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


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

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July 2008 Archives

Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Captives: Book --'The abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.' 11 Jul 2008 Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation methods for high-level 'Qaeda' prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001. The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were "categorically" torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.

U.S. treatment of Khadr may have exceeded military's own guidelines --The origin of such practices at Guantanamo dates back to an April 16, 2003, memo by then-secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld. 11 Jul 2008 In subjecting Omar Khadr to the so-called "frequent flier program" - a sleep deprivation technique that has since been prohibited - the U.S. military may have exceeded even its own guidelines on the controversial practice. Department of Foreign Affairs documents made public this week show that the U.S. military intentionally deprived Mr. Khadr of sleep... prior to a visit by Canadian officials to Cuba in 2004. Given that the Canadian Federal Court has found the practice to be in violation of international law, the revelation that Mr. Khadr was subjected to the program directly contradicts repeated assurances from Ottawa that the Canadian was treated humanely.

Canada won't intervene despite latest Khadr developments: Harper 10 Jul 2008 A day after a report revealed Canadian officials knew of Omar Khadr's harsh treatment by the U.S. military, Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Thursday repeated vows to leave the case in U.S. hands. Harper, speaking to reporters in Tokyo following the G8 summit in northern Japan, also distanced his government from the latest revelations. A Canadian official visiting Khadr in 2004 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was told the U.S. military was depriving the then 17-year-old of sleep for weeks to make him "more amenable and willing to talk," according to a newly released internal report from the Foreign Affairs Department.

Iraq denies IAF using its airspace for Iran war rehearsal 11 Jul 2008 Iraq denied on Friday reports claiming the Israeli Air Force has been practicing for a possible attack against Iran in its airspace. "As the Ministry of Defense, we haven't observed any IAF warplanes practicing in Iraqi airspace," said Major-General Mohammad al-Askari, spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

Iraq dismisses report on Israeli air drills 11 Jul 2008 Iraq's Defence Ministry on Friday denied any Israeli air force drills had taken place in its airspace after a report that the Israelis were preparing there for a possible strike on Iran. An Israeli military spokesman also described the report, carried on the website of the Jerusalem Post as "utterly baseless".

Israeli jets using Iraq's airspace? 10 Jul 2008 The US has allowed Israeli jets to use US airbases in Iraq and fly over Iraqi airspace for a likely attack against Iran, Iraqi media say. For more than a month, Israeli planes belonging to the Israeli air force have been using US military bases in Iraq to land and take off, Iraqi Nahrainnet news network said Wednesday, quoting informed sources close to Iraq's Defense Ministry.

Peretz says strike on Iran should be led by US 10 Jul 2008 Former defense minister Amir Peretz suggested this week that if an attack is made against Iran, it should be conducted by an international force under the leadership of the United States. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post published in today's UpFront Magazine, Peretz said sanctions had not been enough to prevent Iran's nuclearization and that it was up to Israel to persuade the world that the threat from Teheran was real.

Barak to US: Time running out on Iran 10 Jul 2008 In a series of consultations apparently aimed at coordinating policies against the [alleged] Iranian nuclear threat, Defense Minister Ehud Barak will head to the US on Monday for talks at the Pentagon, days after Mossad chief Meir Dagan was in Washington for meetings with key intelligence officials. Sources say Israel is urgently trying to convince the US that Iran is closer to passing the nuclear threshold than Washington believes.

OPEC warns against military conflict with Iran 10 Jul 2008 The head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [Abdalla Salem El-Badri, the OPEC secretary general] warned Thursday that oil prices would see an "unlimited" increase in the case of a military conflict involving Iran, because the group's members would be unable to make up the lost production.

Expert: Iran 'Doctored' Photo of Missile Launches 10 Jul 2008 An Iranian photograph showing a cluster of missile launches was apparently altered to add a fourth missile lifting off from a desert range, a defense analyst said Thursday. "There's no doubt the photo was doctored," said Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the Non-Proliferation Program for the London-based International Institute For Strategic Studies.

Israeli police accuse Olmert of fraud, widen probe 11 Jul 2008 Israeli police accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of fraud on Friday and said a probe into alleged bribe-taking had been widened to look at whether he made duplicate claims for travel expenses. Police questioned Olmert for the third time on Friday as part of an investigation into allegations he took bribes from American businessman Morris Talansky.

Hagel to Join Obama on Iraq Trip 11 Jul 2008 The buzz this week that Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is planning to join Sen. Barack Obama on an up-coming visit to Iraq is correct, two sources with knowledge of the trip confirmed Friday.

Senate OKs promotions of 2 Iraq war generals 10 Jul 2008 The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] as the top commander in the Middle East and Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as the chief military officer in Iraq. The Senate voted 95-2 in favor of Petraeus with Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Tom Harkin opposing. Harkin, D-Iowa, cast the lone vote opposing Odierno, who was confirmed 96-1.

U.S. air strike kills 47 Afghan civilians 11 Jul 2008 A U.S. 'coalition' force air strike on Sunday killed 47 civilians, including 39 women and children, in the eastern province of Nangarhar, an Afghan official said on Friday. "I reject the coalition statement saying that all those killed were militants," Burhanullah Shinwari, deputy speaker of the upper house, who is heading an investigation into Sunday's incident told Reuters on Friday. "There aren't any Taliban or Al Qaeda even several kilometres near to where the air strike took place. Forty-seven people were killed; 39 of them were women and children," he said.

Nine injured in Afghanistan as helicopter fires on own troops 11 Jul 2008 Nine British soldiers were injured by "friendly fire" when an Army Air Corps Apache attack helicopter flying at close quarters targeted the troops by mistake during a clash with Taleban 'insurgents.' Three members of the British patrol were seriously injured in the incident, in Helmand province.

Sudan Leader to Be Charged With Genocide [OMG, what about Bush? Bush has killed *a lot more people* than Bashir!] 11 Jul 2008 The chief prosecutor of the Internationals Criminal Court will seek an arrest warrant Monday for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity in the orchestration of a campaign of violence that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the nation's Darfur region during the past five years, according to U.N. officials and diplomats.

Amtrak expands 'random' security sweeps 11 Jul 2008 Rail passengers from coast to coast will be subject to 'random' security checks and may have their luggage scanned for explosives beginning this fall, according to Amtrak officials. Six months after it set up counterterrorism teams to screen passengers at busy East Coast stations, the rail company is expanding its security sweeps across the country with a new team of special agents in California. "We want to show we're playing defense" against would-be terrorists, says Amtrak security chief Bill Rooney. "Our focus is counterterrorism. We're thinking along the lines of a Madrid or a London." [Oh, I'm sure you are! There's no 'winning' in November without another 9/11-style terror attack by Bush/Cheney.]

Oil fired up for an assault on $150 level 11 Jul 2008 Oil prices roared to a fresh record above $147 a barrel on Friday. But as momentous as the fact that the price is now threatening to reach the $150 landmark has been the extraordinary volatility in prices. US demand for petrol has sunk to its lowest level since 2003 in the face of record pump prices above $4 a gallon.

Airlines blame speculators for fuel prices --'Some estimate prices reflect $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary costs' 10 Jul 2008 Airline executives are blaming energy speculators for one quarter to nearly half of the current $130-$140 per barrel costs of oil, and they are telling their customers to call Congress and demand something be done. "Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known," an e-mail from United Airlines to customers said today. "Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again... Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs."

Electric Bills for Con Ed Customers Will Soar 11 Jul 2008 Consolidated Edison is expecting to bill its residential customers in New York City and Westchester County 22 percent more for electricity this summer than last because of rising fuel costs, officials at the utility said Friday.

U.S. needs financial regulatory overhaul: officials 10 Jul 2008 Policy-makers said on Thursday they were doing everything possible to restore calm to financial markets, but stressed to lawmakers that a longer-term regulatory overhaul was vital to avert future crises. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson told Congress they agreed the Fed needs a stronger hand in supervising investment banks to help shield the broader economy from problems like the ones that forced the emergency rescue of investment bank Bear Stearns.

Bush poised to bail out more corpora-terrorists: U.S. Weighs Takeover of Two Mortgage Giants 11 Jul 2008 Senior Bush administration officials are considering a plan to have the government take over one or both of the nation’s two largest mortgage finance companies and place them in a conservatorship if their problems worsen, people briefed about the plan said on Thursday. Under a conservatorship, the shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be worth little or nothing, and any losses on mortgages they own or guarantee -- which could be staggering -- would be paid by taxpayers.

The Week That Should Have Ended McCain's Presidential Hopes By Max Bergmann 10 Jul 2008 This is the week that should have effectively ended John McCain's efforts to become the next president of the United States. But you wouldn't know it if you watched any of the mainstream media outlets or followed political reporting in the major newspapers. During this past week: McCain called the most important entitlement program in the U.S. a disgrace, his top economic adviser called the American people whiners, McCain released an economic plan that no one thought was serious, he flip flopped on Iraq, joked about the deaths of Iranian citizens, and denied making comments that he clearly made -- TWICE. All this and it is not even Friday!

McCain advisor Gramm calls slowdown 'mental' and U.S. a 'nation of whiners' 10 Jul 2008 Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a top economic adviser to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, referred to the economic slowdown as "a mental recession" and called the United States "a nation of whiners." The comments, in an interview with The Washington Times, could hurt the campaign’s efforts to convince working-class Americans that McCain feels their pain.

Antarctic ice shelf 'hanging on by a thread' 11 Jul 2008 It might be the depths of winter in Antarctica but scientists say they're seeing more signs of global warming on the frozen continent. New satellite photos show the Wilkins Ice Shelf is even closer to breaking from the peninsula. Experts say the effects of warming there now look irreversible.

EPA Won't Act on Emissions 11 Jul 2008 The Bush regime has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce today that it will seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming to human health and welfare -- a matter that federal climate experts and international scientists have repeatedly said should be urgently addressed. The Supreme Court... ordered the EPA to decide whether human health and welfare are being harmed by greenhouse gas pollution from cars, power plants and other sources, or to provide a good explanation for not doing so. But the administration has opted to postpone action instead, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Oil firm pitching in to help polar bears with day at the beach 11 Jul 2008 (CT) A Westport-based oil company is joining forces with a conservation group to save the polar bear and curb global warming. The alliance, led by home heating oil provider Gault Inc., is hosting Polar Bear Empathy Day from 1 to 3 p.m. tomorrow at the town's Compo Beach. Oil company President Sam Gault joined with Polar Bears International to raise awareness of the now threatened animal. Empathy Day is intended to raise awareness of what polar bears are going through because of temperature increases connected with global warming, Gault said.

Polar Bear Harassment By Oil Companies Challenged 10 Jul 2008 Two conservation groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the Bush regime's decision to let oil companies unintentionally harass or harm polar bears and walruses off the northwestern Alaska coast. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage claims that federal officials violated laws designed to protect the animals and their sensitive habitat in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea.

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Pelosi Says House Judiciary May Hold Hearings On Kucinich Impeachment Resolution 10 Jul 2008 Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this morning that the House Judiciary Committee may hold hearings on an impeachment resolution offered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). Kucinich is expected to offer a "privileged resolution" this afternoon calling on the House to look at whether President [sic] Bush should be removed from office for lying to Congress and the American public when he sought congressional approval back in 2002 for taking military action to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Pelosi has said previously that impeachment "was off the table," so her comments this morning were surprising, and clearly signaled a new willingness to entertain the idea of ousting Bush.

Israel hints at readiness to strike Iran 10 Jul 2008 Israel's defense minister has hinted at readiness to attack Iran, saying his country "proved in the past that it won't hesitate to act when its vital security interests are at stake." But Ehud Barak added "the reactions of (Israel's) enemies need to be taken into consideration as well."

Rice warns Iran: US will defend Israel 10 Jul 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday that Washington had beefed up its security presence in the Gulf and would not hesitate to defend Israel and other allies in the region. "We will defend American interests and the interests of our allies," Rice said, answering a question on an Iranian threat to "set fire" to Israel.

Iran test-fires more missiles 10 Jul 2008 Iran test-fired more long-range missiles overnight in a second round of exercises meant to show that the country can defend itself against any attack by the US or Israel, Iranian state media reported on Thursday. The weapons have "special capabilities" and included missiles launched from naval ships in the Gulf, along with torpedoes and surface-to-surface missiles, the broadcast said, without further elaboration.

US-Iran 'not on brink of war' 10 Jul 2008 The US is no closer to military confrontation with Iran after Tehran test-fired missiles it says could reach Israel and US assets in the Middle East, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday. "There is a lot of signalling going on. But I think everybody recognises what the consequences of any kind of a conflict would be," Gates said.

U.S. Is 'Flashing Red' Light at Israel, Sen. Reed Says 06 Jul 2008 Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said this morning that the U.S. military is "flashing red" at Israel not to attack Iran. "From the military commanders I've spoken to, the yellow lights are blinking very, very quickly," Reed said in a "This Week" interview. "In fact, I think, even, it might be a flashing red, because the consequences in the region would be significant, and they would be region-wide." Pentagon officials are reportedly increasingly concerned that Israel could attack Iran's nuclear facilities this year.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator faces charges over Halliburton ties --BBC: Halliburton took in $30-$40 million from Iranian operations in 2003. 29 Jul 2005 Iran’s judiciary has arrested several executives of a privately-owned oil drilling company over their dealings with the U.S.-based oil giant Halliburton and one of the country’s top nuclear negotiators is facing charges of involvement in an oil scam, a semi-official news agency reported. Fars News Agency said Mehrdad Safdari, chairman of the Board of Directors of Oriental Oil Kish, and several of his colleagues are being interrogated over the company’s trading. A senior member of Iran’s nuclear negotiations team, Sirus Nasseri, is the vice-chairman of the Board of Directors of the oil company. The source noted that "Nasseri had access to the country's most secret information as a member of Iran's nuclear negotiations team and was at the same time dealing directly with the American company, Halliburton, which used to be run by Dick Cheney"... "Nasseri, a senior Iranian diplomat negotiating with Europe over Iran's controversial nuclear programme is at the heart of deals with US energy companies to develop the country's oil industry", the Financial Times wrote.

Troglodyte #1: John McCain jokes about killing Iranians with cigarettes 09 Jul 2008 US Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who once sang in jest about bombing Iran, on Tuesday reacted to a report of rising US cigarette exports to the country by saying it may be "a way of killing 'em." McCain was responding to a report that US exports to Iran rose tenfold during President [sic] George W. Bush's term in office... A rise in cigarette sales was a big part of that, according to an Associated Press analysis of seven years of US trade figures. "Maybe that's a way of killing 'em," McCain said to reporters during a campaign stop in Pittsburgh.

Troglodyte #2: President George Bush: 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter' [Yeah, we'd rather say goodbye to the world's biggest a**hole.] 10 Jul 2008 George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan. The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency [sic] for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter." He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.

Senate Confirms Petraeus' Promotion --Senate Votes 95-2 10 Jul 2008 The Senate confirmed Gen. David Petraeus [Betrayus] on Thursday as the top commander in the Middle East on a vote of 95-2. Immediately following the confirmation, the Senate was expected to approve the nomination of Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno to replace Petraeus as the chief military officer in Iraq.

Attacks kill U.S. soldier, 20 Iraqis --In the worst attack, a suicide bombing in Mosul leaves eight dead and 41 wounded. 10 Jul 2008 Several bombings and attacks by gunmen Wednesday killed 20 Iraqis and a U.S. soldier, officials said. A suicide car bomber killed eight civilians and wounded 41 in an attack on a military convoy carrying a senior Iraqi commander in the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi military said.

U.S. Troops in Iraq Face A Powerful New Weapon --Use of Rocket-Propelled Bombs Spreads 10 Jul 2008 Suspected 'Shiite militiamen' have begun using powerful rocket-propelled bombs to attack U.S. military outposts in recent months, broadening the array of weapons used against American troops. U.S. military officials call the devices Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions, or IRAMs. They are propane tanks packed with hundreds of pounds of explosives and powered by 107mm rockets. They are often fired by remote control from the backs of trucks, sometimes in close succession.

MOD in £3m abuse pay-out to Baha Mousa and nine other Iraqi 'torture' victims 10 Jul 2008 The Ministry of Defence has agreed to pay out nearly £3m in compensation to the family of a hotel receptionist who died after being beaten by British troops in Iraq and nine other men who were detained and interrogated imprisoned and tortured.

Nine Paras wounded in Afghanistan 'friendly fire' incident 10 Jul 2008 Nine British paratroopers have been wounded in a "friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan. The men from the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment were caught by a burst of 30mm cannon fire from a British Apache helicopter gunship as they fought at close quarters with the Taliban. Three were seriously injured and one will arrive back in Britain on Friday for treatment. The other six were described as "walking wounded" and are being treated at the military medical facility at Camp Bastion.

Nearly half of service personnel consider quitting, survey finds 10 Jul 2008 Nearly half of British troops regularly consider quitting the army and navy because of plummeting morale, poor equipment and low pay, a Ministry of Defence survey of more than 24,000 military personnel has found. Some 47% of soldiers and army officers periodically considered handing in their resignation. The proportion was the same among Royal Navy personnel, while the figure was 44% in the RAF.

Officials meet Fulbright scholars at Gaza border --U.S. meets students at border in visa process after Israeli denies access 10 Jul 2008 U.S. officials traveled to the Gaza border Thursday, going to unusual lengths to process the visa applications of three Palestinians who nearly lost their Fulbright scholarships because they couldn't leave the Gaza Strip. Israel had denied entry to the three Palestinian university students, thus preventing them from traveling to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem to apply for their visas. Instead, U.S. officials, carrying fingerprinting equipment for the visa applications, drove to the Erez Crossing on the Israel-Gaza border Thursday and met with them. Students cannot apply for U.S. visas in Gaza because Washington does not recognize the territory's [deomcratically-elected, unlike Bush] Hamas government.

White House rejects call to release emergency oil 09 Jul 2008 The White House on Tuesday rejected a call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to release oil supplies from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help bring down fuel prices. In a letter on Tuesday, Pelosi asked President [sic] George W. Bush to order a drawdown of "a small portion of the oil" held in the emergency stockpile and put more supplies on the market to "reduce the record prices that are helping push the economy toward recession."

U.S. military to patrol Internet 30 Jun 2008 The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks or other hostile activity on the Web. In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the U.S. Army's Fifth Signal Command said it was looking for a contractor to provide "Internet awareness services" to support "force protection" -- the term of art for the security of U.S. military installations and personnel. "The purpose of the services will be to identify and assess stated and implied threat, antipathy, unrest and other contextual data relating to selected Internet domains," says the solicitation. The solicitation says the successful contractor will "analyze various Web pages, chat rooms, blogs and other Internet domains to aggregate and assess data of interest."

Bush signs spy bill and draws lawsuit 10 Jul 2008 President [sic] George W. Bush signed a law on Thursday overhauling rules for eavesdropping on terrorism suspects but immediately faced a civil liberties challenge calling it a threat to Americans' privacy. The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and others immediately filed suit in Manhattan federal court and called for the law to be voided.

Senate Passes Unconstitutional Spying Bill And Grants Sweeping Immunity to Phone Companies --ACLU Announces Legal Challenge to Follow President's Signature 09 Jul 2008 Today, in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69 to 28 and is expected to be signed into law by President [sic] Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times.

