July 2009 Archives
H1N1 flu: UK to vaccinate 30 people an hour in 'military-style operation' --Swine flu vaccine to be cleared after five-day trial 12 Jul 2009 When the new vaccine for swine flu arrives in Britain, regulators said this weekend, it could be approved for use in just five days. Regulators at the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) said the fast-tracked procedure has involved clinical trials of a "mock-up" vaccine similar to the one that will be used for the biggest mass vaccination programme in generations. It will be introduced into the general population while regulators continue to carry out simultaneous clinical trials. The first patients in the queue for the jab - being supplied to the UK by GSK and Baxter Healthcare - may understandably be a little nervous at any possible side effects. A mass vaccination campaign against swine flu in America was halted in the 1970s after some people suffered Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system.
Swine flu vaccine to be given to entire population --The NHS is preparing to vaccinate the entire population against swine flu. 12 Jul 2009 It comes after an Essex man was confirmed on Friday as the first person without underlying health problems to have died from the virus. Ministers have secured up to 90 million doses of the vaccine, which is expected to arrive in Britain in the next few weeks, and the rest of the population is likely to be offered vaccinations next year.
Feinstein suggests CIA concealment broke law 12 Jul 2009 Barack Obama's Democratic allies are pushing for twin investigations into Bush-era torture and anti-terrorism policies. Two senators, including the head of the intelligence committee [Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin], suggested Sunday that the prior administration broke the law by concealing a CIA counterterrorism program from Congress. The assertion that Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney ordered the concealment came amid word that Attorney General Eric Holder is contemplating opening a criminal probe of possible CIA torture.
Durbin: Probe possible Cheney concealment 12 Jul 2009 Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin says Congress should investigate whether former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration ordered the CIA to conceal the existence of a counterterrorism program [aka executive assassination ring]. Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Durbin says it may have been an illegal act if such a program was hidden from Congress.
Cheney accused of secret dealings 12 Jul 2009 American media has reported that former vice-president [sic], Dick Cheney, has been accused of ordering the CIA to keep secret from US legislators certain counter-terrorism programs that began after the September 11th attacks in New York and on the Pentagon. The New York Times and CNN have reported that new CIA chief, Leon Panetta, ended the secret program in June.
Cheney Ordered C.I.A. Concealment of Terror Program 12 Jul 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday. The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program [Cheney's 'executive assassination ring,' revealed by Seymour Hersh?] from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush regime had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.
Probe of Alleged Torture Weighed --White House Has Resisted Inquiry 12 Jul 2009 Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is leaning toward appointing a criminal prosecutor to investigate whether CIA personnel tortured terrorism suspects after Sept. 11, 2001, setting the stage for a conflict with administration officials who would prefer the issues remain in the past, according to three sources familiar with his thinking. The White House successfully resisted efforts by congressional Democrats to establish a "truth and reconciliation" panel.
Attorney General may probe Bush-era torture 11 Jul 2009 Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter.
Vietnamization we can believe in: McChrystal: Afghan strategy needs huge increase in funding, troops --U.S. General Sees Afghan Army, Police Insufficient 11 Jul 2009 Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the newly arrived top commander in Afghanistan, has concluded that the Afghan security forces will have to be far larger than currently planned if President Obama's strategy for 'winning' the war is to succeed, according to senior military officials. Such an expansion would require spending billions more than the $7.5 billion the administration has budgeted annually to build up the Afghan army and police over the next several years, and the likely deployment of thousands more U.S. troops as trainers and advisers, officials said.
Afghanistan Blast Kills 2 Marines 13 Jul 2009 Two United States Marines were killed in a roadside explosion in the southern province of Helmand, a United States forces spokeswoman said Sunday. A third American service member died of wounds Friday back home. The explosion, which occurred Saturday, was caused by a homemade bomb, the spokeswoman, Lt. Cmdr Christine Sidenstricker, said.
Death toll of troops keeps rising but Britain's strategy in Afghanistan IS working, Gordon Brown insists 11 Jul 2009 Gordon Brown today insisted Britain's strategy in Afghanistan was succeeding, despite the bloody fighting which has seen the loss of eight soldiers in 24 hours. The Prime Minister acknowledged said that the past ten days had been 'extraordinarily difficult' for British forces with the deaths of 15 troops since the start of the month. But in a letter to the senior MPs on the Commons Liaison Committee, he said the Operation Panther's Claw offensive to clear the Taliban from central Helmand was succeeding.
Afghanistan: a war we cannot win --The threat posed by al-Qaeda is exaggerated; the West's vision of a rebuilt Afghanistan ultimately flawed, says former soldier, diplomat and academic Rory Stewart 10 Jul 2009 It is impossible for Britain and its allies to build an Afghan state. They have no clear picture of this promised "state", and such a thing could come only from an Afghan national movement, not as a gift from foreigners. Is a centralised state, in any case, an appropriate model for a mountainous country, with strong traditions of local self-government and autonomy, significant ethnic differences, but strong shared moral values?
Roadside bomb explodes near U.S. ambassador's vehicle 12 Jul 2009 A small roadside bomb narrowly missed a vehicle carrying the U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Sunday. Ambassador Christopher Hill was traveling in a U.S. State Department convoy in southern Iraq when the bomb exploded, causing minor damage to another vehicle in the group of armored sport-utility vehicles. No one was injured.
Israeli Military Official Threatens Lebanon War 12 Jul 2009 Israel will wage war against Lebanon, its infrastructure and all those who support Hizbullah, if the new Lebanese cabinet legitimizes the terrorist group, former head of the Israeli National Security Council Giora Eiland said on Sunday. Hizbullah’s political wing, closely tied with its military division, may gain a strengthened position in the parliament during attempts to form a government following the recent elections.
Iran threatens legal action over kidnapped diplomats 12 Jul 2009 Following the release of the five Iranian diplomats, who were abducted in Iraq by US forces over two years ago, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki threatens Washington with possible legal action. "We reserve the right to legally pursue ... this action taken by the (George W.) Bush government," Mottaki said on Sunday as the freed Iranian officials received a hero's welcome upon arriving in Tehran.
Ex KBR Iraq worker held on sexual assault charge 10 Jul 2009 A former employee of military contractor KBR Inc has been arrested in Texas and charged with sexually assaulting a woman at an airbase in Iraq, federal prosecutors said on Friday. According to a now-unsealed indictment from Oct. 8, 2008, David Charles Breda Jr. is charged with assaulting the woman at Camp Al Asad while working as a civilian defense contractor for a subsidiary of Houston-based KBR, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas said in a statement.
Evacuation slide on Barack Obama's campaign plane brought it 'close to disaster' --An emergency aboard Barack Obama's campaign plane last July nearly had catastrophic effects after an evacuation slide inflated in mid flight, it has emerged. 11 Jul 2009 It was just over a year ago that the pilot of "Obama One", as the presidential candidate's aircraft was dubbed, went through an extraordinary drama high above the clouds shortly after takeoff. After leaving Chicago, an evacuation slide mysteriously inflated in the plane's tail section, preventing the flaps that controlled the aircraft's pitch from functioning properly. As he struggled with the controls of the elderly McDonnell Douglas, the pilot ordered an emergency landing.
U.S. to spend another $1 billion for flu vaccine 12 Jul 2009 The United States will spend another $1 billion for ingredients for an H1N1 vaccine, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Sunday. "There'll be another $1 billion worth of orders placed to get the bulk ingredients [Thimerosal (mercury), formaldehyde, detergent, MF-59, and other toxins] for an H1N1 vaccination.
Homeless people die after bird flu vaccine trial in Poland --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. 02 Jul 2008 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.
The Truth about the Flu Shot By Infowars 10 Jul 2009 If the government mandates a series of flu shots this fall -- so far they are only "recommending” the shots -- you can expect to get a dose of thimerosal (mercury), formaldehyde, detergent, MF-59 (an oil-based adjuvant), and other toxins. Incidentally, if you believe the government will not kidnap you at gunpoint and lock you in a concentration camp and possibly force you to take these toxins, check out Executive Order 13295 of April 4, 2003. It states that the government has the authority to establish "regulations providing for the apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases," including diseases at that time "not yet isolated or named." Of course, the government will decide if you have a deadly disease or not.
Swine Flu Outbreak at Air Force Base 11 Jul 2009 The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado is dealing with the state's largest outbreak of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu. The Academy says initial tests show 15 cadets with the virus. Nearly 90 cadets have been isolated because of flu-like symptoms. The Academy says most of the sick cadets are members of the incoming freshman class.
Swine flu deaths in UK double as country now has third highest number of cases in the world 10 Jul 2009 The number of Britons who have died after contracting swine flu has almost doubled in two days to 14, officials said yesterday. London is days away from an epidemic with the West Midlands not far behind. Britain has the third highest number of confirmed cases of the virus in the world, just behind Mexico - where the outbreak began.
Frustrated, Palin to quit oil panel job 17 Jan 2004 Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairwoman Sarah Palin said Friday she is resigning amid frustration that she is being forced to keep silent about ethics allegations against Republican Party of Alaska chairman Randy Ruedrich. "I'm forced to withhold information from Alaskans, and that goes against what I believe in as a public servant," Palin said in a Friday interview. Ruedrich, reached on his cell phone, wouldn't discuss Palin's resignation.
A $30,000 an hour attorney? Palin report overstates inquiries' costs 10 Jul 2009 There's some double counting and other problems with a spreadsheet outlining $1.9 million in state costs for ethics complaints, public records requests and lawsuits directed at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The administrative director in the governor's office, Linda Perez, conceded that some costs were counted twice and said "the total cost is overstated by $26,849." She said she missed that the Department of Law's updated numbers included costs that were already counted.
Police face inquiry into media payouts --MPs want to be sure the Met is not trying to hide embarrassing payments to officers by reporters 12 Jul 2009 The Metropolitan Police could face a new House of Commons inquiry into whether officers are routinely paid by journalists to obtain confidential information about celebrities and suspects, in a fresh twist to the tabloid phone-hacking scandal. The home affairs select committee will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to launch a full inquiry into how private information such as criminal and DVLA records have been obtained by private investigators, who have then sold them on to journalists.
Troubled prison firm's deal for new psychiatric hospital raises questions 11 Jul 2009 A private prison company's history of filthy conditions, sexual abuse, suicides and riots in some of its Texas lockups isn't stopping the state from paying it $7.5 million to run a new psychiatric hospital near Houston. Lawmakers inserted an earmark into the state budget to fund the future Montgomery County facility starting in 2011. But they said they didn't know until this week that the county had selected the GEO Group to operate it, although GEO lobbyists were pushing for it as early as February.
The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse' --Authoritative new study sets out a grim vision of shortages and violence – but amid all the gloom, there is some hope too 12 Jul 2009 An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission... is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse". This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet – obtained by The Independent on Sunday ahead of its official publication next month.
Polar bear populations shrinking with sea ice: report 06 Jul 2009 A major international report says the increasingly rapid loss of Arctic sea ice is already taking a toll on polar bears and Canada should reconsider its decision not to include the mighty predators on its list of endangered species. The Polar Bear Specialist Group, which met over the weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark, has concluded that the overall condition of the world's 19 polar bear populations is deteriorating.
It's Friday night . . . and CLG readers know exactly what that means! Yup, it's human rights/environmental 'bad news' dump time: Report: Bush program extended beyond wiretapping --The "President's Surveillance Program" 10 Jul 2009 The Bush regime authorized secret surveillance activities that still have not been made public, according to a new government report that questions the legal basis for the unprecedented anti-terrorism program. It's unclear how much valuable intelligence was yielded by the surveillance program started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the unclassified summary of reports by five inspectors general. The reports mandated by Congress last year were delivered to lawmakers Friday. President [sic] George W. Bush authorized other secret intelligence activities -- which have yet to become public -- even as he was launching the massive warrantless wiretapping program, the summary said. It describes the entire program as the "President's Surveillance Program."
Report: Bush surveillance program was massive 10 Jul 2009 The Bush regime built an unprecedented surveillance operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday, questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal. The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President [sic] George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored." [Oh, so the secret programs are going to continue?!?]
Bush Personally Ordered Visit to Ashcroft's Hospital Bed By Spencer Ackerman 10 Jul 2009 One warrantless surveillance mystery solved. My friend Marcy Wheeler beat me to this: George W. Bush personally ordered White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andy Card to visit an ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft in the hospital in March 2004 after Ashcroft’s deputy Jim Comey refused to certify the warrantless surveillance program.
Secret Program Fuels CIA-Congress Dispute --Obama has rejected calls from Democrats to create 'truth commission' to investigate allegations of misconduct by Bush administration officials 10 Jul 2009 Four months after he was sworn in, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta learned of an intelligence program that had been hidden from Congress since 2001, a revelation that prompted him to immediately cancel the initiative and schedule a pair of closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. The next day, June 24, Panetta informed the House and Senate intelligence committees of the program and the action he had taken, according to Democratic and Republican members of the panels. The program remains classified. Several current and former administration officials called it an "on-again, off-again" attempt to create a new intelligence capability and said it was related to the collection of information on suspected terrorists that was instituted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
British casualties in Afghanistan higher than Iraq 10 Jul 2009 After eight British soldiers were killed within 24 hours in Afghanistan, the British military's death toll in the war-torn country is now higher than in Iraq. The spike in fatalities means that Britain has now lost 184 troops in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001 -- surpassing the 179 killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Eight British soldiers killed in bloodiest day of Afghan mission --Eight UK soldiers killed in 24 hours --Afghan death toll eclipses that in Iraq --Brown warns of 'very hard summer' 10 Jul 2009 Ministers were bracing themselves for an increasingly bloody conflict in Afghanistan as it became clear that a further eight British soldiers have been killed in 24 hours, the worst combat death toll since the war began. Five troops were killed in a single incident after they were caught in a bomb blast while on foot patrol. Officials confirmed that 15 troops have been killed in the last 10 days. With the government's handling of the conflict under increasing scrutiny, Gordon Brown was forced to defend the 'Afghan mission' as he left the G8 summit in Italy. [Besides securing Bush's gas and opium pipelines, what *is* the 'Afghan mission?']
Afghan casualty figures contradict coalition numbers 10 Jul 2009 Conflicting reports are coming out of Afghanistan over the death figures in overnight fighting between the Taliban militants and coalition troops. Afghanistan's Police Chief Khalil Boz Sherzai said on Friday that around 22 Afghans were killed in the central Ghazni province in an air strike while the US-led coalition report denied any air strike and only said that several militants had been killed.
Suspected US missile strike kills 3 in NW Pakistan 10 Jul 2009 Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed three 'militants' [Yeah, right!] in northwestern Pakistan. The officials say two missiles fired from U.S. drone aircraft struck a communication center of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in Painda Khel in South Waziristan. South Waziristan is part of the tribal region along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.
Truck bomb kills at least 13 children in Afghanistan 10 Jul 2009 A truck filled with explosives that police believe may have been destined for Kabul blew up on a highway Thursday, killing 25 people -- more than half of them children walking to school. Two U.S. soldiers died in combat as the U.S. military reported the number of roadside bombs in Afghanistan last month was nearly three times the figure for Iraq.
US Said to Have Averted Inquiry Into '01 Afghan Mass Killings --Prisoners brought from Afghanistan reported that they had been "stacked like cordwood" in shipping containers and had to lick the perspiration off one another to survive. 11 Jul 2009 After a mass killing of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Taliban prisoners of war by the forces of an American-backed warlord during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, Bush regime officials repeatedly discouraged efforts to investigate the episode, according to government officials and human rights organizations. American officials had been reluctant to pursue an investigation because the warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, was on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency and his militia worked closely with United States Special Forces in 2001... Thousands of prisoners were stuffed into closed metal shipping containers and given no food or water; many suffocated while being trucked to the prison. Other prisoners were killed when guards shot into the containers. The bodies were said to have been buried in a mass grave in Dasht-i-Laili, a stretch of desert just outside Shibarghan.
Amid US pullout, Iraq violence continues 10 Jul 2009 An Iraqi policeman has reportedly been killed after an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up near a checkpoint in disrupted Mosul. A source who wished not be named told the Voices of Iraq news agency that the lethal attack took place on Friday at the al-Shifaa neighborhood in western Mosul, claiming the life of an Iraqi security agent. A volatile ethnic mix of Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Christians, Mosul remains the scene of frequent shootings and bombings, and US commanders regard the once cosmopolitan city as the last urban bastion of 'al-Qaeda' in Iraq.
Mother of soldier killed in Iraq wins review of Snatch Land Rovers 10 Jul 2009 The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq has won the right to a judicial review of the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into Snatch Land Rovers. Susan Smith, of Tamworth, Staffordshire, whose son Phillip Hewett died in 2005, is challenging the use of the vehicles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr Justice Mitting allowed the review but said it would not cover the present and future use of the lightly armoured vehicles, which have been criticised for offering poor protection from bomb blasts.
Ex-KBR contractor charged with sexual assault 10 Jul 2009 A former civilian defense contractor was charged Friday with sexually assaulting a woman at an Iraqi air base. David Charles Breda Jr., 34, is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in October at Camp Al Asad, Iraq, where he was employed by a subsidiary of Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. Breda, who lived in the Houston suburb of Pearland before he left for Iraq, was arrested Thursday at a Houston-area barber college by agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Obama ends G8 with warning to Iran 10 Jul 2009 The G8 summit in Italy draws to a close with US President Barack Obama delivering a blunt warning to Tehran over its uranium enrichment activities. Obama, speaking at the end of a G8 summit in Italy, said Iran should understand that world countries are "seriously concerned" over its nuclear work, and would not wait "indefinitely" to allow Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon.
All three Gaza crossings closed on Friday 10 Jul 2009 The Israeli military decided to close three key crossing points into the Gaza Strip on Friday, blocking deliveries of food, fuel, and other vital goods, according to Palestinian border crossings official Raed Fattuh. The official added, "We were informed that the Kerem Shalom crossing will be closed on Friday due to technical repairs, despite that Kerem Shalom is only ever opened on Fridays."
Ban on tobacco urged in military 09 Jul 2009 Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking. Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon's office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.
House overwhelmingly rejects signing statement 09 Jul 2009 The House rebuked President Obama for trying to ignore restrictions to international aid payments, voting overwhelmingly for an amendment forcing the administration to abide by its constraints. House members approved an amendment by a 429-2 vote to have the Obama administration pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require a Treasury Department report on World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) activities.
Swine flu victim had no other health issues --Latest person to die was otherwise healthy – NHS --Experts say virus has not necessarily mutated 11 Jul 2009 The first death from swine flu of an otherwise healthy individual was announced last night by NHS authorities in Essex. At the wishes of the family, no details were given of the patient who died at Basildon and Thurrock University hospital. But the case will cause widespread concern. Until now, every adult and child who has died has had serious underlying health problems that made them particularly vulnerable to infections.
Flu fears prompts money for states, possible plans for surgical masks 10 Jul 2009 The Barack Obama administration is making $350 million in federal money available to states this fall for possible H1N1 flu vaccinations and other efforts should the influenza strain worsen. Addressing the possibility that the H1N1 virus could have a fall breakout and cause problems, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also talked about contingency plans for schools, utilities, airports and businesses, including stockpiling and distributing surgical masks, at a federal summit on the flu this week.
