmakers alike with 377 cherished "earmarks" for their home districts.
Missing: Large lake in southern Chile 20 Jun 2007 A lake in southern Chile has mysteriously disappeared, prompting speculation the ground has simply opened up and swallowed it whole. The lake was situated in the Magallanes region in Patagonia and was fed by water, mostly from melting glaciers.
Taliban seizes control of area in south Afghanistan --Tactical Retreat: An Interior Minister official said the police had pulled out of the district 'temporarily,' after rebels took control of government offices and weapons. 20 Jun 2007 Afghan forces admitted yesterday that the Taliban had captured a district in mountainous southern Afghanistan in the latest upsurge of rebels strikes that have killed scores of people. The 'insurgents' said they captured mountainous Myanishen district in the Kandahar Province late on Monday. The ministry said yesterday that police had left the area.
New Taliban Leader Had Been in Afghan Custody; Released in Hostage Deal 20 Jun 2007 The Taliban military commander who led the "graduation ceremony" for 300 suicide bombers was one of five men released from an Afghanistan prison earlier this year in exchange for a kidnapped Italian journalist.
Britain to stay engaged in Afghanistan for 'decades' 20 Jun 2007 Britain will need to stay involved in Afghanistan for "decades" to help restore stability, London's ambassador in Kabul said Wednesday. "It's a marathon rather than a sprint. We should be thinking in terms of decades," Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles said, in an interview with BBC radio.
Roadside bomb kills 3 NATO soldiers in Afghanistan 20 Jun 2007 Three NATO troops died today when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb, and [US] gunmen opened fire on people praying in a mosque in eastern Afghanistan, killing three and wounding four others, officials said.
A 'Secret' Weapon in the War Against Terror? By William M. Arkin 20 Jun 2007 Are U.S. forces employing a new weapon in the war against terrorism? And if so, why are they keeping it a secret? ...NBC News reported Sunday that U.S. special operations forces attacked a compound in eastern Afghanistan, an attack intended to kill the Al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan. Seven children were reportedly killed in the attack, and NBC reported that the decision was made to attack the compound despite the presence of children because of the value of the target. [In other words, another war crime] What makes these attacks different from the usual attacks in the perpetual head-hunting effort against Al Qaeda is this: Consistent reports from intelligence and military sources that special operations forces employed a new ground rocket system. The system, called High Mobility Artillery Rockets, or HIMARS is reportedly a complement to Predator drones...
U.S. Seeks to Block Exits for Iraq Insurgents 20 Jun 2007 In the first hours of the American military assault, after midnight early Monday, helicopters flew two teams of American troops and a platoon of Iraqi scouts so they could block the southern escape routes from the city. Americans intend to take fingerprints and other biometric data from every resident who seems to be a potential fighter after they and Iraqi forces have gained control of the western side of the city. The Americans will also test for the presence of explosive material on suspects' hands. Officers are hoping that local residents and even former insurgents who have split with 'Al Qaeda' may quietly help the American troops pick out insurgents.
U.S. troops in Iraq go on the offensive 20 Jun 2007 Thousands of U.S. troops swept into the northern and southern beltlands of Baghdad on Wednesday in simultaneous operations against militants that the military said was the start of a "summer of hard fighting" in Iraq.
2 Sunni Mosques Attacked in Iraq 20 Jun 2007 [US] Gunmen blew up two Sunni mosques Wednesday south of Baghdad, causing heavy damage but no casualties, police said, in an apparent retaliatory attack a day after a suicide truck bombing devastated a revered Shiite mosque in the heart of the capital, killing at least 87 people.
Death toll in Iraq mosque bombing climbs to 87 20 Jun 2007 The death toll from a [US] suicide truck bombing that partly demolished a Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday has risen to 87 overnight, police said on Wednesday. Doctors had warned that the toll, which police initially put at 78, could rise because many of the wounded were badly hurt.
Slim Chance of Finding an Arabic Speaker at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad 20 Jun 2007 Of the 1,000 U.S. employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, only 10 have a working knowledge of Arabic, according to the State Department.
Justice Dept. opts out of whistle-blower suits --Cases allege fraud in Iraq contracts 20 Jun 2007 The Justice Department has opted out of at least 10 whistle-blower lawsuits alleging fraud and corruption in government reconstruction and security contracts in Iraq, and has spent years investigating additional fraud cases but has yet to try to recover any money. A congressional subcommittee heard testimony on the matter yesterday, as lawmakers sought to determine why the federal government has not done more to recover tens of millions of dollars that allegedly have been misused or misspent in Iraq.
Iraq conflict pushes global refugee total near 10mn 20 Jun 2007 Violence in Iraq is the main driver behind a significant rise in the global refugee population to nearly 10mn people by the end of last year, the UN refugee agency said yesterday.
'Iraq drives' global refugee rise 19 Jun 2007 The number of refugees worldwide has risen for the first time in five years, largely because of violence in Iraq, according to a United Nations report.
U.S. Opts Not to Release Iranians Detained in Iraq Raid 20 Jun 2007 The United States will not release five Iranians [diplomats] detained in a U.S. military raid in northern Iraq until at least October, despite entreaties from the Iraqi government and growing behind-the-scenes pressure from Iran, according to U.S. officials. On June 13, Iran filed a letter of complaint with the United Nations about the 5 a.m. raid. "U.S. military forces, in violation of the most basic provisions governing diplomatic and consulate affairs and in a flagrant contempt for the most fundamental principles of international law, attacked the Iranian Consulate General in Irbil and abducted five Iranian consular officers after disarming the guards of the premises, breaking the doors into the building and beating and injuring the personnel of the Consulate General," the letter said. "They also confiscated some documents and other properties of the Consulate General."
Navy mistakes are blamed for capture of hostages by Iran 20 Jun 2007 The capture of British sailors and marines by Iran in the Gulf was the result of a series of mistakes by the Navy, and the decision to let the freed hostages sell their story to the press was a "collective failure of judgement" by the Ministry of Defence, two official inquiries have concluded.
Bush pledges to increase US funding to Israel 20 Jun 2007 In a White House statement issued following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Washington, President [sic] George W. Bush pledged to increase US military aid to Israel over the course of the next decade. An American team will land in Israel in July to finalize the deal. Israel currently receives an annual $2.4 billion in military aid.
Top CIA Official Dodges Question on Torture 19 Jun 2007 A top CIA official refused to say publicly whether or not the United States has sent detainees to countries that use torture as an interrogation technique. "It's difficult to give a yes or no answer to that in open session," said John Rizzo at his long-delayed confirmation hearing to be the CIA's general counsel before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Nominee for C.I.A. Counsel Offers Few Details in His Senate Confirmation Hearing 20 Jun 2007 As a 31-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, John A. Rizzo is privy to some of the nation’s most closely held secrets. As the top lawyer at the agency for much of the last six years, he had a central role in C.I.A. detention and interrogation of prisoners in secret jails abroad. Mr. Rizzo has been nominated to become general counsel of the agency. DemocRATs on the committee, who spent years in the minority saying Republicans were muzzling them from asking tough questions about the Bush regime’s most controversial policies since the Sept. 11 attacks, generally did not press Mr. Rizzo for details about the secret detention program of the intelligence agency.
Bin Laden may have arranged exit from US for fleeing relatives: FBI docs 20 Jun 2007 Osama bin Laden may have chartered a plane that carried his family members and Saudi nationals out of the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to FBI documents released Wednesday. [See: CLG 9/11 Exposition Zone.]
Padilla never used jihad code words 19 Jun 2007 Jose Padilla
was never overheard using purported code words for violent jihad in
intercepted telephone conversations and spoke often about his difficulties
learning Arabic while studying in Egypt, the lead FBI agent in the case
testified Tuesday. Defense attorney, Michael Caruso, asked FBI Agent
James T. Kavanaugh whether Padilla ever was heard using what prosecutors
say were code words for violent jihad, such as "picnic," "smelling
fresh air" or "eating cheese." "No, he does not," Kavanaugh
BlackBerry Ban for French Officials --Le Monde: French Government, Fearing U.S. Snooping, Bans BlackBerry Use by Officials 20 Jun 2007 BlackBerry handhelds have been called addictive, invasive, wonderful and now, a threat to French state secrets. French government security experts have reportedly banned with mixed success the use of BlackBerries in ministries and in the presidential palace, for fear that they are vulnerable to snooping by U.S. intelligence.
New Passport Requirements for Land Travel 20 Jun 2007 (NPR) The Bush administration is due to announce plans for phasing in a requirement that makes Americans show a passport when crossing the border by land from Canada and Mexico, starting in January. The administration is trying to defuse congressional efforts to delay the passport rule until 2009, after a similar one for air travel caused major delays at passport offices.
DHS acknowledges own computer break-ins 20 Jun 2007 The Homeland 'Security' Department, the lead U.S. agency for fighting cyber threats, suffered more than 800 hacker break-ins, virus outbreaks and other computer security problems over two years, senior officials acknowledged to Congress.
Computer glitch halts United flights 20 Jun 2007 A United Airlines computer malfunction halted all departures systemwide for two hours Wednesday, the carrier said.
Sewage flows down aisles of trans-Atlantic flight 19 Jun 2007 Passengers on a Continental Airlines flight had to hold their noses for hours as sewage overflowed from toilets while they were high over the Atlantic.
New traffic 'civil remedial fees' will wallop the wallets of traffic offenders 20 Jun 2007 Civil fees will be on top of traffic fines courts impose, and are part of the new financial package to help fund Virginia's beleaguered highway department... Some are calling the civil penalties "hidden fees." They range from $250 to $3,000, depending on the traffic violation, and will be assessed on a variety of misdemeanor traffic violations including being a passenger in a hit and run or the failure to give a proper signal... Play an R or X rated movie on the van DVD player and if it is seen by someone in another vehicle, a driver can be charged and fined with having an obscene video image seen from outside the car. The civil fee is $300. The new law takes effect July 1.
Treasurer of South Carolina Is Indicted on Drug Charges 20 Jun 2007 The South Carolina treasurer was indicted on Tuesday on federal cocaine charges. The treasurer, Thomas Ravenel is charged with distribution of cocaine, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Mr. Ravenel, a Republican, is also the state chairman for Rudolph W. Giuliani’s presidential campaign.
Libby petitions appeals court to delay implementing sentence in CIA leak case 20 Jun 2007 Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., who faces prison soon in the CIA leak case, asked a federal appeals court Tuesday to step in and delay the sentence.
Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Bill 20 Jun 2007 Pushing back against the Democratic-led Congress, President [sic] Bush [a stem cell himself] vetoed a bill Wednesday that would have eased restraints on federally funded embryonic stem cell research.
New tests on bird flu drug after teenagers' deaths --Trials will look at whether Tamiflu causes delusions 20 Jun 2007 The reputation of flu drug Tamiflu suffered a fresh blow yesterday when the Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche and its Japanese partner announced new clinical trials to establish whether there is a possible link between the antiviral and dozens of deaths and injuries among Japanese teenagers. [See: Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu 31 Oct 2005 Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing.]
Bird Flu Fears Reignited 19 Jun 2007 While the threat of a bird flu pandemic continues to hang over the world, authorities in the United Kingdom now believe a second strain of avian flu -- previously considered of little human risk -- does indeed pose a real danger to people... When new hens began dying between May 1 and May 17, health authorities from both countries descended on the farm, testing the sick birds and determining that the birds had H7N2 disease.
Portman Quits Before Ties to Bush Turn From Asset to Liability 20 Jun 2007 Budget director Rob Portman, whose Bush family connections paved his path to Washington more than a decade ago, is leaving the White House before those links become an impediment to his political ambitions.
Iraq second on 'failed state' index 20 Jun 2007 US-occupied Iraq now ranks as the second most unstable country in the world, according to the 2007 failed state index. Despite billions of dollars in foreign 'aid' and the presence of more than 150,000 American troops, Iraq has been on a steady decline over the past three years, according to the index, issued on Monday by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.
Samarra dam in danger 18 Jun 2007 HAQ news agency received from reliable sources from the city of Samarra that the American occupation forces today expelled all the workers and staff who work at the dam of Samarra. The incoming news that only people exist in the place are the American soldiers who are now deployed between infantry over the dam and divers underneath. Other news also reported that the occupation forces opened Dokan dam and allowed the water to flow since ten days. American forces are planning to blow up the Dam then stick the charge with the Iraqi resistance as it did with the Sarafya bridge and al-Nessur tunnel and others in other places... A source from Dam security confirmed that American army divers constantly dive underneath.
Negroponte behind Samarra blast 17 Jun 2007 The US Deputy Secretary of State reportedly planned the attack on the holy Shia shrines in Samarra to help topple the Iraqi government. According to an informed source John Negroponte plotted the attack during an unannounced trip to Iraq on June 12 in order to fuel insecurity and sectarian violence in the country. Negroponte's motive was to overthrow Iraq's legitimate government, the same source added. Negroponte... held several informal meetings with Iraqi officials prior to the June 13 terrorist attack on the revered Shia shrines in Samarra, the source said.
Suicide bomb blast kills 78 20 Jun 2007 A suspected al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] bomber killed 78 people when he rammed a truck into a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Tuesday. Police said 78 people had been killed, including at least nine women, and 224 others were wounded.
Thousands of US troops launch Iraq offensive 19 Jun 2007 A big offensive has begun in Iraq with about 10,000 U.S. troops targeting 'al-Qaida' in Iraq northeast of Baghdad. The raids, dubbed "Operation Arrowhead Ripper," [ROFL!] are taking place in Baqouba, the capital of Diyala province, and include air assaults under the cover of darkness.