US officials can now tap phones officially 09 Jul 2008 US intelligence services now have the power to tap telephone calls and emails from outside the country after the passing of a bill in the US Senate. Intelligence agents will be able to tap phones and Internet services without permission from a judge and telecoms companies will also be protected from claims for damages from their bugged clients. In the wake of the 11 September attacks in 2001, President [sic] George Bush authorised the National Security Agency to tap emails and telephone calls made by any US citizen. Since 2001, the measure has been repeatedly extended without any government control or special legal restrictions.

Senate Approves Telecom Amnesty, Expands Domestic Spying Powers 09 Jul 2008 The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to grant retroactive amnesty to the telecoms that aided the President [sic] Bush's five-year secret, warrantless wiretapping of Americans, and to expand the government's authority to sift through U.S. communications, handing a key victory to the Bush administration. The DemocRATs' presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama (D-Illinois) voted for the final bill, despite intense lobbying by supporters who used Obama's own online organizing technology to try to hold him to his promise to fight any bill that included amnesty. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama's former rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 110th Congress --Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 6304 ) Vote Number: 168 Vote Date: July 9, 2008, 02:47 PM Result: Bill Passed --Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Measure Title: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes. Vote Counts: YEAs 69 NAYs 28 Not Voting 3. [Hillary voted *nay,* Obama voted *yea* and coward McInsane didn't vote.]

Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 09 Jul 2008 One of the great challenges before us as a nation is remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism while preserving our commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. ...[A]ny surveillance program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration. ...I could not vote for the legislation in its current form.

Rove ignores subpoena, refuses to testify 10 Jul 2008 Former White House adviser Karl Rove defied a congressional subpoena and refused to testify Thursday about allegations of political pressure at the Justice Department, including whether he influenced the prosecution of a former Democratic governor of Alabama. Rep. Linda Sanchez, chairman of a House subcommittee, ruled with backing from fellow Democrats on the panel that Rove was breaking the law by refusing to cooperate -- perhaps the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress.

Attorney General Threatened with Contempt of Congress over CIA Leak Documents --Waxman Calling for a July 16 Resolution if Mukasey Does Not Turn Over Docs 08 Jul 2008 Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, has threatened to hold Attorney General Michael Mukasey in contempt of Congress if he does not provide documents that have been subpoenaed by his committee relating to the CIA leak investigation. Waxman is attempting to obtain documents detailing what President [sic] George W. Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney told investigators.

Mukasey defends FBI investigatory procedures before Senate panel 09 Jul 2008 Attorney General Michael Mukasey denied Wednesday that proposed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) guidelines would allow agents to open terror investigations based solely on a person's race, religion, or ethnicity. Testilying at a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mukasey said that travel to foreign terror "hot spots" would be one of many factors to be considered but refused to discuss hypothetical situations that might lead to an investigation.

Ethics group files bar complaints against ex-DOJ officials for partisan hiring 09 Jul 2008 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) Monday filed bar complaints against two former US Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, alleging that Michael J. Elston and Esther Slater McDonald improperly considered applicants' political affiliations when reviewing applications for DOJ jobs and summer internships. Both McDonald and Elston were named in a June report released by the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, which found that the DOJ had granted preferential treatment to conservative candidates under 2002 and 2006 screening programs.

White House threatens to veto House e-mail storage bill 09 Jul 2008 Ahead of a scheduled House vote today, the White House threatened to veto a bill aimed at forcing the president and federal agencies to improve preservation of e-mail records. The bill has generated some Republican opposition due to a provision the White House says gives the National Archives and Records Administration new responsibility for overseeing White House record-keeping.

House OKs tighter controls over White House e-mail 09 Jul 2008 The Democratic-controlled House, saying the Bush White House has deleted hundreds of thousands of e-mails, including some relevant to congressional investigations, passed legislation Wednesday to tighten controls over electronic messages sent through federal agencies.

Obama accepts Jackson's apology for crude remark 10 Jul 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama shrugged off a crude comment aimed at him by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, accepting an apology for a remark Jackson made as he contended that Obama wasn't speaking to issues important to the black community.

Wall Street slumps into bear market territory 09 Jul 2008 US stocks slumped decisively into bear market territory on Wednesday as investor sentiment buckled on concerns about the health of the financials sector and fears that slowing economic growth would hurt earnings at technology firms. Nine of the ten leading industrial sectors fell, knocking the benchmark S&P 500 down 2.3 per cent to 1,244.63 - its lowest level since July 2006 and its first bear market since 2002.

'I'm like Brontë's Heathcliff': PM reveals his passionate side 10 Jul 2008 Gordon Brown has likened himself to Heathcliff, the brooding, intense character in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. The Prime Minister dropped his guard in an interview with New Statesman, published today, in which the interviewer, Gloria De Piero, suggested to Mr Brown that many women viewed him as a Heathcliff-like figure. Given that the character is famed for his vindictive side, the Prime Minister might have been expected to recoil in horror at such a comparison. But no. "Absolutely correct," he replied, before adding: "Well, maybe an older Heathcliff, a wiser Heathcliff."

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Senate Approves Telecom Immunity and Expands Govt Surveillane Powers 09 Jul 2008 The Senate has approved a bill overhauling the rules on secret government eavesdropping and granting immunity to telecom companies that helped listen in on Americans after Sept. 11. The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, 69-28. It turned back three amendments that would have watered down, delayed or stripped away the immunity provision demanded by President [sic] Bush.

Commission wants to rein in warmongering US presidents 08 Jul 2008 Two former U.S. Secretaries of State are recommending that the United States change its procedures for deciding to go to war. James Baker and Warren Christopher say a U.S. president should be required by law to consult with Congress before going to war. And they want to require Congress to approve or disapprove the action within 30 days. The legislation proposed by Baker and Christopher's commission would require a president to consult with Congress before sending troops into combat for more than a week.

Iran blames West for 'artificially' raising oil prices, says war threat is a 'joke' 09 Jul 2008 Iran's president has blamed the West for "artificially" raising crude oil prices, and dismissed fears that Israel and the U.S. could be preparing to attack his country as a "funny joke." President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on a visit to Malaysia, told a news conference Tuesday that the global production of oil is much more than consumption, suggesting economics are not behind today's record-high prices. "So it is very clear and obvious that the market does not have a role in raising prices. There are some others that are determining the oil price for the benefit of the few, very rich people of the world," he said. Ahmadinejad criticized Iran's arch foe, the United States, in every answer. He blamed Washington for the world economic crisis and maintaining a nuclear weapons stockpile while opposing Tehran's "peaceful" nuclear program. He also questioned the United States' permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council, its occupation of Iraq, and held it responsible for illegal drug production in Afghanistan. [Well, I agree with Ahmadinejad on all points! --LRP]

Iran threat: We will burn American navy and set Israel alight if attacked --But Ahmadinejad dismissed threat of war as "silly joke" 09 Jul 2008 Iran kept up a barrage of conflicting messages over its nuclear programme yesterday, threatening to strike the US navy and "set Israel alight" if it was attacked. The strongest language came from Ali Shirazi, an aide to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate say over the most sensitive issues. "Tel Aviv and the US fleet in the Persian Gulf would be the targets that would be set on fire in Iran's crushing response," he said, the Fars news agency reported.

Iran threatens to set Israel ablaze as fears grow of US-backed war 09 Jul 2008 Iran has issued a strident warning that it would "set on fire" Israel and target the US navy in the Persian Gulf as its first response to any American attack over its nuclear programme. Rising tension in the area where Iran and the United States are both carrying out military exercises have contributed to driving oil prices to record highs.

Iran tests Shihab 3 long-range missiles as part of army drill 09 Jul 2008 Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards test-fired nine long and medium range missiles Wednesday during war games officials say are in response to US and Israeli threats, state-run Press TV reported. The drill was conducted in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormouz.

U.S. orders more air power for Afghanistan --Afghan intelligence points to Pakistani involvement in the Indian Embassy bombing; Pakistani leader denies it. 08 Jul 2008 Worried about increasing insurgent attacks defeat in Afghanistan, the U.S. military is sending extra air power there by shifting an aircraft carrier battle group away from the Iraq war. Defense officials said Tuesday that the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and its escort vessels were moved out of the Persian Gulf and to the Gulf of Oman, shortening the time that the carrier's strike planes must fly to support operations in Afghanistan.

Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal 09 Jul 2008 Russia threatened to retaliate by military means after a deal with the Czech Republic brought the US missile defence system in Europe a step closer. The threat followed quickly on from the announcement that Condoleezza Rice signed a formal agreement with the Czech Republic to host the radar for the controversial project. Moscow argues that the missile shield would severely undermine the balance of European security and regards the proposed missile shield based in two countries as a hostile move.

General: Iraq needs long-term US military 'help' 09 Jul 2008 The general who led efforts to train Iraq's army and police units said Wednesday that progress is mixed and long-term U.S. 'help' is needed. In his testimony Wednesday, Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik recommended streamlining laws and rules that he said have delayed U.S. military equipment purchases by Iraq. Iraq has ordered $2.7 billion in equipment, but received just $1.4 billion, he wrote.

Bush Won't Back Setting Timeline for Troops in Iraq, Aide Says 09 Jul 2008 The Bush administration rejects setting any "arbitrary" deadline to withdraw forces from Iraq, the president's [sic] spokeswoman said after an Iraqi official said his government wants a timeline for the presence of U.S. troops. "We have always been opposed, and remain so, to an arbitrary withdrawal date," White House press secretary Dana Perino said in Toyako, Japan.

U.S. Rejects Iraqi Demand for Timetable on Troop Withdrawal 09 Jul 2008 The U.S. government rejected calls by Iraq to set a timetable for withdrawing troops from the country and said the planned reduction in force levels will be dictated by conditions on the ground Exxon Mobil. The U.S. and Iraq are negotiating an agreement that will lay the legal boundaries for the operation of occupation forces after their United Nations mandate expires at the end of December.

US Iraq war hero Joseph Dwyer dies of apparent drugs overdose 09 Jul 2008 A US army medic who became a symbol of American heroism and integrity in the Iraq war has died of an apparent drugs overdose. The premature death of Joseph Dwyer at the age of 31 has highlighted the neglect many American veterans believe they face once they return home.

Bush lawyers told to speed Guantanamo detention appeals 08 Jul 2008 A federal judge handling the appeals of more than 200 Guantanamo prisoners vowed Tuesday to hold lawyers' "feet to the fire" to insure that the cases are handled as quickly as possible... Addressing Justice Department lawyers directly, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan told them to prioritize the lawsuits over all other cases. "We have to have a prompt resolution to these matters," he said, before adding, "The Supreme Court has spoken."

Turkish consulate attack is terrorism: US 10 Jul 2008 The United States Ambassador to Turkey has called a deadly attack near the US Consulate in Istanbul an act of terrorism aimed at America. Three police officers and three attackers were killed in the shootout when armed men attacked a police checkpoint outside the US consulate.

6 Die in Attack on U.S. Post in Turkey 09 Jul 2008 A group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on Turkish security guards outside the United States Consulate in Istanbul on Wednesday, the Turkish authorities said, and at least three police officers and three assailants were killed in a brief gun battle. Officials said that a fourth assailant escaped.

Former head of MI5 says 42-day detention plan is 'unworkable' 09 Jul 2008 Plans to hold terror suspects for up to 42 days are neither practical or principled, the former head of MI5 warned yesterday. Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, who stood down as the director general of Britain's domestic intelligence agency last year, took the highly unusual step of using her maiden speech in the House of Lords to denounce the plans.

Blair Advisers Oppose Brown's Terrorism Plan in House of Lords 08 Jul 2008 Two of Tony Blair's former ministers and his top domestic security official said they will vote against anti-terrorism laws proposed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the upper chamber of Parliament. Former Justice Secretary Charles Falconer and former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith joined Eliza Manningham-Buller, a former head of the domestic spy agency MI5, in saying they won't support plans to extend the time police can detain terrorism suspects without charge to 42 days.

DHS: The Gamesters of Triskelion. Shock Bracelet Considered For Airline Passengers, Border Control --The Department of Homeland Security has solicited a proposal from a Canadian security company to develop a stun bracelet. 08 Jul 2008 In order to enhance the security of air travel and to help manage [?] illegal immigration, the Department of Homeland Security has solicited a proposal from a Canadian security company to develop a passenger stun bracelet. Like the pain collars featured in the classic Star Trek episode The Gamesters of Triskelion, Lamperd Less Lethal's electro-muscular disruption (EMD) bracelet is intended to incapacitate wearers on remote command. Its inventor, Per Hahne, said he came up with the idea after the 9/11 terrorist attack. "I like to call it the next generation of Taser," he said, "theirs being a one-shot deal and mine being a multiple-shot deal."

Dodd Anti-Immunity FISA Amendment Shot Down 09 Jul 2008 The amendment that Sen. Chris Dodd has been pushing [sharing his amendment with Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis.] to strip lawsuit immunity from an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was -- as expected -- trounced in a Senate vote this afternoon. It pulled in 32 votes against 66 in opposition. In a post-9/11 anti-terrorism program, the federal government sought and received the cooperation of telecommunications companies in [illegally] tapping the communications of its customers without warrants.

Senate Dems not backing Obama on wiretapping bill 09 Jul 2008 Sen. Charles Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are bucking their party's presidential nominee Barack Obama by opposing a White House-backed warrantless wiretapping bill expected to be voted on today. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has not made up her mind on the controversial measure. During the primaries, Clinton and Obama vowed to filibuster the overhaul of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act if it contained a provision giving telecom companies protection from lawsuits.

Revised Intelligence Law Would Broaden Government Surveillance Powers 08 Jul 2008 Congress is expected to approve Wednesday a White House-backed bill to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- one that may further expand the use of evidence gathered by intelligence agencies in criminal cases. While much debate has centered on telecom immunity, arguably of greater importance are changes to the law that would let the government seek more-sweeping surveillance orders, easing the work of intelligence officers who previously had to seek specific warrants for communications involving individuals in the U.S.

Cheney Aides Altered CDC Testimony, Agency Official Says --Ex-Administrator Says Official From Vice President's Office Edited Out Six Pages 08 Jul 2008 Members of Vice President [sic] Cheney's staff censored congressional testimony by a top federal official on the health threats posed by global warming, a former Environmental Protection Agency official said today. In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, former EPA deputy associate administrator Jason K. Burnett said an official from Cheney's office edited out six pages from the testimony of Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last October.

Pandemic Mutations In Bird Flu Revealed 09 Jul 2008 Scientists have discovered how bird flu adapts in patients, offering a new way to monitor the disease and prevent trigger a pandemic, according to research published in the August issue of the Journal of General Virology. Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus has spread through at least 45 countries in 3 continents. Despite its ability to spread, it cannot be transmitted efficiently from human to human. This indicates it is not fully adapted to its new host species, the human. However, this new research reveals mutations in the virus that may result in a pandemic.

French town in nuclear emergency 09 Jul 2008 The town of Avignon in the south of France has suffered a bad radioactive spill. Radioactive fluid has accidentally leaked from a tank in a nuclear power plant. Some of the fluid has spilled into three rivers nearby and warnings have gone out to local residents. The authorities have urged people not to drink any water or catch fish from the Gaffiére, Lauzon and Rhône rivers.

G8 'fails to dig deep' on emission cuts 09 Jul 2008 World leaders at the G8 summit came under fierce attack from environmental campaigners last night despite committing themselves to cut global emissions in half by 2050. Green groups said the target – a slight toughening of last year's pledge – was now redundant and cuts of 80 to 95 per cent were needed to prevent global warming becoming life-threatening.

Polar bear harassment by oil companies challenged 08 Jul 2008 Two conservation groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the Bush regime's decision to let oil companies unintentionally harass or harm polar bears and walruses off the northwestern Alaska coast. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage claims that federal officials violated laws designed to protect the animals and their sensitive habitat in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea. Last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to grant legal protection to seven oil companies in the Chukchi over the next five years should they accidentally harm "small numbers" of polar bears or Pacific walruses while drilling or during other exploratory activities. The agency is named as a defendant in the suit, along with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

Disturb, harass Bush instead: Suit seeks ban on oil companies disturbing wildlife 08 Jul 2008 Two environmental groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn new federal regulations that grants permission to oil companies working in the Chukchi Sea to disturb the polar bears and walrus that live there. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Anchorage, challenges regulations issued last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allow "incidental takes" of the animals, meaning permission to disturb or accidentally harass them as long as such actions do not result in physical injury or death. Tuesday's lawsuit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Environment, is the latest volley in legal challenges over protections for polar bears and other animals from expanded oil development in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska.

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Polar Bears and Pacific Walrus From Oil Drilling in Chukchi Sea --Rule Exempting Oil Industry Activities From Marine Mammal Protection Act Challenged 08 Jul 2008 Today two conservation groups filed suit against Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne for issuing regulations that would allow unlimited harassment of polar bears and Pacific walrus by oil companies operating in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska. Harassment of polar bears and walrus is prohibited by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, yet the new regulations issued last month exempt oil companies operating in the Chukchi Sea from these restrictions for a period of five years.

U.S. agency calls on congress to end drilling ban [Exxon's whores are busy little bees.] 07 Jul 2008 Lifting the congressional ban on offshore drilling would likely increase U.S. oil and natural gas production above the government's current estimates, the U.S. Interior Department said on Monday. Based on data more than 25 years old, the Interior Department estimates that drilling on federal lands off the U.S. coasts could produce 18 billion barrels of oil and 76 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Top Democrat may back new offshore drilling: report 09 Jul 2008 A top U.S. Democratic senator said in a newspaper interview published Wednesday that he would consider supporting opening up new areas for offshore oil and gas drilling. "I'm open to drilling and responsible production," Senate Majority Whipped Richard Durbin told The Wall Street Journal, adding that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could also support the move. [Time to vote these sycophantic f*ckers out of Congress. Ditto Obama, for supporting FISA. --LRP]

Anti-Bush 'Legacy' Bus Rolling Into CT 07 Jul 2008 If you happen to be at Norwalk's Silver Star Diner this afternoon, and a bus rolls into the parking lot at 3:30 p.m., it's not the express from Manhattan. It's "The Bush Legacy Bus," a campaign to criticise the affects of the Bush presidency [sic].

Obama to accept Democratic nomination at Mile High stadium in Denver 08 Jul 2008 Barack Obama will have a big stage when he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination. The Democratic National Committee says Obama has agreed to give his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver. The 76,000-seat facility is home to the NFL's Denver Broncos.

Hillary's PUMA Voters: "It's Not Too Late!" 08 Jul 2008 In the wake of Barack Obama's recent perceived move to the center, disaffected supporters of Hillary Clinton have released a "Call To DNC Delegates" urging them to "leave fraudulent Obama in Denver" and "save the Democratic Party by nominating the truer Democrat." Posted on the website of the group called PUMA or "Party Unity My Ass" -- one of the groups that make up the mostly Democratic anti-Obama "Just Say No Deal coalition" -- the call asks "just 175 delegates" to throw their support to Hillary Clinton at the convention.

Congressional Performance Congressional Approval Falls to Single Digits for First Time Ever 08 Jul 2008 The percentage of voters who give Congress good or excellent ratings has fallen to single digits for the first time in Rasmussen Reports tracking history. This month, just 9% say Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Most voters (52%) say Congress is doing a poor job, which ties the record high in that dubious category.

