June 2009 Archives, Page Two
Secret US-equipped 'Dirty Brigade' in Iraq forefront 26 Jun 2009 Iraqi security services employ an elite, American-trained force [death squad] with a reputation that leads many Iraqis to call it "the dirty brigade." Its real name is the Counter Terrorism Bureau. The elite units, armed with high-tech U.S.-made equipment, often pair up with American special forces to go after Iraq's foes. Formed soon after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, the force became known as the "Dirty Brigade" because it was secretive and until recently operated outside the Iraqi chain of command, reporting directly to its U.S. handlers. The little-known group was rumored to be used against the government's opponents in the political mainstream_ a charge denied by the Iraqis and the Americans. The group is reported to have doubled in size to about 9,000 members and now reports directly to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Baghdad bombings proceed at rapid pace 26 Jun 2009 Eleven people are reported to have died in a bombing which occurred in an industrial area of Baghdad. The bomb injured many other people after a motorbike, which was placed amongst other motorcycles, exploded.
Blast claims 11, injures 46 in Baghdad 26 Jun 2009 At least eleven people have been killed and forty six others wounded after a bomb exploded in the Iraqi capital's market, Iraqi officials have said. According to Iraqi security officials, the bomb went off at a market selling motorcycles in the Bab al-Sheikh area of central Baghdad on Friday.
Did toxic chemical in Iraq sicken GIs? 27 Jun 2009 ...What these three men -- one sick, one dying, one dead -- had in common is they were National Guard soldiers on the same stretch of desert in Iraq during the early months of the war in 2003. These soldiers and hundreds of other Guard members from Indiana, Oregon and West Virginia were protecting workers hired by a subsidiary of the giant contractor, KBR Inc., to rebuild an Iraqi water treatment plant. The area, as it turned out, was contaminated with hexavalent chromium, a potent, sometimes deadly chemical linked to cancer and other devastating diseases.
Ministry of Defence blocks Wikileaks --Whistleblower site made off-limits to personnel after publishing operations manuals used by troops 25 Jun 2009 The Ministry of Defence is trying to block all internet access to the whistleblowing site Wikileaks from thousands of its own computers after discovering that dissidents have been using it to leak copies of British military manuals. Newly obtained MoD emails reveal alarm over the discovery that Wikileaks is freely publishing manuals that are used by patrols in Iraq. One email says: "There are thousands of things on here, I literally mean thousands. Not just UK MoD but other places as well. Everything I clicked on to do with MoD was 'restricted' ... It is huge." [Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!] Dismay was sparked by the discovery that Wikileaks had posted copies of a 2007 manual on UK tactics for Iraq and Afghanistan, and a handbook on Istar (intelligence surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) on its website. [Well, have a nice dish of dismay!]
wants to [again] delay release of CIA report
26 Jun 2009 The U.S. government wants to wait until next week
[LOL, during the July 4 holiday, when no one
is paying attention] to give the American Civil Liberties
Union a 5-year old internal CIA report that criticizes its
Delay in Releasing CIA Report Is Sought 20 Jun 2009 The Justice Department needs a week to complete its review of a 2004 CIA inspector general's report before releasing it in redacted form to civil liberties advocates, officials said yesterday. Government lawyers notified the American Civil Liberties Union of the delay yesterday afternoon, citing a longer-than-expected review process at the CIA. Activists requested the report as part of a longstanding Freedom of Information Act lawsuit focusing on the U.S. government's detention and treatment of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
US counterintel chief to be replaced 26 Jun 2009 The U.S. official in charge of catching foreign spies and foiling their plots is leaving his post on July 4. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair announced the departure of Joel Brenner, the national counterintelligence executive for the last three years, in a message to employees sent Friday.
Administration considering executive order authorizing president to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely 27 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is considering forgoing legislation and issuing an executive order that would authorize the president to incarcerate some terrorism suspects indefinitely, White House officials said Friday. Such an order would be controversial -- seemingly aligning the administration with a disputed legal doctrine of former President [sic] George W. Bush, whose lawyers held that the president had sweeping authority in wartime to imprison those he deemed threats to national security. Obama officials sought to play down the significance of the discussions by an administration panel... They said that lawyers had not written a specific proposal and that nothing had been submitted to the White House for review by senior officials.
Under cover of the Friday afternoon Obama Administration civil liberties/environmental 'bad news' dump: White House Drafts Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects --Friday 26 Jun 2009 5:18 PM The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations. Such an order would embrace claims by former president [sic] George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Under one White House draft that was being discussed earlier this month, according to administration officials, detainees would be imprisoned at a military facility on U.S. soil but their ongoing detention would be subject to annual presidential review. U.S. citizens would not be held in the system.
US sends 10,000 troops to an Afghan opium hub 27 Jun 2009 A new wave of US troops has arrived in Helmand, an opium-growing southern province where the foreign troops in Afghanistan have lost several grounds to the Taliban in recent months. According to the US Army, the troops are tasked with improving the order ahead of the August 20 presidential vote as well as fighting the 'insurgents' with widespread power in the province.
Roadside Bomb Kills 3 Aid Workers in Northern Afghanistan 24 Jun 2009 A roadside bomb on Tuesday killed three Afghan aid workers with a partner organization of the United Nations refugee agency in a northern province, a sign of the militants’ continuing efforts to extend their reach in the country. The three aid workers were driving in Jowzjan Province when their car was struck by a remotely detonated roadside bomb operated by someone watching the road, said Muhammad Khalil Aminzada, the provincial police chief.
G8 condemns N. Korea's missile tests 26 Jun 2009 Foreign ministers from Group of Eight countries today condemned North Korea's nuclear and missile tests and urged the country to return to the negotiating table. After its nuclear explosion last month, the United Nations slapped sanctions on Pyongyang. "We condemn in the strongest terms the nuclear tests" in May, and the April launch using ballistic missile technology, "which constitute a threat to regional peace and stability," the G-8 foreign ministers said in a statement during their meeting in Italy.
Ahmadinejad warns Obama over interference 27 Jun 2009 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized his American counterpart anew, saying Barack Obama's stance on Iran's post-election protests has jeopardized his change-seeking posture. Addressing a group of judiciary officials on Saturday, President Ahmadinejad questioned President Obama's objective in making what he described as interfering remarks about the current political situation in Iran.
Iran's Ahmadinejad compares Obama to Bush 25 Jun 2009 President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Barack Obama on Thursday of behaving like his predecessor towards Iran and said there was not much point in talking to Washington unless the U.S. president apologised. Obama said on Tuesday he was "appalled and outraged" by a post-election crackdown and Washington withdrew invitations to Iranian diplomats to attend Independence Day celebrations on July 4. "Mr Obama made a mistake to say those things ... our question is why he fell into this trap and said things that previously (former president [sic] George W.) Bush used to say," the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. [Obama doesn't just 'say' things Bush used to say: He *does* things Bush used to *do.* --LRP]
Iranian envoy: CIA involved in Neda's shooting? 26 Jun 2009 The United States may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting Saturday made her a symbol of opposition to the June 12 presidential election results, the country's ambassador to Mexico said Thursday. "This death of Neda is very suspicious," Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. "My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held?" He suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible. Though the video appeared to show that she had been shot in the chest, Ghadiri said that the bullet was found in her head and that it was not of a type used in Iran. "These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said.
U.S. denied Iran official visa for U.N. meeting: envoy 26 Jun 2009 Tehran's U.N. envoy on Friday accused the United States of denying Iran's first vice president and members of his delegation visas to attend a three-day U.N. conference on the global financial crisis. "I am indeed delivering this speech on behalf of Dr. (Parviz) Davoudi, first vice president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who along with members of the Iranian delegation was not able to participate in the conference," Iranian U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told the U.N. General Assembly. "Their entry visas were not issued by the host country," he added, referring to the United States.
Israeli troops raid peaceful anti-wall protest 27 Jun 2009 Israeli soldiers have attacked dozens of Palestinian and international peace activists protesting against the 'Apartheid Wall' in the West Bank. Israeli forces attacked Palestinian villagers along with their international and Israeli peace supporters during the weekly non-violent protest against the wall in Ni'lin and Bil'in villages, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, on Friday.
A Journalist Beaten -- One Year Later By Mohammed Omer 29 Jun 2009 June 26, 2008 is a day I will never forget... That day I was detained, interrogated, strip searched, and tortured while attempting to return home from a European speaking tour... I want to address the denials from Israel and the inaccurate reporting by a few journalists in addition to requesting state of Israel to acknowledge what it did to me, prosecute the members of the Shin Bet responsible for it and put in place procedures that protect other journalists from such treatment.
Murdoch's Wall Street Urinal sued: Ecuador to sue WSJ over FARC allegations 26 Jun 2009 Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has vowed to sue the Wall Street Journal for linking his government to the Colombian FARC rebels. "We will sue this newspaper because we are sick of their lies," Correa told reporters on Thursday after addressing the UN General Assembly's Conference on the world financial crisis, Reuters reported. "We demand the Wall Street Journal provide proof," he said, dismissing the journal's accusations that he is affiliated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Obama administration seeks to quash suit by 9/11 families By Barry Grey 26 Jun 2009 The Obama administration has intervened to quash a civil suit filed against Saudi Arabia by survivors and family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The suit seeks to hold the Saudi royal family liable, charging that it provided financial and other support to Al Qaeda and was thereby complicit in the hijack bombings that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington DC. [See: Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists 24 Jun 2009.]
Swine flu shot campaign could involve 600M doses 27 Jun 2009 A potential fall swine flu immunization campaign may involve an unprecedented 600 million doses of vaccine, but health officials are still trying to figure out how to find enough workers to administer all those [deadly] shots. Although about 300 million people live in the U.S., health officials say children and some adults may need two doses of the vaccine.
Arkansas State Health Department: Mandatory Vaccines Are Constitutional --Legal council tells concerned caller that American citizens must accept enforced shot in event of mass swine flu vaccination program By Paul Joseph Watson 26 Jun 2009 A member of the public who was concerned about a mandatory mass vaccination program in light of the swine flu pandemic called the Arkansas State Health Department for advice only to be told that mandatory vaccines were constitutional and could be enforced at gunpoint by the government if necessary. The editor of the popular blog "Pissed Off Former Democrat" phoned the legal council at the Arkansas State Health Department to seek advice about obtaining waiver forms for a future mass swine flu vaccination program.
Voting Himself Rich: CDC Vaccine Adviser Made $29 Million Or More After Using Role to Create Market By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill 16 Feb 2009 Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) took home a fortune of at least $29 million as part of a $182 million sale by CHOP of its worldwide royalty interest in the Merck Rotateq vaccine to Royalty Pharma in April of last year, according to an investigation by Age of Autism. Based on an analysis of current CHOP administrative policies, the amount of income distributed to Offit could be as high as $46 million.
Members of U.S. House Financial Services Committee snapped up or dumped bank stocks as bottom fell out of market 25 Jun 2009 As financial markets tumbled and the government worked to stave off panic by pumping billions of dollars into banks last fall, several members of Congress who oversee the banking industry were grabbing up or dumping bank stocks. Anticipating bargains or profits or just trying to unload before the bottom fell out, these members of the House Financial Services Committee or brokers on their behalf were buying and selling stocks including Bank of America and Citigroup -- some of the very corporations their committee would later rap for greed, a Plain Dealer examination of congressional stock market transactions shows.
Historic climate bill passes House in a close vote 26 Jun 2009 By a narrow margin, the House of Representatives on Friday took the first legislative step in U.S. history to reduce the heat-trapping gases building up in the atmosphere and gradually shift America to cleaner sources of energy. With strong pressure from President Barack Obama to move ahead on one of his priorities and over the strong objections from Republicans and some Democrats, the House voted 219 to 212.
Brazil approves controversial land tenure law 26 Jun 2009 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has approved a law that could legalize landholdings by some 1 million squatters occupying a Texas-sized chunk of the Amazon rain forest, despite environmentalist fears it will accelerate deforestation. The law, approved late Thursday night, affects 260,233 square miles (67.4 million hectares) of federally owned land that for decades has been illegally occupied -- mostly by small farmers, but also by large property holders and loggers.
Governor Used State's Money to Visit Lover 26 Jun 2009 Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina acknowledged Thursday that he visited his mistress in Argentina on a taxpayer-financed trade mission to South America early last summer, an admission adding another layer to a scandal that produced increasing calls for his resignation. Mr. Sanford called questions about the trip to Argentina "very legitimate" and said he would reimburse its costs. Documents provided by the South Carolina Department of Commerce suggested that they totaled at least $12,000. [See: Larry Craig: I Did Not Meet Governor Sanford In Buenos Aires 25 Jun 2009 (Satire).]
FBI report: Saddam Hussein 'would have sought security agreement' with US --Iraq leader 'would have cut a deal' with Bush 24 Jun 2009 Saddam Hussein feared Iran's arsenal more than a U.S. attack, and even considered asking ex-President [sic] George W. Bush "to protect" Iraq from its neighbor, once secret FBI files show... Asked how he would have faced "fanatic" Iranian ayatollahs if Iraq had been proven toothless by UN weapons inspectors in 2003, Iraq's ex-president said he would have cut a deal with Bush. "Hussein replied Iraq would have been extremely vulnerable to attack from Iran and would have sought a security agreement with the U.S. to protect it from threats in the region," according to a 2004 FBI report among the declassified files. Without Bush's help, "Iraq would have done what was necessary," he told FBI Agent George Piro in his Baghdad International Airport cell. [Right, but there was the matter of the *oil.* See: Iraqi officials plan welcome-back party for Big Oil 25 Jun 2009.]
Iraq opens fields; Exxon, Shell seek foothold 26 June 2009 Iraq is set to welcome back foreign oil companies into the war-torn nation to develop the world’s third-largest crude reserves three decades after expelling them. Eight of the world’s top 10 nonstate oil producers, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are vying for the right to help Iraq develop six oilfields and two natural-gas deposits. More than 30 companies in total are bidding for $16 billion worth of technical service contracts for producing fields that will be awarded in Baghdad on June 29 and 30. "Iraq is the big prize in the region," said Raja Kiwan, a Dubai-based analyst at consultants PFC Energy.
Iraq oilfields offered for long-term contracts 25 Jun 2009 Following are the Iraqi oilfields on offer for long-term development contracts in the first bidding round since the U.S.-led invasion of the country in 2003. The reserves the fields hold are larger than those of the United States and Britain combined, according to the following data from consultancy Wood Mackenzie. Over 43 billion barrels of Iraq's 115 billion barrels of reserves lie in the fields.
US reneges on Iraq withdrawal promises 25 Jun 2009 The United States retracts its initial promise of commitment to withdrawing its troops from Iraqi cities by the end of the month of June. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the US military in Iraq, Brigadier General Steve Lanza, said a number of the country's troops are to remain in the urban areas after the June 30 deadline, Reuters reported.
US behind recent blasts in Iraq, says Sadr 25 Jun 2009 Senior Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has accused "the occupier forces" of being behind the recent escalated violence in the war-torn country. Sadr called the Saturday blast in Taza, south of the northern oil hub of Kirkuk, as a "terrorist attack carried out by the Americans", Mehr News reported on Thursday.
Fresh Iraq bombing kills 7, injures 31 people 25 Jun 2009 Police on Thursday said a bomb has killed seven people and wounded 31 others at a bus station in a Shiite neighborhood in southwest Baghdad. Police said another three bombs and a mortar have killed another two people around the capital.
Stop drone attacks on Pakistan soil 25 Jun 2009 Islamabad once again loudly disapproves of US drone attacks on Pakistan's soil after attacks in the northwest of the country killed at least 80 people. Washington must stop drone attacks on Pakistan's soil, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told US President Barack Obama's top Security Adviser General James Jones, who is on a two-day visit to Islamabad.
US drone strike kills 80 Pakistanis By Tom Eley 25 Jun 2009 On Tuesday, an unmanned US Predator drone fired missiles into a funeral procession in the Pakistani region of South Waziristan, killing as many as 80 people and maiming dozens more. It was the deadliest US attack within Pakistan to date. The mourners had gathered for the funeral of seven victims of another US drone attack that had taken place earlier the same day.
Soldiers, two dozen militants killed in Afghanistan --Deaths come as US deploys 21,000 extra troops to war-torn nation 25 Jun 2009 Troops killed at least two dozen militants in the run up to August elections in Afghanistan as separate 'insurgent' bomb attacks killed an Afghan and a NATO soldier, authorities said Thursday. The NATO soldier died in a bomb blast in eastern Afghanistan, the alliance's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
America winds down poppy eradication program 26 Jun 2009 The United States is winding down efforts to destroy poppies in Afghanistan, blaming its zealous approach for pushing peasants towards the Taliban. Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said on Wednesday that President Barack Obama's Administration was making "significant adjustments" from the previous administration to try to root out Islamist extremism. "We are downgrading our efforts to eradicate crops … a policy we think is totally ineffectual," Mr Holbrooke testified before Congress.
Heads up! U.S. foreign policy veteran Ross moves to White House Dennis Ross will become a special assistant to the president and an NSC senior director with overall responsibility for a region that includes the Middle East, the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and South Asia. 26 Jun 2009 Foreign policy veteran Dennis Ross, who has been the Obama administration's pointman on Iran, has a new job -- to oversee policy in several of the world's hot spots, the White House said on Thursday. After only a few months as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's "Iran czar," Ross is moving to the White House.
Iran denies penalizing players over green bands 25 Jun 2009 Head of the Iranian parliament's Sports Committee rejects reports of a ban on four Iranian football players for wearing green wrist bands in the Iran-South Korea match. "No player has been banned and basically Parliament is not authorized to impose such a ban," Jalal Yahya-zade said on Thursday.
Records: UK considered chemical attack on Tokyo --Records revealed clear proposals to use gas on civilians 25 Jun 2009 Britain considered attacking Tokyo with chemical weapons almost a year before the US nuclear bombardments in World War II, declassified records reveal. The records at the National Archives, which have remained hidden from public view for 65 years, revealed clear proposals to use gas on civilians in 1944. Although the plan was never put into operation, a detailed memorandum laid out measures to ensure any attack would have the most devastating impact possible.
House passes $44B Homeland Security spending bill 25 Jun 2009 The House passed a $44 billion spending bill Wednesday that awards the Homeland Security Department a 7 percent budget increase, with money for more border patrol agents and for 'anti-piracy' efforts off the coast of Somalia. The House bill passed by a 389-37 vote.
NYPD to get another $10M to help city protect itself against dirty bombs 25 Jun 2009 The NYPD will get at least $10 million for a program to protect the city from dirty bombs, authorities said Thursday. The "Securing the Cities" program to pay for radiological detectors had been scrapped for the coming year. But Reps. Peter King (R-Sociopath-L.I.) and Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) and Sen. Charles Schumer got $10 million - and possibly as much as $40 million - restored. In addition, Schumer got permission for the NYPD to hire 128 cops for precincts with federal homeland security stimulus money. The funds were supposed to be used to fill counter-terrorism posts - but Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said rookies shouldn't be in the jobs.
Pentagon approves creation of cyber command 23 Jun 2009 The Pentagon will create a Cyber Command to oversee the U.S. military's efforts to protect its computer networks and operate in cyberspace, under an order signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Tuesday. The new headquarters, likely to be based at Fort Meade, Maryland, will be responsible for defending U.S. military systems but not other U.S. government or private networks, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. Asked if the command would be capable of offensive operations as well as protecting the Department of Defense, Whitman declined to answer directly.
Supreme Court Says Child's Rights Violated by Strip Search --But if the student had been suspected of having illegal drugs that could have posed a far greater danger to herself and other students, the strip search might have been justified, the majority said. 26 Jun 2009 In a ruling of interest to educators, parents and students across the country, the Supreme Court ruled, 8 to 1, on Thursday that the strip search of a 13-year-old Arizona girl by school officials who were looking for prescription-strength drugs violated her constitutional rights. The officials in Safford, Ariz., would have been justified in 2003 had they limited their search to the backpack and outer clothing of Savana Redding, who was in the eighth grade at the time, the court ruled. [Needless to say, GOPedophile Clarence Thomas thinks it's a good idea to strip thirteen-year-olds.]
Radio Host Is Arrested in Threats on 3 Judges 25 Jun 2009 An Internet radio host known for his incendiary views was arrested Wednesday in North Bergen, N.J., after federal officials charged that his angry postings about a gun case in Chicago amounted to death threats against three judges. In a case that tests the limits of free speech, the Justice Department charged that the radio host, Hal Turner, had crossed the line into hate speech. "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed," Mr. Turner wrote in a blog entry on June 2.
Neo-Nazi Threatmaker Accused of Working for FBI 11 Jan 2008 New Jersey radio host Hal Turner is well known as one of the most vicious neo-Nazis in America, a man who routinely suggests killing his enemies... On Jan. 1, unidentified hackers electronically confronted Turner in the forum of his website for "The Hal Turner Show." After a heated exchange, they told Turner that they had successfully hacked into his E-mails and found correspondence with an FBI agent who is apparently Turner’s handler. Then they posted an alleged July 7 E-mail to the agent in which Turner hands over a message from someone who sent in a death threat against Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.). "Once again," Turner writes to his handler, "my fierce rhetoric has served to flush out a possible crazy." In what is allegedly a portion of another E-mail, Turner discusses the money he is paid.