US army reports 3 American soldiers killed in Iraq 19 Jun 2007 The US military on Tuesday reported three US soldiers killed in separate attacks in Iraq, including one in an explosion in Diyala province where a new operation is underway to clear 'insurgents' from the area northeast of Baghdad.
U.S. presses Iraq military to double its manpower 18 Jun 2007 The United States, expecting a spike in casualties and the withdrawal of its forces, is urging Iraq to nearly double the size of its army. Officials said U.S. commanders and officials have recommended the launch of an immediate campaign to significantly expand the Iraq Army.
Seven children killed after US air strike on school in Afghanistan 19 Jun 2007 Massive battles were reported to have killed more than 100 people in southern Afghanistan in the past three days, as officials revealed that seven children had died when their religious school was bombed by the United States-led 'coalition.'
Army Considers Longer Combat Tours Again 19 Jun 2007 The Army is considering whether it will have to extend the combat tours of troops in Iraq if President [sic] Bush opts to maintain the recent buildup of forces through spring 2008.
Troops' 1-month breaks blocked 19 Jun 2007 U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation by Army mental health experts that troops receive a one-month break for every three months in a combat zone, despite unprecedented levels of continuous fighting and worsening risks of mental stress.
Pentagon hires ABC reporter to improve PR 18 Jun 2007 The Pentagon will announce this week that Geoff Morrell, previously a White House correspondent for ABC News, has been hired as the Defense Department’s on-camera briefer, a senior administration official told The Politico. [Oh, I thought most of ABC's reporters *were* working for the Pentagon.]
US ponders meaning of humiliation 20 Jun 2007 Eight months after the US President [sic], George Bush, signed a bill authorising the CIA to resume its "enhanced interrogation techniques" on terrorism suspects, the Administration has been unable to agree on what constitutes "humiliating and degrading treatment" of prisoners.
Bush and Rumsfeld 'knew about Abu Ghraib' 19 Jun 2007 The two-star Army General who led the first military investigation into human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has bluntly questioned the integrity of former US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, suggesting he misled the US Congress by downplaying his own prior knowledge of what had happened. Major General Antonio Taguba also claimed in an interview with The New Yorker magazine published yesterday that President [sic] George Bush also "had to be aware" of the atrocities despite saying at the time of the scandal that he had been out of the loop until he saw images in the US media.
Kidnapping Trial of C.I.A. Agents Is Suspended by Judge in Italy 19 Jun 2007 An Italian judge on Monday suspended the kidnapping trial of 25 Central Intelligence Agency operatives, a United States military officer and some of Italy’s former top spies, to await a ruling on whether prosecutors overstepped their bounds and violated state secrecy laws as they gathered evidence.
EU states' complicity confirmed in CIA secret prisons 19 Jun 2007 The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secretly operated illegal prisons for terrorism suspects in multiple locations in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005, according to a report released by the Council of Europe.
Suicide Bomb Teams Sent to U.S., Europe 18 Jun 2007 Large teams of newly [CIA-]trained suicide bombers are being sent to the United States and Europe, according to evidence contained on a new videotape obtained by the Blotter on ABCNews.com. Teams assigned to carry out attacks in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany were introduced at an 'al Qaeda'/Taliban training camp graduation ceremony held June 9.
White House Press Evacuated For 90 Minutes in Bomb Scare 18 Jun 2007 The White House Press Center was evacuated for about 90 minutes Monday afternoon after a bomb-sniffing dog reacted to a vehicle being used for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit, a Secret Service spokesman told E&P.
US lawmakers seek 10-yr terror insurance extension 18 Jun 2007 The chairman of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on Monday introduced a bill to extend the federal government's terrorism risk insurance program for 10 years.
UK extends E-commerce Directive to terrorism laws 19 Jun 2007 Regulations come into force this week that explain how and when a foreign company can be brought to justice in the UK over blog postings that encourage terrorism. [!] The Regulations integrate Europe's e-commerce laws with the UK's Terrorism Act. The Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations 2007 were laid before Parliament on 31st May and come into force on 21st June. The Terrorism Act 2006... contains a notice and takedown regime that applies to all website operators. If a person posts any remark to a blog that encourages an act of terrorism, a police constable can serve a notice on the operator of the blog requiring the removal of the offending post within two days.
6 states defy law requiring ID cards 19 Jun 2007 Six state legislatures are defying a federal law requiring new driver's licenses that aim to prevent identity theft, fraud and terrorism. Lawmakers in Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Washington say new standards would be expensive to implement and result in a national ID card that compromises privacy.
'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws 19 Jun 2007 President [sic] Bush has asserted that he is not necessarily bound by the bills he signs into law, and yesterday a congressional study found multiple examples in which the administration has not complied with the requirements of the new statutes. Bush has been criticized for his use of "signing statements," in which he invokes presidential [dictatorial] authority to challenge provisions of legislation passed by Congress. The president has challenged a federal ban on torture, a request for data on the administration of the USA Patriot Act and numerous other assertions of congressional power. As recently as December, Bush asserted the authority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in a signing statement attached to a postal reform bill.
US agencies disobey 6 laws that president challenged --Officials regarded some as advisory 19 Jun 2007 Federal officials have disobeyed at least six new laws that President [sic] Bush challenged in his signing statements, a government study disclosed yesterday. The report provides the first evidence that the government may have acted on claims by Bush that he can set aside laws under his executive powers.
Karl Rove e-mails may have broken the law 18 Jun 2007 Presidential [sic] advisor Karl Rove sent more than 140,000 e-mails through the Republican National Committee's computer system, circumventing a federal law intended to guarantee the preservation of presidential records, House of Representatives investigators have concluded. While 88 White House aides used the back-channel system, Rove was its biggest user at the White House, and more than half of his communications dealt with official business, according to an interim report by the House Oversight Committee.
White House aides' e-mail records gone 18 Jun 2007 E-mail records are missing for 51 of the 88 White House officials who had electronic message accounts with the Republican National Committee, the House Oversight Committee said Monday. The Bush administration may have committed "extensive" violations of a law requiring that certain records be preserved, said the committee's Democratic chairman, adding that the panel will deepen its probe into the use of political e-mail accounts.
Justice official accused of blocking suits into alleged violations of minorities' voting rights 18 Jun 2007 A former Justice Department political appointee blocked career lawyers from filing at least three lawsuits charging local and county governments with violating the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, seven former senior department employees charged Monday.
Supreme Court Upholds Rights for Car Passengers 18 Jun 2007 A passenger as well as a driver has the right to challenge the legality of a police officer’s decision to stop a car, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously today.
Uncivil Liberties and the Empire's War On Its Citizens By Carolyn Baker 17 Jun 2007 With extraordinary assistance from its leaders, Americans have managed throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries, to persevere in denial about two things: 1) The reality that their government has become a full-fledged, bona fide, card-carrying empire, and 2) That their government is making war not only on other nations in other places, but that it is unequivocally making war on them in every facet of their lives.
Lieberman Helps Collect Cash for GOP Senator 14 May 2007 Sen. Joe Lieberman ('D'-Israel) is helping raise money for Republican Susan Collins of Maine. Not only has LieberBush endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) -- one of Democrats' biggest targets in the 2008 cycle -- but he's planning to co-host a fundraiser for her on June 21 in Washington, D.C.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg Quits the G.O.P. 19 Jun 2007 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced tonight that he is quitting the Republican party and changing his affiliation to independent. The announcement came after Mr. Bloomberg gave a speech denouncing partisan gridlock in Washington, stirring renewed speculation that he is preparing to run as an independent or third-party candidate in 2008.
Portman to step down as White House budget chief 19 Jun 2007 In the latest of a string of departures of White House aides, U.S. budget director Rob Portman announced on Tuesday he is stepping down after just over a year on the job. President [sic] George W. Bush, who has signaled he plans to take a tough line in budget negotiations with the Democratic Congress, wasted no time in picking former Iowa Rep. Jim Nussle as Portman's replacement.
Revealed: faulty nuclear reactor was allowed to operate without safety alarm 17 Jun 2007 Britain's nuclear watchdog last month allowed a faulty nuclear reactor to start up even though it had not been fitted with an important safety system, startling internal documents seen by The Independent on Sunday reveal. The documents also show that the Nuclear Installation Inspectorate (NII) judged that the reactor, at Oldbury nuclear power station in Gloucestershire, was not safe enough to operate for the next 18 months, but allowed it to go onstream until November anyway.
UK lumbered with foreign nuclear waste --Just as the Government was mulling a new nuclear programme, an 800 ton problem emerges. 17 Jun 2007 The UK is set to become home to some 800 tons of highly radioactive nuclear waste after it emerged that the disaster-prone Thorp reprocessing plant may have to remain closed permanently. The Government has admitted that the spent nuclear fuel shipped in from overseas and currently stockpiled at Sellafield may have to remain in Britain.
Lobbies Stymie Action on Energy 19 Jun 2007 Three powerful lobbying forces - automakers, electric utilities and the coal industry - are confounding Democrats' efforts to forge a less-polluting energy policy.
DemocRATs surrender, again: House panel drops auto fuel standard from plan 19 Jun 2007 Leaders of the committee writing energy legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives backed away on Monday from controversial [?] elements of the bill, including new fuel economy standards for automobiles. Committee leaders dropped a measure to block California and 11 states from landmark regulations to limit tailpipe emissions, labeled as a culprit of global warming.
Big oil companies facing prospect of heavy tax hit [Yeah, right!] 19 Jun 2007 Senate Democrats need big bucks to help pay for a big increase in renewable fuels production, which could spell big trouble this week for Big Oil. [The DemocRATS will surrender to Bush and the corpora-terrorists, as they do every day.]
The Earth today stands in imminent peril ...and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. 19 Jun 2007 Six scientists from some of the leading scientific institutions in the United States have issued what amounts to an unambiguous warning to the world: civilisation itself is threatened by global warming. They also implicitly criticise the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for underestimating the scale of sea-level rises this century as a result of melting glaciers and polar ice sheets... That is why, they say, planet Earth today is in "imminent peril".
Arctic spring's 'rapid advance' 18 Jun 2007 Spring in the Arctic is arriving "weeks earlier" than a decade ago, a team of Danish researchers have reported. Ice in north-east Greenland is melting an average of 14.6 days earlier than in the mid-1990s, bringing forward the date plants flower and birds lay eggs.
Britain feared US would 'nuke' Afghanistan: ex-diplomat 18 Jun 2007 Britain joined the United States' invasion to oust the Taliban in 2001 because it feared America would "nuke the shit" out of Afghanistan, the former British ambassador to Washington [Christopher Meyer] reportedly told a television documentary to be screened Saturday.
Iraq now ranked second among world's failed states 18 Jun 2007 Iraq has emerged as the world's second most unstable country, behind Sudan, more than four years after [unstable Dictator] George W. Bush ordered the U.S. invasion to topple Saddam Hussein, according to a survey released on Monday. The 2007 Failed States Index, produced by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace, said Iraq suffered a third straight year of deterioration in 2006 with diminished results across a range of social, economic, political and military indicators.
Iraq on verge of genocidal war, warns ex-US official 18 Jun 2007 The man who led the initial American effort to 'reconstruct' Iraq after the war [Jay Garner] believes the country is on the brink of a genocidal civil war and its government will fall apart unless the US changes course and allows a three-way federal structure. He has also urged talks with Iran and other regional players.
Millions of desperate Iraqis stream into Syria 17 Jun 2007 Shell-shocked Iraqis of all backgrounds pour into Syria at the rate of nearly 1,000 a day... At least 1.4 million are already here, according to the United Nations, each with a story of terror and trauma and a need for services that is stretching Syrians' patience. Many believe the number may be higher.
Lords to look at legality of Iraq war --Petition drafted by two leading human rights QCs 18 Jun 2007 Britain's highest court is to hear a case which could force the government to hold an independent inquiry into the way the attorney general reached his conclusion that the war in Iraq would be lawful. The law lords have agreed to hear an appeal by the mothers of two soldiers killed in Iraq, who argue that the government violated their sons' right to life by rushing into war on inadequate legal grounds.
U.S., Russia: Iraq had no WMDs 16 Jun 2007 The U.S. and Russia have agreed to dismantle the U.N. agency that searched Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and affirm that Saddam Hussein's government had no such arms at the time of the American invasion in March 2003. The Security Council will adopt a resolution the last week in June to close the U.N. Monitoring, Inspection and Verification Commission, created in 1999 to search Iraq for biological and chemical weapons, Belgian and British diplomats said.
Iraq deployment could last a decade: US 18 Jun 2007 The US commander in Iraq says American troops could be needed in the country for a decade to battle 'insurgents.' General David Petraeus has told Fox News there is broad recognition that Iraq's daunting challenges will not be resolved "in a year or even two years". "In fact, typically, I think historically, counter-insurgency operations have gone at least nine or 10 years," he said. [Yes, and historically --the insurgency still wins.]
36 Killed in Clashes South of Baghdad 18 Jun 2007 As many as 36 people were killed in a fierce battle early Monday between Shiite militiamen and British forces doing house-to-house searches [!] south of Baghdad, Iraqi police and hospital officials said. The clashes took place in Amarah, 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, the officials said.
Iraq newspaper editor found dead 17 Jun 2007 An Iraqi newspaper editor who was kidnapped by [US] gunmen last week has been found dead in a Baghdad mortuary, according to his union. The journalists' union says Filaih Wadai Mijthab's body was found riddled with bullets... Mr Mijthab is the latest of scores of print and broadcast journalists to lose their lives in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.