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Unspecified weapons, military gear exported from US to Iran during Bush years --US exports to Iran increased over tenfold under Bush 08 Jul 2008 U.S. exports to Iran grew more than tenfold during President [sic] Bush's years in office even as he accused Iran of nuclear ambitions and helping terrorists. Other surprising shipments to Iran during the Bush administration possibly include weapons. The U.S. government's own figures show at least $148,000 worth of unspecified weapons and other military gear were exported from the United States to Iran during Bush's time in office. That includes $106,635 in military rifles and $8,760 in rifle parts and accessories shipped in 2004, the data shows. Also shipped to Iran were at least $13,000 in "aircraft launching gear and/or deck arrestors," equipment needed to launch jets from aircraft carriers, according to U.S. records.

US rejects Iraqi demand for troops' withdrawal timeline 08 Jul 2008 The United States on Tuesday rejected a demand from Iraq for a specific date for pullout of US-led foreign troops from the country, saying any withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground. Iraq said on Tuesday it will reject any security pact with the United States unless it sets a date for the pullout of US-led troops.

Security advisor: Iraq insists on timetable for U.S. troops' withdrawal 09 Jul 2008 Iraq's National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubaie said Tuesday that his country will reject any security pact with the United States unless a specific date for withdrawal of U.S.-led troops is set, according to reports from the holy city of Najaf. "Our stance in the negotiations with the Americans will be strong. We will not sign any memorandum of understanding without specifying a date for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq," Rubaie told reporters in Najaf.

Iraq demands pullout timetable in US defence pact talks 07 Jul 2008 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday he is negotiating a deal with Washington that will for the first time set a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign forces as part of a framework for a US troop presence into next year. The White House, however, said no "hard date" for the withdrawal of US forces was contemplated and US officials suggested that any timetable would be dependent on conditions on the ground.

Afghans claim US led planes bombed wedding party 06 Jul 2008 Afghan officials are reeling over what they say is a second US-led air raid which has killed civilians. The latest strike is said to have occurred on Sunday morning in Nangarhar, and according to local witnesses, targeted a wedding party. The Deh Bala district governor Hamisha Gul has told the AFP newsagency 22 people were killed in the strike, nineteen of them women and children. Scores more were wounded.

Suicide Car Blast Kills 41 in Afghan Capital 08 Jul 2008 A huge blast from a suicide car bomb at the gates of the Indian Embassy on Monday killed 41 people in the deadliest suicide car bombing since the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted [emboldened] the Taliban. Among the victims of the attack were at least four Indian citizens: the Indian defense attaché, a political counselor and two other Indian officials. Six Afghan police officers were also killed. Many of the rest appeared to be civilians. [Just one question for the New York Times. If the Taliban has been 'ousted,' who carried out the suicide bombing? Either the Taliban hasn't actually been ousted, or the US/Blackwater are busy little bees, stepping up the killings so that political pressure is brought to bear to ensure Bush's mercenaries get billions in new money. --LRP]

'No progress' on mass Guantanamo prisoner transfer 07 Jul 2008 U.S. and Yemen remain at odds over a proposal to release more than one-third of the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, officials said Monday, even as the Bush regime wrestles with the future of the military prison. About 100 of the approximately 270 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo Bay are Yemeni nationals. "There is no progress at all," said Waleed Alshahari, an official following the talks for the Yemeni Embassy in Washington. "The situation remains as it is."

Oil prices fall heavily as Iran tensions ease 07 Jul 2008 Oil prices fell sharply Monday in a move some traders attributed to an ease in geopolitical tensions related to Iran's nuclear program and a strengthening US dollar. New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, slumped a hefty 3.92 dollars to close at 141.37 dollars.

Officials say Israel could not attack Iran without U.S. support 07 Jul 2008 Israeli defense officials have told local media they are concerned that Israel is being used as a pawn by rival factions in the White House. They say a group led by U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney that is pushing for military action against Iran, and the U.S. military which is opposing a strike, are both leaking information about a potential attack on the Islamic state by Israel.

Europe Remains at Risk From Terrorism Attacks, Official Says 08 Jul 2008 Europe remains at risk from a major terrorist attack even though police have been successful in breaking up Islamic 'militant' groups, the European Union's anti-terrorism chief said. "Our services are rather efficient but the risk remains serious,'' Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's counterterrorism coordinator, said in an interview yesterday in Cannes, France, where he's attending a meeting of EU interior ministers.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, former MI5 chief, savages 42-day plan 08 Jul 2008 Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, today dealt a huge blow to Gordon Brown’s plans to extend the detention of terrorist suspects to 42 days. Making her first speech as a member of the House of Lords, the former security chief said the Government’s plans were wrong in principle and in practice. She spoke as the Government’s controversial Counter-Terrorism Bill, narrowly approved by the Commons last month, reached the House of Lords. The Bill would extend the period of time the police can hold terror suspects without charge to six weeks, up from the current limit of 28 days.

'Big Brother' government costs us £20billion 07 Jul 2008 The cost of Britain’s "surveillance society" measures is now running at £20 billion, a new report reveals today. The amount is equivalent to £800 per household and includes £19 billion for the planned ID card system and £500 million for CCTV cameras. The report by the TaxPayers’ Alliance was highlighted by David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, who stands in a by-election this week on the issue of civil liberties. Mr Davis resigned as an MP after the opposition failed to defeat Government plans to hold terrorism suspects for 42 days.

Want some torture with your peanuts? By Jeffrey Denning 01 Jul 2008 A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers. This bracelet would take the place of an airline boarding pass; contain personal information about the traveler; be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage and shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes. The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it's referred to as, would be worn by every traveler "until they disembark the flight at their destination." According to a letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, to the inventor whom he had previously met with, he wrote, "To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in…the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal." Not only could it be used as a physical restraining device, but also as a method of interrogation, according to the same aforementioned letter from Mr. Ruwaldt.

Prototype Remote-Activated Wrist Stun-Device Shocks You For Aeroplane Security 08 Jul 2008 An official in the Department of Homeland Security has "expressed great interest" in a wrist bracelet that can be remotely activated to stun the wearer. It works by taking the place of a boarding pass, which you then wear on your wrist so the flight attendants can know who you are, where you are, and even shock you if you're misbehaving.

Two held after shooting at Canada, U.S. border 07 Jul 2008 A U.S. Border Patrol agent shot at three suspects early today after being assaulted on a residential street near the U.S.-Canada border. The agency says an officer on routine patrol spotted the three people -- two male and one female -- walking in Derby Line, Vt., at about 2:15 a.m.

Oil Companies Sought to Boost Prices by Cutting Refinery Output --1996 Texaco memo: 'Significant events' required to deal with excess refinery capacity problem 14 Jun 2001 While the Bush administration cites the lack of refineries for energy shortages, internal oil industry documents show that five years ago companies were looking for ways to cut refinery output to boost profits. A Texaco memo, written in March, 1996, concluded that "significant events" were required to deal with the excess refinery capacity problem and suggested one solution might be to get the government to lift clean air requirements for an oxygenate in gasoline. Removal of the additive would require more gasoline to be used in each gallon of fuel, tightening supplies. While refinery capacity now has become tight, the oil industry is still pressing for an end to the federal requirement for an oxygenate in gasoline, arguing new blends of gasoline can meet the same clean air requirements.

Hong Kong expert warns flu vaccine for chickens losing efficacy 08 Jul 2008 A vaccine used to stop outbreaks of the deadly bird flu virus in chickens in Hong Kong for the last seven years is losing its effectiveness, a leading microbiologist warned Tuesday. Professor Yuen Kwok-yung said the vaccine, which protects chicken from the H5 strain of the virus, is becoming less effective and the city risks further outbreaks because total failure is inevitable. The head of microbiology at the University of Hong Kong told the South China Morning Post the virus was mutating and shifting away from the Fujian strain of H5N2 for which it was developed.

Penn. Lab Gets $1.6M to Develop Bird Flu Vaccine 07 Jul 2008 Workers at a small lab in Lackawanna County will soon start work on a vaccine to help in case of a [US Army-engineered] bird flu pandemic, with a $1.6 million grant. The federal funding was presented to Vital Probes of Mayfield Monday to develop a protective vaccine in case of an avian flu pandemic, one that officials said could threaten the homeland security of the United States. [See: DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack.]

Federal investigation launched into Obama's MD-80 aircraft 07 Jul 2008 The National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that it is investigating what caused Senator Barack Obama’s plane to make an unexpected landing today in St. Louis. The presumptive Democratic nominee for president was traveling from Chicago to Charlotte when the pilot's first officer announced that they were experiencing controllability issues with the pitch of the MD-80 series aircraft.

Mechanical problem forces Obama plane to land 07 Jul 2008 Presidential candidate Barack Obama's plane landed unexpectedly in St. Louis on Monday after experiencing a mechanical problem. The pilot of the plane told passengers the problem had to do with "controllability of the pitch" before landing safely in St. Louis. As the plane was descending, the pilot said the problem had been fixed.

Webb removes himself from consideration for VP 07 Jul 2008 U.S. Sen. Jim Webb has removed himself from consideration for vice president. The Virginia Democrat released a statement Monday saying he has told Sen. Barack Obama that he wants to remain in the Senate, where he believes he is best equipped to serve the people.

Ex-Aide: Cheney Nixed CDC Report Testimony --Findings On Climate Change's Health Effects Dropped At VP Office's Urging, Former EPA Official Says 08 Jul 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney's office pushed for major deletions in congressional testimony on the public health consequences of climate change, fearing the presentation by a leading U.S. health official might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases, a former environment official maintains. When six pages were cut from testimony on climate change and public health by the head of the Centers for Disease Control last October, the White House insisted the changes were made because of reservations raised by White House advisers about the accuracy of the science. But Jason K. Burnett, until last month the senior adviser on climate change to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson, says that Cheney's office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC's original draft testimony removed.

Is HPV Vaccine to Blame for a Teen's Paralysis? 02 Jul 2008 About a month after being vaccinated 'against' the cervical cancer-causing HPV virus, 13-year-old Jenny Tetlock missed the lowest hurdle in gym class, the first hint of the degenerative muscle disease that, 15 months later, has left the previously healthy teenager nearly completely paralyzed. Did the vaccine, Gardasil [GardaKILL], cause her condition? Her father, Philip Tetlock, a psychology professor at UC-Berkeley's Haas School of Business, has embarked on an odyssey to find out whether the vaccine or random coincidence is to blame.

Anti-Vaccine Activists vs. Gardasil 19 Jun 2008 Merck's new vaccine has been deployed worldwide, earning an estimated $1.5 billion in sales. But the drug is coming under increasing fire from anti-vaccine activists. NVIC has called on the CDC and FDA to warn the public that Gardasil [GardaKILL] has been associated with at least 15 cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disorder; and it says there is an increased risk for GBS when Gardasil is co-administered with other vaccines. NVIC is concerned about the growing number of vaccinations required by schools and the push, in some public health quarters, to mandate more vaccines.

Hurricane Bertha strengthens into "major" hurricane 07 Jul 2008 Hurricane Bertha strengthened into a "major" hurricane on Monday, with sustained winds of at least 115 miles per hour (185 km per hour) as it headed west-northwest across the open Atlantic hundreds of miles (kilometres) from the United States, U.S. forecasters said.

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Guantanamo Bay may be turned into marine 'rapid reaction' base 06 Jul 2008 The United States is considering transforming the Guantanamo Bay terrorism prison into a base for a Marines "rapid reaction force" to deal with 'threats' in Central America. In the first official admission that closure of the camp had entered the planning stage, the base commander, Captain Mark Leary, said regional US Marines commanders have surveyed the site to assess its suitability.

MPs accuse Washington of lying over rendition flights 06 Jul 2008 MPs are to launch an investigation into US activities on Diego Garcia after accusing Washington of lying about extraordinary rendition flights from the British-controlled island in the Indian Ocean. They described false assurances given by the US about its use of Diego Garcia for the controversial flights as "deplorable".

Letter tells 5+1 Iran ready to negotiate: MP 07 Jul 2008 Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki’s letter to the foreign ministers of the 5+1 group and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana was the expression of Iran’s readiness to negotiate on the nuclear issue, said Alaeddin Borujerdi, the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee chairman, here on Sunday. Responding to a question on how Mottaki’s letter was delivered to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he said, "Ordinarily, Iran-U.S. connections are through the Swiss Embassy."

Iran has resumed A-bomb project, says West 07 Jul 2008 Iran has resumed work on constructing highly sophisticated equipment that nuclear experts say is primarily used for building atomic weapons, according to the latest intelligence reports received written by Western diplomats.

52 Iranians to compete in Olympics 07 Jul 2008 As the countdown to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games kicks off, some 52 Iranian sportsmen are preparing to flex their muscles at the games. Among the competitions the Iranian Olympians will participate in are freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, taekwondo, judo, weightlifting, archery, track and field, discus, rowing, boating, cycling, table tennis, boxing and shot-put.

Iraqi PM says government has defeated terrorism 05 Jul 2008 Iraq's prime minister said Saturday that the government has defeated terrorism in the country [Really?], a sign of growing confidence after recent crackdowns against Sunni extremists and Shiite militias. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki launched the crackdowns to extend the authority of the government over areas in Baghdad and elsewhere that have largely been under the control of armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Car bomb kills six people in Baghdad 06 Jul 2008 Six people have been killed and 14 injured in a car bombing in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Officials say the bomb went off in a mainly Shia district in the north-east of the city. Reports say the attack targeted a police patrol car.

Suicide Car Bomb Hits Afghan Capital 07 Jul 2008 A car bomb ripped through the front wall of the Indian Embassy in central Kabul on Monday, killing 40 people in the deadliest attack in Afghanistan's capital since the fall rise of the Taliban, officials said.

20 die in coalition missile strike in Afghanistan 06 Jul 2008 At least 20 people have been killed in a missile strike by 'coalition' forces in Afghanistan. Local people say that the group was a wedding party, and most of the dead are said to be women and children. However the US has said that those killed were militants involved in previous mortar attacks on a NATO base. [Yeah, the bride was a busy little bee in June. You know, planning her wedding, planning mortar attacks....]

Afghan government investigates part of US in raid 06 Jul 2008 An air raid which killed 15 civilians on Friday, is being investigated by the government in Afghanistan. Almost 700 civilians have been killed in the last six months in raids and attacks, 250 of them by international [US] or Afghan troops.

AP: US allowed S. Korea to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners 06 Jul 2008 The American colonel, troubled by what he was hearing, tried to stall at first. But the declassified record shows he finally told his South Korean counterpart it "would be permitted" to machine-gun 3,500 political prisoners, to keep them from joining approaching enemy forces. In the early days of the Korean War, other American officers observed, photographed and confidentially reported on such wholesale executions by their South Korean ally, a secretive slaughter believed to have killed 100,000 or more leftists and supposed sympathizers, usually without charge or trial, in a few weeks in mid-1950. Extensive archival research by The Associated Press has found no indication Far East commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur took action to stem the summary mass killing, knowledge of which reached top levels of the Pentagon and State Department in Washington, where it was classified "secret" and filed away.

NYPD now has own scholar to help review threats 06 Jul 2008 He was a flight surgeon with the Navy and a CIA officer in Pakistan. He has also earned a doctorate in sociology and written two books. Now Marc Sageman can add a new entry to his resume: terrorism guru for the New York Police Department. Sageman, billed by the NYPD as its first-ever "scholar in residence," has become a key player in a debate over whether the greatest terror threat America faces comes from inside or outside its borders. [No scholar needed: They all come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.]

Biochemistry Students' Violent Deaths Shock Police --Two biochemistry students had come to London to develop their skills as specialists in infectious disease and environmental engineering. 04 Jul 2008 As two talented biochemistry students and close friends, Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez had come to London to develop their skills as specialists in infectious disease and environmental engineering... The bodies of Mr Bonomo and Mr Ferez, both 23, were found late on Sunday evening, bound, gagged and with hundreds of stab wounds and other injuries. They had been tortured and beaten repeatedly with a blunt instrument. Yesterday officers described the killings, which took place in Mr Bonomo’s flat in southeast London, as the most vicious they had seen. Mr Bonomo, a student in the proteins that cause infectious disease, had been stabbed 196 times, with up to half the wounds inflicted after he was dead. Mr Ferez had 47 separate injuries. Police said that their ordeal had lasted a considerable time before the flat, and possibly the bodies, were covered in accelerant and set alight. [See: List of Dead Scientists --Microbiology, what a dangerous profession! Most have died since 9/11. By Steve Quayle]

French killings suspect released 06 Jul 2008 Police have released without charge a man they questioned overnight about the brutal murders of two French biochemistry students in a south London bedsit. Officers arrested a 21-year-old man at 3.40am on Saturday in a street close to the New Cross flat where Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo, both 23, were found gagged, bound, stabbed and burned. Scotland Yard is still examining the theory that the double murder may be linked to the theft of... a laptop computer from the flat six days before the students were murdered. Bonomo, from Velaux, near Marseille, who was studying the proteins involved in infectious diseases, had been stabbed 196 times. [Gee, the killers' handlers - busy working on getting an avian flu pandemic party started - can't be too happy with this level of overkill. There are currently 40 detectives working on the case - LOL, that's going to be a problem. --LRP]

Investigator: Unclear if attackers returned to scene to set flat alight to destroy evidence 06 Jul 2008 Yesterday, police produced a computer photofit of a man seen by neighbours running from the flat in New Cross, south-east London, moments after it exploded in flames at 10pm last Sunday. Det Chief Insp Mick Duthie, who is leading the investigation, said it was unclear whether the attacker or attackers returned to the scene to set the flat alight to destroy the evidence, having already killed the two men. There have been reports that the two students – who were on a three-month attachment at Imperial College London – may have been tortured to disclose their pin numbers. Police have yet to trace a black laptop computer stolen from Mr Bonomo's flat less than a week before the killings. They believe that the two raids may be linked.

Pair 'were tortured and killed' --40 detectives are on case, codenamed Operation Dockery 05 Jul 2008 Six days before the murders, Laurent Bonomo disturbed an intruder who stole a laptop as he took an early morning shower. That theft and the murders may be connected. The bodies of the 23-year-olds were found at Mr Bonomo's flat in the cul-de-sac of Sterling Gardens, New Cross, on Sunday night. A white man was seen running away moments after an explosion. A black Packard Bell laptop was taken during a burglary between 5am and 6am on June 23.' Detectives have said the burglary in which the laptop was stolen could be linked to the murders as forensic experts have found no evidence of forced entry, suggesting a stolen set of keys may have been used.

Fox News airs altered photos of NY Times reporters 02 Jul 2008 During a segment in which Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade labeled New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg and editor Steven Reddicliffe "attack dogs," Fox News featured photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe that appeared to have been digitally altered -- the journalists' teeth had been yellowed, their facial features exaggerated, and portions of Reddicliffe's hair moved further back on his head.

McNutjob wants to eliminate Social Security: McCain promises to balance budget 06 Jul 2008 Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to promise on Monday that he will balance the federal budget by the end of his first term by curbing wasteful spending and overhauling eliminating 'entitlement' programs, including Social Security, his advisers told Politico. The vow to take on cut Social Security puts McCain in a political danger zone that thwarted President [sic] Bush after he named it the top domestic priority of his second term. [McCain doesn't realize that other elderly people don't live as well as Beer Bimbo Cindy.]

