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


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

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June 2009 Archives

US moving to appeal Bagram detention ruling 11 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is moving to appeal a ruling that some prisoners at a military air base in Afghanistan can use U.S. civilian courts to challenge their detention. The Justice Department asked a federal appeals court here Friday to hear its appeal on an expedited basis. The move was expected. U.S. District Judge John Bates, who made the original ruling April 2, suspended action in the case to give the government time to seek higher court review of his action.

U.S. frees Guantanamo detainee seized when a 14-year-old 11 Jun 2009 An African prisoner held at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay since he was a teenager has been released without charge after more than seven years in captivity, his lawyers said on Thursday. Mohammed El Gharani, a Chadian citizen, was freed five months after a U.S. federal judge ordered him released having reviewed the evidence against him and ruled that there was nothing to suggest he was ever an "enemy combatant." Lawyers for Gharani said he was the youngest detainee to be released from Guantanamo, having been seized in 2001 when he was 14.

U.S. sends four Uighur detainees to Bermuda 11 Jun 2009 Four Chinese detainees from Guantanamo Bay arrived in Bermuda on Thursday after being freed by U.S. authorities in the Obama administration's latest move to close the controversial prison camp for terrorism suspects. Attorneys for the four Muslim men, who were held for seven years before being cleared by U.S. authorities as terrorism suspects, said they would take part in Bermuda's foreign guest worker program.

ACLU Sues CIA to Show White House Interrogation Link 11 Jun 2009 The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the CIA and other government agencies to get documents it says may show links between the Bush regime and a program of harsh interrogation techniques torture. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday in federal court in Manhattan. On Monday, CIA Director Leon Panetta said releasing documents about the agency's terror interrogations would gravely damage national security.

CIA says Osama bin Forgotten (now) hiding in... wait for it... it's good, right under the cover of a flu pandemic: CIA chief says bin Laden in Pakistan 11 Jun 2009 CIA Director Leon Panetta said on Thursday the U.S. intelligence agency believes al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan and hopes joint operations with Pakistani forces will find him. [LOL!] Asked whether he was sure that bin Laden was in Pakistan, Panetta told reporters: "The last information we had, that's still the case."

Pentagon: Billions in U.S. terror aid to Pakistan diverted 06 Jun 2009 Pakistan diverted U.S. aid meant for fighting Taliban terrorists to bolster its conventional warfare capabilities against India, documents indicate. U.S. Defense Department documents accessed by the Press Trust of India reveal Islamabad secretly diverted a substantial portion of nearly $7 billion in foreign military financing and arms sales from the administration of former U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush to beef up its armed forces along the Indian border instead of fighting terrorists. PTI quoted the Pentagon documents as saying that a major portion of post-Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. military aid meant to counter advances made by the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan's northwest was instead used to buy and refurbish eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, worth $474 million. [See: US Pledges Additional $200 Million in Aid to Pakistan 03 Jun 2009 U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said the Obama administration is standing beside Pakistan in its fight to defeat create Islamic extremists. See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007; US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

KBR Wasted Billions in Troop-Support Work, Panel Says 10 Jun 2009 KBR Inc. wasted billions of dollars through inefficiencies, lax oversight and poor management of its contract to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an independent, bipartisan panel. The contract -- to provide housing, food, laundry, mail delivery and fuel for U.S. troops -- was ultimately worth $31.7 billion, with most of the work being done in Iraq and Kuwait. "The services could have been delivered for billions of dollars less," the commission stated in a report released today at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform’s national security panel.

Contractor oversees security guards in Afghanistan --London-based Aegis was hired in January under a nearly $1 million deal to support the Armed Contractor Oversight Directorate. 10 Jun 2009 A major security contractor is running an office overseeing armed guards in Afghanistan, a situation at odds with the Pentagon's claim that military officers would be in charge of such sensitive work. A new report on wartime spending to be made public Wednesday at a congressional hearing says the contractor, Aegis Defense Services, has operated with limited U.S. government supervision. The company's responsibilities include working with Afghan authorities investigating "escalation-of-force" incidents involving for-hire security guards, the report by the independent Wartime Contracting Commission says. [In other words, the terrorists (Aegis) are in charge of investigating (their) terrorism.]

Iraq says frees 3 of 5 arrested U.S. contractors 11 Jun 2009 Three of five U.S. security contractors arrested in Baghdad as part of an investigation into the killing of a fellow American contractor have been freed, Iraq's government spokesman said Thursday. An Interior Ministry official said the men were ordered released on bail, and that they were still suspects in the case.

Guantanamo 'suicide' had been prisoners' representative --Detainee had been held in prison's psychiatric ward 11 Jun 2009 Almost five months before he was found dead at Guantanamo Bay, a detainee volunteered to represent prisoners in talks with the military and left his jailhouse for a meeting with the detention camp's most senior commanders. But he never returned --- from then on, he was held in the prison's psychiatric ward, a former detainee recalled. Mohammad Ahmed Abdullah Saleh Al Hanashi died in the ward this month in what the military has called an apparent suicide -- the fifth since the prison opened and the first on President Barack Obama's watch.

US Marines out of Iraq in 2010 11 Jun 2009 US Marines will withdraw from Iraq in the spring of 2010, General James Conway says, signaling the end of a mission amid resurgence of violence in the country. "We think that in the spring of 2010 we'll close the door and turn out the lights to Marine Corps presence in Iraq," said General James Conway in a speech at the National Press Club.

Rand says US unlikely to contain Iran 12 Jun 2009 A US think-tank has warned that a US-led containment of Iran is 'unlikely' to be sustainable among the Persian Gulf states. The Rand Corporation has said in a report that the Persian Gulf states desire to maintain their cordial ties with Iran, if not active political and economic engagement.

Petraeus: Afghan violence at highest levels 12 Jun 2009 Violence in Afghanistan last week reached its highest level since the US overthrow of the Taliban government in 2001, General David Petraeus says. Petraeus stressed that it was vital that the US and other NATO troops be perceived as increasing local security and not harming civilians. "This is the graveyard of empires ... It is a place that has never taken kindly to would-be conquerors," he said. [Right, so get out *now.*]

British troops at mercy of Taliban surge --Average of 12 attacks a day by insurgents in Helmand, new figures show 12 Jun 2009 British troops fighting the Taliban are facing three times as many attacks as any other Nato force in Afghanistan amid spiralling violence across the country which has seen 'insurgent' bombings and shootings rise by 73 per cent. Official Nato figures reveal that fatalities among the international force, including British, have risen by 78 per cent while the targeting of officials serving the beleaguered Afghan government has increased by 64 per cent.

California Soldier Dies In Afghanistan 11 Jun 2009 Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff for a 25-year-old Greenfield soldier who died while serving in Afghanistan. Spc. Eduardo S. Silva died Tuesday at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan in a non-combat-related incident.

AP Source: Pyongyang may be prepping nuclear test 11 Jun 2009 North Korea may be preparing for its third nuclear test, a show of defiance as the United Nations considers new sanctions on the government for conducting an underground nuclear explosion in May, according to a U.S. government official. North Korea conducted an underground explosion on May 25, its first since a 2006 atomic test. The official, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the unreleased information, would not provide details regarding the assessment.

Heads up! Nuclear weapons stewardship mission to expand at Minot AFB 11 Jun 2009 Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Congressman Earl Pomeroy announced today that the Air Force will establish a unit at Minot AFB to oversee the maintenance and sustainment of nuclear weapons at all of the nation's Minuteman ICBM bases. This will bring a new nuclear mission to Minot. "Minot supports both bombers and a missile wing. It makes great sense for Minot to host the group that would oversee the upkeep of many of our nation's nuclear weapons," the delegation said. The unit will be officially established this summer and will assume command of munitions squadrons at Vandeburg Air Force Base, CA; F.E. Warren Air Force Base, WY; Malmstrom Air Force Base, MT; and Minot Air Force Base.

'I think mental torture is worse than physical torture.' Detention in Britain 'mental torture' 12 Jun 2009 One of the Pakistani students deported from Britain described his detention in prison there on charges of terrorism, as 'mental torture'. The students were released after British authorities failed to produce any evidence to back up the terror charges against them and instead deported them.

Students tell of humiliation by British police --After the charges were dropped for lack of evidence, the students were kept in detention on the grounds that they constituted a national threat. 11 Jun 2009 Pakistani students detained in a well-publicized April terror crackdown in northwest England say they were imprisoned with criminals charged with murder. Tariq Rehman, apparently the first to be sent home, told reporters in brief comments at the Islamabad airport that he had suffered "mental torture" and humiliation in a British prison. He added that his fellow detainees, who were also accused of extremism, were also treated like hardened criminals in British detention.

Air France Jet 'Disintegrated In Mid-Air' 11 Jun 2009 Two pieces of new evidence have suggested that the stricken Air France jet broke up over a number of minutes, rather than in one catastrophic incident. Firstly, bodies from Flight 447 had been picked up from locations more than 50 miles apart, the Brazilian Air Force revealed. And secondly, a re-analysis of the plane's last automatic transmissions indicated many parts had malfunctioned before it plunged into the Atlantic... Meanwhile, two 'terror suspects' who died alongside 226 other passengers on the stricken jet have been ruled out as a cause of the disaster.

NYC to Gas 2,000 Geese In Bid to Protect Aircraft --Hunt At Dozens of Locations Near JFK, LaGuardia Planned to Avoid Bird Strikes 11 Jun 2009 New York City plans to trap and kill up to 2,000 Canada Geese this summer in an [insane] attempt to avoid the type of collision that caused an airliner to ditch in the Hudson River last winter. The hunt will take place on dozens of city properties located within five miles of Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

Reichwing sociopaths, Glenn Beck and Jabba the Hutt aka Rush Limbaugh, link one of their terrorist trolls, James W. Von Brunn, with the 9/11 truth movement: Glenn Beck's Outrageous Lie: Racist Von Brunn is "Hero of 9/11 Truthers" By Kurt Nimmo 10 Jun 2009 There should be absolutely no doubt Glenn Beck is a government disinfo operative tasked with taking down the 9/11 truth and patriot movements. In fact, Fox News -- as a primary fount of Operation Mockingbird -- is tasked with attacking not only the 9/11 truth movement but the pro-liberty and Constitution movements as well. "Our country is now vulnerable," the operative Beck declares. "Those people who would like to destroy us -- our enemies like Al Qaeda. They’d like to destroy us, and they will work with anyone. There are also people like white supremacists or 9/11 truthers that would also like to destroy the country..." [**** me, Beck. I am a *proud* 9/11 truth member and I do not share the views of Reichwing terrorists. --LRP]

Holocaust Museum Shooting Suspect's Murder and Firearms Criminal Charges --U.S. v. James Wenneker von Brunn 11 Jun 2009 James W. Von Brunn, an acknowledged white supremacist, was charged with first degree murder and using a firearm in a federal facility, after he fired and killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. on June 10, 2009. You can read von Brunn’s murder and firearms charges here.

Museums Reassess Security --Museum officials pondering armed presence and checkpoints 12 Jun 2009 Almost every museum in Washington yesterday increased the visibility of its security force and began evaluating whether its current procedures are enough. The task is a complicated one because, in general, Washington museums are well protected and greatly improved their procedures after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

WHO: World at start of N1H1 pandemic 11 Jun 2009 The world is at the beginning of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, the World Health Organization director general said in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday. "We are in the earliest days of the pandemic," Dr. Margaret Chan said in announcing the pandemic alert level was raised from Phase 5 to Phase 6, the highest level. WHO statistics indicate 28,774 H1N1 cases and 144 deaths have been confirmed in 74 countries as of Thursday. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004 Scientists have shown that tiny changes to modern flu viruses could render them as deadly as the 1918 strain which killed millions. A US team added two genes from a sample of the 1918 virus to a modern strain known to have no effect on mice. See: Flu 'Oddities'.]

Australia: emergency talks, flu pandemic declared 11 Jun 2009 Australia is considering raising its swine flu alert level after a global pandemic was declared, as the prime minister admitted Asia-Pacific's worst-hit country faced "challenges" from the virus. Just hours after the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced the first pandemic in 40 years, health officials went into emergency talks on moving from the "contain" to the "sustain" alert phase.

No. 2 House Republican compares Obama to Putin 11 Jun 2009 The No. 2 Republican in the House on Thursday compared President Barack Obama's plans for the auto industry to the policies of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, saying the White House has stripped credit holders of rights and given them to Democratic allies. "They said, 'Set aside the rule of law, let's strip secured creditors, bondholders, of their rights. Take them away outside of the bankruptcy process and give them to the political cronies and the auto workers' unions," Rep. Eric Cantor, R-[Deranged]Va., said in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's almost like looking at Putin's Russia," added Cantor, the GOP's House whip.

Lawmakers Invested in Bailed-Out Firms --Conflict-of-Interest Questions Arise 11 Jun 2009 Top House lawmakers had considerable holdings in major financial institutions that took billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts at the end of last year, according to annual financial disclosure reports released yesterday. From stock holdings to retirement funds to mortgages, more than 20 House leaders and members of the House Financial Services Committee had large personal stakes in the Wall Street powerhouses whose collapse last year led to an unprecedented government intervention in the marketplace.

Oil price leaps to year's high --Predictions of $250 a barrel on fears for oil reserves, hopes of economic recovery and hedging against weak dollar 10 Jun 2009 The price of oil burst through the $71 a barrel mark today amid revelations that proven reserves had fallen for the first time in 10 years and predictions that the price could eventually hit $250. The latest high – from lows of $30 only four months ago – came on the New York Mercantile Exchange, where the cost of July deliveries rose by $1.35 to $71.36.

May foreclosures third highest on record 11 Jun 2009 U.S. foreclosure activity for May ebbed from April's record, but mortgages still failed at a staggering pace as President Barack Obama's rescue programs had not had time to fully take root, RealtyTrac said on Thursday. Foreclosure filings dipped 6 percent in the month but increased 18 percent from May 2008, marking the third highest month on record.

Schwarzenegger threatens to shut down state government 11 Jun 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Installed) vowed Wednesday to let California government come to a "grinding halt" rather than agree to a high-interest loan to keep the state afloat if he and the Legislature do not close the yawning budget gap in coming weeks. At the same time, the governor reversed himself on a proposal to end health insurance for families of police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Senators who opposed tobacco bill received top dollar from industry 11 Jun 2009 Among the 17 senators who voted against allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are some of the top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry, which has donated millions of dollars to lawmakers in the past several campaign cycles. Over the course of his nearly quarter-century Senate career, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Nutjob], who hails from the tobacco-rich state of Kentucky, has received $419,025 from the tobacco industry, more than any other member of Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that analyzes the influence of money on politics and policy.

Bill Would Give FDA Broad Powers to Regulate Tobacco --Legislation comes 50 years after surgeon general first warned of health effects of tobacco 11 Jun 2009 The Senate approved landmark legislation today that would give the government sweeping new power to oversee tobacco, a product used by 20 percent of Americans yet largely unregulated in this country. The bipartisan measure, approved by a margin of 79 to 17, largely mirrors a measure passed by the House last month. The House will now review the Senate's version before a bill is sent to President Obama, a smoker who has struggled to quit and who has said he is eager to sign the bill into law.

Senate rejects challenge to FDA tobacco bill 09 Jun 2009 The Senate on Tuesday rejected the main challenge to legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration sweeping controls over tobacco products, easing the way for passage of the measure this week. The alternative was offered by the two senators from North Carolina, the nation's biggest tobacco grower. It was defeated 60-36.

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19 U.S. airports to be quarantine sites in pandemic --In the event of a pandemic, flights would be rerouted to Miami International Airport and 18 other major U.S. airports, according to plans by the CDC. 10 Jun 2009 Miami International Airport and 18 other major American airports have been lined up to handle a future pandemic that could require them to quarantine international flights. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up stand-by quarantine/screening facilities at the 19 airports to which all flights from affected countries would be diverted. In the event of the highest-level alert, all flights to Fort Lauderdale from pandemic-affected countries could be rerouted to Miami, Atlanta, Houston or somewhere else.

Swine flu cases in Australia could force WHO to declare pandemic 10 Jun 2009 The World Health Organization is "very, very close: to declaring an official swine flu pandemic, after a sharp spike in cases in several countries, including Australia. The WHO has so far left its six-level pandemic alert scale unchanged at phase five, signalling that a pandemic is "imminent." But a swift increase in cases in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria could prompt the organisation to declare its first pandemic in four decades.

City Says 12 Flu Victims Died, but the Ill May Total 500,000 11 Jun 2009 New York City officials on Wednesday reported the deaths of three more people with swine flu, and estimated that more than half a million New Yorkers may have become sick from the virus. The latest deaths bring the city’s total to 12 since the outbreak began in late April. The city also announced 102 new hospitalizations since its last report on Monday, bringing the total hospitalizations to 530.

New Orleans mayor released from China quarantine 10 Jun 2009 New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been released from quarantine in Shanghai following a swine flu scare, his office said Wednesday. Nagin, who was detained Sunday after a fellow passenger on his flight fell ill with a suspected case of swine flu, missed several meetings in the Chinese business hub due to the quarantine, spokesman James Ross told AFP.

Readying Americans for Dangerous, Mandatory Vaccinations --Around $6 billion or more will be spent to develop, produce, and stockpile vaccines and other drugs to counteract claimed bioterror agents. By Stephen Lendman 10 Jun 2009 At least three US federal laws should concern all Americans and suggest what may be coming - mandatory vaccinations for hyped, non-existant threats, like H1N1 (Swine Flu). Vaccines and drugs like Tamiflu endanger human health but are hugely profitable to drug company manufacturers. The Project BioShield Act of 2004 (S. 15) became law on July 21, 2004...The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act slipped under the radar when George Bush signed it into law as part of the 2006 Defense Appropriations Act (HR 2863). It lets the HHS Secretary declare any disease an epidemic or national emergency requiring mandatory vaccinations. [See: DoD to carry out 'military missions' during pandemic, WMD attack and DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack.]

N. Korea: US may provoke nuclear war in Peninsula 10 Jun 2009 North Korean media hints that a US pledge to extend its nuclear umbrella to Japan and South Korea would be considered as 'declaration of a nuclear war' in the troubled peninsula. The commentary, which first appeared in the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Wednesday, strongly condemned the expansion of the nuclear umbrella in Southeast Asia.

US: We can shoot down N. Korean missile --Defense Secretary Gates says US missile interceptors 'fully adequate to protect us from North Korean threat' 09 Jun 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expressing confidence that the United States can shoot down any North Korean missile fired toward America. Gates told US lawmakers at a hearing Tuesday that the US would have a "high probability of being able to defend ourselves" if the North fired a long-range missile.

US behind Kunar blast, says senator 10 Jun 2009 An Afghan senator in charge of an investigation into the bomb blast that left three Afghan civilians dead says US troops were behind the explosion. Senator Saleh Mohammad made the remarks a day after an explosion among a crowd of people around a US military convoy in Kunar province left 58 civilians wounded. "I went to the hospital, I spoke to the wounded, I went to the site and spoke to the witnesses and now can say that the bomb was not thrown by the opposition but it was thrown by American forces," he was quoted by AFP as saying.

New US commander in Afghanistan approved by Senate 10 Jun 2009 Stanley McChrystal [war criminal] won Senate confirmation on Wednesday as an Army general and U.S. commander in Afghanistan after a plea for Republicans to end procedural delays and let him start overseeing the war. The Senate approved President Barack Obama's nomination of McChrystal on a voice vote.

Lawsuit: Blackwater/Xe is operating illegally in Iraq 10 Jun 2009 The latest in a series of war-crimes lawsuits against Blackwater and its affiliated companies alleges that they continue to operate illegally in Iraq a month after the expiration of their lucrative security contract with the U.S. State Department. The new lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, says Blackwater is still providing armed protection services in Iraq under the name Greystone Ltd. for the International Republican Institute, a nonprofit [terrorist] organization funded by the U.S. government.

Xe is a busy little bee! Car bomb kills 30 in southern Iraq 11 Jun 2009 A car bomb in a southern Iraqi town killed at least 30 people and wounded 65 on Wednesday, police and witnesses said. The explosives in a car parked by a street market in Batha went off about 9:30 a.m. as customers packed the indoor shops and stalls.