US-led strike kills 7 children --US bombs compound with mosque, school 18 Jun 2007 The US-led occupation and Afghan troops have apologised after they launched airstrikes against a compound suspected of housing al-Qa'ida militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven children and several [alleged] militants. Occupation and Afghan troops launched the airstrike yesterday on a compound that also contained a mosque and a madrassa, or Islamic school, in the Zarghun Shah district of Paktika Province, a coalition statement said.
Taliban fighters back in caves of Tora Bora 18 Jun 2007 'Insurgents' backed by al-Qa'eda [al-CIAduh] have opened a new "front" on the eastern border of Afghanistan, re-occupying the Tora Bora cave complex from which Osama bin Laden 'escaped the closing net of US forces' [was allowed to escape by his US employers] in 2001. The "Tora Bora Front", as Taliban propaganda calls it, borders the province of Nangahar and has been active for about three weeks.
Kabul bus bomb kills 35 in worst attack since ousting of Taliban 18 Jun 2007 The deadliest attack by [US] militants since the ousting of the Taliban killed 35 people and wounded at least the same number yesterday when a bomb destroyed a bus packed with police recruits in Kabul. The Taliban later claimed the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber but officials were still investigating whether that was the case or whether the device had been planted.
Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. U.S. backs Musharraf to deliver free, fair elections 18 Jun 2007 Senior U.S. officials offered broad support to an embattled President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday, while exhorting him to ensure that elections due this year in Pakistan were free and fair. [Exhort *this.*]
White House denies prior knowledge of Abu Ghraib abuse 17 Jun 2007 The White House on Sunday insisted that President [sic] George W. Bush first learned about abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison from media reports, contrary to assertions by a former top general that Bush likely knew about [created] the scandal before it broke. A New Yorker magazine report quoted the top military investigator of the Abu Ghraib scandal, retired Army Major General Antonio Taguba, as saying "the president had to be aware" of the abuse of prisoners by US military guards at the facility... Aware his remarks would open him to criticism from his military peers, Taguba said, "the fact is that we violated the laws of land warfare in Abu Ghraib. We violated the tenets of the Geneva Convention. We violated our own principles and we violated the core of our military values."
Rumsfeld denies knowledge of Abu Ghraib abuse 18 Jun 2007 A general who investigated US troops sexually humiliating [and torturing] Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison said in a report on Saturday top Pentagon officials denied knowledge of lurid photographs of the acts. Army Major General Antonio Taguba said he met with then secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials and described to them some of the contents of a report he had prepared on the notorious prison. But Rumsfeld testiLIED before Congress the following day that he had no idea of the extent of the abuse, Taguba told the New Yorker magazine in an interview.
Guantanamo will close when Bush goes-lawyer 17 Jun 2007 A leading human rights lawyer said he expected Guantanamo Bay prison to close when President [sic] George W. Bush leaves office but there were still 14,000 prisoners held by the United States in secret jails around the world. Clive Stafford Smith argued that Guantanamo had become a diversion. "Just looking at the raw numbers, of the admitted prisoners in secret American custody today, Guantanamo represents just 2.7 percent. There are 14,000 in different prisons around the world," he said.
Italian judge freezes CIA kidnap trial 19 Jun 2007 An Italian judge has effectively frozen the trial of US and Italian spies charged with kidnapping a terrorism suspect in Milan in 2003 and then flying him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. The trial of seven Italians and 26 Americans – the latter, all believed to be CIA agents, in absentia – is the first anywhere over the practice of "extraordinary rendition", whereby terrorism suspects are secretly transferred to third countries [to be tortured].
Italy CIA rendition trial suspended pending ruling by Constitutional Court 18 Jun 2007 The judge presiding over the trial of 26 US CIA agents and two former Italian intelligence officials in the 2003 abduction and rendition of Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr suspended the trial Monday until October 24, agreeing with the defense that the trial should not proceed until the Constitutional Court of Italy rules on an petition filed by the Italian government to dismiss all charges against the defendants. The government alleges that the charges should be dismissed because the prosecution improperly used state secrets and wiretapping to build its case.
Press center near White House evacuated in apparent bomb scare 18 Jun 2007 A bomb-sniffing dog reacted to a vehicle that was being used for Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert's visit today, leading to evacuation of parts of a White House annex building. Washington police were checking out the vehicle, which was driven by a member of the delegation that was staying across the street from the White House at the Blair House, according to Kim Bruce, spokeswoman for the Secret Service.
White House on Security Alert as Vehicle Is Checked 18 Jun 2007 A building that is part of the White House complex was evacuated and the area placed under a security lock down after a bomb sniffing dog detected possible explosives in a vehicle parked nearby. Reporters were evacuated from the building housing the news media at Jackson Place, across the street from the main White House grounds and adjacent to Blair House, where Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is staying prior to his meeting tomorrow with President [sic] George W. Bush. The vehicle that caused the alert is assigned to the delegation.
Should Israel really be asking for an increase in US aid? 17 Jun 2007 Unless developments in Gaza overshadow the planned agenda for Tuesday's summit, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and US President [sic] George W. Bush are set to discuss, inter alia, Israel's request to increase American financial aid. A few months ago, Israel submitted a request to raise the annual sum by 25 percent over 10 years, from $2.4 billion to $3b.
'Military plan against Iran is ready' 10 Jun 2007 Predicting that Iran will obtain a nuclear weapon within three years and claiming to have a strike plan in place, senior American military officers have told The Jerusalem Post they support President [sic] George W. Bush's stance to do everything necessary to stop the Islamic Republic's race for nuclear power. Bush has repeatedly said the United States would not allow Iran to "go nuclear."
Watch for falling nets, Joe By P.M. Carpenter 13 Jun 2007 Let's face it. When even the prodigiously hawkish Bush administration suggests that you're a trifle unhinged, that you're a bit too pugilistically keyed up, that you've adopted one too many snarling dogs of war, then it's time for some serious anger-management counseling, electroshock therapy, copious vials of Valium and a nice, long, quiet rest at a shady, pastoral spa staffed by immensely dedicated mental-health experts... Once a champion of progressive causes and sound leadership, he [Joe LieberBush] must have taken a bit of a fall and damaged some important glob of his brain, which further led to his rejecting that well-advised surgical operation to dislodge AIPAC's office from his rectum.
Newly empowered Democrats draw wrath of voters 18 Jun 2007 The new Democratic-led Congress is drawing the ire of voters upset with its failure to quickly deliver on a promise to end the Iraq war. This is reflected in polls that show Congress at one of its lowest approval ratings in a decade. Surveys find only about one in four Americans approves of it.
U.S. open to negotiations on cluster bombs but no ban 18 Jun 2007 The United States supports launching negotiations on a global treaty to reduce civilian casualties from cluster bombs, but does not back a ban on the weapons, a U.S. official said on Monday.
Military looks at synthetic fuel for bombers and fighters 17 Jun 2007 The U.S. Air Force has decided to push development of a new type of fuel to power its bombers and fighters, mixing conventional jet fuel with nonpetroleum-based fuels that could eventually end military dependence on foreign sources of oil.
Studies Find DNA Damage from Anti-Coca Herbicide 16 Jun 2007 U.S.-funded aerial spraying of coca plantations in Colombia near the Ecuador border has severely damaged the DNA of local residents, a new study has found. Blood samples from 24 Ecuadorians living within three kilometres of the northern border had 600 to 800 percent more damage to their chromosomes than people living 80 km away, found scientists from the Pontificia Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador. The border residents who were tested had been exposed to the common herbicide glyphosate -- sold by the U.S. agribusiness giant Monsanto under the brand Roundup --during a series of aerial sprayings by the Colombian government begun in 2000, part of the anti[pro]-drugs and counterinsurgency Plan Colombia, financed by Washington.
Homeland Security opposes passport rule delay 17 Jun 2007 The Homeland Security Department is vigorously fighting a move by Congress to delay a requirement that U.S. citizens show a passport to re-enter the country by land or sea from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean, saying it puts the nation's borders at risk. [Oh, *suddenly* Bush is concerned with 'the nation's borders?' LOL!]
Report: Bush "Signing Statements" May Have Affected Implementation of Laws By Paul Kiel 18 Jun 2007 President [sic] Bush has claimed that his executive powers allow him to bypass more than 1,100 laws enacted since he took office [literally, *took* office] -- in what are called "signing statements." But what has been unclear ever since The Boston Globe's landmark story on the statements... is just what effect these obscure little statements, published in the federal register, have. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) wanted to know just that, so they asked for an analysis by the Government Accountability Office... of last year's appropriations bills... The agency examined a sample of appropriations bills from last year, focusing on 19 provisions that were affected by a presidential signing statement added to a bill -- in each case, Bush invoked the "unitary executive" theory or some other justification for disputing the bill. The result: of the 19 provisions, six were not executed as authorized by Congress.
The Use of RNC E-Mail Accounts by White House Officials (oversight.house.gov) 18 Jun 2007 The Oversight Committee has been investigating whether White House officials violated the Presidential Records Act by using e-mail accounts maintained by the Republican National Committee and the Bush Cheney '04 campaign for official White House communications... The information the Committee has received in the investigation reveals: The number of White House officials given RNC e-mail accounts is higher than previously disclosed... White House officials made extensive use of their RNC e-mail accounts... There has been extensive destruction of the e-mails of White House officials by the RNC.
U.S. attorneys fallout seeps into courts --Defense lawyers in different cases are raising new questions about government prosecutors and potential political biases. 18 Jun 2007 For months, the Justice Department and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales have taken political heat for the purge of eight U.S. attorneys last year. Now the fallout is starting to hit the department in federal courtrooms around the country. Defense lawyers in a growing number of cases are raising questions about the motives of government lawyers who have brought charges against their clients. In court papers, they are citing the furor over the U.S. attorney dismissals as evidence that their cases may have been infected by politics.
Grand jury examines Stevens' ties to oil company 17 Jun 2007 A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., heard evidence last month about the expansion of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-Terrorist) Girdwood home in 2000 and other matters connecting Stevens to the oil services company Veco Inc. As the far-reaching federal investigation into corruption in Alaska politics spreads to Washington, Stevens family friend and neighbor Bob Persons was ordered to appear before a grand jury in Washington on May 25.
Common bird species in dramatic decline --A new Audubon study is one of the most comprehensive looks at bird-population trends in North America. 15 Jun 2007 New data show the populations of some of America's well-known birds in a tailspin, thanks to the one-two punch of habitat fragmentation and, increasingly, global warming. From the heartland's whippoorwills and meadowlarks to the Northern bobwhite and common terns of the nation's coasts, 20 common bird species tracked by the National Audubon Society have seen their numbers fall 54 percent overall since 1967, with some down about 80 percent, the group reported Thursday.
The General's Report --How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties. By Seymour M. Hersh 25 Jun 2007 I learned from Taguba that the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees. Several of these images, including one of an Iraqi woman detainee baring her breasts, have since surfaced; others have not. (Taguba’s report noted that photographs and videos were being held by the C.I.D. because of ongoing criminal investigations and their "extremely sensitive nature.") Taguba said that he saw "a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee." The video was not made public in any of the subsequent court proceedings, nor has there been any public government mention of it. [When are the war crimes trials starting, so that those who operate George Bush's rape rooms can be sentenced?]
Abu Ghraib Investigator Points to Pentagon 17 Jun 2007 The Army two-star general who led the first investigation into prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq believes that senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation [torture] policies and said that he was forced to retire early because of his pursuit of the issue, says an article to be published tomorrow in the New Yorker magazine. Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba said that he felt mocked and shunned by top Pentagon officials, including then-Defense Secretary [war criminal] Donald H. Rumsfeld, after filing an exhaustive report on the now-notorious Abu Ghraib abuse. Taguba also said that Rumsfeld misled Congress when he testified in May 2004 about the abuse investigation, minimizing how much he knew about the incidents. [See: 'I saw ___ fucking a kid...' (Graphic) Source: The "Taguba Report" On Treatment Of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq, statement by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, 1300/18 Jan 04, as published by The Washington Post.]
General Says Prison Inquiry Led to His Forced Retirement 17 Jun 2007 The Army general who investigated the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal has said he was forced into retirement by civilian Pentagon officials because he had been "overzealous." In an interview with The New Yorker, his first since retiring in January, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba said that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other senior civilian and military officials had treated him brusquely after the investigation into the formerly American-run prison outside Baghdad was completed in 2004. He also said that in early 2006 he was ordered, without explanation, to retire within a year.
A bloody epitaph to Blair's war --The death of a hotel receptionist in British custody was first reported by the IoS. In the week that the Law Lords ruled that the Human Rights Act applies to Iraqis in British custody, Andrew Johnston reveals the shocking witness statements that shed new light on a dark chapter in an illegal war. 17 Jun 2007 Graphic and shocking new information - including a photograph showing his battered and bruised face - about the death of Baha Mousa, the Basra hotel receptionist killed in British military custody in September 2003, has emerged as scores of Iraqis prepare to sue the Ministry of Defence for alleged mistreatment in detention.
Blair knew US had no post-war plan for Iraq --PM committed troops despite chaos fears --Bush 'offered to fight without UK' 17 Jun 2007 Tony Blair agreed to commit British troops to battle in Iraq in the full knowledge that Washington had failed to make adequate preparations for the postwar reconstruction of the country. In a devastating account of the chaotic preparations for the war, key No 10 aides and friends of Blair have revealed the Prime Minister repeatedly and unsuccessfully raised his concerns with the White House.