Fulton Court Denies Permit for Coal Power Plant in Georgia 06 Jul 2008 On June 30, 2008, Fulton County Superior Court denied Greenleaf Energy Associates LLC a permit to build a coal burning power plant in Early County, Georgia, on the Florida border. Early County has almost twice as many Black residents than the average county in Georgia, and almost twice as many residents below the federal poverty line, according to US Census Bureau data from 2006 and 2004, respectively, making this a significant environmental justice issue. Georgia has a tendency to locate its nuclear and coal plants and toxic waste dumps in poor, Black areas. [Right. A more appropriate location: Bush's head.]

Jesse Helms: American Garbage By Ken Layne 04 Jul 2008 Jesse Helms died today, 25 years too late, but the stench of his rotten career will always linger in the Senate, and over the South. He was a hero to bigots and the cigarette corporations, a menace to the poor and downtrodden, and a mean little troll whose heart was so wrecked by wickedness that doctors had to patch it up with coronary valves from a pig... Once in Washington, Dixiecrat Helms became the new, stupid face of the Republican Party, the party that left behind intellectualism and civil rights and took up the Southern Strategy of pandering to bitter white losers while actively working against that same white working class... He was the ugliest kind of bigot and a stain on America.

California firefighters brace for new heat wave 07 Jul 2008 Weary California firefighters braced on Sunday for another heat wave in the next few days as they battled to bring two major blazes threatening towns along the central coast under control.

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Uranium shipped to Montreal from Iraq in top secret mission 05 Jul 2008 The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program, a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium, reached Montreal on Saturday to complete a top-secret U.S. operation. The removal of 550 metric tonnes of "yellowcake," the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment, included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a voyage across two oceans. The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., in a transaction the official described as worth "tens of millions of dollars." U.S. and Iraqi forces have guarded the 9,300-hectare yellowcake site since its discovery. [Hmm... I wonder how much Bush has siphoned for his 'October Surprise?']

Files show US military planned nerve gas testing in Australia 06 Jul 2008 There are revelations the United States military was planning to test deadly nerve gas in north eastern Australia in far north Queensland rainforest in the 1960s. Australian Defence Department files obtained by Australian television station Channel Nine, show the US was planning to test Sarin and VX nerve gas on up to 200 Australian combat troops by aerial bombing areas around Lockhart River. The plan never went ahead, but American survey teams inspected the proposed testing site.

'Germ warfare' fear over African monkeys taken to Iran 06 Jul 2008 Hundreds of endangered monkeys are being taken from the African bush and sent to a "secretive" laboratory in Iran for scientific experiments. An undercover inquiry by The Sunday Times has revealed that wild monkeys, which are banned from experiments in Britain, are being freely supplied in large numbers to laboratories in other parts of the world [such as the US and the UK]. Monkeys are commonly used to test vaccines for 'biological weapon' diseases such as anthrax and plague. Experimenting on monkeys caught in the wild was effectively banned in Britain in 1997. Only monkeys bred in captivity are now used for research -- America, Russia, China and Iran are among the countries still using wild monkeys. [Oh, so torturing animals in the US, UK, Russia and China is OK - because the animals are wild instead of bred for a lab?]

'While the FBI was busy collecting fingerprints, the military was setting up its own biometrics database, adding in iris and facial data as well.' U.S. fingerprints insurgents, prisoners and ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq 06 Jul 2008 In the six-and-a-half years that the U.S. government has been fingerprinting 'insurgents,' prisoners and ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, hundreds have turned out to share an unexpected background, FBI and military officials said. They have criminal arrest records in the United States... If Iraq and Afghanistan were a proving ground of sorts for biometric watch-listing, the U.S. government is moving quickly to try to build a domestic version. Since September 2006, Homeland Security and the FBI have been operating a pilot program in which police officers in Boston, Dallas and Houston run prints of arrestees against Homeland Security and State Department databases.

Iraqi torture victims slam UK 'contempt' --Father of Baha Musa says MoD views lives as cheap, as he flies in for talks over his son's death 06 Jul 2008 Iraqi civilians who were tortured by British soldiers say the government is treating them with 'contempt' ahead of a potential multi-million-pound payout for the abuse they suffered. The eight Iraqis arrived in London yesterday for this week's long-awaited mediation into how much compensation the government is willing to pay to civilians who were tortured while held in British custody. The eight accused the Ministry of Defence last night of trying to block them from attending the high-profile meeting... Musa, 26, had suffered 93 identifiable injuries at the hands of British soldiers in Basra in September 2003. He had died after being subjected to 36 hours of beatings and abusive treatment, including being double-hooded with hessian sacks in stifling conditions.

Iraqi leaders: Iraq to be plunged into 'new war' if Israel or US attacks Iran --Military action 'would destabilise Iraq' 05 Jul 2008 Iraq will be plunged into a new war if Israel or the US launches an attack on Iran, Iraqi leaders have warned. Iranian retaliation would take place in Iraq, said Dr Mahmoud Othman, the influential Iraqi MP... George Bush successfully requested $400m (£200m) from Congress last year to fund covert operations aimed at destabilising the Iranian leadership. The most effective of these opponent groups is the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), which enraged the Iraqi government by staging a conference last month at Camp Ashraf, north-east of Baghdad. An embarrassing aspect of the American pin-prick war against Iran is that many of its instruments were previously on the payroll of Saddam Hussein. The dissidents from Arab districts in southern Iran around Ahwaz were funded by Saddam Hussein's intelligence organisations, which orchestrated the seizure of the Iranian embassy in London in 1980 which was supposedly carried out by Arab nationalists from Iran.

US soldier dies in Iraq 06 Jul 2008 The U.S. military says an American soldier in Iraq has died of a 'noncombat' cause. A military statement says the soldier died Saturday.

Israel accused of burying nuclear waste in Golan Heights 05 Jul 2008 Syria has called on the United Nations to exert pressure on Israel... the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported this week. The report refers to the Druze residents of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. 'Israel still buries the poisonous nuclear wastes in the Golan in a flagrant violation of the international legitimacy resolutions… And the Syrian citizens are still exposed to the explosion of mines planted by Israeli occupation forces and the number of injured people by the explosions reached at 67 among them 17 children,' the Syrian report said.

Taliban fightback forces US Marines to do longer tour 06 Jul 2008 The Pentagon has extended the tour of duty of 2,200 US Marines fighting alongside British forces in southern Afghanistan, amid fears that a resurgent Taliban US puppet dictatorship will force the postponement of next year's crucial presidential 'election' in the country. For the first time since the Iraq invasion in 2003, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the top US military post, said explicitly last week that Washington could not send enough troops to Afghanistan because of commitments in Iraq.

Afghan MP assassinated 05 Jul 2008 An Afghan MP has been shot dead by armed men [Blackwater?] on his way home from work in the southern province of Kandahar. Habibullah Jan Sanzenai who was also head of Kandahar's prominent Alizai tribe, represented the province in the lower house of parliament. Taliban militants who are active in the region have denied killing the MP.

Afghanistan's President wants deaths investigated 06 Jul 2008 Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the alleged killing of 16 civilians in an air raid by US led forces battling 'insurgents' in north east Afghanistan. Mr Karzai says he is deeply saddened by Friday's incident and has told the defence and interior ministries and local authorities to investigate. The provincial governor says the civilians were killed as they were travelling out of the area after being warned by security forces to leave ahead of an operation against Islamic insurgents civilians.

Afghans say US-led air raid has killed 22 civilians 04 Jul 2008 Afghan officials say a U.S.-led coalition air strike has killed 22 civilians in eastern Afghanistan. District chief Zia-ul-Rehman told reporters the attack happened Friday on a road in the remote district of Nuristan province, near the Pakistani border. He said the civilians were leaving the area, when their vehicles were bombed.

Thanks to Bush: Al-Qaeda re-grouping in Pakistan 05 Jul 2008 A senior US security official has reportedly said that al-Qaeda is regrouping itself in tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has said that he fears al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] and other militant organisations could resume their activities after turning the Pakistani Tribal Areas bordering Afghanistan into their centre. [See: Billions in U.S. Aid to Pakistan Wasted, Officials Assert 24 Dec 2007. See: US Senate approves Pakistan aid worth $785m 20 Dec 2007.]

FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio 04 Jul 2008 Leaders of the Colombian FARC rebel movement were paid millions of dollars to free Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, Swiss radio said on Friday, quoting 'a reliable source'. The 15 hostages released on Wednesday by the Colombian army 'were in reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up,' the radio's French-language channel said. Saying the United States, which had three of its citizens among those freed, was behind the deal, it put the price of the ransom at some $20 million. The radio said its source was 'close to the events, reliable and tested many times in recent years.'

Freed hostage returns to France amid claims Colombian rebels were paid a £10 million ransom 04 Jul 2008 After six years of being held hostage in the Colombian jungle, the former Colombian presidential candidate and French citizen, Ingrid Betancourt, flew back to France... But her return came amid claims she was released together with three Americans after a £10million ransom was paid. Columbia had said the hostages were released after a daring raid on a rebel compound.

US has $20M to disable NKorean reactor 03 Jul 2008 The Bush regime says it has $20 million [!] available to pay for disabling North Korea's main nuclear facility. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters Thursday that Korea has completed nine of 12 steps meant to disable the reactor at Yongbyon.

Indonesia seeks to shut Navy lab researching avian flu --Health Minister: Viruses Shared With U.S. Could Be Turned Into Biological Weapons. Politicians say the U.S. facility doesn't benefit Indonesia and could be a cover for spying. 05 Jul 2008 Indonesia suspended negotiations with the United States over the fate of a U.S. Navy medical research lab here [Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2] last month after senior politicians said it didn't benefit Indonesia and could be a cover for spying. The biomedical research lab opened in Jakarta in 1970 and is used to 'study' tropical diseases, including malaria, dengue fever and avian flu, according to an embassy fact sheet... After announcing a ban on virus-sharing in January 2007, Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari published a book in which she warned that any viruses shared with other countries could be turned into biological weapons. She also recounted a meeting in Geneva with John E. Lange, the U.S. special representative for pandemic flu, in which she told him, "It is not impossible that there will be a group of people in developed countries insane enough to reengineer the viruses to create an outbreak in the Third World." [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004; Congress Set to Pass Law Eliminating Liability For Vaccine Injuries 19 Oct 2005; Rumsfeld's growing stake in Tamiflu 31 Oct 2005; DoD to 'augment civilian law' during pandemic or bioterror attack 11 May 2007.]

Bethpage security research site wins key lawmaker support 05 Jul 2008 (NY) Two local congressmen [Reps. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Peter King (R-Seaford)] have won a key committee's backing for $2 million in federal funds to help take cutting-edge security technology from national labs to Long Island streets. The money would go toward a homeland security research center in Bethpage, where members of the industrial and scientific communities will unite to move ideas from facilities such as Brookhaven National Laboratory into hands of police and other first responders.

Cause for Alarm By Bob Herbert 05 Jul 2008 You know that matters have gotten out of hand when, as we learned this week, American instructors at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, gave classes on torture techniques used by the Communists to extract false testimony from American prisoners during the Korean War... As Al Gore reminds us, this is the first time in American history that "the executive branch of the government has not only condoned but actively promoted the treatment of captives in wartime that clearly involves torture, thus overturning a prohibition established by Gen. George Washington during the Revolutionary War." ...We can build spectacular new stadiums for football and baseball teams... but we can’t rebuild New Orleans or reconstruct the World Trade Center site destroyed almost seven years ago.

'Over 56 of Ohio's 88 counties destroyed election records.' Are Ohio Voters Jus' a Buncha Dumb Hayseeds? Ohio Election Justice Campaign (OEJC) Declares Need for Voter Independence By Paddy Shaffer 04 Jul 2008 The Ohio Election Justice Campaign announced today that its research revealed that no records from the destruction of the 2004 ballots had been submitted to the federal court with jurisdiction over the matter. (King Lincoln, et al. v. Blackwell, et al., Case 2:06-cv-00745, U.S. District Court, S.D. Ohio.) A recent review of court records revealed that the over 800 pages documenting the destruction of the ballots in violation of federal court order were not in the possession of the court. Over 56 of Ohio's 88 counties destroyed election records.

Barack Obama now wears his patriotism on his lapel --Tired of having his patriotism questioned, the Democratic candidate has made Old Glory a major visual element of his campaign. 05 Jul 2008 Barack Obama, who once considered flag pins a shallow symbol, can't surround himself with enough patriotic trappings these days. Obama seldom goes out in public now without a flag pin stuck in his lapel. He devoted an entire speech to patriotism this week in Independence, Mo. Visually reinforcing the message, he stood in front of a quartet of large American flags.

SEC Plan Would Allow Shift to Foreign Rules --Bush Accounting Plan to 'Outsource Safety Standards' 05 Jul 2008 Federal officials say they are preparing to propose a series of regulatory changes... Critics say the changes appear to be a last-ditch push by appointees of President [sic] Bush to dilute securities rules passed after the collapse of Enron and other large companies. Legal experts, some regulators and Democratic lawmakers are concerned that the changes would put American investors at the mercy of overseas regulators who enforce weaker rules and may treat investment losses as a low priority. Foreign regulators are beyond the reach of Congress.

Feds want employers to voluntarily check Social Security numbers --Some employers say databases can't be trusted 06 Jul 2008 The last sweeping immigration measure passed by Congress -- the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 -- ordered employers to maintain a record, called an I-9 form, demonstrating that they examined specific documents to check their workers' identity and work authorization. But employers do not have to verify the authenticity of the documents themselves. That fact has led to criticism of the law's effectiveness because many illegal immigrants use fake or stolen Social Security numbers to get jobs.

EPA raised concerns on border fence, environment 03 Jul 2008 The Environmental Protection Agency had serious concerns about how barrier fencing would affect habitat, animals and communities along the border near El Paso, according to recently released comments the agency prepared earlier this year. The undated comments, which were obtained and released Wednesday by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, show that federal environmental officials wanted the Department of Homeland Security to do more research and analysis on effects the border fence might have on wildlife, farming and water quality in the region. That may be one reason why DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff in April signed a waiver that allowed the department to circumvent about 30 laws, including environmental regulations, in order to complete 670 miles of fencing this year, said Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Unbearable imports --America should stand firm in protecting polar bears and continue imports ban 05 Jul 2008 The U.S. government banned the import of polar bear hides in May when it declared polar bears a federally threatened species, but a private hunt club has filed notice that it intends to sue the government to allow American hunters who have legally shot polar bears in Canada to bring the hides into the United States... Wildlife advocates say sport hunting further stresses the polar bear population, which already is struggling to survive in the face of increasing global warming and massive reductions in the Arctic sea ice that provides a crucial piece of the bears’ habitat... The United States has committed to protecting the polar bear, not Canada’s sport hunting industry, and we support the Bush administration’s position on the import issue.

50,000 South Koreans protest against U.S. beef --Demonstrators want the government to stop imports in fear of disease 05 Jul 2008 Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in South Korea's capital Saturday against U.S. beef imports. Police estimated that 50,000 people jammed a plaza in front of Seoul's City Hall and an adjacent 14-lane boulevard, holding candles and anti-government signs.

DNA frees another US inmate --Man is 19th in Dallas County since 2001 shown by DNA evidence to be innocent of the crime for which he was convicted 05 Jul 2008 Patrick Waller has become a free man in the US after being wrongly convicted and imprisoned for more than 15 years. Waller, behind bars since late 1992 for aggravated robbery and kidnapping, after the abduction of a Dallas couple. He was proven innocent by DNA testing late last year but was only released this week.

California's Wildfires Have Scorched 521,000 Acres 05 Jul 2008 California wildfires have scorched 526,707 acres (213,151 hectares) as cooler, coastal air and humidity moved into some areas, prompting hope among firefighters that the shift will help tamp down blazes.

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Iran: Any attack on our nuclear facility will be beginning of war 04 Jul 2008 Tehran will consider any military action against its nuclear facilities as the beginning of a war, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported Friday. The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, was quoted as saying that any country that attacks Iran would regret doing so. According to the report, Jafari has warned that such a step would be the beginning of war.

U.S. admiral: Iran strike on Israel 'likely' 04 Jul 2008 Iran is likely to launch ballistic missiles against Israel and the United States and the NATO alliance should prepare for it, was the warning issued earlier this week by Admiral James Winnefeld, commander of the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean. In recent years, the missile boats of the Sixth Fleet practiced intercepting Shahab-3 missiles from Iran aimed at Israel, along with the Arrow batteries of the air force and U.S. and Israeli batteries of Patriot missiles.

Mullen warns of 'third front' for US 03 Jul 2008 The chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff warned yesterday that an Israeli strike on Iran could open up a "third front" for the US in addition to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, calling instead for dialogue with Tehran. Asked by the press about speculation about a possible Israeli strike on Iran, Admiral Michael Mullen appeared to side with commentators who have warned that the US could be drawn into a broader conflict. He said: "From the US perspective . . . opening up a third front right now would be extremely stressful on us . . . that would really be very challenging."

New report links Bush advisor to Iraq oil deal 03 Jul 2008 Adding new fuel to the fire over the roots of the Iraq war, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has released a slew of documents--e-mail correspondence and letters--that raise questions about connections linking Bush administration officials and a Texas oil company seeking business in Iraq. In a statement introducing the documents, the committee whose chairman, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), says the papers "show that administration officials knew about Hunt Oil's interest in the Kurdish region months in advance, contradicting claims that administration officials were caught off-guard and opposed Hunt Oil's actions."

Iraq talks advance on deal for US troops 03 Jul 2008 The US and Iraq are making progress towards forging a complex political and security agreement to allow US troops to operate legally in Iraq next year, Iraq's foreign minister said yesterday... One sticking point includes immunity for US troops, which many Iraqis would like to see lifted. Since the US-led invasion in 2003, there have been several high-profile cases of the killing, torture and abuse of Iraqis at the hands of American soldiers. The Iraqis are also demanding control over all detention centres.

White House says ruling could free detainees in US 04 Jul 2008 The [liars at the] White House said Thursday that dangerous prisoners at Guantanamo Bay could end up walking Main Street U.S.A. as a result of last month's Supreme Court ruling about prisoners' legal rights. Federal appeals courts, however, have indicated they have no intention of letting that happen. The high court ruling, which gave all prisoners the right to petition federal judges for immediate release, has intensified discussions within the Bush regime about what to do with the roughly 270 prisoners held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. "I'm sure that none of us want Khalid Sheikh Mohammed walking around our neighborhoods," [?] White House press secretary Dana Perino said about 'al-Qaida's' former third in command.

Debate Over Guantanamo's Fate Intensifies 04 Jul 2008 The focus of the intensifying debate on the Guantanamo Bay military prison is what to do with about 120 prisoners, who are viewed by the Bush regime as too dangerous to release but who are unlikely to be brought before military tribunals because of a lack of evidence. Officials are considering whether to propose legislation in coming days that would establish legal procedures for such prisoners, who could be transferred to military or civilian prisons on the U.S. mainland, sources said.