Iraq: 2 killed, 6 hurt in attacks near Baghdad 09 Jun 2009 Two people were killed and six others were injured in two separate incidents near Baghdad, Iraq. In the first incident two bodyguards of the leader of a faction that is battling al-Qaeda were shot to death, while the leader himself was wounded. In the second incident, five people were injured when a motorcycle laden with explosives was detonated near a police convoy in Fallujah.

Guardsmen Say KBR Exposed Them to Poison 10 Jun 2009 Five National Guardsmen say military contractor KBR knowingly exposed them to hexavalent chromium during restoration of an Iraqi water facility. The men say that when they developed "chrome nose" bleeding, KBR brushed off the telltale sign, claiming that they were allergic to sand. Rocky Bixby, Lawrence Roberta, Scott Ashby, Charles Ellis and Matthew Hadley claim that KBR's southern Iraq Health Safety Environment manager knew about the contamination in May 2003, but the company kept them working, and in the dark, for 4 more months.

IDF developing battlefield robot snake 09 Jun 2009 A robot snake, capable of recording video and sound on the battlefield, is on the way to join the IDF's hi-tech arsenal. According to a Channel 2 report the spying robot, which is about two meters long and covered in military camouflage, mimics the movements and appearance of real snakes, slithering around through caves, tunnels, cracks and buildings, while at the same time sending images and sound back to a soldier who controls the device through a laptop computer. [Just squish the robot, slice it in half or dump a caustic chemical on its head.]

2 Israelis 'voted in Lebanese elections' 10 Jun 2009 Lebanese Security Forces have arrested two Israeli women over their participation in Lebanon's general elections earlier this week. Two sisters, Josephine and Georgette Mussa, who entered the country ahead of the June 7 elections, were arrested in Beirut Airport before leaving the country, Al-Manar reported on Wednesday.

Lawsuits Force Disclosures by C.I.A. 10 Jun 2009 So far, President Obama has managed to curb Congressional calls for a national commission to investigate Bush administration detention policies. But Mr. Obama cannot control the courts, and lawsuits are turning out to be the force driving disclosures about brutal interrogations. Mr. Obama’s decision in April to release legal opinions from the Bush regime on interrogation, which were sought in a lawsuit, has opened the door to the disclosure of other documents.

Palau to accept 17 Chinese Muslims from Guantánamo as 'gesture of thanks' to US 10 Jun 2009 Johnson Toribiong, the president of Palau, said the decision was a "humanitarian gesture" intended to help the detainees restart their lives. "This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau," he said. Negotiations between Washington and the Palauans over the prisoners coincided with discussions about a $200 million (£120 million) renewal of a regular assistance package on which the island, a former US territory, depends. However, a senior US state department official described the idea of any connection as "completely false".

First Guantanamo Bay inmate to face US trial pleads not guilty 11 Jun 2009 first Guantanamo Bay inmate to face a civilian trial on US soil yesterday pleaded not guilty to mass murder charges related to the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in Africa. Tanzanian-born Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who once served as a bodyguard to al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden, faced a New York courtroom as prosecutors alleged he helped kill 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Ex-Guantanamo detainee 'sure' he was tortured 08 Jun 2009 A freed former Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, terror prisoner says he has no doubts he was tortured by U.S. interrogators during his seven-plus years there. In an interview with ABC News Monday in France, Algerian Lakhdar Boumediene said he doesn't "think" he was tortured, "I'm sure," he said.

'Shoe-bomber' Richard Reid on hunger strike in US prison 11 Jun 2009 The British shoe bomber convicted of trying to blow up a transatlantic flight is being force-fed in America’s toughest jail after going on hunger strike, court papers disclose. Richard Reid has been refusing food for several weeks in an apparent protest against prison restrictions that he says prevent him from following his Sunni Muslim faith.

Metropolitan police officers flushed my head in toilet, says suspect --Solicitors for five held in drug raids allege torture --Six officers face IPCC over waterboarding claims 10 Jun 2009 One of the victims of alleged torture by six Metropolitan police officers claims his head was thrust down a toilet which was repeatedly flushed over him as he was interrogated, the Guardian has learned. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating allegations that the officers, all of whom worked for Edmonton CID, used water torture on up to three suspects arrested last November on drug importation charges.

Terror link to 2 aboard crash jet --Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the doomed Air France jet. 11 Jun 2009 French agents matched names on the passenger list to extremist suspects. And the airline received a bomb threat just days before flight AF447 plunged into the Atlantic last week, killing all 228 on board. An Air France long-haul pilot claims it is "highly likely" the Airbus 330 was blown up as it flew from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. Agents checked the passengers - and found two names also on classified documents listing radical Muslims considered a threat to France. A source within security services said the link was "highly significant".

Terror Names Linked to Doomed Flight AF 447 10 Jun 2009 Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on the Air France flight which crashed with the loss of 228 lives, it has emerged. French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31... Soon after news of the fatal crash broke, agents working for the DGSE (Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure), the French equivalent of MI6, were dispatched to Brazil. It was there that they established that two names on the passenger list are also on highly-classified documents listing the names of radical Muslims considered a threat to the French Republic. A source working for the French security services told Paris weekly L'Express that the link was "highly significant". [Translation: A govt agency (Gee, who could that be?) likely blew the plane out of the sky.]

Air France bodies taken to identification point 09 Jun 2009 Bodies recovered from the Air France plane which crashed into the Atlantic last week have been taken to a mortuary in Brazil. The remains of 28 people were flown by helicopter to the Brazilian city of Recife where dental records and DNA tests will confirm identities.

Security scares close White House streets 10 Jun 2009 Two security scares prompted the closure of Washington streets and sidewalks around the White House for about an hour Tuesday, officials said. One incident involved a woman with a backpack climbing a fence surrounding the White House grounds. The second involved an unattended bag found about two blocks away from the president's mansion, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

US racist shoots guard dead at Holocaust museum --White supremacist convicted of trying to kidnap Federal Reserve Board 25 years ago 11 Jun 2009 A white supremacist pensioner strode into the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington yesterday and shot dead a security guard before he was felled by return fire from two other security staff. The man, identified by media outlets as James Von Brunn, an 88-year-old resident of Maryland with apparent ties to assorted racist hate and anti-government groups, was taken to hospital for emergency treatment. The security guard, Stephen Tyrone Johns, died at George Washington University Hospital.

White supremacist James W Von Brunn opens fire at Holocaust museum 10 Jun 2009 An 89-year-old white supremacist and Holocaust denier opened fire in Washington’s Holocaust Museum today, wounding at least one before being shot in the head by security officers. James W von Brunn, who was charged and convicted in 1981 for running towards the boardroom of Washington’s Federal Reserve building with a shotgun, entered the Holocaust Museum just before 1pm and opened fire "indiscriminately" with a long rifle.

Shooting Highlights Growth of [Rightwing] Hate Groups --Suspect James Von Brunn Railed Against Blacks, Jews, Found Allies On White Supremacist Web Sites 10 Jun 2009 Federal investigators in Washington, D.C. are scouring the troubled history of 88 year-old shooting suspect James Von Brunn - an anti-Semite with a lifelong grievance against the government who found allies on white supremacist Web sites. The Holocaust Museum shootings came 11 days after another hate crime, the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller. The suspect in that shooting, Scott Roeder, is described as an anti-abortion rights radical terrorist.

Free-web Pirate Party captures seat 08 Jun 2009 Sweden's Pirate Party, striking a chord with voters who want more free content on the Internet, won a seat in the European Parliament, early results showed Sunday. The Pirate Party captured 7.1 percent of votes in Sweden in the Europe-wide ballot, enough to give it a single seat. The party wants to deregulate copyright, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the Internet.

No robo calls pushing Gov. Brewer's budget plan, business group says 10 Jun 2009 The Building a Better Arizona coalition has decided against a public campaign to support Gov. Jan Brewer's budget. Instead, the various business interests in the coalition have opted for one-on-one talks with lawmakers in the hopes of persuading them to enact a temporary sales-tax increase on their own, rather than sending it to voters to decide, said Cary Pfeffer, spokesman for the coalition.

Storm knocks over tree at White House 09 Jun 2009 Strong winds have knocked down a tree on the White House's North Lawn. The tree appeared to have been snapped off near its base during a storm Tuesday afternoon. The large tree had stood between Pennsylvania Avenue and the West Wing.

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London's Metropolitan Police accused of waterboarding suspects 10 Jun 2009 Metropolitan Police officers subjected suspects to waterboarding, according to allegations at the centre of a major anti-corruption inquiry, The Times has learnt. The torture claims are part of a wide-ranging investigation which also includes accusations that officers fabricated evidence and stole suspects’ property. Senior policing officials are most alarmed by the claim that officers in Enfield, North London, used the controversial CIA interrogation technique to simulate drowning.

Met police: six officers accused of torturing drug suspects Sources: Officers accused of pushing suspects' heads into buckets of water 10 June 2009 Six Metropolitan police officers have been suspended from duty following ­allegations they used a form of water-based torture on suspected drugs ­smugglers, it emerged last night. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was investigating the conduct of officers based in Enfield, north London, during drugs raids in the borough last November. One IPCC document is said to use the word "waterboarding" – the CIA technique condemned as torture by Barack Obama – in connection with the allegations.

CIA: Keep Bush-Era Documents Sealed --Obama asserts CIA should be allowed to keep interrogations (war crimes evidence) secret 09 Jun 2009 The Obama regime objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA prisoners at secret prisons, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security and benefit al-Qaeda's recruitment efforts. In an affidavit, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta defended the classification of records describing the contents of the 92 videotapes, their destruction by the CIA in 2005 and what he called "sensitive operational information" about the interrogations. Although Panetta's statement is in keeping with his previous opposition to the disclosure of other information about the CIA's interrogation policies and practices during George W. Bush's presidency [sic], it represents a new assertion by the Obama administration that the CIA should be allowed to keep such information secret.

Senators vow veto on release of torture pics --The US has kept and tortured hundreds of prisoners at the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Bagram air base in Afghanistan and secret jails known as black sites around the world. 09 Jun 2009 Senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham have announced plans to forestall efforts meant to publish torture photos taken from US military prisons. In a joint statement on Monday, the two senators said that US Congress members need to prevent the release of photos that threaten US troops' security overseas.

House panel aims to thwart closing of Guantanamo 09 Jun 2009 A House of Representatives panel on Tuesday approved a $64.4 billion spending bill that could make it even harder for President Barack Obama to keep his pledge to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba early next year. The House Appropriations Committee rejected Obama's request for $60 million for the Justice Department that he wanted starting Oct. 1. The panel demanded extensive risk reports in advance of releasing or transferring the remaining approximately 238 detainees from the prison.

Guantánamo inmate goes on trial --Ghailani pleads not guilty to charges --Political pressure mounts over plan to close prison 09 Jun 2009 The first prisoner from Guantánamo Bay to be tried in a civilian court in the US pleaded not guilty at a hearing in New York today, in a crucial step towards fulfilling Barack Obama's promise to close the Cuban prison. Ahmed Ghailani appeared in court, dressed in a blue prison outfit, to face multiple charges arising from his alleged role in helping to organise the 1998 bombings of two US embassies in East Africa.

Guantanamo prisoner appears in mainland US court 09 Jun 2009 The first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in a civilian US court has arrived in the United States and appeared in a court in New York. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani is accused of involvement in the bombings of two US embassies in Africa in 1998. Ghailani, a Tanzanian, who is also said to have once been Osama bin Laden's cook, had been held at the Guantanamo prison since September 2006.

American Detained, Tortured in UAE at U.S. Govt's Behest, ACLU Says --Naji Hamdan Says He Was Beaten Until Losing Consciousness in Abu Dhabi Prison 08 Jun 2009 An American citizen has been detained and tortured in the United Arab Emirates at the behest of the U.S. government, according to an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed in federal court. The judge has called for a hearing today in Washington, DC, and ACLU lawyers say they hope to hear that their case on behalf of Naji Hamdan will go forward.

Iraq's New Death Squad By Shane Bauer 03 Jun 2009 The effective head of the American ISOF project is General Trombitas of the Iraq National Counter-Terror Transition Team. Trombitas spent nearly seven of his over thirty years in the military training special forces in Colombia, El Salvador and other countries... Trombitas says he is "very proud of what was done in El Salvador" but avoids the fact that special forces trained there by the United States in the early 1980s were responsible for the formation of death squads that killed more than 50,000 civilians thought to be sympathetic with leftist guerrillas. Guatemala was a similar case.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Immunity to Iraq From Saddam-Era Lawsuits 09 Jun 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on two separate cases involving the legal precedent that the Iraqi government has sovereign immunity for cases involving the Saddam Hussein regime and its alleged abuses. Iraq was designated a state sponsor of terror and as a result was a target of prosecution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). However, in an effort to clear legal hurdles to establishing a new government dictatorship following the invasion, then-President [sic] George W. Bush issued an order waiving Iraq of its state sponsor label.

Blast near US troops kills Afghan child 09 Jun 2009 A hand grenade that exploded near US troops in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday killed a boy and wounded more than 40 people, including three foreign soldiers, officials and witnesses said. An Afghan witness said the grenade was thrown by US troops into a crowd that had gathered around a crashed military vehicle, but the Nato-led force [liars] said the weapon was tossed by 'insurgents.'

Wartime Contracting Report: We Have Big, Costly Problems By Robert O'Harrow Jr. 09 Jun 2009 As promised, here's the new report by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the organization formed by Congress to examine where all the money went. It's a sad reminder about just how bad the contracting system has been in recent years, and all the billions that have been wasted because of poor oversight, poor planning and plain old corruption. "The environment in Iraq and Afghanistan has been and continues to be susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse," the report said.

Lethal Bomb Hits Hotel in Northwest Pakistan --Estimated 1,000 pounds of explosives used in attack 10 Jun 2009 Militants opened fire on security guards and rushed a small truck packed with explosives through the gates of a five-star hotel in this northwestern city on Friday, detonating the payload in the parking lot and killing at least 11 people and wounding 55, Pakistani officials said. The blast, powerful enough to leave a crater 6 feet deep and 15 feet wide, collapsed the western wing of the hotel, the Pearl Continental. [Let's see... Who (or, which organization) has 1,000 pounds of explosives at their disposal?]

Israel hints its next war would 'engulf broader region' 09 Jun 2009 Israel's Defense Minister says the flames of the next Israeli war would engulf a 'broader' region while admitting that Israelis must be ready to pay a higher price in terms of losses. "The IDF's future operations will be broader and more demanding in terms of their scope and pace, with more risks than Operation Cast Lead (in the Gaza Strip). We in the political echelon will act so that the ordeal won't come to pass but, still, you must win every trial," The Jerusalem Post quoted Ehud Barak as saying on Tuesday.

3 more charged with spying in Lebanon 09 Jun 2009 Three more suspects have been charged with spying for Israel in Lebanon as the security forces continue the crackdown on spy networks in the country. One of the three accused of "collaborating with the Israeli enemy" is already in custody, while the others remain at large, said a judicial official on Tuesday.

Shell Settles Nigeria Lawsuit --Oil Giant to Pay $15.5 Million Over Deaths of Activists 10 Jun 2009 Royal Dutch Shell PLC agreed Monday to pay $15.5 million to settle a lawsuit over the 1995 deaths of Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and others. The Anglo-Dutch oil giant faced a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan under the Alien Tort Claims Act, on allegations that it was complicit in the 1995 deaths of Mr. Saro-Wiwa and other activists.

FBI boss defends use of mosque spies 09 Jun 2009 FBI director Robert Mueller defended the agency's use of informants within US mosques amid complaints that worshippers and clerics were being targeted instead of possible terrorists. Mr Mueller's comments came days after a Michigan Muslim organisation asked the US Justice Department to investigate complaints that the FBI was asking the faithful to spy on Islamic leaders and worshippers.

Near Washington, D.C., construction crews watch for mystery 'black' wire --A Metrorail extension risks hitting communications lines, including some used for top-secret government intelligence operations. 07 Jun 2009 Black wire is one of the risks of the construction that has come to Tysons, where miles and miles of secure lines are thought to serve such nearby agencies as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Counterterrorism Center and, a few miles away, the CIA. With work underway on a Metrorail extension, crews are stirring up tons of dirt where the black lines are located.

Exelon's Dresden nuclear power plant has radioactive leak --Records show Exelon officials took steps to hide radioactive tritium spills which escaped its Braidwood Generation Station in Will County between 1996 and 2003. 09 Jun 2009 A radioactive leak at Exelon's Dresden nuclear power plant has been contained and isn't a risk to public health, 'authorities' said today. Leaked tritium -- a radioactive by-product of nuclear reaction that can cause cancer and birth defects -- was found Saturday during routine tests at the Grundy County plant, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Exelon hasn't found the cause or source of the leak, which was discovered in a monitoring well and storm sewers at the 37-year-old plant, the oldest privately-financed nuclear reactor in the United States and not far from the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers.

WHO close to raising alert to highest level for swine flu --The H1N1 outbreak would be considered a pandemic. 09 Jun 2009 The World Health Organization is inching closer to raising the infectious disease alert level for the novel H1N1 influenza outbreak to its highest level, indicating that a pandemic has arrived, but has delayed doing so in an effort to prepare national health organizations and populations for the impact of such an announcement, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant director general of the agency, this morning in a telephone news conference.

WHO chief: flu pandemic appears to be happening 09 Jun 2009 The head of the World Health Organization says the swine flu outbreak appears to have reached pandemic proportions. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan says "on the surface of it" she believes a pandemic has been reached.

New Mexico Boy, 8, Dies of Bubonic Plague 05 Jun 2009 An 8-year-old New Mexico boy has died and his 10-year-old sister was hospitalized after both contracted bubonic plague, the first recorded human plague cases in the nation so far this year. New Mexico health officials did not immediately say Thursday how the brother and sister contracted the infectious disease, but they are conducting an investigation at the family's residence to determine if there is any risk to other people.

'Orwellian language' in schools turns pupils into 'customers', finds damning report 09 Jun 2009 Schools using the 'Orwellian language of performance management' are undermining teenagers' education by turning them into 'customers' rather than students, a landmark report says today. Teachers who are forced to use phrases such as 'performance indicator' and 'curriculum delivery' lack enthusiam for the job, the six-year investigation found.

Terrorists win: Kansas abortion clinic won't reopen after murder 09 Jun 2009 The family of a murdered Kansas doctor said on Tuesday they would not reopen his clinic, which was one of only a few in the United States willing to provide late-term abortions. George Tiller, 67, died in the foyer of his church, shot once in the face as he served as an usher at Sunday services on May 31. Police quickly arrested anti-abortion protester alleged terrorist Scott Roeder, and have charged him with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the killing.

Enron troll Schwarzenegger shows true colors: California contemplates ultimate reform - no welfare 09 Jun 2009 Could California become the first state in the nation to do away with welfare? That doomsday scenario is on the table as lawmakers wrestle with a staggering $24.3 billion budget deficit. County welfare directors are "in shock" at the very idea of getting rid of CalWORKs, which has been widely viewed as one of the most successful social programs in the state's history, said Bruce Wagstaff, director of the Department of Human Assistance in Sacramento. [Next time, maybe people will be weary of GOP maggots who push a phony recall to install a GOPig in 'moderate' clothing.]

Hatch upset with Sotomayor hearing schedule [LOL!] 09 Jun 2009 The decision by Democrats to hold a confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor in mid-July was met with frustration by Republicans who want more time to review her record. "This process should be fair and thorough, and instead it is being rigged and rushed for no apparent reason other than that the majority can do so," said Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. [Rigged. Like... two stolen presidential elections?]

Poll: Third of Republicans view party unfavorably 09 Jun 2009 In thinking about the Republican Party's troubles, consider this: One-third of Republicans now say they have an unfavorable opinion of their party. There's no such dyspepsia among Democrats. Just 4% have an unfavorable view of their party. The findings of a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll underscore the perilous state of the GOP.

Deeds wins Democratic primary for Va. governor 09 Jun 2009 State Sen. R. Creigh Deeds won Virginia's three-way Democratic primary for governor Tuesday with shocking ease, defeating a former Clinton White House insider and a former legislative colleague. The victory sets up a Deeds rematch with Republican Bob McDonnell, who [allegedly] beat him in the 2005 attorney general election by 323 votes out of nearly 2 million cast.