Petraeus Says New U.S. Iraq Strategy Won't Succeed By September [of 3007.] 17 Jun 2007 The odds of building a stable Iraqi government by September are slim, even with the addition of 30,000 U.S. troops to give lawmakers in Baghdad security, said the top U.S. general [David Petraeus] in the Middle East country.
Petraeus hints Iraq "surge" may be needed longer 17 Jun 2007 Gen. David H. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said he does not expect the "surge" of 30,000 additional troops to Iraq to finish their job [?] by September, a critical month when lawmakers expect a clear read on whether the larger troop presence is having an effect. "Fox News" Host Chris Wallace asked Petraeus, "You surely don't think the job would be done by the surge by September?" "I do not, no," Petraeus replied. "We have a lot of heavy lifting to do." [What, exactly, *is* 'their job?' Oh, that's right. More oil smuggling and opium exporting.]
Maliki asks US troops to resist arming Iraqi tribes [*insurgents*] 16 Jun 2007 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned that US troops sometimes create new militias by arming Iraqi tribes ['insurgents'], urging that such decisions be left to his government, in comments published Saturday. "Some field commanders make mistakes ... by arming tribes sometimes, and this is dangerous because this will create new militias," Maliki said in an interview put out on Newsweek magazine's website.
Iraq Contractors Face Growing Parallel War --Majority of more than 100 security companies operate outside of Iraqi [and international] law 16 Jun 2007 Private security companies, funded by billions of dollars in U.S. military and State Department contracts, are fighting 'insurgents' on a widening scale in Iraq, enduring daily attacks, returning fire and taking hundreds of casualties that have been underreported and sometimes concealed, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials and company representatives.
The Battle of Gaza By Mike Whitney 16 Jun 2007 The Golden Dome mosque has been heavily guarded ever since it was blown up in 2006. The four main doors have been bolted shut and not a tile has been moved in over a year. The reason for this is that the Shiites consider it a "crime scene" which they intend to investigate more thoroughly when the violence subsides. The Shiites never accepted the official US-version of events that "al Qaeda did it". Many believe that US Special Forces were directly involved and that it was a planned demolition carried out by experts. There is considerable proof to support this theory including eye witness accounts from the scene of the crime as well as holes that were drilled in the floor of the mosque to maximize destruction. This was not a simple al Qaeda-type car-bombing but a technically-demanding demolition operation... According to the AMSI [Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq], Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki replaced the Sunnis who had been guarding the site for over a year with Shiite government forces from the Interior Ministry... So, the Sunni guards were replaced (after a scuffle) with goons from the Interior Ministry. The next day the minarets blow up. Coincidence? Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki immediately issued statement where he claimed that the al Qaeda was responsible for the attack. At the same time, however, he arrested all 12 of the guards he sent from the Interior Ministry.
U.S. helicopters kill 4 suspects in Iraq [Suspects? Apparently, they were tried, convicted and executed within seconds, by gunship.] 17 Jun 2007 U.S. attack helicopters killed four suspects and wounded three in operations south of Baghdad, the military said Sunday. The aircraft were operating in support of Iraqi army soldiers on the ground, who were engaged by 'insurgents,' the U.S. military said in a statement. The incident took place Friday, it said.
G.I.'s in Iraq Open Major Offensive Against Al Qaeda 17 Jun 2007 With the influx of tens of thousands of additional combat troops into Iraq now complete, American forces have begun a wide offensive against Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] in Mesopotamia on the outskirts of Baghdad, the top American commander in Iraq said Saturday.
Afghan police killed by bus bomb 17 Jun 2007 A [US] bomb that blew up a police bus in the Afghan capital has killed and wounded at least 35 people, a senior police official said. Police on Sunday described the attack in Kabul as a suicide operation, but an interior ministry official said the exact cause was still unknown.
Israel plans attack on Gaza 17 Jun 2007 Israel's new defence minister Ehud Barak is planning an attack on Gaza within weeks to crush the Hamas militants who have seized power there. According to senior Israeli military sources, the plan calls for 20,000 troops to destroy much of Hamas’s military capability in days. Barak, who is expected to become defence minister tomorrow, has already demanded detailed plans to deploy two armoured divisions and an infantry division, accompanied by assault drones and F-16 jets, against Hamas.
Israel threatens to seal Gaza border 17 Jun 2007 Israel last night warned it could send troops to seal the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt as violence spread from the region to the West Bank. The Israeli public security minister said that the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip should be regarded as a "terror entity" and that the border with Egypt might need to be closed to stop weapons and fighters getting through.
Israel shells south Lebanon after rocket attack 17 Jun 2007 Israeli troops fired five shells at south Lebanon where the army was searching for the guerrillas who fired rockets earlier Sunday on northern Israel, security forces said. Five shells slammed on the mountainous areas of Birkat Naqqar and Jabal Saddaneh near the town of Shebaa in the eastern sector of the border with Israel, they said. There were no reports of casualties.
Katyusha rockets hit N.Israel town from Lebanon 17 Jun 2007 Suspected Palestinian militants in Lebanon hit a northern Israeli town with two Katyusha rockets on Sunday, Lebanese and Israeli officials said. No one was hurt. Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas denied responsibility.
Former UN Mideast envoy says UN subservient to U.S., Israel 13 Jun 2007 A former UN Middle East envoy quit his job last month with bitter allegations that UN policy in the region had failed because it was subservient to U.S. and Israeli interests, a newly leaked document shows. In a confidential end of mission report, Alvaro de Soto poured scorn on the Quartet negotiating group of the United States, Russia, European Union and United Nations, and suggested the world body should pull out.
Dove becomes albatross for Great Britain, U.S. By Eric Margolis 17 Jun 2007 When Britain's Serious Fraud Office began probing BAE's secret payoffs to [Prince] Bandar, Tony Blair sanctimoniously ordered the investigation shut down for "national security" reasons... If the funds were legit, why all the secrecy and money laundering?... Could the billions have been used for covert operations, possibly with U.S. participation? One recalls the Reagan years when money from Israel's secret sales of U.S. arms to Iran were used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras... Islamic militants insist the west exploits their nations by keeping deeply corrupt regimes in power. In exchange for protection from their own people and neighbours, and fabulous wealth, these authoritarian Arab regimes -- always termed "moderates" by western media -- sell oil on the cheap to the west and do its bidding. No wonder Prince Bandar was always so amiable and accommodating. Or that he managed to fly out a planeload of Saudis the day after 9/11 when all U.S. flights were grounded.
Fervor fills war rally; crowds don't --The event in Tampa draws about 60 people amid lots of empty chairs. 17 Jun 2007 The signs stuck in the grass around Joe Chillura Courthouse Square downtown said things like LAND OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE and WE WON'T BETRAY OUR TROOPS. The "Florida Victory Rally" -- put on across the street from the Hillsborough County Center by the local Community Issues Council, a Christian group, and national Vets for Victory - turned out about 60 people, and two dogs.
CIA recruits Sudanese to infiltrate Arab jihadi groups 12 Jun 2007 The CIA, faced with the impossibility of infiltrating white Americans into radical groups in the Middle East, is recruiting Arab-speaking Sudanese citizens, in spite of sanctions against the country over the killings in Darfur, it emerged yesterday. Sudanese recruits have been providing information about individuals passing through Sudan to Somalia and elsewhere in the Horn of Africa and Iraq. The Sudanese government is reported to have detained suspects in Khartoum at the request of the US.
Pressure builds on Harper to intervene in Khadr case 15 Jun 2007 Prime Minister Stephen Harper should intervene in the case of Omar Khadr, the accused Canadian terrorist detained in the U.S. military prison at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, a coalition of parliamentarians, academics and human-rights groups said Thursday. The Canadian government should "follow the precedent of other U.S. allies and insist on the repatriation of Khadr," the groups said in an open letter to the prime minister.
Los Alamos National Laboratory: Energy Dept. acknowledges lab's e-mail security lapse By Keay Davidson, CLGer 16 Jun 2007 Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory sent top-secret information about nuclear weapons through open e-mail networks, fueling concerns that security lapses, long an issue at the New Mexico lab, have not been solved by the recent installation of a UC-Bechtel management team. The latest security breach was acknowledged Friday by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman after it was revealed by two congressmen.
University of California, Riverside, Cancels Final Exam, Graduation Over Bomb Threats 16 Jun 2007 The University of California, Riverside, canceled final exams and a graduation ceremony Friday evening after finding a homemade firebomb on campus and receiving two threatening letters.
Libby rushing to delay sentence as prison looms in CIA leak case 15 Jun 2007 I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby will soon receive an inmate number, a prison assignment and a date to surrender. Before that date draws near, however, the former White House aide hopes an appeals court will step in and block his 2½-year sentence.
Cunningham financier admits role in scandal --Help with home buying revealed in guilty plea 15 Jun 2007 A New York financier has admitted playing a key role in the scandal that brought down former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, according to a guilty plea unsealed this week. Thomas Kontogiannis said he helped finance the purchase of Cunningham's $2.5 million house in Rancho Santa Fe, in a deal that evolved from two military contractors' alleged plans to bribe the congressman.
Presidential Stone Walls (The New York Times) 17 Jun 2007 The template for the Bush administration’s mania for secrecy was signed by the president six years ago — Executive Order 13233, reversing the presumption of right of public access to presidential papers... The reforms established a reasonable 12-year waiting period for access. But Mr. Bush’s reversal lets presidents or vice presidents (guess who?) keep their records sealed in perpetuity unless they or their heirs approve access. Fortunately, Congress is in the process of demonstrating that such hermetic devotion to secrecy has no place in a democracy. Mr. Bush’s order would be rescinded by a proposal approved overwhelmingly in the House in March and now making its way to passage in the Senate. The White House, of course, is vowing to veto any final bill. So it is important that the Senate re-establish the public’s obvious right to historical transparency with the same veto-proof support achieved in the House.
Don't Listen to What the Man Says (The New York Times) 17 Jun 2007 If the Supreme Court, with its new conservative majority, wanted to announce that it was getting out of the fairness business, it could hardly have done better than its decision last week in the case of Keith Bowles. The court took away Mr. Bowles’s right to challenge his murder conviction in a ruling that was so wrong and mean-spirited that it seemed like an outtake from MTV’s practical joke show "Punk’d." Mr. Bowles, an Ohio inmate, challenged his conviction in federal district court and lost. The court told Mr. Bowles that he had until Feb. 27 to appeal. He filed the appeal on Feb. 26, and was ready to argue why he was wrongly convicted. But it turned out the district court made a mistake. The appeal should have been filed by Feb. 24. The Supreme Court ruled, 5 to 4, in a majority opinion written by Justice [terrorist] Clarence Thomas, that Mr. Bowles was out of luck, and his appeal was invalid. So much for heeding a federal judge.
Report: CDC wastes millions --Agency with big budget 'can veer off track,' senator says 12 Jun 2007 While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells Congress it needs more money, a new report contends that the agency has wasted millions of dollars, including on lavish new buildings in Atlanta. U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says the CDC has used taxpayer money in questionable ways, including: Spending $1.7 million, including some antiterrorism funds, on a Hollywood liaison program to get health messages into TV shows and movies.
FDA Scrutiny Scant In India, China as Drugs Pour Into U.S. --Broad Overseas Checks Called 'Too Costly' 17 Jun 2007 Analysts estimate that as much as 20 percent of finished generic and over-the-counter drugs, and more than 40 percent of the active ingredients for pills made here, come from India and China. Within 15 years, they predict, as much as 80 percent of the key ingredients will come from those countries -- which are quickly becoming attractive to brand-name drugmakers [pharma-terrorists], too. William Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner, called the situation dire and deteriorating. "You have this confluence of events, with so much more product coming from abroad and fewer and fewer inspections," Hubbard said.
F.D.A. Tracked Tainted Drugs, but Trail Went Cold in China 17 Jun 2007 After a drug ingredient from China killed dozens of Haitian children a decade ago, a senior American health official sent a cable to her investigators: find out who made the poisonous ingredient and why a state-owned company in China exported it as safe, pharmaceutical-grade glycerin... The F.D.A.’s efforts to investigate the Haiti poisonings, documented in internal F.D.A. memorandums obtained by The New York Times, demonstrate not only the intransigence of Chinese officials, but also the same regulatory failings that allowed a virtually identical poisoning to occur 10 years later. The cases further illustrate what happens when nations fail to police the global pipeline of pharmaceutical ingredients.
Democrats call for fuel-efficient cars 16 Jun 2007 In their weekly radio address, Democrats on Saturday called for a new direction in energy policy, away from gas-guzzling automobiles and reliance on foreign oil. "America deserves more fuel efficient cars," Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington said.
First Vietnam Bird Flu Death Since 2005 16 Jun 2007 Vietnam confirmed its first human death from bird flu since 2005, as the latest flare-up of the virus ravaged poultry stocks, official media said Saturday. Tests confirmed the 20-year-old from northern Ha Tay province died from the H5N1 virus on June 10, the Vietnam News Agency quoted Vice Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan as saying at a bird flu meeting.
Scientists Examine Cause of Bee Die-Off 15 Jun 2007 Scientists investigating a mysterious ailment that killed many of the nation's honeybees are concentrating on pesticides and a new pathogen as possible culprits, and some beekeepers are already trying to keep their colonies away from pesticide-exposed fields.
U.S. says 60pc of Baghdad not controlled 16 Jun 2007 Security forces in Baghdad have full control in only 40 percent of the city five months into the pacification campaign [!], a top American general said Saturday as U.S. troops began an offensive against two al-Qaida strongholds on the capital‘s southern outskirts. Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said American troops launched the offensive in Baghdad‘s Arab Jabour and Salman Pac neighborhoods Friday night.