Supermax prison blocked Obama books requested by detainee --Officials at the Florence, Colorado, supermax prison deemed the bestsellers 'potentially detrimental to national security' 10 Jul 2009 He has been president of the United States for 172 days, yet it appears that Barack Obama is still deemed capable of producing writing that is "potentially detrimental to national security". That peculiar judgement was made following a request by a high-security prisoner to read Obama's two bestselling books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. The plea was made by Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who is being held at a supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Abu Ali, a US citizen, was found guilty on 25 November of helping al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate the then US president [sic] George Bush.
Court: D.C. Police Checkpoints Unconstitutional 10 Jul 2009 A federal appeals court today unanimously ruled in favor of a group of D.C. residents who are challenging vehicle checkpoints used by the Metropolitan Police Department. The four plaintiffs, represented by Mara Verheyden-Hilliard of the Partnership for Civil Justice, sued the city, claiming the police "neighborhood safety zone" program is unconstitutional. Police barred 48 motorists--including the four plaintiffs--from entry into the Trinidad neighborhood [Northeast Washington] in June 2008 when the motorists failed to provide sufficient information about where the motorist was going.
Guidelines could limit Arpaio's immigration sweeps 10 Jul 2009 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced new guidelines today for a controversial federal program that lets local police enforce immigration laws, saying that the main priority of the program should be to go after dangerous criminals who are in the country illegally, not as a tool to go after illegal immigrants who commit minor offenses. The new guidelines could limit the crime suppression sweeps that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been conducting for more than a year that have resulting in the arrests of several hundred illegal immigrants.
America's Littlest Diplomats: Sasha and Malia Obama's Summer Vacation --Obama Girls Stay Busy With International Travel and Public Service 09 Jul 2009 First lady Michelle Obama thought about sending her daughters away to summer camp, she said recently, but instead decided on another program -- the "Camp Obama" world tour. This week, the first tweens have toured Rome's Coliseum and Russia's Kremlin -- exotic locations for sure, but the president said his daughters haven't skipped a beat.
G8 summit to tackle food supplies 10 Jul 2009 Leaders of developed G8 nations are to unveil new efforts to boost food supplies to the hungry [Monsanto?], during the final day of their summit in Italy. They are expected to commit as much as $15bn (£9.2bn) to efforts to help poor nations develop their own agriculture.
Banks buying back TARP warrants at a discount, panel says --Oversight panel wants Treasury to make bailout-payback process transparent 10 Jul 2009 A panel that oversees a $700 billion bank bailout package said Friday that financial institutions buying out warrants they gave the government in exchange for capital injections are now buying back those stakes at well below their fair value. The Congressional Oversight Panel, which is charged with overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, said in a report that a group of 11 small banks that have repurchased government warrants in exchange for taxpayer-funded assistance, have bought-out the stakes at 66% of their face value.
Sears Starts Christmas Sales In July 10 Jul 2009 How early is too early for Christmas marketing? Apparently it's not July for Sears Holdings Company. The company owns Sears and Kmart. It has opened an online holiday store and Christmas boutiques at hundreds of stores. The company hopes to nudge consumers into starting their holiday shopping early and use the retailer's lay-a-way plan. Sears reintroduced the program year-round in January.
House Democrats Plan to Tax the Wealthy to Pay for Health Care Reform 10 Jul 2009 To pay for a sweeping overhaul of the health care system, House Democrats will propose a surtax on individuals earning $280,000 and up and couples earning more than $350,000, the chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee said on Friday. In all, the proposal is projected to generate roughly $550 billion over 10 years, which would cover about half of the estimated cost of the $1-trillion-plus health care legislation. The balance of the cost is expected to be covered by lower government spending on Medicare and other savings in the health care system.
Obama campaign vow of public debate on health care fading 09 Jul 2009 Campaigning for president, Barack Obama said repeatedly that any overhaul of the health care system should be negotiated publicly and televised for all to see. Throughout this year's negotiations, however, the big deals have been struck in secret. With tax increases and limits on what's covered among the possible ways of offsetting perhaps $1 trillion over a decade in expenses, neither the administration nor Congress is willing to give up its right to do the most sensitive talking in private.
Ensign's Future Remains Unclear 10 Jul 2009 Sen. John Ensign's political future got a little murkier this week as more details emerged about his extramarital affair – and other members of Congress were drawn into the ordeal. Sen. Tom Coburn, a fellow conservative and confidant of Ensign's, affirmed to reporters Thursday that he knew about Ensign's affair and told him to end it. However, he denied allegations that he urged Ensign to pay off his mistress, Cindy Hampton, or her family.
GOP support for Ensign dwindles as new details of affair emerge 10 Jul 2009 Sen. John Ensign appeared to be losing support among his Republican base Thursday as the lawmaker disclosed that his parents, who made millions in the casino industry, paid the family of his affair partner $96,000 around the time she and her husband stopped working for him. Ensign’s parents made the gifts to Doug Hampton and his wife, Cynthia, "out of concern of the well-being of the longtime family friends during a difficult time," said a statement issued by Ensign’s attorney. The gifts "are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others," the statement said.
Levi Johnston says Palin stepped down for money, family 10 Jul 2009 Levi Johnston, the former fiancé of Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol, on Thursday joined the crowd offering potential reasons for Palin's decision to step down. Johnston met with reporters to say that he heard her musing about a better life, one in which she could spend more time at home, reduce her stress, and accept the lucrative offers coming her way.
AIG Is Preparing to Pay New Round of Bonuses --The payments coming due next week include $2.4 million in bonuses for about 40 high-ranking corporate officers at AIG. 09 Jul 2009 American International Group is preparing to pay millions of dollars more in bonuses to several dozen top corporate executives after an earlier round of payments four months ago set off a national furor. The company has been pressing the federal government to bless the payments in hopes of shielding itself from renewed public outrage. The request puts the administration's new compensation czar on the spot by seeking his opinion about bonuses that were promised long before he took his post.
U.S. Prepared to Spend Billions on Swine Flu Vaccine --Health Secretary Makes Announcement at All-Day Summit on H1N1 Flu Outbreak 09 Jul 2009 School-age children will be among the population groups likely to get pandemic H1N1 flu vaccine in the fall, and they may get their shots at schools. Vaccines, now being made by five companies [pharma-terrorists] will probably be available in tens of millions of doses by the second week in October. The vaccine supply, which could amount to as much as 200 million doses, will all be acquired by the federal government, which will then distribute it to states, territories, cities, tribal governments and federal agencies.
Heads up! Administration readies $350 million for state, local responders to combat flu pandemic --The Obama administration said today that it has billions of dollars available to help pay for a national H1N1 flu vaccine program that could be ready starting in mid-October. 08 Jul 2009 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement at an all-day summit on the outbreak of what is more commonly known as swine flu. Sebelius said the government has "already appropriated about a billion dollars to buy the bulk ingredients" [i.e., insect parts, influenza viruses, Neomycin, Polymyxin, Gentamycin, Thimerosal (mercury), Betapropiolactone, Nonoxynol, Octoxinol 9, Formaldehyde - yum yum!] and has $7.5 billion more available in emergency preparedness funds. Congress approved $350 million for state and local responders in a recent supplemental war funding bill, and the administration is set to distribute the funds. Public health officials said they could need $3 billion if the H1N1 virus mutates into a more deadly form this fall. [Count on it. US pharma-terrorists are dying to get the 'Baxter Bug' pandemic party started.]
White House threatens veto over intel disclosure 08 Jul 2009 The White House said Thursday that if the intelligence authorization bill contains language broadening who the president must inform on covert activities, President Obama would be advised to veto the bill. Currently, the White House is required by law to inform the "Gang of Eight," the leadership of both Houses and intelligence committees, of covert actions deemed too sensitive to disclose to full committees or legislative bodies.
Obama wants keep Bush policy on CIA briefings By Carolyn Lochhead 08 Jul 2009 The Obama administration just lodged a strong objection to efforts by Democrats on Capitol Hill to remedy the problem of the CIA briefing too few members of Congress on top-secret subjects. Turns out Obama wants to keep Bush's policies. Such secret briefings are what got House Speaker and San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi in hot water just weeks ago, over what she was told when about torture.
Truck bomb kills school children 09 Jul 2009 A truck bomb in central Afghanistan has exploded, taking the lives of at least 25 people, including at least 12 school children. Police have described a truck bomb which was remotely detonated [by Xe?] as children were walking to a local school. At least a dozen students, four police officers and nine others were killed in the blast.
Seventh soldier dies in grim fortnight for British forces in Afghanistan 08 Jul 2009 The seventh British soldier to die in Afghanistan in just over two weeks has been killed in a helicopter incident. The soldier was from 22 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers. He died on Monday while the helicopter was taking off in Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. His death brings the number of British fatalities in Afghanistan since 2001 to 175, four short of the 179 deaths recorded during the six-year military campaign in Iraq.
Two days of US drone attacks kill nearly 80 in Pakistan By Barry Grey 09 Jul 2009 The United States fired multiple missiles from pilotless drones on Wednesday in two separate attacks on insurgents in Pakistan’s South Waziristan district, killing up to 60 people. The attacks followed a US missile strike in South Waziristan on Tuesday that reportedly killed 16 people.
Bombs kill 50 in Iraq as violence flares 09 Jul 2009 Bombs in Baghdad and northern Iraq killed at least 50 people on Thursday, police said. The attacks in the north, where tensions between Arabs and Kurds threaten to flare into Iraq's next conflict, and in the capital appeared to be part of an attempt by 'insurgents' to reignite sectarian fighting following the partial U.S. pullback.
U.S. hands over Iranian officials detained in Iraq 09 Jul 2009 Five Iranian officials detained by the U.S. military in Iraq for up to two years were released on Thursday and handed over to Iranian embassy staff by Iraqi authorities, an Iranian embassy official said. The capture of the Iranians included officials U.S. forces accused of arming Shi'ite Muslim militias at the height of Iraq's sectarian war.
Netanyahu adviser raises "MAD" nuclear scenario 09 Jul 2009 Israel must have "tremendously powerful" weapons to deter a nuclear attack or destroy an enemy that dares to launch an atomic strike, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quoted on Thursday as saying. National security adviser Uzi Arad, in comments to Haaretz newspaper, appeared to allude to what is widely believed to be Israel's own nuclear arsenal and a standing policy of "mutually assured destruction" (MAD). He warned other countries they could bring about their own devastation if they launched an attack.
Israeli attack on Iran 'absolute catastrophe', says Sarkozy 09 Jul 2009 The French President Nicolas Sarkozy warns that a unilateral military strike on Iran by Israel would be an "absolute catastrophe." Sarkozy was speaking after a summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations (G8) in the central Italian city of L'Aquila on Thursday.
EU retracts criticism of Israeli settlements --The Foreign Ministry called in the EU ambassador to protest the report 09 Jul 2009 The European Commission on Thursday backtracked on its unusually harsh criticism of Israeli settlements, declaring that a statement released earlier this week did not reflect the commission's position. The contentious statement accused Israel's settlement policy of strangling the Palestinian economy and making the Palestinian government more dependent on foreign aid.
Mexican Army Accused of Torture in Drug War --U.S. government has encouraged, funded strategy --U.S. officials warned that Congress may withhold more than $100 million in 'anti-narcotics' funding 09 Jul 2009 The Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors... In Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, two dozen policemen who were arrested on drug charges in March alleged that, to extract confessions, soldiers beat them, held plastic bags over their heads until some lost consciousness, strapped their feet to a ceiling while dunking their heads in water and applied electric shocks, according to court documents, letters and interviews with their relatives and defense lawyers.
Trident added to G8 Summit disarmament deal by Gordon Brown 10 Jul 2009 Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent could be thrown into a world disarmament deal after President Obama called yesterday for the biggest summit to stop the spread of atomic weapons. In a move designed to increase pressure on Iran, up to 30 countries will be invited to Washington next spring for a nuclear security conference. Iran is likely to be forced to prove to the world that it does not have a nuclear weapons programme, Gordon Brown suggested at a press briefing last night. [If the US, Israel and other nations can have a nuclear weapons program, why can't Iran?]
Miss Obama's peacenik T-shirt sends a message to G8 leaders 09 Jul 2009 Barack Obama's eldest daughter has a clear message for her father - it's time to get rid of the world's nuclear weapons. Just 48 hours after the U.S. President shook hands with Vladimir Putin over an agreement to reduce their stockpile of nuclear weapons, Malia spotted out wearing not one, but two anti-nuclear T-shirts. The 11-year-old wore tops bearing the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament's famous symbol as her father prepared for three days of G8 talks in Italy.
G8 leaders have 5-course meal before hunger talks 09 Jul 2009 World leaders have enjoyed a five-course meal on the eve of a G8 summit on tackling world food shortages, a menu released by a summit source showed. The leaders will be joined by representatives of African countries for Friday's session at the G8 summit focusing on food, security and development issues. The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said earlier this week, "A hunger emergency looms and the world must act." [Yes, and Brown, et al., solved their 'hunger emergency' with a five-course meal.]
Ban says G8 not doing enough on climate 09 Jul 2009 UN chief Ban Ki-moon maintains that the Group of Eight Industrial Nations (G8) has not done enough to find answers to the worsening global climate changes. "The policies that they have stated so far are not enough," Reuters quoted Ban as saying in Italy on Thursday. "This is politically and morally (an) imperative and historic responsibility... for the future of humanity, even for the future of the planet Earth."
Greenpeace Activists Arrested After Draping Banner on Mount Rushmore 08 Jul 2009 Greenpeace activists draped an enormous banner next to the carved stone faces of Mount Rushmore today, calling for more-aggressive action to fight climate change. The banner showed President Obama's face -- Greenpeace said it was an unfinished portrait, implying that Obama's legacy was in question -- and the words "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming."
rBGH we can believe in: Mike Taylor to Join FDA By Ethicurean 30 Jun 2009 Rumor has it that Mike Taylor, currently a professor at George Washington University but better known for his work as Monsanto’s Vice President for Public Policy, will start on Monday at the FDA in a position coordinating food safety. Congress is considering a major food safety bill and the scuttlebutt is that Taylor might coordinate the implementation of that bill once it’s passed... In the late 1980s, he left a job at the FDA to work as a lawyer and lobbyist for a company representing biotech giant [terrorists] Monsanto.
Banks' 'courtesy' loans at soaring rates irk consumers 09 Jul 2009 ...Another type of lending threatens to mire consumers in a credit trap. It's called "courtesy overdraft" and has long been used by banks to automatically pay transactions that account holders don't have the money to cover — and then charge them a steep fee. For years, banks have made it easier for customers to overdraw their checking accounts, aided by a cottage industry of consultants who make big money by helping to wring fees out of consumers, a USA TODAY analysis finds.
Obama's Single Payer Beat Down --"Debate is permitted only to the Right of his own fuzzy position." By Glen Ford 09 Jul 2009 President Obama is mad, again, at the usual suspects: progressives that insist on speaking out in the people's interest on single-payer healthcare. He picked up the phone last week to warn lefties and unions to watch their mouths and get with his fuzzy program on healthcare – although even White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel doesn't seem to know what that program is. "For Obama to 'win' his debate, the American people must lose." President Obama has escalated his campaign to suppress single-payer healthcare advocates, hinting darkly that there will be repercussions if unions and activists persist in harassing his fellow center-right Democrats.
'Choose Your Own Health Insurance Adventure' By Jen Sorensen 01 Jun 2009 (Political cartoon)
Illinois Senator Won't Run in '10, Officials Say 10 Jul 2009 Senator Roland W. Burris, the Illinois Democrat appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich before his ouster to fill the seat of President Obama, is expected to announce Friday that he will not seek election in 2010 to a full Senate term, party officials said. Mr. Burris provided a reliable Democratic vote when a special election might have turned the slot over to a Republican.
Calif. high court: Breath test accuracy can vary 09 Jul 2009 The California Supreme Court has joined a handful of other courts in the country that have said Breathalyzer results mean different things for different people and ruled that suspected drunken drivers can attack the test results in court. Defense attorneys lauded Thursday's unanimous ruling for deferring to science, which has shown for years that the test results are highly variable.
Stars may sue as Scotland Yard rejects phone tap inquiry 09 Jul 2009 More than a dozen high-profile figures are considering an unprecedented, multi-million-pound group legal action against the [Murdoch cesspool] News of the World over allegations that their phones were tapped illegally. Lawyers have said that the unidentified individuals, from politics, television and sport, were considering suing the Sunday newspaper.
Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims 08 Jul 2009 Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists' repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories. The payments secured secrecy over out-of-court settlements in three cases that threatened to expose evidence of Murdoch 'journalists' using private investigators who illegally hacked into the mobile phone messages of numerous public figures to gain unlawful access to confidential personal data, including tax records, social security files, bank statements and itemised phone bills.
Panetta Says CIA Officials Have Misled Congress Since 2001 08 Jul 2009 Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon E. Panetta has told lawmakers that CIA officials misled Congress "for a number of years" since 2001 [i.e., the start of the Bush regime], according to a letter released Wednesday from six Democratic lawmakers. The lawmakers say the CIA also withheld information about unspecified "significant actions." [i.e., 9/11] The letter didn't identify when Mr. Panetta made the statements or to what they referred. "This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other recent periods," the letter continued.[Oops! Murdoch's Wall Street Urinal already dropped 'Since 2001' from their headline, lol.]
Child prostitution we can believe in: DynCorp Up On Army Award For Afghanistan Work Worth Up to $7.5B 08 Jul 2009 Shares of DynCorp International Inc. rose Wednesday as the service provider to government agencies and Fluor Corp. were selected over rival KBR Inc. for U.S. contracts worth up to $7.5 billion each to support base-camp operations in Afghanistan. DynCorp and Fluor were notified Tuesday that each won one-year contracts worth as much as $1.5 billion with four one-year options for the same annual amount, Dan Carlson, spokesman for the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, told Dow Jones Newswires. [See: Secrets and Lies: How Secret Bidding and the Shut-Out of Foreign Corporations in Iraqi Reconstruction Violates International Trade Principles By Anupam Chander 24 Apr 2003 "DynCorp received the contract despite its checkered past. Just three years ago, its American employees on U.S. government contracts in Bosnia were allegedly deeply implicated in an international prostitution ring, which included child prostitutes." See also: DynCorp Disgrace (from Insight Magazine) 14 Jan 2002 By Kelly Patricia O’Meara "Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia."]
group calls for further attacks on US troops
08 Jul 2009 An insurgent group linked to al-Qaeda of Iraq urged militants
to continue attacks against U.S. forces even after combat troops were
pulled from city centres, according to an audiotape released on Wednesday.
The Islamic State of Iraq is believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda's
main organisation in Iraq, led by
Afghanistan in a serious state, UK minister warns 08 Jul 2009 Britain's defence secretary, making his first speech since being promoted to head the ministry last month, said on Wednesday the war in Afghanistan was a serious struggle that needed patience. "Let us be under no illusion," Bob Ainsworth, the third person to head the Ministry of Defence in the past nine months, told the Royal Institute for International Affairs. "The situation in Afghanistan is serious, and it is not yet decided. The way forward is hard and dangerous. More lives will be lost and our resolve is going to be tested."