Satire: Larry Craig: I Did Not Meet Governor Sanford In Buenos Aires By R J Shulman 25 Jun 2009 Idaho Senator Larry Craig is denying rumors that he was the object of Governor Mark Sanford's affections in Argentina. The South Carolina governor admitted today that he has had a yearlong affair with a woman in Argentina. South Carolina's largest newspaper, The State, published alleged e-mail exchanges between Governor Sanford and the woman named Maria. "I love my wife, I am not gay, and I abhor the bathrooms at that Buenos Aires Airport," Craig told reporters in Boise today after the news broke that he may be romantically involved with Sanford. "While I sometimes I go by the name of Maria," Craig said. "I am not his Maria." (Satire)
Governor Mark Sanford under pressure to quit over affair --A prominent Republican governor is under pressure to resign after a tearful press conference in which he confessed to flying secretly to Buenos Aires to spend a week with his Argentine mistress. 25 Jun 2009 Governor Mark Sanford, 49, a conservative former congressman viewed as a strong contender for the White House in 2012, had disappeared from his state of South Carolina, telling aides he was going hiking in the Appalachian mountains. Instead, the married father of four was 5,000 miles away in Argentina with a glamorous divorcee named by local newspapers as Maria Belen Chapur, 43, said to be a commodities trader with Bunge and Born, a grain trading corporation.
Calls Begin in S.C. for Embattled Governor's Resignation 25 Jun 2009 A day after South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford bared his soul and admitted to having had an extra-marital affair with a woman he secretly visited in Argentina, some lawmakers here have begun calling on the two-term Republican governor to resign... Some questions still linger over the Capitol, such as whether Sanford used taxpayer dollars or state equipment during his trysts in Argentina or whether he followed protocol when he left the country last week.
E-mails between Sanford, woman --Sanford-Maria e-mails shed light on governor's affair 25 Jun 2009 E-mails, obtained by The State newspaper in December, between Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and Maria, a woman in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the time, efforts to authenticate the e-mails were unsuccessful. However, Sanford’s office Wednesday did not dispute their authenticity. The State has removed the woman’s full name and other personal details, including her street address, e-mail address and children’s names.
Bank of America sued for gender bias over bonuses 25 Jun 2009 Bank of America Corp was accused in a Manhattan federal lawsuit of discriminating against female brokers at the former Merrill Lynch & Co by offering them lower retention bonuses than male counterparts. Thursday's lawsuit seeks class-action status, and contends that female brokers were typically eligible for lower bonuses because of gender bias at Merrill, including the brokerage's practice of steering wealthier clients to male brokers.
Record bonuses at bailed-out US banks By Andre Damon 25 Jun 2009 Executives at Goldman Sachs were told last week that they could expect to receive their highest ever bonuses this year, according to an article published Sunday in London's Observer newspaper. The first half of this year has seen a spectacular rebound for Goldman, and the company's London staff were told they would receive corresponding end-of-year bonuses if, as expected, the bank sets a new profit record.
Legionnaires' Bacteria Found At Michigan Station 25 Jun 2009 Water was shut off Monday at the Madison Heights Police Department, after tests found bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease in the building's water supply. The tests were ordered after more than 20 officers started getting sick in late May. One officer, Ryan Settlemoir, later died in the hospital. At first doctors suspected Settlemoir died of Legionnaires' disease, but now they believe the H1N1 virus is to blame for the officer's death.
H1N1 'swine' flu has infected an estimated 1 million in U.S. --Sanofi-Aventis announces large-scale production of [deadly] vaccine. 25 Jun 2009 At least 1 million Americans have now contracted the novel H1N1 influenza [Baxter Bug], according to mathematical models prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while data from the field indicates that the virus is continuing to spread even though the normal flu season is over and that an increasing proportion of victims are being hospitalized. Meanwhile, the virus is continuing its rapid spread through the Southern Hemisphere, infecting increasing numbers of people and at least one pig.
Journalist Files Charges against WHO and UN for Bioterrorism and Intent to Commit Mass Murder By Barbara Minton 25 Jun 2009 As the anticipated July release date for Baxter's A/H1N1 flu pandemic vaccine approaches, an Austrian investigative journalist is warning the world that the greatest crime in the history of humanity is underway. Jane Burgermeister has recently filed criminal charges with the FBI against the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN), and several of the highest ranking government and corporate officials concerning bioterrorism and attempts to commit mass murder. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]
Russian Arctic reserve may save polar bears from extinction - WWF 15 Jun 2009 The creation of the Russian Arctic nature reserve could compensate for the damage to the dwindling polar bear population from global warming, the director of WWF-Russia said on Monday. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a decree on establishing the nature reserve on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean, earlier on Monday. The reserve is expected to cover an area of more than 8 million hectares.
Saudi royals funded 9/11: Lawyers 24 Jun 2009 Lawyers representing the families of the 9/11 victims, expose evidence allegedly proving the Saudi royal family's financial support for al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. The lawyers provided The New York Times with excerpts of the material they had amassed by putting together the pieces from leaking American intelligence documents among other things, the daily reported on Tuesday. The evidence recounts how the Saudi royalty would use middlemen and financial supply routes to bankroll militants based in Afghanistan and Bosnia. The family, which had strong ties with the Bush administration, is also suspected of having reinforced the militancy otherwise and enlisted militant agents using intermediaries including the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia.
'The Justice Department had the lawyers' copies destroyed and now wants to prevent a judge from even looking at the material.' Documents Back Saudi Link to Extremists 24 Jun 2009 Documents gathered by lawyers for the families of Sept. 11 victims provide new evidence of extensive financial support for Al Qaeda and other extremist groups by members of the Saudi royal family, but the material may never find its way into court because of legal and diplomatic obstacles. The Justice Department is siding with the Saudis in court last month in seeking to kill further legal action. Adding to the intrigue, classified American intelligence documents related to Saudi finances were leaked anonymously to lawyers for the families.
D.C. Crash Kills General Who Scrambled Jets on 9/11 24 Jun 2009 David F. Wherley Jr., the head of the Washington National Guard who scrambled jets over the city during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was among those killed in the worst commuter train crash in the city’s history, officials said. Wherley’s wife, Ann, was also among the nine people killed when a train plowed into the rear of a stopped train during rush hour on June 22, Quintin Peterson, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, said in a telephone interview. Wherley was commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland during the September 2001 terrorist attacks and sent up aircraft with orders to protect the White House and the Capitol, according to the 9/11 Commission report.
AVI BioPharma gets Defense Dept. swine flu pact 22 Jun 2009 AVI BioPharma Inc. says it will receive up to $5.1 million under a contract with the U.S. government to develop swine flu drugs. AVI disclosed May 5 that it entered into the contract with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, a section of the Department of Defense that focuses on chemical, biological, nuclear and other weapons.
First Nations call for swine flu state of emergency 24 Jun 2009 First Nations chiefs in Manitoba called on the provincial and federal governments to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday because of the spread of swine flu on reserves and the lag time in responding to it.
Iraq confirms first cases of H1N1 flu virus 24 Jun 2009 Iraq's health minister confirmed on Wednesday the country's first cases of the H1N1 flu virus, saying seven members of the women's national basketball team were being treated in hospital. The squad had been playing in a championships in Chicago and returned to Iraq on June 20. "Today, six cases of this epidemic flu, H1N1, have been diagnosed in our ministry's central lab," Health Minister Saleh Al-Hasnawi told a news conference.
Mission accomplished: Iraqi officials plan welcome-back party for Big Oil --Thirty-five companies qualified to bid, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Italy's Eni SpA, Russia's Lukoil and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec 25 Jun 2009 Next week, Iraqi officials plan a welcome-back party for Big Oil. The government intends to auction off oil contracts to foreign companies for the first time since Iraq nationalized its oil industry more than three decades ago. If all goes according to plan in the first round, foreign oil companies will move in to help Iraq revive production at six developed fields that have suffered from years of war and neglect. Some 120 companies expressed interest in bidding for the contracts at the June 29 and 30 auction, according to the oil ministry.
Army chief admits Britain 'failed' in Iraq 24 Jun 2009 The outgoing chief of the British army says the UK has "failed" to stabilize Iraq after the 2003 invasion due to the focus shifted to Afghanistan. General Sir Richard Dannatt said Tuesday that Britain allowed southern Iraq to deteriorate by switching its resources to Afghanistan in an illogical and hasty act.
Baghdad bomb kills at least 72 --At least 72 people have been killed by a bomb blast in a market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. 24 Jun 2009 The blast shook the predominantly Shia district of Sadr City, an area that is home to supporters of the firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. An official at the Iraqi interior ministry said that more than 100 people were injured in the attack in a crowded market in the district.
Army bars Stars and Stripes reporter from covering 1st Cav unit in Mosul 24 Jun 2009 Asserting that Stars and Stripes "refused to highlight" good news in Iraq that the U.S. military wanted to emphasize, Army officials have barred a Stripes reporter from embedding with a unit of the 1st Cavalry Division that is attempting to secure the violent city of Mosul. Officials said Stripes reporter Heath Druzin, who covered operations of the division’s 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team in February and March, would not be permitted to rejoin the unit for another reporting tour because, among other things, he wrote in a March 8 story that many Iraqi residents of Mosul would like the American soldiers to leave and hand over security tasks to Iraqi forces.
Inmates at American prison in Afghanistan were 'beaten and threatened with dogs and guns' 24 Jun 2009 Former inmates at an American prison in Afghanistan have accused their captors of subjecting them to torture and death threats. In a series of BBC interviews, prisoners who were held at the Bagram Airbase, near Kabul, said they were beaten, deprived of sleep and hung from the ceiling or threatened with dogs. Four claimed officials had put a gun to their head and threatened to kill them.
Ex-detainees allege Bagram abuse 24 Jun 2009 Allegations of abuse and neglect at a US detention facility in Afghanistan have been uncovered by the BBC. Former prisoners have alleged they were beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs at the Bagram military base. The BBC interviewed 27 former inmates of Bagram around the country over a period of two months.
Afghan attack kills German soldiers 23 Jun 2009 Three German soldiers have been killed after coming under attack in northern Afghanistan, Germany's defence ministry has said. The soldiers were conducting a joint operation with Afghan forces near the northern city of Kunduz on Tuesday when unidentified assailants opened fire on their patrol, ministry officials said.
Rockets hit US base in Afghanistan, 2 troops dead 22 Jun 2009 A rocket attack on the main U.S. base in Afghanistan early Sunday killed two U.S. troops and wounded six other Americans, including two civilians, officials said. Bagram Air Base, which lies 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Kabul, is surrounded by high mountains and long stretches of desert from which militants could fire rockets.
White House Threatens Defense Spending Bill Veto 24 Jun 2009 Preparing for a possible showdown with Congress, the White House has threatened to veto a $680 billion military spending bill if it contains money for jet fighters the Pentagon doesn't want. In a statement of administration policy, President Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget said the $369 million a House committee added to the bill for 12 additional F-22 fighters runs counter to the "collective judgment" of the military's top leaders.
UK rules out 'arms embargo' on Israel 24 Jun 2009 The UK has dismissed a petition asking the key EU power to put an arms embargo on Israel and press other countries to stop supplying arms to Tel Aviv, over its conduct in the Gaza War. The petition on the prime minister's office was signed by over 38,000 people -- far more than the quorum 500 signatures it needed to receive a response from the office.
DOJ: AIPAC case witness was asked to fake suicide 22 Jun 2009 Two people asked a Pentagon official cooperating with prosecutors in an investigation into the American Israel Public Affairs Committee to fake his own death to avoid testifying against two pro-Israel lobbyists charged in the case, according to the Justice Department. Pentagon analyst Lawrence Franklin pled guilty in October 2005 to participating in a conspiracy with AIPAC officials Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman to obtain and distribute classified information. The Justice Department dropped the case against Rosen and Weissman last month as a trial approached. "Just prior to the entry of his guilty plea, Franklin was approached by two individuals who made a pitch to Franklin about faking his death by suicide and disappearing [think Ken Lay], thus thwarting any cooperation in the case against Rosen and Weissman," prosecutors wrote in a brief filed in connection with a motion to reduce the 12-year prison term Franklin was originally sentenced to.
North Korea vows to deal crushing response to US 25 Jun 2009 North Korea has threatened to deal a crushing response to the United States as the country is marking the 59th anniversary of the three-year Korean War. "If the US imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," a dispatch from the official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday.
Iran's opposition vows to go on challenging poll 25 Jun 2009 Iran's reformist opposition leaders vowed to press on with legal challenges to an election they say was rigged, even as the hardline leadership appeared on Thursday to have largely crushed mass street protests.
Iran minister says CIA funding rioters: report 24 Jun 2009 Iran's interior minister on Wednesday accused U.S. spy agency the CIA of helping to fund rioters, stepping up accusations of Western involvement in street unrest following the country's disputed election. "Britain, America and the Zionist regime (Israel) were behind the recent unrest in Tehran," Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars News Agency.
Obama Won't Apologize For CIA Role In Chile 23 Jun 2009 President Obama today met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who told Mr. Obama he is "an idol" in her country. In a bit of evidence supporting that assertion, members of the Chilean press asked the president for a group photo, a request the president granted... Asked by a reporter if he wanted to apologize for CIA involvement in Chilean elections, Mr. Obama did not do so.
S.C. Governor Admits Own Stimulus In Buenos Aires Gov. Sanford Admits Affair and Explains Disappearance 24 Jun 2009 Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, apologized in a rambling news conference on Wednesday for having an extra-marital affair with a woman in Argentina, ending a mystery over his week-long disappearance that had infuriated lawmakers and seemed to put his rising political career in jeopardy. Governor Sanford admitted he had been in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since Thursday, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail as he told his staff. Mr. Sanford announced on Wednesday that he was resigning his position as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. [Flashback: Mark Sanford Sues State Assembly to Block Stimulus Funds 21 May 2009.]
Sanford, lover carried on a romantic e-mail exchange 24 Jun 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford carried on a lively e-mail exchange with his lover in Buenos Aires, praising her "gentle kisses," her tan lines and the "curve of your hips," according to copies of the e-mails given to McClatchy's The State newspaper. The newspaper posted excerpts on its Web site, after removing the woman's full name and other personal details, including her street address, e-mail address and children's names.
SC first lady says she asked gov to leave home 24 Jun 2009 South Carolina's first lady says she asked Gov. Mark Sanford (R) to leave home and stop talking to her two weeks before he publicly admitted an affair with a woman he visited on a secret trip to Argentina. Jenny Sanford said in a statement Wednesday that she needed a trial separation from her husband of nearly 20 years to preserve her own sense of dignity.
MPs win fight to keep expenses claims censored --MPs will continue to censor key details from their expenses when their next claims are made public, The Daily Telegraph has learnt. 23 Jun 2009 Despite repeated promises by Gordon Brown of greater transparency, there are no plans to reveal MPs’ addresses when claims relating to 2008-09 are published later this year. Without this crucial information, many of the worst abuses of the system of parliamentary allowances exposed by The Daily Telegraph in recent weeks would not have been possible. Last week MPs faced public anger when their censored expenses were released by the Commons.
South Australia tourism campaign spoofs British MPs' censored expenses forms --An advertising campaign mocking MPs' censored expenses forms has been launched by South Australia to woo British tourists. 24 Jun 2009 The advertising material offers proposes giving would be holidaymakers the chance to "live like MPs" by claiming free holidays to Adelaide's Kangaroo Island. The campaign, which has been created by the London based agency M&C Saatchi, includes a colour photograph of the idyllic island next to a heavily redacted MP's expenses form. [<g>]
Citigroup Plans to Raise Salaries by as Much as 50% 24 Jun 2009 Citigroup Inc., the U.S. bank that got $45 billion of government funds, will raise base salaries by as much as 50 percent to help compensate for a reduction in annual bonuses, a person familiar with the plan said. The biggest increases will go to investment bankers and traders, said the person, who declined to be identified.
Senate Report Finds Insurers Wrongfully Charged Consumers Billions 24 Jun 2009 Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released today by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee. The report was part of a multi-pronged assault on the credibility of private insurers by Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). It came at a time when Rockefeller, President Obama and others are seeking to offer a public alternative to private health plans as part of broad health reform legislation. Health insurers are doing everything they can to block the public option.
Justice Department Unseals Medicare Fraud Indictments 24 Jun 2009 The Justice Department today unsealed criminal indictments against 53 people for allegedly bilking the Medicare system, the latest step in a wide-ranging effort to prevent fraud that costs the federally funded health program billions of dollars each year. Federal agents this morning arrested dozens of people in Miami and Detroit for allegedly submitting Medicare claims for $50 million in treatments that were unneeded and sometimes never provided, authorities said.
Suspected U.S. Strike Kills at Least 60 in Pakistan --The US carried out 22 previous drone strikes this year, as the Obama administration has intensified a policy inherited from the Bush administration. 24 Jun 2009 An airstrike believed to have been carried out by a United States drone killed at least 60 people at a funeral in South Waziristan on Tuesday, residents of the area and local news reports said. The attack occurred in Makeen; the reported death toll was exceptionally high. If the reports are indeed accurate and if the attack was carried out by a drone, the strike could be the deadliest since the United States began using the aircraft to fire remotely guided missiles at 'members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda' in the tribal areas of Pakistan.
US drone targets northwest Pakistan 23 Jun 2009 A US drone has fired a missile into a base of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in northwest Pakistan, killing at least three people. "We have received reports of a drone attack near Makeen and we are checking how many people were killed or wounded," a Pakistani military official said Tuesday, referring to an area in the South Waziristan near the Afghan border where Tehrik-i-Taliban's leader Baitullah Mehsud is based.
Al Qaeda says would use Pakistani nuclear weapons 22 Jun 2009 If it were in a position to do so, Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons in its fight against the United States, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired Sunday. "God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of al Qaeda's in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al Jazeera television.
US owes Pakistan $1bn for NATO fuel supply: Haroon 21 Jun 2009 The United States owes Pakistan $1 billion for fuel supplies to the NATO forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon said on Saturday. According to a private TV channel, the envoy told reporters that out of the $10 billion given to Pakistan by Washington, $6 billion had been spent on 'fighting' terrorism.
Public grilling for Gordon Brown and Tony Blair in Iraq inquiry --Evidence to be heard in private if could jeopardise national security or upset allies 23 Jun 2009 Gordon Brown and Tony Blair face being questioned in public over their roles in the run-up to the Iraq war after the chairman of the independent inquiry indicated that he is to summon the prime minister and his predecessor to give evidence. In a setback for Brown, who had hoped the inquiry would be held in private, Sir John Chilcot has ruled that all witnesses will be expected to give evidence in public. This will apply across the board unless there are "compelling reasons" in a small number of cases for evidence to be heard in private. This would be if evidence could jeopardise national security or upset allies.
US urges Gulf states to support Iraq, counter Iran 23 Jun 2009 US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday that Gulf states needed to lend support to Iraq in the face of efforts by Iran to "destabilize" the [US-installed] Baghdad government. Gates accused Iran of helping groups attacking Iraqi government targets as part of a broad campaign to influence the direction of its western neighbor. [Holy shock and awe, Batman! The US government is admonishing other nations for 'destabilizing' the government of Iraq!]
Obama Assails Iron Fist in Iran Against Protesters 24 Jun 2009 President Obama hardened his tone toward Iran on Tuesday, condemning the government for its crackdown against election protesters and accusing Iran’s leaders of fabricating charges against the United States. In his strongest comments since the crisis erupted 10 days ago, Mr. Obama used unambiguous language to assail the Iranian government during a news conference at the White House, calling himself "appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments of the past few days." ['Appalled and outraged.' I am appalled and outraged by the torture and abuse carried out at Guantanamo Bay (still open), Bagram, and other CIA black ops sites. Also, I am appalled and outraged that Raytheon built a pain ray gun for the US to use against protesters. --LRP]
Iran parliament meets to discuss UK ties 23 Jun 2009 Iranian lawmakers have met to discuss relations with Britain as tensions continue to grow between the two countries following Iran's presidential election. In a Tuesday meeting, also attended by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, the Parliament's national security and foreign policy commission called for reconsidering ties with Britain.
BBC is backing election riots, claims Iran --Iran threatening harsher action if interference in country's affairs continues 23 Jun 2009 The Iranian foreign ministry has accused the BBC and Voice of America of being mouthpieces of their respective governments and seeking to engineer the ongoing riots that followed the presidential election. Another Iranian ministry also threatened to take "more stern action" against British radio and television networks if they "continued to interfere" in the country's domestic affairs.