U.S. military completes troop surge in Iraq 15 Jun 2007 The U.S. surge of troops to Iraq was completed when an Army brigade officially took its position in an area south of Baghdad on Friday, the U.S. military announced. The declaration that the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division was in place and operational ended a four-month buildup that has seen 28,500 additional U.S. troops deploy to Iraq.
Troops head to Iraq as gloom deepens 16 Jun 2007 The final contingent of United States troops in the "surge" against Iraq's resistance deployed yesterday amid deepening gloom in Washington at the military's failure to reduce violence and defeat the 'insurgency.'
U.S. begins 'major offensive' in Iraq 16 Jun 2007 U.S. forces have begun a major offensive against 'al-Qaida' in Iraq, the U.S. commander in Iraq said Saturday. Gen. David Petraeus, speaking at a news conference in Baghdad with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, said the offensive is designed to take the fight to al-Qaida and cut into the organization's ability to carry out its car-bombing campaign, The New York Times reported.
Second Sunni Mosque Is Blown Up in Basra 16 Jun 2007 Hooded [US] gunmen clad in black blew up another Sunni mosque in the southern city of Basra today after ordering the police officers at the mosque to flee, and despite a curfew imposed by Iraq’s central government, witnesses and security officials said.
Kidnapped Athletes Found Dead in Iraq 16 Jun 2007 The remains of 13 members of an Iraqi tae kwon do team kidnapped last year have been found in western Iraq, police and hospital officials said Saturday. The team had been driving to a training camp in neighboring Jordan in May 2006, when their convoy was stopped [by US soldiers?] and all 15 athletes abducted along a road between the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, in Anbar province.
I.D. Cards of Missing Soldiers Found 16 Jun 2007 The U.S. military says the identification cards of two missing soldiers were found at an 'al-Qaida' safe house north of Baghdad.
Children, soldier killed in Afghan blast 16 Jun 2007 A suicide car bomber targeting a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan killed 10 people, including five children and a Dutch soldier, amid a fresh wave of violence that also left more than 24 militants dead, officials said. In the east, a US-led occupation member was killed in a battle early.
Three Iranian diplomats briefly detained in Iraq 16 Jun 2007 Three Iranian diplomats were briefly detained in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Saturday, but it played the incident down as a simple curfew break while Tehran condemned it as the latest case of harassment.
Some doubt U.S. claims Iran arming Taliban 14 Jun 2007 Some analysts question U.S. reports that Iran is arming the Taliban, saying Tehran has other allies there and the weapons are available on the open market. Wednesday in Paris, U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns made the most definitive statement yet by a senior official that Iran was supplying the Taliban in Afghanistan with weapons including small arms and shaped charges. But some analysts remain skeptical about the reports, which have previously emerged sourced to unnamed U.S. or occupation officials in Afghanistan.
Strategy on Iran Stirs New Debate at White House 16 Jun 2007 A year after President [sic] Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a new strategy toward Iran, a behind-the-scenes debate has broken out within the administration over whether the approach has any hope of reining in Iran’s nuclear program, according to senior administration officials. The debate has pitted Ms. Rice and her deputies, who appear to be winning so far, against the few remaining hawks inside the regime, especially those in Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney’s office who, according to some people familiar with the discussions, are pressing for greater consideration of military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.
Romney Says He Wants 'Big Stick' 16 Jun 2007 Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Saturday that if he's elected, he wants "to carry the big stick" by increasing the size of the nation's military. The former Massachusetts governor said his plans include boosting the size of the military by at least 100,000 troops and increasing the military budget.
Party head lambastes Lieberman on Iran 12 Jun 2007 Connecticut for Lieberman Party Chairman John Orman called Tuesday for Sen. Joe LieberBush to resign, saying his advocacy of a military strike against Iran could explode into a global conflict. "He has crossed the line," said Orman, a professor of politics at Fairfield University. "His unilateral warmongering could lead to a new World War III." During an appearance on "Face the Nation" on CBS Sunday, Lieberman said the United States should consider a military strike against Iran because of Tehran's involvement in Iraq.
Pentagon may drop mental health question 15 Jun 2007 U.S. troops would no longer be asked to reveal previous mental health treatment when applying for security clearances under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon.
Mail Undelivered at Walter Reed 16 Jun 2007 Turns out the trouble at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the focus of a firestorm of criticism over poor treatment of wounded war veterans, reached into the mailroom. The Army said Friday that it has opened an investigation into the recent discovery of 4,500 letters and parcels - some dating to May 2006 - at Walter Reed that were never delivered to soldiers. And it fired the contract employee who ran the mailroom.
U.S. Plans End to Palestinian Embargo 17 Jun 2007 Mahmoud Abbas got a major boost in his increasingly bellicose showdown with Hamas on Saturday, with a U.S. diplomat saying he expects a crippling embargo to be lifted once the Palestinian president appoints a government without the Islamic militants. But the money is unlikely to reach Gaza, now controlled by Hamas and cut off from the world.
BAE 'paid Saudi prince £1bn in secret' 07 Jun 2007 British arms company BAE Systems secretly paid a Saudi prince more than £1bn over a period of more than 10 years, an investigation has revealed. Prince Bandar bin Sultan received the money with the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence, according to the BBC's Panorama programme.
British Counter-Terrorism Laws Spark Concern From UN Expert on Religion 16 Jun 2007 ...A United Nations independent expert today voiced concern over laws in the United Kingdom which have been promulgated following recent terrorist attacks. Such laws are widely believed to target the UK's Muslim population and "undermine the human rights of all," Asma Jahangir, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, said in a statement issued in London after wrapping up an 11-day visit to the country.
Bin bag 'spy camera' to enforce refuse rules 17 Jun 2007 (UK) A council is to hide a camera in a bin bag to catch residents who do not follow new rules about putting out the rubbish. The tiny covert camera, which has cost Weymouth and Portland Council, Dorset, up to £10,000, will also help catch householders who put their rubbish out too early or too late.
U.S. Eyes Antiterror Rules for Small Jets and Boats 16 Jun 2007 Acknowledging that the nation remains too vulnerable to terrorist attack by small planes and recreational boats, the Department of Homeland Security is considering new requirements to allow authorities to identify operators and passengers in millions of these vehicles as they ply the coasts and skies.
U.S. House boosts domestic security funds for 2008 15 Jun 2007 The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday approved significant increases in funds next year for domestic security and veterans care in a challenge to President [sic] George W. Bush's more limited budget requests. By a vote of 268-150, the House passed a $36 billion domestic security bill for fiscal 2008 that the White House has threatened to veto, in part because it would spend about $2 billion more than Bush wanted.
FBI to Boost 'Black Bag' Search Ops 15 Jun 2007 As part of its growing intelligence operations within the United States, the FBI has increased its surreptitious entry and search missions since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to an unclassified bureau document. "The refocusing of FBI operational priorities and the new emphasis placed on intelligence-based activities. . . has resulted in a dramatic increase" in the demand for so-called 'black bag" jobs, in which teams of highly-trained specialists covertly enter a home or office, search its contents and leave without indicating they had been there, states the budget document.
Judge Orders FBI to Turn Over Thousands of Patriot Act Abuse Documents By Ryan Singel 15 Jun 2007 Just one day after a news that an internal audit found that FBI agents abused a Patriot Act power more than 1000 times, a federal judge ordered the agency Friday to begin turning over thousands of pages of documents related to the agency's use of a powerful, but extremely secretive investigative tool that can pry into telephone and internet records.
Anthrax scare briefly closes ABC News office 15 Jun 2007 A portion of a sixth-floor ABC News office housing "Good Morning America" was closed down for five hours Friday afternoon after an employee found a letter containing an unidentified white powder.
ABC News Receives Letter Mentioning Anthrax --New York Police Department Is Investigating 15 Jun 2007 Today we received a letter at the offices of Good Morning America at 147 Columbus Avenue that mentioned anthrax. We immediately notified the NYPD and they are investigating the situation. Out of an abundance of caution we closed down the area around the office and are awaiting additional information from authorities.
Official close to attorney firings quits 15 Jun 2007 A senior Justice Department official who helped carry out the dismissals of federal prosecutors said Friday he is resigning. Mike Elston, chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, is the fifth Justice official to leave after being linked to the dismissals of the prosecutors. Elston was accused of threatening at least four of the eight fired U.S. attorneys to keep quiet about their ousters.
Replace Lawyers with "Good Americans" By Paul Kiel 15 Jun 2007 During a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Bradley Schlozman, the controversial former senior political appointee in the Civil Rights Division, was battered with questions about his efforts to politicize the division. A number of those questions from senators centered on Schlozman's efforts to purge the appellate section of the Civil Rights Division... An anonymous complaint against Schlozman sent to the Justice Department's inspector general in December of 2005 spelled out the allegations... "Bradley J. Schlozman is systematically attempting to purge all Civil Rights appellate attorneys hired under Democratic administrations," the lawyer wrote, saying that he appeared to be "targeting minority women lawyers" in the section and was replacing them with "white, invariably Christian men." The lawyer also alleged that "Schlozman told one recently hired attorney that it was his intention to drive these attorneys out of the Appellate Section so that he could replace them with 'good Americans.'"
N.C. panel disbars Duke prosecutor 16 Jun 2007 District Attorney Mike Nifong will be disbarred for his disastrous prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, a disciplinary committee decided Saturday. Even the veteran prosecutor said the punishment was appropriate.
SUV tax cut under attack --House bill targets $25,000 credit for trucks bought by small businesses 16 Jun 2007 Lawmakers introduced a new bill Friday that targets a controversial tax incentive that allows small businesses to write off up to $25,000 of the purchase of the largest pickups and sport utility vehicles. The sponsors, including U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House select committee on global warming, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., head of the House Democratic caucus, said the bill would fix a "serious mistake" they called the "Hummer tax loophole." More than 30 vehicles -- including the Hummer H2, Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, Lexus LX 470 and Dodge Durango -- qualify for the break.
Cost of Gas and Food Rose Sharply Last Month 16 Jun 2007 Prices for staple household purchases like gasoline and food rose to even higher levels last month, effectively causing most Americans to take a pay cut. After taking inflation into account, the average weekly earnings for workers in nonmanagement jobs — some 80 percent of the work force — fell for the second consecutive month in May.
NRC sees "nuclear renaissance" in coming years 12 Jun 2007 Energy companies plan to file permit requests in the next two years to build 27 new [deadly] nuclear reactors in the United States, according to a U.S. regulator who said Tuesday his agency expects a "nuclear renaissance."
Al Gore's Fight Against The Climate Crisis By Eric Bates and Jeff Goodell 12 Jun 2007 (Interview) As the world heats up, so does Al Gore. Every melting glacier, every catastrophic storm, every record-breaking hot spell is a planetary-scale endorsement of his belief that tackling global warming is the biggest challenge of our time... Gore understands that confronting the climate crisis will require not just new kinds of technology but a new kind of politics.
A Sacred River Left in Peril by Global Warming --Glacier That Feeds Ganges Is Vanishing 17 Jun 2007 The Gangotri glacier, which provides up to 70 percent of the water of the Ganges during the dry summer months, is shrinking at a rate of 40 yards a year, nearly twice as fast as two decades ago, scientists say.
Arab Media Reports Syria Making Preparations for War with Israel 15 Jun 2007 A Qatari newspaper, Al Watan, reported Friday that Syria is making concrete preparations for war with Israel, saying that the Syrian government has removed the Government and State Archives from the Damascus area. According to the paper, this move indicates preparations for war. Syrian parliament member Muhammad Habash confirmed on Al-Jazeera Arabic world news satellite TV last week that Syria is indeed engaged in active preparations for a war with Israel. The conflict, said the Syrian MP, is expected to break out during the summer months.
Israel to ready public for 'all-out war' 31 May 2007 With Iran racing toward nuclear power and IDF preparations for the possibility of a conflict with Syria and Hizbullah in high gear, the Home Front Command plans to launch a publicity campaign to prepare the public for war.
U.S. official: Samarra attack may have been inside job (jonesreport) --CNN Downplays Second-False Flag Bombing of Golden Mosque in Follow-up Story --Update Obscures Previous 'Inside Job' Report by Replacing Link, Killing Story 13 Jun 2007 (CNN) Authorities have evidence that Wednesday's bombing of Al-Askariya Mosque in Samarra was an inside job, and 15 members of the Iraqi security forces have been arrested, a U.S. military official said. The attack Wednesday destroyed two towers, referred to as minarets, at the revered Shiite shrine, police said. It was a repeat of the 2006 bombing that sparked Iraq's current wave of deadly sectarian violence. [See: U.S. unit enters an alliance with former insurgents --Soldiers in Baghdad give police powers, guns to former insurgents 09 Jun 2007.]
US report on killing of journalists raises more question than it answers 15 Jun 2007 Newly declassified records, disclosed [by the US military] in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Committee to Protect Journalists, describe a chaotic scene in which the soldiers targeted a white Volvo that had failed to slow down as it neared the checkpoint. The 117-page report concluded that Al-Arabiyya journalists Ali Abdel-Aziz and Ali al-Khateeb were killed accidentally in the crossfire and that troops had properly followed the military's rules of engagement. But the report does not reconcile statements from Al-Arabiyya employees that US soldiers fired directly on the journalists' vehicle, a Kia Sportage, while other soldiers were firing at the Volvo. Neither does the report address a statement -taken from the Al-Arabiyya Baghdad bureau chief and relayed by a US Army colonel to her superiors - that a US tank may have briefly collided with the press vehicle moments before soldiers opened fire. The report also fails to reconcile statements from Al-Arabiyya employees that the checkpoint was poorly illuminated, assertions that contradict the military's conclusions.