Nick Clegg: We're throwing lives away in Afghanistan 08 Jul 2009 The cross party consensus on the British military mission in Afghanistan has been broken by Nick Clegg with a warning that young lives are being "thrown away" by politicians. After seven days in which seven British soldiers have lost their lives in the country, the Liberal Democrat leader urges Gordon Brown and his military planners to think again "before it’s too late." He claims that British troops will be "demoralised" by having to be "bailed-out" by the latest American troop surge.
Troop surge sign of 'failure': Afghan election candidate 08 Jul 2009 The increasing number of foreign troops battling in Afghanistan represents failure, not success, according to the leading election contender to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah -- the country's former foreign affairs minister and the person polling closest to Karzai in the run-up to the Aug. 20 national election -- said Wednesday that more war can't solve his country's problems.
11 NATO troops killed in 2 days in Afghanistan 07 Jul 2009 International troops in Afghanistan endured another deadly attack Tuesday, a day after 10 NATO-led troops were killed in that country. Seven Americans, two Canadians and one Briton died in four separate incidents Monday.
At Least 12 Killed in Iraq Attacks 08 Jul 2009 Authorities in Iraq say at least 12 people were killed in a series of attacks Wednesday, mainly in and around the northern city of Mosul. Iraqi officials say a car bomb exploded near a Shi'ite mosque on the outskirts of Mosul, killing nine people and wounding others. A second blast in a nearby village also caused injuries. At least 22 people were wounded in the two explosions.
Attacks Kill Five in Iraq 06 July 2009 Iraqi authorities say unidentified gunmen killed three Iraqi soldiers and two policemen during an attack at a security checkpoint in western Baghdad. Officials say the attack took place late Sunday night. In other violence, police say a car bomb in the northern city of Mosul has wounded at least eight people.
G8 sets Iran deadline for nuclear talks 08 Jul 2009 Group of Eight major powers will give Iran until September to accept negotiations over its nuclear ambitions or else face tougher sanctions, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Wednesday. Upping the stakes in a dispute with Tehran, Sarkozy said the powers would review the situation at a G20 meeting of developed and developing countries in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25.
'That window is a very narrow window.' U.S. military chief says clock ticking on Iran nuke 08 Jul 2009 The top U.S. military officer warned on Tuesday that time is running out for dialogue with Tehran to avoid either a nuclear-armed Iran or a possible military strike against the Islamic Republic. Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is critical for diplomatic efforts to reach a solution before Iran develops a nuclear weapon or faces an Israeli or U.S. strike to turn back its nuclear program.
Israeli sub sails Suez, signaling reach to Iran 03 Jul 2009 An Israeli submarine sailed the Suez Canal to the Red Sea as part of a naval drill last month, defense sources said on Friday, describing the unusual maneuver as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran. Israel long kept its three Dolphin-class submarines, which are widely assumed to carry nuclear missiles, away from Suez so as not to expose them to the gaze of Egyptian harbormasters.
Israeli activist goes on the record for Gaza 08 Jul 2009 An Israeli human rights activist says detainees were held with no access to food, water or restrooms and subjected to violent interrogations during the Gaza war. Attorney Majd Bader of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) testified in Geneva on Tuesday before a UN investigation team that is probing the three-week Israeli onslaught against Gaza which started in December.
Israel's spying 'violation of Lebanon's sovereignty' 08 Jul 2009 A top UN envoy says the running of spy networks by Israel in Lebanon is considered a serious violation of the country's sovereignty. "If these allegations are confirmed in court, this would constitute a very serious violation of Lebanon's sovereignty and consequently undermine relevant Security Council resolutions," Michael Williams said on Wednesday.
'Iran to publish detailed report on elections' 08 Jul 2009 Iran is to publish a report on its latest presidential election to clarify in full detail how the complaints about the election results were dealt with. The Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei told Fars news agency that the "detailed report" will be published for the first time in the coming days. The report is aimed at resolving any ambiguities some people may still see in the election process, the official said.
Fresh US drone attacks kills dozens in Pakistan 08 Jul 2009 US drones targeting suspected militants have fired missiles killing about thirty people in Pakistan's troubled South Waziristan, leaving dozens injured. The Wednesday strike was the second drone attack of the day in the area controlled by Pakistan militant chief Baitullah Mahsud. The death toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are said to be in critical condition.
CIA Drone Targeting Tech Revealed, Qaeda Claims 08 Jul 2009 American drone strikes are finding their targets in Pakistan through a series of infrared homing beacons, 'Al Qaeda' alleges in a new online publication. The unmanned aircraft have supposedly carried out 28 attacks on suspected militants, just since the start of the year. Hundreds [of civilians] have been killed, including as many as 45 more people in a series of strikes today.
Funding totaling $11.5 million obtained for Minot AFB facilities 08 Jul 2009 Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., announced Tuesday $11.5 million in funding has been obtained for construction of new facilities critical to the 'nuclear mission' at Minot Air Force Base. Dorgan, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured the funding in the fiscal year 2010 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill to construct a new missile procedures training operations facility and a munitions trailer storage facility at the Minot base.
US leaves Honduras to its fate --Washington is unwilling to take the side of democracy in Honduras by opposing the coup leaders it helped to train By Mark Weisbrot 08 Jul 2009 The military coup that overthrew President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras took a new turn when he attempted to return home on Sunday. The military closed the airport and blocked runways to prevent his plane from landing. They also shot several protesters, killing at least one and injuring others. The violence and the enormous crowd – estimated in the tens of thousands and reported as the largest since the coup on 28 June – put additional pressure on the Obama administration to seek a resolution to the crisis.
Calif. students quarantined in Japan for swine flu 08 Jul 2009 A group of 20 students studying in Japan through the University of California Davis have been quarantined after two of their Japanese tutors were diagnosed with swine flu. UC Davis summer abroad coordinator Kathy Cunningham said Wednesday the students arrived in Kyoto, Japan, on June 27 and were quarantined to a dormitory on July 3.
Bomb parts smuggled into 10 federal buildings during test 08 Jul 2009 Plainclothes investigators sent to test security at federal buildings in four U.S. cities were successful in smuggling bomb components through guard posts at all 10 of the sites they visited, according to a government report. The buildings contained offices of several federal lawmakers as well as agencies within the departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security, which is responsible for safeguarding federal office buildings.
US officials eye North Korea in cyber attack 08 Jul 2009 U.S. authorities eyed North Korea on Wednesday as the origin of the widespread cyber attack that overwhelmed government Web sites in the United States and South Korea, although they warned it would be difficult definitely to identify the attackers quickly. The powerful attack that targeted dozens of government and private sites underscored how unevenly prepared the U.S. government is to block such multipronged assaults [despite the *billions* taxpayers forked over to Bush's corpora-terrorist trolls for 'security'].
Former Bush aide testifies on prosecutor firings 07 Jul 2009 Former Bush White House official Karl Rove was questioned by House Judiciary Committee lawyers Tuesday on any role he may have played in politically motivated firings of U.S. attorneys. Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., confirmed Rove's closed-door appearance through a committee spokesman who was not authorized to be quoted by name. The committee has been seeking answers on who created the list of federal prosecutors who would lose their jobs.
House Panel Interviews Karl Rove About Attorney Firings 08 Jul 2009 Former presidential aide Karl Rove sat for a day-long interview with members of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and is expected to return for another round of testimony later this summer, according to people familiar with the session. The panel, led by Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), is continuing to examine why the Bush administration fired nine top federal prosecutors in 2006, setting off an outcry that prompted the resignation of more than a dozen Justice Department officials including former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales.
Arizona Sheriff Won't Cooperate With DOJ 08 Jul 2009 The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will not cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice in an ongoing investigation into whether the office uses racial profiling, Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced in a news conference Tuesday. Arpaio said he's halting all interviews between his staff and DOJ investigators. The sheriff claims the DOJ is investigating his office for political reasons, not because of racial profiling.
Court Upholds Dismissal of Colorado Professor 08 Jul 2009 Three months after a jury ruled that Ward L. Churchill, a former University of Colorado professor, was wrongfully terminated for his political views, a judge on Tuesday refused to give him his job back. Chief Judge Larry J. Naves of Denver District Court ruled that the university’s regents were effectively acting as judicial officers when they voted to dismiss Mr. Churchill in 2007 after a faculty committee concluded that he had committed 'academic fraud.' As a result, Judge Naves found, the regents were legally protected from Mr. Churchill’s effort to reverse their ruling.
Ensign told him, 'I'm in love with your wife.' Ensign Hampton speaks publicly, says Ensign paid severance --Hampton said Ensign paid the woman more than $25,000 in severance when she stopped working for the senator. 08 Jul 2009 Doug Hampton spoke publicly for the first time today about the affair his wife had with Sen. John Ensign, saying the Nevada Republican continued his pursuit even after intermediaries tried to get him to stop. Hampton said that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and others urged him to end the affair and help the Hamptons pay off their home and move to Colorado. But Ensign was so infatuated that he continued, Hampton said. Hampton and Ensign were bonded by their conservative evangelical faith. Hampton said he reached out to intermediaries involved in a Christian fellowship home in Washington, D.C., where Ensign and several other powerful Washington figures live. The group, including Coburn, a well-known conservative, confronted Ensign and suggested that the Hamptons needed to be given financial assistance -- in the millions of dollars -- to pay off their $1 million-plus mortgage and move them to a new life away from Ensign. [So he gets two bl*wjobs! One from the woman and one for the mortgage!]
40% of GOP Voters Say Resignation Hurts Palin's Chances in 2012 07 Jul 2009 Forty percent (40%) of Republican voters nationwide say Sarah Palin’s decision to resign as governor of Alaska hurts her chances of winning the party’s presidential nomination in 2012. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of GOP voters finds that (24%) believe Palin’s resignation helps her chances of winning the Republican nomination, while 28% say it will have no impact on the race.
Bern to block UBS record transfer to US 08 Jul 2009 18:38 The Swiss government on Wednesday waded into the legal battle between UBS and the US authorities by saying it would forbid the bank from handing over confidential client information, if a crucial court case next week required it. Bern warned it might go as far as confiscating the data, should a US court in Miami rule the bank was obliged to transfer the client names requested.
G8 leaders claim historic break through on new deal to tackle global warming 09 Jul 2009 President Obama and other leaders backed historic new targets for tackling global warming last night in an agreement designed to pave the way for a world deal in the autumn. For the first time, America and the other seven richest economies agreed to the goal of keeping the world’s average temperature from rising more than 2C (3.6F). They also agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 as they strove for a worldwide deal at Copenhagen in December.
Group will sue EPA over pesticides in polar bears 08 Jul 2009 An environmental group said Wednesday that it plans to sue the federal government to stop approving pesticides that end up in food eaten by polar bears. The Center for Biological Diversity gave 60-day notice it will sue the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to consider the effects of pesticides on polar bears, a threatened species, and their Arctic habitat.
Polar Bears Poisoned by Pesticide Pollution --Lawsuit to Be Filed to Force EPA to Protect Arctic From Pesticide Contamination 08 Jul 2009 Today the Center for Biological Diversity notified the Environmental Protection Agency of its intent to file suit against the agency for failing to consider impacts to the polar bear and its Arctic habitat from toxic contamination resulting from pesticide use in the United States. Pesticides approved by EPA for use in the United States are known to be transported to the Arctic via various atmospheric, oceanic, and biotic pathways. Such pesticides are biomagnified with each step higher in the food web, reaching some of their greatest concentrations in polar bears, the apex predators of the Arctic.
MI5 accused of bribe offer in Rangzieb Ahmed torture case --Jailed torture victim says he was offered cash to drop collusion claim 06 Jul 2009 The Security Service MI5 is being accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice by offering a man inducements to drop his allegation that its officers colluded in his torture. Rangzieb Ahmed had three of his fingernails ripped out after MI5 and Greater Manchester police (GMP) drew up a list of questions for officers from a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency who had detained him in Pakistan. He was later deported to the UK and jailed for terrorism offences. Ahmed says he was visited in prison by an MI5 officer and a police officer who offered to secure a reduction in his sentence or a payment of money to withdraw his torture complaints when his appeal against conviction is heard later this year.
'The deeper you look into the murky world of governments and germ warfare, the more worrying it becomes. We have proved there is a black market in anthrax.' Kelly's Book of Secrets 05 Jul 2009 Weapons inspector David Kelly was writing a book exposing highly damaging government secrets before his mysterious death. He was intending to reveal that he warned Prime Minister Tony Blair there were no weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq weeks before the British and American invasion. Following his death, his computers were seized and it is still not known if any rough draft was discovered by investigators and, if so, what happened to the material. Dr Kelly was also intending to lift the lid on a potentially bigger scandal, his own secret dealings in germ warfare with the apartheid regime in South Africa. US television investigators have spent four years preparing a 90-minute documentary, Anthrax War, suggesting there is a global black market in anthrax and exposing the mystery "suicides" of five government germ warfare scientists from around the world.
Officials: Fate of Guantanamo detainees uncertain 07 Jul 2009 Obama administration lawyers acknowledged Tuesday they are uncertain how they will prosecute and deal with more than 200 detainees being held in the Guantanamo Bay prison. With just over six months to go on President Barack Obama's commitment to shut down the U.S. Navy's prison camp in Cuba, administration officials told the Senate Armed Services Committee it's far from clear how many detainees will face court trial, or where.
US and Russia to scrap 2000 nuclear weapons 07 Jul 2009 The United States and Russia are to slash their nuclear stockpiles by up to a third as part of a move to improve relations between the former Cold War foes. The weapons deal was agreed in principle after four hours of talks at the Kremlin between US president Barack Obama and Russia's Dmitry Medvedev.
Russia allows U.S. weapons shipments to Afghanistan 03 Jul 2009 Russia will allow the United States to ship weapons across its territory to Afghanistan, Kremlin spokesman Alex Pavlov said Friday. Pavlov said he doesn't know when the policy will take effect, but imagines the details will come out when presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev meet Monday and Tuesday in Moscow.
Afghanistan Helicopter Crash Kills 3 NATO Soldiers 07 Jul 2009 Three NATO soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, taking the death toll for international forces in the country yesterday to 10, the alliance said. Two Canadian personnel and one British soldier were killed when the helicopter went down in Zabul province, Lieutenant Commander Chris Hall said by telephone today from the Afghan capital, Kabul. Seven American personnel were killed in attacks on the same day, he said.
7 US troops killed in Afghanistan 06 Jul 2009 Bombs and bullets killed seven American troops throughout Afghanistan Monday, officials said, as thousands of U.S. Marines continued with their massive anti-Taliban offensive in the south. A suicide car bomber also blew himself up outside the gate of the main NATO base in the region, killing two civilians and wounding 14 other people.
At Least 16 Killed in Reported Drone Strike in Pakistan 08 Jul 2009 Two missiles, believed to be from a remotely piloted aircraft, struck a 'militant base' Tuesday in the South Waziristan tribal region, according to intelligence officials and residents reached by telephone. At least 16 people, including 3 foreigners, were reported killed. Tuesday’s drone attack struck a Taliban base in Zangara, a remote village in South Waziristan that has been struck by at least two other drone attacks.
Twelve killed in US drone attack in Pakistan 07 Jul 2009 At least 12 people have been killed in a missile attack by a drone incursion over a Taliban stronghold in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. "There was a US missile strike on militant hideouts in the Zangara area," a Pakistani security official has revealed... At least 500 Pakistanis -- suspected militants as well as civilians -- have been killed by the drone attacks.
Holy hypocrisy, Batman! US admiral says North Korean missiles threaten peace 06 Jul 2009 Chief of the US Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead denounces the new round of missile launches by North Korea, accusing the North of threatening regional peace. "They were very unhelpful and clearly counter to the desires of the international community for a peaceful and stable region," Adm. Roughead said referring to the firing of seven ballistic missiles by Pyongyang on Saturday. [What about US invasions and occupations -- all round the world -- to steal nations' oil and water? Do those invasions/occupations 'threaten peace?' I am thinking they're also 'very unhelpful.']
KBR hails court ruling as wartime suit protection 06 Jul 2009 KBR Inc said a U.S. appeals court ruling would help protect the company from civil lawsuits stemming from its work done under U.S. military logistics contracts. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that KBR could not be found negligent in the case of a U.S. Army sergeant severely brain-damaged when a KBR fuel tanker he was escorting in a military convoy crashed in Iraq in 2004. Apart from civil lawsuits by soldiers, KBR's conduct as a military contractor has been called into question by U.S. lawmakers as well as some investors.
More 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' Iraqi gov't bans organized visits to Saddam Hussein's grave 06 Jul 2009 The Iraqi government decided Monday to ban organized visits to the grave of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after some schools in Salahudin province arranged trips for their pupils to the site. The instructions came after some pupils of a school in Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, arranged a trip to his grave, which is regularly visited by some Iraqis -- particularly Saddam's loyalists in his native village of Awja, some 20 km southeast of the provincial capital city of Tikrit.
Still more 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' Iraq to unify national ID Cards 06 Jul 2009 The Iraqi government has announced a new plan to unify the national ID cards by launching a single plastic identity card system. Brigadier General Mahmoud Abdul Al-Ghafour, the project's director, made the announcement before reporters in Baghdad on Monday. The new plastic cards will replace four different types of paper documents currently used by 30 million Iraqi citizens, AFP reported.
Israel turns to cyberware to foil Iran nukes 07 Jul 2009 ...So began a cyberwarfare project which, a decade on, is seen by independent experts as the likely new vanguard of Israel's efforts to foil Iran's nuclear ambitions. The appeal of cyber attacks was boosted, Israeli sources say, by the limited feasibility of conventional air strikes on the distant and fortified Iranian atomic facilities, and by U.S. reluctance to countenance another open war in the Middle East. "We came to the conclusion that, for our purposes, a key Iranian vulnerability is in its on-line information," said one recently retired security cabinet member, using a generic term for digital networks. "We have acted accordingly."
Obama: U.S. 'absolutely' did not give Israel green light to strike Iran 07 Jul 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama rebuffed suggestions that Washington had given Israel a green light to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. Asked by CNN whether Washington had given Israel approval to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, Obama answered: "Absolutely not."
Israel Air Force preparing for Iranian strike 05 Jul 2009 The Israel Air Force is planning to participate in aerial exercises in the US and Europe in the coming months. It is believed pilots will be trained for long-range flights as a precautionary measure against possible Iranian attacks and in test-runs for potential strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Zeyala asks US to do more to help him 07 Jul 2009 Jose Manuel Zelaya, the ousted Honduran constitutional President, says he expects the US to play a bigger role in aiding his return to power. "I ask the United States to do more than the other countries of the world," Zelaya said late Monday in a CNN interview ahead of a planned visit with the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday.
Al-Qaeda cell was preparing to attack pipeline 06 Jul 2009 An international Al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] cell, based in the northern Sinai Peninsula, is suspected of being involved in plans to attack gas pipelines running between Israel and Egypt. According to Egyptian media, the plan was to strike Israeli ships passing through the Suez Canal.
Police tactics at G20 Summit 'inadequate', report finds 07 Jul 2009 Police public-order tactics are "inadequate" and should be reviewed, a report into the G20 protests by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary has found. Denis O'Connor said police are too focused on tackling violence and not enough on allowing peaceful protest. His report also found police use of "kettling" techniques was "inconsistent" when dealing with thousands of protester in the City of London on April 1.