Iran ex-monarch's son asks Israel to back rioters 23 Jun 2009 The ousted Shah of Iran [Grade A sociopath, installed by the US in a coup] Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi's son urges Israel to support post-election riots in Iran to bring down the government of Tehran. Reza Pahlavi, who is seen as a promising figure in pushing for a change of the government in Iran, told Maariv that Israel should back up recently sparked riots in Iran following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the next president of the country.
Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology --European Gear Used in Vast Effort to Monitor Communications 23 Jun 2009 The Iranian government has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet... The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed.
Iran says courts will teach protesters a lesson 23 Jun 2009 Iranian authorities said they would teach an exemplary lesson to rioters held in the worst unrest since the birth of the Islamic Republic, and accused Western powers on Tuesday of inciting the violence. [Yeah, it could be worse: They could be sitting in a US prison (Guantanamo Bay, Bagram) with no hope of a trial. --LRP]
Interior Ministry rejects Mousavi irregularity claims 23 Jun 2009 Iran's Interior Ministry has dismissed claims by the defeated candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi that certain irregularities took place in the June 12 election. In response to Mousavi's letter to the Guardian Council, the Interior Ministry rejected any irregularities in the presidential election, which saw incumbent President Ahmadinejad win with almost 25 million votes out of 40 million.
Mousavi, Celebrated in Iranian Protests, Was Butcher of Beirut By Jeff Stein 22 Jun 2009 He may yet turn out to be the avatar of Iranian democracy [sic], but three decades ago Mir-Hossein Mousavi was waging a terrorist war on the United States that included bloody attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine Corps barracks in Beirut. Mousavi, prime minister for most of the 1980s, personally selected his point man for the Beirut terror campaign, Ali Akbar Mohtashemi-pur, and dispatched him to Damascus as Iran's ambassador, according to former CIA and military officials.
Israel, US bridge gaps over fighter jet 24 Jun 2009 A deal is close to completion for the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter jet after the Defense Ministry and the Pentagon recently reached understandings on a number of IAF demands to integrate Israeli technology into the plane. The apparent breakthrough was made following a series of visits to Washington recently by OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan and IAF Equipment and Procurement head Brig.-Gen. Kobi Bortman. Last week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with top officials from Lockheed Martin - the F-35 manufacturer - on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show.
Doctors demand Yoram Blachar resign as ethics chief over Israeli torture 21 Jun 2009 More than 700 doctors from 43 countries have written a letter of protest to their governing ethical body, the World Medical Association, alleging that its recently appointed Israeli president has turned a blind eye to the involvement of medical staff in torture, and calling for his removal. Dr Yoram Blachar, leader of the Israeli Medical Association since 1995, assumed the helm of the WMA in November. The signatories to the letter, who include senior doctors and professors from the UK, Europe and the US, claim he has failed to answer charges that some Israeli doctors condone or collaborate with a regime that uses torture against Palestinian prisoners.
Israel defies US with plan for 240 new homes on Palestinian land --Ehud Barak approved construction in West Bank 23 Jun 2009 Israel's defence ministry has proposed legalising 60 existing homes at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, and building another 240 homes at the site, despite US calls for a halt to settlement growth. Construction at the outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, near the Talmon settlement, north of Ramallah, would "greatly damage" the freedom of movement of Palestinian farmers in the area, according to Bimkom, an Israeli planning rights group.
'US officials are taking a position that defies common sense.' US judge orders Guantanamo prisoner released 23 Jun 2009 A US federal judge has ordered a Guantanamo detainee who was reportedly tortured, imprisoned and abandoned by al Qaeda and the Taliban released. The US government had argued that even though Abd Al Rahim Abdul Rassak was tortured by al Qaeda as a suspected Western spy, held by the Taliban for a year and a half and then abandoned, he was still allied with his tormentors. US District Court Judge Richard Leon, however, rejected the prosecutor's claims in his ruling, which even included punctuation marks as an extra guarantee. "I disagree… [US officials are] taking a position that defies common sense," wrote the judge in a 13-page written decision.
Ottawa appeals Omar Khadr court order 23 Jun 2009 The courts should not interfere with political decisions and force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to ask for Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr's return, governments lawyers argued in a special appeals court hearing yesterday. Justice Department lawyer Doreen Mueller conceded that she couldn't "point to any risks" in seeking the Toronto-born captive's return, but that the court could not overturn the government's foreign affairs decisions.
Gov't. lawyers to argue against Khadr's return 22 Jun 2009 Far from being indifferent to the plight of Omar Khadr, the Canadian government has already gone well beyond its duty in helping the Canadian terror suspect, federal lawyers will argue Tuesday in the Federal Court of Appeal. The Conservative government will ask an appeal panel to overturn a court order to press the United States for Khadr's return from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the 22-year-old Toronto native has been detained for almost seven years.
WWIII? British Release Secret Planning Manual 23 Jun 2009 It's October 1968... and a nuclear showdown looms between east and west. This scenario never happened -- except in planning exercises by British civil servants, who meticulously rehearsed how they would govern Britain in the days before, and after, World War III. The details are included in the "War Book," a secret Cold War manual declassified this month for the first time. The book, which featured the doomsday scenario in a 1970 version, is a step-by-step guide for dealing with a crisis, from the first stages of conflict to "R hour," the designation for the release of all Britain's nuclear weapons.
Swine flu tolls leaps past 52,000 cases 23 Jun 2009 The World Health Organisation on Monday reported a huge leap in the swine flu pandemic toll to more than 52,000 people infected and 231 dead. The toll has risen by more than 7,873 cases and 51 deaths since Friday, highlighting the steady spread of the A(H1N1) virus. Swine flu has now been reported in 100 countries and territories.
Obama gives backing to Kansas Republican's ridiculed plan 23 Jun 2009 He probably won't show it, but Sen. Pat Roberts might be feeling a bit smug lately. Because it wasn't too long ago that the Kansas Republican took a pretty sharp elbow from a nonprofit government-watchdog group over a scholarship program he set up to train future intelligence officers. It turns out, though, that he might have been something of a visionary. The Obama administration likes his scholarship so much that it wants to expand it, make the program permanent and provide regular funding. No more earmarks.
Homeland security kills domestic satellite program 23 Jun 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano killed a program begun by the Bush regime that would use U.S. spy satellites for domestic security and law enforcement. After consulting local officials, Napolitano said the department should focus on other priorities to help share information with state and local law enforcement agencies.
Australian Greens Move to Scrap 'Extreme' Anti-Terrorism Laws 23 Jun 2009 The Australian Greens party is pushing to repeal an anti-terrorism law introduced by former Prime Minister John Howard’s government, saying it was rushed through Parliament and undermines human rights. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said aspects of the law are "extreme," vaguely worded and undemocratic and he will introduce legislation today to scrap them.
'The agency can go after bloggers.' FTC plans to monitor blogs for 'false claims,' payments --The common practice of posting a graphical ad or a link to an online retailer -- and getting commissions for any sales from it -- would be enough to trigger oversight. 22 Jun 2009 Bloggers vary in how they disclose such freebies [as payment for on-line product reviews], if they do so at all. The practice has grown to the degree that the Federal Trade Commission is paying attention. New guidelines, expected to be approved late this summer with possible modifications, would clarify that the agency can go after bloggers -- as well as the companies that compensate them -- for any false claims or failure to disclose conflicts of interest. It would be the first time the FTC tries to patrol systematically what bloggers say and do online.
Tax evasion we can believe in: Settlement Anticipated in UBS Case --In February, UBS agreed to pay $780 million to settle accusations that it had defrauded the Internal Revenue Service by allowing wealthy Americans to hide billions of dollars in taxes in secret offshore bank accounts. 23 Jun 2009 The 'Justice' Department may drop a closely watched legal case aimed at forcing the Swiss bank UBS to divulge the names of 52,000 wealthy American clients suspected of offshore tax evasion, a United States official briefed on the matter said Monday. The move, which would halt an unusually aggressive effort to force Switzerland to lift its veil of banking secrecy, could happen by mid-July. The reversal comes as UBS and senior Swiss government officials have mounted a fierce lobbying campaign to persuade Washington to drop the case.
Ensign apologizes to Senate colleagues over affair 23 Jun 2009 Sen. John Ensign apologized to his Republican Senate colleagues Tuesday after revealing last week that he had an affair with a campaign staffer and resigning from the GOP leadership. "He spoke at our conference, apologized and indicated that he was going to do his job," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters.
Computer failure may have caused D.C. train crash 23 Jun 2009 Investigators looking into the deadly crash of two Metro transit trains focused Tuesday on why a computerized system failed to halt an oncoming train, even though there is evidence that the operator tried to slow it down. At the time of the crash, the train was also operating in automatic mode, meaning it was controlled primarily by computer.
Obama says US is prepared for North Korean attack 22 Jun 2009 US President Barack Obama says America is "fully prepared" for any action by North Korea. Pyongyang has declared itself "a proud nuclear power" that would hurt the US if provoked. The White House has increased its protection for Hawaii amid speculation that North Korea is preparing a long range missile test in the direction of the Pacific island - possibly on July the 4th.
N.Korea accuses Obama of nuclear war plot 21 Jun 2009 North Korea has accused US President Barack Obama of plotting a nuclear war on the nation by reaffirming a US assurance of security for South Korea, the North's state media said. In a first official response to last week's US-South Korean summit, the state-run weekly Tongil Sinbo said in its Saturday edition Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak "are trying to ignite a nuclear war". "The US-touted provision of 'extended deterrence, including a nuclear umbrella' (for South Korea) is nothing but 'a nuclear war plan,'" Tongil Sinbo said.
Agents say DEA is forcing them illegally to work in Afghanistan 21 Jun 2009 As the Obama administration ramps up the Drug Enforcement Administration's presence in Afghanistan, some special-agent pilots contend that they're being illegally forced to go to a combat zone, while others who've volunteered say they're not being properly equipped. In interviews with McClatchy, more than a dozen DEA agents describe a badly managed system in which some pilots have been sent to Afghanistan under duress or as punishment for bucking their superiors.
Qaeda vows to fire Pakistan nukes at US 22 Jun 2009 A top 'al-Qaeda' commander in Afghanistan says his men 'will' use Pakistan's nuclear weapons against the US, should they be able to get their hands on any. "God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the Mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans," Mustafa Abu al-Yazid said in an interview with al-Jazeera television.
'US, Israel behind Pakistan sectarian violence' 21 Jun 2009 A senior Pakistani politician says that the US and Israel are fomenting sectarian strife in the country in order to destabilize the nuclear-armed state. Liaqat Baloch, General Secretary of the Jamat-e- Islami (JI) party, told reporters in the southern port city of Karachi that extremist groups were pursuing a US-Israeli agenda across the country.
Iran to create special court to try election protesters --A judiciary official says tribunals will process hundreds of rioters caught in security sweeps during the unrest after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected president. 22 Jun 2009 Iran's judiciary will set up a special court to try protesters arrested in the surge of civil unrest since the disputed reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a judiciary official said on state television, as the government continues its crackdown aimed at crushing its greatest domestic challenge in 30 years. [Dollars to doughnuts, the US government will soon condemn Iran's 'special courts'... even as they embrace their own. Military tribunals, extraordinary rendition, detention without trial, torture, and 'get-out-of-jail-free' passes for same.]
Brits, Italians warned against traveling to Iran 22 Jun 2009 Following the week long post-election demonstrations and violence in Iran, Britain and Italy have warned their nationals against traveling to the country. Britain and Italy's Foreign Ministries issued a statement advising their nationals against traveling to Iran "because of the disorder that has followed the June 12 elections, a situation of uncertainty persists in Tehran and in other cities".
At least 24 reporters arrested in Iran 21 Jun 2009 Iranian authorities have arrested at least 24 journalists and bloggers since postelection protests began a week ago, and a media watchdog says reporters are a "priority target" for Iran's leadership. Among those detained were the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists and a Canadian reporter for Newsweek. The British Broadcasting Corporation's correspondent has been ordered to leave the country.
Iranian protesters defy warning 23 Jun 2009 Anti-government protesters have continued their demonstrations on the streets of Tehran, the Iranian capital, despite a warning from the country's security forces. Iran's Revolutionary Guards, a military unit, threatened on Monday in a statement on its website to crush further protests over the country's disputed June 12 presidential election. The Revolutionary Guards is an armed force parallel to Iran's army which claims to defend the gains of the 1979 revolution against a possible coup.
Iran to release box-by-box vote count 22 Jun 2009 Amid claims of a 'rigged-election' by certain defeated Iranian presidential candidates, a top election official says the box-by-box details of the vote will be released. According to deputy head of the Interior Ministry's election headquarters, Ali-Asghar Sharifi-Rad, the Ministry had decided to publish the results "box by box," to resolve ambiguities about the disputed election in which incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a landslide victory, ILNA reported.
UK denies interference in Iran post-vote unrest 21 Jun 2009 British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has rejected Iran's claims regarding the interference of foreign countries in the post-election unrest in the country. "I reject categorically the idea that the protesters in Iran are manipulated or motivated by foreign countries," Miliband said on Sunday.
'Hello, Pot? This is Kettle. You're Green.' --US Hypocrisy Toward Iran By Lori Price 21 Jun 2009 The world's biggest hypocrite and meddlesome nosy parker, the United States, has outdone itself with its reaction to the post-election events in Iran. At least five glaring 'grand hypocrisies' have emerged, with more likely on the way. What other country -- having just endured eight years of dictatorship as the result of two stolen elections -- could actually spew outrage over... another nation's 'stolen election?' Gag me with a green chainsaw.
Slams General's Torture Testimony --Calls Commander's Answers 'Incomplete,
at Best' 17 Jun 2009 Obama's new pick to oversee U.S. forces in
Afghanistan misled Congress about his role in the use of so-called "enhanced
interrogation" by U.S. Special Operations forces in 2003 and 2004, a
senior Democratic senator has charged. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI)
said late last week that then-Special Operations commander [Grade A
sociopath] Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not direct with lawmakers
at his confirmation hearing regarding his approval of
Tony Blair faces calls to appear at public Iraq war inquiry after plan backfires 22 Jun 2009 Tony Blair tried to stop the Iraq war inquiry being held in public as new evidence emerged suggesting that he knew Saddam Hussein may not have weapons of mass destruction. The former Prime Minister lobbied Sir Gus O’Donnell, the head of the Civil Service, fearing that a public appearance at the inquiry, headed by Sir John Chilcott, could turn into a "show trial". The move appears to have backfired this weekend, as it emerges that part of the inquiry will now be heard in public and Mr Blair is the focus of calls to appear.
Tony Blair pushed Gordon Brown to hold Iraq war inquiry in private --Leak reveals plan to provoke invasion 21 Jun 2009 Tony Blair urged Gordon Brown to hold the independent inquiry into the Iraq war in secret because he feared that he would be subjected to a "show trial" if it were opened to the public, the Observer can reveal. The revelation that the former prime minister - who led Britain to war in March 2003 - had intervened will fuel the anger of MPs, peers, military leaders and former civil servants, who were appalled by Brown's decision last week to order the investigation to be conducted behind closed doors.
Iraq war inquiry could reveal secrets, lies and the rush to war 21 Jun 2009 When Tony Blair told the Commons that he hoped conflict with Iraq could be averted, he already knew the White House had picked 1,500 targets for its bombers. Gaby Hinsliff, Paul Harris and Jamie Doward report on the gaps between what the public were told and what politicians were discussing in private, as the government prepares for a closed inquiry.
'The start date for the military campaign was now pencilled in for 10 March. This was when the bombing would begin.' Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq 21 June 2009 A confidential record of a meeting between President [sic] Bush and Tony Blair before the invasion of Iraq, outlining their intention to go to war without a second United Nations resolution, will be an explosive issue for the official inquiry into the UK's role in toppling Saddam Hussein. The memo, written on 31 January 2003, almost two months before the invasion and seen by the Observer, confirms that as the two men became increasingly aware UN inspectors would fail to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD) they had to contemplate alternative scenarios that might trigger a second resolution legitimising military action. Bush told Blair the US had drawn up a provocative plan "to fly U2 reconnaissance aircraft painted in UN colours over Iraq with fighter cover". Bush said that if Saddam fired at the planes this would put the Iraqi leader in breach of UN resolutions. The president expressed hopes that an Iraqi defector would be "brought out" to give a public presentation on Saddam's WMD or that someone might assassinate the Iraqi leader. However, Bush confirmed even without a second resolution, the US was prepared for military action. The memo said Blair told Bush he was "solidly with the president". [Let the treason trials begin.]
is a busy little bee! Iraq
Blasts Kill More Than a Dozen
22 Jun 2009 Bombings killed as many as 18 people in the Baghdad area
on Monday as violence intensifies... The bombings, nearly all in Shiite
areas of the capital, came just two days after the year's deadliest
attack -- a truck bombing that killed at least
Suicide bombing toll breaks new records 21 Jun 2009 The suicide truck bombing in Taza, Iraq, on Saturday has resulted in at least 80 deaths. Police, working on the crime scene, have said the terrorist crime is the deadliest in the country this year. The massive blast occurred near a mosque, shops and houses.
Xe still busy: Bomber Kills 8 Civilians in Afghanistan 22 Jun 2009 Afghan authorities say back-to-back explosions have killed as many as eight civilians in the eastern province of Khost. Officials say at least 40 people were hurt Monday in explosions outside the electric company headquarters in the provincial capital, Khost City... Witnesses say the second explosion was caused by a suicide bomber on a motorbike and was much greater in intensity.
Canada to consider settlements suit 22 Jun 2009 A Canadian court is to consider a lawsuit brought by Palestinians from the West Bank town of Bilin who say two Canadian firms have committed war crimes by assisting in construction of Israeli settlements. Activists filed the suit against Green Mount International and Green Park International - two Canadian companies contracted to build in the settlement of Modiin Illit, in a Montreal court, where the companies are registered
New Tel Aviv bar bans IDF soldiers in uniform, settlement products 21 Jun 2009 A new vegan bar opened last week in Tel Aviv that bans Israel Defense Forces soldiers in uniform and boycotts products made in West Bank settlements. The Rogatka - "slingshot" - bar was opened by an "anarchist collective" who once ran the Salon Mazal bar; it is located on Yitzhak Sadeh street in central Tel Aviv.
John Bercow wins race to be new Commons Speaker 22 Jun 2009 John Bercow was tonight elected as the new Speaker of the House of Commons as he beat nine rivals to replace Michael Martin as the most senior commoner in the land. The maverick Conservative backbencher pipped fellow Tory Sir George Young to the post to clinch the £146,041-a-year post.
Homeland Security drone patrolling NNY --CBP: The aircraft is virtually identical to Predators used by the military, with the exception of lower-power engine and no weapons 18 Jun 2009 A Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) has been temporarily based at Fort Drum since early June in an experiment by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office. The Department of Homeland Security is using the extensive restricted air space over Fort Drum to test whether the drone could be a good fit along this stretch of the northern border.
Amy Goodman breezes by the story of the century (Radio Du Jour) 14 Oct 2008 Amy Goodman talks with James Bamford, an American bestselling author and journalist who writes about United States intelligence agencies, and he drops a bomb shell (which doesn't seem to warrant a follow-up question from Ms Goodman) about how the 9/11 plotters set-up shop within eye site (sans trees - 6.1 miles) of NSA Headquarters, worked out at the nearby Gold's Gym, shopped at the nearby Safeway and ate at the same restaurants as NSA employees. [Yup, as hirelings of the US government, they ate and shopped in the same establishments as their employers.]
US swine flu death toll nearly doubles from last week 19 Jun 2009 The U.S. death toll from the H1N1 swine flu now stands at 87, up from 45 a week ago; and the number of cases in Arizona is up to 645, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported Friday. The CDC said there are more than 21,400 cases nationwide, up from 17,855 a week ago. Wisconsin has the most H1N1 flu cases in the U.S., with 3,008, followed by Illinois at 2,526, according to the CDC.
Video shows surveillance protesters bundled to ground by police --IPCC to receive video as concerns grow over police tactics 21 Jun 2009 Two female protesters who challenged police officers for not displaying their badge numbers were bundled to the ground, arrested and held in prison for four days, according to an official complaint lodged today. The incident was caught on camera... The images are likely to fuel concern over the policing of protests, which is already subject to a review by the national police inspectorate and two parliamentary inquiries after the G20 demonstrations and the death [murder] of Ian Tomlinson.
Cheney, Rove, Libby Shielded From Leak Suit as Appeal Rejected 22 Jun 2009 The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a lawsuit that accused former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and Bush administration officials Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby of exposing Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. The 'justices,' without comment, turned away an appeal by Plame, who worked at the Central Intelligence Agency’s headquarters in Virginia, and her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Plame and Wilson sued the three officials, along with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in 2006.
'President Barack Obama is morphing into George W. Bush.' In stark legal turnaround, Obama now resembles Bush 19 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama is morphing into George W. Bush, as administration attorneys repeatedly adopt the executive-authority and national-security rationales that their Republican predecessors preferred. In courtroom battles and freedom-of-information fights from Washington, D.C., to California, Obama's legal arguments repeatedly mirror Bush's: White House turf is to be protected, secrets must be retained and dire warnings are wielded as weapons.