Lawyers ask US judge to stop first Guantanamo trial 03 Jul 2008 Attorneys for Salim Hamdan said on Thursday a federal judge in Washington should stop his Guantanamo Bay 'trial' from going forward while he challenges the military tribunal system. Hamdan's attorneys said a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month made clear the prisoners are entitled to fundamental constitutional rights.

US: Only 2 rendition flights landed on UK soil [I call bullsh*t.] 03 Jul 2008 The United States has told Britain it has found no further "extraordinary rendition" flights that passed through British territory following checks of hundreds of flights, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Thursday. Human rights campaigners rejected the new assurances and accused the U.S. and Britain of a trans-Atlantic cover-up over rendition [kidnapping].

Human rights body condemns counter-terrorism bill 04 Jul 2008 Government plans to extend pre-charge detention for terror suspects to 42 days are "unnecessary, disproportionate and counter-productive" and should be rejected when they come before the House of Lords next week, an international human rights group said today. In today's report, Human Rights Watch said it was convinced that the current 28-day period "already violates the right to liberty under the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights".

Muslims feel like 'Jews of Europe' --Minister's shock warning on rise of anti-Islamic prejudice 04 Jul 2008 Britain's first Muslim minister has attacked the growing culture of hostility against Muslims in the United Kingdom, saying that many feel targeted like "the Jews of Europe". Shahid Malik, who was appointed as a minister in the Department for International Development (Dfid) by Gordon Brown last summer, said it has become legitimate to target Muslims in the media and society at large in a way that would be unacceptable for any other minority.

UK Vacuum Bombs in Afghanistan 22 Jun 2008 Britain has used and will continue to use one of the world's most brutal weapons, which creates a pressure wave that sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies, in Afghanistan, The Sunday Times reported on June 22. "We are conscious of the controversial aspects [of this weapon] but it is being used sparingly and under strict circumstances where it is deemed appropriate by the commander on the ground," confirmed the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Army 'vacuum' missile hits Taliban 22 Jun 2008 British forces in Afghanistan have used one of the world’s most deadly and controversial missiles to fight the Taliban. Apache attack helicopters have fired the thermobaric weapons against fighters in buildings and caves, to create a pressure wave which sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted to the use of the weapons, condemned by human rights groups as "brutal", on several occasions, including against a cave complex. The use of the Hellfire AGM-114N weapons has been deemed so successful they will now be fired from RAF Reaper unmanned drones controlled by "pilots" at Creech air force base in Nevada, an MoD spokesman added.

U.S. extends Afghanistan tour of 2,200 marines 04 Jul 2008 The Pentagon extended the deployment of 2,200 marines in Afghanistan by an additional 30 days Thursday, breaking early promise to send them home on time. The marines are from 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, which is doing combat operations in the volatile southern parts of Afghanistan.

Gunmen kill 8 at Afghan checkpoint 04 Jul 2008 Gunmen lobbed a grenade and sprayed a police checkpoint with gunfire in southern Afghanistan, killing eight officers, a police chief said Friday. The attack in Kandahar's Panjwayi district late Thursday also left one officer wounded and two others missing, said provincial police chief Sumanwal Matiullah.

Panama says no to U.S. military base 04 Jul 2008 Panama has ruled out hosting a U.S. military base to replace one in Ecuador which is being reclaimed by the Quito government, a senior Panamanian official said on Friday. Panama -- along with Peru and Colombia -- had been tipped as a possible site to replace the Manta air base in western Ecuador.

US: It flew 3,600 flights looking for hostages 03 Jul 2008 The U.S. military says it flew thousands of spy flights over Colombian jungles trying to find and free three Pentagon contractors mercenaries since their kidnapping in 2003. On Thursday, Col. William Costello, spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command, said the command made 3,600 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance flights, followed up on 175 intelligence leads and spent $250 million trying. In the end, it was a daring operation by Colombian military intelligence agents that finally rescued the American trio [of terrorists] from leftist rebels.

LOL! Bin Laden ready to be found and killed, in time for 2008 'elections.' CIA given green light to bomb Osama bin Laden 02 Jul 2008 The CIA has been given the green light by Pakistan to attack 'Osama bin Laden' with unmanned aircraft armed with ground attack missiles if they can find the terror godfather [LOL!], it has been revealed. The US intelligence agency does not have to ask permission from the Pakistani government to attack his hideout, presumed to be in the lawless tribal areas on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

'That man is a fascist!' Protesters Interrupt Bush at Independence Day Ceremony 04 Jul 2008 Protesters made it hard to hear President [sic] Bush Friday as he welcomed new citizens and marked Independence Day at the home of Thomas Jefferson. As is the tradition each Fourth of July, a naturalization ceremony was held at Monticello in Charlottesville, Va. This year, 76 immigrants from 30 different countries came to take the oath of citizenship. But Bush repeatedly was interrupted as he welcomed the guests. "That man is a fascist!" one protester yelled. Another swore at him.

Rove's Third Term By Paul Krugman 04 Jul 2008 Al Gore never claimed that he invented the Internet. Howard Dean didn’t scream. Hillary Clinton didn’t say she was staying in the race because Barack Obama might be assassinated. And Wesley Clark didn’t impugn John McCain’s military service... Again and again we’ve had media firestorms over supposedly revealing incidents that never actually took place. The latest fake scandal fit the usual pattern as an awkwardly phrased remark, lifted out of context and willfully misinterpreted, exploded across the airwaves. What General Clark actually said was that Mr. McCain’s war service, though heroic, didn’t necessarily constitute a qualification for the presidency... Yet the Clark affair did reveal something important -- not about General Clark, but about Mr. McCain. Now we know what a McCain administration would represent: namely, a third term for Karl Rove.

Lieberman no help to McCain in Conn. 02 Jul 2008 Sen. John McCain would do little to cut Sen. Barack Obama's commanding lead in Connecticut by adding Sen. Joseph Lieberman to his ticket, a poll indicated. Overall, Sen. Barack Obama has a 56 percent to 35 percent lead over McInsane among likely voters in the state. Only 14 percent said they would be more likely to vote for McCain with Lieberman as vice president on the GOP ticket, while 32 percent said they would be less likely. [LOL!]

New Poll Gives Obama 21-Point Lead In State 03 Jul 2008 With Republican John McCain badly trailing Democrat Barack Obama in a new poll, the GOP's hopes of winning Connecticut may be sinking with a bad economy and an unpopular president [sic]. Obama is leading McCain by 56 percent to 35 percent among likely Connecticut voters in a poll Quinnipiac University released Wednesday.

Homeless die in Poland of bird-flu vaccine 03 Jul 2008 Twenty-one homeless individuals in Poland have died after being given an unproven bird-flu virus vaccine, authorities have charged. Prosecutors have accused three doctors and six nurses of misleading the homeless individuals by telling them they were being given a new influenza vaccine rather than a vaccine for the H5N1 bird-flu virus, The Daily Telegraph said Thursday.

First Canadian case linked to U.S. salmonella outbreak 03 Jul 2008 Health officials have discovered the first Canadian case linked to a massive salmonella outbreak in the United States that has sickened more than 900 people. The Public Health Agency of Canada announced Thursday that an unidentified person from Ontario who recently travelled to the U.S. has tested positive for Salmonella Saintpaul.

Polar bears plunge into melting Arctic 01 Jul 2008 For 12 years Steven Kazlowski lived in the Arctic with a single mission: to photograph polar bears. On Friday, June 27, he spoke at the Burke Museum about The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World, an exhibition of his photographs. The exhibit displays what he calls his life’s work, a visual narration of effects of global warming: melting Arctic ice and habitat destruction. "There used to be icebergs around … but now they’re just gone," Kazlowski said.

Wind keeps California fires raging on 2 fronts 04 Jul 2008 A pair of out-of-control wildfires roared along California's central coast Friday, chewing through opposite ends of a parched forest and threatening a total of more than 4,500 homes. While flames from the stubborn fire in the northern flank of the Los Padres National Forest inched closer to Big Sur's historic vacation retreats, state emergency officials said hot winds had caused a newer blaze 200 miles south in Santa Barbara County to double in size overnight.

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Committee Questions State Dept. Role in Iraq Oil Deal 03 Jul 2008 Bush administration officials knew that a Texas oil company with close ties to President [sic] Bush was planning to sign an oil deal with the regional Kurdistan government that ran counter to American policy and undercut Iraq’s central government, a Congressional committee has concluded. The conclusions were based on e-mail messages and other documents that the committee released Wednesday... State Department officials did nothing to discourage the deal and in some cases appeared to welcome it, the documents show. The company, Hunt Oil of Dallas, signed the deal with Kurdistan’s semiautonomous government last September.

Waxman: State Dept. 'misleading' on Hunt Oil deal 02 Jul 2008 Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) accused the State Department Wednesday of issuing "misleading" denials regarding its involvement in Hunt Oil's controversial contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also alleged that the results of his panel’s investigation raised serious questions as to the role the State Department played in the recently reported no-bid contracts between the Iraqi Ministry of Oil and prominent U.S. and multinational oil corporations.

Iraq no-bid oil deals could be in doubt -lawmakers 03 Jul 2008 Iraqi Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani has told lawmakers that short-term technical support contracts with oil majors worth around $3 billion may not get signed, two parliamentarians said. Royal Dutch Shell; Shell in partnership with BHP Billiton; BP; Exxon Mobil and Chevron in partnership with Total are the key Western firms negotiating for the no bid contracts.

Oil rises to record above $US146 a barrel 04 Jul 2008 Oil closed above $USUS145 a barrel for the first time as market participants shrugged off a stronger US dollar to test new highs. Light, sweet crude for August delivery settled up $US1.72, or 1.2 per cent, at $US145.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting a new all-time high of $US145.85 a barrel in overnight trading. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange settled $US1.82 higher at $US146.08 a barrel, down from an intraday record of $US146.69 a barrel.

Exxon Mobil to book $1.6B profit from asset sale 03 Jul 2008 Exxon Mobil Corp. will book a $1.6 billion gain in its third quarter from the sale of its interests in a natural-gas transport business in northern Germany, the oil giant disclosed Thursday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In a Form 8-K, Exxon Mobil said the deal closed Wednesday.

Mission accomplished! Exxon Mobil upgraded 02 Jul 2008 An analyst upgraded Exxon Mobil Corp. Wednesday, saying the stock currently takes into account worry over a potential windfall profits tax and a lack of production growth, and presents an investment opportunity. Bernstein Research analyst Neil McMahon boosted his rating to "Outperform" from "Market Perform" and his price target to $106 from $103.

US using spy satellites to track Iraqi military: report 03 Jul 2008 The United States is using spy satellites to monitor the movements of the Iraqi army, after US commanders were caught off guard by the army’s offensive in Basra, the LA Times reported on Wednesday. The newspaper cited unnamed current and former US officials as saying that spy satellites that have monitored Iraq for two decades were being used to track the Iraqi army, even as US forces continue to advise and fight alongside it.

U.S. spies on Iraqi army, sources say 02 Jul 2008 Caught off guard by recent Iraqi military operations, the United States is using spy satellites that ordinarily are trained on adversaries to monitor the movements of the American-backed Iraqi army, current and former U.S. officials say. The use of the satellites puts the United States in the unusual position of employing some of its most sophisticated espionage technology to track an allied army that American forces helped create, continue to advise, and often fight alongside.

Obama Says He May 'Refine' Iraq Stance After Trip 03 Jul 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he will listen to the advice of military commanders when he travels to Iraq this month and may "refine" his stance on a U.S. withdrawal based on their views. Obama, who has promised to withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office, said he hasn't changed his stance regarding the war.

Top US Commander: Pentagon Doesn't Have Enough Troops for Afghanistan --Iraq War Limits U.S. Options, Says Chairman of Joint Chiefs 03 Jul 2008 The nation's top military officer said yesterday that more U.S. troops are needed in Afghanistan to tamp down an increasingly violent 'insurgency,' but that the Pentagon does not have sufficient forces to send because they are committed to the war in Iraq. Violence in Afghanistan has increased markedly over recent weeks, with June the deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began in 2001. "I don't have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach, to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq," Navy Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the Pentagon.

Pentagon extends tour of Marines in Afghanistan 03 Jul 2008 The Pentagon has extended the tour of 2,200 Marines in Afghanistan, after insisting for months the unit would come home on time. The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is doing combat operations in the volatile south, will stay an extra 30 days and come home in early November rather than October, Marine Col. David Lapan confirmed Thursday.

NATO says more helicopters and planes needed in Afghanistan 03 Jul 2008 More troops are needed in Afghanistan, but, more importantly, additional helicopters and surveillance aircraft are required to enable forces already there to react more flexibly, a top NATO official said Wednesday. Speaking to journalists at the Vienna headquarters of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, US General Bantz John Craddock, acknowledged that more troops were necessary.

5 Afghan soldiers killed in blast 03 Jul 2008 A police chief says a roadside blast has killed five Afghan soldiers in central Afghanistan. Provincial police Chief Mustapha Khan says the blast hit an Afghan army convoy late Wednesday in Logar province. Gunfire brought down a U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter in the same province on Wednesday.

Black Hawk downed in southern Afghanistan 03 Jul 2008 Enemy small-arms fire brought down a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday in Kherwar District, Logar province in southern Afghanistan. According to a press release from Combined Joint Task Force 101, the pilots were able to land the aircraft and evacuate all aboard before the helicopter caught fire.

Four foreign boats seized on Iran waters 03 Jul 2008 The police commander of Iran's Bushehr province says four foreign fishing boats with 17 crew onboard were seized in Persian Gulf waters. "Bushehr sea-guard patrols stopped four foreign fishing boats on the strength of border violation and illegal fishing on Iranian waters," Reza Mohmmadi-Yeganeh told reporters. The official pointed out that the boats were from Saudi Arabia and had 17 Indian nationals onboard.

U.S. admiral says Israeli strike on Iran could destabilize Mideast 03 Jul 2008 An Israeli strike on Iran could destabilize the Middle East, Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference here on Wednesday. Speaking of a flurry of speculation that Israel is planning a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, Mullen refused to comment on what Israel might be planning over Iran's nuclear facilities. Instead, he stressed the need for greater dialogue with Iran.

MoD signs £3bn contracts for aircraft carriers 03 Jul 2008 Contracts to build two new giant aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy were signed today. The contracts, worth in the region of £3bn, were signed with the newly-formed UK maritime Joint Venture, BVT Surface Fleet, and the Aircraft Carrier Alliance onboard HMS Ark Royal in Portsmouth, one of the Royal Navy's existing aircraft carriers and currently the Fleet Flagship.

Bosses Delete Outspoken Army Blog 02 Jul 2008 An outspoken soldier ["LT [Lieutenant] G"] who wrote one of the most brutally honest blogs ever to come out of Iraq has been forced to shut down his site [Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal], after criticizing his superior officers one time too often.

U.S. assures UK over secret flights, doubts persist 03 Jul 2008 Britain has received new U.S. assurances that the CIA did not secretly smuggle terrorist suspects through its territory, but critics said on Thursday the government had failed to ask Washington the right questions. Foreign Secretary David Miliband sought the assurances after being embarrassed in February by revelations that two U.S. planes carrying terrorism suspects on so-called rendition flights had landed and refueled in 2002 at a U.S. base on the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

Panama court overturns Posada's pardon 01 Jul 2008 The Panamanian Supreme Court Monday night reversed 183 criminal pardons issued by former President Mireya Moscoso -- among them accused Cuban-American anti-Castro terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who had been accused of plotting to kill Fidel Castro in Panama. Posada -- a longtime fugitive who was on the lam dodging charges that he was behind a 1976 airline bombing -- ...is free, living in Miami. It's unclear what effect the Panamanian court's decision will have on his freedom here. Venezuela has sought extradition for him. An immigration court refused to deport him to Venezuela on the grounds that he could be tortured. [OMFG! Bush doesn't want to deport an actual terrorist because 'he could be tortured.' Torturing rightwing terrorists - that's a no-no. Torturing 15-year-olds in Guantanamo Bay - it's all good.]

McCain Backer's Firm Pleaded Guilty to Funding Terrorist Group In Colombia By Nico Pitney 02 Jul 2008 The co-host of a recent top-dollar fundraiser for Sen. John McCain oversaw the payment of roughly $1.7 million to a Colombian paramilitary group that is today designated a terrorist organization by the United States. Carl H. Lindner Jr., the billionaire Cincinnati businessman, was CEO of Chiquita Brands International from 1984 to 2001, and remained on the company's board of directors until May 2002. Beginning under his tenure, Chiquita executives paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (known by the Spanish acronym AUC), which is described by George Washington University's National Security Archive as an "illegal right-wing anti-guerrilla group tied to many of the country's most notorious civilian massacres."

Staged Albany Terrorism Plot Convictions Upheld 02 Jul 2008 The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously upheld the convictions of two Muslim immigrants who were found guilty in October 2006 following trial of aiding a fictitious terrorism plot that was part of an FBI sting operation. Imam Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, the imam and pizzeria owner, are each serving 15 years in a federal prison for money laundering, conspiracy and attempting to provide material support and resources to a terrorist organization. The three judge panel affirmed the convictions and said that the men had received a fair trial and turned back claims of entrapment. Aref’s attorney Terence Kindlon of Albany said that he would file a motion to reargue the case before the federal appeals court and if that fails, would proceed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alleged L.A. airport bomb plotter freed in U.K. --Bailed terror suspect accused of 'direct' links with Osama bin Laden 03 Jul 2008 A major terrorist suspect alleged to have strong ties to 'Osama bin Laden' has been set free on bail after spending more than seven years in jail, British officials said Thursday. British and U.S. authorities alleged the suspect had been tied to an unsuccessful plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport and other major targets eyed by Islamic extremists.

Top airport security expert in Israel to inspect LAX anti-terror measures 14 Jun 2008 Israel's top airport security official will make periodic reviews of anti-terrorist measures at Los Angeles International Airport under an agreement signed Friday during a visit here by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The pact, formalizing an arrangement begun nearly two years ago, will send the Israeli official, Nahum Liss, and two colleagues to Los Angeles for regular inspections as $1,000-per-day consultants.

Judge Rejects Bush's View on Wiretaps 03 Jul 2008 A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the "exclusive" means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law. The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge for the Northern District of California, made his findings in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity. The Justice Department has tried for more than two years to kill the lawsuit, saying any surveillance of the charity or other entities was a "state secret" and citing the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program.

YouTube Told to Provide Logs --Judge says online video-sharing service must disclose who watches which clips and when. 03 Jul 2008 Dismissing privacy concerns, a federal judge overseeing a $1 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit against YouTube [U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton] has ordered the popular online video-sharing service to disclose who watches which video clips and when. Attached to each entry is each viewer's unique login ID and the Internet Protocol, or IP, address for that viewer's computer.

Police wnt u to fight crime w/txt msgs 02 Jul 2008 Police in the 1970s urged citizens to "drop a dime" in a pay phone to report crimes anonymously. Now in an increasing number of cities, tipsters are being invited to use their thumbs -- to identify criminals using text messages. Police hope the idea helps recruit teens and 20-somethings who wouldn't normally dial a Crime Stoppers hot line to share information with authorities.