Supreme Court Lets Chrysler Sale Proceed 09 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court late Tuesday declined to extend a stay of the sale of Chrysler assets to Fiat, clearing the way for the deal to close as soon as Wednesday morning over the objections of three Indiana state pension funds and several consumer groups.

U.S. clears 10 big banks to repay bailout funds 09 Jun 2009 JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and eight other top U.S. banks won clearance on Tuesday to repay $68 billion in taxpayer money given to them during the credit crisis, a step that may help them escape government curbs on executive pay.

House to subpoena Fed documents on BofA-Merrill deal 09 Jun 2009 A House committee said Tuesday that it will subpoena the Federal Reserve for documents related to Bank of America Corp.'s purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. A Fed spokeswoman said the agency had received the subpoena and expects to "respond fully and completely as requested."

Scientists: Global warming has already changed oceans 09 Jun 2009 Researchers, scientists and Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter painted a bleak picture Tuesday of the future of oceans and the "blue economy" of the nation's coastal states. The hearing before the oceans subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee was expected to focus on how the degradation of the oceans was affecting marine businesses and coastal communities. Instead, much of the testimony focused on how the waters that cover 70 percent of the planet are already changing because of global warming.

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Don't discount Israel pre-emptive strike, Hillary Clinton warns Iran 08 Jun 2009 Hillary Clinton refused yesterday to rule out a pre-emptive Israeli military strike on Iran. It was the first time that a senior member of the Obama Administration had openly discussed such a possibility. The US Secretary Of State, speaking a few days before elections in Iran that will determine the fate of President Ahmadinejad, also warned that the country would face retaliation if it launched a nuclear attack on Israel.

Clinton vows to protect Israel in Iranian attack 07 Jun 2009 Hillary Clinton has told an interviewer that the US would view an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel as an attack on the US. The US Secretary of State said her country would immediately retaliate if there were such an attack.

Israel ministry wages settlement war against U.S. 08 Jun 2009 Interior Minister Eli Yishai has begun to make good on a pledge to exploit all the resources of his ministry, "its branches and its influences over local government" to expand settlements in the territories. Yishai, who is also chairman of Shas, made the promise last Thursday to the heads of the Yesha Council of settlements. Haaretz has learned that Yishai has instructed officials at the Interior Ministry to come up with ways to help the settlers, by allowing continued construction within the major West Bank settlement blocs where building has stopped as a result of American pressure.

S Arabia urges US to withhold Israel aid 07 Jun 2009 Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has urged Barack Obama, the US president, to follow up his speech to the Muslim world with tangible action, including applying stronger pressure on Israel to accept a viable Palestinian state. "The United States has the means to persuade the Israelis to work for a peaceful settlement," Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister, said in an interview with Newsweek, a US magazine. Asked if the US should withhold aid to Israel, Prince Saud said: "Why not? If you give aid to someone and they indiscriminately occupy other people’s lands, you bear some responsibility."

Bound, blindfolded and beaten -- by Israeli troops --Children among Palestinian detainees abused during West Bank operation, according to soldiers' confessions 09 Jun 2009 Two Israeli officers have testified that troops in the West Bank beat, bound and blindfolded Palestinian civilians as young as 14. The damaging disclosures by two sergeants of the Kfir Brigade include descriptions of abuses they say they witnessed during a search-and-detain operation involving hundreds of troops in Hares village on 26 March. The testimonies have been seen by The Independent and are expected to add fuel to the controversy over recent remarks by Colonel Itai Virob, commander of Kfir Brigade, in which he said violence against detained Palestinians was justified in order to accomplish missions.

US sending 1,000 commandos to Afghanistan --United States Special Operations Command is quietly increasing its covert warriors 07 Jun 2009 The Pentagon is sending additional 1,000 special operations forces and support staff to Afghanistan and changing the way commandoes fight the Taliban, Fox News reported on Saturday. While much of the public focus has been on the 24,000 additional American troops moving into the country this year, United States Special Operations Command is quietly increasing its covert warriors in what could be a pivotal role.

Pentagon: US troops erred in Afghan air strikes 08 Jun 2009 The Pentagon said Monday that U.S. troops did not follow proper tactics and procedures during an air assault on Taliban fighters last month. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the number of Taliban militants killed in the May 4 air strikes "greatly outnumbered" the number of civilians slain. [!?!] But Morrell noted some problems in the way the strikes were carried out, citing a U.S. warplane that investigators said did not follow proper procedures. [There's a 'proper procedure' to carry out war crimes?]

'Allied forces would not be able to overpower their enemies in Afghanistan.' Taliban will never be defeated, says Mullah Omar's mentor 07 Jun 2009 The United States is planning to send an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan to neutralize the Taliban, but would never achieve its goals, claims a mentor of Taliban chief Mullah Omar. Amir Sultan Tarar alias Colonel Imam said allied forces would not be able to overpower their enemies in Afghanistan. He said the military offensive would only aggravate the situation, and therefore the allied forces should initiate talks with the Taliban to resolve the issues.

Global weapons spending hits record levels --US accounts for more than half total increase to $1.4tn 08 Jun 2009 Worldwide spending on weapons has reached record levels amounting to well over $1tn last year, a leading research organisation reported today. Global military expenditure has risen by 45% over the past decade to $1.46tn, according to the latest annual Yearbook on Armaments, Disarmament, and International Security published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri).

Panel finds lax oversight of wartime contracting --Wartime Contracting Commission presents bleak assessment of how taxpayer dollars have been spent since 2001 08 Jun 2009 The Defense Department has failed to provide adequate oversight over tens of billions of dollars in contracts to support military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, says a new report by an independent commission investigating waste and fraud in wartime spending. U.S. reliance on private sector employees has grown to "unprecedented proportions," yet the government has no central database of who all these contractors are, what they do or how much they're paid, the bipartisan commission found.

U.S. war funding bill brims with unrelated extras 08 Jun 2009 A $100 billion bill to fund U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is rapidly accumulating extra items such as money for military aircraft the Pentagon doesn't want and possibly a scheme to jump-start sagging auto sales. President Barack Obama originally sought $83.4 billion for the two wars and more foreign aid for countries like Pakistan. But then he too sought more -- $4 billion extra to combat foment H1N1 swine flu and $5 billion to back credit lines to the International Monetary Fund.

Oregon soldiers sue KBR for exposure to cancer-causing chemical in Iraq 08 Jun 2009 Five current and former Oregon Army National Guard soldiers filed suit Monday against a war contractor that they say knowingly exposed them to a cancer-causing chemical in Iraq. The suit alleges that managers from Kellogg, Brown & Root, or KBR, of Houston, knew before the Oregon Guard arrived at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in May, 2003, that the site was contaminated by hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic and long identified carcinogen.

U.S. Weighs Intercepting North Korean Shipments 08 Jun 2009 The Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was seeking a way to interdict, possibly with China’s help, North Korean sea and air shipments suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear technology. The reference to interdictions -- preferably at ports or airfields in countries like China, but possibly involving riskier confrontations on the high seas -- was made by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Discrimination we can believe in: Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy 08 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting an Obama administration request to maintain the Clinton-era "don't ask, don't tell" directive. The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military's policy.

Key figures in global battle against illegal arms trade lost in Air France crash 08 Jun 2009 Two of the world's most prominent figures in the war on the illegal arms trade and international drug trafficking Air France's ill-fated Flight 447 were lost. Pablo Dreyfus, an Argentine who was travelling with his wife Ana Carolina Rodrigues aboard the doomed flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, had worked tirelessly with the Brazilian authorities to stem the flow of arms and ammunition... Also travelling with Dreyfus on the doomed flight was his friend and colleague Ronald Dreyer, a Swiss diplomat and co-ordinator of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence. Both men were consultants at the Small Arms Survey, an independent think tank based at Geneva's Graduate Institute of International Studies. [See: French official: Finding black boxes top priority of crash investigation --Paul-Louis Arslanian, the director of the agency, said he was "not optimistic" about the prospect of finding the black boxes. 07 Jun 2009.]

US Navy to help 'search' for radio signals from missing black box 08 Jun 2009 The search for the Airbus A330-200's "black box" - the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder - is becoming more urgent as it will continue emitting a radio signal for only another three weeks. After this period, the instruments will be near impossible to locate in the deep ocean... The US Navy is expected to send two "pinger" locator devices, which can pick up radio signals from the black box, to assist in the search, Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman, told our correspondent late on Sunday night. [There's about as much chance of finding that black box as a cat with a long tail in a room filled with rockers. --LRP]

Large tail section of Air France jet recovered 08 Jun 2009 A large tail section of a jetliner bearing Air France's trademark red and blue stripes was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean Monday, helping narrow the hunt for "black boxes" that could explain what brought down Flight 447. What caused the Airbus A330-200 to plunge into the middle of the ocean on May 31 with 228 people on board might not be known until those black boxes are found.

WHO: More than 25,000 Swine Flu Cases 08 Jun 2009 The World Health Organization (WHO) says swine flu has now spread to 73 countries, with 139 deaths from the disease since it was first detected in April. The latest WHO figures, released Monday, show more than 25,000 people have been infected with the swine influenza A-H1N1 worldwide.

Swine flu: mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin quarantined in China 08 Jun 2009 The mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, is under quarantine in a hotel in Shanghai after a passenger on his flight to China fell ill with suspected swine flu. Mr Nagin and his wife, Seletha, left New Orleans on Friday on a ten-day trip to China and Australia to drum up business for the city. They were advised by Shanghai city officials on Sunday that they would have to enter a quarantine.

Recycled radioactive metal contaminates consumer products --No federal agency is responsible for oversight. 03 Jun 2009 Thousands of everyday products and materials containing radioactive metals are surfacing across the United States and around the world. Common kitchen cheese graters, reclining chairs, women's handbags and tableware manufactured with contaminated metals have been identified, some after having been in circulation for as long as a decade... A Scripps Howard News Service investigation has found that -- because of haphazard screening, an absence of oversight and substantial disincentives for businesses to report contamination -- no one knows how many tainted goods are in circulation in the United States.

Average gas price jumps 10 cents in past week 08 Jun 2009 Gasoline prices shot past $2.60 a gallon for the first time in almost eight months after rising another 10 cents over the last week, the Energy Department said Monday. The national price for regular unleaded gasoline averaged $2.62 gallon, the most expensive since Oct. 27, the department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly survey of service stations.

Supreme Court Stalls Chrysler-Fiat Deal 08 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court ruled moments ago that Chrysler cannot yet sell most of its assets to Fiat, a move that has been opposed by three Indiana state pension and construction funds. The ruling grants a stay in the sale as the court gathers more data and schedules a hearing on the matter.

600,000 Seniors About to Lose Their Homes 08 Jun 2009 More than 600,000 seniors are delinquent in their mortgage payments or already in foreclosure, USA Today reports. Unlike younger people, many are on fixed incomes and lack the money or job opportunities to catch up on payments when they fall behind. [Hello, Barack? Anything?]

Senate poised to vote on sweeping FDA tobacco rules 08 Jun 2009 Sweeping changes in how the government controls tobacco content and marketing are likely to be approved by the U.S. Senate this week, despite a strong last-ditch effort by tobacco interests and skepticism from some 'experts' that smokers won't kick their habit. The bill, passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in April and due for a Senate vote as early as Tuesday, would give the Food and Drug Administration broad new authority over tobacco.

Bats recognize individual voices: Study 08 Jun 2009 Scientists have found that bats are able to distinguish between different individuals by their echolocation calls or biological sonar. According to the study published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, bats recognize the voice of other bats through the ultrasonic 'echolocation' calls that they make as they navigate.

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U.S. Lawyers Agreed on Legality of Torture Tactics --None of the Justice Department lawyers who reviewed the interrogation question argued that the methods were clearly illegal. 07 Jun 2009 When Justice Department lawyers engaged in a sharp internal debate in 2005 over brutal interrogation techniques torture, even some who believed that using tough tactics was a serious mistake agreed on a basic point: the methods themselves were legal. Previously undisclosed Justice Department e-mail messages, interviews and newly declassified documents show that some of the lawyers, including James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, went along with a 2005 legal opinion asserting that the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency were lawful. That opinion, giving the green light for the C.I.A. to use all 13 methods in interrogating terrorism suspects, including waterboarding and up to 180 hours of sleep deprivation, "was ready to go out and I concurred," Mr. Comey wrote to a colleague in an April 27, 2005, e-mail message obtained by The New York Times.

Homeland Security Nominee Withdraws Amid Questions About Torture 06 Jun 2009 President Obama's nominee to be U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis withdrew his name from consideration Friday after it became clear lawmakers would question his involvement in interrogation and detainee policies under President [sic] George W. Bush. Philip Mudd, currently a top official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said he was bowing out. Democrats on Capitol Hill had signaled their intention to probe Mudd's knowledge of and role in approving brutal interrogation techniques -- some of which qualify under international law as torture -- used by CIA officials against prisoners.

Afghanistan to 'try criminal foreign troops' for war crimes --Nearly 150 civilians were killed when US warplanes dropped bombs last month on two villages. 06 Jun 2009 Afghanistan's Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, has accused foreign troops based in the country of war crimes, urging a trial for the criminals. Wolesi Jirga secretary Abdul Sattar Khawaasi told reporters that 73 members of parliament are collecting documents regarding foreign troops' crimes and offences in Afghanistan. "The foreign troops came to the country claiming to bring security, but the crimes perpetrated by the them are not pardonable," he said. Khawaasi added that foreign troops based in Afghanistan have violated the Constitution as well as international agreements in more than 20 instances. In May, the Afghan parliament slammed the brutal bombardment of civilian areas by US-led forces, demanding legal restrictions on the activities of foreign forces.

'The Taliban have been winning hands down.' --Architect of Canada's new strategy slams West's failure to grasp Afghans 07 Jun 2009 International forces have failed to quash the insurgency in Afghanistan because they have failed to understand the Taliban's common-touch campaign, a key architect of Canada's bold new "model village" strategy said Sunday. At its heart, Prof. Thomas Johnson said, the counter-insurgency is "essentially an information war" the Taliban have been winning hands down. "We need a change in strategy," said Johnson, the director of the Program for Culture and Conflict studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Fighting intensified in Afghanistan as over 80 killed in one week 07 Jun 2009 Taliban-linked 'insurgency' and conflicts are going up in Afghanistan as over 80 people and seven foreign soldiers have been killed since beginning of June. In the latest wave of violence, Taliban militants ambushed the motorcade of officials in Paktika province east of Afghanistan Sunday killing a senior police officer and injuring a district chief, spokesman of provincial administration said.

Pentagon: Billions in U.S. terror aid to Pakistan diverted 06 Jun 2009 Pakistan diverted U.S. aid meant for fighting Taliban terrorists to bolster its conventional warfare capabilities against India, documents indicate. U.S. Defense Department documents accessed by the Press Trust of India reveal Islamabad secretly diverted a substantial portion of nearly $7 billion in foreign military financing and arms sales from the administration of former U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush to beef up its armed forces along the Indian border instead of fighting terrorists. PTI quoted the Pentagon documents as saying that a major portion of post-Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. military aid meant to counter advances made by the Taliban and al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] in Pakistan's northwest was instead used to buy and refurbish eight P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, worth $474 million. [And yet, Obusha gives Pakistan millions! US Pledges Additional $200 Million in Aid to Pakistan 03 Jun 2009 U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said the Obama administration is standing beside Pakistan in its fight to defeat create Islamic extremists. See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 and US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

Israel facing hundreds of war crime lawsuits 07 Jun 2009 Israel could soon be charged with hundreds of war crimes as Palestinian lawyers file 936 lawsuits against the Israeli military five months after its three week war on Gaza. Head of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) Iyad al-Alami, says the cases will soon be heard in Spain's National Court under universal jurisdiction, the pro-Israeli magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

Israeli ordnance kill in Gaza 06 Jun 2009 The remains of Israeli ordnance has killed a Palestinian and wounded another in the southern town of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources say. The explosion, which was caused by unexploded munitions on Saturday afternoon, killed a 50-year-old man in a farm in Khan Yunis, Ynet reported.

Left-wing activists evacuated from tent built opposite outpost --Dozens of left-wing, Palestinian activists erect tent opposite Jewish outpost on lands claimed by Palestinian family, later removed from the area by IDF troops 06 Jun 2009 IDF troops forcibly removed dozens of left-wing and Palestinian activists who were trying to erect a tent in South Mt. Hebron with a Palestinian family claiming ownership of the land. The family says that it owns the land near the Susya settlement on which an illegal outpost has been built. Settlers called the outpost Givat Hadegel.

Ask the rabbis --Ask the Rabbis, a forum that appears in each issue, provides a rare opportunity to read the opinions of rabbis from across the spectrum of Judaism (Moment Magazine) May/June 2009 Chabad -- I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral. The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle). Living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations who suffer defeat because of a disastrous morality of human invention. Rabbi Manis Friedman, Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies, St. Paul, MN.

Don't ever call me Nazi --Settlers who refer to IDF troops as Nazis to provoke civil war By Yoram Kaniuk 06 Jun 2009 The word "Nazi," which is being hurled at both Jews and non-Jews these days, must be banned by law. Referring to someone as "Nazi" is an act that should prompt a long prison term. The Jewish people cannot bear with the curses uttered by Judea and Samaria residents, who hurl the word "Nazi" at police officers and soldiers, as well as any other person, regardless of whether he is Jewish, German, or Arab... They should learn that those who refer to a Jewish policeman or soldier as "Nazi" are similar to those who deny the Holocaust. [No, they are not. For example, I agree that the Holocaust took place and still feel that the word 'Nazi' is an appropriate term not only or many IDF troops but also for some Israeli government officials; US unelected dictators (Bush, Cheney); and CIA/mercenary torturers. --LRP]

Xe killing off the competition? Iraq detaines five U.S. contractors in the killing of another --The names of the suspects and the company they work for were not released. 06 Jun 2009 Five American mercenaries were detained in connection with the killing of another American contractor last month inside Baghdad's Green Zone, sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN Saturday. Iraqi and U.S. personnel took the five into custody in an operation inside the Green Zone before dawn on Friday, according to an Iraqi official involved in the investigation into the killing of James Kitterman. The troops also confiscated weapons during the raid on the suspects' firm at about 4 a.m. (11 a.m. ET), said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Kitterman was found bound, blindfolded and fatally stabbed in a car in the district, formally known as the International Zone, on May 22. The Houston, Texas, resident owned a construction company that operated in Iraq.

FBI 'Assists' Iraqi Officials in Investigation of U.S. Contractor's Death 07 Jun 2009 The Federal Bureau of Investigation is 'assisting' Iraqi forces with their investigation into the killing of an American mercenary last month in Baghdad's Green Zone, FOX News confirms. Iraqi forces detained five U.S. mercenaries in connection with the murder of fellow American contractor James Kitterman. [WHY are US taxpayers funding the whitewashing of an investigation into homicides committed by taxpayer-funded sociopaths, terrorists and murderers operating on foreign soil?]

Police chief escapes suicide car bombing in W Iraq 07 Jun 2009 The police chief of Iraq's western province of Anbar survived a suicide car bomb attack on Saturday, wounding two of his bodyguards, an Interior Ministry source said. A suicide car bomber drove his explosive-laden car into the convoy of Major General Tariq al-Assal, while he was leaving the provincial police headquarters in central the city of Ramadi, some110 km west of Baghdad, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

U.S. mulls putting North Korea back on terror list 07 Jun 2009 The United States is looking into putting North Korea back on a list of state sponsors of terrorism in response to its nuclear test last month, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview on Sunday. The United States removed North Korea from its terrorism blacklist in October in a bid to revive faltering six-nation denuclearization talks that have completely broken down. [Someone needs to put the US on the 'terror list.' I can't think of a worthier designee. --LRP]

DARPA, Army fund 'telepathy' research --Goals include "user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals." By Steve Hammons 17 May 2009 A research program to develop mind-to-mind communication among U.S. military personnel will receive $4 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), according to published reports. The "Silent Talk" project seeks to create technologies that can read the "pre-speech" brain waves of individuals, interpret them and communicate them to other individuals. The new DARPA funding is in addition to a previous $4 million the Army provided to the University of California for what they call "computer-mediated telepathy."