Warren hosts national-level exercise 26 Jun 2009 A simulated terrorist attack on a 90th Missile Wing ICBM launch facility provided the exercise scenario for Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise 2009. This national-level exercise involving 11 federal agencies and 1,300 personnel was the largest and most complex exercise ever conducted at a missile base. Close and careful coordination with a number of federal agencies, particularly the FBI, was essential to gather information swiftly to identify and capture the terrorists responsible for the attack.
Swine flu quarantine grows at San Quentin 06 Jul 2009 The number of quarantined prisoners at San Quentin has ballooned from 800 last week to 2,100 over the weekend. That is nearly half the prison's total population of 5,200 men... The quarantine includes all prisoners that are found in an area of suspected flu. The men that are healthy will be confined to their cells and the sick individuals will be isolated. No visitors will be allowed during the quarantine.
Swine Flu Fears Spark Cambridge Jail Riot 06 Jul 2009 Inmate fears over an apparent swine flu outbreak sparked a riot at the Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge on Sunday... Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola said the disturbance started after fears of H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, spread. Last week one inmate was diagnosed with a likely case of H1N1 and put in medical quarantine. Over the weekend, ten more inmates were diagnosed with the flu and put into isolation.
AIG lawyer says ex-CEO lied in court battle 06 Jul 2009 Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, former chief executive of American International Group Inc, fabricated documents and lied under oath in a bid to rewrite history and cloud who is the rightful beneficiary of a large and valuable block of AIG stock, AIG lawyer Ted Wells told a federal jury on Monday. Wells, delivering closing arguments in a high-profile trial over rightful ownership of the stock, said Greenberg's assertions at trial that the beneficiary of the stock was always intended to be a charitable trust was no more than an attempt to cover up a pledge made 35 years earlier.
Health-care industry spending over $1.4 million per day on lobbying 06 Jul 2009 The nation's largest insurers, hospitals and medical groups have hired more than 350 former government staff members and retired members of Congress in hopes of influencing their old bosses and colleagues, according to an analysis of lobbying disclosures and other records...Nearly half of the insiders previously worked for the key committees and lawmakers, including Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), debating whether to adopt a public insurance option opposed by major industry groups. The hirings are part of a record-breaking influence campaign by the health-care industry, which is spending more than $1.4 million a day on lobbying in the current fight, according to disclosure records.
Sen.-elect Franken visits Capitol Hill 07 Jul 2009 Al Franken -- the former comedian who won a bruising, eight-month vote recount and court battle in Minnesota -- arrived on Capitol Hill on Monday, a day before he was to be sworn in as a new Democratic member of the Senate. But Franken immediately downplayed the importance of his vote in the Senate.
Robert McNamara, Architect of Vietnam War, Dies at 93 06 Jul 2009 Robert Strange McNamara, the former secretary of defense whose record as a leading executive of industry and a chieftain of foreign financial aid was all but erased from public memory by his reputation as the primary architect of U.S. involvement in the war in Vietnam, died early this morning at age 93.
More Polar Bear Populations in Decline 06 Jul 2009 There is rising concern among polar bear biologists that the big recent summertime retreats of sea ice in the Arctic are already harming some populations of these seal-hunting predators. That was one conclusion of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, a network of bear experts who met last week in Copenhagen to review the latest data (and data gaps) on the 19 discrete populations of polar bears around the Arctic. Only one bear population is increasing (in the Canadian high Arctic), while eight are declining in numbers, the scientists said.
Conspiracy fever: As rumours swell that the government staged 7/7, victims' relatives call for a proper inquiry 03 Jul 2009 Today almost four years on, the images of that dreadful morning are etched into our minds... [of] the country's worst-ever terrorist atrocity during London's morning rush hour on July 7, 2005... Why did the four bombers get return tickets to London if they were on a one-way suicide mission? Why are there no CCTV images of the four together in London even though the city has thousands upon thousands of such cameras in public places? Why did so many survivors of the Tube bombings say that the explosions came upwards through the floor of the trains, not down, as would be the case if a backpack blew up inside? And why do no passengers on the London-bound Luton train clearly remember the four bombers with their huge rucksacks on that fateful morning?
Legal fight to stop US destroying torture images --Binyam Mohamed says photographs are evidence of abuse at Guantánamo 05 Jul 2009 Former Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed has launched an urgent legal attempt to prevent the US courts from destroying crucial evidence that he says proves he was abused while being held at the detention camp, the Guardian has learned. The evidence is said to consist of a photograph of Mohamed, a British resident, taken after he was severely beaten by guards at the US navy base in Cuba. The image, now held by the Pentagon, had been put on his cell door, he says. Mohamed claims he was told later that this was done because he had been beaten so badly that it was difficult for the guards to identify him. In a sworn statement seen by the Guardian, Mohamed has appealed to the federal district court in Washington not to destroy the photograph, which neither he nor his lawyers have a copy of, and which is classified under US law.
Unmanned drones could be banned, says senior judge --Israel was accused last week of using missile-firing drones to unlawfully kill at least 29 Palestinian civilians during the Gaza Strip war. The US admitted to 26 civilian deaths in a series of drone attacks that took place in May. 06 Jul 2009 Unmanned drones could be banned from use in conflicts, Lord Bingham, one of Britain's most senior judges has suggested. Lord Bingham, who retired last year as a senior law lord, said the aircraft could follow other weapons considered "so cruel as to be beyond the pale of human tolerance" in being consigned to the history books. He likened drones, which have killed hundreds of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza, to cluster bombs and landmines.
Blast kills 2 near Afghanistan NATO base 06 Jul 2009 A car bomb explosion has struck outside the main NATO base in the troubled southern Afghanistan, killing two civilians and wounding 14 others. The attacker blew up an explosive-laced van early on Monday, as it was lined to be searched at an Afghan security check point near the gates of Kandahar Airfield, Gen. Sher Mohammad Zazai, the top military commander for southern Afghanistan said. Those wounded included 12 civilians and two Afghan soldiers.
Three more soldiers die as Afghan toll hits 174 06 Jul 2009 A third British soldier has been killed over the weekend in southern Afghanistan, bringing to 174 the total number of UK services personnel killed during the deployment in the country. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) last night announced that the soldier, from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, died while taking part in one of the UK military's biggest co-ordinated air operations of modern times.
US Marines under heavy fire in Afghanistan --200 Marines still fighting to hold position, had to call in helicopter gunships for assistance. 05 Jul 2009 Troops from a US Marine company in Afghanistan have been under almost constant fire since entering the country with 4,000 other troops during the week. Since flying in by helicopter to Mian Poshteh in Helmand province, troops from the 2/8 infantry battalion have been held down by 'insurgents.'
US troops expand Afghan operation 04 Jul 2009 US marines taking part in an offensive against Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan have been attempting to take control of an area along the border with neighbouring Pakistan. The US forces, backed by the Afghan national army, moved into Baramshar on Saturday after taking the main districts of Nawa and Garamsir, as well as Khananshid, the previous day, local officials said.
As Israel gears up for war, US divide appears 05 Jul 2009 As Israel continues its efforts to portray Iran as a regime hell-bent on a nuclear war, top officials in the White House and the US military express contradictory stances on a potential Israeli attack on Iran. The top US military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen, warned on Sunday that any military strike against Iran would have "unintended consequences". Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden said that the US would not stop Israel if it launches an attack against Iran. The US "cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do," Biden said, the Associated Press reported. Israel, the possessor of the sole nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and drawing up plans to attack the regime.
Israel denies Saudis gave IDF airspace clearance for Iran strike 05 Jul 2009 Saudi Arabia has indicated to Israel that it would not protest use of its airspace by Israeli fighter jets in the event the government resolves to launch a military assault against Iran, according to a report which appeared in the British newspaper The Sunday Times. The Prime Minister's office issued a statement in response Sunday morning, saying that "the Sunday Times report is fundamentally false and completely baseless."
Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran 05 Jul 2009 The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites. Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.
Will Israel help NATO police the Mediterranean? 05 Jul 2009 Israel is to issue a request shortly to allow it to join a NATO operation in the Mediterranean aimed to prevent the passage of terrorists and weapons of mass destruction as well as improve the security of the region's shipping industry. The cabinet approved the recommendation made by the Israel Defense Forces and the navy to join the operation - dubbed Active Endeavour - last Wednesday when it was presented.
McKinney Returning to U.S. Sunday Evening 05 Jul 2009 The father of former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney confirms his daughter is en route to New York after her release by Israeli authorities, Billy McKinney told 11Alive News he got the word Sunday Afternoon. Cynthia McKinney and a group of 20 were detained Tuesday by the Israeli Navy while they were reportedly trying to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
Iran deploys fresh warships to Gulf of Aden 06 Jul 2009 The Iranian Navy has deployed two warships to join international efforts to preserve shipping security in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. Iran's Deputy Naval Commander, Gholam-Reza Khadem, said Monday that the dispatched warships are set to replace aging vessels and protect Iranian merchant containers and oil tankers from Somali pirates in the volatile Gulf of Aden.
Iran brings formal charges against UK embassy official 03 Jul 2009 A British embassy employee is to stand trial in Tehran for "acting against national security" -- a dramatic escalation in Iran's campaign to blame Britain for protests against disputed election results. The man, an Iranian who is the British embassy's chief political analyst, was arrested on Saturday and has been formally charged at Tehran's Evin Prison. It was is not clear whether any other embassy staff will face prosecution.
Honduras says Nicaragua has troops moving on border 05 Jul 2009 Honduras' interim President [sic] Roberto Micheletti said on Sunday Nicaraguan troops were moving to the mutual frontier and urged Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to respect Honduran sovereignty. He gave no further details about troop movements in Nicaragua which shares a border with Honduras to the southeast of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.
Zelaya back in exile after failed return 06 Jul 2009 Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has landed in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, after he was refused permission to land in Tegucigalpa. The interim government of Honduras closed the capital's international airport on Sunday, preventing a Venezuelan plane carrying Zelaya to land.
Honduras Coup General Was Charged in 1993 Auto Theft Ring By Al Giordano 04 Jul 2009 General Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, who appeared on stage this week with Honduran coup "president" Roberto Michiletti, and who ordered the kidnapping and forced deportation of President Manuel Zelaya last Sunday, was charged with grand auto theft in 1993, Narco News has learned. On February 2, 1993, the front page of the Tegucigalpa daily El Heraldo included this headline: "Eleven Members of the Gang of 13 Go to Prison."
Six police hurt in clashes at Italian anti-US military base demo 05 Jul 2009 Six policemen were hurt in clashes late Saturday with demonstrators at a rally of more than 3,000 people against the 500-million-dollar enlargement of a US military base in Italy, police said. Some 300 youths, wearing helmets and carrying plexiglass shields, pelted riot cops with rocks and bottles during the American Independence Day demo. The police replied with tear gas and baton charges, AFP photographers said.
17 veterans with rare cancer or tumors have Camp Lejeune ties 04 Jul 2009 Scientists studying drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune were startled when 11 men with breast cancer and ties to the North Carolina base were identified over the last two years. Six more have been found in one week. Five additional men with breast cancer and a sixth who had a double mastectomy after doctors found precancerous tumors contacted the St. Petersburg Times last week after reading a story about the 11 men with the rare disease.
Niger militants attack Chevron oil manifold 06 Jul 2009 The main Nigerian militant group says it has forced the closure of a manifold owned by the US oil giant Chevron in the Western Niger Delta. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Monday, claimed it wrecked one of the Chevron Nigeria Limited's (CNL) oil pipeline junction points in the Okan offshore field, Reuters reported. "The strategic Okan manifold…was blown up at about 2045 hours on Sunday," MEND was quoted as saying.
Sarah Palin threatens legal action over resignation rumours 05 Jul 2009 Sarah Palin has threatened legal action over allegations about her motive for her shock resignation as Governor of Alaska. As speculation swirled that her decision was connected to a pending corruption investigation, Mrs Palin's lawyer issued a four-page letter warning legal action against bloggers and US publications that reprinted the allegations, which she strongly denies. "To the extent several websites ... are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation," said Thomas Van Flein, her lawyer, in a statement. [Explore *this.* BTW, no one cares why the self-serving bimbo is gone. All creatures - particularly the polar bears and the wolf pups she has gassed in their dens -are celebrating that Palin will soon be unable to continue the destruction of Alaska. Thomas Van Flein: Clapp, Peterson, Van Flein, Tiemessen & Thorsness, LLC - 711 H Street Suite 620 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3454 - 907-272-9228 Fax: 907-272-9586.]
Sarah Palin not under FBI investigation, agency spokesman says 05 Jul 2009 A day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resigned, a federal official in her home state dismissed one potential explanation for her sudden and unexpected resignation -- a rumored FBI investigation into the former Wasilla mayor on public corruption charges. Despite rumors of a looming controversy after Palin's surprise announcement Friday that she will leave office this month, the FBI's Alaska spokesman said the bureau had no investigation into Palin for her activities as governor, as mayor or in any other capacity.
Sarah Palin Turns Pro By Paul Begala 03 Jul 2009 I wish Hunter S. Thompson had lived to see this. As Hunter said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Sarah Palin makes Mark Foley, the congressman who sent filthy emails to pages look almost normal... Her statement was incoherent, bizarre and juvenile. The text, as posted on Gov. Palin's official website, uses 2,549 words and 18 exclamation points. Lincoln freed the slaves with 719 words and nary an exclamation; Mr. Jefferson declared our independence in 1,322 words and, again, no exclamation points. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1,796 words -- still no exclamation points. Gov. Palin capitalized words at random - whole words, like "TO," "HELP," and "AND," and the first letter of "Troops." [Palin is so stupid that THE light FROM stupid IS going TO take ten billion years TO reach THE earth.]
Now, Sarah's Folly By Maureen Dowd 05 Jul 2009 Sarah Palin showed on Friday that in one respect at least, she is qualified to be president. Caribou Barbie is one nutty puppy. Usually we don’t find that exquisite battiness in our leaders until they’ve been battered by sordid scandals like Watergate (Nixon), gnawing problems like Vietnam (L.B.J.), or scary threats like biological terrorism (Cheney)... She refuses to succumb to the "politics of personal destruction." It’s no fun unless she’s the one aiming those poison darts, as she did when she accused Barack Obama of associating "with terrorists who targeted their own country."
Swiss banks cutting U.S. clients loose 04 Jul 2009 Swiss banks are shunning business from the U.S. amid concerns over legal issues and prospects for tighter regulation. The U.S. is also pushing Swiss banks to open their books to tax investigators despite Swiss secrecy laws.
Obama Weary of Attacks By Left-Wing Groups 04 Jul 2009 President Obama, strategizing yesterday with congressional leaders about health-care reform, complained that liberal advocacy groups ought to drop their attacks on Democratic lawmakers and devote their energy to promoting passage of comprehensive legislation. In a pre-holiday call with half a dozen top House and Senate Democrats, Obama expressed his concern over advertisements and online campaigns targeting moderate Democrats, whom they criticize for not being fully devoted to "true" health-care reform. [B*** me, Obusha. Who do you think gave you $750 million so that you could get elected and implement 'change?' That's right - mainly the *left* side of your base, that is already sick and more than tired of your sycophantic acts of conciliation and out-and-out lies. --LRP]
US warns North Korea after reports of Scud missiles test --South Korea reports launch of seven ballistic missiles --Tests on US Independence Day violate UN resolutions 04 Jul 2009 The United States warned North Korea not to "aggravate tensions" today after South Korea said its neighbour had fired seven ballistic missiles in violation of UN resolutions. The tests, seen as a message of defiance to the US on Independence Day, will further increase pressure in the region as America tries to gather support for tough enforcement of the UN resolution imposed on the government for its May nuclear test.
North Korea Launches 7 Missiles Off Its East Coast 04 Jul 2009 Defying the United States on Independence Day, North Korea fired seven missiles on Saturday into the sea off its east coast. The test-firings came two days after North Korea fired four short-range missiles into the sea. North Korea had warned ships to avoid waters near its east coast through July 10 because of military exercises, and the test-firing were widely predicted.
Attack on U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan kills two soldiers --U.S. military officials say 'several' U.S. soldiers also were wounded in the assault on the remote outpost in Paktika province. It's the same area where an American soldier disappeared on Tuesday. 04 Jul 2009 'Insurgents' armed with rockets, mortars and a truck bomb staged an unusual frontal attack on a U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan today, killing two American soldiers and forcing the defenders to call in airstrikes to avoid being overrun.
Obama sends marines to suppress population of southern Afghanistan By James Cogan 04 Jul 2009 The Obama administration has ordered the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2 MEB) into a potentially bloody offensive in the southern province of Helmand. The objective is the suppression of the ethnic Pashtun population, which is overwhelmingly hostile to the seven-and-a-half year US and NATO occupation of the country and rejects the legitimacy of the Afghan puppet government headed by President Hamid Karzai.
KBR might seek federal funds to pay its legal bills --Uncle Sam could soon be writing another big check to KBR. 04 Jul 2009 KBR may ask the U.S. government to reimburse it for legal bills if a jury decides the company failed to protect KBR truck drivers during a deadly April 2004 roadside attack, a lawyer for the Houston-based government contractor said. Though no final decision has been made, lawyer Robert Meadows said, if the cases go to trial and result in a jury award, "it’s conceivable that KBR would look to the government to accept responsibility under its contract" with the company.
Iraq tells Biden: Reconciliation pure internal affair 05 Jul 2009 The reconciliation in Iraq is pure Iraq's internal affair and the involvement of U.S. officials is not desired by Iraqis, said Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on Saturday. "The reconciliation issue is purely Iraqi affair and any non-Iraqi involvement would certainly have a negative impact," said Dabbagh. He confirmed that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki expressed the same meaning to the visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting on Friday.
Biden spends July 4 with son, other troops in Iraq 04 Jul 2009 Vice President Joe Biden spent the Fourth of July with his son and other American troops in Iraq on Saturday. Biden took a break from politics and presided over a naturalization ceremony for 237 U.S. troops from 59 countries in a marble rotunda at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces at what is now Camp Victory, the U.S. military headquarters on the western outskirts of Baghdad.
suspect's lawyers seek CIA site access
30 Jun 2009 Lawyers for the first detainee transferred from Guantanamo
Bay for trial in a U.S. civilian court asked a judge on Tuesday for
access to CIA "black sites" where they say he was
'Iran nuke could wipe Israel off map in seconds' 04 Jul 2009 Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, on Friday warned that an Iranian atomic bomb could "wipe Israel off the map in a matter of seconds," and that the Iranians could "accomplish in a matter of seconds what they denied Hitler did, and kill 6 million Jews, literally." Oren made his comments in a conversation with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.
New IAEA chief sees no proof Iran developing nuclear weapons 03 Jul 2009 The incoming head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says he knows of no hard evidence that Iran is trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear weapons. Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano told the Reuters newsagency he has seen no such evidence in IAEA official documents.
Damning report slams Israel, Hamas over civilian deaths, destruction 03 Jul 2009 Israeli forces killed hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians and destroyed thousands of homes in Gaza in attacks which breached the laws of war, Amnesty International concluded in a new report published this week. Operation 'Cast Lead': 22 days of death and destruction, is the first comprehensive report to be published on the conflict, which took place earlier this year.
Israel/Gaza: Operation 'Cast Lead' - 22 Days of Death and Destruction (Amnesty International USA) 02 Jul 2009 Facts and Figures: Gaza --Some 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including some 300 children, and hundreds of other unarmed civilians, including more than 115 women and some 85 men aged over 50 during the 22-day Operation "Cast Lead".