Uprooted Iraqis move into "atrocious" camps - UN 15 Jun 2007 People fleeing violence in Iraq have begun to move into atrocious makeshift camps on the fringes of cities such as Najaf, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday. Andrew Harper, coordinator of the UNHCR's Iraq Support Unit, said the sites were a result of certain governorates sealing off their regions to newcomers. "Camps are one of the worst things you can have, because you are not going to have proper provision of water ... of sewage, of shelter, of security," he said. "They are atrocious."
Torture: the 10 claims against the Army 13 Jun 2007 Lawyers for Baha Musa claimed today that the case had uncovered evidence that the Government approved the systematic torture of detainees. Today a panel of five law lords ruled that Mr Musa, a hotel receptionist who died of multiple injuries after two nights in British military custody, was entitled to the protection of the UK's Human Rights Act while held by British soldiers.
Guantanamo inmate told: You can't return to UK, you've been away too long 15 Jun 2007 Gordon Brown is being urged to intervene to stop the Home Office banning a British resident from returning home after more than four years at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Campaigners expressed fury after ministers said Jamil el-Banna's permission to stay in Britain had lapsed during the four-and-a-half years he has been held without charge at the US detention camp. They warned that Mr Banna, a refugee whose wife and five children live in north London, could face detention or torture if he is sent back to his native Jordan when he is released.
American Fighter Jet Crashes in Iraq 15 Jun 2007 An F-16 fighter jet crashed Friday in Iraq, the Air Force reported. The statement said the crash was an accident, but did not say where the plane went down or what happened to the pilot.
5 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq Violence 15 Jun 2007 Five American soldiers died in Iraq, the U.S. military announced Friday, a day after extremists fired shells into Baghdad's Green Zone during a visit by the State Department's No. 2 official. The prime minister imposed an indefinite curfew on Basra, Iraq's second largest city and gateway to the Persian Gulf, after [US] bombers leveled a Sunni shrine just outside the city.
Gates in Iraq to assess progress in US troop "surge" 15 Jun 2007 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived in Baghdad on Friday to assess a U.S. troop buildup and press Iraq's government to move faster in passing [oil] laws that Washington views as critical to [help KBR and Exxon Mobil] reconciling Iraqis.
Pace says he refused to quit voluntarily 15 Jun 2007 In his first public comments on the Bush administration's surprise decision to replace him as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace disclosed that he had turned down an offer to voluntarily retire rather than be forced out.
NKorea warns against U.S. missile plan 15 Jun 2007 North Korea on Friday warned it may strengthen its "self-defense deterrent," a term it usually uses to refer to its nuclear program, despite news that millions in frozen funds the country had sought as a condition to disarm was en route to its accounts. The comments came in a statement from the government criticizing U.S. efforts to build a missile defense system.
Gates wins NATO backing on U.S. missile shield 14 Jun 2007 The U.S. defense secretary, Robert Gates, secured NATO's endorsement on Thursday for an American plan to build missile 'defense' bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, overcoming past reticence of some alliance members concerned that the effort could rupture relations with Russia.
The Pentagon v. Peak Oil --How Wars of the Future May Be Fought Just to Run the Machines That Fight Them 14 Jun 2007 By Michael T. Klare Multiply that daily tab by 365 and you get 1.3 billion gallons: the estimated annual oil expenditure for U.S. combat operations in Southwest Asia. That's greater than the total annual oil usage of Bangladesh, population 150 million -- and yet it's a gross underestimate of the Pentagon's wartime consumption. Such numbers cannot do full justice to the extraordinary gas-guzzling expense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Guard running low on equipment 15 Jun 2007 National Guard units in 31 states say four years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have left them with 60% or less of their authorized equipment, a USA TODAY review found. Eighteen of those 31 states report having half or fewer of the vehicles, aircraft, radios, weapons and other items they are authorized to have for home-front uses, the 50-state review found.
Seattle-Area VA Hospital Criticized 15 Jun 2007 The Department of Veterans Affairs, rocked by reports of shoddy treatment at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, says it has remedied problems that had been described as an "immediate threat to life" at two Seattle-area VA hospitals.
Abbas declares state of emergency 15 Jun 2007 Hamas Islamist fighters said they had taken control of the Palestinian presidential compound in Gaza late on Thursday, calling it the "last bastion'' of President Mahmoud Abbas's secular Fatah forces in the enclave. A broadcast on a Hamas-run radio station said "the last bastion of corruption has fallen''.
Hamas hails 'liberation' of Gaza 14 Jun 2007 Hamas militants have hailed a series of military victories over rivals Fatah in the Gaza Strip as a new "liberation" of the territory. Fighters seized Fatah's Preventative Security building in Gaza City and the intelligence service headquarters, and overran the town of Rafah.
10 ex-Argentine security agents detained 14 Jun 2007 A federal court in northern Argentina has detained 10 former state security agents — including four army colonels — for prosecution in connection with a 1976 massacre, the government news agency said. The officials were taken into custody on charges of complicity in the Dec. 13, 1976, killings of 17 political prisoners near the Chaco province capital of Resistencia, the Telam news agency said.
US Tried to Smuggle C4 Into G8 Protests 07 Jun 2007 Heiligendamm, Germany (dpa) Police allowed protesters to assemble peacefully for a second day at a fence two kilometres from the G8 summit venue... Sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that US security men tested German security by trying to smuggle C4 plastic explosive past a checkpoint at Heiligendamm. German surveillance machinery detected the tiny [?] stash in a suitcase in a car and the Americans in plainclothes then identified themselves.
Drill in Miami Tests Response to Dirty Bomb 14 Jun 2007 A Blackhawk helicopter flew low and circled Florida's Orange Bowl stadium Wednesday when, suddenly, ropes were thrown out of the body of the aircraft and SWAT teams began fast roping from the chopper to the ground in a matter of seconds. The team was part of an unusual demonstration meant to showcase how the FBI and local SWAT teams would handle the threat of a so-called [US] dirty bomb on a major metropolitan city.
UK jails 7 'dirty bomb' plotters 15 Jun 2007 Seven Britons 'linked' to a plot to blow up U.S. financial institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange, and stage a series of attacks in Britain, have been jailed for a total of 136 years by a London court.
U.S. may require European visitors to register online --It would 'elevate the security level' for foreign visitors, Chertoff says 14 Jun 2007 Europeans who visit the U.S. would be required to fill out an online questionnaire two days before they enter the country under a proposal being studied by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Delay for tight passport rules gains momentum --Senate panel, House vote to put off requirements due to massive backlog 14 Jun 2007 The House voted overwhelmingly Friday to delay for 17 months new rules requiring passports for U.S. land and sea travelers entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Children's DNA stored on database 15 Jun 2007 (UK) Children younger than 10 are having their genetic fingerprints stored on the national DNA database. More than 100 have been put on the system, even though they are below the age of criminal responsibility, research by the Liberal Democrats discovered.
Nightmare at Reagan National Airport: A Security Story to End all Security Stories By Bill Adler 14 Jun 2007 Here's what happened in Monica's words: "I explained that the sippy cup water was filtered tap water. The sippy cup was seized as my son was pointing and crying for his cup... As I was escorted out of security by TSA and a police officer, I unscrewed the cup to drink the water, which accidentally spilled because I was so upset with the situation. At this point, I was detained against my will by the police officer and threatened to be arrested for endangering other passengers with the spilled 3 to 4 ounces of water... I was ordered to apologize for the spilled water, and again threatened arrest. I was threatened several times with arrest while detained, and while three other police officers were called to the scene of the mother with the 19 month old."
U.S. officials can be sued in Sept 11 abuse case 14 Jun 2007 A Pakistani man who says he was abused in detention after the September 11 attacks can name the FBI director and a former U.S. attorney general in his lawsuit against the government, an appeals court ruled on Thursday. Javaid Iqbal, a Muslim, was held for more than a year at a Brooklyn detention center after the September 11 attacks. He, along with hundreds of Muslims and Arabs sued the U.S. government, claiming they were abused and held for no legitimate reason. Iqbal says he was subjected to repeated strip searches, beaten, dragged across the floor and that the lights in his cell were kept on 24 hours a day.
ACLU Files New Challenge to Government's Secret Filings in NSA Case 14 Jun 2007 The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a legal motion to unseal secret materials filed by the government in an ongoing challenge to the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. The Justice Department filed the classified materials last Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which is currently reviewing the legality of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program. A federal district court previously ruled that the program is unconstitutional and violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Bush administration attacks 'shield' for bloggers 14 Jun 2007 The Bush regime on Thursday blasted a congressional proposal that would shield a broad swath of news gatherers, including some bloggers, from revealing their confidential sources.
DOJ Investigates Gonzales --Justice Dept. Checking For Possible Wrongdoing 15 Jun 2007 The Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sought to improperly influence the testimony of a departing senior aide [Monica M. Goodling], two of its senior officials said yesterday, adding a new dimension to the troubles already besetting the nation's chief law enforcement official.
Libby judge harassed after sentencing 14 Jun 2007 A federal judge showed no sign that he would delay I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison term in the CIA leak case Thursday — even as he reported getting threatening letters and phone calls after sentencing the former White House aide. "I received a number of angry, harassing, mean-spirited phone calls and letters," U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said. "Some of those were wishing bad things on me and my family."
Libby preparing for prison after judge rejects delay in CIA leak case 14 Jun 2007 I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby wanted to take the slow, winding path through the appeals courts. Instead, the former White House aide is on the fast track to prison. Showing no leniency Thursday, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected a request to put Libby's 2.5-year prison sentence on hold.
Tell Congress: Send Scooter Libby to Guantanamo (ActForChange) 14 Jun 2007 Today a judge ruled that Scooter Libby must begin serving his prison sentence while his appeal proceeds. The former Assistant to the President (and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff) has been sentenced to a 30 month jail sentence for obstruction of justice and perjury during the investigation of who revealed the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. Why not send Libby to Gitmo? ...Hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo have not even been accused of crimes, but are still being held without being convicted. Scooter Libby has already been convicted.
Cheney Is Trying to Silence The Star Witness to His Felony By Bob Fertik 15 Jun 2007 Cheney is trying to get a pardon for Scooter - are you kidding??????? ...Can you imagine if Al Gore had tried to use Bill Clinton's pardon power to silence the star witness against him in a major national security investigation? Rightwingers would have screamed about it until the end of time. I can't imagine a greater abuse of Presidential power than pardoning a felon to stop him from exposing a criminal Vice President.
N.C. pressed on voter listings --State, feds say rolls out of date, push changes; official says no need 15 Jun 2007 State and federal officials are mounting two broad challenges to the way North Carolina maintains its voter rolls, charging widespread irregularities that include votes cast under the names of dead people. [Bullsh*t! The GOP is carrying out wholesale *election theft* under the guise of investigating phony 'voting irregularities' charges!]
Duke Prosecutor Nifong Will Resign --Falsely Charged Player Testifies At Nifong's Ethics Trial 15 Jun 2007 Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong said Friday he will resign as Durham County district attorney.
Energy Measure Blocked by Republicans in Senate 15 Jun 2007 Senate Democrats, facing their first significant battle over a wide-ranging bill intended to reduce oil consumption, found themselves blocked by Republicans on Thursday and postponed all significant votes until next week. Republicans vowed to filibuster over a Democratic proposal that would force electric utility companies to generate a big share of their power from renewable fuels, and Democrats failed to muster the 60 votes needed to close off debate.
New Orleans turns to international aid --City has received only half of promised funds 15 Jun 2007 The cash-strapped city of New Orleans is turning to foreign countries for help to rebuild as federal hurricane-recovery dollars remain slow to flow. Kenya Smith, director of intergovernmental relations for Mayor Ray Nagin, said city leaders are talking with more than five countries.
U.N. rules to contain health emergencies take hold 14 Jun 2007 New rules to help the United Nations contain public health emergencies took effect on Friday, requiring countries to disclose potential threats from disease, chemical agents, radioactive materials and contaminated food.
How the FDA is Becoming a Drug Company: Consumer Safety and Access to Natural Health Options Threatened By Byron J. Richards 14 Jun 2007 Under the false pretense of improved food and drug safety the FDA is re-inventing itself as a kingpin drug company. This charade has so far hoodwinked virtually all members of Congress. The Senate has already approved this FDA transformation. The House will bring similar legislation out of committee next week, with a vote in the full House likely in July.
G8 agreement on climate change a "disgrace": Al Gore 14 Jun 2007 Former U.S. President Al Gore denounced a deal by world leaders on curbing greenhouse gases as "a disgrace disguised as an achievement," saying on Thursday the agreement struck last week was insufficient.
Scorching Summers in Store for Mediterranean 14 Jun 2007 Scorching heat could spell more dangerous summers for the Mediterranean over the next 100 years, a new analysis finds. A 2003 heat wave took 15,000 lives in France and 3,000 in Italy as temperatures soared over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but if greenhouse gases continue to build up in the atmosphere at their present rate, temperature rises could dwarf those in Europe during that summer.
FBI Terror Watch List 'Out of Control' 13 Jun 2007 A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names. The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified. A portion of the FBI's unclassified 2008 budget request posted to the Department of Justice Web site, however, refers to "the entire watch list of 509,000 names," which is utilized by its Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force. "It grows seemingly without control or limitation," said ACLU senior legislative counsel Tim Sparapani of the terrorism watch list. Sparapani called the 509,000 figure "stunning."
FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data 14 Jun 2007 An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism. The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the 'mistakes' in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews.
Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case --Whistleblower Declaration and Other Key Documents Released to Public 12 Jun 2007 More documents detailing secret government surveillance of AT&T's Internet traffic have been released to the public as part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against the telecom giant. Some of the unsealed information was previously made public in redacted form. But after negotiations with AT&T, EFF has filed newly unredacted documents describing a secret, secure room in AT&T's facilities that gave the National Security Agency (NSA) direct access to customers' emails and other Internet communications.
Justice Dept. wants stricter sentencing 13 Jun 2007 The Bush regime is trying to roll back a Supreme Court decision by pushing legislation that would require prison time for nearly all criminals. Republicans are seizing the administration's crackdown, packaged in legislation to combat violent crime, as a campaign issue for 2008. [Good, this means the war criminals -- Bush, Cheney, et al. are going to serve prison time!]
IAEA head: Iran attack 'act of madness' 14 Jun 2007 The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency [International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei] said Thursday an attack on Iran over its refusal to freeze programs that could make nuclear weapons would be "an act of madness," an indirect warning to the United States and Israel.
Afghan official says Iran is not arming Taliban --Defense minister dismisses claim by top U.S. State Department official 14 Jun 2007 Afghanistan’s defense minister on Thursday dismissed claims by a top U.S. State Department official that there was "irrefutable evidence" that the Iranian government was providing arms to Taliban rebels. "Actually, throughout we have had good relations with Iran and we believe that the security and stability of Afghanistan are also in the interests of Iran," Abdul Rahim Wardak told The Associated Press.
NGOs unveils scathing report on impact of US-led war in Iraq 13 Jun 2007 A coalition of non-governmental groups on Wednesday took the UN Security Council to task for its "shocking silence" on alleged violations of international law by US-led forces in Iraq and urged an early end to their mandate. In a scathing report, the Global Policy Forum slammed the conduct of US-led occupation forces and their Iraqi government partners who "have held a large number of Iraqi citizens in 'security detention' without charge or trial, in direct violation of international law."
Iraq imposes indefinite curfew in Baghdad: report 13 Jun 2007 The Iraqi government has announced the imposing of an indefinite curfew in the capital from 3:00 p.m. local time Wednesday (1100 GMT), in the wake of the [US] bombing of a holy Shiite shrine in the northern city of Sammara earlier in the day, state-run TV reported. The Iraqi capital has already been placed under nightly curfew, which begins at 11:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) and 6:00 a.m. (0200 GMT) every day. [Gee, there was so much more freedom in the days of Saddam Hussein.]
Senior Iraqi journalist kidnapped in Baghdad 13 Jun 2007 Police say a senior Iraqi journalist has been kidnapped in Baghdad, in the latest [US] attack against the media in Iraq. Gunmen in a convoy of cars seized Filaih Wadi Mijthab, managing editor of the state-run al-Sabah daily newspaper, while he was being driven with his son in Shiite-dominated Sadr City in east Baghdad. The son and driver were not taken.
U.S. Officer: Iraqi Police Disappearing 13 Jun 2007 About one in six Iraqi policemen trained by U.S.-led forces has been killed or wounded, has deserted or just disappeared, a senior U.S. military commander says. And continuing violence is prompting officials again to increase the size of the Iraqi army - this time by another 20,000, said Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who until recently headed the training effort.
Cholera among children in Iraq causing concern 13 Jun 2007 Five cases of cholera have been reported among children in Iraq in the past three weeks, a worrying sign as temperatures rise and the war leaves sewage and sanitation systems a shambles.
Petraeus says security crackdown working 14 Jun 2007 When Gen. David Petraeus drives through the streets of Iraq's capital, he sees "astonishing signs of normalcy" in half, perhaps two-thirds of Baghdad. "I'm talking about professional soccer leagues with real grass field stadiums, several amusement parks — big ones, markets that are very vibrant," says Petraeus, commander of the roughly 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. The scenes provide a sign that the new strategy in Iraq is working, although many problems remain, he told USA TODAY in an interview Wednesday. [Let's see... curfews, car bombings, chlorine bombings, suicide bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and disappearing police -- all elements of 'astonishing signs of normalcy.']
Army general apologizes for tattoo strip search --National Guard soldiers ordered to remove clothes while on duty in Kuwait 12 Jun 2007 A top U.S. Army investigator has apologized to New Mexico National Guard soldiers who were ordered to strip to their gym shorts and were searched for gang tattoos while they were on duty in Kuwait.
A Failure to Protect Our Troops (The New York Times) 14 Jun 2007 The Bush administration and military leaders in Washington are always claiming that they will do anything to support American troops fighting in Iraq. That makes it all the more infuriating to learn that, for more than two years, the Pentagon largely ignored urgent requests from field commanders for better armor-protected vehicles that could have saved untold lives and limbs.
U.S. hometowns strained as police go off to war 14 Jun 2007 Police Chief Keith Hill respects Americans who have left civilian jobs to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the fact that so many of them are police officers means he's been short-staffed for years.
Panel examines Marine base water contamination 13 Jun 2007 Thousands of Marine families who lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina over three decades drank and bathed in water contaminated with toxins as much as 40 times over today's safety standard.
A deliberate torture policy --Politicians can no longer hide from the shameful truth behind Iraqi civilian deaths in British custody By Phil 14 Jun 2007 The House of Lords yesterday put an end to this government's shameful efforts to shirk responsibility for multiple acts of torture and abuse - sometimes fatal - of Iraqi civilians detained during the occupation of their country. The Lords held by a four-to-one majority that the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights did apply in south-east Iraq in detention cases, including that of Baha Mousa, who died in British military custody in September 2003 after sustaining 93 separate injuries. Following yesterday's damning verdict, there must now be a full, independent and public inquiry.
American convicted of running private Afghan jail freed from prison, leaves Afghanistan 13 Jun 2007 A former American soldier convicted in Afghanistan for running a private jail and torturing terror suspects has left Afghanistan after three years in a Kabul prison, the warden said. Jack Idema, a former Green Beret, was pardoned by President Hamid Karzai in late March as part of a general amnesty. Some of the Afghans Idema imprisoned claimed they were beaten and their heads held under water.
Russians Fear Targeted Bioweapons, Ban Human Tissue Export 01 Jun 2007 The Russian Federal Customs Service (FSB) has banned the export from the country of all human medical biological materials, as of May 28th. According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, the ban was prompted by a report submitted to Vladimir Putin that alleges "genetically engineered biological weapons" are under development in the West. The report was prepared by the FSB after investigation of the medical facilities in Russia that participate in research trials in association with Western pharmaceutical companies and universities.
Western governors are critical of new federal Real ID program 12 Jun 2007 A federal program known as Real ID that would require states to upgrade their driver’s licenses to higher security standards drew scathing criticism from western governors worried about the cost of what many said was an unfunded mandate.
F-16s Respond to 'Hostile Takeover' Talk 13 Jun 2007 F-16s intercepted a small plane after officials misinterpreted a phrase uttered by the pilot as his aircraft flew over military airspace: "hostile takeover." The pilot was talking about business, the plane's owner said. But a frantic air traffic controller couldn't confirm that because the pilot had turned off his radio, said Maj. Roger Yates of the Clay County Sheriff's Department. Within minutes, federal aviation authorities scrambled the fighter jets to intercept the plane Monday evening just outside of Oklahoma City and escort it to the Clay County airport near Mosby.
N.J. High School Evacuated After Suspicious Items Found 13 Jun 2007 A high school was evacuated after suspicious objects were found in the building Wednesday, one day before final exams, authorities said. The Passaic County sheriff's bomb squad removed the items, which may have been fireworks, from Wayne Valley High School and detonated them in a safe area, sheriff's spokesman Bill Maer said.
Va. Tech panel gets Cho's mental records 14 Jun 2007 Relatives of the student gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus turned over his mental health records to a gubernatorial panel investigating the shootings, the panel's chairman said Thursday. Federal privacy laws governing health and student information had prevented the panel from reviewing Seung-Hui Cho's records. Panel Chairman W. Gerald Massengill had said he would go to court if necessary to obtain them.
Former White House aide must report to prison --Libby prison sentence delay denied --Judge was threatened following sentencing 14 Jun 2007 The judge in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial Thursday denied Libby's request to postpone prison time until after the appeals process is complete. Judge Reggie B. Walton said Libby must report to prison within the next 30 to 45 days. Libby, if he wants to, may decide to take the issue to the appellate court level. He is expected to do so. Earlier today the federal judge who oversaw I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby’s CIA leak trial said he received threatening letters and phone calls after sentencing the former White House aide to prison.
'This subpoena is not a request, it is a demand.' 2 Committees Subpoena Ex-Officials on Dismissals 14 Jun 2007 The Senate and House Judiciary Committees issued subpoenas on Wednesday to Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, and Sara M. Taylor, the former political director, ratcheting up the pressure on the White House to cooperate with the Congressional inquiry into last year’s firings of federal prosecutors.
Ex-Justice Dept. lawyer can't recall his role in controversial policies [Maybe a little waterboarding will help?] 13 Jan 2007 Another former Justice Department lawyer went before Congress on Wednesday with few answers for his Democratic interrogators and a spotty memory. Hans von Spakovsky, who's seeking a full six-year term on the Federal Election Commission, deflected questions about whether he undermined voting rights laws, saying, "I was not the decision maker in the front office of the Civil Rights Division." Time and again during his confirmation hearing, he cited either the attorney-client privilege or a cloudy memory for his purported role in restricting minorities' voting rights. Von Spakovsky couldn't remember blocking an investigation into complaints that a Minnesota Republican official was discriminating against Native American voters before the 2004 'election.'
Waxman Says GSA Chief Threatened to Retaliate After Testimony 13 Jun 2007 House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said there is "credible evidence" that the head of the General Services Administration threatened retaliation against employees who aided a probe into her political activities. Lurita Alexis Doan has been investigated for allegedly asking GSA officials during a January briefing how they could "help our candidates," referring to Republicans, win the next 'election.'
New Bush Adviser Has Vast Lobbying Ties 13 Jun 2007 A new high-ranking adviser to President [sic] Bush will enter the White House with lobbying ties to dozens of companies seeking the federal government's help on everything from proposed acquisitions to patent disputes. Ed Gillespie, named Wednesday as the next White House counselor, is a partner in Quinn Gillespie & Associates LLC, a lobbying firm whose clients include: Sirius Satellite Radio, which needs antitrust approval to acquire a rival; Qualcomm, which wants Bush to veto a federal agency's ban on imported cell phones made with its chips; and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group trying to limit drug industry regulation. Despite the potential for conflicts of interest, Gillespie will not be forced in his new role to recuse himself from all matters related to the companies he has lobbied for, said Ken Gross, a Washington-based attorney and former associate general counsel with the Federal Election Commission.
Justice Dept. Reshapes Its Civil Rights Mission 14 Jun 2007 In recent years, the Bush administration has recast the federal government’s role in civil rights by aggressively pursuing religion-oriented cases while significantly diminishing its involvement in the traditional area of race.
Bush's Poll Rating At Lowest Level Ever 13 Jun 2007 The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that Republicans are abandoning George W. Bush, which has dropped his job-approval rating below 30 percent -- his lowest mark ever in the survey. In the poll, Bush’s approval rating is at just 29 percent. 68 percent think the country is on the wrong track.
World oil supplies are set to run out faster than expected, warn scientists --Scientists challenge major review of global reserves and warn that supplies will start to run out in four years' time 14 Jun 2007 Scientists have criticised a major review of the world's remaining oil reserves, warning that the end of oil is coming sooner than governments and oil companies are prepared to admit.
Terminator Seed Ban Proposed In Canada 05 Jun 2007 Terminator seeds, which have already been outlawed by India and Brazil, face similar treatment in Canada. Agriculture critic Alex Atamanenko introduced a private member's bill Thursday to ban field-testing and commercialization of terminator seeds, which allow the seed maker to control future generations of the plant. These seeds make use of what is generally called "terminator technology," which is one form of Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT)... The second generation seed fails to germinate, forcing the farmer to buy new seeds for each season.
Polar bear at zoo euthanized 13 Jun 2007 Masha, one of two polar bears that came to the North Carolina Zoo in 2002 after being confiscated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from a circus traveling in Puerto Rico, was euthanized Wednesday after exploratory surgery revealed abnormalities that had kept him in constant pain, the zoo said in a news release. Years of malnutrition and poor living conditions while being kept by the circus are thought to have initiated and exacerbated the bear’s deteriorating health, according to zoo veterinary staff. Exploratory surgery this morning revealed gastric ulcers, bladder and kidney infections, pneumonia and other physical problems. The surgery additionally revealed that he was suffering neurological problems that had rendered him unable to walk or stand. He had stopped eating more than a week ago. [Circuses torture animals. DO NOT PATRONIZE THEM.]
Judge Strikes Down Bush Administration Decision On Salmon 13 Jun 2007 A federal judge in Seattle has struck down a Bush administration decision to count hatchery-raised salmon alongside their wild counterparts in determining endangered species protection. Judge John Coughenour's ruling Wednesday raises the listing for upper Columbia River steelhead from threatened to endangered.
Intel chief changing 1981 security order 12 Jun 2007 The national intelligence director has won White House approval to begin revising an executive order that lays out each spy agency's responsibilities and the government's protections against spying on Americans. The Reagan-era 1981 presidential order is woven into the culture at the 16 spy agencies and spells out their powers. It also provides fundamental guidance to protect against spying on Americans, prohibitions against human experimentation and the long-standing ban on assassination.