More than a third of cocaine smuggled into U.S. from Colombia travels in submersibles 06 Jun 2009 U.S. law enforcement officials say that more than a third of the cocaine smuggled into the United States from Colombia travels in submersibles. An experimental oddity just two years ago, these strange semi-submarines are the cutting edge of drug trafficking today. They ferry hundreds of tons of cocaine for Mexican cartels that are taking over the Pacific Ocean route for most northbound shipments, according to the Colombian navy... U.S. officials fear that the rogue vessels could be used by terrorists intent on reaching the United States with deadly cargos. [Notice the setting of the stage for the next false flag or 9/11-style inside job?]

Germany warns of pre-election Islamist attack: report --New assessment largely due to warning from U.S. government 06 Jun 2009 Al Qaeda is planning a major attack on Germans before September's election to wreak revenge for the deployment of troops in Afghanistan, a German magazine cited security officials as saying on Saturday. Der Spiegel said German intelligence officials and the Federal Crime Office believed German firms based in Algeria and German citizens in northern Africa were in particular danger. The officials also warned of attacks in Germany.

Gordon Brown repeats vow not to 'walk away' 07 Jun 2009 Gordon Brown has repeated his promise not to "walk away" as he braces himself for steep losses in European elections. Addressing Labour activists in East London he pledged to push on with measures to tackle the recession and clean up Parliament. "What would they (the public) think of us if ever we walked away from them at a time of need. We are sticking with them," he said.

UK press: Brown, 'dead man walking' 06 Jun 2009 British newspapers have called on the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to call for a general election to restore some authority to the government. A defiant Brown has vowed to tough it out as prime minister after Cabinet members quit and his governing Labour Party has suffered an electoral meltdown. According to various newspaper editorials, Brown was badly wounded in the fight over saving his job.

French official: Finding black boxes top priority of crash investigation --Paul-Louis Arslanian, the director of the agency, said he was "not optimistic" about the prospect of finding the black boxes. 07 Jun 2009 Finding the flight data and cabin voice recorders of the ill-fated Air France jetliner is the top priority of the ongoing investigation, French Junior Transport Minister Dominique Bussereau said Sunday. Brazilian investigators have found more debris, the official said. If they proved to belong to the crashed airliner, it will help further investigations, he said. [Right, black boxes can't survive -- but paper is so much more enduring! Remember 9/11 'hijacker' Satam Al Suqami's passport which was 'found' right near the WTC? LOL! See: Satam Al Suqami's remarkably undamaged passport, marked and wrapped in plastic. It was shown as evidence in the 2006 Zacarias Moussaoui 'trial.' Source: FBI.]

More bodies found from missing Air France plane --Investigators have also found briefcase, backpack, oxygen mask 07 Jun 2009 Three more bodies were found Sunday from the Air France plane that went missing off the coast of Brazil nearly a week ago, Brazilian officials said. The discovery brings to five the number of bodies found from the flight AF447, which was carrying 228 passengers and crew when it vanished on Monday. On Saturday, a Brazilian navy frigate transported the bodies of two men -- south of Brazil's Fernando de Noronha archpelago.

Bodies from missing plane found 06 Jun 2009 Two bodies have been found from the Air France plane which went missing over the Atlantic last Monday, the Brazilian air force has said. Items including a case with a ticket for the flight were also picked up some 1,100km (683 miles) off Brazil's coast.

More Mystery surrounds missing Air France jet 06 Jun 2009 Investigations have revealed that the missing Air France jet was flying with the autopilot turned off and sent numerous error messages moments before crashing. Twenty-four error messages from Flight 447 with 228 onboard passengers were received from the plane minutes before it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, the BBC reported. Meanwhile, French weather experts have ruled out the likelihood of earlier theories [disinfo] that the vanished Airbus A330 encountered turbulence, saying there was no evidence to point to an "exceptional" storm.

Air France plane: doomed French jet sent out 24 system failure alerts before disappearing 06 Jun 2009 The Air France plane that disappeared out of the sky en route from Brazil to France sent 24 automatic messages signalling system failures, French investigators have revealed. Among them may have been the plane's autopilot, which was disengaged for the final minutes before the plane is believed to have plunged into the sea. But officials said it was not clear whether the autopilot had been switched off by the pilots, or had cut out because it received conflicting airspeed readings. The mystery over what happened to flight AF447 deepened when French weather experts said there was no evidence the aircraft had encountered "exceptional" atmospheric conditions.

Chrysler Creditors Ask U.S. Justice to Stop Fiat Sale 07 Jun 2009 Chrysler LLC creditors asked a U.S. Supreme Court justice to block the carmaker from selling its assets as early as tomorrow to a group led by Italy’s Fiat SpA. Indiana pension funds that lent Chrysler money said in papers filed late yesterday that they will seek a Supreme Court review of a ruling allowing the sale.

Bank No. 37 Closed; Bank of Lincolnwood Seized by Regulators 05 Jun 2009 Bank of Lincolnwood, Lincolnwood, Illinois, was closed today by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Banking, which appointed the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as receiver. The total number of bank failures now stands at 37 for the year.

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U.S. Could Let Detainees Plead Guilty, Be Executed Without Trials 06 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military tribunals at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for prisoners facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial. The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques torture. The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. [Note: The New York Times has already changed its original headline.]

Obama Nominee Linked to Spying on Muslims, CIA Torture (Democracy Now!) 05 Jun 2009 The Obama administration’s pick for a top Homeland Security position has ties to the FBI spying on Muslim Americans, as well as reported links to CIA torture. Philip Mudd has been nominated to become secretary of intelligence and analysis at Homeland Security. Under the Bush administration, Mudd helped spearhead an FBI program that sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian secret agents. A congressional aide, meanwhile, told the Associated Press Mudd had direct knowledge of the torture of foreign prisoners while serving as deputy director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis.

Obama's support for the new Graham-Lieberman secrecy law By Glenn Greenwald 01 Jun 2009 ...[O]bviously anticipating that the Government is likely to lose in court again -- Obama wants Congress to change FOIA by retroactively narrowing its disclosure requirements, prevent a legal ruling by the courts, and vest himself with brand new secrecy powers under the law which, just as a factual matter, not even George Bush sought for himself. The White House is actively supporting a new bill jointly sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman -- called The Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act of 2009 -- that literally has no purpose other than to allow the government to suppress any "photograph taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States." As long as the Defense Secretary certifies -- with no review possible -- that disclosure would "endanger" American citizens or our troops, then the photographs can be suppressed even if FOIA requires disclosure... The Senate passed the bill as an amendment last week.

Bagram: Is it Obama's new Guantanamo? Judge's ruling is forcing president to confront issue of Afghan prison 03 Jun 2009 Should prisoners the United States has shipped to the Bagram air base in Afghanistan have the same constitutional right to challenge their detention in court that prisoners at the Guantanamo prison in Cuba have been given? President Barack Obama has promised to close the Guantanamo prison by Jan. 22 of next year, but the Bagram prison continues to house alleged terrorists captured by the United States in Pakistan and other nations.

Barack Obama visits Nazi concentration camp 05 Jun 2009 Barack Obama visited a former Nazi concentration camp which his great-uncle helped to liberate, laid a white rose at a memorial to its victims, and described the site where 56,000 people died as the "ultimate rebuke" to Holocaust deniers. After seeing the crematoriums, guard towers and barbed-wire fences, and a clock set at 3:15 – when the camp was liberated on 11 April 1945 – Obama said: "These sites have not lost their horror. More than half a century later, our grief and our outrage have not diminished." [Why doesn't Obama also visit Bagram air base, a different Nazi camp? See: 'One of them made cuts in my penis. I was in agony' --Benyam Mohammed travelled from London to Afghanistan in July 2001, but after September 11 he fled to Pakistan. He was arrested at Karachi airport on April 10 2002, and describes being flown by a US government plane to a prison in Morocco. 02 Aug 2005 (Diary entry) They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut... One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.]

US 'privatizing' war in Iraq, Afghanistan? 05 Jun 2009 The number of US contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan is on the rise despite Washington claims that it would withdraw forces from both countries within years. The Pentagon has announced that the number of US contractors affiliated with the defense department is growing dramatically, a Russia Today report revealed on Friday. US outsource personnel working for the US mercenaries like Blackwater and Triple Canopy has reached 250,000, the report said. Private security contractors form 25 percent of all the US forces in Iraq, while the equivalent number for Afghanistan is even higher with contractors constituting 30 percent of the Washington troops in the war-torn country.

4-Star Stocks Poised to Pop: KBR --Market-trouncing returns could be written in these four stars. 05 Jun 2009 Based on the aggregated intelligence of the 135,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, engineering and construction company [terrorists] KBR has earned a respected four-star ranking. [See: 6 Texans sue KBR, Halliburton over burn pits --Plaintiffs say the burning waste released toxins that harmed at least 10,000 people. 04 Jun 2009. See: U.S. Army paid bonuses to KBR despite deaths --Army paid bonuses to private contractor despite concerns --Congressional panel says KBR linked to electrocutions 20 May 2009.]

US sells 'nuke parts' to civilians 05 Jun 2009 Loopholes in the US regulations allow people to easily obtain and send overseas sensitive military hardware that could be used in nuclear devices, a government report says. A US auditory report conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) watchdog agency revealed that military items -- like parts for making nuclear devices and guided missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, as well as night-vision devices, body armor and other hardware for ground combat -- could be easily purchased in the US and sent to other countries.

NJ reservist sentenced in Iraq contract scheme 03 Jun 2009 An Army Reserve officer from New Jersey has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for her role in a bid-rigging scam that steered millions of dollars for Iraq reconstruction projects to a contractor in exchange for cash, luxury cars and jewelry. The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that Debra Harrison also was ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay more than $366,000 in restitution.

Air Guard recruiter charged with selling drugs 02 Jun 2009 The Rhode Island Air National Guard suspended recruiting for five days Tuesday after a recruiter was arrested and accused of dealing cocaine and prescription drugs from his military office. Tech. Sgt. Richard Flamand, did not enter a plea to charges of possession of cocaine and prescription drugs with the intent to deliver, possession of marijuana and other crimes during an arraignment in Kent County District Court.

France to send Tiger gunships to Afghanistan 06 Jun 2009 France will send Tiger gunships to Afghanistan to replace its three aging attack helicopters, announced French Defense Minister Herve Morin Friday. Armed with rockets, missiles and a 30mm cannon, those attack choppers would be able to provide close air support to ground forces battling the Talian. According to Herve Morin, the troops would arrive in Afghanistan in the summer.

U.S. troop buildup in Afghanistan is in full force 05 Jun 2009 (Kandahar) Most of the 17,000 combat troops ordered here by President Obama will be in place by mid-July -- nearly all of them fanning out across southern Afghanistan. An additional 4,000 American troops, who will be responsible for 'training' Afghan soldiers and police officers, are expected to arrive by August. That will push U.S. troop strength above 60,000, a reflection of the shifting emphasis from Iraq to Afghanistan, where Western strategists acknowledge that more than seven years of fighting has essentially yielded a stalemate.

Three children among 30 killed in Afghanistan 05 Jun 2009 Three Afghan children were killed Friday by a mortar left over from a battle between police and Taliban, as bomb attacks and clashes left 28 more people dead, officials said. There has been a steady increase in attacks and clashes across Afghanistan in recent weeks as US military reinforcements move into the south and Afghan forces target insurgent hotspots civilians ahead of August 20 presidential 'elections.'

Army orders Swat evacuation, civilians flee 05 Jun 2009 The civilians in Pakistan's northwestern troubled valley of Swat streamed out of their homes following evacuation orders from Islamabad's troops. Military helicopters dropped leaflets overnight and advised residents to leave several villages within five kilometers of Swat's main town of Mingora.

US military reports 2 US troop deaths in Iraq 05 Jun 2009 The U.S. military on Friday reported two American troop deaths in Iraq, including a soldier who was killed in a grenade attack north of Baghdad. The soldier was the second American fatality from grenade attacks Thursday in Iraq.

Minister says cannot rule out terrorism in Air France plane crash 06 Jun 2009 French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Friday that the possibility of a terrorist attack on Air France Flight 447 cannot be ruled out. "We have no right to exclude terrorism," he told journalists, but adding that he had not heard of any threats to the flight or of any group or individual claiming responsibility for bringing down the aircraft. [Right, it's a group that does things quietly.]

Over 60% French lose confidence in finding true reason for air crash 05 Jun 2009 Over 60 percent French have lost confidence in finding the true cause for Monday's disappearance of Air France Flight AF 447, a latest poll published on Thursday showed. Among the 18,604 persons inquired by French daily Le Figaro, 61 percent answered "no" to the question that "Do you think it is possible to recover what caused the crash."

French, Brazilians still on hunt for downed Airbus 05 Jun 2009 French and Brazilian search teams have found no debris confirmed to have come from the Airbus A330 that vanished over the Atlantic, officials said Friday. Confusion broke out after Brazilian officials said Thursday that a helicopter had plucked from the sea an airplane cargo pallet from the Air France flight _ only to retract the claim hours later.

Debris not from missing French jetliner 05 Jun 2009 Brazilian search teams looking for debris from a lost Air France jet have said material recovered from the sea is not from the crashed aircraft. The news from rescuers has contradicted earlier reports which suggested material, including an airline seat and a large piece of metal had been recovered.

Feds Search for Man Allegedly on 'Mission to Kill the President' --A Warrant Has Been Issued for the Arrest of Daniel James Murray 05 Jun 2009 Federal authorities in Utah search for a man who allegedly made threats against President Obama. Daniel James Murray has been charged with making threats against Obama, after telling a bank teller he was part of a "mission" to kill the president. The Secret Service says Murray has at least eight registered firearms. His whereabouts are unknown.

"As a teller handed Murray his money, he allegedly said, 'We are on a mission to kill the president of the United States.' " Bank customer says he's 'on a mission to kill the president'; fed charges filed 04 Jun 2009 Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged a man with making threats against President Barack Obama for allegedly telling employees at a St. George bank that he is "on a mission" to kill the president. The Secret Service doesn't know where Daniel James Murray is [?!?]; authorities say he has at least eight registered firearms. Court documents say he withdrew the $85,000 in his account last week at a Zion's First National Bank branch. A Secret Service affidavit says Murray opened the saving account at Zion's on May 19 with an $85,000 check from a credit union.

"I just don't know whose side he's on," Inhofe said of the president. U.S. Sen. Inhofe calls Obama speech "un-American" 04 Jun 2009 Sen. Jim Inhofe said today that President Barack Obama's speech in Cairo was "un-American" because he referred to the war in Iraq as "a war of choice" and didn't criticize Iran for developing a nuclear program. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, also criticized the president for suggesting that torture was conducted at the military prison in Guantanamo, saying, "There has never been a documented case of torture at Guantanamo."

GOP leader doesn't rule out Sotomayor filibuster 05 Jun 2009 The Senate's top Republican said Friday it's "way too early to know" whether his party will try to block a vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation, leaving open a possibility that a so-far mild debate on her confirmation could turn bitter. Sen. Mitch McConnell appeared to break with others in his party who have said they don't foresee using Senate rules to try to stop Sotomayor.

Justice Department admits new prosecution mistakes, seeks release of 2 Alaska officials 04 Jun 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder asked a court Thursday to release two imprisoned former Alaska state lawmakers after the Justice Department found prosecutors [purposefully] improperly handled evidence in their trials on corruption charges. The move is the second embarrassing retreat for Justice Department prosecutors since the conviction of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was tossed out of court in April.

Ruling allowing Taser use to get DNA may be nation's first 04 Jun 2009 It is legally permissible for police to zap a suspect with a Taser to obtain a DNA sample, as long as it’s not done "maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury," a county judge has ruled in the first case of its kind in New York State, and possibly the nation. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza decided that the DNA sample obtained Sept. 29 from Ryan S. Smith of Niagara Falls is legally valid and can be used at his trial.

WHO keeps level 5 flu alert, urges no travel limits 05 Jun 2009 The World Health Organisation kept its pandemic flu alert at phase 5 on a six-level scale on Friday and repeated a call for countries not to restrict travel because of the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Phase 6 means a full pandemic is in progress and phase 5, the current level, means one is imminent.

According to a report in the May 30 edition of the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, the Sarkozy government has authorized spending of an estimated €1 billion to buy vaccines allegedly to combat or protect against H1N1 Swine Flu virus. Sarkozy's Secret Plan for Mandatory Swine Flu Vaccination 03 Jun 2009 By F. William Engdahl The French Government is developing secret plans to impose mandatory vaccination of the entire French population, allegedly against possible Swine Flu disease according to reports leaked in a French newspaper. The plan is without precedent and even defies recommended public health advice. Pharmaceutical giants benefit from the move, as the Swine Flu increases the trend towards the militarization of public health and use of needless population panic to advance the agenda.

CDC Vaccine Advisor Pockets $29 Million Promoting Vaccines 04 Jun 2009 Dr. Paul Offit of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) received at least $29 million from his share of royalties for Merck's Rotateq vaccine after using his position with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure that childhood vaccination with the vaccine became compulsory. According to a report on the Web site "Age of Autism," a review of CHOP's royalties schedules reveals that Offit likely received between $29 million and $55 million for his work developing the Rotateq vaccine for rotavirus, which causes diarrhea in infants.

Gee, looky here! Merck, Glaxo Diarrhea Vaccine Endorsed for Global Use 05 Jun 2009 Vaccines against rotavirus, the main cause of severe diarrhea in preschoolers, were recommended for global use by the World Health Organization, which may boost sales for producers Merck & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Rotateq, made by Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based Merck and Rotarix, sold by London-based Glaxo, should be included in all national immunization programs to provide protection against the virus, the Geneva-based WHO said in a statement today.

2nd case of bovine TB in quarantined Neb. herd 05 Jun 2009 Another animal with bovine tuberculosis has been found in a quarantined north-central Nebraska cattle herd. State agriculture director Greg Ibach said Friday that authorities have given TB tests to the entire herd at the Rock County operation, but so far only one additional animal was diagnosed with the disease.

Jobless rate hits 9.4 percent in May; layoffs slow 05 Jun 2009 With companies in no mood to hire, the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May, the highest in more than 25 years. But the pace of layoffs eased, with employers cutting 345,000 jobs, the fewest since September. The much smaller-than-expected reduction in payroll jobs, reported by the Labor Department on Friday, adds to evidence that the recession is loosening its hold on the country.

Silverton to be closed by FDIC rather than sold 05 Jun 2009 The FDIC found buyers for Atlanta's failed bankers' bank, Silverton, but none of Silverton's suitors wanted to pay enough for it. After analyzing the offers, the FDIC decided it would be less costly to shut the bank down than to accept the bids received. Bidders included the Carlyle Group with a consortium of private equity investors.

S. Carolina court orders governor to take US funds 04 Jun 2009 South Carolina's top court on Thursday ordered Governor Mark Sanford, a fierce critic of President Obama's economic stimulus program, to take $700 million in federal stimulus money. The state Supreme Court's ruling likely ends a months-old dispute between the Republican governor and the state legislature, which had already incorporated the federal money into its education spending plans.

Gov. Vetoes Bill Abolishing Death Penalty 05 Jun 2009 Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) has vetoed a bill passed by the House and Senate that would have abolished the death penalty, according to Chris Cooper, the governor's spokesman. House Democrats and the National NAACP President plan to protest the move in an afternoon news conference.

NY parking tickets pile up on van with dead driver 05 Jun 2009 A man's decomposing body inside a minivan covered in parking tickets went undiscovered for weeks because the vehicle's windows were apparently tinted and ticketing officers don't normally search cars, police said Friday. The body was found in the backseat Wednesday when a city marshal tried to tow the vehicle from beneath an overpass on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, police said.

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Barack admits US role in 1953 Iran coup 04 Jun 2009 US President Barack Obama has admitted US involvement in the 1953 coup in Iran which overthrew the democratically elected government of premier Mohammad Mossadegh. "In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government," Obama said during his keynote speech to the Muslim world from Cairo University in the Egyptian capital. It is the first time a sitting US president has publicly admitted American involvement in the coup.

Obama invites world's Muslims to seek 'new beginning' 04 Jun 2009 Seeking "a new beginning" with an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, President Barack Obama on Thursday spoke more bluntly than any U.S. president before him about the chasms dividing the Middle East and the political double talk behind them.