McCain: Obama has 'done well' [LOL!] 21 Jun 2009 Sen. John McCain has given Barack Obama -- his opponent in last year's presidential election -- overall high marks during his first five months in the White House, but said the president has failed on a promise to bring bipartisanship to Washington. The Arizona Republican, speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation" program Sunday, said that using a legislative scorecard to judge the presidency so far, Mr. Obama has achieved all his legislative goals. "I think he's done well," Mr. McCain said.
Justices Let Stand a Central Provision of Voting Rights Act 23 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, declaring that there was no need at the moment to decide whether that provision was still constitutional in light of the fundamental changes that have swept across the South in recent decades... But the court stated that "the act also differentiates between the states in ways that may no longer be justified."
DC Metro Trains Collide; 4 Killed, 70 Injured --Too Early to Determine Cause, Officials Say 22 Jun 2009 Two Metro transit trains collided at the height of the Monday evening rush hour, killing at least four people and severely injuring more than 70 others as cars of one train jackknifed into the air and fell atop the other. District of Columbia fire spokesman Alan Etter said crews were cutting apart the trains to get people out in what he described as a "mass casualty event."
New Russian Arctic Park to protect key polar bear habitat 22 Jun 2009 Russia will create a new 1.5 million hectare park in the Arctic, a central area for the Barents and Kara Sea polar bear populations. The 'Russian Arctic' park is located on the northern part of Novaya Zemlya, a long island that arcs out into the Arctic Ocean between the Barents and Kara Seas.
Oil rush: Scramble for Iraq's wealth --Critics said the war was all about the nation's lucrative fuel industry. Are they now being proved right? By Patrick Cockburn 21 Jun 2009 For many Iraqis, the reason the US invaded their country in 2003 was to get control of their oil... On 29 and 30 June, the Iraqi government will award contracts under which international oil companies will take a central role in producing crude oil from Iraq's six super-giant oilfields over the next 20 to 25 years... "The service contracts will put the Iraqi economy in chains and shackle its independence for the next 20 years," said Fayad al-Nema, head of the state-owned South Oil Company, which produces 80 per cent of Iraq's crude. "They squander Iraq's reserves."
70 dead in year's deadliest attack 21 Jun 2009 A truck bomb exploded as worshippers left a Shiite mosque in northern Iraq, killing more than 70 people and wounding nearly 200 in the deadliest blast this year. The explosion near Kirkuk came hours after the prime minister warned Iraqis to expect more violence as US troops withdraw from Iraqi cities by the end of this month, but he insisted the deadline will be met "no matter what happens".
The legacy of war: Two British hostages found dead in Iraq --Forensic teams in Baghdad are testing remains believed to be of two of the five men -- a computer expert and four security guards -- kidnapped at the Finance Ministry in 2007 21 Jun 2009 Two British hostages kidnapped in Baghdad just over two years ago were feared dead last night after Iraqi authorities handed over the remains of two bodies to UK forces in the capital.
Police Unleash Force On Rally in Tehran --Obama, in Boldest Terms Yet, Presses Iran to Halt Violence Against Own People 21 Jun 2009 Fiery chaos broke out in downtown Tehran on Saturday as security forces blocked streets and used tear gas, water cannons and batons to break up a demonstration against the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Security forces were seen firing warning shots into the air, but there were also unconfirmed reports that several people were hit by gunfire. President Obama, in his strongest comments to date on a political standoff that has paralyzed Iran for a week, urged the Iranian government "to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people."
13 killed in Saturday violence in Tehran 21 Jun 2009 At least 13 people were killed and 20 wounded in post-election violence in the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday, officials have said. The casualties occurred after some 'terrorist elements' infiltrated the rallies. The armed terrorists set fire on a mosque and two gas stations and attacked a military post.
Qashqavi: VOA, BBC guiding unrest in Iran 21 Jun 2009 Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi pins the blame for the recent post-election turmoil across the country on US and British media outlets. "Voice of America (VOA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are state-funded channels and not privately-run. Their budgets are ratified in the US Congress, as well as the British Parliament. The two channels serve as mouthpieces of their respective governments," Qashqavi stated on Saturday. He noted that the two news outlets seek to stir up ethnic discord across Iran in the hope of fomenting the country's disintegration.
British Army officer launches stinging attack on 'failing' UK strategy in Afghanistan 20 Jun 2009 A British Army officer has launched a devastating attack on the UK's "failing" strategy in Afghanistan. The officer, who works in defence intelligence, has described the British presence in Helmand as an "unmitigated disaster" fuelled by "lamentable" government spin and naïvety. Writing in the British Army Review, an official MoD publication, Major SN Miller, stated: "Lets not kid ourselves. To date Operation Herrick [the British codename for the War in Afghanistan] has been a failure".
Main US base in Afghanistan under attack 21 Jun 2009 At least two US soldiers have been killed in a rocket attack on the main US air base at Bagram outside the Afghan capital Kabul. Six US military personnel were also wounded after several rockets were fired at the base early on Sunday. No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack on Bagram air base, which is the main base for the US-led coalition force in Afghanistan and houses over 10,000 troops. The attack however came shortly after a US journalist, who escaped Taliban custody in Pakistan after seven months of captivity, arrived at the base. [!]
Times Reporter Escapes Taliban After 7 Months 21 Jun 2009 David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban, escaped Friday night and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr. Rohde, along with a local reporter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, was abducted outside Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 10 while he was researching a book. Mr. Rohde’s keen interest in Afghanistan was ignited in the intense three months he spent there after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and cemented during his tenure as co-chief of The Times’s South Asia bureau from 2002 to 2005.
169th British trooper dead in Helmand 21 Jun 2009 A soldier serving with the Welsh Guards in Afghanistan has become the 169th member of the British military to be killed, officials have said. The Ministry of Defense said the soldier was on a routine patrol Friday morning in Helmand Province when an improvised explosive device went off, the Daily Mail reported.
2 US troops killed in southern Afghanistan --At least 76 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan so far in 2009, a record pace. 20 Jun 2009 A roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan killed two U.S. troops Friday, the U.S. military said. The explosion occurred in Kandahar province. U.S. military officials have said they expect a 50 percent rise in the number of roadside or suicide bomb attacks this year.
Senate Approves War Funding Bill After Obama Presses Democrats --At Obama's behest, the bill includes $7.7 billion to prepare for pandemic flu. --Congress to give Mexico an additional $420 million this year to buy helicopters, surveillance aircraft and computers for police 19 Jun 2009 A war funding bill passed the Senate overwhelmingly yesterday, but the 91 to 5 vote came after a fractured process that included objections from Republicans and Democrats alike, and required President Obama to intervene repeatedly to lobby members of his own party for his foreign policy 'vision.' The final version of the $105.9 billion bill provides funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30. [There's taxpayer billions for US pharma-terrorists and to meet the military needs of most dictatorships on the planet, but the lying sacks of sh*t aka Congress insist there's 'no money' for single-payer health care.]
Taxpayers hit by £150m cost of mercenaries --Conflict in Afghanistan has created the biggest source of income for taxpayer-funded private security companies 21 Jun 2009 Mercenaries working for security companies in Iraq and Afghanistan have earned more than £148m from Foreign Office contracts over the past three years. While Iraq was once at the heart of a boom for the controversial and still expanding industry, Foreign Office figures show that the conflict in Afghanistan has created the biggest source of income for private security companies funded by the British taxpayer.
Austria set to sue over BAE arms sales --New documents in inquiry into corruption allegations --Vienna prosecutor builds case against 'persuader' 19 Jun 2009 Austria expects to bring corruption charges in connection with BAE arms sales, the first such prosecution in five years' of bribery investigations all over the world. The Austrian prosecutors' decision follows the emergence of new documents that outline in considerable detail the channelling of secret BAE cash to Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, an Austrian aristocrat who worked undercover for the arms firm. In one memo, Mensdorff claims Austria was persuaded to buy BAE's Eurofighters in 2002 for €1.7bn (£1.5bn), thanks to "aggressive incentive payments to key decision-makers".
Alcohol abuse by GIs soars since '03 19 Jun 2009 The rate of Army soldiers enrolled in treatment programs for alcohol dependency or abuse has nearly doubled since 2003 -- a sign of the growing stress of repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Army statistics and interviews. Soldiers diagnosed by Army substance abuse counselors with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, such as binge drinking, increased from 6.1 per 1,000 soldiers in 2003 to an estimated 11.4 as of March 31, according to the data. The latest data cover the first six months of the fiscal year that began in October.
Former Scotland Yard anti-terrorist police chief calls for 7/7 inquiry 20 Jun 2009 Andy Hayman, Scotland Yard's former head of counter-terrorism, says an independent public inquiry should be held into the July 7 bombings. Mr Hayman, at the time Assistant Commissioner for Special Operations, says he is "uncomfortable" with the official position that an inquiry would divert resources from the fight against terrorism. He is the first figure from the security establishment to call for an open inquiry, almost four years after the attacks that killed 52 people and injured more than 700.
Oops! Building firm blurts out secrets of hush-hush MI5 HQ --It was used as a base for Operation Pathway, when 12 terror suspects thought to have been planning attacks on shopping centres in Manchester, were arrested. They were later released for lack of evidence. 14 Jun 2009 Details of one of Britain’s most sensitive spy bases have been revealed after they were posted on the internet by the company that built it. In a security blunder that has irritated MI5, a publicity brochure placed online contains the address and full-colour pictures of its northern operations centre. The building was opened amid great secrecy last year. [Well, that was then and this is now. The address is: Park 66, Pilsworth Road, Bury, Lancashire.]
Gordon Brown: 'I could walk away from office tomorrow' --Gordon Brown has admitted he has been "hurt" by the personal attacks on him in the past month, saying he could "walk away from office" tomorrow. 20 Jun 2009 Reflecting on his time in office, the prime minister, who faced down a coup from his own party earlier this month, admitted flaws in his leadership, particularly how he presented himself to the public. "I'm not as great a presenter of information or communicator as I would like to be," he said in an interview, adding that he is not skilled at political manoeuvring. "I don't actually think I'm very good at it at all."
'Lynch mob mentality' scares politicians [What a shame!] 20 Jun 2009 MPs fear the publication of their expenses claims could lead to attacks on their homes and endanger the safety of their families this weekend. Politicians said they had been abused in the street. One candidate for the vacant Speakership of the Commons said the stories on expense abuses had created a "lynch mob mentality". The Tory MP Nadine Dorries said she had called the police after returning home on Wednesday to find vandals had smashed up patio furniture at her constituency home in Bedfordshire. They then left a note on her website, saying: "Nice patio Nadine, or was."
to release flu vaccine in July 13 Jun
2009 Illinois-based Baxter International Inc. said it expects by early
July to release the first commercially available dosages of [deadly]
H1N1 swine flu vaccine. Baxter, based in Deerfield, Ill., is one of
several vaccine makers working with the World Health Organization and
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to
The Baxter Bug: Swine flu 'could infect up to half the population' --Health authorities told to set up testing and drug distribution centres in case of autumn outbreak 21 Jun 2009 Primary care trusts are to set up anti-viral drug distribution centres and swine flu testing clinics amid fears that the infection could spread out of control. The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, wrote to health authorities last week urging hospitals to test all patients who show signs of flu-like symptoms... The letter followed an earlier warning from Sir Liam that millions of Britons could fall victim to swine flu in the coming months. Government officials admitted last night that illness rates from the virus could reach 50 per cent.
Utah prisoners under quarantine for H1N1 test 19 Jun 2009 A prison dormitory is under quarantine as health officials process tests for H1N1 swine flu. Three inmates at the Promontory housing facility have been tested after reporting flu-like symptoms, according to a news statement by the state Department of Corrections. The three men live in the same 50-bed dormitory at the Utah State Prison.
Passenger says TSA agents harassed him --ACLU is suing DHS Secretary on behalf of passenger 20 Jun 2009 Steve Bierfeldt says the Transportation Security Administration pulled him aside for extra questioning in March. On a recording a TSA agent can be heard berating Bierfeldt. One sample: "You want to play smartass, and I'm not going to play your f**king game." Larry Schwartztol of the ACLU said the TSA is suffering from mission creep. "We think what happened to Mr. Bierfeldt is a reflection that TSA believes passenger screening is an opportunity to engage in freewheeling law enforcement investigations that have no link to flight safety," he said.
Schwarzenegger jet makes "steep" emergency landing 20 Jun 2009 California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's jet made a "quick, steep, but safe" emergency landing in Los Angeles on Friday after the pilot reported smoke coming from the cockpit's instrument panel, his office said. Although there was no visible fire, the pilot diverted the jet to the Van Nuys airport 10 minutes before he was due to land at Santa Monica, spokesman Aaron McLear said in a statement.
Poll: 72 percent want government-administered insurance plan to compete with private sector --85 percent want major healthcare reforms 20 Jun 2009 Americans strongly support fundamental changes to the healthcare system and a move to create a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll published on Saturday. The Times/CBS poll found seventy-two percent of those questioned said they backed a government-administered insurance plan similar to Medicare for those under 65 that would compete for customers with the private sector.
Judge Questions Justice Dept. Effort to Keep Cheney Remarks Secret 19 Jun 2009 A federal judge yesterday sharply questioned an assertion by the Obama administration that former Vice President [sic] Richard B. Cheney's statements to a special prosecutor about the Valerie Plame case must be kept secret, partly so they do not become fodder for Cheney's political enemies or late-night commentary on "The Daily Show." U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan expressed surprise during a hearing here that the Justice Department, in asserting that Cheney's voluntary statements to U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald were exempt from disclosure, relied on legal claims put forward last October by a Bush administration political appointee, Stephen Bradbury.
Judge requests Cheney interview notes 19 Jun 2009 A federal judge demanded notes from an FBI interview of former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney during an investigation into the leak of an ex-CIA operative's name. Judge Emmett Sullivan told the U.S. Justice Department to turn over the notes by July 1, The Washington Times reported Friday. The Obama administration's Justice Department, like that of the Bush administration, argued at a hearing Thursday that making the records public could open Cheney to ridicule from political enemies and even late-night talk-show hosts like Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," the Times reported.
Taliban defectors: US, Israel funding militants 19 Jun 2009 Two militants' leaders who defected from notorious Taliban chief in Pakistan have revealed that their comrade was pursuing a US-Israeli agenda across the country. A prominent militant leader, Turkistan Bittani, who broke away from Baitullah Mehsud, called him "an American agent". Mehsud, a warlord in his late 30s, has claimed responsibility for dozens of devastating string attacks on both civilians and security forces throughout the feared region. Baetani also noted that al-Qaeda and Taliban's leadership was never targeted in the dozens of US drone strikes in the country's troubled north-west region.
Tribesmen protest US drone attacks 19 Jun 2009 Hundreds of local tribesmen in Pakistan's South Waziristan Agency are protesting US drone attacks on their areas. Soon after the Friday prayers, the tribesmen and elders of the Waziristan tribes staged a large protest rally in Wana city, the main town of South Waziristan Agency and marched in strong condemnation of the unmanned aircraft attacks, terming it an assault on Pakistan's sovereignty, a Press TV correspondent reported late on Friday.
Errors 'likely' caused Afghan deaths: US 20 Jun 2009 A failure by US forces to follow procedures in deadly air strikes in Afghanistan last month "likely" caused the death of at least 26 civilians, the US military said. During a May 4 'battle with Taliban insurgents' in western Afghanistan, US air crews... three air strikes by a B-1 bomber "did not adhere to all of the specific guidance" under US combat rules, a military investigation concluded. "Not applying all of that guidance likely resulted in civilian casualties," said a summary of the probe released on Friday.
Blast kills 2 coalition soldiers in Kandahar 19 Jun 2009 The US military says a roadside bomb attack on a military convoy outside of Afghanistan's southern city of Kandahar has killed two soldiers. "There was an IED (improvised explosive device) attack on the convoy this morning and two coalition service members were killed," US Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo said on Friday.
Jazeera staff held for "promoting terrorism": Karzai 17 Jun 2009 Two Al Jazeera journalists who were freed Wednesday after three nights' detention were held because the Afghan authorities believed their work promoted terrorism, President Hamid Karzai said. Qais Azimy, a producer on the network's English-language channel, and Hameedullah Shah, a producer on its Arabic station were freed Wednesday after being held since Sunday afternoon by Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Iraqi oil director wants to scrap deals 18 Jun 2009 The state-owned South Oil Co. of Iraq called on the Iraqi oil minister to abandon plans for the end of June to open the country to foreign investors. Fayad al-Nema, the director of the company, said in a memo that some of the terms of the pending 20-year service contracts were identical to the work conducted currently by SOC. Nema had complained earlier the foreign deals would put the national economy in "chains" and "shackle" national independence for decades.
Iraq karate coach shot and killed 19 Jun 2009 The coach of the Iraqi national karate team has been shot dead by gunmen in the northern city of Mosul, police say. It is not known why Izzat Abdullah was attacked, although sports officials and athletes were regularly targeted at the height of the Iraqi 'insurgency.'
Georgia-Russia war: EU blames Saakashvili 19 Jun 2009 Confidential documents written by the EU team investigating last year's Russian-Georgian war assign much of the blame to Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. A majority of EU experts say the Georgian president, and not the Kremlin, ordered the first military strike against two breakaway provinces, according to the documents obtained by German news magazine Der Spiegel. The Georgian offensive into South Ossetia and Abkhazia escalated into a five-day war with Russia that the powerful neighbor won.
Navy Positions Destroyer For Possible Intercept of North Korean Ship 19 Jun 2009 The U.S. military is preparing for a possible intercept of a North Korean flagged ship suspected of proliferating weapons material in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution passed last Friday, FOX News has learned. The USS John McCain, a Navy destroyer, is positioning itself in case it gets orders to intercept the ship Kang Nam as soon as it leaves the vicinity off the coast of China, according to a senior U.S. defense official. The order to inderdict has not been given yet, but the ship is moving into the area.
U.S. Fortifies Hawaii's Defenses Against North Korean Arms 19 Jun 2009 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced Thursday that he had ordered the military to deploy missile interceptors and radar to protect Hawaii from a North Korean long-range rocket. Speaking at a Pentagon news conference, Mr. Gates said he had directed the military to deploy mobile, ground-based interceptors to Hawaii. Mr. Gates also ordered seaborne radar into the waters off Hawaii to provide detailed information to track and attack any North Korean missile.
Obama holds to measured course on unrest in Iran 19 Jun 2009 The Obama administration on Friday stuck to a measured response to the uprising in Iran over a disputed presidential election, even as both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn an official crackdown on mostly peaceful demonstrations in the streets of Tehran. Administration officials said they remained convinced that the wiser U.S. course was caution over confrontation.
Iran's Supreme Leader unleashes threat of militias against election protesters 19 Jun 2009 Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned opposition leaders they would be held responsible for "bloodshed" if mass protests over the disputed election continued in Tehran. Ayatollah Khamenei denounced Britain as the "most treacherous" foreign power working for the overthrow of his government, a declaration that prompted the Foreign Office to summon the Iranian ambassador in London for a rebuke.
Leader: Nation's turnout rattled enemies 19 Jun 2009 The Leader of the Islamic Revolution has described the 'unprecedented' turnout of almost 85% in the election as a 'political quake' for the enemy. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said high turnout in the election, which witnessed more than 40 million Iranians casting their votes, was a great manifestation of people's solidarity with the Islamic establishment.
Post: CIA report outlined Israel nuclear agenda 19 Jun 2009 As the Israeli nuclear deterrent was in embryo, a CIA report marked out the way Tel Aviv was to benefit from the arsenal, says The Washington Post. The 1960 account, which was compiled two years after Israel began putting up its notorious nuclear facilities, was declassified earlier in the month by George Washington University's National Security Archives, the daily reported on Thursday.
National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) --NLE 09 is White House directed, Congressionally-mandated exercise -- Australia, Canada, Mexico and UK to participate in NLE 09. (FEMA) 04 Jun 2009 National Level Exercise 2009 (NLE 09) is scheduled for July 27 through July 31, 2009. NLE 09 will be the first major exercise conducted by the United States government that will focus exclusively on terrorism prevention and protection, as opposed to incident response and recovery... The NEP was established to provide the U.S. government, at all levels, exercise opportunities to prepare for catastrophic crises ranging from terrorism to natural disasters.
NZ prisoners quarantined over swine flu 18 Jun 2009 A group of New Zealand prisoners has been quarantined after a swine flu outbreak in a move being branded "ridiculous" by inmate relatives. At least three prisoners in a unit at Rimutaka Prison, near the capital Wellington, are sick with suspected influenza A H1N1 strain. Corrections Department health manager Bridget White confirmed the sick prisoners have been isolated and the other 50 unit inmates segregated from the rest of the prison.