FBI wants to mine massive database in search for terrorists 12 Jun 2007 The FBI wants to compile a massive computer database and analyze it for clues to unmask terrorist sleeper cells. The FBI is seeking $12 million in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 for its Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force to set up a National Security Branch Analysis Center, with 59 employees, including 23 contractors and five FBI agents. Justice Department budget documents submitted to Congress predict the center will hold 6 billion records by 2012 and "the universe of subjects will expand exponentially."
Munitions Dumping at Sea By Craig R. McClain, Ph.D. 11 Jun 2007 It is no secret that the U.S. military has used the ocean as trashcan for munitions in the past. Peter discussed at the Old DSN how federal lawmakers were pressing the US Army to reveal everything it knows about a massive international program to dump chemical weapons off homeland and foreign shores. "The Army now admits that it secretly dumped 64 million pounds of nerve and mustard agents into the sea, along with 400,000 chemical-filled bombs, land mines and rockets and more than 500 tons of radioactive waste - either tossed overboard or packed into the holds of scuttled vessels." [More at the Daily Press's in-depth coverage.]
CDC Report: US Marines Drank Tainted Water for 30 Years 12 Jun 2007 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that as many as 75,000 people may have been exposed to drinking water contaminated by dry cleaning fluid at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The CDC said Tuesday that the contamination lasted 30 years from 1957 through 1987.
Iraq imposes Baghdad curfew after mosque attack 13 Jun 2007 Suspected al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] militants blew up two minarets of a revered Shi'ite mosque in the Iraqi city of Samarra on Wednesday, targeting a shrine bombed last year in an attack that unleashed a wave of 'sectarian' killing.
Famous Shiite Shrine in Samarra Attacked 13 Jun 2007 Suspected 'al-Qaida insurgents' on Wednesday destroyed the two minarets of the Askariya Shiite shrine in Samarra, authorities reported, in a repeat of a 2006 bombing that shattered its famous Golden Dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq. Police said the attack at about 9 a.m. involved [US] explosives and brought down the two minarets, which had flanked the dome's ruins.
Iraq bombers hit key Samarra mosque 13 Jun 2007 Saboteur bombers destroyed the two minarets of a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra early Wednesday, in a repeat of the 2006 [US] attack that shattered its famous golden dome and unleashed a wave of retaliatory sectarian violence that still bloodies Iraq. 'Sunni extremists of al-Qaida were quickly blamed.' [Right, but we all know that the US is supplying 'Sunni extremists' with the explosives. See: U.S. unit enters an alliance with former insurgents --Soldiers in Baghdad give police powers, guns to former insurgents 09 Jun 2007]
U.S.-Iraqi forces raid lollipop factory 12 Jun 2007 U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday raided a lollipop factory being used to make bombs, finding boxes of explosives and two tons of fertilizer in the basement of the facility in northern Iraq, an Iraqi officer said.
5,000 Army Reservists ordered for screenings 12 Jun 2007 For the first time since the Iraq war began, the Army is notifying thousands from a special category of reservists that they must report this summer for medical screening and other administrative tasks... The idea is to ensure that when and if more Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR, members are needed for Iraq or other active-duty deployments, the Army will at least know which are fit for duty and where to find them.
Blair admits fear that Afghanistan will disintegrate into another Iraq 13 Jun 2007 New fears were raised over the UK military mission in Afghanistan yesterday as Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, said he worries that the country could slide into the sort of bloody chaos now gripping Iraq. Britain's envoy in Kabul also described the Taleban resistance facing British troops as "very scary".
U.S. military probes why guards failed to prevent suicide at Guantanamo Bay 13 Jun 2007 The U.S. military is investigating how guards failed to prevent the death last month of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, an apparent suicide in one of the most closely monitored detention camps for suspected al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] and Taliban members, the top commander said Tuesday.
Fleeting Glory in Albania By Eugene Robinson 12 Jun 2007 George W. Bush, Hero of Albania! At least there's one place in the world where they show the Decider some love... Even as Albania swooned, the rest of Europe was digesting a blue-ribbon report issued Friday about the abduction, secret detention and abusive interrogation of suspects in Bush's "war on terror..." This, I am convinced, is how future generations will remember George W. Bush: as the president [sic] who abandoned our traditional concepts of justice and human rights, choosing instead a program of state-sponsored kidnapping, arbitrary detention and abusive interrogation techniques such as "waterboarding..." We will remember him as the president who established a prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, complete with kangaroo-court military tribunals in which detainees were not allowed to see the alleged evidence against them.
U.S.: NATO Has Intercepted Iranian Arms 13 Jun 2007 NATO has intercepted Iranian weapons shipments to Afghanistan's Taliban 'insurgents,' providing evidence Iran is violating international law to aid a group it once considered a bitter enemy, a senior U.S. diplomat said Wednesday. "There's irrefutable evidence the Iranians are now doing this," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said on CNN.
Lieberman asked to resign from his own party 12 Jun 2007 The Connecticut for Lieberman Party is calling on Senator Joseph LieberBush to resign from the U.S. Senate following his remarks made Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation regarding military action against Iran. Lieberman said on the program that, "we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians." The Connecticut for Lieberman Chair, Dr. John Orman, called for Lieberman's resignation saying that he "crossed the line" and "no longer represents the views of the citizens of Connecticut." [He never did.]
Secret UN report condemns US for Middle East failures 13 Jun 2007 The highest ranking UN official in Israel has warned that American pressure has "pummelled into submission" the UN's role as an impartial Middle East negotiator in a damning confidential report. The 53-page "End of Mission Report" by Alvaro de Soto, the UN's Middle East envoy, obtained by the Guardian, presents a devastating account of failed diplomacy and condemns the sweeping boycott of the Palestinian government. It is dated May 5 this year, just before Mr de Soto stepped down.
Blast rocks Beirut waterfront --TV reports one person was killed in what could be car bombing 13 Jun 2007 An explosion rocked Beirut's waterfront on Wednesday, and a local television station said one person was killed. Security sources said it was not immediately clear if there were any casualties from the blast. Al-Manar television reported that one person had been killed.
Government on brink of collapse as Gaza moves closer to civil war 13 Jun 2007 The Palestinians’ rival leaders were both targeted yesterday as increasingly brutal factional fighting pushed the three-month-old unity Government to the brink of collapse. Mahmoud Abbas, the President and leader of the secular Fatah Party, accused his Islamist rivals Hamas of staging a coup, and threatened to pull out of the coalition.
AT&T 'Spy Room' Documents Released, Confirm Wired News' Earlier Publication By Ryan Singel 12 Jun 2007 AT&T agreed to allow large portions of sealed documents that sit at the heart of an anti-spying case against the telecom giant which alleges the company illegally installed secret surveillance rooms in its internet facilities at the behest of the National Security Agency. The case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in January 2006 relies on documents provided to the group by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician who took three documents home with him when he retired in 2004.
Internet Absurdity: Bin Laden Listed at FOX Headquarters 07 Jun 2007 An Ohio man says he has located Osama bin Laden in the United States and wants to claim the U.S. government's $25 million reward. Using an online person search built from phone directories and other public records, Thomas Potter of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, turned up three listings for "Usama bin Laden." The first listing put the al Qaeda leader at the California headquarters of media giant FOX Entertainment Group. The second placed bin Laden in the office of a Bethesda, Md., Internet firm owned by the son of a former Defense Department official. And the third pinpointed bin Laden's secret hideout as an unidentified location in Hermitage, Tenn.
Campus killers' hints ignored 13 Jun 2007 About once every year, a campus murder is committed after administrators take insufficient action despite warnings about threats, flawed security or dangerous situations, a USA TODAY analysis of college homicides since 1991 shows. In at least 15 of the cases reviewed, the campus killer [black ops hireling] showed signs of being a danger, often with either a criminal or psychotic background, or by making violent threats. The massacre of 32 at Virginia Tech in April, like those other 15 cases, fits a pattern of killings committed by isolated, vengeful students who turn homicidal with shocking brutality.
Officials: Subpeonas for Bush Figures 13 Jun 2007 Two congressional committees are issuing subpoenas for testimony from former White House counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor on their roles in the firings of eight federal prosecutors, according to two officials familiar with the investigation.
Officials rebuked for disclosing Rove's connection to firing of U.S. attorney 13 Jun 2007 The White House's former political director was furious at Justice Department officials for disclosing to Congress that the administration had forced out the U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., to make way for a protege of Karl Rove, President [sic] Bush's political adviser, according to documents released late Tuesday. Then-White House political affairs director Sara Taylor spelled out her frustrations in a Feb. 16 e-mail to Kyle Sampson, then the chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Bush Aides Helped Respond to Firings, E-Mails Show 13 Jun 2007 Several high-ranking White House officials were closely involved in crafting a public response to the uproar over the firing of a group of U.S. attorneys, according to documents released late yesterday. Then-White House counsel Harriet E. Miers and aides to presidential adviser Karl Rove were deeply enmeshed in debates over how to respond to the controversy as early as mid-January, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned the spate of prosecutor departures in a Senate floor speech, according to e-mails that the Justice Department turned over to the House and Senate judiciary committees.
Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. White House Says Fired Prosecutor 'Lazy' 13 Jun 2007 A senior White House aide described a U.S. attorney in Arkansas who was fired last year as "lazy" - "which is why we got rid of him in the first place," according to Justice Department documents released Tuesday. Former prosecutor Bud Cummins, reached Tuesday night for comment, responded: "I'm sure I have some faults, but my work ethic hasn't been one them."
Senate roll call on Gonzales 11 Jun 2007 The 53-38 roll call Monday by which the Senate voted against considering a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Sixty votes were needed to bring up the resolution. [Needless to say, Joe LieberBush voted *no.*]
Official: Gillespie in As Bush Adviser 13 Jun 2007 Ed Gillespie, a Republican strategist and former head of the national party, is replacing Dan Bartlett as White House counselor, according to a senior administration official.
Bush Gave Policy Views on Top Court Case 13 Jun 2007 In a lawsuit that harks back to the Enron scandal, the Bush administration is at odds with the federal agency that oversees securities markets as well as with state attorneys general and consumer and investor advocates. President [sic] Bush personally weighed in with his views before the administration decided not to support investors whose securities fraud case is now before the Supreme Court... Bush's role in the case underscores its significance. The outcome of the Supreme Court case could determine whether investors can pursue lawsuits to recover investment losses if they can prove collusion between Wall Street institutions and scandal-ridden companies.
U.S. Mortgage Foreclosure Filings Rise 90% in May 12 Jun 2007 U.S. foreclosure filings surged 90 percent in May from a year earlier as more homeowners fell behind on their monthly mortgage payments, RealtyTrac Inc. said.
Officials Urge Federal Agents to Stop Immigration Raids 12 Jun 2007 (CT) New Haven officials are urging federal authorities to suspend any more raids looking for illegal immigrants because of questions surrounding an operation in the city last week. Mayor John DeStefano said he is filing a complaint with the federal Department of Homeland Security over a raid last Wednesday that led to about 30 arrests, including many in immigrants' homes. DeStefano said Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents lacked search warrants and failed to notify local authorities of the operation.
Driver ticketed for using biofuel --Vegetable oil sticks him with $1,000 fine 11 Jun 2007 Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil. So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil... His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes. He has been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.
Setback for Ill Workers at Nuclear Bomb Plant 13 Jun 2007 A federal advisory panel recommended Tuesday that thousands of former workers at a nuclear weapons plant [Rocky Flats] be denied immediate government compensation for illnesses that they say result from years of radiation exposure there.
Making Killer Flu 12 Jun 2007 CDC scientists swap genes between bird flu and human strains to 'plot the path of' [create] a possible pandemic.
Malaysia Quarantines Five Bird Flu Suspects 12 Jun 2007 At least five people have been quarantined in two Malaysian hospitals after displaying symptoms of the bird flu virus, the health minister said on Tuesday. Sixteen others who were also suspected of being infected with the virus were quarantined and had tested negative.
Measles outbreak spreads in Eugene 10 Jun 2007 (OR) Four people exposed to measles but never immunized for the disease have agreed to be quarantined for 21 days, health officials said. The people under voluntary quarantine aren't sick and may not get sick, but they've agreed to stay home until they're no longer at risk of spreading the highly contagious viral disease, said Betsy Meredith, communicable disease nursing supervisor for Lane County.
Man with measles may have exposed travelers, patients 01 Jun 2007 A man infected with a case of the measles while visiting Japan potentially exposed dozens of air travelers to the disease along with more than 100 hospital patients, employees and visitors in Eugene, health officials said. The Eugene man, who was not identified by officials, is in his early 20s. He flew back from Japan on May 22, changing planes in San Francisco.
Bush admin. calls for cutting spotted owl habitat 13 Jun 2007 The Bush regime proposes cutting 1.5 million acres from Northwest forests considered critical to the survival of the northern spotted owl. The move could reopen the 1990s debate over timber production on public lands, in which logging companies argued that efforts to save the owl contributed to the Northwest timber industry's decline.
Hurricane Satellite Could Fail Anytime 13 Jun 2007 An aging weather satellite crucial to accurate predictions on the intensity and path of hurricanes could fail at any moment and plans to launch a replacement have been pushed back seven years to 2016.
UN Report: Melting Ice Will Disrupt Water Supplies for 40% of World Population 05 June 2007 A new United Nations report says melting glaciers and ice sheets caused by global warming could disrupt drinking and agricultural water supplies for up to 40 percent of the world's population.
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