Gaza activists still in Israel jail 04 Jul 2009 A number of foreign activists are still in detention in a Tel Aviv jail four days after the Israeli navy stopped their boat as they attempted to reach the Gaza Strip. Mairead Maguire, a Nobel peace prize winner, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that the activists had agreed to remain in detention until Israel agreed to free all of the activists.
In Israeli jail, McKinney expects more from Washington 04 Jul 2009 Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney, who is in an Israeli jail for trying to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, says the White House has done nothing to secure her release. Speaking to Press TV from inside the Israeli jail, she said US taxpayers paid for Israel's 22-day war on the Gaza Strip. "Operation Cast Lead was made possible by the US taxpayers' gift to the Israeli war machine in the form of F16s, helicopters gunship, white phosphorous, uranium cluster bombs and anything that kills," she told Press TV from inside the Israeli jail on Saturday.
CLG News and Action Alert: IDF Seizes Gaza Aid Ship Posted by Lori Price 01 Jul 2009 Israeli forces have boarded a ship trying to carry aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel's blockade of the territory. The 20 passengers include former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire. [Updated]
US to employ new approach to win over Muslims: Envoy 03 Jul 2009 The Obama administration wants to engage the Muslims in a way that is innovative, dynamic and out of the box, says Farah Pandith, America’s first special envoy to the Muslim communities. The main objective behind the administration’s new strategy is to 'know the next generation of (Muslim) thinkers. And in this role I’ll be doing that,' Pandith told a briefing in Washington.
Video: Pentagon's Robo-Hummingbird Flies Like the Real Thing By Noah Shachtman 02 Jul 2009 Military-backed researchers have built a tiny drone that looks and flies like a hummingbird, flapping its little robotic wings to stay in the air. So far, the mock bird, built for Pentagon mad-science division Darpa, has only stayed aloft for 20 seconds at a time. But that short flight was enough to show the potential of a whole new class of miniature spies, inspired by nature. Darpa just handed AeroVironment, makers of the winged "nano air vehicle," another $2.1 million to build a hummingbot 2.0.
OAS set to suspend Honduras after coup 04 Jul 2009 The Organization of American States was likely to suspend Honduras on Saturday after a caretaker government refused to restore President Manuel Zelaya who was toppled in a military coup last weekend. Honduras' interim rulers who took power after the coup have rejected an OAS demand to restore Mr. Zelaya, and defiantly renounced the OAS charter in an apparent pre-emptive move. But an OAS official said such a renunciation was not valid, since the Honduras authorities were not a legitimate government.
Swine flu: UK ministers warn 40 a day could die by end of summer 04 Jul 2009 Yesterday there were more than 7,400 confirmed cases of swine flu in the UK. If the number of cases continues to grow at the current pace, the UK could have 100,000 new cases every day by the end of August. Under the Government's pandemic action plan, there are three levels of alert for a serious flu outbreak. Earlier this week the Health Secretary announced the UK would now enter the third, most serious, phase.
'The re-emergence of H1N1 in 1977 made it potentially a man-made pandemic.' Swine flu pandemic 'caused by accidental leak from laboratory' 30 Jun 2009 The swine flu pandemic may have been caused by an 'accidental' leak from a laboratory three decades ago, scientists have claimed. An investigation into the genetic make-up of flu viruses claims the pandemic may not have occurred, had it not been for the 'accidental' release of the same strain of influenza virus from a research lab in 1977.
Anti-G8 demonstrators clash with police in Italy 04 Jul 2009 Anti-G8 demonstrators clashed briefly with Italian police on Saturday in the first big protest ahead of next week's summit of the world's richest nations. Police in riot gear fired teargas at protesters to prevent them from crossing a bridge and moving closer to a contested U.S. military base in the northeastern city of Vicenza.
Guard units train for militia attacks 30 Jun 2009 (Camp Crowder, MO) It isn't easy being an insurgent in Neosho, Mo... Such was the case for several members of the headquarters detachment of the 229th Multifunctional Medical Battalion. During the battalion's annual training exercise, eight members of the Jefferson City-based [Missouri National Guardsmen] unit, acting as a fictitious militant group, attempted to disrupt the battalion's operations through attacks and harassment. The battalion's other two units, the Kansas City-based 205th Area Support Medical Company, and the Springfield-based 206th Area Support Medical Company, fended off the attacks while performing their medical duties.
Passenger Spots Handgun Being Smuggled Past Airport Security 04 Jun 2009 An eagle-eyed passenger at Philadelphia International Airport spotted another passenger handing a bag directly to an airline employee -- skipping airport security. The passenger alerted the TSA, who located the US Airways flight and searched the bag. An unloaded handgun was inside the bag. The Philadelphia Inquirer says that Flight 1195 to Phoenix was delayed 4 hours due to the incident.
Gov. Palin Says She Will Quit, Citing Probes, Family Needs 04 Jul 2009 Sarah Palin, the Republican Alaska governor, announced her resignation yesterday. The announcement that she will step down by the end of July stunned the political establishment, fueling speculation about why she is leaving office with 18 months left in her first term and whether her future will include a run for the presidency. Palin offered few clues about her ambitions but said she arrived at her decision in part to protect her family, which has faced withering criticism and occasional mockery, and to escape ethics probes that have drained her family's finances and hampered her ability to govern.
Pound Drops as Reports Show Economic Recovery May Be Faltering 04 Jul 2009 The pound posted its first weekly decline against the dollar in a month after worse-than-expected reports on U.K. services and gross domestic product signaled the economic recovery may be faltering. The British currency also dropped for the second straight week against the euro... Bank of England policy maker David Miles said on July 2 that the U.K. banking industry "remains on life support."
Purity of Federal 'Organic' Label Is Questioned 03 Jul 2009 ...The government's turnaround, from prohibition to permission, came after a USDA program manager was lobbied by the formula makers and overruled her staff. That decision and others by a handful of USDA employees, along with an advisory board's approval of a growing list of non-organic ingredients, have helped numerous companies win a coveted green-and-white "USDA Organic" seal on an array of products. Some consumer groups and members of Congress say they worry that the program's lax standards are undermining the federal program and the law itself.
Former QB Steve McNair Found Shot to Death 04 Jul 2009 Nashville fire officials and Tennessee Titans sources are confirming to affiliate station WSMV that former Titans quarterback Steve McNair has been found shot to death at an apartment in downtown Nashville. Another woman was also found shot to death in the apartment, but her identity has not been confirmed, Metro Police reported.
Grand Jury Inquiry on Destruction of C.I.A. Tapes --The tapes had shown C.I.A. officers using torture, including waterboarding, on two prisoners. 03 Jul 2009 Current and former top Central Intelligence Agency officers have appeared before a federal grand jury in Virginia as part of an 18-month investigation into the agency’s destruction of 92 videotapes depicting the brutal interrogations of two Qaeda prisoners. The witnesses recently called by the special prosecutor, former government officials said, include the agency’s top officer in London and Porter J. Goss, who was C.I.A. director when the tapes were destroyed in November 2005.
Obama administration delays release of CIA report 03 Jul 2009 The Obama administration said Thursday that it needs two more months to review an internal CIA report on the agency's secret detention and torture program before making it public, drawing criticism from civil libertarians who say it's past time for Americans to know how its government treated terrorism suspects. The Justice Department had originally said it intended to release the report in June as part of a lawsuit, but department officials now say they need until the end of August.
Says It Will Preserve Secret Jails for Terror Case
03 Jul 2009 The government will agree to preserve the secret overseas
sites where a defendant in a terror case was once held and, his lawyers
say, subjected to
Iraq's Maliki rejects U.S. offer on national reconciliation --The Iraqi prime minister tells visiting Vice President Joe Biden that U.S. involvement would not be welcome. 03 Jul 2009 Vice President Joe Biden's mission to promote national reconciliation in Iraq was rebuffed Friday by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, who told him that the issue was a domestic Iraqi affair and that U.S involvement wouldn't be welcome. Biden was beginning a two-day visit to Iraq after President Obama appointed him this week as his special representative on dealings with the Persian Gulf nation.
US drone goes down in southern Iraq 03 Jul 2009 An unmanned surveillance aircraft has gone down on the outskirts of al-Kut city in the southern Iraqi province of Wasit which borders Iran. A local police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Voices of Iraq news agency that the drone crashed on Friday close to the Delta Base of American forces. The base is situated seven kilometers (5 miles) west of al-Kut.
US drone attacks kill 13 in Pakistan 03 Jul 2009 Intelligence officials say a US drone has fired missiles into Pakistan's South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, killing at least 13 people and injuring dozens others. The drone reportedly targeted insurgent hideouts in the troubled region where US troops are conducting a major operation against militants, Reuters reported.
U.S. Resumes Surveillance Flights Over Pakistan 30 Jun 2009 The United States has resumed secret military surveillance drone flights over Pakistan’s tribal areas to provide Pakistani commanders with a wide array of videos and other information on militants, according to American and Pakistani officials... Under the intelligence-sharing arrangement, which resumed in the past few weeks but has not previously been made public, Pakistani ground forces receive direct support for several hours a day, though not necessarily every day, from remotely piloted American military aircraft based in Afghanistan, a senior American defense official said.
Russia Opens Route for U.S. to Fly Arms to Afghanistan 04 Jul 2009 The Russian government has agreed to let American troops and weapons bound for Afghanistan fly over Russian territory, providing an important new corridor for the United States military as it escalates efforts to win the eight-year-old war, officials on both sides said Friday. The agreement, to be announced when President Obama visits here Monday and Tuesday, represents one of the most concrete achievements in the administration’s attempt to ease relations with Russia after years of tension.
Russia 'agrees US troop transit' 03 Jul 2009 A senior Obama administration official has told the BBC that Russia has agreed to let US troops bound for the war in Afghanistan fly through its airspace. The deal, which opens up an important new corridor for the US military, is to be officially announced when President Barack Obama visits Moscow next week. Speaking separately, a Kremlin official confirmed a deal was on the table but suggested it referred to weapons only.
UK forces push deep into Taliban territory in Afghanistan 03 Jul 2009 Around 800 British troops have pushed deep into Taliban-held territory in Helmand province after a ten-day battle to secure river crossings. The latest wave of two-week-old Operation Panther's Claw involved one of the most strategically significant operations the British have carried out in Helmand, a British Army statement said.
British regiment commander killed in 'huge' bomb attack in Afghanistan 03 Jul 2009 The commander of a British regiment has been killed in Afghanistan, the first to have died in active service since the Falklands war 27 years ago. Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, of 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, was killed on Wednesday by what defence officials described last night as a "huge bomb" that shattered the armoured Viking tracked vehicle he was travelling in.
North Korea 'tests two missiles' 04 Jul 2009 North Korea has tested two short-range missiles, South Korean media report, as concern mounts in the region that a long-range test could be days away. It test-fired four similar missiles earlier this week and has incurred fresh UN sanctions since holding a second underground nuclear test in May. The latest missiles were fired from a base near Wonsan into the Sea of Japan, South Korea's defence ministry said.
New IAEA chief sees no proof of Iran N-bomb 03 Jul 2009 Incoming IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano says there is no conclusive evidence to prove that Iran is enriching weapons-grade uranium. Amano, who was narrowly elected as the new head of the UN nuclear watchdog on Thursday, however, urged Iran to follow Security Council demands regarding its nuclear activities.
Falk slams Israel, says relief boat seizure 'unlawful' 03 Jul 2009 Israel's two-year blockade of the Gaza Strip is a continuing crime against humanity, and its seizure of a ship carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza was "unlawful", says a UN human rights investigator. Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Thursday that the blockade restricted vital supplies such as food, medicine and fuel to "bare subsistence levels."
In Israel, former US lawmaker remains imprisoned 03 Jul 2009 Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney and several other human rights activists remain in an Israeli prison after refusing to sign a deportation form that they claim is self-incriminating. In a press release from McKinney's Green Party, she said the form states that the their relief boat carrying 21 activists, medial supplies, cement, olive trees and children's toys en route to Gaza, was violating the Israeli blockade and trespassing its territorial waters.
Big brother is watching: The technologies that keep track of you 02 Jul 2009 CCTV, RFID tags and GPS-enabled phones are among the technologies that can be used to keep track of your movements. Here, we list seven of the technologies that can be used to keep track of your movements.
WHO says flu is unstoppable 03 Jul 2009 The World Health Organization head, Margaret Chan, has addressed a meeting in Mexico to say that the spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus worldwide is now unstoppable. As the summit opened, the UK alone projected more than 100,000 new cases of H1N1 a day by the end of the summer.
800 at San Quentin quarantined for swine flu 03 Jul 2009 About 800 San Quentin State Prison inmates have been quarantined - banned from having visitors starting this weekend - as officials await testing on 30 inmates suspected of having swine flu, authorities said Thursday. So far, four of the 30 minimum-security inmates have tested positive for having a strain that has a 97 percent probability of being the H1N1 virus, said Luis Patino, spokesman for the federal receiver who runs state prison medical care.
CDC: US swine flu cases rise to nearly 34,000 02 Jul 2009 The number of U.S. swine flu cases has reached nearly 34,000, and deaths have risen 34 percent in the past week to 170, federal health officials reported Thursday. The numbers mark an increase from the 127 deaths and nearly 28,000 confirmed and suspected swine flu cases reported last week.
Ohio Reserve unit wages war on ND mosquitoes --The Air Force's aerial spray unit based at Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, Ohio, has found North Dakota an 'ideal place for practice.' 03 Jul 2009 An Ohio Air Force Reserve unit charged with controlling mosquitoes during wartime is using bug-bitten North Dakota as a practice ground again this summer. Huge gray military airplanes flying as low as 100 feet from the ground sprayed Minot and, for the first time, Williston to kill mosquito larvae this spring. Another mission aimed at adult mosquitoes, is planned for later this month.
Gag me with a chainsaw! Palin plans to stay visible 03 Jul 2009 Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin plans to remain extremely visible and will give serious consideration to running for president in 2012, but has made no decision, a close friend said after her startling announcement Friday that she will resign her office. Friends say Palin plans to spend time writing her book, which is due this fall, then promote it heavily when it comes out in spring 2010.
Palin resigns as governor, leaves plans secret 03 Jul 2009 Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin abruptly announced Friday she is resigning from office at the end of the month, a shocking move that rattled the Republican party but left open the possibility she would seek a run for the White House in 2012. Palin and her staff kept her future plans shrouded in mystery, and it was unclear if the controversial hockey mom would quietly return to private life or begin laying the foundation for a presidential bid.
Sarah Palin will not seek re-election 03 Jul 2009 Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has told associates that she will not seek re-election next year, freeing her to pursue a White House bid in 2012, according to two GOP sources. Leaving office at the end of next year, the former vice presidential hopeful will be able to travel the country more freely without facing the sort of repeated ethics inquiries she’s been fending off since returning to Alaska earlier this year. [Alaska's polar bears and wolves rejoice!]
Everything suggests American bonds seized at Chiasso are real 30 Jun 2009 Four weeks have passed since American bonds were confiscated from two Japanese who were travelling on a direct train to Chiasso, Switzerland. While there has been clarification of some points, very few, Italian authorities have remained silent on the rest of the episode. In addition, a strange coincidence in the timing of the arrest of a director of an internet radio who had made revelations regarding the incident increases the already strong oddities surrounding the case. This added to the revaluation of the fact that among the evidence seized there were "Kennedy Bond" all points toward the authenticity of the items seized by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) in early June.
'Rogue broker' blamed for oil spike 02 Jul 2009 The startling spike in oil prices to their highest level this year on Tuesday was caused by a rogue broker [terrorist] who placed a massive bet in the Brent oil market, triggering almost $10m (€7m) of losses for his company. PVM Oil Associates, the world’s largest over-the-counter oil brokerage, said on Thursday it had been the "victim of unauthorised trading".
Seven banks fail, pushing 2009 tally to 52 --Regulators close six Illinois banks and one Texas bank, setting the FDIC back a total of $314.3 million. 03 Jul 2009 Seven banks were shut down by authorities Thursday, pushing the tally of failed banks for 2009 to 52, more than doubling the failures in 2008. Six regional banks in Illinois and one in Texas closed their doors, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The rash of Illinois failures are interlinked: All six banks were controlled by one family and followed a similar business model that "created concentrated exposure in each institution," according to the FDIC.
Aircraft repair jobs sold to foreign workers, resumes not important --It's a huge facility in the middle of San Antonio International Airport, but a large number of mechanics are temporary workers from foreign countries. 01 Jul 2009 A News 8 investigation found that hundreds of aircraft mechanics have been brought into the United States to work at aircraft repair facilities. Insiders say the companies that are importing the mechanics are so eager to save money, they’re overstating their qualifications. The result may be a threat to safety, abetted by lax enforcement of immigration law.
ExxonMobil continuing to fund climate sceptic groups, records show --Records show ExxonMobil gave hundreds of thousands of pounds to lobby groups that have published 'misleading and inaccurate information' about climate change 01 Jul 2009 The world's largest oil company [terrorists] is continuing to fund lobby groups that question the reality of global warming, despite a public pledge to cut support for such climate change denial, a new analysis shows. Company records show that ExxonMobil handed over hundreds of thousands of pounds to such lobby groups in 2008. These include the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) in Dallas, Texas, which received $75,000 (£45,500), and the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, which received $50,000.
Sea Ice At Lowest Level In 800 Years Near Greenland 02 Jul 2009 New research, which reconstructs the extent of ice in the sea between Greenland and Svalbard from the 13th century to the present indicates that there has never been so little sea ice as there is now. The research results from the Niels Bohr Institute, among others, are published in the scientific journal, Climate Dynamics.
Scientists solve mystery of Scotland's shrinking sheep --Shorter, milder winters caused by global warming to blame for steady decrease in size of St Kilda sheep, experts say 02 Jul 2009 The mysterious shrinking sheep of St Kilda... involves a rare herd of wild sheep on the remote Scottish island - known in Scottish Gaelic as Hirta. They have steadily decreased in size since the 1980s. Scientists have fingered the culprit as the new Moriarty of mankind: global warming. The experts say shorter and milder winters mean that lambs do not need to put as much weight on during their first few months of life. The average weight of the sheep has dropped by 81g each year.
Court Filing Shows Evidence Cheney Swayed White House Response to CIA Leak --Discussions of CIA Agent Listed in Filing 03 Jul 2009 A document filed in federal court this week by the Justice Department offers new evidence that former vice president [sic] Richard B. Cheney helped steer the Bush administration's public response to the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's employment by the CIA and that he was at the center of many related administration deliberations. A list of at least seven related conversations involving Cheney appears in a new court filing approved by Obama appointees at the Justice Department. In the filing, the officials argue that the substance of what Cheney told special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in 2004 must remain secret.
Obama pushes to delay release of CIA report --Agency's secret detention, torture program under scrutiny 02 Jul 2009 The Obama administration said Thursday that it needs two more months to review an internal CIA report on the agency's secret detention and interrogation program before making it public. The Justice Department had originally said it intended to release the report in June as part of a lawsuit, but department officials now say they 'need' until the end of August. [See: U.S. again [third time] delays releasing CIA torture report 02 Jul 2009; US wants to [again] delay release of CIA report 26 Jun 2009; Delay in Releasing CIA Report Is Sought 20 Jun 2009.]