US swine flu cases now exceed 21,000; 87 deaths 19 Jun 2009 The national count of swine flu cases has risen to 21,449 cases and the number of deaths have nearly doubled to 87. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the number of confirmed and probable cases Friday morning. The tally is up from the last week's count of 18,000 cases and 44 deaths.
Swine flu death toll in NYC hits 30 19 Jun 2009 The fast-spreading swine flu virus has claimed more victims. The city Health Department reported Friday that another seven New Yorkers have died, sending the city's death toll to 30. Health officials didn't provide any details on the recent deaths but said most were hospitalized in late May.
FDA Threatens to Seize All Natural Products that Mention H1N1 Swine Flu By Mike Adams 18 Jun 2009 In an effort to censor any online text that might inform consumers of the ability of natural products to protect consumers from H1N1 influenza A, the FDA is now sending out a round of warning letters, threatening to "take enforcement action... such as seizure or injunction for violations of the FFDC Act without further notice." "Firms that fail to take correction action," the FDA warns, "may also be referred to the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations for possible criminal prosecution for violations of the FFDC Act and other federal laws."
French helicopters spray mosquitoes threatening to swamp Britain 19 Jun 2009 Helicopters are being deployed to spray poison in the skies above northern France to wipe out swarms of mosquitoes that are threatening to cross the Channel into Britain. French officials launched the commando operation after insect experts warned that as many as six billion mosquito larvae had started hatching in swampland near the France-Belgium border – less than 100 miles from the south coast of England. Unusually warm, damp weather has brought on the mass hatching.
Alaska polar bear numbers declining - U.S. agency 18 Jun 2009 Polar bear populations in and around Alaska are declining due to continued melting of sea ice and Russian poaching, according to reports released Thursday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Fewer polar bears have survived in the southern Beaufort Sea, which extends from northern Alaska to parts of Canada, and in the Chukchi and Bering Seas between northwestern Alaska and Russia, the agency's draft population assessments show.
Downing Street sets up support line for MPs distressed over expenses claims --Email sent by No 10 gives Labour MPs switchboard number to ring for support, advice or legal help 18 Jun 2009 Gordon Brown has set up a team in Downing Street to counsel and support distressed Labour MPs facing flak from constituents over their expenses claims, the Guardian has learnt. An internal email sent out by the Labour party to all MPs reveals that a "wellbeing" support line has been launched from No 10. MPs are being told they can ring the Downing Street switchboard to be put through for support and advice.
MPs' expenses: Scotland Yard launch criminal investigations --Scotland Yard has launched criminal investigations into the expenses claims of MPs following disclosures by The Daily Telegraph. 19 Jun 2009 The Metropolitan Police has announced that it will carry out inquiries into a small number of cases in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal. The Telegraph understands that they relate to claims based on "phantom mortgages" when an MP has potentially misled the Fees Office.
House panel subpoenas Fed over BofA/Merrill merger 19 Jun 2009 A congressional committee said on Friday it has served the Federal Reserve with a second subpoena for documents related to Bank of America Corp's purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. The demand from the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was announced six days before Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify about the central bank's role in the weeks surrounding the January 1 purchase.
Kansas bank is 40th failure of 2009 19 Jun 2009 Anthony, Kan.-based First National Bank of Anthony became the third bank seized by regulators Friday, marking the 40th bank failure of 2009, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. South Hutchinson, Kan.-based Bank of Kansas has agreed to assume the failed bank's deposits, the regulator said.
Bank failures in Ga., N.C. bring 2009 tally to 39 19 Jun 2009 Bank failures in Georgia and North Carolina have brought the number of failures in 2009 to 39, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. late Friday. Southern Community Bank of Fayetteville, Ga., was the year's seventh bank failure in that state and United Community Bank of Blairsville, Ga., will assume all of the deposits. Cooperative Bank of Wilmington, N.C., became the year's second bank to fail in that state. North Carolina First Bank of Troy, N.C., will assume all Cooperative deposits, except those from brokers.
Calif. unemployment rate hits 11.5 percent 19 Jun 2009 California's unemployment rate climbed to 11.5 percent in May, the highest in modern record-keeping, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday. The loss of another 69,000 jobs comes as a blow to the state after unemployment dipped slightly to 11.1 percent in April, according to revised figures.
House Democrats Unveil Plan for Health Care Overhaul 19 Jun 2009 House Democrats on Friday answered President Obama’s call for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system by putting forward a 852-page draft bill that would require all Americans to obtain health insurance, force employers to provide benefits or help pay for them, and create a new public insurance program to compete with private insurers -- a move that Republicans will bitterly oppose.
Bush finally attacks Obama 20 Jun 2009 George Bush has broken his vow of silence on President Barack Obama to attack him over the recession, health reform and Guantanamo in a speech to a business convention. Speaking in Erie, Pennsylvania, Mr Bush argued that health care should be left to private insurance companies... Mr Bush also took a swipe at Mr Obama's planned closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison.
The Senator's Scandal: Text of Doug Hampton’s letter to Fox News 19 Jun 2009 Doug Hampton, the husband of Cynthia Hampton, who had an affair with Sen. John Ensign (R-Hypocrite-NV), explains in a letter to a Fox News Channel anchorwoman, Megyn Kelly, how the senator’s affair with his wife has "completely ruined" the couple’s lives. The letter is dated June 11, 2009.
On the Ensign Affair, Fox Dropped the Ball [Faux passes on huge story to protect another GOPervert] 19 Jun 2009 Fox News passed up allegations that Sen. John Ensign had an extramarital affair with his former campaign treasurer, even after receiving a letter from the woman's husband detailing the relationship. After the Nevada Republican acknowledged the affair Tuesday, a Fox producer failed to tell his bosses that he had the letter from Douglas D. Hampton, also a former top aide to the senator, and Fox never reported it.
US hospital staff 'covered up' death 20 Jun 2009 Staffers at a Brooklyn hospital falsified medical records and lied to authorities in an attempt to cover up the neglect of a patient who died on the waiting room floor, according to city investigators. The report by New York's Department of Investigation was released on Friday, exactly one year after the death of Esmin Green, a Jamaican immigrant.
Vienna Man Dies After Bid to Stop Verizon Van 19 Jun 2009 (Washington) A 79-year-old Vienna man who was fed up with his Verizon service died after trying to stop a technician's van from pulling out of his driveway. The man, identified by neighbors as William Cornelius, fell after grabbing the steering wheel of the van late Wednesday afternoon and died hours later at a hospital, police said.
Female grizzly and cub killed by train 09 Jun 2009 Another two of Alberta's grizzly bears have been killed. A mature female grizzly known as Bear #71 and one of her two cubs were hit and killed on the tracks operated by Canadian Pacific Railway on Saturday. The animals were being tracked by Parks Canada officials. Both the mother and her yearling male cub were struck and killed on the tracks about three kilometres east of Canmore.
Iraqi Oil Minister accused of mother of all sell-outs --To public fury, the country is handing over control of its fields to foreign companies 18 Jun 2009 Furious protests threaten to undermine the Iraqi government's controversial plan to give international oil companies a stake in its giant oilfields in a desperate effort to raise declining oil production and revenues. In less than two weeks, on 29 and 30 June, the Iraqi Oil Minister, Hussain Shahristani, will award service contracts to the world's largest oil companies to develop six of Iraq's largest oil-producing fields over 20 to 25 years... Iraqis are wary of the involvement of foreign oil companies in raising production in super giant fields like Kirkuk and Bai Hassan in the north and Rumaila, Zubair and West Qurna in the south. They suspect the 2003 US invasion was ultimately aimed at securing Western control of their oil wealth. The nationalisation of the Iraqi oil industry by Saddam Hussein in 1972 remains popular and the rebellion against the service contracts has been gathering pace all this week. [Notice the US media does not cover such protests in Iraq -- only dissent in Iran. --LRP]
Ex-KBR Worker Convicted In Bribery, Fuel Conspiracy --KBR has received billions of dollars since 2001 [one of the key motives behind the 9/11 inside job] to be a major provider of food and shelter services to U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. 18 Jun 2009 A former employee of KBR Inc. has been convicted on federal charges in a bribery and fuel-diversion scheme at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Raschad L. "Sean" Lewis was a former fuel-section employee assigned to Bagram, where KBR, a former Halliburton Co. subsidiary known as Kellogg Brown and Root, had a contract to provide support services to the U.S. Army. Lewis was found guilty Wednesday of conspiracy, false writing, bribery of a public official and false claims.
Japan warns that North Korea may fire missile at U.S. on Independence Day 18 Jun 2009 North Korea may launch a long-range ballistic missile towards Hawaii on American Independence Day, according to Japanese intelligence officials. The missile, believed to be a Taepodong-2 with a range of up to 4,000 miles, would be launched in early July from the Dongchang-ni site on the north-western coast of the country. Intelligence analysts do not believe the device would be capable of hitting Hawaii's main islands, which are 4,500 miles from North Korea.
U.S. Navy tracks North Korean ship 18 Jun 2009 The United States is monitoring a North Korean ship for weapons and has deployed anti-missile assets to the Pacific in case Pyongyang launches more missiles, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The U.S. Navy is monitoring a vessel called Kang Nam at sea under new U.N. sanctions that bar North Korea from exporting weapons, including missile parts and nuclear materials, they said.
US ready for possible NKorean missile launch to Hawaii: Gates --Defense Secretary approved deployment of THAAD missile weaponry, radar to Hawaii --US and South Korean officials have said North Korea might be readying another ballistic missile test after three previous launches 18 Jun 2009 The United States has concerns about a possible North Korean missile launch toward Hawaii and has taken steps to ensure the protection of US territory, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday. The defense secretary said he had approved the deployment of THAAD missile defense weaponry to the US state and radar "to provide support" in case of a possible North Korean missile attack.
Senate Approves $106 Billion Supplemental War Spending Bill 18 Jun 2009 The Senate today overwhelmingly passed a bill that would fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30, giving congressional backing to President Obama's plan to increase troops and resources for the war in Afghanistan. The 91-5 vote sends the bill to President Obama for signing.
Senate Committee approves $1.5 billion in Pakistan aid 17 Jun
2009 The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday unanimously
passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act, (Kerry-Lugar Bill)
authorising $1.5 billion annually to the key
Pentagon delays Afghan air raid report 18 Jun 2009 The release of a Pentagon report into deadly US air strikes in Afghanistan has been delayed amid an internal debate about what details should be revealed. The probe, ordered by the head of the US Central Command General David Petraeus, examined bombing raids on May 4 in the western Farah province in which the Kabul government says 140 civilians were killed.
US lawmakers vote to restrict Guantanamo transfers 17 Jun 2009 The US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday to restrict the transfer to the United States of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay facility for suspected terrorists. The panel voted 61-0 for legislation covering the Defense Department's budget for the 2010 fiscal year that starts October 1 -- 550.4 billion dollars -- but no money for moving Guantanamo Bay prisoners to US soil. And it includes language restricting any such efforts, which could be crucial if President Barack Obama is to meet his self-imposed timetable for closing the facility by January 22, 2010.
Senate OKs bill to keep detainee abuse photos private --If Congress doesn't keep pictures private, White House will, senator says 17 Jun 2009 The Senate Wednesday passed by unanimous consent a bill that would prevent the release of controversial photos of alleged U.S. abuse of prisoners and detainees. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, R-Israel, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, had originally been part of the war funding supplemental bill passed Tuesday by the House. But House Democrats stripped that part of the measure from the bill, and the senators proposed it as stand-alone legislation. Earlier Wednesday, Graham said at a Judiciary Committee hearing that he had received assurance from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "that the president will not let these photos see the light of day." [CLG is willing to publish them. All-around hypocrite -- Joe LieberBush -- doesn't decide what should or shouldn't see the light of day (while condemning Iran for blocking text messages and Tweets of anti-government demonstrations), in an effort to hide evidence of US abuse/torture of prisoners and other war crimes. --LRP]
Khalid Sheikh claims to have lied under CIA torture --Muhammad claimed whenever he gave them information, whether true or false, he was left alone, but whenever he refused to cooperate, he was tortured. 17 Jun 2009 Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, one of the Al Qaeda’s top operatives and 'self-confessed mastermind' of the 9/11 attacks, claimed to have lied under torture by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to government transcripts released on Monday. "I just make up stories," he said in broken English, telling a 2007 military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay of an interrogation session, during which he was asked about the location of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. "Where is he? [I said] I don’t know. Then he torture me," Muhammed said.
Iran elections: Supreme leader to speak out as silent, angry protests continue --Mousavi urges supporters to repeat protest marches 18 Jun 2009 Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is expected to combine a call for calm tomorrow with a warning of severe consequences if protests continue over last week's "stolen" presidential election. Khamenei's address, to be made during Friday prayers at Tehran University, will be carefully scrutinised for clues as to how the Islamic regime plans to proceed a week after the disputed poll triggered the worst unrest since the 1979 revolution.
Nosy parker #1: Israel wants 'policy change' in Iran 18 Jun 2009 Israel's controversial Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Israel wants a change in Iran's policies no matter who wins the post-election dispute in Iran. Meanwhile he stressed that any regime change in Iran is unlikely despite the demonstrations taking place in the country. Asked by Israel's Channel 10 television about who Israel would prefer to prevail in the Iranian contest, Lieberman replied, "What is preferable for Israel is for there to be a change in Iranian policy."
Proof: Israeli Effort to Destabilize Iran Via Twitter Iran Election By Charting Stocks 15 Jun 2009 Right-wing Israeli interests are engaged in an all out Twitter attack with hopes of delegitimizing the Iranian election and causing political instability within Iran. Anyone using Twitter over the past few days knows that the topic of the Iranian election has been the most popular. Thousands of tweets and retweets alleging that the election was a fraud, calling for protests in Iran, and even urging followers hack various Iranian news websites (which they did successfully).
Nosy parker #2: US values 'free and fair' election in Iran [Right, anywhere but in the US.] 18 Jun 2009 The US denies that it has been trying to meddle in Iran's internal affairs, reiterating that whatever the outcome of the election, it will try to diplomatically engage the country. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to what Tehran had described as 'interfering remarks', saying that the US has no plans to meddle in Iran's domestic affairs. [LOL! See: US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran 25 Feb 2007 and US seeking 'international front' against Iran 17 Jun 2009.]
Nosy parker #3: 'Canada will not stay out of Iran politics' 19 Jun 2009 Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon has declared that his country will continue to put pressure on Iran over its post-election tension. Earlier, Canada was advised through its chargé d'affaires in Tehran to "stay out of our politics," after having raised concerns over post-election tumult in Iran, Cannon told CBC.
Nosy parker #4: Over $1.6 bn of Iranian assets frozen in Britain 18 Jun 2009 Nearly one billion pounds ($1.64 billion) of Iranian assets are frozen in Britain under international sanctions imposed against the country over its nuclear program. "The total assets frozen in the UK under the EU (European Union) and UN sanctions against Iran are approximately 976,110,000 pounds," Ian Pearson, Britain's Economic Secretary to the Treasury said in a written statement to parliament on Thursday. [Outrageous! Why aren't US assets frozen over *its* nuclear program?]
Iran: A snub for the West By Anti-Imperialist Camp 14 Jun 2009 Ahmadinejad wasn’t the candidate of the establishment, but of the lower classes 1. From an anti-imperialist point of view, the overwhelming victory of Ahmadinejad in the elections is positive, because the incumbent and president-elect stands for confrontation with the U.S.-led new order for the "Near East". 2. Even the Western media had to admit that it is the poor who strongly support the president... 7. Our joy over the success of Ahmadinejad does not mean that we overlook the deep-seated problems of Iran and its regime.
Carter wants Hamas off US terror list 17 Jun 2009 Former US President Jimmy Carter has advised the Obama administration against keeping the Hamas resistance movement on its list of terror organizations. Carter, who was in the Gaza Strip to meet rulers of the area, says he will meet with officials in the Obama administration in two days to discuss his latest trip to the Middle East.
Lieberman to Clinton: Israel won't freeze settlements 18 Jun 2009 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday that Israel could not accept the Obama administration's demand to "completely" halt activity in West Bank settlements. "We have no intention to change the demographic balance in Judea and Samaria," Lieberman said during his talks with the secretary of state in Washington.
9,200 potentially deadly Fort Detrick pathogens possibly missing --FBI investigators concluded that Fort Detrick probably was the source of the anthrax spores used in the deadly mailings of 2001. --Ebola virus, anthrax bacteria, botulinum toxin, hemorrhagic fever and others 'not accounted for' 18 Jun 2009 An inventory of potentially deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick's infectious disease laboratory found more than 9,000 vials that had not been accounted for, Army officials said yesterday, raising concerns that officials wouldn't know whether dangerous toxins were missing. After four months of searching about 335 freezers and refrigerators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, investigators found 9,220 samples that hadn't been included in a database of about 66,000 items listed as of February, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, the institute's deputy commander.
9,200 uncounted vials found at Army biodefense lab 18 Jun 2009 An inventory of deadly germs and toxins at an Army biodefense lab in Frederick found more than 9,200 vials of material that was unaccounted for in laboratory records, Fort Detrick officials said Wednesday. The 13 percent overage mainly reflects stocks left behind in freezers by researchers who retired or left Fort Detrick since the biological warfare 'defense' program was established there in 1943, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
'Something different' happening with new flu - CDC 18 Jun 2009 The new strain of H1N1 flu is causing "something different" to happen in the United States this year -- perhaps an extended year-round flu season that disproportionately hits young people, health officials said on Thursday. The new strain of swine flu is officially a pandemic now, according to the World Health Organization. So far the virus has killed at least 167 people and been confirmed in nearly 40,000 globally. The United States has been hardest hit, with upward of 100,000 likely cases and probably far more, with 44 deaths and 1,600 hospitalized. "The fact that we are seeing ongoing transmission now indicates that we are seeing something different," the CDC's Dr. Daniel Jernigan told a news briefing.
4th H1N1 Death Reported In Connecticut --Death Occurred At Hartford Hospital 18 Jun 2009 A fourth death related to the H1N1 flu has been reported in Connecticut. Department of Public Health officials said the victim was a resident of Hartford County and over the age of 40. They said the person had underlying health conditions.
Flu virus found in wild birds in Tuva 18 Jun 2009 A bird flu virus has been found in migrant waterfowl in Tuva. Fifty-eight dead birds were found on the coast of the lake of Ubsa- Nur in the Ovyur district in the Republic of Tuva, the Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor's branch for the Novosibirsk region said in a press statement.
Justices Rule Inmates Don't Have Right to DNA Tests --Ruling is 5-to-4 decision 19 Jun 2009 Convicts do not have a right under the Constitution to obtain DNA testing to try to prove their innocence after being found guilty, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. Since 1992, 238 people in the United States, some who were sitting on death row, have been exonerated of crimes through DNA testing.
Tarnished Republican drops leadership post 17 Jun 2009 In a new setback for the struggling Republican party, U.S. Senator John Ensign resigned from a party leadership post on Wednesday after admitting an affair with a female staffer. "He offered, and I accepted, his resignation as chairman of the (Senate Republican) Policy Committee," said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
Worse than subprime? Other mortgages imploding slowly 18 Jun 2009 Call it son of subprime. Experts warn that a new wave of mortgage foreclosures may be coming soon and could rival the default rates for subprime mortgages and slow efforts to find bottom in a prolonged national housing slump. The mortgages in question are $230 billion of option adjustable-rate mortgages, creative lending products that flourished at the height of the housing boom.
Blackout: the great MPs' expenses cover-up 18 Jun 2009 MPs face universal condemnation over "disgraceful" censorship of their expenses claims. Party leaders struggled to explain the decision to publish heavily blacked-out versions of MPs' claims as public anger mounted. Despite a pledge from Gordon Brown that "transparency" was the only way to restore public faith in democracy, the files released by the Commons authorities withheld details that would have exposed the worst abuses of the expenses system.
Obama's bank regulation plan: A free pass for Wall Street By Barry Grey 18 June 2009 The plan outlined by Obama calls for enhanced powers for the Federal Reserve to oversee big financial firms, both bank and non-bank companies; higher capital reserve and liquidity requirements; minimal government oversight of some hedge funds; a privately-run clearinghouse for some forms of derivative trading; and a requirement that lenders retain a small stake in loans they sell to the banks to be turned into securities. All of these requirements can be easily circumvented by the banks. Moreover, the political forces responsible for enforcing them are bound hand and foot to Wall Street.
UK: Hard to eradicate risk some allies use torture --Miliband: Disclosing documents could jeopardize Britain's intelligence relationship with US 16 Jun 2009 Britain has abandoned some attempts to gather intelligence from prisoners held overseas for fear they may be abused, the foreign secretary said Tuesday. But David Miliband also said he could not guarantee that Britain's allies would refrain from abusing detainees. Former Guantanamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed accused Britain of colluding with the United States in his alleged torture in Pakistan and Morocco. London police are deciding whether there is evidence that British intelligence officials should face criminal charges over allegations that they were complicit in the alleged torture of Mohammed. Separately, British courts are considering several lawsuits filed by men who claim the U.K. was aware of their mistreatment overseas.