Crowd loved Obama's 'Irabac,' even when he got it wrong 04 Jun 2009 One of the Cairo cafe questions debated in the days leading up to the speech was: Would Obama say "salaam" to the Arabic-speaking world? ...Some thought he was confident enough to use Arabic in his speech. In the end, Obama gave a "salaam" shout out to the Arabic-speaking world -- and more.

Prepared text of Obama's speech to Muslims --The prepared text U.S. President Barack Obama's speech in Egypt aimed at healing a rift with the Muslim world. 04 Jun 2009 I am honoured to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt's advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum...

Satire: FOX News: Obama Travels to Middle East to Recruit Jihadists --'The link between Barack Hussein Obama, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden is well known,' said former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney. By R J Shulman 04 Jun 2009 FOX News has learned that the real purpose of President Obama’s trip to the Middle East and meet with Arab leaders is to learn how to recruit jihadists to do his bidding and wreak havoc in the United States. "The proof that Barack Hussein Hussein Hussein Hussein, did I say Hussein, Obama hates Christian American," said Sean Hannity, "is that he has chosen to mingle with known Islamic Koran-thumping terrorists in the Middle East before he has visited God-fearing American towns such as Jackson, Tennessee; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Provo, Utah." (Satire)

UN seeks to probe US attacks on civilians --Australian law professor criticized the impunity with which US soldiers, Pentagon officials, intelligence agents and private contractors commit unlawful killings 04 Jun 2009 A UN human rights expert has called on the United States for more transparency about the civilian casualties in its unmanned drone operations overseas. Philip Alston, UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, expressed strong concern on the "deeply troubling" problem of preventable civilian casualties in Washington's mounting pilotless drone attacks on the territory of other states. [See: Unmanned vehicle spending in the 2010 DOD budget to reach $5.4 billion 28 May 2009.]

Afghan reporter freed from US detention 04 Jun 2009 An Afghan journalist was freed Thursday after spending two nights in US military detention with two of his brothers following their arrest during a raid against radical networks, the reporter said. Nowra Jan Baheer, who works for an Afghan media group in the eastern town of Khost, was detained with his brothers late Tuesday during a US military operation against Islamist networks.

Number of roadside bombs surge in Afghanistan 04 Jun 2009 Insurgent [and US/NATO] use of roadside bombs in Afghanistan has surged 80 percent this year, remaining the No. 1 killer of foreign troops, a NATO official said Thursday. The increase since the same period last year includes bombs that detonated or were found by troops before they could explode, said Canadian Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Three US soldiers, poll candidate killed in Afghanistan 04 Jun 2009 Three US soldiers were killed in an attack in Afghanistan Thursday as other insurgency-linked unrest claimed the lives of five Afghan civilians, including a candidate in provincial council elections. The soldiers were attacked just north of Kabul, where US troops are operating alongside the French military.

US soldier killed in Afghanistan 04 Jun 2009 An American soldier was killed Thursday when a roadside bomb hit a U.S. military vehicle in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. and Afghan officials said. Taliban militants are behind a relentless wave of attacks that are destabilizing Afghanistan eight years after the U.S.-led invasion.

U.S. soldier killed in grenade attack in Iraq 04 Jun 2009 An American soldier died of wounds sustained from a grenade attack in northern Iraq on Thursday, the U.S. military said. The attack occurred when 'insurgents' hurled a hand grenade on his patrol in the province of Kirkuk, a military statement said without elaboration.

Iraq: 9 Killed in Bombing at Cafe 04 Jun 2009 A bomb left in a plastic bag in a popular outdoor cafe in Baghdad exploded Wednesday evening, killing nine people, according to the Ministry of Interior. Thirty-one people were injured in the blast.

6 Texans sue over war-zone burn pits 04 Jun 2009 Six people from Texas, including some soldiers, who claim they were poisoned by toxins and emissions from burn pits at U.S. camps in Iraq and Afghanistan are suing contractors terrorists KBR and Halliburton. The suit, moved to federal court in San Antonio from state court last week, alleges the companies operated the large war-zone pits and burned waste since 2004 that included trucks, tires, plastic water bottles, medical waste, hazardous materials, animal carcasses and even human corpses.

6 Texans sue KBR, Halliburton over burn pits --Plaintiffs say the burning waste released toxins that harmed at least 10,000 people. 04 Jun 2009 Soldiers are among six Texans suing Houston-based KBR and Halliburton over burn pits at U.S. camps in Iraq and Afghanistan. The suit filed in a San Antonio federal court alleges the military contractors burned everything from trucks and tires to human corpses in the large war-zone pits.

Lawmakers refuse Guantanamo closure money 04 Jun 2009 In another blow to President Barack Obama's plans to close the Guantanamo prison, US lawmakers denied a request for extra funds and transferring of detainees. The House Appropriations subcommittee, tasked with funding the Justice Department and other agencies, threw out a request for USD 60m to help the department shutter the prison on the US naval base in southern Cuba. [See: US Pledges Additional $200 Million in Aid to Pakistan 03 Jun 2009.]

Investigation finds U.S. military hardware easy to buy, ship 04 Jun 2009 Military hardware that can be used in nuclear devices and ground fighting can be easily purchased In the United States and shipped overseas, a government investigation revealed Thursday. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) watchdog agency set up fake companies to obtain military and dual use items -- which have both military and commercial use -- in the United States and ship them overseas, according to a report made public at a House subcommittee hearing.

Terrorist Attack Simulated At Minot AFB --Two-day anti-terrorism exercise helps area military crews and emergency personnel 'better prepare' 03 Jun 2009 Individuals like Colonel James Gallagher (Minot AFB) spring into action... Gallagher is commander of the 5th Mission Support Group at the Minot Air Force Base, and today, he was also in command of the Emergency Operations Center for the exercise. While continuous updates arrived, the National Guard's 81st Civil Support Team and several other emergency crews gathered in Minot to tackle the source of the problem.

El Salvador to investigate assassination plot claims 03 Jun 2009 El Salvador is investigating claims by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that an assassination plot prevented him from visiting the Central American nation... Chavez canceled going to the inauguration of leftist President Mauricio Funes on Monday because he said Venezuelan intelligence services had "very precise information" that a former CIA operative and Cuban militant, Luis Posada Carriles, was conspiring with U.S. intelligence agencies to launch rockets at his plane.

Mystery deepens over missing Air France jet --'Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds.' 04 Jun 2009 Conflicting clues to the cause of the loss of an Air France jet and the 228 people on board emerged on Thursday, deepening the mystery as the hunt for evidence intensified. A Spanish pilot flying in the same area as the Rio-Paris flight when it plunged into the Atlantic spoke of an "intense flash", while a Brazilian minister appeared to rule out a mid-air explosion. The co-pilot and a passenger on the Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon also saw the light, it said, adding that a written report has been sent on to Air France, Airbus and the Spanish civil aviation authority.

Air France bomb threat four days before jet crashed 04 Jun 2009 Air France received a bomb threat four days before Flight 447 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, it was revealed yesterday. An anonymous caller made the threat to a plane heading from South America to Paris - just like the doomed jet. And the theory that Flight AF 447 could have been downed by a bomb was reinforced last night as it emerged wreckage from the Air France jet has been found spread over 55 miles of the Atlantic.

Flight AF 447: Victims Include Those Who Flocked to Brazil for Business, and a Royal 02 Jun 2009 The biographies of passengers aboard the disappeared Air France airliner likely will serve as a tragic testament to Brazil's rising importance in global business. Although Brazilian and French authorities have yet to release a detailed passenger manifest, the list is expected to read like a roster of European and Brazilian blue-chip companies, whose executives regularly packed the business- and first-class sections of the trans-Atlantic flight. [The US gov't/CIA has and will take down an entire aircraft just to kill one person (i.e., Paul Wellstone, Mike Connell). Sorry, I'm only reiterating what everyone already knows. --LRP]

US judge rejects lawsuits in wiretapping cases 03 Jun 2009 A US federal judge dismissed dozens of lawsuits against telecom companies that participated in a wiretapping program without court authorization during the presidency [sic] of George W. Bush. San Francisco-based US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the companies had immunity from liability under the FISA Amendments Act (FISAAA), which the US Congress adopted in 2008.

Judge halts suits over NSA wiretapping 03 Jun 2009 A federal judge in San Francisco has tossed out a slew of lawsuits filed against AT&T and other telecommunications companies alleged to have illegally opened their networks to the National Security Agency. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker on Wednesday ruled that, thanks to a 2008 federal law retroactively immunizing those companies, approximately 46 lawsuits brought by civil liberties groups and class action lawyers will be dismissed.

DOJ rejects Georgia voter verification requirements 03 Jun 2009 The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has rejected Georgia's system of voter citizenship verification by way of a Social Security and driver's license database. In a letter released Monday, Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King told Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker that the proposed changes are discriminatory.

As swine flu wanes, U.S. preparing for second wave 04 Jun 2009 The outbreak of the new H1N1 flu virus has begun to wane with the start of summer in North America, and U.S. health officials said on Thursday they are looking to lessons learned as they prepare for its return in the autumn. There are now 11,468 probable and confirmed cases of the new H1N1 swine flu in the United States, Dr Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Australia swine flu count soars near 900: official 03 Jun 2009 Australia's swine flu tally rocketed by more than a third on Thursday to nearly 900 as officials scrambled to contain the rapidly spreading virus. The latest official figures revealed 876 confirmed cases of A(H1N1) influenza in the world's fourth most affected country -- up from 633 a day earlier and single figures just a fortnight ago. Other Australian states ordered children returning from flu hotspot Victoria to be quarantined, earning the wrath of Melbourne officials.

Further jump in swine flu cases 04 Jun 2009 Scotland has 31 new confirmed cases of swine flu, bringing the total number to 119, the Scottish Government has said. None of the new cases are travel-related, and 21 are in the NHS Highland area, which covers Dunoon.

Mega barf alert! Chicken injected with beef waste sold in UK 04 Jun 2009 Cafes and restaurants across Britain have been selling chicken secretly injected with beef and pork waste, The Independent can reveal today. In a hi-tech fraud run by firms in three EU states, food manufacturers are making bulking agents out of porcine and bovine gristle and bones that help inflate chicken breasts, so that they fetch a higher price.

Medical bills play a role in 62% of bankruptcies, study says 04 Jun 2009 President Obama's push for healthcare reforms gets a boost today from a new study by Harvard University researchers that shows a sizable increase over six years in bankruptcies caused in part by ever-higher medical expenses. The study found that medical bills, plus related problems such as lost wages for the ill and their caregivers, contributed to 62% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007. On the campaign trail last year and in the White House this year, Obama had cited an earlier study by the same authors showing that such expenses played a part in 55% of bankruptcies in 2001.

Baucus Rules Out Single-Payer Plan 03 Jun 2009 Sen. Max Baucus ('D'-Mont.) told advocates for a single national health plan today that it was a mistake not to include their views in recent hearings on health care reform, but said the process was too far along to address the issue now, according to activists who participated in the meeting. Single-payer advocates have complained for months that they have been left out of the Washington debate over how to change the nation's health care system, leading to 13 arrests during a noisy protest at one of Baucus's hearings last month.

Wall Street, Obama administration conspire to block financial regulation --'Geithner headed the New York Federal Reserve Bank and played a key role in the Bush administration's bank bailout program before being named to his present post by Obama.' By Barry Grey 04 June 2009 In the guise of enhanced regulation, the Obama administration is working with major Wall Street banks to sanction a continuation of the speculative practices that precipitated the financial meltdown and deepest economic slump since the Great Depression. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has, according to a detailed exposé published May 1 by the New York Times, adopted a proposal drawn up by a group of big Wall Street firms for new regulations on the lucrative trade in derivatives such as credit default swaps.

White House Delivers Trove of Sotomayor Documents 04 Jun 2009 The White House delivered an extensive collection of documents, opinions and financial disclosures this afternoon on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor, bragging that it was delivering the information to the Senate Judiciary Committee faster than any nominee had in recent history.

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AP source: US broke bombing rules in Afghanistan 03 Jun 2009 American troops made substantial errors and did not strictly follow rules for avoiding casualties during an air assault on Taliban fighters last month, a U.S. defense official said, underscoring a central quandary for President Barack Obama's new Afghan counterinsurgency campaign. The defense official said Wednesday that a military investigation faulted some of the actions of American troops in air strikes May 4 that killed dozens of Afghan civilians in Farah province.

Blackwater Accused Again of Murders in Iraq 03 Jun 2009 Two more Iraqi families accuse Blackwater, now known as Xe, of murdering their husbands and fathers in Baghdad and covering it up. Azhar Abdullah Ali, a father of three, was a security guard for the Iraqi Media Network when Blackwater mercenaries killed him and two others on Feb. 7, 2007, according to the federal complaint. The family of Rahim Khalaf Sa'adoon claims drunken Blackwater mercenary Andrew Moonen killed Sa'adoon on Christmas Eve, "for no reason," as Sa'adoon guarded the vice president of Iraq.

Chavez accuses US of assassination plot 03 Jun 2009 President Hugo Chavez has alleged that US intelligence agencies have been planning his assassination. Mr Chavez said the supposed conspiracy had kept him from visiting El Salvador to attend the inauguration of leftist President Mauricio Funes in El Salvador on Monday.

In CIA briefings, Cheney controlled input on torture 03 Jun 2009 Dick Cheney attempted to win support for harsh interrogation of 'suspected terrorists' by controlling the information Congress would receive on the matter, a report says. In 2005, the former US vice president [sic] directed 'at least four' related briefings with Congressmen during which he would produce 'an impassioned defense' of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' -- the former administration's euphemism for torture, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Cheney Led Briefings of Lawmakers to Defend Interrogation Techniques 03 Jun 2009 Former vice president [sic] Richard B. Cheney personally oversaw at least four briefings with senior members of Congress about the controversial interrogation program, part of a secretive and forceful defense he mounted throughout 2005 in an effort to maintain support for the harsh techniques torture used on prisoners. The Cheney-led briefings came at some of the most critical moments for the program, as congressional oversight committees were threatening to investigate or even terminate the techniques, according to lawmakers, congressional officials, and current and former intelligence officials. The CIA made no mention of Cheney's role in documents delivered to Capitol Hill last month that listed every lawmaker who had been briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" since 2002.

Mission accomplished! Kurds start oil exports from northern Iraq --The revenue will be shared between Baghdad, the Kurds and oil companies. 01 Jun 2009 Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region has started exporting crude oil to foreign markets for the first time. Companies chosen by the Kurdistan Regional Government will pump up to 90,000-100,000 barrels per day from two northern oilfields to Turkey.

Report Ties Dubious Iran Nuclear Docs to Israel By Gareth Porter 03 Jun 2009 A report on Iran’s nuclear programme issued by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month generated news stories publicising an incendiary charge that U.S. intelligence is underestimating Iran’s progress in designing a "nuclear warhead" before the halt in nuclear weapons-related research in 2003. That false and misleading charge from an intelligence official of a foreign country, who was not identified but was clearly Israeli, reinforces two of Israel’s key propaganda themes on Iran – that the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran is wrong, and that Tehran is poised to build nuclear weapons as soon as possible. But it also provides new evidence that Israeli intelligence was the source of the collection of intelligence documents which have been used to accuse Iran of hiding nuclear weapons research.

IDF declares Nablus area a closed military zone to keep out left-wing activists 03 Jun 2009 The Israel Defense Forces has declared the area around the West Bank city of Nablus a closed military zone, in order to prevent left-wing activists from entering the area, Army Radio reported on Wednesday. According to Army Radio, Head of the Central Command General Gadi Shamni issued the closure after receiving numerous complaints from soldiers who said the activists were interfering with their 'security duties' at area checkpoints.

Mega barf alert! US Pledges Additional $200 Million in Aid to Pakistan 03 Jun 2009 U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said the Obama administration is standing beside Pakistan in its fight to defeat create Islamic extremists. During a visit to Islamabad, Holbrooke said the United States has pledged an additional $200 million to assist Pakistanis displaced by a military offensive against Taliban militants. [See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007 and US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

Unmanned vehicle spending in the 2010 DOD budget to reach $5.4 billion 28 May 2009 U.S. military forces plan to spend nearly $5.4 billion next year on unmanned vehicle (UV) technology for air, ground, and maritime applications, according to identifiable unmanned vehicle line items in the fiscal 2010 U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) budget, which was released in May and sent to Congress for consideration.

DOD budget for 2010 proposes $23.67 billion for military communications, electronics, and intelligence 20 May 2009 Leaders of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) propose spending $23.67 billion in fiscal year 2010 for procurement and research in military communications, electronics, telecommunications, and intelligence (CET&I) technologies, which would represent a slight decrease of 0.13 percent from current-year enacted levels of $23.7 billion, according to Pentagon budget documents.

US troops killed in IED strikes in Afghanistan 01 Jun 2009 Two roadside bombs that struck back-to-back and only miles apart hit two U.S. military vehicles in Afghanistan Monday, killing four American troops, U.S. and Afghan officials said. U.S. military officials have predicted a 50 percent spike in IED attacks in Afghanistan this year as militants step up attacks and thousands of more troops pour into the country.

Pakistan predicts long war against militants 03 Jun 2009 Pakistan's army warns that the battle against insurgency in the troubled northwestern Swat valley and its adjoining areas could take longer than previously thought. The prediction of a long war comes days after the army claimed full control of the main town in the troubled valley, Mingora, after a month-long operation.

'Bin Laden' accuses Obama of sowing 'revenge and hatred' in Muslim world 03 Jun 2009 Osama bin Laden today denounced Barack Obama as the US president arrived in Saudi Arabia at the start of a short Middle East tour in his continuing effort to reach out to the Muslim world. In an audio recording timed for Obama's latest overture, the [deceased] al-Qaida leader said the US leader had planted seeds of "revenge and hatred" towards the US in the Muslim world, al-Jazeera television reported.

'Bin Laden' tape denounces Obama 03 Jun 2009 A tape recording purported to be of al-Qaeda leader 'Osama Bin Laden' has accused US President Barack Obama of fuelling hatred of America in Pakistan. The audio message broadcast on Arabic TV channel al-Jazeera blamed US pressure for Pakistan's crackdown in its north-western Swat Valley. Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled the fighting with Taliban rebels.

Huge security clampdown in Cairo for Barack Obama's big speech to Muslim world 03 Jun 2009 The biggest security operation ever seen in Egypt was under way tonight as Cairo prepared to welcome Barack Obama for his landmark speech to the Muslim world after a warning of revenge against the US by 'Osama bin Laden.' Unprecedented security measures are in place for Obama's big day in Cairo, of which the centrepiece is a 50-minute address at the city's university tomorrow.

Bush's 'burrowers' are busy little bees: US nuclear secrets accidentally leaked? 03 Jun 2009 Washington has published a document containing details of the precise whereabouts of hundreds of its nuclear sites as well as fuel storage areas for its nuclear weapons stockpiles, allegedly by accident. The 266-page report marked "highly confidential" was released on Monday in an online newsletter for issues of federal secrecy, raising fears among nuclear experts who cited security hazards.

TSA Blocks Delta Flights to 2 African Cities On Security 03 Jun 2009 Delta Air Lines Inc. has been denied permission for direct flights to Nairobi, Kenya and Monrovia, Liberia until the airports meet security standards or until U.S. regulators change their assessment of security threats in the region. The Transportation Security Administration called the current threat to civil aviation in east Africa too significant to allow the flights, but said it will continue to monitor the situation. The routes were slated to begin within days.

Officials investigate Argentina bomb threat as pilot claims Air France Flight 447 was blown out of the sky by terrorists 03 Jun 2009 Investigators are examining a bomb threat called in on a flight from Buenos Aires to Paris just days before Flight 447 disappeared over the Atlantic ocean, it has been revealed. Aviation authorities are examining the possibility of a link between the threat to the Buenos Aires flight and the mysterious disappearance of Flight 447 with 228 people on board, a source has claimed. Meanwhile an Air France pilot said it was 'highly likely' the jet was blown out of the sky by a bomb.' Speaking under condition of anonymity to Le Figaro newspaper the pilot said: 'It is highly likely a bomb went off on board. I have flown these jets for Air France for more than ten years, and the chances of an electrical fault seem unfeasible to me.'