Heads up! The Obusha pre-holiday Friday night environmental/human rights bad news dump is starting to dump a day early! Obama Administration to Involve NSA in Screening Civilian Agency Networks 02 Jul 2009 The Obama administration will proceed with a Bush-era plan to use National Security Agency assistance in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks, with AT&T as the likely test site, according to three current and former government officials. President Obama said in May that government efforts to protect computer systems from attack would not involve "monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic." Under a classified pilot program approved during the Bush regime, NSA data and hardware would be used to 'protect' the networks of some civilian government agencies. Part of an initiative known as Einstein 3, the pilot called for telecommunications companies to route the Internet traffic of civilian government agencies through a monitoring box that would search for and block malicious computer codes... The pilot was to have been launched in February. "To be clear, Einstein 3 development is proceeding," DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said.
Al-Sadr demands full U.S. withdrawal from Iraq --About 131,000 US troops remain in Iraq, on bases and in outposts outside of population centers. 01 Jul 2009 The ongoing presence of U.S. troops in Iraq "shows that the (Iraqi) government and the occupation are not serious about the withdrawal," a key Shiite cleric in the country said Wednesday. Muqtada al-Sadr made the statement on his Web site a day after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraqi cities and towns in accordance with the security agreement between the United States and Iraq.
Saddam Hussein 'lied about WMDs to protect Iraq from Iran' 03 Jul 2009 Saddam Hussein told the FBI that he misled the world into believing Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction because he feared revealing his weakness to Iran, according to declassified interview transcripts. The late Iraqi president also told his interrogators that he regarded Osama in Laden as a "zealot" and had no contact with the al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh] leader or his organisation. Despite defeat in the Gulf War at the hands of the American-led coalition, Saddam still regarded Iran, with which Iraq fought a bloody war from 1980-88, as a greater threat than the US, the documents show.
Lawsuit accuses Xe contractors of murder, kidnapping, child prostitution 02 Jul 2009 A just-amended lawsuit alleges six additional instances of unprovoked attacks on Iraqi civilians by Blackwater mercenaries. Three people, including a 9-year-old boy, are said to have died. Also added to the suit is a racketeering count accusing Blackwater founder Erik Prince of running an ongoing criminal enterprise involved in, among other things, kidnapping and child prostitution. The latest charges, filed this week in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, bring to more than 60 the number of Iraqis allegedly killed or wounded since 2005 by armed Blackwater mercenaries guarding U.S. diplomatic personnel in Iraq. The Moyock, N.C.-based security company, since renamed Xe, earned more than $1 billion under that contract before the State Department, under pressure from the Iraqi government, let it lapse in May.
Senate Investigates Blackwater Subsidiary 01 Jul 2009 The Senate Armed Services Committee is investigating the mercenary firm Paravant LLC which provides contracted services to the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. Paravant is a subsidiary of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater, owned by Erik D. Prince, president of The Prince Group. Steven McClain and Justin Cannon, two former Paravant security personnel stationed in Afghanistan, were involved in a fatal shooting incident that left one Afghan civilian dead and two others wounded in Kabul on May 5, 2009.
Guantanamo suspect to be tried in U.S. court in 2010 02 Jul 2009 The first detainee transferred from Guantanamo Bay to a U.S. civilian court will go on trial on September 13, 2010, a Manhattan federal court judge said on Thursday. Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian national, has been charged with conspiring in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya that killed 224 people.
'I have to refer you to the Government of Israel.' U.S. Department of State Middle East Digest 01 Jul 2009 QUESTION: Erin Connors from Press TV. Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and members of the Free Gaza Movement were intercepted by the Israeli army when they were on a humanitarian mission over there. What’s being done about that? Are they on their way home? Will they be deported? What’s the next step there, and will their supplies ever get to where they’re going? IAN KELLY: On that last question, I don’t know the answer, actually. I think I have to refer you to the Government of Israel. We can confirm that the Israeli navy did arrest those on board this – the ship which is known as Spirit. We can't comment on any of the individuals or the number of individual American citizens on board because of Privacy Act concern. [OH, but you would comment from here to Armageddon if Ahmadinejad sneezed or you heard there were missing ballots in Tehran, right? Can you *imagine* what would happen if Iran or Venezuela intercepted a vessel and/or incarcerated a former congressperson and Nobel Prize winner? Instead of covering Neverland 24/7, Faux would be covering the US shock & awe bombardment of the offending nation. --LRP]
Activists Held by Israel for Trying to Break Gaza Blockade 03 Jul 2009 Nineteen foreign activists of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement were being held in Israel awaiting deportation on Thursday, two days after the Israeli Navy seized control of their boat off Gaza. A former United States Representative, Cynthia McKinney, and an Irish peace activist and Nobel laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, were among those being held. Two additional Israeli activists were released without being charged on Wednesday, according to the group.
U.S. re-approves Israel loan guarantees program 30 Jun 2009 The United States has re-approved its Israel loan guarantees program, subject to meeting fiscal targets, the Finance Ministry in Jerusalem said Tuesday. The move comes amid tensions between Israel and the Obama administration over Jerusalem's settlement policy in the West Bank. In 2002, the U.S. provided a package of $9 billion in loan guarantees, where Israel could sell bonds internationally with the backing of the United States.
Merkel urges immediate halt to WB settlements 02 Jul 2009 German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the ongoing construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank hampers efforts for a two-state solution with Palestinians. "I think it is now important to get commitments from all sides and that includes the issue of settlement building. I am convinced that there must be a stop to this. Otherwise we will not come to the two-state solution that is urgently needed," Merkel said in an address to the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Britain fails on deadline for withdrawal of ambassadors from Tehran 03 Jul 2009 Britain was rebuffed last night in its attempt to secure an EU deadline for the withdrawal of the bloc's 27 ambassadors from Tehran if a local embassy employee in Iranian custody was not released. Representatives of the EU's foreign ministries offered a pledge of solidarity with the UK but officials said it was unlikely that more discussions today (FRI) would produce an ultimatum.
U.S. declares Iraq-based group foreign terrorist organization 02 Jul 2009 The U.S. government on Thursday said it has declared Kata'ib Hizballah a foreign terrorist organization, saying the group is linked to Lebanon's Hezbollah and has posed a threat to stability in Iraq. The designation means the Iraq-based militant group's assets will be frozen and Americans will be prohibited from providing it with any resources, the State Department said in a statement.
US soldier is snatched by same Afghan group who kidnapped reporters 03 Jul 2009 An American soldier who wandered off his remote position in eastern Afghanistan is believed to have been captured by the same 'insurgents' responsible for the kidnap last year of a New York Times reporter. [Xe?] Military officials said that the soldier disappeared from his base in Paktika province on Tuesday and was listed as "duty status whereabouts unknown" after he was found to be missing in a routine check.
US allied forces march into Taliban territory 02 Jul 2009 Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan have been infiltrated by US Marines who are part of a major operation under the imprimatur of President Barack Obama. As part of the president’s strategy to stabilise the country 4,000 marines have been sent in to destroy Taliban lairs.
Jones: U.S. plans coordinated response if North Korea fires missile 02 Jul 2009 If North Korea fires a missile at Hawaii on or around the July Fourth holiday, as Japanese reports have warned, the U.S. plans a measured response in coordination with Russia, China, Japan and South Korea. In an exclusive interview with McClatchy Newspapers, White House national security adviser James L. Jones said of North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Il: "Our reaction will be dependent on what it is they do over the next few days, few weeks, whatever it is."
North Korean rockets fired out to sea 02 Jul 2009 North Korea has test-fired two short-range missiles. The missiles were shot from an east coast base near the eastern port of Wonsan. Tensions have been recently been high in the region, due to North Korea remaining defiant after the UN condemned its long-range rocket launch on April 5th and its May 25th nuclear test.
Honduran coup leader a two-time SOA graduate 29 Jun 2009 The general who overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras is a two-time graduate of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, an institution that has trained hundreds of coup leaders and human rights abusers in Latin America. Gen. Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez toppled President Manuel Zelaya in a pre-dawn coup on Sunday, surrounding the presidential palace with more than 200 soldiers and tanks and tear-gassing a crowd outside. The president was abducted and taken to an Air Force base before being flown to Costa Rica.
Britain braces for 100,000 swine flu cases a day 02 Jul 2009 Britain faces a projected 100,000 new swine flu cases a day by the end of August and must revamp its flu strategy to cope, the nation's health minister said Thursday. Britain has officially reported 7,447 swine flu cases and three deaths, but officials acknowledge the real number of cases is far higher, since many with the virus have not been tested.
UK bans tell-all book on counter-terrorism 02 Jul 2009 UK government has banned a tell-all book about Metropolitan Police crackdown on terrorist written by former anti-terror chief. "The Terrorist Hunters" which is a memoir by retired assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Andy Hayman banned the night before it was due to hit the shelves on Thursday. The attorney general's office announced the injunction just before midnight on Wednesday.
Blast hits Canadian gas pipeline --Police: 5th act of sabotage in region over past year 02 Jul 2009 A gas leak, at a pipeline in Canada's western British Columbia province, has been caused by a blast that police say is the fifth act of sabotage in the region over the past year. The oil and natural gas company informed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on Wednesday, after company employees noticed a loss in pressure in the pipeline close to Dawson Creek, in the northeast of the province.
Should linking be illegal? In a misguided attempt to aid newspapers, one of America's most influential judges is suggesting a new copyright law 01 Jul 2009 Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America's most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission. The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying.
Oops! The PentaPost -- facilitators of the 2000 and 2004 GOP coups and enablers of Bush/Cheney's war crimes and treason -- is caught with its grubby little paws in the cookie jar! Amid Criticism, Post Drops "Appalling" Plan to Sell Access --Paper Reportedly Offered Lobbyists Private Meetings with Reporters, Editors for $25,000 02 Jul 2009 The Washington Post is nixing a reported plan to sell access to its newsroom staff and Obama administration officials to lobbyists and corporate interests, a spokeswoman for the paper said Thursday.
WaPo cancels lobbyist event amid uproar 02 Jul 2009 Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth said today she was canceling plans for an exclusive "salon" at her home where for as much as $250,000, the Post offered lobbyists and association executives off-the-record access to "those powerful few" -- Obama administration officials, members of Congress, and even the paper’s own reporters and editors. The astonishing offer was detailed in a flier circulated Wednesday to a health care lobbyist, who provided it to a reporter.
Jobless rate at 9.5% - worst since 1983 02 Jul 2009 The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent in June, a 26-year high, as employers continued to slash payrolls, according to a Labor Department report today that estimates 14.7 million Americans were out of work last month. Employers cut 467,000 jobs in June, as construction and manufacturing continued to suffer big losses.
Goldman Sachs Is A Vampire Squid, Rolling Stone Says 02 Jul 2009 In a riveting article in its July 9-23 issue, "Goldman Sachs: The Great American Bubble Machine," Rolling Stone describes the investment bank as a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." The author, Matt Taibbi, makes a strong case for why Goldman Sachs is partially, if not wholly, to blame for the Great Depression, the .com bubble, the subprime crisis, and last year's oil price spikes, through questionable practices such as laddering. He suggests that Goldman is poised to create a new bubble out of the nascent cap-and-trade markets.
US credit card companies jack up rates By Andre Damon 02 Jul 2009 Credit card companies have in recent months sharply raised the rates they charge customers, as credit card defaults have risen to record levels. Citigroup, the recipient of a $25 billion government bailout, has increased rates for millions of credit card customers by around one fourth. JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest issuer of credit cards, also said it would raise its minimum payment rate from 2 to 5 percent for customers behind on payments. The hikes come amid news that default rates for personal credit cards have hit record high levels.
SC governor silent as clamor grows for resignation 02 Jul 2009 After days of soul-baring and often odd confessions and apologies about an adulterous affair, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) went silent as the clamor for his resignation grew. Sanford, who has said he won't resign, made no public appearances Wednesday, as he figures out how to salvage the last 18 months of his second and last term and his 20-year marriage.
ACLU Says Government Used False Confessions 02 Jul 2009 The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday accused the Obama administration of using statements elicited through torture to justify the confinement of a detainee it represents at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The ACLU is asking a federal judge to throw out those statements and others made by Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who may have been as young as 12 when he was captured. His attorney argued that Jawad was abused in U.S. custody, threatened and subjected to intense sleep deprivation. "The government's continued reliance on evidence gained by torture and other abuse violates centuries of U.S. law and suggests the current administration is not really serious about breaking with the past," said ACLU lawyer Jonathan Hafetz, who is representing Jawad in a lawsuit challenging his detention.
U.S. again [third time] delays releasing CIA torture report 02 Jul 2009 The U.S. government on Wednesday once again delayed the release of a full report on CIA's controversial interrogation program. The government had intended to complete its review of the 2004 report and release it two weeks ago. But continued interagency debate about how much of the secret report could be made public pushed back the deadline. [See: US wants to [again] delay release of CIA report 26 Jun 2009 and Delay in Releasing CIA Report Is Sought 20 Jun 2009.]
U.S. spy says just followed orders in Italy kidnap 30 Jun 2009 A former U.S. spy at the center of a kidnapping trial in Italy appeared to acknowledge a role in the abduction of a Muslim cleric but said he was only following orders, according to a rare interview published on Tuesday. Robert Seldon Lady is one of 26 Americans, almost all believed to have been working for the CIA, who are accused along with Italian spies of grabbing a terrorism suspect off the streets of Milan in 2003 and flying him to Egypt. There, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr says he was tortured and held for years without charge.
Army faces 20 more torture and abuse claims from Iraqi civilians --High Court to hear cases against soldiers accused of shootings and beatings 01 Jul 2009 The British Army faces 20 fresh claims of torture and abuse of Iraqi civilians in a series of damaging cases being prepared by human rights lawyers in the High Court in London. These new claims lend support to the accusation that the ill-treatment of scores of detainees in Iraq in the first four years after the invasion was systemic rather than the work of a few "rotten apple" soldiers.
Iraq Approves BP-Led Bid to Develop Rumaila Oil Field 01 Jul 2009 Iraq’s cabinet approved an offer by BP Plc and China National Petroleum Corp. to develop the Rumaila oil field after the group was awarded the contract yesterday, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said. The government rejected all other bids made at an oil licensing round held in Baghdad yesterday after companies seeking to develop deposits declined to meet Iraq’s cost requirements, according to an e-mailed statement today.
Oil and the Iraq "withdrawal" By James Cogan 30 Jun 2009 It is fitting that today’s deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities coincides with a meeting in Baghdad to auction off some of the country’s largest oil fields to companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and British Petroleum. It is a reminder of the real motives for the 2003 invasion and in whose interests over one million Iraqis and 4,634 American and other Western troops have been killed. The Iraq war was, and continues to be, an imperialist war waged by the American ruling elite for control of oil and geo-strategic advantage.
Hussein Pointed to Iranian Threat --The former Iraqi president denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda. 02 Jul 2009 Saddam Hussein told an FBI interviewer before he was hanged that he allowed the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction because he was worried about appearing weak to Iran, according to declassified accounts of the interviews released yesterday. The former Iraqi president also denounced Osama bin Laden as "a zealot" and said he had no dealings with al-Qaeda [al-CIAduh]. Hussein, in fact, said he felt so vulnerable to the perceived threat from "fanatic" leaders in Tehran that he would have been prepared to seek a "security agreement with the United States to protect [Iraq] from threats in the region."
FEMA Administrator Meets Top Israeli Official to Discuss Emergency Management Issues 30 Jun 2009 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate met today with Maj. Gen. Yair Golan of the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command (IDF/HFC), continuing to foster a working relationship with Israel... Administrator Fugate and Maj. General Golan will serve as co-chairs of an emergency management work group designed to discuss problems and issues and to exchange information on a variety of topics... The IDF/HFC partners with the Israeli National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) on emergency management issues. IDF/HFC and NEMA work with FEMA under an emergency management work stream workgroup established under a 2007 Memorandum of Understanding with DHS.
McKinney still held on ship of activists detained by Israel 01 Jul 2009 Israel on Wednesday reportedly sent home two of the 21 people taken aboard a ship that attempted to break through a blockade and deliver supplies to Gaza. Authorities released an American filmmaker and a Danish human rights activist, according to freegaza.org, the web site of the Free Gaza Movement, which organized the voyage opposing the blockade. The other passengers remain in Israeli custody, among them former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and 1977 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Mairead Maguire, who co-founded a group that worked for peace in Northern Ireland.
CLG News and Action Alert: IDF Seizes Gaza Aid Ship Posted by Lori Price 01 Jul 2009 Israeli forces have boarded a ship trying to carry aid and pro-Palestinian activists to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel's blockade of the territory. The 20 passengers include former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire. [Can you *imagine* what would happen if *Iran* intercepted a vessel with a former congressperson and Nobel Prize winner? It makes my head *spin* to think of how fast the US missiles would be flying! Click here for news and actions you can take - demonstrations, petitions.] (Updated with new Boston 02 July IAC action info)
UN: Israel does not deny running spy ring in Lebanon 01 Jul 2009 Israel does not deny accusations that dozens of men arrested recently in Lebanon were spying on its behalf, according to a report published by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Lebanese authorities in recent months claimed to have detained dozens of suspects in an espionage investigation, including several senior military officials.
'Interpol hunting for witness of Neda's death' 01 Jul 2009 Iran's Police Chief, Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, says Interpol is searching for a man who witnessed the death of Neda Agha-soltan. Neda was shot dead in a central Tehran street on June 20, amid the post-election unrest in the capital city and her death has turned into a controversial issue. Iranian authorities say that security forces have not fired at protesters, adding that the incident was "a premeditated scenario" to defame Iran.
U.S. Marines Launch Major Operation in Afghanistan Poppies grown in this region account for half the world's supply of opium. 01 Jul 2009 Thousands of U.S. Marines descended upon the volatile Helmand River valley in helicopters and armored convoys early Thursday morning, mounting an operation that represents the first large-scale test of the U.S. military's new counter-insurgency 'strategy' in Afghanistan. The operation will involve about 4,000 troops from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, which was dispatched to Afghanistan this year by President Obama to combat a growing Taliban insurgency in Helmand and other southern provinces. [Obama has to keep Bush's opium routes and gas pipelines flowing. See: U.S.-built bridge is windfall -- for illegal Afghan drug trade 28 Jun 2009.]
US seeks European funds, troops for Afghanistan 01 Jul 2009 Europe must commit more funds and troops to stabilise Afghanistan after the August presidential elections or risk staying in the country indefinitely, the US envoy to NATO Ivo Daalder said Wednesday. Daalder said the United States estimated 17 billion dollars was needed to train and equip the Afghan army and two billion dollars per year to sustain it.
UK Afghan civilian death payments 01 Jul 2009 The government has paid or is assessing compensation over 104 civilian deaths allegedly caused by the Army during operations in Afghanistan. Figures revealed after a Freedom of Information request by Channel 4 News show $200,000 (£120,000) compensation was paid in the last 18 months. Payouts range from $210 (£127) for a woman's death to $39,752 (£24,155) for a "multiple fatality" incident.