A succour-free zone: David Miliband refuses to publish old MI5 guidelines on interrogation --Information on interrogation procedures might be given to their lawyers, but that was 'not the same as putting it on the internet.' 16 Jun 2009 David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has said he will not publish earlier guidance for MI5 and MI6 on how to carry out interrogations, despite promises to publish the current version of the rules when they have been "consolidated and reviewed". Under questioning by the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Mr Miliband said publishing earlier guidelines could "give succour to our enemies" and that the rules had only become "more formal" after 2004. The Prime Minister promised to publish the current rules last March.
CIA pushing Obama to uphold torture secrecy 17 Jun 2009 The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is urging President Barack Obama to forestall efforts aimed at releasing parts of confidential torture memos seen as 'damaging.' According to US media, CIA is endeavoring to cover up large sections of a 2004 internal report that depicts officers administering "degrading" interrogation techniques to detainees held on suspicions of 'terror' activities.
funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran --America
is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an
attempt to pile pressure on the government.
25 Feb 2007
CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among
the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.
The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with
US seeking 'international front' against Iran 17 Jun 2009 The United States has raised the idea of an 'international front' against, what it has long been referring to as, 'wrongful' pursuits on the part of Iran. On Wednesday, US Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn depicted the formation that included Russian surveillance structures. "We are exploring the cooperation with the Russians," he said.
Iran TV Accuses U.S. of 'Intolerable' Meddling as Protesters Hit the Streets Again 17 Jun 2009 Supporters of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi are marching again on the streets of Tehran today, state [as opposed to corporate] TV reported. It's the fifth consecutive day of protests since last week's controversial presidential election... Also today, Iranian state TV accused the United States of "intolerable" meddling in its internal affairs, The Associated Press reported. The statement echoes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim over the weekend that the foreign media is engaged in psychological warfare against the Iranian people.
White House: US not meddling in Iran's affairs 17 Jun 2009 The US has dismissed the remarks made by Iran that the White House is interfering in the country's internal affairs by commenting on the election dispute. Earlier, Iran summoned the Swiss envoy to Tehran, who represents US interests, to protest against "interfering remarks" by US officials on last week's presidential election, Iran's state-run television reported. [See: US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran 25 Feb 2007 and US seeking 'international front' against Iran 17 Jun 2009.]
Sarkozy says Iran election a 'fraud' [He should know.] 17 Jun 2009 As the landslide victory of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran's disputed election provoked unrest, French President Nicolas Sarkozy denounces the result of Friday's vote as a "fraud." "The extent of the fraud is proportional to the violent reaction," Sarkozy said Tuesday. "It is a tragedy, but it is not negative to have a real-opinion movement that tries to break its chains." [And, where was Sarkozy when Bush bin Laden stole *two* presidential 'elections' in the US? Oh, that's right. Sarkozy -- and 99% of the US media -- were burrowing as deep as possible up Bush's butt. --LRP]
Iran's marine mammals endangered 17 Jun 2009 An Iranian conservationist has warned that the country's marine mammals are in danger since there is no expert in the field. Various kinds of dolphins and other marine mammals have died in Iranian waters as the country lacks experts in this field, Hashem Dakhteh told Mehr news agency on Tuesday... Previous studies showed that water pollution with contaminants and pesticides such as DDT and PCBs put marine wildlife at risk and involve very serious side effects for them.
'Israel hatching new plot in ME' 17 Jun 2009 Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says the recent speech by Israel's Prime Minister suggests that the regime is hatching a new "plot" against the region. "What is happening in the region is a US-Israeli plan. There is a scheme with a clear division of roles between the US and Israel to divide the Arab region," Nasrallah said on Wednesday.
Iraq makes arrests after Sunni leader's murder 17 Jun 2009 Iraqi authorities have arrested several people who may be connected to the murder of a Sunni Muslim politician, officials said on Wednesday... Harith al-Ubaidi, head of the biggest Sunni bloc in parliament and a leading human rights advocate, was shot dead at a mosque in west Baghdad after Friday prayers. As Ubaidi was a leading rights defender, in particular of Iraqi prisoners, some fellow politicians have tried to point the finger at other potential culprits, such as Interior Ministry officials.
U.S. to issue new uniforms for troops in Afghanistan 18 Jun 2009 The U.S. House of Representatives has required the Pentagon to issue new uniforms for troops in Afghanistan after hearing complaints that camouflage that was fine in Iraq doesn't work well in Afghanistan. The requirement was included in a 106-billion-U.S.-dollar war funding bill which passed the House on Tuesday night, the Military Times reported on Wednesday.
N.S.A.'s Pinwale Examines Large Volumes of US E-mail Messages Without Court Warrants --E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress 17 Jun 2009 The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said. A former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program [Pinwale] in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.
Audit Finds U.S. Overpaid Blackwater By $55 Million 17 Jun 2009 A government audit found that the State Department overpaid the contract-security firm once known as Blackwater Worldwide by tens of millions of dollars because the company failed to properly staff its teams in Iraq. The report said the State Department should have withheld at least $55 million in payments to the company because of the shortfalls.
KBR Should Refund U.S. Payments for War Insurance, Auditors Say 16 Jun 2009 KBR Inc., the largest U.S. contractor in Iraq, should be pressed to return part of $27.6 million the Pentagon paid for the company’s war insurance premiums in 2003, according to Pentagon auditors. The Defense Contract Audit Agency recommended contracting officials begin withholding payments on future contracts if KBR doesn’t provide paperwork documenting that the insurance premium billings in 2003 were reasonable.
CIA Fights Disclosure of Interrogation Report --White House Urged to Maintain Secrecy 17 Jun 2009 The CIA is pushing the Obama administration to maintain the secrecy of significant portions of a comprehensive internal account of the agency's interrogation program, according to two intelligence officials. The officials say the CIA is urging the suppression of passages describing in graphic detail how the agency handled its detainees, arguing that the material could damage ongoing counterterrorism operations by laying bare sensitive intelligence procedures and methods.
Obama, Lee warn North Korea; missile on the move 17 Jun 2009 The leaders of South Korea and the United States told North Korea to drop its atomic ambitions and stop threatening the region while media reports on Wednesday said Pyongyang was moving ahead with plans to launch a long-range missile. After a summit with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Washington on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said a nuclear-armed North Korea would pose a "grave threat" to the world. [Yes, only certain nuclear-armed countries are 'grave threats' to the world. Allies of the US -- albeit nuclear armed -- do not pose a 'grave threat' to the world.]
DHS Conducts Continuity of Operations Exercise (DHS) 17 Jun 2009 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted an exercise to test the readiness and capabilities of federal departments and agencies--coordinating with the White House--to execute their Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans today. The exercise, known as Eagle Horizon, is a mandatory annual exercise for all executive branch departments and agencies coordinated by DHS through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its National Continuity Programs (NCP) Directorate... Emergency Relocation Group members were sent by their respective agencies to pre-planned alternate locations and asked to implement COOP procedures.
President Obama Calls on Americans to Serve --Unveils 'United We Serve' Initiative to Be Led by Corporation for National and Community Service (AmeriCorps) 17 Jun 2009 President Obama called on all Americans to help in our nation's recovery by volunteering in their communities this summer in a video message released today by the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service... The United We Serve initiative kicks off on June 22, and runs for 81 days through a new National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11.
Air France crash: autopsies suggest plane broke up in air 17 Jun 2009 Multiple fractures on the bodies of victims of the Air France disaster suggest the plane broke up in the air, post mortem results have revealed. In the latest sign that Flight 447 was no longer intact when it plunged into the Atlantic, medical examiners said the bodies had multiple fractures of legs, hips and arms. Such injuries could mean the plane broke apart in air, forensic experts said. Bodies and debris would be severely fragmented if the jet crashed intact.
New H1N1 strain found 17 Jun 2009 Brazilian scientists have identified a new strain of the H1N1 virus after examining samples from a patient in Sao Paulo, their institute said on Tuesday. The variant has been called A/Sao Paulo/1454/H1N1 by the Adolfo Lutz Bacteriological Institute, which compared it with samples of the A(H1N1) swine flu from California. The genetic sequence of the new sub-type of the H1N1 virus was isolated by a virology team lead by one of its researchers, Terezinha Maria de Paiva, the institute said in a statement.
Another 150 swine flu cases for UK 16 Jun 2009 More than 150 new cases of swine flu have been confirmed today, after English health officials detected the largest number of cases in a single day in the Birmingham area. The Health Protection Agency said 141 cases were found, with 124 of those in the West Midlands, the region with the largest swine flu outbreak in England. A further case appeared in Northern Ireland.
Libya records 13 cases of bubonic plague 17 Jun 2009 Thirteen cases of bubonic plague have been recorded in eastern Libya, near the border with Egypt, Health Minister Mohamad Hijazi told AFP on Wednesday. "Thirteen cases of the plague have been recorded in a village 30 kilometres (20 miles) away from Tobruk. Eleven people have already (been treated and) left hospital," he said, without reporting any deaths. Libyan media have spoken of between one and three fatalities.
Obama blasts right-wing Fox News 17 Jun 2009 US President Barack Obama has denounced the far-right television network, Fox News, for an adversarial stance against his administration. Speaking on America's CNBC, the US president slammed the hard-line TV channel, noting, "I've got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration ... that's a pretty big megaphone. You'd be hard pressed if you watched the entire day to find a positive story about me on that front."
US hate crimes spike 17 Jun 2009 The election of Mr Barack Obama as the first African-American US president, the financial crisis and immigration have formed a lethal cocktail leading to a spike in hate crimes, rights leaders warned on Tuesday. 'This toxic combination of the financial crisis, a significant political change, and concern about shifting demographics has created what could be a combustible combination,' Mr Wade Henderson, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, told reporters.
Bachmann Boasts About Breaking The Law: I'm Refusing to Fill Out the Census By By Ali Frick 17 Jun 2009 Next year, the 2010 Census will be sent to every American household, as required by the U.S. Constitution. The far right has issued dire warnings of the Census; on a May 29th episode of Bill Bennett’s radio show, RNC Chairman Michael Steele intoned, "Certainly the collection of this information is going to be part of an ongoing political campaign by this administration." In an interview with the Washington Time’s right-wing radio show this morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) declared that she would break the law and refuse to answer the Census questions, beyond noting the number of people in her household.
Obama pushes reform to restore investor confidence --Obama envisions Federal Reserve as risk regulator 17 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama will lay out on Wednesday his vision for reshaping U.S. financial regulation, aiming to tighten oversight of the largest firms whose excessive risk-taking triggered a global recession. The proposals will include closing one bank regulator and creating new overseers for big-picture economic risk and consumer financial product safety, according to a document detailing the administration's proposal.
Gas prices rise for 50th straight day 17 Jun 2009 Retail gas prices climbed for the 50th straight day Wednesday, the longest streak in records dating to 1996, even as benchmark crude fell for the fourth day in a row. A surge in crude prices during the past few months and less production from the refiners that make gasoline [and corpora-terrorists' unbridled greed] has added even more pressure on prices.
Obama Signs Same Sex Benefits Memorandum --President Announces Extension of Benefits to Fed. Employees' Same-Sex Partners 17 Jun 2009 President Obama, who has come under heavy fire from gay rights groups in recent weeks, this evening signed a presidential memorandum that extends certain benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. The president said the move "paves the way for long-overdue progress in our nation's pursuit of equality," though he acknowledged "this is only one step."
Bear necessity to move Mercedes 16 Jun 2009 An appeal has been launched to help a polar bear in Edinburgh move home. The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland said it needs £50,000 to move Mercedes from Edinburgh Zoo to the Highland Wildlife park. Original estimates put the cost of a new enclosure at £300,000 but a team of soldiers helped build the enclosure, which reduced the cost to £75,000. The society has also raised £25,000 through donations but still needs another £50,000.
Soldiers build polar bear's home --A team of territorial soldiers, usually charged with building army bases in Afghanistan, is making a home for the UK's only polar bear. [Awesome!] 19 May 2009 The 75 Engineer Regiment are working on a four-acre enclosure for Mercedes at the Highland Wildlife Park, Kingussie. Mercedes is moving from her current home at Edinburgh Zoo later this year. Costs for building Mercedes' home will be a quarter of the £300,000 originally estimated, thanks to the team of 80 soldiers.
wars, deadly vaccines we can believe in: House
Approves $106B Supplemental War, Vaccine Spending Bill --Wasted
billions includes $7.7 for pharma-terrorists' flu vaccines 16 Jun
2009 The House has narrowly approved a $106 billion bill to ensure financing
for war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan over the coming months. The
vote was 226-202. The measure contains about $80 billion to fund defense
activities in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of September. It
also contains some $10 billion for foreign aid, $7.7 billion to
Schools put on notice they may be turned into shot clinics 16 Jun 2009 Schoolchildren could be first in line for [deadly] swine flu vaccine this fall -- and schools are being put on notice that they might even be turned into shot clinics. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday she is urging school superintendents around the country to spend the summer preparing for that possibility, if the government goes ahead with mass vaccinations. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]
Newly Released Detainee Statements Provide More Evidence of CIA Torture Program --CIA Continues to Suppress Information From Detainee Tribunals With Heavy Redactions (ACLU) 15 Jun 2009 The CIA today released still-highly redacted documents in which Guantánamo Bay prisoners describe abuse and torture they suffered in CIA custody. The documents were released as part of an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking uncensored transcripts from Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) that determine if prisoners held by the Defense Department at Guantánamo qualify as "enemy combatants." In previously released versions of the documents, the CIA had removed virtually all references to the abuse of prisoners in their custody; the documents released today are still heavily blacked out but include some new information.
Accused 9/11 mastermind: 'I make up stories' 15 Jun 2009 Accused al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed complained that interrogators tortured lies out of him, according to newly released sections of government transcripts. ''I make up stories,'' Mohammed said at one point in his 2007 hearing at Guantánamo Bay. In broken English, he described an interrogation in which he was asked the location of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. ''Where is he? I don't know,'' Mohammed said. 'Then he torture me. Then I said, 'Yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaeda which I don't know him.' I said no, they torture me.'' Yet at the same military tribunal hearing, Mohammed ticked off a list of 29 terror plots in which he took part.
Mistaken on 'High-Value' Detainee, Document Shows --Abu Zubaida
was held at secret CIA facility then transferred to Camp 7 at Gitmo.
He was subjected 83 times to waterboarding. 16 Jun 2009 An 'al-Qaeda'
associate captured by the CIA and subjected to
US troops ask Syria to thwart al-Qa'ida offensive --Iraqi authorities say militants will launch attacks in order to claim credit for American military withdrawal 17 Jun 2009 The Iraqi government expects al-Qa'ida and Baathist 'insurgent' groups to launch a wave of attacks so they can take credit for compelling the US military to leave Iraqi cities by 30 June, according to a senior Iraqi minister. An American military team was dispatched from Baghdad to Damascus at the weekend to demand that Syria help choke off a guerrilla offensive by imposing greater control over its border with Iraq, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari revealed in an interview with The Independent.
In Iraq, prisoners go on hunger strike over abuse 16 Jun 2009 Iraqi prisoners have staged a full-scale hunger strike in protest at reported calculated abuse aimed at forcing false confessions out of them. On Friday, Iraqi lawmakers televised a request for an independent inquiry into reported cases of abuse and death in the country's prisons. Sunni lawmaker Salim al-Juburi from the National Concord Front lawmaker said thath "there were violations that resulted in the deaths of detainees" in two prisons in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad. "Eleven prisoners were victims of torture and sexual abuse in a building run by the Interior Ministry," claimed Falah Shanshel of the Sadrist bloc.
Generals go to war over Iraq inquiry --Secret investigation will be seen as cover-up, warn Army and intelligence chiefs 17 Jun 2009 Senior military and intelligence officers have condemned Gordon Brown's decision to hold the Iraq war inquiry in secret, warning that it looks like a cover-up. Military leaders, who have lost 179 personnel in Iraq, want their actions judged by the public, and intelligence officials say that politicians' manipulation of intelligence should be thoroughly examined. The pressure on No 10 mounted yesterday as the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, tabled a Commons debate for next week demanding that inquiry evidence be heard in public.
Gordon Brown is condemned over secret inquiry into Iraq war --Prime Minister cited national security as the reason 16 Jun 2009 The Prime Minister faced accusations of an "establishment stitch-up" after telling MPs that an investigation into the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein would be held behind closed doors. He cited national security as the reason -- a claim attacked by MPs of all sides and the families of soldiers killed in the conflict. Mr Brown said the inquiry’s findings would not be published until after next year’s general election.
Anger over 'secret Iraq inquiry' 16 Jun 2009 Opposition parties and campaigners have condemned Gordon Brown's decision to hold an independent inquiry into the Iraq war behind closed doors. Tory leader David Cameron accused Mr Brown of "an establishment stitch-up", while the Lib Dems threatened to boycott the "secret" inquiry. John Miller, whose son Simon was killed in Iraq in 2003, said private hearings would be marred by "lies and deceit".
US: American soldier killed in Iraq 16 Jun 2009 The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed by a roadside bomb southeast of Baghdad. A military statement says the Multi-National Division-South soldier was killed in an explosion Tuesday near Samawah, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. A statement also says a Multi-National Division-North soldier died Tuesday as a result of a noncombat incident in northern Ninevah province.
In reversal, GOP balks at war funding 15 Jun 2009 House Republicans are preparing to vote en bloc against the $106 billion war-spending bill, a position once unthinkable for the party that characterized the money as support for the troops. For years, Republicans portrayed the bills funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as matters of national security and accused Democrats who voted against them of voting against the troops. But Republicans say this year is different. [LOL!] Democrats have included a $5 billion increase for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help aid nations affected by the global financial crisis. Republicans say that is reason enough to vote against the entire $106 billion spending bill and are certain voters will understand.
Palestinian human rights group to challenge UK on Israel in High Court 16 Jun 2009 Britain's High Court of Justice is set to consider a charge presented by a Palestinian human rights group on Thursday accusing the UK government of failing to meet its obligations under international law following Operation Cast Lead. Representing Ramallah-based organization Al-Haq, Birmingham lawyers Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) is calling on the UK to comply with all of its obligations under international law. "The British government has not only failed to take any effective measures in preventing Israel's ongoing unlawful behavior, it has positively aided it by continuing to supply arms to it," Al-Haq and PIL contend."
'Hamas foiled plot to assassinate Carter in Gaza' 16 Jun 2009 Hamas has foiled an attempt by 'Palestinian militants' to attack former U.S. president Jimmy Carter during his visit to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian source told news agencies on Tuesday. According to the source, militants linked with Al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] planted two roadside bombs at a border crossing between Gaza and Israel with the intent of striking Carter's vehicle on his way out of the coastal territory. Witnesses reported seeing Hamas forces patrolling near the Erez crossing and detonating the explosives.
Rival groups rally in Tehran 16 Jun 2009 Tens of thousands of opposition and pro-government demonstrators have held rallies in the Iranian capital, raising fears of possible clashes. Thousands of people gathered at a government-organised rally in Tehran's central Vali Asr square on Tuesday, while a similar-sized demonstration was held by opposition supporters in the city's north.
Ahmadinejad supporters hold unity rally 16 Jun 2009 Hundreds of thousands of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's supporters gather in a central Tehran square to call for unity and respect for the people's vote. The ralliers met once again at Valli-Asr Square, where they had gathered on Sunday to celebrate the results of the country's Friday elections with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who according to figures released by the interior ministry won a second term in office with 63 percent of the votes.
Iran says ready for partial vote recount 16 Jun 2009 Iran's Guardian Council says it is prepared to recount disputed ballot boxes as defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi calls for the annulment of the vote. "We are ready to recount those boxes that some presidential candidates claim to have been cheated," said Council spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei Tuesday.
Afghan officials demand AJE report 16 Jun 2009 Afghan intelligence services holding two Al Jazeera producers have demanded a copy of a report the pair made two days before their detention. Al Jazeera was on Tuesday still awaiting information from the authorities about Qais Azimy and Hameedullah Shah, who were detained after being told to report to the country's intelligence headquarters in Kabul two days before.
Obama vows to defend South Korea 16 Jun 2009 US President Barack Obama has reaffirmed Washington's commitment to defend South Korea amid tension with the North over its nuclear program. "We have reaffirmed the endurance of our alliance and America's commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea," Obama said in Washington on Tuesday after talks with visiting South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.
City reports another 7 deaths due to swine flu; raises total dead to 23 16 Jun 2009 New York City officials are reporting seven more deaths from swine flu, bringing the city’s total to 23. The city health department didn’t identify the victims or say when they died in an update posted on its Web site Tuesday. It says the victims were between the ages of 25 to 64 and most had been hospitalized late last month.
Novartis announces production of first batch of swine flu vaccine for newly-declared pandemic 12 Jun 2009 Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis AG said Friday it has successfully produced a first batch of swine flu vaccine weeks ahead of expectations. The vaccine was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines, the company said.