Toxicity in FEMA Trailers Blamed on Cheap Materials, Low Construction Standards 03 Jul 2008 High levels of formaldehyde found in trailers provided [by Bush bin Laden] to Hurricane Katrina evacuees on the Gulf Coast probably resulted from cheap wood and poor ventilation in designs used by manufacturers under permissive government standards, federal scientists reported yesterday. An analysis by researchers for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that four Katrina trailers emitted the toxic chemical at levels four to 11 times as high as those found in typical U.S. homes.

2 drug firms to appeal $114M price fraud verdict 03 Jul 2008 Two large pharmaceutical companies said Thursday they will appeal a jury verdict ordering them to pay more than $114 million for overcharging the state's Medicaid program for prescription drugs. GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Novartis AG announced plans to appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court as the state sent letters to 69 other drug companies telling them they had 30 days to settle drug-pricing lawsuits against them.

Employers Cut Jobs for 6th Straight Month 03 Jul 2008 The U.S. economy lost more than 60,000 jobs last month... New data from the Department of Labor showed that a steady erosion of jobs that began in January continued for a sixth month. In addition to the 62,000 jobs lost in June, the department said the employment decline in April and May was larger than first estimated.

Mortgage ruling could shock U.S. banking industry 30 Jun 2008 A lawsuit filed by a Wisconsin couple against their mortgage lender could have major implications for banks should a U.S. appeals court agree that borrowers can cancel their loans en masse when their lenders violate a federal lending disclosure law.

Biofuels are prime cause of food crisis, says leaked report 03 Jul 2008 Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% -- far more than previously estimated -- according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian. The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body. The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises.

Wildlife extinction rates 'seriously underestimated' 03 Jul 2008 Endangered species may become extinct 100 times faster than previously thought, scientists warned today, in a bleak re-assessment of the threat to global biodiversity. Writing in the journal Nature, leading ecologists claim that methods used to predict when species will die out are seriously flawed, and dramatically underestimate the speed at which some plants and animals will be wiped out.

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AP: Race profiling, travel history eyed for FBI terror probes 02 Jul 2008 The 'Justice' Department is considering letting the FBI investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups. The new rules would allow the FBI to consider those factors among a number of traits that could trigger a national security investigation. Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons -- like evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated -- to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious. Among the factors that could make someone subject of an investigation is travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity, access to weapons or military training, along with the person's race or ethnicity. [Gee, shouldn't such profiling also be known as 'the last straw?']

'Communist torture' used at Guantanamo Bay 03 Jul 2008 A chart outlining "coercive management techniques" for US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay was copied verbatim from a 1957 US Air Force study of Chinese communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions - many of them false - from US prisoners. The New York Times reported the chart listed techniques for use on prisoners including "sleep deprivation", "prolonged constraint" and "exposure". Reporting the origins of the chart, the paper said it was the latest and most vivid evidence of the way communist interrogation methods the US has long condemned as torture became the basis for interrogations by the military at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and by the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA is still authorised by US President [sic] George W. Bush to use a range of secret "alternative" interrogation methods. In 2002, the training program, known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, became a source of interrogation methods for the CIA and the US military. In what critics describe as a remarkable case of historical amnesia, the officials who drew on the SERE program appear to have been unaware it was created as a result of concerns about false confessions by US prisoners.

US used Chinese confession techniques on suspects --The only change made in the chart presented at Guantanamo was to drop its original title: 'Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War.' 02 Jul 2008 The New York Times has reported that US military trainers in Guantanamo Bay in 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart copied word by word from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques. The techniques were used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners. The chart showed the effects of coercive management techniques [torture] for possible use on prisoners, including sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint and exposure.

CACI Denies Use of Torture in Iraq 02 Jul 2008 CACI International, an Arlington-based provider of interrogators to the U.S. military in Iraq, said it "rejects and denies" allegations from four Iraqi men who said they were tortured at Abu Ghraib prison. Similar lawsuits filed in the past four years await trial. The four men say contractors hired by CACI and L-3 Communications Holdings beat and humiliated prisoners.

'They are teaching police ... to torture!' Police torture videos cause uproar in Mexico 02 Jul 2008 Videos showing Leon police practicing torture techniques on a fellow officer and dragging another through vomit at the instruction of a U.S. adviser [Your tax dollars at work!] created an uproar Tuesday in Mexico. Two of the videos -- broadcast by national television networks and displayed on newspaper Internet sites -- showed what Leon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero described as training for an elite unit... But many Mexicans saw a sinister side, especially at a moment when police and soldiers across the country are struggling with scandals over alleged abuses. ''They are teaching police ... to torture!'' read the headline in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

Air Force Finds Lax Nuclear Security 02 Jul 2008 Most overseas storage sites for U.S. nuclear weapons, particularly in Europe, need substantial improvements in physical security measures and the personnel who guard the weapons, according to a newly available Air Force report. The Blue Ribbon review of nuclear security was conducted after it was discovered that a B-52 bomber had flown across the United States, from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, with neither the pilots nor ground crews aware that six cruise missiles under one wing held real nuclear warheads. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' 17 Sep 2007.]

Chemical weapons' transport plan draws fire --A new report says the Pentagon may ship deadly chemical weapons, including nerve agents and mustard gas, to four states 01 Jul 2008 The Pentagon is considering a plan to ship deadly chemical weapons to military sites in four states to accelerate the destruction of the munitions, a new report to Congress says. The idea of transporting such lethal agents along routes such as from Colorado to Oregon is prompting opposition from Congress and watchdog groups. They say the plan exposes the American public to unnecessary risks as the U.S. government is concerned about terrorist attacks.

'The Americans cannot stay in Iraq without a legal authorization.' Iraq Hints at Delay in U.S. Security Deal 03 Jul 2008 Iraq’s foreign minister appeared to lay the ground work Wednesday for the possibility of a delay in the 'strategic security agreement' [license for US corpora-terrorists to kill and steal] under negotiation with the United States, which expires at the end of the year. On Tuesday, the foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, told Iraqi lawmakers in parliament that the Americans had capitulated on one area of contention in the negotiations -- the legal status of private security contractors mercenaries in the country. He said the United States had agreed to lift immunity for them, so they would be subject to prosecution under Iraqi laws.

Suicide truck bomb kills civilian, wounds 22 in N Iraq 01 Jul 2008 A suicide truck bomb struck the house of an Iraqi tribal leader in a town near the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, on Tuesday, killing a civilian and wounding 22 others, a provincial police source said. Abdul Razzaq al-Wagga', head of the Jubour tribe, and his wife, escaped with injuries when a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with explosives into their house in the town of Qaiyarah, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

A Backlog of Cases Alleging Fraud --Whistle-Blower Suits Languish at Justice 02 Jul 2008 More than 900 cases alleging that government contractors and drugmakers have defrauded taxpayers out of billions of dollars are languishing in a backlog that has built up over the past decade because the Justice Department cannot keep pace with the surge in charges brought by whistle-blowers, according to lawyers involved in the disputes. The issue is drawing renewed interest among lawmakers and nonprofit groups because many of the cases involve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rising health-care payouts, and privatization of government functions -- all of which offer rich new opportunities to swindle taxpayers.

U.S.: Iran won't be allowed to close key oil route --Navy chief warns Tehran over threat to seal Strait of Hormuz if attacked 02 Jul 2008 The U.S. Navy and its Gulf allies will not allow Iran to seal off the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf said Wednesday. Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, commander of the 5th Fleet, made the warning during talks with naval commanders of Gulf countries in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi. The one-day meeting was to focus on the security of the region's maritime and trade routes and the threat of [US] terrorism.

Crude Oil Rises on Concern Israel Attack Will Cut Iran Supply 01 Jul 2008 Oil rose, extending this year's 48 percent gain, after ABC News reported Israel is increasingly likely to attack Iran this year, starting a conflict that would threaten supplies from the Middle East. Israel may bomb Iran if OPEC's second-largest producer acquires enough enriched uranium to build a weapon, the report said, citing an unidentified Pentagon official.

Bush says US to send more troops to Afghanistan 02 Jul 2008 Grappling with a record death toll in an overshadowed war, President [sic] Bush promised Wednesday to send more U.S. troops into Afghanistan by year's end. More U.S. and NATO troops have died in the past two months in Afghanistan than in Iraq, a place with triple the number of U.S. and 'coalition' forces. In June, 28 U.S. troops died in Afghanistan. That was the highest monthly total of the entire war, which began in October 2001.

June deadliest for US in Afghanistan since '01 02 Jul 2008 June was the deadliest month for US troops in Afghanistan since the war there began in late 2001, as resilient and emboldened 'insurgents' have stepped up attacks in an effort to wrest control of the embattled country. Defense officials and Afghanistan specialists said the 28 US combat deaths recorded in June demonstrate a new resurgence of the Taliban.

U.S. helicopter shot down in Afghanistan 02 Jul 2008 A helicopter belonging to U.S.-led occupation troops was shot down by small-arms fire in Afghanistan on Wednesday and America's top military officer said he was increasingly concerned about the rising violence. The U.S. military said there were no serious injuries when the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter was brought down south of Afghanistan's capital.

Peru denies US base reports 02 Jul 2008 Peru has denied reported claims by Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, that it had allowed the US to establish a secret military base on its territory. The claims have sparked a diplomatic row between the two nations, with Lima saying it would recall its ambassador to Bolivia and Alan Garcia, the Peruvian president, saying Morales should "shut up".

Cuba accuses US diplomats of organising protests 02 Jul 2008 Cuba today accused US diplomats of instigating opponents of the government to hold public protests to mark American Independence Day. "There has been an escalation of provocative actions organised and financed by the US interests section in Havana," the foreign ministry said in a communique published in the Communist party newspaper Granma. It said the mission "is trying to organise other illegal activities and is instigating the mercenaries in Cuba to realise provocative public actions around July 4, US Independence Day". [Just kick the US mercenaries *out.*]

Chavez wants reserves moved from U.S. 03 Jul 2008 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has urged South American leaders to withdraw their assets and move their international reserves from U.S. Chavez, who is attending a regional heads-of-state meeting in Argentina, said in comments broadcasted by Venezuelan state television on Tuesday that keeping central banks' international reserves in the U.S. was detrimental to the interests of South American nations.

LOL! Bin Laden is ready to die again, in time for the 2008 'elections.' Is Osama bin Laden Dying ... Again? 30 Jun 2008 Which is closer to dying: Osama bin Laden or the CIA's effort to catch him? Nothing has characterized the fruitlessness of the hunt for the al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader so much as the recurrent reports that he is seriously ailing, or even at death's door. In 2002, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said bin Laden had kidney disease, and that he had required a dialysis machine when he lived in Afghanistan. That same year, the FBI's top counterterrorism official, Dale Watson, said, "I personally think he is probably not with us anymore." Since then, 'bin Laden' has appeared on multiple videos looking healthier than ever. Now the CIA has produced a report saying that bin Laden has long-term kidney disease and may have only months to live, two U.S. officials familiar with the report told TIME.

US demands names of UBS customers 02 Jul 2008 The US Government moved a step closer yesterday to ripping off the veil of secrecy that for centuries has protected the identity of UBS clients as a federal court took the unprecedented step of demanding that the Swiss bank hand over the names of as many as 20,000 of its customers. A federal judge in Miami issued an order authorising the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to retrieve from UBS information about US taxpayers who may be using Swiss accounts to evade income taxes.

LAX Airport Briefly Closed After Security Scare 02 Jul 2008 Operations at Los Angeles International Airport were briefly disrupted Wednesday after police investigated what they described as a potential security threat. Auto traffic leading in and out of most of the airport was blocked briefly at about 11:30 a.m. Pacific time while police arrested a suspect and investigated a backpack found at the airport.

Man claiming to carry bomb arrested at LA airport 02 Jul 2008 A man was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday after claiming to have a bomb in his backpack, officials said. Traffic was snarled at the west end of the busy airport as the man was taken into custody, but TV reports said there was no immediate indication of an explosive.

Five homes raided under Terror Act 01 Jul 2008 Five houses were raided by police today as part of an inquiry into a 'gang' suspected of promoting extremist views and radicalising vulnerable people. A spokesman said "They [the raids] are being conducted under the Terrorism Act and have been prompted by concerns about the activities of a small number of people in the local community."

Homeless people die after bid flu vaccine trial in Poland 02 Jul 2008 Three Polish doctors and six nurses are facing criminal prosecution after a number of homeless people died following medical trials for a vaccine to the H5N1 bird-flu virus. The medical staff, from the northern town of Grudziadz, are being investigated over medical trials on as many as 350 homeless and poor people last year, which prosecutors say involved an untried vaccine to the highly-contagious virus. Authorities claim that the alleged victims received £1-2 to be tested with what they thought was a conventional flu vaccine but, according to investigators, was actually an anti bird-flu drug.

Penn Study Pinpoints New DNA Weapon Against Bird Flu 02 Jul 2008 A new way to vaccinate against avian influenza that tricks the immune system into mounting a broad response against multiple strains of the disease, including strains to which the immune system was never exposed, has been devised by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. If proven in humans, the Penn research could lead the way to prepare against an outbreak of pandemic avian flu. Dr. Weiner sits on the scientific advisory board of VGX, and collaborates with Wyeth, Merck, BMS, Althea, and Virxsys, as well as other companies on DNA vaccine technologies. [See: Killer flu recreated in the lab 07 Oct 2004. See: CLG's Flu 'Oddities'.]

McCain denies roughing up Nicaraguan President 02 Jul 2008 John McLunatic denied a Republican colleague's claim that he roughed up an associate of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a diplomatic mission in 1987, saying the allegation was "simply not true." Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., told a Mississippi newspaper that he saw McCain, during a trip to Nicaragua led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., grab an Ortega associate by his shirt collar and lift him out of his chair.

Fire Ravages Darcy Burner's Home 01 Jul 2008 (Carnation, WA) Fire destroyed congressional candidate Darcy Burner's (D) waterfront home near Carnation Tuesday morning. Flames engulfed the house near Ames Lake in three to four minutes, campaign spokesman Sandeep Kaushik and Redmond Fire Capt. Frank Glaser said.

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'On five occasions he was ordered to either falsify his reporting on WMD in the Near East, or not to file his reports at all.' Ex-Agent Says CIA Ignored Iran Facts 01 Jul 2008 A former CIA operative who says he tried to warn the agency about faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs now contends that CIA officials also ignored evidence that Iran had suspended work on a nuclear bomb. The onetime undercover agent, who has been barred by the CIA from using his real name, filed a motion in federal court late Friday asking the government to declassify legal documents describing what he says was a deliberate suppression of findings on Iran that were contrary to agency views at the time.

Pentagon Official Warns of Israeli Attack on Iran --U.S. Official Sees Two 'Red Lines' That Could Prompt Strike 30 Jun 2008 Senior Pentagon officials are concerned that Israel could carry out an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of the year, an action that would have enormous security and economic repercussions for the United States and the rest of the world. A senior defense official told ABC News there is an "increasing likelihood" that Israel will carry out such an attack, a move that likely would prompt Iranian retaliation against, not just Israel, but against the United States as well.

US denies IAF likely to hit Iran in '08 01 Jul 2008 The US State Department on Tuesday dismissed an ABC News report based on comments by an unnamed US defense official that Israel was likely to strike Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of 2008. Israel, as well as spokesmen for the Pentagon, CIA and the White House declined comment on the report and Iran dismissed it as propaganda.

Oil Jumps on Fears Iran Could Be Attacked 01 Jul 2008 Crude futures were gaining ground Tuesday, buoyed by persistent weakness in the dollar and heightened tension between Israel and Iran that some Pentagon officials believe is careening toward a military conflict. West Texas crude for August delivery was recently trading $2.66 higher at $142.66 a barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Brent crude was gaining $2.51 at $142.34 a barrel.

Cheer on oil front as Iraq opens bid for eight big fields 02 Jul 2008 Iraq opened international bidding for eight enormous oil and gas fields yesterday, paving the way for major investments in a nation with one of the world's largest petroleum reserves. If the contracts are approved, they could lead to the biggest foreign stake in Iraq since the industry was nationalised more than 30 years ago. There are concerns that a dominant role for Western firms could feed perceptions that US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein to grab the country's natural resources. [LOL!]

'Oh Happy Day' By Bob Herbert 01 Jul 2008 Two weeks ago, The Times reported that four Western oil giants were on the verge of signing no-bid contracts that would return them to Iraq, the third-most bountiful petroleum playground on the planet... One of the starkest examples of U.S. priorities came during the eruption of looting that followed the fall of Baghdad. With violence and chaos all about, American troops were ordered to protect one particularly treasured target -- the Iraqi Oil Ministry. As David Rieff wrote in The Times Magazine in November 2003: "This decision to protect only the Oil Ministry -- not the National Museum, not the National Library, not the Health Ministry -- probably did more than anything else to convince Iraqis uneasy with the occupation that the United States was in Iraq only for the oil."

US advisers steered Iraqi oil contracts to Western firms By Bill Van Auken 01 Jul 2008 As the Iraqi regime formally opened the bidding for foreign oil companies to resume exploitation of the country’s oil wealth, it was revealed that US "advisers" played the leading role in drafting the contracting procedures and steering preferential deals to the big US energy conglomerates... That this was the principal aim of the US invasion in the first place is becoming increasingly impossible to deny.

13 Americans, not 12, electrocuted by KBR wiring in Iraq 01 Jul 2008 Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, says 13 Americans were electrocuted in Iraq since September 2003 and a contractor has been ordered to inspect the facilities it maintains there for electrical safety hazards, a Pennsylvania senator said. Petraeus said KBR received $3.2 million for maintenance services as part of a February 2007 contract modification.

After Deaths, U.S. Inspects Electric Work Done in Iraq 01 Jul 2008 The Pentagon has ordered electrical inspections of all buildings in Iraq maintained by KBR, a major military contractor, after the electrocutions of several United States service members. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the American commander in Iraq, told Congress of the new inspections while also disclosing that at least 13 Americans had been electrocuted in Iraq since the war began. Previously, the Pentagon said that 12 had been electrocuted. In addition to those killed, many more service members have received painful shocks, Army officials say.

US Army releases journalist after four-days of unexplained detention 30 Jun 2008 Reporters Without Borders welcomed the release of freelance journalist Ahmed al-Majun, president of the local branch of the Iraq journalists’ union in Tikrit, north of Baghdad. He had been arrested in the city along with his son on the night of 23-24 June and held at the US base in Speicher, 15 kilometres north of Tikrit. The Journalistic Freedom Observatory in Iraq said that al-Majun had been subjected to interrogations, the content of which he had been forbidden to reveal. The US Army made no comment on the reasons for his detention, nor that of Ahmed Nuri, cameraman for Associated Press, whose release has also been urged by the worldwide press freedom organisation.

IFJ demands US free Iraqi journalist after violent raid 27 Jun 2008 The IFJ today condemned the raid by American forces on the home of Hesen Al-Maajon, a journalist and the president of the Iraqi Union of Journalists' Salah Al-Dien branch, and called on the military to release him immediately. American forces arrested Al-Maajon on Monday after using sound grenades that destroyed furniture in their raid on his home. The IFJ joins the Iraqi Union of Journalists (IUJ) and the Iraqi Media Safety Group in their protest over Al-Maajon's detention.