Another Air France plane got bomb threat 03 Jun 2009 Aviation authorities said an Air France Buenos Aires-to-Paris flight was was grounded temporarily because of a bomb threat that turned out to be false. Officials at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza International Airport delayed an Air France flight from the Argentine city to Paris May 27 after the bomb threat was called in, The Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

Flight 447 black box may never be found 03 Jun 2009 French officials doubt the recovery of black boxes belonging to the missing Air France 447 flight from the bottom of deep Atlantic Ocean. The Chief of French Civil Aviation Ministry's bureau of investigation (BEA), Paul Louis Arslanian said he was "not optimistic" over the recovery of the black boxes, adding that there could be no speculations until everything was "checked and verified."

FAA looks into what pilot saw over Liberty 03 Jun 2009 The FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department met Tuesday to compare notes on an unidentified flying object reported late last week by an ExpressJet Airlines pilot. The pilot reported a "missile or rocket" flying near his airplane Friday at 8:09 p.m., shortly after takeoff from Bush Intercontinental Airport, according to sheriff’s officials.

Liberty Co., FAA to discuss report of object near plane 01 Jun 2009 Liberty County Sheriff’s officials are expected to meet with the FAA on Tuesday to discuss what a Continental Express pilot reported as a "missile or rocket" flying near his airplane. A pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that at about 8:15 p.m. Friday, an object passed within 150 feet beneath the aircraft, sheriff’s officials said. The aircraft was near the southern edge of the county, flying at about 13,000 feet, officials said. "The pilot, from what we understand, was former military. He was able to get the coordinates down real quick," said Cpl. Hugh Bishop with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department.

MPs' expenses: Departing MPs milked system to the end 03 Jun 2009 MPs who left Parliament at the last election made thousands of pounds from the expenses system in the months just before or after their departure, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. Some of those who resigned or lost marginal seats in 2005 have since made tens of thousands of pounds selling or renting out flats that had been funded by the taxpayer. Other departing MPs passed subsidised properties to their children, while some who had already announced they were stepping down spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money furnishing or redecorating homes.

Brown's authority dealt severe blow as Blears quits 03 June 2009 Gordon Brown's authority as Prime Minister was dealt a severe blow today, as Communities Secretary Hazel Blears quit the Cabinet on the eve of crucial European and local elections. But Mr Brown rejected opposition calls for an immediate General Election, insisting he was focusing on cleaning up the parliamentary expenses system and helping Britain through the recession.

Children who don't have MMR jab should be banned from school, says ex BMA chief 03 Jun 2009 Children should be banned from going to school if they have not had the MMR jab, a senior doctor has said. Sir Sandy Macara, former chairman of the British Medical Association, said the [deadly] vaccine should be made compulsory, with children who have not had it turned away at the school gates. His call came amid concerns over low levels of take-up for the jab.

Four swine flu sufferers in Glasgow area treated in intensive care 04 Jun 2009 Four people suffering from swine flu are being treated in intensive care wards in hospitals in and around Glasgow tonight. The four -- all aged under 50 -- are the only cases in Britain to require intensive care treatment for the H1N1 virus, and are among 88 confirmed cases of swine flu in Scotland. A total of 303 cases have been diagnosed in England, two in Northern Ireland and one in Wales.

Swine flu: home quarantine urged in SA 03 Jun 2009 Health authorities are recommending home quarantine for South Australian children who have visited Melbourne because of a high prevalence of swine flu there. A person visiting SA from Western Australia has also been diagnosed with swine flu, becoming the eighth case in South Australia. They are to stay in isolation in SA for a week.

Saudi Arabia confirms first H1N1 flu case 03 Jun 2009 Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the H1N1 flu virus in a Filipina nurse, the kingdom's health minister said on Wednesday. The woman arrived on Friday on board a Gulf Air flight from the Philippines and showed first symptoms on Monday, Abdullah al-Rabeeah told Saudi news channel al-Ekhbariya, adding that she was being held in quarantine in a hospital in the capital Riyadh.

2 More Deaths in City Linked to Swine Flu 03 Jun 2009 Two more deaths linked to swine flu -- both of adults in their early to mid-40s -- were reported by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on Wednesday, bringing the total H1N1-related fatalities in the city to seven.

Already Hurting, Mets Face a Swine Flu Scare 03 Jun 2009 As if the Mets did not have enough injuries and illnesses to worry about, they confronted a swine flu scare Tuesday when a member of their traveling party was isolated after coming down with an unidentified strain of flu. An associate producer for SportsNet New York, who started having symptoms after arriving here Sunday night, was treated and tested at a hospital, but the Mets had not received confirmation as to what type of flu the strain was.

Obama Open to Plan Requiring Everyone to Get Insurance 04 Jun 2009 President Obama said Wednesday that he was receptive to Congressional proposals that would require every American to have health insurance and that would force employers to offer health insurance to their employees. But he said there should be exemptions for people who cannot afford coverage and for small businesses in general.

AIG Charity Grab --Bids to Claw Back Grants to Pay Bonuses 01 Jun 2009 Insurance giant AIG is trying to seize a $490 million charitable endowment -- and claw back $27 million it already awarded to New York charities -- to pay executive bonuses, The Post has learned. AIG intends to go to trial in federal court June 15. Legal experts say that if AIG wins its case, it would have the right to sue to claw back some of the $27 million already awarded to charities.

New Hampshire Legislature Approves Same-Sex Marriage 03 Jun 2009 New Hampshire this afternoon became the sixth state to allow gay marriage, after Gov. John Lynch (D) signed a revised bill approved by both houses of the legislature. The passage of the bill now leaves Rhode Island as the only New England state that does not allow same sex marriage.

Polar bears and a cactus urge climate action in Bonn 01 Jun 2009 U.N. climate talks started in Bonn on Monday with demonstrators dressed as camels, birds, trees, a cactus and several polar bears urging delegates to do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Environmentalists want developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels, by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

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U.S. Releases Secret List of Nuclear Sites Accidentally -- The report lists many particulars about nuclear programs and facilities at the nation's three nuclear weapons laboratories -- Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia -- as well as dozens of other federal and private nuclear sites. 03 Jun 2009 The federal government mistakenly made public a 266-page report, its pages marked "highly confidential," that gives detailed information about hundreds of the nation’s civilian nuclear sites and programs, including maps showing the precise locations of stockpiles of fuel for nuclear weapons. The publication of the document was revealed Monday in an on-line newsletter devoted to issues of federal secrecy.

Obama: Iran Has the Right to Nuclear Power 02 June 2009 President Barack Obama suggested that Iran may have some right to nuclear energy _ provided it proves by the end of the year that its aspirations are peaceful. In a BBC interview broadcast Tuesday, he also restated plans to pursue direct diplomacy with Tehran to encourage it set aside any ambitions for nuclear weapons it might harbor. Iran has insisted its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity.

'We don't approve of the mandate the committee was given to investigate war crimes.' Israel won't be aiding UN Gaza investigation 02 Jun 2009 Tel Aviv has voiced disdain over the United Nations' authority to look into Israel's three weeks of military onslaught through the Gaza Strip. "We don't approve of the mandate the committee was given to investigate war crimes," Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak told UN's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, Jerusalem Post reported.

35 Israeli spies identified in Lebanon 01 Jun 2009 Beirut has charged three more people with spying for Tel Aviv amid a crackdown on Israeli espionage networks in Lebanon. The latest decision by the Lebanese military prosecutor brings to 35 the number of the people who are charged in connection with the Israeli espionage case.

Iraq agrees to let Britain help protect oil platforms --British troops and up to five naval vessels could help Iraq protect its floating oil terminals against attack. 02 Jun 2009 Iraq and Britain have struck a deal that will allow British troops to remain in the country, helping Iraqi naval forces protect oil platforms beyond a previously agreed withdrawal date, officials said on Tuesday. Britain's presence in Iraq began with its support of the 2003 U.S. invasion, but was set to conclude at the end of June under a pact signed at the end of last year. The two sides agreed to extend the British deployment so that a small number of British troops and up to five naval vessels could help Iraq protect its floating oil terminals against attack, said government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.

KBR sees U.S. military contract margins up 02 Jun 2009 KBR Inc expects profit margins on the next round of U.S. military logistics contracts to rise as they are split between different companies, the engineering and services company's chief executive said on Tuesday. KBR is competing with Fluor Corp and DynCorp International for the next Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP IV, and expects to find out whether it has won one of two contracts for Afghanistan in July.

Iraq rattled by snakes on a plain 02 Jun 2009 A plague of snakes has caused panic in Iraq's southern province of Nasiriyah, biting cattle and worrying residents as poisonous reptiles flee their dens in the country's water-deprived marshes. Iraq's water reserves dipped to 11 billion cubic metres (385 billion cubic feet) in May, compared with 40 billion cubic metres three years earlier, although rainfall this past winter was normal. Experts say Iraq faces agricultural disaster this summer if neighbouring Turkey continues to retain waters from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which have nourished Iraqi agriculture for millennia.

Police: Bomb kills 4 at Baghdad vegetable market 01 A bomb in a Baghdad market killed four people. Also Monday, a suicide bomber exploded his car at a police checkpoint in Jalula, 80 miles (125 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, killing a 7-year-old child and wounding eight other people, an Iraqi police official said.

Baghdad roadside bomb kills US soldier 02 Jun 2009 An American soldier was killed by a roadside bomb that struck his patrol in eastern Baghdad, the US army said on Tuesday. He was the first American military casualty in June after 25 US troops died May, the highest US military death toll in Iraq for eight months.

Yemeni inmate found dead at Guantanamo prison: US 02 Jun 2009 A man from Yemen held at the US-run prison in Guantanamo for more than seven years without charge was found dead in an apparent suicide, the US military said. The 31-year-old inmate was identified as Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, also known as Al-Hanashi. He had been held at Guantanamo since February 2002, US Southern Command said in a statement. It was the fifth reported 'suicide' at the controversial "war on terror" prison since the center opened at the remote US naval base in southeast Cuba in 2002, officials said.

US judge: Guantanamo evidence must be made public 01 Jun 2009 A federal judge rejected on Monday a U.S. government request to keep secret the unclassified evidence that it says justifies the continued imprisonment of more than 100 Guantanamo Bay prisoners. U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled the government cannot keep the documents known as factual returns from public disclosure and must seek court approval to keep specific information secret.

Judge holds Bagram detainee cases pending Obama appeal 01 Jun 2009 A federal judge on Monday put a hold on his groundbreaking order allowing detainees at a U.S. air base in Afghanistan access to U.S. courts until an appeals court can rule on the case involving prisoners held in an active war zone. The Obama administration, in arguments similar to those made by the Bush White House, had challenged a ruling by U.S. District Judge John Bates two months ago that some foreign detainees at Bagram Airfield could use civilian courts in the United States to challenge their detention.

Telegraph report over Abu Ghraib 'abuse' photos confirmed --A former senior US army officer who spoke to the Daily Telegraph about photographs of rape and sexual abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has confirmed the story, despite denials from the White House. 30 May 2009 This newspaper reported that photographs showed a soldier apparently raping a female prisoner, a translator apparently raping a male prisoner and instances of sexual abuse involving objects. After initially failing to respond to a request for comment, a White House spokesman eventually spoke to denigrate the standards of the British press, and said that the Telegraph report "mischaracterises" the photos. But Major General Antonio Taguba, who retired from the army in January 2007 after writing a critical report on Abu Ghraib, has confirmed that the quotes the Daily Telegraph ran were accurate.

Why'd Obama switch on detainee photos? Maliki went ballistic 01 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama reversed his decision to release prisoner abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki warned that Iraq would erupt into violence and that Iraqis would demand that U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq a year earlier than planned, two U.S. military officers, a senior defense official and a State Department official have told McClatchy.

Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan warns of greater casualties 03 Jun 2009 President Obama's pick to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan warned Tuesday that casualties are likely to increase as the U.S. military steps up its campaign against 'insurgents.' Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal also voiced skepticism that Taliban guerrillas could be persuaded to sever their ties with Al Qaeda; a similar strategy was critical to McChrystal's success as commander of special operations forces [death squads] in Iraq.

Pakistan plan to attack Taliban haven promises wider war 31 May 2009 Waziristan, the remote area that's the epicenter of Taliban and 'al Qaida' militants in Pakistan, is set to become the next war zone in the nation's fight against Islamic extremists, where clashes between insurgents and the army erupted over the weekend. So far, there are just skirmishes in Waziristan but the key U.S. ally plans a full-scale military offensive there this summer, according to Pakistani and Western officials, a fight that is certain to be deadlier than the current operation in Swat valley and with profound international repercussions.

CIA wages 'microchip' war against al-Qaida --The CIA is equipping Pakistani tribesmen with secret transmitters to call in airstrikes 01 June 2009 In the tribal regions of Pakistan, believed to be harbouring Osama Bin Laden [LOL! Weren't the 'tribal regions of Afghanistan' harbouring Osama?] and other high-ranking terrorists, America is stepping up its covert operations. The CIA is equipping Pakistani tribesmen with secret transmitters to call in airstrikes targeting 'al-Qaida' and Taliban militants.

400 students kidnapped in N. Waziristan 01 Jun 2009 Insurgents have kidnapped hundreds of students at an army-run educational institution in Pakistan's troubled North Waziristan region. They were held up at gunpoint on Monday when a convoy of minibuses carrying the students from a cadet college in the tribal North Waziristan region was going to the northwestern town of Bannu.

U.S. officials raise alarm about new Venezuelan missiles 31 May 2009 Venezuela's recent purchase of the most lethal shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles in the Russian arsenal is sharpening U.S. concerns that parts of President Hugo Chávez's massive weapons buildup could wind up in the hands of terrorists or guerrillas [resistance fighters] in neighboring Colombia. [US officials are constantly 'alarmed' over everyone else's weapons but *their own* - and Israel's. --LRP]

Obama picks GOP congressman to head Army 02 Jun 2009 Bringing another Republican into his inner circle, President Obama announced today that he is nominating a GOP congressman from upstate New York to be the next Army secretary. John McHugh, who has been in Congress since 1993, is the senior Republican on the House Armed Services Committee. At the Pentagon, he'll join Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration. "Keeping America safe means keeping the armed forces strong," Bush Obama said at a White House news conference.

Gibbs: Army Secretary Nominee Favors DADT Change 02 Jun 2009 White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of the Army, Republican representative John McHugh, agrees with the president that "don't ask, don't tell" should be changed.

Jacqui Smith goes - hit by porn claims, but fatally damaged by 42 days 03 Jun 2009 She was one of the first and most high-­profile targets of the expenses leaks, but when the disclosures hit her back in March, Jacqui Smith was, in truth, already on the political ropes. The revelations capped a torrid year for the home secretary, and she spent at least one weekend agonising over whether she could continue in her post, eventually ­concluding that she could not... Smith will go down in the public's mind and in political history as the home secretary who failed to get 42 days pre-charge detention for terror suspects through the House of Commons.

Marines Train "Civilians" to Accept Coming Martial Law (Infowars) 01 Jun 2009 On May 23, the Staten Island Real-Time News reported on "mock raids at the public park to give civilians a feel for how soldiers operate in battle." Or maybe that should be "mock raids" to give civilians a taste of things to come and, of course, get them acclimated to the presence of uniformed and armed soldiers in their midst. It is interesting the Marines characterized Flushing Meadows Park as "enemy territory." In fact, according to our rulers and their military functionaries, the entire United States is "enemy territory" in need of martial law.

WHO getting closer to declaring A/H1N1 pandemic, says official 03 Jun 2009 As the A/H1N1 flu virus spreads further around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) is getting closer to declaring a full pandemic, a senior official of the UN agency said on Tuesday. "Globally we believe that we are at phase 5, but we are getting closer to phase 6," said WHO Assistant Director-general Dr. Keiji Fukuda, referring to the WHO's six-phase pandemic alert system.

A/H1N1 virus invades all U.S. states 02 Jun 2009 All the 50 states in the United States reported cases of A/H1N1 flu on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 10,053, according to the latest figures released by the federal government. Until last week, Alaska, West Virginia and Wyoming were the last three states which had been free of the newly found virus, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday that the state of Wyoming had conformed its first case, and reported Monday that the states of Alaska and West Virginia had finally been invaded by the A/H1N1 virus.

Mandatory Flu Vaccines for Health Care Personnel on Agenda for SHRPC Committee 20 May 2009 A proposed regulation that would require annual influenza vaccines for all health care personnel in hospitals will be discussed at tomorrow’s Codes Committee of the State Hospital Review and Planning Council (SHRPC). The rule would also apply to employees of diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long-term home health care programs, acquired immune deficiency syndrome home care programs, licensed home care services agencies, and hospices. A separate proposal that would require mandatory flu vaccines for personnel working in nursing homes is currently under consideration in the State Legislature.

3,000 under swine flu quarantine Down Under 01 Jun 2009 The number of H1N1 cases in Australia is climbing quickly. Three thousand people are in quarantine, after a big increase in cases in the last 24 hours. In the state of New South Wales, twelve hundred people are in quarantine.

Gunman Kills Soldier Outside Recruiting Station 02 Jun 2009 A 23-year-old man upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan opened fire from his truck at two soldiers standing outside a military recruiting station here on Monday morning, killing one private and wounding another, the police said. The gunman, identified by the police as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad of Little Rock, fled the scene and was arrested minutes later a short distance from the recruiting station. The police confiscated a Russian-made SKS semiautomatic rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and a handgun from his black pickup truck.

Nebraska physician vows to keep Tiller's abortion clinic open 01 Jun 2009 Women's Health Care Services, the clinic that has been bombed, blockaded and vandalized for more than 20 years because late-term abortions are performed there, will be closed this week to mourn the slaying Sunday of founder George Tiller. But the clinic will resume normal operations next Monday, said LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska physician who has been coming to Tiller's clinic on a rotating basis for more than 10 years.

Suspect in Kansas abortion doctor's slaying reportedly belonged to anti-government militia 02 Jun 2009 The 51-year-old man held on suspicion of killing prominent abortion provider Dr. George Tiller belonged to anti-government militia groups, had been convicted of carrying explosives in his car and was outraged by the doctor's speedy acquittal on abortion-related charges, authorities and antiabortion activists said Monday. Scott Roeder had attended a demonstration outside a Kansas City, Kan., abortion clinic two weeks ago and spoke of traveling to Wichita for Tiller's trial, said longtime antiabortion activist Eugene Frye.

'The answer, Mr. Obama, Mr. Law Professor, is that it's illegal.' Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM by Greg Palast 01 Jun 2009 I smell a rat. Stevie the Rat, to be precise. Steven Rattner, Barack Obama's 'Car Czar' - the man who essentially ordered GM into bankruptcy this morning... Stevie the Rat has a different plan for GM: grab the pension funds to pay off Morgan and Citi. Here's the scheme: Rattner is demanding the bankruptcy court simply wipe away the money GM owes workers for their retirement health insurance. Cash in the insurance fund would be replace by GM stock... Yet Citibank and Morgan, says Rattner, should get their whole enchilada - $6 billion right now and in cash - from a company that can't pay for auto parts or worker eye exams. Preventive Detention for Pensions So what's wrong with seizing workers' pension fund money in a bankruptcy? The answer, Mr. Obama, Mr. Law Professor, is that it's illegal.

Day of reckoning is here, governor says 02 Jun 2009 Challenging the Legislature to "spend only what we have," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Tuesday outlined a path of devastating cuts that he said was unavoidable but could lead to lasting reforms and a revived economy. He urged the Legislature to resolve a $24 billion deficit within the next two weeks before the state starts to run out of cash, and he stuck to his revised cuts-only budget that includes eliminating the state's welfare-to-work program and its health insurance program for poor children, along with deep cuts to schools, parks and higher education.

Hawaii's governor orders furloughs 3 days a month 02 Jun 2009 Describing a "fiscal emergency," Gov. Linda Lingle has ordered three days of unpaid furloughs each month for 14,500 state employees to help erase a $729 million budget shortfall. The furloughs beginning in July amount to an almost 14 percent pay cut and will be unilateral, applying to the Republican governor herself and her staff.