Bodies of Air France flight 447 victims show no signs of mid-air explosion 15 Jun 2009 A mid-air explosion on board the doomed Air France flight 447 has all but been ruled out as the bodies recovered from the Atlantic Ocean have no traces of burns, it has emerged. An investigation into the loss of AF 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, in which an Airbus A330 jet plunged into the Atlantic with 228 people on board, has focused on the "inconsistent" readings from its airspeed sensors.
Police watchdog to investigate Taser use 17 Jun 2009 The police watchdog will investigate the alleged repeated use of a Taser on a man in a city centre, as the victim said he will take legal action against officers. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would be independently investigating the incident in which a man was apparently repeatedly fired at with a stun gun by police during a night out. A police officer was also apparently seen to punch the man three times to the head area during the arrest in Nottingham in the early hours of Monday.
'Billions in US bonds' seized on Swiss border 13 Jun 2009 Italian financial police said Friday they were holding two Japanese men stopped on the Swiss border with US bonds allegedly worth 134 billion dollars, or nearly 100 billion euros. The two men were trying to enter Switzerland from Italy by train when they were checked by customs at Chiasso after saying they had nothing to declare. The financial police at Como said 249 US Federal Reserve bonds with a face value of 500 million dollars each were found in a false-bottomed suitcase along with 10 so-called Kennedy bonds worth one billion dollars apiece.
Good Government Group Sues for White House Visitors' Logs 16 Jun 2009 The good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a lawsuit today to force the President Obama to share White House visitors logs with the public. "We’re suing because the Obama Administration has made it clear that they are continuing the policies and practices of the Bush administration and claiming that White House visitors’ records are off limits to the public," said Anne Weismann, chief counsel for CREW. Last month CREW requested through the Freedom of Information Act that the Secret Service provide the organization with information related to top coal executives visiting the White House.
Obama blocks list of visitors to White House --Taking Bush's position, administration denies msnbc.com request for logs 16 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush regime argument that a president doesn't have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions. Despite President Barack Obama's pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com's request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies.
Sen. Ensign admits affair with ex-campaign staffer 16 Jun 2009 Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada admitted Tuesday he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff. An aide in Ensign's office said the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008 with a campaign staffer who was married to an employee in Ensign's Senate office. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity.
'We are fighting for our lives and our dignity' --Across the globe, as mining and oil firms race for dwindling resources, indigenous peoples are battling to defend their lands -- often paying the ultimate price By John Vidal 13 Jun 2009 It has been called the world's second "oil war", but the only similarity between Iraq and events in the jungles of northern Peru over the last few weeks has been the mismatch of force. On one side have been the police armed with automatic weapons, teargas, helicopter gunships and armoured cars. On the other are several thousand Awajun and Wambis Indians, many of them in war paint and armed with bows and arrows and spears. In some of the worst violence seen in Peru in 20 years, the Indians this week warned Latin America what could happen if companies are given free access to the Amazonian forests to exploit an estimated 6bn barrels of oil and take as much timber they like.
British Airways ask staff to work without pay for a month 16 Jun 2009 All of British Airways' 40,000 staff have been made what could be described as a missable offer: the chance to work for free for up to a month. Though it sounds like a bad joke, the reasons behind the request are deadly serious. The company recently reported pre-tax losses of £401m.
Obama to propose strict new regulation of financial industry 16 Jun 2009 The Obama administration this week will propose the most significant new regulation of the financial industry since the Great Depression, including a new watchdog agency to look out for consumers' interests. Under the plan, expected to be released Wednesday, the government would have new powers to seize key companies -- such as insurance giant American International Group Inc. -- whose failure jeopardizes the financial system. Currently, the government's authority to seize companies is mostly limited to banks.
Gas prices pass $3 a gallon 16 Jun 2009 Oh brother, Californians dealing with double-digit unemployment, steep wage cuts and bleak 401(k) reports are getting hammered again. Gas prices crossed the $3 threshold in California on Monday, hitting an average of $3.01 a gallon, the highest since Halloween and $1.21 a gallon more than we were paying at Christmas. A 15-gallon fill-up now costs $18.15 more than it did in December. [Maybe next time Californians won't be fooled by the GOP-run media into installing a corporate troll/Nazi as governor.]
Iraq inquiry to hear evidence in private --Findings will not be published until next summer 15 June 2009 The Prime Minister today announced his inquiry into the Iraq war would be held in private - to the dismay of campaigners. And its findings will not be published until next summer, after the date of the next General Election - an announcement met by jeers from Opposition MPs. Gordon Brown said the probe would be conducted by non-politicians, led by ex-Whitehall mandarin Sir John Chilcot.
'It's an affront to British democracy that this war went ahead despite the overwhelming majority of people being against it.' Demonstrators protest at secret inquiry 15 Jun 2009 Protesters angry at the Government's decision to hold the Iraq inquiry in secret gathered at Westminster today. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed MPs, a crowd of demonstrators who were furious at the move filled Parliament Square.
Mission accomplished! Iraq unveils foreign oil contract shortlist --Exxonmobil, Total, BP, BG International and Premier Oil have been shortlisted to bid for contracts to work on Iraq's oil and gasfields. 10 Jun 2009 Three British companies have been shortlisted to bid for contracts to work on Iraq's oil and gas fields, pitting themselves against 32 other non-Iraqi companies in a televised, two-day bidding procedure revealed at Baghdad's Oil Ministry. BP, BG International and Premier Oil were among the 120 companies who put themselves forward in June last year, and which now appear on the shortlist of 35 companies who are invited to submit proposals for consideration by a panel of experts at the Ministry. Along with other oil majors including Exxonmobil and Total, they are due to present proposals on June 29 and 30 to work on one of six oil fields and two gas fields.
As Iraq runs dry, a plague of snakes is unleashed --An unprecedented fall in the water levels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has left the rural population at the mercy of heat, drought – and displaced wildlife. 15 Jun 2009 Swarms of snakes are attacking people and cattle in southern Iraq as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers dry up and the reptiles lose their natural habitat among the reed beds. Doctors in the area say six people have been killed and 13 poisoned. The plague of snakes is the latest result of an unprecedented fall in the level of the water in the Euphrates and the Tigris, the two great rivers which for thousands of years have made life possible [until Bush arrived] in the sun-baked plains of Mesopotamia, the very name of which means "between the rivers" in Greek.
CIA head says Cheney almost wishing US be attacked 14 Jun 2009 CIA Director Leon Panetta says former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's criticism of the Obama administration's approach to terrorism almost suggests "he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point." Panetta told The New Yorker for an article in its June 22 issue that Cheney "smells some blood in the water" on the issue of national security. [Right, and Obama many of Bush-Cheney's 'burrowers' in his administration, so no surprises if another 9/11-style terror attack takes place.]
Afghan intelligence detains Al-Jazeera reporters 15 Jun 2009 Afghanistan's intelligence agents have reportedly detained two producers working for Doha-based satellite TV channel, Al-Jazeera. Qais Azimy and Hamedullah Shah, who work for the station's English and Arabic services, have been held by Afghan authorities since Sunday. The station said in a statement that it has been unable to contact the two since then. "Al-Jazeera is officially requesting information from the Afghan authorities and is calling for Qais and Hamedullah's immediate release," the statement read. It remains unclear why the two have been arrested by Afghan forces. [Notice that US media coverage of detention of reporters only takes place when the offending power is an adversary of the US, such as Iran or North Korea?]
Afghanistan has patchy control in Helmland 14 Jun 2009 The governor in Afghanistan's most violent province has said the government now only controls eight of its thirteen districts. The governor of Helmand has said the government has lost control in three Helmand districts on the northern end of the province and two in the south.
US general assumes command in Afghanistan 15 Jun 2009 US General Stanley McChrystal, tasked with carrying out the new US 'strategy' in the war against the Taliban, has formally assumed command of international troops in Afghanistan. McChrystal, a former commander of special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan [war criminal], was nominated in May after the United States sacked his predecessor and called for "new thinking" in the fight against the insurgency.
Two NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan: officials 15 Jun 2009 Two NATO force soldiers and 29 militants were killed in violence in Afghanistan, authorities said Monday, as a new US commander took over foreign troops battling the tide of attacks. The Canadian soldier was killed on Sunday while attempting to defuse two roadside bombs, Canadian officials said... An Estonian soldier was killed on Monday in an ambush in the Nad Ali area in the southern province of Helmand, the defence ministry told reporters in Tallinn.
Neo-Nazis are in the Army now --Why the U.S. military is ignoring its own regulations and permitting white supremacists to join its ranks. By Matt Kennard 14 Jun 2009 As the conflicts have dragged on, the military has loosened regulations, issuing "moral waivers" in many cases, allowing even those with criminal records to join up... The lax regulations have also opened the military's doors to neo-Nazis, white supremacists and gang members -- with drastic consequences. Some neo-Nazis have been charged with crimes inside the military, and others have been linked to recruitment efforts for the white right... Many white supremacists join the Army to secure training for, as they see it, a future domestic race war. Others claim to be shooting Iraqis not to pursue the military's strategic goals but because killing "hajjis" is their duty as white militants... Tom Metzger is the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and current leader of the White Aryan Resistance. He tells me the military has never been more tolerant of racial extremists. "Now they are letting everybody in," he says.
Pakistani warlord threatens to launch attack on Washington 14 Jun 2009 Pakistani warlord Baitullah Mehsud threatened to attack Washington and the White House, as he claimed responsibility on Tuesday for this week's assault on the police training academy in Lahore. Mehsud leads the biggest faction of the Pakistani Taliban, an Islamic militia, operating in the South Waziristan tribal region that borders Afghanistan. Earlier this month, the U.S. put a $5 million bounty on his head, describing him as a key commander of al Qaida [al-CIAduh].
U.S. to enforce U.N. sanctions on DPRK: Biden 14 Jun 2009 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the United States would enforce sanctions set in the 1874 UN Security Council Resolution on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), NBC networks reported on Sunday. The United States will enforce the resolution, said Biden in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press." The resolution condemns Pyongyang's recent nuclear and missile tests and includes provisions for inspecting cargo coming out of the DPRK, a total ban on weapons exports from the country and stronger financial sanctions.
North Korea in 'early phase of all-out confrontation with US' 14 Jun 2009 North Korea has pledged to begin work "weaponising" plutonium to create another nuclear bomb as it delivered a furious response to a UN resolution ordering a fresh round of sanctions against the state. The government of leader Kim Jong-il said it was now in the "early phase of all-out confrontation with the US" as it sought to raise tensions on the Korean Peninsular to dangerous new levels.
1 dead, several injured in Tehran: Reports 15 Jun 2009 Reports indicate that one person has been killed and several others have been injured in shootings that broke out following a pro-Mousavi rally in Tehran. Supporters of former premier Mir-Hossein Moussavi, who according to interior ministry figures suffered a crushing defeat in Friday's presidential election, gathered in central Tehran on Monday to voice their protest against what they called 'vote-rigging'.
In Tehran, anti-West protests erupt too 15 Jun 2009 As pro-Moussavi supporters staged a civil rally in Tehran, demonstrators from the opposite camp have gathered outside the British and French embassies in Tehran. Waving Iranian flags and chanting anti-US and British slogans, the demonstrators gathered on Monday to protest what they called western involvement in Iran's internal affairs.
The Iranian People Speak 15 Jun 2009 The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin -- greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday's election. While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad's principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran's provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.
Palestinians: Netanyahu is 'sabotaging' peace efforts 14 Jun 2009 The Palestinian Authority on Sunday criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's highly anticipated foreign policy speech, in which he called for immediate peace talks and endorsed the creation of Palestinian state without military capabilities. An aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the speech "sabotages" regional peace efforts, due to Netanyahu's refusal to accept an influx of Palestinian refugees into Israel and his unwillingness to compromise on the status of Jerusalem.
Lebanon charges 2 colonels with spying for Israel 15 Jun 2009 Two Lebanese army colonels have been charged with spying for Israel as the country continues a campaign against Israeli spy networks. Military prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the two, who were arrested last month, with providing Israel with information about military and security positions, as well as civilian locations and aiding Israeli forces, a court official said.
Life in paradise as Guantanamo Four take a dip, eat ice cream, and plan first Uighur restaurant in British territory of Bermuda 15 Jun 2009 They look like ordinary tourists as they stroll along the seafront on the British territory of Bermuda, but these four men are far from regular sunseekers for they have spent the last seven years locked up in Guantanamo Bay. The former terror suspects are Uighurs - members of China's Muslim Turkic-speaking minority... They were detained by the Americans, who eventually determined they were not a threat to the United States. But because no country volunteered to take them and it was feared they would be detained and tortured if they were returned to China, the men were left in limbo.
FM denies Yemeni Guantanamo detainees transferring to Saudi Arabia 14 Jun 2009 An official source at Foreign Ministry denied on Sunday reports that Yemeni inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison would be transported to terrorist rehabilitation centers in Saudi Arabia. The source told 26sep.net that the Yemeni and American sides still continued their talks over transporting the detainees to Yemen and tackling their situation.
Recovered debris suggests jet crashed suddenly 14 Jun 2009 Debris recovered so far from Air France flight 447 seems to indicate the jet plunged suddenly into the Atlantic Ocean and did not explode in the sky, Brazilian experts said Saturday. Almost two weeks after the Rio-Paris flight disappeared at sea, former pilot Ari Germano told O Globo newspaper that he was "struck" by at least one of the photographs released Friday by the Brazilian Air Force. According to Germano, who has written a book about air crashes, the images suggested that the Airbus A330 passengers were caught by surprise and the tragedy unfolded so rapidly that the crew did not have the time to react.
EU and US draw up plans for new counter-terrorism regime 15 Jun 2009 European governments and the Obama administration today outlined aims for a new joint regime for combating terrorism. The proposals are based on common principles that would make it impossible to run detention camps such as Guantánamo Bay or secretly abduct suspects in the operations known as extraordinary rendition. EU officials say that the aim was also to come up with a broader joint agenda for fighting international organised crime, intelligence sharing, international travel security and data protection.
Whitehall plans new cyber security centre --US and Canada may join UK to fight off infiltration 14 Jun 2009 A national cyber security centre to combat the growing threat of criminal gangs and foreign states hacking into Whitehall and big business is to be announced this month by the prime minister. The centre will be the main theme of a revised national security strategy paper from No 10 which will place much greater emphasis on tackling the threat. The organisation will be similar to an agency being created by Barack Obama who is appointing a cyber tsar to fight what the US president referred to last month as "weapons of mass disruption". Britain has been holding talks with the US and Canada to co-ordinate operations against cyber attacks by foreign powers and terrorists.
don't want to end up with National ID Lite.' Administration
Plans to Rebrand Real ID Law --The new plan, called Pass ID, keeps
elements of Real ID, such as requiring a digital photograph, signature
and machine-readable features such as a bar code. 14 Jun 2009 Yielding
to a rebellion by states that refused to pay for it, the Obama administration
is moving to
ACLU Seeks Records About Laptop Searches At the Border --Border Patrol Policy Allows Officials to Search and Retain Information Without Suspicion (ACLU) 10 Jun 2009 United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) policy permits officials to search the laptops and other electronic devices of travelers without suspicion of wrongdoing, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU filed the FOIA request with CBP, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to learn how CBP's suspicionless search policy, first made public in July 2008, is impacting the constitutional rights of international travelers.
GOP Activist Compares Michelle Obama to Escaped Gorilla 14 Jun 2009 A prominent South Carolina Republican killed his Facebook page Sunday after being caught likening the First Lady to an escaped gorilla. Commenting on a report posted to Facebook about a gorilla escape at a zoo in Columbia, S.C., Friday, longtime GOP activist Rusty DePass wrote, "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."
Top 10 Reasons Sarah Palin's Outrage is A Little Late... By Shannyn Moore 14 Jun 2009 3) Rush Limbaugh, "Everyone knows the Clintons have a cat. Socks is the White House cat. But did you know there is a White House dog?" And he puts up a picture of Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea Clinton is 13 years old... 2) "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno." John McCain, Palin's running mate. Should McCain apologize to every young woman in America?
No change: Obama ambassadorships still go to fundraisers, friends 12 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama promised change, but he's following one time-honored tradition: doling out plum ambassadorships to friends and big-money party donors. So far, Obama's contributors and friends have been awarded with plum posts in Canada, France, England, Japan, South Africa, Ireland, the Bahamas, Denmark, Argentina and the Vatican.
Lilly Sold Drug for Dementia Knowing It Didn't Help, Files Show 12 Jun 2009 Eli Lilly & Co. urged doctors to prescribe Zyprexa for elderly patients with dementia, an unapproved use for the antipsychotic, even though the drugmaker had evidence the medicine didn’t work for such patients, according to unsealed internal company documents.
Peak Soil Investment: This Quiet Land Grab is Just Beginning By Q1 Publishing 12 Jun 2009 According to the Economist, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and China have been "quietly" buying up more than $20 billion of this asset. It’s not oil or natural gas assets though. And it’s not the molybdenum they need to build thousands of miles of new pipelines. They’re buying up one of my favorite long-term investments, farmland.
California's hard times driving people back to the 'Dust Bowl' 14 Jun 2009 Fleeing the Great Depression and a drought unprecedented in American history, a vast wave of Oklahomans and Texans dubbed "Okies" loaded everything they could onto crowded vehicles during the 1930s and headed west for California. Today, in huge numbers, their grandchildren are moving back.
Projection: It'll be years before jobs return to much of U.S. 14 Jun 2009 Unlike the labor market collapse that killed millions of U.S. jobs in a matter of months, the nation's return to peak employment will not be nearly as uniform nor as swift. Only six metropolitan areas across the country are expected to regain their pre-recession employment levels by the end of 2009, according to projections from IHS Global Insight, a leading economic forecaster.
Pentagon Plan: Cybercommand Will Be Run by Four-Star General --DoD views cyberspace as its domain as well, a new battleground after land, sea, air and space. 13 Jun 2009 A plan to create a new Pentagon cybercommand is raising significant privacy and diplomatic concerns, as the Obama administration moves ahead on efforts to 'protect the nation' from cyberattack and to prepare for possible offensive operations against adversaries' computer networks. Some administration officials have begun to discuss whether laws or regulations must be changed to allow law enforcement, the military or intelligence agencies greater access to networks or Internet providers when significant evidence of a 'national security threat' was found. Under plans being completed at the Pentagon, the new cybercommand will be run by a four-star general, much the way Gen. David H. Petraeus runs the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq from Central Command in Tampa, Fla.
New York drill for possible nuclear war --US security authorities have conducted a semi-clandestine nuclear fallout drill in the City of New York in order to be prepared "for the worst." 13 Jun 2009 The NYC Police Department (NYPD) in unison with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) carried out a massive almost-covert anti-nuclear exercise codenamed 'New York, you have a problem' in order to gauge the metropolitan promptness in responding to such attacks. According to an AP report on Friday, hundreds of NYPD officers and FBI agents participated in the drill that involved the detection of a gamma-ray emitting device concealed in the heart of the urban area. The group was also accompanied by an elite corps of federal weapons specialists who, under a US attorney general mandate, found a simulated "nuclear device" and diffused it.
Why the hell should I feel sorry, says girl soldier who abused Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison --In this deeply disturbing interview, the trailer trash torturer who appalled the world by appearing in shocking 'souvenir' photographs remains utterly unrepentant and says she has 800 MORE torture photos that could rock the White House By David Jones 13 Jun 2009 One of seven U.S. Army reserves jailed for mistreating prisoners at Abu Ghraib - including her former lover Corporal Charles Graner, a sadistic, camera-obsessed bully who orchestrated the photo sessions - she has served three years in detention and is now on parole. With a new book to peddle and her appeal against the conviction due to be heard next month, one might have expected the 26-year-old England to express some remorse... When we speak, three things strike me: her breathtaking lack of contrition; her unsuitability to have been a serving soldier and her utter indifference towards the horrifically abused prisoners at Abu Ghraib, 90 per cent of whom were later released without charge.
'Terrorists' can sue Bush legal abusers 14 Jun 2009 A US judge legalizes court actions by alleged 'terror convicts' against the legal advisors from the former administration who authorized their detention and torture. In an unprecedented move, San Francisco District Judge Jeffrey White ruled in favor of the legitimacy of such lawsuits in an attempt to discontinue, what he called, 'using tactics of terror' to fight 'a war against terror', the Associated Press reported on Saturday.