'No reason has been given for their arrests.' US and Iraqi soldiers arrest another journalist in Tikrit 25 Jun 2008 Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of journalist Ahmed Al-Majoun in a raid by US and Iraqi soldiers on his home in Tikrit (180 km north of Baghdad) early yesterday. His son was also arrested. Majoun heads a journalists union based in Salah El Din, the province of which Tikrit is the capital.

'The Hunting of the Snark:' US Evidence In Detainee Case --'Lewis Carroll notwithstanding, the fact the government has 'said it thrice' does not make an allegation true,' wrote Judge Merrick B. Garland, quoting from Carroll's poem 'The Hunting of the Snark.' 01 Jul 2008 In reversing a military tribunal's determination that a Chinese prisoner was an "enemy combatant," a federal appeals court criticized the government's evidence and compared its legal theories to a nonsensical 19th-century poem. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wrote in a 39-page opinion released yesterday that tribunals and courts must be able to assess whether evidence is reliable before determining the fate of prisoners. That did not happen in the case of Huzaifa Parhat, a Chinese Uighur determined to be an enemy combatant by a tribunal that relied heavily on questionable evidence in classified documents, the appeals court found.

Death call in torture case 02 Jul 2008 The Pentagon has announced that it will seek charges that carry the death penalty against a Saudi Arabian accused of plotting the terrorist attack on USS Cole in 2000 that killed 17 sailors. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, allegedly the al-Qaeda chief for the Arabian peninsula before his capture in 2002, faces charges of murder, conspiracy, treachery and five other terrorist-related acts if the proposed case is approved by the civilian head of the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal. Nashiri was one of three suspects interrogated through the controversial [torture] technique known as waterboarding while secretly held abroad by the CIA, the agency's director, Michael Hayden, told the US Congress in February.

Afghanistan deadlier than Iraq --With the Taliban bolstered by a prison break that freed 886, 45 international troops died in June; in Iraq, 31 died. 01 Jul 2008 Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan than in Iraq last month, as they did in May. The grim milestone capped a run of headline-grabbing 'insurgent' attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban's growing strength.

June is deadliest month for troops in Afghanistan war --Forty-five international troops are slain. The number surpasses the monthly total in Iraq for the second straight month. 01 Jul 2008 At least 45 international troops, including at least 27 Americans, died in Afghanistan in June, the deadliest month since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban, according to an Associated Press count. It was also the second straight month in which militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan than in Iraq.

Israel seals Gaza crossings after rocket attack 01 Jul 2008 Israel says it has closed its crossings with the Gaza Strip until further notice in response to a cross-border rocket attack. A military spokesman says only pedestrian traffic will be permitted through.

Pentagon to unveil new waiver process for recruits 01 Jul 2008 The Pentagon has revised its policy for recruits who must get waivers for past bad behavior, but officials stopped short of eliminating waiver requirements for petty crimes, The Associated Press has learned. Officials have now decided to create four waiver categories for major misconduct, misconduct, traffic offenses and non-traffic offenses.

Pentagon: Lithuania good site for missile defense 01 Jul 2008 The Pentagon said Tuesday that Lithuania would be a "good alternative" to Poland as the site for a U.S. missile defense base if negotiations with the Poles fail. The negotiations over a base that would host 10 U.S. missile interceptors have bogged down in a dispute over the extent of U.S. assistance to the Polish military.

Pentagon fights EPA on hazardous waste cleanups 30 Jun 2008 The Defense Department is refusing to comply with orders or sign contracts to clean up 11 hazardous waste sites, and has asked the White House and Justice Department to intervene on its behalf. In separate letters in May to the White House budget office and the Justice Department, Pentagon officials challenged the EPA's authority to issue orders under other environmental laws to force Superfund cleanups at Air Force bases in New Jersey and Florida and at the Army's Fort Meade in Maryland.

Homes raided in terrorism probe 01 Jul 2008 Police said on Tuesday they had raided five homes in central England as part of a terrorism probe into a group suspected of being involved in "promoting violent extremist views". Staffordshire Police said they had searched the houses in Stoke-on-Trent under the Terrorism Act following what they said was concern about the activities of a small number of people in the local community. This group was said to be promoting extremism and radicalising vulnerable members of the community. [Promote this.]

FBI to descend on Denver for Dem event 30 Jun 2008 "Hundreds" of FBI agents will be in Denver during the Democratic National Convention, according to James Davis, the FBI special agent in charge of the Denver field division that oversees Colorado and Wyoming. The FBI is "responsible for gathering intelligence on, primarily terrorist activity, any possible terrorist activity with regard to the convention, and make sure we get that intelligence to our partner agencies so they can be prepared," according to a "Colorado Matters" interview that aired today on Colorado Public Radio. He also said, "Primarily, the folks we have coming in are here to respond to an incident that rises to our jurisdiction." Host Ryan Warner: "What would that be?" Davis: "Like a terrorist attack."

DNC protests will be behind fence 30 Jun 2008 The fence around the public demonstration zone outside the Democratic National Convention will be chicken wire or chain link, authorities revealed in U.S. District Court today. The American Civil Liberties Union and several advocacy groups have filed an amended complaint to their lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service and the city and county of Denver that says protesters and demonstrators may have their First Amendment rights violated by security restrictions.

US drops Mandela from terrorist list 02 Jul 2008 The United States has removed former South African president Nelson Mandela and his African National Congress (ANC) from a three-decade old immigration watch list for possible terrorists.

Obama vows to expand Bush's faith-based initiative 01 Jul 2008 Barack Obama said Tuesday that if he were elected president he'd have his own version of President [sic] Bush's office of faith-based initiatives that would "help set our national agenda" and inject morality into policy debates about everything from AIDS to genocide... Obama said he'd keep Bush's 11 faith-based offices and expand participation by smaller religious groups.

Obama Wants to Expand Role of Religious Groups 02 Jul 2008 With an eye toward courting evangelical voters, Senator Barack Obama arrived here on Tuesday to present a plan to expand on President [sic] Bush’s program of investing federal money in religious-based initiatives that are intended to fight poverty and perform community aid work.

Obama Shifts on Welfare Reform 01 Jul 2008 Barack Obama aligned himself with welfare reform on Monday, launching a television ad which touts the way the overhaul "slashed the rolls by 80 percent." Obama leaves out, however, that he was against the 1996 federal legislation which precipitated the caseload reduction.

Obama pandering to the Reichwing: Obama criticizes MoveOn.org in patriotism speech 30 Jun 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday, in a major speech on patriotism, criticized MoveOn.org for referring to Gen. David Petraeus as General Betray Us last year. The Illinois senator said politics too often seems "trapped in old, threadbare arguments" that he called "caricatures of left and right."

Barack Obama may recruit defence chief Robert Gates 29 Jun 2008 In defiance of traditional party labels surrendering, Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, may ask the defence secretary of President [sic] George W Bush to stay on if he wins the White House. Obama’s top foreign policy and national security advisers are pressing the case for keeping Robert Gates at the Pentagon after he won widespread praise for his performance. The move would be in keeping with Obama’s desire to appoint a cabinet of all the talents sell out, a la Exelon.

National Guard deploys ground forces to fight California wildfires --More than 1,400 fires are burning --Guard will aid CalFire forces 01 Jul 2008 At least 200 soldiers of the California National Guard are expected to be on the fire lines or otherwise helping battle wildfires ravaging parts of the state. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday ordered the troops to provide direct ground support to help CalFire with the current wildfire threat in Northern California.

Starbucks to Close 600 Stores, May Cut 12,000 Jobs 01 Jul 2008 Starbucks Corp. will close 600 U.S. coffee shops and eliminate as many as 12,000 jobs, the most in its history, as Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz slows the chain's expansion after it doubled in size in four years.

Salmonella probe adds foods served with tomatoes --Officials would not reveal early findings [to protect agri-terrorists] 01 Jul 2008 Adding to tomato confusion, the government is about to start testing numerous other types of fresh produce in the hunt for the source of the nation's record salmonella outbreak -- even as it insists tomatoes remain the leading suspect. Investigators are mum on exactly what other vegetables are getting tracked.

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Lieberman: U.S. May Be Attacked In 2009 --McCain Supporter Says Terrorists Have Tested New Presidents By Launching Attacks In First Year of Term 29 Jun 2008 In describing the reasons he believes the Republicans' presumptive nominee for president would be better prepared than the Democrats' to lead the nation next January, Sen. Joe Lieberman said that history shows the United States would likely face a terrorist attack in 2009. "Our enemies will test the new president early," Lieberman, R-Israel, told CBS News. [The *real* enemy is LieberBush. Meanwhile, sign petition to 'demand the Steering Committee remove Joe LIEberman's position within the Democratic Caucus.']

Bush steps up covert action against Iran 30 Jun 2008 The Bush administration has been expanding covert activities in Iran under a secret directive in the hope of toppling the country's Islamic rulers, according to a report in The New Yorker which highlights opposition to military strikes. The magazine reveals that congressional leaders agreed to a request from President George Bush late last year for $400m (£200m) for measures described in a "presidential finding", a highly classified document which must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way.

Oil rises to record on concerns about Iran 30 Jun 2008 Crude oil rose to a record above $143 a barrel on Monday on speculation the dispute over Iran's nuclear program may disrupt supply from the second-largest OPEC producer. Pressure on Iran to end its uranium enrichment program and the falling value of the U.S. dollar may drive prices to $170 a barrel, the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Chakib Khelil, said Saturday.

A yard sale can work wonders --The Cure for George W. Bush's Insanity By Mark Yannone 29 Jun 2008 Today, under the pretext of convincing Iran to give up its nuclear arms program, the United States federal government and some loonies in the one-bomb state of Israel are banging the war drums up and down the Persian Gulf and throughout their old media. We know that this is a reaction to Iran's unwillingness to denominate its oil sales in United States Federal Reserve Notes, a currency backed only by coercion and the unlawful use of deadly force. The corresponding reaction to threatening to bomb Iran is a rapid rise in the price of oil and everything that uses oil, from gasoline to groceries... So what is the solution to this madness? A Russian yard sale seems most reasonable. Russia needs to sell Iran a nice starter kit of nuclear bombs -- maybe two of each model -- with operating instructions.

Former Iraqi prisoners sue U.S. military contractors for torture 30 Jun 2008 Four Iraqi men are suing U.S. military contractors who they say tortured them while they were detained in Abu Ghraib prison, according to lawsuits being filed at U.S. federal courts on Monday. The lawsuits allege the contractors committed violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy. The scandal over the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib unleashed a wave of global condemnation against the United States when images of abused prisoners surfaced in 2004.

Relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki shot dead by US soldiers 29 Jun 2008 Iraq is demanding an explanation from the U.S. military about the death of a relative of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Authorities Sunday said the relative was shot dead Friday in a raid by U.S. soldiers in Hindiya, east of the holy city of Karbala. Local leaders said the raid violated an agreement that transferred responsibility for Karbala's security from U.S. to Iraqi forces last year. [That's why the US carried out the raid.]

Bomb attacks target Iraqi judges in Baghdad 30 Jun 2008 Three bomb attacks targeted Iraqi judges on Monday morning, wounding one of them while two others escaped unhurt, an Interior Ministry source said. "Judge Ghanim Abdullah al-Shimmary, his wife and daughter were wounded when a bomb detonated inside his house in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Bunoog," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Iraq opens bidding on 8 oil and natural gas fields 30 Jun 2008 Iraq opened international bidding for eight enormous oil and gas fields Monday, paving the way for investment in a nation with some of the world's largest petroleum reserves. On Monday, the Times reported that a small U.S. State Department team helped draw up contracts between the Iraqi Oil Ministry and the five major oil companies reportedly getting no-bid contracts. State Department spokesman Tom Casey confirmed a small number of U.S. advisers were providing "technical support" to the Iraqi Oil Ministry.

'They wanted a share of the oil.' Iraq fails to ink deals with global oil majors 30 Jun 2008 Iraq said on Monday that it had failed to sign technical support deals with global oil majors hoping to cash in on boosting the war-torn country's extensive but underexploited oilfields. Iraq is still negotiating with Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total, and a consortium of other smaller oil companies, to develop six oil blocks and two gas fields, Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani told a press briefing. "We did not finalise any agreement with them because they refused to offer consultancy based on fees as they wanted a share of the oil," he said.

U.S. Advised Iraqi Ministry on Oil Deals --Contracts are expected to be awarded Monday to Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP, Total and Chevron, as well as to several smaller oil companies 30 Jun 2008 A group of American advisers led by a small State Department team played an integral part in drawing up contracts between the Iraqi government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq, American officials say. The disclosure, coming on the eve of the contracts’ announcement, is the first confirmation of direct involvement by the Bush regime in deals to open Iraq’s oil to commercial development and is likely to stoke criticism.

Bush signs $162B war spending bill for Iraq, Afghanistan 30 Jun 2008 U.S. President [sic] George W. Bush has signed a $162 billion war funding measure that will pay for the ongoing fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and guarantee troop support well past his presidency. The legislation will bring the amount Congress has provided for the Iraq war since it began in 2003 to more than $650 billion US. For war operations in Afghanistan, the measure will bring the spending total to nearly $200 billion US, congressional officials said.

U.S. Army report criticizes planning of Iraq occupation 29 Jun 2008 A new U.S. Army report on the Iraq conflict following the ouster of Saddam Hussein cites a lack of planning and vision by U.S. military and civilian leaders. The unclassified report written by military historians Donald Wright and Colonel Timothy Reese says too much emphasis was placed on a military triumph, and not enough on detailed planning for the post-war period.

Nearly 700 civilians die in 2008 Afghan violence, says UN 30 Jun 2008 Nearly 700 Afghan civilians have lost their lives in crossfire between 'insurgents' and foreign [US] troops this year, the United Nations said. About 255 people were killed during operations by Afghan, NATO- and US-led forces against militants while 422 others lost their lives in attacks by rebels targeting government and military forces, UN's Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes told reporters. It was not known how another 21 people died, he added.

Amid policy disputes, Qaeda grows in Pakistan 30 Jun 2008 Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to authorize the Pentagon's Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden's terror network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies Bush funding them. But more than six months later, the Special Operations forces are still waiting for the green light. A senior Defense Department official said there was "mounting frustration" in the Pentagon at the continued delay. [See: Pentagon cannot account for $2 billion in anti-terror funds to Pakistan --Overall, the U.S. has paid $5.6 billion to reimburse the country for counter-terrorism expenses, a GAO report says. 25 Jun 2008 The United States has paid more than $5 billion to reimburse Pakistan for counter-terrorism expenses that have often been exaggerated, if not fabricated, according to a government audit released Tuesday that blasts the Pentagon for poor management of the program.]

AT&T Whistleblower: Spy Bill Creates 'Infrastructure for a Police State' By Ryan Singel 27 Jun 2008 Mark Klein, the retired AT&T engineer who stepped forward with the technical documents at the heart of the anti-wiretapping case against AT&T, is furious at the Senate's vote on Wednesday night to hold a vote on a bill intended to put an end to that lawsuit and more than 30 others. 'The surveillance system now approved by Congress provides the physical apparatus for the government to collect and store a huge database on virtually the entire population, available for data mining whenever the government wants to target its political opponents at any given moment—all in the hands of an unrestrained executive power. It is the infrastructure for a police state.'

Democrat with military background assails McCain's credentials 29 Jun 2008 Senator John McCain came under sharp attack Sunday from a man considered a possible Democratic vice presidential candidate. The retired general Wesley Clark said McCain had not "held executive responsibility" and had not commanded troops in wartime. McCain was assailed by a fellow military man, a highly decorated one who was once the NATO supreme commander. McCain frequently points out that he led "the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy," but Clark said on CBS television that that was not enough to support a claim to the presidency. "He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall" as a wartime commander, the general said on CBS. [Right, plus he's a sociopath.]

Kucinich won't rally for Obama until he gets answers 27 Jun 2008 Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) has yet to officially endorse Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president and indicated he will not rally his liberal supporters this fall until he knows "what the party stands for." In an interview this week, Kucinich said it is too early to see which direction the Democratic Party is headed this election year. Pressed on when a formal endorsement of Obama would be announced, Kucinich replied, "[Obama and I] will be talking."

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer thanks U.S. for polar bear designation 30 Jun 2008 Manitoba Premier Gary Doer publicly thanked the American government Sunday for its decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species. Doer said polar bears in his province, near Churchill, are in danger and need protection. "Those polar bears are coming off the ice three weeks earlier in the summer than they were," Doer said.

Florida biologist saves drowning bear 30 Jun 2008 A biologist has dived into the Gulf of Mexico in Florida to rescue a stray black bear. The 375lb bear had been roaming a residential area at Alligator Point, near Tallahassee, when wildlife officers decided to trap it and move it away from houses. They shot the bear with a tranquiliser dart, spooking the animal, which raced toward the water. Adam Warwick, a biologist [and hero] with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, decided the bear may need rescuing and dived in.

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Military official: Iran digging 320,000 graves for invaders 30 Jun 2008 senior Iranian military official said on Sunday the Islamic republic is digging some 320,000 graves in its border provinces for future slain invaders, Iran's English-language satellite channel Press TV reported. Iran's Armed Forces headquarters has approved the plan to dig graves for enemy forces in case of any attack on its territory, said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.

Iran to control Gulf oil route if attacked [Better them than Exxon Mobil.] Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander says that Tehran able to retaliate if Iran came under attack. 28 Jun 2008 The commander of the Revolutionary Guards said Iran would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil transit route if the Islamic Republic came under attack, a newspaper reported on Saturday. Speculation about a possible attack on Iran because of its disputed nuclear ambitions has risen since a report this month said Israel had practiced such a strike.

Iran ready to strike at Israel's nuclear heart 29 Jun 2008 Iran has moved ballistic missiles into launch positions, with Israel’s Dimona nuclear plant among the possible targets, defence sources said last week. The movement of Shahab-3B missiles, which have an estimated range of more than 1,250 miles, followed a large-scale exercise earlier this month in which the Israeli air force flew en masse over the Mediterranean in an apparent rehearsal for a threatened attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

U.S. escalating covert operations against Iran - report 29 Jun 2008 U.S. congressional leaders agreed late last year to President [sic] George W. Bush's funding request for a major escalation of covert operations against Iran aimed at destabilizing its leadership, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine published online on Sunday. Funding for the covert escalation, for which Bush requested up to $400 million, was approved by congressional leaders, according to the article, citing current and former military, intelligence and congressional sources... U.S. Special Operations Forces have been conducting crossborder operations from southern Iraq since last year, the article said.

Preparing the Battlefield --The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran. By Seymour M. Hersh 07 Jul 2008 Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President [sic] Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country’s religious leadership... The scale and the scope of the operations in Iran, which involve the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), have now been significantly expanded, according to the current and former officials. Many of these activities are not specified in the new Finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature.

Shadow of war looms as Israel flexes its muscle --Israeli fighter jets flew 1,500 kms across the Mediterranean this month, in a dry run for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Tehran has threatened to treat such a raid as a declaration of war. As the Middle East braces itself for a stand-off of epic proportions, how close is the region to that nightmare scenario? 29 Jun 2008 To strike even the bare minimum of so-called target sets associated with Natanz and Bushehr without the assistance of US cruise missiles fired from their ships in the Persian Gulf would require a massive military effort and, according to the Israeli air force's own assessments, might risk the loss of large numbers of its aircraft for a temporary impact. But the rumours keep circulating and the hushed briefings are multiplying.