Pakistan elder killed by gunmen 01 Jul 2009 A key pro-government tribal elder has been shot dead along with two of his guards in Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber, officials say. They say that Malik Gali Khan was travelling in the Jamrud area when he was attacked by gunmen. The tribal leader was seriously wounded and died on his way to the hospital. As news of his death spread, incensed local tribesmen closed down the markets and also the Pakistan-Afghanistan highway through Torkham.
North Korea Shows No Sign of Imminent Missile Launch, U.S. Says 02 Jul 2009 The U.S. doesn't see any indication North Korea is poised to test-launch a long-range ballistic missile capable of landing near the Hawaiian Islands, according to four government officials. The officials, who are privy to information about North Korean launch preparations, said there are no signs of the work necessary to launch a long-range missile during the U.S. July 4 Independence Day celebration.
Does the US back the Honduran coup? The Obama administration's condemnation of the coup in Honduras has been lukewarm compared to the rest of the world By Mark Weisbrot 01 July 2009 The military coup that overthrew Honduras's elected president, Manuel Zelaya, brought unanimous international condemnation. But some country's responses have been more reluctant than others, and Washington's ambivalence has begun to raise suspicions about what the US government is really trying to accomplish in this situation.
1,500 National Guard Troops to Border 30 Jun 2009 1,500 National Guard volunteers will be used to support the existing 'counter'-drug program on the border with Mexico. That includes in Texas and New mexico. The plan is being finalized between the Defense Department and Homeland Security. The program would use guardsmen for surveillance, intelligence analysis, and aviation support. They would also supply ground troops who help at border crossings.
Swine flu cases reach over 77,000 worldwide: WHO 02 Jul 2009 About 77,201 people worldwide have caught swine flu, with 332 having died from it, latest statistics posted on Wednesday by the World Health Organisation show. The data indicates that 6308 new A(H1N1) cases were reported, including 21 deaths, since the last bulletin on Monday. The largest increase in caseload was reported by the United Kingdom, with 2288 new infections including two deaths, bringing its total to 6538 infections including three deaths.
WHO working on formulas to model swine flu spread 01 Jul 2009 The World Health Organization said Wednesday it is working to mathematically model the spread of swine flu in an attempt to better understand how the outbreak developed from a handful of cases to a global epidemic in less than two months. WHO brought together over 20 independent experts beginning Wednesday for the three-day meeting in Geneva. The meeting comes as it becomes clearer that actual case numbers may be far higher than the agency's tally of officially diagnosed infections. [See: Pandemic planning: Protect police forces from being hurt in civil disturbances 29 Jun 2009.]
Former Marine Claims Illness From Mystery Vaccine --Military Source Believes Experimental Shots May Have Been Given 08 May 2007 Clermont County, OH) Target 5 has discovered that an alarming number of U.S. troops are having severe reactions to some of the vaccines they receive in preparation for going overseas. "This is the worst cover-up in the history of the military," said an unidentified military health officer who fears for his job. A shot from a syringe is leaving some U.S. servicemen and women on the brink of death. "When the issue, I believe, of the use of the vaccine comes out, I believe it will make the Walter Reed scandal pale in comparison," said the health officer.
'This is the worst cover-up in the history of the military.' Target 5: Secret Shots --'The shot was never listed in his records... Suddenly, 'flu vaccine' appears on his record.' (wlwttv) 16 Jul 2007 All military personnel who are headed to combat are required to take vaccinations. Are these shots leaving some soldiers deathly ill? 'But a case of friendly fire, in the form of a syringe, would forever change his life. On November 28th of 2005, David's unit was lined up for what he says was an undisclosed shot... Three weeks later, Private Fey was back in Clermont County on his death bed at Clinton Memorial Hospital. His kidneys were failing... 'The people [sic] who administered the shot never told us what it was.' (YouTube video of NBC Target 5 report)
Rangel: Drug firms have been 'stealing' 01 Jul 2009 One of the principal authors of health care legislation taking shape in the House accused drug companies and other medical providers Wednesday of stealing, and said they are now offering concessions in the hopes the bill that emerges will not demand too much of them. "Everyone knows that people around the table are stealing, but they don't want to turn each other in if they're going to have to pay the full penalty," said Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Asked in an interview on MSNBC what he meant by stealing, the New York Democrat replied, "I mean stealing."
Lieberman: I Stand With The Small Minority of Americans Who Oppose Public Option By Brian Beutler 01 Jul 2009 The surfeit of polling data showing broad public support for the public option hasn't swayed Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman [R-Israel], who's joining conservative Democrats and moderate Republicans in staunch opposition. Check out this video from Paul Bass at the New Haven Independent.
It Came from Wasilla --As John McCain's top campaign officials talk more candidly than ever before about the meltdown of his vice-presidential pick, the author tracks the signs--political and personal--that Sarah Palin was big trouble, and checks the forecast for her future. By Todd S. Purdum August 2009 As Palin has piled misstep on top of misstep, the senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be.
CIA-Trained Blogger Disbursing Money to "Progressives" By Francis L. Holland 30 May 2009 Some of us have wondered what Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (MAMZ) learned at the CIA during his two-year "training" period there. SourceWatch.Org covers Markos C.A. Moulitsas Zuñiga's (MAMZ) connections to the CIA. Well, now it's more clear than ever that his mission is to increase his influence and build "assets" in the "progressive" blogger community, the better to prevent blogging from getting out of control of the Government.
California taking rest of US on its way down [Thanks to Enron troll, Arnold Schwarzenegger] 01 Jul 2009 The aftershocks of the recession-induced paralysis in California's economy have started ripping through other states across the US. The flagging financial system of California, the world's eighth biggest economy, has affected Illinois and Pennsylvania whose economies are irreversibly interlaced to that of California. Despite rushing frenetically, neither of the states managed to meet the June 30 deadline to pass the budgets for the new fiscal year that ended on the day.
'I'll pay back': Schwarzenegger issues IOUs --California has about $4 billion of obligations that it cannot meet. 02 Jul 2009 The US state of California is in an economic state of emergency, and tomorrow it will begin issuing IOUs to pay its debt. The state is suffering huge declines in revenues because of the recession and the crash of the real estate market. As well, the Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Installed) and his legislature cannot come up with a balanced budget to address the crisis.
Did leak from a laboratory cause swine flu pandemic? Same strain of influenza was released 'by accident' three decades ago 30 Jun 2009 It has swept across the world killing at least 300 people and infecting thousands more. Yet the swine flu pandemic might not have happened had it not been for the 'accidental' release of the same strain of influenza virus from a research laboratory in the late 1970s, according to a new study. Scientists investigating the genetic make-up of flu viruses have concluded there is a high probability that the H1N1 strain of influenza "A" behind the current pandemic might never have been re-introduced into the human population were it not for an accidental leak from a laboratory working on the same strain in 1977.
At least 29 killed unlawfully by Israeli drones in Gaza, report says 30 Jun 2009 At least 29 Palestinian civilians were unlawfully killed by missile-firing Israeli drones during its offensive in the Gaza Strip, a US human rights group said. A report by Human Rights Watch, published six months after the operation, said that Israel had failed to exercise proper caution "as required by the laws of war" in their use of drones. Mrac Galasco, a senior military analyst for Human Rights Watch, said that although 29 cases had been highlighted in the report, as many as 87 civilians could have been killed in drone attacks.
US withdrawal from cities brings joy to Iraq 30 Jun 2009 Iraq is filled with joy as American troops hand security duties over to Iraqi forces and end their presence on the streets of the country's towns and cities. Tens of thousands of Iraqi people rushed to the streets and held giant parties on Monday and Tuesday to mark the withdrawal of US soldiers. [Too bad the US doesn't withdraw from all the other countries it illegally occupies.]
Maliki reassures on security as car bomb kills 41 01 Jul 2009 A car bomb in the northern Iraqi oil hub of Kirkuk killed at least 41 people and wounded 120 others yesterday just as Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister, sought to reassure the country that Iraqi forces were capable of providing security. The blast, in the Aruba neighbourhood, occurred as US combat troops were completing their scheduled withdrawal from Baghdad and other large cities.
Four US soldiers killed during Iraq pull out 30 Jun 2009 Four US soldiers were killed in combat shortly before the American army completed a withdrawal from Iraq's cities. In the attack on Monday, the US army said the four soldiers who were killed served with the Multi-National Division-Baghdad but did not provide further details pending notification of their families. It said they died as a "result of combat related injuries".
US Iraq commander loses cool over troop numbers 30 Jun 2009 Tuesday was a day of celebration in Iraq as U.S. forces handed control of the cities to Iraqi authorities, but the top U.S. commander was less than joyous when pressed on how many of his troops would remain. Speaking via satellite from Baghdad, U.S. Army General Ray Odierno lost his cool at a briefing for Pentagon reporters when he was repeatedly questioned about the number of U.S. troops that would remain in the cities as advisers to Iraqi forces.
Oil companies reject Iraq's terms 30 Jun 2009 Only one of the bidders for the eight contracts to run oil and gas fields in Iraq has accepted oil ministry terms. Six oil fields and two gas fields were available in a televised auction that was the first big oil tender in Iraq since the invasion of 2003. BP and China's CNPC agreed to run the 17 billion barrel Rumaila field after Exxon Mobil turned it down. Iraq has asked the rest of the companies to consider resubmitting bids for the other seven contracts.
US Supreme Court delays decision on Uighur case 29 Jun 2009 The US Supreme Court on Monday discreetly delayed until October a decision on whether Chinese Uighurs who are being held at Guantanamo Bay prison can be released in the United States. Court aides told lawyers that no decision would be taken on the Uighurs "until October at the earliest."
Afghanistan: 800 civilians killed in conflict in January-May -- UN report 29 Jun 2009 Civilian deaths resulting from armed hostilities between insurgents, the US military, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and government forces have increased by 24 percent so far this year compared to the same period in 2008, according to a report by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. In May alone, 261 non-combatants lost their lives in conflict in Afghanistan, John Holmes, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, told members of the Security Council at a meeting on 26 June.
Hold on to your hats! Report: Major growth ahead for Minot AFB 30 Jun 2009 Hundreds of new positions will be added at Minot Air Force Base in the next fiscal year, according to an Air Force report... The report calls for the addition of several dozen military and civilian personnel at the Minot base as a result of bolstering the Air Force's nuclear enterprise. As a result of strengthening the Air Force's nuclear enterprise, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB gains 10 B-52H bombers as part of B-52 force structure, according to the report. [More to 'lose.']
U.S. Officials Had Contact with Honduran Military Before Coup 28 Jun 2009 According to reports broadcast during a special edition of the Mesa Redonda (The Round Table), transmitted on Cuban radio and television Sunday evening, U.S. officials had contact with right-wing members of the Honduran congress and military leaders just days before launching Sunday morning's coup. Moderator Randy Alonso read a report that confirmed diplomatic officials from the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa met with congressional representatives and right-wing military top brass shortly before the military coup was carried out.
Journalists Briefly Detained By Troops In Honduras 30 Jun 2009 Honduran troops detained seven international journalists covering the aftermath of a military coup Monday, freeing them unhurt a short time later. The government also took at least two television stations off the air and interrupted the broadcasts of others. At least 10 soldiers, most with rifles drawn, arrived at the hotel where journalists from The Associated Press and the Venezuela-based television network Telesur were staying and unplugged their editing equipment in an apparent attempt to stop their coverage of protests in support of deposed President Manuel Zelaya. One of the Telesur journalists was speaking on a telephone at the time of the detention, and AP's Nicolas Garcia saw a soldier lightly slapping her hand so she would hang up. [See, in a *rightwing* coup, US media wh*res add words such as 'lightly' to describe physical force and 'briefly' to detainment. Now, if this was *Iran,* we'd hear that the journalists were imprisoned for six centuries and the AP journalist had her skull bashed in rather than her hand getting 'lightly slapped.' BTW, where are the insipid little puke green Tweets about this coup and the wall-to-wall Faux News coverage of same? --LRP]
Obama says coup in Honduras is illegal 29 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama said on Monday the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was illegal and would set a "terrible precedent" of transition by military force unless it was reversed. "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the president of Honduras, the democratically elected president there," Obama told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.
George W. Bush appointees buck Barack Obama on terror policies 30 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama’s claims of broad executive authority to carry out the war on terror are drawing fire from an unexpected source: federal judges nominated by President [sic] George W. Bush, who asserted the sweeping powers in the first place. In recent weeks, three different Bush appointees considering cases relating to war-on[of]-terror detainees have rejected arguments from Obama’s Justice Department, which adopted virtually unchanged the positions the Bush administration had staked out. In each case, the Bush-appointed judge said the executive branch was overstepping its authority and claiming more powers than the law allowed.
Police told: stop 'kettling' activists 29 Jun 2009 Police chiefs must rethink the controversial tactic of "kettling" participants of mass demonstrations, a report said today. The practice of holding people in one place for long periods, widely known as "kettling", cannot always be justified, a committee of MPs found. Members of the Home Affairs Committee said it is not acceptable to impose a blanket ban on movement and peaceful protesters should be allowed to leave.
Part 1 of 4: Were Nuclear Reactors the Cause of the WTC Destruction? By Barry Ball, Barbara Ellis, and Russ Hallberg --Portland 9/11 Legislative Alliance 23 Jun 2009 This is the first in a four-part series stemming from our organization’s crafting and presenting a proposed bill in late 2008 to nine members of the U.S. House. It urges an independent investigation by national and international experts in science/technology to determine which of the 14 major theories about primary causal agents—fire and thermite to directed energy weapons--destroyed the World Trade Center Twin Towers.
Warning: Britain faces new recession --Economy set to relapse into dreaded 'double-dip' downturn, say world's central bankers 30 Jun 2009 The world's central bankers have warned that the British economy faces relapsing into another recession -- the much-feared "double dip" downturn. A continuing drought in bank lending, evidenced in the latest figures from the Bank of England, and the threat that spiralling public borrowing will feed through to higher interest rates and inflation, are judged by international economists to be mortal dangers to a sustained recovery.
Franken Wins Senate Battle --Minn. Court Ruling Gives Democrats A 60-Seat Majority [that the cowards are afraid to assert] 01 Jul 2009 The Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday declared comedian-turned-politician Al Franken the winner of the state's U.S. Senate race, ending an eight-month-long election saga and giving Democrats a 60-seat majority that theoretically would allow them to block GOP filibusters... Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) signed the election certificate declaring Franken the winner yesterday evening.
Rules Franken Has Won Senate Race; Coleman Concedes 30 Jun 2009
The Minnesota Supreme Court has just issued its long-awaited judgment
in the Senate race, declaring that Democrat Al Franken is the winner.
And Norm Coleman, his opponent, at 4 p.m., announced that he had conceded
and contacted Mr. Franken. The 32-page unanimous decision by the state’s
highest court was released after a seven-months long battle over the
SC attorney general calls for investigation of governor 30 Jun 2009 South Carolina's attorney general is asking for an investigation into Gov. Mark Sanford's travels after he admitted seeing his mistress more times than previously disclosed. Attorney General Henry McMaster said Tuesday he has requested the State Law Enforcement Division to review all of Sanford's travel records to see if any laws have been broken.
Sanford tells AP he 'crossed lines' with other women 30 Jun 2009 South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday that he "crossed lines" with a handful of women other than his mistress -- but never had sex with them. The governor said he "never crossed the ultimate line" with anyone but Maria Belen Chapur, the Argentine at the center of a scandal that has derailed his once-promising political career. "This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," Sanford said.
EPA list shows dangerous coal ash sites found in 10 states 29 Jun 2009 The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released a list of 44 coal-fired power plant waste sites in 10 states with a high hazard potential, including 12 sites in North Carolina, seven in Kentucky and a large storage pond in Pennsylvania. The list is the result of an investigation that the EPA ordered after the failure of a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond in Kingston, Tenn., flooded more than 300 acres of land in December.
Boycott Kira Plastinina! Kira Plastinina, Take 2: Robertson Boulevard Shop Set to Reopen Today 18 Jun 2009 Not even bankruptcy can keep Kira Plastinina from her American dream -- the 17-year-old Russian designer, who infamously opened 12 US stores in quick succession last year, then closed them all seven months later, [burning all the workers by not paying them] is reopening two of her locations in LA. [See CLG's Russian Venture Capitalist Costs Workers Jobs and Income During Economic Meltdown 10 Dec 2009 Russian billionaire Sergei A. Plastinin has served himself a self-styled economic bailout by leaving the US with unpaid bills owed to construction firms and workers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, says Robert Carlton of TRC, Inc. in Harmony, Pennsylvania.]
CLG: Pandemic planning: Protect police forces from being hurt in civil disturbances --The same cast of characters behind 'mass fatality management planning' for the flu pandemic developed a 'business plan for the Iraqi military market.' By Lori Price 29 Jun 2009 The same 'people' (and I use that term very loosely) panning the International Swine Flu Conference -- New-Fields -- also brought us... wait for it... Iraq oil and gas summits and the 2nd Iraq Security & Defense Summit. Corporate, government, and media players are meeting (after they cough up thousands of dollars in fees) to discuss and manage the inevitable flu pandemic... The architects of the flu kit and caboodle -- the same corpora-terrorists who profited from the Bush/Obama Iraq and Af/Pak wars -- are poised to make a(nother) killing.
Fireworks over Baghdad as Iraqis take over cities --Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared a public holiday and proclaimed June 30 as "National Sovereignty Day." 29 Jun 2009 Iraqi forces assume formal control of Baghdad and other cities on Tuesday after American troops hand over security in urban areas in a defining step toward ending the U.S. combat role in the country. Fireworks, not bombings, colored the Baghdad skyline late Monday, and thousands attended a party in a park where singers performed patriotic songs. [Yes, but the unfortunate 'memory' lingers on: Secret US-equipped 'Dirty Brigade' in Iraq forefront 26 Jun 2009 Iraqi security services employ an elite, American-trained force [death squad] with a reputation that leads many Iraqis to call it "the dirty brigade." Its real name is the Counter Terrorism Bureau.]
US soldiers leaving Iraq's cities 29 Jun 2009 US troops are withdrawing to base in Iraq, six years after the invasion, handing control of cities and towns to Iraq's new security forces. Tuesday has been declared National Sovereignty Day, a public holiday, and the capital Baghdad threw a giant party on Monday evening. US-led combat operations are due to end by September 2010, with all troops gone from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Iraq's VP Hashemi to boycott oil tenders 29 Jun 2009 Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi will boycott an auction on Tuesday to award contracts for eight oil and gas fields, saying parliament needs more time to study the country's first major oil tender since 2003. Some of the world's biggest energy firms, including Exxon Mobil, Total and Royal Dutch Shell, are competing to develop the six oilfields and two gas fields in the tender, which has drawn opposition from some legislators.
Iraq to open up oil fields for first time in four decades 29 Jun 2009 Iraq will this week unveil which foreign firms have won contracts to develop its oil and gas fields, nearly four decades after Saddam Hussein nationalised the country's energy infrastructure. Thirty-one companies have submitted bids to develop six giant oil fields and two gas fields. The oil deposits, holding known reserves of 43 billion barrels of crude, are in southern and northern Iraq while the gas concessions are west and northeast of Baghdad.