Judge: Ex-Bush lawyer can be sued over torture 13 Jun 2009 A prisoner who says he was tortured while being held for nearly four years as a suspected terrorist can sue former Bush regime lawyer John Yoo for coming up with the legal theories that justified his alleged treatment, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Friday. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White's decision marks the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially responsible for the abuse of detainees. "Like any other government official, government lawyers are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their conduct," White said in refusing to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit against Yoo. White said. White, an appointee of former President [sic] George W. Bush, noted that Padilla's lawsuit accuses Yoo of helping to design administration policy on detention and torture, and then crafting legal opinions to justify it - stepping outside the usual role of a lawyer.
rejects Iran's election results
13 Jun 2009 The U.S. on Saturday refused to accept President Mahmoud
U.S. monitors Iran election fallout 13 Jun 2009 The White House said Saturday it was monitoring the aftermath of presidential election in Iran, including allegations of irregularities in the voting. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a written statement: "Like the rest of the world, we were impressed by the vigorous debate and enthusiasm that this election generated, particularly among young Iranians. We continue to monitor the entire situation closely, including reports of irregularities." [WHY no monitoring of GOP owned and operated electronic 'voting' software companies, responsible for two US coup d'etats? Hello, Pot? This is Kettle...]
In landslide victory, Ahmadinejad re-elected 13 Jun 2009 The final results of Iran's closely-contested 10th presidential election indicate that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has won a landslide victory. "Of 39,165,191 votes counted (85 percent), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election with 24,527,516 (62.63 percent)," Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli told reporters on Saturday. Mir-Hossein Mousavi came in second with 13,216,411 votes (33.75 percent), he added. [The New York Times is calling the Iranian election outcome a 'tie' and they are showing a photo of the troll that lost. LOL. I love it when the US media spins other countries' elections and calls their processes/results 'corrupt' or 'specious.' These are the same cogs in the machinery that permitted -- nay, facilitated - two US GOP coup d'etats in 2000 and 2004. --LRP]
Iran rejects claims of voter fraud 13 Jun 2009 Iranian Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli says there has been no 'written complaint' about voter fraud. Iranian Interior Minister Sadeq Mahsouli has declared that the 10th presidential elections were conducted in a manner that ruled out the possibility of voter fraud. In a press conference at the Interior Ministry on Saturday, Mahsouli put the number of the total votes cast in the elections at 39,165,191, suggesting the heavy turnout to be a victory for the nation and not for a specific candidate.
Lawyers: Israel Used Uranium in Gaza genocide 11 Jun 2009 Lawyers investigating possible war crimes by Israel in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Thursday said the Jewish state used uranium in recent offensive on the blockaded territory. Findings indicated that Israel heavily used uranium materials in its war in Gaza, Haitham Manna of the International Coalition for Trying Israeli War Criminals told a news conference in Gaza city. At first, a French lab "asked us to obtain license from Ukraine because they believed the samples were obtained from a place hit by Chernobyl accident due to the high amount of Uranium that were found," Manna told Xinhua.
Iraq holds state funeral for murdered lawmaker 13 Jun 2009 Iraq buried a murdered Sunni Muslim leader on Saturday in the first formal state funeral held by the government since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Harith al-Ubaidi, head of the biggest Sunni bloc in parliament and a leading human rights advocate, was shot dead at a mosque in west Baghdad after Friday prayers.
U.S. soldier killed in bomb attack in Iraq 13 Jun 2009 An American soldier was killed in a roadside bomb explosion during combat operations on Friday, the U.S. military said on Saturday. A military statement said the soldier is assigned to Multi-National Corps - Iraq (MNC-I), which is the Tactical Unit responsible for command and control of operations in Iraq.
US Embassy: 2 more US mercenaries released in Iraq 13 Jun 2009 Two more U.S. mercenaries have been released on bond but face an ongoing investigation, the embassy said Saturday. Two other Americans remained in custody while a fifth was freed on bond Thursday. U.S.-backed Iraqi forces detained the five Americans on June 3 in connection with an investigation into the stabbing death of a fellow contractor.
Mercenaries Set Off for Afghanistan 13 Jun 2009 ...Since Barack Obama announced that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the "central front" of the war against al-Qaeda, foreign mercenaries have been arriving... Returning from dinner on May 5, after an automobile accident, four paramilitaries working for an American company unheard of up until then, Paravant, machine-gunned an Afghan car, leaving one person dead and two wounded. The lawyer for the paramilitaries asserts that they were confronted with an insurgent attack, although the police investigation proved that the passengers in the vehicle were unarmed merchants. As in Iraq, as in other incidents in Afghanistan, justice will not be done: the men fled to the United States. However, the episode did reveal that Paravant, which has a contract to train the Afghan police, is a discreet subsidiary of Blackwater, the biggest mercenary company in the world and symbol of the privatization of war during the Bush years, involved in multiple killings and assassinations in Iraq and renamed Xe. It also revealed that these men respected neither the law nor their contract, bearing arms outside of their service, AK-47s that can be purchased in the black market for a few dollars.
Suicide attack on NATO fuel tankers kills 8 Afghans 13 Jun 2009 A suicide car bomber hit a fleet of fuel tankers intended for a NATO base in southern Afghanistan, killing eight Afghans and wounding 21, officials said Saturday. The attack in Helmand province late Friday burned six fuel tankers parked outside the town of Gereshk, said Dawood Ahmadi, the spokesman for the governor of Helmand. The trucks had been headed to a large NATO base that primarily houses U.S. and British troops.
Two British soldiers killed in Afghanistan blasts 13 Jun 2009 Two British soldiers have been killed by bombings in Afghanistan. A soldier from The 2nd Battalion the Rifles was killed as a result of an explosion during an operation near Sangin, northern Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Friday morning.
NKorea warns of nuclear war amid rising tensions 14 Jun 2009 North Korea's government has warned of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula while vowing to step up its atomic bomb-making program in defiance of new U.N. sanctions. A commentary Sunday in the North's the main state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, claimed the U.S. has 1,000 nuclear weapons in South Korea. Another commentary published Saturday in the Tongil Sinbo weekly claimed the U.S. has been deploying a vast amount of nuclear weapons in South Korea and Japan. North Korea "is completely within the range of U.S. nuclear attack and the Korean peninsula is becoming an area where the chances of a nuclear war are the highest in the world," the Tongil Sinbo commentary said.
Sub collides with sonar array towed by U.S. Navy ship 12 Jun 2009 In what a U.S. military official calls an "inadvertent encounter," a Chinese submarine hit an underwater sonar array being towed by the destroyer USS John McCain on Thursday. The array was damaged, but the sub and the ship did not collide, the official said. The incident occurred near Subic Bay off the coast of the Philippines.
US missile shield hurts NATO interests: UK MPs 13 Jun 2009 British members of parliament have expressed concern that plans for a US missile shield in Eastern Europe would jeopardize NATO interests in the region. Moscow has slammed Washington's bid to place the anti-missile system in two ex-soviet states, questioning US claims that the system is a measure against potential attacks from 'rouge states.'
'It's baffling to us why this would suddenly change.' Military Hush-Up: Incoming Space Rocks Now Classified 10 Jun 2009 For 15 years, scientists have benefited from data gleaned by U.S. classified satellites of natural fireball events in Earth's atmosphere – but no longer. A recent U.S. military policy decision now explicitly states that observations by hush-hush government spacecraft of incoming bolides and fireballs are classified secret and are not to be released, SPACE.com has learned. The satellites' main objectives include detecting nuclear bomb tests, and their characterizations of asteroids and lesser meteoroids as they crash through the atmosphere has been a byproduct data bonanza for scientists. The upshot: Space rocks that explode in the atmosphere are now classified.
Air France jet sent message on rudder problem 13 Jun 2009 A burst of automatic messages sent by Air France Flight 447 before it crashed includes one about a problem with a rudder safety device but lacks decisive clues as to what sent the jet plunging into the Atlantic Ocean two weeks ago, an aviation expert said Saturday. The industry official, who has knowledge of the Air France investigation, told The Associated Press that a transcript of the messages posted on the Web site EuroCockpit is authentic but inconclusive.
SoCal students quarantined in China over flu scare 13 Jun 2009 A private school in San Diego County says 36 of its students are being quarantined in China while being tested for the swine flu virus. Eileen Mullady, head of Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad, says the ninth graders were at the end of a 13-day educational tour of the country when a few students developed the sniffles.
Australia Team Quarantined in Korea on Swine Flu Fear 14 Jun 2009 Australia’s under 21 lacrosse team has been quarantined in South Korea after one of the 26 members tested positive for swine flu, in the latest case of the nation exporting the virus to Asia. South Korea has prohibited the Australian team from attending a tournament and will quarantine all members to monitor them for seven days, the health ministry said in a statement late yesterday.
1918 Flu Resulted In Current Lineage of H1N1 Swine Influenza Viruses 01 May 2009 Juergen A. Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, studied the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic with colleagues from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Their research supports the hypothesis that the 1918 pandemic influenza virus and the virus causing the swine flu were the same. Richt said the virus was able to infect and replicate in swine and cause mild respiratory disease. The 1918 virus spread through the pig population, adapted to the swine and resulted in the current lineage of the H1N1 swine influenza viruses. [See: Experimental Infection of Pigs with the Human 1918 Pandemic Influenza Virus By Hana M. Weingartl, et al. 18 Feb 2009.]
A.I.G. Balks at Claims From Jet Ditching in Hudson 12 Jun 2009 For the first couple of days after his flight ditched into the Hudson River, Paul Jorgenson was just glad to be alive. But then he started to need his laptop, his wallet, his car keys -- items he had stowed under his seat and left behind in the sinking plane... Then the matter shifted to US Airways’ insurer, the American International Group, operating under government stewardship since its bailout last fall. "Everything went downhill," said Mr. Jorgenson, a software executive in Charlotte, N.C., whose laptop and keys have not been recovered.
Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments --Key Players Have Stakes in Industry 13 Jun 2009 Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer's debate. The list of members who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the legislation includes Congress's most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts.
Kidnapping we can believe in: Feds ask court to reconsider CIA renditions suit 12 Jun 2009 The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court in San Francisco to reconsider its decision to allow a Boeing Co. subsidiary to be sued for allegedly flying terrorism suspects to secret prisons overseas to be tortured. In April, a panel of judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the lawsuit dealing with the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program could proceed.
Obama Administration Seeks to Keep Torture Victims From Having Day In Court --Justice Department Asks Court For Rehearing In Extraordinary Rendition Lawsuit Against Boeing Subsidiary (ACLU) 12 Jun 2009 The Justice Department today argued that the victims of the "extraordinary rendition" program should not have their day in court, asking a federal appeals court to block a landmark case the court had earlier ruled could go forward. In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful "extraordinary rendition" program could proceed, but today the government asked the appeals court's full panel of judges to rehear that decision.
Abuse Photos Part of Agreement on Military Spending --Deal: Obama would use all administrative and legal means to prevent release of photographs 12 Jun 2009 Congressional negotiators reached tentative agreement on Thursday on a $105.9 billion spending measure that would provide money for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September but would drop a ban on the release of photographs showing abuse of foreign prisoners held by United States forces. At the same time, a federal court issued a ruling effectively ensuring that the photos would not be released for months, if ever.
3 Guantanamo detainees sent to Saudi Arabia 12 Jun 2009 U.S. officials say three Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been sent home to Saudi Arabia. The Justice Department say the trio will be subject to judicial review in Saudi Arabia before they participate in a rehabilitation program administered by the Saudi government. With the latest transfer, the U.S. has removed 10 prisoners from Guantanamo in the past week... That leaves 229 prisoners still at the U.S. military detention center in Cuba.
Xe is a busy little bee! Top Iraqi lawmaker assassinated 12 Jun 2009 Head of the Iraqi parliament's biggest Sunni Muslim bloc has been shot dead in front of a mosque in the country's volatile capital, Baghdad. Harith al-Obaidi, the leader of the Iraqi Accord Front and a member of the parliament's human rights committee, was killed just as he was leaving a mosque in western Baghdad after the Friday prayers, party spokesman Salim al-Jaburi said.
CIA: Finding bin Laden top U.S. priority 12 Jun 2009 Finding al-Qaida [al-CIAduh] leader Osama bin Laden, believed still in hiding in Pakistan, remains a top priority for the United States, CIA Director Leon Panetta said. Panetta told reporters the United States has people in Pakistan "who are helping us provide targets," the BBC reported Friday. Pakistan's military operation against Taliban militants will improve the chances of locating bin Laden, believed to be hiding out in the rugged region along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border [LOL!], Panetta said. [Osama bin Forgotten is still hiding in Pakistan -- or in the 'restive' 'tribal' AfPak border (where US drones bomb eight-year-olds every day) and the CIA is determined, determined I tell you - to 'get' him. Right. That's why numerous special ops personnel have documented that as soon as they got *close* to Osama bin Hired, the word came down from the top -- Bush, Rumsfeld: Stop the hunt. LRP]
CIA Secrecy on Drone Attacks Data Hides Abuses By Gareth Porter 12 Jun 2009 The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s refusal to share with other agencies even the most basic data on the bombing attacks by remote-controlled unmanned predator drones in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, combined with recent revelations that CIA operatives have been paying Pakistanis to identify the targets, suggests that managers of the drone attacks programmes have been using the total secrecy surrounding the programme to hide abuses and high civilian casualties. Intelligence analysts have been unable to obtain either the list of military targets of the drone strikes or the actual results in terms of al Qaeda or civilians killed, according to a Washington source familiar with internal discussion of the drone strike programme.
Pakistan planning offensive against terror havens 12 Jun 2009 U.S. defense officials said Friday that Pakistan is planning a new assault into South Waziristan aimed at key 'al-Qaida' strongholds, a move tied to the Obama administration's broader strategy for the Afghanistan war. At the same time, one senior U.S. official said, the U.S. will also be providing increased intelligence and surveillance support to the Pakistanis. That U.S. official and several others spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss planned military operations that have not been announced.
Pakistan Suicide Blast Hits Peshawar Police as Conflict Widens 12 Jun 2009 A suicide bomber attacked Pakistani police in Peshawar last night, the second blast in two days in the northwestern city, as fighting between security forces and Taliban 'insurgents' in the country intensified. One attacker threw a hand grenade at a police checkpoint and as officers gathered another blew himself up, injuring 12 people, according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan. A June 9 attack on the luxury Pearl Continental hotel killed 16 people, including two United Nations workers.
White House: US may confront ships near NKorea --Sanctions include expanding an arms embargo and authorizing searches of ships 12 Jun 2009 The Obama administration said Friday it is prepared to confront ships believed to be carrying contraband materials to North Korea but will not try to forcibly board them, in accordance with new U.N. sanctions. White House officials said they expect North Korea to act "irresponsibly" to the sanctions, imposed Friday by the U.N. Security Council in response to the communist nation's recent nuclear tests.
UN approves North Korea sanctions 12 Jun 2009 The UN Security Council today unanimously approved expanded sanctions and a trade and arms embargo against North Korea over its May 25th nuclear test. The sanctions resolution bans all weapons exports from North Korea and most arms imports into the state. It authorises UN member states to inspect North Korean sea, air and land cargo, requiring them to seize and destroy any goods transported in violation of the sanctions. Both China and Russia, which had been reluctant to support punitive measures against North Korea in the past, supported the US-drafted resolution, which is now binding under international law.
Marine reservist pleads guilty to leaking intelligence documents --Gunnery Sergeant admits to giving information to a Los Angeles County sheriff's detective for use by a multi-agency anti-terrorism task force. 12 Jun 2009 A Marine gunnery sergeant pleaded guilty Thursday to leaking secret intelligence information to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detective for use by an anti-terrorism task force. Eric. L. Froboese, an intelligence specialist, admitted giving documents to Marine Col. Larry Richards in 2003 and 2004 even though he knew Richards did not have the "need-to-know" clearance to get them. In his job as a sheriff's detective, Richards, a Marine reservist, was a co-founder of the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning Group.
awarded development money and contracts for flu vaccine --Swine
flu declaration will speed work on vaccine
12 Jun 2009 One immediate effect of the declaration of an H1N1 flu pandemic
will be to speed the production of a vaccine
Baxter Starts Making Swine Flu Vaccine --Baxter: 'a number of national public health authorities' have existing agreements with the company that allow them to place orders following the pandemic declaration 12 Jun 2009 Baxter International Inc. said Friday that it has launched full-scale production of a commercial vaccine for the A/H1N1 flu virus and that it could have it ready for use as early as July. The World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on Thursday for the virus, also known as the swine flu, and Baxter shares have been on the rise since amid expectations this will trigger orders between health organizations and vaccine makers, including Baxter. Earlier Friday, Novartis AG released positive data on a vaccine for swine flu and said it had produced its first batch weeks ahead of expectations. Baxter, based in Deerfield, Ill., said in a release that "a number of national public health authorities" have existing agreements with the company that allow them to place orders following the pandemic declaration. [See: Baxter working on vaccine to stop swine flu, though admitted sending live pandemic flu viruses to subcontractor 26 Apr 2009.]
Baxter in 'full scale' production of swine flu vaccine 12 Jun 2009 Baxter International Inc. said it is now in "full scale" production of a vaccine for the H1N1 virus, known as swine flu, and anticipates the first commercially available dosages to be available in early July. The announcement by the Deerfield-based medical product giant comes a day after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic.
With 27,000 cases, swine flu is officially a pandemic 12 Jun 2009 The World Health Organisation yesterday declared a global flu pandemic – the first in more than 40 years – as swine flu spread to 74 countries causing more than 27,000 confirmed cases and 141 deaths. After intense discussions between WHO officials and the health ministries of the worst-affected countries, the organisation decided to raise its pandemic alert status from phase five to phase six – the highest level – which confirmed that a pandemic is under way.
32 herds quarantined because of bovine TB fears 11 Jun 2009 Concerns about bovine tuberculosis have led to the quarantine of 32 cattle herds with about 15,000 adult cattle in north-central Nebraska, officials said Thursday. The bovine TB investigation has confirmed only two cases of the disease in one Rock County herd, but state Agriculture Director Greg Ibach said the other 31 herds have been quarantined because the animals may have had fence-line contact with the infected herd.
MI5 advertises in the Times Educational Supplement for recruits --Lawyers and former City workers have been screened and assimilated into the Service. 12 Jun 2009 The British Security Service MI5 is seeking to recruit teachers to serve as intelligence officers in the fight against terrorism, espionage and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It has placed an advert in the Times Educational Supplement in an attempt to lure the finest men and women from British common rooms to serve Queen and country.
Feds give SFO $15 million for security project 12 Jun 2009 San Francisco International Airport got first dibs on federal stimulus money aimed at airport safety Thursday when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano flew into town to announce that $15 million will go to build a new baggage system with advanced explosive-detection abilities.
Terror drill: 'New York, you have a problem' --Much of the drill played out behind the scenes and only select specifics were made public. 12 Jun 2009 A terror exercise earlier this week involved hundreds of New York Police Department officers and FBI agents trained at detecting threats, along with an elite unit of federal weapons experts expected -- with the approval of the U.S. attorney general -- to swoop in by plane and defuse them. There have been no specific threats against New York City. But since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, law enforcement officials have repeatedly warned that the city remains atop terrorists' hit lists -- and that a radiological or nuclear device could be in their arsenal.
41 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency Veterans Challenge the Official Account of 9/11 By Alan Miller 19 May 2009 Following in the footsteps of well over 1,000 scientists and other professional groups who have already gone on record questioning the official theory, more than 40 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency veterans have come forward to challenge the Government’s rendition of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The Big Hate By Paul Krugman 12 Jun 2009 Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s -- a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. Conservatives were outraged... But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient. There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.
Sizewell nuclear disaster averted by dirty laundry, says official report --Contractor noticed water from radioactive cooling pond that posed 'significant risk to operators and public' 11 Jun 2009 A nuclear leak, which could have caused a major disaster, was only averted by a chance decision to wash some dirty clothes, according to a newly obtained official report. On the morning of Sunday 7 January 2007, one of the contractors working on decommissioning the Sizewell A nuclear power station on the Suffolk coast was in the laundry room when he noticed cooling water leaking on to the floor from the pond that holds the reactor's highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. As much as 40,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled out of a 15ft long split in a pipe, some leaking into the North Sea. The pond water level had dropped by more than a foot (330mm) – yet none of the sophisticated alarms in the plant sounded in the main control room...
Japan Probes Report Two Seized With $134 Billion In U.S. Bonds 12 Jun 2009 Japan is investigating reports two of its citizens were detained in Italy after allegedly attempting to take $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds over the border into Switzerland. The Asahi newspaper reported today Italian police found bond certificates concealed in the bottom of luggage the two individuals were carrying on a train that stopped in Chiasso, near the Swiss border, on June 3.
Dow turns positive for the year as investors bet on recovery 12 Jun 2009 The black-and-blue Dow blue chips are finally back in the black for the year. On March 9, the Dow Jones industrial average was in freefall, awash in a pool of financially murderous red ink... Since then, the Dow -- and the entire U.S. stock market -- has basically shot up in a straight line. Stocks have risen at the fastest clip in the first 90 days after a bear market bottom since the Depression-era 1930s, historical stock charts show.
can make credit card donations/T-shirt charges via PayPal, you don't
need a PayPal account to make credit card payments through them.
donate[at]legitgov.org - inquiries or, pls. mail a check or money order to CLG