Israel has a year to stop Iran bomb, warns ex-spy 28 Jun 2008 A former head of Mossad has warned that Israel has 12 months in which to destroy Iran's nuclear programme or risk coming under nuclear attack itself. He also hinted that Israel might have to act sooner if Barack Obama wins the US presidential 'election.' Shabtai Shavit, an influential adviser to the Israeli parliament's defence and foreign affairs committee, told The Sunday Telegraph that time was running out to prevent Iran's leaders getting the bomb.

Occupation Plan for Iraq Faulted in Army History 29 Jun 2008 Soon after American forces toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Gen. Tommy R. Franks surprised senior Army officers by revamping the Baghdad-based military command. The decision reflected the assumption by General Franks, the top American commander for the Iraq invasion, that the major fighting was over. But according to an Army history that is to be made public on Monday, the move put the military effort in the hands of a short-staffed headquarters led by a newly promoted three-star general, and was made over the objections of the Army’s vice chief of staff.

U.S. forces are paying local residents $300 a month to guard their area and search vehicles for guns or explosives. Rag-tag force watches over Iraq militia hotspot --U.S.-funded patrols feature ex-militants, AK-47s, vodka-branded ball caps 26 Jun 2008 A rag-tag band of men toting AK-47s at a checkpoint in Baghdad's Sadr City forms part of a plan to strengthen the Iraqi army's hold over a bastion of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. The men, wearing tan uniforms and baseball caps with "Smirnoff" inexplicably blazoned across them, belong to one of the first groups of a new neighborhood guard to take to the streets of the sprawling district under a U.S.-funded program. U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol units, sometimes called "Sons of Iraq", have spread in mainly Sunni Arab areas of Iraq to beef up security and combat 'al-Qaida insurgents.'

Truck bomb kills 7 people north of Baghdad --Attack targets police officers, Sunni volunteers 29 Jun 2008 A truck bomb detonated by remote control north of Baghdad killed six policemen and a member of a local group of Sunni volunteers who have turned against the 'insurgents,' police said. The truck was parked along the side of a road in Duluiyah, some 45 miles north of Baghdad, and exploded as police entered the vehicle to search it, said police Col. Mohammed Khalid.

'They stopped sending people to Guantanamo and are sending them to Bagram instead.' In Courts, Afghanistan Air Base May Become Next Guantanamo --The military is planning to spend $60 million to build a new, larger facility that could accommodate 1,000 captives. 29 Jun 2008 Human rights groups and activists have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. military prison at Bagram, about 40 miles north of Kabul. The prison has grown steadily over the years and has about 600 detainees, military officials said. Some of the Bagram prisoners have been there since 2002, activists said. In legal filings, the 'Justice' Department has fiercely fought the Bagram [habeas corpus] suits, arguing that "Bagram airfield is in the zone of war" and not in a peaceful locale such as Guantanamo.

The 'W.' Stands for 'War Criminal' --The House and a shot not yet heard 'round the world By Nat Hentoff 24 Jun 2008 In a June 6 letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey...56 Democrats in the House of Representatives asked for "an immediate investigation with the appointment of a special counsel to determine whether actions taken by the President [sic], his Cabinet, and other Administration officials are in violation of the War Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. 2441) . . . and other U.S. and international laws." This isn't front-page news? The letter began with a brief account of the notorious facts about Abu Ghraib ("sexual exploitation and torture") and Guantánamo ("an independent investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross documented several . . . acts of torture . . . including soaking a prisoner's head in alcohol and lighting it on fire"). Nor was "coercive interrogation" in Afghanistan omitted: "In October 2005, The New York Times reported that three detainees were killed during interrogations in Afghanistan and Iraq by CIA agents or CIA contractors."

Thanks to Bush: UN official: Afghan civilian deaths up 60 percent 29 Jun 2008 A senior U.N. official says the number of civilians killed in fighting in Afghanistan has soared by nearly two-thirds. The top U.N. humanitarian official, John Holmes, said Sunday that the world body has recorded 698 civilian deaths for the first half of this year, compared to 430 in the first six months of 2007.

13 British soldiers killed in Afghanistan in June 29 Jun 2008 A British soldier has been killed by a land mine in the Afghan province of Helmand. The soldier, a member of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, was the thirteenth British soldier killed in Afghanistan this month. The latest casualty came when the soldier stepped on to a land mine on Saturday.

Pakistani Forces Move In On Taliban --U.S. Has Urged Action Against 'Insurgents' (and paid billion$ for it) 29 Jun 2008 Hundreds of Pakistani military and police forces moved into the key northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday to head off a possible attack by the Taliban and other Islamist 'insurgents,' marking the first major military operation in Pakistan's fractured border region since a new government was elected in February.

If Terrorists Rock the Vote in 2008 By Frank Rich 29 Jun 2008 Don't fault Charles Black, the John McCain adviser, for publicly stating his honest belief that a domestic terrorist attack would be "a big advantage" for their campaign and that Benazir Bhutto’s assassination had "helped" Mr. McCain win the New Hampshire primary. His real sin is that he didn’t come completely clean on his strategic thinking... Terrorism is the one major issue where Mr. McCain soundly vanquishes his Democratic opponent in the polls. Since 2002, it’s been a Beltway axiom akin to E=mc2 that Bomb in American City=G.O.P. Landslide.

Group with Clinton connections ready to back Obama 29 Jun 2008 By rights, a group that helped elect Bill Clinton president and counts Sen. Hillary Clinton as one of its leaders should be hostile territory for Barack Obama. But members of the Democratic Leadership Council seem ready to embrace Obama rather than risk squandering an opportunity for victory this fall.

Lawyer says Florida's Supreme Court isn't legitimate --Attorney claims loyalty oaths not prompt enough 22 Jun 2008 Six of Florida's seven Supreme Court justices filed written loyalty oaths last year after conservative activists challenged their authority to sit on the bench... Washington, D.C., attorney Montgomery Blair Sibley has filed a lawsuit challenging his disciplinary proceedings on the grounds that the 'justices' don't have the power to punish him because all of them except for Chief Justice Fred Lewis failed to properly file written loyalty oaths when they came to the bench years ago. Sibley sued the Florida Bar and the justices, claiming he has been harmed by their "putative exercise of sovereign judicial power without authorization."

The NYT "Covers" the Susan Lindauer Hearing --From the People Who Brought Us Judith Miller & George Bush By Michael Collins 24 Jun 2008 A nation on the verge of bankruptcy, foreclosures at epidemic rates, national debt so out of control it is difficult to even measure and a deep recession with possibly worse down the road: this is just a part of the legacy of the New York Times' coverage of the 2004 election. How low will they sink? Even on a smaller scale, their depths are without limits, it would seem. The most recent example is the New York Times' coverage of the competency hearing on June 17, 2008 in the Susan Lindauer versus the United States in the Federal District Court, Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan.

U.S. 'meltdown' reason for money injection: Fortis --Fortis predicts 'complete collapse of US financial markets' within weeks 29 Jun 2008 Fortis expects within the next few days to weeks to complete the collapse of the U.S. financial markets. That explains the series of bank insurers' interventions Thursday dealing with € 8 billion. 'We are on the minute ready. It goes in the United States much worse than thought,' said Fortis chairman Maurice Lippens... Fortis expects bankruptcies of 6000 U.S. banks that now lack coverage. 'But, Citigroup General Motors begin a complete meltdown in the U.S.' [Note: This summary is a rough translation of the Dutch article.]

Gazprom CEO: $250 for oil? While experts doubt the probability, they agree that such a price would jolt everyday life. 16 Jun 2008 At $250 a barrel for crude oil, food prices double. The U.S., Japan and Europe plunge into deep recession. Companies go bankrupt. Airlines are nationalized. Sport-utility vehicle sales dry up as gasoline tops $7 a gallon.

Penguins on quick march to extinction 29 Jun 2008 The world’s penguin population is in dramatic decline with more than a fifth of species facing extinction, according to research. A study warns that the sharp reduction in penguin numbers is symptomatic of "catastrophic changes" occurring in the oceans caused by climate change, as well as damaging human activities such as commercial fishing and oil production. The global penguin population has fallen by half since the beginning of the 20th century and now stands at 10m birds.

Plight of the polar bear --A new exhibit at Burke Museum centers on photos of polar bears and their shrinking environment. 27 Jun 2008 An exhibit opening Saturday at Seattle's Burke Museum focuses on a colder environment -- the Arctic -- and the polar bears living there. The exhibit, "The Last Polar Bear: Facing the Truth of a Warming World" "is as much about facing the realities of climate change in our world as it is about making a connection with one of the most beloved, endearing mammals on the planet -- the polar bear," Burke spokeswoman Julia Swan said.

Bush declares state of emergency for California wildfires 28 Jun 2008 US President [sic] George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in California on Saturday and ordered federal aid to help authorities battle more than 1,000 wildfires burning out of control. "We have over 1,000 fires burning in northern California alone, our resources are stretched extremely thin," said Cheri Patterson, a spokeswoman for the state's fire department, Calfire.

Home-grown vegetables ruined by toxic fertiliser 29 Jun 2008 Gardeners have been warned not to eat home-grown vegetables contaminated by a powerful new herbicide that is destroying gardens and allotments across the UK. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has been inundated with calls from concerned gardeners who have seen potatoes, beans, peas, carrots and salad vegetables wither or become grossly deformed. The affected gardens and allotments have been contaminated by manure originating from farms where the hormone-based herbicide aminopyralid has been sprayed on fields.

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US Congress approves Israel aid increase 27 Jun 2008 The US Congress has approved a 170 million dollar increase in security assistance to Israel as part of its new 10-year, 30 billion dollar 'defense' aid commitment to the Jewish state. The money for Israel was part of a larger supplemental spending bill that included 162 billion dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. America's pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, welcomed the congressional action, saying it would increase US aid to Israel to 2.55 billion dollars in fiscal year 2009, up from 2.38 billion dollars this year.

US Congress agrees to keep troops in Iraq until end of Bush's term 27 Jun 2008 The Democratic-controlled US Congress late yesterday agreed to keep the military in Iraq until George Bush leaves office. The massive war bill faced little opposition after Bush reached a deal with DemocRATs, exchanging unrestricted war money for the veterans' education as well as 13 extra weeks of employment benefits for Americans hit by a faltering economy.

America to hand back Anbar, Iraq's biggest province, to Baghdad 28 Jun 2008 America will next week crown its progress in driving al-Qa'eda out of Iraq [Really?] by handing back the province of Anbar to local control. Anbar was once the heart of extremist Islamic resistance to America but was transformed into one of Iraq's most peaceful regions in a matter of months. [Yeah, right! See: Al-Qaida in Iraq says it was behind Anbar attack 28 Jun 2008.]

'They sold their souls to the American devil for a cheap price.' 28 Jun 2008 An 'al-Qaida' front organization claimed responsibility Saturday for a suicide bombing that killed more than 20 people -- including three Marines -- as the U.S. military stepped up pressure on extremists in northern Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq posted the claim on a militant Web site, saying the bomber blew himself up among a gathering of the "heads of apostasy" -- a reference to U.S.-backed Sunni tribal leaders who were attending a meeting Thursday in Karmah, 20 miles west of Baghdad. "They sold their souls to the American devil for a cheap price," the statement said. "Therefore, the soldiers of the Islamic State of Iraq have launched an open war against them."

Navy to keep Guantanamo base if prison closes 28 Jun 2008 No matter what happens to America's offshore military prison, this much is clear: This Navy base will remain open for years to come, and so probably will the McDonald's, the Taco Bell and the golf course. "We're not going anywhere anytime soon," declared Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey M. Johnston, who gets upset when people equate the closing of the detention center with a shutdown of this 45-square-mile base.

British soldier killed in Afghanistan takes death toll to 109 28 Jun 2008 A member of the Logistics Corps killed on patrol in Afghanistan is the 11th British soldier to die in the country this month. The death takes the number of British service personnel killed in the conflict to 109. The soldier was killed and two others injured on patrol in southern Afghanistan, Britain's Ministry of Defence said.

Pakistan launches Taliban offensive 28 Jun 2008 Pakistan on Saturday launched an offensive against the Taliban -- the biggest military push against militants in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region since a civilian government took power in March.

The 'Pot-Kettle' moment of a lifetime: Bush Calls Zimbabwe Election A "Sham" --Says U.S. Is Developing Penalties Against Mugabe Government After Runoff Vote Marked By Violence 28 Jun 2008 Dictator Bush said Saturday the U.S. was working on ways to punish Zimbabwe's longtime leader and his allies, branding Robert Mugabe's government as "illegitimate" and retaining power only through a "sham" election. [He should know!]

Bush orders officials to draw up Zimbabwe sanctions 28 Jun 2008 The US president [sic], George Bush, today ordered officials to draw up a list of possible sanctions against Zimbabwe and condemned Robert Mugabe's "blatant disregard" for democracy. [LOL!] The move could see the imposition of sanctions including an arms embargo and travel bans.

Cheney 'tried to block North Korea nuclear deal' 28 Jun 2008 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney fought furiously to block efforts by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to strike a controversial US compromise deal with North Korea over the communist state's nuclear programme, the Telegraph has learned. Mr Cheney was so angry about the decision to remove North Korea from the terrorism blacklist and lift some sanctions that he abruptly curtailed a meeting with visiting US foreign experts when asked about it in the White House last week, according to the New York Times.

U.S. and Europe Near Agreement on Private Data 28 Jun 2008 The United States and the European Union are nearing completion of an agreement allowing law enforcement and security agencies to obtain private information -- like credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits -- about people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The potential agreement, as outlined in an internal report obtained by The New York Times, would represent a diplomatic breakthrough for American counterterrorism officials, who have clashed with the European Union over demands for personal data. The pact would make clear that it is lawful for European governments and companies to transfer personal information to the United States, and vice versa.

Florida banks tell feds to ease regulation 27 Jun 2008 Florida banks say they are tired of playing cops, and some congressional leaders agree. The Florida Bankers Association (FBA) issued a statement Thursday in support of 18 members of Congress who signed a letter asking bank regulatory agencies to ease off on their enforcement of bank-related provisions of the Patriot Act and the Bank Secrecy Act. Parts of the two laws require banks to report the suspicious activity of their customers, especially when conducting international business.

Chip implants can't be required in Missouri 26 Jun 2008 Gov. Matt Blunt (R) signed a bill Thursday prohibiting companies in Missouri from forcing workers to have microchips implanted in their bodies. You read that right. In Missouri, it’s now illegal for businesses to require employees to have a microchip embedded under their skin.

MPs to give Berlusconi temporary immunity --Opposition leader warns of 'sweet dictatorship' 28 Jun 2008 Silvio Berlusconi is on course to end his problems with Italy's courts after his cabinet launched a bill yesterday giving him immunity from prosecution while he remains in office. The Italian prime minister's majorities in both houses of parliament are likely to ensure the bill becomes law, suspending his trial in Milan for allegedly paying a bribe to British lawyer David Mills in return for favourable evidence in previous trials.

House Panel Subpoenas Official in Leak Case 28 Jun 2008 A House panel subpoenaed Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Friday for transcripts of interviews with President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney during the federal inquiry into the leak of a C.I.A. agent’s identity. Signed by the Judiciary Committee chairman, Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), the subpoena requests all documents from the office of the former special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, relating to interviews of Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and their aides that were conducted outside the presence of the grand jury investigating the leak.

Conyers issues subpoena to DOJ for Bush-Cheney interviews on Plame leak 27 Jun 2008 House Judiciary Committee John Conyers has issued a subpoena to the Justice Dept. for the unredacted interviews with President [sic] Bush and Vice President [sic] Cheney on former CIA operative Valerie Plame, as well as numerous other documents sought unsuccessfully by Democrats for years. Conyers is also seeking FBI notes of interviews with some top former White House officials, including Karl Rove, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Scott McClellan, Dan Bartlett and Andrew Card.

McCain Predicts He'll Overtake Obama '48 Hours' Before the Election 27 Jun 2008 John McCain predicted the general election race would come down to the buzzer Friday, declaring himself the underdog but quipping that he’d ride to victory in the last "48 hours." The comment came as new polls show Barack Obama leading nationally and in several key swing states. [LOL! Yup, it should take about 48 hours to program the electronic 'voting' machines for the third GOP coup d'etat, but McCain's handlers aren't going to be too happy with him blatantly shouting it from the rooftops. --LRP]

Justice Antonin Scalia: Al Gore to blame for 2000 US election mess 27 Jun 2008 The 2000 presidential election debacle was the fault of Al Gore, who should have followed Richard Nixon's 1960 example and conceded without legal action, according to the Supreme Court's leading conservative 'judge.' The 2000 election coup d'etat, in which Mr Bush eventually prevailed in pivotal Florida by just 537 votes was selected, remains a potent source of discontent for Democrats. Last month, Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that the election had been stolen by "five intellectually bankrupt judges". [In the *first* place, someone should tell this sociopath that the case is actually Bush v. Gore - *Bush* filed the legal action. Eight days earlier, the US Supreme Court had decided the case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board. Again, the legal action was instigated by *Bush.* Moreover, George W. Bush had a fleet of lawyers poised to overturn the 2000 election if Al Gore had won the electoral vote but lost the popular vote - a fact the mainstream media whores buried. In the second place, the only fault of Gore was that he didn't call for the second American Revolution to overthrow the occupiers after the *first* coup d'etat. If Bush was prevented from stealing the presidency in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, Iraq invasion, countless war crimes and thousands of environmental acts of terror would never have happened. --LRP]

Barack Obama to visit Britain 28 Jun 2008 Senator Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, is to fly to Britain next month as part of an ambitious foreign trip that will also take him to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as to France and Germany.

OPEC Leader Khelil Says Dollar Will Drive Oil to $170 28 Jun 2008 OPEC President Chakib Khelil predicted that the price of oil will climb to $170 a barrel before the end of the year, citing the dollar's decline and political conflicts.

Senate Democrats Attack Republicans on Medicare 28 Jun 2008 Democrats moved swiftly on Friday to assail Republican senators for voting against a major Medicare bill and said the Republicans should be held responsible for a 10 percent cut in payments to doctors that takes effect next week. And doctors, pharmacists and advocates for Medicare beneficiaries said they would step up pressure on members of Congress when they return home for the Fourth of July recess.

Mexico Prohibits Poultry Imports From Arkansas Over Bird Flu Outbreak 27 Jun 2008 Mexico is banning poultry imports from Arkansas because of a bird flu outbreak. Mexico's Agriculture Department said poultry meat, fertilized eggs, song birds and messenger pigeons are banned indefinitely. Avian influenza cases led to the destruction of 15,000 hens in western Arkansas earlier this month.

Another sandbag barrier fails at Winfield, Mo. 28 Jun 2008 A makeshift sandbag levee holding back the Mississippi River failed early Saturday and authorities said part of the town was evacuated. Water began flowing under the 4-foot-high barrier around 4:30 a.m. An alarm sounded and the few residents remaining in the flood plain were ordered to get out.

Hail damages up to 30,000 new VWs 27 Jun 2008 Up to 30,000 brand new Volkswagen cars have been damaged by a storm of hail stones reported to be the size of ping-pong balls. The cars were parked outside the Volkswagen plant at Emden on Germany's North Sea coast.

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