Pawlenty will not seek re-election 02 Jun 2009 Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce Tuesday that he will not seek a third term as governor, sources tell CNN. The decision to avoid a potentially difficult re-election bid next year will almost certainly be seen as the first step in a possible presidential run in 2012.

160 Syrian villages deserted 'due to climate change' 02 Jun 2009 Some 160 villages in northern Syria were deserted by their residents in 2007 and 2008 because of climate change, according to a study released on Tuesday. The report drawn up by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) warns of potential armed conflict for control of water resources in the Middle East.

Brazil finds Air France wreckage, all feared dead 02 Jun 2009 Brazilian military planes found wreckage on Tuesday from an Air France jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean with 228 people aboard, the airline's worst disaster in its 75-year history. Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim said there was "no doubt" that a 5-km (3-mile) strip of debris in the high seas was from the Airbus A330 that went missing in stormy weather early on Monday. Experts were certain that all aboard died.

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NY synagogues to craft and submit security plan to U.S. Department of Homeland Security --Synagogues to receive homeland security funding 01 Jun 2009 Governor David Paterson Sunday announced that Riverdale Temple and Riverdale Jewish Center will each receive a $25,000 grant to upgrade their security systems. The New York State Office of Homeland Security will work with these synagogues to craft and submit a security plan to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Paterson also sent a letter to Congress, requesting an increase in homeland security funding for not-for-profits, including synagogues.

Homeland Security to scan fingerprints of travellers exiting the US 29 May 2009 The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of international travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta.

'Le vaccin obligatoire' Le plan secret contre la grippe A --Anticipant un probable retour du virus à l'automne, le gouvernement va débourser près d'un milliard d'euros pour acheter des vaccins. Objectif: immuniser tous les Français. Les autorités annonceront à l'automne si elles choisissent de rendre le vaccin obligatoire. "Nous serons prêts à opérer dans un laps de temps très court", explique-t-on au ministère de la Santé. 30 Mai 2009 La France prépare un plan de bataille sans précédent pour cet automne, avec, à la clé, une campagne de vaccination obligatoire pour tous les Français de plus de 3 mois. Selon nos informations, l'Etat veut passer commande de 100 millions de doses de vaccin contre la grippe A à trois laboratoires (GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi et Novartis). [Translation: France is considering a secret plan to make the pharma-terrorists' deadly flu vaccines mandatory.]

Stop the US torture ship --USS Bataan is one of US government's most infamous 'floating prisons' 29 May 2009 British human rights campaigners Reprieve have urged the Spanish authorities to board and search US torture ship USS Bataan after it moored at the Palma de Mallorca holiday resort. Reprieve said on Friday that the USS Bataan is one of the US government's most infamous "floating prisons" and will remain at the island until Saturday. At least nine prisoners including Ibn Al-Sheikh Al-Libi, who recently died in mysterious circumstances in Libyan custody, are confirmed to have been held aboard the USS Bataan.

Obama Administration Asserts Uighur Detainees Have No Right to Come to US 30 May 2009 The Obama administration [soon to be dubbed regime by CLG] asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to reject a request for a hearing from 17 Chinese Muslims currently being held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, arguing they have no right to come to America despite a district judge's orders last Fall that they immediately be brought to the U.S. and released.

17,000 US troops in Afghanistan by mid-July 31 May 2009 The bulk of the extra 17,000 US troops will be deployed in Afghanistan by mid-July as Washington strives to tighten its grip on the region. "10,000 marines are beginning to arrive now and will continue to arrive for the next month and a half or so and they will be principally located in Helmand but also in Farah," Colonel Greg Julian, spokesman for US forces told Reuters on Sunday.

Four die in market bombing in Baghdad 01 Jun 2009 An Iraqi police official says a bomb has exploded at a Baghdad fruit and vegetable market, killing four people and wounding 14. The official says the blast occurred shortly before 8am on Monday at the Rasheed market in Baghdad's southern district of Dora. The same market was the scene of a car bombing last month that killed 15 people and wounded nearly 50.

Iraqi journalist killed by bomb: police 31 May 2009 An Iraqi sports reporter was killed and a television host wounded on Sunday when a bomb attached to the victim's car exploded in the northern city of Mosul, a police official told AFP. The blast killed Alaa Abdul Wahab, a correspondent for the Al-Baghdadia channel and a leading newspaper journalist, and wounded Dr Sultan Jurjis, a university academic and sports presenter with a rival TV station.

Ex-Iraqi trade minister arrested in graft case 30 May 2009 Iraq's former trade minister was arrested Saturday in a burgeoning corruption scandal after his plane was ordered back to Baghdad while en route to the United Arab Emirates, officials said. Abdul-Falah al-Sudani, who resigned this month as trade minister, is the highest profile figure arrested so far in an anti-corruption drive launched this year.

KBR faults media in coverage of electrocution issue 30 May 2009 Former [Cheney] Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc. on Friday accused media outlets of using electrocution death statistics to fuel a "politically-driven campaign" against the company. A statement released by KBR's interim president of government and infrastructure, William Bodie [Bill.Bodie@KBR.com], objected to "false reports and innuendo" in a New York-based newspaper and other media outlets concerning electrical issues in Iraq, where the Houston-based firm holds more than $16 billion in government contracts for services at thousands of U.S.-controlled facilities.

Israel holds biggest civil defense drill in state history 31 May 2009 A five-day civil defense exercise, simulating an attack on the country, started on Sunday. Named Turning Point 3, the drills will be the most extensive ever held and practice new measures to safeguard civilians. On Tuesday the exercise will spread nationwide and include emergency sirens and air-raid shelters. The cabinet held a special session Sunday on moves during an attack; the ministries will then open their emergency headquarters to rehearse various scenarios.

Israel begins 'doomsday' drill 31 May 2009 Israel has launched its largest-ever military exercise to test its capabilities against potential missile attacks, bombings and riots. The five-day drill which was launched on Sunday will simulate simultaneous rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and missile attacks from Iran and Syria. "We will be exercising the doomsday scenario of simultaneous strikes against Israel on all fronts and by different means," Israel's defense ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror told AFP last week.

Israel 'will not bow' to US settlement freeze call 31 May 2009 Israel will not agree to US demands to freeze all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, a minister close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "I want to say in a crystal clear manner that the current Israeli government will not accept in any fashion that legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria be frozen," said Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, using the Israeli term for the West Bank. "The government will defend the vital interests of the state of Israel," he told army radio.

Lebanese army colonel arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel 01 Jun 2009 Lebanese security officials say they have arrested an army colonel on suspicion of spying for Israel, the second high-ranking military official detained in less than two weeks. The officials say the colonel was detained a few days ago as part of a stepped-up campaign against suspected spies on behalf of Israel that has produced about three dozen arrests.

Iran defuses bomb on Tehran-bound plane 31 May 2009 Iranian security officials successfully manage to defuse a bomb on a Tehran-bound passenger airliner, averting what could have been a major airborne catastrophe. Within minutes from take-off, flight security officials aboard a late Saturday Kish Air flight en route to Tehran from the southern city of Ahwaz, discovered that a handmade bomb had been planted in the plane's toilet, Fars news agency reported on Sunday.

Pakistan city centre 'destroyed' 31 May 2009 The scale of the war damage to the main city in the Swat valley has become clear, as fears are expressed about the humanitarian situation in the region. Taliban rebels were driven out of Mingora on Saturday by Pakistan government troops. A BBC correspondent who went to Mingora has reported widespread damage.

North Korea 'preparing to fire long-range missile' 01 Jun 2009 A train carrying an intercontinental ballistic missile has been detected by South Korean intelligence travelling to Musudan-ri, a key North Korean launch pad. The sparse base, which is under a square mile in size, was used in April to test-launch a rocket capable of reaching the west coast of the United States.

US military recruiting 'hacker soldiers' 31 May 2009 Military companies in the US are considering plans to employ cyber soldiers as the Pentagon moves to establish a cybercommand to manage future cyberwars. The concept of preparing fighting cyberattacks is set to overhaul the idea of war in the US with computer talents gradually joining old soldiers.

Dozens of Students Detained In Egypt 01 June 2009 Several dozen Russian students have been detained in Egypt in document checks just days before U.S. President Barack Obama pays a visit to Cairo. Cairo police rounded up the students at Al-Azkhar University, a world center of Islamic studies, last week during checks on foreign students studying in the country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Igor Lyakin-Frolov said. A spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Cairo told Interfax that at least 35 students from the North Caucasus were detained "in a brutal way" during the roundup Tuesday night.

Malaysia to keep terror suspect --Prime Minister described suspect as a "threat to national security" and said he was being held for two years "to know more information". 27 May 2009 A top Singaporean terrorism suspect recaptured in Malaysia last month will not be extradited for at least two years, Malaysia's prime minister says. Mas Selamat Kastari is being held for two years under Malaysia's Internal Security Act, which [as with the US] allows indefinite detention without trial.

US cybersecurity plan poses new war threats, attacks on democratic rights By Tom Eley 30 May 2009 President Barack Obama announced on Friday the creation of a new "cyber czar" position. The Cybersecurity Coordinator, who is yet to be named, would oversee billions of dollars in funding for developing and coordinating defense of the computer networks that operate the global financial system and domestic transportation and commerce, according to the administration... Obama's announcement was overshadowed by the US military's imminent creation of a new military "Cyber Command," detailed in a New York Times article published Friday.

Airport eye scans check two million arrivals into UK 01 Jun 2009 More than two million airline passenger journeys arriving in the UK have used the biometric eye scanners installed at Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports since their introduction in 2006, the UK Home Office has revealed. The aptly named Iris Recognition Immigration System (IRIS) allows frequent flyers who register for the service to bypass queues at passport control by having their eyes scanned to confirm their identity and automatically perform immigration checks.

Pease pudding sparks airport security alert --Airport staff issued a security warning after a passenger tried to carry pease pudding on to a plane. 30 May 2009 The traditional northern snack – made from boiled split peas and ham fat – was confiscated from hand luggage at Newcastle International Airport. It was part of the 450 litres of banned liquids seized by staff each day, including bottles of water, fizzy pop and suntan lotion, vintage champagne and spirits, jars of Marmite and bottles of tomato ketchup.

Akwesasne Is On High Alert As The Bridges Are Closed And Canadians Borders Services Abandoned By ohnkwe ohnwe 01 Jun 2009 Midnight, June 1, 2009: As the deadline for new compliance standards imposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol and the Canadian Border Services was reached, an all out military style blockade has been established on the U.S. and Canadian sides of the international bridges that use Akwesasne's Cornwall Island to connect them. June 1st was the date for the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) to come into effect.

Swine flu fear could place 2500 in quarantine 01 Jun 2009 Authorities fear 2500 people will 'have' to be quarantined today when the cruise ship Pacific Dawn enters Sydney Harbour. A child understood to have had contact with a passenger of the ship was rushed to hospital in Sydney last night and placed in isolation with suspected swine flu. A mother, father and child were taken from their home at about 9.30pm (AEST), with the child displaying flu-like symptoms.

Fourteen new A/H1N1 flu cases confirmed in Britain 01 Jun 2009 Britain's Department of Health confirmed on Sunday 14 new cases of A/H1N1 flu infections, bringing the country's total to 244. Thirteen of the new cases were from England and one from Wales. Five of the cases were linked to previously confirmed cases, whereas six were travel-related. The three other cases were linked to ongoing investigations of school outbreak.

Obama decries murder of abortion doctor 31 May 2009 The White House issued a statement Sunday evening from President Obama on the murder of George Tiller. The president said: "I am shocked and outraged by the murder of Dr. George Tiller as he attended church services this morning. However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."

Man charged in slaying of Kansas abortion doctor 01 Jun 2009 A 51-year-old Kansas man was charged with first-degree murder late Sunday in the death of a physician whose Kansas women's clinic frequently took center stage in the U.S. debate over abortion, authorities said. Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed while serving as an usher at his Wichita church Sunday morning, according to police. [Terrorist suspect] Scott Roeder from the Kansas City, Kansas, area is being held without bond in the Sedgwick County Adult Detention Facility, according to the sheriff's office Web site.

Doctor Who Performed Abortions Is Shot to Death 01 Jun 2009 Authorities said they had a [terrorist] suspect in custody Sunday afternoon in the shooting death of George Tiller, a Wichita doctor who was one of the few doctors in the nation to perform late-term abortions. Dr. Tiller, who had survived a shooting more than a decade ago, was shot inside his church here on Sunday morning, the authorities said. Dr. Tiller was shot with a handgun inside the lobby of his longtime church, Reformation Lutheran Church, just after 10 a.m. (Central Time). [Notice that the Reichwing media never calls Reichwing terrorist suspects terrorist suspects?]

Lawmakers Bill Taxpayers For TVs, Cameras, Lexus 01 Jun 2009 Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings spent $24,730 in taxpayer money last year to lease a 2008 luxury Lexus hybrid sedan. Ohio Rep. Michael Turner expensed a $1,435 digital camera... The expenditures were legal, properly accounted for and drawn from allowances the U.S. government grants to lawmakers. Equipment purchased with office expense accounts must be returned to the House or the federal General Services Administration when a lawmaker leaves office.

GM to file for bankruptcy, Chrysler sale cleared 01 Jun 2009 General Motors Corp (GM.N) will file for bankruptcy later on Monday, U.S. officials said, forcing the 100-year-old automaker once seen as a symbol of American economic might and dynamism into a new and uncertain era of government ownership. The planned filing, confirmed by Obama administration officials, would be the third-largest in U.S. history and the largest-ever U.S. manufacturing bankruptcy.

Quarter million jobs could be lost in bankruptcy --Economic impact depends on how quickly the automaker emerges 01 Jun 2009 If all goes according to plan, the bankruptcies of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler, which went bankrupt in late April, could cost about a quarter million people their jobs over the next year and a half, according to one researcher.

Reagan Did It By Paul Krugman 01 Jun 2009 ...[T]he more one looks into the origins of the current disaster, the clearer it becomes that the key wrong turn -- the turn that made crisis inevitable -- took place in the early 1980s, during the Reagan years... The change in America’s financial rules was Reagan’s biggest legacy. And it’s the gift that keeps on taking... The S.& L. crisis has been written out of the Reagan hagiography, but the fact is that deregulation in effect gave the industry -- whose deposits were federally insured — a license to gamble with taxpayers’ money, at best, or simply to loot it, at worst.

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MoD admits use of controversial 'enhanced blast' weapons in Afghanistan --The missile's warhead is made with a mixture of chemicals rather than a simple blast mechanism. 28 May 2009 British pilots in Afghanistan are firing an increasing number of "enhanced blast" thermobaric weapons, designed to kill everyone in buildings they strike, the Ministry of Defence has revealed. Since the start of this year more than 20 of the US-designed [What a surprise!] missiles, which have what is officially described as a "blast fragmentation warhead", have been fired by pilots of British Apache attack helicopters. A total of 20 were also fired last year after they were bought by the MoD from the Americans last May. ['Enhanced blast' -- 'enhanced interrogation.' It's time for 'enhanced social uprising.' --LRP]

US defence secretary Robert Gates warns North Korea 30 May 2009 Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, delivered a stark warning to North Korea on Saturday, declaring that America would not "stand idly by" while the regime threatened to "wreak destruction" with nuclear weapons. Instead, Mr Gates urged "tough sanctions" against North Korea and pledged that Washington would not accept its possession of a nuclear arsenal. Kim Jong-il's regime was, he said, starving its own people in order to develop [US-style] weapons of mass destruction.

Gates calls for tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran --Gates: US 'will respond quickly' to threats by N. Korea 30 May 2009 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Saturday compared North Korea's nuclear program to Iran's and called for tough sanctions against both countries that bring home real pain for their failure to adhere to international norms. Gates said that Pyongyang's nuclear program is further along than that of Tehran, and insisted that the United States would respond quickly if moves by North Korea's government threatened America or its Asian allies.

U.S. 'Likely' Could Intercept North Korean Missile 29 May 2009 U.S. ground-based interceptor rockets would "likely" knock out a long-range North Korean missile before it could reach the American mainland, the Pentagon’s independent testing official said today. "I believe we have a reasonable chance" of an intercept, Charles McQueary, director of operational test and evaluation, said in an interview as North Korea defied international condemnation of a nuclear test with another short-range missile launch.

N Korea prepares site for launch of ballistic missile 29 May 2009 US officials said that satellite images had detected activity at a site in North Korea that suggested the rogue state could be preparing to launch a long-range ballistic missile. Speaking after the country launched another short-range missile off its east coast, the seventh this week, Pentagon officials said that the activity of several vehicles in the photographs echoed the preparations seen before a long-range rocket was launched last month.

'The second part studies its strategy for surviving a nuclear war.' Pakistan enhances second strike N-capability: US report 30 May 2009 Pakistan has addressed issues of survivability in a possible nuclear conflict through second strike capability, says a US congressional report. The first part of the report, published on Friday, deals with Islamabad’s efforts to develop new weapons, while the second part studies its strategy for surviving a nuclear war. According to the report, Pakistan has built hard and deeply buried storage and launch facilities to retain a second strike capability in a nuclear war.

U.S. urges more foreign aid for Afghanistan 30 May 2009 U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Saturday urged the international community to give more aid to Afghanistan to [re]build infrastructure [that US/UK sociopaths destroyed], expand its military and police, and ensure security for elections [sic of the century] this year.

Afghan governor wounded in blast 30 May 2009 The governor of the northern Afghan province of Kunduz was slightly wounded Saturday when his car was struck by a roadside bomb, his spokesman told CNN. Gov. Mohammad Omar was returning from neighboring Takhar Province when the remotely detonated bomb went off, said his spokesman Mahbublah Saydi. The attack, which happened at 8 a.m. (11:30 p.m. ET), damaged his car and also left his driver slightly wounded, Saydi said.

Twin roadside bombings kill 4 Afghan civilians, wound 3 police 30 May 2009 Two roadside bombings rocked Kandahar, the former stronghold of Taliban in south Afghanistan on Saturday, leaving four civilians dead and injuring three police constables, an official said. The first attack, which hit a civilian car in Khakriz district killing four civilians including a woman Saturday morning while the other attack targeted a police van in Dand district wounding three police constables, a police officer Ghulam Hazrat, told Xinhua.

Pakistan: Number of displaced persons exceeds 3 million 30 May 2009 The number of internally displaced persons (IDP) has crossed the three million mark, according to the NWFP government. Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said at a press conference at the Officers' Mess here on Friday that the number of IDPs now stood at 3.4 million -- 2.8 million of them from Malakand division alone.

Report: Iran hangs three over Zahedan mosque bombing 30 May 2009 Iran hanged in public three men convicted of involvement in a bloody mosque bombing in Zahedan, capital of southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, the official IRNA news agency reported Saturday. The three were hanged in public at 6:00 a.m. local time (0130 GMT) near the Amir al-Momenin mosque, where the deadly bombing took place on Thursday, killing 25 people and wounding at least 125 others, IRNA quoted a provincial official as saying.

White House condemns 'terrorist attacks' against Iran 30 may 2009 The White House has denounced the "terrorist attacks" in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan which resulted in the deaths of 25 people. "The United States strongly condemns the recent terrorist attacks inside Iran," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement on Friday.

Iran cleric suspects U.S. and Israel behind mosque bombing 29 May 2009 A leading cleric in Iran has condemned the terrorist attack on a mosque, 1,600 kilometres southeast of the capital Tehran, saying that clues had emerged which indicated it may have been carried out by the United States and Israel. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department on Friday rejected the accusation.

3 shot at office of President of Iran 29 May 2009 Three people have been wounded after a shooting at a campaign office of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The government-operated IRNA news agency said the shooting took place Friday in the southeastern city of Zahedan, which is located near the border with Pakistan.

Israel to hold massive military exercise 29 May 2009 Surrounded by enemies on every side as well as inside their country, Israel will Sunday launch a massive military exercise to help ready the nation for a full-scale war. Operation 'Turning Point 3' is set to last for five days, and will simulate a simultaneous war against the Hamas in Gaza, the Hizb'allah in Lebanon, the Syrian army, the Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria and Israel's Arab citizens, who are expected to riot and in other ways assist Israel's enemies in the case of such a war.