Mission accomplished! U.S.-built bridge is windfall
-- for illegal Afghan drug trade 28 Jun 2009 In August 2007,
the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with
the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37
million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers
designed to link two of Central Asia's poorest countries. Then-Commerce
Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S.
taxpayers paid for would be "a critical transit route for
trade and commerce" between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. But, the bridge
across the Panj River has paved the way for drug traffickers to transport
larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond
to Russia and Western Europe. [As the CLG has asserted for years,
Bush invaded Afghanistan to secure opium routes and gas pipelines.
Ever see a GOPig vote for a bridge to be built in the US? Never, unless
it was for an earmark bl*wjob. See: U.S. Senate approves bill to triple aid to Pakistan 24
Jun 2009 The $1.5 billion in annual funding
includes money for Pakistani schools, the 'judicial system,' parliament
and law enforcement agencies. Again: WHY are US taxpayers paying
IED attack kills NATO soldier in E. Afghanistan 29 Jun 2009 A soldier with NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in eastern Afghanistan on Monday while another sustained injures in the western region of the war-plagued country. "An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member was killed in an IED strike in eastern Afghanistan this morning," said a press release of ISAF issued here on Monday.
Obama administration preparing order for indefinite detentions By Tom Eley 29 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is drafting an executive order that would give the US president the power to arrest without charge, and imprison indefinitely without trial, foreign nationals it accuses of being terrorists, according to several senior government officials who spoke with the Washington Post and a reporter for non-profit news source ProPublica on condition of anonymity. The order, should it be released, would likely reuse arguments made by the previous administration of George W. Bush that the laws of war allow the executive branch to disregard the established judicial system and domestic laws and rights, such as those guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
U.S. won't rule out compromise on settlement growth 29 Jun 2009 The State Department hinted Monday that while the United States is committed to its demand that Israel freeze all construction in West Bank settlements, it will not rule out a future compromise on the matter as peace talks progress... Meanwhile, Israel's UN ambassador said on Monday that the Obama administration has assured Israel it will continue defending Israel at the United Nations despite the allies' dispute over settlements.
Larijani to Obama: Stop 'interfering' in ME affairs 29 Jun 2009 Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani has recommended the US administration to abandon its "interfering" policies and respect rights of all nations. "This change will be beneficial both to the region and to the US itself," Larijani said in an address to the 21st Executive Committee meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States in Algerian capital Algiers on Sunday.
Iran's Guardian Council confirms vote results 29 Jun 2009 After the conclusion of the partial vote recount, Iran's electoral watchdog, the Guardian Council has confirmed the result of the June 12 poll. After the announcement of the result of Iran's presidential election, which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad re-elected to a second four-year term, provoked major protests in the country, the Guardian Council set up a special committee to do a partial vote recount.
Iran confirms release of 5 UK embassy staff 29 Jun 2009 Iran's Foreign Ministry confirms that five of the local British embassy staff have been released after being briefly arrested over their role in the post-election violence in the country. In a weekly press conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said that five of the nine detainees walked free on Sunday.
Denials of US interference in Iran not credible By Peter Symonds 29 Jun 2009 The US administration has responded to Iranian allegations of manipulating opposition protests inside the country with flat denials. President Obama declared last week that the United States respected Iran’s sovereignty "and is not at all interfering in Iran’s affairs"...Just as the press never examines the claims of [Mir Hossein] Mousavi and his supporters that the election was rigged, so it ignores the considerable evidence of extensive US operations against Iran, spanning a range of diplomatic, intelligence and military activities.
Clinton: U.S. Not Declaring Events in Honduras a 'Coup' 29 Jun 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said today the U.S. government is refraining from formally declaring the ouster of Honduras's president a "coup," which would trigger a cutoff of millions of dollars in aid to the Central American country. President Manuel "Mel" Zelaya was detained and expelled by the military yesterday [in a coup]. [Oh, but if it *wasn't* a CIA-backed coup, the corporate-owned media -- especially the sociopaths at Faux News --would be all over it like a duck on a June bug. --LRP]
World Leaders Condemn Arrest of Honduran President 28 Jun 2009 World leaders reacted quickly Sunday morning to condemn the reported arrest of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. Terming the military action a "coup d' etat," Venezuelan President Hugo President called on President Barack Obama to act, saying that the U.S. President "has much to do." Jose Miguel Insulza,, secretary general of the Organization of American States, "severely" condemned the move, according to La Prensa.
Vandenberg fires Minuteman test rocket 29 Jun 2009 An unarmed Minuteman missile test-fired Monday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California reached its target in the Marshall Islands, base officials said. The test was the first of three Minuteman tests planned for this year. Members from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., assisted with maintenance tasks preceding the launch.
University of Qld unveils swine flu vaccine made with insect eggs 29 Jun 2009 The University of Queensland (UQ) says it has made the first Australian batch of a new swine flu vaccine but it will only be available for research purposes. The university has produced one-litre of swine flu vaccine in Brisbane - the equivalent of 1,000 doses. It has been made with new technology using insect cells instead of egg culture. UQ spokesman Professor Anton Middleberg says the university is the only laboratory in Australia to partner with the US company who developed the [disgusting] process.
Swine flu 'shows drug resistance' 29 Jun 2009 Experts have reported the first case of swine flu that is resistant to tamiflu - the main drug being used to fight the pandemic. Roche Holding AG confirmed a patient with H1N1 influenza in Denmark showed resistance to the antiviral drug. [Oops! Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug 12 Mar 2006 Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease.]
Ohio adds tactical EMS to accompany SWAT team --'It's key to have the medics up close to the situation.' 29 Jun 2009 These guys wear body armor and helmets and join SWAT teams during raids, shootings and hostage situations. Columbus created a 24-member tactical EMS team late last year. Two members go out with the SWAT team as needed.
Court Won't Hear Sept. 11 Claims Vs. Saudi Arabia 29 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court has refused to allow victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to pursue lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and four of its princes over charitable donations that were allegedly funneled to al-Qaida [al-CIAduh]. The court, in an order Monday, is leaving in place the ruling of a federal appeals court that the country and the princes are protected by sovereign immunity, which generally means that foreign countries can't be sued in American courts. The Obama administration had angered some victims and families by urging the justices to pass up the case.
Justices Rule for White Firefighters in Bias Case 30 Jun 2009 The Supreme Court ruled on Monday, in a case with enormous implications for workplaces across the country, that white firefighters in New Haven suffered unfair discrimination because of their race when the city scrapped the results of a promotional exam. "The city’s action in discarding the tests violated Title VII," the court held in a 5-to-4 decision, referring to a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Monday’s decision in Ricci v. DeStefano, No. 07-1428, came on the last day of the court’s term and was one of the most closely watched discrimination cases in years.
Bernard Madoff Gets 150 Years in Jail for Epic Fraud 29 Jun 2009 Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison for masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in history, a penalty six times longer than those meted out to the chief executives of WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. Madoff appeared today before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in New York for the first time since his March 12 guilty plea in an epic swindle that may have reached $65 billion in both real and phantom investments.
Madoff Faces Harder Time Than Former WorldCom, Enron Executives 29 Jun 2009 Bernard Madoff was sentenced to a prison term six times longer than that meted out to the chief executives of WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. He’s likely to serve his time in a decidedly harsher prison as well. Sentenced to 150 years, Madoff will probably be sent to a medium- or high-security prison, probably in the northeastern U.S, according to lawyers and prison consultants.
How a Loophole Benefits GE in Bank Rescue --Industrial Giant Becomes Top Recipient in Debt-Guarantee Program 29 Jun 2009 General Electric, the world's largest industrial company, has quietly become the biggest beneficiary of one of the government's key rescue programs for banks. At the same time, GE has avoided many of the restrictions facing other financial giants getting help from the government. The company did not initially qualify for the program, under which the government sought to unfreeze credit markets by guaranteeing debt sold by banking firms. But regulators soon loosened the eligibility requirements, in part because of behind-the-scenes appeals from GE.
CLG: CIA Crucified Captive In Abu Ghraib Prison --'No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program.' By Sherwood Ross 28 Jun 2009 The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine. "A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs," the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. "Military pathologists classified the case a homicide."
Obama issues signing statement on $106B war bill 26 Jun 2009 President Obama signed the $106 billion war-spending bill into law Friday, but not without taking a page from his predecessor and ignoring a few elements in the legislation. Obama included a five-paragraph signing statement with the bill, including a final paragraph that outlined his objections to at least four areas of the bill. President [sic] George W. Bush was heavily criticized for his use of signing statements, declaring he'd ignore some elements of legislation by invoking presidential prerogative. The Obama administration announced in the statement it would disregard provisions of the legislation that, among other things, would compel the Obama administration to pressure the World Bank to strengthen labor and environmental standards and require the Treasury department to report to Congress on the activities of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Coalition of the Bribed,
on steroids: U.S. Senate approves bill to triple aid
to Pakistan 24 Jun 2009 The
Senate on Wednesday approved tripling U.S. aid to Pakistan to about
$1.5 billion a year for each of the next five years, part of an American
'Militants' blow up girls' school in Pakistan 26 Jun 2009 'Militants' bombed a girls' primary school on the outskirts of Pakistan's Peshawar city on Friday, the latest in a series of such attacks blighting the northwest of the country, police said. The school was badly damaged during the attack in Mattni village, local police official Abdul Ghafoor Afridi told AFP. Forty kilograms (88 pounds) of explosives [Wow! Who can get their hands on 88 pounds of explosives?] were used to raze the building, although some of the structures were left standing, he added. "Three rooms and the outer wall of the government-run community model girls primary school was totally destroyed while the staff room was damaged," the police official said. [Guess what? Now US taxpayers can pay to rebuild that which was mysteriously destroyed.]
Miliband rebukes Iran after arrest of British embassy employees 28 Jun 2009 Nine employees of the British embassy in Tehran have been detained by the authorities in a worrying escalation of tensions between Iran and Britain. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, has issued a sharp rebuke to Iran after the arrests, which are part of a campaign by the clerical regime in Iran against what it has portrayed as foreign interference in its politics. The employees were arrested on suspicion of playing a role in the demonstrations that followed Iran's disputed presidential election.
Obama to fund anti-govt. elements in Iran: Report 28 Jun 2009 US President Barack Obama is re-branding a Bush-era plan to fund anti-government Iran-based elements through domestic and foreign entities, a report says. The Obama White House has apparently refused to act on the former administration's decision to allocate USD 66 million to Iranian dissidents, devising a new approach instead, USA TODAY reported on Friday. Citing 'security concerns', the State Department and the foreign policy agent declined to name the recipients of the funds.
USAID soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to destablize Iran 26 Jun 2009 The Obama administration is moving forward with plans to fund groups that support Iranian dissidents, records and interviews show, continuing a program that became controversial when it was expanded by President [sic] Bush. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which reports to the secretary of state, has for the last year been soliciting applications for $20 million in grants to "promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Iran," according to documents on the agency's website. The final deadline for grant applications is June 30. U.S. efforts to support Iranian opposition groups have been criticized in recent years as veiled attempts to promote "regime change," said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American advocacy group.
US State funds covert Israeli linked Iran Visual News Corp aka Peyman Online 2007 (WikiLeaks) 12 Apr 2008 This file provides budgetary information regarding a specific covert new media initiative funded by the US State Department that targets Iran. This document was leaked because the man who is in charge of the initiative has strong ties to Israeli Intelligence and subcontracts portions of the work to Israeli intel fronts such as MEMRI using US tax dollars. It is currently not known if this project is still being funded by the US State Department. [Apparently, it *is.* Grants Administrator: Ann Perrelli, 202-776-8545, perrelliAM@state.gov. Recipient's Administrator: Avi Davidi, 202-374-3420, firstname.lastname@example.org.]
CIA has Distributed 400 Million Dollars Inside Iran to Evoke a Revolution 18 Jun 2009 Former Pakistani Army General Mirza Aslam Beig claims the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has distributed 400 million dollars inside Iran to evoke a revolution. In a phone interview with the Pashto Radio on Monday, General Beig said that there is undisputed intelligence proving the US interference in Iran. "The documents prove that the CIA spent 400 million dollars inside Iran to prop up a colorful-hollow revolution following the election," he added. Pakistan’s former army chief of joint staff went on to say that the US wanted to disturb the situation in Iran and bring to power a pro-US government.
Iran accuses CIA of killing protester 28 Jun 2009 Iran is accusing the United States of being behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting made her a symbol of opposition to the disputed June 12 presidential election results. Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri made this accusation on Saturday night in an interview to the CNN television network. He denied that the young woman was killed by Iranian security forces and suggested that the CIA or another intelligence service may have been responsible.
Gaza 'war crimes' hearing under way 28 Jun 2009 A public hearing organised by a UN team investigating alleged war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the Gaza war is under way. As part of its investigations into the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza conflict, the UN fact-finding mission will listen to testimony from victims of the conflict for two days in Gaza City and hold a second round of public hearings on July 6 and July 7 in Geneva.
UN General Assembly president slams Honduras coup 29 Jun 2009 The president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, has strongly condemned the army coup that deposed President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. D'Escoto "firmly and categorically condemns the criminal action by the army in the Republic of Honduras that has broken the constitutional order by carrying out a coup d'etat against President Manuel Zelaya," his office said in a statement yesterday.
Chavez: CIA Behind Coup in Honduras 28 Jun 2009 Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez requested Sunday that US President Barack Obama, to be pronounced against the military coup in Honduras, which he considered is carried out with the participation of the Central Intelligence Agency. In statements to television channel Telesur, Chavez stated that he rejected the coup "right from its bone marrow" and asked the Honduran military troops not to face the people that went out to the streets to request the return of President Manuel Zelaya. "The United States has a lot to do with this, Obama should be pronounced to reject the coup right from the marrow," the Venezuelan leader stated.
Obama's First Coup D'etat --President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped --As of 11:15am, Caracas time, President Zelaya is speaking live on Telesur from San Jose, Costa Rica. He has verified the soldiers entered his residence in the early morning hours, firing guns and threatening to kill him and his family if he resisted the coup. He was forced to go with the soldiers who took him to the air base and flew him to Costa Rica. He has requested the U.S. Government make a public statement condemning the coup, otherwise, it will indicate their compliance.By Eva Golinger 28 Jun 2009 The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read "Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d’etat underway in Honduras, spread the word." It’s a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution.
South to Boost Surgical Strike Capability Against North 26 Jun 2009 The South Korean military plans to speed up efforts to deploy ground, air and naval weapons systems for use in strikes against key facilities in North Korea in the event of war, the Ministry of National Defense said Friday. The ministry unveiled the revision of the Defense Reform 2020 initiative drawn up in 2005. The updated plan is focused on securing independent capabilities to remove North Korea's asymmetrical military threat of nuclear and missile programs by deploying sophisticated surveillance, reconnaissance and striking assets.
North Korea threatens to shoot down Japanese spy planes 27 Jun 2009 North Korea threatened today to shoot down any Japanese planes that intrude into its airspace, accusing Tokyo of spying near one of its missile launch sites. The North has designated a no-sail zone off its eastern coast from June 25 to July 10 for military drills, raising concerns that it might test-fire short- or mid-range missiles in the coming days. North Korea's air force said Japan's E-767 surveillance aircraft conducted aerial espionage near the Musudan-ri missile site on its northeast coast on Wednesday and Thursday.
New H1N1 flu not going away: U.S. health agency 26 Jun 2009 More than 1 million people in the United States may have been infected with the new H1N1 swine flu, U.S. health officials said on Friday, and infections continue to rise. The new H1N1 influenza virus that has triggered a global pandemic is infecting people in the United States well beyond the normal period for influenza season, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in a telephone briefing.
500K New Yorkers May Have Swine Flu Virus 27 Jun 2009 As many as 500,000 New Yorkers may have been infected with the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu, federal officials said yesterday, far more than initially estimated by the city's Department of Health. The new data is based on a community survey that found 6.9 percent of New Yorkers experienced a flu-like illness during a three-week period in May when the illness was at its most active. "About half a million New Yorkers may have been infected," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC.
Strange Martial Law via Food Control: HR 2749 --Not what the American people ordered -- HR 2749, martial law and the enslavement of their farmers By The Writers’ Collective 28 Jun 2009 HR 2749 is a strange bill in many ways. While the other "food safety" bills have been around since winter, allowing for much public discussion on the internet, HR 2749 has only suddenly appeared. It is a mutant conglomeration of the worst of the other bills, with the addition of one very original part – martial law... HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested. It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers.
Quick action! HR 2749 is both insane and cruel. And the deceptiveness of hiding a Patriot Act in it and the brutal rush to slip it through Congress are ANTI-democratic. Go here to tell Congress, "No."
Homeland Security Is Ordered to Respond to Petition on Immigration Jails 27 Jun 2009 Substandard and abusive conditions in immigration detention "are of the utmost importance," a federal judge in Manhattan said Thursday, ruling that the Department of Homeland Security’s 2 ½-year delay in responding to a petition for legally enforceable regulations was "unreasonable as a matter of law." The judge, Denny Chin of Federal District Court in Manhattan, ordered the Obama administration to grant or deny the petition asking for detention rules within 30 days. He denied the government’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed last year by two former immigration detainees and two advocacy agencies, seeking to force a response.
'Moonlighting' MPs braced for embarrassing revelations: 'One member runs an eco-cemetery and occasionally digs graves' [<g>] 28 Jun 2009 MPs were facing intense scrutiny of their second jobs last night as the deadline loomed for them to declare details of "moonlighting". Parliamentarians have been raking in extra cash doing everything from advising drinks firms to crofting, according to research by a Sunday newspaper. One MP, shadow transport minister Robert Goodwill, runs an eco-cemetery at his farm and occasionally digs graves.
Boehner: Climate bill a 'pile of s--t' 27 Jun 2009 Minority Leader John Boehner (R-sociopath-Ohio) had a few choice words about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) landmark climate-change bill after its passage Friday. When asked why he read portions of the cap-and-trade bill on the floor Friday night, Boehner told The Hill, "Hey, people deserve to know what's in this pile of s--t." [Takes one to know one.]
Gag me with a chainsaw! Obama could mull second stimulus if needed: adviser 28 Jun 2009 President Barack Obama could discuss a second stimulus package to boost the economy if needed, but at the moment no more new money looks necessary, a top White House adviser said on Sunday. "Much of the stimulus is yet to come, and let's see how this works before talking about next steps," senior adviser David Axelrod told NBC Television's Meet the Press program.
Four banks fail, bringing 2009 tally to 44 26 Jun 2009 Four banks in Georgia, Minnesota and California were closed by regulators Friday, as the ongoing credit crisis continued to claim victims. Villa Rica, Ga.-based Community Bank of West Georgia and Newman, Ga.-based Neighborhood Community Bank were closed, as were Irvine, Calif.-based MetroPacific Bank and Pine City, Minn.-based Horizon Bank. The closures brought the national tally this year to 44, and marked the ninth so far in Georgia.
AP Interview: SC 1st lady told gov to stop affair 28 Jun 2009 When South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford disappeared, his wife hoped he was really hiking on the Appalachian Trail as his staff had claimed. Like the rest of America, she was stunned to find out he had dared to go to Argentina to see his mistress, a trip she told him not to take. "He was told in no uncertain terms not to see her," Jenny Sanford said in a strong, steady voice as she sat in her oceanfront living room Friday. "I was hoping he was on the Appalachian Trail. But I was not worried about his safety. I was hoping he was doing some real soul searching somewhere and devastated to find out it was Argentina. It's tragic."
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