Germany: West Bank settlement expansion is 'not acceptable' 30 May 2009 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has demanded that Israel put an end to all settlement building in the Palestinian territories, in a newspaper interview published Saturday. It is "not acceptable" to found new settlements or expand existing ones in East Jerusalem or the West Bank, Steinmeier said in a joint interview with the German Press Agency dpa and German daily Sueddeutsche.

US senator rejects Cheney torture claim as 'lie' 30 May 2009 A US senator says claims by former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney that enhanced interrogation techniques -- torture -- saved countless American lives are wrong. The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin, said an investigation into detainee abuse charges over the use of the tactics "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims," CNN reported.

Levin: Memos don't show what Cheney says they do 29 May 2009 Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's claims -- that classified CIA memos show enhanced interrogation techniques torture like waterboarding worked -- are wrong. Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association's annual dinner in New York on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques -- now deemed torture by the Obama administration -- "gives the lie to Mr. Cheney's claims."

Censorship we can believe in: Obama to ban PoW photos exposing rape, torture 30 May 2009 The US administration asks an appeals court to stop the release of prisoner abuse images, showing that Obama has fully backtracked on his promise of transparency. In a motion filed Thursday in a New York federal appeals court, the Obama administration said that it did not want the photos to be available to the public, arguing that they could lead to violence against US troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Pakistan.

Torture photos: US soldiers raped, sodomized Iraqi prisoners By Tom Eley 29 May 2009 In an interview with the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph published Wednesday, former US General Antonio Taguba said that photographs the Obama administration is seeking to suppress show images of US soldiers raping and sodomizing Iraqi prisoners. Taguba, who conducted the military inquiry of prisoner abuse at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 after some photos of US soldiers torturing prisoners became public, said that among the photos are images of soldiers raping a female prisoner, raping a male detainee, and committing "sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and phosphorescent tube," according to the Telegraph. Gen. Taguba said even the description of the photos is explosive.

After Waterboarding: How to Make Terrorists Talk? 29 May 2009 The most successful interrogation of an Al-Qaeda operative by U.S. officials required no sleep deprivation, no slapping or "walling" and no waterboarding. All it took to soften up Abu Jandal, who had been closer to Osama bin Laden than any other terrorist ever captured, was a handful of sugar-free cookies... "There is nothing intelligent about torture," says Army staff sergeant Eric Maddox. "If you have to inflict pain, then you've lost control of the situation, the subject and yourself."

Do-It-Yourself Waterboarding 29 May 2009 Demonstrators protest the use of water torture by creating frighteningly realistic simulations (Photos)

'Fleeing' ex-Iraq minister arrested 30 May 2009 Abdel Falah al-Sudani, Iraq's former trade minister who resigned last week amid a corruption scandal, has been arrested at Baghdad airport while trying to flee the country, a senior Iraqi official has said. Al-Sudani and his wife were on board a flight to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when the plane was turned back after takeoff so that he could be arrested, Sabah al-Saedi, the chairman of the parliamentary integrity committee, said on Friday.

US soldier killed in northern Iraq 29 May 2009 An American soldier was killed when a grenade exploded near his patrol in Nineveh province in northern Iraq on Friday, the US army said in a statement. The death took the number of US troops killed in the nation in May to 22, the highest monthly toll since last September.

US Army base shuts down after rise in suicides 29 May 2009 The commander of Fort Campbell army base in Kentucky has ordered a three-day suspension of regular duties to focus on a spike in suicides among his troops amid concern over a wider trend across the armed services. The "stand-down" on Friday entered its third day at Fort Campbell, which is home to the famed 101st Airborne Division and has recorded the highest rate of suicide in the army, with at least 11 confirmed or suspected suicides.

Richard Gage on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, CA Posted by fresnofreedom 28 May 2009 More info at Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. (Video)

CIA Announces Push to Improve Agency's Language Proficiency 30 May 2009 Five years after it was faulted by the 9/11 Commission for inadequate language skills among its employees, the CIA yesterday launched an ambitious program to double the number of analysts proficient in languages deemed critical in the fight against America's [so many] enemies. The new initiative, announced by CIA Director Leon Panetta, was an acknowledgment of the agency's slow progress in adding employees fluent in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Apologise for terror arrests Labour MP tells Govt 29 May 2009 Labour MP for Glasgow Central, Mohammad Sarwar, has asked the Government to apologise for its part in the recent high-profile arrests of innocent Muslim students under anti-terror laws on April 8. The case against 12 men involved in what Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, called a "major terrorist plot" amounted to no more than an email and a few telephone conversations, it emerged; all the men were subsequently released without charge on April 22.

Darpa's Simple Plan to Track Targets Everywhere By Nathan Hodge 21 May 2009 Most confusing briefing ever? Not just. It’s also a sketch of Pentagon far-out research arm Darpa’s plan to track down and tag "elusive targets" --adversaries who can move, hide and blend in with cluttered environments. And that means more than just next-generation sensors that can penetrate foliage or peer inside "urban canyons." It means stitching together information collected by different sensors to track a moving object. Darpa’s 2009 strategic plan offers a fascinating overview of the different approaches the agency is taking to better track and identify these elusive targets.

US plans to press FBI into counter-terror ops 28 May 2009 The US plans to push the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Justice Department into global counter-terrorism operations in a shift away from the Bush administration's policy that relied largely on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a media report said Thursday... Under the 'global justice' initiative, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases.

Swine flu infects US official in France for Obama trip 29 May 2009 An American official sent to France to help prepare President Barack Obama's visit to D-Day landing beaches next week has been hospitalised for swine flu but is doing well, officials said on Friday. "Eleven people who were in close contact with her were given preventive treatment last night and confined to their hotel rooms for 24 hours," said Christian Leyrit, the state representative in the northern Normandy region.

Ariz. halts use of uncovered outdoor prison holding cells 30 May 2009 The Arizona Department of Corrections has halted the practice of holding Arizona state prison inmates in outdoor cages so workers can retrofit the cages to provide shade and water. Charles L. Ryan, the department's director, ordered the temporary suspension last week after the death of Marcia Powell at Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville. Powell, 48, died of heat-related causes after spending four hours in temperatures that reached 107.5 degrees.

California now faces budget cuts "beyond draconian" --One of the first targets is 200 state parks, already causing a public outcry as summer approaches. 30 May 2009 Before this state’s May 19 vote on five initiatives intended to solve the state’s chronic fiscal difficulties, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- in person on the stump and via TV ad blitzes up and down the state -- told voters that if the measures did not pass, the resulting budget cuts would be "draconian." In the days after the measures went down in flames, the announcements have come rapid fire, and various constituencies are reeling -- calling the cuts "beyond draconian."

Mega barf alert! Retail giant Wal-Mart opens in India 31 May 2009 The world's number one retailer Wal-Mart opened its first sales venture in India on Saturday as part of an ambitious plan to establish a foothold in the country's vast consumer market. The US discount chain corpora-terrorist has teamed up with Bharti Enterprises, parent of India's biggest mobile firm Bharti Airtel, in a wholesale joint venture to be called Best Price Modern Wholesale.

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Special 'How Many Wars Can the US Fight (or Foment) At Once?' Edition: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the AfPak al-Qaeda border combo, North Korea, and last but not a snowball's chance in hell least: Cyberspace. --LRP

Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Cyberspace Wars --Obama expected to sign classified order in coming weeks that will create the military cybercommand 29 May 2009 The Pentagon plans to create a new military command for cyberspace, administration officials said Thursday, stepping up preparations by the armed forces to conduct both offensive and defensive computer warfare. The military command would complement a civilian effort to be announced by President Obama on Friday that would overhaul the way the United States safeguards its computer networks. The main dispute has been over whether the Pentagon or the National Security Agency should take the lead in preparing for and fighting cyberbattles. Under one proposal still being debated, parts of the N.S.A. would be integrated into the military command so they could operate jointly.

Homeland Security taps sci-fi writers 29 May 2009 The line between what's real and what's not is thin and shifting, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has decided to explore both sides. Boldly going where few government bureaucracies have gone before, the agency is enlisting the expertise of science fiction writers. Recently the 2009 Homeland Security Science & Technology Stakeholders Conference, with contractors hustling business around every corner, felt at times more like a convention of futuristic yarn-spinners. The master of ceremonies for the week was Greg Bear, the sci-fi novelist whose book "Quantico" featured FBI agents battling a designer plague targeting specific ethnic groups. [I think the science fiction writers are tapping Homeland Security for their ideas.]

FBI planning a bigger role in terrorism fight 28 May 2009 The FBI and Justice Department plan to significantly expand their role in global counter-terrorism operations, part of a U.S. policy shift that will replace a CIA-dominated system of clandestine detentions and interrogations with one built around transparent investigations and prosecutions. Under the "global justice" initiative, which has been in the works for several months, FBI agents will have a central role in overseas counter-terrorism cases.

'Without a doubt, it was a scheme to drive a wedge between the Shia population and the Sunni minority in Iran.' Iran mosque blast bears 'US, Israel thumbprints' 29 May 2009 A senior Iranian official says Israel and the US have had a hand in the mosque bombing that shook the southeastern city of Zahedan to its core. "The bomb tragedy that occurred yesterday in the city of Zahedan is awash with Israeli and US fingerprints," said Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami. "Without a doubt, it was a scheme to drive a wedge between the Shia population and the Sunni minority in Iran," he added. Ayatollah Khatami said that the perpetrators of the bomb attack have been identified and will be brought to justice.

Iran official blames U.S. in deadly mosque bombing 29 May 2009 An Iranian official accused the United States on Friday of involvement in a mosque bombing that killed more than 20 people in southeastern Iran, two weeks before a presidential election. Washington denied the allegation. Jalal Sayyah, of the governor's office in Sistan-Baluchestan province, said three people had been arrested in connection with the blast on Thursday in a crowded Shi'ite mosque in the city of Zahedan. "The terrorists, who were equipped by America in one of our neighboring countries, carried out this criminal act in their efforts to create religious conflict and fear and to influence the presidential election," Sayyah told state radio.

Diplomat says Iran no threat to US 29 May 2009 A senior Russian diplomat says the US is using Iran as a pretext to establish a military foothold in east and central Europe. Alexander Sternik, a senior diplomat at Russia's embassy in London, said that the US is grossly exaggerating the missile threat posed by hostile powers such as Iran, predicting there would be no tangible threat from the Middle East "for at least a decade to come," the Guardian reported.

Israel rebuffs U.S. call for total settlement freeze 28 May 2009 Israel will press ahead with housing construction in its West Bank settlements despite a surprisingly blunt demand from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that all such building stop, an Israeli official said Thursday. The Israeli position could set the stage for a showdown with the U.S. on the day President Barack Obama meets his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, at the White House.

Israel 'repeatedly breached' laws of war in Gaza: Report 28 May 2009 Amnesty International has accused Israel of repeatedly violating the rules of armed conflict during its recent offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. "Israeli forces repeatedly breached the laws of war, including by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians," the human rights watchdog said in its annual report.

U.S. man who gave secrets to Israel spared jail 29 May 2009 An 85-year-old former civilian employee of the U.S. Army was fined but given no prison time on Friday after earlier pleading guilty to giving classified documents to Israel in the 1980s in a case the sentencing judge said was "shrouded in mystery." U.S. District Judge William Pauley fined Ben-Ami Kadish $50,000, but Kadish received no prison time at his sentencing hearing. He pleaded guilty in December to acting as an unregistered agent of Israel.

Iraq minibus bombing kills six - police 29 May 2009 A bomb attached to a minibus killed six people in Iraq's restive Diyala province on Friday, police said. It was unclear who was targeted in the attack in the town of Khalis, some 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad. Separately, another bomb attached to parked car in Khalis killed one person.

North Korea Test-Fires Short-Range Missile 29 May 2009 North Korea rattled its neighbors again Friday when it fired a short-range missile off its east coast, the sixth such firing since the secretive country announced a "successful" underground nuclear test on Monday, and a large number of Chinese fishing boats left the disputed water off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula in the past several days, according to reports from South Korea.

US Army moves to DEFCON 2 28 May 2009 Sources close to MiNa claim the US Army has moved their alert level to Defcon 2. This was initiated by the alarming situation in North Korea. The US Army has over 35,000 troops stationed in South Korea, well within reach of North Korean conventional weapons. North Korea has the largest artillery force in the world, which adds more to the already tense situation. Earlier today, N. Korea's leader Kim Jong Il issued threats to the South Korean and US Navy ships for coming too close to North Korea's territorial waters.

South Korea and U.S. Raise Alert Level 29 May 2009 One day after North Korea warned of a possible attack against the South, the United States and South Korea ordered their forces here to their highest alert for three years, increasing surveillance flights and satellite reconnaissance to counter what officials termed a "grave threat." The South Korean Defense Ministry said allied troops, including, 28,000 U.S. soldiers based in South Korea, raised their Watch Condition, or Watchcon, to the second-highest level from Watchcon 3 to Watchcon 2.

Casey: Army would have to 'shift gears' for N. Korea battle 30 May 2009 It would take the Army time to "shift gears" if it needed to fight against North Korea, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said Thursday. Right now, the Army is focused on the counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but North Korea’s recent [and perpetual US] saber rattling has raised the prospect that the Army might be called upon to fight a conventional war. "I have said publicly for some time that if we had to shift gears, it would probably take us about 90 days or so to shift our gears and to train the folks up that were preparing to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to go someplace else," Casey said after a speech at a Washington think tank. [How many wars -- on how many fronts -- would the US then be fighting?]

Pakistan on 'Red Alert' amid wave of bombings 29 May 2009 Pakistan declares 'Red Alert' in the wake of a fresh round of bomb attacks by pro-Taliban forces as the reward offers for Swat valley militant chief hikes. "The security has been put on high alert after secret agencies received information that a number of suicide bombers are trying to target key installations at all major cities of the country, including the capital Islamabad," a senior Interior Ministry official told Press TV on condition of anonymity.

Pakistan issues dead or alive Taliban list --Swat uprising rebel has 5 million rupees on his head 28 May 2009 Pakistan issued a dead or alive "rogues list" Thursday, putting prices on the heads of 21 top Taliban operating in the Swat Valley. The most-wanted chart, complete with mug shots, went to newspapers across the country with radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah, the architect of the uprising in Swat, heading the list with a reward of 5 million rupees ($62,320), PTI reported.

Afghan was taken to Guantanamo aged 12: rights group 27 May 2009 An Afghan who has spent over six years at the U.S. military's Guantanamo Bay prison was only around 12 years old when he was detained, not 16 or 17 as his official record says, an Afghan rights group said on Tuesday. Interviews with the family of Mohammed Jawad... showed he was probably not even a teenager when he was arrested in 2002, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission said.

Abu Ghraib rape pictures known in 2004 29 May 2009 United States military officials knew of torture pictures taken in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison as early as May 2004, says RNW reporter Hans-Jaap Melissen. In his Baghdad blog he writes that he witnessed US officials in the Iraqi capital discussing pictures that showed US soldiers raping Iraqi prisoners.

Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape' --Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged. 28 May 2009 At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube... Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq. Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. [See: 'I saw ___ fucking a kid...' Source: The "Taguba Report" On Treatment Of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq, statement by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, 1300/18 Jan 2004.]

General Accuses White House of War Crimes 18 Jun 2008 The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability. In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation.... "After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

The Bogus Torture Coverup By Scott Horton The Pentagon is denying the facts: Photographs of Abu Ghraib torture are even more sexually explicit than first reported, including rape and sodomy, writes Scott Horton, who has obtained specific and detailed corroboration of the photos. 29 May 2009 The Daily Beast has confirmed that the photographs of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, which President Obama, in a reversal, decided not to release, depict sexually explicit acts, including a uniformed soldier receiving oral sex from a female prisoner, a government contractor engaged in an act of sodomy with a male prisoner and scenes of forced masturbation, forced exhibition, and penetration involving phosphorous sticks and brooms.

The Pentagon's Secret Stash --Why we'll never see the second round of Abu Ghraib photos By Matt Welch April 2005 The images, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress, depict "acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel, and inhuman." After Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) viewed some of them in a classified briefing, he testified that his "stomach gave out." NBC News reported that they show "American soldiers beating one prisoner almost to death, apparently raping a female prisoner, acting inappropriately with a dead body, and taping Iraqi guards raping young boys." Everyone who saw the photographs and videos seemed to shudder openly when contemplating what the reaction would be when they eventually were made public. But they never were.

Did Erich "Mancow" Muller Fake His Waterboarding for Publicity? By The Cajun Boy 28 May 2009 Yesterday we showed you video of Erich "Mancow" Muller, a Chicago-based right-wing shockjock, appearing as a guest on Keith Olbermann's show to discuss his being waterboarded. He claimed it led to an ideological conversion! But now a tipster has provided information that suggests the whole thing may be a hoax.

Media groups seek access to terrorism evidence 28 May 2009 News organizations asked a federal judge on Thursday to grant the media access to copies of audio and video court records key to the upcoming trial against a terrorism suspect. The motion seeks access to about 12 hours of an audiotaped FBI interview with Syed Haris Ahmed, who is set to go on trial Monday on charges that he aided a terrorist group. It also seeks videos that prosecutors say he and another suspect filmed of potential terrorist targets in Washington.

US security offices told to share 28 May 2009 Obama administration officials have been instructed to review the many US national security agencies with a view to bringing them closer together. Government officials will determine how there can be better sharing of classified information between the agencies.

Official preparing Obama's France trip hit by H1N1 29 May 2009 A U.S. official in France preparing President Barack Obama's visit next week has been admitted to hospital with H1N1 flu in the Norman city of Caen, French officials said on Friday. "A U.S. citizen, who is in France as part of an official delegation preparing the D-Day ceremonies, has tested positive for H1N1 flu and has been hospitalized in Caen," said a spokeswoman for France's health authority.

Cruise travellers to be kept away from public 30 May 2009 Passengers leaving the P&O ship Pacific Dawn, which docks in Brisbane this morning, will be kept away from the public amid concerns swine flu may have spread on the ship. Extensive health precautions are being taken on the luxury cruise liner after three crew members tested positive to the H1N1 strain of the flu virus.

Swine flu cases pass 15,000 mark 29 May 2009 Figures announced by the World Health Organisation show that swine flu has infected more than 15,000 people in 53 countries since it was first detected in Mexico in April. The latest countries to report cases of the H1N1 virus include Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary and Slovakia in Europe, and Venezuela and Paraguay in South America.

Three more heads roll over expenses scandal 29 May 2009 Three MPs announced their intention to quit at the next election yesterday after intense criticism of their parliamentary expenses. Conservative back-bencher Julie Kirkbride followed her husband, Andrew MacKay, in announcing her departure from parliament. The former Labour whip Margaret Moran, who represents Luton South, has also announced that she will be standing down.

'There is some risk we will run out of storage space in the next four to six weeks.' Oil Is Plentiful, Demand Weak. Why Are Gas Prices Going Up? --Over the past two months, investors have plowed billions of dollars into oil futures. 29 May 2009 Storage tankers across the globe may be brimming with oil that no one is buying because of the global economic downturn, but the traditional laws of supply and demand don't always apply to oil prices. Drivers have faced rising prices at the gas pump in recent months, as investors and oil-producing countries hoard supplies in anticipation of a global economic recovery later this year. Investors and oil producers are betting that global demand will roar back.

Schwarzenegger plan would close 220 Calif. parks 29 May 2009 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget cuts could mean the closing of up to 220 state parks, among them the home of the world's tallest tree and other attractions that draw millions of visitors. Schwarzenegger (R) this week recommended eliminating $70 million in parks spending through June 30, 2010.

Report: Climate change crisis 'catastrophic' 29 May 2009 The first comprehensive report into the human cost of climate change warns the world is in the throes of a "silent crisis" that is killing 300,000 people each year. More than 300 million people are already seriously affected by the gradual warming of the earth and that number is set to double by 2030, the report from the Global Humanitarian Forum warns.

Bird uses body as dam to stop drainpipe soaking chicks 28 May 2009 A bird used her body as a dam to stop overflowing drainpipe water from soaking her chicks. The Mistle Thrush had built her nest on top of a downpipe, blocking the water's passage and causing the gutter to flood. But desperate to protect her young, she puffed herself up to twice her size and sat in the drainpipe to stop the tide of rain water swamping the nest. She was so occupied with her task that her mate was left to feed her and their young.

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